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













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

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

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

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

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

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

<J5eneraT ^bitor. 














To the Keader, . . . . . 3 

Sermon I. 2 Thes. ii. 1, 2, . . . . 5 

II. 2 Thes. ii. 2, . . . . . 14 

III. 2 Thes. ii. 3, . . . . .26 

IV. 2 Thes. ii. 4, . . . . .36 
V. 2 Thes. ii. 5-7, .... 46 

VI. 2 Thes. ii. 8, . . . . .56 

VII. 2 Thes. ii. 9, 10, . . . 66 

VIII. 2 Thes. ii. 10, . . . .75 

IX. 2 Thes. ii. 11, 12, . . . 85 

) X. 2 Thes. ii. 12, . . . . 94 

XI. 2 Thes. ii. 13, .... 102 

XII. 2 Thes. ii. 14, . . . .112 

XIII. 2 Thes. ii. 15, .... 122 

XIV. 2 Thes. ii. 16, 17, . . . 135 

XV. 2 Thes. ii. 16, .... 146 

XVI. 2 Thes. ii. 16, .... 156 

XVII. 2 Thes. ii. 17, .. . 166 

XVIII. 2 Thes. ii. 17, . . . .176 


To the Reader, . . . . . .189 

The First Verse, ...... 191 

The Second Verse, . 219 




The Third Verse, . . . . . .247 

The Fourth Verse, . . . . . .260 

The Fifth Verse, ...... 272 

The Sixth Verse, ...... 295 

The Seventh Verse, ...... 335 

The Eighth Verse, . . . . . .344 

The Ninth Verse, . . . . . .362 

The Tenth Verse, . . . . . .368 

The Eleventh Verse, ...... 400 

The Twelfth Verse, . 455 










READER, Dr Thomas Manton was not so unknown to London, nor 
is he so much forgotten, as that his name or writings should need any 
of my commendations. Bat booksellers expecting such an office, I 
have great reason to be willing to serve thee in serving the memorial 
of such a friend. What he was I need not tell even strangers, after 
the character truly given of him by his friend and mine in his funeral 
sermon. How sound in judgment against extremes in the contro 
versies of these times, a great lamenter of the scandalous and dividing 
mistakes of some self-conceited men ; how earnestly desirous of the 
healing of our present breaches, and not unacquainted with the proper 
means and terms, of which the author of his funeral sermon and I 
had more than ordinary experience ; how hard and successful a 
student he was, and how frequent and laborious a preacher, and how 
highly and deservedly esteemed; all this, and more, is commonly here 
known. The small distaste that some few had of him I took for part 
of his honour, who would not win reputation with any by flattering 
them in their mistakes or unwarrantable ways. He used not to serve 
God with that which cost him nothing, nor was of their mind who 
cannot expect or extol God's grace without denying those endeavours 
of man to which his necessary grace exciteth them. He knew that 
without Christ we could do nothing, and yet that by Christ's strengthen 
ing us we can do all things which God hath made necessary to be done 
by us. He was not of their mind that thought it derogatory to the 
honour of Christ to praise his works in the souls or lives of any of his 
servants, and that it is the honour of his grace that his justified ones 
are graceless ; and that their Judge should dishonour his own right 
eousness if he make his disciples more righteous personally than 
scribes and pharisees, and will say to them, * Well done, good and 
faithful servant ; thou hast been faithful over a few things, enter thou 
into the joy of thy Lord.' He knew how to regard the righteousness 
and intercession of Christ, with pardon of sin and divine acceptance, 
instead of legal personal perfection, without denying either the neces 
sity or assigned office of our faith, repentance, or evangelical sincerity 
in obeying him that redeemed and justifieth us. He knew the differ 
ence between a man's being justified from the charge of being liable 
to damnation as a Christless, impenitent unbeliever and ungodly, and 
being liable to damnation for mere sin as sin, against the law ofinno- 
cency, which required of us no less than personal, perfect, perpetual 


obedience. He greatly lamented the wrong which the truth and 
church underwent from those that neither knew such differences, nor 
had humility enough to suspect their judgments, nor to forbear 
reviling those that had not as confused and unsound apprehensions 
and expressions as themselves. 

But he hath finished his course, and is gone before us, and hath 
left here a dark, self-distracting world, and a church of such as Christ 
will perfect ; but, alas ! yet lamentably imperfect, as their errors, 
divisions, contentions, and scandals have these thirteen hundred years 
too publicly declared. Children of the light we are, while the world 
is in darkness ; but, alas ! yet how dim and clouded ! With thousands 
it does not so much as convince them of their ignorance, nor maketh 
them humbly suspicious of an erring judgment ; so that through the 
copulation of pride and ignorance, few cry out so loud of error as the 
erroneous, or of heresy as the heretical, or of schism as the schis- 
matical ; and false conceptions are so common among men, that I 
think with almost all mankind the number of false apprehensions in. 
comparison of the true ones is far greater than unhumbled under 
standings will easily believe; and yet, while mankind doth swarm 
with error, those that least know their own cry down even the tolera 
tion of that which, alas ! we cannot cure ; and if a multitude of errors 
must not be tolerated, I know not the person that must be tolerated. 
And who then be they that shall be the avengers of other men's mis 
takes? Christ knew that none are so forward to reproach and so 
backward to bear with the motes in men's eyes as they that have 
beams in their own. 

Among such, what sort of men on earth hath more cried down, 
error, heresy, and schism, than the Papal tribe ? AWAY WITH THEM, 
EXTERMINATE THEM, BURN THEM, hath long been their cry, their laws 
and practice, little thinking how they are polluted with error, heresy, 
and schism themselves. The revived attempts of this consuming fiery 
spirit hath made those that dispose of Dr Manton's papers take these 
against Popery as now most seasonable ; and their plainness, suited 
to common capacities, may make them to many more useful than 
more argumentative disputations. They that would have such may 
see errors that are unanswerable (I should say unrefutable, for I find 
that men, and women too, can answer anything). I confess myself 
not thoroughly studied in these prophetical parts of the scriptures, 
and therefore none of the fittest to commend such writings, any fur 
ther than they commend themselves. But I am hasting after this 
my dear departed brother to the world of light, where all divine 
mysteries are unveiled, and life, and light, and love are perfected ; for 
which, even at the door, I am, though weak, a believing and desiring 


July 8, 1679. 


Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, and our gathering together unto him, that you be not 
soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, 
nor by letter as from us, that the day of Christ is at hand. 
2 THES. II. 1, 2. 

THE former chapter was spent in a consolation against troubles, this 
in a caution against error, or to rectify their judgments concerning the 
time of Christ's second coming. In these two first verses, we have the 
manner of proposal, ver. 1 ; the matter proposed, ver. 2. 

1. The manner of proposal is very pathetical, by way of adjuration 
or obtestation. 

2. The matter. An error had crept in among the Thessalonians 
concerning the speedy and immediate coming of Christ to judgment, 
while they were yet alive ; which error the devil set on foot to subvert 
their faith and expose the whole Christian doctrine to contempt. 

First, The manner or obtestation falleth first uader our consider 
ation, in which two things are mentioned : 

1. The coming of Christ. 

2. Their gathering together unto him. Obtestations are by those 
things which have great reverence and respect with us, as most likely 
to prevail. Now these two things are mentioned : 

[1.] As weighty: 2 Tim. iv. 1, 'I charge thee before God, and the 
Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead, at his 
appearance and his kingdom.' 

[2.] This was the article mistaken and perverted as to one circum 
stance, the time ; but the thing is taken for granted as an unquestion 
able truth, and the support of all their hopes : 2 Thes. i. 10, * When he 
shall come to be glorified in his saints, and admired in all them that 

[3.] This was a famous Christian doctrine with which the apostles 
usually began, in planting religion in any place : 1 Thes. v. 1-3, ' But 
of the times and the seasons ye have no reason that I write unto 
you, for ye yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so 
cometh as a thief in the night,' &c. 

[4.] It was of precious account with them : 2 Tim. iv. 8, * Hence 
forth 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 them also that love his appearing.' So that the obtestation im- 
plieth both the certainty of their belief, and also their dear account of 
this article of faith ; and therefore the sense is : As you do assuredly 

6 THE FIRST SERMON. [2 TfiES. II. 1, 2. 

expect him, and love, and look, and long for this day, that it may go 
well with you, and Christ appear to your glory, so be not troubled. 

Doct. 1. That the coming -of Christ to the judgment is a truth well 
known, firmly believed, and earnestly desired by all true Christians. 

Doct. 2. That when Christ shall <come, all the saints shall be gathered 
together unto him. 

Doct 1. That the coming of Christ to the judgment is a truth well 
known, firmly believed, and earnestly desired by all the saints. 

1. That it is well known, the apostle produceth the testimony of 
Enoch : Jude 14, ' Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his 
saints/ David often mentioneth it as a thing delighted in by be 
lievers ; therefore, in a poetical, or rather prophetical strain, he calleth 
upon the heavens, earth, sea, and fields to rejoice ' before the Lord, 
for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth ; he shall judge the 
world with righteousness, and the people with his truth,' Ps. xcvi. 13 ; 
and again, Ps. xcviii. 9, he calleth upon the creatures to rejoice ' be 
fore the Lord, for he cometh to judge the earth ; with righteousness 
shall he judge the world, and the people with equity ;' passages which 
relate, not only to the kingdom of the Messiah, as it is exercised now 
in the world, but also to his final act of judging, till which time they 
are not fully verified. Solomon bindeth the whole duty of man upon 
him by this consideration : Eccles. xii. 13, 14, * Let us hear the con 
clusion of the whole matter : Fear God and keep his commandments, 
for this is the whole duty of man ; for God shall bring every work 
into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether 
it be evil/ And the apostles, when they went abroad to proselytise the 
world, usually began with this point. 

2. That this is firmly believed by all true Christians. This must 
needs be so, because it is the grand inducement to all piety and godli 
ness, and none ever disbelieved it but those the interest of whose lusts 
engaged them to question it : 2 Peter iii. 3-5, ' Knowing this first, that 
there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own 
lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming ? for since the 
fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning 
of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of,' &c. Willingly 
ignorant ; their interest puts them upon it, rather than their con 
science, because this doctrine filleth them with unquiet thoughts, that 
they cannot so securely follow their sinful practices till they blot out 
the fear of it, or banish the thoughts of it out of their hearts. But all 
that obey the teachings of grace (take it for objective or subjective 
grace), they firmly believe it : Titus ii. 11-13, 'For the grace of God. 
that bringeth salvation, hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, 
denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, right 
eously, and godly in this present world, looking for that blessed hope, 
and the glorious appearance of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus 
Christ/ The sound belief of it is not so much encountered with the 
doubts of the mind, as the inclinations of their perverse hearts. Now, 
the seeming reasons of partial men are not to be heard, especially as 
delivered in a scoffing, malicious way ; and on the other side, godli 
ness and mortification standeth upon such evident reason as man's 
unquestionable duty, that it needeth not to be maintained by a lie and 


manifest falsehood. Certainly, they that deny it do not so much 
reason against this article of our Christian faith as scoff at it ; and it 
is to be imputed to the malignity of their tempers, rather than the 
acuteness or sharpness of their reason that they do not believe it. 
Many things which they urge are a manifest token of the contrary ; as 
the calamities of the good : 2 Thes. i. 4, 5, 'So that we glory in you 
for your faith and patience in all your persecutions and tribulations 
that you endure, which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment 
of God.' The perversion of justice : 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 ; 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/ Things must be 
reviewed and judged over again. A state-engine to serve order and 
government. Doth the benefit of mankind need a lie to promote it ? 
Doth carnal interest govern the world, or virtue ? If mere carnal 
interest, what a confusion would there be of all things ? Then men 
might commit all villany, take away men's lives and goods when it is 
their interest, or they could do it safely and secretly, without infringe 
ment of their interest ; servants poison their masters, if they could do 
it without discovery, and there were no sin in it ; men prey upon 
others, if it be in the power of their hands ; and ' catch he that catch 
can/ without impunity, would be the truest wisdom. Clear it is, 
virtue cannot be supported without the thoughts of a world to come ; 
and it is unreasonable to imagine that God would make a world which 
cannot be governed without falsehood and deceit. 

3. That it is earnestly desired by all true Christians. That is of chief 
respect here ; for the apostle conjureth them by all that is dear and 
sacred in their most holy faith ; and upon this I will mainly spend the 
first part of this discourse. I shall prove it by these two choice pieces 
of scripture, which describe the communion of the church with Christ, 
or the dispensations of Christ to the church ; the one concerneth God's 
internal, the other his external government the Canticles and Reve 
lations. The book of Canticles is ended with this desire, vote, and 
wish : Cant. viii. 14, ' Make haste my beloved, and be like a young 
hart or roe upon the mountains of spices/ The bride's last and great 
suit to the bridegroom is ' make haste,' as to his coming in glory to 
judge the world; not that Christ is slack, but the church's affections 
are strong. They that go a-whoring after the world neither desire his 
coming, nor love his appearing ; but the spouse would have all things 
hastened that he might return. He cannot come soon enough to set 
the world to rights and complete their happiness ; it is that only that 
will perfect their consolation, and therefore would have the blessed 
and longed-for meeting hastened. In the other book, of the Reve 
lations, see how it is closed : Rev. xxii. 20, Christ saith, * Surely I come 
quickly ; ' and the church, like a quick echo, saith ' Even so, come, 
Lord Jesus ; come quickly/ It taketh the word out of Christ's mouth, 
and presently improveth the promise into a prayer, and so Christ's 
voice and the church's voice are unisons. The acclamation of the 
saints answereth to his proclamation. Christ saith, ' I come/ as de 
siring to meet with us. The church answereth, ' Even so, come/ as 


desiring his fellowship and company. When once faith apprehendeth 
the glorious coming of our Lord Jesus to judgment, love presently 
desireth it, as the most comfortable thing which we can ask of him ; 
that is the farewell suit of the church to Christ. If he will grant this, 
all complaints, and sorrow, and sighing will be no more. 

Now I shall give you reasons why this is desired by all true 

1. In respect of him who is to come : his person, that we may see 
him who is our great Lord and Saviour. All that believed anything 
of Christ desired to see him ; those that lived before his coming in 
the flesh : John viii. 56, * Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my 
day, and he saw it, and was glad ; ' and the same affection possesseth 
us that live after his coming in the flesh. We know him by hearsay, 
we have heard much of him ; he wooeth us by a proxy, as Eliezer, 
Abraham's servant, did Eebekah. Now, Christians would fain see him 
of whom they have heard, and whom they loved, and in whom they 
have believed: 1 Peter i. 8, 'Whom having not seen, ye love, and^in 
whom, though now you see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy 
unspeakable, and full of glory.' They do not see Christ, but they 
have a taste of his goodness : 1 "Peter il 3, ' If so be ye have tasted that 
the Lord is gracious.' They have felt his comforts and live by his 
life ; all that is wanting is but ocular vision, that they may see him 
face to face ; therefore they long for his coming. 

The excellency of Christ their head shall then be fully revealed ; 
therefore it is comfortable to his saints to think of his second coming. 
It is called, 'the revelation of Christ/ 1 Peter i. 13. Christ is now 
under a veil, retired within the curtain of the heavens. The wicked 
often ask, Where is now your God ? and our own unbelieving hearts 
are apt to question the glory of his person and the truth of his pro 
mises, when his most faithful servants are under disgrace. Christ is a 
glorious king, but little of his glory is seen in the world ; therefore 
they desire that he may appear in glory and royalty ; we pray that his 
kingdom may come. 

2. The persons desiring ; there is somewhat in them to move them 
to it. 

[1.] The Spirit of Christ: Kev. xxii. 17, ; The Spirit in the bride 
saith, Come;' the Holy Ghost breedeth this desire in the church. 
Nature saith, It is good to be here ; but this is a disposition above 
nature. The flesh saith, Depart; but the Spirit saith, Come. The great 
work of the Spirit is to bring us and Christ together ; he cometh from 
the Father and the Son to bring us to the Father by the Son ; his 
business is to marry us to Christ; the promise being passed, the spouse 
longeth to see her beloved. It is the Spirit kindleth a desire in us of 
his second coming, when the marriage that is now contracted shall be 
consummated; when the queen shall be brought unto the king in 
raiment of needlework, and shall enter into the palace with him, there 
to abide for ever. Well, then, though guilty sinners would have Christ 
stay away still, and if it might go by voices, the carnal world would 
never give their voice this way, ' Even so, come, Lord Jesus, come 
quickly;' no, they are of the devils' mind, ' Why art thou come to 
torment us before the time ?' Mat. viii. 29. Thieves and malefactors, 


if they might have the liberty to choose, they would never look nor 
long for the day of assizes ; but the Spirit in the bride is another 
thing, it giveth us other inclinations : the sooner Christ cometh the 
better ; they can never be soon enough taken up to him, nor he come 
to them. 

[2.] There are graces planted in us, faith, hope, and love, to move 
us earnestly to desire his coming. 

(I.) Faith believeth Christ will be as good as his word : ' I will 
come again ; if it were not so, I would have told you/ John xiv. 2. 
And if Christ saith in a way of promise, ' I come/ the church saith, 
1 Amen/ in a way of faith, ' even so, come/ If Christ had gone away 
in discontent, and with a threat in his mouth, Ye shall never see my 
face more, we should altogether despair of seeing him again ; but he 
parted in love, and left a promise with us, which upholdeth the hearts 
of believers during his absence. Would Christ deceive us, and flatter 
us into a fools' paradise ? What need that ? He can strike us dead 
in an instant if we do not please him, and we have hitherto found him 
true in all things, and will he fail us at last ? 

(2.) Hope, which is faith's handmaid ; it looketh for that which we 
do believe, it is the immediate effect of the new creature : 1 Peter i. 3, 
' Begotten to a lively hope ;' as soon as grace is infused, it discovereth 
itself by its tendency to its end and rest ; it came from heaven, and 
carrieth the soul thither. 

(3.) Love is an affection of union ; it desireth to be with the party 
loved : Phil. i. 23, ' I desire to depart, and to be with Christ ;' therefore 
its voice is, ' Come, come/ He hath communion with us in our houses 
of clay ; therefore we desire presence with him in his palace of glory. 
His voice now is very sweet when he saith, * Come unto me, ye that are 
weary and heavy laden/ but much more will it be so when he saith, 
* Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit a kingdom prepared for you 
before the foundations of the world were laid/ Eeconciliation with 
God is comfortable, but what will fruition be ! 

[3.] Look upon a Christian's privileges ; believers then find the fruit 
of their interest in him, and have their reward adjudged to them : 
Kev. xxii. 12, * Behold, 1 come quickly, and my reward is with me/ 
Christ doth not come empty-handed : it is but maintenance we have 
from him now, but then wages ; earnest now, but then the full sum ; 
it is our pay-day, yea, rather, it is our crowning-day : 2 Tim. iv. 8, 
' Henceforth is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which God 
the righteous Judge will give me in that day ;' 1 Peter v. 4, ' When 
the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory, 
which fadeth not away/ Those that have been faithful and diligent in 
their duty shall not need to seek another paymaster ; that which Christ 
giveth us in hand is worth all the pains that we lay out in his service ; 
grace and inward peace : but then we shall have glory and honour ; he 
will honour us in the sight of those that have opposed, contradicted, 
and despised us : our comfort is hidden, but our glory is sensible, and 
visible, and public before all the world. 

Object. But how can true Christians earnestly desire it, when so 
many tremble at the thought of it, for want of assurance of God s 


Jns. We suppose a Christian in a right frame, and one that doth 
prepare for his coming ; but 

1. The meanest saint hath some inclination this way. It was one of 
the points of the apostolical catechism : Heb. vi. 2, ' The doctrine of 
resurrection from the dead, and of eternal judgment :' and the apos 
tolical catechism was for the initiating or entering of Christians into 
the faith and profession of the gospel : when they laid the foundation, 
this was one truth which was never omitted, the coming of Christ to 
judgment. Now faith is a believing, not with the mind only, but the 
heart ; they were to be affected with what they did believe sapida 
scientia was the qualification and not with trembling only, for that 
would deter them from Christianity; but with rejoicing of hope, which 
did invite them to the practice of it : Heb. iii. 6, ' Whose house are we, 
if we hold fast the confidence and rejoicing of hope firm unto the 
end ;' and indeed what other affection can become the thought of 
Christ's rewards which he will bring with him ? 

2. Sometimes there may be a drowsiness and indisposition in the 
children of God when their lamps are not kept burning : Luke xii. 37, 
' Blessed are those servants whom, when the Lord cometh, he shall 
find watching ;' but the wise virgins slumbered as well as the foolish ; 
and so for a season they may be unprepared for his coming by care 
lessness or remission of their watchfulness and neglect of preparation, 
yet the spirit and inclination this way beginneth with the new birth. 
A wife desireth her husband's coming home after a long journey, but 
it may be all things are not ready and in so good order : sometimes 
all good Christians desire the coming of Christ, but sometimes they 
are not so exact and accurate in their walkings, and therefore their 
affections are not so lively ; security breedeth deaduess, and God is 
fain to rouse us up by sharp afflictions. 

3. The church doth really and heartily desire Christ's coming, 
though they tremble at some circumstances of his coming : there is a 
degree of bondage that hindereth much of our confidence and boldness: 
1 John iv. 17, 18, ' Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have 
boldness in the day of judgment ; because as he is, so are we in this 
world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear, 
because fear hath torment ; he that feareth is not made perfect in 
love.' While we are imperfect there may be some fears how it shall 
go with us in the judgment. The day of judgment may be considered 
in esse rei, or in esse cognito, the success of the day itself, that we may 
stand before Christ in the judgment, or in our apprehension of it, that 
we may think of it with boldness, confidence, and desire. All sincere 
persons shall speed well in the judgment; but while we are thus weak 
arid imperfect, we have little confidence of our sincerity. Certainly 
the more holy we are, the more we are emboldened against judgment 
to come ; therefore we must every day get a conscience soundly estab 
lished against the fears of hell and damnation. 

4. To be of such a temper as not at all to value, and prize, and 
delight in it, quencheth all sense of godliness and religion. Surely 
they are not touched with any fear of God who wish it would never 
come, who would be glad in their heart to hear such news ; they have 
the spirit of the devil in them who count his coming their burden and 

2 THES. II. 1, 2.] THE FIRST SERMON. 11 

torment; they cannot say the Lord's Prayer without a fear to be heard, 
and pray, * Thy kingdom come/ when they desire it may never be ; the 
thought of it casts a damp on their carnal rejoicing ; and he that is 
afraid lest his prayers prove true, can never pray heartily ; no, not 
with a moral sincerity. 

Use. To press us to keep up a firm belief and an earnest desire of 
Christ's coming; this will make you heavenly-minded : Phil. iii. 20, 21, 
' For our conversation is in heaven, where we look for the Saviour, the 
Lord Jesus Christ.' It will engage you to fidelity in your duty ; for 
every one of us must give an account of himself to God: 1 John ii. 28, 
* And now, little children, abide in him, that when he shall appear, we 
may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.' 
To watchfulness as well as faithfulness: Luke xxi. 36, * Watch ye, 
therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape 
all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of 
man.' Yea, to diligence, that you may clear up your title and interest : 
Heb. ix. 28, 'And to them that look for him shall he appear the 
second time, without sin unto salvation;' 2 Peter iii. 14, 'Wherefore, 
beloved, seeing that ye look for these things, be diligent that ye may 
be found of him in peace, without spot and blameless/ Oh, therefore, 
let this be a precious truth to you, which you would not forego for all 
the world ; if others tremble at the mention of it, still carry it so that 
it may be your comfort and solace. In short, believe it strongly, think 
of it frequently, prepare for it diligently, improve it^ fruitfully, to all 
holy conversation and godliness, yea, to get oil not into your lamps 
only, but vessels, grace in your hearts, as well as profess yourselves to 
be Christians. 

Doct. 2. That when Christ shall come, all the saints shall be 
gathered together unto him. 

For evidencing this, let me clear to you, that at the day of judg 
ment there shall be : 

1. A congregation. 

2. A segregation. 

3. An aggregation. 

They are all intended, but principally the last. 

1. A congregation: Mat. xxv. 32, 'Before him shall be gathered 
all nations ;' and not only all nations, but all persons: 2 Cor. v. 10, 
' We must all (collective) appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, 
that every one (distributive) may receive according to the things done 
in his body,' &c. All that have lived from the beginning of the world 
unto that day shall, without exception of any one single person, from 
the least unto the greatest, appear before the tribunal of Christ ; no 
age, no sex, or nation, or dignity, or greatness, can excuse us. In the 
world some are too high to be questioned, others too low to be taken 
notice of, but there all are brought forth to undergo their trial ; there 
is no shifting or avoiding this day of appearance : Adam will there 
meet with all his posterity at once. Take all the distinctions of man 
kind, infants, and grown persons ; I mean infants who die before they 
are in an ordinary way capable of the doctrine of life (the scriptures 
are written for grown persons, the case of infants is more obscure), 
those of them who are born within the church, God is their God: 

12 THE FIRST SERMON. [2 THES. II. 1, 2. 

Gen. xvii. 7, ' I will establish my covenant between me and thee, and 
thy seed after thee, in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, 
to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.' Good and bad is 
the next distinction, both sorts come to receive their sentence ; only 
the one come to the judgment of condemnation, the other to the 
judgment of absolution : John v. 28, 29, ' Those that have done good, 
to the resurrection of life, and those that have done evil, to the 
resurrection of condemnation;' Acts xxiv. 15, 'There shall be a 
resurrection of the dead; both of the just and unjust/ The next 
distinction is men of all callings, apostles, ministers, private 
Christians. Apostles: Paul expected to be judged: 1 Cor. iv. 4, 'I 
know nothing of myself, yet am I not thereby justified, but he that 
judgeth me is the Lord ; ' he speaketh with respect to the execution of 
the apostolical office. Ordinary ministers : Heb. xiii. 17, ' They 
watch for your souls, as those that must give an account/ If souls 
miscarry through their negligence, they are answerable to God for it. 
Ordinary Christians : Bom. xiv. 12, ' Every one must give an account 
of himself to God/ Men of all conditions, poor or rich, weak or 
powerful, high and low : Bev. xx. 12, 'I saw the dead, small and 
great, stand before God;' I mean those that are so distinguished 
now ; these distinctions do not outlive time, there all stand on the 
same level ; the ruffling men of the world shall then be afraid, and 
' call upon the mountains to cover them from the wrath of him that 
sitteth upon the throne/ Bev. vi. 16. The poor are not forgotten; 
they are God's creatures, and must undergo his judgment. Thus 
shall all people that live scattered up and down in the world, how 
much soever they differ from one another in rites, tongues, customs of 
living, be brought together in one place. 

2. There is a segregation : Mat. xxv. 32, 33, ' He shall separate the 
one from the other, as a shepherd divideth the sheep from the goats ; 
and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, and the goats on his 
left.' There may be now a confusion and mixture of the godly and 
the wicked, as sheep and goats feed in the same pasture ; and they 
may be all raised together according to the places where they lived 
and died ; but then a perfect separation : good and bad are first 
gathered together, but the good are drawn into a company by them 
selves, but no pure company, till the great Shepherd will 'judge 
between cattle and cattle/ Ezek. xxxiv. 17 ; 'He will gather his saints 
together/ Ps. 1. 5 ; Ps. i. 5, * The ungodly shall not stand in the judg 
ment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous/ So Mat. 
xiii. 49, 'At the end of the world the angels shall come, and sever the 
wicked from among the just/ 

3. An aggregation : believers are gathered together to him for sev 
eral ends: 

[1.] To make up the number of Christ's train and attendants to 
wait on him : Jude 14, ev /jivpido-iv aylais, f with his holy ten 
thousands ; ' Zech. xiv. 5, ' And the Lord my God shall come, and all 
the saints with him ;' 1 Thes. iv. 17, ' The dead in Christ shall rise 
first, and we which are alive shall be caught up together in the clouds 
with them, to meet the Lord in the air/ 

[2.] That after judgment we may be solemnly presented to God by 

2 THES. II. 1, 2.] THE FIRST SERMON. 13 

head and poll. We were given to Christ to be preserved unto the 
glory we were designed for : 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 ; ' not by way of alienation, but 
oppignoration, recompense, and charge. Christ is to give an account : 
John vi. 40, * And this is the will of him that sent me, that every 
one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting 
life.; and I will raise him up at the last day.' The form of presenta 
tion is, Heb. ii. 13, ' Behold I and the children which God hath given 

[3.] That in one troop we may be brought into his heavenly 
kingdom : John xiv. 3, ' And if I go, and prepare a place for you, I 
will come again, and receive you to myself ; that where I am, there ye 
may be also.' The whole flock shall then follow the great Shepherd 
of the sheep into the everlasting fold. 

Use 1. Believe this gathering together to him. We are joined to the 
church of God's elect now by faith only : Heb. xii. 22, 23, * Ye are 
come to the general assembly and church of the first-born, which are 
written in heaven/ &c. IlavrfyvpLs is a meeting made up of many 
different persons gathered together from several countries into one 
body and one place ; as the meeting of all sorts of persons from all the 
corners of Greece to see the Olympic Games was called the jravfyvpis ; 
people of all countries came to behold their 070)^9 ; so the mystical 
state of the church of the gospel is a general assembly, because it is 
not confined to one nation, but extended to believers of all nations and 
ages ; they are drawn into a body, or heavenly society, into one fold, 
under one Shepherd ; but they never meet in an actual assembly until 
the last day, which is the great congregation or rendezvous of the 
saints, so that now it is matter of faith. 

2. See you be of the number. When some are admitted, others are 
thrust out : Luke xiii. 28, * There shall be weeping and gnashing of 
teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all 
the prophets in the kingdom of God, and ye yourselves thrust out ;' 
the wicked shall not stand in this congregation. Oh, it is a blessed 
and a comfortable thing when we are made members of the mystical 
body of Christ, and have hopes that we shall be in the number of 
those that shall meet together in the great assembly and congregation 
of the righteous ; that we are trained up in the church of Christ, 
which is the seminary of heaven ; that we are no more strangers and 
foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints. 

3- Let us improve it many ways. 

[1.] To comfort us against the paucity of serious walkers and real 
Christians. Alas ! now they are but like two or three berries upon 
the top of the uppermost bough ; here one, and there another ; in 
some places thinner, in others thicker, as God hath service for them ; 
in appearance, piKpov irolfjiviov, ' a little flock,' Luke xii. 32. But take 
all together, they are a general assembly, that are ' redeemed out of 
every kindred, tongue, and nation,' Kev. v. 9 ; yea, Kev. vii. 9, * a 
great multitude, which none can number, of all kindreds, tongues, 
peoples, and nations.' As few as we are, and as despised as the interest 
of the godly is, we shall not want company in heaven ; we see few 


going to heaven, but when we are gathered together we shall see that 
our everlasting companions are many. 

[2.] To comfort us against the distance of Christian friends. We are 
often separated from the society of good Christians whom we love 
dearly, but we shall be gathered together in one congregation. The 
saints are now scattered by Providence ; they live in divers countries, 
towns, houses, have little comfort of one another. They live where 
they may be most useful ; as stars do not shine in a cluster, but 
are dispersed throughout the heaven; and as they are the light of 
the earth, so they are the salt of the earth, which is sprinkled here 
and there, not laid in a heap ; sometimes by violence of men, perse 
cution, and banishment; sometimes by death, which parts friends, 
perfectus est quern putas mortuum, like people in a wreck, got to 
shore before us. Now what a comfort is it to be united to all God's 
people, which have been, are, or shall be, to the end of the world, and 
to meet in one assembly: Mat. xxiv. 31, * They shall gather together 
the elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to another.' 
The saints shall be gathered from all quarters of the earth ; though 
they live in several places, several times, many we never saw in the 
flesh, Christ will assemble them all, bring them in unto one place. 

[3.] To comfort them under the degenerate and collapsed state of 
Christianity. (1.) The mixture of the wicked ; the good and bad are 
here mixed, they live together in the same kingdoms, cities, societies, 
visible church, family, bed (perhaps), but then a perfect separation : 
Zech. xiv. 21 , ' There shall no more be the Canaanite in the house of 
the Lord of hosts;' Kev. xxi. 27, 'Nothing that defileth shall enter 
there : ' such a difference shall there be between the state of God's 
church in this world, and the world to come : here tares are mingled 
with wheat, good fish with bad in the drag-net ; it is hard by discipline 
to keep the sound from the infected. (2.) Discord ; the saints are 
divided in affection, but then perfect harmony ; they are all gathered 
together to Christ, and have no signs and badges of distinction to 
herd apart. (3.) It is universal with all the saints. (4.) Perpetual, 
never to part more. 


That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither ly spirit, nor 
by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at 
hand. 2 THES. II. 2. 

WE come now to the matter of the apostle's caution, which is in the 
second verse : ' That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, 
neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the 
day of Christ is at hand.' In which words take notice : 

1. Of the error disproved : that the day of Christ is at hand. 

2. The effect which this error might produce ; trouble and unsettled- 
ness of mind: that ye be not soon shaken in mind or troubled. 


3. A removal of all the supposed foundations of this error, or the 
means which these impostors used to entice them to embrace it. Three 
are mentioned spirit, word, and letter. 

[1.] Nor by spirit ; that is, pretence of spiritual revelation ; be not 
soon shaken in mind by it. 

[2.] Nor by word ; some word of the apostle, which they pretended 
to have heard and that is another sleight of deceivers ; some tradition 
or doctrine delivered by the apostle by word of mouth. 

[3.] Nor by letter as from us. This may be understood (1.) 
Either of some passage in the former epistle ; for the apostle saith there, 
1 Thes. iv. 17, ' Then we which are alive and remain, shall be caught 
up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air ;' 
and because he joins himself with them, they thought he should sur 
vive until that day. Or else those warnings which the apostle gives 
them : 1 Thes. v. 1-3, ' Of the times and seasons I need not write unto 
them, for yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord cometh as 
a thief in the night/ &c. Now these warnings they might abuse ; and 
this is one way by which men may be unsettled and unshaken, i.e., by 
false glosses and interpretations of scripture. (2.) Or rather the sense 
may be, some spurious and counterfeit writings, which was one means 
of deceit used in the primitive times ; supposititious or apocryphal 
legends, wherein the apostle might be said to write something, as if 
Christ should come in that age wherein they lived. Now, to obviate 
this, the apostle is supposed to insert that passage, chap. iii. 17, ' The 
salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every 
epistle : so I write/ 

First, From the error disproved, observe : 

Doct. That the time of Christ's coming to judgment must be 
patiently expected, not rashly defined or determined ; for this is the 
error which the apostle with such earnestness opposeth here. 

But you will say, Is this such an error ? Do not the holy apostles 
themselves say, in effect, the same, as the apostle James, chap. v. 8, 
* The coming of the Lord draweth nigh / and the apostle Peter, 1 
Peter iv. 7, ' The end of all things is at hand/ Yea, Paul himself. 1 
Cor. x. 11, * These are written for' our admonition, upon whom the 
ends of the world are come ;' and Kom. xiii. 12, * The night is far 
spent, and the day is at hand ;' where by night is meant the state of 
ignorance, sin, and paganism before conversion ; and by the day is 
meant the state of our full regeneration and illumination in eternal 
glory, when the corrupt world shall come to an end, and all shadows 
shall fly away. As if he had said, The morning of the resurrection is 
at hand, the night is far spent not quite past and the day is at 
hand ; the night is not thoroughly gone, nor the day wholly come, yet, 
he saith, it is at hand. What evil was in this opinion, that the apostle 
should with such vehemency argue and reason against it ? Ans. There 
is some difference in the words, for fyyyi/cev signifies, it draweth near ; 
eveo-Tijicev, it is begun already. But the sense is vastly different ; for 
by these and such like expressions the apostle only did intend that the 
last dispensation was then on foot no other change of dispensation or 
worship was to be expected till the coming of Christ. But I shall 
more clearly and distinctly show 


1. What reason the apostle had to speak at this rate. 

2. What little reason these seducers had to pervert this speech to 
countenance their hypothesis or supposition. 

1. For the first, the apostle had reason to say the day of the Lord 
was at hand. 

[1.] With respect of faith ; for faith gives a kind of presence to 
things : Heb. xi. 1, 'Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, 
and the evidence of things not seen; ' that is, it gives a being, a kind 
of existence, to things future and afar off, and sets them before the 
eyes of our mind, and gives us some sight of them, as if they were 
already come. And therein it agrees with the light of prophecy. 
Look, as by the light of prophecy John saith, Kev. xx. 12, * I saw the 
dead, small and great, stand before God, and the books were opened,' 
&c., so faith doth in effect see what it believes. Well, then, faith 
looking upon things distant and absent as near at hand, the apostle 
had reason to use this language to believers, as if the judge were at 
the door : Phil. iv. 5, ' Let your moderation be known unto all men ; 
the Lord is at hand/ not only in regard of his present providence, but 
also with respect to his second coming to judgment ; it is as certain to 
faith as if he were already come. 

[2.] With respect of love : love will not account it long to endure 
the hardships of this present world until Christ come to set all things 
at rights. Jacob served seven years for Kachel * for the love he bare 
to her, and it seemed to him but a little while,' Gen. xxix. 20. If we 
had any love for Christ, we should be contented to suffer a while for 
his sake. The time is coming when the wicked shall persecute no 
more, when the mouth of iniquity shall be stopped, when the desire and 
hope of all believers shall be satisfied, when the Bedeemer's work shall be 
consummated, when the kingdom shall be delivered up to the Father, 
when those that made a jest of this day shall be fully confuted. Faith sees 
the certainty of it, and love makes us hold out till the time come about. 

[3.] The apostle might speak so, as comparing time with eternity : 
Ps. xc. 4, ' A thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday, when 
it is past, and as a watch in the night ;' 2 Peter iii. 8, ' One day is with 
the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day/ The 
longest time to eternity is but as a drop lost and spilt in the ocean ; 
and all the tediousness of the present life is but like one rainy day to 
an everlasting sunshine : 2 Cor. iv. 17, ' Our light affliction, which is 
but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal 
weight of glory/ Though troubles are lengthened as long as our lives 
are, yet they are but a moment in respect of eternity ; we reckon by 
time, and not by eternity, and therefore these expressions may seem 
strange to us. 

[4.] The apostle speaks this to particular men, whose abode in the 
world is not very long. Eternity and the judgment is at hand, though 
Christ tarry long till the church be completed, and the elect be 
gathered : 2 Peter iii. 9, ' The Lord is not slack concerning his pro 
mise, as some men count slackness/ Now, what is long, and what is 
afar off to the whole church, considered in several successions of ages, 
it is short to particular persons. Death soon puts an end to their con 
flict, and then their triumph ensues. And so Christ is ready to judge 


at all times, though the world be not ready to be judged. The coming 
of Christ is uncertain, and hidden for this very purpose, that men in 
all ages might be quickened to faithfulness and watchfulness, and 
make that preparation which is necessary. Now, therefore, it concerns 
the messengers of God to bind men's duty upon them, by showing the 
nearness of it in all the fore-mentioned considerations, that they might 
be always ready ; for so we find our Lord himself pressing it : Luke 
xii. 40, ' Be ye therefore ready, for the Son cometh at an hour when 
ye think not ;' Mat. xxiv. 42, ' Watch, therefore, for ye know not what 
hour your Lord cometh/ He may come in a moment ; our duty is 
unquestionable, but the time of his coming is uncertain. And to 
please ourselves with the thoughts of a delay, is a mighty deadening 
thing, and quencheth our duty ; yea, it is an enticement to all evil ; Mat. 
xxiv. 48, the wicked servant took liberty to beat his fellow-servants 
because of his lord's delay. We are bid to be sober and watchful, and 
always to be looking for the coming of the Lord. 

2. The seducers had little reason to pervert this speech to the coun 
tenance of their hypothesis or supposition, and therefore the apostle 
had very good reason to be zealous in the confutation of this hypo 
thesis of the seducers, who maintained that Christ would come in that 

[1.] To inquire after the time is curiosity : Acts i. 7, 'It is not for 
you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put into 
his own power.' Those things which God hath reserved to himself, 
for us to inquire after is sinful. It is a great evil to pry into our 
Master's secrets, when we have so many revealed truths to busy our 
minds about. We take it to be a piece of ill-manners to pry into that 
which is purposely concealed ; as to break up a secret letter and the 
like. The practising of known duties would prevent this curiosity. 
These things tend not to our profit and edification. 

[2.] Much more was it a sin to fix the time ; it was an arrogant pre 
sumption : Mat. xxiv. 36, ' For of that day and hourknowethno man ; 
no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.' The peremptory 
time of the day of judgment God keeps to himself, and it is arrogance 
for any to define it and set a time, when God has resolved to keep it 

[3.] The fixing of that time did a great deal of hurt. 

(1.) For the present it drew away their minds from their calling, 
because they expected a sudden coming of the Lord. Ill impressions 
either destroy or weciken necessary duties. 

(2 ^ The least error doth gratify Satan and the interest of his king 
dom, for he is the father of lies. 

(3.) It might shake their faith in other things when their credulity 
was disproved by the event ; the gospel might be brought into con 
tempt when their error only was confuted ; as many men, who have 
been peremptory in fixing times, afterwards have thrown off their 

(4.) It showed a diseased mind, that they were sick of questions ; 
as the apostle speaks, 1 Tim. vi. 4, * Doting about questions and strifes 
of words, whereof cometh envy/ &c., when they had so much whole 
some food to feed upon. 



(5.) It did but engender strife among Christians, begat wranglings 
and disputes in the church: 1 Tim. vi. 4, 'He is proud, knowing 
nothing, but doting (or sick) about questions and strifes of words, 
whereof cometh envy, strife, railing, evil surmisings/ 

Use 1. Let us not fix times. Many of the ancients were too bold 
this way, and we are apt to it. Lactantius peremptorily said, the 
world would endure but two hundred years after his time. So many 
will fix the time of the calling of the Jews, and the destruction of 
Antichrist without evident grounds and reasons. What God hath 
revealed is enough to bear us out in our duty and suffering. In other 
things let us patiently wait ; we see reason to do so, when we con 
sider how many men have proved false prophets. 

2. Let us not put off the time, and set it at too great a distance. 
Distant things, though never so great, will hardly move us ; that which 
men put off they do in effect put away ; they put far off the evil dny, 
they would not let it come near their minds to have any operation, 
upon them. Look, as the stars, those vast globes of light, by reason 
of the distance between us and them, do seem but as so many spangles, 
so we have but a weak sight of what is set at a great distance, and 
their operation on us will be but small ; the closer things are, the 
more they will work upon us. One that looks upon what God hath 
revealed of this as sure and near, is more affected with it than others 
are. Therefore set yourselves at the entrance of that world, where 
you must everlastingly be, and watch and be ready. They that put 
it off, are apt to loiter in their work. If Christ's coining be not near 
at hand, certainly the time of our departure is at hand, and it will not 
be long ere it come about. But this is but introductive to the doctrine 
of Antichrist. Therefore I corne to the second thing. 

Secondly, The effect that this error might produce, trouble and un- 
settledness of mind : ' That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or troubled/ 
In the words there is a twofold metaphor; the one taken from a 
tempest, or sea-storm, as the word plainly implies, ' that ye be not 
shaken in mind ;' and the other word is taken from the sudden alarm 
of a land-fight, which breeds trouble. 

Doct. 1. That errors breed trouble of mind : they do not only trouble 
the church's peace : Gal. v. 12, * I would they were even cut off which 
trouble you;' but they hinder tranquillity of mind: Gal. i. 7, 'There 
be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ/ 

How do errors hinder tranquillity of mind ? Partly because it is 
an unsound foundation ; it can never yield solid peace. We only find 
rest for the soul in a true religion, and there where it is purely pro 
fessed ; others are left to great doubts and uncertainties. The Lord 
seems to direct us in this course when we are upon consultation about 
the taking up of a religion : Jer. vi. 16, ' Stand in the ways, and see, 
and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, 
and ye shall find rest for your souls.' Soul-rest is only found in God's 
way, and where it is most clearly professed. Partly because whatever 
false peace is bred there, it will at last end in trouble. The apostle 
compares seducers, Jude 13, to ' raging waves of the sea, foainino- 
out their own shame ;' and we are told of the locusts that came out of 


the bottomless pit, Eev. ix. 5, that they ' stung like scorpions.' Every 
erroneous way of religion is comfortless; yea, their doctrine breeds 
anxiety, and vexes the spirit ; for they have no true way of quieting 
the conscience ; let us therefore detest error, because it is so much our 
interest. It is the property of truth to beget a delectation of mind ; it 
is ' sweeter than honey and the honeycomb/ Verum est bonum intel- 
lectus truth is the good of the understanding. Now when we under 
stand truth satisfyingly, it breeds an incredible delight ; when we have 
been in some perplexities, and begin to find out a truth : Prov. xxiv. 
13, 14, ' My son, eat thou honey, because it is good, and the honey 
comb, which is sweet unto thy taste : so shall the knowledge of wisdom 
be when thou hast found it.' Honey is not so sweet to thy taste as 
this is to thy understanding. When a man hath found out any truth, 
though it be but a natural truth, it breeds its oblectation : much more 
spiritual truth ; it is very pleasing to the understanding, and most of 
all when spiritual. Truth is obeyed and practised; for the understand 
ing gives us but a sight of it, but obedience gives a taste thereof. Our 
Saviour saith, Mat. xi. 28-30, * Come unto me, all ye that are weary 
and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, 
and learn of me ; for I am meek and lowly in heart. For my yoke is 
easy, and my burden is light.' If you will but come under Christ's 
blessed yoke and sceptre, and that way of religion he hath recom 
mended to you, you will find an incredible peace, joy, and oblectation 
in your mind. 

Doct. 2. That Christians should be so established, and have such 
constancy of mind, that they should not be easily shaken arid moved 
from the faith. 

1. Let us see how this is pressed. Sometimes it is pressed from the 
encouragement of your great hope : 1 Cor. xv. 58, ' Be stedfast, and 
unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord ; forasmuch as 
you know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.' First, he 
would have them stedfast and unmoveable ; these two words have 
their special signification, the one is a degree above the other. A man 
may be stedfast in a thing, though he be moved a little in some by- 
matters ; but now, since your innocency will bear you out, be not only 
stedfast but immoveable, which is a higher degree ; but take it thus, 
be stedfast in yourselves, and unmoveable by the storms of tempta 
tion from without : a man is stedfast in himself, settled upon his own 
foundation ; and you are unmoved when you are strengthened against 
outward assaults : Acts xx. 24, ' None of these things move me, neither 
count I my life dear unto me, so I might finish my course with joy/ 
A man may be settled in the knowledge of the truth, but he is not 
unmoveable, except he be fortified against all temptations that may 
draw him off from his profession. Such constancy of mind may be 
well enforced because of our great hope ; thus it is pleaded for there. 
Then the absolute necessity of it is urged at other times, as Col. i. 23, 
' If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved 
away from the hope of the gospel/ The same condition is required to 
continue as to begin our right in the privileges of the gospel. There 
are some conditions required for the beginning, others for the con 
tinuing of our right. Now this is absolutely required for the continuing 


of our right, both for present reconciliation with God, and future 
glory ; it is upon this condition, ' if ye continue in the faith/ 

2. Let us inquire what is necessary to this constancy and establish 
ment of mind, that we may not be soon troubled and shaken ; partly 
that our minds may be enlightened to know the truth, and our hearts 
renewed to believe and love the truth; for without this there can never 
be any constancy of mind in religion. 

[1.] A clear conviction of the truth, or certainty of knowledge, a 
rooted assent, or well-grounded persuasion ; not some fluctuating opinion 
about it. A half light maketh us very uncertain in our course : James 
i. 8, ' A double-minded man is unstable ia all his ways ' Sn^i^o? 
d/cardo-rctros ; first 'try all things, 3 1 Thes. v. 21, then 'hold fast 
that which is good/ When men resolve upon evidence, or after due 
examination, the truth sticketh the closer and faster by them ; but 
when they take up things hand-over-head, they have no firm prin 
ciples, and therefore waver hither and thither, as vessels without 
ballast are tossed with every wave : 2 Peter iii. 16, 17, ' Beware lest ye 
also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own 
stedfastness' iBtav o-Trjpiypbv, substantial grounds within themselves. 
They do not stand by the knowledge of others, or the faith of others, 
and consent of others : light chaff is carried about with every wind, 
irepi^po^evoi : Eph. iv. 14, ' That ye henceforth be no more children, 
tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine/ They 
go through all parts of the compass ; sometimes this wind of error 
taketh them up, sometimes that ; sometimes taking up one opinion, 
then changing it for another : this is the fruit of half-convictions. 

[2.] The other part of our basis is a resolution to adhere to the 
truth. What likelihood is there that we should continue, who are not 
so much as resolved so to do? The heart must be established by 
grace, as well as the mind soundly -convinced : Heb. xiii. 9, 'Be not 
carried about with divers and strange doctrines, for it is a good thing 
that the heart be established with grace;' as the apostle speaketh of 
a purpose not to marry : 1 Cor. vii. 37, ' He that standeth stedfast in 
his own heart,' &c. So here, Acts xxi. 13, ' I am ready not to be 
bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem, for the name of the Lord 
Jesus Christ/ A firm, thorough resolution is requisite to fortify us 
against all changes in religion ; otherwise we are but as trees without 
a root, or a house without a foundation. Now this resolution of the 
heart is by faith and love. Faith : Heb. iii. 12, ' Take heed lest there 
be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living 
God/ Love : 2 Thes. ii. 10, ' They received not the love of the truth, 
that they might be saved ; and for this cause God shall send them 
strong delusions, that they shall believe a lie/ We are not only rooted 
and grounded in faith, but ' rooted and grounded in love : ' Eph. iii. 17, 
'That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith, that ye being rooted 
and grounded in love/ &c. 

3. The opposite to this is levity an-d inconstancy of mind, that soon 
quitteth truth without difficulty, or without much hesitancy and 
resistance yields to the temptation. The scripture often taketh notice 
of this sudden embracing .of error : Gal. i. , ' I marvel that ye are so 
soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto 


another gospel ;' and in the text, ' soon shaken in mind.' Credulity is 
a lightness in believing, when we are like reeds shaken with every 
wind, Mat. xi. 7, and have a faulty easiness, ready to be carried away 
with every doctrine which pretendeth to truth : ' The simple believeth 
every word/ Prov. xiv. 15. There is a readiness of mind which is 
good, but it goeth on sufficient evidence ; so ' the wisdom that is from 
above is gentle, and easy to be entreated,' James iii. 17 ; and the Bereans 
were irpoOvfJioi,: Acts xvii. 11, ' They received the word with all readi 
ness of mind, and searched the scriptures, whether these things were 
so or no.' But a readiness of mind differs from a weakness of mind, 
or a lightness in believing upon slender and insufficient grounds : they 
never receive the truth with thorough efficacy, and are prone to error. 

4. The causes of this levity and inconstancy of mind are these : 

[1.] Want of solid rooting in the truth ; they receive it hand-over 
head, as the stony ground forthwith sprang up : Mat. xiii. 5, 20, 
' Anon they receive it with joy ;' they do not so soon receive the word, 
but they as soon quit it. 

[2.] Want of mortification : 2 Tim. iv. 10, ' Demas hath forsaken 
us, having loved this present world.' Lusts are uncertain ; fear of men, 
favour of men, carnal hopes will easily prevail. 

[3.] A certain readiness of mind which disposeth men to conform 
and comply with their company, as the looking-glass representeth every 
face that looketh on it ; so they are very changeable, and unstable as 
water ; as Zedekiah, Jer. xxxviii. 5, * The king is not he that can say 
you nay ;' soon turned this way and that way. 

[4.] Want of a thorough inclination to God, so that they are right 
for a while, or in some things, yet they are not universally true to his 
interest : 1 Kings ii. 28, ' Joab turned after Adonijah, though he 
turned not after Absolom;' Hoseavii. 8, ' Ephraim is a cake not turned.' 

[5.] Want of holiness and living up to the truths we know : 1 Tim. 
iii. 9, ' Holding the mystery of faith in a pure conscience.' Choice 
liquors are best kept in a clean vessel ; men provoke God to desert 
them and leave them to a vertiginous spirit. 

[6.] Libertinism. Men think they may run from one sect of Chris 
tians to another, as the wind of interest bloweth. If they were to turn 
to Ethnicism, Turcism, or Judaism, they would die rather than change 
their religion ; but they think the differences among Christians are not 
of such moment as to venture anything upon that account. Every 
truth is precious, and must be owned in its season, and it is damnable 
in itself to do anything against conscience, and he that giveth way to 
a small temptation will entertain a greater ; as a man that hangeth 
over a precipice, when he lets go his hold, will sink further and further 
till he come to the bottom ; therefore, it is good to be faithful in a 

Use. Let us take heed of this evil credulity and lightness. 

1. Till Christians get a settled and sound judgment they never have 
peace within themselves, for fears and scruples arise in the dark, and 
those that live in error are full of perplexities, and have not that tran 
quillity of spirit which they have who are fully persuaded in their own 
mind : Kom. xiv. 5, ' Let every man be fully persuaded in his own 


2. If hardened in error, consider your opinions will ordinarily have 
an influence upon your whole religion, and will pervert your carriage 
towards God and men ; your prayers will smell of your opinions, and 
be like Balaam's sacrifice, offered to God to engage him against his 
own people ; your love will be dispensed according to the interests of 
your faction: 1 Cor. i. 12, 13, 'Every one of you saith, I am of Paul, 
and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and I of Christ. Is Christ divided?' 

3. The danger of error to others. Vice is like a duel, error a war : 
2 Tim. ii. 17, ' Their word will eat as doth a canker ;' ' All in Asia 
have turned from me,' 2 Tim. i. 15. 

4. There is danger to yourselves, though the error be not damnable, 
1 Cor. iii. 13. You have not so full communion with God. 

Thirdly, The third thing is the means which these impostors used to 
seduce them from the faith, spirit, word, letter; by all which the 
apostle would not have them troubled and shaken in mind ; none of 
these engines which the seducers used should draw them from the 
truth. What should poor Christians do thus assaulted? Ans. Stick 
to the apostolical doctrine. I shall observe : 

Doct. That a Christian should be so persuaded in religion that 
neither spirit, nor word, nor writing, should be able to shake or unsettle 
his mind. 1 shall show you : 

1. What ways or what means God hath appointed whereby a man 
may settle his choice as to opinions in religion. 

2. That the word of God will sufficiently fortify him against all 
these false ways by which error is wont to be insinuated. 

1. For the first, if a Christian would be established and guided 
aright in the choice of a religion, he must follow both the light of 
nature and scripture. 

[1.] The light of nature, antecedently to any external revelation, will 
sufficiently convince us of the being of God and our dependence upon 
him : Kom. i. 19, 20, ' That which may be known of God is manifest 
in them, for God hath showed it to them ; for the invisible things of 
him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood 
by the things which are made, even his eternal power and Godhead.' 
For I must know there is a God, or else I cannot be certain that he 
hath given us a rule or revelation of his mind. We begin with what 
is natural, and then go on to what is spiritual. Nature will tell us that 
there is one God, the first cause of all things, of infinite power, wisdom, 
and goodness ; that it is reasonable he should be served by those whom 
he hath made ; that he will reward and punish men as they disobey 
or serve and please him : but how God will be served, how they shall 
be rewarded or punished, or how they shall escape punishment, if after 
a breach they are willing to return to their duty and obedience to him, 
this is revealed in the word of God. 

[2.] The written word shows us the true way of worshipping and 
pleasing God, and being accepted with him ; therefore it is a sufficient 
direction to us : there is enough to satisfy conscience, though not to 
please wanton curiosity ; as that may quench the thirst of a sober man 
that will npt satisfy the lust of a drunkard : there we are ' made wise 
unto salvation/ 2 Tirn. iii. 15' Thou hast known the holy scriptures, 
which are able to make thee wise unto salvation ;' and Ps. cxix. 105, 


' Thy word is a light unto my feet, and a lanthorn to my paths.' 
There we have the knowledge of many things evident by the light of 
nature discovered with more clearness and certainty ; and that which 
could not be found out by natural light, as salvation by a Redeemer, 
or the remedy of our lapsed estate, which, depending on the sole will 
and good pleasure of God, could not be known till it was manifested 
and revealed by him. When man sat in darkness and in the shadow 
of death, it was necessary that God should some way or other reveal 
his mind to him by word of mouth or by writing. Byword of mouth, 
that is, either by oracles or extraordinary messengers. That sufficed 
while God saw fit to reveal but a few truths, or such as did not much 
burden the memory ; and men were long-lived, and the church confined 
within a small compass of ground, and not liable to so many miseries 
and changes as now in the latter ages ; and then he put it into writing, 
that men may not obtrude upon us their own conceits, but we might 
have a standard or rule of faith and manners : Gal. vi. 16, ' As many 
as walk according to this rule/ &c. 

[3.] The natural truths contained in the word of God are evident 
by their own light. The supernatural truths, though they are above 
natural light, yet they are not against it, or contrary to it, and do fairly 
accord with those principles which are naturally known ; and are con 
firmed, partly by an antecedent testimony, which is prophecy ; partly 
by an innate evidence in their own frame and contexture ; partly by a 
subsequent evidence, which is valuable testimony as to matter of fact. 
The antecedent testimony : John v. 39, * Search the scriptures, for in 
them ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me ;' 
2 Peter i. 19, * We have a more sure word of prophecy, to which we 
do well to give heed, as to a light shining in dark places.' The innate 
and concomitant evidence : 2 Cor. iv. 2-4, ' We have renounced the 
hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling 
the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth, com 
mending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. For 
if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost, in whom the god 
of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest 
the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, 
should shine unto them/ The subsequent testimony, the apostles : 
Acts v. 32, ' We are witnesses of these things, and so is also the Holy 
Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.' They were eye 
and ear witnesses of great fidelity and credit ; their religion forbiddeth 
them to lie for God, and they were accompanied with the mighty power 
of the Holy Ghost, not only in giving them success in the face of the 
learned world, hunting out the devil everywhere, but also by miracles, 
divers signs, and wonders ; and they and their followers endured all 
manner of torments and death to witness to the truth of these things, and 
transmitted them to us with assurance of God's owning this doctrine. 

[4.] The word being thus stated and put into a sure record, it is 
intelligible enough, in all necessary matters at least ; for if God should 
speak or write darkly to his people, especially in necessary things, it is 
because he could not or would not speak otherwise. The former is 
direct blasphemy : Exod. iv. 11, * Who hath made man's mouth? have 
not I, the Lord ?' The latter cannot be said, because that is contrary 


to his goodness : Ps. xxv. 8, ' Good and upright is the Lord, therefore 
will he teach sinners the way/ It is not to be imagined that the great 
and universal king should give a law to mankind, and speak so darkly 
that we should have no sure direction from thence, nor be able to 
know his mind in any of the duties God hath required of us, or expose 
us to great difficulties and hardships in the world. And if he had not 
plainly expressed his will to us, man would never leave writing and 
distinguishing himself out of his duty. Surely he that will venture his 
all for Christ's sake had need of a clear warrant to bear him out, for 
none will hazard all that is near and dear to him but for weighty 

[5.] Besides, the illumination of the Holy Spirit doth accompany 
this word, and make it effectual to us, to show us God as revealed 
in Christ : 2 Cor. iv. 6, ' God, who commanded the light to shine out 
of darkness, hath shined into our hearts, to give us the light of the 
knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ ;' and for 
heaven, Eph. i. 17, 18, 'Praying 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.' He 
sanctifieth and healeth our souls, and prepareth us for the entertain 
ment of the truth, that as natural things are naturally discerned, so 
spiritual things are spiritually discerned: 1 Cor. ii. 14, 'The natural 
man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolish 
ness unto him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually 

[6.] There are promises of direction made to humble and sincere 
minds : Ps. xxv. 9, ' The meek shall he guide in judgment, the meek 
shall he teach his way ;' to the industrious : Prov. ii. 4, 5, ' If thou 
seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures, then 
shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of 
God ;' to the godly and well-disposed: John vii. 17, ' If any man will 
do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or 
whether I speak of myself ; ' so to them that pray much : James i. 5, 
'If any man lack wisdom, let him ask it of God, that giveth to all men 
liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him/ They that 
thus sincerely endeavour to know the will of God, will come to a sound, 
established judgment in the truth. 

2. A Christian that is thus established, is fortified against spirit, 
word, or writing, or all suggestions that may perplex his mind. 

[1.1 Against pretended revelations, called here spirit. 

(1.) Because having his mind thus settled, he may boldly defy all 
revelations pretended to the contrary : Gal. i. 8, ' Though we, or an 
angel from heaven, preach any other gospel than we have preached, 
let him be accursed/ Any doctrine, if diverse, or different from, or 
besides the written word, much more contrary to it, a Christian may 
reject it, and account it cursed doctrine ; therefore neither church, nor 
angel, nor spirit is to be heard against it. 

(2.) Because a Christian is upon better terms, having the written 
word, than if God dealt with him by way of revelations : 2 Peter i. 19, 


' We have jSe(BaioTepov \6yov, a more sure word of prophecy ; ' com 
paring it with the voice from heaven, of which he spake before ; not as 
if there could be any uncertainty in the Lord's voice speaking from 
heaven, but because a transient voice is more easily mistaken or for 
gotten than an authentic standing record ; as Samuel thought Eli 
called him, when it was the Lord. It is quoad nos ; though God gave 
evidence of the truth of such revelations as he made, yet we have 
more accommodate means. Our Lord intimate th such a thing : 
Luke xvi. 31, 'If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will 
they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.' This is the surest 
ground for faith to rest upon of any that ever hath been or can be 
given to sinners, subject to forgetf illness, jealousies, and mistakes. 

(3.) Because it is not rational to expect new revelation, now the 
canon and rule of faith is closed up : Heb. ii. 1,2,' Therefore we 
ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have 
heard, lest at any time we should let them slip,' &c. ; Mat. xxviii. 20, 
' Teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I have commanded 
you ; ' John xvii. 29, ' Neither pray I for these alone, but for them 
which shall believe on me through their word.' 

(4.) Because if any such be pretended, it must be tried by the 
word : Isa. viii. 20, 'To the law and to the testimony ; if they speak 
not according to this word, it is because they have no light in them ; ' 
so 1 John iv. 1, 'Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits 
whether they are of God, because many false prophets are gone abroad 
into the world.' 

(5.) Because they that despise ordinary means, and pretend to 
vision, revelation, or inspiration, are usually such as are given up by 
God to a vertiginous spirit, and cast into the dungeon of error, for the 
punishment of other sins : Micah ii. 11, ' If a man walking in the spirit 
of falsehood do lie, he shall be the prophet of this people ; ' God will 
permit those that are both deceivers and deceived themselves to come 
amongst them for a plague to them. Sleidan giveth sad instances of 
some given up to this fantastical frenzy, that killed their own rela 
tions on pretence of inspiration, and of others that murdered fifty 
thousand in one day. 

[2.] By word or unwritten tradition. This also should not shake the 
mind of a_settled Christian, for this hath no constat no evidence of its 
certainty, and would lay us open to the deceits of men, blinded by 
their own interest and passions ; and if such tradition could be pro 
duced as hath unquestionable authority, it must be tried by the scrip 
ture, which is everywhere commended as the public standard, and 
true measure and rule, both of faith and manners. 

[3.] Not by epistle as from us. 

(1.) Supposititious writings, which the church in all ages hath ex 
ploded, having received only those which are unquestionably theirs 
whose names they bear. 

(2.) False expositions. These are confuted by inspection of the 
context, scope of the writer, comparing of obscure places with plain 
and clear. Thus you see what certainty God hath provided for us to 
guide us in the way to eternal life. 

26 THE THIRD SERMON. [2 TflES. II. 3. 


Let no man deceive you by any means ; for that day shall not come 
except there come a falling aivay first, and that man of sin be 
revealed, the son of perdition. 2 THES. II. 3. 

IN these words we have these two things : 

1. A caution against the error set afoot at that time concerning 
Christ's sudden coming to judgment. 

2. The confutation of it. It is disproved by two antecedents and 
forerunners of his coming : (1.) A general apostasy, or a defection of 
the visible church from the true state of Christianity; (2.) The 
revelation of Antichrist, described here by his names and proper 
titles 1st, That man of sin ; and 2dly, Son of perdition. 

I. Let us speak of the general apostasy that must be before Christ's 
coming to judgment ; except there come a falling away first. 
Now concerning it take these propositions : 

1. That apostasy is any defection from him to whom we owe and 
have performed subjection, or a falling from that lord to whom we 
owe fealty. I am sure, in religious matters, it importeth a defection 
from our right and proper Lord. Thus the devil is an apostate, be 
cause he abode not in his first estate : Jude 6, ' And the angels 
which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath 
reserved in everlasting chains,' &c. ; * abode not in the truth ; ' 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 ;' that is, forsook his obedience to God, and so became the 
ringleader of all rebellious creatures. So it is true of our first parents. 
They were apostates, they did revolt from God and their obedience to 
him. Therefore it is said, Rom. v. 19, 'By one man's disobedience 
many were made sinners.' So of their posterity ; their apostasy is de 
scribed by ' turning back from following the Lord,' Zeph. i. 6, and 'de 
parting from God,' that is, his worship and service ; Isa. lix. 13, 'In 
transgressing and lying against the Lord, and departing away from 
our God/ Let us then be agreed of this notion of apostasy, which is 
evident, that it is a falling off from the obedience which we owe to 
our rightful Lord. 

2. The apostasy mentioned in the text was not civil, the falling 
away of many kingdoms from the Roman empire ; but an apostasy of 
the visible church from him who is Lord of the church. I prove it 
partly from the persons to whom the apostle wrote, who did not inter 
mingle themselves with state affairs, or were not concerned in the 
interests of the Roman empire further than that they lived within the 
bounds of it ; and this apostasy must be understood as they would con 
ceive of apostasy with respect to the main cause wherein they were 
concerned and engaged, which was the profession of Christianity. 
Tartly from the use of the word in the Christian doctrine; falling 
away there is certainly falling away from the faith and purity of the 
gospel : Luke viii. 13, ' Which for a while believe and in time of 
temptation fall away/ And partly because to them it was expressly 


foretold that rives aTroa-Trja-ovrat,, ' Some shall fall away or depart 
from the faith/ 1 Tim. iv. 1. Lastly, because those who are most 
concerned to maintain the notion of the civil apostasy from the Roman 
empire are most notorious in this defection. It is true the Eoman 
empire lost Asia and the places adjacent by the invasion of Eastern 
nations, but it was thrust out of Eome by the rebellion of its sub 
jects, and chiefly by the influence of the Pope there, as histories 
manifest. So that this interpretation will not help them a jot, but 
hurt them not a little. So that here is a defection from our proper 
Lord, and a spiritual defection, not a civil. 

3. The proper Lord of the Christian church is Jesus Christ, who 
hath purchased it with his blood, and 'died, and rose again, and 
revived, that he might be Lord of dead and living,' Eom. xiv. 9 ; and 
again, Eph. v. 23, ' Christ is the head of the church, and the Saviour 
of the body/ He that saveth and recovereth the church out of the 
general apostasy of mankind, and restoreth them to their due obedience 
and proper happiness, he only is fit to be head of the church ; and this 
only is Christ : we expect no opposition here. 

4. The apostasy from the Lord will be determined chiefly by these 
two things ; (1.) By undermining his authority; (2.) Or destroying the 
interests of his kingdom. By these two we may understand the falling 
away, which is to come first. 

[1.] By undermining his authority. Certainly his authority is under 
mined when others presume to usurp his place without his leave. 
Therefore, to superinduce a universal head of the visible church, 
which Christ never appointed, is manifestly to usurp his authority ; 
though the party so intruding should pretend to hold his sovereignty 
from Christ, and under him, yet this is treason against Christ, for 
here is an authority set up without, and therefore against, his consent. 
Put the case in a temporal kingdom, and the thing will be clear. And 
thus the Pope is the usurping head of a rebellion against Christ. 
Where did Christ institute him to take this office ? Tu es Petrus is 
such a stale pretence, so often baffled and defeated, and pretended 
upon so small grounds ; as that Christ hereby conveyed singular 
authority to Peter above the rest of the disciples, that from Peter 
it descendeth to his successors, and to those of Eome (if ever he were 
at Eome), and not those of Antioch ; that it is endless to pursue the 
absurdities of this impertinent allegation. The argument holdeth 
the more strongly when the Pope condemneth all the churches that 
will not be his subjects, how holy, good, and obedient to the laws of 
Christ soever they be. Surely, if anything, this is an apostasy or a 
revolt from our rightful Lord ; and to consent to this rebellion and 
usurpation is to be drawn into a conspiracy against Christ, to 
submit to the head of the most pernicious schism that did ever rend 
the church of Christ, and to betray the liberty of the people of oar 
Lord to a tyrannical usurpation. 

[2.] Or corrupting and destroying the interests of his kingdom. 
Certainly, wherever there is a degeneration from the purity and sim 
plicity of the gospel, the interests or Christ's kingdom are destroyed. 
' I fear,' saith the apostle, 2 Cor. xi. 3, ' lest by any means, as the 
serpent beguiled Eve through his subtil ty, so your minds should be 


corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.' The ancient, pure, 
apostolic Christianity doth only preserve the interests of Christ's kingdom 
in the world ; there is no way of safety but by keeping there ; for since 
godliness is a mystery, and we shall see afterwards the iniquity that 
is contrary is a mystery also 2 Thes. ii. 7, .* The mystery of iniquity 
doth already work ' we need to be exactly careful to keep close to 
the doctrine, worship, and discipline of the first gospel church ; for if 
these had remained pure, Antichrist had never risen. Christ's institu 
tions would have preserved his interests in the world ; but as these 
were corrupted, the apostasy prevailed. When the faith of the gospel 
was turned into dead opinions and curious questions, if not direct 
errors, and the worship of the gospel was corrupted by giving divine 
honour to saints and angels, and turned into a theatrical pomp and 
the pageantry of empty ceremonies, which eclipse the majesty and 
splendour of it ; and the discipline of the church into a temporal 
domination, and all is carried in the world by sides and interests, that 
Christianity looketh like another thing, a design calculated for the 
present world rather than a serious preparation for the world to come ; 
then certainly there is an apostasy and a defection from Christ ; how 
ever the corrupt manners of the church be varnished over with the 
name of Christianity, there is a degeneration questionless ; and that is 
apostasy, in a mystery, such as this is, though not in open revolt from 

^ But to make this more evident to you, let us consider what the 
kingdom of Christ is. ^ The gospel kingdom is a kingdom of light, 
life, and love. Opposite to light is ignorance and error ; to lite, a 
religion that consists of shows, dead rites, and empty ceremonies ; to 
love, uncharitableness, malice, and especially hatred of the power of 
godliness. Now where these prevail eminently, there is an opposite 
kingdom set up to the kingdom of Christ ; certainly a falling off from 
his kingdom^ that is to say, where, in opposition to light, error is 
taught, and ignorance is counted the mother of devotion, and people 
are restrained from the means of knowledge, as if the height of Chris 
tian faith and obedience did consist in an implicit believing what the 
church believeth ; and where, instead of life, men place their whole 
religion in superficial rites and ceremonies, and some trifling acts of 
seeming devotion and exterior mortifications ; and instead of love to 
God and souls, all things are sacrificed to private ambition ; and 
forcing consciences with the highest penalties and persecutions to sub 
mit to their corruptions there is a manifest subversion of the interests 
of Christ's kingdom. In short, God's witnesses were ' slain in that 
city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, and where our Lord 
was crucified,' Kev. xi. 8 ; that city which answereth to Sodom for im 
purity, to Egypt for idolatry, and to Jerusalem for persecution of the 
saints ; there may you find the great apostasy. 

^ 5. This apostasy from our Lord's authority and the interests of his 
kingdom is some notable and discernible apostasy, and the head patron 
thereof is Antichrist. The defection is not of one, or a few, or many 
in divers churches ; there have always been backsliders from the faith : 
I John 11. 19, * They went out from us, but they were not of us ; ' and the 
spirit of Antichrist wrought in the apostles' days : 1 John ii. 18, ' As you 


have heard that Antichrist shall come, even now there are many 
Antichrists ; ' and again, 1 John iv. 3, we are told of the spirit of 
Antichrist : * And this is that spirit of Antichrist, whereof you have 
heard that it should come, and even now already is it in the world ; ' 
then described to be afterwards (ver. 5) a worldly spirit : ' They are 
of the world, and speak of the world, and the world heareth them/ 
Though they profess Christianity, carnal, worldly hypocrites, which 
never conquered the fleshly mind and interest, have the spirit of 
Antichrist ; these obscure the light, and obstruct the life and love of 
the gospel they that wholly affect a life of pomp and ease in the 
church. Now, this hath always been in all the ages. The false 
Christians forget their hopes are built upon a crucified Christ, and are 
to be derived to them from a glorified Christ in the other world 
crucified in this world and glorified in the next, which indeed are the 
two considerations that keep Christianity pure and lively ; that all 
was purchased by a crucified Christ, and all is dispensed by a glorified 
Christ ; and I wish you would oftener think of it. But the great 
apostasy is eminently found in some external visible church, where 
these corruptions are generally received and defended. For the head 
of that church is Antichrist, where doctrine is corrupted, and the wor 
ship mingled with idolatry, and the government a usurpation, and 
bent against the holy seed that desire to worship God in spirit and in 
truth ; there is this manifest revolt from and rebellion against God 
and Christ, though they push with the horns of the lamb. 

That the Papists are a corrupt sect of Christians is beyond dispute 
to any that will try their religion by the scriptures ; and that they 
are far more corrupt than the Protestants or Eeformed Churches, 
will also soon appear by the comparison, or a view of both churches. 
But whether they are so corrupt as to become the seat of Antichrist, 
is the matter under debate. Therefore, let any one consider where 
the eminent apostasy is to be found. Who are they that invade 
Christ's authority by setting up a universal head over all Christians ? 
Who are they that establish the doctrine of demons, or revive the wor 
ship of a middle sort of powers between God and mortal men ? 1 
Tim. iv. 1. Who through hypocrisy invent so many lies to maintain 
it, and when Christians should keep themselves from idols, 1 John v. 
21, yet, in defiance of this, worship angels and other creatures : Col. ii. 
18, * Let no man beguile you of your reward, in a voluntary humility, 
and worshipping of angels,' &c. ; and erect the images of saints, com 
manding and compelling men to adore them, and pray to .them ? Who 
are they that are not contented with the one only Mediator : 1 Tim. 
ii. 5, ' For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, 
the man Jesus Christ ; ' 1 Cor. viii. 5, * For though there be that are 
called gods, whether in heaven or in earth (as there be gods many, 
and lords many), but to us there is but one God, the Father, of 
whom are all things, and we in him, and one Lord Jesus Christ, 
by whom are all things, and we by him,' but set up other mediators 
of intercession ? Who are they that plead for indulgences and the 
supererogatory satisfactions of the saints, as gathered into the treasury 
of the church, and so profitable for the remission of sins, and con 
demn them who think' the contrary ? Who are they that keep 


believers from reading the scriptures, when they are so expressly 
enjoined to do it ? John v. 89, and Ps. i. 2, ' But his delight is in the 
law of the Lord, and in his law doth he meditate day and night/ 
That deny one part of the Lord's Srupper to his disciples, notwith 
standing his institution to the contrary ? 1 Cor. xi. 25, 26, ' After the 
same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This 
is- the New Testament in my blood : this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, 
in remembrance of me ; for as oft as ye eat this bread, and drink this 
cup, ye do show forth the Lord's death till he come.' It were endless 
to instance in all : I shall speak more of it in the following verses. 

6. This apostasy is not only forbidden, but foretold as a thing that 
would certainly come to pass. This consideration is necessary for 
divers reasons. 

[1.] Because the Papists ask how this can be consistent with Christ's 
care of his church, that there should be a universal apostasy and 
decay of Christian religion, who hath promised * the gates of hell 
shall not prevail against it ' ? 

Ans. That promise is made chiefly to the invisible church, or com 
munity of the elect, not to all the visible societies of the Christians, 
against whom the devil can and hath prevailed, and doth daily, to the 
destruction of many souls. And we say not that the whole visible 
church did apostatise, though all are faulty. 

[2.] Because some require the time when this apostasy began to 
be particularly assigned and noted to them, and by what persons 
these corruptions were first introduced, or else deny that any such 
thing hath been. But the case is clear : it began to work betimes, 
only it wrought in a mystery. But cannot we prove a man to be old, 
unless we prove the first moment when his grey hairs began to appear, 
or his natural force to be abated ? Who can tell every step of the 
progress of the corruption of the Jewish church ? and why should the 
like be required of the Christian ? This dunghill of corruption was 
not raised in one age : and suppose that in track of time authors be 
forgotten, matters of faith are not to be contradicted because of the 
defect of history. And yet histories are not altogether wanting in 
the case, only in things that came in by degrees they are not neces 
sary. In the introducing of the general apostasy, some erred in the 
simplicity of their hearts, as the people followed Absalom, 2 Sam. xv. 
11. But shall we deny a thing to be done because we cannot speak 
the particular moments of time, and circumstances of them, when 
and how it was done ? Shall we say the pointer in the dial passeth 
riot, because we do not see its motion ? Might not the priests judge of 
a leprosy, though they knew not how it was contracted ? Iniquity 
mystical did by degrees prevail. 

[3.] Because some think, if we should grant such an apostasy, it 
would interrupt the whole course of visible Christianity, and so deprive 
the world of a ministry and ordinances, till Christ send some new 
nuncios from heaven, or by miracle, at least, authorise a new ministry, 
that may be owned by the world, and received by his people. A vain 
conceit I for though this apostasy is foretold that it should come to 
pass, yet it is also foretold that Christ will be with the apostles and 
their successors to the end of the world, Mat. xxviiL 20 ; and prayed for 


all them that should believe in him through their word, John xvii. 20 ; 
and though the church was corrupted by degrees, *yet all this while it 
ceased not to be a church, nor the officers thereof to be Christ's ministers. 
When the ten tribes fell away, yet God till their dissolution continued 
the spirit of prophecy amongst them ; and in the Christian church a 
ministry, though many had their calling from such who consented to 
the encroachments of Antichrist. God had not so wholly cast off 
his people, but that there was a ministry and ordinances ; their minis 
try was a true ministry, and the baptism a true baptism, to be owned 
in for o externo : for these things remain whilst anything of Chris 
tianity remaineth. In a body mangled with wounds, or all overgrown 
with sores, there is life remaining ; and so some functions and offices 
of life. God called idolatrous Israel his people, and was not angry 
with them for circumcising their children, but for offering them to 
Moloch, Ezek. xvi. 20, 21. But of this in the next verse, where Anti 
christ is said to sit in the church of God. 

II. The revelation of Antichrist : and that man of sin shall be 
revealed, the son of perdition; where two things are notable : (1.) 
His rise and appearing ; (2.) The names and titles given to him. 

1. His rise and appearing, expressed in the word revealed ; that is, 
that great and chief Antichrist, upon that apostasy or falling away, 
shall be extant and show himself to the world. A thing is said to be 
revealed two ways either when it is in being, or when it is discovered ; 
both ways are proper here. He shall publicly appear, exercising a 
tyranny in the world, or cast off his veil, and show himself in his 
colours. God by his providence perniitteth him to be, and by the 
doctrine of the gospel discovereth his impostures to all those who have 
no mind to be deceived. 

2. The names or titles given to him ; they are two : (1.) ' The 
man of sin/ wherein he is compared and likened to Antiochus ; (2.) 
' The son of perdition,' wherein he is compared and likened to Judas. 

[1.] For the first, the Jews called Antiochus 'the man of sin:' 1 Macch. 
ii. 48, ' They gave not the power to the sinner ; ' in the Greek, TO /cepa? 
afiapTO)\S> t ' They gave riot the horn to the sinner/ The Syriac ver 
sion hath it, ' They suffered not the horn of the sinner to be lifted 
up ; ' and ver. 62, ' Fear not the words of the man of sin/ airo \6ya)v 
az^S/30? afjLaprcoXov prj (j)oj3r]0rJT, l From the words of the man the sin 
ner be not afraid ' Now why did they call Antiochus the man of sin ? 
Because he sought to alter the religion of the people, and by cruelty 
to introduce a change of worship and idolatry, and such laws as he 
would set up. Now, according to this pattern, Antichrist is a man of 
sin ; that is, either a man given up to all sin eminently, a sinner 
addicted unto sin, and a ringleader of others unto sin, either by fraud 
and violence ; or as he giveth encouragements and encitements to sin ; 
or as a special kind of sinner, a usurper arid invader of the empire of the 
Son of God. So was Antiochus. So was Antichrist. Now, how much 
open sin is practised, allowed, and maintained in the Papacy, I list 
not now to rake into ; their own stories speak enough ; the sodomy, 
blasphemy, incest, adulteries, sorceries, murders, treasons, parricides, 
which they have authorised and countenanced. Histories witness that 
hardly hath the world yielded a more abominable sort of men, than 


have sat in that chair of pestilence. This I am sure of, that a man 
can sin nowhere at so cheap a rate as in Popery, where, what by 
dividing their sins into mortal and venial, and these expiated by a 
little penance, accompanied with a single attrition, and bare grief and 
trouble, because of the punishment ; what by faculties, pardons, licenses, 
dispensations, indulgences, sin is distinguished out of the conscience. 

But because he is called the man of sin, here it cometh fitly to be 
inquired whether Antichrist be an individual person ? for * that man 
of sin ' would seem to be some single person. No ; he is put for a 
society and succession of men, that make up the head of the apostate 
state/ As one lion figured the whole kingdom of the Babylonians, 
and one bear the kingdom of the Medes and Persians, and one leopard 
the kingdom of the Grecians, Dan. vii. , and there the fourth beast is 
the fourth kingdom, so one person that succession of men that 
head the revolters from Christ. So Dan. viii., a goat figured a succes 
sion of kings; so the Assyrian, Isa. x. 5, several kings in that 
empire ; so Isa. xiv. 9, the king of Babylon, meaning not one but 
many. So this man of sin doth not note a single man, but a succes 
sion of men, a body politic or corporate, under one opposite head to 
the kingdom of Christ : so the ' man of God ' is put for all faithful 
ministers, 2 Tim. iii. 17 ; so ' honour the king,' 1 Peter ii. 17, series 
regum. So o ap^epev^, Heb. ix. 25, ' The high priest every year 
entereth into the holy place ; * meaning not one, but the succession of 
the order ; and in reason it must needs be so here. Because Anti 
christ, from his beginning to his end, from his rise and revelation, till 
his ruin and destruction, will take up such a long track of time, as 
cannot fall within the age of any one man, even from the time of 
the apostles till the end of the world. Antichrist is the head of the 
apostasy ; for here the apostasy and the revelation of the man of sin 
are conjunct ; now the mysterious apostasy could not be perfected in 
a short time. 

[2.] The son of perdition, wherein he is likened to Judas : John xvii. 
12, ' None of them is lost but the son of perdition.' Him he re- 
sembleth in covetousness, treachery, and final destruction. The term 
may be explained either passively, or actively : (1.) Passively, as one 
condemned to everlasting destruction ; as the ' son of death,' is one 
condemned to die: 2 Sam. xii. 5, 'He shall be a son of death;' we 
translate it, * He shall surely die.' So ' children of wrath,' Eph. ii. 3 ; 
so here, * son of perdition/ (2.) Actively, bringing destruction upon 
himself and others ; one that shall destroy others, and so he is called 
* Abaddon,' and * Apollyon,' Eev. ix. 11, and is opposite to Christ, who 
is 'the author of salvation/ Heb. v. 9, but Antichrist of destruction. 
And let us see the parallel between him and Judas ; for the person is 
a type, as well as the name hath a significancy. Antichrist then is 
like Judas in profession, a disciple of Christ ; in office, a governor of 
the church ; but in practice, a traitor. As they said of the blind man, 
John ix. 9, ' Some said, This is he ; others, He is very like him/ The 
Pope boasteth that his seat is apostolical, his chair is Peter's chair, arid 
that he is the successor of the apostle. Grant it, but there is an error 
of the person not of Peter, but of Judas. Let us see the parallel : 
(1.) Judas was not a stranger, but a pretended friend and apostle : 


Acts i. 17, 'He was numbered with us, and obtained part of this ministry.' 
Turks and infidels are enemies to Christ, but Antichrist seeketh to un 
dermine him, under a pretence of friendship ; azm^ptaro? is one in 
show for, and in effect against Christ, and the beast in the Kevelation 
is said to ' push with the horns of the lamb/ Kev. xiii. 11. If he were 
a professed enemy, what mystery were there in it ? But mystery was 
written upon the woman's forehead, Kev. xvii. 5 ; and here, ver. 7, ' The 
mystery of iniquity/ It is wisdom to discern the false prophet, Rev. 
xiii. 18, but there needeth no great wisdom to discover an open and 
professed adversary. 

(2.) He sold Christ for a small matter. Omnia Romce venalia : par 
dons, indulgences, freedom from purgatory, all to be bought with money; 
and it is a small matter, considering the things put to sale, the pardon 
of sins, the souls of men redeemed with Christ's precious blood. The 
antichristian state maketh a market of religion ; truth is made to yield 
to interest and profit. 

(3.) Judas betrayed Christ with a kiss, under a pretence of honour 
ing him : Luke xxii. 48, ' Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou 
the Son of man with a kiss ? ' Antichrist is a true adversary of Christ, 
though he pretend to adore him ; as those that murdered the present 
prophets would by all means beautify the tombs of the prophets 
deceased, arid bear a respect to their memories, Mat. xxiii. 30. He 
pretendeth to be his servant, yea, a servant of servants, but is really his 
enemy. The apostle telleth us of some that were ' enemies to the cross 
of Christ,' Phil. iii. 18. Who to appearance such friends to the cross as 
the rabble of nominal Christians ? but they are opposers of his spiritual 
kingdom, the virtue and power of the cross. You have crucifixes every 
where, painted, carved, gilded ; they are ready to worship the cross 
with a holy w r orship ; they set it in their temples, altars, wear it in 
their bosoms, and wherever they meet it show it reverence, adorn it 
with gold, silver, and precious stones. Their popes and prelates have 
it carried before them ; and are not these friends of the cross ? No ; 
they live a worldly, sensual life, and all their religion tendeth there 
unto ; therefore enemies of the cross of Christ, because they mind 
earthly things. This is right antichrist-like, to betray Christ under a 
colour of adoration. 

(4.) Judas was a guide to them that came to take Christ ; and one 
main work of Antichrist is to be a ringleader in persecuting for re 
ligion. Christ is in heaven, death hath no more power over him ; his 
natural body is above abuse, but his mystical body still suffereth: 
Acts ix. 6, ' Why persecutest thou me ? ' Antichrist is the head of the 
persecuting state, others are his emissaries and agents, to take Christ 
in his members. It is a politic religion, that must be carried on with 
worldly artifices, with power and cruelty. 

J5.) Lastly, The covetousness of Judas is set forth. He was a thief, 
one that carried the bag, John xii. 6. England, to its bitter cost, 
knoweth the polling exactions of the Papacy ; all its dealings with us 
were to fill the bag out of this puteus inexhaustus. Now all these 
things should open our eyes ; we may behold the man of sin, the son 
of perdition ; one egg is not more like to another than Judas and 



Use. Is to persuade us to a detestation of what is antichristian, and 
to that end let us mark the progress of the text. (1 .) The apostasy made 
was for Antichrist ; (2.) Antichrist, rising upon the apostasy, becometh 
a man of sin ; and (3.) The man of sin is also the son of perdition. 

1. Let me begin first with the falling away. There is a twofold 
falling away either from the power and practice of goldliness, or from 
a true religion to a false, particularly to Popery. 

[1.] I begin with the falling away from the power and practice of 
godliness, though the profession be not changed; and the rather, 
partly because this disposeth to the entertainment of error. When 
a people that are carried with great fervour and vigour of zeal for 
a while, lose their affections to good, and return to a worldly, sen 
sual life, then the bias of their hearts doth easily prevail against the 
light of their understandings. And so unsanctified men may the 
sooner be drawn to apostasy ; they never felt the quickening virtue 
of faith, and were never wrought by it to the true love of God, or 
an holy and heavenly mind and life. And partly, also, because if a 
lively Christianity had been kept up, Antichrist had never risen in 
the world; and it is the way to keep him out still: 'When the ser 
vants slept, the enemy sowed tares/ Mat. xiii. A sleepy religion 
and corruption of manners made way for corruption of doctrine, 
worship, and order. It was with the church according to the spouse's 
complaint : ' I sleep, but my heart waketh/ Cant. v. 2. Some care 
there was, but much drowsiness and deadness in religion ; and that 
produced the great apostasy. Partly too, because there is such a com 
pliance between the nature of antichristianism and the temper of a 
carnal heart; for superstition and profaneness grow both upon the 
same root. A lothness to displease the flesh, the sensual nature of 
man, is such, that it is loth to be crossed ; and that breedeth profane- 
ness. For wherefore do men ingulf themselves in all manner of 
sensualities, but because they are loth to deny their natural appetites 
and desires, and row against the stream of flesh and blood, but will 
' walk in the way of their own heart, and in the sight of their own 
eyes'? Eccles. xi. 9. Again, if nature be to be crossed, it is only a 
little ; it shall only be in some external actions, and observances, 
and dead rudiments, which never kill our lusts, nor promote the 
divine life. And this pleasing superstition shall make up a religion 
which is a fit pillow for a carnal heart to sleep upon. Popery 
is the easiest religion for the flesh that can be found out, for it never 
biteth nor disturbeth their lusts. The duties of it are like the pharisees' 
fasting, which our Lord compareth to old wine, Mat. ix. 17, fit for old, 
dried skin bottles. Well, take heed of falling away from a lively god 
liness. No man entereth seriously upon religion but with some tasting 
or rejoicing, Heb. vi. ; now as this decayeth, we fall off. The heavenly 
life is obstructed, if notchoked and quite lost. Now, to prevent this, 
observe two things :(!.) Your coldness in duties; (2.) Your boldness 
in sinning. 

(1.) Coldness in duties, when the will and affections grow more re- 
miss^and the worship of God, which keepeth up the remembrance of 
mm, is either omitted or performed perfunctorily, and in a careless and 
stupid manner : Jer. ii. 32, ' My people have forgotten me days without 


number ;' Job xxvii. 10, 'Will he always call upon God? will he delight 
himself in the Almighty ?' God chargeth Israel with growing weary 
of him ; and it began in not calling upon him, Isa. xliii. 22. Now, when 
you seldom think or speak of God, and do not keep up a delightful 
communion with him, there is a falling away. 

(2.) Boldness in sinning. When men lose their tenderness and 
strictness, and the awe of God is lessened in their hearts, and they do 
not only sin freely in thought, but freely in act, have not that hatred 
of sin and watchfulness as formerly, but more abandon themselves 
to a carnal life, they are falling off from God apace : 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 en 
tangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than 
the beginning.' At first the heart checked you for sin, but you did not 
kindly come off, were not troubled about it, hoped God would pardon 
it ; and then you are bold to venture again, and so by degrees are en 
tangled in the sensual and worldly life. Now consider the causes of 
it: I. Want of faith in God: Heb. iii. 12, 'Take heed, brethren, lest 
there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the 
living God.' You have not a sound belief of his being and presence. 
2. Want of love to God : Eev. ii. 4, 5, ' Nevertheless I have (some 
what) against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Kemember, 
therefore, from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do thy first 
works ; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy 
candlestick out of its place, except thou repent.' Your hearts decline 
from that love you had to him and his ways, and then your work is 
intermitted. 3. Want of a due sense of the world to come : Heb. x. 
39, ' But we are not of them who draw back to perdition, but of them 
that believe, to the saving of the soul.' 4. The love of the present 
world : 2 Tim. iv. 10, ' For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved 
this present world/ The more that is valued, the more your hearts 
are taken off from things to come, and the care about them ; you have 
too great a liking, either to the profits of the world 1 Tim. vi. 10, 
' The love of money is the root of all evil, which while some have 
coveted after, they have erred from the faith' or else the pleasures of 
the world : 2 Tim. iii. 4, ' Lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.' 
As the inclination of the heart groweth stronger to sensual pleasures, 
your thoughts of God are less serious and pleasing to you. Now look 
to these things, lest you grow quite weary of God and the holy life, 
which once you had an affection unto. 

[2.] From a true religion to a false ; which may be done two ways : 
(1.) Out of corruption of mind ; (2.) Out of vile affection. 

(1.) Out of weakness of mind, as those do that were never well 
grounded in the truth : Eph. iv. 14, ' That we henceforth be no more 
children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of 
doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they 
lie in wait to deceive ;' 2 Peter iii. 16, 'In which are some things 
hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable, 
wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.' 
Therefore we need to be established ; but the forsaking of a truth we 
were bred in usually cometh from some falseness of heart. Some 


errors are so contrary to the new nature, that they discern them by the 
unction : 1 John ii. 20, ' But ye have an unction from the Holy One, 
and ye know all things.' 

(2.) Out of vile affection, when they forsake the truth for the advan 
tages of a fleshly, worldly life, some places to be gotten by it, &c., and 
as the whore of Babylon hath a golden cup, riches, and preferments, 
wherewith it inviteth its proselytes. Now these are worse than the 
former, for they sell the birthright : Heb. xii. 16, c Lest there be any 
fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold 
his birthright/ Christians ! take heed to yourselves. Apostasy 
brought Antichrist into the church. Let it not jure postliminio, bring 
him back again into the land, or into your hearts. 

2. The next step is the man of sin. As the first apostasy of Adam 
and Eve brought sin into the world, so this great apostasy brought in 
a deluge of sin into the church, and defiled the holy society which 
Christ had gathered out of the world. Idolatry is often called adultery 
or fornication ; spiritual uncleanness disposeth to bodily, and bodily to 
spiritual. Usually a corrupt state of religion and corrupt manners 
go together ; otherwise the dance and the fiddle would not suit. The 
world cannot lie quiet in a course of sin, if there be not some libertine, 
atheistical doctrine, and carnal worship to countenance it: Rev. xi. 10, 
' And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make 
merry, and shall send gifts one to another ; because these two prophets 
tormented them that dwelt on the earth/ 

3. The man of sin is also the son of perdition (1.) Actively. False 
religions strangely efferate the mind: Jude 11, 'These go in the way 
of Cain ;' and Hosea v. 2, ' Revolters are profound to make slaughter/ 
Men think no cruelty nor dishonesty unlawful which serveth to pro 
mote the interests of their sect, and lose all charity to those that are 
not of their way. (2.) Passively, shall be destroyed. Sometimes 
grievous judgments come in this world for the corruptions of religion; 
but in the world to come, dreadful is the end of apostates : 2 Peter 
ii. 20, 21, ' 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 overcome, the latter end is worse with 
them than the beginning ; for it had been better for them not to have 
known the way of righteousness, than after they had known it, to turn 
from the holy commandment delivered unto them/ 


Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or 
is worshipped ; so that he, as God, sitteth in the temple of God, 
showing himself that he is God. 2 THES. II. 4. 

IN this matter of Antichrist we have made this progress : First, That 
he arose upon, and by a falling away from, the ancient pure state of 


Christianity. Secondly, That the Holy Ghost points him out by his 
names and titles, which are two: 'the man of sin,' wherein he is 
resembled to Antiochus ; and ' the son of perdition,' wherein he is 
resembled to Judas. As Antiochus, he is one that by force and power 
should change the laws and ordinances, and compel men to his abomi 
nations. As Judas, he should betray Christ by a kiss for worldly gain, 
and be one that is in pretence an apostle, but indeed a real adversary 
to Christ. Now, after the apostle had pointed at him by his names 
and titles, he describeth him by his practices, wherein his names and 
titles are verified ; for here he proveth that he should be as Antiochus, 
by his exalting himself above all that is called God, which is said of 
Antiochus, Dan. xi. 36, ' And the king shall do according to his will, 
and he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, and shall 
speak marvellous things against the God of gods ; ' and as Judas, one 
sitting in the temple of God ; that is, he sitteth there as exercising a 
public ecclesiastical office, yea, challenging the highest seat in it. He 
sitteth there potestate regiminis, by the power of his government ; 
he doth Cathedratica potestate prcesidere (Estius). His sitting there 
as chief shows him as Judas ; his sitting here as God, and exalting 
himself above all that is called God, showeth him Antiochus. 

But to handle the words more closely, Antichrist is here set forth : 

I. As opposite to Christ ; o avri/cei^vos, one set to the contrary, 
that is, in respect of pride chiefly. Christ was the pattern of humility, 
Antichrist is the king of pride ; Christ would not so much as assume 
to himself an authority to divide the inheritance between two brethren 
Luke~xii. 14, ' Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?' 
but Antichrist will depose kings, and dispose of kingdoms. 

II. The instances of his pride: (1.) In exalting himself above all 
human power: ' Who exalteth himself above all that is called God, or 
is worshipped/ (2.) A usurpation of divine honour : ' He, as God, 
sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.' 

Let us open these things more particularly : 

I. He is represented in the term avriKelfjievos as one diametrically 
opposite to Christ, and contrary to him, who is the true head and Lord 
of the church : Acts x. 36, * He is Lord over all ;' but Antichrist 
opposeth himself, that is, showeth himself in a quite contrary appear 
ance. That which is most remarkable in Christ, and should be in all 
his followers, is humility. He expressed a wonderful contempt of the 
riches and greatness of the world, and all the honour which is of man ; 
taking the form of a servant, and making himself of no reputation, 
and living a mean, inferior life. He ' came not to be ministered unto, 
but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many,' Mat. xx. 28. 
He kept no state, nor affected pomp of attendants ; though he were 
Lord of all, yet * he became poor, to make us rich/ 2 Cor. viii. 9. But 
it may be this was proper to him ; doth he expect it from his servants 
and officers in the church ? Yes ; this is the grace which he hath 
recommended to all his followers : Mat. xi. 29, c Learn of me, for I am 
meek and lowly.' But especially to the ministers of the gospel : our Lord 
foresaw what spirit would work in them, and therefore he forewarned 
them of pride and lordliness : Mat. xx. 25, 26, ' Ye know that the 
princes of the earth do exercise dominion over them, and they that are 


great exercise authority upon them ; but it shall not be so among you : 
but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister/ 
Among Christ's servants, he that is chief must be chief in service, even 
as a servant unto all : Luke xxii. 26, 'He that is chief, as he that doth 
serve.' Domination, greatness, principality and power, is allowed in 
the civil state, for there it is necessary ; yet it is excluded the church. 
This affecting of pre-eminence and chiefness is the bane of the church 
it is taxed as a great sin in Diotrephes, 3 John 9 be it either over 
their fellow-labourers, or the people of the Lord. You see how tender 
the apostles were in this point ; everywhere they disclaim this affec 
tation of lordship : 2 Cor. i. 24, * Not that we are lords of your faith, 
but helpers of your joy.' And Peter recommendeth it to his fellow- 
elders: 1 Peter v. 3, 'Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but 
being examples to the flock/ And if the apostles would not assume 
lordship, who may ? It is true, there is a government in the church, 
and the people are to obey their guides, Heb. xiii. 17, and to ' have 
them highly in honour, for their works' sake/ 1 Thes. v. 13; but yet 
the pastors of the church should govern by light and love, not by pomp 
and force, and not be known by such pomp and authority as begets 
fear. Well, now, let us see the opposite state. If humility and meek 
ness be in the very essence of Christianity, and woven throughout the 
whole frame of it, then it is antichristian to be lordly and proud, 
especially in them who pretend to be successors of Christ and his 
apostles. Now, in the Pope and his adherents, you will see the most 
odious pride set forth that ever the world was conscious unto, without 
any cloak and shame. And all their business is to get power ; what 
designs they have for preferment in the world, how studiously they 
have, and do prosecute it, they blush not to own openly before angels 
or men. This worldly ambition to rise higher and higher is their 
design and trade of life. As the bishop of Rome, at first, from the 
chief pastor of that city, affected to be an archbishop over the suburban 
towns and cities ; then, a patriarch over many cities ; and because two 
opposed him in Italy a long time, Eavenna and Milan, he gets power 
over them, and then he must be oecumenical bishop over all the world. 
But Constantinople resisteth for a long time, yea, arrogateth within the 
empire the same titles. Who more earnest against it than Gregory, 
whom they call the Great, and more forward to charge the assuming 
of this title as antichristian ? But then, when once they began, by 
powerful means and many indirect courses, to be owned as universal 
bishop, they^ enlarged their bounds, not only over the ecclesiastical 
power, but civil, and all kings and princes must stoop to them, as well 
as bishops. So that here was the progress and gradation : First, from 
the chief presbyter, a bishop over many presbyters in the same city ; 
then, a metropolitan over many bishops in one province ; then, a 
patriarch over many provinces in one diocese (for in the Eoman divi 
sion there were seven provinces in one diocese) ; then, universal bishop 
in the whole world ; then, the only shepherd and bishop, and others 
but his substitutes. Pretty steps of ambitious encroaching ! But yet 
exalting himself farther, he" challengeth all power in heaven and earth ; 
and the like is practised by his followers at this day in the church of 
Rome. From private priests they grow up into some prelature, as 


archdeacons, deans ; then a bishopric ; then a better or richer ' r then 
archbishops, cardinals ; then pope. And the devil is grown so impudent, 
by the help of these churchmen, as that it is counted a great piece of 
spiritual wisdom, publicly owned in the world, to be able, by these 
steps, to get higher and higher, and lord it over God's heritage ; as if 
ambitious affectation were the honour of Christianity, and gospel 
humility would expose the church to scorn, and pomp and grandeur 
were a greater ornament to religion than grace ; when, in the mean 
time, they have nothing to prove them to be true pastors of the 
church but Judas's kiss, a little owning of Christ to countenance their 

II. The particular instances wherein the pride of Antichrist is set 
forth are two : 

1. His exalting himself above all human powers : ' He opposeth and 
exalteth himself above all that is called God, or is worshipped/ 
Here the object is set forth by two terms : (1.) All that is called God ; 
(2.) Or worshipped. They both belong to the same thing. 

[1.] That which is called God, that is, magistrates, princes, and 
kings : Ps. Ixxxii. 1, ' He judgeth among the gods ;' and ver. 6, ' I 
have said, Ye are gods ; all of you are children of the Most High ;' and 
John x. 34, 35, 'It is written in your law, I said ye are gods. If he 
call them gods unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture 
cannot be broken/ &c. God hath clothed magistrates with his own 
honour so far that he hath put his name upon them ; and their emi- 
nency is a part of his image, as it lieth in superiority, dominion, and 
power. Though magistrates be but like their brethren as- to their 
common nature, yet in respect of their office they have the glorious 
title of gods conferred upon them ; as being his vicegerents, and bear 
ing his person in government, they are honoured with his name. So 
that, without impeachment of blasphemy, those that excel in the civil 
power may be called gods. Now, over these Antichrist exalteth him 
self, that is, above all kings and potentates. 

[2.] The other notion is, 17 a-epaa-pa; we render it, ' or is worshipped.' 
The Greek word is, whatever is held in the highest degree of reverence, 
whatever is august or illustrious ; as the emperors of Kome were called 
2e@acrTol : Acts xxv. 21, Paul ' appealed to be referred to the hearing 
of Augustus ;' it is rov ^eftao-rov, not Augustus Csesar, who was then 
dead, but his successor. Well, then, here is the character of Anti 
christ : that he exalteth himself above all civil authority authorised 
and permitted of God, not only above ordinary magistrates, but kings 
and emperors. Now, we find in history no less than twenty kings and 
emperors trampled under foot by the Pope of Borne, some of whom 
he had excommunicated and deposed from their kingdoms, and 
their people dispensed withal in denial of their subjection to them; 
others brought to cruel, shameful deaths, and their kingdoms miserably 
rent and torn, to the destruction of millions of men, by their means. 
He that hath any knowledge of the histories in Christendom cannot 
but know these things ; how he treadeth on their necks, kicketh off 
their crowns with his feet, and hath brought them to the vilest sub 
missions. And if kings and emperors have received more spirit and 
courage, and the Popes of Kome learned more modesty nowadays, 


thanks is due to the light of the gospel, which hath shined so far and 
to such a degree as to the consuming of Antichrist, though not to his 
utter destruction. 

2. The next instance of his pride is his usurpation of divine honour, 
expressed in two clauses : (1.) The one showeth the usurpation itself, 
* That he, as God, sitteth in the temple of God ;' (2.) The other, the 
degree of it, ' showing himself as God/ Both must be explained 
and vindicated. 

[1.] For the usurpation itself, 'he sitteth as God in the temple of 
God.' By the temple of God is meant the church : 1 Cor. iii. 16, 17, 
' Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and the Spirit of God 
dwelleth in you ? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God 
destroy ; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye a,re.' So 
2 Cor. vi. 16, * What agreement hath the temple of God with idols ? 
for ye are the temple of the living God.' The external visible church, 
which professeth the faith of Christ and beareth his name ; so that 
the place wherein Antichrist shall arise is the visible Christian church ; 
not Kome ethnic, but Christian. 

But is, then, the church of Kome the church of Christ ? 

Ans. It was one part of it before it was perverted ; it usurpeth still 
that name ; it retaineth some relic of a church, mangled as it is. Saith 
Calvin in his Epistles : * I think I have given some strong reasons that 
it yet retaineth some show of a church.' Now in this temple of God 
he sitteth as an officer and bishop there, as I before explained it : 
and whereas other princes are said to reign so many years, the Pope 
is said to sit so long. It is his $edes, his cathedral or seat. And 
again, here he is said to sit as God, that is, as God incarnate, for 
Christ is the true and proper Lord of the church ; none should reign 
there but he. And the name of this man of sin is not Antitheos, but 
avTixpiaros ; not one that directly invadeth the properties of the 
supreme God, but of God incarnate, or Christ as Mediator : he sitteth 
negatively, not as a minister, but positively as supreme lord upon 
earth, whom all must adore and worship, and kings and princes kiss 
his feet. In short, he usurpeth the authority due to Christ. Now I 
shall prove that by a double argument : 

First, By usurping the titles due to Christ ; for he that will make bold 
with names will make bold with things ; as to be sponsus ecclesice, 
the husband of the church, as Innocent called the church sponsam 
suam, his spouse ; caput ecclesice, the head of the church, which is 
proper to the Saviour of the body ; supreme, visible, and universal 
head, which only Christ is, who hath promised to be with her to the 
end of the world, and will be visible to those who do at length 
approach his court in heaven, where his seat is ; to be chief pastor, 
Christ's own title : ' And when the chief shepherd shall appear/ 1 Peter 
v. 4 ; to be pontifex maximus, the greatest high priest, whereas Christ 
alone is called ' the high priest of our profession,' Heb. iii. 1, and * the 
great high priest over the house of God,' Heb. iv. 14 ; so his vicar- 
general upon earth ; whereas the ancient church attributed this to the 
Holy Ghost, calling it Vicariam vim Spiritus Sancti, he supplies his 
room and absence. Now titles including power, certainly they are not 
to be usurped without warrant. Therefore to call the Pope the chief 


and only shepherd, and the like, it is to usurp his authority to whom 
these things originally belong. 

