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



At Ho. 



VOL. V. 


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. GO OLD, 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. 















The Epistle Dedicatory 3 

To the Reader . . . . . . 6 

Exposition ...... 9-376 




How we may Cure Distractions in Holy Duties . . 441 

How Ought we to Improve our Baptism ? . . .459 

Man's Impotency to Help himself out of his Misery . 473 

The Scripture Sufficient without Unwritten Traditions . 485 







VOL. T, 


To the Eeligious and Honourable Lady, LETITIA POPHAM, wife to 

MADAM, It is a lovely conjunction when goodness and greatness meet 
together. Persons of estate and respect in the world have more tempta 
tions and hindrances than others, but greater obligations to own God. 
The great landlord of the world expecteth a rent from every country 
cottage, but a large revenue from great houses. Now usually it falleth 
out so that they that hold the greatest farms pay the least rent. 1 
Never is the Lord more neglected and dishonoured than in great 
men's houses, in the very face of all his bounty. If religion chance 
to get in there, it is soon worn out again. Though vices live long in 
a family, and run in a blood from father to son, yet it is a rare case to 
see strictness of religion carried on for three or four descents. It was 
the honour of Abraham's house that from father to son for a long 
while they were ' heirs of the same promise,' Heb. xi. 9 ; ^but where 
is there such a succession to be found in the houses of our gentry ? The 
father, perchance, professeth godliness (for ov TroXXol, saith the apostle, 
1 Cor. i. 26, ' not many noble,' &c., there are afeiv he doth not say 
there are none), and a carnal son cometh and turneth all out of doors, as 
if he were ashamed of his father's God. The causes of this mischief 
may be supposed to be these : (1.) Plenty ill governed disposeth to 
vice and sin, as a rank soil is apt to breed weeds. (2.) Brave spirits 
(as the world counteth them) think strictness inglorious,' 2 and the 
power of religion a base thing, that taketh off from their grandeur 
and esteem. A loose owning of Christianity is honourable, since the 
kings of the earth have counted it one of the fairest flowers of their 
crowns to be styled the ' Catholic King/ the ' most Christian King/ 
the * Defender of the Faith/ &c. But a true submission to the power 
of it is made a scorn, as being contrary to that liberty of fashions, 
vanity of compliment, and some Gentile customs, which, in a fond 
compliance with the humour of the age, they are loath to part with. 
It were a rude zeal to deny them honest civilities, but certain customs 
and modes there are inconsistent with the severity of religion, which, 

1 ' Qui majores terras possident, minores census solvunt.' Parisienis. 

2 ' Coguntur esse mail ne viles habeantur.' Salvian. 


rather than men will part with, they will even break with God him 
self. (3.) The marriage of children into carnal families, wherein they 
consult rather with the greatness of their house than the continuing 
of Christ's interest in their line and posterity. How careful are they 
that they should match in their own rank for blood and estate ! Should 
they not be as careful for religion also ? But even good people give 
a suspicion sometimes that they do not believe what they do profess. 
That this is the ready way to undo all that hath been set on foot for 
God, is evident by scripture and experience. See Gen. vi. 1-3 ; Ps. 
cvi. 38 ; Neh. xiii. 25, 26. In scripture, we read of Jehoram, who is 
said to ' walk in the way of the kings of Israel, for the daughter of 
Ahab was his wife/ 2 Kings viii. 18 ; and in ecclesiastical history, of 
Valens the emperor, who, by marrying with an Arian lady, was him 
self ensnared in that wicked opinion. 

All this is spoken, madam, to quicken you to the greater care in 
your relations, that you may settle a standing interest for Jesus Christ 
so hopefully already begun in your house and family. It will not be 
pleasing to you that I should publish upon the house-top what God 
hath done for you, or enabled you to do for him. Go on still, and be 
faithful. There are few that I know in the world who have more 
cause to honour God than you have. 

That I have inscribed this Commentary to your name will not seem 
strange to those that know my great obligations to yourself and your 
worthy husband, and your interest in that beloved place 1 and people 
among whom I have had so many sweet opportunities of enjoying, 
and, I hope, of glorifying God, and from whom I should never have 
removed but upon those weighty causes and considerations which did 
even rend me from them. And though I am now transplanted, and 
owe very much service and respect elsewhere, yet that noble lord 2 that 
gave me the call will allow me full time and leave to pay my old 
debts, that afterward I may be the more in a capacity publicly to 
express my gratitude to himself. 

If any should be so foolish as to object the unsuitableness of dedi 
cating a comment on the scripture to one of your sex (as it seemeth 
some did to Jerome 3 ), I shall not plead that two of ' the books of 
scripture are named from women, Euth and Esther, that an epistle 
which maketh up a part of the canon is inscribed to an ' elect lady/ 
that if this be a fault, others have faulted in like kind before me; 4 but 
only that this is a practical commentary, and surely in matters of prac 
tice (which is every Christian's common interest) your sex hath a full 
share. Though your course of life be more private and confined, yet 
you have your service. 

* -I] f 1 C_CJ *-\/ WJ - ftWfcJLAa*,\rfWW V^Ok/V> 

cially of their own sex ; it is said, Esther iv. 16, ' I also and my maidens 

last likewise. These maidens were either Jews, and then it 

showeth what servants should be taken into a nearer attendance such 

savour of religion (see Ps. ci. 6), or else, which is more probable, 

ich as she had instructed in the true religion, for these maidens 

Htro/F^f^n \ * Right Ho *rable William Earl of Bedford. 

Heron. Epist. HO. * Hieron. to Celantia, Asella, &c. 


were appointed her by the eunuch, and were before instructed in court 
fashions, Esther ii. 9 ; but that did not satisfy. She taketh time to 
instruct them in the knowledge of the true God, and it seemeth in her 
apartment had many opportunities of religious commerce with them 
in the worship of God. Madam, how far you practise these duties it 
is not necessary that I should tell the world. Persevere with cheer 
fulness, and in due time you shall reap if you faint not. The good 
Lord shed abroad the comforts and graces of his Spirit more abun 
dantly into your heart, which is the unfeigned desire of him who is, 
madam, your most obliged and respectively x observant, 


1 That is, "respectfully." Ed. 


GOOD HEADER, The people of God have ever been exercised with two 
sorts of enemies persecutors and sectaries : it is hard to say which is 
worst. When the Christian church began first to look forth in the 
world, there were adverse powers without ready to crush it, and 
Libertines who, like worms bred within the body, sought to devour 
the entrails and eat out the very bowels of it. The first ringleader was 
Simon Magus, and there followed Menander, Saturninus, Basilides, 
Carpocrates, Cerinthus, Ebion, Cerdo, Marcion, Tatianus, Valentinus, 
and many others, who, being once turned aside from the truth and the 
fellowship of the faithful-, lost all awe of God, and were given up to a 
sottish judgment to believe all kinds of fables and fancies. The 
monsters of Africa came from the unnatural commixtures of the 
beasts running wild in the deserts ; so when men had once broken 
through the hedge, mingling their own fancies with the word of God, 
by an unnatural production they brought forth such monstrous and 
absurd opinions. 

In succeeding ages the devil hath often played over the old game, 
sometimes oppressing the church by the tyranny of pseudo-Christians, 
as many martyrs being made by antichristian as pagan persecutions, 
Kev. xiv. 13; at other times corrupting the truth by error, or render 
ing it suspicious by the divisions about it. Heresies revolve as fashions, 
and in the course of a few years antiquated errors revive again, 
and that by their means who did not so much as know them by 

When God first called his people out of Babylon by Luther's re 
formation, and the Christian religion began to be restored to its 
pristine purity, there was not only a Roman party to persecute, but a 
fanatical party to perplex the estate of reformation and retard the 
course of the gospel, as histories do abundantly declare, especially 
Sleidan in his Commentaries. 

What hath been our late experience we all know, and have cause to 
bewail : as soon as we were freed from our hard taskmasters, arid a 
door of hope began to be opened to us, a swarm of Libertines have 
arisen among us, and do every day increase in number, power, and 
malice, and under various forms oppugn the unquestionable interests 
of Jesus Christ, to the great scandal of reformation, and the saddenin- 
of the hearts of the godly. We seem to be ripe for a judgment, but 


from what corner the storm shall blow we cannot tell ; some fear a 
return of popery, and that a second deluge of antichristianism shall 
overwhelm the western churches. The Papists, I confess, are danger 
ous, but the great and next fear I think to be from Libertines and a 
yokeless generation of men, who are most reproachful to religion and 
most troublesome. 

The spirit and drift of this epistle is carried out mainly against this 
fanatical and libertine party, and therefore I suppose it to be a mis 
take in Dr Willet, Mr Perkins, and others, when they would turn the 
edge of it against the Papists. I confess they had a temptation that 
way, these being the only heretical party with whom the church of 
God was then in suit, and symbolising in many things with those of 
the other extreme, as usually darkness and darkness doth better agree 
than light and darkness ; but certainly the party described here are 
not a domineering faction, that carry things by power and greatness 
and height of natural abilities, as the Papists do, but a creeping party, 
such as by sordid and clancular ways seek to undermine the truth, 
a kind of mean and loose sort of people, that vented monstrous and 
gross conceits, chiefly out of envy, against those that excelled in gifts 
and place ; and if our modern Banters, Familists, Quakers, be not 
here described in their lively colours (as if the apostle had lived to 
hear their blasphemous expressions and that contempt which they 
cast upon the officers of the church), I confess then I understand no 
thing of the whole epistle. If the judicious reader let alone the larger 
discussion of the observations, and go but over the explications of each 
verse, he will soon find my observation true. 

What I have done, through grace, to the clearer understanding of 
the apostle's scope, and the larger explanation of the common-places 
here offered, I shall not mention, but leave to the reader's judgment. 
Some will blame me for being too large, and others in many places for 
being too short. I shall only let the first sort know that in the larger 
explications of points of doctrine I have rather satisfied the desires of 
others than followed my own judgment, who, when these things were 
first delivered (which was long since) in the way of short notes, were 
willing to hear the points more largely debated, and so I went over 
them again in a sermon-fashion. If any blame me for being too 
short, let them know that therein I have more satisfied myself, as 
keeping to the laws of an expository exercise. I confess I am so 
conscious to the many imperfections of this work, that the reader had 
never been troubled with it had it not been extorted from me by 
such importunity as I could not withstand : especially did I judge the 
publication needless, the elaborate commentary of my reverend 
brother, Mr William Jenkyns, being already printed; but when I 
saw that we went different ways in prosecuting the same truth, that 
objection ceased. Seasonable things must be often urged, and the 
variety of method rnaketh the repetition grateful. I observe God's 
providence in it, when divers men fall upon the same work, that in 
the mouth of two or three witnesses every truth might be established. 
Beza, I remember, persuadeth Olevian to print his meditations on the 
Galatians, though many excellent writers had but lately and diligently 
explained that epistle. Dr King, Dr Abbot, and Dr Benefield all 


wrote upon Jonah, and with approbation, near about the same time. 
As much as my occasions would permit me, I consulted with my 
reverend brother's book, and when I found any point at large dis 
cussed by him, I either omitted it or mentioned it very briefly, so that 
his labours will be necessary to supply the weaknesses of mine. 

This work hath been long in the press, and no wonder, the author 
lying under such an oppression of business, it being carried on by 
snatches and spare hours. Many faults have been occasioned, whether 
by the obscurity of the copy or the negligence of the printer I will not 
now determine. Surely I have had to do with those that learned how 
to make a pitcher in a tub, or else they would never have so pitifully 
mangled the Greek and Latin sentences that in some places they are 
scarce intelligible. I have added the errata in the end, which must 
be consulted with, or else the reader will hardly find sense, 1 and in 
some places not true doctrine. The tables I have collected with some 
diligence, the one of scriptures, which are either vindicated or largely 
illustrated in this commentary, the other of the principal matters, 
especially the common-places here discussed. If by all thou findest 
any help in the way of thy heavenly calling, bless God, and forget not 
to put up one prayer for the meanest of the Lord's servants, 


1 Unfortunately the errata are worse printed than the text, and themselves contain 
many errata. It is hoped that nearly all errors are corrected in the present edition. Ed. 




Jude, tlie servant of Jesus Christ, and brotlier of James, to them that 
are sanctified by God the Father, preserved in Jesus Christ, and 
called. VER. 1. 

THIS epistle, as others, beginneth with usual Christian salutations ; 
these are continued through the two first verses, in which you have : 

1. The person saluting, Jude, the author of the epistle. 

2. The persons saluted, the believers of that age. 

3. The form of salutation, ver. 2, mercy, and peace, and love be 

This first verse presenteth us with the two first circumstances, the 
saluter and the saluted. (1.) The saluter is described by his name, 
Judas ; his office and condition of life, the servant of Jesus Christ ; 
by his kindred and relation, and brother of James. (2.) The saluted, 
they are described (1st.) By their condition, /cX^rot?, called, that is to 
read first, as Beza. (2d.) By the effects and manifestations of it, which 
are two : First, sanctified by God the Father ; secondly, preserved in 
Jesus Christ. These are the parts : I shall explain them branch by 
branch in the order propounded, with practical hints from each, which 
I shall handle in no fuller latitude than the present text will allow. 

1. The saluter, and there his name, ' Judas,' called also ' Thaddeus,' 
Mat. x. 3, and 'Lebbseus;' these several names implying the same 
thing, and were given him either by the people or the disciples, partly 
to distinguish him from Judas the apostate, partly to note his con 
stancy in confessing and praising God ; for so it signifieth, as you may 
see, Gen. xxix. 35, ' Now Leah said, I will praise the Lord, therefore 
she called his name Judah.' 

Obs. Divers note hence (1.) That Christian names should be sig 
nificant, such as may remember us of duty. (2.) That it is lawful to 
divulge or conceal our names in our writings, according as it may 
make for the glory of God to do either the one or the other. Jude 
mentioneth his name, but Paul doth not, or whosoever was the author 
of the Epistle to the Hebrews. (3.) That godly men and wicked may 
both be called by the same name ; so Judas the apostle and Judas the 
apostate ; there was Enoch, Cain's son, Gen. iv. 17, and Enoch, Seth's 


son, of the church line, that ' walked with God,' Gen. v. 22. But to 
mention these things is more than enough; the next circumstance 
will afford us more. 

2. His office and condition, ' the servant of Jesus Christ. It is a 
thing usual with the apostles to prefix this among other their honorary 
titles; as Bom. i. 1, 'Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ;' so Phil. i. 1. 
The greatest honour that he would put upon himself and Timothy 
was this, ' Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ.' This 
term, a servant of God or Christ, in the use of scripture, is several 
ways applied. (1.) It may be understood of any kind of subserviency 
to God's will and secret counsels, or instrumentality in the execution 
of his decrees ; so wicked men may be said to be God's servants, so 
far forth as he serveth his designs of their endeavours ; as Cyrus was 
God's servant, because he should perform all his pleasure ; so Nebu 
chadnezzar, Jer. xxvii. 6, ' These things have I given into the hands of 
Nebuchadnezzar, my servant/ (2.) It noteth a pious care to perform 
God's revealed will ; they that out of a sense of his love resign up 
themselves to do his will are called his servants : so ' he that is called 
in the Lord/ whether he be bond or free, is said to be ' Christ's ser 
vant,' 1 Cor. vii. 22. So godly masters are said to have the Lord for 
their master : Eph. vi. 9, ' Knowing that your master is also in heaven/ 
In the former place he saith a servant is God's freeman ; and here, 
that a master is God's servant. (3.) It noteth designation to any 
public office for God's glory ; those that do more eminently or more 
nearly serve God in some peculiar office are called his servants ; as 
magistrates : Rom. xiii. 4, ' He is the minister of God for thy good / 
and ver. 6, ' God's ministers attending continually for this thing.' 
But yet more especially they are called ministers and servants who 
sustain the public offices of the church ; as 2 Tim. ii. 24, ' The ser 
vant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle to all men, apt to 
teach, patient,' meaning one employed in the public ministry. So the 
priests of the Old Testament were called the Lord's servants ; as Ps. 
cxxxiv. 1, 'Behold, bless ye the Lord, all ye servants of the Lord, 
which by night stand in the house of the Lord.' He speaketh to the 
priests that were to watch in the temple ; and in this sense it is said, 
Amos iii. 7, ' I have sent my servants the prophets.' But now among 
these ministers and officers of the church the prophets and apostles 
are styled so by way of eminency. Yea, yet further, Christ, because 
of his office of Mediator, which is the highest office, and proper to the 
head of the church, is called God's servant ; as Isa. xlix. 3, * Thou 
art my servant ;' and Isa. liii. 11, ' By his knowledge shall my righteous 
servant justify many/ To apply all now to the case in hand : Jude 
is called ' a servant of Jesus Christ/ not only as one that had given 
up himself to do his will as a Christian, but as an apostle. 1 Let us 
now observe something hence. 

Obs. 1. Observe, first, that Jude placeth his service among his titles. 
He might have urged other things to render himself honourable to 
the world, but he doth not stand upon those things ; it is enough for 
him to say, ' Jude, a servant/ As Jude, the Lord's cousin, calleth 
himself his servant, so doth Mary, the Lord's mother, style herself his 

1 See my Exposition on James i. 1. 


handmaid : Luke i. 38, ' Behold the handmaid of the Lord.' And 
the apostles generally urge it as one of the fairest flowers in their gar 
land, the honour of being Christ's servants; yea, Christ himself 
counteth it no dishonour to be styled God's servant. The meanest 
offices about princes are accounted honourable ; to be a groom there 
is better than to be a lord elsewhere. Servire Deo regnare est it is 
royal and kingly to be God's servant ; indeed, every servant there is a 
king, 1 Peter ii. 9, Eev. i. 6 ; as Zeba and Zalmunna said of Gideon's 
brethren, c They each one resembled the children of a king,' so all 
these are spiritual kings, that live the noblest and freest life in the 
world. And as we have a glorious master, so consider your fellow- 
servants, the glorified saints and we make but one family, Eph. iii. 15. 
And the angels themselves are called his ministers : Ps. ciii. 21, * Ye 
ministers of his that do his pleasure ; ' they are a part of God's attend 
ance, and wait upon their master's person. When we have such fel 
low-servants, we should not count our work a slavery and baseness ; 
it can be no disparagement to us to be in the same rank and order with 
the angels and saints departed. Well, then, learn to value the honour 
that you have by Christ's service ; as that emperor counted it a greater 
privilege to be a member of the church than head of the empire. 
Look upon duty as an honour, and service as a privilege : honorabilia 
legis, Hosea viii. 12, so the Vulgar. And if ever you be put to your 
choice, either to enjoy the greatest outward honours, or to serve Christ 
with disgrace, choose the latter. Moses ' refused to be called the son 
of Pharaoh's daughter when he came to age,' Heb. xi. 24. 25. Gai- 
eacius Carraciolus left the honour of his niarquisate for an obscure 
life and the gospel at Geneva. Indignities and dishonours done you 
in the way of duty are honours ; ' reproaches for Christ's sake ' are 
treasure, Heb. xi. 26. One of Paul's honorary titles is, ' Paul, a pri 
soner of Jesus Christ,' Philem. 1 ; and elsewhere he holdeth up his chain 
in a kind of triumph : ' For the hope of Israel am I bound with this 
chain,' Acts xxviii. 20. Whatever befalleth us in and for our service 
to Christ, be it never so disgraceful, it is rather a mark of honour than 
a brand of shame. 

06s. 2. Observe, again, his relation to Christ is expressed by ser 
vice ; as he describeth himself to be James's brother, so Christ's ser 
vant ; by that means he was entitled to Christ ; if we would be Christ's 
we must do his will : our relation ariseth from service, John xii. 26. 
Therefore I shall here take occasion to show you what it is to be 
Christ's servants. (1.) Whoever is Christ's servant must resign and give 
up himself wholly to the will of Christ ; for he that is Christ's servant, 
he is so by covenant and consecration. We are indeed Christ's by all 
kind of rights and titles; 'he made us, and not we ourselves;' no 
creature is of itself, and therefore it is not its own, but another's. It 
is God's prerogative alone to love himself and seek himself, because he 
alone is without obligation and dependence ; but we owe ourselves to 
him, and therefore cannot without robbery call ourselves our own. Your 
tongues are not your own to speak what you please, Ps. xii. 4, nor 
your hearts your own to think what you please, nor your hands your 
own to do what you please ; by virtue of your creation you are another's, 
and are bound to live and act for another, according to his will, for his 


But this is not all ; by redemption you are Christ's : ' Ye are 
_ JUght with a price,' 1 Cor. vi. 20, as the redeemed are bound to serve 
him that ransomed them. If a man had bought another out of cap 
tivity, or he had sold himself, all his strength or service belonged to 
the buyer. Christ hath bought us from the worst slavery, and with 
the greatest price ; no thraldom so bad as bondage to sin and Satan, 
no prison so black as hell ; and certainly Christ's blood is better than 
a little money. So that to live as if we were at our own disposal is 
to defraud Christ of his purchase. Thus we are Christ's by creation 
and redemption ; but now, if we would be his servants, we must be 
his by voluntary contract and spiritual resignation : * Yield up your 
selves/ &c., Kom. vi. 13. Christ loveth to have his right and title 
established by our own consent. We take Christ for lord and master, 
and give up ourselves to him, that we may be no longer at our own 
disposal, and therefore it is not only robbery, but treachery and breach 
of covenant to seek ourselves in anything. This resignation must be 
made out of a sense of Christ's love to us in his death and sufferings : 
2 Cor. v. 15, Christ died, ' that they which live should not henceforth 
live to themselves, but unto him that died for them.' We enter upon 
other services out of hopes, but we enter upon Christ's service out of 
thankfulness. Again, this resignation must be universal, without 
reservation of any part. You must have no other master but God : 
Mat. vi. 24, ' Ye cannot serve two masters, ye cannot serve God and 
mammon.' Usually men divide themselves between God and the 
world ; they would give their consciences to Christ, and their hearts 
to mammon. The devil pleadeth for a part, for by that means he 
knoweth that the whole will fall to his share ; therefore all, the whole 
man, in vow, purpose, and resolution, must be given up to God. (2.) 
Having given up yourselves to God's service, you must walk as his ser 
vants ; that is, not as you list, but as the master pleaseth. The angels 
are God's ministers, ' doing his pleasure,' Ps. ciii. 21. A servant hath 
no will of his own, but hath given up his liberty to the directions and 
commands of another ; therefore, if you be God's servants, you must 
earnestly desire the knowledge of his will, and readily comply with it ; 
you must not do things as they please self and flesh, but as they please 
God. David beggeth for knowledge as God's servant : Ps. cxix. 125, 
' I am thy servant, grant me understanding, that I may know thy 
testimonies.' A faithful servant would not willingly offend his master, 
and therefore would fain know what is his will. They plead with God, 
and search themselves, Rom. xii. 2, and all to know his pleasure ; and 
not only to know it, but to do it, otherwise they are worthy of many 
stripes by Christ's own sentence. The master's will should be motive 
enough, 1 Thes. iv. 3, v. 13; 1 Peter ii. 15. If God will have it 
so if Jesus Christ will have it so, it is enough to a faithful servant. 
I he very signification of God's will carrieth with it reason enough to 
e "n rC r e ri he P ractice of ii} - Yea > y u mu t equally comply with every 
will of God, not only with the easy and pleasant ways of obedience but 
such as cross lusts and interests. When two men go together, a man 
cannot tell whom the servant followeth till they part. When God 
and our lusts or our interests command contrary things, then you are 
put to the trial whether you are God's servants. 


Obs. 3. Again, observe from the proper acception of the phrase, as 
it is applied to those that stand before the Lord in some special office 
and ministration ; as to the apostles, and by consequence to the min 
isters of the gospel. The note is, that ministers are servants of Jesus 
Christ ; Paul a servant, and Jude a servant. We are to deal between 
God and the soul, factors for heaven. There is many a good inference 
may be collected from this notion. I shall refer all to two heads, the 
ministers' duty and the people's. (1 .) It hinteth duty to ministers ; it 
teacheth us diligence in our Lord's work, for we are servants, and must 
give an account, Heb. xiii. 17, what good we have done in our places, 
how we have employed our parts, improved our interests, for his glory : 
Mat. xxv. 19, * After a long time the lord of those servants cometh 
and reckoneth with them/ We are entrusted with the talent of gifts, 
with the talent of office and authority in the church ; now God will see 
what we have done for his glory, whether we have beaten our fellow- 
servants, or helped them in the way of salvation ; whether our pound 
hath been hidden in a napkin, or laid out for the gain of souls. Again, 
it hinteth faithfulness. We are not to trade for ourselves, and to drive 
on our own designs of credit and advantage ; we are servants, employed 
for the master's uses : Gal. i. 10, * Do I yet please men ? If I pleased 
men, I should not be the servant of Christ/ A man that sets up for 
himself is to trade for himself ; but all that a servant doth should be 
for his master's honour and profit. (2.) It hinteth duty to the people. 
Kegard ministers as servants of Christ, that you may give their per 
sons all due honour. Consider, God hath retained them as for a nearer 
service to himself : 1 Cor. iv. 1, ' Let a man so account of us as 
of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of the 
gospel/ The world counteth the calling probrosum artificium, a 
sordid artifice and way of living, whereby men set their tongues and 
parts to sale, and think that of all callings this can best be spared, 
therefore it is high time to assert the dignity of the office. Men should 
not think so basely of those who are Christ's servants, not only to do 
his business, but to wait upon his person, his special attendants ; nay, 
ambassadors, that impersonate and represent their Master, 2 Cor. v. 
20. Again, bear our doctrine with meekness and patience ; we are 
but servants. If the message which we bring be displeasing, remember 
it is the will of our master ; it is not in our power to comply with your 
lusts and humours, if the scripture doth not. As God said to Jeremiah, 
Jer. xv. 19, ' Let them return unto thee, but return not thou to them/ 
So you should comply with the word ; we cannot comply with you. 
The false prophets returned to the people, complied with their humours. 
We must deliver our message, pardon to whom pardon, terror to whom 
terror is due : servants must be faithful. Thus must you look upon 
them as servants, yet but as servants, that you may not fondly idolise 
their persons : ' What is Paul and Apollos, but ministers by whom ye 
believe ? ' 1 Cor. iii. 5. It is the old way of flesh and blood to sacri 
fice to the next hand. And that you may know to whom to go for the 
fruit of the ordinance, when we have done our work, ' there is one that 
cometh after us who is mightier than we/ Mat. iii. 11, who 'giveth 
the increase ' to what we have ' planted and watered/ 1 Cor. iii. 6. 

3. The author of the epistle is described by his kindred and relation, 


and brother of James. There were two in the college of the apostles 
of that name, James of Zebedee, and ' James the son of Alpheus/ who 
was also called ' the brother of the Lord/ that is, his cousin-germ an, 
who is the person intended, for Jude was his brother, as Mat. xiii. 55, 
' Is not his mother called Mary ? and his brethren, James, and Joses, 
and Simon, and Judas ?' Now this clause is added, partly to distin- 
o-uish him from the other Judas, called Iscariot, who betrayed our 

Obs. It is good to prevent all visible scandals and exceptions against 
our persons. I observe this, because the scripture doth elsewhere : 
John xiv. 22, ' Judas saith unto him, not Iscariat, How is it that thou 
wilt manifest thyself to us, and not unto the world ?' The scripture 
would not have you mistake him that said so. Men drink less freely 
of a suspected fountain. Partly because this would make the epistle 
the more welcome. James was of great credit and repute, reckoned by 
Paul among ' the pillars/ Gal. ii. 9. From whence observe : 

Obs. 1. That it is lawful to use the credit of others, for the advantage 
of the truth. In the 15th of the Acts, the apostles might have deter 
mined the case by their own infallible spirit, but for the greater credit 
sake they take in the consent of others : ver. 23, * The apostles, and 
elders, and brethren/ &c. Paul, dealing with heathens, quoteth the 
sayings of their own writers in divers places, which may justify the 
unaffected use of sentences and passages out of the ancient writers of 
the church. It is good to bait the naked hook of truth sometimes 
with the advantage of carnal credit. Again, observe : 

Obs. 2. That we should walk so that we may be an honour to our 
relations. This is one of Jude's titles, { the brother of James.' He 
took it for an honour to. be related to so eminent an apostle. Worthy 
men reflect a credit upon their families. To be brother, father, son, 
to such as have deserved well of the church, is no mean honour and 
engagement to virtue. Well, then, live so that you may not disgrace 
your lineage ; and you that come of worthy ancestors, walk answerably 
to the dignity of your extraction. The images of your progenitors are 
not more sullied with dust, and smoke, and age, than they are with 
your vices. The Spirit of God brands a degenerate issue for walk 
ing unworthy their birth and the privileges of their blood, 1 Chron. 
iv. 22, 23. Vide Junium et olios in locum. So much for the 

^ Let us now come to the saluted ; they are described by their con 
dition, called ; by the effects and manifestations of it, which are two, 
sanctification and preservation. 

1. Their condition, called, for that both in the construction of the 
words, and the order of nature, is to be read first. There is an out 
ward calling, and in that sense Christ speaketh, Mat. xx. 16, 'Many 
are called, but few are chosen;' that is, outwardly called in the invita 
tions of the word ; so all wicked men that live within the hearing of 
the gospel ; but it seemeth they are only called obiter, by the by, as 
they live among the elect: those are called Kara 7rp60ea-iv, ' according 
to purpose/ Kom. viii. 28. But there is an inward and effectual 
calling, by the persuasion of the Spirit, or ' the voice of the Son of 
which causeth life, John v. 25. The apostle speaketh here of 


the ' called according to purpose/ and that by an inward and effectual 
calling. Whence note : 

Obs. That it is the condition of the people of God to be a called 
people ; this is first in their description : see Rom. i. 6, * Among whom 
are ye also the called of Jesus Christ/ So the Corinthians are said 
to be saints by calling, 1 Cor. i. 2, and Heb. iii. 1, ' Holy brethren, 
partakers of the heavenly calling.' Now the saints are a called people, 
first, because all they have and enjoy is from God's calling ; a Chris 
tian is nothing and hath nothing but what God is pleased to work in 
him by his creating word : ' Calling the things that are not as though 
they were/ Rom. iv. 17. Now God is pleased to work this way, partly 
to give us a warrant, that we may possess our privileges in Christ 
without intrusion and usurpation : ' No man taketh this honour upon 
him till he be called of God, ' Heb. v. This is that they have to 
show to conscience, that we do not presume and usurp ; we have a 
calling so to do. Why dost thou, vile wretch, go to God in the name 
of Christ ? How dost thou that art a sinner look him in the face, lay 
hold of Christ, hope for glory? Still the call is our warrant and 
title. If it should be asked of the guests that came in a wedding 
garment, Friends, how durst ye come hither, and approach the 
presence chamber of the king's son ? they might answer, We 
were bidden to the wedding, Mat. xxii. So in Mat. xx., ' Why do 
not you go into the vineyard?' Their answer was, 'No man hath 
hired us;' they had no calling. Partly to give us encouragement: 
we need not only leave to come to God by Christ, but also quickening 
and encouragement, for we are backward. In other preferments there 
needeth nothing but leave, for there men are forward enough ; but 
here guilt maketh us shy of God, and God is forced to call and holloa 
after us. By nature we are not only exiles, but fugitives. Before God 
banished Adam, he first ran away from him, he ran to the bushes, 
and then God called him, * Adam, where art thou ? ' Gen. iii. 9. How 
often doth God holloa after us in the word before we return and come 
out of the bushes! He maketh proclamation, Isa. Iv. 1, * Ho, every 
one that thirsteth/ &c. We are under spiritual bondage, as the 
Israelites were in Egypt under corporal bondage, and God sendeth 
again and again, and out of very anguish of heart we will not believe 
him ; therefore he calleth and crieth, Sinners, where are you ? why 
will you not return unto me ? God's outward call is managed by 
men, and therefore it is very hard to persuade them to discern the 
voice of God ; as Samuel would not be persuaded but that it was Eli 
called him, when it was the Lord. We think it to be the charity of 
the minister, and will not easily acknowledge a call from God, and 
therefore do not only need leave, but encouragement. Partly because 
God will work in a way suitable to his own nature and ours ; fortiter 
et suaviter, strongly like himself, and sweetly with respect to us ; and 
therefore he doth not only draw but call ; not only put forth the 
power of his Spirit, but exhort and invite by the word. The efficacy of 
divine grace is conveyed this way more suitably to the nature of man ; 
there is grace offered in the gospel, and the Spirit compelleth to come 
in. In all the works of God, there is some word by which his power 
is educed and exercised. In the creation, ' Let there be light/ &c. At 
the resurrection there is a trump, and the voice of an archangel, 


' Arise, ye dead, and come to judgment.' In all Christ's miraculous cures 
there are some words used, ' Be thou clean/ and ' Be thou whole/ 
and 'Be thou opened;' and to Lazarus in the grave Christ useth 
words of ministerial excitation, * Lazarus, come forth/ So in con 
verting a sinner, there is not only a secret power, but a sweet call and 
invitation; some word by which this power is conveyed and repre 
sented in a way suitable to our capacity. For all these reasons doth 
God work grace by calling. 

Again, God's people are well styled a called people, because they 
are so many ways called : from self to Christ, from sin to holiness, 
from misery to happiness and glory. They are called from self to 
Christ : Mat. xi. 28, ' Come unto me, all ye that are heavy laden/ 
The main end of a call is to bring Christ and the soul together ; every 
dispensation of God hath a voice ; and God speaketh to us by con 
science, by his works, by benefits, by crosses, but chiefly by his word, 
the application of which by the Spirit is, as it were, an awakening call ; 
but the chief call of God is by the voice of the gospel, wherein the 
offers of grace are discovered to us : Come, poor wearied soul, come to 
Christ, and thou shalt find ease and comfort. Again, they are called 
from sin to holiness : 1 Thes. iv. 7, ' God hath not called us to un- 
cleanness, but to holiness/ Though the immediate end of divine 
calling be faith, yet the intermediate end is holiness, as the ultimate 
end is glory. Thus we are called out of Babylon into Sion, from the 
tents of Kedar into the tents of Shem, from nature to grace, and the 
power of Satan into the kingdom of God; in short, this call is a 
separation from uncleanness, and all common and vile uses. Again, 
they are called from misery to happiness and glory, from aliens to be 
friends, from darkness to light, 1 Peter ii. 9, from being enemies to 
be reconciled, from bastards to become sons, from vessels of wrath to 
be heirs of glory. With respect to all these sorts of calling it is 
termed sometimes ' a high calling/ Phil. iii. 14 ; sometimes ' a holy 
calling,' 2 Tim. i. 9 ; and sometimes 'a heavenly calling/ Heb. iii. 1. 
It is ' a high calling/ because of the honour and dignity of it ; it is 
no small matter to be children of God, John i. 12 ; co-heirs with 
Christ, Eom. viii. 17; kings and priests to God, Kev. i. 6. Many are 
lifted up because they have borne offices, and are called to high 
places in the world : a Christian hath a calling more excellent, he is 
called to be a saint, a spiritual king, a holy priest to God. It is ' a 
holy calling/ because of the effect and purpose of it. Man's calling 
may put dignity and honour upon us, but it cannot infuse grace ; it 
may change our condition, but not our hearts. It is ' a heavenly call 
ing' because of the author of it, God by his Spirit; and because of the 
aim of it ; the grace whereby we are called came from heaven, and its 
aim and tendency is to bring us thither. See 1 Thes. ii. 14 ; 2 Peter 
i. 3, ' Called us to glory and virtue,' &c. We are first called to grace, 
and then to heaven ; first the sweet voice saith, ' Come unto me/ and 
then the great voice, ' Come up hither :' from self, sin, and the world 
we are called off, that we may enjoy God in Christ for evermore. 
You see the reasons, let us apply it now. 

Use 1. First, It serveth to press us to hearken to the Lord's call. 
Many are kept off by vanity and pleasures, others by their own fears. 


To the first sort I shall only represent the danger of neglecting God's 
invitation, and slighting a call : Prov. i. 25, 26, ' Ye have set at 
nought rny counsel, therefore I will laugh at your calamity, and mock 
when your fear cometh.' God's wrath is never more terrible than 
when it is stirred up to avenge the quarrel of abused mercy. Men 
cannot endure that two things should be despised their anger or their 
kindness. Nebuchadnezzar, when he thought his anger despised, he 
biddeth them heat the furnace seven times hotter ; and David, when 
he thought his kindness despised, threatened to cut off from Nabal 
* every one that pisseth against the wall.' Certainly the Lord taketh 
it ill when the renewed messages of his love are not regarded; and that 
is the reason why where mercy is most free, God is most quick and 
severe upon the refusal of it : the Lamb's wrath is most terrible, Ps. 
ii. 10; no fire so hot as that which is enkindled by the breath of the 
despised gospel. What a terrible threatening is there in the place 
alleged ! ' I will laugh at their calamity/ It is the greatest happiness 
when the Lord 'rejoiceth to do us good/ and the greatest misery when 
lie rejoiceth to do us evil : God's laughing will certainly be the 
creatures' mourning. Consider, then, what an affront you put upon 
grace, when every vile thing is preferred before it. When the Lord 
offered Canaan to the Israelites, and they preferred Egypt before it, 
he swore, ' They should not enter into his rest/ Ps. xcv. 11 ; and 
those that preferred a yoke of oxen, a farm, or marriage, before the 
king's feast, the king protesteth against them, Luke xiv. 24, ' None of 
those that were bidden shall taste of my supper/ Whoever have glory 
and grace by Christ, they shall have none. 

For the other sort, that are kept off by their own fears, they are 
wont to allege, It is true there is mercy in Christ for sinners, but 
Christ doth not call them. My brethren, what do you look for ? an 
audible voice to speak to you, Thou John, thou Thomas, &c. ? In the 
tenders of the gospel you are included as well as others, and why will 
you exclude yourselves ? If God say sinners, you should subsume and 
reply, ' I am chief/ I remember it is said, John x. 3, Christ * calleth 
his sheep by name, and leadeth them forth/ How doth Christ call 
them by name ? By speaking expressly to their case, as if he did 
strike them upon the shoulders, and say; Here is comfort for thee. As 
at a feast, when there is a dish that we affect set upon the table, 
though all the company be free to make use of it, yet we say, Here is 
a dish for me. So should you apply and take to yourselves your own 
portion ; though it be propounded generally, yet when God directeth 
the tongue of his messengers to speak so expressly to your case, that is 
all the calling by name which you can look for, since oracles are 
ceased, and therefore you should say, This was a dish provided for my 
hungry conscience, intended to me, &c. But they will reply, Sure 
there is no mercy for me, I am so unworthy. I answer The invita 
tion taketh no notice of worth, but of thirst : Kev. xxii. 17, ' Let him 
that is athirst come, and whosoever will let him take of the water of 
life freely.' Thou art not worthy, but thou art thirsty, or else whence 
come these groans ? And by the way take notice of the pride that is 
in legal dejection. Men are loath to be beholden to Christ ; they 
would be worthy before they will come to him ; and therefore the 

VOL. v. B 


apostle useth that expression, oi>x vTrerdyrjo-av, Eom. x. 3, ' They have 
not submitted to the righteousness of God/ A proud creature would 
fain establish a righteousness in himself, and is loath to submit to take 
all from another ; as an outward proud man preferreth a russet coat 
of his own before a silken garment that is borrowed or given him by 
another. But they are such sinners, &c. Ans. The more need to 
come to Christ; he came to 'call sinners,' Mat. ix. 13. It is no 
matter what thou hast been, but what thou wouldst be ; Christ doth 
not call us because we are holy, but that we may be holy. Is it a 
rational plea in outward cases, I am too poor to take alms, I am too 
filthy to go to the water to be washed ? But they have stood out 
against so many calls already, and scorned God's counsel. Ans. 
Wisdom calleth scorners, Prov. i. 22, * Turn ye scorners; how long will 
ye delight in scorning ? ' It is a mercy that thou hast one call more; 
do not increase the guilt that thou complainest of. But I know not 
how to come to Christ. Ans. The blind and the lame are invited to 
the wedding, Mat. xxii., and wisdom calleth fools, Prov. ix. 4, 
* Whoso is simple/ &c. The stray lamb is brought home upon the 
shepherd's shoulders, Luke xv. Oh ! that these words might be 
spirit and life to you ! 

Use 2. Again, it presseth us to ' make our calling and election sure/ 
2 Peter i. 10 ; that is, to evidence our election by our calling ; for calling 
it is but election put in act. Election is nothing but God's love and 
intention to bestow saving grace upon such and such persons ; and 
calling is nothing but the actual manifestation of God's love, or the 
application of saving grace : Rom. viii. 30, ' Whom he hath pre 
destinated, them he called/ Calling is the first and immediate fruit 
of election, by which it springeth forth, and is exercised on the vessels 
of mercy: So 2 Thes. ii. 13, 14, 'God hath from the beginning 
chosen you to salvation, through the sanctification of the Spirit, and 
the belief of the truth, to the obtaining of the glory of God, whereunto 
he hath called you by my gospel/ Here is the whole method of 
salvation. The first rise and spring of mercy was at election, which 
breaketh out by effectual calling, and so floweth down in the channels 
of faith and holiness, till it lose itself in the ocean of everlasting glory. 
So that by calling, God executeth in time what he decreed before all 
time ; and he that is called, may look backward upon eternal purposes 
of grace, and forward upon an eternal possession of glory. Well, then, 
if we would get any assurance of God's favour, or of our interest in 
everlasting glory, the great business we should labour in is to clear 
up our calling ; it is the freest and surest discovery of God's love, and 
so fittest to bottom a confidence or assurance. In elective love, we 
have the best view of mercy, and a call is the first discovery and copy 
of it ; for it is an act of God, which ariseth merely from his choice, 
preventing and anteceding, not only the merit, but the acts and 
industry of the creature : see 2 Tim. i. 9. Other acts of God's bounty 
follow the acts of the creature, but this is the first motion God maketh 
to the soul ; he accepts us when we come, but he called us when we 
did not think of coming. In short, calling is the key of the gospel, 
the plank that is cast out to save a sinking sinner, a sure pledge of 
glory, which is therefore called ' the high prize of our calling/ Phil. 


iii. 14. Once more, here we have the clearest and most sensible ex 
perience of the work of grace. After conversion, the work may be 
carried on tacitly, and with more silence ; but in calling and conver 
sion, as in all changes, the operations of grace are more sensible ; we 
may grow insensibly, as a plant doth. The step from sin to grace is 
a work of greater difficulty and power than to go on from grace to 
grace ; as the apostle maketh it a matter of more ease to save a saint 
than to gain a sinner, Rom. v. 8-10, and therefore degrees cannot 
be alike sensible as change of state. The apostle, speaking of the 
first conversion of the Thessalonians, he saith, 1 Thes. i. 9, 'Ye 
know what manner of entering we had unto you.' The first approaches 
of God's power and word to the soul, as they meet with more opposi 
tion, so they cannot but be more sensible, and leave a greater feeling 
upon us. It were strange if an almighty power should work in us, 
and we no way privy or conscious to it, and all done as in our sleep ; 
to think so were to give security a soft pillow whereon to rest, and to 
suffer men to go away with golden dreams, though they feel no change 
in themselves, pleasing themselves with the supposition of imaginary 
grace, wrought without their privity and knowledge. I would not 
press too hard upon any tender conscience. I do foresee the objection 
that may be made, namely, that if calling giveth such a sensible ex 
perience of the work of grace, how cometh it then to pass that so few 
of God's children have assurance or any sense of their conversion ? I 
answer (1.) It is possible God's power may work in us, and we not be 
sensible of it. There is a difference between our outward and inward 
senses : we may lose our spiritual feeling ; and inward sense doth not 
so clearly discern its object, because of the way in which God con- 
veyeth His power ; it is strong, but sweet ; like the influences of the 
heavens ; of a great efficacy, but scarce discerned : as there was a great 
power wrought in the Ephesians, but they did not discern it so suffi 
ciently, Eph. i. 18, 19. (2.) It is the fault of God's children not 
to be sensible of the power that worketh in them ; sometimes it is 
their carelessness, sometimes their peevishness. Their carelessness in 
not observing the approaches of God, and how he worketh and 
breaketh in upon their hearts in the word ; so that ' the time of love ' 
is not marked when it is present, nor remembered when it is past. 
As God said of Ephraim/Hosea xi. 3, ' When Ephraim was a child, I 
taught him to go, taking them by the arms, but they knew it not,' 
that is, did not observe it. So God communicateth grace to his people, 
giveth in help and supports, but they observe it not. Sometimes it is 
peevishness and perverseness of judgment: sense of sin, and many 
weaknesses, like a thick cloud, hinder their clear discerning. God 
hath called them, but they will not own and acknowledge it, and so 
underrate their spiritual condition. (3.) God doth not call every one 
in a like violent and sensible manner. Some men's conversion is more 
gentle and silent ; whereas, to others, Christ cometh like a strong man 
armed, and snatcheth them out of the fire : some are drawn they know 
not how, and love, by a gentle blast, sweetly and softly bloweth open 
the door : ' Ere ever I was aware,' &c., Cant. vi. 12. Upon others 
the Spirit cometh like ' a mighty rushing wind/ and they are carried 
to Christ, as it were, by the gates of hell. As in the natural birth, 


some children are brought forth with more ease, others with greater 
pains and throes, so the new birth in some is without trouble and 
delay. ' God opened the heart of Lydia,' we read of no more, Acts xvi. ; 
but others are brought in with more horror of conscience, extreme 
sorrow, and desperation. God biddeth men 'put a difference/ 
Jude 22, 23 ; so doth God himself. (4.) This different dispensation 
God useth according to his own pleasure; no certain rules can 
be given. Sometimes they that have had good education have least 
terrors, as being restrained from gross sins ; sometimes most terrors, 
because they have withstood most means. Sometimes they that are 
called to the greatest services have most terrors, that they may speak 
the more evil of sin, because they have felt the bitterness of it ; 
sometimes it is quite otherwise; those that are not called to such eminent 
service drink most deeply of this cup, and taste the very dregs of sin, 
and serve only as monuments of the power of God's anger ; whereas 
others are spared, and public work serveth instead of sorrow and 
trouble of conscience. Again, sometimes men and women of the most 
excellent and acute understandings are most troubled, as having the 
clearest apprehensions of the heinousness of sin, and terribleness of 
wrath. Again, at other times it cometh from ignorance, as fears arise 
in the dark, and weak spirits are apt to be terrified : sometimes these 
terrors fall on a strong body, as best able to bear it ; sometimes on a 
weak, the devil taking advantage of the weakness of the body to raise 
disturbances in the mind. Many times in hot and fiery natures their 
changes are sudden, and carried on in an extreme way ; whereas soft 
natures, whose motions are slower, are gently and by degrees surprised ; 
they take impressions of grace insensibly. Thus you see no certain 
rules can be given ; only in the general way we may observe, that this 
different dispensation maketh the work of God in calling more or less 
sensible. Those that are brought in by the violent way and roughly, 
must needs be sensible of that omnipotent pull by which their hearts 
are divorced from their corruptions, and can discourse of the time, the 
means, and the manner, and all the circumstances of their calling with 
exactness : as Paul, 2 Cor. xii. 2, ' I knew a man in Christ fourteen 
years ago,' &c. Now, every one cannot deliver a formal story, nor tell 
you the exact method and successive operations of grace in conversion. 
(5.) Though there be a different dispensation used in calling, yet there 
is enough to distinguish the uncalled from the called ; partly because 
though God's call be not discerned in the acts of it, yet it may be dis 
cerned in the effects of it. Conversion is evident, if not in feeling, yet 
in fruit. Many works of nature are for the convoy of them insensible, 
but the effects appear : Eccles. xi. 5, ' We know not the way of the spirit, 
nor how the bones grow in the womb.' We know not the manner, 
point of time, but yet the birth followeth. They are not Christ's that 
neither know how they are called, nor can give any proof that they are 
called. The blind man, John ix., when they asked him, ' How did he 
come to open thine eyes?' answered, ' How he did it I cannot tell; but 
this one thing I know, that whereas I was blind, I now see/ Early or 
late the soul will give this testimony, How I got him I cannot tell, but 
I am glad I find he is here. Partly because where conversion and 
calling is carried on more tacitly or silently, there will be something 


felt and found in them ; there is at least an anxiousness about their 
everlasting estate. Every soul doth not walk ' in the region of the 
shadow of death/ but every soul first or last is brought to What shall 
I do ? which is usually upon some secret or open sin into which God 
suffereth them to fall against conscience : there will be care, though 
not horror; and solicitousness, though not utter despair. No soul 
ever came to Christ without a load upon his back, though every one be 
not ready, with the jailor, to kill himself for anguish. You will be at a 
loss sometimes ; it is easy security that goeth on from the cradle to the 
grave in the same tenor of hope without variation. There will be a 
time when you will ' smite upon the thigh/ and cry, * What shall I 
do?' And as there will be some trouble found in them, so some 
change ; all are not converted from profaneness to religion, some from 
civility to religion, from profession to sincerity, from servility to 
ingenuity. Time was when they were careless of communion with 
God, prayed now and then out of custom, had no delight in the 
Almighty, but now it is otherwise. Partly because there is a constant 
calling, so that first or last we shall be sensible of the motions of the 
Spirit, and the heart's answer : to some God speaketh in thunder, to 
others in a still voice, but to all he speaketh ; therefore did you ever 
discern God's calling and your answering ? J*s. xxvii. 8, * The Lord 
said, Seek ye my face ; my heart said, Thy face, Lord, will I seek/ 
There is no gracious heart but they are often sensible of such a dialogue 
between God and the soul. This discourse is cpnstant ; he speaketh to us 
by the injection of holy motions and the actual excitations of his grace, 
and we speak to him by serious promises and resolutions of obedience. 
God calleth us into his presence often, and the heart echoeth, ' Lo, I 

Well, now, upon all these considerations labour to get your calling 
evidenced. That will clear up your title to the great privileges of 
grace. By it you may rebuke your doubts and fears. When con 
science asketh, What have you to do with these comforts, to look 
upon yourselves as objects of God's election, as heirs of glory ? you 
may answer, I did not take this honour upon me. I was called of God. 
But you will say, What are the infallible notes and marks of effectual 
calling ? I answer These. I shall contract larger discourses. You 
may know your effectual calling partly by the preparations made for 
it. Though the work itself be done in an instant, and many times 
when we least think of it, yet usually God maketh way for his mighty 
work. As the husbandman harroweth and breaketh the clods before 
he throweth in the seed, so by some preparative conviction God break 
eth the heart, and maketh it meet to receive grace. Kedemption 
needed no preparation, but conversion doth. Look, as Moses brought 
them to the borders, but Joshua led them into the land of Canaan, so 
usually there is some foregoing law work, though we are called pro 
perly by the gospel : 2 Thes. ii. 14, * Called by my gospel/ The law 
driveth us out of ourselves, but the gospel pulleth in the heart to 
Christ. Look, as in outward generation the matter is gradually pre 
pared and disposed, so is the soul for the new birth. A man is awak 
ened by the sight of his own wretchedness, convinced of sin, and 
the evil consequences of it ; and then the work is done by the mild 


voice of the gospel, Hosea ii. 14 ; Gal. iii. 1 ; as manna came down in 
sweet dews. It is God's way to speak terror before he speak comfort. 
Christ showeth the method: John xvi. 8, ' The Spirit shall convince 
of sin/ The word e'Xeyffei is notable. To convince is to show a thing 
to be impossible to be otherwise than we represent it. 1 So^ the Spirit 
convinceth, and maketh the person yield, and say, Certainly I am a 
sinner, an unbeliever, a very wretch, that hath no interest in Christ. 
This is God's method. We come to some certain issue ^ about our 
being in the state of nature, before we come to some certain issue about 
our being in the state of grace. The soul saith, Surely I am stark 
naught, in a deplored lost condition. Well, then if you had always 
good thoughts of yourselves, or only a slight and general knowledge, 
we are all sinners, &c, you are not prepared. The blind man, John 
ix., could say, ' I was blind.' Were you ever brought to say, I was a 
wretch, a miserable, forlorn creature out of Christ ? This feedeth pre 
sumption and security, because we never bring the debate to an issue 
concerning our being in either of the states, but content ourselves with 
blind guesses and loose acknowledgments that we are all sinners, and 
Christ must save us, &c. This is not enough ; there must be a parti 
cular and humbling sense of sin. Unworthiuess and wretchedness felt 
is the first occasion to bring us to Christ. Never a poor soul that 
taketh sanctuary at the throne of grace but he standeth guilty there, 
Kom. iii. 19 ; Heb. vi. 18 ; and in danger of damnation. 

2. Again, the next note or occasion of discovery may be taken from 
the instrument or means by which God hath called us, namely, the 
word : 2 Thes. 14, ' By my gospel/ Oracles and audible voices are 
not his usual course. Some Christians talk of such things, but, to 
say the least of the mistake, they are but the suppositions of an over- 
troubled fancy, delusions which God, who bringeth light out of dark 
ness, may at length order for good, and in the wisdom of his provi 
dence make use of them to bring off his people from their discourage 
ments. 2 But usually God's way of calling is by the word, and most 
usually by the word preached, seldom otherwise ; for God loveth to 
own and honour the means of his own appointing with a blessing. I 
suppose scarce an instance can be given of any converted by reading 
or meditation that neglected prophesying where it was to be had. I 
confess the word may not work always in time of hearing. There is 
a notable instance, Cant. v. 6, ' My soul failed when he spake ; ' or 
rather, it may be rendered, ' because of his speech/ Now compare it 
with the time of Christ's visit, ver. 2, 3, ' Open, my sister, my dove/ 
&c. While Christ was speaking she is careless and" sluggish, ' I have 
put off my coat ; how shall I put it on ? ' You see her heart was far 
from failing then ; but when she remembered it afterward, then her 
bowels were troubled. As Peter also was wrought upon by the re 
membrance of Christ's words a great while after they were spoken, 
Mat. xxvi. 75. Thus many times God reviveth old truths, and 
maketh them effectual long after the time of delivery. The word 
worketh, then, either in the hearing or in the remembrance or deep 
meditation upon it. Well now, can you remember such an experi- 

' T6 fit) Svvarov dXXws exeiv, dXX* o&rws ws ^ue?s \yofj.ei>.' Arist. 
2 I suppose Austin's Tolle et Lege was of this nature. 


ence when God called you by his word, and ' spake comfortably to 
your hearts ? ' Did he ever move you to go aside into the closet, that 
you might be solitary and serious, and consider of your condition ? 
Usually at our first call we are moved to go aside, that God and we 
may confer in private ; as Hosea ii. 14, ' God calleth into the wilder 
ness, that he may speak to the heart.' And Ezekiel was called ' into 
the field,' that God might more freely talk with him : Ezek. iii. 22, 
' Arise, go forth into the plain, that there I may talk with thee.' So 
Cant. vii. 11, ' Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the fields/ &c. 
Usually his first motions are to go aside and consider. Christ is bash 
ful before acquaintance, and doth not speak to us in company, but in 
private. Did he ever thus invite you into secret places ? did he ever 
call thee by name, speak so expressly to thy case, as if he had said, 
Here is mercy for thee, comfort for thee ; here is thy portion ? First 
or last God's children have such experiences. There is a ' time of 
loves/ Ezek. xvi. 6, 7, which they cannot forget ; at least a time 
wherein ' the master of the assemblies' fastened a nail in their hearts. 
God's people are wont to talk how seasonably and yet how strangely 
providence cast them upon such opportunities ; as David, Ps. cxix. 93, 
' I shall never forget thy precepts, for by them thou hast quickened 
me/ Oh ! I shall never forget such an ordinance, such a sermon, 
wherein the Lord was pleased to take notice of me, and to speak to 
my heart. Weak impressions are soon razed out, but powerful effects 
of the word leave a durable mark and character that cannot be defaced. 
3. The next mark may be taken from the formal answer or corre 
spondent act of the creature to the call of God, for that is it which 
sealeth our election ; for otherwise ' many be called/ but they are * not 
chosen/ unless the heart be prevailed with to obey the call. Yea, the 
notion of vocation in its full latitude implieth not only God's act, but 
ours, our answer to his call : ' Christ's sheep hear his voice/ When 
Christ saith, ' Mary/ she answereth, * Kabborii/ my Lord, Johnxx. 16. 
God's call is the offer of grace, our answer is the accepting of grace 
offered ; there must be receiving as well as offering ; vocation is not 
effectual unless it end in union ; it is receiving that giveth us interest, 
John i. 12. The scriptures do everywhere imply and signify this 
answerable act of the creature to the call of God. God saith, * Seek 
ye my face/ and the soul, like a quick echo, ' Thy face, Lord, will I 
seek/ Ps. xxvii. 8. So Jer. iii. 22, ' Return, ye backsliding children, 
and I will heal you ; ' and then, ' Behold, we come unto thee, for thou 
art the Lord our God/ The soul is enabled to do that which it is 
exhorted to do. God saith, Come to Christ, and the soul saith, Lord, 
I come. Well, then, is the call obeyed ? do you receive Christ for 
your Lord and Saviour ? The proper answer of the call is the con 
sent and full purpose of the heart to take Christ ; for offering is the 
call, and receiving is the answer. Have you subscribed and consented 
to take Christ upon his own terms ? as the prophet, when he was to 
take a wife, maketh an offer, Hosea iii., ' I will be for thee, and thou 
shalt be for me/ Are you content ? Christ will be for you in all his 
graces, merits, benefits, if you will be for him in all your motions, 
tendencies, aims. Alas I your hearts know that you are for yourselves, 
lusts, interests, &c. 


4. Again, you may know your calling by the concomitant disposi 
tions of the soul that go along with such a return and answer. Wher 
ever Christ is received, he is received with worthy and suitable affec 
tions; these are most notable :(!.) Godly sorrow: Jer. xxxi. 9, ' They 
shall come with weeping and supplication, and I will lead them.' It 
is spoken of the Jews' conversion ; when God cometh to lead them, 
they shall bewail their hardness of heart and unbelief. Such kind of 
workings there are in the heart of every returning sinner ; as, that 
God should look upon such a worthless creature as I am, that have 
all this while gainsayed and stood out many an invitation ! that ever 
God should care for such a vile and stubborn wretch ! seek to reclaim 
such a wayward heart ! Usually there are such mournful and self- 
humbling reflections that get the start of faith and comfort, and do 
more sensibly bewray themselves. Never did any child of God get 
home to him, but smiting on the thigh, Jer. xxxi. 18, and complaining 
of themselves before they could take comfort in God. (2.) Holy wonder, 
which ariseth from comparing their own wretchedness with God's 
rich mercy in Christ ; and therefore the apostle saith, 1 Peter ii. 9, 
' Who hath called us out of darkness into his marvellous light ; ' im 
plying that God's grace is most wonderful at first conversion, as light 
is to a man that cometh out of a dungeon ; woful darkness maketh 
it marvellous light. In this change there is nothing but what is 
wonderful ;^ both the sweetness and the power of that grace by which 
it . is wrought. The sweetness of grace : When God came to offer 
Abraham the grace of the covenant, he fell upon his face, Gen. xvii. 
3, in a humble adoration and reverence. The power of grace : If 
Peter wondered at his deliverance by the angel out of that strong 
prison, we have much more cause to wonder that the yoke is broken, 
and that we are set free by Christ ; the sweet effects of this grace 
cause wonder : ' The peace of God, which passeth all understanding,' 
&c. (3.) A free resolution and confidence; come whatever cometh, they 
will obey God ; as ' Abraham, being called, obeyed God, not knowing 
whither he went,' Heb. xi. 8. So when they have a warrant, they will 
make adventures of faith, though they know not the success ; as Peter 
would cast out the net at Christ's command, though there were little 
likelihood of taking fish : ' Howbeit at thy command,' &c., Luke v. 5. 
So it is unlikely God will receive me to grace, yet I will adventure ; I 
know not what will come of it. Where faith is sensible of a com 
mand, it doth not dispute a duty, but accomplish it. The Spirit 
speaketh to the soul as the disciples did to the blind man, Markx. 49, 
' Be of good comfort ; rise, because the master calleth thee.' I instance 
in these dispositions because they are most sensible. 

5. It may be evidenced by the fruits and effects of a call ; the call 
inferreth'a change of the former estate, both in heart and life. 

[1.] There will be a change in the whole heart. In the mind and 
judgment; there the activity of the new nature is first discovered: 
Eph. iv. 23, ' Kenewed in the spirit of the mind ;' in that which is 
most intimate and excellent there. In our discourse and reason ; all 
the discourses, debates, purposes, and cares of the soul will be to 
please God. The mind is made a forge for holy uses, wherein to 
debate and contrive how to carry on the work of grace, how to glorify 


God in our relations, concernments ; certainly this will be found in all 
those that are called and converted. So in the will and affections 
there will be a constant inclination towards God as the chiefest good : 
Ps. cxix. 57, ' Thou art my portion, Lord ; I have said that I will 
keep thy words/ The soul is resolved ; there is a decree issued forth 
in that behalf to dedicate itself to God and his will. This is the great 
difference between men and men in fixing their chiefest good and 
utmost end. The soul, finding comfort in God, setteth the whole bent 
of her endeavours towards him. So for the other affections which 
attend upon the other act of the will, aversion and loathing ; a soul 
that is called and converted hateth sin, its own beloved sin, as the 
greatest evil : Hosea xiv. 8, ' What have I any more to do with idols ?' 
Isa. xxx. 22, ' Thou shalt say to it as to an abominable rag, Get thee 
hence.' A keen displicency and hearty indignation is kindled in the 
soul against sin : when God changeth a soul, he putteth a disposition 
into it somewhat like his own nature. God cannot abide sin, and a 
sanctified heart cannot abide it ; ' Get thou hence/ &c. ; the new life 
hath an antipathy to that which is contrary to it. 

[2.] In the life there will be a change ; men will walk worthy their 
calling, not disgracing it by scandals or unseemly practices: Eph. iv. 
1, ' I beseech you, brethren, walk worthy of the vocation wherewith 
ye are called ;' that is, suitable to the purity, suitable to the dignity of 
it. When David was a shepherd, he thought of nothing else but 
keeping his father's sheep ; but when God called him to be a shepherd 
of the people, then he had other projects, and was of other manner of 
behaviour. A new calling requireth a new conversation : so 1 Thes. 
ii. 12, ' Walk worthy of God, who hath called you to his kingdom and 
his glory.' The divine calling puts an honour upon you : it is not for 
princes to ' embrace the dung/ nor for eagles to catch flies ; to be vain, 
voluptuous, carnal, and worldly, as others are: you are called to the 
fellowship of saints and angels ; will it become one of your hopes to 
drive on such a low design as a worldly interest ? If you saw a man 
labouring in filthy ditches, and soiling himself as poor men do, would 
you believe that he were heir-apparent to a crown, called to inherit a 
kingdom ? Who will believe your calling when you stick in the mud 
of pleasures, and are carried on with such a zealous respect after secular 
interests ? The apostle reproveth the Corinthians for ' walking as 
men,' 1 Cor. iii. 3. Some walk as beasts, others are of a more civil 
strain ; but this is but as men : you should walk more sublimely, 
above the ordinary rate of flesh and blood. When Antigonus was 
going into the house of a harlot, one told him, Thou art a king's son. 
Oh ! remember your dignity, and walk worthy of your high calling ; 
walk as having the world under your feet, with a holy scorn and con 
tempt of sublunary enjoyments. And as you should walk worthy of 
the dignity of your calling, so of the purity of it : ' He that hath called 
you is holy,' 1 Peter i. 15 ; and your condition is a * holy calling,' 2 
Tim. i. 9 ; and the end of your calling is holiness : 1 Thes. iv. 7, ' God 
hath called us unto holiness.' All which are so many engagements to 
urge us to the more care. A filthy, loose conversation will never suit 
with this calling ; you are a shame and a stain to him that calleth 
you if you walk thus: as some in the prophet are said to pollute 


God, Ezek. xxxi. 9, namely, as their pollutions were retorted upon 

Let us now come to the manifestations and effects of this calling; 
and the first effect mentioned is sanctification, sanctified in God the 
Father. Where you may note two things : (1 .) The state, sanctified ; 
(2.) The author of it, by God the Father. 

1. The state, rflUHTp&ot*, ( to them which are sanctified ;' instead 
of which some copies have, fnawqti&ot?, ' beloved by God the Father:' 
but let us keep to our own reading, the other being a mistake, and in 
few Greek copies. The note is : 

Obs. That God's people, whom he hath called out of the world to 
himself, are a sanctified people. I shall show you (1.) What it is to be 
sanctified ; and then (2.) Why God's called people must be sanctified. 

First, What it is to be sanctified. There are many acceptions of the 
term ; the most famous are two to sanctify is either to set apart, or 
to cleanse. These two notions will be enough for our purpose, if in 
each of them we suppose both something privative, and something 
positive ; as when it signifieth to set apart, you must conceive not only 
a setting apart from common use, but a dedication to holy uses, or a 
setting apart for God, which is the most proper acception of the word. 
So when it signifieth to cleanse, you must not only conceive a purga 
tion from filthiness, but a plantation of seeds of grace ; not only an 
abolition of natural corruption, but a renovation of God's image. In 
this method let us a little consider the thing in hand. 

1. To sanctify is to set apart and dedicate. Now, God's people 
are set apart by God, Ps. iv. 3, and they dedicate themselves to his 
use and service: 2 Tim. ii. 21, 'Vessels of honour for the master's 
use.' They are set apart by God both in time and before time. Be 
fore all time they are set apart by God's decree, to be a holy seed to 
himself in and by Christ, separated from the perishing world to be 
vessels of honour ; as the reprobate are called * vessels of wrath and 
dishonour ; ' thus we are said to be * chosen to be holy,' Eph. i. 4. 
But then in time they are regenerated, and actually set apart. Sancti 
fication is an actual election (as before) by which we are set apart 
from the perishing world to act for God, and to seek the things that 
make for his glory. Thus \ve are called God's ' first-fruits,' which were 
the Lord's portion, James i. 18, and is there made a fruit of regeneration. 
And thus we are said to be 'a holy priesthood,' 1 Peter ii. 9, the priests 
being men set apart to minister in God's presence. Now, this conse 
cration inferreth a holy preciseness and singularity in the godly, that 
they may ' keep themselves unspotted from the world/ James i. 28, as 
holy things were to be kept from a common use ; 1 and it implieth 
that every sin is a kind of sacrilege, it stealeth a holy thing from God. 
But over and above all this, they dedicate themselves, or set apart 
themselves, by the consent of their own vows : Rom. xii. 1, ' Present 
yourselves,' &c., as every man was to bring his own sacrifice ; and for 
this dedication the Lord calleth when he saith, ' My son, give me thy 
heart ; ' because God loveth to put the honour upon us of a gift, when it 
is but a debt ; and because our voluntary consent to this surrender is 
a necessary fruit of grace, and the immediate effect of his own choice. 

1 It was a profanation in Belshazzar to drink in the cups of the temple. 


2. To sanctify is to cleanse, together with its positive act, to renew 
and adorn with grace. 

Let us first speak of the privative or cleansing work ; this notion is 
necessary to be added to the former. They that are sanctified must 
not only be separated to a holy use, but must also be cleansed : as to 
sanctify signifieth to separate, so there is a difference between them 
and others ; and as it signifieth to cleanse, so there is a difference 
between them and themselves. They differ from others, because they 
are a people set apart to act and live for God ; they trade for God, 
eat for God, drink for God, more or less, all is for God's glory, 1 Cor. 
x. 31, and so are a distinct company from the men of the world, who 
are merely swayed by their own interests, a company that merely act 
for themselves in all that they do. And then there is a difference 
between them and themselves, for sanctification is the cleansing of a 
thing that was once filthy : 1 Cor. vi. 11, ' Such were some of you, 
but now ye are washed, but now ye are sanctified in the name of the 
Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God;' they are not the same men 
they were before. We all come into the world polluted with the stain 
of sin, which is purged and done away by degrees, and at death wholly, 
and never before. When Christ cometh to bring us to God as the 
fruits of his purchase, then we are * without spot and blemish/ Eph. 
v. 27. The Papists cavil, yea, trifle, when they argue from that place, 
that either we must grant a perfection in this life; or a purgation after 
death, or how else cometh the soul to be without spot and blemish ? 
I answer That place asserts the thing to the comfort of the elect, that 
once they shall get rid of the filthy spots of sin ; but for the time, most 
probably in the moment of expiring. As the soul in the very moment 
wherein it is joined to the body becometh sinful, so in the moment 
wherein it leaveth the body it is sanctified, and presented by Christ 
to God ; as many pious souls breathe out their last with the profession 
of this hope. Then we shall be cleansed indeed ; now the work is in 
fieri, it is a-doing. The work of grace for the present consists in rub 
bing away the old filth, and weakening original corruption more and 
more ; l as also in washing off the new defilement which we contract 
every day by conversing in the world. See John xiii. 10, where our 
Saviour alludeth to a man that hath been bathing himself, but after 
his return by treading on the ground again staineth his feet, and 
needeth another washing, of his feet at least. So by conversing in the 
world, there are stains and spots contracted, which must always be 
washed off by daily repentance, besides our general bathing at first 
conversion or regeneration, Titus iii. 5. I have no more to say to this 
cleansing work, but only this, that it is not merely like the washing off 
of spots, but like the purging of sick matters or ill humours out of the 
body ; it is a work done with much reluctation of corrupt nature, and 
therefore it is expressed by ' subduing our iniquities/ Micah vii. 19. 
In outward filthiness there is no actual resistance, as there is in sin. 

But to speak now of the positive work, or the decking and adorning 
the soul with grace. As the priests under the law, when they came 
to minister before the Lord, were not only washed in the great laver, 

1 So obstinate is man's heart, that that is all that can be done ; the weakening of sin, 
but not the destruction of it. 


but adorned with gorgeous apparel, so to be sanctified is more than 
to be purified ; for besides the expulsion of sin, there is an infusion 
of grace, a disposition wrought clean contrary to what we had before, 
therefore called ' a new heart and a new spirit ; ' see Ezek. xxxvi. 
25-27 ; from whence also there floweth newness of life and conversa 
tion ; there is a new heart or conformity to God's nature, and a new 
life or conformity to God's will. The pattern of that sanctification 
which is wrought in the heart is God's nature or image, 2 Peter i. 4, 
Eph. iv. 24 ; and the pattern of that sanctification which is wrought 
in the life is God's law or revealed will, 1 Thes. iv. 3 , the one is our 
habitual holiness, and the other our actual. 

[1.] For habitual sanctification, or that which is wrought in the 
heart, I observe, that it is thorough but not full ; there must be all 
grace, and every faculty must be adorned with grace : 1 1 Thes. v. 23, 
* The very God of peace sanctify you wholly : I pray God your whole 
spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless until the coming of Jesus 
Christ/ All of man is made up of spirit, soul, and body ; that is the 
theological distinction of the faculties : the spirit, that is the more 
rational and angelical part of the soul, understanding, conscience, 
will ; and then there is soul, the lower part, the more brutish and 
sensual affections and desires ; and then body, the outward man, the 
instrument of soul, which needeth to be sanctified, that is, kept in a good 
order and frame, that it may not rebel, or disobey the motions of the 
better part. You see, then, every faculty must be seasoned with the new 
nature ; 2 this leaven must get into the whole lump ; the mind, 
memory, conscience, will, desires, delights, all must be brought into 
conformity to the image of God. And as every faculty must be sanc 
tified, so there must be every grace. In conversion there is introduced 
into the soul a stock of truth, and a frame of grace, called in other 
terms * the anointing/ 1 John ii. 27, and ' the seed of God,' 1 John 
iii. 9. There is a stock of truth brought into the understanding to 
season that ; not that every one that is regenerate doth actually know 
all truths, but there is a saving light and knowledge of things neces 
sary ; they see enough to avoid courses of damnation, and to cleave to 
the ways of God : and there is an inquisitiveness after truth, and a 
suitableness to them when they are revealed ; they are teachable, 
though actually ignorant; there is something in their hearts that 
carrieth a cognation and proportion to every truth, and claimeth kin 
of it whenever it is revealed. And then there is a frame of grace ; 
for the mind is not only enlightened, but the will and affections are 
sanctified, and the heart inclined to choose the ways of God, and to 
obey him whenever occasion is offered. The habits of all grace are 
brought into the heart by regeneration, as original sin contairieth the 
seeds and habits of all sin : though there be not explicit workings of all 
graces at that time, yet they are introduced, and make up one sincere 
bent of the soul towards God, called * Holiness in truth,' Eph. vi. 24. 
Thus you see the new creature doth not come out maimed ; the 
person sanctified hath all the parts of a new man, not one member is 

1 As a child is true man, though not a perfect man, as soon as he is born ; he hath 
all the parts, though not the growth, and strength, and stature. 

2 All was depraved by Adam, and all is renewed by Christ. 


wanting. But now though this sanctification be thorough, yet it is not 
full and complete for degrees ; every part is sanctified, but every part 
is not wholly sanctified. In the most gracious there is a double prin 
ciple hell and heaven, Adam and Jesus, the flesh and the spirit, the 
law of the members, and the law of the mind. Such a medley and 
composition are we during the present state ! ' We know but in part/ 
and we are sanctified but in part, and there being such a mixture in 
the principles of operation, every action is mixed. It is notable, that 
there is no commendable act in scripture recorded but there is some 
mixture of corruption in it, even in the most heroical exercises and 
discoveries of faith : Moses believeth, and therefore smiteth the rock, 
but he smiteth twice ; Sarah believeth the promise, but giveth her 
maid to Abraham ; Rebecca was told that the elder should serve the 
younger, and believeth it, but yet she sets Jacob a-work to get the 
blessing by a wile ; Eahab saveth the spies, but maketh a lie, &c. 
Thus is our wine mingled with water, our honey with wax, Cant. v. 1, 
and our silver with tin. All the trial is, that the better part pre- 
vaileth ; and that we are still growing and hasting on to perfection, as 
the morning sun doth to high noon, Prov. iv. 18. 

[2.] For actual sanctification, which standeth in a conformity to 
God's will, when the heart is changed so as the life, thoughts, words, 
actions, all are sanctified : there is a spirit of holiness working within, 
and breathing without, in sanctified discourse and holy exercises ; all 
the actions savour of grace. Now our actions are sanctified and savour 
of grace when they are performed upon new principles and new ends. 

(1.) New principles : Duty swayeth the conscience, and love in- 
clineth the heart, 1 Tim. i. 5, * The end of the commandment is 
charity, out of a pure heart and good conscience, and faith unfeigned.' 
No act is gracious and an act of pure obedience, unless it have these 
qualifications. It is not the matter that maketh the work good, but 
the principles : all that we do must come from a principle of faith, 
love, and obedience. Obedience respects the command, love the kind 
ness and merit of the lawgiver, and faith his bounty and reward : the 
first swayeth the conscience, the second inclineth the heart, and the 
third giveth encouragement. This is to do duties with a gospel frame 
of spirit ; obedience takes notice of the laws of God, love of the kind 
ness of God, and faith of the rewards of God ; and so obedience showeth 
us the matter of the duty, and faith the encouragement ; so that wha.t- 
ever is done as an act of the new nature or sanctified estate, it is an 
act of obedience, out of gratitude, upon the encouragement of our 
glorious hopes and advantages in Christ. As if it be asked, Why do I 
do it ? God hath commanded it, 1 Thes. iv. 3, and v. 18 ; His will is 
motive enough ; God will have it so. Why with such strength of 
affection and earnestness ? God hath deserved it, because of his love 
and bounty in Christ, 2 Cor. v. 14, 15 ; Titus ii. 11-14. Conscience 
is sensible of the obligation, and love and hope sweetens the duty. 
There is a natural conscience of good and evil, which is known by 
legal aims and carnal motives. What is done out of natural conscience 
is not done out of obedience and thankfulness, but out of bondage, and 
with a servile frame of spirit ; like fruits that are ripened by art and 
force, not naturally nor kindly. 


(2.) New ends. Here indeed the discovery is most sensible; principles 
are more hidden, and discovered mostly by ends. Now the only end must 
be God's glory. All that is done in the spiritual life, be it an act^of piety, 
justice, temperance, or charity, it must be done with this aim, that 
God may be glorified by our obedience to his will: I owe this 
duty to God, and I must do it for God's sake ; be it a duty 
of worship, or in your civil relation and traffic ; as if I pray, the last 
end of prayer must be God's glory, whether I seek grace and pardon, 
or the conveniences and supports of the present life. Grace still sub- 
limateth the intention of the creature, therefore carnal men are taxed 
for praying out of self-interests : Hosea vii. 14, ' They have not cried 
unto me when they howled upon their beds ; they assembled themselves 
for corn, and wine, and oil/ It is but a brutish cry when men seek 
only their own commodity and welfare ; as beasts will howl when they 
are sensible of any smart and injury ; dogs or any brute beasts may 
do the same ; there is no act of grace in it. So in charity, many men 
make it a kind of bargain and traffic ; they do it * to be seen of men/ 
Mat. vi. 2, to gratify their wordly interests, not to please God or 
honour God, for their credit and repute, to be well thought of ; and 
there Christ saith, fjiladov CLVTWV airtyovcri, that is, they have that which 
they look for ; for other things they give God a discharge and acquit 
tance. Briefly, the aims of men not regenerate or sanctified are 
either carnal, or natural, or legal. (1st.) Carnal, when men make a 
market of religion, their worship, righteousness, and charity is set to 
sale, and by a vile submission made to stoop to their own private 
interests ; as the Pharisees made long prayers to devour widows' 
houses, that is, to beget a fame and repute of honesty, that they 
might be intrusted with the management of their estates. So some 
may pray to show parts, preach out of envy, and to rival others in 
esteem, Phil. i. 15. Often is this vile scorn put upon God, that his 
worship is made a cover and pretence to unclean intents ; which is 
as if a cup of gold, made for a king to drink of, should be filled with 
excrements ; or as if we did set up another god beside him ; for that 
which we make our utmost end, we make it our God ; as false teachers 
are said to make ' their belly their God/ Phil. iii. 19, because all that 
they did was for belly cheer, to flow in abundance of wealth and 
worldly pleasures, by this means setting up the belly, and the 
concernments of the belly in God's stead. (2d.) There are natural 
ends. It is grace, as I said, that sublimateth the intention 
of the creature. A carnal man can go no higher than self, 
as water cannot ascend beyond its spring. Now all natural men are 
not hypocrites, to put on a pretence of strictness out of design : the 
apostle saith, ' They do by nature the things contained in the law/ 
Rom. ii. 14 ; that is, upon the impulses of natural conscience, they 
avoid such sins as nature discovereth, upon such arguments and 
reasons as nature suggesteth. If they worship, it is to satisfy their 
own consciences ; if they be strict and temperate, it is not out of 
reasons of obedience, but because the matter of carnal pleasure is gross 
and burdensome, and hindereth the free contemplation of the mind; or 
because these pleasures emasculate and quench their natural bravery, 
and so hinder their reputation in the world. If they be just, it is to 


maintain commerce between man and man ; if they be kind in their 
relations, it is for their own peace and quiet ; nothing is done as in 
and to the Lord, as the apostle enjoineth, Eph. v. God is neither at 
the beginning nor at the end of any of these actions ; the love of God 
is not their spring and rise, nor the glory of God their aim. If they 
pray, there is no intention beyond self, and the welfare of their own 
natures ; the matter is but the outward work of the law, epyov 
vo^ov, Kom. ii. 15, and their aim is but the freedom and welfare of 
nature. (3d.) There are legal ends. When wicked men are most 
devout, it is but to quiet conscience, to satisfy God for their sins by 
their duties ; they would fain buy out their peace with heaven at any 
rate : Micah vi. 6-8, ' Wherewith shall I come before him ? what 
shall I give for the sins of my soul ? ' They are devout, charitable, 
that by diligence in worship, and exceeding in charity, they may 
expiate the offences of a carnal life. If peace of conscience were to be 
purchased with money, they would not spare ; they would rather part 
with anything than their corruptions, because nothing is so dear to 
a carnal heart as sin. So that you see devout nature is very corrupt 
and perverse, and therefore all its actions are justly hated of God: 
Prov. xxi. 27, ' The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination ; how 
much more when he offereth it with an evil mind ? ' that is, to buy 
an indulgence in other sins, that he may sin them freely and with 
leave from heaven. In short, all their duties of worship and charity 
are performed as a sin-offering, and not as a thank-offering ; to satisfy 
God, not to glorify him ; usually they are extorted from him in a pang 
of conscience, as a mariner casts out his goods in a storm, or a 
traveller yieldeth his money when beset with thieves ; there is no true 
delight in God or in obedience. And thus I have showed you what it 
is to be sanctified in heart and life, which was the first thing 

Secondly, Let me now show why God's called people must be sanc 
tified, and that briefly and in few words. 

1. For the honour of God, of every person in the Trinity, Father, 
Son, and Spirit. For the honour of the Father, that his choice may 
not be disparaged : Eph. i. 4, ' He hath elected us to be holy ; ' 2 
Thes. ii. 14, ' Chosen to the sanctification of the Spirit.' There is 
some conscience in the world that maketh them adore strictness ; mere 
morality hath some majesty with it in the eye of nature, but especially 
gospel holiness ; whereas looseness is looked upon with scorn and con 
tempt ; so that his chosen people would be a dishonour to him if they 
were not sanctified. Therefore God the Father aimeth at it in all his 
dispensations ; he chooseth us that we may be of a choice spirit. As 
when Esther was chosen out among the virgins, she was purified and 
decked with ornaments, and had garments given her out of the king's 
wardrobe, so we are made holy, being chosen of God. And then he 
calleth us, that he may put this honour upon us in the eye of the 
world, to make us like himself : ' Be ye holy, as he that hath called us 
is holy,' 1 Peter i. 15. It were monstrous that God should set his 
affections upon a people altogether unlike him ; 1 that he should call 
them to be so near himself that continue corrupt and carnal. It is 

1 ' Ea demum vera est religio, imitari quern colis.' lactant. 


the aim of his providences as well as his special grace; we are afflicted 
'that we may be partakers of his holiness,' Heb. xii. 10; threshed that 
our husk may fly off. God certainly delighteth not in the afflictions 
of his people ; no, he ' loveth the prosperity of the saints,' Ps. xxxv. 
27, but he had rather see them in any condition than see them sinful. 
Again, it is for the honour of God the Son, whose members we are. 
Head and members must be all of a piece, like one another. It were 
monstrous that Christ should have such a body as Nebuchadnezzar 
saw in his dream, where the head was of pure gold, and the thighs 
brass, and the feet iron, &c. ; and it were an odd sight that a face of 
Europe should be put upon the body of a negro or Ethiopian ; and as 
strange and odd it is that Christ should have a disproportioned body, 
quite unlike himself ; yea, it is little for his honour that he should be 
the head of an ulcerous body, as well as a monstrous body. So much 
of sin as you continue, so much you disparage your Redeemer and put 
him to shame ; therefore all Christ's aim is to make us holy; for that 
end he redeemed us, that he might sanctify us, and make us a glorious 
church, without spot and wrinkle, Eph. v. 26, 27. When Christ was 
upon the cross, in the height of his love, he was devising what he 
should do for his church to make her honourable and glorious, and he 
pitched upon sanctification as the fittest blessing that he could bestow 
upon us. Every distinct society must have some distinct honour and 
privilege ; now Christ had set apart the church as a distinct society 
to himself, and therefore he would not bestow upon her pomp and 
worldly greatness other societies had enough of that but holiness, 
grace, which is our splendour and ornament : Ps. xciii. 5, ' Holiness 
becometh thy house, Lord, for ever/ And indeed this was a far 
better gift than any outward greatness and excellency could be ; for 
moral excellences are far better than civil and natural. It is God's 
own honour to be holy, therefore it is said that he is ' glorious in 
holiness,' Exod. xv. 11. He is elsewhere said to be 'rich in mercy/ 
Rom. x. 12 ; Eph. ii. 4 ; but here, ' glorious in holiness/ His treasure 
is his goodness, but that which he accounts his honour is his holiness 
or immaculate purity ; as you know among men their wealth is dis 
tinguished from their honour. But in this gift Christ hath not only 
respect to the excellency of it, but to our need and want. Christ was 
then repairing and making up the ruins of the fall. Now we lost in 
Adam the purity of our natures as well as the favour of God ; there 
fore, that the plaster might be as broad as the sore, he would not only 
reconcile us to God, but sanctify us; his blood was not only \vrpov, a 
price, but \ovrpov, a laver, wherein to Wash us and make us clean: as 
under the law there was in the tabernacle a great laver as well as an 
altar, to show we must be washed and sanctified as well as re 
conciled to God ; and Christ carrie riot only to abolish the guilt of sin, 
which is against our interest, our peace and comfort, but also to 
destroy the power of sin, which is against God's glory. And as this 
was Christ's aim in redemption, so also in the gospel, and all the 
precious promises of it: he died that ordinances . might be under a 
blessing, and conduce to the promotion of holiness ; for so it is there 
in Eph. v. 26, ' That he might sanctify us by the washing of water 
through the word/ There is a treasure of grace purchased, and left 


in the church to be conveyed to us by the use of these ordinances. So 
John xvii. 19, ' I sanctify myself for their sakes, that they may be 
sanctified through the truth/ Whenever we come to the word, or 
enjoy the use of the seals, we may expect to reap the fruits of Christ's 
purchase. Celsus objected against Christianity that it was a sanctuary 
for villains and men of a licentious life. Origen answered him, that 
it was not a sanctuary to nourish them in their evil practices, but an 
hospital to cure them. As under the law all the cities of refuge were 
cities of Levites and schools of instruction, so Christ hath made the 
church a school wherein to learn the trade of holiness ; and the word 
and the seals, and all the ordinances, look that way. Lastly, it is for 
the honour of God the Spirit that the called people should be holy, 
because they are his charge, in pupilage to the Holy Ghost, for this 
end and reason, that they may be sanctified. Sanctification is made 
his personal operation : ' The sanctification of the Spirit/ 2 Thes. ii. 
14, and 1 Peter i. 2. He is to shape and fashion all the vessels of 
glory, to deck the spouse of Christ with the jewels of the covenant. 
This is the great advantage that we have in the economy and dispen 
sation of grace, that we have God to purpose it, God to purchase it, 
and God to work it ; the Father, Word, and Spirit, who agree in one, 
to sanctify the creature and make it holy. Now it is a great grief to 
the Spirit when the work doth not go on and prosper in the soul ; for 
he ' worketh us to this very thing/ and is therefore called ' the Spirit 
of holiness/ It is not for his honour to dwell in defiled temples, and 
to let the called people go naked and without their ornament. Well, 
then, you see, God, for his honour's sake, will have his purposes accom 
plished for which he chose us, and Christ his purchase made good, 
and the Spirit who is left in charge to see all accomplished, he goeth 
on with the work. 

2. Another reason why we must be sanctified is, because of the 
hopes to which we are called and the happiness which we expect. 
Now we cannot have it unless we be holy : Heb. xii, 14, ' Without 
holiness no man shall see God/ We are bidden in that verse to 
' follow peace/ but chiefly ' holiness ;' for it is not said that without 
peace no man shall see God. 1 Peace may be often broken in the 
quarrel of truth and holiness, and so God's children may be passively 
men of contention. Ay ! but for all that they shall see God : but those 
that are not holy he cannot endure their presence, and therefore they 
shall never see his face, and enjoy him hereafter. Usually by a fond 
abuse we restrain the word saints to the saints departed. Ay ! but 
we must be saints here, or else we shall never be saints hereafter. I 
mean true saints ; for by another abuse the word saints is made matter 
of pretence in some, and matter of scorn by others ; but to be saints 
indeed, that is all the evidence you have to show for your interest in 
your glorious hopes. What should others do with heaven that are 
not saints ? How can they see God that have not a pure eye ? A 
dusky glass cannot represent the image : the degree of vision is accord 
ing to the degree of sanctification. 2 And what should a carnal heart, 
that knoweth no other heaven but to eat, drink, and sleep, and wallow 

1 XW/HS ov ; the masculine article showeth that it is to be referred to ayia<r/j.os. 

2 Kara. TTJV avaXoyiov KO.da.pOT'qTOS. 

VOL. V. C 


in sensual delights, do with 'the inheritance of the saints in light?' 
The apostle saith, we must be ' made meet' for such a state, Col. i. 12. 
The vessels of glory are first seasoned with grace. Alas ! otherwise 
carnal men can no more tell what to do with heaven than swine with 
pearls. We do not look for a Turkish paradise, but a sinless state ; 
not to bathe our souls in carnal pleasures, but to be consorts of the 
immaculate Lamb. Our hopes engage us to holiness : 1 John iii. 3, 
* He that hath this hope purifieth himself, as Christ is pure.' If his 
heart be fastened upon such a hope as to see Christ as he is, and to be 
like him both for temper of soul and state of body, certainly he must 
needs be a holy man ; he will be practising and trying here upon earth 
how he can conform to Christ, and begin his happiness as well as he 
can. Certainly he that expecteth that his body shall be ' like to 
Christ's glorious body,' he will ' possess his vessel in sanctification 
and in honour.' He cannot use his body, that is under so great hopes, 
merely as a strainer for meats and drinks, and a channel for lust to 
pass through ; his mind, that shall see God, he cannot fill it with chaff, 
or suffer it to be occupied with vanity, toying thoughts, and vile cares 
and unworthy projects ; and his affections, that should cleave to God 
inseparably, to be prostituted to every base object. Thus, with respect 
to our hopes, we must be sanctified ; the foundation and seed of glory 
is laid in grace, and that life begun which we must live for ever. 

Use 1. It serveth for conviction. If God's people are a sanctified 
people, then here is but sad news for two sorts of persons. (1.) The pro 
fane, that care not for holiness ; God hath no birthright for such Esaus ; 
the portion of the Lord are a holy portion, but these have ' a spot that 
is not as the spot of his children/ Deut. xxxii. 5. See what John speaketh 
of such persons as wallow in their filthiness : 1 John iii. 8, ' He that 
committeth sin is of the devil, for the devil sinneth from the beginning/ 
6 Troiwv djjLaprtav, he that tradeth in sin, and maketh it his work and 
business. You may presume that you belong to God, but you are of 
the devil ; you have not, indeed, the least pretence of a claim, and do 
not go so far as hypocrites, being so little careful to be holy, that you 
are not moral. Are you called ? from what ? where is the least 
evidence of it ? Ay ! but our hearts are better than we show for. 1 
This is to appeal to a witness that cannot be found ; it is all one as if 
a man should claim to another's land, and pretend that he hath lost 
the evidences. Your guilt is written in legible characters, that he that 
runneth may read it. (2.) It convinceth persons that scoff at holi 
ness. Scoffing is the overflow of gall and malice, and a black mark, 
let it be found where it will. In the general it argueth a bad spirit, 
but especially when religion is made a byword and a reproach. When 
you deride men for their holiness, you deride them for that which is 
the express image of the glorious God, and so deride God himself. 
Holy brethren, as the saints are styled, Heb. iii. 1, should no more be 
a disgrace than holy Father, as God himself is styled, John xvii. 11. 

_ * Caspar Stres. in Miscellaneis ; Multi gloriantur cor suum bonum esse, etiamsi extus 
vita non respondeat ; decipiuntur isti homines, nam si candela intus accensa est, lacerna 
extus necessario lucet et splendet ; posito quod cor tuum bonum est, tamen damna- 
bens, quia Cbnstus non judicat secundum cor sed secundum opera.' If the Israelites had 
slam and eaten the Passover, yet if the door-posts were not sprinkled with blood, the 
angel would not spare them. 


You hate God more than you do the saints, if you hate them for their 
holiness, which shineth in them with a faint lustre, but is infinitely 
and originally in God. Take heed of * the chair of scorners/ Those are 
dogs that are without, Rev. xxii. 15, that bark at the splendour of 
God's image, that make saints a word of disgrace. Scoffing Ishmaels 
that will be mocking are sure to be cast out, Gen. xxi. 9 ; they do not 
belong to God. The apostle interprets that mocking to be persecu 
tion, Gal. iv. 27; so it is in God's account ; and yet it is always found 
in those that are ' born after the flesh/ Profane spirits think religion 
a matter of nothing ; and men are wont to mock at those which make 
a great matter of what they account nothing. Oh ! remember, holi 
ness is the badge of those which are the Lord's called people, and it 
should be a matter of reverence, not reproach. 

Use 2. Again, it serveth for caution, to prevent mistakes. Chris 
tians, look to your sanctification : Ps. iv. 3, ' Know that God hath set 
apart him that is godly for himself.' The beast's worshippers have 
the beast's mark, Rev. xiii. 16. So also God's children are stamped 
with his seal and impress : 2 Tim. ii. 19-, * The foundation of the Lord 
standeth sure, having this seal,' &c., they are sealed with a mark of 
preservation, ' The Lord knows those that are his ;' and they are sealed 
with a mark of distinction, ' Let every one that nameth the name of 
God depart from iniquity. 5 As Cain is stamped on both sides, so hath 
God's seal a double motto one that noteth his owning the saints, the 
other that noteth their temper and disposition ; they depart from 
iniquity. Take heed, then, have you this seal and impress ? There 
are many things that look like sanctification, but are not. I shall touch 
upon four civility, formality, restraining grace and temporary grace. 

1. Civility, which is nothing else but a fair demeanour in the world, 
or, in the apostle's expression, ' a fair show in the flesh,' a darker re 
presentation of holiness, rather heathenish strictness than Christian. 
You may descry it by these notes : (1.) It is usually accompanied 
with ignorance, and little knowledge of God's institutions. Men live 
well, are no drunkards, no swearers, but know little of God, have no 
insight in matters of religion ; like Nicodemus, a strict Pharisee, but 
grossly ignorant, John iii. 10. Spiritual life beginneth with know 
ledge, and endeth in a rational strictness, and what they do, they do 
upon principles. Conscience is swayed by the acknowledgment of God's 
will. Others live plausibly, but know not the ground and reason of 
their actions, and therefore are soon satisfied ; never troubled about 
imperfections, because where there is no light there is not that tender 
ness which is found in real Christians, who look into the purity of the 
law, and are troubled because they know so much of the will of God, 
and do so far come short of it, as in a clear glass the least mote is soon 
espied. (2.) There is little of Christ in such souls ; for a man that is 
satisfied with his own righteousness doth not prize Christ. Paul, a 
Pharisee, counted his works ' gain/ which afterward he found to be 
' loss,' Phil. iii. 7. By gain he meaneth an advantage to procure the 
favour of God. Self is wont to take up all their thoughts, and there 
fore moral strains suit more with them than gospel comforts, and doc 
trines that breed faith. The law is more natural to men than the 
gospel, and therefore with those that are of a moral disposition, and no 


more, it findeth better entertainment and welcome than the gospel 
doth. There is no ' hungering and thirsting' after Christ ; they do not 
see the need of the sweetness of his grace, of the help of his Spirit, 
going on in a plausible, moral course, without rub or difficulty. Whereas, 
in the spiritual life, Christ doth all, and every day they see more cause 
to bless God for him, Gal. ii. 20. (3.) Usually there is some great 
prevailing sin. Civility is but a freer slavery ; one way or another 
Satan holdeth them captive, and their honesty and fair show to the 
world is but to serve their carnal interests, to hide a lust or feed a lust, 
and most commonly this sin is worldliness. Christ's young man, that 
had ' kept all those things from his youth/ had ' great possessions/ 
and they were a great snare to his heart, Mat. xix. 22. The sin of the 
Pharisees was vainglory and ambition. Some morsel there is reserved 
under the tongue, sb'nie sin kept with the greater allowance from con 
science, and the less shame from abroad, because otherwise the life is 
fair and honest. (4.) There is a greater care about actions than lusts. 
Wrath, and pride, and wanton thoughts, are digested, because there 
is no violence and uncleanness in the conversation. Civility is all for 
the carriage, nothing for tempering the affections to such an order and 
moderation as becometh grace. Paul complaineth of his lusts, and the 
law of sin within, Rom. vii. ; yea, of such sinful workings as do not fall 
under the cognisance and discovery of the light of nature, Rom. vii. 
7, the first risings and stirrings of sin forbidden in the tenth com 
mandment, the least rebellion of nature. Thus for civility. 

2. Formality, or pretended grace : you hiay be deceived in that ; 
and therefore the apostle speaketh Of a ' true holiness/ ev OO-LOTTJTI, rr)s 
aX^^e/a?, Eph. iv. 24, in opposition to that which is feigned and 
counterfeit. Now, false grace is always acted by foreign and external 
considerations ; as pupils 1 have not a principle of life within them, but 
are moved by an external force. The hypocrite's principles of motion 
are without him, as carnal respects, self-ends, &c. True grace hath 
an inward propensity to comply with the will of God ; there is a ' law 
upon their bowels ;' 2 by-ends work by constraint, and carry the soul 
contrary to its native inclination ; a man would not do such a thing, 
were it not for such ends ; therefore the apostle saith, 1 Peter v, 2, 
' Feed the flock that is among you, not by constraint, but willingly ; 
not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind.' When a man acteth 
genuinely in a work; his own heart carrieth him to it more than all 
outward encouragements. Again, false grace is shy of God's presence 
and sight : pretences are to deceive men ; therefore such persons strive 
to get God out of their thoughts, they know his eye will find them out. 
But now truth of grace is ready to draw everything into God's sight ; 
though they tremble to think what defects God can find in them, yet 
they appeal to him for the sincerity of their hearts : John xxi. 17, 
1 Lord, thou knowest all things, and thou knowest that I love thee.' 
He would not excuse miscarriages ; yet, for the general temper and 
bent of his heart, he referreth himself to God's omnisciency. So Job 
xxxi. 6, ' Let me be weighed in an even balance, that God may know 
mine integrity ; ' and yet elsewhere he saith, Job xlii. 5,6,' Mine eye 
seeth thee, and therefore I abhor myself in dust and ashes/ in the 

1 Qu. ' puppets ' ? ED. 2 Ps. xl. 7, marg. ED. 


one place he appealeth to God, for he was confident that his integrity 
would hold weight ; and yet in the other he could even loathe himself 
when he thought of God, because of so many defects and failings. So 
David, Ps. cxxxix. 23, ' Search me, Lord, and know my heart,' &c. 
No douht David was sensible that God could find enough in him ; but 
Lord, search, see if anything be allowed with full leave of conscience. 
Again, false grace doth not grow, unless it be worse and worse. Pre 
tences wither rather than thrive : God complaineth, Jer. vii. 24, that 
' they went backward rather than forward.' False grace is always 
declining till it be wholly lost ; like bad salt, that loseth of its acri 
mony and smartness every day till it be cast to the dunghill. But 
now true grace, from a grain it groweth into a tree, Mat. xiii., 
from a morning glimpse to a perfect noon, Prov. iv. 18, from 
smoking flax it is blown up into a flame. The least meal in the 
barrel, and oil in the cruse, when it is fed with a supply from heaven, 
shall prosper into abundance. Nicodemus, that at first came to Christ 
by night, after boldly declareth himself for him, John xix. 39. Grace 
gets ground upon the flesh, and holiness by degrees advanceth into a 
triumph. Examine, then, whether you increase or decrease : if you 
go backward from zeal to coldness, from strictness to looseness ; if you 
lose your care of duty, and choiceness of spirit, and there be no com 
plaining, it is a sign grace was never wrought in truth. Once more, 
false grace is not accompanied with humility. When men, the more 
they profess, the prouder they grow, and more self -conceited, there is 
cause of suspicion. With true grace there always goeth along a 
spiritual poverty, or a sense of our spiritual wants ; the more know 
ledge, the more they discern their ignorance ; compare 1 Cor. viii. 2, 
with Prov. xxx. 2, 3 ; the more faith, the more they bewail unbelief, 
and see a need of increase and further growth : Mark ix. 24, ' Lord, I 
believe, help mine unbelief.' Oh! I want faith, what shall I do? 
still I am haunted with prejudicial and lessening thoughts of God's 
all-sufficiency and goodness. It is excellent when the soul is thus 
kept hungry and humble under our enjoyments, and we ' forget the 
things that are behind,' because ' the things that are before us,' or not 
yet attained, are much more, Phil. iii. 13. 

3. The next thing is restraining grace?- which is nothing else but 
an awe upon the conscience, inclining men to forbear sin, though they 
do not hate it. Now you may discern it, partly because love is of 
little use and force with such kind of spirits ; they are chained up by 
their own fears. The great evangelic motive is mercy : Rom. xii. 1, 
' I beseech you by the mercies of God/ The heart is most ingenuous 
when it yieldeth to such entreaties. It is good to serve God with 
reverence, but a servile awe hath little of grace in it. It is true, in 
deed, it is better to have a slavish fear than none at all ; therefore 
David saith to them that would be held in with no other restraints, 
Ps. iv. 4, ' Stand in awe, and sin not. To cool and charm their fury 
he maketh use of the argument of God's vengeance ; though this is 
also the fault of slavish spirits, that carnal respects and thoughts of 
outward inconvenience do equally sway them, as a servile fear of God's 
judgments. Again, you may know it, because it doth not destroy sin, 

1 See Mr Lyford's Catechism, last edition, pp. 308, 309. 


but only prohibit the exercise of it. Abimelech's lust was not quenched, 
yet God withheld him from sinning against Sarah, Gen. xx. 6. The 
heart is not renewed, though the action be checked ; as Israel had an 
adulterous heart towards God, when ' her way was hedged up with 
thorns/ Hosea ii. 6. Again, it is their trouble that they are held in 
the stocks of conscience ; they would fain be enlarged and find out 
their own paths. 

4. The next thing that looketh like sanctification, but is not, is 
common grace. This is a distinct thing from all the rest, yet I call 
it common grace, because it may be in them that fall away and depart 
from God. It differeth from civility, because it is more Christian and 
evangelical ; from formality, because that is only in pretence and show, 
whereas this is a real work upon the soul ; from restraining grace, because 
that is only conversant about sins and duties out of a servile awe of 
God, but this seemeth to carry out the soul with some affection to 
Christ. It is a common work, good in itself, which God ordaineth in 
some to be a preparation and beginning of the work of grace. Of this 
the apostle speaketh, Heb. vi. 4, 5, where he calleth it ' an enlighten 
ing/ * a taste of Christ and of the powers of the world to come/ and a 
' partaking of the Holy Ghost ; ' meaning the gifts of the Spirit, 
abilities for holy duties, &c., of all which elsewhere ; only now let me 
note three things: (1.) That the light there spoken of is not humbling; 
(2.) The taste is not ravishing, and drawing out the soul after more of 
Christ ; (3.) Their gifts are not renewing and sanctifying. 

[1.] That light is not humbling. He saith, they are ' enlightened/ 
but he doth not say they are humbled. Foundations totter that are 
not laid deep enough. The more true light a man hath, the more 
cause of self-abasement will he find in himself. You can never 
magnify Christ enough, and you can never debase self enough ; and 
certainly Christ is most exalted when you are most abased, Isa. ii. 19. 
Dagon must fall upon his face if you mean to set up the ark ; and if 
Christ shall be precious to you, you must be vile in your own eyes ; 
none have such true revivings as the humble, Isa. Ivii. 15, 16. True 
humiliation is far from weakening your comforts, it maketh them more 
full and sure ; therefore a main thing that was wanting in those 
spoken of in Heb. vi., was humiliation, and their fault was a rash 
closing with Christ in the pride of their hearts. 

[2.] Their taste was not ravishing and affecting the heart so as to 
engage it to seek after Christ ; they had but loose and slight desires 
of happiness, glances upon the glory of heaven and the comforts of the 
gospel, which possibly might stir up a wish, 'Oh! that I might die 
the death of the righteous/ &c. They were not serious and holy 
desires after Christ, after grace and strength to serve him. The saints, 
that have a taste, groan after a fuller communion in his graces as well 
as comforts, Eom. vii. 24, Ps. cxix. 5 ; that experience which they 
have had of Christ inaketh them long for more. But now in tem 
poraries there is a loose assent and slight affection, a taste enough to 
prevail with them, to make some profession for a while, a rejoicing for 
a season, &c. 

[3.] Their gifts are not renewing and sanctifying ; such possibly as 
may make them useful to the church, but do not change the heart. 


The apostle saith, they were made 'partakers of the Holy Ghost;' 
that is, had some share it may be a plentiful share, of church gifts, 
so as to be able to carry on duties to the edification and comfort of 
others. But, alas ! what is a man the better, if the heart be oppressed 
with sins in the meantime, and be not upright with God ? 1 Cor. xiii. 
1, ' Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels, and have 
not charity, I am become but as a sounding brass and tinkling cymbal/ 
Though you can speak of the things of God with much enlargement and 
affection, pray sweetly, all is but as tinkling with God, if there be not 
saving grace. It is a great evidence that we are such as the apostle 
speaketh of, when the affection doth not answer the expression of a 
duty, nor the life our knowledge, and gifts have not a proportionable 
influence upon practice. So much for that point. 

Having spoken of the state, I come now to speak of the author of 
it, God the Father. But why is it so distinctly attributed to the 
Father ? Is not Christ ' our sanctification ? ' 1 Cor. i. 30, and is it 
not called 'the sanctification of the Spirit?' 2 Thes. ii. 13. The 
answer shall draw out the strength of the phrase in these propositions. 
(] .) It is true that the whole Trinity, one way or other, concurreth to 
the work of holiness ; those works ad extra are indivisa, common to 
all the persons the Father sanctifieth, the Son sanctifieth, and the 
Holy Ghost sanctifieth : the same may be said of preserving and 
calling. (2.) Though all work jointly, yet there are distinct personal 
operations, by which they make way for the glory of each other ; the 
love of the Father for the glory of the Son, and the glory of the Son 
for the power of the Spirit. See how the scripture followeth these 
things. You shall find first, that no man cometh to the Son, but from 
the Father, by election : John vi. 37, * All that the Father giveth me 
shall come to me:' so ver. 65, 'No man cometh unto me, unless it be 
given him of my Father/ Look again and you shall find that no man 
cometh to the Father from the bondage of sin and Satan, but by the 
Son, through his redemption and mediation : John xiv. 6, ' 1 am the 
way, the truth, and the life ; no man cometh unto the Father but by 
me/ Again, you shall see no man is united to the Son but by the 
Holy Ghost, who worketh in those whom the Father did choose, and 
the Son redeem ; and therefore ' the sanctification of the Spirit ' is as 
necessary as ' the blood of Jesus,' 1 Peter i. 2. So that you see all 
have their distinct work ; the inchoation is from the Father, the dis 
pensation by the Son, and the consummation by the Spirit: from the 
Father, in the Son, and through the Spirit. There is God's choice, 
Christ's purchase, and the Spirit's application ; all are joined in one 
verse, for indeed they must not be severed, even in the place last 
alleged, 1 Peter i. 2. (3.) Because the first distinct operation is the 
Father's, therefore the whole work in scripture is often ascribed to him. 
He is said to justify ; ' the justifier of them that believe in Jesus,' Horn, 
iii. 26. So he is said elsewhere to purge : John xv. 1, 2, 'I am the 
vine, and my Father is the husbandman ; he purgeth it, that it may 
bring forth more fruit/ All dependeth upon the decree of his love. 
Christ doth not work upon a person, unless he be given to him by the 
Father ; and, therefore, he being first in order and operation, the whole 
work is made his work : ' Sanctified in God the Father.' Observe : 


Ols. 1. That sanctification is God's work, wrought in us by the 
Father. To cleanse the heart is beyond the power of the creature ; it 
can no more make itself holy, than make itself to be. We could 
defile ourselves, but we cannot cleanse ourselves : as the sheep can go 
astray of itself, but it can never return to the fold without the shep 
herd's care and help. 1 Lusts are too hard for us, and so are the 
duties of obedience. God, that gave us his image at first, must again 
plant it in the soul. 2 Who can repair nature depraved, but the 
author of nature ? When a watch is out of order we send it to the 
workman : ' We are his workmanship in Christ,' Eph. ii. 10. God 
taketh it to his prerogative : Lev. xxi. 8, * I am the Lord that sancti- 
fieth thee.' Grace is his immediate creature ; man's will contributeth 
nothing to the work but resistance and rebellion ; and outward means 
work not, unless God put in with them ; else why should the same 
word preached by the same minister work in some and harden 
others ? All the difference ariseth from God's grace, which acteth 
according to pleasure. Well, then : 

Use 1. Let us wait upon God till the work be accomplished. Our 
wills are obstinate and perverse, but God never made a creature too 
hard for himself; he is able to do this thing for us, and it is our 
comfort we have such a God to go to. The heathens, that groped and 
felt after God, were to seek of a power to quell their lusts, and there 
fore were put upon sad remedies : whereas all is made easy to you in 
the power of God through Christ. Crates gave this advice to one 
that came to him to know how he should subdue the lust of unclean- 
ness ; he answered, that he should either famish himself or hang him 
self ; 3 they knew no remedy but offering violence to nature, or else 
death and despair. Democritus blinded himself, because he could not 
look upon women without lusting after them. Now God teacheth us 
to put out the eye of our lust, not of our bodies. 4 Bless God that 
you know whose work it is, and to whom to go for sanctification. 

Use 2. Praise the Lord whenever this work is accomplished. Not 
I, but grace ; it must not be ascribed to our works, or to any power 
that is in ourselves, but to God's mercy, Christ's merits, and the Spirit's 
efficacy. There is God's grant : ' To her it was granted to be covered 
with fine linen, the righteousness of the saints/ Rev. xix. 8. God the 
Father giveth leave or issueth forth an authentic act and decree in 
the court of heaven ; as Esther by the grant of the king was supplied 
out of the king's wardrobe. Then there is Christ's merit ; the stream 
wherein we are washed floweth out of Christ's own heart : 1 John i. 7, 
' The blood of Christ cleanseth us from all sin.' Then there is the 
Spirit's efficacy ; no less power will vanquish the proud heart of man. 
It is notable, that grace is expressed not only by the notion of creation, 
Ps. li. 10 ; Eph. ii. 10 ; 2 Cor. iv. 6, which is a making things out 
of nothing, but also by victory, Luke xi. 21, 22 ; 2 Cor. x. 5 ; 1 
John iv. 4, or a powerful overcoming of opposition. In creation, 
as there was nothing to help, so there was nothing to resist and 

1 'Domine, errare per me potui ; redire non potui.' Aug. Meditat. 

2 ' Non potest reddi nisi ab eo a quo potuit dari. 1 Aug. 

3 ' Primum famem suasit, deinde laqueum.' Tertul. in Apol. 

