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



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

JAMES BEGG, D;D., Minister of Newington Tree 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. 















SERMONUPONJoHNXviii.il, . . . : ".i/ . 3 

LUKE xxiii. 34, . . . . .14 

JOHNXIX. 30, . ,i(.I.i: . . 29 

ECCLESIASTES vii. 29, . >hyv/ . . 49 

ECCLESIASTES xii. 7, ;:.iL i i t : . ..- 61 


LEVITICUS xix. 17, . . . .107 

1 CORINTHIANS xv. 19, . . . . . 123 

SERMON UPON EOMANS ii. 7, . . . . . 145 

2 CORINTHIANS xiii. 14, . . JV . 156 


Sermon I. " Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear chil 
dren," . . . ' Ji . 169 
II. " And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, 
and given himself for us an offering and a 
sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour," 179 

III. " But fornication, and all uncleanness or covetous- 

ness, let it not be once named among you, as 
becometh saints," . . ... 189 

IV. " Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jest 

ing, which are not convenient ; but rather 
giving of thanks," . . . . 199 

V. "For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor 
unclean person, nor covetous man who is an 
idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom 
of Christ and of God," . 209 



SERMONS UPON EPHESIANS v. 1-27 continued. 

Sermon VI. " Let no man deceive you with vain words ; for 
because of these things cometh the wrath of 
God upon the children of disobedience," . 220 
VII. " Be not ye therefore partakers with them," . 232 
VIH, " For ye were sometimes darkness, but now ye 
are light in the Lord : walk as children of 
light," ..... 244 

IX. " For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, 

and righteousness, and truth," . . 257 

X. " For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness 

and righteousness, and truth," . . . 268 

XI. " Goodness, righteousness, and truth," . . 278 

XII. " Proving what is acceptable to the Lord," . 288 

XIII. " And have no fellowship with the unfruitful 

works of darkness, but rather reprove them," 300 

XIV. " For it is a shame even to speak of those things 

which are done of them in secret," . . 310 

XV. "But all things that are reproved are made 
manifest by the light ; for whatsoever doth 
make manifest is light," . . . 319 

XVI. " Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, 
and arise from the dead, and Christ shall 
give thee light," .... 329 
XVII. " Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, 
and arise from the dead, and Christ shall 
give thee light," .... 338 
XVIII. " See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as 

fools, but as wise," .... 347 
XIX. " Eedeeming the time, because the days are 

evil," ..... 358 

XX. " Kedeeming the time, because the days are 

evil," ..... 367 

XXI. " Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understand 
ing what the will of the Lord is," . . 378 
XXII. " And be not drunk with wine, wherein is 

excess ; but be filled with the Spirit," . 389 

XXIIL " But be filled with the Spirit," ... .398 



SERMONS UPON EPHESIANS v. 1-27 continued. 

Sermon XXIV. " Speaking to yourselves in psalms, and 
hymns, and spiritual songs, singing 
and making melody in your heart to 
the Lord," ... 408 

XXV. " Giving thanks always for all things unto 
God and the Father, in the name of our 
Lord Jesus Christ," . . . 417 

XXVI. " Submitting yourselves one to another in 

the fear of God," . . .427 

XXVII. " Wives, submit yourselves unto your own 

husbands, as unto the Lord," . . 436 

XXVIII. " For the husband is the head of the wife, 
even as Christ is the head of the 
church ; and he is the saviour of the 
body," .-' . . . ' 446 

XXIX. " Therefore, as the church is subject to 
Christ, so let the wives be to their own 
husbands in everything," . . 457 

XXX. " Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ 
also loved the church, and gave himself 
for it," . . . .468 

XXXI. " That he might sanctify and cleanse it by 
the washing of water through the 
word," ..-. . . 477 

XXXII. " 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," 486 





The cup ivhich my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it ? 
JOHN xviii. 11. 

THESE words are part of Christ's rebuke to Peter, who, when the high 
priest's servants came to attack Christ, draweth his sword, and cuts 
off Malchus' ear, which our Lord first healeth, and then reproveth his 
disciple for this temerarious action : ' Put up thy sword into the sheath.' 
He reproveth him, partly because it becometh no private man by oppo 
sition to resist authority ; but the chief reason was, our Lord would 
not be hindered in performing the great act of his mediation, his dying 
for sinners. You shall see in another place, when Peter counselled 
him against his sufferings, he rebuked him with the same severity that 
he doth the devil tempting him to idolatry : ' Get thee behind me, Satan,' 
Mat. xvi. 23, compared with Mat. iv. 10. And here this rash and 
unseasonable interposition, to save his master by force, is again 
reproved. In Peter's temerity, take notice of the difference between 
military valour and Christian fortitude. He that faltered and was 
blown down by the weak blast of a damsel's question hath now the 
courage with a single sword to venture upon an whole band of men. 
Military valour is boisterous, and dependeth upon the heat of blood and 
spirits, and is better for a sudden onset than a deliberate trial ; but 
Christian fortitude dependeth on the strength of faith, and lieth in a 
meek subjection to God, and will enable us to endure the greatest 
torments rather than encroach upon the conscience of our duty to God. 
A man of a military forward spirit may outbrave dangers when they 
are sudden, but faileth or fainteth in weaker trials, that are managed 
rather in a way of charge and accusation than force. But in Christ's 
rebuke, take notice of his obedience to God and love to men. Obedience 
to God : Shall I not suffer patiently, without resisting, what my Father 
hath determined me to suffer ? And love to men ; it was the cup which 
God had given him to drink for the good of his people, and therefore 
he would by no means decline it. 

In the words take notice of (1.) The notion by which affliction is 
expressed ; it is ' a cup.' (2.) God's ordering of it, ' Which my Father 
hath given me.' (3.) Christ's submission, ' Shall I not drink it ? ' 

1. For the term or notion whereby Christ's sufferings are expressed, 
' a cup." We read of a threefold cup in scripture (1.) A cup of tri- 


bulation ; (2.) A cup of consolation ; (3.) A cup of salvation and 

The first of these is often mentioned : Ps. xi. 6, ' Upon the wicked 
he shall rain snares, fire, and brimstone, and an horrible tempest ; this 
shall be the portion of their cup.' So the prophet Jeremiah is bidden, 
chap. xxv. 15, ' Take the wine-cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all 
the nations to whom I send thee to drink it.' So Ps. Ixxv. 8, 'For in the 
hand of the Lord there is a cup, and the wine is red ; it is full of mix 
ture : and he poureth out the same ; but the dregs thereof, all the 
wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them.' Thus 
God's dispensations are ordinarily expressed by a cup poured out and 
given to men to drink. And therefore our Lord Christ himself useth 
this form of speech, not only here, but elsewhere ; as Mat. xxvi. 39, 
' Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.' It was a dread 
ful cup that he was to drink of. 

The second cup, the cup of consolation, is spoken of Jer. xvi. 7, 
' Neither shall men give them the cup of consolation to drink for their 
father or for their mother ; ' taken from the Jewish custom of sending 
it to them that mourned, or to condemned persons. . The same is spoken 
of Prov. xxxi. 6, 7, ' Give strong drink to him that is ready to perish, 
and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts ; let him drink and forget 
his poverty, and remember his misery no more ; ' Amos ii. 8, ' They 
drank the wine of the condemned.' 

The third was the cup of salvation, spoken of Ps. cxvi. 13, 'I will 
take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord.' Or 
the cup of deliverance, used more solemnly in the temple by the priests, 
or more privately in the family. Sometimes called the drink-offering 
of praise ; and to which the 'cup of blessing,' 1 Cor. x. 16, used in the 
Lord's supper, hath a great respect ; for it was always used with cer 
tain expressions of commemoration and praise. The first is plainly 
here intended, the cup of tribulation, so called because our afflictions 
are measured out by God, both for quantity and quality, either by his 
justice or by his wisdom and mercy. 

2. God's ordering of it, ' Which my Father hath given me.' Christ 
mentioneth not the malice of his enemies, but the will of God and his 
Father. His hand in Christ's sufferings is often asserted in scripture : 
Isa. liii. 10, 'It pleased the Father to bruise him ; he hath put him 
to grief;' Acts ii. 23, 'Him, being delivered by the determinate 
counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands 
have crucified and slain ;' Acts iv. 28, 'For to do whatsoever thy hand 
and thy counsel determined before to be done/ God did not excite 
and instigate those wicked wretches to that cruelty which they exer 
cised upon Christ, yet it was predetermined by God for the salvation 
of mankind. 

3. Christ's submission, ' Shall I not drink it ? ' If God put a bitter 
cup into our hands, we must not refuse it, for here we have Christ's 
example. The meaning is, this bitter passion which the Father hath 
laid upon me, shall I not suffer it patiently ? 

Doct. That it is the duty of Christians patiently to suffer whatever 
God hath appointed them to surfer. 
The note is plain. I shall discuss it in this method 


1. That in all calamities we should look to God. 

2. That it is a great advantage to patience when we can consider 
him not as an angry judge, but as a gracious father. 

3. That it well becometh his people to endure that willingly which 
he calleth them unto. 

I. That in all calamities we should look unto God : Ps. xxxix. 9, ' I 
was dumb, I opened not my mouth, because thou didst it.' That is 
the first thing that quieteth the heart, when we see God's hand in all 
things that befall us. So Hezekiah : Isa. xxxviii. 15, 'What shall I say ? 
he hath both spoken unto me, and himself hath done it.' If God hath 
done it, it is time to cease, and say no more ; for why should we con 
tend with the Lord ? We murmur and repine if we look no higher 
than second causes ; but owning God's hand, we have nothing to reply 
by way of murmuring or expostulations. So Job, chap. i. 21, ' The 
Lord hath given, and the Lord hath taken away ; blessed be the name 
of the Lord.' He doth not say, Dominus dedit, diabolus abstulit The 
Lord hath given, and the devil hath taken away ; nor yet, 6 XaXSato? 
a^e/Xero, the Chaldean or Sabean hath taken away ; but he owneth 
God in the providence. Compare the different carriage of David when 
Nabal slighted him and when Shimei railed on him. The one you 
have 1 Sam. xxv. 21, 22, ' Now David had said, Surely in vain have I 
kept all that this fellow hath in the wilderness, so that nothing was 
missed of all that pertained to him ; but he hath requited me evil for 
good. So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave 
of all that pertaineth to him by the morning light any that pisseth 
against the wall.' A rash speech, because he only reflected upon the 
unkindness of Nabal, and meditateth nothing but revenge. The other 
you have 2 Sam. xvi. 11, ' Let him alone, and let him curse, for the 
Lord hath bidden him.' David then considered not the instrument, 
but the supreme author ; he looked not to the stone, but the hand that 
flung it, to God's providence, who thought good by that means to 
chastise him. If we mind providence rather than revenge, we must 
not reflect on the injury done to us, nor the malice of our adversaries, 
but the will and good pleasure of God. So Joseph : Gen. 1. 20, ' As 
for you, ye thought evil against me, but God meant it for good.' So 
he calmeth his heart, and fortifieth it against all thoughts of revenge 
against his brethren. In short, there are two sorts of evils and afflic 
tions, such as come immediately from the hand of God, or such injuries 
and afflictions wherein men are the instruments. Patience hath to do 
with both, that we may bear afflictions from God without murmuring, 
and injuries from men without thought of revenge. Such as come im 
mediately from the hand of God are not to be looked upon as chances 
or casual accidents, but the Lord is to be owned in them, and then we 
must ' humble ourselves under his mighty hand,' 1 Peter v. 6. In in 
juries from men, we must consider they are also governed by God's 
providence, and sent by God as well as other evils. Some are patient 
under an affliction from God, but very impatient under injurious deal 
ing from men ; as when a shower of rain falleth from heaven, we bear 
it quietly, but if one throw a basin of water upon us, we storm, and are 
vexed at heart. But if we did look through the wrongs of men to God, 
they would not be so irksome to us, be they injuries in civil commerce, 


such as oppression, detention of dues, contumelies, reproaches, or per 
secution for righteousness' sake ; see God in all, that you may not fret 
at it. 

Two things we must lay do.wn briefly 

1. That nothing falleth out without God's particular providence : 
Lam. iii. 37, 38, ' Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, when 
the Lord commandeth it not ? Out of the mouth of the Most High 
proceedeth not evil and good ; ' that is, nothing is done here below but 
by a divine disposal and providence, nothing but what he by his secret 
wisdom hath pre-ordained and appointed. 

2. That cross issues and punishments, as well as benefits and pros 
perous successes, come all of God : Isa. xlv. 7, ' I form the light, and 
create darkness ; I make peace, and create evil : I, the Lord, do all 
these things.' All evils of punishment come from God, as well as the 
blessings of providence ; and without this principle we could neither 
be thankful for the one nor humble under the other. We look upon 
it as a piece of atheism and irreligiousness if we be not thankful for 
benefits ; it is as great an evil if we be not humble under punishments. 
We count him a profane man that should thank his dungcart for his 
good crop ; and doth not he as much deny providence that in all his 
afflictions looketh only to instruments, and not to the hand of God ? 
that rageth against men, but doth not take notice of the will of his 
heavenly Father ? It is very notable, Jonah iv. 6, 7, that God first 
prepared a gourd to shelter Jonah from the scorching heat of the sun, 
and then prepared a worm that smote the gourd, and deprived him of 
that comfort and benefit. He that gave us the delight in any natural 
comfort doth also take it from us. The same hand must be owned in 
giving and taking, or else we shall not prevent atheism. He that 
created the gourd created the worm ; and he that governed the gourd, 
and made it a refreshing shadow from the heat of the sun, he governed 
the worm to eat out the root and life of the gourd. As Christ here 
saith, not the Jews or pharisees provided this bitter cup for him, but 
the Father. (Ecuraenius, an ancient Greek writer on the scripture, in 
his comment on the Acts of the Apostles, telleth us that once a great 
plague invaded the city of Athens, and miserably desolated it, which 
also other histories testify ; the citizens being almost consumed, ran to 
the image of Jupiter with sacrifices, vows, and prayers, to save them 
from .the pestilence, but Jupiter could not do it ; then to Saturn, 
Mercury, Neptune, and other gods, but still in vain, for the plague 
daily increased, and was more mortal and deadly. And when this was 
considered in the court of the Areopagites, a wise man among them said, 
Without doubt these gods known to us did not send this pestilence, 
because upon our prayers and supplications to them they cannot take 
it away ; there may be some other god unknown to us who sent it, and 
who alone can cause it to cease, therefore he is to be sought unto, an altar 
erected to him, and sacrifices and intercessions offered to him, to take 
away this plague from us. And this writer thinketh that this was the 
original of that altar which Paul saw with this inscription, ' To the un 
known God,' Acts xvii. 23. I have brought this account to show you 
that all evil is sent by God, and his hand must be acknowledged in it, or 
else religion will fall to the ground. When the disciples were terrified 


in a great storm, Christ cometh walking upon the waters, and telleth 
them, ' Be of good cheer, it is I ; be not afraid,' Mark vi. 50. They 
thought it was a spectre, but Christ saith, ' It is I.' In short, the author 
of all the annoyances and afflictions that befalleth us in this life is God, 
their end is repentance, their cause is sin ; and this well thought of 
will silence all our rnurmurings. 

II. That it is a great advantage to patience when we can consider 
him not as an angry judge, but as a gracious father. The cup which 
Christ drank off was very bitter, a-nd yet he saith, ' The cup which my 
Father hath given me.' Now every one cannot apply this comfort, 
for many are not so much as in a visible relation to God, and others 
that visibly live in his family yet are not owned and acknowledged by 
him as his dear children, rather counted bastards than sons, as the 
apostle speaketh, Heb. xii. 7, 8, ' If ye endure chastening, God dealeth 
with you as with sons ; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth 
not ? But if ye be without chastisements, whereof all are partakers, 
then are ye bastards, and not sons.' Not legitimate, but degenerate 
children. Others have a special relation to God, such as is between 
father and children : 2 Cor. vi. 18, ' I will be unto you a Father, and ye 
shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.' These have 
an interest in his dearest love, and a right to his choicest benefits ; and 
they shall know it by his fatherly dealing with them. Now to such 
this comfort properly belongeth ; for though God may punish and afflict 
others, yet he cannot be said to chastise them as a father, but as an 
angry judge he doth punish them for their offences and rebellions. 
Therefore, if you would apply this comfort, you must clear up your 
interest, enter into covenant with him, and sincerely believe in Christ, 
and devote yourselves to him, that he may be your God and Father. 
But because being and seeing are two things, and many that are the 
children of God may not know themselves to be so, therefore I shall 
(1.) State this matter ; (2.) Show what an advantage it is to patience. 

First, I shall state this matter in these considerations 

1. God is a father by creation or adoption. 

[1.] In a more general respect by creation, as Adam is called 'the son 
of God,' Luke iii. 38. So Mai. ii. 10, ' Have we not all one Father ? 
hath not one God created us ? ' God is more our Father than our 
natural parents are ; they concur to our beings but instrumentally, but 
God originally. It is God that formeth us in the womb ; we are his 
workmanship, not our parents', both as to body and soul. As to the 
body : Ps. cxix. 73, ' Thy hands have made me and fashioned me.' 
They know not whether the child be male or female, beautiful or 
deformed ; they cannot tell the number of the bones, muscles, veins, 
and arteries, which God hath framed in such a curious and exact order. 
But for the soul, which is the better part of man, that is of his immediate 
creation ; therefore God is called, ' The Father of spirits,' Heb. xii. 9. 
They do not run in the channel of carnal generation or fleshly descent. 
In this general sense, by virtue ef creation, God is the Father of all 
men, good and bad ; which though it give God a title to our love, service, 
and honour, yet it giveth us no interest in his special benefits, or the 
fruits of his fatherly love ; it moveth God not to stir up all his wrath 
against them, yet not to bestow saving grace, his favour and image, 
upon them. 


[2.] More especially, and in a more comfortable sense, there is 
a more peculiar sort of men to whom God is a Father by adoption, 
and they are his dear children. This title is not by nature, but by 
grace; the foundation of it was laid in the election of God: Eph. 
i. 5, ' Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by 
Jesus Christ to himself, according, to the good pleasure of his will.' 
But before this decree could be executed and take place, the redemp 
tion of Christ was necessary ; for we read, 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.' Sin needed to be expiated by 
the Son of God in our nature before God would bestow this honour 
upon any of mankind ; Christ was to take a mother upon earth, that 
we might have a Father in heaven : ' Forasmuch as the children are 
partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part- of the 
same, that through death he might destroy him that had the power of 
death, that is, the devil, and deliver them who through fear of death 
were all their lifetime subject to bondage,' Heb. ii. 14, 15. And besides, 
this grace is applied to us by the Spirit, who by his effectual operation 
bringeth us into a state of love and sonship. As a Father by creation, 
he giveth us our natural endowments ; as a Father by adoption, he giveth 
us the supernatural grace of the Spirit, to sanctify and change our 
hearts ; for regeneration and adoption always go together : John i. 12, 
13, ' But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become 
the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name ; which were 
born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, 
but of God.' And by the new nature put into us we are brought into 
this new state and relation : Gal. iv. 6, 'And because ye are sons, God 
hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, 
Father.' The soul that was shy of God then inclineth to him as our 
Lord, that we may honour, love, and obey him, and as our happiness, 
that we may seek after him, and live in communion with him. And 
lastly, the act on our part, that we may be received into the number of 
God's children, is an owning and acknowledging Christ to all the ends 
and purposes for which God hath appointed him ; if we really entertain 
him as sent by God to be our Lord and Saviour, we are advanced to 
this dignity : John i. 12, ' To as many as received him, to them gave 
he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his 
name.' This of the privilege. 

2. You having received this grace, it is your duty to get it evidenced, 
that you may maintain a comfortable sense of your adoption. It is 
evidenced by the dwelling and working of the Holy Spirit in you : Rom. 
viii. 16, ' The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are 
the children of God.' He witnesseth objectively and effectively, per 
modum argumenti, and per modum efficientis causes by way of 
argument, and by way of causal efficiency. Objectively, if I have the 
Spirit of God framing my heart to love, and honour, and fear, and obey 
him, and delight in communion with him, surely I am a child of God ; 
for where these are, sincere love to God prevaileth: 1 John iv. 13, 
' Hereby know we that we dwell in him and he in us, because he hath 
given us of his Spirit/ There he speaketh of love to God, and so for 


honour ; it is else but an empty title : Mai. i. 6, ' If I then be a father, 
where is mine honour ? If I be a master, where is my fear ? ' So for 
fear or childlike reverence, that we dare not offend him : Ps. ciii. 13, 
' As a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear 
him.' His children, and those that fear him. are equivalent expres 
sions: 1 Peter i. 17, ' If ye call on the Father, who without respect of 
persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your 
sojourning here in fear.' I illustrate by that, Jer. xxxv. 6, ' And 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 for obedience : 1 Peter i. 14, ' As obedient chil 
dren, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your 
ignorance ; ' Eph. v. 1, ' Be ye followers of God, as dear children.' So 
for delighting in communion with him : Kom. viii. 15, ' For ye have 
not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but ye have received 
the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father ; ' Gal. iv. 6, ' And 
because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our 
hearts, crying, Abba, Father.' This is most felt in prayer : Zech. xii. 
10, ' I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of 
Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and supplications ; ' Kom. viii. 26, ' Like 
wise the Spirit 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 groanings which cannot be uttered ; ' Jude 20, ' But ye, 
beloved, building up yourselves in your most holy faith, praying in the 
Holy Ghost.' Here we have the nearest familiarity with God whilst 
we dwell in the flesh, and our souls are carried to God as light bodies 
move upward. This is the matter of the evidence, but the Spirit giveth 
a sight or sense of this ; if he be not grieved and ill-treated, but his 
sanctifying motions be obeyed, he sheddeth abroad the love of God in 
our hearts, and filleth us with much joy and peace. 

3. If this be faithfully done, and there be no other reason to break 
our confidence, the bare affliction, or the greatness and grievousness of 
your afflictions, should not ; for these sharp afflictions are not only 
consistent with this relation, as the instance of Christ showeth, but 
also it is an act of his fatherly love and discipline. The exhortation 
speaketh to us as children : Heb. xii. 5-8, ' Ye have forgotten the 
exhortation that speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise 
not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked 
of him ; for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every 
son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with 
you as sons ; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not ? but 
if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye 
bastards, and not sons.' God's children must look to be chastened ; 
neither must our Father's hand be slighted, nor must we faint under 
it. It is an act of love and kindness to us, that he will not suffer us 
to go on in our sins. God seeineth to cast off them whom he leaveth 
to their own hearts' lusts : Hosea iv. 17, ' Ephraim is joined to idols ; 
let him alone.' But he loveth whom he chasteneth, and scourgeth every 
son whom he receiveth. The rod of correction will not wholly be laid 
aside while God's children are in the flesh. In heaven, where there 
are no dangers, there is no use of it any more, because then we are 


fully and perfectly sanctified, but here you must be content to submit 
to the discipline of the family. Certainly you must not question his 
love because something falleth out contrary to your desires. God is a 
Father when he frowneth and when he smileth ; he is the God of the 
valleys as well as of the hills and mountains ; his love doth not alter 
with our condition, the comfort of adoption is for such a time. 

4. Because of our imperfection both in holiness and comfort, we must 
submit to the authority of a father, when we cannot see our interest in 
his special fatherly love. Alas ! most are so ill settled in the peace 
and comfort of the gospel, that every notable affliction reviveth our 
guilty fears ; as the Sareptan said to Elijah when her child died, ' Art 
thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my 
son ? ' 1 Kings xvii. 18. She looked upon that sad providence as a 
judgment for her sins ; so it is if God awakeneth in us a spirit of bon 
dage. Besides, there is none of us but may justify God, that he is not 
needlessly severe ; yea, some have so sinned, that though they be not 
filii irce, children of wrath, yet they are filii sub ira, children under 
wrath ; though they need no regeneration or conversion, yet they have 
grieved the good Spirit of God by walking inordinately, therefore their 
business is to submit to the authority of God, justly correcting and 
punishing them for sins : Micah vii. 9, ' I will bear the indignation of 
the Lord, because I have sinned against him.' And by unfeigned 
repentance to renew their claim, and promise greater loyalty and 
fidelity for the future : Jer. iii. 19, ' Thou shalt call me, My father, and 
shalt not turn away from me.' They must get their wounds healed, 
make up the breach between God and them, sue out their pardon in 
the name of Christ, and get a renewed grant of it, and a sense of their 

5. If hitherto you have been quite strangers to God, such providences 
may be an occasion to begin the relation before they are over, as they 
are helps to repentance and recovery. Upon the serious working of 
your souls, the Lord may be found as a father, and admit you into 
his family. It is said, ' The Lord loveth whom he chasteneth,' Heb. 
xii. 6. There is a twofold love in God the love of benevolence, and 
the love of complacency ; the one while we are sinners, the other after 
he hath made us amiable. Some God chooseth in the fire or furnace 
of affliction : Isa. xlviii. 10, ' Behold, I have refined thee, but not with 
silver ; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction/ The hot fur 
nace is God's workhouse ; the most excellent vessels of honour are 
formed there ; Manasseh, Paul, the jailer in the Acts ; when the pro 
digal began to be in want, he thought of returning to his father, Luke 
xv. 17-19. If our ears be opened to discipline, we can own God in 
the humbling, though not the comfortable way : ' Father, I have sinned 
against heaven and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called 
thy son/ Many that were never serious before are brought to bethink 
themselves in their afflictions : 1 Kings viii. 47, 48, ' Yet if they shall 
bethink themselves in the land whither they were carried captives, and 
repent, and make supplications unto thee in the land of them that 
carried them captives, saying, We have sinned, and have done per 
versely, we have committed wickedness ; and so return unto thee with 
all their heart and with all their soul/ The doors of God's family 


are always open to believing penitents, and it is a fatherly providence 
at last. 

Secondly, What an advantage is it to patience and submission to 

1. God's fatherly relation showeth his love to us ; and so we know 
that by all his chastisements he doth but seek our spiritual and eternal 
good : Heb. xii. 9, 10, ' We have had fathers of our flesh, which cor 
rected us, and we gave them reverence ; shall we not much rather be 
in subjection to the Father of spirits, and live ? for they verily for a 
few days chastened us after their own pleasure, but he for our profit, 
that we might be partakers of his holiness.' Children, though they 
take it ill to be beaten by others, yet they take it patiently when beaten 
for their faults by their parents, who, under God, are the cause of their 
being and maintenance, and ever in correcting seek their good ; much 
more should we submit to our heavenly Father. Earthly parents may 
err, wanting wisdom, or being blinded with passion, and so their chastise 
ments are arbitrary and irregular ; but there is more of compassion than 
passion in God's rod ; all cometh from purest love, and is regulated by 
perfect wisdom, and tendeth to the highest end, even our holiness and 

2. It inferreth great love from us to God again. No owning of God 
is allowed but the practical owning of him ; and therefore none own 
God as a father but those that love him as a father. Now love God 
once, and nothing that he doth will be grievous to us; for as love 
sweeteneth duties, so it sweeteneth providences. It cometh from my 
Father ; that doth not only bespeak reverence or submission (Num. xii. 
14, ' If her father had but spit in her face, should she not be ashamed 
seven days?') but welcome; anything should be well taken at his hand. 

III. It well becometh his people to endure willingly whatever God 
calleth them unto. 

1. From God. His sovereignty and power ; he is too great to be 
questioned : Job ix. 12, ' Behold he taketh away, who can hinder him ? 
Who will say unto him, What doest thou ? ' His justice ; he is too 
just to do us wrong : Job xxxiv. 23, ' For he will not lay upon man 
more than is right, that he should enter into judgment with God.' 
There is guilt enough in every one to silence us : Ps. cxix. 137, 
' Righteous art thou, Lord, and upright are thy judgments/ His 
goodness ; he is too good to do us harm ; he knoweth how to recom 
pense us : Ps. cxix. VI, ' It is good for me that I have been afflicted.' 
Nothing but good can come from him who is goodness and love itself. 
His wisdom and faithfulness ; he will afflict us no more than need re- 
quireth, or will exceed our strength : 1 Peter i. 6, ' Wherein ye greatly 
rejoice, though now for a season (if need be) ye are in heaviness through 
manifold temptations ; ' 1 Cor. x. 13, ' There hath no temptation taken 
you but such as is common to man ; but God is faithful, who will not 
suffer you to be tempted above what you are able, but will with the 
temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.' 

2. With respect to Christ, whose example should be of force to us 
both for suffering and patience in suffering. For suffering, there is a cer 
tain measure of affliction fitted and prepared for Christ and all his 


followers ; the bitter cup goeth round from hand to hand ; the whole 
wave dashed upon Christ, some drops light upon us : Col. i. 24, 'Who 
now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind 
of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh, for his body's sake, which is the 
church.' And for patience in suffering : Heb. xii. 2, 3, ' Looking unto 
Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who, for the joy that was set 
before him, endured the cross, despised the shame, and is set down at 
the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured 
such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and 
faint in your minds ; ' 1 Peter ii. 21, ' Christ also suffered for us, leav 
ing us an example, that ye should follow his steps ;' and ver. 23, ' Who 
when he was reviled, reviled not again ; when he suffered, he threat 
ened not, but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.' 
He hath trod the way before us, and his steps drop fatness : Mat. xx. 
23, ' Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the bap 
tism that I am baptized with ; but to sit on my right hand, and on 
my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it 
is prepared of my Father.' There are two things ; if any would be 
nearer in dignity to Christ than others, it is not in reigning, but in 
suffering with Christ, in drinking Christ's cup ; but for preferment in 
another world, and to have a larger measure of honour, that is given 
to those for whom it is appointed. We are to prepare for the cross. 
The other is, the new covenant engageth us hereunto, for there is an 
allusion to the sacraments. Therefore Christ useth these notions. 

Use 1. Showeth what provision the Christian religion maketh for 
patience : Horn. xv. 4, ' For whatsoever things were written aforetime, 
were written for our learning, that we, through patience and comfort 
of the scriptures, might have hope.' This patience and comfort of the 
scriptures is a higher thing than what is learnt by the institutions of 
philosophy. Tarn in ipsis falsa erat patientia, qitam et falsa sapientia 
Cypr. Both their patience and their wisdom is false. The grounds 
of patience from the Christian religion are particular providence, adop 
tion, the example of Christ, the assistance of the Spirit, the desert of 
sin, the fruit of afflictions, both as to the refining of grace and prepar 
ing us for glory: Heb. xii. 11, ' Now no chastening for the present 
seemeth to be joyous, but grievous ; nevertheless afterward it yieldeth 
the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them that are exercised 

Use 2. To exhort us to bear whatsoever God shall lay upon us. 

1. Seek this grace of God, both the wisdom and the power to calm 
the spirit: Col. i. 11, ' Strengthened with all might according to his 
glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering with joy fulness ; ' 
James i. 5, ' If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask it of God.' Man's 
strength is not the strength of bulls ; it doth not lie in brutish force, 
but strength of reason. Our own reason is too feeble to encounter our 
passions if not assisted by grace ; they are not healed by time, but 
spiritual wisdom : Ps. xciv. 19, ' In the multitude of my thoughts 
within me thy comforts delight my soul.' 

2. Expostulate with yourselves, arid cite all your passions before the 
tribunal of reason : Ps. xlii. 5, ' Why art thou cast down, my soul ? 


why art thou disquieted within me ? ' God puts Jonah to the ques 
tion : chap. iv. 4, ' Dost thou well to be angry ? ' So should we argue 
with ourselves : With whom are you displeased? Is it with God? He 
doth what he pleaseth ; he might cast thee into hell, and art thou 
angry because of his temporal chastisement ? He hath bestowed many 
mercies upon thee, and shall he not take his seasons to chastise thee ? 
Art thou angry with man ? But is not God's hand in it ? Hast not 
thou done so to others ? Eccles. vii. 22, ' For oftentimes also thy own 
heart knoweth that thou thyself likewise hast cursed others.' 


Father, forgive them, for they know not u'hat they do. LUKE xxiii. 34. 

THE words of the dying are wont to be much observed. When men 
depart out of the body, they are usually more serious and divine, and 
speak with greater weight. As a man that is to take a journey trusseth 
up his bundle or fardle, so when men are to take a journey to God, and 
are upon the brink of the everlasting state, they are wont to gather up 
whatever is of a divine and immortal nature. Especially the speeches 
of the godly dying are to be regarded, who, having laid aside worldly 
affairs and earthly thoughts, are wholly exercised in the contemplation 
of heavenly things. Therefore in scripture we read of David's last 
words, 2 Sam. xxiii. 1, and of Joshua, chap, xxiii. 14, ' And behold, 
this day I am going the way of all the earth ;' but before he goes he 
would leave this testimony for God : ' Ye know in all your hearts, and 
in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things 
which the Lord your God spake concerning you, all are come to pass 
unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof.' So Jacob, Moses, 
Simeon : Luke ii. 29, 30, ' Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart 
in peace, according to thy word ; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation.' 
Paul : 2 Tim. iv. 7, 8, ' I have fought a good fight, I have finished my 
course, I have kept the faith : henceforth there is laid up for me a 
crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give 
me at that day ; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love 
his appearing.' Now certainly, if any man's dying speeches are to be 
observed, Christ's are much more. Job said, chap. xix. 23, 24, ' Oh, 
that my words were now written ! oh, that they were printed in a book ! 
that they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever ! ' 
It were well if Christ's words were written, not in cedar, but in our 
own hearts. They reckon seven short speeches of Christ upon the 
cross, and this is the first; when he begins to break off his silence, it is 
to pray for his persecutors : ' Father, forgive them, for they know not 
what they do.' In which words there is 

1. Christ's request, 'Father, forgive them.' 

2. The argument by which it is enforced, ' For they know not what 
they do.' 

I. Christ's request, ' Father, forgive them.' ' Father ' is a word of 
confidence towards God and of love to his enemies ; he mentioneth 
the sweetest relation. ' Father' is a word of blandishment, as children, 
when they would obtain anything at their parent's hands, cry, Father 1 


Some observe that when he speaketh of his own desertion he crieth, 
' My God ! my God ! ' but now, when he prayeth for the pardon of 
his enemies, he useth a more endearing relation, ' Father/ But the 
observation is fond and nice ; for Christ in his own case useth the 
same endearing title : Mat. xxvi. 39, ' my Father ! if it be possible, 
let this cup pass from me ; ' and there is a special reason why in his 
desertion he should say, ' My God ! my God ! ' as suiting the title to 
his case, Eli ! Eli ! my strong one ! my strong one ! He wanted the 
strong support and the sensible consolations of his godhead. It is most 
comfortable to observe how Christ upon the cross calleth God ' Father.' 
He felt him a judge, and believeth him a father. The special work of 
faith in afflictions is to maintain the comfort of adoption : Heb. xii. 5, 
' Ye have forgotten the exhortation that speaketh unto you as unto 
children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord.' Those 
that are under chastening may be sons. God doth not always put on 
the person of a judge when he taketh the rod in his hand ; the change 
of your condition doth not alter, nor make void your interest. God is the 
God of the valleys as well as the God of the hills. Christ was now, as 
a man, forsaken and rejected of God, left to the assaults of Satan and 
scorns of men ; and yet in the height of his pains and passion he re- 
taineth his confidence : ' Father, forgive them.' The whole world is 
not worth the comfort that is wrapped up in that one word, ' Father.' 
It is a great folly in the children of God to question his love merely 
because of the greatness of their afflictions. "We presently cry out, as 
Job, chap. xxx. 21, ' Thou art become cruel to me ; with thy strong 
hand thou opposest thyself against me ; ' that he hath put off all 
fatherly affection, because we judge of the cross according to the sense 
of our own flesh. And therefore, merely to question God's love 
because of afflictions is folly. Kather we may conclude the contrary of 
the two. Bastards are left to a looser discipline than sons ; the 
bramble of the wilderness is suffered to grow and spread when the 
vine is cut, and pruned, and pared ; the stones that are to be set in the 
building are most hewed and squared, others lie neglected in the quarry 
and are left to their own roughness. Multiplied afflictions are a sign 
God hath a care of you ; he will not suffer you to run wild. And 
therefore, in defiance of the cross, learn to call God Father ; look 
'through the cloud of the present dispensation to the love of God to 
wards you. 

' Father, forgive them.' Christ speaks as foreseeing the danger 
and punishment which they would bring on themselves as the fruit of 
their madness and folly, and therefore he prays, ' Father, forgive them.' 
This act was provocation enough to move God to dissolve the bonds 
of nature, to cleave the earth, that it might swallow them up quick, or 
to rain hell out of heaven upon them. Lesser offences have been thus 
punished, and one word from Christ's mouth had been enough. But, 
' Father, forgive them.' We hear nothing but words of mild pity. 
When he says, ' Forgive,' he means also convert them ; for where 
there is no conversion there can be no remission. 

I shall look upon this prayer under a twofold consideration 

1. As an high moral act of an holy man. 

2. As a taste of his mediation and intercession, where we shall con 
sider the public relation he sustained upon the cross. 


First, Let us look upon it as a moral action. He doth not threaten 
fearful judgments, but prayed for his enemies ; there was no stain of 
passion and revenge upon his sufferings : 1 Peter ii. 21, ' Christ also 
suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow his 
steps.' And wherein ? ver. 23, ' Who when he was reviled, reviled not 
again ; when he suffered, he threatened not ; but committed himself 
to him that judgeth righteously.' One great use of Christ's death 
was to give us lessons of meekness and patience and humble suffering. 
In this act there is an excellent lesson. Let us look upon the neces 
sary circumstances that serve to set it off (1.) For whom he prays ; 
(2.) When he prays ; (3.) Why he prays ; (4.) In what manner. 

li For whom he prayeth ; for his persecutors, men that had done 
him the greatest contempt and villany which their spite and malice 
could invent. They had mocked and buffeted him, mangled his flesh 
with scourges, led him like a public spectacle of shame through the 
streets of the city, and by importunate clamours had gotten him to the 
cross, and there placed him in the midst of thieves. They had cursed 
themselves, and yet Christ prayed for them. In their rage they had 
even appealed to and dared divine justice : ' His blood be upon us and 
on our children ; ' but Christ saith, ' Father, forgive them.' Yea, and 
which is more, they did all this to him when he came to serve the 
world in a design of the greatest love. Of all things, men cannot 
endure to have their love slighted. Holy David, when Nabal slighted 
his kindness, vowed the destruction of him and all his house ; but 
when Christ cometh with higher acts of kindness, he is despised and 
rejected of men : ' He .came unto his own, and his own received him 
not,' John i. 11. Nay, his own persecuted him, and despitefully used 
him, and yet he prayeth for them. They omitted no kind of cruelty. The 
law saith, ' Breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth,' Lev. xxiv. 
20 ; but when they cry, ' Crucify him,' he cries, ' Forgive them.' Oh, 
how may we wonder at this, who are so vindictive as we are 1 

2. When he prayeth; in the very extremity and height of his 
sufferings. Then, when we are apt to forget our friends, Christ 
remembereth his enemies ; in the very height of his sorrows he mediates 
for a pardon for them. A man would have thought that the sharp 
sense of the afflictions wherewith he was exercised should have em 
bittered his spirit; if he would make intercession for sinners in 
heaven, a man would have thought that he should not have interceded 
upon the cross. We pardon when the misery is over, and, by the 
course of affairs, that which was intended for a mischief proveth an 
advantage ; as Joseph did his brethren : Gen. 1. 20, ' As for you, ye 
thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass 
as it is this day, to save much people alive.' But Christ in the very 
act of his sufferings seeketh mercy for the instruments of his passion. 
Pendebat, et tamen petebat, saith Austin ; their rage had brought him 
to the cross, and there Christ mediateth to bring them to heaven. 

3. Who prayeth ; Jesus Christ. With honour enough to himself 
he might have done otherwise; he could have destroyed them with the 
breath of his mouth or with a beam of his glory. We forgive when 
we cannot harm. Power efferateth the mind, and makes men fierce 
and cruel. Many would be cruel enough, but they are restrained 


either by want of power or opportunity. But here neither was want 
ing : Mat. xxvi. 53, ' Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray unto my 
Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of 
angels ? ' In man's eye that would have seemed a rare vindication of 
the glory and dignity of his person ; but Christ doth not pray, Father, 
send twelve legions of angels, but, ' Father, forgive them.' One angel 
had been enough : 2 Kings xix. 35, ' The angel of the Lord went out, 
and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and 
five thousand.' It would have been more easy for Christ to come 
down from the cross than to go up thither, that was the greater 
miracle. Four nails could not have held the Lord of glory, if he had 
not been nailed and fastened through by his own love and voluntary 
condescension. But Christ would not be glorious now in acts of power, 
but of mildness and charity, and therefore it is not, Father, destroy, 
but, Father, forgive them. 

4. How he prayeth for them. He pleadeth their case, and putteth 
the fairest construction that can be made of an action so foul and 
enormous ; they are poor ignorant people, led with a blind zeal. Christ 
pitcheth upon the only circumstance that serveth to lessen the offence ; 
of all excuses this is the most plausible: 1 Tim. i. 13, 'I obtained 
mercy, because I did it ignorantly, in unbelief ; ' Acts iii. 17, ' And 
now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your 
rulers.' We are wont to strain and force actions to the most rigorous 
interpretation they are capable of. Iracundia solers estfingendi causas 
suifuroris Seneca. Anger is witty to find out causes to justify itself ; 
and if there be aught to justify censure, we omit those alleviating cir 
cumstances and necessary mitigations, whereby our asperity may be 
taken off, and actions be more mildly considered. But Christ saith, 
Poor creatures ! they act out of a blind zeal, they know not what they 
do ; Father, forgive them. 

Use 1. Information. 

1. It informeth us that the love of Christ is greater than we can 
think or understand, much less express. If we be afflicted with any 
pain in the teeth, head, or eyes, we are so overcome with the sense of it, 
that we can think of nothing else ; we neither admit the visit of friends, 
nor will we trouble ourselves with any business, our pain wholly engros- 
-seth and taketh up our minds and thoughts. But Jesus Christ, in the 
midst of his agonies and painful sufferings, remembereth not only 
friends, but enemies, and is solicitous about their salvation. Now if he 
be thus affected towards persecutors, how is he to the persecuted ? They 
cry, 'Crucify him ! crucify him ! ' but he saith, ' Father, forgive them.' 
He might justly have called for vengeance, but he prayeth for mercy ; 
nothing was so cruel but they were ready to think, and speak, and do 
against him in this blind and inconsiderate fury ; but he doth not con 
sider their injuries against himself, but their sin against God, and would 
have that pardoned ; and this at the time when they sought not pardon 
for themselves, but were venting their malice against him. Which 
surely is an encouragement to the penitent that he will not be hard to 
be entreated by them that confess and forsake their sins, and fly unto 
him for mercy. He seeks for pardon for them that sought it not, and 
considereth not so much what they deserved, as what became himself, 

VOL. xix. B 


and the riches of his grace. They curse, and he blesseth ; they 
vomit out scorns and slanders, but he poureth out prayers to God for 

2. That all sins, even the greatest, except that against the Holy 
Ghost, are pardonable. What greater sin could there be than crucify 
ing the Lord of glory ? yet upon repentance it is forgiven. That it was 
capable of pardon appeareth by this prayer of our Saviour, and that 
it was actually pardoned appeareth by Acts ii. When they were 
touched to the quick with the sense of this crime, and asked what 
they should do, Peter adviseth them to this remedy, Acts ii. 38, 'Kepent, 
and be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the 
remission of sins ; ' and they found it effectual upon the use of it : ver. 
41, ' Then they that gladly received his word were baptized, and the 
same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.' And 
that it is so in the general case, our Lord assureth us, Mat. xii. 31, 'All 
manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men, but the 
blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.' 
There is no exception of any sin, though it go so high as blasphemy, but 
the malicious blaspheming the operations of the Holy Ghost, those by 
which he testified, manifestly and sufficiently, that he was the true 
Messiah, and their imputing these operations to the devil. But of other 
sins there is no exception ; speaking against the Son of man was not 
believing him to be the Messiah ; that may be forgiven ; but blasphemy 
against the Holy Ghost is resisting his manifestations, affirming them 
to be done by the devil rather than God, and this shall never be for 
given. Well, then, let us conceive of God's mercy according to the 
infiniteness of his nature, and of Christ's merits according to the 
dignity of his person ; an ocean of water will wash one sink or filthy 
hole clean. 

3. That remission of sins is the free gift of God, and the fruit of his 
pity and grace. Christ asketh it of his Father, ' Father, forgive them : ' 
he must be sought to ; we cannot merit it of ourselves. David addres- 
seth himself to God, and useth no other plea but grace and mercy : Ps. 
Ii. 1, ' Have mercy upon me, God, according to thy loving-kindness, 
according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my 
transgressions.' Our work lieth with the Father of mercies and the 
God of all compassions, that he may be reconciled to us, and seal up 
his perfect pardon to our souls. 

4. That pardon of sins is a special benefit. Christ asked no more 
than, Father, forgive them. It is a special benefit, because it freeth 
us from the greatest evil, wrath to come : 1 Thes. i. 10, ' And it maketh 
us capable of the greatest blessing, eternal life : Titus iii. 7, ' That 
being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the 
hope of eternal life. It is purchased at the dearest rate, even the 
blood of Christ : Kom. iii. 25, ' Whom God hath set forth to be a pro 
pitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for 
the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.' 
It is brought about by the highest power, the finger of God, or his 
all-conquering Spirit, who by converting us, or giving us repentance, 
maketh us capable of pardon : Acts ii. 38, ' Repent and be baptized 
every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins ;' 


Acts v. 31, ' Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a prince 
and a saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.' 
It openeth the door to the choicest privileges, the favour of God and 
communion with him in the Spirit ; therefore David pronounce th the 
pardoned hlessed : Ps. xxxii. 1, 2, ' Blessed is he whose transgression is 
forgiven, whose sin is covered ; blessed is the man unto whom the 
Lord imputeth no iniquity/ 

5. That love of enemies, and those that have wronged us, is an high 
grace, and recommended to us by Christ's own example. Sure it is 
needful that we should learn this lesson, to be like God : Luke vi. 36, 
' Be ye merciful, as your Father also is merciful ; ' that we may obey 
God, who hath required this at our hands. Therefore we must con 
sider not what others have been to us, but what God will have us to 
be to them, meek, patient, and merciful. Again, we hereby show the 
purity and sincerity of our love ; nature will teach us to love those 
that love us, but grace only teacheth us to love enemies. This is love 
with self-denial. They who love us endear themselves to us, the other 
alienate themselves from us ; yet for God's sake we can love them, and 
seek to draw them out of the snares of the devil, that we may restore 
them to God. 

Use 2. Keproof of those that are cruel and revengeful. How differ 
ent are they from Christ who are all for unkindness and revenge, and 
solicit vengeance against God's suffering servants with eager aggrava 
tions ! Oh, how can these men look upon Christ's practice without 
shame ! How can they look upon these prodigies of love and grace, 
and not blush ! Can there be a greater crime and wrong done to any 
than was done to Christ ? And yet when he was whipped, crowned 
with thorns, pierced with nails, lifted up upon the cross, he doth not 
pray for revenge, but pardon ; he doth not cry, Justice ! justice ! but 
Mercy ! mercy ! ' Father, forgive them ; ' he doth not by captious queries 
and expostulations aggravate the offence, but he alleviates it by a sweet 
interpretation, 'They know not what they do.' It is strange to think what 
bloody principles many Christians have espoused of late ; that we rage 
against our brethren upon every offence, especially in matters of doubt 
ful apprehension, where men are more liable to mistakes. Oh ! it is 
sad, when God is but a little displeased, to help onward the affliction. I 
wonder where men learn that cruel and fell spirit into which we are com 
menced of late ; it was wont to be good doctrine, 'Be merciful, as your 
heavenly Father is merciful.' What is become of all those good lectures 
of charity, and meekness, and gentleness, which are commended to us in, 
the rule of the gospel and the example of Christ? Certainly when the 
spirit is exulcerated it argues some loss of peace with God. David was 
never more cruel than when he had violated the peace of his own con 
science : 2 Sam. xii. 31 , ' And he brought forth the people that were 
therein, and put them under saws, and under harrows of iron, and under 
axes of iron, and made them to pass through the brickkiln.' Certainly 
latters are not right between us and God when men's principles and 
practices grow bloody and cruel. 

Use 3. To exhort us to imitate Christ in being meek, patient, 
merciful, void of malice, doing good for evil, bearing the worst usage 
without studying revenge. Surely the same mind should be in us that 


was in Christ Jesus. Head and members are acted by the same soul ; 
so in the mystical body, Christ and we should be acted with the same spirit; 
the same spirit of holy love, sweetness, and forgiveness that breathed in 
Christ should breathe forth in our lives and conversations : Eph. iv. 32, 
' And be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, 
even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.' All his ordinances 
imply this. In the word we hear of Christ's meekness ; his pattern is 
set forth that we might be like-minded ; in prayer we are taught to say, 
' Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us.' 
We break our sponsion and promise solemnly given in this petition if 
we do not pardon others. In baptism, ' we put on Christ,' Rom. xiii. 
14 ; we put on his nature and qualities, that is, planting us into his 
likeness. In the Lord's supper we come to renew our union and com 
munion with him, and to liken ourselves to Christ yet more and more. 
Christ changeth the temper of those that spiritually feed upon him, as 
natural meats communicate their qualities to us. The Israelites were 
more generous because they were so long fed with manna ; Nero was more 
bloody because he sucked the milk of a cruel nurse, who was wont to 
besmear her dugs with blood ; Achilles was more valiant because he 
was nourished with the marrow of lions. Men's dispositions are much 
according to their food ; certainly those that eat the Lamb should not 
be wolves, but meek as Christ was, and ready to forgive, and every way 
transcribe their master's pattern. See how Stephen imitates his 
master when he comes to die. First he prayeth for himself : Acts vii. 
59, ' Lord Jesus, receive my spirit ; ' as Christ did, Luke xxiii. 46, 
' Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit ; ' and then he intercedeth 
for his enemies : Acts vii. 60, ' Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.' 
Here is not only an example of faith ; he committed his soul to Christ, 
but of charity, he deprecateth revenge from his enemies. Moses and 
other holy ones of God have done so. Moses : Num. xii. 13, ' Heal her 
now, Lord, I beseech thee ; ' when his sister Miriam was smitten with 
a leprosy for doing him wrong. Aaron, when he was despitefully used, 
and his calling maligned : Num. xvi. 47, 48, ' He ran into the midst of 
the people, and behold the plague was begun among the people ; and 
he put on incense, and made an atonement for the people ; and he stood 
between the dead and the living, and the plague was stayed.' David 
fasted for his enemies when they were sick : Ps. xxxv. 13, ' But as for 
me, when they were sick my clothing was sackcloth, I humbled my 
soul with fasting.' We fast against them often, but seldom fast for 
them. So Paul : 1 Cor. iv. 12, 13, ' Being reviled, we bless ; being 
persecuted, we suffer it; being defamed, we entreat.' When we are 
looked upon and treated as evil-doers, we should bear it patiently, not 
rage against instruments, but pray the Lord to open their eyes, that 
they may see the greatness of their sin, in hating and opposing the godly. 
You should not think the example of Christ an act beyond imitation. 
You see the holy men of God have attained a great measure of self- 
denial ; do you go and do likewise. 

1. In private cases. A man shall meet with offences in the world. 
All men have not faith; some are absurd and injurious. What a 
comfort would a man have in his spirit when he can pity their blind 
ness and pardon their malice. They took away the life of Christ, and 


yet he saith, 'Father, forgive them ;' he was slain by them, and yet 
he prayeth for them. Certainly it is not comely for us to retaliate, to 
hate, curse, revile, and pursue injury with injury. They that revenge 
take an example from their enemies, and do them this honour to make 
them their own pattern ; and what comfort can any have to make a 
wicked man his precedent ! Besides, to revenge is to rush into God's 
tribunal, and to take his work out of his hands: Prov. xxiv. 29, 
' Say not, I will do to him as he hath to me ; I will render to the 
man according to his work.' Solomon putteth it into such words as 
are proper to God, that we may be sensible of the pride and usurpation 
that is in revenge: and, Rom. xii. 19, 'Dearly beloved, avenge not 
yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath ; for it is written, Vengeance 
is mine ; I will repay, saith the Lord.' We take upon us to be 
rewarders when at least we should leave the case to God. You may 
put it into the hands of the righteous judge: 1 Peter ii. 23, ' When, 
he was reviled, he reviled not again ; when he suffered, he threatened 
not, but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.' Besides, 
it will much interrupt your prayers. Our revengeful dispositions must 
needs weaken our confidence, for we muse of others as we use ourselves. 
How can you say, ' Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that 
trespass against us,' when we are like vessels broken as soon as touched, 
and are furious and raging upon every wrong, and the least offence done 
to us ? Alas ! their offences to us are nothing like ours to God, either 
for number or weight. Not for number ; no man can wrong us so 
much as we daily trespass against God. How many neglects and 
affronts doth mercy put up at our hands every day ! Luke xvii. 4, ' If 
he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a 
day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.' 
Seventy times seven is a number too little for the transgressions and 
offences of one day, and yet we grow peevish and passionate upon 
every slight fault or wrong done to us. So for the weight ; the 
naughty servant would not forgive a hundred pence when his master 
forgave him ten thousand talents, Mat. xviii. 24, compared with the 28th. 
verse. There is a great difference between pence and talents ; the Roman 
penny was sevenpence halfpenny, and their talent was one hundred and 
eighty-seven pounds ten shillings. Their offences cannot be so heinous 
as ours, because of our great obligations to God, and the dignity of his 
essence ; theirs are against dust and ashes, their guilty fellow-creatures ; 
ours are against the great God. It is proper to Christians, that know such 
an infinite pardoning mercy, to do something above heathens and 
publicans : Mat. v. 46, ' If ye love them which love you, what reward 
have ye? do not even the publicans so?' Christianity should raise 
the affections to a greater self-denial, so that we are to love our very 
enemies. Besides all this, consider the benefit of a meek patience. 
Revenge is sweet, but you will find more pleasure in meekness. All 
vexations disturb the peace and quiet of the soul, and I cannot do my 
enemy a greater pleasure than to let him take away my contentment, 
and, when I am wronged by others, to wrong myself. Will you hurt 
yourself by passion and sin because others hurt you by slanders and 
persecutions ? He that will not forgive hurts himself more than, he 
that doeth the wrong ; for the injury offered reacheth but to the name, 


body, or goods, but the desire of revenge wounds the conscience, and 
provokes God to wrath, and shuts the gate of his mercy against us. 
The great motive that excites the devil to molest and disturb us by his 
instruments is not to hurt your bodies, but to tempt your souls to 
impatience and revenge, and to draw you to other sins ; and therefore 
you do not conquer it as a temptation till you avoid the sin. Job was 
robbed and plundered, but in all this Job sinned not ; to come off with 
a wounded conscience, this is to be foiled indeed. Besides, conscience 
will take hold of all revengeful acts. David's heart smote him when he 
cut off the lap of Saul's garment. Besides, consider the gain of others. 
Saul wept when he saw David's tenderness: 1 Sam. xxiv. 16, 'And it 
came to pass, when David had made an end of speaking these words 
unto Saul, that Saul said, Is this thy voice, my son David ? And 
Saul lift up his voice and wept.' Tenderness is expressed by heaping 
up coals upon your enemy's head : Prov. xxv. 21, 22, ' If thine enemy 
be hungry, give him bread to eat ; and if he be thirsty, give him water 
to drink; for thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head.' You may make 
him pliable to your purpose, as lead or wax melted by fire. Such 
charity doth often procure servants to God and friends to ourselves. 
It is indeed said there, ' and the Lord shall reward thee.' There 
are indeed some sour and crabbed pieces that will never be smoother, 
but if distorted and depraved natures are not won, God will reward thee. 
Endeavours of reconciliation are not lost with God ; though you get 
nothing but scorn and contempt, you may comfort yourselves with your 
;sincerity, and God will not be wanting. Besides all this, consider the 
"honour of being above an injury : Prov. xix. 11, ' The discretion of a 
man deferreth his anger, and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.' 
As it is the glory of God to pardon sin ; we think it a disgrace ; but 
the Holy Ghost tells us it is the glory of a man. It is the devil's 
design to suffer the world to miscall grace ; meekness is sheepishness, 
.and patience is a kind of weakness and servility ; an argument ignavi 
ingenii, of a slow dull temper, that hath no sense of things ; as astro 
nomers call glorious stars dogs and bears and dragons' tails. Oh, 
consider this is an height proper to Christianity ! nature could not reach 
it ; there is no greater servility than to be a slave to one's passions : 
Ezek. xvi. 30, ' How weak is thy heart, saith the Lord, since thou doest 
all these things, the work of an imperious whorish woman ? ' There 
are no spirits so feeble as those that are swayed by the ruffle of their 
own passions. 

2. In public cases. In these times of mutual provocation we are 
apt to return evil for evil and word for word, and to curse and pray 
against one another ; but we should labour to return good for evil, for 
injury doth not justify revenge. Keligious quarrels are usually carried 
on with great hatred and animosity, for then religion feedeth the excess 
of passion, and instead of being a judge, becometh a party, and that which 
should be a restraint proveth fuel. The quarrel between Christ and 
his persecutors was a quarrel of religion, and yet he prays, ' Father, 
forgive them ; ' and if Christ did thus, why should not Christians ? 
Oh ! consider it (1.) As to open enemies ; (2.) As to the undue 
carriage of brethren. 

[1.] As to open enemies. Christ saith, Mat. v. 44, 'Love your 


enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and 
pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you.' Lest we 
should excuse ourselves by a colour and show of religion, and so give 
indulgence to the exorbitancy of our passions, Christ names 'persecutors,' 
that are not only our enemies, but God's enemies ; you are to pray for 
them, and wish them conviction of sin and reformation. And you see 
how Christ practiseth his own doctrine, and so taught us not only 
living, but dying. These were carried on by a blind zeal ; alas ! that 
they have no more light nor better principles. I doubt in all our divi 
sions we have not plied this way of love ; if we did, they would be 
goon cured and healed. We pray one against another, and seek each 
other's ruin and destruction, but when have we commended our enemies 
to God's grace and pity ? And after all, we are apt to baptize our 
sufferings, which have been the effects of our pride and passion, with 
the glorious name of persecution, and that exasperateth our spirits, and 
we think it is but a duty to call for fire from heaven. We know not 
what manner of spirits we are of. An angry zeal hath the less of God 
in it, because it is so hastily kindled and so hardly suppressed. 

[2.] As to undue carriage of brethren : James v. 10, ' Grudge not 
one against another, brethren ; ' prj <rrei>aeTe, groan not. When they 
should commend each other to the grace of God, they groan one against 
another, We should willingly bury the remembrance of their injuries. 
There cannot be unity, sympathy, brotherly love amongst the Lord's 
people, unless there be a heart to pity the infirmities of one another, 
and a proneness of spirit to do good contrary to what they deserve at 
our hands. 

Quest. But is it not lawful to pray for revenge ? Zechariah, when 
he was stoned between the temple and the altar, said, ' The Lord look 
upon it and require it/ 2 Chron. xxiv. 22 ; and David in the psalms 
prays that God would not pardon his enemies. 

Ans. We cannot always imitate what the prophet did, who could 
know by special revelation who had sinned unto death, and therefore 
cannot use these imprecations unless conditionally. Their curses were 
predictions, and uttered by the spirit of prophecy, not by any private 
spirit. Meek and humble addresses to God, and wrestling for their 
good, suit better with us and the example of Jesus Christ : 1 Peter 
iii. 9, ' Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing, but contrariwise 
blessing, knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a 
blessing.' It is more suitable to Christianity to wish good to them that 
curse and injure you. If you will not imitate Christ, you are none of his 
disciples, nor will he be your Saviour, nor must you think to live and 
reign with him in heaven. You must overcome yourself, and corrupt 
nature, that thirsteth after revenge : Prov. xvi. 32, ' He that is slow to 
anger is better than the mighty, and he that ruleth his spirit than he 
that taketh a city.' Overcome and shame the party that doeth the 
wrong : 1 Sam. xxiv. 17, ' And he said to David, Thou art more 
righteous than I, for thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I have 
rewarded thee evil.' Look upon them as objects of pity and compas 
sion rather than of passion and anger: Eph. i. 32, 'Be ye kind one 
to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for 
Christ's sake hath forgiven you.' Consider what God hath done to 
you that you may do the same to them. 


Secondly, The next consideration of this prayer of Christ is as a 
taste and pledge of his mediation and intercession. So it is prophesied, 
Isa. liii. 12, ' He was numbered with the transgressors, and he bare the 
ein of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.' Christ was 
placed in the midst of thieves, as the first clause is explained, Mark 
xv. 28 ; and he made intercession, that is, prayed for his persecutors. 
The whole chapter is a prophetical narration of the acts and sorrows 
of Christ upon the cross. In this public sense and consideration, let 
us see what may be gathered out of the clause, ' Father, forgive them.' 

1. It is an instance of Christ's love and bowels to sinners ; he loved 
mankind so well that he prayed for them that crucified him. Look on the 
Lord Jesus as praying and dying for enemies, and improve it as a ground 
of confidence. Upon the cross he would give us an instance of his 
efficacy in converting the thief, and of his affection in praying for his 
persecutors. We were as great enemies to Christ, and as deep in the 
guilt of his passion, as they : Horn. v. 10, ' When we were enemies, we 
were reconciled to God by the death of his Son.' The enemies of his 
kingdom are every way as bad as the enemies of his person. If Christ 
did not say, ' Father, forgive/ what would become of us ? You will 
say, We are Christians ; but scandalous sinners renew his sufferings, 
and ' put him to an open shame,' Heb. vi. 6. Oh, let us adore God 
for these experiences ! It is a mighty ground of hope that Christ hath 
put in for a pardon ; he would not die till he had expressed his recon 
ciliation with his enemies. 

2. See what is the voice and merit of his sufferings, ' Father, forgive 
them.' This is the speech that Christ uttered when he was laid on 
the cross. The apostle compareth Christ's blood and the blood of 
Abel : Heb. xii. 24, ' And to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh, 
better things than the blood of Abel.' Abel's blood was clam 
orous in the ears of God : Gen. iv. 10, ' The voice of thy brother's 
blood crieth to me from the ground ; ' and so in the conscience of Cain 
it crieth, Avenge I avenge me ! Christ's blood hath another voice, it 
speaketh to God to pacify his wrath, and to pardon us, if penitent and 
believing sinners ; it speaketh to conscience to be quiet, God hath 
found out a ransom. The blood of Christ may speak against us as 
well as against the Jews, for by our sins we made Christ to die. Oh, 
be not quiet till it speak peace in your consciences. Christ's blood was 
spilt in malice, as Abel's was, and might have cried for vengeance on 
the actors, who were not only the Jews, but we, and it yet speaketh as 
Abel's did : Heb. xi. 4, ' By it he, being dead, yet speaketh.' It is a 
speaking blood, and is yet speaking. The speaking of the blood is 
interpreted according to the words in their mouth wherewith! they died : 
Mat. xxiii. 35, ' That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed 
upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of 
Zecharias the son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the porch and 
the altar.' Our Lord gathers it from Zecharias' saying, ' The Lord 
look upon it and require it,' 2 Chron. xxiv. 22. So the words of Christ 
interpret his death. 

3. In the mediatory consideration it hinteth the coupling of his 
intercession with his satisfaction.. On the cross, there he dieth and 
there he prayeth ; he was both priest and sacrifice. The high priest 
under the law was not only to slay the sacrifice, but to intercede for the 


people ; first the beast was slain without the camp, and then the blood 
was carried into the holy of holies, and there prayer was made with 
incense ; but before that, Aaron, when he was going into the holy 
place before the Lord, was to cause the sound of his golden bells to be 
heard under pain of death, Exod. xxviii. 35. To this I parallel this action 
of Christ upon the cross. This prayer was as the sound of the golden 
bells ; he would make his voice to be heard by prayer, and then he goes 
into the holy of holies ; the Lord Jesus Christ, when he shed his blood 
before the tribunal of God, he sendeth forth a prayer. God would 
have our salvation carried on in a way of mercy and justice, and Christ 
was to mingle entreaty with satisfaction ; as, Lev. xvi. 14, the high 
priest was to bring the blood within the veil, and to sprinkle it upon 
the mercy-seat. He must satisfy justice and make an address to mercy, 
that we that have sinned with both hands may take hold of God with 
both hands : Bom. iii. 24, ' Being justified freely by his grace, through 
the redemption that is in Jesus Christ ;' it is ' freely/ and yet ' through 
the redemption that is in Jesus Christ ; ' these two sweetly accord. 

4. This is a pledge of his constant intercession in heaven. The 
ceremonies of the old law were not only types of Christ, but his visible 
actions were a kind of types and pledges of his spiritual actions, 
1 John ii. 1, ' If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, 
Jesus Christ the righteous.' He that could pray for enemies will pray 
for friends, and he that got our pardon by his intercession will promote 
our salvation. Certainly Christ's glorified soul loseth no affection ; he 
is as earnest with the Father for his friends as ever he was upon the 
cross for his persecutors : 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.' 
Christ doth appear as our advocate in court, not only in our name, but 
in our stead. 

5. It shows the nature of his intercession. It not only implies the 
everlastingness of his merit, that his blood doth continue to deserve 
such things at the hands of God as we stand in need of, but it is a 
continual representation of his merit ; it is not a metaphor, but a 
solemn act of his priesthood. Again, it is not by verbal expressions, 
such as he used hereupon earth, ' Father, forgive them ; ' his became 
the state of his humiliation ; but now he intercedes non voce, sed 
miseratione, not by voice, but by pity. What is it then ? Partly his 
appearing in heaven as God in our nature : Heb. ix. 24, ' Christ is not 
entered into the holy places made with hands,' &c., ' but into heaven 
itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.' He is said to 
appear before God for us, as the high priest came and presented him 
self before God with the names of the twelve tribes engraven on his 
breastplate. Partly in his expressing an actual willingness, or the 
desires of his holy soul concerning our salvation : John xvii. 24, ' Father, 
I will that those whom thou hast given me may be with me where I 
am;' and so he appears in our names, as well as in our nature. 
Partly by some acts of adoration of the sovereign majesty of God ; some 
address to God there is : John xiv. 16, ' I will pray the Father, and he 
shall give you another comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.' 
He doth not only ask the enlargement of his own kingdom : Ps. ii. 8, 


'Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and 
the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession ; ' but the pardon, 
comfort, peace, and supply of particular persons : 1 John ii. 1, ' If any 
man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the 
righteous.' Partly in his presenting our prayers and supplications : 
Kev. viii. 3, ' And another angel came and stood at the altar, having 
a golden censer ; and there was given unto him much incense, that he 
should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar 
which was before the throne ; ' and therefore he is called ' a minister of 
the sanctuary,' Heb. viii. 2. This is the nature of Christ's intercession. 

6. The success of Christ's intercession, ' Father, forgive them.' Was 
he heard in this ? Yes ; this prayer converts the centurion, and those, 
Acts ii. 41, above 'three thousand,' and presently after five thousand 
more, Acts iv. 4. In the compass of a few days above eight thousand 
of his enemies were converted. Christ is good at interceding ; his 
prayers are always heard : John xi. 42, ' I knew that thou hearest me 
always.' And therefore let us seek no other mediator ; God cannot 
deny his own Son. Jesus Christ the righteous intercedes for us ; let 
us put all our requests into his hands. 

II. I come now to the argument used, ' They know not what they do.' 
But you will say, Christ elsewhere complaineth of his enemies, that they 
know him, and refused him out of malice : John xv. 24, ' Now they have 
both seen and hated both me and my Father ; ' and therefore he saitli, 
they had no cloak for their sin, but were utterly without excuse, for they 
could not plead ignorance. 

Ans. 1. This is not spoken of all, but of some only. The greatest 
part were moved with the command, authority, and persuasion of the 
priests, or blinded with a false zeal to preserve their old religion, and so 
thought they did God service in crucifying Christ. Those that sinned 
out of malice, Christ had told them their doom before : Mat. xii. 32, 
' Whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven 
him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come/ 

2. They knew him to be a just man, though they knew him not to 
be the Lord of glory, and that he did many signs which the prophets 
foretold should be done by the Messias ; and therefore at least that he 
was a great prophet, and as such they should have reverenced and 
received him, so that they had the less cloak for their sin. 

3. Christ excused not a toto, but a tanto, not altogether, but only 
showeth that they were capable of pardon because of their ignorance. 
Christ excuseth the sin of his enemies in that manner that he could 
excuse them ; he could not altogether excuse the injustice of Pilate, nor 
the cruelty of the soldiers, nor the envy of the chief priests, nor the folly 
and unthankfulness of the people, nor the perjury of the false witnesses ; 
all that he could plead was some ignorance of the dignity of his person: 
1 Cor. ii. 8, ' Which none of the princes of this world knew, for had they 
known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.' The chief 
men of the Jews did not understand the mystery of redemption, and 
many were ignorant, not only of the divinity of Christ, but his innocency 
also : ' They know not what they do.' 

Doct. There is a difference between sinners, and it is a more danger 
ous thing to sin against knowledge than out of ignorance. 


1. Some sin wittingly and wilfully, as Cain, Saul, Judas, &c., who 
against the apparent light of their consciences venture upon the foulest 

2. Others sin out of ignorance ; either they do not certainly know what 
they do to be sin, or do not expressly consider it. So Paul in persecut 
ing the church of God : 1 Tim. i. 13, ' Who was before a persecutor, 
and a blasphemer, and injurious ; but I obtained mercy, because I did 
it ignorantly, in unbelief.' 

3. Some sin knowingly indeed, but out of infirmity, either arising 
from some great fear of danger and present death, as Peter denied his 
master ; it is done with a troubled mind : these may be recovered to 
God, but with difficulty. Or else they are hurried to evil by the baits 
of the flesh, and pleasing temptations : James i. 12, ' Every man is 
tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed.' Now 
their case cannot easily be spoken to, for it needs much discussion. It 
may be by surprisal, and that for one act, and none of the grossest : Gal. 
vi. 1, ' Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye that are spiritual 
restore such an one in the spirit of meekness.' The devil many times 
leaveth no time for deliberation, and bringeth his tempting baits not to 
the fore-door of reason, but to the back-door of sensual appetite, which 
being in a rage, blindeth the mind. But if they sin with a strong will, 
their case is more dangerous ; especially if they live and lie in sin after 
many experiences of the evil of it, their condition is deplorable. 

This foundation being laid, let us see how far ignorance excuseth 
from sin. 

[1.] Whatever sin we commit, it is sin, and of itself deserveth dam 
nation. Sin is not determined to be sin by its being voluntary or 
involuntary, but by its contrariety to the law of God : 1 John iii. 4, 
' Sin is the transgression of the law.' Therefore the causal particle 
for in the text doth not show the reason of pardon, but the capable- 
ness of pardon. So Paul's ignorance was not the cause of God's mercy, 
for sin cannot be the cause of mercy, but only the occasion of it. The 
nature of sin is not determined by the voluntariness of it, but only the 
degree of it. 

[2.] Ignorance is either antecedent, concomitant, or consequent. 

(1.) Antecedent, going before the act, as in the generality of the 
Jews : Acts iii. 17, 'And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance 
ye did it, as did also your rulers.' Out of ignorance and blind zeal 
they crucified him whom God did make both Lord and Christ. 

(2.) Concomitant. A man hath knowledge, but useth it not for the 
present. It is one thing to sin with knowledge, and another thing to 
sin against knowledge ; he that hath knowledge, but for the present 
may be blinded by his lusts and carnal affections, sinneth not against 
knowledge directly, but collaterally only, as he that stealeth or com- 
mitteth adultery doth not this for sin's sake (for none can will evil as 
evil), but he only attendeth to the profit and pleasure that is in adultery 
and theft, but shutteth the eyes of his mind against the filthiness or 
injustice that is in it ; and therefore he is like a man that leapeth from 
an high place into the water, who first shutteth his eyes, and then 
casts himself into the flood or stream. 

(3.) Consequent ignorance is after the sin or act of the will, either 


from the depraved disposition of the will : John iii. 20, ' For every 
one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest 
his deeds should be reproved;' or from the just judgment of God: 
John ix. 39, ' For judgment I am come into the world, that they 
which see not might see, and that they which see might be made 
blind.' God inflicts a judicial blindness on men that will not obey 
the truth. 

[3.] Ignorance is either invincible or vincible. 

(1.) Invincible ignorance is when there is not sufficient revelation, 
when it is a thing we should know, but God hath not brought light 
among us. Thus the heathens are punished for not glorifying God, 
whom they knew by the light of nature : Rom. i. 21, ' When they 
knew God, they glorified him not as God ; ' not because they believed 
not in Christ, for he was not revealed unto them ; but Christians shall 
be punished for not obeying the gospel : 2 Thes. i. 8, ' In flaming fire, 
taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the 
gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.' 

(2.) Vincible ignorance is when there are plentiful means and great 
helps to overcome it ; then is our ignorance more culpable. This ia 
seen when either ignorance is voluntary and pertinacious, or when 
there is gross negligence. When it is voluntary : 2 Peter iii. 5, ' For 
this they are willingly ignorant of.' That they may sin more freely 
and securely, they will not know what may disturb or trouble their 
sleep in sin : Job xxi. 14, ' Therefore they say unto God, Depart from 
us, for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways.' The psalmist says 
of them, Ps. xcv. 10, 'It is a people that do err in their hearts; 
they have not known my ways.' They err in their hearts as well as 
in their minds ; when they do not desire to know what they should 
know, this ignorance is voluntary. Or else it is bewrayed by gross 
negligence, when a man doeth a thing that, if he were not grossly 
negligent, he might know to be sin : Eph. iii. 15-17, ' See then that 
ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise ; redeeming the time, 
because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but under 
standing what the will of the Lord is.' A Christian is bound to use 
all holy means to know all things that belong to his duty, and must 
bestow much time and diligence upon it. If he is grossly ignorant, it 
is a sign he hath a mind to put a cheat upon his soul. 

Use. Let us beware of sin against knowledge ; these sins, of all 
others, are the most dangerous, whether they be sins of omission ; to 
omit duties that we know to be duties, this is very dangerous : James 
iv. 17, ' Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, 
to him it is sin ; ' or sins of commission, to commit sins that we know 
to be sins : Rom. ii. 21, 22, ' Thou therefore which teachest another, 
teachest thou not thyself? Thou that preachest a man should not 
steal, dost thou steal ? Thou that sayest a man should not commit 
adultery, dost thou commit adultery ? Thou that abhorrest idols, dost 
thou commit sacrilege ? ' To commit sins that we know to be sins is 
to involve ourselves in wrath and vengeance. Have a care then of 
these sins ; if you are guilty of them, it cannot be pleaded for you, 
' Father, forgive them ; they know not what they do.' 


He said, It is finished; and he bowed his head, and gave up the 
ghost. JOHN xix. 30. 

THIS is one of the seven words which Christ uttered upon the cross, 
the last save one ; for before his bowing of the head, and giving up 
the ghost, those words must come in which are mentioned Luke xxiii. 
46, ' Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit ; and having said 
thus, he gave up the ghost.' 

To make way for these words, we need go no further back than the 
28th verse. It is said there, ' After this Jesus, knowing that all 
things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, 
said, I thirst ; ' where we may observe 

1. The exact knowledge which Christ had of all his sufferings : 
' He knew that all things were accomplished ; ' namely, all the 
preparative sufferings which were to usher in his death. All these 
bitter sorrows were numbered out to him by the divine decrees, and 
pre-signified in the prophecies ; Jesus knew all the exact tale and 
account of them ; a circumstance that doth much commend his love 
to us. Christ knew how dear the bargain of souls would be to him, 
and yet he would show his obedience to the Father and his love to 
mankind. He long since sat down and counted the charges, and 
yet he came to do his Father's will. When a business proveth 
hazardous and inconvenient, we are apt to say, If I had known it 
would have cost me so much, I should never have undertaken it. 
Christ went not to the cross blindfold ; he knew the work of our 
redemption would be troublesome and painful ; that he was to give 
his back to the smiters, and his cheeks to the nippers ; that he was to 
be hurried from the garden to the courts of men, from the courts of 
men to the cross, and there to endure acute pains and torments : Jesus 
knew that all these things were to be fulfilled. 

2. Observe, it is said he knew 'they were accomplished/ Christ 
had a lively feeling of every part of his sorrows, and his senses re 
mained in full vigour to the last, and without any stupefaction. He 
knew what hour the clock of the divine decree would next strike, or 
what was the next circumstance whereby he was to discover himself to 
be the true Messiah. David saith, 'Died Abner as a fool dieth?' 
2 Sam. iii. 32. We may say so, Died the Lord Jesus as a fool dieth, 
in a stupid senseless way, or as one merely passive ? Extremity of 
pain had now surprised the thieves which were crucified with him ; we 


hear no more of them ; but Christ's reason and senses are still exer 
cised, and his sorrows made more active by his own apprehension. 

3. Observe, ' That the scriptures might be fulfilled, he said, I thirst.' 
By fulfilling another prophecy God discovereth another note whereby 
the Messiah might be known. All the passages of Christ's death were 
appointed with infinite wisdom and love ; either they were such as 
were necessary parts of redemption, or some indications whereby the 
Messiah fore-prophesied of might be discovered. Here is another 
prophecy fulfilled in Christ's thirst. The prophecies alluded to are 
two : one is Ps. xxii. 15, ' My strength is dried up like a potsherd, 
and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws ; thou hast brought me to the 
dust of death.' The other prophecy hinteth the act of the Jewish 
malice : Ps. Ixix. 21, ' They gave me also gall for my meat, and in my 
thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.' Here was light enough, or 
conviction sufficient for any but those who resolved to shut their eyes. 

4. He said, ' I thirst.' He had spent much time in watching, lost 
much blood, his body was tortured with extreme pain, and his soul 
scorched with a sense of God's wrath ; and therefore well might he cry 
out, ' I thirst.' It is notable that Christ would not declare his thirst 
till he knew that all things were accomplished; that is, every sad 
accident except his death. Certainly if we consider the agonies of the 
garden, where he excerned blood instead of sweat, his scourging, his 
being buffeted with the soldiers, his bearing the cross, all this might 
make him thirst before ; but when wine mingled with myrrh, a stupe 
fying potion, was tendered to him before, he refused it : Mark xv. 23, 
' And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh, but he re 
ceived it not.' But now, when all was accomplished, he saith, ' I 
thirst/ He would take no natural refreshment till he had borne all 
our griefs and sorrows, and every sad passage by which he might 
promote our comfort was accomplished. He was so mindful of us 
that he forgot himself. He saith that it was meat to him to do his 
Father's will : John iv. 34, ' My meat is to do the will of him that sent 
me, and to finish his work.' Though the cross-work was sad work, 
yet that was as drink to Christ. After he had sweltered under the 
torment of so many hours' drouth, he crieth out, ' I thirst.' Christ 
would make his sufferings as full of merit as" possibly he could, and 
therefore would not receive the least draught of comfort till he had 
paid our whole debt. We ' do evil with both hands earnestly,' Micah 
vii. 3, and fill our actions with as much disobedience and rebellion as 
we can possibly put into them : ' Behold thou hast spoken, and done 
evil things as thou couldst/ Jer. iii. 5. Sin hath not been cheap to us; 
we have bought the pleasure of it at a dear rate, with much loss and 
self-denial ; and therefore Christ's sufferings were made as high and 
extreme as possibly they could be. 

Let us now see what they did to Christ when he had declared the 
extremity of his thirst : ' Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar, 
and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and 
put it to his mouth,' ver. 29. This fact of theirs is diversely construed ; 
some say, they did it out of kindness, and that it was usual to provide 
a vessel of vinegar, and to have it at hand under the cross of those 
that were executed ; this is probable : others think it an act of spite 


and malice, partly because it is made an exaggeration of calamity : Ps. 
Ixix. 21, 'In my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink ; ' and partly 
because their courtesy to the dying was to give wine and myrrh, and 
therefore it is said : Prov. xxxi. 6, ' It is not for kings to drink wine, 
nor for princes strong drink ; ' and ver. 6, ' Give strong drink unto 
him that is ready to perish, and wine to those that be of an heavy 
heart ; ' that is to say, it is not for the judge, but the condemned ; and 
they mingled it with myrrh and hot spices, partly to attenuate the 
blood, and so to despatch them the sooner, and partly to cause giddi 
ness, that their senses might be the sooner gone. But now, instead of 
wine and myrrh they gave Christ vinegar and gall to increase his 
misery ; and they prepared it in readiness in case he called for the 
usual refreshment. And the conjecture of the Carthusian is not amiss, 
who imputeth it to the malice of the soldiers to change the wine pre 
pared by the charitable women into vinegar, for the greater spite and 
mockage. And it is said, ' They rilled a spunge with vinegar, and 
put it upon hyssop.' The other evangelists say, ' They put it upon a 
reed ; ' and it is hard to conceive then how they could put it upon hyssop. 
It is probable that hyssop in these countries was tall, as mustard-seed 
is said to grow up into a tree ; and Pliny saith they made staves of 
mallows in Arabia, which with us is but a slender herb ; but hyssop 
is put for a shrub. Solomon wrote of all herbs, from the cedar to 
the hyssop, but that is wall-hyssop, which is dwarfish and tender, as 
ours is. 

Observe, when Christ stood in our stead, no comfort was granted to 
him but what was devised to augment his grief. When his strength was 
dried up like a potsherd, and his tongue cleaved to his jaws, ' They 
gave him vinegar to drink,' when he was providing for us a cup of 
blessings, a torrent and a river of pleasure, of which we might drink : 
ver. 30, ' When he had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished ; 
and he bowed the head, and gave up the ghost.' When he had 
received it, that is, tasted it, for they put it into his mouth with a 
spunge on the top of a reed, then he said, ' It is finished ; ' that is, as 
much as was necessary for his humiliation, God's glory, and man's 
salvation ; as much as was decreed, as much as was foretold. And he 
saith, ' It is finished,' because he was now upon the last work, death, 
which was coming upon him ; and therefore foldeth it in the expres 
sion with what is past, ' It is finished,' because the last act was at hand : 
Mat. xxvi. 28, ' This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed ;' 
that is, which is about to be shed : John xvii. 4, ' I have finished the 
work thou gavest me to do.' All the sufferings were now completed 
it death, which he was to suffer for our sins. 

Doct. Christ closed not his sufferings till all was finished which he 
to do for us. 

1. In what sense it is said, ' It is finished.' 

2. The evidences and reasons thereof. 

3. What comfort this is to the faithful. 

I. la what sense it is said, ' It is finished.' 

1. All the scripture prophecies which spake of Christ's death and 
sufferings were now fulfilled and accomplished ; as that he should 
make his entrance into Jerusalem upon an ass in all humility ; this 


was prophesied of the Messiah : Zech. ix. 9, ' Behold thy king cometli 
unto thee ; he is just, and having salvation ; lowly, and riding upon 
an ass, and upon a colt, the foal of an ass ; ' and fulfilled by Christ, 
Mat. xxi. 4, 5, ' All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was 
spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold 
the king cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt, 
the foal of an ass.' That he should be betrayed by one of his familiars, 
his own disciple : Ps. Iv. 12, 13, ' It was not an enemy that reproached 
me ; then I could have borne it : neither was it he that hated me that 
did magnify himself against me : but it was thou, a man, mine equal, 
my guide, and my acquaintance/ So Ps. xli. 9, 'Yea, mine own 
familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath 
lift up his head against me ; ' which wag fulfilled, Mat. xxvi. 23, 
' He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, he shall betray me ; ' 
and accordingly Judas came to attack him, Mat. xxvi. 47. That he 
should be sold for thirty pieces of silver : Zech. xi. 12, ' So they weighed 
for my price thirty pieces of silver.' Fulfilled, Mat. xxvi. 15. That 
with these thirty pieces of silver there should be bought afterwards a 
field of potsherds : Zech. xi. 13, ' And the Lord said unto me, Cast it 
unto the potter : and I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them 
to the potter in the house of the Lord.' Fulfilled, Mat. xxvii. 7, ' And 
they took counsel, and bought with them the potter's field, to bury 
strangers in/ That being apprehended, he should be most barbarously 
entreated by the Jews, and be beaten' and buffeted, and his face defiled 
with spitting, according to that of Isaiah the prophet : Isa. 1. 6, ' I gave 
my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the 
hair; I hid not my face from shame and spitting/ Fulfilled, Mat. 
xxvi. 67, ' Then did they spit in his face, and buffet him, and others 
smote him with the palms of their hands/ That they would wound, 
rend, and tear his body with scourges before they put him to death : 
Isa. liii. 5, ' He was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for 
our iniquities.; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with 
his stripes we are healed/ Fulfilled, Mat! xxvii. 26, ' When he had 
scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified/ And they did at 
length put him to death according to the prophecy : ' The Messiah was 
to be cut off, but not for himself,' Dan. ix. 26. That the death that he 
should die was the death of the cross, unto which he was nailed hand 
and foot according to that of David : Ps. xxii. 16, ' They pierced my 
hands and my feet ; ' and that of Zech. xii. 10, ' They shall look upon 
me whom they have pierced/ Fulfilled, Luke xxiii. 33, ' And when 
they were come to Mount Calvary, there they crucified him/ That he 
was crucified between two malefactors, one on the right hand and the 
other on the left, according to that of Isa. liii. 12, ' He was numbered 
with the transgressors ; ' Luke xxii. 37, ' For I say unto you, that this 
which is written must yet be accomplished in me ; And he was 
reckoned among transgressors, for the things concerning me have an 
end/ He was to pray for his enemies and persecutors, according to 
that of Isa. liii. 12, ' He made intercession for the transgressors ; ' and 
this was fulfilled in that prayer, Luke xxiii. 24, ' Then said Jesus, 
Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do/ So Ps. Ixix. 
21, ' In my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink/ Fulfilled as before. 


That they should divide his apparel, and cast lots for his upper garment : 
Ps. xxii. 18, ' They part ray garment among them, and cast lots upon 
my vesture.' Fulfilled, Mat. xxvii. 35, ' And they crucified him, and 
parted his garments, casting lots.' Well, then, all these particulars 
foretold of the Messiah were exactly fulfilled in our Saviour, and so 
conduce to settle our hearts in helieving his person and office. Well, 
then, might he say now, ' It is finished.' 

2. That the substance of the types were accomplished in him, as that 
of the brazen serpent, the paschal lamb, the daily and yearly sacrifices, 
the offering of Isaac ; all which prefigured that Christ should die for 
the sins of the world. As Abraham offered his only son Isaac to God 
as a proof and demonstration of his faith and obedience : ' Now I know 
that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only 
son, from me,' Gen. xxii. 12 ; so God gave his Son as a proof and 
demonstration of his love : 1 John iv. 10, ' Herein is love, not that we 
loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be a propitiation 
for our sins.' Isaac carried the wood to the sacrifice of himself, so did 
Christ his cross. The lifting up of the brazen serpent in the wilderness, 
that whosoever looked upon it should be healed : Num. xxi. 9, ' And 
Moses made a serpent, and put it upon a pole ; and it came to pass 
that if any serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of 
brass, he lived ; ' this figured Christ lifted up upon the cross, that all 
those bitten by the old serpent might by looking be cured : John iii. 
14, 15, ' And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so 
must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in him 
should not perish, but have eternal life.' The paschal lamb was slain 
just at the time when Christ died, and his flesh eaten, not a bone broken, 
John xix. 33 ; his blood sprinkled on the door-posts ; all which were 
accomplished in Christ, who is ' the Lamb of God that taketh away the 
sin of the world,' John i. 29. The daily sacrifice was offered morning 
and evening, to show our daily use of Christ, who was ' a lamb without 
spot arid blemish,' 1 Peter i. 19. The anniversary sacrifice of the two 
goats on the day of expiation, Num. xvi., when there was a live goat to 
be sent into the wilderness, and the other was slain, and Aaron was to 
put both his hands upon the head of the scape-goat, confessing the sins 
of the people, and that scape-goat was to carry all their sins into 
the land of forgetfulness ; all which signified the expiation of all our 
sins by Christ dying for our offences, and rising again for our justifica 
tion. For the scape-goat was sent into the wilderness far from the 
sanctuary, to show that all our sins are put far away out of God's sight ; 
the other goat is said to be kept for the Lord, that it might be slain, 
and be offered to him for sacrifice upon the altar. Well, now, these 
and all other types were finished, that is, obtained their end and 

3. All was finished that was necessary to make him a fit pattern of 
patience to us ; for he had borne the extremity of his enemies' malice, 
all that man or devils could by the permission of God execute upon 
him ; for he saith, Luke xxii. 53, ' This is your hour, and the power 
of darkness.' Yea, he had drunk up the cup which the Father had put 
into his hands, to the very dregs. One end of Christ's death was to 
give us an example: 1 Peter ii. 21, 'Christ also suffered for us, 

VOL. xix. o 


leaving us an example, that we should follow his steps.' Now here is 
a full copy and pattern of the right way of suffering for all his own to 

[1.] From the matter. Are you tempted and opposed by Satan and 
his instruments ? so was Christ. Have you discountenance from men ? 
Christ had much more. Doth God seem to forsake you ? so he did 
by Christ. Are you fain to lie on your knees crying for mercy ? Christ 
'in the days of his flesh offered up prayers and supplications, with strong 
cries and tears, to him that was able to save him from death, and was 
heard in that he feared,' Heb. v. 7. Are you mocked, reviled, buffeted, 
contumeliously used ? so was Christ. Are you scourged, put to death 
by violence ? so was Christ. 

[2.] From the manner ; with meekness and constancy. With meek 
ness, not as swine, but as sheep : Isa. liii. 7, ' As a sheep before the 
shearer is dumb, so he opened not his mouth ; ' 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.' Though 
he had not in the least kind offended either God or man, yet he was 
handled as a sinner ; and when foul crimes were laid to his charge, he 
did not repay his slanderers in their own coin, but resigned himself 
to God to deal with him and his persecutors as he saw fitting ; he 
vented no carnal passion. So for constancy ; he continued till all was 
finished, and ' became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross,' 
Phil. ii. 8. When he was tempted to descend from the cross, he would 
not, but stayed there as long as it was necessary ; to show us that we 
should not descend from our cross, and free ourselves from tribulation 
by sin till all be finished. If God keepeth us long in an oppressed state 
without relief or deliverance, do not make haste, but tarry his leisure. 
If by providence you are unequally yoked, bear your cross as long as 
God seeth fit to continue it to you. If it be a long imprisonment, a 
long tedious sickness, or any other affliction, do not descend from your 
cross till God take it off, and help not yourselves by sin out of affliction. 
[3.] From the end ; the bitterest trouble will at length have an end. 
Christ was a man of sorrows all his days, tempted, despised, persecuted, 
censured, scourged, crucified, but at length the TereXec-Tat/ It is finished,' 
cometh, and there is a kind of triumph over all his enemies and 
calamities ; to teach us to finish our course with perseverance and 
patience, that at the last we may say we are come to the end of our 
sorrows. His laborious pilgrimage was now over, and there will a 
time come when ours shall be over also. Christ's life was a continual 
cross and constant affliction, but at length all was finished, and the 
sorrows of thirty-three years recompensed with glory and honour, and 
great fruit and success in the affairs of his kingdom. What is a little 
momentary suffering to the rest of eternity ? For a little while he 
was the despising of men, and the leaving-off of the people ; but after 
wards God exalted him, and gave him a name above all names. The 
perfidious Jews rejoiced for a while, but a sad reckoning came after 
wards. Judas had small time to enjoy his thirty pieces ; Pilate within 
a while rued his facility and yielding to the importunity of the Jews. 
But as to afflictions holily suffered, stay a little, and all the bitter part 
will be over. 


4. All was fulfilled which God determined to be done for the expia 
tion of sin ; so that no more ransom is to be paid ; our debt is satisfied ; 
divine justice hath no more demand to us ; sin, Satan, and death are 
spoiled and disarmed, and way is made for our salvation to be owned, 
as coming from Christ alone, This is the main circumstance, and 
therefore I shall explain it a little (1.) Negatively ; (2.) Positively. 

[1.] Negatively; and there (1.) In regard of Christ himself ; and 
(2.) In respect of us. 

(1.) In regard of Christ himself. Not as if all the necessary acts 
of his mediation were now past. Death was just at hand, and was com 
prised in the expression ; his lying in the grave was but the continua 
tion of his abasement, till the time of his exaltation should come. But 
in the way of satisfying justice he had no more to do; whatever was 
done afterwards was by way of reward, not to satisfy justice, but to 
satisfy the world of the dignity of his person. He was to rise from 
the dead, and ascend into glory ; that is, for our more abundant com 
fort. His resurrection was his solemn acquittance ; our surety was let 
out of prison : Eom. iv. 25, ' Who was delivered for our offences, and 
rose again for our justification.' His ascension was that we might 
have a friend at God's right hand to appear for us : Heb. viii. 1, 
'We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the 
throne of the majesty in the heavens ; ' 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 ; ' that being in a glorified and exalted condition, he might power 
fully apply his purchase, and by his Spirit communicate the fruits 
thereof to believers. And he is to come to judgment, to bless and 
reward his people and to punish his enemies. But all the sufferings 
are now completed, or about to be completed, which he was to suffer 
for our sins. 

(2.) In respect of us. It is not so finished but that something is to 
be done by the creature. Though the satisfaction be never so perfect, 
yet there is a necessity of application. The sacrifice and atonement is 
sufficient, but it must be applied in the way appointed by God. The 
means of applying are partly internal, which qualify the subject, and 
make us capable of the benefit of this atonement and satisfaction, which 
are faith and repentance, and also new obedience as the consequent of 
both ; for repentance is a returning to our duty to God, and faith a 
thankful owning of our Redeemer, by whom we return ; and if we are 
serious and real, all will end in new obedience and holiness, or else we 
are liable to wrath still. Faith is necessary : Rom. iii. 25, ' Whom 
God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood.' 
Repentance is necessary : Acts iii. 19, ' Repent ye, therefore, and be 
converted, that your sins may be blotted out.' New obedience is 
lecessary : Heb. v. 9, ' He is become the author of eternal salvation to 
,11 that obey him.' And partly external, by the word and sacraments. 
n he word : John xvii. 19, ' And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that 

ey also may be sanctified through the truth.' The word calleth upon 
us to accept of Christ, and that life and mercy which is offered to us 
in him ; the sacraments, which are baptism and the Lord's supper . 
By baptism we profess and are obliged to put on Christ : Gal. iii. 27, 
' For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on 


Christ ;' or to apply him to ourselves as a garment to the body, that he 
may communicate to us his righteousness, life, and Spirit ; and by the 
Lord's supper we come more abundantly to take part in this consola 
tion: 1 Cor. x. 16, 'The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the com 
munion of the blood of Christ ? The bread which we break, is it not 
the communion of the body of Christ ? ' that is, hereby we are solemnly 
made partakers of the body and blood of Christ, and the benefits 
purchased thereby. 

[2.] Positively ; that the work of our redemption, so far as related to 
sufferings, was now about to be consummated. Christ's sacrifice, which 
he was about to offer for us, was no imperfect sacrifice. This appeareth 
by his message to Herod : Luke xiii. 32, ' I do cures to-day and to 
morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected ; ' that is, the work of 
his office was then fully to be accomplished : Heb. ii. 10, ' The captain 
of our salvation was made perfect through sufferings.' Christ as 
mediator seemed to lack something till the full number of his sorrows 
was accomplished; then he was perfectly fitted to do us good. So 
Heb. x. 14, ' By one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are 
sanctified.' As to an offering, there needeth no more. A patched 
salvation, of half of Christ and of half of the creature, will not do good ; 
as if Christ must do a part and we must merit the rest ; this is in 
consistent with God's design. We must not part stakes with God ; 
this is neither for our comfort, God's glory, nor our Redeemer's welcome 
to heaven. No ; Christ is a workman that needeth not to be ashamed ; 
he could avouch his work before the tribunal of God ; all is finished. 
Now he can plead his right at the bar of justice : Ps. ii. 8, ' Ask of me, 
and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the utter 
most parts of the earth for thy possession.' 

II. The evidences and reasons of this complete satisfaction. 

1. From the dignity of the person satisfying. Two things are re 
quired in our mediator that he might be a sufficient undertaker for us. 
One is, that he should be perfectly holy and righteous ; for how could 
he redeem us from sin, who, being defiled with sin, had needed to be 
redeemed himself ? The second was, that he should be a divine and 
infinite person ; for sin' being committed against an infinite majesty, 
therefore the suffering by which it must be expiated must be of an 
infinite value. Now both these do perfectly concur in Christ ; for as 
man, ' He was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners/ Heb. 
vii. 26 ; and died, ' The just for the unjust, that he might bring us to 
God,' 1 Peter iii. 18. He was perfectly holy, even holiness itself: 
Luke i. 35, ' That holy thing which shall be bora of thee shall be 
called the Son of God.' As he was God over all, blessed for ever, he 
was capable to give a value to his sufferings ; to which purpose God 
is said to purchase the church with his own blood : Acts xx. 28, ' Feed 
the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.' 
In short, God was resolved to lose no glory by the fall ; and therefore, 
whosoever was the redeemer, he was to restore what Adam took away 
by the fall. God's authority was violated by the creatures' transgres 
sion, whose command was just, and our obedience reasonable. Now it 
was meet that God should keep up the authority of his law. His 
majesty also was despised in slighting the threatening, and his holiness 


wronged, as if he did not hate sin; and his justice and truth, as if he 
would not punish it ; his power lessened, for sin is an act of presump 
tion, and implieth a contest with God. Now in all these respects it 
was necessary that God should vindicate his glory, and be no loser ; 
which was fully brought to pass by Christ, to whom there is in scrip 
ture a double fulness and sufficiency attributed. A fulness of grace or 
holiness : ' For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness 
dwell, and by him to reconcile all things to himself,' Col. i. 19, 20. 
And therefore he is said, ' To be full of grace and truth, that of his 
fulness we may all receive, and grace for grace,' John i. 14, 16. 
Besides this, there is a 'fulness of the godhead that dwelt in him bodily/ 
Col. ii. 9. Not mystically and spiritually, as in believers ; not sym 
bolically, as in the sacraments ; not typically, as in the law ; but 
bodily, that is, really and personally, as body is opposed to shadow, or 
noteth a person. Well, then, the argument is strong. If the person, 
satisfying were not only holy and undefiled, but also infinite, the satis 
faction also must be infinite, and therefore most perfect and sufficient ; 
for what can be greater and more perfect than what is infinite ? And 
therefore all is finished ; if such a person will take a body, and die for 
us, there needeth no other satisfaction. 

2. I reason from the unity of the mediatory office, and that oblation 
or sacrifice which was made by Christ by virtue of that office : 2 Cor. 
v. 14, 'If one died for all, then were all dead ; ' 1 Tim. ii. 5, ' There 
is one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.' And 
as these places prove that there is but one mediator, so there is but 
one sacrifice : Heb. x. 10, ' By the which will we are sanctified, 
through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all;' and 
ver. 14, ' For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are 
sanctified ; ' Kom. v. 18, ' By the righteousness of one, the free gift 
came upon all to justification of life ;' Heb. ix. 26, 'But now once 
in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the 
sacrifice of himself; ' ver. 28, ' So Christ was once offered to bear the 
sins of many.' The scripture so emphatically insisting upon this term, 
' once ; ' certainly all is finished ; there needeth no more to be done 
by us to satisfy God's justice ; that is sufficiently done already. 

3. From the greatness of the punishment imposed upon Christ; 
for if he suffered all the punishments due to us, it cannot be that any 
thing more should be done to pacify God ; all is finished. Now Christ 
omitted none of those things which divine justice required: he 'ful 
filled all righteousness,' Mat. iii. 15 ; ' Was obedient to death, even 
the death of the cross,' Phil. ii. 8. Yea, and suffered all those things 
which the law did put upon sinners, either as to loss or sense, as to 
desertion or as to the curse ; and therefore he is said, ' To bear our 
griefs, and carry our sorrows, and to be wounded for our transgressions, 
and to be bruised for our iniquities,' Isa. liii. 4, 5 ;' To be made a 
curse for us/ Gal. iii. 15 ; 'To be made sin for us,' 2 Cor. v. 21. God 
spared him not, but put him to grief, not out of hatred to his Son, but 
love to our salvation. Hence those agonies of Christ, and prayers, and 
tears, and strong cries. 

4. From God's approbation of the person and sacrifice of Christ. If 
God did so far approve the sacrifice of Christ as willingly to accept it 


for our redemption, that upon it he grounded a covenant, and made 
offers of terms of grace to us, and reconciliation with us, there is no 
question but that upon Christ's death all was finished. No more was 
necessary for paying the price and ransom, for God, the most just 
judge, would not accept of an imperfect satisfaction, or give testimony 
that he was well pleased with it. But that Christ's person arid 
sacrifice was approved of God is evident, not only as he appointed 
it ; and surely he will accept what he hath appointed ; not only 
also by the miracles which he wrought when alive, which evidenced 
his commission : Acts ii. 22, ' Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved 
of God among you by miracles, wonders, and signs, which God 
did by him in the midst of you ; ' but chiefly by the resurrection 
of Christ, which was not only a testimony of the truth and dignity of 
his person : Kom. i. 4, ' And declared to be the Son of God with power, 
according to the spirit of holiness, by the .resurrection from the dead ; ' 
but it was a clear argument of the perfectness of his satisfaction ; for 
unless he had abundantly satisfied God, how could God, who, as a 
just judge, had appointed him to die for our sins, raise him up from 
the dead ? Would an upright judge deliver a debtor or his surety 
from prison unless first full payment had been made ? Would God 
show himself willing to be reconciled to us if yet there remained any 
wrath to be appeased, any farther ransom necessary to be paid for 
us ? Now in the scripture Christ is sometimes said to rise from the 
dead to show his divine power ; sometimes to be raised by God to show 
the fulness of his satisfaction : Acts ii. 24, ' Whom God hath raised 
up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that 
he should be hoi den of them.' When Christ was raised, our surety 
was let out of prison ; and the scripture hath delivered it to us under 
that notion : Isa. liii. 8, ' He was taken from prison, and from judg 
ment, and who shall declare his generation ? For he was cut off from 
the land of the living, for the transgression of my people was he 
stricken.' The Lord sent an angel to remove his gravestone, not to 
supply any lack of power in Christ, but to show he was fully appeased 
and satisfied. Therefore it is said, Heb. xiii. 20, ' Now the God of 
peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great 
shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant.' 
Mark, through the blood of the everlasting covenant he is become the 
God of peace ; through the blood of the everlasting covenant he 
brought Christ from the dead. He doth not only do us good, but lets 
go our surety through the virtue of that blood. The phrase of ' bring 
ing again from the dead/ is emphatical. Christ did not break prison, 
but was brought forth as the apostles, Acts xvi. 39 ; the magistrates 
came to the prison ' and brought them out/ Christ rose not only by 
his own power, but by the Father's authority. If our surety had 
perished in prison, we could have no assurance ; or if he had continued 
still under death, the world could have no discharge ; but Christ rose 
again, and is not only taken out of prison, but carried up to God in 
glory and honour : 1 Tim. iii. 16, ' Received up into glory/ It is 
not avedrj, actively he ascended, but dvaX^dij, passively he was 
raised up. God hath rewarded him ; and therefore he hath perfectly 
done his work. God hath not only taken him out of the grave, but 
taken him up to glory. Certainly God is well pleased since he hath 


given him not only a discharge, but a reward. Christ undertaking 
for us is somewhat like that of Keuben for Benjamin : Gen. xliii. 9, ' I 
will be surety for him ; of my hand shalt thou require him : if I 
bring him not unto thee, and set him before thee, then let me bear the 
blame for ever.' ' Let me see thy face no more.' Christ undertook 
to carry it through, and failed not in the enterprise. 

III. What comfort is this to poor sinners, since, though there be a 
full satisfaction, conditions are required which we are not able to per 
form, ere we can have benefit ; and we find sin remaining in us, so 
that it is finished, and unfinished as to us ? 

I answer There is great comfort in God's general grace, before it 
be particularly applied and exhibited to us in the effects and sense 
thereof. A sufficient sacrifice and ransom given for you is the founda 
tion of all solid peace, for it is the foundation of the gospel, or of the 
covenant of grace. I shall prove it by these reasons 

1. Because this answereth the grand scruple which haunteth the 
creature, and is at the bottom of all our fears ; namely, how God's 
justice shall be appeased : Micah vi. 6, 7, ' Wherewith shall I come 
before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God ? Shall I come 
before him with burnt-offerings, with calves of a year old ? will the 
Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers 
of oil ? shall I give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my 
body for the sin of my soul ? ' The way of appeasing God's anger hath 
been an old controversy, that hath troubled all nations ; and till it be 
answered and fully determined, man is not ' perfect as appertaining to 
the conscience,' Heb. ix. 9. Though God be infinitely merciful, yet he 
is infinitely just ; and we can expect no more from his mercy than we 
may fear from his justice. Guilty nature still presageth evil to us, till 
there be something penal endured, and something of price and value 
given to appease justice. 