Secondly, He doth usurp the thing implied by the titles the autho 
rity over the church, which is only due to God incarnate. Supreme 
authority may be considered, either as to the claim, right, property, 
and pre-eminence which belong to it, or to the exercise. 

1. The claim and right pretended. He sitteth as God in the temple 
of God ; that is, by virtue of his office there, claimeth the same power 
that Christ had, which is fourfold : 

(1.) An unlimited power over all things both in heaven and earth. 
This was given to Christ, Mat. xxviii. 18, and the Pope, as his vicar, 
challengeth it. But where is the plea and ground of the claim ? For 
one to set up himself as a vice-god without warrant, is ebellion against 
Christ. To set himself in his throne without his leave, surely none is 
fit to have this authority that hath not his power to back and to 
administer and govern all things for the church's good, which power 
God would trust in the hands of no creature. 

(2.) A universal headship and supremacy over all the churches of 
Christ. Now, this supreme power over all Christians is the right of 
God incarnate, and whosoever challengeth it sits as God in the temple 
of God ; and it is very derogatory to the comfort of the faithful that 
they should in all things depend upon one man as their supreme 
pastor, or else be excluded from the hope of salvation. Certainly this 
power, as to matter of fact, is impossible to be managed by any man, 
considering the vast extent of the world, and the variety of govern 
ments and different interests under which the people of God find 
shelter and protection, and the multitude and diversity of those things 
which are comprised in such a government ; and, as to matter of right, 
it is sacrilegious, for Christ never instituted any such universal vicar 
and bishop. It is a dignity too high for any creature : none is fit to 
be universal head of the church but one that is God as well as man. 

(3.) Absolute authority, so as to be above control. When a mortal 
man should pretend to be so absolute as to give no account of his 
actions, that it shall not be lawful to be said to him, What^doest thou ? 
and all his decrees must be received without examination or com 
plaint, this is such a sovereignty as belongs to none but God : Job ix. 
12, * Behold, he taketh away, who can hinder him ? who will say unto 
him, What doest thou ? ' Now, this is in their canon law, that the Pope 
is to be judged by no man ; that though he should lead millions of 
souls into hell, none can say Domine, cur itafacis? 

(4.) Infallibility and freedom from error, which is the property of 
God : he neither is deceived nor can deceive. * Let God be true, and 
every man a liar.' Now, that corrupt and fallible man should arro 
gate this to himself, such an unerring in judgment, is to usurp divine 
honour in matter of right and in matter of fact. For the Pope to 
arrogate this is as great a contradiction to all sense and reason as if a 
man sick of the plague, or any other mortal disease, should say that 
he was immortal, and in that part wherein the disease was seated. 
2. As to the exercise, there are two acts of supreme authority : 
(1.) Legislation. 
(2.) Judgment. 


(1.) Legislation : It is the peculiar and incommunicable property of 
Christ to be Lord and lawgiver to the church ; Isa. xxxiii. 22, ' The 
Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king ; he 
will save us.' God alone hath such interest in his people as to prescribe 
supreme or universal laws to them, and we are his subjects : James iv. 
12, ' There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy.' Now, 
whosoever will make laws that shall immediately bind the conscience, 
they invade Christ's sovereignty. This is spiritual tyranny, and the 
worst sort of tyranny, to arrogate a power over the subjects of Christ 
and their consciences as lord of their faith. He that taketh upon him to 
rescind and make void his institutions and ordinances, and set his own 
in their place, and give that reverence and honour to them which only 
belongeth to the ordinances of Christ, he is Antichrist, whatever he be. 

(2.) As to judgment : It is an exercising an authority no less than 
divine, so to take upon him to absolve man from his duty to God, or the 
penalty which sin hath made his due. The one is done by dispensa 
tions, the other by indulgences : and therefore whoever by dispensa 
tions antiquates and dispenses with the laws of God himself is thus 
guilty ; as dispensing with marrying the brother's wife. Nay, one of 
the Popes dispensed with one that took his own sister to wife. I do 
not allege this so much for the particular facts, but to show the power 
which they challenged to be inherent in themselves. Bellarmine saith, 
Christ hath given Peter and his successors a power faciendi peccatum 
non peccatum to make a sin to be no sin ; and again, * If the Pope, 
should err in forbidding virtues and commanding vices, the church 
were bound to believe vices to be good and virtues to be evil/ which 
certainly is to set man in the place of God. As to indulgences : as 
to pretend to give pardons for sin for so many years, a thing that God 
himself never did ; to pardon the sin before it was committed, that is, 
to give a license to sin : so for the highest crimes to absolve men, 
upon a little attrition or trouble about the sin, lo do all this and more 
than this as of right, is to sit in the church of God as God/ 

[2.] And showing himself that he is God : that is meant, not of what 
he professeth in words, but what he doth in deed. It is not said that 
he saith he is God, but aTroBei/cvvvra, he showeth himself, or sets forth 
himself as God. The reason of the thing showeth it : (1.) Antichrist 
gets power by seduction, or the deceiveableness of unrighteousness ; 
therefore does not openly call himself the true and only God. He is 
represented as a false prophet, that speaketh lies in hypocrisy. If one 
would openly and plainly profess himself to be God, he might be a 
frantic usurper, but could not be a cunning seducer, and few would be 
so stupid and senseless as to be led by him. (2.) Antichrist, whoever 
he be, is to be a Christian by profession, and to have a high and great 
charge among the visible professors of Christianity. He is a secret 
adversary, that groweth upon the apostasy or degeneration of the Chris 
tian state. Now, such pretends observance and obedience to Christ, and 
therefore he would not openly declare himself to be God, and he sitteth 
in the temple and church of God, as before. And it is a mystery ; all 
which imply crafty conveyance, and that he doth not openly assume the 
godhead, but slily and secretly, which doth not mend the matter ; for 
the insinuating, devouring, unsuspected enemy is the most perilous and 


pernicious ; as Joab to Amasa, and Judas to Christ. (3.) Antichrist is 
plainly a man. Now, for a man to disannul all religion, and set up 
himself directly as God, is improbable. Nero, Nebuchadnezzar, Simon 
Magus would be adored as gods ; they did not deny other gods, nor a 
greater God above them ; therefore it is the arrogance of works is 
intended. If Antichrist will show himself as God, certainly he will 
sweeten his blasphemy with some hypocrisy, as that he is the vicar and 
vicegerent of God. (4.) His showing himself as God, is either accepting 
or doing such things, which if they did rightly belong to him, they 
would show that he is God. Two persons I find in scripture charged 
for usurping divine honours. The one, Herod Agrippa, who was 
smitten by an angel for not giving God the glory, when the people cried, 
' The voice of God, and not of man,' Acts xii. 22 : his fault was accepting 
what was ascribed by others. The other is the prince of Tyre : Ezek. 
xxviii. 2, ' Because thy heart is lifted up, and thou hast said I am 
God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seat ; yet thou art a 
man, and not God, though thou set thy heart as the heart of God/ 
His fault was taking upon him, as if he were God, to accept divine 
honours, to do those things which would make him equalise himself to 
our Lord Christ, blessed for ever. So doth he show himself that he is 
God. (1.) His accepting Antichrist's disciples, who call him our Lord 
God the Pope, supremum numen in terris, a certain deity upon earth. 
That the Pope hath the same consistory with God, and the same tri 
bunal with Christ ; that he is lord of heaven and earth ; that from him 
there are no appeals to be made, no, not to God himself ; that the Pope 
may do all that God doth ; that he is the husband of the church, and 
the foundation of faith (Council of Later an, sess. 4) ; Alter Deus in 
terra ; that the words of the Pope in cathedra are for certainty of 
truth equal to the scriptures ; that he can change the form of sacra 
ments delivered by Christ, or decree contrary to scripture. If any do 
object that these were the applauses of his flatterers and claw-backs, 
it is true they were so uttered ; but those flatteries of the canonists and 
Jesuits do come to be received doctrines among them ; and whereas 
divers popes have directed special commissions for perusal of the 
works of the learned, with authority to expunge and purge out whatso 
ever is not orthodox, many better things have come under censure, 
but these things stand still, as being very pleasing to his holiness's hu 
mility, and so not to be altered : besides, many of these things have been 
spoken to his face without rebuke. Cone. Latt., sess. 2. He is called 
the high priest and king that is to be adored by all, and most like unto 
God (sess. 9). It is said, the aspect of thy divine majesty dazzleth our 
eyes, and that of the 72d Psalm applieth to him, ' All the kings of 
the earth shall worship him, and all nations shall serve him/ Now, to 
accept and approve of these flatterers is to show himself that he is 
God : (2.) By doing such things as if he were God, not by the usurpa 
tion of the formal name, as by arrogating to himself such things as 
belong to God, his right and property, to take upon himself to be lord 
of consciences, to command what faith is to be believed, suppressing 
the true doctrine of Christ, and setting up his own inventions, dis 
pensing with God's laws, taking upon him to pardon sins. One article 
for which Luther was condemned is this : that it is not in the power 


of the church or Pope to make new articles of faith ; another, that 
the best penitence of all is the new life. Quifacit Deos divosque Deo 
major est. The Pope doth canonise saints, and his decrees must be 
received as oracles, &c. 

The first use is to give us a clear discovery where to find Antichrist ; 
every tittle of this is fulfilled in the bishop of Kome, that we need no 
longer be in doubt, and say, ' Is this he that should come, or shall we 
look for another ? ' Who is the avri/ceifjuevos, but he that opposeth 
himself to that humble state and frame wherein Christ left the church, 
and will be prince of all pastors, and swear them to his obedience, and 
hath made such troubles in the world to make himself acknowledged 
for head and chief ? Who is he that exalteth himself above all that 
is called God, and is august in the world, but he that takes upon 
him to deprive and depose emperors, kings, and princes, by his ex 
communications, suspensions, interdictions, and decrees, discharging 
subjects of their allegiance and oaths, and giving away their kingdoms ; 
that doth crown and uncrown emperors with his feet, and tread upon 
them as one would do upon a viper ? Who is he that sitteth as God 
in the temple of God that is, affecteth the honour due to our Lord 
Jesus Christ but he that doth thus imperiously aspire, subesse Ro 
mano Pontijici definimus esse de necessitate salutis ; that takes upon 
him a power to make a new creed, and say we are bound to obey him ; 
that saith he can change the things which God hath commanded in 
his word, and dispense with them, and so by his decrees make the 
commandment of God of none effect ; and can forgive sins, not only 
already committed, but to be committed, which God himself never 
would do ; that lords it over consciences, enslaving the world to his 
usurpations : in short, that will be obeyed in those things which God 
hath forbidden, and take upon himself an office which no human 
creature is capable of ? Who is he that showeth himself that he is 
God, but he that suffereth himself to be decked with the spoils of 
God's own attributes ; to be optimum maximum , the best and chief- 
est, our Lord God the Pope, a visible deity ; and will be adored by all 
the potentates of the earth, with such veneration as greater could not 
be given to Christ himself if he were corporally present, and will have 
all the world to submit to his decrees as being infallible ; that chal- 
lengeth a power over angels, purgatory, and hell ? These things are 
as clear as daylight, and ought to be regarded by us, partly that we 
may bless God, who hath freed us from this tyranny, and have a liberty 
of judging of truth and falsehood out his holy and blessed word ; partly 
that we may stand fast in this liberty. Those that were never pope- 
bitten know not the mischiefs that attend this spiritual tyranny ; and 
God grant that we never more know it to our bitter cost. There 
fore, as Samuel dealt with the Israelites when they would cast off the 
theocracy, or God's government, under which they had been well and 
safely governed, unless they forfeited the protection by their own sin, 
that they might be like all the nations round about them, 1 Sam. viii. 
20 ; Samuel telleth them what would be the manner of the king that 
should reign over them : 1 Sam. viii. 11-13, ' And he said, This 
shall be the manner of the king that shall reign over you : he will 
take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to 


be his horsemen ; and some shall run before his chariots. And he 
will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties ; 
and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to 
make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots. And 
he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and 
to be bakers. And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and 
your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants,' 
&c. ; so if such a wanton humour should possess us, that we must 
have the religion of the nations round about us, consider whom you 
receive spiritually to reign over you the king of pride, who opposeth 
and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or is worshipped, &c., 
one that will not only devour your substance, but lord it over your con 
sciences, and put out the eye of your reason, that you may the better 
swallow his damnable errors, pestilent superstitions, and idolatries, and 
bold usurpation on the authority of Christ ; or else burn your bodies 
with temporal fire, and cast out your name as one to be condemned 
to that which is eternal. It is easy to open the flood-gate, but when 
that is done, it is not so easy to call back the waters ; and when you 
come to discern the difference between the blessed yoke of Christ and 
the iron yoke of Antichrist, it will be too late for a remedy to repent 
of your error. 

The second use is to show us how things should be carried in the 
true and reformed Christianity. 

1. With such meekness, modesty, and mortification, that our reli 
gion may be known to be established by a crucified Lord, whose 
doctrine and example do visibly and eminently hold forth the contempt 
of the world. The pride and ambition of the pastors of the church 
hath been the cause of all the evil in it ; therefore nothing so unsuitable 
to the gospel as a domineering spirit. We, that are to preach heavenly- 
mindedness and self-denial, should not affect the greatness of the world, 
lest our lives contradict our doctrine. 

2. How eminent and exemplary we should be in our obedience to 
magistrates, for this is to be opposite to the antichristian estate. God 
is very tender of the honour of civil powers arid authorities, and will 
have every soul to be subject to them : Rom. xiii. 1, ' Let every soul 
be subject unto the higher powers, for there is no power but of God ; 
the powers that be are ordained of God ;' and again, 1 Peter ii. 13, 
' Submit to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake, whether it 
be to the king as supreme, or to governors, as them that are sent by 
him.' Great respect and submission is due to them for God's sake, 
and that we may commend religion to the profane world, and live 
down the reproaches of the gospel. They were branded as wicked men 
that were not afraid to speak evil of dignities, that despise governments 
in their own hearts, or weaken the esteem of it in the hearts of others 
by their speeches : 2 Peter ii. 10, ' But chiefly them that walk after the 
flesh in the lust of uncleanliness, and despise government ; presump 
tuous are they, self-willed ; they are % not afraid to speak evil of dig 

3. What a wickedness it is to usurp divine honours ! We do so 
when we take that praise and admiration to ourselves which is only 
due to God : Acts iii. 12, ' And when Peter saw it, he answered unto 

46 THE FIFTH SERMON. [2 TflES. II. 5-7. 

the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this ? or why look ye 
so earnestly on us, as though hy our power or holiness we had made 
this man to walk ? The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, 
the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus, &c. ; and his name, 
through faith in his name, hath made this man strong, whom we see 
and know; yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this per 
fect soundness in the presence of you all.' 


Remember ye not, that, while I ivas with you. I told you these things f 
and noiv you know what luithholdeth that he might be revealed 
in his time; for the mystery of iniquity doth already worlc ; only 
he who now letteth will let till he be taken out of the ivay. 
2 THES. II. 5-7. 

IN these words is : 

First, A digression, calling them to remembrance of what he de 
livered by word of mouth, 

Secondly, A progress in the further description of Antichrist. He 
had hitherto been described by 

1. His names and titles ; 

2. His nature and properties ; now 

3. By the time of his appearing, where take notice of three things : 

I. That Antichrist was not then revealed, because there was an 
impediment hindering his revelation. 

II. That though he was not then revealed, yet that mystery of ini 
quity did begin to work, but secretly. 

III. That when that impediment shall be removed, then Antichrist 
shall be revealed. 

First, I begin with his putting them in mind of what he had told them 
before by word of mouth : ' Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with 
you, I told you these things ? ' This showeth the certainty and useful 
ness of this doctrine ; for though the event were not to be accom 
plished in their days, yet he taught them before when present, and 
now repeateth it again when absent ; he preached it in private, and 
now writeth it for public good, and laboureth to confirm the truth of 
it, and fasten it upon their memories. 

Observe, then, that the doctrine of Antichrist is a profitable doc 
trine, and a point very necessary to be preached and known. 

1. It is a point very necessary to admonish and warn the faithful, 
that they be not circumvented with these delusions, and be found in 
the opposite state to Christ Jesus, and the interests of his kingdom. 
God hath blown his trumpet : Rev. xviii. 4, * Come out of her, my 
people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of 
her plagues ;' God calleth his people out of spiritual Babylon ; it is 
dangerous and unsafe being there. If we would escape Babylon's 


punishments we must escape her sins, not live in that communion and 
society where there are such temptations to idolatry and other detes 
table enormities. It is disputable whether the errors of Popery be 
damnable, or there be any possibility of salvation in that religion. 
Some deny all possibility ; others, abating from the rigour of that opi 
nion, assert a very great difficulty : 1 Cor. iii. 13, ' Saved as by fire ; ' 
if so much Christianity left as to save them, it is with much ado. But 
the question is not about our benefit, but our duty; not whether 
possibly we may be saved ? but what is the way the Lord will have us 
to walk in ? And if there were possibility or probability of salvation in 
the way, in the general, yet there is very little or none for them that 
live in a known sin, and especially in a sin of such a dangerous 
nature as abetting an opposite faction to Christ, such as is that of 

2. It is necessary to fortify and forewarn the people of God against 
a double temptation. (1.) Against scandal ; (2.) Against perse 

[1.] Against scandal. It is a dangerous temptation to atheism to 
see Christianity so corrupted and debauched by a vile submission to 
serve worldly ends, and turned into the pageantry of empty and ridi 
culous ceremonies, which beget scorn and contempt of it in the minds 
of all considering beholders ; and therefore there are more atheists in 
Home and Italy than in other countries. Supernatural things, dis 
guised with a vain pomp, lose their reverence, and do not alarm the con 
science, but harden the heart in a settled atheism and contempt of 
Christ. Now it is a mighty stay to the heart to see that this degen 
eration was foreseen and foretold : John xvi. 1, ' These things have I 
spoken to you, that you should not be offended ; J Mat. xviii. 7, 'Woe 
unto the world because of offences ! for it must needs be that offences 
come ; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh !' 

[2.] Against persecutions ; for the man of sin is also a son of per 
dition, a destroyer of the saints, and maketh havoc of the people of 
God. Now it is grievous when Christians suffer by Christians, and we 
may have many doubtings and misgivings about our cause ; but when 
Antichrist is clearly discovered, we submit the more cheerfully to suffer 
the hardest things under his tyranny ; for suffering under antichristian 
persecution is martyrdom and suffering for Christ, as much as suffer 
ing under Pagan persecution : Rev. xiv. 13, * And I heard a voice 
from heaven saying unto me, write, Blessed are the dead which die in the 
Lord from henceforth/ &c. Not only the primitive martyrs, who were 
put to death by heathens, but those that are condemned by Christians 
and burned for heretics, those are martyrs also. 

3. That we may the better understand true Christianity ; avriiceifieva 
7rapa\\rj\i/j,eva /zaXto-ra falvercu, opposites illustrate each other. The 
two opposite states are Christianity and Antichristianity ; the one is a 
' mystery of godliness/ 1 Tim. iii. 16 ; the other, * a mystery of iniquity/ 
The design of the mystery of godliness is to recover men from the 
devil, the world, and the flesh, unto God ; the other, to seduce men 
from God to the devil, the world, and the flesh again ; and that by 
corrupting the former mystery, or the most excellent institution that 
ever the world was acquainted with for the ennobling and refining man's 

48 THE FIFTH SERMON. [2 TfiES. II. 5-7. 

nature ; so that Christ's religion is turned against himself, to lull men's 
consciences asleep, whilst they gratify the lusts of the eyes, the lusts of 
the flesh, or live in pride of life. The devil is gratified by all sin, but 
especially he is el^coXo^ap^, as Synesius calleth him ; one that de- 
lighteth in idols, as knowing this is the best way to make men brutish, 
or to live in an oblivion or neglect of God ; for an idol is ' a teacher 
of lies,' Hab. ii. 18, doth imprint upon the mind carnal and false con 
ceptions of a deity. 

4. To confirm us in the truth of the Christian faith, when we see 
the prophecies of it expressly fulfilled ; for this is the Lord's direction 
to know a true prophet, Deut. xviii. 22, if the thing come to pass, 
and the event doth punctually answer the prediction ; but when a pro 
phet speaketh in the name of the Lord, and the thing follow not, nor 
come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken. Now, 
the apostles did not only teach the church the doctrine of Christianity, 
but by a prophetic spirit and divine revelation foretold things to come ; 
and among these, the great thing which is to happen and come to pass 
before Christ's second coining is Antichrist, or the appearing of the 
man of sin. Therefore, that we may not doubt of what is past, nor 
suspect what is further to come, it is good to study these prophecies, 
and know they are to be fulfilled in their time, that we may say that 
God, who hath kept touch with the world hitherto in all the pre 
dictions of the word, will not fail at last. 

Use 1. To reprove them that think this is a curious point not to 
be searched into. Why then did God reveal it, and that so often by 
St Paul, by St John, in so many prophetical representations of it ? 
Surely it is not curiosity to search into things revealed, but to intrude 
ourselves into things hidden, and which God hath put under a veil of 
secrecy. It is true men must know their measure, and not attempt 
to run before they can go, and venture upon obscure points before 
well versed in plain ; and it is true, in more abstruse points, men must 
not rashly define, but soberly and modestly inquire, and compare 
predictions with plain events ; this is no way culpable. 

2. To reprove those that are so impatient of giving a little attend 
ance to such doctrines for a while, and think at least matter more 
profitable should be insisted on ; they are persuaded enough already. 
It is well if it be so ; but those that stand should take heed lest they 
fall ; and presumptuous confidence soonest giveth out, and forsak- 
eth Christ. I would but propound this argument to them : If it were 
profitable for them that were to go out of the body long before 
Antichrist was revealed to be taught these things again and again, 
and they be charged to keep these things in remembrance, certainly 
it is more profitable for others that live at the time when these things 
are in being, and the temptation is at the next door, ready to break in 
upon them. Surely it is profitable to discover Antichrist, to reduce 
those that are gone astray, much more to prevent a revolt, that we 
may not return to this bondage after a deliverance from it. 

Secondly, I come to consider the time of his appearing, and there to 
observe three things : 

I. That Antichrist was not then revealed because there was an im 
pediment hindering his revelation : 'and now ye know what withholdeth 


that he might be revealed in his time/ that is, what keeps him back 
for the present, until the time that God had prefixed. The apostle 
doth not expressly mention what this TO /carexpv or impeachment 1 was, 
either because he thought it enough to appeal to their memory and 
knowledge no wye know what withholdeth ; there was no need of repeat 
ing that which was formerly mentioned, they sufficiently knew ; or 
partly because he would not give the heathen an occasion of raising a 
persecution against the Christians, if they should come to understand 
that one professing himself a Christian should erect a throne for him 
self at Rome, and that the empire should be taken away to make way 
for him. The Romans were very jealous, on fiaa-iXelav ovo/jLafyftev 
because they talked of these innocent notions, the kingdom of Christ 
and the kingdom of heaven ; they were apt to accuse them Icesce majes- 
tatis, as if they would with open force and violence attack or assault 
the empire ; therefore the apostle had spoken that which he thought 
not fit to write in an epistle ; or, lastly, he leaveth it in this obscurity 
because all prophecies were but darkly uttered, that their accomplish 
ment be not hindered, since it is the will of God that such events shall 
fall out in the world, and out of indulgence to his people he is pleased 
to foretell this. It is not meet that the prediction should either be too 
clear or too dark ; if too clear, the event would not follow, nor God's 
government of the world be carried in such a way as might suit with 
the liberty of mankind ; if too dark, the comfort and caution of God's 
people would not be sufficiently provided for. 

But what was this impediment ? The ancients generally determined 
it to be the Roman empire ; for so Tertullian the empire of Rome, 
which was to be divided into ten kingdoms ; and reason showeth it, 
because the man of sin could not rise to his greatness as long as the 
Roman empire stood. "Why ? Because he that was to exalt himself above 
all that is called God, and above all that is august, could not bring 
his designs to pass as long as the Roman empire retained its majesty ; 
but when once that was eclipsed and removed, then he was to be re 
vealed in his time : all things have their time, and so the man of sin. 
Well, then, it was the Roman empire that stayed the manifestation of 
Antichrist, he being to build his tyranny on the ruins and wreck there 
of ; and therefore the primitive Christians prayed pro mora finis, that 
it would please God to defer the fall of this empire, fearing worse 
things upon the dissolution thereof. 

Now this impediment showeth both the time and place of Anti 
christ ; and time and place, next to the nature and state of things, are 
the best circumstances to discover him. (1.) The place: Antichrist's 
seat and throne was to be there, where the seat of the Roman empire 
was ; and St John telleth us it was situated on the city that had seven 
hills : Rev. xvii. 9, ' The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the 
woman sitteth ;' and that is Rome, which is famously taken notice of 
to be seated on seven hills or mountains. Now Antichrist had not 
room as long as the seat was filled with the Roman emperor, for ^this 
seat could not be filled with two imperial powers at once, especially 
with such a tyrannical power as that of Antichrist is, exalting itself 
not only above kings and kingdoms, but irav cre^aa^a, the august 

1 Qu. ' impediment ' ? ED. 


state of the emperors themselves ; there was no exalting this cJiair, till 
there was a removal of the throne ; while the Koman emperor possessed 
Home, the seat was full, and till it was void it could riot be the seat of 

(2.) The next circumstance is the time when the impediment is taken 
away, when the Koman empire is so weakened and removed from 
Koine that this power may grow up ; and that was when the Koman 
empire was divided into ten kingdoms, as Tertullian saith, and is agree 
able enough with the prophecy of St John, Kev. xvii. 12, ' And the ten 
horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have not received their 
kingdoms as yet, but receive power as kings one hour with the beast ;' 
that is, near that time when the Koman empire was broken and divided, 
which began near 600 years after Christ's birth. 

II. The next observation is, that though he was not revealed in the 
apostle's days, yet the mystery of iniquity did begin to work, but 
secretly ; for it is said, ver. 7, beginning, ' The mystery of iniquity 
doth already work.' This is given as a reason why it would break 
out sooner ; but it was kept back ; there was something a-brewing that 
would make way for Antichrist, some disposition of the matter, some 
propensity thereunto, something begun, which would afterwards show 
itself more eminently in the great Antichrist. 

Here two things must be explained : 

1. What is the mystery of iniquity. 

2. How it began to work in the apostle s days. 

1. What is the mystery of iniquity ? I answer The design of usurp 
ing Christ's kingdom, and his dignities and prerogatives over the 
church, to countenance the kingdom of sin and darkness, under the 
mask of piety and religion. Surely it is something quite contrary to the 
gospel, which is the ' mystery of godliness,' 1 Tim. iii. 16. So that this 
mystery is such a course and state design as doth frustrate the true 
end and purpose of the gospel, and yet carried on under a pretence of 
advancing and promoting it. So that to state it we must consider : 


"{-^ *>v**x* r/J. vyjLJ~L\_/ ci-AJ^ iU* K,'V^/ 

The mystery of godliness. 

The mystery of ungodliness or iniquity. 

[1.] The mystery of godliness is known by the ends of God in the 
gospe , and the way he took to promote those ends. 

(1.) The end of the gospel is to recover man out of a carnal, ungodly 
state, into a state of holiness and reconciliation with God. (1.) The ter- 
minus a quo: men are carnal, tin godly. (1st.) Carnal. When man fell 
from God, he fell to himself ; self interposed as the next heir, and that 
self was not the soul, but the flesh. Many wrong their souls, but no man 
ever yet hated his own flesh ; and therefore men would rule themselves, 
and please themselves according to their fleshly appetite and fancy : John 
iii. 6, ' That which is born of the flesh is flesh,' and therefore love the 
pleasures, honours, and profits of the world, as the necessary provision 
to satisfy the desires of the flesh ; and whosoever live thus they live in 
a carnal state, as all do, till grace renew them, Rom. viii 5. But this 
carnal estate doth break forth and bewray itself in various ways of sin 
ning : Titus ni. 3, ' For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, dis 
obedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice 
and envy, hateful and hating one another.' All are not fornicators, 


drunkards, persecutors, nor live in the same way of sinning ; but all 
are turned from God to the world, and have a * carnal mind, which is 
enmity to God/ Eom. viii. 7. (2dly.) The next word is ungodly Men 
thus constituted live either in a denial of God : Ps. xiv. 1, ' The fool 
hath said in his heart, There is no God' or a neglect of God : Eph. 
ii. 12, ' Without God in the world ;' without any acknowledgment or 
worship of him : Ps. ix. 17, ' The wicked shall be turned into hell, and 
all the nations that forget God ;' or if not deprived of all sense of a 
deity, they worship false gods, as those, Acts xiv. 12, 13, the men of 
Lycaonia, that called Barnabas, Jupiter, and Paul, Mercurius, because 
he was the chief speaker, and would have sacrificed to them ; and the 
apostle saith to the Galatians, Gal. iv. 8, * When ye knew not God, ye 
did service to them which by nature are no gods ;' they worshipped 
plurality of false gods ; and though the wise men of the Gentiles had 
some confused knowledge of the true God, Rom. i. 19-21, yet they 
glorified him not as God, but committed idolatry by setting up a false 
medium of worship, an idol, which begot a brutish conception of God 
in their mind ; so that a false religion is so far from showing a remedy 
of corrupt nature that it is a great part of the disease itself. (2.) Tho 
terminus ad quern, into a state of holiness and reconciliation with God, 
in whom man alone can be happy. (1st.) For holiness and obedience 
to God. The great design of the Christian religion is to bring us back 
to God again. First, As we are carnal, by the denial of fleshly and 
worldly lusts : Titus ii. 12, ' The grace of God thatbringeth salvation 
hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and 
worldly lusts,' &c. ; 1 Peter ii. 11, ' Dearly beloved, I beseech you, as 
strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshy lusts that war against the 
soul ;' and Gal. v. 24, ' They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh, 
with the affections and lusts/ Secondly, As we are ungodly, to bring us 
to the knowledge, love, worship, and obedience of the true God : Acts 
xiv. 15, ' We pray ye that you should turn from these vanities to the 
living God, that hath made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all things 
therein ;' and to seek after the Lord, from whom we have life, breath, 
and all things, Acts xvii. 25-28 ; 1 Thes. i. 9, ' How ye turned from 
idols to serve the living and true God/ (2dly.) Reconciliation with God, 
that we might have commerce with him for the present, and live for 
ever with him hereafter : 2 Cor. v. 19, ' God was in Christ, recon 
ciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, 
and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation ;' 1 Peter i. 18, 
' Ye are not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from 
your vain conversation/ &c. ; Heb. vii. 25, 'He is able to save unto 
the uttermost all that come unto God through him / that whereas be 
fore they were alienated from the life of God, they might live in his 
love, and in the expectation of being admitted into his blessed presence, 
that they may see him as he is, and be like him, 1 John iii. 2. 

(2.) The way it took to obtain these ends, how God may be satisfied, 
man renewed and changed, God pacified by the sacrifice, merit, and 
intercession of Christ Jesus, who came in our flesh and nature, not 
only to acquaint us with the will of God and the unseen things of 
another world, but to suffer an accursed death for our sins ; therefore 
the mystery of godliness is chiefly seen in ' God manifested in our 

52 THE FIFTH SERMON. [2 ^HES. II. 5-7. 

flesh/ 1 Tim. iii. 16 ; and man must be renewed and changed, for our 
misery showeth what is needful to our remedy and recovery : that we 
be not only pardoned but sanctified, if ever we will be saved and 
glorified ; for till men have new and holy hearts they can never see 
God : Heb. xii. 14, * Without holiness it is impossible to see God / 
Mat. v. 8, ' Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God/ &c. ; 
nor for the present love him and delight in him, nor take him for their 
chief happiness. As none but Christ can satisfy justice and reconcile 
such a rebel to God, so none but Christ's Spirit can sanctify and renew 
our souls that we may live in obedience to him : 1 Cor. vi. 11, ' Such 
were some of you ; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are 
justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God/ 
This is the mystery of godliness. 

[2.] Now, for the mystery of ungodliness or iniquity : that is a quite 
opposite state, but carried on plausibly, and with seeming respect to the 
mystery which it opposeth. To know it, take these considerations : 
(1.) Where the carnal life is had in request and honour, there cer 
tainly is the mystery 'of iniquity to be found, whatever pretences be 
put upon it. Now, the carnal life is there had in request and honour, 
(1.) Where all is referred to worldly gain and profit, and the whole 
frame of the religion tendeth that way ; for certainly they are ' enemies 
to the cross of Christ whose god is their belly, and who mind earthly 
things/ Phil. iii. 19. Now pardons, indulgences, purgatory, shrines of 
saints, what do they all tend unto but to make a merchandise of reli 
gion ? It was an old byword, Omnia Eomce vencdia all things may 
be bought at Kome, even heaven and God himself, &c. And these 
things are used, not only to open the people's mouths in prayer, but 
their hands in oblations and offerings. The complexion of their reli 
gion is but a gainful trade. But the papal exactions and traffickings 
have been so much and so loudly insisted upon, and the evil runneth 
out into so many branches, that I shall forbear. (2.) Where temporal 
greatness is looked upon as the main prop of their religion. * The king's 
daughter is glorious within/ rich in gifts and graces, Ps. xlv. 13 ; 
Ps. xciii. 5, ' Holiness becometh thy house, Lord, for ever ; ' but the 
false church is known by pomp and external splendour. It is easy to 
discern the true ministers of Christ from the false ; the true are known 
by being much in labours, much in afflictions : 2 Cor. vi. 4-6, ' In all 
things approving ourselves the ministers of God, in much patience, 
afflictions, necessities, distresses, in labours and watchings, and fast 
ings ; by pureness, by knowledge, by long-suffering, by kindness, by 
the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned/ &c. ; whereas the false ministers are 
known by the life of pomp and ease. The rule is plain, because self- 
denial is^one of the great lessons of Christianity, and self-seeking the 
bane of it : therefore where men professedly seek the greatness of the 
world, they serve not the Lord Jesus Christ, but their own bellies. 

(2.) Where men are turned from God to idols, though it be not the 
demons of the Gentiles, but saints, as mediators of intercession, there 
godliness is destroyed and the mystery of iniquity set up ; for the- 
great drift of the Christian religion is to bring us to God, through 
Christ. So the great whore (which imports a breach of the funda 
mental article of the covenant, ' Thou shalt have no other gods but 


me), it is said, Kev. xvii. 5, ' Upon her forehead was a name written, 
Mystery, Babylon, the mother of fornications and abominations upon 
earth/ debaucheth nations with her idolatry, and so seduceth from 
God to the worship of the creature, that the great intent of the gospel 
is lost. 

(3.) Wherever power is usurped in Christ's name, and carried on 
under the pretence of his authority, to the oppressing of Christ's sin 
cere worshippers, who hate the carnal life, and would by all means 
keep themselves from idols, or bowing and worshipping before images, 
but excel in unquestionable duties, there is the mystery of iniquity ; 
for the beast, that hath a mouth like a dragon, pusheth with the 
horns of a lamb, Rev. xiii. 11. The violence and persecution 
against the sincere, pure worshippers of Christ is nothing else but the 
mystery of iniquity, the enmity of the carnal seed against the holy 
seed, or the seed of the serpent against the seed of the woman 

(4.) Where there is a lessening of the merits of Christ and his satis 
faction, as if it were not sufficient for the expiation of sin without 
penal satisfactions of our own, there is the mystery of iniquity : ' For 
by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified/ 
Heb. x. 14. 

(5.) Where the new nature is little thought of, and all religion is 
made to consist in some external rites and adorations or indifferences, 
there the reducing of man to God is much hindered, and Christianity 
is adulterated, and the religion that designedly countenanceth these 
things is but the mystery of iniquity To worship God, as the Papists 
do, with images, agnus dcis, crucifixes, crossings, spittle, oil, candles, 
holy water, kissing the pix, dropping beads, praying to the Virgin 
Mary and other saints, repeating over the name Jesus five times in a 
breath, repeating such and such sentences so often, praying to God in 
an unknown tongue, and saying to him they know not what, adoring 
the consecrated bread as no bread, but the very flesh of Christ himself, 
fasting by feasting upon fish instead of flesh, choosing a tutelary saint 
whose name they will invocate, offering sacrifices for quick and dead, 
praying for souls in purgatory, purchasing indulgences for their de 
liverance, carrying the bones and other relics of saints, going in 
pilgrimage to shrines or images, or offering before them, with a 
multitude more of such trashy devotions, whereby they greatly dis 
honour God and obstruct the motions of the heavenly life, yea, quite 
kill it ; for instead of the power and life of grace, there are introduced 
beggarly rudiments or ritual observances in indifferent things, and 
vain traditions by which Christian liberty is restrained, and these 
pressed with as much severity as unquestionable duties established by 
God's known law for the renewing and reforming mankind. We are 
to ' stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and 
not to be entangled again with the yoke of bondage/ Gal. v. 1 ; Col. 
ii. 16, ' Let no man judge you in meat or drink, or in respect of an 
holiday, or of the new moons, or of a sabbath-day/ These things 
are left to arbitrament, to abstain or use them for edification. That 
physician may be borne with who doth only burden the sick with some 
needless prescriptions, if faithful in other things ; but if he should 

54 THE FIFTH SERMON. [2 TfiES. II. 5-7. 

tire out the patient with prescriptions which are not only altogether 
needless, but troublesome, costly, and nauseous, and doth extinguish 
and choke true religion by thousands _of things indifferent, making 
our bondage worse than the Jews', this is the mystery of iniquity, to 
cheat us of the power of godliness by the show of it, burdening of 
men with unnecessary observances. 

2. How did this work in the apostle's time ? Something there 
was then which did give an advantage to Antichrist, and laid the 
foundation of his kingdom, and did dispose men's minds to an apos 
tasy from pure Christianity ; as 

[1.] Partly the idolising of pastors by an excess of reverence, such 
as was prejudicial to the interests of the gospel, setting them up as 
heads of factions: 1 Cor. i. 12, ' Now this I say, that every one of 
you saith, I am of Paul, and I am of Apollos, and I of Cephas; 
1 Cor. iii. 22, ' Glory not in men, whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas/ 
&c. This in time bred tyranny and slavery in the church. 

[2.] The ambition of the pastors themselves, and the spirit of con 
tention for rule and precedency : Acts xx. 29, 30, ' There shall arise 
among you ravening wolves, speaking perverse things, to draw dis 
ciples after them ;' which within a little time began to affect not only a 
primacy of order, but of jurisdiction and authority ; so that then 
Antichrist did not exist in his proper person, but in spirit and 

[3.] The errors then set afoot corrupted the simplicity of the gospel : 

1 John ii. 18, ' Now there are many antichrists ;' 1 John iv. 3, ' Every 
spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not 
of God ; and this is the spirit of Antichrist, whereof ye have heard it 
should come, and even now already is it in the world.' The spirit of 
Antichrist is even now in the world ; there was a spirit then working 
in the church to introduce this mystery of iniquity, only the seat was 
not empty, but filled by another ; the seeds of this mystery were sown 
in ambition, avarice, haughtiness of teachers, and their carnal and 
corrupt doctrines. 

[4.] Some kept their Jewish, others their Gentile customs, so that 
the Christian religion was secretly tainted and mingled with the seeds 
of heathenism and Judaism, which afterwards produced the great apos 
tasy. Paul, in all his epistles, complaineth of the Judaising brethren,, 
and seeks to reduce them to the simplicity of the gospel. In the 
Corinthians he complaineth of their resort to idol temples, their com 
munion in idol-worship : 1 Cor. x. 14, ' Wherefore, my dearly be 
loved, flee from idolatry ;' and ver. 20, ' But I say, that the things 
which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to devils and not to God r 
and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils/ and 

2 Cor. vi. 16. The worship of angels, interdiction of certain meats, 
then will-worship, and shows of humility : Col. ii. 16, ' Let no man 
judge you in meat and drink, or in respect of an holiday, or of the 
new moon, or of the sabbath-days ;' and ver. 18, * Let no man beguile 
you of your reward in a voluntary humility, and worshipping of angels, 
intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up 
with his fleshly mind / and vers. 22, 23, ' Why are ye subject to ordi 
nances after the commandments and doctrines of men ? which things 


have indeed a show of wisdom in will-worship, and humility, and 
neglecting of the body/ Contempt of magistracy: 2 Peter ii. 10, 
' But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, 
and despise government ; presumptuous are they, self-willed, and are 
not afraid to speak evil of dignities.' Thus you see how it began to 
work, and that the devil from the beginning had sown these tares. 

But was it, then, in the apostle's time that the mystery of iniquity 
did begin to work ? Then 

1. We see what need we have to withstand the beginnings, and not 
give way to a further encroachment on the church of God ; and 

2. That the word of God should dwell richly in us, for we have to 
deal with mystical iniquity. 

III. Proposition : That when that impediment shall be removed, 
then Antichrist shall be revealed ; only he that now letteth will let 
till he be taken out of the way. Where observe 

1. It was before, TO Kare^ov, that which letteth; now it is 6 
Kare^wv, he that letteth the empire and the emperor. And mark, a 
long succession of empires is called o Kare^wv : why not then a long 
succession of popes, the man of sin, the son of perdition ? 

2. He that now letteth will let. Antichrist was but in fieri, and 
that secretly and in a mystery ; there was desire of rule, some super 
stitious and false doctrines, some mixture of human inventions, 
borrowed both from Jewish and heathenish rites, mingled with the 
worship of God, some secret rising of antichristian dominion, some 
playing at lesser game, as Victor took upon him to excommunicate 
the Eastern churches for the matter of Easter. But before this ob 
stacle was removed, he could not fully appear and invade the empire 
of God and men till the emperor was removed out of that city : while 
the heathen emperors prevailed, there was no place for churchmen's 
ambition ; their times were times of persecution, and it is not perse 
cution, but peace and plenty, that breedeth corruption in the 

3. He, that is, the emperor, must be taken out of the way, that is, 
either by the removal of his person and throne from the city of Rome, 
or till the Eoman empire be ruined, as it was in the East by the Turk, 
in the West by the incursions of many barbarous nations, parting it 
into ten kingdoms, and then by the translation of the empire to Charles 
the Great. 

Well, then, note three things for the time of Antichrist : 

1. Before the obstacle was removed he could not appear. 

2. When this obstacle was removed, presently he appeared. 

3. The degrees of the falling of the one are the degrees of the 
exaltation and establishment of the other, for Antichrist did grow up 
upon it. 

But they say, the Eoman empire is not quite fallen, there being a 
Eoman emperor still. But (1.) the present empire is but inane 
nwnen, or iimbra imperil a mere name, or a shadow of the empire. 
(2.) He that then let, in St Paul's time, was the succession of the 
Eoman emperors, but this is the German empire ; now, if the Eoman 
empire were the only impediment (the apostle useth the word fjiovov), 
therefore as soon as that should be removed, Antichrist would in- 

56 THE SIXTH SERMON. ' [2 TflES. II. 8. 

fallibly be revealed. (3.) Though this empire be not abolished, but 
removed out of Borne, it is enough to make good Paul's prophecy. 
Dixit apostolus, imperium esse de medio tollendum, non prorsus 
delendum. (Whitaker.) Well, then, since the seat is left void, 
either the prophecy is riot accomplished at the time, or else the Pope 
is Antichrist, for the nations are long since fallen away from the 
Roman empire, and the emperor hath no power nor authority at 

Use. To give a new note to discover and descry the man of sin. 
Certainly Antichrist is already revealed, and we may find him some 
where. I prove it by two arguments : (1.) The mystery began to 
work in the apostle's days ; therefore surely it is completed by this 
time, and not reserved to a short space of time a little before Christ's 
coming to judgment ; (2.) This spiritual usurped power was to break 
forth upon the fall of the empire ; accordingly so it did, though it 
grew to its monstrous excess and height by degrees, as to ecclesiastical 
dominion, in Boniface III., who obtained from Phocas the title 
of universal bishop ; whereas Gregory the Great called John of 
Constantinople the forerunner of Antichrist for arrogating the same 


And then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume 
with the breath of his mouth, and destroy with the brightness of 
his coming. 2 THES. II. 8. 

THESE words contain both the rise and ruin of Antichrist, his revela 
tion and destruction. 

1. As to his revelation, there are two things : 

[1.] The title given to Antichrist: o avo^o^, the wicked. 
[2.J His appearing in the world upon the taking away the impedi 
ment : shall be revealed. 

2. As to his ruin, three things are observable : 

[1.] The progress of his destruction, which is here considered as 
begun, or as consummated. 

(1.) A diminishing of antichristianism : lohom the Lord shall con 

(2.) The finishing thereof, in the word destroy. 

[2.1 The author, the Lord. 

[3.1 The means. 

(1.) God's word, called his breath, or the Spirit of his mouth. 

(2.) The brightness of his coming, namely, when he shall come to 
judge the world in the glory of the Father. 


First, Of the rising of Antichrist : ' And then shall that wicked be 

1. The title given to Antichrist, 6 aVo/uo?, that lawless one, or son 
of Belial. It is the property of Antichrist to boast himself to be above 
all laws, and to be judged by no power upon earth ; for therein he 
resembleth Antiochus, of whom it is said, ' He shall do according to his 
own will/ Dan. xi. 36. Now if this be one of his characters, it will 
not be hard to find him out ; for who is that infallible judge that 
taketh upon him to decide all controversies, and judgeth all things, 
and is judged of no man ? and whosoever doth but mutter against his 
decrees and delusions, if a private person, he is to be destroyed with 
fire and sword ; if a prince, to be excommunicated, deposed, and his 
subjects freed from all allegiance to him ? Who is he that taketh upon 
him, with faculties, licenses, and pardons, to dispense with the law of 
God, and to allow open and notorious sins ? Who is he that by his own 
writers is said to be tiolulus omni lege humana,freed from all human law 
(Hostiensis) , Nee ullojure humano licjari potest, that hath a paramount 
authority to all laws, that he cannot be bound by them, whether they 
concern parricide, the murder of princes ; or perjury, the obligation of 
oaths ; or matrimony, the bond of conjugal relations ? But one 
expressly saith, that he is supra jus, contra jus, extra jits, above law, 
against law, and without law ; a plain description of the lawless one in 
the text ; and another, not without some spice of blasphemy, A pud 
Deum et Papam sufficit pro ratlone voluntas, God and the Pope 
have their will for a law. Lastly, Who is he that hath brought into 
the church the great impiety of worshipping of God by images, and 
the worship of the saints and angels, with a worship which is only due 
to God ? which is the great avo^'ia, the lawlessness, which the pure 
Christian rule condemneth and brandeth for such. If there be not 
such a power extant in the Christian world, then I confess we are yet 
to seek for Antichrist ; but if there be, none so wilfully blind as they 
that cannot see wood for trees, and know not where to fix this character. 

2. His revelation : ' Then shall that wicked be revealed.' The word 
revealed noteth two things : 

[1.] His appearance in the world. 

[2.] God's discovery of him. 

[1.] Then he shall be revealed beareth this sense, He shall be in the 
world, and begin to lift up his head as soon as the Roman emperor and 
empire shall be removed ; this lawless one shall begin to discover him 
self and set up his kingdom. 

Now to understand this, consider this : 

(1.) The most learned interpreters, both ancient and modern, agree 
in this, that the impediment was the Roman empire, as we showed 
before ; and therefore as the Roman empire and emperor were removed 
out of the way, Antichrist was to be revealed, or the predictions of the 
scripture are false. 

(2.) Things of great moment cannot be removed nor established in a 
minute. The removing of the Roman empire was not all at once, nor 
the rising of the pontificate, but by degrees the seat began to be made 
void. When Constantine began to remove the imperial throne to Byzan 
tium, though the majesty of the empire continued still at Rome, yet 


this was a step to the removing of the impediment, for by that means 
the popes grew in greatness ; but as the emperor's authority was 
lessened, so grew that of the popes, who still encroached to themselves 
more and more power, and that to promote the apostasy and deroga 
tion from the pure Christian religion. But as soon as he arose, he 
came not to the height of his power, either ecclesiastical or temporal, 
nor shall he presently decay. 

(3.) To state the progress of antichristian tyranny is not for a sermon, 
it filleth whole books ; but thus in short. About the year 600. or in 
that century, their ecclesiastical power began to be raised, when the 
majesty of the empire was low and weak in Italy, and therefore then 
was Antichrist advanced a good step. When John of Constantinople 
had usurped the title of universal bishop, Gregory the Great saith, 
Hex superbiCB prope adest the king of pride is near ; et sacerdotum 
exercitus eiprceparatur an army of priests is prepared to serve him as 
their general ; this he (fidenter dico, I speak confidently) and within 
six years or thereabouts Phocas conferred on Pope Boniface the same 
title, to ingratiate himself with the people of that part of the empire, 
after the murder of his lord and master. And then many superstitions 
were gotten into the church ; as, about the year G88, the Pope obtained 
of the emperor the Pantheon, or temple of all-devils, and consecrated 
the same to the Virgin Mary, and all saints. The temporal monarchy 
was long in hatching, but yet the beginning of this mystery soon 
bewrayed itself. In the beginning of the seventh century, Constantine 
the Pope would have his foot kissed, like another Diocletian, and in 
defence of image-worship he openly resisted Philippicus, the Emperor 
of Greece, and encouraged Justine and Anastasius, tyrants and mur 
derers, who submitted themselves to him with adoration. Kebellion 
and idolatry have been ever continued since. In the year 720, or 
thereabouts, Gregory the Second and Third continued the same 
idolatry and rebellion, and caused all Italy to withdraw their obedience 
from the Emperor Leo, because he had commanded all images to be 
broken and burnt, and for the same cause excommunicated him, and 
took to himself the Coctian Alps as the gift of the Lombards. In the 
same century, 749, Zachary encourageth and assisteth Pepin to depose 
his master Childeric, king of France, and to take upon him that king 
dom. Afterward Adrian took upon him to translate the empire of 
the Greeks to the Latins ; and ever since deposed emperors and made 
broils in kingdoms. 

[2.] God's discovery of him to the world; that is, when Antichrist was 
not only extant, but impleaded as such ; and this also was by degrees, 
God raising up in every age witnesses against the tyranny and usurpa 
tions of Home, as the place, and the Pope, the person, as, considered 
in his succession, claiming the same power. Five hundred years before 
Luther, Peter Bruis began, and Henry his scholar succeeded him, and 
both of them succeeded by the Waldenses and Albigenses ; then Wic- 
liffe, the Bohemians, who have all pleaded and proved that the Pope 
was the very Antichrist ; then Savonarola in Italy preached this boldly. 
In the fifteenth century, about 1500, there were some remainder of 
the Albigenses about the Alps, some few relics of the Hussites and 
Cahxtines in Bohemia, so few and so ignorant that they had neither 


learning nor ability to oppose this potent tyranny. Then God raised 
up Luther, and many other worthies to assault the idolatry, tyranny, 
and errors of the church of Rome ; and it is reported in history, that 
the angel on the top of the Tower St Angelo was beaten down by a 
thunderbolt ; and in the very day and in the church where Pope Leo 
the Tenth at Eome had created thirty-one cardinals, a sudden tempest 
dashed the keys out of the hands of the image of St Peter, showing 
God would begin to take away their power. 

Use. If God hath revealed Antichrist, let no man shut his eyes, but 
lei him be shunned, forsaken, and abhorred. When Christ was to 
come into the world, it was a day of rumours ; some sent to John 
Baptist, whether he were the Christ, others cried up false Christs and 
impostors ; but the people were alarmed with a general expectation. 
So when Antichrist was to be revealed, it was a day of rumours ; just 
about the time there was a great expectation : some pitched it here, 
some there, until the pit was discovered to the church, and the snare 
laid open. And now to run wilfully into these errors, how damnable 
is it ! If Papists cleave to him, let not Protestants fall to him ; to 
continue Papists is dangerous, for they favour Antichrist, and 'serve 
Antichrist ; but to turn Papists is more dangerous, for this is a down 
right revolt from Christ to Antichrist. And how God may in mercy 
dispense with errors imbibed in our education we know not ; but to 
turn our back on the truth, wherein we have been educated and 
instructed, maketh it more dangerous to our salvation. 

Secondly, We now come to the more comfortable part, his ruin ; 
where note : 

I. In the general, that the apostle, as soon as he had showed his 
rise, he presently foretelleth his ruin, to support the hearts of the 
faithful, though he hath yet more things to speak concerning his dis 
covery, ver. 9. I cannot let this pass without an observation, 

Doct. That a spiritual eye can discern the ruin of wicked instru 
ments, even in their rise and reign : Job v. 3, ' I have seen the foolish 
taking root, and presently I cursed his habitation/ By i\\Q foolish, is 
meant the wicked ; by their taking root, their seeking to fix and settle 
themselves in their worldly prosperity ; I presently, that is, without 
any great deliberation, which in this matter needeth not, cursed their 
habitation, not as desiring, but as foreseeing and foretelling. I pro 
nounced them accursed, or to be in a cursed condition ; when carnal 
men seek to root and establish themselves upon earth, to a spiritual 
eye, their best estate is miserable and detestable. When we see their 
rise, we may foretell their fall. 


1. Their faith occasions such a reflection, which is 'the evidence of 
things not seen/ Heb. xi. 1. They look not at things as a,t present they 
seem to shortsighted men, or as they relish to the flesh, but as they 
appear, and will be judged of at last ; their ruin is as present before 
them as their rise ; present time is quickly past. But now without 
faith this cannot be : 2 Peter i. 9, * He that lacketh these things is 
blind and cannot see afar off/ jjuvwird^wv, but are dazzled with pre 
sent splendour, and so miscarry. 


2. This faith is necessary : (1.) Partly to prevent scandal at the 
prosperity of an ungodly party who obey not the gospel, but corrupt 
and pervert it to their worldly ends. David's steps were even gone 
when he saw the prosperity of the wicked, till he went into the 
sanctuary and understood their end, Ps. Ixxiii. 17 ; that settled his 
heart, to consider what end these men were appointed unto. How pros 
perous soever they seem to be for the present, yet the end must put 
the difference ; there they see the wicked in the height of their pros 
perity, as ready to be cut down and withered. (2.) To prevent apostasy. 
They choose the better part that choose the holiness and patience of 
the saints : 2 Cor. iv. 18, ' While we look not at the things which are 
seen, but at the things which are not seen ; for the things which are 
seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal/ But 
things present carry away our hearts, because we have so dim and 
doubtful a sight of things to come; whereas, if we did look upon them 
and near, they would fortify us against temptations : Prov. 
32. ' Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways ; 
6r the froward is abomination to the Lord, but his secret is with the 

II. More particularly the ruin of Antichrist is set forth : 

1. Partly by the manner of his fall. It is represented both as 
begun and finished : he shall be consumed, he shall be destroyed ; 
the one noteth a lingering delay, the other an utter perdition, that he 
shall be finally rooted out. 

First, Consumed ; to consume is to waste and melt away by little 
and little. 

Doct. Antichrist is not presently to be destroyed, but to waste away 
by a lingering consumption ; as his rising was by little and little, so 
is his fall ; he loseth his authority in Christendom by degrees. 

Now the reasons may be these : 

1. God hath a ministry and use for him and the abettors of his 
kingdom, as he hath a use for the devil himself, therefore permitteth 
him some limited power ; but yet he holdeth him in the chains of his 
invincible providence. So hath he a use for the devil's eldest son, 
for Antichrist, and antichristian adversaries, which, if their power- 
were wholly gone, could not be performed ; as 

[1.] To scourge his people for their sins, as their contempt of 
the gospel, and wantonness under the several privileges which they 
enjoy by it. God will not want a rod to scourge his disobedient 
children; as, Isa. x. 5, he calleth the Assyrian 'the rod of his 
anger,' the instrument that he maketh use of to punish those with 
whom he is angry. And again, the ' staff of his indignation,' the 
staff is a heavier and sorer instrument of correction than a rod. What 
the Assyrian was to the Jews, that Antichrist is to professing Chris 
tians. God useth him till he have sufficiently chastised his children, 
and then he will cast this rod into the fire. Heathens and Turks are 
at a distance from us : our miseries will come from antichristianism, 
who are nearer at hand to execute the Lord's vengeance when we 
grow wanton. 

[2.] To try his people, for he expects a tried obedience ; what 
Christianity we will accept and choose that calculated for this world. 


or that which is calculated for the next. Antichristianism, in all the 
branches of it, is a sort of religion suited to worldly interests : 1 John 
iv. 5, ' They are of the world ; therefore speak they of the world, and 
the world heareth them ; ' but true Christianity is for the kingdom of 
heaven: 1 Cor. ii. 12, 'Now we have received, not the spirit of the 
world, but the spirit which is of God/ Therefore God will try who 
are the formal and pretended Christians, that serve their own bellies, 
and the sincere Christians, who look to an unseen world, and are 
willing to hazard their own interests out of their fidelity to Christ ; 
therefore, when the saints under the altar groaned : Rev. vi. 10, 
' How long, Lord, holy and true, dost thou not avenge our blood on 
them that dwell on the earth ? ' the answer given was, ver. 11, ' that 
they should rest for a season until their fellow-servants, and also their 
brethren that should be killed, as they were, should be fulfilled.' In 
every age God will have his witnesses, who by their faith arid patience, 
and not loving their lives to the death, should promote the Lamb's 
kingdom before they receive their crown ; and therefore, though Anti 
christ be consumed more and more, yet he hath so many abettors of 
his kingdom left as may try the faith and patience of the saints. 

[3.] To cure our divisions. Nazianzen called the enemies KOLVCH, 
Sia\\aKTal, the common reconcilers. The dog is let loose to make 
the sheep flock together. We are hardened in our strifes against 
each other till a common danger unite us. It is noted that when there 
was a strife between the herdsmen of Abraham's cattle and Lot's 
cattle, the Canaanite and Perizzite were yet in the land, Gen. xiii. 7. 
God will unite those in common sufferings whose stubborn humours 
will not suffer them to meet upon other terms. 

[4.] To keep up a remembrance of his mercies: Ps. lix. 11, 
' Slay them not, lest my people forget ; scatter them by thy power, 
and bring them down, Lord, our shield.' God maketh us sensible 
of the care he hath over us, not by the utter destruction of the ene 
mies of his people, but by lingering judgments on them, which affect 
us more than if they were cut off suddenly. 

2. Many other reasons may be given, because it serveth the beauty 
and harmony of his providence to cut them off in their time, and by 
such means as he hath appointed, and in such a way as shall most 
conduce unto his glory. But I pass them by ; we must tarry his 
leisure, and not question his truth and care over us, and be content 
that our faith and patience be exercised. If God should bring a sud 
den destruction upon a power and tyranny so supported by the com 
bined interests of the world, we were not able to bear it. Thorns 
serve for a fence to a garden of roses. God would not destroy the 
Canaanites at once, lest the beasts of the field should increase upon 
them, Deut. vii. 22 ; nor all abettors of antichristianism, lest his people 
should lie open to such evils as they cannot bear. 

[1.] Observe this consumption, how it is accomplished. If we find 
Antichrist risen, discovered, and consumed, why should we be in doubt 
any longer ? The pomp and height was much about 1500 years after 
Christ ; what a consumption hath happened since, by the reviving re 
ligion and learning, the Christian world should with thankfulness 
take notice of, by the falling of Germany, England, France, and Him- 


gary in a great part, together with Denmark, Sweden, Poland, and 
other countries ; and by what means hath this been but by the Spirit 
of his mouth ? It is profitable to know Antichrist by his rise and de 
scription ; but it is comfortable to know him by his discovery and 
consumption, and God's blessing such unlikely means at the begin 
ning to such a wonderful effect. When Luther first appeared, the 
bishop of Strasburg told him, Abi in coelum, mi f rater, et die, miser ere 
nostri. But God hath done great things for us too : when he first 
turned the captivity of his churches, we were like unto those that 

[2.] Caution. Antichrist is consumed, but he is not yet dead. What 
strength he may recover before his last destruction, God knoweth. 
Popery after it was cast out, hath re-entered Bohemia and Austria, 
and the emperor's hereditary countries ; and what havoc hath been 
made of the evangelical churches, the book of Caraffa, the bishop 
and legate of the Pope, called Ger mania sacra restaurata, showeth, 
wherein many notable things concerning their artifices to replant 
Popery are set down. As to England, some hope his consumption is 
not desperate, and many fear that Popery may recover again, unless 
God in mercy prevent it. We know not what is in the womb of pro 
vidence, or how far the prerogative of free grace may interpose in our 
behalf whether England shall be made a theatre of mercy once more, 
or the seat of idolatry, and superstition, and blood. But though we 
do not know what God hath determined, yet we may soon know what 
England hath deserved. And that is enough to quicken us to watch 
fulness and prayer, and expectation, and serious preparation for the 
day of evil ; and by these things, if it cometh to pass, it will do us no 

(1.) When God hath laid in great store of comforts against suffer 
ings, usually there is a time of expense to lay them out again. Christ 
warned his hearers to make use of the light, because of the dark 
ness coming upon them, John xii. 35, 36. You never knew the gos 
pel powerfully preached, but trials came : Heb. x. 32-34, ' For ye had 
compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your 
goods, knowing in yourselves that you have in heaven a better and an 
enduring substance.' Castles are first victualled, then besieged : the 
ministry is consolatory mostly. 

(2.) When men can neither bear our vices nor their proper remedies : 
Ezek. xxiv. 13, ' In thy filthiness is lewdness ; because I have purged 
thee, and thou wast not purged, thou shalt not be purged from thy 
filthiness any more, till I have caused my fury to rest upon thee ; ' 
Hosea vii. 1, ' When I would have healed Israel, then the iniquity of 
Ephraim was discovered, and the wickedness of Samaria, for they 
commit falsehood,' &c. 

(3.) When there are great differences amongst God's own people, the 
end is bitter; we warp in the sunshine, will not know the way of 
peace. Eusebius says, before Diocletian's persecution, fa\oveiKiat,s 
ave<p\e<yovTo the church was torn with intestine broils, pastors against 
pastors, and people against people. Ease begets pride and wanton 
ness, and that maketh way for contention. 

(4.) When profaneness increaseth, and men do not walk becoming 


the gospel, God taketh the gospel from them. The apostasy from the 
power and purity of religion first made way for Antichrist, arid is 
most likely to let him in again. 

(5.) When a people are prepared for such impressions, there is a 
party formed, partly by opinions that symbolise with Popery, partly 
by doting on the pomp and outside of religion, and neglecting the 
life and power of it ; and partly when indifferent and atheistical con 
ceits do dispose their minds no more to one religion than another : 
usually then is a nation fitted for such a change. 

Now what shall we do ? 

1. Watch and pray. A people well awaked will not change their 
religion. The envious man sowed tares while the servants slept, 
Mat. xiii. 25. Be instant with God in prayer, as all good Christians 
should be, when the church is in danger ; as David, Ps. lix. 13, ' Con 
sume them in wrath, consume them, that they may not be, that 
they may know that God rules in Jacob unto the ends of the earth. 
Selah.' The consumption is at hand : Luke xxi. 36, ' Watch ye, 
therefore, and pray always, that ye may be counted worthy to escape 
all these things that shall come to pass.' 

2. Eeform and repent : Kev. ii. 5, ' Kepent, or I will remove thy 
candlestick out of his place/ Our disorders must be bewailed and re 
dressed. There are two stumbling-blocks the idolatry of the Romish 
synagogue, and the evil manners of the Reformed Churches. 

3. Be fortified and established : 

[1.] By knowledge. If we have not L&LOV a-T7]piyfj,bv, a stedfastness of 
our own, we shall fall, 2 Peter iii. 17 ; in a time of long peace, arms 
hang up a-rusting ; and so we are not prepared to resist temptations. 

[2.] By grace : * It is good the heart should be established by grace,' 
Heb. xiii. 9. The new nature will caution men against many popish 
errors : 1 John ii. 20, * Ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye 
know all things.' A child of God hath something in his bosom that 
will not permit him to hearken to Popery ; the very life in us is oppo 
site to this dead show and mummery of trashy devotions. 

Now I come to the author, with the means of consuming : ' The 
Lord shall consume him with the spirit of his mouth.' The Lord, 
that is the Lord Christ. But what is meant by the spirit of his mouth, 
or the breath of his mouth, as some render it ? Two things may be 
meant hereby either his providential word, or his gospel, accompanied 
by his Spirit. 

1. His providential word ; that is, when Christ saith, Let it be done, 
it shall be done : Isa. xi. 4, * He shall smite the earth with the rod of 
his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.' 
Those that are called wicked, they are also called the earth, because 
they are earthly-minded, and have their portion here, and possess much 
on earth, and have great power, by the advantage of which they oppress 
his people. Now, to execute judgment upon them, Christ needeth no 
more than the rod of his mouth, that powerful word whereby he 
created all things : Ps. xxxiii. 6, ' By the words of the Lord were the 
heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth ;' 
upholdeth all things : Heb. i. 3, * Upholding all things by the word 
of his power ;' and brings all things to nothing again : John xviii. 6, 


'As soon as lie had said to them, I am he, they went backward and 
fell to the ground ;' one word of his powerful providence is enough. 
Or, secondly 

2. It is meant of the efficacy of his gospel, as it is accompanied by 
his Spirit, called 'The sword of the Spirit/ Eph. vi. 17. And it is 
said to be ' quick and powerful/ Heb. iv. 12 ; and Rev. ii. 16, ' Repent, 
or I will come against thee quickly, and smite thee with the sword of 
my mouth/ By this word he shall confound the falsehood and cunning 
practices which are carried on under this mystery of iniquity, and give 
it such a deadly and incurable wound, that it shall languish before it 
be utterly destroyed. 

Doct. That Antichrist's destruction is by the preaching of the 
gospel, and the victorious evidence of truth. It must needs be so, for 
his kingdom and tyranny is upheld by darkness, which is dispelled by 
the light of the truth ; and, therefore, the Papists, as all other heretics, 
are lucifugcc scripturarum Dei cannot endure the scriptures, deny 
them to the people, and seek to make them contemptible by all the 
means they can. Again, his kingdom is carried on by falsehood ; and 
his cheats, and impostures, and wickedness, and usurpation, and false 
interpretations and delusions are discovered by the truth and sim 
plicity of the gospel, and so is consumed yet more and more. Lastly, 
Popery is a dead form of religion, and there is not only truth in the 
word of God, but life ; we are not only enlightened, but quickened b^ 
it. and converted to God, and made partakers of his Spirit ; and theses- 
will go against their own experience and inclination, if they should 
sit down with such empty, beggarly rudiments. 

But here ariseth a question, Shall Antichrist be consumed no other 
way but by the spirit of his mouth ? We read in the prophecy of 
wars, by which the antichristian state is brought to nought. I answer 
The pure and powerful preaching of the gospel is the principal means 
whereby the Spirit of the Lord consumeth Antichrist in the hearts of 
men ; but this is not exclusive of other means which God, in the ways 
of his providence, may use to weaken his worldly interest. But we 
must distinguish between the means God may use and we must use. 
Simply to put down a religion by force of arms is not our way ; it is 
not lawful certainly to invade other nations upon the pure and sole 
title of religion ; but if they invade us on that account, no doubt a 
prince and people so invaded may defend themselves. But when a 
war is commenced on other occasions, it is the most cheerful cause to 
engage in. When we war against the abettors of Antichrist, we war 
against an enemy whom God will consume. Constantino warred 
against Licinius, his colleague, not because an infidel, but because he 
persecuted the Christians, contrary to their capitulations. Lewis 
XII. caused it to be disputed in a synod at Tours, Num liceret Papcv 
absque causa principi helium inferre 1 when it was answered, Non- 
licet; a second question, Num tali principi sua defensione fas sit 
eum invadere? Their answers were Licet, which he undertook, 
and caused money to be stamped with this inscription Perdam 

Use 1. We learn hence not to be discouraged in our greatest ex 
tremities, when all temporal hopes seem to fail, and we have nothing- 


left us but the word of our testimony. Let us not distrust our spiritual 
weapons, for they are mighty through God to bring down all the strong 
holds of sin and Antichrist, 2 Cor. x. 4, 5. Oh, encourage yourselves 
in the Lord ; you have the merit of his humiliation, and the power of 
his exaltation. Merit, what cannot the blood of Christ do to fetch off 
men from their inveterate prejudices and superstitions ? 1 Peter i. 18, 
' We are redeemed by the blood of Christ from our vain conversa 
tion/ So, for the power of his exaltation, there is his Spirit. The 
success of his Spirit on the pouring out of the first sermon, Acts ii. 41, 
fetched in 3000 souls that had imbrued their hands in the blood 
of their Saviour, and were in no very devout posture at that time. His 
word, that is, ' The rod of his strength,' Ps. ex. 2, which hath a 
mighty power to convince, transform, and convert souls: Rom. i. 16, 
' For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, which is the power of 
God unto salvation.' Then there is the power of providence ; all 
judgment is put into Christ's hands for the advancement of his own 
kingdom, John v. 22. If all be in Christ's hands, why should you dis 
trust your cause, or the success of it ? 

2. If you would defend yourselves, and wound the enemy, be much 
acquainted with * the word of God, which is the sword of the Spirit/ 
Eph. vi. 17 ; thereby you may ward off every blow of a temptation. 
Surely then we should be much acquainted with this word, that it may 
dwell in us richly, that we may have it ready ; this is enough to make 
wise the simple for all necessary duties and defence. 

3. Pray heartily that the word of God may have a free course, 2 
Thes. iii. 1, and that God would send forth labourers into his harvest, 
Mat. ix. 38. 

Secondly, The final destruction of Antichrist: and destroy him by the 
brightness of his coming. This coming is most likely to be the coming 
of Christ, so often mentioned : 2 Thes. i. 7, 8, ' When the Lord Jesus 
shall be revealed from heaven, with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, 
taking vengeance on those that know not God, and that obey not the 
gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ ;' 2 Thes. ii. 1-3, * Now we beseech you, 
brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering 
together unto him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, nor be troubled, 
neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day 
of Christ is at hand/ Others conceive some notable manifestation of his 
presence and power in his church ; but this would engage us in many 
dark prophecies, which I shall not meddle withal (intending only a doc 
trinal discovery of Antichrist), as how long before his coming, by what 
means. Sure I am, that at his coming, 'The beast and false prophet 
shall be slain, and cast into the lake of fire,' Eev. xix. 20 ; but for other 
things, I have not light enough certainly to define that the utter ruin 
of Antichrist is not to be expected till the second coming of Christ. 

Use. Be not discouraged though Antichrist yet remain after all the 
endeavours against him. 

It is enough that antichristianism shall be finished and finally de 
stroyed ; and for the time refer it to God. If it be not till the day of 
judgment, or Christ's final conquest over all his adversaries, you must 
be contented to tarry for that, as well as for other things. 

VOL. m. B 



Even him whose coming is after the working of Baton, with all power, 
and signs, and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of 
unrighteousness in them that perish ; because they received not 
the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 2 THES. II. 

WE have considered the titles of Antichrist, his nature and properties, 
the time of his rise, and with it his ruin ; now we are to consider the 
way and means how he doth acquire and keep up this power in the 

The means are (1.) Principal ; (2.) Instrumental. 

1. Principal : /car evepyeiav rov ^arava, after the loorldng of 

2. Instrumental, which are also two : 

[1.] Pretence of miracles: with all power, signs, and lying wonders. 

[2.] Other cheats and impostures : with all deceivableness of un 
righteousness ; their general way of dealing being sophistical and falla 
cious. Let us a little explain these things. 

1. The great agent in setting up this kingdom : * After the working of 
Satan/ It may note the manner, as we render after, that is, in such a 
way as Satan deceived our first parents, ' for he was a murderer and 
a liar from the beginning,' John viii. 44 ; 'I fear, lest by any means, 
as the serpent beguiled Eve by his subtilty, so your minds should be 
corrupted from the simplicity which is in Christ/ 2 Cor. xi. 3. So all 
this mystery of iniquity shall be carried on after this manner : by deceit, 
by the tricks of lying men, and the works of deceiving spirits. Bather 
it noteth Satan's agency and influence, and after, or according to the 
working of Satan, is as much as by the working of Satan, noting not 
only his pattern, but his influence ; so is Kara often rendered, and the 
energy of the devil, and influence upon all wickedness is spoken of 
elsewhere : Eph. ii. 2, ' The spirit that now worketh in the children of 
disobedience.' The devil hath a great hand over wicked men in the 
world ; his way of dealing with them is most efficacious and powerful, 
and certainly he is the first founder and main supporter of the anti- 
christian state. 

2. The instrumental means. 

[1.] By pretence of miracles : ' With all power, and signs, and lying 
wonders.' These three words signify the same thing, and are often 
joined when true miracles are spoken of ; as 2 Cor. xii. 12, ' Truly the 
signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all places, in signs, and 
wonders, and mighty deeds/ SwdjAew, arj^ara, Tepara. So Acts ii. 
22, ' Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you, by miracles, 
wonders, and signs ;' so Heb. ii. 4, ' God also bearing them witness, 
both with signs and^ wonders, and with divers miracles ;' Rom. xv. 19, 
4 Through mighty signs and wonders, through the power of the Spirit 
of God/ Powers they are called, because they issue from power divine 
and extraordinary ; signs, from their use, because they serve to seal 
and signify the doctrine to which they are applied; wonders, from 


their effect, because they breed astonishment in the minds of the be 
holders : these were the true miracles. Now, Antichrist, to countenance 
his false doctrines and superstitions, would ape and imitate Christ, and 
pretendeth to powers, signs, and wonders: as Jannes and Jambres 
sought to imitate Moses, God permitting it in some degree ; so Anti 
christ seeks to promote his kingdom the same way which Christ took 
to promote evangelical truth. But they are called powers, and signs, 
and lying wonders, i.e., lying powers, lying signs, and lying wonders, 
for it agreeth to all the words, though affixed only to one of them. But 
why lying wonders ? Partly because the greatest number of them are 
mere fables, notorious impostures, and forgeries ; partly because others 
are diabolical illusions, things beyond human, but not angelical power. 
If they are Bavfiara, wonders, they are not o-^eta, as Chrysostom 
distinguished, fit signs to signify the truth of the doctrines ; partly 
from the end and scope, for that must also be regarded. God cautioneth 
his people, that if they gave them a sign and wonder, though it came 
to pass, if it were to draw them to other gods, it was to be rejected, 
Deut. xiii. 1-3 ; the spirits must be tried whether they be of God, 1 
John iv. 1 ; 1 Cor. xii. 3, * No man speaking by the Spirit of God 
calleth Jesus accursed.' If a wonder be wrought, or pretended to be 
wrought, to draw us off from Christ, or to promote things clearly for 
bidden by the word of God, it is a lying wonder, as all Antichrist's are ; 
for their end is to confirm the Pope's dominion and false doctrine. The 
sum is this, then : that many things are pretended, not really done, 
impostures and forgeries, not miracles ; other things, done by diabolical 
illusions, as there may be apparitions, visions, spectres, for Satan will 
bestir himself to keep up the credit of his ministers. Lastly, if we 
cannot otherwise disprove them, if they tend to false doctrine and 
worship, they are to be rejected, whatever extraordinary appearance 
there be in them. 

[2.] The other expression concerning the means is general : ' With all 
deceivableness of unrighteousness ;' which compriseth 

(1.) Their sophistical reasoning from antiquity, unity, infallibility, 
without coming to the intrinsic merits of the cause, but condemning 
the truth rather by prejudice. 

(2.) Their practical acts and feats to beguile souls, by fawning or 
threatening, or preferment and persecutions ; these are the arts by 
which Antichrist shall deceive men into unrighteousness, that is, 
to bring this corruption into the church, and acquire this power to 

Now I shall observe some points. 

Loci. 1. The devil hath a great hand in setting up Antichrist's 
kingdom, as he hath a great interest by it ; his coming shall be by, 
or after the working of Satan. He is the raiser and supporter of 
that estate, and he is the great seducer, opposer, and adversary of the 
gospel. This will appear, if you consider, first, the properties of the 
devil how the devil is set forth in scripture, and secondly, by what 
ways he promoteth his own kingdom. 

First. 1. By ignorance; for the devils are called, Eph. vi. 12, ' The rulers 
of the darkness of this world/ and his kingdom is called ' the kingdom 
of darkness/ Col. i. 13. The prince-like authority and government 


which by God's permission he exerciseth in the world, is over those who 
remain in a state of darkness and ignorance. Well, then, necessarily 
the devil must be a great friend to Popery, where ignorance not only 
reigneth, but is commended as the mother of devotion ; it is into the 
ignorant part of the world and the church that the devil hath brought 
in errors in doctrine, formality and superstition in worship, and tyranny 
and usurpation in government. 

2. The next thing ascribed to him is error; so it is said, John viii. 44, 
1 He abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him : when he 
speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own ; for he is a liar, and the father 
of it.' He soon apostatised from God and his way, and ever since is 
an enemy of all truth and goodness ; he turned from God, and is a de 
ceiver of others. To our first parents he called the truth of God in 
question, and was the inventor and beginner of all errors that have 
since fallen out in the world. Well, then, where should his eminent 
power and residence be, but in that society of professed Christians 
where most errors and corruptions in doctrine and worship have been 
introduced, where they teach men to pray to and for the dead, to adore 
the bread and worship it with divine worship, and to worship images, 
and to pray to God in a language which they understand not, and 
maim the Lord's Supper, and profess they can live perfectly without 
sin, and meritoriously and supererogate besides, and lay up a treasury 
of merits to redeem souls from purgatory ? &e. There will be errors 
and mistakes in religion, while men are men ; but where there is a 
wilful opposing of evident truths, and an obstinate refusing of all heal 
ing means, and men will abide in their errors rather than acknowledge 
that they have erred, surely they are governed by the influence of his 
counsels who abode not in the truth, and seeketh what he can to hinder 
the prevalency of it in the world. 

3. That which is ascribed to Satan is idolatry. This was his first 
and great endeavour in the world, to bring man to worship other gods 
rather than the true, or the true God by an idol. So he prevailed among 
the heathen ; they thought their images did represent their gods, and 
that their gods dwelt in them, as our souls do in our bodies ; therefore 
the Psalmist saith, * all the gods of the nations are idols ' or devils, Ps. 
xcvi. 5, and the devil was the great master and contriver of this idolatry ; 
therefore it is said, Ps. cvi. 37, ' They sacrificed their sons and daugh 
ters unto devils.' The service done to idols or images of man's devising 
is not done to God, as men pretend who worship them, but to devils, 
who are the devisers, suggesters, and enticers of men unto all sorts of 
unlawful worship, and are in effect served and obeyed by a false re 
ligion : Deut. xxxii. 17, ' They sacrificed unto devils, not unto God ;' 2 
Cor. x. 20, ' The things which the Gentiles sacrificed, they sacrificed 
unto devils, not unto God;' 2 Chron. xi. 15, 'And he ordained him 
priests for the high places, and for the devils, and for the calves which 
he had made ;' they otherwise meant it : Jeroboam intended it to the 
true God Jehovah, but it was of the devil's invention. Now if the 
devil can get such a party in the church as shall not only set up but 
be mad upon image-worship, who can more serve his turn among pro 
fessing Christians than they who have consented to and continued in 
idolatrous worship ? Surely then Satan is concerned to befriend their 


usurpations, and uphold their interests ; for what will more conduce to 
the ruin of Christianity, or at least the decay of the power thereof ? 

4. That which is ascribed to Satan is bloody cruelty, or seeking the 
destruction of Christ's most faithful servants ; for he is called a ' mur 
derer from the beginning/ John viii. 44 ; and Cain is said to be ' of 
that wicked one, because he slew his brother ; and wherefore slew he 
him ? because his own works were evil, and his brother s righteous/ 
1 John iii. 12. Enmity to the power of godliness came from Satan ; 
and wherever it is encouraged, and notoriously practised, they are a 
party of men governed and influenced by Satan. Now, where shall 
we find this character but in Antichrist's confederacy ? In the pro 
phecy of him, Rev. xiii. 15, he caused as many as would not worship 
the image of the beast to be killed ; and again, Eev. xvii. 5, ' The 
woman, whose name was Mystery, was drunk with the blood of the 
saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus ;' and it hath been 
eminently fulfilled in the blood shed in Germany, France, and England, 
and other nations ; and all this to extinguish the light of, and suppress 
the Reformation. The world is no stranger to their bloody persecu 
tions. Oh, how many seeming Christians hath Satan employed in 
these works of cruelty ! When once he had seduced the church to 
so many errors, and corrupted the doctrine and worship of Christ, 
he presently maketh the erroneous party his instruments of as cruel 
and bloody persecutions as were ever commenced by infidels and 
Mahometans ; witness their murders upon so many thousands of the 
Waldenses and Albigenses, whom they not only spoiled, but slaugh 
tered with all manner of hellish cruelty. Some of their own bishops 
complained they could not find lime and stone to build prisons for 
them, nor defray the charges of their food. The world was even 
amazed at their unheard-of cruelties, smoking and burning thousands 
of men, women, and children in caves, others at stakes, and many 
ways butchering them ; proclaiming croisados, and preaching up the 
merit of paradise to such bloody cut-throats as had a mind to root 
them out, driving multitudes to perish in snowy mountains. What 
desolations they wrought in Bohemia, what horrible massacres in 
France, what fires they kindled in England, and of late, what cruelties 
they exercised in Ireland, Piedmont ! &c. Histories will tell you, and 
will tell all generations to come, what principles Eome is acted by, 
and how insatiable their thirst is for the blood of upright righteous 
men. And after all this, tell me, who is he whose coming is after the 
working of Satan ? and whether we have cause to be enamoured of 
blood, and fires, and inquisitions ? 

5. That which is ascribed to Satan is, that he is ' the God of this 
world/ 2 Cor. iv. 4 ; and again, * the prince of this world/ John xii. 
31. He playeth the god here; the riches, honours, and wealth of 
this world are the great instruments of his kingdom ; and the men 
of this world, whose portion is in this life, are the proper subjects of 
his kingdom. Of the saints, Christ is their head ; but of the wicked, 
ungodly, ambitious world, surely Satan is the head. There are two 
cities (as Austin distinguisheth them) : Jerusalem is the city of God, 
and Babylon, that incorporation which belongeth to Satan. Now, 
then, where shall we find him whose coming is after the working of 


Satan, but with him who, with the loss of Christianity, exalteth him 
self, and affecteth an ambitious tyranny and domineering over the 
Christian world, both princes, pastors, and people; and to uphold 
the tyranny, careth not what havoc he maketh of the church ; and 
the whole frame of their religion is calculated for secular honour, 
worldly pomp, and greatness ? 

Secondly, By the visible appearances of the devil, and where he is 
most conversant, as in his own kingdom. Before Christ's kingdom 
was set up, the devil did often visibly appear ; but since, he playeth 
least in sight ; when God openly manifested his presence by appear 
ing to the fathers in sundry ways and manners, as he did before he 
spake to us by his Son, Heb. i. 1, 2, so did Satan ; visions, apparitions, 
and oracles, were more frequent ; and where Christ's spiritual king 
dom prevaileth, the world heareth less of these things ; but where it 
is obstructed, more. Now, two instances in Popery : (1.) In their 
chiefs: how many conjurers and necromancers (who expressly con 
sulted and contracted with the devil), from the year 600 to the year 
1500, the chair of pestilence yielded, the histories tell us. (2.) In 
other duties, the devil had formerly, in the times of Popery, and still 
where it is allowed, incomparably more power among men to appear 
to them, and haunt their houses, and vex them, than now he hath ; 
all that I say is, haunting of houses and apparitions were much 
more common. 

Uses. 1. A detestation of Popery ; whatever is of the devil should 
be hated by us, for we are Christ's soldiers, listed in his warfare in 
baptism: Kom. vi. 13, ' Yield yourselves unto God as those that are 
alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteous 
ness unto God ; but yield not your members as instruments of 
unrighteousness unto sin;' Rom. xiii. 12, ' Let us cast off the works 
of darkness, and put on the armour of light.' Now, after our military 
oath, should we revolt to them that join with the devil and his angels, 
to make war against Michael and his angels ? 

2. To be more careful to be completely armed, ' For we fight not 
against flesh and blood, but principalities and powers, and spiritual 
wickednesses in heavenly places/ Eph. vi. 11, 12; that is, not only 
with the one, but the other. The abettors of Popery are Satan's 
auxiliary forces, whom he stirreth up and employeth. Now, the 
devils are of great cunning and strength, and by God's permission 
exercise great authority in the world, and the matter about which 
we contend with them is the honour of God and Christ, and our 
eternal salvation. Therefore, since the subtlety, power, and strength 
of the enemy are so great, we had need to be the better prepared, and 
put on the whole armour of God. That bodily and human power 
that befriendeth the kingdom of Satan is formidable, and that can 
only reach the outward man ; but devils and damned spirits are a 
more terrible and dangerous party, who secretly blind our minds and 
weaken our courage, and strangely and imperceptibly, by our own 
carnal affections, promote our eternal ruin. 

3. It showeth us the folly of reconciling Babel and Sion Rome, as 
it is, and the Reformed Churches : ' For what concord hath Christ with 
Belial ?' 2 Cor. vi. 15, 16 ; What agreement hath the temple of God 


with idols?' You can never reconcile God and Satan, the seed of 
the woman and the seed of the serpent. I speak not of holy endea 
vours to adjust the controversies, and reclaim papists from their errors ; 
that must be pursued, how fruitless soever the attempt be; but to 
hope for an agreement, as things now stand, is impossible. 

4. Caution, that the devil prevail not against us ; he once surprised 
Peter : Mat. xvi. 23, ' Get thee behind me, Satan ;' he hath prevailed 
over them that usurp the highest chair in the Christian church. Let 
him not blind your eyes in whole or in part ; though you be not drawn 
to antichristianism, do not live in a carnal, worldly course : ' For this 
purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the 
works of the devil,' 1 John iii. 8. Every wicked act is Satan's inven 
tion ; he stirreth it up, is served by it, delights in it, his kingdom 
goeth forward by it: he gaineth by every wicked action. Show 
plainly that you are not of his party, nor ever mean to be. Give 
way to fleshly and worldly lusts, and you are very prone to entertain 
the grossest temptations ; and by subtle evasions will wriggle and 
distort yourselves out of your duty, as the papists do. 

I come now to the second means. 

Doct That Antichrist doth uphold his kingdom by a false show of 
signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds. To evidence this 

I. We must inquire what is a miracle? Miracles are works 
extraordinary, exceeding the ability of second causes, and done to 
confirm the truth. Where we may observe : 

1. The general nature of them. 

2. Their author. 

3. Their use. 

1. Their general nature and kinds: extraordinary works. Some 
are either besides nature, when the course of nature is changed, as 
the standing still of the sun in Joshua's days, the going back of the 
shadow on Ahaz's dial in Hezekiah's time; above nature, as the 
opening of the eyes of a man born blind by Christ, John ix. ; against 
nature, when the operation of it is obstructed, as when the three 
children remained untouched in the fiery furnace, Dan. iii. : the fire 
had not lost its property to burn, for those that cast them in were 
singed and scorched. 

2. The author: they are works exceeding the ability of second 
causes, and therefore are always done by the power of God, either 
immediately or mediately, using some creature in the performing of 
them, as the apostles of Christ. Well, then, the primary efficient 
cause is God, and the manner of working is extraordinary and un 
usual, exceeding the power and force of any creature. 

3. The end and use is to confirm some truth. When they are done 
for curiosity, ostentation, and delight, they are but juggling tricks, 
and have not God for their author ; much less when they are pre 
tended to confirm a false doctrine or evil end. But real miracles do 
oblige by way of sign, declaring God's interest in or owning of the 
truth and testimony to which they are annexed. For God, being the 
ruler of the world, good, merciful, just, it is not to be supposed he 
will co-operate to a lie or cheat, or leave such a stumbling-block 
before his creatures. 


II. That the miracles wrought by Christ and his apostles did suf 
ficiently prove that they were teachers sent from God, for Christ 
often appealeth to his works : John v. 36, * For the works which the 
Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear 
witness of me ;' and John x. 38, ' Though ye believe not me/ that is, 
his personal verbal testimony, ' believe the works,' that is, his miracles, 
' that ye may know and believe that the Father is in me, and I in 
him.' And when John sent his disciples to know whether he were 
the Messiah or no (not so much for his own confirmation as their 
satisfaction) : Mat. xi. 4, ' Go, show him what ye hear and see ;' and 
what was that ? ' The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the 
lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up,' &c. 
So Nicodemus was convinced by these : John iii. 2, ' We know that 
thou art a teacher come from God ; for none can do the works that 
thou dost, except God were with him.' To improve these scriptures, 
let us consider : 

1. The necessity of this attestation. 

2. The sufficiency of it. 

1. The necessity there was that Christ's person and office should be 
thus attested. He had the law of Moses to repeal, which was well 
known to be God's own law ; a new law to promulgate, which is the 
law of faith, or the gospel ; and before this could be received, it was 
needful for him to manifest his authority. Besides, he came to 
redeem and recover sinners to God from the devil, world, and flesh. 
And that he might be more readily and cheerfully entertained, it was 
necessary to be evidenced that he came not only by God's permission, 
but commission. ' For him hath the Father sealed/ John vi. 27, that 
is, authorised by miracles. Look, as in the first institution of the 
Aaronical priesthood, fire came from heaven to consume the sacrifices, 
whereas afterwards the high priests were consecrated and admitted 
by the ordinary rites, without any such attestation ; so there was 
a greater necessity then, when God brought forth his Son into the 
world, and did first set up the gospel state, than there was after 
wards, when the course and order of it was settled, and received in 
the world. 

2. The sufficiency of it. The miracles then wrought were numerous, 
evident, and undeniable, being done publicly in the sight of all, and 
therefore the clearest attestation to his doctrine, that flesh and blood 
could expect ; such a stream of holy, necessary miracles, that were for 
the most part not acts of pomp, but of succour and relief, and such as 
could be done by no power less than divine ; not like those ludicrous 
miracles they talk of in Popery, which look like a cheat rather than 
a sign from heaven. These miracles of Christ could no way be im 
peached ; for either it must be by some truth of God, which the 
new revelation did contradict, and delivered by more certain means 
than those miracles were but no such revelation was there ; all fairly 
accorded with those former revelations of his mind given to the ancient 
church ; and Christ and his apostles preached no other things than 
what suited with Moses and the prophets, Acts xxvi. 22 or else by 
some greater works which should contradict the testimony of these 
wonders, as Moses did the magicians of Egypt, Exod. vii. 18 ; but no 


such thing could be alleged, or was pretended, therefore these were 

2. After the faith of Christ was sufficiently confirmed, miracles 
ceased ; and it was fit they should cease, for God doth nothing un 
necessarily. The Christian doctrine is the same that it was, and is 
to be the same till the end of the world ; we have a sure and authentic 
record of it, which is the holy scriptures. The truth of Christ's office 
and doctrine is fully proved, and cometh transmitted to us by the 
consent of many successions of ages, in whose experience God hath 
blessed it to the converting, comforting, and saving of many a soul. 
Look, as the Jews, every time the law was brought forth, were not to 
expect the thunderings and lightnings, and the voice of the terrible 
trumpet, with which it was given at first on Mount Sinai (one solemn 
confirmation served for after ages) ; they knew it was a law given 
by the ministry of angels, and so entertained it with veneration and 
respect ; so Christianity needed to be once solemnly confirmed (after 
ages have the use of the first miracles) ; for the apostle compareth 
these two things, the giving of the law and the gospel : Heb. ii. 2-4, 
' For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgres 
sion and disobedience received a just recompense of reward : how 
shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation, which at first began 
to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by them that 

- heard him ? ' we must be contented with God's owning it now only in 
the way of his Spirit and providence. 

3. That upon the ceasing of miracles, or their growing to be un 
necessary, we have the more cause to suspect them who will revive 
this pretence of a power to work miracles ; especially after we are 
cautioned against these delusions, as here in the text against the lying 
wonders of Antichrist, and elsewhere : Mat. xxiv. 24, ' For there 
shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great 
signs and wonders, insomuch, that if it were possible, they shall 
deceive the very elect;' and again, Rev. xiii. 13, 'He doth great 
wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven upon earth 
in the sight of men.' But herein they triumph, when did they ever 
pretend to do so? Ans. This is not to be taken literally, for the 
whole chapter is mystical ; none can be so ignorant that Antichrist 
shall arise as a beast out of the sea, with seven heads and ten horns ; 
therefore, to fetch fire from heaven is only an allusion to Elias, that 
he should pretend to work miracles, as did Elias, who brought fire 
from heaven, 1 Kings xviii. 24 ; and yet, in the letter, it was fulfilled 
in Pope Hildebrand, or Gregory VII., as one Paulus, who wrote his 
life, testifieth, who mentioneth divers wonders of fire wrought by him, 
and sundry times resembles him to Elias. The meaning is, he shall 
make his followers as confident of their errors as if they saw fire 
come from heaven to confirm them. But to return. We being 
thus cautioned and forewarned, miracles thus performed are deceitful. 
But you will say, though miracles are not necessary to confirm the 
faith, yet they are necessary to convince the falsehood of heresies. 
A ns. Heresies being a corruption of the faith once received, are to be 
confuted by arguments, not miracles ; by evidence of doctrine, not 
wonders : partly lest the people be deceived by magical impostures, 


for it requireth some skill to distinguish true miracles from those that 
are deceitful, and done by the power of the devil; partly because 
verum est index sui et obliqui faith stated and confirmed showeth 
what is error ; so that to confute error by miracles is nothing but to 
confirm truth by miracles. 

4. Whosoever teach false doctrine, not consonant to the truth of 
scriptures, or that faith of Christ which was confirmed by miracles, 
their wonders are lying wonders, and, how plausible soever they seem, 
are lying wonders, and not to be believed. Surely miracles must 
needs be false and pretended which are brought to confirm a doctrine 
contrary to that which is already confirmed by miracles ; for God is 
faithful, and cannot deny himself, and therefore he cannot .be the 
author of miracles whereby things contrary to each other may be 
confirmed. If the faith once be established by other miracles, we are 
to believe the latter miracles to be a mere imposture ; for Christ is 
not yea, and nay, but 'yea, and Amen/ 1 Cor. i. 19, 20. The appari 
tion of an angel is a great miracle, but ' if an angel preach any other 
gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him 
be accursed,' Gal. i. 8. It is a supposition of an impossible case, 
necessary to forewarn the people of God against the delusions of the 
devil, changing himself into an angel of light. Surely God will never 
contradict himself. 

5. The miracles wrought by Antichrist and his adherents are mira, 
but not miracula, some wonderful things, but no true and proper mi 
racles ; else, as Austin saith, Figmenta mendacium hominum, portenta 
fallacium spirituum either the fictions of lying men, or the illusions 
of deceiving spirits. Many times the matter of fact is not true ; at 
other times the thing done is but some illusion of the senses by the 
devil, or something taken for a miracle which doth not exceed the 
power of nature. Either way it is an imposture ; and, indeed, the 
miracles of the legends are so false, so ridiculous, so light and trivial, 
that they expose Christianity to contempt ; or else, if there be any 
thing in it, it giveth suspicions of magical illusion and converse with the 
devil which, among their votaries and recluses, is no unusual thing. 

6. There are seven points in Popery which they seek to confirm 
by miracles ; and which, being senseless in themselves, do most scan 
dalise Protestants. 

[1.] Pilgrimages. They show the shrine, and also the chamber of the 
house of the blessed Virgin ; how the Virgin at Loretto was trans 
ported out of Galilee into Dalmatia, and by angels in the air, to the 
remote parts of Italy, and settled there after some removes. 

The story is ridiculous, and I am serious ; yet this draweth an 
infinite company of pilgrims there, where new miracles are pretended 
to be wrought continually. 

[2.] Prayers for the dead. Bellarmine allegeth, out of Gregory, the 
miraculous apparition of Paschal's ghost, beseeching St Germanus to 
pray for him. 

[3.] Purgatory^ All their miracles are framed especially for the 
establishing of this point, which is of such gain to them ; as that a 
dead man's skull spake to Mercarias praying, ' When thou dost offer 
prayer for the dead, then do we feel a little consolation,' 


[4.] The invocation of saints. Alypius, a grammarian, being forsaken 
of his physicians, St Tiola appeared to him by night, demanding what 
he ailed, or what he would have ? He answered (to show a touch 
of his art) in Achilles's speech to his mother Thetis, in Homer, 
&c. ' Thou knowest ; why should I tell thee that knowest all ? ' Where 
upon she conveyed a round stone to him, with the touch of which he 
was presently healed. 

[5.] The adoration of images, but especially of the cross, crucifix, 
and image of Christ. Malvenda saith, that at Meliapore, in the East 
Indies, where St Thomas was killed by those barbarous people, dig 
ging, to lay a foundation, they found a square stone, in it a bloody- 
cross, and an inscription implying the saint was slain in the very act 
of adoring and kissing the cross ; hereupon on went the building, and 
the chapel being finished, in the beginning of the gospel, in sight of 
the whole multitude, the cross did sweat abundantly ; the sweat wiped 
off, drops of blood appeared in the linen with which they wiped it, 
till at length it returned to its own colour. 

[6.] The adoration of the host is made good by such a number of 
miracles as fill whole volumes. Bellarmine himself telleth us of a 
hungry mare, kept three days without meat, yet when provender was 
poured to her in the presence of the host, she, forgetting her meat, 
with bowed head and bended knees adored the sacrament. 

J7.] The primacy of the Pope hath been the beginning and is tho 
of all popish legends. A bishop, being excommunicated by Pope 
Hildebrand, and inveighing against his pride, was smitten with a 
thunderclap. Baronius relates, that while Pope Eugenius the Third was 
celebrating the mass, a beam of the sun shone upon his head, in which 
were seen two doves, ascending and descending, which an Eastern 
legate seeing, submitted instantly to the primacy. 

Use. Another note of Antichrist : these impostures are not only 
countenanced and encouraged in that church, but made a mark of it. 
The power of miracles : When Antichrist first appeared, ridiculous 
miracles of all sorts began to be cried up and established ; yea, and 
to this day, these are pleaded, challenging us for the want of them. 
What they cannot prove by the oracles of God, they endeavour to 
prove by miracles of Satan. 


With all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; be 
cause they received not the love of the truth, that they might be 
saved. '2 THES. II. 10. 

WE have described unto you the head of the antichristian state ; we 
come now to the subjects, especially the zealous abettors and pro 
moters of this kingdom. They are described : (1.) By the means how 
they are drawn into this apostasy and defection, eV irdcrrj dirdrri TT)S 

76 THE EIGHTH SERMON. [2 TfiES. II. 10. 

(2.) By their doom or misery ; they are in a state of perdi 
tion: in them that perish. (3.) By their sin, which is the cause and 
reason of this doom : because they received not the love of the truth, 
that they might be saved. 

1. The means : ' With all deceivableness of unrighteousness/ That 
Antichrist shall be a deceiver, and that he deceiveth by lying miracles, 
we have seen already, and is foretold : Eev. xiii. 14, ' And deceiveth 
them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he 
had power to do in the sight of the beast/ &c. ; but the deceived 
are not altogether guiltless, for the fraud would soon be discovered by 
a holy and pure soul. His great engine is either the baits of lust 
and sin, which work on none but those that have pleasure in unright 
eousness, ver. 12 : the generality of wicked and carnal Christians are 
easily drawn from God's pure worship, and true godliness ; either by 
worldly means, as by the offers of preferment, riches, dignities, or else 
terrors of the flesh. Now, none catch at these worldly baits but 
whose eyes the god of this world hath blinded, 2 Cor. iv. 4. 

2. Their misery : they are said to be ' those that perish.' That bear- 
eth three senses : (1.) That they are worthy to perish, because they 
do not use care and diligence to understand their duty, being blinded 
by their worldly affections. That is the mildest sense we can put 
upon it ; they deserve to perish. No man perisheth but for his own 
fault: Hosea xiii. 9, '0 Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself, but in 
me is thy help.' Now, they that will yield to the deceivableness of 
unrighteousness, justly perish ; though there be deceit in the case, yet 
there is unrighteousness in the case also. Fraudulent dealing should 
not so cozen us, as apparent unrighteousness or unfaithfulness to 
Christ should warn us. (2.) That they are in an actual state of per 
dition, and, unless they come out of it, are undone for ever. The 
apostles, when they propounded Christian doctrine, at first did use 
this term to distinguish impenitent unbelievers from those that received 
the gospel : as 1 Cor. i. 18, ' The preaching of the cross is to them that 
perish foolishness, but unto us that are saved the power of God :' so 
2 Cor. ii. 15, ' We are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them 
that perish, and in them that are saved.' So he distinguished them 
that receive the faith, and them that receive it not ; penitent believers 
are those that are saved, but impenitent unbelievers are those that 
perish, that is, are for the present, during their infidelity and impeni- 
tency, in an actual state of perdition ; so 2 Cor. iv. 3, ' If our gospel 
be hid, it is hid to those that are lost ;' that is, who are for the pre 
sent in a lost condition. We know not God's secret decrees, but those 
that refuse and oppose the only remedy, to all appearance, are lost 
men. Now, this he applieth to those that yield to Antichrist, showing 
them that though they are Christians, yet they have no more benefit 
by the gospel than infidels ; they receive not the truth these revolt 
from the owning of it upon carnal reasons : and therefore it is fore 
told, Kev. xiv. 9, 10, * If any man worship the beast and his image, 
and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall 
drink of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into 
the cup of his indignation ; and he shall be tormented with fire and 
brimstone, in the presence of the holy angels, and the presence of the 


Lamb ; ' that is, all those that give up themselves as servants and 
soldiers to the antichristian estate, and obstinately adhere to and pro 
mote that profession, they shall taste of the Mediator's vengeance, 
which will be very sore and severe : Luke xix. 27, * These mine ene 
mies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring them 
forth, and slay them before me/ Popery is the highway to damnation. 
(3.) It beareth this sense, that they are fore-appointed to perish who 
are left to these delusions ; they are such as God hath passed by, and 
not chosen to life. This is to be considered also ; for damnable errors 
take not effect on God's elect : Mat. xxiv. 24, ' If it were possible, 
they shall deceive the very elect.' The elect cannot altogether be 
seduced and drawn away from Christ, for God taketh them into his 
protection, and guardeth them against the delusions of false prophets, 
that, if they be for a time, they shall not always be deceived. So it 
is said, Kev. ix. 4, ' The locusts shall hurt none of those that had the 
seal of God in their foreheads/ The delusions of Antichrist have 
only their full effect on those who are not elected and sealed, upon 
the hypocritical professors that live in the 'visible church. So it is 
said again, Eev. xiii. 8, ' All that dwell upon the earth shall worship 
him, whose names are not written in the Lamb's book of life ; ' and 
again, Rev. xvii. 8, ' And they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, 
whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation 
of the world/ The elect are still excepted, which is much for the 
comfort of the godly, who belong to God's election, that he shall not 
prevail over them totally, finally. God hath chosen you to life. 

3. The reason of this doom : ' Because they received not the love of 
the truth that they might be saved/ By the truth is meant the gospel, 
the chief truth revealed in God's word, and the only means of salva 
tion : Eph. i. 13, ' In whom also ye trusted, after that ye heard the 
word of truth, the gospel of your salvation/ This is the truth most 
profitable to lost sinners ; receiving is put for entertaining, or believing 
the word ; as Acts viii. 14, ' When they heard that Samaria had 
received the word of God ;' and Acts xi. 1, * That the Gentiles had 
received the word,' and elsewhere. This reception must be with love: 
Acts ii. 41, 'As many as received the word gladly;' and Acts xvii. 
11, * They received the word with readiness of mind/ And this affec 
tion must produce its effect, so as to convert them unto God. Now, 
this is denied of them who are seduced by Antichrist, that they ever 
had any true love to the truth, or minded it in order to their salva 
tion. Now, the business is, whether the clause concerned only the 
Jews, or can be applied to Christians ? The Jews clearly received not 
the love of the truth, but did refuse Christ and his salvation. And 
herein the papists glory of an advantage of turning off this prophecy 
from themselves. But the apostle speaketh not of rejecting the truth, 
but of not receiving the love of the truth, which is not proper to the 
Jews but to false Christians. The Jews' company rejected Christ, and 
Antichrist was not sent to them for a punishment, but wrath came 
upon them to the uttermost, to the excision and cutting off their 
nation. But here is rendered the reason not of other judgments, but 
why men are captives to Antichrist. Therefore it is not so to be 


Doct. 1. The subjects of Antichrist's power and seduction are those 
that perish. 

2. The great reason why God sent this judgment on the Christian 
world, is because they received not the love of the truth. 

Doct. 1. That the subjects of Antichrist's power and seduction are 
those that perish. 

It is a dreadful argument we are upon, yet necessary to be known 
for our caution, however to be handled warily. (1.) It is certainly 
more meet for us to have a regard of our own estate, than curiously to 
inquire what becometh of others. The apostle waiveth judging them 
that are without, 1 Cor. v. 12. I know he meaneth it of the censures 
of the church, which are not exercised upon infidels, but Christians ; 
but so far we may apply it to this case, that we should not rashly judge 
of the eternal state of other persons, but rather of things wherein our 
selves are concerned. If the inquiry were only matter of curiosity, 
surely Christ's rebuke would silence it, 'What is that to thee ?' John xxi. 
22 ; for Christ is ill pleased with curiosity about the state of other men ; 
but it is fit we should know our own duty and danger, and to that end 
it must be discussed. (2.) That there is a great difficulty of the sal 
vation of papists so living and dying, if not an utter impossibility. 
Partly because, though it should be supposed that they retain the 
foundation, yet they build such hay and stubble upon it, so many errors 
in doctrine, corruptions in worship, and tyranny in government, that 
if a man could be saved, he is saved but as by fire, 1 Cor. iii. 13; 
and no man that hath a care of his soul will either embrace Popery or 
continue in it. Where the way is plainest there are difficulties enough, 
and the righteous are scarcely saved ; and, therefore, in a questionable 
way, none should venture. Worshipping of angels and saints departed, 
and images, are no light thing. Nor will a serious Christian choose that 
way where the doctrines of the gospel are so exceedingly corrupted, and 
there is such a manifest invasion of the authority of Christ, by challeng 
ing a universal headship over his church without his leave, and this 
maintained by errors and persecutions. (3.) We must distinguish of 
those that lived under Popery, rather as captives under this tyranny, 
than voluntary subjects of this kingdom of Antichrist ; as many holy men 
did in former times, groaning and mourning under the abominations, 
rather than countenancing and promoting them. To these God speaketh 
when he saith, Rev. xviii. 4, ' Come out of her, my people, that ye be 
not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues/ They 
were his people while they were there. These were as those ' seven 
thousand in Israel that had not bowed the knee to Baal/ Bom. xi. 
4. (4.) There is a difference to be put between those that err in the 
simplicity of their hearts, knowing no better, and those that withstand 
the light upon carnal reasons, and will not retract their errors, though 
convinced of the degeneration of Christianity ; for simple ignorance 
is not so damning as obstinate error : Luke xii. 48, ' But he that knew 
not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with 
few stripes,' &c. ; and 1 Tim. i. 13, ' But I obtained mercy, because I 
did it ignorantly in unbelief.' The scriptures many times condemn a 
way as a way of ruin, but all in that way are not damned ; as John iv, 
22, ' Salvation is of the Jews.' There it is eminently dispensed, and 


yet therefore it followeth not that all the Samaritans were damned. 
Some among them, though tainted with the errors of their country, 
might have such knowledge of the law of God, and love to him, as 
might be effectual to salvation. (5.) We must distinguish between 
papists so living and so dying ; many, by God's grace, may have re 
pentance conferred upon them at death ; and though they lived papists, 
might die as reformed Christians, seeking salvation by Christ alone, 
in the way of true faith and repentance, and so the Lord may manifest 
his compassion to them, pardoning the errors of their lives. (6.) We 
must distinguish times. God might dispense with many in the times 
of universal darkness and captivity, more than he doth afterwards, 
when the light of the gospel breaketh forth, and his trumpet is sounded 
to call them forth. Whosoever shall compare John Fierus and John 
Calvin will find they were assisted by the same Holy Spirit of God, 
though the one lived and died a papist, and the other was an eminent 
instrument in reforming the church of God ; but an ignorant fear of 
separation from the catholic church caused many to do as they did ; 
but much more doth it hold good in the times before. Our fathers, 
if alive, would not have condemned us, nor should we condemn them, 
being dead, before they had these advantages which we now enjoy. 
Illi si reviviscerent, &c., saith Austin in a like case. (7.) We must 
distinguish between Popish errors : some are more capital, as adoration 
of images, invocation of saints, justification by the merit of works, in 
hibition of the scriptures, &c. ; others not so deadly, as when too much 
reverence is given to ecclesiastical orders and constitutions, penance, 
auricular confession, fasting, &c. Now though the case of a real 
papist, who is complete in this mystery of iniquity, and refuseth, 
hateth, persecuteth the truth offered, be desperate, yet the Lord may 
in tender mercy accept of other devout souls who yet live in that way, 
if they hold the head and the foundation. 