4 ' Christianus salvis oculis f oeminam videt.' Tertul. ib. 


hinder ; but in man there is, besides a death in sin, a life of resistance 
against grace ; therefore sanctification must entirely be ascribed to 
God : we deserve it not, it cometh from the Father's good- will and 
Christ's merit ; we work it not, it is accomplished by the power of the 
Holy Ghost 

Obs. 2. Again observe, that though the work of grace be immediately 
wrought by another person, yet our thoughts in believing must not stay 
till we ascend and come up to God the Father. You shall see the scrip 
ture carrieth out our acts of faith to him everywhere : Rom. iv. 24, ' If 
we believe in him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead ;' that 
is, in God the Father. So John xii. 44, ' He that believeth in me, be- 
lieveth not in me, but in him that sent me.' That not is not negative, 
but corrective. Not only in me, but his thoughts must ascend to the 
Father also, who manifesteth himself in me. So John xiv. 1, ' Ye 
believe in God, believe also in me.' Both expressions may be impera 
tive. Besides believing in Christ, we must also believe in God, as the 
first fountain and author of grace. Now the reasons are (1.) Because 
all grace beginneth with the Father. The first in order of being is 
first in order of working. It is the Father that floweth out to us in 
Christ and by the Spirit. Whatever Christ hath and is, he hath from 
him as the original author : 1 Cor. i. 30, * Of him Jesus Christ is 
made to us sanctification.' The high priest went into the sanctuary 
before he blessed the people. So doth Jesus Christ sanctify you in 
the Father and from the Father. As Mediator certainly he is to be 
considered as God's servant and instrument. Well, then, reason is in 
its progress till it climb up to the first cause of a thing. So should 
faith. Do not leave till you come to the Father, who is the highest 
fountain of grace. (2.) Because whatever is done to you by Christ, is 
done with a respect to his Father's love : John xvii. 2, ' Thou hast 
given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as 
many as thou hast given him.' So see ver. 6, ' I have manifested thy 
name unto them; thine they were, and them thou gavest me.' That 
was the ground of Christ's respect, the Father's donation, or the charge 
he received from him ; arid therefore you must look upon the Father's 
love as well as Christ's care ; for in all his respects to us he still ac- 
knowledgeth his obedience to the Father, and, indeed, it giveth us a 
double ground of hope. The Son loveth us because the Father 
required it, and the Father loveth us because the Son asketh it. 1 If 
Christ be faithful to his Father, we are sure to be loved, or if the 
Father have any respect and love to Christ. (3.) Because it is a great 
support and comfort to faith to consider of the Father in the act of 
believing. Two are better than one ; and it is often made a privilege 
to ' have the Father and the Son,' 1 John i. 3, and ii. 23, 24 ; 2 John 
9., et alibi. There is the Father's love and the Son's merit. Either 
severally will not yield that joy and peace in believing, and therefore 
it is gpod to have them both together. There is no access to the 
Father but in the Son. What will guilt do with justice ? stubble 
with consuming fire ? God out of Christ is terrible rather than com- 

1 ' Causa ob quam Filius nos amat, quia ipsi a Patre demandatum eat, et causa cur 
Pater nobis favet, est quia hoc Filius ab ipso postulat et promeretur, ' &c. See Stella 
at large, De Amore Dei, 18. 


fortable. Therefore it is said, 1 Peter i. 21, that * by him we believe 
in God ;' that is, by Christ through his merit we come comfortably to 
pitch upon God the Father. So again, Christ separate from the 
Father doth not yield such firm grounds of confidence. There must 
be some act of the Father to give us full security : for in the business 
of redemption God the Father is represented as the offended, wronged 
party, who is to receive satisfaction. We are sensible of the wrong 
and offence ; conscience feeleth that. We must be also sensible of 
his favour and grace towards us. Now when we see him first in all 
acts of grace, that taketh away all jealousy and scruple. (4.) Because 
in the Father's love there are many circumstances which are very 
engaging to the soul, which are not to be found in the rest of the 
divine persons ; for he being first in order, hath the chiefest work 
ascribed to him; but especially are not to be found in Christ as 
Mediator. And because Christ as Mediator is most known to the 
creatures, I shall prosecute this matter with respect to that consi 
deration. (1st.) In the Father's love and acts of grace there is an 
original fulness. Christ's fulness as Mediator is but derived out of the 
Father's plenty : Col. i. 19, ' It pleased the Father that in him all 
fulness should dwell.' And it is limited by the Father's will in the 
dispensation of it. All that Christ dispensed was according to the 
charge and commandment given him by his Father. See Mat. xx. 23, 
' It is not mine to give, save to those for whom it is prepared of my 
Father/ Christ doth not deny his authority to give glory as well as 
grace ; only he showeth how in all the dispensations proper to the 
Mediator he was limited by the will and counsel of the Father. And 
so he denieth to dispense the knowledge of times and seasons, because 
' the Father had kept it in his own power/ Acts i. 7. So that now it 
is an engaging consideration to remember that the Father, whose will 
is absolute, who hath an original fulness of all grace, that he ' himself 
loveth us,' and is first in all acts of blessing. (2d.) In the Father's acts 
you have the purest and freest apprehension of love. He began and 
first broke the business of our redemption. God the Son can have a 
higher motive, the Father's will ; but God the Father can have no 
higher motive than his own love. His elective law was the first rise 
and spring whence all that love that passeth out to the creature issueth 
forth, and therefore here we have the freest apprehension of love. 
There was a love of the Father anteceding the merit of Christ : John 
iii. 16, ' God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son/ There 
was the most independent and free act of love. 

Use. It serveth to press us to give a distinct glory in believing to 
God the Father. Get a right apprehension of the divine persons, and 
the several endearments with which their personal operations are repre 
sented. It is said, John v. 23, that God ' will have all men honour 
the Son as they honour the Father.' God is most honoured when 
your thoughts are most distinct and explicit in this matter. Do not 
forget the Father ; you are his gift, as well as the Son's purchase, and 
the Spirit's charge. If God the Father had not loved you before all 
worlds, Jesus Christ would not have redeemed you ; and if Christ had 
not redeemed you, the Spirit would never sanctify you: and as the Spirit 
will not work unless you look upon him as Christ's Spirit, John xvi. 


14, ' He shall glorify me, for he shall receive of mine ; ' so Christ 
came to glorify the Father, and to finish his work, John xvii. 4. Bless 
them and praise them all then. If you receive anything, see the 
Father's bounty in it, the freeness and everlastingness of his love 
stamped upon what you have. So if you want anything, holiness, 
comfort, grace, pardon, reflect not only upon the fulness of Christ's 
merit, but the freeness of the Father's love. You deal with a God of 
bowels and bounty; Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, all are yours. 
There is a fond affectation in some to carry all things in the name of 
Christ, even such acts wherein the Father is most concerned ; as the 
former age carried all dispensations in the name of God Almighty, 
without any distinct reflection, upon God the Son, in whom the Father 
will be honoured, and by whom we have an access to the Father. So 
many in this age, in their popular discourses and prayers, carry all 
things in the name of God the Son, and with a fond and luscious 
affectation ingeminate the name, ' Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ,' so that 
the honour and adoration due to the other persons is neglected and 
forgotten ; whereas Christ is to be acknowledged Lord in all tongues, 
and among all nationSj ' to the glory of God the Father,' Phil. ii. 11. 

But now it is high time to proceed to the second and last manifesta 
tion of their effectual calling, preserved in Jesus Christ, TG-T^P^^VOL^ 
eV XP/CTTO), kept in or by him ; the meaning is, they were not only 
sanctified for the present out of the store and plenty of God the 
Father, but should for ever be kept in that estate by Jesus Christ. 
The point is : 

Obs. That God's called and sanctified people are preserved and kept 
in their state of grace and holiness in and by Jesus Christ. The point 
asserteth two things that they are kept by Christ and in Christ ; that 
is, not only for his sake, but by virtue of union with him. Jesus 
Christ is the cabinet wherein God's jewels are kept; so that if we 
would stand, we must get out of ourselves, and get into him, in whom 
alone there is safety. I might handle this latter branch apart, namely, 
that union with Christ is the ground of our safety and preservation. 
But because I am sensible that I have staid too long upon this verse 
already, I shall content myself with handling upon this occasion the 
general doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. And, first, I shall 
give you the state of it, how far we may expect to be preserved; 
Secondly, The grounds of certainty and assurance in this kind. 

1. How far we may look for preservation. The doctrine of per 
severance is much impugned ; but the earth is never the more unsettled 
because to giddy brains it seemeth to run round. However, let us grant 
what must be granted, and then the truth will be burdened with less 
prejudice. Seeming grace may be lost : * Take from him that which 
he hath,' Mat. xxv. 29, is, Luke viii. 18, ' Take from him that which 
he seemed to have.' Blazing comets and meteors are soon spent, and 
fall from heaven like lightning, while stars keep their orb and station. 
A building in the sand will totter, and hypocrites be discovered before 
the congregation, Prov. xxvi. 26. Again, initial or preparative grace 
may fail, such as is spoken of in Heb. vi. 4, 5, to wit, illumination, ex 
ternal reformation, temporary faith, devout moods, some good begin 
nings, &c. Plenty of blossoms do not always foretell store of fruit ; 


some die in the very pangs of the birth, and are still-born. Yet again, 
true grace may suffer a shrewd decay, but not an utter loss ; the leaves 
may fade when the root liveth. In temptations God's children are 
sorely shaken ; their heel may be bruised, as Christ's was, but their 
head is not crushed. Peter denied Christ, but did not fall from grace; 
there is a remaining seed, 1 John iii. 9. It is notable what Chrysostom 
observeth concerning Christ's prayer for Peter, Luke xxii. 32, ' I have 
prayed for thee that thy faith fail not.' Mark, saith he, he doth not 
say, I have prayed for thee that thou shouldst not deny me, but I have 
prayed that thy faith should not altogether vanish and be abolished. 1 
Once more, such grace as serveth to our well-being in Christ may be 
taken away, joy, peace, cheerfulness, &c. As a man may have a being, 
though his well-being be lost ; he is a man, though a bankrupt, though 
poor, though sick, though diseased : so a Christian may be living though 
he be not lively. Yet further, the operations of grace may be obstructed 
for a great while : a fit of swooning is not a state of death ; there may 
be no acts, and yet their seed remaineth ; this may last for a long time. 
David lay in a spiritual swoon nine months ; for he awaked not till 
Nathan came to him, Ps. li., the title; and when Nathan came to 
him, the child begotten upon Bathsheba was born ; for he saith, 2 
Sam. xii. 14, ' The child which is born to thee shall die/ Yet further, 
grace if left to us would soon be lost ; we showed that in innocency : 
but it is our advantage that our security lieth in God's promises, and 
not our own ; that we are not our own keepers ; that grace is a jewel 
not trusted but in safe hands; that perseverance is God's gift, not 
man's act ; and that Christ hath a charge to conduct the saints, and 
keep them safe to everlasting glory, John vi. 37-40 ; and x. 28, ' I give 
unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish (neither shall any 
perish) ; none shall pluck them out of my hand. My Father which 
gave them is greater than all ; none is able to pluck them out of my 
Father's hand.' They neither slw.ll nor can ; God and Christ are en 
gaged in the keeping of them ; Christ by God's command as Mediator, 
and God by Christ's merit : therefore he that separateth us from God 
must tug with Jesus Christ himself, and be too hard for him also, or 
else he can never pluck them out of his hands. If they should ques 
tion Christ's power, because of the ignominy of the cross, the Father's 
hands are also engaged, for our greater assurance. Can any creature 
loose his eternal and almighty grasp, and pluck out those whom the 
Father hath a mind to keep ? 

We do not plead for any wild assurance and certainty of persever 
ance; we do not say that they that neglect means, or grieve the Spirit, 
and do what they list, are sure that they shall not miscarry ; that is 
against the nature of God's dispensation, and the nature of this assur 
ance, and therefore but a vain cavil, It is against the nature of God's 
dispensation ; whom he maketh to persevere, he maketh them to per 
severe in the use of means. Hezeldah had assurance from God of life 
for fifteen years, yet he taketh a lump of figs, and applieth it as a 
plaster to the boil, Isa. xxxviii. 5, with 21. More clearly, Acts 
xxvii. 31, ' All shall come to land ; ' but, ' Except ye abide in the ship 
ye cannot be safe.' We are sure of life as long as God hath any ser- 

1 ' Oik tyi) iW p)j dpy-riffy, dXX' wore pi) K\lTreit> TTJV irlffriv (rov.'Ckrysost. 


vice to do for us, yet we are bound to get food and raiment, and to use 
all means to preserve life. This was Satan's cavil against God's pro 
tection over Christ, Thou art sure not to fall, therefore neglect means, 
cast thyself upon danger, Mat. iv. 9, 10. You learn this doctrine from 
the devil ; thou mayset do what thou list, thou art sure to be safe ; it 
is the devil's divinity. Again, it is against the nature of this assur 
ance ; he that hath tasted God's love in God's way cannot reason so. 
A child that hath a good father that will not see him perish, shall he 
waste and embezzle his estate lie careth not how ? A wicked child 
may presume thus of his father (though it be very disingenuous) 
because of his natural interest and relation to his father ; the kind 
ness which he expecteth is not built upon moral choice, but nature : 
but a child of God cannot, because he cannot grow up to this certainty 
but in the exercise of grace ; it is begotten and nourished by godly 
exercises ; and the thing itself implieth a contradiction ; this were to 
fall away because we cannot fall away. You may as soon say that the 
fire should make a man freeze with cold, as that certainty of persever 
ance in grace should make us do actions contrary to grace. 

Again, we do not say that a believer is so sure of his conservation in 
a state of grace, as that he needeth not to be wary and jealous of him 
self : 1 Cor. x. 12, ' Let him that standeth take heed lest he fall/ 
There is a fear of caution, as well as a fear of diffidence and distrust ; 
and there is a great deal of difference between weakening the security 
of the flesh, and our confidence in Christ. None more apt to suspect 
themselves than they that are most sure in God, lest by improvidence 
and unwatchfulness they should yield t6 corruption. Christ had 
prayed that Peter's faith might not fail, yet together with the other 
apostles he biddeth him watch, Luke xxii. 40-46. The fear of God is 
a preserving grace, and taken into the cdvenant : Jer. xxxii. 40, * I 
will put my fear into their hearts, and they shall not depart from me.' 
This is a fear which will stand with faith and certainty; it is a fruit of 
.the same Spirit, and doth not hinder assurance, but guard it; it is a 
fear that maketh us watchful against all occasions to sin and spiritual 
distempers, that we may not give offence to God : as an ingenuous 
man that hath an inheritance passed over to him by his friend in 
court is careful not to offend him. 

Again, this certainty of our standing in grace doth not exclude 
prayer : Luke xxii. 46, ' Watch and pray, that ye enter not into 
temptation.' Perseverance is God's gift, and it must be sought in 
God's way ; by Christ's intercession, to preserve the majesty of God, 
and by our prayers, that we may constantly profess our dependence 
upon God, and renew our acquaintaince with him ; besides, by asking 
blessings in prayer, we are the more warned of our duty; it is a means 
to keep us gracious and holy. As those that converse often with kings 
had need be decently clad, and go neat in their apparel, so he that 
speaketh often to God is bound to be more holy, that he may be the 
more acceptable to him. 

Again, it is not a discontinued, but a constant perseverance that we 
plead for ; not as if an elect person could be quite driven out of the 
state of grace, though he be saved at length ; he cannot fall totus a 
toto in totum, the whole man with full consent, from all grace and 


godliness ; he may sin foully, but not fall off totally, no more than 
finally; there is something that rernaineth, a seed, an unction, a root 
in a dry ground, that will bud and scent again. Briefly, true grace 
shall never utterly be lost, though it be much weakened, but in the use 
of means it shall constantly be preserved to eternal life. 

Once more, and I have done with the state of the question. God 
doth not only require the condition of standing, or continuing in the 
exercise of grace, but give it infallibly. The precepts of the covenant 
of grace are also promises: Heb. viii. 10, ' This is the covenant that I 
will make with the house of Israel,' &c., where all the articles carry 
the form of promises. God undertaketh to fulfil our part in us when 
we submit to the covenant. So Jer. xxxii. 40, ' I will put my fear into 
their hearts/ &c. If there be any breach, it must be from our depart 
ing from God, or God's departing from us. 1 Now God never departeth, 
his love never permitteth him to repent of giving his fear and putting 
his grace into our hearts; but all the fear is our departing from God. 
So some say, God will not depart from us, if we be not wanting to our 
selves. And Bernard observed that our own flesh is not mentioned, 
Eom. viii., ' What shall separate us from God ? ' &c. Soli eum 
deserere possumus proprid voluntate our own will may separate us and 
withdraw us from God. And the Remonstrants : Though God doth 
not repent doni dati, of what he hath given, yet we may repent doni 
accepti et retenti, of what we have received, and grow weary of the 
service of God. But all is answered by God's undertaking in the 
covenant : ' I will put my fear into their hearts, that they shall not 
depart from me/ He will give faith, and love, and fear, bestow and 
continue such graces as dispose the soul to perseverance. 

2. The grounds of certainty, by which it may appear that we 
shall be preserved in that state of grace unto which we are called 
in Jesus Christ. The grounds are many ; put them altogether, and 
you may easily spell out of them the perseverance of the saints. 

[1.] There are some grounds on God the Father's part ; there is his 
everlasting love and all-sufficient power. His everlasting love. God 
doth not love for a fit, but for ever, ' From everlasting to everlasting,' 
Ps. ciii. 17, before the world was, and when the world is no more. 
God's love is not founded upon any temporal accident, but on his own 
counsel, in which there can be no change, 2 because the same reasons 
that moved him to choose at first continue for ever. God never re 
pented in time of what he purposed before all time : Rom. xi. 29, ' His 
gifts and calling are without repentance/ By gifts he meaneth such 
as are proper to the elect ; and by calling, effectual calling ; such is 
KCITO, TTpoBea-iv, according to his eternal purpose ; of these he never 
repents. The fruits of repentance in men are shame and sorrow ; now 
God is never ashamed of his choice, nor sorry for his choice, so as to 
wish it undone. And then the other ground is his all-sufficient power. 
Almightiness is engaged in the preservation of grace by his eternal 
love and will, John x. 28, 29. Can they pluck Christ from the throne ? 
are they stronger than Christ's Father ? 

1 God's love will not let him depart from us, Isa. liv. 10, and fear will not let us 
depart from God. 

a 'AptTdeerov TT)S povMjs.'Hd. vi. 17. 


[2.] There are grounds on Christ's part ; his everlasting merit, and 
close union between him and us, and constant intercession. For his 
merit, see Heb. ix. 12. He is * entered into the holy place, having 
obtained an eternal redemption for us.' Legal expiations did but last 
from year to year, but Christ's merit for ever and ever ; his redemption 
is eternal, not only as it is of use in all ages of the church, but in 
respect of every particular saint. Those who are once redeemed by 
Christ, they are not redeemed for a time, so as to fall away again ; 
that, would argue that the virtue of Christ's blood was spent, and could 
preserve them no longer ; but they are for ever kept to salvation. So 
Heb. x. 14, * By one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are 
sanctified.' He hath not only purchased a possibility of salvation, but 
all that we need to our full perfection ; it is not for a certain time, but 
for ever. Then there is a close union between him and us ; this is the 
notion of the text, 'preserved in Christ/ Look, as it is impossible to sever 
the leaven and the dough, when they are once mingled and kneaded to 
gether, 1 so Christ and a believer, when they are united together, there is 
no parting more. Can Christ's mystical body be maimed, or lose a joint ? 
Then his constant intercession ; that is another ground, a copy of which 
we have in the 17th of John, where he saith, ' Keep them through thy 
name,' &c., and * Keep them from the evil/ &c. See Heb. vii. 25, 
' He is able to save to the uttermost those that come to God by him, 
for he liveth for ever to make intercession for them.' He is interceding 
with God, that the merit of his death may be applied to us ; and what 
is that ? Salvation ' to the uttermost,' or ' to the end/ et? TO reA-o?. 
The heirs of salvation need not fear miscarrying. Jesus Christ, who 
is the testator, who by will and testament made over the heritage to 
them, he also is the executor, he liveth for ever to see his own will 
executed ; he died once to make the testament, and he liveth for ever 
to see it made good. Whenever we are in danger, he is entreating his 
Father for supports and assistances of grace. 

[3.] On the Spirit's part there is a continued influence, so as to main 
tain the essence and seed of grace. The Father's love is continued by 
the merit of Christ, that he may not depart from us ; and we are pre 
served by the Spirit of Christ, that we may not depart from him. He 
doth not only put into our hearts faith, fear, love, and other graces at 
first, but he maintaineth and keepeth them, that the fire may never go 
out. Our hearts are his temple, and he doth not love to leave his 
dwelling-place. And besides, in the economy of salvation, it is his 
office to glorify Christ as his vicegerent, and to be our comforter; 
therefore, with respect to the honour of Christ, and the comfort of be 
lievers, he preserveth and maintaineth that grace that is once really 
wrought in our hearts. To preserve the glory of Christ thus, Christ, 
you know, hath received a charge from the Father to ' lose nothing/ 
John vi. 39, neither body nor soul nothing that belongeth to an elect 
person. Now, that he may be true to his trust, he sendeth the Spirit 
as his deputy or executor, that his merit may be fully applied. It is 
for the honour of Christ, that wherever the work is begun, wherever he 
hath been an author, there he may be a finisher also, Heb. xii. 2. It 
was said of the foolish builder, that he ' began, and was not able to 

1 ' Sicut impossible est massam a pasta separare,' &c. Luther. 


make an end.' This dishonour can never be cast upon Christ, because 
of the power and faithfulness of the Spirit ; he doth /caTepyd&o-eai, 
Phil. i. 6, ' go through ' with the work which he hath begun ; the 
Spirit is to fit vessels for glory. He doth not use to leave them half 
carved ; he is faithful to Christ, as Christ is to his Father. The 
Father chooseth the vessels, Christ buyeth them, and the Spirit carveth 
and fitteth them, that they may be vessels of praise and honour. But 
this is not all. He preserveth and continueth us in the state of grace 
as our Comforter ; by working grace he puts us into an expectation of 
glory and happiness, and to make it good he carrieth. on the work 
without failing ; therefore grace is called ' the first-fruits of the Spirit,' 
Eom. viii. 24, and * the earnest of the Spirit/ 2 Cor. i. 22, and v. 6, for 
it hath a double use, to be a taste and a pledge. It is a taste to show 
us how good eternal life is ; and a pledge to show us^ how sure it is. 
The first degree of regeneration is of this nature ; it is an earnest, or 
gage, assuring us of a more perfect enjoyment the livery and seisin 
of glory to come. As soon as a real change is wrought, the Spirit of 
God doth give us earnest ; and will God lose his earnest ? will he give 
us a pledge, and fail our expectation ? Surely no. 

Let us now come to application. 

Use. 1. It presseth us to persevere with the more care. It is no 
unreasonable inference : see 1 John ii. 27, 28, ' Ye shall abide in him ; 
and now little children abide in him;' Since we have so many 
advantages of standing, let us not fall away. Oh ! how great will 
your sin be, if you should miscarry and dishonour God ! We pity a 
child that falleth when it is not looked after ; but when a froward 
child wresteth and forceth itself out of the arms of the nurse, we are 
angry with it. You have more reason to stand than others, being 
brought into an unchangeable state of grace ; being held in the arms 
of Christ, God will be very angry with your slips and failings. Mercy 
holdeth you fast, and you seek to wrest yourselves out of mercy's 
arms. None can sin as you do, with such frowardness, with such 
dishonour to God; you disparage the Spirit's custody, the merit of 
Christ, and the mercy of the Father. See Heb. iv. 1, ' Let us there 
fore fear, a promise being left to us of entering into his rest, lest any 
should seem to come short of it.' Look, as some seem to stand that 
do not, so some seem to fall utterly that do not. A child of God 
indeed cannot come short, but he should not seem, that is, give any 
appearance of coming short. When our religious course is inter 
rupted, and we give way to sin and folly, that is a seeming to come 
short, and so you bring a scandal upon the love of God, as if it were 
changeable ; upon the merit of Christ, as if it were not a perfect 
merit. Scandalous professors make Arminians ; in an age of defec 
tion, no wonder if men plead for the apostasy of the saints. 

Use 2. If you fall through weakness, be not utterly dismayed. As 
the spinster leaveth a lock of wool to draw on the next thread, so 
there is somewhat left. When you are departed from God, you have 
more holdfast upon him than another sinner ; a child, though a pro 
digal : go to him and say, Father. David pleadeth the relics of grace 
yet left, Ps. cxix. 176, ' I have gone astray like a sheep ; seek thy 
servant, for I do not forget my commandments;' as if he had said, 


Lord, I have sinned through weakness, but I hope there is some grace 
left, some bent of heart towards thee. So the church, Isa. Ixiv. 8, 9, 
* Now, Lord, thou art our father,' &c. Yea, God is angry when we 
do not plead. So Jer. iii. 4, ' Wilt thou not cry, Thou art my father?' 
&c. You have an interest, though you have been disobedient. Thus 
do, and your falls will be an advantage ; as you have seen men go 
back to fetch their leaps more commodiously. 

Use 3. When you stand, let it excite you to love and thankfulness. 
Nothing maketh the saints love God more than the unchangeableness 
of his love. When they see themselves safe in the midst of weak 
nesses and Satan's daily assaults, it doth much endear God to their 
souls. Certainly Daniel was much affected with his preservation in 
the lions' den, when he saw the lions ramping and roaring about him, 
and yet restrained with the chains of providence, that they could do 
him no harm. So the children of God must needs love their pre 
server when they consider what dangers are round about them, how 
little they subsist by their own strength, 1 Sam. ii. 9, and how much 
they have done a thousand times to cause God to withdraw his Spirit 
from them ; and therefore the great argument why the saints do love 
and praise him is not only the freedom of his grace, but the unchange 
ableness and constancy of it : ' His mercy endureth for ever ; ' it is several 
times repeated, Ps. cxxxvi. So Ps. cvi. 1, ' Praise ye the Lord ; O give 
thanks unto the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever.' 
No form is more frequent in the mouths of the saints : and good reason ; 
for alas ! if we were left to ourselves, we should damn ourselves every 
hour. We have a ' revolting heart,' Jer. v. 23, xiv. 10. We are 
like glasses without a bottom ; as soon as they are out of hand they 
are broken ; we cannot stand of ourselves : and we have a restless 
enemy, that desireth to toss us and vex us, as wheat is tossed from 
sieve to sieve, Luke xxii. 31 ; and we have often forfeited God's pro 
tection, and grieved him day by day. Were it not for everlasting 
mercy, what would become of us ? Certainly they that do not love 
God for their preservation, they are not sensible of their condition in 
the world. What a naughty heart they carry about with them I It is 
a miracle that ever grace should be preserved there, where there is so 
much pride, love of pleasures, worldly cares, brutish lusts ; that such 
a heavenly plant can thrive in the midst of so many weeds. And 
what a busy devil they have to do withal, who watcheth all advan 
tages, as a dog that standeth waving his tail (it is Chrysostom's com 
parison) and expecting a bit ; and his envy and malice is most bent 
against them that have most grace. Finally, they do not consider 
that the world is full of snares and dangerous allurements ; for if they 
did, they could not choose but fall a-blessing of God for Jesus Christ, 
who yet fasteneth them as a nail in the holy place. I remember one of 
the fathers bringeth in the flesh saying, Ego deficiaih, I will surely 
fail and miscarry ; and the world Ego decipiam, I will deceive them 
and entice them ; and Satan, Ego eripiam, I will snatch them and 
carry them away ; and God saith, Ego custodmm, I will keep them, 
' I will never fail them nor forsake them ;' and there lieth our safety 
and security. 

Use 4. It informeth us that if any fall often, constantly, frequently, 

VOL. V. D 


easily, they have no interest in grace : 1 John iii. 9, ' He that is born 
of God sinneth not,' ov TTOLGL a^aprlav, he makes not a trade of sin ; 
that is the force of the phrase. God's children slip often, but not 
with such a frequent constant readiness into the same sin. As fair 
meadows may be everflown, but marsh ground is drowned with the 
return of every tide, so are wicked men carried away with every 
return of the temptation ; therefore he that liveth in a course of pro- 
faneness, worldliness, drunkenness, his ' spot is not as the spot of God's 
children.' You are tried by your constant course and walk, Eom. 
viii. 1. What is your road ? what do you do constantly, easily, fre 
quently ? I except only those sins which are of usual incidence and 
sudden surreption ; as sudden stirrings of passion in a choleric temper, 
and vanity of thoughts, and distractions in duties, &c. And yet for 
these a man should be the more humble and watchful ; if they be not 
felt and striven against, and mourned for, it is a bad sign. 

Use 5. It provoketh us to get an interest in such a sure condition. 
Be not contented (1.) With outward happiness; things are worthy 
according to their duration. Nature hath such a sense of God's eter 
nity, that the more lasting things are, it accounteth them the better. 
An immortal soul must have an eternal good. Now all things in the 
world are frail and pass away, therefore called ' uncertain riches,' 1 
Tim. vi. 17. It is uncertain whether we shall get them, and uncertain 
whether we shall keep them, and uncertain whether we shall live to 
enjoy them if they stay with us. All of this side grace is uncertain ; 
these things are usually blasted in their flower and beauty, as Herod 
was stricken in the midst of all his royalty : so that a man may out 
live his happiness, which is the greatest misery ; or at least it must 
terminate with death ; there is no use of wealth in the other world. 
But now ' the better part can never be taken from us/ Luke x. 42 ; 
and by seeking that we may have other things with a blessing, Mat. 
vi. 33. (2.) Eest not in gifts, they are for the body rather than the 
person that hath them ; as many are carnal, and yet come behind in 
no gift. God useth them like negroes, to dig in the mines of know 
ledge, that others may have the gold. Judas could cast out devils, 
and yet afterward was cast out among devils ; see 1 Cor. xii. 31. The 
apostle had discoursed largely of gifts, and then concludeth thus : 
' But yet I show you a more excellent way ;' and what is that ? Grace 
that abideth and endureth for ever, as in the next chapter. Many 
that have great abilities to pray, preach, discourse, yet fall away. 
According to the place which they sustain in the body, so they have 
great gifts of knowledge, utterance, abilities to comfort, direct, and 
instruct others, to answer doubts, to reason and argue for God, for 
conference and holy discourse, and yet fall foully ; as those Heb. vi. 4, 
are said to be ' partakers of the Holy Ghost ;' that is, to have a great 
share of church gifts. Nay, this is not all ; gifts themselves wither 
and vanish when the bodily vigour is spent : * The glory of a man is 
as the flower of the grass/ 1 Peter i. 24. By the glory of a man is 
meant whatever excellency we have by nature, wit, knowledge, strength 
of natural parts, as well as wealth and riches. Many times we, like 
the dry stalk, remaineth 1 when the flower is gone; nothing but the 

1 Qu. ' we are like the dry stalk remaining ' ? ED. 


gracious work of the Spirit will last for ever. (3.) Seeming and 
unsound grace, as false faith, such as beginneth in joy, will end in 
trouble; 1 it easeth you for the present, but you shall lie down in 
sorrow. General probabilities, loose hopes, uncertain conjectures, 
vanishing apprehensions of comfort, all these things soon come to 
nothing. The planting of true faith is troublesome at first, but it 
leadeth to true comfort ; otherwise you may look upon the gospel with 
some kind of delectation for a while, as thorns may blaze under the 
pot though they cannot keep in the fire : therefore do not rest in 
' tasting the good word,' Heb. vi. 5, in some slight and transitory com 
fort. Again, there is formal profession. Many may ' begin in the 
Spirit ' and ' end in the flesh/ Gal. iii. 3. A man may seem to him 
self and to the church of God to have true grace ; he may profess the 
truth, ' escape the pollutions of the world/ that is, foul gross sins ; yea, 
and all this not out of a carnal aim, but out of a slight and insufficient 
touch of the truth upon the conscience, and yet fall away, like the corn 
in the stony ground, that grew up, but had no root. But much more, 
Christians, will that form which is taken up out of private aims fail 
and miscarry. God delighteth to take off the mask and disguise of a 
hypocrite by letting him fall into some scandalous sin, or by changing 
the times and posture of affairs, or by sending a storm. Paint is soon 
washed off : therefore rest not in these outward and superficial changes, 
till solid and substantial grace be wrought in you. 

Use 6. Is comfort to God's children : grace is sure, and the privi 
leges of it are sure. Grace itself is sure ; through your folly it may 
be nigh unto death, but cannot die. This is the advantage of spiritual 
comforts, that they do not only satisfy our desires, but secure us 
against our fears. The redeemed of the Lord have ' an everlasting 
joy/ Isa. xxxv. 10. Once in Christ, and for ever preserved in Christ. 
Grace would be little better than temporal things if it did yield but a 
temporary refreshing. They weaken Christian comfort that make 
believers walk with Christ like dancers upon a rope, every moment in 
fear of breaking their necks. This is the comfort of a gracious heart, 
that as nothing shall altogether cut him off from enjoying God, so 
nothing shall utterly make him cease to love God. The children of 
God would be troubled if grace should fail, though their privileges 
should not be cut off ; you are sure of both ; for as grace is sure, so 
are also the privileges of grace. This was figured under the law ; an 
Israelite could never wholly alienate his inheritance and title to the 
land : Lev. xxv. 23, ' His title to the land shall not be cut off, nor sold 
for ever/ This was a type of our spiritual inheritance in Christ, 
which cannot be alienated from us ; he might for. a while pass it away, 
but it was to return again ; so those that are made co-heirs with 
Christ are never disinherited. It is true we forfeit it by the merit of 
our actions, but God doth not take the advantage of every offence. 
It is true we lose the evidences that are in our keeping, peace of con 
science, and joy in the Holy Ghost ; but the estate itself is indefea 
sible, and cannot be made away from us. Sometimes we are under a 
kind of sequestration, and there is a suspension of comfort and grace ; 

1 Hymeneus and Alexander are said to make shipwreck of faith, that is, false faith, 
1 Tim. i. 19, 20. 


as the Israelite might make away his inheritance for a time ; but we 
shall recover possession again, though not by ourselves, yet by our 
Goel, our kinsman, or him that is next of blood. As under the law, if 
a person were not able to redeem the inheritance, the kinsman was to 
redeem it ; so Jesus Christ, our kinsman after the flesh, he is our 
Goel, he interposeth by his merit, and reconcileth us to God. Well, 
then, you see grace is kept, and the privileges of grace are kept in 
Christ. But now, because comforts are never prized but in their sea 
son, and men that have not been exercised in spiritual conflicts 
nauseate these sweet truths, they know not what it is to be left to 
uncertainty when troubles come like waves, one in the neck of another ; 
therefore let us see when this truth will be most sweet and seasonable. 
(1.) In great troubles, when God seemeth to hide his face. Oh ! how 
sweet is it to hear him say, * I will not forsake thee till I have per 
formed all that I promised thee/ Gen. xxviii. 15 ; all this shall better 
thy heart and hasten thy glory. In times of distress we are apt to 
think that God hath cast us off, and will never look after us more, 
though formerly we have had real experiences of his grace. What a 
foolish creature is man, to weaken his assurance when he should come 
to use it ! to unravel all his hope and experiences in times of trouble, 
which is the only season to make use of them ! (2.) In the hour of 
temptation and hard conflicts with doubts and corruptions. When we 
are sensible of the power of sin, and how difficult it is to remove it out 
of the heart, we are apt to say, as David after all his experiences, ' I 
shall one day perish by the hand of Saul/ 1 Sam. xxvii. 1 ; and many 
times out of distrust give over the combat. Oh ! then, remember now 
you are preserved in Christ, and that nothing shall separate : as Sar- 
cerius came to Camerarius' wife, when she had been exercised with 
a long and tedious conflict, and read to her the latter end of the 
8th of the Romans, she brake out in triumph, using Paul's words, 
' Nay, in all these things we are more then conquerors.' Christians ! 
neither sin, nor devil, nor world can divide you from Christ ; for he 
did not only ' tread down Satan/ but ' under your feet/ Rom. xvi. 20. 
(3.) In times of great danger and defection, either through error and 
persecution ; as Saunders trembled to think of the fire. Especially when 
others fall fearfully, who were before us in knowledge and profession 
of zeal and piety ; when the first become last, when glorious lumi 
naries are eclipsed, and leave their orb and station ; as the martyrs 
were troubled to hear of the revolt of some great scholars that had 
appeared for the gospel. When Hymeneus and Philetus, two eminent 
professors, fell, there was a great shaking, 2 Tim. ii. 18, ' But the 
foundation of the Lord standeth sure/ &c. ; that is the comfort the 
apostle opposeth in such a case. (4.) In times of disheartening, be 
cause of the difficulties of religion, when the use of means groweth 
troublesome. To quicken you in your Christian course, think of the 
unchangeableness of God's love. All graces rise according to the pro 
portion and measure of faith ; loose hopes weaken endeavours : 1 Cor. 
ix. 26, ' I run not as one uncertain/ Those that ran a race gave over 
when one had far outgone them, as being discouraged and without 
hope. When hope is broken, the edge of endeavours is blunted. Go 
on with confidence, you are assured of the issue ; God will bless you, 


and keep you to his everlasting kingdom. (5.) In the hour of death. 
When all things else fail you, God will not fail you : this is the last 
brunt ; do but wait a little while, and you will find more behind than 
ever you enjoyed ; ' death shall not separate : ' as Olevian comforted 
himself with that, Isa. liv. 10, ' The hills and mountains may depart, 
but my loving-kindness shall not depart from you/ 1 Being in the 
agonies of death, he said, Sight is gone, speech and hearing is depart 
ing, feeling is almost gone, but the loving-kindness of God will never 
depart. The Lord give us such a confidence in that day, that we may 
die glorying in the preservation of our Eedeemer. 

Ver. 2. Mercy unto you, and peace and love be multiplied. 

We are now come to the third thing in the inscription, and that is 
the form of salutation, delivered, as all apostolical salutations are, in 
the way of a prayer. In which we may observe (1.) The matter of the 
prayer, or blessings prayed for, which are three, mercy, peace, and love. 
(2.) The manner or degree of enjoyment, be multiplied. 

I begin with the matter, or blessings prayed for. It will not be 
altogether unuseful to observe that diversity which is used in saluta 
tions. In the Old Testament peace was usually wished without any 
mention of grace ; as Ps. cxxii. 8, * For my brethren and companions' 
sake I will say, Peace be within thee;' and Dan. vi. 25, 'Peace be 
multiplied unto you.' But in the times of the gospel, grace being 
more fully delivered, that was also added and expressed in the forms 
of salutation. But yet in the times of the gospel there is some variety 
and difference. Sometimes you shall meet with a salutation merely 
civil, as James i. 1, 'To the twelve tribes ^aipeiv, greeting;' so Acts 
xv. 23, which was the usual salutation among the heathen ; but most 
usually it is ' grace and peace/ Rom. i. 7 ; and in other places, ' grace, 
mercy, and peace,' as 2 John 3 and 1 Tim. i. 2 ; and here it diftereth 
from them all, for it is * mercy, peace, and love.' And Causaubon 
observeth that the Greek fathers, if they wrote to a carnal man, they 
would wish him grace, but not peace ; if to a godly man, they would 
wish him grace and peace too. To touch upon these things is suffi 
cient. From these blessings mentioned in this place I shall observe 
something in general, and then handle them particularly and apart. 

First, In the general consideration 3 r ou may observe : 
Obs. 1. That spiritual blessings are the best blessings that we can 
wish to ourselves and others. The apostles in their salutations do not 
wish temporal felicity, but spiritual grace. God's people pray for one 
another out of the communion of the Spirit, and for themselves out of 
a principle of the divine nature ; and therefore they do not seek wealth 
and honour for themselves or one another, but increase of God's favour 
and image. It is true, nature is allowed to speak in prayer, but grace 
must be heard first. Our first and chiefest requests must be for mercy, 
peace, and love, and then ' other things shall be added to us,' Mat. vi. 33. 2 
The way to be heard in other things is first to beg for grace : Ps. 
xxi. 4, ' He asked life of thee, and thou gavest him length of days for 
ever/ Solomon sought wisdom, and together with it found riches and 

1 Vide Scultetum in Isa. liv. 

2 Upo<TT60-f)<reTcu, an additional supply, like paper and pack-tread, which is given over 
and above the bargain. 


honour in great abundance. Well, then, if thou prayest for thyself, 
make a wise choice, beg for spiritual blessings. So David prayeth, 
Ps. cvi. 4, ' Kemember me, Lord, with the favour that thou bearest 
unto thine own people/ Nothing less would content him than favour 
ites' mercy. Other blessings are dispensed out of common pity to the 
generality of men ; but these are mercies privilegiate, and given to 
favourites. Now, saith David, Of this mercy, Lord. No common 
blessing would serve his turn. So Ps. cxix. 132, ' Look upon me, and 
be merciful to me, as thou usest to do to those that love thy name.' 
Surely that which God giveth to his people, that is a better mercy 
than that which God giveth to his enemies. Again, these are mercies 
that cost God dearer. They flow to you in the blood of his Son ; yea, 
they are mercies that are better in themselves. Wealth and honour 
may become a burden, yea, life itself may become a burden, but not 
mercy, not grace, not peace of conscience ; and therefore they are ' bet 
ter than life/ Ps. Ixiii. 3, than wealth, than honour. None ever com 
plained of too much mercy, of too much love of God. These are 
blessings that swallow up other miseries, yea, the loss of other bless 
ings. Grace with poverty, it is a preferment, James i. 9. Peace of 
conscience with outward troubles is a happy condition. If there be a 
flowing of spiritual comforts, 2 Cor. i. 5, as there is an ebbing of out 
ward comforts, we are not much wronged. Therefore first seek these 
blessings. Again, if you pray for others, pray for grace in the first 
place. That is an evidence of spiritual affection. Carnal men wish 
such things to others as they prize and affect themselves ; so also do 
gracious men, and therefore their thoughts run more upon mercy, 
peace, and grace than wealth and honour and greatness. When a 
man sendeth a token to a friend, he would send the best of the kind. 
These are the best mercies. If you were to deal with God for your 
own souls, you can ask no better. You may ask temporal things, for 
God 'loveth the prosperity of his saints;' but these special blessings 
should have the preferment in your wishes and desires of good to 
them, and then you are most likely to speed. Our Lord Christ, in the 
17th of John, commendeth the college of the apostles to the Father ; 
and what doth he ask for them? dominion and worldly respect? 
Surely no ; nothing but preservation from evil, and sanctification by 
the truth. These are the chiefest blessings we should look after as 

Obs. 2. Observe, again, the aptness of the requests to the persons for 
whom he prayeth. ' Those that are sanctified and called' have still 
need of * mercy, peace, and love.' They need mercy, because we merit 
nothing of God, neither before grace received nor afterward. The 
very continuance of our glory in heaven is a fruit of mercy, not of 
merit. Our obligation to free grace never ceaseth. We need also 
more peace. There are degrees in assurance as well as faith. There 
is a temperate confidence, and there are ravishing delights, so that 
peace needs to be multiplied also. And then love, that being a grace 
in us, it is always in progress. In heaven only it is complete. Take 
it for love to God ; there we cleave to him without distraction and 
weariness or satiety. God in communion is always fresh and new to 
the blessed spirits. And take it for love to the saints ; it is only perfect 


in heaven, where there is no ignorance, pride, partialities, and factions 
where Luther and Zuinglius, Hooper and Ridley, join in perfect 

Obs. 3. Again, observe the aptness of these requests to the times 
wherein he prayed, when religion was scandalised by loose Christians, 
and carnal doctrines were obtruded upon the church. In times of de 
fection from God, and wrong to the truth, there is great need of mercy, 
peace, and love. Of mercy, that we may be kept from the snares of 
Satan. Christians, whence is it that any of us stand ? that we are 
found faithful ? It is because we have obtained mercy. They would 
' deceive, if it were possible, the very elect/ Mat. xxiv. 24. Why is 
it not possible to deceive the elect as well as others ? of what mould 
are they made ? wherein do they differ from other men ? I answer 
Elective grace and mercy interposeth ; it is not for any power in them 
selves, but because mercy hath singled them out, and chosen them for 
a distinct people unto God. And we need peace and inward consola 
tions, that we may the better digest the misery of the times ; and love, 
that we may be of one mind, and stand together in the defence of the 

Obs. 4. Again, note the aptness of the blessings to the persons for l 
whom he prayeth. Here are three blessings, that do more eminently 
and distinctly suit with every person of the Trinity ; and I do the rather 
note it, because I find the apostle elsewhere distinguishing these bless 
ings by their proper fountains ; as Kom. i. 7, * Grace to you, and peace 
from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ.' Sort the blessings 
right ; there is grace from the Father, and peace from Christ. So here 
is mercy fiom God the Father, who is called ' the Father of mercies, 
and the God of all comfort/ 2 Cor. i. 3 ; and peace from the Son, for 
' he is our peace/ Eph. ii. 14 ; and love from the Spirit : Rom. v. 5 , 
' The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, 
which is given to us.' Thus you see every person concurreth to our 
happiness with his distinct blessing. 

Obs. 5. In the next place, how aptly these blessings are suited among 
themselves : first mercy, then peace, and then love. Mercy doth not 
differ much from that which is called grace in Paul's epistles, only 
grace doth more respect the bounty of God, as mercy doth our want 
and need. By mercy, then, is meant the favour and good-will of God 
to miserable creatures ; and peace signifieth all blessings inward and 
outward, as the fruits and effects of that favour and good- will ; more 
especially calmness and serenity of conscience, or a secure enjoying of 
the love of God, which is the top of spiritual prosperity. And then 
love sometimes signifieth God's love to us ; here I should rather take 
it for our love to God, and to the brethren for God's sake. So that 
mercy is the rise and spring of all, peace is the effect and fruit, and 
love is the return. He beginneth with mercy, for that is the fountain 
and beginning of all the good things which we enjoy : higher than 
love and mercy we cannot go, for God's love is the reason of itself, 
Deut. vii. 7, 8 ; Rom. ix. 15 ; Isa. xlv. 15, and we can deserve nothing 
at God's hands but wrath and misery ; and therefore we should still 
honour mercy, and set the crown upon mercy's head (as further anon) ; 

1 Qu. ' to ' ? ED. 


that which you give to merit you take from mercy. Now the next 
thing is peace. Mark the order still ; without mercy and grace there 
can be no true peace : Isa. Ivii. 21, ' There is no peace, saith my God, 
to the wicked ; ' they say, ' Peace, peace,' but my God doth not say so. 
Christ left his peace with his own disciples, John xiv. 27, and not as 
worldly and external peace is left, in the happiness of which both good 
and bad are concerned ; that is general, but this is proper, confined, 
within the conscience of him that enjoy eth it, and given to the godly. 
It is the Lord's method to pour in first the ' oil of grace,' and then the 
' oil of gladness/ Alas ! the peace of a wicked man it is but a frisk 
or fit of joy, whilst conscience, God's watchman, is napping ; c stolen 
waters and bread eaten in secret,' Prov. ix. 17. The way to true 
peace is to apply yourselves to God for mercy to be accepted in Christ, 
to be renewed according to the image of Christ ; otherwise sin and 
guilt will create fears and troubles. Again, the last thing is love ; 
great privileges require answerable duty. Mercy and peace need 
another grace, and that is love. It is God's gift as well as the rest ; 
we have graces from God as well as privileges, and therefore he beg- 
geth love as well as mercy and peace ; but it must be our act, though 
we have the grace from above. We would all have mercy and peace, 
but we are not so zealous to have love kindled in our hearts. Mercy, 
peace, all this runneth downward, and respects our interest, but love, 
that mounteth upward, and respects God himself. Certainly they 
have no interest in mercy, and were never acquainted with true peace, 
that do not find their hearts inflamed with love to God and a zeal for 
his glory ; that as he hath ordered all things for our profit, so we may 
order and refer all things to his glory and honour. Mercy runneth 
down from God, and begets peace of conscience, for peace of conscience 
is nothing else but a solid taste of God's mercy ; and peace of con 
science begets love, by which we clasp about God again ; for love is 
nothing else but a reverberation or beating back of God's beam upon 
himself, or a return of duty in the sense of mercy ; so that God is 
at the beginning and ending, and either way is the utmost boundary 
of the soul : l all things are from him and to him. 

Secondly, Let me handle them particularly and apart. And first, 
mercy, which is the rise and cause of all the good we have from God. 
The Lord would dispense blessings in such a way as might beat down 
despair and carnal confidence. Man hath need of mercy, but deserveth 
none. .Despair would keep us from God, and carnal confidence robbeth 
him of his glory ; therefore, as the Lord would not have flesh to glory, 
so neither to be cut off from all hope. Mercy salveth both ; we need 
not fly the sight of God : * there is mercy with him, why he should be 
feared, 7 Ps. cxxx. 4. False worships are supported by terror ; but 
God, that hath the best title to the heart, will gain it by love and 
offers of mercy. And we have no reason to ascribe anything to our 
selves, since mercy doth all in the court of heaven, and not justice. 
If you reckon upon a debt, you are sure to miss. It is a part of 
God's supremacy that all his blessings should come as a gift ; that he 

1 So in the angel's song, Luke ii. 19, Glory, peace, and good-will. All comes from 
good-will ; that is the first cause, as God's glory is the last end. Under the law the first 
and the tenth were the Lord's ; the beginning and ending are his. 


should act freely, and entertain us as a king, not as an host. Merit 
taketh off something of his royalty and supreme majesty. Touching 
the mercy of God, give me leave to give you a few observations. 

1. It is the aim of the whole scripture to represent God merciful. 1 
It is true, God is infinitely just, as well as infinitely merciful ; but he 
delighteth in gracious discoveries of himself to the creature; he 
counteth it his glory. Moses was earnest with God to show him his 
glory, and then God proclaimeth his name : Exod. xxxiv. 5, 6, ' The 
Lord, the Lord, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant 
in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, 
transgression, and sin,' &c. In this description there is more spoken 
of his mercy than of his justice ; and, first, his mercy is described, 
and then his justice; for justice is only added to invite men to take 
hold of his mercy, and to show that justice is never exercised but in 
avenging the quarrel of abused mercy. So he is called ' a God of 
pardon/ Neh. ix. 17, as if wholly made up of sweetness. So 2 Cor. 
i. 3, he is called Trarrjp olKTipficov, ' Father of mercies, and God of all 
consolations/ He is a just God, but he is not called the Father of 
justice. Mercy is natural to him ; he counteth it as the proper fruit 
and product of the divine essence. 

2. Mercy is represented as his delight and pleasure: so Micah 
vii. 18, ' Mercy pleaseth him.' It is an act exercised with complacency. 
Judgment is called his ' strange work,' Isa. xxviii. 21 . God loveth to 
bless and protect ; to destroy is not suitable to his disposition ; it is a 
thing that he is forced to. Punitive acts in the representations of the 
word are most against his bowels, drawn and extorted from him ; 2 as 
Jer. xliv. 22, ' The Lord could no longer bear because of your doings : ' 
their sins were so clamorous that they would not let God be quiet ; he 
would bear no longer, unless they would make an idol of him. But 
now all acts of grace and favour are exercised with delight : ' I will 
rejoice over them to do them good,' Jer. xxxii. 41. It is as pleasing 
to God to do it as it is to us to receive it. The scripture, after the 
manner of men, doth often represent a conflict in the attributes about 
sinners ; and if mercy get the upper hand, it is always with joy and 
triumph: James ii. 13, 'Mercy rejoiceth over judgment;' but if he 
be compelled to strike, and justice must be exercised, the scriptures 
represent a reluctation in his bowels: Lam. iii. 33, 'He doth not 
afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men ;' in the original, 'from 
his heart;' but is like a father, with a rod in his hand, and tears in 
his eyes. 

3. The scripture representeth God as exercising mercy, though 
with some present disadvantage to his glory ; as mercy to the Nine- 
vites, though the credit of his message lay at stake : ' Nineveh shall 
be destroyed in forty days ;' yet God spared it, and therefore Jonah, 
in a pet, challengeth him for it : Jonah iv. 2, ' Lord, was not this my 
saying when I was in my country ? for I knew that thou wert a 
gracious God.' As if he said, I knew it would come to this ; that the 
prophets of Israel should be disgraced before the men of Nineveh ; 
and to threaten judgments in his name is to expose ourselves to 

1 ' Id agit tota scriptura, ut credamus Deum esse misericordem.' Luther. 

2 ' Misericordia suadet ut parcam, peccatorum clamor cogit ut puniam.' Salv. 


derision. When we have done our errand, free grace will make us all 
liars. To this effect did he expostulate with God. God might easily 
destroy sinners with much honour to himself ; but he is long-suffering, 
even then when his patience for a while seemeth to impair the revenues 
of heaven. The world suspects his being, the saints quarrel his justice 
and question his love, and all because the wicked are prosperous, and 
God keepeth silence. The great stumbling-block at which most have 
dashed the foot of their faith, is the suspension of due judgments. 
What was the effects of his patience to them of Assyria and Babylon ? 
The Lord himself telleth you, Isa. Hi. 5, ' My name every day is 
blasphemed.' That was all he got by it : his people suffered in person, 
and God himself in his reputation ; all that he got was blasphemies, 
and reproaches, and injuries : so Ps. 1. 21, 'I kept silence, and thou 
thoughtest that I was every way like thyself ;' that was the effect gross 
conceits of his glory and essence. When judgments are quick and 
speedy, the world is under greater awe, the confidence of the saints is 
strengthened and supported, and God's honour is more clear and un 
stained ; yet, with all these disadvantages to his glory, if we may speak so, 
God forbeareth. Certainly his heart is much set upon the honour of his 
mercy, that God will glorify it though other attributes seem to suffer loss. 

4. The scriptures speak much of his readiness to receive returning 
sinners. Though they have done infinite wrong to his holiness, yet 
upon repentance, and as soon as they begin to submit, mercy em- 
braceth and huggeth them, as if there had been no breach : Luke xv. 
20, ' I will go to my father,' and ' the father ran to meet him.' So Isa. 
Ixv. 24, ' Before they call/ &c. So Ps. xxxii. 5/1 said, and thou for- 
gavest/ &c. So Jer. xxxi. 18, with 20, ' I have heard Ephraim be 
moaning himself,' &c. ; and presently, ' my dear and pleasant child 1 ' 
The first relentings of the creature work upon the bowels of mercy. 
Love's pace is very swift, it runneth to meet a returning sinner. 
Christ cometh ' skipping over the mountains,' Cant. ii. 8. He thinketh 
that he can never be soon enough with us. He would fain have the 
company of sinners, and therefore meeteth them more than half-way. 
When we but conceive a purpose, we presently receive the fruit of his 
early mercies. 

5. God doth not only admit them to come, but of his own accord 
inviteth them that are slack and backward. The scriptures do every 
where record the intreaties of God : he draweth us with cords of love; 
cords that are woven and spun out of Christ's heart and bowels. In 
one place thus, Cant. iv. 8, * Come away from Lebanon, my sister, my 
spouse, from the lions' dens, from the mountains of leopards/ Christ's 
love is hot and burning, he thinketh we tarry too long from his em 
braces. So Cant. v. 2, ' Open to me, my sister, my spouse,' &c. Christ 
stands begging for entrance. Lost man! do but suffer me to save 
thee ; poor sinner ! suffer me to love thee. These are the charms of 
gospel rhetoric. So Isa. xlix., 'Hearken to me, and attend to the 
words of my mouth/ &c. sinners ! you will not hearken to me for 
the good^ of your souls ! You see none singeth so sweetly as the bird 
of paradise, the turtle that chirpeth upon the church's hedges, that he 
may cluck sinners to himself. The scripture is full of such a holy 
witchcraft, such passionate charms, to entice souls to their happiness. 


6. They that constantly refuse the offers of his grace are borne 
with for a long time : Kom. ix. 22, TroXX.rj jj,aKpo0v/jiia, ' He endured 
with much long-suffering,' &c. All may bless God for patience ; they 
owe a heavy debt to divine justice, yet it is a long time ere God 
putteth the bond in suit ; though they dare him to his face, yet they 
walk up and down without the arrest of vengeance. He beareth with 
them years and years, after a thousand and a thousand affronts, from 
their cradles to their graves. When they were green wood, they were 
fuel fit enough for divine wrath. Oh ! consider, there can be no cause 
of this but his mercy to his worst creatures. It is not out of any 
delight in sin, for he is holy, and cannot endure to look upon it : Hab. 
i. 13, ' Of purer eyes,' &c. It is not out of any stupid neglect ; he is 
just, and ' will not clear the guilty/ Exod. xxxiv. 7. It is not out of 
any ignorance ; ' he telleth man his thoughts ; ' nor for want of power ; 
so men forbear. The sons of Zeruiah may be too hard for them ; but, 
1 Sam. xxiv. 19, ' If a man findeth his enemy, will he let him go well 
away ? ' When they are in our power, we satisfy our wrath and 
revenge to the full. But now God ' upholdeth all things by the word 
of his power ;' he can in a minute speak us into nothing. As the im 
pression of a seal upon the water dependeth upon the seal, if the seal 
be taken away the impression vanisheth ; so do our beings depend upon 
providential influence and supportation. If God should withdraw the 
word of his power, we should soon vanish and disappear ; therefore it 
is not for want of power, but merely out of mercy that we are forborne. 
How may we wonder at this ! We are of eager and tart spirits, sharp- 
set upon revenge. Could we have put up so many refusals of love, 
such despites done to mercy, such wrongs, such grievings of spirit, 
and yet have contained ? The disciples themselves, though holy men, 
when they were sensible of being slighted in the village of Samaria, 
called for ' fire from heaven/ Luke ix. 54. Certainly we could not 
endure such a contradiction of sinners. If thunderbolts were in our 
power we should soon kindle a burning, and turn the world into smoke 
and desolation. 

7. It is not only the aim of the word, but of providence, and of 
all the dispensations of God to the creature, to represent him merciful. 
The whole world is a great volume, written within and without with 
characters and lines of mercy : Ps. cxlv. 9, ' His mercy is over all his 
works.' Every creature beareth the marks and prints of divine good 
ness and bounty. Once more, the world is a great theatre and stage 
whereon mercy has been acting its part for these six thousand years. 
Justice is to have a solemn triumph at the last day. Now and then 
God hath kept a petty sessions, and given us occasion to say, ' Yerily 
there is a God that judgeth the world/ as well as preserveth the world. 
But the greatest part that hath been acted upon the theatre of the 
world is mercy ; as you will easily see, if you consider (1.) The black 
lines of providence. If God threaten, it is that he may not punish ; 
if he punish, it is that he may not punish for ever. In the sadder 
providences, though there be misery at the top, yet there is mercy at 
the bottom. Many times God threateneth, but it is to reclaim ; though 
he doth not change his counsel, yet he doth often change his sentence, 1 

1 ' Mutat sententiam sed non decretum. ' Uradwardine. 


Jer. xviii. 7, 8 : when the message is nothing but plucking up and 
pulling down, free grace cometh in with a sudden rescue, and prevents 
the execution. Mercy, you see, is forced to use all methods, and to 
speak in the language of justice, that men may be more capable to 
receive it. Sometimes God punisheth, but with what aim ? That he 
may not for ever punish. It is we that make punishment to be a 
pledge of eternal damnation ; in its own aim it is a prevention, and so 
it proveth to the elect : ' We are judged of the Lord, that we may not 
be condemned with the world/ 1 Cor. xi. 32. So Hosea ii. 6, ' I will 
hedge up her way with thorns/ &c. We should soon grow worldly, 
and drowned in carnal business and projects, if God did not come now 
and then and blast our enterprises, and make us see our folly. We 
are puffed up, and God pricketh the bkdder, 2 Cor, xii. 7. How 
sweet is this, when ' in the midst of judgment God rernembereth 
mercy! ' Yea, the very executions of justice are found to be one of 
the methods of mercy. In the middle of the first curse God dropped 
out a promise of the blessed seed; so often mercy overtaketh a judg 
ment, and maketh it cease in the midway. Look, as there was a con 
flict between the twins in Tamar's womb, Zarah did put out the hand, 
but Pharez broke out first ; so is there between God's mercy and 
justice : justice puts out the hand in a threatening, or some beginnings 
of a judgment, but mercy gets the start and breaketh out first. (2.) 
Consider the white lines of providence. He entreateth that he may do 
us good, and doth us good that he may do us good for ever. For his 
entreaties : It is not duty so much that is in the bottom of the exhor 
tation as mercy. To glorify mercy is the last aim of God and his 
eternal purpose : * He hath accepted us in the beloved, to the praise of 
his glorious grace/ Eph. i. 6. God receiveth no profit ; he entreateth 
us not that he may be happy, but that he may be liberal. See Prov. 
ix. 12, 'If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself ; but if thou 
scornest, thou alone shalt bear it/ God dealeth with us as earnestly, 
as effectually, as if the profit were his own, but it wholly redoundeth 
to us. Again, he doth us good that he may do us good for ever. 
He trusteth us with mammon to prepare us for the true riches, Luke 
xvi. 11, and with the riches of grace to prepare us for glory. Look, as 
men, when they would put precious liquor into a vessel, first try it with 
water to see whether it leaketh or no, so doth God try us with com 
mon mercies ; he giveth us an estate in the world, that, being moved 
with his goodness, we may look after an estate in the covenant and an 
interest in Christ, and so fit us for heaven. It is our wretchedness to 
make our table a snare and our welfare a trap. As the sea turneth 
all that it receiveth into salt water, the fresh streams, the influences of 
the heavens, &c., so do carnal men assimilate and corrupt their com 
forts, and by little and little all their blessings are cursed ; for mercy 
can bear anything but a constant abuse and neglect of itself. Cer 
tainly God's revealed will is otherwise ; that which cometh from God 
should lead us to God. See Eom. ii. 4, 5. 

8. Consider in how many notions mercy is represented to us. 
God's mercy hath many names; a distinct consideration of them 
yieldeth an advantage in believing ; for though they express the same 
thing, yet every notion begetteth a fresh thought, by which mercy is 


more taken abroad in the view of conscience. This is that c pouring 
out of God's name/ spoken of Cant. i. 3. Ointment in the box doth 
not yield such a fragrancy as when it is poured out, and spices do not 
give forth their smell till they are chafed. Nothing is more conducible 
to beget a trust than distinct thoughts and conceptions of God's 
mercy. Let us take notice of some places where it is set forth. See 
Ps. ciii. 8, ' The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and 
plenteous in mercy/ The expression is diversified, and I note it the 
rather, because in other places the same notions of mercy are 
punctually expressed : see Neh. ix. 17 ; so Ps. cxlv. 8, and in divers 
other places : Joel ii. 12 ; Jonah iv. 2 ; chiefly see that Exod. xxxiv. 
*7, and you will find that this is the very description which God hath 
given of himself. Now what doth the Spirit of God aim at in this 
express enumeration and accumulation of names of mercy, but to give 
us a help in meditation, and that our thoughts may be more distinct ? 
(1.) The first notion is mercy, which is an attribute whereby God in- 
clineth to succour them that are in misery. It is an attribute that 
merely respecteth the creature. The love and knowledge of God first 
falleth upon himself, but mercy is only transient, and passeth out to 
the creatures. God knoweth himself, loveth himself, but he is not 
merciful to himself. And then it respecteth the creatures in misery ; 
for misery is mercy's only motive ; justice seeketh a fit object, but 
mercy a fit occasion ; justice requireth desert, but mercy only want 
and need. (2.) The next notion is grace, which noteth the free 
bounty of God, and excludeth all merit of the creature. Grace doth 
all gratis, ' freely/ Kom. iii. 24, though there be no precedent, obliga 
tion, or debt, or hope of recompense, whereby anything may accrue to 
himself ; only that it may be well with the creature. God's external 
motive is our misery, his internal motive is his own grace and elective 
love. Am I in want? there is mercy; am I unworthy? there is 
grace. Mercy respects us as we are in ourselves worthy of condemna 
tion, grace as compared with others not elected. The ultimate reason 
of the choice is God's grace. The angels that never sinned are saved 
merely out of grace, but men that were once miserable are saved not 
only out of grace, but also out of mercy. (3.) The next notion is 
long-suffering, or slowness to anger. The Lord is not easily overcome 
by the wrongs or sins of the creature, but easily overcometh them by 
his own patience and goodness. He doth not only pity our misery, 
that is mercy ; and do us good for nothing, that is grace ; but beareth 
long with our infirmities. Alas ! if God were as short and swift in the 
executions of revenge as men are, God must create another world to 
raise up seed to Christ. 1 If he did not wait upon sinners, there would 
be none made saints. We provoked him to cut us off long since, but 
wrath is not easily heightened into rage, and therefore ' he waiteth 
that he may be gracious/ Isa. xxx. 18. (4.) Kindness or bounty, 
' plenteous in goodness/ berab cliesid. God's communications of his 
grace to the creature are every way rich and full. You may say, God 
is merciful, gracious, patient, but will he be thus to me ? Yes, he is 
' plenteous in goodness/ kind and communicative : Ps. cxix. 68, ' Thou 
art good, and dost good ; ' therefore David goeth to him for grace. 

1 ' Nisi expectaret impium, non inveniret quern glorificaret pium.' Aug. 


Well, then, study God's name, and answer all your discouragements 
out of the descriptions of his mercy. 

9. Consider your own experiences. We have not only heard that 
God is merciful, 1 but we have known it. All men may speak of 
patience, and common mercy, and outward deliverances, but few im 
prove them to a spiritual use and purpose. (1.) Consider God's 
patience ; how long hath he waited for your conversion ? and he that 
hath spared you can save you. It is said, ' The wages of sin is death,' 
Rom. vi. 23. The word implieth that God is bound to pay it by virtue 
of an implicit bargain and agreement between him and the creature. 
But as yet the hand of God hath not found you out; you are indebted 
to justice, but mercy stoppeth the arrest of vengeance. Many others 
have been taken away in their sins by a sudden arrow and dart from 
heaven ; vengeance hath trodden upon the heel of sin ; as Zimri and 
Cosbi unloaded their lusts and their lives together; the angels 
for an aspiring thought were turned out of heaven; Gehazi was 
blasted with leprosy just upon his lie ; and Lot's wife turned 
into a stone for a look, a glance upon Sodom ; and Herod smitten 
with lice in the midst of his pomp and vainglory : and some have 
'perished in the midway/ Ps. ii., in the very heat of some carnal and 
wicked pursuit. God can do the like to you ; therefore reason thus : 
If mercy would not save me, why hath mercy spared me? God 
might have sued out the bond long since ; what is the meaning of the 
dispensation ? Is God weak or unjust ? or hath he a mind to be 
gracious ? Surely he would not have spared me all this while, if he 
had not a mind to save my soul. Such reasonings as these many 
times give us the first encouragement to apply ourselves to God. 
Wicked men, like spiders, draw other conclusions, Ps. 1. 21. But 
should not his patience, &c., Eom. ii. 4. (2.) Consider God's good 
ness in giving thee food, and clothing, and honour, and gladness of 
heart, and all this without thy desert. Say, Certainly all these benefits 
are but so many baits to catch my soul. I see the sun riseth every 
day with a fresh countenance, and shineth upon the fields of just and 
unjust ; to what purpose, but to show that God is gracious without 
hire ? This bodily sun is but an obscure type of the Sun of Eighteous- 
ness, that is willing to display his beams and wings over a poor 
languishing soul. Common mercies are the tastes of God's love while 
you are sinners, and the common fruits of Christ's death, that you may 
be invited to come for more. Why hath he given me ' the unrighteous 
mammon/ but that I may look after ' the true riches ' ? What a vile 
unthankful heart should I have, if I should be contented with mammon 
without Christ, and be like Judas, with the bag in my hand, and the 
devil in my heart ! God's children are wont to make these gifts a 
step to higher dispensations : they know God, like the good householder, 
bringeth forth the best at last ; therefore they must have something 
above and beyond all these things. Common hearts are contented 
with common mercies ; but they are still waiting when the master of 
the feast will bid them sit higher. I may have this and be damned ; 
where are the arguments of his special love ? (3.) Consider deliver- 

1 As they said, 'We have heard that the kings of Israel are merciful kings,' 1 Kings 
xx. 31. 


ances from imminent dangers. Then the curse began to seize upon 
you ; but God- snatched you out of the fire like ' brands out of the 
burning/ Amos iv. 11 ; or like a debtor that escapeth out of the ser 
geant's hands. Every deliverance is a temporary pardon : see Ps. Ixviii. 
38, ' Then he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and 
destroyed them not ; ' the meaning is, respited vengeance, as appeareth 
by the context. So Mat. xviii. 32, ' He forgave them the debt ; ' yet 
it was after required ; the meaning is, spared them for the present. 
Thus when God taketh you out of the teeth and jaws of wrath, when 
you are delivered out of sickness and apparent danger, you have a 
reprieve or a temporary pardon. Oh ! if you had died, you had died in 
your sins, and so been eternally miserable : if the Lord had taken the 
present advantage, you had been howling a sad note among the 
screech-owls of darkness. For ever blessed be that mercy that made a 
rescue ! 

10. Consider God's invitations. Mercy pointeth and beckoneth to 
thee to come and be saved. How many means hath God used to 
call thee to himself ! Every good motion is a call, every preacher a 
messenger sent from heaven to invite thee to Christ, every sermon a 
new summons. Plead with thyself, Though God hath not drawn me, 
yet he hath warned me. The elect have no more favour in the 
general means than thou hast. Though God's grace be limited by 
the pleasure of his wisdom, yet thou hast a fair warrant and encourage 
ment, and every way as good a ground to come to Christ as others 
have : ' Whosoever,' fe, John vi. 37. When the gospel doth not 
exclude me, why should I exclude myself ? Doubts that God will 
not accept me if I come, are but foolish jealousies without a cause. 
But it is time to leave off this meditation upon God's mercy, which 
hath carried me out so far, and to come to the uses. 

Use 1. It informeth us that those that would apply themselves to 
God must make mercy their only plea and claim. Keturning sinners 
have this form put into their mouths, Hosea xiv. 2, ' Take away all 
iniquity, receive us graciously/ Lord, we desire to be entertained by 
mercy, to have our suits dispatched by mercy. So David professeth 
that he had no other claim : Ps. xiii. 5, ' I have trusted in thy mercy.' 
Upon which Chrysostom l sweetly glosseth : If any others have any 
thing to allege, let them plead it ; Lord, I have but one thing to say, 
one thing to plead, one thing upon which I cast all my hopes, and that 
is thy mercy. So must you come to the throne of grace : Lord, my 
plea is mercy, all the comfort I expect to receive is from mercy. The 
apostle, I remember, maketh a challenge : Rom. xi. 35, ' Who hath 
first given him, and it shall be recompensed to him again ? ' Is there 
any man that can enter this plea, This is due to me ? Lord, give me 
what thou owest, I desire no more ; let me have no blessing till I do 
deserve it. Merit-mongers 2 are best confuted by experience. Let 
them use the same plea in their prayers which they do in their dis 
putes ; let them say, Give me not eternal life till I deserve it at thy 

&\\oi el rl Kal %x oiev "heytTWffav, yw 8e i> olSa, v Xyw,' &c. Clirysost. 
2 ' Chemnitius observat aliter de justifications sentire homines in disputationibus, 
quando cum hominibus sui similibus rixantur, aliter in meditatiouibus quando coram 
Deo sistuut conscientiam suam quasi causa dicenda esset,' &c. Davenant. de Justitia. 


hand ; let them dispute thus with God or with their own consciences, 
when they are in the agonies of death, or under the horrors of the 
Lord's wrath. Surely men that cry up the merit of works are men of 
little spiritual experience, and seldom look into their own consciences. 
Dare they plead thus with God in their agonies and horrors ? The 
best claim God's dearest servants can make is mercy. Possidius, in 
the life of Austin, reporteth of Ambrose, when he was about to die, 
he said thus, Though I have not lived so that I should be ashamed to 
live among you, yet I am not afraid to die ; not that I have lived well, 
but because I have a good and gracious Master. 1 This hath still been 
the ground of the saints' confidence. 

Use 2. It exhorteth us to use this encouragement to bring our souls 
into the presence of God. Think of the mercies of God ; the vile 
abuse of this doctrine hath brought a suspicion and prejudice upon it : 
but children must not refuse their bread because dogs catch at it. 
When Benhadad was dejected, and in danger not only of losing his 
kingdom but his life, his servants comforted him with this fame, 1 
Kings xx. 31, ' We have heard that the kings of Israel are merciful 
kings/ You have heard how the God of Israel delighteth in mercy. 
When you come for mercy, you speak to his very bowels. You shall 
read in 2 Sam. xiv. 1, that 'when Joab perceived the king's heart 
was to Absalom,' then he setteth the woman of Tekoah a-begging. 
The king's heart is to show mercy ; he hath sworn that he hath no 
pleasure in thy destruction, Ezek. xviii. 32; therefore take courage 
and come to him. He hath sent Christ to you as a pledge of his good 
will and mercy ; why will you not come to him ? He that had love 
enough to give us Christ, hath bowels enough to give us pardon, and 
bounty enough to give us heaven, and whatever we stand in need of. 
Fear not his justice ; justice and mercy are made friends, Bom. iii. 
25, 2G, and 1 John i. 9. Christ hath taken up the quarrel between 
them ; so that nothing hindereth but that God may act according to 
the natural inclination of his own grace. And let not the multitude 
of your sins discourage you : ' The free gift is of many offences to 
justification/ Eom. v. 16. Take it for the offences of many persons, 
as the context seemeth to carry it, and it is an encouragement to think 
of the multiplied instances of mercy, and how many monuments of 
free grace we shall see when we come to heaven, and that all this 
while mercy is not tired. Or take it for the many offences of the same 
person, and still it is an encouragement that mercy can so often bear 
with our vanity and folly, and not only pardon several sorts of sin, but 
frequent relapses into the same sin. He will ' multiply to pardon/ 
Isa. Iv. 7. If the soul still draw back, and be under discouragement, 
consider your own need. If the Lord were never so tenacious and hard 
to be entreated, yet such is your need that you should follow him with 
incessant complaints. It is blasphemy to wrong his mercy by lessen 
ing thoughts. But grant the sinner his supposition, yet you should 
be instant, ancUry what he will do for importunity's sake. See Luke 
xi. 8, Sta Tr)v avaiBeiav, and Luke xviii. 5, tva /mrj V7ra)7ridfy) /xe, &c. 
In those parables there is a kind of condescension and yielding to our 

1 ' Etsi non sic vixi ut pudeat inter vos vivere, etc., sed quia bonum dominum habeo.' 
Possidius in Vita August. 


unbelief ; as if the Lord had said, If you will not believe all this that is 
said concerning my mercy, yet your want is great ; that is enough to 
make you earnest and frequent in your addresses to me ; come and see 
what I will do for your importunity ; the unjust judge was moved 
with the widow's clamour : be it as you imagine, that I have no bowels 
for creatures' miseries, nor ears for their requests, which yet is a blas 
phemy confuted by every object in the world ; the young ravens will 
tell you otherwise, Job xxxviii. 41 ; Mat. vi. 26 ; Luke xii. 24 ; but be 
it so ; you are undone if I be not merciful ; see what I will do for con 
stant asking. Upon all these encouragements be persuaded to make 
an essay: faith at first standeth but upon one weak foot. 'Who 
knoweth but that God will be gracious ? ' Jonah iii. 9 ; Joel ii. 14. 
There is encouragement enough to venture, though we do not know 
what will come of it. Take up a resolution to make trial ; you will 
find better welcome than you can expect. God desires to exercise 
mercy as much as you desire to feel it. 

Use 3. It presseth us in all our enjoyments to acknowledge mercy. 
The saints are wont to do so, Eph. ii. 4 ; 1 Tim. i. 13 ; Gen. xxxii. 10 ; 
Phil. ii. 27. It is good to refer all things to their head and proper 
fountain. Everything that we enjoy is the fruit of mercy, especially 
saving grace. It is a sure sign a man hath received no benefit by 
grace if his heart be not stirred up to praise it. We have cause to 
praise God for his mercy above the angels. I mean, not only the 
bad angels, with whom God entered not into a treaty ; he dealt with 
them in justice and not in mercy ; but even the good angels ; in some 
respects we have more cause to bless God than they have. Gratitude 
respecteth the freeness and graciousness in giving, rather than the 
greatness of the benefit. God was bountiful to the angels in making 
them such excellent creatures out of nothing ; but he is merciful to us, 
notwithstanding the demerit of our sins. There was no let in his doing 
good to the angels ; goodness floweth out freely from a holy God to 
righteous creatures: but wronged justice interposed, and put in a bar 
against us : so that his justice must be satisfied before mercy can have a 
free course. We are a generation of sinful men, the wretched offspring 
of fallen Adam : we had forsaken God, and cast him off, which the angels 
had not ; and therefore, though they have a large experience of God's 
goodness, yet they wonder at the grace showed to us, 1 Peter i. 12. 
But now much more is this mercy to be acknowledged if we consider 
the difference between us and other men, who, it may be, excelled us 
in moral accomplishments; but God hath passed them by, choosing 
us poor things of nought, poor base creatures, that the glory might 
entirely redound to his own grace. But especially should this mercy 
affect us. when it hath made a distinction between us and others that 
were involved in the same guilt ; when ' one is taken and another left ;' 
as the bad thief went to his own place, when the good thief was taken 
to paradise ; and many of God's elect were as deep in sin as those in 
hell. I say, in all such cases we should still be crying out Mercy, 
mercy ; for certainly justice could make no such distinction ; it awardeth 
a like punishment to all that are found in a like crime ; but God's 
infinite and eternal mercy only maketh the difference. 

Use 4. It is caution. Do not wrong grace and mercy, if it be the cause 

VOL. V. E 


of all the good which we enjoy. This is to close up the fountain, and 
to make mercy our enemy ; and if mercy be our enemy, who shall 
plead for us ? If mercy be an accuser, where shall we get an advocate ? 
But how do we wrong grace? I answer Partly by neglecting ^ the 
offers of it, when you make God speak in vain, 2 Cor. vi. 2. It is a 
great affront we put upon God, to despise him when he speaketh to us 
in the still voice, and all the wooings and pleadings of mercy do not 
move to look after our salvation ; though you do not despise, there is 
danger in bare neglect, Heb. ii. 3. 1 When all the charms of mercy do 
no more work with you than a story of golden mountains, or rubies and 
diamonds fallen from heaven in a night dream, this neglect argueth a 
greater suspicion and distrust of God's mercy than doubts and troubles 
of conscience do. Mercy speaketh to them, and they do not think the 
message worth the hearing or regarding. Again, you wrong grace by 
refusing it out of legal dejection, for by this means you straiten the 
riches, and darken the glory of it ; as if there were not more in grace 
than there is in sin, or as if an emperor's revenue could not discharge 
a beggar's debt. The prodigal could say, there was ' bread enough in 
his father's house/ If we perish, it is not for want of mercy, but for 
want of faith. Grace is God's treasure ; he is * rich in mercy/ Eph. ii. 
4. As far as we straiten grace, we make him a poorer God. Again, 
we wrong grace and mercy by intercepting the glory of it. It is the 
greatest sacrilege that can be to rob God of his glory, especially of 
' the glory of his grace ;' for that is his great aim in all his transac 
tions with man, to make his grace and mercy glorious ; see Eph. i. 6. 
Now when you think God accepteth you rather than others for some 
worth and good qualities that he seeth in you more than others, it may 
be in this light of the gospel which we now enjoy such thoughts are 
not expressed, but if they lurk secretly in the heart, you think God 
foresaw you would bring him more glory, Deut. ix. 4 ; you take the 
crown from grace's head, and put it upon your own. So also you 
wrong grace when you ascribe anything to your power and strength. 
As Joab sent for David to take the honour of winning Kabbah : 2 Sam. 
xii. 28, ' Lest I take the city, and it be called after my own name ; ' 
so send for God to take the honour : ' Not I, but grace,' 1 Cor. xv. 10. 
Throw the crown at grace's feet. The industrious servant said, ' Thy 
pound hath gained ten pounds,"' Luke xix. 16; not my industry, but 
thy pound. Once more, we wrong grace by turning it into wanton 
ness ; see ver. 4. It is made there to be a heavy charge and black 
note when men presume on grace, and use it only as a dung-cart to 
carry away their filth. Grace must bear all, and pardon all; as 
riotous children that have a rich father care not how they spend ; his 
estate shall pay for all. It is a mighty wrong to grace this, when you 
make it pliable to such vile purposes, and father the bastards of your 
own carnal hearts upon gospel encouragements. It is the devil's cove 
nant, not God's, when you think that you may live as you list, be at 
your own dispose, and mercy shall be at your beck, and you shall have 
comfort when you please ; and that you may sin freely because God 
pardoneth freely, as if mercy gave you a privilege and liberty to sin. 

1 So those in Matthew did not deny, but made excuse, d/ieXi}<ra^res, Mat. xxii. 5. 
They would not take it into their care and thoughts. 


In short, if a man slacken any part of his duty for mercy's sake, or 
lets loose the reins to vile affections with more freedom, upon the pre 
sumption that God will not be rigorous, he wrongeth grace exceedingly. 
I say, if he grow more careless, secure, negligent, not so constant in 
duty, not so watchful and strict in conversation, or abateth aught of 
his humiliation for sin, he is a spider that sucketh poison out of this 
flower. Lastly, we wrong grace by slighting it after a taste. At first 
coming to Christ we make an essay and trial, and usually then God 
giveth us a taste to engage us to look for more, 1 Peter ii. 3 ; Heb. vi. 
4-6. Now after trial you are not satisfied, but return to your sinful 
courses again, and so do, as it were, proclaim to the world that you 
found carnal comforts and pleasures to be better than communion with 
God. This is but the interpretation of your apostasy. The whole aim 
of the word is to persuade us to make trial of the sweetness of grace. 
Now you that have once tasted of it, and grow weary, do by your 
practice tell the world that there is no sweetness in it at all, which is 
a great wrong to grace and mercy. 

It is high time now to speak of the second thing prayed for, 
which is peace ; whence observe that peace is a great blessing, one of 
the main privileges of the gospel. 

I shall, first, Show you what it is ; secondly, Give you some obser 
vations concerning it ; and thirdly, Come to application. 

1. What it is. It is a tranquillity of mind arising from the sense of a 
sure estate with God. To this peace two things concur. First, a sure 
estate, or terms of amity with God. This is called in scripture ' peace 
with God/ and is the immediate effect and fruit of actual justification, 
Bom. v. 1. And then, secondly, there is a sense of this sure estate, or 
the reflex of this amity upon the conscience, and is usually called 
* peace of conscience,' and is a special privilege of Christ's spiritual 
kingdom. See Kom. xiv. 17 ; the apostle speaketh there of a ' peace/ 
which is ranked with 'joy in the Holy Ghost/ But it will be better 
opened to you in the ensuing propositions. 

[1.] Man by nature is at enmity with God, and upon ill terms with 
him. When we lost God's image, we lost his favour. This enmity is 
mutual ; man is an enemy to God, and God is an enemy to man. On 
God's part there is wrath, which is all that we are born to by nature, 
Eph. ii. 3 ; and on man's part there is hatred ; we hate God because 
we love sin, Col. i. 21. God's enmity is suspended in the day of his 
patience. Now and then wrath breaketh out, but it is not executed to 
the full ; sentence is passed, but not executed. Nay, it may be 
reversed if we take sanctuary at grace ; for God is now upon a treaty 
with us, or offer of peace ; therefore it is said ' peace on earth/ Luke 
ii. 14. The next world is a time of vengeance and recompense ; but 
during our earthly state God wooeth us and inviteth us to lay down 
the weapons of our defiance, and accept of terms of peace. Thus mat 
ters stand on God's part. But now on our part this enmity is carried 
on with a great deal of spite. We seek to destroy God, and to deface 
all the memorials of him that are impressed upon the conscience ; we 
ungod him in our thoughts and affections. It is a pleasing thought 
to us to suppose if there were no God, as guilty prisoners wish there 
were no judge, no assizes, that they may not be called to account. 


[2.] Man being at enmity with God, all God's creatures are at enmity 
with him. Angels, men, fire, air, water, they are all at God's beck, 
and are ready to destroy man whenever the Lord biddeth them ; as 
good subjects take part with their prince against rebels. The angels 
' hearken for the voice of his word,' Ps. ciii. If he do but ' hiss for 
the fly of Egypt,' Isa. vii. 18, it is ready presently. It is ill contesting 
with him that can command legions. The fire saith, Let me burn his 
house or dwelling-place ; the water saith, Let me drown his ships ; the 
earth, Let me swallow him up quick, as I did Korah and his accom 
plices. Certainly the Lord cannot want instruments of vengeance. 
Man as God's creature is his own enemy. God needeth not fetch 
forces from without, there is enough within ; the humours of the body, 
the passions of the mind, all these are willing to serve God as creatures 
for our punishment ; so that if God should but arm our own thoughts, 
our own affections against us, man is soon overwhelmed. Who can 
bear the wounds given him by his own conscience ? 

[3.] We, being in this estate, can only be reconciled by Jesus Christ. 
He obtaineth it by his merit, and conferreth it by his power. For his 
merit, see Col. i. 20, and Isa. liii. 5, ' The chastisement of our peace 
was upon him.' It will not stand with the majesty of God to make 
peace with us without satisfaction. That there might be no wrong 
done to his sovereignty, his law, his truth, his justice, his holiness, it 
was meet that we should be chastised either in our own persons or in 
our surety ; and also all the notions of the Godhead are kept inviol 
able. Then for his power : He worketh it at first, and then rnain- 
taineth arid keepeth it afoot between God and us. He worketh it at 
first, and bringeth it about thus, by opening the gospel, wherein God 
is revealed as pacified in Christ ; which is the only doctrine that can 
calm the conscience, and establish the soul in peace and hope. All 
false religions are accompanied with scruples and jealousies : Jer. vi. 16, 
there is no * rest for the soul/ And then he applieth the gospel by his 
Spirit. The gospel is a sovereign plaster, but Christ's own hand must 
make it stick. There is a double ground of enmity in man's heart 
the guilt and power of sin. Christ wipeth guilt out of the conscience 
by the application of his own blood, and weakeneth the power of sin 
more and more. Sin is the makebate, and Christ is the ' Prince of 
peace,' Isa. ix. 6. The great end for which God set him up, was to 
plant grace in our hearts, and so to work a friendship between God 
and us. But Christ is not only the author, but the great conservator 
of the peace between us and heaven. Partly by his intercession : as 
foreign states have their agents in princes' courts to preserve a mutual 
correspondence, so Christ taketh up all differences that fall out be 
tween us and God, that no breach may ensue, Heb. ix. 24. Partly 
by a further declaration of God's love to the conscience, Isa. xxvi. 3. 
Partly by stirring us up to watchfulness, that no occasion may be 
given on our part by ' returning to folly/ Ps. Ixxxv. 8. Thus you see 
what Christ doth : all is briefly summed up by the apostle in 2 Cor. 
v. 19, ' God was in Christ reconciling the world.' Where note, that 
our peace with God is a reconciliation or a peace after a breach, and 
this reconciliation is mutual. God appeareth in a form of grace and 
mercy to us, and we lay down our enmity against God ; he is gracious 


to us, and we love and serve him. Only observe, that God beginneth 
first, though he be the wronged party ; he ' was reconciling.' And mark 
again, it is ' in Christ ' to show it is sure. Those that are reconciled to 
men are still in umbrage and suspicion with them ; they that have 
once been enemies, they may be again ; therefore they do not return to 
perfect grace j 1 when the wound is cured, the scars remain. But our 
reconciliation with God, it is like the soldering of a vessel, which is 
strongest in the crack ; or as a leg broken, if well set, it is the stronger ; 
so are we upon firmer terms than we were in innocency ; there was a 
possibility of being at odds with God, which is now taken away. 

[4.] God being reconciled in Christ, all things else are at peace with 
us, tranquillus Deus tranquillat omnia. For his league with us is 
offensive and defensive : ' My horses are as thy horses, and my cha 
riots as thy chariots/ God and all his confederates are in the league, 
or rather God and all his subjects, as a prince doth not only contract 
for his person, but his subjects and estates. Angels are at peace with 
us ; instead of being instruments of vengeance, they become ' minister 
ing spirits,' Heb. i. 14. A Christian hath an invisible guard ; Satan 
is sensible of it, though we be not ; he saith of Job, ' Thou hast hedged 
him round about.' God's heirs are well attended ; angels wait upon 
them at Christ's direction. Other creatures serve us, as if they were 
in league and covenant with us ; stars, winds, seas, beasts : Job v. 23, 
' Thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field, and the beasts 
shall be at peace with thee.' They are included in God's league, 
which is as much as if there were an express covenant between us and 
them that they shall not do us harm : they are at the beck of provi 
dence, and therefore, so far as it conduceth to our good, at our service. 
So Hosea ii. 18, ' I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of 
the field, and the fowls of the heaven/ &c. So for men ; they are 
wolves one to another, yet God can change them. The gospel civil- 
iseth, and pulleth the beast out of men's bosoms where it worketh 
least, 2 see Isa. xi. 7-9. The hearts of men are in God's hands ; he 
can either destroy their persons, or restrain their rage, or turn out 
their respects to you : * When a man's ways please the Lord, he maketh 
his enemies to be at peace with him,' Prov. xvi. 7. We think to carry 
all by force and violence many times, but obedience to God is the best 
way to gain the respects of men, as a key openeth a door sooner than 
an iron bar. If you be in with God, you stop enmity and strife at the 
fountainhead. So for peace with the saints ; Jesus Christ breaketh 
down the partition wall, Eph. ii. 16-18, removeth prejudices and 
jealousies, changeth interests, cleareth up truths, and by his Spirit 
meekeneth their hearts that they may be at one. Surely his blood is 
the best cement and bond of friendship.3 Christ hath called us into 
a body, that there might be peace in the church, Col. iii. 15. Brothers 
have defaced the feelings of nature, but fellow-members are wont to 
care one for another. Peace with fellow-saints was his dying charge, 
his legacy, John xiv. 27, his prayer, John xvii., and his constant care 
now he is in heaven. Then for peace with ourselves. Sin rendeth 
and teareth a man from himself; it maketh a mutiny in his own heart, 

1 Qu. ' peace ' ? ED. 2 Qu. ' lust ' ? ED. 

3< Eodem sanguine Christ! glutinati.' Aug. Confess, de Seipso et Alipio. 


Rom. ii. 15, ' thoughts accusing and excusing by turns/ per cfi 
A man and his conscience are at odds, and a man and his affections. 
Now, we being reconciled to God, the foundation is laid for peace of 
conscience, that we and our hearts may talk together as loving friends, 
without scolding, without reproaching. And then grace giveth us 
a calm and contented spirit, which easeth us of a great deal of trouble, 
for a discontented man is his own burden. We need the peace of God 
not only in our consciences, but to bear rule in our hearts, Col. iii. 16, 
that we may refer all matters to God's disposal, Ps. iv. 8. 

[5.] Though all things are at peace with us ; yet some troubles are 
left for our exercise, but not for our hurt and destruction. The peace 
of God it is a very riddle : Phil. iv. 7, ' It passeth all understanding/ 
To sense who more wretched than God's children, hated, reviled, 
persecuted, afflicted ? How are they at peace with God and all his 
creatures ? I answer The privileges of Christ's kingdom are spiritual : 
whatever troubleth the saints, nothing can harm them, 1 Peter iii. 13. 
They may harm the man, but not the Christian. All things are at 
peace with them, because they are at the disposal of a wise and 
gracious providence, and cannot do hurt to the better part : they work 
for good. Death is at peace with them, which doth the greatest hurt 
to the body. Ask old Simeon and he will tell you so : Luke ii. 29, 
' Lord, now lettest thy servant depart in peace,' &c. They are sent for 
by their friend; the king of fears is a grim messenger, but they 
know his errand, and therefore are not afraid. 

[6.] In heaven there is a perfect peace ; in the new Jerusalem all is 
quiet : ' It is just with God to give you that are troubled, aveo-iv, rest/ 
2 Thes. i. 7 ; and ' there is a rest that remaineth for the children of 
God,' Heb. iv. 9. There we rest both from our sorrows and our 
labours ; there is no trouble nor affliction more ; all privileges are at the 
height ; no more apprehensions of God's wrath, fears of death. There 
we are not only free from hurt, but danger ; our exercise is at an 
end : there we do immediately behold the king's face, which is not 
granted us here ; now we are in Absalom's condition, pardoned, 
reconciled, but cannot see the king's face. So much for the nature 
of this peace, and the observations that open it to you. Let us now 
apply all. 

Use 1. If peace be such an excellent blessing, and a main privi 
lege of the gospel, then it puts us upon trial. Are we at peace with 
God through Christ ? If it be so, then (1.) Enmity is laid aside ; 
God's enemies will be yours, and yours will be God's ; otherwise what 
peace ? What ! do we talk of peace with God, as long as we are in 
league with God's enemy ? ' What peace as long as the whoredoms 
of thy mother Jezebel are so many ? ' Our league with God is defen 
sive and offensive. There is a war with Satan, 1 if we be at peace 
with God : the spiritual conflict is the best evidence we have of our 
unity with God. With the wicked, God is at open war : ' There is 
no peace/ &c., Isa. Ivii. 21. The devil may be at a secret peace with 
them, but God is at a distance, and abhorreth all communion with them. 
Christ is called ' the Prince of peace/ Isa. ix. 6 ; but it is to those 
that submit to his government ; to his subjects, he saith, { Take my 

1 ' Pax nostra bellum contra Satanam.' Tertul. ad Martyras. 


yoke upon yon, and ye shall find rest/ Mat. xi. 29. We are not 
in a capacity to receive this blessing till we take an oath of allegiance 
to Christ, and continue in obedience to him. (2.) The next note is, 
delight in communion with God : Job xxii. 21, * Acquaint thyself 
with him, and be at peace/ A man that is at peace with God will be 
often in his company : bondage and servile awe keepeth us out of 
God's presence ; we cannot come to him, because we cannot come in 
peace. A man never delighteth in duties of commerce with God 
when either he hath a false peace or no peace : duties disturb a false 
peace ; and when we are raw and sour, we are unfit for work. When 
a peace is concluded between nations that were before at war, trading 
is revived : so will it be between God and you ; commerce will be 
revived, and you will be trading into heaven, that you may bring away 
rich treasures of grace and comfort. 

Use 2. It presseth us to make peace with God by Christ. We speak 
to two sorts the careless and the distressed. (1.) To the careless. 
Consider you are born enemies to God : they that loved him from 
their cradle upward, never loved him. You must make peace with 
God, for you cannot maintain war against him : ' Are you stronger than 
he ? ' What ! will you arm lusts against angels ? And do you know 
the terror of his wrath ? One spark of it is enough to drink up all your 
blood and spirits, Job vi. 4. The present life is but a vapour, soon 
gone. If God be angry, he can arm the least creature to kill you : 
the whole creation taketh part with God : Adrian was strangled with 
a gnat. But death will not end your sorrows. None can punish their 
enemies as God can ; he can ruin your body and soul for ever and for 
ever. How will you screech and howl like dragons ? But your tor 
ments are without end and without ease. Be wise, then, and do not 
sleep when your ' damnation sleepeth not,' 2 Peter ii. 3 ; now is the time 
to make your peace with God. Ah ! that ' you knew in this your day the 
things that belong to your peace/ Luke xix. 41. Peace must be had 
now, or else it can never be had hereafter. The day of patience will not 
always last ; therefore let us get into the ark before the flood cometh. 
It is a dreadful thing to be under the wrath of God, and you know not 
how soon it will light : our care should be to be ' found of him in peace/ 
Peter iii. 14. Christ is now a Saviour, then a judge : you will yell 
and howl for mercy when it is too late. (2.) I am to speak to dis 
tressed consciences. Lift up your heads, God offereth you peace ; he 
sent angels from heaven to proclaim it, Luke ii. 14. The ground of 
the offer is good- will, and the end of the offer is only his own glory. 
God hath no other reasons to move him to it but his own good-will, 
and no other aim than to glorify his grace ; see Eph. i. 6 ; and there 
fore take hold of his covenant of peace, as it is called, Isa. liv. 10. He 
is content we shall have peace upon these terms, and peace assured us 
by covenant. Certainly it is not a duty to doubt, nor a thing accept 
able to God, that we should always be upon terms of perplexity, and 
keep conscience raw with a sense of wrath and sin: wherefore did 
Christ bear ' the chastisement of our peace ' ? God is more pleased 
with a cheerful confidence than a servile spirit, full of bondage 
and fear. 

Use 3. It is caution. If peace be a privilege of the gospel, let us 


take care that we settle upon a right peace, lest we mistake a judgment 
for a blessing. It is the greatest judgment that can be, to _be given 
up to our own secure presumptions, and to be lulled asleep with a false 
peace. When the pulse doth not beat, the body is in a dangerous 
estate ; so when conscience is benumbed, and smiteth not, it is very 
sad. The grounds of a false and carnal peace are (1.) Ignorance of 
our condition. Many go hoodwinked to hell ; a little light breaking 
in would trouble all, Rom. vii. 9. Sluttish corners are not seen in the 
dark. Things are naught that cannot brook a trial; 1 so you may 
know that it is very bad with men when they ' will not come to the 
light,' John iii. 20, or cannot endure to be alone, lest conscience should 
return upon itself, and they be forced to look inward ; their confidence 
is supported by mere ignorance. (2.) Sensuality. Some men's lives 
are nothing else but a diversion from one pleasure to another, that 
they may put off that which they cannot put away ; there is bondage 
in their consciences, and they are loath to take notice of it : Amos vi. 3, 
' They drink wine in bowls, and put far away the evil day.' This is 
to ' quench the spirit ' without a metaphor. All their pleasures are 
but 'stolen waters, and bread eaten in secret;' frisks of mirth when 
they can get conscience asleep. Cain's heart was a trouble to him, 
therefore he falleth a-building of cities. Saul, to cure the evil spirit, 
ran to his music ; and so usually men choke conscience either with 
business or pleasures. (3.) From formality and slightness in the 
spiritual life. First, either they do not seriously perform duty ; that 
will make men see what carnal, unsavoury, sapless spirits they have. 
He that never stirreth doth not feel the lameness of his joints. Formal 
duties make men the more secure ; as the Pharisee thought himself 
in a good case, because, &c., Luke xviii. 11 ; but spiritual duties search 
us to the purpose, as new wine doth old bottles. Or else, secondly, 
they do not exasperate their lusts, and seriously resist sin. Tumult is 
made by opposition. When a man yieldeth to Satan, no wonder that 
Satan lets him alone : Luke xi. 21, ' The goods are in peace,' because 
the devil's possession is not disturbed ; he rageth most when his king 
dom is tottering, Eev. xii. 12. Please the worst natures, and they 
will not trouble you. There is no tempest where wind and tide go 
together. You let Satan alone, and he lets you alone ; this is a peace 
that will end in trouble. 

I now come to speak of the third thing prayed for, and that is 
love, which, being taken here, not for God's love to us, but our love 
to God, may be thus defined : It is a gracious and holy affection, 
which the soul, upon the apprehension of God's love in Christ, re- 
turneth back to God again by his own grace. The grounds and causes 
of it are two ; the one worketh by way of argument and suasion, the 
other by way of efficacy and power. 

1. It ariseth from the sense and apprehensions of God's love in 
Christ. Love is like a diamond, that is not wrought upon but by its 
own dust: 1 John iv. 19, 'We love him, because he loved us first.' 
Love is like an echo, it returneth what it receiveth ; it is a reflex, a 
reverberation, or a casting back of God's beam and flame upon himself. 
The cold wall sendeth back no reflex of heat till the sun shine upon 

1 'Iniqua lex est quse se exquinari non patitur.' Tertul. Apol. 


it, and warm it first ; so neither do we love God till the soul be first 
filled with a sense of his love. And as radius reflexus languet, rays 
in their reflection are more faint and cold, so our love to God is much 
weaker than God's love to us. Valdesso saith, God loveth the lowest 
saint more than the highest angel loveth God. Once more, the more 
direct the stroke and beam is upon the wall, or any other solid body, 
the stronger always is the reflection ; so the more sense we have of the 
love of God, the stronger is our love to him. 

2. The next cause of love is the grace of God. There is not only 
an apprehension of love, but the force of the spirit goeth along with it. 
Our thoughts, our discourses upon the love of God to us in Christ, nay, 
our sense and feeling of it, is not enough to beget this grace in us. 
Love is a pure flame, that must be kindled from above, as the vestal 
fire by a sunbeam : 1 John iv. 7, ' Love is of God ;' that is, of a celestial 
or heavenly original. There is in the soul naturally a hatred of God, 
Horn. i. 30, OeocrTvyeis, and a proneness to mingle with present com 
forts, which can only be cured by the Spirit of grace. Our naked 
apprehensions will not break the force of natural enmity ; and it is 
God that must circumcise and pare away the foreskin of the heart 
before we can love him, Deut. xxx. 6. There is a natural proneness 
to dote upon the creature and hate the Creator. Base creatures 
neglect God, and pollute themselves with one another ; and there is no 
help for it till the heart be overpowered by grace. Thus for the 
causes of love. 

The object of love is God himself ; not merely as considered in 
himself, for so he is terrible to the creature, but as God in Christ, for 
so he will be known and respected by us in the gospel, and so we have 
the highest engagement to love him ; not only upon the respects of 
nature, as our Creator, but of grace, as our God and father in Christ. 
Now God is the supreme object of love, and other things are loved for 
God's sake, because of that of God which we find in them ; as his word, 
which is the copy of his holiness, his engraven image, as the coin bear- 
eth the image of the prince. So it is said, Ps. cxix. 47, * I will delight 
myself in thy commandments which I have loved.' And then his 
saints, which are his living image, as children resemble their father ; 
so it is said, Ps. xvi. 3, ' To the saints, and to the excellent of the earth, 
in whom is my delight/ And then other men, because of his com 
mand, 2 Peter i. 5, ' Add to brotherly kindness, love/ So his creatures, 
because in them we enjoy God, the effects of his bounty. But chiefly 
his ordinances, as they exhibit more of God than the creatures can. So 
that love respects God, and other things for God's sake. 

Again, in the description I take notice of the essence or formal 
nature of it, and call it the return of a gracious and holy affection to 
God. Love is carried out to its object two ways by desire and de 
light. Our necessity and need of God is the ground of desire ; and 
our propriety and interest is the ground of delight. Desires are the 
feet of love, by which it runneth after its object ; and delight is the rest 
and contentment of the soul in the enjoyment of it. Because of our 
imperfect fruition in this life, love bewrayeth itself by desires mostly, or 
pursuing after God ; see Ps. Ixiii. 8, ' My heart followeth hard after 
thee/ It noteth those sallies and earnest egressions of soul after the 


Lord, that we may have more communion and fellowship with him. 
In short, the radical (if I may so speak) and principal disposition of 
love is a desire of union ; for all other effects of love flow from it 
This it is that makes the soul to prize the ordinances, because God is. 
to be enjoyed there, and these are means of communion with him : Ps. 
xxvi. 8, ' I have loved the place where thine honour dwelleth.' This 
maketh sin terrible, because it separateth from God, Isa. lix. 2. This 
maketh heaven amiable ; the fairest part of our portion in heaven is a 
closer and nearer communion with Christ, Phil. i. 23. This maketh 
the day of judgment sweet, for then we shall ' meet with our beloved in 
the air,' 1 Thes. iv. 17. In short, this maketh the soul to take such 
contentment in thinking of God, and speaking of God ; it is the feast 
of the soul : ' My meditation of him shall be sweet,' Ps. civ. 34. Their 
souls cannot have a greater solace than to think what a God they have 
in Christ. 

Having in some manner described the love of God, let me use some 
arguments to press you to it. 

First, God hath commanded it ; the sum of the law is love. When 
the scribe came to Christ, Mat. xxii. 36, ' Master, which is the great 
commandment in the law?' Jesus said unto him, ' Thou shalt love the 
Lord thy God with all thy heart, and all thy soul, and all thy might/ 
Mark, * this is the first and great commandment,' to love God ; it is 
not a sour command, but sweet and profitable. God might have bur 
dened us with other manner of precepts, considering his absolute right ; 
to offer our children in sacrifice, to mangle our flesh with whips and 
scourges ; but these are cruelties proper to the devil's worship. The 
Lord is a gentle master, and only desireth the love of his servants ; we 
have cause to thank him for such a gracious precept. If he should 
require us not to love him, this were hell itself ; that is the hell of 
hell, that they which are there do not love God. It is our privilege 
as much as our duty. God loveth all his creatures, but hath com 
manded none to love him again but man and angels ; so that it is the 
great privilege of the saints to love God. It had been a great favour 
if God had given us leave to love him ; as it would be a great favour 
if a king should give leave to one of his meanest subjects to have the 
key of his privy chamber, to come to him and visit him, and be familiar 
with him^when he pleaseth ; how would this be talked of in the world ! 
Yet this is not so wonderful, since the king and the peasant are both 
men ; in their natural being they are equal, though in their civil dis 
tinction and condition of life there be a difference. But what a favour 
is this, that he who is the ' King of kings, and Lord of lords,' doth 
not only permit his creature made by his own hands to come to him, 
and love him, and deal with him when he pleaseth, but hath expressly 
commanded it ! Nay, this is ' the great commandment.' Certainly 
God is very desirous of our love, when he layeth such an obligation 
upon us. Was there ever such a master, that made this to be his 
servants' chiefest duty, that they should love him ? Again, I observe 
in God's command that the precept runneth thus : ' Thou shalt love 
the Lord _thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with 
all thy might.' The Lord would not lose one grain of the creature's 
love. Surely he valued it when he is so solicitous about it. If we 


should see a wise man careful to preserve the relics of what we 
counted a neglected weed, it would make us think there were some 
what in it. We lavish away our love upon trifles, and God prizeth 
every grain of it. You see he speaketh as if he would not lose one 
dust of love : ' All thy soul, all thy heart, and all thy might.' When 
he biddeth us love our neighbour, he sets limits to it, ' Thou shalt 
love thy neighbour as thyself ;' but when he biddeth us love God, he 
requireth all the heart. The only measure is to love him without 
measure. The next place that I shall take notice of, where the pre 
cept is recorded, is Deut. x. 12, * And now Israel, what doth the Lord 
require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, and to walk in all his 
ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord with all thy heart, and 
with all thy soul.' God doth not require of us things without the 
sphere of duty ; that we should go into the depths of the sea, .toss 
mountains in the air, pluck the stars from heaven, &c. These things 
lie out of the power of man. He doth not require of us barbarous 
austerities to offer our first-born, to lance ourselves, to mangle our 
flesh with whips and scourges. He doth not require of us absolutely 
such things which some men can and ought to perform ; not such a 
measure of alms, what then would become of the poor ? not such a 
degree of wisdom and learning, what then would become of the simple 
and unlearned ? But, ' O Israel, what hath the Lord required of thee, 
but that thou shouldest love the Lord thy God ? ' A duty to be per 
formed by poor and rich, learned and unlearned. Whatever their 
estate and condition be, they may all love God. There are many in 
heaven that never were in a condition to give, but to receive, that 
were never learned and skilled in sciences ; but none that never loved 

Secondly, God hath deserved love. Let us a little take notice of 
God's love to us. He beginneth and loveth us that we may love him 
again, 1 John iv. 19. If God should hate us, we were bound to love 
him, because of his excellency, and because of our duty and obligation 
as we are creatures. How much more when God hath loved us, and 
bestowed so many benefits upon us ? Love is an affection which God 
will have repaid in kind. When he chideth us, he doth not expect 
that we should chide him again. When he judgeth us, we must not 
judge him again. In these things the creature is not to retaliate. It 
is true, we do it too often, but still to our loss and blame. But now 
when he loveth us, he willeth us to love him again. He loveth us for 
no other cause but that he may be loved. Love must be paid in kind. 
As water is cast into a pump when the springs lie low to bring up 
more water, so God sheddeth abroad his love into our hearts, that our 
love may rise up to him again by way of gratitude and recompense. 
Now in the love of God we may take notice of (1.) The properties ; 
and (2.) The effects of it. 

First, For the properties of God's love, consider : 
1. The ancientness of it: Ps. ciii. 17, 'From everlasting to ever 
lasting,' &c. With reverence we may speak, ever since God was God 
he was our God. You may track his love from one eternity to another. 
Before the world was he loved us, and when the world is no more he 
loveth us still. His love began in eternal purposes of grace, and it 


endeth in our eternal possession of glory. It is not a thing of yester 
day. He is our ancient friend. He loved us not only before we were 
lovely, but before we were at all. We adjourn and put off our love of 
God to old age, and thrust it into a narrow corner. When we have 
wasted and spent our strength in the world, we dream of a devout 
retirement. But the Lord thinketh he could never love us early enough. 
'From everlasting to everlasting,' &c. We receive the fruits and 
effects of love in time, but all cometh out of God's ancient and eternal 
love. This grace was provided for us before we were born. Yea, 
look upon God's love in time. How merciful was God to us before 
we could show the least sign of thankfulness to him ? He loved us a 
long time before ever we had a thought of him. In infancy we could 
not so much as know that he loved us. When we came to years of dis 
cretion we knew how to offend him before we knew how to love and 
serve him. How many are there of whom it may be said, ' God is not 
in all their thoughts ;' and yet all this while God hath ' thoughts of 
peace ' and blessing towards them. 

2. Consider the freeness of God's love. The value of all benefits 
ariseth from the necessity of him that receive th, and the good- will of 
him that giveth. God wanted not us, our love is no benefit to him ; 
but we wanted him, we are undone without him. Yet he hath more 
delight in pardoning than we in salvation, and he is more ready to 
give than we to ask. 1 He often calleth upon us to call upon him ; as 
if he were afraid we would not ask, or not enough, or not soon enough, 
or not often enough. A man would think that our wants should be 
importunate enough to put us upon requests, and that we needed not 
enforcements to prayer ; yet you see God doth not only prevent the 
request, but make the prayer, and stirreth us up to utter it. But we 
are not only needy creatures, but guilty creatures; and that God 
should love us 1 When we were in our blood and filthiness, it was ' a 
time of loves,' Ezek. xvi. 7. This is the great miracle of divine love, 
that a time of loathing is a time of loves. And we will wonder at it 
more if we consider the active and endless hatred of his holiness against 
sin, and therefore why not against sinners ? The holiness of his nature 
and essence sets him against them ; and natural antipathies and aver 
sions can never be reconciled, as a man can never be brought to de 
light in a toad, or a lamb in a wolf. And consider again his infinite 
wisdom. We may love that which is not lovely, because we are often 
blinded by inordinate affection ; but now God's love is not blind and 
overcome with the vehemency of any passion, as man's is. This 
maketh the wonder, there is no blindness and passion in him that 
loveth, and yet the thing that is loved is vile and uncomely. 

3. The frequency of the expressions of his love. It would weary the 
arm of an angel to write down God's repeated acts of grace : Rom. v. 
16, ' The free gift is of many offences unto justification/ We carry 
loads of experiences with us to heaven. God's book of remembrance is 
written within and without. This will be our wonder and amazement 
at the last day, to see such huge sums cancelled with Christ's blood : 
every day pardoning mercy is put in : our past lives are but a constant 
experience of our sinning and God's pardoning. We are weary of 

1 ' Dii multa dedere neglect!.' 


everything but sin ; we are never weary of that, because it is natural 
to us. The very refreshments of life by continuance grow burden 
some : meat, drink, music, sleep, the chiefest pleasures, within a while 
need to be refreshed with other pleasures ; man is a restless creature, 
and loveth shift and change. But now we are never weary of sin ; we 
have it from the womb, and we keep it to the grave ; and yet all this 
while we subsist upon God. We subsist upon him every moment ; 
we have life, and breath, and hourly maintenance from him, whom we 
thus grieve and offend. Dependence should beget observance, but in 
us it is otherwise. As a dunghill sendeth out vapours to obscure the 
sun that shineth upon it, so do we dishonour the God of our mercies, 
and grieve him day by day. How long hath God been multiplying 
pardons, and yet free grace is not tired and grown weary ! 

4. Consider the variety of the expressions of his love. We have 
all kind of mercies ; we eat mercy, we wear mercy, we are ' encom 
passed with mercy as with a shield.' The apostle saith, 2 Peter i. 3, 
* He hath given us all things that pertain to life and godliness ; ' that 
is, as I would interpret, all things that are necessary to life natural, to 
life spiritual, to maintain grace here, and to bring us to glory here 
after. He that hath an interest in Christ, his portion is not straitened ; 
be hath a right to all things, and a possession of as much as provi 
dence judgeth needful; therein we must not be our own carvers. A 
man of mortified affections thinketh he hath provision enough if he 
hath things necessary to life and godliness; and will you not love God 
for all this? Certainly we do not want obligations, but we want 
affections. Look, as too much wood puts out the fire and causeth 
smoke, so the multitude and daily experience of God's mercies lesseneth 
the esteem of them. We have but too many mercies, and that 
maketh us unkind and neglectful of God. What shall I tell you of 
sabbaths, ordinances, food, raiment ? If a man would be but his own 
remembrancer, and now and then come to an account with God, he 
would cry out, '0 the multitude of thy thoughts to us-ward, how 
great is the sum of them ! ' Ps. cxxxix. 17. Or if a man would but 
keep a journal of his own life, what a vast volume would his private 
experiences make ; how would he find mercy and himself still grow 
ing up together! Shall I show you a little what a multitude of 
mercies there are? I will not speak of the higher and choicer mercies, 
such as concern the soul, but of such as concern the body. What a 
deal of provision is there for the comfort and welfare of the body ! I 
instance in these mercies, partly because they are so common that 
they are scarce noted; partly because carnal men prize the body most; 
they prefer it above the soul. Now the Lord would leave them with 
out excuse ; they that love the body shall not want arguments to urge 
them to love God, since he hath bestowed so much of his love and care 
upon the body, to gratify all the senses not only for necessity but 
delight. There is light for the eye; the poorest man hath glorious 
lamps to light him to his labours ; for the taste, such variety of 
refreshments of a different sap and savour ; for the smell, delicious 
infusions into the air from flowers and gums and aromatic plants ; 
for the ears, music from birds and men ; and all this to make our 
pilgrimage comfortable, and our hearts better. How many creatures 


hath the Lord given us to help to hear burdens ? how many things 
for meat and medicine ? If man had not been created last, after the 
world was settled and furnished, we should have seen the want of 
many things which we now enjoy and do not value. First God pro 
vided our house, and then furnished our table; and when all was 
ready, then man is brought in as the lord of all. We are not affected 
with these mercies. How can we sin against God, that can look no 
where but we see arguments and reasons to love him ? As Christ 
said, ' Many good works have I done amongst you ; for which of these 
do you stone me ? ' so may the Lord plead, I have done many things 
for you ; you cannot open your eyes but you see love, you cannot walk 
abroad but you smell love and hear love, &c. ; for which of those do 
you grieve me, and deal so despitefully with me ? 

Secondly, Let me now come to the effects of God's love. I shall 
only instance in those three great effects creation, preservation, and 
redemption. Certainly that must needs be a great bonfire out of 
which there flies not only sparks but brands ; and so that love which 
can produce such fruits and effects must needs be exceeding great. 