2. That God now looketh for no satisfaction at your hand ; it is all 
done perfectly by Christ ; all is finished. He satisfied for us that we 
might not be obliged to satisfy in our own persons : Heb. i. 3, ' When 
he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the 
majesty on high ; ' Isa. liii. 5, ' By his stripes we are healed.' It was 
at his cost that our recovery was brought about. 

3. In this provision we see the will of God putting forth itself for 
our help in the most astonishing way that could be imagined : 1 Tim. 
iii. 16, ' Without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness, God 
manifested in the flesh ; ' 1 John iv. 10, ' Herein is love ; not that 
we loved God, but God loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitia 
tion for our sins.' This is such an unusual expression of love, such an 
engaging instance, so much surpassing our thoughts, that we cannot 
sufficiently admire it. When God laid such a broad foundation, surely 
he intended some notable grace to us. 

4. Here is a full answer to those usual objections which are raised 
by broken hearts, as the number, and greatness, and heinousness of 
our sins ; for as such they shall not be your ruin. As great as they 
are, God can with honour pardon them ; for barely to plead the number 
of sins or greatness of sins, is to lessen the price. The Messiah came, 
Dan. ix. 24, ' To finish transgression, and to make an end of sin, and to 


bring in everlasting righteousness.' There is no sin so great but the 
Kedeemer's merit can countervail it. And no man shall perish for the want 
of the payment of his ransom, or an expiatory sacrifice for his sins. He 
may perish for his impenitenqy and unbelief, but not merely for the 
greatness of his sin ; for what sin is so great that it is not or cannot 
be expiated by the blood of Christ ? Christ's satisfaction maketh the 
salvation of the worst possible ; you may have peace with God if you will. 

5. It bindeth our duty the closer upon us. No man shall perish but 
for want of a willing heart to accept of the Redeemer, who hath paid 
our ransom, and of the grace which he hath brought to us, by which 
we may be interested and instated in the benefits of this ransom. All 
things are ready if we are ready : Luke xiv. 17, ' Come, for all things 
are now ready.' God's fatlings are killed, his wines are mingled ; if 
we will not come to the feast, we perish through our own default. We 
need confer nothing ; all is but to receive the benefits propounded and 
offered ; victory over death, hell, sin, Satan, is ready ; yea, heaven is 
ready, and all spiritual blessings are ready, if we are ready ; for the 
merit and satisfaction of Christ is the great cause of all that blessedness 
which is offered to the creature. God hath opened the way to all ; if 
they will not enter into it, they perish by their own default. He hath 
sent preachers into all the world : Mark xvi. 15, 16, ' And he said unto 
them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, and he that believeth 
not shall be damned ; ' Titus ii. 11, ' For the grace of God, that bringeth 
salvation, hath appeared to all men.' Let us not refuse our cure, though 
we must take a bitter potion, though we must enter in by the strait 
gate of faith and repentance, and walk in the narrow way of self-denial, 
and all holy conversation, and godliness ; yet because it is to life, and 
the legal exclusion is taken off, let us enter and walk in it. Indeed, if 
the door were shut against us by the sentence of the law, and there was 
no way to remove the bars and bolts, our excuse were more just, be 
cause then our condition would be hopeless. But now all is finished, 
salvation rendered possible ; now God hath taken away the bars and 
bolts by which his law shut us out from all hope ; let us not set up bars 
and bolts by our own unbelief and by our own cowardly fears. If man 
were not man, but a beast, a fool, or a madman, it might more excus 
ably be allowed to them to be led by sense and appetite, and then it 
were an intolerable thing to crucify the flesh, with the affections thereof ; 
but man, having reason, doth know, or may know, that this command 
of God is equal ; that God doth not only require, but help us to per 
form it, and pi-event us by his grace. 

6. It doth not only bind our duty upon us, but it encourages us to 
repent and believe and obey ; for Christ is ' able to save to the utmost 
all those that come to God by him/ Heb. vii. 25 ; and he is ' the 
author and finisher of our faith,' Heb. xii. 2 ; and doth ' give repent 
ance as well as remission of sins,' Acts v. 31 ; ' For to you it is given, 
on the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer 
for his sake,' Phil. i. 29. The first grace is his gift, and his resolved 
gift to the elect, but all are to take their lot. If it were said to us 
alone that we should strive to enter in at the strait gate, or that we 
alone should deny ourselves, and take up our cross and follow him, it 


were hard ; but when the same terms are propounded to all, and when 
many, young and old, rich and poor, have received them, and have 
tried God's ways, and it hath succeeded well with them upon trial, why 
should we fear it ? If nobody had done it, or could do it, then we 
might stick at God's terms. This argument Austin used to himself in 
his conflicts of conscience, lib. viii. Confess, chap. 11. When he had long 
withstood offers of grace, he would then propound to himself the ex 
ample of others : Cur non poteris quod isti, et istce ? Isli et istcc non 
in se pouterunt, sed in Domino Deo suo Why may not I, as well as 
those holy men and those good women ? They did it not in themselves, 
but in the strength of their God, and the power of his grace. The 
yoke of Christ will be more easy than we think of, especially when it 
is lined with grace. 

7. When we have once accepted the condition, cleared up our title, 
then we shall have cause to glory in the Lord, and be sensible indeed 
that all things are finished which are necessary to our comfort and 
peace, and that this was a full merit ; as Paul would glory in the cross 
of Christ : Gal. vi. 14, ' God forbid that I should glory, save in the 
cross of our Lord Jesus Christ ; ' Eom. viii. 1, ' There is now no con 
demnation to them which are in Christ.' Then we shall make the bold 
challenge of faith : Horn. viii. 33, 34, ' Who shall lay anything to the 
charge of God's elect ? it is God that justifieth; who is he that con- 
demneth ? it is Christ that died, yea, rather that is risen again, who is 
even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us/ If 
Christ had not made a full expiation of all our sins, we were under 
condemnation still. He doth not say, There is nothing worthy of 
condemnation in believers ; for as long as sin and the flesh remaineth 
in us (which doth as long as we live in the world), there is a 
potential guilt of damnation, an intrinsic merit in our actions of 
death and condemnation ; yet the actual guilt or obligation is taken 
away, because Christ is made a curse for us. Well, then, our solid 
rejoicing to the last is in this complete satisfaction : Kom. v. 11, ' We 
rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have 
received the atonement ; it is Kav^a>jj,evot t we glory in God. 

Use. Let this raise in us 

1. An hearty thankfulness and admiration of the love of Christ, who 
would not give over suffering till he could say, ' It is finished ; ' till he 
had done enough to glorify God and save the creature ; enough for the 
destruction of sin, as well as the abolition of the curse. Christ did not 
compound, but paid the utmost farthing. Oh, let us raise our thoughts 
in the consideration of this love. His enemies interrupted him, and 
tempted him to give over : ' Save thyself ; if thou be the Son of God, 
come down from the cross,' Mat. xxvii. 40, 42 ; 'If he be the king of 
Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.' 
But because he was the Son of God and the king of Israel, he would 
not come down till he was taken down, and all was done that was neces 
sary : 'All God's works are perfect/ Deut. xxxii. 4. The Father ceased 
not till, upon the sixth day, he had perfected the work of the creation, 
and upon the seventh day he rested ; so Christ will not come down till 
he had finished the work of redemption on the sixth day, and on the 
seventh he rested in the grave, and rose early in the morning on the 


first day of the week, to show the truth of his 'satisfaction. And the 
Holy Ghost's work is perfect ; all the time of this life he continueth 
increasing our graces, but in the everlasting sabbatism, when sin shall 
be no more, his work is brought to an end ; and then he shall ' present 
you faultless before the presence of his glory, with exceeding joy,' 
Jude 24. 

But what were the reasons why Christ would not give over till all 
was perfected ? 

[1.] Love to his Father : John xviii. 11, ' The cup which my Father 
hath given me, shall I not drink it ? ' Christ loved the Father with 
unspeakable love, and was in like manner beloved by him. Therefore 
when this cup was put into his hands by his Father, he would drink 
it off to the very bottom. 

[2.] Love to the church : Eph. v. 25, 26, ' Even as Christ loved the 
church, and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it 
with the washing of water, by the word,' &c. ; and Rev. i. 5, 6, ' To 
him who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.' 
The church was given for a spouse to Christ, but we were polluted 
and defiled with sin ; he would not only cleanse it, but make it a 
' glorious church, without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing,' Eph. 
v. 27. Christ loved the church, and therefore it was not grievous to 
him to wash it with his blood. Because Jacob loved Rachel, he served 
seven years for her in heats and frosts by night and day, and ' they 
seemed to him but a few days for the love he had to her,' Gen. xxix. 
20 ; so the Son of God loved the church, and therefore endured all 
these indignities and grievous passions. 

[3.] He had respect to that eminent glory set before him : 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, and is now set down at the right hand of the throne of God.' 
Though the way was rough, the prize was excellent ; and so he ran 
through all the pain and shame, and attained the eternal crown of 
glory. He endured cruel pains in his body, and bitter sorrows in his 
soul, such as never any man did suffer, never any angel could have 
borne as he did ; so dear did it cost our Saviour to make a propitiation 
for our sins. That which in all this did strengthen and encourage him 
was the joy set before him, namely, that happy and glorious estate 
which followed upon his sufferings, so that his burden was made the 
lighter, and his sorrows much abated. Oh, let us think Of this ! It is 
not a lessening his love to us, for he needed not to put himself into 
this condition. Herein he was our example, to teach us how to 
sweeten the cross ; and as our Mediator he is gone to heaven to prepare 
a place for us : John xiv. 2, 3, ' I go to prepare a place for you ; and 
if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to 
myself, that where I am, there ye may be also.' 

2. Let it raise in us a confidence of the benefits purchased. For 
Christ expresseth himself as a conqueror, and in a kind of triumph 
over the devil and all the enemies of our salvation. The wrath of God 
is appeased: Rom. v. 9, ' Much more then, being now justified by his 
blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.' The law is satis 
fied : Gal. iv. 4, 5, ' God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made 


under the law, to redeem them that were under the law/ Satan is 
vanquished : John xii. 31, 'Now is the judgment of this world ; now 
shall the prince of this world be cast out.' Guilt is removed : Eph. 
i. 7, ' In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgive 
ness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.' Sin is subdued : 
Eom. vi. 6, ' Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, 
that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not 
serve sin.' Death is unstinged : 1 Cor. xv. 55-57, ' death ! where 
is thy sting ? grave ! where is thy victory ? The sting of death is 
sin, and the strength of sin is the law ; but thanks be to God, which 
giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ.' The curse is 
removed : Gal. iii. 13, ' Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the 
law, being made a curse for us.' Surely where Christ beginneth he 
will make an end. We cannot have too high thoughts of the blood of 
Christ: Heb. ix. 13, 14, ' For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and 
the ashes of an heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purify 
ing of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through 
the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, cleanse your 
consciences from dead works, to serve the living God.' Let us stand 
still now, and behold the salvation of God, and echo to Christ's cry, 
' It is finished ! it is finished ! ; What can the law crave more than 
the blood of the Son of God ? What will make us perfect as apper 
taining to the conscience if this will not ? Being justified by his blood, 
we shall be saved from wrath through him. Christ hath so far 
obtained pardon and acceptance for us, that he hath made an end of 
sin for all that are willing to accept of his grace upon God's terms. 

3. Let it quicken us to perseverance in our duty, notwithstanding 
sufferings, till all be ended ; that, when we come to die, we may be 
able to say, John xvii. 4, ' I have glorified thee on earth ; I have 
finished the work thou gavest me to do ; ' .2 Tim. iv. 7, 8, ' I have 
fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. 
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness.' If 
Christ out of love to us would finish the work of our redemption, 
' What shall separate us from the love of Christ ? ' Rom. viii. 39. 

4. It teacheth us how to comfort ourselves in death. It finisheth all 
our labours and sorrows, as Christ showeth when he was about to give 
up the ghost : Isa. Ivii. 2, ' He shall enter into peace ; they shall rest 
in their beds.' Believers have a joy set before them as well as Christ. 
The wicked cannot say, ' It. is finished ; ' their evils are then begun. 

5. Let us believe things to come. The event showeth that all those 
things were true which the prophets had so long before foretold. The 
Holy Ghost cannot be deceived, nor can God lie. We are certain that 
things yet to come shall be fulfilled as well as these which are past. 
Those who lived before Christ's time had not such an experiment of 
God's truth as we have. We have seen the coming of Christ ; let us 
so fix our minds on future things, as to draw them off from earthly. 

He boived his head, and gave up the ghost. I come to the latter 
part of the text. Some read it that first he died, and then bowed the 
head, there being no spirit left to support it ; but Christ first bowed 
the head, and then died ; he did as it were beckon to death to come 
and do its office : ' He yielded up the ghost ; ' his soul was truly 


separated from his body. The form of resignation we have, Lnke 
xxiii. 46, ' Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit.' Wicked men, 
because they die against their wills, their souls are said to be taken 
away : Luke xii. 20, ' Thou fool ! this night thy soul shall be required 
of thee ; ' Job xxvii. 8, ' For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though 
he hath gained, when God taketh away his soul ? ' But Christ 
yieldeth it up ; and for a godly man to give up the ghost noteth his 
faith, submission, and willingness to depart out of the body. As the 
prophet saith of Christ, Isa. liii. 12, ' He hath poured out his soul unto 
death.' Death did not surprise him. 

Doct. When all things were finished, Christ freely and willingly 
gave up the ghost. 

His life was not taken away, but resigned ; there was much of 
violence, but no coaction. The term, giving up the ghost, doth not 
imply the bare death of Christ, but that he died willingly and freely.' 
Nihil in hoc Christo est, nisi profusa liberalitas misericordice, et re- 
missionis peccatorum I can see nothing in this Christ but a prodi 
gality of love and mercy. He had freely emptied his veins in the 
garden ; every pore became an eye, and wept blood for your sakes ; and 
now he cometh to pour out his soul. 

Keasons why Christ was so willing to die. 

1. Out of obedience to his Father. The divine decrees had laid a 
necessity upon him, and where the Father saith, Must, Christ saith, I 
will : Mat. xxvi. 54, 55, ' Thinkest thou not that I cannot now pray to 
my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of 
angels ? ' (which was the just number of a Eoman army); ' But how 
then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be ? ' Christ 
willingly took this necessity upon him ; it was but necessitous ex liypotliesi. 
Had it not been for his eternal consent it would never have been said, 
' Thus it must be ; ' Luke xxii. 37, ' This that is written must be 
accomplished ; ' Luke xxiv. 46, ' Thus it is written, and thus it behov- 
eth Christ to suffer.' It was a necessity of his own making ; he was 
not compelled to accept of the conditions from God, nor forced by the 
violence of man to yield up his life : John x. 18, ' No man taketh it 
from me, but I lay it down of myself ; I have power to lay it down, 
and I have power to take it up again. This commandment have 
I received of my Father.' 

2. Out of love to us. The Jews crucified him, but love made him 
die ; we had else perished for ever. The law laid it upon us, but love 
made Christ take it upon himself : Isa. liii. 4, ' Surely he hath borne 
our griefs and carried our sorrows.' Justice demanded it of us, but 
Christ said, I will be responsible ; exact it of me : Mat. xx. 28, ' Even 
as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and 
to give his life a ransom for many.' He took life to lay it down at the 
demand of justice. Justice said, I must have a ransom ; Christ said, 
Take it of me ; let these go : Job xxxiii. 24, ' Then he is gracious unto 
them, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit ; I have 
found a ransom.' The Father received it, and Christ paid it ; as the 
angel said to Abraham, Gen. xxii. 12, ' Lay not thine hand upon the 
lad, neither do thou anything unto him.' Justice would have reached 
forth a deadly stroke to us, but Christ catched the blow. 


3. This would finish his labours. Death was Christ's last enemy, 
of his person, as well as of his kingdom. He had been harassed and 
worn out with sorrows ; the grave was a place of rest ; it was finished 
as to him : Isa. Ivii. 2, ' He shall enter into peace ; they shall rest in 
their beds.' Death was the end of Christ's journey, and all his labours 
in the flesh. The grave was a dark dismal place till Christ went into 
it ; ever since it is but a chamber of rest, and Christ keepeth the key 
of it : Isa. xxvi. 20, ' Enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors 
about thee ; hide thyself, as it were, for a little moment.' 

4. This furthered his triumph, and made it every way more complete. 
By dying, Christ carried the war into his enemies' land, and foiled 
death in its own territory, and made death itself mortal by lying in the 
grave. The cross and the grave were the means of Christ's triumph ; 
by these the devil thought to foil him, and by these he triumphed : he 
conquered Satan and sin when they seemed to have most power upon, 
him ; like angry bees, they stung him, and disarmed themselves : Heb. 
ii. 14, ' That through death he might destroy him that had the power 
of death, that is, the devil ; ' Col. ii. 15, ' And having spoiled prin 
cipalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over 
them in it,' ev avrw, i.e., (navpw. On the cross : Eph. ii. 16, ' Hav 
ing slain the enmity thereby ; ' that is, by his cross, formerly spoken of. 
When he was slain himself, then he slew death and the law. Christ's 
crucifying was his exaltation and preferment. It is twice expressed by 
lifting up : John iii. 14, ' So shall the Son of man be lifted up ; ' John 
xii. 32, 33, ' I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men after me. This he 
said, signifying what death he should die.' The grave was consecrated 
and sanctified by Christ's lying there. Duo in cruce affixi intelliguntur, 
saith Origen ; Christus visibiliter sponte sua ad tempus, diabolus 
invisibiliter invitus in perpetuum There were two crucified at once ; 
Christ visibly of his own accord, for a time .only; the devil invisibly, 
against his will for ever. Christ received a slight hurt in his heel, but 
he bruised Satan's head. 

5. He was hastening to his own glory : Heb. xii. 2, ' For the joy 
that was set before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and 
is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.' He was thinking 
of his welcome to heaven. Oh, what sweet embraces there would be 
between the Father and him ! Ps. ex. 1, 'The Lord said unto my Lord, 
Sit thou at my right hand till I make thy enemies thy footstool ; ' 
Dan. vii. 13, 14, ' I saw in the night-visions, and behold, one like the 
Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient 
of days, and they brought him near before him ; and there was given 
him dominion and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and 
languages, should serve him ; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, 
which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be 
destroyed.' How the angels should usher him into glory, though there 
were two left with shining garments to give satisfaction to his disciples ! 
Acts i. 10, 11, ' While they looked steadfastly towards heaven as he 
went up, behold two men stood by them in white apparel, which said, 
Ye men of Galilee ! why stand ye gazing up into heaven ? This same 
Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so return in like 
manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.' Christ was thinking 


how his Father would embrace him, put the crown upon his head, bid 
him sit down at his right hand, and how there he was to be royally 
attended. And this doth not derogate from his love to us, for he went 
to prepare a place for us, and, as our forerunner, is entered into glory, 
and because he lives, we shall live also. 

Use 1. To commend the love of Christ to us. 

1. That he should die, this was an incomparable condescension of 
his love. Simeon suffered himself to be bound for his brethren, Gen. 
xlii. 24 ; Lot proffers his daughters to save his guests, Gen. xix. 8 ; 
but Christ would lay down his life. If it were in our choice, who 
would die ? Who would be tumbled into a pit of darkness, a cold 
hole, where he should see the sun no more ? We would live for ever. 
It is not put to our choice, but it is in our wishes. ' But Christ might 
have chosen whether he would die or no, and yet he died. 

2. Christ had more reason to love his life than we have. He had a 
delicate body, and the social presence of the Godhead. The poorest 
worm in the world desires to keep its life : Job ii. 4, ' Skin for skin, 
yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life ; ' that is, a man would 
part with all, for skins were the barter of those days. And the more 
excellent the life is, the more desire men have to keep it ; as young 
men, whose marrow is in their bones, to them life is life indeed. The 
woman that was broken and spent with old age yet spent o\ov TOV 
/3ioi>, 'all her living on physicians,' Luke viii. 43. Christ had reason 
to love life upon a natural respect ; he was about thirty-three years old ; 
and upon a spiritual respect, his human nature enjoyed the near pre 
sence of the godhead ; but when he was in his full vigour and strength, 
he willingly died. 

3. That death which he died was a. sad bloody death, the saddest 
death that any man could die. He was weakened with the agonies in 
the garden: ' They pierced his hands and his feet/ Ps. xxii. 16. The 
sinewy parts of his body were pierced with nails, his life dropping out 
by degrees ; the irons opened a passage for his soul. And, which was 
more than all, he suffered under the wrath of God : Mat. xxvii. 46, 
' My God ! my God ! why hast thou forsaken me ? ' 

4. It was a shameful death ; he suffered as a malefactor : Isa. liii. 
12, ' He was numbered with the transgressors.' He was crucified 
between two thieves, in medio latronum, tanquam latronum maximus, 
as if he were the greatest of them. He was treated as a sinner ; we 
are made the sons of God. Job was called hypocrite by his friends, 
but he would maintain his righteousness till death : Job xxvii. 6, 
' My righteousness will I hold fast, and will not let it go ; my heart 
shall not reproach me so long as I live.' Eusebius Vercellensis chose 
rather to starve in prison than that it should be said he had eaten with 
the Arians. Christ takes it patiently to die as a thief, an impostor, a 
traitor : John xviii. 30, ' If he were not a malefactor, we would not 
have delivered him up unto thee.' The high priest charged him with 
blasphemy : Mat. xxvi. 65, ' Then the high priest rent his clothes, 
saying, He hath spoken blasphemy ; what further need have we of 
witnesses ? Behold now ye have heard his blasphemy.' The disciples 
began to doubt of him, and to look on him as an impostor : Luke xxiv. 
21, ' We trusted that it had been he that should have redeemed Israel.' 


By God himself, when he had taken our sins upon him, he was dealt 
with as a transgressor : 1 Peter iv. 1, ' He that hath suffered in the flesh 
hath ceased from sin.' He was as a sinner before : Heb. ix. 28, ' So 
Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many.' An ingenuous man 
valueth his good name above all enjoyments ; there was enough to 
clear Christ's innocency, yet in the repute of the world he suffered as a 
malefactor. Oh, how unlike is Christ to the men of the world ! Christ 
is innocent, and accounted a transgressor ; they are transgressors, yet 
would fain be accounted innocent ; as Saul said to Samuel, 1 Sam. xv. 
30, ' I have sinned, yet honour me now, I pray thee, before the elders 
of my people, and before Israel.' We are more careful of credit than 
conscience, and would not be accounted sinners, yet do not fear to be 
so. What a comfort is this to believers, that Satan cannot lay more to 
your charge than his instruments did to Jesus Christ. 

5. He submitted to this death most willingly. He thirsted, and 
longed to pay the ransom for us ; here was not so much pain and shame 
as there was willingness : Gal. i. 4, ' Who gave himself for our sins.' 
There was not only the acts of the Father in giving Christ, but a 
peculiar act of Christ : ' He gave himself.' How freely did Christ 
empty his veins, and let out his soul ! It was no more to Christ to 
pour out his soul than for the minister to pour out the wine. We pray 
as if we were afraid to be heard ; we hear as if we were loath to be saved ; 
we serve God as if we were loath to please him ; there is a grudging in 
our acts of duty ; but Christ was free, and willing to die for us. 

6. His blood was spilt in malice ; it might have cried for vengeance, 
yet it crieth for pardon ; it had the perfume of an infinite merit : Heb. 
xii. 24, ' The blood of sprinkling speaketh better things than that of 
Abel.' As to Abel's blood, that crieth for vengeance : Gen. iv. 10, 
' The voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground.' 
Christ's blood cries for pardon. As to the actors, his blood would not 
have been a curse to them if they had hearkened to the voice of the 
gospel. But to speak of ourselves ; we by our sins had made our Lord 
to serve and die, yet doth not his blood speak against us, as Abel's did 
against Cain ; but it speaks to God, to pacify his wrath and to pardon 
us. Our sins cry, Lord, forgive not : Isa. ii. 9, ' The mean man boweth 
down, and the great man humbleth himself ; therefore forgive them 
not.' They speak in our conscience, Ye deserve death ; but Christ's 
blood speaketh words of peace and comfort to cleanse it, and make it 
quiet. When wrath is ready to break out from justice, it still crieth, 
Father, it is finished ; Christ's blood yet speaketh. When the 
awakened conscience lies in fear of the offended judge, and is vexed 
with the restless accusations of Satan, the blood of Christ speaketh 
better things, viz., It is all forgiven ; it is all expiated by my merit. 

Use 2. This affords much comfort to humbled sinners. Take Christ 
as freely as he freely offereth himself for you. He resigned up himself 
to death, and will not you resign up yourselves by faith ? He poured 
out his soul to death, and will not you pour out your souls into his 
bosom ? Consider, all the persons of the Trinity are willing, and will 
not you? The Father gave him: John iii. 16, 'God so loved the 
world, that he gave his only-begotten Son.' Christ gave himself : Gal. 
ii. 20, ' Who loved me, and gave himself for me.' The Spirit is willing ; 


he is grieved with your neglect and refusal : Mat. xxiii. 37, ' How often 
would I have gathered thy children together as a hen gathereth her 
chickens under her wings, but ye would not ! ' Oh, pour out your 
souls in faith and prayer, as Christ did his upon the cross. 

Use 3. Let us learn to imitate Christ. At the close of his life he 
said, ' It is finished/ and so ' bowed the head, and gave up the ghost.' 
Believers have a joy set before them as well as Christ. It is not so 
with wicked men ; they cannot say that with them it is begun ; their 
heaven endeth when they come to die ; but God's people should take 
death cheerfully, if they can say, as Christ, John xvii. 4, ' Father, I 
have glorified thee on the earth, I have finished the work that thou 
gavest me to do/ Let the death be violent or natural, it is all one 
whether we are a peace-offering or a burnt-offering ; there is more of 
man's malice in a violent death, but it cannot hurt us. But alas ! 
men generally do not live as if they did look to die, and therefore they 
do not die as if they did look to live ; and so here they would not die. 
and there they would not live. 


But they sought out many inventions. ECCLES. vii. 29. 

THERE are two things in this scripture 

1. The righteousness of God in his work about men, ' God made man 

2. Man's perverse subtlety in inventing ways of backsliding and 
apostasy from God, ' But they sought out many inventions.' 

From this latter part observe 

Doct. That man fell from the integrity of his first estate, and is ever 
since full of evil and fruitless inventions. 

I. I shall speak to this point as it is represented in the text. 

II. Give some considerations as to the general case. 

1. The persons, ' they.' The expression was singular before, ' God 
made Adam upright ; ' but now plural, not only to include both our 
first parents, but all their posterity. Adam had his invention, and all 
his posterity theirs. The devil inspired Adam with a sad and doleful 
invention, to go about to find out another happiness than God had 
appointed. Adam could not content himself with this kind of happi 
ness, but fancied to himself an higher perfection, and yielded to follow 
these new devised ways of blessedness which Satan and his own deceived 
heart did suggest to him ; and this invention hath invented and found 
out all the sin and misery under which the world groaneth. As Adam 
had his invention, so all his posterity theirs ; we are inventing still to 
make ourselves more miserable. The least ebullitions of sin are 
expressed in the old testament by 'imaginations;' in the new by 
'lusts.' In the old testament by 'imaginations;' 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 ; ' Gen. vi. 
5, 'And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and 
that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil con 
tinually.' In the new by 'lusts;' James i. 14, 'But every man is 
tempted when he is drawn away by his own lust and enticed ; ' Titus 
iii. 3, ' For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, 
deceived, serving divers lusts/ Not only the desiring, but the under 
standing faculty is corrupt ; therefore it is said, Prov. i. 31, ' They shall 
eat the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices ; ' 
Jer. vi. 19, ' Behold, I will bring upon this people even the fruit of their 
thoughts ; ' meaning the evil which their own devices and practices had 
procured to themselves. Every one of us has our devices, ways, 



and haunts of sin, whereby we make ourselves more wretched and 

2. Their act, ' They sought out ; ' that showeth the voluntariness 
and studiousness of man's defection ; it is their own act and deed, and 
their hearts are set upon it. It is said, Jonah ii. 8, ' They that observe 
lying vanities forsake their own mercies.' They set their minds a-work, 
prostitute their reason to their senses. All men's projects, what do 
they tend to but the satisfaction of their own lusts, to cater for the body, 
and gratify the animal life ? ' Making provision for the flesh, to fulfil 
the lusts thereof,' Rom. xiii. 14 ; ' Taking thought what they shall 
eat or what they shall drink,' Mat. vi. 25. Their care is about the base 
and brutish part more than about the soul, how to adorn the body and 
gratify the body ; and for this the soul must be made a slave. There 
is a perverse diligence in men to corrupt themselves. 

3. The object, with its number, ' Many inventions.' There is some 
difference in the translations. Ludovicus de Dieu, because the word 
for ' many ' signifieth also ' great ' and ' mighty,' rendereth it, Ipsi 
'autem qucesiverunt cogitationes magnatum ; meaning by the ' mighty ' 
the angels who were not contented with their own station, but forsook 
it, Jude 6. Certain it is the devil's first temptation was, Gen. iii. 5, 
' Ye shall be as gods ; ' that is, advance into a more honourable and 
noble condition than now you are in. These thoughts being suggested 
by Satan, they ambitiously entertained them. The vulgar readeth it, 
Se infinitis miscuit qucestionibus. Adam at first out of curiosity would 
know good and evil, and ever since we have been sick of questions, 
questioning this and questioning that, and have no clear light to guide 
us. The Septuagint render it, egrfrrjcrav \OJKT/JLOV<; TroXXou?, they 
sought out many ratiocinations. We grope in a maze of uncertainties, 
and so entangle ourselves the more. Our heavenly wisdom is lost by 
our sin and rebellion, and instead thereof we have gotten a false carnal 
wisdom, which is ' enmity to God,' Eorn. viii. 7, and only inclineth us 
to a false happiness, James iii. 15, to the pleasures, honours, and profits 
of the present world ; and so are given up to an injudicious mind, and 
are left in the hands of our own counsel, which is the heaviest plague 
that can light upon a reasonable creature : Ps. Ixxxi. 11, 12, 'But my 
people would not hearken to my voice, and Israel would none of me ; 
so I gave them up unto their own hearts' lusts, and they walked in their 
own counsels/ For our own wisdom is an ill guide and counsellor, and 
will never guide us aright in the way to true happiness, but lead us into 
bogs and pits, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts. 

But keeping more closely to our own translation, let me a little open 
this expression, ' They sought out many inventions.' 

First, Observe that man is left to invent, and (since he left the 
straight line of God's directions) to shift for an happiness for himself. 
Surely it was better for us when we needed only to accept or submit ; 
we never sped well since we would be our own carvers, and would 
follow those new ways to blessedness which Satan and our own hearts 
suggest to us ; as a runagate child or servant, that is not content with 
the father's or master's finding, is driven to a thousand shifts. All our 
inventions may be disproved by a double reason 

1. They are insufficient to make us happy. We were made for God, 


nnd cannot be happy again till we return to God. Being fallen from 
God, in whose favour alone true happiness is to be found, we invent 
false ways wherein we seek to attain happiness ; but after all our vain 
pursuits, we can nowhere find rest for our souls. We have but a little 
vainglory for that eternal glory which we have lost, a little brutish 
pleasure for that fulness of joy which we might have in God's presence, 
perishing vanities for the true riches ; so that we do but go about : Jer. 
xxxi. 22, ' How long wilt thou go about, backsliding daughter ? ' 
We do but weary ourselves as long as we keep off from God ; you 
meet with a broken cistern instead of the fountain : Jer. ii. 13, ' 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.' You may drink many a puddle dry, and yet never 
quench your thirst ; labour your hearts out, and yet not meet with that 
which satisfieth : Isa. Iv. 2, ' Wherefore do ye spend your money for 
that which is not bread ? and your labour for that which satisfieth not ? 
Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let 
your soul delight itself in fatness.' True rest and peace will only be 
found in God reconciled to us in Christ. 

2. They plunge us in farther misery. It is true both as to opinions 
in religion and as to practice. 

[1.] As to opinions in religion. If men apprehend some misery, how 
vain are their inventions about the remedy ! All their devices show 
how desperate the disease is. The philosophers, when they had found 
out a god, yet were ' vain in their imaginations,' Rom. i. 21 ; when they 
sat abrood on a religion, they hatched nothing but what was ridiculous : 
'And professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.' The 
Egyptians, who vaunted themselves to be the fathers of all sciences, 
worshipped onions and leeks, and their gods grew in their gardens; 
they were planted and cultivated by their labourers before they were 
worshipped by their princes. The Romans, who excelled all nations 
for their morality and civility, made gods of all things, for war and 
peace, fears and passions, agues and fevers. And still the religion of 
heathens, Turks, and pagans are so far from being the remedy, that 
they are a part of the disease, and remove man further off from God. 
All men's inventions to pacify God's wrath do further provoke him : 
Micah vi. 6, 7, ' Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow 
myself before the high God ? Shall I come before him with burnt- 
offerings, with calves of a year old ? Will the Lord be pleased with 
thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil ? Shall I give 
my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of 
my soul ? ' Go to, false Christians ! it was never well with the world 
since men were guided by inventions rather than institutions ; while 
they hope by their own penances and exterior mortifications to appease 
God, he is the more alienated from them. 

[2.] So as to practice. Whilst instead of dependence and downright 
simplicity they fly to their own shifts, and will help themselves rather 
than trust God, they involve themselves the more. There is one prin 
ciple of sincerity, to depend upon God's all-sufficiency : Gen. xvii. 1, 
' I am the Almighty God ; walk before me, and be thou perfect/ But they 
that do not trust God cannot be true to him. When men will be in- 


venting, and shift for their own happiness, they never carve to them 
selves a good portion, but have enough of their devices at last. Besides, 
our false happiness which we pursue after, and our inventions about 
it, are not only vain, but pernicious and destructive : John iii. 19, 
' And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and 
men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil.' 
If we love our own dark counsels rather than God's provision 'for us 
and the remedy offered to us, our case is the more doleful. 

Secondly, Observe, these inventions are many. Here I shall inquire 
(1.) What are these inventions ? (2.) Why many ? 

First, What are these inventions ? We must distinguish 

1. There are profitable inventions for the good of society and benefit 
of mankind, such as are civil arts and disciplines, manufacture and 
occupations, which conduce much to the good of the present world, and 
do repair those natural defects which were introduced by the fall. Now, 
though these are not intended in this place, yet two things I shall say 
upon this occasion 

[1.] The one is, that if man would have been contented to be at God's 
finding, many of these would not have been needed ; such a deal of do 
would not have been needful to man in innocency. It is sin hath made 
so many necessities, and lust still multiplieth them. 

[2.] The other is, that though since the fall we can find some remedy 
for our natural defects, yet for the spiritual distempers of the heart we 
can find no cure. By art man can melt the hardest metals, and make 
them capable of any form, but to soften the heart, and make it capable 
of God's image, that is past the skill of men or angels. There is no 
creature so fierce but ' it is tamed and hath been tamed of mankind,' 
James iii. 7 ; but yet man cannot tame his own heart ; it is God must 
turn us, or we are never turned. How many inventions hath man 
found out to repair the ruins of the fall ! Grammar and rhetoric to 
polish our speech, logic to refine our reason, ethics to reform our 
manners in civil converse, economics to govern families, politics to 
model kingdoms and commonwealths ; but nothing to tame and subdue 
the heart to God ? It is God that ' createth in us a clean heart, and 
reneweth a right spirit/ Ps. li. 10 ; even he that made it at first. 

2. There are sinful inventions, taken in a more limited sense, for 
those exquisite studied ways of sin wherewith many please themselves ; 
as we read of some that were ' inventors of evil things/ Kom. i. 30, who 
find out such wickedness as the world was never acquainted with before ; 
as new-fashioned oaths, lusts, torments. This argueth the height of 
wickedness ; and such are the more corrupt of the corrupt sort of men. 
These are not principally intended in this place, yet may be comprised 

3. The inventions here intended are such as by which we start away 
from God and corrupt ourselves. This more general sense of the words 
compriseth two sorts of inventions 

[1.] Those many crooked counsels and devices whereunto men are 
carried by their own corrupt hearts, when once they had forsaken God 
and the straight rule of his law. We read, Jer. xvii. 9, ' That the 
heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked ; who can 
know it?' There is a bottomless, unsearchable depth of wickedness 


in the heart of man, which none can discover but God ; it is wily, fraudu 
lent, prone to deceive, full of windings and turnings, wiles and sleights ; 
no creature in wicked subtlety and dissembling can go beyond him. 
The scripture delighteth in this term, ' inventions ' and ' imaginations ; ' 
Gen. vi. 5, 'All the imaginations of the thoughts of his heart were only 
evil continually ; ' and Jer. xviii. 12, ' We will walk after our own 
devices, and we will every one do the imaginations of his evil heart.' 
The heart of man is in continual action, framing and moulding things 
within itself ; and because there are many cunning fetches and secret 
devices within the heart, by which they seek to put out their own eyes, 
that they may not apprehend themselves to be so vile and filthy as 
indeed they are, and a deceitful heart smooths evil, and presents it 
under another notion, therefore they may be called, and are in scripture 
called, ' devices ' and ' inventions.' There is so much remainder of light 
and conscience since the fall, that there needeth a great deal of craft to 
varnish sin, to insinuate it with any satisfaction to the conscience ; a 
great deal of diligence to compass it, and a great deal of art to hide it 
from the world, that it may not make us hateful or obnoxious to dis 
grace and disrespect ; and to hide it from ourselves, that we may live 
in it with greater leave and allowance from those remainders of reason 
which are yet left within us. True wisdom is plain and simple $ it 
needeth no disguises to palliate it from the judgment of conscience or 
the notice of the world : 'Wisdom is justified of her children ; ' Mat. 
xi. 19, ' This is our rejoicing, 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 conversation in the world,' 2 Cor. i. 12. But 
with sin it is not so ; there are many inventions for the hiding, palliat 
ing, excusing, and defending of sin ; it is the great power of the word 
to discover them : Heb. iv. 12, ' For the word of God is quick and 
powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the 
dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and 
is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.' These are the 
most secret acts of the soul. Intentions respect the end, thoughts 
respect consultations about the means. There is an artificial dexterous 
managery of sin : Eph. ii. 3, ' Fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of 
the mind,' OeX^'j^iara rrj<j crap/cos KOI r&v Siavoiwv, that is, imaginations 
and lusts. Now of these inventions I shall say two things 

(1 ) The more studiously and dexterously any sin is carried on, it 
argueth the worse temper of spirit, and the sin is the more aggravated : 
' To be wise to do evil,' Jer. iv. 22 ; ' To devise iniquity, and work evil 
upon our beds,' Micah ii. 1 ; ' The wicked plotteth against the just, 
and gnasheth upon him with his teeth,' Ps. xxxvii. 12. The subtle 
designer of sin is worse than he that occasionally lapseth into it. The 
good may be overtaken or overborne, but to dig deep to hide our wicked 
ness, and sit abrood upon it, is the greatest evil. 

(2.) That sinful inventions for the hiding and palliating of sin never 
succeed well, but involve us the more. I shall not instance in the worst 
of men, how they are forced to add sin to sin, and help out one wicked 
ness with another, which at last bringeth upon them the feared evil 
with the greater violence ; but even in the best of men, that you may 
the more loath these sinful inventions. David had many inventions to 


cloak his sin with Bathsheba, but how ill did they succeed at last ! 
When sin hath got a tie upon a man, and a man hath done some evil 
from which he cannot well acquit himself but with some loss and 
, shame or other inconvenience, then it is a mighty snare, unless he cover 
it or maintain it, or some other way help himself by adding some other 
sin to it. Thus usually in this case men have their inventions, shift 
off a fault with a lie, and imagine it in a sort necessary for their safety 
to be evil ; and out of this seeming necessity heap and pile up sin upon 
sin, and transgression upon transgression. This, I say, was David's 
case in the matter of Bathsheba and Uriah. Surely he had never pro 
ceeded to such black thoughts, to plot the murder of a person so worthy 
and innocent, but to salve his credit and cover his dishonest act, when 
other arts and shifts failed and took no effect. Admit one sin, and the 
devil taketh this advantage, that he will force us for the defence of 
that to yield to more. Thus Sarah's unbelieving laughter brought 
forth a lie : Gen. xviii. 12-15, ' Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed 
not ; for she was afraid.' Peter, when he had denied his master with 
a plain single denial, ' I know not the man,' Mat. xxvi. 70, he proceedeth 
after to a denial with oaths and execrations : ' Then began he to curse 
and to swear, saying, I know not the man,' ver. 74. If he had pre 
vented the first sin with ordinary courage and boldness, he had not thus 
entangled himself; but one sin must help out another, though still to 
our loss and trouble. Eudoxia, wife to Theodosius junior, having 
received of the emperor her husband an apple of incredible beauty and 
bigness, gave it to one Paulinus, a learned man, whom she prized ; he, 
not knowing whence the empress had received it, presents it as a rare 
gift to the emperor, who thereupon sending for his wife, asked her for 
the apple ; she, fearing her husband's displeasure if she should say she 
had given it away, answered she had eaten it ; upon this afterwards 
the emperor produceth it, and in his jealousy killeth innocent Paulinus, 
and hateth his wife. If she had not told an untruth at first, she had 
not fallen into the sin of lying ; but giving way a little, she is drawn 
into a greater sin, her innocent friend lost his life, and she her husband's 
favour ever afterwards. All this is spoken that we may beware of evil 
inventions, which never succeed well, nor to the content of the party 
that useth them. 

[2.] These inventions are put for our pursuits after a false happiness. 
True happiness is only to be found in the favour of God, and in the 
way appointed by God ; but man would be at his own dispose, and 
would invent and find out an happiness for himself, and be sufficient 
to himself for his own blessedness, without any dependence upon God. 
Now, when man was thus fallen off from God, God was disobliged from 
providing for him, and so man is left to his own shifts. But alas ! 
how ill doth he provide for himself ! This being the very thing 
intended in the text, I shall a little more amply dilate upon it in 
several propositions. 

(1.) When man fell from God, he fell from him tanquam aprincipio 
etjine, from dependence upon him as the first cause, and respect to 
him as his chief good and last end. His dependence was loosened, 
because he distrusted God's provision for him, and would be a god to 
himself, his own principle, rule, and end ; live from himself to himself, 


according to his own will. So that self-love came in the place of love 
to God ; he that before sought nothing but God, began now to seek 
himself, and thought he should find in himself what he lost in God. 

(2.) Man being once off from God, never of himself cometh on again, 
but rangeth infinitely, being guided by his own will and wit : Jonah 
ii. 8, ' They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercies.' 
Man being fastened to such objects as he liketh, keepeth aloof from 
God, whom he liketh not, and will not come at him as long as he can 
make a shift without him : Jer. ii. 31, ' We are lords ; we will come no 
more unto tb.ee/ And though he wandereth hither and thither, he 
finds no rest for his soul, for he seeketh happiness where it is not to be 
found, in the riches, honours, and pleasures of the present life. 

(3.) Though he meet with often disappointments, yet he is unwilling 
to return even after God hath showed a remedy, and brought life and 
immortality to light in the gospel, in which way he may have peace 
and happiness, and so rest for his soul. God hath showed us the way 
to rest: Jer. vi. 16, 'Ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and 
walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls ; ' Mat. xi. 28, ' Come 
unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you 
rest.' But yet man is for his shifts still, till God changeth his heart 
and giveth him counsel in his reins, and disappoints him in his worldly 
inventions and pursuits, by blasting the creature, or occasioning some 
wound in his conscience. God speaketh often in his word, but it is 
disregarded till he speak by real arguments, and speak to the quick, 
so as to force an hearing ; till he take away their comforts, or take away 
their use of them, by some languishing sickness or anguish in their own 
conscience, or both ; by smiting them with a rod dipped in guilt : 
' When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity, thou makest 
his beauty to consume away like a moth/ Ps. xxxix. 11 ; so that then 
they see the fruitlessness of all their inventions, their vain pleasures, 
costly buildings, great honour and riches, how little these can stead 
them against the wrath of an angry God. So loath is man to submit 

God's remedy ; he laboureth all that he can to patch up his sorry 
lappiness, and is very unwilling to confess his misery ; he turneth and 
windeth every way, and seeketh help from the creature before he will 
be brought to implore aid from grace ; he will use all means within 
his grasp and reach, till his despair teach him to return from whence 
he fell, and that it is better to seek God's favour than continue his vain 
pursuits : Hosea ii. 7, ' I will return to my first husband, for then it 
was better with me than now/ 

Secondly, Why many inventions ? 

1. In opposition to that one straight line which leadeth to true 
happiness. Christ telleth us, ' One thing is necessary,' Luke x. 42, 
namely, to serve and please God, and enjoy him for ever. To enjoy 
God and please him is that one thing which is enough. But error is 
manifold ; though there be but' one path to heaven, yet there are many 
ways of sinning and going to hell. Every man hath his several course 
and way of sinning : Isa. liii. 6, ' All we like sheep have gone astray ; 
we have turned every one to his own way ; ' according to the several 
constitutions and business and affairs of men. Velle suum cuique est, 
nee voto vivitur uno. As the channel is cut, so corrupt nature in every 


man findeth an issue and passage. No sin cometh amiss to a carnal 
heart, yet some are more kindly and suitable ; one is worldly, another 
sensual, another proud and ambitious. It is our wisdom to observe 
our own haunt, and the tender parts of our souls : Ps. xviii. 23, ' I was 
upright before him, and I kept myself from mine iniquity.' All sin is 
but carnal self-love disguised ; or many, with respect to the successive 
entertainment of divers sins : Titus iii. 3, ' Serving divers lusts and 
pleasures.' Sins take the throne by turns. By age and experience 
men grow weary of former vanities, but others are adopted into their 
room, and so tlieir lusts are but exchanged, not abrogated. Now we 
are fallen from our primitive happiness, we multiply means and cares ; 
yea, at the same time the pleasures of the flesh draw the sinner several 
ways : James iv. 1, ' Whence come wars and fightings among you ? 
Come they not hence, even of your lusts, which war in your members ? ' 
Desire of riches contradicts idleness, and the toilsome cares and labours 
of this world that ease which the flesh affecteth ; disgraceful lusts are 
contradicted by ambition and pride. 

2. Many inventions, in opposition to that simplicity and singleness 
of heart which original rectitude did include. The heart of man was 
originally of one constant, uniform frame ; but now, instead of simpli 
city, there is a multiplicity. The heart now is never right till it be 
one with God. Therefore David prays, Ps. Ixxxvi. 11, ' Unite my heart 
to fear thy name.' He begs a heart entirely fixed upon God, who, as 
our great end, uniteth all our affections in this one scope, that we might 
please him, and enjoy him as our chief good and last end ; that fixeth 
man's mind ; which otherwise will be tossed up and down in perpetual 
uncertainties, and distracted by a multiplicity of ends and objects, that 
it cannot continue in any composed and settled frame. No one part 
of our lives will agree with another. A divided heart breedeth an un 
certain life : James i. 8, 'A double-minded man is unstable in all his 
ways ; ' the whole not firmly knit together by the power of the last end 
running through all ; so that our lives are a mere lottery, the fancies 
and appetites we are governed by being jumbled together by chance. 
The heart by natural corruption is loosed from God, and distracted with 
variety of vain objects, which offer themselves to our senses. The 
interest of the world and flesh is taken into competition with God ; and 
whilst the heart rangeth abroad, it is such a variable and double heart 
as will never be true to God; and while men are tossed from one 
dependence to another, and do not firmly adhere to God, being weaned 
from the vanities of the world, they are carried hither and thither by 
their perverse affections, sometimes to one thing, sometimes to another. 

3. With respect to that one object who alone was sufficient for us. 
They that have left God, and would find happiness in the creatures, 
need many creatures before they can patch up any sorry tolerable 
happiness to themselves. One broken cistern can yield but little 
refreshing, Jer. ii. 13 ; so many disappointments make them look more 
about. God made man for himself, capable to enjoy him ; now he is 
an infinite eternal good. We desire an infinite eternal good, still such 
as may quiet and satisfy us; therefore man being made capable of 
enjoying God, who is infinite, and finding himself not satisfied with a 
few or many things, always seeketh after new things. Here is his 


error, that he seeketh after that which is infinite, among those things 
which are finite, and so wandereth up and down groping for an eternal 
good : Acts xvii. 26, 27, ' And hath made of one blood all nations of 
men for to dwell on the face of the earth ; and determined the times 
before appointed, and the bounds of their habitations ; 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.' As we depart from God, we are 
gone from unity, and are left distracted and confounded in the multi 
tude of the creatures. Qucerunt in varietate creaturarum, quod 
amiserunt in unitate creatoris They seek in the variety of the 
creatures what they have lost in the one God. 

Use 1. Is to represent the-. misery of fallen man, that we may take 
up a lamentation for him, and bewail our departure from life and 
blessedness, and forsaking it for sin and misery. They have cast off 
God, and set at nought his counsel, and given themselves over to many 
fruitless and hurtful inventions. For alas ! man being left to the 
counsel of his own desperately wicked and deceitful heart, what doth he 
look after ? What may be expected from him but that all his thoughts 
and projects should be for the satisfaction of his lusts, to serve his pride, 
avarice, revenge, pomp, pleasure, and vanity ? God is not in all his 
thoughts ; he cares not whether he be pleased or displeased, honoured 
or dishonoured. 

Here consider the disorder and danger of this state. 

1. The disorder introduced hereby. 

[1.] The creature is preferred before God ; for all their projects are 
how to live at ease in the world, not how to please and enjoy God ; and 
so they ' forsake their own mercies for observing lying vanities/ Jonah 
ii. 8. They seek an happiness apart from God, who is ' their own mercy ; ' 
that is, they might have had from him all that which the mercy of an 
all-sufficient God can afford. And for what do they forsake him ? For 
' tying vanities.' In regard of their emptiness they are vanities ; and 
in regard of their disappointing our expectations, ' lying vanities.' They 
do deceive us with a vain show, and in the issue miserable disappoint 
ments. And mark, these must be observed, followed after with a great 
solicitude and care, whereas the other is freely offered to us ; it is our 
own in the offer, and it is our own fault if it be not our own in the 
choice. So 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 will hold no water.' God is the well- 
spring of all manner of good, a fountain that runneth constantly, and 
never faileth ; and such would he have been to us if we had continued 
loyal and dutiful to him. Besides the leaving of the ever-living, all- 
sufficient, and ever-flowing fountain of all good, they have betaken 
themselves to poor paltry vanities, that will yield them no real and solid 

[2.] The body is preferred before the soul ; for all our inventions run 
upon the body and the pleasing the flesh : Horn. xiii. 14, ' And make 
not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.' But the precious 
and immortal soul is little thought of and cared for. They sit down 
well appaid with carnal contentments : Luke xii. 19, ' Soul, take thine 
ease, eat, drink, and be merry ; thou hast much goods laid up for many 
years.' They do not rise to any thoughts of an higher life, never think 


of that immortal soul they carry about with them, but only use it to 
cater for the body, that the body may be well fed, and clothed, and 
adorned. Our business is to seek rest for our souls ; if we would invent 
and consider, we should look after that : Jer. vi. 16, ' Ask for the old 
paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest 
for your souls.' We are never in our wits again till this be the project 
and design we travel with. But alas ! this is not thought of. The 
neglected soul may easily complain of hard usage. What are our 
thoughts but what shall we eat, and what shall we drink, and how shall 
we make a fair show in the flesh ? If we look after the soul, it is to 
adorn it with secular learning and wisdom, which is but to serve the 
flesh in a more cleanly manner, and to gratify our worldly ends, our 
pride, or our interests. We look after flowers rather than fruit ; those 
adornments of the soul which are for pomp rather than life, and for 
present use rather than eternal benefit. 

[3.] They prefer earth before heaven and time before eternity. All 
their business is rather to make sure of the prosperity of the body than 
the salvation of the soul. And though it is plain, and they do or may 
know and see that this will not cure their diseases, nor ease their pain, 
nor save them from the grave nor hell, yet because riches will help them 
to live in pleasure and reputation with the world, and in plenty of all 
things, and to have their will as long as they live, that is enough for 
them, for they care not for the pleasures and happiness which are to be 
enjoyed in the other world. Though death and the grave may put an 
end to all they have here much sooner than they imagined, yet their 
minds and hearts are set upon these things as their happiness, and will 
not be diverted from them ; they have their portion in this world : 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.' 

2. The danger. As it is a base thing to act so disproportionably to 
the light of reason, so within a little while it will be a bitter thing : Jer. 
ii. 19, ' Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings 
shall reprove thee ; know therefore and see, that it is an evil thing and 
bitter that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, and that my fear is 
not in thee.' Sure it will be bitterness in the end to forsake the Lord, 
and walk in the inventions and imaginations of thine own heart. You 
are posting to your eternal misery, where a reflection upon your evil 
choice will be the greatest part of your misery : Isa. 1. 11, ' Behold, all 
ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks ; walk 
in the light of your fire, and the sparks which ye have kindled : this 
shall ye have of my hand, ye shall lie down in sorrow.' The allusion 
is not to such a fire as burneth and consumeth, but such as doth warm 
and cherish. Those stakes which wicked worldlings rely upon for 
succour will in time prove their greatest calamities, and those tufts and 
fuzes which they promised the greatest comfort to themselves from 
will occasion the greatest sorrow ; the brands which they heaped 
together will afford them little heat and light, but smoke to vex 
and choke them. He that will warm himself by his own sparks can 
expect no other issue from his own rash folly and God's righteous 


Use 2. To exhort us not only to lament it, but to come out of this 
condition. And here to this end 

1. Kenounce that crooked carnal wisdom which is man's undoing. 
Man at first seeking to be wise, became a fool. Now ' he must be a fool, 
that he may be wise/ 1 Cor. iii. 18 ; a fool to the flesh and the world, 
that he may be wise to God. 

2. Give up yourselves to God in covenant, as your Lord and felicity. 
A man is never in his wits till he cometh to this : Ps. xxii. 27, ' All 
the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord.' Our 
misery is in departing from him, so our happiness is in putting ourselves 
into his hands again. Now you must give up yourselves to him as 
your supreme Lord and chief felicity or happiness, depending upon him 
as your happiness, obeying him as your Lord ; obey his counsel though 
against your own reason, and stick to his ways though they seem to be 
against your present happiness. Kemember that duty is safety, that 
cleaving to God with loss is better than departing from him with 
seeming gain ; and God, that outwits the subtle designer, doth take 
care of and preserve the plain and simple person, that avowedly adhereth 
to him, when all the contrivances of foolish and worldly-minded men 
prove vain and unprosperous. Your obedience will be your safety. 
Dependence and obedience do mutually cherish one another ; the more 
we depend, the more we obey ; and the more we obey, the more we 
depend ; and so they discover one another. Let us show our depen 
dence on God, that in all the changes of this life, by a firm, fast adhe 
rence and resolution, we stick fast to God, whatever comes of it, using 
no means but what he allows, and counting his favour our happiness. 
They that depend not on him are left to their own inventions. 

3. Your great design must be to approve yourselves to God : 2 Cor. 
v. 9, ' Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may 
be accepted of the Lord.' 

Use 3. It showeth what need we have to give up ourselves to the 
conduct of God's word and Spirit Man is so full of his own inventions 
that none can be safe but they that depend upon God for direction : 
James i. 5, ' If any man lack wisdom, let him ask it of God.' Such a 
fallible creature as man is in point of truth, such an impotent creature 
is he in point of power, such an indigent creature in point of happiness 
and self-sufficiencies, such a sinful corrupt creature, so full of imagina 
tions and lusts, so many crooked dispositions in his heart, so many wiles 
to justify his irregular choice, so many temptations, and they represented 
with such sophistry, that he should be willing to accept of direction. 
Yea, the people of God themselves have need of the direction of the 
word, in regard of the weakness of their understandings and the per- 
verseness of their affections. 

1. Our understandings are so weak, that we are ignorant of many 
things necessary to be known ; for we know but in part. If we know 
something in general, we fail in particular application ; both in general 
and in particular. If we know things habitually, we do not actually 
consider them, being hindered by multitude of business, or the violence 
of temptations, or lulled asleep by the pleasures of the flesh : Eccles. v. 
1, ' They consider not that they do evil/ 

2. Our affections are perverse, and so addicted rather to be led by 


sense than right reason, that there is great danger lest, seeing and ap 
proving that which is better, we follow what is worse, contrary to our 
knowledge and conscience : Rom. ii. 18, ' And knowest his will, and 
approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of 
the law.' And therefore the best had need to pray with David : Ps. 
cxliii. 10, ' Teach me to do thy will, for thou art my God : thy Spirit 
is good ; lead me into the land of uprightness.' 


Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall 
return unto God that gave it. ECCLES. xii. 7. 

IN the beginning of this chapter Solomon presseth us to remember our 
creator while yet young : many have been too late acquainted with 
God, but never any too soon. His arguments are 

1. From the wearisome evils of old age, very rhetorically described 
in ver. 2-6, ' While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars be 
not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain : in the day when 
the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow 
themselves, and the grinders cease, because they are few, and those that 
look out of the windows be darkened ; and the doors shall be shut 
in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low ; and he shall 
rise up at the voice of the bird ; and all the daughters of music shall 
be brought low : also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, 
and fear shall be in the way, and the almond-tree shall flourish, and 
the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail ; because man 
goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets : or ever 
the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher 
be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.' That 
is a time of expense, and neegleth cordials rather than work and service. 
Therefore, while the prints of God's creating bounty are fresh upon us, 
it is best to exercise ourselves to godliness. 

2. From the certain approach of death, as the final issue of the pre 
sent life ; therefore we should prepare for this change, think of God 
betimes, and secure a better life before this come to the last period. 
This argument is in the text, ' Then shall the dust return to the earth,' 
&c. Man consists of a body and a soul ; the text telleth you what shall 
become of both. 

1. Here is represented the state of the body after death. 

2. The state of the soul. 

1. The state of the body ; it shall be resolved into the matter out 
of which it was made. Dust it was in its composition, and dust it 
shall be in its dissolution : ' Then shall the dust return to the earth as 
it was.' 

2. The state of the soul in the other world : ' And the spirit shall 
return to God that gave it.' Where 

[1.] The nature of it, or what kind of substance the soul is ; it is a 
spirit, or an immaterial substance. 


[2.] The author of it, who is God ; he gave it ; he gave us the body 
too, but the soul in a more especial manner. 

[3.] The disposal of it, or in what state it remaineth after death ; it 
returneth to God. It is not extinguished when the body is dissolved into 
dust, nor doth it vanish into the air, but returneth to God. 

All true wisdom consisteth in the knowledge of God and ourselves ; 
we cannot know ourselves unless we know the parts of which we do 
consist. This text giveth you a right notion of them both ; for it telleth 
you what they are, and what shall become of them. They are con 
joined, but distinct ; and therefore, when the union betwixt them is 
dissolved, they go several ways. We are concerned in them both, but 
more in the soul, which hath the pre-eminence above the body. The 
one is visible, and therefore its changes are known ; but the other is 
invisible, and therefore more unknown ; but the state of both is equally 
certain, for as certainly as the body returneth to the dust, so doth the 
soul return to God. 

First, For the first branch, ' Then shall the body return to the earth 
as it was,' I shall not stay upon it. 

1. It giveth you the right notion of the body ; it is but dust moulded 
up into a comely shape, which is an effect of God's wisdom and power, 
to make such a curious frame out of the dust of the ground. We read 
in the history of the plagues of Egypt, that the magicians were not 
able so much as to bring forth lice out of the dust of the ground, Exod. 
viii. 18, 19 ; but God could raise such a beautiful structure as man's 
body is. But though it speaketh God's power, yet it showeth our frailty. 
Our body is here called ' dust ; ' it is not brass, or iron, or stone, or 
stiff clay, but dust, and shall return to the earth as it was. Dust hath 
no coherence or consistence, but is easily scattered with every puff of 
wind ; so is our earthly or dusty tabernacle with every blast of God's 
displeasure : Gen. xviii. 27, ' Behold, now I have taken upon me to 
Bpeak to the Lord, who am but dust and ashes ; ' Isa. xl. 15, ' Behold, 
the nations are as a drop of the bucket, and they are counted as the 
small dust of the balance.' 

2. What shall become of it ? ' It shall return to the earth as it was ; ' 
Gen. iii. 19, ' Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return ; ' Ps. civ. 
29, ' Thou takest away their breath ; they die and return to their dust ; ' 
Ps. cxlvi. 4, ' He returneth to his earth.' Which should teach us to 
take care for a better estate : 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.' The 
soul dwelleth now in an earthly house ; it should look out for a more 
glorious mansion. 

Secondly, Of the soul three things are spoken, which are so many 
arguments to prove its immortality, which is the subject I mainly 

1.. The kind of it ; it is a spirit. The matter of which the body is 
made is the earth, and so it is still maintained : ' He bringeth forth food 
for them out of the earth,' Ps. civ. 14 ; and so breedeth and casteth 
out corruption every day ; but the soul is a simple substance, not com 
pounded of corruptible principles, and therefore cannot be resolved into 
any. The body liveth by the soul and from the soul, but the soul de- 


pendeth upon nothing but God. The argument is good ; it is incor 
poreal and immaterial, therefore immortal ; for mortality hath reference 
to some compounded substance, which hath in itself some principle and 
cause of motion, as well as a material and passive part, that may be 
moved by that principle, and signifieth no more but a capacity of the 
material and passive part to be deprived of the inward and active prin 
ciple of its motion. In short, if the soul die, it must be from the violence 
of some external power, or some principles of corruption within ; not 
by violence without : Mat. x. 28, ' And fear not them which kill the 
body, but are not able to kill the soul.' And it hath no principles of 
corruption, whereby it should destroy itself, for it is a spirit. 

2. The author ; 'God gave it.' Our bodies are also his workmanship, 
but the soul is immediately framed by God, both in the first creation 
and the continual propagation of mankind. At the first creation, we 
read the body was created out of the earth or the dust of the ground, 
but the soul out of nothing, but immediately breathed into Adam by 
God : Gen. ii. 7, ' And the Lord formed man out of the dust of the 
ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became 
a living soul.' And still the soul is immediately created by God : 
Zech. xii. 1, ' He stretcheth forth the heavens, and laid the foundation 
of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him/ The creating 
of the soul is reckoned among the works of his omnipotency : Heb. xii. 
9, ' FurthermoEe, we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, 
and we gave them reverence; shall we not much rather be in sub 
jection unto the Father of spirits ? ' The fathers of our flesh are 
distinguished from the Father of spirits. Our natural parents under 
God are the instruments of our natural and earthly being, as they 
procured the matter out of which our bodies were derived ; they are 
T?}? (rap/cos Trarepas, ' the fathers of our flesh,' but God is 'jrartjp irvev- 
/j,dva)v, ' The Father of our spirits.' The spirit of man runneth not in 
the material channel of fleshly descent; it is not educed out of the 
power of the matter, but immediately made by God. 

3. The disposal of it. When it flitteth out of the body, 'it returneth 
to God ; ' that is, to God as a judge, to be disposed of by him into its 
everlasting estate. God challengeth souls as his, or belonging to his 
government, as universal king and judge of the world : Ezek. xviii. 4, 
' All souls are mine.' He will give to every one according to his works, 
adjudging and sentencing them either to heaven, the mansion of the 
blessed, or 'spirits of just men made perfect,' Heb. xii. 23, or to hell, 
the place where damned spirits are kept in prison : 1 Peter iii. 19, 
' He went and preached unto the spirits in prison.' The body is not 
said to return to God, but to return to the earth as it was ; but the 
soul is said to return to God ; therefore the whole man dieth not, and 
is not extinguished with the body. All these particulars import the 
immortality of the soul. 

Doct. That the soul of man is immortal, and dieth not when the 
body dieth, but remaineth in that estate into which it is disposed by 

First, There is a threefold immortality 

1. An essential immortality, which importeth an absolute necessity 
of existence ; so it is said, 1 Tim. vi. 16, ' God only hath immortality.' 


2. There is a natural immortality, which hath a foundation in the 
being of the creatures ; so the angels and spirits of men are in their 
nature immortal, so as they cannot be destroyed by any second cause, 
and have no principle of corruption in themselves, though by the power 
of God they might be annihilated. 

3. A gratuitous immortality, or by gift and courtesy ; so the body 
of Adam in innocency, non conditione corporis, but benefitio conditoris ; 
not by the condition of his body, but the bounty of his maker : so the 
bodies of the faithful after the resurrection shall be immortal. 

Secondly, Let us prove this, that the soul is immortal, and subsisteth 
after the separation. The point is necessary to be discussed ; for till 
we are established in the belief of this truth, we shall fear no greater 
judgments than what do befall us in this world, nor expect greater 
mercies than what we enjoy here ; and so never take care to reconcile 
ourselves to God, or to deny the profits of the world and the pleasures 
of sense, that we may attain a better estate. An holy life will never 
else be endeavoured or produced to any good increase ; for such as 
men's belief is of an immortal or never-dying condition in heaven or 
hell, such will the bent of their hearts and course of life be ; there 
fore the salvation of our souls is said to be the end of our faith : 1 
Peter i. 9, '^Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your 
souls.' There the ' end ' signifieth either the scope or the event ; if 
you take it for the scope, the great end of faith is to lead us from all 
worldly happiness to an estate after this life : Heb. x. 39, 'But we are 
not of them that draw back unto perdition, but of them that believe to 
the saving of the soul.' Sense saith, Spare the flesh ; but faith saith, 
Save the soul. This is the scope and mark to which it tendeth. If 
you take it for the event and issue of things, all our believing, praying, 
enduring suffering, rejoicing, pleasing, and glorifying of God, endeth 
in this, the saving of our souls. Therefore let us see how it may be 
proved, both by scripture and by the light of reason. 

I. By scripture, which is the proper means to beget faith. Dives 
desired one to go from the dead to tell his brethren of an everlasting 
estate of torment and bliss : Luke xvi. 27, 28, ' I pray thee, father, 
that thou wouldst send him to my father's house ; for I have five 
brethren, that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this 
place of torment ; ' intimating thereby that the cause of his own sin 
and theirs was unbelief, or a not being persuaded of a world to come. 
Alas ! we have but an obscure prospect of an estate after this life, and 
therefore indulge sensual delights. But what cure and remedy? Dives 
thought a spectre or apparition would be the best cure of this atheism ; 
but Abraham or Christ thought otherwise : he referreth them to Moses 
and the prophets ; that is, the holy scriptures, for all the books then 
written and received in the church are comprised in that expression. 
Since we are sick of the same disease, this will be our best remedy. 
We are told, 2 Tim. i. 10, that Christ ' hath brought life and immor 
tality to light through the gospel.' It is the privilege of the divine 
revelation to represent this truth with more clearness and certainty. 

1. With more clearness. There is a mist upon eternity, which is 
only dispelled by the light of the gospel. Keasons from nature may 
in some measure acquaint us with an everlasting estate, yet what kind 


of happiness it is that attendeth the godly, and what misery shall befall 
the wicked, it telleth us but little ; but the scripture sets down enough 
to invite our hopes and awaken our fears. Heathens had some conceits 
of Elysian fields and places of blessedness, and some obscure caverns 
appointed to be places of torment, fitted to work men into a blind 
superstition ; but the word of God hath given us such clear discoveries 
of future happiness and misery as that we may know what to hope 
for and what to fear ; and if well improved, will breed in us a true 
spirit of godliness. 

2. In regard of certainty. Nature may give us some dark guesses 
and uncertain conjectures, so as the heathens, that had no other light, 
were ready to say and unsay in a breath what they had spoken con 
cerning our estate to come ; but the gospel is a sure word, apt to beget 
faith, not a wavering opinion. Go to sense, which judgeth by the 
outside of things : Eccles. iii. 21, ' Who knoweth the spirit of a man 
that goeth upward, and the spirit of a beast that goeth downward to 
the earth ? ' By sense we see mankind, as the beasts, to be conceived, 
formed in the belly, brought forth, nourished, to grow in strength and 
stature, wax old, and die ; by the eye we can discern no external sen 
sible difference ; so that if we consult with mere sense, all religion and 
hope is gone. Go to reason, and that will tell us indeed that there is 
a difference between a man and a beast; that man knoweth and desireth 
things which the beasts do not and. cannot ; and that the reasonable 
soul hath operations independent of matter and of the body, and there 
fore it is probable it can subsist without the body ; for the manner of 
working showeth the manner of being. But there is cold comfort in a 
bare may-be. The gospel showeth it shall be. As a glass, it doth 
discover this state to us ; as a rule, it guideth us to the enjoyment of 
it ; as a motive, it persuadeth us to seek after it ; as a charter and grant, 
it doth assure our title to it : it is full fraught and thick sown with this 
kind of seed. 

Therefore let us see what the light of scripture saith to this point. 

[1.] It discovereth to us everywhere the doctrine of the eternal 
recompenses, two places, and two estates, wherein souls abide after death, 
heaven and hell : heaven, the mansion of the just : John xiv. 2, ' In my 
Father's house are many mansions.' And hell, the place of torments: 
Mark ix. 44, ' They are cast into hell, where their worm dieth not, and 
the fire is not quenched.' And as soon as the soul passeth out of the 
body, it is in one of these : Luke xvi. 22, 23, ' And it came to pass that 
the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom ; 
the rich man died also, and was buried : and in hell he lifted up his 
eyes, being in torments.' He had a pompous funeral here upon earth; 
for it is said, ' he died, and was buried,' which is not said of Lazarus. 
These are truths not spoken of once or twice, but everywhere. 

[2.] The covenant showeth it, which is God's solemn transaction with 
his subjects, and consists of precepts or laws, invested with the sanction 
of promises and threatenings. Christ argues thus : Luke xx. 37, 38, 
' Now, that the dead are raised, even Moses showed at the bush, when he 
calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the 
God of Jacob ; for he is not the God of the dead, but of the living. 7 
He proves the immortality of the soul and the resurrection of the body. 



(1.) His commands ; all of them imply such an estate, and some of 
them express it. All imply it ; as faith in Christ. We believe in his name 
to obtain eternal life: John xx. 31, ' But these things are written, that 
you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God ; and that 
believing you might have have life through his name ; ' and John v. 
24, 'He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath 
everlasting life.' Kepentance : Acts iii. 19, 'Kepent ye, therefore, and 
Ibe converted, that your sins may be blotted out when the times of 
refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.' Therefore it is 
called ' repentance unto salvation,' 2 Cor. vii. 10 ; and ' repentance to 
life ; ' Acts xi. 18, ' Then hath God also to the gentiles granted repent 
ance unto life.' So new obedience : Heb. v. 9, ' He became the author 
of eternal salvation to all that obey him ; ' Acts xxvi. 7. ' Unto which 
promise the twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to 
come.' And some express it : He hath commanded us ' not to labour 
for the meat that perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto 
everlasting life,' John vi. 27 ; ' Not to lay up treasures upon earth, 
where moth and rust doth corrupt, and thieves break through and steal ; 
but lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven/ Mat. vi. 19, 20 ; and 
' Strive to enter in at the strait gate,' Luke xiii. 24. Now, if there were 
no such thing, all these commands would be in vain. Would God 
flatter us into a fool's paradise, and command us to look after a thing 
of nought ? 

(2.) The sanction. And there (1.) The threatening, which is dam 
nation, or the second death : Mark xvi. 16, ' He that believeth not shall 
be damned.' Is this a vain scarecrow ? and need God govern his sub 
jects by a cheat or a lie ? (2.) The promises ; he promiseth eternal 
life to them that obey the gospel and seek after this immortality : Eom. 
ii. 7, ' To them who, by patient continuance in well-doing, seek for 
glory, honour, and immortality, eternal life ; ' Kev. ii. 10, 'Be thou 
faithful to death, and I will give thee a crown of life.' Be faithful in 
making good your baptismal vow, improving talents, withstanding 
temptations. So to comfort us against fears, losses, and sorrows : 
Luke xii. 32, ' Fear not, little flock ; it is your Father's good pleasure 
to give you a kingdom.' Now, would God overreach us, and lead us 
with chimeras and vain hopes ? 

[3.] The mediator of the new covenant showethit ; his coming from 
heaven, the place of souls, the region of spirits, and his going thither 
again at his ascension. 

(1.) His coming from heaven. Wherefore was Christ incarnate, and 
clothed with our flesh, but that we might be apparelled with his glory ? 
John x. 10, ' I am come, that they might have life, and that they 
might have it more abundantly.' To lay a foundation for our eternal 

(2.) His going to heaven, his entering into that glory he spake of, 
and so giving a visible demonstration to the world of the reality of it : 
1 Peter i. 21, ' Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from 
the dead, and gave him glory, that your faith and hope may be in God.' 
There he remaineth at God's right hand, to open heaven to all believers. 
Christ, when he died, recommended his spirit to the Father : Luke 
xxiii. 46, ' Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.' And so 


do believers to Christ : Acts vii. 59, ' Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.' 
If the soul did perish with the body, why should we commit it to 
Christ ? 

[4.] The Holy Spirit is given to form and prepare us for this estate, 
therefore by consequence to assure us of it : 2 Cor. v. 5, ' Now he that 
hath wrought us for this self-same thing is God, who hath also given unto 
us the earnest of the Spirit.' . 

(1.) Look to the graces of the Spirit. We are made partakers of 
the divine nature to draw us off from the world to heaven : 2 Peter i. 
4, ' Whereby are given to us exceeding great and precious promises, that 
by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped 
the corruption that is in the world through lust.' Now will God fit the 
soul for such a blessed estate when this life is ended ; and shall we 
never enjoy it ? If we consider the soul not only as being an inward 
principle of life and sense, but also of reason, it proveth the immortality 
of it, much more as sanctified and ennobled by grace : Horn. viii. 10, 
' The body is dead because of sin, but the spirit is life because of right 
eousness.' Believers have a life wrought in them by the Spirit, which 
is the pledge and beginning of eternal life ; for they are sanctified and 
purified, and fit to be brought into the sight and presence of God. The 
apostle doth not draw his argument there from the immortality of the 
soul, for that is common to good and bad ; the wicked have a soul that 
will survive the body, but little to their comfort ; their immortality 
is not an happy immortality ; but he taketh his argument from the 
new life wrought in us by the Spirit, which is the beginning and 
earnest of a blessed immortality : the new life is an eternal principle of 

(2.) Look to the comforts of the Spirit, from the love of God and the 
hopes of glory : 1 Peter i. 8, ' Whom having not seen, ye love ; in whom, 
though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeak 
able and full of glory ; ' Rom. v. 2, ' And rejoice in hope of the glory 
of God.' Now is it a fancy that holy men rejoice in ? Look, as the 
terrors of a wounded conscience are the foretastes of hell-torments, 
called somewhere the pains of hell, so the comforts of the Spirit are the 
first-fruits of heavenly joys, to set us a-longing for more : Eom. 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 body.' Now by all these things 
let us rouse up a drowsy faith, and triumph over that carnal atheism 
and unbelief that worketh in our hearts. Is the whole scripture false, 
and the Christian religion a well-devised fable, our Kedeemer an impos 
tor, and the covenant of God a dream, and the comforts of the Spirit 
fanatical illusions ? And were they all deceived that embraced the 
Christian religion, that took such pains in subduing the flesh, so freely 
hazarded their interests, and life itself, on the promises of Christ and 
the hopes of another world ? Are the wisest men the world ever saw 
fools, and the ordinances of Christ a customary superstition, and these 
rejoicings and foretastes of the children of God a mere deceit and im 
posture ? Surely it cannot be. Therefore this is true, that the soul 
dieth not with the body, but is in that estate into which God dispos- 
eth it. 



II. By the light of reason. 

First, I shall urge such arguments as the scripture directeth us to. 

1. From the nature of the soul. It is a spirit, and such a principle 
of life as hath light in it : John i. 4, ' In him was life, and the life was 
the light of men.' The soul of man differeth from the soul of a beast, 
for that hath only life and sense in it ; but this hath light, and there 
fore was designed to more noble and glorious ends than merely to 
quicken and enliven the body. The soul of the beast is mortal, because it 
is created only to serve the body, and knoweth nothing, desireth nothing, 
delighteth in nothing but what belongeth to the pleasure and welfare 
of the body ; but now the soul of man apprehendeth things past, pre 
sent, and to come, is capable of tongues, arts, and sciences, and things 
abstract from bodily sense ; it can discourse about God, angels, and all 
kind of spiritual beings, about eternity and immortality, and propound 
and debate questions and doubts concerning the world to come. The 
beasts look only to their food and the propagation of their kind ; they 
know nothing, and can conceive nothing, of man's affairs; but now man's 
soul is not only capable of being ennobled and improved by moral 
virtues, and such things as fit us for human society, but is capable also 
of conformity to God, by being made holy and upright, and of com 
munion with him in holy duties and acts of grace : 1 John i. 3, ' And 
truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.' 
The beasts desire not the company of men, as we do of God and of the 
blessed spirits. In short, there is a greater affinity between the souls 
of men and angels than between the souls of beasts and men : Ps. viii. 
5, ' Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels.' Well, then, 
can it be imagined the souls of men, furnished with such capacities of 
understanding, are nothing but a little puff of air, that is dissipated in 
dying, or a little vital heat, that is extinguished with the corporeal 
matter, or only the vigour of the blood ? That soul that can so much 
soar aloft above the interests and concernments of the body, and take 
such a marvellous delight and contentment in spiritual things as the 
view of all manner of truths, must that follow the state of the body ? 
Shall that creature that cometh so near the angels die like the beasts ? 
or rather, become like the angels of God that always behold his face ? 
Yea, that creature that draweth so near to God in the majesty of his 
person and the abilities of his mind, that was created after God's own 
image, and for the worship and service and enjoyment of God, shall he 
die as the beasts that perish ? It cannot be imagined. 

2. The scripture mentions words that imply its independence of the 
body, or that it doth not so wholly depend on the body that it cannot 
subsist and act without it ; they go several ways, as in the text : 
3 John 2, ' I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be 
in health, as thy soul prospereth ; ' 2 Cor. iv. 16, ' For which cause we 
faint not, but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is 
renewed day. by day.' And experience teacheth the truth of these 
things, that the body and soul seem sometimes to have no communion 
with one another, so different are their functions and offices. You 
shall often see men decrepit in all the members of the body, who yet 
have the motions of their minds as strong and as nimble as when in 
perfect health ; and when they are upon the borders of death, without 


vigour and pulse, their understandings are more sublime than before, 
and their thoughts more refined. It is true the indispositions of the 
body clog the soul in things that are to be acted by the body ; but in 
what the soul acteth apart, in the midst of aches and pains their 
strength of mind is entire, and their comforts never more raised than 
in bodily weakness. Therefore it lives and acts apart from the body. 

3. The scripture directs us to this argument, that this is the general 
persuasion of all mankind, that there is a life after death ; and it 
instanceth in that that is most sensible, and of every day's experience, 
our desires and fears. 

[1.] Desires. The soul hath a natural desire of immortality, which, 
if it should not enjoy, that desire were in vain ; but God doth nothing 
in vain. The apostle intimateth this, how men feel about for some 
thing eternal and infinite : Acts xvii. 27, ' That they should seek the 
Lord, if haply they might feel after him.' Every man would be happy, 
and eternally happy ; for otherwise he would be tormented with a fear 
of losing that which he counteth his happiness. See Ps. iv. 6, ' Who 
will show us any good ? Lord, lift thou up the light of thy counte 
nance upon us;' Mat. xiii. 45, 46, 'The kingdom of heaven is like unto 
a merchant-man seeking goodly pearls, who, when he had found one 
pearl of great price, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it; ' 
John vi. 34, 'Lord, evermore give us this bread;' Num. xxiii. 10, 
' Let me die the death of the righteous.' Other creatures besides man 
are satisfied with what they have here ; but the soul of man is satisfied 
with nothing but the eternal enjoyment of what is good, an immortal 
estate, an infinite good. Every one that loveth himself would be 
happy, and, if he could, everlastingly happy. The saints, and those 
that are taught of God, pitch upon the right way: Ps. xvii. 15, 'As 
for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness ; I shall be satisfied, 
when I awake, with thy likeness.' But this is the universal inclination 
of all mankind. Whence cometh this desire to be so universal, if there 
be nothing to satisfy it? Every natural appetite was given us for 
some purpose, and have things designed for their satisfaction; and 
therefore there is that immortality we all seek after, not in our bodies, 
they must return to their earth ; not in fancy, that is a shadow ; this 
is like the pleasure which those take that want children in playing 
with little dogs : it lieth in the soul, in the eternal enjoyment of God. 

[2.] Fears, which presage and foretell such an estate to our great 
disquiet. Conscience fears a judgment after this life : Rom. i. 32, 
'Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such 
things are worthy of death.' And a state of misery to come : Heb. 
ii. 15, ' Who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to 
bondage.' At death these fears are more active and pungent : 1 Cor. 
xv. 56, 'The sting of death is sin;' and surprise the guilty soul with 
greater horror and distraction ; then they are summoned to their great 
account. If the soul were mortal, why should men be afraid of tor 
ments after death ? They anticipate the miseries of the life to come, 
not as it puts a period unto their natural comforts, but as it is an 
entrance into everlasting miseries. 

4. The scripture directs to this argument, the justice of God for 
the comfort of the faithful : 2 Thes. i. 5, ' Which is a manifest token 


of the righteous judgment of God.' The sufferings of the faithful are 
a demonstration of a future estate. There is a God : if there be not a 
first and fountain-being, how did we come to be? for nothing can 
make itself ; or how did the world fall into this order ? This God is 
just, for all perfections are in the first being. If we deny him to be 
just, we deny him to be God and the governor of the world : Bom. 
iii. 5, 6, ' Is God unrighteous, who taketh vengeance ? God forbid ; for 
then how shall God judge the world?' Now it is agreeable to the 
justice of his government that it should be well with them that do 
well, and ill with them that do evil, or that he should make a differ 
ence by rewards and punishments between the wicked and obedient. 
It seemeth uncomely when it is otherwise: Prov. xxvi. 1, 'As snow 
in summer, and as rain in harvest ; so honour is not seemly for a fool/ 
When the wicked are exalted, men look on it as an uncouth thing. 
Now this reward and punishment is not fully dispensed in this world, 
even in the judgment of them that have no great knowledge of the 
heinous nature of sin, and the judgment competent thereunto. Yea, 
rather, the best are exercised with poverty, disgrace, scorn, and all 
manner of troubles, their persons molested, their names cast out as 
odious, when the wicked live in pomp and ease, and oppress them at 
their pleasure. Therefore, since God's justice doth not make such a 
difference here, there is another life wherein he will do it ; otherwise we 
must deny all providence, and that God doth not concern himself in 
human affairs, and that a man may break his laws, oppress his people, 
and no great harm will come of it : Zeph. i. 12, * The Lord will not do 
good, neither will he do evil ; ' and God would seem indifferent to good 
and evil ; yea, rather partial to the evil, and to favour the wicked more 
than the righteous, which is blasphemy, and a diminution of God's 
goodness and holiness : Ps. xi. 6, 7, ' Upon the wicked he shall rain 
snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest ; this shall be the 
portion of their cup. But the righteous Lord loveth righteousness, 
and his countenance doth behold the upright." Obedience would be 
man's loss and ruin, and so God would be the worst master : 1 Cor. 
xv. 19, 'If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men 
most miserable.' They that forsake the sinful pleasures of this life, 
hazard all their natural interests, row against the stream of flesh and 
blood, would be ill provided for by their religion. Therefore there 
is another life wherein God will reward his people. 

Secondly, I shall urge other arguments for the immortality of the 

1. The capacity of the soul argueth the immortality of it. Now it 
is capable (1.) Of civil arts ; (2.) Of owning the distinction between 
good and evil ; (3.) Of knowing immortality and matters of everlasting 
consequence ; (4.) Of knowing God and his attributes ; (5.) Of the 
divine nature, which consists in the knowledge and love of God ; 
(6.) Of a sweet familiar communion with him. Let us see how all 
these capacities will prove the matter in hand. 

[1.] The being capable of civil arts will prove the soul's spiritual 
substance, far excelling the beasts in dignity ; for it is capable of all 
kind of learning and witty inventions ; as grammar, and the knowledge 
of tongues and rhetoric, to form and polish our speech ; logic, to refine 


our reason ; ethics, to order our manners ; medicine, to cure the dis 
tempers of our bodies ; by physics, or by natural philosophy, it knoweth 
all kind of things, all ranks of beings, from God and angels to the 
smallest worm ; yea, it acquireth such skill as to make use of all 
creatures for its own benefit : James iii. 7, ' For every kind of beasts, 
and of birds, and of serpents, and things in the sea, is tamed, and hath 
been tamed of mankind.' The power and skill of man is large, and 
reacheth through the whole creation ; by one means or other man 
mastereth them. Now what doth this signify but that man hath a soul 
different from the souls of the beasts ? Job xxxv. 11, ' He teacheth 
us more than the beasts of the field, and maketh us wiser than the 
fowls of heaven.' And that will contribute much to the matter in 
hand. Solomon puts the question, Eccles. iii. 21, ' Who knoweth the 
spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of a beast that goeth 
downward to the earth ? ' Mark, there he asserts that the spirit of the 
man goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast goeth downward ; there 
is an ascent ascribed to the one, and a descent to the other ; upward 
implieth heaven and heavenly things ; downward, the earth and earthly 
things. The human soul ascendeth to God, the universal judge of all 
the world, whose throne is in heaven; but the soul of the beasts 
taketh its lot among all earlhly things, which are at length resolved 
into earth, water, and air. In the creation, God is said to breathe into 
man the spirit of life ; not so of the beast. So in the dissolution ; the 
one returneth to God, the other leaveth off to exist, and when they 
die, they are no more. 

[2.] It is capable of owning the distinction between moral good and 
evil. He that doth not acknowledge it is unworthy the name of man ; 
for to love or hate God is not indifferent ; nor to kill a neighbour, or 
hunt an hare in the woods ; to use lawful matrimony, or for a man to 
pollute himself either with promiscuous or incestuous embraces. Now, 
if our souls differed not from the soul of a beast, they could have no 
such apprehension or conception. The beasts know pain and pleasure, 
but they have no knowledge of virtue and vice, as is sensible to every 
one that considereth them ; but man hath: Rom. ii. 14, 15, 'For when 
the gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained 
in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves, which 
show the work of the law written in their hearts.' Well, then, man 
hath a life beyond this, a further end of his actions than a beast, which 
is to approve himself to God, to whom he must give an account, 
whether he hath done good or evil ; for a conscience supposeth a law, 
and a law supposeth a sanction both of reward and punishment, and a 
sanction a judge, to whom a man is accountable. And if man were 
but an higher and wiser sort of beast, he would but differ gradually 
from a dog or a swine. Now no man would be used as a beast, and made 
a slave to any one that can master and tame him, and sold in the 
market as a beast ; if this be his lot by his infelicity in the world, he 
would look upon it as an uncouth thing, and that it would be to sin 
before God to use him so. Therefore there is a distinction between men 
and beasts ; men die not as the beasts die. 

[3.] They are capable of the knowledge of immortality, and can frame 
curious disputes and accurate debates thereof, which showeth they are 


not altogether incapable of the thing itself ; for the beasts know no 
other life beyond what they enjoy, and mind no other, and care for no 
other ; and therefore the estate of man will be different from theirs. 

[4.] Man is capable of knowing God and his attributes, which the 
beasts are not, because they were never made to enjoy him : ' He hath 
given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true/ 
1 John v. 20. They are capable of knowing their relation to God as 
his creatures and subjects, and so are obnoxious to his judgment, and 
that nothing here can make them happy, and that God alone can do it : 
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 in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their 
wine increased.' That happiness lieth not in what men ordinarily seek 
it in, riches, honours, and pleasures, but in the favour of God ; that here 
we do not enjoy him to the full, and that therefore we must seek after 
another life ; here we seek God, in the world to come we find him, and 
therefore cannot rest in this partial enjoyment. Man is ever seeking 
after an immortal blessedness. Now this capacity is not in vain ; the 
soul is restless till it find him. 

[5.] Man is capable of a divine nature, which consists not only in the 
bare knowledge, but love of God : 2 Peter i. 4, ' Whereby are given to 
us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these you might be 
partakers of the divine nature.' He is capable of the image of God : 
Eph. iv. 24, ' And that ye put on the new man, which after God is 
created in righteousness and true holiness.' 

[6.] Man is capable of a sweet familiar communion with God and 
friendship with him: 1 John i. 3, 'And truly our fellowship is with 
the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.' Therefore the state of man 
dying must needs be different from that of a beast, who hath no 
knowledge, no desire, no love to God, no capacity of communion with 
him, unless it be in respect of receiving the effects and bounty of his 
common providence. 

2. The dignity of man : ' God made him a little lower than the angels, 
and crowned him with glory and honour,' Ps. viii. 5. Now if he were 
not immortal, he would be of all creatures most miserable ; his reason 
only would serve to make him capable and apprehensive of the greater 
calamity and trouble. Sure it is that man is the masterpiece of this 
visible world, in respect of the majesty of his person, the abilities of his 
mind, and his sovereignty over all the works of God's hands, all which 
are marks of special favour of the creator to man above other creatures. 
Now, if God hath given to man the next place in order of dignity to the 
angels above his other creatures, what would his love signify if he be 
in a worse condition than the beasts, and liable to so many cares, 
encumbrances, grief, and remorse of conscience, which the beasts are 
freed from ? Alas ! considering the calamities of his life, infirmities 
of his body, perplexities of his mind, his reason is a sad privilege 
to him, and his torment rather than his blessedness, whilst it only 
giveth him a doleful remembrance of what is past, a care about what 
is present, and awakens fears of what is to come. The beasts indeed 
have a sense of what is present, but no remorse for what is past, no 
presage of what is to come ; but man hath all these, a bitter remem- 


brance of sins past ; and for present evils, they are more than those of 
the beasts, such as poverty, banishment, imprisonment, slavery, loss of 
estate, sundry sicknesses and diseases, and man hath a more bitter sense 
and apprehension of them. And for time to come, he hath a foresight 
of the end, which the beasts have not : so that we have twenty-fold 
more cares and labours than they have, who live in tranquillity and 
liberty, and free from those disquiets which vex mankind, and have no 
remorse to sour their pleasures, either from the afflictive remembrance 
of what is past, or solicitude about what is to come. Therefore if our 
happiness were here only, man would be less happy than the beasts, 
many of whose lives are longer and sweeter, who have a more sincere 
use of bodily pleasures. But here is their happiness ; God had pro 
vided some better thing for them to be enjoyed in the other world. It 
cannot be imagined that he hath made his noblest creature in the world 
with a nature that should be a necessary misery and vexation to itself, 
above the calamities incident to the rest of the creatures. The very 
apprehensions and desires that a man hath of an higher good would 
be a torment and burden to him if there were no calamity else, for he 
seeth a better estate which he cannot enjoy ; as an horse tied up from 
the provender which is near unto him and cannot reach it. Our nature 
inclineth us to know and love that we cannot obtain : we can think 
aforehand of our death, and abode in darkness, which beasts cannot, 
for they are not troubled with these thoughts : yea, we fear miseries 
after death, and know not how to be exempted from them. Now it is 
incredible that God should make his noblest creature most miserable, 
by setting before his eyes a certain death, and possible torments and 
miseries after death, and provide no remedy against these things. 

3, God governeth men by the hopes and fears of another life, and 
therefore such a life there is, and so the souls of men are immortal. 
The reason is, because God needeth not to govern the world by deceit 
and lying : this would be against his holiness and benignity, and 
would destroy the very government he would establish ; for it would 
tempt us to insincerity, and to cheating and deceiving others ; for men 
are no better than their religion, it were well if they were as good. 
The foolish, bad, and ignorant may use such arts ; but the wise, holy, 
and good would not. In ludicrous things we fright our children with 
bugbears and names ; but in such a serious thing as the government 
of the world, it cannot be imagined that God should use such an 

[1.] That God governeth the world by the hopes and fears of another 
life is evident, not only by the tenor of the Christian religion, where the 
covenant between God and men is established by such threatenings and 
promises, but by the consent of all nations where government is secured 
and upheld by such a persuasion. Now if the soul be not immortal, 
and there be not firm reasons to induce us to believe that it is so, why 
hath such a conceit been rooted in the minds of men of all nations and 
all religions, not only Greeks and Komans, but barbarians, and people 
least civilised? They all received this opinion from hand to hand, 
from their ancestors ; and the nearer men trace it to the original of 
mankind, the more clear and pressing hath been the conceit thereof. 
Lapse of time, which ordinarily decayeth all things, hath not been able 


to deface it out of the minds of men ; the sense of an immortal con 
dition after this life hath ever been accounted the great bridle upon the 
world ; and being spread throughout the universe, hath with all for 
wardness been received among all nations, and hath borne up against 
all encounters of sin, and hath maintained itself in the midst of those 
revolutions of human affairs wherein other truths are lost. 

[2.] There is a necessity of this government, as suiting best with 
the nature of man, which is much moved by the hopes and fears of 
good and evil after death. That man is governed by hopes and fears, 
common sense teacheth us ; that the hopes and fears of the present 
life are not sufficient to bridle carnal nature, and withstand tempta 
tions, and keep us in the true obedience and love to God to the end, 
experience also showeth, because for the satisfaction of our lusts we can 
dispense with temporal evils, as the lecher in the Proverbs, chap. v. 11, 
' And thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed.' 
Besides, if it were so that these motives of temporal good and evil were 
sufficient, man were more to be feared than God, which killeth and 
stabbeth all religion at the heart ; for man useth this engine of tem 
poral punishments and inconvenience ; they do execution on those that 
break their laws. Now Christ teacheth us : Luke xii. 4, 5, ' I say unto 
you, my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after 
that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom 
you shall fear : Fear him which, after he hath killed, hath power to 
cast into hell ; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.' 

[3.] The necessity to it appeareth to meet with secret sins, such as 
fornication, privy atheism, malice, adultery, murder, perjury, hypocrisy, 
treachery, theft, deceit. He that believeth not a life after this may 
secretly carry on these sins without impunity. Man cannot see the 
heart, or make laws to govern it, therefore no man can know or punish 
these secret sins ; therefore, if men can but hide their sins, they are 
safe. So for the sins of men powerful in the world ; for who can call 
them to an account here for their filthiness or cruelty ? Job xxxiv. 18, 
' Is it fit to say to a king, Thou art wicked ? and to princes, Ye are 
ungodly ? ' There is no restraint to those who have none above them ; 
and all secret wickedness would be committed without fear. So that 
to deny the immortality of the soul, or a life after this, would take 
away all honesty, and open the flood-gates to all villany and evil 
practices. Who would make conscience of entire obedience to God, 
enter in by the strait gate, walk in the narrow way, row against the 
stream of flesh and blood, work out their salvation with fear and 
trembling, and consecrate their time to God, if there were no other 
life after this nor happiness to be there expected ? Alas ! we plainly 
see the contrary. Who are so lewd and hardened in their sensualities 
as they that are tainted with this conceit ? That not only the denial, 
but the forgetfulness of this estate worketh this effect. They make 
the best of the present life : 1 Cor. xv. 32, ' Let us eat and drink, 
for to-morrow we shall die.' Such atheistical thoughts are very 
common : ver. 33, ' Be not deceived ; evil communications corrupt good 
manners.' But a deep sense of this immortal estate is the fountain of 
all sobriety, righteousness, and godliness ; and all that is virtuous and 
praiseworthy hath been done in the world upon this account. There- 


fore, who are the better men, those that believe the immortality of the 
soul, or those that believe it not ? And who are likely to be in the 
right, wicked wretches, or holy, serious, and considering men ? 

[4.] The duties which God requireth of us show it. Man is obliged 
to divers duties which are difficult and displeasing to the flesh, and 
which we should never perform without a serious belief of the soul's 
immortality ; such as these, to forsake the sinful pleasures of the world, 
to mortify and tame the flesh, diligently to exercise ourselves to godli 
ness, to suffer the loss of all outward comforts, yea, of life itself. All 
these are commanded ; the mortification and keeping down the body, 
Col. iii. 5 ; diligence in the heavenly life, Phil. iii. 13, 14 ; fortitude 
and patience under the greatest trials, as Moses is propounded for an 
example, Heb. xi. 24-26 ; not to faint in the greatest tribulations, 2 
Cor. iv. 16-18 ; yea, to expose life itself, Luke xiv. 26. Now would 
God, who is so loving to mankind, bind us to displease the flesh, and 
enjoin us so many duties which are harsh and troublesome, yea, some 
of them hurtful and detrimental to the body, if he had not provided 
some better thing for us ? Would he, all whose precepts are for our 
good, and who hath made self-love so great an help to our duty, be so 
hard to us, but that he knoweth how to recompense this diligence and 
self-denial ? He saith, ' Take no thought for your life, what ye shall 
eat, or what ye shall drink, nor yet for your body, what ye shall put 
on,' Mat. vi. 25 ; but he saith, ' Keep the soul with all diligence/ Deut. 
iv. 9. Would he be so earnest in pressing us to look after the soul, 
and strengthening and adorning the inward man, if the soul were to 
perish with the body ? Surely, if all depended upon the body, the 
body should be more cared for ; but it is quite otherwise. Scripture 
and reason show the body is only to be cared for in subordination to 
the soul, and that our chiefest work should be to furnish our souls with 
knowledge and grace. And they are the worthiest men who do most 
busy themselves about divine and heavenly things ; whereas they are 
the basest who care so much for the body, and make a business of 
those things which they should do only by the by. Certainly if there 
were an end of us when the body faileth, we should abhor nothing so 
much as death, desire nothing so much as the good of the body ; 
nothing would be so dear to us, but we would part with it to keep off 
the death of the body, for then there would be an end of us. Death 
would be the chiefest evil we could suffer, and that which would 
deprive us of all other good ; nothing should be feared and abhorred 
like death, and we should lie, forswear, or do anything to avoid it. 
But this principle would not only destroy all generous actions, but 
introduce all dishonesty and sin into the world ; for as we should never 
venture our lives upon any reason and inducement, though never so 
just, so we should stick at no evil to preserve life, and the conveniencies 
which belong thereunto. 

[5.] The desires wrought in us by the Spirit of God, to see and 
enjoy God, argue the immortality of the soul : Eom. 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 adop 
tion, to wit, the redemption of our bodies ; ' 2 Cor. v. 2, ' For in this 
we groan earnestly, desiring to be clothed upon with our house which 


is from heaven.' We prove another life, not only by the inclination, 
instinct, and disposition of nature towards happiness in general ; the 
universal desire of all mankind is to be everlastingly happy, this 
proveth it ; for this desire being universal and natural, is not frustrate ; 
nature doth nothing in vain : but the desires and groans of the sancti 
fied do much more prove it, for they do more forcibly direct and carry 
our hearts to a certain scope and end ; and they are excited by the 
Holy Spirit, for he imprinteth a firm persuasion of this happiness, and 
stirreth up these desires after it ; and that in our sober and severest 
moods, when we are solemnly conversing with God in his holy worship, 
in the word, prayer, meditation, and the Lord's supper, and all other 
holy duties, then he most raiseth these affections towards heavenly 
things ; and also he leaveth this heavenly relish upon our hearts at 
other times, as the reward of our eminent obedience to God ; and the 
more serious and holy any are, the more do they feel of this. Now 
these desires being of God's own infusing, they will not be disappointed ; 
therefore those who make the hopes of the world to come their happi 
ness, desire, and joy, will one day be partakers of the blessedness of it ; 
their groaning, seeking, and longing, will not be in vain, for God will 
give the satisfaction where he giveth the desire. 

Use 1. Is terror to the wicked and ungodly. Your souls die not 
with the body, but must enter into endless torments. The body per- 
isheth, but the immortal substance will for ever subsist in a state of 
woe or weal. Now how brutishly and much beneath a man do they 
live who wholly give up themselves to carnal pleasures and worldly 
pursuits, that live as if their souls did die with their bodies, and they 
should never hear of them more ! They make no provision for their 
everlasting estate. Three evils I charge upon these men 

1. These men do not believe that which scripture and reason showeth 
to be certainly true, and so do not show themselves either Christians 
or men. The great design of scripture is to give them a prospect of 
another world, and to assure them of a life after death. And will you 
not receive God's testimony ? Are God's threatenings a vain scarecrow ; 
are the promises a golden dream ? Go and reason, if the soul abideth 
not after it flitteth out of the body, it is either because it cannot be or 
act, or because God will not suffer it to be or act, or hath not clearly 
declared it shall be so, so that no certainty can be had thereof or hath 
declared or expressed himself to the contraiy. Now none of these 
things are true. 

[1.] Not the first. The nature of the soul is such that it showeth 
plainly that it can live without the body. A spirit can subsist by itself ; 
that which God hath fitted to endure for ever, he hath designed it to 
endure for ever. Now the soul as a spirit is fltted to live for ever, and 
it can live without the body, for it is auro/ai^To?, it doth of itself 
move itself. Is it the body that supports the soul, or the soul that 
supports the body ? Heathens have thought so upon this argument, 
and will not you ? Cum venerit ille dies, qui mixtum hoc divini 
humanique, secemat, corpus hie ubi inveni relinquam, ipse me diis 
redeam When that day shall come, when the divine spirit shall be 
severed from the human body, I shall leave the body where I found it, 
and yield up my spirit to the gods. 


[2.] Is it because God will not permit it to be, or act without the 
body ? Whence doth that appear ? To us Christians he hath appointed 
a mediator to receive our souls. 

[3.] Or is it because he hath doubtfully expressed his mind ? You 
are not sure there is no such life ; it is impossible you should know or 
prove the contrary. The question between the infidel and the Christian 
is not whether there be a world to come ? but whether he can prove 
there is none ? You cannot prove the falsity of the Christian hope by any 
sound argument that there is no heaven nor hell ; for aught you can 
say or know there are both, and it were best to take the surer side. 
In a lottery, men will venture some small matter. Some of the 
heathens that disputed against it or doubted of it, yet acknowledged it 
to be a supposition conducing to virtue and goodness. 

[4.] God hath not declared his mind to the contrary, but plainly 
told us that it is so. It is easy to presume that a thousand to one 
but it is so. Natural reason, consent of nations, fears of a guilty con 
science, or presages of eternal punishment, the whole drift of the 
Christian religion, the example of Christ, all prove it. Those wretches 
that outface religion accuse Christ of a lie, and the wisest men of the 
world of folly, their own consciences of imposing a cheat upon them to 
check their vain pleasures, and, in defiance of light within and without, 
smother all conceits of a world to come. 

2. They do not consider these things, and weigh them, that they 
may come to understand what is their end and business here. Alas ! 
are we so near everlasting joy or misery, and yet neglect it ; yea, it 
may be, scorn and oppose those that make it their chiefest care and 
labour to prepare for it ? How long have you lived in the world, and 
scarce ever asked the question or thought seriously, What shall I do 
to be saved ? You are desirous to give full and ample satisfaction to 
your dying part, yea, have pampered it, and over-clogged it ; but your 
business is not to pamper the body, but to save your souls. Now you 
should show yourselves men : Isa. xlvi. 8, ' Kemember this, and show 
yourselves men ; bring it again to mind, ye transgressors ! ' Think 
aforehand, What would poor deluded souls, that are in their everlast 
ing estate, give if they might be trusted with a little time again, if 
God would but try them once more, that they might mend their past 
folly ? They have lost their souls for poor temporal trifles. But alas ! 
now, though we are daily drawing near to our long home, yet we little 
think of it ; we are almost come to our journey's end, and we never con 
sider whither we are going. 

3. They do not improve these things, nor live answerably, which is 
a further degree of brutishness : Ps. xlix. 12, ' Man being in honour, 
abideth not ; he is like the beasts that perish ; ' Jude 10, ' What they 
know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt them 
selves.' They are strangers to the heavenly mind, and wholly governed 
by carnal sense ; they live as if the soul did serve for no other use but 
to keep the body from stinking. Their principles have no influence 
upon their practice ; they talk of the immortality of the soul, yet spend 
all their care upon the body. 

Use 2. Is caution. 

1. Do not hazard your souls for things that perish. Let nothing 


entice us to forfeit or hinder our endless happiness : Heb. x. 39, ' We 
are not of them who draw back unto perdition, but of them that believe 
to the saving of the soul ; ' Mat. xvi. 26, ' 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 ? ' 

2. Do not betray the souls of others for a little pelf, as ignorant and 
careless ministers do, so they have the maintenance. Love to souls is 
the great thing we learn of our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself 
' a ransom for them,' Mat. xx. 28. Ministers should have the bowels 
of Christ : Phil. i. 8, ' For God is my record how greatly I long after 
you all in the bowels of Christ ; pity those that are going to hell, and 
ready to perish everlastingly. 

Use 3. Is exhortation, to persuade you to make it your mark and 
scope to look after this immortal state of blessedness. Let us leave 
things that perish to men that perish : John vi. 27, ' Labour not for 
the meat that perisheth, but for that meat which endureth to ever 
lasting life.' Surely this argument should persuade us to heavenly- 
mindedness. Earthly things are of short duration,- and shall quickly 
leave us, and when they are gone, they are to us as if they had never 
been, a shadow, a dream, or something that is next to nothing ; but 
the fruit of godliness abideth for ever : 1 John ii. 17, ' The world 
passeth away, and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the will of 
God abideth for ever.' 