Use 1. Let us not think Popery a light thing, which the Lord so 
peremptorily threateneth. Surely it is no little mercy that we are 
freed from it. Therefore we should be thankful for the light we have, 
arid improve it well while we have it, and hold it fast. What hope 
soever we may have of men living in former times, and foreign countries, 
where they know no better, but after such express warnings, what hope 
can we have of English papists, considering the time, when Eome is not 
grown better but worse, and what was common opinion is now made 
an article of faith, and when the truth is taught and so clearly mani 
fested ; so that for any, by their own voluntary choice, to run into 
Popery, is a plain defection from Christ to Antichrist, and wilfully 
to drink that poison which will be the bane and ruin of their souls ! 

Doct 2. The great reason why God sent this judgment upon the Chris 
tian world, is to punish those that received not the love of the truth. 

Here I shall inquire (1.) How many ways men may be said not to 
receive the love of the truth. (2.) How just their punishment is for 
such a sin. 

[1.] In stating this sin (1.) Itis supposed that thetruth anddoctrine 
of Christ is made known to a people ; yea, cometh among them with 
great evidence, conviction, and authority. For it is not the want of 
means, but want of love, that it is charged on them ; and the plenty of 


means aggravateth their fault, and maketh their condemnation the 
more just : John iii. 19, ' This is the condemnation, that light is come 
into the world, and men loved darkness more than light/ The truth 
was not for their turns, but was contrary to their lusts, and passions, 
and prejudices ; and these they preferred before the light of the gospel 
shining to them. 

(2.) That as in evidence of doctrine was not the cause of not receiv 
ing the truth, so not bare weakness of understanding. No ; it is not 
weakness, but wilfulness which is here intimated ; not a defect of their 
minds, but their hearts : John viii. 45, ' Because I tell you the truth, 
ye believe me not/ It was not weakness but prejudice hindered their 
believing. They despised the grace of Grod ; yea, hated it for their lust's 
sake. Their lusts lie more in opposition to the truth than speculative 
doubts and errors : Luke xvi. 14, ' And the pharisees, who were 
covetous, when they heard all these things, derided him ;' the words 
are, ' blew their noses at him/ The sensual, carnal, and ungodly 
world scorneth heavenly doctrine, and pure Christianity is distasted 
by false Christians. Err in mind, err in heart. 

(3.) It is not enough to receive the truth in the light of it, but we 
must also receive it in the love of it, or it will do us no good. To 
make the truth operative: (1.) Knowledge is necessary, and also faith, 
and then love. Knowledge, for ' without knowledge the heart is not 
good/ Prov. xix. 2. Nothing can come to the heart but by the mind ; 
the will is o/oef t? pera \6yov a choice or desire, guided by reason, and 
the gospel doth not work as a charm, whether it be or be not under 
stood. No ; the purport or drift of it must be known, or how can it 
have any effect upon us ? Next to knowledge, to make it work, there 
must be faith. When we apprehend a thing, we must judge of it, 
whether it be true or false ; how else can it make any challenge, or lay 
claim to our respect ? 1 Thes. ii. 13, 'Ye received it not as the word of 
men, but (as it is in truth) the word of God, which worketh effectually 
in you, as it doth in all them that believe/ Faith doth enliven our 
actions about religion ; to hear of God, and Christ, and heaven, doth 
not stir us unless we believe these things. Well, next to faith there 
must be love, for apprehension and dijudication are acts of the under 
standing only, but love belongeth to the will, and we must believe 
with all the heart, Acts viii. 37. There may be knowledge without 
faith, as an heathen may understand the Christian religion, though he 
believe it not, profess it not. And there may be faith without love, 
for there is a ' dead faith,' James ii. 20, which rests in cold opinions, 
without any affection to the truth believed. Love pierceth deeper into 
the truth, and maketh it pierce deeper into us. As a red-hot iron, 
though never so blunt, will run farther into an inch board than a cold 
tool, though never so sharp. And love maketh it more operative ; 
there is notitiaper visum, et notitia per gustum a knowledge by sight, 
and a knowledge by taste. A man may guess at the goodness of wine 
by the colour, but more by the taste ; that is a more refreshing appre 
hension ; and Augustine prayeth, Fac me, Domine, gustare per amorem 
quod gusto per cognitionem Lord, make me taste that by love which 
I taste by knowledge. Surely we are never sound in Christianity till 
all the light that we receive be turned into love. These great things 


are revealed and represented to our faith, not to please our minds by 
knowing them, but to quicken our love. Faith alone is but as sight, 
and faith with love is as taste. Now, it is more easy to dispute a man 
out of his belief that only seeth, than it is him that tasteth, and 
knoweth the grace of God in truth. This is the true reason of the 
stedfastness of weak and unlearned Christians ; though they have 
not such distinct conceptions and reasonings as many learned men 
have, yet their faith is turned into love, and a man is better hel d by 
the heart than by the head. And though they cannot dispute for 
Christ (as one of the martyrs said), they can die for Christ. But 
alas ! many receive the truth in the light thereof, but few receive it in 
the love of it, and so lie open to deceit. 

(4.) This love must not be a slight affection, for that will soon vanish ; 
but we must be rooted and well grounded, and have a good strength.' 
The stony ground had some love to the word: Mat. xiii. 20, 21, * But 
he that receiveth the seed in stony places, the same is he that heareth 
the word, and anon with joy receiveth it : yet he hath not root in him 
self, but dureth but a while ; for when tribulation or persecution riseth 
because of the word, by and by he is offended.' So also of the thorny 
ground : ' He heareth the word, and the care of this world, and the 
deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful/ 
ver. 22. Now what are the defects of this love? (1.) It is not radicated 
a pang of love or flash of zeal ; whereas we should be ' rooted and 
grounded in love/ Eph. iii. 17. Hypocrites had a taste : Heb. vi. 4, 5, 
' For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have 
tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 
and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to 
come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance/ 
Tasted, but did but taste ; did escape ^dor^ara Koa-fiov, 2 Peter ii. 20 ; 
yet, not having a good conscience, may make shipwreck of faith, 1 Tim. 
i. 19. (2.) It is partial. The gospel offereth great privileges, and it is 
also a pure, holy rule of obedience, Acts ii. 41. The word of God is 
made up of precepts and promises. God offereth in the covenant ex 
cellent benefits, upon gracious terms and conditions : there must be a 
consent to the terms, as well as an acceptation of the privileges. The 
confidence of the privileges serveth to wean us from the false happiness, 
therefore that must be kept up : Heb. iii. 6, ' But Christ, as a son over 
his own house, whose are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the 
rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.' And the consent to the terms 
bindeth our duty upon us, Isa. Ivi. 4. Now as willingly as we yielded 
at first, we must keep up the same fervour still : Dent. v. 29, * Oh, that 
there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me and keep 
all my commandments always ; that it might be well with them and 
with their children for ever.' But whole, pure Christianity is not loved 
by false Christians ; therefore, when religion crosseth their interests 
and the bent of their lusts, they seek to bring religion to their hearts, 
not their hearts to religion. (3.) It is not strong, and in such a prevalent 
degree as to control other affections ; it is but a passion, a pleasure, 
and a delight they take on for a time, not the effect of solid judgment 
and resolution a joy easily controlled and overcome with other de 
lights ; therefore Christ requireth a denial of all things, for a close 



adherence to him and his doctrine, and hath^told us, Mat. x. 37, ' He 
that loveth father and mother more than me, is not worthy of me,' and 
Luke xiv. 26, * cannot be my disciple/ This is a love to which all 
other loves must give way and be subordinate. Many love the truth 
a little, but love other things more, will be at no cost for it. Solomon 
giveth advice, Prov. xxiii. 23, 'Buy the truth and sell it not/ In 
lesser points we must do nothing against the truth, for though the 
matter contended for be never so small, yet sincerity is a great point ; 
but in the greater truths we should purchase the knowledge of them at 
any rate, and be faithful to Christ whatever it costs us. (4.) This slight 
love may arise from worldly respects. Now in the text it is said, ' They 
received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved/ It should 
arise upon eternal reasons and considerations of the other world, which 
only produce abiding affections : Heb. x. 39, ' We are not of them that 
draw back to perdition, but of them that believe to the saving of the 
soul/ In closing with Christianity, that must be fixed as our scope, 
not to spare the flesh, but to save the soul, and to save the soul with 
the loss of other things ; and that will make us true to Christ. But 
there are many foreign reasons for which men may show some love to 
religion. As, first, policy ; as Jehu took up Jehonadab into the chariot 
with him, 2 Kings x. 15 there is his compliment to him. Jehonadab 
was a good man, and this honoured him before the people, to see Jehu 
and Jehonadab so well acquainted. Sometimes respect to others upon 
whom we depend Many seem to be good because they dare not dis 
please others that have authority over them, or an interest in them ; as 
Joash was religious all the days of Jehoiada, for he stood in awe of him, 
2 Chron. xxiv. 2. Now such sorry religion dependeth on foreign ac 
cidents, the life of others or presence of others, and therefore it cannot 
be durable ; whereas, in presence or absence, we should ' work out our 
salvation with fear and trembling/ Phil. ii. 12 ; otherwise men only 
keep within compass for a while, but they have the root of sin within 
them still. Or it may be novelty, as our Lord telleth the Jews, 'John 
was a burning and shining light, and ye were willing to rejoice in his 
light for a season/ John was an eminent man for pureness of doctrine 
and vigour of zeal, and the more corrupt sort of Jews, pharisees as well 
as others, admired him for a while, but they soon grew weary of him 
it was a fit of zeal for the present. Lastly, This love may be to the 
excellency of gifts bestowed upon some minister or instrument whom 
God raiseth up, or some countenance of great men given to their 
ministry may stir up some love and attendance on their ministry ; and 
some respect is given for their sakes when men have no sound grace in 
their hearts. There is a receiving of the word as the word of man, 
and a receiving of the word as the word of God, as the apostle in- 
timateth, 1 Thes. ii. 13. The receiving of the word as the word of 
man, so it worketh only a human passion, a delight in the gifts of the 
ministry used : Ezek. xxxiii. 32, * Thou art to them as a lovely song 
of one that hath a pleasant voice/ Then there is a receiving it as the 
word of God, and then we receive it with much assurance and joy in 
the Holy Ghost : 1 Thes. i. 5, ' Our gospel came to you, not in word, 
but in power, and much assurance, and joy in the Holy Ghost/ Now 
. if we do not receive the truth upon God's recommendation and con- 


firmation, we do not love truth as truth ; our contest is not who hath 
most wit and parts, but most grace. (5.) They do not receive the love 
of the truth, when it doth not produce its solid effects, which is a change 
of heart and life, and they are not brought by the gospel to a sincere 
repentance and conversion to God, or receive the truth so as to live by 
it ; but whilst they have the names of Christians, have the lives and 
hearts of atheists and infidels. These were those that debauched 
Christianity, and meritorie and effective, by their provocations and 
negligence, brought this degeneracy into the church and judgment on 
the Christian world. Certainly a man hateth that religion which he 
doth profess when he will not live by it. This perfidiousness and breach 
of covenant was that which provoked God to permit these delusions in 
the church ; the worldly, sensual, carnal Christians, that hate that life 
which their religion calleth for. The godly Christian and the carnal 
Christian have the same Bible, the same creed, the same baptism, yet 
they hate one another as if they were of different religions, and confound 
the distinction between the world and the church, because the world is 
in the church. And of sensual and godless men we must speak as 
heathens, as if they were without God : they abhor that religion which 
they do profess ; that is, they abhor not the name, but they abhor those 
that are faithful to it and serious in it, who desire to know God in 
Christ, and desire to love him, and live to him. It was that Christ 
taxed in the pharisees ; they honoured the dead saints and abhorred the 
living: Mat. xxiii. 29-31, 'Woe unto you, scribes and pharisees, 
hypocrites ! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish 
the sepulchres of the righteous, and say, If we had been in the days cf 
our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood 
of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye 
are the children of them which killed the prophets.' Christ hath not 
worse enemies in the world than those that usurp his name, and pre 
tend to be his officers, and yet eat and drink with the drunken, and 
beat their fellow-servants, Mat. xxiv. 49. Christ will disown such at 
the day of judgment : Mat. vii. 22, 23, * Many will say unto me in that 
day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name 
have cast out devils ? and in thy name done many wonderful works ? 
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you : depart from me, 
ye that work iniquity/ And such do most dishonour him in the world. 
A righteous, sober, godly life is the best evidence of our love to the truth. 
[2.] How just this punishment is : (1.) Because God hath ever held 
this course on the pagan world, who kept not the natural knowledge 
of God : * He gave them up to vile affections,' Kom. i. 28. The Jews 
who rejected Christ : John v. 43, ' I am come in my Father's name, 
and ye receive me not : another will come in his own name, and him 
will ye receive.' When Christ cometh merely for our benefit, the 
unthankful world will not make him welcome, but they will take 
worse in his room. So towards Christians. At first men would not 
receive the gospel while it was pure and in its simplicity, as taught by 
Christ and his apostles, and sealed by the blood of the martyrs, till it 
was backed by a worldly interest, and corrupted into a worldly design ; 
and then they had it and all manner of superstitions together, and with 
these strong delusions there came just damnation. So still the pure 

84 THE EIGHTH SERMON. [2 TflES. II. 10. 

gospel is refused, and God sendeth popish seducers as a just judgment ; 
men only prize the light as it may serve their turn. (2.) The neglect 
and contempt of the truth is so heinous a sin that it deserveth the 
greatest punishment : Heb. ii. 3, ' How shall we escape if we neglect 
so great salvation?' Now it is revenged by these errors as a just 
judgment on the perverseriess and unthankfulness of the world. The 
duties of the gospel being so unquestionable, shows their perverseness. 
The privileges of the gospel being so excellent, their unthankfulness is 
more intolerable. 

Use 1 is to show us what cause we have to fear a return of Popery. 
Alas ! where is this love of the truth ? (1.) Some are gospel-glutted, 
loathe manna : a full-fed people must expect a famine, Amos viii. 2. 
In differences between God and Baal, Christ and Antichrist, few are 
valiant for the truth : Jer. ix. 3, ' And they bend their tongue like 
their bow for lies, but they are not valiant for the truth upon the 
earth ; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith 
the Lord/ Contend earnestly : Jude 3, * It was needful for me to 
write unto you, and to exhort you, that you should earnestly contend 
for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.' Again (2.) 
There are many sensualists, unclean and carnal gospellers ; to these 
God oweth a judgment. Usually the gospel is removed and given to 
a nation that will bring forth the fruits thereof. They that use the 
truth only or principally for their own turns, hate to be reformed ; 
God will reckon with them : Ps. 1. 16, 17, ' But unto the wicked God 
saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes ? or that thou 
shouldst take my covenant into thy mouth, seeing thou Latest instruc 
tion, and castest my words behind thee ? ' 

Use 2 shows you indeed that you love the gospel. 1 Carentia remedii 
is a grievous misery, or else Christ had not come as a great bless 
ing. Neglectus remedii is a grievous sin, to be lazy in a matter of 
such moment : those that never set their hearts to obey the truth. 
Crassa negligentia dolus est : There should be constant purpose, 
endeavour, striving, and not cease striving, till we in some measure 
prevail. Rejectio or contemptio remedii, if we put away the word of 
God from us : Acts xiii. 46, ' Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, 
and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been 
spoken to you ; but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves 
unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.' God will 
be gone, if not from the land, from thy soul. This is the most heinous 
iniquity of all : Heb. x. 28, 29, 'He that despised Moses' law died 
without mercy under two or three witnesses ; of how much sorer 
punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden 
under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the cove 
nant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done 
despite unto the Spirit of grace?' So Esau's despising his birth 
right : Heb. xii. 16, 17, ' Lest there be any fornicator or profane person, 
as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright ; for ye know 
Low that afterwards, when he would have inherited the blessing, he 
was rejected; for he found no place of repentance, thougL he sought 
it carefully witL tears.' 

1 Apparently the sentences in this paragraph are elliptical. ED. 

2 THES. II. 11, 12.] THE NINTH SERMON. 85 


And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they 
should believe a lie ; that they all might be damned ivho believed 
not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 THES. 
II. 11, 12. 

WE have considered the sin of those seduced by Antichrist ; now the 
judgment. It is twofold : (1.) Delusion in this world, ver. 11 ; (2.) 
Damnation in the next, ver. 12. 

1. Delusion in this world ; where take notice of three things : 
(1.) The author of it : God shall send it ; (2.) The degree or nature 

of the punishment : strong delusion; (3.) The issue of it : that they 
should believe a lie. 

2. Their punishment in the next world : that they all might be 
damned loho believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteous 
ness ; where take notice : (1.) Of the terribleness of it, it is no less 
than everlasting damnation : KpiOuxri for KaTaicpiOwcn, ; (2.) The jus 
tice and equity of it : ' They believed not the truth, but had pleasure 
in unrighteousness.' 

1. I begin with their judgment in this world : ' For this cause 
God shall send them strong delusion that they should believe a lie.' 

Doct. That by God's just judgment there is an infatuation upon the 
followers and abettors of Antichrist, that they swallow the grossest 
errors to their own destruction. 

To clear this I shall speak :(!.) To the author ; (2.) The degree 
or kind of the punishment ; (3.) The effect and issue. 

1. As to the author : irk^&i aviol^ o Oeo?. Here a difficulty 
ariseth ; for God is not, and cannot be, the author of sin. He that is 
essentially good cannot be the cause of evil ; and he that is ultor pec- 
cati, the avenger of sin, cannot be auclor peccati, the author of it. 
If he should cause man to sin, how will his punishment of it be just ? 
I answer As it is a sin, God hath no hand in it ; but as it is a punish 
ment of sin, God hath to do in it. 

To clear this to you, consider 

[1.] He that is the supreme Lord and Governor of his creatures is 
also their Judge ; for legislation and judgment belong to the same au 
thority. And therefore God is called sometimes our King, and some 
times our Judge : Gen. xviii. 25, ' Shall not the Judge of all the earth 
do right ? ' Eom. iii. 5, 6, * Is God unrighteous ? how then shall he 
judge the world ? ' That is his office and prerogative. 

[2.] God's way of judging for the present is either external or in 
ternal. As, for instance, there are two acts of judicature reward and 
punishment. In rewarding, God's external government is seen in 
dispensing outward blessings to his people, as the fruit of their obed 
ience : Micah ii. 7, * Do not my words do good to him that walketh 
uprightly ?' His promises speak good, and as fulfilled do good, yield 
protection, maintenance, and such a measure of outward prosperity as 
supporteth and maintaineth them during their service. David owned 
God s dealing with him in this sort : Ps. cxix. 56, ' This I had, because 
I kept thy precepts.' So as to his internal government, in giving them 

86 THE NINTH SERMON. [2 THES. II. 11, 12. 

peace of conscience and joy in the Holy Ghost: Eom. xiv. 17, ' For 
the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness and peace 
and joy in the Holy Ghost ;' Prov. iii. 17, ' Her ways are ways of pleasant 
ness, and all her paths are peace/ These are the 'internal rewards of 
obedience. And so also God often rewardeth grace with grace ; as 
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 thy 
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 ;' Ps. xxxi. 24, ' Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your 
heart, all ye that hope in the Lord/ Proficiency in the same grace 
is a reward of the several acts and exercise of it. So in punishing, 
sometimes he useth the way of external government, by the terrible judg 
ments exercised upon men for the breach of his law : Eom. i. 18, ' For 
the wrath of God is revealed from heaven, against all ungodliness and 
unrighteousness of men who hold the truth in unrighteousness :' Heb. ii. 
2, ' Every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of 
reward ; ' sometimes the way of internal government, by terrors of 
conscience, or punishing sin committed with sin permitted. Both these 
parts are seen in punishing both the godly and the wicked ; as, for in 
stance, in the godly, in the way of external government : 1 Cor. xi. 
32, ' But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we 
should not be condemned with the world/ In the way of internal 
government, the lesser penal withdrawings of the Spirit, which God's 
people find in themselves after some sins and neglects of grace, are 
grievous. But the judgments upon the souls of the ungodly are most 
dreadful, when the sinner is either terrified or stupefied ; terrified by 
horrors of conscience : 1 Cor. xv. 56, ' The sting of death is sin, and 
the strength of sin is the law ; ' or stupefied by being given up to their 
own hearts' counsels : Ps. Ixxxi. 12, ' So I gave them up unto their 
own hearts' lusts, and they walked in their own counsels/ So that 
the sinner is left dull and senseless and past feeling : 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/ By the first, by horrors of conscience, they are made 
to feel God's displeasure at the courses they walk in ; but when that 
is long despised, and men sin on still, then the other and more ter 
rible judgment cometh ; for the giving up a sinner to his own lusts, and 
his losing all remorse, is the last and sorest judgment on this side hell. 
[3.] As to God's internal judgments, the scripture chiefly insists upon 
two parts of this internal dispensation blindness of mind and hard 
ness of heart ; they usually go together. Blindness of mind is spoken 
of, John xii. 39, 40, ' Therefore they could not believe, because that 
Esaias said again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their 
hearts ; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with 
their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them/ All passages 
are obstructed whereby the word might enter and work conversion 
unto God. It was God laid this punishment of blindness upon them. 

2 THES. II. 11, 12.] THE NDSTH SERMON. 87 

Hardness of heart, in that famous instance, Exod. iv. 21, ' I will harden 
Pharaoh's heart/ God doth not make them that see, blind, nor them 
that are soft, hard ; but leaveth them to their own prejudice, obstinacy, 
and unpersuadableness, and that when highly provoked. The former 
is under our consideration. 

[4.] To understand God's concurrence as a judge, we must not say 
too much of it or too little. We must not say too much of it, lest we 
leave a stain and blemish upon the divine glory. God infuseth no sin-, 
no blindness nor hardness, into the hearts of men ; all influences from 
heaven are good : he conveyeth no deceit into the minds of men im 
mediately, nor doth he command or persuade men to oppose the truth. 
Nor doth he impel or excite their inward propensions so to do. All 
this belongeth not to God, but either to man or Satan. Nor must we 
say too little; as, for instance, God is not said to blind or harden; by 
bare prescience or foresight, that they will be blinded or hardened ; 
because God foreseeth other things, and yet they are not ascribed unto 
God ; as that men will kill, or steal, or do wrong, and yet God is not 
said to kill or steal, as he is said to blind and harden ; and therefore 
there is a difference between God's concurrence to this effect and other 
sins. Nor only by way of manifestation, as if this were all the sense, 
that in the course of his- providence God doth in the issue declare how 
blind and hard they are. That some other thing is meant by it is seen 
in the prayers by which we deprecate this heavy judgment. As when 
the saints pray, Isa. Ixiii. 17, ' Lord r harden not our hearts from thy 
fear;' or David, Ps. cxix. 19, 'Lord, hide not thy commandments- 
from me.' They mean not thus, Lord, show not to the world how hard 
and blind I am, but cure my blindness and hardness of heart ; keep 
back this judgment from me. Again, we must not say that all that 
God doth is a bare, naked, and idle permission, as if it happened be 
sides his will and intention, and God had no more to do in it than a 
man that standeth on the shore and seeth a ship ready to be drowned : 
he might have helped it, but permitted it. No ; besides all this, there 
is not a bare permission only,, but a permissive intention and a judicial 
sentence, which is seconded by an active providence. Many things 
concur to the blinding of the mind and hardening of the heart, all 
which God willeth, but justly. The wicked take occasions of their own 
accord to blind and harden themselves. Satan tempteth of his own 
malice, but all this could n.ot be done with effect and success without 
the will of God. There is a supreme power overruling, and ordering 
all that is done in the world. 

[5.] God's concurrence may be stated by these things : 
(1.) His withdrawing or taking away the light and direction of his 
Holy Spirit : Deut. xxix. 4, ' The Lord hath not given you an heart 
to perceive, nor eyes to see, nor ears to hear, unto this day.' Now, 
when God lets them loose to their own hearts' counsels, then they fall 
into damnable errors. A greyhound held in by a slip or collar run 
neth violently after the hare when it is in sight ; as soon as the slip 
and collar are taken away, the restraint is gone, and his inbred disposi 
tion carrieth him. So men that are greedy of worldly things are 
powerfully drawn into errors countenanced by the world, when God 
taketh off the restraint of his grace, and giveth them up to their own 

88 THE NINTH SERMON. [2 TfiES. II. 11, 12. 

lusts. Now herein God is not to be blamed, for he is debtor to none, 
and the grace of his Spirit is forfeited by their not receiving the love 
of the truth. He is so far from being bound to give grace, that he 
seemeth to be bound in justice to withdraw what is given already 
by men's wickedness and ingratitude. Voluntary blindness bringeth 
penal blindness ; and because men will not see, they shall not see. And 
when they wink hard, and shut their eyes against the light of the 
gospel, it is just with God in this manner to smite them with blind 
ness : and since they had no love to the truth, they are given up to 
errors and deceits. And because they despise the holy scriptures, and 
dote on vain fables, and would not take up a course of sound godliness 
and holiness, he suffereth them to weary themselves with sundry 

(2.) Not only by desertion, but by tradition, delivering them up to 
the power of Satan : 2 Cor. iv. 4, ' The God of this world hath blinded 
their eyes/ Satan, as the executioner of God's curse, worketh upon 
the corrupt nature of man, and deceiveth them. It is said, 1 Chron. 
xxi. 1, ' Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number 
Israel ;' but it is said, 2 Sain. xxiv. 1, ' And the anger of the Lord was 
kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, 
number Israel and Judah/ How shall we reconcile these two places ? 
God gave him over to be tempted by Satan by God as a judge, by 
Satan as an executioner. Temptations to sin come immediately from 
the devil, but they are governed by God for holy and righteous ends. 
So again, 1 Kings xxii. 22, the evil spirit had leave and commission 
to be a lying spirit in Ahab's prophets : * Go forth and do so, and thou 
shalt prevail with him.' There is a permissive intention, not an affec 
tive. When they grieve his Spirit, God withdraweth and leaveth them 
to the evil spirit, who works by their fleshly and worldly lusts, and then 
they are easily seduced who prefer worldly things before heavenly. 

(3.) There is an active providence which raiseth such instruments 
and propoundeth such objects as, meeting with a naughty heart, do 
sore blind it. (1.) For instruments : Job xii. 16, ' The deceived and 
the deceiver are his/ Take it in worldly, or take it in religious, mat 
ters, man's deceiving others, or being deceived by others, is of God ; 
for it is said, both are his ; not only as his creatures, but subject to the 
government and disposal of providence, how and whom they shall de 
ceive, and how far they shall deceive. So Ezek. xiv. 9, ' If the pro 
phet be deceived that hath spoken a thing, I the Lord have deceived 
him/ This is a great transaction in the world, a sad judgment, not to 
be cavilled but trembled at. For man's ingratitude, God raiseth up 
false prophets to seduce them that delight in lies rather than in the 
truths of God. (2.) For objects : wicked instruments varnish and dress 
up this cause with all the art they can to make it a powerful deceit, and 
then it is befriended and countenanced by the powers of the world, 
and so easily prevaileth with them who are moved either with worldly 
hopes or fears, and have debauched their conscience by worldly re 
spects. God saith, Jer. vi. 21, ' I will lay stumbling-blocks before this 
people/ If we will find the sin, God will find the occasion. If Judas 
hath a mind to sell his Master, he shall not want chapmen to bargain 
with him. The priests were consulting to destroy Christ at the same 

2 THES. II. 11, 12.] THE NINTH SERMON. 89 

time that the devil put it into his heart, Mat. xxvi. 3, being alarmed 
by the miracle of raising Lazarus. Birds and fishes are easily de 
ceived with such baits as they greedily catch at, so God by his just 
vengeance ordereth such occurrences and occasions as take with a 
naughty and carnal heart. 

2. The degree or kind of the punishment, evepyeiav Tr/Vaz^? ; we 
render it 'strong delusion/ or 'the efficacy of error;' that is, such 
delusion as shall have a most efficacious force to deceive them. The 
prevalency and strength of the delusion is seen in two things : (1.) 
The absurdity of the errors ; (2.) The obstinacy wherewith they 
cleave to them. 

[1.] The absurdity of the errors. I will instance in three things 
False image worship and bread worship, invocation of saints, and 
supererogation of works. 

(1.) Adoration of images. Idolaters are usually represented as 
sottish ; as Ps. cxv. 8, ' They that make them are like unto them ; so is 
every one that trusteth in them/ He had described the senselessness 
of the idols before. They have mouths, but they speak not ; eyes have 
they, but they see not ; they have ears, but they hear not ; noses have 
they, but they smell not, &c. Now as idols are senseless, so the idolaters 
are brutish ; that is, the makers, worshippers, and servers of them, are 
as void of true wisdom as the images are of sense and motion : Isa. xliv. 
18, * They have not known, nor understood ; for he hath shut their 
eyes, that they cannot see, and their hearts, that they cannot under 
stand.' There is a fatal obduration upon them all along there. Their 
senselessness is set forth from ver. 9 to ver. 20 ; they that worship the 
work of their own hands are themselves but stocks and stones, being 
blinded by the just judgment of God. If it be said this is meant of 
the idols of the Gentiles, not of the images of God, and Christ, and 
the Virgin Mary, and saints ; still God will not be worshipped by an 
idol, and there is no difference between the images of the papists and 
the heathens, but only in the name. 

(2.) Another thing that I will instance in is the invocation of 
saints a sottish error, and respect paid to them that are so far out 
of the reach of our commerce ; and a thing not only without precept, 
promise, or precedent in scripture, but also against scripture, which 
always directeth to God by one Mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ. The 
scripture saith, Go to God if you lack anything, and they say, Go to 
the saints ; if they say, not as authors of grace, or any divine blessing, 
but as intercessors, though that be not true, yet that derogateth from 
Christ, whose office it is to intercede with the Father. So that this is 
to put the creature in the place of God. But it is not only contrary to 
scripture, but the very motion and inclination of the Spirit when he 
stirreth us or moveth us to pray: Kom. viii. 15, * 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 your 
hearts, crying, Abba, Father ;' he inclineth us to corne to God, and 
yet this they will leave. 

(3.) A third error that I shall instance in is, that man may superero- 
gate, not only merit for himself, but lay in an overplus to increase the 
treasure of the church ; when the scripture telleth us that our best works 

90 THE NINTH SERMON. [2 THES. II. 11, 12. 

are imperfect, yea, polluted; and our Lord himself hath told us that 'when 
ye have done all, say ye, We are unprofitable servants/ Luke xvii. 10. 
But what will not men believe that can believe these things ? There 
are other absurdities as gross as these, but this sufficeth for a taste. 

[2.] The obstinacy wherewith they cleave to them. Nothing will 
reclaim them ; not scripture, nor reason, nor evidence of truth, but 
they still cry the opinion of the church, and the faith of their fore 
fathers, and will invent any paltry shift and distinction, rather recede 
from anything than once admit that the church hath erred ; like the 
obstinate Jews in Christ's time, that denied apparent matter of fact, 
John viii. 33, * We were never in bondage to any man,' though they 
were in Egypt and Babylon, and were now under servitude and the 
power of the Komans. Though we prove they have erred, and do err, 
still the church cannot err ; or rather, like the elder Jews in the 
prophet Jeremiah's time, Jer. xliv. 16-19, ' As for the word that 
thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the Lord, we will not hearken 
to thee. But we will certainly do whatsoever goeth out of our own 
mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink- 
offerings to her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, and our kings, and 
our princes : for then we had plenty of victuals, and were well, and 
saw no evil. But since we have left off burning incense to the queen 
of heaven, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the 
sword and the famine.' Such sottish obstinacy is there in men that 
dote upon their own invented superstitious and idolatrous services, 
custom, antiquity, practice of their ancestors, the authority and usage 
of their great ones, their rulers, the generality of observance. This is 
their knot of arguments by which they confirm themselves ; just as 
the papists plead for their superstitions at this day ; and to make the 
mess more complete, they add the plenty and prosperity they enjoyed 
what a merry world it was before the new gospel came in, when they 
had nothing but mass and matins ; and all the calamities that have 
fallen out they impute not to their own sins, but to the gospel. Now, 
when a people are thus obstinate, and measure religion not by reasons 
of conscience, but the interests of the belly, it is a sign that they are 
under the power of delusion, and error hath more efficacy with such 
corrupt minds than the truth. 

[3.J The causes of it show the efficacy of error. (1.) The sinning of 
their learned to keep out all instructions, allowing the vulgar only 
prayers in a strange tongue, and the scriptures in no tongue, and 
teaching them implicitly to believe as the church believeth. 
When the Lord permitteth such guides to order the affairs of 
his church, his great judgment of occecation and obduration is 
upon them: Jer. v. 31, 'The prophets prophesy falsely, and the 
priests bear rule by their means, and my people love to have it so/ 
(2.) When gain, interest, and ambition move them thereunto ; as 
those masters in the Acts exclaim against Paul and Silas, when they 
saw their hope of gain was gone, Acts xvi. 19-21, ' These men do 
exceedingly trouble the city ; ' and Demetrius, Acts xix. 25, * Ye 
know by this craft we have our wealth/ This is a tender point to 
touch interest, and when once it cometh to this, they will proceed in 
their folly, and defend one falsehood with another ; for the great idol 

2 THES. II. 11, 12.] THE NINTH SERMON. 91 

of the world is gain or love of money : 1 Tim. vi. 10, ' For the love of 
money is the root of all evil : which while some coveted after, they 
have erred from the faith.' It were a happiness if such kind of 
arguments did only prevail with us to embrace a religion*~that might 
convince others that it was religion itself that we loved ; that our 
interests did not keep others from their duty, and that we could em 
brace a religion for the goodness of it, even to our own loss. (3.) 
Another cause is pride of themselves, and prejudice to others ; lest 
they should seem to be in an error and wrong, and to learn of a few 
novelists shall they teach them ? No ; rather they will remain 
ignorant still. Alas ! it is not easy to strike sail, and submit to the 
teaching of those whom they hate ; therefore men continue those first 
prejudices they have imbibed, and will rather live and die in their 
errors than give God glory by a submission to truth, such a proud 
opinion and conceit have they of their own learning and knowledge. 
This cause also conduceth to make the resolution more strong pre- 
engagement in a contrary way. It is disgraceful to change ; men 
think it is taken notice of as a great wonder, Acts vi. 7, ' that a 
great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.' But such 
wonders are not wrought every day ; they of all men are most perti 
nacious ; but God can of stones raise up children to Abraham. Now, 
would to God these causes of error were only found in the antichristiari 
estate. They are everywhere, but these cause strong delusion. 

3. The issue and effect ; that they should believe a lie. Two things 
must be explained : (1.) The object ; (2.) The act. 

[1.] The object : a lie ; that is, either (1.) False doctrines : 1 Tim. 
iv. 2, ' Speaking lies in hypocrisy/ when palpable errors are taken 
for truths. A man given over by God to delusion will swallow the 
grossest errors and fictions, and that in matters dangerous and destruc 
tive to salvation. False doctrines are often called a lie in scripture, as 
opposite to the truth ; and yet such things are received by those from 
whose parts the world could expect better things. (2.) False miracles 
in their legends. A man would wonder any should have the face to 
obtrude such ridiculous stories, and scandalous to religion, upon the 
world. (3.) False calumnies against those instruments whom God em 
ployed in the Reformation. Popery is a religion supported by lies ; as 
that Calvin was a sodomite, and burnt in the shoulder at Noyon for that 
crime, and the Popish dean and chapter of that place have published 
his vindicate ; that Luther was an incarnate devil, begotten by an 
incubus. I should weary you to rake in this dunghill ; but I must close 
it with the general observation that antichristians will lie ; some 
among them call them pious frauds, but they are diabolical forgeries. 

[2.] The act is, that they are given up to believe a lie. This must 
be applied to their erroneous doctrines, as common to them all ; to 
their false miracles and calumnies ; not to the inventors, but to the 
seduced, who swallow these things. All that oppose the truth do not go 
apparently against conscience, but being given up to the efficacy of error, 
they may believe that false religion wherein they live. Let us open the 
term believe. What is it to believe a thing ? You may know by the 
opposites. Now, opposite to faith there is (1.) Doubtfulness, when 
men halt between two opinions : 1 Kings xviii. 21, * If the Lord be 

92 THE NINTH SERMON. [2 THES. II. 11, 12. 

God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.' This doubtfulness 
proceedeth from want of bringing the case to a trial and thorough 
hearing. (2.) Conjecture : Acts xxvi. 28, almost persuaded ' Almost 
thou persuadest me to be a Christian.' (3.) Opinion : Mat. xiii. 4, 
' Hath not root in himself, but dureth for a while,' &c. (4.) Firm per 
suasion. They will censure nothing ; for if of truth, John vi. 69, ' We 
believe and are sure,' &c. ; if of error, Acts xxvi. 9, * I verily thought 
with myself that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus 
of Nazareth.' (5.) Resolved adherence. If to the truth, that is 
called * receiving the truth in the love of it ; ' if to error, it is seen in 
men's obstinacy and zeal suffering in it : 1 Kings xviii. 28, ' Cutting 
themselves with knives and lances, till blood gushed out/ Suffering 
for it ; for a man may give his body to be burned for an error, a man 
may sacrifice a strong body to a stubborn mind : 1 Cor. xiii. 3, 
* Though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profit- 
eth nothing/ And persecuting the contrary : John xvi. 2, 'They shall 
put you out of the synagogues : yea, the time cometh, that whoso 
ever killeth you will think that he doeth God service/ To apply this : 
Many that live within the kingdom of Antichrist, some are doubtful, 
some almost persuaded, some espouse the common prevailing opinions, 
others adhere to them with much false zeal and superstition ; these are 
those who are given up to believe a lie. 

Use 1. Information. 

1. To show us the reason why so many learned men are captivated 
by Antichrist, and live yet in the popish religion, for this is a great 
scruple to many. The answer is ready : The Lord hath suffered them 
to be deluded by him whose coming is after the working of Satan in all 
power, &c. : Eev. xvii. 2, ' The inhabitants of the earth have been 
made drunk with the wine of her fornication/ It is an intoxication ; 
the errors of that state are plausibly defended and supported by 
worldly interests. There is the witchery of worldly allurements, and 
the intoxicating wine of errors defended and owned within their 
bounds and places of their education and abode ; so that men have 
seemed to lose their understandings, and not have that advisedness 
which well becomes a man. Possibly they may have doubts and checks 
of conscience, but the name of the church charmeth them, and worldly 
magnificence strangely inveigleth them. They may know that the re 
ligion professed by Protestants is sincere, holy, and saving ; but being 
allured by licentiousness, or entangled by covetousness, or puffed up 
with pride, are loth to change, or are vanquished and astonished with 
fear of death, and other inconveniencies ; or, it may be, do not use that 
advised and serious deliberation, which a matter of salvation requireth. 
Four causes may be given : (1.) Self-confidence. God will show the 
folly of those that depend on the strength of their own wit : Prov. iii. 
5, 6, ' Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine 
own understanding : in all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall 
direct thy paths ; ' and therefore will bring to nought the wisdom of 
the wise, and destroy the understanding of the prudent, when it is 
lifted up against the interests of Christ's kingdom, 1 Cor. i. 19. (2.) 
Prejudice. The priests and scribes could readily tell that Christ was 
to be born in Bethlehem when Herod sent to consult them, Mat. ii. 4-6 ; 

2 THES. II. 11, 12.] THE NINTH SERMON. 93 

yet who more obstinate against him that was born there? They 
expected a temporal Messiah, and therefore could not see what 
they saw. What was apparent to children was a riddle to the 
rabbis. So they expect some open enemy of the church to attack it by 
power and force, little dreaming of a bishop, &c. (3.) Pride. Many 
of the Jewish church believed in Christ, but they did not profess him, 
lest they should be put out of the synagogue : John xii. 42, 43, ' They 
loved the praise of men more than the praise of God/ They loved 
not an hated opinion. Many may fear the Pope to be Antichrist, but 
pride and interest will not let them submit to a change. (4.) The 
judgment of God is the great cause that men do not, or will not, know 
Antichrist ; God hath not given them eyes to see, as Christ was not 
received in Jerusalem ; the things of their peace were hid from 
their eyes: Luke xix. 41, 42, ' He beheld the city, and wept over it, 
saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the 
things which belong unto thy peace ! but now they are hid from thine 

2. It showeth us that the prevalency of this wicked one should be 
no blemish to providence ; for the permission of him is one of God's 
dreadful providential dispensations. That it should have such success, 
it raiseth atheistical thoughts in weak spirits ; yea, it is an offence to 
the godly, as it is a prejudice to the truth. But God hereby will show 
us: (1.) That there are deceits and errors as well as truth in the world; 
much of choice, not chance ; and lest we should think this an anti 
quated dispensation, to try the professors of the gospel who lived in 
the midst of pagans ; it cometh nearer to us. But he that coridemneth 
all reli ,ion on this account, judgeth one man for another's crime, 
which is unjust doth as foolishly as he that thinketh there is no true 
money because there are some counterfeit pieces. (2.) That God, in 
concomitancy with the gospel, will discover his dreadful justice as 
well as his wonderful mercy by it, that we may tremble whilst we 
admire grace. (3.) That it is a great evil to be deceivers or active 
promoters of delusions, and it will not wholly excuse us that we are 
deceived, Mat. xv. 14. (4.) What need all serious Christians have to 
pray to God not to be led into temptation. Alas ! what would become 
of us if left to ourselves in an hour of temptation ? (5.) Let us fear to 
slight the grace offered. Among other threatenings, God threateneth 
to smite his people with blindness : Deut. xxviii. 28, ' The Lord shall 
smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart.' 
(6.) What a ready way to destruction it is to measure religion by 
worldly interests. This bred Antichrist, kept him up in the world, 
and blind eth his seduced proselytes to this day. 

Use 2. Is caution to take heed of spiritual blindness and infatuation, 
that this judgment fall not upon us ; that God leave us not to our own 
lusts, hearts, and counsels, without check and restraint. It may in 
part befall God's people. What shall we do to avoid it ? (1.) Take heed 
of sinning against light, either by sins of omission or commission : 
James iv. 17, ' To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to 
him it is sin.' They will find it to be sin in the sad effects. (2.) Take 
-heed of hypocrisy in the profession of the truth. God oweth the 
hypocrite an ill turn, and seemeth to be engaged to discover him 

94 THE TENTH SERMON. [2 TflES. II. 12. 


before the congregation : Prov. xxvi. 26, ' Whose hatred is covered by 
deceit, his wickedness shall be showed before the whole congregation ;' 
and usually it is by giving him up to some licentious practice or 
strong delusion, by which he breaketh the neck of his profession. 
(3.) Take heed of pride and carnal self-sufficiency. God may leave 
his people to dangerous falls when they make their bosom their oracle, 
and think to carry all by the strength of their own understanding : 
2 Chron. xxxii. 31, ' God left him to try him, that he might know all 
that was in his heart/ It is good to consult with God continually. 
(4.) Take heed of following the rabble: John iv. 20, 'Our fathers 
worshipped in this mountain, and ye say that in Jerusalem is the 
place where men ought to worship/ &c. But learn to see by your 
own eyes, that you may have sure evidence you are in God's way, 
Prov. xxiv. 13, 14. 


That they all might be damned ivho believed not the truth, but had 
pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 THES. II. 12. 

THEIR punishment in the other world. Where (1.) The terribleness 
of it; (2.) The righteousness and justice of it. 

1. The terribleness : that they all might be damned ; that is, filling 
up the measure of their obduration, they may at length fall into just 

2. The justice and equity of it, which is two ways expressed : 
[1.] Negatively: they believed not the truth ; that is, received not 

the gospel in the simplicity of it, as revealed by Christ and his apostles, 
and recorded in the scriptures, but wilfully, and for their interest's 
sake, gave up themselves to these corruptions. 

[2.] Positively : had pleasure in unrighteousness. In the 10th verse 
it was, ' They received not the love of the truth ; ' now when the 
meritorious cause is repeated, there is something more added : they 
had a love to, and delight in, other things, evSo/crjcravTes iv rfj aSitcia. 
Here two things must be explained. 

1. What is a^LKia unrighteousness? 

2. What is evSo/cla taking pleasure in unrighteousness ? 

1. What is aSifcia unrighteousness ? Eighteousness is giving 
every one his due; and denying them their due is unrighteousness. 
There is a giving man his due, and a giving God his due : Mat. xxii. 
21, 'Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto 
God the things that are God's/ Righteousness is often put for 
giving man his due : Titus ii. 12, * That we should live soberly, 
righteously,' &c. ; and giving God his due, which is worship and 
reverence : Ps. xxix. 2, * Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his 
name ;' and again, Ps. xcvi. 8, * Give unto the Lord the glory due to 
his name ; bring an offering and come into his courts/ Now this 
unrighteousness here spoken of is principally meant in the latter 



sense. False ways of worship are the greatest unrighteousness that 
can be practised ; for the duty that we owe to God is the most 
righteous thing in the world. Now, by false worship you withdraw 
the glory of God from him, and communicate it to another. Worship 
is his own proper due, both by the light of nature and scripture ; and 
therefore the Gentiles, which had the light of nature, are said to 
' detain the truth, eV d&iicia,' Rom. i. 18. Why ? The reason is ren 
dered in the after verses. Ver. 23, * They changed the glory of God 
into an image made like a corruptible man.' Ver. 25, ' They changed 
the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature 
more than the Creator.' This was their aSiKia, their unrighteousness, 
or injurious .dealing with God. So the antichristians that had the 
light of scripture, though under palliated pretences, changed the truth 
of God into a lie, loved their own errors more than simple and plain 
Christianity, or the true knowledge of God, and diverted the worship 
from himself unto an idol. 

2. They had ' pleasure in unrighteousness ;' in these things they 
please themselves, not lapse into it out of simple ignorance and error 
of mind. And so the apostle parallels the two great apostasies : that 
from the light of nature, and that from the light of the gospel. Light 
of nature : Horn. i. 32, * Not only do these things, but have pleasure 
in them that do them/ Light of scripture : * Have pleasure in un 
righteousness.' They are mad upon their idols and images; not only 
are idolaters, but delight in idolatry and image-worship : Ps. xcvii. 7, 
' That boast themselves of idols.' 

Now to observe some things. 

1. Errors of judgment, as well as sins of practice, may bring 
damnation upon the souls of men. All sins do in their own nature 
tend to damnation: Born. vi. 23, 'For the wages of sin is death.' 
And errors of judgment are sins, for they are contrary to the rule or 
law of God : 1 John iii. 4, ' Whosoever committeth sin, transgresseth 
also the law, for sin is the transgression of the law/ Any swerving 
from the law is sin ; and they are inductive of other sins ; for ' if the 
eye be blind, the whole body is full of darkness/ Mat. vi. 23 ; it 
perverts our zeal. There is nothing so mischievous, wicked, and cruel, 
that a man blinded with error will not attempt against those that 
differ from him : John xvi. 2, * They shall put you out of the syna 
gogues : yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think 
that he doeth. God service,' A blind horse is full of mettle, but ever 
and anon stumbleth. Therefore, if a man be not guided by sound 
judgment, his zealous affections will precipitate him into mischief. 
As the Jews, that persecuted Christ and his apostles, had a ' zeal of 
God, but not according to knowledge,' Rom. x. 2, so the Popish 
zealots ; with what fury have they persecuted the innocent and sincere 
servants of Christ ! The papists would be angry if we should not 
reckon St Dominic a zealous man ; and the poor Albigenses felt the 
bitter effects of that zeal, in the destruction of many thousands by 
inhuman butcheries and villanies about Toulouse, &c. The Lord 
deliver us from the furies of transported, brain-sick zealots ! 

2. Though all errors may bring damnation upon the souls of men, 
yet some more esp^ tally than others may be said to be damning ; as 


2 Peter ii. 1, ' Some shall bring in damnable heresies.' Now, this may 
be either from the matter or manner of holding them : 

[1.] From the matter, if destructive of the way of salvation by 
Christ. Some are utterly inconsistent with salvation and eternal life, 
as errors in the fundamentals in religion. As suppose that ,a man 
should reject or refuse Christ after a sufficient proposal of the gospel 
to him, there is no question but this is damning unbelief : 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 were evil.' 
But yet we are not to say that alone damnetli. There are other 
things necessary to salvation contained under that general truth. The 
scripture saith, John xvii. 3, * And this is life eternal, that they might 
know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.' 
There is the sum of what is necessary to salvation : that God is to 
be known, loved, obeyed, worshipped, and enjoyed ; arid the Lord 
Jesus to be owned as our Redeemer and Saviour, to bring us home to 
God, and to procure for us the gifts of pardon and life, and this life 
to be begun here, and perfected in heaven. Other things are of 
moment to clear these necessary truths, but they may be all reduced 
thereunto. The truth is, the question about the matter to be believed 
is not what divine revelations are necessary to be believed or rejected, 
when sufficiently proposed, for all points, without exception, are so ; 
but what are simply and absolutely necessary to eternal life, and these 
are points of faith, and practice, and obedience. The points of faith 
are a knowledge of God in Christ ; and practice, that we be regenerated : 
John iii. 5, ' Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he 
cannot enter into the kingdom of God.' And live a holy life : Heb. 
xii. 14, ' Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no 
man shall see the Lord.' 

[2.] From the manner. (1.) When men profess what they believe not, 
and voluntarily choose error for worldly ends, though it be a less error 
against the scripture, and consistent with the main tenor of salvation, 
yet, if taken up against conscience, for by-ends, it is a matter of sad 
consequence ; for this is living in a known sin. Some may be blinded 
for a time, out of terror and compassion, and their case is sad till they 
express solemn repentance ; but when there is a reluctation against 
clear light, and an obstinacy in that reluctation, this man is condemned 
in himself : Titus iii. 11, ' Such a man is subverted and sinneth, being 
condemned of himself.' There cannot be a greater argument of a will 
unsubdued to God, than to stand out against conviction out of secular 
respects. This is to love darkness more than light, and argueth such 
pravity of heart as is inconsistent with faith and salvation. Some 
ignorant souls may hold dangerous errors, and which to others would 
be damnable ; yet they may not actually damn them, because they do 
not rebel against the light ; and may be retracted by a general repent 
ance or seeking of pardon for all their known or unknown sins : Ps. 
xix. 12, 13, ' Who can understand his errors ? clea.nse thou me from 
secret faults : keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins ; 
let them not have dominion over me : then shall I be upright, and I 
shall be innocent from the great transgression.' 

(2.) When they are vented by some professor of Christianity, to 


the seducing of others, and rending of the church, and drawing disciples 
after them, this addeth a new guilt to their errors, and maketh them 
the more damnable : Acts xx. 30, * Also of your own selves shall men 
arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.' 
These are properly heretics and ringleaders of sects ; therefore heresies 
are reckoned among the works of the flesh : Gal. v. 20, ' Emulation, 
wrath, strife, seditions, heresies;' increasing their own doom and 
judgment. These, under a Christian name, seduce and lead away the 
church from Christ ; they pervert the holy ways of God, and draw his 
people from serving him in spirit and truth. 

(3.) When, though they should not err fundamentally, they so far 
debauch Christianity, as that God giveth them up to believe a lie, and 
to take pleasure in unrighteousness, that is, to defend and maintain 
apparent corruptions of Christian doctrine and worship. Of doctrine, 
for it is here said they believe a lie, and they believe not the truth. 
Of worship, for it is said they take pleasure in unrighteousness. A 
party thus given up by God we should shun, as we would shun 
a plague or come out of Bedlam ; for these men have lost their 
spiritual wits, and see not that which the common light of Christianity 
doth disprove, however they retain the name of Christians, and make 
a cry of the church ! the church ! as the Jews did of the temple of the 
Lord, and retain some truth among them ; for such a party is here 

(4.) When there is gross negligence, or not taking pains to know 
better, it is equivalent to reluctation or standing out against light ; 
crassa negligentia dolus est there is a deceit in laziness or affected 
ignorance : John iii. 20, ' They will not come to the light, lest their 
deeds should be reproved ;' 2 Peter iii. 5, ' They are willingly ignorant/ 
Those that please themselves in the ignorance of any truth, err not 
only in their minds, but their hearts. It is the duty of God's people 
to understand what is his will : Eph. v. 17, ' Be not unwise, but 
understanding what the will of the Lord is/ And it is their practice : 
Rom. xii. 2, ' That ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, 
and perfect will of God ;' Ps. i. 2, ' His delight is in the law of the 
Lord, and therein doth he meditate day and night/ We should be 
searching still. But when men will not know what they have a mind 
to hate, it argueth a secret sore, and suspicion of the truth, and are 
loth to follow it too close, lest it cross their lusts and interests. 

3. That the way and errors of Popery are damnable, and it is very 
unsafe living in that society and combination. I prove it (1.) Because 
they live in wilful disobedience to God. They violate the manifest com 
mandments of God, while they hold it lawful to worship pictures and 
images, to make pictures of the Trinity, to invocate saints and angels, to 
deny laymen the cup in the sacrament, to adore the sacrament, to pro 
hibit certain orders of men and women to marry, to celebrate the public 
service in a language which ordinarily men and women that assist un 
derstand not. In all these things they offer apparent violence to God's 
precepts. And that their wholeworship is polluted with a gross supersti 
tion ; as, for instance, to worship images is expressly against God's word : 
Ps. xcvii. 7, ' Confounded be all they that worship graven images, that 
boast themselves of idols. Worship him, all ye gods/ The scripture, 



you see, denounceth confusion to all worshippers of images, and they 
are reckoned as enemies of Christ's kingdom (for it is applied to 
Christ, Heb. i. 6, * And let all the angels of God worship him ') that: 
would set up the worship and service of them in his church, in the 
exercise of their religion, especially those who glory in them, and 
boast of them, and set them forth as the glory of their way and wor 
ship. No ; he disdaineth all this relative worship at or before images, 
which men would give unto him, and showeth that all the powers of 
this world and the other, angels and potentates, should immediately 
worship Christ. For the second point, picturing the Trinity, God 
hath not only forbidden it, but argued against it : Deut. iv. 15, 16, 
' Take therefore good heed unto yourselves, for ye saw no similitude, 
when the Lord spake to you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire ; 
lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the simili 
tude of anything male or female.' See how cautelous God is to 
prevent this abuse, and yet how boldly men practise it. For the third 
instance, the invocation of saints and angels, our Lord hath taught 
us how to repel that temptation: Mat. iv. 10, 'It is written, thou 
shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve ;' 
that religious service arid worship is due only to God. No creature 
can claim it without sacrilege, nor can we give it to them without 
idolatry. And God being so jealous of his honour, every Christian 
should be careful that he doth not divert it from him. They have 
many distinctions to excuse themselves to the world, but I doubt how 
they will excuse themselves to God. For the fourth particular, ador 
ing the sacrament, I shall speak to again anon ; that is a mean, not an 
object of worship. The fifth, prohibiting certain orders of men and 
women to marry, which the apostle calleth doctrines of devils : 1 Tim. 
iv. 1, 2, ' In the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving 
heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils ; speaking lies in 
hypocrisy, having their conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding 
to marry/ &c. For the sixth, celebrating public service in an unknown 
tongue, it is contrary to the apostle's reasoning : 1 Cor. xiv. 14-17, 
' For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my 
understanding is unfruitful. What is it then ? I will pray with the 
spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also ; I will sing with 
the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also ; else, when thou 
shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the 
unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth 
not what thou sayest ? for thou verily givest thanks well, but the other 
is not edified.' For the seventh, communion in one kind, this is 
against Christ's express institution : Mat. xxvi. 26, 27, ' Jesus took 
bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and 
said, Take, eat ; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave 
thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it.' The apostle 
supposeth that every one can examine himself : 1 Cor. xi. 28, ' But let 
a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of 
that cup/ Now for this usurping synagogue to come as they do, with 
a non obstante to the statutes of God, who can join with them in these 
corruptions and usurpations without peril of salvation ? (2.) That 
the way of Popery is damnable, because they deprive the people 


of the means of salvation, contrary to the express injunctions from 
God : John v. 39, ' Search the scriptures, for in them ye think ye have 
eternal life, and they are they which testify of me ;' Col. iii. 16, ' Let 
the word of Christ dwell in you richly, in all wisdom, teaching and 
admonishing one another in psalms and hymns.' The saints are com 
mended, Acts xvii. 11, 'In that they received the word with all 
readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those 
things were so ; ' and 2 Tim. iii. 15, that he * knew the scriptures, 
which are able to make wise unto salvation, through faith which is in 
Christ Jesus/ This is the seed of life, food of souls, rule of faith and 
manners, our strength against temptations : 1 John ii. 14, ' I have 
written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of 
God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.' Now to 
deprive the Lord's people of the bread of life, and word of life, what 
is it but to leave them to perish ? 

The great charge is, they have pleasure in unrighteousness, that 
is, delight in idolatry, and corrupt or false worship, which is the 
greatest unrighteousness man can be guilty of. To evidence this, let 
us inquire (1.) What is idolatry ? (2.) Prove how notoriously they 
are guilty of it. 

First, What is idolatry ? It is a worshipping of a creature with 
divine worship, and whosoever giveth divine worship to a creature 
committeth idolatry. This proposition is evident in the scripture ; as 
when the Israelites worshipped the calf, literal or metaphorical idolatry, 
they are called idolaters : 1 Cor. x. 7, ' Neither be ye idolaters, as were 
some of them ; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, 
and rose up to play/ And the covetous, that giveth that delight and 
trust to his wealth which is only due to God, is called an idolater : 
Eph. v. 5, * Nor covetous man, who is an idolater ;' and in many 
other places. 

Secondly, Now, that the papists are guilty of this, I prove : 

1. By the several kinds of their idolatry : they have more variety of 
objects of worship than any society of men that ever lived in the world. 

First, Angels are creatures, and that they worship angels them 
selves confess. They consecrate churches unto them, offer solemn 
prayers unto them, and own the adoring them, though an angel for- 
biddeth this adoration : Eev. xix. 10, ' And he said unto me, See 
thou do it not, I am thy fellow-servant/ &c. And St Paul telleth us, 
that they that worship angels do not hold the head, Col. i. 18, 19. 
So that angel-worship proveth to be a damnable error. 

Secondly, The adoration of saints, to whom they give religious wor 
ship, and invoke them as helpers, and honour them with fastings, 
watchings, and prayers, as Suarez acknowledged ; and yet God is ex 
press that he ' will not give his glory to another,' Isa. xlii. 8. They 
are to be honoured indeed for imitation, but not adored for religion. 

The third object is the Virgin Mary, to whom they pray more than 
they do to God. In the rosary there is this prayer : Beata Maria, 
salva omnes qui le glorificant and we beseech thee to hear us, good 
Lady ; that address, Honstra te esse matrem, and one divided, inter 
ubera et vulnera, the breasts of the Virgin and wounds of Christ, as 
if the milk of the one were as sovereign and as precious as the blood 


of the other. It were endless to rake in this filthy puddle : how many 
books are there concluded with Laus Deo et Virgini Deiparce ? 
that sometimes there is a more present relief by commemorating the 
name of Mary than by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus ; in 
their exclamations, Jesu I Maria ! how often in their Te Deum, 
We praise thee, Lady f 

Fourthly, Adoration of images. This is more foul than all the 
former, because directed to a more gross object. This is prophesied 
of Antichrist, that he and his abettors shall ' worship idols of silver, 
and gold, and brass, and wood, and stone/ Rev. ix. 20. Now tell 
a papist of this, and they say they do not terminate their worship 
in the image, but in the party whom it representeth ; the same said 
the pagan, Non lapidem sed Jovem in lapide (Julian the apostate). 
But God hath forbidden bowing to or before an image. 

Fifthly, The worshipping of the cross, not only by cupping, that 
is, bowing, cringing, but prayers. crux, ave ! spes unica hoc pas- 
sionis tempore, auge piis justitiam reisque dona veniam All hail, 
cross ! our only hope this time of passion ; augment the godly's Devo 
tion, and forgive the transgression of the guilty. 

Sixthly, The bread in the sacrament ; the papists give it cultum 
latrice, that worship which is due to God. Those heathens worshipped 
living animals, but these adore a piece of bread, kneel to it in their 
chapels and oratories, yea, in the midst of the streets when it is car 
ried in procession. These are the idols whom they worship ; and 
what hope of salvation is there in a religion where the heart is turned 
so much from God to the creature ? 

2. That they are more culpable than the heathens. (1.) As to their 
hypocrisy, by distinctions and veil of piety wherewith they disguise 
all this ; for this delight in unrighteousness was called before, ' the 
deceivableness of unrighteousness.' They profess to abhor idols, and 
yet worship images, and make that a point of Christianity which is 
directly contrary to the drift of it, which is to teach us to worship God 
in the Spirit. (2.) As to their helps against it, the pagans were never 
taught to do better ; though they sinned against the light of nature 
in worshipping God by images, yet they had no scripture, no such 
express prohibitions to caution them as we have from God. They 
pretend to believe the scriptures, yet how do they seek to evade the 
force of them by crafty distinctions that will never satisfy conscience, 
though they help to blind the mind and harden the heart. That 
which I urge is this, they were never interdicted this kind of worship 
by their gods ; but these know that it is severely forbidden by our 
God, and the second commandment so stareth in their faces that it is 
expunged out of their catechisms ; and Vasquez is bold to affirm that 
the second commandment is ceremonial. Lactantius of old said, Non 
est dubium, religio nulla est ubi cujusque simulachrum est. (3.) The 
Pagans did adore their gods in their images, but never was any so 
sottish among them to imagine that an image was to be adored with 
the same degree of worship as God himself ; but this is the corrupt 
doctrine of the papists, that an image is to be worshipped with the 
same worship wherewith God himself is worshipped. Imagini Christi 
latria debetur (Aquinas) ; that is, the proper worship of God. 


Use 1. To show how necessary it is to take heed that we be not 
found among the followers of Antichrist, since these errors are 
damnable. Salvation and damnation are not trifles, nor matters to 
be played withal. Surely we need have our eyes in our head, and not 
to be hoodwinked, when we are upon the brink of a bottomless gulf. 
Both sides lay damnation at one another's door : they, for our depart 
ing from the catholic church, out of which is no salvation, as they 
pretend ; we, upon their departing from the catholic faith and sim 
plicity of the gospel. Now external order is not of such consideration 
as faith ; but when they will be able to prove that Christ hath settled 
this order in the church, that all his subjects should be obedient to 
one universal visible head, and that this head is the Pope, and there 
fore when their very order is an encroachment and usurpation, to 
depart from them is to return to Christ. Again, where is salvation 
most likely to be found ? rather with them who seek all their religion 
in the scriptures, and stick there, or with those who, not contented 
with the apostolical doctrine contained in the scriptures, have brought 
in unwritten traditions as an equal rule of faith with scripture, and 
the sacrifice of the mass and purgatory, the religious invocations of 
saints, and many other enormities, and uphold these innovations with 
all manner of tyranny and cruelty exercised upon Christ's faithful 
servants ? If men go to heaven without prayers which they under 
stand, and scriptures, half Christ's sacrament, a piece of his merits, 
and some superstitious observances, yea, plain idolatry, then the way 
to heaven is sooner to be had in Popery. But he that hath but half 
an eye may soon see which is the surer side. Surely the surest way 
to avoid damnation is to avoid sin. Now, where are souls so much in 
danger of sin as in the Koman society, where so little is given to 
internal life and piety, and so much to external pomp and service ; 
and where errors are so palpable, that either men do not believe them 
with their hearts, or, if their hearts were upright and not perverse 
and obstinate, could not believe them ? But just so is the way of 
Popery to true Christianity. Surely whatever it be to papists, it 
would be absolutely damnable to us, as wilfully to thrust ourselves 
upon apparent ruin. There is a cavil or pretence which I shall speak 
unto on this occasion : that many Protestants confess papists may 
be saved in their faith ; whereas they hold Protestants and other 
heretics may not be saved out of the catholic church ; and therefore 
it is safe to enter into that way which is safe by the consent of both 

Ans. (1.) Men's opinions are no ground of faith. Persons may be in 
a sad, woeful case, that men speak well of : Luke vi. 26, * Woe unto 
you when all men shall speak well of you ! ' It is not what man saith, 
but what the word of God saith. Now the word speaketh terrible 
things to them : Them that perish, and that they all might be damned 
who believed not the truth, &c. (2.) The word of God teacheth us to 
judge of the way, rather than persons, who stand or fall to their own 
master. The way is damnable. If, on the one side, there be charity 
to some persons that sin of invincible ignorance, and are ' saved as 
by fire,' 1 Cor. iii. 13, which the other side will not grant to a con 
trary persuasion; it argueth charity on one side, which hopeth all 


things ; malice on the other, who rashly condemn men without evi 
dence, yea, against it. (3.) If this argument would hold good, it had 
been better, in Christ and the apostles' time, to be a Jewish proselyte 
than a Christian. Christ acknowledged ' salvation is of the Jews,' 
their promises of adoption and glory ; but the Jews pronounced him 
and his followers accursed scourged, imprisoned them ; yet did not 
get so far as papists, to murder and butcher them. Suppose a little 
time that Catholics owned Donatists as brethren, allowed their bap 
tism ; but Donatists are re-baptised, and upon pain of damnation require 
all so to be, and say, Save thy soul, become a Christian. Now a 
pagan should rather by this argument join himself to Donatists than 
Catholics. Lastly, the argument may be retorted A Protestant 
keepeth himself to his Bible, baptismal covenant, creed, but denieth 
many things which papists believe and practise, as papal infallibility, 
transubstantiation, purgatory, invocation of saints, worshipping of 
images. They cannot but say Protestants are in the right. 

Use 2. Observe the degrees of obduration, not receiving the truth 
in the love of it, believing a lie, discarding truth, and then taking 
pleasure in unrighteousness, and then cometh damnation. 


But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren, 
beloved of the Lord, because the Lord hath from the beginning 
chosen you to salvation, through sanctijication of the Spirit, and 
belief of the truth. -2 THES. II. 13. 

THE adversative particle but showeth what respect these words have 
to what went before. He had spoken of God's direful judgment, of 
sending strong delusion on them that had no love to the pure truth, 
but sinned against light, and had pleasure in the false worship and 
superstitions countenanced by the world. Now, lest the Thessalonians 
should be troubled at this sad prediction, he showeth what cause he 
had to bless God in their behalf. The subjoining of this consolation 
doth teach us three things : 

1. That it is a great favour of God to us to escape antichristian 
errors. They are so dangerous in their own nature, so insinuative and 
inveigling by plausible appearance, and accompanied with such worldly 
baits and advantages, that it is a great mercy that God hath taught us 
better things. But then be sure you be in the right out of conscience 
and evidence, not out of faction and interest ; and that you hate Popery 
out of the love of the truth, rather than because you are out of the 
reach of the temptation. However, it is a great mercy that God keepeth 
off the temptation till we are better settled in religion. 

2. That the election of God giveth a people great advantages against 
errors, especially against the impostures of Antichrist ; for when he 
speaketh of the sad estate of those who are seduced by the man of sin, 


he presently addeth, ' But we are bound to give thanks to God for you, 
for he hath chosen you to salvation/ You will say the Thessalonians 
received the gospel before these corruptions were brought into the 
church ; but, though Antichrist was not then in being, and this corrupt 
Christianity not then set afoot, yet there were some preparations for it. 
The mystery of iniquity already worketh, and they were preserved 
from the taint of it by the election of God ; for either God suffereth not 
the elect to be deceived in momentous points, or sooner or later he 
reduceth them : 'The purpose of God according to election must 
stand/ Kom. ix. 11 ; and Kom. xi. 7, ' The election hath obtained, and 
the rest were blinded ; ' so 2 Tim. ii. 18, 19, ' They have overthrown 
the faith of some, nevertheless the foundation of the Lord standeth 
sure/ Still the elect of God escape the seduction, and especially anti- 
christian error : Rev. xiii. 8, ' The dwellers upon earth shall worship 
him, whose names are not written in the Lamb's book of life/ 

3. How careful we should be to support the hearts of God's people, 
when we speak of his terrible judgments on the wicked. This was 
the practice of the apostles everywhere ; as when the author to the 
Hebrews had spoken of the dreadful estate of apostates, ' whose end is 
to be burned : ' Heb. vi. 9, ' But we are persuaded better things of you, 
and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak ; ; he did 
not condemn them all as apostates, nor would discourage them by 
that terrible threatening, So again, after another terrible passage : 
Heb. x. 39, ' But we are not of them that draw back to perdition, but 
of them that believe to the saving of the soul.' Once more, when 
another apostle had spoken of the sin unto death, which is not to be 
prayed for, he presently addeth, 1 John v. 18, 19, 'Whosoever is 
born of God, sinneth not ; but he that is begotten of God keepeth 
himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. And we know that 
we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness/ Zuinglius 
saith, Bone Christiane, hcec nihil ad te, &c. Good Christian, this is 
not thy portion, when he had flashed the terrors of the Lord in the 
face of sinners. The reasons of this are partly with respect to the 
saints, who, sometimes out of weakness and infirmity, and sometimes 
out of tenderness of conscience, are apt to be startled, electorum corda 
semper ad se sollicite pudeant (Gregor.) We deserve such dreadful 
judgments, and therefore fear them ; partly, with respect to ourselves, 
that we may rightly divide the word of truth : 2 Tim. ii. 15, ' Study to 
show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be 
ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth/ Give every one his 
portion ; make not their hearts sad whom God would not make sad ; 
and, therefore, they are much to blame who, in reproving sinners, stab 
a saint at the heart, and take the doctrine but for a colour to make a 
perverse application. The apostle here useth more tenderness : * God 
shall send them strong delusion. But we are bound always to give 
thanks for you, brethren, beloved of the Lord ; because the Lord hath 
from the beginning chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of 
the Spirit and belief of the truth/ 

In the words are two things : 

1. An acknowledgment of this obligation to give thanks for them: 
but we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren, &c. 


2. The matter or particular cause of his thanksgiving : because the 
Lord hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation, &c. 

First, There are (1.) The titles he giveth : ' brethren/ and ' beloved 
of the Lord.' They were not only beloved of the apostle, but the Lord 
himself; both with an antecedent love, bestowing grace upon them, 
and also a consequent love, they believing in his name, living accord 
ing to his precepts, suffering for the truth. (2.) His obligation to 
bless God in their behalf: ' We are bound to give thanks to God 
always for you.' There is First, * Giving thanks,' which showeth 
his esteem of the blessing. Secondly, ' Always/ which showeth how 
deeply he was affected with it. (3.) 'O^etXcyteu, ' We are bound ;' he 
acknowledged a debt and bond of duty. We must not only give 
thanks to God for our own election, but the election of others, out of 
the law of brotherly love, we loving them as our own souls, and respect 
to the glory of God, which is promoted by the salvation of others as 
well as ourselves. 

Secondly, The matter of the thanksgiving, their election to salvation, 
which is two ways amplified: (1.) By the antiquity of it: 'from the 
beginning ; ' that is, from everlasting, for so it is taken sometimes ; as 
John i. 1, ' In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with 
God ; ' that is, before the first point of time, before God began to create 
all things. (2.) From the means of its accomplishment. Two are 
mentioned one on God's part, ' the sanctification of the Spirit ; ' the 
other on ours, ' the belief of the truth.' From the whole observe : 

Doct. That the great matter of our thanksgiving to God is his 
eternal election of us, whether for ourselves or others ; this is that 
which leaveth a debt, or an indispensable obligation, always to bless 
and praise his name. 

In pursuing this point I shall first consider how election is here set 
forth ; secondly, give you the reasons why this is the great matter of 
thanksgiving : 

1. How it is here set forth. 

[1 .] By the rise of it, which is the mere love of God ; for he calletli 
these ' brethren, beloved of the Lord ; ' and that the only original 
cause and motive of election is God's love arid grace. This is asserted 
in other scriptures ; as, for instance, in the types of election and repro 
bation : Rom. ix. 13, ' Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated/ 
God's respect to Jacob above Esau is ascribed to his love. So to the 
posterity of Jacob, whom he distinguished from other nations : Deufc. 
vii. 7, 8, ' The Lord did not set his love upon you, and choose you, 
because ye were more in number than any people, for ye were the 
fewest of all people ; but because the Lord loved you.' And still the 
Lord's election is an election of grace. There is no antecedent 
worthiness in the people whom he chooseth : 2 Tim. i. 9, * Not accord 
ing to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which 
was given in Christ Jesus, before the world began.' Now grace is 
nothing but the love of God working freely and of its own inclination. 
[2.] The act itself: he ' hath chosen you ; ' making a distinction be 
tween them arid others. Upon them he shall send strong delusion, 
but you hath he chosen to salvation through the belief of the truth. 
Those whom God hath chosen he separates from the world of the uii- 


godly, or the corrupt heap of mankind, and consecrateth them unto 
himself ; so that election is not a taking all, but some, and passing by 
others : 1 John v. 19, ' We are of God, and the whole world lieth in 
wickedness.' A choice implieth a setting apart some for objects of his 
grace and instruments of his glory in the world, Ps. iv. 3. And the 
number is certain, for their names are said to be written in the rolls 
and records of heaven, when others are not written : Luke x. 20, ' Re 
joice not that the spirits are subject unto you ; but rather rejoice be 
cause your names are written in heaven : ' Phil. iv. 3, ' Whose names 
are written in the book of life/ And others are said not to be written : 
Rev. xvii. 8, ' And they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose 
names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the 
world/ And Rev. xx. 15, ' And whosoever was not found written in 
the book of life was cast into the lake of fire ; ' namely, those that 
perish by these delusions. 

[3.] It is set forth by the antiquity of it : ' from the beginning.' 
Eph. i. 4, ' He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the 
world ; ' and Mat. xxv. 34, * Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit 
the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world ;' 
namely, as they belonged to his choice election. Love in God is of an 
old standing, even from all eternity. His thoughts and purposes of 
love were towards us a long time before they were discovered. Surely 
the ancientness of his love should beget an honourable esteem of it in 
our hearts ; for who are we, that the thoughts of God should be taken 
up about us so long ago ? And what is from everlasting is to ever 
lasting, Ps. ciii. 17 ; for what is from eternity is to eternity, and de- 
pendeth not upon the accidents of time. 

[4.] By the means of its accomplishment. Two are mentioned, one 
on God's part, the other on ours ' the sanctification of the Spirit, 
and the belief of the truth.' Where note : 

(1.) That God's decree is both of ends and means, for all his pur 
poses are executed by fit means. He that hath chosen us to salvation hath 
also chosen us to be holy, and to believe the truth. And without the 
means the end cannot be obtained ; for without faith and holiness no 
grown person shall see God or escape condemnation. As to faith, it is 
clear : John iii. 36, ' He that believeth not, the wrath of God abideth 
on him.' And holiness is indispensably necessary : Heb. xii. 14, 
' Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.' God had assured 
Paul, Acts xxvii. 22, ' That there should be no loss of any man's life 
amongst them, except of the ship ;' and afterwards, ver. 31, Paul tell- 
eth them, ' Except these abide in the ship ye cannot be saved.' How 
could the assurance given to Paul from God, and Paul's caution to the 
mariners stand together ? Doth the purpose of God depend upon the 
will and actions of men ? I answer Not as a cause from whence it 
receiveth its force and strength, but as a means appointed also by 
God to the execution of his decree. For by the same decree God 
appointeth the event, what he will do, and the means by which he will 
have it to be done ; and the Lord revealing by his word this conjunc 
tion of end and means, there is a necessity of duty lying upon man^to 
use these means, and not to expect the end without -them. God in 
tended to save all in the ship, and yet the mariners must abide in the 


sliip. And therefore, what God hath joined together let no man 
separate. If we separate these things, God doth not change his counsel, 
but we subvert his order to our own destruction. The scripture maketh , 
it a grievous sin, a tempting of God, to expect the end without the 
use of means. In vain is the cavil, then, of those who would impeach 
the doctrine of God's free and unchangeable will concerning the sal 
vation of the elect, upon the pretence that it taketh away the duty of 
man, arid the necessity of our faith and obedience. No ; God exe- 
cuteth his decree by the proper means. Arid wretched is their infer 
ence who say, If I be elected I shall be saved. No salvation can be 
obtained but by the sanctification of the Spirit and the belief of the 
truth. Arid worse is their confidence who profess assurance of their 
election, and yet walk after the flesh. No ; till a man purge himself 
from youthful lusts he is not a vessel of honour sanctified and set apart 
for God, 2 Tim. ii. 21. And in vain do we hope to go to heaven till 
we take the way that leadeth thither. Devils have been cast out 
thence for unholiness, and therefore unholy men shall never be taken 
in there. 

(2.) That these things are not causes of election, but fruits of elec 
tion, and means of execution of God's decree about our salvation. 
Sanctification is not a cause, but a subordinate end or means : Eph. 
i. 4, ' He hath chosen us to be holy ; ' not because we are holy, but that 
we might be holy. So 1 Peter i. 2, ' Elect according to the foreknow 
ledge of God, through the sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience/ 
Not elected for it, but through it. When God had all mankind in his 
prospect and view, he freely chose out some to be sanctified and saved. 
We come to the possession of it through sanctification, that is, by it as 
a means. So for the other ; faith is a fruit of election, not a foreseen 
cause : Acts ii. 47, ' The Lord added to the church daily such as 
should be saved/ None cometh to the church but those whom God 
draweth, and they are actually added to the church by a profession of 
faith ; and such as should be saved were as many as were ordained to 
salvation Acts xiii. 48, ' And as many as were ordained to eternal 
life believed.' The whole city were met together to hear, but as many 
as were ordained to eternal life believed. It is not said, as many as 
believed were ordained to eternal life, but the contrary ; faith is not 
the cause of election, but election is the cause of faith. 

(3.) That being the necessary fruits, they are also evidences of our 
election. All that are sanctified by the Spirit and believe the truth 
belong to the election of God. Election itself is a secret in God's 
bosom, and is only manifested to us by the effects ; and what are the 
necessary effects but sanctification by the Spirit, and a sound belief of 
the gospel ? 

First, The sanctification of the Spirit is not only an external dedi 
cation to God, but an internal and real change. Some are externally 
dedicated, and may trample under foot the blood of the covenant 
whereby they are sanctified : Heb. x. 29, ' Of how much sorer punish 
ment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden 
under foot the Son of God ; and hath counted the blood of the cove 
nant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done 
despite unto the Spirit of grace?' That is, were in external cove- 


nant with God, and visibly dedicated. But there is another sanctifi 
cation, which is the fruit of the Spirit, working a real change in them : 
1 Cor. vi. 11, 'And such were some of you ; but ye are washed, but 
ye are justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of 
our God.' Find this, and you find a sufficient evidence, namely, if 
you become new creatures, and be enabled to forsake sin, and follow 
after that which is pleasing in the sight of God. Sanctification of 
the Spirit is not so much known by dedication and profession, but by 
the real and fixed inclination of your souls to God and heaven, and 
living accordingly ; you are turned to God, and live to God. 

Secondly, Your belief of the truth, that is, of the gospel. Now this 
is meant not of a dead faith, or such a cold assent as only begets an 
opinion in us of the truth of Christian religion, but such a lively faith 
as bringeth us under the power of it ; for it is opposed to them that do 
not receive the truth in the love of it, ver. 10 : ' To them that believed 
not the truth, because they had pleasure in unrighteousness/ ver. 12 ; 
that lived under the power of fleshly and worldly lusts. And it is 
spoken of them who had received the truth, so as to obey it and suffer 
for it, as the Thessalonians are described all along ; and in short, such 
a belief of the truth as caused them to enter into covenant with Christ, 
and make conscience of their fidelity to him. And here in this verse 
we learn that a bare belief of the truth doth not save, unless accom 
panied with the sanctification of the Spirit ; and therefore both must 
be taken together. When the word cometh to us, ' not in word only, 
but in power and much assurance, and joy in the Holy Ghost/ it is an 
infallible evidence of our election of God, 1 Thes. i. 5. Alas ! many 
have a general cold belief of the gospel, that never felt the effect of it 
upon their hearts. 

(4.) Observe the necessary connection that is between both these 
means, the sanctification of the Spirit, and the belief of the truth. 

First, There is a necessary connection between them, as between the 
cause and the effect ; for none are powerfully drawn to believe in 
Christ but such as are sanctified by his Spirit. It is not in the power 
of any creature to incline us to God, or bring us to come to him by 
Christ. But this work is wholly reserved to the Spirit. And so the 
Lord himself doth powerfully bring to pass his own decrees, as by 
Christ redeeming, so by the Spirit sanctifying. The Spirit is the 
author both of faith and holiness. Saving grace is called a new 
creature : 2 Cor. v. 17, ' Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a 
new creature ; Eph. ii. 10, ' For we are his workmanship, created in 
Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained, that 
we should walk in them/ And to create is the work of a divine power. 
Creature and creator are relatives. And certainly the noblest creature, 
such as the new creature is, cannot be framed by any but God. It is 
called a new birth, and the new birth is only from the Spirit, John iii. 
5, 6. Well, then, these are fitly coupled, the sanctification of the 
Spirit and belief of the truth, that God's work may make way for 

Secondly, There is the connection of concomitancy between the gospel 
and the Spirit. The Spirit only goeth along with the gospel, and no 
other doctrine ; and so both external and internal grace are of God : 


John xvii. 17, ' Sanctify them by thy truth, thy word is truth/ It 
was fit that a supernatural doctrine should be accompanied with a 
supernatural operation and power. How else should it be known to 
be of God ? The truth and the Spirit are inseparable companions. 
Where there is little of God known, there is little of his Spirit. As 
in the natural truth revealed to the heathens, somewhat God showed 
unto them, Kom. i. 19. In the darker revelation to the Jews there is 
but a fainter degree of the Spirit ; but ' grace and truth come by 
Jesus Christ/ There goeth along with the doctrine of the gospel a 
mighty spirit of holiness ; for thereby God would prove the verity and 
truth of this religion, and suitably to the rich mercy prepared for us 
in Christ. 

Thirdly, There is a subordination of faith to this work of the Spirit 
by the truth ; for the greatest things work not till they be considered 
and believed : 1 Thes. ii. 13, ' Ye received it, not as the word of men, 
but as it is in truth, the word of God, which worketh effectually also 
in you that believe/ A sound belief produceth strong affections, and 
strong affections govern our practice and conversation. So that fitly 
are these things united, as the fruits of our election and means of 

2. Why this is the great matter of our thanksgiving to God. That I 
shall evidence in the following considerations : 

[1.] That thanksgiving to God is a great and necessary duty, ex 
pressly enjoined by him, and expected from us : 1 Thes. v. 18, ' In 
everything give thanks, for this is the will of God concerning you in 
Christ Jesus/ When God hath interposed his will, all debates are 
silenced. If there were nothing else in the case, this is motive enough 
to a gracious heart ; for the fundamental reason of all obedience is the 
will of God. Our thankfulness is no benefit to God, yet he is pleased 
with it, as it showeth our honesty and ingenuity. And to us Christians, 
the very life and soul of oar religion is thankfulness ; therefore, God 
will have us continually exercised in it : Heb. xiii. 15, ' Let us offer 
the sacrifice of praise continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving 
thanks unto his name/ As our understanding was given us to think 
of God, and know him ; so our speech was given us to speak of God, 
and praise him. We praise God for all his works, we give him thanks 
for such as are beneficial to us. In praise, we ascribe all honour, ex 
cellency, and perfection unto him. In giving thanks, we express what 
he hath done for ourselves or others. Now this must be done con 
tinually, for God is continually beneficial unto us, by daily mercies 
giving us new matter of praise and thanksgiving. Besides, there are 
some mercies so great, that they should never be forgotten. 

[2.] That we are to give thanks chiefly for spiritual and eternal 
mercies : Eph. i. 3, ' Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places 
in Christ/ For we cannot give thanks rightly without a just esteem 
of the mercy we give thanks for. But spiritual and eternal mercies 
do much excel those that are temporal and transitory. We are bound 
to bless the Lord for temporal favours and the comforts of this life, 
but a renewed heart is most taken up with spiritual and heavenly 
blessings. A man may give thanks carnally as well as pray carnally. 


A carnal man in prayer giveth vent to the desires of the flesh, James 
iv. 3. So in blessing God he may speak from the relish of the flesh ; 
though usually carnal men seldom give thanks to God : Hosea xii. 8, 
*I am become rich, I have found me out substance,' &c. Surely 
spiritual blessings should have the pre-eminence, because they concern 
our well-being, and they discriminate us from others, which temporal 
mercies do not : Eccles. ix. 1,2,' For all this I considered in my heart, 
even to declare all this, that the righteous, and the wise, and their 
works, are in the hand of God : no man knoweth either love or hatred 
by all that is before them. All things come alike to all : there is one 
event to the righteous, and to the wicked ; to the good, to the clean, and 
to the unclean ; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth 
not ; as is the good, so is the sinner ; and he that sweareth, as he that 
feareth an oath/ The wicked have many of these mercies : Ps. xvii. 
14, * 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.' And they may 
own God in them as pleased, and well satisfied with the prosperity of 
the flesh, or as desirous to have more. 

[3.] That the best prospect we have of God's goodness to us, as to 
those spiritual mercies, is in election. 

(1.) There we see all our blessings in their rise, fountain, and bosom 
cause, which is the eternal love and grace of God. Dulc\us ex ipso 
fonte waters are sweetest and freshest in their fountain. There we 
see that antecedent love which provided a Redeemer for us, which 
should be matter of continual love and reverence to us, John iii. 16. 
There we see the rich preparations of grace in the new covenant, which 
could never have entered into our hearts if elective love had not provided 
them for us, 1 Cor. ii. 9. There we see what it was that disposed all 
those providences that conduced to our good birth, education, acquaint 
ance, relations. Alas ! we knew not the means of all these things, but 
elective love was at work for us, to cast all circumstances, that we 
might be best taken in our month, 1 Eom. viii. 28. There we see what 
it was that made all the means effectual to draw us unto God : Jer. 
xxxi. 3, * He loved us with an everlasting love.' 

(2.) It showeth us the Lord's distinguishing grace, and who it was 
that made us differ from others, who are left to perish in their sins. 
All are not called, and why we ? John xiv. 22, ' Judas saith unto him 
(not Iscariot), Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, 
and not unto the world ?' Yea, many mighty and many noble are not 
called, 1 Cor. i. 26. God taketh not all, nor many of the highest in 
esteem among men, not many wise and prudent : Mat. xi. 25, 26, * At 
that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, Father, Lord of 
heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise 
and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes ; even so, Father, for 
so it seemed good in thy sight.' Yea, many others are left to perish 
by their own delusions. The reprobates are specula judicii divini. 
The judgments of God on the wicked do exceedingly amplify his 
mercies towards us. It was the mere elective love of God, issuing 
forth by his powerful and differencing grace, that put the distinction 

1 Either a proverbial expression, perhaps referring to Jer. ii. 24 ; or else a misprint. ED. 


between us and others. Surely his peculiar love to ourselves doth most 
affect us. 

(3.) There we see that grace that doth take off all self-boasting : 
Eph. ii. 8, 9, ' For by grace are ye saved, through faith ; and that not 
of yourselves, it is the gift of God ; not of works, lest any man should 
boast.' Elective love prevented all actual or foreseen worth in us ; 
and from first to last it is carried on in a way of grace ; the means, 
the efficacy, all is of grace. This was God's great end, that grace might 
be admired and esteemed by us, and be matter of eternal praise and 
thanksgiving : Eph. i. 6, ' To the praise of the glory of his grace, 
wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved/ The whole design 
is to show us how we are beloved of God, and that we may love him 

Use 1. If election be the great matter of thanksgiving to God, then 
surely this doctrine should be heard in the church ; for the life and 
soul of Christian religion is gratitude ; and what feedeth gratitude is 
of great use unto us. Our gratitude doth not rise high enough till it 
come to the first cause that stirred and set all the wheels a-work in the 
business of our salvation. Surely this is a very profitable point. 

1. To detect the pride of man, for here we see the true and proper 
cause of difference between us and others : 1 Cor. iv. 7, ' Who maketh 
thee to differ ?' The differencing grace of God, proceeding from his 
election, is the only true grace. 

2. Nothing more extolleth the glory of God in our salvation ; for if 
man can assume nothing to himself, the glory alone redoundeth to 
God. The mere reason and cause why some are chosen and others 
passed by, is God's good pleasure : Mat. xi. 26, ' Even so, Father, be 
cause it pleased thee/ Christ himself consents to it, giveth thanks for 
it, as an act of free and undeserved mercy. 

3. No greater incentive to holiness ; for here we see the absolute 
necessity of it, together with the strongest, sweetest motive to enforce 
it. (1.) The absolute necessity of it ; because it is a necessary means to 
bring God's purposes to pass : Eph. i. 4, ' He hath chosen us, that we 
should be holy, and without blame before him in love/ He hath 
chosen none to enjoy everlasting glory after this life, but such as he 
hath chosen to be holy here. First, They must be sanctified and re 
newed by the Spirit, and then walk in all holy conversation and god 
liness. And whatever assurance of election is pretended unto them 
who lead an unholy life, it is but a vain presumption or ungrounded 
persuasion ; yea, a strong delusion. Secondly, Here is the sweetest and 
strongest motive to enforce it, and that is the singular love of God, 
which breedeth in us a sincere love to God again, and all serious en 
deavours to approve ourselves to him in purity of living. There is no 
such constraining force in anything as there is in love : 2 Cor. v. 14, 
1 For the love of God constraineth us,' &c. And no such holiness as 
that which floweth from it ; this is thankful and evangelical obedience. 

4. It is the ground of our solid comfort, in the midst of all the 
calamities and temptations of the present life ; because our final happi 
ness is appointed to us by God's electing love : Luke xii. 32, * Fear 
not, little flock, for it is your father's good pleasure to give you the king 
dom/ And this is accompanied with his active providence and care 


over us all the way thither. So that all things are sanctified to us, 
that we may be sanctified to God : Bom. viii. 28, ' And we know that 
all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who 
are the called according to his purpose.' 

Use 2. It showeth us that the elect have cause to bless God if they 
be chosen to salvation, though not to wealth, pleasure, and honour. 
These Thessalonians endured great afflictions for the gospel's sake, yet 
Paul looked upon himself as bound to give thanks always to God for 
them, because he had chosen them to salvation. God dispenseth his 
gifts variously. Some are, shall I say, chosen or condemned rather ? 
to worldly felicity. It is the will of God they should attain great 
wealth and honour here ; and will you envy them and repine against 
providence, though God hath reserved you for a better estate hereafter ? 
Compare two places ; one is Jer. xvii. 13, ' All that forsake thee shall 
be written in the earth ;' the other is Luke x. 20, ' Rejoice in this, that 
your names are written in heaven.' Which is the better privilege to 
be written in earth, or to be written in heaven ? to have a great 
name in the subsidy-book, or to have our names written in the book 
of life ? The one is their punishment, the other your blessedness. 

Second use is exhortation. It presseth you to two things : 

1. Put in for a share and interest in this mercy ; that is to say, in 
the apostle's words, 2 Peter i. 10, ' Give diligence to make your calling 
and election sure.' God hath not told us who are elected and who 
are not ; therefore our way is to accept of the general grace offered, 
and to devote and resign ourselves to God, and to depend upon the 
merits of our Redeemer, and put ourselves under the discipline of his 
Spirit in the use of the appointed means, humbly waiting for his 
renewing and reconciling grace, and every day more and more, by 
diligence in the holy and heavenly life, getting your interest more 
assured ; for by this means do we come to know the purposed love of 
God, and that ' he hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain 
eternal salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ/ We need not say, Who 
shall go up to heaven to know the mind of God ? Our election is 
known to us by our vocation, and our vocation by the fruits our 
walking before him in holiness and righteousness all our days. Surely 
the knowledge of our election is a thing greatly to be desired, because 
our eternal happiness and all spiritual good things depend upon it. 
Election is the free love of God, by which he intendeth these blessings 
to us. This is manifested by calling, by which they begin to be 
applied to us ; then the effectual operation which these blessings have 
in us discovereth calling, when we ' call on the name of Christ,' and 
* depart from iniquity/ 2 Tim. ii. 19. 

2. We should praise, and admire, and esteem this glorious grace, 
and show our thankfulness both in word and deed. 

[1.] In word ; because that is a means to kindle in our hearts the 
love of God, and to stir up a spiritual rejoicing in him : Ps. ciii. 1-3, 
' Bless the Lord, my soul ; and all that is within me, bless his holy 
name. Bless the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits : 
who forgiveth all thine iniquities ; who healeth all thy diseases/ &c. 

[2.] Bat chiefly in deed : you are more obliged to live to God than 
other men, when, passing by thousands who, in outward respects, were 


better than you, and you as deep in sin as they, lie, not only without, 
but against, all merit of yours, by his singular grace set you apart for 
himself. Shall I sin against God, and grieve his Spirit ? No ; let 
me glorify him as long as I have a day to live. 


Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of 
our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 THES. II. 14. 

AFTER the doctrine of Antichrist, and God's dreadful spiritual judg 
ments on his abettors and followers, the apostle interposeth some 
matter of consolation to the Thessalonians ; as before he comforted 
them from their election, so now from their vocation, Therefore, as 
we saw the doctrine of election set forth in the former verse, with all 
its appendant branches and circumstances, so now the doctrine of 
vocation, with what belongeth to it. Here calling is set forth (1.) 
By the author of it : he calleth you ; that is, God, who from the begin 
ning hath chosen you to salvation. (2.) The outward means : by our 
gospel (3.) The end, which is double : First, Subordinate, in the 
word ivhereunto, viz., to faith and holiness ; Secondly, Ultimate: to 
the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. ' Whereunto he 
called you,' &c. 

Doct. All that are elected by God are in time effectually called by 
faith and holiness * to obtain eternal life. 

1. I shall open effectual calling by what is said of it in the text. 

2. That all chosen by God are called in this way. 

1. Let me explain effectual calling. The author of it : ' he called 
you ;' namely, God, spoken of in the former verse. I prove it by these 
two reasons : (1.) None else hath authority to call ; (2.) None else 
hath power to call. 

[1.] Authority to call, either to duties or privileges; for calling is 
an earnest invitation to duties upon the offer of several privileges. 

(1.) Duties : God is our proper Lord and rightful sovereign. He 
may justly challenge our obedience. Being our Creator, he is our 
owner ; and being our owner, he is our sovereign and lawgiver, and 
may enact what laws he pleaseth. Certainly creation giveth him an 
interest in us ; for every man taketh himself to have an authority over 
what he hath made, to dispose of it as he pleaseth. Now he that 
properly made all things is God. Man is said to make a thing as he 
bestoweth art upon it, but God bestoweth being upon it. A potter 
may form his clay into what vessel he pleaseth, to make one vessel 
unto honour, and another unto dishonour, Rom. ix. 21 ; that is, either 
a dish for food or a vessel to serve the vilest uses of nature, for meat 
or excrements. But we speak of rational creatures that are capable 
of proper government. Surely God made us, and hath a right to 

1 Qu. ' called by the gospel to faith and holiness ' ? ED. 


govern us. Our parents are but instruments of his providence ; they 
know not how the child is framed in the womb, &c. Now he calleth 
upon us to do our duty with original supreme authority. We may 
refuse others ; if they speak not to us in his name, they have no right 
over our consciences, to impose new duties upon us : James iv. 12, 
' There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy.' Now his 
calling being a powerful excitation to do our duty, it originally be- 
longeth to God. 

(2.) As to privileges : The blessings God offereth are so great 
and glorious, that none else can give us a right to them but 
God ; and the soul can have no security that it doth not usurp and 
intrude upon the possession of things that belong not to us till we 
have his warrant. As the apostle speaketh of an office, Heb. v. 4, 
' No man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of 
God, as was Aaron ;' so it is true of all prerogatives ; we have no leave 
to assume and take the honour of them to ourselves till we are called of 
God : that is our warrant. None came to the wedding-feast till they 
were bidden, Mat. xxii., or went into the vineyard till they were hired, 
Mat. xx. This is the difference between duties and privileges : that 
any man, who will prefer that office of charity and love to us, may 
excite us to our duties, to unquestionable duties, due from the crea 
ture to the Creator ; but no man can assure us of right to privileges 
without the Creator's leave. Man cannot make that to be a necessary 
duty to the Creator which is not. But man may warn us of our danger 
when we disobey God ; but man cannot assure us of our right to such 
privileges without God's grant. Therefore certainly it is God that 
must call us 

[2.] None else can have power ; for to calling there is necessaryjiot 
only the invitations of the word, but also the effectual operation or the 
Spirit. None else can change the heart. A Christian is nothing, and 
hath nothing, but what God is pleased to work in him by his divine 
power : 2 Peter i. 3, * According as his divine power hath given us 
all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge 
of him that hath called us to glory and virtue/ It is a work of an 
infinite power to give grace to graceless souls, to make those that are 
sensual and worldly to become spiritual and heavenly, there being so 
much opposition to hinder that work ; for such is the corruption of 
men's hearts, the power of Satan over us, that he keepeth possession 
till a stronger than he overcometh him, Luke xi. 21. Therefore it is 
always made the work of his power, ' who calleth the things that are 
not as though they were,' Kom. iv. 17. It is still ascribed to his 
creating power; either the illumination of the mind, 2 Cor. iv. 6, 
' For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath 
shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory 
of God in the face of Jesus Christ ;' or inclinations of the heart, Eph. 
ii. 10. We can neither think, nor effect, nor pursue spiritual and 
heavenly things without it. Therefore certainly it is God that 
calleth us. 

2. The outward means : ' by our gospel/ Where (1.) Consider the 
means itself : the gospel ; (2.) The interest which the apostle chal- 
lengeth in it : our gospel. 


114 THE TWELFTH SERMON. [2 TfiES. II. 14. 

[1.] The means itself : the gospel. This God useth : 

(1.) Because if God will call and invite the creature by his duty to 
his happiness, it is necessary that his call should be evident to the 
creature by some visible sign. Now, the natural duty of man is much 
seen by the creation : Kom. i. 19, * Because that which may be known 
of God is manifest in them, for God hath showed it unto them ;' Ps. 
xix. 1,2,' The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament 
showeth his handiwork : day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto 
night showeth knowledge.' But this call is made to man fallen, as a 
remedy to his lapsed estate, which, depending on the free grace of 
God, can only be known by his revelation, conveyed to us by extra 
ordinary messengers, such as Christ, who was the principal revealer 
of the doctrine of God for the saving of the world, and him God 
authorised and sealed to this end : John vi. 27, ' Labour not for the 
meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto ever 
lasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you ; for him hath 
God the Father sealed.' And then by the apostles, who were insti 
tuted by Christ, and sent forth to proselytise the world to the obedience 
of God ; and they were also authorised from heaven by divers signs 
and wonders, as long as it was necessary to use that dispensation for 
the confirmation of their message, and to show how dangerous it was 
to neglect a doctrine so useful to mankind, and suitable to their great 
necessities, and so owned by God, Heb. ii. 3, 4. Therefore by the 
gospel God called them to this grace. 

(2.) To convince and stop their mouths that refuse this calling, for 
the gospel bringeth grace home to us, and leaveth it upon our choice. If 
we will accept it, well and good ; if not, we justly deserve to be rejected 
forever : Acts xiii. 26, ' To you is this word of salvation sent.' What 
say you to it ? God hath sent a gracious message to you in particular ; 
will you accept or refuse ? Acts iii. 26, ' He hath sent him to you, to 
^ bless every one of you,' &c. It doth excite all, and every man, to look 
'after the recovery of his lapsed estate ; surely God doth you no wrong 
if he severely punish your refusal after he hath invited you to his grace 
in Christ. Great is the misery of those that refuse this call : ' None 
of those that were bidden shall taste of my supper,' Luke xiv. 24. 
They are not only excluded from happiness, but they incur extreme 
wrath and misery : Prov. i. 24-26, ' Because I have called, and ye re 
fused ; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded ; but ye 
have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I 
also will laugh at your calamity ; I will mock when your fear cometh.' 

(3.) Because to the elect he will deal congruously, and preserve the 
liberty of his own workmanship, and therefore dealeth with man as 
man ; doth not compel us to be good whether we will or no, but doth at 
the same time teach and draw us : John vi. 44, 45, ' No man can 
come unto me, except the Father, which hath sent me, draw him : and 
I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And 
they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, 
and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me ; sweetly attemper 
ing the means to our liberty, but accompanying them with his power 
ful ice : Acts xi. 21, ' The hand of the Lord was with them, and 
a / It number believed, and turned to the Lord/ It is God doth 


all, prospering the labours of his servants. So Acts xvi. 14, ' God 
opened the heart of Lydia, so that she attended unto the things spoken 
by Paul/ God opened her heart, but by the things spoken by Paul. 
And God loveth to associate or accompany his power with his own 
means : Kom i. 16, ' It is the power of God unto salvation.' 

[2.] The interest the apostle challengeth in it : our gospel. Doth it 
not derogate from the authority of it to appropriate it to any man ? I 
answer No. Elsewhere it is called God's gospel : ' The glorious gos 
pel of the blessed God,' 1 Tim. i. 11. He is the author. It is not an 
invention of man, but a secret that came from the bosom of God. 
Again, it is called Christ's gospel: 'The gospel of our Lord Jesus 
Christ,' 2 Thes. i. 8 ; as the principal sub-revealer, who made known 
unto us most fully the mind of God. And then on the apostles, who 
were instruments chosen and intrusted by Christ to declare it to the 
world both by word and writing. The scripture is an authentic re 
cord, wherein all things are delivered to us both concerning our duties 
and privileges. Therefore, when he saith our gospel, he doth not 
mean it of principal revelation, but in regard of dispensation and trust : 
1 Tim. i. 11, ' The glorious gospel of the blessed God is committed to 
my trust/ Therefore this word our gospel is (1.) A word of fidelity, 
that argued the conscience to this duty, that owneth the trust com 
mitted to him, and that this was his chief work and charge : 1 Cor. ix. 
17, * A dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me/ (2.) It is a 
word of esteem, love, and affection ; what we love we call ours : Kom. 
xvi. 25, 'Now to him that is able to stablish you according to my gospel/ 
Paul was glad he had such interest in it as to be a preacher of it ; and 
believers should be glad they are partakers of the benefit : Eph. i. 13, 
' In whom ye trusted, after ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of 
your salvation/ It is theirs and ours. Oh, blessed be God for this ! 
'(3.) It is a word importing diligence our gospel ; that which he 
preached with so much labour and hazard : he followed this work 
close : Acts xx. 24, ' I count not my life dear, that I may finish my 
course with joy, and the ministry which I have received of the Lord 
Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God/ He was willing to 
die and suffer anything for the gospel's sake. (4.) The consent and 
harmony between him and the rest of the apostles. Sometimes he 
calleth it my gospel, to assert his own apostolical authority, as Rom. ii. 
16 ; sometimes our gospel, 2 Cor. iv. 3, to note their common consent, 
who were the authorised messengers of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is 
our gospel, the same jointly attested by all Christ's chosen messengers. 

3. The ends of this calling. They are either subordinate or ultimate. 

First, Subordinate: in the word ' Whereunto he hath called you ;' 
that is, to faith, holiness, and salvation ; we are called to all. 

[1.] God calleth us to the faith of the gospel ; he hath not only or 
dained us to believe, but called us to believe. Without calling there 
can be no faith : Kom. x. 14, ' How shall they believe in him of whom 
they have not heard ? ' But upon calling there must be faith, or else 
we make void the dispensation of God which we are under. 

(1.) There must be a belief of the gospel in general. The voice ot 
the creatures calleth upon the Gentiles to believe an infinite, eternal 
power, that made man and all things ; and the condemnation of the 


Gentile world is that they know not God, and glorify not God as God, 
after this revelation made to them. But to believe in Christ is a 
mystery to nature, and dependeth upon God's special revelation in 
the gospel. Therefore the external and internal power of the Spirit 
accompanieth it, to convince the world that it is sin not to believe in 
Christ the external power in miracles, and the internal in the 
illumination of the mind : John xvi. 9, ' The Spirit shall convince the 
world of sin, because they believe not in me ; ' that is, receive not the 
faith of the gospel, or believe not that Christ was the true Messiah, 
the great prophet and doctor of the church. 

(2.) This call doth aim at not only a belief of the truth of the gospel 
in general, but also a particular affiance in Christ according to the 
terms of the new covenant. General assent to the truth of the gospel 
is only considerable as it leadeth on other things .Now, that I may not 
wander, I will refer them to two things (1.) A fiducial assent; (2.) 
An obediential confidence. This is the belief of the truth we are called 

(1st.) The assent must be fiducial, or accompanied with a trust in 
Christ : Eph. i. 13, ' In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard 
the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation/ The meaning is, the 
Gentiles, after they heard the gospel and believed the truth, they did 
trust themselves in the hands of Christ, to be brought by his saving 
and healing methods to eternal happiness. It is a mighty thing to 
have such a belief as may produce trust, or a venturing ourselves in 
the hands of Christ against all hazards, and, whatever befalleth us, be 
content to save our souls on his terms. This breedeth holy security 
or courage : 2 Tim. i. 12, ' For 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.' 

