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Full text of "The works of John Owen"

PIUKCET<}^^. N. J. 

No. ('((sc, 
No. Shdf\ 
No. Book, 

L<««« ifBB 

The John IW. Krehs Uoiiatioii. 












And sold by J. Parker, Oxfurd ; Dcif;liloii and Sons, Cambridge ; I). Brown, 
Wa>igh and Innes, and H. S. ]>a\in's and Co. F.dinburpli ; Chalmers and 
Collins, and M. Ogle, Glasgow ; !\i. Keene, and R. I\I. Tims, Dublin. 








And a vision appeared to Paul in the night : There stood a man of Mace- 
donia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia and help us. 
— Acts xvi. 9. ^ 




A prayer of Habbakkuk the propliet upon Sigioiioth. O l^ord, I have hrard 
thy speech, and was afraid: O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the 
years, in the midst of the years make known ; in wratli remember mercy. 
God came from Teman, and the holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His 
glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. And his 
brightness was as the light ; he had horns coming out of his hand, and there 
was the hiding of his power. Before him went the pestilence, and burning 
coals vvent forth at his feet. He stood and measured the earth : he beheld 
and drove asunder the nations, and the everlasting mountains were scattered, 
the perpetual hills did bow: his ways are everlasting. I saw the tents of 
Cushan in affliction : and the curtains of the land of Midian did tremble. 
Was tlie Lord displeased against the rivers ? was thine anger against the 
rivers? was thy wrath against the sea, that thou didst ride upon thine horses, 
and thy chariots of salvation? Thy bow was made quite naked, according to 
the oaths of the tribes, even thy word. Selah. Thou didst cleave the earth 
■with rivers. — Had. iii. 1—9. 88 



Let them return unto thee, but return not thou unto them. And 1 will make 
thee unto this people a fenced brazen wall, and they shall fight against thee, 
but they shall not prevail against thee : for I am w ith thee to save thee, and 
to deliver thee, saith the Lord. — Jer. xv. 19, 20. lot 




He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief. — Rom. iv. CO. • • • • 2bi 


He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in 
faith, giving glory to God. — Rom. iv. 20 -9'> 




He Staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in 
faith, giving glory to God. — Rom. iv. 20. 318 




And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are 
shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken 
may remain. — Heb. xii. 27. 3S8 



Fur mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. — Isa. Ivi. 7. • • 380 


And all the trees of the field shall know that I the Lord have brought down the 
high tree, have exalted the low tree. Lave dried up the green tree, and 
have made the dry tree to flourish; I the Lord have spoken and have done 
it. — EzEK. xvii. 24. 415 



But go thou tliy way till the end be, for thou shall rest, and stand in thy lot at 
the end of the days. — Dan. xii. 13. ^ 450 


Christ's kingdom and the magistrate's power. 
I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of 
my head troubled me. I came near unto one of them that stood by, and 
aiked him in the truth of all this. So he told me, and made me know the 
interpretation of the things. — Dan. vii. 15, 16 476 


god's work in founding zion. 
What shall one then answer the messengers of the nation 1 That the Lord hath 
founded Zion, and the poor of his people shall trust in it. — Is a. xiv. 32. • • • 512 

god's presence a people's prosperity. 
And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him. Hear ye me, Asa, and all 
Judah and Benjamin ; The Lord is with you, while ye be with him ; and if 
ye seek him he will be found of you ; hat if ye forsake him, he will forsake 
you.— 2 Chron. XV. 2. ? > ^*'^ 






Prisca Anglo-Britannorum jura streuue & fideliter 
asserta ; 

Libertatem palriain (nefariis quorundam molitionibus paene 

pessundatam) recuperatam ; 

Justitiam fortiter, 'lawc, Ittihku)^, aTr/uoawTroXtTrrwc 

administratam ; 

'Apxiiv in ecclesiasticis avupoTvpawiKriv dissolutiim, Rilus 

Pontificios, novitios, Antichristianos abolitos ; 

Privilegia plebis Christianas postliminio restituta ; 


Protectionem Dei O. M. his omnibus, aliisque innumeiis, 
consilio, bello, domi, foras gratiose potitam ; 

Toto orbe jure meritissinio celebcrriuio, 
Toti huic insulse aetern^ memoriii recolendo, 

Viris illustribus, clarissimis, selectissimis, ex ordine Com- 
munium in suprema curia Pariiam. congregatis. 

CoNcioNEM banc sacram, humileni illam quideni, i|)sorum 

tamen voto jussuque prius coram ipsis habilam, 

nunc luce donatam, 

D. D. C. 


1} 2 






And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: There stood a man of Mace- 
donia, and prayed him, saying; Come over into Macedonia, and help 
us. — Acts xvi. 0. 

The kingdomof Jesus Christ is frequently in the Scripture 
compared to growing things ;* small in the beginning and 
first appearance, but increasing by degrees unto glory and 
perfection. The shapeless stone** cut out without hands, 
having neither form, nor desirable beauty given unto it, be- 
comes a great mountain, filling the whole earth ; Dan. ii. 35. 
The small vine brought out of Egypt, quickly covers the 
hills with her shadow, her boughs reach unto the sea, and 
her branches unto the rivers ; Psal. Ixxx. 8. The tender 
planf^ becomes as the cedars of God ; and the grain of 
mustard-seed to be a tree for the fowls of the air to make 
their nests in the branches thereof. Mountains are made 
plains before it, every valley is filled, and the crooked paths 
made straight, that it may have a passage to its appointed 
period : and all this, not only not supported by outward 
advantages, but in direct opposition to the combined power** 
of this whole creation, as fallen, and in subjection to the 
* god of this world,' the head thereof. As Christ was ' a 
tender plant,'* seemingly easy to be broken, and ' a root 

• This sermon was preached before the honourable house of commons, April 
29, 1646, being the day of public humiliation. 

» Ecclcsia sicut luna dcfectiis liabet, et ortus frcquentes; scd defectibus suls 
crevit, &c. haec est vera luna, qua; de fratris sui luce perpetua, lumen sibi im- 
mortalitatis ef gratise mutuatur. Amb. Hex. lib. 4. cap. 2. Psal. Ixviii. 13. 

>> Isa. liv. 11. Zech. iv. 7. <" I»a. lili. ;}--.'), 

•' 1 John iii. l.J. Hcv. ii. in. 'i Cor. i*-. 4. ' Isa. liii. '.'. 


out of a dry ground/ not easily flourishing, yet liveth for 
ever / so his people ^nd kingdom, though as a ' lily among 
thorns,'^ as ' sheep among wolves/'' as a ' turtledove among 
a multitude of devourers,'' yet stands unshaken, at least 

The main ground and foundation of all this is laid out, 
ver. 6 — 9. of this chapter, containing a rich discovery 
how all things here below, especially such as concern the 
gospel and church of Christ, are carried along through 
innumerable varieties, and a world of contingencies, accord- 
ing to the regular motions and goings forth of a free, eternal, 
unchangeable decree: as all inferior orbs, notwithstanding 
the eccentrics and irregularities of their own inhabitants, 
are orderly carried about by the first mover. 

In ver. 6. the planters of the gospel are ' forbid to 
preach the word in Asia'*' (that part of it peculiarly so 
called), and ver. 7. assaying to go with the same message 
into Bithynia, they are crossed by the Spirit in their at- 
tempts ; but in my text, are called to a place, on which their 
thoughts were not at all fixed : which calling, and which 
forbidding, were both subservient to his free determination, 
who ' worketh all things according to the counsel of his own 
will/Ephes. i. 11. 

And no doubt but in the dispensation of the gospel 
throughout the world, unto this day, there is the like con- 
formity to be found to the pattern of God's eternal decrees ; 
though to the messengers not made known aforehand by re- 
velation, but discovered in the effects, by the mighty work- 
ing of Providence. 

Amongst other nations, this is the day of England's 
visitation, ' the day-spring from on high having visited this 
people,' and 'the sun of righteousness arising upon us, with 
healing in his wings,'' a man of England hath prevailed for 
assistance, and the free grace of God hath wrought us help 
by the gospel. 

Now in this day three things are to be done, to keep up 
our spirits unto this duty, of bringing down our souls by 

'" Heb. vii. 2.5. ? Cant. ii. 2. '' Matt. x. 16. ' Psal. Ixxiv. 19. 

'' Eo ipso tempore quo ad oinnes genles prffidictitio evangelii mittebatiir, quie- 
(lani loca apostolis adire proliibebaliir ab co, qui viilt onines liornines salvos fieri, 
Prosp. F-p. ad Rufin. Aio? J' eteXei'eto ffovf^n. Ilom. ' Mai. iv. '2, 


First, To take us off the pride of our own performances, en- 
deavours, or any adherent worth of our own. ' Not for your 
sakes do I this, said the Lord; be it known unto you, be ye 
ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of 
Israel' [O house of England]; Ezek. xxxvi. 32. 

Secondly, To root out that atheistical corruption, which 
depresses the thoughts of men, not permitting them in the 
highest products of Providence, to look above contingen- 
cies, and secondary causes; though God ' hath wrought all 
our works for us;' Isa. xxvi. 12. and ' known unto him are 
all his works from the beginning of the world ;' Acts xv. 18. 

Thirdly, To shew that the bulk of this people are as yet 
in the wilderness, far from their resting place, like sheep 
upon the mountains, as once Israel, Jer. 1. 6. as yet wanting 
help by the gospel. 

The two first of these will be cleared, by discovering 
how that all revolutions here below, especially every thing 
that concerns the dispensation of the gospel and kingdom 
of the Lord Jesus, are carried along, according to the eter- 
nally fixed purpose of God, free in itself, taking neither rise, 
growth, cause, nor occasion, from any thing amongst the 
sons of men. 

The third, by laying open the helpless condition of gos- 
pel-wanting souls, with some particular application, to all 
which my text directly leads me. 

The words in general are the relation of a message from 
heaven unto Paul, to direct him in the publishing of the 
gospel, as to the place, and persons wherein, and to whom 
he was to preach. And in them you have these four things : 

1. The manner of it; it was by vision. * A vision appeared.' 

2. The time of it. * In the night.' 

3. The bring-er of it. ' A man of Macedonia.' 

4. The matter of it. Help for the Macedonians, inter- 
preted, ver. 10. to be by preaching of the gospel. 

A little clearing of the words will make way for observa- 

1. For the manner of the delivery of this message; it was 
by vision. Of all the ways that God used of old, to reveal 
himself unto any in an extraordinary manner, which were 
sundry and various, Heb. i. 1, there was no one so frof|ucnt 
as this of vision. Wherein this did propeily fonsi.st, ;uul 


whereby it was distinguished from other ways of the dis- 
covery of the secrets of the Lord, I shall not now discuss. 
In general, visions are revelations of the mind of the Lord, 
concerning some hidden things, present or future, and not 
otherwise to be known. And they were of two sorts: 

(1.) Revelations merely by word,™ or some other more 
internal species," without any outward sensible appearance, 
which, for the most part, was the Lord's way of proceeding 
with the prophets; which transient light, or discovery of 
things before unknown, they called a vision." 

(2.) Revelations accompanied with some sensible appa- 
ritions, and that either, 

[L] Of things, as usually among the prophets, rods and 
potSjP wheels and trees,"! lamps, axes, vessels, rams, goats, 
and the like, were presented unto them. 

[2.] Of persons, and those, according to the variety of 
them, of three sorts. 

1st. Of the second person of the Trinity : and this either, 

(1st.) In respect of some glorious beams of his Deity, as 
to Isaiah, chap. vi. 1. with John xii. 4L ; to Daniel, chap. x. 
ver. 5, 6. as afterward to John, Rev. i. 13 — 15. to which 
you may add the apparitions of the glory of God, not imme- 
diately designing the second person, as Ezek. i. 

(2dly.) With reference to his humanity to be assumed, as 
to Abraham, Gen. xviii. 1, 2. to Joshua, chap. v. 13 — 15, Sec 

2dly. Of angels, as unto Peter, Acts xii. 7. to the 
woman, Matt, xxviii. 2. to John, Rev. xxii. 8, &c. 

3dly. Of men,"" as in my text. 

Now the several advancements of all these ways in dig- 
nity and pre-eminence, according as they clearly make out 
intellectual verity, or according to the honour and exaltation 
of that whereof apparition is made, is too fruitless a specu- 
lation' for this day's exercise. 

Our vision is of the latter sort, accompanied with a sen- 
sible appearance, and is called opojua. There be two words 
in the New Testament signifying vision, cipajua, and oTrraaia, 
coming from different verbs, but both signifying to see. 
Some distinguish them, and say that oirrama is a vision, kuO 

a Isa. i. 1. " Amos i. 1. " Naliuni i. 1. Obad. i. 

P Jer. i. 11. 13. o Ezek. i. 5— 7. Zech. i. 8. iii. 9, 10, &c. 

Dan. vii. 8, 9. ' Zech. ii. 1. 

» ViH. Aquin. 2. 2. q. 17 ). art. 3, 4. Scot, in dist. tert. 


virap, an appearance to a man awake ; O|oajuo tcaO' uvap, an ap- 
pearance to a man asleep, called sometimes a dream. Job 
xxxiii. 15. like that which was made to Joseph, Matt. ii. 19. 
But this distinction will not hold, our Saviour calling that 
vision, which his disciples had at his transfiguration, when 
doubtless they were waking, opa/ua. Matt. xvii. 9. So that I 
conceive Paul had his vision waking ; and the night is spe- 
cified as the time thereof, not to intimate his being asleep, 
but rather his watchfulness, seeking counsel of God in the 
night, which way he should apply himself in the preaching 
of the gospel. And such I suppose was that of latter days, 
whereby God revealed to Zuinglius a strong confirmation of 
the doctrine of the Lord's supper, from Exod. xii, 11. against 
the factors for that monstrous figment of transubstantiation. 

2. For the second, or time of this vision, I need say no 
more, than what before I intimated. 

3. The bringer of the message, avrjp rig ^v Maae^wv iarwg, 
he was a man of Macedonia in a vision : the Lord made an 
appearance unto him, as of a man of Macedonia, discovering 
even to his bodily eyes a man, and to his mind, that he was 
to be conceived as a man of Macedonia. This was, say 
some,' an angel ; the tutelar angel of the place, say the 
popish expositors,'' or the genius of the place, according to 
the phrase of the heathens, of whom they learned their 
demonology ; perhaps him, or his antagonist, that not long 
before appeared to Brutus" at Philippi. But these are 
pleasing dreams : us it may sufiice, that it was the appear- 
ance of a man, the mind of Paul being enlightened to appre- 
hend him as a man* of Macedonia; and that with infallible 
assurance, such as usually accompanieth divine revelations 
in them to whom they are made, as Jer. xxiii. 28. for upon 
it Luke affirmeth, ver. 10. they assuredly concluded, that 
the Lord called them into Macedonia. 

4. The message itself is a discovery of the want of the 
Macedonians, and the assistance they required, which the 
Lord was willing should be imparted unto them. Their 
want is not expressed, but included in the assistance de- 

< Mcdc. AiKibt. of later times ' A Laiiiilc, Sanctiiis in locum, i\c. 

" Pliitarcii. in vit Bruti. 
" Calvin, in locum. Diccbal se disccrncrc, (ncscio quo sapore. qucm verbis 
expijcare non poterat) (Hiid inleres«rt inter Deuni revelanlcm, &c. Aug. (unfcs. 


sired, and the person unto whom for it they were directed. 
Had it been to help them in their estates, they should scarcely 
have been sent to Paul, who, I believe, might for the most 
part say with Peter, ' Silver and gold have I none.''' Or 
had it been with a complaint, that they, who from a province 
of Greece, in a corner of Europe, had on a sudden been 
exalted into the empire of the eastern world, were now en- 
slaved to the Roman power and oppression, they might better 
have gone to the Parthians, then the only state in the world 
formidable to the Romans. Paul, though a military man, 
yet fought not with Nero's legions, the then visible devil of 
the upper world ; but with legions of hell, of whom the 
earth was now to be cleared.^ It must be a soul-want, if he 
be intrusted with the supplying of it. And such this was, 
help from death, hell, Satan, from the jaws of that devour- 
ing lion. Of this the Lord makes them here to speak, what 
every one in that condition ought to speak. Help for the 
Lord's sake; it was a call to preach the gospel. 

The words being opened, we must remember what was 
said before of their connexion with the verses foregoing; 
wherein the preachers of the gospel are expressly hindered, 
from above, from going to other places, and called hither. 
Whereof no reason is assigned, but only the will of him that 
did employ them ; and that no other can be rendered, I am 
farther convinced, by considering the empty conjectures of 

God foresaw that they would oppose the gospel, says our 
Beda. So, say I, might he of all nations in the world, had 
not he determined to send his effectual grace^ for the removal 
of that opposition ; besides, he grants the means of grace to 
despisers. Matt. xi. 21. They were not prepared for the 
gospel, says Oecumenius. As well, say I, as the Corinthians, 
whose preparations you may see, 1 Cor. vi. 9 — 11. or any 
other nation, as we shall afterward declare : yet to this 
foolish conjecture adhere the Papists and Arminians.'' God 

" Acts ill. 6. 

V Plutarch de defect, oracii. 

'E0p2io? xlXETtti jUE Ttd'Cq fA.aKa^iOS'iV avac-craiv, 
Tov Si, ^ofjiov TrgcXiTTsrv Hal o'Sov TraXiv dv9K; lufa-^ui, 
Ilespons. ApoU. apud Euseb. Nicepli. 

' A imlio duro conic resistitiir, quia cor ipsum emollit. Aug. Ezek. xxxri. '26. 
Deut. x\\. 6. * Lapide. Sanclius in loc. Ruui. Script. S_vi)d. ar. 1. 


would have those places left tor to be converted by John, 
says Sedulius ; yet the church at Ephesus, the chief city of 
those parts, was planted by Paul, says Ignatius and Irenaus.'' 
He foresaw a famine to come upon those places, says Origen; 
from which he would deliver his own, and therefore, it seems, 
left them to the power of the devil. More such fancies'' 
might we recount, of men unwilling to submit to the will of 
God; but upon that, as the sole discriminating cause of 
these things, we rest, and draw these three observations : 

I. The rule whereby all things are dispensed here below, 
especially in the making out of the means of grace, is the 
determinate will and counsel of God. Stay not in Asia, go 
not into Bithynia, but come to Macedonia, ' even so, O 
Father, for so,' &c. 

II. The sending of the gospel to any nation, place, or per- 
sons, rather than others, as the means of life and salvation, is 
of the mere free grace, and good pleasure of God. ' Stay 
not in Asia,' &c. 

III. No men in the world want help, like them that want 
the gospel. * Come and help us.' 

I. Begin we with the first of these : The rule whereby, 
&c. All events and effects, especially concerning the pro- 
pagation of the gospel, and the church of Christ, arc in their 
greatest variety, regulated by the eternal purpose and counsel 

All things below in their events are but the wax,* wliere- 
on the eternal seal of God's purpose hath left its own im- 
pression ; and they every way answer unto it. It is not my 
mind to extend this to the generality of things in the world, 
nor to shew how the creature can by no means deviate from 
that eternal rule of providence whereby it is guided ; no 
more than an arrow can avoid the mark, after it hath received 
the impression of an unerring hand ; or well-ordered wheels 
not turn, according to the motion given them by the master- 
spring ; or the wheels in Ezekiel's vision' move irregularly 

•> 'T/uEfc UEV oJv E3-TE rotouTOi, Ltri ToiouvSe waiJsuTsy «-T«;[^liai6ivTtf HaCXx tS XfiffTO- 
<bop5. Igiiat. Epist. ad Ep. Ircn. lib. ;>. cap. .}. 

c Qui cau?,aiii qua; sit voluntatis divitia', aliijuid inajus co quicrit. Aug. Volun- 
tas Dei nullo niodo causani liabi-t. Aquin. p. q. i'i. a. .">. 

<1 ©Ei'a TravTaJv ap;^n, Ji ncaTravia xal i-rl, Hoi Xia^i>£(. Thcoplira>l. apud Picudi. 
Dc prov. 

>• PiovidL-nlin est ratio nrdiiiis rrriini ad lineiii. Tli. p. i|. '2'.'. a. 1. 6. 

' Ezck i. 


to the spirit of life that was in them. Nor yet, secondly, 
how that, on the other side, doth no way prejudice the 
liberty of second causes,^ in their actions, agreeable to the 
natures they are indued withal. He who made and preserves 
the fire, and yet hinders not, but that it should burn, or act 
necessarily agreeable to its nature ; by his making, preserv- 
ing, and guiding of men, hindereth not, yea, effectually 
causeth, that they work freely, agreeable to their nature. 
Nor yet, thirdly, to clear up what a strait line runs through 
all the darkness, confusion, and disorder in the world,*^ how 
absolutely, in respect of the first fountain, and last tendency 
of things, there is neither deformity, fault, nor deviation, 
every thing that is amiss consisting in the transgression of 
a moral rule, which is the sin of the creature,' the first cause 
being free ; as he that causeth a lame man to go, is the cause 
of his going, but not of his going lame ; or the sun exhaling 
a smell from the kennel, is the cause of the smell, but not of 
its noisomeness; for from a garden his beams raise a sweet 
savour. Nothing is amiss but what goeth off from its own 
rule; which he cannot do, who will do all his pleasure,'' and 
knows no other rule. 

But omitting these things, 1 shall tie my discourse to 
that which I chiefly aimed at in my proposition, viz. to dis- 
cover how the great variety which we see in the dispensation 
of the means of grace, proceedeth from, and is regulated by, 
some eternal purpose of God, unfolded in his word. To 
make out this, we must lay down three things. 

1. The wonderful variety in dispensing of the outward 
means of salvation, in respect of them unto whom they 
were granted, used by the Lord since the fall : I say, since 
the fall, for the grace of preserving from sin, and continuing 
with God, had been general, universally extended to every 
creature ; but for the grace of rising from sin, and coming 
again unto God, that is made exceeding various, by some 
distinguishing purpose. 

e Non tantura res, sed rerum modos. 
^ Videtur ergo quod non sit aliqua deordinatio, deformitas, aut peccatum sim- 
pliciter in toto universe, sed tantuminodo respectu iiitcriorum causaruni, ordina- 
tioneni superioris causee volentiura, licet non valentiiiin, perturbare. Brad, de 
caus. Dei. lib. 1. cap. 3-1. 

*■ Adeo summa justitiac regula est Dei voluntas, nt quicquid vult, o ipso quod 
vult, jiiftuin habendum sit. Aug. Isa. xlvi. 10. 


2. That this outward dispensation being presupposed, 
yet in effectual working upon particuhir persons, there is 
no less variety, for * he hath mercy on whom he will have 

3. Discover the rules of this whole administration. 

1. For the first, The promise was at first made unto 
Adam, and by him doubtless conveyed to his issue, and 
preached to the several generations, which his eyes beheld, 
proceeding from his own loins; but yet the wickedness of 
the old world,' all flesh corrupting their ways, we may easily 
collect, that the knowledge of it quickly departed from the 
most, sin banishing the love of God from their hearts, hin- 
dered the knowledge of God from continuing in their minds. 
After many revivings,'" by visions, revelations, and cove- 
nants, it was at length called in from the wide world, and 
wholly restrained to the house, family, and seed of Abra- 
ham," with whom alone all the means of grace continued, 
for thrice fourteen generations ; they alone were in Goshen, 
and all the world besides in thick darkness ; the dew of 
heaven was on them as the fleece, when else all the earth 
was dry. ' God shewed his word imto Jacob, his statutes 
and judgments unto Israel, he hath not dealt so with any 
nation;' Psal. cxli. 19, 20. The prerogative of the Jews 
was chiefly in this, that to them were committed the oracles 
of God, Rom. iii. ' To them pertained the adoption, and 
. the glory, the covenants, and the giving of the law, the 
service of God, and the promises;' Rom. ix. 4. But when 
the fulness" of time came, the Son of God being sent in 
the likeness of sinful flesh, drew all men unto him ; and 
God, who had before winked at the time of their ignorance, 
then called them everywhere to repent, commanding the 
gospel to be preached to the universality of reasonable 
creatures, and the way of salvation to be proclaimed unto 
all; upon which, in few years, the sound of the gospel 
went out into all nations,'' and the sun of righteousness 

I Gen. iii. 15. iv. ^26. "' Oen. vi. .5. " Gen v. -U vi. ,8. 

o Gen. xii. 1. xviii. I. 2. Psal. Ixxv,. V, ^- ... •'?''"''• "■.. P"'" '"■ '' 
.Tohnxii. 32. Acts xvii. .U). Mark xvi. 15. I^Ial. ... 1 Prov. vm. 31. 

p Sec Tertullian, lib. m\. .Unl. Reckoning .al.no.t all ti.e known nations of the 
Nvorld, and affirmi..g that ll-cy all. tl.at is some in ihe.u. in Ins .lay,. >ubnmte.l 
to the sceptre of ClniM. He lived in ll.c end of the second cei.lnrv. 


displayed his beams upon the habitable parts of the earth. 
But yet once more this light, by Satan and his agents, per- 
' secutors, and seducers, is almost extinguished, as was fore- 
told, 2 Thes. ii. remaining but in few places, and burning 
dim where it was, the kingdom of the beast being full of 
darkness; Rev. xvi. 10. Yet God again raiseth up re- 
formers, and by them kindles a light, we hope, never to be 
put out. But alas, what a spot of ground doth this shine 
on, in comparison of the former vast extents and bounds of 
the Christian world ! Now is all this variety, think you, to 
be ascribed unto chance, as the philosopher thought the 
world was made by a casual concurrence of atoms? Or 
hath the idol free-will, with the new goddess contingency, 
ruled in these dispensations ? Truly neither the one nor 
the other, no more than the fly raised the dust by sitting 
on the chariot wheel; but all these things have come to 
pass, according to a certain unerring rule, given them by 
God's determinate purpose and counsel. 

2. Presupposing this variety in the outward means, how 
is it that thereupon one is taken, another left? The pro- 
mise is made known to Cain and Abel ; one the first mur- 
derer, the other the first martyr. Jacob and Esau had the 
same outward advantages, but the one becomes Israel, the 
other Edom, the one inherits the promises, the other sells 
his right for a mess of pottage. At the preaching of our 
Saviour, some believed, some blasphemed ; some said he was 
' a good man, others said, nay, but he deceived the people.' 
Have we not the word in its power this day, and do we not 
see the like various effects, some continuing in impeni- 
tency, others in sincerity closing with Jesus Christ? Now 
what shall we say to these things? What guides these 
wheels? Who thus steers his word for the good of souls? 
Why this also, as I said before, is from some peculiarly 
distinguishing purpose of the will of God, 

3. To open the third thing proposed, I shall shew, (1.) 
That all this variety is according to God's determinate pur- 
pose, and answereth thereunto. (2.) The particular pur- 
poses from whence this variety proceedeth, 

(1.) Ephes. i. 11. 'He worketh all things according to 
the counsel of his own will.' As a man may be said to 


erect a fabiic'i according to the counsel of his will, when he 
framcth it before in his mind, and makelii all things in 
event answer his preconceived platform. All things (espe- 
cially Tii navra, all those things of which the apostle there 
treateth, gospel-things) have their futurition, and manner 
of being, from his eternal purpose:' whence also is the 
idea in the mind of God, of all things with their circum- 
stances,^ that shall be : that is the first mover, continuing 
itself immoveable, giving to every thing a regular motion, 
according to the impression which from that it doth receive : 
' For known unto him are all his works from the beginning 
of the world;' Acts xv. 18. 

If any attendants of actions might free and exempt 
them from the regular dependance we insist upon, they 
must be either contingency, or sin; but yet for both these 
we have, besides general rules, clear, particular instances. 
What seems more contingent and casual, than the unadvised 
slaying of a man, with the fall of the head of an axe from 
the helve, as a man was cutting wood by the way side ? 
Deut. xix. 5. Yet God assumes this as his own work, 
Exod. xxiii. 13. The same may be said of free agents, and 
their actions. And for the other, see Acts iv. 27, 28. in 
the crucifying of the Son of God's love, all things came to 
pass according as his counsel had before determined that it 
should be done. Now how in the one of these liberty is 
not abridged, the nature of things not changed in the other, 
sin is not countenanced,^' belongs not to this discourse. 
' The counsel of the Lord then standeth for ever, and the 
thoughts of his heart are unto all generations;' Psal. xxxiii. 
12. ' His counsel standeth, and he will do all his pleasure ;' 
Isa. xlvi. 10. ' For he is the Lord, and he changeth not;' 
Mai. iii. 6. * With him is neither variableness nor shadow of 
turning;' James i. 17. All things that are, come to pass in 

1 Piscaf. in loc. 

>■ riavTa Si Xiyt), ra, oux i<^' <ifMV, ra, yaf e<f)* hfJiTv, ov rr,; wjovoiac, o^^i rou nfAiri^M/ 
alrc^ova-Uv. Damascin. satis impie. 

» Malt. X. 29. Job xiv. 5. Prov. xvi. 33. Prov. xxi. 1. 30. xix. '21. 
Nihil fit nisi omnipotens fieri velit, vel ipse facicndo, vcl ttincndo ut fiat. Aug. 

« Gen. iv. 5—7. 1 Kings xxii. 19—21. 2 Kings v. 18, 19. Psal. Ixxvi. 10. 
Eccles. vii. 26. Isa. vi. 9— 1 1, &c. 

» Dcus non operatur in mails, quod ci displicol ; scd opcratiir per co.< quod oi 
placet, rcciiiicntur vcio non pro cu, quod Dnis bene nsiis est ipsorinn opcribu* 
malis, scd pro eo, quod ipsi male abusi sunt Dei opcribus bonis. Fulgent, ad I\Ionin». 


that unchangeable method, in which he hath laid them 
down from all eternity. 

(2.) Let us look peculiarly upon the purposes according 
to which the dispensations of the gospel, both in sending 
and withholding it, do proceed. 

[1.] For the not sending of the means of grace unto any 
people, whereby they hear not the joyful sound of the 
gospel, but have in all ages followed dumb idols, as many 
do unto this day. 

In this chapter of which we treat, the gospel is forbid- 
den to be preached in Asia and Bithynia; which restraint, 
the Lord by his providence, as yet continues to many parts 
of the world. Now the purpose from whence this proceed- 
eth, and whereby it is regulated, you have Rom. ix. 22. 
* What if God willing to shew his wrath, and to make his 
power known, endured with much long suffering the vessels 
of his wrath fitted to destructiun:' compared with Matt. xi. 
25, 26. ' Thou hast hid these things from the prudent and 
wise, even so, O Father, for so it seemed good before thee;' 
and with Acts xiv. 16. He suffered all nations to walk in 
their own ways.'" Now God's not sending the truth, hath 
the same design and aim with his sending the efficacy of 
error, viz. ' That they all may be damned,' who have it not : 
' there being no other name under heaven, whereby they 
may be saved,' but only that which is not revealed unto them ; 
God in the meantime, being no more the cause" of their 
sins, for which they incur damnation, than the sun is the 
cause of cold and darkness, which follow the absence 
thereof: or he is the cause of a man's imprisonment for 
debt, who will not pay his debt for him, though he be no 
way obliged so to do. So then the not sending of the 
gospel to any people, is an act regulated by that eternal 
purpose of God, whereby he determineth to advance the 
glory of his justice, by permitting some men to sin, to 
continue in their sin, and for sin to send them to their own 
place : as a king's not sending a pardon to condemned 
malefactors, is an issue of his purpose, that they shall die 

" 2 Thess. ii. Acts, iv. 
» Liberatur pars hominum, parte pereuiUe. Sed cur horum misertus sit Deus, 
illoruni iion misertus, quae scientia comprehendere potest ? Latet discretioni* 
ratio, bed non latet ipsa discrctio. Piosp. de Vocal. Gen. 


tor tlieir faults. When you see the gospel strangely, and 
through wonderful varieties, and unexpected providences, 
carried away from a people, know that the spirit which 
moves in those wheels, is that purpose of God which we 
have recounted. 

[2.] To some people, to some nations, the gospel is 
sent : God calls them to repentance and acknowledgment 
of the truth, as in my text, Macedonia : and England, the 
day wherein we breathe. Now there is in this a twofold 
aim : 1. Peculiar, towards some in their conversion. 2. Ge- 
neral, towards all for conviction. And therefore it is acted 
according to a twofold purpose, which carries it along, 
and is fulfilled thereby. 

1st. His purpose of saving'' some in and by Jesus Christ, 
effectually to bring them unto himself, for the praise of his 
glorious grace. Upon whomsoever ^he seal of the Lord is 
stamped, that God knows them, and owns them as his, to 
them he will cause his gospel to be revealed. Acts xviii. 
10. Paul is commanded to abide at Corinth, and to preach 
there, because God had much people in that city : though 
the devil had them in present possession,** yet they were 
God's in his eternal counsel. And such as these they were, 
for whose sake the man of Macedonia is sent on his mes- 
sage. Have you never seen the gospel hover about a na- 
tion, now and then about to settle, and anon scared and 
upon wing again ; yet working through difficulties, making 
plains of mountains, and filling valleys, overthrowing armies, 
putting aliens to flight, and at length taking firm root like 
the cedars of God? Truly if you have not, you are stian- 
gers to the place wherein you live. Now what is ail this, 
but the working of the purpose of God to attain its pioposed 
end of gathering his saints to himself? In effectual work- 
ing of grace also for conversion and salvation, whence do 
you think it takes its rule and determination, in respect of 
particular objects, that it should be directed to John, not 
Judas; Simon Peter, not Simon Magus? Why only from 
this discriminating^ counsel of God from eternity, to bring 

a Rom. viii. a8, 29. Epl.cs. i. 4. 2 Tim. ii. 19. b Ephes. ii. 1. U. 

c Non ob aliud dicit, non vos me elcgistis. sed ego vos elegi, nisi quia non 
elegerunt eum, ut eligeretcos; sod ut eligcrent eum. elegit eos No„ quinpra.- 
scivit eos credituros, sed quia fncturu. ipse fuent credcnles. Elect, sunt itaque 
VOL. XV. ^ 


the one, and not the other to himself by Christ. * The 
Lord added to the church such as should be saved ;' Acts ii. 
47. The purpose of saving is the rule of adding to the 
church of believers. And Acts xiii. 48. ' As many be- 
lieved as were ordained to eternal life.' There fore-ordaining 
to life eternal, gives them right to faith and belief. The 
purpose of God's election, is the rule of dispensing saving 

2dly. His purpose of leaving some inexcusable"^ in their 
sins for the farther manifestation of his glorious justice, is 
the rule of dispensing the word unto them. Did you never 
see the gospel sent, or continued to an unthankful people,* 
bringing forth no fruits meet for it? Wherefore it is so 
sent, see Isa. vi. 9, 10. which prophecy you have fulfilled, 
John xii. 41, 42. in men described, Jude 4. and 1 Pet. ii. 
8. But here we must strike sail, the waves swell, and it is 
no easy task to sail in this gulf. The righteousness of 
God is a great mountain, easy to be seen; but his judg- 
ments like the great deep : who can search into the bottom 
thereof? Psal. xxxvi. 6. And so I have I hope discovered 
how all things here below, concerning the promulgation of 
the gospel, are, in their greatest variety, straightly regulated 
by the eternal purposes and counsel of God. 
The uses of it follow. 

Use 1. To discover whence it is, that the work of re- 
forming the worship of God, and settling the almost de- 
parting gospel, hath so powerfully been carried along in 
this nation ; that a beautiful fabric is seen to arise in the 
midst of all oppositions, with the confusion of axes and 
hammers sounding about it, though the builders have been 
forced oftentimes, not only with one hand, but with both 
to hold the weapons'^ of war; that although the wheels of 
our chariots have been knocked oif, and they driven heavily, 
yet the regular motions of the superior wheels of providence 
have carried on the design, towards the resting-place aimed 
at ; that the ship hath been directed to the port, though the 

ante raundi constilutionem, e^ prajdestinatione, qua Deus ipse sua futura facta 
prasvidit : electi sunt aiitem de muiido e^ vocatione, quJi Deus id, quod praedesti- 
navit, iiuplevit. August, de bon. pcrsev. cap. 16, 17. 

d Matt. xi. 21. Acts xiii. 46. 

« Lnke ii. 34. 1 Pet. i. 7. Ezek. ii. 5. Matt. xxiv. 15. Rom. ix. 23. 

' Nehem. iv. i7. 

UXCHA \GEA15LE, H{ !• L MKKCV. 19 

storm had quite puzzled the pilots and mariners : even from 
hence, that all this great variety was but to work out one 
certain, fore-appointed end, proceeding in the tracts and 
paths, which were traced out for it from eternity; which 
though they have seemed to us a maze or labyrinth, such a 
world of contingencies, and various chances hath the work 
passed through ; yet, indeed, all the passages thereof have 
been regular and straight, answering the platform laid down 
for the whole in the counsel of God. Daniel, chap. ix. 
makes his supplication for the restoration of Jerusalem, 
ver. 23. an angel is sent to tell him, that ' at the beginning 
of his supplication the commandment came forth,' viz. that 
it should be accomplished; it was before determined, and 
is now set on work: but yet what mountains^ of opposition, 
what hinderances lay in the way ? Cyrus must come to the 
crown, by the death or slaughter of Darius;'' his heart be 
moved to send some to the work : in a short time Cyrus is 
cut off; now difficulties arise from the following kings : 
what their flattering counsellors, what the malignant nations 
about them conspired, the books of Nehemiah and Ezra 
sufficiently declare. Whence, ver. 25. the angel tells Da- 
niel, that from ' the commandment to restore and build Jeru- 
salem unto Messiah the prince, shall be seven weeks, and 
sixty-two weeks ; the street shall be built again, and the 
wall in troublesome times;' that is, it shall be seven weeks 
to the finishing of Jerusalem, and thence to Messiah the 
prince, sixty-two weeks : seven weeks, that is, forty-nine 
years; for so much it was, from the decree of Cyrus,' to 
the finishing of the wall by Nehemiah : of which time the 
temple, as the Jews affiimed, was all but three years in 

e Zecb.iv.7. '' Seal, de Emend. Temp. 

' 1 follow in this the vulgar or common account, otherwise- there is no part of 
Scripture clironology so contendetl about as these weeks of Daniel ; most con- 
cluding, that they are terminated in the death of Christ, happening about the midst 
of the last week. But about their original, or rise, tjiere is no small debate, of 
the four decrees made by tile Persian kings about the building of Jerusalem, viz. 
1st. By Cyrus, 2 Chron. iii. 6. '2diy. By Darius. Ezek. vi. .;. ;>dly. By Arta- 
xerxes, Ezek. vii. Of the same to Nehemiah, chap. ii. following the account of 
their reign set down in profane stories, the last only holds exactly. Tertiillian ad 
lud. begins it from Darius, when this vision appeared to Daniel, whom it seems he 
conceived to be Darius Hystaspcs, that followed the Magi, and not Medus, that 
was before Cyrus : and so with a singular kind of chronology makes up his account. 
Vid. Euseb. Demon. Evan. lib. 8. cap. Fiinc. Cora, in ('hron. Beroald. Chron. 
Jib. 3. cap. 7, 8. Montacu. Apparat. 



building ; John ii. 20. During which space, how often did 
the hearts of the people of God faint in their troubles, as 
though they should never have seen an end ? And there- 
fore, ever and anon they were ready to give over, as Hag. 
i. 2. But yet we see the decree was fixed, and all those va- 
rieties did but orderly work in an exact method for the glo- 
rious accomplishment of it. 

England's troubles have not yet endured above half 
the odd years of those reformers' task; yet, good God ! how 
short breathed are men ! What fainting is there ! What re- 
pining, what grudging against the ways of the Lord ! But, 
let me tell you, that as the water in the stream will not go 
higher than the head of the fountain, no more will the work 
in hand be carried one step higher, or beyond the aim of its 
fountain, the counsel of God, from whence it hath its rise. 
And yet as a river will break through all oppositions, and 
swell to the height of mountains, to go to the sea from 
whence it came ; so will the stream of the gospel, when it 
comes out from God, break down all mountains of opposi- 
tion, and not be hindered from resting in its appointed 
place. It were an easy thing to recall your minds to some 
trembling periods of time, when there was trembling in our 
armies, and trembling in our councils ; trembling to be 
ashamed, to be repented of; trembling in the city, and in 
the country ; and men were almost at their wits' end for the 
sorrows and fears of those days ; and yet we see how the 
unchangeable purpose of God hath wrought strongly through 
all these straits, from one end to another, that nothing- 
might fall to the ground of what he had determined. If a 
man in those days had gone about to persuade us, that all 
our pressures were good omens, that they all wrought to- 
gether for our good, we could have been ready to cry with 
the woman, who when she had recounted her griefs to the 
physician, and he still replied, they were good signs, 6i luol 
ajadtjv aTToXXujut, * good signs have undone me,' these good 
signs will be our ruin : yet behold, we hope, the contrary. 
Our day hath been like that mentioned, Zech. xiv. 6, 7. a 
day whose light is neither clear nor dark, a day known only 
to the Lord, seeming to us to be neither day nor night. But 
God knew all this while that it was a day ; he saw how it 
all wrought for the appointed end ; and in the evening, in 


the close, it will be light, so light as to be to us discern- 
able. In the mean time, we are like unskilful men, going 
to the house of some curious artist, so long as he is about 
his work, despise it as confused; but when it is finished, 
admire it as excellent : whilst the passages of providence 
are on us, all is confusion, but when the fabric is reared, 

Use 2. Learn to look upon the wisdom of God in carry- 
ing all things through this wonderful variety, exactly to an- 
swer his own eternal purpose; suffering so many mountains 
to lie in the way of reforming his churches, and settling the 
gospel, that his Spirit may have the glory, and iiis people 
the comfort in their removal. It is a high and noble con- 
templation, to consider the purposes of God, so far as by the 
event revealed, and (o see what impressions his wisdom and 
power do leave upon things accomplished here below, to 
read in them a temporary history of his eternal counsels. 
Some men may deem it strange, that his determinate will, 
which gives rule to these things, and could in a word have 
reached its own appointment, should carry his people so 
many journeys in the wilderness, and keep us thus long in so 
low estate: I say, not to speak of his own glory, which hath 
sparkled forth of this flinty opposition, there be divers 
things, things of light, for our good, which he hath brought 
forth out of all that darkness, wherewith we have been over- 
clouded. Take a few instances. 

(1.) If there had been no difficulties, there had been no 
deliverances. And did we never find our hearts so enlarged 
towards God upon such advantages, as to say. Well, this 
day's temper of spirit, was cheaply purchased by yesterday's 
anguish and fear? that was but a being sick at sea. 

(2.) Had there been no tempests and storms, we had not 
made out for shelter. Did you never run to a tree for shelter 
in a storm, and find fruit which you expected not .' Di^ you 
never go to God for safeguard in these times,'' driven by out- 
ward storms, and there find unexpected fruit, the ' peace- 
able fruit of righteousness,'' that made you say, Happy 
tempest, which cast me into such a harbour? It was a 
storm'" that occasioned the discovery of the golden mines of 

*■ Prov. xviii. 10. Ht-b. xii II. 

"• Pet. Mart.dc Rclig. .Iu<l. dccad. 1. lib. 1. 


India; hath not a storm driven some to the discovery of the 
richer mines of the love of God in Christ ? 

(3.) Had not Esau come against him with four hundred 
men, Jacob had not been called Israel ; he had not been put 
to it to try his strength with God, and so to prevail. Who 
would not purchase with the greatest distress that heavenly 
comfort, which is in the return of prayers ? The strength of 
God's Jacobs in this kingdom had not been known, if the 
Esaus had not come against them. Some say, this war hath 
made a discovery of England's strength, what it is able to 
do. I think so also, not what armies it can raise against 
men, but with what armies of prayers and tears it is able to 
deal with God. Had not the brethren strove in the womb, 
Rebekah had not asked, ' Why am I thus?' Nor received 
that answer, * The elder shall serve the younger.' Had not 
two sorts of people struggled in the womb of this kingdom, 
we had not sought, nor received, such gracious answers. 
Thus do all the various motions of the lower wheels serve 
for our good, and exactly answer the impression they receive 
from the master spring, the eternal purpose of God. Of 
this hitherto. 

II. The sending of the gospel to any one nation rather 
than another, as the means of life and salvation, is of the 
mere free grace and good pleasure of God. 

Now before I come to make out the absolute indepen- 
dency and freedom of this distinguishing mercy, I shall 
premise three things. 

1. That the not sending of the gospel to any person or 
people, is of God's mere good pleasure,"^ and not of any 
peculiar distinguishing demerit in that person or people. 
No man or nation doth 'majorem ponere obicem,' lay more 
or greater obstacles against the gospel than another. There 
is nothing imaginable to lay a block in the passage thereof, 
but only sin. Now these sins are, or may be, of two sorts; 
either first, against the gospel itself, which may possibly 
hinder the receiving of the gospel, but not the sending of it, 
which it presupposeth : secondly, against the covenant they 
are under, and the light they are guided by, before the beams 

" Qui liberatur, gratiam diligat, qui non liberatur, detitam agnoscat. Aug. de 
bori. persev. cap. 8. Ex nequissimis in ipso vitas exitu gratia invenit quos adoptet, 
cum multi, qui minus nocentes videantur, doni hiijus alicni sunt. Pros, de voc. 
Gen. lib. 1. cap. 17. 


of the gospel shine upon them. Now in these generally all 
are equal," all having sinned and come short of the glory of 
God: and in particular sins against the law and light of 
nature, no nations have gone farther than they which were 
soonest enlightened with the word, as afterward will appear: 
so that the sole cause of this, is the good pleasure of God, 
as our Saviour affirmeth, Matt. xi. 25, 26. 

2. That sins against the covenant of works, which men 
are under, before the gospel^* comes unto them, cannot have 
any general demerit, that the means of life and salvation by 
free grace should not be imparted to them. It is true, all 
nations have deserved to be turned into hell, and a people 
that have had the truth, and detained it in ungodliness, de- 
serve to be deprived of it: the first, by virtue of the sanction 
of the first broken covenant ; the other, by sinning against 
that, which they had of the second. But that men in a fallen 
condition, and not able to rise, should hereby deserve not to 
be helped up, needeth some distinction to clear it. 

There is then a twofold demerit and indignity : one 
merely negative, or a not deserving to have good done unto 
us ; the other positive, deserving that good should not be 
done unto us. The first of these is found in all the world, 
in respect of the dispensation of the gospel. If the Lord 
should bestow it only on those who do not deserve it, he 
must for ever keep it closed up in the eternal treasure of 
his own bosom : the second is found directly in none, in 
respect of that peculiar way which is discovered in the 
gospel, because they had not sinned against it; which, 
rightly considered, gives no small lustre to the freedom of 

3. That there is a right in the gospel, and a fitness in 
that gracious dispensation to be made known to all people 
in the world ; that no singular portion of the earth sliould be 
any longer a holy land, or any mountain of the world lift 
up its head above its fellows. And this right hath a double 

(1.) The infinite value and worth of the blood of Christ, 
giving fulnessi and fitness to the promises founded thereon, 
to be propounded to all mankind : ' For through his blood, 

o 1 Cor. i. 25, 26. '" Ads xiv. Ui. 17. wVi. ;>0, ,S1. 

T Rom. viii. 32. Joel ii. 28. .lohn xvii. 22. Honi. i. 5. x»i 26. 


remission of sins is preached to whosoever believes on him ;' 
Acts X. 43. * to every creature;' Matt. xvi. 15. God would 
have a price of that infinite value for sin laid down, as might 
justly give advantage, to proclaim a pardon infinitely to all 
that will come in and accept of it, there being in it no defect 
at all (though intentionally only a ransom for some), but that 
by it, ' the world might know that he had done whatsoever 
the Father commanded him;' John xiv. 31. 

(2.) In that economy and dispensation of the grace of 
the new covenant, breaking forth in these latter days, where- 
by all external distinction of places and persons,' people, 
and nations being removed, Jesus Christ taketh all* nations 
to be his inheritance, dispensing to all men the grace of the 
gospel, bringing salvation, as seemeth best to him; Tit. ii. 
11, 12. For being lifted up, he drew all unto him, having 
redeemed us with his blood, ' out of every kindred and 
tongue, people and nation ;' Apoc. v. 9. And on these two 
grounds it is that the gospel hath in itself a right and fitness 
to be preached to all, even as many as the Lord our God 
shall call. 

These things being premised, I come to the proof of the 

Deut. vii. 7, 8. Moses is very careful in sundry places to 
get this to take an impression upon their spirits, that it was 
mere free grace that exalted them into that condition and 
dignity wherein they stood, by their approach unto God, in 
the enjoyment of his ordinances ; in this most clearly ren- 
dering the cause of God's love in choosing them, mentioned 
ver. 7. to be only his love, ver. 8. his love towards them is 
the cause of his love; his free love eternally determining, his 
free love actually conferring, those distinguishing mercies 
upon them : it was not for their righteousness, ' for they 
were a stifFnecked people ;' Deut. vi. 6. 

Matt. xi. 25, 26. Our Saviour laying both these things 
together, the hiding of the mysteries of salvation from some, 
and revealing them to others, renders the same reason and 
supreme cause of both, of which no account can be ren- 
dered, only the good pleasure of God : ' I thank thee. Fa- 
ther.' And if any will proceed higher, and say, Where is 

» Rom. jx. 13. • Ephes. iii. 14, \b. Mat.xxviii. 19. 


the justice of this, that men equally obnoxious, should be 
thus unequally accepted? We say with Paul, ' That he will 
have mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will 
he hardeneth. And who art thou, O man, that disputeth 
against God ?' * Si tu es homo, et ego homo, audiaraus 
dicentem, O homo, Tu quis ?'' To send a pardon to some 
that are condemned, suffering the rest to suffer, hath no in- 
justice. If this will not satisfy, let us say with the same 
Apostle, o (5a0og, Rom. xi. 33. * O the depth,' &,c. 

Yea, so far is it from truth, that God should dispense, 
and grant his word and means of grace by any other rule, 
or upon any other motive, than his own will and good plea- 
sure," that we find in Scripture the direct contrary to what 
we would suppose; even mercy shewed to the more unwor- 
thy, and the more worthy passed by ; reckoning worthiness 
and unworthiness by less or greater sin, with less or more 
endeavours. Christ preaches to Chorazin and Bethsaida 
which would not repent, and at the same time denies the 
word to Tyre and Sidon, which would have gotten on sack- 
cloth and ashes, when the other continued delicate despisers ; 
Matt. xi. 21. Ezekiel is sent to them that would not hear 
him, passing by them that would have hearkened, chap. iii. 5. 
which is most clear, Rom. ix. 30, 31. ' The Gentiles which 
followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteous- 
ness, even the righteousness of faith ; but Israel, which fol- 
lowed after the law of righteousness, have not attained to it.' 
If, in the dispensation of the gospel, the Lord had had any 
respect to the desert of people, Corinth, that famous place 
of sinning, had not so soon enjoyed it, the people whereof, 
for worship, were led away with dumb idols, 2 Cor. xii. 2. 
and for their lives, you have them drawn to the life, 1 Cor. 

vi. 9 11. ♦ Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, 

abusers of themselves with mankind, thieves, covetous, 
drunkards, revilers, extortioners,' koi ravra rivlg >Ve, which 
is to be repeated, otto tov koivov, ' some of you were fornica- 
tors, some idolaters, but ye are sanctified.' Seem not these 

' August. 
* Si hoc voluntadini nuritis voluerimus ascriberc, ut iiialos neglexissc gratia bonos 
eiegisse videatur, lesistct vobis innvinierabiliuni causa populorum, quibus per lot 
secula, coelestis doctrine aiinunliatio noii corruscavit, ucc mdiorcs fuisse coruin 
posleros possuimis dictri', (juihus scripluui ost, Gentium populus (jui scdcbal in 
tcnebris, luccm vidil inagiiani. I'msp. dc voc. Gen. lib. 1. cap. 1=>. 


to the eye of flesh goodly qualifications for the gospel of 
Jesus Christ? Had these men been dealt withal according 
as they had disposed themselves, not fitter fuel for hell 
could the justice of God require: but yet ye see, to these 
the gospel comes, with the first ' a light shines to them that 
sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.' 

If God send or grant the gospel, which is the means of 
grace, upon any other ground, but his mere good pleasure, 
then it must be an act of remunerative justice.'^ Now there 
is no such justice in God towards the creature, but what is 
founded upon some preceding covenant, or with promise of 
God to the creature, v/hich is the only foundation of all re- 
lation between God and man ; but only those that attend 
creation and sovereignty. Now what promise do you find 
made to, or covenant with, a people as yet without the 
gospel : I mean conditional promises, inferring any good 
to be bestowed on any required performance on their part? 
Free, absolute promises there are innumerable, that light 
should shine to them that were in darkness ; and those be 
called God's people which were not his people ; but such as 
depend on any condition on their part to be fulfilled, we 
find none. God bargains'" not with the creature about the 
gospel, knowing how unable he is to be merchant for such 
pearls. If a man had all that goodness which may be 
found in man, without Jesus Christ, they would not in the 
least measure procure a discovery of him. 

I deny not but God may, and perhaps sometimes doth, 
reveal himself to some in a peculiar and extraordinary man- 
ner. Whereunto tends that story in Aquinas,y of a corpse 
taken up in the days of Constantine and Irene, with a plate 
of gold, and this inscription on it, ' Christus nascetur ex 
virgine, ego credo in ilium. O sol sub Irenaj et Constan- 
tini temporibus iterum me videbis.' But that this should be 
regular unto men living, fxera \6yov, in Justin Martyr's 
phrase,'' or using their naturals aright (which is impossible 

" Si dedebito qureratur respectu creaturae, in Dcum cadere non potest, nisi ex 
aliqna suppositione ipsi Dio voluntaria, quce non potest esse nisi promisso aut 
pactio aliqua, ex quibus fidelitatis aut justitiae debitum oriri solet. Suarez. de 
libert. div. vol. disp. 1. sect 2. num. 5. 

" Deus nulla obligatione tenetur, antequam ipse fidem suam astringat, ergo 
ante proniissionem nulla justitia disfributiva in Deo reperitur. Vasq. in q. 21. 
a. t. disp. 86. ^ Aquin. 2, 2. q. 2. art. 7. 

'■ K«i o'i fAnh, \oyou Bnuva-Mtiq xi^fftuum iio-i. Justin. Apol. 2. 


they should, the right use of naturals depending on super- 
naturals) is wide from the word. 

If there be any outward motive of granting the gospel 
unto any, it is some acceptable performances of theirs, 
holding up to the rule and will of God. Now this will and 
rule having no saving revelation but by the gospel, which 
should thus be procured by acts agreeable unto it, makes 
up a flat contradiction ; supposing the revelation of the 
gospel, before it be revealed. Doubtless according to all 
rules of justice to us made known, it is an easier thing to 
deserve heaven by obedience now under the covenant of 
works, than being under that covenant, to do any thing 
that might cause a new way of salvation, such as the 
gospel is, to be levealed. 

With some observations I descend to application. 
[1.] There is the same reason of continuing the gospel 
unto a people, as of sending it; especially if oppositions 
rise high, apt and able in themselves for its removal. Ne- 
ver nation as yet enjoyed the word, that deserved the con- 
tinuance of the word. God hath always"* something against 
a people to make the continuing of his grace to be of grace, 
the not removing of his love to be merely of love, and tiie 
preaching of the gospel to be a mercy of the gospel, free 
and undeserved. Though there be work, and labour, and 
patience for Christ's sake at Ephesus, yet there is some- 
what against Ephesus, Rev. ii. 4, 5. for which he might 
justly remove his candlestick; and if he doth it not, it is 
of the same mercy that first set it there. As God lays out 
goodness and grace in the entrance, so patience, long- 
suftering, and forbearance in the continuance. He bears 
with our manners, whilst we grieve his Spirit. Look upon 
the ftice of this kingdom, and view the body of the people, 
think of the profaneness, villany, trampling upon the blood 
of Jesus, ignorance, contempt of God ami his ways, de- 
spising his ordinances, reviling his servants, branding and 
defaming the power of godliness, persecuting and tearing 
one another, and yet hear the joyful sound of the word in 
every corner ; and you will quickly conclude, that you see 
a great light of God's love against our sins, and not of our 
goodness for his love. 

» Hos. xi. 8, 9. 

28 A visroN OF 

[2.] There is the same reason of the reformation and the 
doctrine of the gospel corrupted with error, and of the 
worship of God collapsed with superstition, as of the first 
implantation of the gospel. God in his just judgment of 
late ages, had sent upon the western world the efficacy of 
error, that they should believe lies, because they received 
not the love of the truth, as he foretold, 2 Thess. ii. Now 
whence is it, that we see some of the nations thereof as 
yet suffered to walk in their own ways, others called to re- 
pentance, some wildernesses turned into green pastures for 
the flock of God, and some places made barren wildernesses 
for the wickedness of them that dwell therein ? How comes 
it that this island glories in a reformation, and Spain sits 
still in darkness ? Is it because we were better than they ? 
Or less engaged in antichristian delusions? Doubtless no. 
No nation in the world drank deeper of that cup of abomi- 
nation. It was a proverbial speech amongst all : 'England 
was our good ass' (a beast of burden) for (antichrist whom 
they called) the pope. Nothing but the good pleasure of 
God and Christ freely coming to refine us, Mai. iii. 1 — 4. 
caused this distinction. 

[3.] Though men can do nothing towards the procuring 
of the gospel, yet men may do much for the expulsion of 
the gospel. If the husbandmen prove idle or self-seekers, 
the vineyard will be let to others ; and if the people love 
darkness more than light, the candlestick will be removed : 
let England beware. Now this men may do, either upon 
the first entrance of the gospel, or after some continuance 
of it. The gospel spreading itself over the earth, finds 
entertainment, like that of men's seeking plantations 
amongst barbarous nations; sometimes kept out with hide- 
ous outcries at the shore, sometimes suffered to enter with 
admiration, and a little after violently assaulted. 

1st. In the first way, how do we find the Jews, putting 
far from them the word of life, and rejecting the counsel of 
God at its first entrance, calling for night at the rising of 
the sun? Hence, Acts xiii. 41. Paul concludes his sermon 
to them, with, ' Hear, ye despisers. wonder and perish :' 
and ver. 46. it was necessary the word should be preached 
to them, but seeing they judged themselves unworthy, 
Ihey were forsaken ; and ver. 51. ' they shake off the dust 


of their feet against them : a common symbol in those days 
of the highest indignation and deepest curse. The like 
stubbornness we find in them, Acts xxviii. whereupon the 
apostle wholly turned himself to the Gentiles, ver. 28. 
How many nations of Europe, at the beginning of the re- 
formation, rejected the gospel of God, and procured Christ, 
with the Gadarenes, to depart as soon as he was entered, 
will be found at the last day, written with the blood of the 
martyrs of Jesus, that suffered amongst them ? 

2dly. After some continuance. So the church of 
Laodicea, having for awhile enjoyed the word, fell into 
such a tepid condition, so little moved with that fire that 
Christ came to send upon the earth, Rev. iii. 15, 16. that 
the Lord was even sick and weary with bearing them. 
The church of Rome, famous at the first, yet quickly, by 
the advantage of outward supportments, and glorious fan- 
cies, became head of that fatal rebellion against Jesus 
Christ,^ which spread itself over most of the churches in the 
world ; God hereupon sending upon them the ' efficacy of 
error to believe a lie, that they all might be damned that 
believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness;' 
2 Thess. ii. suffering thera to detain the empty names of 
church and gospel, which because they usurp only for their 
advantage here, to appear glorious, the Lord will use for 
the advancing of his justice hereafter, to shew them inex- 
cusable. O Lord, how was England of late by thy mercy 
delivered from this snare ! A captain being chosen for the 
return of this people into Egypt, O, how hath thy grace 
fought against our backshding ! And let none seek to 
extenuate this mercy, by catalogues of errors still amongst 
us, there is more danger of apostacy against Christ, and 
rebellion against the truth, in one babylonish error, owned 
by men pretending to power and jurisdiction over others, 
than in five hundred scattered amongst inconsiderable dis- 
united individuals. I would to God we could all speak antl 
think the same things, that we were all of one mind, even 
in the most minute differences that are now amongst us. 
But yet the truth is, the kingdom of Jesus Christ never 

b nDv U Efl-T.v aTToa-Tctj-ia, awEtTTncrav yof oi iv6{07ro. tSc ijdSc wtWlaif. Cyrillus Ileros. 


shakes amongst a people, until men pretending to act with 
a combined mixed power of heaven and earth, unto which 
all sheaves must bow, or be threshed, do, by virtue of this 
trust, set up and impose things, or opinions deviating from 
the rule; as it was in the papacy, errors owned by mixed 
associations. Civil and ecclesiastical are for the most part 
incurable, be they never so absurd and foolish ; of which the 
Lutheran ubiquities and consubstantiation are a tremendous 
example. These things being presupposed. 

Use 1. Let no flesh glory in themselves, but let every 
mouth be stopped ; for we have all sinned and come short of 
the glory of God. Who hath made the possessors of the 
gospel to differ from others ? Or ' what have they, that 
they have not received?' 1 Cor. iv. 7. Why are 'these 
things hidden from the great and wise of the world, and re- 
vealed to babes and children, but because, O Father, so it 
pleased thee?' Matt. xi. 26. ' He hath mercy on whom he 
will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth ;' Rom. ix. 
Ah, Lord, if the glory and pomp of the world might prevail 
with thee to send thy gospel, it would supply the room of 
the cursed Alchoran, and spread itself in the palaces of that 
strong lion of the east, who sets his throne upon the necks 
of kings. But alas, Jesus Christ is not there ! If wisdom, 
learning, pretended gravity, counterfeit holiness, real policy, 
were of any value in thine eyes to procure the word of life, 
it would be as free and glorious at Rome as ever : but alas, 
antichrist hath his throne there, Jesus Christ is not there ! 
If will-worship and humilities, neglect of the body, macera- 
tions, superstitions, beads, and vainly repeated prayers, had 
any efficacy before the Lord, the gospel perhaps might be 
in the cells of some recluses and monks : but alas, Jesus 
Christ is not there ! If moral virtues to an amazement, 
exact civil honesty and justice, that soul of human society, 
could have prevailed aught, the heathen worthies in the 
days of old had had the promises: but alas, Jesus Christ 
was far away! Now if all these be passed by, to whom is 
the report of the Lord made known ? to ' whom is his arm 
revealed?' Why, to a handful of poor sinners amongst 
the nations formerly counted fierce and barbarous.*^ And 

•: Britannoruni inaccessa Romanis loca, Christo vero subdita. Tertul. 


what shall we say to these things ? 'O (5aBog, O the 
depth, &c. 

Use 2. Let England consider with fear and trembling 
the dispensation that it is now under: I say, with fear and 
trembling, for this day is the Lord's day, wherein he will 
purge us, or burn us, according as we shall be found silver 
or dross: it is our day, wherein we must mend our end. Let 
us look to the rock from whence we were hewed, and the 
hole of the pit from whence we were digged. Was not our 
father an Amorite, and our mother an Hittite ? Are we not 
the posterity of idolatrous progenitors?*^ of those who wor- 
shipped them who by nature were no gods? How often 
also hath this land forfeited the gospel ? God having taken 
it twice away, who is not forward to seize upon the for- 
feiture. In the very morning of the gospel, the sun of righ- 
teousness shone upon this land; and they say the first- 
potentate on the earth that owned it, was in Britain ;' but as 
it was here soon professed, so it was here soon abused. 
That part of this island which is called England being the 
first place I read of, which was totally bereaved of the 
gospel, the sword of the then pagan Saxons fattening the 
land with the blood of the Christian inhabitants,^ and in the 
close wholly subverting the worship of God. Long it was 
not e'er this cloud was blown over, and those men who had 
been instruments to root out others, submitted their own 
necks to the yoke of the Lord, and under exceeding variety 
in civil affairs, enjoyed the word of grace ; until, by insen- 
sible degrees, like summer imto winter, or light unto dark- 
ness, it gives place to antichristian superstition, and left 
the land in little less than a paganish darkness, drinking 
deep of the cup of abominations, mingled for it by the 
Roman harlot. And is there mercy yet in God to recover a 
twice lost over backsliding people? Might not the Lord 
have said unto us. What shall I do unto thee, O island ? 
How shall I make thee as Admah? How shall I set thee as 
Zeboim? But his heart is turned within him, his repent- 
ings are kindled together : the dry bones shall live, and the 
fleece shall be wet, though all the earth be dry. God will 

^ Britanniam in Christianam coiiseiitire rcligiom-tn. Origcn. Horn. 4. in Ezck. 
* Niceph. lib. 2. cap. 40. Episl. Elcutli. ad Luciiim, an. 169. ajuid Bar. 
' Anno 469, the Saxons entered. 


again water his garden, once more purge his vineyard, once 
more of his own accord lie will take England upon liking, 
though he had twice deservedly turned it out of his service. 
So that, * coming as a refiner's fire, and as fuller's soap, to 
purify the sons of Levi, to purge them as gold and silver, to 
offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness,' to reform his 
churches, England, as soon as any, hath the benefit and 
comfort thereof. Nay, the reformation of England shall be 
more glorious than of any nation in the world, being carried 
on neither by might nor power, but only by the Spirit of the 
Lord of hosts. But is this the utmost period of England's 
sinning, and God's shewing mercy, in continuing and restor- 
ing of the gospel? No, truly : we again in our days have 
made forfeiture of the purity of his worship, by an almost 
universal treacherous apostacy, from which the free grace 
and good pleasure of God hath made a great progress again 
towards a recovery. 

There are two sorts of men that I find exceedingly ready 
to extenuate and lessen the superstition and popish tyranny 
of the former days, into which we were falling. 

(1.) Such as were industriously instrumental in it, whose 
suffrages had been loud, for the choice of a captain to re- 
turn into Egypt; men tainted with the errors, and loaded 
with the preferments of the times; with all those who 
blindly adhere to that faction of men, who as yet covertly 
drive on that design : to such as these, all was nothing, and 
to them it is no mercy to be delivered. And the truth is, 
it is a favour to the lamb, and not the wolf, to have him 
taken out of his mouth : but these men have interest by 
those things which have no ears, against which there is no 

(2.) Such as are disturbed in their optics, or have 
gotten false glasses,^ representing all things unto them in 
dubious colours : which way soever they look, they can see 
nothing but errors, errors of all sizes, sorts, sects, and 
sexes, errors and heresies from the beginning to the end ; 
which have deceived some men, not of the worst, and 
made them think that all before was nothing, in corapa- 

e Nunc igitur si nominis odium est, quis nominum reatus? quae accusatio voca- 
bulorum ? nisi aut barbarum sonat aliqua vox nominis, aut maledicum aut impu- 
dicuni.' Terlul. Apol. ad Gen. cap. 3. 


rison of the present confusion. A great sign they felt it 
not, or were not troubled at it : as if men should come into 
a field, and seeing some red weeds and cockle among the 
corn, should instantly affirm, there is no corn there, but all 
weeds, and that it were much better the hedges were down, 
and the whole field laid open to the boars of the forest : 
but the harvest will one day shew the truth of these things. 
But that these apprehensions may not too much prevail, to 
the vilifying and extenuating of God's mercy, in restoring 
to us the purity and liberty of the gospel, give rae leave in 
a few words to set out the danger of that apostacy, from 
which the good pleasure of God hath given us a deliver- 
ance. I shall instance only in a few things. Observe then 

[1.] The darling errors of late years were all of them 
stones of the old Babel, closing and coupling with that tre- 
mendous fabric, which the man of sin had erected to de- 
throne Jesus Christ; came out of the belly of that Trojan 
horse, that fatal engine, which was framed to betray the 
city of God. They were popish errors, such as whereof 
that apostacy did consist, which only is to be looked upon 
as the great adverse state of the kingdom of the Lord Christ. 
For a man to be disorderly in a civil state, yea, oftentimes 
through tuibulency to break the peace, is nothing to an un- 
derhand combination with some formidable enemy, for tiie 
utter subversion of it. Heedless and headless errors niay 
breed disturbance enough, in scattered individuals, unto the 
people of God; but such as tend to a peace and associa- 
tion, 'cum ecclesia malignantium,' tending to a total subver- 
sion of the sacred state, are far more dangerous. Now sucii 
were the innovations of the late hierarchists. In worship, 
their paintings,'' crossings, crucifixes, bowings, cringings, 
altars, tapers, wafers, organs, anthems, litany, rails, images, 
copes, vestments, what were they but Roman varnish, an 
Italian dress for our devotion, to draw on conformity with 
that enemy of the Lord Jesus ? In doctrine, the divinity of 
episcopacy, auricular confession, freewill, predestinution on 
faith, yea, works foreseen, ' limbus patrum,' justification by 
works, falling from grace, authority of a church, which 

■' Sec Caiitcrbiirian sclf-coiiviiiidii. Sec Ld. Dee. Coll. 5lC. 


none knew what it was, canonical obedience, holiness of 
churches, and the like innumerable, what were they but 
helps to Sancta Clara, to make all our articles of religion 
speak good Roman Catholic? How did their old father 
of Rome refresh his spirit, to see such chariots as those 
provided to bring England again unto him? This closing 
with popery was the sting in the errors of those days, which 
cause pining, if not death in the episcopal pot. 

[2.] They were such as raked up the ashes of the an- 
cient worthies, whose spirits God stirred up to reform his 
church, and rendered them contemptible before all, espe- 
cially those of England, the most whereof died in giving 
their witness against the blind figment of the real presence,' 
and that abominable blasphemy of the cursed mass. In 
especial, how did England, heretofore termed ass, turn ape 
to the pope, having set up a stage, and furnished it with 
all things necessary for an unbloody sacrifice,'' ready to set 
up the abomination of a desolation, and close with the god 
Maozim, who hath all their peculiar devotion at Rome ? 

[3.] They were in the management of men which had 
divers dangerous and pernicious qualifications : as 

1st. A false repute of learning ; I say, a false repute for 
the greater part, especially of the greatest; and yet, taking 
advantage of vulgar esteem, they bare out as though they 
had engrossed a monopoly of it ; though I presume the 
world was never deceived by more empty pretenders, espe- 
cially in respect of any solid knowledge in divinity or anti- 
quity; but yet their great preferments had got them a great 
repute of great deservings, enough to blind the eyes of poor 
mortals adoring them at a distance, and to persuade them, 
that all was not only law, but gospel too, which they 
broached ; and this rendered the infection dangerous. 

2dly. A great hatred of godliness in the power thereof, 
or any thing beyond a form, in whomsoever it was found ; 
yea, how many ' odious appellations were invented for bare 
profession, to render it contemptible? Especially in the 

' Coal from the altar. 
^ Altare Christlanum. Antidotum Lincoln. Case of Greg. 
' Sapientior sis Socrate; doctior Augustino, &c. Calvinianus si mode dicare 
clam vel propalani, mox Tarfaris, Moscis, Afris Turcisque ssevientibus et jacebis 
execratior, &c. 


exercise of their jurisdiction, thundering tlieir censures 
against all appearance of zeal, and closing with all profane 
impieties ; for were a man a drunkard, a swearer, a sabbatli- 
breaker, an unclean person, so he were no puritan, and had 
money, ' patet atri janua ditis,' the episcopal heaven was 
open for tliem all. Now this was a dangerous and destruc- 
tive qualification, which I believe is not professedly found 
in any party amongst us. 

3dly. Which was worst of all, they had centred in their 
bosoms an unfathomable depth of power, civil and ecclesi- 
astical, to stamp their apostolical errors with authority, 
giving them not only the countenance of greatness, but the 
strength of power, violently urging obedience ; and to me 
the sword of error never cuts dangerously, but when it is 
managed with such a hand. This I am sure, that errors 
in such are not recoverable, without the utmost danger of 
the civil state. 

Let now, I beseech you, these and the like thin<rs be 
considered, especially the strong combination that was 
throughout the "papal world for the seducing of this poor 
nation (that I say nothing, how this vial was poured out 
upon the very throne"), and then let us all be ashamed and 
confounded in ourselves, that we should so undervalue and 
slight the free mercy of God in breaking such a snare, and 
setting the gospel at liberty in England. My intent was, 
having before asserted this restoration of Jerusalem to the 
good pleasure of God, to have stirred you up to tliankful- 
ness unto him, and self-humiliation in consideration of our 
great undeserving of such mercy; but alas! as far as I can 
see, it will scarce pass for a mercy ; and unless every man's 
persuasion may be a Joseph's sheaf, the goodness of God 
shall scarce be acknowledged. But yet let all the world 
know, and let the house of England know this day, that we 
lie unthankfuUy under as full a dispensation of mercy and 
grace, as ever nation in the world enjoyed, and that with- 
out a lively acknowledgment thereof, with our own unwor- 
thiness of it, we shall one day know what it is (being taught 
with briers and thorns) to undervalue the glorious gospel 
of the Lord Jesus. Good T-ord ! what would helpless Ma- 

"• Rome's Masterpiece. " Roval Favoiiritf. 

i> 2 


cedonians give for one enjoyment? O tliat Wales ! O that 
Ireland! O that France ! Where shall I stop? I would 
offend none, but give nie leave to say, O that every, I had 
almost said, O that any part of the world had such helps 
and means of grace, as these parts of England have, which 
will scarce acknowledge any mercy in it! The Lord break 
the pride of our spirits, before it break the staff of our 
bread, and the help of our salvation. O that the bread of 
heaven, and the blood of Christ might be accounted good 
nourishment, though every one hath not the sauce he de- 
sireth. I am persuaded that if every Absalom in the land, 
that would be a judge for the ending of our differences, 
were enthroned (he spoke the people's good, though he in- 
tended his own power), the case would not be much better 
than it is. Well, the Lord make England, make this ho- 
nourable audience, make us all to know these three things : 

(1st.) That we have received such a blessing in setting at 
liberty the truths of the gospel, as is the crown of all other 
mercies, yea, without which they were not valuable, yea, 
were to be despised ; for success v/ithout the gospel is no- 
thing but a prosperous conspiracy against Jesus Christ. 

(2dly.) That this mercy is of mercy, this love of free love, 
and the grace that appeareth of the eternal hidden free 
grace of God. He hath shewed his love unto us because 
he loved us, and for no other reason in the world ; this peo- 
ple being guilty of blood and murder of soul and body, 
adultery, and idolatry, and oppression, with a long cata- 
logue of &ins and iniquities. 

(3dly.) That the height of rebellion against God, is the 
despising of spiritual gospel-mercies. Should Mordecai 
have trodden the robes under his feet that were brought 
him from the king, would it not have been severely re- 
venged ? Doth the King of heaven lay open the treasures 
of his wisdom, knowledge, and goodness for us, and we 
despise them ? What shall I say ? I had almost said, hell 
punishes no greater sin ; the Lord lay it not to our charge. 
O that we might be solemnly humbled for it this day, before 
it be too late ! 

Use 3. To discover unto us the freedom of that effectual 
grace which is dispensed towards the elect, under and with 
the preaching of the word : for if the sending of the out- 


ward means be of free" undeserved love, surely the working 
of the Spirit under that dispensation, for the saving of souls, 
is no less free : for, * who hath made us differ from others, 
and what have we that we have not received .'' O that God 
should say unto us in our blood, live ; that he should breathe 
upon us when we were as dry bones, dead in trespasses and 
sins ! Let us remember, 1 beseech you, the frame of our 
hearts, and the temper of our spirits, in the days wherein 
we knew not God and his goodness, but went on in a swift p 
course of rebellion. Can none of you look back upon 
any particular days or nights, and say. Ah Lord, that thou 
shouldest be so patient, and so full of forbearance, as not to 
send me to hell at such an instant ! But, oh Lord, that 
thou shouldest go farther, and blot out mine iniquities for 
thine own sake, ' when I made thee serve with my sins !' 
Lord, what shall I say it is ? It is the free grace of ray 
God. What expression transcendeth that, I know not. 

Use 4. Of caution. England received the gospel of 
mere mercy, let it take heed lest it lose it by justice ; the 
placer of the candlestick can remove it. The truth is, it will 
not be removed, unless it be abused ; and woe to them from 
whom mercies are taken for being abused, from whom the 
gospel is removed for being despised. It had been better 
for the husbandmen never to have had the vineyard, than 
to be slain for their ill using of it: there is nothing left to 
do them good, who are forsaken for forsaking the gospel. 

The glory of God was of late by many degrees depart- 
ing from the temple in our land. That was gone to the 
threshold, yea to the mount : if now at the return thereof, 
it find again cause to depart, it will not go by steps, but all 
at once. This island, or at least the greatest part thereof, 
as I formerly intimated, hath twice lost the gospel ; once, 
when the Saxons wrested it from the Britains, when, if we 
may believe their own doleful moaning i historian, they 
were given over to all wickedness, oppression, and villany 
of life, which doubtless was accompanied with contempt of 

» Non libertate gratiani, sed gratia libcrtatcni coiiscquiniur. Aug. 
P Ezek xxxvi. 26. .Acls xvi. 11. Phil. i. 29. ii. 1:5. 
qGildasde Excid. Britannia;. Omnia qux Deo placebant, et displicebant, aquali 
lance pendebantur, non igitur adniiranduni est dc'^cncr.s tales paliiam illaiii 
amjttere, quam prwdicto inodo maculabaut. Hist. M.S. apud Foxum. 


the word ; though for faith and persuasion we do not find 
that they were corrupted, and do find that they were tena- 
cious enough of antique discipline, as appeared in their 
following oppositions to the Roman tyranny, as in Beda. 
Secondly, It was lost in regard of the purity and power 
thereof, by blind superstition and antichristian impiety, 
accompanied also with abominable lewdness, oppression, 
and all manner of sin, in the face of the sun; so that first 
profaneness working a despising of the gospel, then super- 
stition ushering in profaneness, have in this land shewed 
their power for the extirpation of the gospel. Oh, that 
we could remember the days of old, that we could ' con- 
sider the goodness and severity of God, on them which fell 
severity, but towards us goodness, if we continue in that 
goodness, for otherwise even we also shall be cut off!' Yet 
here we may observe, that though both these times there 
was a forsaking in the midst of the land, ' yet there was in 
it a tenth for to return as a teil-tree, and as an oak whose 
substance is in them when they cast their leaves, so was the 
holy seed and the substance thereof;' Isa. vi. 13. As in the 
dereliction of the Jews, so of this nation, there was a rem- 
nant that quickly took root, and brought forth fruit, both 
in the one devastation, and the other : though the watcher, 
and the holy one from heaven, had called to cut down the 
tree of this nation, and to scatter its branches from flourish- 
ing before him ; yet the stump and root was to be left in 
the earth with a band of iron, that it might spring again. 
Thus twice did the Lord come seeking fruit of this vine, 
doing little more than pruning and dressing it, although it 
brought forth wild grapes ; but if he come the third time 
and find no fruit, the sentence will be, ' Cut it down, why 
cumbereth it the ground ? Now to prevent this I shall not 
follow all those gospel supplanting sins we find in holy 
writ, only I desire to cautionate you and us all in three 

(1.) Take heed of pretending or holding out the gospel 
for a covert or shadow for other things. God will not have 
his gospel made a stalking-horse for carnal designs : put 
not in that glorious name, where the thing itself is not 
clearly intended ; if in any thing it be, let it have no com- 
peer ; if not, let it not be named ; if that you aim at be just. 


it needs no varnish ; if it be not, it is the worse for it. Gilded 
pills lose not their bitterness, and painted faces are thought 
to have no native beauty ; all things in the world should serve 
the gospel, and if that be made to serve other things, God 
will quickly vindicate it into liberty. 

From the beginning of these troubles, Right Honourable, 
you have held forth religion and the gospel, as whose preser- 
vation and restoration was principally in the aims ; and 1 pre- 
sume malice itself is not able to discover any insincerity in 
this, the fruits we behold proclaim to all the conformity of 
your words and hearts. Now the God of heaven grant that 
the same mind be in you still, in every particular member of 
this honourable assembly, in the whole nation, especially in 
the magistracy and ministry of it ; that we be not like the 
boatmen, look one way and row another ; cry gospel, and 
mean the other thing; Lord, Lord, and advance our own 
ends ; that the Lord may not stir up the staff of his anger, and 
the rod of his indignation against us as a hypocritical people. 

(2.) Take heed of resting upon and trusting to the pri- 
vilege, however excellent and glorious, of the outward en- 
joyment of the gospel. When the Jews cried, * The temple 
of the Lord, the temple of the Lord,' the time was at hand 
that they should be destroyed. Look only upon the grace 
that did bestow, and the mercy that doth continue it; God 
will have none of his blessings rob him of his glory, and if 
we rest at the cistern, he will stop at the fountain. 

(3.) Let us all take heed of barrenness under it; ' For 
the earth that drinks in the rain that cometh upon it, and 
beareth thorns and briers, is rejected, and nigh unto curs- 
ing, whose end is to be burned ;' Heb. vi. 7, 8. Now what 
fruits doth it require? Even those reckoned Gal. v. 22, 
23. ' The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, 
gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.' O, that 
we had not cause to grieve for a scarcity of these fruits, and 
the abundant plenty of those works of the flesh recounted 
ver. 19 — 21. O that that wisdom, which is an eminent 
fruit of the gospel, might flourish amongst us! It is first 
' pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated,' that 
we might have less writing, and more praying ; less (Mivy, 
and more charity; that all evil surmisings, which are works 
of the flesh, might have no toleration in our hearts, but be 



banished for nonconformity to the golden rule of love and 
peace ; James iii. 17. But airixto. Come we now to the 
last proposition. 

III. No men in the world want help, like them that 
want the gospel. Or, of all distresses, want of the gospel 
cries the loudest for relief. 

Rachel wanted children, and she cries, ' Give me chil- 
dren/ or I die :' but that was her impatience ; she might 
have lived, and have had no children; yea, see the justice 
of God, she dies so soon as ever she hath children. Hagar* 
wants water for Ishmael, and she will go far from him, that 
she may not see him die; a heavy distress; and yet if he 
had died, it had been but an early paying of that debt, 
which in a few years was to be satisfied. But they that 
want the gospel may truly cry, Give us the gospel or we 
die, and that not temporally with Ishmael, for want of 
water, but eternally in flames of fire. 

A man may want liberty, and yet be happy, as Joseph 
was ; a man may want peace, and yet be happy, as David 
was ; a man may want children, and yet be blessed, as Job 
was ; a man may want plenty, and yet be full of comfort, as 
Micaiah was ; but he that wants the gospel, wants every 
thing that should do him good. A throne without the 
gospel is but the devil's dungeon. Wealth without the gospel 
is fuel for hell. Advancement without the gospel is but a 
going high to have the greater fall. 

Abraham* wanting a child complains, ' What will the 
Lord do for me, seeing I go childless, and this Eliezer of 
Damascus must be my heir?' Much more may a man with- 
out the means of grace complain, what shall be done unto 
me, seeing I go gospelless ; and all that I have is but a 
short inheritance for this lump of clay, my body ? 

When Elisha" was minded to do something for the Shu- 
namite who had so kindly entertained him, he asks her, 
whether he should speak for her to the king, or the captain 
of the host. She replies, she dwelt in the midst of her 
own ])eople, she needeth not those things ; but when he 
finds her to want a child, and tells her of that, she is al- 
most transported. Ah, how many poor souls are there, 

■■ Gen. XXX. 1. nxxv. 18. ' Gen. xxi. J6. 

' Gen. XV. 2. " 2 Kings iv. 13, 14. 


,who need not our word to the king or the captain of the 
host; but yet being gospelless, if you could tell them of 
that, would be even ravished with joy? 

Think of Adam" after his fall, before the promise, 
hiding- himself from God, and you have a perfect portraiture 
of a poor creature without the gospel. Now this appeareth, 
1. From the description we have of the people that are 
in this state" and condition without the gospel ; they are a 
people that sit in darkness, yea in the region and shadow 
of death; Matt. iv. 16, 17. they are even darkness itself, 
John i. 7. within the dominion and dreadful darkness of 
deatli. Darkness was one of Egypt's plagues, but yet that 
was a darkness of the body, a darkness wherein men lived ; 
but this is a darkness of the soul, a darkness of death, for 
these men though they live, yet are they dead. They are 
fully described, Ephes. ii. 12. ' without Christ, aliens from 
the commonwealth of Israel, strangers from the covenant 
of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.' 
Christless men, and godless men, and hopeless men : and 
what greater distress in the world ? Yea, they are called 
dogs, and unclean beasts, the wrath of God is upon them, 
they are the people of his curse and indignation. In the 
extreme north one day and one night divide the year; but 
with a people without the gospel it is all night, the sun of 
righteousness shines not upon them; it is night whilst they 
are here, and they go to eternal night hereafter. What 
the men of China say concerning themselves and others, 
that they have two eyes, the men of Europe one, and all 
the world besides is blind, may be inverted too ; the Jews 
had one eye, sufficient to guide them, they who enjoy the 
gospel have two eyes, but the men of China, with the 
rest of the nations that want it, are stark blind, and reserved 
for the chains of everlasting darkness. 

2. By laying forth what the men that want the gospel 
do want with it. 

(1.) They want Jesus Christ, for he is revealed only by 
the gospel. Austin refused to delight in Cicero's Horten- 
sius, because there was not in it the name> of Jesus Christ. 

w Gen. iii. 8. 
" MaU. vi. 23. Luke i. 7'J. Acts xxvi. 18. Rom. ii. 19. Ephes. v. 8, Cu). 
i. 13. 1 Pel. i. y. ■'' Nointii Jcsu non crat ild. 


Jesus Christ is all and in all, and where he is wanting, 
there can be no good. Hunger cannot truly be satisfied 
without manna, the bread of life, which is Jesus Christ;*' 
and what shall a hungry man do that hath no bread ? Thirst 
cannot be quenched without that water or living spring, 
which is Jesus Christ ; and what shall a thirsty soul do 
without water? A captive as we are all, cannot be deli- 
vered without redemption," which is Jesus Christ: and 
what shall the prisoner do without his ransom ? Fools as 
we are all, cannot be instructed without wisdom, which is 
Jesus Christ, without him we perish in our folly. All 
building without him is on the sand, which will surely fall. 
All working without him is in the fire, where it will be con- 
sumed. All riches without him have wings, and will away. 
* Mallem ruere cum Christo, quam regnare cum Csesare,' 
said Luther. A duno;eon with Christ, is a throne ; and a 
throne without Christ, a hell. Nothing so ill, but Christ** 
will compensate. The greatest evil in the world is sin, and 
the greatest sin was the first ; and yet Gregory feared not 
to cry, ' O felix culpa, quas talem meruit redemptorem :' 
' O happy fault which found such a Redeemer !' All mercies 
without Christ are bitter, and every cup is sweet that is 
seasoned but with a drop of his blood ; he truly is * amor et 
delicise humani generis,' the love and delight of the sons of 
men, without whom they must perish eternally : ' for there 
is no other name given unto them, whereby they may be 
saved ;' Acts iv. 12. He is the way;"= men without him are 
Cains, wanderers, vagabonds : he is the truth ; men with- 
out him are liars, like the devil, who was so of old : he is 
the life;'* without him men are dead, dead in trespasses 
and sins : he is the light ; without him men are in darkness, 
and go they know not whither : he is the vine ; those that 
are not grafted in him, are withered branches, prepared for 
the fire : he is the rock ; men not built on him, are carried 
away with a flood : he is alpha and omega, the first and the 
last, the author and the ender, the founder and the finisher 
of our salvation ; he that hath not him, hath neither begin- 

^ John vi. 50. Rev. ii. 17. John iv. 14. Cant. iv. 12. 

a John vii. 37, 38. 1 Cor. i. 30. 

*> Pauca igitur de Christo. Tertnl. ■= John xiv. 6. 

<• John i. 3--."). Ephes. iv. 18. John .w. .>. Matt, vii, 26, 27, Matt. xvi. IB. 


niijg of good, nor shall have end of misery. O blessed 
Jesus, how much better were it not to be, than to be with- 
out thee ! Never to be born, than not to die in thee ! A 
thousand hells come short of this, eternally to want Jesus 
Christ, as men do that want the gospel. 

(2.) They want all holy communion with God, wherein 
the only happiness of the soul doth consist. He is the life, 
light, joy, and blessedness of the soul; without him, the 
soul in the body is but a dead soul, in a living sepulchre. 
It is true, there be many that say, ' Who will shew us any 
good?'* but unless the Lord lift up the light of his counte- 
nance upon us, we perish for evermore. 'Thou hast made 
us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is unquiet until it 
come to thee.' You who have tasted how gracious the Lord 
is, who have had any converse and communion with him, in 
the issues and goings forth of his grace, those delights of his 
soul with the children of men, would you live,, would not 
life itself, with a confluence of all earthly endearments, be a 
very hell without him ? Is it not the daily language of your 
hearts, ' Whom have we in heaven but tliee ? and on earth 
there is nothing in comparison of thee?' The soul of man 
is of a vast, boundless comprehension ; so that if all created 
good were centred into one enjoyment, and that bestowed 
upon one soul, because it must needs be finite and limited, 
as created, it would give no solid contentment to his affec- 
tions, nor satisfaction to his desires. In the presence and 
fruition of God alone there is joy for evermore ; at his right 
hand are rivers of pleasure, tlie well-springs of life and bless- 
edness. Now, if to be without communion with God in 
this life, v/herein the soul hath so many avocations from the 
contemplation of its own misery (for earthly things are no- 
thing else) is so unsupportable a calamity ; ah, what shall 
that poor soul do that must want him for eternity, as all they 
must do who want the gospel ! 

(3.) They want all the ordinances of God, the joy of our 
hearts/ and comfort of our souls. Oh, the sweetness of a 
sabbath ! The heavenly raptures of prayer ! Oh, the glorious 
communion of saints, which such men are deprived of! If 
they knew the value of the hidden pearl, and these things 

« Psal. iv. 6. ' PshI. xlii. 1, '2. xxxiv. 1 — 1, he. 

44 A VISION ()!•• 

were to be purchased, what would such poor souls not part 
with for them? 

(4.) They will at last want heaven and salvation ; they 
shall never come to the presence of God in glory, never in- 
habit a glorious mansion ; they shall never behold Jesus 
Christ, but when they shall call for^ rocks and mountains to 
fall upon them, to hide them from his presence; they shall 
want light in utter darkness, want life under the second 
death, want*" refreshment in the midst of flames, want heal- 
ing under gnawing of conscience, want grace continuing to 
blaspheme, want glory in full misery; and which is the sum 
of all this, they shall want an end of all this, for ' their worm 
dieth not, neither is their fire quenched.' 

3. Because being in all this want, they know not that 
they want any thing, and so never make out for any supply. 
Laodicea knew much, but yet because she knew not her 
wants,' she had almost as good have known nothing. Gos- 
pelless men know not that they are blind, and seek not for 
eye-salve ; they know not that they are dead, and seek not 
for life. Whatever they call for, not knowing their wants, 
is but like a man's crying for more weight to press him to 
death ; and therefore, when the Lord comes to any with the 
gospel, he is ' found of them that sought him not, and made 
manifest to them that asked not after him ;' Rom. x. 20. 
This is a seal upon their misery, without God's free mercy, 
like the stone laid upon the mouth of the cave by Joshua, 
to keep in the five kings, until they might be brought out 
to be hanged.'' All that men do in the world is but seeking 
to supply their wants ; either their natural wants, that nature 
may be supplied ; or their sinful wants, that their lusts may 
be satisfied ; or their spiritual wants, that their souls may 
be saved. For the two first, men without the gospel lay 
out all their strength, but of the last there is amongst them 
a deep' silence. Now this is all one as for men to cry out 
that their finger bleeds, whilst a sword is run through their 
hearts, and they perceive it not ; to desire a wart to be cured, 
whilst they have a plague-sore upon them. And hence per- 

B Rev. vi. 16. 
h Matt. xxii. 13. Luke xvi. 24. Mark ix. 43, 44. Isa. Ixvi. 24. 
' Rev. iii. 17. ^ Josh. x. 18. 

'Ego propero ad inferos, ncc est ut aliquid pro me agas. Advocates quidam 
raotiens, apud. Bel. de arte mor. lib. 2. cap. 10. 


haps it is, that they are said to go to"" hell ' like sheep ;' 
Psal. xlix. 14. very quietly, without dread, as a bird hasting 
to the snare, and not knowing that it is for his life; Prov. 
vii. 23. and there lie down in utter disappointment and 
sorrow for evermore. 

4. Because all mercies are bitter judgments to men that 
want the gospel ; all fuel for hell ; aggravations of con- 
demnation ; all cold drink to a man in a fever, pleasant at 
the entrance, but increasing its torments in the close; like 
the book in the Revelation, sweet in the mouth, but bitter 
in the belly. When God shall come to require his bread 
and wine, his flax and oil, peace and prosperity, liberty and 
victories of gospelless men, they will curse the day that ever 
they enjoyed them. So unspiritual are many men's minds, 
and so unsavoury their judgments, that they reckon men's 
happiness by their possessions, and suppose the catalogue 
of their titles to be a roll of their felicities, calling the proud 
happy, and advancing in our conceits * them that work wick- 
edness,' Mai. iii. 15. but God will one day come in with an- 
other reckoning, and make them know, that all things with- 
out Christ, are but as cyphers without a figure, of no value. 
In all their banquets where Christ is not a guest, * their 
vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the field of Gomorrah, 
their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter;' 
Deut. xxxii. 32, 33. their palaces, where Christ is not, are 
but habitations of Zim, and Ochim, dragons, and unclean 
beasts ; their prosperity is putting them into full pasture, 
that they may be fatted for the day of slaughter, the day of 
consumption decreed for all the bulls of Bashan ; the gospel 
bringing Christ, is the salt that makes all other things 

Use 1. To shew us the great privilege and pre-eminence, 
which, by the free grace of God, many parts of this island 
do enjoy. To us that sat in darkness and in the shadow of 
death, a great light is risen, to guide us into the ways of 
peace. Let others recount the glories, benefits, profits, out- 
ward blessings of this nation; let us look only upon that 
which alone is valuable in itself, and makes other things so 
to be, the gospel of Christ. It is reported of the heralds of 
our neighbour monarchs, that when one of them had re- 


peated the numerous titles of his master of Spain, the other 
often repeated France, France, France ; intimating that the 
dominion which came under that one denomination, would 
counterpoise the long catalogue of kingdoms and dukedoms, 
wherewith the other flourished. Were we to contend with 
the grand seignior of the east about our enjoyments, we 
might easily bear down his windy, pompous train of titles 
with this one, which 'millies repetitumplacebit,' the gospel, 
the gospel. Upon all the other things you may put the in- 
scription in Daniel, * mene, mene, tekel,' they are * weighed 
in the balance, and found wanting;' but proclaim before those 
that enjoy the gospel, as Haraan before Mordecai, ' Lo, thus 
shall it be done to them whom the Lord will honour.' The 
fox in the fable had a thousand wiles to save himself from 
the hunters ; but the cat knew ' unum magnum,' * one great 
thing' that would surely do it. Earthly supports and con- 
tentments are but a thousand failing wiles, which will all 
vanish in the time of need ; the gospel, and Christ in the 
gospel, is that ' unum magnum,' that ' unum necessarium,' 
which alone will stand us in any stead. In this, this island 
is as the mountain of the Lord, exalted above the mountains 
of the earth ; it is true, many other nations partake with us 
in the same blessing: not to advance our own enjoyments 
in some particulars wherein perhaps we might justly do it; 
but take all these nations with us, and what a molehill are 
we to the whole earth, overspread with Paganism, Mahomet- 
anism, Antichristianism, with innumerable foolish heresies? 
And what is England, that it should be amongst the choice 
branches of the vineyard, the top-boughs of the cedars of 
God ? 

Use 2. Shews that such great mercies, if not esteemed, if 
not improved, if abused, will end in great judgments. Woe 
be to that nation, that city, that person, that shall be called 
to an account for despising the gospel; Amos ii. 2. 'You 
only have I known of all the families of the earth.' What 
then? Surely some great blessing is coming to that people, 
whom God thus knows, so owns, as to make himself known 
unto them. No ; but, ' therefore will I visit upon you all 
your iniquities.' However others may have some ease or 
mitigation in their punishments, do you expect the utmost 
of my wrath. Luther said, he thought hell was paved with 


the bald sculls of friars ; I know nothing of that ; yet of this 
sure I am, that none shall have their portion so low in the 
nethermost hell, none shall drink so deep of the cup of 
God's indignation, as they, who have refused Christ in the 
gospel. Men will curse the day to all eternity, wherein the 
blessed name of Jesus Christ was made known unto them, 
if they continue to despise it. He that abuseth the choicest 
of mercies, shall have judgment without mercy. What can 
help them who reject the council of God for their good? If 
now England has received more culture from God, than 
other nations; there is more fruit expected from England, 
than other nations. A barren tree in the Lord's vineyard 
must be cut down for cumbering the ground ; the sheep of 
God must every * one bear twins, and none be barren amongst 
them ;' Cant. iv. 2. If after all God's care and husbandry his 
vineyard brings forth wild grapes, he will take away the 
hedge, break down the wall, and lay it waste. For the pre- 
sent the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Eno-- 
land, and if it be as earth, which when ' the rain falls upon 
it, brings forth nothing but thorns and briers, it is nigh unto 
cursings, and the end thereof is to be burned;' Heb. vi. 7. 
Men utterly and for ever neglect that ground, which they 
have tried their skill about, and laid out much cost upon it, 
if it brino- not forth answerable fruits. Now here oive me 
leave to say, and the Lord avert the evil deserved by it, that 
England (I mean these cities, and those other places, which 
since the beginning of our troubles, have enjoyed the gospel, 
in a more free and plentiful manner than heretofore) hath 
shewed itself not much to value it. 

(] .) In the time of straits, though the sound of the gospel 
passed through all our streets, our villages enjoying them 
who preached peace, and brought glad tidings of good things, 
so that neither we, nor our fathers, nor our father's fathers, 
ever saw the like before us; though manna fell round about 
our tents every day; yet as though all were lost, and we had 
nothing, manna was loathed as light bread, the presence of 
Christ made not recompense for the loss of our swine ; men 
had rather be again in Egypt, than hazard a pilgrimage in 
the wilderness. If there be any here, that ever entertained 
thoughts to give up the worship of God to superstition, his 
churches to tyranny, and the doctrine of the gospel to epis- 


copal corruptions, in the pressing of any troubles, let them 
now give God the glory, and be ashamed of their own hearts, 
lest it be bitterness in the end. 

(2.) In the time of prosperity, by our fierce contentions 
about mint and cummin, whilst the weightier things of the 
gospel have been undervalued, languishing' about unprofit- 
able questions, 8cc. but I shall not touch this wound lest it 

Use 3. For exhortation, that every one of us, in whose 
hand there is any thing, would set in for the help of those 
parts of this island that as yet sit in darkness, yea, in the 
shadow of death, and have none to hold out the bread of life 
to their fainting souls. Doth not Wales cry, and the North 
cry, yea, and the West cry. Come and help us? We are yet 
in a worse bondage, than any by your means we have been 
delivered from ; if you leave us thus, all your protection will 
but yield us a more free and jovial passage to the chambers 
of death. Ah, little do the inhabitants of Goshen know, 
whilst they are contending about the bounds of their pas- 
ture, what darkness there is in other places of the land; how 
their poor starved souls would be glad of the crumbs that 
fall from our tables. O that God would stir up the hearts 

(1.) Of ministers, to cast off all by-respects, and to flee to 
those places, where, in all probability, the harvest would be 
great, and the labourers are few or none at all. I have read 
of a heretic that swam over a great river in a frost to scatter 
his errors; the old Jewish, and now popish pharisees, com- 
pass sea and land to make proselytes ; the merchants trade 
not into more countries, than the factors of Rome do, to 
gain souls to his holiness. East and west, far and wide, do 
these locusts spread themselves, not without hazard of their 
lives, as well as the loss of their souls, to scatter their super- 
stitions ; only the preachers of the everlasting gospel seem 
to have lost their zeal. O that there were the same mind 
in us that was in Jesus Christ, who counted it his meat and 
drink, to do his Father's will, in gaining souls ! 

(2.) Of the magistrates, I mean of this honourable assem- 
bly, to turn themselves every lawful way, for the help of poor 
Macedonians. The truth is, in this I could speak more 
than I intend; for perhaps my zeal and some men's judg- 
ments would scarce make good harmony. This only I shall 


say, that if Jesus Christ might be preached, though with 
some defects in some circumstances, I should rejoice therein. 

that you would labour to let all the parts of the kingdom 
taste of the sweetness of your successes, in carrying to them 
the gospel of the Lord Jesus ; that the doctrine of the gospel 
might make way for the discipline of the gospel, without 
which it will be a very skeleton. When manna fell in the 
wilderness from the hand of the Lord, every one had an equal 
share ; I would there were not now too great an inequality 
in the scattering of manna, when secondarily in the hand of 
men; whereby some have all, and others none; some sheep 
daily picking the choice flowers of every pasture, others 
wandering upon the barren mountains, without guide or food. 

1 make no doubt but the best ways for the furtherance of 
this are known full well unto you, and therefore have as 
little need to be petitioned in this, as other things. What 
then remains? but that for this, and all other necessary 
blessings, we all set our hearts and hands to petition the 
throne of grace. 




This, be it what it will, thou hast no cause to thank or 
blame'' me for. Had I been mine own, it had not 
been thine. My submission unto others' judgments 
being the only cause of submitting this unto thy cen- 
sure. The substance of it is concerning things now 
doing, in some whereof I heretofore thought it my 
wisdom modestly hcesitare (or at least not with the 
most peremptorily to dictate to others my apprehen- 
sions), as wiser "^ men have done in weightier things; 
and yet this not so much for want of persuasion in my 
own mind, as out of opinion that we have already had 
too many needless and fruitless discourses about these 
matters. Would we could agree to spare perishing 
paper f and for my own part, had not the opportunity 
of a few lines in the close of this sermon, and the im- 
portunity of not a few friends urged, I could have 
slighted all occasions, and accusations, provoking to 
publish those thoughts which I shall now impart. The 
truth is, in things concerning the church (I mean things 
purely external, of form, order, and the like), so many 

' Laudatur ab his, culpatur ab illis. 

b See August. Ep. 7. 28. 1.57. de orig. anini. 

•^ Deferri in vicum vendentera thus et odores, 

Et piper, et quicquid chartis atnicitur ineptis. 

Occidit miseros crambe repetita magistros. 

Semper ego auditor tantum ? 


ways have I been spoken, that T often resolved to speak 
myself, desiring rather to appear (though conscious to 
myself of innumerable failings) what indeed I am, than 
what others incuriously suppose. But yet the many, I 
ever thought unworthy of an apology, and some of sa- 
tisfaction ; especially those, who would make their own 
judgments a rule for themselves and others, impatient 
that any should know what they do not, or conceive 
otherwise than they, of what they do ; in the mean- 
time, placing almost all religion in that, which may be 
perhaps a hinderance of it; and being so valued, or ra- 
ther overvalued, is certainly the greatest. Nay, would 
they would make their judgments, only so far as they 
are convinced, and are able to make out their concep- 
tions to others, and not also their impotent desires, to 
be the rule ; that so they might condemn only that, 
which complies not with their minds, and not all that 
also, which they find to thwart their aims and designs. 
But so it must be. Once more conformity is grown 
the touchstone (and that not in practice, but opinion) 
amongst the greatest part of men, however otherwise 
of different persuasions. Dissent is the only crime,'' 
and where that is all that is culpable, it shall be made 
all that is so. From such as these, who almost hath 
not suffered ? but towards such the best defence is si- 
lence. Besides, my judgment commands me, to make 
no known quarrel my own ; but rather if it be possible, 
and as much as in me lieth, live peaceably with all 
men : lepov ttoXsjuov I proclaim to none, but men whose 
bowels are full of gall : in this spring of humours, le- 
nitives for our own spirits may perhaps be as necessary, 
as purges for others' brains. Farther, I desire to pro- 

<" Imraortale odium et nunquaiii sanabile bcllum, 
Ardet adhuc, Ombos ct Ttntyra, suninias ulrinque, 
Inde furor vulgo, quod nuniiiia vicinorum, 
Odit uterque locus. Juven. 
Grxce scire, aut polite loqui. apud ilios lixresiscst, Krus. dc Sclioliiut. 



voke* none ; more stings than combs are got at a nest 
of wasps : even cold stones, smitten together, sparkle 
out fire : ' the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood.' 
Neither do I conceive it wisdom, in these quarrelsome 
days, to intrust more of a man's self with others, than 
is very necessary. The heart of man is deceitful ; some 
that have smooth tongues, have sharp teeth : such can 
give titles on the one side, and wounds on the other. 
Any of these considerations would easily have prevailed 
with me 'stultitia hac caruisse,' had not mine ears been 
filled, presently after the preaching of the precedent 
sermon, with sad complaints of some, and false reports 
of others, neither of the lowest rank of men, as though 
I had helped to open a gate for that which is now called 
a Trojan horse ; though heretofore counted an engine 
likelier to batter the walls of Babylon, than to betray 
the towers of Sion. This urged some to be urgent with 
me for a word or two about church-government, ac- 
cording to the former suggestions, undermined, and a 
toleration of different persuasions, as they said asserted. 
Now truly to put the accusers to prove the crimination, 
for so it was, and held forth a grievous crime in their 
apprehensions (what is really so God will judge), had 
been sufficient.'^ But I could not so evade ; and, there- 
fore, after my sermon was printed to the last sheet, I 
was forced to set apart a few hours,^ to give an account 
of what hath passed from me in both these things, 
which have been so variously reported ; hoping that 
the reading may not be unuseful to some, as the writing 
was very necessary to me. And here at the entrance, 
I shall desire at the hands of men that shall cast an eye 

* Noli irritare crabrones. Si lapides teras nonne ignis erumpit? Arabros. lib. 1. 
cap. 2l. Prov. xxx.33. Job xxxiii. 21. Prov. xxv. 18. Vid. Remed. contra gravain 
natioiiis Germanicae. Luth. praefat. ad lib. de concil. Protest. 34. ministronim. 4. 
Conclus. That generally all writers at the beginning of the Reformation. 

' Si accusasse sufficiet, quis erit innocens? 

s Nee nos obniti contra, nee tendere tantuin 



PREFACE. liii 

on this heap of good meaning, these few, as I suppose, 
equitable demands. 

First, Not to prosecute men into odious appella- 
tions ; and then themselves, who feigned the crime, 
pronounce the sentence : like him, who said of one 
brought before him, If he be not guilty, it is fit he 
should be : involving themselves in a double guilt, of 
falsehood and malice ; and the aspersed parties in a 
double misery, of being belied in what they are, and 
hated for what they are not. If a man be not what 
such men would have him, it is odds, but they will 
make him what he is not : if what he really is do not 
please, and that be not enough to render him odious, 
he shall sure enouo^h be more. Ithacius will make all 
Priscillianists, who are any thing more devout than 
himself.'' If men do but desire to see with their own 
eyes, presently they are enrolled of this, or that sect ; 
every mispersuasion being beforehand in petitions, 
sermons, &c. rendered odious and intolerable : in such 
a course, innocency itself cannot go long free. Chris- 
tians deal with one another in earnest, as children in 
their plays clap another's coat upon their fellow's 
shoulder, and pretending to beat that, cudgel him 
they have clothed with it. ' What shall be given unto 
thee, oh thou false tongue V If we cannot be more cha- 
ritable, let us be more ingenuous. Many a man hath 
been brought to a more favourable opinion of such as 
are called by dreadful names, than formerly, by the 
experience of false impositions on himself 

Secondly, Not to clothe our differences with ex- 
pressions, fitting them no better than Saul's armour 
did David : nor make them like a little man in a bom- 
bast coat upon stilts, walking about like a giant. Our 
little differences may be met at every stall, and in too 
many pulpits, swelled by unbefitting expressions, into 

'■ Snip. Sever. K[>ist. Ili^t. Ecclcs. 


such a formidable bulk, as poor creatures are even 
startled at their horrid looks and appearance : whilst 
our own persuasions are set out prjjuaai (ivaaivoig^ with 
silken words, and gorgeous apparel, as if we sent 
them into the world a wooing. Hence, whatever it is, 
it must be temple building ; God's government ; 
Christ's sceptre, throne, kingdom ; the only way, that, 
for want of which, errors, heresies, sins, spring among 
us, plagues, judgments, punishments come upon us. 
To such things as these all pretend, who are very con- 
fident they have found out the only way. Such big 
words as these have made us believe, that we are 
mortal adversaries (I speak of the parties at variance 
about government), that one kingdom, communion, 
heaven cannot hold us. Now truly if this course be 
followed so to heighten our differences, by adorning 
the truth we own with such titles as it doth not merit ; 
and branding the errors we oppose with such marks, 
as in cold blood we cannot think they themselves, but 
only in their (by us supposed) tendance do deserve ; 
I doubt not, but that it will be bitterness unto us all 
in the end. And, query, whether by this means, many 
have not been brought to conceive the kingdom of 
Jesus Christ, which himself affirms to be within us, to 
consist in forms, outward order, positive rules, and ex- 
ternal government. I design none, but earnestly desire, 
that the two great parties, at this day litigant in this 
kingdom, would seriously consider, what is like to be 
the issue of such proceedings; and whether the, mys- 
tery of godliness, in the power thereof, be like to be 
propagated by it. Let not truth be weighed in the 
balance of our interest. Will not a dram of that turn 
the scale with some against many arguments ? Power 
is powerful to persuade. 

Thirdly, Not to measure men's judgments by their 

' Pint. AjKi|'htliey. 


subscribing, or refusing to subscribe petitions in these 
days about church-government. For subscribers, would 
every one could not see, with what a zealous nescience, 
and implicit judgment many are led. And for re- 
fusers, though perhaps they could close with the general 
words, wherewith usually they are expressed ; yet 
there are so many known circumstances, restraining 
those words to particular significations, directing them 
to by and secondary tendencies, as must needs make 
some abstain. For mine own part, from subscribing 
late petitions about church-government, I have been 
withheld by such reasons as these. 