1. Creation. This deserveth love from the creature. The fruit of 
the vineyard belongeth to him that planted it ; and whom should we 
love but him that gave us the power to love ? All that thou hast, all 
that thou canst see, that thou canst touch, is his gift, and the work of 
his hands. He gave thee the essence not of a tree, a bird, a beast, but 
of a man, capable of reason, fit for happiness. God made other crea 
tures by a word of command, and man by counsel. It was not, Be thou, 
but, Let us make man, to show that the whole Trinity assisted and 
joined in consultation. He made other creatures for his glory, but not 
for his love and service. God is glorified in them passively, as they 
give us occasion to glorify God ; the creatures are the harp, but man 
maketh the music : ' All thy works praise thee, and thy saints bless 
thee/ Ps. cxlv. 10. How many steps may a Christian ascend in his 
praise and thanksgiving ! We might have been stones without sense ; 
beasts, and without reason ; born infidels, and without faith ; we 
might have continued sinners, and without grace : all these are so 
many steps of mercy. But creation is that we are now to speak of, 
and truly it deserveth a remembrance, especially in youth, Eccles. xii. 
1, when the effects of God's creating bounty are most fresh in our 
sense and feeling : we are always to ' remember our Creator,' but then 
especially. The aches of old age serve to put us in mind of our ingrati 
tude ; but the strength, and vigour, and freshness of youth should 
make us remember the bounty of our Creator. Look upon the body 
or the soul, and you will see that we have cause to love him. In the 
body we find as many mercies as there are limbs. If a man should be 
born blind or lame, or should lose an eye or an arm, or a leg, how 
much would he love him that should restore the use of these members 
again ! We are as much bound to love him that" gave them to us at 
first, especially when we consider how often we have deserved to lose 
them. We would love him that should raise us from the dead : God 
is the author of life, and the continual preserver and defender of it. If 
we love our parents that begot us, we should much more love God 
that made them and us too out of nothing. Take notice of the curious 


frame of the body. David saith, Ps. cxxxix. 14, ' I am wonderfully 
made ; ' acu pictus sum, so the Vulgar rendereth it, ' painted as with 
a needle,' like a garment of needlework, of divers colours, richly em 
broidered with nerves and veins. What shall I speak of the eye, 
wherein there is such curious workmanship, that many upon the first 
sight of it have been driven to acknowledge God ? Of the hand 
made to open and shut, and to serve the labours and ministries of 
nature without wasting and decay for many years ? If they should be 
of marble or iron, with such constant use they would soon wear out ; 
and yet now they are of flesh they last as long as life lasteth. Of the 
head ? fitly placed to be the seat of the senses, to command and direct 
the rest of the members. Of the lungs ? a frail piece of flesh, yet, 
though in continual motion, of a long use. It were easy to enlarge upon 
this occasion ; but I am to preach a sermon, not to read an anatomy 
lecture. In short, therefore, every part is so placed and framed, as if 
God had employed his whole wisdom about it. 

But as yet we have spoken but of the casket wherein the jewel 
lieth. The soul, that divine spark and blast, how quick, nimble, 
various, and indefatigable in its motions ! how comprehensive in its 
capacities ! how it animateth the body, and is like God himself, all 
in every part ! Who can trace the flights of reason ? What a value 
hath God set upon the soul ! He made it after his image, he re 
deemed it with Christ's blood, &c. Well, then, God, that made such 
a body, such a soul, deserveth love. He that made the soul hath 
most right to dwell in it ; it is a curious house of his own framing. 
But he will not enter by force and violence, but by consent ; he ex- 
pecteth when love will give up the keys : Rev. iii. 20, ' Behold, I stand 
at the door and knock ; if any man open to me, I will come in and 
sup with him/ Why should Christ stand at the door and knock, and 
ask leave to enter into his own honse ? He hath right enough to 
enter, only he expecteth till we open to him. 

2. Preservation. We are not apprehensive enough of daily mercies. 
The preservation of the world is a constant miracle. The world is 
* hanged upon nothing' (as it is in the book of Job). A feather will 
not stay in the air ; and yet what hath the world to support it but the 
thin fluid air that is round about it ? It is easy to prove that the 
waters are higher than the land ; so that we are always in the case the 
Israelites were in when they passed through the Red Sea. Nos 
sumus etiam tanquam in medio rubri maris, saith Luther the waters 
are round about us and above us, bound up in a heap as it were by 
God, and yet we are not swallowed up. It is true the danger is not 
so sensible and immediate as that of the Red Sea, because of the con 
stant rampire of providence. More particularly, from the womb to 
the grave we have hourly maintenance from God. Look, as the beams 
in the air are no longer continued than the sun shineth ; so we do no 
longer continue than God ' upholdeth our beings by the word of his 
power,' Heb. i. 3. Or as it is with a seal in the water, take away the 
seal and the impress vanisheth ; so do we disappear as soon as God 
doth but loosen his hand and almighty grasp, by which all things are 
upheld and preserved. But let us speak of those acts of providence 
that are more sensible. Into how many diseases and dangers might 


we fall, if God did not look after us as the nurse after her child ! 
How many have gone to the grave, nay, it may be to hell, since the 
last night*! How many actual dangers have we escaped ! God hath 
looked after us, as if he had forgotten all the world besides ; as if his 
whole employment were to do us good. He saith that he 'will no 
more forget us than a woman doth her sucking child ; ' and that we 
are ' written before him, and graven in the palms of his hands/ Isa. 
xlix. 15, &c., as men tie a string about their finger for a remembrance, 
or record in a book such things as they would regard. All these are 
expressions to describe the particular and express care of God's pro 
vidence over his children. Now what shall be rendered to the Lord 
for all this ? If we could do and suffer never so much for God, it 
will not answer the mercy of one day. Certainly at least God ex- 
pecteth love for love. Love him as he is the ' strength of thy life and 
length of thy days/ Deut. xxx. 20. Every day's experience is new 
fuel to keep in the fire. The very beasts will respect their preservers ; 
they are loving to those that are kind to them : ' The ass knoweth his 
owner, and the ox his master's crib.' There is a kind of gratitude in 
the beasts by which they acknowledge their benefactors that feed 
them and cherish them ; but we do not acknowledge God who feedeth 
us and upholdeth us every moment. There is no creature made worse 
by kindness but man. He, that was made to be master of the crea 
tures, may become their scholar ; there is many a good lesson to be 
learned in their school. 

3. Eedemption. As a man, when he weigheth a thing, casteth 
in weight after weight till the scales be counterpoised, so doth God 
mercy after mercy to poise down man's heart. Here is a mercy that 
is overweight in itself : 1 John iv. 10, ' Herein is love, not that we 
loved God, but that God loved us, and sent his Son to be a propitiation 
for our sins/ If we had had the wisdom to pitch upon such a remedy, 
as certainly it could not have entered into hearts of men or angels, 
Eph. iii. 10, yet we could not have the heart to ask it. It would have 
seemed a rude blasphemy in our prayers to desire that the Son of 
God should come out from his Father's bosom and die for us. There 
fore, ' herein is love ; ' that is, this is the highest expression of God's 
love to the creature, not only that ever was, but can be ; for in love only 
God acteth to the uttermost : he never showed so much of his power 
and wisdom, but he can show more ; of his wrath, but he can show 
more ; but he hath no greater thing to give than himself, than his 
Christ. At what a dear rate hath the Lord bought our hearts I He 
needed not ; he might have made nobler creatures than the present 
race of men, and dealt with us as he did with the sinning angels ; he 
would not enter into treaty with them, but the execution was as quick 
as the sin ; so the Lord might utterly have cast us off, and made a 
new race of men to glorify his grace, leaving Adam to propagate the 
world to glorify his justice ; or, at least, he might have redeemed us 
in another way, for I suppose it is a free dispensation, opus liberi 
consilii. But, John iii. 16, ' God so loved the world, that he gave his 
only-begotten Son/ He took this way, that we might love Christ as 
well as believe in him. God might have redeemed us so much in 
another way, but he could not oblige us so much in another way ; he 


would not only satisfy his justice, but show his love. It was the Lord's 
design, by his love, to deserve ours, and so for ever to shaine the 
creature, if they should not now love him. Oh ! think much of this 
glorious instance, the love of God in giving Christ, and the love of 
Christ in giving himself. When ' the sea wrought and was tem 
pestuous/ and Jonah saw the storm, he said, ' Cast me into the sea, 
and it shall be calm to you ; ' but the storm was raised for his own 
sake. Now Christ, when he saw the misery of mankind, he said, Let 
it come on me. We raised the storm, but Christ would be cast in to 
allay it. If a prince, passing by an execution, should take the male 
factor's chains, and suffer in his stead, this would be a wonderful 
instance indeed. Why ! Christ ' hath borne our sorrows and carried 
our griefs,' Isa. liii. 4; the very same griefs that we should have 
suffered, so far as his holy person was capable of them. His desertion 
was equivalent to our loss, his agonies to our curse and punishment of 
sense ; and all this very willingly for the sake of sinners. It is notable, 
he doth with like indignation rebuke Peter dissuading him from 
sufferings, as he doth the devil tempting him to idolatry : ' Get thee 
behind me, Satan;' compare Mat. xvi. 22, with Mat. iv. 10. He is 
well pleased with all his sorrow and sufferings, so he may gain the 
church, and espouse her to himself in a firm league and covenant : Isa. 
liii. 11, ' He shall see the travail of his soul, and be satisfied ;' as if he 
said, Welcome agonies, welcome death, welcome curse, so poor souls 
be saved ! As Jacob counted the days of his labour nothing, so he 
might obtain Kachel ; and yet there is a vast difference between the 
love of Christ and the love of Jacob. Rachel was lovely, but we are 
vile and unworthy creatures ; and Christ's love is infinite, even beyond 
his sufferings and the outward expressions of it ; as the windows of 
the temple were more large and open within than without. Well, 
then, every one of Christ's wounds is a mouth open to plead for 
love. He made himself so vile, that he might be more dear and 
precious to us. Certainly, if love brought Christ out of heaven to 
the cross, to the grave, should it not carry us to heaven, to God, to 
Christ, who hath been thus gracious to us ? Thus God hath deserved 
our love. 

Thirdly, The third and next argument is, God hath desired it. 
What doth the Lord see in our hearts that he should desire them ? 
If a prince should not only make love to a vile and abject creature, 
but seek all means to gain her affection, you would count her very 
froward and unthankful to give him the denial. Christ doth not only 
oblige us, but woo us. If man were such as he should be, he would 
not need enforcements, because of the multitude of his obligations ; 
and if the Lord did deal with us as we deserve, he would slight us and 
scorn us, rather than woo us. He doth not want lovers ; there are 
angels enough in heaven, whose wills and affections cleave to him 
perfectly ; yea, God doth not need the love of any creature ; all this 
wooing is for our sakes. Wherein can frail men be beneficial to God ? 
What increase of happiness hath he if all men should love him ? It 
is his happiness to love himself, and he would have us to share in this 
happiness ; therefore he threateneth, and promiseth, and beseecheth. 
As one that would gladly open a door, trieth key after key, till he hath 

VOL. V. F 


tried every key in the bunch; so doth God try one method after 
another to work upon man's heart. 

1. He threateneth eternal torments if we do not love him : 1 Cor. xvl 
22, * If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema 
maranatha/ The form of speech implieth the most dreadful curse that 
may be. It is not arbitrary whether you will love him or no ; you 
are either to love him, or to perish eternally. Among men, if love 
doth not come kindly, we neglect it ; that which is forced is nothing 
worth : yet the Lord is so earnest after the love of the creature, that 
he would have it by any means. 

2. He promiseth. We have not only mercies in hand, but mercies 
in hope; not only obligations, but promises. It is our duty to 
love God if there were no heaven ; our obligations might suffice ; yet 
' what great things hath God provided for them that love him I' 1 Cor. 
ii. 9. If a man should sell his love, he cannot have a better chapman 
than God, who is most rich and most liberal. If an earthly potentate 
should promise to them that love him half his kingdom, he would 
find lovers enough. God hath promised glory, the kingdom of 
heaven, and shall we not take him at his word ? The Lord will give 
a gift for a gift ; because he hath given us to love him, therefore he 
will give us heaven as the reward of love. Who ever heard that a 
hungry man was hired to eat, and rewarded for tasting dainty food ? 
or a thirsty man for drinking ? The love of God is so excellent a 
privilege, that we should endure all torments to obtain it ; and yet 
God hath promised a reward: yea, he is pleased to bargain with us 
as if he were our equal, and we were altogether free before the contract. 

3. Again, he beseech eth. We are cold and backward, therefore he 
useth entreaty upon entreaty, as if he were impatient of a denial. Out 
of what rock was man hewn ? God himself cometh a-wooing, and we 
have the face to give him a repulse ; and what doth he woo for but 
our hearts, which are his already by every kind of right and title ? 
Prov. xxiii. 26, ' My son, give me thy heart.' God is pleased to call 
that a gift which is indeed a debt. Though the heart be due, yet God 
will put this honour upon the creatures, to receive it from them in the 
way of a gift. It is but equity to ' give to God the things that are 
God's.' Look upon the heart ; see if any could make it but God him 
self. ' Whose image and superscription doth it bear ?' Wilt thou refuse 
to surrender up to God his right ? God hath made it, bought it, and 
yet he beggeth it. When thou hast been as earnest with God, and 
asked anything regularly of him, did he deny thee ? It is no benefit 
to him ; he desireth the heart of the creature, not that he may be happy, 
but that he may be liberal ; he would have thy heart that he may 
make it better. How easily do we give up our affections to anything 
but God, who hath the best title to them ! If the world or Satan 
knocketh, we open presently. We are as wax to Satan, and as stone 
to God ; exorable and easy to be entreated by any carnal motion. As 
some hard stones cannot be wrought upon but by their own dust, so 
men are facile only to their own corruptions, to their own lusts, not to 
the motions of God's Spirit. 

Fourthly, The nature of love showeth that it is fit for nothing but 
God. He hath given us this faculty and disposition, that we may close 


with himself. He that looketh upon an axe will say it was made to 
cut ; and he that looketh on love will say it was made for God. What 
is the genius and disposition of love ? Love is nothing but an earnest 
bent and strong motion of the soul to what is good for us. 1 Every man 
hath an inclination in his nature to what he conceiveth to be good, Ps. 
iv. 6, and grace doth only direct and set it right. All the difference 
between nature and grace is in fixing the chiefest good and the utmost 
end. One great blessing of the covenant is ' a new heart;' that is, a 
new and right placing of our affections. Well, then, God is summum 
bonum, the chiefest good ; even nature cannot be satisfied without him, 
but grace findeth all contentment in him. If there be any good in the 
creatures, it is originally in him ; he is the fountain of living waters, 
where comforts are sweetest and freest. The heart hunteth after good 
among the creatures, which is but an image and ray of that perfection 
which is in God ; and who would leave the substance to follow the 
shadow, and prize the picture to the disdain of the person whom it 
represents ? It were easy to prove that God is the only proper, eternal, 
all-sufficient good of the soul ; and if the heart were not perverted and 
biassed with carnal desires to other objects, it would directly move to 
God, as all things do to their centre. I say, were it not for sin, we 
should no more need be pressed to love God, than to love ourselves. 
There need no great motives to press us to love ourselves, nature is 
prone enough of its own accord ; and if nature had remained in that 
purity wherein it was created, it would move to God of its own accord ; 
as all things move to their centre, and there they rest. Now God is 
the centre of the soul. The soul's good is not honours, pleasures, pro 
fits ; the soul is a spirit, and must have a spiritual good ; it is immor 
tal, and it must have an eternal good. By experience we find that our 
affections are never in their due posture, but are like members out of 
joint (or the arms when they hang backward) when they are not fixed 
upon God ; therefore there is a restlessness and dissatisfaction in the 
soul. 2 We grope and feel about for happiness, and cannot find it, 
Acts xvii. 26, 27 ; like Noah's dove, we hover up and down, and find 
no place whereon the sole of our foot should rest. Well, then, if God 
be the only all-sufficient good of the soul, why do not we love him 
more? If he be the centre of the soul, why do not we move directly 
thither ? It is a shame that a stone should be carried with greater 
force to its centre than we to God. By its natural course it falleth 
downward, and breaketh all things in the way, yea, though itself be 
broken in pieces. But alas ! how little do we break through impedi 
ments to go to God ! It were a miracle to see a stone stopped in the 
air by a feather. But now every vain thing keepeth us off, and inter 
cepts our affections ; sin hath given us another centre, and after grace 
received, we hang too much that way. Again, as love is for good, so 
it is for one object; like a pyramid, it ends in a point.; affection is 
weakened by dispersion, as a river by being turned into many channels. 
In conjugal love, where friendship is to the height, there is but one 
that can share in it ; that is the law of nature : Mai. ii. 15, ' Did he not 

1 See Neirembergius De Inger.io Amoris. 

2 ' Domine, fecisti nos propter te ; et irrequietum est cor nostrum donee perveniat ad 


make one ? yet he had the residue of spirit ; ' the meaning is, that God 
made but one man for one woman, though he had spirit enough to 
make more ; it was not out of defect of power, but wise choice, that 
their affections to one another might be the stronger, which otherwise 
would be weakened ; as they are in the brutes scattered promiscuously 
to several objects. So the true object of love is one God ; he is loved 
for himself, and other things for his sake. Once more, the force and 
vehemency of love showeth that it was made for God ; love is the 
vigorous bent of the soul, and full of heights and excesses, which, if 
diverted to other objects, would make us guilty of idolatry ; we should 
place them in the room of God. Still we find that men are besotted 
with what they love ; as Samson was led about like a child by Delilah : 
all conveniences of life, pleasures, profits, are contemned for the en 
joyment of the thing beloved. Now, these are heights proper to the 
divinity, to the infinite majesty of God. To whom else is this vehe 
mency and this self-denial due ? If we lavish it upon the creatures, 
we make gods of them ; and therefore covetousness is called idolatry, 
Eph. v. 5, and the sensualist is said to make his belly his god, Phil, 
iii. 19. There is such an excess, such a doating in love, that if we be 
not careful in fixing it, before we are aware we run into practical 
idolatry and practical atheism. There is an atheism in the heart as 
well as in the judgment. Atheism in the judgment is when we are 
not convinced of the being of God ; in the heart, when our affections 
are not set on God : this is more incurable, because the dogmatical 
atheist may be convinced by reason, but the practical atheist can only 
be reformed by grace. Thus the nature of love showeth it. 

Fifthly, The nature of the saint showeth it ; the new nature hath 
new affections ; it bewrayeth itself by the new heart, as well as by the 
renewed mind, Born. xii. 2. There are not only new thoughts, but 
new desires and new delights ; desires after God, and a delight in God, 
as the fountain of holiness. When we come to God at first, we love 
him out of spiritual interest, for ease and comfort, and the benefit we 
gain by. him; Christ alloweth it : 'Come to me and I will give you 
ease,' Mat. xi. 28. When fire is first kindled, there is as much smoke 
as flame ; but afterwards it burneth brighter and brighter by degrees. 
A fountain, as soon as digged, runneth muddy at first, but afterwards 
the stream groweth more pure and clear. So doth the love of the 
saints ; at first it is but a love of interest, but by acquaintance we love 
him out of a principle of the new nature, for his holiness and excel 
lency, because that which is in us in part is in God by way of eminency 
and perfection. Certainly likeness must needs beget love, and the 
saints, being conformed to God, delight in him ; so that then their love 
floweth not so much from profit and interest as grace ; yea, at length 
out of a vehement complacency of the new nature, they love holiness 
above happiness or spiritual interest ; and hell is not so bad as sin in 
their account. 1 There cannot be a worse hell to them than unkind- 
ness to God or grieving his Spirit ; and heaven is amiable for God's 
sake, because he is loved there and enjoyed there ; there are none of 
God's enemies in heaven, and there they shall serve him and cleave to 
him without weariness and wandering. Well, then, there is such a 

1 'Si hie peccati pudorem, illic iuferni horrorem,' &c. Anselm. 


disposition in the saints to love God, Ps. xxxi. 23, which ariseth not 
only from hope, because of the great benefit which we expect from 
him, nor only from gratitude, or the sense of his love already showed, 
but from an inclination of the new nature, and that sympathy and 
likeness that is between us, 1 because we hate what he hateth, and love 
what he loveth, Prov. viii. 13 ; Rev. ii. 6, and because God is the 
original fountain and sampler of holiness. 

Use. Well, then, saints mind your work. Do you indeed love God ? 
Christ puts Peter to the question thrice, John xxi. A deceitful heart 
is apt to abuse you. Ask again and again, Do I indeed love God ? 
Evidences are these : 

1. If you love God, he will be loved alone ; those that do riot give 
all to God, give nothing ; he will have the whole heart. If there were 
another God, we might have some excuse for our reservations ; but 
since there is but one God, he must have all, for he doth not love in 
mates. When the harbingers take up a house for a prince, they turn 
out all ; none must remain there, that there may be room for his great 
ness. So all must avoid, that God may have the sole possession of our 
hearts. The devil, that hath no right to anything, would have a part, 
for by that means he knoweth the whole will fall to him ; conscience 
will not let him have all, and therefore he would have a part to keep 
possession : as Pharaoh stood bucking with Moses and Aaron ; if not 
the Israelites, then their little ones ; if not their little ones, then their 
herds ; if not their herds, then their flocks : but Moses telleth him 
there was not a hoof to be left. So Satan, if he cannot have the out 
ward man, yet he would have the heart ; if there be not room enough 
in the heart for every lust, then he craveth indulgence in some things 
that are less odious and distasteful ; if conscience will not allow 
drunkenness, yet a little worldliness is pleaded for as no great matter. 
But the love of God cannot be in that heart where the world reigneth. 
Dagon and the ark could not abide in the same temple ; neither can 
the heart be divided between God and mammon. All men must have 
some religion to mask their pleasures and carnal practices, that they 
may be favourable to their lusts and interests with less remorse ; and 
usually they order the matter so, that Christ shall have their con 
sciences, and the world their hearts and affections. But, alas ! they do 
not consider that God is jealous of a rival ; when he cometh into the 
heart, he will have the room empty. It is true, we may love other 
things in subordination to God, but not in competition with God ; that 
is, when we love God and other things for God's sake, in God and for 
God. When a commander hath taken a strong castle, and placed a 
garrison in it, he suffereth none to enter but those of his own side, 
keeping the gate shut to his enemies. So we must open the heart to 
none but God, and those that are of God's party and side, keeping the 
gate shut to others. We may love the creatures as they are of God's 
side, as they draw our hearts more to God, or engage us to be more 
cheerful in service, or give us greater advantages of doing good. Of 
what party are they ? Bring nothing into thy heart, and allow 
nothing there, that is contrary to God. When Sarah saw Ishmael scoff 
ing at Isaac, she thrust him out of doors. So when riches, and honour, 

1 ' Eadem velle et nolle, ea demum vera est ainicitia. ' Sallust. 


and the love of the world upbraid you with your love to God, as if you 
were a fool to stand so nicely upon terms of conscience, c., when they 
encroach and allow Christ no room but in the conscience, it is time 
to thrust them out of doors, that the Lord alone may have the pre 
eminence in our souls. 

2. This love must be demonstrated by solid effects, such as are : 

[1.] A hatred of sin : Ps. xcvii. 10, ' Ye that love the Lord, hate 
evil.' With love to the chief est good, there will be a hatred of the 
chiefest evil. Friends have common loves, as I said, and common 
aversations. Upon every carnal motion doth thy heart recoil upon 
thee, and say, * How can I do this wickedness, and sin against God ? ' 
Gen. xxxix. 9 ; or else, ' Is this thy kindness to thy friend ? ' or ' after 
such a deliverance as this,' &c., Ezra ix. 13. Love to God will be in 
terposing and crossing every carnal motion. 

[2.] By a delight in obedience : 1 John v. 3, ' This is love, that we 
keep his commandments, and his commandments are not grievous.' 
Nothing is difficult and tedious to him that hath any affection to his 
work. As the prophet cured the bitterness of the wild gourds by 
casting in meal, so mingle but a little love with your work, and the 
bitterness is gone. Shechem yielded to be circumcised for Dinah's sake, 
because he loved her ; and Jacob endured his seven years' service for 
Rachel's sake: so will love make us obey God cheerfully in things 
contrary to our natural inclination. Love and labour are often coupled 
in scripture, 1 Thes. i. 3 ; Heb. vi. 10 ; and those that left their first 
works had lost their first love, Eev. ii. 4, 5. 

[3.] Delight in God's presence, and grief for his absence; or a 
holy sensibleness both of his accesses and recesses, to and from the 
soul. Can a man love God, and be content without him? If you 
lose but a ring which you affect, how are you troubled till it be found 
again ! ' Ye have taken away my gods (saith he), and do you ask, 
What aileth thee ?' Judges xviii. 24. So when God is withdrawn, all 
visits of love and influences of grace are suspended, and they have no 
communion with him in their duties, should they not mourn ? See 
Mat. ix. 15. Is spiritual love without all kind of passion? or are they 
Christians that are stupid and insensate, and never take notice of God's 
coming and going ? 

These are the evidences. I shall only now suggest two helps to keep 
up and increase this love to God, and I have done with this argument. 

1. Prize nothing that cometh from God unless thou canst see his 
love in it. God giveth many gifts to wicked men, but he doth not 
give them his love. The possession of all things will do us no good 
unless we have God himself ; other mercies may be salted with a curse. 
God's children are not satisfied till they can see him and enjoy him 
in every comfort and mercy. Esau was reconciled to Jacob, and there 
fore Jacob saith, Gen. xxxiii. 10, ' I have seen thy face as the face of 
God.' It was a token and pledge of the gracious face of God smiling 
on him. Hezekiah was delivered out of a sickness, and then he doth 
not say, Thou hast delivered me from the grave ; but, ' Thou hast 
loved me from the grave,' Isa. xxxviii. 17. 

2. Prize nothing that thou return to God unless there be love in it. 
We accept a small gift where the party loveth, and otherwise the 


greatest is refused : ' If I give my body to be burned, and have not 
love,' &c., 1 Cor. xiii. 3. Love is an act of grace by itself ; other 
duties are not acts of grace unless they corne from love ; as alms, 
fasting, prayer, martyrdom, &c., they are all nothing ; ov&ev el^i (saith 
the apostle), ' I am' not only little, but ' nothing/ On the other side, 
small things are made great by love ; as a cup of cold water, a poor 
woman's mite, they are accepted as coming from love. 

So much for the matter of the prayer. We come now to the man 
ner or degree of enjoyment, be multiplied; from whence note: 

Doct. That we should not 1 seek grace at the hands of God, but 
the increase and multiplication of it. In managing this point, I shall 
first give you reasons to press you to look after growth in grace ; 
secondly, I shall give you some observations concerning it ; and so, 
thirdly, come to some application. 

First, the reasons are these : 

1. Where there is life there will be growth ; and, if grace be true, 
it will surely increase. A painted flower keepeth always at the same 
pitch and stature ; the artist may bestow beauty upon it, but he cannot 
bestow life. A painted child will be as little ten years hence as it is 
now. So a pretence of religion always keepeth at the same stay ; yea, 
when their first heats are spent, they are fearfully blasted. But now 
they that have true grace are compared to a living plant, which in- 
creaseth in bulk and stature, Ps. xcii. 12, 13, and to a living child, 
which groweth by receiving kindly nourishment, 1 Peter ii. 2. There 
fore it is not enough to get peace and love, but we must get them 

2. If we do not grow, we go backward, Heb. vi. ; compare the first 
with the fourth verse, ' Let us go on to perfection ;' and then presently 
he treateth of apostasy. We cannot keep that which we have received, 
if we do not labour to increase it. They that row against the stream 
had need ply the oar, lest the force of the waters carry them back 
ward ; or as he that goeth up a sandy hill sinketh down if he do not 
go forward, Mat. xxv. He that would not improve his talent lost it. 
So here we waste and consume what we have, if we do not improve it. 
It is dangerous to rest satisfied and never go further ; there is no stay 
in religion : all the angels on Jacob's ladder were either ascending or 
descending, continually in motion. There are no stunted trees in 
Christ's garden ; if they leave off to grow, they prove doated or rotten 
trees. An active nature, such as man's is, must either grow worse or 
better ; therefore we should be as careful after the increase of grace as 
we would be cautious of the loss of grace. 

3. It is an ill sign to be contented with a little grace. He was 
never good that doth not desire to grow better. 2 Spiritual things do 
not cloy in the enjoyment. He that hath once tasted the sweetness of 
grace hath arguments enough to make him seek further, and desire 
more grace ; every degree of holiness is as desirable as the first ; there 
fore there can be no true holiness without a desire of perfect holiness. 
God giveth us a taste to this end and purpose, that we may long for a 
fuller draught ; as the clusters of Canaan brought to Israel in the 

1 Qu. ' not only ' ? ED. 

2 ' Minitne bonus est qui melior fieri nos vult. ' Bcrnardus. 


wilderness made them put on for the country. They are hypocrites, 
and sure to be apostates, that are contented with a taste, Heb. vi. 

4. Because we cannot have too much grace : there is no nimium in 
the internals of religion ; you cannot have too much knowledge, too 
much love of God, too much of the fear of God. In the outward 
part there may be too much done, and then it proveth will-worship 
and superstition. The apostle saith, 2 Peter i. 11, ' That we must 
give diligence, that an abundant entrance may be ministered to us 
into the everlasting kingdom of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ/ 
Some are afar off from the kingdom of God, Eph. ii. 13, as persons 
ignorant and touched with no care of religion : some come near, but 
never enter, Mark xii. 34 ; Acts xxvi. 28, as semi-converts and men 
of a blameless life ; these cheapen, but do not buy, and go through 
with the bargain: others enter, but with greater difficulty, are 
' scarcely saved,' 1 Peter iv. 18, ' Saved as by fire,' 1 Cor. iii. 15. They 
make a hard shift to go to heaven, and have only grace enough to keep 
body and soul together (as we say) not a jot to spare : others enter with 
full sails, or as it is said, they ' have an abundant entrance ministered 
to them/ and yet all is but little enough ; spiritual things cannot exceed 
measure. But you will say, It is said, Eccles. vii. 16, 'Be not right- 
teous over-much/ I answer Either it is meant of an opinionative 
righteousness, be not too righteous in thine own conceit ; or rather, of 
an indiscreet heat, or a rigid and sullen severity, without any temper 
of wisdom and moderation ; otherwise in real holiness there can never 
be enough. 

5. God hath provided for them that grow in grace a more ample 
reward ; according to our measures of grace, so will our measures of 
glory be ; for they that have most grace are vessels of a larger capacity ; 
others are filled according to their size. It is indeed a question 
whether there be degrees of glory, yea or no j 1 but I suppose it may 
easily be determined : ' He that soweth sparingly shall reap sparingly/ 
whereas others have their bosoms full of sheaves. If a man with a 
little grace should get to heaven, yet he hindereth his own preferment. 
Who would have a thin crop, and a lean harvest ? 

6. It suiteth with our present state. Here we are in a state of pro 
gress and growth, not of rest and perfection : grace is not given out 
at once, but by degrees. Christ saith, John xvii. 26, ' I have declared 
thy name, and will declare it : ' and John i. 50, ' Believest thou ? thou 
shalt see greater things than these ; ' there is more to come, therefore 
let us not rest in our first experiences. Paul saith, * I have not 
attained/ Phil. iii. When grace is wrought, yet there is something 
lacking. He is a foolish builder that would rest in the middle of his 
work ; and because the foundation is laid, is careless of the super 
structure. The state of the saints is expressed by a ' growing light/ 
Prov. iv. 18. As long as there is want, there should be growth ; see 
1 Thes. iv. I. 

7. Seeeking the increase and multiplication of spiritual gifts suiteth 
best with the bounty and munificence of God. The Father, Son, and 
Holy Spirit have rich grace for us ; and we are most welcome when 
we seek for most plenty. God the Father is represented as ' rich in 

1 See Spanheim. Dub. Evang., parto 31, Dub. 135, et alius passim. 


mercy,' Eph. ii. 4 ; Eom. x. 12. We can never exhaust the treasures 
of grace, and impoverish the exchequer of heaven. So Christ hath a 
rich and full merit, 2 Cor. viii. 9, to make us rich, &c. God the Son 
aimed at it in all his sufferings and condescensions, that he might 
make a large purchase for us, and we might not be straitened in 
grace. The Spirit of God is poured out TrXoucriW, ' richly/ Titus iii. 6. 
There is mercy enough in God the Father, merit enough in God the 
Son, efficacy enough in God the Spirit : God is not wanting, if we be 
not wanting to ourselves. If a mighty king should open his treasure, 
and bid men come and bring their bags, and take as much as they 
would ; do you think they would neglect this occasion of gain ? Surely 
no ; they would run and fetch bag after bag, and never cease. Thus 
doth the Lord do in the covenant of grace ; you will rather want vessels 
than treasure. 

8. It is a necessary piece of gratitude : we would have mercy to be 
multiplied, and therefore we should take care that peace and love be 
multiplied also ; we would have God add to our blessings, and there 
fore we should add to our graces ; see 2 Peter i. 5. When we have 
food we would have clothing ; and when we have clothing we would 
have house and harbour; and when we have all these things, we 
would have them in greater proportion ; the like care should we 
show in gracious enjoyments. When we have knowledge, we should 
add temperance, and when we have temperance, we should add 
patience, &c. 

9. We may learn of our Lord Jesus, to whom we must be con 
formed in all things : Luke ii. 52, ' He grew in wisdom and stature : ' the 
meaning is, his human capacity was enlarged by degrees according to 
his progress in age and strength, for in all things he was like us except 
sin, and our reason is ripened and perfected together with our age. 

10. We may learn of .worldly men, who 'join house to house, and 
field to field,' Isa. v. 8, and are never satisfied. So there is a holy 
covetousness in spiritual things, when we join faith to faith, Eom. i. 17, 
and obedience to obedience, one degree to another : our blessings are 
better, and the chiefest good should not be followed with a slacker 
hand ; it is our happiness to enjoy the infinite God, and therefore we 
should not set a stint and limit to our desires. With what arts and 
methods of increase doth a covetous man seek to advance himself ? 
He liveth more by hope than by memory ; and what he hath seemeth 
nothing to what he expecteth. So should we * forget the things that 
are behind, and reach forth to the things that are before us,' Phil. iii. 
14. A covetous man seemeth the poorer the more he hath gotten : 
go should we grow humble with every enjoyment ; it is a good degree 
of grace to see how much we want grace. A covetous man maketh it 
the main work and business of his life to increase his estate : ' He 
goeth to bed late, riseth early, eateth the bread of sorrows/ and all for a 
little pelf. The strength of lust should shame us. Should not we make 
religion the business of our lives, and our great employment ? Shall 
we be as insatiable as the grave to the world, when a little grave 
serveth the turn ? 

Obs. 2. The next thing which I am to do is to give you some obser 
vations concerning growth in grace : they are these : 


1. To discern growth there is required some time. A total change, 
which is far more sensible than growth, that may be in an instant ; 
then a sinner, now a saint; but there must be a competent time to 
judge of our growth ; we cannot discern it by single acts, so much as 
by the greater portions of our lives. We cannot so easily find out 
how we grow by every sermon as by comparing our past estate with 
our present: we do not fly to the top of Jacob's ladder, but go up step 
by step j 1 it is a work of time ; and so we may judge of our not grow 
ing, if after a long time we are where we were, under the power of the 
game prejudices, or the same doubts, or the same lusts still; see Heb. 
v. 12. 

2. In the growing of saints there is much difference ; all the plants 
in Christ's garden are not of a like height and stature ; some that are 
more publicly useful have their five talents, others but two ; some 
thrive more, and grow of a sudden : 2 Thes. i. 3, ' Your faith grew 
exceedingly ;' others are weak and slow, and yet they are fruitful : 
we all grow according to the measure of a part, Eph. iv. ; that is, 
according to the rate of that part which we sustain in the body. A 
finger groweth not to the quantity of an arm ; they all grow, but the 
growth of all is not equal. 

3. Growth in grace is always accompanied with growth in know 
ledge : 2 Peter iii. 18, ' But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of 
our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,' &c. Plants that grow out of the 
sun send up a longer stalk, but the fruit is worse. Some Christians 
pitch all their care upon the growth of love, and take no pains to grow 
in knowledge ; but this is not right ; we should always * follow on to 
know the Lord/ Hosea vi. 3. We read that Christ ' grew in know 
ledge / we do not read that he grew in grace. God's choicest saints 
are always bettering their notions of God. Moses, his first request 
was, * Tell me thy name/ Exod. iv., and afterwards, ' show me thy 
glory/ Exod. xxxiii. Our fairest portion in heaven is the satisfaction 
of the understanding with the knowledge of God: therefore if we 
would have grace multiplied, it must be * through the knowledge of 
God/ 2 Peter i. 2 ; the more shine, the more warmth. 

4. Growth of knowledge in the growing and increase is less sensible 
than the growth of grace, but afterward more sensible. As a plant 
increaseth in length and stature, though we do not see the progress, 
but afterwards we know that it hath grown, growth in grace is always 
cum lucta, with many assaults, and so more sensible, whereas the work 
upon the understanding is more still and silent ; draw away the cur 
tain, and the light cometh in without any more stir; our ignorance 
vanisheth silently, and without such strife as goeth to the taming of 
carnal affections : but afterwards it is more sensible, for we have not 
always a spiritual feeling, but the effects of knowledge are standing 
and permanent : Eph. v. 8, ' Ye were darkness, but now are light in 
the Lord.' 

5. Progress in knowledge is rather in degrees than in parts and 
matters known : I mean, it consisteth not so much in knowing new 
truths, as in a greater proportion of light ; yet I say it is rather, not 
altogether, for a man may walk in present practices which future light 

1 ' Ascendendo, non volando, ascenditur summitas scalae.' Bernard. 


may disprove and retract ; but usually the increase of a Christian is 
rather in the measure of knowledge than in knowing new things; 
' the light shineth more and more/ Prov. iv. I know God more, 
Christ more, the vanity of the world more, the odiousness of sin more, 
that is, more practically and in another manner than I did before ; 
old principles are improved and perfected. I speak this because of 
the danger to which men expose themselves by expecting new light, 
keeping the soul from an establishment in present principles, and 
looking for new truths to be revealed to them. 

6. Of all graces we need most to grow in faith: 1 Thes. iii. 10, 
' I desire to see you, that I may perfect that which is lacking in your 
faith ; ' Luke xvii. 5, * Lord, increase our faith ;' and Mark ix. 24, 
* Lord, I believe ; help my unbelief/ Faith is most defective ; our 
assent is tremulous ; our affiance weak, and faith is most assaulted. 
All the temptations of Satan tend to weaken your faith, and all other 
graces depend upon the increase of faith. 

7. Growth in parts and gifts must needfully be distinguished from 
growth in grace. Many may grow in parts that go back in grace ; 
you can only discern a mere growth in parts and gifts by pride and self 
ends : ' Knowledge puffeth up,' 1 Cor. viii. 1. When men grow in 
abilities, and grow more proud and carnal, it is a sad symptom. 

8. The infallible signs of growth in grace are three when we 
grow more spiritual, more solid, more humble. 

[1.] More spiritual. The growth of wicked men in spiritual wickedness 
is less debauched, but more malicious; so will our growth in grace be 
discerned by our spirituality in our aims, when our ends are more 
elevated to God's glory, &c. In our grounds and principles ; as when 
we resist sin out of love to God, and as it is contrary to our purity 
and holiness, and when we are carried out against inward corruptions : 
such as the world doth not take notice of ; not only against sins, but 
lusts and thoughts, for that argueth more light and more love. So 
when we regard the spirituality of duties, ' serving the Lord in the 
spirit.' So when we relish the more spiritual part of the word, plain 
and solid preaching, rather than such as is garish and full of the pomp 
of words : 1 Cor. ii. 6, ' We speak wisdom among those that are per 
fect ; ; the trappings of an ordinance are baits to take the more carnal 
sort of hearers. Plutarch, in his treatise of growth in moral virtue, 1 
wherein are many notable things applicable to growth in grace, saith 
that a man that hath made some progress in virtue is like a physician, 
that, coming into a garden, he doth not consider flowers for their 
beauty, as gallants do, but for their use and virtue in medicine. So 
he doth not consider speech for its fineness, but fitness and seasonable- 
ness to present use. The same holdeth good also in growth in grace ; 
the more we grow, the more we regard the spiritual part of the word, 
and such as is of a practical use and concernment. 

[2.] More solid and judicious: Phil. i. 9, ' I pray God ) 7 our love 
may abound more and more in all judgment.' There is a childishness 
in religion as well as nature, 1 Cor. xiii. 11, when we are led altogether 
by fancy and affection ; but afterward we grow more prudent, sober, 
and solid. Growth, then, is not to be measured by intenseness and 

1 See Plutarch in his treatise irepl TTJ? TrpoKOTrrjs tv apery. 


vigour of affection that goeth and cometh, and in the infancy of grace 
our affections are most warm and pregnant. A young tree may have 
more leaves and blossoms, but an old tree is more deeply rooted, and 
young Christians seem altogether to be made up of will arid affections, 
and fervorous motions, but have less of judgment and solidity, many 
times of sincerity. 1 As men in a deep thirst take down what is offered 
to them to drink before they discern the taste of it, so acts of will out- 
start the understanding ; but in old men, nature being spent, and 
through long acquaintance with religion there are not such quick and 
lively motions ; the one are sick of love, have more qualms and 
agonies ; the other are more rooted in love, and grow more firm, con 
stant, solid, rational, and wise, in ordering the spiritual life. 

[3.] More humble ; as it is a good progress in learning to know our 
ignorance ; they that have but a smattering are most conceited. Plu 
tarch, in the fore-mentioned treatise, tells us of the saying of Mene- 
demus, that those that went to study at Athens at first seemed to 
themselves to be wise, afterwards only lovers of wisdom, then orators 
such as could speak of wisdom, and last of all, knowing nothing, with 
the increase of learning still laying aside their pride and arrogancy. 2 
So it is with those that grow in grace by acquaintance with God : 
light is increased and made more reflective, and they are more sensible 
of their obligations to God, and so are more tender, and by long ex 
perience are better acquainted with their own hearts ; and that is the 
reason why we have such humble acknowledgments from them. Paul, 
a sanctified vessel, yet calleth himself ' chiefest of sinners/ 1 Tim, i. 
15, and ' less than the least of the saints,' Eph. iii. 8. And Agur, 
Prov. xxx. 2, 3, ' Surely I am more brutish than any man ; I have not 
the understanding of a man, I have neither learned wisdom, nor have 
the knowledge of the holy/ So if you did overhear the secret con 
fessions of the saints to God, you would think them the vilest persons 
in the world, for so they are in their own sense and representations to 

9. The lowest evidences of growth in grace are longing for food, 
and being humble for want of growth. For the first, longing for food, 
see 1 Peter ii. 2. Life hath a nutritive appetite joined with it, when 
that is strong it is a sign the soul is healthy, it will grow. As we say 
of children that take the dug kindly, they will thrive and do well 
enough. For the second, humble for want of growth, see Mark ix. 
24, * Help my unbelief.' It is a sign you mind the work, and are sensible 
of spiritual defects, which is a great advantage. 

10. Growth is the special fruit of the divine grace. God giveth 
the increase, 1 Cor. iii. 6. Plants thrive better by the dew of heaven 
than when they are watered by hand. Grace, that is necessary to every 
action, is much more necessary to every degree. In the text, the apostle 
doth not exhort, but pray, 'mercy, peace, and love be multiplied.' Our 
endeavours are necessary, as ploughing and digging are necessary, 

1 * Young men, if they know their hearts, have cause to complain of hypocrisy, as old 
men of deadness.' Mr Thomas Goodwing in a Treatise of Growth in Grace. 

2 ' Kara7rXc?v yap <f>r) TOI>S 7roXXoi)s tiri c^aXr/p 'Afl^a^e aocpovs TO irp&rov, elra yfrecrOai 
<f)i\o<r6<t>ovs, etra p-rjTopas, rod 8 xpb" ov irpoiovros Idturas, 6'<ry /ma\\ov awTOvrai TOV \6yov, 
/taXXov TO Oitj/j-a. nai TOV Tti<pov KaraTiOefJievovs.' Piutarchus ubi supra. 


but the blessing cometh from above. These are the observations ; let 
us now apply all. 

Use 1. Let us be earnest with God for this increase. He hath 
'the riches of glory/ Eph. iii. 16, which we cannot exhaust. You 
honour God when you go for more ; you want more, and he can give 
more ; when men are contented with a little, it is a sign either of hard 
ness of heart, they are not sensible of their wants ; or of unbelief, as if 
God had no higher and better things to give us. 

Use 2. First, It showeth us how far they are from being Christians 
that care not for the least degree of grace, that do not spend a thought 
that way ; these are far from the kingdom of God. 

Secondly, That are fallen back and have lost the savouriness of 
their spirits, and their delight in communion with God. Time was 
when they could not let a day pass without a duty, nor a duty pass 
without some sensible experience of God, but now can spend whole 
days and weeks and never give God a visit ; time was when there 
could not a carnal motion arise, but they were up in arms against it, 
but now their hearts swarm with vain thoughts, and they can swallow 
gross sins without remorse ; improvident mis-spence of time was once a 
great burden, but they have lost their tenderness, and can spend a 
Sabbath unprofitably and find no regret ; their vain thoughts were 
wont to trouble them, but now not their carnal practices ; duty was 
once sweet, but now their greatest bondage. Certainly, ' the candle of 
the Lord doth not shine upon them as it did in the months that are 

Thirdly, Those that are at a stay had need look to themselves ; 
stunted trees cumber the ground, and they that go on in a dead, power 
less course do hurt rather than good ; lukewarm profession is but the 
picture of religion, and painted things do not grow, but keep at the 
same pitch. If a man were a Christian in good earnest, could he be 
contented with the present weakness of his faith, imperfection of his 
knowledge, with this creeping, cold way of obedience ? 

Ver. 3. Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write to you of the 
common salvation, it was needful for me to write to you, and exhort 
you, that ye should earnestly contend for the faith ivhich was once 
delivered to the saints. 

The apostle, having dispatched the salutation, maketh way for the 
matter of the epistle. This verse is the preface to the whole, wherein 
he proposeth two things : 

1. The occasion of his writing. 

2. The matter and drift of it. 

1. The occasion of writing this epistle, which was double. 

[1.] His earnestness in promoting their good, beloved, ivhen I gave 
diligence to write to you, of the common salvation. 

[2.] The urgency of the present necessity, it was needful for me to 
write unto you, and exhort you. 

In assigning his earnestness and zeal for their good, you may take 
notice of three things, which I shall explain in their order. 

(1st.) A compellation of their persons, a'ydTnjroi, beloved, a term 
usual in the apostles' writings: the same word is used 1 Peter ii. 11, 
and there translated * dearly beloved.' It noteth not only that affec- 


tion which by the law of nature we owe to one another, Eom. xiii. 8, 
nor that love which hy the law of bounty and kindness we are bound 
to render to them that love us, Mat. v. 46, but that singular love 
which we owe to them that are one with us in Christ, which is always 
expressed by ayd-n-rj in scripture, and we sometimes translate it charity, 
often love; the Rhemists always charity, whose tenderness in this 
point (as one observeth) is not altogether to be disallowed, lest it be 
confounded with common and impure love, expressed by e/:a>? ; and 
charity, being a church word, is wholly free from such indifferency and 
equivocation : so here, instead of beloved, they render my dearest, 
which fitly noteth the tenderness and bowels that are in Christian 

Doct. From this compilation observe, that Christians should be to 
each other as beloved ; such dearness and entireness of affection should 
pass between them, that they may entitle one another to their bowels 
and choicer respects. 

The reasons are these : 

1. None can have better grounds to love another. They are mem 
bers of the same body, 1 Cor. xii. Brothers born of the same womb, 
living in the same family, have defaced all the feelings of nature, 
and been divided in interest and affection. But surely no such schism 
can happen in the same body. Who would use an arm to cut off a leg, 
or a hand to scratch out the eyes ? * Members care for one another.' 
Now this is the relation which Christ hath left us ; he hath not only 
called us into a family, but into a body, Col. iii. 15. See the same 
pressed, together with many other uniting considerations, Eph. iv. 4-6, 
' There is one body, one Spirit, even as 3^6 are called in one hope of 
your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of 
all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all/ Let us a little 
go over that place. The first engagement is one body ; they are 
wens and monstrous excrescences, not members, that suck all the 
nourishment to themselves. Again, one member lacking, or out of 
joint, is a pain and deformity to the whole. The next engagement is 
one Spirit, which in all other relations can only be had in fancy and 
imagination. Friends speak as if they lived by one common soul, but 
here it is so really ; all believers have the same Spirit. I say in other 
relations, even in the nearest, every one is acted by his own soul ; but 
here ' by one Spirit we are baptized into one body/ 1 Cor. xii. 13. 
What should divide us when we have the same Spirit ? We have not 
all the same measures, and that occasioneth some difference ; as the 
soul showeth itself in some members more than in others, though it 
acteth all ; but the Spirit is the same. The next consideration is one 
hope. Shall not the same earth contain those that expect to live in 
the same heaven ? Luther and Zuinglius, Cranmer and Hooper, 
Eidley and Saunders, shall all accord for ever in heaven ; and cer 
tainly it is through the relics of the flesh that they cannot accord here. 
In other relations there may be divisions, because they have different 
hopes, and it may be hopes that entrench and encroach upon the good 
of each other ; but here you have one heaven and one hope ; it is all 
for you : there may be a difference in the degree of glory, but none to 
provoke pride or feed envy. How will bitter and keen spirits look 


upon each other when they meet in glory ? It followeth one Lord. 
We are in the same family, how will you look God in the face if you 
' fall a-smiting your fellow-servants ? ' Mat. xxiv. 45. Then one faith. 
There may be different apprehensions, and every one may abound in 
his own sense in circumstances, but the faith is the same, they agree 
in the same essentials and substantiate of religion. The enemies of 
the church, though divided in interests and opinions, yet, because they 
agree in one common hatred of the saints, can hold together. Gebal, 
and Ammon, and Arnalek, and the men of Tyre, did all conspire 
against Israel, Ps. Ixxxiii. ; like Samson's foxes, though their faces 
looked several ways, yet were tied to one another by their tails, and 
ran together to burn up the corn-fields; and shall not the people of God 
agree, who all profess one and the same faith ? The next considera 
tion is one baptism; that is, one badge of profession: it was a cause 
of difference among Jacob's sons that one had 'a coat of divers 
colours/ a special badge of affection. Consider you are all brought in 
by the baptism of water and the use of ordinary means ; none have a 
special and privilegiate call from heaven above the rest of their 
brethren. Lastly, it followeth, one God and Father of all. You all 
worship the same God ; there is nothing divides more than different 
objects of worship. When one scorneth what another adoreth it is 
extremely provoking ; 1 it was the plea used to Joseph, Gen. 1. 17, 
'Pardon the trespass of the servants of thy father's God.' Thus you 
see that we have better grounds of love than others have. 

2. None can have higher motives than the love of Christ : Eph. v. 2, 
' Walk in love, as Christ hath also loved us.' The pagan world was 
never acquainted with such a motive. Now none are affected and 
melted with the love of Christ but those that have an interest in it. 
Therefore Christ expecteth more love from Christians than from others : 
Mat. v. 46, ' If ye love them that love you, what reward shall ye have ? 
do not even the publicans the same?/ The publicans were accounted 
the most vile and unworthy men in that age ; but a publican would 
love those of his own party ; therefore a Christian that is acquainted 
with Christ's love to strangers, to enemies, should manage his affec 
tions with more excellency and pureness. The world is not acquainted 
with the love of Christ, and therefore only loveth * its own/ but we are 
acquainted with it, and therefore should love others. See John xiii. 
34, ' See that ye love one another, as I have loved } T OU.' Jesus Christ 
came from heaven, not only to repair and preserve the notions of the 
Godhead by the greatness of his sufferings, but to propound to us a 
more exact pattern of charity, and to elevate duty between man and 

3. None have a greater charge. Christ calleth it his c new com 
mandment:' John xiii. 34, ' A new commandment give I unto you, 
that ye love one another/ How new, since it was as old as the moral 
law, or law of nature ? I answer It is called new because excellent, 
as a new song, &c., or rather because solemnly and specially renewed by 
him, and commended to their care, as new things and new laws are 

1 ' Summus utriusque 
Inde furor vulgo, quod numina vicinorum 
Odit uterque locus.' Juvenal. 


much esteemed and prized ; or enforced by a new reason and example 
of his own death. So 1 John iii. 23, avrrj ea-nv rj eVroA,?), ' This is 
the commandment, that we should believe in him whom he hath sent, 
and love one another as he gave commandment/ It is made equal 
with faith. All the scriptures aim at ' faith and love ; ' it was Christ's 
dying charge, the great charge which he left at his death : John xv. 17, 
' These things I command you, that ye love one another/ Speeches of 
dying men are received with most veneration and reverence, especially 
the charge of dying friends. The brethren of Joseph, fearing lest he 
should remember the injuries formerly done to him, they use this plea, 
' Thy father did command us before he died, saying/ &c., Gen. 1. 16. 
Let us fulfil the will of the dead. When Christ took leave of his dis 
ciples, he left this as his last charge. Think of it when thou art bent 
to quarrel or to neglect others. Shall I slight his last commandment, 
his dying charge ? It is made the character of Christ's disciples : 
' Hereby shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye love one 
another/ It is as much as your discipleship/ &c. 

Use 1. It serveth to press you to this amity and love. Why should 
those that are to meet in the same heaven be of such an estranged 
heart to each other ? Certainly it cometh from evil. In two cases 
God's people can agree well enough in glory and in misery ; in a pri 
son, as Kidley and Hooper did ; and in heaven, as all do ; in heaven, 
where there is no sin, and in a prison, where lusts lie low, and are 
under restraint. Oh ! then labour for love and meekness. To which 
end take a few directions : (1.) Honour the least of Christ's where- 
ever you find it. If any should despise others for their meanness, it 
would be more proper to God to do so than for any other, because they 
are most distant from his perfection ; but he will not despise ' smok 
ing flax/ Mat. xii. 20. You do not know what a spark of glory and 
of the divine nature may lie hid under smoke and a covert of darkness. 
Christ loved the young man that had but some accomplishments of 
nature in him/ Mark x. 21. ' Jesus loved him ; ' much more should 
you, when you find any weak appearances of Christ, though they do not 
come up to your measures. (2.) Let not difference in opinion divide 
you. It were to be wished that believers were of one heart and of one 
way that they all thought and spoke the same thing ; yet, if they 
differ, cherish them for what of God is in them. In a great organ the 
pipes are of a different size, which maketh the harmony and melody 
the sweeter : ' Whereunto we have attained, let us walk by the same 
rule, and mind the same thing/ Phil. iii. 16. Many men love to im- 
propriate religion, as if there were nothing of God to be found but in 
their own sphere. It is natural to a man to do so. We would be 
singular, and engross all repute of piety, orthodoxy, and right worship 
to ourselves. (3.) Take heed of letting love degenerate into com 
pliance. There is ' the bond of the Spirit/ Eph. iv. 3, and there is 
an ' unequal yoke/ 2 Cor. vi. 14 ; there are ' cords of love/ and the 
chain of antichristian interests, and you must be careful to make dis 
tinction, Isa. liv. 15. ' They shall gather, but not by me/ There 
are evil mixtures and confederacies that are not of God, which you 
must beware of, lest by joining with men you break with God, and 
turn love into compliance. The image was crumbled to pieces where 


the toes were mixed of iron and clay, Dan. ii. Love may forbear the 
profession of some truths there is a ' having faith to ourselves' 
but must not yield to error. (4.) There are some so vile that 
they will scarce come within the circuit of our Christian respect, 
such as are the open enemies of Christ, and hold things destructive 
to the foundation of religion : 2 John 10, ' If any one bring not this 
doctrine, bid him not God speed.' Vile wretches must know the ill 
sense the church hath of their practices. Elisha would not have 
looked upon Jehoram, had it not been for Jehoshaphat, 2 Kings iii. 14. 
When men break out into desperate rage and enmity to the ways of 
Christ, or run into damnable errors, it is a compliance to show them 
any countenance. Thus for the compellation. 

(2d.) The next circumstance in the occasion is, a testification of the 
greatness of his love and care : Trda-rjv a-TrovSrjv Trotou/z-evo?, ' When I 
gave all diligence/ He speaketh as if it were his whole care and 
thought to be helpful to their faith, and therefore did watch every 
occasion : he addeth to write to you, that is a further testimony of his 
love, that he would think of them absent ; to write, when he could 
not speak to them. So that here are two things : (1.) The greatness 
of his love ; (2.) The way of expressing it, by writing. 

Obs. 1. From the first, / gave all diligence, observe, that offices of 
love are most commendable when they are dispensed with care and 
diligence : it is not enough to do good, but we must do good with 
labour, and care, and diligence. See Titus iii. 14, { Let ours also 
learn to maintain good works ;' in the original, irpoLaraadai /cakwv 
epywv, watch for good ivorks, hunt out occasions. So Heb. x. 24, 
' Consider one another, to provoke to love and go'od works :' it is not 
enough to admonish one another, but we must consider, study one 
another's tempers, that we may be most useful in a way of spiritual 
communion. So Kom. xii. 17, ' Providing for things honest in the 
sight of God and men,' vrpovoov/jievoi,, catering, contriving, as carnal 
men do for their lusts, Eoin. xiii. 14. So for ministers ; it is not 
enough for them to press that wherein they are most versed, or what 
cometh next to hand, but to study what will most conduce to the ends 
of their ministry with such a people : * Study to approve thyself a good 
workman/ &c. Well, then, try your Christian respects by it. The 
spirit is most pure, not only when you do good, but when you do it 
with care and diligence. Wicked men may stumble upon good, but 
they do not study to do good ; common spirits are moved to pray, 
but they do not watch unto prayer, Eph, vi. 18 ; that is, make ii 
their care to keep their hearts in order, and expressly to suit their 
prayer to their present necessities ; many may do that which is useful 
to the church, but they do not watch opportunities, and make it their 
design to be serviceable. 

Again, let no care be grievous to you, so you may do good : ' I am 
willing to spend myself, and to be spent for you/ 2 Cor. xii. 15. We 
cannot be wasted in a better employment ; so we shine, no matter 
though we burn down to the socket, or, like silk-worms, die in our 
work : Phil. ii. 17, ' If I be offered upon the sacrifice of your faith, I 
rejoice with you/ &c. The greatest pains and care, even to a macera 
tion of ourselves, should not be unpleasing to a gracious heart. Cer- 

VOL. v. G 


tainly this is an expression will shame us : I gave all diligence ; he 
sought all opportunities, when we will not take them. Love will put us 
upon searching out and devising ways of doing good. 

Obs. 2. This love he would express by writing when he could not 
come to them. Holy men take all opportunities to do good ; present 
or absent, they are still mindful of the saints, and write when they 
cannot speak: as Ambrose alludeth to Zacharias, writing when he 
was stricken dumb. 1 A man would think that absence were a fair 
excuse, a writ of ease served upon us by providence ; yet godly men 
cannot be so satisfied, but must use all helps to promote the common 
benefits: a willing mind will never want an opportunity, and they 
that have a heart will be sure to find an occasion ; they ' give all 
diligence ' to promote others' welfare ; and therefore use all means, 
take all occasions. Which showeth (1.) How far they are from this 
temper that do nothing but by constraint. ' A ready mind ' is a 
special qualification in an elder, 1 Peter v. 2, and a sure note of our 
reward, 1 Cor. ix. 17. But now when the awe of the magistrate pre- 
vaileth more than love of souls, everything is done grudgingly. It 
is Paul's advice, ' Be instant in season and out of season,' 2 Tim. iv. 2 ; 
not only at such seasons as are fairly offered, but where corruption and 
laziness would plead an excuse. Christ discoursed with the woman 
at the well when weary, John. iv. We have but a little while to live 
in the world, and we know not how soon we may be taken off 
from our usefulness ; that was Peter's motive to write, 2 Peter i. 
12, 13. (2.) This showeth their sottishness that are not careful to 
redeem opportunities for themselves. Jude is studying which way to 
promote the salvation of others, and many do not look to the state and 
welfare of their own souls. Again observe : 

06s. 3. That writing is a great help to promote the common salvation. 
By this means we speak to the absent and to posterity ; and by this 
means are the oracles of God preserved in public records, which other 
wise were in danger of being corrupted, if still left to the uncertainty 
of verbal tradition. By this means are errors more publicly confuted, 
and a testimony against them transmitted to future ages. Speech is 
more transient, but writing rernaineth. So Christ telleth the apostles 
that they should * bring forth fruit, and their fruit should remain/ 
John xv. 16. Apostolical doctrine being committed to writing, 
remaineth as a constant rule of faith and manners, and by the public 
explications of the church left upon record we come to understand 
the dispensations of God to every age, what measures of light they 
enjoyed, how the truths of God were opposed, how vindicated. 
Finally, by writing the streams of salvation are conveyed into every 
family, as a common fountain by so many pipes and conveyances, that 
in the defect of public preaching good supply may be had in this 
kind. Well, then, it is an acceptable service to the church which 
they do ' who can handle the pen of the writer,' Judges v. 14, when 
they send abroad a public testimony against error, a public monument 
of their affection to the truth. The goose-quill hath smote antichrist 
under the fifth rib. The Earl of Derby accused Bradford for doing 
more hurt by his writings than preaching. Hezekiah's servants are 

1 ' Zacharias, cum loqui non potuit, scripsit. ' 


commended for ' copying out' the Proverbs of Solomon, Prov. xxv. 1. 
They deserve not to be censured, but commended and cherished, that 
do service in this kind. I confess there is no end of books. Pride 
and ambition may put many upon scribbling, and filling the world 
with chaff and vanity ; so that there needeth a restraint rather than 
an incitement. Some merely blur paper, 1 which is no small dis 
couragement to modest and able men. Surely care should be taken to 
prevent abuse : 2 writing is a more public way of teaching, and men 
should not undertake it without a call. Jerome's advice is good, Ne ad 
scribendum cito prosilias, et levi ducaris insania ; multo tempore disce 
quod doceas (Hier. ad Kusticum Mohachium) be not too hasty to 
write; that which is prepared for public instruction had need be 
prepared with great deliberation. The vestal virgins were ten years 
in learning, and ten years in practising, and ten years in teaching 
and prescribing directions to others. 3 When every sciolist will be 
obtruding his notions upon the world, it is a great abuse ; for by this 
means useful men are discouraged, or if they publish their labours, 
they are not taken notice of, as two or three grains of good corn are 
hardly found out under a heap of chaff. But take away this abuse, 
writing is a great help to the church in practicals, that people may 
still be furnished with good books in every age, old ones written long 
ago being neglected, or lying hid in some private studies, or else not 
coming up to the rate of present light, or not answering the temper of 
the present age, not meeting with the sins, nor encouraging the graces 
within use and exercise. Again, in controversial there is great use of 
writing, controversies not being so easily determined by the judgment 
of the ear as the eye. In the clamour of disputations and violent 
discourse, usually there is such a dust raised, that we cannot so soon 
discern the truth as upon a calm debate and mature consideration of 
what is delivered in writing ; which I remember was the cause why 
Tertullian wrote his treatise against the Jews, lest the tumult and 
noise of the dispute should be some prejudice to the truth. 4 But of 
this enough. 

(3d.) I come now to the next circumstance in the insinuation or profes 
sion of his readiness to do them good, and that is the object or subject 
concerning which he would write to them, the common salvation, a fit 
argument for saints. 

Obs. 1. The apostles, in their private and familiar letters, were very 
spiritual ; yea, when they wrote about their ordinary occasions, as 
Paul to Philemon, still they were ready to impart some spiritual 
gift, whether by conference or writing. Those letters, then, should be 
most welcome to us that mind us of the best things. 

But what was this ' common salvation?' I suppose by it is meant 

: ' Scribunt doctique indoctique poemata passim.' Juvenal. 

2 Councils have thought it worthy their care, vide Canones Apostolorum (ut 
vocant), Can. 60. Synod. Dordrec. Consilia de corrigendis typographic abusibus. 
Sess. 222. 

3 ' E/s TTJV fj.^v irp&TTjv SeKarlav A xprj Spav fj.av8dvov(ri, TTJV 5e u<n\v & fj,efj,adriKa<ri 8pu<ri, 
TTJV 5e rp'(.Ti}i> ertpas avrai SiSdffKovffi.' Plutarchus in Vita Numce. 

4 ' Alternis vicibus contensioso fune uteque diem in vesperam traximus, obstrepenti- 
bus etiam quibusdam spectantibus, singulorum nubilo quodam veritas obumbrabatur.' 
Tertul. contra Judceos. 


that salvation wherein he and they and all the saints were concerned. 
This expression may be conceived to be an argument, either of the 
apostle's meekness ; though he were an apostle, and they private believers, 
yet I and you have but one ' common salvation ;' as captains, to endear 
themselves to their troops, will say, Fellow soldiers, as engaged in one 
common warfare ; or else of his holiness, ' the common salvation ;' that 
is, which I am to look after as well as you ; or else of his love to their 
salvation, which he would look after as well as his own. The saints carry 
on a joint trade to heaven ; they are all partners, and salvation lieth in 
common between them : you are to promote mine, and I yours. Well, 
then, he having their faith and salvation in like respect with his own, 
he was willing to write to establish them in the truth. I shall form 
the point in the very words of the text. 

06s. That the salvation of the people of God is a common salvation, 
not to good and bad ; for it belongeth only to a peculiar people, but 
common to all believers : it is common to them in divers regards. 

1. They all are chosen by the same grace ; there is no special 
reason why Paul should obtain mercy rather than John, and Andrew, 
and Thomas. Free grace acteth upon the same terms. All God's 
motives are taken from himself, from his own bosom : ' For my own 
sake,' saith the Lord, Isa. xliii. 25. There may be a difference in the 
creature ; John and Andrew may be otherwise tempered and disposed 
than Paul and Peter ; but God's motives to choose both the one and 
the other are still the same. 

2. They have the same Christ : ' There is no other name under 
heaven,' Acts iv. 12 ; and ' Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, to-day, 
and for ever/ Heb. xiii. 8. In all ages the church hath been saved by 
Christ ; none of the holy ones of God had a more worthy Eedeemer 
than we have. Christ gave the same ransom to purchase heaven for 
me, and thee, and others : as under the law, the rich and the poor 
were to give the same ransom : Exod. xxx. 15, ' The rich shall not give 
more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel.' The price 
of Christ's blood for all souls was equal. If they had a more worthy 
Christ to die for them, you might be discouraged. 

3. You are justified by the same righteous one as far as another: 
' The righteousness of Christ is unto all, and upon all that believe, and 
there is no difference/ Rom. iii. 22. In inherent righteousness, there 
is a great deal of difference ; one hath more grace, and another hath 
less. In sanctification there are degrees, but as to imputed righteousness, 
they are all equal ; none of the saints hath finer linen, or are decked with 
a better vesture than you are. There is a difference in the degree of 
faith, which receiveth this righteousness, but there is no difference in 
the righteousness itself. A giant or strong man holdeth a precious 
jewel, so doth a child ; the jewel is the same ; though a man holdeth it 
with a stronger hand, it loseth nothing of its worth in the child's hand. 1 
So here the righteousness is the same, though the faith be not the 

4. As we have the same privileges, so the same way ; all by faith ; 

1 ' Gemmatn annulo curvo inclusam amplectitur et gigas, amplectitur et puerulus. 
Licet gigas fortius earn amplectatur quam puerulus, tameii manet annulus seque preciosus 
et gemma seque preciosa.' Luther. 


and the faith of the weakest as to the essential privileges is as accept 
able to God as the faith of the strongest : 2 Peter i. 1, ' Simon Peter 
to them that have obtained like precious faith with us/ It is like 
precious for kind, though not degree j 1 of the same nature, worth, and 
property, though every one cannot come up to the height of 'an apostle. 

5. They are all under the same rule and direction: Gal. vi. 16, 'As 
many as walk by this rule, peace on them, and the whole Israel of 
God/ The way of error is manifold, but there is but one path that 
leadeth to heaven. 

6. They are in one mystical body, ministering supplies to one 
another: Col. ii. 19, ' Not holding the head, from which all the body, 
by joints and bands, having nourishment ministered, and knit together, 
increaseth with the increase of God/ The head is the fountain of all 
vital influence, but the joints and bands do minister and convey the 
nourishments ; the whole body is still increasing and growing up to 
perfection, and they are helping one another, as the members of the 
same body do continue the communion of the same spirit, or, by the 
continuity of the parts, make way for the animation and quickening 
by the same soul. 

What use shall we make of this ? I answer : 

1. It hinteth public care, that we should help salvation forward, 
both in ourselves and others ; rejoice in others' faith as well as in your 
own : Rom. i. 12, ' Comforted by the mutual faith of you and me/ 
His faith was a comfort to them, and their faith a comfort to him ; 
nay, out of an excess of love and charity, Paul useth an expression not 
imitable : Rom. ix. 3, ' I could wish that I were accursed from Christ 
for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh/ 

2. It checketh the impropriating of grace and religion, to such an 
order or sort of Christians, such as was the ambition of former times ; as if 
all religion were confined within a cloister, or wrapped up in a black 
garment ; those were called religious houses, and those the clergy, or 
God's portion, all others were lay and secular. Oh ! how far was this 
from the modesty of the apostles ! Peter calleth the faith of common 
Christians, ' like precious faith ; ' and Jude speaketh of a * common 
salvation/ So the Jews before them, they confined God's choice to 
their nation ; they could not endure to hear of ' salvation among the 
Gentiles/ and of a ' righteousness that came to all, and upon all that 
believe.' We have an envious nature, and would fain impropriate 
common favours. The church of Rome would fain bring all the world 
to their lore, and confine truth and faith and salvation within the pre 
cincts of their synagogue ; they seize upon and possess themselves of 
the keys of heaven, to open to whom they please. Now God hath 
broken down all pales and inclosures, they would fain rear up a new 
partition wall. Corrupt nature envieth that others should have a 
fellowship in our privileges, therefore the same spirit still worketh ; 
men do so value their lesser differences, and that distinct way and 
opinion which they have taken up, as if none could be saved but those 
of their own party and persuasion ; it is very natural to us to affix 
holiness to our own opinions, and to allow none to be good but those 
that jump with us in all things. There were factions at Corinth, and 

1 ' Fides una et eadem, non respectu subjectorum graduum sed respectu object! finis.' 


those that said, ' I am of Christ/ were counted a faction too, 1 Cor. i. 12, 
as arrogating Christ to themselves ; therefore the apostle writing to 
them, saith, 1 Cor. 1, 2, ' To the saints at Corinth, and all that 
call on the Lord Jesus Christ, theirs and ours/ We are apt to be 
rigid to those that differ from us, and to be favourable to those that 
think with us. Tertullian l saith of some in his time, Illic ipsum est 
promereri it is holiness enough to be one of them. Oh ! let it not be 
so among the people of God ! do not nullify your brethren. Bom. 
xiv. 10, ' Why dost thou set at nought thy brethren ? rl egovOevels, 
Tertullian rendereth it, Cur nullificas fratremf When God hath 
made a Christian of him, why dost thou make nothing of him ? and 
cry up every private opinion for another religion, as if none could be 
saints and believers but they that think with you ? Take heed of 
impaling the common salvation ; inclosures are against the law. 

3. It showeth that there are not several ways to heaven, there is 
but one ' common salvation ' to all the elect, and one ' common faith,' 
as Paul saith, Titus i. 4, ' To Titus my own son according to the 
common faith.' There are a sort of libertines that think a man may 
be saved in any religion, so he doth not walk against his own light. 
Do not flatter yourselves ; all the elect are brought to heaven the same 
way, ' whether Jew or Gentile, bond or free ; ' there is a good old way, 
Jer. vi. 16, which if we miss we are sure to perish. 

4. It informeth us who are best to deal in matters of religion ; 
those that are religious, that can call it a ' common salvation ; ' that 
is, common to them with others ; they have share in it, and therefore 
they can best defend it. Differences are aggravated when carnal men 
intermeddle in religious controversies, but those are likest to deal with 
most purity of zeal and love that can say your salvation is their salva 
tion ; so in the next verse, ' They turn the grace of our God into 
wantonness ; ' they that have an interest in grace cannot endure to see 
it abused. 

5. It forbiddeth scorn of the meanest Christian. They have as 
good hopes through grace as you have in Jesus Christ : all are one, 
master and servant, rich and poor. Onesimus, a poor runagate ser 
vant, yet being converted, Paul calleth him his ' faithful and beloved 
brother,' Philem. 10. In earthly relation there is a difference, yet in 
regard of the common faith and common salvation we are all one. 

I have now done with the first part of the occasion, his earnestness 
in promoting their good. I now come to the second part, the urgency 
of the present necessity : It was needful for me to write to you, and 
exhort you, which is said to show that this epistle was not only occa 
sioned by the fervency of his own love, but the present exigence and 
necessity as affairs then stood ; the school of Simon, the Gnostics, 
and divers other heretics of a like loose strain and libertine spirit, 
sought to withdraw and alienate them from the truth, for that was 
the necessity here expressed, as appeareth by the next verse. Exhorta 
tions, the more necessary, the more pressing ; need quickens both 
writer and reader ; and the less arbitrary things are, the more tho 
roughly we go about them. 

Obs. 1. Observe from hence, that necessity is a time for duty ; neces- 

1 Tertul. in Prsescrip adversus Hsereticos. 


sity is God's season to work, and therefore it should be ours : ' For a 
season, if need be, ye are in heaviness,' 1 Peter i. 6. Duties are best 
done when we see they are needful and necessary ; things that are 
arbitrary are done with a loose heart; the creatures' duty towards 
God begins at the sense of their own wants : James i. 5, ' If any man 
lack wisdom/ &c. Well, then, take this hint for prayer and other 
services ; if there be a need, omit not to call upon God : as when dis 
tempers grow upon the spirit, the heart is unquiet, the affections 
unruly, a deadness increaseth upon you, temptations are urgent, and, 
too strong for you, cry out of violence, as the ravished virgins. So 
when conscience is incessantly clamorous, David could not find ease 
till he confessed, Ps. xxxii. 5. Silence will cause roaring, and restraint 
of prayer, disquiet. Again, if there be a need, omit not to call upon 
men by exhortation and counsel, as when you see things grow worse 
every day, and can hold no longer : the king's danger made the king's 
dumb son speak : Paul was * forced in spirit when he saw the whole 
city given to idolatry,' Acts xvii. 16. When we see men by whole 
droves running into error, and ways destructive to their souls, is there 
not a need ? is it not a time to speak ? Men say we are bitter, but 
we must be faithful. So they say the physician is cruel, and the 
chirurgeon a tyrant, when their own distempers need so violent a 
remedy : can we see you perish, and hold our peace ? 

Obs. 2. Observe again, that ministers must mainly press those doc 
trines that are most needful. It is but a cheap zeal that declaimeth 
against antiquated errors, and things now out of use and practice. 
We are to consider what the present age needeth. What use was it 
of in Christ's time to aggravate the rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and 
Abiram ? Or now to handle the case of Henry the Eighth's divorce ? 
what profit hence to our present auditories? There are 'present 
truths ' to be pressed, 2 Peter i. 12 ; upon these should we bestow our 
pains and care. Usually when we reflect upon the guilt of the times, 
people would have us preach general doctrines of faith and repentance. 
But we may answer, ' It is needful for us to exhort you/ &c. To what 
end is it to dispute the verity of the Christian religion against heathens, 
when there are many seducers that corrupt the purity of it amongst 
ourselves ? In a country audience, what profit is it to dispute against 
Socinians, when there are drunkards, and practical atheists and liber 
tines, that need other kind of doctrine ? He that crieth out upon old 
errors not now produced upon the public stage, doth but fight with, 
ghosts and challenge the dead. So again, to charm with sweet strains 
of grace when a people need rousing, thundering doctrine, is but to 
minister cordials to a full and plethoric body, that rather needeth 
phlebotomy and evacuations. It is a great deal of skill, and God can 
only teach it us, to be seasonable to deliver what is needful, and as 
the people are able to bear. 

06s. 3. Again, observe, the need of the primitive church was an occa 
sion to complete the canon and rule of faith. We are beholden to 
the seducers of that age that the scripture is so full as it is : we should 
have wanted many epistles had not they given the occasion. Thus 
God can bring light out of darkness, and by errors make way for the 
more ample discovery of truth. 


I have done with the occasion. I come now to the matter and drift 
of this epistle, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the 
faith that was once delivered to the saints ; in which there is a neces 
sary duty pressed ; and these two circumstances are notable the act 
and the object. (1.) The act is to contend earnestly ; it is but one word 
in the original, eTraytovi&Oai ; but it is a word of a vehement signifi 
cation, and therefore fitly rendered to ' contend earnestly/ (2.) The 
object of this contention, which is, the faith once delivered to the saints. 
Faith may be taken either for the doctrine of faith or the grace of 
faith ; * both are too good to be lost, either the word which we believe, 
or faith by which we believe ; the former is intended : faith is taken 
for sound doctrine, such as is necessary to be owned and believed unto 
salvation, which he presseth them to contend for, that they might 
preserve it safe and sound to future ages. Now this faith is described 
(1st.) By the manner of its conveyance, SoOel&rj, it is given to be kept ; 
it is not a thing invented, but given ; not found out by us, but de 
livered by God himself; and delivered as to our custody, that we may 
keep it for posterity, 2 as the oracles of God in the Old Testament were 
delivered to the Jews to be kept by them, Kom. iii. 1. (2d.) By the 
time of its giving out to the world : the doctrine of salvation was given 
but once, as never to be altered and changed, once for all. (3d.) The 
persons to whom, to the saints ; so he calleth the church according to 
the use of the scriptures, or else by saints is meant the holy apostles, 
given to them to be propagated by them. I shall first speak of the 
object, before I come to the duty itself; and because the description 
here used will agree both to the grace of faith and the doctrine of faith, 
though the doctrine of faith be mainly intended, yet give me leave a 
little to apply it to the grace : if it be a diversion, it shall be a short one. 

Obs. 1. This faith is said to be given. Observe, that faith is a gift; 
so Phil. i. 29, ' To you it is given to believe ; ' vfuv l^apta-Ov], given freely, 
Eph. ii. 8, ' By grace ye are saved, through faith, not of yourselves, 
it is the gift of God/ We cannot get it of ourselves; a mere imagina 
tion and thinking of Christ's death is easy, but to bring the soul and 
Christ together requires the power of God, Eph. i. 19. We cannot 
merit it, and therefore it is a pure gift. God bestoweth it on them 
that can give nothing for it : works before conversion cannot engage 
God, and works after conversion cannot satisfy God. Well, then, let 
us admire the mercy of God in the covenant of grace. Christ is a 
gift : John iv. 10, ' If thou knewest the gift,' &c. His righteousness 
is a gift: Rom. v. 16, ' The free gift is of many offences unto justifica 
tion ; ' and faith, which receive th this righteousness, is a gift : so that 
all is carried in a way of grace ; in the covenant of grace nothing is 
required but what is best owed. Again, it teacheth us whither to go 
for faith : seek it of God, it is his gift ; all the endeavour and labour 
of the creature will never procure it. But must we not use the means 
of prayer, meditation, and hearing, &c. ? I answer Yes ; for (1.) 
God dispenseth it in a way of means : Mark iv. 24, ' With what 
measure ye mete it shall be measured to you again, and unto you that 

1 ' Fides est duplex, fides quse creditur, et fides qua creditur.' 

2 * Aliquid tibi traditum, non a te inventum ; aliquid quod accepisti, non exagitasti/ 
&c. Vincentius Lyrinensis 


hear more shall be given.' According unto the measure of our hear 
ing, if the Lord will work, is the measure of our faith : Acts xvi. 14, 
' The Lord opened Lydia's heart to attend to the things spoken by 
Paul/ God stirreth up to the use of means, and whilst we are 
' taught ' we are ' drawn/ John vi. 44, 45. (2.) Though faith be 
God's gift, man's endeavours are still necessary, for supernatural grace 
doth not exclude the ordinary and natural means. Marriage is 
necessary for the propagation of mankind, though the rational soul is 
from God ; yea, more care is had of women with child than of brute 
beasts, because the fruit of the womb is the immediate work and 
blessing of the Lord : so faith is of God's planting, and therefore we 
should be the more careful in the use of means. 

Obs. 2. This faith is said to be once given. This will also hold 
concerning grace ; for where it is once planted it cannot be totally and 
finally destroyed ; rather it is continually supplied by the care and 
faithfulness of God : see 1 Cor. i. 8, and 1 Thes. v. 24, and Phil. i. 6. 
And those hypocrites that fall off after a long profession seldom 
'recover themselves by repentance/ Heb. vi. 6 ; 2 Peter ii. 21. Well, 
then, here is comfort to the people of God, that find so many lusts and 
so many temptations. They think they shall never hold out; faith is 
but once given : where it is really given there needeth not a second 
gift. Again, here is caution. Faith is a precious jewel; if once lost 
wilfully after the knowledge of the truth, it is not easily regained. 

Obs. 3. Consider the persons to whom it is given. It is not given 
to every one ; ' for all men have not faith/ 2 Thes. iii. 2 ; and ' the 
gospel is hidden to those that are lost/ 2 Cor. iv. 3 ; but it is given to 
the saints, to those who were chosen, that they might be saints : 
which showeth (1.) The excellency of faith; it is a privilegiate and 
peculiar mercy. (2.) That believers are saints; faith giveth an interest 
in Christ, and therefore they must needs be holy : ' His blood 
cleanseth/ 1 John i. 7 ; ' His Spirit sanctifieth/ 1 Cor. vi. 11. Again, 
Faith itself hath a cleansing, purifying virtue : ' Hearts purified by 
faith/ Acts xv. 9. Faith applieth the blood of Christ ; and the hand 
of the laundress is as necessary to cleanse the clothes as the soap 
wherewith they are cleansed. Faith waiteth for the Spirit. It 
argueth from the love of God. Faith and sin are like the poison and 
the antidote, always working one upon another, till faith hath gotten 
the mastery. Well, then, is your faith sanctifying? Strong per 
suasions of an interest in grace, and a loose life, will not suit : we are 
not perfectly clean and holy, but there will be strong desires and 
earnest groans after more holiness ; as Ps. li. 10, and Kom. vii. 24, 
* Who shall deliver me ? ' &c. ; that is, Oh ! that I were ; questions 
are put for wishes. So Ps. cxix. 5, ' Oh ! that my ways were directed 
to keep thy statutes.' Yea, there will be not only groans under, but 
strugglings against sin. A child of God may fall into sin, but he 
cannot rest in it and lie down with ease ; as mud may be cast into a 
pure fountain, or stirred up in it, but the fountain never ceaseth till it 
work itself clean again. Peter and David stepped aside, but they 
could find no peace till they were reconciled to God : ' I will return to 
my first husband, then it was better than it is now/ Hosea ii. Again, 
YOU may know it by the drift and disposition of the heart. Which 


way lieth the bent of your spirits? and what are your constant 
motions and operations ? A man that is travelling another way may 
now and then look back. How is your heart inclined ? Ps. cxix. 
112, ' I have inclined my heart to perform thy statutes always unto 
the end.' Is there a constant inclination towards God ? 1 Chron. 
xxii. 19, ' Now set your hearts to seek the Lord.' Is the heart set? 
what is your constant course and walk ? Bom. viii. 1. 

But so much for this digression, occasioned by the suitableness of 
words to the grace of faith. Let us now come to the other accep- 
tion, which is more proper in this place, namely, as faith is put for the 
doctrine of faith. How this was (1.) Delivered; (2.) Once de 
livered; (3.) To the saints. 

First, Delivered, not invented ; * it is not the fruit of fancy or human 
devising, but hath its original from God ; it was delivered by him to 
holy men chosen for that purpose, and by them delivered by word of 
mouth to the men of that age wherein they lived, and by writing for 
the use of after ages: and delivered to be kept ; it is a sacred depositum 
which God hath put into the hands of the church: 'Keep that which 
is committed to thy trust,' 1 Tim. vi. 20 ; and ' To them were com 
mitted the oracles of God,' Bom. iii. 2. I shall observe (1.) The 
mercy of God in delivering this faith or rule of salvation. (2.) The 
duty of the church concerning it. 

Obs. 1. The mercy of God in delivering this faith to chosen men, 
that by their means the world might come to the knowledge of it. 
The doctrine of salvation first came out from God, and then was con 
veyed to us by the hands of holy men. We are not sensible enough of 
the privilege, Ps. cxlvii. 19, 20, ' He showeth his word unto Jacob, his 
statutes and judgments unto Israel, he hath not dealt so with any 
nation,' &c. It is not a common mercy, for many nations want it ; 
nor no casual thing. In the primitive times not only the doctrine of 
the apostles was directed and ordered by the Holy Ghost, but also 
their journeys ; the gospel came not to them by chance, but as a 
special gift from heaven. But that we may be more sensible of the 
privilege, 1 shall show you : 

1. The benefit of the word. By it God's heart is opened to us, 
and our own hearts to ourselves; by it we are acquainted with 
the way of salvation, and come to understand the courses of the 
Lord's justice and mercy, and in what manner he will govern and 
rule the world, which are altogether unknown to them that have 
not such a revelation delivered to them. We should never have 
known the cause of our misery, our fall in Adam, nor the means of 
our recovery, redemption by Jesus Christ, if they had not been de 
livered to us in this doctrine and rule of faith ; we should never have 
known how to worship God, or enjoy God. If carnal men should have 
a liberty to let nature work, and set down a divinity of their own, what 
a goodly religion should we have in the world I a very comely chimera 
no doubt ! For practicals it would be large enough I am sure, for 
natural conscience hateth fetters and restraints ; in doctrinals it would 
be absurd enough. Man can never take a right draught and image of 

1 ' Quod tibi credituni, non a te inventum ; quod accepisti, non excogitasti.' Vine. Lyr- 


God. Who can empty an ocean with" a cockle-shell ? And since the 
fall we are grown quite brutish ; our conceits are not so monstrous in 
anything as in the worship of God. The pagan philosophers, that 
were most profound in the researches and inquiries of reason, they 
sat abrood, and thought of hatching an excellent religion ; but what 
was the issue ? ' Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools/ 
Kom. i. 22. All that they produced was fables and high strains of 
folly, mixed with popular rites and customs. There are many things 
necessary to religion, which the angels themselves could not have 
known if they had not been revealed , therefore their knowledge in- 
creaseth by observing God's dispensations to the church, Eph. iii. 10. 
The way of salvation by Christ is such a mystery as could not have 
entered into the heart of any creature, no, not of an angel. If an angel 
had been to set down which way man should be redeemed, nay, if all 
the cherubim and seraphim, thrones, dominions, and powers had met 
together in a synod and council, and had taken in all the world to 
their assistance, it would have posed them all to have found out such 
a way as God hath appointed. But not to speak of mysteries. There 
is in the word some moralities suitable to the law of nature, which was 
once written upon man's heart ; but alas ! now there remains only some 
scattered fragments and obscure characters, so defaced that they cannot 
be read ; and how blind are we in these things without the word ! 
Witness the sottish idolatry of those nations that want it, worshipping 
stocks or stones, yea, a piece of red cloth, or whatever they saw first in 
the morning. And witness those brutish customs among other nations, 
whereby uncleanness and unnatural sins have been authorised by a 
law. Therefore, it is a great mercy that something is delivered, and 
given out as a rule of faith and manners. 

2. That this tradition is written, and put into a stated course in 
those books which we call scriptures. If the revelation of God's 
will had been left to the tradition of men of such a rank or order, 
what a liberty might they take of coining oracles, and obtruding their 
fancies upon the world ! It is a great mercy that our faith does not 
depend upon uncertain suggestions, but some main public records, to 
which all may appeal and find satisfaction. Heretofore the Lord re 
vealed himself by visions, oracles, and dreams, to persons of eminent 
holiness and sanctity, that they might instruct others ; which course 
was sure enough while the people of the world were but a few families, 
and the persons entrusted with God's message had authority and credit 
sufficient with the present age, and lived long to continue the tradition 
with the more certainty to future ages. But afterwards the Lord was 
pleased to speak to his church both by word and writing. His word 
was necessary for further revealing and clearing up the doctrine of 
salvation; and writing was necessary, because when precepts were 
multiplied it was needful for men's memories that they should be 
written ; the long life of God's witnesses was lessened, corruptions 
began to increase, Satan giving out lying oracles and visions, idolatrous 
rites and customs crept into the best families, Josh. xxiv. 3, Gen. xxxi. 
19 ; the people of God were grown numerous enough to make a com 
monwealth and politic body ; therefore, to avoid man's corruptions and 
Satan's deceits, the Lord thought fit that we should have a written rule 


at hand, as a public standard for the trial of all doctrines. God himself 
wrote the first scripture with his own finger upon tables of stone, Exod. 
xxiv. 12, and he commanded Moses and the prophets to do the same, 
Exod. xvii. 14, and xxxiv. 27 ; which dispensation of word and writing 
continued till Christ's time, who, as the great doctor of the church, per 
fected the rule of faith, and by the apostles, as so many public notaries, 
consigned it to the use of the church in all ages. When the canon began 
to be complete, the latter apostles pressed the receiving of it; and John, 
as the last, and as one who outlived all the rest, closeth up his prophecy 
thus, Eev. xxii. 18, 19, * If any man add/ &c., and 'if any man take 
away/ &c., which doth not only seal up the book of the Revelation, 
but the whole canon and rule of faith ; which indeed was a great mercy 
to the world : the Lord knew to what a liberty we inclined in divine 
things, and therefore we needed to be tied up to a rule, which here is 
given us. 

3. The mercy of God appeareth in preserving it, that it may be 
delivered from one age to another. No doctrine so ancient as the 
doctrine of the scriptures ; it describeth the whole history of the world 
from the very creation, and the original of all things. Where are 
there records so ancient? and yet they have been preserved even to our 
time. We have some ancient writings of the heathens, though nothing 
so ancient as scripture ; but these are not contrary to men's lusts, and 
have been cherished by them, and yet they have felt the tooth of 
time, and are in a great measure mangled ; but the word of God hath 
been maligned and opposed, and yet it continueth, and holdeth up its 
head in the world : not only the main doctrine of the scriptures hath 
been continued, but no part of the word hath been falsified, corrupted, 
destroyed : the world wanted not malice nor opportunity ; the powers 
of the world have been against it, and corrupt persons in the church 
have been always given to other-gospelling, Gal. i. 6, 7 ; 1 Tim. vi. 3 ; 
but still the scriptures have been wonderfully preserved, as the three 
children in the furnace, not a hair singed, not a jot and tittle of truth 

4. That God doth continually stir up men in the church, and be 
stow gifts upon them, for the opening and application of this faith and 
doctrine of salvation. Christ, that hath given prophets and apostles to 
the church to write scripture, hath also given pastors and teachers to 
open and apply scripture, that so still it might be delivered to the saints, 
and also to vindicate the doctrine of it when opposed. Every age that 
hath yielded the poison hath also yielded the antidote, that the world 
might not be without a witness. If there hath been an Arius, there 
hath been an Athanasius ; if a Pelagius, there is also an Austin : the 
church hath never wanted help in this kind. Look, as in war, as the 
arts of battery and methods of destruction do increase, so also doth skill 
in fortification ; and in the church God still bestoweth gifts for the 
further explication of truth. 

5. That the light cometh to us, and shineth in this land. The 
gospel is a great national privilege : ' To you is this word of salvation 
sent/ Acts xiii. 26. Pray mark, it is sent ; he doth not say we have 
brought it to you, but it is sent; it is a token sent from heaven in love. 
There is a mighty providence accompanieth the gospel ; the journeys of 


the apostles, as I said but now, were ordered by the Spirit as well as 
their doctrine : Acts viii. 26, ' The angel of the Lord said to Philip, 
Arise, and go towards the south, towards the way that goeth. down to 
Jerusalem/ They went not as their own good affection carried them, 
but according to the Spirit's direction. So Acts xvi. 7-9, ' The Spirit 
suffered them not/ &c., as 'prophecy came not by the will of man/ 2 
Peter i. 21 ; that is, the doctrine itself, so the delivery of it ; the doctrine 
they had from the Holy Ghost, and also their commission and passport. 
You would stand wondering, and think it a special benefit, if in a 
time of drought the rain should fall on your field, and none else, if, as 
Gideon's fleece, your heritage should be wet, and all is dry round about 
you ; or if the sun should be shut up to others, and shine only in your 
horizon, as it did in Goshen. This is a better blessing, and God hath a 
special hand in the progress of it ; it goeth from place to place as the 
Lord will. Why should it come to us? our ancestors were of all 
nations most barbarous and portentous for their idolatries. 1 Why to 
us ? No cause can be assigned but the free grace and gift of God. 

6. That it is given to us in our persons in particular in the power 
and efficacy of it. It is offered to the nation, but bestowed upon us : 
John xiv. 22, ' How is it that thou wilt reveal thyself to us, and not 
unto the world ? ' Others have only truth presented to them obiter, 
by the by, for your sakes ; but you are ' called according to purpose/ 
Eom. viii. 28. Though in the general means they have a like favour 
with you, yet you may observe the particular aim of God in continuing 
the gospel to England for your" sakes. 

Use. Well, then, acknowledge God in the truths that are delivered 
to you out of the scriptures. Whatever means are used, God is the 
author of the doctrine, and the disposer of the message : receive it * as 
the word of God/ and then it will ' profit you/ 1 Thes. ii. 13. If you 
had an oracle from heaven speaking to you on this wise, you would 
be more serious. It is as certain, yea, it is fiefiaLorepos ^6709, ' a more 
sure word/ 2 Peter i. 19, more sure than the oracle spoken of in the 
context. Regard the promises and threatenings of it with more rever 
ence, as if God in person had delivered them to you. If you receive it 
' as the word of God, and not of men/ what will you venture upon the 
promises of it ? These are bills of exchange given you, that you may 
draw your estate into another country, that you may lay up ' treasures 
in heaven.' Neglect of the opportunity is a sign of unbelief. If one 
should proffer you a hundred pounds for the laying out of a penny, 
and you go away and never heed it, it is a sign you do not believe the 
offer. The recompenses of the word do far exceed all temporal emolu 
ment ; if you do not heed them, it is a sign you do not believe them. 
So what will you forbear upon the threatenings of the word ? If there 
were a law made that every time we deceive or slander one another, 
we should hold one of our hands in scalding lead for half an hour, men 
would be afraid of the offence. God hath told us that ' the wa,ges of 
sin is death/ that we shall be plunged for evermore in * the lake that 
burneth with fire and brimstone ; ' and yet it doth not deter us from 
sin, and giving offence to God. If a man were told that he were in 
danger of a cruel death every moment if he did not presently get a 

1 ' Monstra diabolica colebant, ^Egyptiaca uuuc numero vincentia.' Gildas. 


pardon, he would not sleep till it were done. Natural men are in 
danger of hell every moment by the sentence of the word, and yet how 
backward are they to make their peace with God ! 

Obs. 2. The word delivered, implieth a leaving things in another's 
hand by way of trust, and so doth not only note the mercy of God, but 
the duty of the church, to whom ' the oracles of God are committed ' 
to be kept. Whence observe, that God hath delivered the doctrine 
and rule of faith to the church as a public trustee, that it may be kept 
and employed to the uses of the truth. Let us a little see what is the 
church's duty towards the truth. I answer (1.) To publish it to the 
present age. (2.) To keep it and preserve it for ages to come. So 
that to the present age we are witnesses, to the future trustees, Isa. 
xliii. 10. 

1. To publish, own, and defend the truth, by profession and martyr 
dom ; and therefore the church is called ' the pillar and ground of 
truth/ 1 Tim. iii. 15, namely, in respect of men, and as it holdeth it 
forth to the world ; and therefore we ought to hearken to the church's 
testimony till we have better evidence. We do not ultimately resolve 
our faith into the church's authority, for the church's authority is not 
absolute, but ministerial ; as a royal edict doth not receive credit by 
the officer and crier, he only declareth it and publisheth it ; yet the 
church's testimony is not to be neglected, for ' faith cometh by hearing/ 
Kom. x. 14, and this publication of the church is a good preparative 
inducement, John iv. 42. If we would know the truth of a thing, till 
we have experience we go to those that have experience, and ordinarily 
the judgment of others whom we respect and reverence causeth us to 
have a good opinion of a thing till we make trial ourselves : in which 
respect Austin saith, I had never believed the scriptures unless I had 
been moved thereunto by the authority of the church ; 1 as we should 
never have known the king's pleasure unless the messenger had brought 
us his letters. The church hath not power to make and unmake 
scripture at pleasure, but only to communicate and hold forth the 
truth ; and till we have further assurance, is so far to be heard. We 
receive the faith per ecclesiam, by the ministry of the church, though 
not propter ecclesiam, for the authority of the church. 

2. The next office of the church is to preserve the truth, and trans 
mit it pure to the next age. As the law was kept in the ark, so was 
truth delivered to the church to be kept : 1 Tim. i. 11, ' The glorious 
gospel committed to my trust.' There is a trust lieth upon us ; upon 
the apostles first to publish the whole counsel of God, and then upon 
pastors and teachers in all ages to keep it afoot, and upon all believers 
and members of the church to see that after ages be not defrauded of 
this privilege. We are to take care that nothing be added, Deut. iv. 2, 
and xii. 32 ; there is enough ' to make the man of God perfect ; ' 
nothing diminished ; none of the jewels which Christ hath left with 
his spouse must be embezzled ; that it be not corrupted and sophisti 
cated j for we are not only to transmit to the next age the scriptures, 
those faithful records of truth, but also the public explications of the 
church in summaries and confessions must be sound and orthodox, 
lest we entail a prejudice upon those that are yet unborn. Every one 

1 ' Non crederera scripturae nisi me ecclesise moveret auctoritas.' A ug. 


in his place is to see that these things be accomplished. So much for 
the tradition itself. . 

Secondly, Now for the manner, once delivered; that is, once for all, as 
never to be altered and changed ; and when the canon or rule of faith was 
closed up, there was nothing to be added further, as a part of the 
authentic and infallible rule, though the daily necessities of the church 
do call for a further explication. But you will say, You told us but 
now how the word was many times delivered, how then once ? I 
answer The apostle speaketh not of the successive manifestations of 
God's will to prophet after prophet till the Old Testament was per 
fected, but of that common doctrine which the apostles and evangelists 
by one consent had published to the world, and which was now to 
settle into a rule, and so to remain without change till the coming of 
the Lord. Observe, that the doctrine of salvation was but once de 
livered, to remain for ever without variation. Paul chideth them for 
being withdrawn to * another gospel,' Gal. i. 6 ; and Peter telleth them, 
to prevent the reception of feigned oracles, that they had ' a surer 
word of prophecy,' 2 Peter i. 19, a safe rule to trust to ; and Paul 
biddeth Timothy ' continue in the things which he had learned,' 2 Tim. 
iii. 14, 15 ; and our Lord saith, Mat. xxiv., ' This word of the king 
dom shall be preached to all nations/ Now the doctrine of salvation 
is but once delivered (1.) Because all is done so fully and perfectly, 
that nothing can be added ; there is enough to ' make us wise to salva 
tion,' 2 Tim. iii. 15, and what should Christians desire more ? There 
is enough to ' make the man of God perfect/ ver. 17, that is, to furnish 
him with all kind of knowledge for the discharge of his office ; there 
needeth no more ; there is enough to make us wise to preach, and you 
wise to practise ; and it is certain enough that you need not spend 
your time in doubting and disputing ; and it is full enough, you need 
nothing more to satisfy the desires of nature, or to repair the defects 
of nature : here is sufficient instruction to decide all controversies, and 
assoil all doubts, and to give us a sure conduct to everlasting glory. 
(2.) Because this rule can never be destroyed. The word hath often 
been in danger of being lost, but the miracle of its preservation is so 
much the greater. In Josiah's time there was but one copy of the 
law ; in Diocletian's time there was an edict to burn their bibles, and 
copies were then scarce and chargeable ; yet still they were kept, and 
so shall be to the end of the world, for the sacraments must continue 
* till Christ come/ Mat. xxviii. 20, and 1 Cor. xi. 26 ; and the word 
must be preached till we all * grow into a perfect body in Jesus Christ/ 
Eph. iv. 12, 13 ; not only dejure, but de facto, not only it must be so, 
but it shall be so. Well, then, expect not new revelations or dis 
coveries of new truths beside the word, which is the immutable rule 
of salvation : ' Hold fast till I come/ B/ev. ii. 25. Again, it checketh 
them that expect new apostles, endowed with a spirit of infallibility, to 
resolve all doubts and questions. We must give heed to the scriptures, 
' till the day-star arise in our hearts/ that is, till we have full com 
munion with Christ ; for our reward in heaven is expressed by ' the 
morning star : ' Bev. ii. 28, ' To him that overcometh I will give the 
morning star.' Again, it confuteth the Familists, that dream of some 
days of the Spirit, wherein we shall have a greater light than is in the 


scriptures; they fancy the time of the law to be the days of the 
Father, the time of the gospel to be the days of the Son, and the latter 
end of the world to be sceculum Spirilus Sancti (as the Weigelians 
phrase it), the age of the Holy Ghost ; but foolishly, for these are ' the 
last times/ Acts ii. 17, and Heb. i. 1 ; and the Holy Ghost was never 
more gloriously poured out than at Christ's ascension, and greater 
things cannot be revealed to us than ' God in Christ reconciling the 
world/ Lastly, it is for the comfort of the saints that their salvation 
is put into a stated course, and God hath showed you what you must 
do if you would inherit eternal life. 

Thirdly, The next circumstance is the persons to whom it was de 
livered, to the sa ints. It may be understood of the apostles, to whom it was 
delivered to be propagated ; or of the church, to whom it was delivered 
to be kept, and who, in the constant use of scripture, are called saints. 
Observe, that saints are most interested in the acknowledgment, 
propagation, and defence of truth. The Christian faith was delivered 
to saints, and by saints, and none receive it so willingly, and defend it 
so zealously, and keep it so charily and faithfully as they do. (1.) 
The men that the Spirit of God made use of as penmen were ' holy 
men/ specially purified and sanctified for this work : 2 Peter i. 21, 
' Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost ; ' 
and Eph. iii. 5, ' Revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the 
Spirit/ These men were the fittest instruments to beget an external 
repute to the word. Surely they would not do anything for their own 
ends, and obtrude their own inventions upon the world as oracles from 
God. A carnal man's testimony is liable to suspicion. Who would 
count that wholesome that cometh from a leprous hand ? Yea, those 
that were not of eminent sanctity were not fit for such an employment : 
a novel doctrine, such as the gospel seemed to be in the world, needed 
all the advantages that might be, to gain a title and interest in their 
belief ; therefore did the Lord make use of such holy and self-denying 
persons, who expected to gain nothing but ignominy, poverty, afflic 
tions, bonds, death ; these things did abide for them in every city. 
(2.) Holy persons are only fit to preach the faith ; sancta sanctis, holy 
men for holy things ; it is an holy faith, and therefore fit to be managed 
by holy persons, that their hearts may carry a proportion with their 
work: Isa. Iii. 11, 'Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord/ 
The officers that carried the vessels and utensils of the temple out of 
Babylon were to take care of their cleanness. God purified Isaiah 
when he sent him to reprove, Isa. vi. 7, and the priests under the law 
that ministered before the Lord were to wash in the great laver. Re 
generation is the best preparation for the ministry. Others disparage 
their testimony, and bring a reproach upon the gospel. People think 
we must say somewhat for our living, and so give us the hearing, but 
that is all. Oh I think of it, the credit of Christ lieth at stake ; and 
since miracles are ceased, all the external confirmation that we can 
add to the word is by holiness of conversation. The Levites first 
cleansed themselves, and then cleansed the people, Neh. xii. 30. The 
life of a minister is much either to edification or destruction ; they 
take the lesson rather from your lives than your mouths, and by your 
levity or vanity sin cometh to be authorised : in short, either your 


doctrine will make your life blush, or your life will make your doctrine 
blush, and be ashamed. 1 (3.) None are fit publicly to defend the 
truth but the holy ; they speak with more power, as from the heart 
and inward experience, and are more zealous as being more nearly 
concerned. They that partake of God's nature will soonest espouse 
God's cause and quarrel, and their zeal is most pure. Carnal men 
pervert religious differences ; they change the nature of them, turning 
them into a strife of words, or a contention for interests ; matters are 
not managed so purely as when there is conscience on both sides. 
The saints contend best for the saints' faith : ' We can do nothing 
against the truth, but for the truth/ 2 Cor. xiii. 8. Zeal in carnal 
men is like fire in straw, quickly up and quickly down ; but in the 
godly, it is like fire in wood, longer kept : * Wisdom is justified of her 
children,' Mat. xi. 19 ; they are fittest to interpose. Again, false zeal 
is most passionate, without pity and meekness ; but the flame is most 
pure and bright in a holy heart, which is subdued to the power of 
truth. (4.) None receive the truth so willingly as the saints do. 
Holy persons can best understand what was written by holy men, they 
pierce into it more deeply ; as iron that is red hot runneth further into 
the board than a sharp tool that is cold. God unbosometh himself to 
his familiars, Ps. xxv. 14 ; John vii. 17. Holy hearts are not clouded 
with the mists of lusts and interests. Where there is purity there is 
brightness ; [JLOV /cdOapa-is e'AAayu/vJri? (Nazi. Orat. ut memini 40) ; 
the mind being separated from gross things, is fitted for the reception 
of spiritual mysteries. Paul saw most of God when he was blind to 
the world ; the heart being taken off from the world, is erected to 
things supernatural and of a higher cognisance. (5.) None retain 
the truth more firmly than the saints do. Manna was kept in a golden 
vessel, and so is truth in a pure soul : 1 Tim. iii. 9, ' Holding the 
mystery of faith in a pure conscience.' Holiness doth not blunt the 
wit, but sharpen ; none have a worse spiritual sight than they that 
lack grace, 2 Peter i. 9. An unclean vessel soureth the liquor that is 
put into it ; so doth a carnal heart pervert the faith and taint the 
judgment. Let a man once be given up to some great lust, and you 
shall soon find him to be given up to some roaring error also ; and 
when once they come to ' make shipwreck of a good conscience/ they 
do not long hold the faith that was once given to the saints, for grace 
and truth always thrive together. 

I come now to the main observation that is to be drawn from these 

Doct. That it is the duty of Christians in times of error and seduce- 
ment to contend earnestly for the faith once given to the saints. It 
is their duty at all times, but then especially (1.) That we may not 
discredit ourselves and the truth. (2.) That we may not hazard our 
selves and the truth. 

1. Let me first speak to the discredit, and there I shall show (1.) 
That truth is honoured by a bold and resolute defence of it. We are 
not ashamed of it, though it be questioned and scorned in the world : 
Mat. xi. 19, * Wisdom is justified of her children.' Neither John's 

1 * Erubescit quamvis prseclara doctrina quam propria reprehandit conscientia.' 
Hieron. in Epitaph. Marcellce. 

VOL. V. H. 


doctrine nor Christ's doctrine would relish with the world, yet some 
had a reverent opinion of it for all that : Ps. cxix. 126, 127, * They 
make void thy law, therefore I love it above pure gold.' In times of 
defection our love to God and the ways of God should be the greater ; 
as fountain water is hottest in coldest weather. It was an honour to 
the Christian religion that the primitive professors were glad of an 
occasion to die for it, 1 and the more it was despised and persecuted, 
the more did they own it ; falsehoods cannot endure the brunt of oppo 
sition. (2.) That we may not dishonour ourselves, and discredit our own 
profession. He is but an ill servant of Christ that will not serve him when 
' the Lord hath need of him ;' when God distinguisheth sides, and crieth 
out, ' Who is of my side, who ? ' Exod. xxxii. 26. Times of error and 
seducement are searching, trying times. Light chaff is carried about 
with every wind, but the solid grain lieth still upon the ground : ' The 
approved are made manifest,' 1 Cor. xi. 19. There is a time not only 
to show love, but valour : Jer. ix. 3, ' They are not valiant for the truth 
upon the earth.' To be valiant for truth is to defend it in time of 
opposition, and to sparkle so much the more in a holy zeal because 
they pervert the right ways of the Lord. A Christian must have a 
heart as well as a liver ; not only love the truth, but contend for it, and 
the more earnestly the more it is opposed. The apostle saith that a 
bishop must ' hold fast the word of truth,' Titus i. 9, avre^o^evov. 
The word signifieth a holding it fast against a contrary force ; as when 
a man seeketh to wrest a staff out of another's hand, he holdeth it the 

2. The next reason is, that we may not endanger and hazard our 
selves and the truth. (1.) That we may not endanger ourselves. It 
is good to be able to defend religion when it is questioned ; ignorant, 
secure, and careless spirits will certainly miscarry. Present truths and 
present errors have an aspect upon our interests ; we must determine 
one way or another. Now how easily are they carried away with inter 
ests that have no principles, no I&LOV a-rijpiyfjiov, 2 Peter iii. 17, no 
proper ballast in their own spirits ! Therefore let us strive to know 
the truth, to own the truth in a time of trial ; it is needful. All errors 
and heresies are but men's natural thoughts gotten into some valuable 
opinion, because backed with the defences of wit and parts. What are all 
the learned disputes against the truth, but the props of those vulgar mis- 
prisions and gross conceits that are in the heart of every natural and 
ignorant man ? We have all a heretic in our bosoms, and are by nature 
prepared to drink in all kinds of errors and lies, and therefore we are said, 
Ps. Iviii. 3, to ' speak lies from the womb,' because these things are in 
our natures. We are born Pelagians, and Libertines, and Papists. 2 
As in the new nature there is a cognation and proportion between us 
and truth, so in the old nature there is an inclination to all manner of 
errors. Luther saith, Every man is born with a pope in his belly. 
And Mr Greenham hath a saying, that if all errors, and the memorials 
of them, were annihilated by the absolute power of God, so that there 
should not the least remembrance of them remain, yet there is enough 

1 ' Quid ergo malum in Christiana religione, cujus reus gaudet, accusatio votum est, 
et poena felicitas.' Tertul. 