(2dly.) This confidence must be obediential, not a devout sloth or 
carelessness. To trust in his mercies and neglect his precepts crosseth 
the tenor of his covenant : Ps. cxix. 60, * I made haste, and delayed 
not to keep thy commandments.' It is true religion when faith, hope, 
and love concur: Jude, vers. 20, 21, 'But ye, beloved, building up 
yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep 
yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus 
Christ unto eternal life/ I know there is a trusting in his pardon for 
our failings, and that justification is a great privilege, as well as salva 
tion ; but pardon is promised to the sincere, that with an honest heart 
perform their duty : Ps. xxxii. 2, ' Blessed is the man to whom ^ the 
Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile ;' 
and Kom. viii. 1, ' There is no condemnation to them who are in 
Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit/ So 
that still our confidence in Christ must be obediential. 

[2.] We are called to holiness ; this is everywhere asserted in the 
scripture : 1 Thes. iv. 7, ' For God hath not called us to uncleanness, 
but to holiness/ And it enforceth it on several grounds ; as 

(1.) That there may be a likeness between the person calling 
and the persons called : 1 Peter i. 15, * But as he that called you is 
holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation.' It is true religion 
to imitate what we worship ; for knowledge and esteem always work an 


assimilation ; and therefore, if we know the true God, and love him, 
we will study to be like him. Certainly, we have not a true know 
ledge of God if we do not know him to be a pure and holy God. He 
hath showed it in his laws, showed in his providence, and showed in his 
gospel by which we are called. The gods of the heathen taught sin 
by their own example. Their impure lives are recorded by their 
poets. Austin telleth us of a young man who was incited to wanton 
ness by seeing the picture of Jupiter on the wall committing adultery. 
Quo pacto non faceret, cum in templo adorare cogeretur Jovem potius 
Catonem quam f But our God is pure, as appeareth by his laws, which 
are all ' holy, just, and good/ Ps. cxix. 140. Surely such holy pre 
cepts could come from none but a pure and holy God. As also by 
the work of his Spirit on his people : Eph. iv. 24, ' And that ye put 
on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true 
holiness ; ' and 2 Cor. iii. 18, ' We all, with open face, beholding as in 
a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from 
glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.' He puts us into a 
nature that is very tender and shy of sin, troubled at it in others : 2 
Peter ii. 7, 8, ' And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversa 
tion of the wicked; for that righteous man dwelling amongst them, in 
seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with 
their unlawful deeds.' He that made the eye, shall not he see ? He 
that put into us a clean heart, is not he pure and holy ? This ap 
peareth also by the dispensations of his providence : Hab. i. 13, ' Thou 
art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity. 
Wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and boldest 
thy tongue, when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous 
than he ?' Judgments on sinners, so on his own people : Prov. xi. 31, 
' Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in earth ; much more 
the wicked and the sinner.' As, for instance, in David : the child died, 
his daughter is deflowered, Amnon slain, Absalom is in rebellion, his 
wives ravished, himself banished from his house and kingdom. Eli's 
sons slain, the ark taken, his daughter-in-law died, himself brake his 
neck. But chiefly in the very foundation of the gospel : the Son of 
God dieth a shameful, painful, accursed death before God would relax 
the rigour of his law and set afoot the gospel, and all that there might 
be a perfect demonstration of his justice and holiness, and displeasure 
against sin : Horn. viii. 3, ' For what the law could not do, in that 
it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the like 
ness of sinful flesh, and for sin condemned sin, in the flesh/ 

(2.) The very nature of this calling enforceth this sanctification, or 
setting man apart from a common to a sacred use ; for it is a calling 
us not only from misery to happiness, but from sin to holiness, and 
the one is indispensably necessary to the other ; for none but those 
who are in a holy estate can be in a blessed condition. Our calling 
is sometimes called ' a heavenly calling,' Heb. iii. 1 ; sometimes ' an 
holy calling/ 2 Tim. i. 9. Therefore the chief subordinate end is holi 
ness : Rom. i. 7, * Called to be saints/ from the devil, the world, and 
the flesh, to God. 

(3.) The grace and favour which is showed in our calling obligeth 
us to be holy in point of gratitude ; for when we consider in what a 

118 THE TWELFTH SERMON. [2 TfiES. II. 14.. 

sinful estate God found us, how freely he loved us, and that with a 
discriminating, differencing love, when he passed by others worthier 
than we, and to what estate he is ready to advance us to the enjoy 
ment of himself, amongst all those that are sanctified by faith ; all 
these are as so many strong bonds and obligations upon us to * walk 
worthy of God, who hath called us to his kingdom and glory in Jesus 
Christ/ 1 Thes. ii. 12 worthy of his grace in calling ; worthy of the 
glory to which we are called ; that is, with the worthiness of conde- 
cency, not of condignity. We cannot fully answer this grace, but 
we must do that which will become it. 

(4.) This calling enableth us to be holy, because it giveth us all 
things necessary both to holiness of heart and life: 2 Peter i. 3, ' Accord 
ing as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto 
life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us 
to glory and virtue.' Now this grace must not lie idle, otherwise we 
receive the Spirit in vain. 

Secondly, The ultimate end : ' To obtain the glory of our Lord 
Jesus Christ.' The same expression in 1 Peter v. 10, ' The God of 
all grace, who hath called us to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus/ 
It is ' his glory/ Mark (1.) Here is glory ; (2.) It is the glory of our 
Lord Jesus Christ. 

[1.] It is glory for body and soul. The glory is so great we cannot 
utter it, and conceive it. Now a little is revealed to us, but then it 
shall be revealed in us. (1.) The soul is not annihilated after death, 
nor doth it sleep till the resurrection, nor is it detained by the way 
from immediate passing into glory ; but as soon as it is loosed from 
the body, is admitted into God's presence, and gathered unto the souls- 
of just men made perfect, where it seeth God and loveth him, and en 
joy eth what it seeth arid loveth ; for as soon as we are loosed from 
the body, we are present with the Lord. And therefore the first bene 
fit we receive in the other world is the salvation of the soul : 1 Peter i, 
9, ' Keceiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls/ 
It flitteth hence to God. (2.) The body hath its glory also in due 
time ; for when it is raised up out of the grave, it will be another kind 
of body than we now have, both for impassibility, clarity, agility 
for impassibility, called incorruption ; clarity, called glory ; agility, 
called power ; subtilty, called a spiritual body by the apostle : 1 Cor. 
xv. 42, 43, ' It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption ; it is 
sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory ; it is sown a natural body, it 
is raised a spiritual body' : 

(1.) Impassability doth not only exclude corruption, for so the 
bodies of the damned are preserved for ever ; but all grievances and 
pain : Kev. xxi. 4, ' There shall not be any more pain/ 

(2.) For glory, a shining brightness : Mat. xiii. 43, ' The righteous 
shall shine as the sun in the kingdom of the Father/ Stephen's face 
shone, in this life, ' as it were the face of an angel,' Acts vi. 15. And 
Moses' face shone by converse with God in the mount, Exod. 
xxxiv. 30. Our bodies shall be ' likened unto his glorious body,' PhiL 
iii. 21. In the transfiguration, ' His face did shine as the sun, and his 
raiment did shine as the light/ 

(3.) For vigour, activity, and strength. It shall always be in the 


height and excellency of it. God preserved Moses' natural vigour 
for a long time, Deut. xxxiv. 7 ; but glorified bodies shall for ever re 
main in an eternal spring of youth. 

(4.) Subtilty, a spiritual body. Here we live an animal life, after 
the manner of sensitive creatures, maintained by meat, drink, sleep ; 
but hereafter the body shall live after the manner of spirits, having 
no need or use of these things. There we are la-ayyeXoi, l as the 
angels of God/ Mat. xxii. 30 ; and 1 Cor. vi. 19, ' Our bodies are the 
temple of the Holy Ghost/ Well, then, this is the glory put upon us. 

[2.] Why is it called ' the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ ?' 

(1.) It is purchased by Christ. We were redeemed or bought by 
the price of his blood, that we might attain to this glory : Eph. i. 7, 
' In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness 
of sins, according to the riches of his grace.' 

(2.) It is promised by Christ : John x. 28, ' I give unto them 
eternal life, and they shall never perish/ All that obey this call have 
eternal life already begun, nay, completed : 1 John ii. 25, ' And this 
is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life/ 

(3.) It is prayed for by Christ, which is a copy of his intercession : 
John xvii. 14, * 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/ 

(4.) It is actually bestowed by Christ on his followers and called 
people. He receiveth our departing souls as soon as they flit out of 
the body : Acts vii. 59, ' Lord Jesus, receive my spirit/ They are 
with him : Phil. i. 23, and 2 Cor. v. 8, when ' absent from the body/ 
they are * present with the Lord/ which is a mighty comfort to us. 
At the last day he will solemnly introduce us into heaven : John xiv. 
3, ( I will come again, and receive you to myself ; that where I am, 
there ye may be also/ The great shepherd of the sheep will lead the 
flock into their everlasting fold. 

(5.) We have not only glory by Christ, but with Christ. We shall 
have the same glory Christ now hath, but in our measure ; the same 
glory in kind whereunto Christ's humanity is advanced, referring to 
him only his privilege in the degree. So Eom. viii. 17, ' And if 
children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ : if so 
be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together ;' 
Rev. iii. 21, 'To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in 
my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father 
in his throne/ We share with him in his own blessedness, so far as 
we are capable. 

II. That all those who are elected and chosen by God are thus called. 
Election and vocation have a great respect one to another ; and though 
we cannot say that none are called that are not elected, for the Lord 
calleth others not only by the voice of nature, but the gospel : Mat. 
xxii. 14, * Many are called, but few are chosen ; ' yet we may say 
that none are chosen, but they are in time called, so that vocation is, 
as it were, actual election. They are often put one for another ; as John 
xv. 19, ' I have chosen you out of the world ; therefore the world hateth 
you ;' that is, called them, or pursued his choice. So 1 Cor. i. 2G, 
4 Ye see your calling, brethren, that not many wise men after the flesh, 

120 THE TWELFTH SERMON. [2 TflES. II. 14. 

not many noble, not many mighty are called : for God hath chosen 
the foolish things of the world to confound the wise ; and God hath 
chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are 
mighty,' ver. 27 ; as if choosing and calling were all one. So Kom. 
xi. 28, 29, ' As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sake ; 
but as touching the election, they are beloved for the Father's sake : 
for the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.' So that 
calling is an infallible consequent of election. And Kom. v.iii. 30, 
1 Whom he did predestinate, them he also called.' Keason showeth 
it. (1.) Effectual calling is that powerful operation of God, wherein 
he beginneth to execute the purposes of his grace: Kom. viii. 28, 
* And we know that all things work together for good to them that 
love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose' (/cara 
7rp69ecriv). The first discovery of it to the creature is by drawing us 
to himself. (2.) This act proceedeth immediately from his choice, as 
anteceding all that we can do, all worthiness of ours, or supposed 
worthiness : 2 Tim. i. 9, ' Who hath saved us, and called us with an 
holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own 
purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus, before the 
world began.' Nothing induced God to do it on our part, for what 
good thing could we do before we were made good by calling ? (3.) 
The effect doth infallibly follow : John vi. 37, ' All that the Father 
hath given me shall come to me, and him that cometh to me I will in 
no wise cast out/ In due time they are called, and are obedient to 
the call, Kom. viii. 28. 

Use 1. If it be so, then here is advice to all. 

1. Let us apply ourselves to the means with reverence and serious 
ness; because God's power is shown in them, in converting souls to 
himself : Ps. Ixv. 4, * Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and 
causest to draw nigh unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts/ It 
is a good thing to be in grace's way. The means have a ministerial 
efficacy: Acts xiv. 1, 'They so spake, that a great multitude of the 
Jews and Greeks believed ; ' with such clearness and force ; so far 
God is with the minister. A dart flung by a skilful hand will pierce 
deeper than by its own weight. But yet, if you can but tarry, the 
hand of the Lord may be with you also. You do not know the seasons 
of the Lord's grace ; all are not called at the first hour ; some lie long 
at the pool, but yet wait still. Ere ever you are aware, the Holy 
Ghost may fall upon you and open your hearts. That heavenly doc 
trine may have its effect upon you. 

2. Let us mind not only privileges, but duties. We have great 
privileges ; we are called to enjoy sweet fellowship with Christ here : 
1 Cor. i. 9, * Faithful is he who hath called you to the communion of 
Christ Jesus our Lord,' and to a glorious estate hereafter. But we 
are also called to the sarictification of the Spirit and the belief of the 
truth ; and we cannot obtain the one without the other. Do not so 
mind comfort as to slight holiness, and divide one part of your calling 
from the other. Comfort is consequent to holiness, and followeth it 
as heat doth fire. The Spirit is more necessarily a sanctifier than a 
comforter ; for our duty and obedience to God is a greater thing 
than our own peace. Holiness is the image of God upon the soul, 


and the blessed perfection wherein we were created : Gen. i. 27, ' So 
God created man in his own image.' And when it was lost by sin, 
Christ came and paid our ransom, that he might renew us by his 
Spirit ; Titus iii. 5, 'According to his mercy he saved us, by the wash 
ing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.' Yea, much of 
our everlasting blessedness lieth in it. For heaven is to be looked 
upon not only as a state of complete felicity, but exact holiness : 1 John 
iii. 2, ' -We know that when he doth appear, we shall be like him, for 
we shall see him as he is ; ' Eph. v. 27, * That he might present it to 
himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such 
thing ; but that it should be holy and without blemish.' Then it is a 
glorious church. Christ hath done his whole work. Holiness is the 
beauty of God himself, Exod. xv. 11, and puts an excellency on us, if 
we love it, and imitate it : Prov. xii. 26, ' The righteous is more excel 
lent than his neighbour : but the way of the wicked seduceth them.' 
We do not only excel other men, but we are more amiable in the sight 
of God : Prov. xi. 20, * The upright is his delight.' In short, it is a 
part of salvation itself, and a means to that which remaineth : Acts 
xxvi. 18, ' Inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith in 
Christ Jesus/ 

3. Let us reflect upon ourselves. Have we God's call ? Have we 
obeyed the gospel ? This will clear up your election to you : 2 Peter 
i. 10, * Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your 
calling and election sure : for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall/ 
Do you find such a belief wrought in you by the Spirit as begins in 
brokenness of heart, and ends in holiness ? For Christ came to * call 
sinners to repentance,' "Mat. ix. 13 ; that is, men sensible of sin to holi 
ness of heart and life ; to return to God, that we may first live to him, 
and then with him. 

4. To improve the belief of the glory promised. (1.) To sweeten 
obedience, or a cause of holiness which for the present is so tedious to 
the flesh. Now here is our labour, hereafter our recompense, 1 Cor. 
xv. 58. Every day we should grow more meet for his glory, Col. i. 12. 
(2.) To a contempt of all worldly things, good or evil. If good, many 
are pleased with this world's good things, but have no affection to 
spiritual and heavenly things ; like the rebellious Israelites, who 
more desired the onions and garlic of Egypt than the milk and honey 
of the promised land, or the celestial manna, Num. xi. 5, 6 ; worse 
than prodigals, that rest more satisfied with husks of swine, than bread 
which is in their father's house : they have their good things. Now, 
we should remember we are called off from these things, from dreggy 
contentments, base enjoyments, to the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
(3.) The evils of the world crosses, afflictions : 'After ye have suffered 
a while, the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory 
by Christ Jesus, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you ; ' 
and 2 Tim. ii. 11, 12, ' It is a faithful saying : for if we be dead with 
him, we shall also live with him : if we suffer, we shall also reign with 
him/ Our afflictions are both breves and leves, light and momentary : 
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.' Our 
sufferings are small if compared with the reward ; the time short, if 


compared with eternity. There is a twofold eternity that eternal 
death which the wicked must endure ; that eternal life which we enter 
into. This should sweeten all bitter waters. (4.) To dispose and 
prepare us for death. The contemplation of immortality hath left 
strong impressions on the hearts .of heathens ; some burnt themselves 
as impatient to tarry longer. If a dark view, vain hope cause this, 
what should a sure promise and earnest of the Spirit do ? 

Use 2. To the called. (1.) Bless God for this calling. The woful 
estate out of which we are called, and the blessed estate into which 
we are entered, compared together, should make us wonder : 1 Peter 
ii. 9, ' Ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you 
out of darkness into his marvellous light.' (2.) Walk answerably : 
Eph. iv. 1 , * I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye 
walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.' And 1 Thes. 
ii. 12, ' That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto- 
his kingdom and glory.' 


Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have 
been taught, whether by luord, or our epistle. 2 THES. II. 15. 

THE apostle, after he had comforted the Thessalonians, he exhorteth 
them to constancy in the truth, whatever temptations they had to the 
contrary. The comforts he propoundeth to them were taken (1.) 
From their election, ver. 13 ; (2.) From their vocation, ver. 14. His 
exhortation is to perseverance : * Therefore, brethren/ &c. 
In the words observe : 

1. The illative particle, therefore; because God hath chosen you 
and called you, and given you such advantages against error and 

2. The duty inferred: crr^ere, stand fast. It is a military word;; 
you have the same in other places : 1 Cor. xvi. 13, ' Watch ye, stand 
ye fast/ &c. ; Eph. vi. 14, ' Stand, therefore, having your loins girt 
about with truth/ The word intimateth perseverance. 

3. The means of perseverance : hold the traditions ivhich you have 
been taught, luhether by word, or our epistle. 

Where observe :(!.) The act; (2.) The object. 

1. The act : Kpa-relre, hold with strong hand. The word implieth a 
forcible holding against assaults, whether of error or persecution. The 
Thessalonians were assaulted in both kinds ; the heathens persecuted 
them, and some were gone abroad that began the mystery of iniquity, 
and were ready to pervert them. 

2. The object, which is propounded (1.) By a common and general 
term : c The traditions which ye have been taught/ (2.) By a distribu 
tion : ' Whether by word, or our epistle/ 


1. The common and general term, ' The traditions which ye have 
been taught.' There are two sorts of traditions human and divine. 

First, Human traditions are certain external observances instituted 
by . men, and delivered from hand to hand, from progenitors to 
their posterity. These may be either besides or contrary to the word 
of God. (1.) Beside the word, as the institutions of the family of the 
Rechabites, in the observance of which, from father to son, they were 
so exact and punctual, that God produceth their example to shame the 
disobedience of his people; Jer. xxxv. 6, 7, ' Jonadab the son of Eechab 
our father commanded us, saying, Ye shall drink no wine, nor build 
houses, nor plant vineyards,' &c. (2.) Contrary to the word of God, 
such as were those of the pharisees : Mat. xv. 3, ' Why transgress ye 
the commandment of God by your traditions ? ' Human inventions in 
religion are contrary to, and destructive of, divine laws. 

Secondly, Traditions divine are either heavenly doctrines revealed by 
God, or institutions and ordinances appointed by him for the use of the 
church. These are the rule and ground of our faith, worship, and 
obedience. The whole doctrine of the gospel is a tradition delivered 
and conveyed to us by fit messengers, such as the apostles were : 1 Cor. 
xi. 2, ' Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, 
and keep the ordinances [marg. traditions] as I delivered them to you.' 
So that holding the traditions is nothing else but perseverance in apos 
tolical doctrine. 

2. The distribution, that no cheats might be put upon them under 
any pretence ; therefore he saith, * Whether by word, or our epistle ;' 
that is, by word of mouth when present, or by epistle when absent ; 
and he saith, not epistles, but epistle, as alluding to the former he wrote 
unto them. They were bound to yield to both alike credence and 
obedience ; for, whether in speaking or writing, the apostolical autho 
rity was the same. To improve this verse for your benefit, I shall lay 
down several propositions. 

I. That whatever assurance we have of God's preserving us in the 
truth, yet we are bound to use diligence and caution. 

II. Our diligence and caution is to be employed about this, that we 
may stand fast in the faith of Christ, and the profession and practice 
of godliness. 

III. That the means of standing fast in the faith of Christ, and the 
profession and practice of godliness, is by holding the traditions which 
were taught by the holy apostles. 

IV. That while the apostles were in being, there were two ways of 
delivering the truth by word of mouth and writing. 

V. That now when they are long since gone to God, and we cannot 
receive from them the doctrine of life by word of mouth, we must stick 
to the scriptures or written word. 

I. That whatever ,'^surance we have of God's preserving us in the 
truth, yet we are bound to use diligence and caution. For the apostle 
had said that ' God had chosen and called them to the belief of the 
truth/ and yet saith, ' Therefore, brethren, stand fast/ 

First, Reason will tell us that when we intend an end, we must use 
the means ; otherwise the bare intention and desire would suffice, and 
to the accomplishing of any effect, we need no more than to will it ; 


and the sluggard would be the wisest man in the world, who is full of 
wishings and wouldings, though his hands refuse to labour. But 
common experience showeth that the end cannot be obtained without 
a diligent use of the means : Prov. xiii. 4, ' The soul of the sluggard 
desireth, and hath nothing : but the soul of the diligent shall be made 
fat :' that is, rewarded with the intended benefit. 

Secondly, The business in hand is, whether God's election, calling, 
or promise, doth so secure the end to us, as that we need not be so 
careful in the diligent use of means? Such a notion or conceit there 
may be in the hearts of men, therefore let us attack it a little by these 
considerations : 

1. God's decree is both of end and means, for all his purposes are 
executed by fit means. He that hath chosen us to salvation, bringeth 
it about by the belief of the truth, arid sanctification of the Spirit, 2 
Thes. ii. 13 ; and without faith and holiness no man shall see God, and 
escape condemnation. God had assured Paul that there should be ' no 
loss of any man's life among them, except of the ship,' Acts xxvii. 22. 
And yet afterwards, ver. 31, Paul telleth them, ' Except these abide in 
the ship, ye cannot be saved.' How could that assurance given to Paul 
from God, and Paul's caution to the mariners, stand together ? Doth 
the purpose of God depend upon the uncertain will and actions of men ? 
I answer Not as a cause, from whence it receiveth its force and strength ; 
but as a means, appointed also by God to the execution of his decree. 
For by the same decree God appointeth the event, what he will do, 
and the means by which he will have it to be done : and the Lord re 
vealing by his word this conjunction of end and means, there is a 
necessity of duty lying upon man to use these means, and not to expect 
the end without them. God intended to save all in the ship, and yet the 
mariners must abide in the ship ; therefore, what God hath joined to 
gether, let no man separate. If we separate these things, God doth 
not change his counsel, but we pervert his order to our own destruction. 

2. God, that hath bidden us to believe his promises, hath forbidden 
us to tempt his providence, Mat. iv. 7. Now we tempt God when we 
desire him to give an extraordinary proof of his care over us, when 
ordinary means will serve the turn, or be useful to us. 

3. Though the means seem to have no connection with the end, yet, 
if God hath enjoined them for that end, we must use them. As in the 
instance of Naaman ; God was resolved to cure him, but Naaman 
must take his prescribed way, though against his own fancy and con 
ceit : 2 Kings v. 10, ' Wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall 
come again unto thee, and thou shalt be clean ;' compare ver. 13, 'If 
the prophet had bidden thee to do some great thing/ &c. So John 
xiii. 6, 7, Peter must submit to be washed, though he could not see 
the benefit of it. So John ix. 6, 7, the blind man must submit to 
have his eyes anointed with clay, and wash in the pool of Siloam ; 
though the clay seemed to put out his eyes, rather than cure them, 
and the pool could not wash away his blindness ; but means appointed 
by God must be used, whatever improbabilities are apprehended 
by us. 

4. That when God's will is expressly declared concerning the event, 
yet he will have the means used. As, for instance, 2 Kings xx. 5-7 ; 


God was absolutely resolved to add fifteen years more to Hezekiah's 
life, yet he must take a lump of figs and lay it on the boil ; which 
plainly showeth that no promise on God's part, nor assurance on ours, 
hindereth the use of means. God will work by them, not without them. 

5. In spiritual things, assurance of the event is an encouragement to 
industry, not a pretence to sloth : 1 John ii. 27, 28, ' Ye shall abide 
in him : and now, little children, abide in him/ The promise of per 
severance doth encourage us to use endeavours that we may persevere, 
and quicken diligence rather than nourish security, or open a gap to 
carnal liberty : 1 Cor. ix. 26, ' I run not as one that is uncertain.' We 
are the more earnest, because we are assured the means shall not be 

II. Our duty is to stand fast in the faith of Christ and profession 
of godliness, whatever temptations we have to the contrary. Stand 
fast being a military word, it alludeth to a soldier's keeping his 
ground, and is opposed to two things: (1.) A cowardly flight; (2.) 
A treacherous revolt. 

1. A cowardly flight implieth our being overcome in the evil day, 
by the many afflictions that befall us for the truth's sake: Eph. vi. 13, 
' Wherefore take to you the whole armour of God, that you may be 
able to withstand in the evil day ; ' that after ye have done all things, 
ye may stand. Their temptation was the many troubles and persecu 
tions that befell them, called there ' the evil day/ Their defence lay 
in * the whole armour of God/ which is there made of six pieces : The 
girdle of truth or sincerity, which is a strength to us as a girdle to 
the loins ; the breastplate of righteousness, or a holy inclination and 
desire to perform our duty to God in all things ; and the shield of 
faith, or a steadfast adhering to the truths of the gospel, whether de 
livered in a way of command, promise, or threatening ; the helmet of 
hope, or a certain and desirous expectation of the promised glory ; the 
shoe of the preparation of the gospel of peace, which is a readiness to 
endure all encounters for Christ's sake, who hath made our peace with 
God ; and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Now, if 
we take this armour and use it in our conflicts, what doth it serve for ? 
To withstand and stand. The first is the act of a soldier, the second 
is the posture of a conqueror. Here is withstanding till the field be 
won, and then standing when the day of evil is over. Here we make 
our way to heaven by conflict and conquest, and hereafter we triumph. 

2. A treacherous revolt, or yielding to the enemy, by complying with 
those things which are against the interest of Christ and his kingdom 
for advantage-sake : 2 Tim. iv. 10, ' Demas hath forsaken us, and loved 
the present world/ Backsliders in heart are the worst sort of apostates. 
Such as lose their affection to God, and delight in his ways, and esteem 
not of his glorious recompenses, for a little pleasure, profit, or pomp of 
living ; sell their birthright for one morsel of meat, Heb. xii. 15, 16. 
Some fail in their understandings, but most miscarry by the perverse 
inclination of their wills ; they are carnal worldly hypocrites that never 
thoroughly mortified the fleshly mind, prize things as they are com 
modious to the flesh, and will save them from sufferings. The bias 
of such men's hearts doth easily prevail against the light of their un 


III. The means of standing fast is, by holding the traditions which 
were taught by the holy apostles. Here I will prove (1.) That 
the doctrine of Christianity taught by the apostles is a tradition ; 
(2.) That holding this tradition by strong hand, when others wrest it 
from us, is the means of our perseverance. 

1. That the doctrine of Christianity is a tradition, I prove it by 
two arguments : 

First, Matters not evident by the light of nature, nor immediately 
revealed to us by God, must be either an invention or a tradition. An 
invention is something in religion not evident by natural light, nor 
agreeable to sound reason, but is some cunningly-devised fable, in 
vented by one or more, and obtruded by various artifices upon the 
belief of the world. Inventions in this kind were man's disease, not 
his remedy : Eccles. vii. 29, ' God made man upright, but they sought 
out many inventions/ As when the philosophers sat a-brood upon 
religion, a goodly chimera it was they hatched and brought forth : 
Kom. i. 21, 22, ' They became vain in their imaginations, and their 
foolish heart was darkened ;' and * professing themselves to be wise, 
they became fools.' The inventions little became the nature of God; 
nor were they profitable to man, for still the great sore of nature was 
unhealed, which is a fear of death and the righteous wrath of God, 
Kom. i. 32. So that neither man's comfort nor duty was well pro 
vided for. Surely the gospel is none of this sort, not an invention of 
men, but a revelation of God ; and a revelation not made to us in per 
son, but brought out of the bosom of God by Jesus Christ, and by 
him manifested to chosen witnesses, who might publish this mystery 
and secret to others. Well, then, since the gospel is not an invention ; 
it is a tradition, or a delivery of the truth upon the testimony of one 
that came from God, to instruct the world, or reduce it to him ; not 
an invention of man, but a secret brought out of the bosom of God 
by our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore it is said, Heb. ii. 3, 4, ' How 
shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation, first spoken by the 
Lord himself, and then confirmed to us by them that heard him, the 
Lord bearing them witness ?' &c. Christ delivered it to the apostles, 
*md the apostles delivered it to others : 2 Tim. ii. 2, ' Those things 
which thou hast heard from me among many witnesses, the same 
commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.' 
The apostles received the gospel from Christ, and the churches and 
ministers from the apostles, and they delivered it down to others until 
it came to us, which is the means of our believing the truth, and con 
fessing the name of Christ. This testimony, delivered and conveyed 
to us by the most credible means, and which we have no reason to 
doubt of, is as binding as if we had heard Christ and his apostles in 
person ; for we have their word in writing, though we did not hear 
them preach and publish it with the lively voice ; their authority is 
the same, delivered either way. And that these are their writings 
appeareth by the constant tradition of the church, and the acknow 
ledgment of friends and enemies, who still appeal to them as a public 
authentic record. And as they have been attested by the church, they 
have been owned by God, and blessed by him to the conversion and 
sanctifying of many souls throughout all successions of ages : and by 


this tradition Christianity hath held up the head against all encounters 
of time ; and the persecutions of adverse powers have not suppressed 
it, nor the disputes of enemies silenced the profession of it, but from 
age to age it hath been received, and transmitted to future generations, 
though sometimes at a very dear rate. And this is binding to us, 
though we saw not the persons and miracles by which they confirmed 
their message, and heard not the first report. Yet the universal 
tradition having handed it to us, is a sufficient ground of faith, and 
so we believe through their word, and are concerned in Christ's 
prayers, John xvii. 20; for with them and their successors, as to 
these necessary things, Christ hath promised to be to the end of the 
world, Mat. xxviii. 20. 

Secondly, My next argument is Because Christian religion must 
needs be a tradition, partly because matter of fact is the foundation 
of it, and it is in itself matter of faith. (1.) Because it is built upon 
matter of fact : that the Son of God came from God, to bring us to 
God ; that is to say, appeared in human nature, instructed the world 
by his doctrine and example, and at length died for sinners, confirm 
ing both in life and death the truth of his mission, by such unques 
tionable miracles as showed him to be the Son of God and the Saviour 
of the world. Now, a testimony, tradition, or report, is necessary in 
matters of fact, which of necessity must be confined to some deter 
minate time and place. It was not fit that Christ should be always 
working miracles, always dying, always rising, and ascending in every 
place, and in the view of every man ; but those things were to be once 
done in one place of the world, in sight of some particular and com 
petent witnesses. But because the knowledge of them concerned all 
the rest of the world, they were by them to be attested to others ; 
matters of fact can only be proved by credible witnesses, and this was 
the great office put upon the apostles, Acts i. 8-22 ; ii. 32 ; iii. 15 ; 
x. 39-41. (2.) As it is matter of faith, or the doctrine built upon 
this matter of fact. We cannot properly be said to believe a thing 
but upon a report and testimony. I may know a thing by sense or 
reason, but I cannot believe it, but as it is affirmed or brought to me 
by credible testimony. As we are said to see those things which we 
perceive by the eye, or the sense of seeing, and to know those things 
which we receive by reason, or sure demonstration ; so we are said to 
believe those things which are brought to us by valuable testimony, 
tradition, and report. As, for instance, if any one ask you, Do you 
believe the sun shineth at noonday ? You will answer, I do not be 
lieve it, but see it. So if any one ask you, Do you believe that twice 
two make four, and twice three make six ? You will say, I do not 
believe it, but know it, because certain and evident reason telleth me 
that two is the half of four, and three of six ; and every whole con- 
sisteth of two halves or moieties. But if he should ask you, Do you 
believe that the sun is bigger than the earth ? You will say, I believe 
it; for though your eye doth not discover it, nor doth an ignorant 
man know any certain demonstration of it, yet, having the authority 
of learned men, who are competent judges in the case, you judge it a 
rash and foolish obstinacy not to believe it. Apply it now to the 
mysteries of godliness revealed in the gospel. They cannot be seen with 


the eye, for they are invisible ; nor found out and comprehended by 
any human understanding, because they exceed the reach of man's 
reason, and depend upon the love and arbitrary will of God, John iii. 
16 ; yet you believe them, because God hath revealed them to the pro 
phets and apostles : and God, being truth and wisdom itself, cannot 
deceive or be deceived ; and therefore you believe them with the cer 
tainty of divine faith, and do no more doubt of them than you do of 
those things which you see with your eyes, and know and understand 
by a sure demonstration. The sense of seeing may be deceived, and 
human reason may err, but it is impossible God should deceive or be 
deceived. It oftentimes falleth out that men do prefer the authority 
and report of a man whom they judge to be wise and good before their 
own sense and reason. As, for instance, that man who by his eye 
judges the sun to be less than the earth, yet doth not obstinately stand 
in his opinion when he hears a knowing and skilful philosopher assert 
the contrary. Now, ' If we receive the witness of men, the witness of 
God is greater/ 1 John v. 9. And this testimony of God is brought 
to us by his authorised messengers as the ground of faith : and what 
is that but tradition ? We believe in God by hearing of him ; and 
we hear by a preacher, Kom. x. 14. Ordinary common preachers give 
us notice ; but Christ and his apostles give us assurance ; and by their 
testimony and tradition our faith is ultimately resolved into the vera 
city of God. 

2. That holding this tradition is the great means of standing fast 
in the faith of Christ and the confession of his name. For in the 
word of God delivered by Christ and his apostles, there is sure direc 
tion to walk by, and sure promises to build upon. For whatever they 
made known of Christ was not a fable but a certain truth ; for they 
had the testimony of sense, 2 Peter i. 16, 17 ; 1 John i. 2-4, and so 
could plead both the authority of his command and the certainty of 
his promise, and that with uncontrollable evidence ; and without this 
relation there can be neither faith nor obedience, nor sure expectation 
of happiness. For we cannot trust God for what he hath not pro 
mised, nor obey God in what he hath not commanded ; nor in our 
difficulties and distresses expect happiness from him without his war 
rant and assurance. But by this doctrine delivered to us, we have all 
that belongeth to faith, obedience, and happiness, and beyond that the 
creature can desire no more. (1.) There can be no faith till we have 
a sure testimony of God's revelation ; for faith is a believing such 
things as God hath revealed, because he hath revealed them. It is 
not faith but fancy to believe such things as God hath never revealed ; 
nor is it trust and a regular confidence to think that he will certainly 
give us what he hath never promised ; this were to lay us open to all 
manner of delusion ; and therefore we are never upon sure and stable 
ground but by sticking to such a tradition as may justly entitle itself 
to God. (2.) Nor obedience : for obedience is a doing what God 
hath commanded, because he hath commanded it. The fundamental 
reason of obedience is the sight of God's will, 1 Thes. iv. 3, v. 
18 ; 1 Peter ii. 15. To do what God never commanded, or not to do 
it upon that account, but for other reasons, is not obedience ; and in 
difficult cases the soul can never be held to its duty till we are per- 


snadecl that so is God's will concerning us. Now to know his will 
concerning us, we are often bidden to search the scripture : but never 
bidden to consult with the church, to know what unwritten traditions 
she hath in her keeping to instruct us in our duty. (3.) No certain 
expectation of happiness. We are never safe till we know by what 
rule Christ will judge us ; that is, reward or punish men at the last 
day. Now he will judge us according to the gospel, Rom. ii. 16 ; 1 
Thes. i. 8. Obey the gospel, and you have a perfect rule to guide 
you to happiness ; but if you neglect this great salvation, or be un 
faithful in the profession of it, this word condemneth you, and God 
will ratify the sentence of it. 

IV. That whilst the apostles were in being, there were two ways of 
delivering the truth, and that was by word of mouth and writing. So in 
the text : ' Whether by word or our epistle.' The apostles went up 
and down and preached Christ everywhere ; that needeth no proof, 
unless you would have me to produce the whole book of the Acts of 
the Apostles. But they did not preach only, but write ; and both by 
the instinct of the Holy Spirit, who guided their journeys, and moved 
them to write epistles. For being often absent i'rom churches newly 
planted, and heresies arising, or some contentions, which could not be 
avoided among weak Christians, God overruled these occasions for the 
profit of the church in after ages : upon one occasion or another they 
saw a necessity to write ; avd^K^v ecr^ov : Jude ver. 3, ' It was needful 
for me to write unto you.' As, in the Old Testament, God himself 
delivered the law with great majesty and terror, and afterwards caused 
the same to be written in tables of stone, for the constant use of his 
people ; and the prophets first uttered their prophecies, and then 
wrote unto them ; so the apostles first preached evangelical doctrine, 
and then consigned it to writing for the use of all ages. And though 
all things delivered by them were not delivered in one sermon or one 
epistle, yet by degrees the canon of the New Testament was constituted 
and made perfect by the writings of the evangelists and apostles. 

V. That now, when they are long since gone to God, and we cannot 
receive from them the doctrine of life byword of mouth, we must stick 
to the scriptures or written word. (1.) Because we are taught to do so 
by Christ and his apostles. Christ always appealeth to the writings 
of the Old Testament, both against traditions, which he condemneth, 
Mat. xv. 2, and against pretended revelations: Luke xvi. 31, 'If they 
hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded to repent, 
if one should come from the dead/ And the apostles still have re 
course to this proof : Acts xxvi. 22, ' Witnessing no other things than 
the prophets and Moses did say should come to pass/ And when they 
pleaded they were eye and ear witnesses, and so their testimony was 
valuable ; yet they say we have jSepcuoTepov \6yov, ' A surer word of 
prophecy, whereunto ye shall do well to take heed/ 2 Peter i. 19. 
Now, how can we do better than to imitate these great examples ? (2.) 
Because those things were written for our sakes : 1 John i. 4, ' These 
things write we unto you, that your joy may be full/ The apostles, 
being to leave the world, did know the slipperiness of man's memory, 
and the danger of corrupting Christian doctrine, if there were not a 
sure authentic record left ; therefore they wrote, and so fully, that 



nothing is wanting to complete our joy and happiness. (3.) Because 
the scriptures are perfect. The perfection of scripture is known by its 
end and intended use, which is to give us a knowledge of those things 
which concern our faith, duty, and happiness. (1st.) Our faith in 
Christ. If there be enough written for that end, we need not unwritten 
traditions to complete our rule. Now, St John telleth us he might 
have written more things : ' But these things are written that ye might 
believe in the Son of God, and have life through his name,' John xx. 
30, 31. Certainly nothing is wanting to beget a faith in Christ. The 
object is sufficiently propounded ; the warrant or claim is laid down 
in the new covenant, and the encouragements to believe it are clear 
and strong. What would men have more ? So that here is a perfect 
rule, perfect in its kind , and for its proper use. (2dly.) For our duty ; that 
is sufficiently provided for. The apostle telleth us that ' the grace of 
God ' take it objectively for the grace of the gospel, or subjectively for 
grace in our hearts ' teacheth us ;' if you mean objective grace, it 
prescribeth, directeth ; if subjective grace, it persuadeth and exciteth ; 
what to do ? l To live soberly, righteously, godly in the present world/ 
Titus ii. 12. There are all the branches of man's duty enumerated : so 
briety relateth to self-government; righteously, to our carriage towards 
our neighbour ; godly, to our commerce and communion with God. What 
is there wanting that belongeth either to worship, or justice, or personal 
holiness ? Therefore certainly we need no other rule ; for it layeth down 
whatsoever men are bound to do in all ages and places of the world, 
and in whatsoever circumstances God shall put them. And so it is fit 
to be the law of the universal King and Lawgiver ; yea, it is so per 
fect, that whatever other way is set up, it presently dasheth against 
those notions that we have, or should have, of God, his service and 
worship ; or it infringeth or perverteth the liberty and nature of man. 
(3dly.) For our happiness. That doctrine and institution which is able 
to make us wise unto salvation is enough for us ; but so the holy 
scriptures are said to do : 2 Tim. iii. 15, ' And that from a child thou 
hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise 
unto salvation, through the faith which is in Christ Jesus.' Nay, 
afterwards, ver. 17, ' The man of God is by them made perfect, and 
thoroughly furnished to every good work.' 

If the scriptures do thoroughly direct men to know God in Christ, 
and save their own souls, why should we look any further ? Now, 
they do not only furnish every private Christian with this knowledge, 
but ' the man of God,' who is to instruct others, he needeth look no 
further, but is furnished out of the scripture with all things necessary 
to discharge his office. Therefore here we fix and rest; we have a 
sufficient rule, and a full record of all necessary Christian doctrine. 

Use 1. The use of all is : Let us not seek another rule than the 
word of God. Papists cry up unwritten traditions to be received with 
equal respect and reverence, as we receive the holy scriptures. But 
you, brethren, stand fast, holding the apostolical tradition. You can 
not have it by word of mouth from them now ; therefore you must 
stick to what is written, or else you cannot preserve yourselves from 
the frauds and impostures of Antichrist. These apostolical writings 
have been received in all ages and times of the church from the 


beginning ; and all disputes among Christians have been tried by them. 
None were allowed good or sincere Christians who doubted of the 
truth of them. But because we have to do with a people that will 
sacrifice all to the honour and interest of their church, and knowing 
they are not able to stand before the light of scriptures, have, to the 
no little prejudice of the Christian cause, done all they can to weaken 
the authority, sufficiency, and perspicuity of them, that we might have 
no religion without the testimony and recommendation of their church ; 
therefore I shall resume the matter and declare it afresh. 

1. Mankind lying in darkness and in the shadow of death, it was 
necessary that one way or another God should reveal his mind to them, 
that we may have what belongeth to our duty and happiness, for our 
.chief good and last end. Being altered by sin, we strangely mistake 
things, and put light for darkness and darkness for light, good for evil 
and evil for good, weighing all things in the balance of the flesh, which 
we seek to please. We confound both the names arid natures of things, 
and wander in a maze of a thousand perplexities ; therefore Godwin, 
pity to mankind, hath given us a sure direction in his word, which is 
* a lamp unto our feet, and a light unto our paths,' Ps. cxix. 105. 
Mark the words of light and lamp. The use of a lamp is by night, and 
in the day we have the light of the sun : whether it be day or night with 
us, here we are taught how to carry ourselves. Mark again the words 
of path and feet. The one signifieth our way and general course, the 
other all our particular actions ; so far as religion is concerned in them, 
we have directions in the word about them. Besides, man's condition 
is such, that he needeth a supernatural remedy by a Kedeerner ; which, 
depending upon the mere love and free grace of God, cannot be found 
out by natural light left to us ; for that only can judge of things 
necessary, but not of such things as depend upon the mere pleasure of 
God ; therefore a divine revelation there must be. 

2. Since it is necessary that God should some way or other reveal 
his mind to his people, it must be done by oracles, visions, dreams, or 
by extraordinary messengers, who by word of mouth might convey it 
to us ; or else by writing, or by ordinary teachers, whose lips may pre 
serve knowledge in the church. The former ways might suffice while 
God saw fit to reveal but a few truths, and such as do not burden the 
memory, and men were long-lived, and of great simplicity, and the 
church was confined within a small compass of ground, and not liable 
to so many miseries and changes as now in the latter ages ; but when 
once God had spoken to us by his Son, those extraordinary ways ceased : 
Heb. i. 1, 2, ' God, who at sundry times, and in divers manners, spake 
in times past to the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last times 
spoken to us by his Son.' As formerly God did speak TTOXUT/JOTTO)?, 
in divers manners, that is to say, by visions, oracles, dreams ; and so 
7ro\uf6e/3ft)9, at sundry times, by several steps and degrees, he acquainted 
the world with the truths necessary for man to know, delivering them 
out by portions, not altogether at once, till he came who had ' The Spirit 
without measure/ John iii. 34. The prophets to whom God revealed 
himself before by visions, oracles, dreams, or the coming of the Spirit 
upon them, had the spirit eic fjuerpov, by measure, to fit them for some 
particular errand or message on which God sent them. But when God 


sent his Son out of his bosom to reveal the whole doctrine of faith at once, 
and to declare his Father's will with full authority and power, he fixed 
and closed up the rule of faith. So it was not fit that after him there 
should come any extraordinary nuncios and ambassadors from heaven , 
or any other should be owned as infallible messengers, but such as he 
immediately sent abroad in the world to disciple the nations. There 
fore all former extraordinary ways ceased, and we are left to the ordi 
nary rule stated by Christ. 

3. Being left to the ordinary rule, it was necessary it should be 
taught, not only by word of mouth, but committed to writing ; for 
Christ is ascended into heaven, and the apostles do not live for ever ; 
and we have no men now that are immediately and divinely inspired ; 
and ordinary pastors and teachers cannot make more articles of faith, 
but do only build on the apostles' foundation, 1 Cor. iii. 10, or that 
divinely-inspired doctrine which they delivered to the church. Yea, 
that doctrine cannot well be preserved from oblivion and corruption 
without writing. Therefore God accounted this the safest way : those 
things that are only delivered by word of mouth, or from hand to hand, 
may easily be changed, corrupted, or utterly lost. Certainly, if you 
consider man's sloth, treachery, levity, and the many vile affections 
which may easily induce him to extinguish or corrupt the truth, which 
is contrary to them, you will see that it is necessary there should be 
an authentic record by which truth and error might be tried and dis 
tinguished ; yea, that the church, which is dispersed throughout the 
world, might have truth at hand, and particular believers have this 
doctrine ever by them for their comfort and use, it being the property 
of a blessed man to ' delight in the law of God/ and to ' exercise him 
self therein day and night,' Ps. i. 2. In short, while the apostles were 
living, it was good to take the tradition from their mouth, but, now 
they are dead, we take it from their writings. Surely if God saw some 
writing necessary when those extraordinary ways we spake of before 
were in use, and the church of the Old Testament was in a much 
quieter estate than the church of the New, I say, if some writing were 
necessary then, it is more necessary now, for the Christian church is 
more exposed to dreadful storms of persecution, the deceits of here 
tics of all sorts, especially to the frauds of Antichrist, which we are 
forewarned of in this chapter, and are detected and discovered by their 
contrariety to the written word. 

4. This truth being written, it is both a safe and a full rule for us- 
to walk by. It is a safe rule, because it is written by the apostles and 
evangelists, holy men moved by the Holy Ghost. The apostles did 
not lose their infallibility when they committed what they preached to 
writing. The same Spirit that assisted them in delivering the doc 
trine by word of mouth, assisted them also when they delivered it by 
writing. And it is a full and sufficient rule, because it containeth all 
things which are necessary for men to believe and do in order to- 
eternal life. Let them name what is necessary, beyond what is recom 
mended there or may be delivered from thence. Yea, it doth contain 
not only all the essential, but also the integral parts of the Christian 
religion ; and therefore nothing can be any part of our religion which 
is not there. The direction of old was, Isa, viii. 20, ' To the law and t0 


the testimony ; if they speak not according to this word, it is because 
there is no light in them.' Everything was then tried by Moses and the 
prophets ; everything must be now tried by the prophets and apostles, 
which is our foundation of faith, worship, and obedience, Eph. ii. 20. 

5. That which we blame in the papists is, that they cry up a pri 
vate, unproved, unwritten tradition of their own, as of equal authority 
with this safe and full rule which is contained in this written word of 
God. Their crime and fault may be considered partly with respect to 
the object and matter that these traditions are not indifferent customs, 
but essential points necessary to faith and Christian practice. And so, 
though a Christian be never so thorough and sound in his obedience 
to the word of God, and true to the baptismal covenant, yet, if he sub- 
initteth not to these unwritten traditions, he wants some point neces 
sary to faith and practice, and so to life eternal, which is contrary to 
Mark xvi. 16, 'He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, and 
he that believeth not shall be damned;' and John xvii. 3, ' This is 
life eternal, to know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom 
thou hast sent.' Partly as to the subject, as they make their own fac 
tion to be the only keepers of these things, and that nothing is to be 
owned as apostolical tradition but what is delivered as such by their 
authority ; which is to leave the church to the tyranny and usurpation 
of a corrupt faction, to declare for apostolical tradition anything which 
serveth their end and interest, and for which no true historical evi 
dence is produced. Now the unjust and fraudulent practices which 
they have used to promote this usurpation over the churches of Christ 
render them false men, most unfit to be trusted in this kind. Partly 
with respect to the manner : they will have these things to be received 
part reverentta et pietatis offectu with the same reverence and pious 
affection with which we receive the holy scriptures ; and so man's post 
is set by God's, and unproved traditions equalled with doctrines of 
faith. Their opinion is bad enough, but their practice is worse ; for 
there they show they value these things more than the scriptures ; as 
superstition always aboundeth in its own things. Did ever any of their 
doctors say the same things of traditions which they take the boldness 
to say of scripture ? Did they ever call them pen and inkhorn, or 
parchment divinity, a nose of wax, a dumb rule, an obscure and am 
biguous doctrine ? These blasphemies they vent boldly against the 
scriptures ; but did they ever speak these of traditions ? And again, 
their common people are a thousand times better instructed in their 
traditions than in the doctrine of salvation. They skill more of Lent 
and Ember-weeks, &c., than they truly understand the doctrine of 
man's misery and remedy. And call you this reverence and pious 
affection to the scriptures and traditions ? Partly because they would 
never give us a catalogue of unwritten traditions necessary to be ob 
served by all Christians. It may be lest they should amaze the people 
with the multitude of them, or else that the people may not know how 
many of their doctrines are destitute of scripture proof, and so they 
plainly be discovered to be imposers on the belief of the Christian 

6. Though we blame this in papists, yet we reject not all tra 
ditions : 


[1.] Because scripture itself is a tradition, as we proved before, and! 
is conveyed to us by the most credible means, which we have no reason 
to doubt of. The scriptures of the Old Testament were preserved by 
the Jews, * to whom were committed the oracles of God/ Eom. iii. 2, 
Protestants received all the books which they admitted into their canon. 
And for the books of the New Testament, the Christian church hath 
received them as the writings of those whose names they bear. And 
by the constant universal tradition of the church they are transmitted 
to us ; and we have no more reason to doubt of them than we do of 
statutes and laws made by kings and parliaments who lived long be 
fore we had a being. Yea ; we may be much more confident, as the 
matter is of greater weight and consequence, and these writings have 
the signature and stamp of God's Spirit on them, and have been 
blessed by God to the converting and sanctifying of many souls ; and 
have been delivered down to us by a succession of believers unto this 
very day. And by them Christianity hath been preserved in the 
world, notwithstanding the wickedness of it, and hath held up head 
against all the encounters of time. The persecutions of adverse powers- 
have not suppressed it, nor the disputes of enemies silenced the pro 
fession of it ; but still from age to age God's truth is received and 
transmitted to posterity. 

[2.] Because the truth of Christianity depending upon matter of 
fact, chiefly Christ's rising from the dead, it can only be proved by a 
testimony which, in so extraordinary a case, must be made valuable, 
and authorised to the world by the miracles accompanying it. Now 
the notice of these things is brought to us by tradition, which, being 
unquestionable , giveth us as good ground of faith as it did to them 
that lived in the apostles' time, and heard their doctrine and saw 
their miracles. God's wonderful works were never intended for the 
benefit of that age only in which they were done, but for the benefit 
also of those that should hear of them by any credible means what 
soever, Ps. cxlv. 4 ; Joel i. 3 ; Ps. Ixxviii. 3-7 : these things were 
told them ' that they might set their hope in God/ &c. 

[3.] Because there are some doctrines drawn by just consequence 
from scripture, but are the more confirmed to us when they are 
backed with constant church usage and practice ; as baptism of 
infants, Lord's-day, singing of psalms in our public worship, &c. 

[4.] Because there are certain words which are not found in scrip 
ture indeed, yet agreeable thereto, and are very useful to discover the 
frauds of heretics ; as Trinity, divine providence, consubstantial, proces 
sion of the Holy Ghost, satisfaction, &c. 

[5.] We reject not all church history, or the records of ancient 
writers concerning the providences of God in their days in owning 
the gospel, which make much for our instruction in manners, and help 
to encourage us to put our trust in God. 

[6.] There are certain usages and innocent customs or circum 
stances, common to sacred and other actions, which we despise not, 
but acknowledge and receive as far as their own variable nature and 
condition requireth ; not rejecting them, because anciently practised ; 
nor regarding them, when the general law of edification requireth the 
omission of them. But that which we detest is, that the traditions of 


men should be made equal in dignity and authority with the express 
revelation of God ; yea, that manifest corruptions and usurpations, as 
making Home the mistress of other churches, and superinducing the 
Pope as the head of the universal visible church, and the vicar of 
Christ, without his leave and appointment, and such like other points, 
should be obtruded upon the world as apostolical traditions, and to be 
received with like religious reverence as we do articles of faith set 
down in scripture. This is that we cannot sufficiently abhor, as 
apparently false, and destructive to Christianity. 


Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which 
hath loved us, and given us everlasting consolation, and good hope, 
through grace, comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every 
good loord and work. 2 THES. II. 16, 17. 

THE apostle 1. Giveth thanks for their election and vocation, vers. 
13, 14. 

2. Exhorteth them to stick fast to the truths delivered by epistles, 
or word of mouth, ver. 15. 

3. Prayeth for them, in the words now read. So that is the third 
means of confirming their faith in the truth of the gospel ; prayer to 
God for them. Now in a prayer all things are plain ; we must put 
off our shoes when we draw nigh to God, appear before the Lord with 
naked and bare feet. Therefore here nothing of difficulty will occur ; 
our prayers, the more simply and plainly they are expressed, the more 
sincere they are. 

In this prayer observe : 

I. The persons to whom this prayer is addressed : now our Lord 
Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father. 

II. The grounds of audience and success are intimated, which are 
two : (1.) God's love : luhich hath loved us. (2.) The pledges of his 
love ; which are also two : First, Without us ; Secondly, Within us. 

1. He hath given us everlasting consolation. 

2. Good hope through grace. 

III. The blessings prayed for. 

1. Increase of comfort : comfort your hearts. 

2. Perseverance or establishment : and stablish you in every good 
word and work ; where, by * every good word ' is meant the sound 
doctrine of the gospel ; by * every good work/ holiness of life. 

So that here is a great harvest of matter, but we must gather it in 
by degrees, for all cannot be spoken of at once. 

First, We begin with the persons to whom the prayer is addressed : 
'Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father;' 
that is, I beseech the Lord our Saviour, and God our Father, to 


comfort and stablish you. The observations for this branch shall be 
brief and short, because the proper seat of them lieth elsewhere. 

I. That exhortations prevail little without prayer. He had exhorted 
them to hold fast the traditions, and presently addeth, * Our Lord 
Jesus Christ and God the Father stablish you in every good word 
and work.' It is good to observe how all the parts of the apostle's 
discourse cohere and agree together. He first blesseth God for their 
election, and then showeth how it is accomplished by vocation or 
effectual calling. Yet the effectually called need quickening and 
exhortation, that we may concur to our salvation in that way which 
is proper to us. But lest the business should seem wholly to rest upon 
our will, he carrieth up the matter to God again by prayer. Election 
doth not exclude God's means, which is vocation, nor man's means, 
which is exhortation ; but that availeth little unless the matter be 
brought before God again by prayer. 

Now this method is necessary : 

1. Because all from first to last come from God ; he is Alpha and 
Omega, first and last ; all things are from him, through him, and to 
him. The business began with God in his election, and is still carried 
on through God, not only by effectual calling, but actual assistance, 
which giveth success and blessing; and then the glory of all redouridcth 
to him. 

2. Because what cometh from God must be sought of God : 
Ezek. xxxvi. 37, ' I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of 
Israel, to do it for them ;' compared with the 26th verse, ' A new 
heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.' We 
must express our desires to God for things agreeable to his will, for 
God will not force spiritual blessings upon us, nor give them to us, 
unless we desire them. Some things he gave us unasked, and without 
our desire, consent, or knowledge, as a Mediator, a new covenant, or 
offers of grace, yea, the first gift of the Spirit ; but in other things we 
are obliged to ask. 

3. A great part of man's duty dependeth on prayer 'seriously per 
formed. There is nothing so conducible to the maintaining of com 
munion between us and God as a daily sense of our emptiness, and 
God's both fulness and readiness to supply all our wants. 

[1.] That it is so, that we are empty, and God is all-sufficient, 
otherwise there would not be a foundation for practical godliness. 
That we are empty : John xv. 5, ' Without me ye can do nothing.' Not 
only nihil magnum, but nihil. So 2 Cor. iii. 5, ' Not that we are suf 
ficient of ourselves, to think anything as of ourselves, for our sufficiency 
is of God ;' that is, we are not able to think anything in order to the 
conversion of other men or ourselves ; we cannot imagine to enter 
upon this design with any hope of success without God. That 
there is a fulness in God to supply all our wants : Eph. iii. 20, ' Now 
unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above what we can 
ask or think ;' that is, above what we can imagine and pray for. If 
any man seriously address himself to any serious business, he is full 
of imaginations may it be effected, yea, or no ? Alas 1 God outworketh 
their thoughts and prayers, and doth things which never entered into 
our hearts to conceive. That there is a readiness in God to supply 


all our wants, otherwise our prayers would be little encouraged, and 
be dead in the mouth. Now James i. 5, ' If any man lack wisdom, 
let him ask it of God, who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth 
not.' You need not make scruple, or be ashamed to consult with God 
upon every occasion, for he is read3 r , and hath not a confined bounty 
like ours, who waste by giving, and give from ourselves what we 
impart to others. 

[2.] That without this, communion with God would be interrupted, 
and all religion would die and languish ; for if we had the stock in 
our hands, we would forget and forsake our Father. But when still 
we must be enabled by God to every good work, and we cannot have 
it unless we acknowledge him, and seek it of him by prayer, this 
keepeth up a sensible dependence of the creature upon God ; this 
dependence begets observance, Phil. ii. 12 ; and they that continually 
receive their dole and portion from him are obliged to please him in 
all things. 

Use of direction. When you come to wait on the word, or receive 
here any quickening exhortation, call God into the business, that the 
thing may not die away in your hearts. Make conscience of praying 
as well as hearing. You hear from man in God's name, but carry it 
again to God, that he may bless it. All religion is carried on between 
the pulpit and the throne of grace. You will thrive if you conscien 
tiously make use of both ordinances if you hear of Christ in the 
word, and make use of him in prayer. 

II. Observation. That prayer must be made to God alone : Ps. 
Ixv. 2, ' thou that nearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.' 
The apostle here addresseth himself to God, and so must all flesh. 

1. He alone is capable of hearing prayers. We conceive of God as 
an infinite being, wise, powerful, and good ; as knowing all things, as 
able to do all things, as willing to give all things that we can in reason 
and righteousness ask of him. 

[1.] He knoweth all things, our persons, wants, necessities, prayers. 
Our persons : God knoweth that there is such a creature in the world 
as thou art ; for surely God knoweth whom he hath made, and whom 
he supporteth and governeth. A notable instance we have : Acts ix. 
11, ' And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street that is 
called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul 
of Tarsus ; for behold he prayeth.' What a description is here of 
God's particular providence ! the city of Damascus ; the street called 
Straight; the house of one Judas; the person (a lodger there), one 
Saul of Tarsus ; the action he was employed in, behold, he prayeth ! 
He knoweth our wants and necessities : Mat. vi. 8, ' Your Father 
knoweth what things ye have need of before you ask him/ He ob 
served every weary step of David in the wilderness, and all his tears 
and sorrows : Ps. Ivi. 8, * Thou tellest my wanderings; put thou my tears 
in thy bottle : are they not in thy book ? ' He particularly took notice 
of all the troubles arid sorrows of his exile and wandering condition, 
as if his tears had been preserved in a bottle, and his troubles registered 
or recorded in a book. The doctrine of the Gentiles was, Dii magna 
curant, parva negligunt that great and weighty matters the Lord 
took into his care, but left other things to their own event and chance ; 


but the doctrine of the scripture is otherwise ; God taketh notice of every 
particular person. For our prayers : Ps. xxxiv. 6, ' This poor man 
cried unto the Lord, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of 
all his troubles/ How obscure soever the worshipper be in the ac 
count of the world, if he depend on God, the Lord will regard him. 

[2.] For his power. He is able to do all things : Mark xiv. 36, 
* Abba, Father, all things are possible to thee/ 

[3.] For his goodness. He relieveth all his creatures ; heareth the 
moans of the beasts, much more the prayers of the saints : Ps. cxlv. 
15, 16, ' The eyes of all things wait upon the Lord, and thou givest 
them their meat in due season,' c. Now this he makes a ground of 
' fulfilling the desires of them that fear him, and being near to all 
that call upon him/ vers. 18, 19. He that feedeth a kite, will he not 
provide for a child ? Surely we have more reason to trust in God 
than they, if you think this belongeth to his common bounty. But 
in spiritual things it is otherwise ; he is most pleased when we ask 
spiritual blessings : 1 Kings iii. 10, 'It pleased the Lord that Solomon 
asked this thing/ Well, then, since none other is capable, and God 
is, to him must we come. 

2. The scriptures, which are the proper rule of worship, direct us 
to no other. When Christ taught his disciples to pray, he directed 
them to God : Luke xi. 2, ' When ye pray, say, Our Father which art 
in heaven/ Invocation is divine worship, and so done to God alone. 

3. When the Spirit moveth us to pray, he inclineth us to come to 
God : Rom. viii. 15, ' Ye have received the Spirit of adoption, where 
by we cry, Abba, Father ; ' Gal. iv. 5, 6, ' Because ye are sons,' he 
hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, 
Father.' He doth not move us to go to the saints, but to God. 

The use. Well, then, if any trouble befall us, let us call on God, un 
bosom ourselves to him : Ps. 1. 15, ' Call upon me in the day of 
trouble, I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me/ If we want 
any grace, let us go to the God of all grace, in the name of Christ : 
Heb. iv. 16, ' Seeing, therefore, we have a great high priest that is en 
tered into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us come boldly to the 
throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help 
us in a time of need/ We can pray to none but to him in whom 
we trust : Ps. Ixii. 8, ' Trust in the Lord at all times ; pour'out your 
hearts before him.' Trust is the foundation of prayer. They that 
look to God for all will frequently apply themselves to him. Our 
necessities and wants are continual, both as to the temporal and 
spiritual things. We need not only daily bread, but daily pardon, 
daily strength against temptations ; therefore let us often come to God. 

III. Observation. That Jesus Christ is invoked together with the 
Father as an author of grace, and thereby his Godhead is proved ; 
for he that is an object both of internal and external worship is God. 
Now such is Christ. Of internal worship : ' John xiv. 1, ' Ye believe 
in God, believe also in me/ Though Christ died as man, yet he is 
God equal with the Father, and an object of faith and trust. For ex 
ternal worship, or prayer, the text is clear: 'Our Lord Jesus Christ, and 
God, even our Father/ That is much for the comfort of the faithful, 
that we have God to trust in, and Christ to trust in ; that we that have 


sinned with both hands earnestly, have a double ground of our comfort 
and hope the infinite mercy and power of God, and the infinite merit 
of a mediator. There is a great latitude in the object of faith, and so 
of invocation : ' The Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father.' 
There is no pain so great that God in Christ cannot remove ; no dan 
ger so dreadful but he can prevent ; no misery so deep but he can de 
liver from it ; no enemy so strong, but he can vanquish them ; no 
want that he cannot supply. When we have a want that he cannot 
supply, or a sickness that he cannot cure, or a danger that he cannot 
prevent, or a misery that he cannot remove, or enemies that are too 
hard for him, then we may sit down and despair, and die. I speak of 
both as one, for God and Christ are here joined as to the same effect : 
' Comforting their hearts, and stablishing them in every good word 
and work/ 

IV. Observation. We can obtain nothing from God unless we seek it 
in Jesus Christ. Therefore the apostle beginneth his prayer, 'Now our 
Lord Christ, and God,' &c. God alone is abundantly enough for our 
happiness, for there is in him more than abundantly enough to satisfy 
all the capacities of the creature ; but without a mediator how shall we 
come to receive of his fulness ? If man had kept innocent, God had 
been enough to us, for in innocency there was no mediator ; but to 
man fallen a mediator is necessary 

1. I shall state the necessity of it. Because of distance and differ 
ence ; we are unworthy to approach his holy presence ; and God hath 
a quarrel and controversy with us, which till it be taken up, we can 
expect no good thing from him. 

[1.] Distance. We are estranged from God by the fall, and have 
lost his image, lost his favour and fellowship, and all communion 
with him, so that God now is looked upon by us as out of the reach 
of our commerce, which hindereth our love and confidence in him ; 
for we can hardly depend upon one so far above us that he will 
take notice of us, or take care for us, so as to relieve us in our neces 
sities, or help us in our miseries, and give us the blessings we ask of 
him ; or that we shall be welcome to him, when we come with our 
prayers and supplications. God taught the Israelites their distance ; 
and the apostle telleth us that all that dispensation ' the Holy Ghost 
did signify, that the way into the holiest was not yet made manifest 
while the first tabernacle was standing/ Heb. ix. 8. They could not 
come near God without danger of death ; he would not have them so 
familiar with him. 

[2.] Difference, or controversy. A mediator is used only between 
disagreeing parties. When man was guilty, God was angry. Con 
science of sin presents God terrible, and taketh away all confidence 
from us, so that we are obnoxious to his wrath and righteous ven 
geance : 1 Sam. vi. 20, ' Who is able to stand before this Holy God ? ' 
Isa. xxxiii. 14, ' And who can dwell with everlasting burnings ? ' 
We cannot approach God in any friendly manner. 

2. I shall show what provision God hath made for us. The Lord 
Jesus took this office at God's appointment, of reconciling God to us, 
and appeasing his wrath, and us to God, by bringing us back again, our 
alienated and estranged affections to God. How so ? what hath he done ? 


[1.] The distance is in truth taken away by his very person. He is 
God-man ; God and man meet together in the person of Christ. God 
doth condescend and come down to man, and man is encouraged to 
ascend to God. God in Christ is nearer to man than he was before, 
that we may have more familiar thoughts of him. The pure Deity is 
at so vast a distance from us, that we are amazed and confounded 
when we think of it, and cannot conceive an hope that he should con 
cern himself in our affairs. But the Son of God is come in our 
nature : John i. 14, * The word was made flesh, and dwelt among us ; ' 
1 Tim. iii. 16, ' Great is the mystery of godliness, God manifested in 
the flesh ;' so that he is more accessible to us, and nearer at hand, and 
more readily inclined to help us, for he will not be strange to his own 

[2.] The difference and controversy is taken up by the work of his 
redemption ; for ' God hath set him forth to be a propitiation/ or a 
means of appeasing his wrath, Kom. iii. 25, and to be the foundation 
of that new covenant wherein pardon and life is offered to us. It is 
not enough to our recovery that God be reconciled, but man must be 
renewed, otherwise we remain for ever under the displeasure of God. 
Now he hath purchased the grace of the Spirit, to be dispensed by the 
covenant, to bring us home to 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 ; ' and Eom. viii. 2, * For the law of the spirit of life in Christ 
Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.' 

Use, Let us be sensible of this unspeakable mercy, that God hath 
provided a Mediator for us, that we may come to God by him : Heb. 
vii, 25, * Wherefore he is able to save unto the uttermost all that 
come unto God through him, seeing he ever liveth to make inter 
cession for us ; ' that the legal exclusion is removed, and a way 
opened to the Father : John xiv. 6, ' I am the way, the truth, and the 
life ; no man cometh to the Father but by me ;' otherwise we could 
not immediately converse with God, nor trust in him. 

1. We see God in our nature as near at hand, and ready to help 
us ; he came down amongst us, and became one of us ; was ' bone of our 
bone, and flesh of our flesh.' And though he hath removed his dwell 
ing into heaven again, it is for our sakes ; he hath carried our nature 
thither, to take possession of that blessed place in our name, if we 
have a mind to follow him : John xiv. 2, ' I go to prepare a place for 

2. Here we see the means of appeasing God's wrath : 2 Cor. v. 
19, ' God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself/ There 
is a full ransom paid ; all that enter into God's peace shall have the 
benefit of it. 

3. By him we are encouraged to come to pray for every blessing 
we stand in need of : Eph. ii. 18, ' Through him we both have an 
access by one Spirit unto the Father.' Liberty to approach unto God 
is a privilege which we cannot enough value; the wall of partition 
between God and us is broken down by Christ ; he hath completely 
satisfied God's justice, Heb. x. 19. He is now at the right hand of 


God interceding for us : 1 Tim. ii. 5, * There is one God, and one 
Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus ;' and remainetli 
with God as the great agent of the saints: Heb. viii. 1, 2, ' We have 
such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the 
majesty in the heavens, a minister of the sanctuary/ c. Perfuming 
their prayers with the smoke of his incense : Kev. viii. 3, 4, ' 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 the smoke of the incense, which came with the 
prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand.' 
V. Observation. Mark the distinct titles given to God and the 
Mediator : Christ is called our Lord, and God our Father. Let us 
see what these titles import, of Lord and Father. 

1. Christ is represented to us as the Lord ; so he was set forth by 
the apostles at the first preaching of the gospel : Acts x. 36, * We 
preach peace by Christ Jesus, he is Lord of all / 2 Cor. iv. 5, ' We 
preach Christ Jesus the Lord ;' Col. ii. 6, * If ye have received Christ 
Jesus the Lord, so walk in him.' Christ is Lord two ways : 

[1.] By that right which belongeth to him as Creator, and is 
common and equal to him with the Father and the Spirit. Surely 
the Creator of the world is the sovereign of it. This right continueth 
still, and shall continue while man receiveth his being from God by 
creation, and the continuance of his being by daily preservation and 

[2.] There is novum jus dominii et imperil a new right of em 
pire and government which belongeth to him as Redeemer, and this 
accrueth to him : 

(1.) Partly by the donation of God : Acts ii. 36, ' Let all the house 
of Israel know that this Jesus, whom ye have crucified, is made Lord 
and Christ/ This office of Lord is derivative, and cannot be supreme, 
but subordinate ; it is derived from God : ' All power is given to me, 
both in heaven and earth,' Mat. xxviii. 18 ; and it is referred to him : 
Phil. ii. 11, * That every tongue should confess that Christ is Lord, 
to the glory of God the Father/ The supreme right of governing 
is still in God, and subjection to him is not vacated, but established 
and reserved. 

(2.) It is acquired by his own purchase: Rom. xiv. 9, 'For this 
end Christ both died and rose again, and revived, that he might be 
Lord both of dead and living;' 1 Cor. vi. 19, 20, ' Ye are not your 
own, for ye are bought with a price ; therefore glorify God in your 
body and in your spirit, which are God's/ He had a full right in us 
before, but this lordship and dominion which the Redeemer is pos 
sessed of is comfortable and beneficial to us, and the end of it is to 
effect man's cure and recovery. We could not by our sin make void 
God's right and title to govern us ; but yet it was not comfortable to 
us, it was but such a right as a prince hath to chastise his rebellious 
subjects. We forfeited our interest in his gracious protection, there 
fore was this new interest set afoot to save and recover fallen man ; 
therefore this lordship is spoken of as medicinal and restorative, to 
reduce man to the obedience of God that made him : Acts x. 38, ' God 


anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost, and with power, 
who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed with 
the devil.' It is a lordship that conduce th to make peace between 
God and man, that we may again enjoy his favour, and live in his 
obedience : Acts v. 31, ' Him hath God exalted with his right hand 
to be a prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance unto Israel, and 
remission of sins.' This new Lord hath made a new law of grace, 
which is lex remedians, a remedy propounded for the recovering the 
lapsed world of mankind. The great benefit is remission of sins ; the 
great duty, repentance. 

Use 1. To persuade us to submit ourselves to this blessed Lord by 
our voluntary consent: Ps. xlv. 11, ' He is thy Lord ; worship thou 
him/ There is a passive subjection and a voluntary submission. By 
a passive subjection all creatures are under the power of the Son of 
God and our Redeemer ; and amongst the rest, the devils themselves, 
though grievous revolters and rebels, are not exempted ; every knee 
is forced to bow to Christ. By voluntary submission : Those are Christ's 
subjects, and admitted into his kingdom, who willingly give up them 
selves to the Redeemer to be saved upon his own terms : 2 Cor. viii. 
5, ' They first gave their own selves to the Lord/ The devils and 
wicked men are his against their wills ; but all Christ's people are 
his by their own consent. 

Use 2. Let us perform the duties which this title calleth for ; our 
obedience is the best testimony of our subjection to him. Many seem 
to like Christ as a Saviour, but refuse him as a Lord ; whereas Christ 
is not only a Saviour to bless, but a Lord to rule and command. 
Therefore if we catch at comforts and neglect duty, we do not own 
Christ's authority. The libertine, yokeless spirit is very natural to 
all : Luke xix. 14, ' We will not have this man to reign over us ;' Ps. 
xii. 4, ' With our tongues we will prevail ; our lips are our own ; who 
is Lord over us ?' Ps. ii. 3, ' Let us break their bands asunder, and 
cast away their cords from us.' Some are so in opinion, but most in 
practice. We would not be under command ; we love privileges, but 
decline duties. But he is the ' head of the church ' who is ' the 
Saviour of the body,' Eph. v. 23. If we would have privileges by him, 
we must set ourselves to obey his laws. If thou hast no care to obey 
him as a lord, thy esteem of Christ is but imaginary, thy knowledge 
but partial, thy application of him unsound. But we will own him 
as lord. How is that understood ? Will you give him an empty title, 
or some superficial compliments and observances ? Luke vi. 46, ' And 
why call you me Lord, Lord, and do not the things that I say ?' It 
is a mockage. Or will you please yourselves with strict opinions? 
Mat. vi. 21, 22, ' For where your treasure is, there will your heart be 
also. The light of the body is the eye ; if therefore thine eye be single, 
thy whole body shall be full of light ; if therefore the light that is in 
thee be darkness, how great is that darkness ! ' No ; nothing less than a 
thorough subj ection to his holy laws, forsaking all other lords : Isa. xxvi. 
13, * Lord our God, other lords besides thee have had dominion over 
us ; but by thee only will we make mention of thy name/ And then a 
strict observance: Col. i. 11, * Strengthened with all might, according to 
his glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering, with joyfulness.' 


Use 3. Depend upon Christ for the effects of his love to you, which 
are the privileges of his kingdom, which are pardon of sins: Col. i. 
14, ' In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness 
of our sins.' The sanctification of the Spirit; Heb. viii. 10, ' This is the 
covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, 
saith the Lord ; I will put my laws into their minds, and write them 
in their hearts.' Assistance in carrying on the spiritual life ; that 
here surely our Lord will not desert us, but help us in our obedience 
to him. Finally, everlasting life : Heb. v. 9, ' And being made per 
fect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that 
obey him/ When the devil and his instruments are cast into hell, 
Christ's faithful subjects and servants are advanced into eternal glory 
and blessedness. 

Secondly, God is represented under the title of a father : ' And God, 
even our Father/ God is a word of power ; Father expresseth his good 
will and love. God standeth in both relations to us, as he did also to 
Christ : John xx. 17, * I go to my God and your God, my Father 
and your Father/ Both joined together signify his power and readi 
ness to do good. He that is our Father is true God also, and he that 
is true God is also our Father ; and therefore we may depend on him. 
That which we are to open is the term Father, which speaketh both 
comfort and duty to us. 

1. Comfort. For God's dealing with us will be very fatherly; as a 
father loveth his children, so will God love his people : 2 Cor. vi. 18, 
' 1 will be a father to you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, 
saith the Lord.' 

[1.] He will pardon our sins and frailties, and spare us and pity us, 
notwithstanding our ill-deservings : Ps. ciii. 13, ' Like as a father 
pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him ; J Mai. iii. 
17, ' They shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I 
make up my jewels, and I will spare them as a man spareth his own 
son that serveth him/ Surely this is a grace we stand in need of, 
because of our manifold infirmities and daily failings. 

[2.] He will give grace, that we may serve him better : Luke xi. 13, 
' If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, 
how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them 
that ask him ?' Do but cry to him, as an hungry child to his father 
for bread, and God will not deny this great gift to you. 

[3.] God will provide for us, and give such an allowance of tem 
poral mercies as are convenient : Mat. vi. 25, ' Take no thought for 
your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, nor yet for your 
body, what ye shall put on ;' and ver. 32, * For after all these things 
do the Gentiles seek ; for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have 
need of all these things/ The belief of adoption and particular pro 
vidence kills all distrustful fears and cares at the very root. 

[4.] He will protect you and preserve you against temptations : 
1 Peter i. 3, 5, * Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, which, according to his abundant mercy, hath begotten us 
again unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the 
dead, &c., who are kept by the power of God through faith unto sal 

144 THE FOURTEENTH SERMON. [2 TflES. II. 16, 17. 

[5.] He will give you the kingdom : Luke xii. 32, ' Fear not, little 
flock ; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.' 

2. On the other side, this relation bespeaketh duty. For if God 
be a father, we must carry ourselves as children by our subjection, to 
him ; that is, by submission to his disposing will, and obedience to his 
governing will. 

[1.] By an absolute submission to his disposing will. For if you 
would enjoy the privileges of God's family, you must submit to the 
discipline of his family : Heb. xii. 6-9, ' For whom God loveth he 
chasteneth, arid scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If you 
endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons : for what son 
is he whom the father chasteneth not ? But if you are without chas 
tisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 
Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh, which chastened us, 
and we gave them reverence ; shall we not much rather be in subjec 
tion to the Father of spirits, and live ?' In heaven, where there is no 
danger of sin, there is no use of the rod ; but while we are in the flesh, 
we need correction, and if God should not give it us. we are vodoi, not 
legitimate, but degenerate sons. But in the 10th verse, the apostle 
argueth from God's paternal authority : ' 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 not by their parents, who (under God) are 
the cause of their being, and love them, and in correction of them seek 
their good ; much more do we owe this respect to our heavenly Father, 
who hath a more absolute right over us. Parents may err through 
want of wisdom their chastisements may be arbitrary and irregular ; 
do much in passion rather than compassion ; but all God's chastise 
ments come from purest love, and are regulated by perfect wisdom, 
and tend to and end in holiness and happiness. 

[2.] Obedience to his governing will. The great duty of children is 
to love, please, obey, and honour their father: Mai. i. 6, 'A son 
honoureth his father, and a servant his master. If I be a father, 
where is mine honour ? If I be a master, where is my fear ?' 1 Peter 
i. 14, 15, ' As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according 
to the former lusts in your ignorance. But as he which hath called 
you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation ;' John xv. 8, 
' Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be 
my disciples/ There should be a great tenderness upon us not to do 
anything that may be a breach of God's law, or tend to God's dishon 
our. What diligent observers were the Kechabites of the institutions 
of their family : Jer. xxxv. 6, ' But 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/ 

VI. Observation. They to whom Christ is a lord, to them God is a 
father. His special fatherly love floweth in the channel of redemption, 
and is brought about by the gospel. The Lord, from all eternity, pre- 
determinated some to the adoption of sons : Eph. i. 5, ' Having 
predestinated us to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, 
according to the good pleasure of his will/ But how doth he bring to 
pass this decree ? By the redemption of Christ. It is no mean pri- 


vilege, Christians, that needeth so much ado to establish it : Gal. 
iv. 4, 5, ' But when the fulness of the 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/ 
Christ came to be the foundation of a new covenant, before we could 
have this privilege. Well, but whence ariseth our actual interest ? 
I answer By accepting the offer of the gospel, or receiving and own 
ing Christ to the ends for which he came into the world, or God sent 
him into the world : John i. 12, * 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 ;' that is, by depending on his merits for our 
reconciliation with God, and submitting to his laws, that he might 
reduce us to our primitive obedience and love to them. 

Use. Therefore, if you would have a share in this blessed privilege : 

1. You must be regenerated by his Spirit ; for the relative change 
dependeth on the real : our state is not changed till our natures be 
changed : John i. 12, 13, ' Being born again of the will of God.' If 
you would enter into God's family, and enjoy the privileges thereof, 
you must be changed by the Spirit. 

2. There is required on our part an entrance into the kingdom of 
the Mediator by faith and repentance : Mat. xviii. 3, ' Except ye be 
converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the 
kingdom of God.' As little children are newly entered into the world 
and beginning their life, all things are become new to them ; so those 
that have the privileges of God's children must become as little 
children, enter into a new state, carry on a new life and trade, with 
which they were not acquainted before. Our first admission is by a 
consent to the new covenant : Gal. iii. 26, 'Ye are all made children 
of God by faith in Christ ;' depending on the merit of Christ's sacrifice, 
and binding ourselves by a solemn word to perform the duties required 
of us, which we renew again in the Lord's Supper. 

VII. That we most comfortably come to God by Christ for grace, 
when we consider our interest in him and relation to him. Our 
relation is here intimated, for Jesus Christ is our Lord, and God is 
our Father ; and surely our Lord will not refuse his own subjects, nor 
our Father be strange to his own children. 

1. It is certain that among men relation to any person or thing 
endeareth them to us. To dvrwv TTCLO-LV r) Sea (j)L\6refcvoi,, 1 men love their 
own children ; though not so fair and good as others, yet they are 
their own. And is it not so as to God ? See John xiii. 1, ' Having 
loved his own that were in the world, he loved them unto the end ;' 
and John xvii. 6, ' I have manifested thy name to the men which thou 
gavest me out of the world ; thine they were, and thou gavest them 
me, and they have kept thy word/ 

2. Interest giveth us more encouragement : Isa. Ixiii. 19, * We are 
thine : thou never barest rule over them ; they were never called by 
thy name;' that is, we are thy people, thy subjects, so called, so 
accounted. That interest giveth some hope and confidence is evident, 
because sometimes the saints plead the common relation that they are 

1 A misprint, which can only be conjecturally rectified. Perhaps rb. avrwv wayiv ^oea 

<f)L\OT^KVOL3. ED. 



the workmanship of his hands : Ps. cxix. 73, ' Thy hands have made 
me and fashioned me ; give me understanding, that I may learn thy 
commandments/ They will not quit their interest in God ; if they 
cannot come as his special servants, yet as his creatures, one way or 
another, they will entitle themselves to him. 

Use. To direct the servants of God, when they ask any grace of 
him, to bring it to this still, ' Our Lord and our Father/ But how 
shall they do so, if they have no assurance ? I answer : 

1. There are some titles which imply a claim to benefits and pri 
vileges ; others that infer an obligation to duty : these latter may be 
used without any usurpation : John xx. 28, ' My Lord, and my God.' 

2. Kesignation of yourselves to him showeth you are his, and in 
time you will come to know that he is yours, if you make it good : 
Ps. cxix. 94, ' I am thine ; save me, for I have sought thy precepts.' 
Resolve to obey him, and serve him, however he deal with you. Choice 
of God for our portion, and Christ for our Lord, showeth you are 
resolved to be his. 

3. Speak as the covenant speaketh that you are under, till your 
sincerity be more unquestionable. God offers himself to be our God, 
and Eedeemer, and Father ; Christ to be our Lord and Saviour : Isa. 
Ixiii. 16, ' Doubtless thou art our Father, though Abraham be ignorant 
of us, and Israel acknowledge us not : thou, Lord, art our Father/our 
Eedeemer ; thy name is from everlasting/ God offered himself to be 
so, and God is angry for not owning it: Jer. iii. 4, 'Wilt thou not from 
this time cry unto me, My Father, thou art the guide of my youth ?' 


Which hath loved us, and given us everlasting consolation, and good 
hope through grace. 2 THES. II. 16. 

WE come now to the second branch, the ground of audience and 
success in prayer : ' Which hath loved us, and given us everlasting con 
solation, and good hope through grace/ Where three grounds of 
acceptance are intimated : 

I. The first is taken from the rise and foundation of all the love of 
God : he hath loved us. 

II. From the matter of our comfort : he hath given us everlasting 

III. From the way whereby we receive it and entertain it : and good 
hope through grace. 

The first relateth to our redemption by Christ. 

The second to the new covenant. 

The third to the disposition of our hearts, and how we are affected 
in the reception of these things, as will appear more in the explication 
of each branch. 

First, I begin with the rise and foundation of that grace which we 
expect and beg of God in prayer : he ' hath loved us/ 


Doct. That God's love to sinners, manifested in our redemption by 
Christ, giveth great boldness and encouragement in prayer. 

1. I shall prove this is the love here intended. 

2. That this giveth boldness in prayer. 

I. That this is the love here intended, for these reasons : 

1. This is a visible effect and demonstration of his love to us : 1 John 
iii. 16, * Hereby perceive we the love of God to us, in that he laid 
down his life for us ;' and 1 John iv. 9, 10, ' In this was manifested 
the love of God towards us, in that he sent his only-begotten Son into 
the world, that we might live by him. Herein was love, not that we 
loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be a propitiation 
for our sins.' From these places I gather, that to found our confidence 
and hope, it was needful that the love God had to us should show 
itself by some manifest and real proof. How can we tell how God's 
heart standeth affected to mankind but by the effects ? Whatever 
benevolence or good-will he has towards us, it is not evident to us till 
it break forth into some action, and real performance of some great 
thing for us. Now this was fully manifested in giving his Son to die 
for a sinful world, that he hath a love for us, and doth really desire our 
salvation. There is a hidden love of God, which is his eternal purpose 
and decree ; and there is an open and declared love, and that is first 
and most seen in our redemption by Christ. In predestination his 
love was conceived in his heart ; in redemption it is manifested in the 
effects ; that was the rise, this the visible demonstration and sign of it. 
Now the apostle would not reason from what was hidden and secret, 
but from what is open and manifest. 

2. This is not only, the demonstration and visible proof of the reality 
of his love, but an ample representation and commendation of the 
greatness of his love : Bom. v. 8, ' But God commendeth his love to 
us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us/ A thing 
may be demonstrated to be real that yet is not commended or set 
forth as great and glorious. But God would express his love in such 
an astonishing instance, that we might admire the greatness as well 
as believe the reality of it : John iii. 16, ' God so loved the world,' &c. ; 
that is, so unspeakably, so inconceivably would he express his love to 
mankind, as to send his Son to assume our nature, and die for our 
transgressions. He doth not tell you how, but leaveth you to admire 
at it, and rejoice in it. What may we not expect from this love, this 
great love ? If God loveth us at such a rate, surely he is in good 
earnest ; his heart is set upon our salvation, or else he would never have 
taken this course of giving his only Son to suffer an accursed and 
shameful death. Now when the apostle saith * God hath loved us/ 
he meaneth it of the great instance of his love. Analogum per se posi- 
tum, stat pro suo signijicatu famosiori words not restrained by the 
context must be interpreted in the most famous and known sense. ^ 

3. This is the first motive to draw our hearts to him : 1 John iv. 
19, ' We loved him, because he loved us first.' The first motive of our 
affection is not his special electing love to us above others, for that we 
cannot know before we love him ; but his common love and mercy to 
sinners, and that was manifested in Christ's being sent to be a propitia 
tion for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole 


world. This is that which is propounded to us to recover and recon 
cile our alienated and estranged affections to God : 2 Cor. v. 19, 20, 
1 God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not imputing 
their trespasses unto him/ This grace God offereth to us, as well 
as others ; namely, that for Christ's sake he will pardon our sins, if we 
will lay down our weapons and enter into his peace. None are bound to 
believe that God specially loveth them, but those that are specially 
beloved by him, for none are bound to believe a falsehood, and a false 
hood it is to us, till we have the saving effects and benefits. There 
fore, it is not the special, but the general love which first draweth in 
our hearts to God ; yea, the saints, after some testimonies received of 
God's special love, still make this to be the great engaging motive : 
Gal. ii. 20, ' I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave 
himself for me.' Well, then, this is most likely to be meant by the 

II. This must needs give great boldness in prayer. 

1. By this we see that God's love is not a cold, ineffectual love, that 
consists only in raw wishes, but an operative, active love, that issueth 
forth to accomplish what he intendeth to us, though by the most costly 
means, and acted at the dearest rate. God * is good, and doth good,' 
Ps. cxix. 68. He hath a love to us, and will do good to us. Our love 
many times goes no further than good wishes or good words be 
warmed, be clothed, but giveth not those things which are needful to 
the body, James ii. 16 ; but God resteth not in kind wishes, but giveth 
a full demonstration of it. If Christ be needful to the saints, they 
shall have him ; 'if God spared not his own Son, but delivered him up 
for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things ?' 

2. It is an act of such infinite love in God to give us Christ to die 
for us, such as may raise our wonder and astonishment. God's love is 
an immeasurable love, and so enlargeth our expectations and capacity 
for the reception of other things : Eph. iii. 18, 19, 'That ye may com 
prehend with all saints to know 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.' There 
is such an immensity in the love of Christ as raiseth our desires and 
hopes to expect all other things from God that belong to our duty and 
happiness. If God will do this, what will he not do for those whom 
he loveth ? He that hath given the greatest gift will not stick at 
lesser things. He that hath given a talent, shall he not give a penny ? 
He that hath given Christ, will he not give pardon to cancel our 
debts, grace to do our duty, comfort to support us in afflictions, sup 
plies to maintain and protect us during our service ? Finally, will he 
not reward us when our work is over ? Keconciliation by his death is 
propounded as more difficult than salvation by his life: Kom. v. 10, 
' For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death 
of his Son ; much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life/ 

3. It is a gift in order to other things, and therefore he will complete 
that gift. Christ came to purchase all manner of blessings for us : 
the favour of God, the fruition of God, the everlasting fruition of God 
in glory, and all things by the way necessary thereunto. There are 
two arguments implied : 


[1.] That God may now do us good without any impeachment of 
his honour. His justice and holiness is sufficiently demonstrated, the 
authority of his law, and truth of his threatenings kept up : Horn. iii. 
25, 26, * Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faitli 
in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that 
are past, through the forbearance of God ; to declare, I say, at this 
time his righteousness, that he might be just, and the justifier of him 
that believeth in Jesus/ 

[2.] That after God by an antecedent bounty hath laid the foundation 
so broad and deep, the consequent bounty, which is as the upper build 
ing for which this foundation was intended, will be laid on also. It 
was said of the foolish builder, that he began and was not able to 
finish. Surely the wise God, if we be qualified, and put no impedi 
ment on our part, will finish what he hath begun. 

4. Because the giving of Christ showeth how freely God will give 
all things to us. He gave Christ unasked, unsought too ; in this instance 
we see his free and undeserved love. This was love to rebels and ene 
mies. When the world had corrupted their way and cast off God, then 
Christ died for us ; a consideration which serveth to support our confi 
dence, notwithstanding the sense of our unworthiness. In the covenant 
of grace, great and wonderful mercies are given out to a world of sin 
ners, and to ourselves among the rest. We see how loth God is sinners 
should perish ; that sins may be pardoned if we will accept God's 
terms, that hath given such general testimony of his love to mankind, 
his love to miserable sinners, that is willing they should be recon 
ciled ; that there is not so much difference between us and others 
as between him and all. Now this encourageth us to fulfil the condi 
tions of the gospel, notwithstanding our unworthiness of the privileges 

Use 1. Is caution. Let us not have wrong thoughts of God when 
we come to him. We think of God the Father as one that is all wrath 
and justice, and unwilling to be reconciled to man, or brought to it 
with much difficulty. No ; Christ came on purpose to show the love 
and loveliness of God to us ; for our redemption came first out of the 
bosom of God ; and Christ's mission into the world, and dying for sin 
ners, was the fruit of his love ; and mainly for this end, to give us a full 
demonstration of the love of God, and his pity to the lost world of 
sinners, that when our guilt had made him frightful to us, we might 
not fly from him as a condemning God, but love him, and serve him, 
and pray to him, as one willing to be reconciled to us : therefore take 
heed what picture of God you draw in your minds. Light and heat 
are not more abundant in the sun than love is in God. 

Use 2. Of direction to us how to conceive of God in prayer, as one 
that loveth us. We have gained a great point when we are persuaded 
of this, and can come with this thought into his presence, that I am 
praying to a God that loveth me, and will do me good. You will say, 
If I could come to that, I have gained a great point indeed. But what 
hindereth ? There is, I confess, a twofold love, his general love, and 
his special love. His general love, which intendeth benefits to us ; and 
his special love, which hath already put us in possession of them. His 
general love to the lost world ; and his love and mercy to us in parti- 


cular, putting us in possession of the saving benefits purchased and 

1. The general love to the lost world, that is a great thing the devil 
seeketh to hide and obscure, the wonderful love of God revealed in our 
Redeemer, that we may still fly from God, as more willing to punish 
than to save ; and many poor dark creatures gratify his design. We 
are still seeking signs and tokens of God's love, something to warrant 
us to come to God by Christ, and to persuade us that we shall be wel 
come if we do so ; and because we cannot find anything in ourselves 
that he will admit us, we are troubled. But all this while we are but 
seeking the sun with a candle. What greater evidence of God's will 
ingness to receive you than the death of Christ, than the institutions of 
the gospel ? This is above all evidences, that he sent his Son to die for 
us. This is like the Jews, who, when they had seen many wonders 
wrought by Christ, would still have a new sign : the greatest sign is 
given already, Christ dying for a sinful world. Men and angels cannot 
find out a sign, pledge, and confirmation of the love of God above that. 
Yet, if that be not enough, we have another sign, the promises and 
invitations of the gospel, which show his willingness to welcome sinners. 
Salvation is offered, but not to named, but described persons. There 
fore, if we are willing to come under these hopes upon God's terms, 
this may satisfy our scrupulous minds ; there is no bar put to us but 
what we put to ourselves by our refusing the grace as God ofFereth it. 
Certainly God's love and mercy to lost mankind is our first motive, 
and his willingness to impart good things to them upon his own terms ; 
and surely he is well pleased with our acceptance of them. 

2. There is special love where this grace is applied to us : Eph. 
ii. 4, 5, ' But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith 
he loved us, hath quickened us, when we were dead in trespasses and 
sins/ He did not begin to love us when we were converted that is 
of a more ancient and eternal rise but then he did begin to apply 
his love to us ; and this is no ordinary, but great love, when God was 
angry with us, and pronounced wrath on us in the sentence of the 
law, and appeared as an enemy in the course of his providence, and the 
apprehensions of our guilty fears, then to be reconciled ; and surely 
this is a great advantage to draw nigh to God as a reconciled Father. 
This is the object of our everlasting love and joy : Rom. v. 11, ' And 
not only so, but we also joy in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, by 
whom we have now received the atonement/ And this is a prop of 
confidence in prayer. Could we once believe that he dearly loves us, 
and is reconciled to us, and taketh us for his children, that he delighteth 
in our prosperity ; oh, how cheerfully could we come into his presence ! 
John xvi. 27, ' The Father himself loveth you, because you have loved 
me, and believe that I came out from God/ They have not only his 
intercession, but the Father's especial love, which is the ground and 
hope of audience. Now this particular interest dependeth on some 
thing wrought in our souls by the Holy Spirit. Our Lord mentioneth 
two things their faith in Christ, and love to God. (1.) Faith in 
Christ, or a thankful acceptance of him as our Lord and Saviour, 
therefore called receiving Christ, and entitling us to the privileges of 
Christ's children: John i. 12, 'To as many as received him, to them 


gave he liberty to become the children of God, even to as many as 
believe in his name/ (2.) Love to God : 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 ver. 23, 'If any man love me, he 
will keep my words ; and my Father will love him, and we will come 
unto him, and make our abode with him.' We cannot perceive our 
interest in the special love of God but by our sincerity, faith in Christ, 
and love to God. When we see God's love taken in our hearts, we 
may know that he loveth us, especially the latter ; for by the latter 
the former is manifested also : Gal. v. 6, ' Faith worketh by love/ 
Now the evidences of sincere love to God are seeking after God and 
delighting in him ; if you cannot find the latter, the former will evi 
dence it to you : Prov. viii. 17, * I love them that love me, and those 
that seek me early shall find me/ The desiderium unionis, the desir 
ing, seeking love, if it be serious and earnest, it is sincere, though you 
find not such delightful apprehensions of his grace to you. Clear that 
once, and when you come to prayer, you may know God loveth you ; 
and the dearest friend we have in the world hath not the thousandth 
part so much as he : yea, the highest angel doth not love God so much 
as he loveth the lowest saint. God loveth like himself, becoming the 
greatness and infiniteness of has own being ; and with this persuasion 
pray to him. 

Secondly, The second ground of audience is from the fruit of his 
love, as demonstrated in the new covenant, wherein we have the matter 
of everlasting consolation. Surely this clause respects not the effect 
and sense in our own hearts, but respects the matter and object of our 
comfort ; for he prayeth for the application of it afterwards : ' Comfort 
your hearts,' &c. And besides, nothing is more fleeting and oftener 
interrupted than our comfort in this life. It would contradict plain 
sense to call that comfort which Christians feel, and actually enjoy, 
everlasting comfort. Therefore I understand it of the matter, and 
observe this doctrine : 

That God hath given all true believers solid ground of perpetual 
and endless comfort. 

I will prove it by three arguments : 

1. The comforts propounded are of an everlasting tendency and 
benefit pardon and life, to free us from everlasting death, and to bring 
us into the possession of everlasting happiness, when our souls and 
bodies shall be for ever glorified in heaven. Now the consolation 
grounded on the promise of eternal life, whatever it be in our feeling, 
is in its causes and foundation eternal. The scripture often insists 
upon this : 1 John ii. 25, ' And this is the promise that he hath pro 
mised us, even eternal life;' Heb. v. 9, 'And being made perfect, he 
became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him/ 
We have by Christ deliverance from sin, and all the consequents of it, 
not only for a time, but for ever ; eternal peace and felicity is our 
portion. So it is said, Ps. cxix. Ill, ' Thy testimonies have I taken 
for an heritage for ever ; for they are the rejoicing of my heart/ It 
is not an heritage to lean upon for a while, as all our worldly comforts 
are, but for ever : so Ps. Ixxiii. 26, ' God is my portion for ever ;' 


that is, when all other things fail, have spent their allowance, can 
afford us no more relief, then we begin to enjoy our true and proper 
portion. It were endless to heap up places. Man for his sin was cast 
out of paradise ; but surely in the other world there is no change of 
estate : for men are past their trial, and must be what they are for ever. 
If you could imagine (as some have had the large charity to conceit 
it) that the condition of the wicked should be changed, yet there is no 
reason at all why the state of the godly should be changed, who have 
passed the pikes, a,nd are triumphing with God, that they should ever 
lose that estate again. 

2. They depend on everlasting foundations, such as are these : 

[1.] The everlasting love of God : Ps. ciii. 17, ' The mercy of the 
Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on them that fear him.' Not 
only from the beginning of the world to the end of the world, but from 
eternity to eternity. It was an ordinary form of praising God in the 
Old Testament : ' For his mercy endureth for ever/ 

[2.] The everlasting merit of Christ, which never loseth its force 
and effect : Heb. ix. 12, ' He hath obtained eternal redemption for 
us/ Not that Christ is always propitiating. No ; the work was 
performed in a short time, but the virtue of it is of everlasting con 

[3.] There is an eternal and unchangeable covenant : Heb. xiii. 20, 
* Through the blood of the everlasting covenant/ Though the cove 
nant made with Israel was abolished, yet this is everlasting, and con- 
tinueth for ever, and shall never be altered ; because it was able to 
reach the end for which it was appointed, which is the eternal salvation 
of man. That was a temporary covenant, this eternal. Now, because 
this is the main circumstance, and the next ground of our eternal con 
solation, the covenant of life and peace that God hath made with us in 
Christ, I shall prove the eternal truth and immutable constancy of this 
covenant. That a promise be immutable, certain, and firm, three 
things are required: 

(1.) That it be seriously and heartily made, with a purpose to per 
form it. 

(2.) That he that hath promised continue in his purpose without 
change of mind. 

(3.) That it be in the power of him that promiseth to perform what 
he hath promised. Now, of all these things there can be no doubt. 

(1.) God meaneth as he speaketh when he promiseth to give eternal 
life to those that believe and obey the gospel. There is no question 
but he is so minded, when he sent the Lord Jesus Christ from heaven 
to assure us of it by his doctrine, to die the death to purchase it for 
us, and afterward to rise again and enter into that happiness that he 
spake of ; and as soon as he was ascended up on high, gave gifts to men 
to give notice of this blessed estate to be had upon the terms of his new 
covenant, his Spirit attesting the truth of it by divers signs and won 
ders, partly to alarm the drowsy world to regard it, and assure the 
incredulous world that it is no fable ; and because they live not for 
ever, did inspire those holy men, before they went out of the body, to 
write a book of this salvation for the use of the world in all ages. 
To think that God is not serious in all this ; is to make him a liar 


indeed ; yea, to establish a falsehood with the greatest solemnity and 
demonstration that can be offered to mankind ; yea, to make a lie 
necessary, not only to the governing, but sanctifying of the world. 
Surely, then, there is a truth in that great promise which he hath 
promised us, even eternal life. 

(2.) That God doth continue in his purpose without change of 
mind. There is no doubt of it, if we consider his eternal and unchange 
able nature : Mai. iii. 6, * I am the Lord, I change not ; ' James i. 17, 
' With him is no variableness, neither shadow of turning/ And what 
should alter his purpose ? Doth he meet with anything that he fore 
saw not, or knew not before ? No ; this is a weakness incident to 
man ; God doth never repent and call back his grant, which he hath 
by this condescending act of grace insured to the heirs of promise. 1 
Sam. xv. 29, ' The strength of Israel will not lie nor repent, for he is 
not as man, that he should repent ; ' Ps. ex. 4, ' I have sworn, and will 
not repent ; thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedek.' 
Christ is by oath instated in full power of entertaining and blessing 
his faithful servants, which shall never be retracted and reversed. To 
take off all doubt, he hath given double assurance his word and his 
oath : Heb. vi/17, 18, * God, being willing more abundantly to show unto 
the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it with 
an oath ; that by two immutable things, wherein it is impossible for God 
to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to 
lay hold on the hope that is set before us/ That we might know 
that the new covenant is unchangeable and irrevocable, and so our 
comfort be the more strong, certain, and stable, God was pleased to 
give sincere believers this double assurance, by his word and oath, 
having regard to our infirmity, and those many doubts wherewith we 
are haunted about the world to come. God hath ever been tender of 
his word ; above all that is famed or believed of him, this is most 
conspicuous : Ps. cxxxviii. 2, ' Thou has magnified thy word above all 
thy name ; ' and Mat. xxiv. 35, ' Heaven and earth shall pass away, 
but my words shall not pass away ; ' and an oath is /jLejiarrj Trap 1 
avOpwirois Tricms ; and the apostle tells us it is Trepas avriXoyiw;. 
It is interposed usually indeed in a doubtful matter. But though 
here it needed not, God would show his extraordinary care for our sal 
vation ; we see his good-will in the promise, his solicitude in the oath ; 
in short, God would never be so fast bound, but that he doth and will 
still continue his purpose. 

(3.) That he is able to perform it. Faith looks to that also ; for this 
was the'ground and prop of Abraham's faith : Kom. iv. 21, ' Being fully 
persuaded that what God had promised he was able to perform ; ' so 
must all Abraham's children that would give glory to God in believing. 
The way of salvation is so rare and mysterious, and so many difficulties 
object themselves to our view, that we are soon puddered r unless we 
reflect upon the power of God. God is able to find out a way whereby 
sinners may be reconciled, our corrupt hearts sanctified, and our sins 
subdued by his Spirit, whereby his interest in us may be preserved 
against the assaults and temptations of the devil, world, and flesh ; he is 
able to receive our souls to himself after they flit out of the body ; and 
finally, he is able to raise our vile bodies after they are eaten out by worms, 


and turned into dust: Phil. iii. 21, c Who shall change our vile bodies, 
that they may be like unto his own glorious body; according to the work 
ing whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.' Matters 
of faith being wholly or mainly future or to come, and difficult to be 
performed, and in the meantime, we being exercised with so many 
trials, an express belief of God's power is necessary to convert such an 
obstinate creature as man is : to sanctify such a sinful creature, to pre 
serve us in the midst of temptations, to raise the dead, are no slight things. 

3. It is called ' everlasting consolation,' because it is sufficient to 
do its work ; that is to say 

[1.] To reduce us from temporal and flesh-pleasing vanities. Alas ! 
the pleasures of sin are but for a season, not worthy to be compared 
to the recompense of reward which Christ hath promised : Heb. xi. 
25, 26, ' Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, 
than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, esteeming the 
reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt : for 
he had respect to the recompense of reward.' Whatever is temporal, 
we may soon see the end of it. All carnal enjoyments, like flowers, 
wither while we smell on them ; and the most shining glory in the 
world is soon burned to a snuff ; but eternal life, and eternal glory, and 
eternal pleasure, are secured to us by Christ's promise ; all the delights 
in the world are but a May-game to these eternal pleasures, which we 
shall have at God's right hand for evermore : Ps.xvi.ll, * Thou wilt show 
me the path of life ; in thy presence is fulness of joy ; at thy right hand 
there are pleasures for evermore.' Now, will you sell your birthright for 
one morsel of meat ? part with your eternal inheritance for a little 
carnal satisfaction ? We have souls that will not perish ; and shall we 
spend our whole time in seeking after things that perish in the using ? 
Temporal things carry no proportion with an immortal spirit. We 
shall live for ever ; we should look after things that will abide 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/ Otherwise what will you 
do when the soul shall be turned out of doors ? To what regions must 
the poor shiftless, harbourless soul betake itself? Surely then this con 
solation, though we feel it not always, and it be frequently interrupted, 
may be well called eternal consolation, because it affordeth argument 
enough to check our worldly and sensual inclinations, and to call us off 
from time to eternity. 

[2.] To make us stedfast in the truth, and cheerful under sufferings, 
for he saith here, ' The Lord, that hath given us everlasting consola 
tion, comfort your hearts and establish you/ The great use of everlasting 
consolation is to comfort and stablish us in a suffering condition. The 
loss of temporal comforts is grievous, but it is recompensed with the 
promise of eternal joys revealed in the gospel : Heb. x. 34, ' Ye took 
joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that in 
heaven ye have a better and an enduring substance ; cast not away there 
fore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward.' And 
all our pains and afflictions are sweetened, so far as to keep us from 
fainting : 2 Cor. iv. 17, 18, ' Our light affliction, which is but for a 
moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of 
glory ; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the 


things that are not seen : for the things which are seen are temporal, but 
the things that are not seen are eternal/ The end of God's covenant 
and promises is to give us strong consolation in the midst of tempta 
tions, persecutions, and trials. Worldly joys appear and vanish in a 
moment, every blast of temptation scattereth them. It is eternal 
blessedness which is the cause of solid comfort in all dangers, storms, 
and tempests ; hither we retreat as to our sanctuary, and find relief. 
In the world all is unstable and uncertain, but the covenant provideth 
for us eternal joy and bliss. 