1. I dare not absolutely assert, maintain, and abide 
by it (as rational men ought to do every clause, in any 
thing owned by their subscription) that the cause of all 
the evils, usually annumerated in such petitions, is the 
want of church-government, taking it for any govern- 
ment that ever yet was established amongst men, or in 
notion otherwise made known unto me. Yea, I am 
confident that more probable causes in this juncture of 
time might be assigned of them. Neither can any be 
ignorant, how plentifully such evils abounded, when 
church discipline was most severely executed.'' And, 
lastly, I am confident that whoever lives to see them 
suppressed by any outward means (when spiritual 
weapons shall be judged insufficient), will find it to be, 
not any thing either included in, or necessarily an- 
nexed unto, church discipline that must do it; but 
some other thing, not unlike that, which in days of 
yore, when all the world wandered after the beast, sup- 
pressed all truth and error, but only what the arch enemy 
of Jesus Christ was pleased to hold out to be believed. 
But of this afterward. 

2. I dare not affirm that the parliament hath not 
established a government already, for the essentials ot 

^ Vid. calal. liaerel. apiid Tcrtul. dc prwscript. Epipban: Aug. Vincent. 



it, themselves affirming that they have/ and their ordi' 
nances about rulers, rules, and persons to be ruled (the 
* requisita' and materials of government) being long 
since extant. Now to require a thing to be done by 
them, who affirm that they have already done it, argues 
either much weakness, or supine negligence in ourselves, 
not to understand what is effected ; or a strong imputa- 
tion on those that have done it, either fraudulently to 
pretend that which is false, or foolishly to averse what 
they do not understand. Yet though I have learned to 
obey, as far as lawfully I may, my judgment is exceed- 
ingly far from being enslaved, and according to that, by 
God's assistance, shall be my practice ; which if it run 
cross to the prescriptions of authority, it shall cheerfully 
submit to the censure thereof. In the mean time, all 
petitioning of any party about this business, seems to 
thwart some declarations of the house of commons, 
whereunto I doubt not but they intend for the main 
inviolably and unalterably to adhere. Add hereunto, 
that petitioning in this kind was not long since voted 
breach in privilege, in them who might justly expect 
as much favour and liberty in petitioning, as any of 
their brethren in the kingdom ; and I have more than 
one reason to suppose, that the purpose and design of 
theirs and others, was one and the same. 

3. There are no small grounds of supposal, that 
some petitions have not their rise from amongst them 
by whom they are subscribed ; but that the spring and 
master wheels giving the first motion to them, are 
distant and unseen : myself having been lately urged 
to subscription upon this ground, that directions were 
had for it from above (as we use to speak in the 
country), yea, in this I could say more than I intend, 
aiming at nothing but the quieting of men's spirits, 

' Ego ancillaj tuaj fidcm liabui : nonne tu impudens, qui iiec iDilii i])si credb? 
Philos. apud Plut, apophili. 


needlessly exasperated ; only I cannot but say, that 
honest men ought to be very cautious how they put 
themselves upon any engagement, that might make any 
party or faction in the kingdom ; suppose that their 
interest in the least measure doth run cross to that of 
the great council thereof, thereby to strengthen the 
hands or designs of any, by occasioning an opinion 
that upon fresh or new divisions (which God of his 
mercy prevent), we would not adhere constantly to our 
old principles, walking according to which we have 
hitherto found protection and safety. And I cannot 
but be jealous for the honour of our noble parliament, 
whose authority is every day undermined, and their 
regard in the affections of the people shaken, by such 
dangerous insinuations, as though they could in an hour 
put an end to all our disturbances, but refuse it. This 
season also for such petitions seems to be very un- 
seasonable, the greatest appearing danger impendent to 
this kingdom being from the contest about church- 
government, which by such means as this is exceed- 
ingly heightened, and animosity added to the parties at 

4, A particular form of church discipline is usually 
in such petitions, either directly expressed, or evi- 
dently pointed at, and directed unto, as that alone 
which our covenant engageth us to embrace. Yea, as 
though it had long since designed that particular way, 
and distinguished it from all others, the embracing of 
it is pressed under the pain of breach of covenant, a 
crime abhorred of God and man. Now truly to sup- 
pose that our covenant did tie us up absolutely to any 
one formerly known way of church discipline, the 
words formally engaging us into a disquisition out of 
the word, of that which is agreeable to the mind and 
will of God, is to me such a childish, ridiculous, selfish 
conceit, as I believe no knowing men will once enter- 



tain, unless prejudice begotten by their peculiar interest 
hath disturbed their intellectuals. For my part, I 
know no church government in the world already es- 
tablished amongst any sort of men, of the truth and 
necessity whereof, I am convinced in all particulars ; 
especially if I may take their practice to be the best 
interpreter of their maxims. 

Fourthly, Another ' postulatum' is, that men would 
not use an over zealous speed, upon every small differ- 
ence, to characterize men (otherwise godly and peace- 
able) as sectaries, knowing the odiousness of the name,*" 
among the vulgar, deservedly or otherwise imposed, 
and the evil of the thing itself, rightly apprehended, 
whereunto lighter differences do not amount. Such 
names as this I kaow are arbitrary, and generally serve 
the wills of the greater number. They are commonly 
sectaries, who, 'jure aut injuria,' are oppressed. Nothing 
was ever persecuted under an esteemed name. Names 
are in the power of many, things and their causes are 
known to few. There is none in the world can give 
an ill title to others, which from some he doth not re- ^ 
ceive; the same right which in this kind I have towards 
another, he hath towards me ; unless I affirm myself 
to be infallible, not so he. Those names which men 
are known by, when they are oppressed, they com- 
monly use against others, whom they seek to oppress. 
I would therefore that all horrid appellations, as in- 
creasers of strife, kindlers of wrath, enemies of charity, 
food for animosity, were for ever banished from 
amongst us. Let a spade be called a spade, so v/e 
take heed Christ be not called Beelzebub. I know 
my profession to the greatest part of the world is sec- 
tarism, as Christianity; amongst those who profess the 
name of Christ, to the greatest number I am a sectary, 

'" Nunc vero si nominis odium est, quis nomiiiuni reatus? qu» accusatio voca- 
bulorum? nisi aut Barbaruni sonat aliqua vox iioniiiiis, aut maledicuni, aut inipu- 
dicura? Tertul. Apol. 


because a Protestant ;" amongst Protestants, at least the 
one half account all men of my persuasion, calvinisti- 
cal, sacramentariam sectaries ; amongst these again, to 
some I have been a puritanical sectary, an Arian 
heretic, because anti-prelatical; yea, and amongst these 
last, not a few account me a sectary, because I plead 
for presbyterial government in churches ; and to all 
these am I thus esteemed, as I am fully convinced, 
causelessly, and erroneously. What they call sectarism, 
I am persuaded is ' ipsissima Veritas,' the ' very truth 
itself,' to which they also ought to submit; that others 
also, though upon false grounds, are convinced of the 
truth of their own persuasion, I cannot but believe ; 
and therefore as I find by experience, that the horrid 
names of heretic, schismatic, sectary, and the like, 
have never had any influence or force upon my judg- 
ment, nor otherwise moved me, unless it were unto 
retaliation ; so I am persuaded it is also with others, 
for ' homines sumus,' forcing them abroad in such 
liveries, doth not at all convince them, that they are 
servants to the master of sects indeed, but only makes 
them wait an opportunity to cast the like mantle on 
their traducers. And this usually is the beginning of 
arming the more against the few witli violence, im- 
patient of bearing the burdens, which they impose on 
others' shoulders ; by means whereof Christendom hath 
been made a theatre of blood, and one amongst all, 
after that by cruelty and villany he had prevailed 
above the rest, took upon him to be the only dictator 
in Christian reliorion. But of this afterward. 


Now by the concession of these, as 1 hope, not un- 
equitable demands, thus much at least I conceive will 
be attained, viz. That a peaceable dissent in some 

" Acts xxiv. 14. xxviii. 2'2. Ihtrcsis cliristiariDruiii. Tertul. Secla Clirist. Id. 
Hcrcsis catholica, ct lia-rt'sis saiictissiiiia, Constant. Plpisf. ('Iir. Syrac. iiiislenta sys- 
(cnia : <iiio juobarc coiiatur Calviniaiios isst lift'iclicoi. Iluii. Calv. Tur. Andrews 
Ej)ibl. ad Molin. 


smaller things, disputable questions, not absolutely 
necessary assertions, deserves not any rigid censure, 
distance of affections, or breach of Christian commu- 
nion and amity. In such things as these, ' veniam 
petimusque damusque vicissim :' if otherwise, I profess 
I can hardly bring my mind to comply and close in 
with them, amongst whom almost any thing is lawful 
but to dissent. 

These things being premised, I shall now set down, 
and make public that proposal, which heretofore I 
have tendered, as a means to give some light into a 
way for the profitable and comfortable practice of 
church government ; drawing out of general notions 
what is practically applicable, so circumstantiated, as 
of necessity it must be. And herein I shall not alter 
any thing, or in the least expression go off from that 
which long since I drew up at the request of a worthy 
friend, after a discourse about it ; and this, not only 
because it hath already been in the hands of many, but 
also because my intent is not, either to assert, dispute, 
or make out any thing farther of my judgment in these 
things, than I have already done (hoping for more 
leisure so to do, than the few hours assigned to the 
product of this short appendix will permit), but only by 
way of a defensative, to evince, that the rumours which 
have been spread by some, and entertained by others, 
too greedily about this matter, have been exceeding- 
causeless and groundless ; so that though my second 
thoughts have, if I mistake not, much improved some 
particulars in this essay, yet I cannot be induced, be- 
cause of the reason before recounted (the only cause of 
the publication thereof), to make any alteration in it ; 
only I shall present the reader with some few things, 
which gave occasion and rise to this proposal. As, 

(1 .) A fervent desire to prevent all farther division 
and separation, disunion of minds amongst godly men, 


suspicions and jealousies in the people towards their 
ministers, as aiming at power and unjust domination 
over them, fruitless disputes, languishings about un- 
profitable questions, breaches of charity for trifles, ex- 
asperating the minds of men one against another ; all 
which growing evils, tending to the subversion of 
Christian love, and the power of godliness, with the 
disturbance of the state, are too much fomented by that 
sad breach and division, which is here attempted to be 
made up. 

(2.) A desire to work and draw the minds of all my 
brethren (the most I hope need it not) to set in for a 
thorough reformation, and for the obtaining of holy 
communion, to keep off indiiferently the unworthy from 
church privileges, and profaning of holy things. Where- 
unto, I presumed, the discovery of a way whereby 
this might be effected, without their disturbance in their 
former station, would be a considerable motive. 

(3.) A consideration of the paucity of positive rules 
in the Scripture for church government, with the great 
difficulty of reducing them to practice in these present 
times (both sufficiently evidenced by the endless dis- 
putes, and irreconcilable differences of godly, precious, 
and learned men about them), made me conceive, that 
the practice of the apostolical churches, doubtless for a 
lime observed in those immediately succeeding, would 
be the best external help for the right interpretation of 
those rules we have, and pattern to draw out a church 
way by. Now truly after my best search and inquiry 
into the first churches and their constitution, framing 
an idea and exemplar of them, this poor heap following 
seems to me as like one of them, as any thing that yet 
I have seen ; nothing at all doubting, but that if a 
more skilful hand had the limning of it," the propor- 
tions, features, and lines, would be very exact, equal, 

" 'Afxi^cu J' L/<rT6fa« ftafTu^ti; s-o<j)»t«to( , Piud. Od. 1. Olyin. 


and parallel ; yea, did not extreme haste now call it 
from me, so that I have no leisure, so much as to tran- 
scribe the first draught, I doubt not but by God's as- 
sistance, it might be so set forth, as not to be thought 
altogether undesirable, if men would but a little lay 
aside beloved pre-conceptions. But the printer stays 
for every line ; only I must entreat every one that shall 
cast a candid eye on this unwillingly exposed embryo, 
and rude abortion, that he would assume in his mind 
any particular church mentioned in the Scripture, as 
of Jerusalem, Corinth, Ephesus, or the like, consider 
the way and state they were then, and some ages after, 
in respect of outward immunities and enjoyments; and 
tell me, whether any rational man can suppose, that 
either there were in those places sundry particular 
churches, with their distinct, peculiar officers, acting 
in most pastoral duties severally in them, as distin- 
guished and divided into entire societies, but ruling 
them in respect of some particulars loyally in combi- 
nation, considered as distinct bodies; or else, that they 
were such single congregations, as that all that power 
and authority which was in them, may seem fitly and 
conveniently to be intrusted witb a small handful of 
men, combined under one single pastor, with one, two, 
or perhaps no associated elders. More than this I 
shall only ask, whether all ordinary power may not, 
without danger, be asserted to reside in such a church 
as is here described, reserving all due right and au- 
thority to councils and magistrates? Now for the 
fountain, seat, and rise of this power, for the just dis- 
tribution of it, between pastors and people, this is no 
place to dispute; these following lines were intended 
merely to sedate and bury such contests, and to be 
what they are entitled. 


Our long expectation of some accommodation* between the 
dissenting- parties about church government, being now al- 
most totally frustrate ; being also persuaded partly through 
the apparent fruitlessness of all such undertakings, partly 
by other reasons, not at this time seasonable to be expressed, 
that all national disputes tending that way, will prove birth- 
less tympanies ; we deem it no ungrateful endeavour, waving 
all speculative ideas, to give an essay in such expressions, 
as all our country friends, concerned in it, may easily appre- 
hend, of what we conceive amongst us may really be reduced 
to comfortable and useful practice : concealing for awhile 
all arguments for motives and inducements unto this way, 
with all those rocks and shelves, appearing very hideous in 
former proposals, which we strive to avoid ; until we perceive 
whether any of our giants in this controversy will not come 
and look and so overcome it, that at first dash the whole 
frame be irrecoverably ruined. 

Neither would we have any expect our full sense to each 
particular imaginable in this business; it being only a heap 
of materials, most what unhewed, that we intend, and not a 
well compacted fabric ; and if the main be not condemned, 
we are confident no difference will ensue about particulars, 
which must have their latitude. However, if it be received 
as candidly as it is offered, no inconvenience will ensue. 
Now that the whole may be better apprehended, and the 
reasons, if not the necessity of this undertaking intimated, 
we shall premise some things concerning the place, and per- 
sons, for whose use is this proposal. 

First, For ministers. The place having all this while, 
through the goodness of God, been preserved in peace and 
quietness, and by the rich supply of able men sent hither by 

P The form beiiip given to tliis essay al llie first, I thought not good lo alter any 
thing about it. 


parliament, there are in many parishes, godly, orthodox, 
peace-loving pastors. 

Secondly, For the people. 

1. Very many, as in most other places, extremely igno- 
rant, worldly, profane, scandalously vicious. 

2. Scarcely any parish where there are not some visibly 
appearing, of all ages, sexes, and conditions, fearing God, 
and walking unblameably with a right foot, as beseemeth the 
gospel : though in some places, they are but like the berries 
after the shaking of an olive-tree. 

3. Amongst these very few gifted, fitted, or qualified for 

4. Many knowing professors, and such of a long standing, 
inclined to separation, unless some expedient may be found 
for comfortable communions ; and in this resolution seem to 
be settled to a contempt of allurements and threatenings. 

5. Seducers everywhere lying in wait to catch and de- 
ceive well-meaning souls, any thing discontented with the 
present administration of church affairs. 

6. Upon all which it appears, that comfortable commu- 
nion is not to be attained, within the bounds of respective 

Farther to carry on our intentions, we would desire of 

1 . That our divisions may not be allotted out by our com- 
mittees, who, without other consideration, have bounded us 
with the precincts of high constables ; but be left to the 
prudence of ministers, and other Christians, willingly asso- 
ciating themselves in the work. 

2. That men placed in civil authority may not, by virtue 
of their authority, claim any privilege in things purely eccle- 

In the several parishes let things be thus ordered. 

1. Let every minister continue in his station, taking es- 
pecial care of all them that live within the precincts of his 
parish ; preaching, exhorting, rebuking, publickly, and from 
house to house, warning all, using all appointed means to 
draw them to Jesus Christ, and the faith of the gospel, waiting 
with all patience on them that oppose themselves, until God 
give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth ; and 
in so doing, rest upon the calling he hath already received* 


2. Let the respective elders of the several parishes, to be 
chosen according to the ordinance of parliament (annually, 
or otherwise) join with the ministers, in all acts of rule and 
admonition, with those other parts of their charge, which the 
parochial administration doth require. 

3. Let all criminal things, tending to the disturbance of 
that church administration which is amongst them, be by 
the officers orderly delated to such as the civil magistrate 
shall appoint, to take cognizance and determine of such 

And thus far have we proposed nothing new, nothing not 
common ; neither in that which follows is there any thing so 
indeed, may it be but rightly apprehended. 

For the several combinations of ministers and people. 

1. Let the extremes of the division not be above eight 
or ten miles distant, and so the middle or centre not more 
than four or five miles from any part of it, which is no more 
than some usually go to the preaching of the word, and in 
which space Christians are generally as well known to one 
another in the country, as almost at the next door in cities ; 
but yet this may be regulated according to the number of 
professors fit for the society intended, which would not be 
above five hundred, nor under one hundred. 

2. In this division let there be, in the name of Christ and 
the fear of God, a gathering of professors (visible saints, men 
and women of good knowledge, and upright conversation, so 
holding forth their communion with Christ) by their own de- 
sire, and voluntary consent, into one body uniting themselves, 
by virtue of some promissory engagement, or otherwise, to 
perform all mutual duties, to walk in love and peace, spi- 
ritual and church communion, as beseemeth the gospel. 

3. Let every one so assembling have liberty, at some of 
the first meetings, to except against another, whether minis- 
ter or others, so it be done with a spirit of meekness, and sub- 
mission of judgment ; or to demand such questions for satis- 
faction as shall be thought fit to be propounded. 

4. When some convenient number are thus assembled, 
let the ministers, if men of approved integrity and abilities, 
be acknowledged as elders respectively, called to teach and 
rule in the church, by virtue of their former mission, and bg 

VOL. XV. ¥ 


assumed to be so to this society, by virtue of their voluntary 
consent and election. 

5. Let the ministers engage themselves in a special man- 
ner to watch over this flock, every one according to his abili- 
ties, both in teaching, exhorting, and ruling, so often as oc- 
casion shall be administered, for things that contain eccle- 
siastical rule and church order; acting jointly and as in a 
classical combination, and putting forth all authority that 
such classes are intrusted with. 

6. If it be judged necessary that any officers be added to 
them for the purpose before named, let them be chosen by 
the consent of the multitude. 

7. If not, let the ministers have the whole distributed 
among themselves, respectively according to the difference of 
their gifts; reserving to the people their due and just pri- 

8. Let this congregation assemble at the least once in a 
month for the celebration of the communion, and other things 
them concerning ; the meeting of the ministers may be ap- 
pointed by authority, for those of a classis. 

9. If any one after his admission be found to walk un- 
worthily, let him, after solemn repeated admonition, be by 
joint consent left to his former station. 

10. Let any person, in any of the parishes combined as 
before, that is desirous to be admitted into this society, as 
is thought fit, be received at any time. 

11. If the number in process of time appear to be too 
great, let it be divided, and subdivided according to conve- 

12. Any one of the ministers may administer the sacra- 
ment, either to some, or all of these, in their several parishes, 
or at the common meeting, as opportunity shall serve. 

13. Let the rules of admission into this society and fel- 
lowship. be scriptural, and the things required in the mem- 
bers only such as all godly men affirm to be necessary for 
every one that will partake of the ordinances with profit and 
comfort, special care being taken that none be excluded, 
who have the least breathings of soul in sincerity after Jesus 

Now beyond these generals for the present we judge it 


needless to express ourselves, or otherwise to confirm what 
we have proposed, each assertion almost directly pointino- 
out unto what, in that particular, we do adhere, which being 
sufficiently confirmed by others, were but a superfluous la- 
bour to undertake; neither shall we trouble you with a cata- 
logue of conveniences, whereof men are put upon an express 
annumeration when otherwise they do not appear, but com- 
mit the consideration of the tendence of the whole to every 
one's judgment; and conclude with the removal of a few ob- 
vious objections, being resolved hereafter, by God's assist- 
ance, to endeavour satisfaction about this way unto all ; un- 
less to such as shall be so simple or malicious as to ask, whether 
this way be that of the Presbyterians or Independents. 

Obj. 1. By this means parishes will be unchurched. 

Ans. 1. If by churches you understand such entire socie- 
ties of Christians, as have all church power, both according 
to right and exercise, in and amongst themselves, as Inde- 
pendents speak of congregations, then they were never 
churched by any. 

2. If only civil divisions of men that may conveniently be 
taught by one pastor, and ruled by elders, whereof some may 
be fit to partake of all the ox'dinances, some not, as Presby- 
terians esteem them, then by this way they receive no injury, 
nor are abridged of any of their privileges. 

Obj. 2. This is to erect churches amongst churches, and 
against churches. 

Ans. No such thing; but a mere forming of one church 
with one presbytery. 

Obj. 3, It is against the parliament's ordinance to as- 
sume a power of admitting and excluding of church members, 
not exactly according to their rule, nor subordinate to the 
supervising of such as are appointed by them. 

Ans. 1. For the rules set out by ordinance, we conceive 
that the church officers are to be interpreters of them, until 
appeal be made from them, unto which we shall submit ; and 
if it be so determined against us that any be put on our com- 
munion, ' ipsi viderint,' we shall labour to deliver our own 

2. Though the parliament forbid any but such authorita- 
tively to be excluded, yet it doth not command that any be 
admitted but such as desire it; and we shall prav for such 



a blessing upon the work of our ministry, as will either pre- 
pare a man for it, or persuade them ' pro tempore' from it ; 
unless they be stubbornly obstinate, or openly wicked , against 
whom we hope for assistance ; unto objections arising from 
trouble and inconvenience, we answer, it cost more to redeem 
their souls. 

The God of peace and unity give the increase. 

' Si quid novisti rectius istis, 

Candidas iinperti, si non, liis utere.' 

And this is all which for the present I shall assert in this 
business, and this also is my own vindication : time and lei- 
sure may give me advantage hereafter (if God permit) to deal 
seriously in this cause; in the mean time, it is not unknown 
to many, that so much as this was necessary for me to do, 
and I will not add now any thing that is not necessary. 

Now for the other head of the accusation about tolera- 
tion of errors/ philosophare volo, sed paucis,' something I shall 
add of my own present judgment in this matter, but with 
willing, express submission unto those, whom the use 
and experience of things, with knowledge of foreign parts, 
skill in the rules of commonwealths, acquaintedness with the 
affections and spirits of men, have enabled to look punc- 
tually into the issues and tendencies of such a toleration. 
The main prejudice against it arising from the disturbances 
which it naturally (they say) produceth in civil states. I 
conceive no sort of men more unfit to judge of this, than 
those, whose abilities of learning do properly put them upon 
the discussing of this, and other controversies, as far as they 
are purely ecclesiastical ; no men more frequently betraying 
narrowness of apprehension, and weakness in secular affairs. 
For other consequences, I shall not be much moved with 
them, until it be clearly determined whether be worse, he- 
retics, or hypocrites ; to maintain an error, or counterfeit 
the truth; and whether profession upon compulsion be accept- 
able to God or man :'^ laying those aside, let the thing itself 
be a little considered. 

Peace ecclesiastical, quiet among the churches (which 
without doubt would be shaken by a universal toleration), 
is that which most men aim at and desire. And truly he 
that doth not, scarcely deserves the name and privilege of 

<J Hostits ab anirao libenti accipiuntur. Tertul. 


a Christian; unity in the Scripture is so pressed, so com- 
manded, and commended, that not to breathe after it argues 
a heart acted by another spirit than that which moved the 
holy penmen thereof. But yet every agreement and con- 
sent amongst men, professing the name of Christ, is not the 
unity and peace commended in tlie Scripture : that wliich 
some think to be Christ's order, may perhaps be antichris- 
tian confusion: the specious name of unity may be a cloak 
for tyranny. Learned men have reckoned up a sevenfold 
unity' in the papacy, all which notwithstanding are far 
enough from that true evangelical unity, which we ai-e bound 
to labour for. Again, that which is good, must be sought in 
a right manner, or it will not be so to us : peace and quiet 
is desirable; but there must be good causes and very 
urgent, to make us build our habitations out of others' 
ruins, and roll our pillows in their blood : I speak of things 
ecclesiastical. The historian' makes it a part of the oration 
spoken by Galgacus the chieftain of the British forces, to 
stir them up against the Roman insolency, that when they 
had finished their depopulations, then they said they had 
peace: the same men have set up bishoprics in the Indies, 
as their forefathers did colonies here and elsewhere, with fire 
and sword. I know not how it comes to pass, but so it is, 
this proceeding with violence in matters of religion hath 
pleased and displeased all sorts of men, however distin- 
guished by a true or false persuasion, who have enjoyed a 
vicissitude of the supreme power in any place, in supporting 
or suppressing of them : ' ure, seca,'occide,' is the language 
of men backed with authority: ' quod tibi fieri non vis, al- 
ter! ne feceris,' say the same men \xnder oppression: to give 
particidar instances, were to lay open that nakedness, which 
I suppose it my duty rather to cover. What then, you will 
say, shall every one be suffered to do what he pleaseth? 
You mean, think or believe what he pleaseth, or that which 
he is convinced to be a truth. Must all sorts of men and 
their opinions be tolerated? These questions are not in one 
word to be resolved : many proposals are to be confirmed, 

•■ 1. Satanica. 2. Etiiiiica. .'!. Belliiina. 4. Iscariotica. ."). Tyrannica. 6. He- 
Todiana. 7. Vt-ntris causa. Illiricus, tie variis si'Clis ap. papistas. 

» Solitiidineni ubi fac'umt, paccni a|)pellai)t. Tacitus vita A{;r. cap. 10. 

' Human! juris, et naturalis potcstatis est, uiiicuiquc quod jiutaveril colore. Tertut. 
Quis imponet niilii ncccssitatem aut credendi quod nolini. aiit quod vcliin non cre- 
fiendi. Lactan. 


many nations distinguished and retained, before a positive 
answer can be given : take them in their whole latitude, and 
they may serve all men's turns. A negative universal reso- 
lution may tantamount unto : The many intrusted with au- 
thority, or having that to back them, ought not to tolerate 
any of different persuasions from them, if they suppose them 
erroneous. Now truly for my part, were I in Spain or Italy, 
a native of those places, and God should be pleased there to 
reveal that truth of his gospel unto me, which he hath done 
in England, I believe those states ought to tolerate me, 
though they were persuaded that I were the most odious 
heretic under heaven ; and what punishment soever they 
should impose on me for my profession, would be required 
at their hands, unless they can convince me, that God al- 
lows men to slay his servants for professing the gospel, if 
they believe them to be heretics : and so also excuse the 
Jews in crucifying his dear son, because they esteemed him 
as an impostor. Christ was once crucified amongst thieves : 
he may be again, in them that are so supposed. I shall 
therefore summarily set down what I conceive in answer to 
these questions, premising a few things, if I mistake not, 
universally granted. 

And yet a word or two concerning toleration itself, that 
some guess may be given at what we aim and intend must 
interpose. Much discourse about toleration hath been of 
late days amongst men, some pleading for it, more against 
it, as it always must be. Toleration is the alms of autho- 
rity, yet men that beg for it, think so much at least their 
due : some say it is a sin to grant it, others that it is no less 
to deny it: generally the pleaders of each side have their 
interest in the cause. I never knew one contend earnestly 
for a toleration of dissenters, but was so himself; nor any 
for their suppression, but were themselves of the persuasion 
which prevaileth : for if otherwise, this latter would argue a 
a circumcellion fury, wilfully to seek their own ruin ; the 
former so much charity, ^nd commiseration of the condition 
of mortality, as in these days would procure of the most no 
other livery but a fools-coat. Who almost would not ad- 
mire at such new discovered antipodes, as should offer to 
assert an equal regiment of Trojans and Tyrians," a like re- 

* Tros, Tyriusque niilii nullo discriininc agetur. 


^ard and allowance from authority for other sects, as for 
that whereof themselves are a share? Now amongst these 
contesters, few (nay, not any) have I found, neither on the 
one side or the other, clearly and distinctly to define what 
they mean by toleration, or what is the direct purpose, sig- 
nification, and tendence of non-toleration (a word in its whole 
extent written only in the forehead of the man of sin), what 
bounds, what terriers are to be assigned to the one, or to the 
other ; unto what degrees of longitude,"^ or latitude their pole 
is to be elevated. Some perhaps by a toleration understood 
a universal, uncontrolled license 'vivendi ut velis,' in things 
concerning religion; that every one may be let alone, and 
not so much as discountenanced, in doing, speaking, acting, 
how, what, where, or when he pleaseth, 'in agendis et creden- 
dis fidei,' in all such things as concern the worship of God, 
articles of belief, or generally any thing commanded in re- 
ligion; and in the mean time the parties at variance, and 
litigant about differences, freely to revile, reject, and despise 
one another, according as their provoked genius shall dis- 
pose their minds thereunto. Now truly, though every one 
of this mind pretends to cry for mercy to be extended unto 
poor afflicted truth, yet I cannot but be persuaded tliat such 
a toleration would prove exxeeding pernicious to all sorts of 
rnen, and at last end in a dispute, like that recounted by Ju- 
venal, between two cities in Egypt about their differences 
between their garden and river deities ;^ or like the contest 
related by Vertomannus in his travels, amongst the Maho- 
metans, about Haly and Homar, the pretended successors 
to their grand impostor, where every one plied his adversary, 
' Hastique clypeisque et saxis grandibus,' cleaving their 
sculls, and making entrance for their arguments by dint of 
sword: and I wish experience did not sufficiently convince 
us, that the profession of Christianity, where the power of 
godliness is away, will not prevent these evils: ' Tantum 
religio potuit suadere malorum.' 

Others there are that press for a non-toleration of any 
thing that opposes or contradicts tlie truth in any part, 
themselves being in their own judgments fully possessed of 

" Late sibi suniinovet onincs, 
— Ut in vacua rcgnet Basiliciis arena. 
» Saiictas gcntrs qnibu? h;cc iiascantur in liortis Numina. 


all, their tenets being unto them the only form of wholesome 
words: moreover (for these things recounted make not the 
difference, for it is so with all sects of men) the magistrates, 
or those who are intrusted with all the power over men, 
which for the preservation of human society, God hath been 
pleased to make out from himself, are also of the same per- 
suasion with them : these they supplicate that an effectual 
course may be taken (asserting not only that they are in- 
trusted with power from above so to do, but also that it is 
their great sin if they do it not) whereby all sectaries and 
erroneous persons may not only not be countenanced, or 
kept within bounds, and not be forborn in any disturbing, 
insolent miscarriage ; but also, that all that doctrine which 
is not publicly owned, may be sure to be supplanted by the 
restraint and punishment of the dissenters, whether unto 
imprisonment, confiscation of goods, or death itself; for 
they must not cease, nay (if the thing is to be effected) they 
cannot rationally assign where to stay in punishing, before 
they come to the period of all, death itself, which is the point 
and centre wherein all the lines of this sentence meet -J where- 
in, to me truly there is nothing but 'luctus ubique, pavor, et 
pluriuia mortis imago.' I know it is coloured with fair pre- 
tences;* but 'quid ego verba audiam, facta cum video?' It 
is written with red letters, and the pens of its abetters are 
dipt in the blood of Christians. Doubtless between these 
extremes lies the way. 

Again, some by a toleration understand a mutual forbear- 
ance in communion, though there be great differences in 
opinion ; and this the generality of the clergy (as heretofore 
they were called) did usually incline unto, viz. that any men 
almost might be tolerated, whilst they did not separate. And 
these lay down this for a ground, that there is a latitude in 
judgment to be allowed ; so that the communion may be held 
by men of several persuasions, in all things, with an allow- 
ance of withdrawing in those particulars, wherein there is 
dissent amongst them ; and this the Belgic remonstrants 
pressed hard for, before they were cast out by the synod of 

y Inventus, Chrysippe, tui fmitor acervi. 

'Of jj' iTEfov ,aiv y.tv^n hi <pptr]y, a\Xo H ^afii. 


Others plead for a toleration out of communion, that is, 
that men renouncing the communion of those whose religion 
is owned and established by authority, may yet peaceably be 
suffered to enjoy the ordinances in separation. 

Moreover, by communion some understand one thing, 
some another. Some think that is preserved sufficiently, if 
the dissenters do acknowledge those from whom they do dis- 
sent to be true churches, to enjoy the ordinances of Christ, to 
have the means of life and salvation in them, closing with them 
in all substantial of doctrine ; but yet, because of some disor- 
ders in and amongst them, they dare not be as of them, but 
yet only separate from those disorders. 

Others again think that communion is utterly dissolved, 
if any distinctions of persons be made, more than all acknow- 
ledge ought to be, any differences in the administration of 
the ordinances, any divisions in government at all. 

Now all these things, and many more that might be added, 
must clearly be distinguished and determined by him that 
would handle his matter at large and exactly, that we may 
know what he means by those ambiguous words, and in 
what acceptation he owns them. Until this be done, a man 
may profess to oppose both toleration and non -toleration, 
without any contradiction at all, because in their several 
senses they do not always intend the same. 

For my part, as on the one side if by toleration you mean ' po- 
testatem vivendi ut velis' (as the stoics defined liberty), a uni- 
versal concession of an unbounded liberty,* or rather bold un- 
bridled licentiousness, for every one to vent what he pleaseth, 
and to take what course seems good in his own eyes, in things 
concerning religion and the worship of God, I cannot give 
my vote for it. So if by non-toleration you mean that which 
the gloss upon that place, ' Ilsereticum hominem de vita,' in- 
tended by adding ' suppletolle,''' to make up the sense; as 
if they were not to be endured in any place, who dissent only 
in not-fundamentals, from that which is established, but to 
be hated, ' ad furcas et leones,' as the Christians of old, or 
to have their new derided lights extinguished in that light, 
' Qua stantes ardent, qui fixo gutture fumant,' in a Nero's 
bonfire ; into the secrets of them that are thus minded let 
not my soul descend. ' In their anger they will slay a man. 

* 't^ovrui av TOTTf ayia;, Cicer. Pflrnd. '' Tollc de vita. 


and in their self-will they dig down a wall ; cursed be their 
anger for it is fierce, and their wrath for it is cruel.' These 
things then being so ambiguous, doubtful, and uncertain, we 
dare not be too peremptorily dogmatical, nor positively as- 
sert but only what is certainly true ; as are these following. 

1. That heresies and errors ought not to be tolerated; 
that is, men ought not to connive at, or comply with those 
ways and opinions which they are convinced to be false, er- 
roneous, contrary to sound doctrine, and that form of whole- 
some words which is delivered unto us as (next unto Christ) 
the greatest treasure of our souls, especially if credibly sup- 
posed to shake any fundamentals of the common faith ; but 
with all their strength and abilities, in all lawful ways, upon 
every just call, to oppose, suppress, and overthrow them, to 
root them up, and cast them out, that they may not as noxious 
weeds and tares overgrow and choke the good corn, amongst 
which they are covertly scattered. All predictions of* false 
christs, false prophets, false teachers to come,' and, 'to be 
avoided,' all cautions to * try spirits, avoid heretics, beware 
of seducers, keep close to the truth received, to hate the doc- 
trine of Nicolaitans, to avoid endless disputes, strife of words, 
old fables, languishing about unprofitable questions ;' the 
epithets given to, and descriptions made of, heresies, that they 
are ' pernicious, damnable, cankers, works of the flesh,' and 
the like, are all incitations and encouragements for the ap- 
plying of all expedient means, for the taking out of the way 
these stumbling-blocks. Let then the Scriptures be searched, 
and all ways embraced which the gospel holdeth forth, for 
the discovering, convincing, silencing, reproving, confuting 
of errors,and persons erring, by admonitions, reproofs,mighty 
Scripture convictions, evidencing of the truth, with fervent 
prayers to Almighty God, the God of truth, that he would 
give us one heart and one way ; and if these weapons of our 
warfare do not prevail, we must let them know, that one day 
their disobedience will be revenged with being cut off, and 
' cast out as unprofitable branches, fit to be cast into the 

2. That any doctrine tending undeniably in its own na- 
ttire (and not by strained consequences) to the disturbance 
of tlie civil state may be suppressed, by all such means as are 
lawfully to be used, for the conservation of the peace and safety 


of the state. Jesus Christ, though accused of sedition, taught 
none, practised none, his gospel gives not control to magis- 
tracy, righteous laws, or any sort of lawful government es- 
tablished amongst men ; and therefore they whose faith is 
faction, and whose religion is rebellion, I mean Jesuits, and 
Jesuitical Papists, some of the articles of whose creeds are 
directly repugnant to the safety, yea, being of any common- 
wealths, wherein themselves and men of their own persua- 
sion, do not domineer and rule, may be proceeded against 
by them who bear not the sword in vain. The like may be 
said of men seditious under any pretences whatsoever, like 
the Anabaptists at Munster. 

3. That such heresies or mispersuasions as are attended 
with any notorious sin in practice (1 mean, not in conse- 
quences, but owned by their abettors, and practised accord- 
ingly, beyond Epicurus, whose honest life was not corrupted 
by his foul dishonest opinion) like the Nicolaitans, teaching, 
as most suppose, promiscuous lust ; and the Papists express 
abominable idolatry, may be in their authors more severely 
punished, than such crimes not owned and maintained do 
singly deserve. To pretend conscience in such a case will 
not avail ; ' the works of the flesh, are manifest/ easy to be 
discerned, known to all. Apologies for such argue seared- 
ness, not tenderness : such ' evil communication' as ' cor- 
rupteth good manners,' is not to be tolerated. 

4. No pretences whatsoever, nor seeming colour, should 
countenance men dissenting from what is established, to re- 
vile, traduce, deride, or otherwise expose to vulgar contempt, 
by words or actions, the way owned by authority (if not evi- 
dently fallen oft' from Jehovah to Baal), or fasten bitter un- 
charitable appellations on those who act according to that 
way ; that is, the public ministers and ministry, acknow- 
ledged, owned, and maintained by the supreme magistrate 
where they both are. Where, by the way, I cannot but com- 
plain of want of ingenuity and candid charity in those men, 
who having a comfortable maintenance arising another way, 
do yet, *ad faciendum populum,' continually in pulpits, and 
other public places, inveigh against that way of mainte- 
nance which is allowed by the magistrate, and set apart for 
that labour in the word and doctrine ; unto whom I wish no 
farther evil, but only forced patience when their neighbour- 


ing tradesmen shall have persuaded the people about hirft 
that preachers of the gospel ought to live by the work of 
their hands, and so the contribution for their maintenance 
be subducted. 

Such men as these do shew of what spirit they are, and 
what they would do if they were lions ; seeing they bark so 
much, being but snarling dogs. And therefore truly, if 
some severe course were used for the restraint of those, who 
in our days strive to get themselves a name, and to build up 
their repute, by slighting, undervaluing, and by all uncha- 
ritable malicious ways, rendering odious those from whom 
they dissent, I should not much intercede for them : these 
are evil works, fruits of the flesh, evident to all. Now these, 
and such things as these, are acknowledged by all even spi- 
rited men. Some few I shall now add, I hope not unlike 
them. As, 

5. That it is a most difficult undertaking to judge of he-^ 
resies and heretics, no easy thing to shew what heresy is 
in general ; whether this or that particular error be a he- 
resy or no, whether it be a heresy in this or that man; espe- 
cially if such things as stubbornness, and pertinacy upon 
conviction, with the like, be required to make a man a he- 
retic; for such things cannot be evidenced or made out, 
but only (for the most part) by most obscure conjectures, 
and such as will scarcely satisfy a charitable judgment. 
Papists indeed, who have laid it down for a principle, that 
a contradiction of the doctrine of the church known to be 
so, and continued in after admonition, doth infallibly make 
a man a heretic, are very clear, uniform, and settled in that 
which they have made the ground, warrant, and foundation 
of slaying millions of men, professing the name of Christ: 
but for all other Christians, who acknowledge an infallibility 
in the rule, but no infallibility in any for the discovery of 
the truth of that rule (though exceeding clear and perspi- 
cuous in things necessary), for them I say, understanding 
and keeping close to their own principles, it is a most dif- 
ficult thing to determine of heresy ; with an assurance, that 
they are so out of danger of erring in that determination, 
as to make it a ground of rigorous proceedings against those 
of whom they have so concluded. Some things indeed are 
so clearly in the Scripture laid down and determined, that to 


question or deny them, bespeaks a spirit self-condemned, in 
that which he doth profess: that twice two makes four, that 
he that runneth, moveth ; are not things more evident to rea- 
son, than many things in the Scripture are to every capti- 
vated understanding : a wilful deviation in such merits no 
charity. But generally errors are about things hard to be 
understood, not so clearly appearing, and concerning which 
it is very difficult to pass the sentence of heresy. No judge 
of heresy since the apostle's days, but hath been obnoxious 
to error in that judgment; and those who have been for- 
wardest to assume a judicature, and power of discerning be- 
tween truth and error, so as to have others regulated thereby, 
have erred most foully. Of old it was generally conceived 
to be in councils. Now I should acknowledge myself obliged 
to any man, that would direct me to a council, since that 
Acts XV. which I may not be forced from the word to assert, 
that it, in some thing or other, went astray. 

Luther feared not to affirm of the first and best of gene- 
ral synods, that he 'understood not the Holy Ghost to speak 
in it ;' and that the canons thereof were but plain hay and 
stubble.*^ Yea, and Beza, that such was the ' folly, ignorance, 
ambition, wickedness of many bishops in the best times, that 
you would suppose the devil to have been president in their 
assemblies :''' insomuch as Nazianzen complained, that he 
never saw a' good end of any ; and affirmed, that he was re- 
solved never to come at them more. And in truth, the fight- 
ings and brawls, diabolical arts of defamation and accusing 
one another, abominable pride, ambition, and affectation of 
pre-eminence, which appeared in most of them, did so far 
prevail, that in the issue they became (as one was entitled) 
dens of thieves, rather than conventions of humble and meek 
disciples of Jesus Christ; until at length the holy dove being 
departed, an ominous owl overlooked the Lateran fathers; and 
though with much clamour they destroyed the appearing 
fowl, yet the foul spirit of darkness and error wrought as ef- 

<= Hie prorsus non intclligo sanctum Spirilura in hoc conciiio : hi omncs arliculi 
fxiiuni, stranicn, ligiin, sliijuliu fucriint. Luth. 

«• In optiinis illis temporibus, ca fuit nonnullorum, cpiscoporuni, partini ambitio, 
partiin futilitas et ignorantia, &:c. Bezi. piffifat. ad Nov. Testa. 

* Ego, si vera scribere oportet, ita aniino allcctus sum, ut omnia cpiscoporum con- 
cilia fugiam, (juoniaiu nuUius concilii finem Isetum faustumqiic vidi : nee <juod dc- 
pulsionem malorum potius quam accessionem ct incrementura habuerit. Greg. Nar.. 
Ep. ad Proeo[). 


fectually in them as ever. But to close this discourse ; ig- 
norance of men's invincible prejudices, of their convictions, 
strong persuasions, desires, aims, hopes, fears, inducements, 
sensi bleness of our own infirmities, failings, misapprehensions, 
darkness, knowing but in part, should work in us a charitable 
opinion of poor erring creatures, that do it perhaps with as 
upright, sincere hearts and affections, as some enjoy truth. 
Austin^ tells the Manichees, the most paganish heretics that 
ever were, that they only raged and were Kigh against them, 
who knew not what it was to seek the truth, and escape 
error; with what ardent prayers the knowledge of truth is 
obtained. And how tender is Salvian^ in his judgment of 
the Arians ? ' They are,' saith he, ' heretics, but know it not ; 
heretics to us, but not to themselves : nay, they think them- 
selves so catholic, that they judge us to be heretics, what 
they are to us, that are we to them : they err, but with a 
good mind, and for this cause God shews patience towards 

Now if any should dissent from what I have before as- 
serted concerning this particular, I would entreat him to lay 
down some notes, whereby heresies may infallibly be dis- 
cerned to be such, and he shall not find me repugning. 

6. That great consideration ought to be had of that 
sovereign dictate of nature, the sura of all moral duties, 
•quod tibi fieri non vis, alteri ne feceris;' do not that unto 
others, which you would not have done to you, were you in 
the same condition with them. In the business in hand, 
we are supposed by others to be in that estate, wherein we 
suppose those to be of whom we speak; those others being 
to us, what we are to them. Now truly if none of the for- 
mer inconveniences and iniquities which we recounted, as- 
sertion 2, 3, 4, or the like, do accompany erring persons, it 
will be something difficult to make it appear, how we may, 
if enjoying authority over them, impose any coercion, re- 
straint, or punishment on them, which we would not ac- 
knowledge to be justly laid on us by others (supposing it 
should be laid) having authority over us, convinced that our 
persuasion differing from them, is false and erroneous. No 

' Illi in vos sfeviunt, qui nesciutit cum quo labore inveniatur, et quara difficile ca- 
Tcantur errors, &c. Aug. 

K Apud nos sunt lisretici, apud se non sunt: quod ergo illi nobis sunt, hoc no» 
illis. &c. Salv. de prov. &c. 


»ort of Christians but are heretics and schismatics to some 
Christians in authority ; and it may be their lot to live under 
the power and jurisdiction of men so persuaded of them, 
where they ought to expect, that the same measure will be 
given unto them, which in other places they have consented 
to mete out to others. 

But men will say, and all men pleading the cause of non- 
toleration in its full extent do say, that they are heretics, and 
erroneous persons whom we do oppose : we ourselves are 
orthodox, and no law of nature, no dictate of the Scriptures 
requires, that we should think it just to render unto them 
that are orthodox, as unto them that are heretics, seducers, 
and false teachers. Because thieves are punished, shall ho- 
nest men fear that they shall be so too? But a thief is a 
thief in all the world, unto all men : in opinions it is not so : 
he is a heretic, that is to be punished, but to whom ? in 
whose judgment? in his own? no more than we are in ours : 
but he is so to them that judge him: true. Put the case a Pro- 
testant were to bt judged by a Papist, as a thousand saints 
have been: is he not the worst of heretics to his judge? These 
things turn in a circle : what we are to ourselves, that he is 
to himself: what he is to us, that we are unto others that 
may be our judges. But however, you will say, we are in 
the truth, and therefore ought to go free. Now truly this 
is the same paralogism : who says we are in the truth ? 
others? no, ourselves : who says erroneous persons (as so 
supposed) are heretics, or the like? they themselves? no, 
but we : and those that are to us, as we are to them, say no 
less of us. Let us not suppose that all the world will stoop 
to us, because we have the truth, as we affirm, but they do 
not believe. If we make the rule of our proceedings 
against others to be our conviction, that they are erroneous; 
others will, or may make theirs of us, to be their rule of pro- 
ceeding against us. We do thus to them, because we so 
judge of them : will not others, who have the same judgment 
of us, as we of them, do the like unto us? Now here I pro- 
fess that I do not desire to extend any thing in this discourse, 
to the patronizing of any error whatsoever, I mean any thino-, 
so commonly esteemed in the reformed churches, as myself 
owning any such ; much less to the procuring of a licentious 
immunity, for every one in his way; and least of all to cpun- 


tenance men walking disorderly in any regard, especially in 
the particulars before recounted ; but only to shew how warily, 
and upon what sure principles, that cannot be retorted on 
us, we ought to proceed, when any severity is necessarily 
required, in case of great danger; and how in lesser things, 
if the unity of faith may in some comfortable measure be 
kept, then to assert the proposition in its full latitude, urg- 
ing and pleading for Ciiristian forbearance, even in such 
manner to be granted, as we would desire it from them, 
whom we do forbear; for truly in those disputable things, 
we must acknowledge ourselves in the same series with other 
men, unless we can produce express patents for our exemp- 
tions. But some perhaps will say, that even in such things 
as these Gamaliel's counsel is not good ; better all go on 
with punishing that can ; truth will not be suppressed, but 
error will. Good God ! was not truth oppressed by anti- 
christian tyranny ? was not outward force the engine that 
for many generations kept truth in corners ? But of this af- 

Now I am mistaken, if this principle, that the civil ma- 
gistrate ought to condemn, suppress, and persecute every 
one that he is convinced to err, though in smaller things, do 
not at length, in things of greater importance, make Chris- 
tendom a very theatre of bloody murders, killing, slaying, 
imprisoning men round in a compass ; until the strongest 
becomes dictator to the rest, and he alone be supposed to 
have infallible guidance, all the rest to be heretics, because 
overcome and subdued (when I speak of death and killing 
in this discourse, I understand not only forcible death itself, 
but that also which is equivalent thereunto, as banishment, 
or perpetual imprisonment), I had almost said, that it is the 
interest of mortality, to consent generally to the persecution 
of a man maintaining such a destructive opinion. 

7. That whatsoever restraint, or other punishment may 
be allowed in case of grosser errors, yet slaying of heretics 
for simple heresy, as they call it, for my part I cannot close 
withal ; nor shall ever give my vote to the burning, hanging, 
or killing of a man, otherwise upright, honest, and peaceable 
in the state, merely because he misbelieveth any point of 
Christian faith. Let what pretences you please be produced, 
or colours flourished, I should be very unwilling to pro- 


nounce the sentence of blood in the case of heresy. I do 
not intend here to dispute : but if any one will, upon pro- 
testant principles, and Scripture grounds, undertake to assert 
it, I promise (if God grant me life) he shall not want a con- 
vert, or an antagonist. I know the usual pretences : such 
a thing is blasphemy : but search the Scripture, look upon 
the definitions of divines, and by all men's consent you will 
find heresy, in what head of religion soever it be, and blas- 
phemy properly so called, to be exceedingly distant. Let a 
blasphemer undergo the law of blasphemy : but yet I think 
we cannot be too cautious how we place men in that damna- 
ble series, calling heaven and earth to witness the contrary. 
But again : to spread such errors will be destructive to 
souls ; so are many things, which yet are not punishable 
with forcible death : let him that thinks so go kill Pagans 
and Mahometans. As such heresy is a canker, but a spiritual 
one, let it be prevented by spiritual means ; cutting off men's 
heads is no proper remedy for it : if state physicians think 
otherwise, I say no more, but that I am not of the college, 
and what I have already said I submit to better judgments. 
8. It may be seriously considered, upon a view of the 
state and condition of Christians, since their name was 
known in the world, whether this doctrine of punishing 
erring persons with death, imprisonment, banishment, and 
the like, under the name of heretics, hath not been as useful 
and advantageous for error, as truth ; nay, whether it hath 
not appeared the most pernicious invention that ever was 
broached : in the first, second, and third ages, we hear little 
of it; nothing for it; something against it: much after- 
ward against it, in Austin and others. e Marlinus, the 
famous French bishop, rejected the communion of a com- 
pany of his associate bishops, because they had consented 
with Maximus the emperor, unto the death of the Priscilli- 
anists, as vile heretics as ever breathed. At the end of the 
fourth and beginning of the fifth century, when the Arians 
and orthodox had successively procured the supreme ma- 
gistrate to join with them, men were killed and dismembered 
like beasts : banishments, imprisonments, plunderings, es- 

B Toi/{ fjinreiivra^ tov Secv fxio-iiv ;^pii not i/juac, xai Iwi to~? t^9{oTf avroZ i)tTnxia-&ai , 
ou ix.iv x«i TUTTTEiv (iuTitf Xai Sioixeiv, xaSai; to. iflvo to. fxh iiSora tov xvpiov xai ©»»v oXX' 
ix9pfluc /U.EV ttyiiff^ai, xai ;^^»)f«{i?9«i ott' auToiv. Ignat. Epist. ad Philad. 



pecially by the Arians were as frequent, as in new subdued 
kingdoms. But never was this tragedy so acted to the life, 
as by the worshippers of images on the one side, and their 
adversaries on the other :^ which difference rose about the 
year 130, and was carried on with that barbarous outrage on 
both sides, especially by the IconolatrsB (as the worst were 
ever best at such proceedings), as is wonderful to consider. 
Now excepting only those idolatrous heretics in the last, 
who were paid home in their own coin, for a thousand years 
together, this doctrine was put in practice against none al- 
most, but the martyrs of Jesus. The Roman stories of the 
killing of heretics, are all martyrologies ; thousands slain for 
heretics now lie under the altar, crying for vengeance, and 
shall one day sit upon thrones, judging their judges. So 
that where one man hath suffered for an error, under the 
name of a heretic, five hundred under the same notion have 
suffered for truth : a principle would seem more befitting 
Christians to spare five hundred for the saving of one guilt- 
less person. Truth hath felt more of the teeth of this 
scorpion, than error ; and clearly it grew up by degrees Avith 
the whole mystery of iniquity. In the gospel we have no- 
thing like it: the acts of Christ purging the temple, Peter 
pronouncing the fate of Ananias, and Paul smiting Elymas 
with blindness, seem to me heterogeneous. The first laws 
of Constantino speak liberty and freedom.' Pecuniary mulcts 
afterward were added, and general edicts against all sects, 
and so it is put over into the hands of the Arians, who ex- 
ceedingly cherished it : yet for a good while pretences must 
be sought out, Eustachius of Antioch must be accused of 
adultery, Athanasius of sedition, magic, and I know not 
what, that a colour might be had for their persecution.*" The 
Arian kings in Africa, were the first that owned it, yvfxvy 
K£^aXf , and acted according to their persuasions. Methinks 
I hear the cries of poor dismembered, mangled creatures, for 
the faith of the holy Trinity ! Next to these, through a few 
civil constitutions of some weak emperors, it wholly comes 
to reside in the hands of the pope ; kings and princes are 
made his executioners, and he plays his game to the pur-^ 
pose. Single persons serve not this Bel and Dragon, whole 

'• Theophanes. histor. Miscel. lib. 22. cap. 30. 
» Euseb. vit. Const, lib. 2. cap. 27. ^ Socrat. Evag. Rufinus. Sozom, 


nations' must be slaughtered, that he may be drunk with 
blood. He sends whole armies to crucify Christ afresh, he 
gives every one of his soldiers a cross ; hence followed cruel 
sights, bloody battles, wasting of kingdoms, raging against 
the names, ashes, sepulchres of the dead, with more than 
heathenish cruelty : such evil fruits hath this bitter root sent 
forth, the streams of this fountain have all been blood ; so 
that it cannot be denied, but that a judicature of truth, and 
the contrary assumed, with a forcible backing of the sen- 
tence, was the bottom stone in the foundation, and highest 
in the corner of the tower of Babel : and I believe upon that 
search it will appear, that error hath not been advanced by 
any thing in the world so much, as by usurping a power for 
its suppression. In divers contests that the pope had with 
others, the truth was on his side (as in the business of Atha- 
nasius, and others in the east deposed by the Arians™); now 
who would not have thought, that his standing up with all 
earnestness for the truth, would not have been the ruin of 
the devil's kingdom of darkness, and almost have spoiled 
the plot of the mystery of iniquity; when the truth is, the 
largest steps that ever the man of sin took towards his 
throne, was by usurping of power to suppress errors and 
heresies. It would be a great encouragement to use that 
way for the extirpation of errors (if any such be, besides the 
preaching of the gospel, and convictions from thence), which, 
any one could produce and give assurance that it hath not 
been tried, or been tried and proved ineffectual for the sup- 
plantation of truth ; and if such a way be not produced, what 
if both should grow together until harvest? 

9. Let us not be too hasty in pressing any opinion arising 
and divulged with odious consequences of sedition, turbu- 
lency, and the like, because tumults and troubles happen in 
the commonwealth, where it is asserted : a coincidence of 
events is one of the principal causes of error and misjudg- 
ings in the world : because errors and tumults arise together, 
therefore one is the cause of the other, may be an argument, 
' a baculo ad angulum.' It is a hard thing to charge them 
with sedition, who protest against it ; and none can make it 
appear, that it is * contraria factis,' by any of their actions, 
but only because it is fit they should bear the blame of what 

' Albigenses, Waldenses, Bohemians, m Socrat. lib. 2. cap. 11. 

G 2 


liappeneth evilly in their days. Upon every disaster in the 
empire, the noise of old was, 'Christianos ad leones :'° for 
our parts we ought to remember, that we were strangers in 
Egypt; it is but little more than a hmidred years since all 
mouths were opened and filled with reproaches against that 
glorious reformation, wherein we rejoice. Was it not the 
unanimous voice of all the adversaries thereof, that a new 
religion was brought in, tending to the immediate ruin of all 
states and commonwealths, attended with rebellion, the mo- 
ther of sedition ? Have we not frequent apologies of our 
divines for the confutation of such false, malicious, and putid 
criminations? It is true indeed, the light of the gospel 
breaking out, was accompanied with war and not peace (ac- 
cording to the prediction of our Saviour), whereof the gospel 
was no more the cause, than John Diazius was of that horri- 
ble murder, when his brains were chopped out with an axe 
by his brother Alphonsus," because he professed the gospel. 
Hence Luther, the vehemency of whose spirit gave no way 
to glosses and temporizing excuses, plainly ajQfirms those tu- 
mults to be such necessary appendixes of the preaching of 
the gospel, that he should not believe the word of God to be 
abroad in the world, if he saw it not accompanied with tu- 
mults, which he had rather partake in, than perish under the 
wrath of God in an eternal tumult :'' the truth must go on, 
though thereby the world should be reduced to its primitive 
chaos and confusion. Were it not a perpetual course for 
men of every persuasion to charge sedition, and the like, 
upon that which they would have suppressed, knowing that 
no name is more odious unto them who have power to effect 
their desire ; and did I not find that some, who have had 
much ado, whilst they were sheep, to keep off that imputa- 
tion from themselves, within a few years, becoming lions, 
have laid it home upon others, as peaceable as they ; T might 
perhaps be more rigid than now these discoveries will suffer 
me to be: far be it from me to apologize for truth itself, if 
seditious ; only I abhor those false, malicious criminations, 
whereby God's people in these days wherein we live, have 
exceedingly suffered. It hath pleased God so to order 

" Arnob. " Sleid. Com. 

P Ego nisi turaultus istos viderem, verbum Dei in mundo non esse dicerem. Prae- 
eligirous teniporali tuniultu coliidi, quam jeterno turaultu sub ira Dei conteri. Lutb. 
de Ser. Art. cap. 32 — 34. 


things in this kingdom, that the work of recovering his 
worship to its purity, and restoring the civil state to its li- 
berty, should be both carried on at the same time by the 
same persons. Are there none now in this kingdom, to 
whom this reforming is an almost everting of God's worship ? 
And are there none that have asserted that our new religion 
hath caused all those tumults and bloodshed ? And doth 
not every unprejudiced man see, that these are hellish lies, 
and malicious accusations, having indeed neither o-round 
nor colour, but only their coincidence in respect of time ? 
Is any wise man moved with their clamours ? Are their as- 
persions considerable? Are we the only men that have been 
thus injuriously traduced? Remember the difference be- 
tween Elijah and Ahab ; what was laid to the charge of 
Paul ; see the apologies of the old Christians, and speak 
what you find. 

Much might here be added concerning the qualifications, 
carriages, humility, peaceableness, of erring persons ; all 
which ought to be considered, and our proceedings towards 
them to be, if not regulated, yet much swayed by such 
considerations. Some I have known myself, that I dare 
say the most curious inquirer into their ways, that sees with 
eyes of flesh, would not be able to discover any thing but 
mere conviction and tenderness of conscience, that causeth 
them to own the opinions which different from others they 
do embrace. Others again so exceeding supercilious, scorn- 
ing, proud, selfish, so given to contemning of all others, re- 
viling and undervaluing of their adversaries, that the blindest 
pity cannot but see much carnalness and iniquity in their 
ways. These things then deserve to be weighed, all passion 
and particular interest being set aside. And then, if the die 
be cast, and we must forward, let us take along with us these 
two cautions. 

(1.) So to carry ourselves in all our censures, every one 
in his sphere (ecclesiastical discipline being preserved as 
pure and unmixed from secular power as possible) that it 
may appear to all that it is the error which men maintain 
which is so odious unto us, and not the consequent or their 
dissent from us, whether by subducting themselves from our 
power, or withdrawing from communion ; for if this latter be 
made the cause of our proceeding against any, there must be 


one law for them all, all that will not bow to the fiery furnace; 
recusancy is the fault, and that being the same in all must 
have the same punishment, which would be such an unrigh- 
teous inequality as is fit for none but antichrist to own. 

(2.) That nothing be done to any, but that the bound 
■and farthest end of it be seen at the beginning, and not leave 
way and room for new persecution upon new pretences. 
* Cedo alteram et alteram,' one stripe sometimes makes way 
for another, and how know I that men will stay at thirty-nine ? 
' Principiis obsta.' 

All these things being considered, I cannot so well close 
with them who make the least allowance of dissent to be the 
mother of abominations : words and hated phrases may easily 
be heaped up to a great number, to render any thing odious 
which we have a mind to oppose ; but the proving of an im- 
posed evil or absurdity, is sometimes a labour too difiicult 
for every undertaker. And so I hope I have said enough to 
warrant my own hesitancy in this particular. Some might 
now expect that T should here positively set down what is 
my judgment concerning errors and erroneous persons, dis- 
senting from the truth received and acknowledged by au- 
thority, with respect unto their toleration : unto whom I an- 
swer. That to consider the power of the magistrate about 
thingsof religion, and over consciences; the several restraints 
that have been used in this case, or are pleaded for ; the dif- 
ference between dangerous fundamental errors, and others j 
the several interests of men, and ways of disengaging ; the 
extent of communion, and the absolute necessity of a latitude 
to be allowed in some things : with such other things as 
would be requisite for a full handling of the matter in hand ; 
ask a longer discourse, and more exactness, than the few 
hours allotted to this appendix can afford. Only for the 
present I ask, if any will take the pains ,to inform me : 

1. What they mean by a non-toleration? Whether only a 
not countenancing, nor holding communion with them ; or 
if crushing and punishing them, then how ? to what degree? 
by what means ? where they will undoubtedly bound ? 

2. What the error is concerning which the inquiry is made 1 
the clear opposition thereof to the word of God ? tlie danger 
of it? the repugnancy that is in it to peace, quietness, and 
the power of godliness ? 3. What, or who arc the erring per- 


sons? how they walk? in what manner of conversation? 
What is their behaviour towards others, not of their own per- 
suasion? What gospel means have been used for their con- 
viction ? What may be supposed to be their prejudices, mo- 
tives, interests, and the like ? And then, if it be worth ask- 
ing, I shall not be backward to declare my opinion. And 
truly without the consideration of these things, and other 
such circumstances, how a right judgment can be passed in 
this case I see not. 

And so hoping the courteous reader will look with a can- 
did eye upon these hasty lines, rather poured out than writ- 
ten ; and consider that a day's pains in these times may serve 
for that, which is but for a day's use ; the whole is submitted 
to his judgment by him who professeth his all in this kind 
to be, the love of truth and peace. 






The former of tliese sermons was preached at Colchester, before his excellency, on 
a day of thanksgiving for its surrender : the other at Rumford, to the committee 
(who were imprisoned by the enemy), Sept. 28, 1648. Being a day of thanks- 
giving for their deliverance. 

* N. B. These two sermons having no regular division in the first edition, we 
were obliged to print them together without any distinction. 



Almighty God having made you the instrument of 
that deliverance and peace, which in the county of 
Essex we do enjoy, next to his own goodness, the re- 
membrance thereof is due unto your name. ' Those 
who honour him, he will honour ; and those who de- 
spise him, shall be lightly esteemed;' 1 Sam. ii. 30. 
Part of these ensuing sermons being preached before 
your excellency, and now by providence called forth 
to public view, I am emboldened to dedicate them unto 
your name, as a small mite of that abundant thankful- 
ness, wherein all peace-loving men of this county stand 
obliged unto you. 

It was the custom of former days, in the provinces 
of the Roman empire, to erect statues and monuments 
of grateful remembrance* to those presidents and go- 
vernors, who, in the administration of their authority, 
behaved themselves with wisdom, courage, and fidelity. 
Yea, instruments of great deliverances and blessings, 
through corrupted nature's folly, became the pagans' 

There is scarce a county in this kingdom wherein, 
and not one from which, your excellency hath not de- 
served a more lasting monument than ever was erected 
of Corinthian brass. But if the Lord be pleased that 
your worth shall dwell only in the praises of his people, 
it will be your greater glory, that being the place which 

■ Lubenj meritoqiic. 


himself hath chosen to inhabit. Now for a testification 
of this is this only intended ; beyond this towards men, 
God pleading for you, you need nothing but our si- 
lence; the issue of the last engagements, whereunto 
you were called, and enforced, answering, yea, outgo- 
ing your former undertakings, giving ample testimony 
of the continuance of God's presence with you in your 
army, having stopped the mouths of many gainsayers, 
and called to the residue in the language of the dumb 
speaking Egyptian hieroglyphic, "^Q yivo/xevoi kol airoyL- 
vofievoif Beog juktei ava'i^miv,^ ' Men of all sorts know, that 
God hateth impudence.' 

It was said of the Romans in the raising of their 
empire, that they were ' ssepe praelio victi, bello nun- 
quam :' so naked hath the bow of God been made for 
your assistance, that you have failed neither in battle 
nor war. 

Truly had not our eyes beheld the rise and fall of 
this latter storm, we could not have been persuaded 
that the former achievements of the army, under your 
conduct, could have been paralleled. But he who 
always enabled them to outdo not only others, but 
themselves, hath in this carried them out to outdo 
whatever before himself had done by them, that they 
might shew more kindness and faithfulness in the latter 
end, than in the beginning. The weary ox treadeth 
hard : dying bites are often desperate : half ruined 
Carthage did more perplex Rome, than when it was 
entire : Hydra's heads in the fable were increased by 
their loss, and every new stroke begat a new opposition : 
such seemed the late tumultuating of the exasperated 
party in this nation. 

In the many undertakings of the enemy, all which 
themselves thought secure, and others esteemed proba- 
ble, if they had prevailed in any one, too many reasons 

b riut. dr Iside et Osir. 


present themselves to persuade they would have done 
so in all. But to none of those worthies, which went 
out under your command to several places in the king- 
dom, can you say with Augustus to Varus, upon the 
slaughter of his legions by Arminius in Germany, 
' Quintile Vare, redde legiones,' God having carried 
them all on with success and victory. 

One especially in his northern expedition, I cannot 
pass over with silence, who although he will not, dare 
not say of his undertakings, as Caesar of his Asian war, 
' veni, vidi, vici,' knowing who works all his works for 
him; nor shall we say of the enemy's multitude, what 
captain Gam did of the French, being sent to spy out 
their numbers, before the battle of Agincourt, that 
there were of them enough to kill, and enough to take, 
and enough to run away ; yet of him and them, both 
he and we may freely say, * It is nothing with the Lord 
to help, either with many, or with them that have no 

The war being divided, and it being impossible 
your excellency should be in every place of danger, 
according to your desire, the Lord was pleased to call 
you out personally unto two of the most hazardous, 
dangerous, and difficult undertakings :" where, besides 
the travel, labour, watching, heat, and cold, by day and 
night, whereunto you were exposed, even the life of 
the meanest soldier in your army was not in more im- 
minent danger, than oftentimes was your own. And 
indeed during your abode at the Leager amongst us, 
in this only were our thoughts burdened with you. 
That self-preservation was of no more weight in your 
councils and undertakings. And I beseech you pardon 
my boldness, in laying before you this expostulation of 
many thousands (if we may say to him who hath saved a 
kingdom, what was sometimes said unto a king), * Know 

c Kent, Essex. 


you not that you are worth ten thousands of us, why 
should you quench such a light in Israel V 

Sir, I account it among those blessings of provi- 
dence, wherewith the days of my pilgrimage have been 
seasoned, that I had the happiness for a short season to 
attend your excellency, in the service of my master, 
Jesus Christ ; as also, that I have this opportunity, in 
the name of many, to cast in my x"^^P^ ^^^^ ^^^^ king- 
dom's congratulations of your late successes. What 
thoughts concerning your person, my breast is possessed 
withal, as in their storehouse they yield me delightful 
refreshment ; so they shall not be drawn out, to the 
disturbance of your self-denial. The goings forth of 
my heart, in reference to your excellency, shall be 
chiefly to the Most High, that being more than con- 
queror in your spiritual and temporal warfare, you may 
be long continued for a blessing to this nation, and all 
the people of God. 

Your Excellency's 

Most humble and devoted servant, 

John Owen. 

Coggeshall, Essex, 
Oct. 5, 1648. 










The righteous judgments of God having brought a 
disturbance and noise of war, for our security, un- 
thankfulness, murmuring, and devouring one another, 
upon our country, those who were intrusted with the 
power thereof, turned their streams into several chan- 
nels. Troublous times are times of trial. 

Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried ; 
but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the 
wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand; 
Dan. xii. 10. Some God called out to suffer, some to 
do, leaving ' treacherous dealers to deal treacherously.' 

Of the two first sorts are you. This honour have 
you received from God, either with patience and con- 
stancy to undergo unvoluntarily a dangerous restraint; 
or with resolution and courage voluntarily to undertake 
a hazardous engagement, to give an example that faith 
and truth, so shamefully despised in these evil days, 
have not altogether forsaken the sons of men. 


It is not in my thoughts to relate unto yourselves, 
what some of you suffered, and what some of you did ; 
what difficulties and perplexities you wrestled withal, 
within and without the walls of your enemies (the birds 
in the .cage and the field having small cause of mutual 
emulation), for that which remains of these things is 
only a returnal of praise to him, by whom all your 
works are wrought. 

It cannot be denied, but that providence was emi- 
nently exalted in the work of your protection and 
delivery ; yet truly, for my part, I cannot but conceive 
that it vails to the efficacy of grace, in preventing you 
from putting forth your hands unto iniquity, in any 
sinful compliance with the enemies of our peace. The 
times wherein we live have found the latter more rare 
than the former. What God wrought in you, hath the 
pre-eminence of what he wrought for you ; as much as 
to be given up to the sword is a lesser evil, than to be 
given up to a treacherous spirit. 

What God hath done for you all, all men know ; 
what I desire you should do for God, I know no reason 
why I should make alike public ; the general and 
particular civilities I have received from all, and every 
one of you, advantaging me to make it out in another 
way. I shall add nothing then to what you will meet 
withal in the following discourse, but only my desire, 
that you would seriously ponder the second observa- 
tion, with the deductions from thence. For the rest, 
I no way fear, but that that God who hath so appeared 
with you, and for you, will so indulge to your spirits 
the presence and guidance of his grace, in these shak- 
ing times, that if any speak evil of you as of evil doers, 
they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good 
conversation in Christ, and glorify God in the day of 

For these following: sermons, one of them was 


preached at your desire, and is now published upon 
your request. The first part of the labour I willingly 
and cheerfully underwent ; the latter merely in obedi- 
ence to your commands, being acted in it more by your 
judgments than mine own; you were persuaded (mean 
as it was) it might be for the glory of God to have it 
made public ; whereupon my answer was, and is, That 
for that, not only it, but myself also, should by his as- 
sistance be ready for the press. The failings and in- 
firmities attending the preaching and publishing of it 
(which the Lord knows to be very many) are mine ; the 
inconveniences of publishing such a tractate from so 
weak a hand, whereof the world is full, must be yours ; 
the fruit and benefit both of the one aiid other, is his ; 
for whose pardon of infirmities, and removal of incon- 
veniences, shall be, as for you, and all the church of 
God, the prayer of. 

Your most humble and obliged servant, 

In the work of the Lord, 

John Owen. 

Coggeshal), Oct. 5, 1648. 



A prayer of Habakkuk the ■prophet upon Sigionoth. O Lord, I have heard 
thy speech atid tvas afraid: O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the 
years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy. 
God came from Teman, and the holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His 
glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. And his 
brightness was as the light ; he had horns coming out of his hand, and 
there was the hiding of his power. Before him went the pestilence, and 
burning coals went forth at his feet. He stood and measured the earth : 
he beheld and drove asunder the nations, and the everlasting mountains 
were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow : his ivays are everlasting. I 
satv the tents of Cushan in affliction: and the curtairis of the land of 
Midian did tremble. Was the Lord displeased against the rivers ? was 
thine anger against the rivers? was thy wrath against the sea, that thou 
didst ride upon thine horses, and thy chariots of salvation ? Thy bow was 
made quite naked, according to the oaths of the tribes, even thy word. Selah. 
Thou didst cleave the earth with rivers. — Hab. iii. I — 9. 

Of this chapter there are four parts. 

First, The title and preface of it, ver. 1. 

Secondly, The prophet's main request in it, ver. 2. 

Thirdly, Arguments to sustain his faith in that request, 
from ver. 3 — 17. 

Fourthly, A resignation of himself, and the w^hole issue 
of his desires unto God, from ver. 17, to the end. 

We shall treat of them in order. 

The prophet" having had visions from God, and pre-dis- 
coveries of many approaching judgments, in the first and 
second chapters, in this, by faithful prayer, sets himself to 
obtain a sure footing, and quiet abode in those nation-de- 
stroying storms. 

Ver. 1. A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet, that is the 
title of it. And an excellent prayer it is, full of arguments 
to strengthen faith, acknowledgment of God's sovereignty, 
power, and righteous judgments, with resolutions to a con- 
tented, joyful, rolling him upon him under all dispensations. 

Observation I. Prayer is the believer's constant, sure re- 
treat in an evil time, in a time of trouble. 

It is the righteous man's wings to the 'name of the Lord' 
which is his 'strong tower;' Prov. xviii. 10. A Christian'' 
soldier's sure reserve in the day of battle : if all other forces 

* The time of this prophecy is conceived to be about the end of Josiah's reign, 
not long before the first Chaldean invasion. 

^ Preces et lacrjm?e sunt arma Ecciesiae. Tertul. 


be overthrown, here he will abide by it, no power under hea- 
ven can prevail upon him to give one step backward. Hence 
that title of Psal. cii. * A prayer of the aflflicted, when he is 
overwhelmed.' 'Tis the overwhelmed man's refuge and em- 
ployment : when * he swooneth with anguish' (as in the ori- 
ginal) this fetches him to life again. So also, Psal. Ixi. 2, 
3. In our greatest distresses let neither unbelief, nor self- 
contrivances, justle us out of this way to the rock of our 

II. Observation. Prophets discoveries of fearful judg- 
ments must be attended with fervent prayers. 

That messenger hath done but half his business who de- 
livers his errand, but returns not an answer. He that brings 
God's message of threats unto his people, must return his 
people's message of entreaties unto him. Some think they 
have fairly discharged their duty, when they have revealed 
the will of God to man, without labouring to reveal the con- 
dition and desires of men unto God. He that is more fre- 
quent in the pulpit to his people, than he is in his closet for 
his people, is but a sorry watchman. Moses did not so; 
Exod. xxxii. 31. neither did Samuel so; 1 Sam. xii. 23. nei- 
ther was it the guise of Jeremiah in his days ; chap, xiv 17. 
If the beginning of the prophecy be (as it is) ' the burden of 
Habakkuk,'the close will be (as it is) 'the prayer of Habak- 
kuk.' Where there is a burden upon the peoplfe, there must 
be a prayer for the people. Woe tothemwhohave denounced 
desolations, and not poured out supplications: such men 
delight in the evil, which the prophet puts far from him; 
Jer. xvii. 16. * I have not desired the woful day [O Lord] 
thou knowest.' 

Now this prayer is * upon Sigionoth.' That is, 1. It is 
turned to a song : 2. Such a song. 

1. That it is a song, penned in metre, and how done so : 
( 1 .) To take the deeper impression ; (2.) To be the better retain- 
ed inmemory; (3.) To work more upon the affections; (4.) To 
receive the ingredients of poetical loftiness for adorning the 
majesty of God with ; (5.) The use of songs in the old church; 
(6.) And for the present; (7.) Their times and seasons, as 
among the people of God, so all nations of old : of all, or any 
of these, being besides my present purpose, 1 shall not treat. 

2. That it is 'upon Sigionoth,' a little may be spoken. 



The word is once in another place (and no more) used in the 
title of a song, and that is Psal. vii. * Shiggaion of David:' 
and it is variously rendered. It seems to be taken from the 
word nXiV 'erravit/ to err, or wander variously; Prov. v. 20. 
The word is used for delight, to stray with delight. ' In her 
love nXkiTi thou shalt err with delight,' we have translated it, 
*be ravished,' noting affections out of order. The word then 
holds out a delightful wandering and variety : and this lite- 
rally, because those two songs, Psal. vii. and Hab. iii. are 
not tied to any one certain kind of metre, but have various 
verses for the more delight: which, though it be not proper 
to them alone, yet in them the Holy Ghost would have it 
especially noted. 

But now surely the kernel of this shell is sweeter than 
so. Is not this written also for their instruction who have 
no skill in Hebrew songs ? The true reason of their metre is 
lost to the most learned. Are not then God's variable dis- 
pensations towards his held out under these variable tunes, 
not all fitted to one string? not all alike pleasant and easy? 
Are not the several tunes of mercy and judgment in these 
songs ? Is not here affliction and deliverance, desertion and 
recovery, darkness and light in this variously ? Doubtless 
it is so. 

III. Observation. God often calls his people unto songs 
upon Sigionoth. 

*= He keeps them under various dispensations, that so 
drawing out all their affections, their hearts may make 
the sweeter melody unto him. They shall not have all 
honey, nor all gall: all judgment, lest they be broken, nor 
all mercy, lest they be proud. 'Thou answeredst them, O 
Lord our God, thou wast a God that forgavest them, though 
thou tookest vengeance of their inventions ;' Psal. xcix. 8. 
Here is a song upon Sigionoth : they are heard in their 
prayers, and forgiven ; there is the sweetest of mercies : ven- 
geance is taken of their inventions, there's a tune of judg- 
ment. ' By terrible things in righteousness wilt thou an- 
swer us, O God of our salvation ; Psal. Ixv. 5. is a song of 
the same tune. To be answered in righteousness, what 
sweeter mercy in the world? Nothing more refreshes the 
panting soul, than an answer of its desires : but to have this 

"= Gravlter in euni decernitur, cui etiam ipsaconnectio denegatur. Prosp.Sent, 


answer by terrible things, that string strikes a humbling, a 
mournful note. Israel hears of deliverance by Moses,"* and 
at the same time have their bondage doubled by Pharaoh : 
there's a song upon Sigionoth. Is it not so in our days? pre- 
cious mercies, and dreadful judgments jointly poured out 
upon the land. We are clothed by our Father, like Joseph 
by his, in a party-coloured coat; Gen. xxxvii. 3. here a 
piece of unexpected deliverance, and there a piece of de- 
served correction; at the same hour we may rejoice at the 
conquest of our enemies, and mourn at the close of our har- 
vest. Victories for his own name's sake, and showers for 
our sins' sake ; both from the same hand, at the same time. 
The cry of every soul, is like the cry of the multitude of old 
and young at the laying the foundation of the second tem- 
ple : many shouted aloud for joy, and many wept with a loud 
voice, so that it was a mixed noise, and the several noises 
could not be distinguished ; Ezra iii. 12, 13. A mixed cry 
is in our spirits, and we know not which is loudest in the 
day of our visitation. I could instance in sundry parti- 
culars, but that every one's observation will save me that 
easy labour. And this the Lord doth, 

1. To fill' all our sails towards himself at once; to exer- 
cise all our affections. I have heard, that a full wind be- 
hind the ship drives her not so fast forward as a side wind, 
that seems almost so much against her, as with her : and the 
reason they say is, because a full wind fills but some of her 
sails, which keep it from the rest that they are empty; when 
a side wind fills all her sails, and sets her speedily forward. 
Which way ever we go in this world, our affections are our 
sails ; and according as they are spread and filled, so we 
pass on, swifter and slower, whether we are steering. Now 
if the Lord should give us a full wind, and continual gale 
of mercies, it would fill but some of our sails, some of our 
affections, joy, delight, and the like: but when he comes 
with a side wind, a dispensation that seems almost as much 
against us as for us, then he fills all our sails, takes up all 
our affections, making his works wide and broad enough 
to entertain them every one ; then are we carried freely and 

'' Duplicantur lateres quando venit Moses. 
• Namque bonos non blanda inflant, non aspera frangunt, 
Sed fidei invict* gaudia verajuvant. Prosy. Epig. in sent. August. 



fully, towards the haven where we would be. ^ A song upon 
Sigionoth leaves not one string of our affections untuned. 
It is a song that reacheth every line of our hearts, to be 
framed by the grace and Spirit of God. Therein hope, fear, 
reverence, with humility and repentance have a share ; as 
well as joy, delight, and love, with thankfulness. Inter- 
changeable dispensations take up all our affections, with all 
our graces ; for they are gracious affections, exercised and 
seasoned with grace, of which we speak. The stirring of 
natural affections, as merely such, is but the moving of a 
dunghill to draw out a stinking steam, a thing the Lord nei- 
ther aimeth at, nor delighteth in: their joys are his provo- 
cation, and * he laugheth in the day of their calamity, when 
their fear cometh ;' Prov. i. 26, 27. 

2. To keep them in continual^ dependance upon himself. 
He hath promised his own daily bread, not goods laid up 
for many years. Many children have been undone by their 
parents giving them too large a stock to trade for themselves ; 
it has made them spendthrifts, careless, and wanton. Should 
the Lord intrust his people with a continued stock of mercy, 
perhaps they would be * full and deny him, and say. Who is 
the Lord V Prov. xxx. 9. Jeshurun did so ; Deut. xxxii. 14, 15 . 
Ephraim'was filled according to her pasture, and forgot 
the Lord ;' Hos. xiii. 6. Neither on the other side will he 
be always chiding. * His anger shall not burn for ever' very 
sore. It is our infirmity at the least, if we say, * God hath 
forgotten to be gracious, and shut up his tender mercies in 
displeasure;' Psal. Ixxvii. 9. But laying one thing against 
another, he keeps the heart of his in an even balance, in a 
continual dependance upon himself, that they may neither 
be wanton through mercy, nor discouraged by too much op- 
pression. Our tender father is therefore neither always feed- 
ing, nor always correcting. ' And it shall come to pass in 
that day, that the light shall not be clear nor dark : but it 
shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord, not day 
nor night; but it shall come to pass that at evening time it 
shall be light,' saith the prophet Zechariah, chap. xiv. 6, 7. 
seeking out God's dispensations towards his, ending in 
joy, and light in ihe evening. 

f Psal. cxix. 67. Hos. v. 15. Heb. xii. 10, 11. 1 Pet. i. 6. 
« In cselo non in terra niercedem promisit reddendam. Quid alibi poscis, quod 
ftljbi dabitnr? Ambros. Offic. lib. 1. cap. 16. 


Use. Labour to have your hearts right tuned for songs 
on Sigionoth, sweetly to answer all God's dispensations in 
their choice variety. That instrument will make no music 
that hath but some strings in tune. If when God strikes 
with mercy upon the string of joy and gladness, we answer 
pleasantly; but when he touches upon that of'^ sorrow and 
humiliation, we suit it not; we are broken instruments, that 
make no melody unto God. We must know how to receive 
good and evil at his hand. * He hath made every thing beau- 
tiful in its time;' Eccles. iii. 11. every thing in that whole 
variety which his wisdom bath produced. A well-tuned 
heart must have all its strings, all its affections, ready to an- 
swer every touch of God's finger, to improve judgments and 
mercies both at the same time. Sweet harmony ariseth out 
of some discords. When a soul is in a frame to rejoice with 
thankful obedience for mercy received, and to be humbled 
with soul-searching, amending repentance for judgments 
inflicted at the same time, then it sings a song on Sigio- 
noth, then it is fit for the days wherein we live. Indeed 
both mercies and judgments aim at the same end, and should 
be received with the same equal temper of mind. A flint is 
broken between a hammer and a pillow : an offender is hum- 
bled between a prison and a pardon : a hard heart may be 
mollified, and a proud spirit humbled between those two. 
In such a season the several rivulets of our affections flow 
naturally in the same stream. When hath a gracious soul 
the soundest joys, but when it hath the deepest sorrows? 
* Habent et gaudia vulnus.' When hath it the humblest 
meltings, but when it hath the most ravishing joys? Our 
afflictions which are naturally at the widest distance, may all 
swim in the same spiritual channel. Rivulets rising from 
several heads are carried in one stream to the ocean. As a 
mixture of several colours make a beautiful complexion for 
the body; so a mixture of divers affections under God's va- 
rious dispensations, gives a comely frame unto the soul. 
Labour then to answer every call, every speaking providence 
of God, in its right kind, according to the intention thereof: 
and the Lord reveal his mind unto us that so we may do. 

'' Cum vexamur ac preraimur turn maxirae gralias agiraus indulgentissirao patri, 
quod corruptelatn nostram non patitur longius procedere : hinc intelligimus noii esse 
Deo curse. Lactan. 


Having passed the title, let us look a little on those parts 
of the prayer itself that follow. 

Ver. 2. The beginning of it in ver. 2. hath two parts. 

1. The frame of the prophet's spirit in his address to God; 
* O Jehovah, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid.' 

2. His request in this his condition ; * O Lord, revive thy 
work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years 
make known, in wrath remember mercy.' 

1. In the first you have, 

(1.) Particularly his frame; he was afraid, or trembled; 
which he wonderfully sets out, ver. 16. * When I heard, my 
belly trembled, my lips quivered at the voice; rottenness 
entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself.' 

(2.) The cause of this fear and trembling ; he ' heard 
the speech of God.' If you will ask what speech or report 
this was that made the prophet himself so exceedingly quake 
and tremble ; I answer, it is particularly that which you 
have, chap. i. 5 — 12. containing a dreadful denunciation of 
the judgments of God against the people of Israel, to be 
executed by the proud, cruel, insulting Chaldeans. This 
voice, this report of God, makes the prophet tremble. 

IV. Observation, An appearance of God in anger and 
threats against a people, should make his choicest secret 
ones among them to fear, to quake, and tremble. 

Trembling of man's heart must answer the shaking of 
God's hand. At the delivery of the law with all its attend- 
ing threats, so terrible was the sight, that Moses himself 
(though a mediator then) did exceedingly fear and quake ; 
Heb. xii. 21. God will be acknowledged in all his goings. 
If men will not bow before him, he will break them. They 
who fear not his threatenings, shall feel his inflictings ; if his 
word be esteemed light, his hand will be found heavy. For, 

In point of deserving who can say,' I have purged my 
heart, I am clean from sin? None ought to be fearless, un- 
less they be senseless. God's people are so far from being 
always clear of procuring national judgments, that some- 
times,'' judgments have come upon nations for the sins of 
some of God's people amongst them ; as the plague in the 
days of David. 

'Job xiv. 4. XV. 15, 16. Prov. xvi. 2. xx. 19. 
k 2 Sam. xxiv. 16. 2 Chron. xxxii. iJ5. 


And in point of suffering, who knows but they may have 
a deep share? The prophet's book is written within, as well 
as without, with 'lamentation, mourning, and woe;' Ezek. 
ii. 10. If ' the lion roars, who can but fear?' Amos iii. 8. 
Fear to the rooting out of security, not the shaking of faith; 
fear to the pulling down of carnal presidence, not Christian 
confidence ; fear to draw out our souls in prayer, not to 
swallow them up in despair ; fear to break the arm of flesh, 
but not to weaken the staff of the promise ; fear that we may 
draw nigh to God with reverence, not to run from him with 
diffidence; in a word, to overthrow faithless presumption, 
and to increase gracious submission. 

2. Here is the prophet's request. And in this there are 
these two things : 

(1.) The thing he desireth ; ' The reviving God's work, 
the remembering mercy.' 

(2.) The season he desireth it in; 'In the midst of the 

(1.) For the first, that which in the beginning of the verse 
he calls God's work, in the close of it he terraeth mercy; 
and the reviving his work, is interpreted to be a remember- 
ing mercy. These two expressions then are parallel. The 
reviving of God's work towards his people is a re-acting of 
mercy, a bringing forth the fruits thereof, and that in the 
midst of the execution of wrath ; as a man in the midvSt of 
another, remembering a business of. more importance, in- 
stantly turneth away, and applieth himself thereunto. 

V. Observation. Acts of mercy are God's proper work 
towards his people, which he will certainly awake, and keep 
alive in the saddest times. 

Mercy you see is his work, his proper work, as he calleth 
'judgment his strange act;' Isa. xxviii. 21. ' He retaineth 
not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy ;' 
Micah vii. 18. This is his proper work : though it seem to 
sleep, he will awake it; though it seem to die, he will revive 
it. ' Can a woman forget her child, that she should not 
have compassion on the son of her womb .' yea, they may 
forget, yet will I not forget thee : behold, I have graven 

'Omnes seculi plagSB, nobis in admonilioiieni, vobis in castigaUoncin a Deo ve- 
niunt. Tertul. Apol. cap. 42. 


thee upon the palms of my hands, thy walls are continually 
before me;' Isa. xlix. \6, 17. 

(2.) For the season of this work, he prays that it may be 
accomplished ' in the midst of the years ;' upon which you 
may see what weight he lays by his repetition of it in the 
same verse. It is something doubtful what may be the 
peculiar sense of these words; whether ' the midst of the 
years''" do not denote the whole time of the people's bondage 
under the Chaldeans (whence Junius renders the words, 
' interea temporis,' noting this manner of expression, ' the 
midst of the years,' for a Hebraism), during which space 
he intercedes for mercy for them; or whether 'the midst of 
the years' do not denote some certain point of time, as the 
season of their return from captivity, about the midst of the 
years between their first king, and the coming of the Messiah, 
putting a period to their church and state. Whether of 
these is more probable, is not needful to insist upon ; this 
is certain, that a certain time is pointed at ; which will 
yield us, 

VI. Observation. The church's mercies and deliverance 
have their appointed season. 

In the midst of the years it shall be accomplished. As 
there is a decree bringing forth the wicked's destruction, 
Zeph. ii. 2. so there is a decree goes forth in its appointed 
season for the church's deliverance, which cannot be gain- 
said ; Dan. ix. 23. Every ' vision is for its appointed' season 
and time, Hab. ii. 3. then ' it will surely come, it will not 
tarry.' There is a determination upon the weeks and days 
of the church's sufferings and expectations; Dan. ix. 24. 
'Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people.' As there 
are three transoressions, and four of rebels, for which God 
'will not turn away their punishment,' Amos i. 3. so three 
aflSictions, and four of the people of God, after which he 
will not shut out their supplications. Hence that confi- 
dence of the prophet, Psal. cii. 13, 14. ' Thou shalt arise, 
and have mercy upon Sion ; for' (saith he) ' the time to fa- 
vour her, yea, the set time is come.' There is a time, yea, 
a set time for favour to be shewed unto Sion : as a time to 
break down, so a time to build up, an acceptable time, u 

"^ 0^:tv 3lp3 in the iaward of years. 


day of salvation. ' It came to pass, at the end of four hun- 
dred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, 
that all the hosts of the Lord went out of Egypt;' Exod. 
xii. 41. As a woman with child goes not beyond her ap- 
pointed months, but is pained to be delivered; no more can 
the fruitful decree cease from bringing forth the church's 
deliverance in the season thereof. 

1. Because there is an appointed period of the church's 
humiliation, and bearing of her iniquities. Israel shall 
bear their iniquities in the wilderness; but this is exactly 
limited to the space of forty years. When their iniquity is 
pardoned, their warfare is accomplished ; Isa. xl. 2. They 
say some men will give poison that shall work insensibly, 
and kill at seven years end. The great physician of his 
church knows how to give his sin-sick people potions, that 
shall work by degrees, and at such an appointed season take 
away all their iniquity : then they can no longer be detained 
in trouble. God will not continue his course of physic 
unto them one day beyond health recovered. * This is all 
the fruit of their afflictions, to take away their iniquities ;' 
Isa. xxvii. 9. and when that is done, who shall keep bound 
what God will loose? When sin is taken away from within, 
trouble must depart from without. 

2. Because the church's sorrows are commensurate unto, 
and do contemporise with, the joys and prosperity of God's 
enemies and hers. Now wicked men's prosperity hath as- 
sured bounds : ' the wickedness of the wicked shall come to 
an end.' There is a time when the ' iniquity of the Amorites 
comes to the full;' Gen. xv. 16. it comes up to the brim in 
the appointed day of slaughter. When their wickedness hath 
filled the ephah, a talent of lead is laid upon the mouth there- 
of, and it is carried away on wings, Zech. v. 6 — 8. swiftly, 
certainly, irrecoverably. If then the church's troubles con- 
temporise, rise and fall with their prosperity, and her de- 
liverance with their destruction ; if the fall of Babylon be 
the rise of Sion; if they be the buckets which must go down 
when the church conies up ; if they be the rod of the church's 
chastisement, their ruin being set and appointed ; so also 
must be the church's mercies. 

Use. In every distress learn to wait with patience for 
this appointed time. ' He that beheveth will not make 


haste.' * Though it tarry, wait for it, it will surely come.' He 
that is infinitely good hath appointed the time, and there- 
fore it is best. He that is infinitely wise hath determined 
the season, and therefore it is most suitable. He who is in- 
finitely powerful hath set it down, and therefore it shall be 
accomplished. Wait for it believing, wait for it praying, 
wait for it contending. Waiting is not a lazy hope, a slug- 
gish expectation. When Daniel knew the time was come, 
* he prayed the more earnestly ;' Dan. ix. 2, 3. You will 
say, perhaps, what need he pray for it, when he knew the 
time was accomplished ? I answer, the more need. Prayer 
helps the promise to bring forth. Because a woman's time 
is come, therefore shall she have no midwife ? nay, therefore 
give her one. He that appointed their return, appointed 
that it should be a fruit of prayer. Wait" contending also 
in all ways wherein you shall be called out; and be not dis- 
couraged that you know not the direct season of deliverance. 
' In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold 
not thy hand ; for thou knowest not which shall prosper, 
this or that, whether they shall be both alike good ;' Eccles. 
xi. 6. 

But proceed we with the prophet's prayer. 

From ver. 3. to 17. he layeth down several arguments 
taken from the majesty, power, providence, and former 
works of God, for the supporting of his faith, to the obtaining 
of those good things and works of mercy which he was now^ 
praying for. We shall look on them as they lie in our way. 

Ver. 3. ' God came from Teman, the Holy One from mount 
Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, the earth was 
full of his praise.' 

" Teman was a city of the Edomites, whose land the 
people of Israel compassed in the wilderness, when they 
were stung with fiery serpents and healed with looking on 
a brazen serpent set up to be a type of Christ. Teman is 
put up for the whole land of Edom; and the prophet makes 
mention of it for the great deliverance and mercy granted 
there to the people, when they were almost consumed ; that's 
God's coming from Teman. See Num. xxi. 5 — 9. When 

^ Bonum agonem subituri estis, in quo agonothetes Deus vivus est : Cliristarclio>. 
Spiritiis Sanctus, corona asternitatis brabium, epithetes Jesus Christus. Tertul. ad 
Mar. o Gen. xxxvi. 15. Jer. xlix. 7. Obad. 9. 


they were destroyed by fiery serpents, he heals them by a 
type of Christ, giving them corporeal, and raising them to 
a faith of spiritual salvation. 

P Paran, the next place mentioned, was a mountain in the 
land of Ishmael, near which Moses repeated the law ; and 
from thence God carried the people immediately to Canaan; 
another eminent act of mercy. 

Unto these he addeth the word Selah ; as it is a song, 
a note of elevation in singing ; as it respects the matter, not 
the form, a note of admiration and special observation. Se- 
lah, consider them well, for they were great works indeed. 
Special mercies must have special observation. 

Now by reason of these actions the prophet affirms that 
the glory of God covered the heavens, and the earth was full 
of his praise. Lofty expressions of the advancement of God's 
glory, and the fulness of his praise amongst his people of 
the earth, which attended that merciful deliverance and grra- 
cious assistance. Nothing is higher or greater than that 
which covers heaven, and fills earth. God's"! glory is ex- 
ceedingly exalted, and his praise increased everywhere, by 
acts of favour and kindness to his people. 

That which I shall choose from amongst many others that 
present themselves, a little to insist upon, is that 

VII. Observation. Former mercies, with their times and 
places, are to be had in thankful remembrance unto them 
who wait for future blessings. 

Faith is to this end separated by them. ' Awake, awake, 
put on strength, O arm of the Lord, awake as in the an- 
cient days, as in the generations of old : art not thou it that 
hath cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon? Art not thou it 
that dried the sea, the waters of the great deep, that hath 
made the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass 
over V Isa. li. 9, 10. The breaking of Rahab, that is, Egypt, 
so called here, and Psal. Ixxxvii. 4. Ixxxix. 11. for her great 
strength, which the word signifies ; and the wounding of the 
dragon, that great and crooked afflictor, Pharaoh, is remem- 
bered and uro-ed, for a motive to a new needed deliverance. 
So Psal. Ixxiv. 13, 14. ' Thou breakest the heads of Leviathan 

p Deut. i. 
1 Gloria est frequens de aliquo fama cum laudc. Cic. lib. 2. de inv. Conscntiens laus 
bonorutn, incorrupta vox bene judicantium de excellente virtule. Idem. Tusc. lib. 3. 


in pieces, and gavest him to be meat to the people in the 
wilderness.' Leviathan, the same dragon, oppressing, perse- 
cuting Pharaoh, thou breakest his heads, his counsels, armies, 
power, and gavest him for meat, that the people for forty 
years together might be fed, sustained, and nourished with 
that wonderful mercy. * Out of the eater came forth meat, 
out of the strong came forth sweetness.' 

In this reciprocation God walketh with his people. Of 
free grace he bestoweth mercies and blessings on them ; by 
srace works the returns of remembrance and thankfulness 
unto himself for them ; then showers that down again in new 
mercies. The countries which send up no vapours, receive 
down no showers. Remembrance, with thankfulness of 
former mercies, is the matter, as it were, which by God's 
goodness is condensed into following blessings. For 

1. Mercies have their proper end, when thankfully re- 
membered. What more powerful motive to the obtaining 
of new, than to hold out that the old were not abused? We 
are encouraged to cast seed again into that ground, whose 
last crop witnesseth that it was not altogether barren. That 
sad spot of good Hezekiah, that he rendered not again ac- 
cording to the benefit done unto him, is set down as the 
opening a door of wrath against himself, Judah, and Jerusa- 
lem, 2 Chron. xxxii. 25. On the other side, suitable returns 
are a door of hope for farther mercies. 

2. The remembrance of them strengthens faith, and keeps 
our hands from hanging down in the time of waiting for 
blessings. When faith is supported, the promise is engaged, 
and a mercy at any time more than half obtained. ' Faith 
is the substance of things hoped for;' Heb. xi. 1. ' God,' 
saith the apostle, ' hath delivered us from so great a death, 
and doth deliver,' Now what conclusion makes he of this 
experience ? ' in whom we trust, that he will yet deliver us ;' 
2Cor. i. 10. It was a particular mercy with its circumstances, 
as you may see ver. 9. which he made the bottom of his de- 
pendance. In the favours of men we cannot do so; they 
may be weary of helping, or be drawn dry, and grow helpless. 
Ponds maybe exhausted, but the ocean never. The infinite 
fountains of the Deity cannot be sunk one hair's breadth by 
everlasting flowing blessings. Now circumstances of ac- 
tions, time, place, and the like, ofttimes take deep impres- 


sions ; mercies should be remembered with them. So doth 
the apostle again, 2 Tim. iv. 17, 18. ' He did deliver me from 
the mouth of the lion :' Nero, that lion-like tyrant. And 
what then? 'he will deliver me from every evil work.' David 
esteemed it very good logic, to argue from the victory God 
gave him over the lion and the bear, to a confidence of vic- 
tory over Goliah, 1 Sam. xvii. 37. 

Use. The use of this we are led unto, Isa. xliii. 16 — 18. 

* Thus saith the Lord, which maketh a way in the sea, and a 
path in the mighty waters ; which bringeth forth the chariot 
and the horse, the army and the power; they shall lie down 
together, they shall not rise: they are extinct, they are 
quenched as tow. Remember ye not the former things, nor 
consider the things of old.' Let former mercies be an 
anchor of hope in time of present distresses. Where is the 
God of Marstone Moor, and the God of Naseby? is an ac- 
ceptable expostulation in a gloomy day. O what a catalogue 
of mercies hath this nation to plead by in a time of trouble? 
God came from Naseby, and the Holy One from the West. 
Selah. 'His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was 
full of his praise.' He went forth in the North, and in the 
East he did not withhold his hand. I hope the poor town 
wherein"^ I live, is more enriched with a store mercy of a few 
months, than with a full trade of many years. ' The snares 
of death compassed us, and the floods of ungodly men made 
us afraid;' Psal. xviii. 4. 'but the Lord thundered from 
heaven, the highest gave his voice, hailstones and coals of 
fire: yea, he sent out his arrows and scattered them, and he 
shot out lightning and discomfited them: he sent from 
above, he took us. he drew us out of many waters, he deli- 
vered us from our strong enemy, and from them which hated 
us, for they were too strong for us;' ver. 13, 14. 16, 17. How 
may we say with the same psalmist in any other distress, 

* O my God, my soul is cast down within me, therefore will 

1 remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Her- 
monites, from the hill Mizar ;' Psal. xlii. 6. ' Where is the 
God of Elijah, who divides anew the waters of Jordan?* 

2 Kings ii. 14. 

■■ No place in the county so threatened ; no place in the county so preserved ; 
small undertakings there blessed ; great opposition blasted. Non nobis, Domine, 
non nobis. 


The following verses set forth the glory and power of 
God, in the accomplishment of that great work of bringing 
his people into the promised land, with those mighty things 
he performed in the wilderness. 

Ver. 4. If I mistake not, sets out his glorious appear- 
ance on mount Sinai ; of which the prophet affirms two 
things : 

1 . That ' his brio-htness was as the light.' 

2. That * he had horns coming out of his hand, and there 
was the hiding of his power.' 

1. For the first. Is it not that brightness which appeared, 
when the mountain burnt with fire to the midst of heaven, 
Deut. iv. 11. a glorious fire in the midst of clouds and thick 
darkness? The like description you have of God's presence, 
Psal. xviii. 11, 12. * He made darkness his secret place, and 
brightness was before him :' as the light, the sun, the foun- 
tain and cause of it, called ' light,' Job xxxi. 26. Now this 
glorious appearance holds out the kingly power and majesty 
of God in governing the world, which appeareth but unto 
few. *The Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice, clouds and 
darkness are round about him, a fire goeth before him, his 
lightnings enlightened the world ;' Psal. xcvii. 1 — 3. 

2. ' He had horns coming out of his hand.' So the words 
most properly, though by some, otherwise rendered. That 
horns in Scripture are taken for strength and power,' needs 
no proving. The mighty power of God, which he made ap- 
pear to his people, in that glorious representation of his 
majesty on mount Sinai, is by this phrase expressed. ' There 
his chariots were seen to be twenty thousands, even many 
thousands of angels, and the Lord among them in that holy 
place;' Psal. Ixviii. 19. There they perceived that 'he had 
horns in his hand ;' an almighty power to do what he 
pleased. Whence it is added; 'And there was the hiding 
of his power.' Though the appearance of it was very great 
and glorious, yet it was but small to the everlasting hidden 
depths of his omnipotency. The most glorious appearance 
of God comes infinitely short of his own eternal majesty as 
he is in himself: it is but a discovery, that there is the 
hiding of infinite perfection; or, there his power appeared 
to us, which was hidden from the rest of the world. 

• Deut. xxxiii. 17. Psal. kxv. 10. Zech. i. 18. 


VIII. Observation, When God is doing great things, he 
gives glorious manifestations of his excellencies to his secret 

The appearance on Sinai goes before his passao-e into 
Canaan. ' Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he 
revealeth his secrets unto his servants the prophets ;' Amos 
iii. 7. When he is to send Moses for the deliverance of his 
people, he appears to him in a burning, unconsumed bush, 
Exod. iii. 2. a sign manifesting the presence of his power, 
to preserve his church unconsumed in the midst of burning, 
fiery aflflictions. Unto this very end were all the visions 
that are recorded in the Scripture, all of them accommodated 
to the things which God was presently doing. And this 
he doth, 

1. That they may thereby be prepared to follow him, and 
serve him in the great works he hath for them to do. Great 
works are not to be done without great encouragements. If 
God appears not in light, who can expect he should appear 
in operation? He that is called to serve Providence in hicrh 
things, without some especial discovery of God, works in 
the dark,' and knows not whither he goes, nor what he doth. 
Such a one travels in the wilderness without a directing 
cloud. Clear shining from God must be at the bottom of 
deep labouring with God. What is the reason that so many 
in our days set their hands to the plough, and look back 
again ? begin to serve Providence in great things, but can- 
not finish? give over in the heat of the day? They never 
had any such revelation of the mind of God upon their spi- 
rits, such a discovery of his excellencies, as might serve for 
a bottom of such undertakings. Men must know that if 
God hath not appeared to them in brightness, and shewed 
them * the horns in his hand,' hid from others, though they 
think highly of themselves, they'll deny God twice and 
thrice, before the close of the work of this age. If you 
have no great discoveries, you will wax vain in great under- 
takings. New workings on old bottoms, are like new wine 
in old bottles, both are spoiled and lost. The day is the 
time of work, and that because of the light thereof: those 
who have not light may be spared to go to bed. 

2. That they may be the better enabled to give him glory, 

John xii. 35. Rev. xvi. 10. 


when they shall see the sweet harmony that is between his 
manifestations and his operations : when they can say with 
the psalmist, ' As we have heard, so have we seen ;' Psal. 
xlviii. 8. As he revealeth himself, so he worketh. When 
his power and mercy answer his appearance in the bush, it 
is a foundation to a prayer : ' The good will of him that 
dwelt in the bush, bless thee.' When a soul shall find God 
calling him forth to employments, perhaps great and high, 
yet every way suiting that light and gracious discovery 
which he hath given of himself, one thing answering an- 
other, it sets him in a frame of honouring God aright. 

This might be of rich consideration could we attend it. 

Use 1. Hence, as I said before, is apostacy from God's 
work. He appears not unto men, how can they go upon 
his employment ? Men that have no vision of God, are in 
the dark, and know not what to do. I speak not of visions 
beyond the word ; but answers of prayers, gracious appli- 
cations of providences, with wise considerations of times 
and seasons. Some drop ofif every day, some hang by the 
eyelids, and know not what to do : the light of God is not 
sent forth to lead and guide them; Psal. xliii. 3. Wonder 
not at the strange backslidings of our days, many acted 
upon by engagements, and for want of light, know not to 
the last what they were a doing. 

Use2. Hence also is the suiting of great light, and great 
work, in our days. Let new light be derided whilst men 
please, he will never serve the will of God in this generation, 
who sees not beyond the line of foregoing ages. 

Use 3. And this thirdly may put all those, whom God is 
pleased to employ in his service, upon a diligent inquiry 
into his mind. Can a servant do his master's work, without 
knowing his pleasure? We live for the most part from hand 
to mouth, and do what comes next; few are acq\iainted with 
the designs of God. 

The going forth of the Lord with his people towards 
their rest, with reference to his harbingers, is described, 
ver. 5. 

Ver. 6. ' Before him went the pestilence, and burning- 
coals went forth at his feet.' 

* Before him,' at his face. ' The pestilence:' this is often 


reckoned amongst the weapons wherewith God fighteth 
with any people to consume them ;" and as speeding an in- 
strument of destruction it is, as any the Lord ever used to- 
wards the children of men. ' At his feet went forth burning: 
coals;' a redoubling say some of the same stroke; burning 
coals for burning diseases. When one blow will not do the 
work appointed, God redoubles the stroke of his hand; 
Lev. XX vi. 22 — 25. Or burning coals, dreadful judgments, 
mortal weapons; as fire and flames are often taken in other 
descriptions of God's dealing with his enemies; Psal.xi. 6. 
xviii. 8. Prevailing fire is the most dreadful means of de- 
struction; Heb. xii. 29. Isa. xxxiii. 14. In Exod. xxiii. 28. 
God threateneth to send the hornet upon the Canaanites, 
before the children of Israel; some slinging judgments, 
either on their consciences, or bodies, or both: something 
of the same kind is doubtless here held out. He sent plagues 
and diseases among them to weaken and consume them, 
before his people's entrance. His presence was with Israel, 
and the pestilence consuming the Canaanites before their 
entrance is said to be V3D^ 'at his faces,' or appearances, 
before' him, before the entrance of the presence of his holi- 
ness. And the following judgments, that quite devoured 
them, were ' the coals going out at his feet,' which he sent 
abroad when he entered their land with his own inheritance, 
to cast out those ' malae fidei possessores.' Sicknesses, dis- 
eases, and all sorts of judgments are wholly at God's dis- 
posal. ' Affliction comelh not forth of the dust, neither doth 
trouble spring out of the ground, yet man is born to trou- 
ble, as the sons of the burning coal lift up in flying;' Job 
V. 6, 7. When God intends the total destruction of a people, 
he commonly weakens them by some previous judgments. 
Let the truth of this be found upon them that hate us, and 
the interpretation thereof be to the enemies of this nation: 
but the Lord knows, all our hearts may well tremble at what 
will be the issue of the visitations of the last year. 

IX. Observation. God never wants instruments to execute 
his anger, and ruin his enemies. 

His treasury of judgments can never be exhausted. If 
Israel be too weak for the Amorites, he will call in the pes- 
tilence and burning diseases to their assistance. What 

* Exod. iz. 15. Lev. xxvi. 25. 2 Sam. xxiv. 13. Eeek. xiv. 19. Ma«t. xxiv. 7. 
L. XV. I 


creature hath not this mighty God used against his ene- 
mies? An angel destroys Senacherib's host, Isa. xxxvii. 36. 
and smites Herod with worms; Acts xii. 23. Heaven above 
sends down a hell of fire and brimstone on Sodom and 
Gomorrah ; Gen. xix. 24. The stars in their courses fought 
against Sisera; Judg. v. 20. Devils do his will herein ; he 
sent evil angels among the Egyptians ; Psal. Ixxviii. 49. 
Fire consumes persecuting Ahaziah's companies ; 2 Kings 
i. 10, 11. The water drowns Pharaoh and his chariots; 
Exod. xiv. 28. Earth svv'allows up Korah, with his fellow 
rebels; Numb. xvi. 32. Bears rend the children that mocked 
Elisha; 2 Kings ii. 24. Lions destroy the strange nations 
^n Samaria; 2 Kings xvii. 25. Frogs, lice, boils, hail, rain, 
thunder, lightning, destroy the land of^ Egypt; Exod. 
viii. 9, 10. Locusts are his mighty army to punish Israel; 
• Joel ii. 25. Hailstones destroy the Canaanites ; Josh. x. 11. 
Stones of the wall slay the Syrians ; 1 Kings xx. 30. Pesti- 
lence and burning diseases are his ordinary messengers. In 
a word, all creatures serve his providence, and wait his com- 
mands for the execution of his righteous j udgments. Neither 
the beasts of the field, nor the stones of the earth, will be 
any longer quiet than he causeth them to hold a league with 
the sons of men. 