1. You know more of the dignity of man, who is created after the 
most perfect pattern, the image of God himself : Gen. i. 26, ' So God 
created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him.' 
Kedeemed at the dearest rate, the blood of the Son of God : 1 Peter 
i. 1.8, 19, ' Forasmuch as ye are redeemed, not with corruptible things, 
as silver and gold, &c., but with the precious blood of Christ,' and 
designed and ordained to the highest end, the glorifying and enjoying 
of God : Horn. xi. 36, ' For of him, and through him, and to him are 
all things.' Surely they should be more sensible of their immortality, 
and serve God more than the rest of his creatures. 

2. You profess that religion which hath brought life and immor 
tality to light, and the end of which is the saving of the soul. Now, 
though you have the profession of Christians, you have not the spirit 
of Christians if this be not your daily business and scope. What have 
you done for the saving of your. souls? if all your business, cares, and 
fears are about the body and the interests of the bodily life, you have 
the spirit of the world, not of God, Are not your souls worth the look 
ing after ? that which is the scope of your religion should be the 
business of your lives and actions, that a Christian may correspond and 
answer to his Christianity, as the impress doth to the seal. 

3. You are God's witnesses : Isa. xliii. 10, ' Ye are my witnesses, 
saith the Lord.' What proof do we give of a reasonable immortal 
soul ? 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 condemned the world, and became heir of the 
righteousness which is by faith.' Do we propagate carelessness and 
atheism, or a mindfulness of the world to come ? 



4. If we are satisfied with present things, we have no more to look 
for : Ps. xvii. 14, ' From men of the world, which have their portion 
in this life ; ' Mat. vi. 2, ' They have their reward;' Luke vi. 24, ' Woe 
unto you that are rich, for ye have received your consolation ; ' Luke 
xvi. 25, ' Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good 
things.' It is sad to be put off with these things, with riches, honour?, 
favour of men, and a little temporal greatness. 



And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first 
begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. 
Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his 
own Hood, and hath made us Icings and priests unto God and 
his Father ; to him &e glory and dominion for ever and ever. 
Amen. REV. i. 5, 6. 

THE sacrament is an abridgment of the gospel, and we shall best suit 
the end of it when we lay before you the sum of the gospel in one 
entire view. This scripture presenteth us with the principal parts of 
it. It carrieth the form of a doxology or a thanksgiving; wherein 

1. The person to whom this doxology is directed, ' To him ; ' that 
is, to Jesus Christ, ' the faithful witness, the first begotten from the 
dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth.' 

2. The reasons or matter of it. Wherein (1.) The moving cause 
of all that Christ hath done for us, ' He loved us.' (2.) The benefit, 
obtained for us, ' He hath washed us from our sins in his own blood.' 
(3.) The fruit of it, ' And made us kings and priests unto God and his 

3. The doxology itself, ' To him be glory and dominion for ever and 
ever. Amen.' 

Doct. That the Lord Jesus deserveth everlastingly to be honoured, 
lauded, and praised by all the saints that make mention of his name. 

John having occasionally mentioned Christ, falleth into this 

Reasons. (1.) From what he is ; (2.) For what he hath done for us ; 
(3.) For the fruits and benefits we have thereby. 

I. From what he is. He is described (1.) To be ' the faithful wit 
ness,' who hath made known the will of the Father with all fidelity and 
certainty. (2.) As one who, being crucified, rose from the dead as our 
first-fruits, ascertaining our resurrection : ' The first begotten from the 
dead.' The apostle saith, Col. i. 18, ' The first-born from the dead.' 
The resurrection is a kind of birth, and Christ is the first-born or first- 
begotten, because he was the first that rose from the dead in his own 


strength, and vanquished death. Others were raised before him, but 
to die again ; they were raised in their own single persons, he as a 
public person : ' But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become 
the first-fruits of them that slept/ 1 Cor. xv. 20. And he will by the 
same power raise again all his members to immortality and life. (3.) 
He is ' the Prince of the kings of the earth ; ' one that hath all power 
given him in heaven and in earth, and is superior to all princes of the 
world, not only in regard of eminency, as a far greater prince than they, 
but authority and power over them ; he is their Lord and sovereign as 
well as ours : as it is said, Dan. iv. 17, ' The Most High ruleth in the 
kingdoms of men, and giveth them to whomsoever he will.' 

1. Observe, these titles are given to Christ with respect to his three 
offices of king, priest, and prophet. (1.) His prophetical office is 
implied in that term, ' The faithful Witness ; ' one that hath brought ' 
the gospel out of the bosom of God, and plainly and clearly revealed 
it to the world, and hath confirmed the certainty of it by divers 
miracles, especially by his death, from which he rose again, and 
ascended, and poured out the Spirit upon the disciples for a testimony ; 
and still continueth that dispensation in part of giving the Spirit, so 
far as to assure the hearts of his people that this is the truth. (2.) 
His priesthood is implied in that expression, ' The first-begotten from 
the dead.' He died, and so offered himself as a sacrifice of atonement 
to God ; he rose again, and is entered within the veil, to continue the 
exercise of that office by his constant intercession. (3.) His kingly 
office is implied in that other expression, ' The Prince of the kings of 
the earth.' They are all his vicegerents, absolutely at his dispose, and 
can do neither more nor less than he will have them : Mat. xxviii. 13, 

4 All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.' He hath supreme 
and absolute authority given him over all things, both in heaven and 
earth, for the good of the church ; and in the church he is the only 
head and king, to appoint and maintain the way and means of gather 
ing, preserving, ruling the church, and ordering all the affairs thereof 
to the world's end. 

2. Observe, that all these titles are suited to the present occasion of 
this prophecy, which is to encourage his people to suffer persecution 
for the gospel's sake. (1.) As he was ' The faithful Witness,' it assured 
their cause to be right. The gospel is called ' The testimony of Jesus 
Christ,' ver. 2. He declared nothing to us but the will of God. The 
flesh hath such a value for and tenderness of its interests, that men 
will soon distinguish themselves out of their duty if there be the least 
doubtfulness in the cause for which they suffer, or any suspicion of it. 
Therefore now, when dreadful troubles attended the profession of the 
gospel, he setteth forth Christ as ' The faithful Witness/ to heighten 
their zeal. As also, Eev. iii. 14, 'These things saith the Amen, the 
faithful and true Witness.' (2.) As he was ' The first-begotten from 
the dead/ it still encourageth them more, by assuring them of a joyful 
resurrection if their lives should fall in this quarrel and conflict. This 
should allay all the fears of death. Christ is not called the first-born 
of the living, but the first-born from the dead, to own a relation to us 
in every condition, dead as well as living: he, as the first-born, rose 
as a pledge and pattern of what should be done to us. (3.) As 'Prince 

VOL. xix. F 


of the kings of the earth,' of whose power and persecutions they were 
so much afraid, but needed not ; for they are not only accountable to 
Christ at last, which those adverse powers little valued, having not 
embraced the profession of the gospel ; but were held in by the reins of his 
government for the present, so as they could not so much as touch an 
hair of their heads without his leave. So that here was much 
encouragement for suffering Christians, who at that time were to con 
flict with great difficulties, and exposed to the slaughters and butcheries 
of cruel enemies. 

3. Observe, all these titles serve to beget a reverence and great respect 
in our hearts to the person that owneth them ; he is ' The faithful 
Witness.' The great Prophet of the church should be regarded by us : 
'This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased ; hear ye him," 
Mat. xvii. 5. We are to hearken to him, believe him, obey him, as 
knowing that we must stand or fall at the sentence of his word. He 
is the greatest and most excellent of all the prophets, and far above 
them all, who knew more of God and of his mind than all they joined 
in one ; and hath declared his will more fully, clearly, and powerfully; 
and shall we set at nought his counsel ? Some that despised the 
counsel of an ordinary prophet smarted for it : Heb. x. 28, 29, ' He 
that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three wit 
nesses : of how much sorer punishment suppose ye shall he be thought 
worthy who hath trodden under foot the Son of God ? ' who came out 
of his bosom on purpose to teach us the way of salvation. If he require 
repentance and faith, with a promise of righteousness and eternal life, 
and a commination of eternal death unavoidable, if we believe not, nor 
repent, we are to believe it with all certainty, to set about this work 
with all care and diligence, and continue therein with all constancy 
and perseverance : 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 speak 
eth from heaven.' Christ came from heaven at first, returned to heaven 
again, from heaven sent down the Holy Ghost upon the apostles, and 
by that Spirit enabled them to preach the gospel with success. Oh, 
surely we should attend to his doctrine, and receive it with firm assent, 
and obey it with humble submission. 

Again, he is ' The first-begotten from the dead.' That he died 
should render him dear to us, for it was for our sakes, as I shall show 
by-and-by. That he rose again was for our sakes, for our justification : 
1 Who was delivered for our offences, and rose again for our justifica 
tion,' Rom. iv. 25 ; for it showeth that his sacrifice was accepted as 
sufficient for our atonement. Yea, for our blessed resurrection : 1 Cor. 
xv. 20, ' But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first- 
fruits of them that slept ; ' as the whole harvest was blessed and 
sanctified in a little handful of the first-fruits offered to God. But I 
urge it now as an argument why we should give him glory, as deserv 
ing it by the greatness of his person. This made it evident that he 
was the' Son of God: Rom. i. 4, ' Declared to be the Son of God with 
power, by the resurrection from the dead.' The true Messiah, and 
judge of the world : Acts xvii. 31, ' Because he hath appointed a day 
in the which he will judge the world in- righteousness, by that man 


whom he hath ordained ; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, 
in that he hath raised him from the dead.' If he had been an impostor, 
neither could he have raised up himself, being a mere man, nor would 
God have raised him up ; for we cannot imagine that divine providence 
would co-operate to countenance a lie or cheat. As then you would 
not be found enemies to Christ in his imperial day, give him glory and 
dominion. If you slight him, you despise one that is evidently declared 
to be the Son of God. And there is no medium ; either he must be 
your loving Saviour or your terrible judge. If you neglect him, he 
will not be the first-born from the dead to you, rior the first-fruits to 
you the first-fruits did not bless the tares, or the cockle, or darnel, or 
filthy weeds, but only the good corn though raised again you shall be 
by his judicial power. 

Again, he is ' The Prince of the kings of the earth,' and therefore 
highly to be respected. Respect to great ones and fawning upon great 
ones is the practice o all the world ; all will seek the ruler's face. As 
all rivers run to the sea, so do all the respects of the world to the great 
and the mighty ; and is not the Son of God worthy of our respects, 
that is set down at the right hand of majesty above all ? If we did 
live by faith as much as by sense, we would see it is our interest as 
well as our duty to honour Christ ; we would not fear a mortal man, 
that can threaten us with a prison, but Christ, who can threaten us with. 
hell ; nor be dismayed at the frowns of men when Christ smiles : ' Who 
would not fear thee, Lord, and glorify thy name ? ' Rev. xv. 4. We 
would yield up ourselves to be his willing subjects, and obey his laws, 
who can reward us, not with temporal dignities, but eternal life. The 
authority and power that all others have is but derived from Christ, 
and subordinate to him ; therefore, if he smiles, whose frowns need we 
fear? He is the one lawgiver, that hath potestatem vitce et necis, 
power of life and death ; he is able to destroy absolutely, and you may 
be safe in his protection. Well, then, if we consider what he is, he 
deserveth everlastingly to be honoured. 

II. What he hath done for us, ' He loved us, and washed us from, 
our sins in his own blood.' And there we begin 

First, With the fountain and bosom cause of all, and that is Christ's 
love : ' To him that loved us.' 

1. Christ's love is the ground of man's redemption ; that stirred all 
the causes, and set them a-work, that concurred to this end. Other 
attributes were manifested in the redemption of mankind, as God's 
wisdom, power, justice, holiness ; but they are all subservient to love : 
but love is at the upper end of all causes, subservient to nothing but 
itself. If you ask a reason of other things, it may be assigned ; but if 
you ask a reason of his love, that cannot be given but from itself. If 
the question be, Wherefore did God discover such riches of wisdom, 
goodness, and power, for the saving poor worthless ' creatures ? He 
loved us : John iii. 16, ' God so loved the world, that he gave his only- 
begotten Son.' Wherefore did Jesus Christ submit to such bitter 
agonies, such an accursed death ? He loved us : Eph. v. 2, ' Walk in 
love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us, au 
offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour ; ' Eph. v. 
25, ' Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it ; ' and Gal. ii. 20, 


' Christ liveth in me ; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live 
by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.' 
But now put the question, Wherefore did he love us ? Love only is 
the reason of itself ; he loved us because he loved us : Deut. vii. 7, 8, 
' The Lord did not set his love on you, nor choose you, because ye were 
more in number than any people, &c., but because the Lord loved you.' 

2. As it is the fountain cause, so it was that property that shined forth 
most conspicuously in the work of redemption : Horn. v. 8, ' God com- 
mendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ 
died for us.' And therefore this is that which we should most admire 
and be ravished with in our thoughts. Here, next to the description of 
the excellency of Christ's person, the first thing mentioned in the 
doxology itself is this, ' To him that loved us.' This is a comfortable 
word, as if Jesus would be described and known by nothing so much 
as by his love. What was the Son of God but love incarnate, love born 
of a virgin, love conversing in the world, and preaching salvation to 
poor sinners ; love going about and doing good ; love relieving the 
diseased and the possessed, curing the deaf, and the dumb, and the blind, 
and the lame ; and finally, love dying and hanging on the cross ? ' God 
is love/ 1 John iv. 8. The angels in heaven adore this love, though 
spectators, not parties interested ; he came not for their sakes, but ours 
only. We have a little notional knowledge of it, but could we once find 
the saving effects of God's love in Christ, impressed upon our hearts by 
the Spirit, how would you be melted and ravished, and ever be thinking 
what glory and honour you might bring to him that thus loved you ? 
You and I may discourse of it ; it is not a few cold thoughts of the love 
of Christ will work on us, but ' the shedding of this love abroad in 
your hearts by the Holy Ghost,' Eom. v. 5. There is no knowledge 
like the experimental knowledge which ariseth from the felt and known 
effects of this love ; this would awaken your hopes, fill you with solid 
comfort, excite you to your duty : 2 Cor. v. 14, ' For the love of Christ 
constraineth us.' However, till you have this, the means you must use 
are sound belief and serious consideration. 

[1.] Embracing by faith the love of God in Christ, and the good 
things prepared by it, as they are revealed and offered in the gospel ; 
that is the way to get this fuller insight and experimental knowledge 
and feeling of this love; for so the apostle prayeth, 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 ; ' 1 John iv. 16, ' We have 
known and believed the love which God hath to us. God is love ; and 
he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.' 

[2.] The serious contemplation and meditation of it. It is your duty 
to study it with the deepest, serious, and most ponderous thoughts you 
can use : Eph. iii. 18, ' That we may comprehend the breadth, and 
length, and depth, and height of it.' We are not to content ourselves 
with a superficial view of God's love in Christ, but must take an accu 
rate inspection of it, in all the dimensions thereof, upward, downward, 
on the right hand and left. Narrow thoughts and shallow apprehen 
sions do little good, either as to God's glory, or our solid comfort, and 


that earnest constraint or encouragement to duty which it is wont to 
produce in the heart. We must neither do it slightly nor seldom. Our 
hearts are too narrow to understand it all at once ; it is so vast and 
boundless, so rich and unsearchable, yea, infinite. We never know so 
much but there remaineth more still to be known. Therefore we must 
often renew the meditation, and continue it so long, till the heart be 
warmed, and ready to break out into praise ; and till our wonder and 
admiration be raised, and we see the object too big for the faculty, for 
it is beyond all created understanding ; till we be swallowed and over 
whelmed in this deep and bottomless ocean, and through a penury of 
thoughts cry out, Oh, the depth of the riches of the mercy and love of 
God ! For the present I shall content myself with four properties of 
this love. 

(1.) It was a free love : ' I will love them freely,' Hosea xiv. 4. If 
he did not love us with a free love, how could he love us at all ? What 
could he foresee in us but what was the effect of his own grace ? We 
were neither loving nor lovely. Not loving ; we did not prevent God. 
To love those that love us, it hath nothing singular ; that is the ordi 
nary courtesy of the world. By nature we were God's enemies, and 
what could an enemy deserve ? Not lovely ; all that grace that is 
wrought in us afterward is his gift ; therefore this was at first a free 
love, that had no motive nor foundation but within itself. He loveth 
us, not because he seeth anything lovely or amiable in us, but only 
because he will demonstrate the absoluteness of his own will, and self- 
inclination to do us good. 

(2.) It was a real love, not an empty complimenting love ; it rested 
not in good wishes ; there was great proof and manifestation of it : 
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 the propitiation for our sins.' 
It was such a love as made him leave the height of his glory, and 
assume our nature, and die in that nature, and shed his blood, and by 
it wash us from our sins. There was a benevolence in it, and a benefi 
cence also. A man may wish health when another is sick, and supplies 
when another is poor ; but Christ did not wish us well only ; but as 
fire showeth itself by heat and by light, so love by the real effects of it. 
Perhaps thou sayest to another, Believe that I love thee ; but while 
this is only professed in words, he may believe it, but he cannot see it ; 
but if upon occasion you do anything for him, or expose yourself to 
danger for his sake, then he saith, Now I see that thou lovest me. So 
rod to Abraham : Gen. xxii. 12, ' Now I know that thou fearest God, 
Being thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, from me.' 
Tere is a plain proof and signal evidence. So here ; Christ hath 
demonstrated the reality of his love ; the man seeth it. 

(3.) It was eminent and transcendent love. Compare it with the 
love of one creature to another, and in all the world you cannot find a 
parallel to equal it : John xv. 13, ' Greater love hath no man than this, 
that a man lay down his life for his friend.' But where is that rare 
instance of friendship ? Rom. v. 6-8, ' For when we were yet without 
strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a 


righteous man will one die ; yet perad venture for a good man some 
would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love towards us, in 
that, while we were yet enemies, Christ died for us.' He died, the just 
for the unjust, the judge for the offender, God for sinners. It can be 
resembled by no love upon earth ; therefore he himself com pare th his 
love to lost sinners with the Father's love to him : John xv. 9, ' As the 
Father hath loved me, so have I loved you.' It is eternal, incompre 
hensible, and unchangeable. 

(4.) It was a full love, removing our misery, procuring all blessings 
for us, to make us completely happy ; for as it fetched us from the 
lowest hell, it leaveth us not till it bringeth us to joys and happiness 
in the highest heavens : 1 Thes. v. 9, 10, ' For God hath not appointed 
us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ ; who 
died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together 
with him/ Well, then, if I should stop here, I hope you have so 
much ingenuity and sense of your Redeemer's affection to you as to say, 
'To him be glory and dominion, even to him who loved us.' 

Secondly, The signal act of his love to us : ' He washed us from our 
sins in his own blood.' 

1. Observe, this is put as the great instance of his love. We cannot 
know the love of God by any other fruit and benefit till this be done. 
By the bounty of his general providence he provideth for all his 
creatures, and feedeth them, and maintaineth them in that kind of 
being unto which he hath raised them out of nothing. So he supplieth 
the young ravens and the beasts of the field ; much more is he good to 
mankind ; he giveth them food and raiment convenient fur them, and 
beareth with them notwithstanding their renewed provocations : 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.' The heathen might trace God by 
acts of bounty rather than acts of vengeance. But hereby they can 
have no assurance of God's special love to them ; for 'No man knoweth 
love or hatred by all that is before them,' Eccles. ix. 1. Thou canst 
not say, God giveth me riches, therefore he loveth me ; or sendeth me 
poverty, therefore he hateth me. No ; he may give these things to his 
enemies, and deny them to his friends; but you may undoubtedly 
conclude, He loveth me, for he hath washed me from my sins. Clear 
this once, and you have a full and concluding proof of God's special 
love to you. 

2. The value and worth of this benefit is exceeding great. This 
will appear if you consider 

[1.] The necessity of it. We were all defiled with sin, which is such 
a filthiness and stain as cannot easily be washed away. The party dis 
pleased and provoked is God, and the party defiled is the immortal soul 
of man, which being subject to the power of God, and bound by his 
laws, upon disobedience is conscious to itself of the merit of death and 
punishment, and debarred from all communion with God. And it can 
not have any sound peace till it knows that God is satisfied, and that 
it shall be admitted again into terms of grace and favour with him. 
That sin hath made us filthy and loathsome to God, that we cannot 
please him, nor be accepted with him, the word doth not only assert it : 


Ps. xiv. 2, 3, ' The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children 
of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. 
They are all gone aside, they are altogether become filthy, there is 
none that doeth good, no not one ; ' Job xv. 14, ' What is man, that 
he should be clean ? and he that is born of a woman, that he should 
be righteous ? ' Job xiv. 4, ' Who can bring a clean thing out of an 
unclean ? not one." But conscience is in part sensible of it, so that a 
sinner hath a secret dread and shyness of God, especially upon the 
commission of actual sins : 1 John iii. 20, 21, ' For if our heart con 
demn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. 
Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence towards 
God,' I loiow generally man looketh to the foulness and cleanness of 
the body, but is insensible of the stain of the soul. Yet we cannot 
always exempt, no, not the worst, from a secret sense of this. How 
ever, our misery and happiness dependeth upon God's judgment, not 
our own ; if in the eye of God all of us are polluted and unclean, lying 
in our blood, defiled with the guilt of sin already committed, and the 
filthy vileness of sin yet indwelling. This is evident, we were miser 
able enough till God found out a remedy ; and this misery is the deeper, 
because man loveth what God loatheth ; as the swine loveth wallowing 
in the mire, and therefore it is a creature loathsome to us. We count 
sin a bravery, when it is the greatest impurity, a filthiness deeply 
ingrained in our natures, and therefore not easily washed away, both as 
to the guilt, as also to the stain and blot. 

[2.] This being our misery, Christ came to wash us, and with no 
other laver than his own blood, as a priest offering himself a sacrifice 
for our sins. The remedy for so great a mischief must have a noble 
and excellent cause. That blood was necessary appeareth by the types 
of the law, for the typical expiation was made by the blood of bulls and 
goats offered in sacrifice. And that no blood but the blood of Jesus 
Christ would serve the turn is evident, if you consider the party dis 
pleased and provoked, who was God ; the party defiled, the immortal 
spirit of man ; and the heinous nature of the offence, which was a 
breach of his righteous and eternal law. Therefore it is said, 1 John 
i. 7, 'The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin;' 
Heb. i. 3, ' He by himself purged our sins ; ' and 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 living God ? ' There is virtue and efficacy enough in the blood of 
Christ, partly from the institution of God, and its own manifold worth 
and value, as being the blood of God ; partly by the way and manner 
in which it was offered, by an act done in our nature, of the greatest 
obedience and self-denial that ever was or can be, and so God is fully 
repaired in point of honour. 

[3.] This sacrifice thus offered was accepted of God in the behalf of 
sinful man, as a full price and merit to procure for us both justification 
and sanctification. We needed both, being polluted both with the 
guilt and stain of sin. Both are a trouble to a sensible conscience or 
an awakened sinner, who is in the next capacity to receive this sacrifice : 


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/ As a man 
that hath broken his leg is not only troubled with the pain, but would 
have it set right again. Both are implied in this washing, and both 
are effectually accomplished by virtue of his bloody death and sacrifice : 
1 Cor. vi. 11, 'And such were some of you ; but ye are washed, but ye 
are sanctified, but ye are justified, in the name of our Lord Jesus, and 
by the Spirit of our God.' And Christ hath obtained both by virtue 
of his bloody death and sacrifice for our pardon and restitution to God's 
grace and favour : Eom. v. 1, ' Therefore, being justified by faith, we 
have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ.' As also the 
gift of the Spirit, to sanctify and renew us to the image of God : Titus 
iii. 5, 6, ' Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but 
according to his mercy 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.' 

[4.] Besides the impetration of this benefit, we must consider the 
application. The sacrifice had power to purge us and wash us from 
our sins, as soon as it was offered and accepted of God. The procur 
ing of the power is the impetratiou, which was antecedent to actual 
pardon and sanctification ; therefore it is said, ' When he had by him 
self purged our sins, he sat down at the right hand of the majesty on 
high,' Heb. i. 3. Then he interposed the merit ; then was the first 
grant made or liberty given. But then for the application : It is 
applied when we submit to those terms that are agreed upon between 
our Redeemer and God, as our supreme judge and lawgiver. As when 
this sacrifice is believed and depended on, and pleaded in an humble and 
broken-hearted manner, and improved to thankfulness, and resolutions 
to return to the obedience of our creator, then is sin actually pardoned, 
and our hearts cleansed. He did not pardon, nor cleanse, nor sanctify, 
as soon as this blood was shed upon the cross, until it be effectually 
applied to the filthy soul by a lively faith : Acts xv. 9, ' Purifying their 
hearts by faith ; ' and a serious and broken-hearted repentance : 1 John 
i. 9, ' If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our 
sins.' We must bewail our sins, depend upon the sacrifice of Christ, 
sue out the virtue of it by prayer : Ps. li. 2, ' Wash me thoroughly 
from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.' Extinguish the love 
of sin by godly sorrow and all holy means, and mortify the flesh by the 
help of the Spirit : Rom. viii. 13, 'If ye through the Spirit mortify the 
deeds of the body,' &c. ; and more and more interest ourselves in his 

[5.] Because the application is a difficult work. Besides the purchase 
of the gift of the Spirit, Christ hath instituted the help of the word and 
sacraments, to bring us into possession of this benefit : Eph. v. 26, ' That 
he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.' 
The merit of his death falleth upon these means, that we may use them 
with the more confidence : John xv. 3, ' Now are ye clean through the 
word which I have spoken unto you.' The word is the glass wherein 
to see corruption, which sets a-work to seek purging ; by that our sense 
of our natural impurity is revived, the means and causes of our cleans 
ing set down, that we may with deep humiliation confess our sin, humbly 


sue out the grace offered, and wait for it in the conscionable use of all the 
means of grace. And for the sacraments : As the word containeth 
the charter and grant of Christ and all his benefits to those that will 
receive him, so this is the seal of the grant : Horn. iv. 11, ' He received 
the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of faith ; ' whereby 
we are more confirmed in waiting for the Spirit, and excited to look for 
this benefit from Christ. Well, then, we must still lie at the pool of 
the word and sacraments. 

And now you have my second argument why Jesus Christ should be 
honoured, lauded, and praised by all the saints ; because he hath done 
so great an office of love, and procured so great a benefit for us, as the 
washing away of our sins in his blood, that we might be admitted to 
communion with God. 

III. The fruits and benefits that we have thereby : ' He hath made 
us kings and priests unto God, and to his Father.' This doth oblige 
us the more to ascribe, and give glory and dominion to him for ever 
and ever, since he hath brought us into communion with God, and set 
us apart as consecrated persons, such as kings and priests were of old, 
to perform daily service to God. 

In this third thing 

1. Observe the order. We must be washed from our sins before we 
can be kings and priests, or minister before the Lord. Aaron and his 
sons, though they were formerly designed to be priests, yet they could 
not officiate and act as pridsts before they were consecrated. So must 
we be consecrated and made priests to God, and that by the blood of 
Christ. They were seven days in consecrating. This whole life is the 
time of our consecration, which goeth on by degrees, and will be made 
complete, both for body and soul, upon the resurrection, when we shall 
be fit to approach the throne of glory, and serve our God in a perfect 
manner, in the eternal temple of heaven. For this life, though our 
consecration be not finished, yet here we are styled an holy priesthood, 
to minister before the throne of grace, though not before the throne of 
glory. Now, if we be washed from our sins in the laver of regenera 
tion, we may draw near to God, as the priests under the law were 
washed in the laver, and then came to the altar. It holdeth good both 
in this life and in the life to come, that none but the washed can come 
so near to God, either before the throne of grace or throne of glory. 
The throne of grace : Heb. x. 22, ' Let us draw near with a true heart, 
in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil con 
science, and our bodies washed with pure water.' So Heb. ix. 14, ' 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 living God ? ' In the state of glory : Kev. vii. 14, 15, 
' These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed 
their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore 
are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his 
temple.' The persecuted saints, who came out of great tribulation, they 
first washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb, before they were 
admitted, as priests, to stand before the throne of God, to serve him 
day and night in his temple. Sanctification must go before conse 
cration; and the more sanctified, the more consecrated. When our 


sanctifi cation is finished, then our consecration is consummate ; and 
then we shall have a full communion with our God, a clear vision of 
his eternal beauty, and as great a fruition of his godhead as we shall 
be capable of, in a state of full contentment, joy, and blessedness. 

2. The privileges are exceedingly great, to be consecrated to so high 
a dignity ; that we should be consecrated or set apart for God, to be 
objects of his special grace, and instruments of his glory and service. 
Much more, that we should be advanced to so great a dignity as to be 
lyings and priests to God. We share in Christ's own dignity. He was 
a king and a priest, so are we ; he had an unction, so have we ; he was 
Christ, we are Christians : by virtue of our union with him, we are 
partakers of his kingdom and priesthood. The church of Israel was 
called ' a kingdom of priests,' Exod. xix. 6 ; and believers in the new 
testament are called ' a royal priesthood,' 1 Peten ii. 9 ; not to disturb 
civil kings, or the order God hath instituted in the church ; for it is 
kings and priests ' to God,' not to the world. Let us consider these 
privileges asunder. 

[1.] Kings. King is a name of honour, power, and ample possession. 

(1.) Here we reign spiritually, as we vanquish the devil, the world, 
and the flesh in any measure. It is a princely thing to be above these 
inferior things, and to trample them under our feet in an holy and 
heavenly pride. An heathen could say, Hex est qui metuit nihil, rex 
est qui cupit nihil He is a king that fears nothing, and desires nothing. 
He that is above the hopes and fears of the world. He that hath his 
heart in heaven, and is above temporal accidents, the ups and downs 
of the world, the world beneath his heart and affections, this man is of 
a kingly spirit. Christ's kingdom is not of this world, neither is a 
believer's : Kev. v. 10, ' Thou hast made us unto our God kings and 
priests, and we shall reign on the earth,' viz., in a spiritual way. It is 
a beastly thing to serve our lusts, but kingly to have our conversations 
in heaven, and vanquish the world : 1 John v. 4, 5, ' Whosoever is born 
of God overcometh the world ; and this is the victory that overcometh 
the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but 
he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God ? ' To live up to our 
faith and love with a noble royal spirit. 

(2.) Hereafter we shall reign visibly and gloriously, when we shall 
sit upon thrones with Christ, at his last coming to judge the world, and 
angels themselves : Mat. xix. 28, 'Verily, I say unto you, that ye which 
have followed me, in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit 
on the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging 
the twelve tribes of Israel ; ' Luke xxii. 29, 30, ' I appoint unto you a 
kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me ; that ye may eat and 
drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones, judging the twelve 
tribes of Israel/ This was spoken at the Lord's supper, which is a 
pledge of it : ' The upright shall have dominion over them in the 
morning,' Ps. xlix. 14. 

(3.) They shall be kings eternally in heaven : Luke xii. 32, ' Fear 
not, little flock ; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the 
kingdom ; ' 2 Tim. ii. 12, 'If we suffer, we shall also reign with him;' 
that is, in heaven. With respect to this right, title, and interest, so 
they are made kings. We are heirs in Christ : Eoin. viii. 17, ' If 


children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ : if we 
suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.' We are heirs 
of a kingdom that cannot be shaken. 

[2.] Priests. That was a great dignity among the Jews. To this 
all Christians are now advanced : 1 Peter ii. 5, ' Ye are an holy priest 
hood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.' 
Our sacrifices are not expiatory, but gratulatory ; not sin-offerings, but 
thank-offerings ; not typical, but spiritual. Jesus Christ is the only 
sin-offering. Our thank-offerings are either ourselves : Rom. xii. 1, ' I 
beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present 
your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your 
reasonable service.' Or our duties, which are spiritual offerings. We 
offer not beasts, which were typical, but the calves of our lips, our 
prayers and praises : Heb. xiii. 15, ' By him therefore let us offer the 
sacrifice of praise to God continually ; that is, the fruit of our lips, 
giving thanks to his name.' Or alms : ver. 16, ' But to do good, and to 
communicate, forget not ; for with such sacrifices God is well pleased ; ' 
Phil. iv. 18, ' But I have all, and abound ; I am full, having received 
of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you ; an odour of a 
sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God.' Now this is 
a great honour, that we should be separated by the Lord from all the 
rest of the world, and admitted into such a nearness and access to God 
with boldness, and hope of being accepted through Christ. 

Use 1. In the general, all this should stir up our hearts to give 
continual praise and glory to Christ our blessed Redeemer. So doth 
the apostle here ; that is the use he maketh of it: ' To him be glory and 
dominion for ever and ever, Amen." It is a thing to be -reproved in 
Christians that we take so little time to admire, honour, and praise our 
Redeemer, which yet is a great part of our work. Surely if you had a 
due sight of his excellency, or a sense and taste of the riches of his 
goodness and love, you would be more in this delightful work. Usually 
praise is a stranger to our worship ; and however we are enlarged in 
confession of sin or supplication for such things as we want, yet we are 
straitened in our gratulations. Surely lauding and praising God in 
Christ is as necessary as the other parts of worship : Ps. xxii. 3, God 
is said to ' inhabit the praises of Israel ; ' that is, in Israel, where he is 
praised. The great end of worship is not the relief of man so much as 
the honour of God ; therefore we should not only ask things needful 
for ourselves, and mind merely the supply of our necessities, but the 
honour of Christ : Ps. 1. 23, ' Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me.' If 
God will account it an honour to be well thought of and spoken of by 
his creature, we should more abound in this work. Why are we then 
so scanty in praises and thanksgivings ? The reasons of this defect are 
self-love ; we are eager to have blessings, but we forget to return to 
give God the glory. Prayer is a work of necessity, but praise is a work 
of mere duty. Self-love puts all upon prayer, but the love of God 
upon praise. Again, stupid negligence ; we do not gather up matter 
of thanksgiving, nor watch in our prayers, nor seek after matter for it: 
Col. iv. 2, ' Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanks 

2. More particularly, let us take our example from this doxology, ' To 


him be glory and dominion for ever and ever, Amen.' We can but 
ascribe to Christ what he hath already, but we must do it heartily. 
Observe here (1.) The things ascribed to Christ, ' Glory and dominion/ 
(2.) The manner of ascription ; it is imperative. (3.) The duration, 
' For ever and ever.' (4.) The seal of all, in the word ' Amen.' 

[1.] The things ascribed to Christ, ' Glory and dominion." In other 
places it is honour and power everlasting : 1 Tim. vi. 16, ' Who only 
hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach 
unto ; whom no man hath seen, nor can see ; to whom be honour and 
power everlasting, Amen.' In the Lord's prayer more fully : Mat. vi. 
13, ' For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever, Amen.' 
Where by ' kingdom ' is meant right and authority to dispose of all 
things according to his own pleasure ; by ' power,' strength and all- 
sufficiency to execute what he pleaseth ; by ' glory,' his honour, which 
is the result of all that he doth. Clara cum laude notitia Excellency 
discovered with praise. We desire that he may be more honoured, and 
brought into request and esteem in the world. Here we have but 
two words, 'glory' and 'dominion.' 'Glory,' that is, just praise and 
esteem ; gracious hearts think they can never set Christ high enough 
in their esteem and praise ; this is all they can return to him for his 
great benefits. 'Glory/ that he may have the honour, as they the 
comfort. ' Dominion ' implieth lordship and sovereignty ; this they 
would have given to Christ as his due by his own purchase and God's 
assignment : Rom. xiv. 9, ' For to this end Christ both died, and rose, 
and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living/ It 
was God's end : Phil. ii. 10, ' That at the name of Jesus every knee 
should bow/ 

[2.] The form is imperative, as binding themselves and others to 
give him glory and dominion. Themselves in the first place, and that 
not only with the tongue, but with the heart ; not only in word, but 
in deed. So they would give him glory, praise him with their lips, 
and honour him with their lives. They would make that their work 
and scope, that this may be the real language of their hearts and actions, 
which speak much louder than words. These ' show forth the praises 
of him who hath called them out of darkness into his marvellous light,' 

1 Peter ii. 9, that really they may be the glory of Christ : 2 Cor. viii. 
23, ' They are the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ ; ' 

2 Thes. i. 12, ' That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified 
in you/ So for dominion ; the practical acknowledgment is better 
than the verbal : Luke vi. 46, ' Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do 
not the things that I say ? ' Mat. vii. 21, ' Not every one that saith 
unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he 
that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven/ Christ was 
mocked when they cried, ' Hail, king of the Jews ! ' Mat. xxvii. 29, 
and yet they crucified him. If we would have dominion given to 
Christ, we must look upon ourselves as not our own, but his ; not live 
to ourselves, or use ourselves for ourselves, but resign up ourselves 
absolutely to him. Then for others, such is their love to Christ and 
the souls of men, that true Christians desire that Christ may not only be 
glorified by themselves, but others ; that he may be known, worshipped, 
and believed on in the world, especially those about them ; as fire 
turneth all things about it into fire. 


[3.] The duration, 'For ever and ever.' In all doxologies a long 
duration is expressed. They desire not only the present age may glorify 
God, but the future. When we are dead and gone, the Lprd remaineth, 
and they would not have him remain without praise and honour. It is 
the comfort of their souls, when dying, that God shall have a people to 
praise him ; and they prize their own salvation the more, that they shall 
live for ever to glorify God ; that, as God's blessings are everlasting, so 
shall be their praises. 

[4.] It is ratified by a solemn attestation, 'Amen.' It is nota 
desiderii et supplicationis ; by it we testify our fervent affection, and 
strength of desire after the glory of Christ. We should have an Amen 
for our praises as well as for our prayers ; not only to say, ' Jesus, 
master, have mercy on us, Amen ; ' but, ' To him be glory for ever and 
ever, Amen,' 


And hath made us "kings and priests unto God and his Father. 

KEY. i. 6. 

I SHALL take up this subject again, and speak of our priesthood, when 
we shall be admitted into the immediate presence of God, and praise 
him for evermore. There is a ministration before the throne of grace, 
or before the throne of glory ; before the throne of grace we minister 
in this life, before the throne of glory in the life to come. Of the 
latter I shall now speak, because it is a truth commonly overlooked. 

Dpct. That the priesthood which we have by Christ concerneth our 
ministration in the heavenly temple. 

I shall prove it by these arguments 

1. Because a Christian is conformed to Christ, and made like him in 
all things. Christ must Trpwrevew, first it in all things: Col. i. 18, 
' That in all things he might have the pre-eminence ; ' Rom. viii. 29, 
' Whom he did foreknow, he did also predestinate to be conformed to 
the image of his Son, that he might be the first-born amongst many 
brethren.' Now if I shall prove to you that Christ was not consecrated 
to his everlasting priesthood till he died, then it is very congruous 
that it should be so with a Christian ; for our office dependeth upon 
his, and is carried on in a way of conformity to his. Now, that Christ 
was consecrated at his death, I prove by these places : Heb. v. 9, ' And 
being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all 
them that obey him ; ' that is, when he had ' learned obedience by the 
things which he suffered,' ver. 8. And Heb. ii. 10, ' The captain of 
our salvation was made perfect through sufferings ; ' that is, fully con 
secrated, and fitted to be a priest, to perform that office to our comfort. 
His death is expressed by a notion of perfection : Luke xiii. 32, ' Behold, 
I cast out devils, and I do cures to-day and to-morrow, and the third 
day I shall be perfected ; ' that is, shall suffer death. It is good to 


inquire in what sense, in these and in many other places, Christ is 
said to be made perfect ; it is not meant of his personal perfection, but 
official. As to his person, as he was God, he was perfect from all 
eternity ; as God-man, he was perfect from the first moment of his con 
ception. The word reXeuatfek, ' being made perfect/ relateth to his 
office, and may be rendered ' consecrated,' as well as ' made perfect ; ' 
' being consecrated, he became,' &c. ; and ' it behoved the captain of our 
salvation to be consecrated through sufferings.' The word signifieth, 
in its first sense, to finish and accomplish a thing. That which is 
brought to an end is perfected ; so was Christ as a priest perfected ; 
that is, fit to minister before God as a priest. But that it should be 
rendered consecrated I prove 

[1.] Because the word is rendered consecrated elsewhere : Heb. vii. 
28, ' Consecrated for evermore.' In the margin, ' perfected,' rere\eia)- 
lievov. What is in the old testament, ' Thou shalt consecrate Aaron and 
his sons,' Exod. xxix. 9, the Septuagint render, Kal reXeiwo-et? 'Aapwvos 
Ttt<? %etp9, thou shalt perfect, or fill the hand of Aaron and his sons. 
And the sacrifice of consecration is called dvcria rrjs reheidxreax;, the 
sacrifice of perfecting or completing, because the priest was to pass 
through some ceremonies; and these being done, he is said Te\eiovcrdai t 
to be consummate, or made perfect, or fully authorised to perform the 
priest's office. 

[2.] I prove it from the context in Heb. v. There the apostle is 
discoursing of Christ's everlasting priesthood, and his being made 
perfect is with respect to that office. He was not perfect or fitted for 
that work till he stood before God with a sacrifice in his hand, till he 
had offered up himself with prayers, and tears, and strong cries, and 
had learned obedience by the things which he suffered ; but then he 
was made perfect, for the rites of his consecration were over ; that is, 
his agonies and bloody sufferings ; then he was fully consecrated and 
completed to. be a priest. So that Christ's solemn consecration was 
at his death. 

[3.] The reason of the thing showeth it. Jesus Christ was to be ' a 
merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make 
reconciliation for the sins of the people,' Heb. ii. 17. These two 
attributes, ' merciful' and ' faithful,' refer to God and us. Merciful to 
help and relieve sinful miserable man ; faithful with respect to God, 
in performing all things which belong to his sacerdotal office, and 
going through with his work given him in charge, till he hath fully 
finished it. The best and most merciful high priest that ever was 
must be made in the best and most convenient manner. Well, then, he 
is made perfect when he hath had a thorough sense of our misery, and 
took the course prescribed to remove it ; when his heart was entend- 
ered, and his hand was filled with the purest sacrifice that ever was 
offered.; and so by his agonies and bloody sufferings he was perfected, 
consecrated, and fully qualified to minister before the Lord, and to 
intercede for poor creatures, and to bless them with the blessing of 
eternal life. His priestly actions after the order of Aaron were his 
consecration to his everlasting blessed priesthood after the order of 
Melchisedec. Without these sufferings he could neither be a faithful 
nor a merciful high priest, nor satisfy his Father's justice, nor have a 


full feeling from experience of the creatures' misery. Well, then, as 
Christ was consecrated at his death, so is a Christian who runneth 
parallel with Christ in all his offices. As Christ had an inauguration 
into that priesthood he executed upon earth at his baptism, so hath a 
Christian for his spiritual priesthood ; as soon as washed in the laver 
of regeneration, hut for his everlasting priesthood at death. 

2. My next argument is, this suiteth with the other privilege of kings. 
We are made kings as well as priests. Now, as our kingly office is 
not perfect till we come to heaven, so neither our priestly ; and there 
fore it mainly respecteth our ministration in the heavenly temple. 
How is a poor Christian a king here, unless in a riddle, ev alvfypaTi, 
as he vanquisheth the devil, the world, and the flesh? as it is a 
princely thing to be above inferior things, and to trample them under 
our feet. The heathen could say, Hex est qui metuit nihil, rex est qui 
cupit nihil He is a king that is above the hopes and fears of the 
world, that feareth nothing and desireth nothing. This is indeed, in 
a metaphor, a kingly spirit, to have our hearts in heaven, and to look 
upon all sublunary things as beneath our care and affections. Christ's 
kingdom is not of this world, neither is a believer's. Here upon earth 
we reign only in a spiritual way ; but the privilege cometh fully to be 
verified when we tread Satan under our feet, and triumph over 
enemies, nnd reign visibly and gloriously, sitting upon thrones with 
Christ at his coming, judging the world and angels themselves : Mat. 
xix. 28, ' Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me in 
the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in. the throne of his 
glory, ye shall also sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes 
of Israel ; ' Luke xxii. 29, 30, ' I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my 
Father hath appointed unto me, that ye may eat and drink at my table 
in my kingdom, and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel ; ' 
Ps. xlix. 14, ' The upright shall have dominion over them in the 
morning; ' and 1 Cor. vi. 2, 'Know ye not that we shall judge the 
world ? ' and ver. 3, ' Know ye not that we shall judge angels ? ' neither 
will this kingdom be terminated and ended at the day of judgment, but 
they shall be kings eternal in heaven : Luke xii. 32, ' Fear not, little 
flock ; it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom ; ' 2 
Tim. ii. 12, 'If we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him ; ' 
that is, in heaven. With respect to this title, right, and interest, we 
are said ' to be made kings.' Now proportionably, the other privilege, 
of ' being made priests,' must be expounded also. We are spiritual 
priests upon earth ; we have our sacrifices of prayers, praises and alms, 
and devoting ourselves to God ; but this office is not completed till we 
come to heaven, and do immediately minister before the Lord. Then 
we have entrance into the holiest : Heb. x. 19, ' Having therefore, 
brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.' 
Not in spirit, but in person ; for if the chief part of our kingly office 
be yet behind, why not the chief part of our priestly office also ? 

3. Then we are qualified and prepared. Sanctification must go 
before consecration ; and the more sanctified, the more consecrated ; 
and when our sanctification is finished, then our consecration is 
consummated, and not till then. Now in this world our justification 
and sanctification is imperfect ; we are not got above our legal fears, 


and grace is very weak in us. You know before we can serve the 
living God ' our consciences must be purged from dead works/ Heb. 
ix. 14, as the high priest was not to approach God without his washings 
lest he die; and we are bidden to 'draw nigh to God with a true heart, 
in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil 
conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water,' Heb. x. 22. If we 
have the privilege of priests, we must perform the duties of priests. 
Now we are not perfect as appertaining to the conscience, nor are we 
fully cleansed and sanctified, till the veil of the flesh be removed, and 
we be presented to God without spot and wrinkle. Somewhat is begun 
indeed, that will tend to, and end in, perfect sanctification, enough to 
qualify us for our ministration at this distance from God. There is 
enough done on Christ's part, by way of impetration and merit : 
Heb. x. 14, ' For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that 
are sanctified,' or consecrated ; he hath paid the price ; but as to the 
application, that is by degrees. The priest under the law was seven 
days in consecrating ; this figured all the time that interveneth before 
we enter upon the everlasting sabbath. Our whole life is the time of 
consecration, which goeth on by degrees, and will be made complete, 
both for body and soul, at the resurrection ; for then shall we be made 
fit to approach the throne of glory, and serve our God in a perfect 
manner in the eternal temple of heaven. In this life our consecration 
is not yet finished, we cannot come so near God. We are qualified 
indeed to come to the throne of grace, but not qualified to come to the 
throne of glory ; but the work is a-doing, and in time it will be accom 

4. We have not the full privileges of priests till then, which is inti 
macy, full communion, nearness of access to God, and ministration 
before him. This is the privilege we have as priests. The apostle 
telleth us, Heb. ix. 8, ' The Holy Ghost signifieth that the way to the 
holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle 
was yet standing.' How did the Holy Ghost signify this ? I answer 
By the whole economy and frame of that dispensation. God kept state 
and majesty then, and his people must not come too near him ; the com 
mon Israelite must not come too near the sanctuary ; they were not to 
camp or pitch their tents round about it, but only the Levites, lest they 
die: Num. i. 52, 53, 'And the children of Israel shall pitch their tents 
every man by his own camp, and every man by his own standard through 
out the host. But the Levites shall pitch round about the tabernacle of 
testimony, that there be no wrath upon the congregation of the children 
of Israel.' It was a dangerous thing for the common Israelites to be too 
near the symbols of God's presence ; to teach us the distance between 
God and men, and their unworthiness to come near him and his holy 
things. But though the Levites might encamp near it, yet none but the 
priests must enter into the tabernacle : Num. iv. 18-20, ' Cut ye not off 
the tribe of the family of the Kohathites from among the Levites ; but 
this do unto them, that they may live, and not die ; when they ap 
proach unto the most holy things, Aaron and his sons shall go in, and 
appoint them every one to his service, and to his burden : but they shall 
not go in to see when the holy things are covered, lest they die.' 
They were to keep near the tabernacle, and the Kohathites to bear 


things which they must not see and touch, upon pain of death. And 
this was not only threatened, but executed on the Bethshemites, which 
was a city of Levites, when they looked into the ark : 1 Sam. vi. 19, 20, 
' And he smote the men of Bethshemesh, because they had looked into 
the ark of the Lord, even he smote of the people fifty thousand and 
threescore and ten men. And the people lamented, because the Lord 
had smitten many of the people with a great slaughter. And the men 
of Bethshemesh said, Who is able to stand before this holy Lord God? 
and to whom shall he go up from us ? ' Well, God kept at a distance 
from that people, and would not have them too familiar with him ; but 
the priests might come near and minister before the Lord, but not till 
they were consecrated, and till they had cleansed themselves : Exod. 
xxx. 20, 21, 'When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, 
they shall wash with water, that they die not ; and when they come 
near to the altar to minister, to burn an offering made by fire unto the 
Lord. So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die 
not.' But though an ordinary priest might come to the altar of burnt- 
offering, yet the high priest was only to enter into the sacrary, or holiest 
of all ; and that not when he pleased, but only once a year : Lev. xvi. 
2, ' And the Lord said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that 
he come not at all times into the holy place within the veil, before the 
mercy-seat, which is upon the ark, that he die not.' The high priest 
was a solemn type of Christ, yet he was not to be too familiar with God. 
The people were sensible of this state and distance which God kept, 
and murmured at it : Num. xvii. 12, 13, ' And 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 ? ' What did the Holy Ghost 
signify by all this ? That the way of the holiest of all was not yet 
made manifest. But now God is more familiar with his people ; a 
Christian hath the privilege of the high priest, a privilege which the 
most eminent person of that dispensation could enjoy but once a year, 
in the most solemn service which ever he performed, and that not till 
after many washings and purifications. In every time of need we may 
come to the throne of grace. It was dangerous heretofore to thrust 
themselves upon God, but now the Lord is willing to admit us into his 
presence ; gospel-believers may come to him, the fountain of grace is 
not inaccessible. Well, but though we may come to the throne of 
grace, we cannot come to the throne of glory, thence we are all shut 
out ; no man can immediately approach the throne of glory till he be 
both fully and perfectly justified and sanctified ; for the present we are 
npt fit to come nigh him ; as Absalom, when his peace was made, and 
he was permitted to come home to Jerusalem, yet he was not admitted 
to his father's sight and presence : 2 Sam. xiv. 24, ' The king said, Let 
him turn to his own house, and let him not see my face.' And Esther, 
when chosen for a spouse for the great king Ahasuerus, yet she was to 
* accomplish the months of her purification,' Esther ii. 12. We have 
access to the throne of grace, that is all we can have in this life ; but 
hereafter we shall have access to the throne of glory, then we shall 
have full communion with our God, and a clear vision of his eternal 
VOL. xix. G 


beauty, and as great a fruition of his godhead as we shall be capable 
of, in a state of full contentment, joy, and blessedness. 

5. If there be a temple in the other world, then there are priests, and 
there will be a ministration ; but now heaven is often represented as a 
temple. As the temple under the law was a type of Christ, in whom 
the fulness of the godhead dwelt bodily, and a type of the church, in 
which God manifesteth his power and presence ; so also it was a type 
of heaven, and so frequently applied. As in the temple there were 
three partitions, the outward court, the holy place, and the holy of 
holies; so is there the airy heaven, the starry heaven, and the heaven 
of heavens, as it is called, Acts iii. 21, ' Whom the heavens must receive 
until the times of restitution of all things ; ' and the third heaven : 2 
Cor. xii. 2, ' I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, such an 
one caught up to the third heaven.' This third heaven, the seat of 
God and of the blessed saints, is often called ' the holiest,' with re 
spect to the type in the temple or sanctuary. Therefore that is called 
' a worldly sanctuary/ Heb. ix. 1, and ' holy places made with hands, 
which are the figures of the true ; ' that is, heaven itself, ver. 24. The 
earthly or worldly sanctuary was the throne and palace of God, residing 
as a king in the midst of his people, which figured or shadowed a more 
excellent throne and palace, which is heaven, where God doth manifest 
his presence in a far more glorious manner. Well, then, in this 
temple must we minister, and be admitted to a nearer attendance upon 

6. One great part of our sacrifices and oblations remaineth everlast 
ingly to be done by us, and that is the sacrifice of praise and thanks 
giving ; it is a great branch of the thank-offerings of the gospel : Heb. 
xiii. 15, ' By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God 
continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name.' 
And in heaven they cease not. Prayer suiteth more with our imper 
fect state, when we are compassed about with divers infirmities and 
necessities ; but the angels praise God, and so do the blessed spirits. 
We shall then have a fuller sense of the mercies and goodness of God, 
when our redemption is full and complete, and a clearer sight of his excel 
lencies when we see him face to face. Here we do but tune our 
instruments, and prepare for the work of heaven, but then we perform 
it. We are here but as learners, when we see God by faith, and under 
stand a little of the love of Christ, but then as practisers. Therefore 
certainly to be kings and priests unto God doth not respect the present 
life only, but our ministration in the heavenly temple. There is a ' for 
ever ' always affixed to the doxologies of the saints, to show that now 
they do but begin in the work which they shall complete hereafter. 

7. The scriptures do plainly express that our service is not ended 
with our lives, but, as we still stand in the relation of creatures to God, 
so we still glorify him and serve him : Kev. vii. 14-16, 'And he said 
unto me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have 
washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb : 
therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and 
night in the temple. And he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell 
among them, and they shall hunger no more, nor thirst any more," &c. 
There is the explanation of the mystery of being washed in Christ's 


blood, and made kings and priests unto God. This office they chiefly 
perform when they come to enjoy their happiness before the throne of 
God and in the heavenly temple. And what is the work there ? They 
serve him day and night ; they do not their service then by fits and 
starts, but constantly. A type whereof were the priests under the law, 
who, in their courses, were admitted day and night to be in the temple : 
Ps. cxxxiv. 1, ' Bless ye the Lord, all ye servants of the Lord, which 
by night stand in the house of the Lord.' But what was done by many 
in their turns is now done by the same persons continually ; for they 
are never weary, and there is no intermission in their service. And God 
always dwelleth amongst them ; they sljall not be at a distance from 
God, nor he at a distance from them ; but they shall still enjoy his 
company, as dwelling in. one house with him ; for there shall not be sin 
nor sorrow any more, and then shall they praise God cheerfully. This 
will be our work when we are admitted into the most holy place. 

8. As heaven hath the notion of a place, a temple, so our estate in 
heaven hath the notion of a day or time wherein our priesthood is to 
be solemnly exercised; for it is called craySy&mcr/io?, a sabbath or 
rest : Heb. iv. 9, ' There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.' 
A sabbath is for holy rest, not a time of idleness, but to be religiously 
employed ; so this glorious eternal rest, which is prepared for and pro 
mised to believers, is not passed over in ease and idleness, but in acts 
of worship and adoration. It is a rest from toil and labour, but not 
from work and service. On the sabbath-day the sacrifices were 
doubled ; the priest had more to do upon that day than any other ; so 
in our everlasting sabbatism, we serve God after a more perfect manner 
than now we do. On the sabbath, a special delight and rejoicing in 
God was to be raised : 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, and shalt 
honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, 
nor speaking thine own words : then shalt thou delight thyself in the 
Lord, and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, 
and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father ; for the mouth of 
the Lord hath spoken it.' So in our eternal rest shall we delight our 
selves in his presence. 

Use 1. It informeth us 

1. That our service is an honour, and worship a privilege ; for it is 
not only a way to heaven, but a beginning of heaven. Our work there 
is a part of our reward. The priestly ministration is so the work of 
heaven, that it is also a reward for our present diligence. Well, then, 
it is the most blessed life we can live upon earth, to be serving God 
and ministering before the Lord, and to be employed in any nearness 
about him ; his people desire no sweeter work. Alas ! what is the 
work of all the world to this but a toilsome drudgery or base servility ? 
Go to the brutish world, what is the work of the drunkard, glutton, 
gamester, or fornicator, compared with that of the spiritual priest? 
They are priests to feed the belly, that base dunghill-god: Phil. iii. 19, 
' Whose god is their belly.' Their business is to provide for and please 
the flesh. Nay ; go to the more refined part of the world, the covetous 
and ambitious worldlings ; they aim at nothing beyond this life ; but 


the spiritual priest contirmetk for ever ; his service is begun, and will 
ever last ; his work is his wages. 

2. That it is no easy matter to be familiar with God, and to draw 
nigh to him in worship. We are stupid, and therefore not sensible of 
it. You see what distance God kept under the law, and what distance 
he yet keepeth as to his immediate presence. Surely ' God is greatly 
to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence 
of all that are about him,' Ps. Ixxxix. 7. The redeemed are honoured 
to have access to God with boldness, yet they ought to be humbly sen 
sible of the privilege. Every nearer approach to God is an enlargement 
of honour. We must keep an even hand between natural bondage 
and irreverence. Natural bondage ; we are sometimes afraid to come 
into God's presence, and doubt of access, being so unworthy to come 
before the Lord ; but we are privileged by our calling ; Christ by his 
death hath made us kings and priests. The priests were sanctified to 
draw nearer unto God than the common people, and to be employed 
in his most holy service ; so if we be cleansed by the blood of Christ, 
we are separated from the ungodly world, and may acquaint him with 
all our desires, griefs, and fears. On the other side, against irreverence. 
It is no easy matter to come before the Lord as we ought to do ; and 
we must be sure to bless and thank the Kedeemer for this favour, that 
we are made priests of God and Christ, that we are freed from the fears 
of the second death : Kev. xx. 6, ' Blessed and holy is he that hath 
part in the first resurrection ; on such the second death hath no power, 
but they shall be priests of God and of Christ ; ' and we may hope for 
a more solemn service. 

Use 2. To exhort the children of God 

1. To long and hope for the time of their ministration in the 
heavenly temple. When the time of our consecration is finished, then 
we shall be admitted into this blessed estate. Oh, comfort yourselves 
with the forethought of it ! There are many reasons to induce us 

[1.] Because then we shall see him whom we worship, and stand 
before his throne. This is often promised : Ps. xvii. 15, 'As for me, 
I shall behold thy face in righteousness ; I shall be satisfied, when I 
awake, with thy likeness ; ' 1 John iii. 2, ' When he shall appear we 
shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.' So 1 Cor. xiii. 12, 
' Now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face ; ' John 
xvii. 24, ' Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be 
with me where I am, that they may behold my glory which thou hast 
given me.' Now it is a blessed thing to see what we love, and possess 
what we see. The priests here, though they do not worship an unknown 
God, yet they worship an unseen God. The Romans, when they brake 
into the sanctum sanctorum, and saw no image there, gave out that the 
high priest did worship the clouds. The world suspecteth the God 
whom we worship ; but there we see him face to face, with a clear and 
distinct vision: 2 Cor. v. 7, 'For we walk by faith, not by sight.' 
There vision succeedeth in the room of faith, fruition of hope, and 
perfect love of that weak adherence which now we put forth towards 
God. If God should suffer himself to be seen by his creature in the 
condition to which sin hath reduced him, it would prove rather a ground 
of fear and astonishment than of love and fruition ; or else the majesty 


must be clouded with some allay of condescension, which would not 
sufficiently reveal him to us. The immediate presence of God, which 
is our felicity in heaven, would be our misery upon earth. The scripture 
telleth us, Exod. xxxiii. 20, ' No man shall see him and live.' And 
Manoah, Judges xiii. 22, ' We shall surely die, because we have seen God.' 
We cannot look upon this glorious sun but we are in danger of losing 
our life. together with our sight. The scripture sometimes maketh God 
to dwell in darkness, sometimes in light inaccessible, to note the 
incapacity of our faculties, and the incomprehensible splendour of his 
glorious majesty. We are not able to pierce through this darkness or 
endure this light. But the majesty of God is not there formidable, 
but comfortable ; for we shall behold the glorious God in a glorified 
estate, both of soul and body. 

[2.] We shall serve him perfectly, and without weakness, weariness, 
and distraction. 

(1.) Here is weakness. What dull and low conceptions have we of 
God ! What heartless, irreverent, and poor expressions of his glorious 
excellency whenever we "come to worship before him t such as should 
make us ashamed to open our lips before the Lord : Isa. vi. 5, ' Woe 
is me, for I am undone,' saith the prophet Isaiah, ' for I am a man of 
unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips ; for 
mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.' Or" as Job, chap, 
xl. 4, ' Behold I am vile ; what shall I answer thee ? I will lay 
ray hand upon my mouth.' The best of God's servants, when their 
eyes are but a little opened to see the glory of that God they speak to, 
how sensible would they be of the shortness of their apprehension and 
expressions of that God they speak to ! Alas I how can such narrow 
hearts frame an apprehension, or receive an impression of such an 
infinite greatness and eternal goodness as there is in God ! But when 
we shall see him as he is, then we shall better praise him, and conceive 
more suitably of him. 

(2.) Here is weariness, and we cannot endure long under our weak 
duties, neither as to the frame of body nor mind ; but there God in 
communion is always new and fresh to us every moment. And the 
more we look upon the object, the more is the faculty fortified and 
strengthened in conversing with God : Mat. xviii. 10, ' In heaven their 
angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.' 
The blessed spirits are never weary of beholding God, and enjoying his 
glorious presence. 

(3.) Here is distraction. We pretend, when we worship God, to 
leave the world, and turn the back upon all things else, and to set our 
selves before the throne of God ; but alas ! we bring the flesh along 
with us, and that will have its excursions, and so our hearts arc stolen 
away from under Christ's own arm. We mingle sulphur with our 
incense, groan under divers infirmities : ' We cannot do what we would 
do,' Gal. v. 17. But there is nothing to divert/ us from thinking of 
God ; there is no blemish in priest or sacrifice ; nothing |W^11 appear in 
us displeasing unto God, which is a comfort in our present weaknesses. 

[3.] We shall then serve God uninterruptedly ; for there shall be 
no impediment of business, nor need of sleep. Here earthly occasions 
straiten Christ, and crowd up his interest in the sou], and we spend 


almost half our time in sleep, not showing one act of thankfulness to 
God ; but then ' we shall be ever with the Lord/ 1 Thes. iv. 17. We 
shall always stand before his throne of glory, and abide in his blessed 
presence. Our labour shall not need repose, nor shall the night ever 
draw a curtain upon that day. There will be no miseries, wants, and 
necessities to distract us/ and take off our minds. The whole strength 
of our souls is carried out to God, and our time is spent wholly and 
only in worshipping and serving God. Constant and perpetual solemn 
service is a celestial privilege, and they that serve God most uninter 
ruptedly come nearest heaven, for there Christ is ever with us, and we 
ever with him : 2 Cor. v. 8, ' We are confident, I say, and willing 
rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.' 
When absent from the body, we are present with the Lord, and shall 
follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. 

[4.] There we are admitted into a nearer communion with God 
than now in this mortal estate. We draw nigh to him now, but we 
are not so nigh but there is some distance ; but in the palace of glory 
our approach will be so near as to take away all distance, and we shall 
have immediate and full communion with God. Now God is in heaven 
and we upon earth, we receive no more of God than an ordinance can 
convey to us. Here and there he droppeth in a little comfort and 
quickening into the soul ; the pipe cannot convey much, and the vessel 
can hold less ; the means are narrow, and the person is not capacitated 
to be filled up with all the fulness of God ; but then the Lord will do 
his work by himself, the means shall not straiten him ; God will 
communicate himself without means, and be instead of all means ; he 
will be all in all, and therefore will communicate his grace in full per 
fection. The more we draw nigh to God here, the more like him. 
Moses, while he conversed with God in the mount, his face shone. 
Christ was transformed in his prayers : Luke ix. 29, ' And as he 
prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment 
was white and glistering.' So by proportion in heaven ; the nearer 
we draw to God, the more we enjoy of him : 1 John iii. 2, ' When he 
shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.' Per-, 
fection of holiness is the glory and happiness of the saints in heaven ; 
as iron by lying in the fire seemeth to be all fire ; when it is red-hot 
the qualities of fire are imprinted on it ; so we, by being ever with the 
Lord, and ministering in his presence, have more of the divine nature 
communicated unto us. 

[5.] There is the unanimous conjunction of all the saints in the 
praises of God, or a joining in comfort, without jarring or difference. 
The apostle biddeth us, Rom. xv. 6, ' With one mind and with one 
mouth to glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.' It is 
our duty, but never performed to the full, but when we meet together in 
that great Travyyvpts, that council of souls, or ' the general assembly and 
church of the first-born,' which the apostle describeth, Heb. xii. 23, 
' The spirits of just men made perfect,' or consecrated. It is comfort 
able to join in worship with the people of God now. Moses preferred 
it, with afflictions, before all the riches, and honours, and pleasures he 
enjoyed in Egypt : Heb. xi. 24, ' Choosing rather to suffer affliction 
with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.' 


But then is the communion of saints completed, when all are admitted 
to the vision and clearest knowledge of God, and have the most perfect 
adherence and love to him. Now what an happy time will that be, 
when we and all the holy ones of God shall, with the same enlarged 
affection, set about the same work ! as our groans here made but one 
sound, and our conjoined tears but one stream, and our united desires but 
one prayer, so all our praises then shall make but one melody and har 
mony. If it be an happiness to live with the saints in their imperfection, 
when sin doth often embitter their society, surely it is an happiness to 
live with them for ever when they are purged and freed from sin, and 
fully consecrated and fitted to minister before the Lord. 

[6.] To think of God, and to rejoice in his glory, and to love and 
praise him, will be our great employment. There we shall be intent 
upon our choice and noble work, which is praising and lauding God : 
Ps. Ixxxiv. 4, ' Blessed are they that dwell in thy house ; they are still 
praising thee.' Praises now are a part of our sacrifices, and must be 
mingled with our prayers : Phil. iv. 6, ' In everything by prayer and 
supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known unto God.' 
So Bev. v. 8, ' The four beasts and four-and-twenty elders fell down 
before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full 
of odours, which are the prayers of the saints.' Harps signify their 
praises and thanksgivings. Here it cometh in by way of mixture, but 
there it is our sole employment. There is no need of prayers, for there 
are no sins, nor wants, nor necessities there; all is praise. David 
calleth upon the angels ' to bless the Lord,' Ps. ciii. 20, to tell us 
what they do. And when a multitude of them descended at Christ's 
birth, Luke ii. 13, 14, they presently fell a-lauding and praising God, 
' Glory be to God in the highest.' It is the opinion of the ancient 
Hebrews that every day they sing praises to God, and that in the 
morning ; this they gather from Gen. xxxii. 6, ' Let me go, for the day 
breaketh;' which place the Targum of Jerusalem thus explaineth, 
* Let me go, for the pillar of the morning ascends ; and behold, the 
hour approacheth that the angels are to sing.' This was their opin 
ion. Sure we are that the angels bless God, and that in an eminent 
manner, as appeareth by frequent passages of scripture, where they 
are called upon to bless the Lord ; for though the speech be in the 
imperative mood, as if it were hortatory, yet it is to be expounded by 
the indicative, as narrative of what the angels do. Particularly we 
read they blessed God for his own excellence : Isa. vi. 1-3, ' In the 
year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, 
high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the 
seraphims ; each one had six wings ; with twain he covered his face, 
and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And 
one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of 
hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory.' For the creation : Job 
xxxviii. 4-7, ' Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the 
earth ? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the 
measures thereof, if thou knowest ? or who hath stretched the line 
upon it ? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened ? or who 
laid the corner-stone thereof, when the morning-stars sang together, 
and all the sons of God shouted for joy ?' For the nativity of Christ : 


Luke ii. 13, 14, 'And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude 
of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the 
highest, on earth peace, good will toward men." So they blessed 
Christ : Kev. v. 11, 12, ' I beheld, and I heard the voice of many 
angels round about the throne, and the beasts, and the elders ; and the 
number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands 
of thousands, saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was 
slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and 
honour, and glory, and blessing.' Though they cannot fully compre 
hend God, yet they do it far more clearly than we. They apprehend 
God's excellency and perfection in himself; they know also the 
excellency of his works, creation, and providence, and the redemption 
of mankind. ' Then we shall know as we are known,' 1 Cor. xiii. 12, 
and understand the faithfulness of God's conduct in bringing us to 
glory. blessed time when we shall fall upon the work of angels, 
when we shall have a sublime understanding to know God, an heart 
to love him, and a mouth to praise him for evermore ! We shall not 
need any excitement, but be willing and ready to do it. We have 
greater cause of blessing God than the angels have. It is a question 
whether an innocent or a penitent person is more bound to thank God ? 
An innocent man is bound to praise God in respect of the greatness 
of the benefit, and the continuance of it ; but a penitent man in respect 
of the freeness and graciousness of it. The freeness and graciousness 
is much more conspicuous towards men. God was indeed good 
and bountiful to the angels, creating them out of nothing, endowing 
them with many excellent gifts ; but to man sinful was God good 
indeed ; he loved us as enemies ; when his justice, offended by sin, 
put a bar to our salvation, he spared not his beloved Son, but delivered 
him to a cursed death in our room and stead. 

2. To exhort us to prepare ourselves for this estate ; and let us 
labour that we may be such as may be counted meet to minister before 
the Lord in his heavenly temple. To this end 

[1.] Let us hasten the acts which belong to our consecration, and 
attend upon them with more seriousness, which is the cleansing of the 
soul from the guilt and stain of sin. From the guilt of sin : Kom. v. 
1, 2, ' Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God, 
through our Lord Jesus Christ ; by whom also we have access by faith 
unto this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of 
God/ Comfortable access to God here in the world depends upon our 
justification ; the more clear that is, the more we are fitted to come 
before the Lord. From the stain of sin : Mat. v. 8, ' Blessed are the 
pure in heart, for they shall see God.' Though all see enough of God 
to satisfaction, these see more than others do. Therefore the more we 
cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, the more of God 
shall we see, and the sooner shall we be admitted into his blessed 
presence. It was an old observation, even among the heathens, bv </>iXei 
609 a.7rodv^a-Ki i/eo9, that he whom God loveth dieth young. Not that 
all that die young are beloved of God ; but ordinary observation will 
teach you this, that let a man more than ordinarily improve in purity of 
heart, though God may lend him to the world for an example for some 
time, yet they are taken to God sooner than others ; or if they are 


continued in the world, they are continued under more weaknesses, 
and do with more earnestness expect their translation to the everlasting 

[2.] Let us begin our sacrifices, and discharge our priestly office now, 
and perform all the duties which belong to our ministration with more 
fidelity. Some of our duties are proper only to the present state, as 
consecrating ourselves to God, and using ourselves for God ; that is out 
of date then, for our consecration is over before we come there. It is 
undeniable that the blessed spirits all live to God : Luke xx. 38, ' He 
is not a God of the dead, but of the living, for all live unto him.' But 
there is no need of giving up ourselves to God, for then we possess God. 
Mercy is useless in an estate where misery cannot approach ; therefore 
now it must be exercised. None are priests in heaven but those that 
have acted the priest's part upon earth. But praise holds good now, 
and then too : Ps. cvii. 22, 'Let us sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, 
and declare his works with rejoicing.' This is to tune our instruments, 
and to be fitting ourselves for our everlasting work. 

[3.] Let us be more frequent and often with God ; for the throne of 
grace is the very porch of heaven ; by it we pass to the throne of glory. 
Surely that life upon earth is best which is likest to the life of heaven : 
Ps. Ixxxiv. 10, ' For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand : I had 
rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the 
tents of wickedness.' Prayer giveth us the nearest familiarity which a 
man in flesh can have with God, and is the best preparation for our 
entrance upon our everlasting priesthood. A man acquainted with a 
God beforehand is not to seek for a God to pray to when he cometh to 
die, nor for a mediator to intercede for him, nor for a spirit of adoption 
to fly to God as a reconciled Father. Having been frequently enter 
tained and accepted by God, he can the better resign his spirit into his 
hands, and with more confidence wait for this nearer 'attendance. 
Alas ! to go out of the world into unknown and unseen regions, where 
we are wholly strangers, how sad is that ! Who will venture into the 
ocean who hath not learned to swim in the shallow brooks and streams? 
Communion with God in a way of grace is the way to communion 
with him in a way of glory. We go to see him face to face whom we 
have seen by the eye of faith, to live with him in heaven with whom 
we have lived upon earth. Species non Icetificat in patria, quern fides 
non consolatur in via Sight will not be joyful to him in heaven whom 
faith hath not comforted upon earth. He that hath often heard and 
accepted us will not reject us. 

3. Let us be more apprehensive of the greatness of the privilege of 
drawing nigh to God, that we may improve it accordingly. The priests 
were sanctified to draw nearer to God than the common people, and 
employed in his holy service. Yea, nearness of ministration before 
the Lord is the felicity of the glorified. How must we improve it ? 

[1.] Partly to be ashamed of our loathnessto draw nigh to God, and 
our weariness of his special service. Oh, let us not shun God as an 
enemy, and be loath to come into his special presence, or backward to 
converse with him. 

[2.] To thankfulness to our Kedeemer. It was purchased by the 
blood of Jesus : Heb. x. 19, ' Having therefore, brethren, boldness to 


enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.' We may be the more 
confident of drawing nigh to him in a way of grace, for he hath pur 
chased also our entrance into glory: Eph iii. 12, 'In whom we have 
boldness, and access with confidence by the faith of him.' 
Use 3. Comfort. 

1. Against present weaknesses in duty. There will be a time when 
we shall more perfectly express our thanksgiving to God. 

2. Against troubles and sufferings. It must be so now, that we may 
be conformed to our head ; but no molestation should be an impedi 
ment in our work. 

3. Against death. It should make us willing to die, that we may 
minister before the Lord. If David so longed for the enjoyment of God 
in the earthly temple : Ps. Ixiii. 1,2/0 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 ; ' how much more 
cause have we to long for the time when we shall be made priests to 
him for ever ? 



Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thy heart : thou shalt in any tvise 
rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him. LEV. xix. 17. 

I AM to speak to you at this time concerning Christian and brotherly 
reproof. Our first care should be that we are not sinners ourselves ; 
our next, that we partake not of the sins of others ; which may not 
only be by counselling and abetting their evil actions, but also by a faulty 
connivance and silence, when the glory of God and love to our neigh 
bours' souls do loudly call upon us to mind them of their duty and warn 
them of their danger. To this end I have made choice of this scripture, 
' Thou shalt not hate/ &c. Where take notice 

1. Of the removal of the impediment, ' Thou shalt not hate thy 
brother in thy heart/ 

2. An earnest excitement of the duty of reproof, ' Thou shalt in any 
wise rebuke thy neighbour.' 

3. A reason to enforce it, ' Thou shalt not suffer sin upon him/ or 
that thou bear not sin for him. 

First, A removal of the impediment or hindrance, ' Thou shalt not 
hate thy brother in thy heart.' Hatred is forbidden when rebuke or 
reproof is prescribed, for two reasons 

1. Because there is a supposition of wrong done ; that is, when any 
man ^hath wronged us in anything, let him not nourish hatred or anger 
in his bosom, lest by abiding there long, it soureth into malice and 
revenge ; rather go and show them the evil that they have done, to 
bring them to repentance. It is said of Absalom, 2 Sam. xiii. 22, that 
' Absalom spake unto his brother Amnon neither good nor bad, for 
Absalom hated Amnon, because he had forced his sister Tamar.' 
Amnon did the wrong, but Absalom reproved him not, because he hated 
him. Implacable malice and desire of revenge is hid under silence and 
dissimulation : ' He spake neither good nor bad to Amnon/ to wit, of 
that subject of the rape committed upon his sister ; he reproved not 
the fact, that so he might conceal his malice, till he found occasion to 
put the same in execution ; and this is the fashion of all that regard the 
wrong done to themselves, but not the offence done to God. Well, then, 
since hatred begets close and cunning dissimulation, till it have a full 
advantage to put forth itself, it is opposite to reproof; it is as fire 


raked under ashes, and reserved till another day. The historian Tacitus 
observeth it in Tiberius, who being offended by some words spoken in 
the senate by Haterius and Scaurus, In Haterium statim invectus, 
Scaurum cui implacabilis irascebatur, silentio transmittit The one 
he rebuked, the other, whom he implacably hated, he passed by with 
silence. Therefore God, well knowing the disposition of man, giveth 
this direction by his servant Moses, ' Hate not thy brother in thy heart, 
but rebuke him in any wise.' So that you see it is meant of hatred, 
rising of offences principally ; wherefore rebuke him, hate him not for 
such things. Suitable to this is the law of Christ : Luke xvii. 3, ' Take 
heed to yourselves : if thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him ; 
and if he repent, forgive him.' Do your utmost to reduce any that 
offendeth, though it be by injuring thee ; do not desire revenge, but 
seek an opportunity to pardon him upon his reformation : Mat. xviii. 
15, ' If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault 
between thee and him alone ; if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained 
thy brother ; ' that is, thy charity must be sure to put off all thoughts 
of revenge against him ; yea, it will oblige thee to use all prudent 
methods to bring him to a sense of his fault, and the most discreet 
and gentle ways are first to be essayed. That is the first reason. 

2. He that doth not rebuke his brother when he doth anything 
amiss doth indeed hate him, not love him. There are two things 
which put us upon reproof zeal for God's glory, and love to our neigh 
bour's soul. There is a defect in our zeal if we do not seek to repair 
God's honour when it is wounded by others : Ps. Ixix. 9, ' The zeal of 
thine house hath eaten me up, and the reproaches of them that re 
proached thee have fallen upon me.' Injuries done to God and religion 
affect us no less nearly than personal wrongs done to ourselves. So 
there is a defect in our love and charity to others to let them alone in 
soul-dangers ; and therefore reproof, as it is opposed to hatred, so it is 
opposed also to flattery, which is false and corrupt love : Prov. xxviii. 
23, ' He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than 
he that flattereth with his tongue.' When we are about to reprove 
others for their faults, we are afraid we shall offend them, and that all 
friendship will be broken off between us and them, and so are tempted 
to connive at others' sinful courses for fear of a rupture and breach 
with them. Alas ! at length, though the party be displeased a little 
for the present, when he recovereth and cometh to himself again, he 
will see that you showed him the true friendship, whereas others that 
connived at or flattered him in his sins, however they sought to please 
his humour, hated his soul ; and they will love you the better for it, 
because you awaken them out of their sins, that would have been their 
eternal ruin. It is possible you may enrage a wicked and haughty 
scorner, but then you have discharged your duty, and freed your own 
soul. But for others, you get the more favour and thanks, because 
yon have done a true office of love. So that that which you are afraid 
will be an occasion of breaking off friendship, will prove a means to 
nourish love : Prov. ix. 8, ' Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee ; 
rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.' Gain him to a sense of his 
duty, and he will bless God for thee while he hath a day to live. So 
Prov. xxvii. 5, 6, ' Open rebuke is better than secret love. Faithful 


are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.' 
Open rebuke is when we plainly, and sometimes sharply, convince men 
of their errors or sins they lie in ; this is better than hidden love, for 
that is of no use and profit to us. He that reduceth me into the way 
when I go astray, and plucketh me out of the fire and water when I 
am in danger to be drowned or burned, though he break an arm or 
leg ; be that cureth my disease, though by a sharp and troublesome 
medicine, doth me a greater benefit than he that professeth great love 
to me, and lets me alone to perish, and will not reach an hand to pluck 
me out, out of tenderness, as loath to trouble me. That is called 
hidden love that doth not make itself known by the offices of love and 
friendship, or for fear of offence will not warn a man of his danger ; it 
is indeed true hatred. The next verse is to the same purpose. It 
may be my friend wounds me, as the physician lets me bleed to cure 
my fever ; he doth it in faithfulness. A sharp reproof is there called 
' a wound,' but it is the faithfulness of my friend, not done out of rancour 
or malice, with a desire to shame and reproach me ; it is intended for 
my good ; but ' the kisses of an enemy/ or one that hateth me and my 
soul, ' are deceitful.' By ' kisses ' are meant the pretences of great 
love to us, as Joab kissed Amasa, and stabbed him, 2 Sam. xx. 9, 10; 
and Judas kissed Christ, and betrayed him, Mat. xxvi. 48, 49. Alas ! 
this love is but deceitful, whilst it betrayeth your souls. That this is 
true love appeareth also, because thus God dealeth himself with his 
own children : Prov. iii. 12, ' For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth, 
even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.' God loveth his 
children dearly, but yet will not let them perish in their sins, therefore 
sometimes he useth a smart discipline towards them. Satan seekethtolull 
them asleep by the delights of the flesh, but God awakeneth them by 
the sharp corrections and rebukes of his providence. I will but 
add David's expression, which showeth what thoughts he had of a 
sharp reproof wisely administered : Ps. cxli. 5, ' Let the righteous 
smite me, it shall be a kindness ; and let him reprove me, it shall be 
an excellent oil, which shall not break my head.' David, perceiving 
what mischief those unhappy flatterers that Saul had about him had 
procured to him, beggeth of God as a great blessing that he might 
have such godly and faithful friends about him as would never consent 
to any wrong deed of his, and would not only dissent, but dissuade him 
from it, yea, reprove him, and rebuke him sharply, if need were ; which 
sort of friendly smiting would be a most acceptable good turn as could 
be performed to him. Surely he that truly hateth sin loveth to be 
freely dealt withal, and reproved and admonished of it. It may be 
the reproof is as a wound to the flesh, which is proud and impatient 
of contradiction ; but it is the fruit of love unfeigned ; and when we 
are in our right wits, it should be as a precious oil, which they were 
wont to pour on the head, both for health, and cheering, and gladness. 

Secondly, The exhortation itself, ' Thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy 
neighbour.' Here is (1.) The object ; (2.) The act. 

1. The object, thy neighbour and brother. Here the question will 
be the same that was put to Christ : Luke x. 29, ' Who is my neigh 
bour ? ' Christ answereth him by a parable, and showeth him that 
every one that stood in need of his charity, he is the object of thy 


compassion and mercy. So in this piece of charity, by ' brother ' and 
' neighbour ' is meant any other man, though he be to thee as a Jew to 
a Samaritan, upon terms of the greatest separation and hostility towards 
thee. So our Lord teacheth elsewhere : Mat. v. 43, 44, ' Ye have 
heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate 
thine enemy : but I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that 
curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that de- 
spitefully use you, and persecute you.' Offices of love must be extended 
to all, even to aliens and enemies; therefore for this case am I to 
reprove an infidel or one of a false religion ? 

We answer briefly, as the apostle, Gal. vi. 10, ' As we have therefore 
opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially to .them who are 
of the household of faith.' 

[1.] By the law of charity I owe this office of love to all, for I should 
bring home as many to God as possibly I can. Neither age, nor sex, 
nor any condition of life doth deprive them of the benefit, nor exempt 
me from my duty to them. Unbelievers are our neighbours, and to be 
loved with a true love ; besides <^AaSeX<ia, ' Love of the brethren,' 
a^aTrr), ' love ' is required of Christians : 2 Peter i. 7, ' Add to brotherly- 
kindness charity.' And therefore they must not be excluded from the 
common act and office of charity that belongeth to all men as men. 
Spiritual alms is no more restrained than bodily. Now upon occasion 
we are bound to relieve the worst in their great necessity, and none 
have such great necessity of being reduced as infidels, for they are 
further from God and more gone astray than others, and therefore most 
need information and warning of the danger they are in. An unbeliever 
may reprove a believer ; so on the contrary : Gen. xx. 16, ' And 
Abimelech said unto Sarah, Behold, I have given to thy brother a 
thousand pieces of silver ; behold, he is to thee a covering of the eyes 
to all that are with thee, and with all other : thus was she reproved.' 
This heathen king reproved her, because she wore not a veil, as wives 
are wont to do, but dissembled, and thereby she was in danger of being 
ensnared, and giving occasion of these mischiefs ; as if he should say, 
Acknowledge freely hereafter that he is thy husband, and cover thy 
face in token that thou art a married woman, and that consequently he 
is the shield and defence of thy chastity ; let it be a lesson and warn 
ing to thee to be more circumspect hereafter. 

[2.] This is chiefly *to be done to Christians, and those who are 
members of the same church, for in a chief respect they are to be 
reckoned brother and neighbour. They have a nearer brotherly con 
junction with us than others, and the precept of brotherly correction 
introduceth that discipline which is to be used in the church for ever : 
Mat. xviii. 15-17, ' Moreover, if thy brother shall trespass against thee, 
go and tell him his fault between him and thee alone : if he shall hear 
thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then 
take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three 
witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to 
hear them, tell it to the church ; but if he neglect to hear the church, 
let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican ; ' that is, thy 
fellow Christian, he is first to be admonished privately, without putting 
him to any shame or reproach, and if he mend upon such admonition, 


there is an end. It is comfort enough to you to be an happy instru 
ment of his repentance. But if that first method succeed not, other 
courses must be taken ; and the case is to be brought before the 
Christian church, ver. 17, that it receive no damage by wilful and 
obstinate offenders ; so that reproof doth mostly concern the scandalous 
sins of a brother or professed believer. 

[3.] Among Christians, some are more nearly related to us, either by 
the bonds of natural kindred or special friendship, as those of our 
family, and with whom we have familiar converse. We know not the 
estate of those who are at a distance, but those within the sphere of 
our commerce we are more particularly concerned in ; as the apostle 
says as to corporal relief: 1 Tim. v. 8, ' If any provide not for his own, 
arid especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and 
is worse than an infidel.' They act quite contrary to the laws of Christ. 
So here, they that are of the same family, we are bound in a special 
manner to seek their good and welfare, because, besides the common 
bond of Christian charity, there is a special tie of kindred and relation, 
and also because this nearness and relation giveth an opportunity of 
frequent commerce, and opportunity is one of the talents which we are 
to account for. 

2. The act is rebuking or reproving him for sin, which must be 
done faithfully, compassionately, and prudently. 

[1.] Faithfully ; for in the Hebrew it is ' in rebuking thou shalt 
rebuke ; ' that is, freely, plainly, soundly reprove him ; for doubling of 
the words in the Hebrew increaseth the sense. We render it, ' Thou 
shalt in any wise rebuke.' We must sometimes, 6\e<y%eiv aTrorp/zeo?. 
So Titus i. 13, ' Kebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the 
faith.' But the end and circumstances must govern the matter, for 
corrosives are not proper to all wounds and diseases, and a proud 
censure is not a charitable reproof. Therefore in the general it must 
be so as it may best obtain its effect. 

[2.] With lenity and Christian meekness, that it may appear an act 
of love ; not the fruit of passion, but compassion : Gal. vi. 1, ' If a man 
be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such an one in 
the spirit of meekness.' When we would reclaim and restore such as 
are surprised with any sin, we must do it in such a manner that they 
may see our love to them, and that we have a right aim, which is not 
the reproach and disgrace of the person, but his reformation and amend 
ment. Our indignation against the sin must not transport us, or carry 
us besides our pity to the person ; and there must not appear in it the 
rigour and severity of censure which proceedeth of pride, but the lenity 
of love, considering the circumstance of human frailty, and our own 
proneness to offend if we were in like circumstances. It is our brother's 
amendment we look after, not to beget in others an ill opinion of him, 
or a good opinion of ourselves, as if we were singular in holiness and 
hatred of sin above others ; and we must by all means show that our 
reproving proceedeth from a zeal for the glory of God, and love to and 
care of the salvation of our neighbour. 

^ [3.] Prudently. All circumstances must be well weighed, of person, 
time, and place, occasion, and the temptations to the offence, that all 
things may be done conveniently, and proportionable to the end : Prov. 


xxv. 12, ' As an ear-ring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is 
a wise reprover upon an obedient ear ; ' that is, wise reproof is a precious 
jewel, that is not so great an ornament to the ear as a wise seasonable 
reproof is acceptable to a gracious heart. Eeproof is an ear-jewel ; now 
an ear-jewel must not be too weighty and heavy, lest it tear and rend, 
rather than adorn the ear. 

Thirdly, The argument by which this duty is enforced, ' Lest thou 
bear sin for him ; ' that is the marginal reading ; in the text, ' Thou 
shalt not suffer sin upon him;' either reading affordeth a strong 

1. ' Thou shalt not suffer sin upon him;' that is, not leave him in 
his sin unreproved. Sin should be so odious to a gracious heart, that, 
as we should be careful not to commit it ourselves, so we should not 
permit it to lie upon others. As we would shake off a spark of fire 
from their clothes, so we must not suffer any sinful blemish to remain 
upon their consciences and conversations. God would every way hedge 
us within our duty ; as by mourning for the sins of others he teacheth 
us penitence for our own, so by reproving others' sins he teacheth us 
caution for ourselves : Kom. ii. 1, ' Thou art inexcusable, man, who 
soever thou art that judgest ; for wherein thou judgest another, thou 
condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.' 
They that live and go on in these sins, in judging others they condemn 

2. The other reading also offereth a good argument, ' That thou 
bear not sin for him.' To bear sin is to bear punishment ; as Christ is 
said to ' bear our sins in his body upon the tree/ when he endured the 
punishment due to our sins, 1 Peter ii. 24. So he that reproveth not 
sin is said to bear sin for his brother or neighbour, that is, punishment 
for his sake, because he seeketh not to save a soul from death ; as the 
Lord threateneth, Ezek. iii. 18, ' When I say unto the wicked, Thou 
shalt surely die, and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn 
the wicked from his wicked way to save his life, the same wicked man 
shall die in his iniquity, but his blood will I require at thine hands.' 
Others are to answer for it, who have ability and opportunity to reprove. 
Now we have sins enough of our own, that we need not take on us a 
new guilt, and be partakers of other men's sins, or bear more for their 

From the whole observe 

Doct. That brotherly reproof is a necessary duty, which all are 
bound to practise as well as they can. 

I. Let us consider the kind of the duty which we are bound to 
enforce. Keproof and admonition is either authoritative and by way 
of office, or charitative and by way of general duty. 

1. For reproof by way of office we have many scriptures : 2 Tim. 
iv. 2, ' Preach the word ; be instant in season, out of season ; reprove, 
rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine;' that is, urge 
them, press them, call upon them when they are at leisure to hear, 
and come together for that purpose ; or when thou hast any oppor 
tunity to fasten anything upon them at other times. Labour still to 
convince the evil-doers of their wicked courses. This is the continual 
duty of ministers, and they must mind it evKaipw, aicdipax;, 'in 


season, out of season ; both when they have probable opportunities, and 
when they take occasion, though they find it not ; when the hearers, it 
may be, think it not so seasonable : the recovery of souls must not be 

2. Reproof by way of general duty, which lieth upon all men that 
are capable, and have the use of reason. Of this the apostle speaketh, 
1 Thes. v. 14, ' Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are 
unruly, comfort the feeble-minded, support the weak, be patient 
towards all men.' All these are duties of Christian charity, which 
belong to private believers : vovderelre TOU<? aTaicrovs, ' Warn them that 
are unruly.' Reproof is one of these duties : 2 Thes. iii. 15, ' Count 
him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother,' vovOeTetre; 
set his duty in his mind. Again, all Christians must contribute their 
help to preserve the church of Christ from scandal and prejudice ; and 
therefore, when they see any man forsake his station and his work, they 
must admonish him of his fault, and never leave till they have reduced 
him into his proper posture and place again. Now there is a difference 
between these two duties ; for the one is not only an act of charity, but 
justice ; the other is an act of charity, and that general duty that we owe 
to a neighbour as a neighbour. The one is done by a superior, by virtue of 
his office ; the other is done by an equal towards his equal, or by a 
superior by virtue of his common relation. The one is done publicly 
by right dividing the word of truth, and giving every one his portion ; 
the other is done privately between us and our brother, that w r e may 
gain him according to Christ's rule. The one is done by public decla 
ration, and the evidence of truth in their consciences, disapproving their 
evil deeds : John iii. 20, ' Every one that doeth evil hateth the light, 
neither cometh he to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.' The 
other is done by closer application, or personal charge for the sins that 
we have heard and seen : Gal. ii. 11, * When Peter was come to Antioch, 
I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.' The one 
requireth aptness of gifts, the other only Christian prudence and a 
fervent charity. This latter we have now in hand. 

II. The arguments by which we are to enforce it ; which are needful 
in this case, because men are so apt to bear with sin, both in themselves 
and others; and this duty is of so great use, that Satan seeketh to 
hinder it with all his power ; and so hard to be done rightly, that most 
men quite omit it. 

1. I shall prove it from the law of nature, which teacheth me to love 
my neighbour as myself; and therefore conscience bindeth me to reduce 
those into the right way who are gone out of it ; this is the obliging 
internal cause. We ourselves by a regular will, having erred, would 
be glad to be reduced, and set into the right way again : Jer. viii. 4, 
' Thus saith the Lord, Shall they fall, and not arise ? shall they turn 
away, and not return ? ' Is any man so absurd, heedless, and witless, 
that when he hath gotten a fall, will lie still, and not essay to get up 
again ? or that hath been unwittingly out of the way, and will not 
desire to come into it again, and be willing to receive direction from 
those that would set him right ? Now this being a dictate of nature, 
produced by God himself by his prophet, to aggravate their apostasy, 
who having fallen by their sin, refused to rise and return, holdeth good 

VOL. xix. H 


also to others, whom we are to love as ourselves. And therefore, when 
they are fallen, we must help them to rise again ; and when they are 
turned away, we must help them to return. This is so natural, that the 
very birds and beasts desire to return to their proper places in their 
natural and appointed time when they have wandered ; as the prophet 
speaketh of the stork, turtle, and crane : ver. 7, ' Yea, the stork in the 
heaven knoweth her appointed times ; and the turtle, and the crane, 
and the swallow, observe the time of their coming.' Now, from that 
reciprocal obligation that is between men and the law of nature, we am 
bound to reprove our brother ; as we desire it, and expect it from them^ 
to be set right when we are wrong, we are to pay the same debt of love 
to them again. The argument holdeth. a fortiori, because in spiritual 
things the danger is greater, the good to be procured is greater, the evil 
to be feared greater. Yea, this argument is the stronger, because it 
holdeth good concerning the ox and ass ; not only of our own neigh 
bour, but of our enemy ; as Exod. xxiii. 4, ' If thoumeet thine enemy's 
ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again ; ' 
and Deut. xxii. 1, ' Thou shalt not see thy brother's ox, or his sheep, go 
astray, and hide thyself from them ; thou shalt in any case bring them 
again to thy brother.' Surely hereby God would teach every man not 
to look on his own things only, but to love and do good to other men. 
This duty required towards beasts is much more towards men : Ezek. 
xxxiv. 4, ' Ye have not brought again that which was driven away, and 
ye have not sought that which was lost.' We are all like sheep going 
astray, and have need of one another's help. Mark, there are two 
precepts in Deut. xxii. 1 a prohibition, not to hide, and a command 
ment, to restore ; so that they are doubly guilty that are not affected 
with other men's sins, or do not seek to reform them. 

2. It is a duty because positively commanded by God; so that unless we 
will be guilty of flat disobedience, we ought to mind it. God bindeth all 
men to reprove their erring brother and neighbour, keeping the rules 
of prudence, justice, and charity. Now that God hath commanded this, 
many of the scriptures cited before prove : Mat. xviii. 15, 'If thy brother 
offend thee, go and tell him his fault between him and thee ; ' which 
is to be understood not only of offences done to us, but to be extended 
to all wilful crimes of which we see him guilty ; for zeal for God should 
prevail with us as much as injuries done to ourselves ; and it is not 
angry reproach, but Christian admonition that we press you to : 1 Thes. 
v. 14, ' Warn them that are unruly ; ' 2 Thes. iii. 15, ' Admonish him 
as a brother.' So Eom. xv. 14, ' I myself also am persuaded of you, 
my brethren, that ye are full of goodness, filled with all knoAvledge, 
able to admonish one another.' So Prov. xxv. 8-10, ' Go not forth 
hastily to strive, lest thou know not what to do in the end thereof, when 
thy neighbour hath put thee to shame. Debate thy cause with thy 
neighbour himself, and discover not a secret to another, lest he that 
heareth it put thee to shame, and thine infamy turn not away.' All 
these expressions concern brotherly reproof, debating matters in case of 
offence and injury real or supposed. If we presently run to law, with 
out using previous gentle methods of taking up matters among ourselves, 
we run a great hazard, both of loss and infamy. Better end it by 
friendly composition than running to the judge, where, by many un- 


happy representations, a righteous cause may be oppressed. But for 
the common duty of Christians, see Eph. v. 11, ' Have no fellowship 
with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.' The 
word paXkov ' rather,' doth not lessen our duty, but enforce it. 'E\eyx e w 
8ei, saith Chrysostom, we ought to reprove. We shall not be excused 
before God unless we do our duty. So Jude 22, 23, ' And of some 
have compassion, making a difference; and others save with fear, 
pulling them out of the fire.' 


Thou slialt not hate thy brother in thy heart ; thou shalt in any wise 
rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him LEV. xix. 17. 

THIRDLY, Consider how far it bindeth. 

[1.] Intensively, as to the value of the precept. It is not an arbitrary 
direction, which we may omit or observe at pleasure, but a necessary 
precept, which we must obey. 

(1.) From the danger we incur. We are under danger of sin, and 
bearing punishment for them whom we reprove not ; and the punish 
ment of sin is eternal death, if it be omitted out of a culpable negligence. 
Eternal life and eternal death is in the case ; there is no doubt of 
superiors, who by justice and office are bound to reprove, as well as by 
the law of common love and charity : Ezek. xxxiii. 6, ' His blood will 
I require at the watchman's hands.' But even private persons may 
bear sin for others. 

(2.) Because of the good which cometh thereby, which is the glory 
of God and the gaining of our brother : Mat. xviii. 15, ' Thou hast 
gained thy brother.' And the gaining of another's soul is no small 
advantage ; this will be your crown and rejoicing in the day of the 
Lord. To enforce both, consider that text, Prov. xxiv. 11, 12, ' If thou 
forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are 
ready to be slain : if thou sayest, Behold we knew it not ; doth not he 
that pondereth the heart consider it ? and he that keepeth thy soul, 
doth not he know it ? and shall not he render to every man according 
to his works ? ' Here is a work of charity, delivering the innocent 
from temporal death. The sin is a sin of omission ; every man is 
bound to do what he can to save his neighbour from imminent de 
struction. It is our duty not to be silent and see him perish ; with a 
safe conscience we cannot do so ; it is against the light of nature and 
all honesty to use tergiversation in this case, when we have probability 
to help it ; and will not this hold good in the case of brotherly reproof, 
when thou seest thy neighbour likely to perish, and be undone for 
ever ? The same charity that bindeth us to deliver him from temporal 
death will much more bind us to deliver him from eternal death : Heb. 
iii. 12, 13, ' Take heed lest there be in any of you an evil heart of 
unbelief, in departing from the living God.' Not only in you your- 


selves, but ' in any of you/ as will be clear in the remedy prescribed : 
' But exhort one another daily, while it is called to-day ; lest any 
of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.' This is a work 
of Christian charity, which we owe to one another as Christian 
brethren. But see how God answereth the excuse, ' If thou sayest, 
Behold we knew it not.' They knew not the danger or innocency 
of the person. Can you answer so to God? 'Doth not he that pon- 
dereth the heart consider ? ' &c. He will be judge whether you love 
your brother, yea or no ? whether this pretence be cowardice or mere 
ignorance ? 

[2.] How far the obligation reacheth extensively. It bindeth all ; for 
all are to be able : Col. iii. 16, ' Let the word of God dwell in you 
richly, in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another ; ' and 
Eom. xv. 14, ' I am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full 
of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one 
another.' There are several relations between Christians, but all are 
bound to reprove. Some are superiors, some are inferiors ; superiors 
are bound in point of justice ; inferiors in point of charity. Superiors 
that have charge of souls are much more bound to reprove than others ; 
God's threatenings against them are more grievous if they neglect this 
duty of love. The watchman must not spare. Yea, they are bound 
though it be with the danger of their lives ; as Mat. x. 16, 'Behold, I 
send you fortli as sheep in the midst of wolves/ John the Baptist 
reproved Herod, though it cost him his life, Mark vi. 27. And the 
reason is, they have a double tie and bond upon them, as their office 
and relation, besides the common bond of charity. 

But now whether inferiors are bound to reprove those that are over 

Yes, certainly ; for David, a king, did receive with meekness a 
reproof not only from Nathan, a prophet, but from Abigail, a woman, 
1 Sam. xxv. 32, 33 ; and Job produceth it as a proof of his integrity 
that he despised not the cause of his man-servant, or of his maid 
servant, when they contended with him, Job xxxi. 13. Certainly we 
owe this duty to superiors, as their danger is greater. To save a 
private person is not so much as to do good to one that shineth in a 
higher sphere. Well, then, we are bound to reprove all whom we are 
bound to love, whether superiors or inferiors. But then to superiors 
we are to use great modesty : 1 Tim. v. 1, ' Rebuke not an elder, but 
entreat him as a father, and the younger men as brethren.' It should 
be rather an exhortation and entreaty than a reproof. So princes and 
magistrates, who are subject to errors and miscarriages, may with 
humility and wisdom be admonished ; as Naaman's servant : 2 Kings 
v. 13, ' My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, 
wouldst thou not have done it ? how much rather then, when he saith, 
Wash and be clean ? ' Dan. iv. 27, ' Wherefore king, let my counsel 
be acceptable to thee ; ' and Col. iv. 17, ' Say to Archippus, Take 
heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou 
fulfil it/ 

But yet this is still a generality. If every one be bound to reprove 
all, and all every one, when shall we know that this duty is to be put 
in act ? 


Ans. The admonisbcr should have a calling to it through some rela 
tion between him and the offender. So we may find it in all kind of 
relations ; a minister or prophet, as Nathan reproved David, 2 Sam. 
xii. 1 ; as a counsellor, Joab reproveth him : 2 Sam. xix. 5, 6, ' Thou 
hast shamed this day the faces of all thy servants, which have saved 
thy life ; ' a yoke-fellow, as the husband the wife : Job ii. 10, c Thou 
speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh.' The wife the 
husband, as Abigail to Nabal : 1 Sam. xxv. 37, ' And it came to pass 
in the morning, when the wine was gone out of his head, and his wife 
had told him these things, his heart died within him, and he became 
as a stone.' A son, as Jonathan to Saul: 1 Sam. xix. 4, 'And 
Jonathan spake good of David to Saul his father, and said unto him, 
Let not the king sin against his servant, against David, because he 
hath not sinned against thee ; ' a servant admonisheth a prince, 
2 Kings v. 13; a subject, so Daniel to Nebuchadnezzar, Dan. iv. 27 ; 
a friend to his friend : Prov. xxvii. 6, ' Faithful are the wounds of a 
friend.' Yea, a stranger travelling by the way, and seeing his fellow- 
traveller sin, or sitting at the same table, it is a call, because he is then 
in his company, and there is the sin committed ; for so Christ proveth 
the Samaritan was a neighbour to the Jew, when he lighted upon him, 
Luke x. 29. So that the duty, though it universally obligeth, yet it 
is not impracticable ; there is something giveth us the occasion. 

4. It is recommended. When, besides the precept, there is a com 
mendation, it showeth the value of a duty. Now God not only com- 
mandeth, but commendeth to us both the giving and taking a reproof, 
and that upon the highest and most pressing motives. 

[1.] Let us see how the giving a reproof is recommended to us as 
a means to increase knowledge : Prov. xix. 25, ' Keprove one that 
hath understanding, and he will understand knowledge ; ' that is, 
profit in the fear of the Lord. Yea, as a means to convey life : Prov. 
vi. 23, ' And reproofs of instruction are the way of life.' They are a 
means to reduce men to God and eternal happiness ; and it is called 
saving a soul from death : James v. 19, 20, ' Brethren, if any of you 
do err from the truth, and one convert him, let him know that he that 
converteth a sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from 
death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.' So Prov. xxiv. 25, ' But 
to them that rebuke him shall be delight, and a good blessing shall 
come upon him ; ' that is, all will pray for him, whereas they curse 
and detest flatterers. Many such promises there are. 

[2.] Taking a reproof is commended : Eccles. vii. 5, ' It is better to 
hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.' 
It saddens the heart for the present, yet it is more wholesome and 
beneficial than vain mirth, that puts us off from seriousness in soul- 
dangers, and feedeth our lusts and corruptions. So Prov. xiii. 18, 
' Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction, but he 
that regardeth reproof shall be honoured.' A headstrong wicked man 
bringeth himself to beggary and shame, but he that taketh counsel 
betimes soon wipeth off the stain of his miscarriages. So see two 
proverbs together : Prov. xv. 31, 32, ' The ear that heareth the reproof 
of life abideth among the wise : he that refuseth instruction despiseth 
his own soul ; but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.' 