[3.] The third effect which it is to produce in us, is an increase of 
holiness, to stablish us in every good word ; that is, not only in sound 
doctrine, but in every good work. In holiness of life, our endeavours 
should answer our motives and ends : ' Abound in the work of the 
Lord, forasmuch as your labour is not in vain in the Lord/ 1 Cor. xv. 
58. Diligence should not be grievous to us when there is everlasting 
consolation at the back of it ; surely this should put life into all our 
endeavours. Should we trifle away that time which we are to improve 
for eternity ? John vi. 27, ' Labour not for the meat that perishes, 
but for that which is to endure to everlasting life/ Faith in Christ, 
joined with solid goodness, will lead you to eternal life. There should 
be in the saints an eternal principle, which is the grace of the Holy 
Spirit ; and an eternal end, which is the pleasing, glorifying, and en 
joying of God ; and an eternal rule, which is the will of God ; and they 
will have eternal consolation and reward. 

Use, of exhortation : 

1. Look upon the new covenant as it is in itself, as containing the 
only solid grounds of rejoicing ; the blessings of it are real, certain, 
stable, and suitable to the great necessities of mankind. The blessings 
are pardon and life ; they are real, no fancies or chimeras. The gospel 
is not a dream or well- devised fable, but the greatest reality in the 
world ; it speaketh much for itself, commending itself to the conscience 
by rational evidence: 2 Cor. iv. 2, 'By manifestation of the truth, 
commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God ; ' 
but more by the authority of the Son of God, who came from heaven 
to show us the way thither ; and if it had not been so, he would have 
told us, John xiv. 2 ; for he used great plainness of speech and 
fidelity ; and is more fully ratified by the Spirit : John xvi. 8-11, ' He 
will reprove the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment/ They 
are stable and unchangeable, as appeareth by the covenant form, in 
which the conveyance is so strong and firm as will make a plea in law : 
2 Sam. xxiii. 5, * He hath made an everlasting covenant with me, 
ordered in all things, and sure/ in which is all my hope and desire, 
and suitable to many necessities. Here is a cure for our great sore by 
pardon, and satisfaction to our desires by a fit happiness. 

2. Let it be so to you ; do you fulfil the duties required ; if there be 
any room for doubting, it must be of your qualification ; therefore that 
must be made more explicit : 1 John iii. 19 ' Hereby we know that 
we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him/ We miss 
much of this everlasting consolation, because we are upon such loose 
terms with God : never hope to have peace upon cheaper terms than 
clear and undoubted holiness. You are not to model God's covenant 


and new make it, and bring it down to your humour and liking. No ; 
the covenant is unalterable and eternal ; so the duties, as well as the 
privileges. You must take it as you find it, and choose the things that 
please God, Isa. Ivi. 4. There is your claim; follow that close: * Hence 
forth 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 
to all them that love his appearing.' 

3. Carry it so as those to whom God hath given grounds of everlast 
ing consolation. We are up when we have the world with us, but dead 
in the nest when our temporal dependences are broken. The covenant 
is the same still ; and there should be your hope and your joy : 2 Cor. 
i. 20, ' All the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto 
the glory of God by us ; ' 2 Sam. xxiii. 5, ' Although my house be 
not so with God, yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, 
ordered in all things, and sure ; for this is all my salvation, and all 
my desire, although he make it not to grow.' Heaven is where it was ; 
the world cannot make void your interest in it ; therefore you should 
rejoice in the Lord always: Phil. iv. 4, ' Eejoice in the Lord always ; 
and again, I say rejoice/ 

And good liope through grace. 2 THES. II. 16. 

WE now come to the third ground of audience and acceptance. He 
hath given us ' good hope through grace/ This showeth how we en 
tertain the everlasting consolation offered in the gospel with good 
hope, and this wrought in us by God. Here is 

1. The gift : good hope. 

2. The moving cause : through grace. 

Doct. That it is a great advantage, when we pray for consolation and 
confirmation in holiness, to consider that God hath already given us 
the hope of eternal life. 

Here I shall 
I. Open the gift. 

II. Show what encouragement this is in prayer. 

I. In the opening the gift, let me inquire : 

1 . What is this good hope mentioned, and what are the properties 
of it? 

2. That this is the free gift of God. 
1. What is this good hope ? 

[1.] Hope is sometimes put for the object or thing hoped for ; as 
Prov. xiii. 12, 'Hope deferred maketh the heart sad;' that is, the 
delay of the good expected is very tedious and troublesome to us. So 
in Christian hope : Col. i. 5, ' For the hope which is laid up for you 
in heaven ; ' where hope is put for the object of it, the blessed and 
glorious estate which is reserved for us hereafter. The great objects 
of hope, which yet do not exclude intervening blessings, are these : 


(1.) The coining of Christ to our comfort : Titus ii. 13, * Looking for 
the blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our 
Saviour Jesus Christ ; ' 1 Peter i. 13, ' Gird up the loins of your 
minds, and be sober, and hope to the end, for the grace that is to be 
brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.' Hope is there 
described by its singular object, the coming of Christ, called there the 
revelation of Christ. Christ is now under a veil, his bodily presence 
being removed, and his spiritual glory seen but darkly, as in a glass ; 
but then he shall appear in person and in his glory. When Christ 
withdrew out of sight, our comfort seemed to be gone with him ; but 
he will come again. He is not gone in anger, but about business, to 
set all things at rights against the day of solemn espousals ; and then 
he cometh to possess what he hath purchased, and to carry the church 
into the everlasting place of her abode. This is the great hope of 
Christians, and a blessed and good hope it is indeed. 

(2.) The resurrection of the dead : Acts ii. 26, * My flesh shall rest 
in hope ; ' Acts xxiv. 15, ' I have hope towards God that there shall 
be a resurrection both of the just and unjust ; ' Acts xxvi. 6-8, ' Now I 
stand judged for the hope of the promise made unto the fathers, unto 
which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, 
hope to come. Why should it be thought an incredible thing 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 bosom of the church this should not 
seem incredible. It is not incredible in itself, considering the justice 
and power of God. But why to you, since all religion tendeth to it ? 
But it is a matter of undoubted certainty all believers do look for, 
long for, and prepare for this blessedness, otherwise why should they 
trouble themselves about religion, which abridge th us of present de 
lights, and exposeth us to great difficulties and sufferings ? But there 
is another life after this, where all is happy and joyful, and therefore 
we ' serve God instantly day and night.' 

(3.) The vision of God, that at length we shall be admitted into his 
blessed presence, and see him as he is, and be made like him both for 
holiness and happiness, 1 John iii. 2. 

(4.) Our heavenly inheritance : 1 Peter i. 4, ' An inheritance incor 
ruptible, and undefiled, that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for us.' 
Called eternal life : Titus i. 2, ' In hope of eternal life, which God, that 
cannot lie, promised us/ The glory of God: Kom. v. 2, ' We rejoice in 
hope of the glory of God/ Well, then, all this is a good hope, if there 
be the things hoped for ; for the object of our hope is the chiefest good, 
the eternal vision and fruition of God ; this is that we must aim at as our 
happiness : Ps. xvii. 15, 'As for me, I shall behold thy face in righteous 
ness ; I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness/ We must 
seek after it and make it our constant work: Heb. x' c ' * God is a re- 
warder of them that diligently seek ' him/ This is that we must take 
hold of, as having a right and title to it : Heb. vi. 18, ' Who have fled 
for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before us/ We challenge it by 
the law of grace ; as we fulfil the conditions, our hold is more strong, 
right more evident ; as we get greater measures of the first-fruits, we 
gain more security and confidence in the spiritual conflict : ver. 19, 


* Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, sure and stedfast/ By 
good works we enter upon the possession of it, in part, as we get the 
first-fruits of the Spirit : Kom. viii. 23, * We ourselves also, which 
have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within our 
selves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body ; ' 
2 Cor. v. 5, ' Now he that hath wrought us for the self -same thing is 
God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.' In whole, 
when we come to heaven, for then we ' enter into our Master's joy/ 
Mat. xxv. 21. When we die our souls enter into that blessed place, 
where the spirits of just men are made perfect ; not only preserved 
in manu Dei, but admitted in conspectum Dei : 1 Peter i. 9, * Receiv 
ing the end of your faith, the salvation of your souls/ But after the 
resurrection and general judgment : John xiv. 3/1 will come again, 
and receive you to myself ; that where I am, there ye may be also/ 
Then, in body and soul, we enter into our everlasting mansions. 

[2.] Sometimes hope is put for the reasons and causes of hoping ; and 
so he that giveth me solid reasons of hoping, giveth me good hope. 
In this sense it is taken, Heb. vii. 19, ' The law made nothing perfect, 
but the bringing in of a better hope did, whereby we draw nigh to 
God/ By the better hope is meant the sure and comfortable promises 
of the gospel, depending merely on the grace of God, which gives hope 
to lost sinners of recovering commerce and communion with God ; that 
is, solid grounds upon which they may expect the pardon of their sins 
and eternal life. In this sense, good hope .is hope well warranted. 
The solid reasons are contained in the word of God: Rom. xv. 4, 

* Whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our 
learning, that we, through patience and comfort of the scriptures, 
might have hope.' The great end of the scriptures is, that we might 
have a sure hope in God quod agit tota scriptura, ut credamus in 
Deum. The business of the scripture is to bring us to believe in God, 
and wait upon him for eternal salvation. There the rule of commerce 
between God and us is stated ; whatever is promised is sure. There 
may be reason to expect some things from God's merciful nature, 
though we have no promise about them ; but the sure and certain 
hope is grounded on the promise ; that is an express ground of confi 
dence and hope that will never leave us ashamed ; it is well-grounded 
hope, therefore good hope, built on the promise and word of the 
eternal God. 

[3.] By the act or grace of hope itself. This may be called good either 
in itself or with respect to the degree. 

(1.) In itself : ' It is good that a man should both hope and quietly 
wait for the salvation of the Lord/ Lam. iii. 26. Bonum is either 
honestum, jucundum, or utile : it is good in all regards. It is our duty 
to rest assured in God's promise. It is pleasant to anticipate and 
forecast a blessing to come. Surely it is delightful to live in the fore 
sight of endless glory. It is profitable to support our hearts under pre 
sent difficulties and troubles, and the uncertainties of the present life. 

(2.) In respect of the degree and measure of it. That is good hope 
which is most able to do its office, when it is lively hope : 1 Peter i. 3, 
' Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which, 
according to his abundant mercy, hath begotten us again to a lively 


hope ;' such as doth most support and quicken us. The more serious 
and earnest our reflections are upon eternal life, the better is the hope : 
Heb. vi. 11, ' Show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope 
unto the end.' We should still keep up this sure and desirous expec 
tation. Briefly, hope the grace is twofold. 

(1st.) There is a hope which is the immediate effect of regeneration, 
and is a constitutive part of the new creature. Of that the apostle 
speaketh, 1 Peter i. 3, ' Begotten to a lively hope/ This merely floweth 
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 a man cannot be a Christian, till 
he hope for eternal life to be given him upon Christ's terms. 

(2dly.) There is a 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 much trial of God's fidelity and faithfulness to him. 
Of this it is said, Eom. v. 4, that * Experience worketh hope/ It 
differeth from the former, because it produceth not only a conditional 
certainty, but an actual confidence of our own salvation. The former 
is necessary, for we live and act by it ; the other is very comfortable, 
for it facilitateth all our acts when we know ' there is reserved for us 
a crown of life, which the righteous Judge will give in that day ;' and 
do not only believe ' a resurrection both of the just and unjust/ but 
our own resurrection unto eternal life. 

But now for the effects. I shall instance in two which suit with 
the prayer in the text consolation in troubles, and confirmation in 

First, Support in troubles. When we are certainly persuaded of a 
happy issue, we are the better kept from fainting: Phil. i. 19, ' I know 
that this shall turn to my salvation/ &c. He speaketh it of his troubles, 
and the machinations of his adversaries ; and this knowledge he calleth 
in the 20th verse, ' his earnest expectation and his hope/ The bitterest 
cross is sweetened by hope. This carried him through his sufferings, 
not only with patience, but comfort ; as men in a storm, when they 
see land, take courage ; it is but enduring a little more tempest and 
they shall be safe on shore. To a hoping Christian, his whole life is 
a rough voyage, but a short one. 

Secondly, To encourage us in working. It is hope sets the whole 
world a-work: 1 Cor. ix. 10, 'That he that plougheth should plough in 
hope ; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his 
hope.' Certainly it is hope sets the Christian a-work : Acts xxvi. 7, 
' Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day arid 
night, hope to come/ Why are God's children so hard at work for 
God, but out of love to him, and hope to enjoy him for ever ? Oh ! 
let us continually be serving God. Let us live always either for 
heaven, as seeking it, or upon heaven, as solacing ourselves with the 
hopes of it ; do whatever we do in order to eternal life, and not be 
taken up with trifles, and this will put life into our endeavours. It 
is for a glorious and blessed estate on which we employ all this 

2. That this is the free gift of God. I must prove two things : 

[1.] That good hope is his gift. He doth not only give us objective 


grace, this is the free and undeserved mercy of the gospel, or a 
sufficient warrant to hope for it, which are his gracious promises ; but 
subjective grace : the hope by which we expect this blessedness is 
freely wrought in us by his Holy Spirit, which is a further confirmation 
of his love to us, that he hath not only given us the blessedness we 
hope for, but the very hope itself. The Spirit's work is necessary 

(1.) By way of illumination, to open the eyes of our minds, that we 
' may see what is the hope of his calling/ Eph. i. 18. Alas ! otherwise 
our sight cannot pierce so far, nor discern any reality in a happiness 
that lieth in an unseen and an unknown world, so as to venture and 
forsake all that we see and love for a God and a glory that we never 
saw. Nature, if it be not blind in discerning the duty of man, yet it 
is purblind ; it cannot foresee the happiness of man, which lieth afar 
off from us : 2 Peter i. 9, ' But he that lacketh these things is blind, 
and cannot see afar off.' A short-sighted man cannot see things at a 
distance from him: not from any defect in the object, but through the 
fault in his eyes. So the natural man, blinded by delusions, doth 
either not believe, or forget the world to come ; though these things be 
set before him in the promises of the gospel, thoy leave no impression 
upon his heart. There needeth a very quick sight to be able to look 
from earth to heaven ; therefore, till we are enlightened by the Spirit, 
we can have no saving knowledge of those things which pertain to the 
kingdom of God or eternal life. 

(2.) By way of inclination. The Spirit doth not only open the eyes of 
our mind, but he doth also incline our hearts to mind and seek after 
these things as our portion and happiness : Acts xvi. 14, ' God opened 
the heart of Lydia/ There is an opening of our mind, and an opening 
of our hearts necessary ; for the wisdom of the flesh is kneaded into 
our natures, and we are prepossessed and entangled with divers foolish 
and hurtful lusts. Though we know these things, we regard them not, 
and therefore the work of the Spirit is necessary to incline us earnestly 
to look and long, and patiently to wait, for blessedness to come : Gal. 
v. 5, ' For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by 
faith.' Alas ! otherwise we should never regard these things, certainly 
we would not wait for them with so much patience and self-denial, and 
solace our hearts with these hopes in the midst of all our labours, 
adversities, and troubles, when all is in expectation, and so little in 

(3.) By way of excitation, he doth quicken us and comfort us, by 
raising our thoughts, desires, and endeavours after the promised glory 
and blessedness : Kom. xv. 13, ' Now, the God of hope fill you with all 
joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope through the 
power of the Holy Ghost.' It is by his lively impressions that this 
grace is acted in us with any profit ; our hope is acted and increased 
by his power, blessing the promises of the gospel to this end. 

[2.] That it is his free gift. That which moveth God to give us this 
hope is his mere love and grace. 

(1.) The matter of hope is God's free, undeserved mercy. The mercy 
of God is everywhere made the great invitation of hope to the fallen 
creature : Ps. cxxx. 7, * Let Israel hope in the Lord, for with the Lord 
is mercy and plenteous redemption.' Without this there were no hope 


for us, and therefore the saints make this their anchor-hold : Ps. xiii. 
5, ' I have trusted in thy mercy, therefore my soul shall rejoice in thy 
salvation ; ' let others trust in what they will, Lord, I will trust in thy 
mercy. This is that which maketh hope lift up the head : Jude 21, 
1 Looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life ; ' 
there is our best and strongest plea. But 

(2.) For the grace of hope, it is the mere fruit of the Lord's mercy ; 
such are our undeservings and ill-deservings, that nothing else could in 
cline him to give us this hope. He was not induced by any merits of 
ours, which are none ; nor hindered by any demerits or sins of ours, 
which were many and great ; only his grace moved him to bring us 
under the hopes of the gospel, that we might set ourselves with longing 
and certain expectation in the way of holiness, to seek after the eternal 
enjoyment of himself : 1 Peter i. 3, * Of his abundant mercy he hath 
begotten us to a lively hope.' There were so many provocations on our 
part, such great privileges to be enjoyed, that nothing but abundant 
mercy could give us this hope. 

II. What encouragement is this in prayer, if God hath given us good 
hope through grace ? 

1. God would not invite and raise a hope to disappoint it ; for 
surely the Lord will not deceive his creature that dependeth upon his 
word, and therefore we are allowed to challenge him : Ps. cxix. 49, 
' Remember thy word unto thy servant, on which thou hast caused me 
to hope/ The words contain a double argument : the promise was of 
God's making, and the hope of his operation, it is thy word, and thou 
hast caused me to hope ; his grant in the new covenant, and his influ 
ence by the Spirit. We have a strong tie upon him, as he giveth us the 
promise, which is a ground of hope. Surely we may put his bonds in 
suit, Chirographa tua tibi mjiciebat, Domine. But when his Spirit hath 
caused us to hope, it is not with a purpose to defeat it ; and therefore 
we may expect necessary blessings, such as are support and establish 
ment in holiness. Sometimes God promiseth that we may believe, and 
then promiseth again because we do believe and trust in him: Isa. 
xxvi. 3, * Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed 
on thee, because he trusteth in thee.' Actual hope and trust giveth a 
fresh claim or new interest, for God will not fail a trusting soul, as a 
generous man will not fail his friend if he rely on him. We count 
this to be the strongest bond we can lay upon another, to be mindful 
of us, and faithful to us I wholly trust upon you. Now, much more 
will God do so : when he hath sent his work before, he will bring his 
reward with him ; when he hath invited hope by his promise, and caused 
hope by his Spirit, he will give the mercy you hope for, for he hath 
prepared you for it by his prerenting grace. I remember the prophet 
telleth God, Jer. xx. 7, ' Lord, thou hast deceived me, and I was 
deceived ;' words that seem to intrench upon the honour of God. Some 
interpret them as if they were spoken by the prophet in a passion ; 
others soften them by another rendering, ' Thou hast persuaded me, and 
I was persuaded,' that is, to undertake the prophetical office, to which 
I was nothing forward of myself, and have found it more troublesome 
than I expected. But why may not the words be spoken as a supposi 
tion : ' If I be deceived, thou hast deceived me' ? God had told him 
VOL. in. L 


that he would make him as a brazen wall, and had raised a faith and 
hope in him that he would hear him out in his work ; and so it signifies 
no more but 'I cannot be deceived.' When you have God's word, and 
a well-grounded hope, it is not a foolish imagination or vain expecta 
tion. God will not deceive a poor creature that trusts in him for 
necessary things, such as perseverance and establishment in holiness. 

2. He that giveth us hope will give us all things necessary to the 
thing hoped for; therefore when God hath called us to the hope of 
eternal glory by Jesus Christ, we may with the more confidence pray 
for necessary support and establishment in the way. This argument 
seemeth to be urged by the apostle : 1 Peter v. 10, ' The God of all 
grace, who called you to his heavenly glory by Jesus Christ, after ye 
have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle 
you.' God, that called us to eternal glory, foresaw the difficulties and 
troubles we should meet with by the way, and therefore provided grace 
answerable, which we are to sue out by prayer. Surely he that called 
them to the possession of everlasting blessedness by the Mediator, did 
not flatter them into a vain hope, as it will prove, if he help us not. 
Therefore he will assist us in these difficulties, and though he will not 
exempt us from the conflict, yet he will not deny strength. When we 
consent to his calling, it is a sure ground to our faith that he that hath 
called will give us all things necessary to our perseverance ; for his 
calling, when it is effectual, will not be in vain and to no purpose : 1 
Cor. i. 9, ' God is faithful, by whom ye were called into the fellowship 
of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord;' 1 Cor. x. 13, 'There hath no 
temptation taken you but what is common to men : but God is faith 
ful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able ; but 
will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be 
able to bear it.' The intent of his calling is to bring them to the pos 
session of what he hath called them to. If he would at first take us 
with all our faults, and put us under the hopes of the gospel when we 
were sinners, he will follow the first grace with continual aids and 
supports, until he hath perfected his work ; and therefore, when a people 
are sincere, and willing to run all hazards for Christ, God will not only 
give them glory at the end of their journey, but bear their expenses by 
the way ; and therefore we need not be discouraged, and say, How shall 
we hold out ? God, that hath given such hope as to venture upon the 
difficulties, will support you under them ; he will add more grace to 
that grace that we have received. 

3. They that have received good hope through grace, have God's 
nature and promise to rest upon ; his nature, as he is a gracious God, 
and his promise, as he is a faithful God. 

[1.] His nature, as he is a God merciful and gracious. That former 
experience doth fully manifest ; he is sufficiently inclined to do us 
good, and therefore will not fail us in our necessities. He hath ever 
borne us good-will, never discovered any backwardness to help us, 
thought of us before the world was, sent his Son to die for us before 
we were born or had a being in the world, called us when we were 
unworthy, warned us of our danger when we did not fear it, offered 
happiness to us when we had no thought of it ; and lest we should 
turn our backs upon it, followed us with an earnest and incessant im- 


portunity, till we came to anxious thoughts about Christ, and began 
to make it our business to seek after it ; by the secret drawings of his 
Spirit, inclined us to choose him for our portion, and to rejoice in the 
hopes offered. How many contradictions and stragglings of heart 
were we conscious to ere we were brought to this ! Ever since he 
hath been tender of us in the whole conduct of his providence ; 
afflicted us when we needed it, delivered us when we were ready to 
sink ; hath pardoned our failings, visited us in ordinances, supported 
us in doubts, helped us in temptations, and is still mindful of us at 
every turn, as if he would not lose us ; and shall not we hope in him 
to the last ? We may reason as they,. Judges xiii. 23, * If the Lord 
had a mind to destroy us, he would not have received a sacrifice at our 
hands/ And so if God had no mind to save us, he would not use 
such methods of grace about us. 

[2.] His promise, so that we must trust his faithfulness, after we come 
under the hopes of the gospel. There are two great promises to sup 
port us : his presence with us in the midst of our afflictions, and our 
being ever present with the Lord in eternal glory. This is that we 
have hope of; all the difficulty is, how far God hath promised his 
presence with us. Certainly he hath promised it : Ps. xci. 15, ' I will 
be with them in troubles ;' and again, ' I will be with them in fire and 
water.' And again, certain it is, that God is most with his afflicted 
people, as the mother keepeth most with the sick child, or the blood 
runneth to comfort the wounded part. And again, that he will never 
leave us to unsupportable difficulties : Heb. xiii. 5, ' I will never leave 
you, nor forsake you ;' a negative gradation. And besides, there is a 
general promise, though the particulars be not absolutely made certain 
to us ; namely, that ' all shall work together for good,' Kom. viii. 28. 
That giveth us but a probability of health, and outward protection, 
and deliverance, of a ready support in every temptation, because we 
are uncertain how far they are for our good ; but for necessary grace 
to our preservation, there is express provision in the covenant : Jer. 
xxxii. 40, ' I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will 
not turn away from them to do them good,' &c. 

4. It giveth us encouragement in prayer ; because they that have 
this hope are so much exposed to the scorn of the world, because they 
trust in an invisible God, and look for all their recompense in a world 
to come. They think Christians are a company of credulous fools, 
that please themselves with dreams and fancies : Ps. xxii. 7, 8, ' They 
laugh me to scorn, because, they say, he trusted in the Lord ;' 1 Tim. 
iv. 10, ' We therefore labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in 
the living God/ Christians thought their reward sure, and therefore 
endured all things ; but atheists and infidels scoff at them, and at all 
their comforts, as fanatical illusions, and persecute them. Therefore 
God is in point of honour engaged to stand by them, and to justify 
their hope and trust ; not always by temporal deliverance, but by spirit 
ual support and establishment ; that it may be seen there is a Spirit 
of God and glory resteth upon them, that is glorified by him, however 
he be evil spoken of in the world, 1 Peter iv. 14. God will do so in 
condescension to his people. Nothing goeth so near their hearts as a 
disappointment of their hope in God. It is a mighty damp to their 


spirits when God doth as it were spit in their faces, and reject their 
prayers : Ps. xxv. 2, ' my God ! I trust in thee ; let me not be 
ashamed.' At such times the Lord seemeth to countenance the slanders 
of their enemies, and to cover their faces with shame. 

Use 1. To persuade you to get this hope of eternal life wrought in 
your hearts. 

1. This is the characteristic and note of difference betwixt God's 
people and others. By this we are distinguished from pagans, who are 
described to be such as ' Have no hope, and without God in the world/ 
Eph. ii. 12 ; and 1 Thes. iv. 13, ' Sorrow not as them without hope.' 
But Christians are such as have c good hope through grace ;' and by 
this we are distinguished from temporary and slight believers : Heb. 
iii. 6, 'His house we are, if we hold fast the confidence and rejoicing 
of hope firm unto the end ;' so also ver. 14, * If we hold the begin 
ning of our confidence stedfast unto the end/ Their hope is slight 
and fluid : the temporary loseth his joy and comfort, which he con 
ceived in the offers of the gospel, and so either casts off the profession 
of godliness, or neglecteth the power and practice of it ; but the true 
Christian is serious, patient, heavenly, and holy ; because he is always 
looking to his end, and sweeteneth his work by his great hope, keeping 
up his taste or lively expectation of the mercy of Christ to everlasting 
life. Nay, this differenceth the children of God, those that are in their 
conflict from those that are in their triumph, the sanctified and glori 
fied ; those that are in their way, and those that are at home. They 
that are at home are enjoying what we expect, and in possession of 
that supreme good that we yet hope for ; they have neither miseries 
to fear nor blessings to desire beyond what they do enjoy ; they see 
what they love, and possess what they see. But the time of our ad 
vancement is not yet come, and therefore we can only look and long 
for it ; this is our work and present happiness. 

2. Now the covenant of God is contrived to raise hope in us. The 
Jachin and Boaz, the two pillars that support it, are mercy and truth : 
Micah vii. 20, ' Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy 
to Abraham ;' Ps. xxv. 10, ' All the paths of the Lord are mercy and 
truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies ;' and Ps. 
cxxxviii. 2, ' I will praise thy name for thy loving-kindness and truth ; 
for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name ;' and in many 
other scriptures. 

[1.] The mercy and grace of the covenant. 

I.) In the frame of it, where excellent benefits are dispensed upon 
free terms, that our faith and hope may be in God. The Lord would 
not leave the sinful creature under despair, but hath provided a way 
how we may be reconciled and glorified: Ps. cxxx. 4, 'There is for 
giveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.' Mercy opens the door 
for us ; the very offer speaks much mercy, the terms are mercy. So 
much duty is required as is necessary, and doth arise from the nature 
of the thing. Violence would be offered to the reason of a serious 
creature, if such things were not required. 

^ (2.) In the dispensations of the blessings of the covenant. Now, Gal. 
vi. 16, ' To as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, 
and mercy, and on the Israel of God.' There are many infirmities and 


frailties, but God passeth them by when there is sincerity. Our faith 
is weak, and mingled with doubtings,our love to God clogged with much 
inordinate self-love, our obedience often interrupted, too much deadness 
and coldness in holy things ; yet these do not cast us out of the favour 
of God, nor make void our interest in the covenant, where the heart 
for the main is set to serve him, and please him : Mai. iii. 17, ' I will 
spare them as a man spareth his own son that serveth him/ 

(3.) At the very close of all it is grace : * Hope unto the end, for 
the grace that is brought unto you at the revelation of Christ/ 1 Peter 
i. 13. Then there will be the fullest and largest manifestation of 
God's love and free grace. There is grace brought to us now, by the 
revelation of Jesus Christ in the gospel ; but when his person shall be 
revealed, grace shall be seen in all its graciousness. We see his grace 
in the pardon of sins, and that measure of sanctification which now 
we attain unto, that he is pleased to pass by our offences, and take us 
into his family, and give us right to his heavenly kingdom, and some 
taste of his love and remote service. But when pardon shall be pro 
nounced by the judge's mouth, when he shall take us not only into 
his family, but into his palace and Father's house, and give us not 
right only, but possession, and we shall be admitted to the imme 
diate vision and fruition of God, and be everlastingly employed in 
heavenly praising and delighting in him, then grace will be grace 

[2.] His truth and mercy openeth the door for us. Truth keepeth it 
open ; mercy is the pipe ; truth is the conveyance. Now God bindeth 
himself by promise, arid hath ever been tender of his word. We may 
see for the present that a covenant-interest is no fruitless thing. He 
hath confirmed this hope to the world by miracles ; to us within the 
church by the seal and earnest of his Spirit, or the impression of his 
image, preparing the hearts of the faithful for this blessed estate : Eph. 
iv. 30, ' Grieve .not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto 
the day of redemption ;' 2 Cor. v. 5, ' Who hath given us the earnest 
of his Spirit.' He hath appointed ordinances to revive our hopes : 1 
Cor. xi. 26, c For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye 
do show the Lord's death till he come/ By daily experience we see 
many of God's children have gone out of the world cheerfully profess 
ing this hope ; we have the same Father, ' of whom the whole family 
in heaven and earth is named/ Eph. iii. 15 ; are reconciled to him by 
the same Christ : Col. i. 20, ' Having made peace through the blood 
of the cross, by him to reconcile all things to himself ; by him, I say, 
whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven/ If he be so 
good to that part of the family that is now in heaven, he will be good 
to them also that are working out their salvation with fear and tremb 

[3.] What an advantage it is to the spiritual life to have good hope 
wrought in us through grace. 

(1.) It maketh us diligent and serious. Christianity implieth a 
serious application of our heart and mind to do what Christ requireth, 
that we may obtain what he hath offered ; to do it as our first work 
and chief business : Phil. ii. 12, ' Work out your own salvation with 
fear and trembling;' Heb. iv. 1, * Let us labour to enter into that 


rest ;' that is, employ our utmost care and diligence. Now all the exe 
cutive powers are fortified and strengthened in their operation by hope. 

(2.) To be patient and mortified, that we subdue our lusts, and 
bear the loss of our interests with an humble and quiet mind : Kom. 
xii. 12, ' Patient in tribulation, rejoicing in hope.' And for lusts: 1 
John iii. 3, ' He that hath this hope, purifieth himself even as he is 

(3.) To be heavenly and holy ; the one respects our end, the other 
our race. For it is not a few dead lifeless thoughts now and then, 
bat the continual and delightful foresight of eternal bliss. What is 
the way to heaven but hope ? And who more pure and holy than 
they that look for such things ? 2 Peter iii. 14, ' Wherefore, beloved, 
seeing ye look for such things, be diligent that ye be found of him in 
peace, without spot, and blameless/ 

Use 2. Well, then, get this hope. But what must we do ? You 
will say, It is God's gift : yet you are bound to use the means. 

1. Kemove the impediments : 1 Peter i. 13, ' Be sober, and hope to 
the end/ Draw off the affections from carnal vanities, and the delights 
of the senses, and consider what God offereth to you in the gospel : there 
can be no certain and desirous expectation of better things, while the 
mind and heart is so occupied and thronged with vanity, and dead 
ened by carnal satisfaction. 

2. Wait on all the opportunities of profiting, and use the known 
means of grace more conscionably. Certain it is that the grace of 
hope is of God, not acquired, but infused ; but God will bless his own 
means. The propounding of the object, the offering of the solid 
grounds, maketh way for the infusing of the grace : Titus i. 1,2, 
Paul was the apostle to ' bring them to the acknowledgment of the 
truth, for the hope of eternal life/ And it is called, * the hope of the 
gospel,' Col. i. 23, because it is wrought by the preaching of the 


Comfort your hearts, and slablish you in every good word and work. 

2 THES. II. 17. 

WE come now, thirdly, to the prayer itself. He asketh two bene 
fits : 

1. Comfort. 

2. Establishment. 

First, Comfort : ' Comfort your hearts/ But why doth the apostle 
pray for that which they had already ? He had told them, in the 
former verse, that God had given them everlasting consolation, and 
now he prayeth that God would comfort them. The answer given by 
some is, that he prayeth that God would give them an increase of 
comfort ; by others, that God would give them the continuance of 


it. Bather, by everlasting consolation is meant tlie solid matter of 
comfort ; by his prayer, now the effectual application of it ; for 
though sufficient matter of comfort be provided for us, yet God must 
powerfully apply it. The gospel is a sovereign plaster, yet God's hand 
must make it stick. Observe here : 

Doct. That all true and solid and heart-comfort is of God. He 
is called ' the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort,' 2 Cor. 
i. 3 ; and again, ' The God of patience and consolation/ Rom. xv. 
5. His Spirit taketh an office upon him to accomplish, this effect in 
us, therefore called the Comforter. 

1. I shall inquire what comfort is. 

2. Show why it is of God. 

3. What advantage we have thereby. 

I. What comfort is. Three things are to be explained : 

1. Comfort. 

2. Comforting. 

3. In what sense it is of God. 

I. 1. What comfort is. We call two^ things by that name : 

[1.1 Our natural refreshment. 

[2.J Our support in troubles. 

[l.j Our natural refreshment, or the benefit that we have by the 
creatures for the support of nature. We cannot enjoy our temporal 
mercies with any delight and pleasure without God's leave and bless 
ing; as to eat and drink with comfort, that the soul may enjoy good 
by its labour. In one place it is said, it is * by the hand of God,' 
Eccles. ii. 24. In another place it is said to be ' the gift of God/ 
Eccles. iii. 13. It is by his power and his grace that the comfort of 
the creature is not in man's hands but God's ; nor can the creature 
yield to us any comfort without his gift or grant. And because of 
our forfeiture by sin, we have neither these mercies from ourselves, 
nor the use ; nor the natural benefit from the bare creature, which is 
health, strength, and cheerfulness. All goodness resideth chiefly in 
God, and it is to be found in the creatures only by participation, and 
that at his pleasure : Acts xiv. 17, ' He gave us rain from heaven, and 
fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness ;' that is, 
for the comfortable use of food, we must still look to the giver. But the 
apostle here doth not speak of the comfort of the creatures, but the 
comfort of the scriptures ; not the supply of the body, but the support 
of the soul. 

[2.] Comfort is taken for support in troubles. The Thessalonians 
were now under great persecutions. Comfort is a strengthening of 
the mind when it is in danger to be weakened by fears and sorrows, 
or the strength and stay of the heart in trouble : Ps. cxix. 50, ' This 
is my comfort in my afflictions, thy word hath quickened me ; ' and 2 
Cor. i. 4, ' Who comforteth us in all our tribulations, that we may be 
able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort where 
with we are comforted of God/ As cordials are for a fainting time, 
so are comforts for a time of afflictions. Indeed spiritual comfort is 
never out of season ; because we are now in the house of our pilgrim 
age, and our chief good is at a distance from us ; and because of the 
labours and difficulties of the spiritual life : therefore it is said, Acts 


ix. 31, ' When the churches had rest, they walked in the fear of God, 
and the comfort of the Holy Ghost/ But the great need of comfort 
is in our afflictions, therefore here I shall show three things : 

(1.) That God can give his people comfort in the greatest tribula 
tion : his favour is enough to support them against the frowns of all 
the world : Isa. li. 12, ' I, even I, am he that comforteth thee. Who 
art thou that thou shouldest be afraid of man that shall die, and the 
son of man that shall be made as the grass ? ' As long as we have 
the almighty and immortal God to stand by us, and the promise of 
eternal life, it will counterbalance all our trouble : Bom. v. 2, 3, ' We 
rejoice in hope of the glory of God : and not only so, but we glory 
in tribulations also ;' 2 Cor. iv. 17, * This light affliction, which is 
but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal 
weight of glory/ There is everlasting joy against a heaviness for a 
season, and everlasting ease and rest against a little present pain ; 
there is enough to outweigh all that we can suffer for and from God. 
So the pardon of sin : Isa, xl. 1, 2, 'Comfort ye, comfort ye, my 
people, saith my God/ Why ? ' Because her iniquity is pardoned/ 
Mat. ix. 2, ' Be of good cheer ; thy sin is forgiven thee/ Here is sound 
comfort, the sting of all our troubles is taken away. Well, then, this 
the people of God have to support them in all their tribulation. They 
can set God against the creature, heaven against earth, pardon of sins 
against all the bitterness they meet with in the world. 

(2.) That there is a special allowance of -comfort for God's children 
in their afflictions. The Lord is more tender of his people then, when 
they want comfort, than at another time ; they have a more plentiful 
measure of the supporting operations of his Spirit then : as 1 Peter 
iv. 14, * If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye, for 
the Spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you/ As the mother 
keepeth most with the sick child, so God looketh to the afflicted. 
This is the difference between God and the world : the world ever 
runneth most after those that are prosperous, and flourish and rejoice, 
as rivers into the sea, where there is water enough ; but forsaketh those 
that are in poverty, disgrace, and want ; but God is most mindful of 
his afflicted people, visiteth them most, vouchsat'eth most of his com 
fortable presence to those that holily and meekly bear the afflictions 
he layeth upon them : ' He comforteth us in all our tribulations/ 
2 Cor. i. 4. The soul is then more capable of spiritual comforts, 
because their taste is more purged and refined from the dregs of sense, 
and grace is more lively and exercised now ; the more grace, the more 
comfort. And prayers are more frequent ; and prayers are seldom in 

(3.) That our comforts carry proportion with our sorrows : 2 Cor. i. 
5, ' As our afflictions abound, so do our consolations/ This cometh 
from the wisdom of God, that the evil may not be greater than our 
support ; and from the faithfulness of God, * who will not suffer us to 
be tempted above what we are able to bear/ 1 Cor. x. 13. And there 
fore, if he bring on heavy troubles, he puts a suitable measure of com 
fort and cheerfulness into our hearts. This is comfort. 

2. What it is to have our hearts comforted. It showeth that the 
heart is the proper seat of spiritual comfort : Ps. iv. 7, ' Thou hast 


put gladness into my heart.' God's comfort is like a soaking shower, 
that goes to the root, and refresheth the plants of the earth more than 
a morning dew, that wets only the surface. Other comforts tickle 
the senses and refresh the outward man, but this penetrateth to the 
very heart. Christ prayeth, John xvii. 13, ' That they may have my joy 
fulfilled in themselves/ Christ's comforts are not reported to the ear 
only, but felt in the heart. The joy of the world maketh a great 
noise, but in the midst of it the heart is sorrowful. But God feasts 
his children with hidden manna ; they have meat and drink which 
the world knoweth not of. In their outward man they are exposed 
to great difficulties, but their hearts are filled with 'joy unspeakable, 
and full of glory/ The joy of the carnal in outward things is foreign ; 
and as much as their senses are pleased, their hearts are full of tor 
menting fears and secret disgusts. They may put a good face upon 
it, but dig the most jovial of them to the bottom, they have their 
inward stings and secret horrors of conscience. But in comforting his 
children God chiefly deals with the heart : Kom. v. 5, ' The love of 
God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost given unto. us / 
and 2 Cor. i. 22, ' He hath given us the earnest of the Spirit in our 
hearts/ In establishing this comfort, God doth immediately work 
upon the soul. He useth means indeed ; as the word : Kom. xv,. 4, 
4 That you through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have 
hope/ There we have the grounds of comfort set forth Cprist's 
redemption, the promises of the gospel, both of pardon and life, and 
the ordinances, as the sacraments ; as the eunuch after his baptism : 
Acts viii. 39, 'He went away rejoicing/ So in the Lord's Supper, we 
come to eat of Christ's peace-offerings that we may rejoice in^God : 
Ps. xxii. 26, ' The meek shall eat and be satisfied ; they shall r)raise 
the Lord that seek him : your heart shall live for ever/ But his Spirit 
worketh immediately upon the soul; either (1.) By opening the un<|er- 
standing to see the grounds and reasons of comfort: Rom. xv. -13, 
' Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, 
that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost ;' 
or (2.) By raising the heart to the lively act of joy : Acts xiii. 52, 
' The disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost/ Cer 
tainly God comforteth the heart both ways by seeing the grounds as 
he worketh faith. Man is a reasonable creature, and it is not ima 
ginable that the Holy Ghost should comfort us we know not why : he 
revealeth indeed supernatural grounds of comfort ; but if they be not 
evident to reason, they are evident to faith. But then the very joy is 
executed by the efficacy of his impression. But of that more anon. 

3. In what sense comfort may be said to be of God ? I answer 
Three ways: 

When it is allowed by him. 

When the matter is provided by him. 

When it is wrought by him. 

When it is allowed by him, and warranted by him. Every man 
fects comfort and oblectation of mind; for otherwise they could 
never be pleased in that condition they are in, nor satisfy themselves. 
It would much undeceive the carnal world, and make them see the 
folly of their unreasonable joy and quiet, if they would put conscience 


to the question, Is our joy from God or no ? that is, Doth God allow 
it me ? Certainly God doth allow us to rejoice in our outward por 
tion : Eccles. v. 18, ' It is good and comely for one to eat and drink, 
and to enjoy the good of all his labours that he taketh under the sun, 
all the days of his life which God giveth him, for it is his portion ; ' 
but so that his favour rngy be the matter of our chief joy, for other 
wise it is exceeding folly and gross carnality to rejoice in the creature 
apart from God. And in the midst of the greatest soul-dangers, you 
must first inquire, Are all things right between God and me ? It is 
a mighty contempt of God, yea, brutish atheism, to sit down con 
tented with anything on this side God, Luke xii. 19, and to say, ' Soul, 
take thine ease, thou hast goods laid up for many years.' To sing 
lullabies -to our souls when God is angry for sin, this comfort is not 
allowed oy God : ' There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked/ 
Isa. Ivu. 21. It is spiritual madness to dance about the brink of hell. 

[2.] When the matter is provided by him. God in the new covenant 
hath propounded excellent grounds of comfort : John xiv. 1, ' Let not 
your hearts be troubled ; ye believe in God, believe also in me.' The 
two ^reat general grounds of support against heart-trouble are God's 
merc'ful nature and Christ's mediation ; more particularly in the new 
covenant, the promises of pardon and life, of pardon of sin : Eom. 
v. l-\3, ' Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God 
through our Lord Jesus Christ/ &c. ; and of life eternal : 1 Thes. iv. 
18, ' And so shall we ever be with the Lord ; wherefore comfort one 
another with these words/ It is good to see what comforts we live 
upon and propound to ourselves and others, more expressly as to 
afflictions, God's particular providence, that nothing falleth out with 
out God's appointment : 1 Thes. iii. 3, ' That no man should be 
moved with these afflictions, for yourselves know that we were ap 
pointed thereunto/ It is not chance or a natural accident, but that 
which God hath appointed. If any Shimei rail, the Lord hath bid 
him curse. If any evil come to us, is it without God's fatherly care 
over his people, who ordereth all things for their profit ? Heb. xii. 10, 
' 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/ 
And his unchangeable love, which doth not vary and alter with our 
condition : Heb. xii. 6, ' Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and 
scourgeth every son whom he receiveth/ He is our God still, though 
he seemeth to deal hardly with us. We learn of Christ on the very 
cross to cry, ' My God/ Mat. xxvii. 46 ; and if we cannot find enough 
in him when the creatures and our natural comforts fail, it is meet 
we should lose them : Hab. iii. 18, ' Though the fig-tree should not 
blossom, &c., yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of 
my salvation/ This is the sum of God's comforts ; and when these 
things are suggested to us, God comforteth our hearts. 

[3.] When by these means God worketh comfort in us. Joy is often 
called ' the comfort of the Spirit/ and 'joy in the Holy Ghost/ Kom. 
xiv. 17. Now all the Spirit's works are singular, and do much exceed 
the natural work of man's heart. The groans which he stirreth up in 
prayer are ' unutterable/ Rom. viii. 26 ; his joys ' unspeakable and 
glorious/ 1 Peter i. 8. The heathens counted that fire more fit and 


pure for their altars which was enkindled by a sunbeam rather than a 
coal taken from a common hearth. So this comfort which is raised 
in us by the Holy Ghost is more rich and glorious and effective than 
that which is the fruit of our bare reason, or the mere working of our 
human spirit, even in the common grounds of Christian comfort ; or 
as elementary fire differeth from culinary and kitchen fire, and is 
much more pure, so doth this joy, which is immediately wrought in 
us by the Spirit, from all joy that we can work by ourselves, out of 
the scriptural grounds of comfort. Carnal men have their joy at the 
second or third hand, as God blesseth the order and influence of in 
ferior causes ; it comes to them from creature to creature, so as they 
discern not the work of God in it ; yea, the joy of common Christians 
in the proper grounds of comfort is not so strong as that which is 
raised in us by the immediate impression of the comforting Spirit. 
II. Why this is of God. 

1. Because God challengeth this as his own right to comfort the 
heart of man ; and therefore, whatever the means of the comfort be, 
God will be owned as the spring and fountain of it. He keepeth this 
as his great bridle upon the world, to govern the hearts of men : Job 
xxxiv. 29, ' When he giveth quietness, who then can make trouble ? 
and when he hideth his face, who then can behold him ? whether 
it be done against a nation, or against a man only.' Our peace and 
trouble is in God's hands, and at his disposing. It is true he exer- 
ciseth his sovereignty according to law, and in his internal govern 
ment according to the law of grace, penally withdrawing his comfort 
ing Spirit, and leaving us to our doubts, and troubles, and fears ; by 
the rewarding our obedience and faithfulness with the manifest tokens 
of his love, as the matter shall require. It is enough for the point in 
hand that God alone doth powerfully dispense peace or trouble. And 
when he will give comfort, none can make his gift void ; for it is at 
his command ; and in both, a nation is all one with a particular per 
son as to any ability to resist God. 

2. Though grounds of comfort be never so clear, yet if God concur 
not, we find not the effect ; therefore it is his Spirit that can only com 
fort the heart. To have God's warrant for our comfort is much, but to 
have his impression is more ; both must concur, or the soul will not 
be comforted. It falleth out many ways, sometimes out of ignorance. 
When a well of comfort was near, poor Hagar saw it not, and was 
almost famished with thirst, until ' God opened her eyes, and she saw 
a well of water/ Gen. xxi. 19. We know not the grounds of our com 
fort. Sometimes out of passion ; grief is obstinate, and will admit no 
remedy : as ' Kachel would not be comforted/ Jer. xxxi. 15. They 
are so peevishly addicted to their worldly comforts, that if they be 
crossed in them, they will not admit of God's comforts, though they 
are evident, clear, and pertinent. Sometimes out of forgetf ulness : 
Heb. xii. 5, ' Ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto 
you as unto children.' And oblivion is an ignorance for the present. 
Had they remembered, they would not have fainted and waxed weary. 
It is a great work of the Spirit to bring to remembrance. Sometimes 
questioning their interest in comfort; besides that, there are general com 
forts, when interest is not clear. Now the Spirit, that showeth us the 


things given us of God, doth also reveal and evidence our right to 
them. What is wrought in our hearts that is to say, by quickening 
us to exercise grace, he evidenceth the truth of grace ; and in our 
afflictions by patience maketh out our comfort : Rom. v. 3-5, ' We 
glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and 
patience experience, and experience hope ; and hope maketh not 
ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the 
Holy Ghost, which is given unto us.' From the whole, there can be 
no true solid comfort but what God bestoweth ; his favour, and our 
interest in his favour, is manifested to us by his Spirit. 

Ill What advantages we have by this, that all solid comfort is of 

1. It assureth us of God's readiness to comfort poor afflicted crea 
tures that humbly submit to him. He that is the God of all comfort 
is also the Father of mercies ; his mercy and compassion inclineth him 
to comfort us. God hath his name from this effect Nomina sunt a 
notioribus ' God that comforteth those that are cast down/ 2 Cor. vii. 6. 
He is very tender of all afflicted creatures, much more of his people. 

2. God's comforts come with more authority, and silence all our 
doubts and fears: Ps. xciv. 19, 'In the multitude of my thoughts 
within me thy comforts delight my soul.' We have many intricate, 
perplexing thoughts, out of which we cannot disentangle ourselves ; 
no comforts come with such authority and power as God's comforts. 
In the comfort we have it is good to consider whence it cometh : Is it 
God's comfort, or a fancy of our own ? If it be made up by our own 
fancy, it will be like a spider's web, that is weaved out of its own bowels, 
but is gone and swept away with the least turn of a besom ; but God's 
comforts are more durable : they flow from the true fountain of com 
fort, upon whose frowns or smiles our happiness and misery dependeth. 
There is little warmth in a fire of our own kindling. God's comforts 
are built on his covenant, and have a commanding force and over 
powering efficacy on the soul. God in his word speaketh by sovereign 
authority ; in our hearts he worketh by powerful efficacy. The autho 
rity of his word we own when we speak to others or to ourselves, when 
we know trouble but in supposition or imagination. The efficacy of 
his grace we feel when trouble comes actually upon us ; many that 
strengthen others, when it cometh upon them faint themselves : Job 
iv. 4, 5, * Thy words have upholden him that is falling, and thou hast 
strengthened the feeble knees. But now it is come upon thee, and thou 
faintest ; it toucheth thee, and thou art troubled/ Which showeth 
that not only the matter of comfort, but the effectual blessing cometh 
from God, or comforting of souls is his work. 

3. That God's comforts are full and strong. For he worketh like 
himself^ and therefore can and will support his people in the greatest 
difficulties. It is sometimes represented as full : Acts xiii. 52, ' The 
disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost ;' and, ' I ain 
filled with comfort, and am exceeding joyful in all our tribulations/ 
2 Cor. vii. 4 : vTrepTrepiao-evofjiat, ry %apa. And our Lord Jesus, when 
he took care for our comfort, took care for our full comfort : John xv. 11, 
' These things have I spoken, that my joy may remain in you, and 
your joy might be full/ Thus we see the joy of believers is a full joy, 


that no other joy needeth to be added to it ; it is a full joy to hear us 
out under all discouragements. For what is wanting to them who 
have God for their portion, and the promised glory for their inherit 
ance, and God's providence engaged for their protection, safety, and 
comfort, while they are here by the way ? And it is strong as well as 
full : Heb. vi. 18, * That by two immutable things, in which it is im 
possible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation/ Other 
comforts are weak and of little force ; they are not affliction-proof, much 
less are they death-proof, and judgment-proof; they cannot stand before 
a few serious, sober thoughts of the world to come. The comforts of 
the world cannot stay and revive the heart ; for every blast of a tempta 
tion scattereth them. 

Use 1. To reprove Christians for their over-much dejection and 
fainting in troubles. Why are we so much cast down ? Is there no 
balm in Gilead, nor comfort in God ? Why hath God taken the name 
upon him of being the God of all comfort, and put this office upon his 
{Spirit to be the comforter ? Hath he not made sufficient provision in 
the new covenant ? Is there any evil which the promise of eternal 
life cannot countervail ? Is God backward to give you comfort ? 
Why, then, did he send Christ, write scriptures, appoint a ministry 
and ordinances, seek to prepare you for it by the seal and earnest of 
his Spirit, and invite you so earnestly to trust in him, to cast all your 
care upon him, and so often forbid your fear and sorrow ? 

Use 2. If all comfort be of God, let us go to God for it. But then 
take these three directions : 

1. See you be qualified for it. Comfort follows holiness, as heat 
doth fire : the Spirit is first a sanctifier and then a comforter ; and 
according to God's promise, is more necessarily a sanctifier than a 
comforter : Eph. i. 13, 14, ' In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard 
the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation : 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 
possession, unto the praise of his glory.' Comfort is our happiness ; 
but we are made holy before happy. Hereafter we enter into our 
master's joy, we have a taste of it in the world. But who have this 
taste but the sanctified and self-denying Christians ? The work of 
sanctification is carried on more certainly, but his comforting work 
is many times obscure and interrupted. Do your work thoroughly 
and faithfully, and you may refer yourselves to God for comfort. 

2. Expect not a singular way of comfort besides the word. It 
was Eliphaz's charge upon Job, chap. xv. 11, ' Are the consolations of 
God small with thee ? Is there any secret thing with thee ? ' The 
charge is, that he undervalued the common consolation of God, and 
looked for some secret way peculiar to himself of getting comfort, 
besides humbling of himself, and turning unto God. No ; God hath 
sufficiently provided for the comfort of his people, and we must not 
expect singular manifestations of his love, and special signs and tokens, 
beyond the common allowance given to the whole family. It is a 
thousand to one but it is some false consolation and dream of comfort 
which they affect and cry up, beyond or besides the usual comforts of 
his word. 


3. Do not compare lower discoveries of God with that great re 
velation he hath made of his mind in the word, for the comfort of 
his people ; for this argueth great unthankfulness, and a secret desire 
to set up man's comfort against those which are unquestionably of the 
Lord. Sure it is, that whatever good is in nature, is from God ; but 
it is mingled with so many weaknesses, that what is of God can scarce 
be seen in it. I speak of those that cry up heathen philosophy, to the 
disparagement of the word of God, as if it were a better institution 
to quiet the mind, and fortify it against all troubles, than Chris 
tianity. But alas! they neither know the true ground of misery, 
which is sin, nor the true ground of comfort, which is Christ, And 
that which mere man offereth can neither come with such authority 
and blessing as what cometh immediately from God. This is a 
moonlight that rotteth things before it ripeneth them. In short, 
philosophers were never acquainted with Christ, the foundation of 
comfort ; nor the Spirit, the efficient cause of comfort ; nor the pro 
mise of pardon and life, which is the matter of comfort ; nor faith, 
which is the light by which we know things that depend upon divine 
revelation, and so the proper instrument of comfort. This I thought 
good to say, because comfort and rest for souls is one of the great 
benefits of our religion: Jer. vi. 16, ' Stand in the way and see, and 
ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein ; and 
ye shall find rest for your souls; 7 Mat. vi. 28, 29, ' Come unto me, all 
ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." 

Use 3. Seek it in the use of means and ordinances which God hath 
appointed for the raising of comfort in us, as the word, prayer, and 
the Lord's Supper. In solemn duties God reneweth the pledges of 
his love to us, exciteth grace, and by grace comfort. It must needs 
be so, because then the grounds of comfort are anew laid in the view 
of conscience ; graces are in their lively exercise, and God is not want 
ing to his own institution. Take all these three together, and the 
reverent use of the Lord's Supper must needs increase our comfort. 
The ground of comfort is reconciliation with God by Christ, Eom. v. 
11, ' We joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have 
now received the atonement/ And here we raise up our faith and 
love : Cant. i. 4, * The King hath brought me into his chamber. We 
will be glad and rejoice in thee ; we will remember thy love more than 
wine. The upright love thee.' God's ordinances are not empty; 
there is some participation : 1 Cor. x. 16, ' The cup of blessing 
which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ ? 
The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of 

Use 4. Consider the ends why God giveth us comfort. It is to 
fortify us against the enemies of our salvation, so far as they are vex 
ing, and troubling, and molesting us in the way to heaven. The 
Spirit hath two great offices to be a sanctifier and comforter ; and 
both serve all the needs of Christians. When we are enticed to sin, he 
helps us as a sanctifier ; when we are discouraged in God's service, he 
helps us a comforter. And therefore Christians are to consider their 
condition, and what their present state requireth ; for God dispenseth 
his grace according to the assaults made upon them by the enemies 


of their salvation. As for instance, our enemies are the devil, the 
world, and the flesh. These we renounced in baptism ; and in the 
progress of Christianity, these are those with whom we conflict and 
must overcome. As for instance, the devil is a tempting devil, who 
seeketh to draw away the saints from God, and, by the love of the 
flesh, to weaken our love and obedience to our proper and our right 
ful Lord. Now what are we to do in this case ? To beg comfort and 
peace, that we may not be troubled, though we yield unto his tempta 
tions ? Alas ! this were to turn the grace of God into wantonness. 
No ; we are to be ' sober and watchful/ 1 Peter v. 8 to use all the rules 
of sobriety and vigilancy, that our worldly comforts may not be a 
snare to us (sobriety is a holy moderation in the use of all earthly 
things : vigilancy is a holy diligence and seriousness in the use of 
means) ; and also add to both the help of the sanctifying Spirit, that we 
may keep up our love to God, and be faithful in our obedience to him. 
But the devil is not only a tempting devil, but a vexing and disquiet 
ing devil, who ' accuseth us before God day and night/ Rev. xii. 10, 
raiseth in us many troublesome fears to make our service uncomfort 
able, and tire us and clog us. What is our duty then ? To beg the 
help of the Comforter, not only to show love to God, but that we may 
have some persuasion of his love to us, and quench his fiery darts, that 
we may go on cheerfully in our work, because ' the God of peace shall 
bruise Satan under your feet shortly/ Eom. xvi. 20. So for the 
worid. The world is a tempting world, drawing our affections from 
God and heaven to present things ; and when it smileth on us, en 
croaches upon our hearts more and more: 2 Tim. iv. 10, * Demas hath 
forsaken me, having loved this present world/ Now what is our 
business then ? To beg comfort and assurance of God's love ? No ; 
that would be our bane ; there is work for the Sanctifier rather than the 
Comforter, that the worldly spirit may be subdued in us ; there is 
need of mortification rather than assurance, that we may be 'crucified 
to the world/ Gal. vi. 14. But sometimes the world is a persecuting 
world, and reproacheth and troubleth us with all manner of vexations ; 
then there is work for the Comforter, to seal up to our souls the love 
of God, our interest in Christ : John xvi. 33, ' These things have I 
spoken to you, that in me ye might have peace ; in the world ye shall 
have tribulation : but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world ;' 
and to become to our souls the earnest of eternal glory. Comfort is 
for tribulation ; at other times we are glutted with it, but then it is 
our great support. When all things fail, we feel the great necessity 
of the joys of faith. It is good to time well our duties. David saith, 
Ps. Ivi. 3, ' What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.' So for the 
flesh ; it enticeth us : James i. 14, * Every man is tempted when he is 
drawn away of his own lust and enticed.' Many times it draweth 
to actual sin by indulgence to its desires ; yea, disposeth us often 
to apostasy and falseness of heart; for apostasy usually begins at 
falseness of heart, when the fleshly rnind and interest is not 
thoroughly overcome. Well, when we are conscious to this, what 
shall we do in such a case ? Certainly the great and proper work is 
to beg the Spirit, and implore the Spirit as a sanctifier, and to be 
more obedient to his sanctifying motions. Comfort will come in time. 


Well, but the flesh is not only enticing, but troublesome and grievous 
to the saints ; witness Paul's groans : Kom. vii. 24, ' wretched 
man that I am ! who shall deliver me from the body of this death ? ' 
"We are quite wearied and tired out with the importunity of its 
motions ; we would serve God more purely and perfectly. Then there 
is work for the Comforter, and confidence in his operations to help the 
faithful soul : Phil. i. 6, ' Being confident of this very thing, that he 
which hath begun a good work in you will perform it unto the day of 
Jesus Christ/ Then it is seasonable to remember the covenant we are 
under : Kom. vi. 14, ' For sin shall not have dominion over you ; for 
ye are not under the law, but under grace.' The serious, striving soul 
will not be left destitute. Thus must we expect comfort. 

Use 5. Eemember that comfort hath a latitude in it, and is ex 
pressed by divers words. 

i; {Sometimes by it support is implied, when the sense of sin and 
fear of God's wrath is not altogether removed and taken away, but so 
mitigated and abated, that hope doth more easily prevail in the soul 
than fear ; and we resolve to wait on God, though we cannot so fully 
clear up our interest in him. You have many conflicts and fears, yet 
some hope and expectation towards God : Jonah ii. 4, 5, * I am cast 
out of thy sight, yet will I look again to thy holy temple/ Eesolute 
adherence giveth great support : Job xiii. 15, * Though he slay me, 
yet will I trust in him ; I will maintain my own ways before him/ 
He dependeth merely on the covenant. 

2. Peace, or some rest from troubles and accusations of conscience. 
There is some calm and quiet of soul : Kom. v. 1, ' Being justified by 
faith, we have peace with God ; ' Gal. vi. 16, 'As many as walk ac 
cording to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy/ Assaulted with 
none or light fears : John xvi. 33, ' In me ye shall have peace/ I 
will give you peace, though not full spiritual suavities. 

3. The third word is joy : 1 Peter i. 8, ' Ye rejoice with joy unspeak 
able, and full of glory.' In peace all things are quiet, they have no 
anxious thoughts ; but in joy there is a sensible motion of pleasure and 
delight. They are feasted with the pleasures of faith, love, and hope. 
Let us then bless God for any degree of comfort. 

And stablish you in every good word and work. 2 THES. II. 17. 

WE come now to the apostle's second request for them : ' And stablish 
you in every good word and work/ By ' every good word ' is meant 
sound doctrine ; by ' every good work,' holiness of life. 

Doct. Establishment in faith and holiness is a needful blessing, and 
earnestly to be sought of God. 

1. What this establishment is. 

2. How needful. 

3. Why it is to be sought of God. 


I. What this establishment is ? Ans. Confirmation in the grace 
that we have received. Now this confirmation must be distinguished. 

1. With respect to the power wherewith we are assisted ; there is 
habitual confirmation, and actual confirmation. 

[1.] The habitual confirmation is when the habits of grace are 
more settled and increased: 1 Peter v. 10, 'The God of all grace 
strengthen, stablish, settle you.' God hath effectually called and con 
verted them, and he beggeth the strengthening of the grace which 
they had received. Now thus we are established, when faith, love 
and hope are increased in us ; for these are the principles of all spirit 
ual operations ; and when they have gotten good strength in us, a 
Christian is more established. (1.) Faith is necessary, for we stand 
by faith: Eom. xi. 20, 'Because of unbelief they were broken off, 
but thou standest by faith.' We do not only live by it, but stand by 
it, and are kept by it : 1 Peter i. 5, ' Who are kept by the power of God 
through faith unto salvation.' He is strong that is strong in faith, as 
Abraham was, that believeth the gospel, and can venture his all upon it, 
and trust himself in God's hands, whatever befalleth him : Luke xxii. 32, 
' I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not/ That was the grace 
likely to be assaulted, and would most keep him ; had he been persuaded 
that Jesus was the Son of God, would he have denied him with oaths and 
execrations ? (2.) Love is strong. We are told, Cant. viii. 6, 7, ' That 
love is as strong as death ; many waters cannot quench it : if a man 
would give all the substance of his house, it would utterly be con 
temned.' It will not be bribed or quenched. Our backsliding cometh 
from losing our complacency in or desire of God : there is an averse- 
ness from sin and zeal against it ; as long as we have a sense of our 
obligations to God, and a value and esteem of his grace in Christ, then 
we continue in delightful obedience to him, and level and direct our 
actions to his glory. (3.) Hope is necessary to stablish the soul on 
the promise of eternal life ; for this is the sure and stedfast anchor 
of the soul : Heb vi. 19, ' Which hope we have as an anchor of the 
soul, both sure and stedfast.' If hope be strong and lively, present 
things do not greatly move us. 

[2.] Actual establishment, when these habits are fortified and 
quickened by the actual influence of God. As God doth establish by 
these habitual principles, so by the actual motions of his Spirit ; for 
otherwise neither the stability of our resolutions nor of gracious habits 
will support us. Not stability of resolutions : Ps. Ixxiii. 2, ' As for me, my 
feet were almost gone, my steps had well-nigh slipped/ Not habit : 
Eev. iii. 2, * Be watchful, and strengthen those things which remain, 
that are ready to die/ It is true, God ordinarily worketh most strongly 
with strongest graces, because their hearts are most prepared; yet 
sometimes weak Christians have gone through great temptations when 
strong ones have failed : Rev. iii. 8, ' Thou hast a little strength, and 
hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name/ Sometimes the 
strong Christian stumbleth and falleth when the weak standeth. 
God may in an instant confirm a weak person in some particular 
temptation, by his free assistance, but ordinarily concurreth with the 
strongest grace. Thus with respect to the power wherewith we are 



2. With respect to the object or matter about which it is conver 
sant : stablished in every good word and work ; stability in the doctrine 
of faith and practice of godliness. 

[1.] In the doctrine of faith. It is a great advantage in the spiritual 
life to have a sound judgment. Some men are never well grounded 
in the truth, and in the nature and reasons of that religion which 
they do profess, and then are always left to a wandering uncertainty, 
because they resolve not upon evidence ; as men ordinarily abide not in 
the place to which they are driven by a tempest, or the current of the 
tides, rather than by aim and choice, though they take shelter there 
for the present : 1 Thes. v. 21, ' Prove all things, hold fast that which 
is good/ Certainly religion in the general must be taken up by choice, 
and not by chance ; not because we know no other, but because we 
know no better : as Jer. vi. 16, ' Stand ye in the ways, and see, and 
ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein.' 
And the same is true of particular opinions and controversies about 
religion, till we have I&LOV ffrqpiyjj,a, ' our own stedfastness,' 2 Peter iii. 
17. We stand by the stedfastness of others, when we profess the 
truth merely because of company; and when the chain is broken, 
we all fall to pieces. Now we ought to be well settled, lest we appear 
to the world with a various face, which breedeth atheism in others, 
and shame to ourselves. It is possible, in particular things, future light 
may disprove present practice ; but then we must be able to give a very 
sufficient account of it. Luther, when he was charged with apostasy, 
Confitetur se esse apostatam, sed beatum et sanctum, quifidem Diabolo 
datam non servavit. While we cry up constancy, we must not cherish 
stubborn prejudice, which shuts the door upon truth. However, to avoid 
the opinion of lightness, before religious persons profess anything, 
their warrant need to be very clear, both for the world's sake and their 
own, that they may not make needless troubles, and afterwards change 
their mind, to the scandalising of others : and their own sake : tyv~xps 
avrjp, James i. 8, ' A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.' 
And we had need to take care to be right, because every error hath 
an influence upon the heart and practice : upon the heart, as it weak- 
eneth faith and love ; and practice : some opinions have no malig 
nity in themselves, yet the profession of them may divide the church, 
and make us by contentions enemies of the growth and progress of 
Christ's kingdom. Now, if we would be established in the truth, we 
must see what influence every truth hath upon the new nature, either 
as it worketh towards God by faith, to keep up our respects to him, or 
men by love, as it furthereth our duties to them. A man will not 
easily let go truth that is wont to turn it into practice, and to live as 
he belie veth. Once more, we need to be established in the present 
truth ; it is no zeal to fight with ghosts and antiquated errors, but to 
take God's part in our time ; but usually the orthodoxy of the world 
is an age too short, men please themselves in things received. 

[2.] In every good work, or in holiness of life. Here needeth the 
greatest establishment, that we may hold on our course to heaven ; 
and the usual apostasy and backsliding that men are guilty of is from 
the practice of religion. It is ill when the mind is tainted, but worse 
when the heart is alienated from God; and commonly it is the perverse 


inclination of the will that tainteth the mind. Therefore the great 
establishment is to be settled in a course of godliness: 1 Thes. iii. 13, 
* That he may establish your hearts unblameable in holiness before 
God, even our Father, until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, with 
all his saints.' Now this establishment is very difficult. 

First, Because of the contrariety of the principles that are within 
us : Gal. v. 17, ' For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the 
Spirit against the flesh ; and these are contrary one to the other, so 
that ye cannot do the things that ye would/ The garrison is not free 
from danger that hath an enemy lodged within. The love of the world 
and the flesh was in the heart before the love of God and holiness, and 
these are not wholly rooted out. Yea, these are natural to us, whereas 
grace is a plant planted in us contrary to nature ; and the ground 
that bringeth forth weeds and thistles of its own accord, but the flowers 
and good herbs with much tillage and cultivation, if it be neglected, 
the weeds will soon overgrow the flowers. 

Secondly, Because it is more hard to continue in conversion than to 
convert ourselves at first. In our first conversion we are more passive ; 
it is God that converteth us, and draweth us to himself, and quickens 
and plants us into Christ ; but in perseverance and fulfilling our 
covenanting duty, we are more active ; it is our work, though we per 
form it by God's grace. An infant in the mother's womb is nourished 
by the nourishment of the mother, but afterwards he must suck and 
seek his own nourishment ; and the older he groweth, the more care 
of his life is devolved upon himself. Now, that which is more our 
work is more difficult. It is true that God, that hath begun a 
good work, doth perfect it, but not without our care, Phil. i. 6. 
When we are fitted and prepared unto good works, God expecteth 
from us that we should walk in them. God stablisheth us in the text, 
but it is in every good work. Besides, in conversion, we make cove 
nant with God, but by perseverance we keep covenant with him. Now 
it is easier to consent to conditions than it is to fulfil them ; the cere 
monies, at first consent of marriage, are not so difficult as to perform 
the duties of the marriage covenant. It is more easy to build a castle 
in a time of peace than to keep it in a time of war. Peter more easily 
consented to come to Christ upon the water ; but when he began to 
try it, his feet were ready to sink, Mat. xiv. 29, 30. When winds and 
waves are against us, alas ! how soon do we fail ! Therefore, a good 
spring doth not always foreshow a fruitful harvest, nor plenty of blos 
soms store of fruit. We are carried on with great life and earnestness 
for a while in the profession of religion, we consent to follow Christ ; 
but when we meet with difficulties not foreseen or allowed for, we faint 
and are discouraged. ^ 

3. With respect to the subject in which it is seated, which is the 
soul with its faculties. The strength of the body is known by ex 
perience rather than by description ; but the strength of the soul must 
be determined by its right constitution towards good and evil. The 
faculties of the soul are either the understanding, wherein lieth the 
directive counsel, or the will, wherein lieth the imperial power, or the 
affections, wherein lieth the executive power of the soul. 

[1.] The mind or understanding is established when we have a clear, 


certain, and full apprehension of the truth of the gospel ; it is called 
knowledge ; the sure, and sound, and certain apprehension of them is 
called faith, or intellectual assent, or * the full assurance of under 
standing/ Col. ii. 2, when there is a due knowledge of what God 
hath revealed, with a certain persuasion of the truth of it, wrought in 
us by the Holy Spirit. Now, the more clearly, and orderly, and cer 
tainly we know these things, the more powerfully do they affect the 
heart, and the more we are established. He that hath little knowledge 
and little certainty is called weak in the faith : Kom. xiv. 1, ' Him 
that is weak in the faith receive, but not to doubtful disputations/ 
And those that have a clearer understanding are called strong ; as 
Kom. xv. 1, ' We that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the 
weak ; ' meaning strong in knowledge. So also for certainty of per 
suasion, it is said, Kom. iv. 20, Abraham was ' strong in faith, giving 
glory to God ; ' when in all his trials he bore up himself upon the 
confidence of God's word and promise. Well, then, the mind is 
confirmed and established when we have a good stock of knowledge, 
and do firmly believe what we know of God and Christ and eternal 
salvation. But alas ! how few truths do many Christians know, 
especially in their order, and as to their worth, and weight, and cer 
tainty, and so that, if we know these things, we know them not as we 
ought to know them : 1 Cor. viii. 2, ' If any man think that he 
knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know 
them.' If we know them speculatively, we know them not prac 
tically. If we are able to discourse of these things, we do not 
live by them. If we know them generally, we do not know them par 
ticularly, to direct us in all cases wherein they concern us, but are 
blinded with temptations. If we know them comprehensively, so as 
to look about the compass of them, yet not certainly, John xvii. 8, 
' And have known surely that I came out from thee ' so as to venture 
our interests upon them. If we know them darkly, and with a half 
light, we do not know them clearly and with a full light. There is 
many times conviction in the ore, which is not refined into a clear and 
distinct knowledge, such as may awe the heart. If we know these 
things habitually, we know them not actually, when we should re 
member them in their season ; and oblivion is a sort of ignorance. 
Hence come the many doubts we are assaulted with, and all the un- 
evenness and uncertainty of our lives, so that the mind needeth to be 
established in grace. 

^ [2.] The will, which is the imperial power of the soul. Now, the 
will's establishment is known by its firm and thorough resolution for 
God and against sin. For God : as Acts xi. 23, Barnabas, ' when he 
had seen the grace of God, was very glad, and exhorted them all that, 
with full purpose of heart, they would cleave to the Lord/ First 
choosing, then cleaving, and this with full purpose, when the will is 
so fixed in the knowledge and faith of the gospel that they resolve to 
abide by their choice : Ps. xxvii. 4, ' One thing have I desired of the 
Lord ; this will I seek after.' When spiritual resolution carrieth the 
.force and authority of a principle in the soul, and nothing can break 
it: 1 Peter iv. 1 'Arm yourselves with the same mind/ As con 
stantly as Christ persevered in the work of 'mediation, so be you in 


the work of obedience, notwithstanding the difficulties of it. This 
powerful will, that beareth down oppositions and temptations, and the 
greatest impediments in the way to heaven, so that you rather make 
advantage of opposition than are discouraged by it, when sensual or 
carnal good is of little force to you, and you can despise the most 
pleasing baits of sin. 

[3.] The affections are the executive power, and do excite and stir us 
up to do what the mind is convinced of and the will resolved upon as 
to the necessary duties of the gospel in order to eternal happiness. 
There is a backwardness within and many temptations without ; but 
a holy delight overcometh the unwilling backwardness within, and 
overbalanceth either worldly fear or worldly hope without, that the 
soul is carried on powerfully towards God. We never work better 
than when we work in the strength of some eminent affection, when 
the heart is enlarged : Ps. cxix. 32, c I will run the way of thy com 
mandments when thou shalt enlarge my heart.' Either love or hope. 
Love filleth us with delight, overcoming our natural slackness and 
sluggishness in the ways of God : Ps. xl. 8, ' I delight to do thy will, 
my God, yea, thy love is within my heart ; ' 1 John v. 3, ' For this 
is the love of God, that we keep his commandments, and his com 
mandments are not grievous ;' Ps. cxii. 1, ' Blessed is the man that 
feareth the Lord, that delighteth greatly in his commandments.': 
Hope beareth us up in contempt of present delights and terrors of 
sense : Heb. iii. 6, ' Whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence 
and rejoicing of hope firm unto the end ;' so that we serve God with 
vigour and alacrity. When our affections are damped, grace falleth 
into a consumption ; and if you lose your taste, your practice will lan 
guish, your service of God will not be so uniform. It is a great part of 
our establishment to keep up the vigour and fervency of our affections. 

4. With respect to the uses for which it serveth, as to duties, suffer 
ings, conflicts. 

; [1.] Doing the will of God, or discharging our doings with delight, 
cheerfulness, and constancy; for all strength is for work : Eph. iii. 16, 
' That he would grant you according to the riches of his glory, to be 
strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man.' That we 
may do our work with that readiness of mind which becomes faith in 
Christ and love to God. This is often spoken of in scripture : Phil, 
ii. 13, ' For it is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do, of 
his good pleasure,' TO 6e\elv /cal TO evep^elv ; and Heb. xiii. 21, * Make 
you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you what is 
well pleasing in his sight.' It is of great use to our establishment that 
the soul be kept doing ; for as wells are the sweeter for draining, so 
are we the more lively for exercise. Frequent omission of good duties, 
or seldom exercise of grace, necessarily produceth a decay ; as a key 
rusteth that is seldom turned in the lock ; thereby we lose the life and 
comfort of religion, and at length cast it off as a needless and unprofit 
able thing. 

. [2.] For bearing afflictions, and passing through all conditions 
with honour to God and safety to ourselves : Phil. iv. 13, ' I can 
do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me ;' Col. i. 11, , 
'Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, with- 


all patience/ The great use of establishment is to fortify us against 
all the evils and inconveniences of the present life, that we may hold 
on our course to heaven in fair way or foul, and not be greatly moved 
by anything that befalleth us within time. 

[3.] For conflicts with temptations from the devil, the world, and 
the flesh. The world is round about us, and we are accustomed to 
these inveigling objects whose importunity prevaileth at length. The 
devil seeketh to work upon our affections and inclinations, and the 
flesh urgeth us to gratify them. How, then, is a Christian safe ? God 
establisheth him : Eph. vi. 10, ' Finally, be strong in the Lord, and 
in the power of his might/ A Christian here is in a military state, 
and we of ourselves, left unto ourselves, are like reeds shaken with 
every wind ; we have need of establishment in regard of our own 
feebleness, and the force of our enemies. We must be established 
against the devil soliciting ; against the world, the silent argument by 
which he soliciteth us and draweth us from God and heaven ; against 
the flesh, the rebelling principle which is apt to be wrought upon by 
Satan. Well, then, this establishment is that grace which enableth 
us to carry on the duties of religion with constancy, frequency, and 
delight ; to bear all the inconveniences of religion with patience and 
fortitude ; to be more deaf and resolute against all the suggestions of 
the devil, or the machinations of the flesh, stirred up by the world. 

5. With respect to the degree, it is such a strengthening of the soul 
as doth prevent not only our fall, but our shaking. Before falling 
away, or our being drawn to apostasy, there may be a shaking, a 
doubtfulness, and wavering of mind with respect to the truth, and 
much inconstancy and unevenness of life with respect to practice. 
Now, Christians, as they must not draw back to perdition, so they 
must not be always fluctuating and unfixed, either in matters of 
opinion, but settled in the truth, or in matters of practice ; there must 
be a strength and stability of holy inclinations and resolutions for God 
and the world to come still kept up, or else there will be no evenness 
or uniformity in the course of our lives. And though we avoid apos 
tasy, yet we cannot avoid scandal ; though there be no falling back, 
there is a stepping out into bypaths : 1 Cor. xv. 58, ' Be stedfast and 
unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord ; ' and Eph. 
iii. 17, ' That ye being rooted and grounded in love/ &c. ; and Col. i. 
23, ' Jf ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not 
moved away from the hope of the gospel/ If we do not look to the 
degree, our weakness and instability groweth upon us ; as in matters 
of opinion, some have an unsettled head of a vertiginous spirit : Eph. 
iv. 14, ' Carried about with every wind of doctrine/ They never were 
well grounded in the truth, nor took up the ways they are engaged in 
upon sufficient evidence ; and therefore, by their own weakness, and 
the cunning and diligence of the seducers, are drawn into error. Light 
chaff is blown up and down by every wind, when solid grain hitcheth 
in, and resteth in the floor where it is winnowed. A half light maketh 
us uncertain in our course. For matter of practice, if we allow our 
selves in our first declinings, the evil will grow upon us ; when the 
judgment reasoneth more remissly against sin than it did before, and 
the will doth oppose it with less resolution, or with greater faintness 


and indifferency, or when opposition doth more discourage us. No ; 
there must be a resolved conquest of temptations that would pervert 
you; this will only serve our turn : Heb. xii. 3, ' Consider him that 
endured such contradictions, lest ye be weary and faint in your minds/ 
Weariness is a lesser degree of deficiency. Many a man is weary 
that is not faint or quite spent ; so with the practice of godliness, when 
the heart begins to be alienated and estranged from God, and the life 
of duty doth decay. When our first love is gone, our first works will 
in a great measure cease : Rev. ii. 4, 5, ' Nevertheless I have some 
thing against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember, 
therefore, from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do thy first 
works/ Well, then, the degree must be minded ; for though a man 
may be stedfast in the main, yet he may be somewhat moved and 
shaken ; but a Christian should not only be stedfast, but unmoveable ; 
otherwise we shall be very uncertain in our motions. 

II. How needful it is : this is in a great measure showed already. 
But yet more fully. 

1. Man at best is but a creature. The new creation doth carry a 
great correspondence with the old and first creation. It is not enough 
that the creature be, but he must be sustained in being ; we have our 
being in God still : Acts xvii. 28, ' For in him we live, and move, and 
have our being/ As providence is a continual creation, so stablishing 
grace is the continuance of the new creation. The same grace that 
sets us in the state of the new creation, the same stablisheth us. God 
found no stability in the angels, therefore it is said he trusteth them 
not : Job xv. 15, ' Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints ; yea, the 
heavens are not clean in his sight/ They stand by the grace and 
favour of God. Take the best creatures even as creatures, they are 
defective and unstable in themselves ; for God will have the creature, 
as a creature, to be a dependent thing on the Creator, who only is 
a being of himself. Man at his best estate was but an unstable crea 
ture -for Adam gave out at the first assault and since, we are very 
unstable, blown down with the blast of every little temptation. Even 
in the state of grace, we are like a glass without a bottom, broken as 
soon as out of hand ; and, therefore, God alone is able to make us 
stand, and persevere in this grace that we have received: 2 Cor. i. 21, 
' Now, he that stablisheth us with you in Christ is God/ After we 
are in Christ, our stability is in God alone. 

2. The indisposition of our natures both to every good word and 
work. (1.) To every good word. The truths of the gospel are super 
natural. Now, things that are planted in us contrary to nature can 
hardly subsist and maintain themselves. We have some seeds of the 
law yet left in our hearts, Kom. ii. 14. But the gospel dependeth on 
sure revelation; therefore are there so many heresies against the 
gospel, but none against the law. Therefore, as they depend upon a 
divine revelation, they must be settled in our hearts by a divine power, 
and by a divine power preserved there ; that as the doctrine is super 
natural, so the grace may be also by which we do receive it. Faith is 
the gift of God : Eph. ii. 8, ' For by grace ye are saved, through faith ; 
and that not of yourselves : it is the gift of God ;' both as to its begin 
ning, so to its preservation and increase. (2.) To every good work 


There is not only slowness and backwardness of heart to the duties of 
the gospel, but somewhat of the old enmity and averseness remaineth 
still. Our hearts are not only inconstant and unsettled, but very way 
ward : Jer. xiv. 10, ' Thus saith the Lord to this people, Thus have 
they loved to wander ;' Ps. xcv. 10, ' It is a people that do err in their 
heart/ Moses was no sooner gone aside with God in the mount, but 
the Israelites, after their solemn covenant, fell to idolatry. Before the 
law could be written, they brake it. Now, we that have a warring 
principle within, how can we stand unless God establish us ? There 
is a back-bias, there are the seeds of wantonness, anger, revenge, envy, 
impatience, worldliness, ambition, and sensuality. God knoweth how 
little the fleshly mind and interest is conquered in us ; and therefore, 
if he did not establish us, we should soon show ourselves. 

3. In regard of those oppositions that are made against us after 
once we be in Christ. It is not enough that we are brought out of the 
kingdom of Satan, but after we are rescued out of his hand and power, 
he pursueth us with continual malice ; therefore there must be the 
same power to stablish us still in grace that first brought us into the 
state of grace : Col. i. 13, ' Who has delivered us from the power of 
darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son ;' 
compared with 1 John iv. 4, * Ye are of God, little children, and have 
overcome them ; because greater is he that is in you than he that is 
in the world.' The world runneth a quite contrary course than those 
do that set their faces heavenward, and therefore maligns them, and 
pursues them with reproaches and troubles : 1 Peter iv. 4, 5, ' Wherein 
they think it strange that you run not with them to the same excess of 
riot, speaking evil of you ; who shall give account to him that is ready 
to judge the quick and the dead.' And most commonly our supports 
are invisible, and we have no temporal interest to leant to ; but, 2 Tim. 
i. 12, ' For the which cause I also suffer these things : neverthe 
less I am not ashamed ; for I know whom I have believed, and I am 
persuaded he is able to keep that which I have committed unto 
him against that day.' We bear these afflictions by the power of 

4. We see here the saints miscarry when God withdraweth his sup 
porting grace but in part, as Peter, David. Peter was in the state of 
grace, and Christ prayed that his faith might not utterly fail ; yet, 
when God did not establish him, you see what sins he was guilty of 
in that combat. David was ' a man after God's own heart ;' but how 
did he fall when God upheld him not ! Ps. li. Hezekiah ; 2 Chron. 
xxxii. 31, * Howbeit in the business of the ambassadors of the princes 
of Babylon, who sent unto him to inquire of the wonder that was 
done in the land, God left him, to try him, that he might know all 
that was in his heart/ Thus is God fain to humble his children, to 
teach them dependence, and to put them in niind that they do not stand 
by their own strength.. 

III. Why it is to be sought of God ? 

1. He only is able : Kom. xvi. 25, * Now to him that is of power 
to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus 
Christ,' &c. Surely God never made a creature too hard for him 
self. He is able to defeat the power of enemies, and to preserve his 


people in the midst of temptations. So Jude, ver. 24, ' To him that is 
abl>r to keep you from falling/ &c. ; and * He is able to keep that which 
I/nave committed to him/ 2 Tim. i. 12. The saints gather much 
comfort from this, for it is a relief to their thoughts against the dread 
ful and powerful opposition of the world ; they have no reason to doubt 
of their Father's love. That which surpriseth them is to see all the 
world against them. It is the dreadfulness of power in the tempta 
tion and sense of their own weakness ; therefore the power of God is a 
fit relief to them. 

2. God is not very forward to cast you off, when he hath a just cause 
to do it. Your constant experience evidenceth this. If he here had 
done so, what had become of you long ago ? For you have given 
him abundant occasion, you have weaned him with your sins, abused 
his mercies ; and yet he hath not cast you off. He hath not utterly for 
saken you, when you have turned the back upon him and have been 
ready to forsake him, but hath kept you from dangers and in dangers ; 
yea, called you to his grace, confirmed you hitherto. Why should you 
doubt of his grace for the future ? 2 Cor. i. 10, * Who delivered us 
from so great a death, and doth deliver ; in whom we trust that he 
will yet deliver us ;' 2 Tim. iv. 17, 18, ' Notwithstanding, the Lord 
stood with me, and strengthened me ; that by me the preaching might 
be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear ; and I was deli 
vered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord shall deliver me 
from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom ; 
to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.' 

3. He hath made promises of sustentation and preservation : Ps. 
Ixxiii. 23, * Nevertheless I am continually with thee; thou hastholden 
me by my right hand/ Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast 
down, for God upholdeth him with his hand. If God hath promised 
to preserve that grace which he hath once given, should not we pray 
for the continuance of it with the more encouragement ? 

4. The experience of the saints : Ps. xciv. 18, ' When I said my 
foot slippeth, thy mercy, Lord, held me up/ God's manutenancy 
is there asserted. 

Use. Is to press us at all times to look up to God for establishment ; 
but especially in two seasons : 

1. When we begin to decline, and grow more remiss and indif 
ferent in the practice of godliness. If grace be weak, you must get it 
strengthened. When you grow bolder in sin, and more strange to 
God and Jesus Christ, and have little converse with him in the Spirit, 
oh ! it is time to be instant and earnest with God, that he would re 
cover you. Though you have embezzled your strength, yet you have 
to do with a merciful God; go to him for help : Ps. xvii. 5, ' Hold up 
my goings in thy path, that my footsteps slip not/ You have for 
feited the more plentiful aids of grace ; but beg him not to forsake 
you utterly. You must confess the sin, but God must remedy the 
evil : Ps. cxix. 133, ' Order my steps in thy word, and let not any 
iniquity have dominion over me/ Lord, I am apt to be led away 
with worldly allurements ; my spiritual taste is distempered with car 
nal vanities : but, ' let not iniquity have dominion over me/ 


2. In unsettled times, when we are full of fears, and think we shall 
never hold out in a holy course. God, that keepeth us in times of 
peace, will hold us up in times of trouble : Ps. xvi. 8, ' I have set the 
Lord always before me ; because he is at my right hand, I shall not 
be moved.' 




THE character of Dr Manton is so generally known by his celebrated 
preaching so many years in this city, and by the numerous collections 
of excellent discourses published since his death, that I cannot think 
it needful to give any account of him here, as I do not pretend to add 
anything to the accounts already given by those excellent persons that 
published his former works. It will be sufficient to remark, that his 
works have been esteemed by some of the best judges one of the most 
valuable collections of scriptural and practical divinity, and to have 
been as generally serviceable to the world as most that have appeared 
in these latter ages, and in many respects no way inferior to some of 
the ancient monuments of the Christian church. 

I shall reckon myself concerned only to give some account of this 

As to the subject of it, I shall only observe, that as the prophecy of 
Isaiah contains the clearest revelations of the Messiah, and is writ in 
the loftiest style of any part of the Old Testament, so this excellent 
chapter is an eminent instance of both, containing an exact descrip 
tion both of his sufferings and his glories, represented in bright and 
lively colours, and in a phrase, though somewhat difficult and obscure, 
exceeding lofty and sublime. The veil of the temple seemed to have 
been drawn aside, though not yet rent asunder, and the light of the 
gospel shone forth with a brighter glory than ever it had appeared be 
fore. Upon those accounts this chapter has exercised the thoughts 
and employed the diligence of several eminent persons in former and 
later times ; though, through some or other misfortune, they have been 
buried with their authors, and have never seen the light. Perhaps this 
is the only thing that can pretend to a just discourse now extant. 

It would not be proper, in the preface to a practical discourse, to 
undertake the defence of this chapter, and to rescue it from the 
violence offered it in the posthumous annotations of a learned critic, 
who, with a great deal of force, and frequent absurdity, has applied 
this whole chapter to the prophet Jeremiah ; not only cross to the 
brightest evidence of truth, and the general consent of Christian in 
terpreters, but in flat contradiction to himself in two very accurate 
and elaborate treatises published by himself, in the one 1 of which, 
arguing against the Jews, he has these remarkable words, ' That the 
Messiah was to pass through sufferings and death in the way to his 
kingdom, and in order to bestow invaluable blessings on his seed, there 

^Grotius de Relig. Chris., cap. v., sec. 19. 


is no man can doubt that carefully considers Isaiah liii.' And after 
wards he adds, * To whom of all the kings and prophets can this 
rie ? To none.' In the other l he settles the true sense of the 
e, and exposes the perverse glosses of Socinus. 

As to these discourses themselves, they bear the lively signatures of 
the excellent author, and are of a piece with the rest of his works. 
There is a judicious choice of pertinent matter, disposed in a regular 
method, expressed in a plain and native elegance, quickened and en 
livened with proper images, and tinctured throughout with a deep savour 
of true piety. And though they may be thought neither so polished nor 
correct as his riper years and his last hand could easily have made them, 
or as were necessary to gratify the nice and the curious ; yet they seem, 
however, excellently fitted to a better end, to promote saving know 
ledge and real godliness, to move and to instruct the mind, and give en 
tertainment as well as profit to the serious and the wise, and are par 
ticularly suitable to sacramental occasions. 

It will be only further necessary to acquaint the reader that, as 
these sermons were preached in his stated and ordinary course, so they 
were preached in his early youth, and are younger than any of those 
that have seen the light ; which must be his apology to the world if 
any expressions are found up and down less accurate and clear, or any 
thing different from what was known to be his sense in some of his 
later writings. 

This account may be collected from the preface of his Exposition on 
James : 

' I have the rather chosen this scripture, that it may be an allay to 
those comforts which in another exercise I have endeavoured to draw 
out of Isaiah liii. I would at the same time carry on the doctrine of 
faith and manners, and show you your duties together with your en 
couragements, lest, with Ephraim, you should only love to tread out 
the corn, and refuse to break the clods. We are all apt to divorce 
comfort from duty, and content ourselves with a barren and unfruitful 
knowledge of Jesus Christ ; as if all he required of the world were only 
a few naked, cold, inactive apprehensions of his merit, and all things 
were so done for us that nothing remained to be done by us. This is 
the wretched conceit of many in the present age ; and therefore they 
either abuse the sweetness of grace to looseness, or the power of it to 
laziness. Christ's merit, and the Spirit's efficacy are the common 
places from whence they draw all the defences and excuses of their own 
wantonness and idleness.' 

I have compared the transcript with the original notes, and find 
reason, after all the care that has been taken, to beg the reader's can 
dour and excuse for any smaller errors that may have escaped, both 
of the copy and of the press. 


1 De Satisfactions, cap. i. 


Who hath believed our report ? and to whom is the arm of the Lord 
revealed? ISA. LIII. 1. 

I SHALL in the course of this exercise go over the several verses of this 
chapter, which is an eminent portion of scripture, and calls for most 
serious attention. It may rather be called the gospel than the prophecy 
of Isaiah. It contains so ample and clear a discovery of Jesus Christ, 
that one would rather account it historical than prophetical. Other 
prophecies are explained by the history of Christ in the New Testa 
ment, but this prophecy explains the history ; there is no chapter so 
often quoted and vouched by Christ and the apostles as this, viz., no 
less than seven or eight times in the New Testament. It is so full and 
clear, that it rather needs meditation than a comment, faith more 
than learning, to conceive of it. The coherence or connection of this 
with the former chapter, take briefly thus : 

The evangelical prophet (for so he may justly be called) had in the 
end of the former chapter spoken of the glory of Christ's kingdom, how 
readily it should be entertained among the Gentiles, how he should 
1 sprinkle many nations/ and make ' kings to shut their mouths,' that 
is, with silence hearken to and consider his doctrine. Here, coming to 
the Jews, he finds, on the contrary, nothing but contempt and scorn, 
and therefore in an holy admiration cries out, ' Who hath believed our 
report ? ' He saw it was not believed in his days, and that it would 
not in after days. It was in vain to speak to them of the Messiah. In 
this chapter there are three remarkable parts : 

1. A description of the Jews' horrid unbelief and contumacy against 
Christ, ver. 1. 

2. The occasion and ground of that unbelief, viz., Christ's meanness 
as to outward show and appearance, from ver. 2 to 1 0. 

3. The removal of this occasion, and taking off this scandal and 
prejudice, by showing the fruit and glory that followed this meanness, 
ver. 11 to the end of the chapter. 

Our text is the first of these, containing a pathetical description of 
the Jews' contempt and rejection of Christ It is propounded by way 
of query, in two questions. 

1st. The one holds forth the thing or evil itself by way of admira 
tion : ' Who hath believed our report ?' 


2dly. The other, the cause of it : ' To whom is the arm of the Lord 
revealed ?' 

1st. In the first there is considerable : the person, tvho; the act, 
believed ; the object, report. 

That the words are a question is clear, but what kind of question is 
not so clear. Some understand the words as a commiseration of the 
prophet : q. d, I am to tell you such things of the sufferings of the 
Messiah, that you will scarce believe men should be so barbarous 
toward him. But this is so absurd that it needs no confutation. It 
is not a question of commiseration, but of admiration, or rather of 
complaint, in which Isaiah applies himself to God, as the Septuagint 
shows by putting in the word Kvpce, Lord, being herein followed by 
St Paul, Rom. x. 16, ' For Isaiah saith, Lord, who hath believed our 
report ?' So John xii. 38, it is also said, ' Lord, who hath believed 
our report?' 

But let us come to the parts of it. Who ? Though the inquiry be 
general, it is not to intimate that none, but only that very few did 
believe, or think there was any truth in what was spoken. Then for 
the object, our report, understand it concerning Christ ; or, as the 
LXX. express it, ry a/cofj rj^wv, ' our hearing/ that is, what they hear 
from us. The Jews are guilty here of a double lie in wresting this 
place ; they say it means the report concerning their own misery and 
succeeding glory, as if Israel were spoken of here under the notion of 
one common person ; and they transfer the evil complained of from 
themselves to the Gentiles. But the sense is this : There are very few 
that will hearken to those things that we are to tell them concerning 
the Messiah ; they will seem riddles and contradictions to them, that 
there should be such glory in things so vile and ignoble to outward 

2dly. For the reason : ' To whom is the arm of the Lord revealed ?' 
As if the prophet had said, Therefore they do not believe, because the 
arm of the Lord is not revealed. Here is some difficulty about what 
is meant by ' the arm of the Lord,' which, without question, is meta 
phorical. Some take it for the counsel and contrivance of God effected 
and brought to pass ; as Acts iv. 28, ' Whatsoever thy hand (or arm) 
and counsel determined to be done.' It is more properly taken for the 
strength of God : you know the arm is the chiefest receptacle of 
strength. But what strength of God ? Some understand it of the 
gospel, which is called * the power of God to salvation/ Bom. i. 16 ; 
the gospel is not revealed to them. So 1 Cor. i. 18, ' The preaching 
of the cross ' is called ' the power of God/ because of that admirable 
virtue and success which accompanied the preaching of it. Some by 
the power of God understand the power of God with Christ. He did 
miracles, and yet they would not see the arm of the Lord. They 
thought he cast out devils by Beelzebub, as if it were by the power of 
Satan, not of God. Some by ' arm ' understand Christ himself, who, 
1 Cor. i. 24, is called ' the power and wisdom of God / he is the power, 
the arm, the right hand of the Father. There is no great work of 
God but is done in and by Christ, as a man doth his work by his arm ; 
as in making the world, vanquishing his enemies, delivering his 
church, it is everywhere spoken of as done by Christ. Others by ' 


understand the power of the Spirit in and by the ordinances. I rather 
prefer that of the gospel, together with the Spirit. 

Then for revealed, you will say the gospel was revealed to the Jews. 
I answer There is a double revelation. First, Common, which is 
nothing else but the promulgation of the gospel ; this must be to 
every creature. Secondly, Proper and special, to the elect, by the 
Spirit. There is the Spirit's revelation, and the prophet's revelation. 
The meaning is : To whom hath the Spirit of God revealed that what 
I speak is true ? To whom is the power of God to salvation inwardly 
manifested and made known by the Spirit ? Implying they will not 
believe without this manifestation. 

Thus you have the meaning of the words. I shall offer to your 
thoughts some occasional observations before I come to the main 

From the Jews wresting this text, observe : 

1. That there is an evil disposition in men to turn off upon others 
that which nearly concerns themselves. Men are good at making 
false applications, and turn off that to others which the word and Spirit 
intend to them. When Christ had spoken to Peter, it is said, ' Peter, 
turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved, and saith to Jesus, 
Lord, What shall this man do ? ' 

2. Observe, that it is no new thing in persons to vouch that for 
themselves which makes most against them. Thus the Jews do this 
chapter against the Gentiles. So that which you find written, 1 Cor. 
xiv. 16, ' How shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say 
Amen ? ' the papists vouch it for Latin service, though it is the drift 
of the apostle to condemn it. Let not the like usage in our time 
amaze you, when Antinomians and Socinians urge those texts for them 
that are really against them. 

3. Observe this too : When God, for the wickedness of a people, 
hardeneth their hearts, they are apt to mistake in that which is most 
plain. A man would think that this chapter should work upon a Jew 
if anything could ; so you wonder why men are not wrought upon by 
such powerful persuasions which speak very home to them. The 
reason is, God hath hardened them, Kom. xi. 7. 

4. From the prophet's great admiration, observe, that when we 
can do no good upon a people, the most effectual way is to complain 
of it to God. He can help us and them too ; this will stop murmur 
ing. The mind is eased of that burden that lies heavy on us, when 
we can go and report the case to God, and pour out our complaints 
into his bosom. Other of God's messengers besides Isaiah have great 
cause to say, ' Who hath believed our report ? ' 

5. Observe, that those that profess the name of God may be much 
prejudiced against the entertainment of those truths and counsels that 
he makes known to them for their good. 

6. That it is a wonder they should not believe so plain a discovery 
of Christ, though by the just judgment of God they did not. 

7. That the first believing of Christ is a believing the report of him ; 
but afterwards there are experiences to confirm our belief. The soul 
then knoweth that there is a Christ, and that there is mercy in him : 
1 Peter ii. 3, ' If so be that ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious ; ' 



John iv. 42, ' Now we believe, not because of thy saying, for we have 
heard him ourselves, and know indeed that he is the Christ, the 
Saviour of the world/ 

I come now to the main points which I shall prosecute. 

First, That there may be a glorious report of Jesus Christ, and 
yet few believe it. Or 

That Jesus Christ may be clearly represented to a people, and yet 
but few won to believe in him. 

Secondly, That the gospel is the arm and power of God, or word of 
righteousness. Though it is an uncredited report to the world, yet it 
is the arm and power of God to them that believe. 

Thirdly, Therefore so few believe, because God's arm is not revealed 
to them : the power of the word is not manifested by the Spirit. 

I. As to the first of these points, other truths may be delivered and 
not closed with, but it is a wonder that so sweet a truth as this should 
not be received. The wonder is so much the greater if we look upon : 

1. The persons making this report : The prophets of old time, the 
apostles in Christ's time, the ministers of the gospel now-a-days men 
that, if you look upon them singly, did deserve some reverence and 
esteem men that gave forth abundant declarations that God was 
with them, and spoke by them, who were as polished shafts in God's 
quiver. Then consider them speaking the same thing, all proclaiming 
the same Christ ; that is more. For I conceive there is an emphasis 
in this our report not my, but our ; or, as Zachariah, John's father, 
said, Luke i. 70, ' As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, 
which have been since the world began.' Though there were many 
holy prophets, yet they had but one mouth, they spake as if with one 
mouth : ' Who hath believed our report ? ' 

2. The persons to whom the report is made : A professing people, 
a people that were nurtured and taught this from their infancy and 
youth, by all the ceremonies of their religion, leading them to that 
Christ whom the prophets did more distinctly reveal to them. They 
had been tutored and taught this lesson for many hundred years by 
the pedagogy of the law ; for so that place is to be expounded, Gal. 
iii. 24, ' The law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, that we 
might be justified by faith.' The ceremonial law may properly be 
called Trai&dyooyos efc Xpiarov, or the dispensation of Moses. Yet ' who 
hath believed our report ?' 

3. The manner how it is reported : Distinctly, plainly, though in 
prophetical expressions, by Isaiah and Jeremiah, God gave some prce- 
ludia; some clear expressions were then used by all the prophets. 
Though they had not noonshine, they had the dawning of the day, light 
enough to see the day approaching. Had it been such a dark intima 
tion as that of the seed of the woman breaking the serpent's head, it 
had been the less wonder if they had not weighed it, because they could 
not so distinctly have conceived it. But when all is made so clear, 
the wonder is the greater that they should not consider it. 

I shall prove the point by distinguishing the several times in which 
there have been any glorious discovery of Jesus Christ, and show you that 
in all these times the company of believers have been few. Distingue 
tempora, et exis bonus tlieologus. The way to understand the reason 


of it, is to find out what have been the main prejudices against Christ 
in the several times of his revelation. I shall name four times : (1.) 
The prophets' time ; (2.) John Baptist's time ; (3.) That of Christ's 
life ; (4.) Our time, or the time of the first promulgation of the gospel. 

1. The prophets' time, when the number of believers was few. 
They had all some loose and general expectation of a Messiah, but 
few believed, at least not in such a Messiah as the prophet pro 
phesied of. 

[1.] Because of the grossness of their hearts, which rested in the 
outward ceremonies, as if they were ordained for themselves, and not 
to signify any other thing. They were observant of the ceremonies, 
but did not observe the end and purpose of them. Therefore doth 
God so often protest against sacrifices. A sacrifice was not acceptable 
to God but according as they did eye Christ in it. Now they used 
no farther reach or recollection, but rested in the sacrifices ; as Isa. 
Ixvi. 3, ' He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man/ And there 
fore did God so often tell them that ' the sacrifice of the wicked is an 
abomination to him.' 

[2.] Because of their want of due observation how God did fulfil 
his promise concerning the Messiah, few troubled themselves about it. 
Only the pious Jews lived in a continual expectation of it, and their 
hearts were always upon the wing of strong and earnest desires after 
it. It is said, Luke ii. 25, Simeon ' waited for the consolation of 
Israel.' He was a man whose thoughts ran that way. So Daniel, 
chap. ix. 2, ' sought by books;' then, ver. 21, an angel tells him the 
time of the Messiah. But others were negligent. 

[3.] Their obstinate hatred against the prophets that revealed these 
things concerning Christ. They reproved their other sins, and there 
fore they believed them not in this: Jer. v. 13, 'The prophets shall 
become wind, and the word of the Lord is not in them.' Disaffection 
is the great prejudice against anything. They judged it false or to 
no purpose before it was spoken. The Jews, though they honoured 
the prophets when dead, could not endure them whilst living : Mat. 
xxiii. 29, 30, ' Woe unto you, scribes and pharisees, hypocrites ! be 
cause ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres 
of the righteous, and say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, 
we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the pro 
phets.' But that was a deceit, as I shall show you by and by. These 
three I conceive to be the causes why, in the prophets' time, they did 
not believe ; they are to be marked by us, because there is somewhat 
in them suitable to the case of gospel unbelievers, viz., a circle and 
track of cold duties ; a non-attendance on God in his ordinances ; and 
a wicked spirit of contradiction against his word. 

2. John Baptist's time. I distinguish this from the former, be 
cause Christ doth so, Mat. xi. 11, 'Among them that are born of 
women there hath not arisen a greater than John the Baptist ; and 
yet he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.' 
And Christ saith that he is ' more than a prophet/ He made a more 
glorious report of Jesus Christ, as being immediately to come ; and 
then a common rumour was given forth that the Messiah's time was 
come. Now what were the prejudices then ? 


[1.] The levity and rashness of the people. If any man were more 
eminent than other, they presently cried him up for the Messiah, and 
therefore, being disappointed in some, they were prejudiced against all : 
Luke iii. 15, 'And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused 
in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ or no ; John 
answered them, There cometh one after me who is mightier than I.' 
He plainly directeth them to another. Multitudes flocked to him 
indeed, but it was out of a nice and vain curiosity. Few believed his 

[2.] The evil influence of the scribes and pharisees, who thought 
all the water lost that went beside their own mill. They would fain 
keep the people under their beck and pleasure, and therefore had a 
vigilant eye upon every new way, or anything that might seem to take 
off from that respect and devotion wherewith the people were engaged 
to them. By-ends in some that should have been teachers, have been 
always a hindrance to the entertainment of Christ. Those that 
preached Christ for their own ends were enemies to the cross of Christ, 
Phil. iii. 19. 

[3.] Offence at John's boldness. His office was to humble and 
change proud hearts, and he goeth about his work vigorously, there 
fore they forsook him. I shall speak no more of this, because it will 
fall in with the next head. 

3. As to the time of Christ's being in the flesh. There were divers 
prejudices concerning him, both in the Jews and in the Gentiles. 

First, In the Jews. I will name the chief. 

[1.] An erroneous opinion of the Messiah. The people thought he 
would set up an earthly kingdom ; they were weary of the Roman 
yoke, and expected that he would free them from it. See an excellent 
place for this, John vi. 14, 15, ' When the men had seen his miracles, 
they said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the 
world. And when Jesus saw that by force they would come and 
make him king, he departed into a mountain alone.' They conceived 
he was able to gratify their malice on their enemies, out of a hope, 
conceived from his miracles, that he could maintain an army with 
very little cost. But Christ would not hold by that tenure. He 
would be king of their hearts, not of their lands. And therefore, 
being disappointed, they rejected him. There is nothing prejudiceth 
a man more against a thing than a false conceit of it. When we 
expect what we do not find in it, we loathe it. The apostle calleth 
this ' knowing Christ after the flesh/ in a pompous carnal way. This 
is to be noted, because we have such gross conceits in our hearts, 
We expect Christ should serve us in our own ends, as St Austin 
speaketh of those conceits he had of God when he was a child Sentie- 
bam te esse magnum aliquem qui potes exaudire et subvenire nos ; et 
rogabam te parvus, non parvo qffectu, ne in scliola vapularem. Such 
childish conceits have some entertained of Christ, they could close 
with him to serve their covetousness, revenge, or vain-glory. They 
look upon him as some great thing that should help them. 