Use 1. To teach us all to tremble before this mighty 
God. Who can stand before him, ' qui tot imperat legioni- 
bus?' If he will strike, he wants no weapons: if he will 
fight, he wants no armies. All things serve his will. He 
saith to one^ come, and it cometh ; to another, go, and it 
goeth; to a third, do this, and it doth it. He can make use 
of ourselves, our friends, our enemies, heaven, earth, fire, 
water, any thing, for what end he pleaseth. There is no 
standing before his armies, for they are all things, and him- 
self to make them effectual. There is no flying from his 
armies, for they are every where, and himself with them. 
Who would not fear this king of nations? He that contends 
with him shall find it, * As if a man did flee from a lion, and 
a bear met him; or went into the house and leaned upon a 
wall, and a serpent bit him;' Amos v. 18, 19. No flying, no 
hiding, no contending. Worms kill Herod ; a fly choked 
Adrian, Sic. 

Use 2. To be a bottom of confidence and dependance in 


an evil day. He that hath God on his side, hath also all 
things that are seen, and that are not seen. The mountain 
is full of fiery chariots for Elisha's defence, when outwardly 
there was no appearance; 2 Kings vi. 17. All things wait 
their master's beck, to do him service, as for the destruction 
of enemies, so for the deliverance of his. What though we 
had no army in the time of war? God hath millions, many 
thousands of angels, Psal. Ixviii. 17. one whereof can de- 
stroy so many thousands of men in a night. Isa. xxxvii. 36. 
He can choose (when few others will appear with him against 
the mighty, as in our late troubles) ' foolish things to con- 
found the wise, and weak things to confound the strong.' 
Senacherib's angel is yet alive, and the destroyer of Sodom 
is not dead : and all those things are at our command, if 
their help may be for our good; * Judah ruleth with God,* 
Hos. xi. 12. hath a rule by faithful supplications over all 
those mighty hosts. Make God our friend, and we are not 
only of the best, but also the strongest side. You that 
would be on the safest side, be sure to choose that which 
God is on. Had not this mighty all commanding God been 
with us, where had we been in the late tumults ? so many 
thousands in Kent, so many in Wales, so many in the north, 
so many in Essex, shall they not speed? shall they not 
divide the prey? Is not the day of those factious independ- 
ents come? was the language of our very neighbours. The 
snare is broken, and we are delivered. 

The Lord having sent messengers before him into Canaan, 
stands himself as it were upon the borders, and takes a view 
of the land. 

Ver. 6. ' He stood and measured the earth, he beheld 
and drove asunder the nations, and the everlasting moun- 
tains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow ; his ways 
are everlasting.' 

Two things ar^ here considerable : 

1. The Lord's exact foreview of the promised land; 'He 
stooij and measured the earth, and beheld the nations.' 

2, His operation at that time : ' He drove asunder the 
nations,' &c. 

1. ' He stood and measured.' The prophet here represent- 
eth the Lord on the frontier of Canaan, as one taking view of 

I 2 


apiece of land, and exactly measuring it out, as intending it 
for his own, weighing and considering the bounds and limits 
of it, to see if it will answer the end for which he purposeth 
it. God's exact notice and knowledge of his people's pos- 
session is in those words held out. He views where the 
lines of every tribe shall run. Nothing happens or is made 
out to any of God's people, without his own careful, provi- 
dential pre-disposition. He views the circuit of the whole, 
where, and how divided, and separated from the dwellings 
of the unclean, and habitations of the uncircumcised. Fixed 
bounds, measured limits of habitation is a necessary ingre- 
dient to the making up of a national church. 

2. What he did, which is two ways expressed: (1.) In 
reference to the inhabitants ; (2.) To the land itself. 

(1.) For the inhabitants: He drove them asunder, nriM 
' and he made to leap' out of their old channels. Those 
nations knit and linked together amongst themselves, by 
leagues and civil society, he separated, disturbed, divided 
in counsels and arms (as in the case of the Gibeonites^*) 
persecuted by the sword, that they suddenly leaped out of 
their habitations, the residue wandering as no people. God's 
justly nation-disturbing purposes are the bottom of their 
deserved ruin. 

(2.) For the land: 'The everlasting mountains,' &c. those 
strong, firm, lasting mountains of Canaan, not like the 
mountains of sand in the desart, where the people were, but 
to continue firm to the world's end, as both the words here 
used, ny and o'piy 'perpetuity,' and * everlasting, do in the 
Scripture frequently signify. Now these are said to be 
scattered, and to bow, because of the destruction of the in- 
habitants of those lasting hills, being many of them high 
and mighty ones," like perpetual mountains; they being 
given in possession to the sons of Israel, even * the chief 
things of the ancient mountains, and the precious things of 
the lasting hills ;' Deut. xxxiii. 15. 

X. Observation. God takes an exact foreview of his peo- 
ple's portion and inheritance. 

Like a careful father, he knows beforehand what he in- 
tends to bestow upon them. He views it, measures it, pre- 

" Josh. ix. 3. ' Numb, xiii. 33. 


pares it to the utmost bounds. They shall not have a hair's 
breadth which he hath not allotted them, nor want the least 
jot of their designed portion. 

Use. Learn to be contented with your lot. He is wise also 
-who took a view of it, and measured it, and found it just 
commensurate to your good : had he known that a foot's 
breadth more had been needful, you would have had it. Had 
he seen it good, you had had no thorns in your lands, no af- 
flictions in your lives. O how careful, how solicitous are 
many of God's people ! how full of desires ! Oh, that it were 
with me thus or thus! Possess your souls in patience; as 
you cannot add to, no more shall any take from your pro- 
portion. He took the measure of your wants, and his own 
supplies long since. That which he hath measured out he 
will cut off for you. He knows how to suit all his children. 
XI. Observatio)!. It is dangerous encroaching for any of 
the sons of men upon God's people's portion, lot, privileges, 
or inheritance. 

God hath measured it out for them, and he will look that 
they enjoy it. Shall men remove his bounds, and landmarks,' 
and be free ? will it be safe trespassing upon the lands of the 
Almighty? will it be easy and cheap ? will he not plead his 
action with power? especially seeing he hath given them 
their portion? If he hath given Seir to Edom, what doth he 
vexing and wasting Jacob? Shall they not possess what the 
Lord their God gives them to possess? Judg. xi. 24. He 
hath cautioned all the world, kings and others in this kind : 
' Touch not mine anointed, do my prophets no harm ;' Psal. 
cv. 14, 15. Touch them not, nor any thing that is theirs : harm 
them not in any thing I bestow on them. They have nothing 
but what their Father gives them, and Christ hath bought 
for them. Will a tender father, think you, contentedly look 
on, and see a slave snatch away his children's bread? If a 
man hath engaged himself to give a jewel to a dear friend, 
will he take it patiently to have an enemy come and snatch 
it away before his face? God is engaged to his people for all 
his enjoyments, and will he quietly suffer himself to be 
robbed, and his people spoiled ? Shall others dwell quietly 
in the land, which he hath measured for his own? 

Vie 1. See whence the great destructions of people and 

' Vid. Tortul. ad Scapolnii), dp persecutione. 


nations in these latter ages iiave come. Is it not for toucn- 
ing these forbidden things ? The holy vessels of the temple 
at Jerusalem, ruined Babylon. Is not the wasting of the 
western nations at this day from hence, that they have served 
the whore to deck herself with the spoils of the spouse? 
helped to trim her with the portion of God's people, taking 
away their liberties, ordinances, privileges, lives, to lay at her 
feet? Doubtless God is pleading with all these kingdoms 
for their encroaching. They who will not let him be at 
peace with his, shall have little quiet of their own. The 
eatrle that stole a coal from the altar fired her nest. I know 
how this hath been abused to countenance the holding of 
Babylonish wedges. God will preserve to his people his 
own allowance, not Rome's supplyment. This nation hath 
yet itching fingers, and a hankering mind after the inheritance 
of God's people. Let them take heed, he hath knocked off 
their hands a hundred times, and sent them away with bloody 
fingers. O that we were wise, that we be not quite con- 
sumed ! Of you I hope better things, and such as accom- 
pany salvation, yet give me leave to cautionate you a little. 
(I.) As to privileges and liberties of this life. Their 
liberties and estates are not as other men's, but more ex- 
actly measured for their good, and sanctified to them in the 
blood of Christ. If in these things God hath called you to 
the defence and protection of his, lie will expect a real ac- 
count. You had better give away a kingdom that belongs 
to others, than the least of that which God hath made for 
his saints. Think not any thing small, which God accounts 
worthy to bestow on his. If he hath meted out liberty for 
them, and you give them slavery, you will have a sad 

(2.) In point of ordinances, and Christ-purchased privi- 
leges. Here it is dangerous encroaching indeed.^ God exactly 
measured Canaan because it was to be the seat of a national 
church. If you love your lives, if you love your souls, be 
tender in this point. Here if you meddle with that which 
belongs not unto you, were you kings, all your glory would 
belaid in the dust; 2 Chron. xxvi. 18. Woe to them, who 

» Nero primus Chrislianos ferociit, tali dedicatore daninationis nostras etiam glo- 
riamur, qui enim scit ilium, intelligere potest, non nisi aliqaod bonum grande a Ne- 
rone damnatum. Tertul. Apol. 


cut short the saints of God in the least jot, of what he hath 
allotted to thera in spirituals. Is it for any of you, O y€ 
sons of men, to measure out God's children's portion, lono- 
since bequeathed them by Christ ? Let thera alone with what 
is given them. If God call Israel out of Egypt to serve him, 
shall Pharaoh assign who, and how they shall go, first meri 
only, then all without their cattle? ' Nay,' says Moses, 'we 
will go as God calls ;' Exod. x. 26. 

Was not one main end of the late tumults to rob God's 
people of their privileges,to bring thera again under the yoke 
of superstition ? What God brake in war, do not think he will 
prosper in peace. If you desire to thrive, do not the same, 
nor any thing like it. Take they any thing of yours, that 
belongs to Caesar, the civil magistrate, restrain them, keep 
thera within bounds. But if they take only what Christ 
hath given them, O touch them not, harm them not. The 
heap is provided for them, let them take for themselves. 
Think it not strange that every one should gather his own 
manna. The Lord forbid that I should oversee the magis- 
trates of England taking away liberties, privileges, ordi- 
nances, or ways of worship, from them to whom the Al- 
mighty hath made a free grant of them. 

(3.) If in taking what God hath measured out for them, 
they should not all comply with you, in the manner and 
measure of what they take, do them no harm, impoverisli 
not their families, banish them not, slay thera not. Alas !' 
your judgments, were you kings and emperors, is not a rule 
to them. They must be tried by their own faith. Are their 
souls think you more precious to you than themselves? You 
say they take amiss ; they say no ; and appeal to the word." 
Should you now smite them? Speak blood, is that the way 
of Jesus Christ? Should it be as you affirm, you would be 
puzzled for your warrant. To run when you are not sent, 
surely in this case is not safe. But what if it should prove' 
in the close, that they have followed divine directions? Do 
you not then fight against God, wound Jesus Christ, and 
prosecute him as an evil doer? I know the usual colours, 
the common pleas, that are used for the instigation of autho- 

» Nova ct inaudita est ista praedicatio, quae verberibus cxigit fidem. Greg. 
Epist. 32. 

•> Magistruni neniinem habemus nisi solum Deum; liic ante fe esl, nec nbscondi 
pMOst, sed cui nihil fAcere po^*i». 


rity to the contrary. They are the very same, and no other, 
that have slain ths saints of God this twelve hundred years. 
Arguments for persecution are dyed in the blood of Chris- 
tians for a long season; ever since the dragon gave his power 
to the false prophet, they have all died as heretics and schis- 
matics. Suppose you saw in one view all the blood of the 
witnesses of Christ, which hath been let out of their veins, 
by vain pretences ; that you heard in one noise the doleful 
cry of all pastorless churches, dying martyrs, harbourless 
children of parents inheriting the promise, wilderness-wan- 
dering saints, dungeoned believers, wrested out by pretended 
zeal to peace and truth ; and perhaps it may make your spi- 
rits tender as to this point. 

Use 2. See the warrantableness of our contests for God's 
people's rights. It was Jepththa's only argument against the 
encroaching Ammonites; Judg. xi. By God's assistance 
they would possess what the Lord their God should give 
them. If a grant from heaven will not make a firm title, I 
know not what will. Being called by lawful authority, cer- 
tainly there is not a more glorious employment, than to serve 
the Lord in helping to uphold the portion he hath given his 
people. If your hearts be upright, and it is the liberties, 
the privileges of God's saints, conveyed from the Father, 
purchased by Christ, you contend for, go on and prosper, 
the Lord is with you. 

XII. Observation. The works and labours of God's people 
are transacted for them in heaven, before they once under- 
take them. 

The Israelites were now going to Canaan, God doth their 
work for them beforehand, they did but go up and take pos- 
session. Joshua and Caleb tell the people, not only that 
their enemies' defence was departed from them, but that they 
were but bread for them. Numb. xiv. 9. not corn that might 
be prepared, but bread, ground, made up, baked, ready to 
eat. Their work was done in heaven. ' Known unto God 
are all his works from the beginning of the world ;' Acts 
XV. 18. All that is done here below, is but the writing of a 
visible copy for the sons of men to read, out of the eternal 
lines of his own purpose. 

Use. Up and be doing, you that are about the work of 
the Lord. Your enemies are bread ready to be eaten, and 


yield you refreshment. Do you think if our armies had 
not walked in a trodden path, they could have made such 
journeys as they have done of late? Had not God marched 
before them, and traced out their way from Kent to Essex, 
from Wales to the north, their carcases had Ions ere this 
been cast into the field. Their work was done in heaven 
before they begun it. God was gone over the mulberry- 
trees ; 2 Sam. v. 24. The work might have been done by 
children, though he was pleased to employ such worthy 
instruments. They see I doubt not their own nothingness 
in his all-sufficiency. Go on then, but with this caution, 
search by all ways and means to find the footsteps of the 
mighty God going before you. 

The trembling condition of the oppressing nations round 
about, when God appeared so gloriously for his people, is 
held out ver. 7. 

Ver. 7. ' I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction: the cur- 
tains of the land of Midian did tremble.' 

You have here three things considerable, 

1. The mention of two nations, enemies of the church : 
Cushan and Midian. 

2. The state and condition of those nations: the tents 
of the one in affliction, and the curtains of the other in trem- 

3. The view the prophet had of this, I saw it, sailh he : 
' I saw,' &c. 

1. For the first, these two nations, Cushan and Midian, 
were the neighbouring people to the Israelites, being in the 
wilderness when God did such great things for them. 

(1.) Cushan, that is, the tent-dwelling Arabians on the 
south side towards Ethiopia, being, as the Ethiopians, of the 
posterity of Cush (thence called Cushan) the eldest son of 
scoffing Ham, Gen. x. 6. enemies and opposers of the church 
(doubtless) all the way down from their profane ancestors.' 
These now beheld the Israelites o-oino- to root out their al- 
lies and kiadred, the Araorites of Canaan, the posterity of 
Canaan, the younger brother of their progenitor Cush ; 
Gen. X. 6. 

(2.) Midian was a people inhabiting the east side of Jor- 
dan, on the borders of Moab, so called from their forefather 

«• 2 Kings six, 9. Jer. xiii, 2:?. Josepli. Antiq. Is«. xxxvii. 9. 


Midian, the son of Abraham by Ketnrah; Gen. xxv. 3, 4. 
These obtained a temporal blessing for a season, from the 
love borne to their faithful progenitor. In the days of Jacob 
they were great merchants; Gen. xxxvii. 28. At this time, 
in less than four hundred years^ they were so multiplied, 
that they had five kings of their nation ; Numb. xxxi. 1. 
Some knowledge of the true God was retained, as it should 
seem, until now amongst some of them, being received by 
tradition from their fathers. Moses's father-in-law was a 
priest of this country, Exod. ii. 15, 16. not altogether un- 
acquainted with Jehovah, Exod. xviii. and was himself, or 
his son, persuaded to take up his portion in Canaan ; Numb. 
X. 29, 30. But for the generality of the nation, being not 
heirs of the promise, they were fallen off to superstition and 
idolatry. Exceeding enemies they were to the people in the 
wilderness, vexing them with their wiles, and provoking them^ 
to abominations, that the Lord mis^ht consume them : Numb. 
XXV. 17. None so vile enemies to the church as superstitious 
apostates. These two nations then set out all manner of 
opposers : gross idolaters, as Cushan; and superstitious, 
envious apostles, as Midian. 

2. Their state and condition severally. 

(1.) 'The tents of Cushan' were in affliction : the tents, the 
Arabian Ethiopians of Cush, dwelling in tents : the habitation 
for the inhabitant, by a hypallage. They were ' in affliction, 
under vanity, under iniquity, the place of vanity,' so variously 
are the words rendered: ]ytV Dnn 'under affliction, vanity, or 
iniquity.' Sin and the punishment of it are frequently in the 
Scripture of the same name: so near is the relation, pti' is 
properly and most usually iniquity, but that it is here taken 
for the consequent of it, a consuming, perplexed, vexed con- 
dition can be no doubt. The Cushanites then were in afflic- 
tion, full of anguish, fear, dread, vexation to see what would 
be the issue of those great and mighty things, which God 
was doing in their borders for his people :'^ afflicted with 
Israel's happiness and their own fears, as is the condition off 
all wicked oppressors. 

(2.) ' The curtains of the land of Midian,' for the Midian- 
ites dwelling in curtained tabernacles, by the same figure as 

^ Tantos invidus habet pcena justa tortores, quantos invidiosus habuerit laudafore^, 
Prosp. vita contempt. 


before. They trembled : pun>, 'moved themselves, were moved/ 
that is, shaken with fear and trembling, as though they were 
ready to run frorfi the appearance of the mighty God with 
his people. The story of it you have in the book of Num- 
bers,'' as it was prophetically foretold by Moses concerning 
other nations, Exod. xv. 14 — 16. ' The people shall hear and 
be afraid, sorrow shall take hold of the inhabitants of Pa^ 
lestina. Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed, the mighty 
men of Moab/ Sec. God filled those nations with anguish, 
sorrow, and amazement, at the protection he granted his 

3. The prophet's view of all this : * I saw' it, or ' I see' it. 
Though it were eight hundred and seventy years before, 
supposing him to prophecy about the end of Josiah, or be- 
ginning of Jehoiakim, yet taking it under the consideration 
of faith he makes it present to his view. 

Faith looketh backwards and forwards, to what God hath 
done, and to what he hath promised to do. Abraham saw 
the day of Christ, so many ages after, because he found it 
by faith in the promise. Habakkuk saw the terrors of Cushan 
and Midian so many days before, because faith found it re- 
corded among the works of God to support itself in seeking 
the like nnercies to be renewed. So that this is the sum of 
this verse: O Lord, faith makes it evident, and presents it 
before my view, how in former days, when thou wast doing 
great things for thy people, thou filledst all thine and their 
enemies with fear, vexation, trembling, and astonishment. 

XIII. Observation. Faith gives a present subsistence to 
forepast works as recorded, and future mercies as promised, 
to support the soul in an evil day. 

I have made the doctrine by analogy look both ways, 
though the words of the text look but one. 

The apostle tells us, that ' faith is the substance of things 
hoped for, the evidence of things not seen;' Heb. xi. 1. 

1. 'Of things hoped for.' It looks forward to the pro- 
mises, and so gives the substance of them in present pos- 
session, confirming our minds and hearts, that they may 
have a subsistence as it were within us, though not actually 
made out unto us. 

2. It is ' the evidence of things not seen.' ft extends 

' Numb. WW \xrii. and xxxi 


itself not only to things promised, but taking for its object 
the whole word of God, it makes evident and present things 
that are past also. The faith commended v&r. 3. is of things 
long since done, even the 'making of the things that are 
seen, of the things that do not appear.' * Abraham saw my 
day.'saith our Saviour; John viii. 56. He saw it, as Habak- 
kuk saw the tents of Cushan in affliction; faith made it 
present to him : all the ages between him and his promised 
seed were as nothing to his keen-sighted faith. Hence the 
apostle puts the mercies of the promise all in one form and 
rank as already wrought, though some of them were enjoyed, 
and some of them in this life cannot be. Rom. viii. 30. 
'Whom he hath justified, them he hath glorified:' he hath 
done it for them already, because he hath made them believe 
it, and that gives it a present subsistence in their spirit. 
And for forepast works, they are still mentioned by the 
saints, as if they had been done in their days, before their 
eyes. Elisha calls up to remembrance a former miracle, 
to the effecting the like, 2 Kings ii. 14. 

There be three things in the past or future mercies which 
faith makes present to the soul, giving in the substance of 
them: (1.) Their love; (2.) Their consolation; (3.) Their 
use and benefit. 

(1.) The love of them. The love that was in former 
works, and the love that is in promised mercies, that faith 
draws out, and really makes ours. The love of every re- 
corded deliverance is given to us by faith. It looks into the 
good-will, the free grace, the loving-kindness of God, in every 
work that ever he did for his, and cries. Yet this is mine : 
this is the kernel of that blessing, and this is mine : for the 
same good-will, the same kindness he hath towards me also. 
Were the same outward actings needful, I should have them 
also. The free love of every mercy is faith's proper object. 
It makes all Joshua's great victories present to every one of 
us. The promise that had the love and grace in it, which 
run through them all, is given him, Josh. i. 5. *I will be 
with thee, I will not fail thee nor forsake thee.' Now the 
apostle tells us, that the truth and love of this promise is 
ours, Heb. iii. 5. Faith may, doth assure itself, that what 
good-will soever was in all the great mercies which Joshua re- 
ceived upon that pron^ise, is all ours. All the good-will and 


choice love of, *I will never leave thee nor forsake thee,' is 
mine and thine, if we are believers. He tliat hath this pre- 
sent, hath all Joshua's victories present. The very glory of 
the saints in heaven is ours in the love of it. We enjoy that 
love which gave them glory, and will crown us also in due 

(2.) In their comforts and refreshments. 'Thou gavest 
Leviathan to be meat to the people in the wilderness;' 
Psal. xiv. They fed their souls full of the sweetness of that 
mercy, the destruction of their oppressing tyrant : we chew 
the cud upon the blessings of former ages. Who hath not 
with joy, delight, and raised affections, gone over the old 
preservations of the church in former years? How does 
David run them over with admiration, closing every stop 
with, * His mercy endureth for ever?' Psal. cxxxvi. And 
for things to come, as yet in the promise only, whether ge- 
neral to the whole church, as the calling of the Jews, the 
coming in of the fulness of the Gentiles, the breaking out of 
light, beauty, and glory upon the churches and saints, the 
confusion of nations, not subjecting themselves to the 
standard of the gospel, &c. or in particular, farther as- 
surance of love than at present enjoyed, nearer communion 
with Father and Son, being with C'hrist, freed from misery 
and corruption, dwelling with God for ever; how does faith 
act over these, and the like things in the heart, leaving a 
savour and relish of their sweetness continually upon the 
soul ? O how sweet are the things of the world to come unto 
poor believers I Christ leads the soul by faith, not only into 
the chambers of present- enjoyed loves, but also into the 
fore prepared everlasting mansions in his Father's house. 
Thus it gives poor mortal creatures a sweet relish of eternal 
joys: brings heaven into a dungeon, glory into a prison, a 
crown into a cottage, Christ into a slaughter-house. And 
this arises, 

[1.] From the nature of faith. Though it do not make 
the thing believed to be (the act cannot create its own ob- 
ject), yet applying it, it makes it the believer's. It is the 
bond of union between the soul and the thing promised. 
He that believes in Christ, by that believing receives 
Christ, John i. 12. he becomes his. It is a grace uniting 
its subject and object, the person believing, and the thing 


believed. There needs no ascending into heaven, or de- 
scending, the word of faith makes all things nigh, even 
within us; Rom. x. 6, 7. Some glasses will present things 
at a great distance very near : faith looking through the 
glass of the gospel, makes the most remote mercies to be 
not only in a close distance, but in union. It 'is the sub- 
sistence of things hoped for/ that which they have not in 
themselves, it gives them in the full assured minds of be- 

[2.] From the intendment of all mercies. They are for 
every believer. All things are theirs, ' world, life, death, 
things present, things to come ;' 1 Cor. ii. 22. All promises 
being made to every believer, and all mercies being the fruit 
of these promises, they must all belong to every believer. 
Now if all these should be kept from us, at that distance 
wherein they fall in their accomplishment in respect of time, 
what would they avail us ? God therefore hath appointed that 
they shall have a real, though not a natural presence and 
subsistence at all times, to all believers. 

Use 1. See hence what use you make of past mercies, de- 
liverances, blessings, with promised incomings ; carry them 
about you by faith, that you may use them at need. 'Where 
is the God of Elijah ? Awake, awake, O arm of the Lord,' &c. 
*I saw the tents of Cushan.' Take store mercies along with 
you in every trial. Use them, or they will grow rusty, and 
not pass in heaven. Learn to eat Leviathan many years 
after his death. Forget not your pearls; scatter not away 
yoixr treasure ; be rich in a heap of mercies, faith will make 
you so. The love, the comfort, the benefit of all former 
and future blessings are yours, if you know how to use them. 
Oh, how have we lost our mercies in every hedge and ditch ! 
Have none of us skill to lay up the last eminent deliverance 
against a rainy day? 

Use 2. Learn how to make the poorest and most afflicted 
condition comfortable and full of joy. Store thy cottage, 
thy sick bed by faith, with all sorts of mercies : they are 
the richest furniture in the world. Gather up what is al- 
ready cast out, and fetch the rest from heaven. Bring the 
first-fruits of glory into thy bosom. See the Jews called, 
the residue of opposers subdued, the gospel exalted, Christ 
enthroned, all thy sins pardoned, corruption conquered. 


glory enjoyed. Roll thyself in those golden streams every 
day. Let faith fetch in new and old : ancient mercies for 
thy supportment, everlasting mercies for thy consolation. 
He that hath faith, hath all things. 

XIV. Observation. God's dealing with his enemies in the 
season of his church's deliverance is of especial consider- 

' I saw the tents/ &.c. So did the Israelites behold the 
Egyptians dead on the shore, Exod. xiv. 30, 31. ' The 
heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved : he uttered his 
voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us, the 
God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. Come, behold the works 
of the Lord, what desolations he hath made on the earth ;' 
Psal. xlvi. 6 — 8. The enemies' undertaking, ver. 6. God's 
protection to his people, ver. 7. a view of the adversaries' 
desolation, ver. 8. are all orderly held out. 

The Lord tells Moses that he will harden the heart of 
Pharaoh, that he might shew his power, to this very end, 
that it might be considered, and told to one another; Exod. 
X. 2, 3. How many psalms have we that are taken up in 
setting forth God's breaking, yoking, befooling, terrifying 
his adversaries at such a season? The remembrance of tlie 
slaughter of the first-born of Egypt was an ingredient in the 
ehiefest ordinance the ancient church enjoyed ; Exod, xiv. 
The reasons of this are, 

1. Much of the greatness and intenseness of God's love 
to his own is seen in his enemies' ruin. Isa. xliii. 3, 4. *I 
gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia, and Seba for thee. 
Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been ho- 
nourable, and I loved thee; therefore I will give men for 
thee, and people for thy life.' When God gives such 
mighty kingdoms for a small handful, it appears they are 
precious to him. * Whosoever shall gather together against 
thee, shall fall for thy sake ;' Isa. liv. 15. When God will 
maintain a quarrel with all the world, swear that he will 
never have peace with Amalek, until he be consumed, 
break nations, kings, and kingdoms, stretch out his hand in 
judgment round about, and all to save, preserve, prosper, 
protect, a small handful ; surely he hath endeared affections 
for them. In the days wherein we live, can we look, and 
see wise men befooled, mighty warriors vanquished, men of 


might become as children, their persons slain, and trodden 
down in the field, can we but cry, * Lord, what are we, and 
what is our house that thou shouldst do such things for us ?* 
A serious view of what God hath done in this nation of late, 
what armies he hath destroyed, what strong holds demo- 
lished, what proud haughty spirits defeated, what consulta- 
tions made vain, is enough to make us admire the riches of 
his love all our days. We may know what esteem a man 
sets upon a jewel, by the price he gives for it. Surely God 
values them for whom he hath given the honours, the parts, 
the polities, the lives of so many tall cedars, as of late he 
hath done. The loving-kindness of God to his church is seen, 
as in a glass, in the blood of their persecutors. 

2. The manifestation of God's sovereignty, power, and 
justice, is as dear to him, as the manifestation of his mercy. 
The properties he lays out in destruction are equally glorious 
with those he lays out in preservation. In the proclamation 
of his glorious name he omits them not; Exod. xxxiv. 6, 7. 
In these he triumpheth gloriously, when he hath overthrown 
the horse and his rider in the sea; Exod. xv. 

Use. Let not our eyes in the late deliverance be always 
on the light side of the work, our own mercies : the dark side 
of terror and judgment is not without its glory. The folly 
that was in their counsels, the amazement that was in their 
armies, the trembling that accompanied all their undertak- 
ings, the tympanous products of all their endeavours, do all 
cry out, ' Digitus Dei est hie' Had not God shewed infinite 
wisdom, they had not been so abundantly foolish : had not 
he been infinite in power, the many thousands of enemies had 
not been so weak. 

In the late engagement in this country, when God stirred 
us up, with some others in these parts, to make some oppo- 
sition to the enemy gathering at Chelmsford, what were, 
think you, the workings of God's providences against them ? 
How came it to pass that we were not swallowed up by 
them? For, 

1. They were desirous to ruin us : if we may judge their 
desires to answer their interest ; or their expressions, with 
the language of their friends round about us, to answer their 

2. They were able to do it. They had from the begin- 


nino^, and so all along, near as many thousands as we had 
hundreds, of them very many old experienced soldiers, with 
us not three men that had ever seen any fighting. 

3. They were resolved to do it. Witness their own con- 
fessions, and frequent declarations of their purposes, whilst 
the business was in agitation. 

4. They were provoked to it. For the first and only con- 
siderable opposition was made to them in this place : first, by 
hindering their assistance from Colchester, which how much 
they valued, witness the senseless letter they would have 
forced the committee to subscribe, to persuade us not to dis- 
turb their levies there; secondly, suppressing and discou- 
raging all those affected to them and their designs in these 
parts of the country, restraining some, disarming others, 
awing all; thirdly, hastening the coming of the army, lest 
their friends should suffer; fourthly, encouraging, their com- 
ing, by declaring that they had friends here ; by which, and 
the like, they were abundantly provoked. 

5. That they were also invited to it, though by persons 
somewhat inconsiderable, with promises of a full party of 
friends to assist them, which they might have had, and a rich 
booty from their enemies to support them, which they might 
have found, is too apparent. 

Now being thus advantaged, thus encouraged, thus pro- 
voked, and resolved, why did they not attempt it, why did 
they not accomplish their desires? Is it not worth the 
while to consider how they were restrained V Was not much 
of God's wisdom seen in mixing a spirit of giddiness and 
error in the midst of them ; that they knew not well how to 
determine, nor at all to execute their determinations? Was 
not his power seen in causing 'experienced soldiers as they 
were, with their multitudes, to be afraid of a poor handful of 
unskilful men, running together because they were afraid to 
abide in their houses ? Was not his justice exalted, in keep- 
ing them only for the pit which they had digged for others? 
Doubtless the hand of God was lifted up. O that we could 
all learn righteousness, peculiarly amongst ourselves of thig 
place ! Is there nothing of God to be discerned, in the vexa- 
tions, birthless consultations, and devices of our observerg^ 

' Gen. XT. 6. Psal.lxxvi. 10. 
VOI-. XV. ^ 


Nothing of power in their restraint ? Nothing of wisdom in 
the self-punishment of their anxious thoughts ? Nothing of 
goodness, that after so long waiting for advantage, they 
besin themselves to think, that neither divination nor en- 
chantment will prevail? 

XV. Observatio7i. The measuring out of God's people's 
portion fills Cushan with affliction, and Midian with trem- 

Their eye is evil, because God is good. Israel's increase 
is Pharaoh's trouble ; Exod. i. 10. When Nehemiah comes 
to build the walls of Jerusalem, it grieved the enemy exceed- 
ingly,* that one was come to seek the welfare of the children 
of Israel;' Nehem.ii.lO. This is the season of that dispensa- 
tion which you have mentioned, Isa. Ixv. 13 — 15. ' Thus saith 
the Lord, Behold, my servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry: 
behold, my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty : be- 
hold, my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed : 
behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall 
cry for sorrow of heart, and howl for vexation of spirit. And 
ye shall,' &c. 

The reasons of this are taken, 1 . From their envy, 2. From 
their carnal fear ; the two principles whereby they are acted 
in reference to the saints of God. 

1. Their envy. They have a devouring' envy at them,^ 
which at length shall shame them and consume them ; Isa. 
xxvi. 11. They are of their father the devil, and he (through 
envy) was a ' murderer from the beginning ;' John viii. 44. 
The portion God measureth out unto his people is in distin- 
guishing mercies, differencing blessings ; in such things as 
the world hath not, giveth not. Now this is that which 
envy takes for its proper object. That others should have 
enjoyments above them, beyond them, this envious men can- 
not bear. God accepts Abel, not Cain ; presently Cain is 
wroth and his countenance falls; Gen. iv. 6. Jacob gets the 
blessing, and this fills the heart of Esau with murderous re- 
venge; Gen. xxvii. 41. Upon all God's appearances with 
the apostles, how were the Jews cut to the heart, vexed, per- 

S Quis facile potest quale sit hoc malum verbis exprimere, quo invidus odio ho- 
minis persequitur divinum munus in homine. Pros. vit. cont. Invidia est tristilia 
de bono proximi, prou't propriura malum jestimatur et est diminutivum proprii boni. 
Aqu. 22. a*, q. 36. A. 1. c. " 


plexed? God gives distinguishing mercies to his people, 
such protections, such deliverances ; this Cushan and Mi- 
dian cannot bear. 

2. Their carnal fear. They have all of them that conclu- 
sion in their breasts, which Haman's wise men and wife made 
to him ; Esth. vi. 13. If they begin to fall before the seed 
of the Jews, utter ruin will follow. When God begins to 
own his people, as them in the Acts, chap. v. 24. *they doubt 
whereunto this will grow ;' their hearts tell them secretly they 
are usurpers of all they have; and when God owns any, 
they instantly fear lest for their sakes they should be called 
to account. When a distinction begins to be made, in ordi- 
nances, privileges, deliverances, protections, evidently given 
to some peculiar ones, they tremble within that they are set 
apart for no good. This picking and choosing of men by 
the Lord, Psal. iv. 3. they cannot bear with. Such mighty 
works attend the Israelites, what thinks Midian will be 
the end of this? It is true, their pride calls on them to 
act openly more of their malice than their fear ; but yet 
this lies at the bottom, like a boasting atheist's nightly 
thoughts.'' The chief priests and Pharisees having gotten 
the apostles before them, what big words they use to coun- 
tenance the business! 'Who gave you this power?' Acts 
iv. 7. But when they are by themselves they cry, ' What 
shall we do? and whereunto will this grow?' This lies at 
the bottom with many at this day ; though they boast and 
lift up their mouth to heaven, their hearts do tremble as an 
aspen leaf. 

Use. Learn not to be troubled at the great tumultuating, 
which is amongst many against the ways of God at this day. 
God is measuring out his children's portion, giving them 
their bread in season, viewing for them the lot of their inlie- 
ritance. Men of the world, profane Cushanites, superstitious 
apostatical Midianites, will not, cannot be quiet. Vexed they 
are, envious and afraid, and will act according to those prin- 
ciples. Cushanites see religion owned, Midianites theirs dis- 
claimed, and both are alike provoked. The Lord convert 
them, or rebuke them, or the one will have the armies, the 
other their wiles. Only judge not their hearts by the out- 
ward appearance always ; they seem gallant to you, indeed 

•» Noctu dubitaiit. 
K 2 


they are frighted, galled, vexed. I have seen a galled horse 
under dressing, leap and curvet, as though it had been out 
of mettle and spirit, when indeed it was pain and smart that 
made him do it. They pretend to despise us, when they 
envy us. They look like contemners, but are tremblers. Be 
not troubled at their outward appearance, they have inward 
anguish; they bite others, but are lashed themselves. 

XVI. Observation. The season of the church's deliverance 
being come, Cushan and Midian must wax vain and perish. 

That there is such a season I told you before. When 
four hundred and thirty years are expired, Egypt must be 
destroyed, the Amorites rooted out, and all the nations round 
made to tremble. When seventy years of captivity expire,^ 
Babylon must be ruined, and the Chaldean monarchy quite 
wasted, that the Jews may return. The church being to be 
delivered, Haman must be hanged. This you have fully set 
out. Rev. vi. 12 — 17. It is the fall of heathenish tyranny^ 
by the prevailing of the gospel, which you have there de- 
scribed, Rome and Constantinople, pope and Turk, are 
preserved for a day and an hour wherein they shall fall and 
be no more. If the season of enjoying ordinances and pri- 
vileges be come to this nation, that the tabernacle of God 
will be here amongst men ; woe be to Cushanites, woe be to 
Midianites, open opposers, and secret apostates. They shall 
not be able to be quiet, nor to prevail ; God will not let 
them rest, nor obtain their purposes. The story of Haman 
?nust be acted over again ; their hearts shall be stirred up to 
their own ruin ; Rev. xx. 8. This is the frame of perishing 
Babylonians, in the day of Sion's restoration. The reasons 

1 . Because at the deliverance of his people, God will 
plead with their enemies for their oppressions. ' It is the 
day of the Lord's vengeance, the year of recompences for 
the controversy of Sion ;' Isa. xxxiv. 8. It is the vengeance 
of the Lord and his temple that lights upon them-in that day; 
Jer. 1. 28. ' The violence done to me and my flesh, be upon 
Babylon, shall the inhabitants of Zion say ; and my blood 
upon the inhabitants of Chaldea, shall Jerusalem say ;' Jer. 
Ij. 35. In this day great ' Babylon must come into remem- 
brance ;' Rev. xvi. 19, 20. 

2. The discerning trial that shall, and doth come along 


with the church's vindication, will cut off all superfluous 
false professors, so that they also shall perish; Mai. iii. 
2, 3. Christ conies with a fan to send away the chaff in 
the wings of the wind. Have we not seen this end of many 

3. The Amorites live in Canaan, and must be removed. 
Oppressors and hypocrites enjoy many rites of the church, 
which must be taken from them. Rome and her adherents 
shall not have so much left, as the name or title, appearance 
or shew of a church. The outward court, which they have 
trodden down and defiled, shall be quite left out in the 
measuring of the temple; Rev. xi. 

Use. Bring this observation home to the first from this 
verse, and it will give you the use of it : proceed we to the 
next verse. 

Ver. 8. 'Was the Lord displeased against the rivers? 
was thine anger against the rivers? was thy wrath against 
the sea, that thou didst ride upon thy ht)rses and thy chariots 
of salvation?' 

'Was the Lord displeased,' mn 'kindled,' did he burn? 
that is in wrath. Heat is a great ingredient in the commo- 
tion of anger in us, here alluded to, or because the effects of 
anger are so often compared to fire. ' Against the rivers or 
floods?' Again : ' Was thine anger?' 1D^< * thy nose or face, 
or thine anger,' t]K signifies both. The 'face is the seat of 
anger's appearance : fury comes up into the face. 'Was 
thine anger, thy troubling anger' (so the word) * against the 
sea?' the Red sea, through which thy people passed : ' that 
thou didst ride upon thy horses, and thy chariots of salva- 
tion?' or, 'thy chariots were salvation, * currus salutares,' 
thy safety-bringing chariots,' 

The words are an admiring expostulation about the mighty 
works of the Lord, for his people, upon the sea, rivers, and 
inanimate creatures. 

1. The rivers : Jordan and its driving back is doubtless 
especially intended. The Lord shewed his povver, in dis- 
turbing that ancient river in his course, and making his 
streams run backward. The story of it you have Josh. iii. 
1&, 16. The people being to enter into Canaan, the Lord 

• C»tera licet abscondere, ct in abdito alere ; ira se profert, ct in faciem exit. 
?enec. de ira. 


divides the waters of that river, making them beneath to 
sink away, and those above to stand on a heap. This the 
prophet magnifies, Psal. cxiv. 5. ' What ailest thou, O Jordan, 
that thou wast driven back?' What marvellous, powerful, 
disturbing thing is happened to thee, that contrary to thy 
ancient natural course, thy streams should be frighted, and 
run back to the springs from whence they came ? 

2. The sea : that is, the Red sea, which in like manner 
was divided, Exod. xiv. 21, which the prophet also admires 
in the fore-cited Psalm : ' The sea saw it and fled. What 
ailest thou, O thou sea, that thou fleddest?' What strong 
mighty impression of power was on thee, that the multitudes 
of thy waters should be parted, and thy channel discovered 
dry to the bottom? 

3. ' That thou didst ride upon thy horses and thy chariots 
of salvation.' This you have again ver, 15. 'Thou didst 
walk through the sea with thine horses.' These were those 
clouds and winds vi^bich the Lord sent before the Israelites, 
to the sea and Jordan, to drive them back. ' He maketh the 
clouds his chariots, and walketh upon the wings of the 
wind;' Psal. civ. 3. So Psal. xviii. 11. 'He did fly upon 
the wings of the wind.' After the manner of men, God is 
represented as a mighty conqueror, riding before his armies, 
and making way for them. The power and majesty of God 
was with, and upon, those clouds and winds which went 
before his people, to part those mighty waters, that tliey 
might pass dry : and therefore they are called his saving 
chariots, because by them his people were delivered. Or 
by horses and chariots here you may understand the angels, 
who are the host of God. Psal. Ixviii. 17. 'The chariots of 
God are twenty thousands, even thousands of angels,' they 
have appeared as horses and chariots of fire ; 2 Kings vi. 17. 
And their ministry no doubt the Lord used in these mighty 
works of drying rivers, and dividing seas. Either way, the 
glorious power and majesty of God, in his delivering instru- 
ments, is set forth. 

Thus the words severally, now jointly. 

This admiring interrogation includes a negation. ' Was 
the Lord kindled against the rivers, was thy face against 
the livers,' &c. Was it that the deep had offended the 
Most High, that by thine angels, winds, and clouds, thou 


didst SO disturb the floods in their ancient course, and 
madest naked their hidden channels, until the hoary deep 
cried out for fear, and lifted up his aged hands to the Al- 
mighty as it were for pity ? ver. 10. No, surely, no such 
thing. All those keep the order by thee unto them ap- 
pointed ; it was all for the salvation and deliverance of thy 
people. God was not angry with Jordan when he drove it 
back, nor with the sea when he divided it, but all was effected 
for Israel's deliverance. 

XVII. Observation. The very senseless creatures, are as 
it were sensible of the wrath and power of the Almighty. 

Effects of anger being in and upon the deep, ' he utters 
his voice, and lifts up his hands on high;' ver. 10. God 
often in the Scripture sets forth his power and majesty by 
the trembling of heaven, and the shaking of the earth, the 
vanishing of mountains, and the bowing of perpetual hills, 
the professed humble subjection of the most eminent parts 
of the creation. The sea shall fly as afraid : the rocks as 
weak, rend, and crumble ; the heavens be darkened ; ' The 
mountains skip like rams, and the little hills like young 
sheep;' Psal. cxiv. 4, 

Tfl/uEi 5' oj», xat yata, xcii TnXdpio; 

'Orav BTn^Ki^ri yo^yov o{A.fj(,ct. ha-Trirov, jEschjIus, apud Justin. Apol. 2. 

'The heavens shook, the earth dropped at the presence of 
God;' Psal. Ixviii. 8. The almighty Creator holds the 
whole frame of the building in his own hand, and makes 
what portion he pleaseth, and when he pleaseth, to tremble, 
consume, and vanish before him. Though many things are 
not capable of sense and reason, yet he will make them do 
such things as sense and reason should prompt the whole 
subjected creation unto, to teach that part their duty who 
were endued therewith. A servant is beat, to make a child 
learn his duty. 

Use. See hence the stoutness of sinful hearts. More 
stubborn than the mountains, more flinty than the rocks, 
more senseless than the great deep. Friend, art thou 
stronger than Horeb ? yet that trembled at the presence of 
this mighty God, whom it never had provoked. Are thy 
lusts like the streams of Jordan? yet they run back from 
his chariots of salvation. Are thy corruptions more firmly 


seated on thy soul, than the mountains on their bases? yet 
they leaped like frighted sheep, before that God against 
whom they had not sinned. And wilt thou, a small handful 
of sinful dust, that hast ten thousand times provoked the 
eyes of his glory, not tremble before him, coming on his 
horses and chariots of salvation, his mighty works, and 
powerful word ? Shall a lion tremble, and thou not afraid, 
who art ready to tremble with a thought of that poor crea- 
ture ? Shall the heavens bow, the deep beg for mercy, and 
thou be senseless? Shall all creatures quake for the sin of 
man, and sinful man be secure ? Know you not that the time 
is coming, wherein such men will desire the trembling rocks 
to be a covert to their more affrighted souls? 

XVIII. Observation. No creatures, seas, nor floods, greater 
or lesser waters, shall be able to obstruct or hinder God's 
people's deliverance, when he hath undertaken it. 

Is the sea against them? it shall be parted. Is Jordan 
in the way? it shall be driven back: both sea and Jordan 
shall tremble before him. Euphrates shall be dried up, to 
give the kings of the east a passage ; Rev. xvi. 12. Waters 
in the Scriptures are sometimes afflictions, sometimes people 
and nations. Be they seas, kings and princes, or be they 
rivers, inferior persons, they shall not be able to oppose. 
God has decked his house, and made it glorious with the 
spoils of all opposers. There you have the spoils of Pharaoh, 
gathered up on the shore of the Red sea, and dedicated in 
the house of God; Exod. xv. There you have all the ar- 
mour of Senacherib's mighty host, with the rest of their 
spoils, hung up to shew; 2 Chron. xxxii. 21. There you 
have the glory, and throne, and dominion of Nebuchadnezzar, 
himself being turned into a beast; Dan. iv. 33. There you 
shall have the carcases of Gog and Magog, with all their 
mighty hosts, for coming to encamp against the city of God ; 
Ezek. xxxix. There you have the imperial robes of ''Dio- 
clesian and his companion, abdicating themselves from the 
empire for very madness that they could not prevail against 
the church. ' Kings of armies shall fly apace, and she that 
tarries at home shall divide the spoil;' Psal. Ixviii. 12. All 
opposers, though nations and kingdoms, shall perish and be 
utterly destroyed; Isa. Ix. 12. Rev. xix. 18. 

■t Euseb. vit. Con. Consf. Orat. 


God will tiot exalt any creature unto a pitch of oppo- 
sition to himself, or to stand in the way of his workino-s. 
The very end of all things in their several stations, is to be 
serviceable to his purposes towards his own. Obedience in 
senseless creatures is natural, even against the course of 
nature in the season of deliverance. 'Sun, stand thou still 
upon Gibeon, and thou, moon, in the valley of Ajalon ;' Josh. 
X. 12. 'Who art thou, O great mountain? Before Zerubba- 
bel, thou shalt become a plain ;' Zech. iv. 7. The most 
mountainous opposers shall be levelled, when the Spirit of 
God sets in for that purpose. There is a strength in every 
promise and engagement of God unto his people, that is able 
to carry the whole frame of heaven and earth before it. If 
they can believe, all things are possible to them that believe. 
When the decree is to bring forth the fruit of the promise, 
it will overturn empires, destroy nations, divide seas, ruin 
armies, open prisons, break chains and fetters, and bear 
down all before it. As the wind shut up in the earth will 
shake the pillars as it were of its mighty body, but it will 
find or make a passage. The least promise of deliverance, 
if the season thereof be come, though it were shut up under 
strong and mighty powers, crafty counsels, dungeons, and 
prisons, like the doors and lasting bars of the earth, the truth 
and power of God shall make them all to tremble, and give 
birth to his people's deliverance. 

Use. 1. Have we seen nothing of this in our days ? noseas 
divided? no Jordans driven back? no mountains revelled? 
no hills made to tremble? Whence then was the late confusion 
of armies ? casting down of mighty ones ? reviving of dead 
bones? opening of prison doors? bringing out the captive ap- 
pointed tobeslain? Isitnotfromhence,thatnothingcanstand 
against the breaking out of a promise in its appointed season ? 
'Was the Lord displeased with the rivers?' Was his anger 
against the walls and houses, 'that he rode upon his horses 
and chariots of salvation ?' 

Use. 2. Let faith be strengthened in an evil time. Poor 
distressed soul, all the diflficulty of thy deliverance lies in 
thine own bosom. If the streams of thy unbelief within be 
not stronger than all seas of opposition without, all will be 
easy. O learn to stand still with quietness, between a host 
of Egyptians and a raging sea, to see the salvation of God. 


Be quiet in prison, between your friends' bullets, and your 
enemies' swords, God can, God will, make a way. If it were 
not more hard with us to believe wonders, than it is to the 
promise to effect wonders for us, they would be no wonders, 
so daily, so continually would they be wrought. 

XIX. Observation. God can make use of any of his crea- 
tures to be chariots of salvation. 

This is the other side of that doctrine which we gathered 
from ver. 5. ' Winds and clouds shall obey him.' 'Ravens 
shall feed Elijah that will not feed their own young. The 
sea shall open for Israel, and return upon the Egyptians. 
And this both in an ordinary way, as Hos. ii. 21, 22. and in 
an extraordinary way as before. So many creatures as God 
hath made, so many instruments of good hath he for his peo- 
ple. This is farther confirmed, ver. 9. 

Ver. 9. 'Thy bow was made quite naked, according to 
the oaths of the tribes, thy word. Selah. Thou didst cleave 
the earth with rivers.' 

With nakedness thy bow was made naked. The rest is 
elliptical, and well supplied in the translation. 

The verse hath two parts. 

1. A general proposition : 'Thy bow was made naked,' &,c. 
, 2. A particular confirmation of that proposition by in- 
stance : * Thou didst cleave the earth with rivers.' 

1. The proposition holds out two things. 

(1.) What God did : * He made his bow quite naked.' 

(2.) The rule he proceeded by herein ; ' According to 
the oaths of the tribes, even his word.' 

The assertion of this verse is not of some particular act, 
or work, as the former ;^ but a general head or fountain of 
those particular works, which are enumerated in the follow- 
ing verses. 

(1.) A bow is a weapon of war, an instrument of death, 
and being ascribed to God, after the manner of men, holds 
out his strength, power, might, and efficacy, to do whatever 
he pleaseth. And this is said to be quite naked. When a 
man goes about to use his bow, he pulls it out of his quiver, 
and so makes it naked. The exercising of God's power is 
the making naked of his bow. This he did in all those won- 

' 'Exgaxxsi Towc I'EoTToL? c Ko'fa|, Arist. Hist. Aiijnia. 6. Pcllunt nidis pullos sicut 
etCorvi. Plin.Nat. Hist. 


ders, wherein he stretched out his hand, in bringing his peo- 
ple into the promised land here pointed at. And it is said, 
that with nakedness it was made naked, because of those 
very high dispensations and manifestations of his almighty 
power. This is the making naked of his bow. 

(2.) For the rule of this, it is 'the oaths of the tribes ;' or 
as afterward, ' his word.' The oaths of the tribes, that is, 
the oaths made to them, the word he stood engaged to them 
in. The promise God made by oath unto Abraham, that he 
would give him the land of Canaan for an inheritance, even 
to him and his posterity. Gen. xii. 13 — 15. is here intimated. 
This promise was often renewed to him and the following 
patriarchs. Hence it is called oaths, though but the same 
promise often renewed : and it had the nature of an oath, 
because it was made a covenant. Now it was all for the be- 
nefit of the several tribes, in respect of actual possession, 
and was lastly renewed to them ; Exod. iii. 17; Hence called 
'the oaths of the tribes,' not which they sware to the Lord, 
but that which the Lord sware to them. So afterward it is 
called his word : 'thy word.' This then is the purport of 
this general proposition: O Lord, according as thou pro- 
misedst, and engagedst thyself by covenant to Abraham, 
Isaac, and Jacob, with their posterity, that thou wouldst 
give them the land of Canaan to be theirs for an inheritance; 
so by the dispensation of thy mighty power thou hast fully 
accomplished it. And this he layeth down for the support- 
raent of faith in a time of trouble. 

The words would afford many observations, I shall in- 
sist only on one. 

XX. Observation. The Lord will certainly make good all 
his promises and engagements to his people, though it cost 
him the making of his bow quite naked, the manifestation 
of his power in the utmost dispensations thereof. 

God's workings are squared to his engagements. This 
is still the close of all gracious issues of providence, God 
hath done all 'according as he promised;' Josh. xxii. 4. 
2 Sam. vii. 21. He brought out his people of old, 'with a 
mighty hand, with temptations, signs, and wonders, and a 
stretched out arm, and all because he would keep the oath 
which he had sworn,' and the engagement which he had 
made to their fathers, Deut vii. 8. What obstacles soever 


may lie in the way, he hath done it, he will do it. Take one 
instance ; particular places are too many to be insisted on. It 
was the purpose of his heart to bring his electhome to himself, 
from their forlorn condition. This he engageth himself to 
do. Gen. iii. 15. assuring Adam of a recovery from the mi- 
sery he was involved in by Satan's prevalency. This surely 
is no easy work. If the Lord will have it done, he must lay 
out all his attributes in the demonstration of them to the 
uttermost. His wisdom and power must bow their shoul- 
ders, as it were, in Christ unto it: he was 'the power of 
God, and the wisdom of God;'™ his engaged love must be 
carried along through so many secret mysterious marvels, 
as the angels themselves * desire to look into,'" and shall for 
ever adore. Though the effecting of it required that which 
man could not do, and God could not suffer; yet his wisdom 
will find out a way, that he shall both do it, and suffer it, 
who is both God and man. To make good his engagement 
to his elect, he spared not his only Son: and in him were 
hid, and by him laid out, 'all the treasures of wisdom and 

Now this is a precedent of God's proceeding in all other 
engagements whatsoever. Whatever it cost him, he will 
spare nothing to make them good to the uttermost. He is our 
rock, and his work is perfect. A good man, if he want not 
power, will go through with his serious promises, though he 
be engaged to his own hurt ; Psal. xv. 4. The power of the 
mighty God is serviceable to his will to the uttermost. He 
cannot will what he cannot do : his will and power are essen- 
tially the same. And his power shall not be wanting to exe- 
cute what his goodness hath moved him to engage unto, for 
his own glory. The reasons of this are, 

1. Deut. xxxii. 4. ' He is the rock, and his work is per- 
fect; all his ways are judgment: a God of truth, and without 
iniquity.' Here are many attributes of God to make good 
this one thing, that his work is perfect. His avrapKiia, self- 
sufficiency, perfection, righteousness. Twill pitch on one, 
he is a God of truth. So he is again called, Psal. xxxi. 5. 
and in other places. The truth of God in his promises and 
engagements requires an accomplishment of them whatever 
it cost, what power soever is required thereunto. This the 

<= 1 Cor. i. 24. o 1 Pet. i. 12. " Col. ii. 3. 


saints make their bottom to seek it: 'Remember thy loving- 
kindness, which thou swarest in thy truth ;' Psal. Ixxxix. 
4. It is impossible but that should come to pass, which thou 
hast sworn in thy truth. No stronger plea than, ' Remember 
the word, wherein thou hast caused thy servants to put their 
trust.' Jacob says, he is 'less than all the mercy, and all 
the truth of God;' Gen. xxxii. 10. He sees God's truth in 
all his mercy, by causing all things to come to pass, which 
he hath promised him. It is true, some paiticular promises 
have their conditions, whose truth consists not in the rela- 
tion between the word and the thing, unless the condition 
intercede. But the great condition under the gospel being 
only the good of them, to whom any engagement is made, 
we may positively lay down, that God's truth requires the 
accomplishment of every engagement for his people's good f 
Rom. viii. 28. It is neither mountain nor hill, kinp-, kino-- 
dom nor nation, hell nor mortality, nor all combined, that 
can stand in the way to hinder it; Matt. xvi. 18. 

2. His people stand in need of all that God hath engaged 
himself to them for. God's promises are the just measure 
of his people's wants. Whatever he hath promised, that his 
people do absolutely want; and whatsoever they want, that 
he hath promised : our wants and his promises are every 
way commensurate. If thou knowest not what thou standest 
in need of, search the promises and see. Whatever God hath 
said he will do for thee, that thou hast absolute need should 
be done. Or if thou art not so well acquainted with the pro- 
mises, search thine own wants, what thou standest absolutely 
in need of for thy good, that assuredly God hath promised. 
If then this be the case of engagements, they shall all be 
made good. Think you, will God let his people want that, 
which they have absolute necessity of? By absolute ne- 
cessity I mean such as is indispensable, as to their present 
estate and occasions. That may be of necessity in one ge- 
neration, which is not in another, according to the several 
employments we are called to. Does God call forth his 
saints, 'to execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punish- 
ments upon the people, to bind their kings with chains, and 
their nobles with fetters of iron, to execute upon them the 
judgment written,' as Psal. cxlix. 7 — 9? Doth he bring them 
forth to burn the whore, to fight with the beast, and overcome 


him and his followers? It is of indispensable necessity, that he 
gives them glorious assistance in their undertakings. They 
shall be assisted, protected, carried on, though it cost him 
the making of his bow quite naked. According to the se- 
veral conditions he calls them to, the several issues of pro- 
vidence which he will have them serve in, so want they his 
appearance in them, with them, for them ; and it shall be 
present. Lei; them be assured they are in his way, and then, 
though some prove false and treacherous, some base and 
cowardly ; though many combine and associate themselves 
against them in many places, in all places ; though whole 
kingdoms, and mighty armies appear for their ruin ; be they 
reviled and clamoured by all round about them, all is one ; 
help they need, and help they shall have, or God will make 
his bow quite naked. 

Use. 1. This day is this doctrine fulfilled before us. 
God's bow is made quite naked, according to his word. 
We are less than all the truth he hath shewed unto us. 
Though great working and mighty power hath been required, 
such as he hath not shewn in our days, nor in the days of 
our fathers; yet the Lord hath not stood at it, for his word's 
sake, wherein he hath made us to put our trust. I speak of 
the general mercies we have received. The surrender of 
Colchester, the particular celebrated this day, though march- 
ing in the rear for time, is for the weight in the van, a mercy 
of the first magnitude. Essex hath seen more power in a 
three months' recovery, than in the protection of six years. 
That the mouths of men are stopped, and their faces filled 
with shame, who made it their trade to revile and threaten 
the saints of God ; that the adverse strength, which hath lain 
hid these seven years, should be drawn forth, united, and 
broken to pieces ; that the people of God, divided, and na- 
turally exasperated through their abuse of peace, should by 
the sword of a common enemy, and the help of a common 
friend, have their wrath abated, their counsels united, and 
their persons set in a hopeful way of closing, or forbearance ; 
that God by their own counsels should shut up men, col- 
lected from sundry parts to ruin others, in a city with gates 
and walls for their own ruin; that they should deny peace 
tendered upon such conditions, because of the exigencies of 
the time, as might have left them power, as well as will for 


a farther mischief; that such salvation should go forth in 
other parts, as that the proceedings here should not be in- 
terrupted ; that the bitter service w^hich men here underwent, 
should ever and anon be sweetened with refreshing tidings 
from other places, to keep up their spirits in wet, watching, 
cold, and loss of blood : all these, I say, and sundry other 
such-like things as these, are * the Lord's doing, and mar- 
vellous in our eyes.' 

Especially let us remember how in three things the Lord 
made his bow quite naked in his late deliverance. 

(1.) In leavening the counsels of the enemy with their 
own folly. 

(2.) In ordering all events to his own praise. 

(3.) By controlling with his mighty power the issue of 
all undertakings. 

(1.) In leavening their counsels with their own folly. 
•^God's power, and the efficacy of his providence, is not more 
clearly manifested in any thing than in his effectual work- 
ing in the debates, advices, consultations, and reasonings of 
his enemies, compassing his ends by their inventions. When 
God is in none of the thoughts of men by his fear, he is in 
them all by his providence. The sun is operative with his 
heat, when he reacheth not with his light, and hath an 
influence on precious minerals, in the depths and dark 
bottoms of rocks and mountains. The all-piercing provi- 
dence of God, dives into the deep counsels of the hearts of 
the sons of men, and brings our precious gold from thence, 
where the gracious light of his countenance shines not at all. 
Men freely advise, debate, use, and improve their own rea- 
sons, wisdom, interests, not once casting an eye to the Al- 
mighty, and yet all this while do his work, more than their 
own. All the counsellings, plottings of Joseph's brethren, 
all the transactions of the Jews, Herod, and Pilate, about 
the death of Christ, with other the like instances, abun- 
dantly prove it.' Take a few instances, wherein God ' made 
his bow quite naked' in the counsels of his and our enemies. 
In general they consult to take arms, wherein God had fully 

1 Quod homines peccant eoruni est, quod peccando hoc vol illud agant ex virtute 
Dei est, tcnebras prout visum est dividentis. August, de pra?d. Oportet hfereses 
esse, scd tanien non ideo bonum hjcreses, quia eas esse oportebat, quasi non et ma- 
lum opottuerit esse ; nam et dorainum tradi oportebat, sed va; traditori. Terlul. prsf. 
ad Hicr. 

■■Gen. xlv, 7. 1.20. Acts iv. 27, 28. 


appeared against them, when in all probability their work 
would have been done without. Had they not fought, by 
this time they had been conquerors. One half year's peace 
more, which we desired on any terms, and they would on no 
terms bear, in all likelihood had set them where they would 
be. Their work went on, as if they had hired the kingdom to 
serve them in catching weather. What with some men's 
folly, others' treachery, all our divisions, had not their own 
counsels set them on fighting, I think we should suddenly 
have chosen them, and theirs, to be umpires of our quarrels. 
God saw when it was time to deal with them. In their un- 
dertaking in our own county, I could give sundry instances, 
how God mixed a perverse spirit of folly and error in all their 
counsels. A part of the magistracy of the county is seized 
on, therein their intentions towards the residue is clearly 
discovered, yet not any attempt made to secure them, which 
they might easily have accomplished, although they could 
not but suppose, that there were some gentlemen of public 
and active spirits left, that would be industrious in oppo- 
sition unto them. Was not the Lord in their counsels also, 
when they suffered a small inconsiderable party in a little 
village within a few miles of them, to grow into such a body 
as at length they durst not attempt, when they might have 
broken their whole endeavour with half a hundred of men? 
Doubtless of innumerable such things as these, we may say 
with the prophet, 'The princes of Zoan are become fools, the 
princes of Noph are deceived, they have seduced the people, 
even they that are the stay of their tribes. The Lord hath 
mingled a perverse spirit in the midst of them, they have 
caused the people to err in every work, as a drunken man 
staggereth in his vomit;' Isa. xix. 13, 14. Doubtless the 
wrath of man shall praise the Lord, and the remainder of it 
will he restrain. 

(2.) In ordering all events to his own praise. The timing 
of the enemies' eruptions in several places is that which fills 
all hearts with wonder, and all mouths with discourse in 
these days. From the first to the last they had their season. 
Had they come together, to the eyes of flesh the whole nation 
had been swallowed up in that deluge. In particular let 
Essex take notice of the goodness of .God. The high 
thoughts and threats of men, which made us for divers weeks. 


fear a massacre, were not suft'ered to break out into open 
hostility, until the very next day after their strength was 
broken, in the neighbour county of Kent. As if the Lord 
should have said, I have had you in a cliain all this while : 
tliough you have shewed your teeth, you have not devoured; 
now go out of my chain, I have a net ready for you. For 
the armies coming to our assistance, I cannot see how we 
needed them many days sooner, or could have wanted them 
one day longer. Farther, these homebred eruptions were 
timely seasoned, to rouse the discontented soldiery, and 
divided nation, to be ready to resist the Scottish invasion : 
God also being magnified in this, that in this sweet disposal 
of events, unto his glory, the counsels of many of those, in 
whom we thought we might confide, run totally cross to the 
appearance of God in his providence. * What shall we say 
to these things? If the Lord be for us, who shall be against 
us?' 'All these things come forth from the Lord of hosts, 
who is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in operation ;' 
Isa. xxviii. 29. Whoso is wise will ponder them, and they 
shall understand the loving-kindness of the Lord. 

(3.) In controlling mighty actions. I mean giving success 
to his people in all their undertakings. The commander-in- 
chief of all the forces in this kinpdom, since his sittino- down 
before Colchester, was proffered a pass to go beyond the 
seas for his security. Whence is it, that he hath now the 
necks of his enemies, and hath given any of them their lives 
at their entreaty? Greater armies than this have been buried 
under lesser walls. Did not the number of the besieged at 
first exceed the number of the besiegers? were not their ad- 
vantages great? their skill in war amongst men of their own 
persuasion famous and renowned? So that the sitting down 
before it was judged an action meet only for them, who 
could believe they should see the bow of God made quite 
naked. It had been possible, doubtless, to reason's eye, 
that many of those fictions, wherewith a faction in the great 
city fed themselves, of the many routings, slaughters, and 
destructions of the army, might have been true. Some of 
them, I say; for some were as childish, as hellish. In brief, 
they associated themselves, and were broken in pieces. 
High walls, towering imaginations, lofty threats, all brought 

vol.. XV. L 


down. 'So let all thine enemies perish, O Lord: but let 
them that love him be as the sun, when he goeth forth in 
his might:' and let the land have rest for many years j 
Judg. V. 31. 

Use 2. This will discover unto us the bottom and rise of 
all God's appearances for his people; even the engaging of 
his own free grace. He doth not ' make his bow quite naked/ 
according to their deservings, but his own word; not be- 
cause they of themselves are better than others, but because 
he loves them more than others. Were God's assistances 
suited to our walkings, they would be very uneven; but his 
good will is constant, so are our deliverances. 

Use 3. Be exhorted to thankfulness, not verbal,^ but real; 
not the exultation of carnal affections, but the savoury obe- 
dience of a sound mind. There are many ingredients in 
thanksgiving ; suitable and seasonable obedience to answer 
the will of God in his mercies is doubtless the crown of all. 
Look then under the enjoyment of blessings in general, to 
close walking with God in the duties of the covenant; and 
in particular, to the especial work of this your generation, 
and you are in the way to be thankful. 

Use 4. Be sedulously careful to prevent that, which God 
hath mightily decried by our late mercies, viz. mutual 
animosities, strife, contention, and violence, against one 
another,* I mean of those that fear his name. God hatli in- 
terposed in our quarrels from heaven. The language of our 
late deliverance is. Be quiet, * lest a worse thing happen 
unto you.' Our poor brethren of Scotland would not see 
the hatefulness of their animosities towards their friends, 
until God suffered that very thing to be the means to deliver 
them up to the power of their enemies. The weapons they 
had formed were used against themselves. Let us learn be- 
times to agree about our pasture, lest the wolves of the wil- 
derness devour us. Persecution and idolatry have ruined 
all the states of the Christian world. 

2. Of the assertion we have spoken hitherto. Come we 

» In beneficio reddendo plus animus, quam census operatur. Arabr. Offi. lib. 1. 
cap. 32. 

* "H Sitt<fia)V('a Twc vniTTSia?, rhv ofjiovoiav t^j TriVrEai; cmia-raa-iv. Iren. Epist. ad Vict. 
apud Euseb. lib. .5. cap. "3. OiXoviKoi iVte aJ6X<})oi jtaj ^nXmrai w£pi f^h avoxovrajv tlj 
e-MTHfiav. Clein. Epi ad Cor. 


now to tiie particular confirmation of it by instance. ' Thou 
didst cleave the earth with rivers.' Cleave the earth, or 
make channels in the earth, for waters to flow in. 

Another most eminent work of Almighty power is here 
set forth. Eminent in itself, and eminent in its typical sig- 
nification. And the same thing being twice done hath a 
plural expression, 'rivers.' 

(1.) Eminent of itself. The bringing of streams of waters 
from the rock, for the thirsty people in the wilderness, is 
that which is here celebrated. Now this the Lord did twice: 
first, Exod. xvii. 6. when the people were in Rephidim, in 
the first year after their coming from Egypt, they fainted in 
their journeys for want of water, and (according to the 
wonted custom of that rebellious people) complained with 
murmuring. So they extorted all their mercies, and there- 
fore they were attended with such sore judgments. Whilst 
the meat was in their mouths, the plague was on their bones. 
Mercies extorted by murmurings, unseasoned with loving- 
kindness, though they may be quails in the mouth will be 
plagues in the belly. Let us take heed lest we repine the 
Almighty, into a full harvest, and lean soul; Psal. cvi. 15. 
Get and keep mercies in God's way, or there is death in 
the pot. 

Forty years after this, when the first whole evil genera- 
tion was consumed, the children, who were risen up in their 
fathers' stead, fall a murmuring for water in the wilderness 
of Zin, and with a profligacy of rebellion wish they had 
been consumed with others in the former plagues; Numb. 
XX. 4. Here also the Lord gives them water, and that in 
abundance, ver. 11. Now of this observe, 

[1.] The places from whence this water marvellously 
issued. They were rocks that, in all probability, never had 
spring from the creation of the world. Farther, they are 
observed to be rocks of flint, Psal. cxiv. 8. ' Which turned 
the rock into a standing water, the flint into a fountain of 
waters.' So Deut. viii. 15. a rock into a pool, and a flint 
into a stream, is much beyond Samson's riddle, of sweet- 
ness from the eater. 

[2.] The abundance of waters that gushed out; waters 
to satisfy that whole congregation, with all their cattle, con- 
sisting of some millions. Yea, and not only they, but all 



the beasts of that wilderness were refreshed thereby also. 
Isa. xliii. 20. 'The beast of the field shall honour me, the 
dragon and the owl ; because I give water in the wilderness, 
rivers in the desart^ to give drink to my people, my chosen.' 
The very worst of the sons of men, dragons and owls, fare 
the better for God's protecting providence towards his own.^ 
And all this was in such abundance, that it was as plen- 
tiful as a sea. 'He clave the rock in the wilderness, and 
gave them drink as out of the great deep ; he brought 
streams also out of the rocks, and caused waters to run 
down like rivers;' Psal. Ixxviii. 15, 16. So also it is cele- 
brated, Isa. xli. 18. xlviii. 21. Hos. xiii. 5. and in many 
other places. Great deliverances call for frequent remem- 

Thus were rivers brought out of the rocks, and with or 
for these rivers God did cleave the earth, that is, either he 
provided channels for those streams to run in, that they might 
not be wasted on the surface of that sandy wilderness, but 
preserved for the use of his people; or else the streams were 
so great and strong, that they pierced the earth, and parted 
channels for themselves. Great rivers of water, brought 
out of flinty rocks, running into prepared channels, to re- 
fresh a sinful, thirsty people, in a barren wilderness, I think, 
is^a remarkable mercy. 

(2.) As it was eminent in itself, so likewise is it exalted 
in its typical concernment. Is there nothing but flints in 
this rock? nothing but water in these streams? nothing 
but the rod of Moses in the blows given to it? Did the 
people receive no other refreshment, but only in respect of 
their bodily thirst? Yes, saith the apostle, 'They drank of 
that spiritual rock which followed them, and that rock was 
Christ;' 1 Cor. x. 4. Was not this rock a sign of that rock 
of ages, on which the church is built? Matt. xvi. 18. Did 
not Moses' smiting hold out his being smitten with the rod 
of God ? Isa. liii. 4, 5. Was not the pouring out of these 
plentiful streams as the pouring out of his precious blood, 
in a sea of mercy, abundantly sufficient to refresh the whole 
fainting church in the wilderness? ' Latet Christus in petra,' 
' Here is Christ in this rock.' Had Rome had wisdom to 
build on this rock, though she had nothad an infallibility, as 

'' Vir bonus commune bonum. Gen. xsxi, 3. 


she vainly now pretends, she might have had an infallibility 
(if I may so speak), yea, she had never quite failed. Give me 
leave to take a few observations from hence. As, 

[1.] Sinners must be brought to great extremities, to 
make them desire the blood of Jesus. Weary and thirsty 
before rock-water come. Thirst is a continually galling 
pressure. When a soul gaspeth like a parched land, and is 
as far from self-refreshment, as a man from drawing waters 
out of a flint, then shall the side of Christ be opened to him. 
You that are full of your lusts, drunk with the world, here 
is not a drop for you. If you never come into the wilder- 
ness, you shall never have rock-water. 

[2.] Mercy to a convinced sinner seems ofttimes as re- 
mote, as rivers from a rock of flint. The truth is, he never 
came near mercy, who thought not himself far from it. 
When the Israelites cried. We are ready to die for thirst, 
then stood they on the ground, where rivers were to run. 

[3.] Thirsty souls shall want no water, though it be 
fetched for them out of a rock. Panters after the blood of 
Jesus shall assuredly have refreshment and pardon, through 
the most unconquerable difficulties. Though grace and 
mercy seem to be locked up from them, like water in a flint, 
whence fire is more natural than water; yet God will not 
strike the rock of his justice and their flinty hearts together, 
to make hell-fire sparkle about their ears; but with a rod 
of mercy on Christ, that abundance of water may be drawn 
out for their refreshment. 

[4.] The most eminent temporal blessings, and suitable 
refreshment (water from a rock for them that are ready to 
perish), is but an obscure representation of that love of God, 
and refreshment of souls, which is in the blood of Jesus. 
Carnal things are exceeding short of spiritual, temporal 
things of eternal. 

[5.] The blood of Christ is abundantly sufficient for his 
whole church to refresh themselves, streams, rivers, a whole 

These, and the like observations, flowing from the typical 
relation of the blessing intimated, shall not farther be in- 
sisted on; one only I shall take from the historical truth. 

XXI. Observation. God sometimes bringeth plentiful 
deliverances and mercies for his people from beyond the ken 


of sense and reason, yea, from above the ordinary reach of 
much precious faith. 

I mean not what it ought to reach, which is all the om- 
nipotency of God; but what ordinarily it doth, as in this 
very business it was with Moses. I say, plentiful deliver- 
ances, mercies like the waters that gushed out in abundant 
streams, until the earth was cloven with rivers; that the 
people should not only have a taste and away, but drink 
abundantly, and leave for the beasts of the field. From be- 
yond the ken of sense and reason, by events which a rationally 
•wise man is no more able to look into, than an eye of flesh 
is able to see water in a flint; or a man probably suppose, 
that divers millions of creatures should be refreshed with 
waters out of a rock, where there was never any spring from 
the foundation of the world. 

Now concerning this observe, 

1. That God hath done it. 

2. That he hath promised he will yet do it. 

3. Why ho will so do? 

1. He hath done it. I might here tire you with pre- 
cedents. I could lead you from that mother deliverance, 
the womb of all others, the redemption that is in the blood 
of Jesus, down through many dispensations of old, and of 
late, holding out this proposition to the full. One shall 
suffice me, and if some of you cannot help yourselves with 
another, you are very senseless. 

Look upon Peter's deliverance. Acts xii. The night be- 
fore he was to be slain, he was kept safe in a prison, a prison 
he had neither will nor power to break. He was bound 
with two chains, beyond his skill to unloose, or force asunder. 
Kept he was by sixteen soldiers, doubtless men of blood 
and vio-jlancy, having this to keep them waking, that if 
Peter escaped with his head, they were to lose theirs. Now 
that his deliverance was above sense and reason, himself 
intimates, ver. 11. * He hath delivered me from the expecta- 
tion of the Jews.' The wise, subtle Jews concluded the 
matter so secure, that without any doubts or fears they were 
in expectation of his execution the next day. That it was 
also beyond the ready reach of much precious faith, you 
have an example in those believers, who were gathered to- 
gether in the house of Mary, ver. 12. calling her mad, who 


first affirmed it, ver. 15. and being astonished when their 
eyes beheld it, ver. 16. the whole seeming so impossible to 
carnal Herod, after its accomplishment, that he slays the 
keepers as false in their hellish trust; a just recompense 
for trusty villains. 

The time would fail me to speak of Isaac,"^ and Joseph, 
Gideon, Noah, Daniel, and Job, all precedents worthy your 
consideration. View them at your leisure, and you will 
have leisure, if you intend to live by faith. 

2. He hath said it. It is a truth abounding in promises 
and performances. I shall hold out one or two ; it will be 
worth your while to search for others yourselves. He that 
digs for a mine, finds many a piece of gold by the way. 

Isa. xli. 14 — 16. 'Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye 
few men of Israel. Behold, I will make thee a new sharp 
threshing instrument having teeth : thou shalt thresh the 
mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as 
chaff. Thou shalt fan them,' &.c. To make a worm a thresh- 
ing instrument with teeth, to cause that instrument to beat 
mountains and hills into chaff, that chaff to be blown away 
with the wind, that that worm may rejoice in God; to ad- 
vance a small handful of despised ones to the ruin of moun- 
tainous empires and kingdoms, until they be broken and 
scattered to nothing, is a mercy that comes from beyond 
the ken of an ordinary eye. Ezek. xxxvii. 3. the prophet 
professeth that the deliverance promised was beyond his 
apprehension. ' Son of man, can these bones live? And I 
answered, O Lord God, thou knowest.' The Lord intimates 
in the following verses, that he will provide a means for his 
church's recovery, when it seemeth as remote therefrom, as 
dry bones scattered upon the face of the earth are from a 
mighty living army. This he calls opening their graves, 
ver. 12, 13. The reasons of this are, 

1. Because he would have his people wholly wrapt up 
in his all-sufficiency, not to straiten themselves with what 
their faith can ken in a promise, much less to what their 
reason can perceive in appearance. In the application of 
promises to particular trials and extremities faith oftentimes 
is exceedingly disturbed, either in respect of persons, or 
things, or seasons ; but when it will wholly swallow up 

« Gen. xxii. 14. xxxix. kc. 


itself in all-sufficiency, the fountain of all promises, there is 
no place for fear or disputing. Have your souls in spiritual 
trials never been driven from all your outworks unto this 
main fort? Hath not all hold of promises in time of trial 
given place to temptations, until you have fallen down in 
all-sufficiency, and there found peace? God accounts a 
flight to the strong tower of his name to be the most excel- 
lent valour; this is faith's first, proper, and most immediate 
object; to particular promises it is drawn out, on particular 
occasions; here is, or should be, its constant abode; Gen. 
xvii. 1. And indeed the soul will never be prepared to all 
the will of God, until its whole complacency be taken up 
in this sufficiency of the Almighty. Here God delights to 
have the soul give up itself to a contented losing of all its 
reasonings, even in the infinite unsearchableness of his 
goodness and power. Therefore will he sometimes send 
ibrth such streams of blessings, as can flow from no other 
fountain, that his may know where to lie down in peace. 
Here he would have us secure our shallow bottoms in this 
quiet sea, this infinite ocean, whither neither wind nor storm 
do once approach. Those blustering temptations which 
rage at the shore, when we were half at land and half at sea, 
half upon the bottom of our own reason, and half upon the 
ocean of providence, reach not at all unto this deep. Oh, 
if we could in all trials lay ourselves down in these arms of 
the Almighty, his all-sufficiency in power and goodness! 
Oh, how much of the haven should we have in our voyage, 
how much of home in our pilgrimage, how much of heaven 
in this wretched earth! Friends, throw away your staves, 
break the arm of flesh, lie down here quietly in every dis- 
pensation, and you shall see the salvation of God. I could 
lose myself in setting out of this, wherein I could desire you 
would lose yourselves in every time of trouble. ' Hast thou 
not known, hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, 
iJie Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth fainteth not, 
neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. 
He giveth power to the faint, and to them who have no 
might, he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint 
and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall. But 
they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, 
they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run 


and not be weary, they shall walk and not be faint;' Isa. 
xl. 28— 31. 

2. To convince the unbelieving world itself of his power, 
providence, and love to them that put their trust in him, that 
they may be found to cry, ' Verily there is a reward for the 
righteous; verily he is a God who ruleth in the earth;' 
Psal. Iviii. 11. When the Egyptian magicians see real mi- 
racles, beyond all their juggling pretences, they cry out, 
' This is the finger of God;' Exod. viii. 19. Profane Ne- 
buchadnezzar beholding the deliverance of those three wor- 
thies from the fiery furnace, he owns them for the' servants 
of the most high God ;' Dan. iii.26. Daniel being preserved 
in the lion's den, Darius acknowledgeth the power and king- 
dom ' of the living God;' Dan.vi.26. Glorious appearances 
of God for his people, beyond the reach of reason, wrests 
from the world amazement, or acknowledgment, and in both 
God is exalted. He will appear in such distresses, as that 
he will be seen of his very enemies ; they shall not be able 
with the Philistines to question, whether it be his hand, or 
a chance happened to them, 1 Sam. vi. 9. but conclude with 
the Egyptians, that fly they must, for God fights for his 
people ; Exod. xiv. 25. If God should never give blessings 
but in such a way, as reason might discover their depend- 
ance on secondary causes, men would not see his goings, 
nor acknowledge his operations. But when he mightily 
makes bare his arm, in events beyond their imaginations, 
they must veil before him. 

Use 1. Consider whether the mercy celebrated this day 
ought not to be placed in this series of deliverances, brought 
from beyond the ken of sense and reason, from above the 
reach of much precious faith. For the latter I leave it to 
your own experience, to the former let me for the present 
desire your consideration of these five things. 

(1.) By whom you were surprised and put under re- 
straint. Now these were of two sorts: [1.] The heads and 
leaders ; [2.] The tumultuous multitude. 

[1.] For the first, some of them being dead, and some 
under durance, I shall not say anything. ' Nullum cum vic- 
tis certamen, et cEthere cassis.' I leave the stream from the 
flint to your own thoughts. 

[2.] For the multitude, an enraged, headless, lawless, 


godless multitude, gathered out of inns, taverns, alehouses, 
stables, highways, and the like nurseries of piety and pity. 
Such as these having got their superiors under their power, 
governors under their disposal, their restrainers under their 
restraint, their oppressors, as they thought, under their fury, 
what was it that kept in their fury, and their revenge, which 
upon the like occasions and advantages hath almost always 
been executed? Search your stories, you will not find many 
that speak of such a deliverance. For a few governors pre- 
vailed on, unto durance, by a godless rout, in an insurrec- 
tion, and yet come off' in peace and safety, is surely a work 
of more than ordinary providence. 

(2.) Consider the season of your surprisal ; when all the 
kingdom was in an uproar, and the arm of flesh almost quite 
withered as to supply, the north invaded, the south full of 
insurrections, Wales unsubdued," the great city, at least suf- 
fering men to lift up their hands against us ; so that to the 
eye of reason, the issue of the whole was, if not lost, yet 
exceedingly hazardous, and so your captivity endless. Had 
they gone on, as was probable they would, whether you had 
this day been brought out to execution, or thrust into a dun- 
geon, or carried up and down as a pageant, I know not; but 
much better condition, I am sure, rationally you could not 

^3.) The end of your surprisal. Amongst others, this 
was apparently one, to be a reserve for their safety, who 
went on in all ways of ruin. You were kept to preserve 
them in those ways, wherein they perished. Whether could 
reason reach this, or no, that you being in their power, kept 
on purpose for their rescue, if brought to any great strait, 
with the price of your heads to redeem their own, that they 
should be brought to greater distress than ever any before 
in this kingdom, and you be delivered, without the least help 
to them in their need ? It was beyond your friends' reason, 
who could not hope it ; it was beyond our enemies' reason, 
who never feared it ; if you believed it, you have the com- 
fort of it. 

(4.) The refusal of granting an exchange for such per- 
sons, as they accounted more considerable than yourselves, 
and whose enlargement might have advantaged the cause 

* Idcmliuic urbi doniinandi finis Prit, qui parendi fiKrit. Senec. de Rom, 


they professed to maintain exceedingly more than your re- 
straint, what doth it but proclaim your intended ruin? This 
was the way of deliverance, which for a long season reason 
chiefly rested on, the main pillar of all its building; which 
when it was cut in two, what could be seen in it but deso- 

(5.) The straits you were at length reduced to, be- 
tween your enemies' swords and your friends' bullets, which 
intended for your deliverance, without the safeguard of pro- 
vidence, might have been your ruin, piercing more than once 
the house wherein you were. Surely it was then an eminent 
work of faith to ' stand still, and see the salvation of God.' 

The many passages of providence evidently working for 
your preservation, which I have received from some of your- 
selves, I willingly pass over. What I have already said is suffi- 
cient to declare that to reason's eye, you were as dead bones 
upontheearth. Forour parts, who were endangered spectators 
at the best, we were but in the prophet's frame, and to any 
question about your enlargement, could answer only. The 
Lord alone knows. And now, behold, the Lord hath chosen 
you out to be examples of his loving-kindness, in fetching 
mercy for you from beyond the ken of reason, yea, from 
above the reach of much precious faith. He hath brought 
water for you out of the flint. Reckon your deliverance 
under this head of operations, and I hope you will not be 

Use 2. You that have received so great mercy, we that 
have seen it, and all who have heard the doctrine confirmed, 
let us learn to live by faith. Live above all things that are 
seen; subject them to the cross of Christ. Measure your 
condition by your interest in God's all-sufficiency. Do not 
in distress calculate, what such and such things can effect ; 
but what God hath promised. Reckon upon that, for it shall 
come to pass. If you could get but this one thing by all 
your sufferings and dangers, to trust the Lord to the utmost 
extent of his promises, it would prove a blessed captivity. 
All carnal fears would then be conquered, all sinful compli- 
ances with wicked men removed, &,c. 

Use 3. Be exhorted to great thankfulness,'' you that have 

y Erunt lioniicidae, tyranni, fures, adultcri, raptores, sacrilegi, proditores, infra 
jsta omnia, iiigratus est. Sencc. Benef. lib. 1. Gratiarum cessat decursus, ubi recursus, 
noil fueril. Bern. Serm. 30. 

156 A MEMORIAL, &C. 

been made partakers of great deliverances. In great dis- 
tresses very nature prompts the sons of men to great pro- 
mises. You have heard the ridiculous story of him, who in 
a storm at sea promised to dedicate a wax candle to the 
blessed Viigin, as big as the mast of his ship, which he was 
resolved when he came on shore to pay with one of twelve 
in the pound. Let not the moral of that fable be found in 
any of you. Come not short of any of your engagements. 
No greater discovery of a hypocritical frame, than to flatter 
the Lord in trouble, and to decline upon deliverance in cold 
blood. The Lord of heaven give you strength to make good 
all your resolutions : as private persons, in all godliness and 
honesty, following hard after God in every known way of 
his; as magistrates, in justice, equity, and faithful serving 
the kingdom of Christ. Especially let them never beg in 
vain for help at your hands, who did not beg help in vain 
for you at the hands of God. 

Use 4. Consider, if there be so much^ sweetness in a tem- 
poral deliverance, oh, what excellency is there in that eternal 
redemption, which we have in the blood of Jesus ! If we re- 
joice for being delivered from them who could have killed 
the body, what unspeakable rejoicing is there in that mercy 
whereby we are freed from the wrath to come ! Let this pos- 
sess your thoughts, let this fill your souls, let this be your 
haven from all former storms. And here strike I sail, in 
this to abide with you, and all the saints of God for ever. 

* Si taiiti vitrum quanti Margatituni ? Tertul. 






" This sermon was preached before the honourable House of Cominonf, Jan. 31, 
1648. Being a day of solemn humiliation. 





It hath always suited the wisdom of God to do great 
things in difficult seasons. He sets up walls in trou- 
blous times ; Dan. ix. 25. His builders must hold 
swords and spears, as well as instruments of labour ; 
Nehem. iv. 16. Yea, while sin continueth in its course 
here (which began in heaven, and having contempo- 
rized with the earth, shall live for ever in hell), great 
works for God will cause great troubles amongst men. 
The holy, harmless reconciler of heaven apd earth bids 
us expect the sword, to attend his undertakings for, and 
way of making peace ; Matt. x. 34. All the waves in 
the world arise to their height and roaring, from the 
confronting of the breath of God's Spirit, and the va- 
pours of men's corruptions. Hence seasons receive 
their degrees of difficulty, according to the greatness 
and weight of the works which in them God will ac- 
complish. To their worth and excellency is man's 
opposition proportioned. This the instruments of his 
glory in this generation shall continually find true to 
their present trouble, and future comfort. 

As the days approach for the delivery of the de- 
cree, to the shaking of heaven and earth,'' and all the 
powers of the world, to make way for the establishment 

* Heb. xii. 26, 27. Dan. vii. 27. Ego nisi tiimnltus istos videreni, verbiira Dei in 
n>undo non esse dicerem. Lutli. 


of that kingdom, which shall not be given to another 
people (the great expectation of the saints of the M«st 
High before the consummation of all); so tumults, 
troubles, vexations, and disquietness, must certainly 
grow and increase among the sons of men. 

A dead woman (says the proverb) will not be 
carried out of her house under four men. Much less 
will living men of wisdom and power be easily and 
quietly dispossessed of that share and interest in the 
things of Christ, which long-continued usurpation hath 
deluded them into an imaofination of beinp- their own 
inheritance. This then being shortly to be effected, 
and the scale being ready to turn against the man of 
sin, notwithstanding his balancing it, in opposition to 
the witness of Jesus, with the weight and poise of 
earthly power ; no wonder if heaven, earth, sea, and 
dry land, be shaken, in their giving place to the things 
that cannot be moved. God Almighty having called 
you forth. Right Honourable, at his entrance to the roll- 
ing up of the nation's heavens like a scroll, ** to serve 
him in your generation in the high places of Arma- 
geddon,'' you shall be sure not to want experience of 
that opposition, which is raised against the great work 
of the Lord, which generally swells most against the 
visible instruments thereof. 

And would to God, you had only the devoted sons 
of Babel to contend withal, that the men of this shaking 
earth were your only antagonists ; that the malignity 
of the dragon's tail had had no influence on the stars 
of heaven, to prevail with them to fight in their courses 
against you.*^ But 'jacta est alea,' the providence of 
God must be served, according to the discovery made 
of his own unchangeable will, and not the mutable in- 
terests and passions of the sons of men. For verily ' the 
Lord of hosts hath purposed to pollute the pride of all 

^ Isa. xxiiv. 4, 5. <= Rev. xvi. 16. <i Rcv.xii. 4. 


glory, and to bring into contempt all the honourable of 
the earth ;' Isa. xxiii. 9. 

The contradictions of sinners ag'ainst all that walk 
in the paths of righteousness and peace, with the sup- 
portment which their spirits may receive (as being pro- 
mised) who pursue those ways, notwithstanding those 
contradictions, are in part discovered in the ensuing 
sermon : the foundation of that whole transaction of 
things, which is therein held out, in reference to the 
present dispensations of providence (being nothing but 
an entrance into the unravelling of the whole web of 
iniquity, interwoven of civil and ecclesiastical tyranny, 
in opposition to the kingdom of the Lord Jesus), I 
chose not to mention. Neither shall I at present add 
any thing thereabout, but only my desire that it may 
be eyed as the granted basis of the following discourse. 
Only by your very favourable acceptation of the making 
out those thoughts, which were the hasty conception, 
and like Jonah's gourd, the child of a night or two 
(which with prayer for a rooting in the hearts of them 
to whom they were delivered, had certainly withered 
in their own leaves, had they not received warmth and 
moisture from your commands in general, and the par- 
ticular desires of many of you, to give them a life of a 
few days longer), I am encouraged to the annexing of a 
few lines, as a free-will offering to attend the following 
product of obedience. 

Now this shall not be to the opposition which you 
do, and shall yet farther meet withal ; but as to the 
causes, real or pretended, which are held forth as the 
bottom of that contradiction, wherewith on every side 
you are encompassed. 

The things in reference whereunto your procedence 
is laden with such criminations, as these sad days of 
recompense have found to be comets portending no less 
than blood, are first civil, then religious. 


For the first, as their being- beyond the bounds of 
my calling gives them sanctuary from being called forth 
to my consideration ; so neither have I the least thoughts 
with Absalom of a more orderly carrying on of affairs, 
might my desires have any influence into their disposal. 
Waiting at the throne of grace, that those whom God 
hath intrusted with, and enabled for, the transaction of 
these things, may be directed and supported in their 
employment, is the utmost of my undertaking herein. 

For the other, or religious things, the general in- 
terest I have in them as a Christian being improved by 
the superadded title of a minister of the gospel (though 
unworthy the one name, and the other), gives me not 
only such boldness as accrueth from enjoyed favour, 
but also such a right as will support me to plead con- 
cerning them, before the most impartial judicature. 

And this 1 shall do (as I said before), merely in re- 
ference to those criminations, which are laid by con- 
jectural presumptions on your honourable assembly, 
and made a cause of much of that opposition and con- 
tradiction you meet withal. Now in particular, it is 
the toleration of all religions, or invented ways of wor- 
ship, wherein your constitutions are confidently ante- 
dated in many places of the nation, the thing itself 
withal being held out as the most enormous apprehen- 
sion and desperate endeavour, for the destruction of 
truth and godliness, that ever entered the thoughts of 
men professing the one and the other. The contest 
hereabout being ' adhuc sub judice,' and there being- 
no doubt but that the whole matter, commonly phrased 
as above, hath (like other things) sinful and dangerous 
extremes : I deemed it not amiss to endeavour the 
pouring- a little cold water upon the common flames, 
which are kindled in the breasts of men about this thing. 
And who knows whether the words of a weak nothing 
may not, by tlie power of the fountain of beings, give 



some light into the determination and establishment of 
a thing of so great concernment and consequence, as 
this is generally conceived to be ? What is in this my 
weak undertaking of the Lord, I shall beg of him that 
it may be received ; what is of myself, I beg of you that 
it may be pardoned. That God Almighty would give 
you to prove all things that come unto you in his way, 
and to hold fast that which is good, granting you un- 
conquerable assistance, in constant perseverance, is the 
prayer of, 

Your devoted Servant 

In our dearest Lord, 

John Owen. 

Coggeahall, Feb. 88; 



Let them return to thee, but return not thou unto them. And I will make 
thee unto this people a fenced brazen wall, and they shall fight against thee, 
but they shall not prevail against thee : for I am with thee to save thee, and 
to deliver thee, saith the Lord. — Jer. XV. 19, 20. 

The words of my text having a full dependance upon, and 
j'lov/ing out from, the main subject matter of the whole chap- 
ter, I must of necessity take a view thereof, and hold out 
unto you the mind of God contained therein, before I enter 
upon the part thereof chiefly intended. And this I shall do 
with very brief observations, that I may not anticipate my- 
self from a full opening and application of the words of ray 

And this the rather are my thoughts led unto, because 
the whole transaction of things between the Lord and a 
stubbornly sinful nation, exceedingly accommodated to the 
carrying on of the controversy he is now pleading with that 
wherein we live, is set out (as we say) to the life therein. 

Of the whole chapter, there be these five parts : 

First, The denunciation of fearful wasting, destroying 
judgments against Judah and Jerusalem, ver. 3. and so on 
to ver. 10. 

Secondly, The procuring deserving cause of these over- 
whelming calamities, ver. 4. and 6. 

Thirdly, The inevitableness of those judgments, and the 
inexorableness of the Lord, as to the accomplishment of all 
the evils denounced, ver. 1. 

Fourthly, The state and condition of the prophet, with 
the frame and deportment of his spirit, under those bitter 
dispensations of providence, ver. 10. and 15 — 18. 

Fifthly, The answer and appearance of God unto him 
upon the making out of his complaint, ver. 11 — 14. and 

My text lieth in the last part, but yet with such depend- 
ance on the former, as enforceth to a consideration of them. 

First, There is the denunciation of fearful wasting, de- 
stroying judgments to sinful Jerusalem, ver. 2. and so on- 
wards, with some interposed ejaculations, concerning; her in- 
evitable ruin, as ver. 5, 6. 

M 2 


Here's death, sword, famine, captivity, ver. 2. banishment, 
ver. 4. unpitied desolation, ver. 5. redoubled destruction, 
bereaving, fanning, spoiling, &c. ver. 6 — 9. That universal 
devastation of the whole people, which came upon them in 
the Babylonish captivity, is the thing here intended, the 
means of its accomplishment by particular plagues and judg- 
ments, in their several kinds (for the greater dread and terror) 
being at large annumerated ; the faithfulness of God also 
being made hereby to shine more clear, in the dispersion of 
that people ; doing, not only for the main, what before he 
had threatened, but in particular, executing the judgments 
recorded, Luke xxvi. 14, &c. Deut. xxviii. 15, &c. 'Fulfill- 
ing hereby what he had devised, accomplishing the word he 
had commanded in the days of old ;' Lam. ii. 17. 

That which hence I shall observe is only from the variety 
of these particulars, which are held out as the means of the 
intended desolation. 

Observation. God's treasures of wrath against a sinful 
people, have sundry and various issues for the accomplish- 
ment of the appointed end. 

When God walks contrary to a people, it is not always 
in one path, he hath seven ways to do it, and will do it seven 
times ; Lev. xxvi. 24. He strikes not always with one weapon, 
nor in one place. As there is with him TrojKtXrj x"p'Cj 'mani- 
fold and various grace ;' 1 Pet. iv. 10. love and compassion 
making out itself in choice variety, suited to our manifold 
indigencies ; so there is, opyrj Tt^riaavpiGfiivq ; Rom. ii. 5. 
stored, treasured wrath, suiting itself in its flowings out to 
the provocations of stubborn sinners. 

The first emblem of God's wrath against man, was a 'flam- 
ing sword turning itself every way ;' Gen. iii. 24. Not only 
in one or two, but in all their paths, he meeteth them with 
his flaming sword. As a wild beast in a net,' so are sinners 
under inexorable judgments; the more they strive, the more 
they are inwrapped and entangled ; they shuffle themselves 
from under one calamity, and fall into another : ' as if a man 
did flee from a lion, and a bear met him ; or went into the 
house, and leaned his hand upon the wall, and a serpent bit 
him ;' Amos v. 19. Oh, remove this one plague, saith Pha- 
raoh ;*^ if he can escape from under this pressure, he thinks 

e lsa.li,20. f Eiod. x. 17, 


he shall be free: but, when he fled from the lion, still the 
bear met him, and when he went into the house, the serpent 
bit hira. And as the flaming sword turns every way, so 
God can put it into every thing. To those that cry. Give 
me a king, God can give him in his anger ; and from those 
that cry. Take him away, he can take him away in his wrath ; 
Hosea xiii. 10, 11 . 

Oh that this might seal up instruction to our own souls! 
What variety of calamities have we been exercised withal, 
for sundry years ? What Pharaoh-like spirits have we had 
under them ? Oh, that we were delivered this once, and then 
all were well ! How do we spend all our thoughts to extri- 
cate ourselves from our present pressures? If this hedge, 
this pit were passed, we should have smooth ground to walk 
in : not considering that God can fill our safest paths with 
snares and serpents. Give us peace, give us wealth, give 
us as we were, with our own, in quietness. Poor creatures ! 
Suppose all these desires were in sincerity, and not as with 
the most they are, fair colours of foul and bloody designs; 
yet if peace were, and wealth were, and former things were, 
and God were not, what would it avail you? Cannot he 
poison your peace, and canker your wealth? And when you 
were escaped out of the field from the lion and the bear, ap- 
point a serpent to bite you, leaning upon the walls of your 
own house ? In vain do you seek to stop the streams, while 
the fountains are open ; turn yourselves whither you will, bring 
yourselves into what condition you can, nothing but peace 
and reconciliation with the God of all these judgments, can 
give you rest in the day of visitation. You see what variety 
of plagues are in his hand, changing of condition will do no 
more to the avoiding of them, than a sick man's turning him- 
self from one side of the bed to another; during his turning, 
he forgets his pain by striving to move, being laid down 
agrain, he finds his condition the same as before. 

This is the first thing, we are under various judgments, 
from which by ourselves there is no deliverance. 

Secondly, The second thing here expressed, is the pro- 
curing cause of these various judgments, set down ver. 4. 
' Because of Manasseh, son of Hezekiah king of Judah, for 
that which he did in Jerusalem.' 

The sins of Manasseh filled the epha of Juduli's wick- 


edness, and caused the talent of lead to be laid on the mouth 
thereof.s Oftentimes in the relation of his story doth the 
Holy Ghost emphatically express this, that for his sin Judah 
should be destroyed; 2 Kings xxi. 11. Yea, when they had 
a little reviving under Josiah, and the bowels of the Lord 
began to work in compassion towards them ; yet as it were 
remembering the provocation of this Manasseh, he recalls 
his thoughts of mercy ; 2 Kings xxiii. 26, 27. The deposing 
of divine and human things is oftentimes very opposite.'' 
God himself proceeds with them in a diverse dispensation. 
In the spiritual body the members offend, and the head is 
punished : * The iniquity of us all did meet on him;' Isa. liii. 
In the civil politic body the head offends, and the members 
rue it: Manasseh sins, and Judah must go captive. 

Three things present themselves for the vindication of 
eht equity of God's righteous judgments, in the recompens- 
ing the sins of the king upon the people. 

1. The concurrence and influence of the people's power 
into their rule and government: they that set him up, may 
justly be called to answer for his miscarriage. The Lord 
himself had before made the sole bottom of that political 
administration to be their own wills : ' If thou wilt have a 
king after the manner of the nations ;' Deut. xvii. 14. 1 Sam. 
viii. 7. Though for particulars, himself (according to his su- 
preme sovereignty) placed in many, by peculiar exemption, 
otherwise his providence was served by their plenary con- 
sent, or by such dispensation of things as you have related, 
1 Kings xvi. 21, 22. ' Then were the people of Israel divided 
into two parts, half of the people followed Tibni, the son of 
Ginath, to make him king ; and half followed Omri, but the 
people that followed Omri, prevailed against the people that 
followed Tibni; so Tibni died, and Omri reigned.' Now 
they who place men in authority to be God's vicegerents, do 
undertake to God for their deportment in that authority, and 
therefore may justly bear the sad effects of their sinful mis- 

2. Because for fear of Mauasseh's cruelty, or to flatter 
him in his tyranny for their own advantage, the greatest 
part of the people had apostatized from the ways and worship 
of Hezckiah, to comply with him in his sin. As at another 

« Zech. V. 7, H. '■ Est qusedam .-^mulatio divinje rei, et humanse. Terlul. ApoJ. 


time 'they willingly walked after the commandment;' Hos. 
V. 11 . And this is plainly expressed, 2 Kings xxi. 9. * Manas- 
seh seduced the people to do more evil than the nations.' 
When kings turn seducers, they seldom want good store of 
followers. Now if the blind lead the blind, both will, and 
both justly may, fall into the ditch. When kings command 
unrighteous things, and people suit them with willing com 
pliance, none doubts but the destruction of them both is just 
and righteous. See ver. 6. of this chapter. 

3. Because the people, by virtue of their retained sove- 
reignty, did not restrain him in his provoking ways. So 
Zuinglius, Artie. 42. * Qui non vetat, cum potest, jubet.' 
When Saul would have put Jonathan to death, the people 
would not suffer him so to do, but delivered Jonathan that 
he died not; 1 Sam. xiv. When David proposed the reduc^ 
ing of the ark, his speech to the people was : ' If it please 
you, let us send abroad to our brethren everywhere, that 
they may assemble themselves to us; and all the congrega- 
tion said, that they would do so, because the thing was right 
in their eyes;' 2 Chron. xiii. 2. So they bargain with Reho- 
boam about their subjection, upon condition of a moderate 
rule ; 1 Kings xii. By virtue of which power also they de- 
livered Jeremiah from the prophets and priests that would 
have put him to death ; Jer. xxvi. 16. And on this ground 
might they justly feed on the fruit of their own neglected 
duty. See Bilson of Obed. part 3. page 271. 

Be it thus, or otherwise, by what way soever the people 
had their interest therein, certain it is, that for the sins of 
Manasseh, one way or other made their own, they were de- 
stroyed. And therefore these things being written for our 
example, it cannot but be of great concernment to us to 
know what were those sins which wrapped up the people of 
God in irrevocable destruction. Now these the Holy Ghost 
fully manifesteth in the story of the life and reign of this 
Manasseh, and they may all be reduced unto two chief 

(1.) False worship or superstition: 'He built high places, 
made altars for Baal, and a grove, as did Ahab ;' 2 Kings xxv. 2. 

(2.) Cruelty : 'He shed innocent blood very much, till he 
had filled Jerusalem with blood from one end of it to an- 
other;' ver. 16. 


Whetheithis cruelty be to be ascribed tohis tyranny in civil 
affairs, and so the blood shed is called innocent, because not 
of malefactors ; or to his persecution, in subordination to 
his false worship instituted as before (as the pope and 
his adherents have devoured whole nations * in ordine ad 
spiritualia'), is not apparent : but this is from hence, and other 
places, most evident ; that superstition and persecution, will- 
worship and tyranny, are inseparable concomitants.' 

Nebuchadnezzar sets up this great image and the next 
news you hear, the saints are in the furnace; Dan. iii. 20. 
You seldom see a fabric of human-invented worship, but 
either the foundation or top-stone is laid in the blood of 
God's people. 'The wisdom (religion, or way of worship) 
that is from above, is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy 
to be entreated, full of mercy, and good fruits, without par- 
tiality, without hypocrisy;' James iii. 17. when the other is 
' earthly, sensual, devilish, bringing along envying, strife, 
contention, and every evil work;' ver. 16. Persecution and 
blood is the genuine product of all invented worship. I 
might from hence name, and pursue other observations, but 
I shall only name one, and pioceed. 

Observation. When false worship with injustice by cruelty 
have possessed the governors of a nation, and wrapped in the 
consent of the greatest part of the people, who have been 
acquainted with the mind of God ; that people and nation, 
without unprecedented mercy, is obnoxious to remediless 

Those two are the bell and dragon, that, what by their 
actings, what by their deservings, have swallowed that ocean 
of blood, which have flowed from the veins of millions slain 
upon the face of the earth. Give me the number of the 
witnesses of Jesus, wln)se souls under the altar cry for re- 
venge against their false worshipping murderers ;'' and the 
tale of them, whose lives have been sacrificed to the insa- 
tiable ambition and tyranny of blood-thirsty potentates, 
with the issues of God's just vengeance on the sons of men, 
for compliance in these two things ; and you will have ga- 
thered in the whole harvest of blood, leaving but a few strag- 
gling gleanings upon other occasions. And if these things 
have been found in England, and the present administration 

' See the Appendix at tlie end of this sermon. ^ Rev. vi. 9, 10. 


with sincere humiliation do not run across to unravel this 
close woven web of destruction, all thoughts of recovery 
will quickly be too late. And thus far, sin and providence 
drive on a parallel. 

Thirdly, The inevitableness of the desolation threatened, 
and the inexorableness of God in the execution of it, ver. 1. 
is the third thing considerable ; ' Though Moses and Samuel 
stood before me, yet my mind could not be toward this 

Should I insist upon this, it would draw me out unto 
Scripture evidences, of a nation's travelling in sin, beyond 
the line of God's patience, and so not to be exempted from 
ruin ; but instead thereof I shall make it a part of my daily 
supplications, that they may be to our enemies, if God's 
enemies, and the interpretation of them to those that 
hate us. 

In brief, the words contain an impossible supposition, 
and yet a negation of the thing for whose sake it is sup- 
posed. Moses and Samuel were men, who in the days of 
their flesh offered up strong supplications, and averted many 
imminent judgments from a sinful people. . As if the Lord 
should say : All that I can do in such a case as this, I would 
grant at the intercession of Moses and Samuel, or others in- 
terceding in their spirit and zeal ; but now the state of things 
is come to that pass, the time of treaty being expired, the 
black flag hung out, and the ' decree having brought forth,' 
Zeph. ii. 2. that upon their utmost entreaty it cannot, it shall 
not, be reversed. 

Observation. There is a time when sin grows ripe for ruin : 
' For three transgressions, and for four, the Lord will not turn 
away the iniquity of a people;' Amos i. 9. 

When the sin of the Amorites hath filled the cup of ven- 
geance, they must drink it; Gen. xv. 15. England, under 
several administrations of civil government, hath fallen twice, 
yea thrice, into nation-destroying sins. Providence hath 
once more given it another bottom; if you should stumble 
(which the Lord avert) at the same block of impiety and 
cruelty, there is not another sifting to be made, to reserve 
any grains from the ground. I doubt not but our three 
transgressions and four will end in total desolation ; the 
Lord be your guide, poor England lieth at stake. 


Observation. The greatest difficulty that lieth in bringing 
of total destruction upon a sinful people, is in the interposi- 
tion of Moses and Samuel. 

If Moses would but have stood out of the gap, and let 
the Almighty go, he had broken in upon the whole host of 
Israel ; Exod. xxxii. 9, 10. And let it by the way be ob- 
served of the spirit of Samuel, that when the people of God 
were most exorbitant, he crieth, * As for me, God forbid 
that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you ;' 
1 Sam. xii. 23. Scarce answered by those, who, if their in- 
terest be not served, or at best their reason satisfied, will 
scarce yield a prayer for, yea, pour out curses against their 
choicest deliverers ; the Lord lay it not to their charge. 
For us, seeing that praying deliverers are more prevalent 
than fighting deliverers (it is though Moses and Samuel, 
not Gideon and Samson, stood before me), as some decay, 
let us gather strength in the Lord, that he may have never 
the more rest for their giving over, until he establish mount 
Zion a praise in the earth. 

Fourthly, Come we now to the fourth thing in this chap- 
ter, the prophet's state and condition, with the frame and 
deportment of fhis heart and spirit under these dispensa- 
tions; and here we find him expressing two things of him- 

1. What he found from others ; ver 10. 

2. What he wrestled withal in his own spirit; ver. 

1. What he found from others. He telleth you, it was 
cursing and reproach, &c. ' I have neither lent on usury, 
nor have men lent to me on usury, yet every one of them 
doth curse me ;' ver. 10. 