2 ' Pelagiani omnes nascimur et cum supercilio pharisaico.' Spanheim. 


in the heart of one man to revive them again the next day. Certainly 
whatever is suggested from without doth very well suit with the carnal 
thoughts that are in our own bosoms. Look upon any error or blasphemy 
that is broached in the world, and you will find it true. Is atheism 
vented ? 'The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God,' Ps. xiv. 1. 
Gentilism, or the doctrine of many gods ? So do we set up many gods ; 
whatever we fear or love, that we worship : ' Whose god is the belly/ 
Phil. iii. 19. Every man naturally is a pagan and idolater. Pelagian 
tenets, wherein original sin is denied, are natural. Common people 
think they had ever a good heart towards God : ' All these have I kept 
from my youth/ Mat. xix. 20. Chance and fortune, in a contradiction 
to God's decrees, are a man's natural opinions. So the doctrine of 
works and merit is in every man's heart. What question more rife, 
when we begin to be serious, than ' What shall I do ?' A ceremonious 
ritual religion is very pleasing to carnal sense ; conjectural persuasions 
is but a more handsome word for the thoughts of ignorant persons ; 
they say they cannot be assured, but they hope well. Doctrines of 
liberty are very suitable also to corrupt nature : ' Cast away the cords/ 
Ps. ii. ; and ' Who is lord over us ?' Ps. xii. 4. Nay, all sins are rooted 
in some error of judgment, and therefore they are called ' errors/ Ps. 
xix. 12. Well, then, for our own caution we had need stand for the 
truth, because error is so suitable to our thoughts ; now when it spreadeth 
further, it is suitable also to our interests, and then we are in great 
danger of being overset. (2.) That we may not hazard the truth. 
When errors go away without control, it is a mighty prejudice both 
to the present and the next age : * The dwellers upon earth' rejoiced 
when God's witnesses were under hatches, and there was none to contest 
with them, Rev. xi. 10. Fools must be answered, or else they will grow 
* wise in their own conceit/ Prov. xxvi. 4, 5. Error is of a spreading, 
growing nature, therefore it is not good to retreat and retire into our 
own cells from the heat and burden of the day ; let us stand in the 
gap and make resistance as God giveth ability. Two motives will 
enforce this reason : (1.) The preciousness of truth: 'Buy the truth 
and sell it not/ It is a commodity that should be bought at any rate, 
but sold by no means, for the world cannot bid an answerable price for 
it. Christ thought it worthy his blood to purchase the gospel ; by 
offering up himself he not only procured the comfort of the gospel, but 
the very publication of the gospel ; therefore we should reckon it among 
our treasures and choicest privileges, and not easily let it go, lest we 
seem to have cheap thoughts of Christ's blood. (2.) The trust that is 
reposed in us for the next age, that is an obligation to faithfulness. 
We are not only to look to ourselves, but to posterity, to that doctrine 
which is transmitted to them ; one generation teacheth another. And 
as we leave them laws and other national privileges, so it would be sad 
if we should not be as careful to leave them the gospel : ' Our fathers 
told us what thou didst in their days/ Ps. xliv. 1. Every age is to 
consider of the next, lest we entail a prejudice upon them against the 
truth. What cometh from forefathers is usually received with rever 
ence : ' A vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers/ 
1 Peter i. 18. If you be not careful you may sin after you are dead ; 
our errors and evil practices being continued and kept afoot by pos- 


terity. All the world had been lost in error and profaneness, if God 
had not stirred up in every age some faithful witnesses to keep up the 
memory of truth. There is in man a natural desire to do his posterity 
good ; love is descensive. Oh ! consider, how shall the children that 
are yet unborn come to the knowledge of the purity of religion, with 
out some public monument or care on your part to leave religion un- 
defiled ? Antichrist had never prevailed so much if men had thought 
of after ages ; they slept, and unwarily yielded to encroachment after 
encroachment, until religion began to degenerate into a fond supersti 
tion, or bundle of pompous and idle ceremonies ; and now we see how 
hard it is to wean men from these things, because they have flowed 
down to them in the stream of succession, and challenge the authority 
and prescription of ancient customs. Look, as sometimes the ancestor's 
guilt is measured into the bosom of posterity, because they continued 
in their practices, Mat. xxiii. 35, * That upon you may come all the 
righteous blood/ &c. ; so many times the miscarriages of posterity may 
justly be imputed to us, because they shipwrecked themselves upon our 
example : ' The fathers ate sour grapes, and the children's teeth are 
set on edge/ Well, then, let us perform the part of faithful trustees, 
and keep the doctrine of salvation, as much as in us lieth, pure and 

Use. It presseth us to this earnestness of contention and zeal for 
the truths of God. We live in a frozen age> and cursed indifferency 
hath done a great deal of mischief. Christians ! is error grown less 
dangerous, or the truth of religion more doubtful ? Is there nothing 
certain and worth contention, or are we afraid to meddle with such as 
shroud themselves under the glorious name of saints ? We will not 
oppose saints, and so let the * truth' go that was given to the saints, 
to be kept by them. Oh ! my brethren, Paul withstood Peter to the 
face when truth was like to suffer, Gal. ii. 11. So should we with 
stand them to the face rather than make such sad work for the next 
age, and leave our poor babes to the danger of error and seduction. 
What is become of our zeal ? ' There is none valiant for the truth 
upon the earth.' Prejudices and interests blind men so that they can 
not see what they see, and are afraid to be zealous, lest they should 
be accounted bitter. We have been jangling about discipline, and 
now doctrine itself is like to escape us. In the name of God let us 
look about us. Are there not crafty thieves abroad that would steal 
away our best treasure, and in the midst of the scuffle cheat us and 
our posterity of the gospel itself. We have been railing at one another 
for lesser differences, and now we begin to be ashamed of it. 
Satan hopeth that error and blasphemy itself shall go scot-free. Ah ! 
my brethren, it is time to awake out of sleep. Whilst we have slept 
the enemy hath come and sotvn tares. What a tattered religion shall 
we transmit to ages to come; if there be not a timely remedy ! To 
help you I shall show : 

1. What we must contend for. 

2. Who must contend, and in what manner. 

1. What we must contend for. For every truth of God, accord 
ing to its moment and weight. The dust of gold is precious ; and it 
is dangerous to be careless in the lesser truths : ' Whosoever shall 


break the least of the commandments, and teach men so to do,' &c., 
Mat. v. 19. There is nothing superfluous in the canon. The Spirit 
of God is wise, and would not burden us with things unnecessary. 
Things comparatively little may be great in their own sphere, espe 
cially in their season, when they are the truths of the present age, and 
now brought forth by God upon the stage of the world, that we may 
study his mind in them. Better heaven and earth should be blended 
together in confusion, saith Luther, than one dust of God's truth 
should perish. 1 If the Lord call us out to the defence of them, what 
ever cometh of it we must be faithful. A man may make shipwreck 
of a good conscience in small matters. Say not, * It is a little one, and 
my soul shall live.' Hearken to Satan, and this will be a little one, 
and that shall be a little one, till we have littled away all the prin 
ciples of faith. I tell you, the world hath counted those small things 
for which the children of God have ventured their all. It is your 
duty to ' take the little foxes/ Cant. ii. 15. The first appearances of 
error are many times modest. There is a chain of truths ; the devil 
taketh out a link here and a link there, that all may fall to pieces. 
See 2 Thes. ii. 2, ' Let no man deceive you with such doctrine as that 
the day of Christ is at hand.' Why ? They might say there is no 
great danger in that. Peter saith, ' The end of all things draweth 
nigh/ 1 Peter iv. 7. The seducers said, &ecrn?/t^ it ' is at hand ;' and 
Peter saith, ^yywee, ' it draweth nigh/ Here is no great difference. 
Ay ! but be not shaken in mind, saith Paul, ' neither by letter nor by 
word nor by spirit, as if the day of the Lord were at hand;' that is, 
take heed of such suggestions, under what pretence soever they are 
brought to you, either of revelations or collections from my doctrine ; 
it is all a falsehood. Why is Paul so earnest ? Because Satan had 
an aim to make them look for the sudden coming of Christ, which not 
happening accordingly, to make them fall a-questioning all the truths 
of God. 2 So Gen. iii. 3, ' Ye shall not eat nor touch lest ye die/ 
That was Satan's repetition. Whereas God had said, Gen. ii. 17, 
* Thou shalt surely die.' No great difference, but Satan got a great 
deal of advantage by it. Therefore be not ' ignorant of Satan's de 
vices.' The Council of Nice would not gratify Arius in a letter, 3 and 
Nestorius in a letter. 4 The lesser truths are not to be slighted in 
their time and place ; they deserve an earnest contention. The mar 
tyrs were not foolish nor prodigal of their lives ; they knew what they 
did when they durst not give place for a moment. 

All this is not spoken to justify undue rigours, such as are without 
any temper of Christian moderation, or those frivolous controversies 
about trifles, such as have no foundation in the word ; as about the 
observance of Easter between the eastern and western churches, which 
difference grew so high that they excommunicated each other ; or about 
celebrating the Lord's Supper with leavened or unleavened bread ; or 
the fierce bickerings between Chrysostom and Epiphanius about Origen's 

1 ' Potius ruat cesium quam pereat una mica veritatis.' Luther. 

2 ' Ne forte cum transisset tempus quo eum credebant esse venturum, et venisse non 
cernerent, etiarn csetera fallaciter sibi promitti arbitrantes et de ipsa mercede fidei des- 

6/uoioiVtos. * 9eo56xs and 0eor6/cos. 


books, set on by Theophilus, in pursuit of which many were slain, the 
senate house pulled down, and the great church at Constantinople 
set on fire ; nor to justify mere verbal strifes about ' words and names/ 
forbidden by the apostle, 2 Tim. ii. 14 ; 1 Tim. vi. 4. Vainglorious 
men, if they can get but a different method of expression, cry, No new 
light, and so there is a great deal of noise stirred up about a mistake. 
Nor to justify the breaking of church fellowship and communion, and 
making rents in the body of Christ, because of difference of opinion in 
smaller matters, when we agree in the more weighty things. We are 
to ' walk together as far as we are agreed,' Phil. iii. 16 ; and externals 
wherein we differ, lying far from the heart of religion, are nothing to 
faith and the new creature, wherein we agree, Gal. v. 6, and vi. 15. 
The most weight should be pitched upon the fundamentals and essen 
tials of religion ; and when there is an agreement there, private dif 
ferences in smaller matters should not make us break off from one 
another. False zeal is unevenly carried out to these lower things, both 
in opinion and practice ; and usually young professors are eager upon 
disputes, impatient of contradiction, and lay out all their strength this 
way, to excuse their care in the more weighty matters of Christianity ; 
whereas ' the kingdom of God doth not stand in meat and drink, but 
in peace and righteousness and joy in the Holy Ghost/ Kom. xiv. 17. 
The itch of disputing and zeal for an opinion, rather than religion in 
the main, are bad characters. Again, when men, though in the right, 
think there is no religion or holiness but w r ithin the compass of such an 
opinion, this is censorious rigour, or to be * righteous over-much/ 
Eccles. vii. 17 ; or when a lesser dissent is loaded with all the odious 
consequences that you can fancy in your thoughts, though disclaimed 
by the party dissenting ; when Eloi is turned into Elias, and things 
are perverted by a misinterpretation, as Christ's words were, John ii. 
19, compared with Mat. xxvi. 61 ; briefly, when men upon every 
small occasion draw all things to extremity, and break out into con 
tumely, revilings, persecution, biting and devouring one another, 1 it is 
not zeal, but fierceness and brutish immoderation. Therefore, all this 
excepted, it standeth us upon to be zealous even to sufferings for the 
lesser truths, that we may prevent the further encroachments of Satan, 
and antichrist, his eldest son, upon the liberties and privileges of the 

But now, besides the lesser things, there are fundamentals and 
essentials in religion, which challenge the choicest of our care and 
zeal, that they may be kept entire and without violation ; the igno 
rance of them is damnable, and the denial heretical : to determine 
what they are is an undertaking of great concernment to the Christian 
world, but of too high a nature for the present exercise. I shall only 
mention a few points which seem to be ev TrpwroKf, matters concerning 
the foundation ; as the creation of the world by God in six days out of 
nothing, God's providence, man's misery by sin, deliverance by Christ, 
the necessity of the new creature, the resurrection of the dead, and the 
everlasting recompenses. These are points of the greatest moment, 

1 As Rivet said of Montague, 'Non potest ille quenquam a quo dissentit vel in levissi- 
inis sine convitiis nominare.' Riveti Apol. pro Sanctissima Virglne Maria . 


though I cannot but say that others also are fundamental ; l but these 
come to mind as being of the most practical concernment. 

2. Who must strive, and in what manner. I answer All in their 
place, and in that way that is proper to them. 

[1.] Private Christians must have a share in this holy contention ; their 
duty is partly (1.) To search out the truth, that they may not fight blind 
fold, or by an unhappy mistake lavish out their zeal upon fancies which 
they affect, or ordinances and doctrines of men. People are never so 
furious as when they have least ground and reason for what they assert ; 
yea, and error never prevaileth so much as when Christians are all flame 
and affection without judgment, and do not understand the reasons of 
that religion which they do profess. See 1 Peter iii. 15, ' A reason of 
the hope that is in you ;' and 2 Peter iii. 17, i&iov ffTrjpiy/jLov, ' their own 
steadfastness ;' that is, such a steadfastness as doth arise from solid 
grounds in their own hearts, and not merely from the consent of others. 
(2.) To own the profession of the truth, whatever it cost them. I say, 
it is their duty to own the profession of the truth ; for the public own 
ing of the people it is a great let and restraint to tyranny, and such 
innovations as otherwise a carnal magistrate would introduce into the 
church by force and power. See Acts iv. 21, they let them go because 
of the people ; so Mat. xiv. 5, and xxi. 46. And again, I say they 
must own it whatever it cost them, for zealous defences are a great 
honour to the truth. The disputations of the doctors do not commend 
it to the world so much as the death of the martyrs ; and therefore, 
though you cannot dispute for the truth, yet you should die for the 
truth : ' Ye have not yet resisted unto blood/ &c., Heb. xii. 4. We 
cannot be at too much cost to preserve so precious a treasure to pos 
terity. And here even women may put in a share ; they have lives to 
sacrifice upon the interest of the truth, and usually they do not fall 
in vain. 2 (3.) To honour the truth by their conversations : there are 
heretical manners as well as heretical doctrines ; and- there are many 
that are otherwise of an orthodox belief, yet make others sectaries and 
disciples of their vices : some live atheism ; there are Antinomians in 
practice ; an apostate is a practical Arminian. Therefore Christians 
are called to * hold forth the word of life ' in their conversations, Phil, 
ii. 16 ; and to ' make the doctrine of God the Saviour comely/ Titus 
ii. 10, by glorifying God in that course of life to which they are dis 
posed. To preach and write for the truth doth not honour it so much 
as to ' walk in the truth/ 3 John 4 ; and the life is a better witness of 
the reality of religion than the tongue. 3 (4.) To comprise all in a few 
words, whatever maketh for the truth, either with God or men, all 
that must the people do : ' We can do nothing against the truth, but 
for the truth/ saith Paul, 2 Cor. xiii. 8. To God you must pray, that 
he would send forth not only labourers, but champions, Mat. ix. 38 ; 
not only such as can handle the trowel, but the sword in the battles of 

1 There are divers other fundamentals of the highest nature, as the mystery of the 
Trinity, into which we are baptized, the union of the two natures in the person of Christ, 
that the scriptures are the word of God, &c. 

2 ' Ipsae fceminse sunt nobiscum in eadem confessionis gloria constitutae.' Cyp. Mart. 
* Cum triumphantibus viris et foeminse veniunt, quae cum bteculo dimicantea sexum 
quoque vicerunt.' Cyp. Serm. de Lapsis. 

3 ' Efficacius eat vitse quam linguae testimonium. ' Bernard. 


the church. To men, you are to quicken those that have gifts to look 
to their duty in this kind : l ' Say to Archippus, Take heed to thy 
ministry which thou hast received in the Lord,' Col. iv. 17. Many 
may be stirred up by your exhortations, that otherwise would lie use 
less in idleness and privacy : in the battle the trumpeter hath his use 
as well as the soldier. Neither are they to be admonished only, but 
assisted ; and by that means you have an interest in the glory of the 
work : 3 John 8, ' We ought to receive such, that we may be fellow- 
helpers to the truth ;' avvep^oi, co-workers ; your helping hand is to 
the action, and God will not be unmindful of it : yea, if you bear any 
part of the toil, by performing any labour of love to them, it shall 
turn to a good account in the day of the Lord. Hezekiah's servants 
did but copy out the proverbs, and it is mentioned to their praise, 
Prov. xxv. 1. All this may be done by persons of a private gift and 

[2.] There is something that the magistrate may do : ' He is the 
minister of God for good,' Rom. xiii. 4 ; not only for good civil, but 
spiritual ; and therefore doth the apostle bid us pray for them, that 
they may be keepers of both the tables : 1 Tim. ii. 2, ' That we may 
lead a quiet life under them, in all godliness and honesty.' Heathens 
have asserted, that it belongeth to the magistrates' duty chiefly to 
look after matters of religion ; 2 much more is it evident by the light 
of Christianity. The kings of the Old Testament are commended for 
their zeal in this kind ; and in the times of the gospel it is prophesied 
that 'kings shall be the church's nursing fathers, and queens her 
nursing mothers/ Isa. xlix. 23, which they cannot be if they suffer 
poison to be given to God's little ones without any let and restraint. 
It is a clear truth that if a man give up himself to Christ, he is to 
give up himself to him in every relation ; his wit, wealth, parts, autho 
rity, all to be laid out for the use and service of Christ : he that doth 
not give up all, giveth nothing ; we are to be Christ's in every capacity. 
Therefore a magistrate as a magistrate must not only countenance 
religion, but also discountenance error, and hinder -the spreading of it 
within his charge. It is by Christ that ' kings reign,' Prov. viii. 15, 
from him they received their power, and to him must they give an 
account of the exercise of it in the great day of recompenses ; there 
fore they are bidden to * be wise and to kiss the Son,' Ps. ii. 10-12, 
which certainly noteth more than a negative act or not opposing : 
there must be something positive, a zealous defence of the truth in 
their way, or else God will reckon with them. Those Gallios that are 
indifferent to Christ and antichrist cannot expect a long and happy 
reign. I cannot see how they can be true to civil interest unless they 
be careful for the suppression of error ; for when false doctrines are 
freely vented, it is to be supposed they will find a general reception, 
for the most are the worst ; and then, when the generality of a nation 
are corrupted, national judgments will not long be kept off, the whole 
body is sure to smart for it ; for, as the Jewish proverb is, two dry 

1 ' Gladiatores perfectissimos non tantum magistri et prseposifci sui, sed etiam idiotae 
et supervacui quique adhortantur de longinquo, ut ssepe ab ipso populo dictata suggesta 
profuerint.' Tertul ad Mart. 

2 ' T6 irepl Otiov <?7rt/fXeta, ' &c.Arist. Polit., lib. vii. cap. 8. 


sticks will set a green one on fire. Besides that error is masterly and 
bloody, and loveth to give law ; therefore, ere it be too late, they should 
look to the civil peace, for if men be quiet, God will not, when 
his honour and truth and worship is neglected. But of this more 

[3.] Ministers are to contend for the truth, for by their office and 
station in the church they are captains of the people in this war 
against Satan and his adherents ; therefore it is required of them that 
they should be able to handle the sword and the trowel ; not only to 
' exhort by sound doctrine/ but to ' convince the gainsayers/ Titus i. 9. 
These are iria-TOi avdpcoiroi, 2 Tim. ii. 2, * The faithful men/ the 
feoffees in trust, to whom truth is committed ; they are the salt of the 
earth, Mat. v. 13, those that must season the world with gracious 
principles ; therefore they must above all others labour in the defence 
of the truth, otherwise they are compared to ' dumb dogs that bark 
not' when the thieves come to steal away the treasure, Isa. Ivi. 10, 11. 
Now ministers must contend, partly by preaching, warning the people 
of the wolves that are abroad, Acts xx. 29 ; partly by disputing, Acts 
xv. 2, and xviii. 28, that by the knocking of flints light may fly out, 
and that truth may beat its enemy hand to hand in the open field ; 
and partly by writing, x for many times disputes are carried on with 
so much tumult and popular noise, that truth is lost in the crowd ; 
besides, by this means we are a help to posterity, that, together with 
the poison, the antidote may be transmitted to them. 

Ver. 4. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were 
before of old ordained to this condemnation ; ungodly men, turning 
the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord 
God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Jude having made way into their affections by a salutation, which, 
according to the wont of the apostles, breatheth out spiritual and 
heavenly wishes for their good, he doth in the third verse exhort and 
engage them to a constant defence of the truth ; and now the neces 
sity or occasion of such an exhortation is declared, namely, because false 
teachers were got abroad, and had slyly taken up the general name 
and profession of Christians ; therefore in faithfulness he could not 
choose but warn them of the danger. 

The whole epistle is spent in the description of heretics, their sins 
and punishments. In this verse they are described by four things : 
(1.) By their entrance into the church, certain men crept in unawares. 
(2.) By their condition before God, who were before of old ordained 
to this condemnation. (3.) By the disposition of their spirits, ungodly 
men. (4.) By the course of their doctrines and conversations; where 
two things are charged upon them : (1st.) Abusing the gospel, turn 
ing the grace of our Lord into lasciviousness. (2d.) Denying Jesus 
Christ in his nature and offices, denying the only Lord God, and our 
Lord Jesus Christ. 

First, Let us begin with the description of their entrance into the 
church, there are certain men crept in unawares. Some say they 

1 ' Alternis vicibus contentioso f une uterque diem in vesperam traximus, obstrepenti- 
bus etiam quibusdam spectantibus, singulorum nubilo quodam veritatis obumbrabatur.' 
Tertul. contra Judceos. 


are not named, as not being worthy, or rather, it not being necessary, 
they being so plainly described ; and indeed it is usual with apostles, 
who rather dealt against things than persons, to suppress the name, 
and describe the error or sin. But what is the meaning of this first 
thing laid to their charge, ' they crept in unawares' ? I answer : 

1. It may imply their entrance into the church under a colour and 
show of profession. Wicked men may creep into the best church ; God 
permitteth it not only for their own hardening, but for our trouble and 
trial. Paul complaineth of 'false brethren privily brought in to spy 
out their liberty/ Gal. ii. 4; and the adversaries of Jerusalem, said, 
Ezra iv. 1, * Let us build with you, for we seek your God as ye do ;' 
but it was with an intent to hinder the work : so Simon Magus got to 
be baptized, Acts viii., as thieves seek to be entertained in the house, 
that they may have the more opportunity to work mischief whilst the 
good-man is asleep. Learn hence to be more watchful in admissions 
to the church : no perils so great as those occasioned by false brethren. 
We think to fill the church, but we do but fill the house with thieves : 
wicked men ever prove a trouble. It is an easy matter to fill the 
church by remitting the rigour and severity of discipline ; but heaven 
is never the fuller, but the emptier, for wicked men are hardened and 
confirmed in their own security; and the church never fareth the 
better, 1 it loseth in strength what it gets in breadth, as a river doth, 
and zeal is lessened the more the number is increased : yea, wicked men 
usually prove a trouble, and we come to wish afterward we had been 
more strict. It is said, Acts v. 13, 14, ' Of the rest durst no man join 
himself unto them, but the people magnified them, and believers were 
the more added unto the Lord, multitudes both of men and women/ 
It is spoken upon the occasion of the sudden death of Ananias and 
Sapphira ; it terrified the hypocrites, but brought in more sound 
believers ; for ' of the rest durst no man join,' that is, of such as 
Ananias and Sapphira were, believers in show, but carnal in heart ; 
they saw it was not dallying with God in such matters. Just so when 
the church keep a strait hand, hypocrites dare not join, but sound 
believers will the sooner, and then the church, though it be a lesser 
body, it is more sound, healthy, and active. But what rule must we 
go by ? we must go by outward and general profession. I answer 
This place will give us some direction. As far as we can discern men, 
so far may we judge of them ; for the entrance of these men is here 
declared to be clancular and surreptitious : if the church had known 
them, or looked to them so warily as it should, the mischief had 
been prevented. Bellarmine 2 himself confesseth, that the intention 
of the church is only to gather believers into a body, and if it knew 
the wicked and unbelieving, it would either not admit them, or being 
admitted by chance, it would cast them out. It is good to be strict, 
lest by promiscuous admissions we bring in such a mischief to the 
church as we cannot easily get rid of. 

1 ' Multiplicatis fidei populis fides imminuta esfc, et crescentibus filiis mater aegrotat, 
quantum copise accessit, tantum discipline recessit, inaudito genere processus et recessus, 
crescens simul et decrescens.' Salvian de Gubernat. 

2 ' Ecclesia ex intentione fideles tantum colligit, et si nosset impios et incredulos, eoa 
aut nunquam admitteret, aut casu admissos excluderet.' Bellar. de EccL, vi. c. 10. 


2. It may note their intrusion or invasion of the office of preaching ; 
presuming without a warrant, or coming into the fold not by the door, 
in the regular established way, false teachers usually running unsent ; 
it is often charged upon them in the scriptures : none so prone to 
errors as those that have a defect in their calling. Christ, when he 
prayeth for a blessing on the apostles' labours, he useth that as an 
argument, John xvii. 18, ' I have sent them into the world.' They 
that are loath to submit their gifts to public approbation draw a just 
suspicion upon themselves. How came they to you ? did they creep 
in ? or were they solemnly admitted ? When elements are out of their 
place they breed confusion. When men are out of their place they 
are not a blessing but a mischief to the church. 

3. The two former senses may be allowed, but I rather prefer a 
third ; their creeping into the people's hearts and affections by plaus 
ible pretences and insinuations, instilling their errors drop by drop 
before they could be observed, and pretending themselves to be friends 
of truth and piety. I do prefer this sense, partly because he saith 
only crept in, without mentioning either church or office ; but chiefly 
because this epistle is but the abridgment of the second epistle of 
Peter, as will easily appear to those that do compare them. Now, 
there it is said, 2 Peter ii. 1, ' They shall privily bring in dam 
nable heresies, denying the Lord that bought them.' From this 
sense observe That false teachers use to varnish over and mask the 
face of error with plausible pretences, that unawares we may take it 
into our bosoms. The apostle speaketh of their ' sleights and cunning 
craftiness,' Eph. iv. 14. Their sleights and pretences are many ; I shall 
touch upon a few. (1.) Sometimes greater strictness: Col. ii. 18, 
' Which things have a show of wisdom, and neglect of the body ; ' 
rigorous observances and outward mortifications, as the Papists do. 
(2.) Special meekness : ' Kavening wolves in sheep's clothing/ Mat. 
vii. 15, as if they were all for love and kindness. 1 Absalom stole away 
the people's hearts by this artifice, 2 Sam. xv. 2. (3.) Higher gospel 
strains ; therefore doth Paul speak so much against the ' other gospel,' 
Gal. i. 3, and the ' other Jesus,' 2 Cor. xi. 4, namely, such a one as 
they had set up. (4.) Self-denial ; as some false teachers at Corinth 
would take no maintenance to disgrace Paul, see 2 Cor. xi. 12, &c. ; this 
was their glorying, that they would preach freely ; and whereas they 
contributed to the relief of Paul, to them it needed not. (5.) Greater 
learning, and notions of a newer and more sublime strain : ' Oppositions 
of science falsely so called,' 1 Tim. vi. 20, Platonic speculations, un 
grounded subtleties. (6.) Greater favour and liberty to nature : * They 
promise liberty, and allure through the lusts of the flesh,' 2 Peter ii. 
18, representing the faithful ministers of Christ as envying the con 
tentment of your natures, and burdening you with exactions too 
rigorous ; therefore the apostle saith, ' I am afraid lest any through 
subtlety beguile you, as the devil did Eve,' 2 Cor. xi. 3. How was 
that ? I answer By insinuating a kind of envy in God, as if he did 
begrudge them the perfection and freedom of their natures : Gen. iii. 
5, ' God knoweth that your eyes shall be opened/ &c. So they think 

1 Sic Sisinnius Novatianorum Episcopus ; apud Vedelium in Prud. veteris Eccksice in 
Prol c. 3, 4. 


others are too strict, and lay too many restraints upon your carnal de 
sires, and by this means allure many loose and unstable souls. (7.) 
Many times pretending the defence of that truth which they secretly 
impugn ; as Pelagius talked altogether of grace, and Faustus Rhegien- 
sis, pretending to oppose the Pelagians, did but more covertly own 
their cause. 1 

Uses of this point are divers. (1.) For information ; it showeth us 
the reason why we cannot set down the precise beginning of errors, 
because they are privily brought in. Mystery is written in the whore's 
forehead, Kev. xvii. 5 ; the leak is not espied many times, though the 
ship be ready to sink. The originals of heresy are like the fountain of 
Nile, obscure and hidden ; a man may lose himself in the labyrinth 
of antiquity before he can find them out. The Eoman apostasy is a 
mystery of iniquity, that stole into the church disguised and by degrees, 2 
so that the beginning of it is not so easily stated as of other heresies 
that are full grown at their first appearance. (2.) It informeth us of 
the odiousness of error ; it dareth not appear in its own colours, nor 
be seen in its own face ; therefore Satan, when he would set any error 
on foot, he maketh choice of the most subtle instruments, that they 
may put a varnish upon it ; as when he tempted Eve, he made use of the 
serpent, 'the most subtle of all the beasts of the field/ Gen. iii. 1, whereas 
the Lord chooseth the plainest instruments, and hath commanded them 
to use ' all simplicity and godly sincerity,' 2 Cor. i. 12, for truth is so 
lovely in itself, that it needeth no borrowed colours. (3.) It informeth 
us what reason those that are over you in the Lord have to press you 
to caution; excuse their 'holy jealousy,' 2 Cor. xi. 2, all is but need. 
We must bark when we see a wolf, though in a sheep's garment ; our 
silence and negligence doth but give them an advantage : ' Whilst 
the husbandman slept, the enemy came and sowed tares/ Mat. xiii. 25. 
(4.) It presseth you to skill and watchfulness ; you had need be sound 
in the faith, that you may discern between good and evil, yea, to ' have 
your senses exercised/ Heb. v. 15. A soft credulity is soon abused : 
Prov. xiv. 15, ' The simple believeth every word/ There is no reason 
but knowledge should cost us pains as well as gracious conversation. 
It is a matter of great skill to be a thorough Christian ; there is a great 
deal of sophistry and cunning about. If you follow the cry, you are 
in danger of engaging in a confederacy against God ; if you stick to 
received customs, there may be error there too. If you run after every 
novelist on the other hand, you will soon be led into the bogs of error 
and profaneness ; therefore go to him for direction that hath the trea 
sures of wisdom and knowledge. But you need not only skill, but 
care and watchfulness. It is not good to drink too freely of suspected 
fountains ; let not your affections surprise your judgment ; we admire 
the persons, the gifts, and so easily swallow the doctrine : ' Try the 
spirits,' 1 John iv. 1 ; 1 Thes. v. 21. When there is counterfeit gold 
abroad, we use the touchstone. Truth loseth nothing by being tried, 
and you lose nothing, for then your affections are better grounded : 

1 Faustus Rhegiensis dum captiose videri vellet pugnare contra Pelagianos, compertus 
fuit Pelagio favens. Isiodor. 

2 See the reverend and learned Dr Usher's Answer to the Jesuit's Challenge. 


* Prove all things.' No man is infallible ; an implicit faith begets but 
a fond affection. 

Secondly, These seducers are described by their condition before 
God, wJio ivere before of old ordained to this condemnation, TraXcu, of 
old, that is, from all eternity, for so the matter here spoken of imports ; 
Trpoyeypa/ji^evoi, we translate it before ordained, but the word signifieth 
written as in a book ; it is usual in scripture to compare God's decrees 
to a book ; as Christ, alleging God's decree for his mission into the 
world, saith, Ps. xl. 8, ' In the volume of thy book it is written of me/ 
The meaning of the metaphor is to show that these decrees are as 
certain and determinate as if he had a book wherein to write them. 
Now, these are said to be ' written before of old,' to show, that though 
they crept in unawares as to the church, yet not as to God; they fell 
under the notice of his decrees before ever they acted in this evil way. 
It is further added, that they were ordained or written down in God's 
book, et? /cpljiia, 'for judgment' or 'condemnation;' the word is in 
different to either sense, for tcpl^a is often put for KaraKpl^a ; thus it 
is to be taken here for condemnation, appeareth by that place of Peter, 
atpecret? TT}? a-TRoXet'a?, 'damnable heresies/ 2 Peter ii. 1, and ver. 3, 

* Whose damnation of a long time slumbereth not ;' as he saith here, 
' of old ordained to this judgment.' The meaning of the whole is, 
that they were such as were left to themselves, to bring upon themselves 
by their own sins and errors a just condemnation. 

Obs. 1. That the object of the divine decrees are not only men's 
ways, but men's persons. He doth not only say that their condemna 
tion was pre-ordained, but they also were ordained of old to this con 
demnation. I observe this, because many say that God's decrees do 
only respect actions and the events ; we see they respect persons also ; 
we have no cause to mince matters when the scriptures speak up to 
the point so fully and roundly. 

Obs. 2. Again, from that ordained, or forewritten, observe, God 
hath his books and registers, wherein the persons, behaviours, and 
eternal estates of all men are recorded. At the day of judgment these 
books shall be opened, Rev. xx. 12. Therefore it should be our care 
to be able to read that our names are written in ' the book of life,' 
than which there cannot be a greater privilege, Luke x. 20. And it 
presseth caution ; all that we do standeth upon record : our speeches, 
Mai. iii. 16, 17 ; our thoughts, 1 Cor. iv. 5 ; our actions, Jer. xvii. 1. 

06s. 3. Again observe, that in all those things which appertain to 
the judgment of sinners, God doth nothing rashly, but proceedeth by 
foresight and pre-ordination. 

Obs. 4. Again, no man ever perverted the truths of God but to his 
own loss. They were ordained to this judgment, that is, that by their 
sins they should come to such a ruin. We play with opinions, but do 
not consider that damnation is the end of them ; the way of truth is 
the way of life, but error tendeth to death. 

These things might be observed, but I shall rather pitch upon two 
points : one particular, and restrained to the scope of the context ; the 
other general, as being taken from the consideration of the expressions 
in their full latitude. The first is : 

Obs. 5. That heresies and errors do not fall out by chance, but 


according to the certain pre-ordination and foreknowledge of God. 
There are two reasons for it : Nothing can come to pass without his 
will, and nothing can come to pass against his will. (1.) Not without 
his will. If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without our heavenly 
Father, Mat. x. 29, that is, cannot be taken and slain without the will 
of God, then certainly nothing can be imagined which God did not 
foresee, or which he could not have hindered. There is nothing so 
small but the Lord taketh cognisance of it ; nothing so evil but he 
turneth it to good. Exempt anything from providence, and you 
weaken that respect which is due from the creatures to God. If Satan 
may do what he will, and God only be a looker-on, then the devil- 
worship of the heathens would seem more rational ; it was their cus 
tom first to appease the angry gods, lest they should hurt them, and 
then to invoke the propitious. Upon this doctrine we might fear the 
devil and carnal men, though God be propitious ; for many things are 
done whether he will or no. (2.) Not against his will ; for then God 
should make a creature too hard for himself. Things may be against 
his revealed will, for that is a rule to try the creatures ; but not against 
his secret will, for that would make God impotent and weak. Things 
that are most against his revealed will yet fall under the ordination of 
his secret will ; and whilst men break commandments they fulfil de 
crees. His revealed will showeth what should be done, his secret will 
what ivill be done. Briefly, the concurrence of God in and about the 
errors of men may be conceived in these things : (1st.) He denieth grace 
and light, which might direct and sanctify ; he is debtor to no man, 
and may do with his own according to his good pleasure, Mat. xx. 15. 
He is not bound to give grace to all, and therefore it is no prejudice 
to his goodness to pass by some. (2d.) He leaveth difficulty enough in 
the word, that men who will not be satisfied may be hardened : Mark 
iv. 11, 12, * All these things are spoken in parables, that seeing they 
might see and not perceive ;' that is, for a punishment of their wilful 
blindness and hardness. Corrupt nature stumbles in God's plainest 
ways ; the word is clear enough to them that have a mind to under 
stand it, and yet difficult enough to them that have a mind to harden 
themselves into a prejudice. Non periclitor dicere (saith Tertullian), 
ipsas scripturas ita dispositas esse, ut materiam subministrarent here- 
ticis. So the Lord himself saith, Jer. vi. 21, * Behold I will lay 
stumbling-blocks before this people ;' that is, suffer them to stumble at 
their own prejudices. (3d.) God leaveth them to follow the course of 
their own hearts ; he doth not incline and compel their wills, or infuse 
evil to them, only suffereth them to follow the carnal bent and corrupt 
ambition of their own hearts : Hosea iv. 17, ' Let him alone ;' 1 Kings 
xxii. 22, * Go forth and do so ;' Ps. Ixxxi. 12, ' I gave them up to their 
own counsels ;' he hindereth not their wickedness ; yea, permitteth it, 
that so his wise counsels may take place. (4th.) God ordereth it for 
good, thereby bringing great advantage to his own name : Exod. ix. 16, 
' For this cause have I raised thee up, to show in thee my power ;' great 
shakings and tumults discover much of God to the world; the devil 
picketh out the most polished shafts in all the quiver of mankind ; and 
yet still the Lord maintaineth the lot of his inheritance. Yea, God 
doth not only advance his name, and discover the glory of his provi- 


dence, in protecting the church, notwithstanding Satan's factors, and 
the abettors of his cause and kingdom, but also causes the truths that 
are questioned to shine the more brightly, as being more strongly vin 
dicated and asserted, as a torch shineth the brighter when it is waved 
with the wind. Such times put men the more upon the study and love 
of truth, doctrines not being taken up upon trust, but sound conviction; 
besides error being permitted * manifests the approved/ 1 Cor. xi. 19, 
as a quick smart wind separateth the solid grain from the chaff; and 
it is a means to engage our dependence upon God for knowledge and 
instruction. Christ's prophetical office would lie idle and useless were 
not the chains of consent sometimes broken, and the language divided, 
some saying one thing, some another, as the difference between the 
Jews and the Samaritans about the place of worship maketh the 
woman to go to Christ for satisfaction, John iv. 20. Once more, God's 
permission of error conduceth to the just ruin of his enemies : ' Offences 
must be, but woe be to that man by whom they come/ Mat. xviii. 6, 7. 
So 1 Sam. ii. 25, Eli's sons would not ' hearken to the voice of their 
father, because the Lord had a mind to slay them.' By their own 
voluntary sins God bringeth them to their just ruin and condemnation. 
God lets them alone to wanton and play away their own salvation ; if 
they will turn seekers, familists, ranters, atheists, let them alone. 

Uses. The point may be applied many ways. (1.) Here is comfort 
to those that regard the affairs of Sion ; all the confusion and troubles 
that are in the church are ordered by a wise God ; he will bring some 
good issue out of them, some glory to his name, wherein the saints 
rejoice as much as in their own welfare ; some good to the church. 
Observe, hast not thou been more confirmed in the truth ? engaged to 
a more frequent recourse to Christ, in whom are hidden all the trea 
sures of wisdom and knowledge ? Hast thou not seen more of God's 
providence displayed by these tumults ? &c. (2.) It checketh fear ; it 
is all in the hands of a good God ; as God trieth you to see what you 
will do, so you must wait upon God to see what he will do : let him 
alone ; in and by all he will bring forth his work in due time. (3.) 
It showeth their wickedness that take occasion to turn atheists from 
the multitude of errors. When the church is rent into so many 
factions, men fool it, as if there were no God, and the whole gospel 
were but an imposture and well-devised fable ; that is the reason why 
Christ prayeth, John xvii. 21, ' Let them be perfect in one, that the 
world may know that thou hast sent me/ i.e., that they might not 
suspect me for an impostor. Usually we find that thoughts of atheism 
are wont to haunt us upon these occasions ; but there is little reason 
for it, for all these things are foreknown by God, foretold by God: 
they ' must be/ 1 Cor. xi. 19 ; Mat. xxiv. 6. And never is there so 
much of God and of the beauty of truth discovered as when errors 
abound ; so that if there were not errors there would be more cause of 
suspicion ; where all things run with a smooth and full consent, arid 
were never questioned, then the strength and worth of them is not 
tried. But ' the words of the Lord are pure words, as silver tried in 
a furnace of earth, purified seven times : thou shalt keep them, Lord, 
thou shalt preserve them from this generation/ Ps. xii. 6, 7. (4.) It 
is a ground of prayer in times of delusion : Lord, this was ordained by 


thee in wisdom, let us discern thy glory in it and by it more and more. 
The church argueth that there was not only Pilate's malice and Herod's 
malice, but God's ' hand and counsel,' in the crucifixion of Christ : 
Acts iv. 28, ' To do whatsoever thy hand and counsel determined be 
fore to be done : ' Lord, we know there is thy counsel in it, and thy 
counsel still tendeth to good, &c. God loveth to be owned in every 
providence, and to be entreated to fulfil his own decrees. (5.) It 
informeth us what a foolish madness it is to think that God seeth not 
the sin which we secretly commit : surely he seeth it, for he foresaw it 
before it was committed ; yea, from all eternity. 

Obs. 6. So much for the first point, the next is, That from all eternity 
some were decreed by their sins to come unto judgment or condemna 
tion. Because this is one of the texts which divines bring to prove the 
general doctrine of reprobation, I shall here take occasion (1.) To 
open this doctrine; (2.) To prove it; (3.) To vindicate it; (4.) To 
apply it. In the first, you will understand the nature ; in the second, 
the reasons ; in the third, the righteousness ; in the fourth, the profit, 
of this decree. 

1. I shall open the nature of it in several propositions. (1.) It is an 
eternal decree. God's internal acts are the same with his essence, and 
therefore before all time, as believers are ' elected before all worlds/ 
Eph. i. 4. So are sinners reprobated ; they are both in time and order 
before ever the creature was : Kom. ix. 11, ' Before the children had 
done either good or evil, it was said, Jacob have I loved, and Esau 
have I hated/ Election and reprobation are not a thing of yesterday, 
arid subsequent to the acts of the creature, but from all eternity. 
(2.) There is a decree and pre-ordination, not only a naked foresight 
of those that perish. Some Lutherans say that predestination is proper 
only to the elect ; but as to the reprobate, there is only a prescience or 
naked foreknowledge : no pre-ordination, lest they should make God 
the author of the creatures' sin and ruin. But these men fear where no 
fear is ; the scriptures show that the greatest evil that ever was did 
not only fall under the foreknowledge, but ' determinate counsel of 
God/ Acts ii. 23 ; it was not only foreknown, but unchangeably 
ordained and determined. (3.) This decree of God is founded in his 
own good- will and pleasure ; for there being nothing higher and greater 
than God, it is a great error to suppose a cause of his will, either be 
fore it, above it, or without it. God's actions do all begin in himself, 
and his will is the supreme reason : Mat. xi. 26, ' Even so, Father ; 
because it seemed good in thy sight.' Jesus Christ would give no 
other reason why the gospel was 'hidden from the wise and prudent, 
and revealed unto babes.' We are often disputing why, of two men 
that are equal in misery, the one should be taken, the other left ; why 
the Lord will show mercy to some that are no less unworthy than 
others ; but when we have all done, we must merely rest in the will 
and good pleasure of God: 'Even so, Father/ &c.; see Kom. ix. 18, 
* He hath mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he 
hardeneth ; ' it is not from the foresight of our wills receiving or 
rejecting grace proposed, for then man's will would be made a superior 
cause to an act in God. (4.) In this matter of reprobation, preteri- 
tion and pre-damnation must be carefully distinguished. Look, as in 


election, God hath decreed to bestow first grace and then glory ; to 
to the decree of giving grace preterition is opposed, to the decree of 
giving glory, ordination unto judgment. Now God's preterition or 
passing by is merely and barely from the good pleasure of God. But 
pre-damnation presupposeth consideration of the creatures' sin ; both 
these parts of the decree are clearly set down in the word preterition, 
or passing by : Kev. xvii. 8, ' Whose names were not written in the 
book of life, from the foundation of the world ; ' so again Rev. xiii. 8. 
In other places you have pre-damnation expressed, as 1 Thes. v. 9, 
* appointed unto wrath,' and here, ' ordained to this judgment/ (5.) 
Those who are passed by, or not written in God's book, never attain 
to saving grace ; it is not given to them : Mat. xiii. 11, 'To you it is 
given to know the mysteries of the kingdom, but to them it is not 
given/ Yea, it is said to be ' hidden from them : ' Mat. xi. 25 ; they 
may have common gifts, or be under such a common work of the 
Spirit as leaveth them without excuse ; but because the Lord hath 
passed them by, effectual grace is not given to them, without which 
they cannot believe and be saved : John x. 26, ' Ye believe not, because 
ye are not of my sheep ; ' that is, not elected of my Father. Saving 
grace runneth in the channel of election ; so Acts xiii. 48, ' As many 
as were ordained to eternal life believed/ God's special gifts are dis 
pensed according to his decrees. (6.) Men being left of God, and 
destitute of saving grace, freely and of their own accord fall into 
such sins as render them obnoxious to the just wrath and vengeance 
of God : Kom. xi. 7 * The election hath obtained, and the rest were 
hardened ; ' freely and of their own accord they turned all things to 
their own judgment and ruin : so Kev. xiii. 8, ' The dwellers on earth 
did worship the whore, whose names were not written in the book of 
life ; ' that is, they turned aside to antichristian defilements and pollu 
tions. (7.) God's decree concerning such persons is immutable ; it is 
not rescinded and disannulled, but is fully executed and accom 
plished in the damnation of the sinner. The Lord's counsels are all 
unchangeable, both as to election, 2 Tim. ii. 19 ; Heb. vi. 17, and as to 
reprobation ; no reprobate can be an elect person, nor an elect person 
a reprobate : Job xii. 14, ' He shutteth up a man, and there can be no 
opening ; ' and Job xxiii. 13, ' He is in one mind, who can turn him ?' 
In God's books there is no putting in and crossing out of names ; but 
as the number of the elect is definite and certain, they cannot be 
more, and they cannot be less ; so also of the reprobate. (8.) This 
eternal, irrevocable purpose of God of leaving sinners to themselves, 
that by their sins they may come to judgment, is for God's glory : 
Rom. ix. 22, ' What if God, willing to show his wrath and to make 
his power known, endured with much long-suffering the vessels fitted 
to destruction?' All God's decrees, works, providences, tend to the 
further discovery of himself in the eye of the creatures. 

2. Let me prove that there is such a decree by scripture, for reason 
here hath no place. Take here three that are most full : the first is 
1 Thes. v. 9, ' God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain 
salvation by Jesus Christ,' which plainly implieth that some are 
appointed unto wrath. The second is 1 Peter ii. 8, where the apostle 
speaketh of some that were disobedient and refused Christ, ' whereunto 

VOL. v. i 


also they were appointed.' The third place is Prov. xvi. 4, ' God made 
all things for himself, and the wicked for the day of evil/ The drift 
of that place is to show that both creation and predestination were for 
God's glory, and he instanceth in that part of predestination which 
concerneth the wicked, because it is hardest to be digested and 

But now for the reasons why God hath chosen some, and appointed 
others by sin to come unto judgment. I can only tell you that 
* God's judgments are past finding out,' Bom. xi. 33. We must 
admire, we cannot search them to the bottom. So far as God hath 
revealed his will we may clearly judge that it is for the discovery of 
his justice and mercy, neither of which could have been discovered to 
the world with that advantage, had it not been for this double decree 
of God, to save some and leave others to their own ruin. If grace 
were given to all, how should the world know that God were free ? 
Again, if all were pardoned, how should the world know that God 
were just ? In election, God discovereth the freeness of his grace, 
Eph. i. 6. It is love that we enjoy grace, elective love that we enjoy 
it alone. In reprobation God discovereth his sovereignty, and by it 
the severity of his justice and power of his wrath, Eom. ix. 22. In 
choosing one and leaving another, there God discovereth his liberty, 
and that he doth not act out of servile necessity ; and his severity in 
the eternal pains of them that perish in their sins. 

3. Let me vindicate this doctrine, which in the eyes of some seemeth 
to blemish the justice of God, to infringe the comfort of man, yea, to 
abolish the duty of man ; therefore it needeth a little clearing. Reason 
cannot easily digest this strong meat, partly because we are apt to 
reprehend what we cannot comprehend ; partly because this doctrine 
checketh carnal ease and security, which is usually fed with a general 
hope and presumption that the God that made us will save us, that he 
will not damn his creatures, but is merciful to all, &c. ; now this 
awakeneth us, when we hear that grace noweth in a narrower channel ; 
partly because aspiring man is loath to submit to this absolute lord 
ship and sovereignty of God, that he should dispose of his creatures 
according to his own pleasure : our ambition is to be avrej-ova-toi, 
lords of ourselves. Man, that would be as God, taketh it ill to be * as a 
beast made to be taken and destroyed/ Upon all these prejudices man 
is loath to receive this doctrine, therefore it needeth to be cleared. 

[1.] In regard of God, that you may not pollute and stain his 
excellency with impure and prejudicial thoughts. You will say, Is God 
just, that only upon his will and pleasure ordaineth his creatures to 
condemnation ? Have not the reprobate cause to complain, if he hath 

rssed a decree upon which their condemnation doth infallibly follow? 
answer (1.) Our understandings are not the measure of God's 
justice, but his own will. Things may be just, though the reasons of 
them do not appear to us : human reason groweth giddy by peeping 
into the deep of God's decrees ; our work is not to dispute, but wonder. 
God's freedom is a riddle to reason, because though we will not be 
bound to laws, yet we are willing God should be bound. God's 
actions must not be measured by any external rule ; things are good 
because God willeth them, for his will is justice itsel (2.) The 


electing of some and passing by of others is not an act of justice, but 
dominion ; for he doth not act here as a judge, but as a lord ; it is a 
matter of favour, not of right and wrong. Condemnation of a man 
for sin, or punishing a man for sin, is an act of justice ; but to have 
mercy, or not to have mercy, that dependeth merely upon God's will, 
otherwise it would follow that God were a debtor unto man. Justice 
supposeth debt, or something due ; no wrong is done them in not 
giving grace : the elect can speak of undeserved grace, and the 
reprobate of deserved punishment. When we are not bound to do 
good, if we act according to pleasure there is no injury, as in invita 
tions, preferments, and all acts of favour. We cannot endure that a 
right should be challenged. The good-man in the parable pleaded, ' I 
may do with mine own as it pleaseth me,' Mat. xx. 15. The Lord 
may justly challenge grace as his own, and therefore leave him to his 
pleasure in the distribution, for he is bound to none. (3.) God's not 
giving grace to the reprobate is not their sin, but their misery ; pre- 
terition made them miserable, but not sinful: it doth not infer a 
coaction and compulsion to sin ; sin followeth upon it not as an effect, 
but a consequent; as upon the absence of the sun darkness doth 
necessarily follow, and yet the sun is not the cause of darkness. In 
grace God purposeth, God worketh ; in sin God ordereth the sin, and 
maketh use of it to the glory of his justice. But man sinneth freely : 
the water, while it runneth its own course, serveth the end of the lord 
of the soil, in driving mills, and bringing fish into his ponds, and 
overflowing his meadows, &c. So God causeth not sin in any, only 
permitteth it and endureth it, and serveth his righteous ends of it: 
Horn. ix. 22, * He endureth with much long-suffering the vessels of 
wrath fitted for destruction/ He prepareth the vessels of mercy, as the 
apostle there expresseth, but endureth the vessels of wrath while they 
fit themselves for ruin. (4.) Sin is the cause of punishment, though 
God's will is the cause why they are passed by. They are not punished 
because not elected, but because not obedient : ' Wherefore .doth a 
living man complain but for his sins ? ' Lam. iii. 39. It is here as it 
was in that case. David gave order to Solomon that Joab and Shimei 
should * not die in peace,' 1 Kings ii. 6-9. Yet David's order was no 
cause of Joab's death, but his own treason, nor of Shimei's death, but 
his own flight. God never damneth the creature, or decreeth to damn 
it, without respect of sin. God's will is the cause of preterition, his 
justice is the cause of pre-damnation, for damnation is an act of puni 
tive justice. God is so just that he doth not condemn any but for sin ; 
so gracious, that he doth not condemn every man that doth sin. (5.) 
The formal and proper end of God in reprobation is not the eternal 
destruction of the creature, but the discovery of his own justice or 
glory, promoted or shining forth in and by that destruction. In 
election God desireth and effecteth the salvation of a sinner in a sub 
ordination to his own glory ; but in preterition, God endureth a sinner 
with much long-suffering, till, by his own destruction, he bringeth to 
him the glory of his justice: Ezek. xxiii. 11, 'As I live, saith the 
Lord, I desire not the death of a sinner ; ' so Ezek. xviii. 32, ' Have I 
any pleasure at all, that the wicked should die ; ' the meaning is, God 
doth not will these things with such a will as is terminated in the 


destruction of the creature, but only ordereth them in a subordination 
to his own glory ; or, in plainer terms, God delighteth not in the 
destruction of a sinner, as it is the destruction of the creature, but as 
it is the execution of justice. In the execution of a malefactor there 
is a difference between punishment and destruction ; his punishment 
is of the judge, his destruction is of himself ; so in this case, ' Thy 
destruction is of thyself, Israel,' Hosea xiii. 9. 

[2.] Concerning the second objection, whether it doth not infringe 
our comfort, and discourage men from looking after their salvation ? 
If I am elected, I shall be saved, if I am not elected, I shall be damned: 
thus many men plead. They say, And how will you stir up the negli 
gent and encourage the distressed, supposing that doctrine which you 
have laid down ? 

I answer (1.) This scruple is but affected, not offered, and therefore 
should be chidden, and not answered: a questioning God's secret will, 
when we know his revealed. God's secret will hath relation to his own 
actions, his revealed will to ours. We must not look to God's will in 
the depths of his counsel, but his precepts : not what God will do him 
self, but what he will have us do. God saith, ' Believe in Christ, and 
thou shalt be saved ; ' that is our rule. A physician offereth cure to all 
that will come ; it were a madness to dispute away the opportunity, and 
say, I do not know whether he intendeth it to me. If men were ready 
to perish in the deep waters, and a boat should be offered to carry to 
land as many as would come in it, to be making scruples when we are 
ready to be drowned, whether this help be intended to us, yea or no, were 
a very fond thing : in such cases we would not wrangle, but thankfully 
take hold of what is offered. (2.) This doctrine can be no ground of 
despair to any, because reprobation is a sealed book ; no man for the pre 
sent can know his reprobation, nor is to believe himself to be a reprobate, 
but is called upon to use the means that he may be saved. He is no 
reprobate that falleth into sin, but he that persevereth in sin unto the 
end. Therefore it is no good conclusion, I am a sinner, therefore I am 
a reprobate ; it is midnight, therefore it will never be day. This is a 
book sealed with seven seals ; none but the Lamb can open it. (3.) 
The opposite opinion is encumbered with more difficulties and scruples. 
What comfort can a man have in universal redemption ? A man can 
not have solid comfort in that which is common to good and bad, to 
those that shall be damned, and those which shall be saved ; all comfort 
ariseth from a practical syllogism. Now make the practical syllogism 
according to the principles of universal grace : Christ died for all men; 
I am a man, therefore for me ; where humanity, or being a man, is 
made the ground of claim and interest ; and then, unless with Puccius 
and Huberus, we hold universal salvation, as well as universal re 
demption, the argument will yield no comfort. How can I, according 
to that opinion, comfort myself in the death of Christ, when men may 
be damned that have an interest in it? (4.) As to the other part of 
this objection, concerning the profit of this doctrine, and whether it 
doth not take off men from industry : so some have thought. But I 
answer No ; for (1st.) God hath enjoined the end and the means 
together : ' Except ye * abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved/ saith 

1 ' Except these,' i.e., the sailors. ED. 


Paul to them that sailed with him : a decree was passed for their safety, 
that not a man of them should perish ; yet they must abide in the ship. 
God doth infallibly stir up the elect to the use of means, as well as 
bring to such an end. (2d.) The right use of the doctrine of reproba 
tion is to put us upon examination or diligence ; upon examination 
whether we believe in Christ, or have truly repented, that we may 
' make our calling and election sure,' 2 Peter i. 10, for by this means 
is the sealed fountain broken open. Or upon diligence ; in case you 
find no fruits of elective love, pray, read, hear, meditate, wait, work 
out your salvation, &c. (3d.) The doctrine of election is of great use 
in the spiritual life ; without it we cannot understand the freeness of 
God's love, which is the great means to quicken us to praise God, and 
to beget love to God again ; for as fire kindleth fire, so doth love beget 
love. It is God's glory to be served out of love and free consent ; the 
devil ruleth his slaves by a servile awe. Well, then, if love set love a- 
work, and the best sight of God's love be in God's decree, let them say, 
if they dare, that the doctrine of God's decree is an unprofitable 
doctrine. Again, nothing taketh off carnal confidence and glorying in 
ourselves more than God's choice, according to his own pleasure; 
nothing is a greater support in afflictions, especially in distresses of 
conscience. In short, nothing is such a firm bond of love between be 
lievers as the consideration that they are all predestinated from all 
eternity to the everlasting enjoyment of the same inheritance ; those 
obligations which last only for this world cannot be so firm a tie. 

[3.] The next objection is, How can God call upon them to believe 
whom he hath passed by in the counsels of his will, and intendeth 
never to give them grace, without which they cannot believe ? I 
answer God may require men to believe, though he never intended to 
give them faith ; for there is a great deal of difference between his 
decree and his law : his law showeth what must be, his decree what 
shall be. God never said all shall believe, but he hath said the con 
trary, 2 Thes. iii. 2 ; but all must believe ; that he hath said again and 
again. The gospel doth not signify this or that man shall be saved ; 
but ' whosoever believeth shall be saved/ As truly as it can be said to 
John or Thomas, or any elect person, If you do not believe you shall 
be damned, so surely may it be said to a reprobate, to Judas, or any 
other, If you believe you shall be saved. If the reprobate have a like 
i'avour with the elect in the general offer of grace, they are left without 
excuse, the tender being so great, and so far the same unto both ; though 
the elect's receiving be the effect of special grace, yet the reprobate's 
rejecting is without excuse, he voluntarily turning back upon his own 

So much briefly for the vindication of this doctrine. 

4. Let me now apply it. 

[1.] Let the elect so much the more admire God's love to them, 
because that some are passed by ; your mercies are not every one's 
mercies. God's aim herein was to ' commend his mercy to the vessels 
of mercy/ Rom. ix. 23. If he had passed us by, we could not have 
blamed his love ; if he had punished us eternally, we could not have 
blamed his justice. Consider God hath as much interest in them as 
in you : ' All souls are mine, saith the Lord,' Ezek. xviii. 4 ; he was 


their creator as well as yours, and we are all in our blood, involved in 
' the same condemnation ;' he saw as much of original sin in you as in 
them ; we lay in the same polluted mass. Oh ! that free grace should 
make such a difference. He had as much reason to choose Judas and 
Simon Magus as you : ' Was not Esau Jacob's brother ?' Mai. i. 2, in 
all points alike, but only in God's choice. When men choose it is for 
worth. Who would choose crooked timber to make vessels of honour ? 
Yet thus doth the Lord single out the worst and most depraved 
natures, to form them into a people for himself. How sensibly many 
times did God make a distinction between you and others in the same 
ordinance : ' One is taken and another left/ and one is taken to grace, 
and another left to perish in His own ways ; others, it may be, were 
hardened by the same sermon by which you were converted. Oh ! 
how ravishing is the sight of God's love in election, and the distinct 
courses of his providence. 

[2.] To press us to diligence to make our election sure, that we 
may be out of the fear of being in the number of reprobates. The 
great question that concerneth the comfort of thy soul is whether 
thou be ordained to eternal life or no ? Now, if thou beest negligent 
and careless, and refusest to use the means of salvation, the case is 
decided, though little to thy comfort : ' Thou judgest thyself to be un 
worthy of eternal life/ Acts xiii. 46. A lazy, carnal, careless man 
doth but provide matter of despair for himself. There are some steps 
to the accomplishment of the decree of reprobation ; as sottish 
obstinacy against the counsels of the word, a being given up to the 
spirit of error, a constant neglect of means, a hardening of ourselves 
in the abuse of grace, &c. ; all these are black marks. A man may 
recover, but your soul is nigh to death ; therefore beware lest thou be 
found one of them who by sin are ordained to come to judgment. 
Eli's sons hearkened not to the counsel of their father, because the Lord 
had a mind to slay them. 

Thirdly, We are now come to that part of the description, ungodly 
men, ao-e/Sefr. The word signifieth without worship, and is sometimes 
applied to heathens and men that live without the knowledge and 
worship of the true God ; at other times to wicked men, that acknow 
ledge the true God, but walk unsuitably to their knowledge and pro 
fession. That we may find out who are these men, let us see what is 
ungodliness, a sin much spoken of, but little known. The word, as I 
said, signifieth without worship. Worship is the chiefest and most 
solemn respect of the creature to God, and therefore it is put for the 
whole subjection and obedience that we owe to him, and when any 
part of that service, respect, or honour is denied or withheld, we are 
guilty of ungodliness. 

Tha-t pagans and men out of the church are signified by the term 
ungodly, appeareth by 1 Peter iv. 18, ' If judgment begin at the 
house of God, where shall the wicked and ungodly appear ? ' where the 
ungodly are plainly opposed to the house of God. Again, the unjus 
tified estate is expressed by ungodliness ; as the apostle, when he 
speaketh of the justifying of Abraham and David, he gave the Lord 
this title, Rom. iv. 5, 'God that justifieth the ungodly;' and so 
Christ is said to ' die for the ungodly/ Eom. v. 6. The reason of 


which expression is, because the people of the Jews were divided into 
three ranks or sorts : there were oi ao-e/3et?, the ungodly ; oi SifcaLoi, 
the just; and oi ayaOot, the good ; or, to keep their own terms, there 
were reshagnim, the wicked or violent; and isidikim, the just; and 
chasidim the good, or the bountiful. Now, saith the apostle, ' scarcely 
for a righteous man would one die ;' that is, for a man of a rigid in- 
nocency ; but for ' the good man/ that is, the bountiful, the useful, ' a 
man would even dare to die;' but Christ died for us when we were 
reshagnim, sinners, enemies, &c. Again, more especially, ungodliness 
implieth the transgression of the first table ; as Rom. i. 18, where all 
sin is distinguished into acrefieiav, ungodliness, and aSoclais, unrighteous 
ness, ungodliness in respect of duty to God, and unrighteousness in 
respect of the duty to men ; and also where siri is distinguished into 
* ungodliness and worldly lusts,' Titus ii. 12. So that it chiefly signi- 
fieth that part of sin whereby we rob God of his honour, respect, and 
service, established by the first table, and it may be described to be a 
not giving God his right or due honour. 

To clear it further, let me tell you that there are four notions, which 
are the ground of all religion. (1.) That God is, and is one. (2.) 
That God is. none of those things that are seen, but something more 
excellent. (3.) That God hath a care of human affairs, and judgeth 
with equity. (4.) That the same God is maker of all things without 
himself. And to these four notions or principles are suited the four 
precepts of the first table. In the first we have God's unity ; in the 
second, God's invisible nature, and therefore images are forbidden upon 
that ground, Deut. iv. 12; in the third, the knowledge of human 
affairs, even of men's thoughts, and that is the foundation of an oath ; 
for the third commandment doth principally forbid perjury, and in an 
oath God is invoked as a witness, chiefly of the heart, in which his 
omnisciency is acknowledged, and appealed to as a judge and avenger, 
in which his justice and power is acknowledged. The next principle, 
that God is creator and governor of all things, is established by the 
fourth commandment ; for the Sabbath at first was instituted for that 
purpose, to keep up the memorial of the creation in the world. Now, 
out of these speculative notions practical flow of their own accord, &c., 
that God is alone to be worshipped, obeyed, honoured, trusted ; and as 
far as we set up other confidences, or are ignorant of his excellency, or 
deny God his worship and service, or serve him after an unworthy 
manner, superstitiously, carelessly, hypocritically, or have gross opinions 
of his essence, or exclude the dominion of his providence, or cease to 
invocate his name, so far we are guilty of ungodliness. 

More distinctly and closely yet, let me note that God is to be 
acknowledged as (1.) The first cause ; (2.) The chiefest good ; (3.) 
As the supreme truth and authority ; (4.) As the last end. God is 
to be honoured as the first cause, that giveth being to all things, and 
hath his being from none ; and so if we do not trust in him, or can 
trust any .creature rather than God, our estates rather than God, or 
do not observe him in his providence, the effects of his mercy, justice, 
and power, or do not acknowledge his dominion in all events, and 
sanctify the things which we use by asking his leave and blessing in 
prayer, we are guilty of ungodliness. Again, God is to be acknow- 


ledged as the chiefest good ; and therefore, if we do not know him, 
often think of him, delight in communion with him, fear to offend him, 
care to please him, this neglect and contempt of God is ungodliness. 
Again, God is to be acknowledged as the supreme truth and authority ; 
and therefore, if we are not moved with his promises, threats, counsels, 
as the Gentiles were moved with the oracles of their gods, as God's 
people of old, when that dispensation was in use, with a voice from 
heaven, and do not submit to him, reverence him in worship, subject 
our hearts and lives to his laws, it is ungodliness. Once more, God is 
the last end; and therefore, if in all acts, spiritual, moral, natural, even 
those of the lightest consequence, we do not aim at God's glory, still 
it is ungodliness. 

In this method I shall endeavour to open this argument. And first, 
Let us consider God as the first cause, and under that consideration : 

1. Ignorance is a branch of ungodliness. I name it first, because it 
is the cause of all disorder in worship or conversation. 1 The apostle 
saith, 3 John 11, 'He that doth evil hath not seen God/ Right 
thoughts of God are the fuel which maintaineth the fire of religion, 
which otherwise would soon decay and be extinguished. Now gene 
rally people are ignorant of God ; they know him as men born blind 
do fire ; they can tell there is such a thing as fire, because it warmeth 
them, but what it is they cannot tell. So the whole world and con 
science proclaimeth there is a God. The blindest man may see that, 
but they know little or nothing of his essence, as he hath revealed him 
self in his word. The Athenians had an altar, and the inscription was 
To the unknown God; and so do most Christians go on in a track of 
customary worship, and so worship an idol rather than God. So Christ 
telleth the Samaritans, John iv. 22, ' Ye worship ye know not what/ 
It is usual with men in a dark and blind superstition to conform to 
the worship of their place, not considering why, or whom it is they 
worship. Gross ignorance is a sign of no grace, for God hath no 
child so little but he knoweth his father : Jer. xxxi. 34, ' They shall all 
know me, from the least to the greatest/ Some have better education 
than others, greater helps and advantages of parts and instruction, but 
they all have a necessary knowledge of God. Again, gross ignorance 
is a pledge of future judgment : 2 Thes. i. 7, ' God will come in flaming 
fire, to render vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not the 
gospel/ Many poor ignorant creatures are harmless, they do no wrong. 
Oh ! but they know not God, and that is wrong enough ; God will 
avenge it. To be ignorant of God that made them, is a matter of 
sadder consequence than you are aware. By those that know not God 
in this place is meant pagans, for it is contradistinct to those that 
obey not the gospel. But if there be vengeance for pagans, who have 
no other apostles sent to them but those natural apostles of sun, moon, 
and stars, and have no other books wherein to study God but showers 
of rain and fruitful seasons, if there be vengeance for them because they 
did not see and own a first cause, what is there for those that shut their 
eyes against the light of the gospel ? Surely to be ignorant now is a 
greater sin than we think of. 

1 ' Heu primse scelerum causse mortalibus aegris, 
yaturam nescire Dei.' 


2. When we do not depend upon him it is ungodliness. Trust and 
dependence is the ground of all commerce between us and God, and the 
greatest homage and respect which we yield to the Creator and first cause. 
Now when men trust any creature rather than God, their estates rather 
than God, they rob him of his peculiar honour. That there is such a sin 
appeareth by that, Job xxxi. 24 ; ' if I had made gold my hope, or said to 
the fine gold, Thou art my confidence. If I rejoiced because my wealth is 
great, and my hand had gotten much,' &c. Job, to vindicate himself from 
hypocrisy, reckoneth up the usual sins of hypocrites ; amongst the rest 
this is one, to make gold our confidence. Men are apt to think it the 
staff of their lives, and the stay of their posterity, and so their trust 
being intercepted, their hearts are diverted from God. It is a usual 
sin, though little thought of. The great danger of riches is by trust 
ing in them, Mark x. 23, 24. When men are intrenched within an 
estate, they think they are safe, secured against whatever shall happen, 
and so God is laid aside. Let a man be intrenched within a promise, and 
yet he is full of fears and doubts ; but wealth breedeth security, there 
fore ' covetousness ' is called ' idolatry/ Col. iii. 5, and the covetous 
man an idolater, Eph. v. 5, not so much because of his love of money 
as his trust in money. The glutton loveth his belly, and the gratifica 
tions of the appetite, Phil. iii. 19, yet he doth not trust in his belly 
cheer he thinketh not to be protected by it ; and, therefore, though he 
rob God of his love, yet he doth not, as the covetous, rob God of his 
trust : we are all apt to make such an idol of the creature. Poor men, 
if they had wealth, this were enough to make them happy, and there 
fore they trust in those which have it, which is idolatry upon 
idolatry. Whence it is said, Ps. Ixii. 9, ' Men of low degree are 
vanity, and men of high degree a lie.' To appearance men of low 
degree are nothing; but men of high degree are wont to be 
trusted in, and therefore a lie, because by a righteous judgment of 
God they disappoint our trust. But chiefly is this secret idolatry 
incident to the rich ; though they do not pray to their wealth, or offer 
sacrifice, but use it as familiarly as any other thing, yet if it intercept 
their trust they are guilty of idolatry. Many that smile at the vanity 
of Gentiles, that worshipped stocks and stones, and idols of gold and 
silver, do worse themselves, though more spiritually, whilst they build 
their happiness and security upon their estates. It may be they do not 
say to their riches, Ye shall deliver me, or to their gold, Thou art my 
confidence. They do not use such gross language ; for covetous men 
may speak as basely of wealth as another man. They may say, I know 
it is but refined earth, &c., but their hearts make it their only refuge and 
stay, and their inward thoughts are that they and their children can 
not be happy without it, which is a great sin, a setting up another 
God, for by this means is their heart withdrawn from the true God to 
the world, and kept from good works, lest they part with that which 
is the staff and stay of their lives. 

3. When we do not observe his providence. The blind world 
sets up an idol called chance, and doth not acknowledge God at the 
other end of causes, as swaying all things by his wisdom and power. 
(1.) In afflictions. They think they come by chance and ill-luck, 
1 Sam. vi. 9, and Isa. xxvi. 11 ; as if instruments and second causes 


did all, and the Lord were an idle spectator and looker-on, and had 
no hand in all that befalleth us. Job better, ' The Lord giveth, the 
Lord taketh.' He doth not look only to the Chaldean, the Sabean, 
the thief, but the Lord. In all afflictions we should look beyond the 
creature, and not complain of ill fortune and chance, or stars, or con 
stellations, or anything on this side God. (2.) In mercies. It is 
ungodliness when we do not see God in all our mercies. Wicked men 
receive blessings, and never look up. They live upon God every 
moment. They have ' life and breath and motion/ and hourly main 
tenance from him, and yet * God is not in all their thoughts.' As 
swine raven upon the acorns, and never look up to the oak from whence 
they fall, so they look no higher than the next hand ; but God's chil 
dren may be compared to chickens, that sip and look upwards. The 
Lord complaineth of Israel, Hosea ii. 8, ' She did not know that I 
gave her corn and wine and oil, and silver and gold/ There cannot 
be a greater sign of an ungodly spirit than this unthankful profane- 
ness. This is that which God expecteth from reasonable creatures, 
by way of homage, that we should own him as author of all the good 
which we enjoy. Other creatures live upon God, but they are not 
capable of knowing the first cause as we are. Idolatry and atheism 
had never crept into the world if men had considered who it was that 
gave them ' fruitful seasons and showers of rain, and filled their hearts 
with food and gladness/ Acts xiv. 16, 17. And surely nothing feedeth 
piety, and maintaineth a constant awe of God, so much as thinking of 
God every time we eat and drink and enjoy any new mercy from him. 
But alas ! usually we forget God when he remembereth us most. He 
is never so much dishonoured as in eating and drinking, and in the 
plentiful enjoyment of outward comforts. 

4. Another part of ungodliness is when we do not acknowledge 
his dominion over all events, sanctifying the things we use and under 
take by asking his leave and blessing. It is robbery, to use goods 
without the owner's leave, so to use any creature, food, or physic with 
out ' sanctifying it by the word and prayer/ 1 Tim. iv. 3-5 ; that 
is, knowing our liberty and right from the word of promise, and asking 
God's leave and blessing in prayer ; or to go about any business or 
journey, or fixing our abode without inquiring at the oracle ; all this 
is ungodliness. It is our duty still to consult with God : * Ye ought 
to say, If the Lord will/ &c., James iv. 15. It is a piece of religious 
manners. We forget to bid ourselves good speed when we do not 
acknowledge the dominion of God in all these cases : Prov. iii. 6, ' In 
all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths/ God's 
children dare not resolve upon any course till they have first consulted 
with God. 

Secondly, God will be acknowledged as the chiefest good, and so 
we are guilty of ungodliness : 

1. If we do not often think of him. If we did not want hearts, 
we cannot want objects to put us in mind of God. Ov parcpav, ' he is 
not far from every one of us/ Acts xvii. 27. But though God be not 
far from us, yet we are far from God. He that is everywhere is sel 
dom found in our hearts. We are not so near to ourselves as God is 
near to us. Who can keep his breath in his body for a minute if God 


were not there ? He is within us and round about us in the effects 
of his power and goodness, but we are at too great a distance from 
him in our mind and affections. How many trifles occupy our minds ! 
But the Lord can seldom find any room there : ' God is not in all 
their thoughts/ Ps. x. 4. Yea, when thoughts of God rush into our 
minds, they are like unwelcome guests we wish to be rid of them. 
Wicked men abhor their own thoughts of God, because the more 
they think of God the more they tremble, as the devils do. There 
fore the apostle saith, ' They like not to retain God in their know 
ledge/ Rorn. i. This is far from the temper of God's children. David 
saith, Ps. civ. 34, ' My meditation of him shall be sweet/ It is the 
spiritual feast and entertainment of a gracious soul to think of God. 
None deserveth our thoughts more than he, and we cannot put them 
to better use. He thought of us before the world was, and still * great 
is the multitude of his thoughts to us-ward/ Therefore it is vile 
ingratitude not to think of him again. When we hate a person we 
cannot endure to look upon him, and the hatred of the mind is showed 
by the aversation and turning away of the thoughts. 

2. If we do not delight in communion with him, we do not 
honour him as the chiefest good. Friends love to be often in one 
another's company, and certainly ' it is good to draw nigh to God/ to 
preserve an acquaintance between him and us. He hath appointed 
his ordinances, the word and prayer, which are as it were a dialogue 
and interchangeable discourse between God and the creature. In the 
word he speaketh to us, and in prayer we speak unto him. He con- 
veyeth his mind in the word, and we ask his grace in prayer. In 
prayer we make the request, and in the word we have God's answer. 
Well, then, when men neglect public or private prayer, or oppor 
tunities of hearing, they are guilty of ungodliness. So far they break 
off communion with God, especially if they neglect prayer, which is a 
duty to be done at all times a sweet diversion which the soul 
enjoyeth with God in private, a duty which answereth to the daily 
sacrifice. Therefore the neglect of prayer is made to be a branch of 
atheism, Ps. xiv. 3, 4. When men are loath to come into God's pre 
sence, out of a love to ease and carnal pleasures, and care not if God 
and they grow strange, or seldom hear from one another, it is a great 
evil. Our comfort and peace dependeth much upon frequent access 
to God. So when family worship, when that is neglected, God is not 
honoured as the chiefest good : the heathens are described to be ' the 
families that call not on God's name,' Jer. x. 25. In many places 
from one end of the week to the other there is no prayer and worship 
in the family, and so the house, which should be a church, is made a 
stye. Not a swine about their houses but is attended morning and 
evening, and yet they can find no time for the solemn invocation of 
the name of God. What. are they better than heathens? 

3. If we do not fear to offend him. God will be served with every 
affection. Love is of use in the spiritual life, and so is fear : 2 Cor. 
vii. 1, * Perfecting holiness in the fear of God/ Love sweeteneth duties, 
and fear maketh us watchful against sin : love is the doing grace, 
Gal. v. 6, and fear is the conserving grace, Jer. xxxii. 40. We have 
cause to walk in God's ways, because we are always under his eye. 


Love is necessary, that we may keep God always in our hearts ; and 
fear, that we may keep him always in our eye : both of them are of 
great use ; but fear we now speak of, which is the true internal root 
of all obedience and worship, Eccles. xii. 13. When there is such 
a settled disposition of heart as that we dare not grieve him nor affront 
him to his face as Ahasuerus said, ' Will he force the queen before 
my face ?' God is much honoured. But now when we are secure and 
careless, and forget God, and can sin freely in thought and foully in 
act without remorse, it is ungodliness. Fear is a grace of con 
tinual use : we cannot be always praising God, worshipping God, and 
employed in acts of special communion with him, yet we must be 
always fearing God : * Be thou in the fear of God all the day long/ 
Prov. xxiii. 17 ; and elsewhere, * Blessed is he that feareth always/ 
Prov. xxviii. 14. A man hath done with his devotion in the morning, 
but he hath not done with God ; we should think of him, and re 
member that his eye is upon us, all the day long : we must rise in the 
fear of God, walk in the fear of God, trade, eat, drink in the fear of 
God, Jude 12. Some graces are as the lungs, never out of use and 
exercise. More especially must fear be active when temptations and 
corruptions arise ; we must argue as Joseph, Gen. xxxix. 9. 

4. If we do not care to please him. An ungodly man thinketh 
of nothing less than pleasing God ; he neither careth to know his 
ways, nor to walk in them ; they are 'willingly ignorant/ 2 Peter iii, 
5. They do not search, that they may not practise, and so err not in 
mind, but heart : ' We desire not the knowledge of thy ways,' Job 
xxi. 14. They have not a mind to know that which they have not a 
mind to do, 1 as those that would sleep shut the curtains to keep out 
the light. A godly man is always approving what is the will of God, 
Kom. xii. 2, and Eph. v. 10-17 ; he practiseth what he knoweth, and 
is still searching that he may know more, as willing always to be 
more useful for God. What have I to do more ? 

Thirdly, God will be acknowledged as the supreme truth and 
authority, and then, if we are not moved with promises, threats, 
counsels, as with the the words of the great God, if we do not yield 
him reverence in his worship, and subject our hearts and lives to his 
laws, it is ungodliness. 

1. We must receive the counsels of his word with all regard and 
reverence, for that is to receive it * as the word of God/ 1 Thes. ii. 13. 
Heathens received the oracles of their gods, and were much moved ; 
we can drowsily hear of the great things of salvation, of heaven, and 
the death of Christ, and the covenant of grace, &c., and are not moved, 
no more moved than with a fable or dream. If a man should make 
another an offer of a thousand pounds for a trifle, and he should not 
accept it. you would not say it was because he prized the trifle 
more that is improbable, but because he did not believe the offer ; so 
when God offereth heaven upon such terms as he doth, we do not 
honour him as the eternal truth, but count him a liar, 1 John v. 10, 
or else we would not neglect the offer. 

2. We must yield him reverence in his worship. God is said, 
Ps. Ixviii. 35, to be * terrible in the holy places :' he is not only terrible 

1 ' Nolentes audire quod auditum darnnare non possunt," &c. Tertul. in Apol. 


in the high places of the field, where he executeth his dreadful judg 
ments, or in the depths of the sea, where the wonders of the Lord are 
seen, but terrible in the holy places, where his ordinances are dispensed, 
because there his holiness, which is the astonishing attribute, is most 
seen and remembered. We do not come to him as the supreme 
Majesty when we do not come with awful apprehensions : God is 
dreadful there where he is most comfortable : Deut. xxviii. 58, * That 
thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, the Lord thy God/ 
To have God for our God is the ground of all our comfort and hope, 
and yet it is a glorious and fearful name. In Mai. i. 14, the Lord 
urgeth two arguments why we should worship him with reverence ; 
one is, * I am a great king, saith the Lord of hosts ; ; the other is, ' My 
name is dreadful among the heathen ; ' implying in the first, that care 
less and rude addresses to him are a kind of a lessening his majesty ; 
they do not come to him as a great king, and do as much as in them 
lieth go about to persuade the world that he is not the God that he is 
taken to be, so great, so terrible, and glorious. The next argument is 
taken from his respect among the heathens, that know him by common 
providence ; they that have but a glimpse of his glory, that know least 
of his glory, yet know enough to fear him and reverence him. There 
fore take heed of serving him in a loose and perfunctory manner; 
you dishonour God exceedingly else, even then when you come to give 
honour to him. 

3. There must be a willing subjection of our hearts and lives to 
his laws. It must be a subjection of the heart ; God's authority is 
never more undermined than by a mere ' form of godliness/ 2 Tim. 
iii. 5. It is the greatest ungodliness that can be, for you rob the Lord 
of his dominion over the conscience. Hypocrisy is a practical blas 
phemy : ' I know the blasphemy of them/ &c., Rev. ii. 9. The life 
also must be subject to God, by a conformity to his laws. Men hate 
God as a lawgiver, they love him as a giver of blessings. It is the 
disposition of all that they would live at large, and have no God to 
call them to an account. Thoughts that strike at the being of God, 
and doctrines of liberty, are welcome to a carnal heart ; it is pleasing 
to think if there were no God, to hear that there is no law ; no sug 
gestions are more catching. The life must be conformed to God's laws, 
for he will be honoured in our conversations, as well as have his throne 
set up in our consciences. It is the glory of a commander to be obeyed : 
' I say to one, Go, and he goeth, and to another, Come, and he cometh/ 
God looketh for glory from you in this kind ; he will have all the world 
know that his servants are at his beck, that he ' hath called you to his 
foot/ Isa. xli. 2, 'the righteous from the east, he called him to his foot ; ' 
that is, to go to and fro at his command : if he say Go, they go ; if he saith 
Come, they come ; these are the ' people framed for his praise/ He can 
bid them do nothing but they are ready to do it with the loss of all. 

Fourthly, God will be honoured as the utmost end ; and so if in all acts, 
natural, moral, spiritual, we do not aim at his glory, we are guilty of 
ungodliness. In acts natural, and matters of the least consequence, we 
must have a supernatural aim : 1 Cor. x. 31, * Whether ye eat or drink, 
or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God/ If I take a meal, I 
must have an aim at God's glory in it ; in civil acts, and duties of 


mutual commerce, 1 all must be done as in and to the Lord, Eph. v. 
22; vi. 1, 5-7. We are to walk in our relations so as God may 
have honour. In spiritual acts of prayer, praise, and worship, yea, the 
whole ordination of the spiritual life must be unto God : ' I live unto 
God,' Gal. ii. 20. All the motions and tendencies of the soul look 
that way. This is the difference between holiness and godliness ; holi 
ness more properly implieth a conformity to the law, and godliness an 
aim of the soul to exalt God ; and so they are propounded as distinct, 
2 Peter iii. 11, ' What manner of persons ought we to be in all holi 
ness and godliness of conversation ? ' Well, then, look to your aims ; 
and in eating and drinking you set up Moloch, it is a meat-offering 
and drink-offering to appetite, if you do not aim at God's glory. So 
in traffic ; if you merely regard wealth, you are a consecrated priest to 
mammon. In these ordinary actions of eating, drinking, trading, you 
may be guilty of idolatry before you are aware, and may set up the 
belly, Phil. iii. 19, or mammon, Mat. vi. 24, in God's stead ; nay, in 
your very desires of grace your ultimate aim must not be self. We 
are * accepted in the beloved, to the praise of his glorious grace,' Eph. 
i. 6. And in actions most sacred it is dangerous to look a-squint ; it 
is to put dung in God's own cup, when we make worship a stale to our 
own ends. In short, the Lord hath given many things to the creature, 
that only which he hath reserved to himself is his glory ; therefore he 
taketh it ill to be robbed of that. 

Thus I have showed you the several kinds of ungodliness. Some are 
more refined, some more gross, but all naught. The worst sort is, 
when we do contemptuously slight his providence, and disobey his 
laws, hardening ourselves ' yet more and more/ as Ahaz did, though the 
Lord had exercised him with sharp afflictions, and living in open irre- 
ligion and despite of God, casting off yoke after yoke, till at length 
we have outgrown the heart of a man, fearing neither God nor men. 

Use. Well, then, if we would not be counted ungodly, let us take 
heed of all these sins. 

1. How else will ye look God in the face at the day of judgment ? 
' The ungodly shall not stand in judgment/ Ps. i. 5 ; that is, so as to 
be able to plead their cause, and lift up the head, though they shall rise 
again and receive their sentence ; therefore ill rendered by the Vulgar, 
non resurgunt; yet they shall have no boldness, but hang their guilty 
heads for shame in that day ; the day of judgment is appointed on pur 
pose to ' take vengeance of ungodly persons/ see Jude 15. It is the day 
wherein God, that is now withdrawn within the curtain of the heavens, 
cometh forth to manifest himself to the terror of all ungodly ones. 

2. There were great judgments inflicted upon them in this world. 
The flood swept away ' the world of the ungodly/ 2 Peter ii. 5, and 1 
Peter iv. 18, ' Where shall the sinner and the ungodly appear ?' The 
Lord's jealousy for his honour is very great, and therefore none 
shall smart so sorely as the ungodly person. It is said, Isa, lix. 17, 
' He putteth on jealousy as a cloak ;' the cloak is man's upper gar 
ment, which is most visible ; there is nothing so visible in God's 
providence as his jealousy for his honour ; there is no sin robs God of 
his honour so much as ungodliness ; so it is said, Exod. xxxiv. 14, 

1 ' Virtutes et vitia non officiis distinguuntur sed finibus.' 


that . ' jealousy is his name/ The name of a thing is the note of 
distinction by which it is known and differenced from all other things 
either of the same or another kind ; so God's jealousy against those 
that rob him of his honour differenceth him from all the gods of the 
world. The gods of the heathens were good-fellow gods, and could 
endure rivals and co-partners ; but this the Lord doth severely punish ; 
none have fallen under the weight of his vengeance so much as they 
that deny their respects to him, and ' go on whoring after another God.' 

3. It is the great aim of the gospel to prevent ungodliness, by 
discovering more of God than was known before, and by rinding out a 
way how the notions of God might be kept inviolable, and how we might 
come to the enjoyment of God, and yet God suffer no loss of honour; 
therefore the gospel is called ' the mystery of godliness,' 1 Tim. iii. 16, 
and a ' doctrine according to godliness/ 1 Tim. vi. 3. Men might 
be ungodly at a cheaper rate than now they can in these days of 
the gospel: now we have more means to know God, and more 
obligations to respect God, more clear and certain notions of his 
excellency and glory. 

4. Ungodliness is the root of all irregular courses. Abraham was 
afraid of himself in Gerar. Why ? ' The fear of God is not in this 
place/ Gen. xx. 11. Godliness is the great bulwark of laws and all 
honest discipline ; subjects are not afraid of princes, nor princes of 
subjects, where the fear of God prevaileth : there can be no true 
honesty without piety. The first part of the law provideth for 
respects to God, as being the proper foundation of the second, which 
containeth respects to our neighbour. Often it cometh to pass by 
God's just judgment that spiritual wickedness is punished with civil ; 
see Hosea iv. 12, 13 ; and where men are not tender of God's interests 
they do also encroach upon civil rights and freedoms. 

Means and directions are these : (1.) Purge the heart from prin 
ciples of ungodliness. There are many gross maxims ingrafted in 
man's heart ; as that it is folly to be precise ; that it was better when 
there was less knowledge ; that it is in vain to serve God ; that 
thoughts are free ; if we carry it fair before men we need trouble our 
selves no further ; when men do their best, petty sins are not to be 
stood upon ; that religion is but a notion and fancy, the gospel a 
golden dream, &c. That such principles are within us appeareth by 
the sottishness of our practices and course of living ; for actions are 
the best image of our thoughts, and these are purged away by waiting 
upon the word, which ' disco vereth' them, Heb. iv. 12, and layeth in 
good principles, Ps. cxix. 9, by which means they are destroyed. 
(2.) Suppress all ungodly thoughts as soon as they do arise, as that 
' there is no God/ Ps. xiv. 1. Shame may lay a restraint upon the 
tongue, but the heart is ever casting up such a thought as this is : 
so that God is not so harsh but we may take a little liberty in sin 
ning, see Ps. 1. 21 ; or that he taketh no notice of what we speak or 
do ; he ' cannot see through the dark clouds/ Job xxii. 12, 13. When 
any such thoughts rush into your mind, check them and actually 
rebuke them, lest they settle into a rooted atheism. (3.) Mortify vile 
affections : the judgment is tainted by the contagion of lusts, as a foul 
stomach sendeth up fumes and gross vapours into the head ; and so 


the principles of godliness do quickly suffer an eclipse : { The pure in 
heart see most of God/ Mat. v. 8. In fenny countries the air is 
seldom clear ; so in hearts that lie under the power of brutish lusts, 
there are seldom clear and distinct thoughts of God. (4.) Keep close 
to God's institutions ; these keep up his presence and memorial in 
the world, and so are the best preservative of godliness ; false worships 
are full of ceremonies which darken the nature of God. Images 
beget a gross opinion of God : no wonder if people grow blockish 
that worship God in a senseless stock or stone. Varro in Austin 
observed, that those that first invented images did but increase error, 
and take away all fear of religion. God knoweth what is best for 
himself, and how by his own institutions to keep up the repute of his 
nature and essence : when man presumeth to be wiser than God, and 
leaveth the certainty of God's institutions for additions and innova 
tions of Our own, that please us better, because they have \6yov 
cro(/>ia?, 'A show of wisdom,' Col. ii. 22, 23, all religion goeth to 
wrack. (5.) Let us often ' exercise ourselves unto godliness,' 1 Tim. 
iv. 7. Delight to give to God the honour due to him, love, delight, 
fear ; to worship him often, to do all things as aiming at his glory. 

Fourthly, The next clause in the description of these seducers is that, 
turning the grace of our God into wantonness. Where you may take 
notice (1.) Of their filthiness and brutish course of life, implied in the 
wordwantonness, in the original ao-eA/yeta, a wordproper to luxury and the 
impurities of lust ; it is derived from alpha, an augmentative particle, 
and Selga, the name of a town in Pisidia, saith Suidas, whose inhabitants 
were infamous for sodomy, and weakening nature by such prodigious 
filthiness as is not fit to be named among saints ; and the persons here 
noted the school of Simon. The Nicolaitans, the Gnostics, and other 
impure heretics of that age were for promiscuous commixtures, and 
the free use of their fellow creatures (as some carnal wretches in our 
own age have learned to speak), without any respect to conjugal rela 
tion, and those restraints which God and nature and all civil nations 
have laid upon the lusts of man, as if men should use no more dis 
tinction and confinement than the beasts ; yea, gave up themselves to 
all manner of unnatural lust, as in the process of this epistle we shall 
more fully discover. (2.) The occasion and encouragement of this 
wantonness, which doubleth the iniquity of it, is the grace of God, 
by which is meant the gospel, which is called ' the grace of God,' as 
Titus ii. 11, ' The grace of God hath appeared unto us, teaching us/ 
&c. ; and in the gospel chiefly they abused the doctrine of Christian 
liberty and free justification by Christ ; this is primarily intended. You 
may, by analogy, enlarge the expression to comprise all those other 
doctrines which libertines are apt to abuse ; yea, those gracious 
providences which wicked men do convert into fuel and nourishment 
for their sins. (3.) The manner how so excellent a thing as the grace 
of God was made pliable to so vile a purpose, for a man would wonder 
that things at so great and infinite a distance as the grace of God and 
filthy lusts should ever be brought to cast an aspect upon one another. 
That is showed in the word turning, in the original //.erart^eWe?, 
wresting, transferring from its proper use. They offered violence to the 
doctrine of grace, that it might be conscious to such a monstrous birth 


and production as filthy lusts and carnal pleasures. (4.) You have a 
hint of the reason why the apostle writeth against them with such a 
zealous indignation in that word our ; as if he said, That grace, whose 
sweetness we have tasted, whose power we have felt ; of that God who 
hath been so kind to us in Christ, whose glory we are bound to promote. 
Shall we see our God, and that grace upon which all our hopes stand, 
to be abused to such an unclean use ? 

From the words thus opened I observe : 

Obs. 1. That the gospel and grace of God in itself is not pliable to 
carnal purposes, yieldeth no carnal conclusions. They turn it, saith 
the apostle ; there is no such thing gotten out of the gospel without 
wresting, and till the art of a deceiver hath passed upon it. I shall 
prove the point by three arguments. 

1. From the constitution of the gospel. It yieldeth no leave to sin, 
but liberty to serve God : this is the great design of it. Christ came 
not to reconcile God and our sins together, but God and our persons ; 
to reconcile our persons and destroy our sins ; not to free us from the 
law, but sin ; to free us from the service of the devil, 1 John iii. 8, not 
from the service of God ; in short, he came not to make the law less 
strict, or sin less odious, or us less holy ; for perfection of the law was 
never so clearly known as since the coming of Christ, see Mat. v., and 
sin was never so odious as since the abundance of grace. They under 
the law sinned at a cheaper rate than we can, because they did not sin 
against so much love and kindness, see Heb. ii. 2, 3 ; neither could 
Christ come to make us less holy, or to dispense with our care of holi 
ness, for then he should come to deface the image of God, and make us 
more unlike God, which would not be a privilege but a burden to the 
new creature. Freedom frcm wrath and hell is a privilege, but freedom 
from duty and obedience is no privilege. In the gospel there is pardon 
for failings, but not to encourage us in our failings, but our duties. 
We were never so much obliged to duty as since the gospel, because 
now we have more help and more advantages, stronger motives and 
greater encouragements. If we look backward, we are bound in point 
of gratitude to serve the Lord, being redeemed hereunto by the blood 
of Jesus ; if we look forward, we are encouraged by the hopes of eternal 
life. The law could not persuade by such arguments as the gospel 
doth ; there is more of the rule known, more of the Spirit poured out 
to give us help to observe it. So that from this short abridgment of 
larger discourses, it appeareth that the great design of the gospel is to 
make us more like God, and to free us from the slavery of the devil, 
that we may be better servants and subjects to God. 

2. There are frequent and constant dissuasives from this perverting 
our liberty in Christ to the service of any fleshly design. The Spirit 
of God foresaw how corrupt nature in us would tempt us to abuse our 
privileges to an evil purpose ; yea, many had already attempted it in 
the apostles' days, as the sect of the Nicolaitans, the school of Simon, 
and, after them, the Gnostics and Basilicans, who, under colour of 
evangelical liberty, gave up themselves to lawless and brutish prac 
tices (as before was hinted) ; therefore, by way of prevention, dissuasives 
are very frequent everywhere ; as Rom. vi. 1, ' What shall we say then? 
Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound ? God forbid.' As 

VOL. v. K 


if he had said, You will not want such corrupt teachers, nay, your 
hearts will be marvellous apt to frame such kind of consequences and 
conclusions ; but reject them with indignation. So Gal. v. 13, ' You 
are called to liberty ; only use not your liberty as an occasion to the 
flesh.' Christ hath done his part, purchased glorious privileges for 
you ; only take you heed that you do not abuse them ; your base 
hearts are apt enough. So 1 Peter ii. 16, 'As free, but not using your 
liberty as a cloak of maliciousness.' Freedom by Christ will be an 
unfit cover and pretence for so vile a practice. 

3. Because in the gospel itself there are quite contrary inferences 
and conclusions from those which flesh and blood would draw from 
the gospel. As to instance, in anything wherein the gospel hath been 
abused, to three ends hath it been abused to looseness, laziness, licen 
tiousness. Now, you shall see the word carrieth things in a quite 
contrary way to what carnal men do. To looseness : men have been 
the more loose and careless, because grace hath abounded in the dis 
coveries of the gospel ; but the apostle disdaineth it, as a most abhor 
rent and strange conclusion from gospel principles : Rom. vi. 1, * Shall 
we continue in sin that grace may abound ? God forbid/ Mr) ^kvouro^ 
do not cherish such a vile and unworthy thought ; the gospel teacheth 
quite contrary; see Titus ii. 11, 12; not wantonness, but weanedness, 
4 to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts.' So see Kom. vi. 16, and 2 
Cor. vii. 1. A bee gathereth honey thence from whence a spider 
sucketh poison. Again, to laziness : men are apt to lie down upon 
the bed of ease, and say Christ must do all, and so exclude all use of 
means and the endeavour of the creature. This is a foul abuse ; for 
the scripture inferreth thence the care and work of the creature, be 
cause God doth all, Phil. ii. 12, 13, * Work out your salvation with 
fear arid trembling, for it is God worketh in you both to will and to 
do/ We must the more humbly wait upon God in the use of ordi 
nances, because all dependeth upon his assistance. Again, to licen 
tiousness : men have interpreted freedom by Christ in such a perverse 
sense as to cast off obedience to civil powers, either to masters in the 
family, or to magistrates in the commonwealth; whereas the word 
calleth for these duties upon this very ground, because we are made 
free by Christ, that is, more ready and apt to discharge the duty we 
owe to God and man : in this sense it is said, 1 Cor. vii. 22, that ' a 
servant is the Lord's freeman ;' and 1 Peter ii. 16, ' Obey governors as 
free, but as servants of the Lord.' Christianity giveth us a greater 
aptness, layeth on us a greater engagement, the bond of conscience ; 
so that there is, as Salvian speaketh, in maxima Ubertate minima 
licentia, a great deal of liberty by Christ, and yet the strongest engage 
ment to service that may be. 

Let us now apply the point. 

Use 1. It serveth to inform us, in the first place, that carnal men 
are ill skilled in consequences ; from the very gospel would they draw a 
liberty to sin, than which from such premises no conclusion can be more 
strange ; it is well worth the observing to note the different arguings 
in scripture from the same principles, as see some instances ; compare 
1 Cor. vii. 29 with 1 Cor. xv. 32 : the principle in both places is, ' The 
time is short/ Now, the apostle in the former place draweth from 


it conclusions of strictness, temperance, and mortification : ' Let us 
use the world as if we used it not/ &c. But in the latter the dissolute 
epicure argueth quite otherwise, ' Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow 
we shall die ;' a quite different conclusion from the same principle. 
So here, grace aboundeth ; let us be much in duty, saith the spiritual 
man ; let sin abound, saith the carnal. Again, compare 2 Sam. vii. 2 
with Hag. i. 2 : 'I dwell within a house of cedar,' saith David, ' but the 
ark of God dwelleth within curtains.' Surely I should have had more 
care of the ark of God, now God hath built me such a stately palace. 
But they in Haggai, we ' dwell in ceiled houses,' therefore ' the time 
to build the Lord's house is not come ;' so they might live in pomp 
and ease, they little cared how matters went with God's house. Once 
more, 1 Sam.' iii. 18, ' It is the Lord ; let him do what seemeth him 
good :' he argueth from thence to meekness and a submissive patience. 
But now compare 2 Kings vi. 33, * This evil is from the Lord ; why 
should I wait upon him any longer ? ' From the same principle he 
argueth himself into a murmuring and fit of impatience. Thus carnal 
men are always out in their reasonings : ' A parable in a fool's mouth,' 
saith Solomon, ' is like a thorn in the hand of a drunkard,' Prov. xxvi. 
9. When the spirits are disturbed by excess of drink, men have not 
an even touch, and so when they would use a thorn, or any sharp thing, 
they wound and gore themselves ; so do wicked men, being besotted 
with lusts, argue falsely from the grace and the holy principles of the 
word to their own destruction. 

Use 2. Again, it serveth for caution ; when you meet with such base 
inferences from evangelical principles, do not blame the gospel, or the 
ministry and dispensation of the gospel. 

1. Not the gospel, as if it were not clear enough, or faithful enough, 
or wary enough. Such thoughts are wont to haunt us when we see 
gross errors creeping under a shelter and pretence of scripture : foolish 
men would give laws to heaven ; we think Qod should speak more 
plainly, as if the Lord should make a sun for them to see that shut 
their eyes : vain man will stumble in God's plainest ways ; should things 
be never so clearly carried, a perverse apprehension would make them 
obscure. Parables (which are the liveliest and most sensible repre 
sentations of things) hardened the Pharisees, Mark iv. 11, 12. If men 
ruin themselves by their own false logic, we should not therefore accuse 
God. They that have a mind to fall shall not want a stone of stum 
bling ; they that will only be feasted with comforts, no wonder if they 
contract a spiritual sickness, and undo their souls by a misunderstood 
and misapplied gospel. 

2. Do not blame the ministry and dispensation of the gospel, 
because some abuse free grace, others cannot endure to hear it 
preached ; but children must not be kept from their bread because 
dogs catch at it. Because some are * drunk with wine,' and others eat 
to excess, shall the hungry man want his food ? Shall hungry con 
sciences lose their portion for others' abuse ? No, no ; if carnal men 
serve their lusts of these truths, we cannot help it ; we are not in the 
place of God : we can only deliver the doctrine ; we cannot give them 
gracious hearts to improve it. The Papists will not let the people 
have the scriptures upon this reason, for fear of abuses ; and Gardiner 


would not have this gap of free grace opened to the people, &c: The 
devil hath ever maligned a gospel dispensation. Let not us withhold 
the truth for fear of inconvenience. Let us look to our commission, 
* preach the gospel to every creature ;' if men abuse it, we are clear, 
' their destruction is just,' as the apostle speaketh to this very case : 
Kom. iii. 8, * Some slanderously report that we say, Let us do evil 
that good may come thereof, whose damnation is just.' Some gave 
out that Paul taught that they might sin freely, that God might have 
the more glory in pardoning ; ' their damnation is just ' ; if they went 
away with such a vile conceit, saith he, they learned it not from me. 
Musculus complaineth in one of his books that no place was so pro 
fane and irreligious as those where the gospel had been preached ; and 
Contzen, 1 a Jesuit, citing this passage, crieth out ; See the fruit of 
Protestantism and their gospel preaching. Many are of his spirit ; 
do even hate the publication of the doctrine of grace, as if these were 
the cause of men's miscarriage. If men abuse the truth, we cannot 
help it ; however, visible mistakes must be prevented, lest men go 
away with a scorpion instead of fish, and a stone instead of bread. 

Obs. 2. The next point, that though grace itself be not pliable to 
such conclusions, yet wicked men are very apt to abuse it to the 
countenancing and cherishing of their sins and lusts. You see here 
the abuse of the doctrine of the gospel was very ancient ; this spirit of 
error wrought betimes ; the former days were no better than these, 
Eccles. vii. 10. In the apostles' days, vile hearts did abuse good doc 
trine ; men were the same then which they are now, when such kind 
of errors have a second spring and revolution. Indeed, of all errors 
these seem to be very natural ; we greedily drink in the poison of 
carnal liberty. But let me give you the reasons why ungodly men 
take liberty and occasion from the grace of God to serve their sinful 
lusts and pleasures. 

1. Because carnal hearts do assimilate all that they meet with, and 
turn it into the nourishment of their carnal lusts: as the salt sea 
turneth the fresh rivers and the sweet showers of heaven into salt 
waters, so do carnal men pervert the holy principles of the gospel ; or 
as sweet liquors are soon soured in an unclean vessel, so do truths 
lose their use and efficacy when laid up in a carnal heart, and are 
quite turned to another purpose. 

2. Because they would fain sin securely, et cum privilegio, with a 
free dispensation from God, and therefore seek by all means to entitle 
God to the sin, and the sin to God. They would find a great deal of 
ease from gripes of conscience if they could make God the author, or 
at least the countenancer, of their evil practices ; and therefore when 
they can rub their guilt upon the gospel, and pretend a liberty by 
Christ, the design is accomplished. Augustine often taketh notice 
that the heathens took the most liberty to sin, because their gods were 
represented as approvers and countenancers of such kind of actions. 
If men could once make God an approver of sin, and giving leave to 
satisfy our desires, the design of carnal nature were at an end, and 
they would be freed of that awe of a divine power which is only left 
in nature as the check and restraint of sin ; and therefore because God 

1 Adamus Contzenius, in Mat. cap. 24. 


hath revealed so much of his indulgence to the fallen creature in the 
gospel, they strive to draw all the passages of it that way, as if God 
had given leave to sin freely. 

3. Because man is obedient naturally no longer than when under 
impressions of awe and fear ; ' the cords of a man/ Hosea xi. 4, work 
little with us; like beasts, we only put forward when we feel the goad. 
Violent means do more than gentle persuasions and the sweet strains 
of grace. Usually where we are dealt with in that kind, we ' wax 
wanton and kick with the heels/ Deut. xxxii. 15, as an ass-colt, being 
suckled and full, kicks her dam in the forehead. 

4. Because we all naturally desire liberty, carnal liberty, to be left 
to our own sway and bent, and therefore we catch at anything that 
tendeth that way. We would be as gods, lords of our own actions, 
and so are very apt to dream of an exemption from all kind of law 
but our own lusts : the seducer's bait was a ' promise of liberty/ 2 
Peter ii. 19. We would all be above check and control, and have 
scope and room for our lusts : Ps. xii. 4, ' Our lips are our own, who 
is lord over us ? ' We would fain bring it to that, to be at our own 
dispose, to be answerable to none that should call us to an account. 
The tumult of the nations against Christ was about bonds and yokes, 
Ps. ii. 3. The pale or the yoke is grievous to us, see Job xi. 12 ; Jer. 
xxxi. 18. Now being so resolved to be free, we are willing to hear of 
liberty, and apt to abuse whatever sounds to that purpose. 

But now let us see how many ways the grace of God may be turned 
into wantonness ; a right knowledge of the evil may be a means to 
prevent it. 

There is a grace dispensed in the way of God's providence, which 
may be called the grace of God, and is very liable to abuse : a word 
of that before I come to the main thing here intended. Thus we find 
the patience of God often abused ; when the Lord keepeth silence in 
heaven, and doth not presently thunder down vengeance on the heads 
of sinners, Ps. xxxvi. 2; Zeph. i. 12, we wallow in ease and fleshly 
delights, and dream of a perpetual happiness, and think we shall do 
as well as the precisest of them all : Eccles. viii. 11, ' Because ven 
geance is not executed speedily, therefore the heart is set in them to 
do evil/ Thus doth man's venomous nature suck poison out of so 
sweet an attribute as God's patience. And as God's patience is 
abused, so is also his goodness and bounty. When we are full and 
enjoy plenty we grow wanton, and either despise our mercies, Mai. 
i. 2, ' Wherein hast thou loved us ? ' or, which is worse, despise God 
himself, turn back upon the mercy-seat, grow very negligent, cold, 
and careless in the worship of God ; nay, many times the mind is 
efferated, and grown brutish and insolent both towards God and man: 
Hosea xiii. 6, * According to their pasture so were they filled ; they 
were filled and their heart was exalted, they have forgotten me.' 
Men have large pastures and strong lusts, and then God is forgotten ; 
there is not that care of God, that sense of duty, that meekness of 
spirit ; this is growing wanton with God's goodness. Once more, 
there is another grace of providence which is apt to be abused, and 
that is the vouchsafement of ordinances, or the means of grace, in 
great plenty ; a mercy prized when it first cometh among a people, 


but within a little while they grow wanton : 1 Sam. iii. 1, ' The word 
of God was precious in those days, for there was no open vision.' 
Whilst visions are scarce they are highly prized, but when they are 
open and public, men begin to grow giddy, cannot be contented with 
the simplicity of God's ordinances, but must be fed with ungrounded 
subtleties and quintessential extracts ; when spiritual appetite groweth 
wanton it is an ill sign, when plain truths will not down, and all 
things must be carried in an airy, subtle, and notional way ; God will 
have a scourge for such a wanton people. 

But let us come closer to the matter in hand. This text speaketh 
of doctrinal discoveries of grace, of the abuse of the gospel, and the 
principles thereof. Now it were a hard task to give you an account 
of all the paralogisms and corrupt inferences which men draw from 
the gospel ; there is no doctrine but, one way or another, a carnal 
heart is apt to abuse it. The most usual abuses are these : 

1. The doctrine of election is abused ; men say they may live as they 
list; if God hath elected them they shall be saved, and so allow 
themselves in their careless neglect of the means of salvation. Be not 
deceived; God, that decreeth the end, decreeth the means : ' God hath 
predestinated us to be conformed to the image of his Son,' Bom. viii. 
29 ; in grace here as well as in glory hereafter. 

2. The doctrine of the attributes of God's mercy and long-suffering. 
Men will say they are sinners, and so are others ; but God is merciful, 
and so poor, ignorant drunkards, adulterers, and swearers, as they are, 
they die with this principle in their mouths, God is merciful. But 
' be not deceived ; neither fornicators nor adulterers, &c., shall enter 
into the kingdom of God,' 1 Cor. vi. 9 ; so Eph. v. 6, ' Let no man 
deceive you with vain words, for because of these things cometh the 
wrath of God/ Both these places show there were divers which had 
such deceitful thoughts, as if living and dying drunkards, adulterers, 
&c., they should go to heaven. Others abuse the long-suffering of God 
to their delaying and putting off their repentance, as if, after a long 
vicious life, provided they could be devote at the last gasp, they should 
at length be saved, and of a sudden from swine become saints. As 
many delayed their baptism heretofore, because they would have 
longer time to sin in, and to walk after their own lusts, and when they 
were warned of their licentious course, their answer was, Tune demum 
a peccatis desistam cum baptizatus ero when I am baptized I will live 
otherwise. Thou fool ! besides the uncertainty of thy having time or 
grace to repent, this is a manifest abuse of God's patience, and will 
turn to thy greater ruin, Rom. ii. 4, 5. 

3. The doctrine of gospel grace is abused many ways. Sometimes 
to exclude the fear and reverence of God, as if fear were an antiquated 
grace, suiting only with a legal dispensation : whereas the children of 
God think the more grace the more fear : Ps. cxxx. 4, * There is mercy 
with thee, therefore thou shouldst be feared ; ' and Hosea iii. 5, ' They 
shall fear the Lord and his goodness/ The goodness of God doth not 
make them presumptuous, but is the greater matter of reverence and holy 
trembling : fear is so far from being abolished in the gospel that it 
continueth in heaven, it being an essential and necessary respect from 
the creature to the creator. Again, it is abused to deny all humilia- 


tion and sorrow for sins, yea, all confession of sins, as if to be humbled 
for sins were legal ; whereas repentance and all the acts of it is a mere 
gospel duty ; the law knew no such thing, and the truest and most 
genuine sorrow ariseth from a sense of pardon : Zech. xii. 10, ' They 
shall look upon him whom they have pierced, and mourn ; ' so Luke 
vii. 47, that Christian Niobe loved much and wept much, and all be 
cause much was forgiven. John speaketh to believers, to them that 
walked in the light, to confess their sins, 1 John i. 9 ; we cannot have 
pardon in God's way till this be done : ' If we confess/ &c. It is a con 
dition not for ivhich, but without which, pardon is not obtained ; it 
doth not show the cause, but the order of graces working. Again, 
sometimes it is abused to the neglecting of circumspection and heed 
in us. We are preserved in Christ, say they, and therefore we may 
be careless, and though we cast ourselves upon snares, temptations, 
and occasions to sin, be confident that God will keep us. The devil 
sets upon Christ with such a temptation : Mat. iv. 6, ' Cast thyself 
down, and he shall give his angels charge over thee/ Libertines scoff 
at the niceness and scrupulousness of former professors, that were will 
ing to keep at such a distance from a temptation, as if their strict and 
exact walking were a fruit of their darkness and legal spiritedness ; 
whereas the apostle maketh it a main property of ' children of light ' 
thus to do, Eph. v. 15. So God's doing all in the covenant of grace 
is abused to exclude all care of duty, and to keep men in a lazy osci- 
tancy, and gaping for grace without all care or endeavour on our part ; 
whereas God loveth to be met with in his own way, and cometh in 
with supplies of grace according to our diligence in the use of means ; 
see Mark iv. 34 ; and as it is abused, to shut out all endeavours 
after grace, so all actings and operations under grace ; as if we were 
mere logs rather than rational agents, and God so did all that the act 
of our own faculties were quite abolished or suspended ; whereas 
though the grace be from God, yet the act is ours, for otherwise the 
faintness and defectiveness of the operation would be chargeable upon 
him, and the Lord doth so draw us that we have a motion of our own : 
' Draw me and we will run after thee,' Cant. i. 4. It is he that 
' treads down Satan,' but ' under our feet,' Rom. xvi. 20. The doc 
trine of Christian liberty, which is one part of the gospel, is abused to 
exclude the moral law, as a rule of duties to God and man ; whereas 
the apostle saith, I am not avo/jbos, but eWo/^o?, ' not without the law 
to God, but under the law to Christ/ 1 Cor. ix. 21. Sometimes it is 
abused to a living to the height of the creature (as some carnal 
wretches phrase it), or an immoderate use of carnal comforts ; whereas 
to restrain us in this kind, the scripture forbiddeth licentiousness in the 
use of the creatures under such terms as do imply the lawful use. See 
Luke xvii. 27, and Isa. xxii. 13. The things mentioned there are 
necessary for the supportation of life ; but the immoderate use is 
intended, because they did nothing else but mind these things. He 
that will do all that he may, will soon do more than he should. The 
doctrine of spiritual worship, and abolishing the shadows of the law, 
which is another part of the gospel, is abused to the neglect and con 
tempt of ordinances and acts of solemn worship, as if all were but 
forms, not suiting with that spirituality unto which they think they 


are called in these days of the gospel ; and so constant prayer is laid 
aside as a form, whereas God calleth for daily worship in this kind, 
Mat. vi. 11, and making conscience of hearing the word : a form too 
low for them that pretend to live immediately upon the Spirit ; 
whereas the scripture joineth word and Spirit together, as inseparable 
in the dispensation, Isa. lix. 21 ; and the apostle in one verse saith, 
' Despise not prophesying,' 1 Thes. v. 19 ; and presently, ver. 20, 
' Quench not the Spirit/ l implying whosoever doth the one will cer 
tainly do the other. So the use of the seals, baptism and the supper, 
as forms n't for novices ; but they are of a more elevated strain, and 
above these lower helps, enjoying so much in the inward and hidden 
man ; whereas Christ hath enjoined these ordinances for the use of all 
sorts of Christians till he come again to judge the world. See Mat. 
xxviii. 20, and 1 Cor. xi. 26. So instructing children a form, though 
we have express command for it in scripture, Eph. vi. 4. It were easy 
to rake in this puddle, but this taste may suffice. 

Use 1. The use of all is to make us more cautious arid wary, that 
we may not be guilty of this great sin. 

1. It is the error of the wicked, 2 Peter iii. 16. It is a black 
mark to grow the more wanton for mercies, secure for patience, 
sensual, vain, negligent, careless, because of the free tenders of grace 
in the gospel ; there cannot be a more evident mark of a man in a 
carnal condition. It is sad when our ' table is made a snare ; ' but 
it is worse when the very gospel is made a snare, for the better things 
are, the worse is the abuse, and more dangerous. Look, as it is a 
mark of the love of God to have ' all things work together for good 
to us/ Kom. viii. 28, so it is an argument of the hatred of God when all 
things prove a snare, and the very gospel itself, the blessed gospel of 
the glorious God, is cursed to us. Oh ! how sad is their condition. 