[2.] A fond reverence of Moses and the prophets, as if it were 
derogatory to them to close with Christ: Johnix. 29, ' We are Moses' 
disciples ; as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is/ This 


Christ confutes, John v. 46, ' If ye had believed Moses, ye would have 
believed me/ 

[3.] Offence at his outward meanness (that is the scope of this chap 
ter), and the persecution he met with ; the just judgment of God upon 
them to fit them for destruction. Thus much for the Jews. 

Secondly, As to the Gentiles, there were divers prejudices why they 
would not believe the gospel when tendered to them. 

[1.] Pride in the understanding. They were loth to captivate their 
knowledge to the obedience of Christ, and to make their principles of 
reason strike sail to the truth represented. Therefore, 1 Cor. i. 23, 
it is said, ' Christ crucified ' was ' to the* Greeks foolishness.' It was 
a foolish doctrine, because contrary to their forestalled principles. 
This is to be noted by us also, because we are very unwilling to receive 
anything but what cometh dyed in the colour of our own conceits, and 
is suitable to our carnal minds. 

[2.] The meanness of the reporters, poor fishermen; though sufficient 
enough for the matter they took in hand by the Spirit's mighty assist 
ance, yet of no great repute and value in the world. God would have 
the gospel commend itself to have a respect without the addition of 
any outward excellency, and therefore he useth the ministry of mean 
and weak men : Ps. viii. 6, ' Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings 
thou hast ordained strength.' God knoweth how prone the world is 
to close with a truth upon a preposterous ground, not for its own sake ; 
we cannot endure to stoop to a mean man. That of Salvian is very 
true : Omnia dicta tanti existimantur quantus est ipse qui dixit, nee 
tarn dictionis vim respiciunt quam dictatoris dignitatem. Men look 
to the worth of the speaker. Any attempt at innovation or alteration 
must needs be ill taken from them who are in the eye of the world 
very mean and low, especially against such practices as have been 
authorised by men of gravity and great judgment, countenanced by 
antiquity and long custom, confirmed by the joint consent of all ; for 
men to quit such practices upon the intimation of persons of mean 
presence and estates, it must needs be a great prejudice. As it is 
said, Paul's bodily presence was base and contemptible among them, 
2 Cor. x. 10. Therefore, having so many lets in the way, well might 
the prophet cry out ' Who hath believed our report ? ' It is good to 
observe this, because this is a great prejudice against the entertaining 
of many of the truths of Christ in our days : we have men's persons in 
disesteem and contempt. 

[3.] The hard conditions upon which they were to entertain Christ. 
He was not, as other of their gods, to be worshipped in company ; he 
was to be worshipped alone : they were to forsake all their old ways and 
worship, and to abridge themselves of their unlawful gains and trades ; 
and this was a prejudice they could not brook : Acts xix. 27, If this 
doctrine go on, ' our craft is in danger to be set at nought/ They 
were to expose themselves to all the obloquy and scorn that could be. 
It was crime enough to say they were Christians Vir bonus nisi quod 
Cliristianus. They were to be cast upon the disadvantage of the hatred 
of near friends, upon all manner of persecution and cruelty, to be led 
about the cities and amphitheatres as the objects of public scorn and 
malice, nay, and these things were not to be hidden from them, and 


only the lighter and better part revealed to them, if they would be 
Christ's disciples. This is a prejudice enough, you will say, against a 
new way, enough to make the world look upon it as some odd, humor 
ous conceit of a few brain-sick persons, who had no other bait to allure 
to their way but fire and faggot, whips and scourges ; for the present 
they would promise you nothing but these things. Well might they 
cry out, Who will believe our report ? God would have no outward 
blandishment at first, that the truths of religion might not be sus 
pected ; and indeed hence did so few believe, insomuch that the cause 
of Christianity never came to an indifferent hearing ; they hated the 
name, and would not let it plead for itself. Thus for the Gentiles. 

4. I come now to prove it in our times, or the time of the first pro 
mulgation of the gospel. I might divide my discourse into these two 
heads : Few believe the report of Christ, and few believe in Christ. I 
prove the latter. We all profess ourselves Christians, disciples of 
Christ, those that have entertained him, but few do really believe. 
The lets and hindrances now are these : 

[1.] Ignorance. Men hear of Christ, but are not acquainted with 
him ; many come to the ordinances, but only to sit out the hour, not 
to grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. There is much in a man's 
ends why he cometh to the ordinances : God seldom meets with a man 
in his word that cometh to it with a vain end ; if they do not seek 
after knowledge they shall not find it. Many of the reports of Jesus 
Christ are lost upon an ignorant people ; they hear the name, and do 
not weigh the thing in their thoughts ; they look upon him as aliquem 
magnum as some great person that the preachers talk of, and go no 
further. Thousands are damned this way through their ignorance 
they do not trouble their thoughts about getting the knowledge ol 
Christ in his word, they come to the church and rest in that. There 
must be distinct apprehensions of the report of Christ before faith, not 
only to hear the sound, but weigh the sense : Eom. x. 14, ' How 
shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard ? ' that is, not 
only the sound of his name, but heard so as to weigh the doctrine that 
was delivered concerning him. This affected ignorance is a great 
hindrance when men do not apply themselves to knowledge ; as it is, 
Prov. ii. 2, 3, ' Incline thine ear to wisdom, and apply thy heart to 
understanding : yea, if thou criest for knowledge, and liftest up thy 
voice for understanding.' Many incline their ears, but they do not 
apply their hearts to knowledge, weigh and ponder what they hear ; if 
they attend to it while it is spoken, they do not consider it afterwards 
in their more serious thoughts, and ponder it in their minds ; and 
therefore no wonder they do not close with Christ : Kom. iii. 11, 
' There is none that understandeth, none that seeketh after God/ 
That will necessarily follow, if they do not understand Christ, they will 
not seek after him ; a man will not value an unknown good. This is 
one hindrance, gross and affected ignorance. 

[2.] An easy slightness ; men do not labour after faith. It is true our 
diligence alone can never attain it, but yet we should use the means. 
Men marry to beget children, yet it is impossible they should generate 
a rational soul without the concourse of God. So we should do those 
things that are likely, and leave the success to God : we should seek after 


ft. God will not violently withhold faith from those that are diligent, 
that are much in meditation, much in earnest supplication, much in ob 
servation, much in a continual and holy expectation, when Jesus Christ 
will be begotten in their souls. God will not fail such a waiting soul : 
Ps. cxxx. 6, ' My soul waiteth for God more than they that watch for 
the morning ; yea, more than they that watch for the morning.' Such 
souls as are thus eager in the pursuit, and earnest in their expectation, 
that would fain have Christ come and appear in their hearts, may 
well expect God's blessing. But there is a great deal of idle and easy 
tightness in men's hearts ; they complain for want of faith, yet they 
will not pray, meditate, hear, read ; as if God should infuse it into them 
in their sleep. It were an easy cut to heaven if God should do all. 
What need had Christ to tell you, * Strait is the way ' ? And faith is 
called a work, not in regard of the toil of it, but in regard of our 
diligence and intention of spirit. ' This is the work of God, that ye 
should believe in him whom he hath sent/ It is a sign people do not 
prize a thing when they do not labour after it. If men thought Christ 
worthy of respect, they would not sit still, but take pains in the seeking 
of him. The idle and evil servant are joined together : Mat. xxv. 26, 
* Thou wicked and slothful servant ! ' The wicked will be slothful ; 
and as idleness and sin are joined together, so idleness and destruction : 
Prov. i. 32, ' Ease slayeth the fool/ so it is in the margin, or, ' The 
turning away of the simple shall slay them.' Men perish by resting 
in their slight wishes ; they would have Christ, but they would not take 
the pains to get him. Certainly a man valueth the report of Christ at 
a low rate when he doth not think it worthy of a few thoughts, and a 
little time to consider it. You know what Christ saith, Mat. xi. 12, 
' From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven 
suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.' They close with the 
gospel, which is called the kingdom of God there, that pursue it with 
a great deal of earnestness and fervour of spirit. This is the next 
hindrance, an easy slightness. 

[3.] A careless security. They are not won to believe in Christ, be 
cause they think themselves well enough without him. Most cannot 
endure to look beyond their present condition. A false heart is so far 
from knowing the worst of its own condition, that it will not so much 
as suppose a time will come in which it may be miserable. Oh ! think 
upon changes ; rouse up your souls with the sense of your danger ! If 
you lull your souls asleep, you may awake in flames ; even the gospel 
is peremptory in this kind : Mark xvi. 16, 'He that believeth not shall 
be damned.' It will not be always with you as now. Oh ! cry out, 
then, Do I believe ? If men would not put away all thoughts of their 
eternal condition, they would see a greater need of Christ than now 
they do. What a strange thing is it to keep the thoughts of that from 
our heart, which we cannot possibly deliver our souls from hereafter, to 
wit, endless eternity ! to be witty to deceive our own souls, to invent 
shifts that we may put far away the evil day ! A man doth not care 
for things till he wanteth them, no, not for the best things, the comforts 
of Christ, the joys of the Spirit. While we have outward comforts we 
care not for inward, because we have a false conceit that our comforts 
will still continue with us: Luke xii. 19, * Soul, thou hast much goods 


laid up for many years ; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be rnerry/ He 
would not so much as suppose they might be taken from him that 
night. A man's peace may be tried by this. Secure hearts cannot endure 
to think of danger. Though believers think of danger, yet they think 
more of Christ. They consider their misery, and so are directed to a 
remedy against it. Others, though they cannot put away the evil day, 
they put it out of their thoughts, and labour to make the most of the 
world they can. Briefly, that security is a hindrance is plain, because 
the number of believers is increased by those that have least to trust 
to in the world, and so are necessarily engaged to a consideration of 
their misery, and a want of something that may stand them in stead at 
the end of their days: James ii. 5, ' Hath God not chosen the poor of this 
world to be rich in faith ? ' And yet the poor may be secure ; they have 
their pleasures and vain thoughts to make them forget their sorrows. 

[4.] A light esteem of Christ. As we do not see our own needs, so not 
his worth. As the heart is, so it judgeth. A carnal heart valueth 
all things by outward pomp and splendour. Such objects take as are 
most excellent in the eyes of the world : Ps. cxliv. 15, ' Happy is the 
people that is in such a case ; yea, happy is the people whose God is 
the Lord/ A man's temper may be discerned by his valuation of 
things ; carnal hearts cannot prize spiritual mercies. We prize those 
things that are most suitable to our desires : 1 Peter ii. 7, ' To them 
that believe Christ is precious.' He is an honour to them ; they look 
upon him as a most attractive object, and therefore their hearts move 
after this loadstone. Everything is loved according to the suitable 
ness and proportion it bears to our desires. Therefore see how Christ 
is spoken of by the faithful : Cant. v. 10, ' As the chiefest among ten 
thousand ;' ' He beareth the banner from ten thousand,' as Ainsworth 
rendereth it. And in the 16th verse, 'He is altogether lovely.' But 
see what the world judgeth of him : Isa. lii. 14, ' His visage was 
marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men.' 
Look then to the value you have for a thing, for from thence will 
arise your endeavours after it. They that will be rich, are drowned 
and sunk in the cares of this world, they are all for moiling and busi 
ness. They that love pleasures, their thoughts and the strength and 
vigour of their souls will run that way. So for honourable preferment, 
they that seek after it will spend all their thoughts about it. What 
a man valueth, it will be his work to gain. Therefore this high esteem 
of Christ taketh off men from these things, Acts xviii. 15, 16. He 
that thought the promulgation of the gospel to be but a strife about 
words and names, ' cared for none of these things/ This is the next 
hindrance ; men that profess themselves Christians, make the getting 
of Christ the least of their care. 

[5.] A presumptuous conceit that we have entertained Christ already. 
Many think every slight wish, every trivial hope, will serve the turn. 
Many would be scholars, if they did not think themselves so too soon. 
I would not weaken any man's confidence ; I know it is our office to 
establish it : ' The fruit of our lips is peace/ Isa. Ivii. 19. But there are 
those to whom our God will not speak peace. ' No peace, saith my 
God, to the wicked/ Many wicked persons think it enough to be 
named Christians. It is an advantage, I confess, to be born a Chris- 


tian, but to rest in it maketh it the greatest judgment that can be. 
People will reason thus, Do not all believe in Christ ? Oh, no. Thou 
mayest profess Christ, and yet not believe in him. Many depend upon 
this that they are Christians, as the Jews did that they were the seed 
of Abraham. I shall touch upon this afterwards. 

[6.] Hardness of heart. The mind will not stoop to Christ till it be 
tamed. John Baptist, that was to prepare the way for Christ, was to 
bring the mountains and hills low, Luke iii. 5. The heart must not 
only be serious, but humbled, if it would entertain this doctrine. A 
man must see his error before he will be willing to be governed by Christ, 
and guided into a better way : Acts ii. 37, ' They were pricked at their 
hearts ' before the apostle bid them * repent, and be baptized in the 
name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins.' The heart never 
yields till it bleedeth with the sense of sin. We have been wrong, oh, 
what course shall we take ? There must be a conviction of sin before 
that of righteousness. It is happy when both go together, John xvi. 
9 ; so Acts xvi. 30, 31. First, ' What shall I do to be saved ?' Then 
comes, * Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ/ A man hath no reason to 
begin a new way till he is convinced of the vanity of the old one. 
There must be at least so much of humiliation as to make a man 
anxious and solicitous about a better course. Well, then, here is 
another hindrance : a proud and unmortified spirit, a hard heart ; a 
man must get humbled, That you may do so, examine your state by 
the law, and aggravate it by love. There is some apprehension of 
love, some general consideration that precedeth faith. You have done 
all this, and you have done it against a merciful God, and indeed that 
is a keen argument to wound the spirit : Joel ii. 14, * Rend your hearts, 
for God is merciful/ See your sins, and aggravate them with unkind- 
ness. There is something in nature to make us relent, when we have 
done wrong to a kind person, that, for aught we know, meant better to 
us. But of this more by and by. 

[7.] Self-confidence. When men's consciences are troubled, they 
would fain get them eased. Those that are so greedy after quiet and 
peace, rather than holiness and grace, usually ease themselves in a 
wrong way ; they fly to a few outward duties, or to some slight resolu 
tions for God, and there rest. It is better to keep the conscience raw 
a while than to skin it over too soon ; that will make the wound fester 
and rankle. Most desire ease too soon, they consult and contrive 
suddenly how they may ease themselves of that pain and horror that 
is upon them, and so vainly rest in the way of their own thoughts. 
A man should not look to be eased of grief till he find himself fitted 
for holiness, that he may not be engaged to the like grief again ; other 
wise we shall but stop the grief rather than cure it. We must be 
directed to a better course, and that must be only by Jesus Christ. It 
is a sign we are guilty of this self-confidence when we resolve upon a 
better life, and do not think how unable we are for it. Great resolu 
tions are always vain, unless joined with the consideration of our own 
weakness. The people of God have promised much, but always it is 
with the concurrence of Christ. The apostle saith, Phil. iv. 12, * I 
can/ or will ' do all things/ but it is ' through Christ.' David pro- 
miseth, Ps. cxix. 32, ' I will run the ways of thy commandments ;' but 


he addeth, ' when thou shalt enlarge my heart/ There are divers such 
places in scripture. We walk in the strength of our resolutions when 
we do not see a need that Christ should help us, that we may not walk 
in the same ways of error and maze of misery again. 

[8.] Carnal fears. These hinder the soul from closing with that 
mercy that is reported to be in Christ. They are of divers sorts. 

(1.) Fear of God's anger, as if he were so displeased with us that 
certainly he did not intend Christ for us. Why, consider, the more 
angry God is, the more need there is to fly to his mercy. His mercy 
is as infinite as his wrath, nay, I may say more infinite : Ps. cxxxviii. 2, 
' Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name ;' that is, God's 
promise in Christ is greater than all other things by which he hath 
made himself known. Christ was an instance of infinite wrath and 
infinite mercy at the same time, but rather of infinite mercy. Nay ; to 
clear all, God expressly saith, ' Anger is not in me.' 

(2.) Fear of being too bold with the promises. Take heed of com 
plimenting with God. A man cannot be too bold where he is so freely 
invited : Mat. xi. 28, ' Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy 
laden.' You are unworthy to believe, but God is worthy to be obeyed. 
And ' this is his commandment,' 1 John iii. 3, ' That we should 
believe in the name of Jesus Christ.' 

(3.) Fear of the sin of presumption. Oh ! they shall presume too 
much. A man doth not presume if he knoweth his own danger ; if he 
be lost to himself and his own apprehension, it is pity he should be 
lost to God too. Presumers are seldom troubled about their estate ; 
it is enough to disturb a false peace so much as to suspect it. There- 
can be no presumption where there are no slight thoughts of sin and 
mercy. The mind cannot presume when it is serious. 

[9.] Carnal reasonings from our sins. They are arguments of con 
fidence, but not of dejection : Ps. xxv. 11, * Pardon my sin, for it is 
great.' If so, it is the better for God to pardon. Sins should not 
hinder a man from duty. It is your duty to believe. The sense of 
sickness will cause us to make use of the physician. You cannot see 
anything in sin, but you may see more in Christ. Not greatness : Ps. 
Ivii. 10, ' Thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the 
clouds.' Not number : Eom. v. 16, ' The free gift is of many offences 
unto justification/ 

[10.] And lastly, carnal apprehensions of Christ. We will believe 
no more to be in God than we find in ourselves : 1 Sam. xxiv. 19, ' Who 
findeth his enemy, and slayeth him not ? will he let him go well 
away ? ' The soul in all her conclusions is only directed by premises 
experimental and of sensible apprehension. We think God is but as 
man ; we are used to the dispositions of men, and therefore cannot 
believe there is anything more in God : Ps. 1. 22, * Thou thoughtest I 
was altogether such an one as thyself/ But remember, ' God is not a 
man, that he should lie ; neither the son of man, that he should repent,' 
Num. xxiii. 19 ; and Hosea xi. 9, 'I will spare Ephraim, for I am 
God, and not man ;' so Isa. Iv. 8-10, ' My thoughts are not your 
thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord : For as the 
heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your 
ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts :' Jer. iii. 1, ' If a man put 


away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man's, shall 
he return to her again ? But thou hast played the harlot with many 
lovers ; yet return unto me again, saith the Lord.' 

Use 1. Is by way of information. It informeth us of divers truths ; 

1. That the paucity or fewness of followers is no disgrace to a thing 
or doctrine. The world followeth the multitude, as if the way to 
religion were like that to a town, where there is the greatest track : 
Luke xii. 32, ' Fear not, little flock,' /Micpbv iroipviov. Christ's flock 
is a little flock. The world usually casteth that prejudice. There 
may be but one Micaiah against four hundred false prophets. 

2. It informeth us that the number of believers is not as large as 
the number of professors : 2 Thes. iii. 2, ' All men have not faith/ 

3. That it is a very difficult thing to believe, and therefore so few 
attain it. 

Use 2. Is by way of examination. If but few are won to believe 
this report, examine yourselves Are you of the number ? Are you of 
the number of those that are won by the preaching of the word to be 
lieve in Christ ? I will name a few effects: 

1. If so, you will find this persuasion melting you : Zech. xii. 10, ' I 
will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jeru 
salem, the Spirit of grace and supplication : and they shall look upon 
him whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him as one 
mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one 
that is in bitterness for his first-born.' God and the soul come together 
just as Saul and David: 1 Sam. xxiv. 16, ' Saul lift up his voice and 
wept; Is this thy voice, my son David ?' Thus the soul, Oh ! didst thou 
love me so, Lord my God ? 

2. You will find it teaching you a way to resist sin. You could not 
tell how to prevail against it before, now you have a cutting argument 
against it: Titus ii. 11, 12, ' The grace of God, that bringeth salvation, 
hath appeared to all men ; teaching us, that denying all ungodliness 
and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this 
present world.' Now you are taught to gainsay sin. 

3. You will find it quickening you to good : 2 Cor. v. 14, * The love 
of Christ constraineth us/ Such melting commands and commanding 
entreaties have a powerful influence to that effect : ' I am crucified with 
Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but 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/ 

I shall now come to the second point, namely 

II. That the gospel, or the report concerning Jesus Christ, is the arm 
and power of God. Though it be our report, yet it is the arm of the 
Lord. There is some controversy, as I hinted before, about what 
is meant by the arm of the Lord; some applying it to Christ, 
some to the word. I rather incline to the latter; but it is good to 
observe, that what is spoken of Christ, the same is spoken also of 
the word. Christ is called * the power of God/ 1 Cor. i. 24 ; and the 
gospel is called 'the power of God,' 1 Cor. i. 18 ; Rom. i. 16 ; because 
in the word Christ is made known, and his excellencies are displayed.. 


And what is spoken of the word is spoken of faith. Christ is revealed 
to the heart by the word, and so he is likewise by faith. 

But in what respect is the gospel the arm and power of God ? 

I answer : 

1. In respect of the sense and meaning of it, which is to be regarded 
above the bare sound of the letters and syllables. Many make a charm 
of the word of God, by applying some sentences of it to drive away 
diseases in a way of exorcism and conjuration, or by coming to it in a 
customary way, as if the mere hearing or reading of it were sufficient ; 
as if salvation were to be had by the bare hearing of it : John v. 39, 
' Search the scriptures/ saith our Saviour, * for in them ye think ye 
have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me.' Ao/celre ev 
avrais %a>rjv aiaviov, ' ye think ye have ;' this is not barely a command, 
but a reproof, otherwise Christ would have said { ye shall.' He speaketh 
it to the pharisees and hypocrites that had rejected him. 

2. In regard it manifests the power of God. There are instances of 
God's eternal power in the creatures, Kom. i. 20, but the great and 
mighty instances of his power are discovered in the word. God showeth 
his strength every day, but in the gospel he holdeth forth ' the man 
whom he hath made strong for himself,' Ps. Ixxx. 15, the branch or 
Son, meaning Christ though he is there speaking of the church's afflic 
tions : ' The vineyard which thy right hand hath planted, and the 
branch that thou makest strong for thyself/ 

3. It is said to be the arm and power of God, chiefly as it is a glori 
ous instrument in his hands, as a weapon that is managed by the Spirit, 
which will work mightily indeed. It is observable that when Isaiah 
speaketh of the word as pronounced by the prophets, he saith our re 
port ; but as revealed by the Spirit, the arm of the Lord. You must 
understand it as accompanied with the Spirit's efficacy : 2 Cor. x. 4, 
* The weapons of our warfare are mighty through God / there lies its 
force. So 2 Cor. iii. 6, ' Who hath made us able ministers of the new 
testament : for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life/ He calleth 
the law the letter, as it showeth what is to be done, but ministereth no 
abilities. The letter killeth, leaveth us miserable, but the gospel, 
accompanied with the Spirit, is an efficacious instrument to beget life 
in us ; because all the efficacy thereof depends upon the Spirit, there 
fore, in opposition to the law, it is called spirit. 

4. It is called the arm and power of God, because in one sense it 
worketh much even upon those on whom it has the least effect. It is 
powerful to their destruction, if not to their salvation : Heb. iv. 12, 
' The word of God is quick and powerful, sharper than any two-edged 
sword/ It is * the savour of death unto death/ if not ' of life unto life/ 
It is not a dead letter even there where it cannot obtain the least en 
trance into the heart ; it bindeth them over to judgment, if it cannot 
force them over to obedience. It is a heavy arm of God to the wicked; 
if they be not converted, they are judged, by the word. An arm, you 
know, is used in scripture in both senses, to protect friends, and to de 
stroy enemies ; and to that purpose it is said of God by the Psalmist : 
Ps. Ixxxix. 13, ' Thou hast a mighty arm ; strong is thy hand, and high 
is thy right hand/ This mighty power of the word appears divers 




[1.] It troubleth sinners. The power of the gospel awakeneth their 
consciences, for fear of which they cannot so freely run into such excess 
and outrage as otherwise they would, Acts xxiv. 25. When Paul 
' reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix 
trembled.' When a guilty conscience is touched, it is enraged: Acts 
vii. 54, * When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and 
gnashed on him with their teeth.' It causeth a tumult in the soul of 
a guilty creature ; if nothing else, the word worketh such a trouble in 
them, that they cannot be at rest in their minds. 

[2.] It worketh some faint resolutions in sinners to look after Christ : 
Acts xxvi. 28, ' Thou almost persuadest me to be a Christian.' They 
have much ado to put off the force of the word, and therefore are even 
won by it. It argueth a mighty power in the gospel, that it can put a 
wicked man on acting, though weakly, against the bent and inclination 
of his evil heart. And it is some argument of the divine power in the 
gospel, that men are brought thereby to wish and resolve against their 
evil practices, though they will not leave them. 

[3.] It judgeth them, it bindeth them over to eternal punishment ; 
as it is said, 1 Cor. xiv. 24, of the unbeliever, ' He is convinced of all, 
he is judged of all ; ' that is, his sentence is passed upon him in the 
word : John iii. 18, ' He that believeth not is condemned already;' that 
is, the power of the word is passed upon him: Mark xvi. 16, 'Go 
preach the gospel to every creature ; he that believeth not shall be 
damned.' That is the peremptory sentence of the gospel. 

[4.] It punisheth them, the arm of God is upon them. It is said to 
the stubborn Jews, Zech. i. 6, * But my words and my statutes, which 
I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not take hold of your 
fathers ? ' Mark, not so much the wrath and vengeance of God, as the 
prophet's words. So it is said, 1 Kings xix. 17, 'It shall come to 
pass, that he that escapeth the sword of Hazael, shall Jehu slay : and 
he that escapeth from the sword of Jehu, shall Elisha slay.' So Hosea 
vi. 5, 'I have hewed them by my prophets : I have slain them by the 
words of my mouth.' So much for the determination of this point. 

To prove it now, it will appear by two things : 

1. By the uses for which God did appoint it. 

2. By the glorious effects of it, suitable to those ends of God. I 
shall handle both together. 

Let us consider the uses for which God did appoint the publication 
of the gospel, and certainly you will then say it is the arm of the 
Lord. God's designs by the preaching of the gospel are either public 
or private. 

First, Public, which are 

1. To purchase and gain the world for a kingdom and an inherit 
ance for Jesus Christ. 

2. To conquer all the enemies of Christ. 

Secondly ', Private, so it is to convert souls. The appointment of 
the gospel for these ends showeth there is the arm of God in it. 

First, Public, which are 

1. To purchase the whole world for a kingdom and an inheritance 
for Jesus Christ. This is the main end of the gospel, and therefore it 
is called, Ps. ex. 2, ' The sceptre and rod of Christ's strength.' The 


gospel is the sceptre of Christ ; it was by the word that he was to 
sway the nations ; and so Mat. xiii. 19, it is called ' the word of the 
kingdom/ Now, how should a man purchase a kingdom but by his 
arm ? Great enterprises require proportionable strength, and there 
fore such a glorious design as this necessarily calleth for the arm and 
power of God. That this reason may have its due force on you, do 
but consider what it is to purchase the world for Christ, and what 
prejudices and difficulties there are against it that must be overcome. 

[1.] The report of Jesus Christ was a despised truth. If a man 
would win others to his conceits and opinions, policy requireth that he 
should make them as plausible as he can. It is difficult to win a 
people from their old religion, though a new one that is proposed be 
never so agreeable to reason. But now, when this is utterly inconsistent 
with our former apprehensions and notions about religion, the mind 
riseth against it ; it stoppeth all further inquiry after the truth of it. 
Now such was the report of Jesus Christ to all the world : you may 
divide them into Jews and Gentiles. The Jews were to be brought off 
from their fond esteem of Moses and the prophets ; the Gentiles were 
to be won from their old vain religions, received by traditions from 
their fathers : and we well know by experience how ill changes in re 
ligion are brooked in the world. But that was not all ; they were to 
leave their religion that they had so long professed, and to expect 
(what they thought very absurd) eternal life and happiness by him 
whom they looked on as an object of misery, and who suffered such a 
shameful death himself : 1 Cor. i. 18, ' The preaching of the cross 
was to them that perished foolishness.' It might well be so among 
them that perished ; the prejudice was as great among them that pro 
fessed : Mat. xxvii. 42, ' He saved others ; himself he cannot save : if 
he be the king of Israel, let him come down from the cross, and we 
will believe in him.' 

[2.] It was given forth by despised persons. If a man would be 
prevailed with by any, he would be by men of some repute and renown 
in the world. But now, Ps. viii. 6, ' Out of the mouth of babes and 
sucklings thou hast ordained strength.' If babes and sucklings could 
prevail so much by the use of their mouths, certainly there is some 
secret and invisible force in such doctrines, or else it would not 
prevail for babes and sucklings to speak so prevailingly as Christ 
promised : Luke xxi. 15, ' I will give you a mouth and wisdom which 
all your adversaries shall never be able to gainsay nor resist/ So 
much power in so much appearing weakness argueth a divine arm. 

2. The next end was to conquer the enemies of Christ. To conquer 
their minds, or destroy their bodies, the best weapon is the gospel, 
especially to do the former. This is the ark that beats all the Dagons 
in pieces. It is said, Isa. xi. 4, ' He shall smite the earth with the rod 
of his mouth^ and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked/ 
Mark, it is with the rod of his mouth ; the gospel slayeth the outward 
enemies, and the mists of error do inwardly vanish before this sun. 

[1.] The paganish rites and worship were forced to give place to it, 
as the oracle of Delphos, which had voice enough left to proclaim its 
own silence, and also that among the rocks of Sicily. But then 


[2.] As to antichristianism, God hath appointed the word to be a 
weapon against it : 2 Thes. ii. 8, it is said, ' God shall consume them 
with the spirit of his mouth, and with the brightness of his coming.' 
God bloweth in the mouth of his ministers the force of their words 
against Antichrist ; it is the spirit or breath of his mouth. When the 
gospel was a little revived by Luther, how many of his kingdom did 
Antichrist lose? The goose-quill gave him a deadly wound, saith 
Beza ; Eev. xi. 13 : when the witnesses had finished their testimony, 
' the tenth part of the city fell/ This is a most powerful engine to 
shake the strongholds of that city, these blasts of the gospel. The 
great policy of that party is to withhold people from the knowledge of 
the gospel. When Dr Day discoursed with Stephen Gardiner con 
cerning free justification by Christ, saith he, ' Mr Doctor, open that 
gap to the people, and we are undone !' The more gospel there is dis 
covered, the more Antichrist is discovered. Free grace puts the 
foundation of that way out of course. 

[3.] All lesser errors, like the little foxes, are slain by this sword. 
Those that went greedily after Balaam and the doctrine of the Nico- 
laitans, what doth God say to them ? ' Repent, or I will come and 
fight against thee with the sword of my mouth,' Rev. ii. 16 ; that is, 
with his word. That is punishment enough, to detect their errors by 
the gospel. The sword is put for a powerful weapon ; the sword in 
the mouth showeth it was the word; God's appointing it to these 
great uses argueth there is a divine power in it. 

Secondly, Private ; and that is to convert souls : Ps. xix. 7, ' The 
law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.' This is such a 
difficult work that it must needs require a divine power. That 
this may be of use to you, I shall show you what a difficult thing 
it is to convert a soul, there being so many obstacles and hindrances 
against it, and yet the word is the only fit instrument to overcome 

1. There is Satan, who is strong. The devil hath great power to 
possess the hearts of wicked men ; he is said to ' work in the children 
of disobedience/ Eph. ii. 2. Those frequent possessions in Christ's 
time were a discovery of that spiritual thraldom in which the heart of 
man is engaged whilst in the service of the devil : 2 Tim. ii. 26, ' That 
they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are 
taken captive by him at his will/ As violent tempests whirl things 
at their pleasure, so doth he our blinded understandings and crooked 
wills. We are taken of the devil in his snare, to be led about at his 
will and pleasure. Well, then, no power but that of God can set us 
free ; it must be by the mighty ministry of his arm. The strong man 
will hold fast till he be cast out by a stronger than he, Luke xi. 22. 
It is not so easy dispossessing the old man, and to turn from the 
power of Satan to the power of God. 

2. The perverseness of man's heart. The chief hindrances there 
are these : 

[1.] Subtle evasions, crafty pretences, whereby to evade and escape 
the power of the word : Heb. iv. 12, ' Piercing even to the dividing 
asunder of soul and spirit/ The soul is that faculty wherein the 
affections do reside ; the spirit is the reasoning power ; it discovereth 


the closest affections of the heart, and the most secret plots and devices 
of the spirit ; it telleth the heart how it cleaveth to sin, and the mind 
how it plotteth pretences to hide it. The mind and spirit conspire 

[2.] Crafty disputes and reasonings. There are great and many 
perverse debates in our hearts against the things of God ; therefore 
the apostle expresses the power of the word thus : 2 Cor. x. 5, ' Cast 
ing down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself 
against the knowledge of God ; and bringing into captivity every 
thought to the obedience of Christ.' It demolisheth all carnal reason 
ings, and convinceth of truth. Then 

[3.] Swelling lusts. To tame these, nay, to set up the work of 
grace instead of these, must needs argue a divine hand. It is a hard 
matter to break the course of any inclination, much more of a rooted 
affection ; to break the very course of nature ; to turn lions into lambs, 
as it is said, ' The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard 
shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the young lion and the 
fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.' There shall be 
such a wonderful change, that the violence and turbulency of the 
affections shall be done away. To make the filthy and intemperate to 
become chaste and sober, and to make the proud to become humble, 
argueth the great power of God. Thus you see how it overcometh 

But now observe how powerfully and wonderfully the word worketh 
this. It is not by a fond conceit and opinion of it in the minds of 
men : ' The simple believeth every word/ as it is said in the Proverbs ; 
and some weak persons may be easily awed into a scrupulous fear. 
But, on the contrary 

(1.) It hath wrought upon them that have been cast upon it 
unawares, that looked for no such thing. The apostle saith of 
unbelievers : 1 Cor. xiv. 24, ' And there come in one that believeth 
not, or one unlearned ; he is convinced of all, he is judged of all/ if he 
be by chance put upon the ordinances. Thus we read in the story of 
Austin and of Firmus, who, though they looked for nothing less, yet 
were wrought upon, and converted to God. 

(2.) Those that came with a mind to despise the word have been 
won by it. The unbeliever that cometh in falleth down on his face, 
1 Cor. xiv. 25. It may bring men that have wrong conceits of the 
ways of God on their faces, and to say, ' God is in them of a truth/ 

Use 1. Is exhortation. And that 

1. To ministers. Is the gospel the arm and power of God? 

[1.] Be not ashamed of it, but preach it boldly. St Paul saith, 
Kom. i. 16, ' I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ/ Many are 
ashamed of the naked simplicity of the gospel, and therefore hanker 
the more after profound parts and human learning. You must imitate 
Christ ; preach boldly, as having authority from him. 

[2.] Wait for the success of it. Doubt of success is a great dis 
couragement, and taketh off the wheels of a man's ministry. Kefer it 
to God ; it is his own arm, if it cannot be mighty through us, it will 
be mighty through God : Jer. i. 9/1 have put my words in thy 


mouth/ It is a great lesson of holy wisdom, if we could learn it, to 
mind duty, and refer the success to God. 

[3.] To dispense it faithfully ; not to use God's arm for our own ends. 
There is a preaching the gospel out of envy, Phil. i. 16. This is a put 
ting God in a servility to our designs, a prostituting of the greatest 
power to the vilest uses, an embasing a thing beneath its office. 

[4.] To dispense it so as to look to the Spirit to make it effectual ; 
not to think to make it work by our own fancies : 1 Cor. ii. 4, ' My 
preaching was not with the enticing words of man's wisdom, but in 
demonstration of the Spirit and of power/ A minister may be apt to 
be too full of self. The old Adam may be too hard for young Melanc- 
thon. It is said of Christ, Luke xxiv. 32, that * he opened the scrip 
tures ;' and ver. 45, ' Then he opened their understandings, that they 
might understand the scriptures/ 
2. To the people. 

[1.] To all in general. 

[2.] To those to whom the arm of the Lord is revealed and made 

[1.] To all in general : to press them to see God in his word. Many 
see no more than what is of man, and therefore are not wrought upon 
by it. The power of God is veiled under our weakness : 1 Thes. ii. 
13, ' Ye received it not as the word of men, but (as it is in truth) the 
word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe/ But 
what is it to receive it as the word of God ? 

I answer It is to receive it : 

(1.) With reverence. It is a description of God's people that they 
* tremble at his word,' Isa. Ixvi. 2, 5. Do not slight it as if it were 
but a little sound poured out into the air. 

(2.) Look up unto God, and wait upon him for this power to be 
let into your hearts. See that, besides the report, you have a discovery 
of God's power and arm. Do not rest contented with enjoying the 
word till you feel the power of God making it effectual on your 
hearts. Oh, be careful lest it should work upon you the wrong way, 
and prove the savour of death unto death ! As the people waited^for 
the angel's stirring of the waters, so do you for the Spirit's motion. 
Man's voice can but pierce the ear : Cathedram liabet in cadis qui 
corda docet, God only can reach the heart. 

(3.) Keceive it into your hearts, open your souls for it with such a 
resolution as is expressed, Acts x. 33, ' We are all here present be 
fore thee, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God/ Then 
it is a sign we are willing to take home the message to ourselves. 

(4.) Let not your thoughts rest in the abilities of the minister, if 
your hearts be touched : Acts iii. 12, ' Peter answered unto the 
people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this ? or why look ye so 
earnestly upon us, as though by our own power or holiness we had 
made this man to walk ? ' It is not our report, but God's arm ; we 
are but the instruments, his arm must do the work. 

[2.] To those to whom the arm of the Lord is made known, two 
duties I shall exhort them unto : 

(1.) To behold and admire the power of God working in them for 
their salvation : Eph. i. 19, ' That ye may know the exceeding great- 

VOL. in. o 


ness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the work 
ing of his mighty power.' A man doth not know the excellency of 
this power till he takes a review of it. Man can better observe such 
experiences when past, when he seeth and feeleth such a power of God 
upon his soul. 

(2.) To walk worthy of it in their conversation ; to walk so as a 
man may perceive the power of God hath passed upon him : 1 Peter ii. 
9, ' That you should show forth the praises of him who hath called you 
out of darkness into his marvellous light/ Inward holiness is ex 
pressed by the power of godliness. Take heed of having a form of 
godliness but denying the power thereof. Oh, do not carry it as if 
there were no power passed upon you ! 

Use 2. Is of examination. See whether any of this power hath 
passed upon your hearts. Have you ever felt the power of the Spirit 
in the ordinances, that will convince of sin, of righteousness, and of 
judgment ? 

1. Hath it powerfully humbled you for sin? There is the power 
of the word seen to bring men upon their faces, and to make them 
lay their mouths in the dust, 1 Cor. xiv. 25. The first work is to 
humble the heart and to subdue the pride of it. 

2. Is it powerful to comfort and refresh the soul? Every man 
hath not comfort, but every man that hath it can tell which way it 
cometh : Ps. xciv. 19, ' In the multitude of my thoughts within me, 
thy comforts delight my soul/ What is the refreshment of your 
hearts ? Is it not the power of God's Spirit ? When a man is in 
distress, it is known what he maketh his trust in : then we shall see 
what our heart fetcheth comfort from. Do you look upon gospel 
comforts as powerful ? John xvi. 33, ' In the world ye shall have 
tribulation, but in me ye shall have rest ; be of good cheer, I have 
overcome the world/ 

3. Is it powerful to enable to holiness ? You will then be able to 
gain upon your lusts more, they will not be so pleasing to you : Ps. ex. 
3, ' Thy people shall be a willing people in the day of thy power/ 
You will be made ready to duty, and be more cheerful in God's service, 
when the power of the word hath passed upon you. 

I now proceed to the last point observable in this verse, which is: 

III. That none believe the report that is made of Jesus Christ, 
but those to whom it is revealed by the Spirit. 

It is meant of an inward revelation ; though it were outwardly pro 
claimed in their ears, yet the power of the report was not secretly 
conveyed into their hearts. The arm of the Lord was not revealed 
to them. Or thus : 

The cause why so few are won to believe in Jesus Christ is because 
they have not the Spirit's revelation. 

This I shall prove to you by these reasons: 

1. Because without the Spirit's revelation all the outward tenders 
and reports^of Jesus Christ will be to no purpose. The efficacy of the 
word lieth in the Spirit's assistance. I told you in the former point 
how powerful the word of God is, but withal I told you it was when 
the Spirit sets it home upon the heart. God may knock at the door 
and yet no man open to him ; and, therefore, he speaketh by way of 


supposition, if he doth but barely knock : Eev. iii. 20, * Behold, I stand 
at the door and knock ; if any man hear my voice and open the door, 
I will come in to him and sup with him, and he with me/ It is put 
upon an if: it is a great peradventure whether any man will open the 
door or no, when it is but a bare knock of the word. The spouse plead- 
eth excuses when Christ stood and knocked, saying, ' Open to me, my 
sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled,' Cant. v. 2 ; but in the 4th 
verse it is said, ' My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, 
and my bowels were moved for him ; ' that signifieth the working of 
his Spirit, and then she opened. Men would fain take one nap more 
in sin when they are roused by the ministry ; but when God puts his 
fingers upon the handles of the lock, Christ hath an admittance and 
the door then flieth open : Acts xi. 19^21, ' The hand of the Lord was 
with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord.' 
God's hand was upon the lock. If the word be anywhere spoken 
of as powerful, it is in reference to> the Spirit, as 1 Thes. i. 5, * Our 
word came unto you not in word only, but also in power and in the 
Holy Ghost ; ' therefore in power, because in the Holy Ghost. 

2. Because the Spirit's revelation is the token of God's special love ; 
and that is not given to every one : God has appointed his special 
love but for a few. The outward revelation is to leave men without 
excuse ; it is but a token of God's common love : 2 Cor. iv. 3, ' If our 
gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost ' hidden from their 
hearts, though it be revealed to their ears. Those that are lost have 
not the inward discoveries that is, the effectual discovery and special 
effect of God's peculiar love : Acts xiii. 48, ' As many as were ordained 
to eternal life believed ;' such have God's special love. Those that 
have least have many times an outward revelation: Acts xiv. 17, 
' God left not himself without a witness, in that he did good ; ' yet, 
ver. 16, 'he suffered them to walk in their own ways.' They had a 
revelation, but they had not an efficacious revelation. And in this 
sense it is said, that ' many are called but few are chosen, many 
are invited and few wrought upon. They have the doctrine of life 
propounded to them, but they have not the Spirit of life setting it 
home upon their hearts ; few taste of God's special love. 

3. Because the least of Christ that is made known to the soul is 
made known by the Spirit ; even common illumination, any slight 
taste of the doctrine of life, it cometh from the Spirit. Those that apos 
tatised afterwards are said, Heb. vi. 4, to be * made partakers of the 
Holy Ghost.' A historical persuasion of the truth of the articles of 
religion flows hence. There are some things like this inward effectual 
revelation in the hearts of wicked men, namely, some notional irra 
diations and illuminations in many profound mysteries of the scrip 
ture. In this sense is that place to be understood : 1 Cor. xii. 3, ' No 
man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed ; ' and that, 
' No man can say that Jesus is the Lord but by the Holy Ghost/ 
Even their common illumination and profession that Jesus is the 
Lord was from the Holy Ghost. And so that, Mat. xvi. 16, 17, 
* Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered, 
Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which 
is in heaven/ He did not learn this from nature, but from a revela- 


tion. Even, I say, a notional apprehension of these truths, without 
any fiducial assent given to them, is from the manifestation of the 
Spirit, and, therefore, much more is this the cause of believing. 

4. Because there is so much corruption in a man that hindereth 
the soul from believing in Jesus Christ, that it cannot be done away 
without the Spirit's manifestation. There is a double seat of this cor 
ruption the mind and the heart. First, In the mind there is igno 
rance and unteachableness. Secondly, In the heart there is obstinacy 
and carelessness ; which things cannot be conquered any otherwise than 
by the Spirit of God. Let us look upon these things severally. Con 
sider a man naturally as he is : 
[1.] In his mind; and so 

(1.) There is ignorance ; he hath no savoury apprehension of the 
truths of God : 1 Cor. ii. 14, ' The natural man receiveth [not the 
things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him ; neither 
can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned/ There is 
no suitableness between the heart and the things of Christ ; and, there 
fore, though they understand the words, they have confused appre 
hension of the thing, and cannot tell what to make of them for their 
comfort and peace. These sottish conceits in the minds of men pre 
possess them against the receiving of Jesus Christ. They are like 
leaky vessels that cannot hold this precious liquor ; the cockleshell of 
their brains cannot empty this ocean. A natural man hath abundance 
of confused, indistinct, indefinite conceits of Jesus Christ. Festus said, 
Acts xxv. 19, That the Jews and Paul had * a controversy about their 
own superstitions, and of one Jesus, that was dead, whom Paul affirmed 
to be alive ;' as if it were no more. And the like conceits are to be 
found not only in him but in all natural men. They do but look upon 
him as Austin in his infancy said he did upon God, Tanquam aliquem 
magnum as some great remedy against all evils. Now these conceits, 
though they be a little rectified in some by pregnancy of wit, ripeness 
of experience, and industrious meditation, yet no savoury knowledge, 
nor wisdom to salvation, can be fetched out of these divine truths but 
by the Spirit. We cannot learn Christ, as the apostle speaketh. A 
man may know Christ, but he hath not learned Christ, Eph. iv. 20. 
That supposeth a teacher, which is the Spirit of God : John vi. 45, 
' They shall all be taught of God.' The Spirit teacheth us Christ, so 
as to have communion and fellowship with him to fetch comfort out 
of him ; and this helpeth our natural light, and doth indeed set ^ off 
Christ to us : Job xxxii. 8, ' There is a spirit in man, and the inspira 
tion of the Almighty giveth them understanding/ Then we begin to 
look upon Jesus Christ with a true and distinct eye. A man may 
have eyes, but if he have not light he cannot see well, nor discern the 
distinct shape of things. Light must come to light ; first the light 
of the sun or candle to the light of the eye. Thus our reason must 
be helped to fasten upon divine truths so as to fetch comfort out of 
them. Thus ignorant men cannot tell what to make of the promises 
of the gospel or the commandments of the gospel, what to think of 
Christ or what to believe. Therefore, it is said, 1 Cor. ii. 10, ' The 
deep things of God ' are ' revealed to us by his Spirit ; ' that giveth us 
the knowledge of the truth and worth of them. 


(2.) Unteachableness. We are not only in the dark, but blind ; we 
have not only lost the use, but the faculty : 1 Cor. ii. 14, * The natural 
man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are fool 
ishness unto him ; neither can he know them, because they are spirit 
ually discerned.' We have no spiritual eyes, and therefore we cannot 
see spiritual things. Things are apprehended by us according as they 
carry a proportion and suitableness to our hearts. Now our hearts 
are so gross that we cannot measure truths by them. This unteach- 
ableness remaineth in the soul till the Spirit disposes it to knowledge ; 
and therefore St Paul prayeth, Eph. i. 17, 18, ' That God would give 
them the Spirit of wisdom and revelation r and open the eyes of their 
understanding 'take away the scales, And so you read, Luke xxiv. 
29, That Christ ' opened their understanding ;' i.e., made it teachable. 
The word is not only proposed to them to rectify their apprehensions of 
Christ, but their minds are opened ; which implieth, that as they had 
no light, so they had closed eyes, a wicked mind as well as a weak 
mind, a mind disaffected, prejudiced, full of corrupt principles and 
reasonings that are advanced the truth. 1 

[2.] In the heart there is carelessness and stubbornness. And there 
fore, as God must teach their minds, so he must draw their hearts ; as 
it is said, John vi. 44, ' No man cometh unto me, except the Father 
draw him.' The power of the Spirit must be put forth into the soul 
to bend it to Christ. 

Let us take notice of these two evils. 

(1.) Carelessness. Men slight Christ, and then they are not won to 
believe in him. This carelessness cometh from two things : 

(1st.) A love of ease. Men cannot think of Christ without reluctancy, 
and they are loth to put themselves to the trouble. When the spouse 
is lodged in the bed of security, see how she pleadeth : ' I have put 
off my coat, how shall I put it on ? I have washed my feet, how shall 
I defile them ?' A carnal, careless heart, that loveth ease, sticketh at 
every little hesitancy and vain excuse. In hot countries, where they 
went barefoot, they were wont to wash their feet after travel. They 
are loth to arise to entertain Christ for fear of trouble and loss to 
themselves : Prov. xx. 4, 'The sluggard will not plough because of 
the cold.' Many do not care for Christ, because it will cost them some 
pains and care to pursue after him. They must follow him through 
so many prayers, meditation, and observation, that they had rather sit 
still. There is need of a great deal of revelation to make the soul 
seriously to attend. The spouse fainted, Cant. v. 6, when Christ put 
his finger into the key-hole of the lock : ' Then I rose up and opened 
to my beloved, and my beloved had withdrawn himself and was gone ; 
my soul failed when he spake.' When he beginneth to touch the wards 
of the heart, all idle excuses vanish, then nothing but Christ will 
satisfy the heart. So Acts ii. 37, * When they were pricked in their 
hearts, then they cried out, Men and brethren, what shall we do?' 
Men that are not converted indulge their vain thoughts and excuses 
still ; but when that is once past, they cannot dally with salvation any 
more : Acts xvi. 30, the jailer saith ' Sirs, what must I do to be saved?' 
Oh, tell me quickly, it can brook no delay ! 

1 Qu. 'against the truth '? ED. 


(2dly.) Doting upon other excellencies. One love, like a nail, driveth 
out another, A man slighteth a thing when the stream of his affec 
tions are carried another way. Some had a farm, some a yoke of oxen, 
some had married a wife, some one excuse, some another ; but. they 
all said, ' I cannot come.' Men are severally taken up, either with 
honours, or profits, or pleasures ; but all keep from Christ. Therefore 
there is need of the Spirit's revelation, to display the beauties of Christ 
before the soul, that they may see that there is more in this beloved 
than in other beloveds, Cant. v. 9 ; that so the force of our ill affec 
tions may be broken, and the stream of the heart diverted another 
way, and brought about to Christ. This is that which is desired in 
that request, ' Draw me ; we will run after thee,' Cant. i. 4 ; that 
the Spirit would display the glory of Christ to the soul, that we 
may look upon him as an attractive object, and so find our hearts and 
our desires following after him. Thus for carelessness. 

(2.) Stubbornness of heart, that is another thing. There is a wilful- 
ness in men ; they will not believe, because they will not believe. Men 
will not close with Jesus Christ ; God showeth them the way, and 
they contemptuously reject it : John v. 40, ' Ye will not come unto 
me, that ye might have life.' Christ inviteth men by the gospel : 
' Come unto me, all you that are weary and heavy laden ; ' and they 
will not come ; there is no answer in the heart to God's call because of 
this stubbornness of spirit. But now, when gospel invitations are 
seconded with the Spirit's motions, they command their own entrance 
into the soul, the heart submits to the way that God revealeth for its 
good. The heart, like a quick, strong echo, returneth the full answer 
of gospel demands : Ps. xxvii. 8, ' When thou saidst unto me, Seek ye 
my face, my heart said, Thy face, Lord, will I seek;' Zech. xiii. 9, ' 1 
will say, It is my people ; and they shall say, The Lord is my God/ 
So much for the proof of the point. 

I shall answer a doubt or two before I go on to the application. 

The doubts are these : 

1. If the want of the Spirit's revelation be the cause why so few 
believe, how can God be just in punishing men for their unbelief, 
since he doth not give them all a like revelation ? 

I answer Two ways : First, From God's sovereignty : Exod. xxxiii. 
19, ' I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have 
mercy on whom I will have mercy ;' so Koin. ix. 15, 16. God's will 
is the measure of his actions, as the moral law is the measure of our 
actions. That is a rule to us, not to God ; he giveth no account of 
his matters, he acteth out of infinite sovereignty, and so he may do 
what he pleaseth Who shall set a task for him ? Mat. xi. 25, 26, ' I 
thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid 
these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto 
babes : even so. Father, because it seemed good in thy sight/ That 
is the upshot of all, and the result of all disputes about it : ' Even so, 
Father, because it pleaseth thee/ He doth not tell you for what cause 
it pleased the Father ; but even so it pleased him, as if that were 
reason enough : it is just because it pleased the Father. You are not 
to be judges of God's actions, but doers of his will. God made you 
not to censure him, but to give him glory. The pattern of all 


justice is to be copied out from God's will ; it is just because God 
did it. 

Secondly, The beauty of God's justice shineth in this, in that the 
positive cause of unbelief 

[1.] Is in ourselves, it being through our own blindness and stub 
bornness. We ' will not come to him that we may have life/ Hosea 
xiii. 9, ' Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself, but in me is thy help/ 
God is the positive cause of faith, the privative cause of unbelief. The 
Spirit's revelation worketh faith ; but in case of the want of it, 
our own perverse hearts are the cause of unbelief. If the earth be 
light, it is from the sun ; but if it be dark, it is through the want of 
the sun, that is from itself : 2 Cor. iv. 3, ' If our gospel be hid, it is 
hid to them that are lost/ It is to those that take a course to ruin 

[2.] Men do not their utmost, and therefore are justly punished, 
because they did not what they were able to do to get faith. He 
is justly condemned that complaineth of the length of the way, and 
therefore doth not stir one foot to see whether he shall conquer it, yea 
or no: Mat. xxv. 26, 'Thou wicked and slothful servant/ Many 
complain, as if God required brick and gave no straw. They are wicked 
and slothful ; they do not what they should. Men had rather accuse 
God than reflect upon their own idleness ; they will not come to him. 

[3.] They abuse their parts, and are so far from improving of them 
to the utmost, that they employ them against God : Jude 10, ' What 
they know naturally as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt 
themselves/ So 2 Peter ii. 12, it is said, ' They utterly perish in their 
.own corruptions/ There is wickedness enough in them to cause the 
wrath of God to proceed against them. This is the first doubt. 

2. The next is (which is somewhat answered out of this) if this be 
cause viz., the want of the Spirit's revelation Why then should we 
labour after faith ? Our labour will not do without the revelation 
of the Spirit.. 

Ans. [1.] We should labour after it, to see our own weakness, that 
we may look up to God the more earnestly for it. Men think it is easy 
to believe till they put themselves upon the trial. They do not see a 
need of the Spirit till they perceive the fruitlessness of their own en 
deavours : ' If thou appliest thy heart to understanding, and criesfc 
after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding ; if thou 
seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as hidden treasure ; then 
shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of 
God,' Prov. ii: 3-5. 

[2.] That we may manifest our obedience to God, and meet him in 
his own way. He hath commanded us to believe ; let us do what we can 
towards it. Improve your natural abilities, and use the means that 
God hath appointed, and refer the success to him : Luke v. 5, * Master, 
we have toiled all night, and catehed nothing ; nevertheless, at thy 
command I will let down the net/ Consider God's prerogative over 
you, and make the best of the power you have ; and if for nothing else, 
yet at his command perform thy duty. God hath enabled you to do 
somewhat, and he may justly require you should do the utmost of it. 
Every man hath a command over his locomotive faculty ; he can choose 


whether he will come hither or go thither. Every man can f watch at 
the gates of wisdom,' Prov. viii. 34, ' and wait at the posts of her door.' 
Therefore, let the command of God enforce you to do what you can. 

[3.] That you may manifest your desires after it. God doth not 
give Christ to many, because they do not care for him. If a man did 
care for a thing, he would endeavour after it. Excuses are always a 
sign of an unwilling heart. Where the desires are vehement, they 
will not easily be put by : Mat. xiii. 45, The merchant that ' found a 
pearl of great price/ ' went and sold all that he might buy it.' Those 
that desire not Christ, do not look upon him as a pearl of price ; if 
they did, their hearts would follow hard after him. Those that say 
they have no power, it is to be feared they have no heart. It was the 
slothful person said, ' There is a lion in the way,' Prov. xxvi. 13. 
Therefore strive after faith, if for nothing else, yet to show that Christ 
is worth your most earnest seeking and pursuit after him. 

[4.] Because though by the using of means we do not get faith, yet 
without the means we shall not have it. It is conditio sine qua non, 
though not causa fidei: Kom. x. 14, ' How shall they believe in him 
of whom they have not heard ?' A man hath it not by hearing, nor 
for hearing, yet he hath it not without hearing. There is not merit nor 
efficacy in- the means, and yet there must be the presence of them, be 
cause it holdeth negatively, if ye do not use the means ye shall never 
believe. The Spirit causeth faith, but it is by the word : see that text, 
Acts xiii. 46, ' It was necessary that the word of God should first have 
been spoken unto you ; but seeing ye have put it from you, and judge 
yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.' 
Men that refuse the means, pass the sentence of condemnation upon 
themselves, they declare themselves to be those whom God will judge 
to be unworthy of eternal life unworthy, because they would not seek 
after it. When the psalmist describeth desperate men, he represents 
them to be such as reject the means : Ps. lviii.4, 5, ' They are like the deaf 
adder that stoppeth her ear, which will not hearken to the voice of the 
charmer, charm he never so wisely.' The adder stoppeth one ear with 
her tail, and the other lieth close upon the ground. So wicked men, if 
they come to the ordinances, take care they shall not prevail upon 
them ; they are not diligent to attend to the word. 

[5.] It is very likely God will come in and meet with us if we seek 
him in his own ways ; and who would not venture upon a likelihood of 
safety to come out of a certain danger ? If you do not use the .means, 
you are sure to perish ; if you do, you may be likely to obtain mercy ; 
and certainly it is the safest course to adventure upon these hopes. The 
soul reasoneth in such a case just as the Aramites did : 2 Kings vii. 
4, ' If we enter into the city, there is the famine, we shall die there ; 
if we sit still here, we die also. Now therefore come and let us fall 
into the host of the Assyrians ; if they save us alive, we shall live, and if 
they kill us, we shall but die.' So if we continue in our sins, it is 
death ; if we neglect prayer, or hearing, or meditation, it is death ; 
though there be but an ifoi mercy, venture upon it, a little to keep up 
the heart. Men near drowning will catch hold, though it be but of a 
reed or a twig. 

[6.] This is God's usual way, to meet those that seek him. The God 


of Jacob would not have them seek his face in vain, Isa. xlv. 19, and 
Luke xi. 9 ; though he would not arise and give as his friend, yet 
because of his importunity, he will arise and give him. When the 
soul is importunate with God thus, it is a sign of mercy, and it is 
through the precedaneous efficacy of the Spirit. This earnestness 
after faith is the first impression of the Spirit's efficacy. Thus I 
have answered the doubts. 

I shall now come to the application. 

The first use is exhortation, to press you to divers duties ; as 

1. To wait for the Spirit's motion and revelation. Do not look to 
the words that are spoken, but how the Spirit giveth you the savoury 
sense and meaning of them. They that were at the pool looked for the 
angel's stirring of the waters ; so do you look for the Spirit's revelation, 
to see how the confusedness of your light and knowledge is done away. 
The mind knoweth some things, but doth not know things as it should 
know them. See how the Spirit giveth you satisfaction. If you would 
have faith, your chief care is to attend the Spirit ; and therefore, faith 
is called by the Spirit's own name, ' the same Spirit of faith,' 2 Cor. 
iv. 13, because it is the faith of the Spirit. 

2. Yield to it. Many are of an unteachable heart, they are not won 
by the Spirit's allurements : Gen. ix. 27, ' God shall persuade (or en 
large) Japhet to dwell in the tents of Shem.' God shall allure the 
allurable. Take heed you resist not the secret whispers and persua 
sions of God's Spirit. There is a great deal of thwarting in the heart 
against it, that God's Spirit, when it should allure, it is forced to dis 
pute it ; and therefore God saith, Gen. vi. 3, ' My Spirit shall no longer 
strive with men.' The Spirit convinceth us this is right, and then our 
interests and vile affections set the heart a-disputing against it ; and 
we would fain put off these inward motions and checks of conscience. 
Many of God's elected servants do very often resist those motions, so 
that it were even just with God to cast them off, but that Christ's word 
is passed : John vi. 37, 'All that my Father giveth me shall come to me, 
and I will in no wise cast them out.' But as to reprobates, God stayeth 
a great while with them too. No longer, implieth a long time, even 
as long as he shall think fit, and then he leaveth them. Take 
heed of these withdrawings. 

3. Cherish it. Many have had strong resolutions, but they die away 
without this. They have a great many previous workings of the Spirit, 
as, much knowledge of the will of God, much sense of sin, fear of pun 
ishment, many thoughts about their freedom and deliverance, some 
hopes of pardon, some kind of care and desire ; but then they drown 
these things again by the cares and pleasures of this world, and so 
they are to no purpose. This is called by the apostle ' quenching of 
the Spirit,' 1 Thes. v. 19. Now, the Spirit is quenched two ways : 

[1.] When they do not blow up the coals, stir up the graces of God 
that are in them, and labour to feed and cherish by prayer and medi 
tation these desires, which is the strengthening of the things which are 
ready to die, Rev. iii. 2 ; when we do not labour to rouse up our 
selves, and keep in the heat and warmth in our souls : Mat. xiii. 19, 
'Then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was 
sown in their hearts/ 


[2.] When they do as it were cast water on the Spirit's motion by 
the return of their lusts. Men are apt to return to their old ways, 
after these partial desires and partial care to get Christ ; but 2 Peter 
ii. 21, 'It had been better for them not to have known the way of 
righteousness, than after they have known it, to turn from the holy 
commandment delivered to them.' Enraged lusts return the stronger, 
and have the greater force upon the heart. 

4. In case you have it, praise God for it. Oh, get largeness of heart 
to conceive of this great privilege, to have Christ not only to be revealed 
to you, but in you ! There is a threefold ground of thankfulness : 

[1.] In respect of yourselves, that God was not discouraged with 
your often resistance of him, but that he should go on with his work : 
Isa. Ixvi. 9, ' Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth ? ' 
God speaketh of the outward glory of his church, but it is also true of 
grace in the hearts of his servants. Oh, how justly might God have 
broken off and interrupted his design and purpose of grace and mercy, 
and have given over such a stubborn heart as yours to the sway 
of its lusts ! As Elizabeth said, Luke i. 43, ' Whence is this, that 
the mother of my Lord should come to me ? ' So whence is it that 
the Spirit of the Lord should come to me, stubborn me ? There should 
be such a reflection upon our unkindness. 

[2.] In respect of the freeness of the gift, that he should give his 
Spirit to work faith in us so freely. Faith is expressed to be the gift 
of God, Eph. ii. 8 ; Phil. i. 29, ' To you it is given to believe/ VJMV 
fyapia-Or) ; you have it of the free grace of God. Flesh would fain boast, 
and have these things in its own power, but you see, ' to you it is given.' 

J3.] In respect of others. That he should reveal himself unto you, 
not unto others. What did he see in you more than in others, 
that he should give you a token of his distinguishing love ? Christ 
thanketh God for the distinguishingness of it : ' Father, I thank thee, 
that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and prudent, and hast 
revealed them to babes,' Mat. xi. 26. And therefore we have the 
greater reason so to do : John xiv. 22, ' How is it that thou wilt mani 
fest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? ' Thus you see what cause 
there is of thankfulness on this threefold account. 

Use 2. Is examination, to see whether you have closed with the 
report of Jesus Christ or no. If you have closed with it aright, it is 
with the Spirit's revelation, it is because you have been inwardly con 
vinced in your hearts of the truth of it. But how shall we know that 
we believe in the report because of the Spirit's revelation, and that 
many will say and every one crieth it up for a truth, that Jesus Christ 
came to save sinners ? I answer : 

1. The Spirit's revelations are distinct; it showeth the soul how 
Christ will be received. Most men's knowledge of Christ is an in 
definite knowledge ; they know him in a confused, indistinct, indefinite 
manner ; they look upon him as a Saviour, but they do not look upon 
him as commanding things contrary to their vile affections. Now the 
Spirit revealeth him determinately, what he is, and upon what terms 
we must take him. 

2. It giveth men an experimental taste of Christ : 1 Peter ii. 3, ' If so 
be that ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.' They can speak of 


what sweetness there is in Christ. Notional knowledge looketh upon 
him as a man looketh upon a thing in the bulk. When a man hears 
a minister talk of Christ, he taketh it up as a great and comfortable 
truth, but he cannot speak out of experience. All Christians can speak 
out of their desires, though not delights : Oh, come, taste and see how 
good the Lord is ! 

3. The Spirit revealeth so as to influence us to obedience. Spiritual 
li^ht is like that of the sun, it hath heat with it. But now it is other 
wise with notional irradiations, and common illuminations; the heart is 
vain, and the conference conduceth to controversy, more than to the 
conversion of others. 

Use 3. The third and last use is to condemn all that false faith that 
is in most people : they think they believe in Christ, whereas they 
scarcely believe the report of him. True faith hath a true ground. 
Most men have this in their thoughts, that there was such a person as 
Christ ; the preachers tell them so; the laws of the land and the customs 
of the people are for it. Alas ! most people are like wax, they are fit 
to take the stamp and impression of any religion that is bequeathed to 
them. They are not said so properly to believe, as to have a super 
ficial apprehension of the common report that is made concerning such 
a thing. They have no more saving faith in Christ than Turks and 
infidels, and have as little true love for him as the Jews that crucified 
him. I cannot examine every false ground. I will give you marks in 
general when you have it from any wrong ground ; as 

1. When you take it up without weighing : Prov. xiv. 15, ' The simple 
believeth every word, but the prudent man looketh well to his going/ 

2. By your fickleness ; when a man embraceth a thing upon wrong 
grounds, he will leave it upon wrong grounds: Gal. i. 6, ' I marvel 
that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace 
of Christ, unto another gospel ;' 2 Thes. ii. 2, * I beseech you, brethren, 
be not soon shaken in mind.' 

3. By the dissonancy of our practice, and inconstant resolutions. 
This is called, 2 Peter ii. 1, a 'denying Christ that bought us.' 
Though they profess him in words, yet in deeds they deny him. It were 
better to renounce the profession of Christ than to keep it with these 
resolutions : Mat. vi. 31-33, ' Take no thought what ye shall eat, 
or what ye shall drink, or wherewith ye shall be clothed ; for after all 
these things do the Gentiles seek ; but seek ye first the kingdom of God, 
and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.' 


For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out 
of a dry ground : he hath no form nor comeliness : and when we 
shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 

I AM now to make entrance upon the cause and ground of the Jews' 
unbelief, namely, Christ's meanness and sufferings. His meanness 
is described : 


1. In regard of his birth. 

2. In regard of his manner of life, and outward appearance in the 
world, which are the two things the prophet prosecutes in divers ex 
pressions. I shall take notice of them in this and the following verses. 

My method shall be : 

1. To open the phrases to you as they lie in the order of the words. 

2. To apply them to Jesus Christ, and to give you some helps for 
your meditation. 

3. Because Christ's life holdeth forth much matter of observation 
for the guiding of our lives, I shall give some more general and prac 
tical points, that so what is said of Christ may be useful for us. 

First, For the phrases, and these respect : 
First, His birth and original ; and here three expressions are to be 

1. He shall grow up as a tender plant. What is meant by that ? 
The Septuagint (because the word for tender plant signifieth also a 

sucker) have translated it &>? Tra&iov. We have spoken of him as a 
sucking child. But I conceive it is not put here to signify the infancy 
of Christ, so much as the low and mean manner of the original that 
he would take upon himself. He would be as a tender plant, not as 
a tall tree full of limbs and branches. For it is usual in scripture to 
set forth the several conditions of men by trees and plants : thus Ne 
buchadnezzar's greatness and strength are represented, Dan. iv. 21 , 22, 
by the tree whose leaves were fair, whose fruits were much, and the 
branches thereof reaching to heaven and shading the earth. So the 
Psalmist describes the wicked's prosperity, Ps. xxxvii. 35, ' I have seen 
the wicked great in power, and spreading himself like a green bay- tree.' 
And on the contrary, misery is expressed by the heath in the desert, 
a low mean shrub, Jer. xvii. 6. So here, Christ's meanness and poverty 
are held forth by a tender plant, newly sprouted forth, and come up 
above the earth, which a man would tread upon rather than cherish. 
And indeed it is observable that Christ is often represented by the ex 
pression of a tender plant, or as a branch: thus Isa. xi. 1, 'There shall 
come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out 
of his roots/ I shall touch upon it again. So it is said, Zech. iii. 8, 
' I will bring forth my servant the branch.' So chap. vi. 12, ' The man 
whose name is The Branch : ' Jer. xxiii. 5, ' Behold the days shall come 
that I will raise unto David the righteous branch ; ' Jer. xxxiii. 15, 
' Behold, I will cause the branch of righteousness to grow up unto 
David.' And I conceive this expression holdeth forth two things : 

[1.] Christ's present meanness, what he was in the world's eye, 
which was no more than a branch or twig. 

[2.] His future glory. He should be a tree : Ezek. xvii. 22-24, 
' Thus saith the Lord, I will also take of the highest branch of the 
high cedar, and I will crop off from the top of his young twigs a 
tender one, and will plant it upon an high mountain and eminent ; 
and it shall bring forth boughs, and bear fair fruit, and become a 
goodly cedar ; and under it shall dwell all fowl of every wing ; in the 
shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell/ Thus it was a tender 
plant, yet such a one as might become a spacious and goodly tree. 

2. A root out of a dry ground; that is, not only a tender branch, 


but a branch that hath little verdure and freshness. But why a root? 
And why out of a dry ground ? The root does not come up, but the 
branches. I may answer Hoot is put figuratively, the cause for the 
effect, the root for the sprigs ; or else to denote the dryness of the 
branch ; it was not fresh and green : even like a root, or like heath in 
the wilderness, which is a branch and root too. Or more properly it 
may be to show that Christ is such a branch as that he is a root like 
wise. And I the rather take notice of this, because the scripture 
doth so: Kev. v. 5, 'The Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of 
David, hath prevailed to open the book ; ' and chap. xxii. 16, ' I am 
the root and offspring of David.' Mark, not the branch, but the root. 
Christ was David's son and David's Lord, Mat. xxii. 45, yet ' a root 
out of a dry ground.' Some triflers understand by this is meant the 
womb of the virgin ; but it is rather the dead and withered stock of 
David's house. For though that family was obscure, and all the 
glorious branches cut off to the very stump, yet even then shall 
sprout out the last and greatest ornament of it, like a root out of a 
dry ground. Therefore it is observable it is said, Isa. xi. 1, ' A rod 
shall come out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots/ 
He doth not say, out of the stem of David, who was the first king and 
honour of that family, but Jesse, whose name was more obscure, imply 
ing that at this time this house should be reduced to its first mean 
ness, or that it should not be the house of David so much as the house 
of Jesse. Out of his decayed roots should spring up this tender branch. 

3. Before him. Whom ? Some say himself, for so they say the Heb 
rew word is to be understood. As if the sense were, if you look to the 
state and presence of the person himself. But I shall pass by that, and 
take notice but of two persons to whom this him may be referred ; 
for the scriptures have this privilege, to abound in senses. 

[1.] Him, that is, the Lord, for so may it be referred. He was but 
lately spoken of, ver. 1, * The arm of the Lord ; ' and then it is added, 
' Before him shall grow up a tender plant.' Though he was so mean, 
yet God saw it, and permitted it, because he had appointed it. It was 
not by chance, and because it could be no better, but by God's special 
decree and appointment. Before the Lord he shall rise up a tender 

[2.] Before him ; that is, before the party that believes not the 
report : ver. 1, ' Who hath believed,' &c. because before him Christ 
riseth up in such a mean manner. By this him must be meant 
the unbelieving Jews of whom he spake. Keason cannot expect that 
the Messiah should lie hid under so mean a shape. They will be 
offended in Christ's meanness, as I shall touch by and by. Thus for 
the phrases of Christ's original. 

Secondly, For the phrases now that belong to the outward state and 
appearance of his life. Christ hath not in him proportion and beauty, 
which are the objects allurable to men. We love things for the orderly 
disposition of parts or colours ; the one is called form or comeliness, the 
other beauty. So that Christ's mean appearance is described two ways : 

1. By the removal of excellency. 

2. By the restraint of affection. 

1. As to the removal of excellency. And therein 


fl.] No proportion, no form nor comeliness is found in him. Then 
2.] As to beauty, there was no fitness of colour. These things are 
not put here literally, to deny there was any individual or personal 
beauty in Christ ; for I believe that he was not of a monstrous and 
misshapen body, but well compacted and well coloured, though I 
doubt not but there have been a great many fictions about the body 
of Christ, particularly what Lentulus says in his letters concerning 
the amiableness of Christ's countenance, that he was of so fair a face, 
and yet of so majestic an eye, that all that beheld him were enforced 
to love and fear him. Nicephorus likewise said that Mary Magdalen, 
who was at first a common strumpet, was drawn to hear Christ upon 
a report of the comeliness of his person, and afterwards won by the 
efficacy of his doctrine. No doubt he had a comely, well-featured, 
healthy body. But this is not spoken of so much as his outward 
port and presence to the world. He did not come with such pomp 
and glory as they imagined was suitable to the majesty of the Messiah. 
They thought he should have come in a royal way, with a great deal 
of outward pomp and splendour, that so all the world might have ad 
mired the great Redeemer of the Jews. 

But how can it be said of Christ that he had neither comeliness nor 
beauty, since it is said, Ps. xlv. 2, that ' he is fairer than the children 
of men/ or * than the sons of Adam' ? And in Cant. v. 10-16, he 
is described by the spouse to be well-coloured, ' My beloved is white 
and ruddy, the chiefest of ten thousand ; ' and likewise well-featured, 
as she goeth on from part to part, from head to feet ; and then con- 
cludeth, ' He is altogether lovely/ 

To this I answer : 

(1.) It is one thing what Christ is to the spouse, another what he 
is to the unbelieving Jews. Christ's beauties are inward, seen of 
none but those that are inwardly acquainted with him. The spouse 
speaketh of him in a spiritual sense. Here he is spoken of in respect 
of his outward habitude in the world. 

(2.) We must distinguish between Christ's humiliation and exalta 
tion, his Godhead and his manhood. In his Godhead ; so he is ' the 
brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his per 
son,' Heb. i. 3, and consequently full of beauty. In his humiliation ; 
so he is not only a man, but a mean man : Phil. ii. 9, ' He made him 
self of no reputation/ 

(3.) In Christ's humiliation we must distinguish as to what he is 
in himself and as to what he is in the eye of the world. In Christ's 
manhood he did not appear in the form of God. It is said, Phil. ii. 
7, ' He took upon him the form of a servant ; ' yet he did not lay aside 
his Godhead : that appeared too sometimes in the power of his doc 
trine and miracles ; but the world saw no form in him, none of the 
form of the Godhead in him. Then 

2. As to the phrase that implieth restraint of affection, ' why we 
should desire him/ But you will say, How then is Christ said to be 
the desire of all nations, as we read, Hag. ii. 7, ' I will shake all 
nations, and the desire of all nations shall come ' ? 

I answer 

[1.] Though he is not actually desired, yet he is nevertheless 


worthy of esteem and affection. Pearls do not lose their worth 
though swine trample upon them. It is the world only that is 
offended at his meanness, and saith, ' There is no beauty in him 
wherefore we should desire him.' But 

[2.] You judge by the eye and appearance. Now a carnal heart 
can see no excellency in Christ ; and when you see him, if you trust 
to your sight merely, you will not desire him. Thus you have the 
meaning of the words. Now 

Secondly, To accommodate this prophecy to Christ, and show you 
how it agreeth to him, that so his love may be displayed and held 
forth to your meditations, that he should submit himself to such mean 
ness for your sakes. Wherefore I desire that you would with me ob 
serve these few things. And first from the causal particle : * For he 
shall grow up as a tender plant.' He gives a reason why so few be 
lieved the report. 

The point therefore is this : 

Doct. 1. That Christ's meanness, and want of outward pomp arid 
splendour, is the great prejudice against the entertainment of him 
and the things of his kingdom. 

In handling this point I shall treat of his meanness both in his 
life and doctrine. 

First, As to his meanness in his manner of revealing himself to the 
world. Because the beginnings of his kingdom were weak, the world 
rejected it. I will prove this by a reason or two. 

1 . Because we have no light to see any excellency in other things 
but what are outwardly glorious. Men being inured to such things, 
think them the only things. Corrupt desires make a corrupt mind. 
Where there is flesh, there will be a knowing of things after the flesh, 
2 Cor. v. 16 ; and we will think such things only to be glorious. 
Men's judgments are as their affections ; for as these are, so are their 
conceits of happiness : 1 Cor. ii. 12, ' We have not received the spirit 
of the world.' There is a spirit of the world which raaketh men think 
that the greatest excellency is in the things of the world, as in outward 
fineness, royalty, learning, eloquence, pomp, and splendour. Christ is 
mean, and therefore rejected, because he cometh not with these things. 

2. Because we judge altogether by likelihoods and outward appear 
ances. Samuel thought sure that Eliab was the man, because he 
looked upon his countenance and the height of his stature, 1 Sam. 
xvi. 7 ; but it is added, * Man seeth not as God seeth ; man looketh 
to the outward appearance/ We judge of things according as they 
are to our senses. Many would have thought that some great emperor 
should have been the Messiah, rather than the poor child in the man 
ger at Bethlehem. Most people will have it that truth is rather on 
that side that is accompanied and accommodated with outward autho 
rity, applause, and other advantages of learning and eminency, than 
among a few despicable men, such as the martyrs were. 

3. Because we envy and despise any worth that is veiled under mean 
ness, as if it were a disgrace to us to take anything from those beneath 
us. It was a great condescension in Job, chap. xxxi. 13, that he 
would ' not despise the cause of his servants when they contended with 
him/ Certain it is otherwise in the world ; they consider the person 


and envy the excellency ; as you may read, Mat. xiii. 55, &c. Though 
they were astonished at his doctrine, yet they said, * Is not this the car 
penter's son ?' and were oifended at him. His mean original hindered 
them from giving that due honour and respect that they should. 
Use 1. The use of this may be to inform us : 

1. Whence it is that Christ is differently entertained in the world, 
which is, because some see nothing but the outward meanness, others 
the inward excellency : Luke ii. 34, ' This child is set for the fall and 
rising of many in Israel/ Because this child, therefore for the fall 
and rising of many. And therefore he is called a rock of offence and 
a stumbling-stone, Rom. ix. 33. God would not satisfy every one. 
There was inward power in Christ, and outward meanness, and many 
times he did exert and put forth his inward power : 1 Peter ii. 7, * To 
them that believe he is precious ; but to others a stone of stumbling, 
and a rock of offence/ God will satisfy those that are desirous to 
learn the things of his kingdom ; as for others, there is so much out 
ward meanness and reproach laid upon his ways, as to harden them 
against them. If you will know the reason why so many are pre 
judiced against the ways of Christ, it is because they see nothing in 
them worthy of their choice. Oh, it is a great mercy of God for any to 
see the beauty of religion through the clouds of meanness, affliction, 
self-denial, and all those troubles to which it engageth men. 

2. Do not despise things for their meanness, for so thou mayest 
condemn the ways of God. God will have his people love him for his 
own sake, not for the outward accommodation and advantages we 
have by him. As it is said, John vi. 26, ' Jesus answered them and 
said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye seek me not because ye saw the 
miracle, but because ye did eat of the loaves and were filled/ Princes 
try the affections of their subjects most when they come to them in a 
disguise, and veil their majesty under the plainest garb ; and so did 
Christ to the world, and still does to this day. He suffereth this 
stumbling-block, to see if we will look beyond it. As there was mean 
ness in the outward habitude of Christ's person, so there is now in the 
administration of his kingdom ; as appears by considering : 

[1.] That the ordinances are weak to appearance ; there is nothing 
but plain words, plain bread and wine, in one ordinance, and only water 
in another. The simple plainness of the ordinances is an obstacle to 
men's believing ; they would fain bring in pomp, but that will mar 
all. When there were wooden chalices, there were golden priests. 
God would have his ordinances like himself, simple and full of virtue. 
The tabernacle was all gold within, but covered with badgers' skins 
without. This stumbleth the world at first dash ; they will not look 
for gold where they see nothing but badgers' skins : 2 Kings v. 12, 
* Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the 
waters of Israel ?' What ! no greater thing to be done for my health? 
I might have done thus at home. So some are apt to say, We had 
better read at home, than wait upon such plain preaching ; but re 
member, it is God's ordinance, and that puts a value upon it. 

[2.] These ordinances are administered by weak men. Many times 
God singleth out the meanest. Our Saviour sent fishermen to conquer 
the world, and made use of a goose-quill to wound Antichrist. Moses, 


the stammering shepherd, was commissioned to deliver Israel ; God 
makes use of Amos, who was a herdsman, to declare his will, Amos L 
1. So Elisha the great prophet was taken from the plough, 1 Kings 
xix. 19. And many times God made use of young men, such as Paul, 
whose very person causeth prejudice ; young Samuel, young Timothy, 
men of mean, descent, low parentage, and of no great appearance in 
the world. 

[3.] The manner how it is by them managed, which is not in such 
a politic, insinuating way as to beguile and deceive, and as if they 
were to serve their own ends : 2 Cor. i. 12, the apostle saith, * Our 
rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity 
and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, we have our conversation 
among you.' He calleth it carnal wisdom to use any underhand dealing 
to gain esteem to their way, or to go in any by-path out of Christ's 
way. They did nothing deceitfully and closely, but what they openly 
held forth. And so now the less there is of worldly wisdom, the more 
God prevaileth : Luke xvi. 8, ' The children of this world are wiser in 
their generation than the children of light.' 

[4.] The persons by whom it is entertained, the poor : James ii. 5, 
' Hath not God chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith ? ' 
Usually God's true people are the meanest and most contemptible, 
not being so noted for outward excellency as others, Mat. xi. God 
revealeth the things of his kingdom to babes,, men destitute of out 
ward [sufficiencies. This hath been always a great prejudice against 
Christ's doctrine : John vii. 48, * Have any of the rulers or the phari- 
sees believed on him ?' Have the great men, the great scholars, closed 
with that way ? 

[5.] The general drift of it is to make men deny their pleasures, to 
overlook their concernments, to despise the world, to hinder unjust 
gain, to walk contrary to the honorary customs and fashions of the 
world. If men would be Christians indeed, they will find that the 
usual customs of the world are most contrary to Christianity ; as to for 
give injuries, to seek reconciliation, to put up with disgrace, and to show 
kindness to those that are not likely to repay us again : Luke xiv. 12- 
14, * When thou makest a dinner or supper, call not thy friends, 
nor thy brethren, nor thy rich neighbours, lest they bid thee again, 
and a recompense be made unto thee ; but call the poor, the blind, 
and the lame, and the maimed, for they cannot recompense thee ; for 
thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.' So to 
make a man contented, though he and his family should be in a mean 
condition, though he be not so great in the world as others ; yet this is a 
great prejudice against the ways of Christ. Therefore do not despise 
persons or things for their meanness ; do not count zeal folly, or reli 
gion weakness ; do not reckon them among fools that are conscien 
tiously scrupulous : Heb. xiii. 2, it is said, that some that entertained 
strangers thereby entertained angels unawares ; so some that refuse 
things because of outward appearance, they refuse Christ unawares ; 
they may condemn and reproach the very saints and people of God. 
Luke xvi. 15 : * That which is highly esteemed among men is abomi 
nation in the eyes of God.' There is no judging by the outward proba 
bility and face of things. Still true, strict Christianity is disesteemed 

VOL. in. p 


in the world ; men look upon it as some humorous, misshapen conceit, 
that looketh enviously upon their pleasures, contrary to their natures, and 
unbefitting their quality. That you may not thus despise the things 
that any way concern the kingdom of Christ for their meanness, I 
shall give you these four directions : 

(1.) Beg the Spirit of God that he would suggest to you his will 
and counsel in all things. The spirit of the world or your own spirit 
will make you judge amiss, and that nothing is God's but what is out 
wardly glorious ; and so even Christ may become a stone of stumbling 
and a rock of offence to you, and you may despise the greatest truth. 
The things of Christ's kingdom are carried in a secret way. The 
Spirit telleth us what things are given us of God. Plain things must 
be set on by the demonstration of the Spirit, or else we shall see no 
beauty in them : 1 Cor. ii. 4, A Christian sucketh marrow out of that 
which is dry bones to a natural man. Do not trust to your own rea 
son. Leave a man to his reason, to the mere considerations of flesh 
and blood, and he can perceive no beauty in the glorious ways of 
Christ. This is the cause why great scholars are so much mistaken 
in the things of his kingdom 

(2.) Walk in the ways of God, in his fear and love keep commu 
nion with him and he will direct you: Ps. xxv. 13, ' The secret of the 
Lord is with them that fear him ; he will show them his covenant.' 
God discovereth himself particularly to his own people. They are his 
friends, and you know friends reveal themselves mutually to one 
another in the greatest secrets ; as Christ giveth the reason : John 
xv. 15, 'I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard of 
my Father, I have revealed to you.' Those that keep up a continual 
acquaintance with God, by manifesting their love and fear of him, 
shall have divine mysteries manifested to them : Col. i. 26, ' The 
mystery that was hid from ages is made manifest to the saints/ 
Truths that have long lain hid through many successions and revolu 
tions of ages, are at length made known to holy persons. Where 
there is purity, there is revelation : ' The pure in heart shall see God,' 
Mat. v. 8. They shall see more of his truth and mind in those things 
which if they should judge of by their own reason, they would con 
temn. So also it is said, Prov. iii. 32, ' His secret is with the right 
eous.' They have not only other kinds of knowledge, but knowledge of 
the secret of such a way as is veiled with contempt, reproach, and un 
likelihood to the world. Blind and carnal men sometimes stumble 
upon the despised ways of Christ ; but they do but plough with the 
saints' heifer, and light their torch at the altar. Their self-ends and 
by-interests make them borrow from truth ; but it is with them as 
it is with parrots, they speak the words of men not of reason but 
custom ; they learn a truth when it is delivered, they have been used 
to such notions. 

(3.) Exercise faith ; that is, the evidence of things not seen, Heb. 
xi. 1 ; that is, not seen by natural sense or reason. It is 6'0#aA/-iG9 
T^? tyvxrjs, tne eve > th 6 discovering part of the soul. As reason is 
to a natural man, so is faith to a godly man. It carrieth a man 
within the veil : what cannot be made out to sense and reason is 
made out to faith. Ideo credo quia est impossibile, therefore I be- 


lieve, because it is impossible. Though, in your own thoughts, you 
would fain have things otherwise, yet, if there be revelation to the 
contrary, believe it ; as that there is happiness in sufferings, that the 
reproach of Christ is better than all the treasures of the world, that 
there is life in death. Faith seeth that easy and plain which is the 
greatest contradiction to reason and sense. See what a riddle St Paul 
telleth you by faith : 2 Cor. vi. 9, 10, ' As unknown, yet well known ; 
as dying, and behold we live ; as chastened, and not killed ; as sorrow 
ful, yet always rejoicing ; as poor, yet making many rich ; as having 
nothing, and yet possessing all things/ Faith maketh us see that in 
a thing which reason would tell us were the greatest absurdity and 
inconsistency in the world to believe ; as that Abraham should see 
Christ before he was extant. The Jews were ready to stone Christ 
for saying so : * Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he 
saw it and was glad.' Faith captivates reason to scripture, and 
maketh a man close with the revelation against his own conceits and 
prejudices. Only take this caution, -though faith seeth things im 
possible and improbable, yet they are only such things as are revealed 
by God. 

(4.) Deny carnal reason and sense; do not judge of divine things 
by outward appearance. Hear what the apostle saith : ' Eye hath 
not seen, ear hath not heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of 
man to conceive, what God hath prepared for them that love him' 
that is, carnal eyes, carnal sense, and carnal thoughts ; weighing that 
place with the context, that seemeth to be the meaning. To an or 
dinary reason, or eye, or ear, things would not appear so. Now, because 
this rule is general, I shall a little restrain it by these particulars. 

1 . Do not cast away anything of Christ because it is despised or 
discountenanced. Take heed, a saint may suffer under a reproachful 
name. Christ was a despised branch, a root out of a dry ground ; 
and Christianity was contemned because of the ill name and com 
mon cry against it. Most Christians offend in blind zeal ; they con 
demn things before they have tried them. Though the censure be 
right, it is ill in thee. Nicodemus suggested good advice: 'Doth 
our law judge any man before it hear him, and know what he doth ? ' 
It was a pharisaical spirit to take up a prejudice, and not to be willing 
to hear what might be said for it. It was the misery of the primitive 
Christians that they could not be heard to speak out. Nolentes au- 
dire quod auditum damnare non possunt men are unwilling to 
hear that which they are resolved to condemn as soon as heard. It 
would be confutation enough if men did but know the beauty of the 
ways of religion. It is always this hasty zeal which rejecteth things 
upon public scorn without due trial : examine first and then speak. 
Though it be a despised and unlikely way, it is like thou mayest find 
somewhat of God in it. 

2. Because it is an afflicted way. Afflicted godliness is a great pre 
judice. But remember God never intended that truth should be known 
by pomp, nor condemned or disallowed for the troubles that accom 
pany it. The drift of Christianity is to take us off from the hopes and 
fears of the present world ; therefore he that liketh Christ and Ms 
promises is not likely to be separated from him by persecution. 


3. Because poor men are of that way, those that have the meanest 
parts, and no outward excellencies : Mat. xi. 26, 'At that time Jesus 
answered and said, I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, 
because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast 
revealed them unto babes.' The Jesuits have charged it upon the 
ministers of France, that they were poor. So in Salvian's time ; Cog- 
untur esse mali, ne viles Jiabeantur men would not be religious, be 
cause they would not be ranked among poor men. So the Albigenses 
were called the poor men of Lyons. Usually the priests' lips preserve 
knowledge, but sometimes God worketh extra ordinem. A simple 
laick nonplussed a bishop at the council of Nice, and many that were 
very mean in the world were martyrs. 

4. Because thou mayest seem to hazard thy wisdom by closing with 
it. ' If any man seem to be wise, let him become a fool that he may be 
wise.' Thus I have despatched the first observation, namely, that 
Christ's meanness in his person and kingdom is the great hindrance 
against the entertainment of him ; few or none believed. ' For he shall 
grow up as a tender plant. 

I come now to insist upon the second point, which is this : 
Doct. 2, That though Christ's meanness be a great hindrance against 
the entertainment of him, yet, it is by the special appointment of God. 
He shall grow up before him. God orders it that the Messiah should 
come in such a manner. I shall be brief in handling this point. There 
is nothing about Christ but fell under God's decree, and the special 
care of his providence. All the circumstances of his birth, the time, 
place, manner of every action, you have some instance of it. The 
counsel of God brought it to pass, and the scripture was frequently 
quoted, ' that that might be fulfilled which was spoken concerning him ; ' 
yea, the most malicious actions of the enemies are spoken of as ap 
pointed by God, as particularly their spite to him in his death : ' Him, 
being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, 
ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.' Judas 
delivered him, Pilate delivered him, and God delivered him. ' For of 
a truth against thy holy child Jesus, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, 
and the Gentiles, were gathered together, to do whatsoever thy hand and 
thy counsel determined before to be done/ Acts iv. 27, 28. ' Whom being 
delivered by the counsel of God.' This was God's grand contrivance ; 
here was his 7roXu7ro//aAo? o-o<f)ta, ( the manifold wisdom of God/ Eph. 
iii. 10. So St Paul calleth the wise disposition of our salvation by 
Christ : * Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness, God 
manifest in the flesh/ This was the great mystery. When a man is 
to make some rare engine, he will look to every screw and wheel, that 
all is set and ordered right. Here was God's great masterpiece, in 
which he would show himself, and the great copy of his eternal 
thoughts. That is the reason. 

This point affordeth us many useful considerations, as this decree 
of God may be referred 

1. To Christ. 

2. To the wicked. 

3. To the godly. 

1. To Christ. God decreed this, anH Christ fulfilled it. It is a 


wonder to see how all things did conspire to make Christ conform in every 
thing to God's counsel concerning him. As, for instance, in Augustus 
his decree, which caused Joseph and Mary to go to Bethlehem, where 
she was delivered. It would be too long to give you the history of the 
gospel. Many providences did meet, that all things whatever God had 
decreed might come to pass. Admire therefore the manifold wisdom 
of God in contriving these things. 

2. In respect of the wicked. God appointed this meanness of Christ 
before them. Before them he shall rise up. God punisheth sin by 
occasions of sin. God may be said to harden sinners three ways : (1.) 
By leaving them to themselves, as it is said, he left the Gentiles to their 
own ways, Acts xiv. 16 ; (2.) By permitting them to enter into them ; 
(3.) By presenting to them such objects from whence their corruption 
taketh occasion to sin, though they were things good in themselves ; as 
Jer. vi. 21, * I will lay stumbling-blocks before this people.' The Jews 
argue that Christ is not the Messiah, because he did not come in such 
a way as to satisfy all his countrymen. God would have Christ mean 
that all might not believe in him, though not to cause sin, but to pro 
mote his just judgments. So God's cause and Christ's ways have diffi 
culty enough in them to harden them. God pursueth his secret judg 
ments upon them. Admire, therefore, and fear God's judgments on 
the wicked. It was by the special appointment of God that it was so 

3. For the godly. God appointed all the meanness of Christ for 
their sakes, for whom it is a double comfort. 

[1.] From the eternity of God's thoughts towards them. Christ 
from before all worlds was appointed to be a captain of salvation 
through many sufferings, and to undergo many hardships for your 
sakes. This length of love is a great refreshment to the spirit ; and 
when the soul reflects upon the meanness of Christ as the effect of 
God's eternal thoughts of mercy to it, it is the more encouragement to 
believe. ' Christ verily was fore-ordained before the foundation of the 
world, but manifested in these last times for you/ He would have 
them established in that as a sure truth. 

[2.] It is a comfort to them in their meanness ; it is that which is ap 
pointed. They shall be conformable to their Head in this respect. They 
shall undergo no condition but what God from all eternity had decreed 
for them : Col. i. 24 ; Paul and all the godly are said to fill up what is 
behind of the sufferings of Christ in their flesh. The church and 
Christ make but one body ; that which they suffer, he suffers ; that 
which he suffereth, they suffer. The sufferings of the godly are ap 
pointed as well as Christ's meanness. 

I now proceed to the third observation, namely : 

Doct. 3. That this meanness of Christ was willingly taken up by 
him both in his birth and life and manner of appearing among men. 

1. In his birth. 

[1.] For the time of it. It was when the royal stock of David was 
quite extinct, and even come so low that Joseph was but a carpenter 
by profession. ' Is not this the carpenter's son ?' And therefore is the 
genealogy of Joseph and Mary so carefully sought out by the evange 
list, because it was not commonly and publicly known that they were 


of that lineage. The throne of "David was occupied by Herod, who 
was an Ascalonite ; he was 'ETTL <j>6pQis Teray^evos, rather an observer 
of the tribute than a king. 

[2.] The place, Bethlehem, a small place, not able to make up one 
division in Israel, the least of the thousands of Judah. A man would 
have thought he should have been born in some great city, as Koine 
or Jerusalem. No ; but he chose to be born in Bethlehem, and suffered 
at Jerusalem : he had the least place to be born, but the greatest to 
suffer in. And then again, he was not born in any stately room at 
Bethlehem, but in a stable, nay, in a manger in the stable. Christ 
would have all mean at his birth. 

[3.] Consider how in everything he was found in shape like another 
child, being circumcised the eighth day. He submitted to the law 
as soon as he was born into the world, to teach his followers obe 

[4.] Consider the oblation that was made for him, such as was made 
for poor people a pair of turtle-doves and two young pigeons, the 
poor's offering. Those that were not able to bring a lamb were to 
bring two turtles and two young pigeons, and that was accepted for 
an atonement. Thus much for his birth : yet we may observe there 
was something divine still mingled with Christ's outward meanness, 
as the appearing of the star, the trouble of the Jews, the wise men's 
report and offerings. By these things God would leave them without 
excuse, and under this poverty discover some glimpses of the deity. 

2. Now for his life and manner of appearance in the world. 
He was altogether found in fashion as a man, as the apostle saith ; 
that is, to outward appearance just as other men, for his growth was 
as other men's, by degrees : ' And Jesus increased in wisdom and sta 
ture, and in favour with God and man.' Though he had a most 
perfect divine soul given him at first, yet as he grew in stature he 
exercised and discovered the vigour of his faculties, which is there 
called increasing in knowledge, showing forth in his several ages more 
degrees of knowledge, that in all things he might conform to us. It 
would be too large for me to insist upon everything, therefore briefly 
take it thus : His life was spent in much toil and labour, going to 
and fro ; nay, and probably too, in mean labour, in his father's trade : 
Mark vi. 3, * Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary ? ' Not only 
the carpenter's son, but the carpenter. In his younger time he exer 
cised that trade, as Justin Martyr, a most ancient historian, whites : 
he made yokes and ploughs. And when he put himself upon the way 
and duty of his ministry, he was in much want and penury ; he was 
an hungry, Mat. iv. 2; thirsty, John iv. 6 ; without house and home : 
Mat. viii. 20, ' Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but 
the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.' Yea, so poor was he, 
that he had not wherewith to pay his poll- money for his head to the 
Eomans, Mat. xvii. 27 ; therefore Peter is fain to go to the sea and catch 
a fish. I will not touch upon those that especially take in his suffering, 
that will fall in the next verse ; only take notice how he was hunted up 
and down by the pharisees, how he was scorned and derided by them, 
so far as it reflects upon his weakness, as Luke xvi. 14, egspvicTJptfaf, 
they blew their nose at him in great scorn, as the word may be ren- 


dered. Nay, when he would show any royalty, and come as a king to 
Sion, he came riding upon the foal of an ass, Mat. xxi. 5. 
Use 1. Oh, then be exhorted 

1. To admire the love of God, that he should stoop to such a low 
condition for your sakes. Here is a large field for meditation ; ex 
patiate your thoughts, then, and trace Christ in all the history of his 
life, from the cradle to the grave, from the stable to Golgotha, and 
see what a mean and contemptible life he led. 

2. Faithfully apply it, and say, All this was done for my good. The 
scriptures do not only take notice of Christ's humiliation, but of the 
very end of it. Most read the history of Christ as a man would do a 
romance, to be a little affected with it for a time ; they take notice 
what is done, but not why ; there is not that faithful appropriation : 
Gal. iv. 4, 5, ' When the fulness of time was come, God sent his Son, 
made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem us that were under 
the law, that we might receive the adoption of ons.' Mark the end, 
and say, This was done for me ; for us is too general. Why was Christ 
so mean ? It was that I might be rich : 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 ;' rich in grace, and rich in comfort, Ure^o?, the word signifieth 
he became a beggar, not that he did beg, but he lived in continual 
need of a supply, and would sometimes put forth some glimpses of 
his divinity to command his welcome : Luke xix. 5, * Zaccheus, make 
haste and come down, for to-day I must abide at thy house.' Yet I 
say, Christ put himself upon this meanness for our sakes. Speciosus 
prce filiis hominum, obscuratur pro filiis hominum, saith Bernard. 
It is for our sakes that he who is altogether lovely in himself had no 
form, that we might be made lovely and beautiful ; he was without 
comeliness, that his church might be comely, without spot or wrinkle, 
as the apostle speaketh, Eph. v. 27. He was besmeared with blood, 
that the church might be without spot. It is good to observe that 
Christ's meanness was not only in judgment, for a stumbling-block to 
the wicked, but in mercy to the godly. If he had discovered his deity 
at first, he had never suffered, and then the work of our redemption 
had stood still. It is a good observation of St Austin, quoted by 
Aquinas, Dum omnia mirabiliter fecit,, auferret quod misericorditer 
fecit if he had done all things wonderfully, he had done nothing 
mercifully. Christ's meanness, as it is a great mercy to mankind, see 
that it be so to you. 

Use 2. Is information. It informeth us, then : 

1. That poverty and meanness is not disgraceful. Christ himself 
was a carpenter, Paul a tent-maker, and the apostles fishermen. 
Christ, you see, scorned that glory, pomp, and greatness which the 
world doteth upon. Men look upon the outside as if the horse were 
the better for the trappings, or anything without a man could ennoble 
him : Prov. xix. 1, ' Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, 
than he that is perverse in his lips.' A man is rightly esteemed by 
his internal qualifications. One holy saint is to be preferred above all 
the rich men that abound in the greatest affluence of estate and pomp. 
It should be so with all, much more with the godly. It is a reproach 


to Christ to contemn any man for his poverty, because he is meaner 
in the world than we : Prov. xiv. 31, ' He that despiseth the poor 
reproacheth his Maker.' Can I believe that ever you would honour 
Christ, who despise the poor ? Would you not him too ? He that 
despiseth the poor reproacheth his Saviour. It is the most contrary 
affection to the Christian religion. 

2. It informs us that poverty should not be irksome to us. Christ 
underwent it before you ; his apostles were base in the world's eye : 
1 Cor. iv. 13, ' We are made as the filth of the world, and are the 
offscouring of all things ;' counted the scurf of the earth. Christ 
chose this kind of life, a holy meanness, and therefore be not troubled. 
Poverty is a great burden, I confess, and layeth a man open to many 
a disadvantage, scorn, contempt, and refusal. But consider, Christ 
hath honoured it in his own person, and he honoureth it to this very 
day. If there be any respect of persons with God, he respecteth the 
poor, and reveals most of himself to them : * The poor receive the 
gospel/ Mat. xi. 5 ; 'I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted 
and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the Lord,' Zeph. 
iii. 12. God hath provided for the esteem of all his servants. What 
is wanting one way is more plentifully supplied in another ; so that 
those that have the least outward esteem, are justly accounted the 
most excellent. Every condition, I confess, hath its snares, but poverty 
hath least. This disposeth the soul to hearken to divine things, that 
their outward defects may be made up in some inward excellency. 
Everything naturally seeketh after a supply of its wants ; and there 
fore, as it is in outward things, persons that are themselves deformed 
are most deeply stricken with the love of beauty in others, that they 
may cover their own wants by linking themselves with that abundance 
of perfection that they spy in them ; so the godly poor are more dis 
posed to hearken to religion, because more sensible of their defects, 
that the meanness of their outward estate may be covered and satisfied 
for by the riches of those graces that are in their souls. And indeed, 
as these are fitter to receive a manifestation, so God doth most mani 
fest himself to them : the first report that was made of Christ was 
made to shepherds and poor swains. Therefore on these accounts 
poverty is not so irksome. 

Use 3. Is instruction. It teacheth us divers lessons : Was Christ 
both in birth and manner of appearance in the world mean ? Then 

1. It teacheth us humility, that he should empty himself of all his 
glory, and live in a mean estate. The apostle sets out this pattern 
excellently : Phil. ii. 6-8, ' Who, being in the form of God, thought it 
no robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, 
and took upon him the form, of a servant, and was made in the like 
ness of men ; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled him 
self, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross/ 
He divested himself of all his royalty, that he might teach us this 
pattern of humility. Most men love to live to the utmost, in a proud, 
pompous way, and disdaining of others. You see Christ, when he 
might have discovered majesty, held forth nought but poverty. And, 
indeed, it was principally to teach us this lesson : Mat. xi. 29, * Learn 
of me, for I am meek, and lowly of heart.' He doth not say, Learn 


of me, quia potens; but, Learn of me, quiet Immilis sum not, Learn 
of me, for I am powerful ; but, Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly. 
Christ is not to be imitated in his power, but he is to be imitated in 
his graces. Not, Learn of me to do miracles, to create the world ; but, 
to be lowly and humble-minded. This is the great pattern and copy 
that God hath set us, to wit, humility. 

2. To be mean and low for Christ, as he was for you. Christ was 
poor that you might be rich rich in peace, joy, comfort, salvation. 
Can you find such a rare instance as would be poor for Christ that he 
may be rich in his glory, in his ordinances, in the safety of his servants ? 
We have read of many that have been poor for their lusts, they have 
prodigally lavished away their estates upon their pleasures ; but very 
few have been poor for Christ : Phil. ii. 5 ; ' Let the same mind be in 
you that was in Jesus.' The apostle applieth it to humility, and we 
may also to the same purpose. Do you have as bountiful a disposi 
tion to God as Christ had for you ? Can anything be too much for 
him ? If a man truly serveth God, he would come as near him as 
possibly he could. Well, Christ cast away his glory for you ; do you 
cast away your riches for Christ, not by a vowed poverty, but by a 
voluntary laying out yourselves for his word, his cause, and gospel ? It 
is not waste where all is due ; and indeed nothing is lost that is laid 
out upon God : Mat. x. 39, 'He that findeth his life shall lose it ; and 
he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.' Therefore, if you do, 
as Ahaz's dial, go back ten degrees in your estate or outward pomp, 
the nearer will you come to the pattern. There is one who has quitted 
more for you than you can possibly quit for him. But I shall pro 
ceed to the next doctrine. 

Doct. 4. That Christ is so outwardly mean, that the men of the 
world do not any way desire him, or that carnal men do see nothing 
in Christ wherefore they should desire him. To his spouse he is all 
beauty, ' altogether lovely ;' but to them there was no beauty why they 
should desire him. 

The reasons of the point are these : 

1. Because carnal men neglect the study of Christ ; their hearts are 
so taken with the things of sense, and the beauty of the creatures, that 
they do not look any further. We are riot much affected with an 
unknown beauty ; things that we know only by a general hearsay do 
not work upon us. Christ must be in our thoughts before, he can be 
in our desires. The Jews looked upon Christ's outside, and therefore 
minded him no further. So men hear of Christ in a slight way ; so 
far as they know him by the common noise and report, so far they 
close with him. But they do not see why they should desire him, and 
slight apprehensions stir up but weak affections. The spouse displayeth 
every part of Christ, to work upon her bowels : Cant. v. 10-16, 'My 
beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand. His 
head is as the most fine gold ; his locks are bushy, and as black as a 
raven. His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed 
with milk, and finely set. His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet 
flowers; his lips like lilies, dropping sweet-smelling myrrh. His 
hands are as gold rings, set with the beryl; his belly is as bright 
ivory, overlaid_with sapphires ; his legs are as pillars of marble set upon 


sockets of fine gold. His countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the 
cedars. His mouth, is most sweet ; yea, he is altogether lovely. This 
is my beloved, and this is my friend, daughters of Jerusalem/ The 
apostle wondereth that the Galatians should not obey the truth, when 
Jesus Christ was evidently set forth and crucified among them before 
their eyes, Gal. iii. 1. It was so in the word, but not in their thoughts. 
Men's hearts are wedded to the creatures, and so the breasts of their 
own roe satisfy them, and therefore they do not gaze upon other beauties. 
2. Because they reject Christ ; he is not for their turn ; nay, he is 
quite contrary to their ends. Carnal men have not all the same ends, 
but they all agree in this, their ends are carnal. Those that would 
not come to the wedding-supper, some had their farm, some their 
merchandise to mind, another had married a wife, and therefore could 
not come ; all said, they could not come : Mat. xxii. 5, ' They all made 
light of it, and went their ways/ So they all despised Jesus Christ. 
Some wicked men make riches their end. Now see what Christ saith : 
Mat. xix. 24, ' It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a 
needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God/ It is by 
the great power of God that a rich man is saved, as it followeth, ' All 
things are possible with God/ Now Christ is not for a rich man's turn. 
Christianity furnisheth men with precepts, not only against unjust 
gain, but mere desires of gain, or delight in gain. It contains 
precepts, that the kingdom of God is to be sought first, and his 
righteousness. And we are to look to these things from God for an 
aclditional supply : Mat. vi. 32, ' After these things do the Gentiles 
seek/ It is not a Christian but a paganish spirit that maketh men so 
inordinate in the pursuit of gain. Then for honour, preferment, or 
applause, the scripture is peremptory against it : John v. 44, ' How 
can ye believe, who seek honour one of another, and not the honour 
that cometh from God only?' This pursuing of glory, honour, and 
renown is incompatible with a Christian affection. The force of the 
argument lieth thus : How can those that seek honour believe in him 
that contemneth honour ? Only he is fit to believe in God that 
maketh eternal life the end of his desires and endeavours, which is 
called the glory that cometh from God. The like argument is used 
by the apostle : Gal. i. 10, ' For if I yet pleased men, I should not be 
the servant of Christ/ He did not labour to frame his doctrine and 
life so as might be pleasing and suitable to the affections of men. 
Pride and ambition are the most unsuitable affections to religion that 
can be. There is such an antipathy between what God liketh and men 
like, that it is impossible they should be in the same soul. Then for 
pleasures ; there are men that have quit human nature, and are so far 
from desiring Christ, that they do not desire a free use of their reason. 
Keason is not for their turn, and therefore certainly religion is not. 
This is the very affection that is in the brute beasts. They have some 
general object, a sensual good, only they differ in the particular modi 
fication of the object. Beasts are for grass and water, these for meats 
and drinks. All the use they make of their reason is to be more 
curious than the beasts in their choice ; and therefore Christ is not for 
their ends : ' Strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto 
life,' Mat. vii. 13. It is spoken specially in opposition to the voluptuous. 