Now this return may be considered two ways. 

(1.) In itself; ' Every one (saith he) of this people 
curse me.' 

(2.) In reference to his deportment; 'I have neither 
borrowed nor lent on usury, yet they curse me.' 

(1.) From the first, observe: 

Observation. Instruments of God's greatest works and 
glory are oftentimes the chiefest objects of a professing'peo- 
ple's cursings and revenges. 

The return which God's labourers meet withal in this 


generation, is in the number of those things, whereof 
there is none new under the sun. Men that under God 
deliver a kingdom, may have the kingdom's curses for their 

When Moses had brought the people of Israel out of 
bondage, by that wonderful and unparalleled deliverance, 
being forced to appear with the Lord for the destruction of 
Korah and his associates, who would have seduced the con- 
gregation to its utter ruin, he receives at length this reward 
of all his travel, labour, and pains; ' all the congregations 
gathered themselves against him and Aaron,' laying murder 
and sedition to their charge, telling them they had ' killed 
the people of the Lord ;' Numb. xvi. 41, 42. a goodly reward 
for all their travels. If God's works do not suit with the 
lusts, prejudices, and interests of men, they will labour to 
give his instruments the devil's ways. Let not upright 
hearts sink, because they meet with thankless men. * Bona 
agere, et mala pati, Christianorum est.' A man may have 
the blessing of God, and the curse of a professing people at 
the same time. ' Behold I and the children whom God 
hath given me, are for signs and for wonders in Israel ;' Isa. 
viii. 15. * Cum ab hominibus damnamur, a Deo absolvimur.'' 
Man's condemnation, and God's absolution, do not seldom 
meet upon the same persons, for the same things. If you 
labour to do the work of the Lord, pray think it not strange, 
if among men curses be your reward, and detestation your 

(2.) In reference to the prophet's deportment: ' He had 
neither lent, nor had any lent to him upon usury.' He was 
free from blame among them, had no dealings with them, 
in those things which are usually attended with reproaches ; 
as he shews by an instance in usury, a thing that a lono- 
time hath heard very ill. 

Observation. Men everyway blameless, and to be embraced 
in their own ways, are oftentimes abhorred and laden with 
curses, for following the Lord in his ways. 

' Bonus vir Caius Sejus, sed malus quia Christianus.' 
What precious men should many be, would they let go the 
work of God in this generation ? No advantage against 
them but in the matter of their God, and that is enough 

' Terlul. Apol, 


to have them to the lions; Dan. vi. 5. He that might be 
honoured for compassing the ends suiting his own worldly 
interest, and will cheerfully undergo dishonour for going 
beyond, to suit the design of God, hath surely some impres- 
sion upon his spirit that is from above. 

2. You have the prophet's deportment, and the frame 
of his spirit during those transactions between the Lord and 
that sinful people. And this he holds out in many pathetical 
complaints, to be fainting, decaying, perplexed, weary of his 
burden, not knowing how to ease himself, as you may see 
at large ; ver. 15 — 18. 

Observation. In dark and difficult dispensations of provi- 
dence, God's choicest servants are oftentimes ready to faint 
under the burden of them. 

How weary was David when he cried out in such a con- 
dition, ' O that I had wings like a dove ! for then would I 
fly away and be at rest ;' Psal. Iv. 6. Long had he waited 
for a desired issue of his perplexed state, and had perhaps 
oftentimes been frustrated of his hope of drawing to a period 
of his miseries, and now finding one disappointment to fol- 
low on the neck of another, he is weary and cries : What 
nothing but this trouble and confusion still? * O that I had 
wings like a dove !' a ship to sail to a foreign nation (or the 
like) there to be at peace. In the like strait another time, see 
what a miserable conclusion he draws of all his being exer- 
cised under the hand of God, Psal. Ixxiii. 13. ' Verily I have 
cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency.' 
And again, Psal. cxvi. 11. he saith, in the perturbation of his 
mind, * All men are liars :' that all the promises, all the en- 
couragements, which in his way he had received from God, 
should fail of their accomplishment. 

It is not with them, as it was with that wicked king of 
Israel, who being disappointed of peace and deliverance in 
his own time, cries out, ' This evil is of the Lord, why should 
I wait upon him any longer?' 2 Kings xvi. 33. The season 
of deliverance suited not his expectation ; therefore he quite 
throweth off the Lord, and his protection. Not unlike many 
among ourselves, whose desires and expectations being not 
satisfied in the closing of our distractions, according to the 
way which themselves had framed for the Lord to walk in, 
are ready to cast off his cause, his protection, to comply 


with the enemies of his name, * Si Deus homini non placu- 
erit, Deus non erit/ But it may be observed, that deliver- 
ance came not to that people until Jehoram was weary of 
waiting, and then instantly God gives it in. When God 
hath tired the patience of corrupted men, he will speak 
peace to them that wait for him. Thus it is not with 
the saints of God, only being perplexed in their spirits, 
dark in their apprehensions, and fainting in their strength, 
they break out ofttimes into passionate complaints (as Je- 
remiah for a cottage in the wilderness), but yet for the main 
holding firm to the Lord. 

And the reasons of this quailing are, 

(1.) The weakness of faith, when the methods of God's 
proceedings are unfathomable to our apprehensions. While 
men see the paths wherein the Lord walketh, they can fol- 
low him through some difficulties ; but when that is hid 
from them, though providence so shut up all other ways, 
that it is impossible God should be in them, yet if they can- 
not discern (so proud are they) how he goeth in that where- 
in he is, they are ready to faint and give over. God is 
pleased sometimes to make darkness his pavilion and his secret 
place, ' A fire devours before him, and it is very tempestuous 
round about him;' Psal. 1. 3. When once God is attended 
with fire, darkness, and tempest, because we cannot so easily 
see him, we are ready to leave him. Now this the Lord 
usually doth in the execution of his judgments ; ' Thy righ- 
teousness is like the great mountains, thy judgments are a 
great deep ;' Psal. xxxvi. 6. His righteousness, his kind- 
ness, is like a great mountain that is easy to be seen, a man 
cannot overlook it, unless he wilfully shut his eyes ; but his 
judgments are like the great deep. Who can look into the 
bottom of the sea, or know what is done in the depths there- 
of? God's works in their accomplishment are oftentimes so 
unsuited to the reasons and apprehensions of men, that very 
many who have been strong in their desires, and great in ex- 
pectation of them, upon their bringing forth to light, have 
quite rejected and opposed them as none of his, because 
distant from what they had framed to themselves. It is evi- 
dent from the gospel, that the people of the Jews were full 
of expectation and longing for the great work of the coming 
of the Messias, just at the season wherein he came, yet being 


come, because not accommodated to their pre-imaginations, 
they rejected him, * as having neither form nor comeliness in 
him to be desired ;' Isa. liii. 2. And the prophet Amos 
telleth many, ' who desired the day of the Lord, that, that 
day should be darkness to them and not light;' Amos v. 18. 
20. So m every generation many desires of the accomplish- 
ment of God's work are shaken off from any share therein, 
by finding it unsuited to their reasons and expectations. 

Now when the Lord is pleased thus to walk in darkness, 
many not being able to trace him in his dispensations, are 
ready to lie down and sink under the burden. David seems 
to profess, that he had nothing at such a time to uphold him 
but this, that God must be there or nowhere. ' I had said 
(saith he) that it was in vain to walk as I do, but that I 
should have condemned the generation of thy children ;' 
Psal. Ixxiii. 15. And truly God never leaves us without so 
much light, but that we may see clearly where he is not, and 
so by recounting particulars we may be rolled where he is, 
though his goings there be not so clear. Ask if God be in 
the counsels of men who seek themselves, and in the ways 
of those who make it their design to ruin the generation of 
thejust. Ifyou find him there, seek no farther; if not, let that 
give you light to discern where he makes his abode, that 
you turn not aside to the flocks of others. 

(2.) A reducing the works of providence to inbred rules 
of their own. But this I cannot pursue. 

Be tender toward fainters in difficult seasons. If they 
leave waiting on the Lord, because the evil is of him ; if they 
cast in their lot with the portion of the ungodly, they will 
in the end perish in their gainsaying*; but as for such, as 
what for want of light, what for want of faith, sit down and 
sigh in darkness, be not too hasty in laying farther burdens 
on them. When first the confederacy was entered into, by 
the Protestant princes in Germany, against Charles the Fifth, 
Luther himself for a season was bewildered, and knew not 
what to do, until being instructed in the fundamental laws 
of the empire, he sat down fully in that undertaking, though 
the Lord ffave it not the desired issue.'" Our Saviour Christ 
asks, ' if, when he comes, he shall find faith on the earth ;' 
Luke xviii. 8. It is his coming with the spirit of judgment 

"> Sleid. Com. lib. 8. 


and burning, a day of trial and visitation, he there speaks of. 
Now what faith shall he want which will not be found in 
that day ? Not the faith of adherence to himself for spiritual 
life and justification, but of actual closing with him in the 
things he then doth, that shall be rare, many shall be stag- 
gered and faint in that day. 

And thus by the several heads of this chapter, have I 
led you through the very state and condition of this nation 
at this time. 

First, Variety of judgments are threatened to us, and 
incumbent on us, as in the first part. Secondly, Of these, 
false worship, superstition, tyranny, and cruelty, lie in the 
bottom, as their procuring causes, which is the second. 
Thirdly, These, if renewed under iyour hand, will certainly 
bring inevitable ruin upon the whole nation, which is the 
third. Fourthly, All which, make many precious hearts, 
what for want of light, what for want of faith, to fail, and 
cry out, for 'the wings of a dove,' which is the fourth. 

Fifthly, I come in the fifth place to God's direction to 
you for the future, in this state and condition, which being 
spread in diverse verses, as the Lord gives it to the prophet, 
I shall meddle with no more of it, than is contained in the 
words, which at our entrance I read unto you ; * Let them 
return,' &c. 

In the words, observe four things : 

I. God's direction to the prophet, and in him to all that 
do his work in such a season as this described ; ' Let them 
return to thee, return not thou to them.' 

II. Their assistance and supportment in pursuance of 
that direction ; ' I will make thee to this people a brazen 
fenced wall.' 

III. The opposition, with its success and issue, which in 
that way they should meet withal ; ' They shall fight against 
thee, and shall not prevail.' 

IV. Their consolation and success from the presence of 
the Lord ; 'For I am with thee to deliver thee,' &c. 

I. There is God's direction. 

Many difficulties in this troublesome season was the pro- 
phet intricated withal. The people would not be prevailed 
with to come up to the mind of God ; they continuing in 
their stubbornness, the Lord would not be prevailed with to 


avert the threatened desolation. What now shall he do? 
To stand out against the bulk of the people suits not his 
earthly interest ; to couple with them answers not the dis- 
charge of his office ; to wait upon them any longer is fruit- 
less ; to give up himself to their ways comfortless ; hence 
his complaints, hence his moanings ; better lie down and 
sink under the burden, than always to swim against the 
stream of an unreformable multitude. In this strait the 
Lord comes in with his direction: 'Let them return unto 
thee,' &c. Keep thy station, perform thy duty, comply not 
with the children of backsliding. But whatever be the issue, 
if there be any closing wrought, let it be by working them 
off from their ways of folly. All condescension on thy part, 
where the work of God is to be done, is in opposition to him ; 
if they return, embrace them freely ; if not, do thy duty con- 

That which is spoken immediately to the prophet, I shall 
hold out to all, acting in the name and authority of God, in 
this general proposition. 

Observation. Plausible compliances of men in authority, 
with those against whom they are employed, are treacherous 
contrivances against the God of heaven, by whom they are 

If God be so provoked, that he curseth him, who doth 
his work negligently, what is he by them that do it treache- 
rously? When he gives a sword into the hands of men, and 
they thrust it into his own bowels, his glory and honour, 
those things so dear to him? He that is intrusted with it, 
and dares not do justice on every one, that dares do in- 
justice, is afraid of the creature, but makes very bold with 
the Creator. Prov. xxv. 2. ' It is the glory of God to con- 
ceal a thing, but it is the glory of a king to find out a matter.' 
That which God aimeth to be glorious in, to manifest his 
attributes by, is the concealing and covering our iniquities 
in Christ; but if the magistrate will have glory, if he will 
not bring upon himself dishonour by dishonouring God, he 
is to search and find out the transgressions, with whose 
cognizance he is intrusted, and to give unto them condign 
retribution. If the Lord curse them, 'Who come not forth 
to his help against the mighty ;' Judg. v. 23. What is their 
due, who being called forth by him, do yet help the mighty 


against him? For a man to take part with the kingdom's 
enemies is no small crime; but for a commission officer to 
run from them by whom he is commissionated, to take part 
with the adversary, is death without mercy. Yet have not 
some in our days arrived at that stupendous impudence, 
that when as private persons they have declaimed against 
the enemies of the nation, and by that means got themselves 
into authority, they have made use of that authority to 
comply with, and uphold those, by an opposition to whom 
they got into their authority? Which is no less than an 
atheistical attempt to personate the Almighty, unto such 
iniquities as without his appearance they dare not own. 
But* he that justifieth the wicked and condemneth the just, 
are both an abomination to the Lord;' Prov. xvii. 15. and 
not only to the Lord, but to good men also : ' He that saith 
to the wicked, Thou art righteous, him shall the people curse, 
nations shall abhor him ;' Prov. xxiv. 24. 

I speak only as to the general (for me, let all particulars 
find mercy) with a sad remembrance of the late workings of 
things amongst us, with those vile, sordid compliances 
which grew upon the spirits of magistrates and ministers 
with those, whose garments were died with the blood of 
God's saints and precious ones, as formerly they were called, 
for now these names are become terms of reproach. And 
would this complying went alone, but pretences and accu- 
sations must be found out against such as follow with them. 
When they begin to call darkness light, they will ere long 
call light darkness ; by which means our eyes have seen 
men of their own accord laying down the weapons where- 
with at first they fought against opposers, and taking up 
them '.vhich were used against themselves, as hath happened 
more than once, to penmen both in our own, and our neigh- 
bour nation. 

Now this revolting from principles of religion and righ- 
teousness, to a compliance with any sinful way or person, is 
a treacherous opposition to the God of heaven. For, 

1. It cannot be done but by preferring the creature be- 
fore the Creator, especially in those things which are the 
proximate causes of deviation. 

Two principal causes I have observed of this crooked 



(1.) Fear. 

(2.) That desire of perishing things, which hath a mix- 
ture of covetousness and ambition. 

The first maketh men wary, what they do against men ; 
the other maketh them weary of doing any thing for God, 
as whereby their sordid ends are not like to be accomplished. 
(1.) Fear. When once magistrates begin to listen after 
' quid sequitur's,' and so to withdraw from doing good, for 
fear of suffering evil, paths of wickedness are quickly re- 
turned unto, and the authority of God despised. ' Let this 
man go, and take heed of Cgesar,' John xix. 12. did more 
prevail on Pilate's treacherous heart, than all the other 
clamours of the Jews. Yea, was not the whole Sanhedrim 
swayed to desperate villany, ' for fear the Romans should 
come and take away their kingdom V John xi. 48. When 
men begin once to distrust that God will leave them in the 
briers, to wrestle it out themselves (for unbelief lieth at the 
bottom of carnal fear), they quickly turn themselves to con- 
trivances of their own, for their own safety, their own pros- 
perity, which "commonly is by obliging those unto them by 
compliances, in an opposition to whom they might oblige 
the Almighty to their assistance ; surely they conclude he 
wants either truth, or power to support them in his em- 

If a prince should send an ambassador to a foreign state 
to treat about peace, or to denounce war ; who, when he 
comes there, distrusting his master's power to make good 
his undertaking, should comply and wind up his interest 
with them to whom he was sent, suffering his sovereign's 
errand to fall to the ground, would he not be esteemed as 
arrant a traitor as ever lived? And yet, though this be clip- 
ped coin among men, it is put upon the Lord every day 
as current. 

From this principle of carnal fear and unbelief, ' trem- 
bling for a man that shall die, and the son of man that shall 
be as grass, forgetting the Lord our Maker;' Isa. li. 12. are 
all those prudential follies, which exercise the minds of 
most men in authority, making them, especially in times of 
difficulties, to regulate and square all their proceedings by 
what suits their own safety and particular interests, coun- 
selling, advising, working for themselves, quite forgetting 


by whom they are intrusted, and whose business they 
should do. 

(2.) A desire of perishing things tempered with covet- 
ousness and ambition. Hence was the sparing of the fat 
cattle, and of Agag by Saul; 1 Sam. xv. 

When those two qualifications close on any, they are 
diametrically opposed to that frame which of God is required 
in them, viz. ' That they should be men fearing God, and 
hating covetousness.' The first will go far, being only a 
contrivance for safety; but if this latter take hold of any, 
being a consultation to exalt themselves, it quickly carrieth 
them beyond all bounds whatsoever. The Lord grant, that 
hereafter there may be no such complaints in this nation, or 
may be causeless, as have been heretofore, viz. That we have 
poured out our prayers, jeoparded our lives, wasted our es- 
tates, spent our blood, to serve the lusts, and compass the 
designs of ambitious ungodly men. 

The many ways whereby these things intrench upon the 
spirits of men, to bias them from the paths of the Lord, I 
shall not insist upon, it is enough that I have touched upon 
the obvious causes of deviation, and manifested them to be 
treacheries against the God of all authority. 

Use. Be exhorted to beware of relapses, with all their 
causes and inducements ; and to be constant to the way of 
righteousness, and this I shall hold out unto you in two par- 

1, Labour to recover others, even all that were ever dis- 
tino-uished and called by the name of the Lord, from their 
late fearful returning to sinful compliances with the enemies 
of God and the nation. I speak not of men's persons, but 
of their ways. For three years this people have been emi- 
nently sick of the folly of backsliding, and without some 
special cordial are like to perish in it, as far as I know. 

Look upon the estate of this people, as they were differ- 
enced seven years ago, so for some continuance, and as they 
are now, and you shall find in how many things we have 
returned to others, and not one instance to be given of their 
return to us. That this may be clear, take some particulars. 

(1.) In words and expressions, those are ' index animi.' 
Turn them over, and you may find what is in the whole 
heart: 'Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth 

N 2 


speaketh.' Now is not that language, are not those very 
expressions which filled the mouths of the common adver- 
saries only, grown also terms of reproach upon the tongues 
of men, that suffered sometimes under them, and counted it 
their honour so to do? Hence that common exprobation, 
A parliament of saints, an army of saints, and such,-like 
derisions of God's ways, now plentiful with them, who sat 
sometimes, and took sweet counsel with us. Ah ! had it 
not been more for the honour of God, that we had kept our 
station, until others had come to us, so to have exalted the 
name and profession of the gospel ; than that we should so 
return to them, as to join with them in making the paths of 
Christ a reproach? Had it not been better for us with Judah 
to continue * ruling with God, and to be faithful with the 
saints,' Hos. xi. 12. than 'to stand in the congregation of 
the mockers, and to sit in the seat of the scornful V What 
shall we say, when the saints of God 'are as signs and won- 
ders to be spoken against in Israel?' Isa. viii. 18. Oh, that 
men would remember how they have left their first station; 
when themselves use those reproaches unto others, which 
for the same cause themselves formerly bare with comfort ! 
It is bitterness to consider, how the gospel is scandalized 
by this woful return of ministers and people, by casting 
scriptural expressions by way of scorn, on those, with whom 
they were sometimes in the like kind companions of con- 
tempt. Surely in this we are returned to them, and not 
they to us. 

(2.) In actions, and those, 

[1.] Of religion, not only in opinion, but practice also, 
are we here under a vile return. We are become the lions, 
and the very same thoughts entertained by us against others, 
as were exercised towards ourselves. Are not others as 
unworthy to live upon their native soil in our judgments, 
as we ourselves in the judgments of them formerly over us? 
Are not groans for liberty, by the warmth of favour, in a 
few years hatched into attempts for tyranny? And for 
practice, what hold hath former superstition in observing 
days and times, laid hold upon the many of the people again? 
Witness the late solemn superstition, and many things of the 
like nature. 

[2.] For civil things, the closing of so many, formerly 


otherwise engaged, with the adverse party in the late re- 
bellion, with the lukewarm deportment of others at the 
same time, is a sufficient demonstration of it. And may not 
the Lord justly complain of all this? 'What iniquity have 
you seen in me, or my ways, that you are gone far from me, 
and walked after vanity, and are become vain V Jer. ii. 4. 
'Why have you changed your glory, for that which doth not 
profit?' ver. 11. 'Have I been a dry heath, or a barren 
wilderness to you?' Oh, that men should find no more 
sweetness in following the Lamb under wonderful protections, 
but that they should thus turn aside into every wilderness ! 
What indignity is this to the ways of God ? I could give 
you many reasons of it; but I have done what I intended, 
a little hinted, that we are a returning people, that so you 
might be exhorted to help for a recovery. And how shall 
that be ? 

2. By your own keeping close to the paths of righteous- 
ness. If you return not, others will look about again. This 
breach, this evil is of you, within your own walls was the 
fountain of our backsliding- Would you be the repairers of 
breaches, the restorers of paths for men to walk in ? Do these 
two things. 

(1.) Turn not to the ways of such as the Lord hath 
blasted under your eyes. And these may be referred to 
three heads. 

[1.] Oppression; [2.] Self-seeking; [3.] Contrivances for 

[1.] Oppression. How detestable a crime it is in the eyes 
of the Almighty ; what eff'ects it hath upon men, ' making 
wise men mad;' Eccles. vii. 7. how frequently it closeth in 
the calamitous ruin of the oppressors themselves, are things 
known to all. Whether it hath not been exercised in this 
nation, both in general by unnecessary impositions, and in 
particular by unwarrantable pressures, let the mournful cries 
of all sorts of people testify. Should you now return to 
such ways as these, would not the anger of the Lord smoke 
against you? Make it, I beseech you, your design to relieve 
the whole, by all means possible, and to relieve particulars, 
yea, even of the adverse party where too much overborne. 
Oh, let it be considered by you, that it be not considered 
upon you. I know the things you are necessitated to are 


not to be supported by the air. It is only what is unneces- 
sary as to you, or insupportable as to others, that requires 
your speedy reforming ; that so it may be said of you as of 
Nehemiah, chap. v. 14, 15. And for particulars (pray par- 
don my folly and boldness), I heartily desire a committee of 
your honourable house might sit once a week to relieve poor 
men, that have been oppressed by men, sometimes enjoying 
parliamentary authority. 

[2.] Self-seeking. When men can be content to lay a 
nation low, that they may set up themselves upon the heaps 
and ruins thereof. Have not some sought to advance them- 
selves under that power, which with the lives and blood of 
the people they have opposed, seeming to be troubled at 
former things, not because they were done, but because they 
were not done by them? But innocent blood will be found 
a tottering foundatian for men to build their honours, great- 
ness, and preferments upon. O return not in this unto any. 
If men serve themselves of the nation, they must expect that 
the nation will serve itself upon them. The best security 
you can possibly have, that the people will perform their 
duty in obedience, is the witness of your own consciences, 
that you have discharged your duty towards them, in seeking 
their good, by your own trouble, and not your own ad- 
vantages in their trouble. I doubt not but that in this, 
your practice makes the admonition a commendation, 
otherwise the word spoken will certainly witness against 

[3.] Contrivances for persecution. How were the hearts 
of all men hardened like the nether mill-stone, and their 
thoughts did grind blood and revenge against their brethren? 
What colours, what pretences had men invented to prepare 
a way for the rolling of their garments in the tears, yea, blood 
of Christians? The Lord so keep your spirits from a com- 
pliance herein, that withal the bow be not too much bent on 
the other side, which is not impossible. 

Be there a backsliding upon your spirit to these, or such- 
like things as these, the Lord will walk contrary to you, 
and were you *as the signet upon his hand,' he would pluck 
you off. 

(2.) Return not to the open enemies of our peace. I 
could here enlarge myself, to support your spirits in the work 


mentioned. Job xxix. 14, 15. but I must go on to the fol- 
lowing parts of my text : and therefore, 

II. I pass from the direction given, to the supportment 
and assistance promised : * I will make thee to this people a 
brazen and a fenced wall.' 

An implied objection, which the prophet might put in, 
upon his charge to keep so close to the rule of righteousness, 
is here removed. If I must thus abide by it, to execute 
whatsoever the Lord calls me out unto, not shrinking, nor 
staggering at the greatest undertakings, what will become 
of me in the issue? Will it not be destructive to stand out 
against a confirmed people? No, saith the Lord, it shall not 
be, ' I will make thee,' &c. 

Observation. God will certainly give in prevailing strengtl), 
and unconquerable defence unto persons constantly dis- 
charging the duties of righteousness, especially when under- 
taken in times of difficulty and opposition. 

The like engagement to this you have made to Ezekiel, 
chap. iii. 8, 9. Neither was it so to the prophets alone, but to 
magistrates also. When Joshua undertook the regency of 
Israel in a difficult time, he takes off his fear and diffidence 
with this very encouragement ; Josh. i. 5. He saith, he will 
make them a wall, the best defence against opposition, and 
that not a weak tottering wall, that might easily be cast down, 
but a brazen wall, that must needs be impregnable. What 
engines can possibly prevail against a wall of brass? And to 
make it more secure, this brazen wall shall be fenced with 
all manner of fortifications and ammunition ; so that the 
veriest coward in the world, being behind such a wall, may, 
without dread or terror, apply himself to that which he findeth 
to do. God will so secure the instruments of his glory 
against a backsliding people, in holding up the ways of his 
truth and righteousness, that all attempts against them shall 
be vain, and the most timorous spirit may be secure, pro- 
vided he go not out of the Lord's way : for if they be found 
beyond the line, the brazen wall, they may easily be sur- 
prised. And, indeed, who but a fool would run from the 
shelter of a brazen wall, to hide himself in a little stubble? 
And yet so do all, who run to their own wisdom, from the 
most hazardous engagement that any of the ways of God 
can possibly lead them unto. It is a sure word, and for 


ever to be rested upon, which the Lord gives in to Asa^, 
2 Chron. xv. 2. * The Lord is with you while ye be with him/ 
An unbiassed magistracy shall never want God's continued 
presence. Very Jeroboam himself receives a promise, upon 
condition of close walkinrj with God in rio-hteous adminis- 
trations, of having 'a house built him like the house of 
David ;' 1 Kings xi. 38. What a wall was God to Moses 
in that great undertaking, of being instrumental for the de- 
livery of Israel from a bondage and slavery of four hundred 
years' continuance? Pharaoh was against him, whom he had 
deprived of his sovereignty and dominion over the people. 
And what a provocation the depriving of sovereignty is unto 
potentates, needs no demonstration : to the corruption of 
nature which inclines to heights and exaltations, in imitation 
of the fountain whence it flows, they have also the cor- 
ruption of state and condition, which hath always inclined 
to absoluteness and tyranny. All Egypt was against him, 
as being by him visibly destroyed, wasted, spoiled, robbed, 
and at length smitten in the apple of the eye, by the loss of 
their first-born. And if this be not enough, that the king 
and people whom he opposed, were his enemies ; the very 
people, for whose sakes he set himself to oppose the others, 
they also rise up against him, yea, seek to destroy him. 
One time they appeal to God for justice against him j 
Exod. V. 21. 'The Lord look upon you and judge.' They 
appeal to the righteous God to witness, that he had not ful- 
filled what he promised them, to wit, liberty, safety, and 
freedom from oppression, but that rather by his means their 
burdens were increased : and in this they were so confident 
(like some amongst us), that they appealed unto God for the 
equity of their complaints. Afterward being reduced to a 
strait, such as they could not see how possibly they should 
be extricated from, without utter ruin (like our present con- 
dition in the apprehension of some), they cry out upon him 
for the whole design of bringing them into the wilderness, 
and affirm positively, that though they had perished in their 
former slavery, it had been better for them, than to have 
followed him in this new and dangerous engagement ; Exod. 
xiv. 1 1 — 13. That generation being, as Calvin observes," so 
inured to bondage, that they were altogether unfit to bear 

" In Num. cap. 4. 


with the workings and pangs of their approaching liberty. 
Afterward, do they want drink? Moses is the cause. Do 
they want meat? this Moses would starve them; Exod. xv. 
24. xvi. 7. He could not let them alone by the fleshpots 
of Egypt ; for this they are ready to stone him ; Exod. xvii. 3. 
At this day, have we too much rain ? or too short a harvest ? 
it is laid on the shoulders of the present government. It 
was no otherwise of old. At length this people came to 
that height, as being frightened by the opposition they heard 
of, and framed to themselves, in that place whither Moses 
would carry them, they presently enter into a conspiracy and 
revolt, consulting to cast off his government, and choose 
new commanders, and with a violent hand to return to their 
former condition. Numb. xiv. 4. an attempt as frequent as 
fruitless among ourselves. When this would not do, at 
length, upon the occasion of taking off Korah and his com- 
pany, they assemble themselves together, and lay (not im- 
prisonment, but) murder to his charge, and 'that of the 
people of the Lord ;' Numb. xvi. 41. Now what was the 
issue of all those oppositions? What effect had they? How 
did the power of Pharaoh, the revenge of Egypt, the back- 
sliding of Israel prevail? Why God made this one Moses a 
fenced brazen wall to them all, he was never in the least 
measure prevailed against ; so long as he was with God, God 
was with him, no matter who was against him. 

One thing only would I commend to your considerations, 
viz. That this Moses, thus preserved, thus delivered, thus 
protected, falling into one deviation, in one thing, from close 
following the Lord, was taken off from enjoying the closure 
and fruit of all his labour ; Numb. xx. 12. Otherwise he fol- 
lowed the Lord in a difficult season, and did not want un- 
conquerable supportment. Take heed of the smallest turn- 
ing aside from God. Oh, lose not the fruit of all your la- 
bour for self, for a lust, or any thing that may turn you aside. 

Now the Lord will do this, 

1. Because of his own engagement. 

2. For our encouragement. 

1. Because of his own engagement. And that is two- 

(1.) Of truth and fidehty. 
(2.) Of honour and glory. 


( 1 .) His truth and veracity is engaged in it. ' Those that 
honour him, he will honour;' 1 Sam. ii. 30. If men honour 
him with obedience, he will honour them with preservation. 
' He will be with them, while they are with him;' 2 Chron. 
XV. 2. While they are with him in constancy of duty, he will 
be with them to keep them in safety. ' He will never leave 
them nor forsake them ;' Josh. i. 5. * No weapon that is 
formed against them shall prosper;' Isa. liv. 17. Now God 
is never as the waters that fail to any, that upon his engage- 
ments wait for him ; he will not shame the faces of them 
that put their trust in him. Why should our unbelieving 
spirits charge that upon the God of truth, which we dare 
not impute to a man that is a worm, a liar? Will a man fail 
in his engagement unto him, who upon that engagement un- 
dertakes a difficult employment for his sake? The truth is, 
it is either want of sincerity in our working, or want of faith 
in dependance, that makes us at any time come short of the 
utmost tittle, that is in any of the Lord's engagements. 

[1.] We want sincerity, and do the Lord's work, but with 
our own aims and ends, like Jehu : no wonder, if we be left 
to ourselves for our wages and defence. 

[2.] We want faith also in the Lord's work, turn to our 
own counsels for supportment: no marvel, if we come short 
of assistance. * If we will not believe, we shall not be es- 

Look to sincerity in working, and faith in dependance, 
God's truth and fidelity will carry him out to give you in- 
conquerable supportment: deflexion from these will be your 
destruction. You that are working on a new bottom, work 
also on new principles ; put not new wine into old bottles, 
new designs into old hearts. 

(2.) He is engaged in point of honour. If they miscarry 
in his way, what will he do for his great name? Yea, so ten- 
der is the Lord herein of his glory, that when he hath been 
exceedingly provoked to remove men out of his presence, yet 
because they have been called by his name, and have visibly 
held forth a following after him, he would not suff'er them to 
be trodden down, lest the enemy should exalt themselves, 
and say. Where is now their God? They shall not take from 
him the honour of former deliverances and protections. In 
such a nation as this, if the Lord now upon manifold provo- 


cations should give up parliament, people, army, to calamity 
and ruin, would not the glory of former counsels, successes, 
deliverances, be utterly lost? would not men say it was not 
the Lord, but chance that happened to them? 

2. For our encouragement. The ways of God are often- 
times attended with so many difficulties, so much opposition, 
that they must be embraced merely because his ; no other 
motive in the world can suit them to us. I mean, for such 
as keep them immixed from their own carnal and corrupt 
interests. Now because the Lord will not take off the hard- 
ship and difficulty of them, lest he should not have the ho- 
nour of carrying on his work against tumultuating opposition, 
he secures poor weaklings of comfortable assistance, and an- 
swerable success, lest his work should be wholly neglected. 
It is true, the Lord, as our sovereign master, may justly re- 
quire a close labouring in all his ways, without the least 
sweetening endearments put upon them, only as they are 
his, whose we are, who hath a dominion over us. But yet, 
as a tender father, in which relation he delights to exercise 
his will towards his own in Christ, *he pitieth our infirmities, 
knowing that we are but dust;' and therefore to invite us 
into the dark, into ways laboursome and toilsome to flesh 
and blood, he gives us in this security, that we shall be as a 
fenced brazen wall to the opposing sons of men. 

Use 1. To discover the vanity and folly of all opposition 
to men called forth of God to his work, and walking in his 
ways, would you not think him mad, that should strike with 
his fist, and run with his head against a fenced brazen wall 
to cast it down? Is he like to have any success, but the bat- 
tering of his flesh, and the beating out of his brains ? What 
do the waves obtain by dashing themselves with noise and 
dread against a rock, but their own beating to pieces ? What 
prevails a man by shooting his arrows against the sky, but 
a return upon his own head ? Nor is the most powerful op- 
position to the ways of God like to meet with better success. 
God looks no otherwise upon opposers, than you would do 
upon a man attempting to thrust down a fenced brazen wall 
with his fingers. Therefore it is said, that in their proudest 
attempts, strongest assaults, deepest counsels, combinations, 
and associations, ' he laughs them to scorn,' derides their 
folly, contemns their fury, lets them sweat in vain, until their 


day be come; Psal. ii. How birthless in our own, as well as 
other generations, have been their swelling conceptions ? 
What then is it that prevails upon men to break through so 
many disappointments against the Lord, as they do ? doubt- 
less that of Isa. xxiii. 9. ' Surely the Lord of hosts hath a pur- 
pose to stain the pride of all glory, to bring into contempt 
all the honourable of the earth.' God gives up men unto it, 
that he may leave no earthly glory or honour without pol- 
lution or contempt. And therefore hath opposition in our 
days been turned upon so many hands, that God might 
leave no glory without contempt : yet with this difference, 
that if the Lord will own them, he will recover them from 
their opposition, as have happened of late to the ministry of 
one, and will happen ere long to the ministry of another na- 
tion. When the Lord hath a little stained the pride of their 
glory, they shall be brought home again by the spirit of j udg- 
ment and burning ; but if he own them not, they shall perish 
under the opposition. And when it hath been wheeled about 
on all sorts of men, the end will be. 

Use 2. 'Be wise now therefore, O ye rulers; be instructed, 
ye that are judges of the earth; serve the Lord with fear, 
and rejoice with trembling;' Psal. ii. 10, 11. See whence 
your assistance cometh ; see where lie the hills of your sal- 
vation, and say, * Ashur shall not save us; we will not ride 
upon horses : neither will we say any more to the works of 
our hands, Ye are our Gods; for in thee the fatherless findeth 
mercy;' Hos. xiv. 3. It is God alone who is * a sun and a 
shield : his ways do good to the upright in heart.' Behold, 
here is a way to encompass England with a brazen wall : let 
the rulers of it walk in right ways, with upright hearts. 
Others have been careful to preserve the people to them, 
and the city to them ; oh, be you careful to preserve your 
God unto you, he alone can make you a fenced wall ; if he 
departs, your wall departs, your shade departs. Give me 
leave to insist a little on one particular, .vhich I choose out 
among many others. When God leads out his people to 
any great things, the angel of his presence is still among 
them: see at large, Exod. xxiii. 20 — 22. The angel of the 
covenant, in whom is the name of God, that hath power of 
pardoning or retaining transgressions, Jesus Christ, the 
*anoel that redeemeth his out of all their troubles;' Gen. 


xlviii. 16. he is in the midst of them, and amongst them. 
And God gives this special caution, if we would have his 
assistance, that we should beware of him, and obey him, 
and provoke him not. Would you then have God's assist- 
ance continued? Take heed of provoking the angel of his 
presence : provoke him not by slighting of his ways, provoke 
him not by contemning his ordinances; if you leave him to 
deal for himself, he will leave you to shift for yourselves. 
What though his followers are at some difference" (the best 
knowing but in part), about the administration of some 
things in his kingdom ; the envious one having also sown 
some bitter seeds of persecution, strife, envy, and conten- 
tion among them? What though some poor creatures are 
captivated by Satan, the prince of pride, to a contempt of 
all his ordinances, whose souls I hope the Lord will one 
day free from the snare of the devil? Yet I pray give me 
leave (it is no time to contest or dispute it) to bear witness 
in the behalf of my master to this one truth, that if by your 
own personal practice and observance, your protection, 
countenance, authority, laws, you do not assert, maintain, 
uphold the order of the gospel, and administration of the 
ordinances of Christ, notwithstanding the noise and clamours 
of novel fancies, which like Jonah's gourd have sprung up 
in a night, and will wither in a day; you will be forsaken 
by the angel of God's presence, and you will become an as- 
tonishment to all the inhabitants of the earth. And herein 
I do not speak as one hesitating, or dubious, but positively 
assert it, as the known mind of God, and whereof he will 
not suffer any long to doubt; Psal. ii. 12. 

Use 3. 'Strengthen the weak hands, and confirm the 
feeble knees. Say to them that are of a fearful heart. Be 
strong, fear not : behold, your God will come with vengeance, 
even your God with a recompence ; he will come and save 
you ;' Isa. xxxv. 3, 4. Let the most weak and fearful, the 
fainting heart, the trembling spirit, and the doubting mind 
know, that full and plenary security, perfect peace, attends 
the upright in the ways of God. You that are in God's 
way, do God's work, and take this cordial for all your dis- 
tempers, return not to former provoking ways, and he will 
make you * a fenced brazen wall.' 

o See the appendix about Toleration. - 


And so I come to the third thing, which I proposed to 

III. The opposition which men cleaving to the Lord in 
all his ways shall find, with the issue and success of it : 
* They shall fight against thee, but shall not prevail.' 

The words may be considered either as a prediction de- 
pending on God's prescience of what will be; or a commi- 
nation from his just judgment, of what shall be. 

In the first sense the Lord tells the prophet, from the 
corruption, apostacy, stubbornness, of that people, what 
would come to pass. In the second, what for their sins and 
provocations, by his just judgment, should come to pass. 
Time will not allow me to handle the words in both accep- 
tations, wherefore I shall take up the latter only, viz. That 
it is a commination of what shall be for the farther misery 
of that wretched people ; they shall judicially be given up 
to a fighting against him. 

Observation. God oftentimes gives up a sinful people to a 
fruitless contention, and fighting with their only supporters, 
and means of deliverance. 

Jeremiah had laboured with God for them, and with 
them for God, thatif possible, peace being made, they might 
be delivered, and to consummate their sins, they are given 
up to fight against him. 

I cannot now insist upon particular instances ; consult 
the history of the church in all ages, you shall find it con- 
tinually upon all occasions verified. From the Israelites 
opposing Moses, to the Ephraimites' contest with Jephthah, 
the rejecting of Samuel, and so on to the kings of the earth, 
giving their power to the beast to wage war with the Lamb, 
with the inhabitants of the world combining against the wit- 
nesses of Christ, is this assertion held out. In following 
story, no sooner did any plague or judgment break out 
against the Roman empire, but instantly, * Christianos ad 
leones,' their fury must be spent upon them, who were the 
only supporters of it from irrecoverable ruin. 

Now the Lord doth this, 

1 . To seal up a sinful people's destruction. Eli's sons heark- 
ened not, because the Lord would slay them ; 1 Sam. ii. 25. 
When God intends ruin to a people, they shall walk in ways 
that tend thereunto. Now is there a readier way for a man 


to have a house on his head, than by pulling away the pil- 
lars whereby it is supported? If by Moses standing in the 
gap, the fury of the Lord be turned away; certainly if the 
people contend to remove him, their desolation sleepeth 
not. When therefore the Lord intends to lay cities waste 
without inhabitant, and houses without men, to make a land 
utterly desolate, the way of its accomplishment is by making 
the hearts of the people fat, and their ears heavy, and shut- 
ting their eyes that they should not see, and attend to the 
means of their recovery, Isa. vi. 10, 11. so gathering in 
his peace and mercies from a provoking people ; Jer. 
xvi. 15. 

2. To manifest his own power and sovereignty in main- 
taining a small handful, ofttimes a few single persons, a 
Moses, a Samuel, two witnesses against the opposing rage 
of a hardened multitude. If those who undertake his work 
and business in their several generations, should have withal 
the concurrent obedience and assistance of others, whose 
good is intended, neither would his name be so seen, nor 
his ways so honoured, as now, when he bears them up 
against all opposition. Had not the people of this land 
been given up (many of them) to fight against the deliverers 
of the nation, and were it not so with them even at this 
time, how dark would have been the workings of providence, 
which now by wrestling through all opposition are so con- 
spicuous and clear? When then a people, or any part of a 
people, have made themselves unworthy of the good things 
intended to be accomplished by the instruments of righ- 
teousness and peace, the Lord will blow upon their waves, 
that with rage and fury they shall dash themselves against 
them, whom he will strengthen with the munition of rocks, 
not to be prevailed against. So that God's glory and their 
own ruin lie at the bottom of this close working of pro- 
vidence, in giving up a sinful people to a fruitless contend- 
ing with their own deliverers, if ever they be delivered. 

Obj. But is not a people's contending with the instru- 
ments by whom God worketh amongst them, and for them, 
a sin and provocation to the eyes of his glory ? How then 
can the Lord be said to give them up unto it? 

Ans. Avoiding all scholastical discourses, as unsuited to 
the work of this day, 1 shall briefly give in unto you, how 


this is a sinful thing, yet sinners given up unto it, without 
the least extenuation of their guilt, or colour for charge on 
the justice and goodness of God. 

(1.) Then to give up men unto a thing in itself sinful, is 
no more, but so to dispose and order things, that sinners 
may exercise and draw out their sinful principles in such a 
way. This that the Lord doth, the Scripture is full of ex- 
amples, and hath testimonies innumerable. That herein 
the Holy One of Israel is no ways co-partner with the guilt 
of the sons of men, will appear by observing the difference 
of these several agents in these four things : 
[l.j The principle by which they work. 
[2.] The rule by which they proceed. 
[3.] The means which they use. 
[4.] The end at which they aim. 

[1.] The principle of operation in God is his own sove- 
reign will, and good pleasure. ' He doth whatsoever he pleas- 
eth;' Psal. cxv. 3. 'He saith his purpose shall stand, and 
he will do all his pleasure ;' Isa. xlvi. 10. * He hath mercy 
on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth ;' 
Rom.ix. 13. 'Giving no account of his matters;' Job.xxxiii. 
18. This our Saviour rendereth the only principle and rea- 
son of his hidden operations : ' O Father, so it seemed good 
in thy sight;' Matt. xi. 26. His sovereignty in doing what 
he will with his own, as the potter with his clay, is the rise 
of his operations. So that whatever he doth, 'who can say 
unto him, what doest thou?' Job ix. 12. 'Shall the thing- 
formed say unto him that formed it. Why hast thou made 
me thus?' Rom. ix. 20. And hence two things will follow : 

1st. That what he doth is just and righteous; for so must 
all acts of supreme and absolute dominion be. 

2dly. That he can be author of nothing, but what hath 
existence and being itself; for he works as the fountain of 
beings. This sin hath not. So that though every action, 
whether good or bad, receives its specification from the work- 
ing of providence, and to that is their existence, in their se- 
veral kinds, to be ascribed ; yet an evil action, in the evil- 
ness of it, depends not upon divine concourse and influence; 
for good and evil make not sundry kinds of actions, but 
only a distinction of a subject in respect of its adjuncts and 


But now the principle of operation in man is nature vi- 
tiated and corrupted : I say nature, not that he worketh 
naturally, being a free agent, but that these faculties, will, 
and understanding, which are the principles of operation, 
are in nature corrupted, and from thence can nothing flow 
but evil. ' An evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit. Men do 
not oather fiffs from thistles. A bitter fountain sends not 
forth sweet waters. Who can bring a clean thing out of an 
unclean?' If the fountain be poisoned, can the streams be 
wholesome ? What can you expect of light and truth from a 
mind possessed with vanity and darkness? what from a will 
averted from the chiefest good, and fixed upon present ap- 
pearances? what from a heart, the figment of whose imagi- 
nation is only evil? 

[2.] Consider the difleience in the rule of operation. 
Every thing that works hath a rule to woik by, this is called 
a law. In that thins which to man is sinful, God worketh 
as it is a thing only, man as it is a sinful thing. And how 
so? Why every one's sin is his aberration from his rule of 
operation or working. ' KfiagTaviiv is, ' aberrare k scopo :' 
to sin is, not to collime aright at the end proposed : y] a/nap- 
Tia iCFTlv i) avofiia, is a most exact definition of it ; irregu- 
larity is its form, if it may be said to have a form ; a priva- 
tion's form is deformity. Look then in any action, wherein 
an agent exorbitates from its rule, that is sin. Now what 
is God's rule in operation? His own infinite wise will alone : 
he takes neither motive, rise, nor occasion for any inteinal 
acts, from any thing without himself; ' he doth whatever he 
pleaseth;' Psal. cxv. 3. ' He worketh all things according 
to the counsel of his own will ;' Eph. i. 11. That is his own 
law of operation, and the rule of righteousness unto others: 
working them agreeably to his own will, which he always 
must do, he is free from the obliquity of any action. What 
now is the rule of the sons of men ? Why, the revealed will 
of God : ' Revealed things belong to us that we may do 
them ;' Deut. xxix. 29. God's revealed will is the rule of our 
walking, our working; whatever suits not, answers not this, 
is evil. ' Sin is the transgression of the law ;' 1 John iii. 4. 
Here then comes in the deformity, the obliquity, the ataxy 
of any thing ; God works, and man worketh ; those agents 
have several rules. God works according to his rule, hence 

VOL. XV. o 


the action is good, as an action ; man deviates from his rule, 
hence it is sinful in respect of ils qualifications and adjuncts. 
Man writes fair letters upon a wet paper, and they run all 
into one blot ; not the skill of the scribe, but the defect in 
the paper is the cause of the deformity. He that makes a 
lame horse go, is the cause of his going ; but the defect in 
his joints, is the cause of his going lame. The sun exhales 
a steam from the dunghill ; the sun is the cause of the ex- 
halation, but the dunghill of the unwholesome savour. The 
first cause is the proper cause of a thing's being, but the 
second of its being evil. 

[3.] Consider the several operations and actings of God 
and man: for instance, in a rebellious people's fighting 
against their helpers under him. 

Now the acts of God herein may be referred to six heads ; 

1st. A continuance of the creature's being and life : ' up- 
holding him by the word of his power,' Heb. i. 3. when he 
might take him off in a moment: 'Enduring them with much 
long-suffering,' Rom. ix. 22. when he might cut him off, as 
he did the opposers of Elijah, 'with fire from heaven;* 
2 Kings i. 12. 

2dly. A continuance of power of operation to them, when 
he could make their hands to wither like Jeroboam's, when 
they go about to strike ; 1 Kings xiii. 4. or their hearts to 
die within them like Nabal's, when they intend to be churl- 
ish ; 1 Sam. xxv. 37. But he raiseth them up, or makes 
them to stand, that they may oppose; Rom. ix. 11. 

3dly. Laying before them a suitable object for the draw- 
ing forth their corruption unto opposition, giving them such 
helpers as shall in many things cross their lusts, and exas- 
perate them thereunto ; as Elijah, a man of a fiery zeal, for 
a lukewarm Ahab. 

4thly. Withholding from them that effectual grace, by 
which alone that sin might be avoided ; a not actually keep- 
ing them from that sin, by the might of his Spirit and grace. 
That alone is effectual grace, which is actual. ' He suffers 
them to walk in their own ways.' 

And this the Lord may do, 

(1st.) In respect of them, judicially ; they deserve to be 
forsaken. Ahab is left to fill up the measure of his iniqui- 
ties, ' add iniquity to iniquity;' Psal. Ixix. 27. 


(2dly.) In respect of himself, by way of sovereignty, 
doino what he will with his own, ' hardening whom he will ;' 
Rom. ix. 15. 

Sthly. He positively sends upon their understandings 
that, which the Scripture sets out under the terms of blind- 
ness, darkness, folly, delusion, slumber, a spirit of giddiness, 
and the like : the places are too many to rehearse. What 
secret actings in, and upon, the minds of men ; what disturb- 
ing of their advices, what mingling of corrupt affections with 
false, carnal reasonings, what givings up to the power of 
darkness, in Satan the prince thereof, this judicial act doth 
contain, I cannot insist upon ; let it suffice, God will not 
help them to discern, yea, he will cause that they shall not 
discern, but hide from their eyes the things that concern 
their peace, and so give them up to contend with their only 

6thly. Suitably upon the will and affections he hath se- 
veral acts, obfirming the one in corruption, and giving up 
the other to vileness, Rom. i. 24. 26. until the heart become 
thoroughly hardened, and the conscience seared ; not forc- 
ing the one, but leaving it to follow the judgment of prac- 
tical reason, which being a blind, yea, a blinded guide, whi- 
ther can it lead a blind follower, but into the ditch ? not 
defiling the other with infused sensuality, but provoking 
them to act according to inbred, native corruption, and by 
suffering frequent vile actings to confirm them in ways of 

Take an instance of the whole : God gives helpers and 
deliverers to a sinful people, because of their provocations, 
some or all of them shall not taste of the deliverance, by 
them to be procured : wherefore, though he sustains their 
lives in being, whereby they might have opportunity to know 
his mind, and their own peace ; yet he gives them a power 
to contend with their helpers, causing their helpers to act 
such things, as under consideration of circumstances, shall 
exceedingly provoke these sinners : being so exasperated 
and provoked, the Lord, who is free in all his dispensations, 
refuseth to make out to them that healing grace, whereby 
they might be kept from a sinful opposition; yea, being 
justly provoked, and resolved that they should not taste 
of the plenty to come, he makes them foolish and giddy 

o 2 


in their reasonintrs and counsels, blinds them in their under- 
standings, that they shall not be able to discern plain and 
evident things, tending to their own good, but in all their 
ways shall err like a drunken man in his vomit 5 whence 
that they may not be recovered, because he will destroy them, 
he gives in hardness and obstinacy' upon their hearts and 
spirits, leaving them to suitable affections, to contend for 
their own ruin. 

Now what are the ways and methods of sinful man's 
working in such opposition, would be too long for me to 
declare; what prejudices are erected, what lusts pursued, 
what corrupt interests acted, and followed ; how self is ho- 
noured, what false pretences coined, how God is slighted, if 
I should go about to lay open, I must look into the hell of 
these times, than which nothing can be more loathsome and 
abominable. Let it suffice, that sinful self, sinful lusts, sin- 
ful prejudices, sinful blindness, sinful carnal fears, sinful 
corrupt interests, sinful fleshly reasonings, sinful passions, 
and vile affections do all concur in such a work, are all woven 
up together in such a web. 

[4.] See the distance of their aims. God's aim is only 
the manifestation of his own glory (than which nothing but 
himself is so infinitely good, nothing so righteous that it 
should be), and this by the way of goodness and severity; 
Rom. xi. 22. Goodness in faithfulness and mercy, preserv- 
ing his who are opposed, whereby his glory is exceedingly 
advanced ; severity towards the opposers, that by a sinful 
cursed opposition they may fill up the measure of their ini- 
quities, and receive this at the hand of the Lord, that they 
lie down in sorrow, wherein also he is glorious. 

God forbid that I should speak this of all, that for any 
time, or under any temptation, may be carried to an opposi- 
tion in any kind, or degree, to the instruments of God's 
glory amongst them. Many for a season may do it, and yet 
belong to God, who shall be recovered in due time. It is 
only of men given up, forsaken, opposing all the appearances 
of God with his saints and people in all his ways, of whom 
I speak. 

Now what are the ends of this generation of fighters 
against this brazen wall, and how distant from those of the 
Lord's ? • They consult to cast him down from his excellency. 


whom God will exalt ;' Psal. Ixii. 4. ' They think not as the 
Lord, neither doth their heart mean so, but it is in their 
heart to destroy and to cut off;' Isa. x. 7. To satisfy their 
own corrupt lusts, ambition, avarice, revenge, superstition, 
contempt of God's people, because his, hatred of the yoke 
of the Lord, fleshly interests, even for these, and such-like 
ends as these, is their undertaking. 

Thus though there be a concurrence of God and man in 
the same thing, yet considering the distance of their prin- 
ciples, rules, actings, and ends, it is apparent that man doth 
sinfully, what the Lord doth judicially ; which being an an- 
swer to the former objection, I return to give in some uses 
to the point. 

Use I. Let men, constant, sincere, upright in the ways of 
God, especially in difficult times, know what they are to ex- 
pect from many, yea, the most of the generation, whose good 
they intend, and among whom they live ; opposition and fight- 
ing is like to be their lot ; and that not only it will be so be- 
cause of men's lusts, corruptions, prejudices ; but also it shall 
be so, from God's righteous judgments against a stubborn peo- 
ple; they harden their hearts that it may be so, to compass 
their ends ; and God hardens their hearts that it shall be so 
to bring about his aims ; they will do it to execute their re- 
venge upon others, they shall do it to execute God's ven- 
geance upon themselves. This may be for consolation, that 
in their contending there is nothing but the wrath of man 
against them, whom they oppose (which God will restrain, or 
cause it to turn to his praise) but there is the wrath of God 
against themselves, which who can bear? This then let all 
expect, who engage their hearts to God, and follow the 
Lamb whither he goeth. 

Men walking in the sincerity of their hearts are very apt 
to conceive that all sheaves should bow to theirs, that all 
men should cry, ' grace, grace,' to their proceedings. Why 
should any oppose ? * Quid raeruere ?' Alas ! the more up- 
right they are, the fitter for the Lord by them to break a 
gainsaying people. Let men keep close to those ways of 
God whereto protection is annexed, and let not their hearts 
fail them because of the people of the land ; the storm of 
their fury will be like the plague of hail in Egypt, it smote 
only the cattle that were in the field ; those, who upon the 


word of Moses drove them into the houses, preserved them 
alive. If men wander in the field of their own ways, of self- 
seeking, oppression, ambition, and the like, doubtless the 
storm will carry them away ; but for those who keep house, 
who keep close to the Lord, though it may have much noise, 
terror, and dread with it, it shall not come nigh them. And 
if the Lord for causes best known, known only to his infi- 
nite wisdom, should take off any Josiahsin the opposition, 
he will certainly effect two things by it. 

(L) To give them rest and peace. 

(2.) Further his cause and truth, by drawing out the 
prayers and appeals of the residue, and this living they valued 
above their lives. 

All you then that are the Lord's workmen, be always pre- 
pared for a storm ; wonder not that men see not the ways of 
the Lord, nor the judgments of our God, many are blinded. 
Admire not that they will so endlessly engage themselves 
into fruitless oppositions ; they are hardened. Be not 
amazed that evidence of truth and righteousness will not af- 
fect them; they are corrupted. But this do ; 'Come and 
enter into the chambers of God, and you shall be safe until 
this whole indignation be overpast.' I speak of all them, 
and only them who follow the Lord in all his ways with up- 
right hearts, and single minds, if the Lord will have you to 
be a rock and a brazen wall for men to dash themselves 
against, and to break in pieces, though the service be 
grievous to flesh and blood, yet it is his, whose you are; be 
prepared, the wind blows, a storm may come. 

Use 2. Let men set upon opposition make a diligent 
inquiry, whether there be no hand in the business, but their 
own ? whether their counsels be not leavened with the wrath 
of God, and their thoughts mixed with a spirit of giddiness, 
and themselves carried on to their own destruction ? Let 
me see the opposer of the present ways of God, who, upon 
his opposition is made more humble, more self-denying, 
more empty of self-wisdom, more fervent in supplications 
and waiting upon God, than formerly ; and I will certainly 
blot him out of the roll of men judicially hardened. But 
if therewith men become also proud, selfish, carnally wise, 
revengeful, furious upon earthly interests, full, impatient ; 
doubtless God is departed, and an evil spirit from the Lord 


prevaileth on them. O that men would look about them 
before it be too late, see the Lord disturbing them, before 
the waves return upon them ; know that they may pull down 
some antics that make a great shew of supporting the church, 
and yet indeed are pargetted posts supported by it ! The 
foundation is on a rock that shall not be prevailed against. 

Use 3. See the infinite wisdom and sovereignty of Al- 
mighty God, that is able to bring light out of darkness, and 
to compass his own righteous judgments by the sinful ad- 
visings and undertakings of men. Indeed the Lord's sove- 
reignty and dominion over the creature, doth not in any 
thing more exalt itself, than in working in all the reasonings, 
debates, consultations of men, to bring about his own coun- 
sels, through their free workings. That men should use, 
improve their wisdom, freedom, choice; yea, lusts, not once 
thinking of God ; yet all that while do his work more than 
their own ; * This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in 
our eyes.' 

Of the last part of ray text I shall not speak at all, nei- 
ther indeed did I intend. 






The times are busy, and we must be brief. Prefaces for 
the most part are at all times needless, in these troublesome. 
Mine shall only be, that avtv Trpoojjuiwv koI ira^tov, * without 
either preface or solemnity,' I will fall to the business in 
hand. The thing about which I am to deal, is commonly 
called, Toleration in religion, or toleration of several reli- 
gions. The way wherein I shall proceed, is not by contest, 
thereby to give occasion for the reciprocation of a saw of 
debate with any; but by the laying down of such positive 
observations, as being either not apprehended, or not rightly 
improved, by the most, yet lie at the bottom of the whole 
difference between men about this business, and tend in 
themselves to give light unto a righteous and equitable de- 
termination of the main thing contended about. And lastly, 
herein for method I shall first consider the grounds upon 
which that non-toleration, whereunto I cannot consent, had 
been, and is still endeavoured to be supported, which I shall 
be necessitated to remove. 

I. By considering the arguments brought from holy 

II. From some other general observations. And then 
in order 

III. I shall assert the positive truth, as to the substance 
of the business under contest. 

All in these ensuing observations. 

I. As to the first of these, 

1. Although the expressions of toleration, and non-tole- 
ration, wherewith the thing in controversy is vested, do seem 
to cast the affirmative upon them who plead for a forbear- 


ance in things of religion towards dissenting persons, yet 
the truth is, they are purely upon the negation, and the af- 
firmative lies fully on the other part ; and so the weight of 
proving, which ofttimes is heavy, lies on their shoulders. 
Though non-toleration sound like a negation, yet punishment 
(which terms in this matter are tcroSuva/iouvTa) is a deep af- 
firmation. And therefore it sufficeth not men to say, that 
they have consulted the mind of God, and cannot find that 
he ever spake to any of his saints or people to establish a 
toleration of error. And yet this is the first argument to 
oppose it, produced in the late testimony of the reverend 
and learned assembly of the church of Scotland. Affirma- 
tive precepts must be produced for a non-toleration, that is, 
the punishing of erring persons. For actings of such high 
concernment, men do generally desire a better warrant than 
this : there is nolhino; in the word aoainst them. Clear light 
is needful for men, who walk in paths which lead directly to 
houses of blood. God hath not spoken of non-toleration, is 
a certain rule of forbearance. But God hath not spoken of 
toleration, is no rule of acting in opposition thereunto. 
What he hath spoken, one way or other, shall be afterward 
considered. Positive actings must have positive precepts, 
and rules for them, as conscience is its own guide. If then 
you will have persons deviating in their apprehensions from 
the truth of the gospel, civilly punished, you must bring 
better warrant than this, that God hath not spoken against 
it, or I shall not walk in your ways, but refrain my foot from 
your path. 

2. That undoubtedly there are very many tilings under 
the command of the Lord, so becoming our duty, and within 
his promise, so made our privilege, which yet if not performed, 
or not enjoyed, are not of human cognizance, as faith itself. 
Yet because the knowledge of the truth is in that rank of 
things, this also is urged as of weight, by the same learned 
persons, to the business in hand. 

3. Errors, though never so impious, are yet distinguished 
from peace-disturbing enormities. If opinions in their own 
nature tend to the disturbance of the public peace, either 
that public tranquillity is not of God, or God alloweth a 
penal restraint of those opinions. It is a mistake to affirm, 
that those who plead for toleration, do allow of punishment 
for offences against the second table, not against the first. 


The case is the same both in respect of the one, and the 
other. What offences against the second table are punish- 
able? Doubtless not all ; but only such, as by a disorderly 
eruption, pervert the course of public quiet and society. 
Yea, none but such fall under human cognizance. The 
warrant of exercising vindictive power amongst men, is 
from the reference of offences to their common tranquillity. 
' Delicta puniri publice interest.' Where punishment is the 
debt, ' Bonum totius' is the creditor to exact it. And this 
is allowed, as to the offences against the first table. If any 
of them in their own nature (not some men's apprehensions) 
are disturbances of public peace, they also are punishable. 
Only let not this be measured by disputable consequences, 
no more than the other are. Let the evidence be in the 
things themselves, and * Actum est,' let who will plead for 
them. Hence 

Popish religion, warming in its very bowels a fatal engine 
against all magistracy amongst us, cannot upon our conces- 
sions plead for forbearance ; it being a known and received 
maxim, that the gospel of Christ clashes against no righteous 
ordinance of man. 

And let this be spoken to the third argument of the fore- 
named reverend persons, from the analogy of delinquencies 
against the first and second table. 

4. The plea for the punishment of erring persons from 
the penal constitution under the Old Testament against ido- 
laters (which in the next place is urged), seems not very firm 
and convincing. The vast distance that is between idolatry, 
and any errors whatsoever, as merely such, however propa- 
gated or maintained with obstinacy, much impaireth the 
strength of this argumentation. 

Idolatry is the yielding unto a creature the service and 
worship due to the Creator. Reinold. de. Idol. lib. 2. cap. 1. 
sect. 1. ' Idololatria est circa omne idolum famulatus etser- 
vitus.' Tertul. de Pol. ' the attendance and service of any idol.' 
' Idololatrse dicuntur qui simulachriseam servitutem exhi- 
bent, quae debetur Deo.' August, lib. 1. de Trinit. cap. 6. 
' They are idolaters who give that service to idols which is 
due unto God.' To render glory to the creature, as to God, 
is idolatry, say the Papists* Bell, de Eccles. Triump. lib. 2. 
cap. 24. Greg, de Valen. de Idol. lib. 1. cap. 1. Suitable 
to the description of it given by the apostle, Rom. i. 25. 


plainly, that whereunto the sanction under debate was added, 
as the bond of the law against it (which was the bottom of 
the commendable proceedings of divers kings of Judah 
against such), was a voluntary relinquishment of Jehovah 
revealed unto them, to give the honour due unto him, to 
dunghill idols. Now though error and ignorance ofttimes 
lie at the bottom of this abomination, yet error properly so 
called, and which under the name of heresy is opposed, is 
sufficiently differenced therefrom. That common definition 
of heresy, that it is an error, or errors, in or about the fun- 
damentals of relioion, maintained with stubbornness and 
pertinacy after conviction (for the main received by most 
Protestant divines), will be no way suited unto that, which 
was before given of idolatry, and is as commonly received, 
being indeed much more clear, as shall be afterward declared. 
That this latter is proper and suitable to those scriptural 
descriptions, which we have of heresy, I dare not assert ; 
but being received by them who urge the punishment 
thereof, it may be a sufficient ground of affirming, that those 
things whose definitions are so extremely different, are also 
very distant and discrepant in themselves, and therefore con- 
stitutions for the disposal of things concerning the one, can- 
not * eo nomine' conclude the other. Neither is the inference 
any stronger, than that a man may be hanged for coveting, 
because he may be so for murdering. 

The penal constitutions of the Judaical policy (for so 
they were, which yet I urge not), concerning idolaters, must 
be stretched beyond their limits, if you intend to inwrap 
heretics within their verge. If heretics be also idolaters, 
as the Papists (the poor Indians who worship a piece of red 
cloth, the Egyptians who adored the deities which grew in 
their own gardens, being not more besotted with this abomi- 
nation than they, who prostrate their souls unto, and lavish 
their devotion upon a piece of bread, a little before they pre- 
pare it for the draught, so casting the stumbling block of 
their iniquities before the faces of poor heathens and Jews, 
causing Averroes to breathe out his soul, in this expression 
of that scandal, * Quoniara Christiani manducant Deum quem 
adorant, sit anima mea cum Philosophis), I say then, the 
case seems to me to have received so considerable an altera- 
tion, that the plea of forbearance is extremely weakened, as 


to my present apprehension. However, for the present, I 
remove such from this debate. 

5. The like to this also may be said concerning blasphemy, 
the law whereof is likewise commonly urged in this cause. 
The establishment for the punishment of a blasphemer is in 
Lev. xxiv. 16. Given it was upon the occasion of the blas- 
pheming and cursing of the son of an Egyptian, upon his 
striving and contending with an Israelite. Being, probably, 
in his own apprehension, wronged by his adversary, he fell 
to reviling his God. The word here used to express his sin, 
is 3p3 signifying also to pierce, and is twice so rendered, 
Isa. xxxvi. 6. Hab. iii. 14. Desperate expressions ! piercing 
the honour and glory of the Most High, willingly and wil- 
fully, were doubtless his death-deserving crime. It is the 
same word that Balak used to Balaam, when he would have 
persuaded him to a deliberate cursing and pouring out of the 
imprecations on the people of God; Numb, xxiii. 13, 14. 
A resolved piercing of the name and glory of God, with 
cursed reproaches, is the crime here sentenced to death. 
The schoolmen tells us, that to complete blasphemy, the 
perverse affection of the heart, in detestation of the goodness 
of God, joined with the reproaches of his name, is required. p 
Which how remote it is from error of any sort (I mean within 
the compass of them whereof we speak), being a pure misap- 
prehension of the understanding, embraced (though falsely), 
for the honour of God, I suppose is easily conceived ; and so 
consequently that the argument for the death of a person 
erring, because he came off no easier of old who blasphemed, 
is a * baculo ad angulum.' 

If any shall say that blasphemy is of a larger extent, and 
more general acceptation in the Scripture, I shall not deny 
it. But yet that that kind of blasphemy which was punish- 
able with violent death, was comprehensive of any inferior 
crime, I suppose cannot be proved. However, blasphemy 
in the Scripture is never taken in any place, that I can re- 
member, for a man's maintaining his own error; but for bis 
revilino-, and speaking evil of the truth, which he receiveth 
not: and so Paul before his conversion was a blasphemer.'' 
Now if men, to whom forbearance is indulged in by-paths 

p Thom. 22aB. g. 13. a 1. ad lum. 
1 Actsxviii. 6. xxvi. 11. 1 Tim. i. IS. 


of their own, shall make it their work to cast dirt on the 
better ways of truth, it is to me very questionable whether 
they do not offend against that prime dictate of nature, for 
the preservation of human society, ' Quod tibi fieri non vis, 
alteri ne feceris :' and for such I will be no advocate. Neither 
can indeed the law of blasphemy be impartially urged by us 
in any case of heresy whatsoever. For, 

(1.) The penal sanctions of the laws of God are not in 
England esteemed of moral equity, and perpetually indispen- 
sable : for if so, why do adulterers unmolested behold the 
violent death of stealers? 

(.2.) The blasphemer by that law was not allowed his 
clergy : die he must without mercy, no room being left for 
the intervention of repentance, as to the removal of his tem- 
poral punishment: when once the witnesses garments were 
rent he was anathema. But in case of any heresy repent- 
ance, yea, recantation is a sure antidote (at least for once, 
so it is among the Papists) against all corporal sufferings. 

6. Neither doth that place in Zechariah, chap. xiii. 3. con- 
cerning the running through of the false prophet, more prove 
or approve of the punishment of death to be inflicted for 
misapprehensions in the matters of religion (and if it proves 
not that, it proveth nothing; for slaying is the thing ex- 
pressed, and certainly if proofs be taken from the letter, the 
letter must be obeyed, or we force the word to serve our 
hypothesis) than that place of John x, 1. 'He that entereth 
not by the door is a thief and a robber;' which Bellarmine 
strongly urgeth to this very purpose, because thieves and 
robbers are so dealt withal righteously/ If such deduc- 
tions may be allowed, it will be easy to prove 'quidlibet ex 
quolibet,' at any time. 

If the letter be urged, and the sense of the letter as it 
lies (indeed the figurative sense of such places is the pro- 
per, literal sense of them) let that sense alone be kept to. 
Let parents then pass sentence, condemn, and execute their 
children, when they turn seducers; and that in any kind 
whatsoever, into what seduction soever they shall be en- 

f Bill. lib. deLaicis. cap. 21. 
» August, de util. credcn. csp. 3. Tlioiii. j)p. q. 1 a. 10. Zanch. de SS. q. 13. 
cap. '2. reg. 10. Tilen. Syiitag. Tiieol. de interpret. S. thes. 8. Wliitak. de SS. qu. 5. 
cap. 2. Ariuin. disput, pri. Tlics. y. 1. Ames. Med. Theol. cap. 34. Tlies. 22. 


gaged, be it most pernicious, or in things of less concern- 
ment. The letter allows of none of our distinctions ; be 
they convinced, or not convinced ; obstinate, or not obsti- 
nate, all is one ; so it must be, thrust through, and slain by 
their parents, must they fall to the ground. Only observe, 
his father and his mother that begat him must be made 
magistrates, prophets with unclean spirits be turned into 
heretics, only thrusting through, that must be as it is in the 
letter ; yea, though plainly the party, of whom it is said, 
*Thou shalt not live,' ver. 3. is found alive, ver. 6. Surely 
such an Orlean's gloss is scarce sufficient to secure a con- 
science in slaying heretics. But when men please, this whole 
place shall directly point at the discipline of the churches, and 
their spiritual censures under the gospel, curing deceivers, and 
bringing them home to confession and acknowledgment of 
their folly. See the late Annot. of the Bible. 

7. From the asserting of the authority and description 
of the duty of the magistrate, Rom. xiii. the argument is 
very easy that is produced for the suppressing, by external 
force, of erroneous persons. The paralogism is so foul and 
notorious, in this arguing. He is to suppress evil deeds ; he- 
resy is an evil deed, therefore that also, that it needs no con- 
futation. That he is to punish all evil deeds was never yet 
affirmed. Unbelief is a work of the flesh, so is coveting ; 
one the root sin, against the first, the other against the se- 
cond table; yet in themselves both exempted from the ma- 
gistrate's cognizance and jurisdiction. The evil doers, doubt- 
less, for whose terror and punishment he is appointed, are 
such as by their deeds disturb that human society, the de- 
fence and protection whereof is to him committed. That 
among the number of these are errors, the depravations of 
men's understandings, hath not yet been proved. 

8. The case of the seducer, from Deut. xiii. is urged with 
more shew of reason than any of the others, to the business 
in hand ; but yet the extreme discrepancies between the 
proof, and the thing intended to be proved, make any argu- 
mentation from this place, as to the matter in hand, very in- 
tricate, obscure, and difficult. For, 

(1.) The person here spoken of pretends an immediate 
revelation from heaven : he pretends dreams, and gives signs 
and wonders, ver. 1. and so exempts his spirit from any re- 


gular trial. Heretics, for the most part, offer to be tried by 
the rule that is in ' medio,' acknowledged of all ; a few dis- 
tempered enthusiasts excepted. 

(2.) His business is to entice from the worship of Je- 
hovah, not in respect of the manner, but the object, ver. 5. 
All heretics pretend the fear of that great name. 

(3.) The accepting and owning idol, dunghill gods in his 
room, is the thing persuaded to, ver. 2. (and those were 
only stocks and stones) and this in opposition to Jehovah, 
who had revealed himself by Moses. Heretics worship 
him, own him, and abhor all thoughts of turning away 
from following after him, according to their erroneous 
apprehensions. Manichees, Marcionites, Valentinians, and 
such like names of infidels, I reckon not among heretics; 
neither will their brainsick paganish follies be possibly com- 
prehended under that definition of heresy, which is now ge- 
nerally received. Mahometans are far more rightly termed 
heretics, than they. 

(4.) This seducer was to die without mercy. And Ains- 
worth observes from the rabbins, that this offender alone 
had traps laid to catch him; and were he but once overheard 
to whisper his seduction, though never so secretly, there was 
no expiation of his transgression, without his own blood : 
but now this place is urged for all kind of restraint and pu- 
nishment ^whatsoever. Now where God requires blood, is 
it allowed to man to commute at an inferior rate ? So I con- 
fess it is urged. But yet what lies at the bottom, in the 
chambers of their bellies, who plead for the power of the 
magistrate to punish erring persons, from those, and such 
like places as these, is too apparent. Blood is there : swiftly 
or slowly they walk to the chambers of death. 

(5.) Obstinacy after conviction, turbulency, &.c. which 
are now laid down as the main weights that turn the scale 
on the side of severity, are here not once mentioned, nor by 
any thing in the least intimated. If he have done it, yea, but 
once, openly, or secretly, whether he have been convinced 
of the sinfulness of it or no, be he obstinate, or otherwise, 
it is not once inquired, die he must, as if he had committed 
murder, or the like indispensable death-procuring crime. 
If the punishment then of erring persons be urged from this 
place, all consideration of their conviction, obstinacy, per- 


tinacy, must be laid aside : the text allows them no more 
plea in this business, than our law doth in the case of wil- 
ful murder. 

(6.) Repentance and recantation will, in the judgment 
of all, reprieve an erring person from any sentence of any 
punishment corporal whatsoever; and many reasons may be 
given, why they should so do. Here is no such allowance. 
Repent, or not repent ; recant, or not recant ; he hath no sa- 
crifice of expiation provided for him, die he must. 

(7.) The law contains the sanction of the third command- 
ment, as the whole was a rule of the Jewish polity in the land 
of Canaan. This amongst us is generally conceived not 
binding, as such. 

(8.) The formal reason of this law by some insisted on : 
because he sought to turn a man from Jehovah. 

[1.] Is offeree only in this case of the object whereunto 
seduction tends, viz. strange gods, and no other. 

[2.] Turning from Jehovah respects not any manner of 
backsliding in respect of the way of worship, but a falling 
away from him as the object of worship. 

Now there being these and many other discrepancies 
hindering the cases proposed from running parallel, I profess, 
for my part, I cannot see how any such evident deductions 
can possibly be drawn from hence, as to be made a bottom 
of practice and acting in things of so high concernment. 
What may be allowed from the equity of those and the like 
constitutions, and deduced by analogy and proportion to the 
business in hand, I shall afterward declare. 

II. The sum of what is usually drawn from holy writ, 
against such forbearance, as I suppose may be asserted, and 
for the punishing heretics with capital punishments being 
briefly discussed ; I proceed, in the next place, to such other 
general observations as may serve to the farther clearing of 
the business in hand, and they are these that follow. 

The forbearance of, or opposition unto, errors, may be 
considered with respect either unto civil, or spiritual ju- 

First, For the latter, it is either personal, or ecclesiasti- 
cal, properly so called. Personal forbearance of errors, in 
a spiritual sense, is a moral toleration or approbation of 
them ; so also is ecclesiastical. The warrant for precedence 


against them, on that hand is plain and evident : certainly 
this way no error is to be forborne. All persons, who have 
any interest and share in truth, are obliged in their several 
ways and stations to an opposition unto every error. An 
opposition to be carried on by gospel mediums, and spiritual 
weapons. Let them, according as they are called or oppor- 
tuned, disprove them from the word, * contending earnestly 
for the faith once delivered unto the saints.' Erring per- 
sons are usually * bono animo,' says Salvian, very zealous 
to propagate their false conceptions ; and shall the children 
of truth be backward in her defence? Precepts unto this as 
a duty, commendations of it, encouragements unto it, are 
very frequent in the gospel. Alike is this duty incumbent 
on all churches walking to the rule. The spiritual sword of 
discipline maybe lawfully sheathed in the blood of heresies. 
No spiritual remedy can be too sharp for a spiritual disease. 
When the cure is suited to the malady, there is no danger 
of the application. And this is not denied by any. He that 
submits himself to any church society, does it *ea lege,' of 
being obedient to the authority of Christ in that church, 
in all its censures. ' Volenti non fit injuria.' Error is of- 
fensive, and must be proceeded against. Examples and 
precepts of this abound in the Scriptures. The blood of 
many erring persons, I doubt not, will one day have a ' Quo 
warranto' granted them, against their (as to the particulars 
in debate) orthodox slayers, who did it to promote the ser- 
vice of God. Let them not fear an after reckoning, who 
use the discipline of Christ, according to his appointment. 

This being considered, the occasion of a most frequent 
paralogism is removed. If errors must be tolerated, say 
some, then men may do what they please, without control. 
No means, it seems, must be used to reclaim them. But is 
gospel conviction no means? Hath the sword of discipline 
no edge? Is there no means of instruction in the New Testa- 
ment established, but a prison and a halter? Are the ham- 
mer of the word, and the sword of the Spirit, which in days 
of old broke the stubbornest mountains, and overcame the 
proudest nations, now quite useless? God forbid! Were 
the churches of Christ established according to his appoint- 
ment, and the professors of the truth so knit up 'in the 
unity of the spirit and bond of peace,' as they ought to be, 



and were in the primitive times; I am persuaded those de- 
spised instruments would quickly make the proudest heretic 
to tremble. When the churches walked in sweet communion, 
giving each other continual account of their affairs, and 
warning each other of all, or any such persons, as either in 
practice, or doctrine, walked not with a right foot (as we 
have examples in Clem. Epist. ad Corinth, the churches of 
Vienna and Lyons to those of Asia, Euseb. of Ignatius to 
several persons and churches, of Irenaeus to Victor. Euseb. 
Dionysius to Stephen, ibid, and the like), heretics found 
such cold entertainment, as made them ashamed, if not 
weary of their chosen wanderings. But this is not my pre- 
sent business. 

Secondly, There is an opposition, or forbearance, in re- 
ference to a civil judicature, and procedence of things, 
which respecteth errors in a real sense, as to the inflicting, 
or not inflicting of punishment on religious delinquents. 
And this is the sole thing under debate, viz. 

Whether persons enjoying civil authority over others, 
being intrusted therewithal, according to the constitutions 
of the place and nation, where the lot of them both, by pro- 
vidence is fallen, are invested with power from above, and 
commanded in the word of God, to coerce, restrain, punish, 
confine, imprison, banish, hang, or burn, such of those per- 
sons under their jurisdiction, as shall not embrace, profess, 
believe, and practise that truth and way of worship which 
is revealed unto them of God : or how far, into what degrees, 
by what means in any of these ways may they proceed ? 

The general propositions and considerations of the penal 
laws of God, which were before laid down, have, as I sup- 
pose, left this business to a naked debate from the word of 
truth, without any such prejudices on either part, as many 
take from a misapprehension of the mind of God in them ; 
and therefore, by the reader's patience, I shall venture upon 
the whole anew, as if no such arguments had ever been pro- 
posed for the affirmative of the question in hand, not de- 
clining the utmost weight that is in any of them, according 
to equity and due proportion. And here first I shall give 
in a few things, 

(1.) To the question itself. 

(2.) To the manner of handling it. 


(1.) To the question itself. For lierein I suppose, 
[1.] That the persons enjoying authority do also enjoy 
the truth, which is to the advantage of the aflBrmative. 

[2.] That their power in civil things is just and unques- 
tionable, which also looks favourably on that side. 

[3.] That non-toleration makes out itself in positive in- 
fliction of punishment; which is so, or is nothing. Casting 
men out of protection, exposing them to vulgar violence, is 
confessedly unworthy of men representing the authority of 
God, and contrary to the whole end of their trust. 

(2.) To the manner of handling this question among per- 
sons at variance. And here I cannot but observe, 

[1.] That if I have taken my aim aright, there is no one 
thing under debate amongst Christians, that is agitated with 
more confidence, and mutual animosity of the parties liti- 
gant ; each charging other with dreadful inferences, streams 
of blood, and dishonour to God, flowing out from tiieir 
several persuasions. So that ofttimes instead of a fair dis- 
pute, you meet on this subject with a pathetical outcry, as 
though all religion were utterly contaminated and trampled 
under foot, if both these contradictory assertions be not era- 
braced. Now seeing that in itself it is a thing wherein the 
gospel is exceedingly sparing, if not altogether silent, cer- 
tainly there must be a farther interest than of judgment 
alone, or else that very much prejudicated with corrupt 
affections, or men could not possibly be carried out with so 
much violence, upon supposed self-created consequences, 
wherewith in this cause they urge one another. 

[2.] That generally thus much of private interest ap- 
pears in the several contesters, that non-toleration is the 
opinion of the many, and these enjoining the countenance 
of authority ; toleration of the oppressed, who always "o 
under the name of the faction, or factions, the unavoidable 
livery of the smaller number professing away of worship by 
themselves, be it right or wrong. 1 do not desire to lay 
forth the usual deportment of men, seeking the suppressing 
of others differing from them, towards those in authority. 
It is but too clearly made out by daily experience. If they 
close with them, they are ' custodes utriusque tabulae,' the 
chnrches nursing fathers, &c. what they please; but if they 

p 2 


draw back, for want of light or truth, to serve them, logs 
and storks find not worse entertainment from frogs, than 
they from some of them. Such things as these may, nay 
ought to be, especially heeded by every one, that knows 
what influence corrupt affections have upon the judgments 
of men, and would willingly take the pains to wipe his eyes 
for the discerning of the truth. 

These things premised, I assert, that 

Non-toleration in the latitude, which is for persons in 
authority enjoying the truth (or supposing they do enjoy it) 
to punish in an arbitrary way, according to what they shall 
conceive to be condign, men, who will not forsake their own 
convictions, about any head or heads of Christian religion 
whatsoever, to join with what they hold out, either for be- 
lief or worship, after the using of such ways of persuasion 
as they shall think fit, is no way warranted in the gospel ; 
nor can any soundproof for such a course be taken from the 
Old Testament. 

The testimonies out of the law, which 1 can apprehend 
to have any colour or appearance of strength in them, with 
the examples approved of God, that seem to look this way, 
1 considered at our entrance into this discourse. 

I speak of punishing in an arbitrary way, for all instances 
produced to the purpose in hand, that speak of any punish- 
ment, mention nothing under death itself; which yet, at 
least in the first place, is not aimed at by those that use 
them in our days, as I suppose. Now some divines of no 
small name, maintain, that God hath not left the imposition 
of punishment in any measure to the wills of men. 

Some arguments for the proof of the former assertion as 
laid down, I shall in due place make use of; for the present, 
I desire to commend to the serious pondering of all Chris- 
tians in general, especially of those in authority, these en- 
suing considerations. 

1. That it is no privilege of truth to furnish its assertors 
with this persuasion, that the dissenters from it ought forci- 
bly to be opposed, restrained, puiiished. 

No false religion ever yet in the world did enthrone itself 
in the minds of men, enjoining a civil sovereignty over the 
persons of others, but it therewithal commanded them, 


under pain of neglect and contempt of itself, to crush any 
underling worship that would perk up in inferior con- 

The old heathens carried their gods into the war (as did 
the Philistines, 1 Chron. xiv. 12. and the Israelites the ark 
with heathenish superstition, 1 Sam. iv. 3.) to whom they 
ascribed the success they obtained; and in requital of their 
kindness, they forced the dunghill deities of the conquered 
nations, to attend the triumph of their victorious idols ; and 
unless they adopted them into the number of their own gods, 
all farther worship to them was forbidden. Hence were 
these inventions among the old Romans, by spells and en- 
chantments to entice away a deity from any city they be- 
sieged (they being as expert at the getting of a devil, as To- 
bias's Raphael, or the present Romanists at his fumigation) 
by which means they shrived into the honour of having 
thirty thousand unconquered idols,' and deserved worthily 
that ciiange of their city's epithet, from liriTOfxri oiKovfjivrig, 
to fTTtrojUTj Sfto-zSaijuovtac, which it justly inheriteth to this 
very day. Rabshakeh's provocation to the example of the 
gods of the nations, 2 Kings xviii. 33, 34. and the Roman 
senate's consultation concerning the admitting of Christ to 
a place among their idols, that he might have been freely 
worshipped (their consent being prevented, by his almighty 
providence, who will not be enrolled among the vilest works 
of his most corrupted creatures) do both declare this thing. 

Now not to speak of Cain, who seems to me to have laid 
the foundation of that cruelty, which was afterward inserted 
into the church's orthodoxies, by the name of Hsereticidium ; 
we find the four famous empires of the world to have drank 
in this persuasion to the utmost, of suppressing all by force 
and violence, that consented not to them in their way of 

Nebuchadnezzar, the * crown of the golden head,' set up 
a furnace with an image ; and a negative answer to that 
query, Do you not serve my gods, nor worship my image ? 
served to cast the servants of the living God into the midst 
of the fire; Dan.iii. 

Daniel's casting into the lion's den, chap. vi. shews that 

' Varro in Augustiii. de civit. Dei. 


the Persian silver breast and arms, did not want iron hands, 
to crush or break the opposers of, or dissenters from, their 
religious edicts. 

And though we find not much of the short-lived founder 
of the Grecian dominion ; yet what was the practice of the 
branches of that empire, especially in the Syrian and Egyp- 
tian sprouts, the books of the Maccabees, Josephus, and 
others do abundantly manifest. 

For the Romans, though their judgment and practice, 
which fully and wholly are given over from the dragon to 
the beast and false prophet, be written in the blood of thou- 
sands of Christians, and so not to be questioned; yet that 
it may appear, that we are not the only men in this genera- 
tion, that this wisdom of punishing dissenters was not born 
with us, I shall briefly give in what grounds they proceeded 
on, and the motives they had to proceed as they did. 

(1.) First then they enacted it as a law, that no religious 
worship should be admitted or practised without the con- 
sent, decree, and establishment of the senate. Mention is 
made of a formal law to this 'purpose in Tertullian, Apol. 
cap. 5. though now we find it not. The foundation of it 
was doubtless in that of the twelve tables ; ' Separatim nemo 
habessit Deos, neve novos, sed ne advenas, nisi publico as- 
citos, privatim colunto :' * Let none have gods to himself, 
neither let any privately worship new or strange deities, 
unless they be publicly owned and enrolled.' And that it 
was their practice, and in the counsels of the wisest amongst 
them, appears in that advice given by Maecenas to Augustus, 
in Dion Cassius : ' To fxlv ^HOviravTr] Travrwc civtoq tb ai[5ov 
Kara to. Trarpta, »cai roug aXXovg rifx^v avajKaZs' rovg St Brj ^evt- 
Z,ovTagTi irepi avro, koi fiicrei Kol koAq^e, firj juovov ruiv ^ewv evEKa, 
a)v KaTa<ppovr)(Tag owS' aXXow av Jivog jr^wTifAijcrHev, aXX' on 
Kaiva Tiva Baifiovia ot toiovtoi avTeiacjiipovTtg iroXkovg avaTrei- 
Oovcriv aWoTpiovofXHV' kok tovtov koi avvh)jxoaiai koi avaraaeig, 
(Tutpiai r£ yiyvovrai, airsp r^Kicfra iJ.ovap-\iq. avfi(j)ipei' ' Worship,' 
saith he, * the divine power thyself according to the constitu- 
tions of thy country, always, and at all times, and compel 
others so to honour it: but hate and punish those who in- 
troduce foreign religions, not only for the gods' sake, whom 
he who contemneth will regard nothing else, but because 


such, introducing new deities, do persuade many to trans- 
gress [or to change affairs], whence are conjurations, sedi- 
tions, private societies, things no way conducing to mo- 
narchy.' Hist. Rom. 1. 52. 

Hence doubtless was that opposition, which Paul met 
withal in divers of the Roman territories. Thus at Athens 
(though, as I suppose, they enjoyed there their own laws 
and customs, very suitable as it should seem to those of the 
Romans) preaching Jesus, he was accused to be * a setter 
forth of sti'ange gods ;' Acts xiv. For although, as Strabo 
observeth of the Athenians, that publicly by the authority of 
the magistrates, TroXXa twv ^bvikCov hpCjv iraptdi^avTOj ' they 
received many things of foreign worships ;' yet that none 
might attempt any such things of themselves, is notorious 
from the case of Socrates, who, as Laertes witnesseth, was 
condemned, as ovg filv vofxit^ei 3'touc V iroXig ov vojut^ovra, tre- 
pa^l Kaiva Sai/xovia eltrrjyovfxivov, ' one who thought not those 
to be gods, whom the city thought so to be, but brought in 
certain new deities.' Hence, I say, was Paul's opposition, 
and his haling to Mars hill. Without doubt also this was 
the bottom of that stir and trouble he met withal about Phi- 
lippi. It is true, private interest lay in the bottom with 
the chief opposers, but this legal constitution was that 
which was plausibly pretended. Acts xvi. 21. * They teach 
customs which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to ob- 
serve, being Romans :' ovk t^tari 'Pwiaaioig, ' it is not lawful 
for us Romans* to receive the religion they hold out, because 
statutes are made amongst us against all religious worship 
not allowed by public authority. Let Calvin's short annota- 
tion on that place be seen. Gallio's refusing to judge be- 
tween Jews (as he thought) in a Jewish controversy, is no 
impeachment of this truth : had it been about any Roman 
establishment, he would quickly have interposed. Now this 
law amongst them was doubtless, * fundi Christiani cala- 

This then in the first place was enacted, that no worship 
should be admitted, no religion exercised, but what received 
establishment and approbation from them, who supposed 
themselves to be intrusted with authority over men in such 
things. And this power of the dragon was given over to the 
beast and false prophet. The antichristian power succeed- 
ing in the room of the paganish, the pope and councils 


of the emperors and senate, it was quickly confirmed that 
none should be suffered to live in peace, who received not 
his mark and name; Rev. xiii. 16, 17. Whereunto, for my 
part, I cannot but refer very many of those following imperial 
constitutions, which were made at first against the opposers 
of the church's orthodoxism, but were turned against the wit- 
nesses of Jesus in the close. 

(2.) This being done, they held out the reasons of this 
establishment. I shall touch only one or two of them, which 
are still common to them, who walk in the same paths with 

[1.] Now the first was. That toleration of sundry ways 
of worship, and several religions, tends to the disturbance of 
the commonwealth, and that civil society, which men under 
the same government do, and ought to enjoy. So Cicero tells 
us, lib. 2. De leg. ' Suosque Deos, aut novos, aut alienigenas 
coli, confusionem habet,' &,c. It brings in confusion of reli- 
gion and civil society. The same is clearly held out in that 
counsel of Maecenas to Augustus before mentioned. ' They,' 
saith he, 'who introduce new deities, draw many into inno- 
vations, whence are conspiracies, seditions, conventicles, no 
way profitable for the commonwealth.' 

[2.] The other main reason was. That hereby the gods, 
whom they owned and worshipped, were dishonoured and 
provoked to plague them. That this was continually in 
their mouths and clamours, all the acts at the slaying of the 
martyrs, the rescripts of emperors, the apologies of the 
Christians, as Tertullian, Justin Martyr, Arnobius, Minutius 
Fehx, do abundantly testify. All trouble was still ascribed 
to their impiety, upon the firstbreakingoutof any judgment, 
as though the cause of it had been the toleration of Christians, 
presently the vulgar cry was ' Christianos ad Leones,' Now 
that those causes and reasons have been traduced to all those, 
who have since acted the same things, especially to the em- 
peror's successor at Rome, needs not to be proved. With the 
power of the dragon, the wisdom also is derived. See that 
great champion. Cardinal Bellarmine, fighting with these very 
weapons. Lib. de Laicis, cap. 21. And indeed, however illus- 
trated, improved, adorned, supported, flourished, and sweet- 
ened, they are the sum of all that to this day hath been said 
in the same case. 

(3.) Having made a law, and supported it with such 


reasons as these, in proceeding to the execution of the pe- 
nalty of that law, as to particular persons (which penalty 
beino-, as now, arbitrary, was inflicted unto banishment, im- 
prisonment, mine-digging, torturing in sundry kinds, maim- 
ing, death, according to the pleasure of the judges), they 
always charged upon those persons, not only the denying 
and opposing their own deities, religion, and worship ; but 
also, that that which they embraced, was foolish, absurd, 
detestable, pernicious, sinful, wicked, ruinous to common- 
wealths, cities, society, families, honesty, order, and the 
like. If a man should go abcrut to delineate the Christian 
religion, by the lines and features drawn thereof, in the in- 
vectives and accusations of their adversaries, he might justly 
suppose, that indeed that was their god, which was set up at 
Rome with this inscription, ' DEUS CHRISTIANORUM 
ONONYCHITES :' being an image with ass's ears, in a 
gown, claws or talons upon one foot, with a book in his hand. 
Charged they were that they worshipped an ass's head, which 
impious folly first fastened on the Jews by Tacitus, Hist, 
lib. 5. cap. 1. in these words, ' EfRgiem animalis, quo mon- 
strante, errorem sitimque depulerant, penetrali sacravere' 
(having before set out a feigned direction received by a com- 
pany of asses), which lie had borrowed from Appion, a 
railing Egyptian of Alexandria,' was so ingrafted in their 
minds, that no defensative could be allowed. ^The sun, 
the cross, * sacerdotis genitalia,' were either really sup- 
posed, or impiously imposed on them, as the objects of 
their worship. The blood and flesh of infants, at Thyestean 
banquets, was said to be their food and provision ; promis- 
cuous lust, with incest, their chiefest refreshment. Such 
as these it concerned them to have them thought to be, 
being resolved to use them, as if they were so indeed. 
Hence I am not sometimes without some suspicion, that 
many of the impure abominations, follies, villanies, which 

" Josepli. ad. App. lib. 1. 
' Moses iiovos ritus contrariosque cneleris iiiortalibus indidit. Profana illic 
omnia, (jua; apiid nos sacra; rursimi coruiessa apud illos, quae nobis incesta. Pro ■ 
jectissinia ad libidineni gens alinnaruni coiicubituin abstinent, inter se nihil illicitiim. 
Tacitus (de Juda-is) Hist. lib. 5. Jiidaios, impulsore Chresto quotidie tuinulluantes 
Roma expulit, falsely and foolishly. Suet. Claud, cap. 25. Quaesitissiniis pcenis 
afficiebat, quos per liagitia invisos vulgiis Christiaiios appcllabat. Tac. An. lib. 15. 
Afflicli supplicii.s (>liristiani, genus liuininum superstitioiiis nova; ac ninlefica;. Snelun. 
in N'crone, cap. 16. 


are ascribed unto the primitive heretics, yea, the very 
Gnostics themselves (upon whom the filth that lies is be- 
yond all possible belief"), might be feigned and imposed, as 
to a great part thereof. For though not the very same, yet 
things as foolish and opposite to the light of nature, were at 
the same time charged on the most orthodox. 

But you will say, they who charged these things upon 
the Catholics, were Pagans, enemies of God and Christ ; 
but these who so charged heretics, were Christians them- 
selves. And so say I also, and therefore for reverence of 
the name (though perhaps I could), I say no more. But 
yet this I say, that story which you have in Minutius Felix 
(or Arnobius 8. book apologetical), of the meeting of Chris- 
tians, the drawing away of the light by a dog tied to the 
candlestick, so to make way for adulteries and incests, I 
have heard more than once told with no small confidence of 
Brownists and Puritans. Hath not this very same course 
been taken in latter ages ? Consult the writings of Waldensis, 
and the rest of his companions, about Wickliffe and his fol- 
lowers ; see the occasion of his falling off from Rome in our 
own chronicles, in Fabian of old, yea, and Daniel of late, 
to gratify a popish court; of Eckius, Hosius, Staphylus, 
Bolsecte, Bellarmine, and the rest, who have undertaken to 
pourtray out unto us Luther and Calvin, with their followers ; 
and you will quickly see, that their great design was to put 
on (as they did upon the head of John Huss at the council 
of Constance, when he was led to the stake) the ugly vizard 
of some devilish appearance, that under that form they might 
fit them for fire and fagot. And herein also is the polity of 
the dragon derived to the false prophet, and a colour tem- 
pered for persecutors to imbrue their hands in the blood of 

This was the old Roman way, and I thought it not amiss 
to cautionate those, enjoying truth and authority, that if it 
be possible, they may not walk in their steps and method. 
The course accounted so sovereign for the extirpation of 
error was, as you see, first invented for the extirpation of 

2. I desire it maybe observed, that the general issue and 
tendance of unlimited, arbitrary persecution, or punishing 

» Epiphan. lom. "2. lib. 1. Hzer. 26. 


for conscience sake (because in all ages, ot irXdovtg kokoi, 
and the worst of men have set at the upper end of the world, 
for the most part more false worshippers having hitherto 
enjoyed authority over others, than followers of the Lamb), 
hath been pernicious, fatal, and dreadful to the profession 
and professors of the gospel, little, or not at all serviceable 
to the truth. 

I have heard it averred by a reverend and learned per- 
sonage, that more blood of heretics hath been shed by 
wholesome severity, in the maintenance of the truth, and 
opposition unto errors, than hath been shed of the witnesses 
of Jesus, by the sword of persecution, in the hands of he- 
retics and false worshippers. An assertion, I conceive, under 
favour, so exceedingly distant from the reality of the thing 
itself, that I dare take upon me, against any man breathing, 
that in sundry Christian provinces, almost in every one of 
the west, more lives have been sacrificed to the one idol 
Haereticidium, of those that bear witness to the truth, in the 
belief for which they suffered, than all the heretics properly 
so called, that ever were slain in all the provinces of the 
world, by men professing the gospel. And I shall give that 
worthy divine, or any other of his persuasion, his option 
among all the chiefest provinces of Europe, to tie me up 
unto which they please. He that shall consider that above 
sixty thousand persons were in six years, or little more, cut 
off in a judicial way, by duke D'Alva in the Netherlands, in 
pursuit of the sentence of the inquisition, will conclude that 
there is ' causa facilis' in my hand. 

The ancient contest between the Homoousians and the 
Arians, the first controversy the churches were agitated 
withal, after they enjoyed a Christian magistrate (and may 
justly be supposed to be carried on to the advantage of 
error, beyond all that went before it, because of the civil 
magistrates interesting themselves in the quarrel), was not 
carried out to violence and blood, before the several per- 
suasions lighted on several dominions and state interests : 
as between the Goths, Vandals, and the rest of their com- 
panions on one side, who were Arians ; and the Romans on 
the other. In all whose bickerings, notwithstanding the 
honour of severity did still attend the Arians, especially in 
Africk, where they persecuted the Catholics with horrible 


outrage and fury : five thousand at one time were barba- 
rously exposed to all manner of cruel villany. Some erup- 
tions of passion had been before among emperors themselves, 
but still with this difference, that they who arianized carried 
the bell for zeal against dissenters. Witness Valens, who 
gave place in persecution to none of his pagan predecessors, 
killing, burning, slaying, making havoc of all orthodox pro- 
fessors. Yea, perhaps, that which he did, at least was done 
by the countenance of his authority, at Alexandria, upon the 
placing in of Lucius an Arian in the room of Athanasius, 
thrusting Peter besides the chair, who was rightly placed 
according to the custom of those times ; perhaps, I say, the 
tumults, rapes, murders, then and there acted, did outgo 
what before had been done by the Pagans : see Theodoret, 
Eccles. Hist. lib. 4. cap. 22. It were tedious to pursue the 
lying, slandering, invectives, banishments, deaths, tumults, 
murders, which attend this council all along, after once they 
began to invoke the help of the emperors one against an- 
other. Yet in this space some magistrates, weary with per- 
secuting ways, did not only abstain practically from force 
and violence, as most of the orthodox emperors did, but also 
enacted laws, for the freedom of such as dissented from them. 
Jovianus, a pious man, grants all peace, that will be peace- 
able ; offended only with them, who would offev violence to 
others. Socrates Eccles. Hist. lib. 4. cap. 21. Gratianus 
makes a law, whereby he granted liberty to all sects, but 
Manichees, Photinians, and Eunomians. Sozom, Eccles. 
Hist. lib. 7. cap. 1. Many more the like examples might be 

The next difference about the worship of God, to the 
Arian and its branches, that was controverted in letters of 
blood, was about images, and their worship ; in which, 
though some furious princes, in opposition to that growing 
idolatry, which by popes, bishops, priests, and especially 
monks, was in those days, violently urged, did mingle some 
of their blood with their sacrifices; yet not to the tithe al- 
most of what the Iconolatrse getting uppermost returned 
upon them and their adherents. 

This, if occasion were, might be easily demonstrated from 
Paulus Diaconus, and others. After this, about the year 
850, about which time the Iconolatras having ensnared the 


west by polity (the posterity of Charles the Great, who had 
stoutly opposed the worship of images, complying with the 
popes, the fathers of that worship, for their own ends), and 
wearied the east by cruelty, that contest growing towards 
an end, the whole power of punishing for religion became 
subservient to the dictates of the pope, the kings of the earth 
giving their power to the beast (unto which point things had 
been working all along); from thence, I say, until the death 
of Servetus in Geneva, the pursuit of Gentilis, Blandrata, 
and some other madmen in Helvetia, for the space well nigh 
of seven hundred years, the chiefest season of the reign of 
Satan and antichrist, all punishing for religion was managed 
by the authority of Rome, and against the poor witnesses of 
Jesus, prophesying in sackcloth in the several regions of the 
west. And what streams of blood were poured out, what 
millions of martyrs slain in that space, is known to all. 
Hence Bellarmine boastelh that the Albigenses were extin- 
guished by the sword. De Laic. cap. 22. It is true there 
were laws enacted of old by Theodosius, Valentinian, Mar- 
tian, as C. De. h.ereticis, 1. Manichseis, 1. Arriani. 1. Unicui- 
que, which last provideth for the death of seducers ; but yet 
truly, though they were made by Catholics, and in the favour 
of Catholics, considering to what end they were used, I can 
look upon them no otherwise, but as very bottom stones of 
the tower of Babel. 

This then in its latitude proving so pernicious to the pro- 
fession of the gospel, having for so long driven the woman 
into the wilderness, and truth into corners, being the main 
engine whereby the tower of Babel was built, and that which 
at this day they cry grace unto, as the foundation stone of 
the whole antichristian fabric,' we had need be cautious 
what use we make (as one terms it well) of the broom of an- 
tichrist, to sweep the church of Christ. Whether that we 
are in the truth, and they blinded with error, of whom we have 
spoken, be a sufficient plea, we shall see anon. In the mean 
time we may do well to remember what Lewis the Twelfth of 
France said, yea swore, concerning the inhabitants of Mi- 
rindol, whom, by the instigation of his prelates, he had or- 
dered to be slain, when news was brought him, what was 
their conversation and way of life : ' Let them be heretics if 

>■ Becanus de fide liaereticis servanda. Bell, de Laicis, &c. 


you please/ saith he. ' but assuredly they are better than 1, 
and my Catholics.' Take heed lest the punished be better 
than the punishers. 

Let me add to this observation only this. That the at- 
tempt to suppress any opinions whatsoever by force, hath been 
for the most part fruitless. For either some few particular 
persons are proceeded against, or else greater multitudes : 
if some particulars only, the ashes of one hath always proved 
the seed of many opinionatists. Examples are innumerable ; 
take one, which is boasted of, as a pattern of severity taken 
from antiquity. About the year 390, Priscillianus, a Ma- 
nichee, and a Gnostic, by the procurement of Ithacius and 
Idacius, two bishops, was put to death by Maximus, an 
usurping emperor, who ruled for a season, having slain Gra- 
tianus ; as that kind of men vi^ould always close with any 
authority that might serve their own ends. Now w^hat was 
the issue thereof? Martinus, a catholic bishop, renounces 
their communion who did it. The historian that reports it, 
giving this censure of the whole : ' Sic pessimo exemplo 
sublati sunt homines luce indignissimi :' though the men 
(Priscillian and his companions) were most unworthy to live, 
yet their sentence of death was most unjust. But no mat- 
ter for this. Was not the heresy suppressed thereby? See 
what the same historian, who wrote not long after, and was 
able to testify the event, says of it :^ ' Non solum non re- 
pressa est haeresis, sed confirmata, et latius propagata est,' 
&c. 'The heresy was so far from being suppressed hereby, 
that it was confirmed and propagated.' His followers, who 
before honoured him as a saint, now adore him as a martyr. 
The like in all ages hath been the issue of the like endea- 

But now, if this course be undertaken against multitudes, 
what is or hath been the usual end of such undertakings ? 
Take some examples of late days. Charles the Fifth, the most 
mighty emperor of Germany, undertakes by violence to ex- 
tirpate the Lutherans and Calvinists out of the empire. 
After a tedious war, the death of many thousands, the wast- 
ing of the nation, in the close of all, himself is driven out of 
Germany, and the business left much where it began. Sleid. 
Com. Philip of Spain, will needs force the inquisition upon 

' Severus Sulpitius, lib. 2. Eccles. Hist. 


the Netherlands. What is the issue ? After the expense of an 
ocean of blood, and more coin than would have purchased 
the country twice over, his posterity is totally deprived of 
all sovereignty over those parts. 

Patrick Hamilton and George Wishart are put to death 
in Scotland, by the procurement of a cardinal ; the cardinal 
is instantly murdered by some desperate young men, and a 
war raised there about religion, which was never well qui- 
eted, until having hunted their queen out of her native king- 
dom, she had her head chopped off in England.^ The wars, 
seditions, tumults, murders, massacres, rapes, burnings, &c. 
that followed the same attempt in France, cannot be thought 
of without horror and detestation. Neither knew those 
things any end, until the present forbearance was granted. 
Instances might be multiplied, but these things are known 
to all. If any shall say. All these evils followed the attempt- 
ing to suppress truth, not error: I shall answer him another 
time, being loath to do it, unless compelled. Only for the 
present I shall say, that error hath as much right to a force- 
able defence, as truth. 

3. To stir us up yet farther to a serious consideration of 
the grounds and reasons which are laid down for the inflict- 
ing of punishment upon any for exorbitancies in things of 
religion (upon what hath been said) the perpetual coinci- 
dence of the causes by them held forth, who pretend to plead 
for just severity, with their pretences who have acted unjust 
persecution, would be well heeded. 

The position is laid down in general on both sides. That 
erring persons are so and so to be dealt withal : that such 
is the power and duty of the magistrate in such cases. The 
definition of heresy is agreed on for the main; only the Pa- 
pists place the church's determination, where others thrust 
in the heretic's conviction, a thing much more obscure to by- 
standers and j udges also. The appellations wherewith truth 
persecuted, and error pursued, are clothed still the same. 
The consequences urged on all sides of dishonour to God, 
trouble to the state, and the like, not at all discrepant. The 
arguments for the one and other, for the most part the 
same. Look what reasons one sect gives for the punishino- 
of another, the names being changed are retorted. He blas- 

» History of Reformation in Scotland. 


phemeth to the heretic, who chargeth blasphemy upon him. 
We use no other arguments, cite no other texts, press no 
other consequences for the punishing of other heretics, than 
the Papists, the wisest heretics breathing, do for the punish- 
ment of us. 

No colour, no pretence, but hath been equally used in all 
hands. None can say. This is mine. To Luther's objection, 
that the church of Christ never burned a heretic, for Huss 
and Jerome Avere none ; Bellarmine answers, they were he- 
retics to them Catholics, which did suffice. De Laic. cap. 21. 
And indeed this vicissitude of things is very pernicious. All 
Christians almost are heretics to some enjoying authority (as 
Salvian said the case was, between the Homoousians and 
Arians in his time), and most of those enjoying authority are 
persuaded it is their duty to suppress them, whom they ac- 
count heretics, and answerably have more or less acted ac- 
cording to this persuasion, until by blood, wars, and horrid 
devastations of nations, some of them have been wearied. 
From the first Croisade against the Albigenses, through the 
war of theHussites under Zisca and the Procopii, those dread- 
ful massacres before recounted, what a stage of blood hath 
Europe been made upon this account? I desire that to this 
point the declaration of the Netherlands, at the beginning 
of their troubles (whom Bellarmine affirms to have petitioned 
for liberty of conscience, as he was writing de Hsereticidio, 
the thing being long before granted at Spira, at the conven- 
tion of the states of the empire, in the year 1526.) may be 
seriously considered. 

4. For the necessity of courses of extremity against er- 
roneous persons for the upholding ' the faith once delivered 
to the saints,' and the keeping the churches in peace, it doth 
not appear to me to be so urgent as is pretended. 