The one is a slight careless person, that despiseth God and his salva 
tion ; but the other giveth a token of a wise and tractable disposition. 
So Prov. xvii. 10, ' A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an 
hundred stripes into a fool.' Correption doth more good than correc 
tion. Now when God doth argue and persuade, and not only interpose 
his authority, surely this is a duty of importance, which we should 
make conscience of. 

5. If God hath given directions about it, it is unquestionably a duty 
belonging to us ; for directions suppose the duty, and show that God 
would not have it miscarry in our hands. As when God directeth to 
pray, he supposeth prayer ; when God directeth to hear, he supposeth 
hearing ; so when he directeth to reprove, he supposeth reproof to be 
a duty. Now the word of God doth everywhere abound with these 
directions : as with what lenity and meekness we should reprove : 2 Cor. 
ii. 4, ' For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you 
with many tears ; not that you should be grieved, but that you may 
know the love which I have more abundantly unto you;' Gal. vi, 1, 
' Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual 
restore such an one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest 
thou also be tempted.' What difference we should make of faults. 
Gnats and camels : Mat. xxiii. 24, ' Ye blind guides, which strain at 
a gnat, and swallow a camel.' Of persons : Jude 22, 23, ' And of 
some have compassion, making a difference ; others save with fear, 
pulling them out of the fire.' 

6. The duty is necessary to prevent a sin, such as detraction, cen 
sure, and backbiting. It is the usual fashion of the world to change a 
duty into a sin ; it should be the care of God's people to change a 
sin into a duty : Eph. v. 4, ' Not foolish talking or jesting, which are 
not convenient, but rather giving of thanks/ So do not speak of them 
that sin, but to them ; do not judge, but reprove. 

7. That without which no society can be maintained, no relation 
faithfully improved, certainly is an unquestionable duty; but so is 
reproof. No society can be maintained, for faults will arise, the injured 
will vent themselves in passion or reproof ; now which conduceth to 
the welfare of human society ? And for relations, how can I be faithful 
to God in them unless I take advantage of this nearness and frequency 
of converse for spiritual use ? Even good men will miscarry : if we be 
privy to it, must we hold our peace ? Well, then, observe the reason 
ableness of God's ordinance. 

III. What is reproof ? It is an act of charity or mercy, by which 
we seek by fit discourse to draw our brother from sin to his duty. 

1. It is an act of charity and mercy, not of pride and vainglory : 
James iii. 1, ' My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall 
receive the greater condemnation.' No ; it is not an act of mastery or 
rash judging, but of mercy towards our brother in his spiritual misery, 
as he hath rendered himself obnoxious to God's wrath. 

2. The means it useth is fit discourse, not correction and chasten 
ing, but correption or rebuke. It must be dispensed in most wholesome 
ways, such as may be most fit to gain a sinner and heal his soul. To 
some we must use more tenderness, but more sharpness to others. In 
general, we reprove from God's word : Col. iii. 16, ' Let the word of 


Christ dwell in you richly, in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing 
one another ; ' that the offender may see God reproving him rather 
than man ; as Christ reproved the pharisees with mere words of 
scripture : Mat. xv. 7-9, ' Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of 
you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouths, and 
honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me : but in 
vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of 
men.' The reproof must be insinuated as the matter requireth, either 
by exhortation, admonition, or caution. 

3. The end, not to shame him, but to gain him from sin to his duty. 
If the man be good, to set him in joint again : Gal. vi. 1, ' Brethren, 
if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such 
an one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be 
tempted.' If carnal, to take this occasion to turn hjm from sin to 
holiness, or to save his soul from death : James v. 19, 20, ' Brethren, 
if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him, let him know 
that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall 
save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.' 

IV. Let us see when this duty bindeth or bindeth not ; for it being 
an affirmative precept, it doth not bind at all times, but as circumstan 
tiated. Affirmative precepts, non ligant ad semper, do not always bind, 
as negative precepts do, for evil actions are never lawful. Affirmative 
precepts bind only when time and place and other circumstances con 
cur ; and then the omission is faulty. 

The question then is, at what times and in what circumstances this 
duty bindeth ? 

1. It bindeth not if I do riot certainly or probably know the sin of 
my neighbour ; for reproof by way of charge must be upon an apparent 
crime ; as Gal. ii. 11, ' But when Peter was come to Antioch, I with 
stood him to the face, because he was to be blamed ; ' 1 Cor. v. 1, * It 
is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such 
fornication as is not so much as named among the gentiles ; that one 
should have his father's wife , ' 1 Cor. i. 11, ' For it hath been declared 
unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, 
that there are contentions among you.' Mark the grounds ; he goeth 
upon certain knowledge, public fame, and valuable testimony : ' It is 
-commonly reported,' and ' it is declared by the house of Chloe/ Faults 
that we reprove must be certainly known and evident ; we may not 
reprove upon bare suspicion, for ' charity thinketh no evil,' 1 Cor. xiii. 
5 ; nor upon an uncertain hearsay : Isa. xi. 3, ' Neither reprove after 
the hearing of his ears ; ' not upon flying report, or forged stories, or 
the censures of any. 

But here we must distinguish between the reproof of a public and 
private person and a bosom friend. 

[1.] Mere private persons are not bound to use inquisition them 
selves, nor are they to be too suspicious, and credulously give ear to 
slanders. If private persons were bound to search and find out faults 
that they may reprove them, the obligation were intolerable, the number 
of sinners being so innumerable as they are, and a man could hardly 
-avoid the imputation of a busybody and whisperer. Therefore it is a 
good rule of Austin, Do not seek out what thou mayest reprove, but 


seek to mend what thou dost reprove. Therefore private men are not 
bound to search and find out faults. The knowledge of another's sin 
is not scientia juris, which all are bound to have, but scientia facti, 
which none are bound to but those to whom the particular care of 
others' souls doth belong by office ; for par in pares non habet imperium 
equals have no power over one another. The fault must be known 
either by certain knowledge or common fame, when you see your brother 

[2.] A superior and bosom friend may go upon suspicion, but then 
his reproof must be rather by way of caution than charge, and by virtue 
of special friendship, that as no guilt, so no blame may rest upon his 
friend. A superior is to search out the matter. 

2. Not if he hath repented already ; for to upbraid men with past 
sins is to rake in the filth which God hath covered. The elder brother 
said, Luke xv. 30, ' As soon as this thy son is come, which hath 
devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted 
calf.' There is a difference between the correction of a superior and 
the reproof of a neighbour. The correction of a magistrate respects 
the common good or the example of others ; and therefore, whether the 
man repent or no, he may be corrected and punished for his faults, and 
he must patiently endure the punishment ; but brotherly reproof respects 
the private good of the party admonished or reproved, to remove the 
fault, not to inflict punishment ; the end is obtained if thou hast gained 
thy brother. 

But yet here is an exception ; if we have good cause to suspect his 
repentance is not thorough and sincere, or if he be in danger of a relapse 
into the sin again. 

3. If it be evident he shall do no good by his reproof; for all means- 
are required in order to the end. Therefore when there is no appear 
ance of doing good at all, or that our reproof will be profitable or attain 
its proper end, we are not bound in such a case. Ministerial reproof 
must be given though there be no hope : Ezek. ii. 5, ' And they, 
whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, for they are a 
rebellious house, yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among 
them/ The waters of the sanctuary must flow, whether men drink of 
them or no. But in private reproof we are bound while there is hope, 
and while they are not incorrigible. Yet there is this exception ; 
every attempt must not discourage us, nor every reproach and scorn 
make us give over the cause as remediless ; but we must reprove, and 
reprove again, as long as we have any hopes of reducing them into the 
right way: 2 Peter i. 13, 'Wherefore I will not be negligent,' saith 
the apostle Peter, ' to put you always in remembrance of these things/ 
Let us do our duty, and trust God with the event. Those that for the 
present do storm and rage may afterwards come to themselves again, 
especially if God stirreth us up by the secret motions of his Spirit to- 
continue our endeavours: Acts xvii. 16, Paul's ' spirit was stirred in him,, 
when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.' Impulse of spirit doth 
determine circumstances of known duty though it doth not constitute 
new duties. 

4. When the party is likely to be the worse, rather than better, if he 
be reproved : Prov. ix. 7, ' He that reproveth a scorner getteth to him- 


self shame, and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a 
blot,' if it provoketh them to rail. So Mat. vii. 6, ' Give not holy 
things to dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they 
trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.' Some are 
so wedded to their sins, that God's providence calleth upon us to let 
them alone. No good statue can be made of crooked or knotty timber ; 
a vicious stomach turneth all things into choler ; rain maketh a spongy 
marsh ground the worse ; blowing increaseth the fire ; a dunghill 
stinketh the worse the more it is stirred. Some are contemptuous and 
scornful ; their corruptions are irritated by seeking to restrain them. 
Therefore if he sinneth the more grievously, that is a worse inconveniency 
than the reproof can bring good. Yet we must take heed that we do riot 
censure people to be such without a cause ; the reasons for our omission 
of such a necessary duty must be clear and sure, such as we can urge 
and avouch before God himself. We must not put by the duty upon 
slight conjectures, but still remember that God seeth and will consider 
it. It is very notable that cautions against rash judging are giver* 
before the direction of not casting pearls before swine and dogs : Mat. 
vii. 1, ' Judge not, that ye be not judged.' 

5. When it will be rationally presumed that he will amend without 
our reproof. As alms ought not to be given to one that is indeed in 
poverty, when we know there are those that will plentifully relieve him, 
so in the case of reproof, when neither by ourselves, nor by the help of 
any other, a man is likely to be awakened, then we are bound to re 
prove him, or procure another that may do it more successfully ; for 
some are capable to manage it with more wisdom than ourselves. I 
confess this must be taken cautiously. A general presumption that 
another will do his office doth not absolve us in foro conscientice, be 
cause this duty ariseth not from any voluntary contract or paction 
between men and men, but from the law of God, our supreme governor 
and judge, binding every one ; and therefore we must do our own duty, 
and not think to be discharged by the zeal and diligence of others. 
And besides, a presumption that others will do it may cause it wholly 
to fall to the ground ; as, Luke x. 33, the good Samaritan had not been 
absolved from uncharitableness if he had presumed that the priest and 
Levite would relieve the distressed man, or, if not they, that some other 
of his countrymen that came that way, and were nearer to him by 
nation and blood, and more charitable than the former, that they 
would relieve him ; but he neither minded the one nor the other, but 
performed his duty ; he saw a miserable spectacle, one wounded with 
thieves, 'and he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound 
up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, 
and brought him to an inn, and took care of him,' ver. 33, 34. So here. 
The papists indeed make this limitation, Nisi probabiliter prcesumatur 
aliunde nacturum, qui eum corripiat Except he probably presume 
that another will reprove him ; but this presumption must be evident 
and rational, not probable only ; and where I am privy to it, and know 
it, and procure it, and know how much better he is able to manage it 
than myself, then I am not to take it out of his hands, or when others 
are present whose gifts and office more oblige them to it. 

6. When he doth expect a better opportunity, his omission is not 


faulty for the present ; for all things must Le gone about in their 
season : Eccles. iii. 7, ' There is a time to keep silence, and a time to 
speak ; ' and in another place, because ' to every man there is time and 
judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him,' Eccles. viii. 
6-8. He speaketh of the misery men contract upon themselves by 
disproving public disorders, especially in great persons, princes, and 
potentates. Therefore certainly it concerneth us to take a fit season ; 
not when a man is drunk ; as Abigail told Nabal not a word when 
the wine was in his head, 1 Sam. xxv. 36, 37 ; not when they are in 
the heat of passion, for then they are not capable of discerning right 
and reason : James i. 20, ' For the wrath of man worketh not the 
righteousness of God ; ' therefore opportunity and conveniency of cir 
cumstances must be considered and improved. Yet here is caution 
still ; we must not adjourn it too far. Life is short, and sin groweth : 
Heb. iii. 13, 'Exhort one another daily, while it is called to-day, lest 
any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin/ And it must 
be done at length ; if we have long waited for a season, and cannot find 
it, we must make it, and break a rule of civil prudence rather than 
violate conscience ; for civilities must not prescribe to religion. 

7. If it be uncertain whether that which you reprove for be a sin, as 
suppose some kind of games or sports, which are questionable, because 
usually they do hurt, engross time, and enchant the mind, and are as 
the excelsa mundi, the high places of the world, that have a strange 
blast and judgment of God upon them, though we cannot say that for 
the nature of them they are utterly unlawful. What shall we do in 
this case ? Many weak people are importunate to have others reproved 
for these things ; but if once .we give way to this, it looketh like an itch 
of reproving ; and if we reprove for doubtful matters, men fly from our 
reproof for what is clear and open. Yet we may hold an argument, 
and prudently debate things, and discourse about them ; but take heed 
you do not hinder yourselves in matters that are of more weighty 

8. When greater loss and damage may come to ourselves by the 
reproof than benefit to the reproved. It is out of question that he that 
can easily discharge this duty without any considerable inconveniency, 
and only forbears it out of sloth and pusillanimity, hath the greater sin 
if he doth it not ; for he standeth with God for a trifle. But now if a 
considerable damage shall redound to myself in discharging this duty, 
it is of weight in this matter. Our Lord saith, Mat. vii. 6, ' Give not 
that which is holy unto dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, 
lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.' 
As suppose there be a danger of your life, having to do with a con 
temptuous sinner ; if I carry my life in my hand, and put it to hazard, 
there must be many things considered in this case. But now in 
extreme cases, if our neighbour be in present danger of losing his soul, 
with the danger of my bodily life I am to do what I can to save his 
soul. The work is good ; the danger, depending upon a future event, 
is not absolutely certain ; God can preserve me. However, it is a part 
of much self-denial to venture all in God's liana's. 

9. Public reproof is sometimes, not always necessary. If the sin be 
public, either as committed in sight before all : 1 Tim. v. 20, ' Them 


that sin, rebuke before all, that others also may fear ; ' or as judged by 
a public judicatory; or if an hidden sin tends to the damage of the com 
munity ; or a greater hurt follow upon it than the loss of my neighbour's 
fame ; or if the person have lost all right to fame, or to a good name (as 
some have forfeited it), I need not stand nicely upon their good name, 
but in such cases I am to reprove publicly. In other cases the reproof 
must be private ; and the rule is, Mat. xviii. 15, ' Go and tell him his 
fault between thee and him alone.' 

Use 1. If we are to reprove others, let us take care that we be 
innocent ourselves, not culpable, but blameless. They that are faulty 
themselves cannot reprove others without blushing and great shame. 
Pull out the beam out of thine own eye. Physician, heal thyself : Mat. 
vii. 3-5, ' And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, 
but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye ? or how wilt 
thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye, and 
behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out 
the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull 
out the mote out of thy brother's eye ;' Horn. ii. 21, ' Thou that sayest 
a man should not steal, dost thou commit sacrilege ? ' The Jews were 
tender of idolatry after they had smarted in the matter of the golden 
calf, yet all the latter prophets condemn them for sacrilege and robbing 
God of his due. If we are faulty ourselves, either in the same kind 
or worse, we spoil our reproof : Ps. cxli. 5, ' Let the righteous smite 
me, it shall be a kindness ; and let him reprove me, it shall be an 
excellent oil/ They may admonish with the greater authority. Others 
are remotely bound, they nearly ; others not without special repentance 
and humility, acknowledging their own sins, and desiring they may not 
be examples to harden others. A sinner is not freed from the debt of 
love, but he is bound humbly to acknowledge his sin, and forsake it, 
that he may be fit to reprove others. 

Use 2. If others be bound to reprove, certainly you are bound to take 
a reproof. Solomon brings in the wretched sinner, when his sin hath 
found him out, speaking thus, Prov. v. 12, 13, ' How have I hated 
instruction, and my heart despised reproof ; and have not obeyed the 
voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed 
me ! ' These are the lamentations of one that is ready to perish in his 
sin. And Prov. x. 17, ' He is in the way of life that keepeth instruc 
tion ; but he that hateth reproof, erreth/ They wander far and wide, 
that hate to be brought into the right way : Prov. xii. 1, ' He that hateth 
reproof is brutish.' Why ? Because he despiseth the great help of 
mankind, and so is carried away with his base and impetuous desires, 
and will not hear reason to the contrary : Prov. xiii. 18, ' Poverty and 
shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction ; but he that regardeth 
reproof shall be honoured ; ' as unwilling to go on in a wrong course 
after he seemeth to be engaged in it ; and he shall be honoured as one 
that is prudent : Prov. xv. 5, ' A fool despiseth his father's instruction ; 
but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.' He is wise at the second 
hand ; though not in his first choice, yet in rectifying his ill choice. 
Nay, Prov. xv. 10, 'Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the 
way ; and he that hateth reproof shall die.' Better be corrected than 
die and perish for ever. God's reproofs and rebukes at the last day 


will be very severe and amazing. And ver. 31, 'The ear that hearetli 
the reproof of life abideth among the wise ; ' that is, forsaketh the ill 
company which misled him, and betaketh himself to better guides : 
Prov. xxix. 1, ' He that, being often reproved, hardeneth his neck, shall 
suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.' Our case without 
repentance is desperate ; for when we have hardened ourselves in an 
evil way, the Lord overtakes us with a sudden destruction. 

Use 3. It exhorts us to set upon this duty. There is need of it ; 
which will appear if we consider the infirmity of nature, that is to be 
restrained, a blind mind to be enlightened, a drowsy heart to be 
awakened, vehemency of passions to be curbed, and great allurements 
to sin to be withstood. Say not with Cain, Gen. iv. 9, 'Am I my 
brother's keeper ? ' Thou art so ; do it then with love, lest you do the 
work of an enemy under the vizard of a friend. No hatred or ill end 
must put you on this business ; for when you rebuke sin with sin, you 
increase it. Again, there is need of it ; for it will prevent many evils, 
as censuring and detraction, and speaking ill of others, and invasion of 
the ministry. This is one great evil that heretofore hath reigned 
among us. Many little prattlers, that had no gifts, set up for ministers. 
This itch would soon be cured if men would mind necessary duties, 
such as meditation (which is a preaching to themselves), family in 
struction, and brotherly reproof. 

Use 4. Direction to perform this duty. Many graces are necessary 
hereunto, as zeal for God, love to our neighbour, and courage. Avoid 
pusillanimity, that you be not hindered by your fears, this is the way 
to prevail ; and if you prevail not, you must mourn and pray ; as Lot : 
2 Peter ii. 8, ' For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing 
and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their ungodly 
deeds ; ' Jer. xiii. 17, ' But if ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep in 
secret places for your pride, and mine eye shall weep sore, and run cloven 
with tears.' 



If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most 
miserable. 1 COR. xv. 19. 

IN the context the apostle is disputing for the truth of the resurrection. 
This way of reasoning is deducendo ad absurdum, by showing the 
absurdities that would follow upon the denial of it. 

The first absurdity is mentioned, ver. 13, 'If there be no resurrection 
of the dead, then Christ is not risen.' In all things he is a pattern to 
his people ; if the head be risen, so shall the members also. 

The second absurdity consequent upon that is mentioned, ver. 14-16, 
'And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith 
is also vain : yea, and we are found false witnesses of God ; because 
we have testified of God that he raised up Christ ; whom he raised not 
up, if so be that the dead rise not: for if the dead rise not, then is not 
Christ raised.' Whole Christianity would be a forgery, and whatever 
was preached by the apostles, and believed by them, vain and frivolous, 
if Christ be not risen. 

The third absurdity, ver. 17, { And if Christ be not risen, your faith 
is vain ; you are yet in your sins/ That the new covenant, and all their 
confidence about remission of sins upon repentance, would come to 

The fourth absurdity, that those that had lost their lives for Christ 
Avould perish eternally, and would have nothing to recompense this 
loss : ver. 18, ' Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are 

The fifth absurdity is in the text ; if all our hopes in Christ were 
terminated with this life, Christians were the most wretched sort of men 
in this world : ' If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of 
all men most miserable.' But these are such absurd thoughts, that 
every Christian should abhor them with indignation. 

In the words we have 

1. A supposition, ' If in this life only we have hope in Christ.' 

2. An absurdity thence inferred, ' We are of all men most miserable.' 
Doct. That the calamities of the godly in this life show that we have 

much more to hope for from Christ in the life to come. 

1. I shall state the point, in what sense it is said that Christians are 
of all men most miserable if there be no life to come. 


2. Confirm and prove it, by showing the validity of the apostle's 

I. For the supposition. 

1. This is supposed, that affliction and misery is the common burden 
of the sons of Adam. In the present life all are liable to misery, some 
more, some less. We walk through a valley of tears, live in a groan 
ing world ; none have such an uninterrupted current and stream of 
worldly felicity but that they have their crosses and afflictions. These 
things are common to man. We are told in the book of Job, chap. v. 
7, ' Man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward ;' and chap. xiv. 1, 
'Man, that is born of a woman, is of few days, and full of trouble/ None 
can reasonably expect to be absolutely exempted from the common lot 
of human lapsed nature. Though life be short, yet it is long enough 
to be vexed with many sorrows. ' Few and evil have the days of the 
years of my life been/ saith old Jacob, Gen. xlvii. 9. Since they are 
evil, it is well they are but few. Most men little consider of this, that 
they come into the world to bear crosses, but rather imagine they come 
hither to spend their days in pleasure ; at least, they do not mind the 
true cause of their troubles, nor the proper remedy. The true cause 
is sin ; man's transgressions are the door by which it entered ; and the 
proper remedy is the grace of God in Jesus Christ. Well, then, what 
ever may be the particular and various dispensations of God towards 
men, yet to be miserable in some sort and degree is common to all Adam's 
posterity, which should make us to look higher than the present life. 

2. Of all men, virtuous good men are more miserable than others, 
if you consider their temper and the state of the world. Their temper ; 
they deny themselves the pleasures of the flesh, and the world too often 
depriveth them of the ordinary comforts of life. They deny themselves 
the irregular pleasures of the flesh, as being an impediment to goodness, 
and that sense and appetite may not carry them against the dictates of 
reason, and so, instead of being led by conscience, as they ought, they 
serve their brutish passions and inclinations, as others do. This is the 
difference between them and others : ' They do not run with them into 
the same excess of riot,' 1 Peter iv. 4. But besides this, they are subject 
to many tribulations and persecutions. We often see that instruments 
of public good are made sacrifices of public hatred. The bad will hate 
the good, as differing from them, and disgracing that kind of life which 
they affect : Prov. xxix. 27, ' He that is upright in the way is abomin 
ation to the wicked/ They have a malignity and enmity to that good 
ness which they want themselves, and therefore deal worst with those 
that deserve best at their hands, because they cannot so quietly take 
satisfaction in their lusts, whilst others about them excel in virtue and 

3. Of all good men, the profane carnal world is more enraged against 
Christians than others. Probity and honesty in the heathens hath met 
with opposition in the world ; and some among them, that would 
reform a depraved and disordered age, have met with sore troubles, 
and been hurried even unto death for seeking to stop the inundation 
of public vices. But especially hath this been the portion of Christians : 
2 Tim. iii. 12, ' All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer 
persecution/ Christianity is the more violently opposed because it 


carrieth us to an higher pitch of purity and holiness than bare morality 
doth ; for therein men are more devoted to God, and do most resemble 
him, as they are made partakers of the divine nature. Therefore a 
true, constant, Christian course doth more enrage the world. Besides, 
it is most contrary to those diabolical impostures which have prevailed 
over the nations, and are entertained by them with much veneration, 
as being received by a long tradition from ancestors. Therefore the 
devil ever had a greater rage against this way ; and many of the truths 
of it are not only mysteries, and therefore contradicted, but mysteries 
of godliness, tending to imbue men with right thoughts of God, and 
do more shake the interests of the devil's kingdom. Thence hath 
it been that Christians have been worse used than other good men ; 
and so, considered as to their outward estate, are of all men most 

4. To induce men to lead such an holy godly life, which exposeth 
them to so many miseries, such motives are necessary as are greater 
than the temptations of the world ; partly with respect to Christ, for 
Christ is so good that he would not impose this duty upon us without 
a sufficient recompense for our losses and troubles ; for he came not to 
make us miserable, but happy, to save, not to destroy, that the world 
might have benefit by him, and not loss and trouble. We have a two 
fold apprehension of God, as an holy and happy being. There is in 
his nature, TO ayaOov, goodness, and TO paKapiov, blessedness ; accord 
ingly Christ hath made a discovery of him to us when he came to plant 
godliness and holiness in the world. He hath revealed him as a God 
of infinite purity and blessedness, that, by imitating him in purity, we 
might be made partakers of his blessedness; or that, self-denyingly 
carrying on a life of holiness here, we might have our blessedness in a 
better life hereafter : his calling is an high and holy calling. And 
partly with respect to us : In this state of frailty, this living godly in 
Christ Jesus cannot be carried on unless our natural and sensual 
inclination be overruled by the bias of a stronger affection. The flesh 
in us is importunate to be pleased ; and therefore when our troubles 
and trials are sore and manifold, what shall we do if we have not such 
higher motives as may rationally prevail with us ? The voice of nature 
is, Spare the flesh ; but the voice of faith is, Save the soul. Now if 
this salvation be not greater than the temptations of the present life, 
how shall we row against the stream of flesh and blood, and run all 
hazards with Christ ? 

5. Christ hath promised an happiness that will countervail all these 
afflictions. There is a fourfold comparison which believers usually 
make, or in scripture are taught to make, between this life and the 
next ; as 

[1.] Sometimes they compare temporal good things with eternal 
good things, or the portion of a carnal man with the happiness of a 
child of God : Ps. xvii. 14, 15, ' From men which are thy hand, O 
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. But as 
for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness ; I shall be satisfied, 
when I awake, with thy likeness.' That is, the rich and great men of 


the world have all their good things allowed by thee in this life ; here 
they have all riches, and plenty, and a numerous posterity, wealth 
sufficient not only to enjoy themselves, but to leave abundantly to their 
children ; but I count myself abundantly provided for if I may have thy 
favour with a painful holy life here, and when I awake out of the sleep 
of death, may so see thee hereafter, as to be like thee ; I am satisfied 
with the hopes of the vision and fruition of God. 

[2.] Sometimes they compare temporal evil things with eternal evil 
things ; as a prison with hell, or the killing of the body with the casting 
the body and soul into hell-fire : Luke xii. 4, 5, ' Be not afraid of them 
that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But 
I will forewarn you whom you shall fear : Fear him which, after he hath 
killed, hath power to cast into hell. ; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.' 
Certainly it is more for our interest to fear displeasing God than dis 
pleasing men ; the utmost that men can do is to kill the body, and 
then their malice is at an end; but God can cast body and soul into 
everlasting torments. Every one would submit to a lesser evil to avoid 
a greater. When you must sin to escape trouble in the world, you 
run into eternal sufferings to avoid temporal. No wrath like the wrath 
of God ; no torment like the fire of hell. 

[3.] Sometimes they compare temporal good with eternal evil ; as 
Mat. xvi. 26, ' What is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world 
and lose his own soul ? ' The plentiful life of worldlings with the for 
feiting of the soul ; the pleasures of sin for a season with the pains of 

[4.] The fourth sort of comparison which the scripture directs us 
unto is temporal bad things with eternal good things ; and that is the 
case we have now in hand. Thus 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.' Sufferings for the present 
may be very great, but the glory that is revealed to us, and shall one 
day be revealed in us, is much greater ; as there is no comparison 
between a little flea-biting, or the prick of a pin, with eternal ease and 
rest, or the trouble of entering by a strait gate or entry into a glorious 
palace : 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.' The sufferings of the present world are leves et breves, light 
arid short ; not in themselves, but in comparison with eternal life. In 
themselves they may be some of them very sharp and grievous, and 
some also very long and tedious ; but look, what a point is to the cir 
cumference, that is time to eternity, and what a feather is to a talent 
of lead, that are present evils to future glory and blessedness. All this 
is spoken to show that it is better to be miserable with the people of 
God than happy with his enemies, and that we should not be drawn 
away from Christ neither by the comfortable nor troublesome things we 
meet with in the world. 

6. This happiness which Christ hath proposed is at the general 
resurrection, or Christ's coming to judgment; for that is the point 
which the apostle is now discoursing of. There is a distinction between 
the good and the bad at death, when 'the spirits of just men are made 
perfect,' Heb. xii. 23, and the spirits of the wicked are sent to prison. 


1 Peter iii. 19. The soul dieth not with the body, but some go one 
way, some another; the souls of just men to God's palace of glory, 
where they are with Christ, and the souls of the wicked to the prison 
of hell. But this retribution is not sufficient, for two reasons 'because 
it is private, and doth not openly vindicate the justice and holiness of 
God ; and it is but on a part, the soul, and not the body. 

[1.] Because it is private, and dispensed apart to every single person, 
man by man as they die. Certainly it is more for the honour of God 
to bring his judgment to light, as the prophet speaketh, Zeph. iii. 5, 
' Every morning doth he bring his judgment to light/ Here the love 
of God towards the good, and the justice of God towards the wicked, 
is not brought into the clear light, nor at death ; neither the mouth of 
the pit is visibly opened, nor the glory of heaven exposed to view. 
But then this different respect is more conspicuous when the justice of 
God hath a public and solemn triumph, and his enemies are branded 
with shame and ignominy, and the faith of his elect found to praise 
find honour, and the one are publicly condemned, and the other justi 
fied by the judge sitting upon the throne : Acts iii. 19, ' That your sins 
may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the 
presence of the Lord.' 

[2.] As it is upon a part, the soul only. The bodies of the holy and 
the wicked are both now senseless, and moulder into dust in the grave; 
and till they be raised up, and joined to their souls, can neither partake 
of woe or weal, pleasure or pain. The soul, though it be a principal 
part, is but a part. The body essentially concurreth to the constitution 
of the man ; and it is the body that is most gratified by sin, and the 
body that is most pained by obedience ; and therefore the body, which 
is the soul's sister and coheir, is to share with it in its eternal estate, what 
ever it be. Therefore, that we may not be in part punished, nor in part 
rewarded, there is a time coming when God will deal with the whole 
man, and that is in the day of Christ's solemn court and audience, 
when all the world shall be summoned before his tribunal. 

7. The apostle proveth this, because the righteousness of God's 
government will not permit that his people should be accounted of all 
men most miserable. 

To clear this I shall show 

First, In what sense the apostle saith, If there were no life to come, 
Christians were of all men most miserable. 

Secondly, How this will not consist with the righteousness of God's 

First, In what sense the apostle saith, If there were no life to come, 
Christians were of all men most miserable. I put this first question, 
that we may not mistake the apostle's meaning, when he pronounceth 
Christians to be of all men most miserable if our hopes in Christ were 
terminated with this life. Take him right ; and therefore, 

1. Negatively. 

[1.] It is not to deny all present providence or watchful care over his 
oppressed people. No ; Eccles. iii. 16, 17, ' And moreover, I saw under 
the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there ; and the 
place of righteousness, that iniquity was there.' He meaneth not in 
the mountains of prey only, but in the tribunals of justice; there was 



iniquity and wickedness: 'I said in my heart, God shall judge the 
righteous and the wicked ; for there is a time there for every purpose, 
and for every work.' So again, Eccles. v. 8, ' If thou seest the 
oppression of the poor, and the violent perverting of judgment and 
justice in a province, marvel not at the matter ; for he that is higher 
than the highest regardeth, and there be higher than they.' Both these 
places show that there is a providence ; though God for a while permit 
his meek and obedient servants to be oppressed, and in the eye of the 
world they seem to be forgotten and forsaken and utterly left to perish, 
yet in due time God will exercise a righteous judgment on them and 
their enemies. The like you have, Ps. Iviii. 11, ' So that a man shall 
say, Verily there is a reward for the righteous ; verily he is a God that 
judgeth in the earth.' It is not meant of hereafter, but now. It is 
many times found that godliness and holiness are matters of benefit and 
advantage in this world, abstracted from all reward in another life. 
The world is not governed by chance, but by a wise and most just pro 
vidence. It may be God doth not relieve the oppressed so soon as men 
would, yet in due time he will not fail to show himself the ruler of the 
affairs of mankind ; so that this is not his meaning, to exclude all pre 
sent providence. 

[2.] Not to deny that we have such benefits by Christ here in this 
world as not to make our condition more valuable than that of the 
wicked. We have hopes by Christ of the pardon of sins, and that is 
a blessedness : Ps. xxxii. 1, ' Blessed is he whose transgression is for 
given, whose sin is covered.' Of communion with God : 1 John i. 3, 
'And truly our fellowship is with the Father, and his Son Jesus Christ.' 
And that maketh way for a full joy, and countervaileth temporal evils. 
We have not only an interest in the love of God, but a feeling of it in 
our souls : Rom. v. 3-5, ' And not only so, but we glory in tribulations 
also, knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and patience expe 
rience, 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.' All things are sanctified to us as we are sanctified to 
God : Eom. viii. 28, ' All things shall work together for good to them 
that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.' But 
yet this is not all ; therefore the apostle saith, ' If in this life only we 
had hope, we are of all men most miserable.' 

[3.] The apostle's drift is not to compare wickedness and godliness, 
as abstracted from the eternal reward ; as if a wicked man were more 
happy than an afflicted godly man. No ; Christ's worst is better than 
the world's best ; godliness and holiness is amiable, or a reward in 
itself. Better be good though miserable, than bad though prosperous ; 
for holiness and godliness, though abstracted from all reward in an 
other life, is an excellency and perfection of human nature : Ps. xvi. 
3, ' But to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent,. 
in whom is all my delight ; ' Prov. xii. 26, ' The righteous is more 
excellent than his neighbour.' It is an honour put upon human nature 
to have the image of God impressed upon it. The more good we are, 
the more orderly we live, and agreeably to reason and those souls with 
which we are created ; and the actions which the law of Christ calleth 
for at our hands are fittest to be done by us if they were not com 
manded, nor ever should be rewarded in us. 


2. Positively ; and so 

[1.] The apostle speaketh not of their inward enjoyments, but their 
outward estate, which no ways seems to answer God's covenant love 
nor governing justice ; for the calamities of the godly raise two doubts 
(1.) How this doth stand with the love and goodness of God to his 
people ? This was the psalmist's temptation : Ps. Ixxiii. 1, ' Truly 
God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart.' It is a 
most certain and a most infallible truth that God is abundantly 
gracious and kind, and not only faithful and just to all his sincere 
servants ; but we are under no small temptation to doubt of the truth 
of this when they are under severe scourges and chastisements, or 
exercised with continual afflictions, and others live in pomp and 
luxury, and all manner of secular felicity. (2.) But the other temp 
tation to doubt of God's governing in righteousness was Jeremiah's 
temptation : Jer. xii. 1, ' Eighteous art thou, Lord ; yet let me talk 
with thee of thy judgments. Wherefore doth the way of the wicked 
prosper? wherefore are all they happy that deal very treacher 
ously ? ' Certain it is that God is righteous ; yet when his people are 
in a sad condition, and their enemies thrive and prosper by their 
wicked courses, their minds are troubled ; for to appearance none are 
in a worse condition than they that love God most, and serve him best, 
till he be considered not as to his external but eternal estate. 

[2.] The apostle's meaning is, that a man cannot rationally be 
induced to submit to Christianity, and, in defiance of all temptations, 
to lead an holy godly life, without the expectation of the happiness of 
another world. The temptation lieth in things present, and our 
strength lieth in a due reflection on things to come. Faith must guide 
us, that sense may not mislead us ; and so, when the world's best and 
Christ's worst are brought into competition, the soul is the better 
enabled to make a right choice : Heb. xi. 26, ' Esteeming the reproach 
of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt ; for he had 
respect to the recompense of reward.' It is the hopes which Christ 
offereth in a better life which strike all temptations dead. Now in 
case this should not be, the apostle pronounceth Christians to be of all 
men most miserable, upon a fourfold account 

(1.) Because their very present comforts would seem to be but a 
fantastical impression or a fanatical illusion ; for our whole religion 
would be a falsehood if the great promise be chimerical, or a mere 
dream and supposition : 1 John ii. 25, ' This is the promise which he 
hath promised us, even eternal life.' And so how can we imagine but 
that all the comfort which we take in the pardon of sins, communion 
with God, and the sense of his love, are mere conceit and vain ima 
gination ? 

(2.) Because their future hopes and trust would be utterly dis 
appointed, and they deluded in their greatest expectations : 1 Tim. 
iv. 10, ' 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.' It is our hope in God through Christ, or the assurance 
of an eternal reward, which is the only ground of our suffering patiently 
anything that befalleth us. He is the preserver of all mankind, but 
hath promised eternally to save those that believe and obey him. 


Therefore, if there were no world to come, Christians would not only 
be disappointed of their great hope, which is the worst kind of vexation, 
but draw a suspicion upon all these advantages that we seem to reap 
by Christ and enjoy here upon earth. 

(3.) Their earnest desires would not be fulfilled if there were no 
blessedness to come. We may prove eternal life by the disposition 
and instinct of nature towards happiness in general, yea, eternal happi 
ness, which if we should not enjoy, that desire were in vain ; but God 
doth nothing in vain. The apostle intimateth this universal desire in 
all rational creatures ; they alt grope and feel about for an eternal and 
infinite good : Acts xvii. 27, ' 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.' Other creatures besides man are satisfied with what 
they have here, but the soul of man is satisfied with nothing but the 
eternal enjoyment of what is good, an immortal estate, an infinite 
good ; this is the universal inclination of all mankind. Whence cometh 
that desire to be so universal if there be nothing to satisfy it ? Where 
is this immortality that we seek after ? Not in temporal enjoyments, 
riches, honours, and pleasures ; they perish, and we perish. Yea, the 
lust of these things passeth away in time: 1 John ii. 17, 'The 
world passeth away, and the lust thereof.' Not in surviving fame ; 
that is a shadow, like the pleasure which those take who want children 
in playing with little dogs and puppies. It lieth in the eternal enjoy 
ment of God. But we urge not this now ; we urge the desires of the 
renewed and sanctified, which do much more prove it, for these act 
more regularly, and direct their desires and hopes to a certain scope 
and end ; and these are excited by the Holy Spirit of God, who im- 
printeth the firm persuasion of this happiness, and inclineth us to it, 
and stirreth up these groans after it: Bom. viii. 23, 'And not only they, 
but ourselves also, which have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we our 
selves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the 
redemption of our body.' The word of God warrants these desires, 
and the Spirit of God kindleth them in our hearts, and that usually in 
our gravest and severest moods, when we are solemnly conversing with 
God in his holy worship ; then doth he raise up these affections towards 
heavenly things, as in the word, prayer, and sacraments ; then is this 
relish left upon our hearts ; and the more serious and holy any are, the 
more do they feel of this. And also in our bitter sufferings for God : 
Kom. v. 3, ' And not only so, but we glory in tribulation also, knowing 
that tribulation worketh patience ; ' 1 Peter iv. 13, 14, ' But rejoice 
inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings, that when his glory 
shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 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.' This is a greater argument than the bare 
instinct and desire of nature. Certainly if our holiness be our torment, 
and God beget in us these desires which he never meant to satisfy, then 
we are of all men most miserable. 

(4.) There would be no recompense for their greatest losses. Christ 
requireth us not only to venture, but lose our lives for his sake : Luke 
xiv. 26, ' If any man come to me, and hate not his father and mother, 


and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life 
also, he cannot be my disciple/ Now if our hopes in Christ be at an 
end with this life, what encouragement have we to lose our lives for 
Christ's sake ? Nature will teach us to submit to a lesser evil to obtain 
a greater good than that evil depriveth us of ; but what will teach us 
to lose the greatest benefit we are possessed of when nothing cometh of 
it ? Grace indeed teacheth us to quit this frail life for the hopes which 
Christ hath given us of an immortal blessed estate ; but if that be not, 
Christians are of all men most miserable, who had better have kept that 
life which they had till a natural death called them from it, than to 
have lost it for nothing. 

Secondly, Having vindicated the apostle's meaning, I shall prove 
that it is inconsistent with the righteousness of God's government that 
his people should be always of all men most miserable. For a time 
they may be so, but not for ever. Certainly God is righteous ; to 
deny him to be just is to deny him to be God and the governor of the 
world. The perfection of his nature includeth his justice ; so doth also 
the eminency of his office : ' Is God unrighteous, who taketh vengeance ? 
God forbid ; for then how shall God judge the world ? ' Horn. iii. 5, 6 ; 
that is, he were then incapable of governing mankind. But when is 
this righteousness manifested ? Not always in this world, especially 
to those who perish in their afflictions and persecutions, which they 
endure for his name's sake. No ; ' He hath appointed a day wherein 
he will judge the world in righteousness/ Acts xvii. 31, and that is at 
the general resurrection. God now judgeth the world in patience, 
winketh or conniveth at many faults, endureth the wicked with much 
long-suffering, but then he will judge the world in righteousness.' 
None are punished now besides or beyond their deservings ; but all are 
not punished according to their deservings, nor are the wrongs of his 
people righted, nor their labour of love recompensed. Therefore we 
must expect another day and time when that shall be done ; and that 
is most fully and universally done in the great and general day of 
judgment, when the dead shall be raised out of their graves, they that 
have done good to the resurrection of life, and they that have done 
evil to the resurrection of damnation. And so it serves the apostle's 
scope to prove a resurrection. 


If in this life only we, have hope in Christ, we are of all men most 
miserable. 1 COR. xv. 19. 

II. 1 MUST show the validity of the apostle's argument, that there must 
be a life to come, because otherwise Christians would be of all men most 
miserable. The apostle urgeth it here as a strong proof of the resur 
rection, and elsewhere he urgeth it as a demonstration of the general 
judgment ; as when he, speaking of the persecutions of the righteous, 


telleth us, 2 Thes. i. 5, ' Which is a manifest token of the righteous 
judgment of God,' evSeiry/j,a, a plain and certain demonstration. Surely 
the argument is cogent and conclusive. 

But where lieth the force of it ? 

1. I shall argue from the nature of God ; and there 

[1.] I shall begin with his wisdom, which doeth things according to 
number, weight, and measure, and doth rightly dispose things in their 
proper places. This wisdom of his will not permit the disjunction of 
these two things so closely united together as sin and punishment, 
holiness and happiness. This cannot be but there will be an appear 
ance of deformity and irregularity. If there be such a thing as good 
and evil, bonum et malum morale, as reason will tell us there is ; again, 
if there be such a thing as pleasure and pain, joy and sorrow, or bonum 
et malum naturale, as sense will tell us there is; then it is very 
agreeable to the wisdom of God that these things should be rightly 
placed and sorted. That moral evil, which is sin, should be punished 
with natural evil, which is pain and misery ; and that moral good, 
which is holiness, should end in joy and happiness ; these seem to be 
such natural relatives, that without great incongruity they cannot be 
parted. It seemeth uncomely and an uncouth thing to us when it is 
otherwise : Prov. xxvi. 1, ' As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest, 
so honour is not seemly for a fool ; ' that is, as snow and rain in 
harvest and summer come unseasonable and unwelcome, andbreed a kind 
of displeasure in our minds, so we look upon it as a blemish or an un 
couth thing when the wicked are exalted. We have compassion on a 
miserable man, whom we esteem not deserving his misery, but are 
moved with indignation against one that is happy and successful, but 
unworthy the happiness he enjoyeth. This is the general sense of 
mankind, which is a proof and plain document that we perceive an ex 
cellent harmony, and natural order between these two things, sin and 
misery, holiness and happiness ; and this sentiment is some stricture 
and shadow of the perfection of God's wisdom ; and therefore, though 
for a time, while both good and bad are upon their trial, the good are 
not regarded, nor the bad punished, yet the wisdom of God will not 
permit it to be always so, that the godly should be in an afflicted and 
distressed condition, and the wicked prosperous. 

[2.] Come we to the holiness of God, which inclineth him to hate 
evil and love that which is good. Surely God is not indifferent to good 
and evil, or more partial to the evil than to the good. That were a 
blasphemy, and such a diminution of God's holiness as should be ab 
horred by every good Christian. No ; ' He hateth all the workers of 
iniquity,' Ps. v. 5 ; and again, Ps. xi. 7, ' The righteous Lord loveth 
righteousness ; his countenance doth behold the upright.' Well, then, 
wherein is this love and hatred demonstrated ? God doth not openly 
declare it in his present dealings with the rebellious and the righteous, 
therefore it shall be seen in his final dealing with the wicked oppressors 
of his people, and those that walk uprightly. Therefore there is a life to 
come, for in this life this love and hatred is not sufficiently expressed ; 
not his hatred against the wicked, even in the judgment of them who 
have no great knowledge of the nature of sin, and the punishment which 
is competent thereunto ; nor his love to the godly, who are often ex- 


poped to bitter sufferings, and seem to be less favoured in the course of 
his external providence than their enemies. Therefore there is a time 
to come, when he will show his love to the good in making them 
everlastingly happy, and his detestation of the wicked in eternal 

[3.] Come we now to the justice of God. It is agreeable to the 
justice of his government that it should be well with them that do well, 
and ill with them that do evil, and that he should make a difference by 
rewards and punishments between the disobedient and the righteous. 
Conscience hath a sense of this, and therefore checketh and cheereth, 
as we have done good or evil. Heathens had accusing or excusing 
thoughts, which the apostle urgeth as an evidence to the gentiles of 
judgment to come: Eom. ii. 15, 16, 'Which show the works of the 
law written upon their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, 
and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one 
another, in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by 
Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.' If every man's thoughts do 
accuse or excuse him respectively according to the nature of his 
actions, then there is in nature a sense of this different retribution. 
Notions of good and evil are as naturally implanted in our hearts 
as notions of truth and falsehood, and a man is as sensible of a 
difference between comely and base as between the right hand and 
the left ; only the notions of good and evil are sooner corrupted than 
the notions of truth and falsehood. However, the workings of consci 
ence cannot utterly be choked and deadened in any, though most men 
seek to stifle it, and the voice of it be oftentimes unheard. The very 
profane have hidden fears frequently revived in them because of these 
retributions of God's justice. The apostle telleth us, Eom. i. 32, ' Who 
knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things 
are worthy of death.' They were none of the tenderest men that are 
here spoken of, but such as were extremely debauched and corrupted, 
and did delight in the company of those who were as corrupt as them 
selves. Well, then, conscience is sensible of a reward and punishment, 
but this is not fully nor universally dispensed in this world ; yea, 
rather the worst are permitted to enjoy most here, when the good are 
kept in a low and bare condition. And that is not the whole case ; the 
worst do not only differ from the best, but are permitted to triumph 
over them. Now no righteous governor will suffer his disobedient 
subjects to persecute those who most carefully obey him, if he hath 
power to remedy it ; and therefore, though he may permit it for a 
time, yet he will call them to an account, and then amends and satisfac 
tion shall be made to them that have suffered wrongfully. Therefore 
the wicked are reserved to future punishment, and the godly to future 

[4.] Come we now to the goodness of God. The Lord is inclined to 
do good to his creatures ; and if there were no sin to stop the course of 
his bounty, there would be nothing but happiness in the world ; but 
certainly if any recover out of a state of sin, and are willing to devote 
themselves to God, and to contemn all their natural interests for his 
sake, certainly the Lord will be good and kind to them. A certain 
truth it is that no man serveth God for nought ; and it is ev 


one of the first maxims of religion, that ' God is, and that he is a 
rewarder of them- that diligently seek him,' Heb. xi. 6. Next to his 
being, we believe his bounty, that God's service, first or last, will turn 
to a good account. And it is the rather to be believed by us, 
because carnal and corrupted nature begrudgeth everything, and 
in the eye of sense all is lost that is laid out upon God. We say 
with Judas, ' What needeth this waste ? ' The same opinion that 
Seneca had of the Jewish sabbath, the same thoughts have carnal 
men of the service of God. He said the Jews were a foolish 
people, quia septimam cetatis partem perdunt vacando, because a full 
seventh part of their lives was lost in idleness and rest. While men 
are under the influence of such thoughts, they will never do anything 
for God that is great and worthy. And therefore, to confute this false- 
conceit during the time of his patience, the superficial service he 
getteth from us hath its reward. He giveth many temporal blessings- 
to those that worship him in the slightest fashion ; as he suspended 
his judgments upon Ahab's mock humiliation, 1 Kings xxi. 29 ; and 
his present providence plainly declareth that none shall be a loser by 
God, nor do anything for nought. He pleaded by the prophet against 
this people for their sorry services and contemptuous usage of him : 
Mai. i. 10, ' Who is there even among you that would shut the doors 
for nought ? Neither do ye kindle fire on mine altar for nought. I 
have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord of hosts, neither will I accept 
an offering at your hand;' that is, the porters of the temple did not 
open and shut the doors for nought, nor the Levites that kindled the 
fire, nor the priests attend upon the burnt-offering for nought ; they 
were all well rewarded with tithes, portions, and oblations, and this by 
the Lord's own appointment and allowance. And again, if anything- 
be done sincerely, though never so mean and inconsiderable, it hath its 
reward : Mat. x. 42, ' And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of 
these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, he 
shall in no wise lose his reward.' The smallness and meanness of the 
benefit, help, and refreshing, done to any in Christ's name, shall not 
make it lose its estimation and recompense. This, though hardly 
credited by the unbelieving world, is very true : ' Verily I say unto 
you,' and ' he shall in no wise,' &c. ; they are emphatical expressions. 
But now the more eminent services, which are carried on with hazard 
and difficulty and very considerable self-denial, surely they shall not 
fail of their recompense. Whatever we lose for Christ, we shall receive 
again with infinite advantage : Mark x. 29, 30, ' And Jesus answered 
and said, Verily I say unto you, there is no man that hath left house, 
or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands r 
for my sake and the gospel's, but he shall receive an hundred-fold 
now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and 
children, and lands, with persecution, and in the world to come eternal 
life.' He shall in this life, in the midst of his persecutions, and the 
time of his trials and troubles, have an hundred-fold ; not in kind, an 
hundred wives and mothers (as Julian and Nero scoffed at the 
Christians), but in value, in peace of conscience, and joy in the Holy 
Ghost, and the satisfaction of having discharged his duty. But God 
will not rest there ; in the world to come he shall have eternal life. 


Now, then, the argument groweth upon our hands. If self-denying- 
obedience would be not only man's loss but utter ruin, and he be made 
miserable by his duty without any recompense, God would not dnly be 
not the best, but the worst master ; and they that suffer the loss of life 
and all things by the cruelty of their persecutors would be utter losers 
by their faithfulness and obedience to God, which is contrary to the 
experience of all mankind, and all that natural light and sense of 
religion that is in men's hearts. Surely Christ would never proselyte 
us to a religion that is our undoing, nor shall any of his people be 
losers by him, or they that venture the most for him be in the worst 
condition ; and therefore there must be another life, wherein he will 
fulfil the good he hath promised, and execute the evil threatened. 

2. From the nature, state, and condition of man. 

[1.] He is God's subject ; not left at liberty to break or keep God's- 
laws at his own pleasure, which he would seem to be if no harm would 
come of it, yea, present good and profit ; for we see here the wicked 
live a life of pomp and ease, and often have their will upon the' godly, 
and oppress them at their pleasure ; their wickedness is their advantage. 
Now this is not only a great discouragement to the gracious and 
heavenly-minded, but would quite destroy all obedience, if there were 
not assurance of a better estate. Therefore God expresses himself as 
particularly engaged to punish such as flatter themselves with hopes, 
of impunity, though they go on in their wickedness : Deut. xxix. 19, 20, 
' And it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that 
he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I wallr 
in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst. The 
Lord will not spare him, but then the anger of the Lord and his- 
jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are 
written in this book shall lie upon him, and the Lord shall 
blot out his name from under heaven.' They that add the moist 
to the dry, and the dry to the moist. So Zeph. i. 12, 'And 
it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with 
candles, and punish the men that are settled upon their lees, that say 
in their heart, The Lord will not do good, neither will he do evil/ 
And on the other side, he considereth the case of the faithful, that thej 
have an opposite principle against their duty within their hearts, which 
must be always curbed and suppressed ; and they meet with many 
temptations from the oppositions and reproaches of those that like not 
that sort of life which they addict and apply themselves unto ; and 
therefore if they have not sufficient motives to keep them in the love 
of God and obedience to the end, how shall they bear up against all 
these blasts of persecution, when all the world is against them ? They 
need both their cordials and their solaces from another and better 
world. Therefore God assureth them that their fidelity and obedience 
shall not be lost, that they are blessed already, and shall be perfectly 
blessed hereafter : James i. 12, ' Blessed is the man that endureth. 
temptation ; for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, 
which the Lord hath promised to them that love him ; ' 1 Peter iv. 13, 
' But rejoice inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings, that 
when his glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding 
joy ; ' that is, that these sufferings are sure pledges of the glory that 


shall ensue. Their joy is suspended while the glory of Christ is under 
a veil, but when he is manifested to the world, they shall be manifested 
to be the children of God. Alas ! otherwise what would become of 
the best servants God hath in the world, when they are hooted at by 
the clamours of the wicked rabble, and pursued with sharp laws, and 
exposed to great difficulties and hardships, if they had no life to live 
but this ? The bare sense of our duty would not support us in this 
state of imperfection if there were not a great recompense of reward 
set before us ; so that the persuasion of another life is necessary to 
secure our duty. 

[2.] Man is bound to be upright and sincere in God's service, or to 
get such a constitution of soul as to resolve to adhere to God, what 
ever temptations he hath to the contrary. Our Lord describeth the 
good ground to be ' that good and honest heart which, having received 
the word, keeps it, and brings forth fruit with patience,' Luke viii. 15. 
This was a principle not denied by many heathens, who esteemed the love 
of honesty and goodness better than this mortal life with all its appurte 
nances, and thought that a man was never sincere nor thoroughly honest 
till he did abhor the practice of any villany and impiety more than death, 
and those things which were ra avrXai? ayaQa, absolutely good, a man 
ought to love them more than life, and lose life rather than omit their 
practice. Now such principles, whether they saw it, yea or no, do 
necessarily conclude and infer a life after this much better than this is, 
and an estate of torment much worse than death to those that have 
lived and died dishonestly ; for everything that hath a being doth by 
an indispensable law of nature desire the continuance of its being, but 
most of all its well-being, or the bettering of its present estate. 
Therefore every man (if there be not a life after death) is bound to 
seek the preservation and continuance of this life above all things in 
the world besides ; and to do that, no device would be dishonest or 
practice amiss. But all they that have ever heard of the name of virtue 
abhor this principle as base and odious, that a man should make what 
shift he can, though never so base and wicked, to maintain and save 
his life. No means used to this end are to be accounted foul, for no 
thing is so ill as death, nothing so good as life. But if this would 
destroy all honesty and virtue, then certainly we have hopes and fears 
of another life. If you will say, No ; virtue is a sufficient recompense 
to itself, at what rate soever it be purchased and maintained ; yet what 
is there to countervail all the losses and grievances it exposeth us unto, 
such as the loss of life and limbs ? Virtue is a sufficient reward to 
itself, spe, non re, in hope, not in the thing itself, but so far as it is the 
only way to everlasting communion with God, who is our exceeding 
great reward, or so far as the assured hope of a better life after 
death is inseparably connexed to the constant practice of godliness in 
this life. And to do good merely for goodness' sake, without any eye 
or respect to the reward, is a strain of devotion contrary to that doctrine 
which is taught us by Christ and his apostles. 

[3.] With respect to man's comfort and solace in his troubles, which 
ariseth from reflecting on our future reward when all things go cross 
to us here : ' Comfort one another with these words,' saith the apostle, 
1 Thes. iv. 18. Now what words were those ? The belief of a blessed 


resurrection of those that died in or for the Lord ; that is, by occasion 
of the faith of Christ. He thought that consideration sufficient to 
yield matter of comfort or support to them. These are consolations 
proper to Christians, because they are sure, as depending upon Christ's 
word ; and they are congruous and suitable, because their hearts are 
set upon these things; not upon a vain world, but a blessed and 
glorious estate that Christ hath offered, and himself is entered into ; 
and when we get thither, our affections will be satisfied, desires granted, 
and hopes fulfilled. So that still the apostle's reasoning is strong : ' If 
in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miser 
able ; ' for our consolations, which are fetched from the other world, are 
our proper consolations. 

[4.] With respect to the credit and esteem of God's servants in the 
world. It is neither for the glory of God nor the safety of his people 
that the most eminent virtue and goodness should lie under perpetual 
infamy. God's servants do not only suffer hard things, but their names 
are cast forth as evil. Now this is not for the honour of God, because 
it reflects upon him when the children of wisdom are represented as sons 
of folly, in checking their lusts, venturing their interests, and renounc 
ing their all for their fidelity to Christ, as if they did foolishly in 
running into such inconveniences, when they might spare themselves, and 
sleep in a whole skin. Now it is a great dishonour to God that his 
wisest and most faithful servants should be accounted fools, and an 
humorous odd sort of men, that needlessly trouble themselves and 
others. This hardeneth the world in sin, and would quench and destroy 
all zeal for God, if there were not a time coming when the wisdom of the 
world shall be seen to be the greatest folly, and that there are no such 
fools as those that employ their greatest abilities in attaining present 
pleasure, profit, and preferment ; but those are the wisest adventurers 
who have sold all to promote the glory of God and gain Christ, who 
look not upon things as they appear now to the sensual and deluded 
world, but as they will be found at the last day, when all things shall 
be seen in their own proper colours. Neither is it for the safety of the 
saints, who, though they seek nothing but the public good, are traduced 
as the troublers of Israel, and their way condemned as factious singu 
larity. Therefore it is a great satisfaction that we have hopes that 
things shall be reviewed, and that which is good be restored to its 
public honour, and the godly, who prize a good name above all earthly 
interests, shall have their faith found to praise and honour and glory : 
1 Peter i. 7, ' That the trial of your faith, being much more precious 
than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found 
unto praise, and honour, and glory, at the appearing of Jesus Christ.' 

Use 1. It showeth us how much it concerneth us to be assured of the 
future estate. It is the life of our religion ; it bindeth our duty upon 
us by the strictest tie, and doth also establish our true and proper com 
fort. If we may have hope of better things from Christ in another 
world, not only in our calamities, but by our calamities, we should not 
have such dark and doubtful thoughts about eternal blessedness, but live 
more in the clear foresight of it by faith, and the foretaste of it by 
hope. Especially should this support us in two cases in sharp afflic 
tions, and in death. 

1. In sharp afflictions. We are apt to take scandal and offence at 


the sufferings that befall us for righteousness' sake ; but consider not 
only the promises of Christ, but that our very persecution is an argu 
ment of our final deliverance. The opposition of ungodly and un 
righteous adversaries is ' to them an evident token of perdition, but 
to you of salvation, and that of God,' Phil. i. 28. That they are 
wretched and obdurate people, and run on to their own destruction ; 
but that you are sincere and penitent believers, who are not drawn away 
from your fidelity to Christ by any terrors whatsoever. It is not evSetft?, 
not only an argument to confirm the hopes of the gospel, but a mark 
and token of your sincerity; it confirmeth your right. Well, then, 
though our afflictions be smart and grievous, let us comfort ourselves 
with these hopes. You are not to look to present things, but future ; 
not to what is applauded in the world, but what opinion Christ will 
have of them at the last ; not to what you feel now, but what you shall 
enjoy hereafter. Though all things appear with pomp and glory on 
the world's side, and terror to the saints, yet this scene is soon withdrawn, 
and present time is quickly past, like a dream or piece of fantasy ; 
and then there is an utter inversion of things ; shame is on the wicked's 
side, and honour put upon the saints ; and the shame and glory are both 
eternal ; and when they enter into everlasting torments, we enter into 
our master's joy ; and the children of God, that are derided and 
vilified in the world, are then approved and justified by Christ ; and it 
shall be plainly seen that they have chosen the better part that have 
chosen the faith, and patience, and holiness of the saints. 

2. In death. This is a comfort suited to that time. When you die 7 
you may commend your souls to Christ; as Stephen: Acts vii. 59 r 
' Lord Jesus, receive my spirit' God trusted Christ with souls from 
all eternity ; they were given him by way of charge and reward ; 
and you may trust him, for he is able to make good his trust : 2 Tim. 
i. 12, ' I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is 
able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day/ 
If they are consecrated, they may be committed. And you may dismiss 
your bodies to the grave, there to rest in hope : Acts ii. 26, ' More 
over also my flesh shall rest in hope ; ' Acts xxiv. 15, ' And have hope 
towards God, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of 
the just and unjust.' So Acts xxvi. 68, 'And now I stand and am 
judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers : 
unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and 
night, hope to come : for which hope's sake, King Agrippa, I am 
accused of the Jews. Why should it be thought a thing incredible 
with you, that God should raise the dead ? ' Death seemeth to make 
void all the promises at once, but there is an estate after death. The- 
dead shall rise ; and to men bred up in the church this should not seem 
incredible. It is not incredible in itself, considering the justice and 
power of God ; and this should not seem incredible to us, since all 
religion tendeth to it ; but rather you should entertain it as a matter 
of undoubted certainty. All true believers do look and long for and 
prepare for this blessedness ; otherwise why should they trouble them 
selves about religion, which abridgeth them of present delights, and 
often exposeth them to great difficulties and sufferings ? But there is 
another life, which is happy and joyful; and therefore we serve God 
instantly day and night. 


Use 2. That it concerneth us to see this blessed estate, not only by 
the light of faith, but reason. Though the light of scripture be more 
sure and clear, yet the light of nature hath its use. Nature saith, It 
may be ; faith saith, It shall be ; yet the light of nature must not be 

1. Because things seen in a double light work the more strongly upon 
us ; as our affections are stirred more by a double consideration than a 
single. As Paul said of Onesimus to Philemon, that he was dear to 
him, but much more dear to him ' both in the flesh and in the Lord,' 
ver. 16, as being one of his faith, and one of his family ; so this work- 
eth upon our faith, when even nature teacheth us that it is reasonable 
to expect such a retribution ; then all vain cavils are refuted. All have 
not received the light of scripture, at least with such veneration and 
reverence as they ought to do : to such the light of nature is a prepa 
rative inducement either to believe, or to believe it more firmly. Nay, 
the children of God have not such a steady belief of the life to come 
as they ought to have, especially in time of temptation, as the time of 
grievous and bitter persecution is. Surely we need all the succour and 
relief which the nature of the thing will afford. Evil is present and 
pressing, and our great hopes are to come ; surely then, besides the 
grounds of faith, we must study the helps of faith. The grounds of 
faith are the promises of the gospel; the helps of faith are such 
demonstrations and evidences as the light of nature will afford in the 
case. Therefore reason must be allowed to be an handmaid to faith. 

2. Because by this means a temptation is turned into an argument. 
Men doubt of the being of God, of providence, and the future estate, 
because of the afflictions of the good ; and this is one means to settle 
you in the belief of these things. It is good to observe how differently 
men will reason from the same principles ; for the wicked draw another 
conclusion hence, either that there is no God, or he hath no respect to 
human affairs, or that all things are governed by chance, or the like. 
So elsewhere you may see what contrary and different conclusions. the 
carnal and the spiritual draw from the same premises ; as David infers 
the immutable certainty of God's promises : Ps. cxix. 89-91, 'Forever, 
O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven: thy faithfulness is unto all 
generations. Thou hast established the earth, and it abideth: they 
continue this day according to thine ordinance.' But the scoffers said, 
* Where is the promise of his coming ? For since the fathers fell asleep, 
fill things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation,' 2 
Peter iii. 4. Because the frame of nature had kept one constant tenor 
and course, they plead for the eternity of the world, and the falsehood 
of the promises ; but David was hereby confirmed in the belief of God's 
constancy and fidelity. So from the brevity of life ; see the different 
conclusions drawn from hence : 1 Cor. vii. 29, 30, ' The time is short : 
it remaineth that both they that have wives be as if 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 the world as not abusing it.' On the contrary : 1 Cor. 
xv. 32, ' Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we shall die.' So from 
the grace of God : Jude 4, 'Turning the grace of God into lascivious- 
ness ; ' compared with Horn. vi. 1, ' Shall we continue in sin, that grace 
may abound ? ' So also, 2 Sam. vii. 2, ' I dwell in an house of cedar 


but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains.' Observe the workings 
of David's heart : The Lord hath built me a stately house, but what 
have I done for God ? But those wretches, Hag. i. 2, ' This people 
say, The time is not come, the time that the Lord's house should be 
built.' So 1 Sam. iii. 18, 'It is the Lord; let him do what seemeth 
him good ; ' compared with 2 Kings vi. 33, ' Behold, this evil is of the 
Lord ; why should I wait for the Lord any longer ? ' See Prov. xxvi. 
9, ' As a thorn goeth up into the hand of a drunkard, so is a parable 
in the mouth of fools.' All is as the heart is. 

3. Because if the perverse carriage of things now be not a confir 
mation to your faith, it will at least be an help to your meditation. 
Improve the argument as it was set forth before, by your most serious 
thoughts; thus: Surely there is a God; he is wise, holy, just, and 
good, and would not impose duty upon a man, but he hath encourage 
ments and rewards to quicken him to the performance of it. Few 
Christians are so firm and strong in believing but they may find it a 
prop to their faith. Certainly all are so barren of thoughts that they 
will find it an help to their meditation. Would God make laws with 
a sanction of penalty and reward, and never look after them more ? 
Doth he delight in the prosperity of his servants or their afflictions ? 
Would he raise hopes and desires which he never meant to satisfy ? 
give the wicked power to afflict and vex his people, and never call them 
to an account ? bid us venture our all for him, and give us no recom 
pense ? If such thoughts were more frequent with us, God would bless 
them to the increase of faith, love, and hope. 

Use 3. Is to persuade us to live in the constant hopes of this blessed 
estate in the life to come. Hope is a certain and earnest expectation 
of the promised blessedness. Let me show you (1.) The necessity of 
this hope ; (2.) The encouragements of it. 

1. The necessity that the hope of eternal glory should always be 
cherished in us. 

[1.] Because it is a special act of the new nature : 1 Peter i. 3, 'Who 
hath begotten us to a lively hope.' As soon as we are children, we look 
for a child's portion. The new nature presently discovereth itself by 
its tendency to its end and rest, which is the fruition of God in heaven. 
Indeed, the scriptures speak of a twofold hope one that is the imme 
diate effect of regeneration, and flows from our acceptance of the new 
covenant, and dependeth upon the conditional offer of eternal life ; we 
take it for our happiness, resolving to seek it in God's way ; without 
this we are not new creatures. There is another hope, which is the 
fruit of experience, and belongeth to the seasoned and tried Christian, 
who hath approved his own fidelity to God, and hath had much trial 
of God's fidelity to him. This is spoken of, Horn. v. 4, 'Patience 
worketh experience, and experience hope.' This produceth not a con 
ditional certainty, but an actual confidence of our own salvation. The 
former is more necessary, for we live by it, but this is very comfortable. 

[2.] Because it is the great end why the scriptures were written, to 
beget and raise this hope in us : Kom. xv. 4, 'For whatsoever things 
were written aforetime, were written for our learning, that we through 
patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.' It is the 
business and design of these holy books. 

[3.] Because the keeping up of this hope with zeal and industry is 


the distinguishing character between the temporary and the sincere 
convert. The one loseth his taste and comfort, and so casteth off the 
profession of godliness, or neglecteth the powerful practice of it ; the 
other is diligent, serious, patient, mortified, heavenly, and holy, because 
' he holdeth fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto 
the end/ Heb. iii. 6. And his end sweetens his work, for this grace 
doth quicken the whole spiritual life : Titus ii. 12, 13, ' Teaching us 
that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, 
righteously, and godly in this present world, looking for that blessed 
hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour 
Jesus Christ.' 

[4.] Because we have nothing else to support us and fortify us 
against the difficulties that fall out between our first right to eternal 
life and our full possession of it. In our journey to heaven there are 
many sufferings and trials which must be undergone, and hope is our 
strength and support. He that sets his face heavenward will find 
difficulties that attend his service, temptations that assault his con 
stancy, and troubles and calamities to which his religion exposeth him. 
Now it is hope carrieth us through, and therefore it is compared to an 
anchor : Heb. vi. 19, ' Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, 
both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil ; ' 
and to an helmet : Eph. vi. 17, ' And take the helmet of salvation,' com 
pared with 1 Thes. v. 8, ' And for an helmet the hope of salvation.' As we 
would not go to sea without an anchor, and to war without an helmet, 
so we must not think of carrying on the spiritual life without hope ; 
nothing else will compose the mind, and keep it stable in the floods of 
temptation, or cause us to hold up our heads in our daily conflicts and 
encounters. Without this anchor our souls are in danger of spiritual 
shipwreck ; without this helmet our heads are exposed to deadly blows 
from sin, Satan, and' worldly discouragements. 

[5.] We shall need it not only while we live, but we shall have most 
need of it when we come to die. They that are destitute of the hope 
of glory then are in a dangerous, woful, and most lamentable case: 
Job xxvii. 8, ' For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath 
gained, when God taketh away his soul ? ' They may be full of pre 
sumption and blind confidence while they live, but what hope have 
they when they come to die ? All their worldly advantages will afford 
them no solid comfort. They live in a presumptuous dream that all 
shall be well ; but then they die stupid and senseless, or else despairing, 
and their hopes fail them when they have most need of them. 

2. The encouragements of it. 

[1.] God's gracious covenant and promises. God would not invite 
and raise an hope to disappoint it, for surely God will not disappoint 
the creature that dependeth upon his word ; and therefore we are 
allowed to challenge God upon his word : Ps. cxix. 49, ' Kemember 
the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope/ 
It contains a double argument ; the promise was of God's making, and 
the hope of his operation ; the grant of the new covenant, and his 
influence by the Spirit. We have a strong tie upon God ; as he giveth 
us the promise, which is a ground of hope, we may humbly put the bond 
in suit ; and when his Spirit hath caused the hope, it is not with a 
purpose to defeat it. 


[2.] Consider what a foundation God hath laid for his promises: 
2 Tim. ii. 19, 'The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, 
The Lord knoweth them that are his ; ' 2 Cor. i. 20, ' For all the 
promises of God in him are Yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of 
God by us.' 

[3.] Observe what God hath given you by way of earnest. Hope is 
not built upon promises alone, but also upon assurances and earnest ; 
the promises are contained in the word of God, but the earnest is given 
into our hearts : 2 Cor. i. 22, ' Who hath also sealed us, and given the 
earnest of his Spirit in our hearts ; ' 2 Cor. v. 5, ' Now he that hath 
wrought us for the self-same thing is God, who hath also given unto us 
the earnest of the Spirit ; ' Eph. i. 13, 14, ' In whom also, after that ye 
believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the 
earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased pos 
session, unto the praise of his glory.' Though God be truth itself, and 
promiseth nothing but what he meaneth to perform, yet he will give 
earnest of his promises, and a pledge of his affection to us. An earnest 
is a part of the sum which is promised, so is the earnest of the Spirit 
a part of the promised felicity. God would not altogether weary us, 
and burden us with expectation, but giveth us somewhat in hand. 
Surely he that giveth us earnest will give us the whole sum. The earnest 
of the Spirit consisteth in light, life, grace, joy ; one drachm of these 
is more precious than all the world, and yet these are but an earnest. 
Now, having such a confirmation in the midst of our doubts and fears, 
let us with more confidence look to receive the whole in due season. 

[4.] Some already have got home to God upon the same terms, and 
in the same way in which you expect to get home to him. Think often 
of the happiness of the blessed, who are now enjoying what we expect, 
and are in possession of that supreme good which we hope for. They 
are entered into the joy of our Lord, and have neither miseries to 
fear nor blessings to desire beyond what they enjoy ; they possess all 
that they love. And though the time of our advancement to these 
privileges be not yet come, yet we should look and long for it. We 
are all of the same family : Eph. iii. 15, ' Of whom the whole family 
in heaven and earth is named.' It is but one household ; some live in 
the upper room, some in the lower, some in heaven, some on earth ; 
but we are all of the same society and community : Heb. xii. 23, ' To 
the general assembly and church of the first-born, which are written in 
heaven.' We are said to be already come into this fellowship, only 
they have gotten the start of us, and are made perfect before us, that 
we should follow after. We are reconciled to the same God by the 
same Christ : Col. i. 20, ' By him to reconcile all things unto himself ; 
by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.' 
And we expect our portion from the bounty of the same Father. If 
he hath been so good to that part of the family which is now in heaven, 
will he not be as good to the other part also ? Therefore they that 
are working out their salvation with fear and trembling may encourage 
themselves, and look upon this felicity as prepared for them, though 
not enjoyed by them. It will one day be their portion, as well as those 
others who have passed the pikes, and are now triumphing with God. 


To them w7w, by patient continuance in well-doing, seels for glory ana 
honour and immortality, eternal life. ROM. ii. 7. 

IN tliis scripture we have a plain and full character of the heirs of 
promise, or a short but complete description of that good which is 
necessary to life. The words are occasioned by the apostle's mention 
ing of the righteous judgment of God, which rendereth to every man 
according to their works. That general mentioned in ver. 6 is more 
distinctly explained in the next verses, wherein he showeth how the 
righteous judge will carry himself towards the good and towards the 
bad in the judgment of absolution and condemnation : towards the 
good in the text ; toward the bad, ver. 8, 'Bat unto them that are 
contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indig 
nation and wrath.' The one is a reward of grace, and the other is a 
punishment awarded by his exact justice. We are to consider the 
first of these, the reward of grace, 'To them who, by patient con 
tinuance in well-doing, seek for glory and honour and immortality, 
eternal life.' 

In the words observe the qualification and the reward 
1. The qualification or description of the heirs of promise. 
[1.] By their end and design : they ' seek for glory, and honour, and 

[2.] The means or way wherein they seek it ; by '. well-doing.' 
[3.] Their constancy and perseverance in that way, tcad' VTTOJJLOVTJV, 
by ' patient continuance.' 

Well, then, here is a short and full description of those who shall be 
saved. They are those who, out of the hope of the eternal reward, 
persevere in the obedience of the truth; for they that 'continue in 
well-doing ' are opposed to them that ' obey not the truth, but obey 
unrighteousness,' whereby is intended those that sin against the light 
of nature, and refuse the direction of the gospel. So that ' well-doing ' 
must be stated partly by the light of nature, and partly by the light 
of scripture ; or rather, by this latter alone, as it compriseth and ex- 
plaineth the other. And their constancy and patient continuance in 
this work is as considerable as the work itself. Continuance implieth 
a constant tenor of righteousness and holiness ; and patient continu 
ance implies continuance notwithstanding temptations to the contrary, 
or bearing the persecutions which they underwent for the duties of the 



Christian profession, still going on in the pursuit of that reward which 
Christ hath promised. 

2. The reward is ' eternal life.' This they looked and this they 
laboured for. They were not carried on upon temporal encouragements, 
but eternal bliss in the world to come ; and this is an excellent counter 
poise against the loss or the discomforts of the present life. 

Doct. That God will give eternal life to all those who by patient 
continuance in well-doing seek after it. 

The point will be best opened by discussing the circumstances of the 
text. I shall speak (1.) Of the qualification ; (2.) Of the reward. 

I. The qualification. And there I must speak 

First, Of their design and aim: they 'seek for glory, honour, and im 
mortality.' In all businesses and affairs the end must be first thought of. 

Now these persons which are here described propound to themselves 
the noblest and highest end which the heart of man can pitch upon, 
even ' glory, honour, and immortality.' Amongst men, the ambitious, 
who aspire to crowns and kingdoms, and aim at perpetual fame by their 
virtues and rare exploits, are judged persons of greater gallantry than 
covetous muckworms and brutish epicures ; yet their highest thoughts 
and designs are very base and low in comparison of sincere Christians, 
who ' by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory, honour, and 
immortality/ and whom nothing less will content and satisfy than the 
enjoyment of God himself in his heavenly kingdom, and all that happi 
ness which he hath promised to his faithful servants. The threshold 
will not content them, but the throne ; their end is far more noble than 
the designs of all the rest of the world. And whereas others do carry 
themselves but as an higher and wiser sort of beasts, and so are un 
worthy of an immortal soul, these carry themselves as men possessed 
with a divine spirit. The beasts have an instinct that guideth them to 
seek things convenient for that life which they have ; and a man that 
is satisfied with his portion here, and only relisheth the contentments 
of the rational and bodily life, carrieth himself more like a living 
creature than a rational creature, more like a beast than like a man ; 
all their business and bustle is to have their wills and pleasure for a 
while, as if they had not any hopes or fears of any greater things here 
after : Ps. xlix. 20, ' Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is 
like the beasts that perish;' because he merely inclineth to present satis 
factions ; for reason is a middle thing between the life of faith and 
the life of sense. If it be not sublimated by faith, it is debased by 
sense ; and then what great matter is it if you be a man, or a dog, or 
a swine, if reason be only given you to cater for the body, and to make 
provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof ? But let us more 
distinctly see what is the aim and design of those noble and brave spirits. 
There are two things in the text the object and the act ; the thing 
aimed at, and their respect towards it. 

1. The thing aimed at is 'glory, honour, and immortality.' Let me 
open the meaning of these words apart, and then show why so many are 
heaped together. 

[1.] Glory. Glory is status illustris, appearing excellency. There 
is a glory of this world, but that is fading : I Peter i. 24, ' All flesh 
is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass.' The 


flower is more fading than the grass itself, and is sooner shed than the 
stalk rotteth ; so many a man's excellency dieth before he dieth, and his 
glory is gone, "when he remaineth as a neglected stalk. But this is a 
more solid glory, called by the apostle, 2 Cor. iv. 17, 'A far more 
exceeding and eternal weight of glory.' This glory is in their persons : 
Koin. viii. 18, 'For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are 
not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us ; ' 
.Phil. iii. 21, ' Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned 
like unto his glorious body ; ' Mat. xiii. 43, ' Then shall the righteous 
shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father ; ' 2 Thes. i. 10, 
' When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired 
in all them that believe.' All the spectators shall stand wondering what 
he meaneth to do with those who were but newly crept out of dust and 
rottenness, so wonderful is the glory of the saints in the world to come. 
And as this glory concerns their persons, so their state. Christ will 
advance them to a glorious estate, to high dignity and honour, which 
the scripture expresseth sometimes by thrones : Kev. iii. 21, 'To him 
that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I 
also overcame, and am sat down with my Father in his throne ; ' some 
times by a crown : 2 Tim. iv. 8, ' Henceforth there is laid up for me a 
crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give 
me at that day.' Visible marks of favour and honour will Christ put 
upon them. 

[2.] Honour ; that imports praise and commendation, for honour 
is a testimony of excellency. To seek the honour of this world is 
destructive to faith : John v. 44, ' How can ye believe, which receive 
honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God 
only ? ' But the honour which Christ will put upon those that are 
faithful to him in the world to come is the great object of faith, by 
which we vanquish those temptations of disgrace and scorn which we 
meet with here in this world. Christ will then commend their faith 
before men and angels : Eev. iii. 5, ' I will confess his name before my 
Father, and before his angels.' Oh, what a blessed thing is it to be 
owned by Christ, and approved as faithful in his service by the judge 
of all the world, at whose sentence we must stand or fall ! The apostle 
saith, 2 Cor. x. 18, ' For not he that commendeth himself is approved, 
but whom the Lord commendeth.' To have a testimony in our own 
consciences is very sweet. Let the world slander, yet, if God approveth, 
it is sufficient. But it will be more honourable to us when the judge 
upon the throne shall acquit us ; and not only so, but approve and com 
mend us. It is said, 1 Cor. iv. 5, 'Judge nothing before the time, until 
the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of dark 
ness, and will make manifest the counsels of the heart ; and then shall 
every man have praise of God ; ' that is, be not too forward in your 
censures ; in time God will display the seducers, and discover every 
man's intentions and purposes. Then they that deserve it shall have 
shame, and every man that hath done well shall by God be justified and 
commended. What kind of approbation we shall have is shown : Mat. 
xxv. 21, ' Well done, thou good and faithful servant.' This is the honour 
which the saints expect. 

[3.] The third word is ' immortality,' a<f>6apo-tav, incorruption. All 


the glory and honour of the world soon fadeth away. If our fame 
survive us, what good will it do us when we are dead ? Alas ! it is but 
a poor shadow of that eternal glory and honour which Christ will put 
upon the saints. Their glory is immortal, and never withereth. The 
glory and honour of the world is uncertain ; their hosanna is soon 
turned into a crucifige, crucify him : 2 Bam. xix. 43, ' We have ten 
parts in the king, and we have also more right in David than ye.' 
And in the very next verse, chap. xx. 1, ' We have no part in David, 
neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse : every man to his 
tents, Israel.' They who but just now claimed ten parts in David, 
presently disclaim and disown him, as having no part in him at all; so 
suddenly are men's affections and esteem of us altered. And as our 
glory perisheth, so we perish, even the best of men : Acts xiii. 36, 
' David after he had served his own generation, by the will of God fell 
asleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption.' What a deal 
ado men keep to get praise and honour in the world ; but what doth this 
profit you when you are dead, and must be laid in the grave with others? 
But the saints look higher. As they seek ' glory and honour,' so they 
seek incorruption or ' immortality ; ' a glory which will abide with them, 
and they with it, to all eternity. 

Thus we have considered the words apart. Now why are so many 
heaped up together ? It is not done casually ; the same is observed 
elsewhere : 1 Peter i. 7, ' That your faith may be found unto praise, 
and honour, and glory, at the appearing of Jesus Christ.' Now this is 
done partly to represent the fulness of this blessed and glorious estate. 
The honour which Christ puts upon his servants at his appearing is 
manifold. Many words cannot express it ; they shall be much com 
mended, and gloriously rewarded. And partly to recompense and 
make up the shame and disgrace of our trials. How infamous soever 
Christ's servants be in the world, yet they are glorious with God, and 
honourable in his sight ; and ' when Christ shall appear, they shall 
appear with him in glory,' Col. iii. 4. Well, now, this is the object of 
the expectation. 

2. Their respect to it ; they seek it. Seeking implies two things 
(1.) An hearty desire ; (2.) An earnest endeavour in the use of means. 

[1.] An hearty desire ; for seeking is the earnest desire of a thing 
lost or absent. The seeking of this glory, honour, and immortality 
implieth an earnest desire of it, as appeareth by Col. iii. 1, 2, ' If ye then 
be risen with Christ, seek those things that are above ; ' which is further 
expressed by, ' Set your affections upon things above.' And this is not 
a slight desire, but such a desire as prevaileth above the desires of 
other things ; such an affection to them as is not controlled by other 
affections : Mat. vi. 33, ' Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his 
righteousness.' First, that is, so as our pursuit of other things doth not 
cross our affections to these. Many desire heaven and glory, but they 
are soon put out of the humour, and take up with the pleasures, and 
honours, and profits of the world, and they become slaves to their 
fleshly appetites and senses, and the good things here below. 

[2.] Seeking implieth diligence and an earnest endeavour, such as 
the woman used that sought her lost groat : Heb. xiii. 14, ' Here we 
have no continuing city, but we seek one to come.' If we desire it, 


and long after it, something must be done in order thereunto. As our 
desires are greater, so our endeavours will be greater than after worldly 
things ; for to seek is to bestow our earnest care and serious diligence 
upon it. See how it is expressed in scripture ; by labour : John 
vi. 27, ' Working,' and ' working out ; ' Phil. ii. 12, by ' pressing 
towards it ; ' Phil. iii. 14, by ' striving ; ' Luke xiii. 24, because we 
meet with opposition. You must not think to come to the enjoyment 
of this great happiness with idleness and cold wishes. No ; we must 
be at pains, and such pains as flesh and blood will count hard labour. 
Well, now, we may from hence conclude the first part of the mark of 
the heirs of promise. 

(1.) By the object; they are distinguished from the wicked and 
carnal part of the world, who covet the honours, riches, and pleasures 
of the present life; but these are engaged in a more noble design; 
they ' seek glory, and honour, and immortality ; ' that is, they seek not 
vainglory, but labour to make themselves truly glorious, honourable, 
and immortal. 

(2.) Again from the object and act together ; they distinguish 
themselves from all infidels and unbelievers ; for they ' seek glory and 
honour ' where it is to be found, and in the way wherein it is to be 
found, and so go upon sure grounds. They are ascertained by the 
truth of God's word, and depend upon it, that if they seriously set 
themselves to obey and honour God in the world, they shall have glory 
and honour with him : 1 Sam. ii. 30, ' Those that honour me, I will 
honour ; ' John xii. 26, ' If any man serve me, him shall my Father 
honour ; ' and elsewhere. Upon this they are certain. 

(3.) By the seriousness of the act ; they distinguish themselves from 
hypocrites or partial believers. Those that have a slight sense of 
eternity will desire ' glory, and honour, and immortality ; ' but to 
desire it so as that it shall be their top care ; to desire it so as that all 
other things should be lessened in their opinion, estimation, and affec 
tion ; to desire it so as to labour after it in the first place ; this is the 
disposition of the sincere only. They can withdraw the veil of sense, 
and look to the glory that cometh from God only. They prize it 
above all the glory of the world, and resolutely choose it for their 
portion, with an habitual and thorough consent of their wills ; and the 
drift, and aim, and bent of their lives is to be for God and their salva 
tion, and this is first and chiefly sought after in all their endeavours. 

Secondly, The means and way wherein they seek after it : 'By 
patient continuance in well-doing.' A good design without a good way 
is nothing ; and therefore, next to a right end, we must choose a right 
way ; and if we desire salvation, we must mind the right way thither. 
Now in the way and means three things are considerable. Here is 
(1.) Well-doing ; (2.) Continuance; (3.) Patient continuance. If one 
of these be wanting, all cometh to nought. If well-doing be wanting, 
our perseverance is but an obstinacy in things sweet and pleasing to 
the flesh ; and our patience but a carnal self-denial, nothing conducing 
to our great end. If well-doing be regarded, yet if there be not a 
continuance, or a continuance only when we are put to no trial, then 
the benefit is lost. All three must concur. 

1. For well-doing. Let us state that first, that we may not be mis- 


taken. The world is filled with ill notions ; every man applaudeth 
himself in his own course, be it never so vain. The covetous, the 
ambitious, the dissolute, when they thrive in their several ways, they 
will think they do well : Ps. xlix. 18, ' Though whilst he lived, he 
blessed his soul ; and men will praise thee when thou dost well to thy 
self/ A man's own self-deceiving heart measureth good and evil by 
his present condition in the world. The brutish worldling applauds 
himself in his own course when it succeedeth. The glutton thinketh 
he doeth well when he maketh much of, and cherisheth and pampereth 
himself. The ambitious applaudeth himself in his good fortune. The 
prodigal, when he spendeth, thinketh he doeth well ; and the covetous, 
when he spareth, thinketh he doeth well ; and contrary persons will say 
so. Ay ! but there must be another rule than the fancies of men ; 
that is, well-doing, which really turneth to our eternal good. To do 
well is to obey righteousness, to obey the truth ; for it is opposed to 
those that violate the light of nature, and wrangle and dispute away 
that true religion which is offered for their cure and remedy. 

[1.] To do well is to obey righteousness, or to act agreeably to 
those obligations which lie upon us with respect to our relation to God, 
others, and ourselves. There are but three beings in a moral considera 
tion God, neighbour, and self. Paul's adverbs are suited to them : 
Titus ii. 12, ' Soberly, righteously, and godly/ As to self-government 
of our fancies and appetites, we are to live ' soberly/ in an holy weaned- 
ness and moderation in the midst of all present delights and comforts. 
As to our neighbour, we are to live ' righteously," in all justice, truth, 
mercy, fidelity in our relations, as parents, husbands, subjects, children, 
wives. As to God, we are to live c godly,' in an holy subjection to 
him, and entire dependence upon him, and communion with him. So 
to do well with respect to God is to behave ourselves as to one that is so 
excellent, powerful, and good, and upon whom we depend so much, 
not breaking his laws for all the world. As to others, ' Whatsoever ye 
would that men should do unto you, do even so to them,' Mat. vii. 12. 
Not only negatively, to prevent the wrong, but positively, to do good. 
As to ourselves, we must subordinate all things to our true happiness, 
and be more careful for the soul than for the body. All this, righteous 
ness, or the evidence of natural light, calleth for at our hands, that we 
love our creator, and live to him, and depend upon him ; for if he be 
God, he is our first cause, highest Lord, chiefest good, and last end. 
That love to others is showed in doing to them as we would should be 
done to us. We would have others helpful to us, so must we to em 
power be helpful to them ; he that will be for none but himself cannot 
justly expect that any should be for him. And for ourselves, man 
consists of a body and of a soul. Now all our senses and bodily powers 
and appetites must be subordinated to the good of the soul ; for the 
soul is the chiefest part. Well, then, if we live in the neglect of God, 
and be only self-lovers and self-pleasers, and wrong ourselves by grati 
fying our flesh, do we do well ? If we prefer every paltry vanity 
before the favour of God, slander and wrong our neighbour, please 
appetite before reason, and let the beast ride the man, surely we obey 
unrighteousness ; we do not do well 

[2.] We must obey the truth ; that is, act agreeably to the revealed 


will of God in scripture ; that is to do well. It is the scripture which 
helpeth us to distinguish good from evil, and will be a sure direction 
in well-doing : Ps. cxix. 105, ' Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and 
a light unto my path ; ' Prov. vi. 23, ' For the commandment is a 
lamp, and the law is light ; ' Isa. viii. 20, ' To the law and to the 
testimony ; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there 
is no light in them.' We are not to be ruled by our own thoughts, 
but by God's word, which amply sets forth our duty to us. The 
light of nature is very dim, and it would be a matter of great difficulty 
to find out our duty if we had no supernatural light to help us. There 
fore God hath given his word, and that not only to instruct us in 
moral duties, most of which are evident by the light of nature, but 
also in supernatural verities, which tend to our relief and deliverance 
by Christ. Well, then, well-doing is not one work only, but all our 
entire obedience, which is necessary to salvation, that we may not only 
love God, do good to others, govern our appetites and desires, but 
believe in Christ, and live according to his holy institutes, and perform 
all the duties which belong to his new remedying law. This is well 

2. There must be continuance in well-doing. As we must endea 
vour universally to do all that God hath commanded us, so we must 
continue this care unto the end : Luke i. 75, ' In holiness and righteous 
ness before him all the days of our life.' In a journey it is not enough 
to go a mile or two, but we must continue till we come to our journey's 
end ; so must we never give over whilst we are in this world. There 
may be interruptions, diversions, and stragglings, but a Christian 
gets into the way again. Sometimes we slip and stumble, and some 
times step aside, but we must not go back again. Some are good for 
a pang or fit : Deut. v. 29, ' Oh, that there were such an heart in them 
that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always!' I 
might heap up many considerations here, but the thing is evident. 
The law bindeth continually, and g/ace planted in the heart should 
influence all our actions. God's eye is always upon us, and every hour 
and moment we are anew obliged to him for his benefits. How 
reasonable is it our duty should last, and the use of means be continued 
till we attain our end ! Therefore do not lose your crown, and the 
benefit of all you have done already. The promise runneth to per 
severance : Eev. ii. 10, ' Be thou faithful to the death, and I will give 
thee a crown of life.' 

3. Here is patient continuance ; that is necessary also. The good 
ground is described to be that which ' bringeth forth fruit with pa 
tience,' Luke viii. 15. The other grounds brought forth fruit, but they 
did not bring forth fruit with patience. The stony ground was im 
patient of contradiction and afflictions ; the thorny ground was im 
patient of the delay of the reward, and therefore took up with present 
things, riches and honours and voluptuous living ; but they that have 
a deep sense of the other world, and can tarry God's leisure, enduring 
the hardships of obedience, and look for their happiness in the world 
to come, that is the good ground. So Heb. vi. 12, ' Be ye followers of 
them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.' We shall 
meet with opposition within and without ; till we can deny ourselves, 


our hearts are not sound with God. We need the working patience, 
because of the labour and pains which belongeth to well-doing ; and 
the waiting patience, because our reward is to come ; and the bearing 
patience, because of the troubles and dangers which we must endure, 
if we would be faithful with God ; loss of estate, slanders of the wicked, 
and sometimes danger of life. The working patience should not be 
grievous to us, because the pains of godliness will be recompensed with 
the fruit of it, the peace and comfort that followeth it ; and because 
there is more labour in committing sin than doing good. The waiting 
patience should not be grievous, because there must be a time for the- 
trial of our faith. They are hypocrites which must have their reward 
at present : Mat. vi. 2, ' Verily I say unto you, they have their reward.' 
The believer he can wait for it ; he looketh for glory and honour too, 
but not now. The bearing patience should not be irksome, because- 
faithfulness in our trials is most comfortable to us, and most acceptable 
to God. Comfortable to us ; we have not ordinarily so clear a proof 
of the reality of grace as when we are under sore trials : 1 Peter' i. 7,, 
' That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold,, 
though it be tried with fire, may be found unto praise, and honour,, 
and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.' Faith is then faith indeed, 
and obedience obedience indeed. The greater the work, and the more 
impediments we meet with, self-denying obedience doth most evidence 
itself to the conscience. Whilst we do anything for God, while we 
do it without shame, opposition, and loss, it is more hard to interpret 
our sincerity : it is more acceptable to God ; it is tried friendship and 
obedience which is most valuable. The obedience of a soldier is pleas 
ing to a general in a time of peace ; when he saith to one, Go, and he 
goeth ; and to another, Come, and he cometh ; but especially in the 
most desperate hazards, when he doth not dispute commands when he 
is bidden to go upon the cannon's mouth. From the whole, mortifica 
tion, self-denial, contempt of the world, patience under manifold suffer 
ings, is necessary to all that would be faithful with God, and are sure- 
notes of his people. 

II. The reward is eternal life. This will make amends for all. By 
it is meant all manner of happiness. 

1. Eternal life is a freedom from all misery whatsoever, in estates,, 
names, relations, bodies, souls. As the body is free from all weakness, 
so the soul is free from all sin ; faultless, without spot or wrinkle. 

2. There is a perfect and entire possession of all manner of good ; 
God is all in all to them. 

3. This estate is to abide for ever and ever. 

Use 1. Let us examine whether we be in the number of those that 
shall be saved. Eternal life is believed of all Christians, at least with a 
dead opinionative belief ; they do not count it a lie or a fable. Now, 
who are those that shall enjoy it ? for God will not give it to all. 

I answer Here is a plain note and evidence by which you may judge 
your claim (1.) They are such as seek it; (2.) They seek it in a. 
way of well-doing ; (3.) They continue thus to do. 

1. They that seek it ; for God will never bring us to heaven with 
out our wills nor against our consent, nor make that man happy that 
doth not desire to be so ; yea, that doth not seek it in the first place. 


Now this cutteth off a great many ; all them that do nothing towards 
the attaining of it, and all them that seek nothing, have no settled design, 
but live at haphazard, as occasion offereth, and leave the boat to the 
stream ; that come into the world they know not why, and go out of 
the world they know not whither. All such careless and inconsiderate 
people can have no claim ; all such have no higher end than to enjoy 
their sensual pleasures while they may. Besides, they that do not seek 
it in the first place. They do something, but it is little or nothing to 
the purpose. The strength and choice of their desires and endeavours 
are not directed this way. Eternal life must be esteemed and chosen 
above other things which draw our hearts, and must be chiefly sought 
after in our endeavours, and then something may be gathered from 

2. They seek it in a way of well-doing ; not only praying for it, but 
living according to the directions of God's holy word ; that is to say, 
by seeking his favour in Christ, and maintaining communion with God 
in the Spirit, by serious converses with him in the means of grace, 
governing our affections and passions, and by a constant self-denial, 
mortification, and temperance, getting a victory over the world and 
the desires of the flesh. And as to others, by carrying ourselves in all 
meekness and charity, without envy, malice, injury, and oppression, 
and doing good to all as we have opportunity, especially, to the household 
of faith. This is the well-doing recommended to us in the scripture, and 
this is our beginning and progress towards eternal life ; for we must 
apprehend it not only under the notion of glory and immortality, but 
under the notion of exact holiness as well as complete happiness ; under 
the notion of conformity to God and communion with God ; for God's 
will is done in heaven as well as upon earth ; and the heaven of Chris 
tians is to see God and to be like him. Many seem to desire it as a 
state of felicity, but they hate it as a state of perfect holiness (which is 
the better part of it), a sinless, immaculate estate. Well, then, by 
this part of the evidence many are excluded. Partly all those who 
live according to their own humours and fancies, and vain desires, and 
the customs of men, or the course of this world, and were never 
acquainted with a life of holiness spent in communion with God and 
subjection to his will. Partly also all they that do evil, dishonour God, 
oppress and wrong their brethren by violence or slanders, and live in 
malice and envy, who were never acquainted with self-government, or 
bridling their sensual and worldly desires, so that the honours, profits, 

id pleasures of the flesh have the pre-eminence in their esteem, choice, 
md practice. Partly too all those that do no good ; that have not fed, 
risited, clothed, relieved the destitute, comforted the afflicted : Mat. 
xxv. 41-45, ' Then shall he say also to them on the left hand, Depart, 
/e cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels : 
for I was an hungry, and ye gave me no meat ; I was thirsty, and ye 
jave me no drink ; I was a stranger, and ye took me not in ; naked, 

id ye clothed me not ; sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 

?hen shall they answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an 
lungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and 
lid not minister unto thee ? Then shall he answer them, saying, 

^"erily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye did it not to the least of these, 


ye did it not to me.' In short, all those who yield no obedience to 
God, but cast off his yoke, or that yield a partial obedience, submit 
ting it may be to outward acts of worship, but neglecting the duties of 
justice and charity ; or, on the other side, make conscience of duties 
of commerce with men, but delight not in communion with God, and 
trouble not themselves with seeking his favour and reconciliation by 

3. They are such as continue patiently in a course of well-doing to 
the end of their lives ; for it is not enough to begin well, but the work 
must still be carried on till we come to receive our reward : Heb. iii. 
14, 'For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of 
our confidence steadfast unto the end.' But you will say, If our com 
fort be suspended upon this condition, then we can never know that we 
are heirs of promise till we come to die. I answer It is not eventus 
perseverandi, not actual perseverance to the end, which maketh the 
evidence ; but labor, conatus, et cura perseverandi, the resolution and 
endeavour to continue in a diligent use of all means, to continue in the 
way of well-doing, and to please God in all things. And the more you 
thus give diligence to persevere in this holy purpose, the more assurance 
you get of the goodness of your condition : Heb. vi. 11, ' And we desire 
that every one of you do show the same diligence, to the full assurance 
of hope to the end ; that ye be not slothful,' &c. A Christian may be 
assured, and his assurance groweth upon him the more he sets himself 
continually to obey God. Now this part of the evidence cuts off partly 
all those that are only good by fits and starts and good moods ; some 
times they set their faces heavenward, but their lusts return, and then 
they are worse than they were before : partly those who prove final 
apostates; they began to build, but they leave the work unfinished, 
and ' after they have escaped the pollutions of the world, through the 
knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again en 
tangled therein, and overcome,' 2 Peter ii. 20. 

Use 2. Is exhortation, to press you 

1. To seek after honour, glory, and immortality. Oh, this is the 
best pursuit you can engage in. What is better for you ? Can the 
world or the devil propound anything so good, or better, than this 
glorious estate? Are the dreggy contentments of the flesh, the vain 
glory and honour of the world, the uncertain riches we enjoy here, 
worthy to come in competition with eternal life ? Surely in matter of 
motive a Christian hath the advantage, however a carnal man hath the 
advantage in matter of principle, because in him it is wholly entire 
and unbroken. 

2. To well-doing. Surely you should not need many arguments to 
press you to do well ; rather to press you to do ill should be the more 
difficult task, it is so contrary to our reason, and the right constitution 
of our natures, but that we are strangely depraved. Christians ! 
what do we invite you to, but to love God above all, and seek his 
favour in Christ, and love your neighbour as yourself, and by temper 
ance, purity, and chastity to preserve your own vessels, both bodies 
and souls, in sanctification and honour ? Surely these duties are not 
gyves, but ornaments; and such subjection to God should be preferred 
before liberty in sinning. 



3. To continue with patience. I will press you to this by two argu 

[1.] There will be always the same reason for going on that there was 
for beginning at first. Did the sense of your duty invite you ? The 
same bond of duty lieth upon you still. Did the hopes of the world to 
come engage you ? Heaven is not yet obtained. And will you lose 
all the cost you have been at already ? Gal. iii. 4, ' Have ye suffered so 
many things in vain ? ' 

[2.] There can be no temptation great enough to recompense you for 
the loss of your reward of eternal life. Is it reproach ? When men 
despise, God will honour thee ; and it is a blessed thing to be reviled for 
righteousness' sake. Is it worldly loss ? Better lose the world than 
lose our souls : Mat. xvi. 26, ' What will it profit a man if he should 
gain the whole world and lose his own soul ? ' Is life in danger ? 
Losing life for Christ is the way to save it ; and John xi. 25, ' Though 
he were dead, yet shall he live.' Is it the continual reviving of troubles? 
In the other world there is nothing to assault thy perseverance ; there 
thou art out of the gunshot of temptations, and shalt serve God with 
out defect or difficulty ; there our service is not troublesome to us. 


The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the 
communion of the Holy Ghost, be witli you all. Amen. 
2 COR. xiii. 14. 

MY purpose is to open the apostolical benediction or prayer for the 
Corinthians ; for our way of blessing is only to pray for those whom we 
bless. To love others is to desire their good. They that love best and 
most desire the best good for their friends; and better good there 
cannot be desired than that those we love may have God for their God. 
Now they that have God for their God have all that is in God, and all 
that is God. God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost will employ all 
his wisdom, power, and goodness, to save them from all evil, and bring 
them to eternal blessedness. This is that which is prayed for in this 
place : ' The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and 
the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.' 

In the words we have 

The thing prayed for, together with the persons from whom ; or 

1. The matter of the blessedness wished, ' The grace of our Lord 
Jesus Christ, the love of God, the communion of the Holy Ghost/ 

2. The effectual application to the Corinthians, ' Be with you.' , 

3. The confirmation of these hopes and desires, in the word ' Amen.' 

1. The matter of the blessing. It consists of three branches, suited 
to the persons of the godhead (1.) The grace of Christ ; (2.) The 
love of God ; (3.) The communion of the Holy Ghost. 

2. The effectual application, ' Be with you.' These things are with 
us, or in us, two ways (1.) In the effects ; (2.) In the sense. 

[1.] In the effects, when we have the fruits of the Father's love and 
Christ's grace and the Spirit's operation : ' That the love wherewith 
thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them/ John xvii. 26. 

[2.] In the sense and feeling, when we comfortably know it is thus 
with us : John xiv. 21, ' He that loveth me shall be loved of my Father ; 
and I will love him, and manifest myself unto him ; ' Horn. v. 5, 
' Because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Gbost, 
which is given unto us.' 

3. The confirmation of these desires and hopes, in the word ' Amen ; ' 
which is signaculum fidei, an expression of faith ; and votum desiderii, 
an eruption of our desire and love. 


Doct. That all the persons of the blessed Trinity do concur to the 
happiness and salvation of believers. 

Here let me show you (1.) How they do concur ; (2.) Why they 
do concur. 

I. How they do concur. Let us explain in the text. 

1. Here are all the persons of the Godhead mentioned. God is 
taken personally for the Father, and then Jesus Christ and the Spirit 
are distinctly mentioned. So in other scriptures : 1 Peter i. 2, ' Elect 
according to the fore-knowledge of God the Father, through sanctifica- 
tion of the Spirit unto obedience, and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus 
Christ.' The fundamental cause of salvation is the election of God, 
who, when he had all fallen mankind in his prospect and view, was 
pleased to choose out some to grace and glory, passing by others. 
Then there is reconciliation ascribed to Jesus Christ, and sanctification 
to the Spirit, as the means by which this purpose is brought about. 
The beginning is from God the Father, the dispensation is by Jesus 
Christ, and the application is through the Holy Ghost. So also Titus 
iii. 4-6, ' But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour 
towards man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have 
done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regen 
eration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which he shed on us 
abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour.' God the Father out 
of love sent a saviour, by whose grace we are saved ; and God the Son, 
from God the Father, sent God the Holy Ghost, who applieth the love 
of God, and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, by renewing and 
healing our natures. So 2 Thes. ii. 13, 14, ' But we are bound to give 
thanks always to God for you, brethren, beloved of the Lord, because 
God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation, through sancti 
fication of the Spirit, and belief of the truth ; whereunto he called you by 
our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ ; ' 
where the three persons are again mentioned, and their concurrence to 
our salvation. 

2. That words proper to their personal operation are used ; for there 
is love ascribed to the Father, grace to the Son, and communion to the 
Holy Ghost. The Father is represented as the fountain of love and all 
goodness, and as expressing and exerting his love by the Son and Spirit. 
By the 'grace of Christ' is meant all that gracious provision which 
he hath made for man's salvation, both in the reconciling God to us, 
and procuring the mission of the Spirit. ' Communion ' is ascribed to 
the Spirit, because all is applied or communicated to us by him. Or 
thus, our salvation is ascribed in election to the love of the Father, in 
redemption to the grace of the Son, in sanctification to the communion 
or participation of the Holy Ghost. 