The ways of God are fenced up with thorns to them : Prov. xv. 19, 
* The way of a slothful man is an hedge of thorns.' Everything is 
grievous and troublesome that requireth care and diligence. Thus they 
reject Christ because he is not suitable to them. To apply it now. 

Use 1. It serveth for information, to teach us the difference between 
God's people and carnal men. To God's people he is all their desire ; 
to carnal persons there is nothing desirable in him. It is good to 
observe their several verdicts of him : 1 Peter ii. 7, ' To you that 
believe he is precious, but to them that 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/ To the 
world he is base and ignominious: Ps. xxii. 6, 'A worm, and no 
man, a reproach of men, and despised of the people.' To the spouse, 
glorious and full of allurements : Ps. xlv. 2, ' Thou art fairer than 
the children of men : grace is poured into thy lips.' To the world 
he appeared deformed and contemptible : Isa. lii. 14, * Many were 
astonied at thee ; his visage was so marred more than any man, and 
his form more than the sons of men ; ' but quite contrary to the 
spouse : Cant. v. 10, ' My beloved is the fairest of ten thousand/ The 
Hebrew word signifieth an ensign-bearer. In the world's view there 
is no form nor comeliness in him ; he is without beauty. To the 
spouse he is ' altogether lovely/ Cant. v. 16. Well, then, you see here 
is the true differencing note between us and the men of the world, 
whether we see anything in Christ why we should desire him. And 
it is both an inclusive and an exclusive mark. Some marks are inclu 
sive ; that is, if a man find them in him, he may be sure he is in 
Christ ; but if not, he is not to determine he is out of Christ. As the 
eminent and vigorous workings of holy graces, they do not take in 
every state of Christianity, they do not take in the infancy of grace. 
Other marks are exclusive ; that is thus, they knock off the fingers of 
pretenders, and serve to show a man out of grace, but not in. As 
frequenting of the ordinances, a care of duty ; if a man doth not these 
things, he may be sure he is none of God's, though he cannot be sure 
he is of God because he doth them. But now this is a mark that is 
inclusive and exclusive too. It is inclusive, for if your desires be to 
Christ, no doubt he is yours. It is a true mark, and a mark that is 
compatible to the weakness of grace. It is a true mark, for God 
looketh to the heart more than to the duty : Prov. xxiii. 26, * My son, 
give me thy heart/ And desires are the chief est part of that. De 
sires are most genuine and suitable to the judgment and determina 
tion of the soul. They are a mark in which God's weakest servants 
may comfort themselves. Those that fail in other things are not 
wanting in desires. However they may have many defects in their 
carnage and in their duties, yet they are sure their desires are towards 
him. If they cannot be much in duty, they will be much in their 
desires and valuations of him. Peter, that durst not appeal to his 
own conscience for other things, dareth appeal to God's omnisciency 
for this : John xxi. 17, * Lord, thou knowest all things ; thou knowest 
that I love thee/ And the people of God often vouch this : Isa. 
xxvi. 8, ' The desire of our soul is to thy name ; ' Neh. i. 11, ' Thy 
servants who desire to fear thy name/ Therefore it is comfortable, 


and it is convincing too, and exclusive. Wicked men feel no desires ; 
they have some slight wishes, carnal and weak velleities, but they have 
no serious desires, nor true volitions. Balaam may wish to die the 
death of the righteous, Num. xxiii. 10. So they may desire Christ 
out of some general conceit of happiness; but they do not desire 
Christ for holiness. So there is no beauty in him why we should 
desire him. They do not desire him as seeing any beauty in his ways : 
John vi. 34, c Lord, evermore give us this bread.' When Christ said 
he was the bread of life, those that would not come to Christ would 
fain have the bread of life. Nay, heaven itself is not really desired 
by wicked men ; it is true, they may desire it in a carnal way, as a 
Turkish paradise, and such a place of ease and delight as the Alcoran 
sets forth ; but not as it is in itself, to enjoy God, and Christ, and more 
grace, and to be more free and undisturbed in respect of the prevail 
ing of sin and corruptions. Those that desire Christ truly, desire him 
not for ease (the spirit of the world may do that), but from the beauty 
and excellency they find in him, and in his ways. His service is of a 
high and honourable nature, and therefore they desire it. So that 
you see here is the note of trial, and the main difference, viz., a desir 
ing of Christ for the rare beauty and perfections that are found in him. 
Do you, then, try yourselves by this note. But that you may not 
deceive yourselves in this matter, I will give you a few notes. I will 
not speak anything of the cause of desires. A high value and price 
set upon Christ, and a seeing rich beauties in him, of that I shall 
speak in the next verse. I shall only treat now of the effects of this desire. 
If it be earnest and strong after him, it will be manifested by these things. 
1. A holy impatiency in the want of Christ. When we strongly 
desire a thing, the heart fainteth under the want of it. Amnon was 
sick for Tamar, 2 Sam. xiii. 1-4. And the spouse was sick of love 
for Christ, Cant. v. 8. The soul languishes with a holy desire of the 
sense of his mercy, with a longing after pardon, and grace, and 
quickening, and life, and what is to be found in Christ. They can 
find no rest in themselves till they do enjoy it : Ps. xlii. 1, 'As the 
hart panteth after the water brooks, so doth my soul pant after thee, 
God.' Thirst is the most implacable impression that can be upon 
the body ; the creature cannot be quiet till it be quenched. Now, of 
all creatures the hart is most thirsty by nature, and the thirst is 
mightily increased when it is hunted. And mark, it is the she-hart, 
for so the Seventy read it, 97 eXa^o?, ' The she-hart panteth after the 
water brooks.' Passions in females are stronger than in the males. 
As the she-hart panteth when chased, such a rage of thirst was there 
in his soul till it were satisfied with. God, and refreshed with the com 
forts of Jesus Christ. Search then for such a restless and strong 
desire ; try if there be such an ardency and earnestness upon your 
affections, that nothing can satisfy but Christ, that you cannot be 
quiet till you have him. Was your heart never chased into a panting 
for the water brooks ? Some tire haunted so by the ghastly appre 
hensions of God's wrath, that they have no ease, no rest. But cer 
tainly all that love Christ are chased into a panting ; they have such 
a sense of their sins and miseries, that their souls are put into an 
earnest expectation of the mercies of Christ. 


2. A holy indignation. Passions usually serve and accompany one 
another. If there be a holy desire, there will be a holy anger. And 
this is at two things : 

[1.] At anything that would rival the affection. 

[2.] At what would hinder the enjoyment of the object. 

[l.j At anything that would rival Christ in the affection. There 
is a scorn that anything should come in competition with him, that 
we should have so much as a thought that anything were worthy but 
Christ : Phil. iii. 8, ' I count all things but loss and dung, that I may 
win Christ.' Any outward excellency in comparison of him is but 
o-fcv@a\a, dog's meat. It thinketh the worst name good enough for 
anything that shall come in competition with him. And in such a 
case gold is not gold, but dog's meat honour is not honour pleasure 
is not pleasure but all is dung and dog's meat. You know in a 
natural way things have their due respect from us, till they be com 
pared with what we dearly love and prize ; then no term is bad enough 
for them. So here, the soul doth even abhor the thought that Christ 
and other things should be spoken of the same day, which other 
wise might have fairer respects and valuations from the soul. It is 
worth your observation to see how the saints do abominate the 
thought that anything should be supposed to satisfy them without or 
besides Christ: Ps. iv. 6, ' There be many that say, Who will show 
us any good ? Lord, lift up the light of thy countenance upon us.' 
Lord, do not think we are of that strain. It is the many, the men 
of the multitude, that think so ; they speak as if they would not own 
such an unworthy thought, nor entertain any resolution to prostitute 
their desires to any sensual good. God shall not turn them away so. 
If they should have all things else, it is irksome to them to think 
they should be contented. Te ipsum, Domine, da, quod peto, Domine, 
da te ipsum ; as Austin crieth out : ' Thyself, Lord thyself, Lord/ 
They are angry with themselves if any pleasing thought should arise 
any other way, any vain conceit, that they should be happy apart from 
God and Christ. It is an excellent saying of one, Tccdet gaudere sine 
te, delectat contristari pro te They had rather mourn for God than 
delight without him. All their comforts are irksome to them if they 
have not Christ with them. Try, then, is there such a zealous indig 
nation against false thoughts in your comforts ? In what case do you 
think yourselves ? ' Happy is the people that is in such a case.' If 
that be a thought that is pleasing to your minds, it is a good sign. 

[2] Indignation against what hindereth the enjoyment of the 
object. A man is angry with what cometh between him and his 
desires. If your desires be to Christ, you will be angry with your 
perverse hearts, that keep you from him. When a man desireth to 
sin, he is angry with God because he cometh in with his law, and 
steppeth between us and our desires : Bom. viii. 7, ' The carnal mind 
is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law, neither indeed 
can be.' So when the desires are set and bent upon Christ, a man is 
angry with himself that he is so clogged and weighed down with the 
flesh that he cannot enjoy such full communion with him as he desires : 
2 Cor. v. 4, * For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being bur 
dened.' And David crieth out, Ps. cxx 5, * Woe is me that I sojourn 



in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedarf f) Trapoi/cta, my pil 
grimage, is prolonged. They are angry with their own base hearts, 
that still there is such a strangeness between them and Christ. 

3. It will cause a holy waiting. Those that desired the coming of 
the Messiah, waited for him ; as Simeon : Luke ii. 25, ' Waiting for 
the consolation of Israel/ Earnest expectation is the formal and most 
proper effect of the desire of anything. Look, as it is said of Sisera's 
mother, Judges v. 28, ' She looked out at a window and cried through 
the lattice, Why is his chariot so long in coming ? ' She would fain 
meet with it as far as she could with her eyes. And so it is said, 
Eom. viii. 19, ' The earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for 
the manifestation of the sons of God/ 'ATrefcSexercu, the creature lifts 
up the head would fain see the general restoration of all things in 
the world ; so the soul lifteth up the heart, it would fain see Christ 
coming to it in this or that ordinance, with a great deal of longing 
they expect when he will draw their hearts to himself : Ps. cxxx. 6, 
' My soul waiteth for thee more than they that watch for the morn 
ing ; yea, more than they that watch for the morning.' 

4. Another effect is a powerful command over the whole man. De 
sires are the most vigorous faculties, they carry the whole soul along 
with them. They will take up your thoughts, time, care, endeavours, 
speeches. Look and you shall observe that a man is so affected in 
earthly things, and, therefore, why not so in heavenly ? It is a bad 
sign when there cannot be found the same proportion and care for 
heavenly things as men have for the things of the world. Let us see 
these things a little severally. 

[1.] It will take up your thoughts. Our thoughts will be conversant 
about what we desire. We love to feed upon the sweet of those things 
that we long for, to enjoy them in our meditations before we really 
and actually enjoy them. Thoughts are the pulses of the heart, you 
may know by them how it beats. When desires are at a high pitch, 
we shall not be able to put off those pleasing imaginations that con 
cern the object of these desires. Nay, they will haunt the mind in 
the time of our usual repose and "rest : Isa. xxvi. 9, ' With my soul 
have I desired thee in the night ; yea, with my spirit within me will 
I seek thee early/ Night and morning, all their mind was upon this, 
how they should get God. 

[2.] It will challenge more of your time and care. When men will 
make bold with God rather than their own occasions, it is a sign they 
are but coldly affected to him. If your desires be to Christ, your care 
and time will be more laid out upon him ; you will rather borrow 
from yourselves, your own pleasures and business, than borrow from 
God. I confess a man that is in a particular calling, and is to pro 
vide for a wife and family, must necessarily spend more time in the 
world than he can in religion ; but when he begrudgeth all time to God, 
or thinketh all lost that is spent in duty, it is a sign there is little de 
sire after Christ. When we are where we would be, time goeth too 
fast for us ; therefore, try how it is with thee in point of religion : 
Is all too much that is spent in duty P If the heart goeth out that 
way, all will be too little. As men's desires are so their time goeth 
away. Job xxi. 13, It is said of the wicked, ' They spend their days 


in wealth/ Voluptuous men do so, so worldly men, they spend their 
time in business and worldly cares, and are cumbered about much 
serving. You may try your bent by that, how you spend your days. 

J3.] It will put you upon endeavours. Those are true desires that 
in action. Slight wishes after Christ never put us upon a pursuit 
of him. If a man be earnest in a thing, he will try all ways he can 
to compass it ; it shall be his earnest business. Men that are slight 
would fain have Christ, but they will not seek him Vellent, sed 
nolunt: Prov. xxi. 25, * The desire of the slothful killeth him, for 
his hands refuse to labour.' The slothful are most full of desires ; 
they would fain have things, but they do not labour after them. 
Now, it is otherwise with the children of God. The spouse, that was 
sick for want of Christ, sought him through the streets, though it cost 
her many a wandering, Cant. v. 7. God hath fenced up every excel 
lent thing with difficulty, to see if we think it worth our endeavours. 

Use 2. In the next place it serveth for exhortation, to press you to 
do otherwise than the men of the world do, and to beware of their 
spirit. Men see nothing in Christ why they should desire him, be 
cause they judge with a carnal spirit. Let not any such black note be 
found upon you : Do you make him the desire of your souls who is 
deservedly styled ' the desire of all nations.' This exhortation hinteth 
at three duties : 

1. Long to get him into your hearts. As all things are to him, let 
your desires be to him : Kom. xi. 36, 'Of him, and through him, and 
to him are all things ;' therefore, all creatures, for it is the law of 
their creation to move towards God, especially for reasonable creatures 
so to do. But particularly by your desires look upon him as summum 
necessarium, as the only chief thing for your souls. 

2. Be careful to keep communion with him. If you have got him, 
take heed you do not lose him again. Kemember the fate of the 
spouse for parting with her beloved, and how dearly she paid for it, 
Cant. v. 6, 7. Whatever carnal men judge of it, the favour of Christ 
is worth the keeping. 

3. Labour to get more interest in him. Worldly blessings have all 
this lot and fate, that they cloy in the enjoyment. Christ is a mercy 
of a nobler nature ; the more you see of his excellency, the more you 
will thirst after him. When a man hath a taste of Christ, he will 
labour for more of him. The great prejudice against him is, that men 
have never had experience of him, Austin saith of himself, in the ninth 
book of his Confessions, chap. i. : ' That the reason why he was loth 
to close with Christ was, because he was to forego all pleasures, and 
to deny himself in whatever was delightful, and that was very irksome 
to him. But since,' saith he, * when once I had tasted Christ, quam 
suave milii subito factum est carere suavitatibus nugarum ! It was the 
greatest delight in the world to abstain from worldly delights.' Christ 
made abundant recompense for them. Oh, how sweet is Christ to those 
that have tried him, and made experience of him ! They will not 
want their old delights again. I shall prescribe a few means how you 
shall bring your hearts to desire Christ, to keep him, and to get 
further interest in him : 

[1 .] Consider nothing is a fit object for your desires without Jesus 


Christ. The creatures are beneath you. The desire of the soul is 
like a member of the body out of joint when it is fixed upon a wrong 
object. All things without Christ are either sin or the creatures. 
To desire sin was the cause of the first misery; that is, forbidden 
fruits. We know what that is by sad experience. As to the creatures, 
to desire them for themselves is beneath us : it is, as it were, to sit 
upon the threshold and the door of the gate when we might sit upon 
the throne, to make that our crown which should be our footstool : 
Ps. viii. 6, it is said, ' Thou hast put all things under his feet.' God 
made these things to be under our feet ; and, therefore, the church 
is described, Kev. xii. 1, to have the moon under her feet. All sub 
lunary things are beneath the people of God. I should a little digress 
from the matter in hand, at least vary from my purpose, if I should 
at large discourse of the uncertainty and frailty of the creatures, and 
show how the desires may be lost and wasted upon them, which they 
cannot be upon God ; or should I descant upon the unsuitableness of 
the creatures, which cannot give true satisfaction to the soul ; but I 
will only conclude this first rule with this : That sin is not to be de 
sired at all, and the creatures only in reference to God and Christ, 
otherwise, we sin in the desire or enjoyment of them. 

[2.] Look upon Jesus Christ alone as the only object upon which 
thy affections should be exercised. He hath all the properties in him 
that a lawful desire looketh to, though the world cannot see it. He is 
an excellent good, a necessary good, and one that deserveth the best of 
our desires. 

(1.) Consider he is an excellent good. Whatsoever is an attractive 
of love is to be found in Christ. Oh, display his glorious beauties be 
fore the soul ! There is in him greatness, goodness, glory, mercy, 
peace, comfort, satisfaction : these are the beauties of Christ. Look 
over all the world and see if there be any that can do you so much 
good as he is able or willing to do. Cant. v. 10-16, The spouse de- 
scribeth her beloved as a comely young man, as one of the greatest 
perfections. It would be too large to go over every particular of that 
description ; only, in the general, observe that the Spirit of God useth 
such expressions as serve to discover outward beauty, to show us that 
whatever we admire in the creatures is, in a far more eminent degree, 
to be found in God and Christ. I know not how to be particular in 
this large field ; only I shall a little single out the name of God to you, 
as it is said, ' Thy name is as an ointment poured forth ; therefore do 
the virgins love thee/ Cant. i. 3. And the desires of God's people are 
always expressed to be towards his name in the scriptures. I shall 
mention two attributes, and pour out the savour of them, and display 
the beauty of them, which shine most gloriously in Jesus Christ ; 
namely, his power and his mercy, 

(1st.) His power and might. Christ is spoken of to'be the desire of 
the nations, when he gave forth the greatest experiences of his power : 
Hag. ii. 7, ' I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall 
come.' Who would not desire him that is able to secure him against 
all fears, to keep him in the midst of all dangers, and to comfort 
him in all conditions? If a man would long after any person, he 
would after him that is able to shake the nations and to secure 


him against the common visible fears of mankind. Men run after 
things for a little satisfaction and security, but still this troubleth 
them ; they must die, and then all their shifts will not serve the 
turn : Prov. xi. 7, ' When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall 
perish/ Then all his desires wife, children, friends will not serve 
the turn, when his cold corpse must be laid in the grave. But now 
Christ is so powerful, that he is able to secure us against this fear, 
to comfort us in death, and to raise us when dead. 

(2dly.) His mercy is very great. A man's desire is restrained to 
things many times, which though otherwise allurable, yet he hath no 
hopes to obtain. Now here you may desire and be welcome, for your 
suit will be entertained : Ps. cxi. 8, ' He satisfieth the longing soul, 
and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.' When the soul openeth 
itself to God, he filleth it ; the longing soul is satisfied : Rev. xxi. 
6, * I will give to him that is athirst of the water of life freely.' You 
need not stand off upon terms or punctilios; Christ will satisfy your 
longing freely ; he hath passed his word : John vi. 37, ' He that 
cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out/ They may have their 
comfort hindered and interrupted in their own thoughts, but he will in 
no wise cast them out. 

(2.) Christ is a necessary good. Things may be excellent, yet if 
they be not needful to us, the affections move but faintly after them. 
Now Christ is unum necessarium, the one thing needful. It is not 
enough to choose that which is good, but that which is needful : 
Luke x. 42, ' But one thing is needful, and Mary hath chosen the 
better part/ Many follow after riches, pleasures, and honours, and 
outward comforts ; these may be good in their kind, but they are not 
needful. What good will those things do us to all eternity ? There 
the love of God will only stand us in stead. The things of this world, 
according to that usual saying among divines, are temporal in their 
use, but the punishment for the abuse of them is eternal. The most 
necessary and serviceable good to us is Jesus Christ ; therefore get the 
judge to be your friend against the assizes. 

(3.) Consider, he hath deserved that our strongest desires should be 
after him, not only as he is the being of beings, and the fountain of 
our lives and mercies, but as he laid down his life for us : John xii. 
32, ' And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men 
to me ; ' that is, I will do that which shall draw all men's desires to 
nie ; he will leave such a debt of thankfulness upon them. Though 
we could expect nothing from Christ, yet, by the law of thankfulness, 
our desires are due to him. 

Thirdly, I come now to the third thing propounded, which was to 
give you some practical points and observations that concern man in 
the ordering of his life and conversation. I shall handle but three, 
and so quit this verse. 

1. That God prosecuteth and accomplished his greatest designs 
by the most unlikely and despised means. Jesus Christ, the great 
Saviour of the world, was but a tender plant, which a man would be 
more apt to tread upon and crush, than to cherish. 

2. God cometh in for the deliverance of his people in times of 
greatest despair and unlikelihood. For when the branches of Jesse 

VOL. in. Q 


were dried up, and had no verdure, even then sprung up the greatest 
ornament of that stock, although a root out of a dry ground. 

3. Mean beginnings may grow up to great matters and glorious 
successes. Christ, the tender plant, was to be a tall tree, under the 
shadow of whose boughs all the fowls of heaven should lodge. 

I begin with the first : 

Doct. 1. That God accomplished his .greatest designs by the most 
unlikely and despised means. I might trace the way of God's prose 
cution throughout all succession of ages, and show you how this truth 
is verified. He made us out of the dust, and that is contemptible 
matter. And as hath been our creation, so hath been our preserva 
tion, even by dust, that which we would trample upon rather than 
admire. But I shall rather come to the reasons of it, which are as 
follow : 

1. That his glory may more appear. The weakness of the instru 
ment directs our thoughts to the power of the supreme worker. {Should 
things work according to the constant tenor of nature, and the 
order of second causes, God might have no glory. We should look 
upon successes and deliverances as coming to us by chance, and not 
mind the great sway and poise by which all things in the world are 
moved, and carried to their proper ends. Therefore God doth some 
times more eminently put forth his hand this way. The weakness of 
the instrument holdeth forth the glory of the first mover and agent. 
The spirit of providence is discovered by it : Zech. iv. 6, ' Not by might 
nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord/ My Spirit ; that is, 
the invisible sway that directeth and ordereth all things to their 
proper uses and effects. God worketh sometimes the most eminent 
glorious things by these weak means, that you may not rest on second 

2. That we may not see to the end of his counsels. A man doth 
not know what God will do with despised branches ; God worketh in 
such a way as doth not suit with our usual expectations : Isa. xlviii. 7, 
' They are created now, and not from the beginning, even before the day 
when thou heardestthem not; lest thou shouldest say, Behold, I knew 
them/ The things of God's providence are said to be new things, 
not created of old, lest we should say we understood them ; deliverance 
cometh that way that we least looked for it. Certainly this is a new 
thing, it is not according to the course of this world. God hath 
created some things of higher value and greater efficacy than others, 
but they are the old things. Notwithstanding, weak things are often 
made use of by God. Should we see a man of a stately presence and 
comely lineaments and proportion, we should straightway cry, This is 
the anointed of the Lord, he is now before him, as Samuel did: 
1 Sam. xvi. 7, ' Here is now the person that God will work by ; ' but it 
is added there, ' God seeth not as man seeth ; ' that is, God will not 
work according to the usual way of your expectation. David, the 
least and the youngest, God chooseth him. So again, man thinketh 
that the eldest son shall advance the family, as being the flower of the 
parents' strength ; and by the constant course and tenor of nature, 
the elder proveth the most successful ; yet many times God appointeth 
otherwise : Gen. xxv. 23, * The elder shall serve the younger/ God 


will not have us look to the end of his counsels, and therefore the 
younger is the most eminent. 

3. That he may declare his displeasure against the pomp of the 
world. God maketh least use of that which we so much adore, out 
ward glory and splendour. Most of his glorious instruments have been 
taken from the plough and sheepfold. Christ himself, as I told you, 
honoured meanness in his own person. You may see by Isa. ii. 11-22, 
that God's great design in the latter days is to destroy the pomp of 
the world, the oaks and the cedars, and whatever is lifted up : ' The 
day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and 
lofty, and every one that is lifted up, and he shall be brought low.' 
God's choice is of the meanest and most unlikely things, hereby showing 
certainly that there is not so much as the world thinketh in outward 
glory, which hath always proved unhappy to the church, who, when 
she enjoyed golden cups, had but wooden priests. Though Constan- 
tine was a worthy instrument,, yet Seminatum est venenum in ecclesia 
in his time poison was sowed in the church. 

4. That he may shame his enemies in their security. When they 
have to deal with those that are unlikely to prevail, they think they 
shall carry all before them, 1 Sam. xvii. 42. The ruddy youth was 
despised by Goliath, and threatened terribly too, that his flesh should be 
given to the fowls of the air and to the beasts of the field ; but yet he over 
came the giant. The more shame doth God pour upon his enemies by far, 
when they meet with their destruction where they least think of it. 
Abimelech, after he had overcome Shechem, the hold of the god Berith, 
and divers other strongholds, and there was but one fort stood out, had his 
skull broke by a woman with a piece of a millstone, Judges ix. 53. God 
ruineth them most ignominiously. Thus the Almighty goeth to war 
against Pharaoh with flies, and frogs, and lice, Exod. viii. , the most 
putrid of all living creatures. The Moabites were put to flight before 
the Israelites by a fancy, to wit, the sun shining upon the water, which 
they thought to be blood. Pope Adrian was choked with a gnat. 
So Judges v. 20, it is said, * The stars in their courses (or paths) 
fought against Sisera.' And what was that ? Nothing but a little rain 
and hail, as Josephus witnesseth ; for as they drew to battle there 
fell suddenly a storm of rain and hail just in their faces, that they 
could not see ; and it being on the backs of the Israelites, it drove 
them on with the more fierceness against their enemies. Now by this 
way God poureth a great deal of contempt upon his adversaries. 

5. That he may take off all cause of boasting from the creature, that 
the flesh may not glory in itself. Thus this very reason is urged by 
the apostle, 1 Cor. i. 27-29, ' God hath chosen the foolish things of 
the world to confound the wise ; and God hath chosen the weak things 
of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base 
things in the world, and things which are despised, hath 'God chosen, 
yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are, that 
no flesh should glory in his presence/ The things that are nothing in 
our respect and valuation, God honoureth, and uses them as instru 
ments, that we may have no cause to boast of our strength or merit. 
The creatures are apt to vaunt when they see there is anything 
of theirs concurring towards a work, though they do in part see 


God's hand in it : Judges vii. 2, ' And the Lord said unto Gideon, The 
people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into 
their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own 
hand hath saved me/ It is observable that David called twice upon the 
mighty: Ps. xxix. 1, * Give unto the Lord, ye mighty, give unto 
the Lord glory and strength/ When a people are mighty they are very 
loth to give the glory and strength to God. Therefore God worketh 
by those that cannot any way ascribe it to themselves. 

6. Another reason may be, that God may provide for the esteem 
of the meanest. God hath so tempered his providence, that he will 
leave no cause of contempt and disrespect among us. He casteth 
honour upon the meanest, and those that are not so high in the valua 
tions of men. This is the reason of God's various distribution, why he 
hath made some mean, and some glorious, that he might upon times 
single out some of those mean ones to show his power by. Look, as 
Christ saith of the blind man, that he was made blind to fit him for a 
miracle John ix. 3, ' That the works of God should be manifest in 
him' so some are poor, some are unlikely, that the work of God 
might be made manifest, that he might show his power and might 
and wisdom in working by them. He will leave none to scorn and 
contempt. Despised persons shall be honoured by him, when other 
more glorious persons are laid aside as useless. 

To apply it now. It afforcleth divers inferences of duty, suitable to 
our divers cases and conditions. 

1. To keep up the heart in case the means be weak. Take heed, 
do not sink to any base despondency of mind or spirit. Usually when 
means are weak men fly to wicked means, to a base desertion of the 
cause of God that they have undertaken, and yield to every unworthy 
fear : Isa. viii. 6, ' Forasmuch as this people refuseth the waters of 
Shiloah that go softly, and rejoice in Kezin and Kemaliah's son/ 
Shiloah was a little stream in Jerusalem. Now rivers are often put 
for the refreshments and accommodations of a place. So that the sense 
is, they had rather basely yield up to Rezin and Remaliah's son than 
wait upon God, to see what he will do with the small forces in 
Jerusalem. Do not despise the waters of Shiloah. It is the greatest 
honour that can be done to God, if we keep up endeavours for him, 
though we have but weak means and encouragements ; but then faith 
is tried, how you can east yourselves upon a bare promise. 

2. In ease you have great means, fear them ; God usually worketh by 
the most unlikely. The prophet David in the Psalms often expresseth 
himself as full of fears when his armies had been successful and vic 
torious, not doubting of God, but himself ; doubting lest he provoke 
him by being lifted up with his mercies, as you know in that place, 
2 Chron. xxxii. 25, ' His heart was lifted up, therefore there was wrath 
upon him/ David, when he had great strength, must needs fall to 
numbering of the people, 2 Sam. xxiv. 11. It is a sad sign of speedy 
ruin when a people reckon and rely upon their strength. The more 
it is, the less it should be in your value and estimation. Asa had an 
army of six hundred thousand, and yet, 2 Chron. xiv. 11, he saith, 
' We have no power/ Get it out of your hearts ; it is no strength to 
you unless God go with it. 


3. la case weak means have been successful, give God the glory, 
and do not boast. This is visibly one of God's ends in such provi 
dences, that we may take notice of his strength. In other instances it is 
from God, but in this most remarkably: as Pharaoh's magicians said, 
Exod. viii. 19, * This is the finger of God.' There God remarkably dis- 
covereth himself in such deliverances. We ascribe it to his power, 
but not to his mercy. Therefore our care, as I told you, should be 
especially that we do not ascribe the merit of it to ourselves, as we do 
ascribe the working of it to God : Deut. ix. 4, ' Speak not thou in 
thine heart, after that the Lord thy God hath cast them out from be 
fore thee, saying, For my righteousness the Lord hath brought me in to 
possess this land.' Give the Lord the praise. This is our case ; our 
praise should live beyond the day of its public solemnisation. 

I proceed to the second point, viz. : 

Doct. 2. That God cometh in for the deliverance of his people in 
times of greatest despair and unlikelihood. I will give you a few places. 
Zech. xiv. 7, c At evening time it shall be light;' that is, sepulcrum 
lucis, it shall break forth when a man would think that all things 
should be enveloped arid wrapped up in darkness. So Mat. xxv. 6, 
* At midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh/ 
when all slumbered and slept ; all expectation was given over. So 
Luke xviii. 8, ' When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on 
the earth ? ' All things will be at such a desperate pass, that nobody will 
believe that ever he will come. Faith there is taken for a confident 
expectation of good success, not in its whole latitude, as it is falsely 

The reasons are : 

1. That he may seize upon his enemies suddenly, even steal upon 
them, as Christ did upon the world, when the sixth vial was poured 
out. Christ saith, Rev. xvi. 15, * Behold, I come as a thief ; ' that is, as 
one not expected. So 1 Thes. v. 2, * For yourselves know perfectly 
that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night ; ' that is, 
with respect to the suddenness of it. To wicked men it is unexpected. 

2. That he may sufficiently try and exercise the patience and other 
suffering graces of his people : James i. 4, ' Let patience have its per 
fect work/ It is but a partial patience in a partial calamity. Then 
it is perfect patience when it is thoroughly exercised. So also that he 
may try their faith, whether they will believe in him or no, whether 
they can fetch one contrary out of another : Hosea ii. 15, He hath 
given ' the valley of Achor for a door of hope/ And so for prayer, and 
to stir up delight in him. 

Use. Do not then give over your dependence upon God in the worst 
of times : Gen. xviii. 14, ' Is anything too hard for the Lord ? ' Un 
belief stumbleth most at God's power ; when we cannot see which way we 
shall be helped, then we are apt to doubt. But at such times consider: 

1. You have no cause to distrust God ; though he doth not find 
means, he can create them. The root of Jesse, though there be no 
branches, it can bear a sprig. God, that could make the world out^ of 
nothing, can preserve the church by nothing ; you do not know his in 
visible way of working. Believe beyond what you can see. Luther was 
wont to comfort himself, when all supplies failed, with this, that God 


was alive: Dan. ii. 34, 'A stone cut out without hands, smote the image 
upon his feet, that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces/ 
'In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen/ It is a spiritual proverb, 
Gen. xxii. 14 : in the greatest extremities the Lord will appear, and 
provide for those that commit themselves to him. 

2. You have much ground of confidence : Ps. cii. 13, 14, ' Thou shalt 
arise and have mercy upon Zion ; for the time to favour her, yea, the set 
time, is come : for thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favour the 
dust thereof/ Now you are in a condition fit for deliverance : Deut. 
xxxii. 3G, ' For the Lord shall judge his people, and repent himself for 
his servants, when he seeth that their power is gone, and there is none 
shut up or left/ God puts his people into such a condition in which 
deliverance will be most welcome, and then he bestoweth it upon them. 
Wait upon him now you are in a condition for God to help. When 
Caligula was angry with Philo, saith he, * Now God will help, for the 
emperor is angry/ 

I come now to the last point. 

Doct. 3. That mean beginnings may grow up to great matters and 
glorious successes. This is admirably set forth by the prophet Ezekiel, 
chap. xvii. 22-24, ' Thus saith the Lord God, I will also take of the 
highest branch of the high cedar, and will set it ; I will crop off from 
the top of his young twigs a tender one, and will plant it upon an high 
mountain, and eminent : in the mountain of the height of Israel will I 
plant it ; arid it shall bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a goodly 
cedar ; and under it shall dwell all fowls of every wing ; in the shadow 
of the branches thereof shall they dwell And all the trees of the field 
shall know that I the Lord have brought down the high tree, have ex 
alted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry 
tree to flourish : I the Lord have spoken, and have done it/ As it 
was with Christ, so it is many times with his followers ; as in many 
instances. Jacob from himself and his staff was multiplied into two 
bands, Gen. xxxii. 10, meaning his company of children and cattle, so 
divided to meet Esau. David was taken from feeding of sheep to 
feed Israel : Ps. Ixxviii. 70, 71, 'He chose David also his servant, and 
took him from the sheepfolds ; from following the ewes great with 
young, he brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inherit 
ance.' Saul, when seeking his father's asses, found a kingdom. Christ's 
kingdom sprang from a small beginning. This might also be shown 
from the great spreading of Satan's kingdom, many times from little 
matters: it is well known that 'a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump/ 
Arius, a private priest in Alexandria, drew the whole world after him; 
as Montanus and other heretics might be said to do. We should not 
therefore lay too much on success. So Kev. xii. 3, * The dragon drew 
the third part of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth/ 
The reasons of this in short are these : 

1. God's sovereignty over us, as we are his creatures ; he that hath 
made us, can do what he will with his own. 

2. Because he will keep the world in a continual vicissitude and 
change, some up, some down. 

Use 1. To teach us to look to beginnings: Ps. cxxix. 1, 2, 'Many 
a time have they afflicted me from my youth, may Israel now say : 


many a time have they afflicted me from my youth ; yet they have not 
prevailed against me ; ' Cant. ii. 15, * Take us the foxes, the little 
foxes, that spoil the vines/ This is added for abundant caution, to 
teach the church to prevent errors and heresies in the beginnings of 
them, before they spread, and grow strong and incurable ; to crush 
things in the beginnings. 

2. To support the hearts of Christians when they first put forth 
into the world : Eccles. iv. 14, ' For out of prison he cometh to reign.' 
One seed multiplieth into many. Broad rivers come from a small 
fountain : Job viii. 7, * Though thy beginning was but small, yet thy 
latter end shall greatly increase.' Men rise like hop-stalks out of the 
dunghill, by the pole of Providence. 

3. To keep men from despairing of public mercies. When the child 
of deliverance hath put forth the hand, it will come to the birth : 
Zech. iv. 10, ' Who hath despised the day of small things ? ' Christ 
was but a branch at first. 

4. To encourage those that are weak in grace, Mat. xii. 20. God 
will not despise smoking flax, though it cannot flame : Phil. i. 6, 
' Being confident of this very thing, that he who hath begun a good 
work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ/ Be humble 
and thankful in admiring God's goodness towards you, saying, as David, 
' Who am I, Lord, and what is my father's house, that thou hast 
brought me hitherto ? ' 


He is despised and rejected of men ; a man of sorrows, and acquainted 
with grief ; and we hid as it were our faces from him : he was 
despised, and we esteemed him not. 

THE prophet proceedeth now to the second scandal and offence that 
the Jews took against Christ, who therefore would not believe the report 
that was made of him. The first was Christ's meanness in his birth and 
life, which we have handled in the second verse. The next is his suf 
ferings, and those are either of his life or of his death, which are set 
forth in divers verses following. In this verse the prophet's expres 
sions do chiefly hint the sufferings of his life. Here are divers phrases 
which discover the several degrees of Christ's sufferings, though I 
shall not give them to you in the order of the words, because the 
expressions lie scattered here and there. The degrees are these : 

1. He was not esteemed. 

2. He was actually despised, and became an object of scorn and 

3. He was liable to great miseries ; and 

4. He was continually pestered with them. This is the sum of this 
verse. I will make it out unto you from the phrases, opened as the 
text presenteth them. 

1. He is despised and rejected of men. That which we read rejected 


of men, the Hebrew chadal ishim, signifieth ' the leaving off of men/ 
It may bear a double interpretation : 

[1.] That Christ was so extremely mean and miserable that it was 
impossible to be lower as a man. He was the minimum quod sic of 
a man ; if he had gone any lower, we must have had some other name 
for him. In this sense it is said, Ps. xxii. 6, * I am a worm and no 
man, a reproach of men, and despised of the people.' You must seek 
for some name for him among the worms. 

[2.] The leaving off of men ; that is, there men left him, they would 
converse with any other, but not with him. Nobody would deign him 
speech and company ; he was least of all. Our interpretation seemeth 
to favour this exposition. There is not much matter which you 

2. A man of sorrows. A Hebraism to express the height of misery. 
They use the genitive case of the substantive to express the super 
lative degree of anything, as ' a man of Belial' for a very wicked 
man ; so ' a psalm of degrees/ an excellent psalm. This expression 
compel leth some of the wiser Jews to feign two Messiahs, one that is 
already come, that walketh up and down on the earth under the shape 
of a beggar, that he may satisfy for the sins of the Jews, and is in a 
great deal of misery. The other a glorious king, whom they do as yet 
expect ; that is the second expression. 

3. Acquainted with grief. Familiar is morbo, so Tremellius renders 
it knowing diseases ; that is, by his own experience. Disease is put 
for any kind of trouble and molestation, because they are the things that 
are most irksome. For otherwise Christ, though he had many griefs, yet 
he had no diseases, these usually arising out of some intemperance or 
badness of constitution, neither of which agree to Christ. He took 
our personal, not individual infirmities ; hunger and thirst he was 
acquainted with, not stone or gout or fever. 

4. And we hid as it were our faces from him, or, as it is in the mar- 

fin, He hid as it loere his face from us ; the Hebrew will bear both, 
t is either a hiding faces from him or from us. Since the text doth 
so indifferently allow of both these renderings, I shall show you the 
sense of both. He hid his face from us, which the Septuagint follows, 
TO irpoatoiTov dvTov. His face was turned away as it were ; in modesty 
say some, as if he were ashamed of the meanness of his condition ; but 
that is unworthy of Christ. The Chaldee paraphrase seemeth to hint 
another sense, subtraxit vultum majestatis suce he hid the counte 
nance of his divine majesty ; that is probable, but doth not thoroughly 
reach the force of the expression. Others thus he hid his face as a per 
son doomed to die, as sentenced persons had their faces covered, or when 
much discountenanced. Thus Haman, when in displeasure with the 
king, Esther vii. 8, it is said 'his face was covered/ So in great sor 
row and mourning, * Thou shalt cover thy face,' Ezek. xii. 6 ; or it is 
more properly in shame, or as a token of "being unworthy the society of 
men. So it was with the lepers, who by the law were to put a covering 
upon the upper lip, Lev. xiii. 45. It is not difficult to reconcile any 
of these senses with the matter in hand. But let us consider the other 
reading, * We hid our faces from him/ This is a natural gesture, and 
at all times signifieth some abomination and withdrawing of the mind 


from a thing ; but sometimes it is in one affection, and sometimes in 
another ; as 

[1.] Sometimes in anger ; to hate them so as we will not give them 
a look. Thus God is said to hide his face from his church to express 
his anger against their sins. 

[2.] Sometimes in shame. We turn away from them, as rich men 
do from their poor friends ; they scorn to give them a look. 

[3.] Sometimes in pity. It is such a sad sight that we dare not 
look on it. I rather prefer that of a scornful shame, being ashamed 
to follow such a poor, mean, miserable man. Thus many now hide 
their faces from Christ, when it is disgraceful to close with him. 
There is nothing now remaineth that is difficult ; only it followeth, he 
was despised and looked upon as a man leprous, whose face should be 
hid ; and therefore we did not esteem him worthy of our company. 
The sum of the verse amounts to thus much, that Jesus Christ was so 
miserable in regard of his outward face and appearance, that he was 
looked upon as an abject, as a man not fit to be kept company with. I 
shall only note these two things more for explication, because upon them 
I shall build two points, which shall be all I will handle out of this verse. 

1. Some of these expressions set out Christ as indeed he was ; 

2. Some, only as he was in the apprehension of men. He was in 
himself ' a man of sorrows,' but in the eye of man he was a despised 
and an abject person : the one is the cause or the occasion of the other; 
and the prophet so intermingleth these two things in this verse, that 
the phrases may be taken both ways how Christ was in himself, and 
how he was to men. 

1. As he was in himself : from thence I observe this point : 
Doct. I. That Christ's appearance in the world, and state of life 

among men, was not only very mean, but very miserable. 

2. From men's judgment of him : upon this account I observe : 
Doct. 2. That carnal men do not look upon Jesus Christ as worthy 

of any esteem from them. 

I shall begin with the first, viz. : 

Doct. 1. That Christ's appearance in the world, and state of life 
among men, was not only very mean, but very miserable. 

I shall take the several degrees in the text to make it out unto you. 

1. The lowest step is negative ; he was ' not esteemed.' He had not 
that due respect and value in the world that he might justly look for ; 
and it is a misery to be slighted by those to whom we intend the 
greatest good. It was much that they should not own him as some 
eminent man ; it was more that they would not give him the respect 
due to any man, to an ordinary prophet : John i. 11, ' He came to his 
own, and his own received him not.' There is an emphasis in the 
words his own, those over whom he had a special care, and to whom 
he meant the greatest good. Mark, everything else acknowledged 
Christ, but man would not. The angels ushered in his birth, Luke ii. 
14. The wind and seas obeyed him, Mat. viii. 27. The fish paid his 
tribute to him, Mat. xvii. 27. The wild beasts, when he was in the 
wilderness, would not touch him, Mark i. 13. The Holy Ghost 
would have us to note it as a special circumstance, that ' he was in the 
wilderness forty days, and he was with the wild beasts.' Nay, the 


very devils confessed him, Luke viii. 28. The man that had many 
devils fell down before him. and cried out, and with a loud voice said, 
* What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high ? ' , 
Yet rnan would not own him. They thought any one was more like 
to be the Messiah than he. John, though he never did miracles, nor 
taught with such authority as Christ did, yet they sent an honourable 
message to him, John i. 19. The Jews sent priests and Levites from 
Jerusalem to ask him whether he were the Christ or no. Bat now they 
never sent an honourable embassy to Christ, never put him to the ques 
tion, but only in a scoff asked him whether he were the Christ or no. Yet 
John gave them as much ground of distaste as Christ did, freely taxing 
their sins. John was sent to in an honourable way, because he was a 
priest's son, but Christ only a carpenter's son, therefore Christ was not 
esteemed. Anything is enough to prejudice them that are notaffected to 
a thing or way. Nay ; they not only preferred John before him, though 
famous for no miracles, but even Barabbas before him : John xviii. 40, 
4 When Pilate said, Will ye that I release unto you the king of the Jews? 
Then cried they all, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Bar- 
abbas was a robber/ Any rather than Christ. They had very little 
esteem of Christ, you see. And this fault is objected to them ; indeed, 
it was a great aggravation of their guilt : Acts iii. 14, ' Ye have denied 
the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto 
you,' even a cruel highwayman before Christ. Esteeming is a rela 
tive word, and it implieth every one, even the worst of men, to be higher 
in their thoughts than Christ. 

2. As he was not esteemed, so actually he was despised, and became 
an object of scorn and contempt. 

[1.] He was despised arid contemned in their thoughts. They looked 
upon him as an abject, the leaving-off or off-scouring of men ; they 
thought it was a disgrace for them to converse with him ; and there 
fore Nicodemus went to Christ by night, John iii. 2, as being ashamed 
to be seen in his company by day. So John ix. 22, the blind man's 
parents, that had received a great benefit, by him, would make a lie 
rather than own him. It is said, ' These words spake his parents, 
because they feared the Jews : for the Jews had agreed already, that 
if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the 
synagogue.' They thought him unworthy of their company, and 
therefore every one hid his face from him, and would not seem to look 
that way. 

[2.] In their words they used all kinds of reproaches, they thought 
no name bad enough for him : John viii. 48, ' Say we not well, that 
thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil ? ' There was such a deadly 
feud between the Jews and the Samaritans, that to call a man a 
Samaritan was the greatest disgrace that could be, and the ready way 
to beget him public hatred. Here are two scandals fixed on Christ 
a Samaritan, and one that hath a devil ; the one reflecteth upon his 
person, the other on his doctrine. And that which is worthy of 
your notice is, that to that of his doctrine Christ answereth, but doth 
not care how they vilified his person. In Mat. xi. 19, they call him 
' a glutton, a wine-bibber, and a friend of publicans and sinners/ They 
looked upon him as an object of common scorn and hatred. So they 


accounted him as an enemy to Caesar ; anything that would make him 
obnoxious to danger and scorn. They likewise called him a deceiver : 
Mat. xxvii. 63, * Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he 
was yet alive.' Proud, insulting malice ! They would not call him 
by his own name, but as if he had been so notoriously guilty, that it 
was a sufficient description of him to say that deceiver. 

[3.] In their general carriage towards him. To any that seemed to 
own him, they showed a great deal of contempt and scorn. Because 
the blind man acknowledged him, they cast him out, or excommuni 
cated him, John ix. 34. So John vii. 52, by way of taunt they said, 
' Art thou also of Galilee ? ' But chiefly their behaviour to his person 
was intolerable, and that in the last scene of his life : Mat. xxvi. 68. 
The rude soldiers make him their game, and blinding him, say, * Pro 
phesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?' So it is 
prophesied, Mat. xx. 19, ' They shall deliver him to the Gentiles to 
mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him.' There is a special emphasis 
in these words that he, being a Jew, should be delivered over to the 
Gentiles to be mocked, scourged, and crucified. Nothing was more 
vile and abominable, insomuch that they would not come into the 
place where Pilate sat judging, for fear of being contaminated : John 
xviii. 28, ' And they themselves went not into the judgment-hall, lest 
they should be defiled.' Therefore it was that Pilate went forth to 
them, for they would not come in. Look, as it was an aggravation of 
David's fault that he made Uriah to be slain with the sword of the 
children of Ammon, 2 Sarn. xii. 9, so it was of the Jews' contempt, 
that they should deliver him to the Gentiles to be mocked and 
scourged. Thus you see how he was despised, and looked upon as an 

3. A man of sorrows. This noteth the multitude of his afflictions, 
and the greatness of them. He was a man assaulted with all kinds of 
sorrows, and grievously afflicted with them. A man of sorrows, that 
is. a man of miseries ; the affection is put for the condition, because 
they left a great impression upon him. All kinds of sorrows he 
endured for our sakes, as scoffs, persecution, contempt, unkindness, 
miseries, hunger, thirst, faintness, and weariness. I might tire you 
with a woful variety of this nature ; the scriptures everywhere testify 
it. Let me briefly tell you, that they were as much as might fit him 
to be a mediator ; his sufferings are to be measured by his mediator- 
ship ; and then, they were such as might stand with the holiness of 
his person. Now, these sufferings were the more grievous to him, 
because his senses were most quick and smart; and, therefore, he 
must needs, above other men, have a sensible apprehension of what was 
done to him. The best constitutions have the most vigorous affections ; 
and therefore, it could not be but that all these sufferings should leave 
very dolorous impressions upon the spirit of Christ. And, indeed, it 
is more than probable that he was so wasted with them, and they had 
so dried up the moisture and freshness of his countenance, that when 
he was little above thirty they thought him near fifty years of age : 
John viii. 57, * Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen 
Abraham?' He was little above thirty; but griefs blasting his 
beauty, he might appear more aged than he was. Thus you see he 


was a man of sorrows. I do not touch, upon the last scene of his 
death, the sorrows of his life justly give him that character. 

4. Acquainted ivitli grief. It was not only now and then, hut it 
was always miserable with him. Acquaintance with a thing or person 
implieth the usualness of it. Now, Christ was acquainted with grief, 
that is, accustomed to it, never freed from it. As soon as he began to 
live he began to suffer. He was exiled, and forced to fly into Egypt 
as soon as he was a month old, and ever afterward hunted up and 
down by the pharisees. Trace him through all the scenes of his life, 
from the cradle to the cross, from the stable to Golgotha, and you shall 
see that grief was his familiar he had no other companion. It is an 
observation in that letter that Lentulus sent concerning him (if that 
letter be not forged), Visus est fare sccpe, ridere nunquamhe was 
often seen to weep, never to laugh, being always acquainted with grief. 
And in regard of those cruel persecutions that did constantly attend 
him, he is called in the title of that psalm that sets out the misery of 
his life, Ps. xxii., ' The hind of the morning;' see the title, 'A psalm 
concerning Aijeleth Shahar/ that is, Christ, who was always from the 
very morning hunted and worried by the dogs. He complaineth of it 
in that psalm, ver. 16, 'The dogs have compassed me/ The dogs 
hunted him in the morning early and betimes. Herod, one of the 
dogs, as soon as he was born, endeavours to murder him. So at the 
time of Christ's death the Holy Ghost giveth us this circumstance: 
John xviii. 28, ' That they led Christ from Caiaphas unto the judg 
ment-hall, and it was early in the morning/ The bloodhounds were 
up to worry him betimes in the morning. Well, you see Christ was 
acquainted with grief, even early, from his first breath to his last gasp, 
from his lying in the cradle to his consummatum est on the cross. 
Nay, it is very observable, that in the short glory of his transfiguration 
he was not without sorrow, for even then he remembered his death to 
come, as you shall see, Luke ix. 31 ; when Moses and Elias appeared 
to him in glory, ' They spake of his decease, which should be accom 
plished at Jerusalem/ In the midst of his glory he would remember 
his death. And therefore, you see, well might the prophet use the 
expression acquainted with grief. So much for the determination of 
the point, to prove to you that Christ's state of life was so miserable 
in the world. 

I shall now show you why he was so miserable. Why did he under 
go all these sorrows ? It is a profitable question ; as the former for 
our meditation, so this for our faith. The causes either respect God 
or the creature. 

First, In respect of God ; and so it was : 

1. That his promises might be fulfilled. God had foretold it so by 
the prophets : Mark ix. 12, ' It is written of the Son of man, that he 
must suffer many things, and be set at nought/ Now this sentence is 
nowhere in one prophet, but the meaning is. It is the constant drift 
and result of all that is written concerning the Messiah, that he must 
suffer many things, and be counted as nothing ; though he alludeth 
specially to this chapter and the 22d Psalm. This was so far from 
being a scandal against Christ, that it rather confirmed him to be the 
Messiah, for he was just such a one as was promised and prophesied of. 


2. That he might declare his obedience to God's decrees and appoint 
ment. It is said, Heb. v. 8, that * He learned obedience by the things 
that he suffered/ He did by experience find what it was to have a 
Father whom he must obey, though otherwise he were every way equal 
to him. But the excellency of his person exempted him not from 
Buffering ; for, having taken our debt upon him, his holy life was a 
part of his obedience to his Father, but his sufferings showed a higher 
degree of it, which made him a full and complete mediator. To obey 
God in the ordinary way of our actions is a common lesson to every 
holy person ; but Christ's obedience was chiefly tried by his sufferings, 
because, being without sin, he never deserved it. Thus much in 
respect of God. 

Secondly, In respect of men ; and so 

1. That he might set off his love to us. Usually they are dearer 
to us that have suffered anything for our sakes, than they that have 
otherwise done us good. And therefore Christ, to set off his love, 
spent a miserable thirty- two years and upwards in the world, and after 
wards died a terrible death ; and that not for himself, but for us. Some 
say it was to merit his own glory ; but it is not good to divert the 
stream, or any part of it, from that channel in which Christ intended 
it should run : Dan. ix. 26, ' The Messiah shall be cut off, but not for 
himself/ Christians, all his sufferings were for you. 

2. That he might be a perfect mediator for us. Christ was perfect 
in himself, but he wanted somewhat to make up his office : Heb. ii. 
10, 'It behoved the captain of our salvation to be made perfect 
through sufferings ; ' Heb. v. 8, 9, ' By the things which he suffered 
he was made perfect/ Christ was perfect in himself, but not perfect 
in his office ; he was made perfect as a captain of our salvation 
when he went through those things in which others were to follow 

3. That he might be able to comfort his people in the like dis 
tresses : Heb. ii. 18, ' For in that he himself hath suffered, being 
tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted/ A man can the 
better comfort others, when he hath had the experience of their 
miseries in himself. Christ knew how sad it was with his own soul 
when he was acquainted with these griefs, and therefore no doubt he is 
willing and able to help you. Experienced men are pitiful ; those that 
have suffered pity others when they are in the like case. It is God's 
charge often to Israel, that having been strangers in the land of Egypt, 
they should learn to pity strangers. And certainly whatever is good in 
the creature, is eminently so in Christ. He hath stronger impressions 
of affection and pity than we have. Mark what the apostle saith : 
Heb. iv. 15, * For we have not an high priest that cannot be touched 
with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all things tempted as we 
are, yet without sin/ Christ knew how it was with himself. In the 
like experiences and afflictions, therefore, it cannot but work upon his 
bowels, though men's hearts are shut up. 

To apply it now. Out of all that I have spoken to you, you may 
infer much for your instruction. 

1. The matter, what he suffered. 

2. The manner, how he came to suffer. 


3. The reasons and ends why, for our good ; so that here are three 
chief lessons for a Christian to learn : 

Patience and comfort. 


In the end, love. 

It teacheth you patience and comfort. There is a double ground 

for that. Christ went before you, and he did it that he might have 
experience and a fellow-feeling of your case and sufferings. Here is 
the comfort of God's people ; they have a high priest that is touched 
with the feeling of their infirmities. Christ's bowels melt over them 
whilst God's hand striketh them. A man may have moral grounds 
of comfort, but here is the true ground, Christ sympathises with us : 
John xviii. 10, * The cup which my father hath given me, shall I not 
drink it?' Though it is a bitter cup, yet it is my heavenly Father 
that hath put it into my hands. There is a difference between the 
strokes of God upon the wicked and his own people ; strokes upon the 
wicked come from God's hand, but those upon the godly from God's 
heart. Bear up, then, against the greatest crosses. Art thou looked 
upon as an abject, the leaving-off of men ? So was Christ, and so are 
many of God's people : 1 Cor. iv. 13, ' We are made as the filth of the 
world, and are as the off-scouring of all things/ The world's filth, 
worms, not men. Worms are bred out of the world's filth. Art thou 
compassed about with losses, affliction upon affliction, like waves one 
in the neck of the other ? do men hide their faces from thee, or art 
thou in no repute, no respect with them ? so was Christ, and Christ 
knoweth what it is for thee to be in such a case. Job heareth of loss 
upon loss from the Chaldeans, Sabeans, Job i. 14. It is often re 
peated, ' While he was yet speaking, came another and said.' So Jer. 
xxx. 17, 'Zion, whom no man looketh after/ God's people have 
often become the wagging of the head, but Christ' sufferings teach us 

[2.] Humility. Christ taught us this in his meanness, and he 
teacheth it in his sufferings. See the difference between Christ and 
Adam; Christ would be most abject, Adam would be higher than 
man. The highest is become the humblest ; our first parents would 
be as gods, and Christ would scarce be as man, even be man's leavings. 
It is good to learn humility from this pattern showed us in the mount, 
even in Mount Calvary ; to deny ourselves to set up Christ, as Christ 
denied himself to set up us. Of all things, men cannot endure to cast 
their crowns at the Lamb's feet I mean, to sacrifice their glory and 
esteem to Christ, or to be nothing that he may be all in all. Pride is 
like the heart, first living and last dying in a man : 3 John 9, 
* Diotrephes loved to have the pre-eminence/ Some are all for pre 
cedency, they would be preferred before others. You see Christ is 
otherwise. He freely submitted himself to the most abject condition. 
Thus it teacheth us humility. 

[3.] Considering the end, his love. All this was for you. Oh., what 
will you do for God again ? Christians should blow up the fire of 
love by these thoughts. How are we wrought upon by every petty 
kindness that passeth between man and man ! How much more, 
then, should the consideration of what Christ hath done and suffered 


endear him to us ? And this was done for our sakes. Let it melt 
our hearts, and draw them out in love to God again. 

I proceed now to the second point. 

Doct. 2. That carnal men do not look upon Jesus Christ as worthy 
of any esteem from them. Christ was mean and miserable, and there 
fore the world esteemed him not, but despised him rather, and looked 
upon him as an abject, unfit for their converse and society. 

I shall give you a few reasons for it. 

1 . Because they look altogether upon the dark part (as I may speak) 
of Jesus Christ ; they do not consider the light and the more glorious 
part. In sins they look altogether upon the light part, and not upon 
the dark the pleasures of sin, and not the cross and shame that attends 
them. Now, taking into their thoughts Christ's worst, and sin's best 
part, no wonder if they miscarry in their judgments. They look 
upon the world's pomp, but not the world's vanity ; upon the pleas 
ures of sin, but not upon the shame and horror that accompany 
them. Therefore it is said, Prov. v. 3, 4, ' The lips of a strange 
woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil ; 
but her end is bitter as wormwood, and sharp as a two-edged sword/ 
Men think to swallow the honey, but do not think of the wormwood. 
Things are to be esteemed as they prove in the end. Heathens had 
some light into this truth, that no man is happy till the end, till they 
try how things prove with them. Things are better known in their 
departure than in their coming ; the sting is in the tail, and therefore 
you shall see it is said, Deut. xxxii. 29, ' Oh, that they were wise, that 
they would understand this, that they would consider their latter end.' 
That is wisdom, not to look upon things as they are at present, but 
what they will prove at the latter end how we shall find them upon 
trial. But with Christ they deal otherwise ; they look upon Chris 
tianity as a hard, laborious thing. Many sad fears they have ; a great 
deal of duty to be performed ; much care, much toil, and much grief 
attends it ; with many other inconveniences. But they do not look 
upon the sweet of all this : Kom. vi. 22, ' 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 a good end. Carnal 
men tiling it a hard saying to part with pleasures, profits, honour, esteem, 
to part with all for Christ, and to expect nothing in this world but grief, 
and sorrow, and care. This is sad. Christ is not esteemed, because 
they look upon him with such an unequal, unfaithful eye. We are will 
ing to stumble at his meanness, but will not reflect upon his excellency. 

2. Because carnal men want that which should set off Christ to 
them as an object fit to be esteemed; and that is two things the 
Spirit's discovery, and faith's eye ; the one to reveal the object, the 
other to apprehend it. 

[1.] They want the Spirit's discovery. A man cannot see the sun 
without its own light ; no more can you see Jesus Christ in his beauty 
without the Spirit of Christ. Eeports and education may do much, 
but it is the Spirit that sets forth Jesus Christ as a worthy object. 
What is the reason that many that know Christ and profess him, yet 
cannot esteem him? The Spirit hath not convinced them of the 
worth that is in him. A man may be convinced of the truth of a 


thing, but not practically convinced of the worth of it. And ' flesh and 
blood doth not reveal that to us,' as Christ said to Peter. The reason 
why Christ is valued by his own people is because he hath discovered 
much of himself to them. 

[2.] They want the eye of faith, and that is the discovering part of 
the soul, that showeth much of Christ to it. Till we have faith we 
judge by sense and carnal reason, and then no wonder if we turn away 
from him. ' Faith is the evidence of things not seen/ Heb. xi. 1. It 
carrieth the soul within the veil, and showeth unto us better things, and 
maketh them present in the heart through hope and the promises. 
Faith and the Spirit discover a world of satisfaction, sweetness, glory, 
excellency, and beauty in Christ. There are large discoveries of God's 
love and purposes, and what he will do for his people. 

3. There are perverse inclinations in the heart that carry the soul 
another way. Men look upon everything as it cometh dyed in the 
colour of their own affections. Here is the great depravation of nature 
since the fall, that those things which should follow guide and sit at 
the stern ; vile affections besot the judgment : Bom. i. 26, with 28, 
* God gave them up to vile affections ;' and presently afterwards, * He 
gave them over to a reprobate mind.' Men are so injudicious, because 
they consult with their affections. Now they cannot make a right 
judgment. It is true, things should be desired and loved as the judg 
ment propounds them to be good and true ; but now, in the disorder 
of nature, it is otherwise. We let our desires get the start of us, and 
therefore men do not esteem Christ, because he is so opposite to the 
chief object of their desires. A worthy thought of Christ would exas 
perate our base affections that are carried to other things. Hear what 
the apostle saith : Rom. viii. 5, * They that are after the flesh do mind 
the things of the flesh.' They mind only those things, they only 
savour and relish them. 

4. Because they do not know what it is to want Christ. Men make 
other things serve instead of him, and therefore they do not care for 
Christ. Now when the soul looks upon the insufficiency of all things 
else to give rest and quiet to it, then it will prize him. When a man 
extremely wants a thing, nothing will satisfy him until he obtain it. 
As Abraham, for want of a child, though he had much, yet he crieth 
out, ' What wilt thou give me, since I go childless ? ' Such is the 
language of the soul What is all this, since I have not Christ ? 
Sampson his victory could do him no good when he had no water to 
quench his thirst : Judges xv. 19, ' Thou hast given me a deliverance, 
and now I shall die for thirst.' Thus carnal men have other things, 
but they shall die and be damned for want of Christ. If men were 
brought to this, to see that there were satisfaction nowhere else for 
them, they would value him. 

5. They do not know what it is to have an interest in Christ ; they 
never had experience of him. Here is the difference between Christ 
and other comforts : The more experience we have had of them, the 
less satisfaction we perceive to be in them ; but the more experience 
we have of Christ, the more we desire to have. Taste Christ once, 
and there will be no room left for any other desire. Though you Want 
other things, this maketh amends for all. As Austin crieth out, 


Quam suave milii subito factum est carere suavitatibus nugarum ! 
A man may be weary of other comforts, of the greatest comfort of 
life, but you never heard of any that complained they had too much 
love for Christ. Men are easily prejudiced against Christ that never 
tried him. They that familiarly conversed with him among the Jews, 
they saw his miracles, the others saw only his meanness. 

Object. But you will say, Do not carnal persons think Jesus Christ 
worthy of any esteem from them ? How is it, then, that they think 
and speak so honourably of him, and count it a dishonour to them not 
to profess him ? A Turk, or a Jew, or a pagan, they are terms of 
reproach among us. 

Ans. To solve this doubt I shall show you 

1. Affirmatively, in what manner they do esteem him. 

2. Negatively, how they do not esteem him. 
1. Affirmatively, how they may esteem him. 

[1.] Hypocritically in their words : Titus i. 16, ' They profess they 
know Christ, but in works they deny him.' It is not what a man 
speaketh out of a little traditional knowledge. A man's carriage is the 
best measure of his esteem. When the judgment determineth aright, 
the conversation is proportionable in some measure ; that followeth ulti- 
mum dictamen, the last determination of the heart. Men may thus 
profess they know Christ, and value him, who live in a habitual 
neglect of what he commands, and indulge and allow themselves in a 
continual practice of what he hath forbidden. 

[2.] Indefinitely they may esteem him, that is, in some nice and bare 
speculations, when they do not look upon him as commanding what 
is contrary to their carnal desires ; they consider Christ in an indefinite 
way, not such a person as he is set forth in the word. Speculative 
truths and general apprehensions do not thwart our corrupt desires. 
A man may love Christ in general, but not in a particular way. 

[3.] They may have some partial esteem for him, as conceiving him 
to be able to bring them to happiness : John vi. 34, ' Lord, evermore 
give us this bread/ And with Balaam they may wish, * Oh that I 
might die the death of the righteous, and that my last end may be like 
his/ They would esteem Christ were it not for his hard terms of duty 
and obedience. 

[4.] Customarily, in a traditional way. They esteem Christ so far as 
he is commonly esteemed of in the world. If anything recede from 
the general form and usual rate of duties, it is base in their eyes, not 
being honoured with the common custom and practice of men. Carnal 
professors will despise others that do more than they. ' Singing of 
psalms, repeating of sermons, Christian conference, these meet with 
a scoff from them. Men of Michal's spirit will scoff at what is more 
than ordinary, as she did at David when he danced before the ark : 
2 Sam. vi. 20, * How glorious was the king of Israel to-day ! ' But 
David replieth, * If this be to be vile, I will be yet more vile/ 

2. Negatively, how they do not esteem Christ. 

[1.] They do not esteem all of Christ. 
[2.] Nor always. These two will somewhat clear it. 
[1.J They do not esteem all of Christ. If Christ be truly precious to 
the soul, then all of Christ must be precious ; not only his name, and 



offices, and sufferings, but also his ordinances, ministers, members, 
and government. You must esteem every one of these. Many esteem 
Christ in one thing, but not in another ; they may delight in his 
mercy, but not in his holiness ; they may love him as a priest to die 
tor them, but not as a king to rule over them ; they will not submit 
to the laws of his kingdom ; they find no sweetness in his ordinances ; 
they despise his servants, they do not love a whole Christ. It is a 
fancy of their own making ; they think they esteem Christ, but they 
esteem him not as he hath set forth himself in his word. 

[2.] They do not esteem him always, nor at all times. It appeareth 
plainly that Christ is set at nought by them in times of outward or 
inward opposition. Our esteem is shown when it cometh to these 

(1st.) In time of outward opposition ; when the profession of Christ 
is oppugned, they lay it down, they do not think him worthy the 
suffering for. Most men esteem Christ because of the common 
countenance that is given to his ways in a state or kingdom, and 
therefore do they so often vary. The same men that were Protestants 
in King Edward's days were Papists in Queen Mary's, and Protest 
ants again in Queen Elizabeth's. England hath been often used to 
these changes. Men look to the public favour that is given to the 
ways of Christ, and so join with them ; but in times of disgrace 
and opposition they hide their faces from him, they will not own 

(2dly.) In time of inward opposition ; they assent to the goodness of 
Christ in the general, till it conies to a particular trial between him 
and their lusts. When Christ cometh in competition with their 
sensual pleasure, and honour, and estimation, then is he set at nought 
by them. They did not esteem him upon these terms, to part with 
their lusts for him. So much for the doctrinal part. 

Use is for information, to give us the difference between carnal 
men and the people of God. Christ is an abject to the one, and a 
jewel to the other. It is good to observe this difference of esteem and 
valuation, and therefore I shall discover it on both sides. 

1. I shall show you how the wicked show themselves to disesteem 

2. How the godly manifest their esteem to him. 

1. How the wicked show themselves to disesteem Christ. 

[1.] They prefer every base lust, the satisfaction of every sinful 
motion, before him. What care they for obeying Christ, so they may 
satisfy their present corrupt desires ? It is said, Heb. xii. 16, that 
' Esau ' (that profane person, as the Spirit of God brandeth him) ' for 
one morsel of meat sold his birthright.' The birthright among the 
patriarchs was a pawn of the blessing of being heir of the promise. 
Now he esteemed the satisfaction of his sensual desires more than his 
spiritual prerogative ; like another profane person that said he would 
not lose his portion in Paris for his portion in paradise. The Jews 
would rather have Barabbas delivered to them than Christ. They 
chose the vile pleasures of sin, or the vain things of the world, rather 
than the sure mercies of David. These the apostle describes to be, 
2 Tim. in. 4, ' Lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God/ They 


prefer a little contemptible pleasure before Christ. They venture 
their souls for a minute's pleasure, for one dram or taste of it. 

[2.] They prefer the pleasing of carnal men before him. They can 
rather deny the motions of Christ's Spirit than the importunate solici 
tations of a wicked friend. Many that are not allured into the tents 
of Shem are easily drawn into sin. The most easy facile natures and 
dispositions are hard enough to be wrought upon to any good, but 
they are easily drawn to sin, and to continue wilful and stubborn to 
Christ. It is said, Prov. vii. 22, ' He goeth after her straightway, as 
an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the 
stocks/ Whereas a godly man saith as Joseph, ' How can I do this 
great wickedness, and sin against God ? ' They cannot so readily 
comply; others, they will rather lose their souls than leave their 
wicked company ; they cannot say nay to a solicitation that pleaseth 
the lust. 

[3.] They are so far from esteeming Christ, that they think he will 
be a disgrace to them, and therefore they are ashamed to be joined to 
him in a more strict and holy way, especially if they be great in the 
world. They think to be religious is beneath them. Nicodemus, being 
a rabbi, was ashamed to come to Christ before he was converted ; but 
afterwards this Nicodemus spake boldly for him : John vii. 51, ' Nico- 
demus, that came to Jesus by night, spake boldly, Doth our law judge 
any man before it hear him ?' There is a base disposition in men ; 
they think religion a disgrace, and that it is an abasement to them to 
stand publicly for the ways of God, to vary from the customs of the 
world, to begin holy conference, to do something beyond the general 
tenor and frame of profession in the world. 

2. For the godly ; they manifest their esteem of Christ divers ways. 

[1.] By labouring after communion with him with all care and 
diligence, and earnestness of desire. Oh, how they prize communion 
with him ! ' Thy loves are better than wine/ Cant. i. 2 ; ' Thy loving- 
kindness is better than life/ Ps. Ixiii. 3. They would rather have some 
intimations from God of his love, than life, and comfort, and honour. 

[2.] By rejoicing in him when they have at 'any time found him : 
Cant. i. 4, ' The king hath brought me into his chambers ; we will be 
glad and rejoice in thee ;' that the king should give them any closet- 
mercies, and the sweet solaces of his chamber : Isa. Ixi. 10, ' My soul 
shall be joyful in God, for he hath clothed me with the garments of 

[3.] By prizing those things where they find most of Christ, viz., 
his ordinances and servants, judging they are the excellent ones of the 
earth : Ps. xvi. 3, and Ps. xxvii. 4, 'One thing have I desired of the 
Lord, that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord 
all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to in 
quire in his temple.' 

[4.] By their boldness in professing him. A man that is ashamed 
of his religion dishonoureth it : Heb. xi. 16, ' They declared plainly 
that they sought a country, that is an heavenly/ And St Paul saith, 
Horn. i. 16, * I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ/ Nature brands 
evil with shame. They conceive more honourably of Christ's ways, 
than to be afraid to be seen in them. 


[5.] By seeking his honour and praise more than their own concern 
ments. It is enough if Christ be exalted. They would fain have him 
exalted not only in their own hearts, but in the kingdom also where 
they live. Men desire that what they esteem should be publicly ad 
vanced : Ps. xiv. 7, ' Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of 
Zion ! When will the Lord bring back the captivity of his people ?' 

[6.] By avoiding all means whereby Christ may be dishonoured and 
disesteemed. They would have Christ held forth in their hearts, and 
in their ways. Christians are often pressed to live to the glory of God : 
Mat. v. 16, ' Let your light so shine before men, that they may see 
your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven ;' 1 Peter 
li. 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.' 
One of their questions will be, Shall I not dishonour God by this ? 
Nathan, when he came to David, telleth him he had made the name 
of God to be blasphemed : 2 Sam. xii. 13, ' Nathan said unto David, 
The Lord also hath put away thy sin ; thou shalt not die. Howbeit, be 
cause by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of 
the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall 
surely die.' 

[7.] By accounting those things which are dishonourable in t he- 
world to be honourable with Christ, such as reproaches and afflictions. 
It is said, Acts v. 41, ' They departed from the council, rejoicing that 
they were counted worthy to suffer for his name/ So St Paul saith, 
Acts xxviii. 20, ' For the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain/ 
He holds it up in triumph. 


Surely Jie hath lorne our griefs, and carried our sorroivs ; yet we did 
esteem Mm stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 

THE prophet having given you the meanness of Christ's birth, and the 
manner of his appearing in the world, beginneth now to draw towards 
his death and passion, and in this verse entereth upon it, and doth not 
barely describe Christ's agonies and fears, but showeth the cause of it, 
confuting the folly of the Jews, who rejected Christ because he came 
under this disguise of meanness and sufferings, by showing it was 
for their sakes : ' Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our 

This text is the rather to be prized, because as it is a clear convic 
tion against the Jews, so it is a ground of all consolation to Christians. 
It is a clear demonstration against the Jews ; they could never elude 
it, insomuch that when Luther urged this place to them, they had 
but this poor shift, that certainly the people of the Jews did not de 
serve these plagues and therefore the Messiah needed not to take them 


away ; or if they did deserve them, it was because they did not perse 
cute Christ enough, the pretended Messiah. Thus it is usual with 
people to have an "ill apprehension of their miseries. But other Jews 
left all upon the reading of this chapter ; and being asked why ? they 
answered, God was stricken and smitten, they could never put by that, 
they said. And it is the ground of all consolation to Christians. Luther 
said all St Paul's epistles were so, and those floods of consolation 
flowed out of this fountain : ' He hath borne our griefs, and carried our 

Therefore, let us a little look upon it. The parts are two : 

1. Christ's love. 

2. Man's unthankfulness. 

1. Christ's love, which is set forth in that clause, * Surely he hath 
borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.' And there consider 

El.] The certainty of what is averred of Christ : surely. 
2.] The acts of Christ's obedience, set forth in two words : lie hath 
borne, lie hath carried. 
[3.] The objects : they are griefs, sorrows. 

2. Man's unthankfulness, in censuring Christ and despising him ; 
and there consider 

[1.] The persons : we. 

[2.] The guilt : esteeming Christ stricken and smitten of God. These 
are the parts ; and that I may open them, I shall go over them in a 
short comment and explication, and then clear a doubt about the quot 
ing of these words by St Matthew. I shall first go over the words. 

Surely. To note (1.) The reality of the' thing in regard of Christ's 
suffering, it was verily and really done. (2.) To note the truth of the 
proposition ; this is a true'proposition. Christ hath borne our griefs ; he 
bore them, and it is true that he bore them really. And then for the 
acts, he bore and carried. They note a susception or taking up of things 
to put them upon our backs. And then the objects, our griefs, our 
sorroivs. The first word signifieth sicknesses, the last wounds. The 
one importeth the sin, the other the punishment of sin. The Septua- 
gint translates it, ouro? ra? d/j,aprla$ f^wv (ftepei, real irepl rj/jiwv oSvvarai, 
he beareth our sins, and is pained for our sakes. Then the specifi 
cation of the object, our sins, our griefs. It implieth, first, that it is 
for our sakes he endured these sicknesses and sorrows for us. Secondly, 
He not only bore pains for our sakes, but the pains that we should have 
endured, or at least equivalent to what we should have borne and carried, 
if we had suffered for sin. And it implieth not only the cause of suf 
fering, but the quality of suffering. So much for the first part. 

2. For man's unthankfulness, yea, evil requital of Christ's love. 
For here is first something implied, an unworthy refusal of him for our 
saviour : yet ive. Secondly, The ground of this refusal, expressed upon 
a false supposition or surmise, that all these calamities came upon him 
by the just judgment of God : we esteemed liim stricken and smitten 
of God. Some read quasi leprosum stricken with a leprosy. Leprosy 
was esteemed among the Jews as the greatest expression of God's 
anger. They looked upon him as in the state of leprosy, as if he had 
the expressions of God's anger upon him. And then as for smitten of 
God and afflicted. Expressions are heaped up one upon another, to 


show the height of Christ's sufferings, and their malice. He suffered 
much, and they looked upon him as having all the expressions of God's 
anger : ' Stricken, smitten, afflicted.' 

But you will say, Was not this true? was he not stricken and 
afflicted by God ? 

I answer True, but not in their sense ; they did not look upon 
themselves stricken and smitten by God in him. For the matter of 
the censure, it was right, but for the form and manner of application 
to Christ, it is wrong. 

But now to answer one objection to the whole, and I have done with 
the explication. 

If this be the meaning of the words, how cometh it then to be quoted 
by Matthew in another sense ? Mat. viii. 17, ' That it might be fulfilled 
which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our in 
firmities, and bare our sicknesses/ Where it is applied to the healing 
of corporal and bodily diseases. 

This is a doubt fit to be solved, and I shall answer it. 

1. Some think, and, for aught I see, Junius is in the number, that 
this place is to be meant of bodily diseases, as if it were an argument 
only brought to prove that Christ was the Messiah by the power he- 
exerted in curing those diseases ; and that this bearing and carrying 
intimated no more than the bare taking them away. But if it be pro 
perly to be understood of diseases, how will the last clause agree ? for 
it is nonsense to think he was stricken and smitten of God because he 
took away diseases. 

2. Others therefore think that the proper and literal sense is con 
cerning the bearing and taking away of sins and punishments, though 
in an accommodative sense it has respect to diseases bodily. But how 
is it said then, ' that it might be fulfilled/ which is a note of differ 
ence when a text is quoted for the thing contained in it, or the words 
alluded to in it ? Therefore 

3. What is to be done then ? I answer We must distinguish of the 
sense of a place. There is the proper and full sense, and the less 
principal, secondary, and subordinate sense. So it may be applied to 
diseases, which was some kind of representation of his great love in 
taking away our sins, and is virtually so in this place, because sick 
nesses are the effects of sin at least. And this action of Christ's taking 
away diseases, was a type of his taking away sin. Now, Matthew 
applieth that to the sign, which did more fully agree to the thing itself 
and the truth signified. And observe this, for the clearing of this and 
other scriptures : as the patriarchs in their actions, and in what they 
did, were types of Christ, so Christ's own actions were in a manner 
types of what he himself would more principally do, as casting out of 
devils, dispossessing of Satan, healing the sick ; and so the prophecy 
was fulfilled in the type : and it was a taste of Christ's love when he- 
cured the sick and healed every disease. And so upon the cross,, 
when he bare our sins, and suffered for them ; as it is quoted by Peter r 
who expressly followeth the Septuagint's translation of this place, say 
ing, 1 Peter ii. 24, ' Who his own self bare our sins in his own body 
on the tree.' Now the words being explained, I shall give you several 
brief notes upon them ; for if I should speak largely, I shall prevent 


myself in the chapter. (1.) From that deep assertion with which this 
truth is proposed, surely, look upon it, it is a sure thing : this is a 
true proposition, that Christ did bear our sins and carry our griefs; 
it noteth the truth of the thing, and the unquestionableness of it : 
this surely chiefly relateth to that our sins; though it is to the 
whole sentence, yet to that emphatically. The note then is this : 

Doct. 1. That it is a most unquestionable truth that Jesus Christ 
suffered for our sins. As the centurion said, Mat. xxvii. 54, ' Truly 
this was a just man, and the Son of God/ They had some tremulous 
consent before, but then he puts it out of question : truly it was so, he 
was some great man. But to prove it, take that place : 1 Tim. i. 15, 
' This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ 
Jesus came into the world to save sinners.' It is a sure thing, an un 
questionable truth. So the gospel of salvation is a word of truth, Eph. 
i. 13. In regard of its effects, it is called there the gospel of salvation ; 
in regard of its property, the word of truth. 

I shall prove it to you a little by parts. 

1. It is an unquestionable truth against the Jews that he did not 
die for his own sins, for to those the prophet chiefly speaketh : and I 
should not be faithful to the text if I did not hint it. John viii. 46, 
Christ makeththis challenge, * Which of you convinceth me of sin?' 
not, Who can lay anything to my charge ? For they were ready to lay 
anything to his charge, and to object against him as a traitor, deceiver,, 
glutton, demoniac, what not ; but they could not make it good, nor 
convince him of it. Nay, it is worth the observation, that God would 
not surfer him to be condemned till Pilate had solemnly acquitted him 
thrice by his own mouth. See it in one chapter, Luke xxiii. 4, ' He 
saith to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man ;' 
and again, ver. 14, * Pilate said to the chief priests, and the rulers, 
and the people altogether, I have examined him before you, and have 
found no fault in him touching those things whereof ye accuse him ;' 
and in ver. 22, ' And he said unto them the third time, Why, what 
evil hath he done ? I have found no cause of death in him.' And 
there was nothing but popular tumult, and a confused noise of voices, 
* Crucify him, crucify him/ but no cause specified. Just as Tertullian 
saith of the old Christians, Suojurenos inimicum vulgus invadit lapi- 
dibus et incendiis when they were dismissed from the judges, the 
common people would tear them in pieces, but they could assign no 
cause. Therefore, ' surely he hath borne our griefs.' As in the place 
before quoted, the centurion and they that were with him, when they 
saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, were forced to 
testify his innocence, Surely this was some hero, some man highly 
favoured by the gods. 

2. It is an unquestionable truth that he died for our sins, in 

[1.] It is the sum of all truth : 2 Cor. i. 20, ' For all the promises 
of God are in him yea, and in him Amen/ It is called ' a more sure 
word of prophecy/ 2 Peter i. 19. That part of the prophets that 
concerned Christ was more sure than all revelations and voices. 

[2.] This truth is confirmed by God's oath, Heb. vi. 14-19, when 
God made a promise to Abraham, ' because he could swear by no 


greater, he sware by himself, saying, Surely in blessing I will bless 
thee ; ' which, as the apostle reasoneth there, belongeth to us, through 
Christ. So that we have two immutable things God's promise, and 
God's oath. Surely that is God's oath ; if not, let me not be God. 

[3.] This a truth confirmed by Christ's own testimony, by the 
apostles and witnesses chosen to this purpose, whom the world was 
not able to withstand. And by a multitude of miracles wrought by 
them, and extraordinary gifts bestowed on them. Therefore it should 
be entertained as a sure truth, as a sure word of promise. 

Use. It serveth to show us how this proposition is to be entertained 
by us, as a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation and belief. 
Such truths are so commended to us to show how they should be 
received. It is to check our unbelief that these asseverations and 
commendations are annexed to great truths. A physician commendeth 
some medicines, not that they need it, but that the patient may the 
better take them. So we say it is true, not as if there were a doubt 
of it, but that the act of your faith may be the more revived and exer 
cised upon these truths. Now then close with this truth both in the 
general and particularly. 

1. In the general, look upon it as a faithful saying, that Christ the 
Son of God came into the world. There is a great deal of difference in 
men's assent to the gospel in the general. Every one doth not believe 
it to be a word of truth. First, In some there is but a conjectural ap 
prehension ; it may be true, or it may not, for they never made a strict 
inquiry into it, only received it by tradition. As the men of Samaria, 
Christ telleth them, ' Ye worship ye know not what,' John iv. 22. So 
they take up the gospel at hap-hazard, not knowing the worth of it, 
never feeling the power of it, nor experiencing the comfort of it. 
Secondly, In others there is but opinion, in which the mind is strongly 
swayed to think it true, but they cannot tell how it may prove. There 
are fears and doubts of the falsehood, as well as of the truth of it. 
They cannot contradict it, and yet cannot settle in it, for the establishing 
of their souls. There may be some ungrounded overly persuasions, 
which may work in them that which the apostle calleth an enlightening, 
and a tasting of the powers of the world to come, Heb. vi. 5. As some 
were drawn into baptism in the primitive church out of a probable 
conceit of the truth of the gospel, there may be some flashy momentary 
lightnings, but in few there are real and thorough persuasions of the 
truth of this proposition. 

2. In particular, we should get the riches of assurance of understand 
ing, that we may fetch comfort out of it for ourselves. We should all say, 
For our sins Christ died ; and if that word be too common, my sins. 
Take heed of making God a liar : 1 John v. 10, * He that believeth 
not God, hath made him a liar, because he believeth not the record 
that God gave of his Son.' Here is the oath of the Spirit of God, 
' Surely he hath borne our griefs.' There should be the like confidence 
in our hearts as there is truth in the proposition. Do not doubt of the 
sure word of promise. Many are loth to determine upon comfort ; they 
are afraid of presumption; they are afraid to look upon the pro 
mises on the bright side : why then, look upon them in the humbling 
way. Claim by the apostle's tenure, ' He came to save sinners, of 


whom I am chief,' 1 Tim. i. 15. He came to die for sinners ; why not 
then for me ? I am sure I am as much a sinner as any other man, and 
more too. The faithful saying is, that Christ came to die for sinners ; 
surely I am sinner enough for Christ to save, that you can say by ex 
perience. Why, if the word be true, it is as true Christ came to take 
away our sins. 

But how shall I look upon this as a faithful saying, that Christ came 
to die for my sins ? Is not that to believe a lie, suppose I be a repro 
bate ? 

Ans. [1.] The word of God excludeth none but those that exclude 
themselves. We are to go to God's revealed will ; that we are bound 
to believe, though in his secret will it should not be truth. As Abra 
ham was bound to believe, after God's command, that Isaac should die 
under his hand, though God had otherwise purposed ; for you know it 
is said, 1 Tim. ii. 4, ' Who will have all men to be saved, and to come 
to the knowledge of the truth/ God showeth them that the promul 
gation of the gospel is general. 

[2.] Though every wicked man is not bound to believe that his sins 
are pardoned, yet he is bound to come to Christ that he may obtain 
forgiveness. Therefore I close this proposition with a great deal of 
joy, that surely Christ came to pardon our sins, and to carry our griefs. 
So much to this use and point. 

2. From the first act of Christ's love, with the object of it : ' He 
hath borne our griefs ; ' that is, took our sins upon him : the point is: 

Doct. 2. That Jesus Christ bore the guilt of our sins. 

All our griefs were really transacted and cast upon him. The 
scriptures delight much in the expression of Christ's bearing our sins, 
and it implieth two things : 

1. A sublation, a taking of them away from us. 

2. A susception of them upon himself. Look, as the sacrifice is 
said to bear the iniquities of the people, and the two goats the slain 
goat and the scape-goat typed out Christ's death and resurrection : 
Lev. xvi. 22, ' And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities 
unto a land not inhabited ;' so Christ is said to ' bear our sins in his 
own body upon the tree,' 1 Peter ii. 24 the guilt and the punishment of 
them. So Heb. ix. 28, it is said, ' Christ was once offered to bear the 
sins of many;' and John i. 29, 'Behold the Lamb of God, which 
taketh away the sins of the world,' aipeu : the word signifieth both to 
bear and to take away. Now, this bearing, in the language of the 
scripture, implieth a real susception of guilt; not only Christ's taking 
away of sin from us, but a taking of it into his own person ; as Ezek. 
xviii. 20, ' The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither 
shall the father bear the iniquity of the son ; ' that is, his wickedness 
and his guilt shall not be transacted upon him. Now Christ bore our 
sins : 

[1.] That he might make a change with us : 2 Cor. v. 21, ' He was 
made sin for us that knew no sin, that we might be made the right 
eousness of God in him/ He would take our sins, that we might have 
his righteousness. What a great exchange is here ! As if a king 
should take a beggar's weeds and dunghill rags for his own royal 
robes. It was much for Joshua to have his filthy garments taken 


from him, more to have change of raiment ; most of all that Christ 
should take such cast-off rags upon himself. We are righteousness 
in him, he is sin in us. In the great contrivance of the covenant, 
everything is done by way of exchange. The Son of God was made the 
Son of man, that the sons of men might become the sons of God. He 
took our misery that we might have his glory. He was born of 
a woman that we might be born of God. Christ was really sin for us, 
that we might be really righteous in him. 

[2.] That he might destroy sin in us, by taking it into his own per 
son : 1 Peter ii. 24, ' He bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we 
might be dead unto sin,' aTroyevofJLevoi : the word signifieth that w& 
might be unborn to SID : it cannot be fully rendered. We were be 
fore dead in sins : Christ would make us dead to sin, and, therefore, 
he took it into his own person. You know some foul diseases pass 
from us by the transmission of the infection to others. Christ was in 
fected, as it were, by our corruptions, that we might be free. We, 
that were dead in sins, are now dead to sin, the vigour and strength 
of sin being extinguished by virtue derived from Christ's bearing of 
them, whereby the soul is restored to health again. 

The uses of this point are : 

1. To discover to us the love of Christ, whereby our faith hath 
somewhat to fix and dwell upon. The love of Christ is seen in that 
he would not only take away the guilt of sins, but take it into his own 
person. Here is the lowest condescension, and so the highest expres 
sion of love, that he was ' made sin/ This is that which is most ab 
horrent from the purity of the divine nature, to be sin ; and yet he was 
so for our sakes ; that was the lowest step and condescension that could 
be. Christ was made many things for us, but there is the highest 
wonder of his love, that he should be made sin for us. Usually that 
is the highest expression of love, when men do not only stoop beneath 
themselves, but do that which is contrary to their natures, to do us 
good. As when a stern man doth not only serve our necessities in his 
own way, but with great affability ; and when a modest man is bold for 
our sakes. These things take with us, when men deny their very 
tempers and dispositions to serve us. This was the greatest self- 
denial in Christ, to become sin. Oh, work it upon your hearts, and 
display it before your faith ! Here is cause of triumph : Col. ii. 14, 
' Whatever was contrary to us, Christ took it away, nailing it to his 
cross.' How nailed it ? It was nailed when Christ was nailed : he 
bore it in his own person. Oh, how hath God provided for the triumph 
of our faith ! 

Doct. 3. I might further observe, that sin is our soul-sickness. 

He took our griefs or sickness. The more gracious, the more 
healthy the soul is : 3 John 2, ' I wish above all thing that thou 
mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.' Gaius 
had a healthy soul in a sickly body. As a disease blasteth the per 
fection and beauty of the body, so doth sin that of the soul, it doth 
not thrive and prosper under it. There are some sins that bear 
a great analogy and resemblance with outward diseases, and affect the- 
soul just as they do the body. But I will not speak to that now. 
I proceed to a fourth point from the second act of Christ's love. 


Doct 4. That the Lord Jesus Christ took not only our sickness but 
our sorrows. 

He did not only bear our griefs, but carried our sorrows ; that is, 
took not only our guilt, but our punishment upon him ; that is, 
the very wrath that we should have endured if we had suffered for sin, 
even the curse of the law and the wrath of God. He put himself in 
our stead ; Christ would give us an experience of what he freed u& 
from in his own person. That I may make this out to you, consider : 
(1.) What ; (2.) How ; (3.) Why Christ suffered. 

1. What Christ suffered. His sufferings were not only outward 
and visible, such as he endured in the garden, in the hall, and on the 
cross, bufferings, scourgings, taunting insultations, being mocked, 
spit upon, crowned with thorns, pierced, crucified. Not only these,, 
but inward sufferings, such as were : 

[1.] The assaults of spiritual wickednesses. The'devil, seeing Christ 
under great agonies, thought he had a great advantage upon him, 
and therefore was very busy with him. Now God gave him leave, 
and Christ offered as it were the occasion, being stirred with passions ; 
though, as a glass of clean water that is shaken, there was no filth to 
arise. God gave Satan leave, the chains of his providence being taken 
off from him, as in that place, Luke xxii. 53, 'This is your hour, and 
the power of darkness : ' 77 &pa, KOI rj egovcrla rov O-KOTOVS. Hell's 
licentious time, it was, as it were, let loose to do what it would. 
The devil, who would tempt Christ in his fasting, would now much 
more in his dissolution and desertion : hell had a kind of license to 
tempt Christ, so far as it might stand with the innocency of his person. 

[2.] The desertion of God the Father, whereby all comfort was 
eclipsed and hidden from his soul ; he was sequestered from all sense 
of comfort, though the union were not dissolved. Therefore, he crieth 
out, Mat. xxvii. 46, ' My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ? ' 
Though he lost his Father's love, it was not as if he had apprehensions 
that there was any change in God towards him ; God was the same to 
Christ still, though not appearing in the same way : as the sun is the 
same, whether it shine through a red or green glass, and so casteth 
sometimes a comfortable and sometimes a bloody reflection. 

[3.] He suffered inwardly the impressions of his Father's wrath, and 
that was a heavy burden indeed ; and, therefore, he saith, Mat. xxvL 
38, ' My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.' It is said, 
Gal. iii. 13, He was ' made a curse for us ; ' not only deprived of love y 
but made a curse. He suffered so much of the wrath of God, anc 
underwent the curse of the law, so far forth as it might stand with hk 
office and person, that, if he had not been God, he would have re 
mained under that curse to all eternity. 

2. How he suffered. It was with a great deal of reluctancy and 
consternation expressed in his prayers, fears, grief, insomuch that he 
needed an angel to comfort him ; and yet, notwithstanding, he was in 
so great an agony, that he sweat great drops of blood : the word is 
Opopfioi,, crumbs and clots of blood, Luke xxii. 44. That implieth a 
great deal of consternation of mind. Ordinarily, men, when they are 
in a great passion, emit sweat ; but the impression of it was so strong 
upon Christ that he emitted blood, nay, thick clots of blood, a sign 


that his soul laboured under the violence of strong passions. How 
poorly, then, do they provide for the honour of our Saviour that say 
he suffered no more than the cruelty and malice of men ! The mar 
tyrs have suffered a great deal of more outward cruelty from men 
cheerfully, when they have been sawed, burned, melted, roasted, har 
rowed, boiled in lead or oil. They never felt much agonies and con 
sternations, and, therefore, there was more in Christ's suffering than 
man's cruelty. 

3. Let us consider why he suffered, and how that will clear the con 
clusion we have in hand. 

[1.] He suffered to free us from the wrath which he endured, that 
was one end : 1 Thes. i. 10, ' Even Jesus, who delivered us from the 
wrath to come/ Therefore, he underwent it in his own person ; and 
the pains of hell did in a manner compass him round [about. The 
ground of this reason lieth in this, that Christ was our surety and sub 
stitute, and, therefore, was to subject himself to that wrath which we 
had deserved by our sins, and should have endured in our persons, if 
he had not redeemed us from it. Our surety must carry our sorrows. 
He was to suffer not only for us, but in our name and stead ; and the 
surety was to pay the same sum of money that the debtor oweth : 
Heb. vii. 22, Jesus was ' made a surety of a better testament.' The 
debt of punishment was to be exacted of him, as well as the debt of 
obedience. Jesus was made our surety, and he fully satisfied God's 
justice for that punishment that we owed to him by suffering it in his 
own person. 

[2.] He was to suffer to satisfy for our sins that he had taken upon 
him ; for our sins were really put upon Christ, as was shown in the 
former point. And if the sins and the punishment, which was the 
wrath of God, it followeth by a necessary consequence, that he who 
bore our griefs should also carry our sorrows. The ground of this 
reason is, because, as God meant to magnify his mercy at this time, 
so also his justice. He would not pardon sin without satisfaction for 
sin in us, or in our surety : Ps. cxvi. 5, ' Gracious is the Lord, and 
righteous/ Now, if God had restored mankind without requiring our 
sins of Christ, he had only discovered his mercy. Nay, if an ordinary 
death had been accepted, as some dream of an acceptation, it had been 
all grace still. Now, it was God's design to express his justice as well 
as his mercy : 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/ And the apostle repeateth it, ver. 26, ' To 
declare, I say, his righteousness, that he might be just and the justifier 
of him that believeth in Jesus ; ' that is, that he might be acknow 
ledged just, even while of mercy he forgave sins. This is what the 
light of nature teacheth men, that justice must be satisfied before 
mercy could have a free passage. And, indeed, in the business of be 
lieving, the soul sticketh here : God is a just God, and this was what 
made the most seeing and knowing heathens to be at a loss how 
divine justice could be satisfied ; and, therefore, to expiate guilt, they 
would give all that was near and dear to them, the fruit of their 
bodies for the sin of their souls. Whereas the gospel, you see, hold- 
*eth it forth in a sweet way, Christ suffering the infinite wrath of his 


Father, even as much as would have sunk any soul to hell eternally, 
if it had been laid upon him. 

These arguments, I conceive, are sufficient. I will not traverse all 
the arguments and doubts that might be objected. Solid and funda 
mental truths are much weakened and lessened in the hearts of the 
hearers, when they are proposed in a controversial way ; and therefore, 
lest I should prejudice this comfortable doctrine, while I go about to 
confirm it, I shall only touch upon two objections that concern the 
main state of the point. 

Object. 1. If Christ made a full satisfaction by bearing our sorrows 
and his Father's wrath, how then doth God love us freely ? how 
is mercy magnified ? 

I answer briefly The freeness of God's love or mercy doth not ex 
clude the fulness of Christ's merit. You shall see the apostle joineth 
both together, God's mercy and Christ's merit : Bom. iii. 24, ' Being 
justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus 
Christ/ Freely, in respect of us ; we could contribute nothing of de 
sert, nor nothing of satisfaction toward it. There can be no price paid 
by ourselves, nor by any for us. We could not satisfy for ourselves, 
nor merit a satisfier. And therefore there is a great deal of freeness 
of mercy held forth in it, in that God freely gave Christ for us. The 
scriptures always speak of Christ as a gift : ' For God so loved the 
world, that he gave his only-begotten Son.' There are divers respects- 
that set out the freeness of the gift. First, In that he gave him of his 
own accord. We could not enlarge our thoughts to such a desire, Isa. 
Ixv. 1. As God said in another like case, ' I am found of them that 
sought me not.' It is impossible that man or angel could take in such 
a contrivance in his thoughts to ask it of God. Secondly, Freely, be 
cause, as we cannot deserve it, so we cannot requite it. God giveth 
Christ to them that can give nothing for him. But this must be the 
work of another place. 

Object. 2 is this, How did Christ suffer our punishment, since his 
sufferings were but temporary, and ours to be eternal ? There are 
divers answers. I will give you that which is most satisfying. 

1. I distinguish of our punishment ; it maybe considered two ways : 
as to the substance, and as to the circumstances of it. For the sub 
stance, Christ suffered it fully, even infinite wrath, though not with 
such circumstances as could not stand with his person and office. 

2. That those circumstances, the eternity and duration of our punish 
ment, are not so much in regard of the punishment itself, as the per 
sons that undergo it. It is because they cannot conquer and get above 
it. Now Christ was such an excellent person that he could not only 
undergo infinite wrath, but get above it. Christ could set himself free 
by his own power. The scriptures hint this answer in that expression, 
Acts ii. 24, ' Having loosed the pains of death, because it was not pos 
sible he should be holden of it.' Death and the curse were, as it were, 
in travail ; for look, what pains and throes a travailing woman sus- 
taineth till she be delivered of her burden ; even such pangs did the 
grave and the curse feel till Christ were gotten free from them, for it 
was impossible he could be holden of it. Thus for that objection. 
Those curses that would have continued upon him for ever and ever, 


Christ conquered by the power of his Godhead, for he was to suffer 

Use 1. Is exhortation, to press you to three duties : 

1. To observe this great work of God, to put the punishment of 
our sins upon Christ. 

[1.] Meditate upon it in your thoughts. Here is enough to take 
them up to all eternity. Deep sufferings seem to challenge from us a 
serious contemplation : Lam. i. 12, * Is it nothing to you, all ye that 
pass by ? Behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto my 
sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me 
in the day of his fierce anger/ which some have applied to Christ, 
though I think improperly. I quote it only to show you that a tran 
sient glance, a mere passing by, is not enough for deep sorrows ; you 
must behold and see. The scripture speaks of looking upon him 
whom we have pierced, Zech. xii. 10. And observe it seriously ; it is 
not a slight turn of the thoughts this way that will serve. What is 
the reason that men that know the evil of sin and the mercy of 
Christ do not more love Christ and hate sin ? They have but a slight 
and superficial apprehension it swimmeth upon the top of their 
thoughts, and is readily up : It is true we are all sinners, and God is 
merciful. These men, though they speak often of it, do least of all 
believe it. Therefore do not hastily run over these truths. The 
scriptures always, when they express the love of God, they seem to give 
occasion for some pause of the thoughts : ' God so loved the world ! ' 
4 Behold what manner of love ! ' and the like. The works of God's 
providence require an accurate search : Ps. cxi. 2, ; The works of the 
Lord are great, and to be sought out by all that take pleasure therein.' 
Much more the great contrivance of the covenant. Take it into your 
thoughts, what it is to have a God suffering, and a God punishing. 

[2.] Observe it with admiration. One said he had gotten this good 
by philosophy, that he had learned to admire at nothing. The more 
you know of the things of God, the more you will admire at every 
thing, especially at this great mystery. There is an observation of 
curiosity, when men look into every creek of it by their reasons, 
and so lose themselves in a mist of errors. The Christian way is to 
look upon it with admiration, to admire the wisdom of God, that he 
should in such a sweet way magnify infinite wisdom and infinite jus 
tice at the same time. This very thing, the sufferings of Christ, 
the angels desire to pry into, 1 Peter i. 12 ; if you consult the context, 
you will find it so. He alludeth to the two angels that were set upon 
the mercy-seat, which was the covering of the ark, and typed out 
Christ. They would fain see the utmost of this mystery. They 
desire to look into it out of a thirst of knowledge, or a delight in medi 
tation. So 1 Tim. iii. 16, ' Seen of angels ; ' that is, this was the 
ravishing object that took up their thoughts. 

2. To learn that which God teacheth us in such an instance. There 
are many profitable lessons. I will but name them : First, There 
is the evil of sin. God would express his hatred against it by punish 
ing it in Christ. Sin is such a thing, that when Christ did but take 
the guilt of it into his own person, he must suffer the infinite wrath of 
his Father. Secondly, Then the impartial severity of divine jus- 


tice : God spared not his own Son. It is said, 2 Peter ii. 4, 
that he ' spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to 
hell/ But lo, here is a greater instance : Horn. viii. 32, ' He spared 
not his own Son/ when he bore our sins by imputation. No prerogative 
then can hinder. In vain do men pretend privileges against God's 
wrath. There is nothing but Christ that hath borne wrath that we can 
oppose against wrath. There is nothing that stoppeth the long fur 
rows but the casting God's Son in the way. Think of this, that you 
may fear before him. God is a consuming fire, Heb. xii. 29. He was 
so in Christ in a sense, and is so to all out of Christ. Thirdly, The 
law's dignity and indispensableness. God would fulfil every tittle ; not 
the least iota must pass away, but it must be fulfilled in Christ, both 
in regard of the duty it commandeth, arid the curse it annexeth to the 
breach of it. Fourthly, The love of God in providing amply against 
all our scruples, that he would offer us mercy in such a way as he might 
declare his justice, and so satisfy all our doubts. There is a saying 
usual in some men's prayers, * We appeal from thy justice to thy 
mercy/ This expression is not so warrantable. God's justice and 
God's mercy both look comfortably upon a sinner through Christ. 
It is mercy, and mercy purchased, when justice is satisfied. God 
is now faithful and just. That which before caused our greatest 
horror, causeth now our greatest triumph. God is a just God. 
What would men have given heretofore to appease justice ? It 
could never enter into men's thoughts which way that should be 
done, till the gospel revealed it. 

3. To render praise and thanksgiving to God. We enjoy a great 
deal of benefit by it, and great benefits require a great deal of duty. 
Here is a double motive to praise. The wrath of God is taken away 
from us, and Christ endured it for us. As to its being taken away 
from us, consider what it is to be freed from the wrath of God. What 
should we have endured if Christ had not made such a satisfaction ! 
You cannot expect that I should give you a map of hell. I have 
observed that great truths never do well when they are painted by 
fancy. War and hell are rather pleasant in the description than hor 
rible. It is like there may be a little shrinking in the soul ; as a 
gentle fresh gale that is let out upon the face of the sea may a little 
furl the surface and upper part rather than stir the billows, it doth 
not work soundly. A mere relation is better than a passionate de 
scription. Oh, consider, then, what it is to be deprived of all sense of 
the favour of God, to be delivered over to torments ceaseless, endless, 
and remediless. One flash of God's wrath into our consciences, 
how doth it make us roar ! And if a drop be so irksome, what is it 
to have an ocean of wrath poured upon us, and to be overwhelmed in 
soul and body 1 Oh, what a mercy is it that our Saviour hath delivered 
us from this everlasting vengeance of hell-fire ! I had rather you 
should enlarge your hearts to think of these things than expatiate 
upon them. To have all this taken away should make us abound in 
praise. And then, in the next place, consider how Christ took it 
upon himself. ' He hath carried our sorrows !' There are some 
rare instances and representations of those in story that have exposed 
themselves to violence and cruelty for others; as in Damon and 


Pythias, Pambo, &c. But none riseth so high as this, to wit, the 
leaving of infinite glory to suffer infinite wrath for us that was a 
hard exchange. Oh, then, work it upon your thoughts, that you may 
live to that God that gave himself for you. The main argument that 
faith urgeth upon the soul is drawn from Christ's suffering for us : 
Gal. ii. 20, ' The life which I live in the flesh, I live by the faith of 
the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.' I should 
have been given, but he gave himself in my stead. 

Use 2. Is information to the children of God to show the happiness 
of those that have an interest in Christ's death. There is no wrath 
against them : Isa. xxvii. 4, ' Fury is not in me/ There may be 
sometimes filii sub ira ; they may have some apprehensions of God's 
wrath through their own sins, when they have offended God. They 
must get a new act of pardon assured to them and to their con 
sciences. There may be displeasure, though not wrath. There may be 
afflictions, and that in pursuance of divine vengeance ; though for the 
matter they may be the same as light upon wicked men, yet their 
habitude and use is changed unto God's children. They are of ex 
ceeding great use to them, to quicken them to duties, to humble them 
for sin, to keep lusts low, to prevent vanity and pride of heart, and to 
brine: us nearer to God. So much for this verse. 