For three hundred years the church had no assistance 
from any magistrate against heretics ; and yet in all that 
space there was not one long-lived, or far-spreading heresy, 
in comparison of those that followed. As the disease is 
spiritual, so was the remedy which in those days was applied, 
and the Lord Jesus Christ made it effectual. The Christians 
also of those days disclaimed all thoughts of such proceed- 
ings. The expressions of the most ancient, as Polycarpus, 
Ignatius, Irenaeus, concerning heretics, are sharp and cut- 

or TO IE RATION. 225 

ting; their avoiding of them beino admonished precise and 
severe; their confutations of them laborious and diligent; 
their church censures and ejections piercing and sharp ; 
communion amongst the churches close, exact, and carefully- 
preserved, so that a stubborn heretic was thrust out of 
Christian society. But for corporal punishment to be in- 
flicted on them, in their writings not a syllable. Until 
Augustine was changed fiom his first resolution and per- 
suasion, by the madness of donatistical Circumcellians, this 
doctrine had but poor footing in antiquity. And whether 
his reasons as to this point be convincing, let any impartial 
man read his Epistle 50. and determine. What some say. 
The Christians would have been of another mind, had they 
enjoyed Christian magistrates, is so suited to our present 
frame and temper, but so unworthy of them, that I should 
wrong them by a defensative. What was their sense of them 
in a spiritual way is clear. John, they say, would not abide 
in a bath where Cerinthus the heretic infected with Judaism 
and Paganism was ; saying, Let us depart, lest the building 
fall on us where Cerinthus is. Iren. lib. 3, cap. 3. Euseb. 
Eccles. Hist. lib. 3. cap. 25. Marcion meeting Polycarpus, 
and asking him whether he knew him, or acknowledged 
him; his answer was, ' Yea, to be the first-born of the devil.' 
Euseb. lib. 4. cap. 14. Ignatius's epistles are full of the 
like expressions. Irenaeus says, he would have no words 
with them, lib. 3. cap. 3. Tertullian's books testify for him 
at large, with what keenness of spirit he pursued the heretics 
of his days, though before the end of them he had the un- 
happiness to be almost one himself. Cyprian cries out, 
'Nulla cum talibus convivia, nulla colloquia, nulla cora- 
mercia misceantur.' Epist. 3. ad Cornel. ' Neither eat, nor 
talk, nor deal with them.' Antonius the hermit leaves tes- 
timony when he was dying, * That he never had peaceable 
conference with them all his days.' Vita Anton, inter Oper. 
Athan. Surely had these men perceived the mind of God 
for their bodily punishment, they would not have failed to 
signify their minds therein; but truly their expressions hold 
out rather the quite contrary. Tovg fxtaovvTag rov ^ebv, 
fiiaiiv xpri koX v/xag, koX lirl toiq exupolg avrov £KTr)Kea^ai' oh 
filv KOI TVirreiv avrovg, Koi BtioKUv, KaOtog to. t^vrj to. fi?i d^ora 
Tov Kvpiov KoX ^tov, aWa.i)(ppovg fxlv riytla^uL koX \(i)pi(Te<r^ai 


an dvrCyv, says Ignatius, Epist. ad Philad. 'Count theni 
enemies, and separate from them who hate God ; but for 
beating or persecuting them, that is proper to the heathen 
who know not God, nor our Saviour; do not you so.* Ter- 
tullian in very many places lays down general maxims tend- 
ing to more liberty than is now pleaded for. One or two 
places may be pointed at : ' Videte ne et hoc ad irreligiosi- 
tatis elogium concurrat, adimere libertatem religionis, et 
interdicere optionem divinitatis, ut non liceat mihi colere 
quern velira, sed cogar colere quem nolim. Nemo se ab 
invito coli vellet, ne homo quidem.' Apol. cap. 23. And 
again to Scapula the governor of Carthage, to dissuade him 
from the persecution he intended : ' Tamen humani juris et 
naturalis potestatis est unicuique quod putaverit colere, nee 
alii obest, aut prodest alterius religio: sed nee religionis est 
cogere religionem, quae sponte suscipi debeat, non vi ; cum 
et hostiaa ab animo libenti expostulantur : ita et si nos 
compuleritis ad sacrificandum, nihil prsestabitis diis vestris, 
ab invitis enim sacrificia non desiderabunt.' And I desire 
to know, whether that which he maketh to be the plea of 
Christians, may not also be used by all erring persons. 
' Totum quod in nos potestis, nostrum est arbitrium. Certe 
si velim, Christianus sum, tune ergo me damnabis, si dam- 
nari velim. Cum vero quod in me potes, nisi velim, non 
potes, jam meae voluntatis est quod potes, non tuse potes- 
tatis.' Apol. cap. ult. Hence was that query of Lactantius : 
' Quis imponet mihi necessitatem aut credendi quod nolim, 
aut quod velim non credendi ? And long after these Gregory 
of Rome, lib. 2. Epist. 52. tells us, ' Nova et inaudita est 
ista prsedicatio, quae verberibus exigit fidem ;' to beat in 
faith with stripes, was then a new kind of preaching. These 
and the like were their expressions. 

It is true, in the three first centuries many fond, foolish, 
corrupt opinions were broached by sundry brainsick men ; 
but they laid little hold of the churches, kept themselves in 
the breasts of some few disorderly wanderers, and did very 
little promote the mystery of iniquity : but afterward, when 
the Roman emperors, and the great men of the earth, under 
and with them, began to interpose in the things of religion, 
arid were mutually wooed, instigated, and provoked by the 
parties at variance (as indeed it is a shame to consider upon 


aU meetings, assemblies, disputes, councils, what running, 
what flatterino;, what insinuation at court were used on all 
hands), what root did divers heresies take, how far were they 
propagated? Witness Arianism which had almost invaded 
the whole world. 

Furthermore, by the ways which were invented oft from 
the rule, for the extirpation of errors, when by the instiga- 
tion of prelates, the emperors were (to their own ruin) per- 
suaded to them, the man of sin walked to his throne. Those 
very laws, edicts, and declarations, which were obtained 
against erring persons, did the bishops of Rome invert and 
use against all the witnesses of Jesus. The devil durst not 
be so bold as to employ that his grand agent in his appren- 
ticeship against the saints ; but he first suffers him to ex- 
ercise his hand against heretics, intending to make use of 
him afterward to another purpose. In most of those con- 
tests, which the Roman pontiffs had with their fellow-bishops, 
by which they insensibly advanced their own supremacy, 
it was the defence of Catholics they undertook, as in the 
case of Athanasius and others. 

Neither did the Christians of old at once step into the 
persuasion of punishing corporally in case of religion. Con- 
stantine makes a decree at first, Ttjv eXev^epiav ^prjaKuag 
oi»K apvviTcov tivat, 'that liberty of worship is not to be 
denied, and therefore the Christians, as others, should have 
liberty to keep the faith of their religion and heresy.' Euseb. 
Eccles. Hist. lib. 10. cap. 5. And in the same edict he 
saith (how truly I know not, but yet great Constantine said 
it), 'That it is most certain, that this is conducing to the 
peace of the empire, that free option and choice of religion 
be left to all.' Afterward, when he began a little farther to 
engage himself in the business of religion, being indeed 
wearied with the petitions of bishops and their associates, 
for the persecution of one another, what troubles in a few 
years did he intricate himself withal? Perplexed he was in 
his spirit to see the untoward revengefulness of that sort of 
people; insomuch that he writes expressly to them, being 
assembled in council at Tyre, ' That they had neither care 
of the truth, nor love to peace, nor conscience of scandal, 
nor would by any means be prevailed on to lay down their 
malice and animosities.' Socrat. Hist. lib. 1. cap. 22. At 

Q 2 


length an Arian priest curries favour with his sister Con- 
stantia: she gets him into the esteem of her brother: after 
some insinuations of his, new edicts, new synods, new re- 
callings, new banishments of other persons, follow one upon 
the neck of another. Ruffin. Eccles. Hist. lib. 1. cap. 11. 
And when this knack was once found out of promoting a 
sect by imperial favour, it is admirable to consider, how 
those good princes, Constantine and his sons, were abused, 
misled, enraged, engaged into mutual dissentions, by the 
lies, flatteries, equivocations of such as called themselves 
bishops. Ruffin. lib. 1. cap. 15, 16, &.c. As also how soon 
with the many the whole business of religion was hereupon 
turned into a matter of external pomp and dominion. But 
it is besides my purpose to rake into that hell of confusion, 
which by this means brake in upon the churches in suc- 
ceeding ages. Only for the following imperial edicts and 
constitutions in the behalf of the faith catholic, and for the 
punishing of erring persons, I desire to observe, 

(1.) That the emperors were stirred up to them by turbu- 
lent priests, and aspiring prelates. Let the pope's letters 
to them witness this. Leo E , st. 75. &,c. 

(2.) That they were still bottomed upon such and such 
councils, that were not to be opposed or spoken against, 
when all of them were spent for the most part about things 
quite besides and beyond the Scripture (as feastings, and 
fastings, and bishops' jurisdictions) ; and some of them were 
the very ulcers, and impostumations of Christian religion, as 
those of Nice and Ephesus, both the second; and in general 
all of them the sea, upon which the whore exalted her seat 
and throne. And these things did those good men, either 
deceived by the craft of heretics, or wearied by the impor- 
tunity of the orthodox. 

And yet notwithstanding all this (as I shall afterward 
declare), I cannot close with that counsel which Themistius 
a philosopher gave to Valens the emperor, and am most ab- 
horrent from the reason of his counsel, viz. 'That he should 
let all sects alone, because it was for the glory of God to be 
honoured with diversities of opinions and ways of worship.' 
Yet though this reason be false and impious, yet the advice 
itself was well conducing at that time to the peace of the 
churches, something qualifying the spirit of that heretical 


emperor, who before had cruelly raged against all orthodox 
professors of the Deity of Christ. Socrat. lib. 4. cap. 27. 

5. Lastly, add unto all that hath been said, * vice coro- 
nidis,' for the use of such as enjoying authority, may have 
misapprehensions of some truths of Christ, a sad considera- 
tion concerning the end and issue, which the Lord in his 
righteous judgment hath in all ages given to j)ersecutors and 

Nero (of whom says Tertullian, ' Tali dedicatore gaudet 
sanguis Christianus'), who was the first that employed the 
sword against our religion, being condemned by the senate 
to be punished * more majorum,' slew himself, with this ex- 
probration of his own sordid villany, ' Turpiter vixi, tur- 
pius morior.' Sueton. in Ner. Domitian, the inheritor of his 
rage and folly, murdered in his own house by his servants. 
Idem in Domit. Trajan, by a resolution of his joints, numb- 
edness of body, and a choking water, perished miserably. 
Dio Cassius de Traj. This is he, whose order not to seek 
out Christians to punishment, but yet to punish them ap- 
pearing, you have in his epistle to Pliny, a provincial go- 
vernor under him ; Plin. Epist. 97. which though commended 
by Eusebius, Eccles. Hist. lib. 3. cap. 30. yet is canvassed 
by Tertullian, as a foolish, impious, wicked constitution, 
Apol. cap. 2. Hadrian perishing with a flux, and casting of 
blood, paid some part of the price of the innocent blood 
which he had shed. ^Elius Spart. in Had. Severus poisoned 
himself, to put an end to his tormenting pains. Jul. Capitol. 
Maximinus, with his son yet a child, was torn in pieces of 
the soldiers, all crying out, ' That not a whelp was to be left 
of so cursed a stock.* Decius having reigned scarce two 
years, was slain with his children. Euseb. lib. 7. cap. 1. 
Valerian being taken by Sapores king of Persia, was carried 
about in a cage, and being seventy years old, was at length 
flayed alive. Euseb. lib. 7. cap. 9. Another Valerian, of 
the same stamp with his brother and kindred, was murdered 
at Milan. Dioclesian being smitten with madness, had his 
palace consumed with fire from heaven, and perished mise- 
rably. The city of Alexandria, in the time of Gallienus, 
was for its persecution so wasted with variety of destroying 
plagues and judgments, that the whole number of its inha" 
bitants answered not the gray-headed old men that were in 


it before. Dionys, apud Euseb. lib. 7. cap. 20. What was 
the end of Julian, is known to all. Now truly of many of 
these we might well say, as one of old did, * Quales Irape- 
ratores V As Trajan, Hadrian, Severus, Julian, what excellent 
emperors had they been, had they not been persecutors ? 
And all this, says Tertullian, is come to pass, that men 
might learn fxrj 3*£o/iax£tv. He that desires to see more of 
this, let him consult Tertul. Apol. et ad Scap. Euseb. Eccles. 
Hist. lib. 7. cap. 21. August, de civit. Dei, lib. 18. cap. 52. 
Eutrop. lib. 8. It would be tedious to descend to examples 
of latter ages, our own and the neighbour nations do so 
much, too much, abound with them. Let this that hath been 
spoken suffice to cautionate mortal men, how they meddle 
with the vessels of the sanctuary. 

But now may some say. What will be the issue of this 
discourse ? Do you then leave every one at liberty in the 
things of God ? Hath the magistrate nothing to do in or about 
religion? Is he to depose the care thereof? Shall men, ex- 
asperated in their spirits by different persuasions, be suffered 
to devour one another as they please ? 

III. I have only shewed the weakness of those grounds, 
which some men make the bottom of their testimonies, 
against the toleration of any thing, but what themselves 
conceive to be truth ; as also taken away the chief of those 
arguments, upon which such a proceeding against erring 
persons is bottomed, as tends to blood and death: what 
positively the civil magistrate may, nay, ought to do, in 
the whole business of religion, comes in the next place 
to be considered, being the third and last part of our 

Now my thoughts unto this I shall hold out under these 
three heads. 

1. What is the magistrate's duty as to the truth, and per- 
sons professing it. 

2. What in reference to the opposers and revilers of it. 

3. What in respect of dissenters from it. 

1. I shall begin with the first, which to me is much of 
chiefest importance. 

His power, or rather his duty herein, I shall hold out in 
these ensuing propositions. 

(I.) As all men in general, so magistrates, even as such. 


are bound to know the mind and will of God, in the things 
which concern his honour and worship. They are bound, 
I say, to know it. This obligation lies upon all creatures 
capable of knowing the Creator, answerably to that light 
which of him they have, and the means of revelation which 
they do enjoy. He, of whom we speak, is supposed to have 
that most sovereign and supreme of all outward teachings, 
the word of God, with such other helps as are thereby re- 
vealed, and therein appointed ; so as he is bound to know 
the will of God in every thing him concerning ; wherein he 
fails, and comes short of the truth, it is his sin ; the defect 
being not in the manner of the revelation, but in the cor- 
ruption of his darkened mind. Now that he is to make this 
inquiry, in reference to his calling, is evident from that of 
David, 2 Sam. xxiii. 3. ' He that ruleth over men must be 
just, ruling in the fear of the Lord.' This fear is only taught 
by the word. Without a right knowledge of God, and his 
mind, there can be no true fear of him. That command also, 
for the Jewish magistrate, to study it day and night, and to 
have the book of the law continually before him, because it 
was the rule of that civil polity, whereof he was under God 
the head and preserver, by analogy confirmeth this truth ; 
Deut. xviii. 

(2.) If he desire this wisdom sincerely, and the Lord 
intend him * as a light of the morning, as a rising sun, a 
morning without clouds,' to his people, doubtless he will 
reveal himself to him, and teach him his mind ; as he did 
David and Solomon, and other holy men of old. And as to 
this, I shall only with due reverence cautionate the sons of 
men, that are exalted in government over their brethren, 
that they take heed of a lifted up spirit, the greatest closer 
of the heart against the truth of God. He hath promised 
to teach the humble, and the lowly in mind; the proud 
he beholdeth afar off. Is not this the great reason that the 
rulers believe not on him, and the nobles lay not their necks 
to the yoke of the Lord, even because their hearts are 
lifted up within them, and so lie in an unteachable frame 
before the Lord ? 

(3.) The truth being revealed to them, and their own 
hearts made acquainted therewith, after their personal en- 
gagements to the practice of the power of godliness, ac- 


cording to the * revelation of God in the face of Jesus 
Christ,' three things are incumbent on him in reference 

[1.] That according to the measure of its revelation unto 
him he declare, or take care that it be declared unto others, 
even all committed to his governing charge. The general 
equity that is in the obligation of 'strengthening others, 
when we are confirmed,' desirino- them to be like ourselves 
in all participation of grace from God, the nature of true 
zeal for the glory and name of the Lord, are a sufficient 
warrant for this, yea, demand the performance of this duty. 
So Jehoshaphat, being instructed in the ways of God, sent 
princes and priests to teach it in all the cities and towns 
of Judah ; 2 Chron. xvii. 8 — 10. As also did Hezekiah ; 
2 Chron. xxx. 6 — 8. Let this then be our first position : 

I. It belongs to the duty of the supreme magistrate, the 
governor, or shepherd of the people in any nation, being 
acquainted with the mind of God, to take care that the 
truth of the gospel be preached to all the people of that 
nation, according to the way appointed, either ordinary, or 

I make no doubt but God will quickly reject them from 
their power, who knowing their master's will are negligent 

[2.] As he is to declare it, so he is to protect it from all 
violence whatever. Jesus Christ is the great kinsj of na- 
tions, as well as the holy king of saints. His gospel hath a 
right to be preached in every nation, and to every creature 
under heaven. Whoever forbids or hinders the free passage 
of it, is not only sinful and impious towards God, but also 
injurious towards men. Certainly the magistrate is to pro- 
tect every one, and every thing in their own right, from the 
violence and injury of unruly men. In the preaching and 
receiving the gospel there is a right acted, superior to all 
earthly privileges whatever. In this then the magistrate is 
to protect it, that under him the professors thereof * may 
lead a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty.* 
And for this cause they to whom the sword is committed, 
may with the sword lawfully defend the truth, as the un- 
doubted right and privilege of those who do enjoy it, and 
of which they cannot be deprived without the greatest in- 


jury. Jephthah laid it down as the ground of the equity of 
the wars he waged against the Ammonites, ' That they would 
possess what the Lord their God gave them to possess ;' the 
defence whereof he pursued to the subversion of their (at 
first) invading enemies ; Judges xi. 24. 33. It is no new 
thing to begin in defence, and end in offence. Now if the 
truth be given us of the Lord our God to possess, certainly 
it may be contended for by those who owe protection there- 
unto. And if this were not so, we may pray, and prevail, 
for the prosperity of those in authority ; and yet when we 
have done, not have a right to a quiet and peaceable life. 
Let this then be the second assertion : 

II. The gospel being preached, and declared as of right 
it ought to be, it is the duty of the magistrate, by the power 
wherewith he is intrusted, to protect and defend it against 
all, or any persons, that by force, or violence, shall seek to 
hinder the progress, or stop the passage of it, under what 
pretence soever. 

And that a neglect of this also will be attended with the 
anger of the Lord, and the kindling of his wrath, shall not 
long be doubted of any. 

[3.] The protecting, assisting, and supporting of all the 
professors of it in that profession, and in ways of truth's 
appointment, for the practice of that which is embraced, 
and the furtherance of it towards them who as yet embrace 
it not, is also required. And of this there are sundry 

1st. That seeing Christ Jesus hath appointed his disci- 
ples to walk in such societies, and requireth of them such 
kind of worship, as cannot be performed without their 
meeting together ojuoB'ujuaSov, * in one place ;' that he either 
provide, or grant being provided, the use of such places 
under his protection, as may in all, or any kind be suited 
and fitted for that end and purpose. And the ground of 
this is, 

(1st.) From the right which the gospel of Christ hath to 
be received amongst men, according to his own appointment ; 
whether that be the appointment of Christ, or not, amono-st 
us is no question. 

(2dly.) Because the magistrate hath the sole power of all 
public places, and the protection of them is committed to 


him alone, by virtue of that consent into government which 
is among any people. This proved as above. 

2dly. A protection in the use of those places, and all 
things exercised in them, answerable to that which he doth, 
and is bound to grant unto men in their own private dwell- 
ings and families. The reason why I am protected from all 
hurt or violence in my family is, because I have a right to 
dispose of all things in my family being my own, and so 
hath not another. It was asserted before, that Christians 
have a right to the ordinances of Christ, and truth a right to 
be at liberty ; and therefore if any shall invade, disturb, 
or trouble them in their rights and liberties, he is bound 
' ex officio' to give them a protection, ' not bearing the sword 
in vain.' 

Now being in my family, in my private house, the assist- 
ance of those in authority is due, 

(1st.) In respect of them without. 

(2dly.) In respect of them within. 

(1st.) For them without, if any one will, against my con- 
sent, intrude himself upon my family enjoyments, to share 
with me, or violently come to take away that is mine, or 
disturb me in the quiet possession of it ; the magistrate takes 
cognizance of such disturbances, and punisheth them ac- 
cording to equity. Suitably, if any person, or persons 
whatsoever, shall with violence put themselves upon the 
enjoyments of such ordinances, as those enjoying the rights 
of the gospel have obtained to themselves, or shall come in 
their celebration of them, to cause disturbance ; certainly 
that magistrate protects not every one in his undoubted 
rights, who doth not accommodate the wronged parties 
with the assistance of his power, to the punishment of the 

(2dly.) For house dwellers, servants, or any others, who 
may break out into such offences, and incorrigibleness, as 
the amendment thereof may be beyond what I am intrusted 
to do to any, by law of God or man ; shall not the magistrate 
here also interpose ? is not his assistance here abundantly 
required, and always granted ? 

From parity of reason is it not as due for their protection, 
who in Ihe enjoyment of their public religious rights may 
receive disturbance, and be under force, from some, incorri- 


gible by any rule among themselves ? For instance ; suppose 
a person justly excommunicated, and ejected any society of 
Christians as to any spiritual communion, yet will with out- 
ward force and violence put himself upon them in their closest 
acts of communion ; doubtless their rights are here to be by 
power preserved. 

3dly. That whereas the preachers of the gospel are now 
to be maintained in an ordinary way, and to expect their 
supportment in a usual course of providence ; and seeing 
that many to whom we have proved that the gospel is to be 
declared, by the care of the magistrate, will not, or cannot 
make such provisions for them as is needful, in these last 
evil days of the world ; it is incumbent on those nursing 
fathers to provide for them, who because of their continual 
labours in the work of the Lord, are disenabled to make 
provision for themselves. Where churches are settled ac- 
cording to the rule of the gospel, and not too much strait- 
ened by reason of want, there may be an alteration as to 
this proposal. That this engagement lies first upon the 
churches, was seen of old. Hence that caution, or canon, 
of the council of Chalcedon, cap. 6. jurjS^ic x^'joo^'oi'^i'^'w otto- 
XeXvjusvoc, 'let none be ordained at large:' * Ne dicatur, 
Mendicat in palaestra infelix clericus,' says the scholiast, 
' lest he should be driven to beg for want of maintenance.' 

This being the sum of what, as to this head, I have to 
assert, 1 shall give in the proofs of it, and then draw some 
farther positions. 

Reason 1. The bottom of the whole ariseth from that right 
which the gospel hath to be preached to all nations and 
people, and that right paramount to all civil sanctions and 
constitutions, which every soul hath to receive it in the 
profession thereof. And all this flows from the donation of 
the Father unto Jesus Christ, whereby * he is made heir of 
all things ;' Heb. i. 3. ' Having the nations given him for his 
inheritance, the utmost parts of the earth for his possession ;' 
Psal. ii. 8. Being also *Lord of lords, and King of kings,' 
acting nothing in taking possession of his own, but what his 
sovereignty bears him out in. 

Reason 2. All this tends to the apparent good: of those 
committed to his charge, that they may lead their lives in 
godliness and honesty, which is the very chief end of magis- 


tracy committed unto men. This is directly intended ; all 
other things come in by accident, and upon suppositions. 

Reason 3. No person living can pretend to the least injury 
by this, none is deprived, none wronged. 

Reason 4. The precepts given unto them, and the promises 
made concerning them, do abundantly confirm all that hath 
been asserted. Psal. ii. 10, 11. they are commanded as 
kings and judges to serve the Lord, in promoting the king- 
dom of the Lord Jesus Christ. And it is promised, Isa. 
xlix. 23. that 'they shall be nursing fathers, and nursing 
mothers to the church' of Christ, even then, when she shall 
'suck the breasts of kings' (earthly things are the milk of 
kingly breasts), ' when her officers shall be peace, and her 
exactors righteousness;' Isa. Ix. 16, 17. This at least 
reacheth to all we have ascribed to them. All is but bowing 
the knee of magistracy at the name of Jesus. 

Hence are these positions. 

III. The providing, or granting of places requisite for the 
performance of that worship, which in the gospel is instituted, 
is the duty of the Christian magistrate. 

IV. Protection as to peace and quietness, in the use of 
the ordinances of the Lord Jesus Christ, from violent dis- 
turbers, either from without or within, is also incumbent on 

V. Supportment and provision as to earthly things, where 
regularly failing, is of him required. 

And in the neglect of any of these that takes place, which 
is threatened, Isa. Ix. 12. two or three consectaries added 
hereunto shall close this part of the magistrate's power or 
rather duty about the things of religion. As, 

Consect. 1. Positive actings byway of supportment and 
assistance, maintenance, allowance of public places, and 
the like, in the behalf of persons deviating from the truth, 
in those things wherein they deviate, is contrary to the rule 
of the word, and duty of them in authority. For, 

Error hath neither right, nor promise, nor is any precept 
given in the behalf thereof. 

Consect. 2. The defence and protection of erring persons 
from violence and injury, in those things wherein they have 
a right, is no acting of his duty about religious things,' 
but a mere dealing for the preservation of human society. 

OF toleration; 237 

by the defence of persons not acting against the rules 

Cotisect.3. Every particular minute difference among the 
professors of the truth cannot be proved to come under the 
cognizance of the magistrate, he being to attend the worship 
which for the main is acceptable to God in Christ ; neither 
do any testimonies extend his duty any farther. Hence 

Corollary I. The present differences about church society, 
and the subject or seat of discipline, which are between those 
dissenters who are known by the names of Presbyterians and 
Independents, as they are in themselves (not heightened by 
the prejudices, lusts, corruptions, and interests of men), 
hinder not at all, but that the magistrate is bound to the 
performance of the duties before mentioned unto both par- 
ties. And the reasons of this are, because 

Reason 1. The things wherein they are agreed are clearly 
as broad, as the magistrate's duty can be stretched to cover 

Reason 2. Neither party, I am persuaded, in their retired 
thoughts dare avow the main of the worship by their dis- 
senters embraced, to be, as such, rejected of the Lord. 

Reason 3. No example in the world can be produced out 
of the Old Testament, or New, or ecclesiastical history, of a 
forcible decision of such minute differences. See Socrat. 
Eccles. Hist. lib. 6. cap. 20. 

Corollary 2. All the plea of persons erring in doctrine, or 
worship, is not from what the magistrate must do, but from 
what he may not do. 

And this for the first part shall suffice. 

2. There is another part of the magistrate's power, the 
other side of his sword, to be exercised towards the opposi- 
tion of that truth which he hath embraced. 

And this hath a twofold object. 

(1.) Things. 

(2.) Persons. 

(1.) Things are of two sorts : 

[1.] Ways of worship. 

[2.] Outward appearances, monuments, accommodations, 
and declarations of those ways. 

^ For this cause the emperors of old slil! allowed the Novatians the liberty of 
worship. ! ' 


Of the first 1 shall speak afterward. 

By the second I mean all the outward attendances of any 
false or erroneous worship, which are either helps to, or de- 
clarations of, the superstition, idolatry, error, or falseness of 
it; as temples for idolatrous service, crosses, pictures, and 
the like abused relics of old unwarranted zeal. Now con- 
cerning these I affirm, 

1st. That the magistrate ought not to make provision of 
any public places, for the practice of any such worship, as 
he is convinced to be an abomination unto the Lord. When 
I say he ought not to make provision, I understand not only 
a not actual caring that such be, but also a caring that such 
may not be. He should not have a negation of acting as to 
any thing of public concernment. His not opposing here is 
providing. For instance, he must not allow, that is, it is 
his duty to oppose, the setting apart of public places under 
his protection, for the service of the mass (as of late in 
Somerset-house) or for any kind of worship in itself disal- 
lowed, because not required, and so not accepted. This 
were to be bound to help forward sin, and that such sin 
whereof he is convinced, which is repugnant to the whole 
revealed will of God. A magistrate, I told you before, is 
not to act according to what he may do, but what he must 
do. Now it cannot be his duty to further sin, 

•2dly. Outward monuments, ways of declaring and hold- 
ing out false and idolatrous worship, he is to remove ; as 
the Papists' images, altars, pictures, and the like; Turks' 
mosques ; prelates' service-book. Now these are of two 
sorts ; 

(1st.) Such things as in their whole use and nature serve 
only for the carrying on of worship in itself wholly false, 
and merely invented ; as altars, images, crosses. 

(2dly.) Such as were used for the carrying on of worship 
true in itself, though vilely corrupted, as praying, and preach- 
ing ; such are those places commonly called churches. 

The first are to be abolished, the latter aright used. I 
speak as to public appearances, for private disquisitions after 
such things I may be otherwise minded. The reason of this 
difference is evident to all. 

Thus in days of old, Constantine shut up pagans' temples, 
Euseb. De vita Constant, lib. 4. cap. 23, 24. and demolished 

0¥ TOLERATION'. 233 

»ome of the most filthy of them : lib. 3. cap. 52. Theodo- 
sius utterly cast them to the ground, though not without 
some blows and bloodshed. Socrat. Eccles. Hist. lib. 5. cap. 
16. The command of God for the abolishing all monuments 
of idolatry, Deut. xii. 1 — 3. with the commendation of those 
kings of Judah, who accordingly performed this duty, 
2 Chron. [xvii. 6. xxx. 14. are enough to confirm it, and 
to bottom this position. 

VI. It is the duty of the magistrate not to allow any pub- 
lic places for (in his judgment) false and abominable wor- 
ship, as also to demolish all outward appearances and de- 
monstrations of such superstitious, idolatrous, and unaccept- 
able service. 

Let Papists who are idolaters, and Socinians who are an- 
thropolatrae, plead for themselves. 

(2.) Now for persons there seems something more of dif- 
ficulty ; yet certain clear rules may be proposed concerning 
them also, to hold out when they and their proceedings come 
under the cognizance of the civil magistrate, and are ob- 
noxious to the sword which he beareth. And they are these : 
[1.] Such persons, as having embraced any false prin- 
ciples and persuasion in, or about things concerning God 
and his worship, do pursue the upholding or propagating of 
such principles, in a disorderly manner to the disturbance 
of civil society, are doubtless under his restraining power, 
to be acted and put forth in such ways, as to other persons, 
running out into the same, or the like compass of disorder, 
upon other grounds, and from the instigation of other lusts. 
The pretence of disturbance and confusion, upon the bearing 
with differences in opinion about things commanded in reli- 
gion, we before rejected, as a colour fitted chiefly for the 
wearing of persecution. But actual disturbances indeed 
must have actual restraints. For instance, if a man being 
persuaded that the power of the magistrate is in Christian 
religion groundless, unwarrantable, unlawful, should there- 
upon stir up the people to the abolishing, and removal of 
that power, such stirrings up, and such actings upon that 
instigation, are as opposite to the gospel of Christ (which 
opposeth no lawful regimen among the sons of men) so also 
prejudicial to human society, and therefore to be proceeded 
against by them, who bear not the sword in vain. This 


case we know happened once in Germany, and may do so 
again in other places. If such as these suffer, it is ' as mur- 
derers, or thieves, or evil doers, or busy-bodies in other men's 
matters;' which is a shameful thing, no way commendable 
or praiseworthy ; 1 Pet. iv. 15. 

[2.] If any persons whatsoever, under any pretence what- 
soever, shall offer violence or disturbance to the professors 
of the true worship of God, so owned, established, and con- 
firmed as above said, in and for the profession of that true, 
so owned worship, service, and declaration of the mind of 
God ; such persons are to fear that power, which is the mi- 
nister of God, and a revenger to them that do evil. Let us 
suppose of them, what they suppose, and for their own justi- 
fication and support in irregular ways bear out of themselves, 
that they enjoy the truth, others walking in paths of their 
own ; yet then this practice is contrary to that prime dictate 
of nature, which none can pretend ignorance of, viz. ' Do not 
that to another which thou wouldest not have done unto thy- 
self.' If men that would not think it equitable to be so dealt 
with, as they deal with others, supposing themselves in their 
conditions, do yet so deal with them, they are avTOKaraKpiToi, 
and do pronounce sentence against themselves, out of their 
own mouths. This then deserveth punishment, and breaking 
out to the disturbance of public order, ought to be punished. 
We before proved the protection of public places to belong 
to the magistrate ; so that he not only may, but if he will 
not be false to him, by whom he is intrusted, he must put 
forth his authority for the safe-guarding and revenging of 
them. Yea also and this rule may pass, when some things 
in the way publicly established are truly offensive. What 
the ancient Christians thought of the zeal of Audas, a Chris- 
tian bishop, who would needs demolish a pagan temple in 
Persia, I know not ; but I am sure his discretion is not much 
extolled, who by that one fiery act of destroying Trvpelov, 
that is, 'a temple of fire' (for the Persians looked upon fire as 
a god, as the historian observes), occasioned a cruel persecu- 
tion of thirty years' continuance. Theod. Eccles. Hist. lib. 5. 
cap. 38. 

[3.] When any have entertained any singular opinion, in 
matters of great weight and importance, such as nearly con- 
cern the glory of God, and the minds of Christians in reve- 


rence of his holy name are most tenderly affected withal, so 
that without much horror of mind they can scarce hear those 
errors, whereby those grand truths are opposed ; yet those 
persons, who have entertained such uncouth opinions, shall 
not be content so to have done, and also in all lawful ways 
(as to civil society) endeavoured to propagate the said opi- 
nions to others, but in the pursuit of this their design of op- 
posing truth, shall publicly use such expressions, or perform 
such acts, as are fit to pour contempt and scorn upon the 
truth which they do oppose, reviling it also, or God himself 
so represented, as he is in the truth they abominate, with 
odious and execrable appellations (as for instance, the call- 
ing the Holy Trinity, 'TricipitemCerberum'); if the question 
be put, whether in this case the magistrate be not obliged 
to vindicate the honour of God by corporal restraints, in 
some degrees at least, upon the persons of those men, truly, 
for my part, I incline to the affirmative. And the reason 
hereof is this : though men, through the incurable blindness 
of their minds falling into error of judgment, and misinter- 
pretation of the word, may disbelieve the deity of Christ, 
and the Holy Spirit ; yet that any pretence from the word, 
persuasion of conscience, or dictate of religion, should carry 
them out to reviling, opprobrious speeches of that, which of 
God is held out contrary to their apprehensions, is false and 
remote from reason itself. For this cause Paul says he was a 
blasphemer, not because being a Jew he disbelieved the gos- 
pel ; but because so disbelieving it, he moreover loaded the 
truths thereof with contumelious reproaches. Such expres- 
sions indeed differ not from those piercing words of the holy 
name of God, which he censured to death. Lev. xxiv. 15. but 
only in this, that there seemeth in that to be a plain opposi- 
tion unto light, in this not so. The like may be said of a 
Jew's crucifying a dog. 

[4.] There are a sort of persons termed in Scripture araK- 
Toi, 1 Thess. V. 14. ayopaioi, Acts xvii. 5. droTroi, 2 Thess. 
iii. 2. avarroTaKTOi, 1 Tim. i. 9. and the like, disorderly, va- 
gabond, wandering, irregular persons, fixed to no calling, 
abiding in no place, taking no care of their families, that 
under a pretence of teaching the truth, without mission, with- 
out call, without warrant, uncommanded, undesired, do go 
up and down, from place to place, creeping into houses, &c. 
Vol. XV. R 


Now that such ways as these, and persons in these ways, 
may be judicially inquired into, I no way doubt. The story 
is famous of Sesostris king of Egypt, who made a law, that 
all the subjects of his kingdom should once a year give an 
account of their way and manner of living, and if any one 
were found to spend his time idly, he was certainly punished ; 
and the laws of most nations have provided that their peo- 
ple shall not be wanderers, and whosoever hath not a place 
of abode and employment, is by them a punishable vaga- 
bond. And in this by much experience of the ways, walk- 
ing, and converse of such persons, I am exceedingly con- 
firmed in. I did as yet rtever observe any other issue upon 
such undertakings, but scandal to religion, and trouble to 
men in their civil relations. 

[5.] When men by the practice of any vice or sin draw 
others to a pretended religion, or by pretence of religion 
draw men to any vice or known sin, let them be twice pu- 
nished, for their real vice, and pretended religion. The truth 
is, I have been taught exceedingly to disbelieve all the strange 
imputations of wickedness and uncleanness,that are imposed 
upon many, to be either the end or the medium of the practice 
of that communion in religion, which they do profess and em- 
brace. I remember that when I was a boy, all those stories 
were told me of Brownists and Puritans, which afterward I 
found to have been long before the forgeries of Pagans, and 
imposed on the primitive Christians. I dare boldly say, I 
have heard stories of them a hundred times, holding out that 
very thing, and those deeds of darkness, which Minutius 
Felix holds out in the tongue of an infidel concerning the 
Christians of those days ; but yet because sundry venerable 
persons, to whom antiquity hath given sanctuary from being 
arraigned in the point of false testimony, have left it upon 
record of sundry heretics in their days, as the Gnostics and 
others, that they were conjoined into * societates tessera pollu- 
tionis,' and some assert that the like iniquities are not wholly 
buried ; I made the supposition, and hope that if they depose 
themselves from common sense and reason, the magistrate 
will never exalt them to the privilege and exemption of 

In these, and such like cases as these, when men shall 
break forth into disturbance of common order and enormities 


against the light of nature, beyond all positive command of 
any pretended religion whatsoever, that the magistrate ought 
to set hedges of thorns in their ways, sharpened according 
to their several delinquencies, I suppose no man not abhorred 
of common sense can once hesitate, or doubt. And I am 
the more inclined to assert a restraint to all such as these, 
because it may be established to the height, without the least 
prejudice unto the truth, though persons erring should enjoy 
the place of authority. 

3. That which now remaineth in this head to be con- 
sidered is, concerning persons maintaining and upholding 
any great and pernicious errors, but in such ways, as are 
not by any of the former disorders to be brought under 
the cognizance of the civil magistrate, but good, honest, 
allowable, and peaceable in themselves, not at all to be 
questioned, but in reference to the things that are carried 
on in and by those wuys^ an communication by discourse, 
and private preaching, and the like. 

Now concerning these it is generally aflSrmed, that per- 
sons maintaining any error in or against any fundamental 
article of faith, or religion, and that with obstinacy or per- 
tinacy, after conviction, ought to be proceeded against by the 
authority of the civil magistrate, whether unto death or ba- 
nishment, imprisonment or confiscation of goods. 

(1.) Now unto this, supposing what I have written here- 
tofore, concerning the incompetency of all, and the non-con- 
stitution of any judge in this case, with the answers given 
at the beginning of this treatise to most of the places pro- 
duced usually for the affirmative, I shall briefly give in my 
thoughts ; reserving the consideration of pressing conformity 
to the next head to be handled. And, 

[1.] That I cannot but observe, that in the question itself 
there are sundry things gratis assumed. As, 

1st. That it is known and confessed, what articles in re- 
ligion are fundamental, and this also to the magistrate; when 
no one thing among Christians is mqre questionable, most 
accounting them so (be they what they will) wherein they 
differ from others. So that one way or other, all dissenters 
shall be hooked in, directly or indirectly, to clash upon furj- 
damentals. In this Papists are secure, who make the church's 
propositions sufficient to make an article fundamental. 



2dly. That the persons holding the error are convinced, 
when perhaps they have been only confuted, between which 
two there is a wide difference. He that holds the truth may- 
be confuted, but a man cannot be convinced but by the truth. 
That a man should be said to be convinced of a truth, and yet 
that truth not shine in upon his understanding, to the ex- 
pelling of the contrary error, to me is strange. To be con- 
vinced is to be overpowered by the evidence of that, which 
before a man knew not. I myself once knew a scholar in- 
vited to a dispute with another man, about something in con- 
troversy in religion; in his own, and in the judgment of all 
the by-standers, the opposing person was utterly confuted; 
and yet the scholar within a few months, was taught of God, 
and clearly convinced, that it was an error which he had 
maintained, and the truth which he opposed ; and then, and 
not till then did he cease to wonder, that the other person 
was not convinced by his strong arguments, as before he had 
thought. May not a Protestant be really worsted in a dis- 
pute by a Papist? hath it not so ere now fallen out? If not, 
the Jesuits are egregious liars. To say a man is convinced, 
when either for want of skill and ability, or the like, he can- 
not maintain his opinion to and against all men, is a mere 
conceit. The truth is, I am so far from this morose severity 
of looking upon all erring persons as convinced, that have 
been confuted ; that I rather in charity incline to believe, 
that no erring person, whilst he continues in his error, is 
convinced. It will not easily enter into my dull apprehen- 
sion, how a man can be convinced of an error, that is en- 
lightened with a contrary truth, and yet hold that error still. 
I am loath to charge more corrupt and vile affections upon 
any, than do openly appear. That of Paul, affirming that 
some men are self-condemned, is quite of another nature. I 
think a person is said to be convinced, not when there is a 
sufficiency in the means of conviction, but when there is such 
an efficacy in them, as to lay hold upon his understanding. 

3dly. That they are obstinate and pertinacious is also a 
cheap supposal, taken up without the price of a proof. What 
we call obstinacy, they call constancy ; and what we condemn 
them for as pertinacy, they embrace as perseverance. As 
the conviction is imposed, not owned, so is this obstinacy; if 
we may be judges of other men's obstinacy, all will be plain; 


but if ever (hey get uppermost, they will be judges of ours. 
Besides, I know not what good it will do us, or how it will 
advantage our cause, to suppose men obstinate and con- 
vinced, before we punish them, no such qualifications being 
any where in the book of God urged in persons deserving- 
punishment: if they have committed the crime, whereunto 
the penalty is annexed, be they obstinate or not, they shall 
be punished. 

[2.] But now supposing all this, that we are clear in all 
fundamentals, that we are convinced that they are convinced, 
and doubt not but that they are obstinate ; if they keep 
themselves in the former bounds, what is to be done ? I say, 
besides what we spake at the entrance of this discourse, I 
shall as to any ways of corporal coaction and restraint, op- 
pose some few things. 

1st. The non-constitution of a judge in case of heresy, 
as a thing civilly criminal. As to spiritual censures, and an 
ecclesiastical judgment of errors, and false doctrines, we 
find them appointed, and a lawful judge as to the determin- 
ing concerning them, divinely instituted; so that in such 
ways they may be warrantably proceeded against; Rev. 
xxi. 3. But now, for any judge that should make disquisition 
concerning them, or proceed against them as things criminal, 
to be punished with civil censures, I conceive the Scripture 
is silent. And indeed, who should it be ? The custom of 
former ages was, that some persons of one sort should de- 
termine of it as tOcright, viz. that such or such a thing was 
heresy, and such or such a one a heretic ; which was the 
work of priests and prelates; and persons of another sort 
should * de facto' punish, and determine to be punished, 
those so adjudged by the former, and these were, as they 
called them, the secular magistrates, officers of this world. 
And indeed, had not the God of this world blinded their 
eyes, and the God of the spirits of all flesh hardened their 
hearts, they would not have so given up their power to the 
man of sin, as to be made so sordidly instrumental to his 
bloody cruelty. We read, Jer. xxvi. 10, 11. that the j)riests 
and prophets assemble themselves in judgment, and so pro- 
nounce sentence upon the prophet Jerejuiah, that he should 
die for a false prophet, ver. 12. Jeremiah makes his appeal to 
the secular magistrate, and all the people, who taking cog- 


nizance of the cause, pronounce sentence in the behalf of 
the condemned person, against the priests and prophets, 
and deliver him whether they will or not, ver. 16. I spare 
the application of the story : but that princes and magistrates 
should without cognizance of the thing, or cause, proceed 
to punishment or censure of it, upon the judgment of the 
priests condemning such or such a man for a heretic, or a 
false prophet, blessed be the Lord, we have no warrant- 
Had this proceeding been regular, Jeremiah had died without 
mercy for a false prophet, as thousands since standing be-, 
fore the Lord in his spirit have done. This course then, 
that the civil magistrate should proceed to sentence of cor- 
poral punishment upon others judging of the fault, is vile, 
sordid, unwarrantable, and exceedingly unworthy of any 
rational man, much more such as are set over the people of 
the land. That the same persons must determine of the 
cause, and appoint the punishment is clear. 
Now who must these be ? 

(1st.) Are they the ministers of the gospel? Of all others 
they are the most likely to be the most competent judges in 
spiritual causes ; let it be so : but then also, they must be the 
determiners and inflicters of the punishment upon default ; 
now let them pour out upon obstinately erring persons all 
the vengeance that God hath betrusted them withal, ' The 
weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through 
God,' &c. By this course, admonition, avoiding, rejection, 
excommunication, will be the utmost that can be inflicted 
on them; which for my parti desire may be exercised to 
the utmost extent of the rule. 

(2dly.) Shall the magistrate be made judge of the cause, 
as well as of the person? Is he intrusted to determine what 
is error, what not; what heresy, whatnot; who is an heretic, 
who not; and so what punishment is due to such and such 
errors, according to the degrees wherein they are? 

[1st.] I desire an institution of this ordinance in the 
church. Where is the magistrate intrusted with such a 
power? Where are rules prescribed to him, in his pro- 
ceedings ? 

[2dly.] Is not a judiciary determination concerning truth 
and error (I mean truths of the gospel) a mere church act? 
and that church power, whereby it is effected? Must not 


then the magistrate, ' qua talis,' be a church officer .' Will 
men of this mind tolerate Erastianisni? 

[3dly.] If there be a twofold judicature appointed for 
the same person, for the same crime, is it not because one 
crime may in divers respects fall under several considera- 
tions? and must not these considerations be preserved im- 
mixed, that the formal reason of proceeding in one court 
may not be of any v\reight in the other? We proved before, 
and it is granted of all, that the church is judge in case of 
heresy and error, as such, to proceed against them, as con- 
trary to the gospel : their opposition to the faith delivered 
to the saints, is the formal reason upon which that pro- 
ceedeth to censure : if now this be afterward brought under 
another sentence, of another judicature, must it not be 
under another consideration? Now what can this be, but 
its disturbance of civil society, which when it doth so, not 
in pretence, but really and actually, none denies it to be the 
magistrate's duty to interpose with his power. 

[4thly.] If the magistrate be judge of spiritual offences, 
and it be left to him to determine, and execute judgment in 
such proportion as he shall think meet, according to the 
quality and degrees thereof; it is a very strange and un- 
limited arbitrariness over the lives and estates of men : and 
surely they ought to produce very clear testimonies, that 
they are entrusted from the Lord herewith, or they can have 
no great quiet in acting. 

[5thly.] It seems strange to me, that the Lord Jesus 
Christ should commit this architechtonical power in his 
house unto magistrates, foreseeing of what sort the greatest 
number of them would be, yea, determining that they should 
be such, for the trial and affliction of his own. View the 
times that are past, consult the stories of former ages, take 
a catalogue of the kings and rulers that have been, since 
first magistrates outwardly embraced Christian religion in 
this and other nations, where the gospel hath been planted; 
and ask your own consciences whether these be the men, to 
whom this high trust in the house of God is committed ? 
The truth is, they no sooner left serving the dragon in the 
persecution of the Pagans, but presently in a very few years, 
they gave up their power to the beast, to set up another 
state in opposition to the Lord Jesus Christ and his gospel, 


in the supportment whereof the most of them continue 
labouring till this very day. 'Hse manus Trojam exigenti' 
What may be added in this case, I refer to another oppor- 

2dly. Gospel constitutions in the case of heresy or error 
seems not to favour any course of violence, I mean of civil 
penalties. Foretold it is, that heresies must be ; 1 Cor. 
xi. 19. but this for the manifesting of those that are ap- 
proved, not the destroying of those that are not ; I say de- 
stroying, I mean with temporal punishment, that I may add 
this by the way ; for all the arguments produced for the 
punishment of heretics, holding out capital censures, and 
these being the tendance of all beginnings in this kind, I 
mention only the greatest, including all other arbitrary 
penalties, being but steps of walking to the utmost censures. 
Admonitions, and excommunication upon rejection of ad- 
monition, are the highest constitutions (I suppose) against 
such persons : * Waiting with all patience upon them that 
oppose themselves, if at any time God will give them re- 
pentance to the acknowledgment of the truth.' Imprison- 
ing, banishing, slaying, is scarcely a patient waiting. God 
doth not so wait upon unbelievers. Perhaps those who call 
for the sword on earth, are as unacquainted with their own 
spirits, as those that called for fire from heaven; Luke xi. 
And perhaps the parable of the tares gives in a positive rule 
as to this whole business : occasion may be given of handling 
it at large ; for the present I shall not fear to assert, that 
the answers unto it, borrowed by our divines from Bellarmine, 
will not endure the trial. We hope that spiritual quiet, and 
inoffensiveness in the whole mountain of the Lord, which is 
wrapped up in the womb of many promises, will at length be 
brought forth to the joy of all the children of Sion. 

3dly. Sundry other arguments taken from the nature of 
faith, heresy, liberty of conscience, the way of illumination, 
means of communication of truth, nature of spiritual things, 
pravitious tendance of the doctrine opposed, if it should be 
actually embraced by all enjoying authority, and the like, I 
thought at present to have added ; but I am gone already 
beyond my purposed resting place. 

(2.) Come we in a few words to the last thing proposed 
(wherein I shall be very brief, the main of what I intended 


being already set down) the power of the magistrate to 
compel others to the embracing of that religion and way of 
worship, wliich he shall establish and set up; which for the 
greater advantage we shall suppose to be the very same, 
both for the things proposed to be believed, and also prac- 
tised, which God himself hath revealed, and requireth all 
men every where to embrace. What is to be done for the 
settling and establishing of the profession of the gospel, and 
the right apprehension of the mind of God therein, contra- 
distinct from all those false and erroneous persuasions, 
which in these, or former days, or have been held forth 
in opposition thereunto, was before declared; how it is to 
be supported, maintained, protected, defended, safe-guarded 
from all oppositions, disturbances, blasphemings, was then 
and there set down. 

Now supposing that sundry persons, living under the 
power, and owning civil obedience to the magistrate, will not 
consent to sound doctrine, nor receive in some things (fewer 
or more, less or greater) that form of wholesome words, which 
he holds forth, and owns as the mind of Christ in the gos- 
pel, nor communicate with him in the worship, which by the 
authority of those words, or that truth, he hath as before es- 
tablished, it is inquired, What is the duty of the magistrate, 
in reference to the bringing of them into that subjection, 
which is due unto, and an acknowledgment of, the truth? 

And to this I shall briefly give in my answer in these 
following positions. 

[1.] In reference unto us, in this nation, the greatest dif- 
ficulty in giving a full return to this question ariseth from 
the great disorder of the churches of God amongst us. Were 
the precious distinguished from the vile, churches rightly 
established, and church discipline exercised, that Christians 
were under some orderly view, and men might be considered 
in their several capacities wherein they stand, an easy finger 
would untie the knot of this query. But being in that con- 
fusion wherein we are, gathering into any order being the 
great work in hand, I suppose, under favour, that the time 
is scarce come for the proposal of this question : but yet 
something may be given in unto it, though not so clear, as 
the former supposal being effected would cause it to be. 

[2.] The constant practice of the churches in former ages. 


ill all their meetings for advice and counsel, to consent into 
some form of wholesome words, that might be a discrimi- 
nating * tessera' of their communion in doctrine, being used in 
prime antiquity, as is manifest in that ancient symbol, com- 
monly esteemed apostolical, of the chief heads whereof men- 
tion in the like summary is made in the very first writers among 
them, having also warrant from the word of God, and being 
of singular use to hold out unto all other churches of the world 
our apprehensions of the mind of God in the chief heads of 
religion, may be considered. If this be done by the autho- 
rity of the magistrate, I mean, if such a declaration of the 
truth, wherein the churches by him owned and protected do 
consent, be held out as the confession of that truth which 
he embraceth, it will be of singular use unto, yea indeed must 
necessarily precede, any determination of the former question. 
Of the nature and use of confessions, 8ic. so much hath of 
late been learnedly disputed, that I shall not pour out any 
of mine own conceptions for the present about them, in that 
hasty, tumultuary manner, wherein I am enforced to expose 
this essay. 

[3.] Those who dissent from the truth so owned, so es- 
tablished, so decreed, do so either in less matters of small 
consequence, and about things generally confessed not fun- 
damental ; or in great and more weighty heads of doctrine, 
acts of worship, and the like : both agreeing in this, that 
they will not hold communion as either to all, or some parts 
and duties thereof, which those churches and persons who 
do embrace the truth so owned, as before, and act accord- 

1st. For the first of these, or such as dissent about things 
of no great concernment, in comparison of those other things 
wherein they do agree with them from whom they do dis- 
sent, I am bold positively to assert, that, saving and pre- 
serving the rules and qualifications set down under the se- 
cond head, the magistrate hath no warrant from the word of 
God, nor command, rule, or precept, to enable him to force 
such persons to submit unto the truth as by him established, 
in those things wherein they express a conscientious dissent; 
or to molest them with any civil penalty in case of refusal, 
or non-submission : nor yet did 1 ever in my life meet with 
any thing in the shape of reason to prove it, although the 


great present clamour of this nation is punctually as to this 
head : whatever be pretended, this is the Helena about which 
is the great contest. 

What I pray will warrant him then to proceed? Will 
the laws against idolatry and blasphemy, with their sanc- 
tions towards the persons of blasphemers, and idolaters 
(for I must ingenuously confess, all that which in my poor 
judgment looks with any appearance of pressing toward Hai- 
reticidium, is the everlasting equity of those judicial laws; 
and the arbitrariness of magistrates from a divine rule in 
things of the greatest concernment, to the glory of God 
if free from them, and that these laws I doubt will scarcely 
be accommodated unto any thing under contest now in 
this age of the world among Christians) but shall I say, a 
warrant taken from hence for the compelling of men 
sound in so many fundamentals, as were it not for the con- 
test with them we would acknowledge sufficient for the en- 
tertainment of the Lord Jesus in their bosoms, to subject to, 
and close with the things contrary to their present light and 
apprehension (though under a promise of being taught of 
God), or to inflict penalties upon a refusal so to do? * Credat 

Shall the examples of extraordinary judgments upon 
idolaters, false prophets, by sword and fire from heaven, on 
magicians, apostates, and the like, be here produced? 
Though such arguments as these have made thousands weep 
tears of blood, yet the consequence in reason cannot but 
provoke laughter to all men not wholly forsaken of directing 

What then shall be done, they will say? they have been 
admonished, rebuked, convinced, must they now be let 
alone ? 

Something as to this I shall add, in the close of this dis- 
course ; for the present let learned Whitaker answer for me. 
And first to the first, of their being confuted : * Possunt 
quidem controversiai ad externum forum deferri, et ibi de- 
siniri ; sed conscientia in eo foro non acquiescit, non enira 
potest conscientia sedari sine Spiritu sancto.' Let contro- 
versies (saith he) be determined how you please, until the 
conscience be quieted by the holy Spirit, there will be little 
peace. Unto which 1 shall not add any thing, considering 



what I said before of conviction. And to the latter, of letting 
them alone to their own ways : * Ecclesiae quidem optatius 
est levibus quibusdam dissensionibus ad tempus agitari, 
quam in perfida pace acquiescere ; non ergo sufficit aliquo 
modo pacem conservari, nisi illam esse sanctam pacem con- 
stiterit,' Whit, con, 4. de Rom. Pont. qu. 1. cap. 1. sect. 2. 
Better some trouble, than a perfidious compelled peace. See 
him handle this more at large, with some excellent conclu- 
sions to this purpose. Con. 4. de Rom. Pont. qu. 1. cap. 1. 
sect. 19. p. 48. et 50. 

For these then (and under this head I compare all such 
persons, as keeping in practice within the bonds before laid 
forth do so far forth hold the foundation, as that neither by 
believing what is not, or disbelieving what indeed is, they do 
take in, or keep off, any such thing as wherewithal being 
embraced, or without which being rejected, the life of Christ 
cannot in any case possibly consist, nor salvation by him be 
obtained) as the magistrate is not bound by any rule or pre- 
cept to assist and maintain them, in the practice of those 
things wherein they dissent from the truth, so he is bound 
to protect them in peace and quietness, in the enjoyment of 
all civil rights and liberties ; nor hath he either warrant or 
allowance to proceed against them, as to the least penalty, 
for their dissent in those things they cannot receive. At- 
tempts for uniformity among saints, or such as for ought 
we can conclude, either from their opinions or practices may 
be so, by external force are purely antichristian. 

2dly. Now for those that stand at a greater distance from 
the publicly owned and declared truths, such as before we 
spake of, the orderly way of dealing with such is, in the first 
place, to bring them off from the error of the way, which they 
have embraced ; and until that be done, all thoughts of 
drawing in their assent to that, from which at such a dis- 
tance they stand, is vain and bootless. Now what course 
is to be taken for the effecting of this? Spiritual ways of 
healing are known to all, let them be used, and in case they 
prove fruitless, for ought that yet I can perceive, the person 
of men so erring must be left in the state and condition we 
described under the second head. 

And now to drive on this business any farther by way of 
contest I will not ; my intention at the beginning was only 


positively to assert, and to give in briefly, the scriptural and 
rational bottoms, and proofs of those assertions .• wherein I 
have gone aside, to pull or thrust a line of debate, I have 
transgressed against my own purpose, I hope it will be par- 
doned : though I am heartily desirous any thing which pass- 
eth my pen, may be brought to the test, and myself reduced 
where I have gone amiss ; yet my spirit faints within me, to 
think of that way of handling things in controversy, which 
some men by reciprocation of answers and replies have wound 
themselves into. Bolsecte, and Staphylus, and Stapleton, 
seem to live again, and much gall from beneath to be poured 
into men's ink. Oh, the deep wounds the gospel hath re- 
ceived by the mutual keen invectives of learned men ! I hope 
the Lord will preserve me from being engaged with any man 
of such a frame of spirit. What hath been asserted may 
easily be cast up in a few positions, the intelligent reader 
will quickly discern what is aimed at, and what I have stood 
to avow. 

If what is proposed be not satisfactory, I humbly offer 
to the honourable parliament, that a certain number of learned 
men, who are differently minded as to this business of tole- 
ration, which almost every where is spoken against, may be 
desired and required to a fair debate of the matter in differ- 
ence before their own assembly ; that so, if it be possible, 
some light may be given to the determination of this thing, 
of so great concernment in the judgments of all men, both 
on the one side and on the other, that so they may * try all 
things, and hold fast that which is good.' 

Corol. 1. That magistrates have nothing to do in matters 
of religion, as some unadvisedly affirm, is exceedingly wide 
from the truth of the thing itself. 

Corol. 2. Corporal punishments for simple error were 
found out to help to build the tower of Babel. 

Si quid novisti rectius istis, 

Candidus imperii ; si non, his utere raeeum. 





• This sermon was preached before the FarliameDt, Feb. 28, 1649, being a day 
5-et apart for solemn huruiliation throughout the nation. 





That God in whose hand your breath is, and whose 
are all your ways, having caused various seasons to 
pass over you, and in them all manifested, that his 
works are truth, and his ways judgment, calls earnestly 
by them for that walking before him, which is required 
from them, who with other distinguishing mercies, are 
interested in the specialty of his protecting providence. 
As in a view of present enjoyments, to sacrifice to your 
net, and burn incense to your drag, as though by them, 
your portion were fat and plenteous, is an exceeding 
provocation to the eyes of his glory ; so to press to the 
residue of your desires and expectations, by an arm of 
flesh, the designings and contrivances of carnal reason, 
with outwardly appearing mediums of their accom- 
plishment, is no less an abomination to him. Though 
there may be a present sweetness to them that find the 
life of the hand, yet their latter end will be, to lie down 
in sorrow. That you might be prevailed on to give 
glory to God by steadfastness in believing, committing 
all your ways to him with patience in well-doing, to 
the contempt of the most varnished appearance of 
carnal policy, was my peculiar aim in this ensuing- 

That which added ready willingness to my obedi- 
ence unto your commands for the preaching and pub- 


lishing' hereof, being- a serious proposal for the ad- 
vancement and propagation of the gospel in another 
nation, is here again recommended to your thoughts, by 
Your most humble servant, 

In our common Master, 

J. Owen. 

March 8. 1649. 



He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief. — Rom. iv, 20. 

In the first chapters of this epistle, the apostle, from Scrip- 
ture, and the constant practice of all sorts of men, of all 
ages, Jews and Gentiles, wise and barbarians, proves all the 
world, and every individual therein, to ' have sinned and 
come short of the glory of God :' and not only so, but that 
it was utterly impossible, that by their own strength, or by 
virtue of any assistance communicated, or privileges enjoyed, 
they should ever attain to a righteousness of their own, that 
might be acceptable unto God. 

Hereupon he concludes that discourse with these two 
positive assertions : First, That for what is past, * every 
mouth must be stopped, and all the world become guilty 
before God ;' chap. iii. 19. Secondly, For the future, though 
they should labour to amend their ways, and improve their 
assistances and privileges to a better advantage than formerly, 
* yet by the deeds of tlie law, shall no flesh be justified in the 
sight of God ;' ver. 20. 

Now it being the main drift of the apostle, in this epistle, 
and in his whole employment, to manifest that God hath not 
shut up all the sons of men, hopeless and remediless under 
this condition ; he immediately discovers and opens the rich 
supply, which God in free grace hath made and provided, 
for the delivery of his own from this calamitous estate, even 
by the righteousness of faith in Christ, which he unfoldeth, 
asserteth, proves, and vindicates from objections, to the end 
of the third chapter. 

This being a matter of so great weight, as, comprising in 
itself the sum of the gospel wherewith he was intrusted ; 
the honour and exaltation of Christ, which above all he de- 
sired ; the great design of God to be glorious in his saints ; 
and in a word, the chief subject of the ambassage from Christ, 
to him committed (to wit, that they who neither have, nor 
by any means can attain a righteousness of their own, by the 
utmost of their workings, may yet have that which is com- 
plete and unrefusable in Christ, by believing), he therefore 

VOL. XV. s 


strongly confirms it in the fourth chapter, by testimony and 
example of the Scripture, with the saints that were of old : 
thereby also declaring^, that though the manifestation of this 
mystery, were now more fully opened by Christ from the 
bosom of the Father, yet indeed this was the only way for 
any to appear in the presence of God, ever since sin entered 
into the world. 

To make his demonstrations the more evident, he singleth 
out one for an example, who was eminently known, and 
confessed by all to have been the friend of God, to have been 
righteous and justified before him, and thereon to have 
held sweet communion with him all his days ; to wit, 
Abraham, the father according to the flesh, of all those, who 
put in the strongest of all men for a share in righteousness, 
by the privileges they did enjoy, and the works they did 

Now concerning him, the apostle proves abundantly in 
the beginning of the fourth chapter, that the justification 
which he found, and the righteousness he attained, was 
purely that, and no other, which he before described ; to 
wit, a righteousness in the forgiveness of sins, through faith 
in the blood of Christ. Yea, and that all the privileges and 
exaltations of this Abraham, which made him so signal and 
eminent among the saints of God, as to be called ' the father 
of the faithful,' were merely from hence, that this righteous- 
ness of grace was freely discovered, and fully established 
unto him : an enjoyment being granted him in a peculiar 
manner, by faith of that promise, wherein the Lord Christ, 
with the whole spring of the righteousness mentioned, was 
inwrapped. This the apostle pursues with sundry and 
various inferences and conclusions, to the end of ver. 17. 
chap. iv. 

Having laid down this, in the next place he gives us a 
description of that faith of Abraham, whereby he became 
inheritor of those excellent things, from the adjuncts of it. 
That as his justification was proposed as an example of 
God's dealing with us by his grace, so his faith might be laid 
down as a pattern for us, in the receiving that grace. 
Now this he doth, from 

First, The foundation of it, whereon it rested. 
, , Secondly, The matter of it, what he believed. 


Thirdly, The manner of it, or how he believed. 

First, From the bottom and foundation on which it 
rested, viz. The omnipotency or all-sufficiency of God, 
whereby he was able to fulfil whatever he had engaged 
himself unto by promise, and which he called him to be- 
lieve, ver. 14. * He believed him who quickeneth the dead, 
and calleth those things which be not, as though they 

Two great testimonies are here of the power of God: 

1. That * he quickeneth the dead :' able he is to raise up 
those that are dead to life again. 

2. ' He calleth things that are not, as though they were :' 
by his very call or word, gives being to those things which 
before were not : as when he said, ' Let there be light, there 
was light;' Gen. i. 3. by that very word, 'commanding light 
to shine out of darkness ;' 2 Cor. iv. 6. 

These demonstrations of God's all-sufficiency he consi- 
dereth in peculiar reference to what he was to believe ; to 
wit, that 'he might be the father of many nations;' ver. 11. 
of the Jews according ' to the flesh,' of Jews and Gentiles, 
according to the faith whereof we speak. For the first, his 
' body being now dead, and Sarah's womb dead,' ver. 19. 
he rests on God * as quickening the dead,' in believing that 
he ' shall be the father of many nations.' For the other, 
that he should be a father of the Gentiles by faith, the Holy 
Ghost witnesseth that they ' were not a people ;' Hos. ii. 23. 
the implanting of them in his stock, must be by a power, 
' that calleth things that are not, as though they were :' 
giving a new nature and being unto them, which before they 
had not. 

To bottom ourselves upon the all-sufficiency of God, for 
the accomplishment of such things as are altogether im- 
possible to any thing, but that all-sufficiency, is faith in- 
deed, and worthy our imitation. It is also the wisdom of 
faith, to pitch peculiarly on that in God, which is accom- 
modated to the difficulties wherewith it is to wrestle. Is 
Abraham to believe, that from his dead body must spring 
a whole nation ? He rests on God, as ' he that quickeneth 
the dead.' 

Secondly, His faith is commended from the matter of it, 
or what he did believe ; which is said in general to be 'the 



promise of God ;' ver. 20. ' He staggered not at the promise 
of God through unbelief.' And particularly the matter of 
that promise is pointed at, ver. 11. 18. that he should be 
' the father of many nations ;' that was his being a ' father 
of many nations,' of having 'all nations blessed in his seed.' 
A matter entangled with a world of difficulties, considering 
the natural inability of his body, and the body of Sarah, to 
be parents of children. But, when God calls for believing, 
his truth and all-sufficiency being engaged, no difficulty, nor 
seeming impossibilities, that the thing to be believed is, or 
may be attended withal, ought to be of any weight with us : 
he who hath promised, is able. 

Thirdly, From the manner of his believing, which is ex- 
pressed four ways. 

1. ' Acrainst hope, he believed in hope;' ver. 18. Here 
is a twofold hope mentioned ; one that was against him, the 
other that was for him. 

(1.) He believed against hope, that is, when all argu- 
ments that might beget ,hope in him, were against him. 
Ao"ainst hope is against all motives unto hope whatever. All 
reasons of natural hope were against him. What hope could 
arise in, or by reason, that two dead bodies should be the 
source and fountain of many nations ? so that against all 
inducements of a natural hope he believed. 

(2.) He 'believed in hope;' that is, such hope as arose 
as his faith did, from the consideration of God's all-suffi- 
ciency. This is an adjunct of his faith, it was such a faith 
as had hope adjoined with it. And this believing in hope 
when all reasons of hope were away, is the first thing that 
is set down, of the manner of his faith. In a decay of all 
natural helps, the deadness of all means, an appearance of 
an utter impossibility, that ever the promise should be ac- 
complished, then to believe with unfeigned hope, is a com- 
mendable faith. 

2. He 'was not weak in faith;' ver. 19. jut) aa^ivnaaq, 
' minime debilis,' Beza. He was by * no means weak :' a ne- 
gation, that by a figure, fxiioxrig, doth strongly assert the 
contrary, to that which is denied. He was no way weak ; 
that is, he was very strong in faith, as is afterward expressed, 
ver. 20. ' He was strong in faith, giving glory to God.' And 
the apostle tells you, wherein this his not weakness did ap- 


pear : saith he, * He considered not his own body being now 
dead, when he was about a hundred years old, neither yet 
the deadness of Sarah's womb ;' ver. 19. It was seen in 
this, that his faith carried him above the consideration of all 
impediments, that might lie in the way to the accomplish- 
ment of the promise. 

It is mere weakness of faith, that makes a man lie poring 
on the difficulties and seeming impossibilities that lie upon 
the promise. We think it our wisdom, and our strength, 
to consider, weigh, and look into the bottom of oppositions, 
and temptations, that arise against the promise. Perhaps 
it may be the strength of our fleshly, carnal reason ; but 
certainly it is the weakness of our faith. He that is strong 
in faith will not so much as debate, or consider the things, 
that cast the greatest seeming improbability, yea impossi- 
bility, on the fulfilling of the promise: it will not afford a 
debate or dispute of the cause, nor any consideration . ' Being 
not weak in faith, he considered not.' 

3. He * was fully persuaded;' ver. 21. Tr\i]po({)opri^aig, 
' persuasionis plenus.' This is the third thing that is ob- 
served in the manner of his believing. He fully, quietly, 
resolvedly cast himself on this, that ' he who had promised 
was able to perform it.' As a ship at sea (for so the word 
imports), looking about, and seeing storms and winds 
arising, sets up all her sails, and with all speed makes to 
the harbour. Abraham seeing the storms of doubts and 
temptations likely to rise against the promise made unto him, 
with full sail breaks through all, to lie down quietly in God's 

4. The last is, that * he staggered not ;' ver. 20. This is 
that which I have chosen to insist on unto you, as a choice 
part of the commendation of Abraham's faith, which is pro- 
posed for our imitation ; * He staggered not at the promise 
of God through unbelief.' 

The words may be briefly resolved into this doctrinal 
proposition : 

Observation. All staggering at the promises of God is 
from unbelief. 

What is of any difficulty in the text, will be cleared in 
opening the parts of the observation. 

Men are apt to pretend sundry other reasons and causes 


of their staggering. The promises do not belong unto them, 
God intends not their souls in them^ they are not such and 
such, and this makes them stagger ; when the truth is, it is 
their unbelief, and that alone, that puts them into this stag- 
gering condition. As in other things, so in this, we are apt 
to have many fair pretences for foul faults. To lay the bur- 
den on the right shoulders, I shall demonstrate, by God's 
assistance, that it is not this, or that, but unbelief alone, that 
makes us stagger at the promises. 

To make this the more plain, I must open these two 
things : 

I. What is the promise here intended. 

II. What it is to stagger at the promise. 

I. The promise here mentioned is principally that which 
Abraham believing, it was said eminently, that ' it was ac- 
counted to him for righteousness.' So the apostle tells us, 
ver. 5. of this chapter : when this was, you may see Gen. xv. 6. 
there it is affirmed, that ' he believed the Lord, and it was 
accounted to him for righteousness.' That which God 
had there spoken to him of, was about ' the multiplying 
of his seed as the stars of heaven, whereas he was yet 

The last verse of chap. xiv. leaves Abraham full of 
earthly glory. He had newly conquered five kings with all 
their host, was honoured by the king of Sodom, and blessed 
by the king of Salem ; and yet in the first verse of chap. xv. 
God 'appearing to him in a vision,' in the very entrance bids 
him 'fear not :' plainly intimating, that notwithstanding all 
his outward success and glory, he had still many perplexities 
upon his spirit, and had need of great consolation and es- 
tablishment. Abraham was not clear in the accomplishment 
of former promises about the blessed seed, and so though 
he have all outward advancements, yet he cannot rest in 
them. Until a child of God be clear in the main, in the 
matter of the great promise, the business of Christ, the great- 
est outward successes and advantages, will be so far from 
quieting and settling his mind, that they rather increase his 
perplexities. They do but occasion him to cry. Here is this, 
and that ; here is victory, and success ; here is wealth, and 
peace ; but liere is not Christ. 

That this was Abraham's condition, appears from ver. 2. 


of that chapter, where God having told him, that he was his 
shield and his exceeding great reward : he replies, ' Lord 
God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless?' As if 
he should have said. Lord God, thou toldest me when I was 
in Haran, now nineteen years ago, that in me and 'my seed, 
all the families of the earth should be blessed ;' Gen. xii. 3. 
that the blessed, blessing seed, should be of me : but now 
I wax old, all appearances grow up against the direct ac- 
complishment of that word, and it was that, which above all 
in following thee I aimed at : if I am disappointed therein, 
what shall I do? and what will all these things avail me? 
what will it benefit me, to have a multitude of earthly en- 
joyments, and leave them in the close to my servant? 

I cannot but observe, that this sighing, mournful com- 
plaint of Abraham, hath much infirmity, and something of 
diffidence, mixed with it. He shakes in the very bottom of 
his soul, that improbabilities were growing up, as he 
thought, to impossibilities, against him, in the way of pro- 
mise. Yet hence also mark these two things : First, Tlrat 
he doth not repine in himself, and keep up his burning 
thoughts in his breast, but sweetly breathes out the burden 
of his soul, into the bosom of his God. ' Lord God,' saith 
he, 'what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless?' It is of 
sincere faith, to unlade our unbelief in the bosom of our 
God. Secondly, That God lakes not his servant at the ad- 
vantage of his complaining and diffidence : but lets that 
pass, until having renewed the promise to him, and settled 
his faith, then he gives in his testimony, that he believed 
God. The Lord overlooks the weakness, and causeless 
wailings of his, takes them at the best, and then gives his 
witness to them. 

This, I say, was the promise whereof we spake : that he 
should have a seed of his own, ' like the stars that cannot 
be numbered ;' Gen. xv. 4, 5. And herein are contained 
three things. 

1. The purely spiritual part of it, that concerned his own 
soul in Christ. God engaging about his seed minds him 
of his own interest in that seed which brings the blessing. 
Jesus Christ, with his whole mediation, and his whole work 
of redemption, is in this promise, with the enjoyment of 


God in covenant, ' as a shield, and as an exceeding great 

2. The kingdom of Christ, in respect of the propagation 
and establishment of it, with the multitude of his subjects, 
that also is in this promise. 

3. The temporal part of it, multitudes of children to a 
childless man, and an heir from his own bowels. 

Now this promise, in these three branches, takes up 
your whole interest, comprises all you are to believe for : 
be you considered either as believers, or as rulers. As be- 
lievers : so your interest lies in these two things : That your 
own souls have a share and portion in the Lord Christ; and 
that the kingdom of the Lord Jesus be exalted and esta- 
blished. As rulers : That peace and prosperity may be the 
inheritance of the nation, is in your desires. Look upon 
this in subordination to the kingdom of Christ, and so all 
these are in this promise. 

To make this more plain, these being the three main 
things that you aim at, I shall lay before you three promises, 
suited to these several things, which, or the like, you are 
to view in all your actings, all staggering at them, being 
from unbelief. 

The first thing you are to believe for, is the interest of 
your own souls in the covenant of grace, by Christ. As 
to this I shall only point unto that promise of the covenant, 
Heb. viii. 12. ' I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, 
and their sins, and their iniquities I will remember no more/ 
The second is the establishment of the kingdom of 
Christ, in despite of all opposition. And for this amongst 
innumerable, take that of Isa. Ix. 11. ' Therefore thy gates 
shall be open continually, they shall not be shut day nor 
night, that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gen- 
tiles, and that their kings may be brought ; for the nation 
and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish.' 

The quiet and peace of the nation, which ye regard as 
rulers, as it stands in subordination to the kingdom of 
Christ, comes also under the promise, for which take that 
of Jer. XXX. 20, 21. 

These being your three main aims, let your eye be fixed 
on these three, or the like promises ; for in the demonstra- 


tion and the use of the point, I shall carry along all three 
together, desiring that what is instanced in any one, may be 
always extended to both the other. 

II. What is it to stagger at the promise. 'He staggered 
not,' ow Stticpt'^rj, ' he disputed not:' SiaKpivojuat is properly 
to make use of our own judgment and reason, in discerning 
of things, of what sort they be. It is sometimes rendered, 
'to doubt;' Matt. xxi. 21. 'If you have faith,' koi nrj ^la- 
Kpi^rJTE, ' and doubt not :' that is, not use arguings and rea- 
sonings in yourselves concerning the promise and things 
promised. Sometimes it simply denotes to discern a thing 
as it is : so the word is used 1 Cor. xi. 29. Staicptvwv to awfia, 
'discerning the body.' In the sense wherein it is here used, 
as also Matt. xxi. 21. it holds out, as I said, a self-con- 
sultation and dispute, concerning those contrary things that 
are proposed to us. So also Acts x. 20. Peter is com- 
manded to obey the vision, jurjSev SaKptvojutvoc, 'nothing 
doubting.' What is that? Why, a not continuing to do, 
what he is said to have done, ver. 17. 'He doubted in him- 
self what the vision he had seen should mean:' he rolled 
and disputed it in his own thoughts ; he staggered at it. 

To stagger then at the promise, is to take into consider- 
ation the promise itself, and withal, all the diflSculties that 
lie in the way for the accomplishment of it, as to a man's 
own particular, and there so to dispute it in his thoughts, 
as not fully to cast it off, nor fully to close with it. For 
instance, the soul considers the promise of free grace in the 
blood of Jesus, looks upon it, weighs, as well as it is able, 
the truth of God, who make the promise, with those other 
considerations, which might lead the heart to rest firmly 
upon it; but withal, takes into his thoughts his own un- 
worthiness, sinfulness, unbelief, hypocrisy, and the like; 
which as he supposes, powerfully stave off the eflScacy of 
the promise from him. Hence he knows not what to con- 
clude : if he add a grain of faith, the scale turns on the side 
of the promise; the like quantity of unbelief makes it turn 
upon him; and what to do he knows not: let go the pro- 
mise he cannot, take fast hold he dares not ; but here he 
staggers, and wavers to and fro. 

Thus the soul comes to be like Paul, in anotlicr case, 
Phil. i. 23. He considered his own advantage on the one 


side by his dissolution, and the profit of the churches by 
his abiding in the flesh, on the other; and taking in these 
various thoughts, he cries out, he is in a strait, he stag- 
gered, he was betwixt two, and knew not which to choose : 
or as David, 2 Sam/xxiv. 14. when he had a tender of 
several corrections made to him, says, ' I am in a great 
strait;' he sees evil in every one, and knows not which to 

A poor creature looking upon the promise, sees, as he 
supposes, in a steadfast closing with the promise, that there 
lies presumption ; on the other hand, certain destruction, if 
he believes not; and now he staggers, he is in a great 
strait: arguments arise on both sides, he knows not how 
to determine them, and so hanging in suspense, he stag- 
gereth. Like a man travelling a journey, and meeting with 
two several paths, that promise both fairly, and he knows 
not which is his proper way; he guesses, and guesses, and 
at length cries. Well, I know not which of these ways I 
should go ; but this is certain, if I mistake I am undone ; 
I'll go in neither, but here I'll sit down, and not move one 
step in either of them, until some one come, that can give 
me direction. The soul very frequently sits down in this 
hesitation, and refuses to step one step forward, till God 
come mightily and lead out the spirit to the promise, or the 
devil turn it aside to unbelief. 

It is as a thing of small weight in the air : the weight that 
it hath, carries it downwards ; and the air, with some breath 
of wind, bears it up again, so that it waves to and fro : 
sometimes it seems as though it would fall, by its own 
weight; and sometimes again, as though it would mount 
quite out of sight ; but poized between both it tosseth up 
and down, without any great gaining either way. The pro- 
mise draws the soul upward, and the weight of its unbelief 
sinks it downward: sometimes the promise attracts so 
powerfully, you would think the heart quite drawn up into 
it: and sometimes again unbelief presses down, that you 
would think it gone for ever ; but neither prevails utterly, 
the poor creature swaggs between both, this is to stagger. 
Like the two disciples going to Emmaus, Luke xxiv. 14. 
'They talked together of the things that had happened,' 
debated the business, and ver. 22. they gave up the result 


of their thoughts. They * trusted it had been he that should 
have redeemed Israel ;' they trusted once, but now seeing 
him slain and crucified, they know not what to say to it. 
What then? do they quite give overall trusting in him? 
No, they cannot do so, ver. 23 — 25. Certain women had 
astonished them, and affirmed that he was risen ; yea, and 
others also going to his grave found it so : hereupon they 
'have communication within themselves and are sad,' ver. 17. 
that is, they staggered, they were in a staggering condition: 
much appears for them, something against them, they know 
not what to do. 

A poor soul, that hath been long perplexed in trouble 
and anxiety of mind, finds a sweet promise, Christ in a pro- 
mise suited to all his wants, coming with mercy to pardon 
him, with love to embrace him, with blood to purge him, 
and is raised up to roll himself in some measure upon this 
promise; on a sudden terrors arise, temptations grow strong, 
new corruptions break out, Christ in the promise dies to him, 
Christ in the promise is slain, is in the grave as to him ; so 
that he can only sigh, and say, I trusted for deliverance by 
Christ, but now all is gone again, I have little or no hope, 
Christ in the promise is slain to me. What then? shall he 
give over, never more inquire after this buried Christ, but 
sit down in darkness and sorrow ? No, he cannot do so : 
this morning some new arguments of Christ's appearance 
again upon the soul are made out ; Christ is not for ever 
lost to him. What does he then? Steadfastly believe he 
cannot, totally give over he will not ; he staggers, he is full 
of self-communications, and is sad. This it is, to stagger at 
the promise of God. 

1 come now to prove, that notwithstanding any pretences 
whatever, all this staggering is from unbelief. 

The two disciples, whom we now mentioned, that stag- 
gered and disputed between themselves in their journey to 
Emmaus, thought they had a good reason, and a sufficient ap- 
pearing cause of all their doublings. 'We hoped,' say they, 
' that it was he that should have delivered Israel. What do 
they now stand at ? Alas ! the ' chief-priests and rulers have 
condemned him to death, and crucified him ;' Luke xxiv. 20. 
And is it possible that deliverance should arise from a cru- 
cified man? this makes them stagger. Bui when our Saviour 


himself draws nigh to them, and gives them the ground of 
all this, he tells them it is all from hence ; they ' are foolish 
and slow of heart to believe ;' ver. 25. Here is the rise of 
all their doubtings, even their unbelief. Whilst you are 
slow of heart to believe, do not once think of establishment. 

Peter venturing upon the waves at the command of 
Christ, Matt. xiv. seeing the * wind to grow boisterous,' 
ver. 29. he also hath a storm within, and cries out. Oh, 
save me ! What was now the cause of Peter's fear, and cry- 
ing out? Why the wind and sea grew boisterous, and he 
was ready to sink ; no such thing, but merely unbelief, want 
of faith ; ver. 31. ' O thou of little faith,' saith our Saviour, 
' wherefore didst thou doubt ?' It was not the great winds, but 
thy little faith that made thee stagger. And in three or 
four other places, upon several occasions, doth our Saviour 
lay all the wavering and staggering of his followers, as to 
any promised mercy upon this score, as Matt. vi. 30. and 
viii. 26. 

Isa. vii. Ahaz being afraid of the combination of Syria 
and Ephraim against him, received a promise of deliverance 
by Isaiah ; ver. 7. Whereupon the prophet tells him, and 
all Judah, that * if they will not believe, surely they shall not 
be established ;' ver. 9. He doth not say. If Damascus and 
Ephraim be not broken, you shall not be established ; no, 
he doth not stick there ; the fear that you will not be esta- 
blished ariseth merely from your unbelief, that keeps you off 
from closing with the promise, which would certainly bring 
you establishment. 

And this is the sole reason the apostle gives, why the 
word of promise being preached becomes unprofitable, even 
because of unbelief. ' It was not mixed with faith ;' Heb. 
iv. 2. 

But these things will be more clear under the demonstra- 
tion of the points, which are two. 

1 . When a man doubts, hesitates, and disputes, any thing 
in himself, his reasonings must have their rise, either from 
something within himself, or from something in the things 
concerning which he staggereth ; either ' certitudo mentis,' 
' the assurance of his mind;' or * certitudo entis,' the 'cer- 
tainty of the thing itself,' is wanting. He that doubtetfe 
whether his friend in a far country be alive or not, his stag- 


gering ariseth from the uncertainty of the thing itself; when 
that is made out, he is resolved, as it was with Jacob in the 
case of Joseph. But he that doubteth, whether the needle 
in the compass, being touched with the loadstone, will turn 
northward, all the uncertainty is in his own mind. 

When men stagger at the promises, this must arise either 
from within themselves, or some occasion must be adminis- 
tered hereunto from the promise. If from within themselves, 
that can be nothing but unbelief; an inbred obstacle to 
closing with, and resting on, the promise ; that is unbelief. 
If then we demonstrate that there is nothing in the promise, 
either as to matter, or manner, or any attendency of it, that 
should occasion any such staggering, we lay the burden and 
blame on the right shoulders, the sin of staggering on un- 

Now that any occasion is not administered, nor cause 
given, of this staggering from the promise, will appear, if we 
consider seriously whence any such occasion or cause should 
arise. All the stability of a promise depends upon the 
qualifications of the promiser, to the ends and purposes of 
the promise. If a man make me a promise to do such and 
such things for me, and I question, whether ever it will be so 
or not; it must be from a doubt of the want of one of these 
things in him that makes the promise; either (1.) of truth; 
or (2.) of ability to make good his word, because of the dif- 
ficulty of the thing itself; or (3.) of sincerity to intend me 
really, what he speaks of; or (4.) of constant memory to 
take the opportunity of doing the thing intended ; or (5.) of 
stableness to be still of the same mind. Now if there be no 
want of any of these in him whose promises we speak of, 
there is then certainly no ground of our staggering, but only 
from our own unbelief. 

Let us now see whether any of these things be wantino- 
to the promises of God ; and begin we with the first. 

(1.) Is there truth in these promises? If there be the 
least occasion in the world to suspect the truth of the pro- 
mises, or the veracity of the promiser, then may our stao-ger- 
ing at them arise from thence, and not from our own unbe- 
lief. On this ground it is, that all human faith, that is bot- 
tomed merely on the testimony of man, is at best but a pro- 
bable opinion ; for every man is a liar, and possibly may lie 


in that very thing he is engaged to us in. Though a good 
man will not do so to save his life ; yet it is possible, he may 
be tempted, he may do so. But now the author of the pro- 
mises whereof we speak, is truth itself, the God of truth. 
Who hath taken this as his special attribute, to distinguish 
him from all others. He is the very God of truth ; and 
holds out this very attribute in a special manner, in this very 
thing, in making of his promise : * he is faithful to forgive us 
our sins ;' 1 John i 9. Whence his word is said not only 
to be true, but ' truth,' John xvii. 19. truth itself. ' All flesh 
is as grass, but his word abideth for ever;' Isa. xliv. 1. 

But yet farther, that it may be evident, that from hence 
there can be no occasion of staggering, this God of truth, 
whose word is truth, hath in his infinite wisdom conde- 
scended to our weakness, and used all possible means to 
cause us to apprehend the truth of his promises. The 
Lord might have left us in the dark, to have gathered out 
his mind and will towards us from obscure expressions ; and 
knowing of what value his kindness is, it might justly be ex- 
pected that we should do so. Men in misery are glad to lay 
hold of the least word that drops from him, that can relieve 
them, and to take courage and advantage upon it. As the 
servants of Benhadad watched diligently, what would fall 
from the mouth of Ahab concerning their master, then in 
fear of death ; and when he had occasionally called him his 
brother, they presently laid hold of it, and cry, * Thy brother 
Benhadad ;' 1 Kings xx. 33. God might have left us, and 
yet have manifested much free grace, to have gathered 
up falling crumbs, or occasional droppings of mercy, and 
supply, that we should have rejoiced to have found out one 
word looking that way ; but to shut up all objections, and 
to stop for ever the mouth of unbelief, he hath not only 
spoken plainly, but hath condescended to use all the ways of 
confirming the truth of what he says and speaks, that ever 
were in use among the sons of men. 

There be four ways, whereby men seek to obtain credit 
to what they speak, as an undoubted truth, that there may 
be no occasion of staggering. 

[1.] By often averring and affirming of the same thing. 
When a man says the same thing again and again, it is a 
sign that he speaks the truth, or at least that he would be 


"ttiought SO to do. Yea, if an honest man do clearly, fully, 
plainly, often engage himself to us in the same thing, we 
count it a vile jealousy not to believe the real truth of his 
intentions. Now the Lord in his promises often speaks the 
same things, he speaks once and twice. There is not any 
thing that he hath promised us, but he hath done it again 
and again. For instance, as if he should say, ' I will be mer- 
ciful to your sins,' I pray believe me, for, ' I will pardon your 
iniquities,' yea, it shall be so, ' I will blot out your transgres- 
sions as a cloud.' 

There is not any want, whereunto we are liable, but thus 
he hath dealt concerning it. As his command is line upon 
line, so is his promise. And this is one way whereby God 
causeth the truth of his promises to appear. To take away 
all colour of staggering, he speaks once, yea twice, if we will 

[2.] The second way of confirming any truth, is by an 
oath. Though we fear the truth of some men in their asser- 
tions, yet when once they come to swear any thing in justice 
and judgment, there are very few so knownly profligate, 
and past all sense of God, but that their asseverations do 
gain credit, and pass for truth. Hence the apostle tells us, 
Heb. vi. 16. that ' an oath for confirmation is to men an end 
of all strife.' Though the truth be before ambiguous and 
doubtful, yet when any interposes with an oath, there is 
no more contest amongst men. That nothing may be want- 
ing to win our belief to the promises of God, he hath taken 
this course also, he hath sworn to their truth. Heb. vi. 13. 
' When God made promises to Abraham, because he could 
swear by no greater he sware by himself.' He confirms his 
promise by an oath. ' O, faelices nos, quorum causa Deus 
jurat; 6 infaelices, si nee juranti Deo credimus !' When 
Christ came, ' in whom all the promises of God are yea and 
amen,' to make sure work of the truth of them, he is con- 
firmed in his administrations by an oath. Heb. vii. 21. ' He 
was made a priest by an oath, by him that said. The Lord 
sware, and will not repent. Thou art a priest for ever.' Now, 
I pray, what is the cause of this great condescension in the 
God of heaven, to confirm that word, which in itself is truth, 
by an oath ? The apostle satisfies us as to the end aimed 
at, Heb. vi. 17, 18. This was, saith he, the aim of God 


herein, that his people seeing him engaged, by two such im- 
mutable things, as his promise and his oath, may be assured 
that there is an utter impossibility, that any one word of his 
should come short of its truth ; or, that they firmly resting 
upon it should be deceived thereby. And this is a second 

[3.] Another course, whereby men confirm the truth of 
what they speak, is by entering into covenant, to accom- 
plish what they have spoken. A covenant gives strength 
to the truth of any engagement. When a man hath but told 
you he will do such and such things for you, you are full 
of doubts and fears, that he may break with you ; but when 
he hath indented in a covenant, and you can shew it under 
his hand and seal, you look upon that, consider that, and 
are very secure. Even this way also hath the Lord taken 
to confirm and establish his truths and promises, that all 
doubtings and staggerings may be excluded, he hath wrap- 
ped them all up in a covenant, and brought himself into a 
federal engagement, that upon every occasion, and at every 
temptation, we may draw out his hand and seal, and say to 
Satan and our own false hearts ; See here, behold God en- 
gaged in covenant, to make good the word, wherein he hath 
caused me to put my trust ; and this is his property, that he 
is a God keeping covenant. So that having his promise re- 
doubled, and that confirmed by an oath, all sealed and made 
sure by an unchangeable covenant, what can we require 
more, to assure us of the truth of these things ? But yet 
farther ; 

[4.] In things of very great weight and concernment, 
such as whereon lives, and the peace of nations does depend, 
men use to give hostages, for the securing each other of the 
faith and truth of all their engagements, that they may be 
mutual pledges of their truth and fidelity. Neither hath the 
Lord left this way unused to confirm his promise. He hath 
given us a hostage to secure us of his truth, one exceedingly 
dear to him, one always in his bosom, of whose honour he is 
as careful, as of his own. Jesus Christ is the great hostage 
of his Father's truth, the pledge of his fidelity in his pro- 
mises. God hath set him forth, and given him to us for this 
end. ' Behold the Lord himself shall give you a sign' (a sign 
that he will fulfil his word), 'a virgin shall conceive and bear 

WD SIXI- TLNF.JvS OF ST A G c; KU I \c;. 273 

a son, and shall call his name Immanuel;' Isa. vii. 14. That 
you may be assured of my truth, the virgin's Son shall be a 
hostage of it. * In him are all the promises of God yea and 
amen.' Thus also to his saints he gives the farther hostage 
of his Spirit, and the first-fruits of glory; that the full ac- 
complishment of all his promises may be contracted in a 
little, and presented to their view. As the Israelites had the 
pleasures of Canaan in the clusters of grapes, brought from 

Now from all this it is apparent, not only that there is 
truth in all the promises of God, but also that truth so con- 
firmed, so made out, established, that not the least occasion 
imaginable is thence administered to staggering or doubting. 
He that disputes the promises, and knows not how to close 
with them, must find out another cause of his so doing; as 
to the truth of the promise, there is no doubt at all, nor 
place for any. 

(2.) But secondly, though there be truth in the promise, 
yet there may want ability in the promiser to accomplish 
the thing promised, because of its manifold difficulties. 
This may be a second cause of staggering, if the thing itself 
engaged for be not compassable, by the ability of the en- 
gager. As if a skilful physician should promise a sick man 
recovery from his disease, though he could rely upon the 
truth and sincerity of his friend, yet he cannot but question 
his ability as to this, knowing that to cure the least distem- 
per is not absolutely in his power; but when he promises, 
who is able to perform, then all doubting in this kind is re- 
moved. See then whether it be so, in respect of these pro- 
raises whereof we speak. When God comes to Abraham to 
engage himself in that covenant of grace, from whence flow 
all the promises whereof we treat, he lays this down as the 
bottom of all; 'I am,' saith he, 'God Almighty,' Gen. xvii. 1. 
or * God all-sufficient,' very well able to go through with 
whatever I promise. When difficulties, temptations, and 
troubles arise, remember who it is that hath promised ; not 
only he that is true and faithful, but he that is God Almighty, 
before whom nothing can stand, when he will accomphsh 
his word. And that this was a bottom of great confidence 
to Abraham, the apostle tells you, Rom. iv. 21 . ' Being fully 
persuaded that he who had promised, was able also to per- 

VOI.. XV. T 


form.' When God is engaged by his word, his ability is es- 
pecially to be eyed. The soul is apt to ask. How can this 
be? it is impossible it should be so to me; but, ' he is able 
that hath promised.' And this, Rom. xi. 23. the same apo- 
stle holds out to us, to fix our faith upon, in reference to 
that great promise of recalling the Jews, and re-implanting 
them into the vine. ' God,' saith he, ' is able to graft them 
in ;' though now they seem as dead bones, yet the Lord 
knows they may live; for he is able to breathe upon them, 
and make them terrible as an army with banners. Yea, so 
excellent is this all-sufficiency, this ability of God to accom- 
plish his whole word, that the apostle cautions us, that we 
do not bound it, as though it could go so far only, or so far. 
Nay, saith he, Ephes. iii. 20. * He is able to do exceeding 
abundantly above all that we can ask or think,' 

When men come to close with the promise indeed, to 
make a life upon it, they are very ready to question and in- 
quire, whether it be possible that ever the word of it should 
be made good to them. He that sees a little boat swimming 
at sea, observes no great difficulty in it, looks upon it with- 
out any solicitousness of mind at all, beholds how it tosses 
up and down, without any fears of its sinking. But now, 
let this man commit his own life to sea in that bottom, what 
inquiries will he make? what a search into the vessel? Is 
it possible, saith he, this little thing should safeguard my life 
in the ocean ? It is so with us, in our view of the promises ; 
whilst we consider them at large, as they lie in the word; 
alas ! they are all true, all yea and amen, shall be all accom- 
plished ; but when we go to venture our souls upon a pro- 
mise, in an ocean of wrath and temptations, then every blast 
we think will overturn it ; it will not bear us above all these 
waves. Is it possible we should swim safely upon the plank 
of a pinnace in the midst of the ocean? 

Now here we are apt to deceive ourselves, and mistake 
the whole thing in question, which is the bottom of many 
corrupted reasonings and perplexed thoughts. We inquire 
whether it can be so to us, as the word holds out ; when the 
truth is, the question is not about the nature of the thing, 
but about the power of God. Place the doubt aright, and 
it is this : Is God able to accomplish what he hath spoken ? 
Can he heal my backslidings ? Can he pardon my sins ? 


Can he save my soul ? Now that there may be no occasion, 
nor colour of staggering upon this point, you see God reveals 
himself as an all-sufficient God, as one that is able to go 
through with all his engagements. If you will stagger, you 
may so do ; this is certain, you have no cause to do so from 
hence ; there is not any promise that ever God entered into, 
but he is able to perform it. 

But you v/ill say. Though God be thus able, thus all-suf- 
ficient, yet may there not be defects in the means whereby 
he worketh? As a man may have a strong arm able to strike 
his enemies to the ground, but yet if he strike with a feather, 
or a straw, it will not be done ; not for want of strength in 
his arm, but of fitness and suitableness in the instrument, 
whereby he acteth. But, 

[1.] God using instruments, they do not act according 
to their own virtue, but according to the influence of virtue 
by him to them communicated. Look to what end soever 
God is pleased to use any means, his choosing of them fills 
them with efficacy to that purpose. Let the way and means 
of accomplishing what thou expectest by the promise be in 
themselves never so weak, yet know, that from God's choos- 
ing of them to that end, they shall be filled with virtue and 
efficacy to the accomplishment of it. 

[2.] It is expressly affirmed of the great mediums of the 
promise, that they also are able ; that there is no want of 
power in them, for the accomplishment of the thing promised. 

1st. There is the means procuring it, and that is Jesus 
Christ: the promises, as to the good things contained in 
them, are all purchased by him. And of him, the apostle 
affirms expressly, that ' he is able to save to the uttermost 
them that come to God by him ;' Heb. v. 27. No want here, 
no defect ; he is ' able to do it to the uttermost ; able to 
save them that are tempted ;' Heb. ii. 18. 

2dly. There is the great means of manifestation, and 
that is the word of God. And of this also it is affirmed; 
that it is able. It hath an all-sufficiency in its kind. Paul 
tells the elders of Ephesus, that the 'word of grace is able 
to build them up, and to give them an inheritance among 
them that are sanctified ;' Acts xx. 32. 

3dly. There is the great means of operation, and that is 
tlie Spirit of grace. He works the mercy of the promise upon 



the soul. lie also is able, exceeding powerful, to effect 
the end appointed. He hath no bounds, nor measure of 
operation, his own will ; 1 Cor. xii. 11. 

Hence then it is apparent in the second place, that there 
is no occasion for doubting; yea, that all staggering is ex- 
cluded, from the consideration of the ability of the promiser, 
and the means whereby he worketh. If thou con'dnuest to 
stagger, thou must get a better plea than this. It cannot be, 
it is impossible : I tell thee nay, but God is able to accom- 
plish the whole word of his promise. But, 

(3.) There may be want of sincerity in promises and 
engagements, which whilst we do but suspect, we can- 
not choose but stagger at them. If a man make a promise 
to me, and I can suppose that he intends not as he says, but 
hath reserves to himself of another purpose, I must needs 
doubt, as to the accomplishment of what he hath spoken. 
If the soul may surmise, that the Lord intends not him sin- 
cerely in his promise, but reserves some other thing in his 
mind, or that it shall be so to others and not to him, he must 
needs dispute in himself, stagger, and keep off from believ- 
ing. This then must be demonstrated in the third place : 
that the promises of God, and God in all his promises, are 
full of sincerity, so that none need fear to cast himself on 
them; they shall be real unto him. Now concerning this 

[1.] That God's promises are not declarative of his se- 
cret purposes and intentions. When God holds out to any 
a promise of the pardon of sin, this doth not signify to any 
singular man, that it is the purpose of God, that his sin shall 
be pardoned. For if so, then either all men must be pardon- 
ed, to whom the word of promise comes, which is not; or 
else God fails of his purposes, and comes short of his intend- 
ments ; which would render him, either impotent, that he 
could not; or mutable, that he would not establish them : but 
* who hath resisted his will ?' Rom. ix, 19. ' He is the Lord, 
and he changeth not ;' Mai. iii. 6. So that though every one, 
to whom the promise is held out, hath not the fruit of the 
promise ; yet this derogates not at all, from the sincerity of 
God in his promises ; for he doth not hold them forth to 
any such end and purpose, as to declare his intentions con- 
cerning particular persons. 


[2.] There are some absolute promises, comprehensive 
of the covenant of grace, which, as to all those that belong 
to that covenant, do hold out thus much of the mind of 
God, that they shall certainly be accomplished in, and to- 
wards them all. The soul may freely be invited to venture 
on these promises, with assurance of their efficacy towards 

[3.] This God principally declares in all his promises of 
his mind and purpose, that every soul, to whom they shall 
come, may freely rest on, to wit ; that faith in the promises, 
and the accomplishment of the promises, are inseparable. 
He that believeth shall enjoy. This is most certain, this 
God declares of his mind, his heart towards us, that as for 
all the good things he hath spoken of to us, it shall be to us 
according to our faith. This I say the promises of God do 
signify of his purpose, that the believer of them shall be the 
enjoyer of them : in them, * the righteousness of God is re- 
vealed from faith to faith;' Rom. i. 17. From the faith of 
God revealing, to the faith of man receiving. So that upon 
the making out of any promise, you may safely conclude, 
that upon believing, the mercy, the Christ, the deliverance 
of this promise is mine. It is true, if a man stand disputing 
and staggering, whether he have any share in a promise, and 
close not with it by faith, he may come short of it ; and yet 
without the least impeachment of the truth of the promise, 
or sincerity of the promiser ; for God hath not signified by 
them, that men shall enjoy the good things of them, whether 
they believe, or not. Thus far the promises of grace are ge- 
neral, and carry a truth to all, that there is an inviolable 
connexion between believing, and the enjoyment of the things 
in them contained. And in this truth is the sincerity of the 
promiser, which can never be questioned without sin and 
folly. And this wholly shuts up the spirit from any occa- 
sion of staggering. ' O ye of little faith ! wherefore do ye 
doubt V Ah ! lest our share be not in this promise ; lest we 
are not intended in it. Poor creatures ! there is but this 
one way of keeping you off from it, that is, disputing it in 
yourselves by unbelief. Here lies the sincerity of God to- 
wards thee, that believing, thou shalt not come short of what 
thouaimestat. Here then is no room for staggering. Ifpro- 
clamation be made, granting pardon to all such rebels as 


shall come in by such a season ; do men use to stand question- 
ing whether the state bear them any good will, or not ? No, 
saith the poor creature, I will cast myself upon their faith 
and truth engaged in their proclamation, whatever I have 
deserved in particular, I know they will be faithful in their 
promises. The gospel proclamation is of pardon to all 
comers in, to all believers : it is not for thee, poor staggerer, 
to question what is the intendment towards thee in parti- 
cular, but roll thyself on this, there is an absolute sincerity 
in the engagement which thou mayest freely rest upon. 

(4.) Though all be present, truth, power, sincerity; yet 
if he that makes the piromise should forget, this were a 
ground of staggering. Pharaoh's butler, without doubt, 
made large promises to Joseph, and probably spake the truth 
according to his present intention : afterward standing in 
the presence of Pharaoh, restored to favour, he had doubt- 
less power enough to have procured the liberty of a poor 
innocent prisoner ; but yet this would not do, it did not pro- 
fit Joseph, because, as the text says, 'he did not remember 
Joseph, but forgat him;' Gen. xl. 23. This forgetting made 
all other things useless. But neither hath this the least 
colour in divine promises. It was Zion's infirmity to say, 

* The Lord hath forsaken me, and my God hath forgotten 
me ;' Isa. xlix. 14. For, saith the Lord, ' Can a woman forget 
her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on 
the son of her womb ? Yea, they may forget, but I will not 
forget thee : behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of 
my hands, and thy walls are continually before me ;* ver. 
15, 16. 

The causes of forgetfulness are, 

[1.] Want of love. The things that men love not, they 
care not for : the matters of their love are continually in 
their thoughts. Now, says God to Zion, Why sayest thou 

* I have forgotten thee ?' Is it for want of love ? Alas ! the 
love of a most tender mother to her sucking child comes in- 
finitely short of my love to thee. My love to thee is more 
fixed than so, and how shouldest thou be out of my mind ? 
How shouldest thou be forgotten? Infinite love will have 
infinite thoughtfulness and remembrance. 

[2.] Multiplicity of business. This with men is a cause 


ot forgetting-. I hud done, says one, as I promised, but 
multiplicity of occasions thrust it out of my mind, I pray, 
excuse me. Alas ! though I rule all the world, yet, ' thou 
art graven upon the palms of my hands, and therefore thy 
walls are continually before me.' See also Psal. Ixxvii. 9. 
Neither then is there as to this the least colour given us to 
stagger at the promise of God. 

(5.) But lastly, where all other things concur, yet if the 
person promising be changeable, if he may alter his reso- 
lution, a man may justly doubt and debate in himself, the 
accomplishment of any promise made to him. It is true, 
may he say, he now speaks his heart and mind, but who can 
say he will be of this mind to-morrow? Maybe not be 
turned, and then what becomes of the golden mountains 
that I promised myself upon his engagement? Wherefore, in 
the last place, the Lord carefully rejects all sinful surmises 
concerning the least change or alteration in him, or any of 
his engagements. * He is the Father of lights, with whom 
is no variableness, nor shadow of turning;' James i. 18. 
No shadow, no appearance of any such thing. * 1 am the 
Lord,' saith he, ' I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob 
are not consumed ;' Mai. iii. 6. The Lord knows, that if 
any thing in us might prevail with him to alter the word 
that is gone out of his mouth, we should surely perish. We 
are poor provoking creatures, therefore he lays our not 
being consumed only on this, even his own unchangeable- 
ness. This we may rest upon, he is of one mind, and who 
can turn him ? 

And in these observations have I given you the first 
demonstration of the point : all staggering is from our own 

2. The experience which we have of the mighty workings 
of God, for the accomplishment of all his promises, gives 
light unto this thing. We have found it true, that where he 
is once engaged, he will certainly go through unto the ap- 
pointed issue, though it stand him in the laying out of his 
power and wisdom to the uttermost. Ilab. iii. 9. * Thy bow 
was made quite naked, according to the oaths of the tribes, 
thy word.' If God's oath be passed, and his word engaged, 
he will surely accomplish it, though it cost him the * making 


of his bow quite naked,' the manifestation of his power to 
the utmost. 

It is true, never did any wait upon God for the accom- 
plishment and fulfilling of a promise, but he found many 
difficulties fall out between the word and the thing. So was 
it with Abraham in the business of a son : and so with 
David in the matter of a kingdom. God will have his pro- 
mised mercies to fall as the dews upon the parched, gasping 
earth ; or * as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land,' 
Isa. xxxii, 2. very welcome unto the traveller, who hath 
had the sun beat upon his head in his travel all the day. 
* Zion is a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, as a royal 
diadem in the hand of her God ;' Isa. Ixii. 3. The precious 
stones of a diadem must be cut and polished, before they be 
set in beauty and glory. God will have ofttimes the pre- 
cious living stones of Zion to have many a sharp cutting, 
before they come to be fully fixed in his diadem ; but yet in 
the close, whatever obstacles stand in the way, the promise 
hath still wrought out its passage : as a river, all the while 
it is stopped with a dam, is still working higher and higher, 
still getting more and more strength, until it bear down all 
before it^ and obtain a free course to its appointed place. 
Every time opposition lies against the fulfilling of the pro- 
mise, and so seems to impede it for a season, it gets more 
and more power, until the appointed hour be come, and then 
the promise bears down all before it. 

Were there any thing imaginable, whereof we had not 
experience, that it had been conquered to open a door for 
the fulfilling of every word of God, we might possibly, as to 
the apprehension of that thing, stagger from some other 
principle, than that of unbelief. 

What is there in heaven or earth, but God and his mi- 
nistering spirits, that hath not, one time or other, stood up 
to its utmost opposition, for the frustrating of the word, 
wherein some or other of the saints of God have put their 
trust? Devils in their temptations, baits, subtilties, accusa- 
tions, and oppositions ; men in their counsels, reasonings, 
contrivances, interests, dominions, combinations, armies, 
multitudes, and the utmost of their endeavours ; the whole 
frame of nature, in its primitive instituted course, fire, water. 

AM) SlXFULxXESS OF STAG G i:il I N G. 281 

day, night, age, sickness, death, all in their courses have 
fought against the accomplishment of the promises. And 
what have they obtained by all their contendings? All dis- 
appointed, frustrated, turned back, changed, and served 
only to make the mercy of the promise more amiable and 

I would willingly illustrate this demonstration with an 
instance, that the almighty, all-conquering power that is in 
the promise, settling all staggering upon its own basis of un- 
belief might be the more evident. 

I might here mention Abraham, with all the difficulties 
and appearing impossibilities which the promise unto him 
did pass through, and cast to the ground the mercy of it at 
length, arising out of the grave; for he 'received his son 
from the dead in a figure ;' Heb. xi. 19. Or I might speak 
of Joseph, Moses, or David ; but I shall rather choose a 
president from among the works of God, in the days 
wherein we live, and that in a business, concerning which 
we may set up our Eben-ezer, and say, Thus far hath God 
been a helper. 

Look upon the affair of Ireland. The engagement of 
the great God of revenges against murder and treachery, 
the interest of the Lord Christ and his kingdom against the 
man of sin, furnished the undertakers with manifold pro- 
mises to carry them out to a desired, a blessed issue. Take 
now a brief view of some mountains of opposition, that lie 
in the way against any success in that place ; and hear the 
Lord saying to every one of them, ' Who art thou, O great 
mountain? before my people thou shalt be made a plain;' 
Zech. iv. 7. 

Not to mention the strivings and strugglings of two man- 
ner of people in the womb of this nation, totally obstructing 
for along time the bringing forth of any deliverance for Ire- 
land : nor yet that mighty mountain (which some misnamed 
a level), that thought at once to have locked an everlasting 
door upon that expedition : I shall propose some few, of many 
that have attended it. 

(1.) The silence that hath been in heaven for half an 
hour, as to this business ; the great cessation of prayers in 
the heavens, of many churches, hath been no small n)ountain 
in the way of the promise. When God will do good for 


Zion, he requires that his 'remembrancers give him no rest, 
until he do it;' Isa. Ixii. 7. And yet sometimes in the 
close of their supplications gives them an answer, ' by terri- 
ble things ;' Psal. Ixv. 5. He is sometimes ' silent to the 
prayers of his people;' Psal. xxviii. 1. Is not then a grant 
rare, when his people are silent as to prayers ? Of how many 
congregations in this nation may the prayers, tears and sup- 
plications for carrying on of the work of God in Ireland be 
■written with the lines of emptiness ? What a silence hath 
been in the heaven of many churches, for this last half hour? 
How many that began with the Lord in that work, did never 
sacrifice at the altar of Jehovah Nissi : nor considered that 
the Lord hath sworn to have war with such Amalekites as 
are there, * from generation to generation?' Exod. xvii. 15, 16. 
They have forgotten, that Ireland was the first of the nations 
that laid wait for the blood of God's people desiring to enter 
into his rest ; and therefore ' their latter end shall be, to 
perish for ever ;' Numb. xxiv. 20. Many are as angry as 
Jonah, not that Babylon is spared, but that it is not spared. 
Hath not this been held out as a mountain ? What will you 
now do, when such or such, these and those men, of this or 
that party, look upon you * as the grass upon the house-tops, 
which withereth afore it groweth up ; wherewith the mower 
iilleth not his hand, nor he that bindeth sheaves, his bosom :' 
that will not so much as say, ' The blessing of the Lord be 
upon you, we bless you in the name of the Lord ?' But now 
shall the faithlessness of men make the ' faith of God of none 
effect?' Shall the kingdom of Christ suffer because some of 
those that are his, what through carnal wisdom, what through 
spiritual folly, refuse to come forth ' to his help against the 
mighty V No, doubtless ! ' The Lord sees it, and it displeases 
him ; he sees that there is no man, and wonders that there 
is no intercessor :' even marvels that there are no more sup- 
plications on this behalf. ' Therefore his own arm brought 
salvation to him, and his own righteousness it sustained 
him. He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a hel- 
met of salvation upon his head ; and he put on the garments 
of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak. 
According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to 
his adversaries, recompeuce to his enemies ; to the island he 
will repay reconipence ;' Isa. lix. 15 — 18. Some men's not 


praying shall not hinder the promises accomplishing. They 
may sooner discover an idol in themselves, than disappoint 
the living God. This w^as a mountain. 