[1.] ' The love of God.' Love is ascribed to the Father ; for the 
love of God is the cause of all. Consider his giving Christ for us, or 
giving Christ to us, and us to him. (1.) In giving Christ for us: 
John iii. 16, ' God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten. 
Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have ever 
lasting life.' Christ did not merit electing love, but love rather moved 
God to give Christ for sinners. Love appointed the Son to be our 
Bedeemer ; there was the bosom and bottom cause. (2.) In giving 


Christ to us : John vi. 37, ' All that the Father giveth me shall come 
to me ; and him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out ; ' John 
xvii. 6, ' I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest 
me out of the world ; thine they were, and thou gavest them me, and 
they have kept thy word/ And in time he doth execute and accom 
plish this out of his mere love : Jer. xxxi. 3, ' The Lord hath appeared 
to me of old, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love, 
therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee/ As by elective love 
the heirs of salvation were distinguished from others in God himself, or 
in his intention and purpose, so by regeneration and converting love 
they are distinguished from others in themselves, and set apart from 
the rest of the world, to be the objects of his special love and instru 
ments of his glory. Besides, there is a love of God whereby he loveth 
us when we are in Christ Jesus, which is the ground of our safety and 
preservation : Rom. viii. 38, 39, ' 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/ 

[2.] ' The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ/ What is intended us by 
the Father is brought about by the grace of the Redeemer, and there 
fore all the provision Christ had made for our salvation is called grace : 
2 Cor. viii. 9, ' For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, 
though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through 
his poverty might be rich ; ' that is, ye know his gracious condescen 
sion in submitting to such a mean condition for our sakes. So 1 Cor. 
xvi. 23, ' The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all/ Grace 
is God's favour and love, which was first purchased by Christ by his 
obedience and bloody sufferings : Rom. iii. 24, ' Being justified freely 
by his grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ/ 
Secondly, applied by his intercession, which is also another act of his 
grace ; and therefore we ' come boldly to the throne of grace, that we 
may obtain mercy, and find grace to help us in time of need,' Heb. 
iv. 16 ; namely, ' having a great high priest that is passed into the 
heavens, Jesus the Son of God,' ver. 14, who knoweth our infirmities. 
Thirdly, as it is bestowed by him, as Lord of the new creation, upon 
such terms as every way keep up the honour and interest of grace 
in our salvation : Eph. ii. 8, ' By grace ye are saved, through faith, and 
that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God/ All the saving benefits 
we have by Christ are from grace, such as reconciliation with God, the 
renovation of our natures, and everlasting glory and happiness ; they 
are all dispensed in a gracious way from first to last. 

[3.] ' The communion of the Holy Ghost/ Communion is ascribed 
to the Holy Ghost. It may be rendered communion or communication. 
The Spirit reneweth and changeth our nature, and worketh faith and 
holiness in us. Light, life, and love are the special benefits which he 
communicates to us. He doth enlighten our minds, to understand 
and believe the great tilings prepared for us by God through Jesus 
Christ. It is said, 1 Cor. ii. 10, ' But God hath revealed them unto 
us by his Spirit; for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep 
things of God/ So 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.' Life ; 
for we live in the Spirit, and are born of the Spirit ; that is, have a 
new life begotten in us, therefore called a Spirit of life: before we 
lived as men, now as Christians. And love ; the heart is bent and in 
clined to God. It began in love, and endeth. in love ; love of God 
endeth in love to God. This threefold effect is expressed, 2 Tim. i. 7, 
' For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and 
a sound mind.' Life in power, as light in a sound mind. And it is 
altogether called the divine nature : 2 Peter i. 4, ' Whereby are given 
unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these you 
might be partakers of the divine nature;' for it answereth to the 
wisdom, power, and goodness of God. 

3. That all these words imply riches of goodness, bounty, and liber 
ality. Love noteth a ready inclination to do good to others, without 
the excitement of external motives ; it openeth and enlargeth the heart 
to another, and then the hand cannot be shut : 2 Cor. vi. 11, ' ye 
Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you ; our heart is enlarged.' 
Grace is some good thing freely given. So tcoivcovia, communion, 
noteth a liberal effusion or distribution of the graces of God's sanctify 
ing Spirit ; and so it suiteth with ar^atrt] eov, and %pt? Xpia-rov, ' the 
love of God/ and ' the grace of Christ ; ' elsewhere, rcoivwvia 7rvoevfj,aro<;, 
'the communion of the Spirit,' is joined with 'bowels and mercies : ' Phil, 
ii. 1, ' If any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies ; ' that 
is, if you have received any good from Christ by the Spirit. So Horn, 
xv. 26, ' For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a 
certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.' 
What is in our translation to ' make a contribution ' for the saints, is 
in the original KOUWVIOV fronjcradai,, to make a communion or com 
munication. So 2 Cor. viii. 4, ' Praying us with much entreaty, that 
we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the mini 
stering to the saints," icolvwviav rij<; Suucovlas. So 2 Cor. ix. 13, 'And for 
your liberal distribution unto them,' airKoTrjrt r?}? Kowwvias. So here, 
' the communication of the Spirit.' If you will render it ' communion,' 
this is the great effect of the love of God and the grace of Christ, that we 
are made members of Christ's mystical body by the Spirit : 1 Cor. xii. 13, 
' For by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body ;' and so are united 
to the head, and to one another by this bond of union. The church is 
a mystical body, whereof Christ is the head, and the Holy Ghost is, 
as it were, the heart of it ; the one guideth this great body, the other 
quickeneth it. Now in this mystical body we actually come to the 
participation of what Christ hath purchased for us by the Holy Ghost. 

4. These make way one for another, or work into each other's hand ; 
for what the Father intended, Christ purchased, and the Spirit applieth. 
God the Father is as the fountain of grace, Jesus Christ as the con 
duit or pipe to convey it to us, and the Holy Ghost the immediate 
operator and worker of it ; the Father of his good pleasure electing 
sinners to grace and glory, the Son by his obedience and sufferings 
purchasing it, that it may be brought about in a way convenient for 


God's honour, the Spirit by his virtue and power working grace in them. 
There is not a different effect from the Father which is not from the 
Son, and from the Son which is not from the Spirit, but they concur 
in an united way, that what cometh from the Father cometh from the 
Son and the Spirit ; the Father makes way for the Son's work, and the 
Son for the Spirit's. So back again ; the Spirit is said to honour the 
Son : John xvi. 14, ' He shall glorify me ; for he shall receive of mine, 
and shall show it unto you ; ' and the Son is said to glorify the Father : 
John xiv. 13, ' And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, 
that the Father may be glorified in the Son.' The Spirit acts as sent 
by Christ, and Christ as sent by the Father. This is necessary to be 
regarded by us, because as our salvation in the general is from the 
Father, through the Son, by the Spirit, so in all our commerce with 
God, God the Father, as a judge, by the spirit of bondage sendeth us 
to Christ as mediator, and Christ as mediator by the Spirit of adoption 
sends us back again to God as a Father. It is a great help to prayer : 
Eph. ii. 18, ' For through him we both have an access by one Spirit 
unto the Father.' To whom are we praying ? To God as a Father. 
Whence have we hopes of audience ? By Christ. Who giveth us an 
heart to come ? The Spirit. 

II. The reasons why they concur. 

1. That we may have the higher esteem of the work, which hath such 
agents concerned in it. It is no slight thing to bring about the salva 
tion of lost sinners ; all the persons of the godhead are at work about 
it ; and shall not we, who are the parties interested, be employed about 
it also ? God is in good earnest ; for therefore before all worlds he 
ernplo} T ed the riches of his wisdom and grace to save us in this con 
venient way : 1 Peter i. 20, ' Who verily was fore-ordained before the 
foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.' 
And who are we, that the thoughts of God should be taken up 
about us so long ago ? Jesus Christ hath spared no pains to accom 
plish the work of our redemption, but freely offered himself to this 
work : Heb. x. 7, ' Lo, I come to do thy will, God.' He repented 
not his undertaking, but was fully contented, if souls may be saved : 
Isa. liii. 11, ' He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be 
satisfied.' And the Holy Spirit continueth striving with us, though 
often grieved by our obstinacy and disobedience : Gen. vi. 3, ' My Spirit 
.shall not always strive with man ; ' Isa. Ixiii. 10, ' They rebelled, 
and vexed his Holy Spirit.' Many a conviction do we smother, and 
often check, and resist his motions, yet he is importunate to prevail 
with us. 

2. That our hearts may be raised to give equal glory to all the 
persons concerned. We must honour the Son as we honour the Father, 
as it is expressly said, John v. 23, ' That all men should honour the 
Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son, 
honoureth not the Father that hath sent him.' There is an honour due 
to God only, not to be given to any other. Christ is equal with the 
Father in participating this honour ; he is to have the same glory of 
believing, love, fear, and invocation. So also for the Spirit ; he is an 
object of invocation ; for as the apostle wisheth and desire th love from 
the Father and grace from Christ, so a liberal distribution and com- 


munication of gifts and graces from the Spirit. Now, to excite us to give 
this due respect to all the persons, every one concurreth in his way to 
promote our final happiness and salvation. The Father deserveth this 
esteem from us. Many think of God the Father as all wrath 
and justice, difficult to be reconciled to man ; and of the second 
person of the Trinity as more' gracious and merciful. No ; the love of 
God is the original of our redemption: God 'spared not his own Son, 
but delivered him up for us all,' Eom. viii. 32 ; and ' God was in Christ 
reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses to them/ 
2 Cor. v. 19 ; and ' the Father himself loveth you/ John xvi. 27. Christ 
came to show the amiable nature of God : ' Being the brightness of his 
glory, and the express image of his person/ Heb. i. 3. Then for the 
Lord Jesus, in Christ the glory and riches of the grace of God doth 
more eminently and palpably appear. This is the contemplation of the 
saints : John i. 14, ' And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among 
us ; and we beheld his glory (the glory as of the only-begotten of the 
Father), full of grace and truth ; ' 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, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God ; ' Heb. 
iii. 1, 'Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, 
consider the apostle and high priest of our profession, Jesus Christ.' 
His grace, thus condescending to men, is more eminently seen : Rom. 
v. 8, ' But God commendeth his love towards us, in that, while we were 
yet sinners, Christ died for us ; ' and Rev. i. 5, ' To him who loved us, 
and washed us from our sins in his own blood.' And for God the 
Spirit, we also find our hearts raised to give him glory ; partly by the 
motions of his grace, which we feel in our hearts: IPs. cxliii. 10, ' Teach 
me to do thy will, for thou art my God : thy Spirit is good ; lead me 
into the land of uprightness ; ' Neh. ix. 20, ' Thou gavest also thy good 
Spirit to instruct them.' The sanctifier, guide, and comforter of 
believers is God's Spirit ; he is the only author and fountain of all 
goodness and holiness. And partly by the comfortable sense he begets 
in us of our adoption: Gal. iv. 6, 'And because ye are sons, God 
hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, 
Father ; ' and of our hopes of glory : 2 Cor. v. 5, ' Now he that hath 
wrought us for the self-same thing is God, who hath also given unto us 
the earnest of the Spirit.' And partly by the support and comfort we 
have from him in all our conflicts and distresses : 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 yon : on their part he is evil-spoken 
of, but on your part he is glorified.' 

3. That we may with more confidence wait for the beginning, pro 
gress, and consummation of our own salvation. There is the eternal 
love of God, the all-sufficient merit of Christ, and the omnipotent 
operation of the Holy Ghost. What cannot eternal love, infinite merit, 
and almighty power do ? As Christ is necessary to keep all right be 
tween us and God, so the Spirit is necessary to keep all right between 
us and Christ. As we need a person of the godhead to satisfy the 
justice of God, so also to overcome our obstinancy and unbelief, and to 
vanquish temptations, and doubts, and fears, and to settle us in the 



comfort and hope of the gospel. It is God's prerogative to settle the 
conscience : Isa. Ivii. 19, ' I create the fruit of the lips ; Peace, peace, to 
him that is afar off, and to him that is nigh, saith the Lord.' God is 
the supreme judge and the wronged party : ' He commands his loving- 
kindness in the day-time,' Ps. xlii. 8. By a powerful, imperial act of 
the Spirit, he stilleth our doubts and fearfe. 

4. That the whole glory of our salvation may redound to God alone. 
Therefore the divine persons carry it on among themselves; love, 
grace, and communication do all : ' To the praise of the glory of his 
grace, wherein lie hath made us accepted in the beloved,' Eph. i. 6. 
Grace is the fountain cause of our election ; grace bringeth it about ; 
for who could ransom a soul except Christ had taken the work in 
hand ? There would have been a stop there : Ps. xlix. 7, 8, ' None of 
them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom 
for him ; for the redemption of their soul is precious, and ceaseth for 
ever/ There would have been a stop there. Grace applies all. What 
are we before the grace of the Spirit ? how unworthy till grace make 
us lovely ! how unable to lay hold on it before the Spirit of God enable 
us ! Eom. v. 6, ' For when we were yet without strength, in due time 
Christ died for the ungodly.' And how unable are we to make good 
use of it afterward ! For (1.) What was our behaviour before calling ? 
' Disobedient, serving divers lusts and pleasures,' Titus iii. 3. (2.) In 
calling, it was slight and refractory : Job xxxiii. 14, ' For God speaketh 
once, yea twice, but man perceiveth it not.' He often inviteth, but 
men take no notice of what so much concerneth their soul's good, but 
slight all warnings and instructions, lay not their condition to heart, 
and many an opportunity is lost ; but God overcometh men's evil by 
his own goodness, and will not lose his elect ; therefore, ver. 16, ' He 
openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction ; ' that is, breaketh 
in upon them in such a powerful way that they cannot withstand it. 
(3.) Since calling there are frequent interruptions of obedience : James 
iii. 2, ' For in many things we offend all.' Our best performances are 
weak and full of blemishes : Isa. Ixiv. 6, ' We are all as an unclean 
thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.' So that from 
first to last all floweth from God, and all floweth from love, and grace, 
and communication of the Spirit, that our persons and actions are 
accepted. Now it is our duty to acknowledge this love, and highly 
esteem this glorious grace, and to testify our esteem by word and work. 
By word, in praises; by deed, expressing our thankfulness in our 
lives, that they may be a constant hymn to God, and a praise of his 
grace that we are made partakers of. 

Use 1. To encourage us to seek after the effects of this love of God, 
grace of Jesus Christ, and communion of the Spirit. 

1. I will plead your want. What will you do if you have not Father, 
Son, and Holy Ghost for your God ? You have your beings from him 
for a while, but the day of his patience will not always last. You 
must die, and give an account ; and woful, yea, dreadful, will their 
account be who are not only involved in the common apostasy, but have 
heard of the transactions of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost about their 
recovery, and never minded the benefit, or made light of it. Surely 
it is wot'ul dulness and stupidity not to value it, and to feel no need of it : 


2 Cor. vi. 1, ' We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also 
that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.' What grace was that ? 
' God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself,' chap. v. 19. 
That grace which the Father hath contrived for your salvation ; that 
grace for which Christ laid down his life; that grace which is so 
affectionately tendered in the gospel ; that grace and that free un 
deserving mercy which is so suitable to your necessities. Will you 
despise this ? It was an act of infinite love of God to design it and 
reveal it to you ; of Christ, to purchase it for you ; of the Holy Ghost, 
to offer it to you ; yea, to strive with you to make you capable of it. 
.Shall the gospel be cast away upon you, and all those gracious methods 
of God frustrated ? Or have you no need of it ? How will you maintain 
peace in your consciences now without grace ? How will you stand 
before God's tribunal at the last day ? 

2. Let me plead the worth of it. He that hath this love of God, 
this grace of Christ, this communion of the Spirit, wanteth nothing to 
his solid happiness ; he hath all necessary things in their cause and 
fountain ; for he hath God, Christ, and the Spirit ; for all things come 
from the love of God, and the grace of Christ, and the communion of 
the Holy Ghost. And he doth possess all things in that measure that 
God sees fit for him : Ps. Ixxxiv. 11, 'The Lord will give grace and 
glory, and no good thing will he withhold from them that walk 
uprightly.' It bringeth other mercies with it, and nothing is good 
without it. All things are mercy, even those that fall out contrary to 
our expectations : Kom. viii. 28, ' All things shall work together for 
good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to 
his purpose.' Well, then, they that know the want of grace, or the 
worth of grace, will earnestly seek it. 

3. Let me plead the possibility of obtaining it ; for the three persons 
conspire and agree together, not to your ruin, but salvation. Whatever 
may be expected from infinite love, eternal merit, and almighty power, 
it is all offered to those that will seek after it. There are none but 
are sensible that they need to address themselves to God for pardon 
and a blessing. Now God is an holy God ; how shall sinners deal with 
him ? As the prophet said to Ahab, ' If it were not that I regard the 
presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look towards 
thee, nor see thee,' 2 Kings iii. 14. Whatever we seek and expect from 
God, we must seek it from Jesus Christ, who hath purchased all : Isa. 
liii. 5, ' He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our 
iniquities ; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his 
stripes we are healed ; ' Eph. i. 7, ' In whom we have redemption through 
his blood, the forgiveness of sins.' And he is appointed to bestow all 
that which he hath purchased : 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.' And by his intercession he doth apply 
all : Heb. vii. 25, ' Wherefore he is able to save them to the uttermost 
that come to God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession 
for them.' Well, then, if we will go to Christ, he sendeth us to the 
Spirit, who worketh all, and doth accomplish in us the pleasure of his 
goodness. Go to the Spirit ; he must heal you and help you. The Spirit 
sendeth us to the means : Acts i. 4, ' And being assembled together with 
them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, 


but wait for the promise of the Father.' You shall find him present 
in the ordinances. Oh, what encouragement have we to be serious, and 
in the use of the means by which the Spirit worketh ! 

4. We are obliged by our baptismal covenant : Mat. xxviii. 19, ' Go 
ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the 
Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.' Father, Son, and Holy 
Ghost take upon them to convey this love, grace, and power ; and we 
take upon ourselves to accept the Father for our Lord and happiness, 
Christ for our redeemer and saviour, and the Holy Ghost for our guide, 
sanctifier, and comforter ; to obey his motions, to use those means 
whereby we may feel his power, to avoid those wilful sins which may 
grieve the Spirit, and cause him to suspend his operations and comforts. 
There we are consecrated as children to the true God, consent to receive 
Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, and obey his Spirit. Now make 
conscience of this vow. 

Use 2. Is to put us upon self-reflection. Is the love of the Father, 
and the grace of Christ, and the communion of the Holy Ghost with us ? 
Do we seek our happiness in Father, Son, and Holy Ghost ? Or do you 
consent that God shall be your God, as reconciled to you in Jesus 
Christ ? 

1. As to the Father. Do you own him as your rightful Lord ? 
and are you willing to return to his obedience by Jesus Christ ? Do 
you take him for your portion and felicity ? Do you expect to receive 
all your happiness from him ? valuing and preferring his favour and 
love above all the pleasures, profits, and honours of the world ? Ps. iv. 
6, ' There be many that say, Who will show us any good ? Lord, lift 
thou up the light of thy countenance upon us/ Admiring it ? 1 John 
iii. 1, ' Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, 
that we should be called the sons God ! ' ' His favour is life,' Ps. xxx. 
5. Yea, better than life : Ps. Ixiii. 3, 'Because thy loving-kindness is 
better than life, my lips shall praise thee.' Willing to forsake all 
rather than forsake him. Behave yourselves with that thankfulness 
as those that owe yourselves and all your happiness to him : 2 Cor. v. 
14, 15, ' 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 which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto 
him which died for them, and rose again.' Carry it as those that are 
obliged by love. 

2. Do you take Christ for your only saviour and redeemer ? giving 
up yourselves to be saved by his merits, righteousness, and intercession, 
as he hath promised in the word ? Do you trust yourselves and souls 
with him for pardon, peace, and endless happiness ? depend upon his 
covenant and promises for reconciliation with God, and everlasting 
fruition of him in glory ? trampling upon all things, rather than turn 
your back upon your Kedeemer's grace ? 

3. Do you yield yourselves to the Holy Ghost ? Are you unfeignedly 
desirous to be rid of sin as displeasing to the holy God, how dear 
soever it hath been to you ? And do you submit to the Spirit, to be 
sanctified and perfected by degrees in the means he hath appointed, 
being ruled by his motions rather than the desires of the flesh ? Do you 
observe his accesses and recesses, and behave yourselves accordingly ? 




and Lord Mayor of the City of London, with his most religious 

MY LOUD AND LADY, Whoever have known the spirit and temper of 
worthy Dr Manton, appearing in his not-yet-forgotten life, and con 
spicuous in his never-to-he-forgotten writings, and do know anything 
of your temper and spirit, will not think it an incongruity that your 
names and his do thus stand together on the same page. Your lordship's 
high esteem and value of him, made public to the world, can reflect 
no dishonour upon you, either in your own judgment, or any man's that 
is a capable judge of persons and things. And your ladyship's kindness 
to his memory is even hereditary, descending to you from your worthy 
father, between whom and him there was so inward and continued a 
friendship as scarce ever hath been a greater, expressed by beneficence 
on the one part, and gratitude on the other. 

And that an eminent servant of Christ, who, through the track of 
so many years, hath been so great and public a teacher, and example 
of the ancient, serious piety, righteousness, sobriety, strictness of manners, 
with most diffusive charity (for which London hath been renowned for 
some ages beyond most cities in the world), should have his memory 
revived by such a testimony from persons under your character, and 
who hold so public a station as you do in it, can never be thought 
unbecoming, as long as clearly explained and exemplified religion, solid, 
useful learning, and good sense, are in any credit in the world. 

This volume will, as an addition to his many former most useful and 
most approved works that have gone before it, further, through God's 
blessing, contribute to the mending the world. And as it adds reputa 
tion to the author, so will the countenance you give it add to your own 
reputation. That it may also redound to your real and the common 
advantage is the cordial prayer of, my honoured lord and lady, your 
most faithful humble servant in Christ, JOHN HOWE. 


CHRISTIAN HEADER, The many volumes of sermons that come yearly 
from the press may in all probability incline some at first to apprehend 
that, ns to what is here presented, the publisher might have spared his 
pains. But till we can find another Dr Manton, and performances like 
to his, there is no sense in the censure. Of many attempts in this kind, 
it had been wished they had proved abortive, there arising no credit to 
those concerned, nor benefit to the world ; but the excellence of Dr 
Manton's sermons is so conspicuous, that none can attempt to detract 
from them, but it must be from ignorance or envy. Living and dying, 
he had that reputation for a king of preachers that hath been reached 
by few. Archbishop Usher was wont to say of him, that he was a 
voluminous preacher ; not as if he was tedious for length, but because 
he had the art of reducing the substance of volumes of divinity into a 
narrow compass. Mr Charnock oft represented him as the best col 
lector of sense of the age. And Dr Bates, in his sermon at his funeral, 
declares it with admiration, that though he was so very frequent in preach 
ing, yet he was always superior to others, and equal to himself. Here are 
three substantial witnesses of undoubted credit ; and he that won't 
confirm their testimony with his own (upon the perusal of his com 
posures) manifestly shows he hath no gust. No man spun a more even 
thread through all his sermons, which are as much of a piece as can 
well be conceived ; so that if any of them are valuable, they are all so ; 
for the same spirit and sense, substance and warmth, is discernible in 
all of them. As for this volume, it hath nothing spurious, nothing 
unbecoming the author, nothing mean or trivial ; but it contains several 
as valuable and useful discourses as any that have been already printed. 
And if any have given themselves the liberty to say, The doctor runs 
dregs (the best being culled out before, and these the refuse left), it is 
a sign they did not know him ; nor is it doubted but a perusal of what 
is here offered will rectify their mistakes. These sermons were all 
transcribed from his own notes, and crave the reader's candour to give 
them that charitable allowance which is due to all posthumous works. 
That light and love, knowledge and holiness, may be increased, and 
diffused more and more through this land and city, by all the labours 
of those whom Christ hath sent into his vineyard, is the hearty prayer 
of one of the meanest and unworthiest of them, 



Be ye therefore folloivers of God, as dear children. EPH. v. 1. 

THIS chapter containeth several precepts concerning holiness of life. 
They are of two sorts ; some are general, and common to all Christians ; 
others are special, and particularly suited to the condition and state of 
life they may be put into. The apostle beginneth with the common 
directions that belong universally to all Christians ; and this is the first 
of them, ' Be ye therefore,' &c. 

There are two things in the words 

1. The precept, ' Be ye followers of God/ /jn^rjral, imitators or 
followers of his example ; for no English word is of a larger extent. 
They may be said to be followers of God who embrace the profession of 
his name, or the religion which he hath established. There are fol 
lowers by way of adherence, and followers by way of resemblance. 

2. The argument to enforce it, which is intimated in the words, ' as 
dear children.' There is the relation, reicva, and the love consequent 
upon the relation, aycnrijTa, because ye are God's beloved children. 

The doctrine is plain. 

Doct. That Christians should endeavour to resemble God as near as 
may be. 

1. I shall show wherein we are to resemble God. 

2. What provision God hath made for it. 

3. I will prove it by reasons. 

I. Wherein are we to resemble God ? 

I answer The context seemeth to restrain it to one particular thing, 
pardoning and forgiving the wrongs done us by others ; for it is said, 
' therefore,' as inferring it out of what was spoken before ; and that is 
what was said in Eph. iv. 32, ' Forgiving one another, as God for 
Christ's sake hath forgiven you.' But it is usual to give general direc 
tions upon particular occasions, and therefore we need not confine our 
thoughts to that only ; and yet I will not enlarge the matter too much. 

In scripture we are pressed to follow God in two things in holiness 
and mercy ; as there is a twofold goodness of God, moral arid bene 
ficial ; his moral goodness is holiness, his beneficial goodness is benignity 
and mercy.; and in these two things are we pressed to follow him 


1. As for his moral goodness and holiness : Phil. ii. 15, ' That ye 
raay be blameless and harmless, the sons of God without rebuke in the 
midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom ye shine as 
lights in the world/ Implying that God's children must be like their 
Father, just and holy, doing wrong to none, but convincing the con 
sciences of all of their sonship and adoption, or nearness to God. It 
pleaseth God often to leave his people in the midst of the enemies of the 
gospel, who will take occasion, by the uncircumspect carriage of believers, 
to vomit out their spite and malice against it ; therefore Christians had 
need be exemplary in holiness. 

2. The other thing wherein we are called upon to imitate God is in 
goodness to all, enemies not excepted : Mat. v. 44, 45, ' But I say unto 
you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them, 
that hate you, and pray for them that despitef ully use you and perse 
cute you ; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in 
heaven : for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and 
sendeth rain on the just and unjust.' Meaning thereby, that you 
yourselves will know or show yourselves to others to be children of your 
Father. The more kind and merciful you are, the more you are like 
him ; and ver. 48, ' Be ye perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect ; ' 
compared with Luke vi. 36, 'Be ye therefore merciful, as your heavenly 
Father is merciful.' Which showeth that mercy is one of the great 
divine perfections which we ought to imitate. 

Well, then, let us now state the matter. 

[1.] Negatively. This following and resembling of God standeth 
not in his natural, but moral perfections. God doth not say, Be ye 
strong, as I am strong, or, Be ye happy, as I am happy ; but, Be ye 
holy, as I am holy, merciful, as I am merciful. Our loss by sin is more 
in point of goodness than of power and knowledge. The devils 
exceed us in the two last, in power and knowledge, but have nothing 
of goodness. The impression of his goodness therefore is more neces 
sary to us in our lapsed estate than of his knowledge and power. 
God is mighty in power; therein we cannot imitate him, for we are 
poor weak creatures, and shall be so till we arrive at the state of bless 
edness and immortality; but he is rich in mercy, and glorious in 
holiness ; in these things we must resemble him. He would teach us 
that moral perfections must be preferred before natural ; it is better 
to be wise than to be mighty, to be holy than to be wise. The bad 
angels, that have lost their holiness, have kept their strength and 
cunning. Nothing hath cost men dearer than striving to be like God 
in greatness and power rather than in goodness, holiness, and truth. 
It was Satan's temptation to our first parents : Gen. iii. 5, ' Ye shall 
be as gods ; ' not in a blessed conformity, but in a cursed self-sufficiency. 
Therefore let us take heed of the first ambition of man to affect to be 
like God in power. It was the arrogancy of the king of Babylon to 
say, Isa. xiv. 14, ' I will ascend above the heights of the clouds ; I will 
be like the Most High.' No, no ; moral excellences God would com 
mend to us as deserving our best esteem from his own pattern. 

[2.] Positively. The chiefest excellencies are 

(1.) His holiness. So we are to imitate God, who is a pure and 
holy being, and is also ' holy in all his ways, and righteous in all his 


works/ Ps. cxlv. 17. So we must have a divine nature, and live and 
walk in a godlike manner: 'Be holy in all manner of conversation;' 
and live at the greatest distance from and abhorrence of sin as may be. 
That God is holy, his laws show it, which are very pure ; his works- 
show it, both internal on the heart of man : Eph. iv. 24, 'And that ye 
put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and 
true holiness.' The new man is created after God, and that causeth a 
giving back. When sin is propounded to us, we cannot easily bring; 
the heart to it : 1 John iii. 9, ' Whosoever is born of God doth not 
commit sin, for his seed remaineth in him ; and he cannot sin, because 
he is born of God.' By the seed of God he meaneth the nature of God, 
or that grace he puts into us. So also his external works, his punishing: 
sin, especially in his own children. His severity in punishing is seen 
in the remarkable instances of his displeasure. Now we must hate 
what God hateth, and love what God loveth ; for our nature doth 
most sensibly bewray itself by its affections, both of choice and aver- 
sation ; and in some measure we must have the same nature that God 

(2.) His goodness ; for ' God is love/ 1 John iv. 8. He showeth his 
benignity to all his creatures, but much more to us in our redemption 
by Christ. It was well observed by (Ecolampadius in his lectures to* 
the youth and children at Basil, that the ordinary pictures of God 
and the devil were no good books to instruct children in the nature of 
either. The truest representation that can be made of God would be- 
to teach them what truth is, what love, mercy, and goodness is ; and 
the truest picture of Satan would be to teach them the true characters, 
of falsehood, malice, hatred, cruelty, envy. Well, then, we must imitate 
God in goodness. 

Two acts there are of God's goodness giving and forgiving. 

(1st.) His giving, or bounty to all necessitous creatures, especially 
mankind, especially in their great necessities of guilt and misery, in 
providing so ample and suitable a remedy for them. Oh, what pity 
should this stir up in us to the bodies and souls of men, and make us 
ready to commiserate and do good to all, most especially to the house 
hold of faith ! What hath God been doing on the theatre and stage 
of the world for almost six thousand years, but doing good ? Acts xiv. 
17, ' Nevertheless he left not himself without a witness, in that he did 
good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our 
hearts with food and gladness/ And is this your Father, and will you 
not imitate him ? Surely goodness should be the very constitution of 
our souls, and doing good the business of our lives. 

(2d) Forgiving. Some works of God are to be believed, not imi 
tated, as the creation of the world ; and some not only believed, but 
imitated, as the forgiving of sins. Our wrongs done to God are 
greater than the wrongs others do to us. Others owe us but pence, 
and we owe God talents ; their debt to us is a hundred pence, and our 
debt to God is ten thousand talents, Mat. xviii. 24, 28. A talent is an 
hundred and eighty-seven pounds ten shillings. Now God freely for 
gives all our offences ; therefore we must forgive freely, fully, heartily, 
and that out of a sense of the Lord's kindness. However the world 
deal with you, and behave themselves towards you, do not you follow 


them to do the like ; for you are not to fashion yourselves according to 
this world, Bora. xii. 2 ; but ' be ye followers of God, as dear children/ 
And therefore you are not to reward evil with evil, but to do good, 
even to enemies. This is to be like God, at whose table all his enemies 
are maintained, and without whom they cannot subsist one moment. 

II. What provision God hath made that we may be followers of him. 

1. He hath given us his word to stamp his image upon our souls. 
We see much of his goodness in creation and providence, but not so 
much as we do in his word ; nor in any part of his word so much as in 
his gospel : 2 Cor. iv. 4, ' Lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, 
who is the image of God, should shine upon them.' The image of God 
is on Christ primarily, and then on his seed, which representeth Christ 
to us, to beget holiness and love in us. God giveth his word, wherein 
there is so much discovered both of his love and holiness. The impres 
sion is according to the stamp. That which is hot communicateth heat ; 
that which is cold, cold. Wit by communication causeth wit, and 
common learning common learning. So an holy and comfortable doc 
trine breedeth in us a spirit of holiness and goodness. There is much 
in the objects we are commonly conversant about. 

2. He hath given us the example of Christ, or God in our nature, 
who came for this end and purpose, that we, who cannot fathom the 
unsearchable depth of the godhead, might see the divine perfections 
shining forth in the human nature of Christ, who was the character 
and express image of his divine glory : Heb. i. 3, Christ was ' holy, 
harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners,' Heb. vii. 26. And Christ 
came to represent the goodness of God, for he ' went about doing good,' 
Acts x. 38. They that cannot directly look on the sun may see the 
motion of it in a basin of water. To express an image, there must be 
similitude or likeness, and a means of deduction or conveying the like 
ness to us. Christ appeared in our nature to represent the amiableness 
of God, and to teach us a life of holiness. 

3. He hath given us his Spirit to change us into the likeness of 
Christ : 2 Cor. iii. 18, ' But we all with open face beholding as in a 
glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from 
glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.' For an objective 
cause will not work in us without some internal powerful cause to make 
it effectual, and that is the Spirit. None else is able to renew us to the 
image of God, there being such an averseness in man's heart, which 
cannot be cured by our bare thoughts. 

III. I prove the point by these reasons 

1. This image of God was our primitive glory and excellency : Gen. 
i. 26, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.' This was 
the ornament and crown of glory which God would put upon a crea 
ture, which was his masterpiece, and the most excellent of all his 
works. This made us amiable in the sight of God. In other creatures 
there was a vestigium, a footprint, or a track of his wisdom, power, 
and goodness ; but in man there was an image or resemblance of his 
face. Now this was lost by sin ; but to have it restored and recovered 
is the true glory of man, and the greatest excellency that we are 
capable of. 

2. This is the effect of our new creation and regeneration ; for it is 


said, 2 Peter i. 4, that to ' us are given exceeding great and precious 
promises, that by these jou might be partakers of the divine nature;' that 
is, have the image of God stamped upon us ; and so Christians might 
again begin to look like God himself, and in some measure resemble 
him in wisdom, goodness, and holiness. Nothing so like him as the 
new creature. 

3. This is that which we hope shall be completed in heaven, and 
therefore it must be endeavoured here : 1 John iii. 2, ' We shall be 
like him ; for we shall see him as he is ; ' and Ps. xvii. 15, ' When I 
awake, I shall be satisfied with thy likeness ; ' that is, when I awake 
out of the sleep of death. The heaven that we look for is such a vision 
as maketh way for assimilation, and such an assimilation to God as 
maketh way for complete satisfaction and blessedness in him. All sight 
of God is transforming. That sight that we have of him in the gospel 
mortifieth sin ; but that sight that we have of him in heaven nullifieth 
sin, and causeth a more perfect resemblance of him and likeness to 
him. And this must needs breed satisfaction, for beyond God there 
is nothing to be sought after ; and if we be as God, so far as creatures 
are capable, we must needs be completely happy. Well, then, since 
we hope for this in heaven, the resemblance must be begun here ; 
for God carrieth on his work by degrees, and doth dispose and 
fit us for that estate which he will translate us into. If we expect 
it hereafter, we must endeavour it now, and grow more like God every 
day ; and the more we are so, the nearer we approach to our final per 
fection ; as rivers widen themselves by degrees, till with a full mouth 
they run into the ocean. 

4. We must not omit the argument of the text, ' as dear children ; > 
wherein two things are considerable (1.) The relation ; (2.) The love 
that accompanieth it. 

[1.] The relation. Ye are children. Children usually resemble their 
parents, either by nature, in the lineaments of their face, or by institu 
tion and education, in the quality of their minds. It may fail there, 
but it always holdeth good here ; for none are God's children but those 
that are like him. It may fail there through many intervening acci 
dents ; they may neither be like their parents in the compass of their 
face, or in their nature and feature, nor in their manners and virtues. 
Many a worthy father may have a base degenerate child ; and it is 
often observed that where there is an extraordinary excellency, there is 
as great a defect in the next descendant ; as Solomon, who had so 
great a measure of wisdom and understanding, had a weak-hearted 
Kehoboam to his son. But it cannot fail here : if we be children of 
God, there is a resemblance between him and us ; we will imitate our 
Father ; for either the resemblance constituteth the relation, or else is 
the necessary eifect of it. It constituteth it as we have a new being 
and an holy nature from him by regeneration, before we have egovatav, 
the right, power, and dignity of his children: John i. 12, 13, 'But as 
many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of 
God, even to them that believe on his name ; which were born, not of 
blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God/ 
And it is the effect of it, as we resemble him in our lives and actions : 
1 Peter i. 14-16, 'As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves 


according to the former lusts in your ignorance ; but as he which hath 
called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation, because it 
is written, Be ye holy, as I am holy.' Arid presently, in the 17th verse, 

* If ye call on the Father/ &c. Well, then, our adoption into God's 
family calleth for a likeness between God and us. Good men may 
beget children no way like them ; as under the law, though the father 
was circumcised, yet the child was born uncircumcised ; they cannot 
propagate grace. Yea, where we are more at liberty, we may adopt 
children that may not answer expectation, but show themselves unthank 
ful, and unworthy of favour ; for men cannot put a towardliness into 
them. But God changeth and reneweth the heart, as well as adopteth. 
Therefore there should be, and will be, such a conformity between God 
and all his children that they plainly resemble him. I shall strengthen 
the argument by this additional notion, that in morals, he is accounted 
our father whom we imitate ; as Gen. iv. 20, Jabal is said to be ' the 
father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle;' that 
is, of all such as followed his course of life, whether they were lineally 
descended from him, yea or no. And ver. 21, Jubal is said to be 'the 
father of such as handle the harp and organ ; ' that is, the first inven 
tor. So in matters spiritual, there are two sorts of children in the world, 
the children of God and the children of the devil. The children of 
God are such as imitate God, and the children of the devil are such as 
have a satanical nature in them, and are like the devil : John viii. 44, 
' Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do ; 
he was a liar and a murderer from the beginning, and the father of it.' 
He is an envious, malicious, proud spirit, a cruel enemy of truth and 
goodness, and whosoever imitateth him in this is a child of the devil ; 
as the apostle calleth Elymas the sorcerer : Acts xiii. 10, ' Oh, full of 
all subtilty and mischief, thou child of the devil, and enemy of all 
righteousness ! ' On the other side, the children of God are such as are 
influenced by God, and imitate God in all purity and goodness. Now 
there should be a broad and manifest difference between the children 
of God and of the devil, 1 John iii. 10; therefore as children be 
followers of God. 

2. The love that accompanieth and goeth along with this relation, 

* As dear children.' 

[1.] There was a great deal of love showed in giving us our new 
nature in regeneration, and taking us into so near a relation to himself 
as that of children : 1 John iii. 1 , ' Behold, what manner of love the 
Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of 
God ! ' ' Behold ' serveth sometimes to excite our faith, that we may 
believe the certainty of things so strange and unusual ; sometimes our 
wonder and reverence, that we may consider the worth and value of 
them. Be it for one end or other, surely it is a great grace and favour 
that he would take such poor creatures into his family, that God will be 
our own Father, and look upon us as his own children. All is from love, 
great love, which we may admire, but cannot sufficiently express. Now 
this love should beget love in us again ; we should love him and own him 
as our Father ; and what will follow ? Love will beget studium imitandi, 
and endeavour to be like him in benignity and holiness ; for we love 
him not only as a good God, but as a holy God. 


Object. But you will say, If I knew that he did thus love me, and had 
adopted me to this grace, this might the sooner be done. I answer. 

(1.) He make th you the offer of this privilege, as great as it is, and 
it is your fault if you do not apply it and make it your own. The terms 
are gracious enough : John i. 12, ' To as many as received him, to them 
gave he power to become the sons of God.' 

(2.) God hath a title to our dearest love before we can assure a title 
to his choicest benefits. He made you out of nothing, provided a 
saviour for you without your thought or asking, hath offered pardon 
and life to all that will accept of it in and with Christ to gospel ends. 
Now this should attract and draw our love to him. Our first motive 
to love God is not the persuasion of his special love to us, but the 
tendering of the new covenant, the offered happiness by Christ : 2 Cor. 
v. 19, 20, ' To wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to 
himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them ; and hath committed 
to us the word of reconciliation. Now 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.' 

(3.) The more this prevaileth with you to endeavour to be like God, 
the more you see you have an interest in his dearest love, and that he 
is your Father, and you his children in the most comfortable sense ; 
that is, that you not only desire, but are in possession of his fatherly 
love : Horn. viii. 29, ' For whom he did foreknow, he also did predesti 
nate to be conformed to the image of his Son.' Therefore at first you 
must not ask questions, and put off your duty by scruples, but set to 
the performance of it, and you will best get rid of them. 

[2.] There is a great love and tenderness exercised towards those 
that are in this relation. They are his ' dear children/ and they shall 
know it by his fatherly dealing with them ; they are reconciled, 
pardoned, and justified, and God is not severe upon their failings : 
Mai. iii. 17, 'I will spare them as a man spareth his own son that serveth 
him.' They have his Spirit sent into their hearts, to keep afoot God's 
interest there, and maintain the comfort of their adoption : Gal. iv. 6, 
* And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son 
into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.' They are also under the 
special care of his providence for protection and provision, especially 
that all things may work together for their final perfection and happi 
ness. Christians ! methinks it should melt your hearts to consider 
how the dearness and tenderness of God's love is expressed in the gospel 
towards his children. Now, then, shall not all this have a due impres 
sion upon you ? Filial duty should answer fatherly love. Who should be 
so ready to serve and please him as his dear children ? Yea, now we do 
not press you so much to serve him as to be like him. There are duties 
which signify inferiority and subjection, and we are not exempted from 
them, but should readily perform what our Father calleth for in this 
kind ; but there are other things which are our perfection, as wisdom, 
holiness, goodness, and truth ; these advance our nature, do not depress 
it, because it is godlike to excel in these things ; and this we now press 
you to. 

[3.] The more like to God we are, the more dear we are to him, and 
the more amiable in his sight ; so that you are not only dilecti, but 


diligibiles, not only loved, but lovely, or fit to be loved ; for the Lord 
taketh pleasure in his own image wrought by his Spirit in our hearts : 
Ps. xi. 7, ' For the righteous Lord loveth righteousness ; his countenance 
doth behold the upright ; ' Prov. xi. 20, ' But such as are upright in 
their way are his delight ; ' 1 Peter iii. 4, ' A meek and quiet spirit is in 
the sight of God of great price.' A holy creature is an object suited to the 
complacency of his holiness. God doth delight in us as redeemed and 
pardoned, for his own mercy endeareth us to him : ' Is not this a brand 
plucked out of the burning ? ' Zech. iii. 2. But no one reason doth 
exclude another. He doth delight in us also as sanctified ; that was 
our primitive amiableness, and the loss of it was our state of enmity to 
God, when he could take no pleasure in us. Therefore, the more we 
recover the image and nature of God our heavenly Father, the dearer 
we are to him. He had a benevolence, a good will, or pity to us in 
our sins ; but his complacency in us is as we are renewed and sancti 
fied ; yea, the more we are so, the dearer to him. 

[4.] Our chief worship of God consists in imitation ; not in contem 
plation or admiration only, or in bare praise and adoration, but in 
imitation, when we study to be like him. Other things are necessary, 
but they are means for this end, that there may be a greater conformity 
between us and God, and so a communion with him. Other things 
are good in themselves, but without this they are not accepted. For 
instance, one great part of worship is to admire God, to which we are 
often directed in scripture : ' Who is a God like unto thee ? ' This 
admiration will break out into praise ; for when the heart is big with 
thoughts, it cannot hold : Ps. L 23, ' He that offereth praise glorifieth 
me.' It is questionless a great duty to praise God for his excellencies, 
for how shall we be affected with things that we do not frequently 
remember ? But yet there is something more to be done than to 
wonder and praise, and that is to imitate ; and this is true religion, to 
imitate what we worship. By the admiration and commemoration of 
God, or by the acts of adoration in wonder and praise, there may be 
some loose and inconstant effects left upon our hearts ; as to fear him, 
when for the time we remember his greatness and justice ; or to have 
some delight stirred in us for the present, when we remember his 
goodness and mercy. But alas ! these transitory acts, though good in 
their kind, yet are not to be compared with that impression of God 
which becometh as a habit and holy nature in us, which is the constant 
principle of holy spiritual operation. It is good to think of God often ; 
particular thoughts have their use. It is good to speak of God, and 
praise God often, not only for his benefits, but his excellencies. Keli- 
gion lieth much in it. But all these acts are but means to this end, 
that we may be like God, so far as is agreeable to our created state and 
capacity, and so far as is necessary to our communion with him. If 
you admire and approve of a good man, if you do not endeavour to 
imitate him, you do not give him that respect which his virtues call 
for. Translate the matter to God, and the same reason will hold 
good. If you admire the perfections of his nature, praise him for his 
excellencies, bless him for his benefits ; but the likeness of him is not 
impressed upon your souls so as to become the constant principle of 
your operations; you do indeed use the means in your way and 


manner, but you do not obtain the end. Shall I tell you by a plain 
enumeration what I intend ? The knowledge of God is necessary to 
rectify the world ; there it beginneth. The belief of what we know is 
also necessary to beget true religion, for knowledge without faith 
leaveth us but convinced infidels: Heb. xi. C, 'But without faith it is 
impossible to please God ; for he that cometh to God must believe 
that he is, and that he is a re warder of them that diligently seek 
him.' But doth it rest there ? No ; we must esteem what we do 
believe. David calleth God his ' exceeding joy,' Ps. xliii. 4. And 
what further? We must praise what we esteem: Ps. Ixiii. 3, 'Be 
cause thy loving-kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.' 
But must we rest there in worshipping and praising him ? No ; all 
this leadeth to a further end, that there may be a likeness and resem 
blance between God and us, that we be holy as he is holy, and merciful 
as he is merciful ; otherwise our knowledge is but a cold form, our 
faith but a dead opinion, our esteem is but a naked approbation, our 
praise is but an empty compliment ; for how can we glorify God 
heartily for such perfections as we like not, or have no mind unto our 
selves, and of which we are capable, and should seek after ? 

[5.] My last reason is, because we are appointed for this end, and 
serve for this use, that wherever we come, we may call God to mind, 
and bring him into remembrance with all those with whom we do con 
verse. All creatures serve for this use, that they may represent God 
to the thoughts of men by that life and being which they have. But 
because this is a common thing, and not very apt in itself to awaken 
the stupid world to any reverence and regard of God, as children cannot 
be said to call their parents to the minds of others by eating and drink 
ing, which are acts common to them, and the children of all other 
parents, but by some special properties, wherein they resemble their 
progenitors ; so though all creatures in their kind may represent God, 
and awaken the thoughts of the drowsy world to remember him, yet 
because this is generally overlooked, or doth very imperfectly discover 
God, therefore he hath chosen out some among mankind that may 
more expressly show forth his divine excellencies and perfections to 
the world. And for this use serve the saints, who are his witnesses to 
declare the truth and excellency of his being, and to alarm the con 
sciences of a godless and wicked generation to remember God : 1 Peter 
ii. 9, ' But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy 
nation, a peculiar people, that ye should show forth the praises of 
him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.' 
What we read in the text ' the praises,' is in the margin ra? dperas, 
the virtues of God. Now the virtues and praises of God are his divine 
attributes, especially such as are communicable to men, as his wisdom, 
justice, truth, holiness, mercy, goodness. Christians should show these 
forth, and keep the world in awe of God by the majesty and beauty of 
their conversations. Alas ! if we should speak well of God, it would 
do the world little good as to the cure of their atheism and infidelity, 
unless our deeds confess him as well as our words. What will the 
world say ? They speak at a higher rate than we do ; but what is 
there worthy, noble, and godlike in their conversations more than we 
express ? Therefore you do not discharge your duty, and effectually 

VOL. xix. M 


represent God to the world, till you are followers of him ; nay, rather 
you give them cause to doubt that all is sophistry and pretence, while 
you pretend to a greater nearness to God, and show forth nothing like 
him or worthy of him. 

Use. Is to persuade us to be followers or imitators of God. Shall 
God give us his word and works, and shall the Son of God come in 
the likeness of men, and live under the same law we are bound to, and 
shall not men make it their design to be every day more like God, and 
to be such in the world as the Son of God was in the world ? Alas ! 
how uncomfortably else will you live, and with little honour to God,, 
yea, apparently to his disgrace, when you are his children by profession, 
and give an ill character of him to the world ! Now to this end 

1. Get a due conception of God. Some have not a due apprehension 
of the mercy of God, and entertain needless jealousies of him, as one 
that watcheth all opportunities to destroy us, and will be severe to his 
creatures. This is a blasphemy against his holy and gracious nature. 
No ; Micah vii. 18, ' Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth 
iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his 
heritage ? He retaineth not his anger for ever, because he .delighteth 
in mercy.' Others conceit ill of his holiness, and so live securely in 
their sins : Ps. 1. 21, ' Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an 
one as thyself/ The gods of the heathen taught sin by their own 
example ; their impure lives, recorded by the poets, were a great means, 
to debauch the world. Augustine ad Nect. telleth us of a young man 
that was enticed to wantonness by seeing a picture of Jupiter on the 
wall committing adultery. Men could not sin so freely if they did 
believe the holiness of God's nature, and his resolved displeasure against 
sin and sinners. We think God like ourselves, and that he is more 
indulgent to the impurities of men than is commonly believed, and so 
transform God into an idol of our own fancy. These propagate their 
ill conceits of God, while they pretend to be God's people, and yet walk 
loosely. As the heathen gods are represented to be lascivious as goats, 
drunken like swine, revengeful and furious like wolves and bears, and 
so are a stain to the godhead, and lessened man's natural reverence of 
the divine power and majesty ; so do evil Christians, if they be so, 
pollute his name : Ezek. xxxvi. 20, ' And when they entered unto the 
heathen, whither they went out, they profaned my holy name, when 
they said to them, These are the people of the Lord, and are gone forth 
out of the land.' 

2. Esteem these things as amiable. We can neither praise, nor 
love, nor imitate, what we do not esteem. Is holiness the glory of 
God ? and will you either scorn it in others, or neglect to get it your 
selves ? Is justice and mercy good, a perfection in the divine nature ? 
and will you get such a blot or blemish as to make no conscience of 
them, of paying your debts, or doing good to the poor and needy ? 
Fy ! f y ! change your religion, or walk more answerably. You talk 
of being Christians, be good heathens first ; they had a conscience of 
these things. There is a reflection on God when Christians allow 
themselves in dissolute immoralities. 

3. Desire God to change your natures, that you may bear the image 
of the heavenly one, 1 Cor. xv. 49. We cannot follow God in our lives 


till we are made partakers of the divine nature. Apply yourselves to 
Christ in the use of his appointed means for the renewing of your 

4. Bewail your imperfections, and come nearer to your pattern every 
day : ' I press towards the mark,' Phil. iii. 14; and what is a Christian's 
crtfCTro?, or mark ? Exact holiness as well as complete felicity. There 
fore be constantly intent upon this business; it is not a thing that 
must be left to chance, but it must be your great design, and the 
purpose and daily business of your lives. 


And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and given himself for 
us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a siveet-smelling savour. 
EPH. v. 2. 

HEBE is the second direction for an holy life, ' To walk in love/ as 
Christ hath given us an example. In the former verse he exhorteth 
them to imitate God, in this, to imitate Christ. 

In the words observe 

First, The duty enforced, ' Walk in love.' 

Secondly, The reason to enforce it, which is taken from the example 
of Christ's love, ' As Christ also hath loved us.' Christ's love to us is 
both a motive and a pattern. 

1. A motive, because he hath loved us, and reconciled us to God. 

2. A pattern, as he hath loved us. In some proportional degree 
our love should answer his love. It is both ways propounded in scrip 
ture. As a motive: 1 John iii. 16, ' Hereby perceive we the love of 
God, because he hath laid down his life for us ; and we ought to lay 
down our lives for the brethren.' As a pattern : John xiii. 34, 'Love 
one another, as I have loved you ; ' and John xv. 12, ' This is my com 
mandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you.' Now that 
we may the better discern the force of this motive, and the completeness 
of this pattern, let us see how the apostle representeth and setteth it 
forth _to us, ' As Christ also hath loved us.' Observe here 

[1.] The principle, 'As Christ also hath loved us.' 
[2.] The act and instance of his love to us, 'And given himself 
for us.' 

[3.] The end and intent, ' For an offering and a sacrifice unto God/ 
[4.] The fruit and effect, ' For a sweet-smelling savour.' 
Doct. That Christ showed so much love in giving himself for a pro 
pitiatory sacrifice to God for us, that thereby all true Christians are 
bound to walk in love. 

1. Let me open the example and pattern which is here set before us. 

2. Show you what it is to walk in love. 

3. How we are bound to do so by the example of Christ's love. 

I. To open the example here set before us. And there I begin 


1. With the principle, ' Christ also loved us.' That was it which 
moved and inclined him to so strange an undertaking as to die for our 
sins. Christ's coming into the world for our redemption is sometimes 
made an act of obedience, and sometimes an act of love ; of obedience 
to God, and love to us. Of obedience to God : Rom. v. 19, ' By the 
obedience of one many shall be made righteous.' There his whole 
undertaking, or what he did, living and dying, is called obedience. So 
Phil. ii. 7, ' He was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.' 
At other times it is made an act of love : Gal. ii. 20, ' Who loved me, 
and gave himself for me ; ' Rev. i. 5, ' Unto him who loved us, and 
washed us from our sins in his own blood.' He thought no price too 
dear for our salvation. Now these two do not clash the one with the 
other. It doth not cease to be an act of obedience because it is an act 
of love, nor to be an act of love because it is an act of obedience. Christ 
hath reconciled this matter to our thoughts by his own words : John 
x. 18, ' No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have 
power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again ; this com 
mandment have I received of my Father.' Christ was a free agent ; 
this work was not forced upon him, but he yielded to it by a voluntary 
dispensation, or upon agreement, in obedience to his Father ; and so at 
the same time he commendeth his love to sinners, and obeyeth the will 
of God in the discharge of his office. This was then the principle or 
internal moving cause. 

2. The act, ' He gave himself for us.' Where you have the giver, 
the gift, and the parties interested. 

[1.] The giver, Christ. He voluntarily first assumed a body, and 
then parted with his life for this use. 

[2.] The gift was himself. And both put together show that Christ 
was both priest and sacrifice ; as God the priest, as man the sacrifice : 
Heb. ix. 14, ' He offered up himself to God through the eternal Spirit.' 
"Under the law the priests and the sacrifices were distinct ; but our Lord 
Jesus was both the priest offering and the sacrifice offered. In his 
person he was the priest offering, and his human nature was the thing 
offered. Every priest must have somewhat to offer ; and when the 
great high priest comes, he must offer something beyond what was 
offered before, that the worthiness of the sacrifice and the dignity of the 
priest may suit and well agree together. What did Christ then offer? 
Heb. x. 5, ' When he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and 
offering thou wouldst not, but a body hast thou prepared me.' And 
therefore it is added, Heb. x. 10, ' We are sanctified through the offer 
ing of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.'* So that he gave himself, 
his body, his flesh, for the life of the world, John vi. 51. 

[3.] The parties interested, ' for us.' It was for our sake, that God 
might pardon our sins, and bring about our salvation in a way most 
convenient for God's glory and our peace. Now Christ's death was a 
proper and convenient means (1.) To demonstrate God's justice and 
holiness, that he doth hate sin, and will certainly punish it, if it be not 
taken away in the manner God hath prescribed in his new covenant 
founded in the death of Christ : Rom. 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. (2.) To vindicate the honour 

VER. 2.] 



of his government and law. God's authority was violated by man's 
transgression ; his law was holy and just, and our obedience reasonable. 
Now to keep up his authority, God would not dispense with the penalties 
of his law till Christ died for us : Gal. iv. 4, 5, ' But 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.' (3.) To be 
a warning to sinners, not to sin presumptuously, and slight and despise 
the majesty of God : Rom. viii. 3, ' God sending his own Son in the 
likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.' God 
hath put a brand upon sin. (4.) To declare the greatness of his love 
to us, in procuring our pardon and life at so dear a rate : 1 John iv. 
10, ' Herein is love ; not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and 
sent his Son to be a propitiation for our sins.' 

3. The end, set forth by two notions, ' An offering and a sacrifice to 
God/ The first word, Trpoatyopa, is a general word for anything offered 
to God ; Ova-ia, sacrifice, the other word, is more limited, for all the 
offerings were not called sacrifices. Or, if you will, take the distinction 
between these two words thus. ' Offering ' implieth things without life, 
and ' sacrifice' referreth to living creatures. The one referreth to the 
fruits of the earth that were offered to God, and the other to beasts that 
were slain ; but whatever was offered to God was to be consumed, even 
such things as were destitute of life, as the meat-offering was to be 
burnt with fire, Lev. ii. 1, 2. Living creatures were to be killed, and 
the blood offered upon the altar ; for the apostle telleth us, Heb. ix. 
22, 'Without shedding of blood there is no remission.' We must 
understand the blood of some living thing that was sacrificed for free 
ing a person from guilt and obligation to punishment. Well, then, 
all these things presignified Christ's death and bloody sufferings; 'For 
he gave himself to be an offering and sacrifice to God/ 

This notion puts us in mind of several things. 

[1.] Of our misery ; for we have sins whereby we are liable to death, 
otherwise what needed there a sacrifice to be offered for us ? There 
is no need of a reconciliation where there is no breach, nor a propitia 
tion where there is no offence, nor of a sacrifice where there is no sin 
to be expiated and taken away. 

[2.] It puts us in mind of the mercy of God in Christ, who gave his 
Son for us, not only to be the high priest of our profession, but also to 
be our sacrifice : Kom. iii. 25, ' Whom God hath set forth to be a 
propitiation through faith in his blood/ 

[3.] It puts us in mind of the manner of our redemption, by a sin- 
offering, or a propitiatory sacrifice : Isa. liii. 10, ' When he shall make 
his soul an offering for sin ; ' 2 Cor. v. 21, ' He was made sin for us/ 
Before sin can be taken away, there must be a propitiatory sacrifice, 
and such as God will accept as a full satisfaction for sin, so that he is 
fully content ; and as to a sacrifice and suffering for sin, there 
needeth to be no more done. Well, then, here is the true notion of 
Christ's death, that it is a mediatorial sacrifice, not a thank-offering, 
but a sin-offering made by Christ, by his condescending to a shameful 
accursed death for our sakes. 

4. The efficacy of this sacrifice is intimated in the last words, et? 

, ' for a sweet-smelling savour/ The scripture speaketh 


of God after the manner of men. Now men are delighted with sweet 
odours; therefore, to show the satisfaction God took in the propitiatory 
sacrifices offered to him, they are represented in scripture as a sweet 
odour to him; as in the sacrifices of Noah it is said, Gen. viii. 21, 'And 
the Lord smelled a sweet savour ; ' in the Hebrew it is 'a savour of 
rest.' So Lev. i. 9, ' An offering made by fire, of a sweet savour to the 
Lord ; ' which cannot be meant of nidor, or the fulsome smoke of 
burnt flesh, but must be understood metaphorically, of God's gracious 
acceptation of the required duties. So proportionably we may conceive 
of this meritorious and acceptable sacrifice of Jesus Christ. A sweet 
savour refresheth, comforteth, and quieteth the sense when it is dis 
turbed and offended with an ill scent ; so this sacrifice pleased God, 
and appeased his wrath towards us. God was offended by our sins, 
and his wrath is pacified by Christ's sacrifice or dying for us, as the 
disturbed sense is quieted and appeased by a good savour. But we 
need not labour so much about the phrase as about the thing. 

To clear it, that God is well pleased with Christ's offering up himself 
for us, I prove it 

{!.] From the dignity of his person : Acts xx. 28, ' Which he hath 
purchased with his own blood.' It was the blood of God ; the eternal 
Word was made flesh out of love to sinful man, and assumed this flesh 
into the unity of his person, as we reckon the fruit of the graft to the 
stock ; and so we call it ' the blood of God.' Therefore, of what rare 
virtue, causality, and influence must that sacrifice be which was made 
of the body and blood of Christ, who was God ? He was the highest 
and greatest priest that ever could be, and he offered the best and 
greatest sacrifice that ever was, a sacrifice of an infinite dignity and 
value, even that flesh and blood which was assumed into his own person, 
the dignity of which added an infinite value and price to it. 

[2.] From the merit of his obedience. Christ's suffering death for 
the sin of man, upon the command of his Father, was the noblest piece 
of service, and the highest degree of obedience that ever was or could 
be performed to God by man or angels. There was in it so much love 
to God, and pity to man, so much self-denial, humility, and patience, 
such resignation of himself to God, who appointed him to be the 
redeemer of mankind, and to do this great service for them, that it is 
impossible it can be paralleled. That it was an evident act of obedience, 
I showed before ; he was obedient to the death ; his death was an act 
of the greatest humility, charity, patience, faith, obedience. What 
would you have more to increase the value of the merit ? 

[3.] The greatness of his sufferings. If he suffered the punishment 
which sin had made our due, nothing could be added to pacify the 
wrath of God. The punishment of the sinner is either of loss or pain, 
the desertion or the curse ; and therefore he is said to ' bear our griefs, 
and to carry our sorrows, and to be wounded for our iniquities/ Isa. liii. 
4. 5 ; ' He was made sin for us ; ' that is, penally handled, and died 
for us, 2 Cor. v. 21 ; ' He was made a curse for us,' Gal. iii. 13. Thus 
roundly doth the scripture express it : ' God spared not his own Son, 
but delivered him up for us all,' Rom. viii. 32. He put him to grief, 
not out of hatred to him, but love to our salvation. Hence came those 
agonies of Christ, and prayers, and tears, and strong cries, Heb. v. 7. 
Now these things do all increase the value of the sacrifice. 


[4.] God hath declared himself satisfied, and hath approved the 
sacrifice which he offered for us ; and therefore our sin cannot make 
us loathsome and unsavoury to God, and stir up his wrath against us, 
but that we have ground of hope, yea, of sure confidence, that he hath 
smelled a sweet savour of rest, and his wrath is appeased, and that he 
hath accepted the sacrifice offered by our redeemer. There is no more 
necessary for paying the price and ransom for our souls ; for God, the 
most just judge, would not accept of an imperfect satisfaction, or give 
testimony that he was well pleased with it. 

But how do we know that God hath accepted it ? Partly by Christ's 
rising from the dead, which is not only an evidence of the truth and 
dignity of his person, but of the fulness of his ransom, and perfectness 
of his satisfaction ; for would a just judge deliver a debtor or his surety 
from prison unless full payment had been made ? Would God, who is 
the just judge of the world, who had appointed Christ to die for our 
sins, raise him from the dead if he had not done his work ? Christ's 
resurrection is expressed in scripture as the letting our surety out of 
prison : Isa. liii. 8, ' He was taken from prison, and from judgment;' 
Acts ii. 24, ' Whom God hath raised up, and loosed the pains of death, 
because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.' He hath 
loosed the bands of the grave : Heb. xiii. 20, ' Now the God of peace, 
that brought again from the dead the Lord Jesus Christ,' &c. ; as the 
apostles would not come forth, but were solemnly brought forth by the 
magistrates, Acts xvi. 28, 29. And partly because he was not only 
raised from the dead, but ascended into heaven with glory and honour : 
1 Tim. iii. 16, ' Received up into glory.' He was not taken out of prison 
only, but rewarded, which still showeth that his work is perfected. 
Partly because, upon the account of his full satisfaction, he had made 
a covenant wherein he hath offered to the world reconciliation with 
God, and the everlasting fruition of him in glory upon gracious terms : 
Mark xvi. 16, ' He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved.' The 
legal exclusion is taken off; remission of sins is the first gift, and 
blessedness the second : Acts xxvi. 18, ' That they may receive forgive 
ness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified.' And 
partly also because he hath procured the Spirit whereby this covenant 
may be attested and made effectual: Acts ii. 33, 'Therefore being by 
the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the 
promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this which ye now see 
and hear ; ' Acts v. 32, ' And ye are witnesses of these things, and so 
also is the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.' 
All these are assurances to the world that their peace is made, so far 
as a sacrifice is needful to make it, and that God -is well pleased with 
what he hath done for the redemption of mankind. 

II. The nature of the duty thence inferred, or what it is to ' walk in 
love.' To walk in love signifieth not one act or two, but the perpetual 
tenor of our lives ; our whole life should be an exercise of love. 

But what love doth he mean? Either love to God and Christ, or 
-love to men ? I answer I cannot exclude the former totally, for 
these reasons 

1. Love to men is of little worth unless it flow from love to God. And 
the apostle John, who placeth so much weight on our love to the 


brethren, showeth that this evidence must be resolved into an higher: 
1 John v. 2, ' By this we know that we love the children of God, when 
we love God, and keep his commandments/ So that our love to the 
people of God will not argue our sincerity unless it be founded and 
rooted in our sincere love to God, and a single evidence will not estab 
lish our comfort. 

2. Because it is a genuine product of this great love of Christ to us: 
1 John iv. 19, 'We love him because he loved us first.' The first 
impression of the love of Christ upon our hearts begets a love to God 
again. To God himself ; we beat back his own beam and flame upon 
himself first, and then to all that belong to him. 

Now for these reasons I dare not totally exclude this sense. I may 
add a third 

3. Because not only the direct improvement of the love of Christ, 
but so much of the Christian life dependeth on the love of God, that it 
should not be excluded when we are discoursing of it : 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 which live should not henceforth live to themselves, but unto him 
that died for them, and rose again.' The sense of this love should 
work in us certainly a great fervour of love to God, that may level and 
direct all our actions to his glory, and make us study to please him. 

Well, then, if we take it in this sense, how are we to walk in love ? 
I answer 

1. That love is to be at the bottom of all our actions and duties, 
that our whole religion may be but an acting of love : 1 Cor. xvi. 14, 
' Let all your things be done with charity.' If we pray, let us act the 
seeking love ; if we praise God, let us act the delighting love ; if we 
obey God, let us act the pleasing love. Whatever we do, let it be 
influenced by love and gratitude, which is the life of the soul, and the 
heart of our religion. 

2. Let us walk in love, all will be nothing else ; but let us continue 
constant to the death in the profession of the Christian faith ; for 
vehement pure Christian love casteth out all fear in danger. If we 
love Christ, we will run all hazards for his sake, make no scruple to 
die or undergo any danger for Christ, thereby imitating the love of 
Christ to us, like unto those in Rev. xii. 11, that 'loved not their lives 
to the death.' When self-love is overcome by a greater love, men will 
neither be persuaded nor frighted out of a love of themselves ; it must 
be another more powerful love that must draw them from it, as one 
nail driveth out another. Now this can be nothing else but the love 
of God and of Christ, which if it be once shed abroad in our hearts by 
the Holy Ghost, we shall lay all things at Christ's feet, we shall suffer 
all things, and endure all things, and give up self, and strength, and 
time, and estate, and life itself for his glory. What is nearer to us 
than ourselves ? and what will break the force of natural inclinations 
but this great love ? 

But the context seemeth to restrain this to the love of man, for it 
hath a respect to the former precept and direction. Now then we 
must inquire what it is to walk in love by the example of Christ's 
dying, not for friends, but enemies, as all the world were to God when 
he took their business in hand. 


1. That there must be such au impression of the love of Christ 
upon us, that love to mankind may be the very habit and constitution 
of our souls. Love must dwell, and bear rule, and have dominion 
in our hearts, before it can be expressed in our lives : Col. iii. 14, 
' And above all things, put on charity, which is the bond of perfect- 
ness.' This love to others, founded in Christ's love to us, and all 
others, even his enemies, will cement the disagreeing parts of the world 
together for common good, and keep them united to one another in an 
indissolvable bond, much more perfectly than any other obligation can 
do. But alas ! where shall we find this Christian charity, which is a 
true transcript of Christ's love to us, even among God's people, to 
God's people, who take little care of working together for the common 
good, but employ our parts and abuse our esteem for grace to one 
another's prejudice ? 

2. That showing love to others should be the business of our lives, 
and whatever we do towards them, we should do it in love, being as 
diligent to promote their good as our own, and as tender of their 
interests as'our own, and, in short, loving our neighbour as ourselves. 
It is a hard lesson, but we must frame ourselves to learn it, or else it 
will fare ill with us in the judgment ; for wilfully to break or neglect 
any one of Christ's known commands is not consistent with sincerity. 
Therefore we must live in this mutual love, and it must be a Christ- 
like love, patient and humble, and diligent to procure and promote the 
good of those whom we love. But moral things are best known by 
their opposites. They that sin against it are 

[1.] Self-seekers and self-pleasers, that are wholly taken up with 
their own things : Phil. ii. 21, ' For all seek their own, not the things 
which are Jesus Christ's.' These cannot bear with others, because they 
wholly seek their own contentments, and not another's good; whereas, 
if they did love others as themselves, as they would do no hurt to 
others, so they should bear with their infirmities ; for ' Charity beareth 
all things,' 1 Cor. xiii. 7. There is none of us but can bear with a great 
many faults in ourselves, and would be borne with in them by others 
also. Use the same measure in buying and selling. 

[2.] Those that are proud and contentious, and full of strife for 
nothing ; whereas if we did cherish that humility and modesty which 
becometh people conscious to so many infirmities as we are, we should 
not break love for a little disrespect. A proud man sets too high a 
price and value upon himself, and is angry when others will not come 
up to his price, and value him so inordinately as he doth himself: 
Prov. xiii. 10, 'Only by pride cometh contention ; but with the 
well-advised is wisdom.' The modest and humble have no great 
expectations, are content that others go before them ; but the proud 
take it ill that all others entertain not their conceits of themselves ; 
they expect so much, that none about them can answer their expecta 
tions ; therefore pride is the great incendiary of the world in societies, 
churches, families, and neighbourhood. 

[3.] Worldly men. Greedy dogs full out about the carrion, which 
every one desirelh to feed on, and would exclude others. The whole 
world is not wide enough for ambitious and covetous men ; they enlarge 
their desires, and would have what another hath ; and therefore fall 


out with, them, because they would shine alone in the earth : 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 

[4.] Impatient men ; for passionate persons are like fine glasses, 
broken as soon as touched ; the least injury is enough to break them 
all in pieces. But is this to be like Christ, who was meek, and lowly, 
and endured the contradiction of sinners, and has bidden us to learn of 
him ? Mat. xi. 29, ' Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me ; for I 
am meek and lowly in heart : and ye shall find rest to your souls.' 

[5.] The lazy and backward to do good : 2 Thes. iii. 13, ' But ye, 
brethren, be not weary in well-doing.' A Christian's daily business is 
to promote the good of others, and to seek out all occasions of useful 
ness. If a heathen could say, Diem perdidi I have lost a day, surely 
a Christian should count that day lost in which he hath not done some 

III. I come now to show you how we are bound to do so by the 
example of Christ's love. And here I shall show you that it is both a 
motive and a pattern. 

1. It is a motive to excite us to love him, because the great thing 
that is remarkable in Christ's giving himself as a sacrifice for us is 

You may conceive it by these considerations 

[1.] To suffer for another is more than to do or act for him, for 
therein is more self-denial. In doing a good turn for another, we only 
bestow our labour ; but in suffering for them, we hazard our interest, 
yea, life and limb ; therefore we more oblige others when we are will 
ing to incur damage for them, than in doing an act of kindness for 
them. The soldier that held up to Augustus the stump of his arm, 
having lost his hand in battle for him, thought that action had much 
of merit and obligation in it ; and Peter thought he expressed great 
love to Christ when he told him, John xiii. 37, ' I will lay down my 
life for thy sake.' Oh, then what love hath Christ showed us, who 
would become not only a surety, but a sacrifice for our sake ! 

[2.] To suffer death for another is the greatest obligation that we 
an put upon him : John xv. 13, ' Greater love hath no man than 
this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.' This is the greatest 
evidence that can be ; he speaketh this to make his example the more 
binding. This depriveth us of a capacity to enjoy those for whom we 

[3.] This is the highest expression of love to friends, but Christ did 
it for enemies, for the ungodly sinful world : Horn. v. 7, 8, ' For 
scarcely for a righteous man will one die ; yet peradventure for a good 
man some would even dare to die ; but God commendeth his love 
towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.' 
Here are three sorts of men, the wicked, the righteous, or a man of a 
rigid innocency, and the good and bountiful man ; but now we were 
in the lowest class. 

[4.] To suffer for the faults of another is the greatest condescension. 
A naughty man may be innocent in some cases, and it is much to die 
for him out of love to justice, and to maintain his innocency ; but for 


Christ to 'be made sin for us, who knew no sin/ 2 Cor. v. 21, to be 
reckoned or numbered among transgressors, this is inestimable love. 

[5.] Because this is not fit to be done among mankind, that the 
innocent should suffer capital punishment for the nocent. God would 
represent this in the beasts, to show his sovereignty over them, where 
the innocent creature was set apart for this use to bear man's sin : 
Lev. xvi. 21, 22, ' And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head 
of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children 
of Israel, and all their transgressions, in all their sins, putting them 
upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a 
fit man into the wilderness. And the goat shall bear upon him all 
their iniquities into a land not inhabited, and he shall let go the goat 
in the wilderness.' And the blood of the beast was given on God's 
altar to make atonement : Lev. xvii. 6, ' And the priest shall sprinkle 
the blood upon the altar of the Lord, at the door of the tabernacle of 
the congregation, and burn the fat for a sweet savour unto the Lord.' 
This was thoroughly accomplished in our Redeemer : Dan. ix. 26, 
' The Messiah shall be cut off, but not for himself ; ' Isa. liii. 4-6, 
* Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows ; and he was 
wounded for our transgressions, and was bruised for our iniquities ; and 
the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we 
are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray, every one to his own 
way ; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquities of us all ; ' 
1 Peter iii. 18, { He died, the just for the unjust, that he might bring 
us to God.' This was the wonderful act of God's grace to find such a 
strange and unusual sacrifice for us. 

[6.] That he should suffer to such ends, or that the consequent 
benefits should be so great, as the remission of sins and eternal life. 
Remission of sin we have Mat. xxvi. 28, ' For this is my blood of the 
new testament, which is shed for many, for the remission of sins.' The 
second, eternal life, we have Heb. v. 9, ' He became the author of 
eternal salvation to them that obey him.' Both together we have 
Heb. x. 14, ' For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that 
are sanctified.' Sin is the greatest evil, the makebate or cause of 
difference between us and God, and eternal life is the greatest happi 
ness that we are capable of. 

[7.] That, with respect to the end, God and Christ took such pleasure 
in it : Isa. liii. 10, ' It pleased the Lord to bruise him ; he hath put 
him to grief ; ' John x. 17, ' Therefore doth my Father love me, because 
I lay down my life.' The Father is so well pleased with the reconcilia 
tion of lost sinners, that he loveth Christ for undertaking and perform 
ing it. So Christ was satisfied : Isa. liii. 11, 'He shall see of the tra 
vail of his soul, and be satisfied.' He solaced himself with the 
thoughts of it : Prov. viii. 31, ' Eejoicing in the habitable parts of the 
earth, and my delights were with the sons of men.' He delighted to 
appear in human shape, and longed for its accomplishment, and patiently 
submitted to it. 

2. It is a pattern which we should imitate. 

[1.] In the reality of it : 1 John iii. 18, ' Let us not love in word, 
neither in tongue, but in deed and in truth.' As Christ did not: Gal. 
i. 4, ' He gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this 
present evil world.' 


[2.] In the freeness of it, He was not induced to it by any overture 
from us, but by his own love only : Eph. v. 25, ' Christ also loved the 
church, and gave himself for it.' 

[3.] In the constancy of it. He was not discouraged when it came 
to push of pike : John xiii. 1, ' Having loved his own that were in the 
world, he loved them to the end.' 

[4.] In the self-denial and condescension of it: Mat. xx. 28, ' Even 
as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and 
to give his life a ransom for many.' He chose not a life of pomp and 
ease, not a delightful flesh- pi easing course of life, but a mean and low 
estate, and ignominious sufferings. Ease and stateliness and lordly pre 
eminence should be far from the disciples of Christ. He came not in 
the pomp and equipage of an earthly prince. Strife for pre-eminence 
little becometh us, but who shall be most useful to bring home most 
souls to God. But because we cannot pursue all, two things I shall 
commend to you from this love of Christ 

(1.) The kind of the love; it was a love to souls. If Christ gave 
himself as a propitiatory sacrifice to reconcile and recover them to God, 
we should have a higher value and esteem for them. Before Christ 
died, men could not sufficiently understand of what precious account 
souls were ; but now, unless we shut our eyes, we may see plainly that 
the redemption of the soul is precious : Ps. xlix. 8, ' The redemption 
of the soul is precious, and ceaseth for ever.' If a man find a pearl of 
great price, and, not knowing what it is, maketh no more esteem of it 
than of a piece of glass or a common bead, and is ready to sell it for 
a few pence, but upon the offer of it to a skilful lapidary, who at 
first sight biddeth two or three thousand crowns for it, would he not 
change his mind, and think this jewel is of greater value than he took 
it to be? So here ; man knows not the value of the soul, and did not 
greatly set by it. Adam lost his own soul and the souls of all his 
posterity for an apple, and we sell the birthright for a mess of pottage ; 
but when Christ, who made souls, and knoweth the value of them, 
came to recover lost souls, he gave himself for us ; hereby he taught 
us to set a higher price upon them, for nothing but his precious blood 
could redeem them ; and therefore we should not despise our own souls, 
so as to forfeit them for base unworthy trifles. So for the souls of others ; 
if any of us be induced to show charity to the bodies of others, but 
little regard their souls, I should think ill of them. We pity a man 
that should be famished to death for want of what we can give him, 
but we do not pity a man that is going to hell, and is ready to perish 
eternally. There is little of the bowels of Christ found among most 
chrislians. Or if we pity them, and wish it were otherwise with them, 
yet we do little or nothing to pull them out of the fire ; yea, though 
many times they are nearly related to us, we are loath sometimes to be 
at the trouble of a little serious exhortation, or hearty and Christian 
advice ; the ease of the flesh checketh us. Is this to walk in love as 
Christ loved us ? Or it may be we will not venture the hazard of a 
scorn or mock, or the displeasure of a carnal friend. Christ gave up 
himself and all the interests of that life he had assumed for the good 
of souls. We shall never do any great things, nor honour God in our 
relations, till we have a love to souls fixed in our hearts, till we have 


the bowels of Christ : Phil. i. 8, ' For God is my record how greatly I 
long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.' Christ thought the 
gain of souls recompense enough for his ignominious death. 

(2.) The next thing is the greatness and degree of this love. Let 
us be ready to lay down our lives for the church of God : 1 John iii. 
16, ' Hereby we perceive the love of God, because he laid down his life 
for us ; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.' We must 
imitate Christ in this, in his dying to reduce men to God. It is not 
left arbitrary ; we must and ought. 

(Is/.) There must be a venturing arid hazarding life. That may be 
done in many cases, as for the conversion of the carnal world, in which 
we may carry our lives in our hands : Phil. ii. 17, ' Yea, and if I be 
offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy and rejoice 
with you all.' Or though it involve you in great trouble to relieve their 
necessities, visit them in prison ; or to rescue the life of another from 
an assassin, or when another is assaulted by thieves and ruffians, to 
prevent murder. 

(2c?.) There must be certain death ; as when a single person dies for 
a community, a private person for a more public or more useful person, 
as a subject to save his prince ; or when we lose a temporal good for 
another's eternal good ; as the apostle : Rom. ix. 1-3, ' I say the truth 
in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy 
Ghost, that I have great heaviness, and continual sorrow in my heart ; 
for I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my 
brethren and kinsmen according to the flesh.' Some will not hazard 
a scorn, a check, or frown, or scoff for them. 

Use I. This love of Christ must be firmly believed. Let us not 
look on the death of Christ only as a tragical story and the sufferings 
of an innocent person, or only believe the history of his death ; but let 
us believe that he died a sacrifice for us, out of love to our souls, to 
redeem us to God, and save us from wrath. 

Use 2. It must be closely applied for our good and benefit, till we 
are duly affected with it, so as to make suitable returns to God ; partly 
by devoting ourselves to him : Rom. xii. 1, 'I beseech you therefore, 
brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living 
eacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service;' 
and partly by rendering our thank-offerings of charity towards others : 
Heb. xiii. 17, ' But to do good, and to communicate, forget not, for 
with such sacrifices God is well pleased.' 


But fornication, and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not "be once 
named among you, as becometh saints. EPH. v. 3. 

IN the words observe 

1. The things forbidden. Three sins are enumerated, ' Fornication,' 
and ' All uncleanness,' and ' Covetousness.' 


2. The manner and degree of forbidding, 'Let them not be once named 
among you.' Christians should have such a perfect abhorrence for 
these things, that they should be as things unknown and unheard of 
in the church. 

3. The reason of this prohibition, ' As becometh saints.' 

Doct. That there lieth a great obligation on Christians to keep them 
selves at the greatest distance from, and abhorrence of, all impurity 
and unclean ness. 

1. I shall fix the due sense of the words. 

2. Show what purity and cleanness of heart belongeth to Christians. 

3. Show the special impurity that there is in these kind of sins. 

I. To fix the sense. The things forbidden are expressed by three 

1. 'Fornication,' which signifieth the unchastity of persons in a 
single or unmarried estate, which was looked upon among the gentiles 
as a thing indifferent, and no sin ; and some of the Christians newly 
crept out of gentilism thought it a light and venial fault, as at Corinth, 
1 Cor. vi. from ver. 12 to the end. They thought that as eating all sorts 
of meat without distinction was lawful, so promiscuous copulation. To 
disprove this evil- conceit, the apostle answereth by way of concession 
concerning meats, by way of correction concerning fornication, ver. 13. 

[1.] By way of concession concerning meats : 'Meat is for the belly, 
and the belly is for meats ; but God shall destroy both it and them ; ' 
that is to say, it is true that meats were made to fill the belly, and the 
belly to receive meats for the sustentation of life during the present 
state ; but God will cause both the need and the use to cease in the 
life of glory. 

[2.] By way of correction concerning fornication. 

(1.) But now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord, and 
the Lord for the body ; namely, the end and use of the body is to serve 
the Lord, and the Lord is for the body. The Lord Jesus is also Lord 
of the body, seeing he gave himself not only for the redemption of the 
soul, but of the body also, and will raise it up at the last day, ver. 14 ; 
therefore it is to be disposed of according to his will. Therefore forni 
cation is contrary to the use of the body, as the body is for the Lord ; 
and contrary to the dignity of the body, who died that it may be 
raised again in glory. 

(2.) Another argument is from our union with Christ. The bodies 
of the faithful are a part of his mystical body, and therefore must be 
used with reverence, and possessed in sanctification and honour ; not 
given to an harlot, but reserved for Christ. He proveth the argument 
on both parts : he that is joined to an harlot maketh himself one with 
an harlot ; and he that is joined with Christ becometh one with Christ : 
' He that is joined to an harlot is one flesh ; ' namely, that conjunction 
is carnal and bodily. But by way of direct antithesis or opposition he 
telleth us, that ' he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit ; ' namely, 
this conjunction is holy and spiritual. This . argument is urged 
ver. 15-17. Now this consideration should have great force upon 
Christians, because unclean commixtures and embraces do not become 
them that profess to have union with Christ ; for no two things can be 
more contrary and unsuitable than to make ourselves one with an harlot 


and one with Christ ; one with an harlot, which God hath so severely 
prohibited, and one with Christ, which God hath so solemnly instituted; 
yea, the things themselves are unsociable, carnal base pleasures and 
spiritual delights. 

(3.) His third argument is taken from the dignity of the body, the 
dignity to which God hath advanced it, or the honour he hath put 
upon the bodies of Christians, which is to be the temples of the Holy 
Ghost : ver. 19, ' What ! know ye not that your body is the temple 
of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, which ye have of God ? ' You are 
set apart for this holy use, that the Spirit may govern and employ 
your bodies for the glory of God. So fornication is a polluting of the 
temple of God. Shall the temple of the Holy Ghost be turned into a 
swine's-sty ? It is dangerous to pollute holy things, to defile God's 
dwelling-place, or to bring base lusts into the special palace of God's 
residence ; therefore you are not to use your bodies as you please, not 
for an unclean, but holy use. 

(4.) His last argument is from Christ's right: ver. 19, 20, '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.' Christ hath a right 
to both, and therefore both must be used for him, and according to his 
direction. Neither are our souls nor our bodies at liberty that we 
may use them as we please. Therefore to use the body for fornication 
is sacrilege, and a robbing Christ of his right ; he is Lord of both. 

Let me now add some natural arguments against fornication, that 
those who will not be drawn from this carnality by scripture may yet 
be moved by nature. Our submission to God's authority, as having 
forbidden it in his law, and Christian or gospel arguments, make the 
restraint less difficult or rigorous ; but if that will not do, nature itself 
will teach us that, if promiscuous lusts should be allowed, man would 
in nothing differ from the beasts, and such disorders would grow in 
the world as would make our abode unsafe therein. For what with 
rapes and violence, and frequent forsakings on man's part, and feminine 
revenge and impatiences on the woman's part, there would be no quiet 
and safe living one with another ; and all interests and possessions 
would be disturbed, for none could know in such a profane mixture 
what children were their own ; all love to posterity would be dimin 
ished, and consequently due education hindered, that there could not 
be a greater plague to mankind than this brutish and promiscuous 

2. The next word is, ' All uncleanness ; ' which is a more general 
word than fornication, for it implieth also adultery and filthiness 
between married persons, as well as simple fornication ; yea, incest 
and all brutish pleasures, which the lawless minds of men affect. 
There is uncleanness by inordinate desires : Mat. v. 28, ' Whosoever 
looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with 
her already in his heart.' In the eyes, by lascivious looks: 2 Peter 
ii. 14, 'Having eyes full of adultery.' In the tongue, by filthy and 
rotten speech : Eph. v. 4, ' Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor 
jesting, which are not convenient.' In the life and conversation, by 
all manner of noisome and foul practices which lust puts us upon ; of 
whatsoever kind they be, or by whatsoever name they be called. In 


such sins, modesty forbiddeth us to be too curious, or to make a par 
ticular dissection, or cutting up the branches and parts of them ; there 
fore all is wrapt up in this general expression, 'And all uncleanness.' 

3. The next word is ' Covetousness/ But how cometh this to be put 
among the nefanda, the things not to be named ? I answer 

[1.] The word is 7r\eove^ia, or immoderate desire ; take it in the 
obvious sense for love to riches, or inordinate desire of wealth ; it is a 
base sin, and will make us act basely. We stroke it with a gentle 
censure, but the scripture maketli other constructions of it, and always 
useth to represent it as an odious and detestable thing : ' Filthy lucre/ 
1 Tim. iii. 3 ; Titus i. 7 ; 1 Peter v. 2. Omnis impuritas est ex 
mixtura vilioris All impurity arises from the mixture of something 
that is more base. To be addicted to it argueth a sordid or filthy frame 
of spirit. It is abominable to God, and should be detestable to us. 

[2.] I think it beareth here a more particular sense, and may be 
rendered, 'inordinate lust or luxury;' for the word signifieth not only 
a desire of money, but excessive and unnatural lusts ; and that notion 
it clearly hath, Eph. iv. 19, ' They gave up themselves to work all 
uncleanness ev 7r\eoi/em. with greediness.' Certainly it is some 
thing that has affinity with uncleanness, and that is, acting it with 

Secondly, The manner and degree of forbidding, ' Let it not be once 
named among you.' You will think this over-strict ; and how can it 
be reproved if it be not named ? But let us consider the sense. 

1. The apostle speaketh thus to express the height of detestation ; 
for things that we utterly detest we will not name them ; as David 
would not take the names of their idols into his lips, Ps. xvi. 4, to 
express the great detestation he had of them. So the apostle here ; let 
never these foul practices get the least admission among you ; or that 
they should be so far from committing these things, that they should 
riot name them, or think of them, without detestation and utter abhor 

2. That which is villanous to be done is also vile to be spoken of : 
ver. 12, ' It is a shame to speak of the things which are done of them 
in secret ; ' and 1 Cor. v. 1, ' Such fornication as is not so much as 
named among the gentiles, that one should have his father's wife ; ' 
that is, it was not a thing commonly practised among them, nor 
spoken of without great abhorrence. We should abstain from the 
needless mention of things detestable, lest we should reconcile them, 
and familiarise them to our thoughts ; for vile things that are often 
spoken of seem less odious, and affect the sense (being common) with 
less horror then when strange. So that they are not to be named, 
that is, not without need, nor without detestation. It were well if there 
were no occasion to speak of them at all. 

3. Some sins are more catching than others ; the very mention of 
them may revive and stir the motions of them in an unmortified heart. 
And uncleanness and fornication are of this nature, because they tend 
immediately to please the flesh ; other sins more remotely. Now where 
the fleshly mind and appetite are not subdued, what doth immediately 
please the flesh doth more presently stir the motions of it at the very 
mention, than what doth more remotely conduce to its satisfaction. 


As the prophet taketh his similitude of condemning the idolatry of 
Israel from adulterers, and expresseth it thus : Ezek. xxiii. 19, ' Yet she 
multiplied her whoredoms, in calling to remembrance the days of her 
youth;' as if the remembrance of former adulteries were a new snare 
to her. And divines say, in the case of considering temptations, that 
Ave may be fore-armed against them, that it is not so safe to a man to 
consider the temptation of Joseph as the temptation of Peter, because 
the consideration of the first may rather ensnare than fortify the mind. 
AH this showeth that some sins, especially with some kind of tempers, 
are more catching and apt to induce men to sin ; therefore the apostle 
ssaith, ' Let it not be once named.' 

4. There is a naming of these things which is very sinful, and that 
two ways 

[l.J When it is done in such a broad and coarse way, or nasty lan 
guage, as doth rather invite sin than rebuke it. Immodest speech cometh 
certainly from a vain and filthy heart, and showeth. the absence of the 
fear of God : Mat. xii. 34, ' Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth 
speaketh.' Men have a beastly savour with them, and vent it in their 
speech. As crows that are driven away from the carrion love to remain 
within the scent, so many whom shame restraineth, or whom age hath 
disabled to commit, do not act these sins, yet love to talk and discourse 
of them, and that with a gust and relish ; and by their way of naming 
these things discover their temper. This is that a-aTrpos \6<yos, that 
' rotten communication,' which the apostle reproveth : 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.' 
Obscene and corrupt discourse cometh from a rotten heart, as un 
savoury breath doth from putrid lungs. This fire is kindled in their 
hearts, and the sparks fly abroad in their language and discourse to set 
others on burning. Therefore well might the apostle say, ' Let not these 
things be once named/ for we propagate our taint by our speech, and 
seek to make the hearers like ourselves : 1 Cor. xv. 33, ' Be not deceived ; 
evil communication corrupts good manners.' The talking of these things 
doth almost debauch the manners of the world, as well as the acting 
of them. 

[2.] When we seek to palliate foul deeds with handsome and plau 
sible names, and so speak of these things with allowance and extenuation, 
and not with extreme detestation. Christians must abhor the mention 
ing of such filthy sins in other manner than will induce the hearers to 
abhor them. Look, as calling drunken meetings good fellowship cor 
rupts and taints the manners of the world, and doth induce men to a 
better opinion of the communion of sinners in this brutish way than it 
deserves, as if it maintained amity and love, so the dressing up of ugly 
sins in handsome and plausible names doth not beget such an abhor 
rence of them as Christianity would enforce. As where we call lawless 
liberty platonic love ; or fornication, marriage in conscience ; or the 
adopting or taking in of a strumpet into the rights of the lawful wife, 
courtship, or having a mistress ; this is but the invention of poor 
deluded sinners to cheat themselves and the world, and to varnish a 
filthy thing with a cleanly notion, that it may go down the more glib 
with ourselves and others. How much better is it to speak as the word of 
God speaketh ? ' An whore is a deep ditch ; and he that is abhorred 



of the Lord falleth therein,' Prov. xxii. 14; 'For an whore is a deep 
ditch, and a strange woman a narrow pit,' Prov. xxiii. 27. This is 
plain and open, and cautions men how they slip into such a foul ditch. 
But sinners have a double deceit, they represent goodness and virtue 
under horrid names, as astronomers call glorious stars by the names of 
the bear, and the dragon's head, and the dragon's tail ; but they insin 
uate vice with plausible names, that they may not consider how hateful 
to God both their persons and their practices are ; and so keep the 
greater guard upon themselves lest they incur his sore displeasure. 
But let us take heed of adorning foul sins. The apostle saith, ' Let 
them not be once named without detestation.' 

Thirdly, The reason, ' As it becometh saints ; ' that is, Christians or 
believers ; all of them are saints, or should be saints. 

1. Some are so only by external dedication and profession ; as by 
baptism they are set apart for God as a clean and holy people. None 
enter into Christ's kingdom but those that are washed and cleansed 
from sin : Acts xxii. 16, ' Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy 
sins, calling on the name of the Lord.' And their baptismal vow 
bindeth them to die unto sin, especially to the lust of uncleanness. 
But all that have given up their names to Christ have not given up 
themselves to Christ ; and those that do not renounce their baptism, 
yet forget their baptism and the bond and obligation of it, 2 Peter i. 9. 
They forget or do not mind that once they were washed in God's 
laver. Surely there is an obligation upon them still to keep them 
from fornication, adultery, and all manner of uncleanness, lest they 
forfeit the name of saints : 1 Thes. iv. 7, ' For God hath not called us 
to uncleanness, but to holiness.' If they renounced the flesh, they must 
subdue and crucify the flesh chiefly in the grosser lusts, otherwise 
their baptism will be a nullity as to their comfort and benefit by it, 
yet not as to their judgment and punishment. Better never have been 
baptized in that sense : 2 Peter ii. 20, ' For if after they have escaped 
the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and 
Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and over 
come, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.' In those 
early times grown persons were baptized, and none were admitted to 
it but upon some knowledge of Christ, and professed resolutions to 
forsake the fiido-fMara, the pollutions of the world ; but if they relapse 
again into them, the league and confederacy between Satan and their 
flesh being never thoroughly dissolved, and wallow in the filthiness 
they had renounced, better they had never meddled with religion. By 
quitting holiness they forsake blessedness, and involve themselves in 
the greater punishment. As they turn from the holy commandment, 
they turn from the gracious promises. They do not dislike the happi 
ness offered by Christ, but the seriousness of his religion ; so that 
the privilege of betaking themselves to the way of Christ maketh their 
guilt become the greater and more dangerous. Christian heathenism 
is worse than bare heathenism at first. Now though we are born 
Christians, yet the case is almost the same ; we do not renounce our 
parents' act when we come to years of discretion, rather pretend to 
stand to our baptismal vow and covenant, submit to the instructions 
of the church, would take it ill not to be accounted Christians, own 
the same creed and Bible that others do. But alas ! what will your 


Christianity profit you if you live in all uncleanness, fornication, and 
filthiness ? There are certain frailties incident to the best, but the 
fjudafJiaTa Koa-pov, the pollutions of the world, these are spots that are 
not as the spots of God's children. 

2. Others are saints by internal regeneration, as sanctified and 
renewed by the Holy Ghost : Titus iii. 5, ' Not by works of righteous 
ness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, 
by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.' 
These have the effect of their baptism wrought in them. Now these 
things are contrary to the disposition and spirit of saints, or to the holy, 
new, and divine nature which is put into them. Nothing so opposite 
to the spirit as the flesh ; and among all the lusts of the flesh, those 
which have most turpitude in them, as the lusts of uncleanness. Hence 
nature hath imprinted a shame upon them ; and conscience, till it be 
debauched and seared, will never suffer men to live quietly and 
securely in them. Now if bare nature thinketh it a stain and blemish 
to us, much more the new nature, which checks those lusts, and bears 
back as from something abhorrent and contrary to itself. If nature 
blush at the sin, surely grace or the new nature should restrain it.' 

II. What purity and cleanness of heart belongeth to Christians ? In 
the scripture they are everywhere described by it : Ps. xviii. 18, ' With, 
the pure thou wilt show thyself pure,' John xv. 3, ' Ye are clean 
through the word which I have spoken to you ; ' Ps. Ixxiii. 1, ' Surely 
God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart ; ' 2 Cor. vi. 
17, 'Separate yourselves from the unclean thing, and I will receive 
you ; ' and in other places. God being purity, light, and perfection 
itself, cannot delight in an unclean person : Ps. xxiv. 3, 4, ' Who shall 
ascend into the hill of the Lord? and who shall stand in his holy 
place ? He that hath clean hands and a pure heart, who hath not 
lift up his soul to vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.' It were endless to 
instance in all places. Let us see what obligations lie upon us to be 
clean and pure. 

1. We are consecrated to the service of a holy God, Father, Son, 
and Holy Ghost. Our God is pure : Hab. i. 13, ' He is of purer eyes 
than to behold iniquity ; ' that is, so as to let it go unpunished. We 
should never think of this, but we should abhor ourselves, and be 
ashamed of the remainders of corruption in us. Much dregs and dross 
of sin yet remain in the best. Christ is pure, undefiled, separate from 
sinners ; so should we be who are separated from the world and dedi 
cated unto God. And he came to wash us in his blood, and cleanse us 
by his Spirit, and followeth the work he hath begun, till we be without 
spot and blemish : Eph. v. 25-27, ' Christ also loved the church, 
and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it ; 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.' The Holy Spirit, if we belong to God, hath already begun 
to purify and sanctify us : 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 
our Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.' And the great part of 
our duty lieth in obeying his sanctifying motions: 1 Peter i. 22, ' Ye 
have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit.' 
Now all this obligeth us to great purity of heart and life. 


2. We profess the most holy faith ; this obligeth us also, whether 
\ve look to the laws of God, which are the rule of our duty, or the 
promises of God, which are the charter of our hopes. 

[1.] The laws of God, which measure out our duty to us : Ps. cxix. 
140, ' Thy word is very pure, therefore thy servant loveth it.' It is pure 
in itself, as being the copy of God's holiness. There is no dead fly in 
this box of pure ointment, nothing but what tendeth to cleanse the 
heart of man from all that is base and filthy ; and it maketh us 
pure : Ps. cxix. 9, ' Wherewith shall a young man cleanse his way ? 
By taking heed thereunto according to thy word.' It is not direct, or 
order, but cleanse. The youngest are defiled already, and if they will 
believe and obey the word, there is hope of their cure. 

[2.] The promises, which are the charter of our hopes. 

(1.) The thing itself, which is promised as our great happiness, en- 
forceth it ; and what is that but to see God as he is, and be like him ? 
And ' He that hath this hope in him purifieth himself as Christ is pure/ 
1 John iii. 3. The reason is, because if we count it as a happiness to 
see God, and be like him, we will desire it and endeavour it. Now 
nothing can be propounded to us as the object of our eternal delight 
and satisfaction but what is the object of our present desires and 
endeavours. If we do not desire it now, and endeavour it now, how 
can we look upon it as our blessedness hereafter ? For satisfaction is 
the fulfilling of our desires, the rest of our motion. The offer of a 
Turkish paradise may breed a brutish spirit in us, but to look for a 
pure estate should make us pure and clean. 

(2.) Purity of heart and life is necessary to the obtaining of it. Our 
interest is suspended upon the performance of this condition. The 
comfortable vision of God in the life to come doth only belong to the 
clean and pure : Mat. v. 8, ' Blessed are the pure in heart, for they 
shall see God.' No unclean thing can enter into the new Jerusalem ; 
that is no place for goats or swine. Therefore, unless we get this 
cleanness of heart, we shall not be admitted into God's blessed presence. 

(3.) This fitteth us for it. There is an aptitudinal as well as a con 
ditional right. As it is a condition indispensably required, so also the 
preparation dispositively fitting us for this state: Col. i. 12, 'Which 
hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in 
light.' The riper we grow for heaven, the more pure and holy we are, 
and the more without sin. 

[3.] Because of our present communion with God and service of 

(1.) Our present communion with God in prayer or other duties 
requires it. Surely they that are so frequent and familiar with a holy 
God should be a clean and holy people : 1 Tim. ii. 8, ' I will that men 
pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands ; ' James iv. 8, ' Draw nigh to 
God, and he will draw nigh to you ; cleanse your hands, ye sinners, and 
purify your hearts, ye double-minded.' In the Lord's supper : John 
xiii. 8, ' Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part 
in me.' So in general, in our whole commerce with God : 1 John 
i. 7, ' But 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.' 


(2.) So our present service of God requires it. None but the pure 
and clean are fitted to do God service in the world : 2 Tim. ii. 21, 
' If a man purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, 
sanctified, and meet for the master's use, prepared unto every good 
work/ ' From these,' that is, from youthful lusts ; he is more useful 
for Christ, and an instrument better fitted for his glory. 

III. The special impurity that is in such sins, so that holiness must 
be forsaken, or else these vices so opposite to holiness. What special 
impurity is there in those sins ? 

1. They defile the body, and are contrary to the dignity of the body, 
as it is a member of Christ, a temple of the Holy Ghost, or an instru 
ment to be used for the glory of God : 1 Cor. vi. 18, ' Flee fornication : 
every sin that a man doeth is without the body ; but he that committeth 
fornication sinneth against his own body.' Most other sins are against 
God or our neighbour, but sins of unclean ness are in a special manner 
against one's self, a debasing or defiling the body, a polluting of that 
which is consecrated to God to serve him : 1 Thes. iv. 3, 4, ' For this 
is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from 
fornication ; that every one of you should know how to possess his 
vessel in sanctification and honour.' Sanctification is there taken for 
chastity. A man's vessel is his body ; for the Hebrews call any instru 
ment of use a vessel. Now the keeping it in honour is to preserve it 
for God's use, and not to prostitute it to our base lusts. Well, then, if 
cleanness and purity be so necessary to Christians, a sin of so foul a 
nature must not be slighted, it dishonoureth and polluteth the body. 

2. Uncleanness corrupts and defileth the mind ; for it turneth it from 
the true pleasure to the false, and that procured on the basest terms of 
downright sin against God. It is ill to be corrupted by any degree of 
temporal delight, though the thing in itself be lawful ; as his excuse was 
faulty who said, Luke xiv. 20, ' I have married a wife and cannot come.' 
The entanglements of marriage should not keep thee from Christ, but 
the unlawful pleasures of whoredom make the case much more un 
questionable. This carrieth away the thoughts and corrupteth the 
heart, that they do not only forget God, but deny God, and do bring 
in a brutishness upon the heart of man ; and therefore men are easily 
taken in this snare, and hardly rescued, being bewitched by their 
sensuality: Prov. ii. 19, 'None that go in unto her return again, nor 
take they hold of the path of life.' And the preacher saith, Eccles. vii. 
28, ' One man among a thousand have I found, but a woman among 
all these have I not found ; ' Prov. xxii. 14, ; The mouth of a strange 
woman is a deep pit ; he that is abhorred of the Lord shall fall there 
in.' Now all these places show, not the utter impossibility, but the 
difficulty of repentance, and how hardly this sin is shaken off when 
once we are inveigled by it ; for this sin is a strange enchantment on 

Use 1. Is information, to inform us what need we have to work in 
Christians a greater abhorrence of fornication and uncleanness, because 
it is a common sin and a grievous sin. 

1. It is a common sin ; and then it is time to cry aloud and spare 
not, when persons, both single and married, make so little conscience^ of 
this duty. Must we then come and honey them and oil them with 


grace, or feed men's curiosity with tame and smooth strains of contem 
plative divinity ? No ; this were to rock them asleep in their sins. 
No ; let us rather convince them of their gross immoralities, unfaith 
fulness in the marriage covenant. Possibly many of them had never 
gone so far if these things had been oftener revived on their con 
sciences. Usually men are tender at first, till they be steeped in sin 
and bestiality ; but as their minds are further enchanted, all means are 
too weak, and God's remedy insufficient. Lust cherished groweth 
arrogant, and knoweth no shame ; for then they go on in sin the rather 
because God forbiddeth it : Isa. iii. 9, ' They declare their sin as 
Sodom, and hide it not;' Jer. v. 8, 'They were as fed horses in the 
morning; every one neighed after his neighbour's wife.' Their con 
sciences are debauched arid judicially hardened, and so have lost all 
remorse of conscience and fear of God's judgment. 