2. It is a sin against mercy, and those of all others are most dan 
gerous. When you abuse grace, you make grace your enemy ; and it 
is ill for creatures when grace is their enemy, and there is nothing 
left for them but justice and wrath ; justice will take up the quarrel of 
abused mercy, and, as grace is despised, so wrath taketh place : ' They 
treasure up wrath/ &c., Kom. ii. 4, 5. 

3. It is foul ingratitude to turn our mercies into a provocation, to 
make a calf of our ear-rings, and to serve our lusts of God's providence ; 
as he said of Adam, that what he received, /teXo?, a rib, he returned. 
/3eXo?, a dart, alluding to his fall by Eve. So to fight against God 
with his own weapons, what vile ingratitude is that ! See Jer. v. 7 ; 
Ezek. vii. 20. To make plenty the fuel of our lusts, what is it but to 
4 make God serve with our sins/ Isa. xliii. 24, and to grow worse for 
the gospel, black and tawny because the sun of righteousness hath 
looked upon us ? It is as it were to give it out to the world as if he 
did serve with our sins by his own consent, and we had a license from 
heaven to do what we do. 

4. It is a great grief to the Spirit of God when you abuse grace. 
You do as it were put your miscarriages upon him, when you call 
licentious walking Christian liberty, and neglect of duty gospel free 
dom, and godly sorrow legalism, and strict walking superstitious 

1 The order of the verses is the reverse of that stated. ED. 


niceness ; you do as it were father your bastards upon the Spirit, and 
entitle the monstrous conceptions and births of your own carnal hearts 
to his incubation and overshadowing ; you think God warranteth you 
in all this, and that is a high wrong to him which he will avenge in 
due time ; see Ps. 1. 21, 22. I remember the prophet saith, Jer. iv. 
10, '0 Lord! thou hast greatly deceived this people,' because the 
false prophets had done it in his name ; false doctrines make God to 
be the deceiver, and these ill consequences drawn from the gospel are 
in effect charged upon the Spirit, who is the author of it. 

Well, then, learn the truth as it is in Jesus, Eph. iv. 21. 

[1.] First, make him your teacher ; flesh and blood will stumble in 
God's plainest ways. We cannot learn any gospel truth of ourselves, 
but we are apt to pervert it to an ill use. 

[2.] Take the whole doctrine together ; for it is the truth as it is in 
Jesus, otherwise it is the truth as it is in the mouth of a false teacher. 
Half-truth hath filled the world with looseness ; when men divide between 
Christ's comforts and Christ's graces, his priesthood and his regality, 
his benefits and his laws, these partial apprehensions spoil all. 

[3.J As to your manner of learning, let it be saving, and such as 
tends to practice. It is not enough to make Christ our teacher by 
using his word, and looking for the direction of his Spirit, and to 
make the whole counsel of God our lesson; but also we must learn to 
a saving purpose, to put off the old man, to put on the new, and not 
to store the brain with knowledge so much as the heart with grace ; 
for to this end is the gospel given to us, not for science so much as 
practice, to make us better rather than wiser and more knowing. 

Use 2. Another use is examination, to put us upon trial whether we 
do not, yea or no, ' turn the grace of God into wantonness/ A man 
may be right in doctrine, and yet the constitution of his spirit may be 
naught. Again, there may be a fond dotage on the name of Christ, 
and yet no real respect to him ; therefore it behoves us to search how 
the gospel works with us. 

[1.] Are you not the better for the knowledge of it ? If you are not 
the better you are the worse. If you know Christ, and come short of 
the hour * of his grace, you know him in vain ; you make Christ and 
the gospel a useless thing. Compare 2 Cor. vi. 1 with Col. i. 6 : 
there is a ' receiving the grace of God in vain, 5 and a ' knowing the 
grace of God in truth/ We receive it in vain when we are nothing the 
better for it ; and we receive it in truth when we feel the sweetness 
and power of it upon our hearts and consciences. Those that know 
the grace in truth are the more vigilant, more humble, more holy. 
They are more diligent, for the grace of God hath a mighty constraint 
to urge us to duty, 2 Cor. v. 14, 15 : more humble, nothing so melt 
ing as grace, Zech. xii. 10 ; unkindness after so much grace as we 
have received in Christ is the great reason and cause of godly sorrow : 
more holy, nothing kindles such a rage and indignation against sin as 
grace doth : Ezra ix. 14, ' Should we again after such a deliverance,' 
&c. ; nothing persuadeth by such powerful arguments to the practice 
of holiness as grace doth ; see Titus ii. 11-14. Therefore what are 
you the better ? If it worketh not thus, it is sad. 
' Qu. ' power ' ? ED. 


2. Are you the worse sensibly for the knowledge of the gospel ? 

First, Do you grow more careless and neglectful of duties, as if now 
there were not so much required of you ? The gospel never taught 
you that, but your own corrupt hearts. It is true, the more Christ is 
preached, the more evangelical a man is in his duties ; his heart is 
taken off more from resting in them, he doth not pitch his hopes upon 
the tale or number of his duties, and he doth not perform them out of 
bondage, but more clearly, knowingly, comfortably, as upon gospel 
grounds ; but still he will be performing, as knowing that duties can 
never have too much of our care, and too little of our trust : in the 
gospel we have more help, therefore, in all reason, we should per 
form more work. Well, then, to grow more lazy and less frequent 
in the worship of God, and the use of the means of grace, the more 
we are acquainted with God's grace in Christ, is to abuse grace, 
which was given us to make us more cheerful, not more slack and 

Secondly, Less circumspect and wary in your conversations ; loose 
walking is an ill sign. Christ himself taught us to * enter in at the 
strait gate, and to walk in the narrow way,' Mat. vii. 13, 14. When 
men seek more room and breadth for their lusts, they pervert the end 
of the gospel, for the gospel only showeth that the greatest sin is par 
donable, but the least is not allowable. The world is much for a 
shorter cut to heaven ; but when you have done all, you will find that 
the good, old, long way is the nearest way home. Still we must ' make 
straight steps to our feet ;' mortify lusts, bridle vile affections, and keep 
close to rule. Sin is the same that ever it was ; and the law is the same ; 
and God is as holy, and as much delights in holiness, as ever he did ; 
we therefore must be as strict as ever. It is but a carnal liberty to 
have leave to be wanton, to be free to sin. Nature is very apt to hear 
in that ear, see 2 Peter ii. 18, 19, but grace counts it no privilege. 

Thirdly, If less humble, still you are guilty. A man committeth sin 
and findeth no remorse, upon the pretence of God's free grace in par 
doning ; this is still the wantonness which ariseth from the abuse of the 
gospel God's children never loathe themselves more than upon the 
remembrance of mercy, Ezek. xxxvi. 31, never melted for sin more 
than when the warm beams of God's love thaw their hearts, that they 
should sin against a pardoning God, a gracious Father, a good Master, 
&c. Every mercy is a new stab at heart. Christ's look made Peter 
weep bitterly ; nothing affects them so much as grace. 

06s. 3. The third point is taken from that particle our, rrjv rov 
6eov rj/jiwv. He mentioneth their interest in God to provoke them so 
much the more to zeal against errors that were so scandalous to his 
grace. Note that sense of interest in God begets the best zeal for 
the truths and glory of God. The point consists of two branches : 

1. That interest in God will beget a zeal for God. It troubleth a 
good man to see any one wronged, much more to see his own relations 
wronged, most of all to see his God wronged. Can a man profess love 
to God, and not espouse his quarrel ? Friends have all things com 
mon, common love and common hatred, wrong the one and the other 
is not well at ease ; so it is in the spiritual friendship between us and 
God : Ps. Ixix. 9, ' The reproaches of them that reproached thee are 


fallen upon me.' Injuries done to God and religion will as nearly affect 
us as those done to our persons. Certainly they that can be silent in the 
cause of God have little affection to him, and they who are so tender of 
worldly interests do little value an interest in God : ' Wisdom is justified 
of her children/ Mat. xi. 19. They are bastards and not children that are 
afraid or ashamed to own their mother's defence, or can hug those in their 
bosoms that are enemies to God and his grace : Ps. cxxxix. 21, 'Do 
not I hate them, Lord, that hate thee ? am not I grieved with them 
that rise up against thee ?' It is an argument of his sincerity that 
God and he had the same enemies, that he could find no room in his 
heart for affection to them that had no affection to God. When 
we came into covenant with God, we made a league with him offensive 
and defensive, to count his friends ours and his enemies ours, to hate 
what he hateth and to love what he loveth ; therefore, without breach 
of covenant we cannot be silent in God's cause, and friends to the 
enemies and abusers of his grace. 

2. The next branch is, that their zeal who have an interest in 
God is the best zeal. Now it is the best, partly because it is hottest. 
They that contest merely for an opinion are not so earnest as they that 
contend out of affection ; as a stranger, seeing a man oppressed, may 
chide him that did the wrong, but a near relation he will interpose and 
venture himself in the quarrel ; so will one that loveth God sacrifice 
all his interests for God's sake. Partly because it is purest. Carnal 
men may engage in religious controversies, out of passion they may 
stickle for their own opinion, but this fire is taken from a common 
hearth, not from the altar ; it doth not arise from any love to God, from 
any inward relish and taste of the sweetness of grace, but only from 
humour and obstinacy and worldly interest ; we may as well be afraid 
of some men's zeal against error as of others' proneness to it. Carnal 
persons keep a great coil, and fill the world with clamour and rage ; 
but their hearts do not flame with zeal upon a proper interest, and do 
not carry on things in God's way. 

The use is to inform us of the reason why the spirits of godly men 
are so keen against such errors as intrench upon the grace of God ; 
why errors about Christ are horrible to them, a very abomination to 
their thoughts ; because thereupon are built all their hopes ; and in such 
matters they have most experiences ; therefore their hearts sparkle 
within them ; others feel a cold indifferency, but they a mighty pressure 
upon their spirits. 

I now come to the last part of their description, and denying the 
only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. Observe their sin, deny 
ing. The object, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is here described three 
ways : (1.) By his absolute rule and supremacy, Sea-Trorrjv povov, the 
only Lord. (2.) By his essence, Oeov, God. (3.) By his headship 
over the church, Kvpiov rjfjL&v, our Lord Jesus Christ. 

I shall first vindicate, and then open the words. Divers take the 
words disjunctively, applying the first clause to the Father, the second 
to the Son. So Erasmus translateth it, * God, who is that only Lord,' 
and ' our Lord Jesus Christ.' But, as Beza observeth, this is not the 
first time that he is taken tripping in those places which seem mani 
festly to assert the Godhead of Christ. Briefly, then, that the whole 


clause is to be understood of Christ may be proved by these argu 
ments : (1.) Because the parallel place in Peter, from whence this 
seemeth to be taken, maketh mention only of Jesus Christ, where 
Seo-TTor???, the word of absolute sovereignty, is ascribed to him, deny 
ing TOV Sea-TTOTTjv, the ' master that bought them,' 2 Peter ii. 1. (2.) 
Because to me it seemeth that Jude would lay down all the preroga 
tives of Christ in his natures, as God, as man ; in his relation to the 
world, so a master ; to the church, so a Lord. (3.) By the tenor of 
the words in the original, where there is no new article to divide them, 
and therefore all these titles belong to the same person, rov /JLOVOV Sea- 
TTOTTJV, rov 6ebv /cvpLov rjjji&v, apvovfJbevoi. (4.) Many old copies, as 
Calvin saith, read thus, ' Denying Christ, who is only God and only 
Lord/ (5.) Because the heresy of these times struck at Christ more 
than God the Father, and only at the Father for Christ's sake ; and 
therefore John, in his epistles, speaketh often of those that denied 
Christ. See 1 John ii. 22, and 1 John iv. 3. It is true the school 
of Simon and some other sects held forth many fabulous things of 
God, and introduced multitudes of rulers by whom the world was 
governed ; but this was to exclude Christ, and to make void that sove 
reignty which the scriptures assert to be committed into his hands. 
The most ancient heresies were those of the Simonians, Menandrians, 
Saturninians, who denied the person of Christ, affirming Simon Magus 
to be Christ ; and the Valentinians, who denied his human nature, 
affirming that he brought his substance from heaven, and only passed 
through the Virgin Mary like water through a conduit. There is 
but one objection against this exposition, and that is, if it be meant of 
Christ, then the Father will be excluded from being God, for Christ, 
according to the sense alleged, is said to be only master, only God, 
and only Lord. I answer The expression doth not exclude either of 
the persons of the Godhead, the Father or the Son, but only the crea 
tures and feigned gods, especially those feigned rulers and governors 
of the world which the school of Simon and the Nicolaitans intro 
duced under the horrid names of Barbel, Abrakan, and Kavlakan, &c. 
And indeed such kind of expressions are frequent in scripture, as Isa. 
xliv. 8, ' Is there a God beside me? Yea, there is no God, I know 
not any.' So Isa. xlv. 5, ' I am the Lord, there is none else, there is 
none besides me/ All which expressions are meant of Christ, as ap- 
peareth not only by the titles of Saviour and Redeemer, given to the 
God that there speaketh, but also by divers passages therein proper to 
him, yea, by a quotation of the apostle's. Compare Isa. xlv. 22, 23, 
with Kom. xiv, 11, and Phil. ii. 10. Again, you shall find like pas 
sages of God the Father, where he is said to be only true God : John 
xvii. 3, ' This is life eternal, to know thee the only true God, and 
Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent;' which is not exclusive of other 
persons, but of other gods ; and the scriptures speak thus because of 
the unity of the divine essence, which all the persons communicate 
one with another. 

The exposition of the words, now they are vindicated, will be 
easy. And denying. This is done either openly or covertly : openly 
when Christ is clearly renounced and opposed ; covertly, Christ is 
denied either by the filthy conversation of Christians, or else by 


heretical insinuations striking at his person and natures at a dis 
tance. Both are intended for these seducers. Though they denied 
Christ, yet they had their pretences and illusions. This Christ whom 
they denied is described by his relation in the world, the only master 
or ruler. This word is opposed to their doting conceit of many rulers, 
between whom the regimen of the world was divided. The next title 
is 6eov, God. So Christ is called because of his divine nature ; and 
then our Lord. He saith our partly to show that this was the title 
that he bore in relation to the church, they being his peculiar people 
by his father's gift and his own purchase ; partly to awaken their zeal 
by a consideration of the interest which they had in this Lord thus 
denied ; and then the other word, Lord, is proper to Christ's mediator- 
ship. See 1 Cor. viii. 5. There remaineth but Christ's name, Jesus 
Christ. The word Jesus is opened, Mat. i. 21 : ' Thou shalt call his 
name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins ; ' and it im- 
plieth here that Christ's Lordship shall be administered for the salva 
tion of the church. The other word, Christ, signifieth anointed, 
which noteth his designation from God to be king, priest, and prophet. 
I do thus particularly open the terms, because I suppose the apostle's 
scope is to give us a sum of the Christian doctrine concerning the per 
son, natures, and offices of Jesus Christ, all which were one way or 
other impugned by the seducers of that age. 

The points that might be drawn hence are many ; for a taste take 

Obs. 1. That Jesus Christ is master and Lord, Seo-Tnm;? KOI KV/HO?, 
* king of nations/ Jer. x. 7 ; and ' king of saints/ Rev. xv. 3 ; or, as the 
apostle in one place, ' Head over all things to the church/ Eph. i. 22. 
He is over all things, supreme and absolute ; but the Church's head, 
from whom they receive all manner of influence. He hath a rod of iron 
to rule the nations, and a golden sceptre to guide the church. In the 
world he ruleth by his providences, in the church by his testimonies, 
Ps. xciii., per totum. In the world, the attribute manifested is power ; 
in the church, grace. Well, then, here is comfort to God's people, 
your Lord is the world's master : ' Let the waves roar, the Lord 
reigneth/ Ps. xciii. You need not fear, he is not only Lord to protect 
you, but master of them that rise up against you. Again, who would 
not choose him to be a Lord, when, whether we will or no, he is our 
master, and bow the knee to him that will else break the back, and 
touch his golden sceptre lest we be broken with his rod of iron, and 
take hold of his strength by faith lest we feel it in displeasure ? Lord, let 
me feel the efficacy of thy grace, rather than the power of thine anger I 

Obs. 2. Observe again, that Christ is Lord and Jesus-, he came 
to rule, and he came to save. I shall handle these two titles (1.) 
Conjunctly ; and then, (2.) Singly and apart. 

1. Conjunctly: 'Let all Israel know that God hath made this 
Jesus, whom ye have crucified, Lord and Christ/ Acts ii. 36. It is 
usual to observe in Christ's style and title a mixture of words of power 
and words of goodness and mercy : see Isa. ix. 6, et alibi passim. Now 
for what end ? Partly to show that he is a desirable friend, and a 
dreadful adversary : partly to set forth the mystery of his person, in 
whom the two natures did meet : partly to show that he is not good 


out of impotency and weakness ; if we pardon and do good it is out of 
need. God is strong enough to revenge, but gracious enough to save 
and pardon. Power maketh us cruel : * Who findeth his enemy and 
slayeth him not?' If we forbear, it is out of policy, not out of pity. 
' The sons of Zeruiah ' may be * too hard for us/ but Christ, who is the 
great Lord, he also is Jesus ; he hath the greatest power, and the 
greatest mercy ; mighty, but yet a Saviour. Partly to show how we 
should receive him ; we should not only come to him for ease, but 
take his yoke, Mat. xi. 28, 29. Give him your hearts as well as your 
consciences ; if Christ save, let not sin lord it. What a pitiful thing 
it is when men would have Christ to redeem them, and Satan to rule 
and govern them ! Ov 6e\o^ev TOVTOV fiaaiXeva-ai,, ' We will not have 
this man to reign over us,' Luke xix. 14. There the business sticks : 
* The carnal mind is enmity to the law/ Kom. viii. Lusts cannot en 
dure to hear of a restraint, and therefore we oppose most Christ's 
nomothetic power ; like angry dogs we gnaw the chain. The language 
of every carnal heart is, ' Our lips are our own ; who is lord over us ?' 
Ps. xii. 4. To be controlled for every word, every thought, every 
action, we cannot endure it. Oh ! consider Christ hath many enemies, 
but they are his chief enemies that do withstand his reigning : Luke 
xix. 27, ' Those mine enemies, that would not that I should reign over 
them/ &c. 

2. Let us handle these two titles singly and apart. 

[1.] He is Lord : Acts x. 36, ' Jesus Christ, he is Lord of all.' As he 
is God he hath the same glory with the Father ; as mediator there is 
a dominion that results from his office ; for so he is the ' heir of all 
things,' the head of all creatures, and king of the church, and at the 
last day the judge of all men. But he is chiefly a Lord because of his 
heritage in the church ; a Lord over his own people, who are ' given 
to him for a possession ' by God the Father, Ps. ii. 8, and * bought with 
his own blood/ Acts xx. 28 ; and taken into a marriage covenant with 
him, Eph. v. 25-27. And as Sarah called her husband lord, so must 
the church own Christ for Lord and husband. Well, then, let us 
acknowledge the dominion of Christ ; let him be Lord alone in his 
own house ; let us yield subjection and obedience to him ; let us 
beware of depriving him of that honour to which he hath so good 
a right. You will say, Who are those that deny Christ his Lordship ? 
I answer : 

(1.) They that will not hear his voice, that slight his calls. He 
inviteth them and prayeth them that they will look into their hearts, 
consider their eternal condition, but they quench the Spirit, smother 
light, resist all these motions ; these will not hear Christ's voice. He 
entreateth, prayeth, that we will come and put our souls under his 
government ; and we in effect say, ' We are lords, and will not come 
at thee/ Jer. ii. 31. We are well enough, and shall do well enough 
without any such care and strictness. 

(2.) They that cannot endure his restraints : Jer. xxxi. 18, ' Thou 
art as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke/ They cannot endure to 
hear of denying their fashions, their lusts, their pleasures, their vain 
thoughts, when every thought and every desire must be under a law ; 
so much time spent in duties, such gravity in the conversation, such 


'iwe in their speeches ; they break off like a wanton heifer. Vain and 
licentious spirits will not be yoked and clogged thus : Mai. i. 14, ' What 
a weariness is it ! ' Sacrifice upon sacrifice ! such waiting upon God ! 
they cannot endure it. Man is compared to ' a wild ass's colt/ not 
only for grossness of conceit, but for untamedness and wildness, Job 
xi. 12. We would roam abroad without restraint. 

(3.) They are given up to strong and inordinate desires of liberty ; 
when men quarrel at duties rather than practise them, think it a kind 
of happiness to be free, and that there is no freedom but in sinning, 
and following the bent and sway of their own hearts, are all for break 
ing bands, and dissolving cords, Ps. ii. 4. 

(4.) These are bewrayed by a proud contempt and obstinacy against 
instruction and reproof: Jer. v. 5, 'I will go to the great men and 
speak to them ; but these have altogether burst the yoke, and broken 
the bands.' They had cast off all respect and obedience to God : Jer. 
xiiL 15, ' Hear, give ear, be not proud/ &c. ; so Heb. xiii. 22, ' Suffer 
the words of exhortation/ &c. Some spirits are impatient, and re 
coil with the more violence upon a reproof, and storm and vex, which 
argueth much unsubjection of heart to Christ. 

[2.] He is Jesus, which signifieth a Saviour. Now Christ is a 
Saviour positively as well as privately ; he giveth us spiritual bless 
ings, as well as freedom from misery ; John iii. 17, that they should 
' not perish, but have everlasting life/ Again he is a Saviour not 
only by way of deliverance, but by way of prevention ; he doth not 
only break the snare, but keep our feet from falling ; he is as a shep 
herd to lead the flock, as well as a physician to heal the diseased. 
We do not take notice of preventive mercies, and yet prevention is 
better than escape. Again, he is a Saviour by merit and by power ; 
for he hath not only to do with God, but with Satan. God is to be 
satisfied, and Satan overcome ; and therefore he rescueth us out of 
the hands of Satan, and redeemeth us out of the hands of God's jus 
tice. To rescue a condemned malefactor, and take him by force out 
of the executioner's hands, is not enough; the judge also must be 
satisfied, and pass a pardon, or the man is not safe : Christ ' hath 
pulled us out of the power of darkness/ Col. i. 13, and in him the 
Father is * well pleased/ Mat. iii. 17. There needeth also power to 
work upon our hearts, as well as merit to satisfy God. Before his 
exaltation he redeemed us, then he deserved it; and therefore it is 
said, 'We have salvation by his death/ 1 Thes. v. 9. After his 
exaltation he worketh it, and so we are * saved by his life/ Koin. v. 10. 
So that living and dying he is ours, that living and dying we may be 
his : we have the power of his exaltation as well as the merit of his 
humiliation. Once more, he saveth us not only for awhile, but for 
ever ; and therefore it is called an ' eternal salvation/ Heb. v. 9 ; not 
only from temporal misery, but from hell and damnation ; not only 
the body is saved, but the soul ; and the soul not only from hell, but 
the fear of hell, Heb. ii. 14, from the fear as well as the hurt, from 
despair and want of hope as well as from the misery itself. Yet, again, 
he saveth us not only from the evils after sin, but the evil o/sin : Mat. 
i. 21, ' He shall save his people from their sins ;' there is the chief est 
part of his salvation. He doth not only save us in part, but saves us 


' to the uttermost/ Heb. vii. 25. He giveth us life, and all things 
necessary to life. Well, then: 

First, Bless God for Jesus Christ, that he took the cure of our 
salvation into his own hands ; he would not trust an angel, none was 
fit for it : Isa. lix., ' I looked and there was no Saviour, therefore mine 
own arm wrought out salvation/ There are poor creatures like to 
perish for want of a Saviour ; I will go down and help them ; as 
Jonah, when he saw the tempest, ' Cast me into the sea/ So when 
we had raised a tempest, Cast me in, saith Christ, ' Lo, I am come to 
do thy will/ 

Secondly, Get an interest in Christ : Luke i. 47, ' My spirit hath 
rejoiced in God my Saviour/ Interest is the true ground of comfort 
and rejoicing. What must we do to get this interest? I answer : 

1. Keject all other Saviours : Acts iv. 12, ' There is salvation in no 
other.' Nothing could save Noah and his family but the ark; if 
they had devised ships, they would not hold out against the deluge. 
Especially take heed of making Christ of self, setting up thy own 
merit, or thy own power ; the one in effect renounceth his humilia 
tion, the other his exaltation. Christ came to ' save that which was 
lost ; ' the sinking disciples cried out, ' Master, save us, we perish.' It 
is long ere God bringeth us to this : till you are lost, why should you 
make choice of a Saviour ? Swimming is not a thing that can be prac 
tised ashore or on firm land : till we are brought into distress we 
will never look for a Saviour. 

2. Be earnest with God for an interest, and for the manifesta 
tion of it : Ps. xxxv. 3, ' Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation/ 
When the soul hath chosen God, Lam. iii. 24, ' The Lord is my por 
tion, saith my soul;' I will have no other Saviour, but I will desire 
the Lord to ratify it by his consent : ' I am thy salvation. 5 Those 
that would make use of Christ's salvation in a temporal way pressed 
on him, untiled the house to come at him ; so should we force our 
selves upon him by a holy boldness. 

Obs. 3. Again, from the words observe, the Son of God was Christ, 
that he might be Lord and Jesus ; anointed of the Father that he 
might accomplish our salvations. This anointing signifieth two 
things : 

1. The quality and kind of his office. 

2. The authority upon which it was founded. 

First, It noteth the nature of his offices. Under the Old Testa 
ment three sort of persons were anointed kings, priests, and prophets, 
and all these relations doth Christ sustain to the church. Men that 
were to be saved lay under a threefold necessity ignorance, distance 
from God, and inability to return to him. Suitably Christ a prophet 
to show us our misery, a priest to provide a remedy, a king to instate 
us in that remedy ; therefore according to these three offices doth the 
scripture use words in describing the benefits we have by Christ : John 
xiv. 6, ' I am the way, the truth, and the life/ Christ is the way as 
a priest, for by his oblation and intercession we have the boldness to 
come to God ; the truth as a prophet, the life as a king : take life 
either for the royal donatives of grace or glory. So 1 Cor. i. 30, ' He 
is made to use wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption/ 


We are ignorant foolish creatures, therefore Christ is made to us 
wisdom as a prophet ; we are guilty creatures, and therefore righteous 
ness as a priest ; sinful creatures, therefore sanctification ; miserable 
creatures, liable to death and hell, therefore redemption, and both 
these as a king. It was necessary that the way of our salvation should 
be opened,, effected, and applied ; therefore did Christ first come from 
heaven as a prophet to preach the gospel ; and then offer up himself 
through the eternal Spirit as a priest ; and, last of all, seize upon the 
mediatorial throne as king of the church. Well, then, if our blind 
ness and ignorance troubleth us, let us make use of Christ's propheti 
cal office, that he may teach us the whole counsel of God ; if we are 
haunted by troubles, and the accusations of our own conscience, let us 
sprinkle our hearts with the blood of our high priest, that they may 
be pacified ; if we have any desire to be granted, let us make use of 
his intercession ; if we be discouraged by our own weakness, and the 
power of our spiritual enemies, let us run for protection to our king, 
through whom the saints are more than conquerors. 

Secondly, It noteth the authority upon which his office is founded ; he 
was anointed thereto by God the Father, who in the work of redemp 
tion is represented as the offended party and supreme judge ; and so 
it is a great comfort to us that Christ is a mediator of God's choosing. 
When Moses interposed of his own accord, he was refused : ' Blot me 
out of thy book ; ' No, saith the Lord, ' the soul that sinneth, him will 
I blot out of my book.' But now Jesus Christ took not this honour 
upon him, but was called of God thereunto ; it was the will of the 
Father : so that when we come to God, though we cannot say, He is 
mine, yet we can say, Lord, he is thine ; a Saviour of thy setting up, 
thou hast authorised him, and wilt own thine own way, &c. 

Obs. 4. Once more, observe, which indeed is a point that lieth full 
in the eye of the text, that Jesus Christ, the master of the world and 
Lord of the church, is true God. For it is said here, denying the only 
Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. It would seem a strange 
thing that I should go about to prove the Godhead of Christ, were not 
blasphemy grown so common, and appearing abroad with so bold a 
forehead. Heretofore it was a grievous abomination to the children of 
God when such a thought rushed into their minds ; but now some 
promote it as a settled opinion. It is Satan's policy to loosen a corner 
stone, though he cannot wholly pull it out ; he striveth all that he can 
to make the main articles of religion seem at least questionable. But 
Christians, be not shaken in mind ; the foundation of the Lord standeth 
sure. I confess I should wholly omit such disputes ; in fundamental 
articles, we should not allow a scruple : ' Thou shalt not inquire after 
their gods/ Deut. xii. 30. But when such conceits are not only 
satanical injections, but men's settled opinions, it is good to establish 
the heart in such principles as this is. That Christ is God appeareth 
by express scripture, where he is called ' the true God,' 1 John v. 20 ; 
' the great God,' Titus ii, 13, to show that he is not a God inferior to 
the Father, but equal in power and glory, and that not by courtesy and 
grant, but by nature. So he is called ' the mighty God, the everlast 
ing Father,' Isa. ix. 6, and ' God over all/ Bom. ix. 5 ; proofs so evi 
dent and pregnant that they need no illustration. And that he is a 

VOL. v. L 


God equal to the Father appeareth also by express texts of scripture : 
Phil. ii. 6, ' He was in the form of God, and thought it no robbery to 
be equal with God ;' and Col. ii. 9, ' In him dwelleth the fulness of the 
Godhead bodily.' The saints are ' made partakers of the divine nature/ 
2 Peter i. 4, but in him the whole Godhead dwelt personally, and all 
this was no usurpation of another's right. The Jews would have 
stoned him 'because he said God was his father, making himself 
equal with God ; ' therefore he meant it not in an ordinary sense, and 
indeed if he be a God, he is a God by nature, for ' God will not give 
his glory to another/ Again, God he must needs be, if you consider 
the work he ought to do. The work of the mediator could be dis 
patched by no inferior agent. As prophet, he was to be greater than 
all other prophets and apostles ; for the great doctor of the church 
ought to be authentic, a lawgiver from whose sentence there is no ap 
peal : ' A lord in his own house/ Heb. iii. 6 ; one to whom Moses was 
but a servant, for to him he gave the law, Heb. xii. 26. One that is 
to be a fountain of wisdom to all the elect, 1 Cor. i. 30 ; one that must 
not only teach, but give eyes to see, and ears to hear, and a heart to 
learn. Consider him as a king ; a finite power cannot break the force 
of enemies, pour out the Spirit, raise the dead, bestow grace and glory, 
and become an original fountain of life to all the elect. All these 
things are proper to God, the glory which he will not give to another. 
Consider him as a priest ; and there are two acts, oblation and interces 
sion, and still you will find that he must be God. For his oblation, he 
must be one that could offer up himself, Heb. ix. 14, and therefore 
must have ' power ' over his own life, John x. 28, ' to lay it down and 
take it up ;' which no creature hath. And he must offer himself ' one 
for all/ 2 Cor. v. 15 ; the person that suffered was to be infinite, as 
good and better than all theirs that should have suffered ; as they said 
to David, ' thou art better than a thousand of us ; ' and this suffering 
was to be but once. Now, the wages of sin are eternal death ; some 
thing there must be to compensate the eternity of the punishment, and 
nothing could counterpoise eternity but the infiniteness and excellency 
of Christ's person, as a payment in gold taketh up less room than a pay 
ment in silver, but the value is as much. It was necessary that he 
should overcome the punishment, for if we were always suffering, we 
could have no assurance that God were satisfied. And the end was to 
expiate sin ; nothing but an infinite good could remedy so great an evil. 
The person wronged is infinite, so is the person suffering. And then 
his death was not only to be a ransom, but a price ; not only avr'i\v- 
rpov, but avrdXXayjAa. A surety to an ordinary creditor payeth the 
debt, and freeth the debtor from bonds. Christ was to bring us into 
grace and favour with God, and to merit heaven for us. Now for the 
other act of his priesthood, his intercession : so he was to know our 
persons and our wants and necessities, as the high priest had the names 
of the twelve tribes on his breast and shoulders, Exod. xxviii. 12, 29. 
And then he is to negotiate with God in the behalf of all believers, and 
to dispatch blessings suitable to their state : and who can do this but 
God, who knoweth the heart and trieth the reins ? In short, to be a fit 
intercessor for all the elect, he is to know our needs, thoughts, sins, 
prayers, desires, purposes, and to wait on our business day and night, 


that wrath may not break out upon us ; so that his work as mediator 
showeth him to be God. 

Uses. Well, then, we learn hence: 

1. That Christ is a proper object for faith. Faith is built on God, 1 
Peter i. 21, and Christ is God ; and therefore his merit was sufficient 
to redeem the church, which is therefore said to be ' purchased by the 
blood of God/ Acts xx. 28. This maketh him able to sanctify us, and 
purge us, for his blood was ' offered through the eternal Spirit/ Heb. 
ix. 14. As God he knoweth our wants ; for as to his divine nature he 
knoweth all things ; and then he hath a human nature that hath had 
experience of them. He is able, as God, to give in the supplies of the 
Spirit, to save to the uttermost, Heb. vii. 25. God manifested in our 
flesh is a firm basis for faith and comfort. 

2. Since he was God by nature, let us observe the love of Christ in 
becoming man. Men show their love to one another when they hang 
their picture about their neck. What did Christ when he took our 
nature ? To see the great God in the form of a servant, or hanging 
upon the cross, how wonderful ! ' God manifested in our flesh ' is a 
mystery fit for the speculation of angels, 1 Tim. iii. 16, with 1 Peter, 
i. 11 ; it would have seemed a blasphemy for us to have thought it, 
to have desired it. Among the friars, they count it a mighty honour 
done to their order if a great prince, when he is weary of the world, 
cometh among them, and taketh their habit, and dieth in their habit. 
Certainly it is a mighty honour to mankind that Christ took our 
nature, and died in our nature, and that he was ' made sin/ ' made 
man/ ' made a curse.' Let us desire to be made partakers of his 
nature, as he was of ours. This is our preferment, to * be partakers of 
the divine nature/ 2 Peter i. 4, as this was his abasement. The sun of 
righteousness went backward, there was the miracle ; and let us use 
ourselves more honourably for the time to come, that we may not de 
file that nature which the Son of God assumed. 

3. It is an invitation to press us to come to Christ, and by Christ 
to God. The great work of the ministers is like that of Eliezer, Abra 
ham's servant, to seek a match for our master's son. Our way to win 
you is to tell you what he is ; he is God-man in one person ; he is 
man, that you may not be afraid of him ; God, that he may be sufficient 
to do you good ; ' the Lord of lords/ * King of kings/ the ' heir of all 
things/ the ' Saviour of the world ; ' * this is your beloved, ye 
daughters of Jerusalem/ He knoweth your wants, is able to supply 
them, though you are unworthy. Come, he needeth no portion with 
you ; we can bring nothing to him, he hath enough in himself ; as 
Esther, the poor virgin, had garments out of the king's wardrobe, 
Esther ii. 12, and the perfumes and odours given her on the king's 
cost. Therefore come to him ; it is danger to neglect him : ' See that ye 
refuse not him that speaketh from heaven/ Heb. xii. 25. It is God 
wooeth you ; he will take you with nothing, he is all-sufficient ; you 
bringing him nothing but all -necessity, he will protect you, maintain 
you, give you a dowry as large as heart can wish. Therefore leave not 
till you come to ' I am my beloved's, and he is mine/ 

Obs. 5. I come now to the word implying their guilt, apvovpevoi, 
denying. Observe, that it is a horrible impiety to deny the Lord 


Jesus ; when he would make these seducers odious, he giveth them, 
this character. Now Christ is many ways denied. I shall refer them 
to two heads in opinion and practice. 

1. In opinion : so Christ is denied when men deny his natures or 
offices. (1.) His natures, his deity or humanity, as those ancient 
and wicked heretics, Ebion and Cerinthus ; and that is the reason why 
John begin neth his Gospel (which was last written) with a description 
of his Godhead, and is so zealous against them in his epistles ; as also 
Jude and Peter. Ebion, Cerinthus, and Carpocrates, and others, 
held he was begotten as others are, by the help of a man. Manes 
held the Son of God to be a part of his Father's substance. Saturnius, 
Basilides, Cordion, with others, denied the humanity of Christ, saying 
he only appeared in the shape of a man. Samosatanus held God was 
not otherwise in Christ than in the prophets. Eutyches held there 
was in Christ but one nature, which was made up of the commixture 
of his flesh with his divinity, as water is mixed with wine. Nestorius 
would give him two personalities, because he had two natures. The 
Marcionites affirmed Christ suffered not really, but in show. Thus 
you see how busy the devil hath been, and always is, about this main 
article. (2.) His offices of king, priest, and prophet have been 
denied by none, as I remember, but yet often made void and of 
none effect. Antichristianism is perfectly the evacuating of Christ's 
offices. The Papists set up head against head, which is the spirit 
of antichristianism. They make void his priestly office by indul 
gences, purgatory, doctrine of merit ; his prophetical office by doc 
trines of men and unwritten traditions. So Socinians make void 
his priesthood by denying his satisfaction; and Papists make void 
the other act of his priesthood by setting up mediators of interces 
sion, &c. 

2. Christ is denied in practice ; and so (1.) By apostasy and total 
revolt from him : Mat. x. 33, ' Whosoever shall deny me before men/ 
&c. None sin as apostates do ; for they do as it were, after trial, and 
upon deliberate judgment, acknowledge the devil the better master ; 
they first forsook Satan, and then came to Christ, and then they go 
back again from Christ to Satan ; and so do, as it were, tell the world, 
that with him is the best service ; and therefore it ' were better they 
had never known the way of righteousness,' &c., 2 Peter ii. 21. (2.) 
By not professing Christ in evil times, for not to profess is to deny : 
see Mat. x. 32, 33, and Mark viii. 38, in an age when men prove dis 
loyal in the duty of the covenant, called there an ' adulterous genera 
tion.' Some are ashamed for fear of disgrace, as well as afraid for fear 
of danger to own Christ, and the ways best pleasing to him ; this is to 
deny him. (3.) Men deny Christ when they profess him, and walk 
unworthily and dishonourably to their profession. Actions are the 
best image of men's thoughts. Now their actions give their profession 
the lie : Titus, i. 16, ' They profess they know God, and in works they 
deny him/ So 1 Tim. v. 8, ' If any provide not for his own house, he 
hath denied the faith ; ' that is, done an act incompatible with the Chris 
tian faith, of which he maketh profession ; which is interpretative a 
denying the faith. For the more clear opening of this, consider these 
propositions : 


[1.] An empty profession of Christ is not enough ; now Christ is 
everywhere received, it is easy to profess his name. To be a Christian 
in heart and conscience was far more easy to them in the primitive 
times than to be so in name and profession, the powers of the world 
being against that way; whereas the difficulty on our part lieth in being 
Christians in heart : it is no disgrace now to be a Christian outwardly ; 
that opposition and scorn which was then cast upon Christianity 
would now be cast upon Judaism, or Turcism, or Paganism. The 
winds blow out of another corner, and that which was their discourage 
ment may be our motive, to wit, the countenance of civil powers ; all 
advantages lie this way. If in Christ's time they followed him for the 
loaves, John vi. 26, now they may much more. Quandoquidem panis 
Christi jam pinguis factus est, saith Gilbert ; J tractatur in conciliis, 
disceptatur in judiciis, disputatur in scholis, cantatur in ecclesiis, 
qucestuosa res est nomen Christi the world is well altered since the 
first flight of Christianity abroad ; the kings and princes and wise men 
of the world were then against it, everywhere was it hooted at as a 
novel and improbable doctrine; but since, by long prescription of 
time, it hath gotten esteem in the world, and is made the public pro 
fession of nations, and kings and princes have brought their glory into 
the church, now Christ is handled in councils, disputed of in the 
schools, and preached of in the assemblies, so that the general pro 
fession of Christianity is a matter of no thanks. It is easy to be good 
where there is nothing to draw us to the contrary ; and therefore, when 
Christ cometh to judgment, paganism and loose profession of Chris 
tianity shall fare alike ; for loose Christians are but pagans under a 
Christian name ; see Jer. ix. 25, 26, ' The days shall come that I 
will punish all them that are uncircumcised with them that are cir 
cumcised ; Egypt, and Judah, and Edom, and the children of Ammon 
and Moab ; for these nations are uncircumcised in flesh, and the house 
of Israel are uncircumcised in heart/ It is no advantage to bear 
God's mark in our bodies, and to have no fruit of it in our souls ; 
this is but to clothe ourselves with the leaves of the vine without par 
taking the sap. What difference is there between those who, in a 
loose Christian profession, are addicted to luxury, wantonness, quarrel 
ling, prodigious lusts, and the votaries or worshippers of Mars, Venus, 
Bacchus, and Priapus ? Only the one appear in their own colours, 
and show what they are, and the other, though they are as low and 
brutish in their practices, pretend to a higher name, even to the 
sacred and excellent name of Christians. Alas ! your * circumcision 
shall be reckoned uncircumcision,' Bom. ii. 25, when you have not the 
fruit of it. 

[2.] Profession of Christianity without answerable practice maketh 
us in worse case than a heathen that is ignorant of Christ and 
salvation by him ; see 1 Tim. v. 8, ' He is worse than an infidel/ 
Poor pagans are not so well enlightened, instructed, and acquainted 
with such rich and glorious mercy, with ' the great things of eternity/ 
with the assistances of God the Spirit ; they have not such rules as we 
have, nor such advantages as we have, nor such obligations as we 
have, nor such encouragements as we have. If a man on horseback 

1 Gilbert in Cant. 


cometh slower than a man on foot, we blame him the more, because he 
had more help. So are carnal Christians in worse case than the 
heathen, because God may justly expect more from them. To be 
brought up in a prince's court, and to be still of rude and servile 
conditions, is worse in them than in those that follow the plough all 
days of their lives. So to be trained up in the courts of Christ, and to 
come short of the heathens in morality and strictness of conversation, 
it will be worse taken of us than of those that never heard of Christ. 
The more we profess the truth the more we condemn ourselves in our 
evil practices, and therefore must needs be worse than heathens ; for 
we practise that by voluntary choice and perverse inclination which 
they practise by education, they know little better ; so that the more 
excellent the religion is which we profess, the more vile and base is 
our disobedience ; for our profession will be a sore witness against us, 
that we knew better and had encouragements to do better ; we justify 
the heathen, but we condemn ourselves, as Israel justified Sodom, 
Ezek. xvi. 51, but by her profession so much the more disproved her 
own carriage, see ver. 63. Time will come when you will wish you 
had ' never known the way of righteousness ; ' and as Job cursed the 
day of his birth, so will you the memory of that day wherein you were 
added to the church. 

[3.] Profession accompanied with some rash and fond affection to 
Christ is not enough to acquit us from denying him. Many in a 
heat and humour will be ready to die for their God, and yet deny him 
ordinarily in their lives. As a quarrelling ruffian will stand up for the 
honour of his father, who yet, by his debauched courses, is the very 
grief of his heart ; it may be he wisheth his death to enjoy the inheri 
tance, yet if any other should speak a disgraceful word of him, he is up 
in arms presently, and ready to fight with him. So some men pretend 
much affection to their religion, and are ready to stab him that shall 
question it, or to venture their own lives in the quarrel, and yet none 
do this religion so great a despite and dishonour as they do themselves 
by their ungodly conversations. The apostle supposeth that some may 
' give their bodies to be burned ' that have not charity, 1 Cor. xiii. 3, 
for all this ado is not for their religion, but their humour. If their 
religion were rightly understood they would not endure it, because it 
altogether disproveth such practices as they delight in ; and all that 
they do is no more than they would do for an idol, if they were born 
there where idols are worshipped. The blasphemies of a pagan or an 
open enemy to religion do not touch Christ so near in point of 
honour as the scandalous behaviour of a Christian ; when Pagans 
declaim against him, it is but the malice of an enemy. Dogs will 
bark, it is their kind ; but your disobedience to his laws and unsuit 
able carriages doth far more dishonour, and represent him as an 
ulcerous Christ to the world ; because you pretend so much affection 
to him, and can live in such a fashion, you would be taken for his 
greatest friends, and so in effect you make the world believe that he 
doth approve your doings. 

[4.] Christ may be denied, though there be a stricter profession of 
his name, and some faint love and relish of his sweetness. Besides the 
loose national profession of Christianity which God, in a wise provi- 


dence, ordaineth for the greater safety and preservation of his church, 
there may be a strict personal profession, taken up from inward con 
viction, and some taste and feeling, and yet Christ may be denied for 
all this, as some that had ' tasted the good word/ turned aside to the 
world, and so are said to ' crucify him' rather than to profess him, 
Heb. vi. 4-6. The apostle intendeth some Hebrews that did mix 
Moses with Christ and Judaism to save their goods. So elsewhere 
he speaketh of some that ' had a form of godliness, but denied the 
power thereof,' 2 Tim. iii. 5 ; by the form, meaning the strictest garb 
of religion then in fashion. This is to deny Christ, when we deny the 
virtue and power of that religion which he hath established, and will 
not suffer it to enter upon our hearts. 

[5.] The means to discover false profession is to observe how we 
take it up, and how we carry it on ; whether we embrace it upon undue 
grounds, or match it with unconsonant practices. 

(1.) We embrace it upon undue grounds if we take it up merely 
upon tradition, without a sight of that distinct worth and excellency 
which is in our religion, for then our religion is but a happy mistake, 
the stumbling of blind zeal upon a good object ; and all the difference 
between you and pagans is but the advantage of your birth and edu 
cation. Standing upon a higher ground doth not make a man taller 
than another of the same growth and stature that standeth lower ; their 
stature is the same, though their standing be not the same. So you 
are no better than pagans, only you have the advantage of being born 
within the pale, and in such a country where the Christian religion is 
professed. You do according to the trade of Israel, 2 Chron. xvii. 4, 
and live tear alwva, as the fashion of your country will carry it, Eph. 
ii. 2 ; and as beasts follow the track, so you take up that religion which 
is entailed upon you. 

(2.) If we match it with unsuitable practices. These may be 
known, if we do consider what is most excellent in the Christian re 
ligion. Elsewhere 1 I have showed that the glory of the Christian 
religion lieth in three things in excellency of rewards, purity of pre 
cepts, and sureness of principles of trust. 

First, In the fulness of the reward, which is the eternal enjoyment 
of God in Christ ; therefore they that do not make it their first and 
chief care to ' seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness,' Mat. 
vi. 33, that are like swine, in preferring the swill of carnal pleasures 
before communion with God, or, in the scripture expression, ' Love 
pleasures more than God,' or prefer the profits of the world before ever 
lasting happiness, they whose lives are full of epicurism, atheism, 
worldliness, it is not a pin to those whether they be pagans or 
Christians ; for, acting thus heathenishly, thus brutishly, they do but 
pollute that sacred and worthy name. 

Secondly, The perfection of the precepts, which require a full con 
formity of the whole man to the will of God. More particularly, 
Christian precepts are remarkable for purity and charity: for purity, and 
therefore ' revellings and banquetings and chambering' are made to be 
customs of the Gentiles, 1 Peter iv. 3, things abhorrent from the Chris 
tian religion ; they that are yokeless, and live according to the swing 

1 See my comment on James i. 18. 


of their own lusts, or else that only fashion the outward man, make no 
conscience of thoughts, lusts, &c. ; they do not live as Christians. For 
charity : nothing is more pressed than giving ; l it was Christ's maxim 
' It is better to give than to receive/ Acts xx. 35. And also forgiving : 
one great strain of his sermon is love to enemies, Mat. v. 43-48. 
Christ, when he brought from heaven the discovery of such a strange 
love from God to man, would settle a wonderful love on earth between 
man and man. 

Thirdly, For sureness of principles of trust ; the whole scripture 
aimeth at this, to settle a trust in God, and therefore it discovereth so 
much of God's mercy, of his particular providence, of the contrivance 
of salvation in and by Christ ; so that to be ' without hope,' is to be 
like a Gentile, for they are described to be men ' without hope/ 1 Thes. 
iv. 13 ; and carking and distrustful care is made the sin of the Gentiles, 
Mat. vi. 31, 32 : this kind of solicitude is for them that know not God, 
or deny his providence over particular things. 

Well, then, take heed of denying Christ ; it is a heavy sin, it cost 
Peter bitter sorrow, Mat. xxvi. 75. Will you ' deny Christ that bought 
you ' ? 2 Peter ii. 1. Now they deny Christ, whose hopes and comforts 
are only in this world ; Christ is not their God, but their belly, Phil. iii. 
19. Libertines are not disciples of Christ, but votaries of Priapus. 
Merciless and revengeful men do condemn that religion which they do 
profess. In short, they do not only deny Christ that question his natures 
or make void his offices, but they that despise his laws, when they do 
not walk answerably, or walk contrary. 

Ver. 5. I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once 
kneiv this, liow that the Lord, having tfaved the people out of the land 
of Egypt, afterwards destroyed them that believed not. 

We have done with the preface. I come now to the examples by 
which the apostle proveth the danger of defection from the faith. 
The first is taken from the murmuring Israelites ; the second from 
the apostate angels ; the third from the beastly Sodomites. That you 
may see how apposite and apt for the apostle's purpose these instances 
are, I shall first insist upon some general observations. 

Obs. 1. First observe that God's ancient judgments were ordained 
to be our warnings and examples. The Bible is nothing but a book of 
precedents, wherein the Lord would give the world a document or 
copy of his providence : ' All these things are happened to them for 
examples/ 1 Cor. x. 11. When we blow off the dust from these old 
experiences, we may read much of the counsel of God in them ; their 
destruction should be our caution. His justice is the same that ever 
it was, and his power is the same, his vigour is not abated with years : 
' God is but one/ Gal. iii. 20 ; that is, always the same, without change 
and variation, as ready to take vengeance of the transgressors of the 
law as of old ; for that is the point there discussed. So 2 Tim. ii. 13, 
' He abideth faithful ; he cannot deny himself.' In all the changes of 
the world, God is not changed, but is where he was at first. Surely 
we should tremble more when we consider the examples of those that 
have felt his justice ; for God keepeth a proportion in all his dispen 
sations. If he were strict, and holy, and just, then he is strict, and 

1 Therefore a merciless disposition is made a denying the faith, 1 Tim. v. 8. 


holy, and just now. He that struck Ananias and Sapphira dead in the 
place for a lie, that made Zacharias dumb for unbelief, that kept Moses 
out of the land of promise for a few unadvised words, that turned 
Lot's wife into a pillar of salt for looking back, is the same God still, 
not a jot altered : his judgments may be more spiritual, but then more 

Again, answerable practices make us partakers of their guilt, and 
therefore involve us in their punishment. Imitation is an evidence of 
approbation. A man may have more sins charged upon him than 
those committed in his own person ; you are partakers of their evil 
deeds that lived before you, if you do as they did. It may be the 
memory of those that formerly fell under the weight of God's dis 
pleasure is execrable to you, yet your walking in the same course is a 
sign that you like their practices, and therefore you must expect their 
judgments with advantage and usury : Mat. xxiii. 35, ' That upon 
you may come all the righteous blood that was shed upon the earth, 
from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of 
Barachiah, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.' Why 
upon them ? and how did they slay him ? No doubt the memory of 
Cain was accursed among the Jews, but they ' walked in the way of 
Cain,' and so were to receive Cain's judgment with advantage. No 
doubt the memory of the murderers of Zechariah the prophet was 
hateful to them, but they continued prophet- killing and prophet- 
hating, and therefore did implicitly approve his murder, and so are 
said to slay him. Jude 11, it is said, ' These perished in the gain 
saying of Korah.' How can that be, when they were not as yet 
born ? These seducers lived long after, but following them in their 
sin, in their ruin they had a sure pledge of their own destruction. 
When we see others fall into a deep pit, and yet will adventure the 
same way, as we sin the worse, so our judgment will be the greater. 

Uses. Well, then, let us make every instance of the word a warning, 
and apply it for our use ; it is excellent when we read the scriptures 
with a spirit of application. In the miscarriage of others we have 
experience at a cheap rate ; and in their misery we have as sure a 
proof of the evil of sin, though not as costly, as if we had felt it 

Again, when wicked men flourish, be not dismayed. How hath 
God judged sinners of like kind ? What say your scripture prece 
dents ? ' I went into the sanctuary ; there I understood their end/ 
Ps. 1 xxiii. 17. 

Again, it showeth how vain their conceit is, that God will not deal 
so severely with us if we continue in our sins as he hath done with 
others in former times when the scriptures were written. God's judg 
ments, I confess, are more spiritual, but every way as severe to them 
that continue in their sins ; heretofore they were smitten with death, 
now with deadness. Nadab and Abihu were quickly dispatched for 
their unhallowed approaches to God in worship, Lev. x. 3, &c. ; many 
come now that do not sanctify God in their hearts : their judgment is 
more spiritual, the ordinances which should quicken, harden them. 
Bears devoured the children that mocked the prophet, 2 Kings ii. 
23-25 : many sit taunting by the walls that are not torn in pieces by 


bears, but they are posting to hell apace ; tarry but a little while, and 
God will ' tear them in pieces, and there shall be none to deliver/ 
Ps. 1. Korah, Dathan, and Abirarn were swallowed up quick, Num. 
xvi. ; the earth cleaves to receive them that made a cleft in the con 
gregation : many act as tumultuously as they, and no doubt their 
day is coming. Lot's wife, whose heart hankered after her possessions, 
was turned into a pillar of salt for looking back, Gen. xix. They 
that revert, and, after they are embarked with Christ, run ashore again 
as soon as they see -a storm a-coming, shall have their reward in due 

Obs. 2. The next thing which I observe in these instances is, the 
impartiality of divine justice ; for in all the examples brought, there 
are some circumstances upon which others would expect an exemp 
tion from wrath ; as the interest of the Israelites, they were God's own 
people ; the dignity of the angels, they were as it were fellows of God 
and courtiers of heaven ; the beauty and excellency of the country 
of Sodom : and in all the instances ye may observe the judgments fell 
on multitudes and societies, or collective bodies. All the murmuring 
Israelites, all the apostate angels, all the inhabitants of the four cities. 
Observe then (1.) That no outward privilege can avail us in the 
day of wrath, and so God's justice knoweth no relations. He * spared 
not Christ,' Kom. viii. 32 ; he ' spared not the angels,' 2 Peter ii. 4 ; 
he spared not his people of Israel, &c. (2.) None have a privilege to 
sin, and therefore none are exempted from punishment ; the law 
includeth all, the son, the servant, them that sit on the throne, and 
those that grind at the mill, none have a license from heaven and a 
privilege to sin above others. (3.) Wicked men do not spare God, 
and therefore God doth not spare them. They abuse his justice, 
his mercy ; they spare not his glory, his laws ; and as they are im 
partial in sinning, no restraints withhold them, so God is impartial in 

Uses. Lean not then upon these reeds. When wrath maketh inqui 
sition for sinners, outward privileges are of no use ; it is happy for 
them alone that are ' found in Christ,' Phil. iii. The avenger of blood 
had nothing to do with the nianslayer in the city of refuge ; when God 
is about to strike, none but Christ can hold the blow. See the vanity 
of other things. (1.) Outward profession is nothing, your * circum 
cision becometh uncircumcision.' God disclaimeth interest in a sinful 
people : ' Thy people which thou hast brought out of the land of Egypt,' 
saith God to Moses, when they had corrupted themselves, in scorn and 
disdain, Exod. xxxii. 7. Thy people ; he will not own them for his 
sheep, Deut. xxxii. 5. (2.) No dignity can exempt us; the angels 
were cast down to places of darkness. Dignity doth not lessen but 
aggravate sin ; where much is given, much is owed, and much will be 
required : ' Tophet is prepared for kings, for princes is it prepared.' 
(3.) Not outward excellency, as the pleasant land of Sodom. The 
disciples thought * the goodly buildings of the temple ' would move 
Christ to pity, Luke xxi. 5, 6, but Christ telleth them, c not one stone 
should be left upon another.' Saul was checked for sparing the best. 
Justice is not dazzled with outward splendour. The Lord threateneth 
to ' punish the dainty daughters of Zion with a scab,' Isa. iii. 17, &c. 


(4.) Not any society or multitudes of men. He ' spared not the 
old world/ 2 Peter ii. 5. No leagues and combinations can main 
tain your cause against God : ' Though the wicked go hand in 
hand, they shall not escape unpunished/ Prov. xi. 21. Briars and 
thorns may be intricated, and enfolded one within another, but 
when a devouring flame cometh amongst them, they do not hinder 
but increase the burning. Universal evils are above man's punish 
ment, but not God's. There is no safety in 'following a multi 
tude to do evil.' So that nothing will serve as a fit screen to inter 
pose between wrath and you, but only Christ. 

Obs. 3. I observe that, in all these instances there was some 
preceding mercy more or less. The angels had the dignity of their 
nature ; the Israelites had the testimony of God's presence, and were 
delivered out of Egypt ; the Sodomites had eternal * blessings, and 
the preaching of Lot, Gen. xix. 9. It is God's usual course to give a 
people a taste of his mercy ere he discover the power of his anger. 
Judgment is his last work : there is some mercy abused before it 
cometh, which doth abundantly clear God in the judgments that come 
upon the sons of men. Their ruin may be sad, but never undeserved. 
* God hath not left himself without a witness/ but we are left ' with 
out excuse.' 

Obs. 4. Once more I observe, that in all these instances God had 
still a care to put a distinction between the just and the unjust ; 
the race of Israel was not destroyed, but only ' them that believed 
not.' The good angels were preserved, the bad only fell from 
their first estate. Sodom perished in the flames, but Lot escaped. 
When the multitude is so corrupt, that we know not how they shall 
be punished and the rest preserved, let us think of these instances, let 
us refer it to God : ' He knoweth/ &c., 2 Peter ii. 9. 

I come now to the words ; in which you have a preface, and the 
first instance of God's judgment, which was on the unbelieving 
Israelites. In the preface you may take notice of his purpose, / 
will put you in remembrance ; his insinuation, though ye once know 

I begin with the first part, his purpose, I will put you in remem 
brance. From thence observe : 

Obs. 1, That it is a great part of a minister's duty to be a remem 
brancer. We are remembrancers in a double sense : (1.) From the 
people to God, to put God in mind of his people's wants ; so it is 
said, Isa. Ixii. 6, ' Ye that are the Lord's remembrancers.' Christ is 
the church's advocate, but we are the church's solicitors, to represent 
the sad condition of the church to God. (2.) From God to the 
people ; and so we are to put them in mind of the being of God, the 
riches of his grace, the necessity of obedience, the preciousness of their 
souls, the many dangers that lie in their way to heaven, &c. These 
are standing dishes at Christ's table. That this is a great part of our 
office appeareth by those places : 1 Tim. iv. 6, ' If thou put the 
brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minis 
ter of Jesus Christ.' And Paul, speaking of his apostleship, saith, 
Eom. xv. 15, 'As one that putteth you in remembrance, through the 

1 Qu. ' external ' ? ED. 


grace given to me ; ' see 2 Tim. ii. 14 ; Titus iii. 1 ; 2 Peter i. 
12-14; iii. 1. So there are two psalms that bear that title, A 
Psalm of David to bring to remembrance, Ps. xxxviii. and Ixx. The 
great use of sacraments is to put us in remembrance of Christ, 1 Cor. 
xi. 24. Yea^ one great employment of the Spirit is to ' bring things 
to our remembrance,' John xiv. 26 ; all which intimateth (1st.) Our 
forgetfulness and incogitancy. Truths formerly understood are soon 
forgotten, or not duly considered and kept in the view of conscience. 
(2d.) The benefit of a good memory. A bad memory is the cause of 
all mischief, but a lively remembrance of truth keepeth the mind in 
a good frame. (3d.) That however it be with natural, yet spiritual 
knowledge is a reminiscence, or reviving the seeds infused in the new 
creation, 1 Cor. xv. 2 ; Heb. xii. 5. (4th.) That a minister dischargeth 
his duty when he teacheth his people things vulgar and already known, 
as well as those which are rare and less known : if he be but a remem 
brancer it is enough ; we are to ' bring forth things both new and old.' 
We count him a wanton prodigal that only furnisheth his table with 
rarities, neglecting wholesome meats because they are usual. (5th.) 
The necessity of a standing ministry, if not to instruct, yet to keep 
things in remembrance. Because the most necessary truths are few 
and soon learned, men presently begin to think they know as much as 
can be taught them, and so neglect ordinances ; whereas one great 
use of the ministry is to keep truths fresh and savoury in the 
thoughts and memory. The heathen soon lost the knowledge of God, 
because they were without a public monitor that might keep this 
knowledge still on foot. The sound of the trumpet infuseth a new 
courage, so doth every sermon beget new affections, though we knew 
the truths delivered before. Coals will die without continual blow 
ing ; so will graces languish without often warnings and admoni 

The next thing in the preface is the insinuation, though ye once 
knew this. That word once needeth to be explained. His meaning is 
not that formerly they had known, but now forgotten it ; neither is 
once to be referred to viro^v^uai, as if the sense were, I will once put 
you in remembrance ; but by once is meant once for all ; that is, ye 
have certainly and irrecoverably received this as a truth. This clause 
will yield us these notes. 

Obs. 2. That it is the duty of every Christian to be acquainted with 
the scriptures ; the apostle presumeth it of these Christians to whom 
he wrote. Now this is necessary in regard of ourselves, that we may 
know the solid grounds of our own comfort ; every man would look 
over his charter : ' Search the scriptures, for in them ye think to have 
eternal life/ John v. 39. Particular and distinct scriptures are a great 
advantage in temptations. Sic scriptum est is Christ's own argument 
against Satan, Mat. iv. No Christians so unsettled in point of comfort 
or opinion as those that are ' unskilful in the word,' Heb. v. 13. In 
regard of others, it is necessary that we may discharge our duty to 
them ; ' Let the word dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing 
one another/ &c., Col. iii. 16. None but full vessels will run over, 
Job xxxii. 18. Ignorant Christians are barren and sapless in dis 
course; private Christians must be 'full of knowledge;' not only to 


have knowledge enough to bring themselves to heaven, but to ' ad 
monish others,' see Rom. xv. 14. Well, then, do not put off this care 
to others, as if it were proper only to scholars and men of a public 
calling ; this is every man's work that hath a soul to be saved. It is 
Popish ignorance to be contented with an implicit belief; you may best 
trust your own eyes. When the sun shineth, every man openeth his 
windows to let it in. We busy ourselves in other books, why not in the 
word ? Austin was pleased with Tully's Hortensius, but he cast it 
away because he could not find the name of Christ there. It is the 
description of a godly man, * His delight is in the law of God, and in 
his law doth he exercise himself day and night,' Ps. i. 2. These are 
the chaste delights of a child of God, not in playbooks and idle son 
nets ; how many sacrilegious hours do most spend in these trifles ! 
Good books should not keep us from the scriptures ; water is sweetest 
in the fountain. Luther professeth that he could wish all his books 
forgotten and utterly laid aside, rather than that they should keep men 
from reading the scriptures themselves. 1 Christians, study the word 
more, that you may have promises, doctrines, examples ready and 
more familiar with you ; to be ignorant in a knowing age is an argu 
ment of much negligence, Heb. v. 14. Now religion is made every 
one's discourse, will you alone be a stranger in Israel ? As the many 
helps call upon us to study the word more, so the many errors which 
are abroad : all error cometh from unskilf ulness in the scriptures : 
Mat. xxii. 29, * Ye err, not knowing the scriptures ;' in the dark a 
man may soon lose his way. 

To cure this mischief, let me press you : 

1. To read the scriptures in your families; set up this ordinance 
among other parts of worship there it is a family exercise that your 
children may be trained up in them, 2 Tim. iii. 15. It is a good 
closet exercise for your own private instruction, none of you are in too 
high a form ; the prophets ' searched them diligently/ 1 Peter i. 11, 12. 

2. Read them with profit, so as you may understand them, and 
apply the doctrines and examples you meet with there. Ask thy soul, 
* Understandest thou what thou readest ? ' Acts viii. 30, or as Paul, 
Rom. viii. 31, 'What shall we say to these things?' The scriptures 
are not to be read for delight, but for spiritual profit and use. 

3. In cases of difficulty use all holy means; pray to God, the 
Spirit is the best interpreter ; pray before, pray after, as you do for 
food. If God answer not at first, ' Cry for knowledge, lift up thy voice 
for understanding/ Call in the helps which God hath given, many 
private helps of commentaries ; but above all, ' despise not prophesy 
ing/ Consult with the officers and guides of the church, Eph. iv. 14, 
Mai. ii. 7. 

Obs. 3. Observe again, that those truths which we understand 
already, they had need be pressed again, and revived upon us ; see 
1 John ii. 21. Our knowledge is but weak, the eye of the mind is 
opened by degrees ; our memories are weak, and commands must be 
repeated to a forgetful servant; our affections are slow, not easily 
wrought up to the love of good things. When the wedge will not 
enter with one blow, we follow it home with blow upon blow. Well, 

1 Luth. in Gen. xix. 


then, we say (1.) Repetitions are lawful for you ; it is a sure thing, 
Phil. iii. 1. Christ in the Gospels, and Paul in the Epistles, do often 
repeat the same passages. Till you be affected with them we must 
inculcate necessary principles again and again : ' God speaketh once, 
yea, twice, when men regard it not/ Job xxxiii. 14. Consider men are 
dull to conceive, ' slow of heart to believe/ The way to pierce the 
hard stone is by often dropping : apt to forget heavenly truths : leaky 
vessels must be filled again, Heb. ii. 1. We must repeat, to make 
shame more stirring : ' Peter was troubled when Christ said the third 
time, Lovest thou me?' John xxi. 17. Let this which hath been said 
prevent censure ; look upon it as a providence when the same truth or 
sermon is presented again : Surely I have not meditated enough of this 
truth, I am not enough affected with it, therefore the Lord hath again 
brought it to my thoughts, or there is some new temptation that I shall 
meet with, that I may find the need of this old truth, &c. (2.) That 
it is a spiritual disease, a surfeit of manna, when men must still be 
fed with new things ; no truths are too plain for our mouths, or too 
stale for your ears ; the itch of novelty puts men upon ungrounded 
subtleties, and that maketh way for error or hardness of heart. Though 
you hear nothing but what you are acquainted with, be content ; they 
were carnal people that complained they had nothing but the ' old 
burden/ Jer. xxiii. 33, 34. Take heed of the Athenian itch, many 
times it argueth guilt : we cannot endure to have an old sore rubbed 
again ; as Peter was troubled when Christ spake to him the third time, 
as I noted before, that his apostasy should once more be revived. (3.) 
It may justify two duties of great use meditation and repetition in 
our families. (1st.) Meditation, for it is good to remember truths that 
we do already know. ' Once hath God spoken, and twice have I heard 
it/ Ps. Ixii. 11. We should go over and over it again in our thoughts. 
First we learn, and then we meditate ; study findeth out a truth, and 
meditation improveth it ; as first the meat is taken in, and then the 
digestion is afterwards. Conscience preacheth over the sermon again 
to the heart ; while the thing is new it doth more exercise study than 
meditation ; but when we have once learned it, then our thoughts 
should work upon it ; for meditation is the improvement of a known 
truth. (2d.) Repetition in our families ; let them hear it again and 
again, the third blow may make the nail go. If people were humble 
and sober, they would have new and fresh thoughts every time a truth 
is revived upon them. At first hearing many are lost through the 
wandering and distraction of our thoughts, things which upon the 
review may be brought to hand again ; at least youth and children 
must have ' line upon line/ as when they learn to write, the same 
letters and the same copy are written over again and again, till the 
figure of them be formed in their fancies. 

I have done with the preface ; I come now to the first instance 
produced, liow that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land 
of Egypt, aftenvard destroyed them that believed not. rbv \dov. The 
term is of an honourable use in this place the people for the peculiar 
people of God ; the holy and elect nation, that had the law and the 
covenants of promise. This people, after they were 'delivered/ and 
that by so great and solemn a deliverance as that ' out of the land of 


Egypt,' were afterwards ' destroyed ; ' so that it is ill standing upon 
privileges. Though many of them to whom the apostle wrote had 
renounced Gentilism, and were (as it were) come out of Egypt, and 
made God's people by visible profession ; yet, after all this, they might 
be destroyed in case of disproportionate practice or disobedience to God 
in that profession. Of Israel's destruction, see Num. xiv. 37 ; 1 Cor. 
x. 10. Libertine Christians shall share as bad as obstinate Jews, 
that is the drift of his argument. 

Obs. 1. From this clause observe, that after great mercies, there do 
usually follow great judgments, if great sins come between : as after 
their deliverance out of Egypt they were destroyed for unbelief. This 
may be proved from Christ's advice to the man cured on the Sabbath- 
day : John v. 14, ' Thou art made whole, sin no more, lest a worse 
thing come unto thee.' There is the mercy, the duty thence inferred, 
and the judgment that doth avenge the quarrel of the abused mercy. 
Often it cometh to pass that many men's preservation is but a reserva 
tion to a worse thing, to a greater judgment. So see Josh. xxiv. 20, 
' He will turn again, and do you hurt, after he hath done you good.' 
So Isa. Ixiii. 10, ' He bore them (in the arms of his providence), but 
they rebelled and vexed his spirit, and he was turned to be their 
enemy.' None usually have greater judgments than such as formerly 
have had sweet experience of mercy. Why? There is no hatred 
so great as that which ariseth out of the corruption of love. Dis 
appointed love, abused love groweth outrageous. When Amnon 
hated Tamar, it is said, ' The hatred wherewith he hated her was 
greater than the love wherewith he loved her/ As it is thus with 
men, such a proportionable severity we may observe in the dispensa 
tions of God after a taste of his mercies : Josh, xxiii. 15, 'It shall 
come to pass, as all good things are come upon you, which the Lord 
your God promised you, so the Lord shall bring all evil things upon 
you, until he hath destroyed you, when ye have transgressed the cove 
nant of the Lord your God.' No evils like those evils which come 
after mercy. No sins are so great as those sins which are committed 
against mercies ; there is not only filthiness in them, but unkindness : 
Ps. cvi. 7, ' They provoked him at the sea, even at the Ked Sea.' 
Mark, it is ingeminated for the more vehemency, that at the sea, even 
at the Red Sea, where they had seen the miracles of the Lord, and had 
experience of his glorious deliverance, that there they durst break out 
against God. See the contrary in Judges ii. 7. Certainly the more 
restraints, the greater the offence, when we sin not only against the 
laws of God, but the loves of God, &c. 

Well, then (1.) It informeth us that there may be danger after 
deliverance ; there are strange changes in providence : ' Man in his 
best estate is altogether vanity,' Ps. xxxix. 5. When you are at your 
best, as the sun at the highest, there may be a declension. 

(2.) It is a warning to those that enjoy mercies : ' Sin no more, lest 
a worse thing come unto you.' The next judgment will be more 
violent. There are some special sins which you should beware of, 
even those which testify our urithankfulness after the receipt of mer 
cies. As (1st.) forgetting the vows of our misery. Jacob voweth, Gen. 
xxviii. 22, but he forgets his vow, and what followed ? Horrible dis- 


orders and confusions in his family : Dinah deflowered, Reuben goeth 
into his father's bed, a murder committed upon the Shechemites under 
a pretence of religion, and then Jacob remembereth his vow. We 
promise much when we want deliverance, and when we have it, God 
is neglected ; but he will not put it up so ; by sad and disastrous 
accidents he puts us in mind of our old promises. (2d.) When you 
4 kiss your own hand, bless your drag,' ascribe it to your merit and 
power, Hab. i. 16, Deut. ix. 4, for these things are our mercies 
blasted. (3d.) When we grow proud, self-confident : if you were never 
so high, God will bring you low enough ; it is a great skill to ' know 
how to abound.' ' She remembered not her last end, therefore she 
came down wonderfully/ Lam. i. 9. When we forget the changes 
and mutations to which all outward things are obnoxious, God will 
give us an experience^ of them. (4th.) When you continue in your 
sins, the judgment is but gone cum ammo revertendi, to come again 
in a worse manner. See Ps. cvi. 43. 

Obs. 2. The next observation is taken from the cause of their 
destruction, intimated in those words, that believed not. Many 
were the people's sins in the wilderness, murmuring, fornication, re 
bellion, &c. But the apostle comprehendeth all under this, they 
believed not. Unbelief is charged upon them as the root of all their 
miscarriages elsewhere, as Num. xiv. 11, and Deut. i. 32. Whence 
observe, that unbelief bringeth destruction, or is the cause of all the 
evil which we do or suffer. 

In handling this point, I shall open (1.) The heinousness of unbe 
lief ; (2.) The nature of it ; (3.) The cure of it. 

1. The heinousness of the sin. That we will consider in general, 
or more particularly. The general considerations are these : 

[1.] No sin doth dishonour God so much as unbelief doth. It is an 
interpretative blasphemy, a calling into question of his mercy, power, 
justice, but especially of his truth : 1 John v. 10, ' He that believeth 
not God, hath made him a liar/ You judge him a person not fit to 
be credited. The giving of the lie is accounted the greatest injury 
and disgrace amongst men ; for truth is the ground of commerce and 
human society. So that to say a man is a liar is as much as to say a 
man is unfit to keep company with men. But especially is this a 
great injury to God, because he standeth more upon his word than 
upon any other part of his name : Ps. cxxxviii. 2, ' He hath magnified 
his word above all his name.' We have more experience of God in 
making good his word than in any other thing. As faith honoureth 
God, so doth unbelief dishonour him. What God doth to the crea 
ture, that doth faith to God. God justifieth, sanctifieth, glorifieth the 
creature, and faith is said to 'justify God,' Luke vii. 29. To justify 
is to acquit from accusation. So doth faith acquit God's truth in the 
word from all the jealousies which the carnal world and our carnal 
hearts do cast upon him. Faith is said to ' sanctify God/ Num. xx. 12. 
To sanctify is to set apart from common use ; and God is sanctified 
when we set God aloof, above all ordinary and common causes, and 
can believe that he will make good his word, when the course of 
all things seems to contradict it. Faith is said to * glorify God/ Rom. 
iv. 20. We glorify him declaratively when we give him all that ex- 


cellency which the word giveth him. Now, because unbelief accuseth 
God, limiteth him to the course of second causes, and denieth him his 
glory, therefore is it so heinous and hateful to God. 

[2.] It is a sin against which God hath declared most of his dis 
pleasure. Search the annals, survey all the monuments of time, see 
if ever God spared an unbeliever. Hence in the wilderness the apostle 
saith they were destroyed for unbelief. Many were their sins in the 
wilderness, murmurings, lustings, idolatry ; but the main reason of 
their punishment was, ' they believed not/ Look to their final exci 
sion and cutting off. Why was it ? Ai ain<rria^ t ' for unbelief were 
they broken off,' Rom. xi. 20 ; not so much for ' crucifying the Lord 
of life.' The gospel was tendered to them after Christ was slain. It 
was for not believing or refusing the gospel. If you will know what 
company there is in hell, that catalogue will inform you, ' Fearful, and 
unbelievers,' &c., Rev. xxi. 8. If you look to temporal judgments, 
that nobleman was trodden to death for distrusting God's power, 2 
Kings viii. 2, and could only see the plenty, but not taste of it. Nay, 
it is such a sin as God hath not spared in his own children. Moses 
and Aaron could not enter into the land of promise because of their 
unbelief, Num. xx. 12. So Luke i. 20, Zacharias was struck dumb 
for not believing what God had revealed. Christ did never chide his 
disciples so much for anything as for their unbelief : Luke xxiv. 25, 
' ye fools, and slow of heart to believe ; ' and ' why doubt ye, ye 
of little faith?' Mat. viii. 26. He chideth them before he chideth the 
wind. The storm first began in their own hearts. 

[3.] It is the mother of all sin. 1 The first sin was the fruit of 
unbelief. We may plainly observe a faltering of assent, Gen. iii. 3-5 ; 
and still it is the ground of all miscarriages, of hardness of heart, and 
apostasy, Heb. iii. 12, 13. He that believeth not the judgments and 
threatenings of the word will not stick to do any evil ; and he that 
doth not believe the promises will not be forward to any good. All 
our neglect and coldness in holy duties cometh from the weakness of 
our faith. There is a decay at the root. Did we believe heaven and 
things to come, we should be more earnest and zealous. Many are 
ashamed of adultery, theft, murder, but not of unbelief, which is the 
mother of all these. 

[4.] Final unbelief is an undoubted evidence of reprobation. See 
John x. 26, ' Ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep ; ' and 
Acts xiii. 48. Unbelief is God's prison, wherein he keepeth the repro 
bate world : Rom. xi. 32, ' He hath shut them up under unbelief,' &c. 
And shall I continue such a black note upon myself ? I know not 
how soon God may cut me off ; and if I die in this estate, I am miser 
able for ever : ' Lord, I desire to believe ; help my unbelief.' 

[5.] It is a sin that depriveth us of much good, of the comforts of 
providence. Nothing doth ponere obicem, bar and shut out God's 
operation in order to our relief, so much as this sin : Mark vi. 5, ' He 
could do no mighty work,' &c. So John xi. 40, ' Said I not unto thee, 
if thou wouldst believe, thou shouldst see the glory of God ? ' So also 
of the comfort of ordinances : Heb. iv. 2, ' The word profited not, be 
cause it was not mixed with faith in them that heard it.' So for 

1 ' Qualitas malao vita) initium habet ab infidelitate.' Aug. 
VOL. V. M 


prayer, James i. 7-9. Nay, it barreth heaven's gates. It excluded 
Adam out of paradise, the Israelites out of Canaan, and us out of the 
kingdom of heaven, Heb. iii. 17, 18. 

Well, then, let us see if we be guilty of this sin : 'Take heed/ saith 
the apostle, Heb. iii. 12, ' lest there be in any of you an evil heart of 
unbelief.' Many have an unbelieving heart when they least think of 
it. It is easy to declaim against it, but hard to convince men of it, 
either of the sin or of lying in a state of unbelief ; it is the Spirit's 
work, * The Spirit shall convince of sin, because they believe not in me,' 
John xvi. 9. There are many pretences by which men excuse them 
selves, some more gross, others more subtle. Many think that all in 
fidels are without the pale, among Turks and heathens. Alas ! many, 
too many, are to be found in the very bosom of the church. The 
Israelites were God's own people, and yet ' destroyed because they be 
lieved not.' Others think none are unbelievers but those that are given 
up to the violences and horrors of despair, and do grossly reject or refuse 
the comforts of the gospel ; but they are mistaken ; the whole word is the 
object of faith, the commandments and threatenings as well as the pro 
mises ; and carelessness and neglect of the comforts of the gospel is un 
belief, as well as doubts and despairing fears : Mat. xxii. 5, 'But they 
made light of it.' He is the worst unbeliever that scorns and slighteth 
the tenders of God's grace in Christ as things wherein he is not con 
cerned. Briefly, then, men may make a general profession of the name 
of Christ, as the Turks do of Mahomet, because it is the religion pro 
fessed there where they are born ; a man may take up the opinions of 
a Christian country, and not be a whit better than Turks, Jews, or in 
fidels ; as he is not the taller of stature that walketh in a higher walk 
than others do. They may understand their religion, and be able to 
* give a reason of the hope that is in them/ and yet lie under the power 
of unbelief for all that, as many may see countries in a map which they 
never enter into. The devil hath knowledge, ' Jesus I know, and Paul 
I know/ &c. And those that pretend to knowledge without answer 
able practice, do but give themselves the lie, 1 John ii. 29. Besides 
knowledge there may be assent, and yet unbelief still. The devils 
assent as well as know ; they * believe there is one God/ James ii., and 
it is not a naked and inefficacious assent, but such as causeth horrors 
and tremblings. They 'believe and tremble ;' and they do not only 
believe that one article, that there is one God, but other articles also : 
' Jesus, thou Son of God, art thou come to torment me before my time ? ' 
was the devil's speech ; where there is an acknowledging of Christ, and 
him as the Son of God and judge of the world, and increase of their 
torment at the last day upon his sentence. Assent is necessary, but 
not sufficient ; laws are not sufficiently owned when they are believed 
to be the king's laws ; there is something to be done as well as believed. 
In the primitive times, assent was more than it is now, and yet then 
an inactive assent was never allowed to pass for faith. Confident 
resting on Christ for salvation, if it be not a resting according to the 
word, will not serve the turn ; there were some that c leaned upon the 
Lord,' Micah iii. 11, whom he disclaimeth. It is a mistaken Christ 
they rest upon, and upon him by a mistaken faith. It is a mistaken 
Christ, for the true Christ is the eternal Son of God, that was born of 


a virgin, and died at Jerusalem, ' Bearing our sins in his body upon a 
tree, that we, being dead unto sin, might be alive unto righteousness,' 
1 Peter ii. 24. The true Christ is one that * gave himself for us, that 
he might purify us to be a peculiar people, zealous of good works,' and 
is now gone into heaven, there to make intercession for us, and will 
come again from heaven in a glorious manner to take an account of 
our works, Titus ii. 13, 14. But now when men lie under the power 
and reign of their sins, and yet pretend to rest upon Christ for salva 
tion, they set up another Christ than the word holdeth forth. And as 
the Christ is mistaken, so is the faith. It is not an idle trust, but such 
as is effectual to purge the heart, for the true ' faith purifieth the heart,' 
Acts xv. 9. If, besides profession, knowledge, assent, and a loose trust, 
they should pretend to assurance, or to a strong conceit that Christ 
died for them, and they shall certainly go to heaven, this will not ex 
cuse them from unbelief; this is irpwrov ^eOSo?, the grand mistake, 
that the strength of faith lieth in a strong persuasion of the goodness 
of our condition, and the stronger the persuasion the better the faith. 
If this were true, hardness of heart would make the best faith, and he 
that could presume most, and be most secure and free from doubts, 
would be the truest believer, and the goodness of our condition would 
lie in the strength of our imagination and conceit. Alas ! many make 
full account they shall go to heaven that shall never come there. The 
foolish virgins were very confident, and the foolish builder goeth on 
with the building, never suspecting the foundation. Nay, let me tell 
you, assurance of a good condition, as lonpj as we lie under the power 
and reign of sin, is the greatest unbelief in the world, for it is to be 
lieve the flat contrary to that which God hath revealed in the word ; 
therefore none abuse the Lord and question his truth so much as these 
do. Where hath God said that men that live in their sins shall be 
saved ? Nay, he hath expressly said the contrary, * Be not deceived ; 
neither fornicators, nor adulterers, nor idolaters,' &c., 1 Cor. vi. 9 ; so 
that you give God the lie, or conceit that he will break his word for 
your sakes ; nay, in a sense, you even dare him to make good his truth. 
He hath said, ' Be not deceived ; you shall never enter,' &c., and you 
say, Though I am an adulterer, a drunkard, a worldling, I shall go 
to heaven for all that. Now in a little while you shall see whose word 
shall stand, God's or yours, Jer. xliv. 28. 

Once more, the word is not supposed to be without all kind of 
power. Men may have some ' relish of good things/ and some ' ex 
perience of the powers of the world to come,' and yet be in an un 
believing state-: see Heb. vi. 5, where the apostle speaketh of a 
common work, opposed to ra e^o^va r^9 acor'rjpias, to ' things that do 
accompany salvation,' ver 9, or have salvation necessarily annexed to 
them. They may have some feeling of the power of the truth, and yet 
afterwards make defection, out of a love to the world and worldly 
things ; they may have many spiritual gifts, change their outward 
conversation, make a glorious profession, and be thereupon enrolled 
among the saints; yea, be of great use and service in the church, 
though for their own ends and interests, remaining all this while un- 
renewed, and having their worldly inclinations to honour, esteem, 
pleasure, profit, unbroken and unmortified ; for there is no such enemy 


to faith as a carnal, worldly heart. Therefore let men pretend what 
they will, when they are as eager upon the world as if they had no 
other matters to mind, and the love of outward greatness doth sway 
with them more than the love of heaven, and the praise of men more 
than the approbation of God, and carnal ease and pleasure more than 
delight in God, how can they be said to believe ? John v. 44 ; for such 
kind of lusts and earthly affections are inconsistent with the power and 
vigour of saving faith ; therefore till the bent of the heart be towards 
heavenly things, and carnal affections be soundly mortified, unbelief 
reigneth. I pitch it upon this evidence, partly because the great drift 
of conversion is to draw off the soul, as from self to Christ, and from 
sin to holiness, so from the world to heaven. See 1 Peter i. 3, ' Be 
gotten to a lively hope ; ' and 1 John v. 4, ' He that is born of God 
overcometh the world ; ' as soon as we are converted, the heart is 
drawn and set towards heavenly things ; partly because the main thing 
to be believed, next to God's being, is his bounty, Heb. xi. 6, that we 
may make God our rewarder ; and partly because the main work of 
faith is to draw off the soul from sensible things to ' things unseen,' and 
to come, Heb. xi. 1 ; so that whatsoever glorious profession men make, or 
whatsoever service they perform in the church, or whatsoever experience 
they have in the enlargement of gifts, yet if they be careless of things to 
come, and eager after the things of the world, faith is not thoroughly 
planted ; for a main thing wanting in these temporaries was a resolu 
tion to serve God for God's sake, or to make him their paymaster, 
which can never be till carnal inclinations to the honours, pleasures, 
and profits of the world be subdued, and we are willing to lay down 
all these things at Christ's feet, taking only so much as he shall fairly 
allow us for our use. 

Thus much for the heinousness of unbelief in the general. 
Secondly, Let me tell you that all unbelief is not alike heinous, as 
will appear by these considerations. 

[1.] Total reigning unbelief is a black mark ; such as lie under it 
are in the high way to hell : John iii. 18, 'He that believeth not is 
condemned already ; ' the law hath condemned him, and whilst he re- 
maineth in that estate, the gospel yieldeth him no hope : John iii. 
36, ' The wrath of God abideth on him ; ' and if he die in it, he is 
miserable for ever. Rev. xxi. 8, ' Fearful and unbelievers ' are reckoned 
among the inhabitants of hell. First he is condemned by that ancient 
sentence, that ' whosoever sinneth shall die ; ' which is not reversed, 
but standeth in full force till faith in Christ : John viii. 24, ' If ye 
believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.' And if we con 
tinue refusing the counsels of the gospel, to the condemnation that is 
already, to the condemnation of the law, there is added a new con 
demnation for despising the gospel. But now partial unbelief, where 
faith prevaileth, though there be many doubts and fears, leaveth a man 
obnoxious to temporal judgments, but not to eternal ruin. 

[2.] All unbelief is the more heinous the more means you have to 
the contrary, as counsels, warnings, promises clearly held forth : see 
John xv. 22, ' If I had not spoken to them/ &c., and John iii. 19, 
' Light is come into the world,' &c. The word is preached efc pap- 
, for a witness, Mat. xxiv. 14, with Mark xiii. 9 ; first to them, 


and if not received, then against them. ' Did not I warn you ? ' saith 
Reuben to his brethren. Every offer and warning will be as so many 
swords in your consciences. One observeth well, 1 that twice Christ 
marvelled, once at the unbelief of his countrymen the Galileans, that 
had so much means, Mark vi. 8, and another time at the faith of the 
centurion, a stranger, Mat. viii. 10, who had so little means. It is & 
thing to be marvelled at, that a people should have so much means 
and profit but little. Wonder is a thing that proceedeth from ignor 
ance, and Christ, though not ignorant, yet would express all human 
affections ; and the rather that we might look upon it as a strange 
and uncomely thing not to believe after so many helps vouchsafed 
to us. 

[3.] The more experiences, comforts, evidences, and manifestations 
of God's power and presence we have had, the greater the unbelief. 
This was that which provoked the Lord against Israel to destroy them 
in the wilderness : Num. xiv. 11, ' How long will it be ere ye believe in 
me, for all the signs that I have showed ? ' God traineth up his people 
by experience, that they may know what he can or will do for them ; 
and therefore by every experience we should grow up into a greater 
courage and strength of faith, and as David, draw inferences of hope 
against the present danger from the lion and the bear, 1 Sam. xvii. 36, 
or as Paul, he hath, and doth, and therefore will, 2 Cor. i. 10, other 
wise these experiences are given in vain. Christ was angry with his 
disciples for not remembering the miracle of the loaves, Mat. xvi. 9, 
when they were in a like strait again. When we show a child a letter 
here, and the same letter again in another word, and the same again in 
a third, if he should be to seek when we show him again the same 
letter in the next word, we are angry, and think our teaching lost. 
So when God giveth an evidence of his power and care in this strait, and, 
in a condescension to our weakness, giveth us a like evidence again, and in 
a third strait he teacheth us how to read and apply a promise, and yet 
upon the next difficulty we are to seek again, God is angry with us, 
because his condescensions are lost. And in this sense God is more 
angry with the unbelief of his children than of others, because they 
have more experiences, and are so ready to distrust him that never 
failed them. 

[4.] The more deliberate our unbelief is, the worse. In times of 
inconsiderate passion, and in a fit of temptation, it may break out 
from God's children. David, when he spake in haste, was fain to eat 
his words : Ps. cxvi. 11, I said in my haste all men are liars ;' Samuel, 
and all who had told him of the kingdom ; I shall never live to see the 
promise fulfilled : so Ps. xxxi. 22, ' I said in my haste, I am cut off ; 
nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications/ In a fit, 
discontent may break out, but it is presently opposed and checked ; 
but when it groweth into a settled distemper, then it is worse : as that 
in Ps. Ixxiii. was a more lasting temptation ; therefore David calleth 
himself beast, ver. 22, for his foolish and brutish thoughts of provi 

[5.] Where unbelief is expressed and put into words, there it is 
more heinous. Unbelieving thoughts are a great evil, but when they 

1 Despaigne on the Creed. 


break out into murmurings and bold expostulations, with or against 
God, then they are worse. It is better to keep the temptation within 
doors, that, if the fire be kindled, the sparks may not fly abroad to 
enkindle others ; you grieve God by your thoughts, but you dishonour 
and disparage him when they break out into words : Mai. iii. 13, 
' Your words have been stout against me, saith the Lord/ It is a 
greater daring to avow openly and publish our suspicions of God, and 
discontents against him : Deut. i. 34, ' The Lord heard the voice of 
your words, and was wroth, saying, Not one of these shall enter my 
rest.' Others may be perverted, and make ill use of our infirmities. 

[6.] Where there are professions to the contrary, there the unbelief 
is the worse : ' After these things do the Gentiles seek,' Mat. vi. 32. 
Christians are not only instructed to do better, but profess to do other 
wise. Distrust is a pagan sin ; you are acquainted with a particular 
providence, with a heavenly Father, with the happiness of another 
world, and for you to be worldly, distrustful, to make it your business 
what you shall eat and drink, that is a most unworthy thing : for a 
professed infidel that believeth not eternity, that never heard of God's 
fatherly care, nor of heaven or hell, to be altogether in the world, this 
were no such marvel ; but for you, that profess to believe the gospel, 
to have your hearts fail and sink upon every occasion, and to be under 
the tyranny of distracting cares, how sad is it ! 

Thus much for the heinousness of unbelief, which I was willing to 
represent thus at large, that you might see what just reason there was 
that God should destroy those in the wilderness that believed not. 

2. The next thing is to open the nature of it. I shall here give 
(1.) The kinds ; (2.) The notes whereby this sin may be discovered. 

For the kinds of it, unbelief is twofold negative and positive. 

1. Negative unbelief is found in those to whom the sound of the 
gospel never came, or to whom God hath denied the means whereby 
faith might be wrought in them. The want of means is not their sin, 
but their punishment, or misery at least ; and therefore they are not 
condemned so much for want of faith in Christ, as for not obeying 
the law of nature, for sinning against that knowledge which they 
received in Adam. Now they never received the light of the gospel in 
Adam, neither had Adam the knowledge thereof revealed to him, but 
by special grace after the fall * when he stood in the quality of a pri 
vate person, then was the promise of the woman's seed revealed to 
him. Therefore they that never heard of Christ are not condemned 
simply for not believing in him ; for their sins against the law they 
are condemned, not for their unbelief against the gospel. 1 That is the 
reason why Christ, when he had said, John iii. 18, ' Every one that 
believeth not is condemned already/ presently addeth by way of expli 
cation, ' This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world/ 
&c., as restraining it to positive infidelity. Though without Christ 
they can never be saved, yet God will not damn them for this reason, 
for not believing in Christ, for he never gave them the means of the 
knowledge of Christ. 

1 At the last day there is a difference made between ' them that know not God,' i.e., 
by the light of nature, and those ' that obey not the gospel,' i.e., answer not God's ends 
in the revelation of the gospel, 2 Thes. i. 8. 


2. Positive unbelief, which is found in them that have means to 
believe iri Christ, and yet neglect and refuse him, and the offers of 
grace and life in him, and so continue in the state of nature. This is 
twofold (1.) Total; (2.) Partial. 

[1.] Total unbelief in those that continue professed infidels after the 
tenders of the gospel ; as the word where it came found different suc 
cess, as at Antioch, Acts xiii. 48 ; at Iconium, Acts xiv. 1, 2 ; at 
Athens, Acts xvii. 34, many refused to make any profession. 

[2.] Partial, when men are lustred with some general profession, 
and gained to some owning of Christ, but do not fully believe in him, 
not cordially embrace him; either through the weakness of their 
assent, looking upon the gospel only as probable, or out of the strength 
of their worldly and carnal affections they relish not and esteem not 
the counsels and comforts of the gospel, not the comforts and hopes of 
the gospel, because they are matters of another world, and lie out of 
sight and reach; but worldly comforts act more forcibly upon them, 
as being more suited to their hearts, and at hand, and ready to be 
enjoyed. Thus Israel out of unbelief ' despised the pleasant land,' 
Ps. cvi. 24, counted it not worth the looking after ; and the counsels 
of the gospel they refuse out of an indulgence to fleshly lusts. As 
there is in the gospel the history and doctrine of salvation, so there are 
counsels of salvation which must be obeyed, and therefore we hear of 
* obeying the gospel/ 2 Thes. i. 8, and ' the obedience of faith' elsewhere. 

This unbelief is again twofold (1.) Keigning ; (2.) In part broken, 
though not wholly subdued. 

[1st.] Reigning unbelief is in all natural men, who are not only 
guilty of unbelief, but described by the term unbelievers, as being 
persons never thoroughly gained to the obedience of the gospel, or the 
acceptance of Christ, and life and peace in him. It bewrayeth 
itself (1.) By hardness of heart; they are not moved nor affected 
with their own misery, nor with redemption by Christ, and the 
great things of eternity depending thereupon ; nor the invitations 
of grace, calling them to the enjoyment of them : Acts xix. 9, ' And 
divers were hardened, and believed not/ &c. A hard heart is one of 
the devil's impregnable forts, not easily attacked by the force and 
power of the word : men are bora with a hard heart ; we bring the 
stone with us into the world, and by positive unbelief, or by slighting 
offers of grace made to us, it increaseth upon us. Hardness of heart 
is known by the foolishness of it, when ' Seeing we see not, and hear 
ing we hear not/ Acts xxviii. 26, 27, when we have a grammatical 
knowledge of things, but no spiritual discerning. It is also known by 
the insensibleness of it, when men have no feelings of terrors by 
the law, of peace, joy, and hope by the gospel ; no taste of the good 
word at all, but are as stones unmoved with all that is spoken. (2.) 
By a neglect of spiritual and heavenly things ; they do not make it their 
business and work to look after those things, Mat. xxii. 5, ' But they 
made light of it, 1 and went one to his farm, another to his merchandise.' 
Your callings are not your epyov, your work and main business ; that 
is to look after an interest in Christ ; therefore when this is the least 
thought of, and the farm and the merchandise engrosseth all our time 

1 ' A.fj.e\r)<rai'Tes ) they would not take it into their care and thoughts. 


and care, men believe not. Could they slight Christ and holy things if 
they did soundly and thoroughly believe the word of God ? Would 
they not find some time to mend their souls ? Looking after the inward 
man, that is the main care ; and men would first regard it if they did 
believe that the soul were so concerned both in point of danger and 
hope. Surely when men take no heed to the great offers of the gospel, 
they do not look upon it as a certain truth. (3.) By secret suspi 
cions in their own souls against the truth of the gospel. That pro 
fane wretch said Hcecfabula Cliristi. They look upon it as a golden 
dream to make fools fond with it ; and that all opinions in religion 
are but a logomachy, a mere strife of words, or a doctrine to set the 
world together by the ears, as Gallic, Acts xviii. 15, or a fancy and 
fond superstition, Acts xxv. 19, and that we need not trouble our 
heads about it. These are the natural thoughts which men have of 
the gospel. Such thoughts may rush into the heart of a godly 
man, but they are abominated and cast out with indignation ; 
but in wicked men they reign and dwell ; they live by these 
kind of principles. I remember Christ saith of his disciples, 
a\7)0a)s eyvwaav, John xvii. 8, ' They have known surely that I 
came out from thee.' The light of faith is an undoubted certain 
light; but in wicked men, their assent is mingled with doubting, 
ignorance, error, and sottish prejudices against the doctrine and wor 
ship of God, Mat. iii. 14 ; natural atheism in them is not cured, and 
that faith which they pretend to and profess is but a loose wavering 
opinion, not a grounded and settled persuasion of the truth of the 

SDSpel. The ' assurance of understanding/ as the apostle calleth it, 
ol. ii. 2, dependeth upon experience and an inward sense of the 
truth, and is wrought by the Holy Ghost, 1 Cor. ii. 4, and therefore, 
I suppose, proper to the godly. (4.) By rejecting the counsels of 
salvation ; see Acts xiii. 46 ; Luke vii. 31. All natural men are ' chil 
dren of disobedience/ Eph.ii. 2, out of pride scorning either the messages 
of God ' Folly to him/ 1 Cor. ii. 14, or the messengers ' Is not this 
the carpenter's son ?' Mark vi. 3, foining and fencing with the word, 
and defeating the methods of grace used to gain them, Rom. x. 21, 
guilty of an obstinate frowardness : ' It is a people that do err in 
their hearts/ Ps. xcv. 11 ; not in their minds only, but their 
hearts;' as if they did say, 'We desire not the knowledge of thy 
ways,' Job xxi. 14. (5.) By the unholiness of their lives. The 
apostle saith, 2 Peter iii. 11, 'We that look for such things, 
what manner of persons ought we to be in all holiness and god 
liness of conversation ? ' from whence we may plainly infer that 
they which are not such manner of persons do not look for such 
things as faith inferreth obedience; where the prince is there 
his train will be ; so is unbelief known by disobedience ; when men 
live as carnally and carelessly as an infidel, there is not a pin to 
choose between them. (6.) When men hear the word and never make 
application, or convert it to their own use, it is a sign they are under 
the power of reigning imbelief. In faith there is assent or believing the 
word to be the word of God, or that it is * a faithful saying/ 1 Tim. 
i. 15 ; and then consent or approbation of the word as a good word or 
worthy saying, and then application, or converting the word to our own 


use. So in unbelief many doubt of the truth of the word, others 
acknowledge not the worth of it, they do not ' glorify the word,' Acts 
xiii. 48 ; most that speak well of the word, and approve it in their 
consciences, do not urge their own hearts with ifc : ' What do we say 
to these things?' Rom. viii. 31, and ' know it for thy good,' Job v. 27. 
The word is far sooner approved than applied, and yet till it be applied 
it worketh not. When we see ourselves involved and included in the 
general promise and precept, and are accordingly affected, then are we 
said to believe. In Ps. xxvii. 8, the injunction is plural, ' Seek ye my 
face ; ' but the answer is singular, ' Thy face, Lord, will I seek.' Thus 
must all truths be applied, and that in their method and order, for 
there is an analogy and proportion between them ; as the doctrine of 
man's misery, that I may consider this is my case, and, having a feel 
ing of it, may groan for deliverance ; the doctrine of redemption by 
Christ, that we may put in for a share, and assure our own interest ; 
the doctrine of the thankful life, that we may deny ourselves, take up 
our cross, and follow Christ in the obedience of all his precepts. The 
first doctrine must be made the ground of complaint, the second of 
comfort and hope, the third of resolution and practice. But when we 
suffer these truths to hover in the brain without application, or hear 
them only as children learn them by rote, never thus reflecting, What 
am I ? what have I done ? what will become of me ? &c., unbelief re- 
maineth undisturbed. (7.) By apostasy or falling off from God. The 
great business of faith is, ' by patient continuance in well-doing, to 
look for glory, honour, and immortality,' Horn. ii. 8 ; but now to tire 
and grow weary, or to fall off from God as not worthy the waiting 
upon, argueth the height and reign of unbelief, whatever faith we 
pretended unto for a flash and pang. (8.) Desperation when convic 
tion groweth to a height, and legal bondage gets the victory of 
carnal pleasure : Gen. iv. 13, ' My sin is greater/ &c., and Jer. xviii. 
12, ' There is no hope,' &c. When men think it is in vain to trouble 
themselves, their damnation is fixed, and therefore resolve to go to 
hell as fast as they can ; such desperate wickedness may there be in the 
heart of a man. 

[2d.] Unbelief in part broken ; and so it implieth the remainders of 
this natural evil in the godly, in whom, though faith be begun, yet it 
is mixed with much weakness: Mark ix. 24, ' Lord, I believe ; help my 
unbelief/ This unbelief is manifested (1.) By a loathness to apply the 
comforts of the gospel ; it is the hardest matter in the world to bring 
God and the soul together, or to be at rest in Christ. When we are 
truly sensible we draw back. * Depart from me,' saith Peter, ' for I am 
a sinful man/ Luke v. 8 ; and he should rather say, Draw nigh to me. 
The poor trembling sinner thinketh so much of the judge that he for 
gets the father. Though the soul longeth for Christ above all things, 
yet it is loath to take him for comfort and reconciliation, but floateth 
up and down in a suspensive hesitancy. (2.) By calling God's love 
into question upon every affliction, and in an hour of temptation 
unravelling all our hopes: see Ps. Ixxvii. 7-10, Isa. xlix. 14, and 
Judges vi. 13 ; as if the Lord were ' the God of the mountains and not 
of the valleys.' We are wont to say, If God did love us why is this 
befallen us ? Those are fits of the old distemper. Christ when cruci- 


fied would not let go his interest, but crieth out, ' My God ! my God 1 ' 
(3.) By fears in a time of danger, carnal fears, such as do perplex us 
when we are employed in Christ's work and service ; as the disciples 
that were embarked with him were afraid to perish in his company : 
' Why are ye so fearful, ye of little faith ? ' Mat. viii. 26. Filial fear 
or reverence of God is the daughter of faith, as distrustful fear is the 
enemy of it. Trouble is the touchstone of faith ; if we cannot commit 
ourselves to God in quietness of heart, it argueth weakness. God hath 
undertaken to bring his people out of every strait, in a way most con 
ducing to his glory and their welfare, Kom. viii. 28 ; and therefore 
when the word yieldeth us no support, Ps. cxix. 50, and the promises 
of God cannot keep us from sinking and despondency of heart, we be 
wray our unbelief. (4.) By murmurings in case of carnal disap 
pointment. Discontent argueth unbelief ; they quarrel with God's 
providences, because they believe not his promises : Ps. cvi. 24, ' They 
believed not his word, but murmured in their tents ; ' it is ill, and 
they cannot see how it can be better. So Deut. i. 32 with 34, ' In 
this you believed not the Lord your God.' (5.) By carking in case of 
straits ; bodily wants are more pressing than spiritual. Here faith 
is put to a present trial, and therefore here we bewray ourselves : Mat. 
vi. 30, * Shall he not much more clothe you, ye of little faith ? ' He 
doth not say of no faith, for the temptation is incident to a godly 
man ; they do not oftener bewray their unbelief in distrusting God 
about outward supplies than about eternal life, which yet I confess is 
very irrational ; for if a man cannot trust God with his estate, how 
shall he trust him with his soul ? And to a considerate person there are 
far more prejudices against eternal life than against temporal supplies. 
Look, as it was a folly in Martha to believe that Lazarus should rise 
at the general resurrection, and to distrust his being raised from the 
dead after four days' lying in the grave, John xi. 24, so it is a great 
folly to pretend to expect eternal life, and not to be able to depend 
upon God for the supplies of life temporal. (6.) By coldness and 
carelessness in the spiritual life. If men did believe that heaven were 
such an excellent place, they would not so easily turn aside to the 
contentments of the flesh and the profits of the world. Men have 
but a conjectural apprehension of things to come, of the comforts of 
another world. As things at a distance ; sometimes we see them, and 
sometimes we lose their sight, so that we are not certain whether we 
see them, yea or no ; so it falleth out in heavenly matters ; we are 
poor 'short-sighted' creatures, 2 Peter i. 9. Sometimes we have a 
glimpse of the glory of the w r orld to come, some flashes, and again the 
mind is beclouded ; and that is the reason why we mind these things 
so little, and seek after them so little. A steady view and sound belief 
would engage us to more earnestness : they that believe * the high 
prize of our calling,' will ' press on to the mark,' Phil. iii. 14. Surely 
men do not believe that heaven is worth the looking after, otherwise 
they would seek it more diligently, Heb. vi. 14. A poor beast that 
is going homeward goeth cheerfully. (7.) Indirect courses to get a 
living and subsistence in the world, as if God were not ' all-sufficient/ 
Gen. xvii. 1. To break through where God hath made up the hedge, 
argneth that we do not depend upon him ; as by temporising or by 


unjust gain. This, for a fit and in some distemper, may be incident 
to God's children. 

3. The last thing in the method proposed is the cure of unbelief. 
God by his mighty power can only cure it, Eph. i. 19 ; but the means 
which we must use may be reduced to two heads 1. Cautions ; 2. 

[1.] Cautions. (1.) Take heed of setting God a task : Ps. Ixxviii. 19, 
20, ' Can the Lord prepare a table in the wilderness ? ' &c. So Mat. 
xxvii. 40, ' If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross/ This 
is to go beyond the promise, and to indent with God upon conditions 
of our own making. So Mat. iv., ' If thou be the Son of God, turn 
these stones into bread.' So when we prescribe to God, in matter of 
allowance ; we would have God maintain us at such a rate ; be so fed, 
so clothed, have so much by the year, such portions for our children : 
' He that will be rich,' &c., 1 Tim. vi. 9. God never undertook to 
give us meat for our lusts. When we subject his providence to our 
direction, and prescribe what he shall do for our satisfaction, we do 
but make a snare for ourselves. (2.) Take heed of betraying faith by 
distrusting present means ; it is a usual thing : Luke xvi. 30, ' If 
one came from the dead they would believe.' If we had oracles or 
miracles, or God did speak to us from heaven as heretofore, then we 
should not falter in our trust as we now do ; but by this excuse you 
impeach the scriptures. Moses and the prophets are a sufficient 
ground for faith, and extraordinary means will not work on them upon 
whom ordinary do not prevail. There were weaknesses then, and so 
there will be ; whatsoever dispensation God may use, man is man still : 
* They believed not though he opened the clouds, and commanded 
manria from heaven,' Ps. Ixxviii. 23. (3.) Take heed of ifs in prin 
ciples of faith. Foundation-stones if laid loose endanger the whole 
building ; take notice of the first hesitancy : Gen. iii., ' Yea, hath 
God said ? ' So Mat. iv. 3, ' If thou be the Son of God,' &c. There 
was a plain oracle from heaven determining it a little before, * Thou 
art my beloved Son,' but the devil would fain draw it to an if. (4.) 
Beware of sin. Doubts are the fumes of sin, like the vapours that 
come from a foul stomach : uprightness begetteth serenity and clear 
ness. As in nature there is often a KVK\o<yevvr}o-i<$, a circular generation, 
vapours beget showers, and showers beget vapours ; so in moral and 
spiritual things there is such a circular generation ; unbelief maketh 
way for sin, and sin for unbelief. Sin will weaken trust, it cannot be 
otherwise ; shame, and horror, and doubt, these are the consequences 
of sin. God never undertook to bear us out in the devil's work. 

[2.] Directions. (1.) Strengthen your assent to the word of God. 
Fire if well kindled will of itself burst out into a flame ; so assurance 
and comfort would more easily follow if there were a thorough and un 
doubted assent to the truths of the word. We take them up hand 
over head, and then when a temptation cometh, no wonder that the 
building tottereth when the foundation is so weak. There are several 
degrees of assent : conjecture, which is but a lighter inclination of the 
mind to that which is probable ; opinion, which is a stronger inclina 
tion to think that which is represented is true. But there is formido 
oppositi ; it is mixed with hesitancy and doubts, o\i'yo7ri(jTLa, weak 


faith, or firm adherence upon sufficient conviction ; yet doubts may 
arise, and in time of temptation this degree of assent may be over 
borne. But above this there is a thorough certainty or ' assurance of 
understanding,' Col. ii. 2. We should never cease till we come to 
this. It is a great mistake to think that we need not look after the 
settling of our assent to the truths of the word, but take these for 
supposed ; but in an hour of temptation we are made sensible of our 
folly herein ; and if I am not mistaken, much of our careless 
ness and unsettledness of life doth proceed from thence. (2.) In settling 
assent, begin with natural principles, and then go on to those which 
are spiritual and mystical, as God's being, and God's bounty in the 
everlasting rewards, Heb. xi. 6 ; the necessity of purity and holiness, 
Heb. xii. 14 ; the fall and misery of the creature ; and then our re 
demption by Christ, &c. 1 observe the apostles, when they came to 
gain men to faith, began with truths suited to their capacity and pre 
sent understanding. With the vulgar they evince creation and provi 
dence, by arguments taken from showers of rain and the courses of 
nature, Acts xiv. 16, 17. With the philosophers they urge the notions 
of a first cause and a first mover, and those inclinations in nature 
towards an eternal good, Acts xvii. (3.) Urge your hearts with the 
truths you assent to, and work them upon your affections, Rom. viii. 
31 ; Heb. ii. 3 ; and Job v. 27. (4.) Observe the disproportion ot 
your respects to things present and things to come. If the judg 
ment-seat were fixed and the books opened, how would natural men 
tremble? Now faith should make it as present, Heb. xi. 1. The 
apostle saith, ' I saw the dead, small and great, stand before the Lord,' 
&c., Rev. xx. 12. Faith, which is * the evidence of things not seen,' 
should see it as if it were in being. The light of faith differeth not 
from the light of prophecy in regard of the certainty of the thing 
which is to come, or the assured expectation of it. The light of pro 
phecy requireth a special revelation, and differeth in degree from the 
light or sight of faith, as it causeth rapture and ecstatic motions ; but 
as to the seeing of things to come with certainty, there they agree. 
Well, then, if you would discern the strength or weakness of your 
faith, observe how differently you are affected with what is present and 
what is future ; so also how differently you are affected with things 
visible and things invisible, with things temporal and eternal. If 
upon easy terms you might have a good bargain for lands and riches, 
how readily would men embrace the offer ? For temporal profit what 
pains will they take ? But now in things of soul concernment we are 
not alike affected, which is an argument we do not believe them. In 
all cases it is good to put spiritual things in a parallel with temporal 
instances. We are taught that wisdom : Mai. i. 8, ' Offer it now to the 
governor/ &c. Would we do thus to an earthly potentate as we do 
to God ? If an able potent friend promise help in troubles, how are 
we cheered with it ? If God promise the same things we are little 
comforted. If every offence that we commit were liable to the notice 
of man, and our punishment should be to hold our hand in scalding 
lead for half an hour, men would be more afraid to offend than now 
they are in the sight of God, who knoweth all their thoughts, and 
hath threatened eternal torment. If the tasting of such a meat would 


bring present death, who would be so foolhardy as to meddle with it? 
Nay, when a thing is but likely to do us hurt, as some meats in case 
of the cholic, gout, or stone, how cautious are we ? To conclude all, 
let me give you Chrysostom's supposition ; for besides unbelief, there 
is somewhat in the strength of evil inclination. Suppose a man 
mightily desirous of rest and sleep, so that he can hardly hold open 
his eyes, and there were an offer made him of free and undisturbed 
rest for one night, but in case he gave way to it, to be held under a 
hundred years' torment, would he venture, and, with so great a hazard, 
gratify his drowsy humour ? Yet such is our fearlessness and security, 
that we can run the hazard of eternal torment for a little carnal satis 
faction. If a man were sentenced to death, and in danger of execu 
tion every moment, would not he bestir himself and improve all his 
interest for a pardon ? We are all * condemned already ; ' but how 
few are solicitous to get a copy of their discharge ! (5.) Bewail the 
relics of unbelief, Mark ix. 24. (6.) Chide your hearts for your de 
jection and distrust of God's providence ; as Ps. xlii. 5, ' Why art thou 
so disquieted, my soul/ &c., and Ps. Ixxvii. 10, ' This is my in 
firmity.' It is the duty of a gracious man to rebuke his fears, to chide 
himself for admitting mistakes of God's love, suggestions of unbelief, 
and disputes against the promises. (7.) Consider how willing Christ 
is to help you. He carrieth home the stray lamb upon his own. 
shoulders rejoicing, Luke xv. 5. How he prizeth the weak beginnings 
of faith ! ' Smoking flax will he not quench/ Mat. xii. 20 ; taketh 
notice of the green figs, Cant. ii. ; with a mild condescension indulgeth 
our infirmities : ' Reach hither thy fingers, Thomas/ John xx. This 
for the cure of unbelief. 