(2.) Our own advices and councils have often stood in 
the way of the promises bringing forth. This is not a time, 
nor place for narrations; so I shall only say to this in ge- 
neral. That if the choicest and most rational advices of the 
army had not been oversvvayed by the providence of God, in 
all probability your affairs had been more than ten degrees 
backward, to the condition wherein they are. 

(3.) The visible opposition of the combined enemy in 
that nation seemed, as to our strength, unconquerable. The 
wise man tells us, A threefold cord is not easily broken. 
Ireland had a fivefold cord to make strong bands for Zion, 
twisted together. Never I think did such different interests 
bear with one another, for the compassing of one common 

He that met the lion, the fox, and the ass, travelling 
together, wondered, 'quo una iter facerent,' whither these 
ill-matched associates did bend their course : neither did 
his marvelling cease, when he heard they were going a pil- 
grimage, in a business of devotion. 

He that should meet Protestants, covenanted Protestants, 
that had sworn in the presence of the great God to extirpate 
popery and prelacy, as the Scots in Ulster ; others that 
counted themselves under no less sacred bond for the main- 
tenance of prelates, service-books, and the like, as the whole 
party of Ormond's adherents; joined with a mighty number, 
that had for eight years together sealed their vows to the 
Romish religion, with our blood and their own; adding to 
them those that were profound to revolt up and down, as 
suited their own interest, as some in Munster; all closing 
with that party, which themselves had laboured to render 
most odious and execrable, as most defiled with innocent 
blood : he, I say, that should see all these after seven years 
mutual conflicting, and embruing their hands in each other's 
blood, to march all one way together, cannot but marvel, 
'quo una iter facerent,' whither they should journey so 
friendly together. Neither surely, would his admiration be 
lessened, when he should hear, that the first thing they in- 
tended and agreed upon was, to cover the innocent blood of 


forty-one contrary to that promise: 'Behold the Lord 
cometh out of his place, to punish the inhabitants of the 
earth for their iniquity : the earth also shall disclose her 
blood, and shall no more cover her slain ;' Isa. xxvi. 21. and 
nextly, to establish catholic religion, or the kingdom of 
Babel, in the whole nation, in opposition to the engaged 
truth, and in our days visibly manifested power of the Lord 
Jesus; with sundry such-like things, contrary to their 
science and conscience, their covenant and light, yea, the 
trust and honesty of most of the chief leaders of them. Now 
how can the promise stand in the way of this Hydra? What 
says it to this combined opposition ? 

[1.] Why first, saith the Lord, 'Though hand join in 
hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished;' Prov. xi. 21. 
Their covering shall be too short, and narrow, to hide the 
blood which God will have disclosed. 

[2.] And nextly, though they will give their power to 
the beast, and fight against the Lamb, consenting in this, 
who agree in nothing else in the world ; yet they shall be 
broken in pieces, though they associate themselves they 
shall be broken in pieces. If Rezin and the son of Tlemaliah, 
Syria and Ephraim, old adversaries, combine together for 
a new enmity against Judah ; if covenant and prelacy, 
popery and treachery, blood and (as to that) innocency, 
join hand in hand, to stand in the way of the promise; yet 
I will not in this join with them, says the Lord. Though 
they were preserved all distinctly in their several interests 
for seven years, in their mutual conflicts, that they might 
be scourges to one another; yet if they close to keep off 
the engagement of God in the word of his promise, not much 
more than the fourth part of one year shall consume some 
of them to nothing, and fill the residue with indignation and 

By what means God hath mightily and effectually 
wrought, by mixing folly with their counsels, putting fear, 
terror, and amazedness upon all their undertakings, to carry 
on his own purpose, I could easily give considerable in- 
stances. That which hath been spoken in general, may 
suffice to bottom us on this, that whilst we are in the way 
of God, all staggering at the issue is from unbelief; for he 
can, he will do more such things as these. 


Use 1. My first use shall be as unto temporals; for they 
also, as I told you, come under the promise, not to be stag- 
gered at, with the limitations before mentioned. Learn 
hence then to live more by faith in all your actings : believe 
and you shall be established ; I have in the days of my pil- 
grimage seen this evil under the sun : many professors of 
the gospel called out to public actings have made it their 
great design to manage all their affairs with wisdom and 
policy, like the men qf the residue of the nations. Living 
by faith upon the promises hath appeared to them as too 
low a thing, for the condition and employment wherein they 
now are; now they must plot, and contrive, and design, lay 
down principles of carnal fleshly wisdom to be pursued to 
the uttermost. And what I pray hath been the issue of 
such undertakings ? 

(1.) First, The power of religion hath totally been de- 
voured by that lean, hungry, never-to-be-satisfied beast of 
carnal policy: no signs left that it was ever in their bosoms. 
Conformity unto Christ in gospel graces is looked on as a 
mean, contemptible thing. Some of them have fallen to 
downright atheism, most of them to wretched formality in 
the things of God. And then, 

(2.) Secondly, Their plots and undertakings have gene- 
rally proved tynipanous and birthless; vexation and disap- 
pointment hath been the portion of the residue of their 
days. The ceasing to lean upon the Lord, and striving to 
be wise in our actings, like the men of the world, hath made 
more Rehoboams, than any one thing in this generation. 

What now lies at the bottom of all this? Merely stag- 
gering at the promise, through unbelief. What building is 
that like to be, which hath a staggering foundation? When 
God answers not Saul, he goes to the devil. When the 
promise will not support us, we go to carnal policy: neither 
can it otherwise be. Engaged men finding one way to dis- 
appoint them, presently betake themselves to another. If 
men begin once to stagger at the promise, and to conclude, 
in their fears, that it will not receive accomplishment, that 
the fountain will be dry, they cannot but think it high time 
to dig cisterns for themselves. When David says, he shall 
one day perish by the hand of Saul, whatever God had said 
to the contrary, his next advice is, Let me go to the Philis- 


tines : and what success he had in that undertaking, you 
know. Political diversions, from pure dependance on the 
promise, do always draw after them a long time of entan- 

Give me leave to give a word of caution against one or 
two things, which men staggering at the promises through 
unbelief do usually in their carnal wisdom run into, for the 
compassing of the thing aimed at, that they may not be 
found in your honourable assembly. 

[l.J Take heed of a various management of religion, of 
the things of God, to the advantage of the present posture 
and condition of your affairs. The things of Christ should 
be as Joseph's sheaf, to which all others should bow. When 
they are made to cringe, and bend, and put on a flattering 
countenance, to allure any sort of men into their interest, 
they are no more the things of Christ. I would it had not been 
too evident formerly, that men entangled in their'affairs, en- 
joying authority, have with all industry and diligence pur- 
sued such and such an appearance of religion; not that 
themselves were so passionately affected with it, but merely 
for the satisfaction of some in that, whose assistance and 
compliance they needed for other things. Oh let not the 
things of God be immixed any more with carnal reasonings. 
His truths are all eternal and unchangeable. Give them at 
once the sovereignty of your souls, and have not the least 
thought of making them bend to serve your own ends, 
though good and righteous. Think not to get the promise 
like Jacob, by representing yourselves in the things of God 
for other than you are. 

[2.] Hide no truth of God, as to that way of manifesta- 
tion which to you is committed, for fear it should prove 
prejudicial to your affairs. That influence and signature of 
your power which is due to any truth of God, let it not be 
withheld by carnal reasonings. I might farther draw out 
these, and such-like things as these ; the warning is, to live 
upon the faith of that promise, which shall surely be esta- 
blished, without turning aside to needless, crooked paths 
of your own. 

Use 2. Secondly, Be faithful in doing all the work of 
God, whereunto you are engaged, as he is faithful in work- 
ing all your works, whereunto he is engaged. Youi' work 


whereunLo (whilst you are in iiis ways) God is engaged, is 
your safety and protection: God's work vvhereunto you are 
engaged, is the propagating of the kingdom of Christ, and 
the setting up of the standard of the gospel. So far as you 
find God going on with your work, go you on with his. 
How is it that Jesus Christ is in Ireland only as a lion 
staining all his garments with the blood of his enemies ; and 
none to hold him out as a lamb sprinkled with his own blood 
to his friends ? Is it the sovereignty and interest of England 
that is alone to be there transacted ? For my part I see no 
farther into the mystery of these things, but that I could 
heartily rejoice, that innocent blood being expiated, the 
Irish might enjoy Ireland so long as the moon endureth, so 
that Jesus Christ might possess the Irish. But God having 
suffered those sworn vassals of the man of sin to break out 
into such ways of villany, as render them obnoxious unto 
vengeance, upon such rules of government amongst men as 
he hath appointed; is there therefore nothing to be done, 
but to give a cup of blood into their hands? Doubtless the 
way whereby God will bring the followers after the beast 
to condign destruction, for all their enmity to the Lord 
Jesus, will be, by suffering them to run into such practices 
against men, as shall righteously expose them to vengeance, 
according to acknowledged principles among the sons of 
men. But is this all? Hath he no farther aim? Is not all 
this to make way for the Lord Jesus to take possession of 
his long since promised inheritance? And shall we stop at 
the first part? Is this to deal fairly with the Lord Jesus? 
Call him out to the battle, and then keep away his crown? 
God hath been faithful in doing great things for you, be 
faithful in this one, do your utmost for the preaching of the 
gospel in Ireland. 

Give me leave to add a few motives to this duty. 

(1.) They want it. No want like theirs who want the 
gospel. I would there were for the present one gospel 
preacher for every walled town in the English possession in 
Ireland. The land mourneth, and the people perish for 
want of knowledge : many run to and fro, but it is upon 
other designs ; knowledge is not increased. 

(2.) They are sensible of their wants, and cry out for 
supply. The tears and cries of the inhabitants of Dublin, 


after the manifestations of Christ, are ever in ray view. If 
they were in the dark, and loved to have it so, it might 
something close a door upon the bowels of our compassion; 
but they cry out of their darkness, and are ready to follow 
every one whosoever, to have a candle. If their being gos- 
pelless move not our hearts, it. is hoped their importunate 
cries will disquiet our rest, and wrest help, as a beggar doth 
an alms. 

(3.) Seducers and blasphemers will not be wanting to 
sow their tares, which those fallowed fields will receive, if 
there be none to cast in the seed of the word. Some are 
come over thither already without call, without employ- 
ments, to no other end, but only to vaunt themselves to be 
God ; as they have done in the open streets with detestable 
pride, atheism, and folly. So that as Ireland was heretofore 
termed by some in civil things a frippery of bankrupts, for 
the great number of persons of broken estates that went 
thither; so doubtless in religion it will prove a frippery of 
monstrous, enormous, contradictious opinions, if the work 
of preaching the word of truth and soberness be not carried 
on. And if this be the issue of your present undertakings, 
will it be acceptable, think you, to the Lord Jesus, that you 
have used his power and might to make way for such things 
as his soul abhors? 

[1.] Will it be for his honour, that the people whom he 
hath sought to himself with so high a hand, should, at the 
very entrance of his taking possession, be leavened with 
those high and heavenly notions, which have an open and 
experimented tendency to e?rthly, fleshly, dunghill prac- 
tices? Or, 

[2.] Will it be for the credit and honour of your profes- 
sion of the gospel, that such a breach should be under your 
hand? that it should be as it were, by your means? Will it 
not be a sword, and an arrow, and a maul in the hands of 
your observers? Who can bear the just scandal that would 
accrue? scandal to the magistrates, scandal to the ministers 
of this generation, in neglecting such an opportunity of ad- 
vancing the gospel ; sleeping all the day whilst others sow 

[3.] Where will be the hoped, the expected consolation 
oftliis great affair, when the testimony and pledge of the 


peculiar presence of Christ amongst us upon such an issue 
shall be wanting? 

What then shall we do? This thing is often spoken of, 
seldom driven to any close ! 

1st. Pray. * Pray the Lord of the harvest, that he would 
send out,' that he would thrust forth * labourers into his har- 
vest.' The labourers are ready to say. There is a lion in the 
way, diflSculties to be contended withal. And to some men 
it is hard seeing a call of God through difBculties : when if 
it would but clothe itself with a few carnal advantages, how 
apparent is it to them? they can see it through a little 
cranny. Be earnest then with the Master of these labourers, 
in whose hand is their life and breath, and all their ways, 
that he would powerfully constrain them, to be willing to 
enter into the fields, that are white for the harvest. 

2dly. Make such provision, That those who will go may 
be fenced from outward straits and fears, so far as the un- 
certainty of human affairs in general, and the present tu- 
multuating perturbations will admit. And let not, I be- 
seech you, this be the business of an unpursued order. But, 

3dly, Let some be appointed (generals die and sink by 
themselves) to consider this thing, and to hear what sober 
proposals may be made by any, whose hearts God shall stir 
up to so good a work. 

This, I say, is a work wherein God expecteth faithful- 
ness from you: stagger not at his promises, nor your own 
duty. However, by all means possible, in this business I 
have strived to deliver my own soul. 

Once more, to this of faith, let me stir you up to another 
work of love, and that in the behalf of many poor perishing 
creatures, that want all things needful for the sustentation 
of life. Poor parentless children that lie begging, starving, 
rotting in the streets, and find no relief; yea, persons of 
quality, that have lost their dearest relations in your ser- 
vice, seeking for bread, and finding none. Oh, that some 
thoughts of this also might be seriously committed to them 
that shall take care for the gospel. 

Use 3. I desire now to make more particular application 
of the doctrine, as to things purely spiritual. Until you 
know how to believe for your own souls, you will scarcely 
know how to believe for a nation. Let this then teach us 

VOL. XV. u 


to lay the burden and trouble of our lives upon the right 
shoulder. In our staggerings, our doubtings, our disputes, 
we are apt to assign this and that reason of them; when the 
sole reason indeed is our unbelief. Were it not for such a 
cause, or such a cause, I could believe ; that is, w^ere there 
no need of faith. That is, faith must remove the mountains 
that lie in the way, and then all will be plain. It is not the 
greatness of sin, nor continuance in sin, nor backsliding 
into sin, that is the true cause of thy staggering, whatever 
thou pretendest (the removal of all these is from that pro- 
mise, whose stability and certainty I before laid forth), but 
solely from thy unbelief, that 'root of bitterness, which 
springs up and troubles thee.' It is not the distance of the 
earth from the sun, nor the sun's withdrawing itself, that 
makes a dark and gloomy day ; but the interposition of 
clouds, and vapourous exhalations. Neither is thy soul be- 
yond the reach of the promise, nor doth God withdraw him- 
self; but the vapours of thy carnal, unbelieving heart do 
cloud thee. It is said of one place, * Christ could do no 
great work there.' Why so ? for want of power in him? 
Not at all : but merely for want of faith in them, it was * be- 
cause of their unbelief.' The promise can do no great work 
upon thy heart to humble thee, to pardon, to quiet thee. Is 
it for want of fulness and truth therein? Not at all: but 
merely for want of faith in thee, that keeps it off. Men 
complain, that were it not for such things, and such things, 
they could believe; when it is their unbelief that casts those 
rubs in the way. As if a man should cast nails and sharp 
stones in his own way, and say. Verily I could run, were it 
not for those nails and stones; when he continues him- 
self to cast them there. You could believe, were it not for 
these doubts and difficulties, these staggering perplexities ; 
when, alas ! they are all from your unbelief. 

Use 4. See the sinfulness of all those staggering doubts 
and perplexities wherewith many poor souls have almost all 
their thoughts taken up. Such as is the root, such is the 
fruit. If the ' tree be evil, so will the fruit be also. Men 
do not gather grapes from brambles.' What is the root 
that bears this fruit of staggering ? Is it not the evil root of 
unbelief? And can any good come from thence? Are not all 
the streams of the same nature with the fountain ? If that 


be bitter, can they be sweet? If the body be full of poison, 
will not the branches have their venom also? Surely if the 
mother (unbelief) be the mouth of hell, the daughters (stag- 
gerings) are not the gates of heaven. 

Of the sin of unbelief I shall not now speak at large. It 
is in sum, the universal opposition of the soul unto God. All 
other sins arise against something or other of his revealed 
will, only unbelief sets up itself in a direct contradiction to 
all of him that is known. Hence the weight of condemna- 
tion in the gospel is constantly laid on this sin. ' He that 
believeth not, on him the wrath of God abideth : he shall be 
damned.' Now as every drop of sea water retains the brack- 
ishness and saltness of the whole ; so every staggering doubt, 
that is an issue of this unbelief, hath in it the unsavouriness 
and distastefulness unto God, that is in the whole. 

Farther, to give you a little light into what acceptance 
our staggering thoughts find with the Lord, according to 
which must be our esteem of all that is in us ; observe that, 

(1.) They grieve him. 

(2.) They provoke him. 

(3.) They dishonour him. 

(1.) Such a frame grieves the Lord. Nothing more 
presses true love, than to have an appearance of suspicion. 
Christ comes to Peter, and asks him, ' Simon, son of Jonas, 
lovest thou me?' John xxi. 15. Peter seems glad of an op- 
portunity to confess him, and his love to him, whom not 
long since he had denied, and answers readily, ' Yea, Lord, 
thou knowest that I love thee.' But when Christ comes 
with the same question again and again, the Holy Ghost 
tells us, * Peter was grieved, because he said unto him the 
third time, Lovest thou me?' It exceedingly troubled Peter 
that his love should come under so many questionings, which 
he knew to be sincere. The love of Christ to his is infinitely 
beyond the love of his to him. All our doubtings are no- 
thing but so many questionings of his love. We cry, ' Lord 
Jesus, lovest thou us ?' and again, ' Lord Jesus, lovest thou 
us?' and that with distrustful hearts and thoughts, that it is 
not, it cannot be. Speaking of the unbelieving Jews, the 
Holy Ghost tells us, * Jesus was grieved for the hardness of 
their hearts ;' Mark iii. 5. And as it is bitter to him in the 
root, so also in the fruit. Our staggerings and debates, 

V 2 


when we have a word of promise, is a grief to his Holy Spi- 
rit, as the unkindest return we can make unto his love. 

(2.) It provokes him. How can this be, says Zechariah, 
that I should have a son? This shall be, saith the Lord, and 
thou thyself for thy questioning shalt be a sign of it, 'Thou 
shalt be dumb, and not speak ;' Luke i. His doubting was a 
provocation. And our Saviour expresses no less, in that 
bitter reproof to his disciples upon their wavering, Matt, 
xvii. 17. 'O faithless and perverse generation, how long 
shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you?' That is, 
in this unbelieving frame. Poor souls are apt to admire 
the patience of God in other matters, that he spared them in 
such and such sins, at such and such times of danger; but 
his exceeding patience towards them in their carnal reason- 
ings, and fleshly objections against believing, this they ad- 
mire not. Nay, generally they think it should be so, God 
would not have them one step farther; nay, they could be 
more steadfast in believing, as they suppose, might it 
stand with the good will of God ; when all this while this 
frame of all others is the greatest provocation to the Lord, 
he never exercises more forbearance than about this kind of 
unbelief. When the spies had gone into Canaan, had seen 
the land, and brought of the good fruit of it, then to repine, 
then to question whether God would bring them into it or 
no, this caused the Lord ' to swear in his wrath, that they 
should not enter into his rest.' When God hath brought 
men to the borders of heaven, discovered to them the riches 
and excellency of his grace, admitted them to enter as spies 
into the kingdom of glory, then to fall a staggering, whether 
he intends them an entrance or no, is that which lies heavy 
on him. The like may be said of all promised mercies and de- 
liverances whatsoever. That this is a provocation, the Lord 
hath abundantly testified, inasmuch as for it he hath often- 
times snatched sweet morsels from the mouths of men, and 
turned aside the stream of mercies, when it was ready to flow 
in upon them. * If,' saith he, 'you will not believe, you shall 
not be established;' Isa. vii. 9. The very mercy but now 
promised concerning your deliverance shall be withheld. 
Oh, stop not success from Ireland by unbelief. 

(3.) It dishonours God. In the close of this verse it is 
said, Abraham ' was strong in faith' (or staggered not) 


'giving glory to God.' To be established in believing, is to 
give God the greatest glory possible. Every staggering 
thought that ariseth from this root of unbelief, robs God of 
his glory. 

[1.] It robs hira of the glory of his truth. 'He that 
believeth not, hath made him a liar, because he believeth 
not his record ;' 1 John v. 10. Let men pretend what they 
please (as most an end we give in specious pretences for our 
unbelief), the bottom of all is, the questioning of the truth 
of God in our false hearts. 

[2.] It robs him of the glory of his fidelity or faithfulness 
in the discharge of his promises. 'If we confess our sins, 
he is faithful to forgive us our sins ;* 1 John i. 9. He hath 
engaged his faithfulness in this business of the forgiveness 
of iniquities, he whose right it is ; calling that in question, 
calls the faithfulness of God in question. 

[3.] It robs him of the glory of his grace. In a word, if 
a man should choose to set himself in a universal opposition 
unto God, he can think of no more compendious way than 
this. This then is the fruit, this the advantage of all our 
staggering ; we rob God of glory, and our own souls of mercy. 

Use 5. Be ashamed of, and humbled for, all your stag- 
gerings at the promises of God, with all your fleshly rea- 
sonings, and carnal contrivances issuing therefrom. For the 
most part we live upon successes, not promises: unless we 
see and feel the print of victories, we will not believe ; the 
engagement of God is almost quite forgotten in our affairs. 
We travel on without Christ, like his mother, and suppose 
him only to be in the crowd ; but we must return to seek 
him where we left him, or our journeying on will be to no pur- 
pose. When Job, after all his complaining, had seen the 
end of the Lord, he cries out, ' Now I abhor myself in dust 
and ashes.' You have seen the end of the Lord in many of 
his promises ; oh, that it might prevail to make you abhor 
yourselves in dust and ashes, for all your carnal fears, and 
corrupt reasonings upon your staggerings ! When David en- 
joyed his promised mercy, he especially shames himself for 
every thought of unbelief that he had whilst he waited for 
it: * I said,' saith he, 'in my haste, that all men were liars:' 
and now he is humbled for it. Is this to be thankful, to 
forget our provoking thoughts of unbelief, when the mercy 


is enjoyed l The Lord set it home upon your spirits, and give 
it to receive its due manifestation. 

(1.) If there be any counsels, designs, contrivances on 
foot amongst us, that are bottomed on our staggering at the 
promise under which we are, oh, let them be instantly cast 
down to the ground. Let not any be so foolish, as to sup- 
pose that unbelief will be a foundation for quiet habitations. 
You are careful to avoid all ways that might dishonour you, 
as the rulers of so great a nation ; oh, be much more careful 
about such things as will dishonour you as believers ; that 
is your greatest title ; that is your chiefest privilege. 
Search your own thoughts, and if any contrivance, any com- 
pliance be found springing up, whose seed was sown by stag- 
gering at the promise, root them up, and cast them out be- 
fore it be too late. 

(2.) Engage your hearts against all such ways for the 
future. Say unto God, How faithful art thou in all thy 
ways ! how able to perform all thy promises ! how hast thou 
established thy word in heaven and earth ! Who would not 
put their trust in thee ? We desire to be ashamed, that ever 
we should admit in our hearts the least staggering at the 
stability of thy word. 

(3.) Act as men bottomed upon unshaken things, that 
are not at all moved by the greatest appearing oppositions. 
' He that believeth, will not make haste :' be not hasty in 
your resolves in any distress; wait for the accomplishment of 
the vision, for it will come. So long as you are in the way 
of God, and do the work of God, let not so much as your 
desires be too hasty after appearing strengthenings and assis- 
tance. Whence is it, that there is amongst us such bleating 
after the compliance of this or that party of the sons of men, 
perhaps priding themselves in our actings upon unbelief; 
as though we proclaimed, that without such and such we 
cannot be protected in the things of God ? Let us, I beseech 
you, live above those things, that are unworthy of the great 
name that is called upon us. 

Oh, that by these, and the like ways, we might manifest 
our self-condemnation, and abhorrency, for all that distrust 
and staggering at the word of God, which arising from un- 
belief, hath had such deplorable issues upon all our counsels 
and undertakings ! 



He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong 
in faith, giving glory to God. — Rom. iv. 20. 

In this chapter the apostle singleth out a signal example, 
to make good the conclusion which by sundry convincing 
demonstrations he had proved in the foregoing chapter; 
namely, that the justification of a sinner could by no means 
be brought about, nor accomplished, but by the righteous- 
ness of faith in Christ. This, I say, in the example of 
Abraham, and from the testimonies given concerning him, 
and the way whereby he was justified before God, the apostle 
proves from thebeginningof the chapter to the end of ver. 17. 
From thence, to the end of ver. 22. he describes that faith of 
Abraham, whereby he obtained acceptation with God, that 
in all things he might propose him as an example, and an 
encouragement unto us. 

Among the many excellencies which are given in, in 
the description of this faith of his, arising from its cause, 
object, matter, and manner, not now to be insisted on, this 
is none of the least which is mentioned in my text : * He 
staggered not.' 

There is a fxeiaxng in the words, wherein by a negation, 
the contrary to what is denied, is strongly asserted. ' He 
staggered not by unbelief,' that is, he was steadfast in be- 
lieving ; or as it is expounded in the close of the verse, ' he 
was strong in faith.' 

The words may yield us these two observations : 

Observation 1 . All staggering at the promises of God is 
through unbelief. 

Saith the apostle, 'he] staggered not through unbelief.' 
Men are apt to pretend many other reasons, and do use 
other pleas ; but the truth is, all our staggering is through 


unbelief. But this poposition from these words I have long 
since in another way proved, evinced, and applied.* 

There is another proposition lies in the text, and that I 
shall now apply myself unto, which is this : 

Observation 2. Steadfastness in believing the promises 
is exceeding acceptable unto God. 

In treating upon this subject I shall do these two things : 

I. Explain the terms of the proposition. 

II. Give the proof of it. 

I. As to the former of these, 

1. There is the object concerning which the aflfirmation 
is laid down : * The promises,' the promises of God. The 
promises of God are the declaration of the purposes of his 
grace towards his elect, according to the tenour of the cove- 
nant. That pointed unto in my text, was the old great 
promise of Christ, which contains in it all others ; because 
* in him all the promises of God are yea and amen ;' 2 Cor. 
i. 20. So that although I shall speak nothing but what will 
be true with reference to every promise of God whatever; 
yet I shall bear a chief respect to the promises that exhibit 
Christ, and the free grace of God in him unto sinners : 
steadfastness in believing these promises. 

2. There is the act that is exercised about this object : 
and that is, believing. It is steadfastness in believing we 
speak of. 

I shall not make it my design to insist much on the 
nature of faith, and to debate the differences that are 
among men about it ; only so much must be spoken con- 
cerning it, as may give us an acquaintance with that whereof 
we are treating. 

How many have been the disputes of men about the na- 
ture of faith? The subject, proper object, formal reason of 
it, all know. And how little the church of God is beholding 
to men, who have made it their business to involve things of 
general duty and absolute necessity unto all believers in 
intricate disputes, men that will duly weigh it may easily 
know. By some men's too much understanding others are 
brought to understand nothing at all. He that would 
have the things of his own spiritual experience and daily 

* See the preceding sermon. 


duty made unintelligible to him, let him consider them as 
stated in men's philosophical disputes about them. Thus 
some place faith in one distinct faculty of the soul, some in 
another, and some say there are no such things as distinct 
faculties in the soul. Some place it in both the chief, 
the understanding and the will ; and some say, it is im- 
possible that one habit should have its residence in two 

For my part, my intention principally is to speak to 
such as God chooseth, the poor and foolish of the world f 
and the means whereby he will bring them to himself, are 
not, I am sure, above that understanding which the Son of 
God hath given them; 1 John v. 20. And whereas the ge- 
neral way in treating of faith, is, for the most part, to use 
strictness of expression, that so it may be delivered in a 
philosophical exactness; the constant way of the Holy 
Ghost is by metaphorical expressions, accommodations of it 
to things of sense and daily usage in the meanest, to give a 
relish and perception of it, to all that are interested in it. 
And so shall I labour to speak, that every one that doth be- 
lieve, may know what it is to believe. 

Only observe this by the way : that I speak of believing 
and of faith in respect of that end, and to that purpose only, 
in reference whereunto Paul here treats of it ; that is, in 
respect of justification, and our acceptation with God. I 
say then, 

(1.) That faith, or believing, in this restrained sense 
doth not consist solely in the assent of the mind to the 
truth of the promises, or of any promise. When one affirms 
any thing to us, and we say we believe him, that is, that 
the thing he speaks is true, then there is this assent of the 
mind, without this there is no faith; but this alone is not 
the faith we speak of. This alone and solitary the devils 
have, and cannot choose but have it ; James ii. 19. They be- 
lieve that which makes them tremble, on the authority of God 
who revealeth it. 

But you will say. The devil believes only the threats of 
God ; that which makes him tremble ; and so his belief is 
not a general assent, but partial, and is thereby distinguished 
from our assent, which is to all that God hath revealed, and 
especially the promises. 


I answer. The devil believes the promises no less than he 
doth the threats of God ; that is, that they are true, and 
shall be accomplished. It is part of his misery, that he 
cannot but believe them. And the promises of God are as 
much suited to make him tremble, as his threatenings. The 
first promise to us was couched in a threatening to him ; 
Gen. iii. 15. And there is no promise wherein a threatening 
to him is not couched. Every word concerning Christ, or 
grace by him, speaks his downfal and ruin. Indeed his 
destruction lies more in promises, than threats. Promises 
are what weakens him daily, and gives him a continual fore- 
taste of his approaching destruction. 

On this consideration it is evident, that believing, or 
faith, cannot be solely an assent to the truth of these pro- 
mises, upon the fidelity of the promiser; but this it is also, 
or originally. Hence it is called, ' the receiving the testi- 
mony of God,' and therein ' setting to our seal that God is 
true ;' John iii. 33. But yet I think there is somewhat more 
in receiving of the testimony of God, and setting our seal to 
it (agreeing as in contracts, that so it is, and so it shall be), 
than the bare assent of the mind to the truth of the promises. 
Although in ordinary speech, to receive a man's testimony, 
is no more, than to believe what he saith of that concerning 
which he speaks is true. But there seems moreover in the 
annexed expression of ' setting to our seal,' that that is in- 
cluded, which he speaks of to Job, chap. v. 27. 'Hear it, 
and know it for thyself.' There is a receiving of it for our- 
selves, in those expressions, which add much to a bare as- 
sent. I say then, this assent is of faith, though it be not 
faith. And in saying it is not justifying faith, we do not 
deny it, but affirm it to be faith in general. The addition 
of a peculiar assent destroys not the nature of a thing. 
Now faith in general is such an assent as hath been de- 

(2.) It is not in the sole consent of the will to close with 
the promise, as containing that which is good and suitable. 
There is the matter of the promise to be considered in be- 
lieving, as well as the promise itself. Christ with his 
righteousness and benefits is, as it were, tendered unto us 
therein. Whence by believing we are said to accept of, to 
* receive the atonement;' Rom. v. 11. Now to consent that 


the matter of the promise, that which is exhibited in the 
word of it, is good and desirable, and so to us, and to 
choose it on that account, is required to believing also ; 
and it is properly the 'receiving of Christ ;' John i. 12. but 
yet it is not only, precisely, and exclusively this. Sarah's 
faith, Heb.xi. 11, is described by this, that she 'judged him 
faithful,' who had promised. And this is of the nature of 
faith, as was said before, the 'judging him faithful that pro- 
miseth,' and assenting to the truth of his promises on that 
account. Now the first of these may be without the se- 
cond : our assent may be without the consent of the will ; 
but the latter cannot be without the former. But yet there 
is such an assent, as will certainly produce this choice 

(3.) I suppose I need not say, it doth not entirely con- 
sist in the good liking of the affections, and embracing the 
things promised. 'The stony ground received the word 
presently, and with joy;' Matt. xiii. 20. It is said, ver. 5. 
that * the seed sprung up immediately because it had not 
depth of earth.' Where men have warm affections, but not 
thoroughly prepared minds and hearts, they presently run 
away with the word, and profess great matters from it; but 
where it is laid in deep, it is longer commonly before it ap- 
pears. When a man receives the word only in the affec- 
tions, the first touch of them cannot be hid ; instantly he 
will be speaking of it, melt under it, and declare how he is 
affected with it : oh, this sermon hath done me good indeed. 
But yet this is not faith, when it is alone. They ' receive 
.the word with joy, but have not root in themselves ;' ver. 21. 
When Christ promised ' the bread of life,' that is, himself, 
John vi. how many were instantly affected with it, and 
carried out to strong desires of it? 'Lord,' say they, * ever- 
more give us this bread ;' ver. 34. They like it, they desire 
it at that season, their affections are taken with it; but yet 
they were but irpocTKaipoi, ' temporary,' not true believers ; 
for after a season ' they went back, and walked no more 
with Christ;' ver. 66. Those 'who have a taste of the 
heavenly gift ;' Heb. vi. 6. do you not think they like the 
taste, and are affected with it? There are indeed innumera- 
ble deceits in this business. I might shew on how many 
false and corrupt accounts, on what sandy foundations many 


men's affections may be exceedingly taken with the word of 
promise, preached, or considered ; so that there is no con- 
cluding of believing to lie in any such thing. When affec- 
tions go before believing, they are little worth ; but when 
they follow it, they are exceeding acceptable and precious in 
the sight of God. 

(4.) It is not solely ' fiducia,' a trust, affiance, or confi- 
dence. There is a twofold fiducial trust : one whereby we 
trust in Christ for the forgiveness of sin, which you may 
call adherence. It is such a cleaving to Christ, as that we 
trust in him for the forgiveness of sins, and acceptation with 
God. And so much as we trust, so much we adhere, and 
no more. There is also a trust, that our sins are forgiven 
us, we trust, or rest upon it. Now it cannot be, that either 
of these should be faith entirely, and that the whole of it 
should be included in them. There is something more in 
believing, than in trusting ; and something more in trusting, 
than is absolutely necessary to preserve the entire notion of 
believing. For we may believe that, wherein we do not 
trust. But yet this I grant, that where there is believing in 
Christ, there will be trusting in him more or less. And 
when faith is increased to some good height, strength, and 
steadfastness, it is mainly taken up in trust and confidence ; 
John xiv. 1. So to believe, as to free our hearts from trouble 
and disquietment upon any account whatever, is to trust 
properly. And that doubting, and staggering, and fear, 
which in Scripture we find condemned as opposite to faith, 
are indeed directly opposite to this fiduciary reposing our 
souls on Christ. So the apostle describes his faith, or be- 
lieving, 2 Tim. i. 12. So to believe, as to be 'persuaded 
that God is able to keep what we commit to him/ is to put 
our trust in him. 

(5.) Having spoken thus much of these particulars, 
waving all the arbitrary determinations of the schools, and 
exactness of words as to philosophical rules and terms ; I 
shall give you such a general description of faith, or be- 
lieving, as may answer in some measure the proper and me- 
taphorical expressions of it in the Scriptures ; where it is 
termed, looking or seeing, hearing, tasting, resting, rolling 
ourselves, flying for refuge, trusting, and the like. 

[1.] There must be what I spake of in the first place, an 


assent to the whole truth of the promises of God, upon this 
ground and bottom, that he is able and faithful to accom- 
plish them. This certainly is in, if it be not all, our ' re- 
ceiving the testimony, or witness of God;' John iii. 33. 
Sarah, of whom we spake before, received * the testimony of 
God.' How did she do it? She 'judged him faithful who 
had promised;' Heb, xi. 11. This God proposes to us in 
the first place. * Eternal life is promised by God who can- 
not lie ;' Tit. i. 2. that is, who is so faithful, as that it is 
utterly impossible he should deceive any. So Heb.vi. 17, 18. 
* Wherein God willing more abundantly to shew unto the 
heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed 
it by an oath : that by two immutable things, in which it 
was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong con- 
solation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope 
set before us.' The design of God is, that we may receive 
encouragement in our * flying for refuge to the hope set be- 
fore us ;' that is, in believing. What doth he propose to this 
end ? Why his own faithfulness and immutability, on the ac- 
count of the engagement of his word and oath. Abraham's 
faith spoken of, Rom. iv. compriseth this ; yea is commended 
from it, ver. 21. 

The Scripture indeed mentions sundry properties of God, 
on the credit whereof, if I may so speak, our souls are to 
assent to the truth of his promises, and to acquiesce therein. 
Two especially are usually named. 

1st. His power: * he is able.' So Rom. iv. 21. chap, 
xi. 23. 

2dly. His faithfulness : as in the places before mentioned, 
and sundry others. 

The sum is, that on the account of God's faithfulness 
and power, this we are to do, if we will believe, we are to 
assent to the truth of his promises, and the certainty of 
their accomplishment. If this be not done, it is in vain to 
go forward. Let then those, who intend any advantage by 
what shall afterward be spoken, stay here a little and con- 
sider, how they have laid this foundation. Many there are, 
who never come to any stability all their days, and yet are 
never able to fix on any certain cause of their shaking and 
staggering : the foundation was laid disorderly. This first 
closing with the faithfulness and power of God in the pro- 


raises, was never distinctly acted over in and by their souls. 
And if the foundation be weak, let the building be never 
so glorious, it will totter, if not fall. Look then to this 
beginning of your confidence, that this fail you not. And 
when all other holds fail this will support you from utter 
sinking, if at any time you are reduced to that condition 
that you have nothing else. 

[2.] Over and above this, faith in the Scripture is ex- 
pressed, and we find it by experience to be, the will's consent 
unto, and acceptance of, the Lord Jesus Christ as mediator, 
he that accomplished his work, as the only way of going to 
the Father, as the sole and sufficient cause of our acceptation 
with him, as our only righteousness before him. 
"'It hath been said, that faith is the receiving of Christ as 
apriest, and a lord, to be saved by him, and ruled by him. 
This sounds excellent well. Who is so vile, that endea- 
vouring to believe, is not willing to be ruled by Christ, as 
well as saved by him ? A faith that would not have Christ 
to be lord to rule us, is that faith alone which James rejects. 
He that would be saved by Christ, and not ruled by him, 
shall not be saved by him at all. We are to receive a whole 
Christ, not by halves ; in regard of all his offices, not one or 

This sounds well, makes a fair shew, and there is in 
some regard truth in what is spoken ; but, * Latet anguis in 
herba,' Let men explain themselves, and it is this : The re- 
ceiving of Christ, as a king, is the yielding obedience to 
him. But that subjection is not a fruit of the faith whereby 
we are justified, but an essential part of it; so that there is 
no difference between faith and works or obedience in the 
business of justification, both being alike a condition of it. 

When I lately read one saying, * That this was one prin- 
ciple that the church of England went on in the reformation, 
that faith and works have the same consideration in the bu- 
siness of justification ;' I could not but stand amazed, and 
conclude, that either he or I had been asleep ever since we 
were born ; or that there were two churches of England, one 
that I never knew, and another that he never knew ; or else 
that prejudice is powerful, and makes men confident. Is that 
the doctrine of the church of England, as they call it? When, 
where, by whom was it taught, but by Papists and Socinians, 


until within a very few years in England ? What place hath 
it in confessions, homilies, liturgies, controversy writers, or 
any else of repute for learning and religion in England ? But 
this is no place for contest. 

Others at length mince the matter, and say, That faith 
and works have the same respects to our justification that 
shall be public and solemn at the last day, at the day of 
judgment. And is this all that they have intended ? How 
they will justify themselves at the day of judgment, for 
troubling the peace of the saints of God, and shaking the 
great fundamental articles of the reformation, I know not ; 
but it is no news for men loving novelties to dispute them- 
selves they know not whither, and to recoil or retire un- 

It is true then, we acknowledge that faith receives Christ 
as a lord, as a king ; and it is no true faith that will not, 
doth not do so, and puts the soul upon all that obedience 
which he, as the captain of our salvation, requires at our 
hands. But faith, as it justifies (in its concurrence, what- 
ever it be, thereunto) closeth with Christ for righteousness 
and acceptation with God only. And give me leave to say, 
it is in that act no less exclusive of good works, than of sin. 
It closeth with Christ in and for that, on the account whereof 
he is our righteousness, and for and by whrch we are jus- 

But you will say. This makes you solifidians, and are you 
not justly so accounted? 

I say. So was Paul a solifidian, whose epistles will con- 
fute all the formalists and self-justitiaries in the world. We 
are solifidians as to justification: Christ, grace, and faith 
are all. We are not solifidians as to salvation, nor gospel 
conversation, nor the declaration of the efiicacy of our be- 
lieving. Such solifidians, as exclude every thing from an in- 
fluence in our justification, but our acceptation by the grace 
of God, on faith's receiving of Christ for righteousness and 
salvation, were all the apostles of Jesus Christ. Such so- 
lifidians, as exclude, or deny, the necessity of works, and 
gospel obedience to him that is justified ; or that say, a true 
and justifying faith may consist without holiness, works, 
and obedience, are condemned by all the apostles, and James 
in particular. 


This then, I say, is required to faith, or believing 
that we thus receive Christ. John i. 11. 'His own received 
him not.' The not receiving of Christ for such purposes as 
he is sent unto us by the Father, is properly unbelief. And 
therefore, as it follows, the so receiving him is properly faith, 
or believing; ver. 12. Thus in preaching the gospel we 
are said to make a tender, or proffer of Christ, as the Scrip- 
ture doth, Rev. xxii. 17. Now that which answers a tender, 
or proffer, is the acceptance of it. So that the soul's willing 
acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ for our righteousness 
before God, being tendered to us in the promises of the gos- 
pel for that end and purpose, from the love of the Father, is 
the main of that believing which is so acceptable unto God. 

[3.] Add hereunto, that which I cannot say is absolutely 
of the nature of faith, but in some degree or other, secret or 
more known to the soul, a necessary concomitant of it; and 
that is, the soul's resting and quieting itself, and satisfying 
its affections in its interest in, and enjoyment of, a sweet, 
desirable Saviour. This is called 'cleaving unto the Lord;' 
Josh, xxiii. 8. the fixing and fastening our affections on God, 
as ours in covenant. This is the soul's resting in God, its 
affiance, and trusting in him. 

And in these three things, which are intelligible to the 
meanest soul, and written evidently in the words of the Scrip- 
ture, and in the experience of those who have to do with 
God in Christ, do I place the believing, which is so accept- 
able to God. 

3. There is next the qualification of this believing, as 
laid down in the proposition, and that is, steadfastness, 
steadfastness in believing. This is included in the negative. 
It is said of Abraham, that * he staggered not ;' that is, he 
was steadfast. To clear this up a little, take these few ob- 

(1.) Faith, or believing, consists in such an habitual frame 
of heart, and such actings of the soul, as are capable of de- 
grees, of straitening or enlargement, of strength and weak- 
ness. Hence there is mention in the Scripture of great faith, 
*0 woman great is thy faith :' and of little faith, ' O ye of 
little faith :' of strong faith, Abraham * was strong in faith :' 
and of weak faith, or being weak in faith, ' Him that is weak 
in the faith receive :' of faith with doubting, ' O ye of little 


faith, why did ye doubt?' and of faith excluding doubting, 
' being strong in faith he staggered,' or ' doubted not.' 

(2.) That faith in every respect is equal as unto sincerity, 
and differs only in degrees ; yea, it is equal in repect of the 
main effects and advance of it, in justification, perseverance, 
and salvation. A little faith is no less faith than a great 
faith ; yea, a little faith will carry a man as safely to heaven, 
though not so comfortably nor so fruitfully, as a great faith. 

(3.) Steadfastness respectsthosedifferentdegrees of faith. 
It is not of the nature of faith, but bespeaks such a degree 
of it, as is acceptable to God that we should have, and every 
way advantageous to ourselves. It is mentioned by Peter, 
2 Epist. iii. 17. 'Take heed lest you fall from your own stead- 
fastness,' or decline from that stability in believing, which 
you have attained : and by Paul, Col. ii. 5. So that, 

(4.) There may be a true faith, that yet may have many 
troublesome, perplexing doubtings accompanying it; many 
sinful staggerings and waverings attending it; and yet not 
be overthrown, but continue true faith still. Men may be 
true believers, and yet not strong believers. A child that 
eats milk hath as truly the nature of a man, as he that being 
grown up lives on strong meat. Now steadfastness denotes 
stability in believing, in respect of the three things before 
mentioned, and by it faith is denominated strong, and effec- 
tual. And it argues, 

[1.] A well grounded, firm, unshaken assent to the truth 
of the promises; and so it is opposed to wavering; James 
i. 5, 6. 

[2.] A resolved, clear consent to receive and close with 
Christ, as tendered in the promise for life; and so it is op- 
posed to doubting, that is, troublesome, disquieting, per- 
plexing doubts. 

[3.] The settled acquiescence of the soul in the choice 
made, and the close consented unto ; and so it is opposed 
to abiding trouble ; John xiv. 1. 

This steadfastness in believing doth not exclude all temp- 
tations from without. When we say a tree is firmly rooted, 
we do not say that the wind never blows upon it. The house 
that is built on the rock, is not free from assaults and storms. 



The captain of our salvation, the beginner and ender of our 
faith was tempted ; and we shall be so, if we follow him. 
Nor doth it exclude all doubting from within. So long as 
we have flesh, though faith be steadfast, we shall have un- 
belief; and that bitter root will bring forth some fruit, more 
or less, according as Satan gets advantage to water it. But 
it excludes a falling under temptation, and consequently that 
trouble and disquietness which ensues thereon: as likewise 
abiding, perplexing doubts, which make us stagger to and 
fro, between hope and fear, questioning whether we close 
with Christ or not, have any interest in the promise or not, 
and is attended with disconsolation and dejectedness of spi- 
rit, with real uncertainty of the event. 

This then is that which I intend by steadfastness in be- 
lieving ; The establishment of our hearts in the receiving of 
Christ, as tendered by the love of the Father, to the peace 
and settlement of our souls and consciences. And that our 
hearts should be thus fixed, settled, and established, that we 
should live in the sense and power of it, is, I say, exceeding 
acceptable unto God. 

There is a twofold evil and miscarriage among us in the 
great foundation business of closing with Christ in the pro- 
mise. Some spend all their days in much darkness and dis- 
consolateness, disputing it to and fro in their own thoughts, 
whether their portion and interest lie therein or not. They 
are off and on, living and dying, hoping and fearing, and com- 
monly fear most when they have best hold, for that is the 
nature of doubting. When they are quite cast down, then 
they set themselves a work to get up ; and when they are 
up to any comfortable persuasion, instantly they fear that 
all is not well and right ; it is not so with them as it should 
be ; and thus they stagger to and fro all their lives, to the 
grief of the Spirit of God, and the discomfort of their own 

Others beginning a serious closing with Christ upon 
abiding grounds, and finding it a work of difficulty and te- 
diousness to flesh and blood, relapse into generals, inquire 
no more, but take it for granted, that as much is done as 
they can accomplish, and so grow formal and secure. 

To obviate both these evils I shall confirm the proposi- 


tion laid down ; but before I proceed to that, I sliall draw- 
some corollaries that arise from what hath been spoken in 
the exphcation of the proposition ah'eady insisted on. 

Corollary 1. Though a little, weak faith, where steadfast- 
ness is wanting, will carry a man to Christ and heaven, yet 
it will never carry him comfortably, nor pleasantly thither. 

He who hath but a weak faith, shall be put to many des- 
perate .plunges; every blast of temptation shall cast him 
down from his consolation, if not turn him aside from his 
obedience. At best he is like a man bound in a chain on 
the top of a high tower ; though he cannot fall, yet he can- 
not but fear, however it will have a good issue. 

Corollary 2. The least true faith will do its work safely, 
though not so sweetly. 

True faith in the least degree gives the soul a share in the 
first resurrection. It is of the vital principle which we re- 
ceive, when we are quickened. Now be it never so weak a 
life we have, yet it is a life that shall never fail. It is of the 
seed of God which abideth, incorruptible seed, that dieth not. 
A believer is spirit, is quickened from the dead, be he never 
so young, never so sick, never so weak, he is still alive, and 
the second death shall have no power over him. A little 
faith gives a whole Christ. He that hath the least faith, 
hath as true an interest, though not so clear an interest, in 
the righteousness of Christ, as the most steadfast believer. 
Others may be more holy than he, but not one in the world 
is more righteous than he ; for he is righteous with the righ- 
teousness of Christ. He cannot but be low in sanctification, 
for a little faith will bring forth but little or low obedience; 
if the root be weak, the fruit will not be great. But he is 
beneath none in justification. The most imperfect faith will 
give present justification, because it interests the soul in a 
present Christ. The lowest degree of true faith gives the 
highest completeness of righteousness, Col. ii. 10. You who 
have but a weak faith, have yet a strong Christ. So that 
though all the world should set itself against your little faith, 
it should not prevail. Sin cannot do it, Satan cannot do it, 
hell cannot do it. Though you take but weak and faint hold 
on Christ, he takes sure, strong, and unconquerable hold on 
you. Have you not often wondered, that this spark of hea- 
venly fire should be kept alive in the midst of the sea? It is 


everlasting, a spark that cannot be quenched, a drop of that 
fountain that can never be wholly dried up. Jesus Christ 
takes special care of them that are weak in faith, Isa. xl. 11. 
On what account soever they are sick, and weak, and unable, 
this good shepherd takes care of them; 'he shall rule, and 
they shall abide ;' Micah v. 4. 

Corollary 3. There may be faith, a little faith, where there 
wants steadfastness, and is much doubting. 

Steadfastness is an eminent qualification that all attain 
not to; so that there may be faith where there is doubting, 
though I do not say there must be. Doubtings in them- 
selves are opposite to believing. They are, if I n.ay so sy , 
unbelieving. A man can hardly believe all his days and 
never doubt ; but a man may doubt all his days, and never 
believe. If I see a field overgrown with thistles and weeds, 
I can say, there may be corn there ; but yet the thistles and 
weeds are not corn. I speak this, because some have no bet- 
ter bottom for their quiet, than that they have been disqui- 
eted, that they have doubted. Doubting may be where 
faith is ; but we cannot conclude, that where there is doubt- 
ing, there is faith ; for they may rise against presumption 
and security, as well as against believing. Yet observe 
there is a twofold doubting ; 

(1.) Of the end. Men question what will become of 
them in the close ; they fluctuate about what will be their 
latter end. Did not Balaam do so, when he cried, ' Let me 
die the death of the righteous, and let my latter end be like 
his V That wretched man was tossed up and down between 
hopes and fears. This is common to the vilest person in the 
world. It is but the shaking of their security, if they be 

(2.) About the means. The soul doubts whether it loves 
Christ, and whether Christ loves it, or not. This is far 
more genuine than the former. It discovers at least, that 
such a soul is convinced of the excellency and usefulness of 
Christ, and that it hath a valuation for him. Yea, per- 
haps this may be jealousy from fervency of love sometimes, 
and not always from weakness of faith. But however with 
these doubtings, faith, at least a little faith, may consist. 
So was it with the poor man who cried out, ' Lord, I believe. 
Lord, help my unbelief.' There is believing and unbelieving. 


faith and doubting, both at work at the same time, in the 
same person ; Jacob and Esau struggling in the same womb. 

Use. Let not men from their doubting conclude to their 
believing. He that satisfies himself that his field hath 
corn because it hath thistles, may come short of a har- 
vest. If thy fears be more about the end than the means, 
more about future happiness than present communion with 
God, thou canst scarce have a clearer argument of a false, 
corrupt frame of heart. Some flatter themselves with this, 
that they have doubted and trembled, but now they thank 
God they are quiet and at rest. How they came to be so, 
they cannot tell ; only whereas they were disquieted and 
troubled, now all is well with them. How many of this sort 
have I known, who whilst convictions have been warm upon 
them, have had many perplexing thoughts about their state 
and condition ; after awhile their convictions have worn off, 
and their doubtings thence arising departed, and they have 
sunk down into a cold, lifeless frame? This is a miserable 
bottom of quiet. If there were no way of casting out doubts 
a.nd fears but by believing, this were somewhat. But pre- 
sumption and security will do it also, at least for a season. 

But these things fall in only by the way, in reference to 
what was spoken before. 

II. I proceed now to confirm the proposition laid down, 
according to the explanation given of it before. 

1. And this I shall do first from Scripture testimonies. 

(1.) Take the text itself; ' he was strong in faith, giving 
glory to God.' All that God requires of any of the sons of 
men is his glory, that he will not give unto another; Isa. 
xlii. 8. Let God have his glory, and we may take freely 
whatever we will. Take Christ, take grace, take heaven, 
take all. The great glory which he will give to us, consists 
in giving him his glory, and beholding of it. Now if this be 
the great thing, the only thing that God requires at our 
hands, if this be the all which he hath reserved to himself, 
that he be glorified as God, as our God, he that gives him that, 
gives him what is acceptable to him. Thus Abraham pleased 
God, by being strong or steadfast in believing; ' he was 
strong in faith, and gave glory to God.' 

The glory of God is spoken of in various senses in the 


[1 .] The Hebrew word 1)23 signifies ' pondus/ or ' weight/ 
whereunto the apostle alludes when he speaks of ' an eternal 
weight of glory;' 2 Cor. iv. 17. This is the glory of the 
thing itself. It likewise signifies splendour, or brightness, 
where the apostle in like manner speaks of' the brightness 
of glory,' Heb. i. 2. which is the greatness and excellency 
of beauty in all perfections. In this sense the infinite excel- 
lency of God, in his inconceivable perfections, raised up in 
such brightness as utterly exceeds all our apprehensions, is 
called his glory. And so he is * the God of glory,' Acts vii. 2. 
or the most glorious God; and our Saviour is called, 'the 
Lord of glory,' 1 Cor. ii. 8. in the same sense. In this respect 
we can give no glory to God ; we can add nothing to his ex- 
cellencies, nor the infinite inconceivable brightness of them, 
by any thing we do, 

[2.] Glory relates not only to the thing itself that is glo- 
rious, but to the estimation and opinion we have of it, that 
is, S6%a; when that which is in itself glorious is esteemed 
so. The philosopher saith, ' Gloria est frequens de aliquo 
fama cum laude ;' or, ' Consentiens laus bonorum, incorrupta 
vox bene judicantium de excellenti virtute.' And in this re- 
spect, that which is infinitely glorious in itself, may be more 
or less glorious in its manifestation, and the estimation of 
it; so glory is not any of God's excellencies or perfections, 
but it is the esteem and manifestation of them amongst and 
unto others. 

This God declares to be his glory, Exod. xxxiii. 19. 
Moses desires to see the glory of God ; this God calls his 
face, that is, the glory of God in itself. This, saith God, 
thou canst not see: 'Thou canst not see my face,' or the 
brightness of my essential glory, the splendour of my ex- 
cellencies and perfections. Well, what then; shall he have 
no acquaintance with it? After this God places him in a 
rock, and tells him, there he will shew him his glory; and 
this he doth under the name of his back parts; that is, he 
will declare to him wherein, and how, his glory is manifested. 
* Now this rock that followed them was Christ;' 1 Cor. x. 4. 
The Lord places Moses in that rock to shew him his glory, 
intimating that there is no glimpse of it to be obtained, but 
only by them who are placed in Christ Jesus. Now what 
is this glory of God, which he thus shewed to Moses ? That 


he declares, chap, xxxiv. 6. causing his majesty, or some 
visible signs of his presence, * to pass before him,' he pro- 
claims the name of God with many gracious properties of 
his nature and blessedness. As if he should say, Moses, 
wouldst thou see my glory ? This is it, that I may be known 
to be ' the Lord, the Lord gracious and merciful ;' let me be 
known to be this, and thus, and this is the glory I aim at 
from the sons of men. 

See now how steadfastness in believing gives glory to 
God. It advanceth and magnifieth all these properties of 
God, and gives all his attributes their due exaltation. An 
excellent estimation of them is included in it. Might I here 
descend to particulars, I could manifest, that there is not 
any property of God, whereby he hath made himself known 
to us, but steadfastness in believing gives it the glory which 
in some measure is due unto it; and that all doulDting arises 
from our calling some divine attribute into question. It 
were easy to shew how this gives God the glory of his faith- 
fulness, truth, power, righteousness, grace, mercy, good- 
ness, love, patience, and whatever else God hath revealed 
himself to be. 

This then is the force of this first testimony. If the glory 
of God be all that he requires at our hands, and this stead- 
fastness in believing gives him this glory, and this alone 
doth so, it must needs be acceptable unto him. 

(2.) A testimony of the same importance is Heb. vi. 
17, 18. "The heirs of the promise,' those to whom it is 
made, the great promise of Christ, are believers ; these are 
said here, ' to fly for refuge,' KaracjjvyovTeg, ' the fliers with 
speed ;' the expression is evidently metaphorical. The 
allusion, say some, is taken from those who ran in a race 
for a prize. This, they say, the word K/oarrjao/, that follows, 
which signifies * to take fast hold on,' doth import. Men 
that run in a race, when they attain the end, seize on, and 
lay fast hold of, the prize. 

Our translators, by rendering the word * flying for refuge,' 
manifest that they had respect to the manslayers flying to 
the city of refuge under the Old Testament: and this way 
go sundry interpreters. And I am inclined to this accepta- 
tion of the metaphor upon a double account. 

[I.] Because I think the apostle would more willingly 


allude to a Hebrew custom, writing to the Hebrews touch- 
ing an institution of God, and that directly typical of the 
matter he had in hand ; than to a custom of the Greeks and 
Romans in their races, which hath not so much light in it, 
as to the business in hand, as the other. 

[2,] Because the design of the place dotli evidently hold 
out a flying from something, as well as a flying to some- 
thing; in which,regard it is said, that there is consolation 
provided for them, namely, in their deliverance from the 
evil which they feared and fled from. Now in a race there 
is indeed a prize proposed, but there is no evil avoided. 
It was otherwise with him that fled for refuge; for as he 
had a city of safety before him, so he had the avenger of 
blood behind him ; and he fled with speed and diligence to 
the one, that he might avoid the other. Now these cities 
of refuge were provided for the manslayer, who having slain 
a man at unawares, and being thereby surprised with an ap- 
prehension of danger, it being lawful for the avenger of 
blood to slay him, fled with all his strength to one of those 
cities, where he was to enjoy immunity and safety. 

Thus a poor sinner finding himself in a condition of 
guilt, surprised with a sense of it, seeing death and destruc- 
tion ready to seize upon him, flies with all his strength to 
the bosom of the Lord Jesus, the only city of refuge, from 
the avenging justice of God, and curse of the law. Now 
this flying to the bosom of Christ, the hope set before us 
for relief and safety, is believing. It is here called flying 
by the Holy Ghost, to express the nature of it to the spi- 
ritual sense of believers. What now doth he declare him- 
self to be affected with their * flying for refuge,' that is, their 
believing? Why he hath taken all means possible to shew 
himself abundantly willing to receive them. He hath en- 
gaged his word and promise, that they may not in the least 
doubt or stagger, but know that he is ready to receive them, 
and give them 'strong consolation.' And what is this con- 
solation ? Whence may it appear to arise ? Whence did 
consolation arise to him, who having slain a man at un- 
awares should fly to a city of refuge? Must it not be from 
hence, the gates of the city would certainly be open to him, 
that he should find protection there, and be safe guarded 
from the revenger? Whence then must be our strong con- 


solation, if we thus fly for refuge by believing? Must it not 
be from hence, that God is freely ready to receive us, that 
he will in no wise shut us out, but that we shall be welcome 
to him ; and with the more speed we come, the more wel- 
come we shall be? This he convinces us of, by the engage- 
ment of his word and oath to that purpose. And what far- 
ther testimony would we have, that our believing is accept- 
able to him? 

It is said, Heb. x. 38. ' If any^man draw back, the Lord's 
soul hath no pleasure in him.' What is it to draw back ? 
It is to decline from his steadfastness of believing. So the 
apostle interprets it, ver. 39. * We are not of them that draw 
back to perdition, but of them that believe.' Drawing back 
is opposed to believing. In these drawers back, that come 
not up to steadfastness in believing, or labour so to do, the 
Lord's ' soul hath no pleasure ;' that is, he exceedingly 
abhors and abominates them, which is the force of that ex- 
pression. His delight is in those, who are steadfast in ad- 
hering to the promises ; in them his soul takes pleasure. 

When the Jews treated with our Saviour about salvation, 
they ask him, ' what they shall do that they may work the 
work of God ;' John vi. 28. that work of God by which they 
might come to be accepted with him, which is the cry of all 
convinced persons. Our Saviour's answer is, ver. 29. 'This 
is that work of God, that you believe.' Will ye know ' the 
great work, wherein God is so delighted ? It is this, saith 
he, ' that you believe,' and be steadfast therein. 

Hence also are many exhortations that are given us by 
the Holy Ghost to come up hereunto, as Heb. xii. 12. 
Isa. XXXV. But I shall not farther insist on testimonies, 
which exceedingly abound to this purpose. The farther 
demonstrations of the point ensue. 

2. The next shall consist in the farther improvement of 
the first testimony concerning the glory of God, arising 
from our being steadfast in believing. 

This is granted by all, that God's ultimate end in all 
things he doth himself, and in all that he requires us to do, 
is his own glory. It cannot be otherwise, if he be the first, 
only, independent being, and prime cause of all things, and 
their chiefest good. God having then placed his glory in 
that whicii cannot be attained and brought about without 


believing, in answer to his present constitution of things, 
it must needs be acceptable to him ; as is a suitable means 
to a designed end, to any one's acting in wisdom and righ- 

Bear in mind, I pray, what it is that I mean by believing. 
Though the word be general and large, yet in my intend- 
ment it is restrained to the particulars insisted on, namely, 
the constant establishment of our souls in receiving the 
Lord Jesus, tendered unto us in the truth and from the love 
of the Father, for the pardon of sins, and acceptation of 
our persons before God. This, I say, according to God's 
constitution of things in the covenant of grace, is necessary 
to bring about that end of glory to himself which he aims 
at. Hence he sums up his whole design to be ' the praise 
of his glorious grace;' Eph.i. 6. 

In Prov. XXV. 2. if I mistake not, this is clearly asserted ; 

* It is the glory of God to conceal a thing,' or 'to cover a 
matter.' I told you before what is the glory of God. It is 
not the splendour and majesty of his infinite and excellent 
perfections which arise not from any thing he doth, but 
from what he is; but it is the exaltation, manifestation, and 
essence of those excellencies. When God is received, be- 
lieved, known to be such, as he declares himself, therein is 
he glorified; that is his glory. This glory, saith the Holy 
Ghost, arises from the covering a matter. 

What matter is this ? It is not the glory of God to cover 
every matter, all things whatever; yea, it is his glory to 

* bring to light the hidden things of darkness.' The mani- 
festation of his own works 'declares his glory;' Psal. xix. 1. 
-So doth the manifestation of the good works of his people; 
Matt. V. 16. It is then things of some peculiar kind that 
are here intended. The following opposition discovers 
this : * It is the glory of a king to find out a matter.' What 
matter is it, that it is the glory of the king to find out? Is 
it not faults and offences against the law? Is it not the 
glory of magistrates to find out transgressions, that the 
transgressors may be punished ? This is the glory of the 
magistrate to inquire, find out, and punish offences, trans- 
gressions of the law. It is then, in answer hereunto, a sin- 
ful thing, sin itself, that is the matter or thing which it is 
the glory of God to cover. But what is it to cover a sinful 


matter? It is that which is opposed to the magistrate's find- 
ing it out; what that is, we have a full description in Job 
xxix. 16, 17. 'The cause I knew not, I searched out, and 
brake the jaws of the wicked.' It is to make judicial in- 
quisition after, to find out hidden transgressions, that the 
offenders may be brought to condign punishment. So that 
God's concealing a matter, is his not searching, with an 
intention of punishment, into sins and sinners, to make thetn 
naked to the stroke of the law. It is his hiding of sin from 
the condemning power of the law. 

The word here used is the same with that of David, 
Psal. xxxii. 1. * Blessed is the man whose sin is covered.' 
And in sundry other places is it used to the same purpose ; 
which is expressed Micah vii. 17. by * casting all our sins 
into the bottom of the sea.' That which is so disposed of, 
is utterly covered from the sight of men. So doth God ex- 
press the covering of the sins of his people, as to their not 
appearance to their condemnation, they shall be * cast into 
the bottom of the sea.' Hence are our sins in the New Tes- 
tament said a<}>Hvai, which we translate ' forgiven' and ' to 
forgive,' and a^ccrtcj ' forgiveness,' in twenty places. The 
word signifies properly to 'remove,' or 'dismiss' one : u^apTij- 
fxara utpeivai, is ' Peccata missa facere,' 'to send or remove 
away our sins out of sight;' the same in substance with that 
which is here called * to cover.' And so is the word used in 
another business, Matt, xxiii. 23. a</j?jicar£ ra (iapvrepa tov 
i'Of.tov, ' you have omitted the weightier things of the law;' 
that is, you have laid them aside as it were out of sight, tak- 
ing no care of them. Now the bottom of all these expres- 
sions of removing, hiding, covering, and concealing sin, 
which gives life and significancy to them, making them im- 
port forgiveness of sin, is the allusion that is in them to the 
mercy-seat under the law. The making and use of it, we 
have Exod. xxv. 17, 18. It was a plate of pure gold lying on 
the ark called n~iDD or 'a covering.' In the ark was the law 
written on tables of stone. Over the mercy-seat, between 
the cherubims, was the oracle representing the presence of 
God. By which the Holy Ghost does signify, that the mercy- 
seat was to cover the law, and the condemning power of it, 
as it were, from the eye of God's justice, that we be not con- 
sumed. Hence is God said to cover sin, because by the 


mercy-seat he hides that which is the strength and power of 
sin, as to its guilt and tendency unto punishment. The apo- 
stle calls this ' mercy-seat/ to i\a(TT{]piov, Heb. ix. 5. That 
word is used but once more in the New Testament, and then 
Christ is called so ; Rom. iii. 25. Or "Ov irpoiBtTo 6 Oiog to 
tXacTTTjoiov, * whom God hath proposed as a mercy-seat.' 
Christ alone is that mercy-seat, by whom sin, and the law, 
from whence sin hath its rigour, is hidden. And from that 
typical institution is that expression in the Old Testament, 
• Hide me under thy wings ;' the wings of the cherubims, 
where the mercy-seat was ; that is, in the bosom of Christ. 

Now, saith the holy Ghost, thus to hide, to cover, to 
pardon sin by Christ, is the glory of God, wherein he will 
be exalted and admired, and for which he will be praised. 
Give him this, and you give him his great aim and design. 
Let him be believed in, trusted on, as God in Christ, par- 
doning iniquity, transgression, and sin, so reconciling the 
world to himself, and manifesting his glorious properties 
therein, and he hath his end. 

Should I now proceed to shew what God hath done, what 
he doth, and will do, to set up his glory, it wou'ld make it 
evident indeed, that he aimed at it. His eternal, electing 
love lies at the bottom of this design, this is the tendency 
of it, that God may be glorified in the forgiveness of sin. 
The sending of his Son, a mystery of wisdom, goodness, and 
righteousness past finding out, with all that by his authority 
and commission he did, suffered, and doth, was that his name 
might be glorified in this thing. Hath the new covenant of 
grace any other end ? Did not God on purpose propose, 
make, and establish that covenant in the blood of his Son, 
that whereas he had by his works of creation and providence, 
by the old covenant and law, giving glory to himself in other 
respects, he might by this glorify himself in the hiding of 
iniquity? The dispensation of the Spirit for the conversion 
of sinners, with all the mighty works ensuing thereupon, is 
to the same, and no other purpose. Wherefore doth God 
exercise patience, forbearance, long-suffering towards us, 
such as he will be admired for to eternity, such as our souls 
stand amazed to think of ? It is only that he may bring about 
this glory of his, the covering of iniquity, and pardoning 
of sin. 


Now what is it, that on our part is required, that this 
great design of God for his glory may be accomplished in 
and towards us ? Is it not our believing, and steadfastness 
therein? I need not stay to manifest it; nor yet give farther 
light or strength to our inference from what hath been spoken ; 
namely, that if these things are so, then our believing and 
steadfastness therein is exceeding acceptable to God. 

3. For the last demonstration of the point I shall add the 
consideration of one particular, that God useth in the pur- 
suit of his glory before mentioned, and that is, his institu- 
tion and command of preaching the gospel to all nations, and 
the great care he hath taken to provide instruments for the 
propagation of it, and promulgation therein of the word of 
his grace ; Matt, xxviii. 19. 'Go preach the gospel to all 
nations : to every creature ;' Mark xvi. 15. What is this 
gospel, which he will have preached and declared? Is it any 
thing but a declaration of his mind and will concerning his 
gracious acceptation of believing, and steadfastness therein? 
This God declares of his purpose, his eternal, unchangeable 
will, that there is by his appointment an infallible, an invio- 
lable connexion between believing on Jesus Christ, the re- 
ceiving of him, and the everlasting fruition of himself; this 
he declares to all, but his purpose to bestow faith effectu- 
ally relates only to some : they ' believe who are ordained to 
eternal life.' But this purpose of his will, that believing in 
Christ shall have the end mentioned, righteousness and sal- 
vation in the enjoyment of himself, concerns all alike. Now 
to what end hath the Lord taken care, that this gospel shall 
be so preached and declared, and that to the consummation 
of the world, but that indeed, our believing is acceptable to 
him ? 

But I shall desist from the pursuit of this demonstration, 
wherein so many things offer themselves to consideration, as 
that the naming of them must needs detain me longer from 
my principal aim, than I am willing. 



The use of the point insisted on is to encourage to the duty 
so commended and exalted; or it contains motives unto 
steadfastness in believing the promises. Amongst the 
many that are usually insisted on to this purpose, I shall 
choose out some few that seem to be most effectual there- 

Use 1. We shall begin with the consideration of God 
himself, even the Father, and that declaration of his love, 
kindness, tenderness, readiness, and willingness to receive 
poor believers, which he hath made of himself in Christ 
Jesus. According as our apprehensions are of him and his 
heart towards us, so v/ill the settlement of our souls in 
cleaving to him by believing be. We are amongst men free 
and easy with them whom we know to be of a kind, loving, 
compassionate disposition ; but full of doubts, fears, and 
jealousies when we have to deal with those who are morose, 
peevish and froward. Entertaining hard thoughts of God 
ends perpetually in contrivances to fly, and keep at a dis- 
tance from him, and to employ ourselves about any thing in 
the world, rather than to be treating and conversing with 
him. What delight can any one take in him, whom he con- 
ceives to be always furious, wrathful, ready to destroy? Or 
what comfortable expectation can any one have from such 
a one ? Consider then in some particulars what God declares 
of himself, and try in the exercising of your thoughts thereon, 
whether it be not effectual to engage your hearts to stead- 
fastness in believing the promises, and closing with the Son 
of his love tendered in them. 

(1.) He gives us his name for our support; Isa. 1. 10. 
He speaks to poor, dejected, bewildered, fainting sinners : 
give not over, let not go your hold, though you be in 
darkness to all other means of support and consolation, yet 
* trust in the name of the Lord.' And, saith he, in case you 
do so, this ' name shall be a strong tower unto you;' Prov. 
xviii. 10. And what this name of God, which is such a 
stay and safe defence is, is declared at large, Exod. xxxiv. 
C, 7. This name of his, is that glory which he promised to 


shew to Moses, chap, xxxiii. to be known by this name is 
that great glory of God, which he aims to be exalted in ; 
yea, and God is so fully known by his name, and the whole 
of the obedience he requireth of us is so ordered and dis- 
posed in the revelation thereof, that \vhen our Saviour had 
made him and his whole will known from his bosom, he 
sums up his whole work in this: *I have manifested thy 
name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world ;' 
John xvii. 6. The manifestation of the name of God to the 
elect, was the great work of Christ on the earth, as he was 
the prophet and teacher of his church. He declared the 
name of God, his gracious, loving, tender nature,' his blessed 
properties that were fit to encourage poor creatures to come 
to him, and to trust in him. This then is his name with 
whom we have to do in this matter. The name he hath 
given himself for us to know him, and call him by, that we 
may deal with him as such, as his name bespeaks him to be. 
He is gracious, loving, ready to pity, help, receive us, de- 
lighting in our good, rejoicing in our approach to him. 
This he hath proclaimed of himself, this his only Son hath 
revealed him to be. He is not called Apollyon, a destroyer ; 
but the Saviour of men. Who would not venture on him, 
in and by the way which himself hath appointed and ap- 

(2.) As is his name, so is his nature. Saith he of him- 
self, Isa. xxvii. 4. 'Fury is not in me.' He speaks with 
reference to his church, to believers, of whom we are speak- 
ing. There is no such thing as that anger and wrath in 
God in reference to thee, whereof thou art afraid. Hast 
thou had hard thoughts of him? Hast thou nothing but 
entertained affrighting reports concerning him, as thouo-h 
he were a devouring fire, and endless burnings? Be not, 
saith he, mistaken, * fury is not in me.' He hath not one 
wrathful, revengeful thought towards thee. No, * take hold 
of his strength, and you shall have peace ;' ver. 5. Nay, 
* he is love,' 1 John iv. 9. 16. of an infinitely loving and 
tender nature ; all love, there is nothing in him that is in- 
consistent with love itself. We see how a little love, that 
is but a weak affection in the nature of a man, will carry a 
tender father towards a child. How did it melt, soften, re- 
concile the father of the prodigal in the parable? ' Oh, my 


son Absalom, [would to God I had died for thee !' saith 
David, a poor father in distress for the death of a rebellious 
child. How will a child bear himself above dread and ter- 
ror, under many miscarriages, upon the account of the love 
of a tender father? What then shall we say, or think of him, 
who is love in the abstract, whose nature is love ? May we 
not conclude, that certainly he ' is merciful, gracious, slow 
to anger, and great in mercy,' as the psalmist speaks, Psal. 
ciii. 8. According as we are by degrees led into an ac- 
quaintance with God in his properties (for we are led into 
it by degrees and steps, not being able at once to bear all 
the glory which he is pleased here to shine upon us with), 
so are we amazed with his several excellencies. Expe- 
riences of any property of God as engaged in Christ, and 
exercising itself for our good, is greatly conquering to the 
soul : but none so much as this, his being love, and ready 
to forgive on that account. Such is the frame of the church, 
Micah vii. 18. 'Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth 
iniquity, and passeth by transgression?' Can it enter into 
the heart of man? Oh, who is like to him ? Is it possible he 
should be thus to sinners? This discovery overwhelms the 
soul, and strengthens it in faith and trust in him. 

There is ^ general compassion in God, by which he pro- 
ceeds in the dispensation of his providence, that is too hard 
for the apprehensions of men, when they come to be con- 
cerned in it. Poor Jonah was angry that he was so merciful ; 
chap. iv. 2. * I knew that thou wast not one for me to deal 
with, thou art so gracious and merciful, slow to anger, of 
such kindness, and repentest thee of the evil,' that it is not 
for me with any credit or reputation to be engaged and em- 
ployed in thy work and service. And if God be thus full of 
compassion to the world, which to-day is, and to-morrow 
shall be cast into the fire ; is he not much more loving and 
tender unto you? ' O, ye of little faith!' Suit then the 
thoughts of your hearts in your dealing with God to this 
revelation, which he hath made of his own nature. He is 
good, love and kindness itself, fury is not in him, he is ready 
to forgive, accept, embrace. And, 

(3.) According to his name and nature, so are his deal- 
ings with us, and his actings towards us. From him who is 
so called, so disposed, we may expect that what he doth in 


a suitableness thereunto, he will do with great readiness and 
cheerfulness, that so he may answer his name, and express 
his nature. Kow then will he shew and manifest these 
things? See Isa. Iv. 7. 'He will have mercy:' he is love, 
' he will have mercy ;' yea, ' he will abundantly pardon :' 
But how will he do it? ver. 8. Alas! you cannot think 
how : * His thoughts are not as your thoughts.' You have 
poor, low, mean thoughts of God's way of pardoning, you 
can by no means reach to it or comprehend it : raise your 
apprehensions to the utmost, yet you come not near it; 
ver. 9. * As the heavens are higher than the earth ; so are 
my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your 
thoughts.' But doth not God then pardon as we do ? come 
hardly to it, through many persuasions, and at length do it 
iKiov oEKovTi 7£ ^v/jLi^i, ' with an unwilling kind of willingness,' 
that ingenuous spirits had almost as willingly have our 
wrath, as our pardon? No such thing. What he doth he 
doth with his whole heart, and his whole soul, Jer. xxxii. 41 . 
and rejoices in the doing of it; Zeph. iii. 17. ' He will have 
mercy, he will abundantly pardon ;' he will do it with his 
whole soul ; he will rejoice in his so doing, and rest in his 
love. I know not what we can desire more to assure us of 
free acceptance with him. You will say perhaps, that this 
is but sometimes ; and it is well if we can come nigh him 
in that season. Nay, but he is acting herein suitably to his 
name and nature, his whole soul, and his whole heart is in 
it; and therefore he will take a course for the accomplishing 
of it; Isa. xxx. 18. He will ' wait to be gracious ;' his heart 
is set upon it, and he will take advantage to accomplish his 
desire and design. And if our stubbornness and folly be 
such as to be ready to wear out his patience, to make him 
weary, as he complains, Isa. xliii. 24. and to cause him to 
serve beyond the limits of his patience; he will be exalted, 
take to himself his great power for the removal of our stub- 
bornness, that he may be merciful unto us : one way or 
other he will accomplish the desire of his heart, the design 
of his grace. 

For the farther clearing of this truth, take along with you 
these few considerations of God's dealing with us, and his 
condescension therein, that he may act suitably to his owix 
nature and name. 



[1.] His comparing himself to creatures of the most 
tender and boundless affection; Isa. xlix. 15, 16. This is 
as high as we can go. The affection of a mother to a suck- 
ing child, the child of her womb, is the utmost instance 
that we can give of love, tenderness, and affection. This, 
says God, you cannot think, you ought not to imagine, that 
a tender, loving mother should not have compassion on ' a 
sucking child, the son of her womb.' Things will act ac- 
cording to their natures, even tigers love their own offspring. 
And shall ' a woman forget her sucking child ?' But yet, 
saith God, raise up your apprehensions to this, take it for 
granted that she may do so, which yet without offering 
violence to nature cannot be imagined, ' yet I will not forget 
you.' This will not reach my love, my affection. Were we 
as secure of the love of God to us, as we are of the love of a 
good gracious mother to her sucking child, whom we see 
embracing of it, and rejoicing over it all the day long, we 
would think our estate very comfortable and secure. But 
alas ! what is this to the love of God to the meanest saint on 
the earth ? What is a drop to the ocean ? What is a little 
dying, decaying affection, to an infiniteness, an eternity of 
love? See the working of this love in God, Hos. xi. 8, 9. 
Jer. xxxi. 20. 

[2.] His condescension to entreat us that it may be so, 
that he may exercise pity, pardon, goodness, kindness, 
mercy towards us. He is so full, that he is, as it were, 
pained until he can get us to himself, that he may commu- 
nicate of his love unto us. ' We pray you,' says the apostle, 
* in Christ's stead, as if God by us did beseech you.' What 
to do ? What is he so earnest about ? What would God have 
of us? Some great thing, some difficult service assuredly. 
No, says he, but ' be reconciled to God ;' 2 Cor. v. 20. Says 
God, O, ye sons of men, ' why will you die ?' I beseech you, 
be friends with me, let us agree, accept of the atonement. 
I have love for you, take mercy, take pardon, do not destroy 
your own souls. * This is the rest wherewith you may cause 
the weary to rest, and this is the refreshing;' Isa. xxviii. 12. 
Remember how the Scripture abounds with exhortations and 
entreaties to this purpose. 

[3.] In condescension to our weakness, he hath added 
his oath to this purpose. Will we not yet believe him? 


Will we not yet venture upon him? Are we afraid that if 
we put ourselves upon him, into his hand, he will kill us, we 
shall die? He gives us this last possible relief against such 
misgiving thoughts. Swear unto me that I shall not die, 
is the utmost that any one requires, when with the greatest 
ground of mistrust he gives up himself to him that is migh- 
tier than he. Now, * as I live, saith the Lord, I would not 
the death of a sinner;' Ezek. xxxiii. 11. Methinks this 
should put an end to all strife. We have his promise and 
oath, Heb. vi. 18. and what would we have more ? He is of 
an infinite, loving, and tender nature, he entreats us to come 
to him, and swears we shall not suffer by our so doing. In- 
numerable other instances of the like kind might be given. 
to evidence the actings of God towards us to be suitable to 
his name and nature before insisted on. 

Now the end aimed at, as you know, in these considera- 
tions, is by them to encourage our hearts in the belief of the 
promises. It is God with whom therein we have lo do. 
The things we receive by our believing are excellent, desir- 
able, what alone we want, and^which will do us good to eter- 
nity. The difficulties of believing arise from our unworthi- 
ness, and the terror of him with whom we have to do. To 
disentangle our souls from under the power of such fears 
and considerations, this in the first place is proposed, the ten- 
der, gracious, loving nature of him, with whom herein we 
have to do. Fill your hearts then with such thoughts of 
God as these, exercise your minds with such apprehensions 
of him: the psalmist tells you what will be the issue of it, 
Psal. ix. 10. 'They that know thy name, will put their trust 
in thee ;' establishment in believing will ensue. If we know 
the name of God, as by himself revealed, know the love and 
kindness wrapped up therein, we cannot but trust him. Let 
us be always thinking of God, with a clear persuasion that 
so it is, that he is gracious, loving, ready to receive us, de- 
lighting, rejoicing to embrace us, to do us good, to give us 
mercy and glory, whatever he hath promised in Christ; and 
it will exceedingly tend to the establishment of our hearts. 

But now concerning the things that have been spoken, 
great caution is to be used. It is not a general notion of the 
nature of God that I have been insisting on ; but the good- 
ness and love of God to his in Christ .lesus. Wherefore, 


farther to clear this whole business, and that a sure foun- 
dation may be laid of this great thing, I desire to add the 
following observations. 

1st. I acknowledge that all that can be said, by all or 
any of the sons of men, concerning the goodness, loveliness, 
kindness of God in his own blessed nature, is inconceivably, 
infinitely below what it is in itself. What a little portion 
is it that we all know of his goodness ? Though we have all 
his works and his whole word to teach us ; yet as we have 
no affections large enough to entertain it, so no faculty to 
receive or apprehend it. Admiration, which is the soul's 
' nonplus,' its doing it knows not what, the winding of it up 
until it stands still, ready to break, is all that we can arrive 
unto in the consideration hereof. His excellencies and per- 
fections in this kind are sufficient, superabundant for the 
engagement of the love and obedience of all rational crea- 
tures; and when they can go no farther, they may with the 
psalmist call in all their fellow-creatures to the work. Nor 
can any man exercise himself in a more noble contemplation, 
than that of the beauty and loveliness of God. ' How great is 
his goodness! How great is his beauty!' They who have 
nothing but horrid, harsh apprehensions of the nature of God, 
that he is insupportably severe and wrathful, know him not. 
To have thoughts of him as cruel and sanguinary, to make use 
of his greatness and infinite excellencies only to frighten, ter- 
rify, and destroy the work of his hands, who is good, and doth 
good, who made all things good, in beauty and order, and 
who loves all the things he hath made, who hath filled all 
that we see, or can think on, with the fruits of his goodness, 
is unreasonable, unjust, and wicked. Consider God and 
his works together as he made them, and in the order by him 
assigned to them ; there is nothing in his nature towards 
you but kindness, benignity, goodness, power exerted to 
continue to you the goodness first imparted, grace and 
bounty in daily, continual additions of more. 

But alas ! they are sinners of whom we speak. It is 
true, in God, as he is by nature, there is an abundant excel- 
lency and beauty, a ravishing goodness and love for the en- 
dearing of his creatures, as he made them, they could desire 
no more; the not loving him above all for his loveliness, for 
the suitableness of his excellencies to bind their hearXs to 


him as their chiefest and only good, was the sin of some of 
them: but now the whole state of things is changed, upon 
a supposition of the entrance of sin. God indeed is not 
changed, his excellencies and perfections are the same from 
eternity to eternity; but the creature is changed; and what 
was desirable and amiable before to him, ceases to be so to 
him, though it continue to be so in itself. He who whilst 
he stood in the law of his creation had boldness with God, 
was neither afraid nor ashamed, after he had sinned trem- 
bled at the hearing of his voice, yea, endeavoured to part 
with him for ever, and to hide himself from him. What 
property of God was more endearing to his creatures than 
his holiness? How is he glorious, lovely, desirable above all 
to them who abide in his image and likeness ? But as for 
sinners, they cannot serve him, because of his holiness ; 
Josh. xxiv. 19. In the revelation of God to sinners, together 
with the discovery of the excellencies before mentioned, of 
his goodness, kindness, graciousness ; there is also a vision 
given of his justice, wrath, anger, severity, and indignation 
against sin. These unconquerably interpose between the 
sinner and all emanations and fruits of goodness and love. 
Whence, instead of being endeared to God, their contrivance 
is that of Micah vi. 7, 8. and upon a conviction of the suc- 
cesslessness of any such attempts, they cry out, * Who 
amongst us shall dwell with everlasting burnings V Isa. 
xxxiii. 14. A desire to avoid him to all eternity is all that a 
sinner's most choice consideration of God, in his own es- 
sential excellencies, can lead him to. For who will set the 
thorns in battle against him? Who will bring the stubble 
that is fully dry to a consuming fire? And therefore it is, 
that those who propose general grace from a natural good- 
ness in God, as a ground of consolation to sinners, when 
they come to answer that objection. Yea, but God is just, 
as well as merciful; do, with many good words, take away 
with one hand just as much as they give with the other. 
Apprehend, say they, God's gracious nature, he is good to 
all, trust upon it, believe not them that say otherwise. But 
he is just also, and will not let any sin go unpunished, and 
therefore cannot but punish sin according to its demerit. 
Where is now the consolation spoken of? Wherefore 


2dly. That since the entrance of sin, there is no appre- 
hension, I mean for sinners, of a goodness, love, and kind- 
ness in God, as flowing from his natural properties, but 
upon an account of the interposition of his sovereign will 
and pleasure. It is most false, which by some is said, that 
special grace flows from that which they call general grace, 
and special mercy from general mercy. There is a whole 
nest of mistakes in that conception. God's sovereign, dis- 
tinguishing will is the fountain of all special grace and 
mercy. * 1 will,' saith he, ' cause all my glory to pass be- 
fore thee ;' and * I will have mercy on whom I will have 
mercy;' Exod.xxxiii. 19. Rom. ix. 15. Here is the fountain 
of mercy, even the will of God. He is of a merciful and 
gracious nature, but dispenses mercy and grace by his so- 
vereign will. It is electing love that is at the bottom of all 
special grace, all special kindness; whence 'the election 
obtains, when the rest are hardened;' Rom. xi. 7. He 
' blesseth us with spiritual blessings, according as he hath 
chosen us ;' Eph. i. 3, 4. God having made all things good, 
and imparted of the fruits of his goodness to them, might 
without the least injury to, or restraint of, his own goodness, 
have given over all them who sinned, and came short of his 
glory, to an everlasting separation from him. That he deals 
otherwise with any of them, is not from any propensity in 
his nature and goodness towards their relief, but from his 
sovereign, wise, gracious will, wherein he most freely pur- 
posed in himself to do them good by Christ ; Eph. i. 9. 

This I say then, all considerations of the goodness and 
mercifulness of the nature of God, and of general grace on 
that account, are so balanced in the soul of a sinner by 
those of his justice and severity, so weakened by the ex- 
perience all men have of the not exerting those properties 
eflfectually for the good of all that are pretended to have a 
right thereunto, that they are no ground, as so considered, 
of consolation to sinners. And if anyone should venture 
to draw nigh unto God, on the account of such general 
grace, he would meet the sword of justice before he would 
lay hold upon him. So that, 

3dly. Where there is mention in the Scripture made of 
the goodness of God, by which he reveals himself to be love, 
to be gracious, and tender, it is not upon the general ac- 


count of his perfections considered in himself, but on the 
new and special account of the free engagement of his at- 
tributes in Christ, with regard to his elect. Such expres- 
sions as far as they have a spiritual tendency, and are not 
restrained to the law of providence, belong to the covenant 
of grace, and God manifested in Christ. And this is that 
which is intended by our divines, who say, that it is not 
naturally from the goodness of God, that he doth good to 
sinners, but from his gracious will. For were it not for that, 
all communications of the other unto sinners would be ever- 
lastingly shut up. 

This then is that which we are to close withal ; the 
gracious nature of God, even the Father, as manifested in 
Christ, on the ground of the atonement made for sin. This 
is he whom the poor weak believer hath to [do withal. This 
is he who invites us to the acceptation of Christ in the pro- 
mises : he with whom we have principally to do in all this 
affair. He is love, ready, willing to receive and embrace 
those who come to him by Christ. Be convinced of his 
good will and kindness, his patience to us-ward, and we 
cannot but be established in closing with his faithfulness in 
his promises. 

4thly. Observe who it is of whom I am speaking. It is 
believers, those who are interested in God by Christ. Let 
others then, such as are not so, take heed lest they abuse 
and wrest the doctrine of the grace of God to their own de- 
struction. I know nothing is more common with men of 
vain and light spirits, formalists, yea, and open presumptu- 
ous sinners, than to say and think God is merciful ; there is 
yet good hopes on that account, he made not men to damn 
them, and whatever preachers say, it will, at least it may, be 
well with us at last. But, poor creatures ! even this God, 
of whom we have been speaking, * is a consuming fire : a 
God of purer eyes than to behold iniquity:' a God that will 
not let the least sin go unpunished. And the greater is his 
love, his goodness, his condescension to those who come in 
unto him upon his own terms by Christ; the greater will be 
his wrath and indignation against those who refuse his ten- 
der of love in his own way, and yet ' add drunkenness to 
thirst, and say they shall have peace, though they walk in 
the imaginations of their own hearts.' 


Use 2. Let a second motive be taken from the excel- 
lencies of the Lord Jesus Christ, whom by believing we do 
close with and receive. Now the excellencies of his person 
are such, as not only may engage us to come to him to attain 
them ; but they are all suited to encourage us in our coming, 
to support us, and make us steadfast in our believing.* 

Use 3. We may likewise to the same purpose consider 
the promises of God, wherein both his love, and the excel- 
lency and suitableness of the Lord Jesus Christ are signally 
and eminently expressed. Many things to very good pur- 
pose are usually spoken of the promises, their nature, sta- 
bility, preciousness, efficacy, centring all in one covenant; 
their confirmation in Christ is usually insisted on, being 
those in particular which the soul in believing closes withal. 
I shall at present pitch on these two things. 

(1.) The infinite condescension the Lord useth in them, 
for the obviating all the objections and fears of our unbe- 
lieving hearts. 

(2.) The manifestation of his wisdom and love in suiting 
them to the most pressing wants, troubles, disquietments, 
and fears of our souls, that we must needs see his intend- 
ment in them to do us good. 

(1.) The first of these might be evinced by sundry sorts 
of instances. I shall insist on one only, and that is the un- 
expected relief that is laid up in them for us, exhibiting 
grace and mercy, when any thing in the world might rather 
be looked for. This, with the use of it, I shall manifest by 
an induction of some particular promises which are gene- 
rally known to all. 

Isa. xliii. 22 — 26. Here are persons guilty of sundry sin- 
ful follies. The Lord chargeth them home upon their con- 
sciences to their trouble and disquietment; he makes them 
go with wounds and blows upon that account. They had 
neglected his worship, and not called oh his name. -And 
whereas they could not utterly cast off all performance of 
duties, yet what they did abide in the performance of, was 
exceeding burdensome to them ; they were weary of it, yea, 
weary of God therein; and of all spiritual communion and 
converse witii him : ' Thou hast been weary of me.' Their 

' upon this bead, in it& severdl branciic?, see his book, Of Comiminion witli 
God. Work?, vol. x. pp. 72 — 96. 


convictions compelled them to do God some service; but 
it was, as we say, a death to them; they were weary of it; 
and most things, either as to the matter or manner that God 
required, they utterly neglected. What then says God of 
himself in reference to this state of theirs ? Notwithstanding 
all my patience, ' thou hast made me weary of thee ;' like 
one that hath a hard service, that cannot abide in it; it is a 
bondage, says God, for me to have any thing to do with 
thee. Suppose we now a poor soul, fully convinced, that 
thus is the state and condition with him ; so powerful is his 
unbelief and corruption, that he is weary of God and his 
ways ; it may be he would faintly have it otherwise, and 
therefore binds himself to the performance of duties, if so 
be that God thereby may be flattered: but withal because 
of his innumerable follies, God also is weary of him ; that 
he can bear the bondage of him no longer; he is 'weary of 
serving.' What can such a one conclude with himself, but 
that everlasting separation from God, will be the close of 
this dispensation? He is weary of God, and God is weary 
of him ; surely then they must part, and that for ever. What 
remedy is there, or can there be? Poor soul lie down in 

But see now what God says in this case, and what an 
vuiexpected condescension there is in the word of promise. 
Is it. Be gone? Take a bill of divorce? Take thine own 
course, and I will take mine against thee? No, says God, 
this is an estate and condition whereof ' I am weary,' and 
' thou art weary;' I am weary of thy multiplying the guilt 
of sin ; thou art wearied in serving the power of thy sin ; I 
will put an end to this state of things, we will have peace 
again between us : ' I will blot out thy sins, and remember 
thine iniquities no more: I, even I, will do it.' He redou- 
bles the word passionately, emphatically to call to mind 
who he is, with whom in this condition we have to do: 'I, 
even I,' who am God and not man ; I whose thoughts are not 
as your thoughts ; I who am great in mercy, and who will 
abundantly pardon; I will do it. 

Yea, butsaith the poor convinced soul, Iknovv no reason 
why thou shouldst do so, I cannot believe it; for I know 
not upon what account 1 should be so dealt withal. Says 
God, I know full well that there i.> nothing in thee, upon the 


account whereof I should thus deal with thee; there is 
nothing in thee, but for what thou deservest to be everlast- 
ingly cut off; but quiet thy heart, I will do it 'for my own 
sake.' I have deeper engagements on my own account for 
this, than thou canst look into. 

Doubtless such a word as this coming in, when God 
and the soul are at the point of giving over and parting fel- 
lowship ; when the soul is ready to do so indeed, and hath 
great cause to think that God will be first therein ; then, 
contrary to all expectation, and above all hopes, must 
needs constrain it to cry out, as Thomas upon sight of the 
wounds of Christ, * My Lord and my God.' Let the soul 
that cannot get itself unto any steadfastness in closing with 
Christ in the promises; that staggers, and is tossed to and 
fro, between hopes and fears, being filled with a sense of sin 
and unworthiness, dwell a while upon the consideration of 
this unexpected surprisal, and give up itself to the power 
of it. 

Isa. Ivii. 17, 18. gives me another instance to the same 
purpose. This seems to be the description of a man totally 
rejected of God, The most dejected sinner can hardly make 
a more deplorable description of his condition, though ready 
enough to speak all the evil of himself, that he can think of. 
Let us see how things are disposed. There is an iniquity 
found in him and upon him, that the soul of God abhors. 
In this evil there is a continuance, until God manifest him- 
self to take notice of it, and to be provoked with it : ' I was 
wroth,' saith God, and took a course to let him know so ; 
' I laid my hand upon him and smote him,' in some outward 
dispensation, that he could not but take notice that * I was 
wroth.' Upon this smiting it may be he begins to seek and 
pray, but I am not found of him : ' I hid me,' I let him pray, 
but took no notice of him, but hid myself in wrath. Surely 
this will do, he will now leave his iniquity and return to 
me. Nay, saith God, he grows worse than ever, neglecting 
my smiting, hiding, wrath : * He goes on frowardly in the 
ways of his own heart.' 

God had appointed in the law, that when a son was re- 
bellious against his parents, and grown incorrigible therein, 
he should be ' stoned with stones.' What shall be done 
then with this person, who is thus incorrigible under the 


hand of God ? Says God, ' I have seen his ways,' it will not 
be better. Shall I destroy him, consume him, make him as 
Admah and Zeboini ? Ah ! ' my bowels are turned in me, 
my repentings are kindled together : I will heal him.' If he 
goes on thus, and no outward means will do him good, he 
must perish ; but ' I will heal him.' He wounded his soul, 
1 also wounded him in the blows I gave him, when 1 was 
wroth. ' Is he not my dear child ? Since I spake against 
him, I do earnestly remember him still ; therefore my bowels 
are troubled for him, I will surely have mercy on him ;' Jer. 
xxxi. 20. He shall have wine and oil, grace and pardon for 
all his wounds. But alas ! he is not able to go one step in 
God's ways, he is so wonted to his own. Leave that to me, 
saith God, ' 1 will lead him ;' I will give him strength, guid- 
ance, and direction to go in my way. ' I will lead him, yea 
and give him comfort' also. 

Now if any one cannot in some measure bring his con- 
dition within the verge and compass of this promise, it is 
hard with him indeed. And as I know the necessity of that 
duty and usefulness of searching our hearts for the fruits of 
the Spirit in us, whereby we are made meet for communion 
with God, which are all evidences of our acceptance with 
God, and pardon of sin thereon; so, I dare say, these are 
promises that will sufficiently warrant a perplexed soul to 
close with Christ, as tendered from the love of the Father, 
even when it can find in itself no other qualifications or con- 
ditions, but only such as render it every way unworthy to 
be accepted. We do not say to a poor, naked, hungry, har- 
bourless man. Go get thee clothes, get thee food, get thee 
a habitation, and then I will give thee an alms : no, but 
because thou wantest all these, tlierefore I will give thee an 
alms. Because thou art poor, blind, polluted, guilty, sinful, 
I will give thee mercy, says God. 

Yea, but at least a man's sense of his state and condition, 
with his acknowledgment of it, is needful to precede his clos- 
ing with the promise. It is so, as to his receiving of it, this 
oftentimes being the fruit and work of the promise as given 
itself. But as to the tender of the promise, and Christ in 
the promise unto us, it is jiot so. When did God give the 
great promise of Christ to Adam ? was it when he was sor- 
rowing, repenting, qualifying his soul? No, but when he 


was flying, hiding, and had no thoughts but of separation 
from God. God calls him forth ; and at once tells him what 
he had deserved, pronounces the curse, and gives him the 
blessing. ' I raised thee up,' saith Christ, 'under the apple- 
tree, there thy mother brought thee forth ;' Cant. viii. 5. 
From the very place of sin, Christ raiseth up the soul. So 
Isa. xlvi. 12. * Hearken to me ye stout-hearted, that are far 
from righteousness.' Here are tw^o notable qualifications, 
stout-heartedness and remoteness from righteousness. What 
saith God to them, ver. 13? He discourses to them of mercy 
and salvation. And, chap. Iv. 1. 'Buy,' saith he, 'wine and 
milk.' Yea, but 1 have nothing to buy withal, and these 
things require a price. Indeed so they do, but take them 
' without money, and without price.' But he calls on them 
only, who ' are thirsty.' True, but it is a thirst of indigency 
and total want, not a thirst of spiritual desires, for in whom- 
soever that is, they have already tasted of this wine and milk, 
and are blessed ; Matt. v. Nay, we may go one step farther; 
Prov. ix. 4, 5. Christ invites them to his bread and wine, 
who have no heart. This commonly is the last objection 
that an unbelieving heart makes against itself, it hath no 
mind to Christ. Indeed he hath no heart for Christ, but 
yet, saith Christ, thou slialt not thus go off, I will not ad- 
mit of this excuse ; you that have no heart, ' turn in hither.* 

Now, I say, this obviating of all objections, by unexpected 
appearances of love, mercy, and compassion in the promises, 
is a strong inducement unto steadfastness in believing. When 
a soul shall find, that God takes for granted that all is true, 
which it can charge itself withal, that its sin, folly, unbelief, 
heartlessness, is so, as he apprehends it, and unconceivably 
worse than he can think ; that he takes for granted all the 
aggravations of his sins that lie so dismally in his eye; his 
backsliding, frowardness, greatness of sin, impotency, cold- 
ness at the present, not answering in affection to the convic- 
tions that are upon him; and notwithstanding all this, yet 
come, let us agree, accept of peace ; close with Christ, re- 
ceive him from my love ; surely it cannot but in some mea- 
sure engage it into a rest and acquiescence in the word of 

(2.) The second part of this motive, is taken from the 
suitableness of the promises to every real distress and cause 


of staggering whatever. My meaning is, that whereas we 
are exercised with great variety of doubts and fears, of pres- 
sures and perplexities, God hath tempered his love and mercy 
in Christ, as prepared in the promises, unto every one of 
these wants and straits whatever. Had God only de- 
clared himself to us, as God almighty, God all-sufficient, he 
might justly require and expect that we should act faith on 
him in every condition. But moreover, he hath as it were 
drawn out his own all-sufficiency in Christ into numberless 
streams, flowing in upon all our particular wants, distresses, 
and temptations whatever. When God gave manna in the 
wilderness, it was to be gathered and ground in mills, or 
beat in mortars, and fried in pans, before it could be eaten ; 
Numb. xi. 8. But the bread which came from heaven, the 
manna in the promises, is already ground, beaten, baked, 
ready for every one's hunger. It is useful, if you have a 
well about your house, whither you may repair to draw wa- 
ter; but when you have several pipes from a fountain that 
convey water to every room, for every particular business, 
you are greatly to blame, if your occasions are not supplied. 
We have not only a well of salvation to draw water from, but 
also innumerable streams flowing from that well into every 
empty vessel. 

I shall give one or two instances of this kind. 

Isa. xxxii. 2. Here are four pressures and troubles men- 
tioned, whereunto we may be exposed: [I.] The windj 
[2.] A tempest; [3.] Dearth; [4.] Weariness. And unto 
all these is the man in the promise, the Lord Jesus Christ, 
the king that 'reigns in righteousness,' ver. 1. suited as a 
supply in them, or against them. 

[l.J The first proposed evil is * the wind ;' and in respect 
hereof Christ is a 'hiding-place.' He that was ready to be 
cast from the top of a rock with a strong wind, would desire 
nothing more than a hiding-place, until the strong blast 
were over. When fierce winds have driven a vessel at sea 
from all its anchors, so that it hath nothing to keep it from 
splitting on the next rock whereunto it is driven ; a safe 
harbour, a hiding-place, is the great desire and expectation 
of the poor creatures that are in it. Our Saviour tells us 
what this wind is. Matt. vii. 25. The wind that blows upon 
and casts down false professors to the ground, is the wind 


of strong and urging temptations. Is this the condition ot 
the soul? strong temptations beat upon it, which are ready 
to hurry it down into sin and folly, that it hath no rest from 
them, one blast immediately succeeding another, that the 
soul begins to faint, to be weary, give over, and say, I shall 
perish, I cannot hold out to the end? Is this thy condition? 
See the Lord Christ suited unto it, and the relief that is in 
him, in this promise he is ' a hiding-place.' Saith he, These 
temptations seek thy life, but with me thou shalt be safe. 
Fly to his bosom, retreat into his arms ; expect relief by faith 
from him, and thou shalt be safe. 

[2.] There is * a tempest,' in reference whereunto Christ 
is here said to be * a covert.' A tempest in the Scripture re- 
presents the wrath of God for sin. * He breaks me,' saith Job, 
* with a tempest;' chap. ix. 17. when he lay under a sense 
of the displeasure and indignation of God. He threatens 
to ' rain upon the wicked a horrible tempest ;' Psal. xi. 6. 
A tempest is a violent mixture of wind, rain, hail, thunder, 
darkness, and the like. Those who have been at sea, will 
tell you what a tempest means. Such was that in Egypt, 
Exod. ix. 23. There was ' thunder, and hail, and fire running 
upon the ground : fire or dreadful lightning mingled with 
hail ;' ver. 24. What did men now do upon the apprehension 
of this tempest? They 'made their servants and cattle flee 
into the houses ;' ver. 20. got them into safe covert, that 
they might not be destroyed, and they were safe accord- 

Suppose a poor creature to be under this tempest, full of 
sad and dreadful thoughts and apprehensions of the wrath 
of God ; behind, before, round about he can see nothing but 
hailstones and coals of fire, heaven is dark and dismal over 
him, he hath not seen sun, moon, or stars in many days, not 
one glimpse of light from above, or hopes of an end. I 
shall perish, the earth shakes under me, the pit is opening 
for me. Is their no hopes ? Why, see how Christ is suited 
in this distress also. He is 'a covert' from this tempest; 
get into him, and thou shalt be safe. He hath borne 
all this storm, as far as thou art concerned ; abide with him, 
and not one hurtful drop shall fall upon thee, not one hair 
of thy head shall be singed with this fire. Hast thou fears? 
hast thou a sense of the wrath of God for sin ? dost thou 


fear it will one day /all upon thee and be thy portion ? Be- 
hold a covert, a sure defence is here provided. 

[3.] There is drought, causing barrenness, making the 
heart as a dry place, as a heath, or a parched wilderness. 
In reference whereunto Christ is a river of water, abundantly, 
plentifully flowing for its refreshment. Drought in the 
Scripture denotes almost all manner of evil, it being the 
great, distressing punishment of those countries. When 
God threatens sinners, he says, they ' shall be like the heath 
in the desert, and shall not see when good (or water) 
Cometh ; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilder- 
ness;' Jer xvii. 6. he shall be left to barrenness and want of 
all refreshment. And David complains in his great distress, 
that his * moisture was turned into the drought of summer ;' 
Psal. xxxii. 4. 

Two things are evidently in this drought: want of grace, 
or moisture, to make the soul fruitful; and want of rain or 
consolation to make it joyful. Barrenness and sorrow or 
disconsolation are in this dry place. Let us then suppose 
this condition also. Doth the soul find itself like the 
parched ground ? It hath no moisture to enable it to bring 
forth fruit ; but is dry, sapless, all the fruits of the Spirit 
seem to be withered ; faith, love, zeal, delight in God, not one 
of them flourishes ; yea, it thinks they are quite dead, it hath 
no showers, not any drop of consolation, no refreshment, but 
pines away under barrenness and sorrow. What would now 
best suit such a condition ? Why turn in a stream of water 
upon this parched ground, let there be springs in this thirsty 
place, let ' water break out in the wilderness, and streams in 
the desert;' as Isa. xxxv. 6. and how will all things be 
changed ? Those things that hung their heads, and had no 
beauty, will flourish again ; and the things that are ready to 
die will be revived. Why in this condition Jesus Christ 
will be water, and that in abundance, rivers of water, that 
there shall be no want. He will by his Spirit give supplies 
of grace to make the soul fruitful ; he will give in consolation 
to make it joyful. 

[4.] There is weariness, and in respect hereof, Christ is 
said to be ' the shadow of a great rock.' Weariness of travel 
and labour through heat and drought, is insupporlable. He 
that is to travel in a thirsty land, dry and hungry, the sun 


beating on his liead, will be ready with Jonah in such a con- 
dition to wish he were dead, to be freed of his misery. Oh, 
how welcome will ' the shadow of a great rock' be to such a 
poor creature? If Jonah rejoiced in ' the shade of a gourd;' 
how much better is * the shadow of a great rock?' Many a 
poor soul exercised with temptations, hindered in duties, 
scorched with a sense of sin, is weary in his journeying to- 
wards Canaan, in his course of obedience ; and thinks with 
himself, it were better for him even to die, than to live, hav- 
ing no hopes to come to his journey's end. Let now this 
poor soul lie down and repose himself a little under the 
shadow and safeguarding protection of this rock of ages, the 
Lord Jesus Christ, how will his strength and resolution 
come to him again ? 

Thus, I say, is Christ in the promises peculiarly suited 
to all the several distresses, that we may at any time fall 
into. I might multiply instances to this purpose ; but this 
one may suffice to make good the consideration proposed, 
for the encouraging of us to believe, from the suiting of the 
grace in the promises to all our wants. 

Two things then may hence be deducted. 
1st. The willingness of God that we should be esta- 
blished in believing. To what end should the Lord thus 
obviate all objections that can possibly arise in a misgiving 
heart, and accommodate grace in Christ to all perplexities 
and troubles we at any time lie under, were he not willing 
we should lay hold on that grace, own it, accept it, and give 
him the praise of it. If I should go to a poor man, and tell 
him. Thou art poor, but see here are riches; thou art naked, 
but here is clothing ; thou art hungry and thirsty, here is 
food and refreshment; thou art wounded, but I have the 
most precious balm in the world : if I have no intent to have 
him partake of these riches, food, raiment, medicine, do not 
I egregiously mock and deride the man's misery and sorrow ? 
will a wise or good man do thus? Though many will deafen 
their ears to the cries of the poor ; yet who almost is so des- 
perately wicked, as to delight himself in sporting at their 
misery, and increasing their sorrow? And shall we think 
that the God of heaven, ' the Father of mercy, and God of 
all consolation,' who is all goodness, sweetness, and truth 
(as hath been declared), when he doth so suit and temper 


his fulness to our wants, and suits his grace in Christ to all 
our fears and troubles for their removal, doth it to increase 
our misery, and mock our calamity ? I speak of the heirs of 
promise, to whom they are made and do belong. Is it not 
time for you to leave disputing, and questioning the sin- 
cerity and faithfulness of God in all these engagements ? 
What farther, what greater security can we expect or de- 
sire ? So that, 

2dly. All unbelief must needs be at length totally re- 
solved into the stubbornness of the will. ' You will not 
come unto me,' saith our Saviour, * that you may have life.' 
When all a man's objections are prevented, and answered ; 
when all his wants are suited ; when a ground is laid, that 
all his fears may be removed, and yet he keeps off, and 
closes not ; what can it be, but a mere perverseness of will, 
that rules him ? Doth not such an one say. Let the Lord do 
what he will, say what he can, though my mouth be stop- 
ped, that I have nothing wherewith to wrangle or contend 
any more, yet I will not believe ? Let this then be another 
motive, or encouragement, which, added to what was spoken 
before concerning God, even the Father, and the Lord Jesus 
Christ, is all I shall insist upon. 