He was wounded for our transgressions, lie ivas bruised for our 
iniquities : the chastisement of our peace was upon him ; and by 
Ms stripes we are healed. 

THE prophet having in the former verse briefly touched upon the- 
sufferings of Christ, and the cause of them, by way of confutation of 
the Jews, he now amplifieth the argument, and enlargeth himself by 
setting it out in other expressions. All words and all thoughts are 
little enough for so great a mystery. It should not be tedious, though 
a man do always dwell upon it. St Paul's e/cpiva justifieth a minister, 
if he should preach no other thing to you : 1 Cor. ii. 2, * For I deter 
mined not to know anything among you, but Jesus Christ and him 
crucified/ Christ's sufferings are like the widow of Sarepta's cruse ; 
though we spend much of the oil of it, it will not fail, it will afford 
more consolation still ; and therefore it should not be grievous to you, 
if we hold your meditation to it. The prophet here, now he is fallen 
upon the subject, will not give it over. Though he had told you that 
surely he bore our sorrows and carried our griefs, yet he will not 
quit it so till he hath more fully expressed it to you, as he doth in the 
text : ' He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our 
iniquities/ &c. You may here in this verse observe three things : 

1. The history of Christ's sufferings. 

2. The cause of them. 

3. The fruit and benefit of them. These three things are scattered 
in divers expressions throughout the verse. 


1. The history of Christ's sufferings, set out by tvounds, bruises r 
chastisements, stripes ; which expressions are multiplied to fasten the 
thought of it the more upon our minds. And the words do not only 
imply those wounds in Christ's body by the nails, the spear, the 
scourge, but the whole bitterness of his bloody death ; and some of the 
expressions will bear it. ' He was wounded.' It is the manner of 
the scripture to use wounding for killing. ' He was bruised,' or 
broken, as it were crushed to pieces by the hand of God. ' The 
chastisement of our peace.' Chastisement, the word is applied to 
learning ; and because lazy and slow learners must be whipped, it is 
applied to signify punishment. Some think the prophet alludeth to 
those that were whipped by the sentence of the law, and by way of 
punishment. And then ' stripes,' ^w\wm avrov, the word signifieth 
sometimes gore, blood, or scars. And I conceive these things are the 
rather mentioned, wounds, stripes, scars, because Christ after his resur 
rection, for a testimony of the reality of his sufferings, retained these 
wounds and scars. So much for the first thing, the history. 

2. The cause of it : for our transgressions, for our iniquities. 
The first word noteth more properly the doing of evil, the latter 
swerving from good ; sins of omission and commission : Christ suffered 
for them all : the least neglect of duty, and the least obliquity in 
duties needed Christ to satisfy for them. It was for our iniquities as 
well as our transgressions, our defections from the right way. 

3. The fruits and benefits : they are two peace and healing. 

[1.] Peace: the chastisement of our peace ivas upon him. Some 
understand by peace whatsoever is good and precious ; it being usual 
with the Hebrews to express it by the word peace. And because the 
Septuagint sometimes turn shelomim, the plural word for peace, into 
retributions, some read it thus, ' The chastisement of retributions was 
upon him ;' that is, God payed him what should have been payed us, 
namely, punishment and wrath. But I conceive it noteth here that 
peace and reconciliation that is between God and a sinner. Christ was 
chastised to procure it for us. Sin made us odious, and enemies to 
God. Here is the first privilege : Christ bore the chastisement of our 

[2.] Healing. A strange paradox, you will think, that we should 
be healed by another's stripes ; but so it is. The meaning is, by this 
our souls are cured from the wounds and infection of sin. From the 
wounds, Christ took them upon himself. From the infection, sin is 
wounded by it, as you will see hereafter. 

I come to the points, which are three, according to the parts of thetext. 

1. That the Lord Jesus at his death endured many cruel and bitter 

2. That all these sufferings were undergone for our sins and trans 

3. That by these sufferings Christ hath purchased for us peace and 

Doct. 1. That Jesus Christ at his death endured many cruel and 
bitter sufferings. The prophet sets them out here by ivounds, bruises, 
stripes; which words, because they imply most of all his outward and 
bodily sufferings, and what he suffered from the cruelty and malice of 



man, I shall most of all touch upon these things, that they may be 
matter of meditation to you. 

1. He was betrayed by his own disciple ; that is sad. It was a 
double stab to Caesar's heart when Brutus was among the conspirators ; 
the grief is the more by far. David, in the person of Christ, complaineth 
of it, 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 ; then I would have hid my face from him. But it 
was thou, a man, mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance/ 

2. Forsaken by the rest of the disciples : Mark xiv. 50, ' And they 
all forsook him and fled ;' that is, all the disciples. And that is a 
misery, to be deprived of the solace of friends when we most want them. 
A friend is for adversity ; that is the reason of our 'Choice, that we may 
have some to stand by us in evil times. But all are gone. 

3. He was an object of the common hatred. They do not only come 
out against him with swords and staves, the usual instruments of vul 
gar fury, but thirst after his blood, cry against him, ' His blood be 
upon us and on our children/ They would rather have Barabbas 
released than Christ. 

4. Then he was haled to the judgment-seat, and there accused and 
sentenced contrary to all law, arid their own conscience. When Pilate 
asked of them what evil they found in him, they could rejoin nothing 
but a tumultous noise, ' Crucify him, crucify him ; ' that is all the 
reason they urge. 

5. There are several expressions of contempt used to him, which 
are like vinegar to wounds, the very smart and quintessence of grief. 
They buffeted him, that is an ignominious expression of cruelty ; 
buffeting being the punishment of slaves. Spitting, which was another 
token of contempt among the Jews : * If her father had spit upon her, 
should she not be unclean seven days ?' Numb. xii. 14. Yea, Job 
reckoned it as a great aggravation of his sufferings : Job xxx. 10, 
'They abhor me, they even dare to spit upon me/ And then they 
whipped and mocked him with a robe, a sceptre of reeds, and a crown 
of thorns. There can be no greater dishonour done to a man than to 
twit him with his dignity, to put the mock habiliments of majesty 
upon him. And then as to their several beatings and smitings, I 
cannot mention all. And at last they crucified him, a death designed 
for men accursed. Usually those that suffered that death were looked 
upon as accursed by God and men; Deut. xxi. 23, ' Cursed is every 
one that hangeth upon a tree/ It was the death of grievous malefac 
tors, such as blasphemers and idolaters. Nay, he was hanged between 
two thieves, in media latronum, tanquam latronum maximus ; he was 
put in the midst, as if he was the greatest malefactor of the three. 
And when he was dead, he was wounded with a spear, John xix. 34. 
An impotent, silly malice, to triumph over the dead ! Thus I have 
given you a taste of what you may read more fully in the evangelists. 

I come now to apply it. 

Use 1. It serveth for consolation, for examples are apt to ease the 
soul. The great sting of misery is, that we think it strange, and such 
a thing as never happened : * Is there any sorrow like my sorrow ?' 
Lam. i. 12. We are all apt to say so. Why, here is a great example. 


Christ, that he might sanctify afflictions to us, endured them in his 
own person. Comfort is never so well taken as when we speak to the 
particular case. Why, here in Christ's instance there is comfort. 
Whatever the case and distress be, there is some use in the argument : 
1 Peter ii. 21, ' Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example that we 
should follow his steps.' There is a great deal of merit in Christ's 
sufferings. Example is not all, and yet example is much. God would 
suffer too, that he might provide against all the terrible troubles you 
can be cast upon. I shall instance a little in those things that cause 
the greatest storm and tumult in the heart. 

1. In case thy greatest woe is brought about to thee by the men 
of thine own family and cherishing, remember Christ was so used, 
and so was St Paul. Among the other dangers that he reckoned up, he 
saith, ' In perils among false brethren.' And divers of the martyrs in 
church history have been betrayed into the hands of their enemies by 
their friends and allies. It is much, I confess, to meet with evil usage 
from whom we least looked for it. And yet you see this hath been 
the lot of Christ and the people of God before you. 

2. Is the case so, that you are in misery and forsaken of friends ? 
It is a very miserable case, that you find respect no longer than you 
are able to purchase it. Why, Christ was left by his own disciples ; 
and it is the lot of many a faithful servant of God, and will be till you 
can weed self-love out of men's hearts. Usually they aim at their own 
good in dispensing of their respects ; and when they cannot serve them 
selves of us, they will leave us : Prov. xiv. 20, ' The poor is hated by 
his neighbour, but the rich hath many friends/ 

3. Is it so that thou art an object of the common hatred, like Ish- 
mael, thy hand against every man, and every man's hand against thine ? 
Christ suffered it, and it is the lot of many a public-spirited servant 
of God. Lapidibus nos invadit inimicum vulgus, saith Tertullian. 
The common people are ready to brain us w r ith stones wheresoever we 
go. Kemember the Ephesian tumult, where the common people raged 
against Paul, so that he speaketh of them as if they had put off all 
humanity : 1 Cor. xv. 32, ' If after the manner of men I have fought 
with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me ? ' Hinting at that 
story in Acts xix. And it is the lot of many of God's people now to be 
cruelly handled by rude hands ; and evil neighbours look upon the 
day of their brethren's adversity, and are as some of them that do it. 

4. To be denied the benefit of law, the wall of our safety, the fence 
of our privileges and interests. The thing we suffer many times doth 
not grieve us so much as the injustice of it. Why, remember it was 
Christ's case ; he was condemned, though none could fasten the least 
guilt upon him. So it is many a Christian's case to be denied all 
right and equity : Eccles. v. 8, * If thou seest the oppression of the 
poor, and violent perverting of justice and judgment in a province, 
marvel not at the matter ; for he that is higher than the highest re- 
gardeth, and there be higher than they.' The primitive martyrs were 
condemned before they were heard. Tertullian complaineth much 
that they would not hear the Christians plead for themselves. So it 
would make a man gnash his teeth for indignation to see what undue 
proceedings there were against the martyrs that were convened before 


the bishops here in England ; the case was determined before heard. 
It was likewise so of late, agreeable to what Tertullian spake of the 

5. Art thou handled with a great deal of contempt, as in all the in 
stances of Christ's sufferings, buffeted with the back of the hand ? So 
was Christ : Mat. v. 39, ' Whosoever shall smite thee on the right 
cheek, turn to him the other also/ A transverse blow, such as might 
light upon the right cheek, expresseth great contempt. Christ would 
have you bear it. Again, be it spitting upon us, any expression of 
contempt, this is that which the nature of man stormeth at ; every one 
counteth himself worthy of some respect. And yet Christ submitted 
to it. So Job, ' they even dare to spit upon me/ See how the prophet 
speaketh in the person of Christ, 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/ Suppose thy case to be an oppro 
brious punishment. John Frith was put in the stocks, mocked, and 
made a laughing-stock, marked as a common vagrant. So was Christ, 
so was Samson, and so it was with Israel: Jer. xlviii. 27, ' For was 
not Israel a derision unto thee ? Was he found among thieves ? ' 
They did hoot at them, as boys do in the street after a thief when he 
is taken. Again, is there some upbraiding pageantry used in con 
tempt of thee ? Why, they gave Christ a reeden sceptre and a thorny 
crown. John Huss and Jerome of Prague had painted coats put upon 
them with devils round about them ; and many poor souls have been 
served in that manner. I remember a story of a king of England in 
his distress, whom they would trim upon a hill with cold water. Ay 
but, saith he, Hot water will come, meaning his tears. Is thy case so, 
that thou art called to suffer a shameful death for Christ ? Christ 
suffered the shamefulest death that can be for thee. Hanging is no 
dishonour to a Christian. It is not the death, but the cause that 
maketh it shameful. Ludovicus Marsaius thought himself honoured 
by his rope. Cur non et mihi quoque torquem donas, et hujus ordinis 
equitem erects 1 Give me a rope likewise, saith he, and make me a 
knight of this noble order. St Paul saith, ' With this chain/ holding it 
up by way of triumph. A man would have thought that it had been a 
golden chain that he spake of, since he honoured it so much, when, 
alas ! it was iron. Christ hath taken away all shame of punishment. 
And then they gave Christ vinegar instead of drink. This has been 
the lot of many Christians upon the inquisition-rack. So to have your 
dying words misconstrued and misreported ; there have not been want 
ing in all ages those that have turned the saints' Eloi into Ellas. What 
reports have there been of Tremellius turning Jew, and of divers pro- 
testants turning papists 1 So after death ; for you may live in such cala 
mitous times in which you may see a great deal of cruelty exercised, 
not only upon the bodies of the saints here, but even after death ; so it 
was with Christ, and so with his people. They were not safe when 
they had taken sanctuary in the grave. So the papists did against 
the bones of Wickliffe, Bucer, and others. Nay, if it were possible, 
they would reach to the damnation of the soul. As the papists said 
of John Huss, mandamus animam diabolo. And then, as Christ was 
crucified in the midst of two thieves, so it may be your case to be 


numbered among transgressors, to be counted heretics, factious, schis 
matics ; this is what the people of God hath suffered from the proud 
men of the world. Papists would make Protestantism a bundle of old 
errors, as Baily says in the Jesuit's Catechism. Thus the enemies, 
like the cruel watchmen, would fain take away the garment from the 
spouse, expose her to shame and contempt in the world. But remem 
ber, in all these cases Jesus Christ has gone before you. 

Use 2. Did Jesus endure such cruel and bitter sufferings ? It in- 
formeth you how unlike Christ they are who live in a way of pleasure 
and ease, as if the way to heaven were over a bed of roses. If Christ 
were a Man of Sorrows, certainly they are men of pleasures, such as 
mind nothing but present contentments and satisfactions. Thus I have 
given you the history of Christ's sufferings. 

I now come to the cause. We must not only look upon the suffer 
ings of Christ, but must look upon the cause of it. The point is : 

Doct. That Jesus Christ endured all these bitter sufferings at his 
death for our sins. Take a place or two of scripture to prove this : 
Kom. iv. 25, ' Who was delivered for our offences, and raised again for 
our justification/ You have need of places to confirm you when the 
most substantial truths are questioned. Delivered, that is delivered to 
death for our transgressions : 1 Cor. xv. 3, ' For I delivered unto you 
first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our 
sins according to the scriptures.' This was the doctrine Sfc Paul 
would preach among them, and the doctrine that contained the drift 
of the scriptures. He suffered for our sins, that he might become a 
sacrifice to appease God for us. That was it that all the world thirsted 
after, an expiation ; and it is fully performed by Christ. God for a 
while trained up his people in sacrifices, that he might type out the 
Lamb of God that was to be slain for the satisfying of wronged justice. 
But I shall say no more to that here, but proceed to application. 

Use 1. It confuteth divers errors and mistakes in doctrine, viz. : 

1. That evil blasphemy of the Socinians, that say that Christ only 
died by occasion of sin, not for sin. The scriptures speak plainly, and 
yet vain men list to blaspheme, that they may take away the merit of 
Christ's passion, and establish only his example. Christ did not only 
leave us an example, but satisfied for our sins. Adam left us more 
than an example of sin, and Christ left us more than an example of 

2. The derogatory doctrine of the papists, who extend this full 
satisfaction of Christ to sins only committed before baptism ; but as 
for mortal sins, and sins committed after baptism, they say we receive 
forgiveness only of the eternal, but not of the temporal punishment of 
them, which remaineth to be suffered by us to the satisfaction of divine 
justice. But when the scriptures speak so fully of all sins, transgres 
sions, and iniquities satisfied for, why should men fancy a restraint ? 
In human matters we account those things that are in our favour may 
be construed in the largest sense that they can bear with probability. 
Christians, stand for your liberty against those encroachments of 

3. That fond dream of some that think Christ's sufferings were a,ny 
way for himself. They urge for it Luke xxiv. 26, ' Ought not Christ 


to have suffered these things, and then to enter into his glory ?' That 
proveth it an antecedent, not a cause or merit of glory. There is a 
difference between consequents and effects : Phil. ii. 8, 9, ' He became 
obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God 
hath highly exalted him : ' Sib signifieth after which. In Dan. ix. 
26, it is said, ' The Messiah shall be cut off, but not for himself/ And 
so here, ' He was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our 

use 2. Is exhortation to look upon the cause of Christ's sufferings. 
Mr Perkins well observeth it to be a superstitious looking upon Christ, 
when we reflect upon his passion without looking upon the cause. So 
to look upon him in a crucifix is superstition to the eye ; and to look 
upon his sufferings as a dolorous and sad story, is superstition to the 
ear. Look, then, upon them as they refer to the cause, to wit, our sins. 
This is the consideration that maketh them profitable and useful to 
us. The cause yieldeth this profit. 

1. Here is matter for our faith to work upon. Christ died for 
those things that trouble a gracious heart, viz., sins. One saith, Send 
drooping Christians to the 53d of Isaiah, send them to this place, ' He 
was wounded' for that for which your consciences were wounded. When 
the soul groaneth under the sad apprehensions of God's wrath and 
hell's horror, why here is thy comfort, 'He was wounded for our 
transgressions/ Pray as those for the distressed : Job xxxiii. 24, 
' Deliver me from going down to the pit ; I have found a ransom/ 
Lord, here I have found a ransom ; show him Christ's wounds : 
Lord, wilt not thou forgive in a servant what thou didst punish in a 
Son ? What is there in sin that there is not in Christ's sufferings ? 
Are they manifold ? Tell God here are wounds, bruises, stripes, chas 
tisements. Are they great ? Here is infinite wrath suffered, divine 
justice fully satisfied. Art thou a base, vile, filthy person ? Christ is a 
glorious and all-sufficient Saviour. Every way here is triumph for faith. 

2. Here is an object for your love. It is a great testimony of the love 
of Christ, that he was wounded for our transgressions. Viscera patent 
per vulnera you may see his bowels through his wounds. A strange 
kind of surgery ! The whole body is sick, and the head wounded to 
cure it. We committed the sins, and Christ suffered the punishment 
due to them. Usually, we love them more that suffer for us, than 
those that otherwise do us good. Oh, work it upon your affections ! 

3. It giveth you help in your endeavours against sin. 

[1.] It is a help to humble us for sins past. There is a leanness in 
the soul many times, and we cannot make sin so odious and grievous 
to our souls as we would. Take in this circumstance ; all Christ's suf 
ferings and wounds were but the effects of our sins. This is a glass 
which will discover it to us, our knowledge is by the effects. The 
effects of sin were never so apparent and eminent as in Christ. Oh, look 
upon him whom you have pierced, and then mourn, Zech. x. 12. 

[2.] To caution you against sins to come. Here is a double argu 
ment, from experience, and from love. 

(1.) From experience. Sin is not so sweet as the sinner imagines. 
Christ suffered bitter things when he bore it in his body upon the tree. 
It lieth when it flattereth you with hopes of some contentment. Sin 


indeed smileth upon the soul at the first coming. Therefore Solomon 
saith, Prov. xxiii. 31, ' Look not upon the wine when it is red, when 
it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright / that is, 
upon the seeming pleasure of it. Oh, remember, it cost Christ dear ; 
it is a flattering, deceiving thing. 

(2.) From love. Oh, shall I wound Christ again ? Shall I grieve God 
once more ? We hate that which hath injured our friends. Shall I 
allow that in my bosom which Christ hates ? Use yourselves- to these 
meditations upon the least solicitations to drunkenness, adultery, and 
the like : 1 Peter iv. 1, * Forasmuch as Christ hath suffered for us 
in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind/ The apostle 
meaneth, we should arm ourselves with such contemplations as Christ's 
death affordeth us. He speaketh of it as a great remedy against tempt 
ations. By such thoughts the work of the Spirit is perfected. By 
drunkenness, thou givest him vinegar to drink ; thy oppression is a 
wounding of his sides ; wresting scripture is a turning ofEloiintoElias; 
scoffing at religion is spitting upon him ; jeering of his ministers is 
like the soldiers jeering at him ; professing him for fashion's sake, and 
hating him in your hearts, is a putting mock habiliments upon him ; 
by abusing of his servants thou dost again buffet and beat him. Thus 
you may exemplify in every sin. 

I am now to make entrance upon the last point 

That by these sufferings, Christ hath purchased for us peace and 

I begin with the first of these benefits. 

1. That Christ hath purchased peace for his people, ' The chastise*- 
ment of our peace was upon him.' Peace, among other expositions 
of the phrase, I take to be that reconciliation and amity that was 
wrought out between God and a sinner. Christ was chastised to pro 
cure it for us, and all other good things that follow upon it. 

I shall prove it to you by scripture, that one of the great benefits that 
we enjoy by Christ's sufferings is peace, or the favour of God. Take 
a few scriptures : Kom. v. 1, ' Being justified by faith, we have peace 
with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ.' There is peace of con 
science, and peace with God, which is nothing else but our atonement 
and reconciliation with him. Every one that is justified hath not peace 
of conscience ; but every one that is justified hath peace with God. 
There is a quarrel between God and the soul because of sin ; your sins 
have separated between God and you. Sin maketh God not only an 
utter enemy, but a severe punisher. Now this strife and quarrel is 
taken up by Christ : through Jesus it is said we have peace. He maketh 
God our friend ; so Col. i. 20, ' And having made peace through the 
blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself.' By 
the blood of his cross ; that is, by the bloody cruel death he suffered 
upon the cross, he took away sin and wrath. The scriptures speak of 
what is most visible : so Eph. ii. 14, * He is our peace, who hath made 
both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between 
us/ He is our peace, the abstract for the concrete ; such a speech as 
is usual in relation to the business of Christ's undertaking ; even as he 
is wisdom to us, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, so Zech. 
ix. 10, ' He shall speak peace to the heathen ;' so Isa. ix. 8, Christ is 


called * the Prince of peace/ Look, as we call men by the better title, as 
we say the king of England, not mentioning the lesser dominions, as Scot 
land, Wales, Ireland ; and the king of France, not taking in the petty 
governments in our ordinary way of speaking ; so Christ is set forth by 
the great privilege he hath purchased for mankind, which includes 
other things : Mic. v. 5, ' And this man shall be the peace.' This man 
shall be our peace, the Prince of peace. All these expressions imply, 
that as we are said to have it this way, so we can have it no other way. 
I come to the reasons of the point. 

1. Because Christ by his death hath slain all hatred. It is the apostle's 
phrase : Eph. ii. 16, ' And that he might reconcile both unto God in one 
body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby ;' that is, took away 
the cause of hatred ; and the cause being taken away, the effect ceaseth. 
Look, as when there is a whisperer that goeth between party and party, 
and sets them at odds and variance, we say we shall never be friends till 
such an one be removed out of the way ; so it was between God and the 
soul, there is no hope of agreement till those that do the ill offices between 
God and us be removed. And therefore Christ himself would die rather 
than not slay our enemy. He hath slain hatred by taking away the 
cause of it, which was : 

[1.] The just wrath of God. Now that was abolished by Christ ; he 
conquered it by suffering it ; insomuch that God saith, ' Fury is not in 
me/ Isa. xxvii. 4. God's justice being satisfied in Christ, he doth not 
pursue revenge against his people. Is there any fury in God ? 

E2.] Sin in us, that was the cause of hatred. You may consider 
oth in its guilt and power, and both sit heavy upon the soul. 

(1.) The guilt of it. There can be no peace as long as this lieth 
charged upon the soul. This works all that distance and hatred be 
tween us and God ; and therefore guilt will cause horror : Job xiii. 26, 
* Thou writest bitter things against me, and makest me possess the ini 
quities of my youth ;' that is, bitter enough to possess sins, to own 
the guilt of them. It was as great a threatening as Christ could use, 
when he told the Jews they should die in their sins, John viii. 21-24. 
Oh, it is a miserable thing that death should seize upon us in our sins ! 
What a perplexity is the soul then left to ! Whither will it go when 
it dieth in its own guilt? Now this is taken away by Christ ; and 
therefore it is so often said that we have remission of sins by his blood : 
1 John i. 7, 'And the blood of Jesus Christ cleansethus from all sin.' 

(2.) The power of sin. This disturbeth and filleth the soul with 
the sense of God's wrath, and embittereth the soul against God. 
Through the strength of sin we hate God, because we cannot but look 
upon him as a punisher 'of it. Now Christ slayeth this hatred by 
sending his Spirit-to kill our enmity, to heal our poisoned natures, and 
maketh us more willing and careful to please God. It is said, Titus iii. 
6, ' The Spirit of regeneration is shed on us abundantly (or richly), 
through Jesus Christ our Saviour/ He taketh away that rancorous 
disposition that is in the heart. This is the first reason : Christ taketh 
away hatred, and therefore purchaseth peace. 

2. Because he hath taken away all show of hatred. The ceremonial 
law was an ordinance hinting out our guilt. Now Christ would take 
away whatever in show made against us, or was contrary to us : Col. 


ii. 14, ' He took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.' He would 
not leave any ground for doubt or suspicion ; he hath provided against 
all our scruples : Christ would not leave the least line uncrossed, our 
own confessions do not make against us. As soon as you give in the bill, 
Christ teareth it ; he hath nailed all in triumph to his cross. You can 
urge many things against yourselves ; ay ! but all these things are par 
doned, and God hath nothing to show for the debt. St Paul says, 1 
Tim. i. 13, * I was a blasphemer and a persecutor ;' a heavy bill, ' but 
I obtained mercy/ All this was taken out of the way. Christ hath 
not only paid the debt, but torn also the bonds. By his death on the 
cross he did as it were declare to the believer that God hath nothing 
to show against him. As there is not anger, so there should not be 
suspicion of anger. He hath taken up the controversy that was be 
tween God and the soul. 

3. Christ hath procured us favour. Not only the matter that 
kindleth anger, and all show of it is taken away, but love is pro 
cured : the children of wrath are become the children of love : Mat. iii. 
17, ' This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.' The eyes 
of God's holiness cannot but be offended with a filthy, polluted sinner, 
yet he is well-pleased with them in Christ, and so they are not only 
objects of his love but of his delight : Isa. Ixii. 4, ' But thou shalt be 
called Hephzi-bah, and thy land Beulah ; for the Lord delighteth in 
thee ; ' and in another place, ' He shall rejoice over them to do them 
good/ A man delighteth in things that are most suitable and agree 
able to his nature. There cannot be a more pleasing work to God 
than to do his people good. It is said, Luke xv. 5, of the lost sheep, 
that * when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing/ 
Before there could be no work more suitable to God's justice than to 
punish sinners ; whereas now it is, as the prophet calleth it, ' his 
strange work,' Isa. xxviii. 21, a thing that he would not be acquainted 
with towards his people. Whereas, to the wicked, still he laughs at 
their destruction, Prov. i. 26. Therefore, Christ hath purchased 
peace for us, because he hath not only taken away anger but procured 
favour. Among men, anger many times may be taken away, but 
they have not love. Kebels, after a pardon, live in a great deal of 
umbrage, and are under suspicion ; the scars remain though the 
wound be cured : as Absalom, when pardoned, did not see the king's 
face. Artificial cracks will be seen though soldered ; but it is not so 
here, for we are re-instated in God's love and affections. Christ hath 
satisfied wrath and merited favour ; so that the soul can look upon 
God with a great deal of comfort and joy. 

Use 1. This serveth to reprove those 

1. That fetch their peace anywhere else. No comfort is lasting but 
what floweth from the blood of Christ ; that only is the true peace 
that he hath merited. 

2. Those that are against peace, or the settling of the heart in the 
sufferings of Jesus Christ. I begin with these first, and they are of 
two sorts: 

[1.] Such as are grossly ignorant f Christian privileges, and think 
it a duty to doubt, and a matter of merit to keep themselves upon 
terms of perplexity. A popish spirit haunts many; they think 


assurance a dry doctrine, and therefore do not strive to settle their 
hearts ; as if there could be no duty where there is no fear. Hereby 
they plainly discover out of what principles they act for God, to wit, 
out of a servile spirit ; and therefore they cannot be kept right any 
longer than they fear wrath. brethren ! turn these evil thoughts out 
of your hearts. True peace is a great benefit that Christ hath pur 
chased for us. 

[2.] Such as would fain apply themselves to Christ, but are loth to 
busy themselves witli what should make for the settling of their 
hearts and establishing their spirits ; as if it were more pleasing to 
God to keep the conscience raw with sins, than to heal it with Christ's 
righteousness. A man should labour after peace with God, and peace 
of conscience too. It is a natural superstitious thought to think God 
is pleased with the mere sorrow of a creature ; and, therefore, false 
worshippers have wounded themselves, that they might make some 
dolorous impressions upon his mind. Christ suffered the sorrows that 
you might have the peace ; the chastisement of your peace was upon 
him. Why should you stand out against comfort, if there were not 
some secret thought of satisfying by your sorrow ? Now you are not 
to satisfy, but Christ. It is good to reflect upon wrath, to drive us to 
mercy ; but it is not good to dwell always in the preparations, for that 
is to forget our errand, and to stay in the porch when we should enter 
into the temple. Labour to get an interest in him in whom dwelleth 
the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 

3. It reproveth such as would have peace, but not this way, but 
upon wrong grounds. Now that is an evil peace that cometh any 
other way. Look to the grounds of your peace. How came you to 
such a peaceable frame of heart ? The false grounds are : 

[1.] Ignorance of our condition. A man doth not fear danger till he 
be sensible of it. Now many do not know that God and they are at such 
terms of distance and anger. Little doth a man trouble himself when 
he doth not know what evil is determined against him : Kom. iii. 11, 
' There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after 
God, they have no understanding/ And it is easy to go hoodwinked 
to hell. Blinded sinners go merrily to the pit of destruction, never 
dreaming that danger was so near hand. Poor souls that do not know 
the worst by themselves ! This is the greatest judgment that can be 
fall them. 

[2.] Carelessness in others. When men cannot put off sorrow, they 
put it by, and will not so much as reflect upon themselves. You 
may know it is bad with men when they cannot endure to look in 
ward. Things that are evil cannot brook a trial ; men will put all 
care out of their hearts as to their eternal concerns. 

[3.] When men avoid whatever may put them in mind of their 
misery. There are two things that humble men, doing of duty and 
striving against sin. 

(1.) Doing of duty seriously, that will make men see what profane, 
unsavoury, and senseless spirits they have. A man that lieth abed 
doth not feel his lame leg, but when he goeth to walk upon it he does. 
Exercise the soul in inward duties, and you will see it diseased. We 
know things when we come to make trial of them : therefore, wicked 


men will not meddle in inward and hearty duties, lest thereby they 
should discover the soul to itself. Formal duties make men the more 
secure : they are thereby apt to think better of themselves than they 
ought. The pharisee thought himself in a good case, because of his 
vain fasting, giving alms, and paying tithes. So formal duties are a 
vain refuge. But now duties wholly spiritual, and spiritually per 
formed, make men see the weakness and wickedness of their spirits ; 
but they are looked upon as such a disturbance to wicked men that 
they cannot endure to hear of them. 

(2.) Resisting of sin. Tumult is caused by opposition. When a man 
tamely yieldeth to Satan, no wonder if he be let alone. The devil 
rageth most when we set against him : Rev. xii. 12, ' For the devil is 
come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he 
hath but a short time.' Dying beasts bite shrewdly. Oh, how is the 
poor soul tortured with sin, when it is about to quit it ! The sea doth 
not rage so much when the wind and the tide go together. Please 
the worst natures and they will not disturb you. This is a peace that 
will end in trouble : there will be a quarrelling between affections and 
convictions when a sinner cometh to be serious and thoughtful. 

[4.] When men do what they can to divert all care and minding of 
their condition : this is like a few stolen waters, when they can get con 
science asleep. As it is said, Prov. ix. 17, ' Stolen waters are sweet, 
and bread eaten in secret is pleasant/ They lull the soul asleep by 
pleasures, or distract it by business. They never keep the heart 
empty that they may enter into themselves. As Cain built cities, so 
carnal men drown themselves in business or pleasures. 

Use 2. Is direction, to teach us what to do if we would have peace 
when our consciences are enraged. Go to Christ ; the chastisement of 
our peace was upon him. Get an interest in Christ, and you have an 
interest in God. God is not to be had as a friend without Christ. 
Get him and you are presently interested in God's favour. For ' he 
that has the Son hath the Father also/ 

But, you will say, how shall I get an interest in Christ ? I answer 
in one word By faith ; that is the way to get Christ to you with all 
his benefits ; and, therefore, faith is expressed by receiving Christ : 
John i. 12, * To as many as received him, to them gave he power to 
become the sons of God ; ' and Eph. iii. 17, Christ is said to ' dwell 
in our hearts by faith/ You must say, in the language of faith here, 
' The chastisement of our peace was upon him/ Those that offered a 
peace-offering were to lay their hands upon the head of the sacrifice, 
which implieth a kind of joining. So Christ is the peace-offering, and 
you must lay your hands upon his head. When Thomas believed, he 
cried, * My Lord and my God/ That gives your souls the possession 
of Christ ; and if of Christ, of God. But briefly I might from this 
speak to two sorts of persons : 

1. To secure sinners. 

2. To poor broken-hearted sinners that labour under the sense of 
wrath. But having spoken from several passages of Christ's suffer 
ings for them, and more remaining to be insisted on from other verses, 
I shall now only speak a little to secure sinners. I shall press them 
to two things : 


[1.] To consider their condition ; and, 

[2.] The danger of their condition. 

[1.] Consider your condition. You are. in a state of enmity with 
God ; God is at war with you. That this may appear to you, weigh 
these things following : 

(1.) That your condition is not to be measured by your present 
feeling and apprehension. A man may be in danger, though he be 
not sensible of it: Isa. Ivii. 21, ' There is no peace, saith my God, to 
the wicked : they are like a troubled sea when it cannot rest.' The 
wicked do not think so, but my God saith so. It is what God 
speaketh to you, not what you think of yourselves. Wicked men's 
lives slide away in pastimes, and pomp, and pleasure ; but still they 
are under continual danger, though they mind it not. Mark that 
expression; 2 Peter ii. 3, it is said, * Their damnation slumbereth 
not.' Though they slumber, their damnation doth not slumber. If 
men could make their condemnation sleep as well as themselves, it 
were well. Do not measure your estate by your own thoughts, but by 
God's heart towards you, how he looketh upon you in Christ. God 
may be angry with you and you not know it. 

(2.) Remember that God is angry with every man in his natural 
condition. Till you get an interest in Christ, you have not God for a 
Father. There is a war between God and every natural man. Those 
that think themselves at peace with God from their cradles upwards, 
never were at peace with him. You are at peace with God, you say, 
when you are at war with him. The scripture speaks otherwise of 
you : Eph. ii. 2, You are * children of wrath, even as others.' And, 
John iii. 36, * The wrath of God abideth on them/ This you must 
take for granted. There was a time when you were fallen out with 
God and God with you, even as well as others those that embraced 
the Christian profession, as well as Turks and pagans. We are indeed 
estranged from the womb, but we are not reconciled from the womb, 
Ps. Iviii. 3 ; therefore, whatever you think, you must conclude that 
God is angry till you can get him pacified in Christ. 

(3.) There are expressions of this anger and enmity that pass 
between God and the soul, though we do not take notice of it. 

(1st.) On our part there are a great many expressions of our enmity 
to God ; as hatred of his being, wishing he were not, slighting of his 
ordinances, rebellion against his laws, a rising of heart against his 
servants ; a rancorous tumult, and rebellious storming in our affections 
against his providence ; a vexing that he doth so thwart us in our 
ways and courses. This is our war. Then vexing and grieving his 
blessed Spirit. God hath told us what will grieve him, and yet, con 
trary to all the motions of his blessed Spirit, and the checks of our 
own consciences, we will go on our own way. As Esau took a wife 
from the daughters of Heth, which was a grief of mind to Isaac and 
Eebekah, Gen. xxvi. 35. 

(2dly.) From God to us. There are some flashes of wrath, and open 
ing of our consciences, fears of hell, horrors, Hosea ii. 6. Hedging 
up our ways with thorns, and making a wall that we should not find 
our paths, which maketh us to vex and storm when we cannot have 
as much as we desire. So likewise by turning all providences into a 


snare, cursing all ordinances to us. Now and then, I say, God dis- 
covereth much wrath to the soul, that it cannot but see it. Oh, then, 
labour to be sensible of your condition. You think to rub it out well 
enough, and yet you see there are many expressions of war between 
God and you. 

[2.] Consider the danger of your condition. Oh, it is a sad thing to be 
at war with God. If a man were at war with one with whom he were 
able to make his party good, it were no such matter ; but this you 
can never do with God. Foolish man thinketh so, and therefore the 
apostle saith, 1 Cor. x. 22, ' Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy ? 
are we stronger than he ?' Will ye act so flatly against his com 
mandments, as if you thought you should be able to bear out 
yourselves in the transgression ? That you may not think so, con 
sider : 

(1.) He it is that upholdeth you in your beings, and he can resolve 
you into nothing, as easily as he could create you out of nothing. 
Solomon saith, Prov. xvi. 14, that ' the wrath of a king is as the mes 
senger of death ;' that is, you had as good have one to come and tell 
you that you shall die, as to come and tell you that a king is angry 
with you. A wrinkle in the brow of majesty is as a grave to you. If 
men were sensible, it is much more true of the wrath of God ; he can 
speak you out of your beings in an instant. It is said, Heb. i. 2, * He 
upholdeth all things by the word of his power.' And would a man be 
angry with him that is able to speak him into nothing ? Now thus it 
is with God. 

(2.) Besides his power, consider the whole creation taketh part with 
God ; and when he pleaseth he is able to arm the meanest creatures 
against you. As he said that would not dispute with a king, ' I have 
learned not to contend with him that is able to command legions ;' so 
should we say, that we will not contend with God, that is able to com 
mand the creatures. The meanest worm is able to revenge God's 
quarrel against you. Sometimes God declareth his power against his 
enemies by frogs, flies, mean contemptible things, as we read concern 
ing the plagues of Egypt. So Herod was eaten up of worms, Acts 
xii. 23 ; and Pope Adrian was choked with a gnat. I would not 
willingly expatiate on these things, to offer only matter to your fancies, 
but beseech you to weigh it in your thoughts. God might kill you 
with the least fly that hummeth about you, and you have deserved it. 
It is not only the more dangerous things that can do man hurt, but 
all things. Consider this, I pray you ; God doth more eminently dis 
cover it to you, that you may consider it. 

(3.) If nobody else, yet God can make use of your own selves 
against yourselves. He need plague a man no worse than to open his 
own conscience against him. As Luther said, for a man to see but his 
own sins, is as great a hell as can be imagined. This hath made 
saints to roar, Ps. xxxii. 3. This dried up David's moisture, ver. 4. 
Spira would give all the world for one motion of the Spirit to make 
him believe what was proposed to him concerning Christ. See that 
expression, Job vi. 4, 'The arrows of the Almighty are within me, 
the poison whereof drinketh up my spirits ; the terrors of God do set 
themselves in array against me.' Just as a man runneth up and down 


in distraction that hath a poisoned arrow shot into his bowels. In the 
whole circuit of nature you cannot find one medicine that will heal 
this grief. All friends, comforts, and relations, are nothing, and all 
other troubles are but sport and recreation to these. Spiritual good and 
evil, both are not known till felt. Oh, consider how it will be with 
you when God shall bring out all those unclean thoughts, horrid oaths, 
lies, deceits that you have been guilty of. All shall be set on upon the 
heart, and you become a terror to yourselves. 

(4.) He is able to ruin you, body and soul, eternally ; and so he will 
deal with all his enemies : Mat. xxi. 41, 'He will miserably destroy 
those wicked men.' Not only destroy, but miserably destroy. Many 
are encouraged in their attempts, that if they be ruined, it is but their 
fortune, there is the worst of it. Now he is able to destroy you so as 
you shall not know the worst of it ; he is able to sink you below all 
happiness of being or subsistence. Oh, consider the end of those whose 
peace is not made with God! Judgments without measure, most 
extreme and exquisite sufferings without mitigation, not a drop of cold 
water to cool the tongue ; judgment without mercy. 

By his stripes we are healed. 

Doct. That the healing of our natures, as well as peace and reconci 
liation with God, is the fruit of Christ's sufferings. Three things are 
here to be taken notice of : 

1. Healing puts us in mind of a disease incurable by human art, or 
any remedies that are in our power. 

2. Health implieth our recovery out of this disease, or our salvation 
by Christ. 

3. The means of this recovery is by Christ's stripes. 
First, For the disease. 

1. The soul hath its diseases as well as the body, and may be in a 
good or ill plight, as well as the body. It is in a good plight when it 
is fit to serve God or enjoy him. It is in an ill plight, or diseased, 
when it is disabled for these ends. The diseases therefore of the soul 
are those inordinate dispositions by which it is hindered from bringing 
forth actions agreeable or belonging to the spiritual life. This came 
to pass by Adam's sin, which, according to the tenor of the first 
covenant, is imputed to all those who were naturally propagated from 
him, they being thereupon deprived of original righteousness ; whereby 
we became blind in our minds, perverse in our hearts, and so sold 
under sin ; and till we be freed by the grace of God, we cannot but 
act sinfully, and daily contract and strengthen evil habits and inclina 
tions. Therefore the work of conversion is expressed by healing : Isa. 
vi. 10, * And convert and be healed.' When these distempers and 
perverse inclinations of the soul are done away, we are healed, other 
wise we lie under the power of a blind mind, and a hard heart, a 
guilty conscience and carnal affections, which are as so many deadly 
wounds and diseases of the soul. 

2. The diseases of the soul are greater than those of the body, as 
being seated in the nobler part, and so the wound is the more grievous. 
As a cut in the body is worse than a rent in the clothes, so is a wound 


in the soul more grievous than a cut in the body. The diseases of 
the body tend only to the death of the body, which of itself must 
necessarily die : Eccles. xii. 7, ' Then shall the dust return to the 
earth as it was;' and then by the power of God shall certainly rise 
again. But the diseases of the soul, as they make us unuseful to God 
for the present, so they tend to eternal destruction and death both of 
body and soul for ever : Mat. x. 28, ' But rather fear him that is able 
to destroy both body and soul in hell.' 

3. I assert that sin is the great sickness of the soul. There are two 
sorts of diseases in the soul : 

[1.] Terrors, or spiritual bondage, by which the soul is driven from 
God, and cannot think of him, or seek after him, with any comfort or 
peace. And this is a sore and evil disease indeed, for the curing of 
which Christ also came ; for it is said, Ps. cxlvii. 3, ' He hath healed 
the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds ;' Luke iv. 18, 'He 
hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted.' Which he doth by pardon 
or peace, the former benefit mentioned in this verse. 

[2.] Sins, or evil habits and inclinations, which disable us from 
pleasing of God. These are the worst sort of diseases, as being the 
cause of the other ; for terrors entered into the world with sin. When 
Adam had sinned against God he was afraid of him, and ran to the 
bushes, Gen. iii. 8-10. And when sin is taken away, the others cease. 
Now that sin is the great sickness and wound of the soul, I shall prove 
by these considerations: 

First, It is a wasting disease ; it bringeth the soul into a languish 
ing condition, and wasteth the strength of it. Therefore our natural 
estate is described to be an estate without strength : Rom. v. 6, * When 
we were yet without strength, Christ died for us ; ' that is, without 
strength to help ourselves out of that misery into which sin had 
plunged us. Sin hath weakened the soul in all the faculties of it, 
which all may discern and observe in themselves. The mind is 
weakened ; for how acute and discerning soever it be in earthly things, 
it is stupid and dull in things spiritual and heavenly. We see little 
of the danger of eternal damnation, or the worth of eternal salvation, 
or the need of Christ, or the serious preparation for the world to come : 
2 Peter i. 9, ' He that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see 
afar off.' These things, that is, faith and other graces of the Spirit. 
And then the memory is weakened; it is true and faithful in retaining 
what is evil, but slippery and treacherous in what is good. These things 
we easily let slip, as leaky vessels do the liquor contained in them : 
Heb. ii. 1, ' Therefore we ought to give the more diligent heed to the 
things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip/ 
Our will is fixedly inclined to evil, and averse to good : ' Their heart 
is fully set in them to do evil,' Eccles. viii. 11. The affections are like 
tinder, apt to catch fire at the spark of every temptation : Prov. vii. 
22, ' He goeth after her straightway.' But they are like wet wood as to 
the entertainment of any heavenly motion: 1 Cor. ii. 14, 'The natural 
man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can he know 
them, because they are spiritually discerned.' Therefore sin hath made 
fearful havoc in the soul, and destroyed the strength and right consti 
tution of it. The strength of man lieth not in the robust, healthy 


temper of his body; that is a brutish strength, and a bull or an ox ex- 
ceedeth us in that ; nor merely in the strength of natural parts, for 
therein many pagans excel many Christians : but it lies in the strength 
of grace, strength to overcome temptations to sin, to govern our 
passions and affections, to do the things which God commandeth, that 
is strength indeed, the strength of the inward man. See, on the other 
side, man's proper strength described, 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.' On the other side see weakness described, 
Ezek. xvi. 30, * How weak is thine heart, saith the Lord God, seeing 
thou doest all these things, the work of an imperious whorish woman ! ' 
That is a weak heart that lieth open to every temptation ; that is at the 
beck of every foolish and hurtful lust, as pride, sensuality, worldliness, 
carnal fear and sorrow. An imperious heart is a weak heart, and 
this weakness sin hath brought upon us. 

Secondly, It is a painful disease, it woundeth the spirit ; and a 
wounded spirit who can bear ? Prov. xviii. 14. Greatness of mind 
may support us under a wounded body, but when there is a breach 
made upon the conscience, what can relieve us then ? Take either a 
tender conscience, or a raging, stormy conscience, for an instance to 
show what sin is. Ask of Cain and Judas, and they will tell you what 
horror and anguish it breedeth in the soul, what storms and tempests 
it raiseth in the mind : Gen. iv. 13, ' My iniquity is greater than I 
can bear.' Their lives, yea, all their comforts, are a burden to them. 
Nay, ask any man whose heart is well awaked, and he will tell you, 
that the sense of the guilt of sin is bitterer to the soul than the gall 
of asps, and that no tortures are comparable to the piercing stings of 
an accusing conscience. Even holy David could say, Ps. xxxviii. 1-3, 
' Lord, rebuke me not in thy wrath, neither chasten me in thy hot dis 
pleasure. For thine arrows stick fast in me, and thine hand presseth 
me sore. There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger, 
neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin.' If this holy 
man, whose heart was upright with God, did thus complain, what 
should they do who are nothing else but wounds and putrified sores from 
the crown of the head to the sole of the foot ? We think a man in a fever 
is in a miserable condition, who hath little rest day or night: but alas! 
feverish flames are nothing to the scorchings of conscience, and the fear 
ful apprehensions of divine wrath : they that are under these are miser 
able indeed, because the pains of hell do compass them round about, 
and wherever they go, they carry their own hell along with them. 

Object. But you will say, They that are most infected with sin feel 
little of this ; how is it then so painful a disease ? 

Ans. 1. If they feel it not, the greater is their danger ; for stupid 
diseases are the worst, and usually most mortal. It is an ill crisis and 
state of soul when men are past feeling: Eph. iv. 19, /Who, being past 
feeling, have given themselves over to lasciviousness.' These have out 
grown their consciences. There is hope of sensible sinners ; their 
anguish may drive them to the physician, and make them inquisitive 
after a remedy : Acts ii. 37", ' When they heard this, they were pricked 
in their hearts, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Men 
and brethren, what shall we do?' But it is more dangerous when sins 


do not terrify but stupefy. A spiritual lethargy is the common disease 
that ruineth the far greatest part of the world. 

2. The soul of a sinner never sits so easy but that he has his qualms 
and pangs of conscience, and that sometimes in the midst of jollity ; as 
was the case of Belshazzar, while carousing in the cups of the temple. 
Certainly they feel enough to show that if they were cured of this disease, 
it would be a great comfort and felicity to them ; their best pleasures 
are but stolen waters, and bread eaten in secret, poor sneaking delights, 
when they can get conscience asleep. 

3. Though they feel not their diseases now, they shall hereafter. Oh, 
what a pain will sin be to them when God awakeneth them, either 
in this life, by letting a spark of his wrath fall into the conscience, and 
then they become a terror to themselves ; or, if not here, yet in hell 
hereafter, where shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth ! 

Thirdly, It is a loathsome disease. The pain of sin, which worketh 
upon our fear, is first and soonest felt : but the loathsomeness of sin, 
which worketh on our shame, requireth a quicker and more tender 
sense. As a man overgrown with noisome boils and sores, is first 
affected with the pain caused by them, and then with the sight and 
smell of them ; so it is with soul-distempers : Ps. xxxviii. 5, * My 
wounds stink and are corrupt, because of iny foolishness ; ' and ver. 7, 
* My loins are filled with a loathsome disease.' The soul abhors, and 
is ashamed of itself, when it hath anything of tenderness, or lively 
sense of the purity of God. Solomon telleth us that ' a wicked man 
is loathsome, and cometh to shame/ Prov. xiii. 5. How loathsome ? 
He is loathsome to God, who is ' of purer eyes than to behold iniquity,' 
Hab. i. 13. Loathsome to good men, who can no more delight in him 
than a sound man can in the conversation of a leper : Prov. xxix. 27, 
'An unjust man is an abomination to the just.' Loathsome to indif 
ferent men, for those that can allow sin in themselves dislike it in 
others: Titus iii. 3, 'Hateful and hating one another/ Another's 
pride, sensuality, and worldliness, is offensive to us. Though we be 
proud, sensual, and worldly ourselves, yet it is an offence to ourselves ; 
therefore a sinner dareth not converse with his own heart, but doth 
what he can to fly from himself, to divert his thoughts from the sight 
of his own natural face in the glass of the word, as being ashamed of 
himself arid his own ways : Rom. vi. 21, 'What fruit had ye then of 
those things whereof ye are now ashamed ? ' However it is enough for 
our purpose, if loathsome to God : Ps. xiv. 2, 3, the psalmist telleth 
us, ' The Lord looked down from heaven.' And what did he see 
here below? 'They are altogether become filthy and abominable.' 
All their persons, all their actions flowing forth from their corrupt 
hearts, are vile and loathsome in God's sight. When God looked 
upon his creatures just as they passed his hand, all was very good, 
Gen. i. 31. But when once they were infected with sin, the case is 
altered, they are all become filthy and abominable ; some more, some 
less gross, as to the outbreaking of sin ; but they are all odious to 
God, and we are sensible of it, as appeareth by our shyness of God, 
and backwardness to look him in the face. 

Fourthly, It is an infectious and catching disease. Sin cometh into 
the world by propagation rather than imitation : yet imitation and 



example hath a great force upon the soul : Eph. ii. 3, Kara rbv alwva, 
1 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 hy nature the children of wrath, even as others ; ' Isa. vi. 5, 
' Woe is me, for I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips, 
and I dwell among a people of unclean lips/ Living among such, he 
had contracted some contagion and taint. It is hard to converse with 
wicked ones and not to be defiled : Micah i. 9, ' Her wound is incur 
able, for it is come into Judah.' Samaria was desperately sick of pro 
vocations, and the taint reached to Judah also. 

Fifthly, It is a mortal disease if we continue in it without repent 
ance, for ' by sin came death' into the world, Kom. v. 12 ; and ' the 
wages of sin is death/ Bom. vi. 23. Not only death temporal, which 
consists in the separation of the soul from the body, but death spiritual, 
which consists in an estrangement from God, as the author of the life 
of grace ; yea, death eternal, which consists in a separation both of 
body and soul from the presence of God for ever, and is a perpetual 
living in deadly pain and torment. The second death is set forth by 
two notions 'the worm that never dieth,' and 'the fire that shall never 
be quenched,' Mark ix. 44 ; by which is meant the sting of conscience 
and the wrath of God. Conscience worketh on what is past, present, 
and to come. There is a vexing remembrance of what is past, your 
past folly and evil choice, past neglects of grace, past misspense of time, 
past abuse of mercies, past despising of the offered salvation. Oh, what 
cutting thoughts will these be to the damned to all eternity ! There 
is a sense of what is present ; they have nothing to divert their thoughts 
from their misery, no company nor sensual comforts, but are left to 
the bitter apprehension of their sad estate. There is also a fear of what 
is to come, or a fearful looking for of more wrath from God. The 
fire is the wrath of God, which inflicts pains upon the damned both in 
body and soul. There is no member or faculty free, but feeleth the 
misery of the second death. The agonies of the first death are soon 
over, but those of the second endure for ever. The first death is the 
more terrible because of this death which is to succeed it. In the first 
death our struggling is for life, we would not die ; but here, for death 
and destruction, we would not live. This is the fruit of sin. 

Secondly, Our recovery out of sin, and all the effects of it, which is 
our health. Before the application of the blood of Christ, every man 
in his natural estate is in no less dangerous a condition than a man 
that is wounded and bleeding to death : Luke x. 30, ' A certain man 
went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who 
stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving 
him half dead/ Not as if he had any spiritual life at all, but it is 
spoken in respect to his natural life. So before Christ's blood is applied, 
every man is dead spiritually, and is posting towards eternal death ; 
but when he is regenerated and converted to God, then he is translated 
from death to life. Therefore this healing must be considered 

1. As to its nature. 

2. With respect to the several periods of this benefit, as to its 
beginning, progress, and final consummation. 

1 The nature of this cure, or health bestowed upon us, will be best 


understood by considering what is in sin. There are in sin four 
things culpa, macula, realm, posna. 

[!".] Culpa. The fault is the criminal action, which is the founda 
tion of our guilt. Now this properly is not healed, but passed by, 
or not brought into judgment against us, for as it is an action it cannot 
be reversed. Factum infactum fieri nequit. As it is a criminal action 
against the law of God, it cannot lose its nature, for Christ came not 
to make a fault to be no fault. This properly is not healed. Indeed 
some phrases express pardon but by a passing by : Micah vii. 18, 
* That pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the 
remnant of his heritage/ The Lord passeth over the fault, or quits 
the plea towards them that own their faults. The Lord seeth them, 
and not seeth them ; that is, will not lay them to their charge : Isa. 
Ivii. 18, ' I have seen his ways, and will heal him ; ' that is, not enter 
into judgment with him. In short, the fault is not disannulled, 
but passed over, and cast behind God's back. The offender is not 
made innocent, but pardonable on certain terms. We must remem 
ber the fault, but God forgets it. 

[2.] Here is macula, which is the blot or inclination to sin again. 
So he healeth us by sanctification, renewing and cleansing us by the 
.Spirit, which is the work of God : Exod. xv. 26, ' I am the Lord 
that healeth thee.' This is most properly his healing grace. So 
God reneweth and healeth our natures : Ps. ciii. 3, ' Who forgiveth 
all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases.' 

[3.] There is realus, the guilt or obligation to punishment. God 
dissolveth this by his sovereign authority, according to his new co 
venant : 2 Chron. xxx. 20, ' The Lord hearkened to Hezekiah, and 
healed the people.' There was no actual stroke or judgment upon 
them, but healing there is dissolving the guilt. He forgave their sin, 
or remitted the penalty which they had incurred by eating the pass- 
over otherwise than it was written. 

[4.] There is pcena, the punishment, which is external, internal, 
or eternal. The external punishment is affliction. This is the wound 
that sin maketh in us. This wound God healeth by restoring pros 
perity : Hosea vi. 1, ' Come, let us return unto the Lord, for he hath 
torn, and he will heal us ; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up ; ' 
2 Chron. vii. 14, ' I will forgive their sin, and heal their land/ The 
internal punishment consists in trouble of conscience, or the anguish 
and pain occasioned by the fear of God's wrath, which he healeth : Ps. 
vi. 2, ' Have mercy upon me, Lord, for I am weak ; Lord, heal me, 
for my bones are vexed ; ' Ps. xli. 4, ' Lord, be merciful unto me, and 
heal my soul ; for I have sinned against thee/ As to eternal, or the 
mortal wound of sin, he healeth that by reversing the sentence of eter 
nal death, and bestowing upon us eternal life, that from children of 
wrath we may be made heirs of glory. This grant is the true balsam 
for a wounded soul, when it is not only freed from the fears of the 
flames of hell and the sting of death, but made heir according to the 
hope of eternal life. If God and heaven be not matter of comfort, I 
know not what is. This is the portion of one that believeth in Christ 

2. The several periods of this benefit. 

[1.] The cure is begun when we repent and believe, and so are re- 


newed and reconciled to God ; then the danger of death is over : John 
v. 24, ' He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, 
hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is 
passed from death to life.' The disease will not prove mortal. 

[2.] It is carried on by degrees, as he doth sanctify us more and 
more by his Spirit, and settles us in the peace of the gospel. Christ 
is still in hand with the cure : Mai. iv. 2, ' The Sun of right 
eousness shall arise upon } r ou with healing in his wings, and ye shall 
go forth and grow up like calves in the stall.' Increase of grace and 
joy in the Holy Ghost is our continued healing. Dangerous sores and 
deadly wounds are not so soon cured. We have defects and dis 
tempers which disable us for duty, but the healing virtue prevail- 
eth more and more. The wicked grow more and more diseased, and 
in the godly there are some ups and downs ; but the Lord promiseth 
to heal our backslidings : Hosea xiv. 4, ' I will heal your back 
sliding, and I will love you freely ; for mine anger is turned away 
from you.' He will take away more and more the guilt, pollution, 
and other effects of sin. 

[3.] Our state of perfect health is in heaven ; there is our com 
plete and eternal welfare, when sin and misery shall be no more. 
Therefore heaven is set forth by the tree of life which groweth in 
the midst of paradise, and ' beareth twelve manner of fruits, and 
yieldeth its fruit every month, arid the leaves of the tree were for 
the healing of the nations,' Rev. xxii. 2 ; and ver. 14, it is said, 
' Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have 
a right to eat of the tree of life, and may enter in through the 
gates into the- city ;' that is into the happiness of the saints in glory. 
These enter into the New Jerusalem, and are there fully healed. 

Thirdly, The means of our recovery is by Christ's stripes. 

1. None but Christ can cure us, for he is the physician of souls 
all else are physicians of no value. Sin is the disease, the, Re 
deemer's grace the medicine, and salvation is our health.; and then 
it is perfect when we are fully saved from sin, arid all the consequents 
of it. Now this is above the sinner's cure, till God himself takes us 
in hand. Christ is the Sun of righteousness, who hath healing in his 
wings, and hath set forth himself under the notion of a physician : 
Mat. ix. 12, ' The whole need not the physician, but they that are 
sick/ This sore sickness can be cured by no other hand. And the 
proper nature of his grace is to be medicinal, that is, a healing dis 

2. Christ cureth us not by doctrine and example only, but by merit 
and suffering; for it is said in the text, We are healed by his 
stripes. I confess the doctrine of Christ hath a great tendency this 
way ; for it is said, Prov. iv. 22, ' My word is life to them that find 
it, and health to their flesh/ There is the medicine for sick souls ; 
there are our cordials and encouragements to prevent sinkings arid 
despondences of spirit ; there are potent arguments against distrust 
ful cares and fears, excellent remedies against eovetousness, sensuality, 
and pride; forcible dissuasions from unkind and unholy walking. 
In short, it is the common shop and storehouse against any distemper 
incident to the soul. The words of the Lord Jesus are wholesome 


words, but yet the virtue of the word mainly results from his merit 
and satisfaction : John xvii. 19, ' And for their sakes I sanctify my 
self, that they also may be sanctified through the truth ; ' and Eph. 
v. 25, 26, * Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it, that he 
might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.' 
So his example hath a great force, seeing how prone the nature of 
man is to imitate. And this example is so much commended to us 
by his kindness and condescension in coming down to be subject to the 
same laws we live by, by the exactness of it, and the issue and conse 
quent life and immortality into which he entered to give us a 
visible demonstration of the success of our obedience. But an ex 
ample would nothing at all have profited those that are dead in sin 
and hated of God, if some other means had not been used. Compare 
1 Peter ii. 21 with 24 ; ' For even hereunto were ye called, because 
Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that we should follow 
his steps ; ' then ver. 24, * Who his own self bare our sins in his own 
body upon the tree, that we, being dead to sin r should live unto right 
eousness, by whose stripes we are healed/ There needed grace to 
make example effectual: 2 Cor. iii. 18, 'We all with open face, be 
holding 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 

3. Christ's merit and sufferings do effect our cure, as they purchased 
the Spirit for us, who reneweth and healeth our sick souls : 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 the re 
newing of the Holy Ghost, which he shed on us abundantly through 
Jesus Christ our Saviour.' We have it by virtue of Christ's suffer 
ings : Gal. iii. 13, 14, ' Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the 
law, being made a curse for us ; for it is written, Cursed is every one 
that hangeth on a tree, that the blessing of Abraham might come on 
the Gentiles through Jesus Christ, that we might receive the promise 
of the Spirit through faith/ So in many other places. He is power 
ful to change our hearts, and to take away sin. Our wound is not in 
curable. The Spirit of God can and will heal the diseased soul. 
God's justice being satisfied in Christ, he is at more liberty now to 
dispense his grace. 

Use 1. Is for reproof, and that to divers sorts ; as 
1. Those that are not sensible of their deadly wounds and the dis 
eases of their souls. There is a carelessness and insensibility in most 
of soul diseases. If the body be but ill at ease, they complain presently, 
and seek help for their bodies, but never think of the languishing 
condition of their souls, and how lamentably distempered they are. 
They are hard by death's door, on the brink of destruction, yet are 
merry and laugh, lay not their condition to heart ; nay, think it 
an injury done them, if you mind them of their cure. Though 
they are spiritually sick, yet they will not know nor acknowledge it, 
but, like persons of a distempered brain, who take the physician for an 
enemy, they murmur at and resist all Christ's healing methods, as if 
their duty were their torment, and not their disease. These are in love 
with their diseases : John iii. 19, ' This is the condemnation, that light 


is come into the world, and men love darkness rather than light, be 
cause their deeds are evil/ 

2. Some would have peace and comfort by Christ, but neglect 
healing ; whereas both were purchased by him, and both must be re 
garded by us. We should aim at a sound cure, not to have the grief 
assuaged only, but the distemper removed. It is a mountebank's cure 
to stop the pain and let alone the cause ; yet such a cure do they seek 
after that are more earnest for ease and comfort than grace. A good 
Christian is troubled with the strength of sin, as well as the guilt of 
it, and mindeth the rectitude of all his faculties as well as the ease 
and peace of his conscience, that he may be enabled to walk with God 
cheerfully, in the way of holiness, as well as enjoy the pardon of sins : 
1 John i. 9, ' He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to 
cleanse us from all unrighteousness.' He would be an unwise man 
who, having his leg broken, should only mind to be eased of the pain, 
but not take care to have it set right again. So foolish is that Chris 
tian who is earnest for comfort, but taketh no care how to be directed 
and enabled to please God. Sin, in some sense, is worse than damna 

3. It reproveth those who think it impossible to get rid of their 
carnal distempers. Will you lessen the merit of Christ and the power 
of his Spirit, or doubt of the promise of God ? Jer. iii. 22, ' Return, 
and I will heal you/ Now, upon these terms we should come to Christ 
with confidence, to be the better for coming : Jer. xvii. 14, ' Heal me, 
and I shall be healed.' God can heal, and he will ; that is, he is 
ready to do it, or else why did he take this course ? 

Use 2. Is to press us to come to God for healing. I shall give you 
a few directions. 

1. You must, in a broken-hearted manner, be sensible of your 
sickness. It is the sensible sinner Christ undertaketh to cure ; the 
heart-whole are not within the compass of his commission : Luke v. 
31, 32, ' They that are whole need not the physician, but they that are 
sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance/ A 
sense of our disease is a good step toward our cure. God will so heal 
that he will make us feel our sickness, that the smart of it may be a 
warning to us for the future, that we may not presume to offend again 
when we are recovered : Josh. xxii. 17, ' Is the iniquity of Peor too 
little for us, from which we are not cleansed until this day ? ' We 
must not make too bold with God. 

2. We must by earnest prayer seek this blessing of God, for God 
will be entreated for all things which he meaneth to bestow : Isa. xix. 
22, ' He shall be entreated of them, and he shall heal them ; ' Ps. xci. 
14, * Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver 
him.' The leven of these distempers is so kneaded into the nature of 
man that it cannot be gotten out presently ; therefore come often to 
God by prayer for healing, sometimes this, sometimes that distemper ; 
now that our pride may be mortified, and anon our impatience ; at 
another time our carnal fear, our sensuality ; still praying as occasion 
requireth. We speed well at the throne of grace if we obtain the rid 
dance and abatement of any one spiritual disease. 

3. We must use God's means, viz. : (1.) The word, which is 


our medicine : 2 Tim. i. 13, * Hold fast the form of sound words which 
thou hast heard of me in faith arid love, which is in Christ Jesus/ 
Keep the soul healthy. (2.) The sacraments, they are a part of the 
medicinal dispensation, sealing the great benefits of God towards us, 
and our duty towards him, and so are a help against backsliding. (3.) 
Meditation on the death of Christ, not only as a price and ransom, but 
morally, as it represents the odiousness of sin, and also the love of 
Christ towards us. So that, out of gratitude to him, and kindness to 
ourselves, we are bound to abstain from sin for the future. Viscera 
patent per vulnera. By his stripes we see what we have deserved, and 
what Christ hath endured. 

4. When God is seriously dealing with us about a cure, and apply 
ing means of healing, let us take heed we do not lose the advantage 
and grow worse : Jer. li. 9, ' We would, have healed Babylon, but she 
would not be healed.' So of Sion it is said, Hosea vii. 1, ' When I 
would have healed Israel, the iniquity of Ephraim was discovered/ 
God is willing to offer us help to cure us of our sins, and affordeth us 
special means and excitations to that purpose. Now, when the waters 
are stirred, we should step in that we may be made whole ; otherwise 
the disease is the more irritated, and breaketh out in a worse manner 
than it did before. The great Physician of souls must be carefully 
observed and constantly waited upon, and in time he will give us per 
fect ease and health. 

5. Take heed, when you are healed, of casting yourselves into new 
diseases : John v. 14, ' Behold, thou art made whole ; sin no more, lest 
a worse thing come unto thee ; ' Heb. ix. 14, * How much more shall 
the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself 
without spot to God, purge your consciences from dead works to serve 
the living God?' 


All we, like sheep, Jiave gone astray ; ive have turned every one to his 
own way ; and the Lord hath laid upon him the iniquities of 
VA att, 

IN this verse we have two things which ought to be matter of con 
tinual meditation to us all our days, to wit, our misery by sin, and our 
remedy by Christ. 

1. Our misery in the former clause ; where 

[1.] Our sin is charged upon us collectively in common : we Jiave all 
gone astray. 

[2.] Distributively : every one to his own way. We all agree in 
turning aside from the right way of pleasing and enjoying of God ; 
and we disagree, as each one hath a by-path of his own, some running 
after this lust, some after that, and so are not only divided from -God, 
but divided from one another, while every one maketh his will his law. 


Velle suum cuique est, nee voto vivitur uno : several desires breed 

2. The remedy provided against this misery : and the Lord hath 
laid upon him the iniquities of us all. The burden of sin, that would 
otherwise have ruined us, is cast upon Christ. The sheep wander and 
the shepherd is slain. He is the good shepherd that layeth down his 
life for the sheep. David saith, 2 Sam. xxiv. 17, ' These sheep, what 
have they done ?' David was more tender of his people than of him 
self, yet David was guilty. But here it is otherwise, for our iniquities 
were laid upon Christ. Here we may observe : 

[1.] The author of this benefit, or who it was that provided this 
remedy for us : the Lord. 

[2.] The nature of the benefit : he laid our iniquities on him ; that 
is, on Christ. 

[3.] The persons concerned : the iniquities of us all ; all those that 
are at length gained to believe in him, and return to him, as the 
bishop and shepherd of their souls. 

First, I begin with the misery or the woeful case wherein all those 
for whom Christ died were in before conversion. 

1. They wandered in their ignorance and sinful ways to their own 
destruction, set forth by the going astray of sheep : ' All we, like sheep, 
are gone astray.' It is a usual similitude, which is not put here by 
way of extenuation, as in some scriptures, as ' I send you forth as 
sheep among wolves ; ' but in a way of aggravation, not to extenuate 
the sin, but to set it out the more. It is to show the folly of man. 
Sheep, of all creatures, are most apt to stray without a shepherd. They 
are apt either to be driven out of the fold as a dog or wolf scattereth 
the sheep, or to wander of their own accord, a fit emblem of our folly, 
who love to depart from God, and go astray from the way of life : 
Bom. iii. 12, ' They are all gone out of the way ;' that is, the way to 
true happiness. 

2. They were unable to bring themselves into the right way : Luke 
xv. 18, ' I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, 
I have sinned against heaven, and before thee.' St Austin saith, 
Domine, errare per me potui, redire non potui~Lwd, I could go 
astray of rny own accord, but could not return by myself. 

3. In hazard to be preyed upon by the roaring lion, and the dogs 
and wolves that are abroad : 1 Peter v. 8, * Be sober, be vigilant, 
because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seek 
ing whom he may devour.' Our misery is mentioned to show the 
necessity of a Saviour ; and this misery is made to consist in sin or stray 
ing from God ; the sense of which is our first motive to make us look 
after Christ, that we by him may return again to our own happiness, 
even to God, who is the refuge of our souls, and the centre of our rest. 
But let us more nearly observe how our misery is described. And first 
of the universal particle, all ive; and then of the distributive particle, 
every one. 

First, From the universal particle all, we may observe : 
Doct. 1. That no son of Adam can exempt himself from the imm- 
ber of those that are gone astray from God and the way of true hap 
piness. I shall explain the point in these considerations : 


First, All are sinners by nature. There are three branches of 
original sin : 

1. The communication of Adam's guilt. 

2. The want of original righteousness. 

3. The corruption or pollution of nature. These are derived from 
Adam to all his children, and in respect of these they are all out of the 

1. Because the guilt of Adam's sin is imputed to us ; his guilt we 
receive as children do the brand of their ancestors, that are tainted in 
blood and forfeited in law. Look, as Keuben's act in defiling his 
father's bed was a stain to all his posterity, and they lost the sover 
eignty by it, Gen. xlix. 4, so all mankind, being in Adam, as they 
descended from him, and were in him as in a common person, they 
sinned in him, so that what Adam did we did. Thus it is said, Heb. 
vii. 9, * Levi, who received tithes, paid tithes in Abraham.' There is 
ground you see in nature for the imputation of the father's deed to 
those that descend of him: and God may as justly impute to us 
Adam's sin as to Levi Abraham's paying of tithes. When Abraham 
did it, it was as if Levi did it ; and when Adam sinned, it was as if 
you sinned. We were all in his loins at that time ; and, if it had 
been our personal case, we should have done so. Now this answer 
may satisfy as to the angels, that do not beget one another, and, 
therefore, sustain not the person of one another ; their sins do not 
take hold of one another ; they, being all immediately begotten by 
God, are not guilty of each others' sins, unless it be by consent and 
mutual agreement; therefore, those only fell that combined to follow 
one as the ringleader of the faction. Hence it is said, Mat. xxv. 
41, * The devil and his angels ;' not as if begotten by him, but ad 
hering to him. But to return, in pursuance of the former matter, 
note, the scripture looketh upon parents as sustaining a common per 
son, and, therefore, what injury is done to the father, is spoken of 
as done to his seed ; and many families suffer for the miscarriages of 
their progenitors : Gen. iv. 10. ' Thy brother's blood crieth unto me : ' 
thou hast shed the blood of his offspring in spilling his, and, therefore, 
it is bloods, in the plural number. And so for Jacob and Esau, God 
elected them as sustaining the common persons of their posterity, and 
so likewise in many places. Now this holdeth good in man's justice, 
for treason in the father taints the blood of the son. 

2. The want of original righteousness, which cometh upon us thus. 
As poor and ignoble parents convey their poverty and want to their 
children, and none can give what he hath not. A bankrupt father 
must needs leave his family poor ; so Adam, having lost his righteous 
ness, he could not bequeath it as a legacy to his children. 

3. As to the corruption and pollution of nature, that is conveyed as 
a leprosy is propagated to the children of lepers : 2 Kings v. 27, ' The 
leprosy of Naaman shall cleave unto thee and to thy seed for ever ; ' 
so that every child born of that line was born a leper. Thus men be 
get children like themselves, corrupt and sinful ; the copy answereth 
the original the blood resembleth the kind. Of vipers there cometh 
nothing but vipers, and sinners produce sinners after their kind. If 
the immediate parent be sanctified, yet, that being not natural, doth 


not alter the case ; from a circumcised father there doth not come a 
circumcised child, threshed corn doth not produce threshed corn. 
But let us consider these branches a little more particularly . 

1. All men are sinners as they partake of Adam's guilt in being 
descended of him. As they sprang from him, they were in him as in 
a common person, and sinned in him ; as Levi paid tithes in Abra 
ham, as aforesaid, Heb. vii. 9. To be sure, sin and death came upon 
him and upon all : Kom. v. 12, * Wherefore as by one man sin en 
tered into the world, and death by sin, so that death passed upon all 
men, for that all have sinned.' If death, as is visible, then sin, even 
upon children : ver. 14, ' Death reigned from Adam to Moses, even 
over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's trans 
gression/ Otherwise the apostle's reason would not be good and 
cogent, and there would be a punishment without a guilt : but ubipcena, 
ibi culpa. Yea, Eom. v. 19, ' For as by one man's disobedience 
many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be 
made righteous.' Made sinners is meant sensu forensi, in a law 
or court sense, by the imputation of Adam's guilt, as appeareth by 
the opposition. In short, those things are said to be imputed to us 
which are reckoned ours to all intents and purposes, as much as if 
they were our own. As another man's debt, taken on upon my 
score and account, is really and truly mine : so Adam's disobe 
dience, and Christ's righteousness are imputed to all those whom they 

2. They are sinners as they want original righteousness : Rom. iii. 
23, * For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God/ By 
' the glory of God ' may be meant his glorious recompenses, or his 
glorious image. The latter, questionless, is meant : 1 Cor. xi. 7, ' A 
man ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and 
glory of God ; but the woman is the glory of man/ See also 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/ This 
necessarily maketh them sinners : for the soul being destitute of a 
principle to incline it to God, wholly accommodateth itself to the in 
terests of the flesh, and is only employed to cater for the body and 
the bodily life ; for, though it be created by God, yet being created 
destitute of grace and original righteousness, and put into the body, 
it soon forgets its divine original, and that region of spirits from 
whence it came, and conformeth itself to the body ; as water put into 
a round or square vessel, taketh form from the vessel into which it is 
put. The soul doth only affect things present and known, having 
no other principle to guide it. Now things present and known are 
the delights of the body and bodily life, such as meat, drink, natural 
generation, sports, wealth, honour, and pomp of living. And the soul 
is turned from the love and study of better things. That self-love 
that carrieth us to these things is naturally good but morally evil, as 
it destroys the love of God, and the care of pleasing and enjoying him. 
There is a conversion from God to the creature, a falling off from our 
last end. 

3. There is pollution or corruption of nature, the stock of sin which 
we have inbred in us, consisting in a blind mind, perverse will, dis- 


orderly affections, an unruly appetite, and evil inclinations to sensual 
things. This corruption is often spoken of in scripture : Ps. li. 5, 
' Behold I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive 
me ; ' John iii. 6, ' That which is born of the flesh is flesh/ We all 
partake of the same carnal nature, the dunghill of corruption, which 
wreaketh out in the mind by vain thoughts, in the heart by carnal de 
sires, and constantly discovereth itself by a proneness to all evil : Gen. 
vi. 5, the imaginations and ' the thoughts of his heart are evil, and 
that continually/ An aversion from and enmity to all that is good : 
Eom. viii. 7, ' The carnal mind is enmity against God, and is not subject 
to the law, neither indeed can be/ Man, in respect to that which is 
good, is described not only by terms that imply weakness, but hostility 
and opposition, as unfit for every good work, and so opposite to it : 
Col. i. 21, 'Alienated and enemies in your minds by wicked works/ 
If a man were indifferent to good and evil, a neuter and not a rebel, 
the case were the less ; but the bent of his heart is against it, as ap- 
peareth not only by scripture but experience. There is a proneness, 
and a greater inclination to evil than to good. Now, from whence 
should it come ? Not by example, for then this inclination would not 
discover itself so early, and children would be as capable of good as 
evil. We catch a disease from the sick, but not health from the sound. 
We find a manifest disproportion in all our faculties. In the under 
standing, a sharpness of apprehension in carnal things, but a dulness 
and slowness to conceive of what is spiritual the will is backward 
and slow to what is good, but there is a strong bent and urging in 
it to what is evil. We need a bridle to curb and restrain us from 
evil, and a spur to excite and quicken us to good. Evil things perse 
vere and continue with us. Oh, but how fickle and changeable are we in 
any holy matter ! The memory is slippery in what is good, firm and 
strong in what is evil, the affections quick, and easily stirred ; like 
fire in tinder, they catch presently what is evil, but are cold and dead, 
like fire in wet or green wood, to anything that is good. The body 
is unwieldy for any holy use, but ready to execute any carnal pur 
pose. In short, there is the seed of all actual transgressions before it 
break forth ; so that we are gone astray and out of the way indeed. 
This should be minded by us. Nothing inferreth so much a contra 
diction to God as our being sinners by nature. This is a standing 
enmity ; actual sin is a blow and away, a fit of anger, this a state of 
malice. Surely, we had need look to a redeemer and a change by re 
generation, that are so corrupt and fleshly in all the powers and 
faculties both of soul and body. This secludeth us from any possi 
bility of attaining heaven and true happiness. 

Secondly, All that come to the use of reason have actually sinned 
against God. The bad : 1 Kings viii. 46, ' For there is no man that 
sinneth not/ The good : Eccles. vii. 20, ' For there is not a just man 
upon earth, that doeth good and sinneth not/ Our nature, being un 
subdued, discovereth itself in acts suitable: Gen. viii. 21, 'For the 
imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth, and that continually/ 
Though there be mixtures and intermissions, and though this corrup 
tion be in part broken, yet it is not wholly vanquished ; as cloth dyed 
in the wool doth not easily leave its first mixture. Principles in the 


best are mixed, so are their operations, like fair water passing through 
a dirty sink. Bonum non est nisi ex integro not so purely good, as 
merely evil before. The best are either overtaken, Gal. vi. 1, or over 
borne, Rom. vii. The saints in heaven are called ' spirits made perfect/ 
Heb. xii. 23. They sin no more ; but here we come very short of 
tha,t exact obedience which the law reqtiireth : Prov. xx. 9, ' Who can 
say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin ?' They have 
entered upon the work of cleansing their hearts, but cannot get them 
quite clean, but still go on with the work, and make use of the blood 
of Christ. Though none accuse them, yet God and their own hearts 
may justly condemn them for many sinful swervings from their duty. 

Thirdly, This departing from God and his ways is fitly represented 
by the straying of sheep : ' All we like sheep have gone astray.' 

In the general it implieth: 

1. That we are brutish in our sin and defection from God : it could 
not be expressed but by a comparison fetched from the beasts ; we 
were like sheep led aside in a sensual way. Man aimed at being equal 
with God, and he was made beneath himself : Ps. xlix. 12, 'Never 
theless, man being in honour, abideth not ; he is like the beasts that 
perish.' He continued not in the honour of his creation, and in that 
excellency and dignity wherein God had set him ; but became like a 
beast, governed by his senses and lower appetite. It is true of all 
men, they do not continue in the excellency of their being, they have 
lost much of the dignity of their reason, and are more led by sense, 
as the brute creatures are. And therefore you have the saints often 
complaining : Ps. Ixxiii. 22, * So foolish was I and ignorant, I was as 
a beast before thee.' I was as behemoth, a great beast. Sometimes 
they have no command of their affections, but are merely led by the 
unruliness of appetite or passions : so Prov. xxx. 2, ' I was more 
brutish than any man ; ' that is, he was no more able to gain heavenly 
knowledge, whereby to be wise for heaven and salvation, than brute 
creatures are able to wield man's reason, whereby to apply themselves 
to the affairs of this life. Therefore man is often compared to beasts 
for fierceness and cruelty, as the prophet calleth the proud oppressors 
cows : Amos iv. 3, ' And ye shall go out of the breaches, every cow 
at that which is before her.' So for their rude wanton simplicity, 
they are compared to ' a wild ass's colt,' Job xi. 12. And here to a 
sheep in decay of knowledge and government. In the general, then, 
it implieth something brutish in us, and that through the fall we have 
slipped beneath the excellency of our rank and being. 

2. Proneness to err. No creature is more prone to wander and lose 
his way than a sheep without a shepherd, which is easily seduced. 
So are we apt to transgress the bounds whereby God hath hedged up 
our way : Jer. xiv. 10, * Thus saith the Lord unto this people, thus 
have they loved to wander/ They loved to try experiments in a way 
of sin. Man indeed would fain transmit the fault from himself, as 
Adam doth obliquely upon God : * The woman which thou gavest 
me to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat,' Gen. iii. 12. 
It may not be the shepherd's fault if the sheep wander, but their own 
nature, their aptness to wander. When we bring ourselves into 
inconveniences, we are apt to murmur, and secretly to accuse God in 


our thoughts, as if he did not sufficiently provide for us. Solomon 
saith, Prov. xix. 3, ' The foolishness of man perverteth his way, and 
his heart fretteth against the Lord.' It is our own folly, and we blame 
our own fate, our evil destiny, and those unlucky stars that shone at 
our birth ; and in these things we blame God himself. The saints 
themselves have been guilty of this evil, fretting at God for what 
inconvenience comes to pass through their own sin and folly. 2 Sam. 
vi. 8, it is said, ' David was displeased, because the Lord had made a 
breach upon Uzzah.' He should have been displeased with himself 
and his own ignorance, to order the ark to be carried upon a cart, 
when it should have been carried upon the priests' shoulders. Thus, 
as sheep, it notethto us self-abasement, because of our own proneness : 
we did it as sheep, and they are apt to wander. 

3. Our inability to return, or to bring ourselves into the right way 
again. It is like a sheep, not like a swine or a dog ; these creatures 
will find the way home again, but a sheep is irrecoverably lost without 
the shepherd's diligence and care : Jer. 1. 6, ' My people have been 
lost sheep, their shepherds have caused them to go astray ; they have 
turned them away on the mountains, they have gone from mountain 
to hill, they have forgotten their resting-place.' The farther they go 
the farther they will be from the flock, and in a very sad condition. 
It holdeth good too here ; for we do not know the way back again to 
God. Austin saith, I could wander by myself, and could not return 
by myself. And God saith as much, Hosea xiii. 9, ' Israel, thou 
hast destroyed thyself, but in me is thy help/ That is done in a 
moment which we cannot help to all eternity. Our destruction is 
from ourselves, but our reparation from God. The good shepherd 
bringeth home the lost sheep upon his shoulders, Luke xv. 5. 

4. It noteth our readiness to follow evil example. A sheep is 
animal sequax, they run one after another, arid one straggler draweth 
away the whole flock : Eph. ii. 2, 3, i Wherein in times past ye 
walked, according to the course of this world, according to the prince 
of the power of the air, that now worketh in the children of dis 
obedience : among whom also we had our conversation in times past, in 
the lust of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, 
and were by nature the children of wrath even as others/ There is 
Satan, corrupt examples, and evil inclinations, the world and the flesh, 
all concurring to ruin man. We easily swim with the stream and 
current of others' examples, and do as they do ; and even so men take 
and do a great deal of hurt by evil examples. Thus sins are pro 
pagated, and we live by imitation ; like sheep, we draw others out of 
the pasture together with ourselves. Sheep go by troops, and so do 
men follow the multitude to do evil ; and what is common passeth 
into our practice without observance. 

5. The danger of straying sheep, which when out of the pasture, 
are often in harm's way, and exposed to a thousand clangers : Jer. 
1. 6, 7, ' My people have been like lost sheep ; all that have found 
them have devoured them/ So are we in danger to be preyed upon 
by the roaring lion, and the dogs and wolves that are abroad. In our 
sinful estate we are as sheep whom no man taketh up, being out of 
God's protection, and so a ready prey for Satan. See how pathetically 


the prophet describeth the misery of Israel: Hosea iv, 16, 'Now the 
Lord will feed them as a lamb in a large place/ Oh, consider what it 
is for a poor solitary lamb to wander through the mountains, where, 
it may be, some hungry lion and ravenous wolf looketh for such a 
prey. Even so it is with straying men, their judgment sleepeth not ; 
it may be the next hour they will be delivered over to destruction : 
Eom. iii. 16, ' Destruction and misery is in their way, and the way of 
peace they have not known.' 

Use 1. Is to show us the necessity of a Redeemer. All are included 
under a necessity of looking after a remedy ; if all be sick, they 
must all seek to the physician or perish. And therefore it concerneth 
every one to see what they have done for the saving of their lost souls. 
' All the world is become guilty before God/ as the apostle saith, 
Rom. iii. 19. Guilty you are, but have you sued out your discharge ? 
By nature you lost the glory of God, but are you changed into the 
image and likeness of Christ from glory to glory ? You were polluted 
in your first birth, but are you born again of water and the Spirit? 
Are you saved by being washed in the laver of regeneration and 
renewing of the Holy Ghost, which he hath shed on us abundantly 
through Jesus Christ our Saviour ? You are sinners by practice, 
but are you washed in the blood of the Lamb, and reconciled to God ? 
You have gone astray, but is the case altered with you ? 1 Peter ii. 25, 
' For ye were as sheep going astray, but are now returned unto the 
shepherd and bishop of your souls/ Do you use Christ as a mediator 
to seek the favour of God by him ? Do you put yourselves into his 
hands as your Shepherd, and resign and give up yourselves to be 
governed by him as your bishop and overseer ? As the misery 
involveth all, so doth the care and necessity of looking after a remedy 
concern all. In the first Adam we contracted guilt, and became liable 
to the wrath of God ; in the second, we have righteousness, which is a 
pledge of God's favour. In the first Adam we lost the image of God ; 
by the second, we are made partakers of the divine nature. In the 
first, we lost paradise; but by the second, are restored to a better para 
dise, heaven itself. 

But let us not reflect only upon this common necessity, but our own 
personal necessity, what need we have to look after a Redeemer, and 
to get an interest in him, and that his redeeming grace may become 
glorious in our eyes. 

1. In your natural estate you were every one of you as lost sheep, 
fugitives, and strangers, and enemies to him. Thy way was lost, thy 
God lost, thy happiness lost, thy soul lost ; so it was, for Christ ' came 
to seek and to save that which was lost.' Then the devil was thy 
shepherd, then thou didst put thyself under his conduct, and God was 
looked upon as thy enemy. Oh, think of it ; at a day old thou wert 
sinful, even to the death, and worthy of God's hatred : Col. i. 21, 
' You were sometimes alienated, and enemies in your minds by wicked 
works.' And his wrath remaineth on you, till application be made 
of the blood of Christ upon gospel terms: John iii. 36, 'He that 
believeth not the Son, shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth 
on him/ These terms are repentance and turning to God. Now 
dost thou believe that thou wert a child of wrath by nature, a fire- 


brand of hell ? and canst thou be secure, and desirest thou not to be 
freed from so great a danger ? 

2. In practice. How didst thou wander and depart from God 
throughout the whole course of thy life ? The stragglings of thy 
youth, how canst thou look back upon them without shame and blush 
ing ? Cry out then, Ps. xxv. 7, ' Kemember not the sins of my 
youth, nor my transgressions : according to thy mercy remember thou 
me, for thy goodness' sake, Lord.' And in thy riper years how 
shamefully didst thou stray from God, even since thou begannest to 
have more of conscience, and a greater use of reason ? It were end 
less to trace us in all our by-paths : ' Who can understand his errors ? ' 
Ps. xix. 12. In every age, in every condition, in every business, we 
have been wandering from God. 

3. Since grace received we have had our deviations : Ps. cxix. 
176, ' I have gone astray like a lost sheep : seek thy servant, for I do 
not forget thy commandments.' Though our hearts be set to walk 
with God in the main, yet we are ever and anon swerving from the 
rule, either neglecting our duty to God, or transgressing against the 
holy commandment. Oh, therefore eat your passover with sour herbs, 
and bless the Lord for finding you out in your wanderings, and follow 
ing you with the tenders of his grace in Christ. 

Use 2. If the Spirit of God sets forth our natural estate by the 
straying or wandering of sheep, see if this disposition be still in you, 
yea or no. Are you not apt to go astray from God and from his 
ways ? 

1. From God. Every sin is a departing from him, but especially 
unbelief : Heb. iii. 12, ' Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of 
you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God/ 
Adam thought to find much happiness in forbidden fruit, to mend 
and better his condition, but was miserably disappointed. So when we 
do not believe God in his word, we will be trying our fortunes and 
taking our own swing and course. But I speak of a more general dis 
position. There are some whose main care it is to be getting away 
from God; as the prodigal went into a far country, Luke xv. 11. 
They think to be better anywhere than at home under God's eye and 
presence. This appeareth by the care they take to keep God out of 
their thoughts : Ps. x. 4, * God is not in all his thoughts.' A thought 
of God rushing into their mind is very unwelcome and unpleasant to 
them ; they are backward and hang off from communion with God, 
and the duties of religion are looked upon as a melancholy inter 

2. From the ways of God. Though they are the only ways of 
peace and life, and will surely make us happy in the end, yet natu 
rally we are of a libertine and yokeless spirit. Sinners looking upon 
all things through the spectacles of the flesh, count them harsh and 
unequal, and a strict confinement : Mat. vii. 14, ' Because strait is the 
gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be 
that find it.' They cannot endure God's restraint : Prov. xiv. 12, 
' There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof 
are the ways of death/ The broad and easy ways of sin are pleasing 
to flesh and blood, but destructive to the soul. Well, then, he that 


counteth the company of God or the ways of God irksome, hath this 
wandering disposition still remaining with him ; and if it be not checked 
it will prove his eternal destruction. The sheep do not fare the better 
for going out of the pasture. We leave all good in leaving the chiefest 
good ; and in departing from God you turn your back upon your own 
happiness ; as beasts put into a good pasture will yet seek out some gap 
that they may range abroad. 

I come now to observe from the distribution of this common error : 
every man to his own way : 

Doct. 2. That there are many several ways of sinning ; or thus, 
though there be one path to heaven, yet there are several ways of sin 
ning and going to hell. 

Every man hath his several course. And as the channel is cut, so 
his corrupt nature findeth an issue and passage : Eccles. vii. 29, ' God 
hath made man upright, but they have sought out many inventions/ 
One hath one invention, arid another another, wherein he imagineth 
to find contentment and happiness, but findeth none. Man swerving 
from the state of happiness and sufficiency wherein God had created 
him, thinketh to better his condition, and therefore hath many devices 
and inventions, which indeed make it worse. So 1 John ii. 16, ' For 
all that is in the world is the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and 
the pride of life.' Though no sin cometh amiss to a carnal heart, yet 
some are more kindly and suitable to that particular humour. One's 
notorious blemish is the lust of the eyes, worldliness ; another, sensu 
ality ; another, pride ; one this sin, another that. Hence the psalmist 
saith, Ps. xviii. 23, ' I kept myself from mine iniquity.' That which 
most urgeth us, and prevaileth with us, we should endeavour to 

The reasons how this cometh to pass are : 

1. Because of the activeness of man's spirit. It is always a-devising 
wickedness, which as it is true most especially of the malicious musing 
mind, so of all evil hearts : Ps. Ixiv. 6, * They search out iniquities, 
they accomplish a diligent search ; both the inward thought of every 
one of them, and the heart, is deep.' A wicked spirit is a searching 
spirit; they contrive new ways ; they are always finding out new in 
ventions and devices ; they are not contented with the way God hath 
set them, and therefore will try others. 

2. It happeneth through diversity of constitutions. Amores animi 
sequuntur humores corporis the conditions of the mind follow the con 
stitution of the body. The matter of some men's bodies is more viciously 
disposed than others are. We plainly see the body hath some indirect 
operation upon the soul ; the affections, in their work and exercise, 
depend upon the body ; and these corrupt affections meeting with a 
disposed body for them, by a violent sway carry the whole man with 
them. And this reason is the stronger, because the devil joineth with 
our tempers to help on those sins to which we are naturally disposed, 
as wantonness, drunkenness, gluttony ; or if of a better constitution, 
to pride and vainglory. As when the devil observeth a lustful man, 
he helpeth forward the temptation, and offereth occasions, stirring up 
raging and immoderate desires, until at length, forgetting all shame 
and modesty, or the danger of punishments, he does most foully pol- 


lute himself. So if to luxury and gluttony, he presents sweet baits till 
the soul is drowned and drenched in meats and drinks, and there be no 
sense of piety, and the heart is made unwieldy to prayer or any good 
duty. So for contentious or furious persons ; whatever the constitution 
be, he ' worketh mightily in the children of disobedience/ Eph. ii. 2. 
Godly men find least hurt by him, as being led by the Spirit, and avoid 
the occasions and snares, and strive against evil suggestions, and yet 
they smart too much under his malice many times, through the ad 
vantage he hath over them by their constitutions. 

3. It happeneth from their business and occasions in the world. 
Many men are engaged to ways of sin because they suit best with their 
employments, the sin of their calling, as vainglory in a minister. The 
apostle saith, ' Ordain not a novice, lest he be lifted up of pride, and 
fall into the condemnation of the devil/ 1 Tim. iii. 6. So worldliness 
suits a man of business, or deceitfulness in his trade ; and corruption 
is common to a magistrate. Several callings and businesses have their 
several corruptions. Men easily slide into the corruptions of their way, 
and every calling, through the wickedness of our hearts, is made to 
serve this or that sin. 

4. Custom and education. Aristotle saith, It is ill education that 
engageth men to a way of wickedness, and it is not easy to break 
them off from it. Vessels will not easily quit their first savour, and 
customs will not easily be left. Teach a child the way of the Lord 
and it will stick by him : Prov. xxii. 6, ' Train up a child in the way 
he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.' 

5. Company and example. Men learn from them with whom they 
converse, and thence come national sins, partly as they run in the 
blood, but more by example. Of the Germans we learn drunkenness 
and gluttony ; of the French, wantonness. Men shape their practices 
to the patterns that are before them, and learn their way ; for it easily 
taints the spirits. And thus you see why there are so many inven 
tions and ways of wickedness. 

Use 1. Well, then, do not be too ready to bless yourselves, provided 
the sins of others break not out upon you : do not flatter yourselves 
that you run not into the same sins that others do. The devil may 
take you in another snare that suiteth more with your temper and con 
dition of life. Some are sensual and some vainglorious, others worldly ; 
many meet in hell that do not go thither the same way. A man may 
not be as other men, and yet he may not be as he should be : Luke 
xviii. 11, 'The pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I 
thank thee that I am not as other men ; ' yet ' the publican went down 
to his house justified rather than the proud pharisee/ Those that 
slighted the invitation to the marriage-feast had their several diver 
sions and reasons of excuse : Mat. xxii. 5, ' But they all made light of 
it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise/ 
One hath business to keep him from Christ, and another pleasures 
and the pomps and vanities of the present world, and another has his 
superstitious observances. But all obstruct the power of the truth, 
and the receiving of Christ into their souls. Every man will have his 
way, saith Luther upon this text. Some follow their hawks and hounds, 
and neglect their precious and immortal souls. Others busy them- 



selves in heaping up riches ; others are for plays and sports to fool 
away the day of grace. * My way/ saith he, * when I was a monk, was to 
fast and pray till I had made myself sick ; to observe the statutes of 
my order strictly. I called upon the blessed Virgin, and St George, 
and St Christopher'; and this was my way. And so vile a creature as 
I was, for all this, became the more sinful.' Others may hate this or 
that public and visible blemish, but what are thy failings ? John viii. 
7, ' He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone at 
her/ We may rashly censure others, and descant on their faults, 
but it is better to look inward. Do not I offend God as much another 
way as those whom I censure ? There is a double madness not only 
that which is idle and light, and breaketh out in strange freaks and 
furious extravagances, but that which is more sober, solemn, and 
grave. A frenzy betrayeth itself by deep musings and high conceits. 
So it is true of these discoveries of sin. Some delight in vain plea 
sures, others go to hell in a graver course. When a man perisheth, 
he * eateth the fruit of his own way, and is filled with his own de 
vices/ Prov. i. 31. 

2. Stop your way of sinning, pluck out thy right eye, cut off thy 
right hand, Mat. v. 29, 30. Your trial lieth there, as Abraham was 
tried in offering up his Isaac ; and David voucheth it as a mark of 
sincerity : Ps. xviii. 23, ' I was upright before thee, and kept myself 
from mine iniquity/ It will prove a stumbling-block, and eat out all 
the heart and power of grace if let alone. It concerneth us in our 
covenanting with God to set against the sin of this inbred and natural 
inclination. Though original sin dispose us to all sin, yet our partic 
ular and personal inclination may carry us more strongly to some one 
kind of sin : Heb. xii. 1, ' Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin 
which doth so easily beset us/ Thus childhood is wanton, and old age 
touchy and covetous. Sins take the throne by turns, according to our 
vocation and course of life. Every calling hath its temptations, and 
there is a snare which others meet not with. Every condition of life 
hath a predominant sin ; as the young man with his great possessions. 
Oh ! let us consider our tender parts, our Delilah, our Herodias, that 
sin that hindereth us most in closing with Christ, that sin that most 
engrosseth our thoughts ; for they always follow the temper of our 
hearts. Some sins we hide under the tongue, Job xx. 12, which we 
cannot endure should be touched ; our private sore is a tender place. 
Thus Herod would not be crossed in his Herodias, and Felix trembled 
when Paul ' reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to 
come/ Acts xxiv. 25, because he lived in intemperance with Drusilla, 
his pretended wife. That which you reserve in turning to God, that 
which you set up a toleration in your hearts for, even this sin must be 
bewailed to God, and you must seek the blood of Christ to mortify it 
with all the promising occasions of it. Act the contrary grace, and 
see how you can deny yourselves in what you most affect. 

Use 2. Is caution not to walk slightly. There is but one right path, 
there are many evil ones. As one said, Evil is manifold, and the way 
of sin divideth itself into divers paths ; you may easily mistake. See 
that place, Prov. iv. 26, 27, ' Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all 
thy ways be established : turn not to the right hand, nor to the left ; 


remove thy foot from evil.' Walk with a great deal of care and cir 
cumspection. When it is so easy to err, a man would be solicitous. 
The apostle blameth those that did not opOoiro^elv, not ' walk uprightly 
according to the truth of the gospel/ Gal. ii. 14. They did not go 
with a right foot. The world thinketh strictness to be folly and nice- 
ness. You see there is a great deal of reason for it : there is error on 
both sides of truth, and you may easily miscarry : there is an extreme 
on both hands. A little to direct you, mind that place, Mat. vii. 14, 
' Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, and few there be that find 
it/ There are some way-marks. I think, without wrong to that place, 
that I may give you three a strait gate, a narrow way, and few 

1. A strait gate. The entrance into it puts the soul shrewdly to it, 
whether taken for the coming out of ourselves, or the getting into 
-Christ. It is a narrow way to carry the soul right. It is like the pas 
sages by which Jonathan and his armour-bearer sought to get up to 
the Philistines : 1 Sam. xiv. 4, ' There was a sharp rock on the one 
side, and a sharp rock on the other side ; the name of the one was 
Bozez, and the name of the other was Seneh.' So here, between pre 
sumption and despair, it is hard to keep the soul right, sometimes the 
wind bloweth in one corner, sometimes in another. How to keep our 
selves from despair in going out of ourselves, how to keep ourselves 
from presumption by getting into Christ, is not so easy. 

2. There is a narrow path, refl/U/z^e^ 9} 0805, an afflicted, rough 
way, such as will engage believers 

[1.] To the exercise of care. A diffident, regardless soul is out of 
his way: you have but a ridge to walk upon : Eph. v. 15, * Walk cir 
cumspectly ; ' not even as it hitteth ; for it is a hard matter to keep a 
good conscience, Acts xxiv. 16 ; and Prov. xxiii. 19, ' Hear thou, my 
son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the right way.' You had 
need look to it. 

[2.] To a great deal of pains and sorrow. He was mistaken that 
said, Take thine ease. Many can swallow sins, and pursue them, and 
yet have no sense of them that they are wrong. It is a way that will 
put you upon much sorrow and affliction, because you have such a 
distempered soul, and such a deal of pride and intemperance and 
anger in it : Horn. vii. 24, ' wretched man that I am ! who shall 
deliver me from the body of this death ? ' Ps. cxx. 5, ' Woe is me that 
I sojourn in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar 1 * The saints 
are apt to grieve that they have such a worldly spirit in a heavenly 

[3.] To a great deal of self-denial. It is a way that restraineth 
nature ; therefore we are called upon, Mat. iii. 3, ' Prepare ye the way 
of the Lord, make his paths straight;' Heb. xii. 13, 'And make 
straight paths to your feet.' There must be strictness in our course. 
It is not such a way as will leave you to the sway of your own hearts. 
Nature would have a thing many times, but you must put a knife to 
your throats, as if you were more ready to slay your appetite than to 
satisfy it. The thoughts, the affections, the speeches, the actions, 
must be reduced to the strict rules of the word. When men please 
nature to the full, it is a sign they have mistaken their way. 


[4.] It will engage you to much mortification, to much opposition r 
Eph. vi. 12, 'For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against 
principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this 
world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.' You have strong 
lusts to cope with, and those must be mortified, which you cannot do 
without the Spirit of Christ, Kom. viii. 13. It will cost you many 
prayers and tears, and fighting with spiritual wickednesses. 

3. The next way-mark is, that you have but little company : ' Nar 
row is the way that leads to life, and few there be that find it.' Many 
walk as others do, and so mistake. Others sever themselves from the 
world, but go in the ordinary track of profession, not out of the com 
mon road. This is to be true to a sect and company of men, not to 
the ways of God. As Paul, when he was a pharisee, he lived by the 
eye, and did as others did ; he lived after the strictest sect of religion y 
Acts. xxvi. 5. You must put a difference between the ordinary num 
ber of professors and yourself. But if you be vain and sensual, what 
do you more than they ? Christians should look after the distinction 
and the difference between them and others : Mat. vi. 32, ' For after 
all these things do the Gentiles seek.' Implying, a man should da 
more than they, more than the men of the world can ever do : Ps. 
iv. 6, ' There be many that say, Who will show us any good ?' That is 
the fashion of the men of the brutish multitude. But the godly say, 
' Lord, lift up the light of thy countenance upon us.' 

Use 3. Is to press you to look into the state of your hearts, and see 
what 3 7 ou have by long experience observed, what is your sin, your way 
of wickedness, what assaults you most frequently, most fiercely ; observe 
the frequency of temptations, and the strength of them, the law in the 
members, and a thorn in the flesh ; so, as it is conceived, he calleth 
the violent stirrings of lusts. Now bend all your strength against 
these ; as the king of Aram said, 1 Kings xxii. 31, c Fight not against 
small nor great, save only with the king of Israel.' So bend the 
strength of the soul against this way of wickedness. 

I come now to the last point of the first part of the text, and that is 
drawn from that possessive particle whereby every man's by-path is ex 
pressed : Every man to Ms ivay. 

Doct. 3. That this is the sin of men in their natural condition, that 
they turn to their own way. 

^ The phrase implieth these two things First, A defect or want of 
divine guidance; Secondly, A rejection of the ways of God when 
made known to us. We do not like them so well as some other, 
which we fancy to be better to us, because more suitable to our carnal 
desires ; and therefore it is often charged upon the people of Israel, 
especially by Jeremiah, that they would not regard the ways of God, 
but the way of their own imaginations. See Jer. vii. 24. God had 
told them that all that he required of them was this, ' Obey my voice, 
and walk in the way that I have commanded you; but they hearkened 
not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsel and in the ima 
gination of their evil heart, and went backward and not forward.' So 
that you see it argueth a refusal of God's ways when discovered to 
them, as not being for their turns. So Jer. ix. 13, 14, ' Because they 
have forsaken my law which I have set before them, and have not 


obeyed my voice, neither walked therein, but have walked after the 
imagination of their heart and after Baalim.' They think their own 
path better, safer, or more comfortable, and therefore would not meddle 
with God's. So Jer. xi. 8, ' Yet they obeyed not, nor inclined their 
ear, but walked every one in the imagination of their evil heart.' This 
refusal is the more sottishly perverse ; as in Jer. xliv. 17, ' But will 
certainly do whatsoever thing goeth out of our mouth/ So that here 
is a scorning to have their ways prescribed, out of a presumption that 
they can better provide for themselves. The drunkard, the adulterer, 
thinks God's way is either insipid or injurious. Our first parents 
thought their conceit was better, and that God in envy had denied it 
to them ; and therefore they did not weigh God's restraint and pro 
hibition, Gen. iii. 17 ; she would eat, the devil had fastened her fancy 
to it, and she went on with the temptation. 

1. There is a defect or want of divine guidance. God leaveth men 
to their own sway, and taketh away all check and restraint from them ; 
and then whatever a man doth is purely from himself. So it is said, 
Ps. Ixxxi. 12, * I gave them up to their own hearts' lust, and they 
walked in their own counsels/ When all divine guidance or direction 
is taken away, you will be left to the impure dictates of a corrupt mind, 
or at best to some poor remains of civility. As it is said, Gen. xx. 6, ' 1 
also withheld thee from sinning against me, therefore suffered thee 
not to touch her/ Some restraints and chains God casteth upon men, 
that they are not able to do the evil which naturally they would. 
Though they do not go God's way, they cannot go their own. But 
when God pleaseth he letteth men alone, and then they do what is 
right in their own eyes; as you shall see, Acts xiv. 16, ' Who in times 
past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways;' that is, to live 
according to their own pleasure, prescribing no restraint to them by 
discovering himself in a law ; or, to those that have the outward written 
word, by using no inward motions of his Spirit. So that this is the 
first thing, the privative part, a defect of divine guidance, either by 
such outward prescriptions as may revive natural light, or such inward 
motions as may restore it. 

2. That which is positive or more formally imported is a following 
of the dictates of our own corrupt minds, and fulfilling the desires of 
our own corrupt wills. For I conceive this turning to our own way is 
expressed by the apostle upon the same occasion, Eph. ii. 3 ; for he saith 
there, that natural men ' have their conversations in the lusts of the 
flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind/ There is a 
natural inclination to obey his corrupt mind, and to satisfy his corrupt 
will. It is but a pleasing of themselves. It is the way they have de 
vised, and the way they have desired. But to speak of these things a 
little severally : 

[1.] There is a following the dictates of a corrupt mind. This is the 
iirst and chiefest, and therefore it is often expressed, 'According to 
their imaginations and their counsels/ There are a great many pre 
judices in a natural understanding against the ways of God. It is a 
way of their own contriving. Men think their way is good : Prov. xiv. 
12, * There is a way which seerneth right unto a man, but the end 
thereof are the ways of death/ Their blind hearts dictate to them 


that their own way is the best, safest, most pleasant, and comfortable. 
The mind chooseth, pauseth, and determineth upon what it conceives 
to be better for it than the rule of obedience. Therefore it is called