2. It is a grievous sin. We will endeavour to touch them in the 
tenderest part that is left, viz., fear: Heb. xiii. 4, ' Whoremongers and 
adulterers God will judge.' Men think it a small matter to satisfy 
nature, but God will find them out both here and hereafter. There 
fell in one day twenty-three thousand for this sin : 1 Cor. x. 8, 
'Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and 
fell in one day three and twenty thousand.' The inconveniency of it is 
sensible. It consumeth the strength of the body: Prov. v. 11, 'And 
thou mourn at last, when thy flesh and body are consumed.' It 
wasteth the estate : Job xxxi. 12, ' For it is a fire that consumeth to 
destruction, and will root out all mine increase.' And bringeth a 
blemish upon the name : Prov. vi. 33, ' A wound and a dishonour 
shall he get, and his reproach shall not be wiped away.' It with- 
draweth the heart from God: Hosea iv. 11, 12, 'Whoredom, and wine, 
and new wine, take away the heart ; for the spirit of whoredoms hath 
caused them to err ; they have gone a-whoring from under their God.' 
It unfitteth for every holy duty. Holy and sacred things never can be 
seriously received by sensual minds and hearts. Nay, it tempteth you 
to forget God, or question his being, and become, if not a downright 
atheist, a sceptic in religion. And, lastly, it casteth men into hell : 
Rev. xxi. 8, ' Whoremongers shall have their part in the lake that 
burneth witli fire and brimstone, which is the second death.' 

Use 2. Is caution to young men that are not yet taken in the snare. 
Keep yourselves at a great distance from and great abhorrence of this 
sin. Therefore, first, avoid occasions : Prov. v. 8, ' Remove thy way 
far from her ; come not nigh the door of her house.' So avoid Satan's 
assemblies for the communion of sinners, to stir up lusts and filthiness 
in them. Avoid the haunts of evil company, where they meet to 
inflame their lusts : Prov. iv. 15, ' Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it 
and pass away.' Avoid idleness : 2 Sam. xi. 2, ' And David arose 
from his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house, and from 
the top he saw a woman washing herself, and the woman was very 
beautiful to look upon.' David's heart was fixed. Avoid fulness of 
bread, excess in eating and drinking, Ezek. xvi. 49. Avoid obscene 
discourse. They are foolish and vain who think they have a chaste 
mind when they indulge themselves in all liberty of speech. The 
speech bevvrayeth the temper of the heart. Season your hearts with 


God's word : Ps. cxix. 9, ' Wherewith shall a young man cleanse his 
way ? by taking heed thereunto according to thy word ; ' 1 John ii. 14, 
1 1 have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the 
word abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.' But 
especially get a sound fear and reverence of God rooted in your hearts : 
Gen. xxxix. 9, ' How shall I do this great wickedness, and sin against 
God ? ' Live always as in the sight of God, who is thy maker, preserver, 
and judge. 

Use 3. Is advice to all Christians. Upon all occasions, think what 
will become saints. Let the conscience of your dedication to God be 
ever upon your hearts. We that are adopted into God's family, to be 
children of God, and heirs of eternal life, redeemed by the precious 
blood of Christ, cleansed and sanctified by his Holy Spirit, what a clean 
heart should we have within ourselves ! what an holy life should we 
carry in the view of others ! Our words should be grave and serious, 
our conversations such as will become the gospel ; that no filthiness 
may be allowed in us, or drop from us in word or deed : 2 Cor. vii. 1, 
' Having therefore these promises, let us cleanse ourselves from all 
filthiness of flesh and spirit/ We are servants of an holy God ; we 
have holy work to do, and an holy estate to expect. 


Neither pithiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, wliicJi arc not con 
venient ; but rather giving of thanks. EPH. v. 4. 

THE apostle having condemned three gross sins in life and practice, 
he cometh now to speak of three other sins in speech ; for all impurity, 
both in word and deed, is forbidden to Christians. In the words note 
(1.) The sins enumerated, 'Filthiness, foolish talking, and jesting;' 
(2.) The reason of the prohibition, those things ' are not convenient ;' 
(3.) The special duty substituted into their room and place, ' But 
rather giving thanks.' 

First, the sins enumerated are (1.) 'AurxpoTr)?, ' filthiness,' called 
elsewhere aurxpdh&yia, filthy communication, 1 Cor. iii. 8, which is a 
broad speaking of those things that belong to uncleanness. (2.) There 
is fjLapo\ojia, ' foolish talking,' which is meant either of all impertinent, 
rash, and roving discourse, which doth rather bewray the speaker's folly 
and indiscretion than any way edify the hearers : Prov. xv. 2, ' The 
tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright, but the mouth of fools 
poureth out foolishness.' When men use a multitude of useless words 
to no purpose, or have a torrent of words for a drop of sense ; or of 
those that make themselves fools, or act the part of a fool to please 
others, as David counterfeited madness before Achish ; as if it were 
the praise of a man to make himself an artificial fool or jester to 
humour others. (3.) The third word is evrpaTrekia, which we trans 
late 'jesting.' The philosopher understands by it that virtue which is 


called urbanity, which is the middle between scurrility and rusticity. 
But as things easily degenerate, so do names ; therefore the apostle- 
use th it for that exercise of wit that may be called foolery or mockery, 
such as idle and scoffing companions use to make themselves merry 
with, or to please some with the hurt and offence of others, and suiteth 
not with Christian piety, gravity, charity. 

Secondly, The argument or reason used against them: ra ovicavrjic- 
ovra, ' These things are not convenient ; ' that is, these things are un 
seemly, or unbefitting the seriousness and holiness of a Christian ; and so 
it is the same argument with the former, ' as it becometh saints/ only 
delivered with some difference of expression. We are apt to extenuate 
these sins, therefore consider what will become saints. Christianity is 
a grave thing ; it consists chiefly of two parts dying to sin and living 
to God ; and those that come under the power as well as the profession 
of it are to behave themselves partly as men in conflict with sin, and 
partly as those that study to honour and glorify God. With respect to 
the first part, our life should be a perpetual repentance, always getting 
farther from sin ; therefore the present season is not a time of laughter 
and vain mirth, but of agony and strife against the devil, the world, 
and the flesh. To live in pleasure upon earth is to gratify our 
spiritual enemies, to be laughing when we should be mourning and 
weeping, or sowing in tears that we may reap in joy. Therefore 
obscene talk or vain babbling, that serveth for no grave use, ridiculous 
mirth that only tendeth to vain pleasure, layeth us open to our enemies, 
with whom we are in constant warfare ; and so it is unbeseeming chris- 
tians, as evidencing a naughty spirit in ourselves, and as tending to 
infect others. With respect to the second, the honouring and pleasing 
God, our whole life should be a constant hymn to God, or a perpetual 
act of praise and thanksgiving: 1 Peter ii. 9, ' Ye are a chosen gener 
ation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people, to show 
forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into hi* 
marvellous light.' Therein we have a fitter subject for our rejoicing 
than obscene and scurrilous discourse, wherein profane persons most 
show their wit 

Thirdly, The duty substituted into the room and. place of these : 
' But rather ev-^apicnia, giving of thanks ; ' meaning to God (though he 
be not mentioned), from whom all mercies are received, and to whom 
all praises are due. This is added (1.) To show that delight is not 
abrogated, but preferred or transferred to a better object ; and so 
answers the objection, Must a Christian be always sad? No; let your 
mirth run in a spiritual channel, and then you will have cheerfulness 
enough, matter of rejoicing enough, upon better terms, and at a more 
sincere rate. (2.) It specifieth what should be the Christian's mirth, 
the commemoration of the mercy of God, especially the great benefits 
we have by Christ. We need not be beholden to sin for our joy ; we 
have the innumerable benefits of God to rejoice in. : Ps. Ixviii. 19, 
' Blessed be the Lord, who loadeth us daily with his benefits, even the 
God of our salvation ; ' and Eph. v. 20, ' Giving thanks always unto 
God and the Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.' There is 
the Christian's way of mirth, and that which should revive and cheer 
his soul ; there he may rejoice always, and rejoice without offence, and 


needeth not run to obscene talking or unsavoury jests to cause laughter. 
If we be Christians indeed, and esteem what we profess to believe, 
can anything be more contentful to us ? (3.) It intimateth what we 
should do when our hearts are most disposed to mirth, and we are apt 
to let loose ourselves to joy and gladness ; as, namely, when we are 
cheered with the liberal use of the creature at feasts and banquets, we 
should not wholly compose ourselves to ridiculous mirth, but rather give 
thanks : James v. 13, ' Is any merry ? let him sing psalms.' When 
we have our souls at this advantage, we should turn our rejoicing into a 
spiritual channel. 

From this view you see the drift of the text. I shall handle it 
more diffusively in these observations 

I. That Christians should make great conscience, not only of their 
actions, but their words also ; for after the apostle had dissuaded them 
from all uncleanness and filthiness in practice, he addeth, 'Neither 
filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient/ 
We must make conscience of our words for these reasons 

1. We are not absolute proprietors and possessors of our own selves ; 
our tongues are not our own to speak what we please. Exempt any one- 
faculty or member from the jurisdiction of God, and you disown his- 
authority and interest in you, and open a floodgate to let in sin and 
wickedness into the world. They were rebels against God's government 
that said, Ps. xii. 4, ' Our tongues are our own ; who is lord over us ? ' 
We had them from God, and they must be used for him, not against 
him ; therefore we are not left to run at random in our ordinary dis 
course, to say and utter what we think good. 

2. As we had our tongues from God, so we are accountable to him for 
the use of them ; and therefore will our actions not only be brought into 
the judgment, but our words and speeches also : Mat. xii. 36, 37, ' But 
I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall 
give an account thereof in the day of judgment; for by thy words- 
thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.' 
As if our Lord had said, Deceive not yourselves, as if words were too 
light to be accounted for. Words, such as they may be, may occasion 
a sad reckoning between Christ and you ; for in distributing rewards, 
and punishments, he considereth words as well as actions. All the 
business is what is that pr^ia apybv, that idle word which our Lord 
there speaketh of, and how far it reacheth. The word may signify 
either vain or false : those false and blasphemous words which, out of 
the malignity of their hearts, they had uttered against him, are certainly 
comprised ; namely, that he did cast out devils by Beelzebub the prince 
of devils. But are not other words of lesser malignity included also ? 
Yes ; all that bewray the evil treasure of the heart, an ill talent in men,, 
as contumelies and reproaches against godliness; yea, rotten speech, 
that showeth the prevalency of uncleanness in the heart, for they are 
such words as discover a man's state and temper ; for the judgment of 
absolution and condemnation is to be passed according to these words. 
And though \ve can uot extend the rigour of it so far as to say that 
every word which conduceth not to some end of Christian edification 
shall make men miscarry in the judgment (alas ! who then could be 
saved ?) yet surely we ought to make conscience of all our words. 


As we must take care that we prejudice not Christian hope, so we must 
not open a gap to looseness ; therefore do not say, It is but a matter of 
words ; for how little soever men may esteem words, they may weigh 
heavy in God's balance, and idle words must be avoided as well as 
gross sins. 

3. Words do much discover the temper of a man's heart. There 
are three operations of man by which he is discovered to be what he 
is thoughts, words, and actions ; and all these we should make con 
science of. Certainly in all these things there should be a difference 
between the people of God and others. To instance in what we are 
upon, the people of God should be observably different in their words 
and discourse from other men : Prov. x. 20, 'The tongue of the just 
is as choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is little worth ; ' where 
the tongue of the righteous is opposed to the heart of the wicked, and 
compared to silver, and the heart of the wicked to dross. Because 
their heart is little worth, their discourse will be accordingly, for the 
tongue showeth what is in the heart. So Prov. xv. 7, ' The lips of 
the wise disperse knowledge, but the heart of the fool doth not so.' 
Men usually discourse as their hearts are. A man of a frothy spirit 
will bring forth nothing but vain and frothy discourse, but a gracious 
man will utter holy and gracious things, for the tap runneth according 
to the liquor wherewith the vessel is filled. One place more : Ps. 
xxxvii. 30, 31, ' The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his 
tongue talketh of judgment, the law of God is in his heart.' All men's 
discourses are vented accordingly as their hearts are busied and affected. 
A man that hath the law of God in his heart, and maketh it his work 
to suit his actions thereunto, will also suit his words to it, and edify 
those with whom he speaketh. Thoughts, words, and actions are the 
genuine products and issues of the heart. Grace in the heart disco vereth 
itself uniformly in holy thoughts, holy words, and holy actions ; there 
fore if our conference be not different from ordinary men's, it showeth 
the temper and constitution of our souls is the same. 

4. Because our tongue is our glory : Ps. Ivii. 8, ' Awake, my glory ; 
awake, psaltery and harp;' Ps. xvi. 9, ' My heart is glad, and my glory 
rejoiceth.' Compare Acts ii. 26, ' My heart is glad, and my tongue 
rejoiceth.' So Ps. xxx. 12, ' That my glory may sing praise to thee, 
and not be silent; ' that is, my tongue. But why is our tongue called 
our glory ? For a double reason, both which are pertinent to the case 
in hand 

[1.] Because thereby we can express the conceptions of our minds 
for the good of mankind. It was not given to us for that use for which 
the tongues of the brute beasts serve them, to taste meats and drinks 
only, or to taste our food. No ; but to converse with each other. 
Speech is the excellency of man above the beasts. Man is %wov TTO\I- 
TIKOV, a sociable creature, and therefore fitted by God that we may 
entertain one another with discourse. Now it is a manifest abuse of 
this excellent faculty when, instead of propagating wisdom and know 
ledge, we should only vent our corruption by it ; and should make no 
other use of it but to vent our scum and froth to the poisoning and 
infecting of other souls. This is to propagate the general taint, and 
to make one another more corrupt than we are by nature. Well might 


the prophet complain : Isa. vi. 5, ' I am a man of polluted lips, and 
dwell among a people of polluted lips.' By the lips the contagion of 
sin spreadeth from one to another, and so our glory is turned into 
shame. Therefore if men do not make conscience of their words, 
their tongues will run riot against all decency both of speaker and 

[2.] The other reason why it is called our glory is because thereby 
we may express the conceptions of our minds, to the glory of God as 
well as the good of others : James iii. 9, ' Therewith we bless God, 
even the Father.' And this is proper to us, not only beyond the beasts, 
but even the angels. The beasts have tongues, but no reason ; the 
angels have reason, but no tongues; but man hath reason, and a tongue 
wherewith to utter it, and so man is the mouth of the creation, who can 
not only think of God, but speak of God, his word and works. There 
fore the chief use of the tongue is to glorify and praise God, to magnify 
his name, and delight our souls in the sweet commemoration of his 
excellencies and benefits : Ps. xxxv. 28, ' My tongue shall speak of thy 
righteousness and of thy praise all the day long.' This is the great 
and noble use of the tongue, to give the Lord thanks for mercies 
received, or what he has done for the world, for the church, for our 
bodies and our souls. Now shall the mouth that is consecrated to 
God be filled with dung, and the tongue which was designed for so 
excellent and noble a use as to be God's harp be debased to so vile an 
office as to become Satan's trumpet, to stir up filthiness and unclean- 
ness in ourselves and others, pollute that tongue with lust and filthiness 
which should speak of the holy God ? 

5. Because our speeches are regarded by God ; and therefore you 
must consider not only what is fit for you to utter and others to hear, 
but what is fit for God to hear. You are indeed to consider all three. 
What is fit for you to utter: Will this become saints? What is 
fit for man to hear as tending to his profit, at least not to his hurt. 
But this is not all ; in the close of the day, when you are making your 
examen, have you spoken such words as are fit for God to hear ? Ps. 
cxxxix. 4, ' There is not a word in my tongue but thou knowest it 
altogether.' There is not a word we speak, vain or serious, idle or to 
purpose, but the Lord considereth it perfectly : Mai. iii. 16, ' Then 
they that feared the Lord spake often one to another, and the Lord 
hearkened and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written.' He 
taketh notice of every word that is spoken for or against him. Keason 
will tell us that this certainly belongeth to the infinite perfection of 
God's nature; but if it were soundly believed, it would make men 
more cautious. If you have spoken wantonly, filthily, foolishly, the 
Lord heareth, and you must give an account of it to him. Now tell 
me, should we not make conscience of our words ? 

6. Because the well ordering of our words is a great point of Chris 
tianity, and argueth a good degree of grace : James iii. 2, ' He that 
offendeth not with his tongue is a perfect man ;' that is, hath made a good 
progress in religion ; for so many ways do we offend with our tongues, 
that to restrain the irregularities of them showeth that we have a good 
sense of our duty, or a great awe of God upon our hearts, and are able 
to resist other temptations, and guide our actions according to the 


Christian rule. Now, that you may not think it an arbitrary thing, let 
me tell you there is an absolute complete perfection, and there is a 
perfection of sincerity. He doth not mean it in the first sense, for he 
saith there, ' In many things we offend all.' The best have much to 
blame and accuse themselves of. But in the latter sense, he is a true and 
sincere Christian, one that hath profited in the doctrine of Christ, and 
desireth to do all the will of God. But what doth the apostle say of 
other manner of Christians, that have gotten no manner of government 
of their tongues, but let them loose to all kind of vanity and folly, 
censuring, detraction, and evil speaking, &c. ? James i. 26, ' If any man 
seemeth to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, that man's religion 
is vain ; ' that is, though he maketh show of living religiously, or 
serving and worshipping of God, he doth but deceive himself if he 
thinketh his religion shall stand him in any stead. Well, then, life 
and death are in the power of the tongue ; upon the good or ill use of 
it dependeth not only our temporal but eternal safety. 

II. In making conscience of our words, we should specially take 
heed of filthiness, foolish talking, and jesting. 

There are many evils of the tongue, but these are those which we 
have now under consideration. For the first, ' filthiness/ men will 
easily grant that this is an evil, but think not so of the second and 
third. Natural conscience and reason may cause us to blush at filthi 
ness, but is apt to patronise and plead for fooling and jesting, as strains 
of wit and pleasantness, and not matters of sin and crime ; therefore 
we must go over them particularly, and show that they are sins which 
become not sincere Christians. 

1. Filthiness is when we speak of obscene things in an obscene man 
ner, without any respect to modesty and Christian gravity or sobriety. 
Now this is a great evil, for filthy speakers bring the spiritual miserere 
upon themselves, or that disease whereby men vomit their excrements 
by their mouth ; nothing is more beastly than their speeches. But 
they that can speak filthy words without blushing will commit filthy 
deeds without shame or restraint ; for by their filthy talk they have 
polluted their own minds, and prepared themselves for the sin. 

[1.] It is a sin most inconsistent with any reverence and fear of 
God : Ps. xix. 9, ' The fear of the Lord is clean/ Because there is 
shamelessness and boldness in it : Isa. iii. 9, ' They declare their sin as 
Sodom ; they hide it not.' Now it is a grievous temper and state of 
heart to know no shame, for this is to contemn and despise God. 
Others disobey him ; but such despise him, and seem to have cast off 
all honesty, and glory in their shame, as if it were a credit to them to 
defy the holy God and the restraint of his laws. 

[2.] It is a grief to the Holy Spirit, as it obstructs that purity and 
cleanness of heart which he would work in us : Eph. iv. 29, 30, ' Let 
no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which 
is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the 
hearers. And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed 
unto the day of redemption.' The Spirit is represented both as the 
Holy Spirit, and as the Spirit of peace, and so opposite both to filthiness 
and clamour. His habitation must be clean and quiet ; therefore 
clamour, wrath, and bitterness must be put away. 


[3.] You infect others, and corrupt them by filthy discourse. Many 
an hopeful gentleman hath been debauched this way, by unclean 
representations both from the stage and the talk of their company. 
The filthy speakers are factors for hell to proselyte men to the devil, and 
draw unwary souls into his snare : 2 Peter ii. 18, ' They allure through 
the lust of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean 
escaped from them that live in error ; ' they entice and cast them back 
again into all carnality and filthiness 

2. The next word is fj.copo\ojla, ' foolish speaking.' This hath so 
many branches, that it is hard to reckon them up ; as 

[1.] When they speak of foolish things. As some can spend hours 
in telling vain tales, that serve for no other use but to possess the minds 
of the hearers with levity and folly. Now if the ' thought of foolish 
ness be sin,' Prov. xxiv. 9, words of foolishness are much more sin, as 
they are more public, and abuse the time and ears of others : Prov. xv. 
14, ' The mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness ; ' it is as diet to them. 

[2.] When men speak of serious things in a ludicrous and vain man 
ner, and design it for jest. This is playing with sacred things, like 
the Philistines calling for Samson to make them sport, Judges xvi. 25, 
or the Babylonians asking for one of the songs of Sion, Ps. cxxxvii. 3, 
or the sensualists inventing themselves instruments of music like David, 
Amos vi. 5, as if their carnal mirth never relished better than when it 
is seasoned with something that is sacred, and religion is forced to serve 
their profane mirth. 

[3.] Lavish, superfluous speech to no end : Prov. xxix. 11, 'A fool 
uttereth. all his mind.' They can hold nothing, but, whether it tend 
to hurt or profit, out it cometh. Many have gotten a custom of vain 
babbling, and full of endless talk to no purpose. Now ' In the multi 
tude of words there wanteth not sin/ Prov. x. 13; and all this prattle 
cometh out of a vain and foolish heart, that never had any serious sense 
of holy things ; and therefore are indifferent what they speak, for God 
or error ; things that belong to them, or belong to them not, their own 
or other men's matters. 

[4.] Hash speech, to speak of things they understand not. As the 
apostle speaketh of some that, desiring to be teachers of the law, under 
stand neither what they say nor whereof they affirm, 1 Tim. i. 7. As 
many, like little infants, will attempt to run before they can go, so 
some are full of talk, and all about matters of controversy in religion, 
which they understand little of. But empty vessels and shallow brooks 
make the loudest noise. 

[5.] Another kind of it is personal boasting, to set off themselves and 
their own excellencies. All their discourse is of themselves : Prov. xxv. 
"27, ' For men to search their own glory is not glory.' This Trepiav- 
-0X07/0, is foolish speaking, when all their discourse tendeth to set oft' 
themselves, and usher in something of themselves, and I cometh in at 
the end of every sentence. The rule is, another man's mouth should 
commend us, not our own : Prov. xxvii. 2, ' Let another man praise 
thee, not thine own mouth ; a stranger, not thine own lips.' But I 
will not undertake to reckon up all the kinds of it. 

Now I shall prove that it is a sin that should be made conscience of. 

(1.) Because it suiteth not with the seriousness of religion, which is 


the wisdom of God. As he hath manifested the riches of his grace and 
goodness in the gospel, so he hatli 'abounded to us in all wisdom and pru 
dence,' Eph. i. 8. There should not be a wiser man than a Christian, who 
is guided by the direction and counsel of a wise God, and therefore all 
his discourse should be grave and wise and serious. Solomon telleth 
us, Prov. x. 31, that 'The mouth of the righteous bringeth forth wisdom. 
His heart is stocked with such truths as contain the highest wisdom 
in the world, and therefore his mouth should overflow with it ; as he 
that hath in his pocket more store of gold than of brass farthings will 
at every draught bring out more gold than farthings. 

(2.) It suiteth not with the mortified estate of sincere Christians. 
All foolish talking cometh from some unmortified lusts in our hearts,. 
such as pride, vainglory, worldliness, uncleanness ; therefore are they 
talking of vain things, and boasting of themselves with the contempt 
of others ; and till these lusts be mortified, in vain do we expect a 
cure. Now when the heart is purified and purged from vanity, world 
liness, and pride, men's discourse is presently altered. If the heart be 
set on the world, their discourse is commonly of the world : 1 John 
v. 5, ' They are of the world, therefore speak they of the world, and the 
world heareth them.' If the heart be unclean, and swarm with 
noisome lusts, the speech will be rotten. If the heart be proud, men 
love to hear themselves talk. Vainglory will betray itself in our dis 
courses. Every carnal affection leaveth a tincture on our speech. 

(3.) Because it shutteth out better discourse, and so converse with 
others is rendered unprofitable. Omission of good is caused by it. 
A Christian should come into no company but he should bethink him 
self what he is to do or say for God there. Now when men abandon 
themselves to foolish speaking, they little mind the use of edifying, or 
speaking of the great and most necessary things. Better things would 
come into other men's minds and mouths if they were not entertained 
with such vain discourse ; and so the lean kine eat up the fat, and 
the better part doth not only give way to necessary business, but even 
impertinent vanities. Martha is rebuked for losing the season, when 
Mary heard Christ's gracious words, Luke x. 39-41, and she was 
employed about the necessary ministry of the family. How much 
then are they to be rebuked that jostle out all good discourse by their 
vain and unprofitable talk ! 

(4.) Because it argueth great emptiness, that we have not a good 
treasure within us, Mat. xii. 35, or have not hid the word in our 
hearts, Ps. cxix. 11, or not taken care that it might dwell in us richly, 
Col. iii. 16. The full vessel will plash over, but vain empty spirits 
have nothing good to serve and supply the necessities of others. 

3. We come now to the third sin enumerated, 'and jesting,' evrpa- 

Here we must state this matter. 

Is all jesting unlawful and misbecoming Christians ? 

[1.] My answer must be negative ; for honest recreation and mode 
rate laughter, to fit the mind for serious things, is certainly lawful : 
Eccles. iii. 4, ' There is a time to weep, and a time to laugh ; ' and 
honest and pleasant discourses are, at fit times and opportunities, law 
ful and edifying, as they tend to maintain cheerfulness of mind, and 
alacrity of spirit, which is profitable both to our health and duty : Prov, 


xvii. 22, ' A merry heart doth good like a medicine, but a broken spirit 
drieth the bones.' Why then should we not exercise our tongues face 
tiously, as well as any other member ? But then 

[2.] I must tell you that, in recreating our spirits with pleasant and 
delightful discourse, it is an hard matter to keep within the bounds of 
lawful and allowed mirth. There is an easy passage from what is 
allowed to what is forbidden : ' The fool's heart is in the house of mirth,' 
Eccles. vii. 4, 5 ; whereas the house of mourning is more profitable 
for us in this mixed estate. 

[3.1 In the use of it, all due circumstances must be observed ; as 

(1.) In the matter. On the one side, filthiness and sin must not be 
matter of jesting ; for that always is matter of grief and shame to us, 
whether we reflect upon it as committed by ourselves or others. It is 
a dunghill mirth that must have somewhat unclean to feed it. On the 
other side, nothing sacred. It is profane and impious for men to abuse 
scripture, to vent the conceptions of their light and wanton wits. No ; 
there must be still a care, as of Christian sobriety, that nothing sinful, 
so of Christian piety, that nothing sacred, may be the matter of our 

(2.) For the manner. It must be harmless to others, not making 
sport with their sins or miseries ; for that is against charity, which 
' rejoiceth not in evil,' OVK eTri^apeKafcei, 1 Cor. xiii. 6. Especially 
not to mock at parents, magistrates, and others whom for their age, 
gifts, or office we are bound to reverence. Yea, we must consider what 
others are able to bear, not making ourselves merry with their infir 
mities, nor using such offensive jests and tart reflections on their per 
sonal imperfections as may provoke them to wrath and anger. 

(3.) For the measure. Not excessive wasting the time in vain, 
especially not habituating the mind to levity ; that is scurrility when 
men accustom themselves so to vain jesting that they cannot possibly be 
serious ; they can as well be immortal as serious. This hardeneth the 
heart in impenitency, and maketh some men look like professed jesters 
rather than Christians. They have hardened themselves in the excess of 
a jocular way, that a man cannot tell whenever they are serious. And 
so, for the warning of the world, God hangeth up some in the chains of 
this sin, as well as others as instances for gluttony, whoredom, and 

(4.) For the time. Not when God calleth us to mourning or more 
serious employments should it be taken in hand. To be jesting in public 
calamities is to affront God's providence. And business must not give 
way to sport. Our true mirth lieth in our duty, and that must have 
the chief place, especially in its season. 

(5.) The end and use must not be forgotten. Our great end is to 
serve and glorify God, and everything that we do must have respect to 
it, and be proportioned by it. As the apostle speaketh of other passions 
of soul : 2 Cor. v. 13, ' If we be beside ourselves, it is for God ; if we 
be sober, it is for your sakes.' In all tempers he minded the glory of 
God and their good. So in other passions ; sorrow is allowable, as it 
worketh repentance unto salvation ; so mirth, as it doth exhilarate the 
spirits for the service of God, and as it may be useful to our great end ; 
it is therefore to be allowed only so far as it is concomitant with and 
subservient unto better things. 


III. One special means of checking such sins is to consider how much 
they misbecome Christians ; for the apostle saith no more but ' they 
are not convenient,' or do not agree with that state of grace into 
which we profess to be called. 

For three reasons this will hold good 

1. Because there are four affections which serve to draw us from and 
guard us against sin fear, shame, grief, and indignation. Our flight 
from sin is begun in fear, continued in shame, carried on by grief or 
sorrow, and endeth in indignation ; and so sin is renounced, and the 
power of it broken. Now all these affections have a proper ground and 
consideration to set them a-worlc. Fear of wrath and damnation 
begins the work ; for men have a quicker sense of danger than of other 
things. Shame looketh upon sin, not only as hurtful, but as filthy and 
brutish, and that which maketh us loathsome to God. It is <o/3o<? 
Sueafat ^Jroyov, fear of just disgrace. The filthiness and folly of sin is the 
proper object of shame. Sorrow considereth God's goodness and sin's 
unkindness, causing us to mourn that we should break the laws of 
Ood, to whom we are so much obliged, for very trifles. Indignation 
worketh on the unseemliness and disconveniency of sin, either to the 
nature of man, or that grace to which we are called by Christ. In 
short, fear looketh on sin as damning : Acts ii. 37, ' When they heard 
this, they were pricked at their hearts, saying What shall we do to be 
saved ? ' Shame, as defiling : Ezek. vi. 9, ' They shallloathe themselves 
for the evils they have committed in all their abominations.' Sorrow, 
as offensive to so good a God : Zech. xii. 10, ' They shall look upon me 
whom they have pierced, and shall mourn for him ; ' Luke vii. 47, 
' She hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs 
of her head.' Indignation looketh upon sin as unbecoming our present 
resolutions and professions, our hopes and interest : Isa. xxx. 22, ' Thou 
shalt cast them away as a menstruous cloth ; thou shalt say unto it, Get 
thee hence ; ' Hosea xiv. 8, ' Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any 
more with idols ? ' this is the soul's expulsive faculty. In short, the 
guilt of sin causeth fear ; the stain, shame ; the unkindness, sorrow ; 
unsuitableness, indignation. Awaken this, and sin cannot have long 
entertainment in the heart. Therefore it is enough to a serious Christian : 
It is not convenient. 

2. The unsuitableness mindeth us of our dignity, as being admitted 
to communion with God. Therefore to talk of filthiness with that 
tongue which is to be employed in speaking of God, and to God, is a most 
indecorous thing ; as it is to empty nature and put our food into the 
same vessel. Will you pollute those lips that should show forth God's 
praise ? There is no agreement between these things ; either we must 
lay aside the one or the other. Now which will you part with, filthi 
ness and foolish speaking, or the blessing and praising of God ? Both 
parts you cannot act well, for the one is destructive of the other. 

3. This striketh at the root of the temptation. Many think filthiness, 
foolish speaking, and jesting to be a great grace to them, and affect the 
reputation of wit at such a rate that they forget honesty. No ; these 
are not an honour and a grace, but a blemish and a blot. The apostle 
telleth you they are ' not convenient/ You thwart not only religion, 
but baffle conscience, that secretly telleth you this is not grave and 


serious ; it is not a glory, but a baseness ; a thing you may rather be 
ashamed of, than affect the venting of wit in this manner, or pride 
yourselves in the deformed birth of your foolish minds. 

IV. That a Christian cannot want mirth as long as he hath such 
abundant cause to give thanks. 

I will open this note in these considerations 

1. That it is an excellent exchange when we can change a sin for a 
duty; as in this case, byturning censure into admonition, and reproof 
or discontent into prayer, complaining of God into complaining to God, 
or carnal mirth into spiritual rejoicing, or jesting into giving thanks. 

2. Evils are best cured by diversion. When our pleasantness is not 
abolished, but diverted, and directed to its proper object. It would be 
a shame for a man that calls himself a Christian not to acknowledge 
that giving of thanks is a better subject of our mirth than filthiness 
and folly. The mind must have some oblectation, but let it run in its 
proper channel. Thankfulness is the sweetest employment in the 
world. To be always thinking or speaking of such sweet things as the 
mercies of God, surely if we esteem and value them, it will be more 
delightful to us than to be pleasing our fleshly lusts : Ps. Ixiii. 5, 
' My mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips.' 

3. None have such cause of delightful praise and thanksgiving as a 
Christian. He hath greater matters to talk of than those things that 
are the subject of fools' boasting. Besides what is common to him with 
others, all the works of God to admire, and his excellencies shining forth 
in creation and providence, he hath the mystery of redemption, the grace 
of the new covenant, the glory of heaven, his own hopes. Our whole 
religion is an foyapia+fa ', for Christianity is a partaking of the benefit, 
1 Tim. vi. 2 ; besides many personal favours which should ever be 
before our eyes. 

4. There is not any case incident to a Christian but still there will 
be found ground of thanksgiving and rejoicing: Phil. iv. 4, 'Rejoice 
in the Lord alway, and again I say, Rejoice.' We have cause to be 
thankful for particular grace, for mercies in hand or hope. Well, then, 
carnal mirth may be cured by such a remedy at hand. 


For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor cove 
tous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom 
of Christ and of God. EPH. v. 5. 

THE apostle had argued ab incongruo, from what is indecent and mis 
becoming saints ; now a periculo, from the danger of such practices : 
and fitly, because temptations do not usually enter by the fore-door 
of reason, but the back-door of sensual appetite and carnal desires ; 
which therefore must be counterbalanced by dangers and fears, that, 
seeing the hook, we may be afraid to swallow the bait. The danger 
VOL. xix. o 


of such practices is double there is pcena damni et sensus. Poena 
damni, exclusion from the kingdom of God, as in the text read to you. 
Pcena sensus, they run the hazard of his wrath and eternal displeasure ; 
as ver. 6, ' For these things cometh the wrath of God upon the chil 
dren of disobedience.' 
In the text there is 

1. A sentence passed on all unclean persons : they have no ' inherit 
ance in the kingdom of Christ and of God/ t 

2. The certainty and evidence of it : ' For this ye know.' 

First, In the sentence we have (1.) The subject, or persons spoken 
of ; (2.) The predicate, what is said of them. 

1. The subject : ' No whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous,, 
who is an idolater.' Where mark, he mentioneth not the lesser sins, 
filthiness of talk, foolish speaking, jesting, but the more grievous 
trangressions spoken of ver. 3, 6Vt Tra? 776/91/09, rj cucaOapTos, rj ir\eov- 
efcrw, not but that they in themselves deserve damnation, but they are 
but appendages and degrees to the other sins. 

Again observe, in the enumeration there is a special brand put upon 
the third sort, 'Nor the covetous person, who is an idolater.' ITXe- 
ovegia here signifieth excessive and unnatural lusts ; because it is put 
among the nefanda, and because the word is clearly so used Eph. 
iv. 19, and in other places is joined with words that signify unnatural 
and unlawful lusts not fit to be named : 1 Cor. v. 10, * With the fornica- 
tors of this world, or with the covetous ; ' and Col. iii. 5, ' Mortify your 
members which are upon earth, fornication, uncleanness, inordinate 
affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry.' 
Certainly there is some reason why this should always bear company 
with these unclean sins ; and what is it but that it hath affinity, and 
is of the same nature with them ? 1 Thes. iv. 6, 7, ' That no man go 
beyond and defraud his brother in any matters, because the Lord is the 
avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned and testified ; for God 
hath not called ua to uncleanness, but unto holiness,' ^77 inreppaiveiv 
KOI, 7r\.ovKTeiv, &c. We render it, ' That none go beyond and defraud 
his brother in any matter, because God is the avenger of such.' But 
the reason rendered, ver. 7, ' For God hath not called us to unclean- 
ness, but to holiness,' will enforce another sense, not to yield to unnatural 
and unlawful lusts, to commit filthiness with his fellow-christians, 
in such a manner as is not to be plainly mentioned, or in that way 
of villany for which God punished Sodom, and hath exercised 
severe vengeance on the very heathens. This seemeth everywhere the 
meaning of a i rr\eove$;la, ' inordinate lusts,' which we translate ' covet 
ousness/ Now what 7r\eovej;la is in the abstract, that TrXeoz/e/cT^s 
is in the concrete ; a man given to inordinate lusts, or filthiness not to 
be named. But this man, be he 'covetous/ or be he an 'inordinate 
luster/ is said to be an ' idolater/ as covetousness and inordinate lusting 
in the Epistle to the Colossians is said to be ' idolatry/ I confess this 
staggered me at first, and made me suspect my former interpretation, 
because covetousness is known idolatry ; as ' Charge the rich men in 
this world, that they trust not in uncertain riches, but in the living 
God,' 1 Tim. i. 17 ; and Job xxxi. 24, ' If I have made gold my hope, 
or said to the fine gold, Thou art my confidence/ This I confess 


staggered me, and made me think covetousness is to be taken in the 
ordinary and vulgar acceptation ; but I recovered myself again, when 
I considered that interpretative idolatry is when the creature is set in 
the place of God ; which may be done two ways by confidence and 
trust, and by love and delight ; for there are two chief respects due to 
God love and trust. Now though the covetous person in the ordi 
nary sense is an idolater, as he trusts in uncertain riches, and maketh 
wealth his all, so men given to other sins, especially to the greediness of 
nncleanness, may be idolaters also, because they prefer their brutish 
satisfactions before God. And the apostle saith the same : Eom. xvi. 

18, ' They serve not God, but their own belly ; ' and again, Phil. iii. 

19, 'Whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly/ Add, more 
over, they may be called idolaters also because they yet live in the same 
villanies and abominable practices which heathens and idolaters do, and 
are very reconcilable to them ; therefore I shall stick to the sense first 
given, many of the ancients concurring, and also divers of the most 
learned modern writers producing irrefragable proofs for their exposi 
tion, not fit now to be insisted on. 

2. The predicate, ' Hath no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ 
and of God ; ' that is, no portion in the church of God under Christ, 
nor inheritance in heaven ; for there is both a kingdom of grace and of 
glory. The latter is especially understood, that kingdom spoken of, 
Mat. xxv. 34, ' Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom 
prepared for you.' They have no right unto, and so living and so dying, 
never shall have possession of, that blessed estate. And it is called ' the 
kingdom of Christ and of God,' because this kingdom is now in the 
hands of Christ as mediator, and so shall be till the judgment be over ; 
but after the judgment, he shall give up the kingdom to the Father, 1 
Cor. xv. 24, or resign up the church to God, to live and reign with 
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost for ever. 

Secondly, The evidence, ' For this ye know.' In the original, eVre 
yivcoo-Kovres , ye are knowing. It is a Greek circumlocution, to make 
the sense more emphatical ; as if he had said, If ye have the least taste 
of the Christian religion, ye cannot be ignorant of this, that such filthi- 
ness and unlawful lusts deprive us of the kingdom of God ; ye have 
been always taught this. Now this is added 

1. To show how heinous a sin this would be in them that have faith 
and knowledge, and yet indulge these kind of lusts ; these rebel against 
the light of conscience, and wilfully forfeit heaven to please the flesh : 
James iv. 17, ' Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it 
not, to him it is sin.' 

2. To teach us that we ought to be put in mind of what we already 
know ; for temptations induce a strange kind of oblivion into the mind, 
which is an ignorance for the present: 2 Peter i. 12, 'I will not be 
negligent to put you in remembrance of these things, though ye know 
them ; ' and 1 John ii. 21, ' I have not written to you because you know 
not the truth, but because ye know it ; ' and Korn. xv. 15, ' I have 
written to you, as putting you in mind.' Our work is not only to in 
form people of what they know not, but to inculcate and press known 
truths ; not only to cure ignorance, but also forgetfulness, laziness, and 


Doct. That it is an evident truth that all unclean persons have no 
inheritance in the kingdom of God and of Christ. 

1. That there is a kingdom of God. This notion implieth, on God's 
part, his sovereign authority and right to command ; and on our part, 
both duties and privileges. On God's part, ' One God over all, blessed 
for ever,' Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, who hath full right, as creator, 
to command and govern us with such laws as he thought fit to give us, 
with such rewards and penalties as he thought fit to annex to them. 
This right God never divested himself of, nor can it be vacated by our 
sin, but continueth still, while man receiveth his being from God by 
creation, and the continuance of his being by daily preservation and 
providence. There is dominium jurisdictionis et proprietatis. The 
dominion of jurisdiction is founded in the dominion of propriety. We 
are his own, for he created us out of nothing, and therefore hath a full 
right and title to govern us. Now God will govern us, not with a rod 
of iron, by necessity and force, but with the bands of a man, by laws 
backed and confirmed with rewards and punishments ; for he will not 
violate the liberty of his own workmanship. Man, being a rational and 
free agent, is governed accordingly by moral means, induced to his duty 
by the rewards of obedience, and deterred from sin by the punishments 
appointed for the wicked and rebellious. On our part the kingdom of 
God implieth Duties and privileges. 

[1.] Duties. As in a kingdom subjects are bound to obey their 
proper and rightful lord, so here ; God being our lawgiver and king, 
as he hath right to command, so we are bound to obey. As in the 
Lord's prayer, when we say, ' Thy kingdom come,' we presently say, 
' Thy will be done,' Mat. vi. 10. All that own his kingdom are bound 
to obey his will. So Mat. vi. 33, ' First seek ye the kingdom of God 
and his righteousness ; ' that is, approve yourselves to be the faithful 
servants and subjects of God. Well, then, this is required of us, that 
we be willingly subject to God. All creatures are subject to him by 
constraint, the devils themselves not excepted, though rebels and 
grievous revolters; but those are properly said to be his subjects that 
willingly consent to his government. 

[2.] Privileges. There are many privileges belong to God's subjects, 
both for the present and in the world to come. For the present, that 
they are under the special care and protection of God, both as to their 
bodies and souls. For the souls, he sanctifieth them, writeth his laws 
upon their hearts and minds, as he did upon Adam's heart in innocency, 
and promiseth to do it in the new covenant made in Christ to those 
that serve and obey him, Heb. viii. 10 ; and so the kingdom of God is 
within us, Luke xvii. 21. And besides, giveth us peace of conscience 
and joy in the Holy Ghost, Eom. xiv. 17. And then for our outward 
man, protection and maintenance. The necessaries of this life shall 
not be wanting to those that enter into his kingdom: Mat. vi. 33, 
' First seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these 
things shall be added unto you.' But in the world to come we enjoy 
our chief privileges, and therefore our estate there is called ' his ever 
lasting kingdom,' 2 Peter i. 11 ; and Luke xii. 32, ' It is your Father's 
good pleasure to give you the kingdom.' That is our blessed state, 
where we are absolutely free from all evil ; therefore called the ' day of 


redemption,' Eph. iv. 30, because all the effects of sin then cease, and 
therefore we enjoy all good. Every subject weareth a crown, which is 
sometimes called ' a crown of life/ James i. 12, ' a crown of righteous 
ness,' 2 Tim. v. 8. A crown of life to show the happiness of that estate, 
and a crown of righteousness to show the sureness of it. This is chiefly 
considered here. 

2. There is no entrance into this kingdom but by coming into the 
kingdom of Christ. Besides the kingdom which belongeth to Father, 
Son, and Holy Ghost, one true and only God, there is the kingdom of 
Christ considered as mediator ; a new right of empire and sovereignty 
over the creature, not destructive of the former, but accumulative, as 
superadded to it, that the government of God might be the more com 
fortable and beneficial to us in our lapsed estate. This is called ' the 
kingdom of Christ,' because Christ, as mediator, hath purchased it : 
Rom. xiv. 9, ' For to this end Christ both died, and rose again, and 
revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and the living ;' Rev. 
ii. 12, ' Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, 
and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.' And 
upon the account of his merit and redemption of captive souls, God 
hath bestowed it upon him : Ps. ii. 8, ' Ask of me, and I will give thee 
the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth 
for thy possession ; ' and Acts ii. 36, ' God hath made this Jesus, whom 
ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.' Made, that is, appointed, 
ordained. It is God's kingdom by original right, but Christ's by dona 
tion and purchase. Besides, it is Christ's kingdom because he is the 
administrator of it, both as to legislation and execution. Legislation : 
Mat. xxviii. 18, ' All power is given to me both in heaven and in earth ;' 
and John xvii. 2, ' Thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he 
should give eternal life to as many as tliou hast given him.' The 
mediator, God-man, is the supreme prince and head of the church, 
that he might dispense salvation upon his own terms, and his doctrine 
and faith might be embraced by all nations in the world. Here is a 
new power, new government, new laws, which shall be the rule of 
man's duty and God's judgment. Now this is comfortable and bene 
ficial to us, because this new kingdom was set afoot to save and recover 
fallen man, who was disabled for his duty, and incapable of the happi 
ness which God offered, and obnoxious to his displeasure. Therefore 
the kingdom and lordship of Christ is spoken of as medicinal and 
restorative, tending to reduce man to God, that after the breach we 
might again enjoy his favour, and live in his obedience : Acts xvi. 46, 
'Preaching peace by Jesus Christ ; he is Lord of all.' He is set up to 
be king and lord, to make peace between God and man, who were at 
odds before. His right to govern obliged him to chastise us for our 
rebellions : Acts v. 31, ' Him hath God exalted to be a prince and 
saviour, to give repentance and remission of sins.' This new Lord 
and king hath made a new law of grace, which is lex remedians, a 
remedying law, propounded as a remedy for the recovering and restor 
ing of the lapsed world of mankind to the grace and favour of God, 
granting thereby free pardon and right to blessedness to all that sin 
cerely repent and believe in him, but sentencing them to death that 
will not believe in Christ. Now without entering into this kingdom of 


Christ there is no entering into the kingdom of God. These two are 
not contrary, but the one is subordinate to the other ; namely, the 
kingdom of Christ is derived from God, and referred to him. The 
supreme right of governing is still in God, and our subjection to him 
is preserved : Phil. ii. 11, ' That every tongue should confess that Jesus 
Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.' And Christ doth 
redeem us that we may serve him : Luke i. 74, ' 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.' And besides, it is impossible that we can perform the 
duties that belong to the kingdom of God, or enjoy the privileges 
thereof, without entering into the kingdom of Christ ; for he healeth 
our natures, and giveth repentance as a prince, Acts v. 31, or a new 
nature, as the foundation of a new obedience. Nor can we enjoy the privi 
leges, pardon and life. Pardon we have not till we be Christ's subjects : 
Col. i. 18, 14, ' Who hath delivered us from the power of Satan, and 
hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son ; in whom we 
have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins.' As soon as 
we are brought into his kingdom, then we have remission of sins. 
Then for life : There is no access to the kingdom of God in glory but 
by Jesus Christ as mediator : John xiv. 6, ' Jesus saith unto him, I 
am the way, the truth, and the life ; no man cometh unto the Father 
but by me.' Christ first took possession of it in our name : John xiv. 
2, 3, ' 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 ; and if I go and 
prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto my 
self, that where I am ye may be also/ And so in due time we get 
possession also, and reign for ever with him : Kev. iii. 21, ' To him 
that overcometh I will grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I 
overcame and sat down with the Father in his throne.' After we have 
a while resisted the devil, and approved ourselves to Christ, we attain 
that immortal glory, a part of which is reigning with Christ, and 
dominion over the creatures. 

3. The title or right to the privileges of Christ's kingdom is by way 
of inheritance. This word is solemnly used in this case ; as Mat. xxv. 
34, ' Come, ye blessed of my Father, ^inherit the kingdom prepared for 
you ; ' and Acts xxvi. 18, ' That ye may have remission of sins, and 
an inheritance among the sanctified.' So Col. i. 12, 'Made meet to be 
partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light ; ' and innumerable 
other places. Those excellent things which are prepared for us in 
another world are of the nature of an inheritance, not purchased by us, 
but freely bestowed upon us, by virtue of our adoption and sonship. 
God adopteth us in Christ, and receiveth us into his family. What 
followeth ? ' If a son, then an heir of God through Christ/ Gal. iv. 7 ; 
and Horn. viii. 17, ' If sons, then heirs, joint heirs with Christ.' Our 
right to the heavenly inheritance cometh to us by virtue of our sonship 
and adoption, which is begun in the kingdom of grace, and perfected 
in glory. God, of rebels, at first inaketh us sons, before we can lay 
claim to heaven and glory as our portion and inheritance. All the 
business then will be, who hath a right to sonship ? If you search 
the scriptures, you will find that it belongeth only to those that 


4 believe in Christ,' who recovered our lost and forfeited privileges : John 
i. 12, ' To as many as received him, to them gave he power to become 
the sons of God.' Well, then, thus far we have gone. Inheritance 
depends upon adoption and sonship ; sonship upon the grace of the 
Redeemer ; and a right to the Redeemer's grace we have by faith. 
But will every faith serve the turn ? No ; none but such as produceth 
purity and obedience ; for the property of faith is to purify the heart. 
Acts xv. 9 ; and without purity of heart no man shall see God, Mat. 
v. 8. Again, faith produceth obedience ; for the mystery of the gospel 
is made known to all nations for the obedience of faith, Rom. xvi. 26, 
and none but such have a right : Rev. xxii. 14, ' Blessed are they that 
do his commandments, that they may have a right to the tree of life.' 
Those that obey and fulfil the will of God have a right to be admitted 
into heaven. 

4. By the tenor of the Christian doctrine it plainly appeareth that 
whoredom and all uncleanness excludeth men from this inheritance ; 
therefore unclean persons, and men given to unnatural lusts, have no 
right, and cannot, without usurpation, pretend to any hopes of this 
blessed estate. It appeareth plainly by these particulars 

(1.) Because it is contrary to that covenant by which all enter into 
Christ's kingdom : Mark xvi. 16, ' He that believeth, and is baptized, 
-shall be saved.' Now baptism implieth a renouncing the devil, the 
world, and the flesh, and a dedicating ourselves to Father, Son, and 
'Holy Ghost, as our creator, redeemer, and sanctifier ; and therefore by 
the baptismal covenant none can be saved but those whose faith effec 
tually turneth them from the world and the flesh to the love, service, 
<and obedience of God, so that they first live to him, and do hereafter 
.live with him. And this covenant doth still bind them, under the 
penalty of damnation and losing the hopes of glory, to mortify and 
subdue the desires of the flesh more and more : Gal. v. 24, ' They that 
are Christ's have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts 
thereof.' Those that are baptized into his name have entered into his 
kingdom, profess themselves to be his subjects ; they not only ought, 
but it is presumed that they have, crucified the flesh. In what a woful 
case then are all those that obey the inclinations of the flesh, and suffer 
their lusts to have their full career, without check or stop, and take no 
course to mortify them, that do neither combat nor overcome, that live 
in all uncleanness and filthiness ! They must seek another religion to 
comfort them, for Christianity is not for their turn. 

(2.) Because of God's express exclusion. Surely they are excluded 
from this inheritance whom God excludes and Christ excludes. Now 
-everywhere God has declared his mind not by consequence, but direct 
sentence: 1 Cor. vi. 9, 10, 'Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not 
inherit the kingdom of God, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor 
adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 
nor thieves, nor covetous, nor extortioners shall inherit the kingdom of 
God ? ' These things are inconsistent with a Christian's duty and reward ; 
and to flatter yourselves with a belief or hope of the contrary is to give 
God the lie. So Rev. xxi. 8, you have another black catalogue : ' But 
the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and 
whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have 


their part in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone, which is 
the second death.' It is opposed there to the saint's inheritance : ' He 
that overcometh shall inherit all things.' But they that will neither 
fight, nor strive, nor seek the assistance of Christ's Holy Spirit, that 
they may overcome their lusts, but wallow in these sins and vices, 
shall be damned into hell. So again, Rev. xxii. 15, ' Without are 
dogs, sorcerers, and whoremongers.' Dogs are they that eat what they 
have vomited, and after repentance fall into their former sins. The 
other sinners are sufficiently known by their own names ; only you see 
whoremongers are not forgotten, but expressly mentioned as those that 
shall be without, that is, excluded from the blessedness of the saints. 
Now what can such sinners say for themselves against such express- 
denunciations of God's word against them ? It may be they say they 
do believe in Christ, and all that believe are pardoned, and justified 
from all their sins ; but Christ will be no patron of wickedness. He 
that believeth giveth up himself to be sanctified and governed by him, 
as well as to be pardoned and reconciled to God. If faith be used to 
cross obedience, it is no true faith ; for ' Christ is the author of eternal 
salvation to all them that obey him,' Heb. v. 9. To all them, and only 
them. If you believe Christ, you must believe that you cannot be 
saved unless you be converted to God. It is the devil, and not Christ, 
that telleth you you may be saved in an unregenerate estate. If a bare 
strong confidence in Christ that we shall be saved notwithstanding our 
sins were true faith, the hardest heart would make the best faith. Who 
fuller of confidence and foolish presumption than they that are hardened 
in their sins? Therefore the business is not about faith and believing, 
but whether you believe Christ or Satan. If you hear Christ's voice in 
the word, this controversy is at an end. He hath flatly told you that 
you thus living and dying cannot be saved, and have no inheritance 
among the saints in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 

[3.] From the heinous nature of the sin. It is a sin of great atheism, 
and great infidelity. By the scriptures you know, or might easily 
know, that if you live in uncleanness, you incur the loss of heaven ; yet 
you are so violently bent upon the fulfilling of your lusts that this can 
not reclaim you. Certainly faith cannot consist with these sins. A man 
may run blindfold into hell if he will wink hard and go on securely : 
but he that will with open eyes run into the bottomless pit, he doth 
not believe the danger. You cannot drive a dull ass into the fire that 
is kindled before him ; and Solomon telleth us, ' In vain is the net 
spread in the sight of any bird.' If men that have reason and con 
science had eternity in their sight and view, would they venture thus ? 
You never knew a soaken sinner in this kind, but he had ill thoughts 
of God and the world to come. 

[4.] It is idolatry. Primary idolatry is when divine honours are 
given to any creature. But how is whoredom and uncleanness idol 
atry ? Because by it men are addicted to some base thing which they 
prefer before God. They love brutish pleasures more than God: 
2 Tim. iii. 4, ' Lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God ; ' and for 
the satisfaction of their lusts are deaf to all God's counsels ; that is 
our god who is most valued by us, and for whose sake we will do 
most. Now if men can dispense with God's honour and their duty to 


him for a sense-pleasing and flesh-pleasing life, they will do more for 
the flesh than they do for God ; therefore the flesh and the belly is 
their God. Now how justly are they deprived of salvation who put 
such a vile scorn upon the great God, our creator and preserver, who 
prefer the belly and the flesh before him ! All their business is to 
have their will and pleasure for a while ; but how long will they have 
their will in these things ? Besides, such a base god as they have set 
up must needs breed a base spirit ; for every man's temper is as his god 
is. As the psalmist saith of gross idolaters, Ps. cxxxv. 8, ' They that 
make them are like unto them ; so is every one that trusteth in them ; * 
so it is true of interpretative idolatry; this idol of carnal pleasure 
embaseth the spirit, and maketh them unfit for everything that is 
worthy, noble, and generous. 

[5.] Because they have not that spirit that should fit them and make 
them meet for heaven. All the world issue themselves at length into 
two places, heaven or hell ; and by the way they have a several sort of 
spirit that disposeth them to either. The godly and sincere Christians 
have the Spirit of Christ ; it is absolutely and indispensably necessary 
for them : Rom. viii. 9, ' He that hath not the Spirit of Christ is none 
of his.' If you have any part in Christ, you are possessed with his- 
Spirit, which is the earnest of your everlasting abode with him : 2 Cor. 
i. 22, 'Who hath sealed us, and given us the earnest of his Spirit in our 
hearts ; ' for he stirreth up heavenly desires and motions, and putteth 
you upon serious preparations for a better estate. And it is God's 
wisdom to put all things in their proper places ; and therefore in time, 
when they are sufficiently prepared and made meet, he will translate 
heavenly creatures into heavenly places and mansions, where they shall 
live with him for ever; for the grossly carnal, such as the whoremongers 
and unclean are, they are possessed by an unclean spirit, which hurrieth 
them violently into hell, as he did the swine into the great deep ; and 
they are making themselves more meet company every day for the 
devil and his angels. 

[6.] This exclusion is so absolute and peremptory that it admits no 
exception but that of sincere repentance, which is both a change of 
heart and life. For the present the exclusion standeth in force against 
you, like the flaming sword that guarded paradise ; but your case is 
not remediless, because Christ is an all-sufficient saviour, and his 
sacrifice for sin so full and valuable that nothing can hinder you from 
pardon and salvation but your own impenitency and unbelief. Cer 
tainly this may be done, for this hath been done after a like sentence 
and denunciation, that no whoremongers have inheritance in the king 
dom of God : 1 Cor. vi. 11, ' But 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.' It giveth some hope to a 
sick man when like deadly diseases have been cured. Surely an ocean 
can cleanse one nasty sink, and an emperor's revenue can pay a beggar's 
debt. Your case is foul, but it admitteth of this change ; and if yon 
yield to it at last, you may be accepted at last, after all your great and 
heinous sins. The covenant of grace doth promise pardon and salvation 
to every penitent believer whenever they truly turn to God, without 
excepting any person in the world ; only you must look that your 


repentance be sincere, and that there be a thorough change of heart 
and life. No other repentance is true but a quitting and leaving these 
sins before they leave us. Three things are apt to deceive you 

(1.) Some trouble for these sins while you go on still to commit 
them. There is no question but conscience will smite when the sin is 
past, and the fog that blinded the mind begins to be dissipated, and 
reason recovereth the throne again ; it will pierce the heart with sharp 
reflections because appetite and lust have been preferred before it. All 
unclean persons are not past feeling, nor have gotten the victory of 
conscience ; but though the soul be scourged with some remorse, yet 
as often as the temptation returneth they are still carried away, as 
marsh land is drowned with the return of every tide. Therefore in 
repentance it is not enough that there be sorrow for the sin, but there 
must be a forsaking and leaving of it : Prov. xxviii. 13, ' Whoso con- 
fesseth and forsaketh his sins shall find mercy.' These great and 
heinous sins must be forsaken, or else we are wicked men. Ahab wept 
for Naboth, 1 Kings xxi. 29, yet afterwards imprisoned Micaiah. 
Saul with tears confesseth his injustice to David, yet continueth to 
persecute him, 1 Sam. xxiv. 16, and xxvi. 2. There is repenting and 
sorrowing for sin in hell. The repentance is never sound till the heart 
be so turned from sin that it may be turned against it. If we have 
smarted for eating forbidden fruit, we must meddle no more : Ps. li. 6, 
* In the hidden part shalt thou make me to know wisdom.' Broken 
bones must make us wary and cautious. 

(2.) The next thing that will deceive you is some faint resistance or 
striving against sin, but it groweth upon you. There are some sins 
where striving is conquering, as in the case of infirmities that we can 
not wholly get rid of in this life ; but in the case of heinous sins it is 
otherwise ; they must not only be striven against, but left, otherwise no 
difference between godly and ungodly. The conatus, the endeavour, 
is not enough ; the eventus, the event or issue, is considerable. If a 
man live in gross sins though he hath strivings and convictions, and 
ineffectual wishes to be better and to turn to God, this showeth he doth 
sin against conscience, and resist the Spirit, that should turn him from 
these sins : 1 Peter iv. 1, ' Arm yourselves likewise with the same 
mind ; for he that suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin.' Christ 
had his innocent reluctances, but his love to God and men broke 
through all. Take heed of being rebellious against the importunities of 
grace. Such sins must not only be resisted, but conquered. A 
usurper may reign though there be much contradiction. Turn the 
tables. Should the feeble oppositions of sin against the life and reign 
of grace make the saints question their sincerity ? Why then should 
this ineffectual striving acquit you from the reign of sin ? It is not 
enough to disuse sin, but he must mortify it also. 

(3.) That which will deceive you is a hope to cry God mercy upon 
your death-beds ; and so, after an impure life, men hope still to go to 
heaven. We do not wholly exclude a death-bed repentance (if it be 
sincere, and we do it at last) ; it is possible, though men have but so 
little time left. It is great folly, as well as wickedness, to put it off till 
then ; yet if God renew you by his Holy Spirit, you shall be accepted. 
But all the business is to prove it sincere ; for how shall we know 


whether our repentance cometh from fear or love ? What cometh from 
fear will die again when your fear is over. God hath not your hearts 
till he hath your love. Now this sensible death-bed work is hard, not 
only for the most skilful about you, but for yourself, to discern from 
what cause it cometh, whether you are frightened into an unsound 
repentance, or be effectually and sincerely turned from sin to God, 
whether your heart and will be changed or not. Alas ! it is easy to 
renounce arid detest sin when we can keep it and cherish it no longer, 
and it is the mere fruit of necessity and fear. Besides, what hope of 
this, when we are contented to live longer in a course of known foul 
sin, provided at length we may be saved ? To live a sinful life against 
conviction of conscience bringeth on final and judicial hardness. 

[7.] If the children of God fall into any of these sins, they lose not 
their right, but their present fitness, to enter into the kingdom of God 
and Christ. When you hear or read such a saying as the text, a doubt 
may arise in your mind, What then shall become of Samson, David, 
and Solomon ? I answer 

(1.) One act doth not denominate a man, but habits ; such cannot 
be called whoremongers. The reign of sin in the heart cannot consist 
with a right to heaven: Kom. viii. 13, 'If ye live after the flesh, ye 
shall die ; ' that is, in a course of sin. 

(2.) They lose their fitness : Gal. v. 21, ' They that do these things 
shall not inherit the kingdom of God.' Our divines at Dort, by the 
leper who was to dwell apart, say that he lost not his right in his 
house, but his fitness to dwell in it for the present. Sins are bound in 
heaven till repentance. They need a new pardon, though they are not 
put into a state of condemnation again, nor their former justification 
nullified. Infirmities have pardon of course : John xiii. 10, ' He that 
is washed needeth not save to wash his feet.' But great and known 
sins must have actual repentance before they can be pardoned ; they 
must be confessed and forsaken. 

Use. Let sinners propound this to their choice, either these sins must 
Ije laid aside, or the kingdom of God must be lost. It is the highest 
profaneness this, to sell the birthright, Heb. xii. 6, to forfeit our 
glorious inheritance for a little brutish satisfaction. Will you for 
your unclean delights forsake the delight of angels, and choose the 
filthy pleasures of sin before the pleasures at God's right hand for ever 
more ? The very punishment showeth the nature of the sin, which is 
loving pleasure more than God. 

To quicken the children of God to avoid all uncleanness and ten 
dency to it. You should check temptations to sin, and strive for an 
abundant entrance : 2 Peter i. 11, ' Give diligence to make your 
calling and election sure, for so an entrance shall be ministered unto 
you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour 
Jesus Christ.' Keason with yourselves, as it is said of the trees in 
Jotham's parable/ Should I leave my fatness, wherewith by me they 
honour God and man, to be promoted over the trees ? Should I for 
sake my sweetness, and my good fruit, to be promoted over the trees ? 
Should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and man, and go to be 
promoted over the trees?' So should you repel all temptations to sin, 
and abstain from all appearances of evil. 



Let no man deceive you witli vain words for because of these things 
comelh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 
EPH. v. 6. 

THE apostle had argued ab incongruo, from what was indecent and 
misbecoming in us ; now a periculo, from the danger of such practices. 
There is pama damni, the punishment of loss, exclusion from the 
kingdom of God ; and poena sensus, the punishment of sense, the 
hazard of God's eternal wrath and displeasure : ' Let no man deceive 
you,' &c. 

In the text we have two things 

1. A caution, ' Let no man deceive you with vain words/ 

2. A commination, ' For because of these things cometh the wrath 
of God upon the children of disobedience.' 

First, The caution is against error, and showeth the certainty of their 
punishment, whatever false teachers whispered to the contrary. This 
is premised that we may neither deceive ourselves nor suffer ourselves 
to be deceived by others. 

1. That we may not deceive ourselves. Frequent warnings are given 
against this self-flattery : 1 Cor. vi. 9, 'Be not deceived; neither forni- 
cators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of them 
selves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor 
revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God ; ' 1 John 
iii. 7, ' Little children, let no man deceive you ; he that doeth right 
eousness is righteous ; ' 1 Cor. xv. 33, ' Be not deceived ; evil communi 
cation corrupts good manners ; ' Gal. vi. 7, ' Be not deceived ; God is 
not mocked : for what a man soweth, that shall he also reap.' Men do 
what they can to live securely and undisturbedly in their sins, and 
to guard their hearts against the apprehension of all danger and 

2. That we may not be deceived by others. There were false teachers 
in those early days, that countenanced profane and licentious Christians ; 
some that taught fornication was an indifferent thing, or at least no such 
great matter, or not so dangerous ; that a man might be righteous, and 
yet live in sin ; that a bare profession of faith without a strict life was 
enough to salvation ; which poison was greedily sucked up by careless 
Christians, who were convinced of the truth of Christianity, but as yet 
had no power to overcome their lusts. It is strange that such gross 
conceits should possess their minds. But there is that which the apostie 
calleth ' a reprobate sense or mind,' Rom. i. 28. There is such an efficacy 
of error and deception in our corrupt natures, that men soon hear in this 
ear, and please themselves with the thoughts of impunity, though they 
live in gross sins : 2 Peter ii. 18, ' They allure through the lusts of the 
flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from 
them who live in error.' 

Secondly, A denunciation of God's wrath, ' Because of these things 
cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.' You have 
it again, Col. iii. 6. 


In which words observe 

1. The evil denounced, ' The wrath of God cometh/ 

2. The meritorious procuring cause, ' For these things.' 

3. The persons, or proper seat and subject of his vengeance, ' Upon 
the children of disobedience.' 

1. The evil denounced, ' The wrath of God cometh ; ' meaning by 

* wrath,' punishment from God, who is angry and displeased with these 
sins. And it is said, 'it cometh;' it is an allusion to a thing that falleth 
from a higher place, and crusheth those upon whom it falleth. So this 
wrath is said to be poured down upon them from heaven : Ps. xi. 6, 
' Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire, and brimstone, and an horrible 
tempest ; this shall be the portion of their cup ;' that is, their judg 
ment shall be terrible, irresistible, and remediless. So Kom. i. 18, ' For 
the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and 
unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.' They 
cannot make a wall against heaven to keep off that which shall come 
upon them from thence. 

2. The meritorious procuring cause, ' For these things,' fornication, 
uncleanness, and such like gross sins. God is not severe upon ordinary 
failings and frailties, but these sins are of another nature. 

3. The persons upon whom this vengeance cometh ; it shall light 

* upon the children of disobedience/ What children of disobedience 
signifieth I shall show anon. Some by it here understand infidels, as 
if that were the argument : How could these things be tolerable in 
Christians, when they were the sins for which God plagued the heathens 
or infidels ? Or rather, take the common sense ; children of disobedi 
ence are such as live in an open defiance of God's precepts, and will by 
no means be reclaimed, and forsake their sins, or be persuaded to seek 
after God, and his healing and renewing grace. And so it teacheth us 
two notes 

[1.] Those that are given to these sins are to be reckoned among the 
children of disobedience, or accounted rebels to God. Though they be 
Christians in name, yet they are heathens, profane Christians, that never 
heartily obeyed the gospel, nor thoroughly renounced their heathenish 
impurities : ' As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according 
to the former lusts of your ignorance,' 1 Peter i. 14. Tkicva vTratcofis, 
4 obedient children/ are opposite to these vlov? 1% avre^e/a?, 'children 
of disobedience,' that profess obedience, and yet relapse into their old 

[2.] That the wrath of God lighteth not upon them that have once 
fallen into these sins, or it may be often, in their unregeneracy, but 
afterwards repent and return to an holy life, but upon the 'children of 
disobedience/ that remain obstinate and impenitent, and will not be 
reduced from this impure course of living. 

Doct 1. That all those words which promise impunity or immunity 
from the wrath of God to gross open sinners are vain words. 

They are vain, because they cannot make good what they promise, 
being expressly both against the light of nature and scripture. And 
here I shall inquire 

1. What are the vain words wherewith sinners usually deceive 


2. How it cometh to pass that such gross self-flattery can ever pos 
sess their minds. 

I. What are the vain words or pretences by which they usually 
harden their hearts ? 

1. That God will not call them to an account, or punish them for 
their sins. That there is such a thought in their minds appeareth 
plainly in their actions to any discerning beholder: Zeph. i. 12, 'I wilt 
search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled 
upon their lees, that say in their hearts, The Lord will not do good, 
neither will he do evil.' There are implicit thoughts and explicit 
thoughts ; explicit thoughts are what we actually and inwardly conceive 
in our minds, and do expressly think of ; implicit thoughts are the latent 
principles which lurk in our hearts, which, though they do not bubble 
up into actual thoughts and opinions, yet secretly govern us and taint 
our actions. And these are usually called in the scripture, ' Saying in 
their hearts,' and are known by interpreting and running up our actions 
into their proper principle ; for man being a reasonable creature, it is 
supposed that all he doth is influenced by some reasonings of his 
mind, either more close or reserved, or more apparent and open. 
And now, though we in bashfulness and unconfidence of their truth 
for a while suppress our principles, yet their force and influence 
is too discernible in our actions. As, for instance, men that live 
securely in open sins, condemned not only by the light of scripture 
but nature, surely they are influenced by this thought, that either 
there is no God, or that he is careless of human affairs, and will not 
call them to an account whether they do good or evil : Ps. xxxvi. 1, 
' The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is 
no fear of God before his eyes ; ' that is, their lewd life showeth that 
they have no reverence of God, and plainly bespeaketh this thought 
in their mind and observation, that either they think there is no God, 
or that he is a senseless idol, and taketh no notice of human affairs so 
as to call men to any account for them ; for what could they do more 
wickedly if they were professedly leavened and plainly possessed with 
these opinions ? But these are but vain words ; for if there be no 
God, how could things fall into this order and proportion wherein 
we see them? Scripture and nature, reason and conscience, will 
tell thee there is a God. Look within thee, without thee, upward, 
downward, round about thee, everything thou seest, nearest, and 
feelest, proclaimeth a God to thee. And if there be a God, doth 
he not take notice of what men do ? Surely there is such a thing 
as good and evil, vice and virtue, sin and holiness ; the one worthy 
of blame, the other of praise. If it be not so, whence is it that we all 
affect to be counted honest and good ; to seem so at least, if we have 
no mind to be so ? The most wicked are offended to be taken for 
such as they are, and endeavour to cover their vices with the appear 
ance of virtue and goodness. If all things were utterly indifferent in 
their own nature, it were no more crime for a man to kill his father than 
his neighbour's dog, or to rob and murder men in the woods than to 
hunt a hare, to lie and forswear in our dealings than to be honest, 
just, and sincere. Surely there is a God, and there is moral good and 
evil ; and if it be so, will not God punish the evil and reward the 


good? If you think he will not, it is because he hath no right, or no 
power, or no will to do it. You cannot say no right, because man is 
his creature, and therefore his subject. You cannot say no power, for 
our life is in his hands. Now if he will not trouble himself with 
human affairs, or mind what is done here below, if he is neither pleased 
with our good deeds nor angry with our offences, why then hath he 
made a law with a sanction ? This is against all sense, reason, and 
experience. It is against the purity of his holy nature that he should 
be indifferent to good or evil, and wholly connive at the disorders of 
mankind. How then can we pray to him for mercies, or praise him 
for benefits ? Or could there be any such thing in men towards God 
as fear and hope ; fear that God will avenge their misdoings, or hope 
that he will support them in a righteous cause ? Which yet is against 
the universal sentiment of all mankind and common experience ; for 
God doth daily make known himself by punishments and benefits: 
Heb. ii. 2, ' For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every 
transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward/ 
&c. ; Eom. i. 18, ' But the wrath of God is revealed from heaven 
against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men ; ' Acts xiv. 17, 
' He left not himself without a witness, in that he did good, and gave 
us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food 
and gladness.' We see the effects of his wrath in pestilences, tem 
pests, inundations, and of his goodness in fruitful seasons. Therefore 
why will you cherish such vain thoughts, as if God would never call 
you to an account, when he is known by the judgments which he 
executeth daily? 

2. That God will be merciful to them ; though they sin against 
him, they shall notwithstanding escape well enough ; that he will not 
be severe against his creatures. But you reflect but upon one part 
of God's nature, his mercy, without his holiness and justice, and so 
fancy an unreasonable indulgence in God. You lessen his holiness : 
Ps. 1. 21, ' Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thy 
self.' They feign God to be what they would have him to be, and 
judge of his goodness by their own interest. A good man is troubled 
and grieved and offended with the impurities of others : 2 Peter ii. 7, 8, 
' And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the 
wicked ; for that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and 
hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful 
deeds.' And yet a good man is but a partaker of the divine nature, 
hath but some strictures of it. Besides, you overlook his justice, 
which belongeth to his office as governor of the world, as if he would 
be merciful however men are qualified. 

But doth not God deal with us in pure mercy, without any respect 
to qualifications ? 

I answer We must distinguish between the mercy which God 
exerciseth as a free lord, and the mercy which he exerciseth as a 
righteous governor. The one is spoken of Horn. ix. 16, ' So then, it is 
not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that 
showeth mercy.' The other, 1 Cor. ix. 24, 'So run that you may 
obtain.' There is a mercy that he showeth in converting some as a 
free lord, and a mercy that he showeth as a righteous governor, in 


rewarding and punishing. The first is not that you depend upon, for 
you are yet in your sins, and care not to come out of them ; and the 
second you cannot presume of, that you shall find mercy though you 
go on in your sins ; for God, that is arbitrary in his gifts, is not so in 
his judgments. Mercy is for the support of the penitent. There is a 
duty God requireth of us before we can expect it from him : Isa. Iv. 7, 

* Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his 
thoughts ; and let him turn unto the Lord, and he will have mercy ; 
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.' It is their cordial 
and thy poison : Ps. Ixviii. 20, 21, ' He that is our God is a God of 
salvation ; and unto God the Lord belong the issues from death. But 
God shall wound the head of his enemies, and the hairy scalp of such 
an one as goeth on still in his trespasses.' Besides, you abuse God's 
mercy, and put it to the worst use, when you think it shall spare all 
and pardon all : Jude 4, ' Turning the grace of God into lascivious- 
ness.' They only make a dung-cart of God's mercy to carry away all 
their filth ; for God will show mercy only to true penitents : Ps. cxxx. 7, 

* Let Israel hope in the Lord ; for with the Lord there is mercy, and with 
him there is plenteous redemption.' Mercy is wrested from its proper 
use to increase our carnal security and boldness in sinning, and not to 
invite us to return to God. Well, then, according to rule, licentious 
persons cannot expect mercy, or they that impenitently live in a course 
of sin hope that they shall escape his vindictive justice. 

3. That they are Christians, and by external profession have received 
the faith of Christ. But the name will not save you without the 
power : 2 Tim. ii. 19, ' And let every one that nameth the name of 
Christ depart from iniquity.' Christ came to save sinners, but from 
their sins, not in their sins : Mat. i. 21, ' He shall save his people from 
their sins.' And you mistake the nature of faith if you think it lieth 
in a strong confidence, and freedom from trouble for sin. No ; it is a 
hearty consent of subjection to Christ. He is not the best Christian 
that hath least trouble, but the least cause for it. Otherwise to wink 
hard, and shut our eyes against all knowledge of Christian duty and 
obedience, would make the best faith. No ; this is a purifying as well 
as a comforting grace : Acts xv. 9, ' Purifying their hearts by faith.' 
And they are the best Christians where Christ performeth most of his 
office in turning them to God : 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.' 

4. That none is perfect, and the rarest saints have fallen into as 
great faults, and so are persuaded that these gross sins are but frailties 
und human infirmities. Si David, cur non et ego ? If David fell, 
why may not I ? was an old excuse in Salvian's time. They fell into 
sin, but did they wallow and lie in it ? Will you live in sin, because 
in some rare case some of God's choicest servants have fallen into it ? 
Is the rest of your lives like theirs ? Did not they smart grievously 
for these sins ? and was not their repentance as remarkable as their 
fall ? Surely there is a difference between imperfection and wicked 
ness, as there is between falling by the stumbling of an horse into the 
mire, and wallowing therein in our drunkenness, or between the 
drowning of fields in a land-flood, and their being overflown by every 


5. Others say they are justified, and depend on the righteousness of 
Christ. You may, if you have a right to it ; but, 1 John iii. 7, ' He 
that doeth righteousness is righteous.' Where Christ is made right 
eousness, he is also made sanctification : 1 Cor. i. 30, ' But of him are 
ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and right 
eousness, and sanctification, and redemption.' You have very great 
cause to doubt of your justification when you constantly live in sin. 
There are some sins which are not consistent with sincerity and an 
interest in Christ's righteousness ; otherwise there were no distinction 
between the godly and the ungodly : but the scripture tells us the 
distinction is clear and manifest : 1 John iii. 10, ' In this the chil 
dren of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever 
doeth not righteousness, is not of God.' It is strange and groundless 
arguing, I am justified, therefore my sins of oppression, drunkenness, 
fornication, &c., shall do me no harm ; but it is sound arguing, I live 
in ordinary wilful heinous sins, therefore I am not justified or sincere, 
nor can I by the laws of Christianity look upon myself such, the scrip 
ture witnesses, as shall obtain acceptance with God. 

6. That if they be in an unjustified estate for the present, they hope 
they shall repent at last, and then they will leave off their sins, and cry 
God mercy. But you live in flat disobedience to God for the present : 
Heb. iii. 7, ' The Holy Ghost saith, To-day, if ye will hear his voice, 
harden not your hearts.' And besides, you only presume of future 
grace out of self-love, but can be content that God be dishonoured longer, 
provided that at length you may be saved. And besides, you leave a 
necessary indispensable duty to great uncertainties. God may take 
you away in the next act of sin, as he took away Zimri and Cosbi, and 
Korah and his accomplices, and so leave you no space to call for mercy ; 
or you may be smitten with an apoplexy, lethargy, or some stupid disease, 
that shall take away all opportunity of making your peace with God. 
If we were sure of repentance, it is great folly to play the mountebank 
with our own souls, and give ourselves a deadly wound to try the strength 
of a plaster or sovereign unguent ; or drink poison, and contract a sur 
feit, in expectation to remove the distemper by a vomit. The presum 
ing delayers are usually given up to hardness of heart, so as that they 
never repent : Gen. vi. 3, ' My Spirit shall not always strive with man.' 
Therefore to defer the forsaking of wilful sins and known enormities is 
to run a desperate hazard in the most momentous case. The grieved 
Spirit may at length be tired and wearied out, and you may grow more 
sottish and blockish every day. Therefore these are but vain words. 

7. That they do make amends for a course of sin in one kind by 
abounding in other duties ; as some that live in uncleanness will be 
charitable, hoping to expiate the offences of a filthy life by charity, and 
so make alms a sin-offering, which should be a thank-offering : Heb. 
xiii.16, ' But to do good and to communicate forget not ; for with such 
sacrifices God is well pleased.' So some will be just, and do no wrong, 
yet cannot deny their intemperance : Ezek. xxxiii. 13, 'If he trust in 
his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousness shall 
not be remembered ; ' that is, upon that account, or presumption of his 
other righteousness and good qualities. The apostle taxeth this want 
of entire and uniform obedience : Eom. ii. 22, ' Thou that abhorrest 



idols, dost thou commit sacrilege ? ' The Jews' form was abhorring 
idols ; but they were entangled in a crime as enormous, and robbed God 
"of his offerings. Most men's goodness is but to hide their secret indul 
gence to some other lewd practice or sinful course wherein they live. 
I say, to hide it, not only from the world, but their own hearts, as if 
our delinquency in some things might be excused by a supererogation 
in other duties ; as the Jews hoped to repair their want of mercy by a 
multitude of sacrifices ; as the stomach, when it hath no solid food, 
filleth itself with wind. But God will be obeyed in all things : ' God 
spake all these words,' Exod. xx. 1. The same authority that forbids 
stealing forbids adultery ; therefore we must be complete in all the will 
of God. These are some of the sorry fig-leaves by which men hope to 
cover their nakedness, those sandy foundations upon which they build 
their hopes. 

II. The reasons how it cometh to pass that such gross self-flattery 
can possess their minds. Though it be as plain as noon -day that they 
that live in gross sins shall be damned, yet the most profane have good 
thoughts of their condition. 

1. The causes lie in themselves ; as 

[1.] Self-love, which is very partial, and loath to think of the evil of 
our condition : Prov. xvi. 2, ' All the ways of man are clean in his own 
eyes ; but the Lord weigheth the spirits.' Alas ! few bring their actions 
to the balance of the sanctuary, and desire to know the worst by them 

[2.] Unbelief of God's word and divine promises and threatenings. 
Unbelief and obstinate impenitency always go together. God hath his 
word, and they have their word. Now rather than believe God's word, 
they will put it to the venture and trial, whose word shall stand, God's 
or theirs ? Jer. xliv. 28, ' And all the remnant of Judah, that are gone 
into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, shall know whose words shall 
stand, mine or theirs ; ' that is to say, which shall be fulfilled and made 
good, their foolish confidence or God's threatenings ? 

[3.] Non-attendance to God's warnings, if they are not guilty of ex 
press unbelief: Mat. xxii. 5, 'But they made light of it ;' Eccles. v. 1, 
' Keep thy foot when thou goest into the house of God, and be more 
ready to hear than to give the sacrifice of fools ; for they consider not 
that they do evil ; ' compared with Acts xvi. 14, ' Whose heart the Lord 
opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.' 

[4.] Non-application : Job v. 27, ' Lo ! this, we have searched it ; hear 
it, and know it for thy good ; ' Rom. viii. 31, ' What shall we say to 
these things ? ' Jer. viii. 6, ' No man repented him of his wickedness, 
saying, What have I done ? ' Now when men neither believe, nor 
consider, nor apply, no wonder if self-love carrieth it ; and in the greatest 
soul-dangers they flatter themselves into a fool's paradise, that they 
shall do well enough though they live in their sins. 

2. The devil joineth with our self-love, and lulleth us asleep in our 
carnal security and abuse of grace : Gen. iii. 4, 5, ' And the serpent 
said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die ; for God doth know that 
in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall 
be as gods, knowing good and evil.' In the first temptation he per 
emptorily denieth the terror of the curse, as if it were a vain scarecrow. 


As the cunning huntsman playeth least in sight till the beast be gotten 
into the snare and toil ; all is hushed and quiet, and then he appeareth 
with shouts and outcries ; so Satan glutteth men with carnal delights, 
and taketh care their pleasures be not disturbed with any thoughts of 
the world to come, or serious minding of their danger, till they are past 
remedy, and then torments with despairing fears as much as he hard 
ened us before with presumptuous thoughts of mercy. He that now 
tempts you to disobey the command, at death or sickness will tempt 
you to distrust the promise. 

3. He stirreth up instruments, that, with the charms of false doc 
trine, he may hinder the sight of sin and fears of judgment, and strengthen 
the hands of the wicked : Jer. xxiii. 17, ' They say still unto them that 
despise me, The Lord hath said, Ye shall have peace ; and they say 
unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No 
evil shall come upon you.' They confirm people in their wickedness, 
and keep them from repentance, by bearing them in hand, that God 
will be merciful to them ; and if they can but trust in the merits of 
Christ, or God's mercy, they are safe. These are those that are said to 
'daub with untempered mortar,' Ezek. xiii. 10, and to 'sew pillows under 
men's arms,' ver. 18 ; that is, lull men asleep in their sins. The church 
of God hath ever been troubled with such unskilful and unfaithful guides, 
and daubers with untempered mortar; and they are found in every 
party that delude poor drossy unsanctified souls with promises of peace 
and pardon, and by loose strains of grace hinder their conversion. 

Use. Let no man deceive you. 

1. It is sure you are not justified while you are yet in your sins. Men 
are first regenerated and then pardoned: Acts xxvi. 18, ' To open their 
eyes, and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of 
Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sin.' Till you are 
converted you cannot determine your right. So in the golden chain, 
sanctification is one necessary link. It is not omitted by the apostle, 
but included in one of the things there mentioned: Rom. viii. 30, 
' Whom he did predestinate, them he also called ; and whom he called, 
them he also justified ; and whom he justified, them he also glorified.' 
Sanctification is included in effectual calling ; there is initial sanctifica 
tion, and the progress of it is in the word ' glorified,' for it is a part 
of glory. You cannot imagine God can err in judgment ; and justi 
fication is an act of judgment, as condemnation is ; he deemeth and 
accounteth none just but those who are really changed. There is 
sententia legis and sententia judicis, the sentence of the law and the 
sentence of the judge ; the sentence of the law is justification constitu 
tive, the sentence of the judge is justification declarative. 

2. How much God is concerned to right himself, the honour of his 
providence, and the truth of his word, against such as flatter themselves 
in their sins : Deut. xxix. 19, 20, ' And it come to pass when he heareth 
the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall 
have peace though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add 
drunkenness to thirst : the Lord will not spare him, but then the anger 
of the Lord and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the 
curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the Lord 
shall blot out his name from under heaven.' When men excuse or 


extenuate the greatest sins, and the danger of them, when they think 
light of them, or presume of impunity, God is concerned to vindicate 

Doct. 2. It should deter us from wilful and heinous sins to think of 
the wrath of God that shall come upon those that live in them. 

First, It is a powerful motive ; for God's wrath is very terrible. It 
is God's anger makes us truly miserable, and not man's. God is our 
supreme 3udge, and God liveth for ever. Man's anger is finite and 
limited : Heb. x. 31, ' It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the 
living God/ The great and mighty men are afraid of this : Rev. vi. 
15-17, ' The kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, 
and the chief captains, and the mighty men, shall hide themselves in 
dens, and in the rocks of the mountains ; and say to the mountains and 
rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the 
throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb : for the great day of his wrath 
is come, and who shall be able to stand ? ' and the thing itself showeth 
it. Consider 

1. The intension of this wrath. It is compared to a ' consuming 
fire/ Heb. xii. 29. It is a fire that burneth, not only to the ground or 
the surface of the earth, but to the lowest hell : Deut. xxxii. 22, ' For 
a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn to the lowest hell ; ' 
that should not only manifest itself by visible judgments in the world, 
but invisible and unknown judgments in the world to come. There is 
often a standing out against God by our obstinacy and rebellion ; but 
there is no standing before him when his anger is kindled but a little. 
It can not only destroy the body, and those bodily things which gratify 
it, but it can light upon the conscience and the souls of men. Here if 
but a spark of his wrath light upon the conscience, what a burden are 
men to themselves? 

2. As to extension ; the wrath of God compriseth all those evils 
which are the fruit of sin, be they bodily or spiritual, in life or death, or 
after death. It is said, Deut. xxix. 21, ' The Lord shall separate him 
unto evil ; ' ver. 27, ' The anger of the Lord was kindled against- this 
land, to bring upon it all the curses that are written in this book/ The 
book of the law is full of curses to the sinner ; it hath a mouth to speak 
terrible things. But, Deut. xxviii. 61, 'And also every sickness, and 
every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, them will 
the Lord bring upon thee until thou be destroyed/ What is written 
or unwritten, revealed in the word or dispensed in providences, by way 
of plague or punishment, that is included in the wrath of God. 

3. For duration ; the wrath of God ' abideth ' on the impenitent, 
John iii. 36, and that not for a while, but ' for ever/ We despise God 
who is an infinite good, and forsake eternal happiness for a little tem 
poral delight ; and therefore the punishment is eternal. A wound may 
be received in an instant that is never healed. A man may suddenly 
slip into a pit out of which he shall never recover ; he may be in a 
moment bound with a chain that shall never be loosed. Now can we 
remain in carnal security whilst this wrath of God hangeth over our 
heads ? 

Secondly, It is a kindly motive. That is a question whether it be 
so or no, therefore let us state the matter. 


1. We are principally to avoid sin as sin and as displeasing to God: 
Gen. xxxix. 9, ' How shall I do this great wickedness, and sin against 
God? ' If we see not the evil of sin in itself as well as in the effects, 
we may be tempted to think God is unjust in over-punishing it. And 
true repentance lieth in hating sin as sin, for the evil that is in it as 
well as after it, as it is a repugnancy to God's will, or a transgression 
of his law. 

2. We must abstain from it, as it will bring down wrath and judg 
ment upon us. So God urgeth this argument, Ezek. xviii. 30, ' Repent, 
and turn yourselves from all your transgressions ; so iniquity shall not 
be your ruin.' Not only our obligations to God should hold us to our 
duty, but our fear of his dreadful displeasure. 

3. The pcena damni, to fear the punishment of loss, is out of ques 
tion. Timor separationis a Deo includitur in charitate A man can 
not love God and not fear the loss of his favour. To a gracious heart 
this is more grievous than all the fire and brimstone of hell. The soul 
that placeth its happiness in acceptance with God, and the enjoyment 
of God, is afraid to lose him : 2 Cor. v. 8, ' We are confident, I say, 
and willing, rather to be absent from the body, and present with the 
Lord ; ' 1 Cor. ix. 27, ' Lest that by any means, when I have preached 
to others, I myself should be a castaway.' 

4. The poena sensus, the punishment of sense, is necessary also to 
quicken men to their duty, and to guard their love, and to show that 
God doth not make little reckoning of sin ; for, 2 Cor. v. 11, 'Know 
ing the terror of the Lord, we persuade men/ This is necessary in 
case of great deadness and numbness of conscience, and especially when 
a man is apt to miscarry by boisterous temptations, such as great fears 
and passionate and pleasing lusts. Fears: Luke xii. 4, 5, 'Be not 
afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that 
they can do. But I will forewarn you whom you shall fear : Fear 
him which, after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell ; yea, I 
say unto you, Fear him.' As one nail driveth out another, so the fear 
of God driveth out the fear of men and pleasing lusts : Eom. viii. 13, 
' If you live after the flesh, ye shall die.' 

5. The effect which it must produce is not such a fear as driveth us 
from God, but bringeth us to him ; not torment, and perplexity, and 
despairing anguish (1 John iv. 18, ' Fear hath torment '), but flight 
and caution. We ought to represent it as a great evil, from whence 
we must fly by faith and repentance : Mat. iii. 7, ' Who hath warned 
you to flee from the wrath to come ?' and Heb. vi. 18 ; to quicken us 
in our flight to Christ, and taking sanctuary at the grace of the gospel ; 
and to engage us to more thankfulness for our deliverance by Christ : 
1 Thes. i. 10, ' And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised 
from the dead, even Jesus, who delivered us from the wrath to come ; ' 
and so keep at a distance from those things that may bring the wrath 
of God upon us. 

6. Punishments on others are for our warning. When God's judg 
ments are upon others for sin, his hand is to be observed with great 
reverence; as David: Ps. cxix. 119, 120, 'Thou puttest away all the 
wicked of the earth like dross : my flesh trembleth for fear of thee, and 
I am afraid of thy judgments.' Naturalists say a lion will tremble to 


see a dog beaten before him : Ps. Hi. 6, ' The righteous shall see, and 
fear, and shall laugh at him.' It is observable in the text, he doth 
not say the wrath of God shall come upon you, but upon ' the children 
of disobedience ; ' for he speaketh to the Ephesians as believers, or 
persons justified and sanctified. And it teacheth us that the dreadful 
wrath of God, that lighteth on reprobates, is for our warning. Though 
we do not look upon it as the portion of our cup, yet we must look upon 
it as debitum peccati, as an evil that God doth inflict for such sins ; 
therefore that sin ought to be shunned by the saints. God scourgeth 
and punisheth the wicked in our sight, that the regenerate may make 
use of their experience, and by their dying horrors, when they come 
to feel the effects of these sins, may tremble the more, and abhor those 
sins which are so displeasing to God. 

Use. To teach us in what rank to place principles of obedience. 
There are several principles by which men are acted and influenced. 

1. Some are false and rotten; as custom : Zech. vii. 3, 'As I have 
done these so many years.' Vainglory : ' To be seen of men,' Mat. 
vi. 1. Kapine: Mat. xxiii. 14, 'To devour widows' houses.' Envy: 
Phil. i. 15, 16, ' Some preach Christ out of envy and strife, and some 
also out of good will : the one preach Christ out of contention, not 

2. Some are more tolerable ; as the hope of temporal mercies : Hosea 
vii. 14, ' They have not cried unto me with their hearts when they 
howled upon their bed : they assemble themselves for corn and wine.' 
Fear of temporal judgments : Isa. Iviii. 5, ' Is it such a fast that I have 
chosen, a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head 
as a bulrush, to spread sackcloth and ashes under him ? Wilt thou 
call this a fast, and an acceptable day unto the Lord ? ' Jer. ii. 26, ' As 
the thief is ashamed when he is found, so is the house of Israel ashamed ; ' 
frightened into a little religiousness, when death is at their backs : Ps. 
Ixxviii. 34, ' When he slew them, then they sought him, and they re 
turned and inquired early after God.' To this rank I reckon also fear 
of hell, when it is alone. They shall be damned ; all their duties are 
a sin-offering, a sleepy sop to appease a guilty conscience ; all their 
repentance is but attrition, not contrition. 

3. Some are very good and sound ; as when duties are done out of 
obedience to God, upon the urgings of an enlightened conscience, with 
out the bent of a renewed heart ; for a regenerate man obeyeth not 
only as enjoined, but inclined. The principle is sound in the other, 
but the heart is not fitted. When a man considereth himself as a 
creature bound to obey his creator, whether willingly or unwillingly, 
he must do it : 1 Cor. ix. 16, 17, ' For though I preach the gospel, I 
have nothing to glory of ; for necessity is laid upon me, yea, woe is unto 
me if I preach not the gospel : for if I do this thing willingly, I have 
a reward ; but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is com 
mitted to me/ There is a bond of duty lying upon us. But now it 
is better when it is enlarged and fitted by grace : 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 righteous 
ness before him all our days ; ' Heb. viii. 10, ' I will put my laws into 
their mind, and write them upon their hearts ; ' Ps. xl. 8, ' Thy law is 


in my heart.' So fear of hell : ' Destruction from God was a terror to 
me/ Job xxxi. 23. Hope of heaven : Heb. xi. 26, ' He had respect to 
the recompense of reward.' Their state of happiness is a state of like 
ness to God. These principles with others do well. So also thankful 
ness and love to God : Kom. xii. 1, ' Present your bodies a living 
sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service ; ' 
Titus ii. 11, ' The grace of God, which bringeth saltation to all men, 
hath appeared,' &c. ; 1 John iv. 19, ' We love him, because he first 
loved us.' The glory of God : 1 Cor. x. 31, ' Whether ye eat, or drink, 
or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.' Love to the work for 
the work's sake, when holiness hath our very hearts : Ps. cxix. 140, 
' Thy word is very pure, therefore thy servant loveth it.' And then 

4. Some are rare and excellent ; as when we love God not only for 
his benignity, but holiness, and eye our reward for his sake, and love 
the glory of God above our own happiness, and can subordinate the 
happy part of our eternal estate to his glory : Kom. ix. 3, ' For I could 
wish that myself were accursed from Christ, for my brethren and 
kinsmen according to the flesh.' Now we are brought from one prin 
ciple to another, from rotten to tolerable, from tolerable to sound, from 
sound to rare and excellent. 

Doct. 3. That their condition is of all most miserable who are not 
only sinners, but stubborn and obstinate in their sin. The wrath of 
God cometh on the children of disobedience. 

1. Who are the disobedient ? It may be said of two sorts First of 
all, men in their natural condition with respect to the law : Rom. viii. 
7, ' The carnal mind is enmity against God ; for it is not subject to 
the law of God, neither indeed can be.' And, secondly, of those that 
refuse the gospel : 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 the end be of them that obey not the gospel ? ' viz., 
those that will not submit themselves to God, or be persuaded to for 
sake their sins. 

2. Now as to the disobedient sinners (1.) They are slaves to sin : 
Titus iii. 3, 'We were sometime foolish, disobedient, serving divers 
lusts/ They do what their lusts bid them, are at the whistle of a 
temptation ; but all the reasons in the world shall not persuade them 
to do what God commandeth them. (2.) They are of the devil's 
party : Eph. ii. 2. ' According to the prince of the power of the air, the 
spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience/ (3.) They 
are rebels to God : Job xxiv. 13, ' They are of those that rebel against 
the light ; they know not the ways thereof, they abide not in the paths 
thereof.' They have light enough to condemn their practices, but yet 
they live in them : ' Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge ? ' 
Ps. liii. 4. Their light hath no authority to bind them to their duty, 
but rather irritateth their corruptions : ' They are a very froward gene 
ration, children in whom is no faith/ Deut. xxxii. 20. 

Use. Well, then, let us be none of these. A man may err and 
straggle out of the way through ignorance, incogitancy, or being over 
come by the violent incursion of a temptation, but let us have a care 
of being children of disobedience. When we wander out of the way 
of our duty, let us look to God's word for direction in our way, and 


follow the guidance of it ; as the wise men, that took a long journey to- 
see Christ, followed the star that went before them, till it brought them 
to the house where Christ was, Mat. ii. 9, 10. [See this more largely 
handled in the next sermon.] 

Be not ye therefore partakers ivith them. EPH. v. 7. 

WE have handled in the 6th verse 

1. A caution, ' Let no man deceive you with vain words.' 

2. A denunciation, ' For these things' sake the wrath of God cometfo 
upon the children of disobedience.' 

Now I come to 

3. A dissuasion ; this is in the text, and is inferred out of the former- 
verse ; where we have 

[1.] The evil dissuaded from, o-y/i^ero%ot avT&v, ' Be not partakers 
with them/ that is, do not join with them in their evil ways, by com 
mitting these and the like sins. 

[2.] The reason, ' Therefore ; ' that is, because the wrath of God 
cometh upon the children of disobedience, do not join in their sins, 
that you may not be involved in their punishment ; as Eev. xviii. 4 r 
' Be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.' 

Doct. The dreadful estate of the children of disobedience should keep 
us from joining with them in their evil ways. 

Here let me show you (1.) Who are children of disobedience ; (2.) 
The misery of their condition ; (3.) Why this should deter us from 
being partakers with them. 

I. Who are children of disobedience. 

1. Those who are not only sinners, but stubborn, obstinate, and' 
ignorant sinners ; such as are prone to all evil, and are not only 
indisposed, but averse from all good. Both parts of the character 
must be minded. They presently do what lust biddeth them, and are 
at the beck of a temptation, but all the reasons in the world shall not 
persuade them to do what God commandeth them. They are as wax 
to Satan, but as a stone to God. They find an irresistible force in 
temptations : Prov. vii. 21, 22, ' With her much fair speech she 
caused him to yield ; with the flattery of her lips she forced him. He 
goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a 
fool to the correction of the stocks.' But as to good, they are not only 
weak and indisposed, but cannot endure to be subject to God. The 
more holy any creature is, the more readily does he obey God : Ps. 
ciii. 20, ' Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that 
do his commandments, hearkening to the voice of his word.' But for 
others, a small matter serveth their turn ; neither promises nor threaten- 
ings will gain them to their duty. 

2. This good is either to be determined by the light of nature or the- 
light of the gospel. 


[1.] Wicked men are called ' children of disobedience/ because they 
rebel against the light of nature : Job xxiv. 13, ' They are of those 
that rebel against the light ; they know not the way thereof, nor abide 
in the paths thereof.' They have light enough to condemn their 
practices, yet live in them : Ps. liii. 4, ' Have the workers of iniquity 
no knowledge ? ' Yes, they know better ; but the light hath no autho 
rity to bind them to their duty, it doth rather irritate their corruptions, 
than break the force of them; and therefore justly are they left to> 
destruction : Ps. ix. 17, ' The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all 
the nations that forget God.' They do not improve the natural 
impressions of God, and the distinction of good and evil that is written? 
upon their hearts ; they drown the voice of reason and conscience. 

[2.] Those that have heard the gospel, and will not suffer themselves, 
to be persuaded to embrace the blessed offers made therein, nor will 
they give up themselves to the obedience of Christ. Their condition 
is more terrible, for these are desperately sick, and refuse their remedy : 
1 Peter iv. 17, ' For the time is come that judgment must begin at the 
house of God ; and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of 
them that obey not the gospel of God ? ' Their condition is more 
deplorable and desperate than that of other men ; for they will not 
enter into the kingdom of God when invited thereunto, though they do* 
so apparently need this healing dispensation. There are two things in 
the gospel the doctrine of salvation, what God hath done on his part ;, 
and the counsels of salvation, what we must do on our part. 

(1.) The doctrine of salvation, or the rich preparations of grace 
which God hath made for our recovery. On God's part, 'All things- 
are ready,' Mat. xxii. 4. He hath given his Son to die for us, and to* 
be the foundation of that new and better covenant wherein pardon and 
life are offered to us. But this is coldly entertained by many ; either 
they do not consider it : Mat. xxii. 5, ' They made light of it ; ' or they 
do not believe it : 1 Cor. ii. 14, ' For the natural man receiveth not 
the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him ; neither 
can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned ; ' or they 
do not apply and improve this blessed offer, that it may be ' the gospel 
of our salvation/ Eph. i. 13. There is not a cordial assent or lodging- 
the truth in the soul : ' My word hath no place in you/ John viii. 37. 
Whatever general profession there is made of believing this doctrine,, 
there is no room for it in their hearts, they believe it not heartily sc* 
as to affect it, and so as to build upon it for the saving of their souls. 
It is not received by sound evidence, as is seen by the little influence 
it hath upon them, by the doubts and questionings that frequently arise 
in their minds whenever they are serious ; by their hatred of those that 
seriously embrace this truth, by the scorn they cast upon those that 
improve it to a holy conversation and godliness. Alas ! generally ife 
is received in the Christian world, as it was said of the reports about 
Christ's resurrection, as an idle tale or vain dream: Luke xxiv. 
11, ' And their words seemed unto them as idle tales, and they believed 
them not.' And the doctrines of Christ, heaven, and hell, and judgment 
to come are made matter of scoffing and mockage : 2 Peter iiL 
3, 'Knowing this, that there shall come in the last days _ scoffers, 
walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his 
coming ? ' and the root of men's disobedience is unbelief. 


(2.) The counsels of salvation, or what we must do on our part, that 
we may partake of the righteousness and Spirit of Christ : Luke vii. 
30, ' But the pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against 
themselves.' There is the counsel which God giveth us, if we will have 
sin pardoned and he eternally happy. Many look to what he hath done 
for us ; hut they do not seriously consider what he hath required of 
us. We are to obey the counsels of the gospel, as well as to believe 
the doctrines of the gospel. Now what hath God required ? 

(1st.) That we should believe in Christ as the redeemer of the world, 
with such a faith as may make him precious to us, and value his grace 
above all the world : 1 Peter ii. 7, 8, ' Unto you therefore which believe 
he is precious : but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the 
builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone 
of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the 
word, being disobedient, whereunto they were also appointed.' The 
apostle divideth the hearers of the gospel into believers and disobed 
ient ; and there he showeth what Christ is to believers, ' precious,' as 
the alone refuge and sanctuary of distressed souls, who are ever 
hungering and thirsting after Christ, and more of his renewing and re 
covering grace. The other party are the disobedient, and to them he 
is ' a stone of stumbling/ with allusion to them that travel by land, 
and ' a rock of offence,' with respect to them that travel by sea. They 
are loose and careless in this matter (we do not speak of every disobed 
ience, but of wilful disobedience), they are ' a fro ward generation,' Deut. 
xxxii. 20. Preach and say what we will, it moveth them not ; teach 
them their duty, warn them of their danger, all is to no purpose ; they 
still reject Christ, and despise his benefits, and refuse to take on them 
his yoke, or embrace the noble and heavenly life. To the serious and 
broken-hearted, he is their life, light, food, strength, righteousness, and 
all ; but to others a fancy, or nothing. Believing in Christ is God's 
great command : 1 John iii. 23, ' And this is his commandment, that 
we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ.' There 
fore it is called ' the obedience of faith ; ' Bom i. 5, ' Made known to 
all nations by the obedience of faith,' Bom xvi. 26 ; ' And bringing 
into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ,' 2 Cor. x. 4. 
But the rebellious world little valueth God's authority ; they are so 
addicted to paltry vanities, and their own will and lusts, that they 
slight the offered Saviour, and all the grace he tendereth to them. 

(2d.) Bepentance is another part of the counsel given to us. Christ 
told his disciples what they should do to perform their charge : Luke 
xxiv. 47, ' And that repentance and remission of sins should be 
preached in his name among all nations/ And the apostles pressed it 
on all that would enter into the gospel kingdom : Acts ii. 38, ' And 
Peter said unto them, Bepent, and be baptized every one of you in the 
name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins ;' Acts iii. 19, ' Bepent, 
that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall 
come from the presence of the Lord/ Now repentance implieth an 
hearty detestation and renunciation of our former ways, whereby we 
have offended God, and a serious dedication of ourselves to his use 
and service. Now many regard not this, and though they hear their 
personal sins reproved, and the curses of the law denounced against 


them, yet they hold on their course still, and cannot be persuaded to 
leave those sins ; and when God would heal them, they will not be 
healed, but are wholly led by their corrupt affections, and will not be 
persuaded to abandon their bewitching lusts : 2 Chron. xxx. 8, ' Now 
be ye not stiff-necked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves unto 
the Lord ; ' (Hebr. Give your hand unto the Lord). We press men 
to return, and not keep God out of his right any longer ; but we do 
but water a rock, and seek to mollify a flint, that yieldeth not ; nor will 
they strike hands with God. We cannot bring it to a bargain or 
thorough conclusion, so as to lay down the buckler, and say, ' Lord, 
what wilt thou have me to do ? ' Acts ix. 6. 