* This sermon was preached to the Honourable House of Commons in Parlia- 
ment assembled, on April 19, 1649; a day set apart for extraordinary humiliation. 





All that I shall preface to the ensuing discourse is, 
that seeing the nation's welfare and your own actings 
are therein concerned (the welfare of the nation, and 
your own prosperity in your present actings, being so 
nearly related as they are to the things of the ensuing 
discourse), I should be bold to press you to a serious 
consideration of them as now presented unto you, 
were I not assured by your ready attention unto, and 
favourable acceptation of, their delivery, that being 
now published by your command, such a request 
would be altogether needless. The subject matter of 
this sermon being of so great weight and importance 
as it is, it had been very desirable, that it had fallen 
on an abler hand ; as also that more space and leisure 
had been allotted to the preparing of it, first for so 
great, judicious, and honourable an audience, and 
secondly for public view, than possibly I could beg 
from my daily troubles, pressures, and temptations, in 
the midst of a poor, numerous, provoking people. As 
the Lord hath brought it forth, that it may be useful 
to your Honourable Assembly, and the residue of men 
that wait for the appearance of the Lord Jesus, shall 
be the sincere endeavour at the throne of grace of 

Your most unworthy servant, 

In the work of the Lord, 

J. Owen. 

Coggeshall, May 1, 1649. 

z 2 



And this word, Yet once more, signijieth the removing of those things that 
are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be 
shaken may remain. — Heb. xii. 27. 

The main design of the apostle in this Scripture to the He- 
brews, is to prevail with his countrymen, who had undertaken 
the profession of the gospel, to abide constant and faithful 
therein, without any apostacy unto, or mixture with, Ju- 
daism, which God and themselves had forsaken ; fully ma- 
nifesting, that in such ' backsliders the soul of the Lord hath 
no pleasure ;' chap. x. 38. 

A task which whoso undertaketh in any age, shall find 
exceeding weighty and difficult, even to persuade professors 
to hold out, and continue in the glory of their profession 
unto the end, that ' with patience doing the will of God, 
they might receive the promise ;'* especially if there be 
'lions in the way j'*" if opposition or persecution do attend 
them in their professed subjection to the Lord Jesus. Of 
all that deformity and dissimilitude to the divine nature 
which is come upon us by the fall, there is no one part more 
eminent, or rather no one defect more evident, than incon- 
stancy and unstableness of mind, in embracing that which 
is spiritually good. Man being turned from his unchange- 
able rest,'^ seeks to quiet and satiate his soul with restless 
movings towards changeable things. Now he who ' worketh 
all our works for us, and in us ;' Isa. xxvi. 12. worketh them 
also by us f and therefore that which he will give, he per- 
suades us to have, that at once his bounty, and our duty, 
may receive a manifestation in the same thing. Of this na- 
ture is perseverance in the faith of Christ, which as by him 
it is promised, and therefore is a grace ; so to us it is pre- 
scribed, and thereby is a duty. ' Petamus ut det, quod ut 
habeamus jubet. August.' * Let us ask him to bestow, what 
he requires us to enjoy.' Yea, ' Da, Domine, quod jubes, et 
jube quod vis :' * Give what thou commandest, and command 
what thou.pleaseth.' 

» Chap. X. 36. >> Prov. xxii. 13. xxvl. 13. <= Psal. cxvi. 7. 

* 1 Thess. i. 3. 2 Thess. i. 11. Deut. x. 16. xxx. 6. Eaek. xviii. 31. xxxvi. 26. Acts 
X). 18. 


As a duty it is by the apostle here considered, and there- 
fore pressed on them, who by nature were capable, and by 
grace enabled for the performance thereof. Pathetical ex- 
hortations then unto perseverance in the possession of the 
gospel, bottomed on prevalent scriptural arguments, and holy 
reasonings, are the sum of this epistle. 

The arguments the apostle handleth unto the end pro- 
posed are of two sorts. 

First, Principal. 

Secondly, Deductive, or emergencies from the first. 

First, His principal arguments are drawn frdm two chief 

1. The author : and 

2. The nature and end of the gospel. 
1. The author of the gospel is either, 

(1.) Principal and immediate, which is God the Father, 
' Who having at sundry times and in divers manners for- 
merly spoken by the prophets, herein speaketh by his Son ;' 
chap. i. 1. 

(2.) Concurrent and immediate, Jesus Christ, this 'great 
salvation being begun to be spoken to us by the Lord ;' 
chap. ii. 3. This latter he chiefly considereth, as in and by 
whom the gOspel is differenced from all other dispensations 
of the mind of God. Concerning him to the end intended 
he proposeth, 

[1.] His person. 

[2.] His employment. 

[1.] For his person, that thence he may argue to the thing 
aimed at, he holdeth out, 

1st. The infinite glory of his Deity : being the ' brightness 
of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person ;' 
chap. i. 3. 

2dly. The infinite condescension of his love, in assuming 
humanity, for because ' the children were partakers of 
flesh and blood, he also himself took part of the same ;' 
chap. ii. 14. 

And from the consideration of both these, hepresseth the 
main exhortation which he hath in hand, as you may see, 
chap. ii. 1, 2. iii. 12, 13, &c. 

[2.] The employment of Christ he describetb in his offices, 
which he handleth. 


1st. Positively, and very briefly, chap. i. ii. iii. 

2dly. Comparatively, insisting chiefly on his priesthood, 
exalting it in sundry weighty particulars above that of 
Aaron, which yet was the glory of the Jewish worship, and 
this at large, chap. vi. vii. viii. ix. x. And this being va- 
riously advanced and asserted, he layeth as the main 
foundation, upon which he placeth the weight and stress of 
the main end pursued, as in the whole epistle is every where 

2. The second head of principal arguments he taketh from 
the gospel itself, which considering as a covenant he holdeth 
out two ways : 

(1.) Absolutely, in its efficacy in respect of 

[L] Justification. In it ' God is merciful to unrighteous- 
ness and sins, and iniquities he remembers no more ;' chap, 
viii. 12. * Bringing in perfect remission, that there shall need 
no more offering for sin;' chap. x. 17. 

[2.] Sanctification. ' He puts his laws in our hearts, and 
writes them in our minds;' chap. x. 16. in it, ' Purging our 
consciences by the blood of Christ ;' chap. ix. 14. 

[3.] Perseverance. *I will be to them a God, and they 
shall be to me a people;' chap. viii. 10. 

All three are also held out in sundry other places. 

(2.) Respectively to the covenant of works, and in this 
regard assigns unto it principal qualifications, with many 
peculiar eminencies them attending, too many now to be 
named. Now these are, 

[1.] That it is new. He saith a * new covenant, and hath 
made the first old ;' chap. viii. 13. 

[2.] Better. It is a 'better covenant, and built upon 
better promises ;' chap. viii. 6. vii. 22. 

[3.] Surer, the priest thereof being ordained, ' not after 
the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an 
endless life;' chap. vii. 16. 

[4.] Unalterable. So in all the places before named, and 
sundry others. 

All which are made eminent in its peculiar mediator Jesus 
Christ, which is the sum of chap. vii. 

And still in the holding out of these things, that they 
might not forget the end for which they were now drawn 
forth, and so exactly handled, he interweaves many pa- 


thetical entreaties, and pressing arguments by way of ap- 
plication, for the confirming and establishing his countrymen 
in the faith of this glorious gospel, as you may see almost in 
every chapter. 

Secondly, His arguments less principal, deduced from 
the former, being very many, may be referred to these three 
heads : 

1. The benefits by them enjoyed under the gospel. 

2. The example of others, who by faith and patience ob- 
tained the promises ; chap. xi. 

3. From the dangerous and pernicious consequence of 
backsliding, of which only I shall speak. Now this he set- 
teth out three ways. 

(1.) From the nature of that sin. It is a * crucifying to 
themselves the Son of God afresh, and putting him to open 
shame ;' chap. vi. 6. a * treading under foot the Son of God, 
counting the blood of the covenant an unholy thing, and 
doing despite to the spirit of grace ;' chap. x. 29. 

(2.) The irremediless punishment which attends that sin. 
* There remains no more sacrifice for it, but a certain fearful 
looking for of judgment, and fiery indignation that shall con- 
sume the adversaries ;' chap. x. 26, 27. 

(3.) The person against whom peculiarly it is com- 
mitted, and that is he who is the author, subject, and 
Mediator of the gospel, the Lord Jesus Christ : concerning 
whom for the aggravation of this sin, he proposeth two 

[1.] His goodness and love, and that in his great under- 
taking to be a Saviour, being 'made like unto his brethren 
in all things, that he might be a merciful and faithful high- 
priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for 
the sins of the people ;' chap. ii. 17. And of this there is a 
sweet and choice line running through the whole discourse, 
making the sin of backsliding against so much love and con- 
descension appear exceeding sinful. 

[2.] His greatness or power, which he sets out two ways, 

1st. Absolutely, as he is God to be 'blessed for ever;' 
chap. i. and * it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the 
living God;' chap. x. 31. 

2dly. Comparatively, as he is the Mediator of the new 
covenant in reference to Moses. And this he setteth forth. 


as by many and sundry reasonings in other places of the 
epistle, so by a double testimony in this twelfth chapter, 
making that inference from them both, which you have 
ver. 25. ' See that you refuse not him that speaketh : for if 
they escaped not who refused him who spake on earth, much 
more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him who 
speaketh from heaven.' 

Now the first testimony of his power is taken from a re- 
cord of what he did heretofore ; the other from a prediction 
of what he will do hereafter. 

The first you have, ver. 26. in the first part of it : ' His 
voice then shook the earth :' then, that is, when the law was 
delivered by him, as it is described, ver. 18 — 20. foregoing. 
When the mountain upon which it was delivered, the me- 
diator Moses, into whose hand it was delivered, and the 
people for whose use it was delivered, did all shake and 
tremble at the voice, power, and presence of Christ ;« who, 
as it hence appears, is that Jehovah who gave the law; 
Exod. XX. 2. 

The other in the same verse is taken from a prediction 
out of Haggai ii. 16. of what he will do hereafter; even 
demonstrate and make evident his power, beyond what- 
ever he before effected : ' He hath promised, saying, Yet 
once more I shake not the earth only, but also the 

And if any one shall ask, wherein this effect of the 
mighty power of the Lord Jesus consisteth, and how from 
thence professors may be prevailed upon to keep close to 
the obedience of him in his kingdom? The apostle answers, 
ver. 27. ' And this word yet once more, signifies the re- 
moving of those things that are shaken, as of things that 
are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may 

And thus am I stepped down upon the words of my text, 
finding them in the close of the arguments drawn from the 
power of Christ, to persuade professors to constancy in the 
paths of the gospel : and having passed through their cohe- 
rence, and held out their aim and tendance, their opening 
and application comes now to be considered. 

And herein these three things : 

<= Exod. xix 18, 19. xx. 18. 


I. The apostle's assertion : ' The things that are shaken 
shall be removed, as things that are made.' 

II. The proof of this assertion: 'This word, once more, 
signifieth no less.' 

III. His inference from this assertion thus proved : 'The 
things that cannot be shaken must remain.' 

I. In the first I shall consider, 

1. What are the things that are shaken. 

2. What is their shaking. 

3. What their removal being shaken. 

1. For the first, there is a great variety of judgment 
amongst interpreters.^ The foregoing verse tells us it is 'not 
only the earth, but the heaven also;' but now what heaven 
and earth this should be is dubious, is not apparent. So 
many different apprehensions of the mind of God in these 
words, as have any likeness of truth, I must needs recount 
and remove, that no prejudice may remain from other con- 
ceptions, against that which from them we shall assert. 

(1.) The earth, say some, is the men of the earth, living 
thereon ; and the heavens are the angels, their blessed in- 
habitants : both shaken, or stricken with amazement upon 
the nativity of Christ, and preaching of the gospel. The 
heavens were shaken, when so great things were accom- 
plished, as that * the angels themselves desired to look into 
them ;' 1 Pet. i. 12. And the earth was filled with amaze- 
ment when the Holy Ghost being poured out upon the apo- 
stles for the preaching of the gospel, men of every nation 
under heaven were amazed, and marvelled at it. Acts ii. 5 — 
7. Thus Rollocus, Piscator, and sundry other famous divines. 

[1.] The shaking here intimated by the apostle, was then 
when he wrote under the promise, not actually accomplished, 
as were the things by them recounted : for he holds it forth 
as an issue of that great power of Christ, which he would 
one day exercise for the farther establishment of his king- 

[2.] This that now is to be done must excel that which 
formerly was done at the giving of the law, as is clearly in- 
timated in the inference: 'Then he shook the earth, but 

' Nescioan facilior hie locus fiiissct, si nemo ciini oppostiiss^t. AJald. ad Luc. ii. 34. 


now the heavens also.' It is a gradation to a higher de- 
monstration of the power of Christ, which that the things of 
this interpretation are, is not apparent. 

[3.] It is marvellous these learned men observed not, 
that the ' heavens and the earth shaken/ ver. 26. are ' the 
things to be removed;' ver. 27. Now how are angels and men 
removed by Christ? Are they not rather gathered up into 
one spiritual body and communion ?e Hence, ver. 27. they 
interpret the shaken things to be Judaical ceremonies, which, 
ver. 26. they had said to" be men and angels. 

(2.) Others by heaven and earth understand the material 
parts of the world's fabric, commonly so called : and by 
their shaking, those portentous signs and prodigies, w^ith 
earthquakes, which appeared in them at the birth and death of 
the Lord Jesus. A new star, preternatural darkness, shaking 
of the earth, opening of graves, renting of rocks, and the 
like, are to them this shaking of heaven and earth."" So 
Junius, and after him most of ours. But this interpretation 
is obnoxious to the same exceptions with the former, and 
also others: For, 

[1.] These things being past before, hovi^ can they be 
held out under a promise ?' 

[2.] How are these shaken things removed, which with 
their shaking they must certainly be, as in my text? 

[3.] This shaking of heaven and earth is ascribed to the 
power of Christ as mediator, whereunto these signs and pro- 
digies cannot rationally be assigned ; but rather to the so- 
vereignty of the Father, bearing witness to the nativity and 
death of his Son : so that neither can this conception be 
fastened on the words. 

(3.) The fabric of heaven and earth is by others also in- 
tended, not in respect of the signs and prodigies formerly 
wrought in them ; but of that dissolution, or as they suppose 
alteration, which they shall receive at the last day. So Pa- 
raeus, Grotius, and many more. Now though these avoid 
the rock of holding out as accomplished what is only pro- 
mised, yet this gloss also is a dress disfiguring the mind of 
God in the text. For, 

P Ephes. i. 10. 'Ava)ii<pa'Kaiiuffaa-^ttt, i. e. jui'av xstJiaXiiv Trapaa-p^ETv oyyiXoi? xai atdpii- 
TTOi; rov Xfis-Tov aTna-Kte-fjiivot yaj riaav oi ayyiXoi Kal avflgoiTToi. CEcumen. ill hoc. 
•■ Matt. ii. 2. xxvii. 45. Luke xxiii. 41', 45. Matt, xxvii. 51, 52. 
'"O ya{ /3Kewei ti?, ti xai eXwj'^ei, Rom. viii. 24. 


[1.] The things here said to be shaken, do stand in a plain 
opposition to the things that cannot be shaken nor removed ; 
and therefore they are to be removed, that these may be 
brought in. Now the things to be brought in, are the things 
of the kingdom of the Lord Jesus. What opposition, I pray, 
do the material fabric of heaven and earth stand in to the 
kingdom of the Lord Jesus ? doubtless none at all, being the 
proper seat of that kingdom. 

[2.] There will on this ground be no bringing in of the 
kingdom of the Lord Jesus, until indeed that kingdom in 
the sense here insisted on is to cease ; that is, after the day 
of judgment, when the kingdom of grace shall have place no 

Those are the most material and likely mistakes about 
the words. I could easily give out, and pluck in again three 
or four other warping senses, but I hope few in these days 
of accomplishing will once stumble at them. 

(4.) The true mind of the spirit, by the help of that spi- 
rit of truth, comes next to be unfolded. And first, what are 
the things that are shaken ? 

[1.] As the apostle here applies a part of the prophecy 
of Haggai, so that prophecy even in the next words gives 
light into the meaning of the apostle. Look what heaven 
and earth the prophet speaks of, of those and no other speaks 
the apostle. The Spirit of God in the Scripture is his own 
best interpreter.'' See then the order of the words as they 
lie in the prophet : Hag, ii. 6, 7. 'I will shake heaven and 
earth : I will shake all nations.' God then shakes heaven 
and earth, when he shakes all nations ; that is, he shakes the 
heaven and earth of the nations. ' I will shake heaven and 
earth, and I will shake all nations,' is a pleonasm, for ' I 
will shake the heaven and earth of all nations.' These are 
the things shaken in my text. 

The heavens of the nations, what are they? even their 
political heights and glory, those forms of government which 
they have framed for themselves and their own interest, with 
the grandeur and lustre of their dominions. The nations' 
earth is the multitudes of their people, their strength and 

^ Nunquam Pauli scnsiini ingredieris, nisi Paul! Spiriluiii iiiibiberis. Ber. Scr. dc 
Monte. To avro ^^ia/xa JiJao-XEi i/xag Ttifi TravToiv. 1 .Tollll ii. 27. 'Ev Trytv/xtLTi ayitu 
yoovfxivai xai avoiyoyusvai a,\ y^ncfai JExVLOuyiv r)fji.~v rly XpitTTov, ilxoToiq Syaoujo; to ■nnvu.a 
re ayiov. Thcopliylac. in John x. 


power, whereby their heavens, or political heights, are sup- 
ported. It is then neither the material heavens and earth, 
nor yet Mosaical ordinances ; but the political heights and 
splendour, the popular multitudes and strength of the nations 
of the earth, that are thus to be shaken, as shall be proved. 

That the earth in prophetical descriptions or predictions 
of things is frequently, yea almost always, taken for the peo- 
ple and multitudes of the earth, needs not much proving.' 
One or two instances shall suffice. Rev. xii. 16. 'The earth 
helped the woman against the flood of the dragon,' which 
that it was the multitudes of earthly people, none doubts. 
That an earthquake, or shaking of the earth, are popular 
commotions, is no less evident from Rev. xi. 13. where by 
an earthquake great Babylon receives a fatal blow. And 
for the heavens, whether they be the political heights of the 
nations, or the grandeur of potentates, let the Scripture be 
judge; I mean, when used in tliis sense of shaking, or es- 
tablishment. Isa. li. 15, 16. *1 am the Lord thy God who 
divided the sea, whose waves roared : the Lord of hosts is 
his name. And I have put my words in thy mouth, and have 
covered thee in the'shadow of mine hand, that I may plant 
the heavens and lay the foundations of the earth, and say 
unto Zion, Thou art my people.' By a repetition of what 
he hath done, he establisheth his people in expectation of 
what he will do. And, 

1st. He minds them of that wonderful deliverance from 
an army behind them, and an ocean before them, by his mi- 
raculous preparing dry paths for them in the deep : ' I am 
the Lord who divided the sea, whose waves roared.' 

2dly. Of his gracious acquainting them with his mind, 
his law, and ordinances at Horeb. ' I have put,' saith he, 
' my words in thy mouth.' 

3dly. Of that favourable and singular protection afforded 
them in the wilderness, when they were encompassed with 
enemies round about : * I covered thee in the shadow of 
mine hand.' 

Now to what end was all this ? Why, saith he, that * I 
might plant the heavens, and lay the foundation of the 
earth.' What, of these material visible heavens and earth? 
Two thousand four|hundred and sixty years before at least 

' Psal. Ixviii. 8. Hab. ii. 20. Matt.xxiv. 7. 1 Sam. xiv. 25. 


Avere tliey planted and established. It is all but making of 
' Zion a people/ which before was scattered in distinct fa- 
milies. And how is this done? Why the heavens are 
planted, or a glorious frame of government and polity is 
erected amongst them, and the multitudes of their people 
are disposed into an orderly commonwealtli, to be a firm 
foundation and bottom for the government amongst them. 
This is the heavens and earth of the nations which is to be 
shaken in my text. 

Isa. xxxiv. 4. ' All the hosts of lieaven shall be dissolved, 
and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll, and all 
their hosts shall fall dowii as the leaf falleth from the vine.' 
Now these dissolved, rolled heavens are no other but the 
power and heights of the opposing nations, their govern- 
ment and tyranny, especially that of Idumea, as both the 
foregoing and following verses do declare. ' The indigna- 
tion of the Lord,' saith he, ' is upon the nations, and his fury 
upon their armies, he hath delivered them to the slaughter, 
their slain,' &c. Jer. iv. 23 — 25. ' I beheld the earth, and 
lo, it was without form and void: and the heavens, and they 
had no light. I beheld the mountains, and lo, they trembled, 
and all the hills moved lightly.' Here's heaven and earth 
shaken, and all in the raising of the political state and com- 
monwealth of the Jews by the Babylonians, as is at large 
described in the verses following. Ezek. xxxii. 7. ' I will 
cover the heaven, and make the stars thereof dark. I will 
cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her 
light. And all the bright lights of heaven will I make dark 
over thee, and set darkness upon thy land, saith the Lord 
God.' Behold heaven and earth, sun, moon, and stars, all 
shaken and confounded, in the destruction of Egypt, the 
thing the prophet treats of, their kingdom and nation being 
to be ruined. 

Not to hold you too long upon what is so plain and evi- 
dent, you may take it for a rule, that in the denunciations 
of the judgments of God, through all the prophets, heavens, 
sun, moon, stars, and the like appearing beauties and glories 
of aspectable heavens, are taken for governments, governors, 
dominions in political states, as Isa. xiv. 12 — 15. Jer. xv. 9. 
li. 25."' 

" Isa. xiii. 13. Psal. Ixviii. 8. Joel ii. 10. Rev. viii. 12. Malt. xxiv. 29. 
Luke xxi. 25. Isa. U. W. Obad. 4, Rev. viii. 13. xi. 12. xx. 11. 


Furthermore, to confirm this exposition, St. John in the 
Revelation holds constantly to the same manner of expres- 
sion. Heaven and earth in that book are commonly those 
which we have described. In particular, this is eminently 
apparent ; chap. vi. 12 — 15. ' And I beheld, and when he had 
opened the sixth seal, there was a great earthquake, and the 
sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon be- 
came as blood. And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth : 
And the heaven departed, as a scroll when it is rolled to- 
gether, and every mountain and island were moved out of 
their places,' &c. The destruction and wasting of the pagan 
Romish state, the plagues and commotions of her people, 
the dethroning her idol worship, and destruction of perse- 
cuting emperors and captains, with the transition of power 
and sovereignty from one sort to another, is here held out 
under this grandeur of words," being part of the shaking of 
heaven and earth in my text. 

Add lastly hereunto, that the promises of the restoration 
of God's people, into a glorious condition after all their suf- 
ferings, is perpetually in the Scripture held out under the 
same terms, and you have a plentiful demonstration of this 
point. Isa. Ixv. 17, 18. ' Behold, I create new heavens, 
and a new earth ; and the former shall not be remembered, 
nor come into my mind. Be you glad and rejoice for ever 
in that which I create,' &c.° 2 Pet. iii. 13. ' Nevertheless 
we, according to his promise, look for new heavens, and a 
new earth, wherein dweUeth righteousness.' Rev. xxi. 1. ' I 
saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and 
the first earth were passed away, and there was no more sea.' 
The heaven and earth is restored, but the sea that shall be 
no more. Those gatherings together of many waters, rivers 
from all places,^ or pretended clergymen from all nations, 
into general councils, which were the sea or many waters on 
which the whore sat,*! shall have no place at all in the 
church's restored condition. 

I hope it is now fully cleared, what is meant by the 
things that are shaken : even the political heights, the splen- 
dour and strength of the nations of the earth, the foundation 
of the whole is laid, and our heap (or building if your favour 

n Euseb. Eccles. Hist. lib. 9. cap. 8. 10. lib. 8. cap. 27. De vita Constant, lib. 1. 
cap. 50—52. 

" Isa. Ixvi. 22 — 24. p Gen. i. 10. n Rev. xvii. 1. 


SO accept it) will go on apace; for to the analogy hereof shall 
the residue of the words be interpreted. 

2. The second thing considerable is. What is the shak- 
ing of these things ? 

To this the answer is now made brief and facile. Such 
as are the things shaken, such must their shaking be : spi- 
ritual, if spiritual; natural, if natural; civil, if civil. Now 
they being declared and proved to be civil things, such also 
is their shaking.' Now what is a civil shaking of civil con- 
stitutions ? how are such things done in the world ? what 
are these earthquakes ? Truly the accomplishment hereof is 
in all nations so under our eyes, as that I need not speak one 
word thereunto. 

Neither shall I insist upon the inquiry, when this shak- 
ing shall be. 

The text is plain, that it must be previous to the bringing 
in of those things that cannot be moved, that is, the pros- 
perous estate of the kingdom of Christ.' Only we may ob- 
serve, that besides other shakings in particular nations of 
less general concernment and importance,* this prophecy 
hath and shall receive a twofold eminent accomplishment, 
with reference unto a twofold eminent opposition, which the 
kingdom of Christ hath met withal in the world. 

(1.) From the pagan Roman state, which at the gospel's 
first entrance held in subjection most of the chief provinces 
of the then known world.'' What were the bloody endea- 
vours of the heaven and earth of that state for the suppres- 
sion thereof is known to our children. The issue of the 
whole in the accomplishment of this promise, shaking those 
heavens and earth to pieces, I before pointed at from Rev. 
vi. 12 — 15. beginning in the plagues of the persecuting em- 
perors, and ending in the ruin of the empire itself. But, 

(2.) The immoveable things were not yet in their glory 
to be brought in. More seed of blood must be sown, that 
the end of the gospel's year may yield a plentiful harvest. 
That shaking was only for vengeance upon an old, cursed, 
and not for the bringing in of a new, blessed state. The 

' Matt. xxiv. 6, 7. Jer. W. 19. Isa. ix. 5. 

' Xfovou; fi xaipoL;, ou; o wttT«f sSeto sv tj? ISia e^ova-ia. Acts i. 7. 
' llicrfxoi Hara toVou?. Malt. xxiv. 7. 
" 'E^nX&t ioyfM. Ttapa KaiVajof 'Avyovirrov, airoy^afia^ai naaa\ th ulnovfA-imM. 
Luke ii. 1. 


vials of God's wrath having crumbled the heavens and earth 
of pagan Rome into several pieces,"' and that empire being 
removed as to its old form, by the craft of Satan it became 
moulded up again into a papal sovereignty, to exercise all 
the power of the first beast, in persecution of the saints; 
Rev. xiii. 12. This second pressure though long and sore 
must have an end ; the new moulded heaven and earth of 
papal antichristian Rome, running by a mysterious thread 
through all the nations of the west, must be shaken also : 
which when it is accomplished there shall be no more sea. 
There is not another beast to arise, nor another state to be 
formed; let endeavours be what they will, the Lord Jesus 
shall reign." 

3. What is the ' removal of heaven and earth, being 
shaken V 

The word here translated ' removal,' is fxerd^em^ : whence 
that is come to pass, I dare not positively say. This doubt- 
less is a common fault amongst translators, that they will 
accommodate the words of a text to their own apprehension 
of the sense and matter thereof. ''Understanding, as I sup- 
pose, that the things here said to be shaken were the Jewish 
ordinances, they translated their disposition, a ' removal ;' 
as the truth is they were removed. But the word signifies 
no such thing. As its natural importance from its rise and 
composition is otherwise, so neither in the Scripture, or any 
profane author, doth it ever signify properly a ' removal.' 
Translation, or changing, is the only native, genuine import 
of it f and why it should in this place be haled out of its 
own sphere, and tortured into a new signification, I know 
not. Removal is of the matter, translation of the form only. 
It is not then a destruction, and total amotion of the great 
things of the nations ; but a change, translation, and a new 
moulding of them, that is here intimated. They shall be 
shuffled together almost into their primitive confusion, and 
come out new moulded for the interest of the Lord Jesus. 
All the present states of the world are cemented together by 
antichristian lime, as I shall shew afterward : unless they 
be so shaken as to have every cranny searched and brushed, 

" To xttTEj^ov. 2 Ephes. ii. 6. " Rev. xviii. 2. Isa. Ix. 12. Psal. ii. 6. 

y Heb. xi. 5, Jude 4. Gal. i. 6. Heb. vi. 18. Heb. vii. 12. 

» Mutationera, Trera. Translationem. Erasm. Ar. Mont. 


they will be no quiet habitation for the Lord Christ, and his 
people. This then is the fiera^eaig of the * heaven and earth' 
of the nations. i 

Now this is evident, from that full prediction which you 
have of the accomplishment hereof, Rev. xvii. 12. the king- 
doms of the west ' receive power at one hour with the beast.* 
Ver. 13. in their constitution and government at first re- 
ceived, ' they give their power to the beast,' and fight against 
the Lamb. Ver. 14. ' the Lamb with his faithful and chosen 
ones overcomes them.' There their heaven and earth is 
shaken. Ver. 16. their power is translated, new moulded, 
and becomes a power against the beast, in the hand of Jesus 

This then is the shaking and removal in my text, which 
is said to be, ' as of things that are made :' that is, by 
men, through the concurrence of divine providence for a 
season; (which making you have. Rev. xvii. 12. 17.) 
not like the kingdom of Christ, which being of a purely 
divine constitution, shall by no human power receive 
an end. 

The other parts of the text follow briefly. 

n. The next thing is the apostle's proof of this as- 
sertion. And he tells you, 'This word, once more,' the 
beginning of this sentence he urged from the prophet, ' sig- 
nifies no less.' 

The words in the prophet are, K'ntD^D nns my, ' yet once, 
it is a little,' N n DyQ ' it is a little,' is left out by the apostle, 
as not conducing to the business in hand. En ava^, as he 
rendereth nns l)^, are a sufficient demonstration of the as- 
sertion. In themselves they hold out a commutation of 
things, and as they stand in conjunction in that place of 
the prophet, declaring that, that shaking and commutation 
must be for the bringing in of the kingdom of the Lord 
Christ. In brief, being interpreted by the same spirit whereby 
they were indited, we know the exposition is true. 

III. The last head remaineth under two particulars. 

1. What are the things that cannot be shaken. 

2. What is their remaining. 

1. For the first, 'the things that cannot be shaken,' 
ver. 24. are called a ' kingdom that cannot be removed,' 
ver. 28. a kingdom subject to none of those shakings and 

VOL, XV. 2 A 


alterations, which other dominions have been tossed to and 
fro withal. ^Daniel calls it, a not giving of the kingdom 
to another people ; Dan. ii.44. Not that oecumenical king- 
dom which he hath with his Father, as king of nations ; but 
that (Economical kingdom which he hath by dispensation 
from his Father as king of saints. Now this may be consi- 
dered two ways. 

(1.) As purely internal and spiritual, which is the rule 
of his spirit in the hearts of all his saints. '■This cometh 
not with observation, it is within us; Luke xvii. 20, 21. 
consisting in 'righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy 
Ghost;' Rom. xiv. 17. 

(2.) As external, and appearing in gospel administra- 
tions. "So is Christ described as a king in the midst of 
their kingdom ; Rev. i. 14 — 17. as also chap. iv. and chap, 
xi. 15. And both these may be again considered two ways. 

[1.] In respect of their essence and being : and so they 
have been, are, and shall be continued in all ages. * He hath 
built his church upon a rock, and the gates of hell shall not 
prevail against it;' Matt. xvi. 18. 

[2.] In reference to their extent in respect of subjects, 
with their visible glorious appearance, which is under innu- 
merable promises to be very great in the latter days. ' For 
it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of 
the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the moun- 
tains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations 
shall flow unto it ;' Isa. ii. 4.*^ 

These then are the things which cannot be shaken, which 
we may reduce to three heads. 

1st. The growth of righteousness, peace, and joy in the 
saints, being filled with light and love from the special 
presence of Christ, with a wonderful increase of the number 
of them, multitudes of the elect being to be born in those 
days, the residue of the Jews and fulness of the Gentiles 
meeting in one fold, and there ' dwelleth righteousness ;* 
2 Pet. iii. 13.« 

a Psal. ii. 6. ex. 2. Acts ii. 36. Rev. i. 18. 1 Cor. xv. 24—27. 

*» Luke V). 20. Mark xii. 34, &c. « Psal. xlv. 6. cxlv. 13. Isa. ix. 7. Obad. 21. 

d Isa. X1.5— lO.xviii. 18, 19. xxx. 18, 19. Micah iv. L 

c Isa. xlix. 18— 22. liv. 1—3, &c. 1 v. ] 1, 12. Ix. 16, 17. Ezek. xlviii. 35. Amos ix. 11. 

■Rom. ix. 15, &c. Isa. xlix. 22, 23. Ixvi. 21. Mai. iii. 3. Ezek. xliii. 10, 11. Rev. 

xxi. 3. liv. 11— I3,&c. Zech. xiv. 9—11. 


2dly. The administration of gosjiel ordinances, in powet 
and purity, according to the appointment, and unto the ac 
ceptation of the Lord Jesus. 'The temple of God and the 
altar being measured anew, the outward court defiled with 
Gentile-worship is left out;' Rev. xi. 1, 2. 

3dly. The glorious and visible manifestation of those ad- 
ministrations, in the eyes of all the world, in peace and 
quietness, 'none making afraid, or hurting in the whole 
mountain of the Lord;' Isa. Ixv. 25. 

For the personal reign of the Lord Jesus on earth, I leave 
it to them, with whose discoveries I am not, and curiosities 
I would not be acquainted.^ 

But as for such, who from hence do, or for sinister ends 
pretend to fancy to themselves a terrene kingly state unto 
each private particular saint, so making it a bottom ' vi- 
vendi ut velis,' for every one to do that which is good in 
his own eyes, to the disturbance of all order and authority, 
civil and spiritual, as they expressly clash against innu- 
merable promises, so they directly introduce such confusion 
and disorder, as the soul of the Lord Jesus doth exceedingly 

It is only the three things named, with their necessary 
dependencies, that I do assert. 

2. And lastly, of these it is said they must remain : that 
is, continue, and be fiirmly established, as the word is often 
used ; Rom. ix. 11. 

The words of the text, being unfolded, and the mind 
of the Holy Ghost in them discovered, I shall from them 
commend to your Christitin consideration this following 

Observation. The Lord Jesus Christ by his mighty 
power, in these latter days, as antichristian tyranny draws 
to its period, will so far shake and translate the political 
heights, governments, and strength of the nations, as shall 
serve for the full bringing in of his own peaceable kingdom ; 
the nations so shaken, becoming thereby a quiet habitation 
for the people of the Most High. 

Though the doctrine be clear from the text, yet it shall 
receive farther scriptural confirmation, beingof great weight 
and concernment. Dan. ii. 44. 'And in the days of these 

f Acts iij. 21, 



kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which 
shall never be destroyed : and the kingdom shall not be 
left to other people, but it shall break in pieces, and consume 
all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.' That this 
is affirmed of the kingdom of Christ under the gospel, none 
ever doubted. 

Three things are here remarkably intimated of it. 

1. The time wherein it shall most eminently be esta- 
blished ; and that is, ' in the days of these kings/ of which 
Daniel was speaking. 

2. The efficacy of its being set up : ' It shall break in 
pieces all these kingdoms.' 

3. Its own stability : ' It shall never be destroyed.' 

1. For the first, there is great debate about the principal 
season of the accomplishing of this prediction : much hesi- 
tation who those kings are, in whose days the kingdom of 
Christ is eminently to be established. In the days when 
the two legs of the Roman empire shall be divided into ten 
kingdoms, and those kingdoms have opposed themselves to 
the power of Christ, that is, in the days wherein we live, 
say some. Yea, most of the ancients took this for the Roman 
empire, and to these the bringing in of the kingdom of Christ 
is the establishment of it in these days : others understand 
the Syrian and Egyptian branches of the Grecian monarchy, 
and the bringing in of Christ's kingdom to be in his birth, 
death, and preaching of the gospel, wherein certainly the 
foundations of it were laid. I will not contend with any 
mortal hereabouts. Only I shall oppose one or two things 
to this latter interpretation. As, 

(1.) The kingdom of Syria was totally destroyed and 
reduced into a Roman province sixty years before the na- 
tivity of Christ; and the Egyptian thirty. So that it is 
impossible that the kingdom of Christ by his birth should 
be set up in their days. 

(2.) It is ascribed to the efficacy of this kingdom, that 
being established it shall break in pieces all those king- 
doms : which how can it be, when at the first setting of it 
up, they had neither place, nor name, nor scarce remem- 

So that it must needs be the declining, divided Roman 
empire, shared among sundry nations, that is here intimated: 


and so consequently the kingdom of Christ to be established, 
is that glorious administration thereof, which in these days, 
he will bring in. 

2. Be it so or otherwise, this from hence cannot be de- 
nied, that the kingdom of Christ will assuredly shake and 
translate all opposing dominions, until itself be established 
in and over them all, oTnp eSei dti^ai, which is all I intend to 
prove from this place. The ten-partite empire of the west 
must give place to the stone cut out of the mountains with- 
out hands. 

Dan. vii. 27. 'The kingdom, and dominion, and great- 
ness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given 
to the people of the saints of the Most High : whose king- 
dom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall 
serve and obey him.' Hitherto is the end of the matter. 
Either antichrist is described in the close of this chapter, 
or one very like him, St. John painting him in the revelation 
with all this man's colours, plainly intimating, that though 
in the first place that mad, raging tyrant, Antiochus the 
illustrious, was pointed at, yet. that another was to rise in his 
likeness, with his craft and cruelty, that with the assistance 
of the ten horns should plague the saints of the Christians, 
no less than the other had done those of the Jews. Now 
what shall be the issue thereof? 'His dominion with his 
adherents shall be taken away, and consumed ;' ver. 26. And 
then shall it be given to the people of the Most High, as 
before. Or they shall enjoy the kingdom of Christ in a 
peaceable manner, their ofiicers being made peace, and their 
exactors righteousness. 

3. It is clearly evident from these and other places in 
that prophecy, that he who is the only potentate will sooner 
or later shake all the monarchies of the earth, where he will 
have his name known, that all nations may be suited to the 
interest of his kingdom which alone is to endure. 

Isa. Ix. in many places, indeed throughout, holds out 
the same; ver. 12. *The nation and kingdom which will not 
serve thee, shall be broken to pieces :' that is, all the nations 
of the earth, not a known nation, but the blood of the saints 
of Christ is found in the skirts thereof. Now what shall be 
the issue when they are so broken? 

Ver. 17, 18. '1 will make thine officers peace, and thine 


exactors righteousness. Violence shall no more be heard 
in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders, but 
thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise.' 
See at your leisure to this purpose, Amos ix. 11 — 15. Jer. 
xxxi. 23 — 25. Isa. xxxiii. 21 — 24. 

I shall only add that punctual description, which you 
have of this ' whole matter,' as Daniel calls it, in the Revela- 
tion, with respect unto its accomplishment. Chap. xvii. the 
Roman harlot having procured the ten kings or kingdoms, 
into which the last head of the Roman empire sprouted 
about the year four hundred and fifty, by the inundation 
of the northern nations to join with her, they together make 
war against the Lamb. Ver. 12. 'The ten horns which thou 
sawest' (upon the last head of the great beast the Roman 
monarchy) ' are ten kings, which have received no kingdoms 
as yet' (to wit, when John saw the vision), 'but receive power 
as kings one hour with the beast.' About four hundred 
years after this, the pope ascended to his sovereignty, and 
these western nations grew into distinct dominions about 
the same time. Ver. 13. 'These have one mind' (that is, as 
to the business in hand, for otherwise they did and do vex 
one another with perpetual broils and wars) ' and shall give 
their power and strength to the beast,' or swear to defend 
the rights of holy church, which is no other than Babylon, 
and act accordingly. Ver. 14. * These make war with the 
Lamb' (having sworn and undertaken the defence of holy 
church, or Babylon, they persecuted the poor heretics with 
fire and sword, that is, the witnesses of the Lamb, and in 
them the Lamb himself, striving to keep his kingdom out of 
the world) ' and the Lamb shall overcome them' (shaking 
and translating them into a new mould and frame) : * for he is 
Lord of lords, and King of kings, and they that are with 
him' (whose help and endeavours he will use) ' are called, 
and chosen, and faithful.' Ver. 16. 'The ten horns which 
thou sawest upon the beast' (being now shaken, changed, 
and translated in mind, interest, and perhaps government) 
' these hate the whore, and shall make her desolate' (are in- 
strumental in the hand of Christ for the ruin of that anti- 
christian state, which before they served) * and naked, and 
shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.' 

Hence chap, xviii. 2. Babylon, and that whole anti- 


christian state, which was supported upon their power and 
greatness, having lost its props comes toppling down to the 
ground: 'Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen.' And the 
saints take vengeance on the whore for all her former rage 
and cruelty : ' Double unto her double according to her 
works;' ver. 6. And ver. 9. 'And the kings of the earth' 
(being some of them shaken out of their dominion for refus- 
ing to close with the Lamb) ' who have committed fornica- 
tion, and lived deliciously with her' (learning and practising 
false worship of her institution), ' shall bewail her, and 
lament for her' (as having received succour from her, her 
monasteries and shavelings, in their distress, whereunto in- 
deed they were brought for her sake), * when they shall see 
the smoke of her burning,' beholding her darkness, stink, 
and confusion, in her final desolation. 

Now all this shall be transacted with so much obscurity 
and darkness, Christ not openly appearing unto carnal eyes, 
that though * many shall be purified and made white, yet 
the wicked shall do wickedly, and none of the wicked shall 
understand, but the wise shall understand ;' Dan. xii. 10. 
There shall be no such demonstration of the presence of 
Christ, as to open the eyes of hardened men : but at length 
having suffered the poor deceived wretches to drink of the 
cup prepared for them, he appears himself gloriously, chap, 
xix. 13. in a more eminent manner than ever before, to the 
total destruction of the residue of opposers. And that this 
will be the utmost close of that dispensation wherein now 
he walketh, I no way doubt. 

The assertion being cleared and proved, the reasons of 
it come next to be considered. And, 

(1.) It shall be done by the way of recompense and 
vengeance. 'It is the great day of the wrath of the Lamb;' 
Rev. vi. 17. 'The land shall be soaked with blood, and the 
dust made fat with fatness. For it is the day of the Lord's 
vengeance, and the year of recompense for the controversy 
of Zion;' Isa. xxxiv. 7, 8. 'The day of vengeance is in his 
heart, when the year of his redeemed is come ;' Isa. Ixiii. 4.* 

The kings of the earth have given their power to anti- 

8 Psal. ii. 4, 5. cxxxvii. 8, 9. Isa. xlvii. 1—3. xlix. 26. Jer. I. 33, 34. li. 24, 
25. 34, 35. Zech. xii. 2—4. xiv. 12. Ii«v. xviii. 6, 6cc. 


christ, endeavouring to the utmost to keep the kingdom of 
Christ out of the world. What, I pray, hath been their main 
business for seven hundred years and upwards, even almost 
ever since the man of sin was enthroned ? how have they 
earned the titles. Eldest Son of the Church, the Catholic 
and most Christian King, Defender of the Faith, and the 
like ? Hath it not been by the blood of saints ? Is there not 
in every one of these kingdoms the slain, and the banished 
ones of Christ to answer for? In particular. 

Hath not the blood of the saints of Jesus^ (eclipsed by 
antichrist and his adherents), WicklifFes and Lollards, cried 
from the ground for vengeance upon the English ' heaven 
and earth' for a long season ? Did not their bodies lie in the 
streets of France, under the names of Waldenses, Albigenses, 
and poor men of Lyons? Hath not Germany, and the an- 
nexed territories, her Huss and Hussile, Jerome, and Su- 
butraguians to answer for? Is not Spain's inquisition 
enough to ruin a world, much more a kingdom ? Have not 
all these, and all the kingdoms round about, washed their 
hands and garments in the blood of thousands of Protest- 
ants? And do not the kings of all these nations as yet stand 
up in the room of their progenitors with the same implaca- 
ble enmity to the power of the gospel? Shew me seven 
kings that ever yet laboured sincerely to enhance the king- 
dom of the Lord Jesus, and I dare boldly say, ' Octavus 
quis fuerit nondum constat.' And is there not a cry for all 
this, * How long, Lord, holy and true, dost thou avenge our 
blood on them that live on the earth?' Rev. vi. 10. Doth 
not Zion cry, ' The violence done to me and my flesh be 
upon Babylon ; and my blood upon those heavens of the 
nations ? And will not the Lord avenge his elect, that cry 
unto him day and night; will he not do it speedily? Will 
he not call the fowls of heaven to eat the flesh of kings, and 
captains, and great men of the earth?' Rev. xix. 18. Will he 
not make these heavens like the wood of the vine, not a pin 
to be taken off them to hang a garment on, in his whole ta- 
bernacle? The time shall come, wherein the earth shall dis- 
close her slain, and not the simplest heretic (as they were 
counted) shall have his blood unrevenged: neither shall 
^ Acts and Mon. Histor. Pap. 


any atonement be made for this blood, or expiation be al- 
lowed, whilst a toe of the image, or a bone of the beast is 
left unbroken. 

(2.) A second reason is. That by his own wisdom he may 
frame such a power, as may best conduce to the carrying on 
of his own kingdom among the sons of men.' 

He hath promised his church, that he will give unto it 
holy priests and Levites, Isa. Ixvi. 20, 21. which shall serve 
at the great feast of tabernacles ; Zech. xiv. 16. (a sufficient 
demonstration that he will dwell still in his churches by his 
ordinances whatsoever some conceive) so also, 'That he will 
make her civil officers peace, and her exactors righteousness ;' 
Isa. Ix. 17, 18. They shall be so established, that the na- 
tions, as nations, may serve it, and the kingdoms of the 
world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord ; Rev. ix. 15. 

For the present, the government of the nations (as many 
of them as are concerned therein) is purely framed for the 
interest of antichrist. No kind of government in Europe, 
or line of governors so ancient, but that the beast is as 
old as they, and had a great influence into their consti- 
tution or establishment, to provide that it might be for his 
own interest. I believe it will be found a difficult task, to 
name any of the kingdoms of Europe (excepting only that 
remotest northward) in the setting up and establishment 
whereof, either as to persons or government, the pope hath 
not expressly bargained for his own interest, and provided 
that should have the chiefest place in all the oaths and bonds 
that were between princes and people. Bellarmine, to prove 
that the pope hath a temporal power indirectly over all kings 
and nations (if he mean by indirectly, gotten by indirect 
means, it is actually true as to too many of them''), gives 
sundry instances in most of the most eminent nations in 
Europe, how he hath actually exercised such a power for 
his own interest.' 

There have been two most famous and remarkable 
changes of the government of these nations, and into both 
of them what an influence the pope had, is easily discern- 

' Psal. ii. 9—12. Rev. xvii. 14. Matt, xxviii. 20. 1 Cor. xi. 26. Ephts. iv. 11 

13. 1 Tim. vi. 13, II. Psal. xlv. 16. Isa. xlix. 7. 23. 

^ Rev. xviii. 3. Oi0aa-iXe"f Tijf )/?; (/.ir altn; iTrofViuj-ay, 
' Bell, de Rom. Ton. lib. 5. cap. 8. 


The first was between the years four and five hundred 
after Christ, when the Roman empire of the west, that which 
withheld the man of sin from acting his part to the life,™ 
was shivered to pieces by many barbarous nations," who set- 
tling themselves in the fruitful soils of Europe, began to 
plant their heavens, and lay the foundations of their earth, 
growing up into civil states, for the most part appointing 
them to be their kings in peace, who had been their leaders 
in war. This furious inundation settled the Frankes in 
Gaul, the Saxons in England, the west Goths in Spain, the 
east Goths and Longobards into Italy, and set up the Al- 
lemans in Germany ; from some whereof, though for divers 
years the papal world was exceedingly tormented, and Rome 
itself sacked, yet in the close and making up of their govern- 
ments, their manners and religion, they all submitted to the 
usurpation of the man of sin, so that in all their windings 
up, there was a salve for him and his authority.'^ 

The second great alteration took up a long space, and 
was in action about three hundred years, reckoning it from 
the translation of the French crown from Childeric the 
Fourth, unto Pepin and his son Charles by papal authority, 
unto the conquest of England by the Normans, in which 
space the line of Charles in France was again, by the same 
authority, and the power of Hugh Capet cut off. No state 
in Europe, the choice patrimony of the beast, that did not 
receive a signal alteration in this space ; nor was there any 
alteration, but that the pope had a hand in every one of them, 
and either by pretended collations of right, to pacify the 
consciences of blood-thirsty potentates in the undertaking 
and pursuing their unjust conquests, or foolish mitred con- 
firmations of sword purchases, he got them all framed to his 
own end and purpose, which was to bring all these nations 
into subjection to his Babylonish usurpations, w^hich their 
kings finding no way inconsistent with their own designs did 
willingly promote, labouring to enforce all consciences into 
subjection to the Roman see. 

Hence it is, as I observed before, that such an interpo- 
sition was made of the rites of holy church, that is Babylon 

111 2 Tbess. ii. 6, 7. " Dan. ii. 41. 

Rev. xvii. 13. 


the mother of fornications, in all the ties, oaths, and bonds 
between princes and people.? And for the advancement of 
the righteous judgments of God, that the sons of men may 
learn to fear and tremble before him, it may be observed, 
that that which doth, and shall stick upon potentates to 
their ruin, is not so much their own or any other interest, as 
the very dregs of this papal antichristian interest thrust into 
their oaths and obligations for no end in the world, but to 
keep the Lord Jesus out of his throne.i 

This is a second reason, why the Lord Jesus, by his 
mighty power at the bringing in of his immoveable kingdom, 
* will shake the heavens and the earth of the nations ;' even 
because in their present constitution they are directly framed 
to the interest of antichrist, which by notable advantages at 
their first moulding, and continued insinuations ever since, 
hath so rivetted itself into the very fundamentals of them, 
that no digging, or mining, with an earthquake, will cast up 
the foundation stones thereof/ The Lord Jesus then, having; 
promised the service of the nations to his church, will so far 
open their whole frame to the roots, as to pluck out all the 
cursed seeds of the mystery of iniquity, which by the craft 
of Satan, and exigencies of state, or methods of advancing 
the pride and power of some sons of blood, have been sown 
amongst them. 

(3.) A third reason is, because as is their interest, so is 
their acting. The present power of the nations stands in di- 
rect opposition to the bringing in of the kingdom of Christ. 
Two things there are which confessedly are incumbent on 
him in this day of his advancement. 

[1.] The bringing home of his ancient people to be one 
fold with the fulness of the Gentiles, raising up the taber- 
nacle of David, and building it as in days of old, in the ac- 
complishment of innumerable promises,* and in answer to 
millions of prayers, put up at the throne of grace, for this 
very glory in all generations. Now there be two main hin- 

P Kcv. xiii. 15, 16. 'i riEjix^Et alTiCi o bta^ in^yiiay it'hani- 2 Thess. ii. 11. 

■■ Roma scdes Petri, qua Pastoralis honoris. 
Facta caput niundo quicquid non possidct amiis, 
RelligioDc tenet. Prosp. de Ingrat. 
» John. X, 16. Isa. xxxvii, 31. Jcr.xy.x. 9. Ezek xxxiv. 23. xxxvii. "21, 25. Hos. 
ill. 6. Ainos ix. 11. 


derances of this work that must be removed. The first 
whereof is, 

1st. Real: the great river Euphrates, the strength and 
fulness of whose streams doth yet rage so high, that there is 
no passage for the kings of the east to come over. Wherefore 
this must be dried up, as other waters were for their fore- 
fathers in the days of old ; Rev. xvi. 12. ^Doubtless this is 
spoken in allusion to Abraham's coming over that river into 
Canaan, when the church of God in his family was there to 
be erected, whence he was called the Hebrew, that is, the 
passenger, to wit, over that river. Gen. xiv. 13. and then it 
may well enough denote the Turkish power, which, proud 
as it is at this day, possessing in peace all those regions of 
the east, yet God can quickly make it wither, and be dried 
up : or the deliverance of the Jews from Babylon, when it 
was taken and destroyed by the drying up of the streams of 
that river, and so the yoke of her tyranny broken from the 
church's neck," and so it can be no other but the power of 
the Romish Babylon, supported by the kings of the nations, 
which must therefore be shaken and dried up. 

2dly. Moral, or the idolatry of the Gentile worshippers.^ 
The Jews stick hard as yet at this, that God should abolish 
any kind of worship, which himself had once instituted : 
but that he should ever accept any false worship, which he 
had once strictly prohibited, and nowhere to this day ap- 
pointed, to this they will never be reconciled. Now such is 
all the invented idolatrous worship, which the kings of the 
earth have sucked in from the cup of fornication held out to 
them in the hand, and by the authority of the Roman whore; 
this still they cleave close unto, and will not hearken ' to the 
angel preaching the everlasting gospel, that men should 
worship him who made the heavens, and the earth, and the 
sea, and the fountains of waters ;' Rev. xiii. 6, 7. that is, the 
God of heaven in Jesus Christ, in opposition to all their 
iconolatry, artolatry, hagiolatry, staurolatry, and mass- 
abominations. This then must also be removed; and be- 
cause as you saw before it is so rivetted and cemented into, 
and with all the orbs of the nations, heaven and earth, they 

t Exod. xiv. 21. 22. Josh. iii. 1.7, 16. Hab. iii. 8. 
-> Jer. li. 31, 3"^. " Rev. xi. 2. 


must be shaken, and brought ilg fitra^taiv, before it can be 

[2.] The second thing he hath to accomplish is the tre- 
mendous, total destruction of Babylon," the man of sin, and 
all his adherents, that are not obedient to the heavenly call; 
Rev. xviii. 4.^ Now as Samson, intending the destruction 
of the princes, lords, and residue of the Philistines, who 
were gathered together in their idol temple, effected it by 
pulling away the pillars whereby the building was supported, 
whereupon the whole frame toppled to the ground ;^ so the 
Lord, intending the ruin of that mighty power, whose top 
seems to reach to heaven, will do it by pulling away the pil- 
lars and supporters of it, after which it cannot stand one mo- 
ment. Now what are the pillars of that fatal building? 
Are they not the powers of the world, as presently stated 
and framed ? Pull them away, and, alas, what is antichrist? 
It is the glory of the kings put upon her, that makes men's 
eyes so dazzle on the Roman harlot. Otherwise she is but 
like the Egyptian deities, whose silly worshippers through 
many glorious portals and frontispieces were led to adore the 
image of an ugly ape. 

Add hereunto, that in this mighty work the Lord Jesus 
Christ will make use of the power of the nations, the horns 
of them, that is their strength; Rev. xvii. 16. They must 
hate the whore, and make her desolate and naked, and eat 
her flesh, and burn her with fire. Now whether this can be 
accomplished or no in their present posture, is easily dis- 
cernable. Doth not the papal interest lie at the bottom of 
all, or the most ruling lines of Christendom?* Can that be 
ejected without unbottoming their own dominion ? Do they 
not use the efficacy of the Roman jurisdiction to balance 
the powers of their adversaries abroad, and to awe their 
subjects at home? Hath not the pope a considerable 
strength in every one of their own bosoms ? Are not the 
locusts of their religious orders all sworn slaves to him, for 
number, sufficient to make an army to fight the greatest em- 
peror in the world ? Are not most potentates tried by oath, 
or other compact, to maintain either the whole, or some part 

' Psal. cxxxvii. 8. 9. Isa. xlvii. 7—9. 

iJer. li. 25, 26. Rev. xvii. 1, 2, Zech. ii. 7. Jer. li. 6. 

» Judges xvi. 28, 29. » Pctra dcdit Pclro, Pelrus diadcma Rodulfo. 


of the old tower, under the name of rites of holy church, pre- 
lates, and the like ? And can any expect that such as these 
should take up the despised quarrel of the saints against 
that flourishing queen ? Doubtless no such fruit will grow on 
these trees, before they are thoroughly shaken. 

(4.) A fourth reason is, that his own people seeing all 
earthly things shaken, and removing, may be raised up to 
the laying* hold of that durable kingdom that shall not be 
removed.'' All carnal interests will doubtless be shaken 
with that of Babylon. Many of God's people are not yet 
weaned from the things that are seen f no sooner is one 
carnal form shaken out, but they are ready to cleave to 
another, yea, to warm themselves in the feathered nests of 
unclean birds. All fleshly dominion within doors, and all 
civil dominion that opposeth without doors, shall be shaken. 
Now these things are so glewed also to men's earthly pos- 
sessions, the talons of the birds of prey having firmly seized 
on them, that they also must be shaken with them ; and 
therefore from them also will he have us to be loosed ; 
2 Pet. iii. 12, 13. 

And these are some of the reasons of the position laid 
down, which is so bottomed, so proved, as you have heard. 
Of the speedy accomplishment of all this I no way doubt. 
' I believe, and therefore I have spoken.' Whether I shall 
see any farther perfection of this work, whilst I am here be- 
low, I am no way solicitous ; being assured that if I fail of 
it here, I shall, through the grace of him who loved us, and 
gave himself for us, meet with the treasures of it otherwhere. 

Come we to the uses. 

Use 1. The rise of our first use I shall take from that of 
the prophet: * Who is wise, and he shall understand these 
things ? prudent, and he shall know them ? For the ways of 
the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them : but the 
transgressors shall fall therein;' Hos. xiv. 9. Labour for 
this heavenly wisdom and prudence, that we may know 
these things, and be acquainted with the mind and will of 
God, in the season and generation wherein we live. His 
way is not so in the dark, nor his footsteps in the deep, but 
that we may perceive what he is about. 

Luke xii. 54 — 56. our Saviour gives it in as a sure tes- 

b Heb. xii. 28. <= 2 Cor. iv. 18. 


timony of the Pharisees' hypocrisy, notwithstanding all their 
pretences, and possession of Moses' chair, that they were 
wise in earthly things, and had drawn out experiences by 
lone observation of what was like to come to pass as to the 

O ... 

weather, by considering the ordinary signs of the alterations 
thereof; but notwithstanding that mighty effectual concur- 
rence of signs in heaven and earth, with the accomplishment 
of prophecies, all pointing to the instant establishment of 
the kingdom of God in the coming of the Messiah, not dis- 
cerning them at all, they come and cry, ' If thou be the 
Christ, give us a sign;' when, without satisfying their sinful 
curiosity, heaven and earth was full of signs round about 
them. Men, who will not receive God's signs, suppose they 
should be wonderful proficients in credulity, might they 
have signs of their own fancying. The rich glutton thought, 
that if his way of teaching might have been set up, by men 
rising from the dead, there would have been a world of con- 
verts, more than were made by preaching the word of God.** 
Men suppose, that if God from heaven should give in some 
discriminating prodigy, oh, how abundantly should they be 
satisfied! The truth is, the same lust and corruption that 
makes them disbelieve God's signs, moves them to look 
after signs of their own. For this very thing then were the 
Pharisees branded as hypocrites, that having wisdom in na- 
tural things, to calculate and prognosticate from necessary 
signs ; yet in the works of the Lord, though the signs 
which in his wisdom he was pleased to give, were plentiful 
round about them, they must have some of their own 
choosing. I pray God none such be found in our day, 

1 Chron. xii. 32. it is said of the men of Issachar, that 
they * had understanding of the times to know what Israel 
ought to do.'* Israel is in the dark, and knows not what to 
do, if the times and seasons be not discovered to them. If 
the mind and will of the Lord in their generation be not 
made out unto a people, it will be their ruin. Hence it is, 
that the Lord encourageth us to make inquiry after these 
things, to find out the seasons wherein he will do any great 
work for his people, knowing that without this, we shall be 
altogether useless in the generation wherein we live. Isa. 

7»»|tu&>i- Luke xvi. 29, 30. « Esther i. 13. 


xlv. 11. ' Ask of me of things to come concerning my sons, 
and concerning the works of my hands command you me.' 
And what is this, that the Lord will have his people to 
inquire of him about? Even the great work of the ruin of 
Babylon, and restoration of his church, which yet was not to 
be accomplished for two hundred and forty years. And this 
he tells you plainly in the following verses. ' I have raised 
him up' (Cyrus) ' in righteousness, I will direct his ways, he 
shall build my cities, and he shall let go my captives, not 
for price, nor for reward, saith the Lord of hosts;' ver. 13. 
The Lord is earnest with his people to inquire into the season 
of the accomplishment of his great intendments for the good 
of his church, when as yet they are afar off; how much more 
when they are nigh at hand, even at the doors ? ' Whoso is 
wise, and will ponder these things, they shall understand the 
loving kindness of the Lord;' Psal. cvii. 43. Dan. ix. 2. 
The prophet tells you, that this was his great study, and at 
length he understood by books the approach of the time, 
wherein God would deliver his church from Babylonish cap- 
tivity and pollution. Now this discovery hath two or three 
notable products. 

(1.) It puts him upon earnest supplications for the ac- 
complishment of their promised deliverance in the appointed 
season. Wide from that atheistical frame of spirit, which 
would have a predetermination of events and successes to 
eradicate all care and endeavour to serve that providence, 
which will produce their accomplishment. A discovery of 
the approach of any promised, and before-fixed work of 
God, should settle our minds to the utmost endeavour of 
helping the decree to bring forth. 

(2.) He finds great acceptation in this his address to the 
Lord by supplications, for the establishing of that work 
which he had discovered was nigh at hand. For, 

[1.] An answer is returned him fully to his whole desire 
in the midst of his supplications, ver. 21. 'Whilst I was 
praying the man Gabriel came,' &.c. 

[2.] The work which he had discovered to be approach- 
ing, was instantly hastened and gone in hand withal, ver. 23. 
' At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment 
came forth.' Oh, that God would stir up his saints, in the 
spirit of Daniel, to consider, and understand by books, the 

f ) K H r". A \' E \ A X D K A R VU. 369 

time that lie liath appointed fbrjLhe deliverance of his peo- 
ple, that fixing their supplications for the speeding thereof, 
the commandment may come forth for its full accomplish- 

[3.] Having attained this, the Lord gives him fresh dis- 
coveries, new light of the time for the birth of the Messiah, 
which he thought not of, prayed not for. 'Seventy weeks 
are determined,' 8cc. ver. 24. So delighted is the Lord with 
his people's diligent inquiry into his ways, and walkings 
towards them, that thereupon he appears unto them in the 
revelation of his mind, beyond all that they did expect or 

Now all this have I spoken to stir you up unto that, 
whereunto at the entrance of this use you were exhorted : 
that you would labour for that spiritual wisdom and pru- 
dence, which may acquaint your hearts, at least in some 
measure, with the mind and will of God, concerning his 
work in the generation wherein you live. And farther to 
provoke you hereunto, know that you cannot but wander, 
as in many other, so especially in four sinful things : 1st. Sin- 
ful cares; 2dly. Sinful fears; 3dly. Sinful follies; 4thly. Sin- 
ful negligence. 

1st. Sinful cares. Anxious and dubious thoughts about 
such things, as perhaps the Lord intends utterly to destroy, 
or at least render useless. Had it not been the greatest 
folly in the world for Noah and his sons, when the flood was 
approaching to sweep away the creatures from the face of 
the earth, to have been solicitous about flocks and herds, 
that were speedily to be destroyed 7*^ Many men's thoughts 
at this day do even devour them about such things, as, if 
they knew the season, would be contemptible unto them. 
Wouldst thou labour for honour, if thou knewest that God 
at this time were labouring to lay all the ' honour of the 
earth in the dust?'^ Couldst thou set thy heart upon the in- 
crease of riches, wert thou acquainted that God intends in- 
stantly to make ' silver as stones, and cedars as sycamores,'"^ 
though not for plenty, yet for value? Would men be so ex- 
ceedingly solicitous about this or that form of religion, this 
or that power to suppress such or such a persuasion; if they 
knew that the Lord would suddenly ' fill the earth with his 

' Gen. vi. 13. e Isa. xxiii. 9. ''1 Kings x. 27. 

VOL. XV. 2 B 

370 thp: shaking and translating 

knowledge as the waters cover the sea?'' Should our spirits 
sink for fear of this or that persecutor or oppressor, were it 
discovered unto us that in a short time 'nothing shall hurt 
or destroy in the whole mountain of the Lord?''' Should we 
tremble at the force and power of this or that growing mo- 
narchy, giving its power to the beast, had God revealed unto 
us, that he is going to shake it until it be translated ? Certain 
it is, that the root of all the sinful cares, which sometimes are 
ready to devour the hearts of God's people, is this unac- 
quaintedness with the \york and mind of the Lord. 

2dly. Sinful fears. Luke xxi. 28. our Saviour having 
told his disciples of wars, tumults, seditions, famines, earth- 
quakes, 8ic. which were to come upon the earth, bids them, 
when they see these things, to ' lift up their heads for joy.' 
But how should this be? rejoice in the midst of so many 
evils and troubles, in the most whereof they were to have a 
Benjamin's mess, a double portion? Yea, saith our Saviour, 
rejoice, for I have told you before, that then it is that your 
deliverance and redemption draweth nigh. It is for them 
to shake and tremble who are in the dark, who know not 
what the Lord is doing. They may be at their wits' end, 
who know no other end of these things; but for you, who 
know the mind of the Lord, what he intendeth, and will ef- 
fect by these things, cast off all sinful fears, and rejoice in 
him who cometh. 

Amongst us in these days new troubles arise, wars, and 
rumours of wars, appearances of famine, invasions, conspi- 
racies, revolts, treacheries, sword, blood. Oh, how do men's 
faces wax pale, and their hearts die within them ! Some- 
times with David they could fly to the Philistines and wind 
up their interest with them, whom God will destroy. Every 
new appearance of danger shuffles them off from all their 
comforts, all their confidence. Hence poor souls are put 
upon doubling and shifting in the ways of God, in such a 
frame as God exceedingly abhors. They know not why any 
mercy is given, nor to what end, and therefore are afraid to 
own it, lest some sudden alteration should follow, and make 
it too hot for them to hold it ; and all this because they 
know not the mind of the Lord, nor the judgment of their 
God ; were they but acquainted with it, so far as it is evi- 

' Hab. ii. 14, k Jsa. Ixv. 25 

OF U K A V E V A N D K A RTJ 1 . 371 

dently revealed, they would quickly see all things working- 
together to the appointed end. 

3dly. Sinful follies. Toil and labour in vain is of all 
follies the greatest folly : like the Jews under Julian, build- 
ing of their temple in the day, God casting it to the ground 
in the night. When a man labours, toils, wearies, and 
spends himself, for the accomplishing of that which shall 
never come to pass, and that which, if he would but inquire, 
he might know shall never come to pass, he cannot well 
want the livery of a brutish man. How many poor creatures, 
that think themselves wiser than those of Teman, and Dedan, 
and all the children of the east, do spend and consume their 
days and time in such ways as this, labouring night and day 
to set up what God will pull down, and what he hath said 
shall fall. ' Come on, let us deal wisely,' saith Pharaoh to 
his Egyptians, Exod. i. 10. to root out and destroy these 
Israelites. Poor fool! is there any wisdom or counsel 
against the Most High? I could give instances plenty in 
these days, of men labouring in the dark, not knowing what 
they are doing, endeavouring with all their strength to ac- 
complish that, whereof the Lord hath said, ' It shall not 
prosper:' and all because they discern not the season. 

4thly. Sinful negligence. You are no way able to do 
the work of God in your generation. It is the commenda- 
tion of many saints of God, that they were ' upright, and 
served the will of God in their generation.' Besides the 
general duties of the covenant, incumbent on all the saints 
at all seasons, there are special works of providence, which 
in sundry generations the Lord efFecteth, concemino- which 
he expects his people should know his mind, and serve him 
in them. Now can a servant do his master's work, if he 
know not his will? The Lord requireth that in the great 
things which he hath to accomplish in this generation, all 
his should close with him. What is the reason that some 
stand in the market-place idle all the day? some work for a 
season, and then give over, they know not how to "-o a step 
farther, but after a day, a wejgk, a month, or year, are at a 
stand? worse than all this, some counterwork the Lord with 
all their strength? the most neglect the duty which of them 
is required? What is the reason of all this? They know in 
no measure what the Lord is doing, and what he would have 

2 B 2^ 


them apply themselves unto. The best almost live from 
hand to mouth, following present appearances, to the great 
neglect of the work, which the Lord would have hastened 
amongst us. All this comes from the same root. 

But now, if all these sad and sinful consequences attend 
this nescience of the mind of God, as to the things which 
he is doing, in the days wherein we live, so far as he hath 
revealed himself, and requires us to observe his walkings ; 
by what ways and means may we come to the knowledge 
thereof, that we be not sinfully bewildered in our own cares, 
fears, and follies, but that we may follow hard after God, 
and be upright in our generation? 

There be four things, whereby we may come to have an 
insight into the work which the Lord will do, and accom- 
plish in our days. 

(1st.) The light which he gives. 

(2dly.) The previous works which he doth. 

(3dly.) The expectation of his saints. 

(4thly.) The fear of his adversaries. 

(1st.) The light which he gives. God doth not use to 
set his people to work in the dark. They are the ' chil- 
dren of light,' and they are no 'deeds of darkness' which 
they have to do. However others are blinded, they shall 
see. Yea, he always suits their light to their labour, and 
gives them a clear discerning of what he is about. The 
Lord God doth nothing, but he reveals his secrets to his ser- 
vants. The light of every age is the forerunner of the work 
of every age. 

When Christ was to come in the flesh, John Baptist 
comes a little before, a new light, a new preacher. And 
what doth he discover and reveal ? Why he calls them off 
from resting, on legal ceremonies to the doctrine of faith, 
repentance, and gospel ordinances ; tells them ' the kingdom 
of God is at hand;' instructs them in the knowledge of him 
who was coming. To what end was all this? Only that the 
minds of men being enlightened by his preaching, who was 
a ' burning and a shining lamp,' they might see what the 
Lord was doing. 

Every age hath its peculiar work, hath its peculiar light. 
Now what is the light which God manifestly gives in, in our 
days ? Surely not new doctrines (as some pretend), indeed 


old errors, and long since exploded fancies. Plainly the pe- 
culiar light of this generation is that discovery, which the 
Lord hath made to his people of the mystery of civil and ec- 
clesiastical tyranny. The opening, unravelling, and reveal- 
ing the antichristian interest, interwoven and coupled to- 
gether in civil and spiritual things, into a state opposite to 
the kingdom of the Lord Jesus, is the great discovery of 
these days. Who almost is there amongst us now, who doth 
not evidently see, that for many generations the western na- 
tions have been juggled into spiritual and civil slavery, 
by the legerdemain of the whore, and the potentates of the 
earth made drunk with the cup of her abominations ? how 
the whole earth hath been rolled in confusion, and the saints 
hurried out of the world, to give way to their combined in- 
terest? Hath not God unvailed that harlot, made her naked, 
and discovered her abominable filthiness ? Is it not evident 
to him that hath but half an eye, that the whole present con- 
stitution of the government of the nations, is so cemented 
with antichristian mortar, from the' very top to the bottom, 
that without a thorough shaking they cannot be cleansed? 
This then plainly discovers, that the work which the Lord 
is doing, relates to the mitwining of this close combination 
against himself, and the kingdom of his dear Son ; and he 
will not leave until he have done it. To what degree in the 
several nations this shaking shall proceed, I have nothing 
to determine in particular, the Scripture having not ex- 
pressed it. This only is certain, it shall not stop, nor receive 
its period, before the interest of antichristianity be wholly 
separated from the power of those nations. 

(2dly.) Theprevious works he doth. How many of these 
doth our Saviour give, as signs of the destruction of Jerusa- 
lem, and so consequently of propagating the gospel more 
and more to the nations ? Matt. xxiv. Luke xxi. How fear- 
ful and dreadful they were in their accomplishment, Jose- 
phus the Jewish historian relateth ; and how by them the 
Christians were fore-warned, and did by them understand 
what the Lord was doing, Eusebius and others declare. 
'When,' saith he, 'you shall see the abomination of desola- 
tion' (the Roman eagles and ensigns) standing in the holy 
place,' Matt. xxiv. 15. or, 'Jerusalem compassed with ar- 


mies,' as Luke xxi. 20. then know by that, that * the end 
thereof is come, and your deliverance at hand.' 

The works of God are to be sought out of them that have 
pleasure in them. They are vocal speaking works, the mind 
of God is in them. They may be heard, I'ead, and under- 
stood : the 'rod may be heard, and who hath appointed it.' 
Now generally he begins with lesser works, to point out to 
the sons of men what he is about to accomplish. By these 
may his will be known, that he may be met in righte- 

Now what, I pray, are the works that the Lord is bring- 
ing forth upon the earth ? what is he doing in our own and 
the neighbouring nations ? Shew me the potentate upon the 
earth, that hath a peaceable molehill, to build himself a 
habitation upon? Are not all the controversies, or the most 
of them, that at this day are disputed in letters of blood 
among the nations, somewhat of a distinct constitution from 
those formerly under debate, those tending merely to the 
power and splendour of single persons, these to the interest of 
the many? Is not the hand of the Lord in all this? Are not 
the shaking of these heavens of the nations from him? Is 
not the voice of Christ in the midst of all this tumult ? And 
is not the genuine tendence of these things open and visible 
unto all ? What speedy issue all this will be driven to, I 
know not : so much is to be done, as requires a long space. 
Though a tower may be pulled down faster than it was set 
up, yet that which hath been building a thousand years is 
not like to go down in a thousand days. 

(3dly.) The expectation of the saints is another thing, 
from whence a discovery of the will of God and the work of 
our generation may be concluded. The secret ways of God's 
communicating his mind unto his saints, by a fresh fa- 
vour of accomplishing prophecies, and strong workings of 
the spirit of supplications, I cannot now insist upon. This 
I know, they shall not be Med into temptation,' but kept 
from the hour thereof, when it comes upon the whole earth. 
When God raiseth up the expectation of his people to any 
thing, he is not unto them as waters that fail. Nay he will 
assuredly fulfil the desires of the poor. 

Just about the time that our »Savioui Christ was to be 


born of a woman, how were all that waited for salvation in 
Israel raised up to a high expectation of the kingdom of 
God; such as that people never bad before, and assuredly 
shall never have again ?' Yea, famous was the waiting of 
that season through the whole Roman empire. And the 
Lord, whom they sought, came to his temple. Eminent 
was their hope, and excellent was the accomplishment. 

Wliether this will be made a rule to others or no, I know 
not: this I am assured, that, being bottomed on promises, 
and built up with supplications, it is a ground for them to 
rest upon. And here 1 dare appeal to all, who with any di- 
ligence have inquired into the things of the kingdom of 
Christ, that have any savour upon their spirits of the accom- 
plishment of prophecies and promises in the latter days, who 
count themselves concerned in the glory of the gospel ; whe- 
ther this thing of consuming the mystery of iniquity, and 
vindicating the churches of Christ, into the liberties pur- 
chased for them by the Lord Jesus, by the shaking and trans- 
lating all opposing heights and heavens, be not fully in their 
expectations. Only the time is in the hand of God, and the 
rule of our actings with him is his revealed will. 

(4thly.) Whether the fears of his adversaries have not 
their lines meeting in the same point, themselves can best 
determine. The whole world was more or less dreaded at 
the coming of Christ in the flesh. When also the signs of 
his vengeance did first appear to the pagan world, in calling 
to an account for the blood of his saints, the kings and cap- 
tains present cry out, 'The great day of his wrath is come, 
and who shall be able to stand?' Rev. vi. 17, 

I am not of counsel to any of the adherents to the man 
of sin, or any of those who have given their power unto the 
beast; I have not a key to the bosoms of the enemies of 
Christ; I am neither their interpreter, nor do they allow me 
to speak in their behalf; yet truly upon very many probable 
grounds 1 am fully persuaded, that were the thoughts of their 
hearts disclosed, notwithstanding all their glittering shows, 
dreadful words, threatening expressions, you shall see them 
tremble, and dread this very thing, that the whole world as 
now established will be wrapped up in darkness, at least until 
that cursed interest, which is set up against the Lord Jesus, 

' Lukciii, 15. 


be fully and wholly shaken out from the heavens and earth 
of the nations. 

And thus without leading you about by chronologies and 
computations, which yet have their use (well to count a num- 
ber being wisdom indeed), I have a little discovered unto you 
some rules, whereby you may come to be acquainted with 
the work of God in the days wherein we live, and also what 
that work is, which is our first use. The next shall be for 
direction, to guide you what you ought to do, when you 
know what is the work of your generation. 

Use 2. Be exhorted to prepare to meet the Lord, to make 
his way straight: and this I would press distinctly. 

(1.) As to your persons. 

(2.) As to your employments. 

(1.) As to your persons. Give the Lord Jesus a throne 
in your hearts, or it will not be at all to your advantage, 
that he hath a throne and kingdom in the world. Perhaps 
you will see the plenty of it, but not taste one morsel. Take 
first that which comes not by observation, that which is 
within you which is * righteousness, and peace, and joy in 
the Holy Ghost.' Take it in its power, and you will be the 
better enabled to observe it coming in its glory. * Seek 
first this kingdom of God, and the righteousness thereof, 
and all these things shall be added unto you.' Oh that it 
were the will of God to put an end to all that pretended 
holiness, hypocritical humiliation, self-interested religion, 
that have been among us, whereby we have flattered God 
with our Irps, whilst our hearts have been far from him ! Oh 
that it might be the glory of this assembly, above all the 
assemblies of the world, that every ruler in it might be a 
sincere subject in the kingdom of the Lord Jesus ! Oh that 
it might suffice that we have had in our parliament, and 
among our ministers, so much of the form, and so little of 
the power of godliness : that we have called the world Christ, 
and lusts Christ, and self Christ, working indeed for them, 
when we pretended all for Christ ! Oh that I could nourish 
this one contention in your honourable assembly, that you 
might strive who should excel in setting up the Lord Jesus 
in your hearts ! 

You may be apt to think, that if you can carry on, and 
compass your purposes, then all your enemies will be as- 


suredly disappointed. Do but embrace the Lord Jesus in 
his kingly power in your bosoms, and 'ipso facto' all your 
enertiies are everlastingly disappointed ; you are the grains, 
which in the sifting of the nation have been kept from 
ialling to the ground. Are you not the residue of all the 
chariots of England ? Oh that in you might appear the 
reality of the kingdom of the Lord Jesus, which hath been 
so long pretended by others ! that sound righteousness, not 
a Pharisaical, rigid, supercilious affectation, not a careless 
belief and comportment, the issue of novel fancies, might 
be found upon your spirits ; that you may be thought meet 
to rejoice with the Lord in his kingdom! otherwise this 
day of the Lord which we have described, however de- 
sired and longed after, will be * darkness to you, and not 

(2.) In reference to your great employments, whereunto 
the Lord hath called you. And here I shall briefly hold out 
unto you one or two things. 

[1.] That you would seriously consider, why it is that 
the Lord shakes the heavens and the earth of the nations, 
to what end this tendeth, and what is the cause thereof. Is 
it not from hence, that he may revenge their opposition to 
the kingdom of his dear Son? that he may shake out of the 
midst of them all that antichristian mortar, wherewith from 
their first chaos they have been cemented ; that so the kino-- 
doms of the earth may become the kingdoms of the Lord 
Jesus? Is not the controversy of Zion pleaded with them? 
Are not they called to an account for the transo-ression of 
that charge given to all potentates, * Touch not mine 
anointed?' And what is the aim of the Lord Jesus herein, 
whose mighty voice shakes them ? Is it not to frame and 
form them for the interest of his own kingdom? that he 
may fulfil the word he hath spoken to Zion, ' I will make 
thine officers peace, and thine exactors righteousness ?' 

Consider then, I pray, what you have in hand. Wait 
upon your King, the Lord Christ, to know his mind. If you 
lay any stone in the whole building, that advanceth itself 
against his sceptre, he will shake all again. Dio- you never 
so deep, build you never so high, it shall be shaken. Nay 
that there be no opposition will not suflice: he hath o-iven 
light enough to have all things framed for his own advan- 


tage. The time is come, yea, the full time is come, that it 
should be so, and he expects it from you. Say not, in the 
first place, this, or that, suits the interest of England, but 
look what suits the interest of Christ ; and assure yourselves, 
that the true interest of any nation is wrapped up therein. 
More of this in the treatise annexed to my sermon of 
Jan. 31. 

[2.] Be encouraged under all those perplexities and 
troubles, which you are, or may be wrapped in. Lift up 
the hands that hans: down, and let the feeble knees be 
strengthened : * It is but yet a little while, and he that shall 
come, will come, and will not tarry.' The more you are for 
Christ, the more enemies you shall be sure to have; but the 
Lamb shall overcome. He is come to revenge the blood of 
his slain upon this generation, and to free the residue from 
the jaws of the terrible. He is our rock, and his work is 
perfect : what he hath begun, faster or slower, he will surely 
accomplish. It is a thing of the most imaginable indiffer- 
ency, whether any of our particular persons behold these 
things here below or not. If otherwise, we shall for the 
present have * rest with him, and stand in our lot at the end 
of the days :' but for the work itself, ' the decree is gone 
forth,' and it shall not be recalled : receive strength and re- 
freshment in the Lord. 

Use 3. Wonder not when the heaven is shaken, if you 
seethe stars fall to the ground. We had some, who pretended 
to be church stars, that were merely fixed to all men's view, 
and by their own confession in the political heavens. The 
first shaking of this nation shook them utterly to the ground. 
If others also tremble like an aspen leaf, and know not which 
wind to yield unto, or sail backwards and forwards by the 
same gale, wonder not at that neither; when men lay any 
other foundation than the immoveable corner stone, at one 
time or other, sooner or later, assuredly they will be 

Use 4. Let the professing people that is amongst us look 
well to themselves : * The day is coming that will burn like 
an oven.' Dross will not endure this day; we have many 
a hypocrite as yet to be uncased. Take heed you that act 
high, if a false heart, a defiled heart be amongst you, there 
shall be no place for it in the mountain of the Lord's house. 


'The inhabitants of Zion shall be all righteous ;' Isa. Ix. 21. 
Many that make a great shew now upon the stage, shall be 
turned off with shame enough; try and search your hearts, 
force not the Lord to lay you open to all. The spirit of 
j udgment and burning will try you. Tremble, I pray, for you 
are entering the most purging, trying furnace, that ever the 
Lord set up on the earth. 

Use 5. Be loose from all shaken things : you see the 
clouds return after the rain, one storm in the neck of an- 
other. Thus it must be, until Christ hath finished his whole 
work. ' Seeins: that all these things must be dissolved, 
what manner of persons ought we to be in all manner of holy 
conversation.' Let your eyes be upwards, and your hearts 
be upwards, and your hands be upwards, that you be not 
moved at the passing away of shaken things. I could here 
encourage you by the glorious issue of all these shakings, 
whose foretaste might be as marrow to your bones, though 
they should be appointed to consumption before the accom- 
plishment of it : but I must close. 

Use 6. See the vanity, folly, madness of such as labour 
to oppose the bringing in the kingdom of the Lord Jesus. 
Canst thou hinder the rain from descending upon the earth, 
when it is falling ? Canst thou stop the sun from rising at its 
appointed hour? Will the conception for thee dwell quietly 
in the womb beyond its month ? Surely thou mayest with 
far more ease turn and stop the current and course of na- 
ture, than obstruct the bringing in of the kingdom of Christ 
in righteousness and peace. Whence comes it to pass, that 
so many nations are wasted, destroyed, spoiled, in the days 
wherein we live ? that God hath taken quietness and peace 
from the earth? Doubtless from hence, that they will smite 
themselves against the ' stone cut out of the mountain with- 
out hands.' Shall not ' the decree bring forth V Is it not in 
vain to fight against the Lord ? Some are angry, some 
troubled, some in the dark, some full of revenge ; but the 
truth is, whether they will hear or forbear, Babylon shall 
fall, and all the glory of the earth be stained, and the kino-- 
doras become the kingdoms of our Lord Jesus Christ. 


THE / 






• These two sermons not being divided in the first edition, we were obliged to 
print them togetbei as one continued discourse. 



My Lord, 
It was with thoughts of peace that I embraced my 
call to this place, in time of war. As all peace that 
is from God is precious to my spirit, so incomparably 
that between the Father and his elect, which is esta- 
blished, and carried on in the blood and grace of Jesus 
Christ. The ministerial dispensation of this peace 
being through free grace committed even unto me also, 
I desire that in every place my whole may be, to de- 
clare it to men of God's good pleasure. That this 
was my chief design, in answer to the call of God 
upon me, even to pour out a savour of the gospel upon 
the sons of peace in this place, I hope is manifest to 
the consciences of all, with whom (since my coming 
hither) in the work of the ministry I have had to do. The 
enmity between God and us began on our part; the 
peace which he hath made, begins and ends with him- 
self. This is the way of God with sinners ; when he 
might justly continue their enemy, and fight against 
them to their eternal ruin, he draws forth love, and be- 
seeches them to be reconciled, who have done the 
wrong, and them to accept of peace, who cannot abide 
the battle. Certainly the bearing forth of this message, 
which is so * worthy of all acceptation,' and ought to 
be so welcome, cannot but have sweetness enough to 
season all the pressures and temptations wherewith it 


is sometimes attended. This hath been my desire to 
pursue, and that with the weapons which are not car- 
nal. And though some may be so seasoned with the 
leaven of contention about carnal things, or at best 
the tithing of mint and cummin, as to disrelish the 
weightier things of the gospel, yet the great owner of 
the vineyard hath not left me without a comfortable 
assurance that even ' this labour in the Lord hath not 
been in vain.' 

The following sermons, which I desire to present 
unto your Excellency, were preached one at Berwick 
upon your first advance into Scotland, the other at 
Edinburgh. My willingness to serve the inheritance 
of Christ here, even in my absence, caused me to close 
with the desires that were held out to this purpose. 
And I do present them to your Excellency, not only 
because the rise of my call to this service under God 
was from you; but also, because in the carrying of it 
on, I have received from you in the weaknesses and 
temptations wherewith I am encompassed, that daily 
spiritual refreshment and support, by inquiry into, and 
discovery of, the deep and hidden dispensations of God 
towards his secret ones, which my spirit is taught to 
value. The carrying on of the interest of the Lord 
Jesus amongst his saints, in all his ways, which are 
truth and righteousness, the matter pointed at in this 
discourse, being the aim of your spirit in your great 
undertakings, it bears another respect unto you. I am 
not unacquainted with its meanness, yea, its coming- 
short in respect of use and fruit, of what the Lord hath 
since and by others drawn forth, but such as it is, 
having by providence stepped first into the world, I 
wholly commend it to him for an incense, who graci- 
ously ' supplied the seed to the sower ;' beseeching 
him that we may have * joy unspeakable and glorious,' 


in the acceptance of that peace, whicli he gives us in 
the Son of his love, whilst the peace, whose desire in 
the midst of war you continually bear forth to him, and 
to others, is by them rejected to their hurt. 

Your Excellency's 

Most humble servant in our dearest Lord, 

J. Owen. 

Edinburgh, Nov. 26, 1650. 



For mine house sliallbe called an house of pray erf or all people. — Is A. Ivi. 7. 

From ver. 3. of this chapter, to ver. 8. you have promises 
and predictions of calling in Gentiles and strangers to the 
church ofGod, notwithstanding any objections or hinderances 
laid in their way, by ceremonial and typical constitutions, 
they being all to be removed in the cross of Christ, Ephes. 
ii. 13 — 16. Col. ii. 14. making way for the accomplishment 
of that signal promise which is given in the second chap- 
ter of this prophecy, ver. 2, 3. 'And it shall come to pass in 
the last days, that the mountain of the house of the Lord 
shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall 
be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto 
it. And many people shall go, and say. Come ye, let us go 
up,' &c. 

The words of ver. 7. are a recapitulation of the whole, 
holding out summarily the calling of the Gentiles to the holy 
mount, or spiritual church of Christ. Where also you have 
a description of the services performed by them upon their 
coming : ' Their burnt-offerings and sacrifices shall be ac- 
cepted upon mine altar :' answerable to that eminent predic- 
tion of the solemn worship of the called Gentiles, Mai. i. 
11. 'For from the rising of the sun, even to the going down 
of the same, my name shall be great among the Gentiles ; 
and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, 
and a peace-offering : for my name shall be great among the 
heathen, saith the Lord of hosts.* The spiritual services of 
the saints of the Gentiles are in each place set forth by those 
ceremonial ordinances of incense, altar, and sacrifice, as were 
then most acceptable from the Lord's own appointment. 

Now this whole promise is once again strengthened, with- 
out loss of life or beauty, and comprised in the words of the 
text. That which before he termed * sacrifice and burnt- 
offerings,' here he calleth ' prayer :' and those who before 
were ' the sons of the stranger/ are here ' all people,' some, 
many of all sorts, the whole world, all men, without distinc- 
tion, the partition wall being broken down. 

The thing here spoken of is God's house, described 


First, By its appropriation unto him, it is his peculiar; 
'My house.' 

Secondly, By its extent of receipt in respect of others; it 
is ' for all people.' 

Thirdly, By the employment of its inhabitants, that is 
prayer; it 'shall be called a house of prayer.' 

' House,' here may be taken two ways : 

1. Properly, as it- was in the type for the material temple 
at Jerusalem ; whereunto these words are applied by our Sa- 
viour, Matt. xxi. But that is no farther concerned herein, 
but as the spiritual holiness of the antitype could not be re- 
presented without a ceremonial holiness of the type. 

2. Spiritually, for the church of Christ to be gathered to 
him out of all nations; the house wherein ' juge sacrificiura,' 
a continual spiritual sacrifice is to be offered to him : this is 
peculiarly intended. So then observe, 

I. Christ's church of saints, of believers, is God's house. 

II. The church of Christ under the gospel is to be ga- 
thered out of all nations. 

III. There are established ordinances, and appointed 
worship for the church of Christ under the gospel. 

It is the first that I shall speak unto. 

I. Christ's church of saints, of believers, is God's house. 

That his church is of saints, and believers, will appear in 
the issue. 

By the church of Christ I understand, primarily, the whole 
multitude of them, who antecedently are chosen of his Fa- 
ther, and given unto him ; consequently are redeemed, called, 
and justified in his blood: the church which he loved, and 
gave himself for it, ' that he might sanctify and cleanse it 
with the washing of water by the word, that he might pre- 
sent it unto himself a glorious church, not having spot or 
wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy, and 
without blemish;' Ephes. v. 26, 27. And secondarily also, 
every holy assembly of mount Zion, whereunto the Lord 
Christ is made beauty and glory : every particular church 
of his saints, inasmuch as they partake of the nature of the 
whole, 'being redeemed by his blood;' Acts xx. 28. 

That this church belongs unto God, I shall only leave 
evidenced under the claim whereby he here appropriates it 
to himself ; he calls it his :' My house.' 

VOL. XV. 2 c 


That it is his house, I shall farther demonstrate. Three 
things are required to the making of a house. 
First, A foundation. 

Secondly, Materials for a superstruction. 
Thirdly, Anorderly framing of both into a useful building. 
And all these concur to the church of Christ. 
First, It hath a foundation: * I have laid the foundation,' 
saith Paul, 1 Cor. iii. 10. and * other foundation can no man 
lay, save that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ;' ver. 11. 
That which Paul laid ministerially, God himself laid prima- 
rily and efficiently. * Thus saith the Lord God, Behold I 
lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious 
corner stone, a sure foundation;' Isa. xxviii. 16. Now this 
foundation is no other but the rock upon which the church 
is built, Matt. xvi. 18. which makes it impregnable to the 
gates of hell, communicating strength and permanency con- 
tinually to every part of the building. 

Secondly, A foundation only will not make a house ; there 
must also be materials for a superstruction. Those you 
have, 1 Pet. ii. 5. 'You are,' saith he, 'lively stones.' All 
God's elect are stones, in due time to be hewed and fitted 
for this building. 

Thirdly, Materials themselves will not serve: they must 
be fitly framed, and wisely disposed, or they will be a heap, 
not a house. This then is not wanting. ' Ye are built upon 
the foundation of the prophets and the apostles, Jesus Christ 
himself being the chief corner stone: in whom the whole 
building, fitly framed together, groweth into an holy temple 
in the Lord : in whom also ye are builded together, for an 
habitation to God by the Spirit;' Ephes.ii. 20 — 22. There is 
much spiritual and heavenly architecture in these three 
verses. I shall only touch on some particulars. 

1. The foundation of this house, this temple, is laid, and 
that is Jesus Christ : * other foundation can no man lay.' He 
is here called, ' the chief corner stone,' and, 'the foundation of 
the prophets and apostles.' It is not, which they were, but 
which they laid. It is ' genitivus efficientis,' hot 'materise,' 
that expression holds out, the persons working, not the 
thing wrought. 

2. The materials of this building: elect, believers, said in 
the former verse to be ' fellow-citizens with the saints, and 


of the household of God;' they alone are built on Christ, 
and thereby have union with him : not one dead rotten stone 
in all this building, as shall be declared. 

3. The architects or builders are of two sorts : 

(1.) Principal, the Spirit, we are 'framed to an habitation 
for God by the Spirit:' he is the principal workman in this 
fabric, without him is not one stone laid therein. 

(2.) Secondary and instrumental; 'the prophets and apo- 
stles.' And this they were two ways : 

[I.] Personally, in their several generations: this was 
their work, their labour, to lay the foundation, and carry on 
the building of this house. 

[2.] Doctrinally, so they labour in it to this very day: 
their doctrine in the Scripture holds out the only foundation, 
and the only way of building thereon. 

4. The manner of the building: it is ' fitly framed together,' 
(Tvvapfiokoyovfxtvr], closely jointed and knit in together, sweetly 
closed together with Christ, 'the head, from which all the 
body, by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, 
and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God ;' Col. 
ii. 19. 

5. What kind of a house it is. It receiveth here a two- 
fold title, ' an holy temple,' and ' an habitation,' or tabernacle ; 
because of its allusion to both those holy places of the wor- 
ship of God, fulfilling the types of them both. Hence it is 
most evident that this church of Christ is a house, and being 
appropriated unto God, God's house. To make this the more 
evident, I shall do these two things: 

(1.) Shew yon what are the chief properties of this 

(2.) Declare what is the relation wherein Jesus Christ 
stands to this house, having called it all along the church of 

(1.) For the properties, or chief qualities of this house, 
they are three : [1.] It is a living house; [2.] It is strong; 
[3.] It is glorious. 

[1.] It is a living house : ' Unto whom coming as unto a 
living stone, ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual 
house;' 1 Pet. ii.4, 5. Christ, the foundation, is a living stone, 
and they that are built upon him are living stones. Hence 
they are said to grow together into a house. Growth is a sign 



of life, growing from an inward principle. Such as the growth 
of any thing is, such is its life. The growth of this house is 
spiritual, so therefore also is its life ; it lives with a spiritual 
life, a life whose fulness is in its foundation. He hath ' life in 
himself,' John v. 26. and they from him: 'I am crucified 
with Christ, nevertheless I live ;' Gal. ii.22. Yea, it is him- 
self in them : ' yet not I, but Christ hveth in me.' It is true, 
those stones are dead in the rock, as well as others: ' by na- 
ture children of wrath as well as they,' Ephes. ii. 3. 'being 
dead in trespasses and sins ;' ver. 1. He who hews them out, 
gives them life : 'he quickens them when dead in trespasses 
and sins.' There is not one rotten dead stone in all this build- 
ing. However some such may, by the advantage of their 
outward appearance, crowd in, yet they are not of the house 

[2.] It is a strong house: ' The gates of hell cannot pre- 
vail against it;' Matt. i. 6. 18. Though 'the rain descend, 
and the floods come, and the winds blow upon this house ; 
yet it will not fall, because it is founded on a rock ;' Matt, 
vii. 25. We were all once a house built upon Adam ; and 
when the wind came, and beat upon us, we fell, * and the 
fall of that house was very great.' He in his best estate was 
found to be but sand ; now we are built upon a rock, that 
will abide ail trials : the waves may make a noise, and dash 
themselves against him, but it will be to their own ruin. 

But you will say. May not weak and inconsistent ma- 
terials be built upon a rock, which yet may have never the 
more strength for their foundation ? 

It is not so here, for the whole buildingis framed together 
in the foundation ; Ephes. ii. 22. not only on it, but also in it, 
and so not to be prevailed against, unless the rock itself be over- 
thrown. And it is aliving rock that this house is built on, a rock 
continually communicating strength unto every stone in the 
building, that it may be enabled to abide in him. I should 
proceed too far, should I go to declare the mighty defence 
and fortification of this house : what hath been spoken from 
the foundation, is enough to demonstrate it to be a strono- 

[3.] It is a glorious house, and that in a threefold re- 

1st. It is glorious in respect of inward glory, brought unto 


it of God in the face of Jesus Christ, being beautiful through 
the corcieliness that he puts upon it. Hence Christ speaking 
of it, says, 'How fair art thou, O love, for delights!' Cant. vii. 
6. and, 'thou art all fair, my love, there is no spot in thee ;' 
chap. iv. 7. And how, I pray, conies that about ? Why Christ 
washeth it in his own blood, that it might be wholly ' a glo- 
rious church;' Ephes. v. 26, 27. And farther, he being the 
branch of the Lord, and fruit of the earth, is made beauty 
and glory, excellency and comeliness thereunto; Psal. iv. 2. 

It hath the beauty and glory of justification, which doth 
not only take away all filthy garments, causing iniquity to 
pass away, but also gives fair ' change of raiment,' Zech. iii. 
4, 5. even the 'garments of salvation,' and the 'robe of righte- 
ousness ;' Isa. Ixi. 10. And then it hath the glory and beauty 
of sanctification, whence ' the king's daughter is all glorious 
within ;' Psal. xlv. 13. The comeliness and beauty that is in 
a sanctified soul, is above all the glory of the v^^orld. This 
house is all overlaid with gold within: Christ is unto it, 'a 
head of gold;' Cant. v. 11. His house is not like Nebuchad- 
nezzar's image, that the head should be of gold, and the 
members some of them of clay; they all partake of his na- 
ture, and are very glorious therein. 

2dly. In respect of its outward structure, which it emi- 
nently hath in all the peculiar assemblies thereof. * O thou 
afflicted, and tossed with tempest, and not comforted, be- 
hold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and thy founda- 
tions with sapphires. I will make thy windows of agates 
and carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones ;' 
Isa. liv. 11, 12. So also where it is called the new Jeru- 
salem (a city from its laws and policy), 'this city is' said to 
be ' of pure gold' (not dross and mire), ' the building of the 
wall of jasper, and the foundation of the wall garnished with 
all manner of precious stones;' Rev. xxi. 18, 19. This is 
that which the psalmist calls, * the beauty of holiness ;' Psal. 
ex. 3. The glory of the ordinances of the gospel in their 
vigour and purity. There is nothing so glorious, as our 
King on his throne, Christ in his court, this house reigning 
in the administration of his ordinances : then * all his gar- 
ments smell of myrrh, aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory 
palaces whereby they have made him glad. Kings' daughters 
arc among his honourable women : upon his right hand 


doth stand the queen in gold of Ophir;' Psal, xlv. 8, 9. 
' His goings are seen, the goings of our God and King in 
the sanctuary ;' Psal. Ixviii. 24, 25, &-c. The apostle ex- 
alteth the glory of gospel administrations exceedingly above 
the old tabernacle and temple worship, which yet was ex- 
ceeding pompous and glorious. ' If,' saith he, ' the minis- 
tration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, 
so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold 
the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance, which 
glory was to be done away ; how shall not the ministra- 
tion of the spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration 
of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration 
of righteousness exceed in glory. For even that which was 
made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of 
the glory that excelleth. For if that which is done away 
was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious;' 
2 Cor. iii. 7 — 11. Let men think as meanly as they please 
of the spiritual service of God amongst his people, all 
glory that ever yet appeared in the world was but a bubble 
to it, all that God ever instituted before came exceeding 
short of it : he delights in it, who beholds the proud 
afar off. 

3dly. It is glorious in respect of the exaltation it hath 
above, and triumph over, all its opposers. To see a house, 
a palace, hanged round about with ensigns, spoils, and 
banners taken from the enemy that have come against it, is 
a glorious thing : thus is this house of God decked. ' Kings 
of armies did flee apace, and she that tarried at home di- 
vided the spoil ;' Psal. Ixviii. 12. ' She that tarries at home,' 
the mother of the family, the church of God, she ' hath all 
the spoils.' The Lord hath affirmed, that not only every 
one that opposeth, but all that do not serve this house, 
shall be utterly destroyed; Isa. Ix. 12. There you have 
the spoil of Pharaoh, and all his host, gathered on the shore 
of the Red sea, and dedicated in this house ; Exod. xv. 
There you have the robes of Nebuchadnezzar reserved, when 
himself was turned into a beast; Dan. iv. There you have 
the imperial ornaments of Diocletian, and his companion, 
casting aside their dominion for very madness, that they 
could not prevail against this house. There is the blood 
of Julian kept for a monument of vengeance against apos- 


tates. There you have the rochets of the prelates of this 
land, hung up of late with other garments of their adherents 
rolled in blood : there is a place reserved for the remaining 
spoils of the great whore, when she shall be burned, and 
made naked, and desolate; Rev. xi. Never any rose, or 
shall arise against this house, and go forth unto final pros- 
perity. Let the men of the world take heed, how they burden 
themselves with the foundation stone of this house ; it will 
assuredly break them all in pieces. 

Thus have I given you a glimpse of this house, with the 
chief properties of it, which as God assumes as his own, so 
also peculiarly it belongs unto the Lord Christ; yea, what 
relation it stands in unto him, or rather he unto it, is the main 
thing I intend. 

(2.) Jesus Christ stands in a twofold relation unto this 

[1.] In respect of its f\ibric and building. 
[2.] In respect of its state and condition. 
[1.] In the first regard, Christ relates to this house in a 
four-fold respect. As, 1st. Its foundation; 2dly. Its ark; 
3dly. Its altar; 4thly. Its candlestick. 

I shall pass through these, God assisting, in order, and 
begin with what was first laid down, his relation to this 
house. As, 

1st. The foundation of it. This was in part declared be- 
fore. He is ' the stone which the builders rejected, but 
made of the Lord the head of the corner ;' Psal. cxviii. 22. 
He is the lowest in the bottom to bear up the weight of the 
building, and the highest in the corner to couple the whole 
together. ' Other foundation can no man lay, but that 
which is laid, which is Jesus Christ;' 1 Cor. iii. 10. He 
is the rock, on which he builds his church ; Matt. xvi. 18. 

Now there are three things required to a foundation, all 
which are eminently seen in the Lord Christ, in reference to 
this house. 

(1st.) That it be first laid in the building. It were a 
course exceeding preposterous, first to build a house, and 
then to lay the foundation. Jesus Christ is the first that is 
laid in this holy fabric, and that in a fourfold respect: 

[1st.] He is the first in respect of God's eternal purpose. 
The Lord purposed that ' he should have the pre-eminence' 


in this as well as in all other things ; Col. i. 15. He is in 
that respect ' the first-born among many brethren,' Rom. 
viii. 29. the residue of this house being predestinated to be 
ni de conformable unto him. * He is before all things: by 
hiiii all things' (ihat is, all spiritual things, all the things of 
this house) ' consist : he is the head of the body, the church.' 
This I mean, God purposed that Christ should be the bottom 
and foundation of this whole building, that it should be all 
laid on him. I do not mean, that God first intended Christ 
for a foundation, and then his elect for building (the order 
of intention and execution is, as to first and last, inverted by 
all agents), but this I say, God purposing to build his elect 
into a holy temple, purposed that Jesus Christ should be the 

[2dly.] In respect of outward manifestation. God first 
manifests and declares him, before he laid one stone in this 
building. Gen. iii. 15. 'The seed,' saith he, 'of the woman 
shall break the serpent's head :' in that was laid the first 
stone of this building: then was the 'Lamb slain,' oTro Ka- 
Taj3oX)jc KooTjuou, Rev. xiii. 8. presently 'after the foundation 
of the world :' and thence is grace in him said to be given 
to the elect, irpo xp'^^^^^ alwviwv, Titus i. 2. 'many ages 

[3dly.] Because in order of nature Christ must be first 
laid in the heart of every individual stone, before they are 
laid up in this building. If Christ be not in men, they are 
aSoKijuioi, 2 Cor. XV. 1. altogether useless for this building; 
try them never so often, they must at last be rejected, and 
laid aside. 

[4thly.] In respect of every particular assembly, and 
little sanctuary of mount Zion. If he be not first laid in 
the midst of such assemblies, they will prove to be pinnacles 
of Babel, not towers of Zion. This therefore was the way 
of the saints of old, first ' to give up themselves to the 
Lord Christ, and then to one another, by the will of God ;' 
2 Cor. viii. 5. 

In these respects Christ, the foundation, is first laid in 
this spiritual building, which is the first property of a 

(2dly.) A foundation must be hidden, and out of sight, 
unto all those that outwardly look upon the house. They 


cannot perceive it, though every part of the house doth rest 
upon it. And this hath occasioned many mistakes in the 
world. An unwise man coming to a great house, seeing the 
antics and pictures stand crouching under the windows and 
sides of the house, may haply think, that they bear up the 
weight of the house, when indeed they are for the most part 
pargeted posts ; they bear not the house, the house bears 
them. By their bowing, and outward appearance, the man 
thinks the burden is on them, and supposes that it would 
be an easy thing, at any time, by taking them away, to de- 
molish the house itself. But when he sets himself to work. 
he finds these things of no value, there is a foundation in 
the bottom, which bears up the whole, that he thought not 
of: against that he may waste himself, until he be broken in 
pieces. Men looking upon the church, do find that it is a 
fair fabric indeed, but cannot imagine how it should stand. 
A few supporters it seemeth to have in the world, like 
crouching antics under the windows, that make some show 
of underpropping it : here you have a magistrate, there an 
army, or so. Think the men of the world, can we but re- 
move these props, the whole would quickly topple to the 
ground. Yea, so foolish have I been myself, and so void of 
understanding before the Lord, as to take a view of some 
goodly appearing props of this building, and to think, how 
shall the house be preserved if these should be removed : 
they looked unto me like the mariners in Paul's ship, without 
whose abode therein they could not be saved : when lo, sud- 
denly some have been manifested to be pargeted posts, and 
the very best to be held up by the house, and not to hold it 
up. On this account the men of the world think it no great 
matter to demolish the spiritual church of Christ to the 
ground : they encourage one another to the work, never 
thinking of the foundation, that lies hidden, against which 
they dash theinselves all to pieces. 1 say, then, Christ, as 
the foundation of this house, is hidden to the men of the 
world, they see it not, they believe it not; there is nothing 
more remote from their apprehension than that Christ should 
be at the bottom of them and their ways, whom they so 
much despise. 

(3dly.) The foundation is that which bears up the whole 
weight of the building. What part of the house soever, is 


not directly poised upon it, hath no strength at all. Take a 
goodly stone, hew it, square it, make it every way fit for 
your fabric, so that it may seem to be the best of all your 
materials ; yet if you do not lay it upon the foundation, 
answerable to that, which may give it a solid basis, and bear 
up the weight and poise thereof, it will be useless, cumber- 
some, and quickly fall to the ground. 

Let a man be hewed and squared by the word and ordi- 
nances into outward conformity, never so exactly, that he 
seems one of the most beautiful saints in the world ; yet if 
he be not laid rightly by faith upon the foundation, to de- 
rive from thence strength, supportment, and vigour, he will 
quickly fall to the ground. What then will become of their 
building, who heap up all sorts of rubbish to make a house 
for the Lord ? 

2dly. Christ is the ark of this house. The ark in the 
tabernacle, and afterward in the temple, was the most holy 
thing in the most holy place. There was nothing in it but 
the two tables of stone written with the finger of God: be- 
fore it was Aaron's rod that budded, with a pot full of 
manna ; over it was the propitiatory, or mercy seat, being a 
plate of gold, as long and as broad as the ark, covering it, 
being shadowed with the cherubims of glory. Now all this 
glorious fabric did signify, that unless the law with its con- 
demning power were hid in the ark, and covered with the 
mercy seat, no person could stand before the Lord. Besides, 
the law was the old covenant of works, and being renewed 
unto them chiefly to be subservient to the gospel, and 
partly with its appurtenances and carnal administration to 
be the tenour of the Israelites holding the land of Canaan, 
and this being in the ark, it was said to contain the cove- 
nant, and is frequently called ' the ark of the covenant.' 
Jesus Christ is the ark of this spiritual house. When the 
' temple was opened in heaven, there was seen in the temple 
the ark of God's testament;' Rev. xi. 10. Jesus Christ 
made conspicuous to all, who lay much hid under the old 
testament. Rom. iii. 25. God is said to set forth Christ to be 
tXa(TTj)ptoi/, ' a propitiation,' or mercy-seat ; for by that very 
terra is the mercy-seat expressed, Heb. ix. 5. He is then 
the ark, and the mercy-seat covering it. He then doth 
these two things : 


(1st.) In behalf of this house, and every stone thereof, he 
hides the law with its condemning power, that nothing from 
thence shall be laid to their charge. If a man have a suit 
to be tried in any court, and a powerful friend engage him- 
self, that the only evidence which is against him shall not be 
produced, will it not give him encouragement to proceed ? 
In that great and tremendous trial, which is to be above, 
there is but one principal evidence against us, which gives 
life to all others, which if it be removed all the rest must fail : 
this is the law. Christ, as the ark and mercy-seat, hides 
this law ; it shall not (I speak in respect to this house) be 
produced at the day of trial. Will not this be a great en- 
couragement to them to appear at the throne of God ? 
Christ hides the law as being ' the end' of it, Rom. x. 4. 
'that the righteousness thereof might be fulfilled in us;' 
Rom. viii. 4. He hath so far answered all that the law re- 
quired, that none from thence can ' lay any thing to the 
charge of God's elect ;' Rom. viii. 33, 34. Let not poor 
sinners fear, it will not be with them, as with Uzzah: he 
touched the ark, and died : touch this ark, and live for 
ever. And, 

(2dly.) He is the ark of this house, as containing in 
himself the new covenant; it is made with him originally, 
established in him irreversibly, made out through him in all 
the grace of it faithfully. 