Ver. 6. And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their 
own habitation, lie hath reserved in everlasting chains, under darkness, 
unto the judgment of the great day. 

In this verse you have the second instance, from the apostate angels, 
who, notwithstanding the dignity and height of their nature, upon 
their rebellion were left to a dreadful punishment. In this instance 
there is an argument not apari (as in the former verse), but a majore 
ad minus, not from a like case, but from the greater to the lesser ; for 
if God spared not such creatures as by the grace of creation were ad 
vanced to such an excellency of being, certainly he will not spare us, 
whatever gospel privileges we have, if we walk unsuitably. 

In these words observe: (1.) The sin of the angels, they kept not 
their first estate. (2.) Their punishment, which is twofold : 

1. Present and felt. 

2. Future and decreed. 

1. Present, which is also double : (1.) Pcena damni, their loss, they 
left their own habitation. (2.) Pcena sensus, their punishment of 
pain or sense, he hath reserved in everlasting chains, under darkness. 

2. Future and decreed, unto the judgment of the great day. 
Because I will not perplex the discourse by grasping at too much 

at one time, I shall discuss each circumstance apart, and in distinct 
explication. I begin with the phrases implying their sin and fall. 
And the angels : the expression is plural, to note the great number of 
those which fell. Their first estate, rrfv ap^v : the word may be trans- 


lated either their principality or their beginning, and, which is all one, 
first estate. If you translate it principality, it will well enough suit 
with the scope of the apostle ; and the angels are often called ' princi 
palities' in scripture, because of their great power and excellent nature : 
so Col. i. 16, ' Thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers ;' all 
which terms imply the dignity of the angelical nature ; nay, the devils 
themselves, because of that power and cunning which they still retain, 
are called ' principalities :' Eph. vi. 12, ' We wrestle not against flesh 
and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of 
the darkness of this world/ If you translate it beginning or first 
estate, it will more fully express the misery and fall of the apostate 
angels, they being not only departed from the excellency and power, 
but from the integrity and righteousness wherein they were first 
created. So that the point is, that the angels are fallen from the con 
dition of their original excellency and integrity. 

So Peter, 2 Peter ii. 4, dyyeXwv a/jLaprrja-avTcov, c God spared not 
the angels that sinned,' &c. ; and John viii. 44, ' The devil abode not 
in the truth, because there is no truth in him.' That purity and integrity 
wherein they were created is there called * truth,' because truth is the 
perfection of any rational creature, and that holiness which they had 
was only to be kept up by the truth or right notions of God. In open 
ing this point I shall inquire : 

1. What was this ap^rj, or first estate. 

2. What was their sin, or how they departed from it 

3. How they came to sin. 

4. The number of them that fell. 

5. The time. 

1. I do confess the scriptures do speak somewhat sparingly of the 
nature or fall of angels, it being calculated chiefly for the use of man ; 
but some hints there are which we shall take notice of and improve, 
not to satisfy curiosity, but to serve profit. What then is this first 
estate from which they are departed ? I answer Their original con 
dition of holiness and happiness. Every creature which the Lord made, 
he saw it to be good ; much more the angels, whom God created for his 
own train and company ; they are called ' the sons of God,' Job xxxviii. 
7, because they bore his image, and that in a more eminent degree 
than man, as being wholly spiritual substances, just, holy, pure, in all 
qualities representing God their father. It is said of man, ' thou hast 
made him a little lower than the angels,' Ps. viii. 5. When man was at 
his best there was an inferiority, the image of God was given to us in 
a less degree ; although we were placed above all visible creatures, yet 
than the angels we were a little lower. That they were excellent ap- 
peareth in that the angelical obedience is made the pattern of ours, 
Mat. vi. 10 ; and our happiness in heaven is expressed by the condition 
of their nature : Mat. xxii. 30, ' They are as the angels of God in heaven ;' 
yea, it is notable that when the scriptures would express any excellency, 
they use to say it is fit for angels Thus manna is called ' angels' food/ 
Ps. Ixxviii. 25, not as if they needed food, spirits are not capable of cor 
poral refreshments ; but if so high a creature should need food, he could 
have no better. So * the tongue of angels/ 1 Cor. xiii. 1 ; that is, with a 
tongue becoming creatures of so perfect an understanding. But you 


will say, These expressions are meant of the good angels. I answer 
That at their first creation they had the same common nature and excel 
lency, as appeareth by the name of ' thrones, dominions, and powers/ 
which they yet retain in common with the good angels ; yea, and by 
that power, wisdom, and knowledge which is yet left. In their in- 
nocency they were alike good and alike happy, and could contemplate 
and behold God, and embrace him with delight as others did ; all that 
is supernatural in the good angel is the grace of confirmation, by which 
they abide in the knowledge and love of God, whereas others left rrjv 
apfflv, ' their first estate/ and it is probable this grace was given to 
the good angels in the very moment of their creation, before any merit 
of theirs or use of their natural abilities, as appeareth by the others' 
sudden fall, and because they are chosen in Christ, who is the head of 
men and angels, Col. i. 16. 

2. What was their sin ? There is a great deal of difference among 
divines about it ; for herein they proceed by guess and conjecture rather 
than any certain proof. Howbeit, there is enough to vindicate God's 
justice against them. Qucevis peccata, saith Aquinas, sunt in malis 
angelis. According to his opinion, they have the guilt of all sin upon 
them, as tempting man to every sin ; but what was the special formal 
sin is not so easily determined. Some say, affectation of the divinity ; 
others say, flat rebellion against the law of their creation, or rash 
attempts against the empire and sovereignty of God ; others envy, be 
cause of the human nature exalted above the angelical in Christ, he 
' took not the nature of angels/ Heb. ii. 16. But whether that mystery 
were made known to them is uncertain ; rather there are probabilities 
to the contrary ; for the good angels know it now by God's dispensa 
tions to the church, Eph. iii. 10. Others think rebellion against a 
particular law given to them, as that concerning eating the forbidden 
fruit was to man. Whether it were affecting a higher degree above 
their creation, or refusing their office and ministration about man, or 
confidence in their own gifts and received excellency, in a matter of so 
great uncertainty it is hard to determine. To state their sin, take 
these propositions : (1.) The law which made their act to be sin was 
the moral law, as being the copy of God's holiness, his revealed will to 
all rational creatures; and they are said to sin, 2 Peter ii. 4, and a^apTta, 
sin, is ch/o/ua, a ' transgression of a law/ 1 John iii. 4 ; and of no other 
law do we read but of the moral law, which (as is probable) was given 
to the angels, excepting only such things as are not suitable to a 
spiritual nature, the commandment concerning adultery or unlawful 
propagation, for * they neither marry nor give in marriage/ Mat. xxii. 
30, a thing proper to the bodily life. (2.) The most likely thing in 
their sin was pride ; there is pride in every sin, namely, a despising 
and contempt of the commandment ; and this is a sin agreeable enough 
to a spiritual nature, as adultery, drunkenness, and such sins are proper 
to a corporeal and sensitive nature : vTrepyfavla (saith Chrysostom) 
StWyu-et? da-co/jLarovs Karea-Taae teal Karefiakev avwOev. To prove it, 
the fathers 1 usually quote that place, Isa. xiv. 12, 13, 'How art thou 
fallen from heaven, Lucifer, son of the morning I for thou hast said 
in thy heart, I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will exalt 

1 Gregory, Austin, Damascene, &c. 


my throne above the stars of God, I will be like the Most High.' But 
these are but metaphorical passages concerning the king of Babylon, 
and the ground of the mistake was because the angels are often in 
scripture set forth by stars, as Job xxxviii. 7. That testimony which 
is most cogent is in 1 Tim. iii. 6, ' Ordain not a novice, lest being lifted 
up with pride, he fall into the condemnation of the devil ;' this is, lest 
he make himself guilty of that sin for which the devil was condemned 
and rejected of God, namely of pride ; and James iii. 15, 1 pride is 
called devilish wisdom ; the sin is often to be read in the judgment 
that followeth it. God's throwing them down from the dignity of their 
estates was a sign that they aspired above it, and it may be collected 
from the first temptation, ' Ye shall be as gods/ as himself said, in the 
sense of the fathers, Ero sicut altissimus, so to our first parents he 
said, Eritis tanquam dii. (3.) They do best that make it a com 
pound sin, accommodating all opinions ; for, look, as there are many 
sins in that one act by which Adam fell, unbelief, pride, ingratitude, 
disobedience, &c., so in this act of the angels there might be many 
sins, for though pride be a chief sin in it, yet what kind of pride it 
was, or how discovered, it cannot be determined. Every opinion is 
asserted with equal probability. It might be envy at man, as we see 
the good angels rejoiced at their happiness, Job xxxviii. 7 ; Luke ii. 14, 
15, and Luke xv. 7 ; or affectation of worship, as we see now they 
delight in it, or any other rebellion against God's empire and majesty. 
3. How they came to sin. The angels being created pure, they had 
no lust within to incline them ; being in heaven, they had no object 
without to draw and allure them ; there was no evil tracture, no tempter ; 
how could they sin ? I answer (1.) It is probable that many of the 
angels sinned by temptation and seducement, and that one great angel, 
now called Beelzebub, first fell, and drew the rest after him : Mat. xxv. 
41, ' The devil and his angels,' and Mat. x. 25, ' Beelzebub the prince of 
devils ;' it was the name of the idol of the Ekronites, 2 Kings i. 2, and 
signified the god or lord of flies. Now, because the Jews knew that 
they were devils that were worshipped in the idols of the Gentiles, 
they gave the names of the idols to the devils or evil angels, and the 
chief of the devils they called by the name of Beelzebub, so Mat. xii. 24, 
implying one that was the prince of the unclean spirits, called devil, 
Satan, the great dragon, and the god of this world ; from all which we 
may probably collect that there was a prince or chief of the apostate 
angels, who was the ringleader in this faction and rebellion against God. 
(2.) Because the question returneth, How came the first angel then to 
fall? I answer It is hard to conceive how sin came into the angels 
first ; all that we can say is this, that the angels were created good, 
yet mutable and free, and they voluntarily chose not to abide in their 
own estates. All the answer Austin would give to this question was, 
Deus non sunt they are not God ; it is God's prerogative alone to be 
immutable ; they might sin because they were creatures. And Aquinas 
giveth this reason : God cannot sin, because his act is his rule ; but all 
creatures, though never so pure, if not assisted by grace, may sin : 
Job iv. 18, 'He charge th his angels with folly ;' there is mutabiliity 
in the angelical nature, there called folly. Certainly God was not the 

1 See my notes there. 


cause of their fall, by infusing evil to them ; it was the error of the 
Manichees to say they were created evil ; nor by his prescience, for 
that enforceth not ; nor his voluntary permission, for they were left to 
their own sway ; nor his decree, for that is within himself, and doth not 
compel the creature ; neither is God to be looked upon as consenting 
to the action, in that he did not hinder them from it, or in that he did 
not sustain them by his own grace, for he oweth this grace to none, and 
giveth it when and to whom he pleaseth ; and in the angelical nature, 
as well as the human, he would discover his justice and mercy, and 
the freedom of his dispensations. 

4. The number, how many fell ? The schoolmen are too rash. 
Some say, just as many fell as stood ; others, that a third part fell, 
abusing that place, Eev. xii. 4, ' That the dragon drew a third part of 
the stars of heaven after him.' Whereas that is meant of defection in 
the church. Certain we are many fell, and therefore it is said angels 
in the text. That the number is great appeareth in that the world is 
full of these evil spirits, and a whole legion, which containeth some 
thousands, is said to possess one man, Luke viii. 30. 

5. For the time. In the general, very soon. Therefore it is said, 
John viii. 44, that ' Satan was a murderer from the beginning ; ' and 
1 John iii. 8, * The devil sinneth from the beginning ; ' that is, 
presently after his creation ; created these angels were. It was the 
error of Yalentius and Basilides, in the age next the apostles, that they 
were not created, but begotten of God. These primitive monsters 
broached it to the disgrace of Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of 
God. But that they were created, see Col. i. 16, and Ps. cxlviii. 2, and 
created they were in time. Some of the Greek writers supposed the 
angels to be made before the world ; but there is no ground for that, 
there being but one beginning of all created beings. And it is said, 

* Before the beginning nothing was made,' John i. 3 ; therefore created 
they were the second day, with the heavens, as being of the same 
matter ; as man was made when his seat and dwelling-place was per 
fected ; so the angels, when their seat and place of residence was 
prepared. Moses mentioneth them not, because he treateth of the 
visible world and corporeal beings. Now, it is certain that, being 
created, they sinned ere man fell, for the devil, in and by the serpent, 

* seduced Eve/ 2 Cor. xi. 3 ; therefore probably they fell a little after 
their creation ; not in the very instant, that it might appear they 
were not naturally evil. It is probable that some time interceded 
between their creation and defection, but a very little time, to show 
the mutability of the creature. 

Use. Let me now apply what hath been spoken, and press you to 
consider it in your thoughts, and to consider it with observation and 
application to yourselves. 

1. Consider it with observation, and there is scarce a matter that 
can be more profitably amplified in your thoughts ; we have the 
most impartial view of things in another person. Oh I think of 
this dreadful instance, the fall of the angels. (1.) Observe that 
such excellent creatures fell. Angels themselves were created ex 
cellent but mutable. Certainly we that 'dwell in houses of clay, 
and whose foundation is in the dust/ Job iv. 19, had need to be 

VOL. v. N 


more cautious ; if they be mutable, we are weaker and more mutable. 
To see such glorious stars leave their station, and fall from heaven 
like lightning, it should make us poor creatures tremble and look 
to our own standing, ' lest we also fall,' 1 Cor. x. 12. Self-confidence 
is the next way to ruin. God only cannot sin, because his act is his 
rule. There may be great height, strong abilities, rare accomplish 
ments of nature and grace, and yet you see these cannot exempt us 
from shameful falls without the divine concurrence. The angels were 
the courtiers of heaven, the glory of the creation, in the first rank of 
the created beings, and yet they fell. Who can presume to stand 
when angels fall ? (2.) They fell soon, a little after their creation. 
There is no created excellency but, if left to itself, will quickly undo 
itself ; how soon do creature perfections fade ! Surely there is no 
stability but in Christ. As the angels, so Adam fell a little after his 
creation : Ps. xlix. 12, ' Adam, being in honour, abideth not ; ' in the 
original, ' abideth not for a night ; ' and if it be applied to the first 
Adam, it implieth that he left the honour of his innocency the first day ; 
in the morning innocent, and at night a sinner. Our new state in 
this regard is better than innocency, and the grace of regeneration ex- 
ceedeth that of creation. The Lord would still keep the creature 
depending ; our estate in Christ only is sure, because there our 
strength lieth in another. 1 Let us then ' work out our salvation with fear 
and trembling.' If angels fell, and Adam fell, when they had no such 
mixed nature and divided principles as we have, what will become of 
us ? Neither man nor angel can be kept without a surety ; and 
unless Christ be continually present with his own gifts, there is no 
standing. (3.) They fell dreadfully, and from angels became devils, 
exercising theft, lying, envy, murder towards men. The best things 
corrupted become worst ; as no vinegar so tart as that which is made 
of the sweetest wine. When men sin against light and grace they 
become cruel : ' The revolters are profound to make slaughter,' saith 
the prophet, Hosea v. 2. After profession the fall is most desperate : 
' Their latter end is worse than their beginning,' 2 Peter ii. 20. 
What a malice have these evil angels now against God and man ! 
they go about seeking whom they may devour. None so bad as apos 
tates. (4.) Their fall made way for ours. By this means there came 
to be a tempter in the world. The fall of angels occasioned the fall 
of man, and the fall of man the coming of Christ. Do but go home 
with reverence, and observe how, by the bare permission of God, the 
divine decrees were accomplished, and wonder at the purity of that 
unspotted providence that is conversant about sin and evil, but not 
conscious to it. The angels led the way, and man followed, and so 
occasion was given for the discovery of ' the manifold wisdom of God' 
to men and angels, Eph. iii. 10. (5.) So many fell as were not 
elected by God. There was election and reprobation among the 
angels. Among the most glorious creatures God would show the 
liberty of his counsels; not only amongst men, the lower sort of 
rational creatures, but among angels. Therefore the apostle speaketh 
of ' elect angels,' 1 Tim. v. 21. Why should clay murmur when gold 
is refused ? If some of the angels were appointed to be * vessels of 

1 2 Tim. ii. 1, ' My son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.' 


dishonour/ ' who art thou that repliest upon God/ 
Ptom. ix. 20, that will be disputing the sovereignty of God, and ask 
the reason why he giveth grace to some and not to others ? Wonder 
at it till thou canst understand it. Disputare vis mecum ? mirare 
mecum, et clama, altitudo ! l God's decrees are hard meat, not easily 
digested by carnal reason. A proud creature cannot endure to hear of 
God's sovereignty ; it awakeneth our security to hear of a distinction 
in the counsels of God, and that grace runneth in a narrower channel 
than whole mankind. Do but consider; amongst the angels some 
are passed by and others confirmed. And who art thou, man, that 
repliest ? (6.) In the election of angels, pardoning mercy is not so 
much glorified as in the election and calling of men ; 2 then was grace 
shown but not mercy ; none of the fallen angels were saved, but fallen 
man is called to grace in Christ. We were all ' in our blood ' when 
God said ' live ; ' the whole lump and mass of mankind was fallen. 
Probably, next to the free counsels of God, that was the reason the 
whole human nature fell ; but not the whole angelical nature, but only 
a part of it, so that the kind itself needed not to be repaired. Their 
sins argued more malice because of the height of their understanding ; 
they sinned without a tempter. But the reason of reasons is, the will 
and gracious good pleasure of God, who was willing to show pardoning 
mercy to us, and not to them ; the good angels had confirmation, 
but we redemption ; we are reconciled, they continued : love after 
a breach made is more remarkable. (7.) From the sin in general 
by which they fell. It was by pride. See the danger of this sin ; 
it always goeth before falling. The angels lost their holiness out of a 
desire of greatness ; they would be over all and under none ; it is dan 
gerous when men mind rather to be great than good. In scripture we 
have two notable instances of the fall by pride, and our restoration by 
humility. The angels fell by pride and aspiring, and Christ restored 
mankind by being humble, lowly, and submitting himself even to the 
death of the cross. Adam would be as God, and so ruined us ; and 
Christ, that was God, became as man, and so saved us. To counter 
work Satan, he layeth aside the glory of his Godhead ; he layeth aside 
the glory of his Godhead and puts on a humble garb, saving us not by 
power, but by suffering. Well, then, look upon pride as the sure fore 
runner of a fall. (8.) Observe, the particular fact is uncertain, though 
the general sin may be known ; as how this pride was discovered, 
whether in a thought, or by some bold attempt, is not known ; it doth 
not so much pertain to edification and salvation to know their sin, as 
to know our own. The scriptures direct us to look inward ; it is more 
for our profit to keep out Satan's power than to know the circumstances 
of his fall ; let us not fall with him. Peter would know John's end, 
but Christ rebuketh him, ' What is that to thee ? follow thou me/ 
John xxi. 20-22. We betray our duties by our curiosity ; surely we 
should be more at home, and look to our beam, that we may not ascite 
others before the chair of censure, but ourselves before the tribunal of 
conscience. (9.) Observe, that the first sin that ever was, was a pun- 

1 Augustine. 

2 Vide Irenseum, lib. iv. cap. 78 ; Damas. lib. ii. Orth. Fid., cap. 3 ; et Neiremb., 
Theoph., &c. 


ishment to itself : ' They kept not their first estate/ The sin is expressed 
in such a phrase as doth imply their loss. Duty hath its reward in its 
mouth, as the sacks of the patriarchs their moneys ; so sin its punish 
ment. Never think that you shall get anything by offending God ; 
you do but defile, and debase, and degrade yourselves from your own ex 
cellency when you sin. It is hell enough to turn away from God, and 
misery enough to pollute and stain his image in our souls. The fall 
of the angels is described to be a departure from their own happiness. 

2. Consider it with application to yourselves. First, apply it 
for humiliation. We left TIJV ap^tjv, ' our first estate/ as well as the 
angels : ' God made man upright, but they sought out many inven 
tions,' Eccles. vii. 29. Kead your own guilt and apostasy in the sin of 
the angels ; usually the page is whipped to show the prince's fault, 
but here the princes and noblest part of the world are set out to us for 
examples, that in their ruin and dreadful fall we might understand our 
own. Do but observe the parable ; they had ap%rp>, an original estate 
of happiness and holiness, and so we ; they fell soon, so we ; they fell 
by pride, so we : the angelical fall is our glass ; we are a kind of devils, 
and apostates from God. They were driven out of heaven, so we out 
of paradise ; they are punished with darkness, and so we. Secondly, 
Apply it for caution ; there is a new beginning in Christ. The apostle 
saith, Heb. iii. 14, ' We are made partakers of Christ, if we hold rrjv 
apXW, the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end/ If we 
should break with God again upon this new stock, there will be no more 
sacrifice for sin. Faith, which is the gift of God's grace, is the beginning 
and root of a new life in Christ. If we should forfeit this, we cannot 
expect God will deal with us any more. 

We are now come to the phrases that imply their punishment, and 
that we made to be twofold present and future. The first part of the 
present punishment is pcena damni, their loss, implied in that clause, 
leaving their own habitation, in which their guilt is further intimated ; 
for the apostle here maketh it to be their act, but Peter in the parallel 
place maketh it God's act : 2 Peter ii. 4, ' God spared not his angels 
that sinned, but cast them down to hell/ Without further diversion 
we may take up the point thus : 

Obs. That the apostate angels, upon their sin and fall, departed from 
that place of happiness and glory which before they enjoyed. So Kev. 
xii. 8, ' Their place was found no more in heaven, and the great 
dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the devil and Satan, 
which deceiveth the whole world : he was cast out into the earth, and 
his angels were cast out with him/ That scripture, I confess, is mys 
tical, and speaketh of the overcoming of Satan in this present world, 
and casting him out of the church, which is there expressed by heaven, 
as the world by earth. For I observe in that book the church is some 
times expressed by terms suitable to the Judaical state. So in Kev. 
xi. 2, the church is called the temple, and the world the court; and 
sometimes by the celestial state, and so the church is called heaven, 
and the world earth. But, however, there is a plain allusion to Satan's 
first fall from heaven as the ground of these expressions, and therefore 
I may use that place as a proof in this matter. That you may under 
stand the loss of the angels, give me leave to lay down these proposi- 


tions : (1.) The place of their innocency was heaven, round about the 
throne of God, where the good angels do ' continually behold his face,' 
and ' stand before him/ Dan. vii. 10. In such a blessed place and in 
such blessed company was their otA^rrjpioi/, their abode or habitation. 
When God disposed the several creatures into proper mansions and 
places of abode, he took the angels into his own train and glorious 
attendants, that they might still be with him ; other creatures were his 
servants, these his courtiers, that is, his household and ordinary ser 
vants, that were to attend as in his chamber of presence. (2.) In this 
place they were to enjoy God and glorify God ; their happiness was to 
enjoy God, their duty to glorify him ; there they behold his face, Mat. 
xviii. 10, for vision and sight of God is the happiness of rational crea 
tures, and therefore our happy estate is expressed by ' beholding him 
face to face/ 1 Cor. xiii. 14, and David saith, Ps. xvi. 11, 'In thy pre 
sence,' or 'in thy face is fulness of joy.' In heaven, then, did God 
manifest himself to them ; there they were to applaud his counsels, re 
ceive his commands, to love God with the most perfect embraces of 
their will, and to ' fulfil his commandments, hearkening to the voice 
of his word/ (3.) From this place they are now driven into ' the lower 
parts of the world/ as being a place more fit for sin and misery. That 
the place into which they are driven is the bottom and centre of the earth 
cannot be shown out of scripture ; rather the contrary, for sometimes 
they are said to fly up and down in the air, and therefore is Satan 
called ' the prince of the power of the air/ Eph. ii. 3, and the other 
devils, ' principalities and spiritual wickednesses in high places/ Eph. 
vi. 12. They aspire to get as high as they can, but they can get no 
further than the regions of the air ; and sometimes they are said to 
' compass the earth to and fro,' Job i. 7. The earth is Satan's walk 
and circuit, where he seeks to do mischief, and sometimes they are in 
the sea, Mat. viii. 32, for as yet they are not in that prison and place 
of torments where they shall abide for ever under the wrath of the 
Lord. Therefore when Christ checketh their power in the world, they 
expostulate with him, ' Jesus, thou Son of God, art thou come to tor 
ment us before our time ?' Mat. viii. 29, ' and besought him that he 
would not cast them into the great deep ;' by which some understand 
the final place of their residence and torments, even the lowest place 
of the world, most remote from the highest heavens, which place as 
yet they have not entered. But how is it said that they are already 
' cast down into hell,' 2 Peter ii. 4, raprapcaa-a^ ? I answer That 
expression doth only note the dreadfulness of their fall, from so glorious 
a mansion to such a place of misery ; and because wherever they are, 
they carry their own hell with them, though by God's permission they 
are as yet suffered to remain in the air or earth. (4 ) Departing from 
heaven, they departed from all the happiness and glory which they 
enjoyed there, namely, that light which they had in their understand 
ings to behold God, that power in their wills to love and serve him ; 
instead of which they are filled with darkness and malice, and become 
the irreconcileable enemies of God and man. As to their light, their 
gracious knowledge is quite extinct, their natural knowledge much 
eclipsed, and their experimental knowledge not enough to engage their 
hearts to God. As to their integrity and holiness, instead of a will to 


love and serve God, there are nothing but obstinate purposes to do 
evil, and endeavours to hinder the glory of God and the good of man, 
1 Peter v. 8, lest we should enjoy that happiness which he hath left. 
Hence those titles given them in scripture, as devil, Rev. xii. 9, which 
signifieth a slanderer ; Satan, which signifieth an enemy ; the tempter, 
Mat. iv. 1, because he daily soliciteth us to evil ; o Trovrjpos, the evil 
one, Mat. v., being full of wickedness himself, he maketh it his study 
and care to propagate it in others; Belial, 2 Cor. vi. 15, unprofitable, 
as good for nothing ; airoXXvwv the destroyer, because he worketh mis 
chief ; the old serpent, Rev. xii. 6, because under the shape of the 
serpent he poisoned Eve. As to their power, it is much broken and 
limited ; they are held in the chains of providence ; they could not do 
hurt to the herd of swine without permission, Luke viii. 26. (5.) 
Though they have lost much of the glory and power annexed to their 
habitation, yet many tokens of the divine image do as yet remain in 
them. Holiness is, as we said, utterly lost 'he sinneth from the begin 
ning,' 1 John iii. 8, that is, doth nothing else but sin ; and Aquinas 
saith well, Hoc est angelis casus, quod hominibus mors their fall into 
sin to them is as death to us ; but now in other things they have 
much left ; as man after his fall is like a drifted picture, and had only 
enough left to show what he once was, so the angels, though they are 
much fallen from the excellency of their nature, yet there is enough 
left to show that once they were glorious creatures. That which 
remaineth may be referred to two heads their great cunning and 
active power. (1.) Their knowledge and cunning is great; they have 
much natural and experimental knowledge, so as they can discern 
hidden causes and virtues which escape the flight of man's reason 
and understanding ; they know how to apply active to passive things, 
can guess notably at future events ; but as for a certain knowledge of 
them, unless of such things as depend upon necessary causes, that is 
proper to God, and accordingly he challengeth it : Isa. xii. 23, ' Show 
the things that are to come, that we may know that ye are gods,' &c. 
Therefore the devil's oracles were either false or doubtful, as 1 Kings 
xxii. 16. Great skill in arts and tongues they have, as appeareth by 
their teaching those things with wonderful facility to those that have 
familiarity with them. In divine things they know enough of God 
and his justice to feel a horror impressed upon themselves, 1 James 
ii. 19; Luke iv. 34; Acts xix. 15. Besides they are of wonderful 
sagacity to judge of men's hearts by the gestures, the motion of the 
blood and spirits, and other such external signs, for directly they do 
not know the thoughts ; that is the privilege of God. (2.) Their power 
is great still, though limited, so that it cannot be exercised but when 
and where and as God will. They are able to raise tempests, to bring 
fire from heaven, as they did to ruin Job's house and children, Job i. ; 
they can deceive with lying miracles, but true miracles can only be 
wrought by a divine power. Being of much sagacity and skill in the 
secrets of nature, they may poison the air, destroy the bodies of men, 
infest and trouble beasts and cattle ; in short, do all that lieth within 
the compass of a natural cause where God permitteth. Again, they 
may possess the bodies of men, hinder the godly in the execution o? 

1 See my notes on James ii. 19. 


their duty ; overrule the spirits of wicked men, and act and stir them 
up to wrath, lust, filthiness, Eph. ii. 3, besot them with error, &c. : it 
would require a distinct discourse to open this power to you. They 
cannot create new beings, nor raise dead bodies, nor compel the will of 
man ; they can do mira, but not miracula, &c. Let me now come to 
observe somewhat of practical concernment from what hath been spoken. 

1. That God hath proper places where the creatures shall perform 
their duty and enjoy their happiness. As the angels had heaven, which 
was I&LOV olKTjrrjpiov, their proper place, so Adam had paradise, and the 
saints the church. It is misery enough to be thrown out of that place 
where God manifesteth himself ; he that was cast out of the church 
was * given up to Satan,' 1 Cor. v. 5. In the church Christ ruleth ; 
in the world, Satan : it is good to keep to the shepherd's tents, Cant. 
i. 8. The angels left their ' first estate' at the same time that they 
lost ' their own habitation/ It is dangerous to leave our own place, 
to be cast out of the congregations of the faithful, where God dwelleth 
and is glorified : * He inhabiteth the praises of Israel,' Ps. xxii. 3 ; that 
is, in the church, where he hath praise and we have benefit : the church 
is ' the gate of heaven,' Gen. xxviii. 17 ; where God is, there heaven 
is. Cain himself could bewail his misery in being turned out from 
the church ; he had the whole earth before him, but, saith he, ' I shall 
be hid from thy face/ Gen. iv. 14 ; that is, I am turned out from the 
place of thy worship, and where thy name is called upon. It is sad to 
be banished from the Lord's gracious presence. 

2. Sin depriveth us of God's presence ; this is the wall of separa 
tion between us and God : Isa. lix. 2, ' Your sins have separated,' 
&c. It not only provoketh God to stand at a distance from us, but 
worketh a strangeness in us, and maketh us shy of his presence ; it 
cast the angels out of heaven, Adam out of Paradise, Cain out of the 
church. Well, then, when you are tempted to folly, bethink with 
yourselves : God could not endure the sight of angels when once they 
were defiled with sin ; if I should yield to this temptation, I should 
never endure God, nor he me ; this will either cause the Spirit to 
leave me, or me to leave tbe throne of grace ; guilty souls cannot sustain 
the presence of God, and God doth not own the presence of guilty sin 
ners. Peter said, Luke v. 8, ' Depart from me, for I am a sinful man ;' 
and God saith, ' Depart from me into everlasting torments/ Mat. xxv. 

3. Observe again, Jude maketh it their act, and Peter God's act. 
Jude saith, ' they left their own habitation,' and Peter, ' God cast 
them down : ' and punishments are voluntarily contracted, founded 
upon some act of ours. God may pass by a creature out of his mere 
will, but he damneth not till we provoke him. First there is a volun 
tary aversion from God, and then God turneth away from us : Hosea 
xiii. 9, ' Israel ! thou hast destroyed thyself/ Our ruin is caused by 
the free motion of our own wills. God punisheth not willingly, and 
as delighting in our destruction : we sin, and so freely depart from 
our own happiness ; we leave and then he casteth down. 

4. God casteth Satan out of heaven. Do you imitate your heavenly 
Father ; cast Satan out of your hearts. Who would entertain him whom 
heaven hath spewed out ? It is said, Eev. xii. 8, ' That Satan and his 
angels found no more place in heaven/ Oh ! then, give him not place 


to dwell in your hearts, Eph. iv. 17 ; do not entertain wrathful or lust 
ful motions. God decreed that the evil angels should be cast out of 
heaven, and Christ died that they might be cast out of our hearts : John 
xii. 31, ' Now shall the prince of this world be cast out.' Oh ! let him 
not erect a new heaven and empire in your souls ! His great aim is, 
now he cannot get into heaven, to dwell in the hearts of men. 

5. Angels, creatures of the highest excellency, are not spared when 
they sin : 2 Peter ii. 4, ' God spared not the angels/ &c. Wonder at 
the patience of the great God to us sinners. If a king be angry with 
his offending nobles, should not the scullions tremble ? How come 
we to be of this side of hell ? Go home and adore that grace that 
hath kept you out of the chains of darkness : Lam. iii. 22, * It is of the 
Lord's mercy that we are not consumed,' not swallowed up quick, not 
cast down to hell. If the angels in the very infancy of their creation 
were so soon punished for the first offence, Lord, what didst thou 
see in us, that, after so many offences, we should be yet alive ? It is 
mercy, pardoning mercy, that giveth us our beings ; we fail not 
because compassions fail not. 

6. Angels were forced to leave their habitation ; when they changed 
their nature, they changed their estate. Let all sinners tremble. 
Consider the instance, and you will see that no dignity and worth of 
the creature is of any avail, nothing can keep off the strokes of ven 
geance but the blood of Jesus Christ. They were angels, glorious 
creatures, their sin but one, and probably that in thought ; yet how 
dreadful is their punishment ! Cast out of heaven, kept in chains of 
darkness for a severer vengeance ! Oh ! then, how should we tremble 
that have ' drunk in iniquity like water ! ' Surely God is the same, he 
doth no less hate pride, obstinacy, and contempt of his grace now, 
than he did in times past : ' God is but one/ Gal. iii. 20 ; he acteth 
according to the same tenor of justice now as heretofore, &c. 

7. From the word ouaynjpu>v, ' their own place/ observe the true 
dwelling-place and rest is heaven ; it was the habitation of the angels, 
and the rest of the saints. Oh ! long for your home, let your hearts 
and your hopes be there ; enter upon your eternal inheritance by 
degrees. The angels left their habitations, do you be always travel 
ling thither; let your hearts be in heaven, Col. iii. 1, your conversa 
tions be in heaven ere your persons, Phil. iii. 20. There are good 
angels still, blessed companions : Heb. xii. 22, 23, * An innumerable 
company of angels and spirits of just men perfected/ A heathen could 
see out of a glimpse of the soul's immortality, prceclarum ilium 
diem, cum ad illud animarum concilium ccetumque proficiscar. There 
you shall see the vacant rooms of the apostate angels occupied by the 
saints. Say, Woe is me, that my pilgrimage is prolonged, Ps. cxx. 5. 

8. They were cast from heaven into this world. Do but look upon 
the world in a right notion. Satan, that was not fit for heaven, is 
cast out into the earth, as a meet place for misery and torment : he 
is called ' The ruler of the darkness of this world/ Eph. vi. 12, and 
' The god of this world/ 2 Cor. iv. 4. It is punishment enough to 
the apostate angels to be cast out into the world : the world is the 
devil's workhouse and prison ; one calleth it Satan's diocese. Who 
would be in love with a place of bondage and punishment ? 


9. The devil and his angels are in the world ; let us be the more 
cautious ; he ' compasseth the earth to and fro/ no place can secure 
you from his temptation ; he is everywhere ravening for the prey with 
an indefatigable and unwearied diligence, 1 Peter v. 8. Let us look 
about us : ; Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea, for the 
devil is come down to you,' Rev. xii. 12. Wherever you are, Satan is 
near you ; the world is full of devils. When you are in the shop, the 
devil is there to fill your hearts with lying and deceit, as he did the 
heart of Ananias, Acts v. ; when you are in your closets, and when you 
have shut the door upon you, you do not shut out Satan, he can taint 
a secret duty ; when you are in the house of God, ministering before 
the Lord, Satan is ' at your right hand ready to resist you,' Zech. iii. 1. 
He is ready either to pervert your aims, or to divert your thoughts. 
We had need keep the heart in a humble, watchful, praying frame. 
God hath cast out the angels out of heaven, and now they are here 
upon earth, tempting the sons of men to folly and inconvenience. Be 
watchful, the world is the devil's chessboard ; you can hardly move 
back or forth, but he is ready to attack you by some temptation. 

10. When grace is abused, our dejection is usually according to the 
degree of our exaltation ; the angels from heaven are cast down to hell, 
the highest in the rank of creatures are now made lowest ; corruptions 
of the best things are most noisome : * Thou Capernaum, which 
art exalted to heaven, art now brought down to hell/ Mat. xi. 23. It 
was one of the chief cities of Galilee, and where our Saviour usually 
conversed. It is a kind of heaven to enjoy Christ in the ordinances, 
but now to slight this mercy will bring such confusions and miseries 
as are a kind of hell to you ; slighting of grace, of all sins weigheth 
heaviest in God's balance. 

11. Spiritual judgments are most severe, and to be given up to ob 
stinacy in sin is the sorest of judgment : it is diabolical to continue 
in sin ; the angels left their habitation, and what followed ? they lost 
their holiness. 

12. Loss of happiness is a great judgment, it is hell enough to want 
God. The first part of the sentence, ' depart from me/ Mat. xxv. 41, 
is most dreadful ; loss of heaven is the first part of the angels' punish 
ment. We in effect say now, * Depart from us/ Job. xxi. 14, but God 
will then say, ' .Depart from me ; ; ye shall see my face no more, &c. 

Thus we have dispatched the first part of the angels' punishment, 
their loss ; we now come to the other part, their poena sensus, their 
punishment of sense or pain, he hath reserved in everlasting chains 
under darkness ; where there is an allusion to the state of malefactors 
or condemned men, who are kept in prison till execution. Now the evils 
of a prison are two: (1.) The darkness of the place; (2.) The hard usage 
of the evil-doer; suitably to which the apostle used a double notion: 
(1.) They are reserved in everlasting chains ; (2.) Under darkness. 

I begin with the first part, in everlasting chains; whence two 
notes: (1.) That the angels are kept in chains; (2.) That those 
chains are everlasting. 

1. They are kept in chains. But what chains can hold angels ? can 
spirits be bound with irons ? I answer They are spiritual chains, 
suitable to the spiritual nature of angels ; such as these : 


[1.] Guilt of conscience, which bindeth them over to judgment ; 
the consciences of wicked angels know that they are adjudged to dam 
nation for their sin. This is a sure chain, for it fasteneth the judgment 
so as you cannot shake it off ; it is bound and tied upon us by the hand 
of God's justice. The condition of a guilty sinner is frequently com 
pared to a prisoner, Isa. xlii. 7 ; Isa. xlix. 9 ; Isa Ixi. 1 ; and sin to a 
prison wherein we are shut up, Rom. xi. 32 ; Gal. iii. 22 ; and guilt to 
chains or bonds laid upon us by God the judge, Prov. v. 22 ; Lam. i. 14. 

[2.] Their obstinacy in sinning. They are fallen so as they cannot 
rise again, they are called ' wickednesses,' Eph. vi. 12, as sinning with 
much malice and obstinacy ; as if you should say ivickedness itself. 
The devil's sin is as ' the sin against the Holy Ghost ; ' a malicious, ob 
stinate, spiteful opposition against the kingdom of Christ, such a hatred 
against God and Christ that they will not repent and be saved ; their 
despair begetteth despite, and being hopeless of relief, are without pur 
pose of repentance. They do, foolish creatures, add sin to sin, and 
harden themselves in an evil way, which is as a chain to hold them 
in God's prison, till their final damnation ; see 2 Thes. ii. 11, 12, 
where error and wilful persisting in disobedience is made to be God's 
prison, wherein reprobate creatures are held till their punishment be 

[3.] Utter despair of deliverance ; they are held under their torment 
by their own thoughts, as a distressed conscience is said to be bound 
up, Isa. Ixi. 1 ; to them there remaineth nothing but ' a certain fearful 
looking for judgment and fiery indignation,' Heb. x. 27 ; release they 
cannot look for, more judgment they do expect : Mat. viii. 29, ' Art 
thou come to torment us before our time ? ' Their prison door is locked 
with God's own key, and as long as God sitteth upon the throne they 
cannot wrest the key out of his hands. 

[4.] God's power and providence, by which the angelical strength is 
bridled and overmastered, so as they cannot do what they would. Thus 
Eev. xx. 2, Satan is said to be ' bound up for a thousand years,' that 
is, in the chains of God's power, which are sometimes straiter and 
sometimes looser. The devil was fain to ask leave to enter into the 
herd of swine, Mat. viii. 

[5.] The chains of God's eternal decree. As there is a golden chain, 
the chain of salvation, which is carried on from link to link, till the 
purposes of eternal grace do end in the possession of eternal glory, so 
there is an iron chain of reprobation, which begins in God's own 
voluntary preterition, and is carried on in the creature's voluntary 
apostasy, and endeth in their just damnation ; and when once we are 
shut up under these bars, * there is no opening/ Job xii. 14. 

2. These chains are eternal chains, because the wicked angels stand 
guilty for ever, without hope of recovery or redemption. Every natural 
man is in chains, but there is hope to many of the prisoners. Christ 
saith, * Go forth ; ' but those chains upon the evil angels are for ever 
and ever : now ad custodiam, to keep them and hold them in their 
lost estate ; hereafter ad pcenam, they are continued upon them as a 
part of their final punishment, when much of the liberty which now 
they have shall be abridged. 

From hence observe these practical inferences: 


1. That sins are as it were bonds and chains. A wicked man is in 
bondage here and hereafter ; 1 now in snares and then in chains, here 
'taken captive 'by Satan in his snares, 2 Tim. ii. 26, and hereafter 
bound up with him in chains. Sin itself is a bondage, and hell a 
prison. Were there nothing in sin but the present slavery, it is 
enough to dissuade us ; but alas ! this is not all, there are not only 
snares but chains. In the fall of the angels, how many notions are 
there offered to us to discover the evil of sin ! They ' left their be 
ginning/ and ' lost their habitation/ and then * chains of darkness/ 
He that hath a mind to be a beast or a devil let him be a sinner. If 
you mean to quench your reason, to eclipse the glory of your creation, 
to disturb the quiet of your spirits, and instead of calmness and 
serenity of conscience, to bring in horror and confusion ; if you mean 
to enthral and captivate your souls to every base affection, and to be at 
the command of every corrupt desire, then go on freely, as you do, in 
sinning against God. But alas ! the present thraldom is nothing to 
what is future ; all the sins that you commit will be as so many chains, 
binding you over to an eternal and just damnation. The good angels 
are at liberty to serve God, when the evil angels are shut up in the 
prison of their own obstinacy and wickedness. Remember this when 
you are convinced of a sin which you cannot leave, and fear lest it 
prove a chain of everlasting darkness. 

2. Those chains and bonds can never be broken by us. The angels 
cannot break them themselves, and Christ will not, for their day of 
grace is past. Every one's chains would be eternal if Christ did not 
loose them, and 'open the prison-door to poor captives/ Isa. Ixi. 1. 
This is our advantage above the angels, that a year of liberty is pro 
claimed to us, and ' an opening of the prison to them that are bound.' 
Christ himself was bound with our chains. The prophet saith, Isa. 
liii. 8, ' He was taken from prison and from judgment/ He was in 
prison that we might go free/ If ' the judge had given us up to the 
officer, and the officer had cast us into prison/ how long would it have 
been ere we had ' payed the utmost farthing' ? Luke xii. 58. Others 
that reject the mercy offered in Christ can never wrest themselves out 
of the hands of justice, but do for ever remain under the power and 
wrath of the living God, Heb. x. 31. 

3. The devil is in chains, a cruel spirit, but under bonds. His 
power is less than his will and malice ; he is wrathful that we may 
not be secure ; he is chained that we may not despair ; he hath no 
power but what is given him from above ; and when God putteth any 
of his servants into Satan's hands he keepeth Satan in his own hands. 
If you be in Satan's hands for your exercise, remember Satan is in God's 
hands for your comfort and safety. He had not power over the herd of 
swine without leave : Mat. viii. 31, ' Suffer me/ &c. ; so Luke xxii. 31, 
he could not sift Peter till he had a commission : ' Satan hath desired/ 
&c., Job i. 2 ; ii. 7. Satan could not so much as touch Job's estate or 
skin till leave obtained. Nay, he could not deceive Ahab, a wicked 
man, till God said Go, I Kings xxii. 21, 22 ; he is but God's exe 
cutioner : ' He sent his evil angels among them/ Ps. Ixxviii. 49. God 
gave commission for the plagues of Egypt, and then the evil angels had 

1 See my notes on James i. 25. 


power to execute them. The godly need not fear Satan as a dis 
obedient angel ; he is cast into the chains of God's justice and power ; 
and as head of the kingdom of darkness, his power is more restrained 
by the death of Christ, John xii. 31. 

4. Observe how weak the creatures are when God marcheth in judg 
ment against them. Guilt of conscience is one of the fallen angels' 
chains. If God will but arm our own thoughts against us, he needeth 
not bring forces from without, there is enough in that to sink us into 
hell. The law needeth not bring brimstone from heaven to burn 
sinners, nor open the mouth of the great deep to drown them, nor 
shatter the frame of nature about our heads. Alas ! we cannot bear 
up under the burden of our own consciences, or the weight of our 
own grief ; when helayeth his finger upon the conscience, who can bear 
it ? The angels excel in strength, and yet the impressions of honour 1 
laid upon them are too hard for them to grapple withal : Prov. xviii. 
14, 'A wounded spirit who can bear?' as if he had said, I challenge 
all the world to bring me a man that is able to deal with his own con 
science, when God armeth it against him. 

5. That spiritual judgments of all others are most secure. To have 
sin punished with obstinacy and hardness in sinning this, is nothing 
but to have the devil's chains laid upon us, a sad intimation that we are 
given up to chains of darkness. Frogs and lice and hailstones were but 
soft judgments to Pharaoh's hard heart ; unless God should send us 
quick into hell, there cannot heavier judgment befall us ; nay, cer 
tainly it were better to be given up to hell torments, if there could 
be any expectation of deliverance, than to be given up to a spirit of 
sinning, for there is no end of that. Say then, Lord, whatever judg 
ment thou bringest upon me, bring not thy heavy judgment of a hard 
heart ; it is better by far that you should live miserably than sin freely 
without remorse. Bat what sins bring on this spiritual judgment? 
I answer (1.) An unthankful abuse of God's gifts ; the devils had a 
glorious and excellent nature, but they were not thankful. Observe it 
when you will, you will find it true that no man was ever punished 
with hardness of heart, but some former merciful dispensation was 
abused. The heathens were not thankful for the light of nature, and 
therefore God * gave them up to vile affections,' Rom. i. 22, 24 ; others 
' received not the love of the truth,' and therefore ' God gave them up to 
believe a lie, that they might be damned,' 2 Thes. ii. 11, 12. The very 
4 sin against the Holy Ghost' is so called because it is a despiting 
grace received, or a devilish opposing of the grace and supernatural 
work of the Spirit, by which the mind is convinced of the truth. (2.) 
Sinning against the light ; that was Satan's sin, who was full of light, 
and sinned in the very face of God ; and it is his sin still, malice having 
only put out the light of prudence, but not of his understanding, so 
that he knowingly sinneth ; so wicked men ' imprison the truth in 
unrighteousness/ Rom. i. 18, and then God giveth them up to the sway 
of their own lusts and passions. There is more of malice in sins against 
light ; you laugh at Christ before his face, outdare heaven and con 
science : Esther vii. 8, * Will he force the queen before my face ? ' &c. 
(3.) Sinning with the light ; when malice sets wit a- work (as it doth 

1 Query, ' horror ' ? ED. 


in the devils) against God and the church ; it is satanical to be wise 
to do evil, to make no other use of our parts than to plot wickedness, 
pervert the truth, and undermine religion : Jer. iv. 22, ' They are wise 
to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge/ When you make 
religion yield to policy, or bend policy to ruin religion, then ' your wis 
dom hath undone you,' Isa. xlvii. 10. (4.) Malice against God and 
goodness ; this is Satan's direct sin. When men will not only be wicked 
themselves, but adversaries and malicious opposers of all that is good, 
this is not only to be sinners but Satans : Acts xiii. 10, ' thou child 
of the devil, and enemy of all goodness.' Cain, that hated his brother 
because his works were righteous, was the devil's patriarch. (5.) A 
sottish obstinacy and wilfulness, when will and humour is lifted up 
against conviction, Jer. ii. 25, xliv. 18 ; they will not, because they will 
not. Foolish wilfulness meeteth with penal hardness ; he that will wink 
shall not see the sun, shine it never so brightly ; such men do but lay 
Satan's chains on their own will and understanding, (6.) A senseless 
security, notwithstanding the growth and increase of sin, when men 
lose all feeling and restraint, and grow more wicked but less tender, 
Eph. iv. 19 ; and so men sin freely, foully, wax worse and worse, and add 
new links to the chains of darkness. 

6. There is little reason that we should adore him whom God 
holdeth in chains of darkness, that we should exalt him whom the 
Lord hath cast down, and make a god of him who hath made himself 
a devil. All sins do, as it were, set the crown upon Satan's head ; these 
especially (1.) False worship : Satan is the head of idolaters ; if the 
sacrifice was offered in an unbecoming manner, God saith it was a 
sacrifice offered unto devils, Lev. xvii. 7. In all false worships the 
devil is served either directly or obliquely, either by consequence or in 
the intention of the worshippers ; thence those expressions, ' table of 
devils/ 1 Cor. x. 21 ; ' They sacrificed to devils and not to God/ Deut. 
xxxii. 17. You gratify Satan if you be not right in worship ; those 
among Christians that worshipped towards an idol of gold and silver are 
said to ' worship devils,' Rev. ix. 20. Satan is, saith Synesius, et'SwXo- 
Xapr)$, a lover of images, and a patron of false worship. (2.) Worldly 
conversation : he is called ' the god of this world,' 2 Cor. iv. 4. Sensual, 
covetous, proud men are Satan's votaries, at his beck and pleasure ; 
and will you be one of the number ? When Christ came to ' dissolve 
Satan's works/ 1 Johniii. 8, will you uphold them ? (3.) Base fear of 
wicked men : you do but fear the devil in them : Rev. ii. 10, ' Fear 
not ; behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison.' He that will 
deny the truth for fear of men, preferreth the devil before God. (4.) 
Being of the faction of the wicked : there is a corrupt party in the 
world, over whom Satan usurpeth empire and domination : ' Rulers of 
the darkness of this world/ Eph. vi. 12 ; Col. i. 13. Cry not up a con 
federacy with these ; take heed how your soul entereth into that secret. I 
confess it is ingeniousness, a matter of Christian skill and art, to find out 
the snare that we may escape it. Generally they are the antichristian 
dark part of the world, such as are led with a blind zeal and rage to 
oppose the interest of righteousness, such as oppose the gospel with rage 
and lies : John viii. 44, ' Ye are of your father the devil, and his lusts 
will ye do/ Many that deny Satan yet may be of his faction and party. 


We are now come to the second part of the punishment of pain, 
taken from the other inconvenience of a prison, VTTO %6<f>oi>, under dark 
ness, in allusion to malefactors who are cast into dungeons, where, be 
sides the load of irons, the very darkness of the place concurreth to 
their misery. Light is pleasant, as giving us the sight of what is grate 
ful in the world, of which when we are deprived, the mind, like a mill, 
falleth and worketh upon itself. Peter saith ' in chains of darkness/ as 
implying that God did bind them fast with their darkness and horror 
as with a chain ; but our apostle here seemeth to make them two dis 
tinct parts of their torment, as certainly it is a more full description of 
it. Well, then, the proposition will be,' that the apostate angels are 
kept under darkness. 

Obs. Darkness in scripture represented three things : First, ignor 
ance ; secondly, sin ; thirdly, misery ; as light, the contrary quality, 
implieth knowledge, holiness, and happiness. Because light discovereth 
all things, it is put for knowledge ; because of all bodily qualities it is 
most pure and unmixed, therefore it is put for holiness ; because it is 
wonderfully pleasing and delightful to sense, therefore it is put for 
glory. So contrariwise darkness, which is nothing else but the absence 
and privation of light, signifieth ignorance, John iii. 19 ; sin, 1 Peter 
ii. 9 ; misery, Ps. cvii. 10. Now all these three make way for one 
another ; ignorance for sin, and sin for misery ; the understanding 
being the great wheel of the soul, if it be not right nothing can be 
right, Mat. vi. 22. Ignorance maketh us stumble upon sin, and by 
sin we fall into the pit of everlasting darkness. 

If you ask what kind of darkness is intended here ? I answer 
Though all may be implied, yet chiefly the darkness of misery is here 
intended, they being cast down from the light and glory of the highest 
heavens into dark and obscure habitations, where they want the sight 
of God and the light of his countenance. As when the sun is gone 
there is nothing but darkness in the world, so being banished out of 
the presence of God, they are fitly said to be held under darkness ; for 
as the sun is to the corporeal world, so is God to the world of spirits, 
Ps. iv, 6. Now their sun is eclipsed, and by the interposition of the 
dark cloud of their sin and obstinacy, they cannot have the least com 
fortable glimpse and fruition of God ; to which also may be added 
the horrible apprehension of their loss, and that terror and discomfort 
that lieth upon them, for they have only so much light left as serveth 
to increase their torment. I confess it is disputed by divines whether 
the devils can grieve for the loss of the light of God's countenance, or 
the want of the beatifical vision ; and the ground of doubting is, be 
cause there is in the devils an extreme averseness, enmity, and hatred 
of God and his glory ; but certainly, as they are rational creatures, they 
cannot but be sensible of their loss, as also the damned spirits are, 
and so great a loss of happiness (for that is the consideration under 
which they are sensible of it) must needs breed horror and torment. 
They do not mourn for the absence of God as the saints do, out of a 
principle of holiness, and because God is lovely in himself, but as pro 
fitable to them ; and this sense, as it is accompanied with despair, so 
with blasphemy and hatred of God. Surely every part of the sentence 
that is pronounced upon wicked men is fitted to beget terror in them ; 


and therefore c depart from me ' is apprehended as a misery, as well as 
' go into everlasting torments/ Add further to their darkness that 
despair that is upon them, and fearful looking for of the fiery indigna 
tion of the Lord, which desperate sorrow is expressed by * utter dark 
ness and gnashing of teeth/ Mat. xxii. 13. 

Let me now come to some observations. 

Obs. 1. Darkness is the devils' punishment, the highest misery of 
the highest rank of reasonable creatures. Oh ! why should we love 
that which is the misery of the fallen angels ? as our Saviour speaketh 
of some that ' love darkness rather than light,' John iii. 19 ; that is, 
error rather than truth, lusts rather than Christ, ignorance rather than 
knowledge. It is one of the saddest arguments of man's dreadful fall, 
that he is in love with his own misery. We should hate sin, and we 
hate the light that reproveth it : ignorant people love a foolish 
ministry, God's faithful witnesses are their torment, Kev. xi. 10. The 
carnal world would fain lie down upon the bed of ease and sleep ; 
light is troublesome : those that let them alone are their idols and 
darlings ; ' the blind lead the blind, and both fall into the ditch.' 
It is evil not to know the will of God ; it is doubly evil when we de 
sire not to know ; the one sort err in their minds, the other in their 
hearts. Spiritual darkness is far worse than bodily. When Elymas was 
stricken blind he ' desired somebody to lead him by the hand/ Acts 
xiii. 11. In such a case we count our happiness to light upon fit 
guides. In spiritual darkness it is quite otherwise ; we cannot endure 
a faithful guide : ' The prophets prophesy lies, and the people love to 
have it so ; ' a blind people are all for blind guides. 

Obs. 2. Light that yieldeth us no comfort is but darkness. Satan 
hath knowledge left, but no comfort: James ii. 19, ' They believe and 
tremble.' The more sense they have of God's being and glory, the 
greater horror have they upon their spirits. It is very miserable when 
we have only light enough to awaken conscience, and knowledge enough 
to be self-condemned. To know God but not to enjoy him, that is the 
devils' punishment. Oh ! then, never leave till your thoughts of God 
are sweet and comfortable, Ps. civ. 34. Satan cannot but abominate 
his own thoughts of God, for he cannot think of him without torment; 
but it is otherwise with gracious hearts ; that meditation which is the 
devil's terror is their solace and support. God's name to them is as 
' an ointment poured out/ Cant. i. 3, full of fragrancy and reviving. 
Best not, then, till you can see God with such a light as giveth you 
fruition and comfortable enjoyment of him : ' In thy light shall we see 
light/ Ps. xxxvi. 9 ; there is light in thy light, but all other light is 
but darkness. 

Obs. 3. Do but observe the difference between God and Satan. God 
is light, 1 John i. 5, and Satan darkness ; God dwelleth in light, and 
Satan is reserved in chains under darkness. The first creature that 
God made in the world was light, and the first gift of the Spirit is 
illumination ; but now all Satan's aim and work is to bring in dark 
ness, to blind the mind, 2 Cor. iv. 4 ; ignorance is the very foundation 
of his kingdom, Eph. vi. 12. Well, then, the more dark, the more like 
Satan. A child of God is a child of light, and what have we to do 
with ' works of darkness' ? Eph. v. 11. There should be such a con- 


trariety between you and sin as there is between God and Satan ; say 
then, These actions would only become my night of ignorance and folly ; 
night-work is unseemly for the day : Kom. xiii. 12, ' The day is at hand, 
let us cast off the works of darkness ;' leave these things to the bats and 
the owls. If there be a difference and contrariety between Christ and 
Belial, who are the chiefs of either state, so between the persons that 
herd under them : ' What communion is there between Christ and 
Belial, between light and darkness?' 2 Cor. vi. 14. 

Obs. 4. So much darkness as remaineth in you, so much advantage 
hath Satan against you. The dark part of the world is the seat of 
his empire : ' Kulers of the darkness of this world,' Eph. vi. 12. His 
subjects are * the children of darkness/ and all the advantage that he 
hath over the children of light is because of the darkness that is in 
them : whosoever, therefore, lieth under a state of darkness is under 
the power of Satan. The great work of the ministry is to recover 
them, 'to turn them from darkness to light,' Acts xxvi. 18, and so 
' from Satan to God/ Oh ! the sad condition of such persons that are 
bound together with Satan in chains of darkness ! Poor creatures, 
how are they hurried to and fro ! from wrath to pride, from pride to 
lust, from lust to filthiness, from filthiness to worldliness ! Oh, then, 
* awake you that sleep, and the Lord shall give you light/ Eph. v. 14. 
What a blessing is it when it can be said of us, what the apostle said 
of the Ephesians, ' Ye were darkness, but now are light in the Lord/ 
Eph. v. 8. As soon as you have received light and grace, you are 
translated out of Satan's power and kingdom, and put into the 

Obs. 5. The darkness of sin is punished with the darkness of misery 
The light whereby w r e are directed and perfected is the same ; the state 
of grace is a * marvellous light/ 1 Peter ii. 9, and the state of glory ' the 
inheritance of the saints in light/ Col. i. 12. So sin is but darkness 
begun. Hell is called 'utter darkness/ Mat. viii. 12, TO cncoro? TO 
ld>Tpov, a darkness beyond a darkness ; as Augustine glosseth in his 
homilies, In tenebras ex tenebris infeliciter exclusi the damned are 
but thrust out of one darkness into another, from ignorance to sin, 
from sin to torment. It is very observable when Solomon compareth 
the way of the just and the way of the wicked, he compareth the one 
to light, the other to darkness : Prov. iv. 18, 19, ' The way of the just 
is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect 
day ; and the way of the wicked is as darkness/ By the rule of con 
traries, as one is a growing light, so the other is an increasing dark 
ness ; from twilight to starlight, from starlight to thick darkness ; they 
quench the light of nature, choose worldly happiness, grow regardless 
of eternity, are hardened in their way, and at length given up to ever 
lasting horror and confusion of faces, to whom ' the mist of darkness is 
reserved for ever/ 2 Peter ii. 17. Mists of error are justly punished with 
mists of darkness. The men there spoken of were clouds and mists in 
the church ; and therefore the mists of eternal darkness are kept for 
them, as a fit and proper portion. 

Obs. 6. The danger of refusing and abusing light. Those that were 
angels of light are now held in the chains of darkness : see it every 
where made good ; the blackest evening hath been sent usually after a 


glorious day ; those that once enjoyed Noah's preaching were after 
wards ' the spirits in prison,' 1 Peter iii. 18, 19 ; he that had not a 
wedding garment on for the feast was cast into ' utter darkness,' Mat. 
xxii. 13. Abuse of light and means and privileges will surely make 
our condition gloomy and uncomfortable. 

Obs. 7. When we are cast out from God, nothing but darkness en- 
sueth, utter darkness and weeping and gnashing of teeth. It is our 
utmost happiness to enjoy God, and it is our utmost misery to want him ; 
the devils know it, and we shall one day know it. Pray for the light 
of God's countenance more than for corn, and wine, and oil, Ps. iv. 6. 
One glimpse of the favour of God would turn hell into heaven, and 
give us such a strong and sweet joy as would swallow up all kind of 
sorrows. It is the absence of the sun maketh night ; certainly they 
have hard hearts that do not mourn when they have lost the sight of 
God : ' When the bridegroom is gone, then shall they mourn/ Mat. 
ix. 15. Alas ! how the drooping hearts and withered face of nature 
seem to mourn for the absence of the sun ; and how are all things 
cleared and revived at spring again ! And shall not we mourn 
for God, the sun of the intellectual world? Pharaoh was most 
affrighted with the plague of darkness, Exod. x. 4. Yea, the devils 
themselves are sensible of the loss of the light of God's countenance : 
when God shutteth himself up in a cloud, let our bowels be troubled 
for him. Lam. iii. 44. 

Obs. 8. The world in comparison of heaven is but a dark place. It 
is the place where the devils are cast, and they are held under dark 
ness. It is an obscure corner of the creation, a place fit for our trial, 
but not for our reward. In a spiritual consideration it is but a great 
and vast dungeon, where we cannot have so dear 1 sight of God as else 
where. It is Satan's walk, a place of danger and defilement. It is 
much if we can keep ourselves unspotted in such a nasty hole, James 
i. 27 ; 2 Peter ii. 20. The inheritance which is given to the saints is 
given to them ' in light/ Col. i. 12. Let us look for that, and long for 
that ; and ' God dwelleth in light/ 1 Tim. vi. 16 ; he dwelleth there 
where he discovereth most of his glory, and that is in heaven. 

We have done with the present punishment of the angels ; we come 
now to that which is future, implied in these words, unto tke judgment 
of the great day. By judgment is meant the sentence of condemna 
tion which shall pass upon them before the eyes of the whole world, 
and then the consequences, which are eternal misery and torment. 

Obs. 1. That at the day of judgment the punishment of the devils will 
be greater than it is now. 

The devils' punishment is for the present great, as you have heard, 
but they are in expectation of greater: Mat. viii. 29, ' Art thou come 
to torment us before our time?' There is a time coming when the 
wrath of God shall be increased upon them, and this time is the day 
of judgment, the great day of the Lord, when they shall be brought 
forth before the tribunal of Christ and his saints. The good angels 
shall come as Christ's companions, and the evil angels as his pri 
soners. See Mat. xxv. 31 ; 2 Thes. i. 7, and 1 Cor. vi. 3. This is a 
day that will work upon their envy, thwart their pride, to see the glory 

1 Qu. ' clear ' ? ED. 
VOL. V. O 


of Christ, and of the good angels and the saints. After this they shall 
be adjudged to horrible torments. Hell is their freehold and portion, 
' prepared for the devil and his angels,' Mat. xxv. 41. The quality and 
nature of their torment we cannot so easily determine, nor what that fire 
is that shall burn spirits ; only the scripture showeth they are ' cast into 
the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone,' Rev. xxi. 8, where they 
shall suffer torments without end and without ease. When heaven's 
joys are full, then are hell's torments full also ; and therefore, though for 
the present they are under God's wrath, yet they do not taste the dregs 
of it ; he exerciseth some patience towards them. They have an empire 
and a ministry in the world, but when all former things are done away, 
and Christ's glory is fully shown to the world, then will he take full 
vengeance of his enemies. Well, then, from hence learn : 

1. That the wicked's judgment is not as yet full. At the great 
day then shall it be more increased upon the union of soul and body ; 
they shall drink ' the dregs of the cup of wrath unmixed/ In this life 
we are adding sin to sin, and in the next God will be adding torment 
to torment. Oh ! what a sad train of judgments followeth a sinner ! 
For the present he hath hell in his own conscience ; they sip of the cup 
of wrath in the bondage and horrors now upon them, and at death 
these are more revived, and made more lively and active. But con 
sider, after all this there is worse behind, torments insufferable, pre 
sently upon the separation, for then they are in prison, 1 Peter iii. 9, 
detained in a fearful expectation of further judgment : Luke xvi. 24. 
' I am horribly tormented in this flame/ But after this, at Christ's 
coming to judgment, these torments are increased, and therefore the 
apostle speaketh as if he did not take vengeance before : 2 Thes. i. 7, 
' He shall come in flaming fire to render vengeance/ &c ; because then 
it is fully executed. Do not add drunkenness to thirst, lest God add to 
your plagues. 

2. The most miserable creatures are suffered to enjoy some degree 
of God's patience. For the present God is patient. As to the fallen 
angels, sure I am to sinning man, ' in the day that thou eatest thereof 
thou shalt die.' The full execution of that sentence is put off to the 
day of judgment ; reprobates are endured ' with much long- suffering/ 
Rom. ix. 22. Intermissions God gives in this life, respite to bodies 
till the last day. Adore his goodness, do not abuse it. 

3. Origen's charity was too large, who dreamed of KaOdpcnov irvp, 
a flaming river, through which all creatures were to pass, and so to be 
purged, and then at length to be saved, even the devils themselves ; 
whereas they are kept for a severer judgment. 

4. When you see wicked men endured, and not presently cast 
into hell, be not astonished ; God hath a ministry for them as for the 
evil angels. Some are ' reserved to the day of judgment/ 2 Peter ii. 
9 ; that is, their punishment is respited for the greater triumph of that 

5. One judgment may make way for another, the chains of darkness 
for the judgment of the great day. Let no man please himself in that 
he suffereth afflictions in this world ; these may be but the beginnings 
of sorrow. God is terrible to poor sinners as well as rich. You may 
be miserable here, and yet not escape in the world to come. Do not 


think the worst is past. Some have a double hell, such miseries here 
as are pledges of everlasting torments hereafter. 

6. Devils fear the great day. An atheistical loose Christian is worse 
than Satan. He scofieth at that at which the devil trembleth. There 
are atheists in the church, but there are none in hell. 

7. Angels are brought to judgment. None are exempted. At the 
great day you shall see those glorious creatures bound with chains of 
darkness. The kings and captains are brought in trembling before 
the Lamb's throne, Rev. vi. 15, and great as well as small appear be 
fore that great tribunal, Eev. xx. 12. 

8. The angels are plunged into the depths of hell, when saints enter 
into their master's joy. God loveth a returning sinner before an apos 
tate angel. 

06s. 2. There is one point yet behind, with which I shall conclude 
this verse, and that is, that the day of judgment is a great day. It 
is so in many regards. 

First, Because it is the consummate act of Christ's regal office. Of 
all offices, Christ's kingly office is the most eminent. Now the kingly 
office was never discovered with so much lustre and glory to the world 
as then. The eminent act of other offices do more belong to his abase 
ment. As his oblation, an eminent act of his priestly office, was to be 
performed upon earth, so his prophetical office was much discharged 
in delivering the doctrine of the gospel whilst he was here ; but of his 
kingly office we had but a very little glimpse during his abode upon 
earth, in his whipping the buyers and sellers out of the temple, and 
his entrance into Jerusalem, when they cried Hosanna in the streets, 
Mat. xxi. And now in heaven Christ is supreme ; but his sovereignty 
lieth under a cloud and veil : ' All things are put under him/ But 
carnal sense objects, ' We see not as yet all things put under him/ 
Heb. ii. 8. But at the last day Christ will sliow himself to be king 
indeed, both in rewarding his friends, and in an absolute conquest 
over his enemies, which are the two great parts of his regal office. 
Therefore the day of judgment is called rjfjiepa /cvplov, ' the day of the 
Lord/ 2 Peter iii. 10, as being the day wherein Christ shall manifest 
himself to be a Lord indeed : (1.) In rewarding his friends. When 
David was crowned at Hebron, then all that followed him in the wil 
derness were rewarded according to the merit of their place and ser 
vice. Before they had hard service and little wages, but then were 
made captains of thousands, and captains of hundreds, and captains of 
fifties. So they that are true to the interest of Christ may meet with 
many a frown and hard entertainment in the world, but you will not 
repent of it in the day of Christ's royalty : Mat. xxv. 34, ' Then shall 
the king say/ &c. He is called ' the Son of man' before; but then 
you will find a ' king' rewarding all his subjects. Peter was troubled 
about his petty losses'; ' Master/ saith he, ' we have forsaken all and 
followed thee/ What had Peter to forsake ? A net, a cottage, a 
fishing-boat. A great all I We are apt to think much of what we 
part with upon Christ's score. If we suffer but a disgraceful word, a 
small inconvenience, a frown, we presently say, * What shall we have 
therefor?' But we need not seek another paymaster than Christ. 
He will not be behindhand with us when the day of payment cometh. 


See Mat. xix. 27, 28, eV TrdXi^eveaiq, ' In the regeneration ye shall 
sit with me on thrones of glory,' &c.; that is, at the day of judgment, 
which is the great regeneration. When heavens are new, earth new, 
bodies new, souls new, all is new, then we shall be no losers by Christ. 
(2.) In an absolute conquest over his enemies. The stoutest faces 
shall then gather blackness, and the stiifest knees bow to him. There 
is an expression, Isa. xlv. 23, ' I have sworn by myself, and the words 
shall not return, that to me every knee shall bow, and every mouth 
shall swear/ Now this expression cloth concern Christ's sovereignty and 
full victory over his enemies ; for this scripture is twice alluded unto 
in the New Testament, and in both places applied to Christ. The 
first place that I shall take notice of is Phil. ii. 10, where the apostle 
saith, that to Christ ' every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall 
call him Lord,' which is the same with that which is spoken in the 
prophet, and is there made to be the first l of Christ's ascension, when 
he was solemnly inaugurated into the kingly office ; but the prophecy 
receiveth not its full and final accomplishment till the day of judg 
ment. To which purpose the same scripture is cited by the apostle, 
Kom. xiv. 11, ' We shall all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ, 
for it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, to me every knee shall bow, 
and mouth shall confess/ So that the bowing of knees or stooping of 
enemies is not fully accomplished till then. Christ doth now often 
overrule the counsels and projects of his enemies, and smite them with 
a sore destruction ; but there is no such crouching and trembling so 
sensibly now to be discerned as there will be at that day. 

Secondly, The day of judgment is a great day, because great things 
are then done, which will appear if you consider (1.) The preparations 
for that day; (2.) The day itself ; (3.) The consequence of it. 

1. The preparations for Christ's approach : the scripture men- 
tioneth two (1.) The archangel's trumpet ; (2.) The sign of the 
Son of man. 

[1.] There is that great noise and terror of the voice of the Lord, 
which is to be managed by some special angels, by which all the 
world shall be, as it were, summoned to appear before Christ's tri 
bunal. See 1 Thes. iv. 16, and Mat. xxiv. 31. Some expound this 
trumpet analogically, some literally. They that expound it analo 
gically think it signifieth the power and virtue of Christ forcing all 
the world to appear before his judgment-seat, which is therefore 
called a trumpet, because the solemn assemblies among the Jews 
were summoned by sound of trumpet. But why may we not take it 
literally, and in propriety of speech, for the audible sound of a 
trumpet ? Sure I am at the giving of the law * the voice of the 
trumpet was exceeding loud ;' and the like may be when he cometh 
to take an account of our keeping the law, a sound of a trumpet, as a 
terrible summons to all the world, and a near sign of Christ's 
approach ; as John Baptist was the forerunner of his first coming, 
who was ' the voice of one crying in the wilderness ;' so is the arch 
angel at his second coming ; a terrible blast there shall be, such as 
shall be heard all the world over, startling the dead out of their 
graves. Men do not hear the voice of God now, for now he speaketh 

1 Qu ' fruit '? ED. 


by his angels or messengers, in a still voice ; but then all the dead 
shall hear and live. 

[2.] The ' sign of the Son of man,' spoken of Mat. xxiv. 30. What 
it is we certainly cannot tell, till experience manifest it. Some think 
a strange star, as, at his first coming, the wise men were conducted 
to him by a star ; others the sign of the cross, as being Christ's badge 
by which he is known in the world ; for the great subject of the 
gospel is Christ crucified, called therefore ' the word of the cross/ and 
this they think shall appear in the heavens, as it did to Constantino 
when he went to fight against Maxentius, with this word, ev TOVTW 
w/ojo-et? by this shalt thou overcome ; though, by the way, 
Eusebius describeth that vision as in the figure of X, the first critical 
letters of Christ's name. This way go many of the ancients, making 
the cross to be Christ's ensign and royal banner, which he will, display 
in the heavens ; as kings, when they make their triumphant approach, 
have their banners carried before them. But I dare not thus dogma 
tise. Others, more probably, interpret it of some forerunning beams 
of majesty and glory, like those streaks of light before the sun be risen, 
which shall darken the great luminaries of the world, and strike a 
terror into the hearts of men, as Paul was stricken with such a terror 
at the sight of Christ : Acts -xxvi. 13, he saw * light from heaven, 
above the brightness of the sun, shining round about him.' Notable 
it is, that these forerunning beams of Christ's majesty and glory are 
sometimes expressed by light and sometimes by fire ; by light to 
express the comfortableness of it to the godly, as the light of the sun 
doth not scorch but revive and refresh ; by fire, 2 Thes. i. 8, cV irvpu 
</>Xo709, to show the dreadfulness of it to the wicked ; to them it is as 
flames and devouring burnings. 

2. Let us consider the day itself, and the great things done therein. 
It is a day of congregation of all mankind ; there Adam may see all 
his posterity at once ; but especially is it a day of congregation in 
respect of the saints, who are now scattered in divers countries, towns, 
houses, where God hath any work and service for them, but then shall 
meet together in one assembly and rendezvous, called, Ps. i. 6, the 
great * congregation of the just,' as the wicked shall be herded together 
like straws and sticks bound in a bundle to set one another on fire, 
drunkards together, and adulterers together : * They shall be bound in 
bundles,' &c., Mat. xiii. 41, and so increase one another's torment. So 
shall the godly meet in a congregation, and never separate more. Here 
the godly are dispersed as the stars are scattered throughout the firma 
ment ; here they live intermingled with wicked men Jacob's cattle 
and Laban's cattle together ; but then the sheep shall be separated 
from the goats, and be all drawn into a body by themselves. Again, 
it is a day of manifestation ; the Lord's decrees and counsels are mani 
fested. Creation and providence are but subservient means in order to 
the triumphs of this day, that the glory of his grace may be advanced 
in the salvation of the elect, and the glory of his justice in the punish 
ment of the wicked, who, upon this account, are said to be ' made for 
the day of evil,' Prov. xvi. 4, where the Holy Ghost pitcheth upon that 
part of the decree which is hardest to be digested, the making of the 
wicked for the glory of the Lord's justice in that day. The wisdom of 


God in the courses of his providence is then manifested, for the story 
of the world is brought before the saints. We see providence now by 
pieces, but then the whole contexture of it ; the secrets of men are 
then manifested, and upon what principles and ends they have acted, 
1 Cor. iv. 5. The truth of the promises and threaten ings is then mani 
fested ; in the day of God's patience there is a darkness and veil upon 
the scriptures, we cannot see how they are made good ; but in the 
day of God's recompense we shall, what promises, threatenings, 
prophecies mean ; but chiefly is it a day of ' manifestation ' in regard 
of ' the sons of God,' Bom. viii. 19. All is now hidden, Christ is 
hidden, and the saints are hidden ; their life is hidden, Gal. iii. 3 ; their 
glory is hidden, 1 John iii. 2 ; but then ' Christ shall appear, and we 
shall appear with him in glory/ As Moses told the rebels, Num. xvi., 
' To-morrow the Lord will show who are his.' The first-born and only- 
begotten Son of God then is manifested, Christ will appear in all his 
royalty and glory, as the great God and Saviour and judge of the 
world, as the great God ; therefore it is said he will appear ' in the 
glory of the Father/ Mat. xxiv. 13 ; xvi. 27. The mystery of his per 
son will now be discovered to the uttermost, and therefore he will 
appear in such a glory as never creature was capable of, nor can he 
guess at it. We may by the glory discovered at the giving of the 
law, when Moses shook for fear, Heb. xii. 19 ; by the light that shone 
at his incarnation, Luke ii. ; at his transfiguration, Mat. xvii. ; by 
those beams of majesty which broke out from him when the soldiers 
came to take him, John xviii. 6 ; by his appearance to Paul it struck 
him blind for three days, Acts ix ; by Isaiah's terror when he saw 
God in a vision, Isa. vi. And as he will manifest himself to be the 
great God, so the true Saviour of the world. The manner of his 
appearance shall make a full recompense for his abasement. At his 
first coming, John was his forerunner, as we have said, now an arch 
angel ; then he came with a few fishermen, now with a multitude of 
angels ; then riding on the colt of an ass, now upon the clouds ; then as 
the Son of man, now as the Son of God ; then in the form of a servant, 
now in the glory of the Father ; then crowned with thorns, now glory 
and honour ; then to teach righteousness, now to reward righteous 
ness ; then * in the similitude of sinful flesh/ Eom. viii. 3, now, 
the second time, ' without sin/ Heb. ix. 28. At his first coming he was 
not a sinner, but he came in the garb of a sinner, afflicted, miserable 
' we judged him as one forsaken of God ; ' but now he cometh as one 
discharged of that debt and burden, and as one highly honoured by 
God the Father. Once more, he cometh in all things befitting the 
world's judge, accompanied with angels as his attendants, sitting upon 
a visible throne that he may be seen of all, heard of all. In earthly 
judicatories, when great malefactors are to be tried, the whole majesty 
and glory of a nation is brought forth ; the judge in gorgeous apparel, 
accompanied with the flower of the country, nobles and gentry, and a 
great conflux of people. So here, Christ cometh forth as the judge, 
accompanied with angels and saints, powerfully executing the work of 
that day. And the only-begotten Son of God is manifested ; but this is 
a day of manifestation, not only of ' the Son/ but of ' the sons of God/ 
namely, the saints, who are then set forth in their best robes. In win- 


ter the tree appeareth not what it is, the sap and life is hidden in the 
root, but when summer cometh all is discovered : so now it doth not 
appear who are God's, nor what they shall be, but at this day all is 
manifest. ' When Christ shall appear, we shall appear with him in 
glory ; ' they shall attain to that fulness of glory as their hearts could 
never conceive. It is said, 2 Thes. i. 10, ' Christ will be admired in 
them.' The angels shall stand wondering what Christ is about to 
do with creatures but newly crept out of dust and rottenness. Every 
one of them shall shine as the sun ; and what a great and glorious day 
must that be, when there is a constellation of so many suns ! They 
shall share with Christ in the glory of his kingdom, as being associated 
with him in judging the world. ' The upright shall have dominion 
over them in the morning/ Ps. xlix. 14; those that are now scorned, 
persecuted, opposed everywhere, in the morning of the resurrection, 
when they awake to meet Christ, then shall they have dominion over 
the carnal world ; therefore, sentence beginneth with the godly, as 
execution doth with the wicked. The elect are first acquitted before 
the ungodly are condemned, that they may join afterwards with Christ 
in judging the world, 1 Cor. vi. 2. 

Again, it is great in regard of the manner of process, but elf that 
see ver. 15. 

3. The consequences of this day ; they are three : (1.) The sending 
of the persons judged in to their everlasting state ; (2.) The resigning 
up of the kingdom to the Father ; (3.) The burning of the world. 

[1.] The sending of the persons judged into their everlasting estate, 
the elect into glory, and the wicked into torments: Mat. xxv. 34, 
1 Come, ye blessed of my Father/ &c. You have been too long absent 
from me ; come receive the fruit of your faith and hope ; but ver. 41, 
* Go, ye cursed/ &c : they are banished out of Christ's presence 
with such a terrible ban and proscription as shall never be reversed. 
As Hainan's face was covered, and so led away to execution, so are 
they chased out of Christ's presence with horror, yelling and howling 
with the voice of dragons, and begging for mercy, but find none. Now 
from this sentence there is no appeal ; it is pronounced by Christ as 
God-man. On earth many times God's sentence is repealed if the 
nation will repent, &c., Jer. xviii. 8 ; and so though God doth never 
change his decree, he doth often change his sentence ; but the day of 
patience is now past, and therefore this sentence can never be recalled. 
Again, the execution is speedy. Here many times the sentence is 
passed, but 'sentence is not speedily executed' upon an evil-doer, 
Eccles. viii. 11. Once more, this execution beginning with the wicked 
in the sight of the just, irpwrov ty^dvia : ' Gather ye first the tares/ &c., 
Mat. xiii. 30 ; which worketh the more upon the envy and grief of the 
wicked, that they are thrust out whilst the godly remain with Christ 
seeing execution done ; and the godly have the deeper sense of their 
condition, avTuceipeva 7rapr)\\ayfjLeva, &c. Contraries put together 
do more heighten one another ; in the execution of the wicked they 
may see from what they are delivered by grace. Again the sentence 
is executed upon the whole man, and that for ever; body and soul are 
partakers, as in the work, so in the punishment and reward ; and it is 
eternal, for the reward is built on an infinite merit ; and the punish- 


ment is eternal, because an infinite majesty is offended ; and in the 
next world men are in their final estate, without possibility of change ; 
therefore God is never weary blessing the good and cursing the wicked. 

[2.] The next consequent is the resigning and giving up the kingdom 
to the Father, spoken of 1 Cor. xv. from 24 to 28. Kingdom may be 
put for royal authority, or subjects governed, as the people we call 
sometimes the kingdom of England or kingdom of France. Christ is 
ever head of the earth, and in heaven we subsist not only by virtue of 
his everlasting merit, but everlasting influence, for he is ' the life,' 
John xiv. 6. And therefore I take kingdom here in the latter sense 
for the subjects or the church, who are resigned or presented to God, 
Eph. v. 27, as the fruits of Christ's purchase, as a prey snatched out 
of the teeth of lions. The form of presentation you have, Heb. ii. 13, 
' Behold I and all the little ones which thou hast given me/ Oh ! 
what a great and glorious day will this be, when we shall see Christ 
and all his little ones following him, and the great Shepherd of the 
sheep going into his everlasting folds, and all the elect in his company, 
with their crowns on their heads, singing, ' grave ! where is thy 
victory ? death ! where is thy sting ? ' When all enemies shall be 
broken, and the church lodged in those blessed mansions, what ap 
plause and acclamations will there be between them and Christ, be 
tween them and the angels, them and their fellow saints! How 
should we strive to be some of this number ! 

[3.] The next consequence is the burning of the world, which is set 
forth at large in 2 Peter iii., per totum. The passages there are literally 
to be taken, for the fire there spoken of is compared with ' the waters of 
Noah/ which was a judgment really executed ; and by this fire, it is 
probable, the world will not be consumed, but renewed and purged, 
for it is compared to a melting fire, 2 Peter iii. 10. And the apostle 
saith elsewhere, ' The creature shall be delivered from the bondage of 
corruption/ Eom. viii. 21. And in the everlasting estate God will 
have all things now, even the world itself. The use of this renewed 
world is either for a habitation to the just, or that it may remain as a 
standing monument of God's wisdom and power. (1.) This burning 
doth not go before the day of judgment, but follow after it ; for it 
seemeth to be an instrument of vengeance on the wicked, 2 Peter iii. 
7. 1 will riot be so bold, with the schoolmen, as to say that the 
feculent and drossy parts of this fire are reserved for the torment of 
the wicked in hell for ever ; but in the general way we may safely say 
that it is an instrument of God's vengeance on them. Well, now, 
that day which hath such an end and close, must needs be a great day. 
Sodom's fire was dreadful, but nothing to this burning ; that was of 
one particular place, but this of the whole world ; that was a pre 
parative warning, but this the last expression of his wrath against the 
ungodly world. Many give divers witty reasons for this burning ; a 
taste may not be unwelcome. Under the law the vessel that held the 
sin-offering was to be purged with fire ; so the world, where sin hath 
been committed. The object of our adulteries is burnt and defaced, 
that we may know the anger of the Lord's jealousy. The old 
world was destroyed by water, 1 propter ardorem libidinis, because of 

1 Ludolphus in Vita Christi. 


the heat of lust ; and the present world burnt with fire, propter te~ 
porem caritatis, because of the coldness of love in the latter days. 
But of such kind of allusions more than enough. 

You see then by all this, that the day of judgment is a great day. 
Let us now apply it. 

If it be a great day, let us regard it more seriously, for all things 
should be regarded according to their weight. This is the greatest 
day that ever we shall see, and therefore we shall be more affected with 
this day than with anything else. We have slight thoughts of things 
to come, and therefore they do not work with us. Can we expect such 
a day, and not spend a thought upon it ? Christians ! look for it 
more, long for it more, provide for it more. 

1. Look for it, Phil. iii. 21 ; Titus ii. 13. Every time you look up 
to the clouds, remember you have a Saviour that in time will come 
from thence, and call the world to an account. Faith should always 
stand ready to meet him, as if he were upon his way ; as Rebecca spied 
Isaac afar off, so doth faith, which is ' the evidence of things not seen/ 
Look within the curtain of the heavens, and spy out Christ as pre 
paring for his coming. If he tarrieth longer than we expect, he is 
' not slack,' 2 Peter iii. 9 ; but we are hasty. He wants no affection to 
us ; his ' delights were with the sons of men' before they were created, 
Prov. viii. 31 ; and certainly, now he is so deeply interested in us, as 
having bought us with his blood, he desireth to enjoy what he hath 
purchased. It is not want of love keepeth him away, nor want of truth ; 
God is punctual in his promises, even to a day : Exod. xii. 41, ' Even the 
self same day/ &c. If all things were ready he would come presently ; 
therefore wait and look still : they were not deceived that expected his 
first coming in the flesh. It was said, * a virgin shall conceive/ Was 
it not done ? That God would ' bring his son out of Egypt.' Was 
it not done ? That he should ride to Jerusalem ' upon the foal of an 
ass ;' and was it not done ? Surely the God that hath been faithful 
all along hitherto will not fail at last. 

2. Long for it. The faithful ' love his appearing/ 2 Tim. iv. 8. 
This is the great day which they long to see, that they may meet with 
their beloved, and see him in all his glory and royalty. They have 
heard much of Christ, and tasted much of Christ, and they love him 
much, but yet they have not seen him ; they know him by hearsay, and 
by spiritual experience, but never saw his person : ' Whom having not 
seen you love/ &c. They have seen his picture ; * crucified before their 
eyes,' Gal. iii. 1 ; ' Beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord/ 2 
Cor. iii. 18 ; therefore they cannot be satisfied till this day corneth 
about. Oh ! when shall it once be ? * The Spirit in the bride saith, 
Come,' Eev. xxii. 17. Nature saith not Come, but Tarry still. If it 
might go by voices whether Christ should come, yea or no, carnal men 
would never give their voice this way. The language of corrupt nature 
is, ' Depart/ Job xxi. 14. Carnal men are of the devil's mind : * Art 
thou come to torment us before our time ? ' Mat. viii. ; they cannot en 
dure to hear of it ; but * Come, come !' saith grace. This day we 
have cause to long for, not only upon Christ's account, but our own : 
it is the day of our perfection as well as Christ's royalty. Now every 
thing tendeth to its perfect state, so doth a Christian ; then there is 


perfect holiness and perfect freedom. We never find Christ a Saviour 
to the uttermost till then ; to the glorified spirits he is but a Saviour in 
part, some fruit of sin is continued upon the body ; but then body and 
soul are united and perfectly glorified to enjoy God in heaven. Christ 
then cometh to make an end of what he had begun. He first came to 
redeem our souls, and then our bodies from corruption ; the body is a 
captive in the grave when the soul is set at liberty ; it is held under the 
power of death till that day. The butler was not afraid to go before 
Pharaoh, because Joseph told him he should be set at liberty. ' Lift up 
your heads,' it is a day of redemption, Luke xxi. 28. Christ cometh 
to loosen the bands and shackles of death ; to think and speak of that day 
with horror doth ill become him that looketh for such great privileges. 
3. Provide for that day. It is called * the great and notable day 
of the Lord/ Acts ii. 20. It should be the whole employment of our 
lives to prepare for it ; but how shall we provide for that day ? I 
answer By making peace with God in and by Jesus Christ. When 
Jacob heard that Esau was coming with a great power and force, he 
sendeth to make peace with him. We hear of a great day coming, 
when ' the Lord shall descend from heaven with a shout, and all his 
holy angels with him/ (1.) Let us compromise all differences be 
tween us and him. We are advised so to do : Luke xiv. 32, ' While 
he is yet a great way off, he sendeth an embassage, and desireth con 
ditions of peace.' We need not send to the Lord ; God maketh the 
offer to us : let us lay down the weapons of our defiance, and accept 
of the terms proposed. (2.) If you would provide for this day, clear 
up your union with Jesus Christ ; he is the judge, and * there is no 
condemnation to them that are in Christ,' Bom. viii. 1. Will the 
head condemn his own members ? If we ' abide in him/ we shall be 
able to look him in the face ; ' we shall have boldness in that day/ 1 
John ii. 28. Then, though it be a great day, it will not be a terrible 
day to us. (3.) Frequent communion with him at the throne of 
grace. When familiar friends meet together after a long absence, 
what a sweet interview is there ! what mutual embraces and endear 
ments pass between them ! So acquaint yourselves with Christ afore- 
hand, Job xxii. Common acquaintance with him in external worship 
will not serve the turn : Luke xiii. 26, ' We have eaten and drunk in 
thy presence, and heard thee in our streets ; ' and yet Christ saith, ' I 
know you not.' There must be a holy intimacy and sweet experience 
of him ; you must know him in the Spirit. (4.) By holy conver 
sation, both as to the matter and end of it ; for the great end of this 
day is that grace may be glorious. Other things are honoured in the 
world, as power, and strength, and cunning, and civil endowments, 
but then eminence in grace cometh to be crowned : 2 Peter iii. 11, 
* We that look for such things, what manner of persons ought we to 
be in all holiness and godliness of conversation ? ' There are two 
words there used, holiness and godliness : the one relateth to the 
matter of our actions, that we should do things good, and just, and 
pure ; the other, to our end and aim. We must do all this as in 
and to the Lord, making him the supreme end of all that we do. (5.) 
We may press you to heavenliness in your choice. Where lieth your 
treasure ? If the enjoyment of the world be your chief est good, that 


will be of no use to you in that day ; in a disdain to our choice, all 
worldly things are burnt before our eyes ; but if your happiness lieth 
in heaven, thither you are going to take full possession of it. At the 
last day wicked men cannot murmur ; God's judgments are but their 
own choice. If the goats be placed on the left hand and the sheep 
on the right, it is but according to their preposterous affections here 
in the world : Prov. iii. 16, ' Length of days are in her right hand, 
and in her left hand riches and honour.' Eternity is the right- 
hand blessing. Now, if you despise a blessed eternity in compa 
rison of those left-hand blessings, riches and honour, no wonder that 
your own measure is recompensed into your bosoms. (6.) Love the 
brethren. This is the great day when all the saints meet together, 
and how can we expect to meet them with comfort if we should 
not love them ? 1 John iv. 16, 17, * That we shall have boldness,' 
&c. It will be a joyful meeting when those whom we have loved, 
prayed for, fasted with, and (if necessity did require) relieved, shall 
then be found in such esteem and honour. (7.) Mercifulness to the 
poor ; see Mat. xxv. 35, 36, with 42 and 43. Christ hath told us afore- 
hand what questions he will ask when he cometh Have you fed ? 
Have you visited ? Have you clothed ? &c. It is good that we should 
be prepared with an answer. (8.) Faithfulness in God's ordinances, 
and the matters of his house. Our Lord is gone, but he will come again 
to take an account how matters have been managed during his absence. 
The usual period which is fixed to ordinances is the Lord's coming to 
judgment : 1 Cor. xi. 26, * Ye do show forth the Lord's death till he 
come ; ' and 1 Tim. vi. 14, * Kept his commandment without spot until 
the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ.' He hath left his ordinances 
in his church as a pledge of his coming, and to keep the great pro 
mise still afoot ; therefore above all things they should be kept pure 
and uncorrupt. 

Ver. 7. Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them, in 
like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after 
strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of 
eternal fire. 

In this verse is the third example, fitly suited to the former : the 
angels had the blessings of heaven, the Israelites of the church, and 
Sodom of the world. But the angels upon their apostasy lost heaven ; 
the murmuring Israelites were shut out of Canaan ; and the Sodomites 
were, together with their fruitful soil and pleasant land, destroyed. 
You see heaven -mercies, and church-mercies, and world-mercies, are 
all forfeited by the creatures' ingratitude. This last instance is pro 
pounded as the first part of a similitude, the reddition of which is in 
the next verse. In the words observe : 

1. The places or people judged. Sodom and Gomorrah, and 
the cities round about them, in like manner. Those two cities are 
only mentioned here, as also Gen. xix. 24, because the principal ; 
in Hosea xi. 8, two others are only mentioned, Admah and Ze- 
boim ; but Deut. xxix. 23, all four are mentioned, ' The whole 
land is brimstone, salt, and burning, like the overthrow of Sodom and 
Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboim, which the Lord overthrew in his 
anger and in his wrath.' Now the cities are mentioned rather than 


the persons, to note the utter destruction of the places, together with 
the inhabitants ; for that clause, the cities about them in like manner, 
in the original, TOV O/JLOLOV TOVTOLS rpoirov, the word for them is in the 
masculine gender, whereas cities, the next antecedent, is in the femi 
nine ; therefore some refer it to the remote antecedent : the angels 
and Israelites, as they were punished, so Sodom and those cities in 
like manner. So Junius ; but I suppose, because cities doth not only 
imply the places, but the inhabitants, therefore the masculine gender 
was used by the apostle. 

2. Their sin is specified, giving themselves over to fornication, and 
going after strange flesh. Here are two great sins charged upon them. 
(1.) The first is, giving themselves over to fornication, e/cTropvevcrao-ai, 
the word is unusual, and therefore diversely rendered. One trans 
lation, defile themselves with fornication, the Vulgar, exfornicatce, as 
noting the strangeness and abominableness of their lust ; but that is 
implied in the next expression. Our translation fitly rendereth it by 
such a phrase as signifieth their excess and vehement addictedness to 
unclean practices. (2.) The next sin is, going after strange flesh. It 
is a modest and covert expression, implying their monstrous and 
unlawful lusts, contrary to the course and institution of nature, a 
filthiness scarce to be named, from them called Sodomies. The 
apostle Paul expresseth it thus : Horn. i. 27, ' Leaving the natural 
use of the woman, they burned in their lust one toward another, men 
with men working that which is unseemly.' It is called here strange 
flesh, crapicos erepas, * other flesh/ as being other than what nature 
hath appointed, or because it is impossible that man and man in that 
execrable act should make ' one flesh,' as man and woman do. (3.) 
Their judgment is set down, suffering the vengeance of eternal flre. 
Sodom, we know, and the cities round about it, were consumed by fire 
and brimstone rained down from heaven, which, though a dreadful, 
was but a temporal fire : in what sense doth the apostle call it here 
* eternal fire ' ? Some, to mollify the seeming austerity of the phrase, 
read thus, were made an example of eternal fire, suffering vengeance, 
that is, in that judgment which was executed upon them, God would 
give the world a type and figure of hell. Others by eternal fire under 
stand the duration of the effects of the first temporal punishment, the 
soil thereabout wearing the marks of God's curse to this day. Others, 
not much differing from the former, by eternal fire understand an 
utter destruction, and labour to evince it from the use of the phrase 
in a like sense, and the parallel place in Peter : 2 Peter ii. 6, ' He 
turned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, and condemned 
them with an overthrow,' that is, utterly destroyed them. But why 
we need to be so tender I know not, the Sodomites being generally repre 
sented as men under everlasting judgment, Mat. xi. 24, and the tem 
poral judgment making way for eternal, though as to the state of 
particular persons we judge not. See Rivet in Gen., Exercit. 97, p. 474. 

3. Here is the end and aim of the judgment, are set forth for an 
example, that is, to be a notable document and instruction to the world 
to keep them under the law of God ; and therefore everywhere in the 
prophetic threatenings of the word is this instance alluded unto. 

The words are explained, but how shall we accommodate them to 


the apostle's purpose ? I answer Very well ; there is a fit corre 
spondency between the case in hand and this example ; the Sodomites 
went after strange flesh, and these apostates after strange opinions. 
These errors and opinions of theirs tended to sensuality, and so still 
there is a greater suitableness. The school of Simon, the Nicolaitans, 
the Gnostics, did defile themselves with monstrous and abominable 
lust, as the Sodomites did ; and therefore he threateneth them with a 
destruction like to that of Sodom, yea, with eternal fire, figured thereby ; 
especially they having been formerly enlightened with some knowledge 
of the truth, which the Sodomites were not. Let me now come to the 

Obs. 1. Cities and countries suffer for the evil of the inhabitants, as 
Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities round about them were consumed 
with fire and brimstone, and turned into a dead lake. Original sin 
brought on an original curse ; Adam's fall a curse upon the whole 
earth : Gen. iii. 17, ' Cursed is the ground for thy sake, thorns and 
thistles shall it bring forth to thee ;' and actual sins do bring on an 
actual curse : Ps. cvii. 34, ' He turneth a pleasant land into saltness, 
for the wickedness of them that dwell therein.' A traitor forfeits not 
only his life but his goods ; so do we not only forfeit our persons, but 
all our comforts into God's hands ; and it is but fit that the earth 
should be to us, after all our labours, what we are to God after all his 
husbandry bestowed upon us ; we are barren of good fruits as to God, 
and so justly may the land be to us. I remember the apostle saith, 
* The creature was made subject to vanity,' ov% efcovaa, 'not willingly/ 
Rom. viii. 20 ; the creature hath only a natural tendency and inclina 
tion, and that carries it to its own good ; we had free-will and choice, 
but abused it, and so brought ourselves and the creature under the 
bondage and thraldom of corruption ; so that the earth, which was in 
tended to be a monument of God's glory, is now in great part a monu 
ment of God's displeasure and our rebellion. It is observable, on the 
contrary side, that the glorious times of the gospel are expressed by 
the restoration of the creatures, Isa. xxx. 23-26, and Isa. xi. 6-8. For 
as the condition of the servant doth depend on the master, so doth the 
state of the creature upon our conformity or disobedience to God. 
Well, then, avoid sin, if not in pity to your poor souls, in pity to the 
poor creatures, to your poor country ; as David said, 'What have these 
poor sheep done?' So what have the creatures done that you kindle 
a burning under their glory? See Jer. ii. 15-19, ' The land is laid 
waste, and cities burnt without an inhabitant/ What is the cause of 
all this ? Even our sins against the Lord, that a man shall be the 
ruin of his country and native soil ; this should go near to us ; shall 
we turn this pleasant land into saltness, and lay these dwellings waste, 
these streets into ashes ? Carnal men are usually moved by carnal 
arguments, and tremble more to hear of the loss of their estates than 
of their souls ; we are startled to hear of scarcity, and famine, and 
fires, and pestilences ; all these are the fruits of sin. 

Obs. 2. Those cities were utterly destroyed, and accordingly is the 
destruction of Sodom put for an utter overthrow. See Isa. xiii. 19, 
Zeph. ii. 9, Jer. xlviii. 18, Jer. 1. 40, 2 Peter ii. 6. Observe thence, 
that in judgments wicked men may be brought to an utter destruction. 


The synagogue of Satan may be utterly destroyed, but not the city of 
God ; in the saddest miseries there is hope of God's children, that their 
dead stock will bud and scent again: Zech. ix. 12, ' Prisoners of hope ;' 
the cutting off of ' root and branch' is the judgment of the wicked, Mai. 
iv. 1. Their memorial may be blotted out, but Sion's cannot. It is 
the design of the enemies to extinguish the memory of the church ; 
and many times, to appearance, there is none left, yet out of their 
ruins and ashes there springeth up a new brood and holy seed to God : 
they are ' sorely afflicted,' Ps. cxxix. 1, 2 ; yet Christ stands his ground; 
they are not wholly prevailed over ; the church may visibly fail, but 
not totally. Well, then, in the midst of sad miseries, bless God for a 
remnant ; it may be bad, but it is not as Sodom, Isa. i. 9. In times of 
general defection there will be ' two or three berries in the top of the 
uppermost bough,' Isa. xvii. 6. Some that may continue the name of 
God, and survive the church's troubles, that may yet praise him. 
Again, do not haunt with the wicked, and suffer your souls to enter 
into their secret ; evil societies may be absolutely destroyed, root and 
branch. Sodom was ' condemned with an overthrow.' It is seasonable 
advice, ' Come out of her, my people, lest you partake of her plagues,' 
Eev. xviii. 4. Babylon, that was a nest for unclean sinners, will be 
made * a cage for unclean birds.' 

Obs. 3. From that, and the cities about them in like manner, observe, 
likeness in sin will involve us in the same punishment ; they perished, 
and ' the other cities in like manner :' none had safety but Lot, who 
consented not, but grieved for these impurities, 2 Peter ii. 8. God's 
wrath maketh no distinction. Quos una impietas profanavit, una 
sententia dejicit, saith Ambrose ; they were found in the same sin, and 
therefore surprised by the same judgment : ; The destruction of the 
transgressors and sinners shall be together/ Isa. i. 28 ; that is, the 
one as well as the other, by what names or titles soever distinguished. 
Why ? I answer Fellowship in evil can neither excuse sin nor keep 
off wrath. It cannot excuse sin ; nothing more usual than for men to 
say, they do as others do ; if you do as others do, you shall suffer as 
others do : example doth not lessen sin, but increase it, partly because 
their own act is an approbation of the act of others ; imitation is a 
post constat, and so, besides your own guilt, you are guilty of their 
sins that sinned before ; partly because it is hard to sin against ex 
ample, but we sin against conscience, we allowing that in ourselves 
which we formerly condemned in another ; partly because it is a sin 
against warning ; to stumble at the stone at which we see others stum 
ble is an error and without excuse. Say not, then, it is the fashion 
and guise, how can we do otherwise ? 1 Be not conformed to the 
fashions of this world ; you should be like Lot, chaste in Sodom, or 
like those Christians that were godly in Nero's court. Again, it doth 
not keep off wrath ; multitudes and single persons are all one to aveng 
ing justice ; the devouring burning of God's wrath can break through 
briars and thorns. It is said, Prov. xi. 21, ' Though hand join in 
hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished.' Confederations and soci 
eties in evil are as nothing to the power of God, though sometimes the 
sons of Zeruiah, powerful oppressors, with their combined interests, 

1 ' Non ego sum ambitiosus, sed nemo aliter Komse vivere potest,' &c. 


may be too hard for men. Well, then, learn to live by rule and not by 
example, and propose the sins of others to your grief, not imitation : 
4 Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but reprove 
them rather,' Eph. v. ; their practice will never afford you excuse nor 
exemption. Your duty is to be good in a wicked age, fresh, like fish 
in the salt water. ' Follow not a multitude to do evil/ wickedness is 
never the less odious because it is more common ; it is not safe always 
to keep the road ; the bad way is known by the breadth of it, and the 
much company in it, Mat. vii. 13. To walk with God is praiseworthy, 
though none do it besides thyself ; and to walk with men in the way 
of sin is dangerous, though millions do it besides thee. 

Obs. 4. Again, from that, and the cities about them in like manner. 
The lesser cities imitated the greater ; Admah and Zeboim followed 
the example of Sodom and Gomorrah. An error in the first concoc 
tion is seldom mended in the second ; if sin pass the heads and chiefs 
of the people, it is taken up by others under their command. When 
the first sheet is done off, others are printed by the same stamps. 
Magistrates are public fountains of good or evil to the people over 
whom they are set. If they be cold and careless in the worship of 
God, given to contempt of the ministry, enemies to reformation, it will 
be generally taken up as a fashion by others. When ' the head is sick, 
the whole heart is faint,' Isa. i. 5. Diodorus Siculus telleth us of a 
people in Ethiopia, that if their kings halted, they would maim them 
selves that they might halt likewise ; if they wanted an eye, in a fool 
ish imitation they would make themselves blind, that they might com 
ply even with the defects and diseases of their princes. The vices of 
them in place and power are authorised by their example and pass for 
virtues ; if they be slight in the use of ordinances, it will be taken up 
as a piece of religion by inferiors to be so too. 

Obs. 5. From the first crime here specified, giving themselves over 
to fornication, that adulterous uncleanness doth much displease God. 
When they were given over to fornication they were given over to 
judgment. (1.) This is a sin that doth not only defile the 
soul but the body : 1 Cor. vi. 18, * Every sin that a man doth 
is without the body, but he that committeth fornication sinneth 
against his own body/ Most other sins imply an injury done to 
others, to God or our neighbour. This more directly an injury to 
ourselves, to our own bodies. It is a wrong to the body, considered 
either as our ' vessel/ 1 Thes. iv. 4, or as ' the temple of the Holy 
Ghost/ 1 Cor. vi. 19. If you consider it as our vessel or instrument 
for natural uses, you wrong it by uncleanness namely, as it destroyeth 
the health of the body, quencheth the vigour of it, and blasteth the 
beauty, and so it is self-murder. If you consider it as the temple of the 
Holy Ghost, it is a dishonour to the body to make it a channel for lust 
to pass through. Shall we make a sty of a temple ? abuse that to 
so vile a purpose which the Holy Ghost hath chosen to dwell in, to 
plant it into Christ as a part of his mystical body, to use it as an instru 
ment in God's service, and finally to raise it out of the grave, and con 
form it to Christ's glorious body ? The dignity of the body well con 
sidered is a great preservative against lust. (2.) It brawneth the soul ; 
the softness of all sensual pleasures hardeneth the heart, but this sin, 


being the consummate act of sensuality, much more: Hosea iv. 11, 
* Whoredom and wine take away the heart.' These two are mentioned 
because usually they go together, and both take away the heart, besot 
the conscience, take away the tenderness of the affections. So that men 
are not ashamed of sin, insensible of danger, and unfit for duty, and so grow 
sapless, careless, senseless. (3.) Next to the body and soul there is the 
name, now it blotteth the name: Prov. vi. 33, 'A wound and a dishonour 
shall he get, and a reproach that shall not be wiped off.' Sensual 
wickedness is most disgraceful, as having turpitude in it, and being 
sooner discerned than spiritual. (4.) It blasteth the estate : Heb. xiii. 
4, 'Whoremongers and adulterers God will judge;' he will judge 
others, but surely these, and that remarkably in this life. (5.) This 
doth exceedingly pervert the order of human societies ; Solomon 
maketh it worse than theft, Prov. vi. 29-32. A thief stealeth out of 
necessity, but here is no cogent necessity ; the loss here is not reparable, 
as that which is made by theft. It bringeth in great confusion, in 
families, &c., therefore adultery under the law was punished by death, 
which theft was not. (6.) It is a sin usually accompanied with im- 
penitency namely, as it weareth out remorse, and every spark of good 
conscience. Bead those cutting places : Prov. xxii. 14, ' The mouth of a 
strange woman is a deep pit, and he that is abhorred of the Lord shall 
fall therein ; ' so Prov. ii. 19, ' None that go unto her return again ; nor 
do they take hold of the ways of life/ So see Eccles. vii. 26-28. It 
is a sin into which God useth to give over reprobates. Solomon saith 
he knew but one returning. Well, then, be not drunk with the wine 
of Sodom, and do not squeeze out the clusters of Gomorrah. Whore 
dom is a deep ditch or gulf, wherein those that are abhorred of the 
Lord are suffered to fall. Beware of all tendings that way ; do not 
soak and steep the soul in pleasures ; take heed of effeminacy, paXa/cot, : 
1 The soft or effeminate shall not enter into the kingdom of God,' 1 Cor. 
vi. 9. Beware of lustful glances, Mat. v. 28, of rolling the fancy 
upon undone l objects ; heart defilement maketh way for corporal ; 
lust beginneth in wanton eyes many times, and it is fed by a delicacy 
and unworthy softness. Guard the senses, cut off' the provisions of 
the flesh, avoid occasions, be employed. Again, if you have stumbled 
into this deep ditch, repent the more speedily, the more seriously ; the 
case is sad, but not altogether desperate. We read of a possibility for 
publicans and harlots entering into the kingdom of God. Bewail your 
estate as David doth, Ps. li. His adultery left a stain upon him : 
' Except in the matter of Uriah/ &c. Job saith, ' It is a fire that con- 
sumeth to destruction, and will root out all your increase/ Job xxxi. 
12 ; therefore quench it the sooner, &c. 

Obs. 6. Again, from the other sin, and going after strange flesh, 
observe, sin is never at a stay ; first, uncleanness, and then given over 
to uncleanness, and then strange flesh. When a stone runneth down 
hill it stayeth not till it cometh to the bottom ; a filthy sinner is grow 
ing more filthy still, until he hath outgrown the heart of a man, as the 
Sodomites did, ' men with men working that which is unseemly/ a sin 
which none but a devil in the likeness of a man would commit, a sin 
that hath filthiness enough in it to defile the tongue that speaketh of 

1 Qu. ' unclean ' ? ED. 


it. Well, then, here is a glass wherein to see the wickedness of our na 
tures. Who would think reason should invent so horrid an act ? Rom. 
i. 27. They had no more original corruption than thou and I have. 
If God remove the bridle, whither shall we run ? Let wicked men con 
sider hence how foolishly they promise themselves immunity from 
drunkenness, adultery, or any gross wickedness. Caution any of them 
against those things. No, I warrant you, say they ; do you think I am 
such a wretch ? ' Is thy servant a dog ? ' 2 Kings viii. 13. 

Obs. 7. From that, the vengeance of eternal fire. The wicked 
Sodomites were not only burnt up by that temporal judgment, but 
cast into hell, which is here called ' eternal fire.' Hell is set forth by 
two notions : * A worm that never dieth, and a fire that never goeth 
out/ Mark ix. 44. In both which expressions there is an allusion to 
the worms that breed in dead bodies, and the fire wherewith they were 
wont to burn their dead in former times ; and the one implieth the 
worm of conscience, the other the fire of God's wrath. 

1. The worm is bred in the body itself, and therefore fitly repre- 
senteth the gnawings of conscience. The worm of conscience con- 
sisteth in three things, There is memoria prceteritorum, sensus prce- 
sentium, et metus futurorum. First, Conscience wdrketh on what is 
past, the remembrance of their former enjoyments and past pleasures : 
Luke xvi. 25, ' Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime,' &c. So of 
time wasted, opportunities of grace slighted, the folly of their own 
choice, &c., all which are sad reflections to them. Secondly, There is 
a sense of the present pain. Here when they were corrected they were 
senseless, like stocks and stones; but then, there being nothing to 
mitigate their grief or beguile the sense of it, no carnal pleasures 
wherein to steep conscience, there must needs be sense and feeling, 
joined with a bitter discontent at their condition. Thirdly, For the 
future their condition is hopeless ; despair is one ingredient into their 
torment : Heb. x. 27, i There remaineth nothing but a fearful looking 
for the fiery indignation of the Lord.' Thus for the worm: 

2. The next notion is that of the text, fire, or the wrath of God 
transacted upon them. In the sufferings of the damned God hath an 
immediate hand, Heb. x. 31 ; no creature is strong enough to convey 
all his wrath. In bearing this wrath, the capacity of the creature is 
enlarged to the uttermost ; and in their punishment God sets himself a- 
work to ' show the glory of his strength/ Rom. ix. 22. He upholdeth 
the creature with one hand, and punisheth it with the other ; if his 
anger be but * kindled a little/ and a spark of it fly into the con 
science, the poor creature is at his wits' end : but how dreadful will 
their portion be against whom he ' stirreth Up all his wrath?' Ps. 
Ixxviii. 38. The human nature of the Lord Christ in a just abhor- 
rency recoiled when he was to taste of this cup. We, that cannot 
endure the gripes of the cholic, the torment of the stone, the pain of 
the rack, ' how shall we dwell with devouring burnings ?' and all this 
is for ever. As our obligations to God are infinite, and as we turn 
back upon eternal happiness offered in the gospel, and as the majesty 
offended by sin is infinite, so that we cannot restore the honour to 
God which we have taken away, therefore by just reason is our 
punishment eternal. In the other world men are in their final estate ; 

VOL. v. p 


the fuel continueth for ever, the creature is not abolished, and the fire 
continueth for ever, the breath of the living Lord still keepeth the 
flame burning. We think a prayer long, a sermon long ; what will 
hell be ? In the night, if we cannot sleep, we count the hours, and 
every minute seems tedious. Oh ! what will they do that are ' tor 
mented night and day for ever and ever' ? Rev. xx. 10. Now this is 
the portion of all that forget God. Oh ! who would run this hazard 
for a little temporal satisfaction ? The scourges of conscience that we 
meet with here are too great price for the short pleasures of a brutish 
lust, much more 'the worm that never dieth, the fire that shall 
never be quenched.' 