(3d) New obedience. This is part of the counsel of God to you if 
you would be saved : Heb. v. 9, ' He is the author of eternal salvation 
to them that obey him ; ' Isa. i. 19, ' If ye be willing and obedient, ye 
shall eat the good of the land/ And grace teacheth us, Titus ii. 
12, 'That, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live 
soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world.' We should be 
sober as to the government of ourselves, righteous as to our carriage to 
our neighbour, godly as to the Lord himself, not defrauding him of his 
due worship, internal and external, love, trust, delight, reverence, 
daily commerce with him in company and alone. Though we persuade 
these things by the strongest and most cogent arguments, yet still 
there are some that will be intemperate, incontinent, that will not live 
soberly ; Christians that will not live soberly, that cannot bridle the 
desires of the flesh ; unrighteous Christians, that will not make con 
science of giving every one their due ; and ungodly persons that forget 
God days without number. Though much of this duty be evident by 
natural light, and necessary to preserve a comely order in human 
society, yet neither restraints of conscience nor the laws of men or God 
will keep them within the bounds of their duty ; but men will be dis 
obedient still, and run out into many excesses and disorders, without 
all shame, especially when they have habituated themselves to some 
evil custom and practice : Jer. xiii. 23, ' Can the Ethiopian change 
his skin, or the leopard his spots ? then may ye also do good, that are 
accustomed to do evil.' Alas ! who is able then to preach away the 
cup out of the drunkard's mouth, or wantonness out of the heart of 
the unclean person ? Yea, to bring vain people to part with a fashion, 
or a recreation, which hath often been a snare to them ? they are brought 
under the power of these things, and cannot leave them. A child of 
God may err and straggle out of his way through ignorance or iucogi- 
tancy, or be overcome and borne down through the violent incursion of 
a temptation. It fareth with them as with the wise men who came a 
long journey to seek Christ ; when they went out of the way, the star 
left them, but they stayed not there till the star appeared to them, 
again. So God's people may straggle from their duty, but they do not 
rest there. But the children of disobedience cannot cease from sin in 
the several kinds wherein they are captivated : 2 Peter ii. 14, ' Having 
eyes full of adultery, and cannot cease from sin, beguiling unstable 
.souls ; an heart they have exercised with covetous practices : cursed 
children, they have forsaken the right way.' It is their element, out 
<>f which they cannot rest. 


3. Tin's obstinacy and disobedience is aggravated 

[1.] From the person who is disobeyed. It is not our counsel, but 
God's. To weary and grieve men who do entreat them to forsake their 
sins and seek after God, is ill, for they must give an account : Heb. 
xiii. 17, ' Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit your 
selves ; for they watch for your souls as they that must give account, 
that they may do it with joy, and not with grief.' But that is not all: 
Isa. vii. 13, 'Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye 
weary my God also ? ' They rebel against God himself while they 
shake off his authority : Ps. xii. 4, ' Who have said, With our tongue 
we will prevail ; our lips are our own, who is lord over us ? ' and 
refuse to accept his gracious offers : Heb. ii. 3, ' How shall we escape 
if we neglect so great salvation ? ' It redounds to the contempt of 
God, who hath provided such an excellent salvation for us in Christ. 
You despise him that speaketh from heaven, as well as weary them 
that speak on earth : 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/ 

[2.] From the manner of the persuasion, which is by the word and 
Spirit. In the word there are the highest motives to allure, the 
strongest arguments to persuade, the greatest terrors to scare men out 
of their sins. For motives, God outbiddeth them that bid most for 
your hearts ; he offereth you an eternal infinite happiness, both for 
your bodies and souls. A little dreggy delight, profit, honour, or vain 
pleasure is nothing to it ; it is not worthy to be compared with it. In 
other cases we would take the best bargain ; here is life, and pleasure, 
and honour, for evermore : Ps. xvi. 11, ' In thy presence is fulness of 
joy ; and at thy right hand pleasures for evermore.' Here are the 
strongest arguments to persuade God's authority : James iv. 12, ' There 
is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy.' Christ's love : 2 
Cor. v. 14, ' The love of Christ constraineth us.' For terrors, God doth 
not tell us of mean penalties, but of a pit without a bottom, a worm 
that shall never die, a fire that shall never be quenched : Mark ix. 44, 
'Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.' Is hell 
a vain scarecrow, where the damned spirits are perpetually exercised 
with a bitter remembrance of what is past, a sense of what is present, 
and a fear of what is to come ? If all this will not work, what will 
do ? Ps. Iviii. 4, 5, ' Their poison is like the poison of a serpent ; they 
are like the deaf adder, that stoppeth her ear, which will not hearken 
to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely.' An allusion to 
charming for the taming of serpents, which were used in those eastern 
countries ; not to approve them, but to improve a vile practice. Men 
will hold on their way, say God what he will to the contrary. See the 
words of the prophet Jeremiah, chap. xiii. 11, ' But the people would 
not hear.' But this is not all. The motions of the Holy Spirit go 
along with it : Acts vii. 51, ' Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost ; ' ye 
stop him in his sanctifying work, and refuse the help that God offers, 
which maketh it the more heinous. 

[3.] From the plenty of offers. God hath called often and long : 
Prov. xxix. 1, ' He that, being often reproved, hardeneth his neck, shall 


suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.' It is dangerous to 
slight frequent warnings ; these are obdurate in their sins. 

[4.] From the concomitant dispensations of providence. When our 
obstinacy and resolved continuance in sin is not broken by afflictions ; 
as Pharaoh was Pharaoh still from first to last. Ahaz had a brand set 
upon him : 2 Chron. xxviii. 22, ' And in the time of his distress did he 
trespass yet more against the Lord ; this is that king Ahaz.' God may 
break their backs by his judgments, but not their hearts : Prov. xxvii. 
22, ' Though thou shouldst bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a 
pestle, yet will not his foolishness depart from him.' Spices bruised 
and pounded are more fit for medicine, but these depart not from their 
luxury, profaneness, and uncleanness, when they are not softened by 
mercies : Isa. xxvi. 10, ' Let favour be showed to the wicked, yet will 
he not learn righteousness ; in the land of uprightness will he deal 
unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the Lord.' God shall not 
have their heart for all this ; they despise his goodness : Horn 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 ? ' 

4. This disobedience, the longer it is continued, the more it is 
increased. There is a natural averseness from God. Take a man in 
his pure naturals, he hath nothing to incline him to God; but the 
longer we continue in it, we every day make ourselves seven times more 
the children of hell. Still it increaseth till it come to the height of 
senseless judicial hardness of heart : Zech. vii. 11, 12, ' But they refused 
to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ear that 
they should not hear ; yea, they have made their hearts as an adamant 
stone, lest they should hear the law.' So still they grew more and 
more disobedient. 

II. The misery of their condition. It is either matter of sense or 
matter of faith ; of sight, because of present judgments, or foresight, 
because of the threatenings of the word. 

1. It is matter of sight, as God doth inflict remarkable judgments 
on obstinate sinners in this life, to teach his children to beware of their 
sins. These judgments are either spiritual or temporal. 

[1.] Spiritual. These men are in a miserable and voluntary servi 
tude both to sin and Satan ; and both are the basest masters that any 
one can have. To sin : Titus iii. 3, ' For we ourselves also were 
sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and 
pleasures.' They do all things which their lusts command, and 
oannot by any reason be persuaded to shake off this yoke. The less 
they feel this bondage in themselves, the more dangerous it is, and 
the more they are obnoxious to it ; for then both will and mind 
is oppressed, and they know no better things. They that are slaves 
by force are not in so bad a condition as they that are slaves by consent, 
that sell their souls, their religion, their God, their Christ, their happi 
ness, their all, for a little brutish satisfaction, and are so governed by 
their carnal affections that they know not how to come out of this 
thraldom, but suffer the beast to ride the man, and have gotten such 
an habit and course of sinning, that they are wholly enslaved by these 
brutish pleasures, and cannot help it. To Satan : The other master 


is the devil ; they are of his party and confederacy : 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 
worketh in the children of disobedience.' Their hearts are Satan's shop 
and proper workhouse, where his weapons of defiance are formed 
against God. They carry on a defensive war, shutting up their hearts 
against all his invitations to repentance and offers of grace, so that 
God can get no entrance there. An offensive war, as they do not only 
despise his offers, but hate his ways. Thus God hangeth up some in 
chains of darkness for a warning to the rest. 

[2.] Temporal judgments ; for the wrath of God that cometh on the 
children of disobedience is not to be confined to the other world; 
much of it cometh upon them here ; as when it is said, Heb. xiii. 4, 
' Whoremongers and adulterers God will judge ; ' that is, punish, not 
only eternally after this life if they repent not, but also temporally in 
this life ; yea, though they may repent, as is evident in David, who, 
though he repented, yet he suffered grievously for his adultery. If 
God's own children will act the part of the children of disobedience, 
they smart for it ; for this is necessary to prevent the taint of their 
example in the world. Well, but these judgments are not lightly to 
be passed over, especially when they are executed before our eyes, and 
God cometh near and close to us, for they are the holy and righteous 
dispensations of the wise God; not things casual, indeterminate, or 
done at random, nobody knoweth by whom, or to what end and purpose. 
You cannot imagine that a holy, just, and wise God should have no 
end and scope in what he doth. The scripture calleth often God's 
judgments ' his arrows.' Now these are not shot at rovers, as the man 
that killed Ahab drew a bow at a venture. No ; God hath a certain 
and steady aim at which he levelleth and directeth his shaft ; and God's 
aim is our instruction. All his judgments are speaking lessons and real 
warnings, that we may not involve ourselves in the same sins, and so in 
the same punishment. They are appointed, not only for our admiration, 
but our instruction : Zeph. iii. 7, ' I said, Surely thou wilt fear me, thou 
wilt receive instruction.' God promiseth it to himself that the world will 
not be so stupid as to run the hazard of the same fearful judgments 
which have overtaken others : Deut. viii. 19, 20, ' I testify against you 
this day, that you shall surely perish, as the nations which the Lord 
destroyeth before your face, because ye would not be obedient unto the 
voice of the Lord ; ' Deut. xix. 20, ' And those that remain shall hear, 
and fear, and henceforth commit no more any such evil among you.' 
When any malefactor was executed, and found out by God's justice, 
he expected they should make this use of it : Deut. xvii. 13, ' And all 
the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously.' 

2. It is matter of faith and foresight. And so by this wrath of God 
is meant eternal destruction, which cometh upon them for their dis 
obedience, which is a sin of the highest nature, and a chief cause of 
their damnation. At death they feel the sad effects of it : 1 Peter iii. 
19, 20, ' By which he also went and preached to the spirits in prison, 
which were sometimes disobedient, when once the long-suffering of God 
waited in the days of Noah.' They had God's word then, for Noah 
was ' a preacher of righteousness,' 2 Peter ii. 5. They had the Spirit 
then, for God saith, Gen. vi. 3, ' My Spirit shall not always strive with 


man.' Well, then, these children of disobedience, when their body is 
sent to the grave, the soul is sent to hell ; which the psalmist expres- 
seth by being torn in pieces : Ps. 1. 22, ' Lest I tear you in pieces, and 
there be none to deliver.' So for the day of judgment : 2 Thes. i. 7, 8, 
' The Lord Jesus Christ shall be revealed from heaven, with his mighty 
angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, 
and obey not the gospel.' The great business then is to convince the 
reprobates of their disobedience. They see then how many warnings 
and invitations they have despised ; so many sermons, so many stings 
in the conscience. Those that despise his richest grace now, how glad 
would they be of one favourable look from Christ! It is not simplicity 
that is their ruin, but obstinacy and impenitency in sin, for which they 
shall have no excuse or cloak : John xv. 22, ' If I had not come and 
spoken unto them, they had not had sin ; but now they have no cloak 
for their sin.' 

III. Why this should deter God's people from being partakers with 
them. Here I shall inquire (1.) What it is to be partakers with 
them ; (2.) Why God's wrath should deter us from this ? 

1. What it is to be partakers with them. 

[1.] There is a principal sense, and chiefly intended here, that we 
should not follow their example. We are not so ready to anything as 
to follow ill examples. Man is a ductile creature ; they had need be 
well resolved for God and holiness who are not carried down the 
common stream. The example of the multitude hath a great force to 
pervert mankind : Isa. vi. 5, ' I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell 
in the midst of a people of unclean lips,' Eph. ii. 2, 3, ' The spirit that 
ruleth in the children of disobedience ; among whom also we all had 
our conversation in time past, in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the 
desires of the flesh, and of the mind ;' 1 Peter iv. 2, ' That he no longer 
should live the rest of his time in the flesh, to the lusts of men, but to 
the will of God.' It doth at least take off the odiousness of sin, and 
reconcile the hearts of men to it. It is hard to be singular, and not to 
follow a multitude, though in an evil way ; for by common practice 
things are authorised : Gal. ii. 13, ' Peter dissembled, and the other 
Jews dissembled also with him, insomuch that Barnabas also was 
carried away with their dissimulation.' Now lest this should prevail 
with us, the apostle would have us consider the danger ; we involve our 
selves in the same punishment if we take not heed of the sin : ' Because 
for these things the wrath of God cometh upon the children of dis 
obedience ; be not ye therefore partakers with them.' God punisheth 
the disobedience of his people very sharply. 

[2.] There is a limited sense of the phrase : 1 Tim. v. 22, ' Neither 
be partakers of other men's sins.' There it signifieth not committing 
the same sins, but being accessory to the sins of others. Some are 
ringleaders and chief actors in a sinful course ; others are assessors 
and abettors. Now how many ways may we partake of the sins of 
others ? 

(1.) By counselling ; as Jonadab gave Amnon pernicious counsel 
how to fulfil his carnal and incestuous desires, 2 Sam. xiii. 5. 

(2.) By alluring and enticing ; as. Prov. i. 10, ' My son, if sinners 
entice thee, consent thou not.' Hear God persuading rather than a 
carnal companion enticing. 


(3.) By consenting ; as Aliah did to Jezebel's plot to destroy Naboth, 
1 Kings, xxi. 19. His part was less in the sin than hers, therefore his 
punishment was less than hers ; the dogs licked his blood, but they 
devoured her body. 

? (4.) By applauding or flattery, and lessening the sin : Horn. i. 32, 
"* They not only do those things, but have pleasure in those that do 
them.' So some are glad when they can draw others to drunkenness, or 
inflame others with lust. 

(5.) Conniving, contrary to the duty of our place : 1 Sam. iii. 13, ' I 
will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth, because 
his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.' Their sin 
was a sin of commission, but his a sin of omission, and so he came into 
a fellowship of the guilt. Now as we should not imitate the sin, and 
so make it ours, so we should not be any way accessory to these sins, 
and so be partakers in the guilt, as when we have power to hinder the 
in and do it not. 

2. Why the wrath of God should deter us from this. 

[1.] Because of the impartiality of God's judgment ; he will not only 
punish heathen sinners without the pale, but Christian sinners who 
profess and own the true religion ; for there is no acceptance of persons 
with God : 1 Peter i. 17, 'And if ye call on the Father, who without 
respect of persons judgeth according to every man's works.' There by 
* person ' is meant either Jew or Greek, Christian or pagan ; if there 
be any difference, it is worse with them, and wrath will come upon 
them first, because they know more of God's mind, and have greater 
obligations and ad vantages of doing his will : Kom. ii. 9-11, ' Tribula 
tion and anguish upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew 
first, and also of the gentile ; but glory, honour, and peace to every 
man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the gentile : for 
there is no respect of persons with God.' 

[2.] Because of the greatness of his mercy. That God will instruct 
us at their cost, and sealeth our instruction on their backs, scourgeth 
them so sorely in our sight, is for a warning to us. And in this sense 
is that fulfilled, ' Prov. xxi. 18, The wicked shall be a ransom for the 
righteous, and the transgressors for the upright ; ' that is, God will 
make them spectacles of his judgment, that he may make us objects 
of his mercy. Now it is stupidness not to observe the instances of God's 
wrath on others, that we may not be made instances ourselves. David 
trembled when he saw Uzzah smitten, 2 Sam. vi. 9 ; so should we when 
Ood avengeth the quarrel of any commandment, as he frequently doth 
in his providence : Eom. i. 18, Tor the wrath of God is revealed from 
heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men ; ' and Heb. 
ii. 2, ' For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every trans 
gression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward;' 
surely then it concerneth us to lay it to heart. 

Use 1. To show us that we are not to be idle spectators of God's 
judgments on others, but judicious observers and improvers of them. 
Observe here (1.) The use of observing God's providences on others ; 
(2.) The manner of it. 

. First, The use and benefit of observing God's providences is great in 
these particulars 


1. To cure atheism : Ps. Iviii. 11, 'So that a man shall say, Verily 
there is a reward for the righteous ; verily he is a God that judgeth 
in the earth.' They that know what to think of God's providence 
before shall find that God doth govern the affairs of the world as a 
righteous judge. Were men greater students in providence, and did 
they observe what judgments he bringeth to light every day, they 
would soon see that God is not indifferent to good and evil, that he 
taketh care of things below ; that the world is not governed by blind 
chance, but with great wisdom, and justice, and equity. It is not only 
the cavil of the wicked : Mai. ii. 17, ' Ye have wearied the Lord with 
your words ; yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him ? when ye say, 
Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he 
delighteth in them ; or, Where is the God of judgment ? ' As if God 
did approve of wicked men, and were not a just and impartial judge, 
or there were no providence at all. But it is the temptation of the 
godly : Ps. Ixxiii. 11-13, ' And they say, How doth God know ? 
and is there knowledge in the Most High ? Behold, these are the 
ungodly, who prosper in the world, they increase in riches. Verily, I 
have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency.' 
The poet Claudian 

He much doubted- 
But at length 

' Res hominum tanta caligine volvi 
Aspiceret, laetosque diu florere nocentes, 
Vexarique pios.' 

' Curarunt super! terras ? an nullus inesset 
Rector ? et incerto fluerent mortalia casu ? ' 

' Abstulit hunc tandem Ruffini pcena tumultum, 
Absolvitque Decs.' 

He would no more call in question God's providence and the just 
government of the world. 

2. To make us more cautious of sin, that we meddle not with it. 
God's judgments feed our holy fear and awe of God, and so stir up 
watchfulness and care for our own safety, that we may not fall into 
like offences, or do anything that is displeasing unto God. We have 
to do with a just and holy God, who we see is tender of his laws, a 
God that will not be dallied with. When he beginneth to execute his 
judgments against the children of disobedience, we should fear for our 
selves. When Uzzah was stricken, ' How shall I bring the ark of God 
home to me?' saith David, 1 Chron. xiii. 12. Will not God be so 
severe to me if I behave myself irreverently ? Certainly it is stupid 
incogitancy when God puts such examples before our eyes and we are 
not affected with them. The Gibeonites were more wise and cautious, 
Josh. ix. 3 ; when they saw the cities of Ai and Jericho destroyed, 
and their inhabitants cut off by the sword, they did not expect the 
coming of Joshua, but sent messengers to him, and by a wile struck 
up a covenant before he came any farther. Or as that captain, when 
two before him with their fifties were destroyed by fire, he fell upon 
his knees before the prophet : 2 Kings i. 13, 14, ' And besought him, 
and said unto him, man of God ! I pray thee let my life, and the 

VOL. xix. Q 


life of these fifty, be precious in tliy sight. Behold, there came fire 
down from heaven, and burnt up the two captains of the former fifties, 
with their fifties ; therefore let my life now be precious in thy sight.' 
But our stupidness and blindness is such that we are not moved with 
these judgments so as to be more cautious : Prov. xxii. 3, 'A prudent 
man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself ; but the simple pass on, and 
are punished.' 

3. To humble us, and make us more earnest in deprecating the 
wrath of God, and suing out our pardon in Christ. We see sin goeth 
not unpunished. Alas ! if God should enter into judgment with us r 
who could stand? Ps. cxliii. 2. When we see his judgments executed 
upon others, every humble heart will sue out his pardon. What 
miserable wretched creatures should we be if God should stir up all 
his wrath against us ! 

4. To make us thankful for our mercies and deliverances by Christ, 
that, when others are spectacles of his wrath, we should be monuments 
of his mercy and grace. Were it not for the Lord's pardoning and 
healing grace, we had been in as bad a condition as the worst : Rom. 
xi. 22, ' Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God ; on them 
which fell, severity ; but towards thee, goodness, if thou continue in hi& 
goodness ; otherwise also thou shalt be cut off.' When the Israelites 
saw the Egyptians drowned in the waters, they saw the more reason to 
bless God for their own escape ; and Moses pens a song of thanksgiving, 
Exod. xv. Our deserts are in part represented to us in the bitter 
experience of others. It is of the Lord's mercy that we are not con 
demned with the world, and left to perish in our sins ; but that we see 
by their sufferings what an evil and bitter thing sin is. 

Secondly, The manner of making these observations. This is need 
ful to be stated, because men are apt to misapply providence, and to sit 
as a coroner's inquest on the souls of their neighbours, and so rather 
observe things to censure others than for their own caution. These 
pervert the providences of God, and speak to the grief of others whom 
God hath wounded. Shimei was one of this sort of men : 2 Sam. xvi. 
7, 8, ' Come out, thou bloody man, thou man of Belial : the Lord 
hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose 
stead thou hast reigned, and the Lord hath delivered the kingdom into 
the hand of thy son Absalom ; and behold, thou art taken in thy 
mischief, because thou art a bloody man.' As if God had been call 
ing him to an account for the injuries done to Saul's house, and his 
rebellion against his father-in-law was punished by the rebellion and 
usurpation of his own son. Such bold glosses and comments do- 
men put upon providence, and make it speak their own language, and 
so they pry into God's secrets without God's warrant and direction. 

Rules concerning the observation of God's providences towards others. 

1. Certain it is that judgments on others must be observed. Provi 
dence is a comment on the word, and therefore it is stupidness not to 
take notice of it. They that will not observe God's hand shall feel it. 
If we will not take the warning at a distance, and by others' smart and 
rebuke, there is no way left but we ourselves must be taught by ex 
perience. He that will plunge himself into a bog or quagmire, where 
others have miscarried before him, is doubly guilty of folly, because he 


neither feareth the threatening, nor will take warning by their example 
and punishment. Observe we must : Amos vi. 2, ' Pass ye unto Calneh, 
and see ; from thence go ye to Hamath the great ; then go down to 
Gath of the Philistines : be they better than these kingdoms ? or their 
border greater than your border ? ' 

2. This observation must be to a good end ; not to censure others, 
that is malice ; or justify ourselves above them, that is pride and self- 
conceit, condemned by our Lord Christ : Luke xiii. 25, ' And Jesus 
answered and said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galileans were 
sinners above all the Galileans, because they suffered such things? I 
tell you, Nay ; but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or 
those eighteen upon whom the tower of Siloam fell, and slew them: 
think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem ? 
I tell you, Nay ; but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish/ 

3. In making the observation, we must have a care that we do not 
make providence speak the language of our fancies. 

[1.] There must be a due reasoning from the provocation to the 
judgment, sed non e contra ; not judge of the wickedness of the per 
son by the judgments on the person ; as the barbarians at Melita 
showed little reason and less charity in misconstruing the passage of 
the viper that fastened on Paul's hand, that therefore 'he was a 
murderer/ Acts xxviii. 4. The dispensations of God's providence are 
commonly alike to good and bad, Eccles. ix. 1. By a sudden stroke 
God may take off the godly as well as the wicked. Josiah died in the 
same way that Ahab did, by an arrow in the battle, after being dis 
guised, 2 Chron. xxxv. 23 ; Jonathan died in the field by the hand of 
the uncircumcised, as well as Saul, 1 Sam. xxxi. 1, 2. Did Simon 
Magus break his neck ? so did good old Eli, 1 Sam. iv. 18. We can 
not conclude some great sin from the judgment. No; our reasoning 
must be the contrary : Prov. xxi. 12, ' The righteous man wisely con- 
sidereth the house of the wicked, but God overthroweth the wicked 
for their wickedness.' 

[2.] Sometimes the sin is clearly written on the judgment, and the 
name of the sin is engraven on the rod wherewith we are scourged : 
Judges i. 7, ' As I have done, so God hath requited me/ There are 
some remarkable circumstances wherein sin and judgment meet : 
Obad. 15, ' As thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee.' The judg 
ments have a signature and impress on them. The Israelites' children 
were drowned in the waters ; so were Pharaoh, and all his nobility, 
and men of war. 

[3.] 'When the judgment treadetli on the heels of the sin, as Zimri 
and Oosbi perished in the very act of their sin ; and Herod was 
immediately smitten with lice when he usurped divine honour, Acts 
xii. 22, 23. 

[4.] When by the very means by which they hope to secure them 
selves, and so, whilst they think to avoid their danger, they hasten and 
increase it. The builders of Babel, being afraid of scattering, would 
build a stupendous tower for a place of retreat, Gen. xi. 4. God con 
founded their language, and by that means they were scattered. Jero 
boam, to secure the kingdom to his house, sets up calves at Dan and 
Bethel, 1 Kings xii. 26-28. This became a snare to his house to cut 


it off, 1 Kings xiii. 34. The Philistines threatened Samson's wife to 
burn her and her father's house with fire unless she would betray her 
husband's secrets, Judges xiv. 15. She doth so, and Samson taking 
his revenge ; they fulfilled what they threatened, Judges xv. 6. The 
Jews being afraid lest the Konians would take jealousy of the people's 
following of Christ, consult to kill him, John xi. 48 ; and for that 
reason wrath came on them to the uttermost. Zedekiah disobeyed 
God for fear of mockage, Jer. xxxviii. 19-22 ; and the Chaldeans, 
when they had taken the city, put out his eyes, Jer. xxxix. 7. Thus 
they readily fall into those evils they would most gladly escape. Now 
it is much for the instruction of the world that these things should be 

[5.] When they fall by those means by which they seek to entrap 
others : Ps. ix. 15, 16, ' The heathens are sunk down in the pit which 
they made, in the net which they hid is their own foot taken. The 
Lord is known by the judgments which he executeth ; the wicked is 
snared in the work of his own hand. Higgaion, Selah.' 

[6.] When the word, Kara ptfrov, in the express letter, is made good 
on wicked men : Hosea vii. 12, ' I will chastise them, as their congrega 
tion hath heard.' When the word doth fully take effect as it is laid 
down, it is fully accomplished ; and the danger they would not believe 
they are made to feel. Thus ' every morning he bringeth his judg 
ments to light,' Zeph. iii. 5. 


For ye were sometimes darkness, l>ut now ye are light in the Lord : 
ivalk as children of light. EPH. v. 8. 

THE apostle having dissuaded them from foul practices, which would 
be a blemish not only to Christians, but heathens, he now exhorteth 
them to walk suitably to their profession and that blessed estate into 
which they were translated. Change of state calleth for a different 
course of life. You were darkness, and if you had so continued, we 
could look for nothing else from you than the works of darkness. But 
when you become light in the Lord, you must ' walk as children of the 
light/ as those that know their way, and see their danger, if they go 
amiss : ' For ye were sometimes darkness/ &c. 

In the words we have (1.) An antecedent ; (2.) A consequent, or 
an argument and an inference. 

First, The antecedent, or argument, is taken from their present 
compared with their past estate, what they are with what they were. 
Formerly they were heathens, and did as other heathens do, but they 
were now become Christians ; and if Christians, they should live chris- 
tianly. Both estates are spoken of in the abstract, * darkness ' and 
' light ; ' scelus pro scelerati. If we call a wicked man wickedness it 
self, we say more than if we only said that he were a naughty or wicked 


person. To express the extreme misery of the carnal state, ' Ye were 
darkness ; ' and the exceeding happiness of the renewed estate, ' Ye are 

1. The apostle representeth their past estate, ' Ye were sometimes 
darkness.' But doth he do well to upbraid them with their former 
condition ? I answer He doth not upbraid, but exhort. There is a 
difference between envious exprobration and a Christian exhortation. 
Upbraiding is a remembering the sins of others committed before con 
version, with a purpose to reproach and shame them ; a practice usual 
among base spirits, whose eye is evil, because God's hand is good. 
Christ representeth it in the practice of the elder brother : Luke xv. 
30, ' This thy son hath devoured thy living with harlots.' This is 
sometimes done by the profane, who would fain represent others as 
bad as themselves, that their own practices may be less odious, because 
more common ; or else in carnal professors, who would shine alone, 
and therefore envy the reputation of religion to others, yea, begrudge 
the divine grace vouchsafed to them. But a Christian exhortation is 
a thing quite different ; it is a putting others in mind of their former 
condition, to stir them up to more zeal and thankfulness. To re 
member it by way of exprobration is unlawful ; it is to rake in the filth 
which God hath covered : Ps. xxxii. 1, ' Blessed is he whose trans 
gression is forgiven, whose sin is covered ; ' a revoking as much as in 
us lieth God's grant of grace to them. Ananias objecteth against Paul 
his former practices, not knowing his change, Acts ix. 13-15. Then 
Ananias answered, ' Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much 
evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem. But the Lord said unto 
him, Go thy way, for he is a chosen vessel unto me.' Satan is called 
a slanderer, though most of his allegations against the saints are true, 
because he accuseth them of what God hath pardoned. But enough 
of this. 

2. Their present estate, ' Ye are light in the Lord.' Where 
[1.] The grace received, ' Ye are light.' 

[2.] The author of it, ' In the Lord.' 

[l.J The grace received, ' Ye are light ; ' that is, filled with the 
light of wisdom and holiness. No question the expression heightens 
the sense ; to be enlightened is a great thing in itself, but he speaketh of 
some eminent and glorious privilege bestowed upon us : ' Ye are light.' 

But can it be used of any mere man liable to such imperfections ? 

(1.) It noteth not their perfection so much as the perfection of the 
dispensation they are under. Not their perfection, as if there were no 
darkness in them at all, but the clearness of the gospel which then 
shined brightly to them. There is a difference between the gospel and 
believers ; the gospel is a perfect light, but we do but imperfectly 
receive it. Compare two places : 1 John ii. 8, ' The darkness is past, 
and the true light now shineth.' This I understand of the gospel, 
which was then set afoot, as the sun risen and shining in our horizon. 
The other place is Eom. xiii. 12, ' The night is far spent, and the day 
is at hand.' Not wholly gone, but pretty well over ; day not altogether 
come, but it is at hand. This I understand of a Christian in his mixed 
and imperfect state. 

(2.) It noteth some good measure and degree of participation, but 


not complete fruition. Participation it noteth, for otherwise it could 
not be said that we are not only enlightened, but light itself ; not com 
plete fruition, for those that are said to be ' light in the Lord' are pre 
sently called ' children of the light ; ' which doth somewhat abate of 
the expression. 

(3.) It noteth that we have received grace, not only for ourselves, 
but for the good of others. He that is enlightened receiveth a benefit 
for himself ; but he that is light is to shine forth to direct others : 
Phil. ii. 15, 'Shining as lights in the world ;' and 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/ 

[2.] The author of this grace, ' In the Lord ; ' that is, Christ ; for 
there is, but 'one Lord,' as well as 'one God and Father of all,' Eph. 
iv. 5, 6 ; and whatever good we have, we have it from Christ and in 

The light is said to be in him, and to come from him. 

(1.) In opposition to Satan, who is the prince of darkness. The 
devils are called ' The rulers of the darkness of this world,' Eph. vi. 
12 ; and their kingdom is a kingdom of darkness ; but Christ is a 
fountain of light, and his kingdom the kingdom of light. 

(2.) In subordination to God, God is light, and Christ is light. 
Originally God is light, and in him is no darkness at all ; but deriva 
tively Christ as mediator is light: John viii. 12, 'I arn the light of 
the world ; he that followed! rne shall not walk in darkness, but shall 
have the light of life.' The Father is a light to whom no man can 
approach, and before whom the angels cover their faces ; but this light 
is brought near to us by Christ : John iii. 19, ' Light is come into the 
world.' It is more comfortable to us, as it shineth forth in the person 
of the mediator, and so the better conveyed to us, he being one in our 

But how is this communicated from the Lord ? 

Ans. He enlighteneth by his word and Spirit. His word : 2 Cor. 
iv. 4, ' Lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image 
of God, should shine unto them.' By his Spirit : Eph. i. 17, '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 
Spirit of wisdom and revelation doth open the eyes of their minds, 
that so they may be light in the Lord. 

Secondly, The consequent or inference. From their change of state 
he inferreth a change of life. Therefore, before I come more particu 
larly to discuss the force of this argument, let us a little see the 
necessity or need of this exhortation. For some might argue, If they 
be ' light in the Lord,' then what need is there to exhort them ' to 
walk as children of the light ? ' Is it not all one as to say, If thou beest 
a sun, shine as a sun ; if thou beest fire, burn as fire ? So some 
argued in Atigustin's time, as if believers had no need of exhortation, 
because of the potency and inclination of grace. I answer 

1. There is a difference between natural agents and moral. Natural 
agents, positis omnibus ad agendum requisites, inanimate and unreason 
able creatures, follow the inclination of their natures or the tendency 
of their principles of necessity ; but such as are endued with understand- 


ing work with a kind of liberty and choice. Fire burneth where it 
meeteth with matter combustible, but a reasonable creature needeth to 
be exhorted to perform acts agreeable to his principle ; for in reasonable 
creatures, though the inclination be necessary, the acts are voluntary; 
therefore though they have an inclination, they need to be quickened by 
counsel and exhortation. Though it be in vain for us to bid the sun 
shine, whether we will or no it will do so, if there be no impediment ; 
yet it is not in vain to bid a reasonable creature to walk suitably to his 

2. Exhortation is God's appointed means, necessary for us while we 
are in our imperfect state. Sluggish nature is backward to good, and 
we have much opposite corruption in us. Earth would be heaven, 
grace would be glory, our way would be our country, if we could not 
tit all obey the flesh. In heaven the being of sin is abolished ; therefore 
there will be no room for exhortation, there is no preaching there, no 
calling upon men to serve God, no dissuasions from sin, no corruption 
remaining in the saints, no liberty left unto them of hearkening to 
temptations ; that liberty which they have as reasonable creatures is 
swallowed up by the amplitude of their love to God ; as the good 
angels have a liberty which doth not consist in an indifferency to good 
and evil, but in largeness of love to God, and a happy necessity of 
doing that which is pleasing to him, and an impossibility of doing 

Doct That those who are called out of darkness to light have a great 
obligation upon them to walk as children of light. 

1. I shall open the two opposite states, 'darkness' and 'light.' 

2. Show that there is a mighty change wrought in them that are 
called out of the one into the other. 

3. That it is good often to compare these two estates, and consider 
what we are by nature, and what we are by grace. 

4. If this change be wrought in us, it must be manifested by a suit 
able conversation. 

I. Let rue speak of the two opposite states, ' darkness ' and ' light,' 
nnd there show you that the carnal estate is an estate of darkness, and 
the renewed state is a state of light. 

1. The carnal estate is an estate of darkness. So the apostle telleth 
the Ephesians, Ye were not only darksome, but ervoro?, darkness itself, 
for the greater vehemency of the expression. 

[1.] The darkness of the understanding is ignorance ; they are in 
capable of discerning between good arid evil, know nothing of the 
nature and will of the true God. These Ephesians were given to 
curious arts, Acts xix. ; they were the flower of all Asia for curious 
knowledge. But a people that lie in their sins, without the saving 
knowledge of the gospel, are in great darkness. A drachm of sanctified 
knowledge is better than all the curious arts in the world, and those 
most lawful. 

But you will say, Thus he spoke of them as heathens ; are all carnal 
men to be accounted darkness ? I answer Yes; they are blind and 
dark as to those things that relate to God and heaven. To God : Eph. 
iv. 18, ' Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the 
life of God, through the ignorance that is in them, because of the 


blindness of their heart/ Whatever understanding and quickness of 
judgment they have in other things, yet they are gross, brutish, and 
wild in such things as appertain to God and their communion with 
God. And as to heaven : 2 Peter i. 9, ' He that lacketh these things 
is blind, and cannot see afar off.' ' These things,' that is, the graces of 
the Spirit. There is a mist upon eternity, and a carnal eye cannot 
look through it. His eyes are not anointed with spiritual eye-salve ; 
he cannot see these things so as to take off his heart from his vain 

But you will say, Many carnal men that live in the bosom of the 
church are orthodox, have good opinions in religion, and great know 
ledge of the mysteries of salvation. I answer But this knowledge is 
neither accompanied with application nor affection to what they know. 
First, Not with application. It is not a directive light, to show them 
how to come out of their misery, or to guide their choice : Rom. i. 21, 
' They became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was 
darkened.' It doth not teach them how to love, and please, or trust in. 
God, as the heathens with their TO yvua-rov Qeov. So it is with carnal 
Christians : 1 Cor. viii. 2, 3, ' And if any man think that he knowetk 
anything, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know. But if any 
man love God, the same is known of him/ Secondly, Nor persuasive, 
and with affection, so as to change their hearts, so that they may seek 
after God in Christ. It neither restraineth evil, nor constraineth to 
that which is good. Light that is unable to discharge its office, to 
bridle corruptions, is but as darkness : Eom. i. 18, ' They withhold the 
truth in unrighteousness ; ' like a prisoner in fetters. It may talk its 
fill, but can do nothing. It urgeth not to good ; they are secure and 
careless ; they are Christ's, but prepare not to do their master's will : 
Luke xii. 47. It doth not overcome their prejudice against the holy 
and heavenly life : 1 Cor. ii. 14, ' But the natural man receiveth not 
the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; 
neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned/ 
The name is prized, but the thing hated, Christ's offices and government. 
Or else if there be any motion towards Christ, it is as their knowledge 
is. If it be a sensible, awakening, practical knowledge that we have, 
accordingly will our esteem of Christ be ; but if it be a superficial 
speculative knowledge, either of sin or misery, or of Christ our remedy,, 
our faith is opinionative and superficial ; we shall not value him as a 
saviour indeed ; and therefore it is not talking by rote after others which 
will excuse. There is a vain mind in every unconverted man, and a 
dark understanding which cannot do its office. Now this is a miser 
able estate, either to be altogether ignorant, or to have but a speculative 
traditional knowledge of the things of God ; either to have no knowledge, 
or not that which is directive and persuasive. This breedeth doubt 
fulness : John xii. 35, ' He that walketh in darkness knoweth not 
whither he goeth ; ' 1 John ii. 11, ' He that hateth his brother is in 
darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, 
because that darkness hath blinded his eyes/ He wandereth in a maze 
of uncertainties, not knowing whether he goeth right or wrong, whether 
he be in the way that leadeth to heaven or hell ; he liveth by guess,, 
and knoweth not what to fear or hope for. 


[2.] There is downright and apparent wandering from God. The 
Greek scholiast saith Paul calleth darkness rov ev irkavrj ftiov, a life 
spent in error ; for by their ignorance men run into all profaneness,. 
and become very slaves of sin. To walk in darkness is often put in 
scripture for living in a course of sin : Prov. iv. 19, ' The way of the 
wicked is as darkness.' He compares the course of the godly to a 
growing light, ' that shines more and more unto the perfect day/ veiv 
18 ; and the course of the wicked to a growing darkness, till it comes- 
to the dead of the night. 

[3.] Eternal misery is the issue and close of it, called ' outer dark 
ness,' Mat. xxv. 30 ; and 2 Peter ii. 17, ' To whom the mist of dark 
ness is reserved for ever ; ' because the sunshine of God's presence 
never cometh there ; they are for ever separated from the face of God,, 
and presence and communion with him. Well, then, you see one 
darkness maketh way for another the darkness of ignorance for the 
darkness of sin, and both for everlasting darkness. 

2. The renewed estate is an estate of light. Light is a quality pure 
and unmixed, and implieth both knowledge, holiness, and happi 
ness. Knowledge, as it discovereth all things ; holiness, as it is pure,, 
and can shine on the filthiest dunghill without any stain ; felicity, as- 
it is the smile of heaven upon the earth. Light is pleasant. Surely 
this ought to be the more prized by us, because originally man's life is 
light : John i. 4, ' And the life was the light of men.' Man had a 
reasonable soul, but it is in a great measure eclipsed by sin. Now, to 
restore us, Christ's doctrine, which bringeth life, is also light, and the 
new man begins in light : Col. iii. 10, ' And have put on the new 
man, which is renewed in knowledge, after the image of him that 
created him.' When once we receive the saving knowledge of saving- 
truth, then all other things follow which belong to the spiritual life ;. 
such truth for the object, such manner of apprehension for the kind 
as may be saving. This introduceth and leadeth on other things. 
Because I shall have occasion to speak of it afterwards, I shall say the 
less now ; only show you how great a blessing divine illumination is. 
Common knowledge of divine things is an excellent gift, though it be 
cold and weak, and doth not warm the heart with love to the thing 
known; but the grace of illumination is much more excellent to 
further the glory of God. The bare gift is used to the interest of the 
flesh, for fame and esteem in the world: 1 Cor. viii. 1, 'We know that 
we all have knowledge : knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth/ 
The gift, if it be single and alone, puffeth us up with a lofty conceit 
and vain ostentation of ourselves and a disdain of others ; but the grace 
keepeth us humble, for the more we know affectively, the more we see 
our defects, not in knowledge only, but in holiness. And the grace is- 
wrought in us by the special and sanctifying influence of the Holy 
Ghost, and is not only knowledge, but wisdom, and maketh us serious,, 
operative, and full of good fruits : James iii. 17, ' But the wisdom that 
is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be 
entreated ; full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and with 
out hypocrisy ; ' begetting earnest desires and endeavours after the 
things known : 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 of 


him.' Now when our eyes are thus opened, and turned from darkness 
to light, we begin to he serious Christians : Acts xxvi. 18, ' To open 
their eyes, and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power 
of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and an 
inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me;' 
and carry ourselves as those that are affected witli their misery and 
remedy. They talked before of sin as a thing of course, and were 
wont to marvel why men kept such a deal of do about it ; but ihe case 
is altered. God hath opened their eyes, and therefore they complain of 
sin as the greatest burden, and would fain be rid of it at any rate. 
They also seek after Clirist as the only remedy; nothing will satisfy 
them but Christ : ' All things are dung and dross in comparison of the 
excellency of the knowledge of him/ Phil. iii. 8. And they are resolved 
to venture all with him and for him : Mat. xiii. 45, 46, ' The kingdom of 
heaven is like unto a merchant-man seeking goodly pearls ; and when he 
hath found one pearl of great price, he went and sold all that he had, and 
bought it.' Certainly then a great privilege it is when God doth 
thus cure the blindness of our minds, and open and incline our hearts 
to spiritual and heavenly things ; whether you consider 

[I.] The objects known are the highest and most important matters 
in the world. The knowledge of the profonndest science is question 
less more than skill in some low and petty employments. As Themis- 
tocles said, To know how to govern a city is more than how to play 
upon a lute. But to have the saving knowledge of God and the life 
to come is more than all the admired wisdom of the flesh, or all the 
common learning of the world. Therefore how much are we bound 
to praise God if we may be light in the Lord ! It is more than to 
know how to govern kingdoms and commonwealths, and to do the 
greatest business upon earth. To know God, the first cause of all 
things, Jesus Christ, who is the restorer of all things, and the Holy 
Spirit, who cherisheth and preserveth all things, to know his heavenly 
operations, the nature and action of his several graces, this is the happi 
ness and glory of a man ; all other knowledge is a poor low thing to 
this. Alas ! what are all the mysteries of nature to the mysteries of 
godliness. To know our disease and remedy, danger and cure, our 
work and end, what is to be believed and practised, what we shall en 
joy, and what we must do to obtain it, these are the things do most 
concern us ; all other knowledge is but curious, and hath more of 
pleasure than profit. To know our own affairs, and our greatest and 
most necessary affairs, these are the things we should busy ourselves 
about; other knowledge may be well spared. To know our misery, 
that we may prevent it ; our remedy, that we may look after it in time ; 
our work, that we may perform it ; our end, that we may intend it, 
and be encouraged by it, and what course we must take that we may 
be everlastingly happy ; this is the greatest favour can be bestowed 
upon us : we should beg it of God. 

[2.] The manner of knowing. To see these things with clearness, 
certainty, efficac} r , and power. Now this is diversely expressed in scrip 
ture ; sometimes to know them ' as we ought to know them/ 1 Cor. viii. 
2 ; ' To know the grace of God in truth/ Col. i. 6 ; to get a ' spiritual 
discerning/ 1 Cor. ii. 14 ; to get not a sight only, but a taste, 1 Peter 


ii. 3. It is a sweeter knowledge than all learned men have who are 
ungodly. Others may have more of the words and notions, but less of 
the thing itself; they have the sign, but true Christians the thing 
signified ; they break the shell, but others eat the kernel ; they dress 
the meat, but others feed upon it and digest it ; they dig in the mines 
of knowledge as negroes, but others have the gold. True Christians take 
up religion out of inspiration, but others out of opinion and tradition ; 
they have a divine faith, whilst others have but human credulity; they 
may talk of what they hear and read from others, but these receive it 
* not in word only, but in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much 
assurance,' 1 Thes. i. 5. They are not only affected with the truths 
they know, but transformed by them, and changed into the divine 
nature. Now what a mercy is this, that when, they might have gone 
to hell as witless fools, as others do, God hath given them counsel in 
their reins ! 

II. That there is a mighty change wrought in them who are called 
out of one estate into the other. A great difference there is certainly 
bet ween the carnal and regenerate estate ; they differ as* much as dark 
ness and light, as death and life, as the new man and the old : ' Ye 
were sometimes darkness, but are now light in the Lord.' There is a 
difference between them and themselves, and between them and others; 
both are of respect in this place. Not, They are darkness and ye are 
light, but, ' Ye were sometimes darkness, but ye are now light in the 
Lord;' because the apostle speaketh of the same men ; and to this 
end it is spoken, that they may have no fellowship with evil ones, or be 
partakers with them in works of darkness. Now both these are proved 
by the same reasons. 

1. Because they have a different principle ; the internal principle is 
not alike in both. Unumquodque operatur secundum suamformam 
All things work according to their nature ; as fire ascendeth and water 
descendeth ; fishes go to the water, and beasts keep on dry land ; it 
is according to their nature, and that principle of life which they 
have. The saints have a divine nature : 2 Peter i. 4, ' Whereby ye are 
made partakers of the divine nature/ Arid the carnal are scarce men, 
because they are governed by their sensitive appetite, and so come nearer 
to the nature of beasts ; and so the one are led by the flesh, the other 
by the Spirit, as is often observed in scripture. But you will say, There 
is an old nature in God's children, flesh as well as spirit. I answer 

[1.] By concession there is indeed a diversity or contrariety of prin 
ciples : Gal. v. 17, ' For the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the 
spirit against the flesh ; and these are contrary one to the other.' These 
two powers and principles are of contrary natures and tempers. By 
the one they delight in the law of God : Rom. vii. 22, ' I delight in the 
law of God after the inward man ; ' and avoid sin : ] John iii. 9, ' Who 
soever is born of God doth not commit sin ; for his seed remaineth in 
him : and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.' Yet there is 
corruption, which often opposeth and rebelleth against the new nature, 
so that its operations are much hindered and obscured. 

[2.] Though there be an opposite principle, and though it impede, 
and hinder, and obscure the operations of the new nature, and the 
inclination of it be weakened by the back bias of corruption, yet there 


is a prevalency of the better principle, which doth most usually discover 
itself in our conversations. Principiata respondent suis principiis 
The constant effects declare the prevailing principle. As the children 
of Israel brought under the Canaanites in the land of promise, and had 
the chief sway of affairs there, so doth grace abate the power of corrup 
tion, and restrain its exorbitancies, that it doth not ordinarily break 
out. The man is not what he was before : Gal. v. 24, ' They that are 
Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.' They 
have crucified, and do crucify it still in their desire and endeavours,, 
and gain more success against it. The work is not quite done, but it 
is begun, and carried on with an intent to be finished. Already there 
is enough done to bridle the corrupt nature, and to constitute a plain 
difference between them and others, who are wholly guided by the flesh. 
They are differenced from others by change of heart, from themselves 
by a change of life. 

2. As the internal principle of our operation is unlike, so the exter 
nal rule of our conversations are quite different, viz., the will of God 
revealed in the word, which they study to know and obey : Eph. v. 10, 
' Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord ; ' ver. 17, ' Be not unwise, 
but understanding what the will of the Lord is ; ' Kom. xii. 2, ' That 
ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of 

III. That it is good often to compare those two estates, and to con 
sider what we are by nature and what we are by grace. 

First, That we ought frequently to reflect on our former woful 
estate. The apostle often directeth Christians to look back : Eph. iL 
2, 3, ' 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 : among whom also we all 
had our conversation in times past, in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling; 
the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature the children 
of wrath, even as others ; ' Col. i. 21, ' And you that were sometimes 
alienated, and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he 
reconciled.' God appointed ordinances to this end among the Jews. 
The passover to remember their bondage in Egypt ; and the parents 
were obliged to interpret it to their children : Exod. xii. 26, 27, ' And 
it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What 
mean you by this service ? that ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the 
Lord's passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel 
in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses.' So 
the first-fruits : Deut. xxvi. 5, ' A Syrian ready to perish was my father, 
and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there with a few, and be 
came there a nation great, mighty, and populous.' 

Keasons there are for this 

1. To magnify the riches of God's mercy in our deliverance from that 
woful estate. We wonder at it more when we compare both together : 
1 Peter ii. 9, ' But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy 
nation, a peculiar people ; that ye should show forth the praises of him 
who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light ; ' 1 Tim. 
i. 13, ' Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious ; 
but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly, in unbelief.' 


2. That we may admire his power in the change : 1 Cor. vi. 11, 'And 
such were some of you ; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but 
ye are justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our 
God.' That ever our sins should be washed and cleansed : Isa. i. 18, 
' Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow ; and 
though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.' 

3. To keep us humble : 1 Cor. xv. 9, ' For I am the least of the 
apostles, and am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted 
the church of God.' A man may be proud of spiritual enjoyments, so 
far as he is unholy : 2 Cor. xii. 7, ' And lest I should be exalted above 
measure through the abundance of revelations, there was given me a 
thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be 
exalted above measure.' Now, to take us down and to humble us, let 
us remember the sin and misery we were once in when we knew it not. 
God will do much to keep gracious souls humble as long as they live. 
They were once as bad as the worst, and were children of wrath even 
as others. Though God forgets their sins so as to forgive them, yet they 
cannot forget them, but are humbled in the remembrance of them ; they 
condemn themselves when God justifieth them : Exek. xx. 34, ' Then 
shall ye remember your own ways, and all your doings wherein you have 
been defiled ; and you shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for all 
jour evils that you have committed.' They set those sins before their 
faces, which God hath cast behind his back ; not to breed a distrust of 
'God's mercy, but to humble their own souls. Though mercy hath 
-washed, and justified, and sanctified you, yet you were as bad as others ; 
no poverty, beggary, and reproach in the world will be so humbling to 
them as this. 

4. It maketh us more compassionate to others, we having once as 
blind a mind and as hard a heart as they Titus iii. 2, 3, ' To speak 
>evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, showing all meekness 
unto all men. For we ourselves were sometimes foolish, disobedient, 
deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, 
.hateful, and hating one another.' We had as bad natures as any, and 
lay in the same puddle of corruption, were hewn out of the same rock, 
and digged out of the same pit, and came into the world as naked and 
destitute of grace as any others. Israel knew the heart of a stranger, 
therefore they were to pity strangers : Deut. xxiv. 18, 1 9, ' Thou shalt 
remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt, and the Lord thy God 
redeemed thee thence; therefore I command thee to do this thing. 
When thou cuttest down thine harvest in the field, and hast forgot a 
sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it ; it shall be for 
the stranger, for the fatherless, and the widow ; that the Lord thy God 
may bless thee in all the work of thy hands.' 

5. It maketh us more watchful. A man that hath escaped a danger 
ous disease or surfeit is very careful from his own experience that he 
doth not lapse into it again. Alas ! too much corruption still remain- 
eth with us ; we still have flesh that fighteth against the Spirit, Gal. v. 
17. Old lusts soon awaken at the knock of a temptation. Paul groaneth 
sorely that so much of this carnal nature was left ; to find such rem 
nants of that odious sin, which cost us so dear, and had cost us dearer 
if our Lord Jesus Christ had not paid our ransom. We were darkness; 


but alas ! how dark are we still ! how far from heaven ! how little do we 
know, and believe, and love ! We know but in part, and love God 
but in part, and serve God with such constant weakness, and the old 
Avorking warring principle doth often get the advantage of us, and pro 
duce some actual sin of thought, word, and deed, that we have need to* 
take heed to ourselves lest we be again brought under the captivity and 
bondage of the law of sin. Shall we drink once more of the bitter waters ? 
Josh. xxii. 17, ' Is the iniquity of Peor too little for us, from which we 
are not cleansed unto this day, though there be a plague in the con 
gregation of the Lord ? ' 

6. It doth quicken us to greater fruitfulness for time to coine. Was 
I so zealous for sin, and shall I not do so much for God ? Horn. vi. 
19, ' As ye have yielded your members servants unto uncleanness, and 
to iniquity unto iniquity ; even so now yield your members servants to 
righteousness unto holiness;' Acts xxvi. 11, 'Being exceeding mad 
against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities ; ' compared 
with 2 Cor. v. 13, ' For whether we be beside ourselves, it is for God ; 
or whether we be sober, it is for your cause.' Since we set out so late, 
let us mend our pace : 1 Peter iv. 3, ' For the time past of our life may 
suffice us to have wrought the will of the gentiles, when we walked in 
lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abomi 
nable idolatries.' 

7. It maketh our conversion more evident and sensible, and so 
quickeneth us to thankfulness and praise. When we compare the two 
extremes, darkness and light, nature and grace, it doth much hurt to 
believers, in judging of their condition, to forget what they once were, 
and not to consider what they now are. The comparing of these two, 
what they were with what they now are, would make the change more 
sensible and evident : 2 Cor. v. 17, ' Whosoever is in Christ is a new 
creature ; old things are passed away, and all things are become new/ 
Old things are passed away, and are passing away still. Our gradual 
progress in holiness is more insensible, and therefore we may overlook 
the mercy ; but the first work is more sensible, we may find a great 
change in ourselves. All that belong to God may say, as the blind 
man, John ix. 25, ' One thing I know, that whereas I was born blind, 
I now see.' By comparing the two extremes they find they are not the 
same men they were before. Once they had no delight in communion 
with God, now it is a trouble to keep out of God's company. Nothing 
was so tedious and burdensome as the duties of religion, now their 
hearts are more agreeable to them, and they are sweeter to them than 
their appointed food. Before they were slight and sluggish, now they 
are hard at work for God. Before, they abandoned themselves to all 
manner of carnalities, now they are troubled about the first risings and 
bubbling up of sin ; the conscience which was stupid is made tender ; 
the stream of their thoughts, desires, and endeavours run in another 
channel ; their hearts are altered, life altered, speech altered. And by 
comparing these extremes it is the ready way to interpret our condi 
tion. Men forget the estate they once were in, and the great change 
which the Spirit of God hath wrought in them, and because such altera 
tions are not wrought in them continually, live in doubt and fear. 
Look, as the forgetting our poverty and affliction maketh us undervalue 


a more plentiful condition, and those comforts which we should have 
counted a wonderful mercy before ; or when we are recovered from a 
sickness, and live in health, we forget the tediousness of sickness, and 
are not thankful for the health which we enjoy; so we undervalue, or 
overlook, or question the present state of grace, because we forget the 
unfruitful works of darkness, or the evil disposition and practices of 
our unregeneracy, and have not such comfortable apprehensions of the 
mercy which God hath bestowed in our change. Time was when you 
had little savour of the things of the Spirit, little mind to Christ and 
holiness, and were wholly given up to the pleasures of the flesh, and 
profits of the world ; but your minds and ways are changed, and you are 
not the persons that you were, and that will help you to interpret your 
condition before God. 

8. It increaseth your confidence and hopes of eternal life : he that 
could take us with all our faults, and love us, and pardon us, and heal 
our natures, and reconcile us to himself, will he not give us eternal 
life after we begin to obey him, and love him, and serve him in our 
measure ? Rom. v. 9, 10, ' Much more then, being now justified by his 
blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we 
were enemies, we were reconciled unto God by the death of his Son, 
much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.' You can 
not be worse than you were at first. 

9. It putteth an argument in your hands against sin : Eom. vi. 
20, 21, ' For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from right 
eousness : what fruit had you then in those things whereof ye are now 
ashamed ? ' and ver. 22, ' But now being made free from sin, and 
become servants to God, you have your fruits unto holiness.' Shall a 
servant of God walk as he did when he was a servant of sin ? Right 
eousness had no whit of your service, why should sin have any part of 
your service now ? especially if you consider how little fruit, benefit, 
or satisfaction your sins brought you in the time of enjoying them ; 
but now having given over yourselves to the service of God, sanctifi- 
cation must daily increase in you. 

Secondly, We ought to remember what we were by nature, so as not 
to deny what we are by grace : Rom. vi. 17, ' But God be thanked that 
ye were the servants of sin ; but ye have obeyed from the heart the 
form of doctrine which was delivered you.' Christ checketh Peter, 
John xiii. 10, for not owning grace. Though his feet need to be 
washed, God would not have us deny our renewed estate. Remember 
your past estate for humiliation, not for your confusion. Remember 
old sins and old mercies. So David : Ps. xxv. 6, 7, ' Remember, 
Lord, thy tender mercies and thy loving-kindnesses ; for they have ever 
been of old. Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgres 
sions : according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness' sake, 
Lord.' Not to tear open the wounds of an healed conscience, not to 
terrify conscience, but admire mercy, and to 'love much, because much 
is forgiven,' Luke vii. 47. 

IV. This change must be manifested by a suitable conversation : 
' Walk as children of the light.' We have the same exhortation, Rom. 
xiii. 12, 13, ' The night is far spent, the day is at hand ; let us there 
fore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of 


light. Let us walk honestly as in the day, not in rioting and drunk 
enness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying ; ' 
1 Thes. v. 5-8, ' Ye are all the children of the light, and the children 
of the day ; we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let 
us not sleep, as do others, but let us watch and be sober : for they that 
sleep, sleep in the night ; and they that are drunken, are drunken in 
the night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the 
breastplate of faith and love, and for an helmet the hope of salvation.' 
Children of the light may refer to the dispensation we are under, or the 
grace we have received by it. 

1. The dispensation we are under, as those that live in the clear 
ness of gospel light are children of the day. Ye are not of the night ; 
walk as children of light, that have the light of the gospel, or 
becoming that most holy religion which Christ hath taught us. (1.) 
In the light all blemishes are soon discovered, and so our sins are 
without excuse ; whereas people that have not the gospel, or not so 
fully preached, are more excusable. Men might plead this, that they 
knew no better ; but now they ' have no cloak for their sin,' John xv. 22. 
Men have some cloak to hide the odiousness of sin from themselves 
and others ; their ignorance, their infirmity ; yea, the Lord himself 
doth pity men, considering their education, prejudices, temptations; 
but the gospel holdeth out such convincing light as taketh away all 
excuse from wicked sinners. (2.) As they are without sin, so without 
shame, when they sin in the open light : Zeph. iii. 5, ' Every morning, 
doth he bring his judgment to light ; he faileth not, but the unjust 
knoweth no shame.' While the light of nature is not violated, sin 
i)reedeth a bashfulness and unconfidence ; but when men despise both 
the light of nature and scripture, they grow impudent, and lose all 
tenderness, and awakening of conscience, and outgrow the heart of a 
man. (3.) Sins are more dangerous and deadly: John iii. 19, 'And 
this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men 
loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil.' It is 
an affront to the light that shineth to us, gives a double dye to our 
sins, and so increases our punishment and condemnation. 

2. The grace received by it. Now the children of light are those 
-who are enlightened by the Holy Spirit, have a new nature, and a sense 
of the other world. Luke xvi. 8, the 'lord commended the unjust 
steward, because he had done wisely ; for the children of this world 
-are wiser in their generation than the children of light/ Surely they 
should watch and be sober, and plainly distinguish themselves from 
the carnal world. 

[1.] To show their thankfulness for the grace received : 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.' 

[2.] That they may not obstruct the new nature put into them, and 
hinder its operations, and so grieve the Spirit of God, who would work 
in them all righteousness, godliness, and holiness : ver. 9, ' For the 
fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, and righteousness, and truth.' 

[3.] That they may obey the light, and comply with the sense of 
their duty written on their hearts ; otherwise they offer violence, not 


only to their duty, but to their nature ; not only to their rule without, 
but their conscience within, or the law written upon their hearts: 
Heb. viii. 10, ' I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in 
their hearts.' 

[4.] They have tasted of all waters, the bitterness of sin and the 
sweetness of grace, the terrors of the Lord, and the sweetness of the 
mercy of God and the grace of Christ ; and shall they give way to sin 
and folly ? 

[5.] They are posting to a better estate, and preparing for it : Col. 
i. 12, 'Who hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance 
of the saints in light/ Therefore for them to walk in works of dark 
ness is more blameworthy, as if the way to hell would bring them to 

Use. Eemember it often to your humiliation, lest God permit you 
to remember it to your confusion. Those whose sins are pardoned 
may to their sense have their guilt raked out of its grave. It is pos 
sible the wounds of an healed conscience may bleed afresh, when we 
walk not humbly and cautiously. Though God doth not recant his 
sentence of pardon, yet the sin may occur to us, and ghosts haunt us 
of those who were long since buried. 


For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, and righteousness, and 
truth. EPH. v. 9. 

THESE words do show both how and why we must walk as children of 
the light ; and so are both an explication and confirmation of the former 
exhortation. An explication, what it is to walk, or how we must walk, 
' in all goodness, righteousness, and truth.' A confirmation, or new 
reason, as the causal particle, 'for,' showeth. The apostle had argued 
from their profession of being Christians. Now from the grace by which 
they were made Christians ; tliey were regenerated by the Holy Ghost. 
To be light in the Lord and to be renewed by the Spirit is all one thing ; 
and if you be enlightened and regenerated, the fruit of this must be 
' All goodness, and righteousness, and truth.' 
In the words we have 

1. The author, the Holy Spirit. 

2. The fruits of his sanctifying operations enumerated, ' All good 
ness, and righteousness, and truth.' This is the conversation that may 
be called ' Walking as children of the light.' 

The three words may be taken in a more general sense, or in a more 
limited and restrained sense. In a general sense : Eom. xv. 14, ' And 
I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full 
of goodness.' So goodness is taken for all saving graces ; and righteous 
ness for a preparedness to discharge our duty to God and man. As 
Zacharias and Elizabeth were both righteous, ' Walking in all the corn- 

VOL. xix. R 


mandments and ordinances of the Lord, blameless/ Luke i. 6. And 
truth for sincerity, called elsewhere 'The girdle of truth,' Epb. vi. 14. 
Or in a more limited sense, so goodness is that grace whereby we are 
inclined to do good to others to the uttermost of our power : Gal. vi. 10,. 
' Let us do good to all men, especially to them that are of the household 
of faith.' This goodness is reckoned among the fruits of the Spirit : 
Gal. v. 22, ' Gentleness, goodness, faith.' Righteousness implieth justice 
in our dealing, which giveth every one his due: 1 Tim. vi. 11, 'Follow 
after righteousness.' Truth signifieth fidelity in our speech and actions, 
when we live free from lying and dissimulation. Now which sense shall 
we prefer, the general or more limited ? It mattereth not much which 
of them we prefer, for they are not contrary, but subordinate. But that 
3 r ou may conceive aright of the words, let me give you these expository 

1. The apostle, for example's sake, mentioneth some parts of the holy 
life, not to exclude, but imply the rest ; for there is a secret 'and such 
like ' understood. When he saith, ' This is the fruit of the Spirit,' you 
must not think it is all When we bring a sample of a commodity, we 
bring a little to show the quality of the rest, not as if that were all we 
had to sell ; so these graces are mentioned, but not to exclude the rest. 

2. He instanceth in such graces as concern the second table, kind 
ness, justice, and fidelity, as is usual in such cases. The world is most 
capable of knowing and approving these things, but they suppose higher 
graces ; for all our goodness, justice, and truth must come from love 
and obedience to God, and faith in Christ, as their true and proper 
principle, or else they are but moral virtues, not Christian graces : Job 
a. 1, ' There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job, and 
that man was perfect and upright, one that feared God, and eschewed 
evil.' And Joseph of Arimathea was a good man and a just man, ' who 
also himself waited for the kingdom of God/ Luke xxiii. 50. When 
they are accompanied with these higher graces, then these things are 
good. Sometimes the new creature is described by the state of the 
heart, as it standeth affected to God and the world to come ; so other 
graces, as fruits of the Spirit, are mentioned : 2 Tim. i. 7, ' For God 
hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a 
sound mind/ Sometimes the Spirit is spoken of as it fitteth us and 
frameth us for our duty to man, as here in the text. There is not a 
more benign thing, that doth more fit us to live peaceably and usefully 
in human society,than the gospel spirit ; and the world looketh to these 
things, and chooseth these things. 

3. These are spoken of as in combination. We must not so follow 
after one as to neglect the other. Goodness must not make us neglect 
justice, nor justice, goodness ; and in the acts of both we must be sin 
cere and true. Some divide these things : Rom. v. 7, ' For scarcely 
for a righteous man will one die, yet peradventure for a good man some 
would even dare to die ; ' for one really performing what he pretends to 
do. Our duty to our neighbour is either negative, not wronging them ; or 
positive, promoting their good. Justice bindeth our hands, and keepeth 
us from doing hurt to our neighbour, but goodness inclineth us to seek 
their good by all ways possible. And truth commendeth both. Right 
eousness keepeth us from the wrong that is done them by open violence, 


and truth keepeth us from the wrong that may be done them by fraud 
and deceit. Goodness inclineth to seek our neighbour's good and bene 
fit, and truth bindeth us to seek it sincerely, not in word and tongue 
only, but in deed and in truth : 1 John iii. 18, ' My little children, let 
us not love in word, neither in tongue, but in deed and in truth.' 

4. I observe that there is a note of universality joined to the word 
goodness, ' All goodness,' to show this is of chief regard, and that we 
must not be good in one sort or kind only, but ' fruitful in every good 

work,' Col. i. 10. A Christian should be made up of goodness ; his very 
'constitution and trade must be goodness. 

5. I observe that these are called fruit, not only by a Hebraism, who 
are wont to express the works of a man by the term ' fruit ; ' for man 
is, or should be a tree of righteousness ; but there is a distinction : Gal. 
v. 19, 22, now the 'works of the flesh' are manifest, but ' the fruit of 
the Spirit;' so also here compare the text with ver. 11, 'Unfruitful 
works of darkness.' But why is it called 'fruit?' Partly to show 
it is the native and genuine product of the Spirit in our hearts, as 
fruit groweth on a tree ; and partly to show that sin is an unprofitable 
drudgery, but holiness is fruit. There is toil, here benefit : Kom. vi. 
21, 22, ' What fruit had you then in those things whereof ye are now 
ashamed ? for the end of those things is death. But now, being made 
free from sin, and become the servants of God, ye have your fruit unto 
holiness, and the end everlasting life.' There is no fruit in sin ; the 
work is drudgery, and the reward is death ; but holiness is fruit, for 
it is the way to eternal life. 

6. All these graces, and duties consequent, are fruits of the Spirit. 
The Vulgar read lucis ; some Greek copies, rov <&>T09 ; most, rov 
trvev //.arc?. The Holy Ghost produceth this fruit in us ; he worketh 
and dwelleth in the hearts of all those who are light in the Lord. 

7. He speaketh of habits, not of acts : ' Walking as children of the 
light/ relateth more to the acts or exercise of the grace which we have 
received ; but here the apostle speaketh of goodness rather than good 
works, of justice rather than just works. The habits give facility and 
easiness to all acts. When the soul is thus constituted, it is hard to 
do otherwise. So in opposition to the ' Works of darkness ' there is 
' Putting on the armour of light,' Eom. xiii. 12. The habit is opposed 
to the act, because the work will follow, when once the heart is framed 
and fitted for these things. 

8. These are ascribed to the Spirit by the apostle for two reasons 
[1.] Partly because of man's incapacity to produce these things of 

himself. We are not only defective in the duties which concern our 
commerce with God, but also in the lower hemisphere of duties, those 
which concern our dealings with men. None is good of himself, but 
only God : Mat. xix. 17, ' Why callest thou me good ? there is none good 
but one, that is God ; ' that is, originally good. As all the stars derive 
their light from the sun, so do we receive every good and perfect gift 
from the Father of lights, James i. 17. God is originally good, but we 
are good by participation. This was true of man in innocency ; but 
there is another reason for man in his fallen estate, for there we were 
altogether bent on evil : Ps. xiv. 3, ' There is none that doeth good, no 
not one.' Surely in that estate, whatever good we do is from the Spirit 


of God : Acts xi. 24, ' Barnabas was a good man, and full of the Holy 
Ghost, and of faith.' We are made so by the Holy Spirit, not born 
so ; none of us love good, and hate evil, and sincerely set ourselves to 
do that which is holy and righteous, till he hath framed us for this use. 
Therefore all true goodness and righteousness is from him. 

[2.] And partly because all the effects carry such a resemblance 
with the Spirit. The fruit must be correspondent with the root or 
nature of the plant on which it grows. If you are made light in the 
Lord by the Spirit, you will bring forth the fruit of the Spirit in all 
goodness, righteousness, and truth. Goodness ; the Spirit is called the 
good Spirit : Ps. cxliii. 10, ' Teach me, for thou art my God ; thy Spirit 
is good ; lead me into the land of uprightness ; ' Neh. ix. 20, ' Thou 
gavest also thy good Spirit to instruct them.' Now this operation is 
accordingly; he maketh us good, kind, to love all with a love of 
benevolence, and our fellow-christians with a love of complacency. 
So for righteousness, or justice in all our dealings, giving every one 
his due ; this is the fruit of the Spirit ; for, Eph. iv. 24, ' The new man 
is created after God in righteousness and true holiness.' God hath 
done so much to demonstrate his righteousness, that Christians have 
not the spirit of their religion if they be not righteous. So for truth 
or fidelity, whereby we carry ourselves sincerely, and free from all 
hypocrisy and craft. The Spirit is often called the Spirit of truth; and 
that holiness which he worketh in us is holiness of truth, or true 
holiness : ' Therefore put away lying,' Eph. iv. 25 ; it is a sin contrary 
to the new nature. 

9. This Spirit God hath sent among us by the preaching of the gospel ; 
for when lie saith, 'Ye are light in the Lord/ it implieth both the know 
ledge of the gospel and the illumination of the Spirit ; the one as 
concomitant with the other, and settling the belief of it in our hearts. 
The doctrine of Christ bringeth the Spirit to us, and AVC receive it by 
faith : Gal. iii. 2, ' Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or 
by the hearing of faith ? ' John vii. 39, ' But this spake he of the Spirit, 
which they that believe on him should receive.' We receive the Spirit 
more plentifully by the gospel than by the law, and we receive it by 
faith in Christ. Having made this way, I come now to propound a 
particular point. 

Doct. 1. That the Spirit which we receive by the gospel worketh all 
goodness in the hearts of believers. 

To illustrate this point, I shall show (1.) What is goodness ; (2.) 
How this is the product of the Spirit of the gospel. 

I. What is goodness ? I answer Goodness is either moral or 

1. Moral goodness is our whole duty required by the law of God, 
whatever is just and equal for us to perform : Deut. xxx. 15, ' I have set 
before you life and good, death and evil.' Holiness is called good, and 
sin evil ; and the whole duty of man elsewhere is called good : Micah 
vi. 8, ' He hath showed thee, man, what is good ; and what doth 
the Lord require of thee ? ' The totum hominis, the whole duty of 
man, is bonum liominis, the whole good of man. 

2. There is beneficial goodness, which is a branch of the former, and 
implieth a readiness to do good to others to the utmost of our capacity ; 


for all good is communicative of itself : Heb. xiii. 16, ' But to do 
good, and to communicate, forget not; for with such sacrifices God is 
well pleased.' This duty must not be forgotten nor neglected, because 
it showeth the due impress of our religion upon us. Well, then, tho 
first sort of goodness is holiness, the second beneficence. 

II. That this is the fruit and product of the Spirit by the gospel. 

1. Let us see what the gospel doth to promote this goodness in the 

2. Upon what grounds we may expect the Spirit to co-operate there 

First, What the gospel doth to promote this goodness in the world. 

1. By the laws and precepts of it, or the duties it requireth ; it re- 
quireth us to be good, and to do good. 

[1.] To be good ; for we are first made good before we can do good : 
Luke vi. 45, ' A good man, out of the good treasure of his heart, bringeth 
forth that which is good ; and an evil man, out of the evil treasure of 
his heart, bringeth forth that which is evil : for out of the abundance 
of the heart the mouth speaketh.' Every man hath a treasury or store 
house within him, from whence all his actions are brought forth. He 
that hath an honest heart, or a repository of good purposes and resolutions, 
in short, whose whole heart is set upon doing good on all occasions, he 
bringeth forth from thence good actions. Now the design of the Chris 
tian religion is to make men good and to cure them of all evil ; it not 
only inviteth and persuadeth men to be good, but offereth grace whereby 
they may become good : Eph. ii. 10, ' For we are his workmanship, 
created in Christ Jesus unto good works.' It offereth grace, whereby 
men may be changed ; and being naturally bent to evil, may be dis 
posed and inclined to good. This religion would not have us do good 
by accident, but by nature, as having our hearts set towards it ; and 
to work not occasionally, but from a habit and a principle of good 
ness in ourselves, as being thus constituted and framed that we may 
do it easily and with delight ; yea, it is a force if we do the contrary. 

[2.] To do good, both as to God and men. 

(1.) As to God, the great duty is love ; that we should love him, 
and obey him as our rightful Lord and chief good and happiness. 
This was our primitive duty, which we owed to our creator ; and 
Christ came not to dissolve, but to establish it. He never intended to 
rob God of a creature when he made any man a Christian ; for he 
' redeemed us to God by his blood/ Kev. v. 9. That we might love 
him and serve him ; love him with all our hearts, and serve him with 
all our might, Mat. xxii. 37. Oh, what a good religion is this, where 
our principal work is love and delight in him whom we serve and wor 
ship ! We begin our happiness in our duty and love to God, that we 
may be beloved of him. Whole Christianity is but an holy art to 
leach us the way of loving and enjoying God. 

(2.) To do good to men. Certainly that religion is good which only 
employeth men in doing good, and obligeth us to seek the welfare of 
others as we would do our own. It enjoineth us ' to do good to all, 
especially to the household of faith,' Gal. vi. 10. We cannot take 
delight in all, for some are an offence to the new nature which is in 
us ; but we must do good to all, and seek their happiness. The love 


of benevolence or good will is opposite to the hatred of enniit}', and the 
love of complacency and delight to the hatred of aversation and offence. 
We cannot take pleasure in sinners, but yet must do them good. Suppose 
they have disobliged us, yet enemies are not excepted : Mat. v. 44, 
' Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that 
hate you.' None can be such enemies to us as we were to God in our 
natural estate. Now it is the duty of a Christian to revenge injuries 
with courtesies : Kom. xii. 14, ' Bless them which persecute you ; bless 
and curse not ; and ver. 21, 'Be not overcome of evil, but overcome 
evil with good.' This doing good God expecteth from men in every 
capacity and relation. The magistrate is ' the minister of God to thee 
for good,' Kom. xiii. 4. He is not so much to mind his own greatness 
as the public benefit. The minister is to seek the good of souls, ' to 
impart some spiritual gift/ Bom. i. 11, to be an instrument of increas 
ing light or life. Fellow-christians should seek to do good one to another, 
and value all their talents, not by possession, but use : Luke xvi. 8, 
'The lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely.' 
People in an inferior quality, as servants: Eph. vi. 8, 'Knowing that 
whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the 
Lord, whether he be bond or free.' If they make conscience of doing 
good in their callings and relations, and go about these duties as service 
to God, and profitable to men, it is a good thing, and accepted by the 
Lord. Thus the gospel requireth we should still be doing good, some 
thing that conduceth to the glory of God and the benefit of others. 

2. By the discoveries it rnaketh. The greatest, truest, and fullest 
prospect of God's goodness to mankind we have in the gospel There 
' the kindness and love of God our Saviour towards man appeared,' 
Titus iii. 4. When God was displeased for the breach of the first 
covenant, and man had fallen from his primitive holiness, and brought 
himself irreparably under guilt and a curse, the Lord took occasion by 
his misery to open a door of hope to us by Christ, and hath set up a 
new covenant of righteousness and life founded on the death of his Son, 
where grace taketh the throne, and the judge is Christ, and the rule is 
the gospel, and pardon and salvation is offered to all those who with a 
ready and thankful mind are willing to return to their obedience to 
God ; and God standeth with open arms to receive all those that run 
for refuge to this covenant, and take sanctuary at this grace, as willing 
to bestow upon them all kind of mercies and grace to help. Surely 
this word may well be called ' the good word of God,' Heb. vi. 5, and 
' the glad tidings of good things,' Kom. x. 15, the best news that ever 
was brought to man's ear. Now the impress should be according to 
the seal ; a good religion should breed a good people. When such 
wonders of goodness are discovered, it should make us more ready for 
our duty to God and man. 

[1.] To God. The love and goodness of God in Christ is the great 
engine of the gospel, and the great motive and encouragement to per 
suade us to our duty : 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 which live should not henceforth 
live unto themselves, but unto him that died for them, and rose again.' 
God would be obeyed by his people, not as slaves, but as children, and 


would have the spring and rise of our obedience to be love and gratitude ; 
1 herefore doth he oblige us at so high a rate, and cany on the tenor 
of his grace and mercy in such an astonishing and wonderful way, that 
none of his commandments might be grievous to us, being sweetened 
by his love. He will be served, not as an imperious sovereign, but as 
the God of love ; not with a grudging mind, but with delight and 
readiness ; not as doing good by force, but as encouraged with a deep 
sense of this goodness. 

[2.] To men. Surely we will imitate what we prize and esteem. 
No man can be thankful to God who is not merciful to his brother ; 
so much goodness demonstrated will breed goodness in us. When the 
apostle had asked a contribution to the necessities of the poor saints at 
Jerusalem, he useth this argument, 2 Cor. viii. 8, 9, ' I speak not by 
commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to 
prove the sincerity of your love ; for ye know the grace of our Lord 
Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became 
poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich." Christians can want 
no motives to goodness when they consider the liberality and bounty of 
God to them in Christ, and those riches of grace provided for them. 
If they sincerely believe these things, they will have somewhat in their 
own bosoms. that will strongly persuade them not to be wanting to 
occasions and opportunities of doing good. 

3. The examples it propoundeth to our imitation, not mean and 
blemished ones, such as we may find among our fellow-creatures, but 
the high and glorious examples of God and Christ himself. There is 
a good God set before us, that we may not take up with any low pattern 
of goodness. He is represented to us as all goodness : Ps. cxix. 68, 
' Thou art good, and doest good.' He is good in his nature, and 
his work is agreeable to his nature; nothing is wanting to it, or 
defective in it. Nothing can be added to it to make it better. 
'O 6Wo>9 o> TO irpwTov Philo. The first being must needs be the 
first good. As soon as we conceive there is a God, we presently con 
ceive that he is good, as being both the fountain and pattern of all the 
good that is in the creatures. 

[1.] As to his nature, he is originally good, good in himself, and 
good to others ; as the sun hath light in himself, and giveth light to 
all other things. Essentially good ; not only good, but goodness 
itself. Goodness in us is an accessary quality or superadded gift ; but 
in God it is not a quality, but his essence ; as a vessel that is gilded 
with gold, and a vessel that is all gold ; the gilding or lustre is a 
superadded quality; but in a vessel all of gold, the lustre and the sub 
stance is the same. God is infinitely good ; the creature's good is 
limited, but there is nothing to limit the perfection of God, or give it 
any measure. He is an ocean of goodness without banks or bottom. 
Alas ! what is our drop to this ocean ! God is immutably good ; his 
goodness can never be more or less than it is ; as there can be no 
addition to it, so no subtraction from it. Man in his innocency was 
peccabilis, afterward peccator ; but God ever was and is good. Now 
this is the pattern propounded to us, but his nature is a great deep. 

[2.] As to his work, he doeth good. What hath God been acting 


upon the great theatre of the world but goodness for these six thousand 
years ? Acts xiv. 17, ' Nevertheless he hath not left himself without 
a witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and 
fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.' He left 
not himself without a witness, dyaOoTrotwv, not by taking vengeance of 
their idolatries, but by inviting benefits. Now this is propounded to 
our imitation, that our whole life may be nothing else but doing good : 
Mat. v. 48, ' Be ye perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.' It is 
in Luke vi. 36, 'Be ye therefore merciful, as your heavenly Father is 
merciful ; ' that is, learn of God how to exercise and show forth your 
goodness, not in a confined way to friends only, but to enemies ; not 
in a scanty measure, but in full proportion. The other example is 
Jesus Christ, or God incarnate : Acts x. 38, ' How God anointed Jesu* 
of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost, and with power, who went about 
doing good ; ' that is, to the bodies and souls of men, giving sight to 
the blind, limbs to the lame, health to the sick, and life to the dead. 
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, when he could easily do it, and justly might 
have done it. No ; he went up and down doing good. He rebuked 
his disciples when they requested him to destroy those that had con 
temned them by calling for fire from heaven, telling them, 'They knew 
not of what spirit they were of,' &c., Luke ix. 55, 56. It was unlike 
his spirit and design ; all his miracles were acts of relief and succour, 
not pompous nor destructive, bating only his blasting of the unfruitful 
fig-tree, which was an emblematical warning to the Jews, and suffering 
the devil's entering 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 and destroy men, would enter into the herd of 
swine that the poor creatures might perish in the sea. I say nothing 
now of his abundant grace discovered in our redemption. Surely if it 
be true religion to be like what we worship as God, we must be like 
this. God and this Christ. Certainly goodness should wholly possess 
us, and dispose of our lives and actions ; a religion that holdeth forth 
such a good God and a good Christ should breed a good people. 

4. The arguments by which it enforceth this goodness, or the rewards 
and encouragements which it offereth, which is the supreme blessedness 
or the chief good. We all desire good ; any good will serve a carnal 
brutish heart : Ps. iv. 6, ' There be many that say, Who will show us 
any good ? ' but the sober and thinking part of mankind will not be 
put off so ; they are groping and feeling about for an eternal good ; 
and grope they may, but still fail of what they seek after, till they 
come to the gospel to find it. There God hath showed man what is 
his chief good and proper happiness, or the greatest good that can be 
attained or imagined, for beyond God there is nothing. And the 
happiness which the gospel offereth is 

[1.] God reconciled. 

[2.] God finally and fully enjoyed. Our happiness by the way con 
sists in reconciliation with God, but at the end of the journey, in the 
vision and fruition of God ; this is happiness indeed. 

(1.) Our reconciliation with God through Christ, as soon as we 


enter into his peace. This is that which we only are capable of here, 
and the good we are now only admitted unto : Rom. v. 1 , ' Being 
justified by faith, we have peace with God through Jesus Christ our 
Lord.' As soon as ever we turn to him by faith and repentance, he 
giveth us the pardon of all our sins, and accepteth us in Christ. The 
sentence of death is reversed, and we are delivered from wrath to come; 
and not only so, but are also made heirs according to the hope of 
eternal life. We have a right for the present, though not the pos 
session ; and there is a long train of blessings which we enjoy by virtue 
of this right, as a comfortable sense of the love of God, peace in our 
own conscience, an interest in the care of God's providence, the audience 
of our prayers, the moderating and sanctifying of all our afflictions. 
Now all these should mollify and soften. the heart, and melt it into love 
to God and man. Shall God be so good to us, and we so evil ? Surely 
such a lively sense of God's love and grace should highly and potently 
promote goodness in the world. 

(2.) The vision and fruition of God in the heavenly glory, that is 
the great good offered to us, when our nature shall be perfected, and 
by its most perfect acts be employed about the most perfect objects, 
and God shall be all in all, giving out the fullest communications of 
his grace, and that for ever. The soul shall be perfect without spot or 
blemish, and this vile body made like Christ's glorious body, and we 
shall forever remain in the sight and love of God ; and what is sweeter 
than his presence ? Ps. xvi. 11, ' In thy presence is fulness of joy, and 
at thy right hand are pleasures for evermore.' And this without fear 
of change : 1 Thes. iv. 17, ' And so shall we ever be with the Lord/ 
If anything be good, this is good, to live for ever in the sight of God,, 
and to love him, and be beloved of him. Now should not all this- 
rnake us good ? and should we not train up ourselves in a way of 
loving and rejoicing in God now, that in our very work we may have 
a foretaste of our reward and end ? The object of our love and service 
is good, and what floweth from him but goodness ? and what do we 
expect from him but such goodness as our hearts cannot sufficiently 
conceive of? 

Secondly, Upon what grounds we may expect the Spirit to co-operate 

1. Because God worketh congruously, as with respect to the subject 
upon which he worketh, so with respect to the object by which he 
worketh. The subject is the heart of man, and therefore he ' draweth 
us with the cords of a man,' Hosea xi. 4. The object is the gospel, a 
good word, or the good knowledge of God, and therefore a suitable 
means to work goodness in us. There we have good precepts and good 
promises, and an account of God's wonderful goodness and love in 
Christ; and 'therefore the fruit of his Spirit is in all goodness.' As 
the seal is graven, so the wax receiveth the stamp. The seal is the 
word, the wax is our heart, and the hand that applieth it is the Spirit 
of God ; he is the principal cause, and maketh the gospel effectual to 
produce in us a frame of heart answerable to the scheme and structure 
of the word. In short, the good Spirit, by the good word, maketh us 
good, and so all suiteth. 

2. The Spirit produceth this effect as a witness of the truth of the 


gospel, which being a supernatural doctrine, needed to be attested 
from heaven, that the truth of it might be known by the mighty power 
of God which doth accompany it, working in our hearts effects suitable 
to the tenor of the word. Whatever doctrine can change the soul of 
man, and convert it to God, is of God, and owned by God. When 
such a holy doctrine sanctifieth us, we see the truth of it : John xvii. 
17, ' Sanctify them through thy truth ; thy word is truth.' When 
such deliverance is published, it maketh us free indeed : John viii. 32, 
' And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.' 
When such a heavenly doctrine breedeth in us a heavenly mind : 
1 Cor. ii. 12, ' For we have not received the spirit of the world, but the 
Spirit which is of God, that we might know the things that are freely 
given to us of God.' When such a spiritual doctrine bringeth in more 
of the Spirit: 2 Cor. iii. 8, 'How shall not the ministration of the 
Spirit be rather glorious ? ' Such a wise doctrine will fill us with 
wisdom ; such a doctrine of grace and goodness breedeth all goodness 
in us, and so we have God's attestation to his. truth. 

3. That thereby God may signify his peculiar and elective love 
to his people. When he worketh all goodness in their hearts by 
his Spirit, they come to discern that he loveth them by a special love. 
Love or hatred cannot be known by anything that is before us, any 
outward dispensation whatsoever, Eccles. ix. 1 ; but when by the good 
Spirit of the Lord we are made like God and like Christ, and have the 
prints of the good word upon us, then we know his love to us : 1 
John iv. 13, ' Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, 
because he hath given us of his Spirit.' And what spirit is that but 
a Spirit of love and goodness ? for ' God is love,' ver. 16. Then we 
transcribe our pattern, and are brought into a conformity to God. 

4. God maketh an offer of his grace to invite us to seriousness in 
attending on this gospel. He excludeth none in the offer, and there 
fore we must not exclude ourselves. None miss it but those that 
neglect and forfeit it through their carelessness, and disobedience, and 
ingratitude. If you would observe the seasons of his sanctifying 
motions, it would be much better* with you : Prov. i. 23, ' Turn ye at 
my reproof ; behold, I will pour out my Spirit unto you, I will make 
known my words unto you.' 

Use 1. Is information. 

1. It informeth us how false the prejudices of the world are, who 
think the life of godliness a severe rigid thing, as if men did put off 
all good nature as soon as they enter upon the practice of it. No ; 
* The fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness.' There cannot be a more 
delightful spectacle, unless it be to a man blinded with malice and 
prej udice and brutish lusts, than to see such a good man as is described 
in the word of God ; for he is one that seeketh to do good to all, and 
hurt to none ; looks for no great matters for himself in the world, 
bustles not for honour and greatness, but gives place, or at least due 
respect to all; he condescends to the meanest, envies none, revenges 
himself on none, but is courteous to all, beneficial to all according to 
his ability and opportunity. As to God, his business is to love him 
and live to him ; he counteth it his happiness to live with him, and is 
careful to keep up a due remembrance of him by daily invocation and 


worship ; always rejoicing in Christ Jesus, and liveth in obedience to 
the motions of the sanctifying Spirit, so that his life is not tainted with 
the blot of any heinous sin. He is still encouraging himself with the 
promises of another world, levelling and directing all his actions 
thither. This is the true good man ; and can spite and infidelity 
object anything against it ? You will say, There are few such in the 
world. Ans. The more the pity, when so many helps and means to 
effect it. It is the fault of the men, not of the rule. But many such 
there are; yea, all the children of God are such in some measure. 
The world seeth it and hateth them, because their holy and heavenly 
life upbraideth their flesh-pleasing and carnal course. 

2. It informeth us that the children of light should be full of good 
ness, or else they do not improve their advantages. We have a good 
word to direct us, after we had lost the knowledge of God, and of the 
world to come, and the way thither ; that all this should be revealed to 
us by Christ clearly and plainly. And not only so, but we have a good 
Spirit to imprint this knowledge upon our hearts, and to give us a 
heavenly mind and life. Now what remaineth but that we should be 
good also ? for what should a bad people do with a good religion ? 
This good word, that assureth us of God's readiness to do mankind the 
greatest good ; this good Spirit, whose great office it is to regenerate 
and make us good. But alas ! many are more forward to talk of the 
word than live by it, and not so careful to walk in the Spirit as to 
boast of it. 

3. That all the goodness that is in us is the fruit of the Spirit ; he 
infuseth the graces, he exciteth the acts ; therefore the glory of all 
that we have and do must be transferred to God. God hath a greater 
share in all the good that we do than we ourselves. We may say of 
our best actions, as Augustin of his illegitimate child, ' I had nothing 
in him but my sin ;' nothing is ours but the defect, the good is God's. 
Again, on Ps. cxxxvii. he saith, Opus tuum vide in me, Domine ! non 
meum, &c. Kegard, Lord, in me, not my works, but thine own : if 
thoti regardest my works, thou daninest me ; if thine own, thou 
crownest me : since whatsoever good I have, I have it from thee, it is 
therefore rather thine than mine. Thus humbly and thankfully should 
we be affected. God is good of himself, good in himself, yea, goodness 
itself ; there is no good above, or besides, or beyond him ; it is all from 
him, if it be good, and therefore to him be all the glory. 

Use 2. To exhort us to increase in all goodness. (1.) Moral good 
ness, which is holiness. Now holiness is the glory of God, and there 
fore must needs be our excellency: Exod. xv. 11, 'Who is like unto 
thee, Lord, among the gods ? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, 
fearful in praises, doing wonders ? ' So that to be holy is to put on the 
royal robe of the king of all the earth. Surely the more a man 
partakes of the nature and image of God, the more excellent he is. 
(2.) Beneficial goodness, or kindness and mercy ; this is the first and 
chiefest name of God. So God told Moses, Exod. xxxiii. 19, ' I will 
cause all my goodness to pass before thee,' when he proclaimed his 
name : Exod. xxxiv. 6, 7, ' And the Lord passed by before him, and 
proclaimed, The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long- 
suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for 


thousands, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin ; ' Ps. xxxiii. 5, 
' The whole earth is full of thy goodness : ' Ps. cxlv. 9, ' The Lord is 
good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works/ This doth 
first insinuate with us, and command our respect to him. The first 
temptation that ever was, was to weaken the conceit of his goodness. 
Now this is that which we are to imitate, to be good to all, and to do 
as much good as possibly we can. 


For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, and righteousness, and 

truth EPH. v. 9. 

I)OCT. 2. That one choice fruit of the Spirit wrought in the children 
of light is righteousness. 

To explain this point, I will show you (1.) What is righteousness ; 
(2.) That this is one of the fruits of the Spirit ; (3.) That it is a 
choice fruit because of the benefits which accrue to us thereby. 

I. What is righteousness ? Sometimes it is taken as largely as 
holiness, for that grace which doth incline us to perform our duty to 
God and man ; for there is a righteousness even in godliness, or giving 
God his due honour and worship: Mat. xxii. 21, 'Render therefore 
unto Caesar the things which are Cassar's, and unto God the things 
that are God's.' More strictly it is taken for that grace which doth 
dispose and incline us to give every one his due, and is a branch of 
that love and charity which is the sum of the whole second table : Rom. 
xiii. 7, 8, ' Render therefore to all their dues, tribute to whom tribute 
is due, custom to whom custom, fear to whom fear, honour to whom 
honour. Owe no man anything but to love one another ; for he that 
loveth another hath fulfilled the law/ There is a debt of justice that 
we owe to ordinary men, and of subjection to those whom God hath set 
over us, which must be discharged. One debt you must still owe to 
all men, and that is charity, and it must be so paid as that it be always 
owing. Now here the word ' righteousness ' must be taken in a con 
venient latitude, mixed of both senses, an inclination to do that which 
we know to be holy and just. Now this righteousness in Christians 
is a fruit of the Spirit, and so a mark of their union with Christ ; 
and therefore it must be advanced to a higher degree of perfection 
than that justice in heathens which is the fruit only of a natural 
conscience in us. It must look like a thing that cometh from a 
nature renewed and healed, or a divine supernatural principle, which 
doth not only alter the kind, but advance the degree of it. To 
evidence which 

1. Let us see what is the office of righteousness. 

2. To what an height Christianity advanceth it above" all other 
institutions in the world. 

First, What is the office and part of justice and righteousness? 


1. To seek the peace and welfare of the several communities and 
societies in which we live, or in preferring the public good before our 
own. We owe a debt of love to our country. God directeth his people 
to seek the good of Babylon while his providence continued them 
there : Jer. xxix. 7, ' And seek the peace of the city whither I have 
caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the Lord for it ; 
for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace ; ' that is, in regard of their 
own interest in the common rest and quietness during their abode 
there ; otherwise we are to pray for the downfall of Babylon. All 
passengers are concerned in the vessel wherein they are embarked. 
And if we are to seek the welfare of Babylon, much more are we to 
seek the welfare of Sion, where we live in Christian society: Ps. cxxii. 
, ' Pray for the peace of Jerusalem : they shall prosper that love thee.' 
A Christian community is represented as a body, and in a body the 
members should have a care one of another, and for the whole : 1 Cor. 
xii. 15, ' If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of 
the body ; is it therefore not of the body ? ' Well, then, this is the 
first part and office of justice, to perform the debt we owe to our 
country, for public interests must be preferred before private. 

2. To give to every man his due ; to use faithful dealing in all the 
duties we owe to others, or in all actions wherein we are employed and 
entrusted by others. We must be just in our trading and bargaining, 
according to the value of the things ; in paying our debts, and pre 
serving the rights of others, and giving due honour to the eminently 
holy. Because it is endless to instance in all, therefore there is a 
general rule : Mat. vii. 12, ' Therefore all things whatsoever ye would 
that men should do unto you, do ye even so to them ; for this is the 
law and the prophets.' The equity of the rule is built upon two 
grounds the actual equality of all men by nature, and the possible 
equality of all men by condition and state of life. The actual equality 
of all men by nature, for they were all made by the same God : Job 
xxxi. 15, ' Did not he that made me in the womb make him ? and did 
not one fashion us in the womb ? ' So Mai. ii. 10, ' Have we not all 
one father ? hath not one God created us ? Why do we then deal 
treacherously every man against his neighbour ? ' So Neh. v. 5, ' Our 
flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, and our children as their children.' 
The possible equality of all men by condition and state of life: we 
may be brought into the same state. All are alike subject to corrup 
tion arid calamity. To corruption, therefore be not severe on the 
failings of others : Gal. vi. 1, ' Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a 
fault, ye which are spiritual restore such a one in the spirit of meekness, 
considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.' To calamity : Heb. 
xiii. 3, ' Kemember them that are in bonds, as bound with them ; and 
them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.' 
You may be exposed to like calamities. 

3. Fidelity in our relations is another part of justice; for all these 
relations imply a right which is due to others. So we must be just to 
superiors and inferiors. Magistrates must be just in governing: 2 
Sam. xxiii. 3, ' He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear 
of God.' And it is said of David, 2 Sam. viii. 15, that ' he executed 
judgment and justice to all his people.' A good magistrate is 


, a living law. And people must be just in obeying ; inferiors 
in performing their duties to their superiors, children to their parents : 
Eph. vi. 1, ' Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right/ 
There is a right depending there. Masters to servants : Col. iv. 1, 
' Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal.' Wives 
to their husbands : Col. iii. 18, ' Wives, submit yourselves to your 
own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.' So proportionably to all other 

Secondly, To what a height Christianity advanceth these things. 

1. Because it deduceth things from a higher principle, the fixed 
principle of a nature renewed by Christ. There are in it three things- 
(1.) Another nature put into us, a fixed principle ; (2.) And this by 
the Spirit's operation, and so it is a supernatural principle ; (3.) This 
working after a kindly manner, by faith in Christ, and love to God in 
Christ, and so it is a forcible principle. 

[1.] It is a fixed principle : Eph. iv. 24, ' And that ye put on the 
new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.' 
When the heart is thus constituted and framed, that to be unjust, or 
to do anything unjust, is as unsuitable to them as it is for venomous 
berries to grow upon a choice vine. As it is said of such a one that he 
did good quid aliter facere non poterat, because he could not do other 
wise, the same doth the new nature ; it doth more than moral habits : 
1 John iii. 9, ' Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin ; for 
his seed remaineth in him : and he cannot sin, because he is born of 
God.' Now if the same grace that maketh us submissive to God 
maketh us also just and harmless to men, surely it is a great advantage 
when righteousness is another nature to us. 

[2.] It is a supernatural principle. The mere motion of our own 
human spirit cannot enforce us, and incline us to righteousness so- 
much as the Spirit of God : 'The gentiles do by nature the things- 
contained in. the law,' Bom. ii. 14. But here is a divine power, and 
so a more perfect principle. Take the human spirit as coming from 
God ut author natures, as the author of nature : Kom. i. 19, ' Because 
that which may be known of God is manifest in them ; for God hath 
showed it unto them ; ' or ut author gratice, as the author of grace, 
as God hath renewed them, and given them a new frame : Eph. ii. 10. 
' We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works/ 
But here is actual assistance : Ezek. xxxvi. 27, ' I will put my Spirit 
into you, and cause you to walk in my statutes ; and ye shall keep my 
judgments and do them/ The short is this, nature cannot do as 
much as grace, nor habitual grace infused so much as grace actually 
assisted by a divine and powerful assistance. 

[3.] It is a forcible and kindly principle ; for it is such a principle 
as worketh by the love of God, and hopes of glory ; for ' Faith worketh 
by love,' Gal v. 6, as the apostle expresseth it. What will not such 
a principle do? faith representing what God hath done for us in 
Christ, and what he will further do. If we look back, what wonders 
of love doth faith represent to work us to an obedience to God's will 1 
If we look forward, what hopes of glory and blessedness are set before 
us ! Kedemption by Christ and hopes of glory are more powerful and 
forcible principles than any reasons mere bare nature can suggest. No 


wonder that they who never felt the force of faith and love to God 
upon their souls do so much cry up bare formality. Take faith as it 
representelh heaven to us, or our proper felicity in the vision and 
fruition of God, surely that doth establish righteousness upon sure 
terms, and advanceth it at a higher rate than all the arguments 
taken from our worldly interest and conveniences: Acts xxiv. 14-16, 
' Believing all things that 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 
towards God and towards men.' Take the other principle, love to 
God. Indeed the immediate principle of justice is love to man, for 
all the second table is comprised in this, to ' love thy neighbour as 
thyself ; ' but love to man is but a stream from a higher fountain, 
which is love to God: 1 John iv. 21, 'And this commandment we 
have from him, that he who loveth God, love his brother also.' Our 
love to our brother must be both excited and measured by our love to 
God. We must love all mankind, and all his creatures which bear his 
image ; his natural image in all men, his spiritual image in his saints. 

2. Because it measureth and directeth things by a more perfect rule 
than the law of nature. Our rule is God's word, which is a more pure 
and perfect rule than so much of the law as remaineth written upon 
man's heart after the fall. As natural conscience worketh more coldly 
than a principle of grace or faith working by love, so it is a more 
imperfect rule and direction to us, and we have a larger understanding 
of our duty by what God hath revealed in his word than otherwise we 
could have. We are told, Prov. xv. 21, 'That a man of under 
standing walketh uprightly.' To be thorough in our duty there 
needeth to be a large, deep, and solid judgment, sufficiently informed 
out of the word of God. But what instruction doth the word of God 
give in this point? To tell you that were to transcribe the whole 
bible, so far as it concerneth this duty of man to man. But in the 

[1.] It requireth to be just in all things ; to keep a good conscience 
in the smallest matter ; not only in our public and most momentous 
actions, but justice is to be observed in lesser things as well as in 
greater ; for where heaven and hell are concerned, nothing is little : 
Luke xvi. 10, ' He that is faithful in that which is least, is faithful also 
in much ; and he that is unjust in the least, is unjust also in much.' 
Many will be righteous in some things, but in others dispense with 
themselves ; but the good Christian is careful to avoid all evil. 

[2.] It requireth us to be just at all times, always exercising right 
eousness as God giveth opportunity and occasion : Ps. cvi. 3, ' Blessed 
are they which keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness at all 
times/ Not for a fit or pang, but ever ; when it is cross to our^ inter 
ests as well as when it befriendeth them. A Christian is to be just to 
friends and enemies. Many will be just to their friends, but there is 
nothing so disingenuous, bad, and cruel, but they think they may say 
it and do it to their enemies; but we must deprive none of their right 

[3.] To be not only just, but strictly just in our dealings : Dent, 
xvi. 20, ' That which is altogether just shalt thou follow, that thou 


mayest live, and inherit the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.' 
It is in the margin, and so in the Hebrew, Justice, justice shalt thou 
follow ; that is, exact justice : it should be done in such eminency, 
that it may appear that God's people are notoriously much better than 
other men are. If you be but as they, you harden the carnal world, 
and they think there is no great matter in religion : 1 Thes. v. 21, 

* Abstain from all appearance of evil ; ' at least when the honour of 
religion lieth at stake. I shall not be shy in giving you an eminent 
example of justice, which Austin thought fit twice to commemorate in 
his sermons. ' I shall tell you,' saith he, ' what was done by a very poor 
man at the time when I lived at Milan ; the man that I tell you of 
was so poor, that he was under an usher of a grammar-school, but a 
sincere and real Christian. This very poor man, who had hardly 
wherewith to sustain his life, found a purse of two hundred crowns ; 
but being mindful of that justice which God requireth of his people, he 
set up in some public place a bill, giving notice of what he had found, 
that if any man had lost such a sum, he should come to such a place, 
to such a man, and receive it again. He that had lost the money 
heareth of the bill, cometh to the man, and giving sure tokens that it 
was his, he fully returned what he had found, without any defalcation 
or diminution. The other rejoicing that he had heard of his money 
again, and willing to make some requital, giveth him the tenth part, 
twenty of these crowns ; but he would not take it ; he offereth him ten, 
but he ref useth ; at length desireth him that at least he would accept of 
but five, still the man that found the purse refuseth it. The other 
seeing the honesty of the man, throweth him the purse, saying, I have 
lost nothing, if you will take nothing. my brethren/ saith Austin, 

* what a strife was here between an honest finder and a thankful rewarder ! 
The world was the theatre of this conflict, the spectator God. The 
finder at length being overcome by importunity, taketh what was offered, 
but presently gave it all to the poor, not reserving one crown for his 
own use. Consider, my brethren, such a glorious example, and con 
sider what God's law can do upon the heart of the obedient : Justice, 
justice shalt thou follow.' Thus far he. 

[4.] It requireth us to be just, whatever temptation we have to the 

(1.) Of riches and worldly ends, which easily blind the mind, and 
will tempt us to authorise our usurpations of another's right with fair 
pretences. But, 1 Tim. vi. 9, 10, ' They that will be rich fall into 
temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, 
which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money 
is the root of all evil.' Indulge it, and it will soon make a breach upon 
your duty ; but when the lust of wealth is mortified, temptations have 
the less power over you. A man that is governed and influenced by 
carnal interest can never have this habit and disposition of righteous 
ness, to carry it so equitably and fairly in all his dealings ; for he that 
mindeth nothing but his own interest will soon believe that whatever is 
profitable is lawful ; might and force will be right to him. Therefore 
you are never safe till you have learned to prefer your duty before 
your interest. 

(2.) Of friends, kindred, and relations. We are often tempted to be 


unjust for their sakes, when it may be we are a little shy in our own 
case ; for there conscience would boggle at it as too gross, but friend 
ship puts an honest pretence upon it. I must love my friend, but 
usque ad aras ; where religion forbids me, I must not keep friendship 
with men to break amity with God. He is our chief friend, and other 
obligations eease when his law interposeth by way of bar and restraint. 
Your friends may be dear to you, but truth and righteousness must be 
dearer : 2 Sam. xiii. 3, ' But Amnon had a friend, whose name was 
Jonadab, the son of Shimeah, David's brother ; and Jonadab was a 
subtile man.' It was an abuse of friendship when Jonadab would 
countenance Amnon in his sin, and so his friend proved his greatest 
foe by his pernicious counsel ; though he was a friend to his person or 
sin, yet a foe to his soul. True friendship is grounded in God and 
virtue ; to do for our friend, where his law is in no danger to be broken, 
is true friendship : Prov. xxvii. 6, ' Faithful are the wounds of a friend , 
but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.' To reprove them, and cross 
them in their sins, is to promote their salvation. So it holdeth good 
as to our party. It is gross partiality to aggravate the faults of others, 
and spare them because they are of our combination and society ; because 
then for interest you lose conscience, when we think all is right and 
well done by those whom we best like, and all wrong that is never so 
well done by adversaries. Or else we shall soon fall into gross 
unrighteousness ; as Barnabas was led away by Peter's dissimulation. 
No ; when Peter walked not uprightly, Paul withstood him to the face, 
Gal. ii. 12, 13. Otherwise we have a stone and a stone, a weight and 
a weight. 

(3.) We must not be drawn to do an unrighteous deed by fear or 
flattery. Sometimes fear is an evil counsellor, and we run into a snare 
if we be not fortified against it : Prov. xxix. 25, ' The fear of man 
bringeth a snare, but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe/ 
Fear must be checked by a sure trust. God can bring us off from an 
inconvenience better than any injustice of ours. So by flattery many 
are enticed into evil, which otherwise they could not bring their hearts 
to commit : Prov. xxvi. 28, ' A flattering mouth worketh ruin ; ' Prov. 
xxix. 5, ' A man that flattereth his neighbour spreadeth a net for his 
feet ; ' that by worldly allurements or fair pretences and crafty insinu 
ations draweth others into sin. 

(4.) Do nothing unjust even for religion's sake. When men are 
secure of their end, they caie not what means they use. Alas ! we 
should not step out of God's way for the greatest good in the world. 
A good end will not warrant an ill action. God needeth not our 
iniquity to uphold his interest. Christ hath other ways to get up 
than upon the devil's shoulders. Nothing dishonoureth God more 
than when men deceive, lie, break oaths, rebel against lawful authority, 
or use any sinful means to secure and promote religion. It is flat un 
belief, and making more haste than good speed, to ease ourselves of our 
burdens and discontents by any sinful shifts : Job xiii. 7, ' Will ye 
speak wickedly for God, and talk deceitfully for him ? ' God needeth 
not my lie for his glory : Rom. iii. 7, ' For if the truth of God hath 
more abounded through my lie unto his glory, why yet am I also 
judged a sinner ? ' He will have no honour tendered to him but by 

VOL. xix. s 


lawful and approved means. It argueth our impatiency and ill thoughts 
of God when we seek, like Jacob, to get the blessing by a wile. 

(5.) Not by opportunity. Be not tempted to be unrighteous or 
unjust when put into places of power and trust; such have an oppor 
tunity of being unrighteous. Many are innocent because they have no 
opportunity to be otherwise. It is said, John xii. 6, that ' Judas was a 
thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.' If we will find 
the sin, God may righteously find the occasion. And when corrupt 
affections and suitable temptations and objects meet, it is dangerous to- 
the soul. Well, then, the scripture showeth that we must not depart 
from our rule and resolution of righteous and just dealing upon any 
temptation whatsoever. Many resolve to be just, but when the tempta 
tion cometh, their resolution is shaken. Oh, remember, the greatest 
gain will prove a loss and a hard bargain in the issue : Mat. xvi. 26,. 
' What is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world and lose his 
own soul ? ' He that seeketh to pleasure others, or help himself by 
unjust means, doth but consult shame to himself and his friends. 

3. Because it referreth them to a more noble end, which is the glory 
of God: 1 Cor. x. 31, 'Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatso 
ever 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/ Now he that propoundeth to himself such an end 
is more exact and thorough in the use of means than another can be 
that only mindeth his own interest ; for the baser the end. is, the more 
base are a man's actions ; but the nobler end he hath, he liveth at a 
higher rate than others do. That which is done for God must be done 
in a godlike manner, or as will become the excellencies of God. 

II. That this is one of the fruits of the Spirit. It must needs be so,, 
because it suiteth with his office and personal operations. The Spirit 
is to be our guide, sanctifier, and comforter. As our guide, he doth 
direct and enlighten our minds ; as our sanctifier, he doth change our 
hearts ; and as our comforter, he doth pacify, and clear, and quiet our 
consciences. Now this fruit of righteousness is conducible to all these 
ends, or agreeable with these offices. 

1. As our guide, he doth enlighten our minds with saving knowledge ; 
and no knowledge is saving but what endeth in righteousness ; as here : 
'You are light in the Lord: walk as children of the light; for the 
fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness ; ' Jer. xxii. 1 6, 
'He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well with 
him : was not this to know me, saith the Lord ? ' We have no true 
knowledge of God, either of his nature or of the will of God, till this 
knowledge influence the duties of our callings and relations ; for God 
is no further savingly known than he is obeyed, and that in all things 
which belong to our duty. 

2. As our sanctifier, he doth change our hearts ; and the true fruits 
of repentance and change of heart are the works of righteousness : 
Isa. i. 16, 17, ' Wash you, make you clean, put away the evil of your 
doings from before mine eyes ; cease to do evil, learn to do well ; seek 
judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the 
widow.' This is particularly insisted on as the proper fruit of their 
change. So Dan. iv. 27, ' Break off thy sins by righteousness, and 
thine iniquities by showing mercy to the poor.' .Repentance is a 


breaking off our former course of sin. And to a king that was an open 
persecutor Daniel preacheth righteousness and mercy. They that con 
tinue in their former unjust courses never yet repented. So Zech. 
viii. 16, 17, 'These are the things which ye shall do, Speak ye every 
man the truth to his neighbour ; execute the judgment of truth and 
peace in your gates : and let none of you imagine evil in your hearts 
against his neighbour ; and love no false oath : for all these are things 
that I hate, saith the Lord.' God would have their repentance thus 
expressed. Thus in the general ; but more particularly, the fruit and 
work of the Spirit tendeth to this end, to make us like God, and amiable 
to God, to fit us for communion with God, and to glorify God in the 
eyes of the world ; and much of this is done by righteousness ; cer 
tainly nothing is done without it. 

[1.] By it we are made like God, and do resemble his divine perfec 
tions : Ps. cxlv. 17, ' The Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy 
in all his works.' There is a perfect holiness in his nature, and a con- 
decency in all his actions ; and when our natures are sanctified, and 
all our actions are righteous and holy, we are framed after this pattern : 
Eph. iv. 24, ' And that ye put on the new man, which after God is 
created in righteousness and true holiness.' 

[2.] The work of the Spirit is to make us acceptable and pleasing 
unto God. Now the just and righteous man is an object of his com 
placency : Prov. xv. 9, ' The way of the wicked is abomination unto 
the Lord ; but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness.' The 
Lord loveth all his creatures with a general love, but with a special 
love he loveth those that bear his image. He doth not love any be 
cause they are rich and mighty, fair and beautiful, valiant and strong, 
but as holy and righteous. So it is said, Prov. xxi. 3, ' To do justice 
and judgment is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.' God hath 
required both, and men should make conscience of both ; yet the one 
is to be preferred before the other, though the one be a duty of the 
first table, the other of the second ; because moral and substantial 
duties are better than ceremonial. Internal duties are to be preferred 
before external, and duties evident by natural light before things of , 
positive institution ; as appeareth by this, that God doth accept of 
moral duties without ceremonial observances : ' In every nation, he 
that feareth God and worketh righteousness is accepted with him,' 
Acts x. 35. But God never accepteth of ceremonial observances with 
out moral duties ; he still rejecteth their offerings when they neglected 
justice : Micah vi. 7, 8, ' Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of 
rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil ? Shall I give my first 
born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul ? 
He hath showed thee, man, what is good : and what doth the Lord 
require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly 
with thy God ?' Again, he dispenseth with ceremonials and externals 
of religion when they come in competition with moral duties, even of 
the second table ; as David's eating the show-bread when an hungered, 
Mat. xii. 3, 4. But he never dispenseth with moral duties. Well, then, 
how right and punctual soever we be in other things, unless we show 
mercy, and do justice, we are not accepted with God, though we are 
zealous for or against ceremonies, or are of the strictest party in re 
ligion. Indeed, we cannot say they are better than faith, and love, and 


the fear of God, and hope in his grace ; for these are the substantial 
duties of the first table. And compare substantiate with substantiate, 
first-table duties are more weighty ; but compare internals of the second 
with externals of the first, moral duties of the second with the cere 
monies of the first, duties natural and evident with the merely positive 
and instituted, these are more weighty. To conclude, let me add that 
of the psalmist : Ps. xi. 7, ' The righteous Lord loveth righteousness ; 
his countenance doth behold the upright.' 

[3.] Kighteousness fitteth for communion with God. True it is 
the righteous have an easy access to God, and are sure of audience : 
Ps. xvii. 15, 'As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness.' 
Saul will not see my face, but this comforteth me, that I can behold 
thy face. Lord, thou wilt look upon me, be gracious to me, and hear 
my prayer, because I desire to come before thee in righteousness. 
God will not hear the prayers of the unjust, nor accept their offerings, 
'till judgment run down as a river, and righteousness as a mighty 
stream,' Amos v. 23, 24 ; and rejecteth the Jewish fast, Isa. Iviii., 
because they did not loose the bands of wickedness, and undo the 
heavy burden, and let the oppressed go free, and break every yoke. 

[4.] The work of the Spirit is to enable us to glorify God in the 
eyes of the world, which is very much done by righteousness ; for this 
is very lovely and venerable in the eyes of the worst sort of men. A 
Christian, if he had no other engagement upon him, yet, for the honour 
of God and the credit of religion, he should do those things which 
are lovely and comely in themselves, and so esteemed by the world. 
Natural conscience reverenceth righteousness : Mark vi. 20, ' Herod 
feared John, knowing that he was a just and holy man, and observed 
him/ When you give every one their due, you bring more honour to 
God and credit to religion ; you can better hold up the credit of it 
against contradiction. Justice is so lovely a thing, partly as it is a 
stricture of the image of God ; it is said, Prov. xii. 26, ' The righteous 
is more excellent than his neighbour ; ' for all excellency and perfection 
is determined by conformity to God. And partly because the welfare 
of human society is promoted by it ; for ' these things are good and pro 
fitable to men/ Titus iii. 8. They are such good things as the world 
is most capable to know and own. There are some things which none 
but Christians themselves approve, as the positive rites of religion, or 
the peculiar mysteries thereof. These the carnal world are no capable 
judges of. Acts xviii. 13-15, ' This fellow persuadeth men to worship 
God contrary to law. And when Paul was about to open his mouth, 
Gallio said unto the Jews, If it were a matter of wrong, or wicked lewd- 
ness, ye Jews, reason would that I should bear with you ; but if it be 
a question of words, and names, and of your law, look ye to it, for I 
will be no judge of such matters/ But there are other things which 
the world approveth ; there are certain common principles wherein we 
agree. Nature approveth goodness, justice, and truth, as corrupt as it 
is, though not faith and sacraments. The unbelieving world reveren 
ceth these things as good, and of a divine original. 

3. The third office of the Spirit is to be a comforter. Now right 
eousness affordeth peace of conscience, and quietness and holy secu 
rity : 2 Cor. i. 12, ' For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our con 
sciences, that in simplicity and godly sincerity we have had our con- 


versation in the world ; ' Ps. xcvii. 11, ' Light is sown for the righteous, 
and gladness for the upright in heart ; ' Prov. xxix. 6, ' The righteous 
doth sing and rejoice ; ' that is, whatever befalleth him, good or evil, 
much or little, in life or death. And he hath comfort in his portion, 
because what he hath he hath by the fair leave and allowance of God's 
providence ; if it be little, that little is better than more gotten by fraud 
and injustice: Prov. xvi. 8, 'Better is a little with righteousness than 
great revenues without right ; ' Ps. xxxvii. 16, ' A little that a righteous 
man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.' Suppose their 
condition be evil, yet still they have ground of comfort ; if scorned or 
neglected, yet he hath the comfort of his innocent dealing to bear him 
out ; as Samuel when he and his house were laid aside : 1 Sam. xii. 3, 
' Behold, here I am ; witness against me before the Lord, and before 
his anointed ; whose ox have I taken? or whose ass have I taken ? or 
whom have I defrauded ? whom have I oppressed ? or of whose hand 
have I received bribes to blind mine eyes therewith ? and I will re 
store it you.' If opposed or maligned, as Moses: Num. xvi. 15, 'And 
Moses was very wroth, and said unto the Lord, Respect not thou 
their offering; I have not taken one ass from them, neither have I hurt 
one of them.' If oppressed: Ps. cxix. 121, 'I have done judgment 
and justice ; leave me not to my oppressors.' Suppose death cometh : 
' The righteous hath hope in his death,' Prov. xiv. 32 ; Isa. xxxviii. 3, 
' And he said, Remember, Lord, I beseech thee, how I have walked 
before thee, in truth, and with a perfect heart.' When he is going 
the way of all the earth, this will be a comfort to him, that he hath 
done no wrong, that he hath served God faithfully, and lived with men 
without guile and deceit. Oh, for the comforts of a dying hour ! The 
crooked, the subtle, the deceitful have them not, but those that walk 
with a simple plain-hearted honesty. 
III. It is a choice fruit of the Spirit. 

1. Because it conduceth so much to the good of human society. A 
Christian is a member of a double community, of the church and of the 
world ; the one in order to eternal life, the other in order to the present 
life : in the latter he is considered as a man, in the former as a Chris 
tian. Now the righteous are pillars of human societies, that keep up a 
spirit of truth and justice in the world, without which it would be but 
as a den of thieves, or filled with liars, deceivers, robbers, enemies. 
Remota justitia, saith Austin, quidfiunt regna nisi magna latrocinia ? 
The world cannot subsist without justice. ' The king's throne is estab 
lished by righteousness/ Prov. xvi. 12. The honour and reputation of 
any nation is kept up : Prov. xiv. 34, ' Righteousness exalteth a nation.' 
Never did the people of the Jews, nor any other nation whose history is 
come to our ears, flourish so much as when they were careful and exact 
in maintaining righteousness. And as to persons, all commerce between 
man and man is kept up by it. Surely it is God, and not the devil, 
that governeth the world, and distributeth the rewards and blessings 
of this life ; therefore the way to do well in the world is not lying, 
cozening, and dissembling, but a strict obedience to God's holy will. 

2. Because of the many promises of God, both as to the world to 
come and the present life. As to the world to come, the question is 
put, Ps. xv. 1 (and it were well if we would put it oftener), ' Lord, who 
shall abide in thy tabernacle ? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?' And 


it is answered, ver. 2, ' He that walketh uprightly, and worketh 
righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.' Others are 
excluded : 1 Cor. vi. 9, ' Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not 
.inherit the kingdom of God?' So for this world there are many 
promises. Take a taste : Prov. x. 2, ' Treasures of wickedness profit 
not ; but righteousness delivereth from death.' How soon can God 
blow upon and blast an ill-gotten estate ! Job xx. 12-15, ' Though 
wickedness be sweet in his mouth, though he hide it under his tongue ; 
though he spare it, and forsake it not, but keep it still within his 
mouth ; yet his meat in his bowels is turned, it is the gall of asps within 
him. He hath swallowed down riches, and he shall vomit them up 
again : God shall cast them out of his belly ; ' and ver. 26, ' A fire not 
blown shall consume him ; ' Job v. 3, ' I have seen the foolish taking 
root ; but suddenly I cursed his habitation.' 

Use 1. (1.) To show what a friend religion is to human societies, 
that placeth so much in righteousness. It preventeth all that is false, 
bad, unjust or cruel, and teacheth us to be tender, not only over other 
men's persons and estates, but names. Grace doth not abolish so much 
of nature as is good, but refine and sublimate it, by causing us to act 
from higher principles to higher ends, and maketh these duties doubly 
dear to us, in the flesh and in the Lord. 

(2.) It showeth where the safety of Christians lieth, in their right 
eousness. God is their protector: 1 Peter iii. 13, 'Who is he that 
will harm you, if 3 7 e be followers of that which is good? ' And there 
is a strong conviction in 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 rewarded thee evil.' Moral 
duties are not small things, when the glory of God, the safety of his 
people, and comfort of our sincerity lieth in them. 

Use 2. To press you to get this fruit of the Spirit. 

1. Propound to do nothing but what is agreeable to righteousness 
and honesty : Prov. xii. 5, ' The thoughts of the righteous are right, but 
the counsels of the wicked are deceit.' 

2. Be always exercising righteousness : Ps. cvi. 3, ' Blessed are they 
that keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness at all times.' 

3. Teach it to your children : Gen. xviii. 19, ' I know Abraham, that 
he will command his children, and his household after him ; and they 
shall keep the way of the Lord, to do judgment and justice.' 

[See more of this in Sermon on Ps. cxix. 121.] 

Goodness, righteousness, and truth. EPH. v. 9. 

DOCT. 3. That to make a Christian complete in his carriage towards 
men, to goodness and righteousness there must be added truth. 

Let me inquire here (1.) What is truth; (2.) That it must be 
made conscience of by the children of light ; (3.) Why truth must be 
added to goodness and righteousness. 


I. What is meant by truth ? Ans. Sincerity or uprightness in all 
our speeches and dealings with men. But because integrity of life, and 
uprightness in our commerce and dealings with others, is a great branch 
of righteousness, therefore here we must consider it as an opposite to 
falsehood or a lie in speech ; yet not excluding either godly sincerity, 
which is the root of it : ' Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts,' 
Ps. li. 6 ; or internal integrity and righteousness : Jer. v. 1, ' Hun ye to 
and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now and know, and 
seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any 
that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth ; ' where truth is put 
for integrity of life. But here we take it chiefly for simplicity of 
speech, without lying and dissimulation ; as also it is taken, Ps. xv. 2, 
' He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh. 
the truth in his heart ; ' that is, maketh conscience of what he speaketh, 
ruling his tongue so as it may go with his heart. To understand this 
sort of truth, we must consider what a lie is. Men are said to lie when 
they do wittingly or willingly, and with a purpose to deceive by speech, 
signify to others that which is false. The matter of a lie is falsehood, 
the formality of it is an intention to deceive ; the outward sign is 
speech. Gestures are a sign by which we discover our mind, but an 
imperfect sign ; the special instrument of human commerce is speech. 
Now there is a twofold lying a lying to God, and a lying to men. 

1. A lying to God is the worst sort of lying, because it argueth not 
only falsity and evil hypocrisy, but misbelief or ill thoughts of God, as 
if he did not know the heart and try the reins, and is contented to be 
mocked with a false appearance. We lie to God when we put him off 
with a false appearance and show of what is not in the heart, as if he 
could be deceived with outsides and vain pretences : Hosea xi. 12, 
'Ephraim compasseth me about with lies, and the house of Israel with 
deceit ; ' meaning their false and deceitful pretences of repentance, 
because they relented a little, and did some outward acts that might be 
a sign and show of repentance, especially in a time of trouble : Ps. 
Ixxviii. 36, ' Nevertheless they did flatter him with their mouth, and 
they lied unto him with their tongues.' Their hearts were not sincerely 
set against sin, whatever pangs of devotion they had for the present : 
Ezek. xxiv. 12, ' She hath wearied herself with lies, and her great scum 
went not forth out of her.' When the pot was over the fire, the scum 
came a-top, and seemed ready to be cast out, but it was swallowed up 
again ; for all their pretences of repentance, they were not cleansed 
from their open and notorious sins. To this purpose also is another 
similitude: Hosea vii. 16, 'They return, but not to the Most High; 
they are like a deceitful bow.' They did not sincerely intend what they 
promised ; as a man that shooteth, but doth not level right, or take care 
to direct the arrow to the mark. So they cast out promises to get rid 
of trouble, but do not seriously set their hearts to accomplish them ; 
their repentance was but as a show, they aimed at nothing in it but to 
deceive God. 

2. As to men ; and so there are several sorts of lies. We may dis 
tinguish them thus either from the matter, or the end, or the 
formality used in lying. 

(1.) From the matter, and so a lie is twofold assertory or 


[1.] An assertory lie is when a man, in a matter that is past or 
present, reporteth that as false which he knoweth to be true, and that 
as true which he knoweth to be false. This is called in scripture 
speaking with a double heart : Ps. xii. 2, ' They speak vanity every one 
with his neighbour, with flattering lips and with a double heart do 
they speak ; ' or with a heart and a heart, as if he had one heart to con 
ceive of the matter as it is, and another heart to furnish the tongue. 
Instances of this falsehood in our assertions, or untrue relating of 
things done, are frequent ; as Ananias, who brought part of the money 
for which he sold his possession, instead of the whole : Acts v. 3, ' Why 
hath Satan filled thy heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back 
part of the price of the land ? ' It was a lie, and a lie to the Holy 
Ghost, as being pretended to be done by his motion and inspiration, 
or because of his presidency in church affairs, where the Holy Ghost 
doth all. 

[2.] A promissory lie is when we promise for the time to come what 
we never intend to perform ; and this is the worse, because it doth not 
only pervert the end of speech, which is truth, but we also defeat 
another of that right which we seemed to give him in the thing 
promised, which is a further degree of injustice, as being not only 
against veracity, but righteousness. Vain and empty promises are a 
great evil, when we make show of kindness to others without any intent 
to do them good : Prov. xix. 22, ' The desire of a man is his kindness ; 
and a poor man is better than a liar.' The meaning is, that which is 
desired of a man is his favour in such or such a business, wherein he 
hath power to help you. Now many great men, that covet the praise 
and reputation of doing a good office or kind turn, are very forward 
in promises, but fail in performance ; and therefore Solomon, who had 
observed the course of the world, telleth you that 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, or sprinkle you with a little court holy- 
water, but will do nothing for you. 

[2.] From the end ; and so there are three sorts of lies mendacium 
jocosum, the sporting lie, tending to our recreation and delight ; men 
dacium ojficiosum, the officious lie, tending to others' profit; and 
mendacium perniciosum, the pernicious and hurtful lie, tending to our 
neighbour's prejudice. 

(1.) The sporting lie, when an untruth is devised for merriment. 
I do not remember any instance of this in scripture, unless it may be 
intended in that place, Hosea vii. 4, ' They make the king glad with 
their wickedness, and the princes with their lies.' They stick not at 
any sin, so they may make the princes merry. But this I am sure of, 
that it is a sin to speak an untruth, and we must not make a jest of 
sin : Prov. xxvi. 19, ' So is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and 
saith, Am not I in sport ? ' No ; if a Christian will be merry, he hath 
other diversions : James v. 13, ' If any be merry, let him sing psalms ; ' 
Eph. v. 4, ' Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which 
are not convenient, but rather giving of thanks.' Let him not speak 
things against the sense of his own mind, especially by false represen 
tations traduce the godly, and make religion ridiculous, and say, I am 
in sport. Idle words are to be accounted for : Mat. xii. 36, ' I say unto 


you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account 
thereof at the day of judgment/ Let him use harmless recreations^, 
without accusing his brother falsely, or shamming him with devised lies. 
Now to this sporting lie a fable or parable is not to be reduced, because 
it is an artificial way of representing truth ; as when Jotham bringeth 
in the trees conferring and consulting about their king, Judges ix. 8. 
Nor yet such sharp and piercing ironies as we find used by holy men, 
in the scripture ; as when Elijah saith, 1 Kings xviii. 27, ' He is a god - r 
either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey ; or perad- 
venture he sleepeth, and must be awaked ; ' for this is a notable way to- 
make truth strike upon the heart with the more force. 

(2.) The officious lie, for the help and relief of ourselves or others. 
Instances we have of this in the scripture. Thus Kebecca teacheth 
Jacob to lie, that he might gain the blessing, Gen. xxvii. ; and the 
Egyptian midwives saved the male children of the Israelites by feigning 
they were delivered before they came to them, Exod. i. 17, 18 ; unless 
it may be extenuated, that so it was sometimes, and they might send 
to them to use the help of other women. Though it be so, they feared 
God, and were rewarded by God. Non remunerata estfattacia, sed 
benevolentia Not their lie, but their mercy was rewarded: their 
mercy was commended, but their infirmity pardoned. So Kahab saved 
the spies by telling the men of her city that they were gone, when she- 
had hidden them under the stalks of flax, Josh. ii. 5-7. Thus Michal, 
to save David, feigned that he was sick, 1 Sam. xiv. 14 ; and David 
advised Jonathan to an officious lie for his safety, 1 Sam. xx. 6 ; and 
Hushai by temporising with Absalom, preserved David, 2 Sam. xvi. 
17-19 ; and to divide his counsels, pretendeth hearty affection to him.. 
But we are to live by rule, not by examples ; and a good cause must 
be followed by lawful means ; and courage and constancy will do more- 
in these cases than dissimulation, and tend more to the glory of God, 
and the preservation of ourselves and others. 

(3.) There is a pernicious lie, to the hurt and prejudice of others. 
Of this nature was that first lie by which all mankind was ruined : 
Gen. iii. 4, 5, ' And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not 
surely die ; for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then 
your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and 
evil.' And Jacob's children's lie concerning Joseph : Gen. xxxvii. 31, 
32, ' This we have found ; know now whether it be thy son's coat, yea* 
or no.' And that of the Jewish elders concerning Christ, who said 
that his disciples stole him away by night, Mat. xxviii. 12-14. All 
lying is forbidden, but more especially this sort. I say, all these sorts- 
are lies, for the scripture condemneth all without distinction : Eph. iv. 
25, ' Wherefore put away all lying.' And all liars are shut out of the- 
new Jerusalem, Kev. xxi. 8. And again, Eev. xxii. 15, ' Whosoever 
loveth and maketh a lie ' is cast into hell. They all violate the natural 
order which God hath appointed between the heart and the tongue, 
and the law which he hath given to preserve faith in the world. The- 
sporting lie is unnecessary, for we have other honest recreations where 
with to divert our minds. And though officious lies are not to the 
hurt but good of others, yet they are to the hurt and prejudice of 
the truth. A man is not to lie for God, and therefore not for another 


man ; he hindereth a greater good, which is the truth of commerce 
between mankind, and he hurteth his own soul. Sin depriveth us of 
a greater good. And Augustin telleth us of one Firmus who was 
firmus nomine and firmior voluntate, who being interrogated by the 
persecutors about such a person or persons as he knew concealed, 
respondit mentiri nee posse nee hominem prodere, and suffered many 
torments, till he obtained a pardon both for himself and them. But 
of all lies, the pernicious lie is most pernicious. To deceive others 
with an untruth, or to lie to their wrong, is both horrible falsehood 
'and injustice. 

[3 ] A lie from the formality used in making it may be distinguished 

(1.) A lie committed in ordinary commerce, when we speak of things 
or persons otherwise than we know to be true. This is a lie ; for our 
words ought always to be agreeable to our minds. Thus Job speaketh 
of his friends : Job xiii. 4, ' But ye are forgers of lies.' Because they 
accused him unjustly, though it were not in a juridical process. And 
Christ of the Jews : John viii. 55, ' And if I should say, I know him 
not, I shall be a liar like unto you;' and Ps. cix. 2, ' For the mouth 
of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful are opened against me ; 
they have spoken against me with a lying tongue.' Thus impudent 
backbiters will in secret vent their calumnies and slanders, and avouch 
the most false things as truth ; and so a good man is secretly hurt and 
wounded many times, and his reputation and service prejudiced when 
he knoweth it not. 

(2.) A lie committed in courts of judicature ; as Exod. xxiii. 1, 
' Thou shalt not raise a false report ; put not thine hand with the 
wicked to be an unrighteous witness/ So ver. 7, * Keep thee far from 
ti false matter ; and the innocent and righteous slay thou not ; for I 
will not justify the wicked.' Now this is the most heinous sort of lying, 
because it perverteth God's ordinance, appointed for the finding out of 
right and wrong, truth and falsehood, and turns a tribunal of justice 
into a record of iniquity : Ps. xciv. 10, ' He that chastiseth the heathen, 
shall not he correct ? he that teacheth man knowledge, shall not he 
'know ?' Partly because witnesses are sworn ; and perjury, a lie con 
firmed by an oath, is no small crime : ' God will not hold him guiltless 
that taketh his name in vain,' Exod. xx. 7. Partly because they are 
bound to witness the truth, and the whole truth, concerning the fact 
in hand, which in ordinary commerce we are not bound to do. Indeed 
in ordinary speech our purpose should be to inform our neighbour, not 
to deceive him ; but we are not bound to inform him in all things, or 
to make known all that is true in every matter of fact, but when we 
are called thereto by justice and charity. I must speak falsehood at 
no time, but I am not bound at every time to speak the whole truth ; 
but in matters of testimony, I must speak all that belongeth to that 
fact in question, without fraud or collusion. Therefore this is the most 
criminal sort of lying. Partly because my neighbour is greatly wronged 
by it ; he is wronged by privy detraction, but more evidently wronged 
by a false testimony in judgment ; not only wronged in his reputation, 
but in his life or estate ; not only before a few, but in the face of his 
country, before all who shall have notice of it; and wronged in a 


solemn way, not by whispers, but by a sentence given by God's deputies 
and officers in the throne of judgment or seat of justice. 

II. Why must it be made conscience of by the children of light, or 
those who are ' light in the Lord'? 

I answer For these reasons 

1. Because it is a sin most contrary to the nature of God, who is 
truth itself; it is not only contrary to his will but to his nature : Titus 
i. 2, ' In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised 
before the world began.' He can do all things, but he cannot lie. 
What a case had the world been in if God could lie, or were not of 
undoubted truth ! for then we could be sure of nothing ; no sure direc 
tion by his word, nor comfort by his promises. Therefore lying is a 
sin that maketh us unlike God. God cannot lie, nor command us to lie. 
He can command us to take the life of another, for he commanded 
Abraham to offer Isaac ; the life of all creatures are at his dispose. 
He can command us to take the goods of another, as when the Israelites 
spoiled the Egyptians of their jewels ; for he is the sovereign Lord of 
all, and can transfer right and property as he pleaseth from man to 
man : but God cannot lie, nor give command for any to lie, because it 
is contrary to his nature. And there is an impossibility in the case : 
Heb. vi. 18, ' That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible 
for God to lie ; ' as it is impossible for God to cease to be God, or to act 
contrary to his nature. Therefore there cannot be 'a greater deformity 
or unlikeness to God than to be given to lying. 

2. Because when God was incarnate, and came not only to represent 
the goodness of the divine nature, but also the holiness of it as a pattern 
for our imitation, Jesus Christ, this God incarnate, was eminent for 
this part of holiness, for sincerity and truth : 1 Peter ii. 22, ' Who did 
no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.' This was Christ's 
character, and therefore it should be ours ; for this is true religion, to 
imitate what we worship. You know Christ's commendation of 
Nathanael : John i. 47, ' Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom there is 
no guile.' Why an Israelite indeed ? Because he was like old Israel ; 
for it is said of Jacob, who is also called Israel, that he was ' a plain, 
man, and dwelt in tents,' Gen. xxv. 27. We may say of a plain-hearted 
Christian, how weak soever he be otherwise, Behold a Christian indeed, 
because he is like Christ. Therefore it is prophesied that in the days 
of the gospel : Zeph.-iii. 13, ' The remnant of Israel shall do no iniquity, 
nor speak lies ; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth.' 
"They shall be all like Christ. This prophecy intimateth both duty 
and event ; it showeth not only what Christians should be, but shall 
be, if they be true Christians. Well, then, this is the essential com 
mendation of a true Christian. Some of God's saints may be famous 
for several graces, but all for truth ; Moses for meekness, Phineas for 
zeal, Abraham for faith, David for devotion ; but every one that is born 
of God, and accepted of God upon the account of Christ, for sincerity 
and truth. It is made the qualification of the pardoned to have no 
guile : Ps. xxxii. 2, ' Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth 
not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.' 

3. Nothing maketh us more like the devil, who is a liar from the 
beginning, and the father of lies : John viii. 44, ' Ye are of your father 
the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do ; he was a murderer 


from the beginning, and 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 it.' All sins call him father, but chiefly a lie ; 
for he brought sin into the world by the way of lying at the first. And 
therefore to be given to lying argueth too much prevalency of the 
satanical nature. The disposition to lie is the image of the devil, the 
act is the work of the devil : Acts v. 3, ' Why hath Satan filled thy heart 
to lie to the Holy Ghost ? ' and should the children of light be like 
the father of lies ? 

4. It is a sin most contrary to the new nature wrought in the saints, 
and seemeth to offer more violence to it than other sins. The new 
nature may be considered doubly, either as to mortification or vivifica- 
tion ; the sins we put off, or the graces it produceth : both from the 
one and the other consideration the scripture reasoneth against lying. 
From the ' corrupt nature' which is put off : Col. iii. 9, ' Lie not one to* 
another, seeing ye have put off the old man with his deeds ; ' that is, 
never suggest or say any false thing to the injury of another, since this- 
is a principal part of that corrupt nature which we have put off, and 
course of life which ye have all renounced. Naturally we are all full of 
guile and falsehood ; now as a battered vessel must be new cast before 
it be brought into any frame, so till the heart be renewed we are 
crooked, perverse, deceitful. Now what the new nature renounceth 
and destroyeth must not be cherished again. Sometimes from the 
' new nature' which is put on ; as 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 ; for we are members one of another.' Therefore this 
is a very odious and unseemly sin in a Christian, and inconsistent with 
the grace which he hath received, or contrary to that sincerity and 
true holiness which is the fruit of regeneration. Therefore God pre- 
sumeth that his people -will hate and abhor this sin : Isa. Ixiii. 8, ' For 
he said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie.' He 
expecteth that his children will not deal falsely, nor circumvent and 
deceive others, since he hath framed them for this very thing, cured 
and set straight the crooked spirit in them, and disposed and fitted 
them to deal sincerely, or to do all things as in his sight, according to- 
his will, and for his glory. 

5. It is a sin most contrary to human society. Man is by nature 
tfiov TTokirucov, a creature fitted for society. Now all society i& 
founded in truth ; take away truth and you destroy all human 
converse, and there could be no living, nor trading, nor dwelling 
together ; for if there be no truth, we are unfit to be trusted, and so it 
overthroweth all the commerce of the world. If it were lawful to vend 
counterfeit money without any restraint, how suspicious would men be, 
and cast away true gold and silver as suspecting all ? Now money, 
which is the material instrument of commerce, is not so necessary as- 
truth and fidelity, which is the root and foundation of it. Therefore 
God, as for other reasons, so for the good of mankind, hath condemned 
all lying, that mutual commerce may not be destroyed. Much more 
doth this hold good where the community is not only human, but 
Christian, and so we all belong to the same mystical body ; so the apostle 


urgeth it : Eph. iv. 25, ' Speak every one truth with his neighbour, for 
we are members one of another/ Members should seek one another's 
"welfare as much as they do their own : and it is monstrous for one 
member to deceive and defraud another ; therefore the Lord com- 
mandeth truth, and the Holy Spirit worketh this truth in us, that we 
may be heartily and really serviceable and faithful one to another, as 
members of the same body. 

6. Lying is a sin very hateful to God, and against which he hath 
expressed much of his displeasure. Partly by express declaration of 
his mind. A lying tongue is reckoned among those six things which 
God hateth : Prov. vi. 17, ' A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands 
that shed innocent blood.' Nay, that it may not be forgotten or lost in 
the crowd, it is again mentioned in ver. 19, 'A false witness that 
speaketh lies, and him that soweth discord among brethren ; ' so again, 
Prov. xii. 21, 22, ' There shall no evil happen to the just ; but the 
wicked shall be filled with mischief : lying lips are an abomination to 
the Lord ; but they that deal truly are his delight.' Now certainly we 
should hate what God hateth, and love what God loveth ; for to nill 
and will the same things is true amity and agreement. Partly by his 
threatenings of destruction, both in this life and in the life to come: 
Ps. v. 6, ' Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing ; ' Prov. xix. 5, 
' He that speaketh lies shall not escape ; ' first or last God will cut 
them off as unfit for human converse. The first remarkable instance 
of God's vengeance in the new testament was for a lie : Acts v. 5, ' And 
Ananias hearing these words, fell down, and gave up the ghost ; and 
great fear came on all them that heard these things.' And in the life 
to come : Rev. xxi. 8, ' All liars shall have their part in the lake that 
burneth with fire and brimstone.' Now, when God is so express in 
denouncing his judgments against such kind of sinners, all that have a 
tender heart will tremble. 

7. It is a sin shameful and odious in the eyes of men. The more 
common honesty any man hath, the further he is from it, especially the 
more he hath of the spirit of grace : Prov. xiii. 5, ' A righteous man 
hateth lying ; but a wicked man is loathsome, and cometh to shame.' 
All men hate a liar, because they suspect him ; this is that they gain 
by lying, that they are the less credited, and not believed, even when 
they speak truth. Therefore it concerneth God's children to keep up 
the full value of their testimony, and to carry it so that all their words 
may be received with respect and reverence. Christ used such plain 
ness in his converse as a man, that his word was enough : John xiv. 
2, ' If it were not so, I would have told you.' The Persians had such a 
respect for truth, that he that was three times convicted of a lie was 
never more to treat or speak in public affairs. Indeed men most guilty 
of it cannot endure to be charged with it. Zedekiah smote Micaiah 
on the cheek when he told him of his lying spirit, 1 Kings xxii. 23, 24. 
Those that do not abstain from it as sinful count a lie shameful. 
Though they have no conscience to make a lie before God, yet they 
count it a disgrace to take the lie from men, because thereby they are 
judged unfit for human society, or useless, if not dangerous to others. 

III. Why this must be added to goodness and righteousness. 

1 Because they cannot be preserved without it. Not goodness, for 


it will only be a counterfeit show, that endeth in empty words, and 
promises or pretences of kindness when there is hatred in the heart i 
' Let us not love in word, neither in tongue, but in deed and in truth/ 
1 John iii. 18 ; and again, Bom. xii. 9, 'Let love be without dissimu 
lation ; abhor that which is evil, cleave to that which is good.' Many 
pretend in their professions, speeches, and promises, a great deal of 
goodness, but in their hearts intend it not, but seek to get loose upon all 
occasions. Men live by interest more than by conscience ; so righteous 
ness cannot be preserved except there be truth; they are seeking, 
some fair pretence for an unjust and wrongful course. When once the- 
heart is hardened in lying, it is fit for all manner of injustice; for a liar 
will stick at nothing, and most of our injurious practices are covered by 
a lie : Prov. xii. 17, ' He that speaketh truth showeth forth righteous 
ness ; but a false witness, deceit.' They that make no conscience of 
lying will stick at no manner of unrighteousness ; but when their 
interest leadeth them, will swallow perjury as well as lying, or purloin 
and overreach others when they have an opportunity. There is no hold 
of them ; for when there is such a gap opened in the conscience, what 
sin will be kept out ? If the laws restrain them from violence, they 
will do injury to others by deceit, which is so natural to them. And 
so the security of the world is not sufficiently provided for till truth be 
joined to the other graces. 

2. The life of goodness and righteousness lieth in truth, and so they 
cannot be thoroughly exercised unless truth be added. Sincerity runs , 
through all the graces. As to the upper part of religion, truth en- 
liveneth all our worship. Where God is sincerely loved and worshipped, 
he is more thoroughly served and obeyed : Isa. xxxviii. 3, ' Kemember 
now, Lord, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in truth, and 
with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight ; ' 
1 Chron. xxviii. 9, 'And thou, Solomon, my son, know thou the God 
of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart, and with a willing 
mind.' Sincerity doth its best. So in the lower hemisphere of duty, , 
truth maketh us more exactly righteous and industriously good. It 
maketh us more exactly righteous. There are many cases arise about 
what is just and equal, and surely it is very profitable to have a deep, 
solid, and large understanding, and where we are at a loss ourselves, to 
consult with others ; but the best resolver of hard questions, next to 
the Holy Ghost, is in our own bosoms. Sincerity will sooner interpret 
our duty ; it is fleshly wisdom which breedeth all or most of our per 
plexities. A sincerely righteous man hath that within him that 
inclines him to righteous things : Prov. xii. 5, ' The thoughts of the 
righteous are right ; ' Ps. xxxvii. 31, ' The law of God is in his heart ; 
none of his steps shall slide.' So it maketh us industriously good. A 
man truly good is much directed by the inclination of his own heart : 
Isa. xxxii. 8, ' But the liberal man deviseth liberal things, and by 
liberal things he shall stand.' They are always seeking out occasions 
of doing good : Heb. vi. 10, ' Ye have ministered to the saints, and do 
minister.' And he speaketh there of a labour of love. There needeth 
not much ado with the sincere, for their hearts are inclined to these 

Use 1. To reprove many, because they make so little conscience of 


truth. Lying is a more general and common sin than we imagine. 
Those expressions intimate it : Bom. iii. 4, ' Let God be true, but every 
man a liar.' The phrase intimateth, that though there be none in God,, 
yet there is much falseness and unfaithfulness in men ; and it is said, 
Ps. Iviii. 3, ' The wicked are estranged from the womb ; they go astray 
as soon as they are born, speaking lies.' Falsehood and lies are kindly 
sins to a natural heart, they break out early ; before they go, they went 
astray ; the seed of these sins is in them, as if they began to lie as soon 
as they came out of their mother's womb. And as it is an early sin, so 
it is universal : Ps. xii. 1, 2, ' The faithful fail from among the children 
of men, they speak vanity every one with his neighbour, with flattering- 
lips and with a double heart do they speak.' This is the general dis 
position of mankind. The most sacred bonds will not bind or hold 
them to any truth and righteousness ; and a man knoweth scarce wha 
to believe, the simplicity of commerce being almost lost in the world. 

Use 2. It showeth how much they give suspicion that they are not 
children of light who have not this truth wrought in them. Some 
good men may lie, as the scriptures show, but they are not given to lying. 
The very act is a foul sin ; but every lie doth not argue a graceless 
estate. It is a sin more contrary to sincerity than other sins, yet some 
few acts are not altogether destructive of it. David prayeth, ' Remove 
from me the way of lying,' Ps. cxix. 29 ; that showeth he was too- 
prone to it, he had been too faulty in that kind. How many acts show 
the habit is very hard to determine ; and in so weighty a case as the 
assurance of salvation, we should not leave the matter suspicious and 
questionable. He that will sin as often as may stand with saving grace 
shall never have assurance of his sincerity till he break this course and 
way of lying by repentance ; and for the present there is a bar against 
his actual entrance into heaven, or a present unfitness, till his recon 
ciliation be made with God. 

Use 3. See that ye be found in this grace also, as well as in goodness 
and righteousness. God is truth, and requireth truth, and delighteth 
in truth : Ps. li. 6, ' Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts.' It is 
your strength, as a girdle to your loins : Eph. vi. 14, ' Having your loins 
girt about with truth.' It is your comfort, downright honesty breedeth 
rejoicing : 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 conversation in the 
world.' Therefore we should make great conscience of truth, putting 
away all lying. 

The means are these 

1. Get your hearts healed and renewed by the Spirit. Till we have 
a right spirit, we may speak truth out of interest, or for other reasons ; 
but we are always in danger of being crooked and deceitful, for the old 
heart is inclined to lying and deceit. It is called the ' old man, which 
is corrupt according to his deceitful lusts/ Eph. iv. 22. There are 
swarms of lusts will put us upon it, malice, envy, pride, vainglory, 
worldly affections. 

2. Let us hate it as a horrid sin ; do not think it a venial matter: 
Ps. cxix. 163, ' I hate and abhor lying, but thy law do I love.' A 
slight hatred is not sufficient to guard us against it. 


3. Kemember your spiritual conflict. You never give your enemy 
so great an advantage as by falsehood and guile of spirit. Satan's 
weapons against you are wiles and darts : ' wiles/ Eph. vi. 11, and ' fiery 
darts,' ver. 16. Against his darts or blasphemous thoughts you oppose 
faith, and against his wiles your strength lieth in downright honesty. 
Righteousness is your breastplate, and truth your girdle, ver. 14. This 
will guard you against his temptations, and give you strength and 
courage in the day of sore trial ; it is strength against him both as a 
tempter and an accuser. 

4. Heedfulness, or a constant watch over your tongue : Ps. xxxix. 
1, ' I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue. 
I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me ; ' 
Ps. cxli. 3, ' Set a watch, Lord, before my mouth ; keep the door of 
my lips.' And this watch is quickened by the fear of God, in whose 
sight and hearing we always are. 

5. Avoid the causes of lying. I shall mention some of them 
[1.] Pride and self-esteem. We all affect to seem better than we 

are, and what we want in real worth we make up by lying and foolish 
boasting. The ' lying tongue,' and ' the tongue that speaketh proud 
things,' are joined together, Ps. xii. 3. 

[2.] Flattery, or a desire to ingratiate ourselves with great ones : Ps. 
xii. 2, ' With flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak.' 
A self-seeker is apt to flatter and fawn upon all that is rich and great 
^,nd mighty, and to smooth them up with falsehoods and applauses. 
Flattering and tale-bearing is many men's trade. 

[3.] Fear of men and distrust of God. This puts many upon their 
shifts to avoid their displeasure : Deut. xxxiii. 29, ' Thine enemies 
shall be found liars unto thee ; ' that is, feignedly submit themselves 
to thee. 

[4.] Covetousness : Prov. xxi. 6, ' The getting of treasures by a lying 
tongue is a vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death.' 

[5.] Doing that which we are ashamed to own ; as naughty children 
and servants commit faults, and then cover them with a lie. Now it is 
dangerous to stand in need of a lie to help us out ; the devil hath a 
tie upon you. 

Proving what is acceptable to the Lord. EPH. v. 10. 

THE apostle goeth on farther to declare what is required of them that 
walk as children of the light. Our duty consists of two parts eschew 
ing evil and doing good. How to do good is shown in this verse ; 
what eschewing evil is required of us, the next verse showeth. 
In the words observe 

1. The act, 8oKi/j,d%ovres, ' Proving.' 

2. The object, TO evdpea-rov ry fcvpi<a, 'What is acceptable (or well- 
pleasing) to the Lord Christ.' 


I. The act, ' proving.' The word signifleth so to prove as to approve 
and practise. 

1. Sometimes it signifieth bare searching or examining : 1 Thes. v. 
21, ' Prove all things.' So it noteth an accurate and continual study 
and endeavour to know God's will, by reading and meditating : Ps. i. 
% ' And in that law doth he meditate day and night.' By hearing and 
trying, as the Bereans are commended, Acts xvii. 11, 'In that they 
received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scrip 
tures daily, whether those things were so.' By praying and earnest 
seeking : Prov. ii. 3, 4, ' Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest 
up thy voice for understanding; if thou seekest her as silver, and 
searchest for her as for hid treasure.' This, and the use of all other 
holy means, is the searching and examining commended to us. 

2. Proving is put for approving : Bom. ii. 18, ' And knowest his will, 
and approvest the things that are more excellent.' We must not 
examine only, but approve what is good and true. 

3. Taking upon ourselves an obligation to practise it: Rom. xii. 2, 
' And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the 
renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and accep 
table and perfect will of God.' The meaning is, that you may under 
stand and perform your duty : Phil. i. 10, ' That ye may approve things 
that are excellent, that ye may be sincere and without offence till the 
day of Christ.' Approve by adopting into your manners and practices : 
it is SoKifj,deT6, the same word. Therefore, besides proving and approv 
ing, there must be performing, at least an endeavour ; otherwise it is 
a ridiculous thing, and that which will never stand us in any stead, 
to examine what is pleasing to God, and practise the contrary. 

II. The object, that which is pleasing or ' acceptable to the Lord.' 
There is a difference between things. 

1. Some things utterly displease God, as sin : 2 Sam. xi. 27, * But 
the thing that David had done displeased the Lord/ 

2. Some things are not displeasing unto God, as all natural and in 
different actions, which are not forbidden, but allowed by him : Eccles. 
ix. 7, ' Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a 
merry heart ; for God now accepteth thy works.' 

3. Other things are commanded by him by a positive law, but have 
no natural goodness in themselves, setting aside God's command. 
Now these things are pleasing to God, as man performeth his required 
duty ; but not so pleasing as the weighty things of the law, which 
have a moral good in them, if God had given no express command in 
the case. So it is said, Rom. 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.' Mercifulness, peaceableness, delight to 
do good one to another, these are acts of obedience to Christ, and for 
his sake will be accepted with God, and are of good report with men. 
So morals must be preferred before rituals, and the great evangelical 
duties before moral ; as love to God and faith in Christ before acts of 
goodness and righteousness to men ; ' For without faith it is impos 
sible to please God,' Heb. xi. 6. So Acts x. 35, ' But in every nation 
he that feareth him and worketh righteousness is accepted of him.' 



4. There are some things which do most please God, as things 
eminently good are acceptable to him in the highest degree ; as, for 
instance, faith in Christ is pleasing to God, but a strong faith is more 
acceptable than a weak, which needeth props and crutches : John xx. 
29, ' Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou 
hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have 
believed ; ' that is more pleasing and acceptable to God. So love to 
God is also an acceptable thing, but a fervent love doth more please 
him : John xiv. 21, ' He that hath my commandments, and keepeth 
them, he it is that loveth me ; and he that loveth me shall be loved of 
my Father, and I will love him, and manifest myself to him ; ' Ps. 
cxlvii. 11, ' The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those 
that hope in his mercy.' So for obedience to God : 1 Thes. iv. 1, 
' Furthermore then, we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the 
Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk, and 
to please God, so ye would abound more and more.' So for duties to 
men ; the apostle had mentioned ' goodness, righteousness, and truth,' 
now ' proving what is acceptable to God ; ' that is, what is the eminent 
discovery of any of these graces, that you may excel in all goodness, 
righteousness, and truth. A renewed man should practise all Christian 
graces and virtues in the highest degree, that he may be more pleasing 
unto God, that he may be eminent in the faith and love of Christ, and 
goodness and righteousness to men. Therefore we should not barely 
inquire what is our duty, but what is well-pleasing and most accept 
able to God. 

Doct. That proving what is acceptable to God is one great duty 
which belongeth to the children of light. 

I shall explain this point by these considerations 

First, Our great end and scope should be to please God, and be 
accepted with him. The apostle speaketh in his own name, and in the 
name of all that are like-minded with himself : 2 Cor. v. 9, ' Wherefore 
we labour, that whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him/ 
That is a Christian's scope and work, and this he carrieth on living or 
dying. In the body it is his business to please God, out of the body it 
is his happiness to be accepted with him. While he is in the body, 
he would be found still in a course of pleasing God ; and when he 
goeth out of the body, he would be found in a state of well-pleasedness 
and acceptation ; one cannot be without the other. And it must needs 
be so 

1. With respect to God, whose favour is our happiness, whose wrath 
is our misery, upon whom we depend for life and being and all things. 
Dependence begets observance. Men take themselves to be obliged to 
please those on whom they have their whole dependence, and are very care 
ful not to offend them, if possible; and if they be offended, to be speedily 
reconciled to them. As the men of Tyre, Acts xii. 20, when Herod was 
highly displeased with them, ' They came with one accord to him, and 
having made Blastus the king's chamberlain their friend, desired peace, 
because their country was nourished by the king's country.' The mat 
ter stands thus between us and God, his displeasure is our destruction : 
1 Cor. x. 5, ' And with many of them God was not well pleased, for 
they were overthrown in the wilderness.' His being pleased is our 


happiness, both here and hereafter. Here we need him, his presence 
with us, to direct us in our doubts, to relieve us in our straits, to supply 
us in our wants, to qomfort us in all our troubles, and to strengthen 
us against our weaknesses. Now they that would have the comfort of 
God's presence and company in all conditions, and have so much to do 
with God in the world, they ought to set themselves to please God, and 
observe his will in all things according to his word : John viii. 29, ' And 
he that hath sent me is with me : the Father hath not left me alone, 
for I do always the things that please him ; ' 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/ And hereafter 
our happiness lieth in our presence with God ; and indeed the one can 
not be without the other. None can live with God hereafter but those 
that take care to please God before they go hence : Heb. xi. 5, ' By 
faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death, and was not 
found, because God had translated him ; for before his translation he 
had this testimony, that he pleased God.' 

2. With respect to man, who may be considered either as to his first 
creation or renovation by Christ. The first creation infers an obliga 
tion, our renovation by Christ an inclination to do things grata Deo, 
acceptable and well-pleasing to God. 

[1.] As we are creatures. We were made and sent into the world 
for this end, that we might approve ourselves by a constant course of 
obedience to the God that made us, and finally be accepted with him, 
and received into his glory. The wise God made nothing in vain ; and 
surely he made not man to fill up the number of things, as stones ; nor 
to increase in growth and stature, as plants ; nor to eat and drink, and 
serve appetites, as beasts ; but he made us to serve and please and glorify 
him : Prov. xvi. 4, ' The Lord hath made all things for himself.' All 
creatures were made to glorify him in their several capacities : Kom. 
xi. 36, ' For of him, and through him, and- to him, are all things ; to 
whom be glory for ever. Amen.' 

[2.] As we are new creatures we own the old obligation ; for we enter 
into covenant with God to become his servants ; and faithful servants 
have this only aim, to please their master. Therefore all our aim must 
be, that we may be acceptable unto the Lord ; for by entering into 
covenant we ' choose the things that please him,' Isa. Ivi. 4. This is the 
fixed determination of our souls. We enter into covenant with God 
that we may become his and do his will. So that we do not only own 
the obligation, but by the grace of renovation we receive both direction 
and inclination to do what is pleasing to God. Direction, this is the 
effect of the renovation of our minds : Kom. xii. 2, ' But be ye trans 
formed by the renewing of your minds, that ye may prove what is that 
good and acceptable and perfect will of God.' A man in his pure 
naturals is neither able savingly to understand or do the will of God, 
but by grace he is fitted for both. Take grace as light, and it fits us 
to receive God's counsel and direction ; and therefore the apostle saith 
here, ' Ye are light in the Lord ; walk as children of the light, proving 
what is acceptable to the Lord.' Take grace as strength, and it en- 
ableth and inclineth us to do what is pleasing in his sight : Heb. xii. 28, 
' Let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably, with rever- 


ence and godly fear.' For it inclineth us to make his glory our scope, 
and his will our rule ; for the tendency of the new creature is to live 
to God. 

3. With respect to the thing itself. The seeking to please God and 
be accepted with him is so necessary and profitable to us that 

[1.] We cannot be sincere unless this be our aim and scope. One 
main difference between the sincere and hypocrite is in the end and scope. 
The one seeketh the approbation of men, the other the approbation of 
God ; the one is fleshly wisdom, the other is godly simplicity and sin 
cerity : 2 Cor. i. 12, ' For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our con 
science, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, 
but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world.' 
Godly sincerity is making God our witness, approver, and judge. He 
is sincere whose religion beginneth and endeth in God, acts in truth 
from God, and purely for God. 

[2.] This maketh us serious and watchful, and to keep close to our 
duty ; for the aptitude and fitness of the means is judged of and mea 
sured by the end. When we have fixed our end and scope to please 
God, we will address ourselves to such means as are fitted to that end, 
and make straight towards it without any wandering. If it be our great 
end to be accepted with God, and please God, we will take the more 
care of our actions, that they be agreeable to his will. Whereas other 
wise we live at perad venture, neither taking care that we may not 
offend : Ps. xxxix. 1, 'I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin 
not with my tongue ; I kept my mouth with a bridle while the wicked 
is before me.' Nor humbling ourselves when we have offended : Jer. 
viii. 6, ' No man repented him of his wickedness, saying, What have 
I done ? ' So that the exercise both of watchfulness and repentance 
dependeth on frequent reflections upon our end. 

[3.] This will solace and comfort us under the difficulties of obed 
ience. As (1.) When it is troublesome to confine our desires and 
actions within the compass of our rule ; but when we consider we are 
not to please the flesh, but to please God, it will help us to mortify the 
deeds of the body, and to live in a constant course of self-denying 
obedience. Otherwise, Eom. viii. 8, ' They that are in the flesh cannot 
please God.' They have another master, the corrupt nature within 
them, the desires of which they seek to gratify ; they are debtors to 
another lord, ver. 12. So (2.) In reproaches. Men are displeased with 
a faithful thorough obedience to God, which not only the carnal world, 
but the spiritual part of the world, so far as it is carnal, disliketh. 
Therefore when we are censured and traduced, 1 Cor. iv. 13, ' Being 
defamed, we entreat : we are made as the filth of the world, and the 
off-scouring of all things unto this day.' If God will count me faithful, 
it is no matter what the world thinketh of me. So (3.) In an afflicted 
estate. The desire and aim to please God maketh us indifferent to all 
conditions : Phil. i. 20, ' So Christ shall be magnified in my body, 
whether it be by life or by death.' As a traveller taketh the way as 
he findeth it, foul or fair, so it conduceth to the end of his journey. So 
that it is absolutely necessary to fix this as our end and scope. 

Secondly, We please God by doing what he hath required of us in 
his word. There are certain things evident by the light of nature 


which belong to our duty ; these must not be overlooked : Micah vi. 
8, ' He hath showed thee, man, what is good ; and what doth the 
Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk 
humbly with thy God ? ' The things there mentioned are evident by 
the light of nature. That we should carry ourselves justly towards 
men, and with reverence and obedience to the divine majesty, is evident 
by the light of nature, as well as scripture. But the revelation that 
he hath made of our duty to us by the word is more clear, full, and 

1. It is more clear : Ps. cxix. 105, ' Thy word is a lamp to my feet, 
and a light to my path.' The use of a lamp is by night, and the light 
of the sun shineth by day. Whether it be by day or night with us, 
we clearly understand our duty by the word of God ; in all conditions 
we may know there how to behave ourselves. Once more, the word 
'path' iioteth our general choice and course of life; the word 'feet' 
our particular actions. Now whether the matter that we would be 
informed of concerneth our choice of the way that leadeth to true 
happiness, or else the direction of any particular action of ours, still 
the word directeth a humble and well-disposed mind. So that here 
our duty is clearly stated ; and if a man standeth in awe of the word, 
and be not divided between conscience on the one side, and lusts and 
interests on the other, he cannot easily remain in doubtfulness, or 

2. It is more full; for the book of nature is blurred by man's 
apostasy from God, and degeneration from his primitive excellency ; 
and our chief good and last end being altered by sin, we strangely mis 
take things, and weighing them in the balance of the flesh, which we 
seek to please, we put light for darkness and evil for good : Isa. v. 20, 
' Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil ; that put darkness 
for light, and light for darkness ; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet 
for bitter ; ' and so miserably grope in the dark, and cannot see clearly 
our way to true happiness. And besides, man's condition is such, that 
he needeth a supernatural remedy by a redeemer, which, depending 
on the mere grace of God, cannot be found out by bare natural light ; 
for natural light can only judge of things necessary, and not of such 
things as depend upon the arbitrary will and love of God, as our redemp 
tion doth : John iii. 16, ' God so loved the world that he gave his only- 
begotten Son, that whosoever believetfi on him should not perish, but 
have everlasting life.' Besides, nature is dark in things proper to its 
cognisance. The great lines of our duty are fair and legible, the out 
ward work is written upon our hearts : Rom. ii. 15, ' Which show the 
work of the law written in their hearts.' Abstinence from gross sins, 
performance of external duties, some notices of good and evil, are escaped 
out of the ruins of the fall, and serve in part to convince of sin and 
mind us of our duty ; but that full, entire, spiritual obedience which 
is due to God is not known by nature. Therefore, besides the candle 
of the Lord within us, which is reason, God hath set up a lamp in his 
sanctuary, which is the scripture, to direct us in the way to heaven ; 
and this is clear and full, and compriseth all that is necessary to our 
duty and happiness. 

3. It is more certain, as having a greater stamp and impress of God 


upon it. Everything that hath passed God's hand discovereth its 
author. The light of nature showeth itself to be of God, much more the 
light of scripture, wherein he hath discovered more of his wisdom, good 
ness and power, as being such a revelation of the mind of God as is 
fit for God to give and us to receive, suited to the nature of God, to 
preserve a due honour, esteem and reverence of his blessed majesty, and 
exactly calculated for our necessities, to teach us the way of recovering 
out of sin, and obtaining our true and proper happiness, and coming 
attested to us with such evidence from heaven as we cannot rationally 
withstand : 2 Peter i. 19, ' We have also a more sure word of prophecy, 
whereunto ye dp well to take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a 
dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts/ 
It is surer than the light of nature, as not liable to such debate and 
uncertainty, which must be cleared before man's duty can be stated to 
him ; and more sure than miracles, oracles, visions, as being put into 
writing ; and a faithful record, as the constant measure, standard, and 
rule of faith and manners for the use of God's people in all ages. Now 
it is good to see how David compareth those two revelations of the 
mind of God, Ps. xix., where he first admireth the brightness of the sun, 
and then the purity of the law ; the joining of both which meditations 
showeth that the world can be as ill without the word of God as with 
out the light of the sun. What would this inferior world be without 
the light of the sun, but a great cave and obscure dungeon, where men 
would creep up and down like worms out of their holes ? And besides, 
the comparing of both together showeth that there are two books 
wherein we shall do well to study, and both made by God himself, and 
both manifesting and discovering God to the world the book of nature 
and the book of scripture. You cannot look upon the book of the 
creatures, but in every page and line you will find this truth presented 
to your eyes, that there is an infinite eternal power that made all things, 
and is to be owned, reverenced, worshipped, and obeyed by us ; this is 
enough to leave the world without excuse. But in the book of the 
word you may see more of God and the way to enjoy him. This doth 
more powerfully convince man of his misery, and clearly show him his 
remedy. The use which the psalmist makes of these books is notable ; 
of the first, to admire the glory of God by the beauty of the heavens ; 
of the second, to humble and awe man by the purity and strictness of 
the law, as all religion lieth in the knowledge of God and ourselves. 
This latter book being more perfect, should be our daily study, to pre 
vent error and mistake, and that we may get the true knowledge of 
God's will ; for many do many things out of zeal and religion which 
God abhorreth : John xvi. 2, ' The time cometh that whosoever killeth 
you will think that he doth God service.' And others obtrude many 
things on the faith of believers without warrant : Isa. viii. 20, ' To the 
law and to the testimony ; if they speak not according to this word, it 
is because there is no light in them/ Examine all things by the rule 
of God's word, what is conformable to his will, what not, without suffer 
ing yourselves to be deceived by false opinions or persuasions. And 
besides, in our practice we may know what is acceptable, either as to 
our speeches or actions. As to our speeches : Prov. x. 32, ' The lips 
of the righteous know what is acceptable ; but the mouth of the wicked 


speaketh frowardness ;' that is, they know what is acceptable to God ; 
they are instructed out of his word how to order their speech for profit, 
that it may be good, and minister grace to the hearers ; others easily 
bewray the corruption of their hearts by their tongues. So for all our 
actions towards God and men. For worship, God accepteth that whicli 
he hath required ; other things are vain oblations : Isa. i. 12, 13, 
' When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your 
hand, to tread my courts ? Bring no more vain oblations ; incense is 
an abomination unto me ; the new moons and sabbaths", the calling of 
assemblies I cannot away with ; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.' 
And for our conversation with men, how to show forth righteousness, 
goodness and truth, we may know what is the will of God in his word ; 
this rule will teach us : Gal. vi. 16, 'As many as walk according to 
this rule,' &c. Our rule is riot left indifferent for us to choose, nor 
arbitrary for us to impose, but it is fixed in the word of God revealed in 
the scripture. 

Thirdly, If we would know God's mind revealed in his word, we 
must use search and trial. AoKi^d^ovre^, ' proving,* noteth great 
diligence and care that we may know the mind of God ; for it greatly 
importeth us, and we are often pressed to it: 1 Thes. v. 21, ' Prove all 
things, hold fast that which is good.' If we see but a piece of money 
that hath the king's image stamped upon it, we bring it to the touch 
stone to see if it be right : do so with doctrines and practices, bring 
them to the law and to the testimony, see how they agree with God's 
word : 1 John iv. 1, ' Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the 
spirits whether they are of God ; because many false prophets are gone 
out into the world/ Every man that teacheth, some spirit or other 
cometh upon him ; therefore try what kind of spirit it is, whether it 
be a formal worldly spirit, as some fashion their religion according to 
the world, or a heavenly spirit, which is of God ; whether it be a spirit 
of bitterness against the saints, or a spirit of love, meekness, and 
gospel sincerity. This is the course we must take if we would know 
the mind of God in doubtful matters. We must seriously weigh all 
things in the balance of the sanctuary, read, hear, confer, pray, meditate, 
use all holy means to know God's will. 

I will (1.) Prove this is a Christian's duty ; (2.) State it. 

1. That it is every Christian's duty, in reference to his own warrant 
and settlement of conscience, to use a judgment of discretion, and not 
to depend upon the judgment of others ; yea, not to satisfy himself 
barely with the public judgment of the church, but to try things, that 
he may know that he is in God's way, and wherein he shall be approved 
and accepted of him. 

[1.] Certainly every one that feareth God should be acquainted with 
his word, and have his senses exercised therein, that by long conversa 
tion in holy things he may come to have a discerning faculty. The 
apostle speaketh of some, Heb. v. 14, ' That have their senses exercised 
to discern both good and evil ; ' which are gotten by long use. There 
fore much study, meditation, and attention is necessary to find out the 
true sense and meaning of God's word, that we may discern between 
good and evil. And still this habit is more to be increased in us. 
We are told in the book of Job, chap, xxxiv. 3, ' The ear trieth words, 


as the mouth tasteth meat/ But it had need be a judicious ear that 
shall as readily distinguish doctrines as the mouth doth meats, as they 
are hurtful and noxious to us. Now Christians being to have this ear 
of discretion, to try and judge of what is spoken to them, they should 
be much acquainted with the word of God, to get this habit of spiritual 
prudence : Prov. xiv. 15, ' The simple believeth every word ; but a 
prudent man looketh well to his going.' Christians should be men of 
experience and knowledge, free from the itch of fancies and novelties, 
and free from the distempers of passions, prejudices, and interests, or 
whatsoever may corrupt their taste. On the other side, God complaineth 
that his people were strangers to his law : Hosea viii. 12, ' I have 
written unto them the great things of my law, but they were counted 
as a strange thing.' We should not be strangers to the scriptures ; 
every one (especially in a disputing age, wherein sects abound), accord 
ing to his measure, should be satisfied of the truth which he professeth, 
that he be not deceived, and carried away with every foolish insinua 
tion, and so embrace Leah for Kachel, Babel for Sion, and every fond 
suggestion for the truths of God. 

[2.] Because we are not to take up opinions by chance, but by choice : 
Jer. vi. 16, 'Thus saith the Lord, stand ye in the ways, and see, ask 
for the good old paths, Where is the good way ? and walk therein, and 
ye shall find rest to your souls.' Men in a tempest are sometimes cast 
upon a place of safety, rather than make thither out of intention and 
foresight ; therefore a man needeth to search and try things ; the more 
he receiveth truth upon evidence, the more firm is his assent, and the 
more steady and constant is his practice ; for then he hath (2 Peter iii. 
' 17) 'a steadfastness of his own ;' he doth not stand by the steadfastness of 
others, or the common consent ; he hath proper reasons within himself 
to sway his assent, or command his practice ; therefore a Christian is to 
prove and try all things. 

[3.] The judgment of others will be no plea for us in the last day, if 
we be wrong ; for we are to follow the dictates of our own consciences. 
I say not that we are to follow our own private fancies, but conscience 
enlightened by the word. So ' the spiritual man judgeth all things/ 
1 Cor. ii. 15 ; that is, for his own satisfaction, otherwise it will not 
excuse us that we depended on the judgment of others : 'If the blind lead 
the blind, both fall into the ditch,' Mat. xv. 14. Not only one, but 
both ; not only the blind leader and guide, but those that are led by 
them into a wrong way ; it endeth at last in perdition. 

2. I will state it, since many abuse this principle of trying all things, 
and upon the pretence of it give over themselves to a vertiginous spirit, 
wandering in a maze of errors, till at length they come not only ta 
despise their guides, and all the helps which God hath offered in the 
church, but to cast off all fear of God, and sense of religion itself. 
Therefore I shall state it. 

[1.] We should be so far confirmed in principles and supreme truths, 
that we should be more ready to maintain than examine them and 
commit them to the uncertainty of dispute. In things clear and 
evident, it is a madness to be still doubting and making inquiries : 
Deut. xii. 30, 'And that thou inquire not after their gods.' It i 
dangerous to loosen foundation-stones. 


[2.] We must not be so still trying and proving as to hold nothing- 
certain in religion. This is to be 'ever learning, and never able to- 
come to the knowledge of the truth,' 2 Tim. iii. 7, and to turn the 
sureness of the Christian faith into a mere scepticism, and distract our 
minds still with new inquiries. 

[3.] Not to try so as to cast ourselves on a temptation. Men take- 
occasion hence to run through all sects and opinions in religion. Why ? 
They say they must try all things ; that is, as they interpret it, run into- 
the mouth of danger, and think no harm will come of it. No ; the 
meaning is, in these things which by the providence of God are pro 
pounded to you for truths, and come to you in the way of an ordinance : 
Acts xvii. 11, ' These were more noble than those of Thessalonica, in 
that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched 
the scriptures daily whether those things were so.' Or if cast by 
necessary ordinary conversation on differing parties ; or when doubts* 
and scruples arise in our minds. Smothering of doubts breedeth 
atheism and hardness of heart. Or as to the present truth : 2 Peter 
i. 12, ' Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remem 
brance of those things, though ye know them, and be established i 
the present truth.' So that a man is not to seek snares, and cast 
himself upon temptations, but when God in his providence puts him in 
such places and times where satisfaction is necessary, he must exercise 
himself in the word of God, that he may distinguish between good and 

[4.] Some things are controversial in religion, and above the size and 
capacity of some men's gifts. Now for them to inquire too curiously, 
or to define rashly in such cases, is against the apostle's rule : Rom. 
xii. 3, ' For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that 
is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to 
think ; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man- 
the measure of faith.' These presume above their measure, and are 
like little children, that attempt to run before they can go ; and there 
fore they should content themselves with such truths as concern, 
Christians in their own vocation. God's gifts are divers, as their call 
ings are in their nature and quality different. The weak in the faith 
must be received and owned as Christians, but not to doubtful disputa 
tions : Rom. xiv. 1, ' Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not 
to doubtful disputations/ 

[5.] When we are to prove all things, the meaning is not that we 
should study controversies, and be able to answer all the cavils of the 
adversary. That is a special gift required of the minister ; he must be 
able, Titus i. 9, ' To hold fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, 
that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and convince the 
gainsayers.' But every man is bound to search, so as to be resolved a& 
to his own choice and practice. And though every Christian cannot 
answer all things that are objected against the truth, yet he is to be 
' fully persuaded in his own mind,' Rom. xiv. 5, and so far to look into- 
things as may make for the settling of his conscience, that he may 
neither do things necessary to practice rashly, and without deliberation : 
Prov. xix. 2, ' That the soul be without knowledge is not good ; and he 
that hasteneth with his feet sinneth ; ' nor after deliberation doubtingly: 


Rom. xiv. 23, ' He that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth 
not of faith ; for whatsoever is not of faith, is sin.' 

[6.] We are not so to search as to depend upon our private judg 
ment, or slight the helps which God hath left in the church for the 
establishing of the truth, even pastors and teachers. Them hath God 
left in the church, ' that we may not be carried about with every wind 
of doctrine,' Eph. iv. 11, 14. Men are not to despise the judgment of 
their teachers in matters of faith, nor rest upon it as infallible. He 
that hath a bad sight should not throw away his spectacles. Where 
helps are instituted, and have a special calling, and a special promise 
of a blessing, they should not be despised. In all necessary things, 
4 Christ's sheep hear his voice,' John x. 3. But in lower matters, they 
may be shrewdly mistaken, and work great trouble to the church. 
Avoid these rocks, and the duty is clear, and of great importance. By 
searching and proving the truth loseth nothing, as gold doth not by 
being brought to the touchstone ;. but you gain much settlement, feel 
more power and comfort in what you know. 

Fourthly, We must search and try, that we may walk as children 
of the light. The night was made for rest ; the light is not given us for 
rest and idleness, but for work. The apostle prayeth for the Colos- 
sians, that they ' might be filled with the knowledge of God's will, in 
all wisdom and spiritual understanding, that they might walk worthy 
of the Lord unto all pleasing,' Col. i. 9, 10. That is the end of know 
ledge : Isa. ii. 3, ' He will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his 
paths ; ' for the end of learning is practice. 

1. The more we fix this end, the sooner shall we get knowledge, 
and the more will it be increased to us. John vii. 17, he that will do 
the will of God shall know what doctrine is of God. A humble holy 
heart, resolved to practise whatsoever shall be the will of God, will not 
be long left in doubt; the more you make conscience of knowing 
truths, you shall know more. 

2. As we shall know sooner, so we shall know better; we shall 
approve the truth in our consciences, and find the comfort of what 
we know in our own souls, if we pursue the practice of it : Phil. i. 9, 
10, ' And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more 
in knowledge and in all judgment,' alcrdrjcret,, in all sense, 'that ye 
may approve the things that are excellent, that ye may be sincere and 
without offence till the day of Christ.' We know our duty by the 
word, but we find the goodness of it by practice and experience. 

3. We are not else good faithful servants to God: Luke xii. 47, 'And 
that servant which knoweth his lord's will, and prepared not himself, 
neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.' 
On the other side, John xiv. 21, 'He that hath my commandments, 
and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me 
shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and manifest myself 
to him.' First have, and then keep. Therefore we must search out 
what is pleasing to God, that we may do it. Knowledge is not to be 
sought that we may be puffed up with it, and rest in mere knowing, 
and so please ourselves with idle and useless speculations, but to govern 
and order our practice. 

Use 1. Is for information. 


1. That the judgment of discretion must be allowed to all Christians. 
In controversies about religion it is usually asked, Who shall be 
judge ? The church hath a public judgment what doctrines are to be 
publicly recommended ; but every man hath judicium discretionis, a 
judgment of discretion for himself. God hath given every man a taste 
for his body, to discern what is wholesome and to discern what is 
noxious, and so also for his soul and conscience. 

2. That the new creature hath great advantages above others of 
knowing the truth. The Holy Spirit dwelleth in them : 1 John ii. 20, 
'Ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.' 
They are light in the Lord ; they may go to God for direction with 
more boldness : Ps. cxliii. 10, ' Teach me to do thy will, for thou art 
my God ; thy Spirit is good, lead me into the laud of uprightness.' 
They have a promise : Ps. xxv. 14, ' The secret of the Lord is with 
them that fear him; and he will show them his covenant;' Hosea xiv. 
9, 'For the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in 
them ; but the transgressors shall fall therein.' The sanctifying Spirit 
is given to sanctify us, to give us the saving knowledge of God by the 
word. They know the truths contained there clearly and effectually, 
which others know superficially. 

3. That it is not easy to acquit ourselves as children of the light ; 
much study and search into the scriptures is required of us : Ps. i. 2, 
' But his delight is in the law of the Lord ; and in that law doth 
he meditate day and night. And much heedfulness, that we walk 
accordingly ; much watchfulness over our hearts : Prov. iv. 23, ' Keep 
thy heart with all diligence;' and our ways, ver. 26, 'Ponder the 
path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.' 

Use 2. Is for reproof to several sorts. 

1. Some that take no care to know their duty. This is great neg 
ligence, or downright hypocrisy : 2 Peter iii. 5, ' But this they are 
willingly ignorant of ; ' which in a matter of such importance is 
damnable : Heb. ii. 3, ' How shall they escape which neglect so great 
salvation ? ' They will not inquire, because they have a mind to hate, 
or no mind to embrace. 

2. Some that walk at peradventure, and live rashly, as governed by 
passion, lust, and appetite, rather than any sure and steady direction : 
Ps. cxix. 133, ' Order my steps in thy word, and let not iniquity have 
dominion over me.' These cannot escape reigning sins. 

3. Some are out in the end, either please the flesh or the lusts of 
man. The rule is not, what will please the flesh, but to do the will of 
God : 1 Peter iv. 2, ' That he no longer should live the rest of his 
time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.' Not 
what is acceptable to men, but what is pleasing to God : Gal. i. 10, 
* For if I yet please men, I should not be the servant of Christ.' 



And have no fellowship tvith the unfruitful ivories of darkness, but 
rather reprove them. EPH. v. 11. 

THERE are two parts of the spiritual life things to be done, and things 
to be avoided ; in both the children of light must show their fidelity to 
God, in doing good and avoiding evil. Of the first we have spoken 
already in ver. 10, and have showed that it is not enough to do a few 
good things, to which all consent, but we must diligently search and 
find out what is acceptable and well-pleasing to God. I now come 
to the second branch of our duty, avoiding evil, ' And have no fellow 
ship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.' 
Wherein take notice 

1. Of the object, or what is forbidden, 'The unfruitful works of 

2. Our duty and carnage about it, in two things 

[1.] 'Have no fellowship with them,' have nothing to do with them. 

[2.] ' But rather reprove them ; ' that is, by all means show that you 
utterly dislike that course of life. 

DocL That the children of light should live in a perfect abhor 
rence of, and stand at a great distance from, the unfruitful works of 

1. I shall explain. 

2. Prove this point. 

I. For the explication ; and there (1.) The object ; (2.) The acts 
of duty about it. 

First, For the object. We have a general and unlimited expression, 
' The unfruitful works of darkness.' But what they are we may col 
lect from the context, ' Uncleanness, fornication, evil concupiscence,' 
&c. ; and Eom. xiii. 12, 13, the apostle reckoneth up other tilings: 'Let 
us cast off the works of darkness, &c., and let us walk honestly as in the 
day, not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wanton 
ness, not in strife and envying.' These and suchlike heathen practices 
are such as the apostle intendeth. 

Now in this expression you may take notice of two things (1.) 
They are called ' works of darkness ; ' (2.) They are said to be 
' unfruitful.' 

1. They are called ' works of darkness ' for these reasons 

[1.] Because they are done by men in their carnal estate, who are 
destitute of the Spirit of God, and all saving knowledge of his will. 
The corrupt estate of nature is called darkness, as the renewed estate is 
called light : 1 Peter ii. 9, ' He hath called us out of darkness into his 
marvellous light.' And chiefly because the one live in ignorance, and 
the other estate beginneth with the illumination of the Holy Spirit ; 
and therefore these sins are called ' works of darkness,' because igno 
rance is the mother of them. Did men know the amiable nature ot 
God, the purity of his holy law, the matchless love of Christ, the true 
worth of souls, the blessedness of eternal life, and the danger of perish 
ing for ever, it would spoil the devil's works, and he could not have 


such a hand over them as usually he hath : ' As obedient children, not 
fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance,' 
1 Peter i. 14. Ignorance is the mother of profaneness ; they neither 
know the terror nor the sweetness of the Lord, and therefore wallow in 
their impurities. Light is an awing thing ; when once men come to 
the knowledge of the truth, they are ashamed of what they prac 
tised before. But how hard a matter is it to make men understand or 
regard anything while ignorant, and destitute of saving knowledge ! 

[2.] Because they are suggested by the temptations of the devil, who 
is the prince of darkness, and the ruler of the darkness of this world ; 
and therefore called ' his lusts,' John viii. 44 ; ' his works/ 1 John iii. 
8. He enticed the world of mankind from God, and still detaineth 
them by their slavery to their lusts. Did men know whose work they 
are a-doing they would sooner desist. The devil is the great architect 
of all wickedness, and the first mover of it ; though carnal men do not 
what they do in love to him, but their own flesh, yet it is he sets them 
a-work, and cheateth them into rebellion against God, and abuseth 
the ignorance and error of their minds to draw them to these sins. 

[3.] Because they cannot endure the light, but seek the veil and 
<x>vert of secrecy. There is a threefold light 

(1.) Natural. They rebel against this light : Job xxiv. 13, ' They 
-are of those that rebel against the light ; they know not the ways thereof, 
nor abide in the paths thereof ; ' and ver. 17, ' For the morning is to 
them even as the shadow of death; if one know them, they are in the 
terror of the shadow of death.' He meaneth by light there the light of 
the sun or of the day ; and he instanceth in two sorts of sinners, the 
robber and murderer, who do their pranks mostly in the night ; and 
the adulterer, who waiteth for the twilight ; and he saith to both of 
them, ' the morning is to them as the shadow of death.' Their actions 
are so shameful and infamous that they dare not be seen in them. And 
the apostle telleth us, 1 Thes. v. 7, that ' they who are drunken are 
drunken in the night.' The greatest lovers and approvers of sin are 
ashamed to do it openly. There is not only a fear of danger, but a 
shame of doing actions so unworthy a man publicly. Till the consci 
ence of right and wrong, honesty and dishonesty, be wholly extinct in 
their hearts, there is a natural bashfulness which maketh them shun 
the light of the day. They are conscious to themselves that sin is an 
abominable thing, and punishable in all civil societies. Though their 
endeavour to commit it secretly showeth their atheism, in that they 
seek to hide it from the eye of the world, and regard not the eye of God 
that is upon them, yet their affecting the veil of darkness and secrecy 
showeth this, that they have an apprehension that sin is evil. 

(2.) Light spiritual, the light of God's word : John iii. 20, ' For 
every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, 
lest his deeds should be reproved.' The gospel hath not only a refresh 
ing light to comfort the penitent, but a reproving and discovering 
light to trouble the sinner ; and therefore before men feel it they fear 
it, and are loath to have their guilt revived. An unsound heart shuns 
all means of searching and knowing itself, which shows that those prac 
tices wherein they allow themselves are deeds of darkness, stolen waters, 
and bread eaten in secret. 


(3.) There is another light, and that may be called practical, or the 
light of a holy conversation: 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 truly godly are an awe to the wicked ; for in 
holy and diligent believers religion is exemplified. A Christian is or 
should be a living image of God, and so a powerful conviction of the 
ungodly ; and the more men know them, the greater excellency will 
they see, and the greater efficacy of conviction will they feel, and their 
own practices are more shamed and disgraced. Now these sins cannot 
endure this light that shineth into the consciences of them that commit 
them, out of the conversations of the godly ; therefore they either stand 
aloof out of prejudice, and condemn them by hearsay and general 
rumour, or seek to obscure this light by contumelies and slanders : 1 
Peter iv. 4, * Wherein they think it strange that you run not with them 
into the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you.' For men speak to 
disgrace that excellency which they will not imitate ; they spend their 
time in satisfying their lusts, and are troubled that others will not do 
the like, but seek after another society. 

[4.] Because these men are condemned to everlasting darkness ; for 
if they live and die in these sins without repentance, they are unavoid 
ably cast into utter darkness, where is weeping and gnashing of teeth. 
Therefore, as the way of the godly is compared to a growing light, so 
the way of the wicked to an increasing darkness : Prov. iv. 18, 19, ' The 
path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more 
unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is as darkness, they know 
not at what they stumble.' The morning light is always growing until 
it cometh to the mid-day and noon, when the sun is in its greatest 
strength and brightness, and the day in its perfection : so the right 
eous increase in grace more and more, and go from strength to strength, 
till they come to their perfect estate. Now on the contrary, ' the way 
of the wicked is as darkness.' As the evening twilight increaseth to 
midnight or the thickest darkness, so they go on from sin to sin till 
they have plunged themselves into everlasting destruction ; for con 
traries must be explained in the same manner. 

2. These are said to be unfruitful by a peiaHris, that is, damnable ; 
as Heb. xiii. 17, ' That is unprofitable for you.' The meaning is, 
hurtful and pernicious ; however, the expression is emphatical. These 
works produce not only no good fruit, but certainly bring forth evil 
fruit, and prove bitterness in the end. So the apostle saith, Eom. vi. 
21, 'What fruit had you then in those things whereof ye are now 
ashamed? for the end of those things is death.' There is no solid 
fruit and benefit to be gotten by sin ; it bringeth nothing but disgrace, 
shame, loss of time, strength and estate, and hereafter eternal death : 
Gal. vi. 8, ' For he that soweth to the flesh shall of the flesh reap cor 
ruption.' Which is to be heeded by us, that we may not be inveigled 
by its pleasant and deceitful baits. Sin promiseth much, but per- 
formeth nothing, and therefore is often called deceitful ; as Eph. iv. 22, 
' Deceitful lusts ; ' Heb. iii. 13, ' The deceitfulness of sin.' Sin smileth 
upon the soul with enticing blandishments. Satan told our first 
parents, ' Ye shall be as gods,' Gen. iii. 5 ; and still we promise our 
selves something from sin, some contentment, some profit ; for no man 


would be wicked gratis, merely for his mind's sake, or without an aim 
at some further end. Mere evil, as evil, cannot be the object of choice ; 
there is some fruit or benefit expected in all that we do, but sin will 
never make good its word to us. 

[1.] It doth not answer expectation ; the sinner looketh for more 
contentment and satisfaction than he doth enjoy : Eccles. v. 16, ' And 
what profit hath he that hath laboured for the wind ? ' It is a fruitless 
enterprise ; so that very experience is enough to confute it ; and that 
is one reason why objects of sin are loathed when we have our fill of 
them : 2 Sam. xiii. 15, ' And Amnon hated her exceedingly, so that 
the hatred wherewith he hated her, was greater than the love where 
with he loved her.' Men's eyes are opened, and when the lust is 
satisfied, it beginneth to be contemned ; they see what horror of con 
science they have brought upon themselves. Keason taketh the throne 
again when lust is satisfied, and scourgeth the soul with bitter remorse ; 
the fruit is shameful. 

[2.] It is not valuable ; the profit will not counterbalance the loss, 
nor the pleasure the pain : Mat. xvi. 26, ' What is a man profited if he 
shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul ? ' Men hazard their 
souls, and it may be gain a little wealth ; that is the worst bargain a 
man can make. Besides, this cometh with a curse, that within a little 
while eateth it out : Prov. x. 2, ' Treasures of wickedness profit nothing.' 
So it is in the eye of faith at least a fruitless enterprise to seek to 
grow rich by sin. Compare the pleasure and pain ; the pleasure is 
a short contentment, that is gone as soon as it cometh, and when it is 
gone it is a thing of nothing, but the pain is eternal. But to speak of 
what is of present feeling ; it raiseth a tempest and storm in the con 
science, which is not easily allayed : Hosea viii. 7, ' For they have 
sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.' The pleasure and 
fancy in sin is lost as soon as enjoyed, but the sting is not so soon 
gone. The crop doth answer the seed, and usually with increase. They 
that sow the wind can expect to reap nothing but the wind ; yet they 
reap the whirlwind. A man that feels the gripes of a surfeit buyeth 
his pleasant meat at a dear rate ; and what a sorry purchase doth he 
make that loseth his time and strength, and after all this expense gets 
nothing but horror of conscience and trouble of mind ! Certainly men 
would not lie so long in sin if they would recollect themselves and 
consider, What have I gotten since I was the devil's bond-slave, but a 
blind mind, a troubled conscience, and a hard heart, and it may be 
shame and disgrace in the world ? what a folly is it to pursue that 
which will bring me no profit ! One beginneth to be awakened when 
once he cometh to say, Job xxxiii. 27, ' I have sinned, and perverted 
that which is right, and it profiteth me not.' Whatsoever sin pro- 
miseth or sinners fancy, sin at length will be found to be an unprofitable 
course, yea, utterly destructive. What do men get by drinking, 
gaming, chambering and wantonness ? what by all the lusts of youth, 
and the bold attempts of riper years, but an ill name and a worse con 
science, a diseased body, and many times an entangled and maimed 
estate ; a doubtful heart, and at length the mist of darkness is reserved 
for them for ever ? Oh, that we could oftener put this question, Eccles. 
ii. 2, ' What doeth it ? ' what shall I gain by these vain delights and 


sinful practices ? We are often quarrelling with God ; what profit is it 
to serve the Almighty ? Mai. iii. 14, ' Ye have said, It is vain to serve 
God ; and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinances ? ' Job 
xxi. 15, ' What is the Almighty that we should serve him ? and what 
profit should we have if we pray unto him ? ' surely it would make us 
stop in a way of sin if we did ask, What profit ? If it be delightful 
to the sensual part, in the end it biteth like a serpent : Kom. ii. 9, 
* Tribulation and anguish upon every soul that doeth evil.' As Elisha 
dealt with the Syrian army, he blinded them all the way, till he had 
brought them into the midst of Samaria, 2 Kings vi. 20, then he opened 
their eyes that they might see their danger ; so Satan blindeth sinners 
till they come to destruction, and then conscience filleth them with 
horror and despairing fears, and the enchantment is dissolved, and they 
awake in flames and horror. 

Secondly, The acts of our duty about it; and they are two (1.) 
That we must have no fellowship with them ; (2.) But reprove them 

1. That we must have no fellowship with them in evil. To under 
stand that, we must consider how many ways we have fellowship with 

[1.] If we do the same things that others do. He that committeth 
sin alone, and without example, is a sinner ; but he that committeth 
sin after the example of others hath fellowship with the unfruitful 
works of darkness, joineth with others to promote the devil's kingdom 
in the world ; therefore have no fellowship, give not a bad example to 
others, and follow it not if given by others ; for by giving and taking 
evil example, there is a fellowship between sinners, and they drive on a 
common trade, whether they lay their heads together about it, yea or 
no ; therefore we are not to have fellowship in sin, in whole or in part, 
in a greater or in a lesser measure. No ; we are to turn from all sin 
with detestation : Isa. xxx. 22, ' Get ye hence ; ' Hosea xiv. 8, ' What 
have I any more to do with idols ? ' Yea, we must avoid the very 
' appearance of evil,' 1 Thes. v. 22 ; for no sin, or anything like it, will 
become the children of light. Well, then, this is the principal sense ; 
do not the same things ; whosoever hath a hand in the sin will have a 
share in the punishment. 

[2.] If we be accessory to the sins of others, which we may be many 
ways. I touched upon it, ver. 7 ; but we must not be so, for every 
ugent is known to God, and cannot escape his discovery and punish 
ment ; not the secret contrivers and counsellors, as Jonadab to Amnon, 
Achitophel to Absalom, Jezebel to Ahab ; not the actors and execu 
tioners, as the elders of Israel, and by their procurement the sons of 
Belial employed by Jezebel in the murder of Naboth ; not the abettors 
and assistants, as Joab and Abiathar in Adonijah's treason ; for God 
can search into the deepest secrets, and hath knowledge both of the 
offenders, and the quality and measure of their offence, and will render 
to every one accordingly. Therefore for a warning, let us see how we 
may have any fellowship in these things, which are so hateful to God, 
and do so ill become our renewed estate. 

(1.) If we counsel, persuade, allure, or entice others to sin. These 
are Satan's decoys, who being ensnared themselves, draw others into th? 


net. Thus those that provoke others to drunkenness by inviting them 
to drink more than they would, or the necessities of nature call for, or 
by healthing engage them to it ; besides, that the first occasion of it 
was a heathen drink-offering, which therefore the Christians refused 
with the danger of their lives, as several have proved : bibamus pro salute 
imperatoris. The casuists condemn it, as it is provocatio ad cequales 
calices. And we read in the book of Esther, chap. i. 8, ' And the 
drinking was according to law, none did compel ; ' that is, that none 
should drink more or oftener than it pleased himself. So when men 
stir up lust in others by lascivious speeches, or persuade others to trans 
gress, or blow the coal in strife or contention, or allure them to any evil : 
Prov. i. 10, ' My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.' This 
was the devil's sin to tempt our first parents, Gen. iii. ; and all tempters 
play the devil's part. 

(2.) By commanding that which is evil. This is the sin of those 
that have power over others ; as David commanded Joab to set Uriah 
in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire from him, that he may 
be smitten and die, 2 Sam. xi. 15 ; and Joab obeyed this wicked direc 
tion, and so became guilty of innocent blood. So if parents or masters 
command their children or servants to do anything that is evil. 

(3.) By consenting, though we be not the principal actors ; as Ahab : 
1 Kings xxi. 19, ' Hast thou killed, and taken possession ? ' Ahab is 
said to kill, though Jezebel laid the plot, and others executed it ; yet 
Ahab consented, and took the benefit of it. Therefore ' Hast thou 

(4.) By abetting, aiding, and assisting in the conveyance of the sin ; 
as Jonadab assisted Amnon in getting an occasion to satisfy his lust on 
his sister Tamar, 2 Sam. xiii. 5. If you teach men the way, or contrive 
how to bring about their sin, you are accessory, and come into a fellow 
ship of the guilt. 

(5.) By applauding, approving, or praising the sin, which is the guise 
of flatterers : Rom. i. 32, ' They not only do the same, but have pleasure 
in them that do it ; ' when men approve, applaud, and take delight 
in them that commit enormous practices. Yea, the prophet inveigheth 
against them ' that put evil for good, and good for evil ; and darkness 
for light, and light for darkness/ Isa. v. 20 ; and this not so much out 
of error of mind, as flattery and deceit, which addeth a farther degree 
of wilfulness and perverseness to the sin. And to this head may be 
referred those that extenuate and lessen an evil to the hardening of 
others, that call drunkenness good-fellowship or taking a cheerful cup, 
gluttony good housekeeping, voluptuousness recreation or necessary 
refreshing, worldliness good husbandry, and revenge and duelling main 
taining their honour ; they honest the name of lust with love, or some 
other plausible term. Thus do we beguile and cheat our own souls 
and the souls of others by notions that countenance sin, and in effect it 
is but making traps for souls. 

(6.) By carelessness to prevent the sin. Whether it arise out of the 
mere sloth of the flesh, as many have no great love to their own or 
others' souls, and merely for their own ease and quiet suffer them to go 
on in their soul-destroying wickedness ; or whether it be for want of 
hatred of sin, as if it were not so dangerous ; or neglect of the duties 

VOL. xix. u 


of our office, as if you hold your peace and connive at them where God 
calleth you to speak against them, or neglect your duty as ministers 
and magistrates : 1 Sam. iii. 13, ' I will judge his house for ever, for 
the iniquity which he knoweth ; because his sons made themselves vile, 
and he restrained them not.' So that a culpable omission may make 
us accessory to their sin. 

2. The other duty is, ' But rather reprove them.' Now reprove we 
may by deed or word. The former is of chief respect in this place, for 
he speaketh of infidels, with whom they had not so much familiarity 
as to reprove them in word ; and following their evil example, being 
the sin condemned, the opposite duty or reproof must be by contrary 
manners and conversation. 

[1.] By deed, or the example of a holy life; as 'Noah condemned 
the world,' Heb. xi. 7. He might condemn them as a preacher of 
righteousness by his doctrine, but chiefly by preparing an ark with so 
much cost and diligence, and to show how necessary it was to use some 
means for their safety. So are we to condemn the lazy and unbelieving 
world by our diligence and seriousness in the heavenly life, and by our 
sobriety and watchfulness to reprove their indulgence to fleshly lusts 
and unclean practices by our Christian walking. 

[2.] By word, when it may be done with profit ; as the apostle saith 
of the infidel, when he cometh into Christian assemblies, ' he is con 
demned of all, and judged of all,' 1 Cor. xiv. 24 ; namely, as he 
heareth doctrines there contrary to his practice. But in ordinary con 
verse we are to reprove these things also, and convince those that fall 
into them of the great evil they lie in : Lev. xix. 17, ' Thou shalt 
not hate thy brother in thy heart, thou shalt in anywise rebuke thy 
neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him ; ' or, as it is in some transla 
tions, ' not bear sin for him.' Here are two arguments First, You 
hate your brother, you have not that love to him, if you let his soul 
perish for want of your admonition. Secondly, You bear sin for him, 
contract guilt upon yourself, when by your means he might be 

II. The reasons of the point. 

1. Because there should be a broad and sensible difference between 
the children of light and the children of darkness. Certainly God's 
aim was to distinguish and set apart a peculiar people from the riff 
raff of mankind, and that not only by his decree and purpose within- 
himself, but by some sensible and manifest difference, that should be 
visible and conspicuous to the world ; and this not only by his own 
dispensations of favour and respect to the one, and not unto the other : 
Ps. iv. 3, ' But know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly 
for himself ; ' but by their carriage and conversation : 1 John iii. 10, 
' In this the children of God and the children of the devil are mani 
fest;' 1 John v. 19, 'But we are of God, and the whole world lieth 
in wickedness.' God would have us to show to whom we do belong ; 
and therefore it doth not become the children of God to border too 
near upon the wicked. If the difference be not sensibly kept up, they 
dishonour their Father, and so the two seeds are not manifested ; but 
it is a nice and difficult case to distinguish them, and you perplex the 
cause, and make it doubtful whom we shall reckon to the one or the 


other sort'. Surely it is a grief to the Holy Spirit that you are so like 
the devil and his children, and yet profess a nearness to God. Christ 
hath done his part to difference you from the world, and you will 
not declare the difference, and make it manifest. You harden the 
world, and they will think that to distinguish between the seeds is 
factious singularity, not regular zeal ; and hold up their ways with the 
greater pretence, as justified by you. If you be proud, covetous, 
envious, voluptuous, backbiting, wanton, where is the difference? When 
God hath made a difference, you unmake it again, and confound all 
by walking according to the course of the world; it is a confusion 
of what God hath separated. God made the difference when none was, 
by the power of his grace, and you must keep up the difference. 

2. This difference is discovered by those actions that are proper to 
either state ; for actions are agreeable to their principle, and in actions 
must this difference be expressed, or how is it visible? Both show 
forth the influence of an unseen power, both the children of God and 
the children of the devil, the children of light and the children of 
darkness. The powers are unseen, both God and Satan ; and the 
principles are unseen, unless they discover themselves in operations 
suitable : Rom. viii. 5, ' For they that are after the flesh do mind the 
things of the flesh, and they that are after the Spirit, the things of the 
Spirit.' The devil driveth on his instruments furiously to act wicked 
ness, and God would not have us flatter ourselves with an imaginary 
respect to him, but hath put the trial of our love upon some visible 
demonstration : 1 John v. 3, ' For this is the love of God, that we keep 
his commandments ; and his commandments are not grievous.' Our 
Saviour says, John xiv. 21, ' He that hath my commandments, and 
keepeth them, he it is that loveth me ; and he that loveth me shall be 
loved of my Father, and I will love him, and manifest myself to him.' 
And therefore the children of light must live in a perfect abhorrence 
of, and keep at a distance from, the works of darkness. Every root 
beareth proper fruit ; we do not expect grapes from thorns, nor figs 
from thistles ; but from a good tree we expect good fruit. A good tree 
cannot bear ill fruit, as a kindly and ordinary production : Mat. vii. 
16-18, 'Ye shall know them by their fruit. Do men gather grapes 
of thorns, or figs of thistles ? even so every good tree bringeth forth 
good fruit, and a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree 
cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good 
fruit.' It is there spoken of the fruits of doctrine, but it is true also of 
the fruits of grace in the hearts of believers ; for grace is nothing but 
Christ's heavenly doctrine imprinted on our hearts and minds, and there 
it bringeth forth fruit like itself. 

3. This distinction is to be kept up on the part of the godly, and so 
conspicuously held forth, that they may either convince or convert the 
wicked. God intended that the conversations of his people should be a 
living instruction ; as in many places : 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 ; ' that is, holiness must so shine forth that 
the world may be convinced or converted to God. God is glorified by 
either, chiefly in their conversion ; or if not so, in their conviction : their 
condemnation is justified, and it maketh the justice of his punishment 


more clear and evident: Phil. ii. 15, 16, 'That ye may be blameless 
and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked 
and perverse generation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world, 
holding forth the word of life.' All God's children are lights. God is 
the Father of lights ; Christ is the great light that came into the world; 
ministers are lights by office, as they dispense God's word publicly. 
All Christians are lights by their general calling, and they are to hold 
forth the word of life too ; that is, in their profession and practice they 
must discover the way to life revealed in the gospel. Some will fall in 
love with it, which is matter of joy to us ; others will be reproved and 
convinced by it, which is matter of glory to God, not only in their final 
doom, but as their mouths are stopped, and they cannot easily bespatter 
religion, when they see the splendour and lovely be'auty of it in your 
conversations. Well, then, if we have such a charge upon us, and it 
be such a blessed work to bring about the salvation of others, we ought 
to keep at a great distance from the works of darkness ; for if our deeds 
be like theirs, how do we convert or convince them ? Those that do 
not desire to do good to others are not children of light, and they that 
blemish their conversations with the pollutions of the world do not 
behave themselves as children of light. When the sun and moon are 
eclipsed, and lose their light, it sets the world on wondering ; and it is 
observed of all when godly men miscarry. See another place, 1 Peter 
ii. 12, ' Having your conversations 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.' 

4. The children of God are fitted and prepared for this, to abstain 
from sin. If wicked men be afraid or ashamed to do these things in 
the light of the sun, and they cannot easily overcome the wrestlings of 
conscience, how can the children of God do these things, who have the 
light of grace ? If conscience give back when we are tempted to foul 
sins, how much more will the new nature give back with great abhor 
rence ? 1 John iii. 9, ' Whosoever is born of God, doth not commit 
sin ; for his seed remaineth in him, and he cannot sin, because he is 
born of God.' He cannot bring his heart to it. That may be justly 
expected from men, which their principles sufficiently prompt them 
unto. It is true there is such a weakness in God's children that they 
need to be exhorted, and yet such an aversion from sin that it may be 
justly expected they should have no fellowship with the works of dark 
ness. There is flesh in us as well as Spirit, and Christians may act from 
either principle ; but the Spirit is in predominancy, or else we are not 
true Christians. Therefore it may reasonably be expected that the 
motions and operations of the flesh should be overruled and suppressed. 
There is indeed too much advantage for Satan to work upon by our 
carnality and averseness from God, our nearness to this world, and 
strangeness to the world to come ; but being enlightened and sanctified 
by the Holy Spirit, there is more to check these temptations. 

5. The inconveniencies are great that will follow if God's children 
should have any fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness ; our 
pretended communion with God will be interrupted : 1 John i. 6, 7, 
* If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we 
lie and do not the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the 


light, we have fellowship one with another.' The name of God is dis 
honoured, 2 Sam. xii. 14 ; the world is hardened and justified, Ezek. 
xvi. 52 ; religion is slandered. The wicked labour to cover this light 
with clouds of disgrace and detraction : 1 Peter ii. 12, ' That whereas 
they speak against you as evil-doers, they may by your good works, 
which they shall behold, glorify God.' They will be glad to find an 
occasion from your miscarriage. Your own peace is lost : Ps. li. 8-12, 
' Make me to hear joy and gladness, that the bones which thou hast 
broken may rejoice. Kestore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and 
uphold me with thy free Spirit.' 

Use. Is to press the two duties in the text. 

1. ' Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness ; ' that 
is, do not join or partake in the sins of the carnal world, though they 
seem to be authorised by vulgar and common practice. To this end 

[1.] You must not do as others do, but do as God requireth. You 
must live by rule, not by example. Doth the law of God, by which 
you must be judged, allow of any sin ? They are children of darkness 
and disobedience that ' walk according to the course of this world,' 
Eph. ii. 2. The Israel of God are those that walk according to rule : 
Gal. vi. 16, ' As many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, 
and mercy, and on the whole Israel of God.' 

[2.] Love God, and love his law, and love his people, and the infec 
tion is prevented. Love God : Ps. xcvii. 10, ' Ye that love the Lord, 
hate evil/ Love his law : Ps. cxix. 165, 'Great peace have they that 
love thy law, and nothing shall offend them.' Love his people : 1 John 
ii. 10, ' He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is 
none occasion of stumbling in him ; ' that is, so far as you love him as 
a brother, as one that is obedient to God ; otherwise, the sins of a 
godly man may be a strong temptation to us. Therefore your love to 
his people must come from the two former, from a sincere love to God 
and his law, and then it is a help to you. 

[3.] We must eschew all unnecessary and voluntary friendship and 
familiarity with wicked men : Ps. xxvi. 4, ' I have not sat with vain 
persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers ;' Prov. xii. 11, ' He that 
followeth vain persons is void of understanding/ There are two reasons 
of this caution. First, To prevent infection, lest you be drawn to walk 
in their ways ; he that walketh in the sun is insensibly tanned : Prov. 
xxii. 24, 25, ' Make no friendship with an angry man ; and with a 
furious man thou shalt not go ; lest thou learn his ways, and get a 
snare to thy soul.' Agrippa by converse with Caligula the heathen 
emperor learned his manners ; and as Caligula affected divine honour, 
so did Agrippa, for which God smote him that he died, as Josephus 
tells us. Therefore we should be as little as we can in s