Obs. 8. There is one note more, and that is from that clause, are set 
forth for an example. Observe thence, that Sodom's destruction is 
the world's great example. Both Peter and Jude show that this was 
the end of God's judgments upon Sodom, that they might be ' an 
example to all that live ungodly.' 

You will say, What have we to do with Sodom ? their sins being so 
unnatural, their judgments so unusual. (1.) As to their sins, I inquire, 
Are there none of Sodom's sins amongst us ? If not ' going after 
strange flesh,' yet 'fornication;' if not fornication, yet 'pride and 
idleness, and fulness of bread?' I say again, though our sins be not 
so great in themselves, yet by necessary circumstance and aggravation, 
they may be greater ; as impenitency, unbelief, abuse and neglect of 
the gospel, despising the offers of grace. The grossest sins against 
the law are not so great as sins against the gospel : Mat. xi. 24, ' It 
sliall be more tolerable for Sodom,' &c. We sin against more light, 
more love, &c. (2.) As to the judgments, though God doth not now- 
a-days smite a country w r ith judgments immediately from heaven, or 
make it utterly unuseful, as he did Sodom, yet his displeasure is no 
less against sin ; and if not the same, a like judgment, one very 
grievous, may come upon us. 

This being premised, let us come to open this example, in which 
these three things are considerable : (1.) The state of Sodom; (2.) 
The sins of Sodom ; (3.) The judgment. The first will show you 
God's mercy ; the second, their guilt ; the third, God's justice. Usually 
these three follow one another ; great mercies make way for great sins, 
and great sins for great judgments. 

1. I begin with the state of Sodom. There (1.) The quality of the 
place. There were sundry goodly cities, of which Sodom was the prin 
cipal, fairly situated in the plain of Jordan, full of people, and well 
supplied with corn, wine, oil, and all earthly contentments. It is said, 
Gen. xiii. 10, ' Sodom was pleasant, and as the garden of the Lord.' 
And yet afterwards this was the place which was the scene of so much 
wrath and utter desolation. What may the world learn from hence ? 
That we must give an account for common mercies. God reckoned 
with the servant that had but one talent, Mat. xxv. The world is a 
place of trial, all men have a trust committed to them. The talents 
of the heathens were 'fruitful seasons, food and gladness,' Acts 
xiv. 17. God, that never left himself d/jidprvpov, ' without a wit 
ness,' hath left us dva7ro\oyijrovs, * without excuse:' a plentiful 
soil doth not argue a good people, but a good God. Sodom was 


pleasantly and richly situated. If we bad nothing else to answer for 
but an island of blessings, how poorly have we discharged this trust ? 
(2.) Take notice of their late deliverance. Four kings made war 
upon them, by whom they were carried captive, arid rescued by 
Abraham, Gen. xiv. 15, 16. Deliverances from war and. captivity 
leave a great engagement. When God hath once spared us, if we 
repent not, the next turn is utter destruction. Deliverances, if not 
improved, are but reprievals ; we are not so much preserved, as 
reserved to a greater misery ; hoisted up that our fall may be the 
more dreadful, snatched out of one misery that we may be cast into 
a worse. Oh ! what have we to answer for our late deliverances ! 
Sodom was but once saved in war, we many times. It is to be 
feared that passage recordeth our doom, Ps. cvi. 43, ' Many times did 
he deliver them, but they provoked him by their counsel, and were 
brought low for their iniquity.' Deliverances not improved are 
pledges of certain ruin. (3.) God's patience in bearing with them. 
Sodom for a long time slept quietly in its sins unmolested, undis 
turbed. ' The sins of Sodom cry to me.' 1 The Lord proffered Abraham, 
if there were but ten righteous persons found there, he would spare 
the cities. In four cities not ten righteous persons ! God is silent as 
long as their sins would let him be quiet ; but then, when he could no 
longer bear, he goeth down to take vengeance. How long doth the 
Lord protract the ruin of these wicked cities ? ' Justice is his strange 
work/ but it is his work ; mercy does much with God, but not all ; 
justice must be heard, especially when it pleadeth on behalf of abused 
mercy. God, that would spare the sinner, yet hateth the sin. When a 
people do nothing but weary justice and abuse mercy, ' the Lord will 
rain from the Lord,' &c., 2 Gen. xix. 24. Christ will interpose for such 
a people's destruction ; heaven will rain down hell upon a people so 
obstinately wicked. The Lord is gracious, but not senseless. As he 
will not always contend, so not always forbear. (4.) Lot's admoni 
tion ; it seemeth he frequently reproved them, and therefore do they 
scorn him : Gen. xix. 9, ' This one fellow came to sojourn amongst us, 
and he will needs be a judge.' His soul was not only vexed with 
those lewd courses, but, as occasion was offered, he sought to dissuade 
them. Thence learn that God seldom punisheth without warning : 
the old world had Noah's ministry, and Sodom Lot's admonitions. 
The Lord may say to every punished people, as Reuben to his 
brethren, ' Did not I warn you, and you would not hear ? ' Gen. 
xlii. 22. Seldom doth he hew a people with the sword but first he 
heweth them by prophets : means of conviction aggravate both the 
sin and the judgment. Ah ! we have a clearer light, and therefore 
must expect a heavier doom, Mat. x. 15. Sins are aggravated not 
only by the foulness of the act. but the degrees of light against which 
they are committed. Sodom sinned sorely as to the act, but they could 
not sin against so much light as we do ; therefore it shall be easier 
for them at the day of judgment. (5.) They had the benefit of magis 
tracy ; those were cities that were brought into government. We read 
of ' the king of Sodom,' Gen. xiv. 2 ; but it seems he did not interpose 

1 ' Misericordia mea suadet ut parcam,peceatorum clamor cogit ut puniarn.' Salvianus. 

2 'Domiuus Christusa Domino Patre.' Council. Syrm. 


bis authority, but rather connive at and tolerate the wickedness of 
this people, yea, rather approve and partake with them in their abomi 
nations. Consider, when the vices of inferiors are dissembled and 
winked at by governors, the Lord himself taketh the matter in 
hand ; and then look for nothing but speedy ruin. The guilt of a 
nation is much increased when sin is tolerated, yea, favoured and 
countenanced ; especially when righteousness is rather restrained and 
curbed than sin, as the affronts done to Lot witnessed ; the end why 
magistracy was ordained is then perverted, 1 Tim. ii. 2, Rom. xiii. 5, 
namely, for ' the punishment of evil-doers,' and that goodness be en 
couraged : they were punished for allowing the filthiness of strange flesh. 
What will become of us if magistrates should be careless and wink at, 
yea, countenance, strange opinions, as horrid and as much against the 
light of Christianity as that was against the light of nature. 

2. Let us look upon the sins of Sodom. See Ezek. xvi. 49, ' Lo ! 
this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and 
abundance of idleness ; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor 
and needy ;' to which add the sins of the text, and then this black roll 
is complete. I shall consider (1 ) The sins ; (2.) The aggravations. 

[1.] The sins. (1.) Pride. It is hard to enjoy plenty and not to grow 
haughty. Prosperous winds soon fill the sails, but, blowing too strongly, 
overturn the vessel ; how few are able to carry a full cup without spilling? 
to manage plenty without pride? Men grow rich and then high- 
minded, and that is the next way to ruin. (2.) Idleness ; an easy, 
careless life maketh way for danger. God sent all into the world for 
action ; standing pools putrify, and things not used contract rust ; so 
do idle persons settle into vile and degenerate lusts. (3.) Fulness of 
bread ; that is, corporal delights : Luke xvii. 28, ' They ate, they drank, 
they bought, they sold, they build ed ; ' their whole lives were but a 
diversion from one pleasure to another. How soon are earthly com 
forts abused into luxury and excess ! Fulness of estate maketh way 
for fulness of bread, and many beastly sins. (4.) Unmercifulness. 
You never knew any prodigal but they were' also uncharitable, as 
Sodom here, and the epicure, Luke xvi. ; and you shall see James v. 
4, 5, those that ' nourished their hearts as in a day of slaughter/ 
oppressed the labourers. They that set their hearts for ease and plea 
sure, know not the bitterness of grief, and therefore do not compas 
sionate it in others, Amos vi. 6. (5.) Uncleanness and fornication. 
This followeth on the former ; fulness of bread must be emptied and 
unladed in lust. (6.) That beastly wickedness implied in the text. 
When the angels came to destroy them, because they were of a comely 
visage, they came raging at the doors, Gen. xix.,- as usually wickedness 
is increased to the height when God cometh to punish it. Well, 
then, if we put all these together, they were a lazy, easy, secure, 
oppressing, filthy, and unclean people. We may wonder more at God's 
patience, that he bore with them so long, than at his justice, that he 
punished them so sorely. 

[2.] The aggravations. (1.) Shamelessness : Isa. iii. 9, ' They de 
clare their sin as Sodom, they publish it as Gomorrah ; ' when a people 
are past shame they are past hope ; such do dare God to punish them. 
(2.) Contempt of reproof, a sure forerunner of ruin, when the reprover 


of sin is blamed more than the actor. Lot seemed ' as one that mocked,' 
Gen. xix. 14. When God's messengers are contemned, he can hold no 

[3.] Their judgment. * The Lord rained from the Lord fire and brim 
stone upon them/ Observe here (1.) The suddenness ; the sun shone 
in the morning as at other times, Gen. xix. 23 ; they had not the least 
fear of any such mischief at hand. God usually surpriseth a people in 
their security ; after a great calm cometh a storm : ' Perish in the 
midway/ Ps. ii. 11, in their full career, when they dream of no such 
matter. (2.) The equity : the sin was like the punishment. They 
first burned with lusts, and then with fire ; they burned with vile un 
natural lusts, and therefore, against the ordinary course of nature, fire 
falleth down from heaven. In this fire there was a stink for their 
filthiness. 1 Thus doth God retaliate. Nadab and Abihu offered strange 
fire, and they were consumed with strange fire coming down from 
heaven. Job, professing his innocency in case of adultery, saith, 
4 Otherwise let my wife grind to another, and a stranger bow down 
upon her/ Job xxxi. 10, implying that God would punish him in his 
own bed, if he had violated another's. In the Gospel we read, Luke 
xvi., that he was denied a drop that would not give a crumb, &c. (3.) 
Observe the power of God. God a little before had drowned the world 
with water, now he consumeth Sodom by fire ; all the elements are at 
his beck, the creatures are his hosts, Job xxxvii. 6. If God say, ' Be 
thou upon the earth/ they presently obey. If we find sins, God will 
find punishments ; he can execute judgments by contrary means, now 
drown and then burn. (4.) The severity of God ; he raineth down fire 
and brimstone, which is a map and type of hell, Isa. xxx. 33 ; Rev. 
xxi. 15. The calamities that light upon the godly are ' a token of 
heaven/ Phil. i. 28 ; namely, as they work to purify us from sin ; but 
those on the wicked are types of hell, preambles to future woes, as 
darkness on the Egyptians was a figure of utter darkness. So these 
were first turned to destruction, and then into hell. It is sad to think 
of the judgment past ; worse of judgment to come. 

Thus God delighteth to make those that have been examples to 
others in sinning, examples to them in punishment. 

Ver. 8. Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise 
dominion, and speak evil of dignities. 

In this verse you have the apodosis of the former instance : likewise 
is the adverb that implieth the connection between the two terms of a 
comparison ; they perished that went after strange flesh, so these filthy 
dreamers that defile the flesh, &c., shall perish. In the words you may 
observe (1.) A description of their persons, filthy dreamers. (2.) 
A discovery of their sins; two are mentioned in this verse. (1st.) 
'AieaQapa-ta, their impurity, they defile the flesh. (2d.) Aral-ia, their 
tumultuous carriage towards superiors, expressed in two phrases : 
First, They despise dominion ; secondly, They speak evil of dignities. 
What these two phrases import is some question. Some think the first 
noteth their judgment and affection, the second, their speech and prac 
tice. Some think two kinds of government are here understood, and 
refer despising of dominion to contempt of magistracy and public 

1 ' Sulphur foetorem habet, ignis ardorem.' 


government, and speaking evil of dignities to the private government 
of masters, 1 Tim. vi. 12, which was also despised by these wretches 
under the pretence of Christian liberty. Others more properly under 
stand the first clause of civil government, usually expressed in scrip 
ture by Kvpiorr)?, or domination ; and speaking evil of dignities is fitly 
referred to the traducing and opposing of government and governors 
ecclesiastical, as apostles, pastors, teachers, and elders. The officers 
of the church are called Sofa, ' the glory of Christ,' 2 Cor. viii. 23, and 
what we translate speak evil of dignities, is in the original speak evil 
of glories ; but of this more anon. 

Let me open the words : Likewise. In the original there are many 
words, o/Wo>? fjievroi KOL OVTOI, likewise, notwithstanding ; that is, 
though there be so many and such apparent instances of G-od's judg 
ment, and those set before us for an example, yet they, being blinded 
with their wicked passions, are not afraid, but boldly cast themselves 
upon the hazard of the same ruin. Filthy dreamers ; the word in the 
original is hvirviatp^voi, led, inspired, or acted by dreams, or deluded 
by dreams. Beza rendereth it sfopiti, being lulled asleep, as noting 
their security. I suppose rather the dotage of error, by which they 
were as it were bewitched and enchanted. Our translation seemeth 
to carry it another Way, as applying it to nocturnal pollutions, because 
dreaming is joined with defiling the flesh. And Peter chargeth these 
persons with rolling their fancies upon unclean objects, 1 Peter ii. 14; 
or, possibly, it may be taken literally, the persons here noted pretend 
ing to dreams inspired by associate and assistant spirits, see Euseb., 
lib. iv. cap. 7. The next phrase is defile the flesh ; that is, pollute 
themselves with libidinous practices: 2 Peter ii. 10, 'They walked 
after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness,' and that under a pretence of 
the gospel, vide Irenceum passim de Hcer. Valentin. The Nicolaitans 
taught community of wives, and that it was an indifferent thing to 
commit adultery, Rev. ii. 6, 14. The Gnostics gave themselves up to 
all manner of prodigious and incestuous pollutions ; whence, from their 
obscenity and beastly life, they were called Borborites. See again 
Euseb. Epihan. Hcer. 26, lib. iv. cap. 7. How many ways they did de 
file the flesh we cannot with modesty express. The heathens, who made 
no distinction, charged these impurities upon the Christians in the 
general, as if they used the unlawful company of their mothers and 
sisters, &c. The next phrase is despise dominion, aOerovvres. The word 
dOerelv signifieth to remove a thing out of its place with some scorn 
and indignation ; and so it implieth their utter enmity to civil policy 
and government : 2 Peter ii. 10, * They despise government, presump 
tuous are they, and self-willed/ Kvpionjra, dominion. Some 
apply this to the dominion of Christ, which by their fables of 
the ^Eones or lords rulers they did set at nought; but of that in 
the 4th verse. But now he speaks of the government of men, and 
there is an emphasis in the word KvpiorrjTa, dominion, which is 
more than if he had said icvpiovs, rulers ; for they did not only 
despise their magistrates, or men invested with superiority, but 
magistracy itself, as a thing unfitting for believers, and such as were 
made free by Christ, to endure. The last part of the charge is they 
speak evil of dignities, or, as it is in the original, blaspheme glories ; 


by which some understand angels, as Clemens Alexandrinus ; these 
impure heretics devising things unworthy and misbeseeming the angels ; 
rather, I suppose, it implieth their scorns, curses, and reproaches cast 
upon the officers of the church, who are the glory of Christ, and the 
practice is afterward compared with the rebellion of Korah, who rose 
up, not only against Moses, but Aaron, Num. xi. In the whole you 
have a lively description of our modern ranters, levellers, familists, 
quakers, who, by dreams, are led on to defile the flesh, and to despise 
all authority, both in church and commonwealth, and that with bitter 
curses and evil speakings, so that our days afford us but too clear 
a comment on the expressions of this scripture ; it is sadly fulfilled 
before our eyes. I come to the observations. 

Obs. 1. From that filtliy dreamers ; note, that the erroneous thoughts 
of wicked men are but a dream. It is but friar-like to follow an illu 
sion too far ; only a little for illustration. Wicked men are dreamers 
(1.) In regard of their state and condition, every carnal man is in a 
state of a ' deep sleep/ Isa. xxix. 10 ; snorting upon the bed of ease, 
without any sense of the danger of their condition, as Jonah in the ship 
was found asleep when the storm arose. They sleep, but * their dam 
nation sleepeth not/ 2 Peter ii. 3. (2.) In regard of the suitableness 
between their vain thoughts and a dream. A dream, you know, 
tickleth with a false delight, and deceiveth with a vain hope. 

1. Tickleth with a false delight : they hug a cloud, as we say, instead 
of Juno, and embrace the contentments and pleasures of the world in 
stead of the true riches ; a carnal man's running from pleasure to 
pleasure is but a sweet dream, a fit of mirth and pleasure while con 
science is asleep : ' They walk in a vain show/ Ps. xxxix. 6 ; they 
imagine a great deal of felicity and contentment in their condition ; 
but when they come to ' warm themselves by their own sparks, they 
lie down in sorrow/ Isa. 1. 11. 

2. Deceiveth with a vain hope, as where the prophet compareth 
the dream of the enemies of the church to the dream of a night vision, 
Isa. xxix. 7, 8, ' And it shall be as an hungry man dreameth, and be 
hold he eateth, but he awaketh and his soul is empty ; or when as a 
thirsty man dreameth, and behold he drinketh, but he awaketh, and 
behold he is faint, and his soul hath appetite.' So it is with them, all 
their hopes are dashed in an instant. The foolish virgins slept, Mat. 
xxv., and when they slept they dreamed that the door of grace would 
still be open to them, but they found it shut. Many flatter themselves 
with fair hopes till they awake in flames, but then all is gone. 

Take heed, then, of^being deceived by your own dreams, and the 
fictions of your own brain ; there are no dreams so foolish as those we 
dream waking, .as Epiphanus saith of the Gnostics ; it was not evvrr- 
via<ns TOV VTTVOV, a sleeping dream that they were guilty of, but X^po- 
\oyla ^vxns <*>? & VTTVOV \eyofAewfi, the dotage of their minds, putting- 
them upon fancies as monstrous and incoherent as men's thoughts in 
a dream. Waking dreams are most pernicious. There are two sorts 
of these dreams (1.) Dreams in point of opinion, when we hug error 
instead of truth. (2.) Dreams in point of hope, when we cherish pre 
sumption instead of faith. 

1. Dreams in opinion, which are very rife now ; the old world is apt 


to dote. 1 Idle and ungrounded notions, how plausible soever, are but 
the dreams of a misty sleepy brain. To prevent these take these rules 
(1.) If you would beware of dreams, beware of a blind mind. Men 
sleep in the dark, and in sleep fancy gets the start of reason ; indistinct 
thoughts do easily dispose to error, and a half light will certainly abuse 
you : ' The simple belie veth every word/ Prov. xiv. 15. (2.) Suffer 
not yourselves to be blinded, First, Not by vile affections : men would 
fain have that true which is pleasing, and most accommodate to their 
own interests. Vile affection taketh away the light of reason, and 
leaveth us only the pride of reason ; and therefore none so confident 
and touchy in their opinions as they that are misled by lusts and 
interests. How easily do we exasperate our minds, and invent prejudices 
against a hated truth ! If the weights be equal, yet if the balances be 
not equal, wrong will be done. When the heart is biassed before the 
search, and swayed with some carnal desire or interest, the judgment 
is obscured and cannot consider of the weight of what is alleged ; there 
is an idol in the heart. Secondly, By vulgar prejudice. That the devil 
may keep the world asleep,it is his usual trick to burden the ways of God 
with clamour and vulgar prejudice. A dream or lie dareth not combat 
with truth in open field, and therefore fortifieth against it with popu 
lar arguments, that the ways of God may be suspected rather than 
tried ; and usually it falleth that error is more specious at the first 
blush, God's providence suffering his own ways to be under the cross 
and the world's displeasure. Now, in such a case, men keep at a dis 
tance, and are loath to search lest they meet with trouble of conscience 
for not obeying the truth, or trouble from the world for crossing their 
customs and fashions. Thirdly, By personal administration in spiritual 
things ; we learn to dream from one another, Deut. xiii. 3, Zech. x. 2. 
No man must be set up in God's chair, and their dictates followed as 
if they were infallible. 

Study the word, else there is no light in what is brought to you, 
Isa. viii. 20 ; it is but only a dream and dotage of men's brains, and 
the closer you keep to the letter of the word the better. Many are 
perverted by mystical interpretations, when men bring that to the word 
which they do do not find there ; the letter must not be receded from 
as long as it is capable of any commodious interpretation. Now this 
word must be ' hidden in the heart,' Ps. cxix. 9, and ' dwell in us 
richly/ Col. iii. 16. 

2. There are dreams in point of hope; and so (1.) Some wholly 
mistake in the object, and dream of an eternal happiness in temporal 
enjoyments, Ps. xlix. 11 ; so Luke xii. 19, Rev. xviii. 9. (2.) Others 
dream of attaining the end without using the means ; they live in sin, 
and yet hope to die comfortably, and go to heaven at length for all 
that, as if it were but an easy and sudden leap from Delilah's lap to 
Abraham's bosom ; and ' the pleasures of sin for a season ' would be 
no hindrance to the enjoyment of the ' pleasures at God's right hand 
for ever more ; ' a vain dream, see Luke xvi. 25, and James v. 5. 
(3.) Others mistake about the means, because they have a cold form ; 
they are apt to be conceited of their spiritual condition and estate, 
Eev. iii. 17. If you would not dream in this kind, examine your 

1 ' Mundus senescens patitur phantasias.' Gerson. 


hearts often ; examination is like a rubbing of the eyes after sleep, and 
reviving of conscience the recollection of our dreams ; a man laugheth 
at his dreams when he is awake, and when fancy is cited before the 
tribunal of God, vain apprehensions fly away. Again, ' be sober and 
watchful,' 1 Peter v. 9, 2 Thes. v. 6. Confessing sin it is telling our 
dream when we are awake and come to ourselves. 

Obs. 2. From that defile the flesh, observe that dreams of error 
dispose to practices of sin and uncleanness, and impurity of religion 
is usually joined with uncleanness of body, which cometh to pass 
partly by the just judgment of God, who punisheth spiritual forni 
cation with bodily : Hosea iv. 12, 13, ' They have gone a-whoring 
from their God, therefore their daughters shall commit whoredom, 
and their spouses adultery.' That is God's course, that the odiousness 
of the one may make them see the heinousness of the other ; see Rom. 
i. 24. Partly by the influence of error ; T it perverteth the heart ; a frame 
of truth preserveth the awe of God in the soul, and a right belief 
maketh the manners orthodox : all sins are rooted in wrong thoughts 
of God, 3 John 11, either in unbelief or misbelief: unbelief is the 
mother of sin, and misbelief the nurse of it ; it springeth from distrust, 
and is countenanced by error. Partly because the design of most 
errors is to put the soul into a liberty which God never allowed. 
Some errors come from the pride of reason, because it will not veil 
and strike sail to faith ; but most come from ' vile affection ;' a carnal 
heart must be gratified with a carnal doctrine : 2 Peter ii. 19, ' They 
promise liberty/ &c. Errors are but a device to cast off Christ's yoke, 
and to lull the conscience asleep in a course of disobedience. Well, 
then, avoid error of judgment if you would avoid filthiness of con 
versation ; men first dream, and then defile the flesh ; abominable 
impurities (unless temper of nature and posture of interests hinder) 
are the usual fruit of evil opinions. Truth is the root of holiness : 
' Sanctify them by thy truth ; thy word is truth,' John xvii. 17. God's 
blessing goeth with his own doctrine, 1 Peter i. 22. Again, those that 
have taken up the profession of a right way of religion should beware of 
staining it by such kind of practices. Nothing maketh the ways of God 
suspected so much as the scandals of those that profess to walk in them : 
* Walk in the light as children of the light,' Eph. v., otherwise you 
will be a reproach to the truth, and deprive it of its testimony. 

Obs. 3. Again, observe that sin is a defilement ; it staineth and 
darkeneth the glory of a man, Mat. xv. 20. This defilement was 
implied in the washings of the ceremonial law, and in baptism ; we 
are washed as soon as we are born, because we are sinners as soon as 
we are born. Surely they that glory in sin do but glory in their own 
shame ; it is but as if a man should boast of his own dung, and count 
his spittle an ornament ; when you count graceless swearing, mighti 
ness to drink, revenge, pride, a glory to you, you do the same : there 
is nothing maketh us stink in God's nostrils but sin: Ps. xiv. 3, 
1 They are altogether become filthy ;' so much sin as you have about 
you, so much nastiness. Gain is pleasant to those that are taken 
with that kind of lust, but the scripture calleth it ' filthy lucre/ 1 Tim. 
iii. 3 ; all sins are compared to ' filthy garments/ Zech. iii. 4, Jude 

1 ' Aniina quse fornicata est a Deo casta esse non potest.' Aug. 


19, and Isa. xxx. 22. Desire to be washed, and that thoroughly, 
Ps. li. 2. 

Obs. 4. Again observe, that of all sins, the sin of uncleanness or 
unlawful copulation is most defiling. It defileth the whole man, but 
chiefly the body ; and therefore it is said they defile the flesh. It 
staineth the soul with filthy thoughts, Mat. xv. 20 ; it staineth the 
name, Prov. vi. 33 ; but in a singular manner it polluteth the body, 
1 Cor. vi. 18. In all other outward sins, though the body be the 
instrument, yet it is not the object of them. All other sins do abuse 
objectum extra positum (as Piscator explaineth it), as a drunkard, 
wine; an epicure, meats; a worldling, riches. All these are objects 
without us ; but here the body is not only the instrument, but the ob 
ject : Rom. i. 24, ' God gave them up to uncleanness to dishonour 
their own bodies/ So see 1 Thes. iv. 4. It wasteth the strength and 
beauty of the body, Prov. v. 9-11, hindereth our serviceableness, and 
doth not consider that this body is consecrated to God, Eom. xii. 1, 
and 1 Cor. vi. 15 ; a 'temple of the Holy Ghost,' 1 Cor. vi. 19 ; in 
terested in hopes of glory, Phil. iii. 21 ; and therefore puts it to so vile 
a use as to be an instrument of lust. Christians, shall those eyes 
which are consecrated to God, to behold his works, be windows to let 
in sin ? 2 Peter ii. 14 ; that body which is the Holy Ghost's temple, 
be made the ' member of a harlot,' and so wasted in the service of lust 
as to become a clog to us, and wholly useless as to any gracious pur 
poses ? Are not your beauty, health, strength, concernments too good 
to be spent upon so vile an interest ? Take heed, then, of all unclean- 
ness, both conjugal, consisting in excess and immoderation of lust in. 
the married estate, si vinum ex apothecd tud, &c., you may not be drunk 
with your own wine, nor quench the vigour of nature by excess in 
those pleasures which the laws of God and men do allow you ; and 
also of uncleanness adulterous, which is more brutish, when men scat 
ter their lusts promiscuously, without confinement to one object. 

06s. 5. From that despise dominion. Observe that errors, espe 
cially such as tend to sensuality, make men unruly and anti-magistra- 
tical. Dreamers that do ' defile themselves/ do also ' despise dominion.' 
Now this cometh to pass, partly from the permission of God's wise and 
just providence, who suffereth such miscarriages to awaken the magis 
trate to a care of truth, if not in zeal for God's glory, yet out of a sense 
of his own interest, and upon reason of state, the commonwealth 
being troubled by those who first began to trouble the church, ol Trepl 
ra Oela J-evitpvTes TrdXkovs avaTreiOovGiv aXkorpiovofJielv ; new doctrines 
put men after an itch upon new laws, and false religions are usually 
turbulent; partly because persons loose and erroneous would free 
themselves from all awe, both of God and man, as it is said of the 
unjust judge, that he 'feared neither God nor man,' Luke xviii. So 
with those men. Error taketh off the dread of God, and sedition the 
dread of the magistrate, that so they may more freely defile the flesh. 
God hath two deputies to keep a sinner under awe conscience and the 
magistrate. Now false doctrine benumbeth conscience, and then that 
all authority may be laid aside, the rights of the magistrate are in 
vaded, that as conscience may not stand in the way of their lust, so 
not the magistrate in the way of their sin. That there were anciently 


such libertines in the church appeareth by Gal. v. 13, and 1 Peter 
ii. 16, and 1 Cor. vii. 20-23. Vain man would fain be free and yoke- 
less, neither would he have his heart subject to God, nor his actions 
to man's censure. Partly because all errors are rooted in obstinacy, and 
that will bewray itself, not only in divine and spiritual, but in civil 
things : see 2 Peter ii. 10, ' But chiefly them that walk after the flesh 
in the lust of uncleanness. Presumptuous are they and self-willed ; 
they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.' Usually errors sear the 
conscience, and give the sinner a front and boldness, so that God is not 
only dishonoured, but civil societies disturbed, as Nazianzen observeth 
of the Arians. They began in blasphemous language against Christ, 
but end in tumultuous carriage against the peace of the commonwealth ; 
for, saith he, how shall we hope that they will spare men that would 
not spare God ? 1 Often it falleth out that they that ' please not God' 
are also ' contrary to all men,' 1 Thes. ii. 15. Tully, a heathen, ob 
serveth the same, Pietaie adversus Deos sublatd, fides etiam et societas 
Jiumani generis, &c. Partly because opposition to magistracy is a 
kind of indirect blow and aim at God, and that either as it is his ordin 
ance, Rom. xiii., or a kind of resemblance of his glory : * I have said 
you are gods,' Ps. Ixxxii. 6. So that it is a contempt of God in his 
image and picture. Look, as under the law God forbade men cruelty 
to the beasts, as not to destroy the dam from the young, to seethe the 
kid in the mother's milk, and that such kind of prohibitions might be 
as a fence and rail about the life of man, so respect to magistracy is 
a kind of fence about his own dignity and divine glory. Magistrates 
being representative gods, el/ccav e ySacrtXeu? e<rr/ 2/xn/rvyps Seov ; 
therefore through their sides they strike at God himself. Partly be 
cause the end of magistracy is to suppress evil, Rom. xiii. 5. An inde 
finite speech is equivalent to a universal in a matter of necessary duty, 
and the universal particle is expressed elsewhere : Prov. xx. 8, ' A king 
that sitteth upon the throne of judgment scattereth away all evil with 
his eyes' all evil that falleth under his cognisance, whether it be of 
a civil or spiritual concernment. We must not limit and distinguish 
where the word doth not. I know there be some that do defalcate 
and cut off a great part of that duty which belongeth to the magis 
trate, confining his care only to things of a civil concernment, but pre 
posterously, truths according to godliness belonging also to his in 
spection, upon which ground we are bound to pray for them, that 
' they may come to the knowledge of the truth,' 1 Tim. ii. 2, and under 
them ' we may lead a quiet life in all godliness and honesty/ where it 
is plainly implied that the converted magistrate is to look to the coun 
tenance and maintenance of godliness as well as honesty. Well, then, 
sensual heretics being doubly obnoxious, as sensual, as venting errors, 
no wonder that they rise up in defiance of God's ordinance. 

Use 1. It showeth us the evil of inordinate lustings. We may 
learn hence whence they proceed and whither they tend ; they pro 
ceed from the pride and obstinacy of error ; men dream, and are then 
licentious ; and it tendeth to the casting off of all duty to God and 
man. Nip this disposition in the bud ; it is in all our natures : ' Man 
is born like the wild ass's colt,' Job xi. 12 ; not only for rudeness of 

1 ' IIws 5e avOpuirov e/^eXAoj/ (j>deffQa.L ol rrjs 0e6r??TOS /ATJ <peiffd/Ji,ei>oi.' Nazian. Orat. xxv. 


understanding, but untamedness of affection. We love to break 
through all bonds and restraints, as if ' none were lord over us/ Ps. 
xii. 3. 

Use 2. It informeth us what will be the issue when libertism 
.aboundeth, even an utter confusion. See Socrates Scholast., lib. v. 
Eccles. iv. ii, in proem. : Nonnunquam tumultus ecclesiarum antegressi, 
reipuUicce autem confusiones consecutce sunt the ruin of the public 
weal is brought on by pestilent and evil doctrines. So our divines 
at the Synod of Dort : Cavendum est, ne qui magistratu connivente 
res novas in ecclesia moliantur, eodem etiam repugn ante idem in re- 
publica efficiant. Tully, in his book De Legibus, saith, that the glory 
of Greece presently declined when the people were given malis studiis, 
malisque doctrinis, to evil manners and evil opinions. Let us lay these 
things to heart. I do not love to envy against the times, and to 
indulge the petulancy of a mistaken zeal, but the king's danger made 
Croesus' dumb son to speak. 

Use 3. It may take off the prejudice that is often cast upon religion 
and the true ways of God. It is not truth that troubleth Israel, but 
error : 1 Kings xviii. 18, ' I have not troubled Israel, but thou and thy 
father's house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the 
Lord.' It is an old slander that strict religion is no friend to common 
wealths. As soon as Christianity began to fly abroad in the world, it 
was objected against her, as if it was prejudicial to civil power and 
greatness, thereby to defeat her of the patronage of princes, and to 
hinder them from becoming ' nursing fathers/ Isa. xlix. 23. Magis 
tracy being that power which is left, able to suppress or advance re 
ligion, the devil striveth all that he can to incense it against her. 
There is a natural and wakeful jealousy in princes over their dignities 
and prerogatives, and therefore the enemies of the church have ever 
sought occasion to represent the people of God as enemies to their just 
power. So Christ was accused, Luke xxiii. 2, and Paul, Acts xxiv. 
5 ; but altogether without cause. It is true, if religion be not kindly 
received it bringeth a judgment there where it is tendered, as the ark, 
when it was irreverently handled, brought a plague upon the Beth- 
shemites, 1 Sam. vi. 19 ; but yet a blessing upon the house of Obed- 
Edom. So religion, where it is worthily treated, bringeth a blessing, 
otherwise a judgment. Let the world say what it will, it is a friend 
to magistracy, partly by its commands enforcing civil duties by a 
sacred bond and obligation. See Prov. xxiv. 21, Mat. xxii. 21, 1 Peter 
ii. 17, Eccles. viii. 2. Partly by its influence, meekeningthe hearts of 
men, and obliging them to faithfulness. Those that are faithful to 
God, I shall expect them to be faithful to me, said Constantine's 
father. * Certainly none live so sweetly under the same government 
as those that are united in the same faith, or cemented together with 
the same blood of Christ. Partly by the indulgence of God's pro 
vidence, who is wont to favour those states where true religion is 
countenanced and vigorously owned. Oh ! that our magistrates would 
regard this ; their wisdom lieth in kissing the Son, Ps. ii. 10. Christ 
came not to gain persons, but nations to his obedience, and the more 

1 * Ileus yap av 7r6re /3acrtAet irlffriv 0uXdcu TOI)S irepl rb KpeLrrov aXovras ayv&f.<.ot>us.' 
Vid. Euieb. lib. ii. de Vita, Constant, ; Sozom. lib. vi. 


that is effected, though it be but by a public profession, the more 
safety may they expect ; it is but a necessary thankfulness of the 
powers of the world to him to whom they owe their crowns, Prov. viii. 
16. Let us pray for them that God would raise their zeal, and make 
them more cordial in the support of religion. A heathen said, Aut 
undiquaque religionem tolleaut usque quaque conserva either wholly 
abandon religion, or maintain it more entirely. 

Use 4. It showeth us what little reason magistrates have to coun 
tenance and spread their skirt over obstinate and impure heretics, 
such spirits being usually most opposite to magistracy. They do but 
nourish a snake in their own bosoms, and cherish a faction that in 
time will eat out their bowels. Were there no respects of religion 
but only those of civil policy, they should not be so sleepy in this case ; 
but you will say, Is it lawful for them to intermeddle in matters of re 
ligion, and to use any compulsive power ? I answer Yes, verily ; ' they 
bear not the sword in vain.' We have frequent instances in the word 
of good kings whose zeal is commended for so doing, and frequent 
injunctions also to this purpose. The Levites are commended for 
assisting Moses in the execution of those that worshipped the calf, 
Exod. xxxii. 26-28. Abraham was to command his children, Gen. 
xviii. 29. Asa commanded Judah to worship God, and the thing was 
right in the eyes of the Lord, 2 Chron. xiv: 2-4. So see 2 Chron. 
xv. 23, and Ezra x. 8 ; so 2 Chron. xxxiv. 32, 33 ; and that promise, 
Isa. xliii. 23. I know I touch the sore of this age, and that this is a 
truth much prejudiced ; therefore I shall first remove the prejudices, 
and then state the question. 

First, Kemove the prejudices. The first is taken from the fathers, or 
primitive Christians, who almost generally express themselves against 
planting religion by the sword and compulsive force. 1 Defendenda est 
religio non occidendo sed monendo, non scevitia sed patientia, so Lactan- 
tius, and suitably others. I answer Were religion now to be planted, 
these sayings would take place. Pagans are not to be compelled, but 
enlightened ; taught, not destroyed. And yet in such a case it is 
a question not easily resolved, whether the magistrate, if he had 
power, were not bound to compel his people, though professed pagans, 
to hear or attend upon the ministry of the word, it being the ordinary 
means of working faith. Augustine determineth that a Christian in 
such a case should improve his power for Christ. Felix necessitas 
quce ad meliora nos cogit, foris inveniatur necessitas et nascitur intus 
voluntas ; and a little after, non quia cogantur reprehendant, sed quoe 
cogantur attendant it is a favour that the magistrate will take care to 
bring them to the means of salvation. Again, in such a case they are 
to be kept from scandalising and blaspheming the true religion ; that 
is the least a magistrate can do for Christ. But where a people are 
Christianised, and do profess the true religion, they should not be set 
free to atheism, error, and apostasy. 

2. Another prejudice is, that the examples before mentioned are 
brought from the Old Testament, and so proper to the policy of the 
Jews. I answer Some alleged were before Moses' law, as that of 
Abraham, and Jacob's commanding his family to put away their idols, 

1 Austin changed his mind twice, and was at last for compulsion. 


Gen. xxxv. 2. And the injunctions in the Old Testament were built 
upon reasons of immutable equity, as God's glory, the danger of infec 
tion, &c., and so concern us as well as them ; and the thing in ques 
tion is agreeable to the light of nature, there being instances of pagan 
princes who were so far convinced of their duty to the true God, that 
they enjoined his worship, punishing the contempt thereof ; see Ezra 
vi. 11 ; so Ezra vii. 26, and Dan. iii. 29. The Gentiles by the light 
of nature saw it to be suitable and agreeable to right reason. Arist. 
Polit. , lib. vii. cap. 8, saith the first thing that falleth under a magis 
trate's care is 77 Trepl TO delov e7ri/j,e\eia, a care of divine worship. The 
Athenians banished Protagoras for speaking doubtfully, and by way 
of extenuation of their religion, and burnt his books. Besides all this, 
the reason why we have only precedents in the Old Testament is, be 
cause the people of the Jews were the only state that were acquainted 
with the knowledge of the true God. We have some prophecies that 
the like should be done in the New, Isa. xlix. 23, and Zech. xiii., which 
concerneth gospel times, Isa. Ix. 10, Rev. xxi. 24. We were worse 
provided for than they were in the Old Testament, if men that had the 
plague-sore .of heresy running upon them should without restraint be 
permitted to come into all companies. 

3. Another prejudice is, it will make men hypocrites. I answer, 
with Athanasius Would to God all were got so far as hypocrites, it 
would certainly be better for the Christian world ; but however duties 
must not be left undone for ill consequences. 

4. And another is, this will make way for persecution, and the calam 
ities of the godly upon every change of the prince's mind. I answer 
If the Lord see persecution necessary for the church, we must endure 
it, and so we shall be gainers both by good princes and bad : by the 
persecution of evil princes truth is made glorious ; by the ministry of 
the good, error is suppressed and discountenanced. God would oblige 
us the more to pray for them in power, Ps. Ixxii. 1, and 1 Tim. ii. 2 ; 
and he hath promised to hear such prayers, and provide nurse-fathers 
for the church. Sometimes a wicked magistrate, understanding his 
duty, may, by the overruling power of God in his conscience, be with 
held from persecuting the truth, yea, carried out to the suppression of 
error. When Paulus Samosatenus revolted from the orthodox Chris 
tian faith, and would yet retain the bishopric of Antioch, the business 
was brought to Aurelian, a pagan emperor, who removed him. 

Secondly, I shall state the point, and show you how far compulsion 
is necessary. (1.) The magistrate should use no compulsion before 
care had for better information, and resolution of the doubting con 
science ; otherwise the practice were fell and cruel, like that of false 
religions, that brook no contradiction. Consciences scrupulous must 
not be too hardly dealt withal. To answer arguments by a prison 
or the fires is a Popish topic, 1 and to supply in rage what wanteth in 
strength of reason and clearness of light is but a butcherly violence ; 
punishment and compulsion should not be hastened, as long as there 
appeareth a desire to be informed, with meek endeavours after satis 
faction. The apostle Paul is for two admonitions before church 

1 ' Ex officina carnificum petunt argumeuta, et quos sermonibus decipere non possunt, 
gladiis clamant esse ferieudos.' Ambros. 


censure, Titus iii. 10 ; and the censure of the magistrate should not 
precede that of the church. (2.) In things indifferent, Christian 
toleration and forbearance takes place ; all men never were, nor ever 
will be, in this world, of one and the same opinion, no more than of 
the same feature and complexion. There is a due latitude of allow 
able differences wherein the strong should bear with the weak, Kom. 
xv. 1 ; Eph. iv. 2 ; Gal. vi. 1. There are some lesser mistakes of 
conscience and infirmities incident to all men ; namely, such as are 
consistent with faith, the main and fundamental truths and principles 
of salvation and charity, as not tending to foment faction in the church 
or sedition in the commonwealth ; but if either of these limits be 
transgressed, circumstances may make these lesser things intolerable, 
as Paul ' withstood Peter to the face,' though otherwise he did not 
count the matter great, Gal. ii. 11 ; yet, when it was urged to the 
scandal of the churches, he thought it worthy of a contest. And here 
it belongeth to Christian princes, as to defend truth, so to see that 
peace be not violated for rites and ceremonies, and lesser differences 
that lie far from the heart of religion. I am persuaded that want of 
condescension to brethren hath brought all this confusion upon us, 
<fec. (3.) A gross error kept secret cometh not under the magistrate's 
cognisance, but the diffusion and dissemination of errors he must take 
notice of ; as when men infect others, and openly blaspheme Christian 
doctrine, ' he beareth not the sword in vain.' The mind and con 
science, as to any power under God, is sui juris; thoughts are free. It 
is a saying in the civil law, Cogitationis pcenam nemo patitur all 
command is exercised about such things as fall within the knowledge 
of him that commandeth. Now, God only knoweth the heart, Quis 
milii imponat necessitatem credendi quod nolim, saith Lactantius, vel 
quod velim non credendi. Theodosius and Valentinian, in their law 
concerning the heretic, give this limitation, Sibi tantummodo nocitura 
senliat, aliis obfutura non pandat subscriptions and inquisitions 
into men's consciences, we cannot but justly condemn. (4.) Errors, 
according to their nature and degree, merit a different punishment, 
Jude 9, and Ezra vii. 26. (5.) Blasphemy, idolatry, and gross 
heresy are to be put into the same rank with gross, vicious actions, 
and supposed (if entertained after the receiving of the truth) to be done 
against light and conscience. Paul saith of the heretic that he is avro- 
KaTafcpiTos, after due admonitions, Titus iii. 11. Therefore, in some 
cases, these may be punished with death, as Baal's prophets were 
slain, 1 Kings xviii. 40, Exod. xxi. 20, and Lev. xxiv. 16. But of 
the whole question elsewhere. 

Obs. 6. Again, I observe from the same clause, that it is a sin to 
despise dominions. For it is here charged upon these seducers. It 
is a sin, because it is against the injunctions of the word, Kom. xiii. 
1, Titus iii. 1. We are apt to forget our civil duties, or to count 
them arbitrary, as if the same authority had not established the second 
table as well as the first ; and it is a sin, because magistracy is God's 
ordinance, the general instruction of it is of God, though the particular 
constitution of it be of man. Compare Rom. xiii. 1, with 1 Peter ii. 
13. Government itself is of God ; but this or that special manner or 
form of government is not determined by God, which is the difference 


between civil and ecclesiastical government, for there the particular 
form is specified, as well as the thing itself appointed. Again, it is a 
sin, because dominion preserveth human societies, so that we should 
trespass against the common good and public order if we should 
despise this help, yea, against the law of our own nature, man being 
by nature a sociable creature. Well, then, let us obey every ordinance 
of man for the Lord's sake. The public welfare is concerned in our 
obedience, as also the honour of religion, both which should be very 
dear to one that feareth God. The public welfare : better bear many 
inconveniences than embroil the country in war and blood. We are 
bidden be subject, ovcoXwfc, ' to the fro ward,' 1 Peter ii. 18. And 
the honour of religion : God will have the world know that Chris 
tianity is a friend to civil policy ; see 1 Peter ii. 15, and Mat. xvii. 27. 
We learn hence, too, that they are but libertines that think that reli 
gion freeth them from the subjection which they owe to God or man ; 
it doth not exempt us from our duty, but enable us to perform it. 
Many take such a liberty in civil things that they begin to grow con 
temptuous even in divine, and so cast off God's yoke as well as the 

Obs. 7. The last expression is that, speak evil of dignities, or of 
glories, by which probably church officers are intended, such being 
spoken against in that age, 3 John 10, and expressed by the word 
glories, a term given both to the apostles and other officers of .the 
church. Note, there is a respect due to persons invested with church 
power. This is established by God's ordinance, and therefore should 
not be set at nought ; neither should the persons invested with it be 
evil spoken of. That obedience is required to them, see Heb. xiii. 17 ; 
and respect and honour, see 1 Thes. v. 12, 13, and 1 Tim. v. 17 ; that 
they should not be lightly evil spoken of, 1 Tim. v. 19. Though for 
their persons and outward estate they are mean and despicable, yet 
they are called to a high employment, and have the promise of a great 
power and presence with them,: Mat. xvi. 19, John xx. 23 ; their 
regular proceedings are ratified in the court of heaven. We are fallen 
into an age wherein no persons are more contemptible than ministers, 
nothing less valued than church authority : it is become the eyesore 
of the times. Not to speak of those barking Shimeis the Quakers, 
and their foul-mouthed language, taught them by the father of lies ; 
surely others have not such a reverence of God's ordinance as they 
should have. 

Ver. 9. Yet Michael the archangel, wlien contending with the 
devil (lie disputed about the body of Moses}, durst not bring against 
Jiim a railing accusation, but said^ The Lord rebuke thee. 

The apostle had charged the seducers, against whom he wrote, with 
opposition of magistracy, and contemptuous speaking against those 
lights which God had set in the church ; he now cometh to aggravate 
their effrontery and impudence by the carriage of Michael the arch 
angel towards the devil. In the comparison there is an argument a 
majore ad minus, from the greater to the less, which is evidently seen 
in all the circumstances of the text. 

1. In the persons contending, Michael the archangel with the 
devil. If Michael, so excellent in nature, so high in office, contending 


with Satan, an impure spirit, already judged by God, used such 
modesty and awe, who are they, sorry creatures, that dare despise per 
sons invested with the dignity and height of magistracy ? 

2. There is an aggravation from the cause, ' when he disputed with 
him about the body of Moses,' a matter just, and in which the mind 
of God was clearly known ; and dare they ' speak evil of things they 
know not ' ? that is, in matters so far above their reach to take upon 
them to ensure 1 and determine ? 

3. There is an aggravation taken from the disposition of the angel, 
' he durst not bring against him a railing accusation.' His holiness 
would not permit him to deal with the devil in an indecent and 
injurious manner. But these rashly belch out their reproaches and 
curses against superiors without any fear. 

4. In the manner of speech, ' the Lord rebuke thee.' The whole 
judgment of the cause is referred to God; but these Gnostics take 
upon them as if the whole judgment of things, persons, and actions 
were left in their hands, as our modern Quakers take upon them to 
curse and to pronounce dreadful judgments upon God's most holy 
servants according to their own pleasure. The sum of the whole is 
this, if an angel that is great in power durst not bring against the worst 
creatures, in the very heat of contention about a good cause, any 
undue language and reproach, certainly it is a horrible impudence in 
men to speak contemptuously, yea, in a cursing and blaspheming man 
ner, of those whom God hath advanced to superiority in church or 

This is the sum of the words ; but because this scripture is difficult, 
before I come to the observations, I shall premise some explicatory 

Quest. 1. Whence had the apostle this story ; the scriptures making 
no mention of it ? 

Ans. The substance of it is in scripture. We read, Deut. xxxiv. 
6, that the body of Moses was secretly buried by the Lord. But now 
for the circumstances of it. He might receive them by divine revela 
tion, which are here authorised and made scripture ; and indeed it is 
usual with the penmen of holy writ to add such circumstances as 
were not mentioned in the place where the history was first recorded, 
as in Exodus we read of the opposition of the magicians to Moses ; 
but their names are mentioned, 2 Tim. iii. 8, ' As Jannes and Jambres 
withstood Moses.' The whole story of their contest with him is in the 
Talmud ; and in Apuleius, and other histories, we read that these were 
famous magicians. So Ps. cv. 18, we read that Joseph's ' feet were 
hurt in fetters, and he was laid in iron,' which, in the story in Genesis, 
appeareth not ; so Moses quaking, Heb. xii. 21, and the following of 
the water of the rock, 1 Cor. x. 1, 2. Those things might be received 
by tradition or divine inspiration, or were extant m some known book 
and record then in use. Origen quoteth a book, irepl dvaXtftyecos ruv 
Mcoo-ew?, about the assumption of Moses, for this history, some remain 
ders of which are in the books of the Jews unto this day. Capellus, 
I remember, repeateth a long tale out of the book called Habboth, or 
the mystical expositions of the Pentateuch, concerning the altercation 

1 Qu. ' censure ' ? ED. 
VOL. V. Q 


between Michael and Samael, or the archangel and the devil, about 
the body, or rather soul, of Moses ; and how God, to save it from 
Samael, sucked out his soul from the body by a kiss : but the story is 
so fabulous that I shall not repeat it. See Capelli Spicileg. in locum, 
pp. 128, 129. 

Quest. 2. Is this a real history, or an allusion ? 

Ans. There are three opinions about this. (1.) One is, that it is 
a figurative expression of God's care for his church ; and they that 
go this way by the body of Moses understand either the whole body of 
the Levitical worship, or else the community of Israel, represented in 
Joshua the high priest, who ' stood before the angel of the Lord,' 
Zech. iii. 1,2,' and Satan at his right hand ready to resist him ; and 
the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, the Lord, that hath 
chosen Jerusalem, rebuke thee.' In Joshua the Levitical worship 
newly restored is figured, and the angel of the Lord, before whom he 
stood, is Christ, the judge, advocate, and defender of the church ; and 
the Lord, that is, the Lord Christ, called ' the angel ' before, puts forth 
the efficacy of his mediation against this malicious opposition of Satan. 
So some accommodate this text to the sense of that place ; and the 
main reason is, because of the form here used, ' The Lord rebuke 
thee/ This sense is argute, but not so solid. Junius, who first pro 
pounded it, seemeth to distrust it. The reason is of no force, for the 
same form might be used on divers occasions ; and my reasons against 
it are, because these expressions are typical and visional. Now to make 
a type of a type, especially in the New Testament, which usually 
explaineth the difficulties of the Old, seemeth irrational ; and though 
by Michael Christ may be intended, yet the change from Joshua to 
Moses is too much forced. (2.) Others conceive that it is not a his 
tory, but a Talmudic fiction and parable ; and that Jude, in citing 
it, doth not approve the story as true, but only urgeth it upon them 
for their instruction, who were mightily pleased with this kind of 
fables : as the fathers against the heathens did often make use of their 
own stories and fictions concerning their gods ; such condescensions are 
frequent. But against this opinion ; it seemeth to be urged here by 
way of downright assertion, not as an argument ad homines, and by 
Peter on the like occasion : 2 Peter ii. 11, * Whereas angels, that are 
greater in might and power, bring not a railing accusation against them 
before the Lord/ I say, he doth not urge it as a Jewish fable, but as 
a real argument taken from the nature of the holy angels. (3.) There 
is another opinion, that it is a real history, namely, that the devil was 
earnest to discover the place of Moses' grave, and to take up his body 
again, wherein he was resisted by Michael, some principal and chief 
angel, and his attempts made fruitless by this holy and modest address 
to God, ' The Lord rebuke thee/ 

Quest. 3. The next question is, who is meant by Michael the arch 
angel ? 

Ans. Michael is the name of his person, and archangel of his 
office. Michael signifieth he is strong God, or who is like the strong 
God, and therefore some apply it to Jesus Christ, who in many places 
of scripture is set forth as ' head of angels/ See Exod. iii. 2 with 4, 
and Exod.. xxiii. 20-22; Gen. xlviii. 16; and in Dan. xii. 1, and 
x. 13. Jesus Christ seemeth there to be intended by Michael, he 


being the Prince of Israel. But there is no necessity of interpreting 
those places in Daniel of Christ, much less is he intended here, it 
being beneath the dignity of his person to contend with the devil, 
which though he did in his humiliation, Mat. iv., yet to do it before 
that was unworthy of him ; besides, that phrase, he durst not, is not 
so applicable to Jesus Christ, and besides, Christ and the archangel 
are in scripture distinguished, yea, Peter applieth this to angels in 
general, ' whereas angels/ 2 Peter ii. 11. But you will object, how 
can any creature be called Michael, equal to God in power and strength ? 
I answer It may be taken (1.) Absolutely, and so it is proper to 
Christ, who is God's fellow, Zech. xiii. 7 ; (2.) Comparatively, and so 
it may be applied to him who is highest in dignity among the crea 
tures, and is next to God in excellency and strength, and so it may 
imply the highest angel, as in hell there is a Beelzebub, or a chief 
devil ; therefore it is said, Mat. xxv., ' The devil and his angels/ So 
in heaven there may be a Michael, one highest in order among the 
blessed angels. 

Quest. 4. Why should the devil so earnestly dispute about the body 
of Moses ? 

Ans. The rabbins, among others of their fables, interpret it of the 
desire which the devil had to destroy Moses by death, there being no 
man like Moses, that ' saw God face to face/ Therefore his rage was 
great against him, and he sought to destroy him ; and to this purpose 
applies that of the psalmist : Ps. xxxvii. 32, ' The wicked watcheth the 
righteous, and seeketh to slay him/ Among Christians some say this 
striving was before, some after, his burial ; some before his burial, as 
Junius, that his body might not be removed out of sight, but he might 
satisfy his rage and malice upon it in abusing it. But that is not so 
probable, the body being suddenly disposed of by God to some secret 
place of burial. Some say after burial the devil sought to take it up 
again, and upon that ground arose this contention between him and 
Michael. But why should the devil contend so much about the buried 
body of Moses ? To answer this we must consider what might be the 
ends of God's concealing his burial. Possibly this might be done lest 
in a preposterous zeal they should yield honour to the dead body of 
such a famous and excellent prophet, and so. it might become a snare 
to the people. Possibly there might be something typical in it the 
dead body of Moses was buried in an unknown place, lest they should 
take it up, and carry it into the land of Canaan to signify the aboli 
tion of the legal ordinances, under the evangelic state. So that to 
revive the antiquated ceremonies of the law now is to but rake up 
Moses' dead body. Now the devil may be supposed to contend for 
the body of Moses, partly out of obstinate curiosity, whereby sinful 
creatures are strongly inclined to desire things forbidden ; partly to 
defeat the purposes of God ; but chiefly by dead Moses to set up him 
self in the hearts of the living, seeking thereby to provoke them to a 
worship of his relics or remains. 

These questions premised, the explication of the words is easy. 
Michael the archangel ; that is, some principal angel deputed to this 
ministry and service. When he contended with the devil, St,a@6\rp 
&La,KpLv6fj,evos. The word signifieth an altercation or contention in 
words, a dispute with the devil. About the body of Moses, about the 


knowledge of the place of his burial. Durst not, his fear of God, 
modesty, and meekness would not permit him. Bring against him a 
railing accusation, Kpiaw eireve^Kelv /SXacr^^/zta?, ' the judgment of 
blasphemy/ or such unworthy language as the heat of contention is 
wont to provoke and extort from us. But said, The Lord rebuke thee. 
It is a modest referring of the matter to God's cognisance, or a prayer 
that the Lord would check this malicious opposition. 
Observations are many : 

Obs. 1. Observe, that to aggravate their virulency, he compares it 
with the modesty of an archangel ; whence note, that pride and con 
tempt in them of a low degree is less tolerable than in those whom 
God hath advanced to a higher rank and sphere. Partly because 
these have less temptation to be proud ; and when a sin is committed 
without a temptation it is a sign that the heart is strongly inclined 
that way, as there needeth no force to make a bowl run down hill, 
because of its natural tendency. Their wants and meanness should 
keep them humble ; we look that the fire should go out when the fuel 
is taken away. When men have nothing to be proud of, the want 
of an opportunity should make men at least forbear the sin. Partly 
because they have more reason to be humble ; as the rich and great 
have reason to be thankful, so the poor have reason to be humble. 
With a low condition there should be a lowly mind: 'It is better 
to be of a humble spirit with the lowly,' &c., Prov. xvi. 19. Well, 
then, poverty and pride are most unsuitable ; pride is allowable in 
none, but in the poor most prodigious. It is an odd sight to see 
those of the highest rank turn fashionists, arid display the ensigns of 
their own vanity ; but when servants, and those of a low degree, put 
themselves into the garb, these are prodigies of pride. As the modesty 
of the archangel was an upbraiding to the pride of the Gnostics, so 
should those that are advanced to the highest degree of honour shame 
the meaner sort with their comely plainness. Again, to see men of the 
greatest sufficiencies humble in style and mind, and denying their great 
parts for the sake of the simplicity of the gospel ; it is a shame that 
persons of low parts should be puffed up, and appear flaunting in the 
pomp of words, or blustering in Greek and Latin sentences, as if all 
reading and learned worth were their own. The apostle condemned 
the Corinthians for the pompous use of tongues in the church, and 
shameth them by his own example : 1 Cor. xiv. 18, * I thank God I 
speak with tongues more than you all ; yet rather/ &c. 

Again, to take down pride, look to others whom God hath set higher, 
and yet are more humble, as usually the higher the sun the less 
shadows it casteth. Usually God's children carry a low mind in a 
high condition, James i. 10; they are rich, yet 'made low/ that is, 
* lowly/ If, in the fulness of riches, honours, parts, and enjoyments, 
they are so meek and humble, why should I, that have less temptations, 
be more proud ? They are lifted up by God, but not in their own 
spirits. I am a worm, in a much lower sphere, and yet of a prouder 
heart. They are affable, meek, modest, why am I so fierce and im 
patient of contradiction ? Once more, if the judgments of God light 
upon greater personages for their pride, say what will become of me ? 
In me it is more odious. If God destroy those whose ' height is as the 
height of cedars/ Amos ii. 9, surely the reed should tremble. Many 


times mean and base people, that have no tincture of ingenuity, and are 
of no name or quality in the world, have pride enough to be bitter enemies 
to God's children. David saith, Ps. xxxv. 15, * The abjects gathered 
themselves together to make songs against me/ when as God * rebuketh 
kings for their sakes/ If he visit the throne, will he not visit the ale- 
bench ? What scorn will he cast upon this saucy dust ? these spiteful 
worms, that have only malice enough to snarl and can go no further ? 
If ' the great men of the earth' tremble, shall the 'bondmen' go free ? 
Kev. vi. 15. But chiefly upon this occasion would I commend to you 
the example of the Lord Christ to take down pride. This is an ex 
ample that will shame us indeed, whatever the pride be. Are you 
puffed up with pride of vain conceit ? Christ stripped himself of all 
his glory, Phil. ii. 7. With pride of revenge ? Men are loath to strike 
sail, to seek to an enemy ; they scorn it. Jesus Christ, though such 
an excellent person, ' loved us first,' 1 John iv. 19, sued to his enemies. 
Is it disdain of our condition, pride of murmurings ? He made him 
self ' a worm and no man,' and ' when he was rich ' in the glory of the 
Godhead, * became poor for our sakes :' Mat. x. 24, ' The disciple is not 
above his master, nor the servant above his lord.' If we be scorned, 
would we be better dealt with than our master was ? Many times you 
have seen a master do the work of a servant to shame him ; so did 
Christ. Do but think of Christ's excellency and your own base condi 
tion ; as here, to shame the brutish Gnostics, the apostle telleth them 
they took more upon them than a glorious angel. 

Obs. 2. Again, from the archangel's contending about the body of 
Moses. The devil would discover Moses' grave, and the archangel is 
ready to resist him. The note is, that God hath angels and archangels 
that are always ready to defend a good cause. They are many ; the 
king of heaven hath a brave court : Dan, vii. 10, 'A thousand thousand 
minister to him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stand before 
him.' Christ saith he could pray for 'twelve legions' in an instant, 
Mat. xxvi. 53. Now a legion, in the least computation, is six thousand 
foot and seven hundred horse. They are able, they ' excel in strength.' 
One angel slew a hundred and eighty-five thousand in one night, Isa. 
xxxvii. 36. They are always ready, attending on God's commands, 
Ps. ciii. 20. They rejoice in names of service more than names of 
honour. They are swift in execution; they are described to have 
' six wings apiece,' Isa. vi. 2 ; as being at the Lord's beck, and ready 
to execute his command as soon as they hear the word. All which 
informeth us (1.) Of the danger of wicked men in opposing a good 
cause ; they fight not only against men, but against angels. (2.) That 
angels have more to do in human affairs than we are aware of. 
There are evil angels assisting in the counsels against the church, 
and good angels resisting, in those days of conflict. The combat is 
not only between men and men, but between angels and angels, 
Dan. x. 13. The protection of the holy angels is invisible, but true 
and real. (3.) Here is comfort to God's children when they are 
embarked in a hazardous but in a holy business ; there are ' far 
more with us than can be against us,' 2 Kings vi. 16. There is 
God the Father's power on the church's side ; the Son puts forth 
the strength of his mediation, Zech. iii. 2 ; the Spirit comforts and 


animateth us, and then holy angels are employed as instruments. The 
Lord Jesus and his angels will stick to the church when none else 
dare : Dan. x. 21, ' There is none holdeth with me in these things but 
Michael your prince.' When all human strength faileth, Christ by 
their ministry can uphold the affairs of the church ; omnipotericy is a 
great deep. Usually we look to means, and can better conceive of the 
operations of finite creatures than of the infinite God ; therefore doth 
the Lord represent the help of the church as managed by these power 
ful instruments. Only now take heed that you do not betray your 
succours, nor defraud yourselves of their protection. (1.) By neglect 
ing to seek to the God of angels : Dan. x. 12, ' From the first day thou 
didst set thine heart to understand, and didst chasten thyself before thy 
God,' &c. We are not to pray to them, but for them, to the Lord. 
(2.) By unwarrantable practices, for then you join with Satan to their 
grief : Ps. xxxiv. 7, ' The angel encampeth about them that fear him.' 
A good cause should be well managed, and then trust God, who, if he 
seeth fit to glorify himself by our deliverance, rather than our suffer 
ings, can find means enough to save us when men fail. 

Obs. 3. Observe again, that angels have a care not only of the souls, 
but of thejbodies, yea, even of the dead bodies, of the saints, as Michael 
disputed with the devil about ' the body of Moses/ That you may 
understand the particular care which the angels have about the people 
of God, I shall open it to you in several propositions : 

1. It is certain the angels had a great care about the people of God 
in ancient times. Examples are found everywhere in the word of God. 
Lot was led out of Sodom by angels ; Daniel taught by an angel ; Cor 
nelius answered by an angel ; an angel withstood Balaam in the way, 
o^um. xxii. ; an angel walked with the three children in the fiery fur 
nace, Dan. iii. 25 ; an angel shut up the mouths of lions that they 
might not hurt Daniel in the den, Dan. vi. 22 ; an angel comforted 
Paul in the tempest, Acts xxvii. 23, 24. Scarce any remarkable thing 
befell the people of God, but it was accomplished by their ministry. 

2. The ministry of angels, though not so visible and sensible as 
heretofore, is not wholly ceased. The privilege of it belongeth to all 
saints : Heb. i, 14> ' Are they not ministering spirits sent forth for the 
heirs of salvation?' All that are called to inherit a blessing were 
under their tutelage. So see Ps. xci. 1 2 ; and those instances alleged 
in the former proposition are patterns and precedents by which we may 
know what to expect. Their tutelage then was more visible and sen 
sible, because the church, newly planted, needed to be confirmed ; but 
God would have us live by faith, and expect all our supports in a 
more spiritual way ; though we have not visible apparitions, yet we 
have real experiments of their succour ; the evil angels appear not, yet 
we doubt not of the hurt done by them. In the first times of the 
gospel Christ's bodily presence was necessary, but now only his 

3. The proper object of their ministry and care are the children of 
God, wicked men are not under their covert and protection ; it is true, 
they may be under a general care, as Hagar and Ishmael, who are set 
out in scripture as the types of those that are rejected by the Lord ; 
yet, Gen. xxi. 17, * An angel of the Lord came and stood by Hagar, and 


said, The Lord Lath heard the cry of the lad/ Though possibly this 
might be, as he was Abraham's son ; dogs in the house have the crumbs. 

4. The ministry of the angels is over all the children of God, with 
out exception ; not only Moses, but the meanest saint is under their 
care. God's love to his people is not dispensed with respect to their 
peculiar pomp and greatness : Mat. xviii. 10, ' Offend not these little 
ones, for their angels behold my Father's face/ It is chiefly meant of 
those that are little in esteem and account in the world ; the message 
of Christ's birth was brought by angels to shepherds, feeding their 
flocks in the fields, Luke ii. 

5. As no saints are excepted from receiving the benefit of their 
ministry, so no angels are excepted from being employed in it. 
Michael contendeth with Satan, and the apostle saith, ov^l Trdvres, 
1 Are they not all,' &c., Heb. i. 14. The archangels themselves are 
' ministering spirits ; ' it is a rash boldness in the schoolmen to exempt 
any from this office. What an instance is here of God's love, that the 
highest angel should not be exempted from a care of the lowest saint! 

6. That every single believer hath his proper and allotted angel to 
attend him from his birth to his death, is rather matter of problem 
and dispute than positive assertion ; there are some scriptures make 
it probable, but not certain. Sometimes we read of one angel 
attending many men, arid at other times of many angels attending 
one man, as Jacob had many, Gen. xxxii. 1, 2, ' God's host/ &c. ; so 
Elisha, 2 Kings vi. 17, ' Elisha prayed and the mountains were full 
of chariots and horses of fire/ that is, of angels coming to offer help 
in that case. It is true, the opinion of a particular angel guardian 
was ancient. Plato saith, e/eacrT&> ov eXero Sai/Jiova TQVTOV fyvKaica 
%vjJi7re/j,7reLv TOV fiiov /cat a7ro7r\r)pct)Tr]V rwv aipeOevrtav, and among 
the ancient fathers places of scripture are brought for it that are full 
of probability, not cogency. One is that of the Old Testament, Gen. 
xlviii. 16, ' The angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads/ 
&c., in which passage he seemeth to ascribe his preservation and de 
liverance to some particular angel ; but to this may be replied what 
was before alleged of ' the host of God ' going along with him ; and by 
this angel is meant the Lord Christ, who is alone the object of worship 
and adoration ; and who, because of the frequency of his personal ap 
pearance and mediation between God and man, is set forth under the 
term of an angel. The rabbins expound it of ' the angel of God's pre 
sence/ Another place is Mat. xviii. 10, ' Their angels see my Father's 
face ;' not the angels, but their angels ; but the word there may only imply 
their common interest in the whole host of God. Christ doth not say 
that every one of them hath an angel. As, for instance, it may be 
said, These prisoners have their keepers, these scholars have their mas 
ters, these soldiers have their captains ; it doth not follow that every 
one hath a particular keeper, master, captain, &c. Another place is 
Acts xii. 15. When the maid said Peter was at the door, they, dis 
trusting her report, said, ' It is his angel/ This place may be answered 
thus That sayings of men in scripture are not all scripture, or a part 
of our rule ; arid that many things were spoken by the disciples in their 
rudeness which are not altogether justifiable ; but because this place 
is the main, let me examine it a little. Three opinions there are about 


the place. Some understand it appellatively, it is his angel, or mes 
senger, sent by him out of prison. 1 But Khoda heard Peter's voice, 
and that was the ground of the sayings. Others understand it of some 
angel come to give notice of his death ; but that is groundless. Lastly, 
some, as Chrysostom, of a particular tutelar angel. But whence doth 
it appear that these angels had the shape and habit of those they kept ? 
And angels do not use to knock at doors, and wait for opening ; and 
if Peter had a special angel, it followeth not that all have ; the mean 
ing probably is, it is a spirit that hath assumed his shape. 

7. Though it be not certain that every particular believer hath an 
angel deputed to his attendance, yet in the general there is an assur 
ance of a guardianship and tutelage from the angels ; ' the heirs of 
salvation ' have them among them. If the whole city hath a sufficient 
guard, it is as good as if every citizen had a distinct soldier to defend 
him ; nay, it is more for our comfort, that we have many rather than 
one ; we have to do with many enemies, and therefore we need much 
assistance: Ps. xci. 11, ' He shall give his angels charge over thee.' 
Many angels are charged with our safety, and though they be not so 
particularly conversant about us as the other opinion conceiveth, yet 
they ' behold the face of God/ and are always in his presence, and 
' wait for his command,' Ps. ciii. 20, who so careth for every one as if 
he had none to care for besides him. 

8. This tutelage is from their first conception in the womb till the 
translation of body and soul into glory. Survey all the passages of 
life from the womb to the grave, nay, after death, till the resurrec 
tion, the ministry of angels doth not wholly cease. Their care begin- 
neth as soon as the child is quickened in the womb, for then they have 
another distinct charge to look after ; and as they are servants of pro 
vidence, by their help they are born and brought into the world ; God's 
providence taketh date thence, Gal. i. 15 ; and they, I say, are instru 
ments of providence ; they watch over us in infancy and childhood ; 
little ones are committed to their custody, and babes and sucklings 
have their angels, Mat. xviii. Jesus Christ was provided for in his 
cradle by an angel, Mat. ii. 13. The devil rampeth about the elect 
whilst they are yet in their swaddling-clothes. That expression, Rev. 
xii. , of the dragon's seeking to ' devour the man-child as soon as he 
was born/ is figurative, but it alludeth to what is true. Again, as we 
grow up they rejoice at our conversion, Luke xv. We read of 'joy in 
heaven over a sinner that repenteth ; ' you cannot gratify the angels 
more than in your conversion to God ; the devil seeks to hinder it as 
much as he can, but they rejoice when ' a brand is plucked out of the 
burning/ Zech. iii. Again, after conversion, they watch over us in 
duty, and danger, and temptations. In duties ; where Satan is most 
busy to hinder, Zech. iii. 1, they are most helpful : the angels are in 
the assemblies of the faithful, 1 Cor. xi. 10. So in dangers ; when 
Peter was in prison, God serideth him an angel to bring him out, 
Acts xii. Ruffinus speaketh of a young man, a martyr on the rack, 
that had his face wiped by an angel, and refreshed by him in the 
midst of his pains. Nay, in casual dangers, which we cannot foresee 
and prevent : Ps. xci. 12, ' He shall give his angels charge over thee, 

1 John's disciples are called ayy\oi, angels, or messengers of John, Luke vii. 24. 


that ttiou dash not thy foot against a stone.' So in temptations ; Mat. 
iv. 11, they ' ministered' to Christ when he was tempted by the devil ; 
they came to show how God will deal with his people in like cases. 
Once more, they are with us to comfort us in death ; in the midst of 
his agonies the Lord Jesus was comforted and refreshed by an angel, 
Luke xxii. 43 ; so they are with the faithful, helping and easing them 
in their sicknesses. After death they carry our souls to heaven, as 
Lazarus was carried into Abraham's bosom, Luke xvi. 22. Though 
the body had not the honour of a pompous burial, yet the soul is 
solemnly conveyed by angels, and gathered up into the communion of 
the souls of just men made perfect ; as Christ himself also ascended 
into heaven in the company of angels, Acts i. Once more, after death 
they guard our bodies in the grave, as the angels guarded Christ's 
sepulchre, Mat. xxviii. 2-4. God did set his guards, as well as the 
high priests. Their last ministry and service about the faithful is to 
gather up their bodies at the last day : ' They shall gather up the 
elect from the four winds/ Mat. xxiv. 31, and then their office and 
charge ceaseth. 

9. This tutelage is ever administered according to God's pleasure : 
Ps. ciii. 21, 'Ye ministers of his that do his pleasure ;' not their own, 
not ours, but his pleasure. The help of angels is more powerful, but 
no more absolute, than the help of other means, for it dependeth still 
on the will of God, as all other means of defence and outward support 
do ; their employment is to attend us, and serve us, according to the 
Lord's direction. 

Let us now apply what hath been spoken. 

Use 1. First, it serveth for information, to show us : 

1. The care of God for the elect. He engageth his own power for 
our preservation, as also the mediation of Christ, the conduct of the 
Spirit, and the ministry of angels. In Zech. i. you have a scheme of 
providence ; ' the man that stood among the myrtle trees ' sent the 
angels to and fro throughout the earth, and then they came and gave 
him an account of what passed in the world. The man is Jesus Christ, 
who, to prefigure his incarnation, is thus represented ; and he hath all 
the angels at his command, to send them forth as the condition of his 
church requireth ; and they, as his intelligencers and agents, are to 
bring him notice how all affairs and matters pass in the world. Thus 
doth the Lord set forth himself to our capacity, and that we, who are 
used to means, may the better believe in him. 

2. The condescension and humility of the angels ; they rejoice in 
names of service more than in names of honour, and will perform 
offices of respect to the meanest creatures, an angel clothed with 
light and glory would come to the shepherds, and do not refuse at 
Christ's direction to wait upon those who are despised and rejected 
of men. 

3. It informeth us of their man-kindness, which shameth our envy ; 
their love is great to mankind, and are affectionately desirous of our 
good, and therefore decline no office of love and service to us. They 
rejoiced when the world was created as a dwelling-place for man 
Job xxxviii. 7 ; and again at the coming of Christ, which was man's 
restoring, Luke ii. 13 ; and so at the calling and conversion of a sin- 


ner, Luke xv. 7, when we come to be possessed of our privileges in 

4. It informeth us of the dignity of the saints. What a price doth 
the Lord and the holy angels set upon the meanest Christian ; God's 
own court is their guard. Certainly a godly man, though of the 
meanest calling, should not be contemptible; there is somewhat in 
holiness more than the world seeth, some worth in it, or else God 
would not set such a guard upon it, a guard so full of state and 
strength. It was a mighty favour for Mordecai to have a courtier of a 
great king to wait upon him for one hour : we have angels that still 
attend and wait for our good. 

5. It informeth us of the 'obedience of the angels in the lowest 
services. God saith, Go, and they go, though it be to wait upon poor 
and mean creatures. We usually dispute commands when we should 
practise them, and stick at duties that have anything of abasement 
and self-denial in them. In the Lord's Prayer we are brought to 
this pattern, Mat. vi., ' Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven/ 
that is, by the holy angels ; it should be done by us with like readi 
ness and submission. No office or employment that God calleth us 
to should be looked upon as too mean and base for us ; the angels, that 
excel in strength, when God commandeth, being willing to condescend 
to the guardianship of men. 

Use 2. Secondly, it serveth for exhortation to the children of God : 

1. To wait for the angels' help. Do you keep in God's ways in 
your callings, and you shall have safety and defence, when the Lord 
sees it fit for you. Remember you are 'a spectacle to God, men, and 
angels, in all your actions, trials, and sufferings, and bear up with 
a confidence becoming Christians. Though you can do little as to 
the promotion of Christ's interest, what cannot God do by his 
angels ? 

2. To behave ourselves as those that 'do expect this help, not 
tempting God, not grieving the angels. We should take heed how 
we carry ourselves in regard of this honourable attendance ; our sins 
and vanity offendeth them, as it doth God. Lot was a man of a mixed 
nature, yet ' vexed with the impure conversation' of the Sodomites, 
2 Peter ii. 8. Angels are pure and holy creatures, that still abode in 
the truth ; pride, lust, and vanity is very offensive to them, especially 
impurities and indecencies in God's worship, about which they have a 
special attendance ; therefore the apostle biddeth the women to cover 
their heads because of the angels, 1 Cor. xi. 10, their fashion being to 
come into the congregation with loose dishevelled locks ; he mindeth 
them of the presence of the angels. We may use a like argument to 
women to cover their naked breasts, now their immodesty is grown so 
impudent as to out-face the ordinances of God. 

3. To observe this when it is bestowed upon us : * The angel of the 
Lord encampeth round about them that fear him ;' and then, ' Oh ! 
come, taste and see,' Ps. xxxiv. 7, 8. When deliverances are strange 
and wonderful, and there is the least concurrence of visible causes to 
defend Christ's interest, remember that ' all things, visible and invisi 
ble, were created by Christ and for Christ, even thrones, principalities, 
and powers/ Col. i. 16. 


Use 3. Thirdly, Here is reproof to wicked men, that perform the 
devils' ministry, act the part of the bad angels rather than the good, 
despise, slander, oppose, seduce, and tempt the children of God. How 
darest thou despise those whom the angels honour ? You think them 
unworthy of your countenance and company, when angels disdain 
not to vouchsafe them their service and attendance. You slander 
those whom they defend, and oppose and persecute them whom they 
are engaged to protect, and wrong them whose angels behold the 
face of God, and tempt and seduce them whom they rejoice to see 
brought home to God. 

Obs. 4. I have but one word more, and I have done with this 
point. Get this interest if you would be under this tutelage ; get an 
interest in Christ, and then you get an interest in the angels, ' their 
angels/ &c., Mat. xviii. 10. They are not called God's, but theirs. 
Hereafter the saints shall be icrd<yye\oi,, 'Like the angels- in heaven,' 
Luke xx. 36 ; and here, till we have this glory, we shall have their 

In the next place, somewhat may be observed from the style and 
character of this angel, ' Michael, the archangel.' That there is an 
order among the angels, both good and bad ; they have their distinct 
heads ; we read of Michael, and we read of Beelzebub ; there is an 
order in hell, thence that expression, Mat. xxv. 41, ' The devil and 
his angels/ which seemeth to intimate a prince among the unclean 
spirits ; much more is there an order among the good angels. God, 
that made all things in order, would not endure confusion among those 
heavenly creatures, for that would seem to infringe their happiness ; 
but now to define this order, and the several degrees of it, were but ' to 
intrude ourselves into things we have not seen/ Col. ii. 16. Cyril 1 
calleth it TTJV T&V roK^puv KvpioTyra, the domineering of bold spirits. 
The schoolmen take upon them as if they knew all the particulars of 
their government and distinction ; but in things not revealed there can 
be no certainty. The apostle indeed speaketh of several ranks of in 
visible creatures: Col. i. 16, 'Thrones, dominions, principalities, and 
powers ; ' but who can particularly define their office and order ? A 
distinction there is, but what it is we know not ; however the general 
consideration is useful ; partly to show us the necessity of order and sub 
ordination ; no creatures can subsist without it. They that are against 
magistracy are against peace and happiness ; the angels and devils 
are not without their heads and princes. Partly to represent to us the 
majesty of God ; he hath angels, and archangels, thrones, dominions, 
principalities, and powers. Our eyes are dazzled at the magnificence 
and lustre of earthly kings, when we see them surrounded with dukes, 
marquises, and earls, and barons. Oh ! what poor things are these 
to those orders and degrees of angels with which God is environed ! 
Partly to acquaint us with the happiness of the everlasting estate. It 
is the misery of the wicked that they shall be cast out ' with the devil 
and his angels/ and our happiness that we shall make up one church 
and assembly with angels and archangels, Heb. xii. 

Obs. 5. Somewhat may be observed from the matter of the conten 
tion, the body of Moses, which the devil would abuse to idolatry ; that 

1 See Rivet's Cathol. Orthodox, de Ang. Grad. 


is the reason why he was so earnest in the contest. Note, that the 
devil loveth idolatry ; all false worships, either directly or by conse 
quence, tend to the honour of the devil ; therefore idol-feasts are called 
' the table of devils,' 1 Cor. x. 21. Now it is observable that those 
sacrifices which were offered to the true God, but in an unbecoming 
manner, are called ' the sacrifices of devils,' Lev. xvii. 7, compare it 
with ver. 3, 4. Though they killed a goat, or an ox, or a lamb to the 
Lord for a sacrifice, because it was in the camp, and not before the 
tabernacle, God saith, ' They shall no more offer sacrifice to devils/ 
So it is said of God's own people, Deut. xxxii. 17, ' They sacrifice to 
devils, and not unto God/ In their intention it was unto God, but in 
the issue and necessary interpretation of it, it was to the devil. Now 
the devil delights in idols and false worships, partly in malice to God. 
The Lord above all things is most tender of his worship, and therefore 
Satan is most busy to corrupt it. There are two things that are dear 
to God his truth and his worship. Now Satan bendeth his strength 
and spite to corrupt his truth with error, and his worship with supersti 
tion. Partly in malice arid spite to men. God is a jealous God ; Satan 
knoweth that corruptions of worship do not go unrevenged : Ps. xvi. 4, 
* Sorrows shall be multiplied on them that hasten after another God.' 
Of all sinners they shall not escape ; the severest revenges of God 
have been occasioned by prevarications in worship ; as Lev. x. 3, on 
Aaron's sons strange fire in the censers brought down strange fire from 
heaven ; so 1 Sam. vi. 20, there were fifty thousand Bethshemites slain 
for an undue circumstance ; so ' the breach made upon Uzzah,' 2 Sam. 
vi. 6. 7. The devil is not ignorant of this, and therefore, longing for 
man's destruction, seeketh to hasten it as much as he can by idolatry 
and false worship. Partly out of pride ; he is constant in evil, and 
abode in pride ; though he abode not in the truth, he would fain be 
worshipped, and assumed into a fellowship of the divine honour and 
glory. He saith to Christ, Mat. iv. 9, ' Fall down and worship me, 
and I will give thee all these things.' The devil is no changeling ; 
though he doth not retain his place, he retaineth his pride : nothing 
so pleasing to him as worship and adoration, and so he can get it any 
way from the creatures, he is contented. 

Use 1. Well, then, it showeth us: 

1. What care we should take to be right in worship, both for the 
object and manner. It is idolatry not only to worship false gods in 
the place of the true God, but to worship the true God in a false 
manner, and both sorts do gratify the devil. W r hen he cannot hold 
the people under utter blindness and paganism, he is glad if he can 
draw them to undue rites and ceremonies in worship ; therefore let us 
hate the least kind of idolatry, if we would not prog for the devil's 
kingdom. David saith, Ps. xvi. 4, ' I will not take their name into 
my lips ; ' that he would abhor the very mention of idols. So Hosea 
ii. 16, God would no more be called Baal, though it signified Lord 
and husband, because the title had been applied to idols. The 
Israelites, when they took cities, they changed their names if they had 
any tincture of idolatry : Num. xxxii. 38, ' Nebo and Baalmeon, 
their names being changed ; ' so exact should we be in keeping from 


2. Let ns beware of idolatry. Satan loveth it, and that is motive 
enough. We should hate as Christ hateth, arid love as he loveth, 
Eev. ii. 6 ; and on the contrary, love what Satan hateth, and hate what 
he loveth. Naturally we are wondrous prone to this sin, and there 
fore idolatry is reckoned as a ' work of the flesh/ Gal. v. 20. Man 
naturally hath a corrupt and working fancy and imagination, which, 
depending upon sense, formeth fleshly conceptions and notions of God ; 
and therefore are we so prone to err in this worship. It is not needful, 
I hope, to speak to you of paganish and popish idolatry ; let me only 
now dissuade you : 

First, From making the true God an idol in your thoughts, by 
forming apprehensions unworthy of the glory of his essence : Ps. I. 
21, ' Thou thoughtest that I was altogether like thyself/ Now, thus 
we do when we conceive him of such a mercy as to hold fellowship 
with one that continueth under the full power of his sins, so weak as 
not to be able to help in deep extremities, Zech. viii. 6, of a rigorous 
and revengeful disposition, as not to pardon injuries and offences upon 
submission and repentance, Hosea xi. 8, of a fickle nature, so as to 
fail in his promises, Num. xxiii. 19. Thus it is easy to turn the true 
God into an idol of our own brains. To remedy this, consider God 
in his works and in Christ. In his works : Cyril, I remember, ob- 
serveth, that before the flood we read of no idolatry. Aquinas addeth a 
reason to the observation, because the memory of the creation was 
then fresh in their thoughts. Again, look upon God in Christ : you 
heard before, in Lev. xvii., if they did not bring their sacrifice to the 
tabernacle, it was called a sacrifice of devils. The tabernacle was a 
type of Christ. You make God an idol when you worship him out of 
Christ, for the Father will be honoured in the Son, John v. There 
fore, whenever you go to God, take Christ along with you. 

Secondly, From setting up any idol against God in your affections. 
When you set up anything above God in your esteem, especially in 
your trust, that is an idol. Covetousness is twice called idolatry, Col. 
iii. 5, Eph. v. 5, because it doth withdraw our affections from God ; 
yea, our care, our esteem, our trust, which is the chiefest homage and 
respect which God expecteth from the creature. I mention these 
things because I would speak somewhat to practice, and because 
Satan is gratified with spiritual idolatry, as well as with that which is 
gross and bodily. 

06s. 6. From that clause, about the body of Moses, once more 
observe, that of all kinds of idolatry, the devil abuseth the world most 
with idolatrous respects to the bodies and relics of dead saints. If 
you ask why, I answer Partly because this kind of idolatry is most 
likely to take, as being the most plausible and suitable to that reverent 
esteem which we have of those that are departed in the Lord ; and so 
our religious affections become a snare to us : partly because when 
men become objects of worship and adoration, the Godhead is made 
more contemptible, and men's conceits of a divine power run at a 
lower rate every day : partly because this malicious fiend hopeth this 
way to beat the Lord with his own weapon, when the bodies and relics 
of those saints who, by the famousness of their examples, were likely 
to draw many to God, do as much, or more, withdraw men from 


him, and superstition doth as much hurt as their example did good : 
partly because the devil, by long experience, hath found this to be a 
successful way in the world. Lactantius proveth it, that the idolising 
of famous men was the rise of all idolatry ; and Tertullian, in the end 
of his Apology, observeth the same, that heathen idolatry came in this 
way : sub nominibus et imaginibus mortuorum by a reverence to the 
images of dead men whose memory was precious amongst them. 
Ninus, or Nimrod, the first idolater, set up his own dead father, 
Belus ; whence came the names of Baal and Bel for an idol. The 
teraphim, stolen by Rachel, Gen. xxxi. 35, were the images of their 
ancestors, whom Laban worshipped. So in the primitive times, before 
any other idolatry was brought into the church, they began with the 
tombs and shrines of the martyrs. 

Use 1. First, Itshowethus the first rise of idolatry, respect to the 
relics and remains of some men famous in their generations. Satan 
attempted it betimes, not only among the heathens, but among the 
people of God ; he contended for the body of Moses, that he might set 
it up for this use ; but that which he could not obtain then he hath 
effected now in the Roman synagogue, by the arms, the legs, the 
hands, the feet, the pictures of the martyrs. Surely such a known 
artifice and ancient method of deceit, a man would think, should long 
ere this have been discerned, but that God hath ' given them up to 
believe a lie.' Well might the antichristian state be called, Rev. 
xi. 8, ' Babylon, Sodom, and Egypt ; ' that is, Babylon for idolatry, 
Sodom for filthiness, and Egypt for ignorance and darkness ; the same 
idolatry being practised which was in use in the darkest times of 
paganism. Heathenism and Popery differ but little, only the names 
are changed, a new saint for an old heathen idol ; their canonising 
and the heathens' airoQewa-is are much alike ; so are their saints and 
the heathens' heroes and middle powers : only that the Papists have 
put many in the calendar which either never were in the world, or else 
were wicked and traitorous ; as our Becket, and St George, an Arian 
bishop, that so the devil might be doubly gratified by the shrine 
itself, and that, by the canonisation of the infamous person, sin might 
become less odious. 

Secondly, It showeth the perverseness of men, who are apt super- 
stitiously to regard the relics of them dead whom they despised living. 
Moses was often opposed living, and after death likely to be adored ; 
as it is often the condition of God's people to live hated and die 
sainted. Vetus morbus est, saith Salvian, quo mortui sancti coluntur, 
mm contemnuntur. The Scribes and Pharisees ' garnished the tombs 
of the dead prophets, and killed the living,' Mat. xxiii. 29, 30 ; and 
the Jews, in the 5th of John, pretended love to Moses, and showed 
hatred to Christ. Posterity honoureth them whom former ages de 
stroyed ; living saints are an eyesore ; they torment the world, either by 
their example or their reproofs, Rev. xi. 10, Heb. xi. 7 ; but objects 
out of sight do not exasperate and stand in the way of our lusts. This 
fond affection is little worth ; those that were ready to adore Moses 
would not imitate him. 

Obs. 7. Again from that lie durst not, OVK eVoX/^cre, he had not the 
boldness to do anything contrary to the law of God, or unbeseeming 


his rank and ministry. Note, that sin is a hold contest, or a daring of 
God. Every sin is an affront to the law that forbiddeth it : 2 Sam. 
xii. 9, ' Wherefore hast thou sinned in despising the commandment ? * 
A sinner doth in effect say, What care I for the commandment ? I 
will go on for all that; but a godly man ' feareth the commandment/ 
Prov. xiii. 13. If a law of God standeth in his way, he durst not go 
forward ; he feareth more to break a law than to meet with the devil 
in all his ruff, or any opposition from the world ; this is a holy 
timorousness : whereas, on the contrary, no such boldness as in sin 
ning ; it is not only a despising of the law, but a contest with God 
himself: 1 Cor. x. 22, ' Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy ? are we 
stronger than he ? ' Will you enter into the lists with God, as if you 
could make your part good against him ? Ezek. xxii. 14. He that 
sins against light and conscience, he biddeth open defiance to the 
majesty of God, and his lust and God's will do contend for the 
mastery. Let this make us afraid of sin, it is a daring attempt of 
the creature against his maker, a challenging of God to the combat. 
Well might the apostle say that the carnal mind is e%6pa, ' enmity 
against God/ Kom. viii. 7. .Therefore, when you are tempted, con 
sider, What am I now a-doing ? Shall I challenge the combat of 
my maker ? draw omnipotency about my ears ? An angel durst not : 
' How can I do this wickedness and sin against God ? ' Gen. xxxix. 9. 
Again, it inforfneth us what is the proper remedy against sin a holy 
awe and fear ; therefore, the first and chiefest point of true wisdom is 
made to be ' the fear of God/ Prov. ix. 10 ; so Prov. xiv. 27, this 
keepeth the soul from daring. Job's eschewing evil is ascribed to his 
fearing God, Job i. 1. There are two grounds of this fear God's 
power and goodness. 

1. God's power. Shall we contend with him who can command 
legions? Surely he will always 'overcome when he judgeth,' Rom. 
iii. 4, and have the best of it at last ; and so. this sin will be my ruin. 
There is a difference between striving with him in a sinful, and wrest 
ling with him in a gracious way ; there God will be overcome by his 
own strength: 'Command ye me/ &c., Isa. xlv. 11; but when you 
have the confidence to contest with him in a sinful way, what will 
become of you ? Ps. Ixxvi. 7, * Thou, even thou, art to be feared ; and 
who can stand in thy wrath when thou art angry ?' Man may make 
his part good against man, but who can cope with the Lord himself? 

2. God's love and mercy ; that should beget a fear, or an un 
willingness to displease God : Hosea iii. 5, ' They shall fear the Lord 
and his goodness ;' not only abstain from sin (as a dog from the bait, 
for fear of a cudgel) out of bondage or servile fear, but out of a hoi)'', 
childlike affection to God, and so do not only forbear sin, but abhor it. 
It is base and servile when we are moved with no other respects but 
our own danger. There is a holy fear, which ariseth from grace, and 
partly of nature : an archangel durst not, that is, the holiness of his 
nature would not permit him. There is a holy reverent fear, by which 
we fear to offend our good God as the greatest evil in the world ; and 
it ariseth partly from the new nature, and partly from thankfulness to 
God, because of his mercy in Jesus Christ. 

I have done with this note when I have told you that boldness in 


sinning resembleth the devil, but a holy fear resembleth Michael. It 
is devil-like to adventure upon sin without fear and shame. Satan 
had the impudency to seek to defeat the Lord's purpose of burying the 
body of Moses, but the good angel, in opposing him, ' durst not bring 
a railing accusation.' Certainly they that ' fear neither God nor man/ 
Luke xviii. 7, have outgrown the heart of a man, and are next to the 
devils. Many account it a praise to themselves when they are bold 
to engage in villanous actions and attempts. Oh ! to be ' presump 
tuous and self-willed ' is the worst character that can be given to a 
man, 2 Peter iii. 10 ; a stubborn boldness argueth a seared conscience. 

Obs. 8. Once more from that, OVK eVoX/^o-e, he durst not ; that the 
angels are of a most holy nature, which will not permit them to sin : 
therefore they are called 'holy angels/ Mat. xxv. 31, and the devils 
' unclean spirits.' In their apparitions they usually came in a garb 
that represented their innocency ; as at Christ's sepulchre there were 
' two angels in white, the one at head, the other at feet, where Jesus 
had lain/ John xx. 12 So to Daniel: chap. x. 5, one appeared, 
' having his loins girt with fine gold of Uphaz/ with long white robes ; 
gold, to show his majesty ; in white robes, as an emblem of purity and 
holiness : see Acts x. 30. Now this holiness they have partly by the 
gift of God in their creation. God made them so at the first, which 
may beget a hope in us men ; the same God must sanctify us that 
made the holy angels : surely he can wash us, though never so filthy, 
arid ' make us whiter than snow/ Ps. li. 7. Partly by the merit of 
Christ, which reached to things in heaven as well as in earth, Col. i. 
20, Eph. i. 10. If those places be not cogent, but be thought to intend 
the glorified saints, yet because they are called ' elect angels/ 1 Tim. 
v. 21, and all election is carried on in and by Christ, Eph. i. 4, it 
seemeth probable at least that they have benefit by him ; yea, Heb. 
xii. 22, 23, they are made a part of that * general assembly ' of which 
Christ is the head, and so by consequence they are members of the 
redeemed society ; which should encourage us the more to come to 
Christ. Angels have much of their whiteness from being washed in 
Christ's blood ; they are preserved in Jesus Christ as well as we, and 
have their confirmation from him, or else they had fallen with the 
other apostate spirits. 

Again, this holiness is the more increased and augmented : 

1. By their constant communion with God, for their always behold 
ing his face must needs beget the more holy awe and reverence : 
Michael durst not, &c. It is a great advantage to holiness to set God 
before our eyes, and to foresee him in all our ways : Ps. xviii. 23, ' I 
was upright before thee ;' that is, the thought of his being before God 
made him more sincere : ' He that doth evil hath not seen God,' 3 
John 11 ; that is, hath no acquaintance with him : the good angels, 
being so near the chiefest good, are at the greater distance from evil. 

2. By their continual obedience : ' They do his commandments, 
hearkening to the voice of his word,' Ps. ciii. 20. Exercise perfecteth 
and strengtheneth every habit. The angels, the more they do the will 
of God, the more they hate what is contrary to his will. The evil 
angels grow worse by frequent acts of spite and malice, and the good, 
angels better by frequent acts of duty. For the first, see 1 John iii. 8, 


* The devil sinneth from the beginning/ Satan is still a-sinning, and 
his whole life a continued act of apostasy. So the good angels are 
always doing ; ' they rest not day and night/ Rev. iv. 8. Surely it will 
be a matter of great advantage to ' exercise ourselves unto godliness,' 
the greater will be our hatred of sin, and delight in obedience ; as on 
the other side the exercising of the heart unto sin doth much strengthen 
and increase it, 2 Peter ii. 14. In heaven, where there is continual 
duty, there is no sin. 

Use 1. Let us apply it now. 

First, It serveth to humble us. We are the next rank of reasonable 
creatures, but how do we differ from them ? Their natures engage 
them to holiness, and ours, being corrupted, engage us to sin ; their 
nature will not permit them to sin, and our nature will not permit us 
to do that which is good, Eom. vii. 21. And yet the angels are 
ashamed of this their nature ; they cover their faces when they behold 
God's : Job xv. 14, 15, ' What is man, that he should be clean ? and 
he that is born of a woman, that he should be righteous ? Behold, he 
putteth no trust in his saints ; yea, the heavens are not clean in his 
sight.' These holy angels, when they compare themselves with God, 
are abased ; and should not we much more ? See also Job iv. 19. 

Secondly, It serveth to stir us up to holiness. You will say, Where 
lieth the motive ? I answer : 

1. We are bound as well as they. They 'behold his face,' and we 

* behold his face in a glass;' we are under a law as well as they, 
yea, commanded to observe their pattern : Mat. vi. 10, ' Thy will be 
done on earth, as it is in heaven.' The examples of the saints on 
earth are no fit copy for us to write after, for there we shall find many 
of the letters set awry. In their lives corruption is more visible than 
grace. Therefore Christ giveth us a copy from heaven, that we might 
aim at the holiness and perfection of the angels. It is but equal that 
we, who expect to be * like the angels' in glory, Luke xx. 36, ladyyeXai,, 
should be like them in grace now. Many would strive to be as angels 
for gifts and parts, but not for holiness, for exact purity and cheerful 
ness and readiness in service, which yet are the things propounded to 
our imitation. The devil retaineth cunning since his apostasy. To 
be wise to do evil is to be like the bad angels, not the good. If you 
would not be cast out with them hereafter, you should not take their 
copy and example for imitation, but that of the holy angels. 

2. We are bound more than they, as being of an inferior rank ; and 
acts of submission and obedience do chiefly oblige inferiors. The 
angels themselves are inferior to God ; but ' dwellers in houses of clay' 
much more. That passage of the psalmist is emphatical, Ps. ciii. 20, 
( The angels, that excel in strength, do his commandments.' Shall the 
peasant scorn that work in which the prince himself is engaged ? If 
the glorious mighty angels durst not sin against God, we should not 
much more. When John would have worshipped the angel, he saith, 
Rev. xxii. 9, ' See thou do it not, for I am thy fellow-servant.' Ah ! 
who would decline the work when an angel is our fellow-servant? 
When these mighty spirits put their necks to the work of the Lord, 
shall sorry man be excused ? 

3. We are the more bound for their sakes, because of their tutelage, 
VOL. v. B 


They are present with. us. We are awed by a man of gravity, much 
more should we be by the presence of an angel. When Cato was upon 
the stage, they durst not call for their obscene sports. There is an 
angel always by you. What reports, think you, will they carry to 
Christ, if they should see anything that is unseemly? 1 Tim. v. 21, 
' I charge you before God, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect 
angels,' <fec. The holy angels are, as it were, the spies and intelli 
gencers of heaven, and do acquaint Christ, not only with our miseries, 
but our sins. God's omnipresency is a great depth, we cannot fathom 
it with our thoughts, and therefore it worketh but little with us. The 
nearer things come to the manner of our presence, the more do they 
affect us. Consider the angels are present with you in the room where, 
it may be, you are acting your privy wickedness. 

Again, we had need be holy, the rather for the angels' sake, because 
else we shall lose their tutelage. They care not to take notice of an 
impure, obstinate sinner : Ps. xxxiv. 7, ' The angel of the Lord en- 
campeth round about them that fear him.' They that fear God them 
selves delight most in them that do likewise. Suitableness of spirit and 
life breedeth a holy and sweet familiarity between us. They delight to 
keep us, and go with us here, that they may lay a foundation for a 
more familiar acquaintance in heaven. Now, shall we grieve such 
blessed companions ? When Balaam went to curse the people of God, 
a good angel resisteth him, Num. xxii. 22. If an angel stood in the 
way of a sorcerer, much more do they seek to stop and prevent the 
miscarriages and offences of God's children. Will you break forth or 
go on violently when an angel standeth in the way, and leave their 
tutelage for a lust? They are holy, and disallow all carnal enter 
prises, and would withstand the execution of them. Will you con 
strain them to forsake you? You know how it sped with Josiah, 
when he would not turn his face, but go out without the defence of 
God and his angels. See 2 Chron. xxxv. 22 ; he was wounded in the 
battle, and goeth home and dieth. 

Thirdly, It teacheth us to be more awe-full ; all fear is not slavish. 
The angels, that have a pure nature, are afraid to sin ; we have a mixed 
nature : corruption is already gotten into our souls, and therefore have 
more need of caution ; as they that have an enemy without and a treach 
erous party within have need to watch and ward. Fear is all the 
remedy left us ; we cannot stop the flux of natural corruption, but we 
may withstand a natural temptation. As the angels resist the admis 
sion of sin, so let us withstand the increase and propagation of it ; we 
are always in the presence of God, and shall we affront him to his 
face ? Fear keepeth the angels pure and us holy, them from the 
admission of sin, and us from the commission of it : so Solomon saith, 
' Blessed is he that feareth always,' Prov. xxviii. 14 ; that is, not that 
perplexeth himself with needless terrors and scruples ; that were a 
torture, not a blessedness ; that is the devils' fear, who ' believe and 
tremble/ But when we are always cautious, out of a deep respect to 
God, that we dare not offend him at any time, this is a blessed fear, 
like the good angels' fear ; as Michael here ' durst not bring a railing 

Obs. 9. The next point is from that a railing accusation. In the 


original it is Kpia-iv fiXcta-fa^ias, ' the judgment or sentence of blas 
phemy, or evil-speaking.' The meaning is, such unworthy language 
as would not become any serious judgment or process ; and because the 
angel was a party, not a judge, we translate it not a railing judgment, 
but a railing accusation. Thence observe, that to the worst adver 
sary in the best cause, railing and reviling must not be used : ' Michael, 
when contending with the devil about the body of Moses/ &c. The 
reasons are: 

1. Because such reproaches come from an evil principle, contempt 
or passion, both of which argue pride. One that over-valueth himself 
disdaineth others ; and stormeth when he is crossed, as a full stream 
roareth and swelleth when it meeteth with a dam and obstruction. 

2. Such reproaches are most unsuitable to matters of religion. The 
God of peace will not be served with a wrathful spirit, and Christ's 
warfare needeth no carnal weapons. Christianity of all religions is 
the meekest and most humble ; the foundation of it is the Lamb 
slain, and the consignation and sealing of it is by the Spirit, who de 
scended in the form of a dove, both emblems of a modest humility ; 
and should a meek religion be defended by the violence and fury of our 
passions ? Cursing doth ill become them that are called to ' inherit a 
blessing,' 1 Peter iii. 9. 

3. They are flatly against the word. The scripture is a great friend 
to the peace of human societies, for it condemneth the least offensive 
word and gesture : Isa. Iviii. 9, ' Thou shalt put away from thee the 
yoke, and the putting forth of the finger ;' a gesture of indignation, 
and therefore God would have it laid aside, even the putting forth 
of the finger, as well as the yoke broken. So see Mat. v. 22, ' But I 
say unto you, Whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause, is in 
clanger of the judgment : and whosoever shall say unto his brother, 
Raca, is in danger of the council : and whosoever shall say, Thou fool, 
shall be in danger of hell-fire.' The Scribes and Pharisees had re 
strained the sixth commandment to the gross act of murder ; Christ 
telleth them that rash anger, with all the expressions of it, is murder. 
His expressions allude to the courts of the Jews ; three there were 
specially among them the lowest, the middle, and the highest. Their 
lowest judicatory was of three men, who took cognisance of lighter 
matters, as injuries and strifes about goods, and things of a pecuniary 
concernment ; this court was set up in lesser towns that had few in 
habitants. The second court was of three and twenty men, before 
whom the weightiest causes were brought : concerning the life of a 
man, all capital crimes, or if an ox had gored a man or woman, or in 
case of any abominable commixtion with a beast, if a woman approached 
to a beast, &c., Lev. xx. 16. This court was set up in all the cities 
of Palestine, and was called the lesser Sanhedrim ; and because Jeru 
salem was the head city, the seat of the prince and temple was there, 
therefore, in that city were two of these lesser Sanhedrims : the lower 
sate in the Gate of the Mountain, that is, that gate which gave en 
trance to the mountain of the temple ; the other, being the higher, sate 
in the Gate of Ezra, near the porch of the temple. The third judica 
tory was the greater Sanhedrim, which consisted of severity men, in 
imitation of the counsel of God to Moses, Num. xi. 16. This was the 


highest j ad icatory, from whence there was no appeal, as there might 
be from the lower courts to this. Into this assembly were chosen such 
as did excel others for nobility and wisdom, and that by a solemn lay 
ing on of hands ; strangers or unclean persons or common people might 
not come nigh unto them. To this tribunal were referred all doubtful 
matters too hard for inferior courts to decide, Deut. xvii. 8, 9, as also 
all things that did belong to the twelve tribes, or to the whole nation ; 
all things that concerned the high priest, matters of war and peace, 
the false prophet, <fec. Therefore Christ saith, Luke xiii. 33, ' It can 
not be that a prophet should perish out of Jerusalem,' that being the 
city where the Sanhedrim sate. By this court was Christ condemned, 
and the apostles, Acts iv. 5 ; and Stephen, chap. vii. 7 ; and Paul, 
chap, xxiii. 1. They sate in a part of the temple called Gasith ; 
their punishments were strangling, beheading, stoning, burning ; those 
that were condemned to be burned were burnt in the Valley of 
Hiunom ; and in great cases, besides his corporal death, the malefac 
tor was appointed and accursed to the judgment of hell. Let me apply 
all to the present case. Christ doth not meddle with the lowest court, 
the judgment of three men, because capital matters did not belong to 
their cognisance, and his intent is to show what a capital matter the 
least expression of anger is : ' Whosoever is angry with his brother 
without a cause/ saith he, 'is in danger of judgment;' that is, of the 
judgment of twenty-three men, to show that rash anger is before God 
a capital matter. ' And whosoever shall say to his brother, Eaca' 
thou vain and witless fellow ; this was the lowest kind of contumely 
then in use ; some make it only an interjection of indignation ' is in 
danger of the council ;' that is, of the Sanhedrim, which noteth, that 
anger expressed, though in the lowest way, is a higher fault than 
single and bare anger, as the fault was greater for which they appeared 
before the higher Sanhedrim than that for which they appeared be 
fore the twenty- three judges. ' But whosoever shall say, Thou fool' 
this noteth a higher contempt, as implying a charge, not only of weak 
ness of nature, but of sin and wickedness, ' he is in danger of hell-fire/ 
which was the highest judgment of the Sanhedrim, to burn them in 
the Valley of Hinnom, and to leave them accursed till the Lord come ; 
and so proportionably it noteth the greatness of the crime which is 
committed in slandering and reproaching our brethren. It is a most 
odious sin before God ; for, in allusion to man's judgment, he showeth, 
that though there be degrees in the sin, and will be in the punishment, 
yet the whole kind is very displeasing to the Lord. 

4. Because reproaches have an influence, and do exasperate rather 
than convince. The dog that followeth the game with barking and 
bawling loseth the prey ; and there is not a more likely way to under 
mine the truth than an unseemly defence of it. Satan is mightily 
gratified, if men had eyes to see it, with the ill-managing of God's cause. 

Use 1. First, It serveth for information, to show us the vanity of 
those excuses by which men would disguise their wrath and passion. 
What ! will you plead, I am in the right way, it is God's cause ? 

Ans. Passion is blind, and cannot judge : James i. 20, ' The wrath 
of man worketh not the righteousness of God.' The wrong way may be 
usually descried by the excesses and violences of those that are engaged 


in it. If we be in the right, extremities and furies of passion are not 
lawful; our religious affections may overset us. When religion, which 
should limit us, is made a party to engage them, it is hard to keep 
bounds. A stone, the higher the place from whence it falleth, giveth 
the more dangerous blow ; so the higher the matter about which we 
contend, usually our anger falleth with the more violence, and is the 
more unmortified, because of the pretence of zeal. If the erring parties 
offend through ignorance, remember a bone out of joint must be settled 
again with a gentle hand, Gal. vi. 1. Are the opposite stubborn ? ' In 
meekness instruct those that oppose themselves,' 2 Tim. ii. 25 ; when 
their absurd opposing is apt to tempt us to rage, passion, and reproach, 
we must contain ourselves ; the hasty disciples knew not what spirit 
they were of/ 

Do they provoke, revile, wrong us first 2 

Ans. The railing and ill-dealing of another doth not dissolve the 
bond of our duty to God ; to return injury for injury is but to act over 
their sin ; it was bad in them, and it is worse in us ; for he that sinneth 
by example sinneth doubly, as having had experience of the odious- 
ness of it in another qui malum imitatur, for^us esse non potest. 
Kevenge and injury differ only in order of time ; the one is first, the 
other second in the fault ; and it was no excuse to Adam that he was 
not ' first in the trangression/ Christianity teacheth us a rare way of 
overcoming injuries, not only by patience, but doing good to those that 
wrong us : Kom. xii. 17, and 1 Peter iii. 9, ' Bender not reviling for 
reviling, but, contrariwise, blessing/ We have for our pattern Christ, 
' who being reviled, reviled not again/ 1 Peter ii. 23, And herein he 
was imitated by his disciples, 1 Cor. iv. 13, ^aa-^fjiov^evoi Trapa/ca- 
Xov/Ltez/, ' being defamed, we intreat ' a motto which I would have 
prefixed to all rejoinders or replies to a virulent opposition. Calvin's 
modesty concerning Luther is notable : Eiiamsi me, diabolum vocarit ' 
eum tamen insignem Dei servum ognoscam though he should call 
me devil, yet God forbid but I should account him an eminent 
servant of Christ. It was once an argument for the truth of our reli 
gion that the scriptures contained a doctrine that could not be of men, 
as forbidding revenge, which is so sweet to nature, and commanding 
us to do good to them that hate us. 

But shall I suffer myself, and in me the cause of Christ, to be 
trampled upon ? 

Ans. You are allowed a modest vindication of the truth and your 
own innocency : Prov. xxvi. 4, 5, ' Answer not a fool according to his 
folly, lest thou be like him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest 
he be wise in his own conceit/ You will say, Here is hot and cold in 
one breath. I answer Solomon speaketh of a scoffing, railing fool; 
and the meaning is, do not imitate him in his foolish passion. This 
were to be evil because he is so ; and it is against reason, that because 
I am sensible of indecent carriage in him, therefore I should allow it 
in myself; but yet answer him, that is to the purpose, and with solid 
reason beat down his presumption and ignorance with a meek but a 
strong reply, such as may check his pride, but not imitate his folly. 
It is observable, when it was said of Christ, John viii. 48, 49, * Thou 
art a Samaritan, and hast a devil/ he answered not a word to the per- 


sonal reproach ; but where his commission was touched, to tl 
replieth, saying, ' I have not a devil, but I honour my father.' 

that he 
It is 

but weakness of mind, or strength of passion, to regard personal in 
vectives. In short, we may answer, but not with harsh and contume 
lious language. 

Use. 2. Secondly, Here is a direction to public persons, and those 
that can handle the pen of the writer. Passion is apt to taint our re 
ligious defences ; but check it. Michael * durst not bring a railing 
accusation ;' leave all unhandsomeness of prosecution to them that 
defend an evil cause : * The servant of God must be gentle and 
patient/ 2 Tim. ii. 24. Opprobrious language doth but darken a just 
quarrel and contention. But you will say, May we not reprove the 
sins of men, and that somewhat sharply ? I answer Yea, it is lawful, 
as appeareth both by the practice of the prophets and angels, yea, of 
Christ himself, arid also by the precepts of the word. Paul saith, 
Titus i. 7, that ' a bishop must not be self-willed, and soon angry ;' 
and yet (ver. 13) he biddeth him e^ey^elv aTroroyuo)?, to rebuke some 
gainsayers sharply. There is a great deal of difference between railing 
and a reproof. A sermon without some warmth and keenness in it is 
but like a cold ration ; men that speak from their brain will speak 
coldly, because they only declaim against things for fashion's sake, 
without any sense or touch upon their hearts ; an affectionate pleading 
for Christ is like strong Water, whereas a formal narration is but like 
river water, without any strength and vigour. They that love Christ 
will be zealous for his truths and ordinances, and zeal cannot deliver 
itself without some smartness and earnestness ; but a cold indifferency 
is more tame and flat. But then this must be done with great cau 
tion ; you had need look to your spirits. Partly because Satan loveth 
to corrupt a religious affection; partly because, in these businesses, 
God is not only engaged, but ourselves ; and many times the savour of 
the main river is lost when it is mingled with other streams ; too, too 
often do we begin in the spirit and end in the flesh. The cautions 
which I shall give respect (1.) The object, or cause ; (2.) The persons ; 
(3.) Manner ; (4.) Principle ; (5.) End. 

1. The cause must be regarded, that it be real and weighty : 
weighty it must be ; it is preposterous to be all of a fire about question 
able truths and matters of a less regard. The flaming sword was set 
about paradise. And real it must be ; the sin we reprove must be 
manifest, and the faults we charge apparent : Mat. v. 22, ' If any be 
angry with his brother without a cause,' &c. Otherwise Christ and his 
apostles called Eaca, Mat. xxiii. 17, ' fools and blind ;' and Luke 
xxiv. 25, ' fools and slow of heart to believe,' &c. ; and Gal. iii. 1, ' 
foolish Galatians ; ' and James ii. 20, ' vain man,' &c. But in all 
these cases there was a cause. False and rash imputations are but rail 
ing ; zeal being a fierce and strong passion, you must not let it fly 
upon the throat of anything but what is certainly evil. 

2. The persons must be considered ; weak sinners are to be distin 
guished from the malicious, and the tractable from the obstinate. 
God's tender lambs, though straying, must be gently reduced ; ' put a 
difference,' saith our apostle, ver. 19. Ad evangelizandum, non male- 
dicendum, missus es, said QEcolampadius to Farel, who was a good 


man, but a little too violent Thou wert not sent to revile, but to preach 
the gospel. But on the other side, there is a difference to be used in 
the case of hypocrites, that gain by that repute and esteem which they 
have. Christ himself inveighed against the Pharisees, asperrimis 
verbis, in the roughest ways : Mat. xxiii., ' Woe unto you, Scribes and 
Pharisees, hypocrites,' &c. We may pluck off the disguise from a 
hypocrite, especially when they seduce and deceive the miserable mul 
titude by an opinion of holiness. The Pharisees and Sadducees, to keep 
up their repute, submitted to John's baptism, but doth he treat them 
gently ? No ; Mat. iii. Y, ' generation of vipers,' &c. So Paul to 
Elymas the sorcerer, Acts xiii., ' thou full of all subtlety and mis 
chief, thou child of the devil, and enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou 
not cease to pervert the holy ways of the Lord ? ' In these cases there 
is a regard had to others, that they may not perish by too good an 
opinion of such deceivers ; and here that of Solomon is of regard, Prov. 
xxviii. 4, ' They that forsake the law, praise the wicked ; and they 
that keep the law, set themselves against them;' a vigorous opposition 
doth better here than a cold dislike. 

3. For the manner. With our zeal we should still manifest love 
and compassion ; and our way of dealing must rather be rational than 
passionate. There is a holy contemperation of zeal and meekness if 
we could hit upon it ; the same Spirit that appeared in cloven tongues 
of fire appeared also in the form of a dove. ' The work of righteous 
ness ' may be * sown in peace,' James iii. 18. The church's garden 
thriveth by the cool gales of the north wind, as well as the sultry heat 
of the south, Cant. iv. 16 ; God's cause should neither be neglected nor 
disparaged by an indiscreet carriage. 

4. Concerning the principle ; see that it be good ; it must not be 
zeal for our private concernments, but for the glory of God ; not a 
strange fire, but a holy fire. Moses was the meekest man upon earth in 
his own cause : Num. xii. 3, ' When Miriam and Aaron spake against 
Moses, the man Moses was meek above all men of the earth.' When 
our zealous contests come from a heart bleeding for God's dishonour, 
from hatred of sin, a fear of the public, then they are right. Lot was 
vexed not with Sodom's injuries, but Sodom's filthiness, 2 Peter ii. 8. 
When love of our neighbour, desire of his amendment, we are loath to 
suffer sin upon him, puts us upon this earnestness, our heart is upright 
with God ; but when we seek to disgrace the men rather than condemn 
the sins, and we rage most upon the hazard of our own interest, and 
can be earnest against some sins and errors, and comply with worse, it 
is not zeal for God, but for a party. 

5. Great regard must be had to the end. A reproof aimeth at the 
conviction or conversion of a sinner, but censure at his disgrace and 
confusion. Our aim must be as right as our passion is strong ; what 
ever we do must not be done out of a spirit of ostentation and popu 
larity, or to keep up a devotion to our own interests. John Baptist 
sharply reproved the Pharisees, not when contemning his person, but 
when coming to his baptism. 

Obs. 10. There remaineth nothing of the 9th verse to be discussed 
but the last clause, the Lord rebuke thee. Though Michael doth not 
rail, yet he referreth the matter to God, Whence observe, that in re- 


ligious contests we must carry on the opposition, though not in an 
unseemly manner. Michael doth not let Satan alone, so we must not 
let errors alone, and the devil carry it clearly without rub or oppo 
sition. Many, under a pretence of meekness, are still and silent in the 
cause of Christ. Cursed is this peace and meekness, when we let the 
envious man sow his tares, and we never give warning. God's mes 
sengers are compared to watchful dogs ; when the wolf cometh we must 
bark ; if the sleepy world be troubled at it we must bear their reproach. 

Obs. 11. Again, he referreth it to God, who is the fittest patron of 
his own causes. In our contests about religion, God must especially 
be sought unto for a blessing. Michael contended, bat said, The Lord 
rebuke thee ; disputing times should also'be praying times. Prejudices 
will never vanish till God ' send out his light and truth,' Ps. xliii. 3 ; 
and if the devil be not prayed down, as well as disputed down, little 
good cometh of our contests. 

Ver. 10. But these speak evil of the things which they know not; but, 
what they knoiu naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they cor 
rupt themselves. 

In this verse he showeth the disproportion between them and the 
archangel ; he was modest in a known good cause, but these are con 
temptuous, and given to railing in matters of which they are wholly 
ignorant. Two faults are charged upon them in this verse : (1.) 
Pride, in condemning things without knowledge ; (2.) Wickedness, 
in abusing the knowledge they had. 

But these, OVTOI, the seducers spoken of in the context, speak evil, 
pXaatyrj/jLoixn,, take liberty to belch out their reproaches of the things 
they knoiv not. What are those things ? Some say, the dignities 
before spoken of ; others, the mysteries of the Christian faith. For 
the former opinion, that clause may be alleged, ver 8, ra$ Sofa j3\acr- 
(ftTl/jLovvTas, ' speaking evil of dignities ; ' and so it will imply that they 
were ignorant of the nature of angels, with whom they pretended so 
great a familiarity as to know their courses, services, conjugations ; l 
or else of the nature of church ordinances, they taking upon them to 
speak so reproachfully of the offices which God hath set in the church ; 
or of the nature of civil power and magistracy, they allowing them 
selves in such intemperate language. But for the latter opinion, the 
universal particle in the text, oaa pev OVK OL&CLO-L, ' Whatsoever things 
they know not ; ' so Peter's phrase is general, 2 Peter ii. 12, ' But 
these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak 
evil of the things they understand not.' The scope of both these 
apostles being to set out these deceivers as ignorant and brutish sen 
sualists, and yet under a pretence of great and more curious knowledge 
than others had, wherefore they were called Gnostics. For my part, 
I shall interpret the clause generally of their ignorance in all truly 
spiritual matters, which was bewrayed in that they did deliver their 
sense in matter of magistracy and church ministries with some im 
pudence and reproach. But what they know naturally, as brute beasts, 
in those things they corrupt themselves. Before I come more particu 
larly to open the words, let me tell you there is some difference about 
that clause, as brute beasts ; to what part of the sentence is it to be 

s.' Vide Irenccum. 


referred ? if to the former part, thus, what they know naturally as 
brute beasts, then the sense will be that knowledge which they have in 
common with the beasts. Man is in part an angel, in part a beast ; in 
his reason and upper part of the soul he resembleth an angel, and in 
his appetite and senses a beast. What they know by their senses and 
brutish desires, that will be the sense, if you allow of this first refe 
rence. If to the latter part, thus, in those things as brute beasts they 
corrupt themselves, then it will suit with the parallel place in Peter, 
2 Peter ii. 12, o>? d\oya coa $v<nKa, ' as natural brute beasts, made 
to be taken and destroyed ; ' and it will imply that they degenerated 
into beasts, notwithstanding that natural knowledge wherewith they 
were endowed. But to speak my own thoughts in this matter ; the 
former reading is more agreeable to the posture of the words in the 
original, ocra $e <f)vcrtKw<s 0)9 a\oja o><z eTricrravTai, l what they natu 
rally as brute beasts know/ in those things they are worse than beasts, 
corrupting and defiling themselves by the excesses of the sensual 
appetite : as in eating and drinking, and the use of the woman in 
common copulation, as if there were no law, nor limited use of those 
things, which yet they might discern in the beasts themselves, and the 
dictates of their own consciences. 

This being premised, I come to explain the words. What ihey 
know, (frvaircws, naturally. There is a threefold light: (1.) Sense or 
instinct; (2.) Reason; (3.) Grace; and accordingly as a man is fur 
nished he may be said to be irv^v^aiiKo^, spiritual, or furnished with 
the light of grace, or ^TV^LKO^, which we translate natural, 1 Cor. ii. 
14, it signifieth one that hath nothing but the light of a reasonable 
soul. Lastly, (frvaifcbs, merely natural, which signifieth one guided by 
the blind motion and instinct of nature, without reason, counsel and 
choice, as the beasts are. So it is said here, ' what they know naturally ,' 
that is, what they understand by natural inclination, or the mere judg 
ment or perception of sense, to be good or evil, in those things they 
corrupt themselves, fyOeipovrat,, are corrupted. So Erasmus ; but the 
word is not simply passive, but after the form of the conjugation 
Hithpael among the Hebrews, which infert passionem in se, it implieth 
such a passion as we cause to ourselves. But how do they corrupt them 
selves ? sinfully or penally ? I answer Both ways ; sinfully they cor 
rupt and defile themselves, and so draw down punishments both upon 
their souls and bodies, 2 Peter ii. 12, ' They shall perish in their own 

06s. 1. Having made this way, I come to the observations ; and in 
the first place observe, that truth is usually slandered out of ignorance ; 
because men do not understand the ways and things of God, therefore 
they do condemn them. In the apostles' days, ' the doctrine of 
the cross' was accounted 'foolishness' by those that knew least of it ; 
and afterwards the Christian religion was condemned because it could 
not be heard ; Simul ac desinunt ignorare, desinunt odisse, so Tertul- 
lian in Apologia when they knew it, they could not hate it. It is 
the devil's cunning to keep us at a distance from truths, and therefore 
burdeneth them with prejudices, that we may suspect rather than 
search, and condemn that out of ignorance and upon vulgar clamour 
which upon knowledge we could not choose but love and profess ; and 


it is man's perverseness and pride to speak evil of things above his 
reach, and to disprove that which he has not attained unto or 
cannot understand. Nazianzen speaks of some ignorant people that 
condemned learning, because they had not the happiness to attain 
to it ; iva TO /car aiirovs /cpVTTTrjTai, saith he, Orat. xx. ; that their 
own deficiency being the more common, might be less odious ; or to 
instance in a higher case, Papists and carnal men scoff at imputed 
righteousness, assurance of salvation, and the testimony of the Spirit, 
because they are things they are utterly unacquainted with. Well, 
then, when we declaim against things, we should speak out of advised 
knowledge, not rash zeal. See John iii. 11, ' We speak that which 
we know, and testify that which we have seen : ' zeal, as it must have 
a right aim, so a solid ground to proceed upon. It is a vain thing to 
begin at the affections, and to hate before we know : Prov. xviii. 13, 
* He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is a folly and 
shame to him.' If you light right, it is but a happy mistake and 
stumble : Quid iniquius quam ut oderint homines quod ignorant, 
etiamsi res meretur odium Tertul. Ut supra. When the affections 
outstart the judgment, men grow obstinate in their ignorance, and 
will not know what they have a mind to hate : Malunt nescire quia 
jam oderunt, as Tertullian goeth on. Bash prejudices engaging men 
in opposition, they will not own the truth when represented to them ; 
having hated it without knowledge, they hate it against knowledge, 
and so are hardened against the ways of God, which is the case of 
many who in a blind zeal have appeared against the public ministry 
and ordinances ; and being engaged, are loath to strike sail, and lay 
down their defiance, when sufficient conviction is offered. 

Obs. 2. Observe again, blockish and stupid men are most bold in 
reproaching. A fool's wrath falleth very heavy, because it falleth 
with all its weight, there being nothing to restrain and stop it : Prov. 
xxvii. 3, ' A stone is heavy, and sand is weighty, but a fool's wrath is 
heavier than them both.' When the mind is void of judgment, it is 
more overcome and carried out in the way of a naughty passion. 
Usually we find it, the weakest spirits are most violent, there being 
nothing of judgment to counterbalance affection ; men are all flame 
and rage. Liquors, when they run low and are upon the dregs, they 
grow more tart and sour ; so it is usually with the dregs of men, for 
when they are weak and run in low parts, their opposition is most 
troublesome. What ado in the ministry have we with young heady 
professors, that have more heat than light ! and how troublesome are 
those wild sectaries, that have only knowledge enough to prate a 
little against the undoubted ordinances of Jesus Christ ! for there 
being nothing of knowledge and civility to restrain them, they easily 
give vent to the excesses of their passion, by clamour and evil- 

Obs. 3. From the second part of the charge, observe, that men of 
corrupt minds are usually sensual, and sensual men are usually men 
of corrupt minds ; an unsound heart is best sheltered under unsound 
doctrine, and carnal delights blunt and weaken the edge and intension 
of the mind, so that they are very liable to mistakes. Therefore, on 
the one side, we should labour to keep the mind right and sound in 


the faith ; fish stink first at the head ; when the judgment is poisoned, 
the taint is soon conveyed to the affections. On the other side, ' add to 
your knowledge temperance,' 2 Peter i. 6. The apostle joineth these, 
because many times men of the greatest parts are overcome by appe 
tite ; and some say that temper of body which is fit for wit and 
scholarship is much inclined this way. Solomon, so famous for wis 
dom and knowledge, was enticed by women. Oh ! let not fleshy lusts 
betray you. That is the best knowledge that endeth in temperance, 
or begets a holy moderation in the use of sensual pleasure ; if we can 
not govern our affections, we 'know nothing as we ought to know;' 
nay, otherwise, your knowledge will be corrupted by your affections : 
many errors take their rise and beginning from evil manners and 
filthy lusts. 

Obs. 4. Observe again, that wicked men, left to themselves, do but 
abuse and corrupt that natural goodness arid knowledge which they 
have in them. Natural abilities are soon depraved with evil habits. 
He that had but one talent is called a ' wicked and slothful servant/ 
Mat. xxv. 26 ; slothful for not growing better, and wicked for growing 
worse. Naturally we are blind, and we cannot endure to be en 
lightened, 2 Peter iii. 5. Yea, rather, we put the finger in nature's 
eye, and then there cometh on judicial blindness, Korn. i. 28 ; we 
suffer lusts to blow out the candle of reason, and then we are justly 
left to the power of vile affections. Certainly they do not flatter us 
that say there is a power in nature as to conversion and turning to 
God. We are so far from improving ourselves, that we ' corrupt our 
selves in what we know naturally/ and suffer brutish lusts to blind 
the mind and harden the heart. 

Obs. 5. Once more observe, sin where it reigneth turneth a man into 
a brute beast : Ps. xlix. 12, ' Man being in honour, abideth not ; he is 
like the beasts that perish:' the meaning is, he abode not in the 
honour of his creation ; hence compared to wolves for their cruelty, 
dogs for their filthiness, to horses and mules for the rage of lust, to a 
wild ass's colt for wildness and dulness of understanding ; see Jer. v. 
8, Ezek. xx. 23, Job xi. 12, Rev. xxii. 15. You may see here to what 
sin will bring you ; with Nebuchadnezzar we outgrow the heart of a 
man ; what he did through that deep melancholy that fell upon him 
by God's judgment, Dan. iv. 32, we do spiritually. If we had the 
head of a horse, or the face of a swine, or the hoofs of an ass, how 
should we be looked upon as monsters : but to have the hearts of the 
beasts is worse ; to be like them in the inward man is more monstrous 
in the sight of God. Consider this, sin maketh a beast of you ; nay, 
it maketh you worse than the beasts : 'The ass knoweth his owner/ 
&c., Isa. i. 3 ; they are serviceable to their benefactors, but thou art 
a rebel against God that made thee, and hath kept thee all thy days. 
The sluggard is put to school to the ant, Prov. vi. The beasts know 
their stint and measure; a horse or a dog will not be drunk, &c. 
Shall I speak one word more ? Sin doth not only make a beast of 
you, but a devil of you : John vi. 70, ' One of you is a devil;' the 
devils said, ' What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou son of David ? ' 
and wicked men, ' What is the Almighty ? depart from us, we desire 
not the knowledge of thy ways/ 


Obs. 6. Again observe, it is a sign of a man turned beast to follow 
the passions and lusts of corrupt nature. Why ? For then the govern 
ment of reason is renounced, and all is yielded up into the hands of 
lust and appetite. In men reason should have the chief governance, 
and exercise a coercion and restraint over our affections ; but now, 
when we yield up ourselves to the passionateness of lust, and are trans 
ported with violence of it, it answereth to that rage which reigneth in 
the beasts. I shall take occasion here to show you how many ways a 
man turneth beast. 

1. By an addictedness to sensual pleasures and delights. It is the 
beasts' happiness to enjoy pleasures without remorse ; they have no 
conscience, they are not called to an account, &c. Now he is not 
worthy the name of a man, saith Tully, that would willingly spend 
one whole day in pleasure. We may take pleasures sometimes, but they 
should not take us; that is, we should not be vehemently addicted to them. 

2. When, in the use of these delights, we keep neither modesty nor 
measure, this is but like swine to wallow in our own filthiness ; a 
beast can do no more ; nay, many a beast would not do so much. 

3. When men live by appetite rather than reason and conscience, 
feeding without fear, and nourishing the body, but taking no care to 
refresh the soul. This should humble many that think highly of 
themselves ; they do but carry a beast's heart under a man's shape : 
while they are wholly given up to sensual delight, pampering the 
body, when in the meantime the precious but neglected soul may 
justly complain of hard usage. 

Obs. 7. In the last place observe, that sensuality doth but make 
way for corruption : you may counterpoise the temptation to the sin 
with the punishment ; usually secret sins and sweet sins meet with a 
heavy punishment : secret sins, that do not betray us to shame, may 
yet beget horror when we think of what will ensue ; and sweet sins, 
that entice our affections, to prevent them we may counterbalance one 
affection with another, delight with fear. Well, then, to check the 
brutish rage of sensual inclinations, say, This will tend to my corrup 
tion, and perishing for ever : ' They that sow to the flesh shall reap 
corruption/ Gal. vi. 8. Carnal pleasures turn to an ill account in the 
issue : so Rom. yiii. 13, * If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die.' The 
Lord fenced Eden with a flaming sword ; so is the garden of carnal 
delights fenced with the wrath of God : we run a great hazard to enter 
in. Say, then, Shall I for a superfluous cup adventure to drink a cup 
of wrath unmixed ? for pleasures here, forfeit the pleasures at God s 
right hand for evermore ? for a little wanton dalliance, lose the em 
braces of Christ when he cometh out to receive the saints to himself 
at the last day ? God forbid. 

Ver. 11. Woe unto them, for they have gone the ivay of Cain, and 
run greedily after the error of Balaam for reiuard, and perished in 
the gainsaying of Korah. 

Here the apostle cometh to reckon up their sins, and he doth it by 
examples which are suited so that they may imply both the sin and 
the punishment. Three are produced in this verse : that of Cain, to 
note their malice and cruelty ; that of Balaam, to note their covetous- 
ness and seduction ; that of Korah, to note their faction and sedition 


against magistracy and ministry, as Korah and his accomplices rose 
up against Moses and Aaron. 

Woe unto them. It is prophetically spoken, not execratorily ; as a 
threatening or denunciation, not as a curse. For they have gone in 
the ivay of Cain. Cain's example is produced, because he was the 
first and chief of them that departed from the true church and pure 
service of God : Gen. iv. 16, ' Cain went out from the presence of the 
Lord, and dwelt/ &c. Tertullian saith, he was the devil's patriarch, 
the first root of the carnal seed, or of the ' seed of the serpent/ in 
whom persecution began. Now Cain's way was a way of murder ; he 
slew his brother because he was more righteous and godly than him 
self, 1 John iii. 12, and so they go in his way that have an envy and 
hatred against their holy brethren, which many times proceedeth so 
far as violence, persecution, and murder. This instance is fitly applied 
to these seducers ; for, if the Targum of Jerusalem say true, besides 
the particular grudge which Cain had against Abel about the acceptance 
of his sacrifice, there was a dispute which happened between them in 
the field concerning the providence of God, and the last judgment, 
and world to come. Non estjudicium, necjudex, nee sceculum aliud, 
nee merces bona pro justis, nee poena pro impiis : nee Dei miseri- 
cordia creatus est mundus, nee ejus misericordia regitur, eo quod 
suscepta est oblatio tua cum beneplacito, mea vero non Targ. Hieros. 1 
So were these seducers exasperated against the orthodox, not only 
because of the greater presence of God among them, but also because 
of difference of judgment about Christ, the world to come, and provi 
dence, with other wholesome doctrines by which godliness is main 
tained. Again, Cain slew Abel ; so were these Gnostics ready to 
break out into all violence against those that dissented from them, 
and stirred up the Jews to persecution against the Christians. Cain 
after this murder was haunted with his own ghost, and trembled 
wherever he came ; so doth Cain's end attend Cain's curse, such 
quakings and fears of conscience following them wherever they went. 
It is said, ' The Lord set a mark upon Cain/ Gen. iv. 15 : what this 
mark was is much disputed ; most say it was a continual trembling 
and quaking throughout his body. Vide Aug., lib. xii. contra Faust., 
cap. 12 ; Chrysost. Horn. 19, in Gen. And the Septuagint render that, 
Gen. iv. 12, * Thou shalt be a vagabond upon the earth, arevcov ical 
Tpefjiwv eery eVl 7% 77)9, ' Thou shalt be groaning and trembling upon 
the earth :' and the word Nod, the name of the place where he sojourned, 
is by interpretation agitatio, commotio, ' quaking or trembling :' 6 <ro? 
TpoyLto? vo/jios jiyveaOw rot? varepov, and Basil Seleuc. apud Neiremb. 
Stromat., i. p. 23 ; which, if so, our wicked Quakers may see who 
was their patriarch. Now. from this first instance observe : 

Obs. 1. That the practice of wicked men now, and the practice 
of wicked men from the beginning is still the same. Cain's club, as 
Bucholcer speaketh, is still carried about in the world, stained with 
the blood of Abel ; 2 see Gal. iv. 29, ' But as then, he that was born after 
the flesh persecuted him that was born after the spirit, even so it is 

1 Vide Nieremberg. Strom, i.cap. 17, et Glassium, lib. i., Pkilol. Sacra, p. 60, et Chris- 
tolog. Mosaicse Dissert. 5, p. 165. 

2 ' Multi adhuc sunt qui clavum sanguine Abelis rubentem circumferunt.' 


now.' So it was then, so it is now. so it will be while the spirit of the 
devil worketh in the world ; we have the same original sin which they 
had in former times. For a long time a disease runneth in the blood, 
and is continued in a line and family ; but after some generations it is 
worn out ; but this filth will still run as long as there is a channel of 
carnal generation to convey it. Again, we have the same devil to 
tempt us ; whoever is converted, he will never turn Christian to be 
sure ; and there are the same provocations and occasions to exasperate 
men's corruptions. Well, then, let us not be over troubled ; ' there is 
no new thing under the sun,' the same devil that rageth now hath been 
' a murderer from the beginning,' John viii. 44 ; the same devil that 
deceiveth now was ; a liar from the beginning/ Are there those now 
that separate from all churches of Christ ? There were Donatists in 
former times. Are there now that deny the Godhead of Christ ? There 
were Arians then. Are there now ranters, familists ? And there were 
Gnostics then. Are there bloody enemies of the truth ? Every age 
can yield its Cains. Again, if we would better know the state of our 
times, let us blow off the dust from our old precedents ; the devil doth 
but play over the old game ; and though the scene be shifted and fur 
nished with new actors, the plot is the same. 

Obs. 2. Observe again, heretics and libertines usually turn perse 
cutors ; for it is said here, ' They go in the way of Cain/ Satan, that 
is a liar, is also a murderer ; a false way cannot subsist without the 
props of blood and cruelty, witness the Circumcellians, the Priscil- 
lianists, the Arians, the D,onatists, the tragedies at Munster. An 
erroneous opinion is touchy, and therefore efferates the minds of men 
against those that oppose it. Believe not seducers, then, when they 
come in sheep's clothing ; it is but that they may get a power to play 
the wolves the better : and when libertines, increase, let magistrates 
look about them, there are, clouds gathering together towards a dismal 
storm ; and though they seem to be meek and full of love, while their 
party is contemptible, yet when they grow considerable they appear in 
their colours. Again, let us bless God for the peace we enjoy ; there 
are swarms and droves of locusts abroad, but blessed be God that there 
is a restraint upon them, that there is a spirit of perversity mingled 
with their counsels. I tell you, the great danger of the latter times is 
from libertines ; many fear, a second deluge of antichristianism, but 
that is not so probable as the seditious insurrections of sectaries. What 
sad havoc will be made of the people of God when once those bloody- 
minded wretches get power ! The ' latter times,' /ccupol ^akeiroi, 
' perilous times/ 2 Tim. iii. 1. Why ? From what sort of men will 
the danger arise? Not from the antichristian, or Popish party, so 
much as from a libertine party, from Quakers, ranters, anti-scriptur- 
ists, familists, &c. The antichristian party carrieth things by power 
and worldly greatness ; but this party there described is a ' creeping' 
party, that gets into houses, ' leadeth captive silly women/ ver. 6. The 
antichristian party abuseth the sword of the magistrate ; but this is 
a ' traitorous party/ heady, high-minded, ver. 4, a party rising up 
against magistracy. The antichristian party are stiff and obstinate 
in their old forms ; but this is a party of seekers, looking for new dis 
coveries, holding nothing certain in religion, ' ever learning and never 


coming, et? e7T0yi/aw*i>, to the acknowledgment of the truth/ ver. 7. In 
short, the party there described are a party that deny civil reverence, 
natural affection, and are contemptuous despisers of the true and holy 
servants of Christ ; and all this carried on under a pretence and form 
of godliness. This is the party from whence I fear such danger and 
disturbance, if the Lord put not a hook into their jaws, or do not 
awaken the magistrate to look to the safety, not only of Christ's 
interests, but his own. Cursing Balaams will soon prove bloody Cains, 
and wicked seducers tyrannous oppressors. 

The next part of the description is, and run greedily after the error 
of Balaam for reward. His story begiuneth Num. xxii., and his 
tragedy you have Num. xxxi. 8. 1 Balaam had linguam venalem, 
oracles to sell ; so they adulterated the doctrine of the gospel out of 
covetousness and filthy lucre. Simon Magus, out of whose school the 
Gnostics came, would, you know, buy and sell the Holy Ghost, Acts 
viii. Now, after this error, it is said, ' they ran greedily/ e^vO^o-av, 
' were poured out/ it is a metaphor taken from a river overflowing the 
banks, or from a thing poured out from a bucket, with a full current. 

Now from hence observe : 

Obs. 1. That the devil enticeth his slaves to divers sins; as to the 
malice of Cain, so to the covetousness of Balaam. 

Obs. 2. That men are usually carried into errors by the bait of gain 
and worldly profit : 2 Peter ii. 3, ' Through covetousness shall they 
with feigned words make merchandise of you ; ' that which is the * root 
of other evils ' is often the root of heresies or sect-making. Souls are 
a precious commodity. Christ thought them worthy of his own blood, 
but seducers count them cheap ware ; for their own gain and worldly 
interests they care not how they betray souls ; yea, Christ himself is 
sold by them, as Judas ' purchased a field with the reward of iniquity/ 
Acts i. 18. Oh ! then beware of covetousness, it is a great snare : a 
covetous man the devil hath him upon the hip, and how far, or whither 
he will carry him, he cannot tell. Balaam had many good gifts ; God 
is said to have ' put words into his mouth/ Num. xxiii. 26 ; he asked 
counsel of the Lord, loath to go, yet covetousness by degrees wrought 
upon him. 

Obs. 3. From the word e^e^vdrjaav, men sin with full bent of 
heart, and are carried out violently against all restraints of conscience ; 
as Balaam, notwithstanding the checks and disappointments which he 
met with in the way, ' the dumb ass forbidding the madness of the 
prophet/ 2 Peter ii. 16, yet was still hurried on by the violent impul 
sions of his own lust and greedy desire of reward ; so the apostle 
speaketh of some that ' work uncleanness with greediness/ Eph. iv. 19. 
The motions of lust are rapid and violent ; we are in earnest when we 
do the devil's work : a stone runneth down hill with a swift motion, 
because of its propension and tendency that way. Oh ! when shall we 
learn to serve God as we have served Satan ? Our work is better, our 
wages better, and our Master best of all. When shall we pour out 
our hearts in prayer as we do in sin ? In the business of religion 
we act with a great deal of dividedness and partiality; our evil 

Balaam cursed Israel for hire against hia own conscience ; so did these pervert the 


works are merely evil, but our good by no means can be purely 

Obs. 4. Again observe, that covetousness is a violent, headstrong 
lust ; you would think uncleanness is most violent, as having a rage 
and a passionateness in it ; it is so ; but covetousness is more strong, 
as engaging not only the lighter part of the affections, but the will 
itself : 1 Tim. vi. 19, ' He that will be rich/ &c. Fits of lust are ear 
nest for the present, but this is the constant and more deliberate bent 
of the heart towards that which is evil ; watch the more, that your feet 
be not taken in this snare. 

The last instance is, perished in the gainsaying of Korali. This 
is produced to note their factious practices. You have the story of him, 
Num. xvi. Being overcome with ambition he would take upon him 
the priesthood. He and his accomplices made head against Moses 
and Aaron, but he perished in the attempt ; and so will these likewise 
that rise up against magistracy and ministry, as surely as if it were 
already accomplished ; and therefore, though they were not as then 
born, yet they are said to perish when Korah perished. From hence 
note : 

Obs. 1. That ambition breedeth faction, hence Korah gainsaid; 
Diotrephes loveth the pre-eminence, and therefore troubled the 
church, 3 John 10. All stirs begin first in our own lusts ; men are 
discontented with their estate, would be higher, and therefore break 
rank. Lactantius observeth of the troubles of his age, thus Fuerunt 
quidam nostrorum vel minus stabilitd fide, vel minus docti, vel minus 
cauti ; qui dissidium facerent unitalis et ecclesiam dissiparent, sed ii 
quorum fides fuit lubrica, cum Deum nosse se et colere simularent> 
augendis opibus et honori studentes, affectabant maximum sacerdotium, 
et a potioribus victi, secedere cum suffragatoribus suis maluerant 
quam eos ferre praipositos, quibus concupiebant ante prccponi, &c. 
(Lactant. de Vera Sapientia, lib. iv. cap. 30.) It is an excellent thing 
to be contented with our own station ; Jesus Christ was chadal ischim : 
Isa. liii. 3, ' The leaving-off of men,' or contented to be in the lowest 
rank. If God hath denied thee any condition in the world which thou 
affectest, thou art not worthy of it, or it is not fit for thee, &c. 

Obs. 2. Observe, ambition, that carrieth men against ministry, 
carrieth them against magistracy also. Korah and his companions 
rose up against Moses and Aaron. The church and commonwealth 
are like the soul and the body ; the one fareth the better for the wel 
fare of the other ; arid seditious spirits will brook no restraint ; let 
them alone in the church, and they will soon disturb the state also. 
But of this before, ver. 8. 

Obs. 3. Once more. The levelling humour is no new thing in the 
church of God ; their plea was, Num. xvi. 3, ' All the Lord's people 
are holy,' or saints, and why should any be set over them ? Let us 
beware, then, of that parity which some affect ; there must be rule and 
superiority, or all will come to nought. God made the world to con 
sist of hills and valleys, and in church and state there must be gover 
nors and governed, teachers and taught. It is Koran's sin to invade 
offices without a call, and to destroy that order which God hath esta 


Obs. 4. Again, observe, schisms and factions in the church bring 
destruction in the end. Those that made a cleft in the congregation, 
the earth cleaved to swallow them up. Christ saith, ' Woe be to that 
man by whom offences come/ Mat. xviii. 7. It is sad to take offence, 
but worse to give it ; all the mischief that ensueth will be reckoned to 
your score. Surely men would be more tender in this point if they 
did but think of the punishment that sensibly overtaketh the dis* 
turbers of a well-ordered society. 

Obs. 5. Again, observe, the scripture speaketh of things to come as 
already past ; for it is said, * These perished,' &c. So Kev. xiv. 8, 
' Babylon is fallen, is fallen.' What is threatened is as certain as if 
it were already accomplished. So also for promises ; you have the 
mercy if you have the promise ; by God's word all things were created 
and do subsist. Let it be, was enough to make a world ; when God 
saith it shall be, is not the thing sure, though unlikely ? Hath God's 
word lost anything of its creating power ? God counteth our work 
done when but intended : ' Abraham offered,' <fcc., Heb. xi. 17. Well, 
then, let us be able by faith to see the ruin of wicked men when they 
reign most. 

Obs. 6. Lastly, observe, wicked men may read their destruction, in 
the destruction of others that sinned before them. They transgress 
the same law, and God is as tender of it as ever ; and there is the 
same providence to take vengeance, which is as mighty as ever ; and 
they act out of the same lusts, which God hateth as much as ever : sin, 
is not grown less dangerous now in the latter days. Surely, then, a man. 
would think the old world should grow wiser, having so many pre 
cedents. Pride may see its downfall in Nebuchadnezzar, sedition in 
Korah, rebellion in Absalom, violence in Cain, painted adulterousness 
in Jezebel, disorders in worship in the fall of the Bethshemites and the 
breach made upon Uzzah, the usurping of sacred offices without a call 
may see its danger in the leprosy of Uzziah. There is scarce a sin of 
pestilent influence of which we have not some example, which is set 
up like a mark in the way, in effect saying, Take heed, enter not here ; 
it will prove your ruin and destruction ; or, Look upon me and be godly. 

Ver. 12. These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast 
with you, feeding themselves without fear : clouds they are without 
water, carried about of winds ; trees whose fruit withereth, without 
fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots. 

In the former verse the apostle setteth them forth by examples, in 
this by similitudes. Let us go over the expressions apart, as the text 
offereth them. These are spots in your feasts of charity, cnri,\dSes. 
The word also signifieth rocks, but is fitly here rendered spots, for it 
is in Peter, o-TrtXot KOI ^W/JLOI: 2 Peter ii. 13, 'Spots they are and 
blemishes.' So he called them, as being in themselves defiled and to 
others disgraceful ; or because defiling with their presence and infecting 
by their example. In your feasts of love or charity. These were sup 
pers used in the primitive times, either to manifest their brotherly union, 
or for the comfort and refreshing of the poor, in obedience to Christ's 
injunction, Luke xiv. 12, 13, though little observed for the ends for 
which they were at first appointed, divisions being hereby nourished, 
1 Cor. xi. 21, each faction by themselves taking their own supper, and 

VOL. v. B 


the poor excluded, 1 Cor. xi. 22. Some dispute the lawfulness of 
them, it being an addition to the Lord's Supper, taken up in imita 
tion of the heathens, and blasted by God's providence in the very 
beginning, never approved, and, it seemeth, but slightingly spoken of. 
' Your love feasts/ saith our apostle. However, they might be law 
fully used. Tertullian showeth a lawful use of them in his time, 
Tert. in Apol., cap. 39, Coimus in ccetum ut ad Deum quasi manu 
faustd, &c. We meet together, saith he, that by a holy conspiracy 
we may set upon God by a force that is welcome to him, where prayers 
are made, and the scriptures opened, and after this meeting a supper, 
begun with prayer : Non prius discumbitur quam oratio ad Deum 
prcegustetur ; editor quantum esurientes cupiunt, bibilur quantum 
pudicis est utile ; and their discourses were such as did become the ears 
of God, and after washing they sang a psalm, and so soberly departed. 
Now these sensual persons did defile the love feast, the infamy of 
their lives being a scandal to the meeting, and the church fared ill 
for their sakes ; for Peter maketh them to be spots, not only for 
their disorderly carriage at the meeting itself, but because of their 
constant course: 2 Peter ii. 13, ' They count it pleasure to riot away 
the daytime.' Partly by their indecent words and actions, when the 
Christians were met together, giving up themselves to excess : 1 Cor. 
i. 21, ' Some are drunken ;' and libidinous practices, for this was fre 
quent in the meetings of the Gnostics. 

Obs. Observe hence, that sensual persons are the spots of a Chris 
tian society. They are not only filthy in themselves, but bring a dis 
honour upon the whole church whereof they are members : Heb. xii. 
15, ' Take heed lest any root of bitterness spring up amongst you, 
whereby many may be defiled/ Now what that root of bitterness is 
he showeth, ver. 16, 'Lest there be any fornicator or profane person, 
as was Esau, who sold his birthright for a mess of pottage.' When 
any root springeth up, or breaketh out into a scandalous action, the 
whole society is defiled ; therefore when such are discovered, they are 
to be cast out, for otherwise we should turn a church into a sty. 
' Their spot is not as the spot of his children/ Deut. xxxii. 5. They 
have no God's mark, but Satan's. Calvin observed that nothing doth 
mischief to the church so much as remissness and kindness to wicked 
men. Partly as they do infect by the taint of their evil examples, and 
partly as they bring infamy upon the body ; therefore cut off these 
ulcerous members. Again, we learn that the purest churches have 
their spots. In Christ's family there was a devil : John vi., ' One of 
you is a devil/ You would be scared to see a devil come among you. 
Every malicious sinner is a devil, and every sensual sinner is a beast. 
Such may now and then creep into the church, but they should not 
be allowed there. They that put off the nature of man are unfit for 
the communion of saints. These are spots to be washed off. Holi 
ness is the church's ornament : Ps. xciii. 5, ' Holiness becometh thy 
house, Lord, for ever.' Again, they that are in a church should be 
the more careful ; you defile yourselves else, and the society whereof 
you are members. Yea, your miscarriages reflect upon Christ him 
self. Carnal Christians carry up and down in the world the picture 
of the devil, and put Christ's name upon it, and so expose it to scorn 


and derision in the world. It was an old complaint of the Gentiles, 
mentioned by Cyprian in his book De Duplici Martyrio ; the words 
are these : Ecce qui jactant se redemptos a tyrannide Sathance, qui 
predicant se mortuos mundo, nihilo minus vincuntur a cupiditatibus 
suis, quam nos quos dicunt teneri sub regno Sathance. Quid prodest 
illis baptismus, quid prodest Spiritus Sanctus, cujus arbitrio dicunt 
se temperari ? &c. So in Salvian's time the heathens were wont to 
upbraid the Christians thus : Ubi est catliolica lex quam credunt f 
Ubi sunt pietalis et castitatis exempla quce discunt? Evangelia 
legunt et impudici sunt ; apostolos audiunt et inebriantur ; Christum 
sequuntur et cupiunt, &c. they talk of a holy Christ, and yet are 
unjust, unclean, wrathful, covetous ; of a meek, patient Christ, and 
yet are rapacious and violent ; of holy apostles, and yet are im 
pure in their conversations. Our author goeth on thus : Sancta a 
Christianis fierent si sancta Christus docuisset, cestimari a cidtori- 
bus potest iste qui colitur, quomodo bonus magister cujus tarn malos 
esse videmus discipulos? if their Christ were a holy, meek Christ, 
they would be better. Now judge you whether such wretches be not 
spots both to Christ and the church, a disgrace to head and members. 
Therefore all church members should be more watchful and circum 
spect than others, lest they give occasion to those that watch for their 
halting to speak evil of the way of God. 

The next clause is, when they feast with you. The word signifieth, 
to feast liberally together. This is added to show that they perverted 
the nature of the meeting, and made that an action of luxury which 
was at first an action of charity. In the feasts of the godly there was 
moderation and temperance, but these were blithe and jocund, filling 
their paunches at the charge of the church. What we translate ' feast 
ing with you/ others read ' feasting upon you ;' and 2 Peter ii. 13, 
' Sporting themselves with their own deceivings, while they feast with 
you;' that is, by carnal gospelling and subtle devices justifying their 
own intemperance. Whence note : 

Obs. That it is an odious filthiness to make religion serve our bellies, 
and to turn charity into luxury. This is here charged upon them, and 
often practised in the world : Rom. xvi. 18, * They serve not our Lord 
Jesus Christ, but their own belly ;' Christ hath the name, but the belly 
the respect. So Phil. iii. 19, ' Whose God is the belly.' When men 
aim at nothing but their own ease and pleasure, they set the belly in 
God's stead. Among the Papists, religious houses are but so many 
sties of filthiness, and the charity of well-meaning persons diverted to 
feed the luxury of a few ' slow-bellies.' Well, then, those that live upon 
church maintenance should be the more sober and temperate, though a 
double portion will well become them that take double pains ; yet you 
should take heed of luxury, that you may not be corrupted with ease, 
that you may have enough for charity, that you may silence the clamours 
of the world ; your temperance and sobriety should be known to all men. 
Paul giveth such an account of his life as will shame most ministers 
when they think of it : 2 Cor. xi. 27, * In weariness and painfulness, in 
watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and 
nakedness ;' arid Paul had his enforced fasts, his voluntary fasts, not 
withstanding his great pains. Our lives should carry some proportion ; 


we do not always suffer persecution, but we should still have a weaned 
heart in the fullest estate that doth befall us. Certainly maintenance 
would be more cheerfully given if well used. 

Feeding themselves without fear, Troipalvovres eaurov?, feeding 
themselves as a shepherd doth his sheep. It noteth their excess, eat 
ing beyond all measure, and without respect to that communion that 
should be among saints. They fed themselves, not others ; their own 
bodies, not others' souls : Ezek. xxxiv. 2, 3, ' Ye feed yourselves, but 
the flocks have ye not fed.' Whence note : 

Obs. That at our meetings and feasts we should have respect to 
Christian communion ; not only take in meats, but give out gracious 
discourses and instructions. Christ, when he sat at meat, raised their 
thoughts to a better banquet : Luke xiv. 15, ' Blessed is he that shall 
eat bread in the kingdom of God.' When the body is fed, let not the 
soul be neglected ; the word of God is %tXo? ^v^wv, the food of souls ; it 
should not be wholly banished from our tables. At every meal the devil 
usually bringeth his dish. When our hearts are warmed with the use 
of the creature, he setteth our corruptions a-working, and we are ready to 
censure, or to brawl, or jest in an unseemly manner. It is but reason 
that Christ should set his dish upon our tables also ; and it being a 
solemn time of coming together, we should take occasion to quicken 
each other to the love of God, and an affectionate remembrance of our 
Creator, by whose bounty we enjoy what is set before us, that the spiritual 
appetite may be refreshed as well as the bodily. 

Here is yet another word in this clause, a<p6/3w<;, tvithout fear. The 
meaning may be either without fear of God, or without fear of the 
church, or without fear of the snare in the creature. If you take the 
first sense, * without fear of God,' you may either understand it of his 
presence or judgments. 

1. Of his presence ; they had no dread of him before whom the assem 
bly was met. Note thence, it is sinful to sit down at meat without thoughts 
of God. You shall see it is said, Exod. xviii. 12, that ' the elders of Israel 
did eat with Moses' father-in-law before the Lord, that is, in his presence. 
When thou art eating bread, thou art before the Lord. As ' the eyes of 
all things look up unto him for meat in due season,' Ps. cxlv. 15, so 
are God's eyes upon us, upon our carriage and behaviour ; therefore still 
retain a dread of his presence ; the fear of God is a grace that is never 
out of season : ' Be thou in the fear of God all the day long ; ' not only 
in the morning, when immediately employed in acts of worship, but in 
thy shop, at thy meals. As the lungs are in continual exercise, whether 
we are sleeping or waking, so are some graces. Who is it that giveth 
us * food and gladness' ? Acts xiv. Shall we forget God when he re- 
membereth us most ? The Lord forbid ; when his creatures are in our 
hands, let his eye be in our thoughts: Deut. viii. 10, 11, ' When thou 
hast eaten, and art full, beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God ; ' 
it will be a good curb to our loose and vain affections. 

2. Without a fear of his judgments. Thence note, that riot and 
voluptuous living bringeth a brawn upon the heart, and men that are 
given up to a luxurious course grow secure. They that did ' drink 
wine in bowls,' did ' put far away the evil day,' Amos vi. 3 ; that is, all 
thought and sense of approaching judgments. When Jerusalem was 


grown riotous, she grew careless; and therefore God biddeth the 
prophet to 'eat his bread in trembling/ Ezek. xii. 18. Well, then, 
avoid immoderation in carnal pleasures, as you would avoid security 
and hardness of heart. We lose our tenderness by bathing and steep 
ing the soul in these delights ; epicures are ' past feeling/ Eph. iv. 19 ; 
and the wanton is said to be ' dead while she liveth/ 1 Tim. v. 6. 
* Wine and women take away the heart/ Hosea iv. 11, as they do ex 
tinguish every spark of conscience, and abate of the vigour and tender 
ness of our affections. It was and it is the opinion of libertines that it 
is perfection to get the victory of conscience, and to live as we list, with 
out any trouble and sense of danger. Possibly such a thing may be aimed 
at here : it is the perfection of sinning, I confess, to do evil, and then 
choke the conscience with carnal pleasures, that we may not fear evil. 

You may expound it ' without fear of the church' then assembled ; 
in such an holy meeting they were not awed from riotous practices. 
Whence note : 

Obs. That sensuality maketh men impudent, partly because where 
spiritual sense is gone, shame is gone ; partly because when the bodily 
spirits are warmed with wine and meat, men grow bold and venturous ; 
Solomon saith, Prov. xxiii. 33, ' The drunkard's heart shall utter perverse 
things.' In such a case men take a liberty to speak or do anything that 
is unseemly. I do not exclude this sense, because Peter in the parallel 
place maketh them all along presumptuous and sensual, 2 Peter ii. 10-14. 

You may expound it, * without fear of the snare in the creatures.' 
Whence observe : 

Obs. In the use of pleasures and outward comforts there should be 
much caution. When Job's sons feasted, he falleth to sacrifice, ' lest 
they should have sinned against God/ Job i. 5. It is good to be jealous 
of ourselves with a holy jealousy, lest unawares we meet with a snare 
in our cup or dish. At a feast there are more guests than are invited ; 
evil spirits haunt such meetings, they watch to surprise us in and by the 
creature ; and therefore we should watch, especially if we be ' given to 
appetite / then ' put a knife to thy throat/ as Solomon saith : that which 
is sweet to the palate may wound the soul, and gluttony may creep 
upon good men before they are aware ; as Austin confesseth, that he 
was far from drunkenness, but crapula nonnunquam surrepit servo tuo 
sometimes he would eat too much ; but, saith he, Lord, thou hast 
now taught me to use my meat as my medicine, to repair nature, not to 
oppress it ; a holy course and to be imitated. Christians, you may 
think it needless that we should speak to you about your meat and drink, 
as if the light of conscience were pregnant and active enough to warn 
you in such cases. Oh ! but you cannot be too cautious ; the throat is 
a slippery place, and a sin may get down ere you are aware. Christ 
did not think it needless to warn his own disciples of excess : Luke 
xxi. 34, ' Take heed to yourselves, lest ye be overcharged with surfeit 
ing and drunkenness/ &c. 

The next clause is, clouds they are, ivithcut water, carried about of 
winds. Here now comes in a heap of similitudes to express their 
vain arrogancy and ostentation in professing themselves to be far 
above what indeed they were ; though they were inapt to teach, and to 
every good work reprobate, yet they gave out as if they were illuminate 


men, and of a higher attainment than others. The first similitude 
is in these words, ve<f>i\cu awSpoi, clouds ivithout water. Aristotle 
called barren and light clouds such as are carried up and down with 
the winds, o/cu'^Xa? ; and to these are the seducers likened, because, 
though they seem to look black and promise rain, yet they do not give 
us one drop, one wholesome notion that may occasion more light in. 
the understanding, of saving doctrine, or any further relief for the poor 
thirsty conscience, or any more forcible excitement to the practice and 
power of godliness. The apostle Peter, 2 Peter ii. 17, hath two simili 
tudes ' wells without water,' and * clouds carried about with a tem 
pest ; ' but here they are contracted into one. If you will have the Holy 
Ghost's own comment upon this similitude, see Prov. xxv. 14, ' He that 
boasteth of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain.' That 
which is observable is : 

06s. 1. That the word of God is like a moistening rainy cloud : 
Deut. xxxii. 2, * My doctrine shall distil like the dew, and my speech 
like the small rain/ Among the Hebrews the same word signifieth to 
teach and to rain. Well, then, let us, as parched ground, wait for the 
droppings of God's clouds. In this time of drought, when you go abroad 
into the fields, you shall see the grass burned and turned into stubble, 
and the earth gaping for a refreshing, and with a silent eloquence 
begging for the influences of the heavens ; every chap is a mouth opened 
to swallow up the clouds as soon as they fall, or a cry to the God of 
heaven for a little rain. Just so should you come to wait upon God in 
the word : ' My soul desireth after thee as a thirsty land,' Ps. cxliii. 6. 
Oh ! for a little refreshing from the presence of the Lord in his ordin 
ance. Promise yourselves also that from the word which you would 
from rain, Isa. Iv. 10, 11; this is the means by which the grace of God 
soaketh into the heart to make it fruitful. 

Obs. 2. False teachers are clouds without rain ; it is the proposition 
of the text ; partly because they make show of more than they have ; 
they ' boast of a liaise gift/ Prov. xxv. 14. There is a great deal of 
show to affect the minds of the simple, but little of substance and truth ; 
like boxes in the apothecaries' shop, that have a fair title, but no medi 
cine in them ; much pretence of light and spirit, and when all comes to 
all, there is nothing but pride and boldness : Aperiunt fontes doctrines, 
sed non habent aquam scientice they will adventure to rain when they 
have but a few heat drops, a few poor fragments of truth, which, being 
disguised and transformed into some strange conceits, are cried up for 
rare mysteries and attainments. However, thus much we learn from 
them, that it is seducer-like to promise more than we can perform, and 
to be much in the pretence when we have little of real and true solid 
worth. Partly because they do not that good to others which they 
promise to do. Satan will always be found a liar ; it is the property of 
his instruments to beguile men into a false expectation. Papists cry 
up their masses and indulgences, which yet do not one pennyworth of 
good. Preachers that study pomp and edification x come with much 
fancy and appearance ; but, alas ! these airy notions are too fine for the 
conscience. Seducers pretend to some heights of discovery, as if they 
would carry you into the third heaven, but you are where you were at 

1 Qu. ' not edification ' 1 ED. 


first ; they promise you ' hidden manna/ rare discoveries of Christ ; but 
is your heart the better ? Two things they never do, which may be 
explained by two properties of rain, namely, refreshing the earth, and 
making it fruitful. 

1. Eefreshing the earth. Do they offer any doctrine that will give 
the conscience solid comfort and relief in distress? Here you will find 
them barren clouds. The locusts ' tormented the dwellers on earth/ 
Rev. ix. 5 ; they tickle the fancy for a 'while, but when you come to 
die, and are serious, you must return to the old truths to find rest for 
your souls, Jer. vi. 16 ; your fancies then are like ' the brooks of 
Teman, consumed out of their place ; ' when Pharaoh was under any 
trouble, Moses and Aaron must be sent for, his magicians could not 
satisfy him nor ease him. 

2. To make the earth fruitful. Do you find holiness improved by 
their notions? 2 Peter ii. 19, ' They promise liberty, when you are the 
servants of corruption ; ' they promise a new way of mortification, but 
still your bondage under your lusts is increased. 

Obs. 3. Again, in the third place, false teachers are light, easily 
driven up and down in various motions ; ' carried about of winds/ it 
is said in the text, sometimes with this opinion and sometimes with 
that, as light clouds yield to the motion of the winds ; the winds are 
their corrupt passions, lusts, and interests : Eph. iv. 14, ' Be not tossed 
about with every wind of doctrine/ TrepufdpofJLevcu, carried round the 
card and compass. When the chain of truth is once broken, man is at 
large, and being taken off from his bottom, left loose to strange con 
trary winds. We see many scrupulous persons, that at first made con 
science of all things, afterward grow so loose as make conscience of 

Obs. 4. Again, they are as * clouds driven with a tempest ; ' so Peter. 
They do not yield rain, but breed factions, and schisms, and turbu 
lent commotions ; light clouds are driven with great violence. Well, 
then, ' Mark them that cause divisions and offences/ Rom. xvi. 17 ; 
they are not what they seem to be ; you will find in the end that you 
get nothing by dancing after their pipe. 

We go on with the verse. Trees whose fruit wither etli, twice dead, 
plucked up by the roots. This is the second similitude ; here are four 
properties of evil trees reckoned up by way of gradation. 

The first is, trees whose fruit withereth. Let us first look to the 
grammatical interpretation of these words, and then the sense and 
accommodation of them. AivSpa fyOivo'nwpiva : the Vulgar readeth 
arbores autumnales.' In autumn things begin to decay, and trees lose 
both fruit and leaves ; and so would some explain it, like trees that lose 
their leaves in harvest-time, and bring forth no fruit ; some go another 
way, making it an allusion to a particular experiment of young plants, 
who, if they flower at autumn, husbandmen take it for a sure sign that 
they will die. But similitudes are taken from things usual and known ; 
I suppose, therefore, the apostle useth the word in its native and 
original signification. It is derived, irapa TU> (f>6ivea-0a(, ra? oTroopa?, from 
corrupting fruits ; and the meaning is, they bring forth no fruit but 
what is rotten and withered ; and so it is applied to these seducers, 

1 ' Letifer autumnus.' Juvenal. 


whose lives were not full of good fruits. They pretend much, but 
what fruits do you find ? More holiness, true mortification, strictness, 
piety to God, or equity and mercy to men ? Nay, rather all manner of 
brutishness, disobedience to civil powers, neglect of God, abuse of 
gospel, contempt of their betters, &c. 

Obs. I. Observe, corrupt doctrine produceth corrupt fruits. Prin 
ciples have an influence upon the life and conversation ; our Saviour 
directeth us to this way of scrutiny and trial, Mat. vii. 16, ' By their 
fruits you shall know them/ How can that be, since they do easily 
counterfeit a holiness ? it is said before, they come ' in sheep's 
clothing.' I answer Pretences will not last long ; observe then nar 
rowly, and you will find the wolf breaking out. Ay ! but may not a 
good way be promoted by men of an ill life ? Ans. Look to the 
fruits of the doctrine; if it hath no influence upon strictness, but be 
only curious, and tend to foment pride, malice, envy, sedition, and 
turbulent practices and contempt of superiors, certainly it is naught, 
whoever brings you that doctrine, whatever holiness they pretend in 
other things. 1 On the contrary side, ' the wisdom that is from above 
is full of good fruits/ James iii. 17, mercy, justice, piety, strictness, 
meekness, &c. The Lord sealeth the integrity of faithful teachers by 
guiding them to holiness, and by his judgments suffereth hypocrites 
and seducers to discover their filthiness and shame, that they may be 
1 manifested to the congregation/ Prov. xxvi. 26. Holiness hath been 
the usual badge of truth, and the professors of it, when watched, have 
been in no point liable to exception, but ' in the matter of their God/ 
Pliny could find no fault with the Christians, but that they worshipped 
one Christ, whom they owned for a God, and had their hymnos ante- 
lucanos, their morning meetings and songs of praise to him. One of 
the notes by which the inquisitors of the Waldenses descried them 
was that they were sobrii et modesti vultu, et Jiabitu, of a sober 
deportment and modest garb. But may not seducers put on a demure 
garb, as Swenckfield prayed much, lived soberly, but his doctrine 
tended to looseness, destroyed the person of Christ, &c.? I answer, as 
before You must consider the aim of the doctrine, which is not always 
to be discovered by the life of the first broacher of the error. Satan 
may ' transform himself into an angel of light ' to set on a design of 
darkness ; paint will in time wear away cito ad naturam ficta reci- 
derunt suain : 2 Tim. iii. 9, ' They shall proceed no further, for their 
folly shall be made manifest to all men ; ' they begin with great shows 
at first to gain credit and entrance, but a discerning eye may find the 
deceit, and in due time God will discover them to the congregation. 
Well, then, try ways and persons by this note. 

1. Ways. Men do not easily teach point-blank contrary to their 
manners : surely the devil would not assist to bring holiness in 
fashion, and promote Christian practice. Observe the fruits and evils 
both of their lives and doctrines : in two cases it is a sure note : (1.) 
When there is a fair compliance between principles and practices ; if 
neglect of God, mutinous practices, fraud, injustice, contempt of civil 
dignity, be the very aim and design of the doctrine, and accordingly 
men live, this is of the devil. (2.) If it be so generally, and in the 

1 See Dr Hammond, Pract. Cat., pp. 142, 145. 


most zealous of this way. Some men are of a reserved temper, not 
disposed to gross and sensual wickedness, and so can counterfeit the 
better ; and possibly so much of truth as they do retain in the midst 
of their errors may somewhat operate to sanctification ; and, on the 
other side, a true way may be prejudiced if we should look to one or 
two ; a street is not measured by the sink and channel, but if it be 
usual, and for the most part so, then their principles are corrupt. 
(3.) We may not be always enticed to a course of looseness or gross 
wickedness ; if it be to a dead, powerless course, or formality, if it 
weaken the life and power of godliness in you, from such turn away, 
2 Tim. iii. 5, your love to God, and delight in God, and converse with 
him in the Spirit, is forcibly lessened ; fear the influence of such an 

2. You may judge persons by it, especially yourselves. Wherever 
there is grace there will be fruits of grace, and corrupt fruits show 
a naughty tree. If the ' clusters be clusters of Sodom, and the grapes 
grapes of Gomorrah,' it showeth the vine was of that race and kind : 
Eph. v. 9, ' The fruit of the Spirit is righteousness, goodness, and 
truth.' The apostle instanceth in such fruits as concern civil com 
merce, partly because by these we adorn our profession, and set it off 
to others ; partly because here we have a frequent trial, these graces 
being of a daily use and exercise. 

But I w T ould rather apply it by way of exhortation to those that 
profess the truth, to honour it in their lives. Let your manners be 
orthodox, lest you expose the ways of God to suspicion : Mat. iii. 8, 
' Bring forth fruits worthy of repentance,' af lows fjieravoias, beseeming 
the change of your minds. 

Obs. 2. The next evil property is axapira, without fruit, and in the 
application it implieth that they bring no honour to God, no good to 
others, neither are they wise for their own souls. To be barren and 
unfruitful under a profession of Christ, is a sign of great hypocrisy ; 
he that ' hid his talent ' is called * a naughty servant,' and, because of 
his unprofitableness, cast into * utter darkness,' Mat. xxv. A vine is 
good for nothing if it be not fruitful, not so much as to make a pin in 
the wall. Now God compareth Israel to an empty vine, Hosea x. 1, 
because they poured out all their strength, and time, and care upon 
their own interests. Well, then, ' Be not barren and unfruitful in the 
knowledge of Jesus Christ,' 2 Peter i. 8. Grace is an active thing ; 
where it is it will show itself ; garden trees must not be like the trees 
of the forest. If you would be fruitful : 

First, You must be planted with ' a right seed ; ' a wild vine will 
yield but wild grapes. The ' trees of righteousness ' are ' of God's own 
planting/ Isa. Ixi. 3 ; and when you are grafted into the noble vine, 
Christ Jesus, then are you laden with clusters, like the vine of Eshcol: 
John xv. 25, ' In me ye shall bring forth much fruit. 

Secondly, There must be good husbandry and culture : Isa. v. 2, 3 ; 
Ps. xcii. 13, 14, * Planted in the courts of God,' &c. ; that is, the 
kindly soil. Good fruit needeth the manure of ordinances, wild plants 
grow and bear of their own accord. 

Thirdly, This fruit must be ripe, not buds and blossoms, but fruit ; 
you must not be almost, but altogether ; there must be not only the 


flowers and leaves of profession, but the solid works of godliness. It 
is said here, ' trees without fruit,' but it is not said here, ' trees without 
leaves ; ' see John xv. 4. There are branches in the vine that are 
only pampinarii. 

Fourthly, Fruit is for the owner. The profit of trees returneth to 
the husbandman and master ; see John xv. 8, and Phil. i. 11. The 
spiritual life beginneth in God, and its tendency is to him. God must 
have the glory of all, but you shall not be without the comfort of it : 
Eom. vi. 22, ' Ye have your fruit to holiness, and the end everlasting 
life/ The grave is but a winter, it taketh off your leaves and verdure 
for the present, the sap and life remaineth in the roots. 

The next evil property, taken from trees and applied to men, is St? 
aTToOavbvTa, twice dead. If you apply this to the trees, they may be 
twice dead, either in regard of fruit, as a barren thing is said to be dead, 
as ' the deadness of Sarah's womb,' Eom. iv. 19 ; or, in regard of sub 
stance, rotten and like doaty trees, growing worse and worse ; or ' twice 
dead,' by a Hebraism, 'very dead,' as double is put for much. But now, 
if you look to the reddition of this similitude, these seducers are ' twice 
dead/ both in regard of their natural estate, ' dead in trespasses and 
sins,' and their apostasy, or decay of that life which they seemed to 
have by the grace of the gospel, wilful defection making their case 
incurable, Heb. vi. 5, 6, 2 Peter ii. 20. 

Obs. 1. Now, in this description you may observe a gradation: 
(1.) ' Whose fruit withereth ; ' (2.) ' Without fruit ; ' (3.) ' Twice 
dead/ First bad fruit, and then leaves, and then rottenness. Note, 
that deceivers and hypocrites ' grow worse and worse/ You have it 
from the apostle Paul also, 2 Tim. iii. 13, ' But evil men and seducers 
shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.' They 
deceive others, and the devil deceiveth them. The two states are not 
at a stay ; wicked men grow worse and worse, and godly men grow 
better and better. Observe, then, which way is your progress and 
growth. The glory of the Lord, in Ezekiel, departed by degrees: 
first from the holy place, then from the altar of burnt-offering, then 
the threshold of the house, then the city, then the mountain which 
is on the east side of the city ; it stood hovering there, as loath to be 
gone. So the Spirit of God doth not all at once depart from men, but 
by degrees. First men suspect duties, then dispute against them, then 
shake them off, and then come to beastliness and profaneness. Or, if 
you will, take the gradation thus : First, God is cast out of the closet, 
private intercourses are neglected ; then out of the family ; then out 
of the congregation, and public ordinances seem useless things ; and 
then blasphemies and a profane vertiginous spirit ensueth. First, men 
begin to wrangle, and sceptically to debate matters of religion, and 
within a while to oppose the truth : ' The beginning is foolishness, and 
the latter end is mischievous madness/ Eccles. x. 13. 

Obs. 2. Again, I observe, men that fall off from the profession of the 
truth are twice dead. To natural they bring on judicial hardness; 
when they seemed to make some escape from the misery of nature 
they relapse into it again, and then their chains are doubled ; as a 
prisoner that hath once broken prison, if taken again, is laden with 
irons. Two ways do natural men come to be twice dead by custom 


in sinning, and by a revolt from God after they had given their names 
to him. By custom in sinning, for by that means they are hardened 
in their way, and ' given up to a reprobate mind,' so as to lose all sense 
of sin, Kom. i. 26-28 ; and by revolt from God ; those that will, after 
trial, forsake him, no wonder if God leave them to their own choice, to 
be held under the power of the devil, by a dark and foolish heart. 

There is one clause yet remaining, eKpi&Oevra, plucked up by the 
roots, and then trees are past all hope of springing and sprouting again ; 
and so it fitly noteth their incurable apostasy. In this latter clause is 
set forth: (1.) Their being deprived of all spiritual communion with 
Christ and his mystical body. (2.) Their incapacity to bring forth 
fruit. (3.) Their readiness for burning and destruction. Note : 

Obs. That barren and corrupt trees shall utterly be rooted out of 
God's vineyard ; they shall not have a visible abode and standing 
there. Now this is brought to pass partly by their own act : 1 John 
ii. 19, ' They went out from us because they were not of us ; for if 
they were of us, they would have continued with us ;' they separated 
themselves from the communion of the faithful, to which they did 
never truly belong, both from the doctrine professed in the church, and 
fellowship with them in the use of ordinances. Partly by God's act, 
an act of judgment on his part : Eom. xi. 20, ' For unbelief were they 
broken off.' Partly by the act of the church, by which scandalous 
sinners are taken from among them : 1 Cor. v. 13, ' Put away from 
among yourselves that wicked person/ Well, then, let us walk so that 
this heavy judgment may never be laid upon us ; let us get a real 
union with Christ, for then we can never be broken off: you can no 
more sever the leaven and the dough than Christ and a believer, 1 &c. 
Walk with the more caution : ' Be not high-minded, but fear ;' it is 
dreadful to be cast out of the true church ; the finger that is cut off 
from the hand is also cut off from the head. That censure, if rightly 
administered against us, should be matter of great sorrow and humi 
liation to us, &c. 

Ver. 13. Raging tvaves of the sea, foaming out their shame ; wan 
dering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. 

Here are two other comparisons, the one taken from ' raging waves/ 
the other from ' wandering stars/ For the first, raging waves of the 
sea, foaming out their own shame, there is a great deal of variety 
among interpreters in the application or accommodation of this simili 
tude ; some go one way, some another. Waves are not more various 
and uncertain in their motions than they in their expositions. Some 
apply it to their levity and inconstancy, some to their restless activity 
in sin, some to their turbulency, others to their pride and ostentation. 
In such uncertainty what shall we fix upon ? Two things will direct 
us the scope, and the force of the words. The scope of the apostle in 
all these similitudes is to show that these seducers were nothing less 
than what they pretended to be : clouds, but dry barren clouds ; trees, 
but such as bore either none or rotten fruit ; waves, that seemed to 
mount up unto heaven, and to promise great matters, as if they would 
swallow up the whole earth, but being dashed against a rock, all this 

1 Qu. ' You can no more sever Christ and a believer than the leaven and the dough' ? 


raging and swelling turneth into a little foam and froth. So Calvin 
applieth it to the libertines, who scorn and disdain the common forms 
of speech, and talk of illumination and deification, so that their hearers 
seem to be rapt into the heavens ; but, alas ! they suddenly fall into 
beastly errors. 

Obs. 1. From the scope observe, that spiritual boasters will cer 
tainly come short of their great promises. All is but noise, such as is 
made by empty vessels. In the latter times you are troubled with 
' boasters,' 2 Tim. iii. 2, men that boast of depths, and seem to be wise 
and knowing above the ordinary sort, that will pretend to show you 
new ways a shorter cut to heaven, and rare discoveries of Christ and 
gospel light, &c. ; but, alas ! in the issue they leave you much more 
the servants of sin than you were before. 

But let us a little examine the force of the words. The whole simi 
litude alludeth to what is said of wicked men in general, Isa. Ivii. 20, 
The wicked are like a troubled sea that cannot rest, whose waters cast 
up mire and dirt/ 

Obs. 2. Observe, in the first place, that they are waves, which 
noteth their inconstancy : Gen. xlix. 4, ' Reuben is as unstable as water/ 
Water, you know, is movable, soon furled, and driven to and fro by the 
winds ; so were these ' carried about with every wind of doctrine,' 
Eph. iv. 14. Note thence, that seducers are unsettled and uncertain 
in their opinions ; so 2 Peter iii. 16, ' Unlearned and unstable/ If 
you ask why ? Because they are not rooted and grounded in their 
profession, but led by sudden affection and interests rather than 
judgment ; they are unstable because unlearned ; such as do not 
proceed upon clear and certain grounds, and those whom they work upon 
are of no principle, * beguiling unstable souls/ Well, then, discover 
them by their levity ; you will never have comfort and certainty in 
following them who, like weathercocks, turn with every wind. Ecebo- 
lius is infamous to all ages, see Socrat. Scholast., lib. iii. cap. 2. He 
was professor of eloquence at Constantinople, under Constantius 
zealous of Christian religion, under Julian a Pagan, and when he 
was dead, he professed Christianity again ; but then he came weeping 
to the church, Trarrjaare pe TO aXa? TO avcwr&rjTov tread upon me, 
unsavoury salt, and cast me to the dunghill. Constantius Chlorus, 
though a heathen (both Sozomen and Eusebius give us the story) yet 
loved constancy and faithfulness in men as to their profession ; he 
made proclamation that whosoever would not sacrifice should be 
discarded, and no more retained in pay with him ; but when many 
false Christians had renounced their profession for gain and pre 
serving their civil interests, he would not receive them, saying, TTW? 
<yap av irore /SacrtXet irLcmv (frvXd^ovcrt, irepl TO Kpeirrov akovres 
ayvco/jioveiv how can they keep faith with their king and emperor that 
would falter in a higher matter, in the business of their God and 
religion, for a small and petty interest ? Much to the same purpose 
there is a passage of Theodoric, king of the Goths, who loved a 
deacon who was of the orthodox profession, though he himself was 
an Arian ; the deacon, to please the king the more, changed his reli 
gion, and professed Arianism also ; but he beheaded him, sayin 


vyLatvovcrav if thou hast not kept thy faith with God, how wilt 
thou preserve a good conscience in thy duty to men ? The story is 
in Theodoret. Some are merely waves, rolling hither and thither in 
a doubtful uncertainty. 

Waves of the sea. There you have their restless activity, they are 
always tossed to and fro : Jer. xlix. 23, ' The Lord shall trouble 
Damascus, that she shall become like a fearful sea that cannot rest / 
so these cannot rest from evil : 2 Peter ii. 14, ' Eyes full of adultery, 
that cannot cease from sin/ 

Obs. Usually wicked men are of an unquiet spirit, restless in 
evil. They are acted by Satan, who is a restless spirit, and there is 
a great correspondency between their activeness in sin and the 
importunity of Satan's malice : 1 Peter v. 8, ' He goeth about like a 
roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. ' Now you shall see the 
like diligence and readiness in his instruments ; they walk the devil's 
round: Mat. xxiii.15, 'Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ; 
for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte/ &c. Blind zeal 
leadeth on men with an incessant rage to poison ethers with their 
error, and draw them to their sect. Well, then, we may learn dili 
gence from our enemies. Shall they be more busy to pervert the 
truth than we to propagate it ? Dan. xii. 4, * Many shall run to and 
fro, and knowledge shall be increased.' Once more, learn that it is a 
sign of a naughty heart to be restless in sin : Prov. iv. 16, ' They 
sleep not unless they have done mischief, and their sleep is taken from 
them unless they cause some to fall/ 

Raging loaves of the sea. There you have their turbulency ; they 
fill all places with troubles and strifes. 

Obs. Wicked seducers are usually of a turbulent and impetuous 
spirit. Why? Because they are urged by their own pride and 
vanity, and have lost all restraints of modesty, and are usually, as to 
their constitution, of violent and eager spirits. Well, then, be not 
borne down with impudence and rage ; there may be daring attempts 
and much resolution in an ill cause ; besides it is an hint to the 
magistrate to look to seducers betimes, for they are ' raging waves.' 

The next expression ia foaming out their own shame, as a raging 
sea casteth up mire and dirt ; or it alludeth to that scum and froth 
which the waves leave upon the rocks, and so it noteth the abomina- 
bleness of their opinions and practices. Whence note : 

Obs. That though errors come in blushing, and with a modest 
dress, yet usually the} 7 go out of the world with a great deal of shame. 
They dash against the rock upon which the church is built, and what 
is the issue ? They are covered with froth and foam : 1 Cor. iii. 13, 
' The day shall declare it ;' that is, time, whose daughter truth is : have 
a little patience, and you shall see that all that is but hay and stubble 
which is accounted gold. When worldly interests are unconcerned, 
and the heat of contention a little allayed, that men may have more 
clear discerning, and the world hath a little more experience of the 
fruit of false ways and opinions^ there will not need any great confuta 
tion: evil men will sufficiently bewray their own filthiness. Guic- 
ciardini saith of the expedition of Charles the Ninth into Italy, that 
he came in like lightning, and went out like the snuff of a candle. 


So errors come in like a raging wave, as if they would bear all before 
them, but they go out like foam and froth, in scorn and infamy. 
Well, then, observe the fruitlessness of all Satan's attempts : 'The 
gates of hell shall not prevail against this rock/ Mat. xvi. 18. By 
' the gates of hell/ is meant strength and counsel, power and policy ; 
for in the gates were their ammunition and seats of judicature. They 
that seek to slaver the church or deface the truth, which is the foun 
dation of it, they do but spit against the wind, the drivel is returned 
upon their own faces. We often betray our trust and faith by 
our passions ; we have not a holy greatness of mind to look above 
every trouble. Contend for God, but wait upon him; Satan may 
prevail a long time, but he can never carry it clearly from Christ : 
the Arians had a day of it, but they soon grew infamous for their 
cruelty and baseness. 

We come now to the next similitude, wandering stars, acrrepe? 
7r\avf)Tai. It may be taken two ways properly or improperly. (1.) 
Properly, for the stars which we call planets, or wandering, though 
indeed no stars wander less than they do ; they have their name from 
the opinion and common judgment of sense, because they are not car 
ried about the whole circuit of the heavens, but in a shorter orb and 
course. In themselves they have certain stated motions, and do keep 
the just points of their compass : * The sun knoweth his going down/ 
Ps. civ. (2.) Improperly ; there are a second sort of wandering stars, 
which Aristotle calleth aa-repas SiaOeovras, running and gliding stars ; 
not stars indeed, but only dry exhalations inflamed, which glare much 
and deceive the eye with an appearance of light, but soon vanish and 
are quenched. Now these glancing, shooting stars do excellently ex 
press the quality of these seducers, who pretended great knowledge, 
being therefore called Gnostics, and gave out themselves for illuminate 
and profound doctors, but were various and uncertain in their motions, 
and soon extinguished and obscured. It is notable that the apostle 
ransacketh all the elements for comparisons whereby to set them forth : 
The air, 'clouds without water;' the earth, barren, rotten 'trees;' 
the water, there he compareth them to ' raging waves ; ' the fire, to 
' wandering stars/ which are of a fiery nature. A fruitful fancy can 
make use of all the world, and a willing mind cannot want objects of 
meditation. But let us come to observe something from this similitude. 
Obs. The guides of the Lord's people should be stars, but not wan 
dering, gliding stars. These seducers pretended to be * stars/ and 
great lights of the church (which is the office of the ministers), but 
were indeed ' wandering stars/ and such as did seduce and cause to err. 
First, Stars they should be : (1.) In regard of the light of doctrine : 
Mat. v. 14, ' Ye are the light of the world/ that is Christ's honour, 
John i. 9 ; but he taketh his own crown and puts it upon his servants' 
heads. They are the light in a subordinate sense ; stars, though not 
the sun ; he is the original and fountain of all light, and we are used 
as a means to convey it to others. Thus John is called, John v. 35, 
' A burning and a shining light.' He useth our service to dispel the 
mists of error, the night of profaneness, and the darkness of false wor 
ship. You had need prize those whom God hath set over you ; they 
are light, and will you ' quench the light of Israel ' ? 2 Sam. xxi. 17. 


(2.) In regard of the lustre of their conversations. It is said of all 
Christians, Phil. ii. 15, that they ' should shine as lights in this world ;' 
they are the bright part of the world, as the stars are the shining part 
of heaven ; as the star directed the wise men to Christ, so they must 
shine to light others by their example to him, as it is required of all 
Christians, much more of ministers, who are placed in a higher orb 
and sphere. Alas ! we are but dim lights ; we have our spots and 
eclipses, but this sets the world a-talking. 

Secondly, They must not be gliding falling stars ; that is charged 
upon these seducers. A false teacher and a falling star symboliseth in 
three respects : (1.) It is but a counterfeit star; so is he an ' angel 
of light ; only in appearance, 2 Cor. xi. 14. A true Christian should 
covet more to be than to seem to be ; to be ' light in the Lord ' before 
he is a ' light in the world.' Hypocrites are all for appearance. (2.) 
In respect of the uncertainty of its motion. Falling stars are not moved 
with the heavens, but with the motion of the air, hither and thither, 
and so are no sure direction. So are they inconstant and unstable in 
the doctrines which they teach, running from opinion to opinion ; 
vagabond lights, that seduce, not direct, as meteors mislead travellers 
out of the way. (3.) In regard of the fatal issue. A wandering star 
falleth to the ground, and becorneth a dark slime and jelly ; so their 
pretences vanish at length, and they are found to be those that were 
never enlightened and fixed in the firmament of God ; counterfeits 
cannot last long ; we see stars shoot in the turn of an eye, and Satan's 
instruments fall from heaven like lightning, 

Well, then, for a guide to heaven, choose a star, but not a wander 
ing star. New light is admired, but it should be suspected rather. 
Usually we are rather for things new than excellent : homini inyenitum 
est magis nova quam magna mirari, saith Seneca. We gaze more on 
a comet than the sun. Check this itch ; those that are various and 
given to changes are no lights for you ; and if they be not burning 
and shining lights, avoid them. True stars have influences ; they do 
not only enlighten and fill you with notions, but inflame and stir you 
to practice. 

The last clause of the text is, to whom is reserved blackness of 
darkness for ever. Having described them in several metaphors, he 
cometh to speak again of their punishment, continuing the last meta 
phor, as some suppose, as glaring meteors after a while vanish into a 
perpetual night and darkness, and are no more seen and heard of ; so 
these vanish, and are swallowed up of the horrors of eternal darkness. 
In this threatening three things are notable: (1.) The dreadfulness 
of the punishment ; (2.) The sureness ; (3.) The suitableness of it. 

1. The dreadfulness, in two circumstances : (1.) The nature of it ; 
(2.) The duration of it. 

[1.] The nature of it, o b0o? TOV a/corovs, 'the blackness of dark 
ness.' It is a Hebraism for exceeding great darkness, called in the 
gospel TO o-tfoTo? TO eo)Tepov, ' outer darkness,' as being, furthest from 
God, the fountain of life and glory, and so expressing that extreme 
misery, horror, and torment which is in hell. Hell is a dark and dis 
mal region, where men lie deprived of the light of God's countenance, 
tormented with presence of devils, and become the burden of their own 


thoughts, calling to remembrance their past sins, and having an active 
sense of their present pains, and dreadfully looking still for future 
judgment ; but of this before. 1 Well, then, let us not begin our hell 
ourselves, by shunning God's presence, by preferring carnal pleasures 
before the light of his countenance, by remaining in the night or dark 
ness of ignorance or error, by darkening the glory of our holy profes 
sion through scandalous living, by sinning against conscience, and so 
providing food for the gnawing worm, or matter of despair to ourselves 
to all eternity. Briefly, let us beware of a dark and doubtful condi 
tion ; it carrieth too great a proportion with hell ; the more bondage 
we have, the more ' fearful looking for of judgment/ the more are we 
like the damned ; as the more assured and possessed of God's love, the 
more like the blessed; joy in the Holy Ghost is the suburbs of 

[2.] The next thing is the duration, the blackness of darkness for 
ever. The torment prepared for the wicked is everlasting, ' their worm 
dieth not, and their fire is not quenched/ Mark ix. 44. This is the 
hell of hell, that, as the torments there are without measure, so with 
out end ; vivere nolunt, mori nesciunt. Here they might have life, 
and would not, and now would have death, and cannot : Rev. xx. 10, 
' Tormented for ever and ever.' Woe, alas ! it is for ever. Poor 
wicked wretches ! whose bodies shrink at the prick of a pin or the 
flame of a candle, how will they endure those endless pains ? When 
their restless thoughts shall have run through thousands of years, they 
must look for more : the pains of the damned are eternal ; partly 
because of the greatness of the majesty against whom they have sinned. 
We are finite creatures, and so not fit to judge of the nature of an 
offence against an infinite God ; the Lawgiver best krioweth the merit 
of sin, which is the transgression of the law, as a jeweller knoweth the 
price of a jewel, and can best give sentence in the case what he is to 
pay that hath lost or spoiled it. With man offences of a quick execu 
tion meet with a long punishment, and the continuance of the penalty 
in no case is to be measured with the continuance of the act of sin 
Scelus non temporis magnitudine sed iniquitatis magnitudine meti- 
endum est. Partly because man sinneth as long as he can ; he sinneth 
in ceterno suo, as Aquinas, and therefore is punished in ceterno Dei. 
We would live for ever to sin for ever ; in hell the desire of sinning 
is not extinguished or mortified. 2 Partly because they despised an 
eternal happiness, and therefore do justly suffer an eternal torment. 
Partly because they are in their final estate : ' Peace upon earth/ Luke 
ii. 14. Here God is upon a treaty with us, but there we are beyond a 
possibility of repentance and pardon. Partly because their obligations 
to God are infinite, and so their punishment riseth according to the 
excess of their obligations. Well, then, this representeth the folly of 
sinners, that will run the hazard of eternal torments for a little tem 
poral satisfaction, as he cried out, For how short a pleasure have I 

1 See ver. 6, on those words, chains of everlasting darkness ; and ver. 7, those words, 
eternal fire. 

2 Wicked men are not changed in hell ; melted metal groweth hard again ; the bad 
thief had one foot in hell, and yet dieth blaspheming ; their judgments are changed, not 
their hearts ; they would have dallied with God longer, grieved his Spirit here in the 
world longer, but that their candle went out, &c. 


lost a kingdom! when he had parted with his sovereignty for a 
draught of water. So you, out of a desire of present contentment, forfeit 
heaven, and run the hazard of the horrors of everlasting darkness; 
therefore, to counterbalance the violence of a temptation it is good to 
think of it, Can I dwell with everlasting burnings ? If a man be 
sick in the night, he tumbleth and tosseth and telleth the hours, and 
wisheth it were day ; oh ! what will a man do that is held under an 
everlasting night and darkness ? We are wont to think a sermon 
long, a prayer long ; what will hell be, when conscience shall repeat 
over the passages of our lives, and remember us of the wrath of God 
that endureth for ever ? Here sin is ever working, all the day it runneth 
in the mind, all the night it playeth in the fancy ; we begin the morn 
ing with it, and end the day with it, and in the visions of the night it 
easily gets the start, and outrunneth reason and conscience ; there the 
guilt of it will torment us day and night, and man is ever haunted 
with his own horrors, and the wrath of God inflicted upon him. 

2. So much for the terribleness of the judgment ; now, secondly, let 
us consider the sureness of it, rer^rat, it is reserved. Hell torment is 
sure, prepared, kept for the wicked ; so Mat. xxv., * Prepared for the 
devil and his angels.' Heaven is prepared for the saints, and they for 
it. In one place it is said, ' The kingdom prepared for you ;' in ano 
ther, ' Vessels of mercy aforehand prepared unto glory.' So is hell 
fitted for the wicked, and they fit themselves for hell. God prepareth 
the saints and fitteth them, but endureth the wicked, and beareth with 
them whilst they * fit themselves for destruction ;' see Rom. ix. 22, 23. 
Carnal men may lord it abroad for a while, and ruffle and shine in 
worldly pomp, but ' the blackness of darkness is kept for them. ' 

3. Observe the suitableness of the judgment to the sin ; he saith 
darkness, not fire. Clouds that darken the truth are justly punished 
with ' the mists of darkness for ever ;' see 2 Peter ii. 17. They that 
would quench the true light are cast into eternal darkness. God loveth 
to retaliate, that men may read their sin in their judgment here in 
the world, he may do it in mercy to the saints. Jacob, that came the 
younger for the elder, to blind Isaac, had the elder daughter given 
him instead of the younger. Asa, that put the prophet in the stocks, 
was diseased in his feet. But in hell he doth it for the greater horror 
to the wicked ; they that chose left-hand blessings, Prov. iii. 16, are 
justly placed with the goats on the left hand, Mat. xxv.; he that 
denied a crumb could not receive a drop ; they that cared not for 
God's company are then banished out of his presence, and to those 
that loved darkness more than light is ' the mist of darkness reserved 
for ever/ 

Ver. 14. And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of 
these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints. 

The apostle urgeth another argument to imply the destruction of 
those seducers, and that is, the prophecy of Enoch. Whether this 
prophecy were written or not, the same Spirit that spake in Enoch in 
spired our apostle : if he received it by tradition, it is here made 
authentic and put into the canon. 1 The Jews have some relics of this 
prophecy in their writings, and some talk of a volume, extant in the 

1 Yid. Bez. et Estium in loc. 
VOL. V. T 


primitive times, consisting of 4082 lines, called the Prophecy of Enoch; 
but that was condemned for spurious and apocryphal. Tertullian saith 
there was a prophecy of Enoch kept by Noah in the ark, which book 
is now lost. Be it so ; many good books may be lost, but no scrip 
ture. But most probably it was a prophecy that went from hand 
to hand, from father to son. Jude saith, ' Enoch prophesied ;' he 
doth not say it is written, as quoting a passage of scripture. But 
why should he rather produce Enoch's prophecy, than a passage 
out of the authentic books of scripture, where are many such to this 
purpose ? I answer (1.) It was done by the providence of God, to 
preserve this memorial to the church. (2.) Because ancient things are 
more venerable, for by all men's confession those times were most 
simple and free partium studio, from factions and partialities ; there 
fore all along the apostle bringeth instances of the most ancient 

And Enoch, the seventh from Adam, that is, inclusive, putting Adam 
for the first. But why is this circumstance mentioned ? I answer 
(1.) To commend the antiquity of the doctrine, the seventh in descent 
from Adam intimates that judgment was to be administered by Christ. 
(2.) Some observe a mystery ; the seventh person was a prophet ; as the 
seventh day was holy. (3.) I think it is to, distinguish him from Enoch, 
the son of Cain, who was the third from Adam, as Enoch, the son of Seth, 
was the seventh ; see Gen. iv. 1 7. Prophesied; that Enoch was a prophet 
is clear here, and may be gathered from Gen. v. 22, where he is said to 
' walk with God,' a phrase proper to those that served the Lord in 
some near way of ministration. It is there applied to Enoch, who was 
a prophet, and to Noah, Gen. vi. 9, who was a ' preacher of righteous 
ness/ 2 Peter ii. 5 ; and to Eli, 1 Sam. ii. 30, who was a priest. Of 
these, saying. ' Of these/ because of such like ; it is a general prophecy 
brought down to a particular case and instance. The Lord cometh ; 
that is, the Lord Jesus, appointed to be the judge of the world ; nay, 
mark it, Behold, the Lord cometh, as putting it before their eyes. 
Cometh, rfkde, is come ; that is, he shall as certainly come as if he were 
come already. The Jews say the great excommunication Maranatha 
was instituted by Enoch; the word signifieth ' The Lord cometh/ With 
ten thousand of his saints ; it may be rendered with ' his holy myriads/ 
or ' ten thousands/ an uncertain number for a certain ; that was their 
highest and roundest reckoning. The meaning is, with huge multitudes 
of angels and saints : as the apostle, 1 Thes. iii. 13, 'At the coming of 
the Lord Jesus with all his saints / Zech. xiv. 5, ' The Lord my God 
shall come, and all thy saints with thee ;' not only the angels, but the 
saints do help to make up the triumphs of that day. 

The notes are these : 

Obs. 1. That what is spoken in the word in general doth as much 
concern us as if it were spoken to our own persons. Enoch prophesied 
of these, &c. Particulars are comprised in their generals ; some scrip 
tures speak directly to every single person ; the Decalogue is most ex~ 
press in this way, thou, thou, &c., as aiming to awaken every one to 
a sense of their duty ; God doth as it were talk with every person 
immediately. The gospel indeed speaketh largely, ' Come, all ye/ &c., 
as excluding and exempting none out of the hopes of it ; yet sometimes 


the gospel speaketh as particularly as the law, especially where the 
condition is annexed to the offer ; as Eom. x. 9, ' If thou believest in 
the Lord Jesus with thine heart,' &c. If you, as speaking to me ;i if 
thou, as speaking to thee, and every other man in particular. Well, 
then, though the word speaketh generally, take home your own share, 
as men cut a passage out of the common river to water their own 
fields. Let not the scriptures ' speak in vain/ James iv. 5. We are 
all concerned when his speech is directed to men of our condition : 
Ps. xxvii. 8, ' Thou saidst, Seek ye my face ; ' and David subsumeth, 
' Thy face, Lord, will / seek.' 

Obs. 2. Prophecy or preaching ; the word is ancient, for ' Enoch, 
the seventh from Adam, prophesied.' Still some have been set apart 
for this work ; Enoch was a prophet, and Noah a preacher of right 
eousness. It is sad that in the latter end of six thousand years, we 
should be rooting up an ancient ordinance that hath stood from the 
beginning of the world till now. In the old time before the law there 
were some to teach, every master in his family, churches were then in 
houses, and some special prophets to instruct in public, and continue 
the tradition. Under the law also there were some solemnly set apart 
for the work of the tabernacle, and prophets immediately called to 
deliver the special messages of God, not only for the instruction of the 
present age, but to increase the canon or rule of faith and manners, 
even for our comfort. And in Christ's time apostles were added to 
unveil the figures of the law and deliver the gospel more clearly ; and 
when once the canon was settled, and enough delivered to make us 
wise to salvation, some were set apart by the constitution of Christ as 
' pastors and teachers ' to explain and apply scripture ; and though all 
the saints be * kings and priests to God/ yet the office ministerial 
must not be invaded ; for as spiritual kingship is no warrant to dis 
turb the magistrate, or to wrest the exercise of authority out of his 
hands, so spiritual priesthood doth not lay the ministry in common ; 
but still there must be some set apart for that work. If we grudge at 
the institution, we repine at Christ's bounty to us, and in effect bid 
him take his gift to himself, for in the day of his royalty or ascension 
* he gave gifts to men, some to be apostles, some prophets, some pas 
tors, some teachers/ &c., Eph. iv. 11. 

Obs. 3. That the doctrine of the day of judgment is ancient, long 
since foretold. Enoch prophesied of it, yea, the sentence of death pro 
nounced in paradise did imply it, and the Lord's messengers have ever 
urged the terror of it. Many passages in Moses may be applied to 
this purpose, Deut. xxxii. David clearly saith, Ps. 1. 22, ' I will set 
thy sins in order before thee ; now consider this, ye that forget God, 
lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver.' So Solomon, 
Eccles. xi. 9, * Remember that for all these things thou shalt come to 
judgment.' It were needless to tell you of Daniel, Joel, Malachi, 
Christ, Paul, Peter, John, Jude. Still this truth was pressed in the 
church ; nay, the Lord was pleased to grant some intimation of it to 
the heathens, rfei 8' cvpavbOev /Sao-tXeu?, &c., in the fragments of the 
sybils in Eusebius ; by the light of nature the philosophers had some 
dark and uncertain guesses at such a thing. Conscience is soon sen 
sible of the truth of it, as ' Felix trembled ' when it was mentioned, 
1 Qu. ' all ' 1 ED. 


Acts xxiv. The ancient judgments of drowning the world and burn 
ing Sodom were types and forerunners of it. Well, then, entertain 
this doctrine with the more certainty: verum quodprimum that which 
is first is true. We are secret atheists ; can a man believe judgment 
to come that walloweth in sin and profaneness ? Our actions are the 
best image and expression of our thoughts. The apostle saith, ' The 
latter days shall yield scoffers and mockers,' 2 Peter iii. There may 
be atheists in the church, but there are none in hell. We deny and 
doubt of that at which the devils tremble. If the Spirit, scripture, 
conscience, reason will not teach men, there is no other way of learn 
ing but by feeling and experience. 

Obs. 4. Enoch prophesied, the man that walked with God ; he could 
see the day of judgment, though so far off. 

Those that have most communion with God do most discern his 
mind. Let a man walk humbly and closely with God, and he is near, 
not only the root of life, but ' the fountain of light : ' Ps. xxv. 14, ' The 
secret of the Lord is with them that fear him.' When the disciples 
doubted of anything, they pointed to him whom Jesus loved, and who 
leaned on Jesus' bosom, John xiii. 23. Those that are in Christ's 
bosom know his mind. Well, then, if we would pry more deeply into 
the things of God, walk humbly and closely with him. There is a 
promise, John vii. 17, 'He that will do the will of God, shall know 
what doctrine is of God.' Pure souls are soonest enlightened, 1 and 
they discern most of the Lord's counsel who are not darkened with 
lusts and interests. 

Obs. 5. From that behold. He speaketh of this day of the Lord, 
as if it were instant and before their eyes. 

We should always realise the day of the Lord, and represent it to our 
thoughts as near at hand. It is the work of faith to give things ab 
sent and at a distance a present being in the heart of a believer, Heb. 
xi. 1. Six thousand years ago Enoch said, 6 Behold, he cometh.' It is 
not for us to fix the seasons which the Father hath put in his own 
hands, there may be much of snare and temptation in that ; therefore 
the apostle Paul reproveth them that confidently gave it out that the 
day of the Lord was at hand, 2 Thes. ii. 2, evearrjiee, instantly to come. 
Austin giveth a reason of it thus, Ne forte cum transisset tempus quo 
eum credebunt esse venturum de ipsa mercede fidei desperarent lest 
they should question all, when deceived in the time of their foreset- 
ting, which indeed experience hath verified. In the year of Christ 
1001, when many vain opinions and conceits of the end of the 
world were disappointed, men began publicly to assert, mundus est 
incorruptibilis (Bar. ad annum 1001). The faith of all truths is 
shaken by the disappointment of a rash confidence ; but though we 
are not punctually to state the time, yet the thing being certain, faith 
should represent it to the thoughts as actually present, and we should 
live as if the trumpet were always sounding in our ears, and the judge 
were set, and the books opened. To put off the thought of that which 
will one day, and within a short time, come about, is a spice of atheism, 
Amos vi. 3 ; for things foretold in the word should be as certain, and 
have a like influence upon us, as if they were already accomplished : 
' Behold, the Lord is come.' 

1 ' Kddaptris eXXV^ts.' Naz. 


Obs. 6. From that with ten thousand of his saints. When Christ 
cometh to judgment, his saints come to judge the world with him. 
When the wicked are filled with amazement, they come in Christ's 
company, partly that the world may know what shall be done to the 
men whom God will honour, and that Christ may be * admired ' in the 
glory he putteth upon them, 2 Thes. i. 10 : partly that Christ may 
make them partakers of the mediatory kingdom ; therefore they are 
associated with him in judging the world, Mat. xix. 28 ; their suffrage 
is required as approving the sentence of the judge, 2 Cor. vi. 2 : partly 
for the greater sorrow of the wicked ; they shall be judged by mean 
men, whom they once hated and persecuted : Ps. xlix. 14, ' The upright 
shall have dominion over them in the morning,' that is, of the resur 
rection ; they counted their lives madness and folly, but now they are 
exalted : partly to make amends for the perverse censures of worldly 
men ; now they are judged every day, counted the off- scouring and re 
proach of men ; but then the Lord will clear up their innocency, and 
they shall sit as justices with the judge upon the bench. Well, then 
(1.) Be saints, if you would have a saint's privilege. Felons may be 
jovial in the prison, but they tremble at the bar ; they are happiest that 
have joy and boldness at Christ's appearance. When wicked men 
come like miserable captives, how shall the saints arise out of their 
graves like ' sons of the morning,' they and angels intermixed in the 
train of Christ ! What is wanting here is richly made up there. (2.) 
Walk as those that shall be associated with Christ in judging the world ; 
walk with Christ now, and you shall come with him then : * Follow the 
Lamb wheresoever he goeth/ When he is crowned at Hebron he will 
not forget his old companions ; cleave to him, cry not up a confederacy 
with them that cry up a confederacy against him. He will say to you, 
You have been with me in all my sufferings and sorrows, now you shall 
be with me in my glory, Mat. xix. 27, 28. Again, judge the world 
now, condemn them by your lives, as knowing that you shall condemn 
them hereafter by your vote and suffrage. Noah ' condemned the 
world/ Heb. xi. 7. A serious Christian is a living reproof ; a carnal pro 
fessing hypocrite justifieth the wicked: 'Ye have justified your sister 
Sodom/ see Ezek. xvi. ; but a sincere Christian condemneth them. 

Obs. 7. From that with ten thousand saints. At Christ's appear 
ance his train shall consist of multitudes of saints and holy angels. 
Now they are but as ' two or three berries upon the top of the upper 
most bough/ scattered here and there as God hath work and service 
for them to do ; but when they appear together in that great rendez 
vous, they are * a number which no man can number ; ' see Kev. v. 11, 
and Kev. vii. 9. It is a comfort against the paucity and smallness of those 
that are upright with God. In heaven we shall have company enough ; 
God's family, when it cometh altogether, is very numerous, or rather 
innumerable, Heb. xii. 23. As the wicked shall be exposed to the 
fellowship of devils, and persons like themselves, where the company 
shall add to the torment, so shall we be called to a ' great assembly/ 
Ps. i. 5, and to bear a part with that glorious train which cometh with 

Ver. 15. To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are 
ungodly amongst them of all their ungodly deeds which they have un- 


godly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners 
have spoken against him. 

Having described the judge, with his attendants, he cometh to 
describe his work, which is to convince and execute judgment, together 
with the persons against whom he will thus proceed, all that are un 
godly amongst them : as also the grounds and reasons of the process, 
because of their ungodly practices and hard speeches against Christ. 

Some say the 14th verse doth only contain the prophecy of Enoch, 
and that these words are the apostle's application or explication of it ; 
but improbably, the words running on in a continued sense or form of 
speech, and the application is at the 16th verse. 

To execute judgment; it is a hysteronproteron; the last act is put first, 
execution before conviction or arraignment. Upon aW,that is, upon all such 
as are here spoken of, upon all the ungodly ; for judgment is not executed 
upon the saints, but for them. And to convince, eXifyfat; it implieth 
such a clear proof that we see it is impossible things should be other 
wise at the day of judgment ; wicked men are ' speechless/ Mat. xxii., 
and ' self-condemned.' All that are ungodly amongst them ; that is, 
amongst the wicked, and the severity of the process is chiefly bent 
against those that are ungodly. Of all their ungodly deeds; in the Greek, 
' the deeds of their ungodliness/ Now ungodliness here is not taken in 
its proper sense, for denying God his due honour and worship, but for 
any opposition against his servants, Worship, truth. Which in an ungodly 
manner they have committed, &v rjcrefitjcrav ; which argueth the malice 
and spite which they bewrayed in their oppositions and reproaches. 
And of all their hard speeches, crK\r)pu>v ; ' hard,' as applicable to things 
as well as speeches. Our speeches are here intended, as appeareth by 
the following clause. Wicked practices and an evil tongue are seldom 
severed; that by hard speeches is meant any proud, taunting, cursed, 
or contumelious language. See 1 Sam. ii. 3, in the Hebrew, and Ps. 
xciv. 4, ' How long shall they utter and speak hard things, and the 
workers of iniquity boast themselves ? ' Which ungodly sinners; not only 
sinners, but ungodly sinners, for the greater emphasis ; see Ps. i. 1. 
Against him ; that is, against himself, against his person, or messengers, 
or truths, ordinances ; for what is spoken against any of these is spoken 
against Christ himself. 

This verse is large, and full of points ; but because the doctrine of 
the day of judgment hath been already touched upon, and ungodli 
ness opened at large, ver. 4, therefore the briefer notes will serve the turn. 

Obs. 1. Christ's second coming is to judgment; so it is said in the 
text, ' He shall come with ten thousand of his saints to execute judg 
ment.' Of his first coming it is said, John iii. 17, ' God sent not his Son 
to judge the world, but that the world through him should be saved.' 
He came not then as a judge, but as a redeemer, offering and procur 
ing grace and life. When we frustrate the end of his coming as a 
redeemer, we make way for the end of his coming as a judge, and he 
that then came to us will now come against us. 

Obs. 2. When Christ cometh to judgment, one great part of his 
work will be to convince sinners, and that openly, publicly. Some 
think that the whole work will be dispatched in the conscience, with 
out any audible and external voice, both as to examination and sen- 


tence ; others think the trial and conviction shall be in the conscience 
of a sinner, but the sentence audibly pronounced ; and because the 
punishment is to light upon the body and the soul, the ear is to 
receive it as well as the conscience feel it. I conceive that conviction, 
trial, and sentence will be all open and public. Though I cannot 
expressly say that every particular sin shall be discovered before the 
whole world, yet enough manifested to show the sentence just ; as 
their unfaithfulness in their callings, their opposition of God and god 
liness, their oppression of his servants, their neglect of grace, &c., 
with all the circumstances and aggravations of it, as the gracious 
opportunities and means which they have enjoyed, stirring sermons, 
motions of the Spirit, checks ot conscience, blessed methods of love 
and mercy, &c. God keepeth an account of these things. Those 
passages which imply God's reckoning with his people in the world 
are but pledges of what he will do at the day of our last account. 
Now here God taketh exact notice of the long time and many means 
which we have enjoyed ; as Luke xiii. 7, ' These three years,' &c. It 
alludeth to the time of Christ's ministry ; he was just then entering 
upon his last half year, as by a serious harmonising the evangelists 
will appear : John iv. 54, ' This second miracle did Jesus in Cana of 
Galilee ; ' account is kept of a former : 1 Kings xi. 9, ' Appeared to 
him twice ; ' so ' these twenty-three years,' Jer. xxv. 3. All this is 
remembered and produced to convince the sinner. 

This conviction implieth two things : (1.) The opening of the con 
science : Eev. xx. 12, ' The books were opened ; ' that is, the book of 
conscience and the book of God's remembrance ; the 'consciences of 
men shall then be extended to an exact view of all their works and 
deeds past. It is wonderful, but it shall be done by the mighty power 
of God ; for it is said here, ' he shall convince them of all their un 
godly deeds and hard speeches/ Their works and words are not lost 
and forgotten, but do follow them into the other world, and stand in 
the view of conscience, challenging the sinner, Tu nos egisti, opera 
tua sumus sinner, these are the things that thou hast done and spoken; 
we will not leave thee, but bring thee to judgment ; see Hosea vii. 2, 
Ps. xlix. 5. Then is that expression made good, ' Their iniquities 
shall find them out/ Num. xxxii. 23. Our old sins and carnal prac 
tices were long since forgotten and worn out of memory, so that we 
think we shall never hear of them more, but there they find us out, 
and pursue us to Christ's tribunal. (2.) There is an outward publica 
tion and manifestation of all these sins, or of most of them, before the 
world ; for the apostle saith, 1 Cor. iv. 5, { Hidden things shall be 
brought to light ' in that day ; that is, not only called to remembrance 
by the sinner himself, but exposed to the notice and censure of others, 
as the context there showeth. So Eccles. xii. 4, it is said, ' Secret sins 
shall be brought to judgment.' If only discovered to the conscience 
of the sinner, they are still kept secret. Wicked men are already in 
a great measure convinced, yea, and condemned, in their own con 
sciences. It is, then, God's design to shame them before all the world. 
How otherwise shall the suspected innocency of his servants be vin 
dicated, and saints and angels applaud the equity of his judgments, 
unless they have some cognisance of the matter for which wicked men 


are condemned? Now, these sins maybe discovered many ways; 
either by their own confessions and pitiful complaints extorted from 
them by the power of God. They shall bewail and bemoan their 
case thus, probably : Oh ! that ever I despised Christ, oppressed his 
servants, opposed his truth, slighted the seasons of grace/ &c. ; see 
Rev. vi. 16, 17. Or by the sentence of Christ, in the pronouncing of 
which there is some repetition of their sins, see Mat. xxv. 41-43 ; and 
also by the testimony of the good and bad angels against them. The 
good angels and guardians of the saints are sensible of the injuries 
done to them, and may possibly accuse you to Christ upon that score, 
Mat. xviii. 10. The devil, who is now a tempter, will then be an 
accuser. One of the fathers bringeth in the devil pleading thus, 
Domine, sit meus per culpam, qui tuus esse noluit per gratiam, &c. 
Lord, lethim be mine by sin, who would not be thine by grace. I 
never died for him, had no heaven to offer him, only a little carnal 
pleasure or profit, and this was enough to draw him from thee, &c. 
Yea, further, the ministers and other godly persons, by whose example 
they have been reproved or condemned, may give testimony against 
them : John v. 45, ' There is one that accuseth you, even Moses,' &c. 
The cries of those whom they have oppressed and wronged may pos 
sibly be renewed, James v. 4. Abel's blood may cry out against Cain 
afresh. Starved souls may cry out against a lazy minister, oppressed 
subjects against a bloody magistrate, the neglected poor against those 
that have shut their bowels against them ; as, on the other side, the 
godly poor that have been refreshed and relieved by the bounty of the 
rich are said to ' receive them into everlasting habitations/ Luke xvi. 
9. Again, the example of those that have had less means may be 
produced against them, because they went further in a way of com 
pliance with the Lord's purpose, Mat. xii. 41, 42. Others with whom 
we have sinned may complain of us. Dives was afraid ' lest his 
brethren should come into the place of torment/ Luke xvi. 28, which 
might be a means to increase his anguish, they sinning by his example. 
I have produced these suppositions only to make the conviction at the 
day of judgment more intelligible and effective. 

Obs. 3. Again observe, when Christ hath convinced, he will con 
demn, and when he hath condemned, he will execute. Conviction 
now maketh way many times for conversion, but then for confusion ; 
now God killeth, that he may make alive, but then they are presently 
transmitted and sent into their everlasting estate. Let us imitate the 
method of Christ's process in our judging ourselves; let us examine, 
judge, execute, not ourselves, but our sins; voluntary acts prevent enforced. 

Obs. 4. From that of all their ungodly deeds, &c., observe that 
the process of the last day chiefly lieth against the ungodly. These 
are expressly mentioned in the text ; unrighteousness is a cause of God's 
wrath as well as ungodliness, Rom. i. 18. But ungodliness doth chiefly 
provoke ; for the first part, and chiefest part of the law, provideth for 
our duty to God, ex ordine modum, ex loco statum et dignitatem 
uniuscujusque prcecepti, 1 &c. The dignity of every command is 
known by the order of it. Now, in the first place, godliness is required, 
and then righteousness, or a care of moral duties. 

1 Tertullian. 


If you would know who are ungodly, see the notes on ver. 4, where 
they are described at large ; all atheists, speculative and practical, 
pagans, sinners that slight the offers of Christ, that neglect com 
munion with God, and are touched with no reverence and dread of 
his majesty, all these are ungodly persons, and also all that scoff at 
religion and holiness of conversation, that despise the ordinances of 
God, oppress and persecute his servants, hate his truths, these are all 
in the scripture branded with the same mark, as I could easily show 
you, if I listed to dilate upon this argument. 

Now none of these will be able to hold up the head in the day of 
judgment: Ps. i. 5, ' The ungodly shall not stand in judgment, nor 
sinners in the congregation of the righteous ;' for since they hate or 
neglect God, how shall they be able to look him in the face, or appear 
among his servants ? They that have despised ' the mystery of godli 
ness,' 1 Tim. iii. 6, vi. 3, how can they expect the reward of godliness ? 
You that mock at godliness, make duties the objects of your scorn, 
not your care, how will Christ scorn you at the last day! Well, 
then, if you would have the day of judgment comfortable to you, be 
not only just and strict, but godly, for .godliness is a notion distinct 
from holiness, 2 Peter iii. 11. It is not enough to do actions just and 
good, but we must do them upon the sight of God's will, and with 
aims at his glory. Holiness implieth a conformity to the law of God, 
but godliness an unfeigned respect to his glory. Now a Christian's 
whole life should have such a tendency and ordination, for it is called 
a ' living to God/ Gal. ii. 19. 

Obs. 5. Once more observe, these ungodly men are the rather 
judged because they commit sin with an ungodly mind, or sin with a 
sinning mind ; for so it is in the text, ' ungodly deeds ungodly com 
mitted.' A child of God may fall into wickedness, but he doth not 
commit it wickedly, with a full consent ; men are not condemned for 
infirmities, but iniquities. As a child of God cannot act with such 
liberty, purity, and perfection in the ways of God as he doth desire, 
so in the ways of sin he cannot do what he would, nor be carried out 
with such a' full bent and purpose of heart as wicked men are, because 
of the opposition of the new nature. To this latter sense it is said, 
Gal. v. 17, ' Ye cannot do the things that ye would,' as will appear by 
a serious inspection of the context. Wicked men follow the devil's 
work with all their might : Micah vii. 3, ' They do evil with both 
hands earnestly.' The Lord, that is tender of those that sin through 
infirmity, yet taketh notice to the purpose when men sin for sin's sake, 
and their hearts are largely and eagerly set upon it ; those that are 
disclaimed at the day of judgment are called ' workers of iniquity,' 
Mat. vii. 23, such as make a business and a trade of it. A godly man 
doth not so much act sin as he suffereth by it, peccatum patitur, non 
facit (Bernard). He doth not pour out his whole heart this way ; 
there are constant dislikes in the soul, which are a let and restraint to 
him. Usually the sins of the godly are either sins of ignorance, 
incogitanc} r , sudden surreption, and daily incursion ; if they sin deli 
berately, there is not such a spite and rage as there is to be found in 
the sins of the wicked. 

Obs. 6. From the next clause, and their hard speeches, observe, 


not only the deeds of ungodly men, but their speeches are brought 
into judgment. Words do not perish with the breath with which they 
are uttered ; no, they remain upon record, and we are to give an account 
of them at the last day, Mat. xii. 36, James ii. 12. Men are more 
serious in their actions, but in their speeches rash and inconsiderate, 
and those that dare not act evil dare yet speak. Oh ! consider, if 
Christ did only call us to an account for our actions, and our words 
were free, it were another matter ; but he reckoneth with us about our 
speeches, therefore ' so speak and so do as those that would be judged 
by the law of liberty.' 

Obs. 7. Once more from thence observe, that of all speeches men's 
'hard speeches' shall be produced at the day of judgment. Now, 
what are these hard speeches ? I answer Either such as have anger 
in them, as Solomon speaketh of the ' froward mouth and perverse 
lips/ Prov. iv. 24, when men breathe nothing but fire, and drop coals 
instead of words ; or such as have pride in them, or contempt of others, 
as when we lessen their abilities, insult over their miseries : ' They 
speak to the grief of those whom thou hast wounded,' see Ps. Ixix. 26 ; 
or triumph over their slips and failings ; this is to pour salt and vinegar 
into new wounds. 

Again, such as have bitterness and malice in them, as calumnies 
and reproaches : Ps. Ixiv. 3, 4, ' They bend their bows to shoot their 
arrows, even bitter words.' By whisperings and clancular suggestions 
they wound the credit of God's servants, and so bring them into dis- 
esteem with others. Well, then, be not hasty to utter hard speeches, 
especially against God's children : Num. xii. 8, ' Were ye not afraid 
to speak against my servant, against Moses ?' The repetition of these 
hard speeches will be sad notes to your ears at the last day. 

Obs. 8. The next note is, that of all hard speeches those are the 
worst which do most directly reflect upon the honour and glory of 
Christ ; for so it is in the text, -hard speeches spoken against him. 
Now, hard speeches against Christ are either blasphemies against 
either of his natures ; the Ebionites denied him to be God ; the 
Valentinians made him a fantastical man, or a man only in appearance ; 
or murmurings against his providence and regimen of the world : 
'Your words have been stout against me,' Mai. iii. 13. When we tax 
and excuse l providence, as if the Lord were blind, careless, unjust, or 
injurious in his dealings : ' The Lord shall not see, he shall neither do 
good nor evil ; how should the Most High know ? ' or when we scoff at 
his word, as these, Jer. xxiii. 36, 'The burden of the Lord, the burden of 
the Lord ; every man's word shall be his burden/ Because the prophets 
usually began their sermons with this preface, ' The burden of the 
Lord,' they scoffingly were wont to say, What burden have you for us 
to day ? Now, saith the prophet, this shall return into your bosoms, 
' your words shall be