3dly. He is the altar of this house. There were two al- 
tars in the old tabernacle, and temple : an altar for sacrifice, 
and an altar for incense; Exod. xxix. and xxx. The first 
was the great brazen altar, that stood without the holy 
place, whereon the burnt-oft'erings, and all sacrifices of 
blood for remission were offered. The other less, made of 
shittim wood, all overlaid with pure gold, and a crow.i of 
beaten gold upon it, on which they were to burn pure in- 
cense unto the Lord always. And they were both most holy, 
sanctifying the gifts with legal sanctification that were 
oflered on them; Matt, xxiii. 19. Now both these doth our 
Saviour supply in this house. He is the great altar of sacri- 
fice, the altar of offerings for expiation and atonement. 
' We have an altar whereof they have no right to eat, who 
serve at the tabernacle,' Heb. xiii. 10. that is even he, who 
' sanctified the people with his own blood, and suffered 


without the gate ;' ver. 11. The good will and soul of Christ 
offering up himself, ' through the eternal Spirit, a pure obla- 
tion and sacrifice, by one offering to perfect for ever them 
that are sanctified,' is all our altar. He is also the golden 
altar of incense. Incense is prayer : Psal. cxli. 2. ' Let 
my prayer come before thee as incense.' Jesus Christ is 
the golden altar whereon that incense is offered. Rev. viii. 
3, 4. even that altar which is always before God; Rev. ix. 
13. As by being the former he makes our persons accepted, 
so by the latter he makes our duties accepted. And all the 
living stones of this house are priests to offer sacrifice on 
these altars ; by him, as priests, they have approximation to 
the holy place; there they have a share and participation in 
all the sacrifices that are offered upon or by him. 

4th. He is the candlestick of this house. The making, 
fashioning, and use of the candlestick, in the holy place of 
the tabernacle, you have, Exod. xxv. 31, &c. It was one of 
the most glorious utensils of that frame, made of pure and 
beaten gold, with much variety of works, knops, flowers, 
and lamps. The use of it was, to bear out light for all the 
worship of God in that most holy place. The tabernacle 
was made close, without any window. It was not to receive 
light from without, it had all its own light from within. It 
is true, this candlestick with its seven lamps, did seconda- 
rily represent the churches of Christ, which hold out his 
light among themselves, and unto others. Rev. i. 20. ' The 
seven candlesticks thou sawest are the seven churches.' 
Therefore Solomon made ' ten candlesticks of pure gold,' 
1 Kings vii. 49. to set out yet farther the increase and multi- 
plying of the churches of God. Upon this account also the 
two witnesses are said to be ' two candlesticks,' Rev. xi. 4. 
and ' the two anointed ones, that stand before the God of 
the whole earth,' Zech. iv. 3. whence that in the Revelation 
is taken. There is mention indeed of two anointed ones, 
but of one candlestick ; the Holy Ghost plainly intimating, 
that though the churches and witnesses of Christ are also 
candlesticks in a second sense, yet there is one eminent 
candlestick, which hath light originally in itself, which also 
it communicates unto all others. And this is that which is 
mentioned in Zech. iv. which hath the ' two olive-trees,' or 
the two anointed churches of Jews and Gentiles standing by 


it, receiving light from it, to communicate to others : they 
empty the golden oil out of themselves, which they receive 
from the candlestick. For this candlestick hath * seven 
lamps,' ver. 2. which lamps, that burn before the throne, are 
the ' seven spirits of God ;' Rev. iv. 5. seven spirits, that is, 
the perfection and completeness of the Spirit of God, in all 
his graces and operations. Now who hath these seven 
spirits ? Even he * who received not the Spirit by measure,' 
John iii. 34. being the * stone' upon which are the ' seven 
eyes;' Zech. iii. 9. He alone then is this candlestick, and 
all the light which this house hath, it is from him. 

There are two ways whereby Jesus Christ makes out light 
to this house. (1st.) Byway of doctrinal revelation; (2dly.) 
Of real communication. 

(1st.) He alone discovers light to all the stones of this 
building. ' No man hath seen God at any time : the only 
begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath 
declared him;' John i. 18. No saving discovery of God, of 
his nature, his will, his love, but what is by Christ. The 
moon and stars give light, but it is only what they receive 
from the sun. The prophets and apostles held out light, but 
it was all received from him. They ' spake by the Spirit of 
Christ that was in them. I have received of the Lord that 
which I have delivered unto you ;' 1 Cor. xi. 23. The same 
apostle curses every one that shall bring in any other light 
into this house, be they angels, or men; Gal. i. 8, 9. Christ 
alone fully knows the mind of God, as being always in the 
' bosom of his Father;' John i. 18. Yea, he knows it to the 
uttermost, being * one with his Father ;' John x. 30. And 
he is willing; to reveal it, for even ' for this end came he into 
the world, that he might bear witness to the truth.' And he 
had ability enough to do it, for * in him were hid all the 
treasures of wisdom and knowledge;' Col. ii. 3. He alone 
is the author of all light to this his holy habitation. Many 
attempts have been to set up light in this house, and not 
from Christ. Some would kindle their traditions for the 
doctrine of this house, some their prudentials for the go- 
vernment of it, some their ceremonials for the worship of it : 
all candles in the sun. Shall men think to compass them- 
selves with sparks, and walk in the light of the fire which 
themselves have kindled, in the face of the sun of righteous- 


ness ? Shall not such men lie down in sorrow? Beloved, 
take heed of such 'ignes fatui,' foolish, misguiding fires. 

(2dly.) By way of real communication, 'He is the true 
light which lighteneth every man;' John i. 9. Every one 
that hath any spiritual light really communicated to him, 
hath it from Christ. It is part of his work to ' recover sight 
to the blind;' Luke iv. 18. And therefore he adviseth the 
church of Laodicea to come to him for ' eye-salve, that she 
might see;' Rev. iii. 18. At his coming Zion * shines forth,' 
Isa. Ix. 1. because his 'light ariseth upon her ;' ver. 2. The 
former doctrinal teaching of itself will not suffice : that 
' light may shine in darkness, and the darkness not compre- 
hend it ;' John i. 5. All the light the sun can give, will not 
make a blind man see : there must be a visive faculty within, 
as well as light v»ithout. The stones of this building are 
by nature all blind, yea, darkened, yea, darkness itself. If 
the Lord Christ do not by the mighty efficacy of his Spirit 
create a visive power within them, as well as reveal the will 
of his Father to them, they will never spiritually discern the 
things of God. ' The natural mandiscerneth not the thino-s 
of God, nor indeed can do ;' ] Cor. ii. 14. It is true, men 
by the help of common gifts, with the use of the former 
doctrinal revelation, may attain to such a knowledge of the 
mind of God, as may in a sense be called illumination ; Heb. 
vi. 4. Far may they go, much may they do, by this light : 
they may teach others, and be cast away themselves : they 
may dispute for truth, yea, die for truth, and all this while 
have but the first, common anointing, see nothing clearly, 
but men walking like trees. A spiritual insight into the 
mind of God, is not to be obtained without an almighty act 
of the Spirit of Christ, creating a new power of life and 
light upon the soul. Some indeed think that they have this 
seeing power in themselves. Do but shew them outwardly 
what is to be seen, and let them alone for the discerning of 
it. Well then, let them alone, if ever they are stones of 
this living house, I am deceived. Thou that art so, know 
whence is all thy light; and if thou art any thing in the 
dark, draw nigh to the candlestick, from whence all light 
is. Thence must thy light come, yea, and thence it shall 
come, the secrets of the Lord shall make their abode with 


And this is the fourfold relation wherein the Lord Christ 
stands unto this house, as it is a spiritual building. 

[2.] In respect of state and condition, Jesus Christ stands 
in a fivefold relation to this house, viz. 1st. As the owner; 
2dly. The builder; 3dly. The watchman, or keeper ; 4thly. 
The inhabiter ; 5thly. The avenger: each of which I shall 
unfold in order. 

1st. He is the owner of it. He calls it his: 'Upon this 
rock will I build my church;' Matt. xvi. 18. 'Moses was 
faithful in all his house, as a servant; but Christ as a Son 
over his own house, whose house are we;' Heb. iii. 4, 5. 
And that you may see that he doth not own it as his, with- 
out oood right and title, know that in the great economy of 
grace Jesus Christ hath a threefold right and title to this 

(1st.) Of inheritance. He is by his Father ' appointed 
heir of all things:' Heb. i. 3. By inheritance he obtains 
this excellent name, to be Lord of this house. God sends 
him to the vineyard as the heir, after his servants were re- 
fused. And he hath an engagement from his Father, that 
he shall enjoy his whole inheritance upon demand ; Psal. 
ii. 8. For the Father appointed, 'in the fulness of time, to 
gather together all these things in Christ, both which are 
in heaven, and which are in earth, in him;' Eph. i. 10. So 
that as Christ ' is the first- begotten of the Father,' Heb. 
i. 6. and 'the first-born of every creature,' Col. i. 15. the 
right of heirship is his. But this will not do : for, 

(2dly.) When he should come to take possession of this 
house, he finds that it is mortgaged, and that a great debt 
lies upon it, which he must pay to the uttermost farthing, 
if ever he intend to have it. To the former title there must 
also be added a right of purchase. He must purchase this 
house, and pay a great price for it. And what is this price ? 
what is required of him? No less than his ' dearest blood ;' 
Acts XX. 28. Yea, he must make his soul an offering for sin, 
and charge himself with the whole debt; all the curse and 
punishment which this house had in part actually contracted 
upon itself, and wholly deserved. He must put his shoulders 
under the burden due to it, and bis back to the stripes .pre- 
pared for it. A hard task! But Jesus Christ being the heir, 
the right of redemption belonged unto liira. It was not for 


his honour that it should lie unredeemed. Full well he 
knew that if he did it not, the whole creation was too beg- 
garly to make this purchase. It is true, that nature of ours, 
which he assumed to pay that by, which he never took, was 
startled for a while, and would have deprecated this grievous 
price, crying out, ' If it be possible let this cup pass from 
me :' but he recollects himself, and says, ' I am content to 
do thy will, O God:' and so, through the eternal Spirit, he 
offered himself up unto God for a ransom. He likes the 
house, and will have it to dwell in, whatever it cost him. 
'Here/ saith he, ' shall be my habitation, and my dwelling 
for ever;' Psal. cxxxiii. 'Know you not,' saith the apostle, 
' that you are the temple of the Spirit of Christ?' Well, and 
how come we so to be? 'You are bought with a price;' 
1 Cor. vi. 19. They who affirm that he also purchased the 
unclean sties of the devil, wot not what they say. 

(3dly.) Unto purchase he must also add conquest. An 
unjust usurper had taken possession of this house, and kept 
it in bondage : Satan had seized on it, and brought it, 
through the wrath of God, under his power. He then must 
be conquered, that the Lord Christ may have complete pos- 
session of his own house. ' For this purpose, then, was the 
Son of God made manifest, that he might destroy the works 
of the devil;' 1 John iii. 8. And how doth he do it? He 
overpowers him, and destroys him, in that 'through death 
he destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the 
devil;' Heb. ii. 14. And he spoiled him, having overcome 
him ; * He bound the strong man, and then spoiled his 
goods ;' Matt. xii. 27, All that darkness, unbelief, sin, and 
hardness, that he had stuffed this house withal, Christ spoils 
and scatters them all away. And to make his conquest 
complete, he triumphs over his enemy, and like a mighty 
conqueror makes an open show of him to his everlasting 
shame. Col. ii. 15. 'Having spoiled principalities and 
powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over 
them in his cross :' and by this means strengthens his title 
to his inheritance. 

I might also farther insist on the donation of his Father, 
and the actual possession he takes of it by his Spirit; but 
these are suflficient to prove this house to be Christ's. 1 
shall take some observations hence. 


Observation 1. Is this the house of Christ? Is he the 
owner of it? Let men take heed how they SjDoil it for them- 
selves. The psalmist makes this a great argument in his 
pleading against opposers, that they came 'into the Lord's 
inheritance;' Psal. Ixxix. 1. The title of Christ's purchase 
was not then so clearly known, as that of his inheritance ; 
and therefore they of old pleaded chiefly by that title. Now 
he hath proclaimed to ail his other titles also, the whole 
right he has to this house, to his saints. Who then shall 
meddle with it, and go free? Amongst men every one with 
all his might will defend his. own possession : and shall we 
think that the Lord Christ will suffer his to be spoiled at an 
easy rate ? Shall not men pay dear for their encroachment? 
How hath he in our days frustrated all attempts for the per- 
secution of his? 'Touch not,' saith he, 'mine anointed.' 
Men may upon various pretences claim this privilege to such 
a land, nation, or faction; it will in the end appear to be 
theirs, and only theirs, who are living stones of this house. 
Dogs may scramble for their bread, but shall not enjoy it. 
It is Christ in this house that will make every stone of it a 
burdensome stone. He hath done it, that men may learn 
fii) v£OjLta\av. Do not think it will excuse thee to say, thou 
wast mistaken. 

Observation 2. Is Christ the owner of this house? Let 
the order and disposal of it be left to himself. Men are apt 
to be tampering with his house and household. They will 
be so kind and careful, as to lay out their wisdom and pru- 
dence about it; thus and thus shall it be, these are parts 
and members of it. Christ is exceeding jealous of his honour 
in this particular. He cannot bear it, that men pretending 
to his glory, should think him so wanting in love or wisdom 
towards his own, as not exactly to dispose of all things that 
concern the regimen thereof. Men would not be so dealt 
withal in their own houses, as they deal with Christ in his. 
We have all wisdom enough (as we suppose) to order our 
own houses ; only the wisdom and love of the Father leaves 
his to the discretion of others. These thoughts are not 
from above. 

Observation 3. Hath Christ taken his own house to him- 
self upon so many titles? Let not men put those buildings 
on him, for his, which are not so, which he hold^ not by 

VOL. XV, 2 I) 


these titles. Go to a man that dwells in a stately palace of 
his own, shew him a hogsty, tell him. This is your house, 
here you dwell, this is yours : can you put a greater indignity 
on him? No, says the man, that is not mine, I dwell in 
yonder sumptuous palace. And shall we deal thus with the 
Lord Jesus ? He hath bought and adorned his own house : 
a glorious house it is. If now men shall hold out to him a 
sty of swine, a den of unclean beasts, a ruinous heap, 
whereof the far greatest part are dead stones, and tell him, 
this is his church, his house; will it not exceedingly provoke 
him? will he bear such a reproach ? Nay, he will reject such 
tenders to their ruin. 

2dly. Jesus Christ is the builder of this house: 'This 
man is counted worthy of more honour than Moses, inas- 
much as he that buildeth the house hath more honour than 
the house ;' Heb. iii. 3. ' I,' saith he, * will build my church ;' 
Matt. xvi. 18. This is not a fabric for any workman, but 
Christ. It is true, there are others employed under him ; 
and some so excellent, that they may be said to be ' wise 
master builders ;' 2 Cor. iii. 10. But yet all the efficacy of 
their labour in this buildino- is not from themselves, but 
merely from him, by whom they are employed. Except the 
Lord build this house, they labour in vain, that go about to 
build it. 

Now this house receives a twofold building. (1st.) Spi- 
ritual, of all the stones thereof into one mystical house. Of 
this I chiefly treat, (2dly.) Ecclesiastical, of some particular 
stones into several tabernacles, which are useful partitions 
in the great mystical house, called assemblies, and dwelling 
places of mount Zion. Both these it hath from Christ alone. 

(1st.) For the first: If all the most skilful workmen in 
the world should go to the pit of nature, by their own 
strength, to hew out stones for this building, they will never 
with all their skill and diligence lay one stone upon it. There 
is life required to those stones, which none can give but 
Christ. The Father hath given into his hand alone 'to give 
give life eternal to whom he will;' John xvii. 2. He alone 
can turn stones into children of Abraham. To him is com- 
mitted all dispensation of quickening power. He brings us 
from the dust of death, and no man hath quickened his own 
soul. With spiritual power all spiritual life is vested in 

Tilt REAl'l'V OF zroN. 403 

Christ. If dead stones live, it must be by bearing the voice 
of the Son of God. Christ's building of his mystical house 
is his giving life unto dead stones, or rather being life unto 
them. Of those who will attempt to build themselves, and 
draw a principle of spiritual life from the broken cisterns of 
nature, I shall speak afterward. 

(2dly.) For the second, or the communion of living 
stones one with another, and all with Christ, in the order 
and worship appointed by the gospel, so becoming assem- 
blies, and dwelling places of mount Zion : this also is of 
him. This is for his outward solemn worship, and he would 
never allow, that the will of any creature should be the 
measure of his honour. He sets up the candlesticks, and 
holds the stars in his hand. Look to the institution of this 
building, it is from Christ : look for directions about this 
building, it is wholly from him : from him, his word, his 
spirit, is the institution, direction, and perfection of it. From 
hence now take some observations. 

Observation 1. Is Christ the builder of this house? Can 
he alone fit us for this building ? Can he alone, and that by 
his almighty power, put life into dead stones, that they may 
grow up to be a holy and living habitation unto him ? What 
then becomes of that famous workman freewill, and a power 
of believing in ourselves, do not they work effectually in this 
temple? As it was in Solomon's temple, 'there was neither 
axe, nor hammer, nor any tool of iron heard in it, all the 
while it was in building;' 1 Kings vi. 7. so in this spiritual 
house, that iron tool of freewill is not once heard, it comes 
not nigh the work, Christ doth all alone. He gives life to 
whom he pleases. Shall a dead will be thought to have a 
quickening, life-giving power in it? Shall a spirit of life be 
spun out of the bowels of nature? Is it the will of man, or 
the will of God, that draws men unto Christ? And is it his 
spirit, or flesh, that unite?! us to him? Where then is this 
workman employed, that makes all this noise in the world? 
Even there, where men cry, * Goto, let us build a city, and 
a tower, whose top may reach to heaven;' Gen. xi. 4. 
amongst those who would build a Babel, a tower of their 
own to get to heaven by. The Lord comes down and scat- 
ters all their undertakings. This workman never placed 
stone in the house of Christ. Nay, it is like the foolish 

2 f) 2 


woman, that pulls down her house with both her hands : 
what free grace sets up, that free will strives to demolish. 

Observation 2. See hence a great mistake of many poor 
creatures, who would fain be stones in this house. What 
course take they? They hew and square themselves, strive 
to cut off this and that rubbish, which (as they suppose) 
alone hinders them from being fitted to this building. They 
pare themselves with vows, promises, resolutions, and en- 
gagements, beautify themselves with duties and services, 
and then with many perplexing fears present themselves to 
the building, never knowing whether they are admitted or 
no. All this while the great master builder stands by, 
scarcely dealt withal. What now is the issue of such at- 
tempts? What they build one day, falls down in another. 
When they have oftentimes in their own thoughts brought 
the building to such a pass, as that they are ready to think 
it will be well with them, now surely they shall have a share 
and interest in this living and glorious house ; all on a sud- 
den they fall again to the ground, their hopes wither, and 
they suppose themselves in the world's rubbish again. There 
is no end of this alternation. Would now this poor soul 
see where its great defect lies? It hath not applied itself 
aright to the only builder. Wouldest thou be a stone in 
this fabric? Lay thyself before the Lord Jesus, say to him, 
that thou art in thyself altogether unfit for the great build- 
ing he hath in hand ; that thou hast often attempted to put 
thyself upon it, but all in vain ; now, Lord Jesus, do thou 
take me into thine own hand ; if thou easiest me away, 1 
cannot complain, I must justify thee in all thy ways: but 
thou callest things that are not, as though they were ; thou 
turnest dead stones into children of Abraham : Oh, turn my 
dead into a living stone ! Fear not, he will in nowise cast 
thee out. 

The vanity of men, attempting to mix their power and 
wisdom in the heaping up tabernacles for Christ, might be 
hence discovered ; but I forbear. 

3dly. Jesus Christ is the great watchman, or keeper of 
this house. There are indeed other watchmen, and that of 
God's own appointment, for the use of this house : * Son of 
man, I have set thee a watchman;' Ezek. ii. 11. 'I have set 
watchmen upon thy wall ;' Isa. Ixi. 6, 7. which in a special 


manner are the pastors of the churches, 'they watch,' Heb. 
xiii. 17. as the priests and Levites heretofore kept the watch 
of the Lord. It cannot be denied, but that many who have 
taken upon them to be these watchmen, have watched only 
for their own advantage, have been very dogs, yea, dumb 
dogs, the very worst of dogs ; Isa. Ixvi. 10. yea, they have 
been, and oftentimes are, under various pretences, great 
' smiters, and wounders of the spouse of Christ;' Cant. v. 
but yet were they never so good, and true to their trusts, 
they were never able all to watch and keep this house, had 
it not another watchman : ' Except the Lord keep the city, 
these watchmen watch in vain;' Psal. cxxvii. 1. He that 
keepeth Israel, who doth neither slumber nor sleep, must 
keep this house, or it will be destroyed. Christ then is that. 
' Holy One, and that watcher, that came down from heaven, 
and commanded to cut down the tree and the branches;' 
Dan. iv. 13, 14. Nebuchadnezzar and his great power, for 
meddling with this house. Now Christ watcheth his house 
for two ends. 

(1st.) To see what it Wants, 2 Cor. xvi. 9. 'The eyes of 
the Lord run to and fro, throughout the whole earth, to shew 
himself strong in its behalf. He looks down from heaven 
to behold them that fear him ;' Psal. xiv. He is that stone, 
upon which are 'seven eyes;' Zech. iii. 9. a sufficiency in 
perfection of wisdom, inspection, and government for the 
good of his house. And those ' seven eyes of his run to 
and fro through the whole earth,' for this very purpose ; 
Zech. iv. 10. He takes notice of the state and condition of 
his people, to eye them in their distresses, and to give them 
timely and suitable deliverance. They may call every spring 
of their refreshment, Beer-lahai-roi. 

(2dly.) To see that the son of violence draw not nigh 
unto it; and if he do, to require it at his hands, to make him 
eat his own flesh, and drink his own blood, that he may 
learn to devour no more. Observe then, 

Observation 1 . Whence it is that this house, which seems 
so often to be nigh to destruction, is yet preserved from 
ruin. Ofttimes it is brought into a condition, that all that 
look on say. Now it is gone for ever. But still it recovers, 
and gets up again. The Lord Christ looks on all the while : 
he knows how far things may proceed for trial. When it 


comes to that pass, that if pressures and troubles should 
continue, the house will be overborne indeed, then he puts 
in, rebukes the winds and waves, and makes all things still 
again. Like a father, who looks upon his child in a difficult 
and dangerous business, knows that he can relieve him when 
he pleases, but would willingly see him try his strength and 
cunning, lets him alone, until perhaps the child thinks him- 
self quite lost, and wonders his father doth not help him; 
but when the condition comes to be such, that without help 
he will be lost indeed, instantly the father puts in his hand 
and saves him. So deals the Lord Jesus with his house, 
lets it oftentimes strive and wrestle with great oppositions, 
to draw out. and exercise all the graces thereof; but yet all 
this while he looketh on, and when danger is nigh indeed, 
he is not far off. 

Observation 2. Let all the enemies of the church know, 
that there is one, who hath an eye over them in all their 
counsels and undertakings. Whilst they are digging deep, 
he looks on, and laughs them to scorn. How perplexed was 
the king of Syria, when he found that the prophet was ac- 
quainted with all his designs, and made them known to the 
king of Israel? It cannot but be a matter of perplexity to 
the enemies of this house, when they shall find, that the 2;reat 
friend and protector thereof is continually present in all their 
advisoes. Let them not wonder at their birthless undertak- 
ings, the eye of Christ is still upon them. 

Observation "i. Let the saints see their privilege, whoever 
they are, in what condition soever, the eye of Christ is upon 
them. He watches over them for good, and knows their 
souls in adversity. When no eye sees them, he looks on 
them, they cannot be cast out of his care, nor hid from 
his sight. There are many poor souls, who go heavily all 
the day long, that mourn in their spirits unknown, un- 
regarded, unpitied ; the eye of Christ is on them for good 
continually, they cannot be thrown out of his watchful 

4thly. Christ is the indweller of this house- He hath not 
built it, and framed it for no use. It is for a habitation for 
himself. He ' hath chosen Zion ; he hath desired it for his 
habitation. This is my rest,' saith he, 'here will I dwell;' 
Psal. cxxxii. 13, 14. This house is built up, to be ' an ha- 


bitation unto him ;' Ephes. ii. 22. He is the ' King of 
saints,' and this house is his court. It is true for his human 
nature, * the heavens must receive him, until the time of the 
restitution of all things;' Acts iv.27. but yet he dwelleth in 
this house three ways. 

(1st.) By his Spirit. Christ dwells in this house, and 
every stone of it, by his Spirit : * Know ye not that Christ 
is in you, except ye be reprobates V 2 Cor. xiii. 5. ' Christ 
in you :' that is, the Spirit of Christ, Christ by his Spirit. 
So the Holy Ghost expounds it, Rom. viii. 9. ' If the Spirit 
of God dwell in you,' which, ver. 10. is, ' if Christ be in you.' 
Christ and his Spirit, as to indwelling, are all one; for he 
dwells in us by his Spirit. ' The love of God is shed abroad 
in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, that is given unto us;' 
Rom. V. 5. There is not only the ' love of God,' a grace of 
the Spirit ' shed abroad' in us ; but there is also the * Holy 
Spirit given unto us.' This is fully asserted, Rom. viii. 11. 
'The Spirit of him that raised up Jesus, dwells in you:' as 
also, 2 Tim. i. 14. ' Keep the good thing committed to thee, 
by the Holy Ghost that dwelleth in us.' Hence the saints 
are said to be 'temples of the Holy Ghost.' Jesus Christ 
doth not build temples merely for graces, created graces; 
he dwells in them himself, he dwells in them by his Spirit. 
And this is a glorious privilege of this house, that Jesus 
Christ in a mystical and wonderful manner should dwell in 
it, and every stone of it. Hereby all believers come to be 
not one personal, but one mystical Christ; 1 Cor. xii. 6. 
However we are distanced in respect of his human nature, 
yet mystically we are one, one body, one mystical Christ, 
because we have one Spirit, dwelling in us and him. If a 
man were never so tall, so that his head should reach the 
stars, and his feet stand upon the ground ; yet having but one 
soul, he is but one man still. Though Christ in his human 
nature be exceedingly distanced from us ; yet there being one 
and the same Spirit in him and us, we are one mystical Christ. 
Yet observe, 

Observation 1. Though Christ be united unto the persons 
of the saints, by the indwelling of the Spirit : yet the saints 
have not that which is called personal union with him, nor 
with the Spirit. Personal union is by a person of the Deity, 
assuming the nature of man into one personality with itself. 


that having of its own no personal subsistence. Things are 
here clean otherwise : Christ doth not assume the saints into 
a personal subsistence with himself, but dwells in their per- 
sons by his Spirit. 

Observation 2. That the operations of the indwelling Spirit 
of Christ, and all his manifestations, are voluntary. He 
worketh as he will, and revealeth what he will, even where 
he dwells. He doth not work in us naturally, but volunta- 
rily, unto what proportion he pleaseth; therefore though he 
dwell equally in all saints in respect of truth and reality, yet 
he doth not in respect of working and efficacy. 

(2dly.) By his graces. Christ dwelleth in this house, 
and in all the stones thereof, by his graces. He ' dwells in 
our hearts by faith;' Ephes. iii. 17. He dwells in us by 
his word in all wisdom; Col. iii. 16. All the graces we are 
made partakers of, we receive from his fulness, and by them 
he inhabits in us. They are indeed the ornaments of the 
living stones of this house, to make them meet and fit for 
such an indweller, as the Lord Christ. Christ will not dwell 
in a soul, whose mind is darkness, his will stubbornness, 
and his affections carnal and sensual. He puts light, and 
life, and love upon the soul, that it may be meet for him to 
dwell in. Christ dwells in all the world by his power and 
presence, but he dwells only in his saints by his Spirit and 

(3dly.) By his ordinances. Where two or three of his 
are assembled together, there is he in the midst of them. 
The ordinances of Christ are the great ornaments of his 
kingly court, by them he is glorious in all the assemblies of 
mount Zion. Some would fain cast out this indwelling^ of 
Christ from among his saints : in due time he will tho- 
roughly rebuke them : some again would thrust him out into 
the world ; but he will make men know, that his ordinances 
are given unto his. It is true, the benefit of some of them 
extends to the world, but the right and enjoyment of them 
is the privilege of his saints. Thus Christ dwells in his 
house. Hence observe. 

Observation 1. The intimacy of the Lord Jesus with his 
saints, and the delight he takes in them : he dwelleth with 
them, he dwelleth in them, he takes 'them to the nearest 
union with himself possible : he in them, they in him, that 


they may be one. He hath made many an admirable change 
with us. He took our sin, and gives us his righteousness : 
he took our nature, and gives us his Spirit. Neither is it a 
bare indwelling, he thereby holds with us all acts of the 
choicest communion. ' If,' saith he, * any man hear my voice, 
and open to me, I will come to him :' and what then ? * I will 
sup with him, and he with me;' Rev. iii. 20. 

(1.) *I will sup with him:' I will delight and satisfy 
myself with him. Jesus Christ takes abundance of delight 
and contentment in the hearts of his saints. When they 
are faithful, when they are fruitful, he is marvellously re- 
freshed with it. Hence is that prayer of the spouse : 
' Awake, O north wind, and come thou south, blow upon my 
garden, that the savour of my spices may flow out ; let my 
beloved come and eat of his spices;' Cant. iv. 16. She 
would iiave the spices, the graces she hath received, breathed 
on by a fresh gale of the Spirit, that they might yield a 
sweet savour. And why so ? That her beloved may have 
something for his entertainment, that he may come and sup, 
and eat of his pleasant fruits. A poor soul, that hath re- 
ceived Christ, hath not any desire so fervent, as that it may 
have something for the entertainment of him : that he who 
filled it when it was hungry, may not (as it were) be sent 
away empty. And the Lord Jesus is exceedingly taken with 
those refreshments. 'The King is held in his galleries;' 
Cant. iv. 5. He is detained, yea, bound with delight, he 
knows not how to pass away. Therefore ' he rests in his 
love;' Zeph. iii. 17. He is exceedingly satiated in the de- 
light he takes in his saints. Neither is this all, that when 
Christ comes he will sup with us, though this be a great 
deal. For what are we, that we should entertain our Lord? 
But also, 

(2.) The saints sup with him : he provides choice re- 
freshments for them also. When Christ comes in unto us, 
he will entertain a soul bounteously. He provides love for 
us. When the Spirit of Christ is bestowed on us, 'he sheds 
abroad the love of God in our hearts ;' Rom. v. 5. He sheds 
it abroad, pours it out abundantly. Friends, love is a choice 
dainty : he that knows it not, is a stranger to all spiritual 
banquets : it is a choice dish in the feast of fat things, that 
Christ prepareth. He provides ' righteousness, and peace. 


and joy in the Holy Ghost' for us ; Rom. xiv. 17. that his 
kingdom, and this kingdom of his, is within us. Of such 
precious things as these doth Christ provide a supper for 
them, with whom he dwells. If Christ be in you, more or 
less, you shall not want this entertainment. We are indeed 
sometimes like mad guests, that when meat is set on the 
table, cast it all down, without tasting a morsel. When 
Christ hath prepared sweet and precious dainties for us, we 
cast them on the ground ; we throw away our peace, our joy, 
by folly and unbelief: but this makes not the truth of God 
of none effect. 

Observation 2. Doth Christ dwell in us by his Spirit? 
Should we not be careful lest we grieve that Spirit of his? 
The Spirit of Christ is very tender. Did the saints conti- 
nually consider this, that Christ dwells in them, that he is 
grieved, and troubled at all their unbelief, unruly passions, 
worldly desires, foolish imaginations; surely they could not 
but be much more watchful over themselves, than generally 
they are. He is refreshed when we walk with him, and hold 
fellowship with him. To turn aside from him, to hold fel- 
lowship with the world or flesh, this grieves him and burdens 
him. Oh, 'grieve not the Spirit of God, whereby you are 
sealed to the day of redemption.' And let me tell you, if 
you do, though he will not utterly depart from you, nor take 
his kindness away for evermore ; yet he will do that shall 
make your heart ache, your joints tremble, and break all your 
bones in pieces. For, 

(1.) He will depart from you, as to all sense of his pre- 
sence, that you shall have neither joy, nor comfort, nor peace. 
He will hide his face, and make you believe (as we say) that 
he is gone utterly from you. And this he will do, not for a 
day, or a night, or so, but for a great while together. You 
shall go to seek him, and you shall not find him ; yea, beg 
and cry, and have no answer. Now all the world for one 
smile from Christ, for one impression of his presence upon 
my heart, and all in vain. When the Spirit of Christ was 
thus departed from David upon his miscarriage, as to the 
sense and joy of it, how doth he cry out? ' Make me to hear 
the voice of joy and gladness, that the bones which thou 
hast broken may rejoice;' Psal. li. 8. If thou valuest the 
presence of Christ at no greater rate, but to jeo])ard it upon 


every occasion, thou mayest haply go without the comfort 
of it all thy days. Examine yourselves, is it not so with 
some of you ? Have you not lost the sense of the presence of 
Christ by your folly and uneven walking? Perhaps you value 
it not much, but go on as Samson with his hair cut, and 
think to do as at other times; but if the Philistines set upon 
thee, it will be sorrow and trouble, in every assault thou wilt 
find thyself a lost man, sooner or later it will be bitterness 
to thee. 

(2.) He will depart, as to the eflScacy of his working in 
thee, and leave thee so weak, that thou shalt not be able to 
walk with God. His Spirit is 'a Spirit of grace and suppli- 
cations.' He will so withdraw it, that thou shalt find thy 
heart in a poor condition, as to those things. To be cold 
in prayer, dead in hearing, estranged from meditation, 
slight in all duties, this shall be thy portion: a frame that a 
tender soul would tremble to think of. Ah, how many poor 
creatures are come to this state in these days, by their neg- 
lect and contempt of Christ dwelling in them ! They have 
lost their first love, their first life, their graces are ready to 
die, and their whole soul is asleep, in a heartless, lifeless, 
zealless frame. They shall be saved, ' but yet as through fire.' 

(3.) He will depart, as to assurance of what is to come, 
as well as to a sense of what is present. It is the indwelling 
spirit of Christ that gives assurance : hereby are we 'sealed 
to the day of redemption. He 'beareth witness with our 
spirits that we are the children of God.' Upon our grieving 
him, he will withdraw as to this also. We shall be bewil- 
dered, and in the dark, not knowing what will become of our 
souls to eternity. For if Christ by his Spirit do not speak 
peace, who shall ? 

Observation 3. Doth he dwell in us by his grace? 

(1.) Let us first know whence all graces are, that in a 
want, or weakness of them, we may know whither to go for 
a supply. ' Of his fulness we receive, and grace for grace.' 
All supplies of graces are from Christ. * Lord, increase our 
faith,' say the apostles. Not only faith originally is from 
him, but all increases of it also. * I believe, help thou my 
unbelief,' says the poor man. We wrestle and struggle with 
a little grace, a little faith, a little love, a little joy, and are 
contented if we can keep our heads above water, that we be 


not quite sunk and lost. How sweet would it be with us, 
if upon a serious consideration from whence all these 
graces flow, we would apply ourselves to draw out farther 
degrees and heightenings of them, whereby he might dwell 
moi'e plentifully in us, and we might always converse with 
him in his gracious train of attendants. How this may be 
done in particular, is not my business now to show. 

(2.) Learn to tender the graces of Christ, as those which 
hold out his presence to us. Let us tender them in our own 
hearts, and prize them in whomsoever they are. They are 
pledges of the indwelling of Christ. Certainly if men valued 
Christ, they would more value his graces. Many pretend to 
love him, to honour him, yea, with Peter, to be ready to die 
with him, or for him ; but what evil surmises have they of 
the graces of Christ appearing in others? how do they call 
them hypocrisy, humour, folly, pride, singularity, with other 
terms of a later invention? I cannot so easily believe, that 
any one can love the Lord Jesus, and hate the appearances 
of him in others. Where is any thing of Christ, there is 
also Christ. 

5thly . Jesus Christ is the great avenger of this house, and 
of all the injuries or wrongs that are done unto it. 'All,' saith 
he, 'that devour Israel shall offend;' Jer. ii. 3. He will not 
hold him guiltless, that rises up against it. See Isa. lix. 15 — 
18. He takes upon him the avenging of his house, as his own 
proper work : 'Shall he not avenge his elect? He will do it 
speedily.' See also Isa. Ixiii. 2 — 6. How dreadful is he in 
the execution of his revenging judgments against the ene- 
mies thereof! So also is he described, Rev. xix. 13 — 15. 
He hath promised to make the stones of this house heavy 
stones, they shall burden all that touch them; Zech. xii. 3. 
He comes forth of 'the myrtle trees in the bottom' (his lowly 
people, in a low condition) with the ' red horse' following him ; 
Zech. i. 8. Upon this account he fearfully broke the old Ro- 
man, pagan empire; Rev. vi. 13 — 17. and will as fearfully 
destroy the antichristian, Roman power, with all its adhe- 
rents ; Rev. xvii. 18, 19. Sooner or later he will call to an 
account every instrument of persecution in the world. Hence 
he is said to be a lion in the behalf of this house, that treads 
down all before him ; Micah v. 8. Jacob says of him in Ju- 
dah, ' He is a lion, as an old lion ; who shall rouse him up?' 

nil. BEAITV OF ZION'. 413 

Gen. xlix. 9. Suppose any do rouse him up : how then? 'He 
will not lie down, until he eat of the prey, and drink the 
blood of the slain;' Numb, xxiii. 24. Majiy poor creatures 
have, by their opposition to his house, roused up this lion: 
and what hath been the issue ? what attempts have been to 
cause him to lie down again, all in vain ? If he be once roused 
up, he will not couch down, until he eat and drink the blood 
of the slain. But suppose great opposition be made unto 
him: will he not give over? Not at all. ' As a lion that 
Cometh upon his prey, if a multitude of shepherds be called 
forth against him, he will not be afraid at their voice, nor 
abase himself at their noise;' Isa. xxxi. 4. In brief, sooner 
or later, temporally or eternally, he will avenge all the in- 
juries, and destroy all the enemies of his holy dwelling ; 
1 Thess. i. 6—10. 

And these are some of the relations, wherein the Lord 
Christ stands unto this house of God, being made thereby 
unto it, beauty and glory, comeliness and excellency. The 
carrying on of this building, by the union of all the stones 
thereof to the foundation, and their cementing one to an- 
other by faith, love, and order, I shall not now treat of, nor 
of the following points of the text. 

The general uses of what hath been said, are three, the 
heads whereof I shall name. 

Use 1. See the eminent privilege of them which are in- 
deed stones of this house, which is living, strong, and glo- 
rious, which is so nearly related to the Lord Christ. There 
is more of duty, dignity, and safety in this thing, than can 
easily be expressed. To do service unto Christ as his, to 
have the honour of being his, and to be safeguarded as his, 
are great privileges. Let them, who have any sense of these 
things, farther draw out these particulars, from what hath 
been spoken. 

Use 2. Learn hence the vanity of resting upon outward 
church privileges, if we are not withal interested in this spi- 
ritual estate. Where men are living stones indeed, they lie 
in beauty and order in the assemblies; where they are other- 
wise, where assemblies are made up of dead rubbish, and yet 
cry, ' The house of the Lord, the house of the Lord ;' the Lord 
Jesus abhors those assemblies, he stands not in these rela- 
tions unto them. 

414 rui: branch of the lord, &c. 

Use 3. See hence the ruin of persecution, that hath ap- 
peared in the world in various forms. It hath put on all 
manner of colours and pretences, and prevailed with all sorts 
of persons at one time or other to close with it. What hath 
been the issue? what is like to be? The house indeed hath 
been battered sometimes, but they who have come against it 
have been broken all to pieces. Shall the residue of men, 
who under new pretences, or old ones new painted, drive on 
the same design, shall they prosper? Thou, O Lord Jesus, in 
thine anger wilt cut them off. The Lord open the eyes of 
the sons of men, that they may not hope any more to sepa- 
rate between Christ and his saints, between whom there are 
so many everlasting relations. 

Mo'va) <7-0(^m SiS, Jia 'iria-du Xpiff-ToD, w h Jo^a aif ToUf (tiSvaf . 'A/jth. 





• This sermon was preached to tlie Parliamcnf, Oct. 24, 1651. being a solemn 
day of thanksgiving for the destruction of the Scots' army at Worcester, with sundry 
other inercici. 




Right Honourable, 

Of all the times which the Holy One of Israel hath 
caused to pass over the nations of the world, there hath 
not any from the days of old been so filled with eminent 
discoveries of his presence, power, and providence, in 
disposing of all affairs here below according to the 
counsel of his own will, as the season wherein he hath 
made you a spectacle unto men and angels, being the 
instrument in his hand to perform all his pleasure. 
Neither in this season hath he upon any opportunity 
so gloriously laid hold upon his own strength and good- 
ness, to manifest the fixedness of his eye on those, who 
are as the apple of it; as in that mighty deliverance, 
the high praises whereof, according to his good hand 
upon you, you lately rendered unto him. 

The more beauty and desirableness any design 
against the Lord Christ is clothed withal, the more 
power and subtilty it is supported with, the greater is 
the brightness of his coming for its wasting and deso- 
lation. With what deceivableness of unrighteousness, 
and lies in hypocrisy, the late grand attempt of those in 
Scotland, with their adherents (which also was of the 
former, and is gone into destruction), was carried on, is 
in some measure now made naked to the loathing of its 


abominations. In digging deep to lay a foundation 
for blood and revenge, in covering private and sordid 
ends with a pretence of things public and glorious, in 
limning a face of religion upon a w^orldly stock, in 
concealing distant aims, and bloody animosities, to 
compass one common end, that a theatre might be pro- 
vided to act several parts upon, in pleading a necessity 
from an oath of God, unto most desperate undertakings 
against God, and such like things as these, perhaps it 
gives not place to any which former ages have been 
acquainted withal. Now to reject all the claims of the 
authors and abettors thereof to any commission from 
above, to divest them of all pretences to religion and 
zeal thereof, to disappoint them in their expected asso- 
ciations, and to make all their strength to become as tow 
that hath smelt the fire, hath been his work alone, who 
takes to himself his great power, to carry on the inte- 
rest of his i^kingdom against all opposers. Under the 
shadow of this mercy, composed of as many branches 
of wisdom, power, goodness, and faithfulness, as any 
outward dispensation hath brought forth since the 
name of Christian was known, do you now sit in coun- 
cil, and the residue of the nation in peace. What ob- 
ligations from the Lord, what cords of love are upon 
us ? The returnal and improvement of all his dealings 
with us, which he requireth and expecteth from us, I 
have pointed you unto in the following sermon. For 
the present, I shall only add, that as whatever there 
hath been, of beauty, glory, or advantage unto the 
people of God in the late transactions, hath been 
eminently of undeserved grace ; so the dreadful ven- 
geance which the Lord hath executed against the men 
of his enmity and warfare, hath been most righteously 
procured, by their clothing cursed designs of revenge, 
persecution, bondage in soul and body, spoil and ra- 
pine, with the most glorious pretences of zeal, covenant, 

VOL. XV. 2 E 


reformation, and such like things, which never came 
into their hearts. Therefore that the God of all our 
mercies and deliverances would for ever keep alive in 
your hearts a faithful acknowledgment of his grace, 
and a practical detestation of those ways which are 
such a provocation to the eyes of his glory, shall be the 
constant prayer of, 

Your most humble Servant 

In our dearest Lord, 
J. Owen. 

From my Study, Ch. Ch. Oxon. Nov. 7. 



And all the trees of the field shall know that I the Lord have hrowjht down 
tlie high tree, and have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, 
and have made the dry tree to flourish: I the Lord have spoken it and 
have done it. — Ezek. xvii. 24. 

Although all the works of God's providence, which are 

• great, and sought out of all that have pleasure in them,' 
Psal. cxi. 2. have such a stamp and impress of his own image 
on them, his wisdom, goodness, power, love, that they de- 
clare their author, and reveal from heaven his kindness, and 
wrath towards the children of men;" yet such are the preju- 
dices, lusts, inordinacy of affections and interest of many, 
that it hath always been a long and difficult task to con- 
vince them of his presence in them, when it hath been most 
uncontrollably evident. The Egyptians will wrestle with 
many a plague, by thinking the ' magicians can do so ;''' and 
the Philistines will try to the utmost whether it be his hand, 
or a chance that happened to them -^ ' Lord,' saith the pro- 
phet, ' when thy hand is lifted up, they will not see ;' Isa. 
xxvi. 11. Yea oftentimes (especially when judicial blindness 
is gone forth upon them*^), though they cannot but see his 

* arm awaked as of old and made bare,' they will not rest in 
his sovereign disposal of things, but rise up against the 
works of his revenge and holiness ; like wild beasts that are 
pursued, when all ways of escape and turning are shut up, 
they fly in the face of him that follows them : * They repent 
not of their evil deeds, but bite their tongues for anger, and 
blaspheme the God of heaven ;' Rev. xvi. 10, 11. Yea, such 
is the power of deceiveable lusts, that many will admire at 
the blindness of others in former generations who considered 
not the works of God (as the Jews in the wilderness), when 
themselves are under actual contempt of no less glorious 
dispensations ; like the Pharisees, who bewailed the folly of 
their fathers ' in persecuting the prophets,' when themselves 
■were endeavouring to * kill the Son of God ;' Matt, xxiii, 
29, 30. To bring then upon the spirits of men, a conviction 

» Psal. xix. 1,2. Rom. i. 18. Acts xxvii. 26, 27. b Exod. vii. 11,12, 

clSam. vi. 9. ^ Igg. vi. li, 12, 



of the works of God and his righteousness therein, so as to 
prevail with them to rest in his determination of things, is 
a task meet only for him, who knows all their hearts within 
them, and can carry on the issues of his providence, until to 
a man they shall say, * Verily there is a reward for the 
righteous: verily he is a God who judgeth in the earth;' 
Psal. Iviii. 11. And this is that which the Lord here under- 
takes to accomplish. * And,' saith he, ' all the trees,' &c. 

In the preaching and prophesying of Ezekiel, this one 
thing among others is eminent, that he was 'artifex pa- 
rabolarum,' a wonderful * framer of similitudes and parables;'' 
a way of teaching attended with much evidence, clearness, 
and power. 

In particular, he frequently compares the world to afield, 
or a forest, and the inhabitants of it to the trees therein : an 
allusion exceedingly proper, considering the great variety, 
and difference of condition both of the one and the other. 
The trees of the field are some high, some low, some green, 
some dry, some strong, some weak, some lofty, some con- 
temptible, some fruitful, some barren, some useful, some 
altogether useless : so that you have all sorts of persons, 
high and low, of what condition, relation, or interest soever, 
clearly represented by the trees of the field, and these are 
the trees in my text. 

This chapter unto ver. 22. is taken up in a riddle, a pa- 
rable, with the exposition of it.^ The time being come, that 
God would destroy the outward visible monarchy of the 
Jews, for their false worship, tyranny, persecution, and op- 
pression, he employs the king of Babylon in that work,s 
who subdues the nation, takes away two kings one after 
another, and appoints Zedekiah a titulary governor under 
him."* But the wrath of God being to come upon them to 
the uttermost, he also closes with Egypt, rebels against 
him,' by whose appointment alone he had any right to be a 
ruler, ver. 16. so way is made by his ruin, to put an end to 
the kingly reign of the house of David in Jerusalem ; Jer. 
xxix. 16, 17. The Lord had of old, erected a kingly govern- 
ment in the house of David, 1 Sam. xvi. 1. 2 Sam. xii. 10. 
not for any eminency in the government itself, or for the civil 

« Ezek. XX. 45. ^ xvii. 2. S 2 Chron. xxxvi. 17. 

^ 2 Kings xiv. 1 — 3. ' Jer. xxxvii. 1 SsKings xxiv. 17. 2 Chron. xxxvi. 10. 



advantage of that people ; for he had long before chosen 
and established another, consisting of ' seventy elders of the 
people,' Numb. xi. 24. to whom he added prophets and 
judges extraordinarily raised up in several generations, ac- 
cording to his promise, Deut. xviii. 18. which when the 
people rejected, he said, they rejected him, or his institu- 
tion, 1 Sam. viii. 7. but that it might be a type of the spi- 
ritual dominion of their Messiah,'^ and so was a part of their 
pedagogy and bondage, as were the residue of their types 
every one of them ; yea, the most glorious enjoyments what- 
soever, which were granted them, which did yet represent 
something that was afterward to be brought in, was part oi 
that servile estate wherein God kept that people, that without 
us they should not be made perfect. But now this carnal 
people beholding the outward beauty, lustre, and glory of 
the type, they began to rest in it, to the neglect of the spi- 
ritual kingdom of Christ represented thereby.^ And thus 
did they with the rest of their types, until the Lord destroyed 
all their outward pomp and glory; Isa. i. 11, 12. Jer. vii. 4. 
14, 15. So in particular dealt he with their kingly govern- 
ment, when once they begin to account their bondage 
their glory, and to embrace the shadow instead of the sub- 
stance. And this did he to recall them to a serious con- 
sideration of the tendency of all typical institutions, and 
the design he was carrying on concerning the kingdom of 

Hence ver. 22. of this chapter he calls them from their 
thoughtfulness about the destructions, desolations, and con- 
tentions that were amongst them in reference to their civil 
rule, to the consideration of that design, which he was se- 
cretly and silently carrying on under all these dispensations. 
* I will also take of the highest branch of the high cedar, 
and will set it, 1 will crop off from the top of his young 
twigs a tender one, and will plant it upon a high mountain 
and eminent. In the mountain of the height of Israel will I 
plant it, and it shall bring forth boughs and bear fruit, and 
be a goodly cedar, and under it shall dwell all fowl of every 
wing : in the shadow of the branches thereof shall they 

^ Psal. xlv. 6. Hos. iii. 5. Isa. ix. 7. xvi. 5. xxii. 22. Jer. xxiii. 5. Amos ix. 
11. Ezek. xxxiv. '23, 2-1. xxxvii. 24, 25. 

' 1 Cor. x. 11. Acts XV. 10. Gal. iii. 4. 


dwell.' As if the Lord should say. There is a great noise 
in the world about setting up, and plucking down of kings, 
in this their carnal rule, and many of you see nothing 
else, you will look no farther ; but I also have my work 
in hand, my design is not bounded within these limits and 
outward appearances, I am setting up a king that shall have 
another manner of dominion and rule, than these worms of 
the earth. He shall stand, as Micah v. 4. 

The setting up then of this kingdom of Christ, ' who is 
the highest branch of the high cedar,' and planting it in the 
church, the ' mountain of Israel,' with the prosperity hereof, 
and safety of him that shall dwell therein, is the subject 
of ver. 22, 23. This being that, to the consideration 
whereof God here calls his people at such a season, I shall 
name one or two observations from this connexion of the 

Observation 1. In the midst of all the tumults and em- 
broilments of the nations, that which the Lord takes pecu- 
liarly as his own design, into his own management, is the 
carrying on of the kingdom of the Lord Jesus. 

You are about your work, saith the Lord, I also am 
about mine ; you have your branches and cedars, I also 
have one to plant, that shall flourish. Dan. ii. 44. 'In the 
days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a king- 
dom that shall never be destroyed,' &,c. Were not those 
kings and kingdoms also of his setting up, that it is said. 
In their days he shall set up one of his own ? Yea doubtless, 
* He changeth the times and the seasons, he setteth up kings 
and removeth kings ;' Dan. ii, 21. 'He ruleth in the king- 
dom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will ;' chap, 
iv. 25. There is not a persecuting Pharaoh, but 'he raises 
him up for his own purpose;' Exod. ix. 16. But yet, in 
respect of the kingdom of his Son, he speaks of them, as 
if he had nothing to do with them: In their days I will 
do my own work, advance the kingdom of the Lord 

There are great and mighty works in hand in this nation, 
tyrants are punished, the jaws of oppressors are broken, 
bloody revengeful persecutors disappointed, and, we hope, 
governors set up that may be 'just, ruling in the fear of the 
Lord, that they may be as the light of the morning,' &c. 


2 Sam. xxiii. 3, 4. The hand of the Lord hath been wonder- 
fully exalted in all these things ; but yet should we rest in 
them, should they not be brought into an immediate sub- 
serviency to the kingdom of the Lord Jesus, the Lord will 
quickly distinguish between them, and his own peculiar de- 
sign, and say, ' In the days of these changes' I will do so, 
and so ; speak of them, as if he had nothing to do with them. 
The carrying on of the interest of Christ, is his peculiar aim; 
he of hisjgoodness make it ours also. 

Observation 2. Among all the designs that are on foot in 
the world, there is none that hath either stability, fixedness, 
or final success, but only the design of God concerning the 
kingdom of Christ. 

Other branches may be set, but the branch of the Lord 
only prospers." The likeliest appearances of other under- 
takings, are but as the glorious rising of the sun in the morn- 
ing, quickly clouded. The interest of Christ is like Joseph, 
Gen. xlix. 23, 24. Ofttimes the archers shoot at it, an4, 
grieve it ; but in the close the bow thereof abides in strength ; 
and therefore this is the issue of all these dispensations, that 
the kingdoms and nations are at length to be possessed by 
the Lord Christ," his sheaf standing up, and all others bow- 
ing thereunto. 

And unto the consideration of these things, in the midst 
of all the tumults in the world, doth God effectually recall 
his people, and withal tells them, how he will carry it on, 
in the words of my text : * And all the trees,' &c. 

In the words three things are to be observed. 

First, The works that God ascribes to himself. 

And that he sets down under a twofold similitude : of 
pulling down the * high tree,' and setting up the 'low tree :' 
and of drying up the 'green tree,' and making the 'dry 
tree' to flourish. And both these similitudes are coincident, 
serving only in this redoubling, for the clearer illustration 
of that, which they shadow out. 

Secondly, There is the issue that God will carry this out 
unto in respect of others : ' All the trees of the field shall 

Thirdly, A particular assurance that the Lord gives for 

™ Hag. ii. 6, 7. Heb. xii. 26, 27. Isa. viii. 9, 10. ix. 7. xlvi. 10. liii. 10. 
Psal. xxxiii. 11. Prov. xix. 21. xxi.30. Job xxiii. 13. 
" Isa. ix. 12, 13. Rev. xi. 15. 


the accomplishment of all this, from the engagement of his 
name : ' I the Lord/ 8cc. 

First, For the first, the expression of the work of the 
Lord may be taken two ways: 1. Strictly and properly; 
2. Largely, and by the way of analogy and proportion. 

1. In the first way you may consider, 

(1.) The tree that is to be cast down and withered, and 
that is the ' high tree,' and the ' green tree ;' a tree that in 
their eyes had both beauty and vigour, high and green: this 
was the Judaical kingdom, admired and delighted in by the 
Jews. This, says God, I will reject; as also he will many 
a tall Eliab, that even some Samuels may think to be his 

(2.) The tree that is to be exalted and made to flourish, 
and that is the ' low tree,' the ' dry tree,' contemptible for 
growth ; it is low, useless for fruit, it is dry. And this is the 
spiritual kingdom of the Messiah, contemned, despised; 
this, says God, I will exalt, carry on, and make glorious ; 
for though the interest of Christ and the gospel may seem 
low, and dry for a season, in comparison of the glory of 
other flourishing interests, yet, in the issue, it shall be ex- 
alted above them all. 

2. As taken more largely, and by the way of analogy ; 
and so, 

(1.) The high and the green tree are the things of the 
most glorious appearance in the world ; persons and states, 
that seem to be exceedingly suited for the work that God 
hath to do ; that are in the greatest probability to be emi- 
nently instrumental in his hand : but alas, says God, these 
I will pull down and cause to wither. Perhaps you will 
think it strange, that a mighty monarchy, a triumphing pre- 
lacy, a thriving conformity, should all be brought down ; 
but so it shall be, ' Every mountain shall be made a plain.' 

(2.) The ' low tree,' and the * dry tree,' are things, per- 
sons, assemblies, outwardly weak and contemptible, such as 
wise men do verily believe that God will never use; they 
will not understand, that such Moses's shall be deliverers, 
butcry, Who made themjudges and rulers?" But even these 
will God exalt and cause to flourish : ' Every valley shall 
be exalted.' 

Exod. ii. 14. Acts vii. 25. 


Two observations flow from hence, which I shall insist 

I. In the carrying on of the interest of Christ and the 
gospel, God will work wonderful providential alterations. 

II. The actings of God's providence in carrying on the 
interest of Christ, shall be exceedingly unsuited to the rea- 
sonings and expectations of the most of the sons of men. 

Some trees must be plucked down, and some raised up ; 
yea, high trees thrown down, and the low caused to flourish. 
There is the issue of God's thus dealing in respect of others, 
' all the trees of the field,' &c. By the ' trees of the field' 
are meant men of all sorts, that are concerned in these 

And (herein you may observe two things : something 
intimated, and that is, an unwillingness in men to own these 
dispensations of God ; hence the Lord undertakes himself to 
set on a conviction upon them, as a thing of great diflSculty : 
and something expressed, which is the conviction itself, that 
shall in the issue fall upon them, notwithstanding all their 
reluctancy. Hence also are these two observations : 

Observation 1. Men are exceeding unwilling to see and 
own the hand of God in those works of his providence, 
which answer not their reasonings, interests, and expecta- 

Observation 2. The Lord will not cease walking contrary 
to the carnal reasonings of men in his mighty works, for the 
carrying on the interest of the Lord Jesus, until his hand 
be seen, owned, and confessed. 

For what remains concerning the assurance of the ac- 
complishment of all this from the engagement of his name, 
I shall only add, That the power and faithfulness of God 
are engaged in t'ne carrying on the things of the kingdom of 
Christ, to the conviction of the most stubborn opposers. 

I begin with the first. 

I. In the carrying on the interest of Christ and the gos- 
pel, God will work wonderful providential alterations. 

Alterations among the trees of the field, nations, states, 
and men on earth. When the beginning of the saints' de- 
parture from under the dominion of antichrist was followed 
with wars, tumults, and destructions, it was objected to 
Luther, That that doctrine could not be of God, which was 


attended with such desolations : he replied, according to 
the vigour of his spirit, ' Ego nisi tumultus istos viderem, 
Christum in mundo esse non crederem;' ' Did he not see 
those tumults, he would not believe that Christ was come 
forth into the world.' The Lord tells you how he will bring 
on his kingdom. Hag. ii. 6, 7. 'I will shake the heavens, 
and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land.' And, ' I will 
shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come,' 
&c. The 'desire of the nations,' is to be brought in by the 
* shaking of the nations.' They are to be civilly moved, 
that they may be spiritually established. Neither are they 
only to be shaken, but also to undergo great alterations in 
their shakings. Heb. xii. 27. 'This word. Yet once more, 
signifies the removing of those things that are shaken, as of 
things that are made, that those things that cannot be shaken 
may remain.' They must have a removal, as well as a shak- 
ing ; fxETa^t(Tiv, ' a change,' a translation. Most nations in 
their civil constitution lie out of order, for the bringing in 
of the interest of Christ ; they must be shaken up, and new 
disposed of, that all obstacles may be taken away. The 
day of the gospel is not only terrible in its discovering light, 
and as it is a 'trying furnace;' Mai. iii. 2. but also in its 
devouring fury, as it is a ' consuming oven ;' chap. iv. 1 . 

There are three principal seasons of the Lord's eminent 
appearance to carry on the kingdom of Christ and the gos- 
pel, and all attended with dreadful providential alterations : 
and unto one of these heads may all particular actings be 

1. The first is, the promulgation of the gospel among 
the Jews by the Lord Christ himself, and his apostles : what 
this was attended withal is graphically described. Matt, 
xxiv. 6, 7. ' And ye shall hear of wars, and rumours of wars ; 
for nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against 
kingdom, and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and 
earthquakes in divers places.' And the close of it you have, 
ver. 29. ' Immediately after the tribulation of those days 
shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her 
light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers 
of heaven shall be shaken.' The Judaical state in all the 
height and glory of it was utterly consumed, so that all 
flesh, all the Jews, were in danger of utter destruction. 


ver. 22. Their own historian himself, a Jew, affirming, that 
from the foundation of the world never was there such de- 
struction and desolation brought upon any nation. Which 
words of his are a comment on that prediction of our Saviour, 
Matt. xxiv. 21. and the reason of this eminent desolation 
you have; Isa. ix. 5, 6. 

2. The second is, in the farther carrying on of the gos- 
pel, after the destruction of Jerusalem, throughout the world 
of the Gentiles, subject then in a great proportion to the 
Roman empire. And what is the issue hereof? The open- 
ing of the six seals immediately follows thereon; Rev. vi. 
Which after manifold and various alterations, end in that 
dreadful dissolution of the'' pagan empire, which you have 
described from ver. 14. to the end. 

3. The most signal is the coming of the Lord Christ to 
recover his people from antichristian idolatry and oppres- 
sion ; which of all others is and shall be attended with the 
most astonishing alterations and desolations, pulling down 
o*f high trees, and exalting them that are low : thence is that 
war, described Rev. xvii. 14. and that mighty vengeance 
poured out by the Lord Christ on the nations, their kings, 
and captains; chap. xix. 11. to the end; which the Holy 
Ghost describes by a collection of all the most dreadful ex- 
pressions, which are any where used to set out great devas- 
tations in the Old Testament. 

And this is the head whereunto the present actings of 
Providence in this nation are to be referred, they all tend to 
the accomplishment of his main design therein. He that 
thinks Babylon is confined to Rome, and its open idolatry, 
knows nothing of Babylon, nor of the new Jerusalem : the 
depth of a subtle mystery doth not lie in gross visible folly: 
it hath been insinuating itself into all the nations for sixteen 
hundred years, and to most of them is now become as the 
marrow in their bones : before it be wholly shaken out, these 
heavens must be dissolved, and the earth shaken ; their tall 
trees hewed down, and set a howling; Rev. xviii. and the 
residue of them transplanted from one end of the earth to 
another. This I say then is the work that the Lord hath 
now in hand; and this is a day of thankfulness in reference 
to what he hath done for us in this nation. I know no better 
way of praising God for any work, than the finding out of 


his design therein, and closing with him in it. God hath 
gone with you, I hope, now to the end of your work, leave 
him not until he comes to the end of his. He hath com- 
pelled you ' to go with him one mile' for your own good, go 
with him two for his glory. The two tribes and a half sat 
not down in their own possessions, uutil the whole work of 
the Lord was done. I speak not with respect to any engage- 
ments of war with foreign nations; what have I to do with 
things that are above me? You will find work enough for 
your zeal to the kingdom of Christ at home; and this is the 
work of thankfulness which you are called unto. 
Now the reasons of this are, 

(1.) Because amongst all men, where the kingdom of 
Christ is to be setup, there is something or other possessed, 
that he alone must and will have ; and therefore the Lord 
giving Jesus Christ but his own inheritance, it must needs 
be attended with great alterations. I dare say, until of late 
(whatever now is) there was not any state or nation in the 
world, where the name of Christ is known, but that there 
was an intrenchment upon that which is the pure portion 
and inheritance of the Lord Christ, and that detained with 
falsehood and force. Yea, such is the folly and blindness 
of the most of men, that they think their greatest interest 
lies in holding that fast, which Christ will take from them : 
Pharoah-like, that thought it the great advantage of his 
kingdom not to let the people go, when it proved the ruin 
of him and his land. This I dare say will in the issue be 
the ruin of all, or most of the tall trees of Europe ; they have 
grasped much of the power of Christ, and endeavour to im- 
pose on the consciences of his in the worship of God, or 
otherwise oppress them in what he hath purchased for them ; 
and, by a dreadful mistake, they suppose their own interest 
lies therein, which makes them hold fast, until Christ hath 
shaken them all to pieces, and taken away even that also 
which was their own. The late king had learned a saying 
from his predecessor, No bishop, no king : Hence he sup- 
poses his main interest to lie in holding fast prelacy ; what- 
ever he seems to part withal, that he will not let go, that is 
his main interest; and what is this prelacy? A mere Anti- 
christian encroachment upon the inheritance of Christ. 
Christ coming to take his own, shakes the other to pieces; 


those who would have been our oppressors in Scotland, but 
that God hath crushed the cockatrice in the shell, and filled 
the pit with their dead bodies which they had digged for us; 
they also had prepared a procruster bed, a heavy yoke, 
a beast that had it grown to perfection, would have had 
horns and hoofs, and in maintaining this, they think their 
great interest to lie. And in holding this fast, are they 
after all their associations, broken in pieces, and this is one 

(2.) The works that God hath to do in such a season, 
require it: God hath three great works to do, in the day of 
his carrying on the interest of Christ and the gospel : 

[l.J He hath great revenges to take. 

[2.] He hath great deliverances to work. 

[3.] He hath great discoveries to make. 

I shall but touch on each. 

[1.] He hath great revenges to take, and that on three 
sorts of persons : 

1st. On oppressing Babylonians; false worshippers and 
persecutors ; whilst the bride is preparing for the Lord 
Christ, he goes forth, with the armies of heaven following 
him, to take vengeance' on these his enemies; Rev. xix. 11. 
These are the Absaloms, the usurpers of his throne, the 
Hamans, the forcers of his spouse, the chiefest adversaries 
of his kingdom :p ' He shall fill places with dead bodies' of 
these, and upon this account, ' wound the heads over many 
countries ;' Psal. ex. 6. The axe is laid to the root of many 
a tall tree on this score, even in this nation where he is 
reckoning for blood, and imposition of yokes ; and he hath 
found out men inheriting this spirit from one generation to 

2dly. Scoffing Edomites: there is a twofold quarrel that 
God hath with that generation of men. Their rejoicing at 
Zion's distress, and desiring its increase; Psal. civil. 6. and 
their endeavour to destroy the residue, when at any time 
straitened ; Obad. 14. How many in the late trial rejoiced 
in the straits of Zion ? that sat expecting our destruction, 
that they might have risen to stand in the cross ways to 
have cut off them that escaped, wherewith should they have 
reconciled themselves to their master, but with the heads of 

P Isa. xliii. 14. Jer. ixv. 12. li. 36% Rev. xvi. 19. 


the servants of Christ ? God hath vengeance in such a day 
as this for Edom also. 

3dly. Lukewarm Laodiceans, neutralists, that * drink 
wine in bowls,' and are no way moved at the suffering of 
Joseph. Gallios that care for none of these things. There 
is a not a generation in the world with whom the Lord is 
more provoked, than with this Meroz generation : when 
God is jealous for Zion, he is ' displeased with them that are 
at ease;' Zech. i. 14, 15. Now considering how many per- 
sons of all these sorts are fixed in the nation, and you will 
see that vengeance cannot be taken on them, without great 

[2.] He hath deliverances to work. It is the time of 
* visiting the prisoners of hope :' the prey must be taken 
out of the jaws of the terrible ; every * staff of the oppressor 
broken in pieces ;' yea, he delivers his saints, not only from 
all that they have suffered, but from all that was in the con- 
trivance of their enemies to bring upon them, which is 
greater than they can execute; and this will cost something 
before the Pharaohs of the nation will let his people go. 

[3.] He hath great trials to make. 

1st. Of his own, that they may be purged. 

2dly. Of hypocrites, that they may be discovered. 

1st. The day of carrying on the interest of Christ, is a 
day of purifying and purging ; Dan. xii. 10. ' Many shall 
be purified and made white and tried ;' that is a day like a 
furnace ; Mai. iii. 3. that will consume dross and tin. The 
remainder of the ' people must be brought through the fire ;' 
Zech. xiii. 9. Joshua's garments are defiled by dwelling in 
Babylon :'^ many of Christ's own have contracted rust and 
soil, have got carnal interests and engagements that must 
be scoured from them. 

2dly. Of the discovery of hypocrites. It is emphatically 
said of the saints, that they ' follow the Lamb whithersoever 
he goes.'' All sorts of professors will follow him in some 
paths; in such as are consistent with their power, dominion, 
and advantages, they are even ready to run before him : but 
he hath some paths that are unpleasing to flesh and blood, 
paths that he gives no loaves in ; here men that say they are 
Jews, and are not, but lie, give quite out from him. Now 

1 Zech, iii. 3. ' Rev. xiv. 4. John, vi. 26. 


upon all these several accounts, must that day of the gospel 
of necessity be attended with great providential alteration. 

Use 1. To discover where dwells that spirit that actuates 
all the great alterations that have been in these nations. 
Such things have been brought to pass as have filled the 
world with amazement. A monarchy of some hundred years' 
continuance, always affecting, and at length wholly dege- 
nerated into tyranny, destroyed, pulled down, swallowed up, 
a great and mighty potentate that had caused ' terror in the 
land of the living, and laid his sword under his head,' brought 
to punishment for blood. Hypocrites and selfish men abun- 
dantly discovered, wise men made fools, and the strong as 
water ; a nation, that of Scotland, engaging for and against 
the same cause, backward and forward, twice or thrice, always 
seeking where to find their own gain and interest in it, at 
length totally broken in opposition to that cause, wherewith 
at first they closed : multitudes of professors, one year pray- 
ing, fasting, mightily rej oicing upon the least success, bearing 
it out as a sign of the presence of God ; another year whilst 
the same work is carried on, cursing, repining, slighting the 
marvellous appearance of God in answer unto prayers and 
most solemn appeals, being very angry at the deliverances of 
Zion : on the other side, all the mighty successes that God 
hath followed poor despised ones withal, being with them 
as with those in days of old ; Heb. xi. 33. ' Who through 
faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained 
promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the vio- 
lence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness 
were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight 
the armies of the aliens.' He, I say, that shall consider all 
this, may well inquire after that principle which being re- 
gularly carried on, yet meeting with the corruption and lusts 
of men, should so wheel them about, and work so many 
mighty alterations. Now what is this, but the most effectual 
design of the Lord to carry on the interest of Christ and the 
gospel, whatever stands in the way. This bears down all 
before it, wraps up some in blood, some in hardness, and is 
most eminently straight and holy in all these transactions. 
Isa. xiv. 32. ' What shall one then answer the messengers 
of the nation ? That the Lord hath founded Sion, and the 
poor of his people shall trust in it.' 


Use 2. To magnify the goodness of God, who unto us 
hath sweetened and seasoned all his dreadful dispensations, 
and all the alterations in those nations, with this his gracious 
design running through them all : this is that which puts all 
their beauty and lustre on them, being outwardly dreadful 
and horrible. The carrying on of this (which is hidden 
from the men of the world, who have therefore no joy), is the 
only thing we have to rejoice at in this day, our victories 
have no glory but what they receive from hence ; Isa. iv. 2. 
That blood which is an acceptable sacrifice to the Lord, is 
the blood of the enemies of this design of his: the vengeance 
that is to be delighted in, is the vengeance of the tem- 
ple : heaven, and all that is in it, is called to rejoice, when 
Babylon 'is destroyed with violence and fury;' Rom. xx. 
21. when those who would not have the king of saints reign, 
are brought forth and slain before his face : and in this, God 
makes distinguishing work, and calls to rejoicing ; Isa. Ixv. 
13, 14. 'Therefore thus saith the Lord God, My servants 
shall eat, but ye shall be hungry ; my servants shall drink, 
but ye shall be thirsty : behold, my servants shall rejoice, 
but ye shall be ashamed : behold, my servants shall sing for 
joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall 
howl for vexation of spirit.' 

Thus the saints are called to sing the ' song of Moses the 
servant of God, and the song of the Lamb ;' Rev. xv. 3. The 
deliverance by Moses was a temporal deliverance from out- 
ward yokes and bondage : the deliverance of the Lamb was 
a spiritual deliverance, from spiritual bondage : the dehver- 
ance that God will give his saints from this oppression shall 
be mixed ; as their bondage partakes of both, so shall their 
deliverance be : and therefore they shall ' sing the song of 
Moses and the Lamb.' If ever any persons in the world had 
cause to ' sing the song of Moses and the Lamb,' we have 
this day ; the bondage prepared for us was both in spirituals 
and temporals ; about a tyrant full of revenge, and a disci- 
cipline full of persecution, hath been our contest : whether 
the yoke of the one and the other should by the sword and 
violence be put upon our necks, and consciences, is our con- 
troversy : there was both Egypt and Babel in the bondage 
prepared; and both these enraged: Pharaoh doubled the 
task of the Israelites when they did speak of liberty ; What 

TlIK K INC. DOM <)1 CIIIUST, cS;('. 4*y.i 

would he have done had he recovered them under his hand 
after they were escaped? What would the thoughts of that 
man of blood have been, and his ways, had he prevailed after 
so many provocations ? 'Ceede ac sanguine, quisquis ab ex- 
ilio.' And what would their ways have been, who thought 
to sit on his risfht hand and his left in his kingdom? But of 
this afterward. Now God having broken both the one snare 
and the other, surely we have cause to * sing the song of 
Moses and of the Lamb' this day : when others are in the 
condition mentioned Isa. viii. 21, 22. 

It is true, all things are not clear to all perhaps that serve 
the Lord : some cannot rejoice in the works of our God, but 
they are not the first on whom that sin hath been charged: 
nothing more frequent in the Scripture, than the laying this 
sin at the door of professors, 'that they set not their hearts 
to the work of the Lord :' if they are of the armies in hea- 
ven, they will at length learn to follow the Lamb : and for 
the present, music with some discords, may make melody 
for the Lord : the song of Deborah is full of complaint :* di- 
vision of Reuben, Gilead, Dan, and Ashur, slow in their helps: 
Meroz wholly neutral : though we have of all these sorts, yet 
may we make a song to the Lord, that in Jesus Christ may 
be acceptable this day. And the Lord I hope will open the 
eyes of them amongst us, and give them to cry for mercy 
when his righteous judgments have driven them from all 
their holds. When the mighty army was destroyed in the 
north about three years ago, many would see nothing in it, 
but that they had not the blessing of the church. Hence 
they began to think of it as Balak did of Balaam, * Whom 
he blessed, they were blessed, and whom he cursed, they 
were cursed.' God could not bear the robbing him of his 
glory, and giving it unto selfish men : they shall bless and 
bless again, and be no more heard than the Baalists' cry : 
even to the Lord shall they cry, but he will not regard them : 
the Lord, I say, will drive them from such holds as these, 
that they may acknowledge his hand. Let then the great 
work of the Lord be owned, be rejoiced in, for it will cer- 
tainly bear down all that stand in the way of it: neither is 

" Isa. xliii. 18. Psal. xlviii. 42—44. Judges v. 16. 17. S3. 
' Numb. xxii. 6. 1 Kings xviii. 26. 

VOL. XV. 2 V 


there the least true consolation in any of these alterations, 
but what arises from a closing with it. 

Come we to the second observation. 

II. The actings of God's providence in carrying on the 
interest of Christ, are and shall be exceedingly unsuited to 
the reasonings and expectations of the most of men. 

He hath a glorious work here to be accomplished : of 
whom should he now make use ? surely the high tree, the 
green tree will be employed. If one be to be anointed in the 
family of Jesse, will it not be goodly Eliab ? if the king will 
honour any, who should it be but I, says Haman? but all on 
the contrary, the low dry tree is taken; David from the flock, 
and Mordecai from the gate : * the thoughts of God are not 
as our thoughts,' neither doth he look on outward appear- 

To give some instances in his most signal actings in this 

The Jews knew that God had a great work to do in 
giving of a Messiah, the Saviour of the world : they are 
raised up to expectation of it : upon every considerable ap- 
pearance, they cry. Is this he ? And what withal did they 
expect ? Outward glory, beauty, deliverance, carnal power 
and dominion : God at length comes to do his work, and 
bringeth forth a poor man, that had not where to lay his 
head, followed by a few fishermen and simple women, that 
had 'neither form nor comeliness that he should be desired;' 
persecuted, despised, crucified from the beginning to the 
end, quite another thing than what they looked for.'-* Thus 
lays he the foundation of the gospel, in the person of his 
Son, by frustrating the expectations of the most of men ; 
'the stone which the builders refused,' &c. Again, seeing 
salvation is of the Jews, ' the rod of Christ's strength, being 
to be sent out of Zion,' and that living waters were to flow 
forth from Jerusalem ; the gospel being from thence to be 
published through the world, who should the Lord choose to 
do it? Surely the great, the wise, the learned of that nation ; 
the high priests, learned scribes, devout Pharisees, that might 
have won their message some repute and credit in the 

1 Luke iii. 15. John i. 19, 20. Acts 5. 6, Matt. xx. 21, 22. xiii. 55, viii. 20". John 
IT. 48, 49. Isa. liii. 2, 3, Phil. ii. 7, 8, &c. 

J' 1 1 r. K 1 \ G I ) o .\i o 1 c H (u s r, 6cc. 435 

world.* But contrary to all the wisdom of the flesh, he 
takes a few ignorant, weak, unlearned fishermen, despised 
upon all accounts, and commits this great work unto them : 
and accordingly out they go, friendless, helpless, harbour- 
less, unto their great employment. The like instruments 
for the most part, did he employ to make an entrance upon 
the great work of casting down false worship and idolatry. 
Moreover, in that great work for the Lord Christ, which is 
to be accomplished in the ruin and destruction of Babel, 
when it must be done with might, power, and strength, with 
armies and blood, will not now the Lord use the 'high and 
green tree?' Many kings and potentates having in pro- 
fession embraced the doctrine of the gospel ; nobles and 
great ones having given up their names in appearance unto 
Christ, who but they, shall now be used in this work of the 
Lord? But yet plainly the Lord tells them the contrary; 
Rev. xviii.9. all these persons bewail the judgments of God 
that are executed on Babel, which shall be done by low dry 

To give one instance in the mighty works which God 
hath lately wrought in these nations, a work of reformation 
and carrying on the interest of Christ is here undertaken : 
what upon this are the thoughts of the most of n»en ? whi- 
ther were their eyes turned ? Tall trees, green trees are 
pitched on. This and that great lord, popular with the 
multitude, Eliabs in their eyes, they must do it ; the Scots 
shall certainly effect it : the king shall be taken from his 
evil counsel, he shall be active in it. A church government 
shall be set up, and no man suffered to live in the nation 
that will not submit unto it. Some like the sons of Zebedee 
shall sit on the right and left hand of Christ, in the king- 
dom they were setting up for him ; these, and those sound 
good men shall be next the king, then all will be great and 
glorious indeed. What now I pray? Do all things indeed 
suit and answer these expectations and reasonings of men ? 
Doth God accomplish the thoughts of their hearts? Alas, 
the high trees rested on, proved for the most part * broken 
reeds that run into our hands,' and let out our blood in 
abundance to no purpose ; the top bough, hoped for, fallen 

* John iv. 22. Psal. ex. 2. Ezek. xlvii. 1. Zech. xiv. 8. AcU iv. 13. 1 Cor. i. 
iO. 26—28. 

2 r 2 


as an abominable branch ; the Scots shaken and broken 
with unparalleled destruction, in the maintenance of the in- 
terest and cause, which at first they prosperously opposed ; 
the iron yoke, pretended to be that of Christ (though it be 
fleshly, carnal, and cruel, suited to the wisdom of a man, 
and his rule be spiritual, meek, and gentle), cast off and 
thrown away : low trees, dry trees, despised ones, contemned 
ones, without form or comeliness, exalted, used, employed, 
and the hand of the Lord evidently lifted up, in all these 

Some reasons of this may be given, and, 

1. The first is taken from the corruptions of the hearts 
of men squaring the works of God to their fleshly reasonings, 
corrupt interests, and principles. They are bold with the 
wisdom of God, and conclude, thus and thus things ought to 
be, ordering their thoughts for the most part, according to 
their corrupt and carnal advantages. I shall instance both 
as to carnal advantages, and principles. 

(1.) Carnal power and glory seem excellent to the Jews : 
hence think they. When God gives us our Messiah, all this 
must be accomplished : their affections are disordered by 
corrupt lusts and desires, and that enslaves their minds to 
strange apprehensions : God comes in his own way, and 
how cross do things run to their expectations : What was 
the corrupt design of many in Scotland? That they might 
set up a son of Tabeal in England, and themselves be great 
under him ; that they and their partakers might impose on 
the residue of the nation, especially in the things of God : 
their great desire that things should be thus, corrupts their 
minds to think that it ought to be so, and shall be so. 
Hence ambition to rule, and to have all under their power, 
even in conscience, is quickly mistaken for zeal to the king- 
dom of Christ, re-enthroning of tyranny is loyalty, and all 
according to covenant. As if men had sworn to be good to 
themselves, and to be true to their own interests all their 
day§, which surely few need to be sworn to. Thus men's 
minds and judgments are distempered by their lusts and 
interests, which makes them frame a way for God to 
proceed in, which when he doth not, how are they sur- 

(2.) For principles. Men take up principles that they 


will adhere unto : wise principles forsooth, yea and very- 
righteous too : all things whatever that fall out, must be 
squared unto their principles ; they expect that nothing 
must be done but what suits unto them; and if any thing 
contrary be wrought, even of God himself, how deceived, 
how disappointed are they? The most tremendous judo-- 
ment of God in this world is the hardening of the hearts of 
men ; this seals them up for the most part to destruction : 
a thing it is often mentioned in the Scripture, and many 
subtle disputes there are, how it should come forth from 
him, who is most holy, seeing it is the greatest sin of the 

I shall give you my thoughts in a most eminent instance 
or two, as to one particular of it. Look on Pharaoh, of 
whom it is most signally spoken, that God * hardened his 
heart:' how did the Lord accomplish this? Pharaoh settles 
himself upon as righteous principles as ever any of the sons 
of men could do : one is, * That it belongs to the chief ruler 
of a nation to see to the profit and glory of the nation.' 
What more righteous principle is there in the world ? You 
that talk of your principles, give me one more righteous than 
this. Hence he concludes, that if it be incumbent on him to 
see that the realm receive no detriment, he must not let the 
people go, by whom they received so many great advan- 
tages : God confirms his heart in these principles, which are 
good in themselves, but abominable when taken up against 
the mind and providence of God : hence he and his perished 
in their principles acting against tha appearance of God. 
It is also said of Sihon, the king of the Amorites, that * his 
heart was hardened that he would not let the people go 
through his land.' How I pray? Even by adhering to 
that wise principle, that * it is not meet to let a potent 
enemy into the bowels of a people ;' and this made way for 
his ruin. 

Thus is it with many ; they fix on principles, good in 
general, and in their season. Old bounds must not be 
broken up ; order must not be disturbed : let God appear 
never so eminently, so mightily, they will keep to their 
principle ; what is this, but judicial hardness. And this, I 
say, is one reason why the actings of God in such a day as 
this, arc so unsuited to the expectations of men ; they square 


his works to the interests and principles, which it will not 

2. God chooseth thus to do things above and besides 
the expectations of men, that his presence, and the presence 
of the Lord Christ, may be the more conspicuous in the 
world. Did the Lord always walk in paths that men had 
rationally, that is, foolishly (for such is our wisdom in the 
ways of God), allot to him, the appearances of his glory 
would be exceedingly eclipsed. It is hard for men to have 
a clear and naked view of the power of God'' in effecting 
any thing, when there is great help of means to do it : but 
it is much harder to discern the wisdom of God in an affair, 
when men's own wisdom and designing is all accomplished. 
But now, when the way of God is like ' the way of an eagle 
in the air; when his paths are in the deep, and his footsteps 
are not known :' then is he glorious in his goings. Men 
think all things would be very glorious, if they might be done 
according to their mind; perhaps indeed they would, but 
with their glory, not the glory of God. 

3. God will do it for the hardening of many false empty 
professors, and others in the world, that the judgments ap- 
pointed may come upon them to the uttermost.^ The hard- 
ening of men to their destruction, being a close and inward 
work, is one of the most eminent acts of the providence of 
God in governing the world : by this, he accomplisheth most 
of the judgments that he hath threatened. Now there is not 
any dispensation of God towards man, but he can, and doth 
sometimes cause it to be so managed, and ordered, that it 
shall be a way and means of hardening such as he hath ap- 
pointed thereunto : some are hardened by the word, some by 
the mercies, some by judgments. Amongst other ways that 
he useth for this purpose, this is one, the disposal of the 
works of his providence contrary to the reasonings of men, 
doing things unlikely and unfitly in the eyes of flesh and 
blood, that so they may despise those ways of his, and be 
broken in opposition unto them. Take an instance in Pha« 
raoh's last hardening for destruction : when he brought the 
people out of Egypt, he did not lead them the direct way to 

" Judges vii. 4. 
y Rom. ix. 18. Deut. ii. 30. Psal. Ixxxi. 12. Ixix. 22. Josh. xi. 20. Isa. 
vi.9~l2.. John xii. -JO— 43. Deut. xxxii. 15. 


Canaan, but carries them into the wilderness, and shuts 
them up between the mountains and the sea : Pharaoh justly 
concludes that they are entangled beyond escape, and that 
he shall surely overtake them and destroy them ; this draws 
him out to his ruin : had God led them in the straight path, 
probably he had not pursued after them, but the Lord lays 
this as a plot for his destruction. God will harden Jero- 
boam, and therefore a lion shall slay the prophet that 
preached against his idolatry. So was it with the Jews, 
they expect all glory to attend the coming of the Messiah ; 
and after the coming of him indeed, God follows them v/ith 
judgments to a total desolation; which being so unsuited 
unto the dispensation they expected, hardness thereby is 
come upon them to the uttermost. Tertullian says, he dares 
say. That * the Scriptures were on purpose framed in many 
things to give occasion to proud and curious, unhumbled 
wits, to stumble and fall.' And I dare say, that the Lord 
doth order many of his works in the world, in * ways past 
finding out,' on purpose to give occasion to many to stum- 
ble and fall. God fulfilleth many mighty works, that could 
not otherwise be brought about, by hardening the hearts of 
men : the hardening of the late king's heart was an eno-jne 
whereby he wrought mighty things and alterations : had not 
God laid obdurateness and stubbornness upon his spirit, we 
had long since in all probability been ruined. To accom- 
plish this end then God will so order the works of his pro- 
vidence, that men shall reason themselves into unreasonable 
and brutish hardness and stupidity. Thus God hath done, 
in the days wherein we live ; his mighty acts that he hath, 
wrought, both for the matter of the things done, and the 
manner of their doing, have been so contrary to men's prin- 
ciples, interest, expectations, and reasons, that they have 
slighted them to such a degree of hardening, that they seem 
to have no reason left at all; and when it comes to that, 
God will fall judicially upon the very faculties of their souls; 
he will blind their eyes, deprive them of their judgment and 
insight into things, that they shall be as incapable of God's 
mind as fools, and give them up to vile affections, to do the 
things that are not seemly, as it hath fallen out with too 
many amongst us. 

Let us now make some use of this point. 


Use. It serves then, to discover the vanity of those men, 
who because the works of God have not been carried on in 
ways suitable to their reasonings and expectations, do ut- 
terly reject them, disown them, and oppose him in them. 
Can these men give any one instance, of any one eminent 
work of God, that he hath brought about by such ways and 
means, as men would rationally allot thereunto, especially in 
things that are in immediate subserviency to the kingdom of 
the Lord Christ? Can they instance that they have been so 
managed? Nay, hath not this been a means to harden mul- 
titudes to their destruction, that have limited the Holy One, 
and chalked out paths for him to walk in ? I cannot but 
fear, that it was a great provocation of the eyes of God's 
glory, that at the beginning, and in the carrying on the 
great alterations that have been wrought by his providence 
among us, we did speak of confirming and continuing under 
any condition whatsoever, any things, or persons, which it 
was in his design to avert : we must be promising to keep 
up the high tree, and to keep down the low tree, which was 
not at all in his thoughts, neither ever came it into his 
heart. I hope he hath taught us (though with thorns) to 
follow him sometimes, like ' Abraham, not knowing whither 
we go.' Now the Lord convince them who are yet under 
this darkness; that think the ways of God not equal, be- 
cause not measured by their line ; that bring their crooked 
rules unto that which is really straight, and cast it away, as 
abominable. The children of Israel had got a proverb 
against the ways of God ;" it was so taken for granted that 
the ways of his providence were not right and straight, that 
it was grown into a common by-word : a little discovery of 
the pride and hypocrisy of their own hearts undeceived them 
at last. 

I shall not say to our brethren, that they have shewed 
this day, that if Absalom had lived, and all we had been 
slain, it would have been well pleasing to them: but this I 
shall say, that it is a sad sign, that our ways please not God, 
when his ways please not us at all. 

There being not space for handling the two remaining 
propositions contained in the text, I shall go forth to one 
general use, and so conclude. 

" Ezek. xviii. '^. 


Use. Now this I shall take from that of the prophet Amos, 
chap. iv. 12; the generality of the people being exercised 
with various judgments, the residue of them are said to be 
saved * as a firebrand out of the burning ;' that is, power- 
fully, effectually, from a very terrible, and a very near de- 
struction. After all the Lord's great dispensations of pro- 
vidence, in carrying on his own design, this being the con- 
dition of the people of this nation, many being destroyed by 
foregoing judgments, and the residue now saved like a fire- 
brand out of the burning, God having given us this issue of 
his mighty works, in pulling down the high tree, and exalt- 
ing the low tree, it cannot but be our wisdom to close with 
the counsel which God gives in such a condition ; and that 
you have, 1 say, Amos iv. 12. ' Because I will do this unto 
thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.' Seeing that all 
this is done, prepare to meet thy God, O England : prepare 
to meet thy God, O parliament : prepare to meet thy God, 
O army. 

To lead you a little towards the performance of this duty, 
it being that, and that alone, which is incumbent on you, I 
shall shew you these two things. 

1. What it is wherein we are to meet our God. 

2. How we must meet him therein. 

1. For the first, there are three ways wherein we must 
meet the Lord, if we desire to answer his mind in any of 
these dispensations. 

(1.) In the way of his providence. 

(2.) In the way of his worship. 

(3.) In the way of his holiness. 

(1.) The eminent ways of the providence of God in these 
days may be referred unto three heads. 

[1.] His general design to pull down all those high op- 
positions to the kingdom of his Son which 1 have mentioned. 

[2.] His peculiar aim to stain the glory of all flesh, to 
pull down high trees, that no flesh may glory. 

[3.] His shaking of all endearments and enjoyments here 
below, that the hearts of his may be fixed only on the things 
that cannot be shaken. 

And these upon all accounts and considerations what- 
ever, appear to be the main tendencies of the actings of pro- 
vidence in these our days.. 


(2.) There is the way of his worship, wherein also he 
will be met. It is most remote from my thoughts to enter 
into contests concerning that peculiar way of gospel worship 
which Christ hath appointed. It sufficeth me, that seeing 
God hath promised, that in these days he will have his ta* 
bernacle with men ; and that ' barrenness and drought shall 
be on every soul that comes not up to his feast of taber- 
nacles,' it is bottom sufficient to press men to meet him in 
that way, according as he shall graciously make out light 
into them. 

(3.) There is the way of his holiness ; as he is holy, so 
are all his ways holy; so he will be met and walked with, in 
all ways of holiness and obedience to Jesus Christ; and 
these are the ways wherein God will be met by his remnant, 
his delivered remnant. 

2. What then is it to meet the Lord in any of these ways ? 
What is it to meet him in the way of his providence, his 
worship, his holiness? To meet one in any thing, is to close 
with him in that thing : we say, herein, I meet you, when 
we are of one mind. To meet the Lord in these things, is to 
close with the will and mind of God in them ; this is that 
which I would exhort you unto, yea, lay the charge of God 
upon you this day, even on you and your companions, who 
are as a brand snatched out of the burning. 

(1.) To meet God in the way of his providence. 

[1.] Meet him in his general design of casting down all 
combined opposition to the kingdom of his Son; that God 
in his appointed time will bring forth the kingdom of the 
Lord Christ unto more glory and power, than in former days, 
I presume you are persuaded : whatever will be more, these 
six things are clearly promised. 

1st. Fulness of peace unto the gospel and the professors 
thereof; Isa. xi. 6, 7. liv. 23. xxxiii. 20, 21. Rev. xxi. 25. 

2dly. Purity and beauty of ordinances, and gospel wor- 
ship; Rev. xi. 1. xxi. 5. the tabernacle was wholly made 
by appointment ; Mai. iii. 3, 4. Zech. xiv. 16. Rev. xxi. 27. 
Zech. xiv. 23. Isa. xxxv. 8. 

3dly. Multitudes of converts, many persons, yea, nations ; 
Isa. ix. 7, 8. Ixvi. 8. xlix. 18—22. Rev. vii. 9. 

4thly. The full casting out and rejectng of all will-wor- 
ship, and their attendant abominations; Rev. xi. 2. 


5thly. Professed subjection of the nations throughout 
the whole world unto the Lord Christ; Dan. ii. 44. vii. 28. 
Isa. Ix. 6 — 8. the kingdoms become, &.c. amongst whom his 
appearance shall be so glorious, that David himself shall be 
said to reign. 

6thly. A most glorious and dreadful breaking of all that 
rise in opposition unto him ; Isa. Ix. 12. never such desola- 
tions ; Rev. xvi. 17 — 19. 

Now in order to the bringing in of this his rule and king- 
dom, with its attendances, the Lord Christ goes forth in the 
first place to cast down the things that stand in his way, 
'dashing his enemies in pieces like a potter's vessel :' this is 
a part of the design of providence, wherein we are to meet 
him in these days. 

I shall speak a word, (1st.) Unto them who are enabled 
to look through the clouds and darkness, whereby his paths 
are encompassed. (2dly.) Unto them who cannot. 

(1st.) For the former, be you persuaded to meet the Lord 
in this his design, yet to continue steadfast in helping him 
against the mighty : I speak not only to you who are in au- 
thority, nor unto you to whom the sword is girded : but unto 
all that wish well to Zion. We have every one our mite that 
we may cast into this treasury : we may be all princes in this 
case, all Israel's, prevailers with God and men. There be 
three things whereby even you, who are but as the number, 
the common soldiers of Christ, may meet the Lord in this 

[1st.] By faith; believe the promises, close with them, 
act faith upon them, and you will believe the beast unto de- 
struction, antichrist into the pit, and magog to ruin; believe 
that'" the enemies of Christ shall be made his footstool, that 
the nations shall be his inheritance, that he shall reign glo- 
riously in beauty, that he shall smite in pieces the heads over 
divers nations ; live in the faith of these things, and as it 
will give you the sweetness of them before they come, so it 
will hasten their coming beyond the endeavours of thousands, 
yea, millions of armed men. 

[2dly.] Meet him with your supplications ; cry unto him, 
as Psal. xlv. 3 — 5. ' Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most 
mighty, with glory and thy majesty. And in thy majesty 

" Psal. ex. 1. 4. ii. 7, 8. Micali v. 3, A. Isa. Ix. 1'.'. 


ride prosperously, because of truth and meekness and righ- 
teousness ; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things. 
Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies, 
whereby the people fall under thee.' This will make you be 
the ' armies of heaven,' that follow him in his great under- 
takings ; Rev. xix. 14. It is his praying people, that are his 
conquering armies that follow him : now you find it coming, 
leave not pulling with all your strength, lest it roll back 
again, shoot not two or three arrows, and so give over, but 
never leave shooting until the enemies of the Lord be all 

[3dly.] Seeing it is his gospel whose advancement the 
Lord Jesus aimeth at in all these dispensations, and whose 
quarrel alone he revengeth (whatever men may do), help on 
to the advancement of that gospel of his, which as formerly 
it was oppressed by the height and tyranny of the tower of 
Babel, so for the present, is exceedingly defiled and cum- 
bered by the rubbish of it being in some measure cast down. 

[4thly.] Whereas in these dispensations, it is most emi- 
nently and frequently in the praise of Christ, said, that he is 
just and righteous in all his ways, as you may see in all the 
acclamations of the saints upon the execution of his judg- 
ments on his enemies ('just and righteous art thou'); which is 
signally done on this account, because the ways whereby he 
doth it are counted most unrighteous in the world, in this 
then also is he to be met, even in the administration of jus- 
tice and judgment : you will otherwise certainly be found in 
a cross path unto him, and be borne down before him. This 
is that wisdom which he calls for among the judges of the 
earth, when he is set to reign on his holy hill ; Psal. ii. 

(2dly.) I shall add one word or two unto them, who either 
from the darkness of the things themselves, or from the pre- 
judices and temptations of their own spirits, are not able to 
discern the righteousness of the ways of God, but rather lift 
up themselves against him. 

[1st.] Then, consider the constant appearing of God 
against every party, that under any colour or pretence what- 
ever have lifted up themselves for the reinforcement of things, 
as in former days ; what colour or pretence soever they have 
put on, or which way soever they have turned themselves. 


God liatli still appeared against them : can you not discern his 
leavening their councils with folly and madness, weakening 
their hearts and hands, making the strong become as tow, 
and the successful a reproach? Though they have gone from 
mountain to mountain to seek for divination, and changed 
their pretences as often as Laban did Jacob's wages, yet 
they find neither fraud nor enchantment that will prevail : 
and doth not this proclaim, that the design which God had 
in hand, is as yet marvellously above you? 

[2.] Consider the constant answer of prayers which those 
which have waited on God in these dispensations, to their 
unspeakable consolations, have received ; finding God to be 
nigh unto them in all that they call upon him for : if in 
this thing, 'they regarded iniquity in their hearts, surely 
God would not have heard them:' others also cry, 'even to 
the Lord do they cry,' but he will not bear witness to the 
abomination of their hearts : oh ! that upon these and the 
like considerations, you would at last take the counsel of the 
psalmist, Psal. xlvi. 10. ' Be still and know that he is God:' 
be silent before him, for he is risen out of his holy habitation ; 
say, 'God hath done great things for these ; who hath har- 
dened himself against him, and prospered V And this is the 
first particular. 

(2.) The second design of providence in these dispensa- 
tions, is evidently to ' stain the glory of all flesh ;' so Isa. 
xxiii. 9. never did the Lord any work more eminently, what 
.sort of men is there amongst us, whose glory God hath not 
stained? I had rather leave this unto a silent thought, than 
to give you particular instancesof it : otherwise it were very 
easy to make it as clear as the sun, that God hath left nei- 
ther self-honour nor glory to any of the sons of men : meet 
him then in this also. 

1st. Cease putting confidence in man, say he is a worm, 
and ' the son of man is but a worm, his breath is in his nos- 
trils, and wherein is he to be accounted of?' This use doth 
the church make of mercies, Psal. xx. 6, 7. Some trust in 
horses, and some in chariots, but we will remember the 
name of the Lord :' we will not trust in parliaments or ar- 
mies; all flesh is grass; Isa. xl. let it have its withering 
time and away: see no wisdom but the wisdom of God, no 
strength but the strength of God, no glory but his. 

44G TllK Al)Vy\.\TACiK OF 

2dly. Have any of us any glory, any crowns, any gifts, 
any graces, any wisdom or valour, any useful endowments, 
let us cast them all down at the feet of Jesus Christ; if we 
look on them, if we keep them as our own, God withers all 
their beauty, and their glory. Thus do the ' elders who wor- 
ship the Lamb for ever,' Rev. iv. 10, 11. say to him, 'Lord 
Jesus, thine is the glory;' thine are all the inighty works 
which have been wrought in our days; thine are all the 
means whereby they have been accomplished; we are no- 
thing, we can do nothing, thou art all, and in all : and this 
is the second. 

[3.] He aims at the shaking of all these things here be- 
low: he is taking down the rate and price of all things here 
below ; on that which was worth a thousand pounds, he 
takes his bill and writes down scarce the thousandth part : 
he hath laid his hand upon the nests of the nation, and hath 
fitted wings unto all their treasures ; and so eminently writ- 
ten vanity and uncertainty on them all, as must needs lessen 
their esteem, were not men blinded by the god of this world : 
in this also are we to meet the Lord. 

1st. By getting a low esteem of the things that God is 
thus shaking, and that upon this account, that he shakes 
them for this very end and purpose, that we should find 
neither rest nor peace in them : perhaps thou hast had a de- 
sire to be somebody in the world, thou seest thyself come 
short of what thou aimest at : say now with Mephibosheth 
upon the return of David, not only half, but let all go, see- 
ing that the Lord Jesus shall reign with glory. A man may 
sometimes beat a servant, for the instruction of his son : 
God hath shaken the enjoyments of his enemies, to lead his 
friends to disesteem them : God forbid, the quite contrary 
should be found upon any of us. 

2dly. By labouring to find all riches and treasures in the 
Lord Christ : the earth staggers like a drunken man ; the 
princes of it are reduced to a morsel of bread ; all that is 
seen is of no value : doth not God direct us to the hidden 
paths, to the treasures that cannot be destroyed? Many say, 
' Who will shew us any good? Lord, lift thou up the light 
of thy countenance upon us.' 

(2.) We are to meet the Lord in the way of his ordi- 
nances, in the way of gospel worship, the exalting of the 

'IIIJ-: Ki\(;Dui\r oi" cnuis'i, ^c. 447 

Lord Christ herein is the issue of all the mighty works of 
God : this is given in as the end of all, Rev. xxi. 3. ' The 
tabernacles of God,' Sec. after great shakings, the promise 
still is of a new heaven and earth, Isa. Ixv. 17. Rev. xxi. 1. 
and this is that the people of God put themselves upon in 
the days wherein Babylon is to be destroyed, Jer. 1. 4 — 8. 
that is the work they then take in hand : the end of all is 
the building of the temple, Ezek. xlvii. and this is the con- 
clusion that the people of God do make, Isa. ii. 3, 4. and if 
this be neglected, the Lord will say of us, as David of Na- 
bal ; ' Surely in vain have I kept these men and all that they 
have.' To meet the Lord in this also, 

[1.] Inquire diligently into his mind and will, that you 
may know his paths, and be acquainted with his statutes. I 
dare say, no temptation in the world presses with more co- 
lour and violence upon men under mercies, than that to a 
neglect of walking and holding communion with God in his 
ordinances : the devil thinks thus to revenge himself of the 
Lord Jesus : his own yoke being broken, he thinks to prevail 
to the casting away of his : Christ hath a yoke though it be 
gentle and easy. 

[2.] You that do enjoy holy ordinances, labour to have 
holy hearts answerable thereunto : you have heavenly insti- 
tutions, labour to have heavenly conversations : if we be like 
the world in our walking, it is no great matter if we be like 
the world in our worship : it is sad walking contrary to God 
in his own paths ; shew out the power and efficacy of all gos- 
pel institutions, in a frame of spirit, course of life, and equa- 
bility of spiritual temper all your days. 

[3.] Keep up the power of private worship, both personal 
and family. I have seen many good laws for the sabbath, 
and hope I shall see some good examples: look what the 
roots are in the family, such will the fruit be in the church 
and commonwealth : if your spirits are not well manured 
there, you will be utterly barren elsewhere : that is done 
most clearly to God, which is done within doors. 

(3.) Meet him in the way of his holiness; in the cry of 
the saints unto the Lord for the execution of his judgments 
and vengeance, they in an especial manner invocate his ho- 
liness. .Rev. vi. 10. ' How long, O Lord, holy and true, 
dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that 


dwell on the earth?' And in their rendering praises to him, 
they still make mention of his holiness and righteousness in 
all his ways. Though the ways of God are commonly tra- 
duced as unequal and unholy ways, yet in the close there is 
no property of his, that he will more vindicate in all his 
works, than that of his holiness; in this then we are also to 
meet the Lord in this day of our deliverance, the day wherein 
he hath wrought such great and wonderful alterations. 

This use the Holy Ghost maketh upon such like dispen- 
sations, 2 Pet. iii. 11. ' Seeing that all these things,' &c. 
and so also, Heb. xii. 27, 28. * And this word. Yet once 
more, signifieth the removing of these things that are 
shaken, as of things that are made, that these things which 
cannot be shaken, may remain. Wherefore we receiving a 
kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby 
we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly 
fear.' All things opposing removed, a freedom established, 
therefore let us have grace : God is the thrice holy one, 
holy in his nature, holy in his word, and holy in all his 
works; and he requires that his people be a holy people. 
To this he still urged his ancient people, from the argument 
of his presence amongst them : oh, that the Spirit of the 
Lord would bring forth this one fruit of all his dealing with 
us, that we might be a holy people ! If we put God's 
pure and clean mercies into impure and unclean vessels 
they will to us be defiled. Let us take heed of prostrating 
the mighty works of God to the service of our lusts. Should 
we now make such conclusions to ourselves, as the rich fool 
in the gospel, and say. Well, we have now peace and pros- 
perity laid up for some years ; soul, take thy ease, eat, drink, 
and be merry, grow rich and great, follow after vanity, pride, 
folly, uncleanness, enjoy with delight the things which we 
have and heap up thereto. Why, as this is to labour to 
draw the Lord God into a partnership with our abomina- 
tions, and to enforce his mighty works to bear witness to 
our lusts, so certainly it is such a frame as he will surely 
and speedily revenge. The end why God delivers us from all 
our enemies, is, not that we may serve our lusts and our- 
selves without fear, but that we may serve him without fear 
in righteousness and holiness all the days of our lives. Let 
then this be the issue upon our hearts, of all the victories. 


and successes, and returns of prayers, that we have received; 
that we give up ourselves to the Lord in all manner of holi- 
ness; this is that which the Lord's voice calls us unto : let 
not now him that is filthy be filthy still ; let not him that is 
worldly be worldly still; let not him that is loose, and hath 
cast off the yoke of Christ, be so still ; let not him that hath 
sought himself, do so still; let not him who hath contemned 
the institutions of Christ, do so still ; let not him that hath 
been lifted up above his brethren, be so still ; but let every 
one forsake his evil way, and the iniquity that is in his hand, 
that we who were not a people at all, may be a people to the 
praise of the God of all : that you who rule over men may be 
just, ruling in the fear of the Lord, that you may be as the 
light of the morning when the sun is risen, even as a morn- 
ing without clouds, as the tender grass springing out of the 
earth by clear shining after rain : that we who are under 
rule, may sit under our vines and fig-trees, speaking well of 
the name of God, and labouring to carry on the kingdom of 
the Prince of peace, even every one as we are called, and 
abiding therein with God ; that as when you sought this 
mercy of God which we rejoice in, in solemn humbling of 
yourselves before the Lord, I made it appear unto you, that 
it was the remnant of Jacob, God's secret and holy ones, 
lying in the bowels of the nation, that must be the rise of all 
our deliverances, so we would now every one strive to be of 
that number, for they alone enjoy the sweetness of this and 
every mercy. 






• This sermon was preached in the abbey church at Westminster, Feb. 6, 1651. 



The ensuing sermon was preached upon as sad an oc- 
casion, as on any particular account liatli been given 
to this nation in this our generation. It is now pub- 
lished, as at the desire of very many who love the savour 
of that perfume, which is diffused with the memory of 
the noble person peculiarly mentioned therein ; so also 
upon the requests of such others, as enables me justly 
to entitle the doing of it obedience. Being come 
abroad, it was in my thoughts to have directed it im- 
mediately in the first place to her, who of any indi- 
vidual person was most nearly concerned in him. But 
having observed how near she hath been to be swal- 
lowed up of sorrow, and what slow progress he, who 
took care to seal up instruction to her soul by all dis- 
pensations, hath given her hitherto towards a conquest 
thereof; I was not willing to offer directly a new oc- 
casion unto the multitude of her perplexed thoughts 
about this thing. No doubt, her loss being as great 
as it could be, upon the account of one subject to the 
law of mortality, as many grains of grief and sorrow 
are to be allowed her in the balance of the sanctuary, 
as God doth permit to be laid out and dispended about 
any of the sons of men. He who is able to make 
sweet the bitterest waters, and to give a gracious issue 
to the most grievous trial, will certainly, in due time, 
eminently bring forth that good upon her spirit, which 

2 G 2 


he is causing all these things to work together fcr. In 
the mean time, sir, these lines are to you : your near rela- 
tion to that rare example of righteousness, faith, holiness, 
zeal, courage, self-denial, love to his country, wisdom, 
and industry, mentioned in the ensuing sermon ; the 
mutual tender affection between you, whilst he was 
living ; your presence with him in his last trial and 
conflict ; the deserved regard you bear to his worth 
and memory; your design of looking into, and follow- 
ing after his steps and purpose in the work of God in 
his generation, as such an accomplished pattern as few 
ages have produced the like; with many other reasons 
of the like nature, did easily induce me hereunto. 
That which is here printed is but the notes I first took, 
not having had leisure since to give them a serious pe- 
rusal, and upon that account must beg a candid inter- 
pretation, unto any thing that may appear not so well 
digested therein, as might be expected. I have not 
any thing to express concerning yourself, but only my 
desire that your heart may be fixed to the Lord God of 
your fathers, and that in the midst of all your tempta- 
tions and oppositions, wherewith your pilgrimage will 
be attended, you may be carried on and established in 
your inward subjection unto, and outward contending 
for, the kingdom of the dearly beloved of our souls, not 
fainting, or waxing weary, until you receive your dis- 
mission to rest, for your lot in the end of the days. 

Your most humble and affectionate servant, 

J. Owen. 

Oxon, Ch. Ch. April 2. 



]3ut go thou thy ivay till the end he, for thou shall rest, and stand in the let 
at the end of the days. — Dan. xii. 13. 

The words of my text having no dependance (as to their 
sense and meaning, but only as to the occasion of them) 
on the verses foregoing; I shall not at all look backward into 
the chapter, but fall immediately upon them, that I be not 
hindered from my principal intendment : being unwilling to 
detain you long, though willing to speak a word from the 
Lord to such a congregation gathered together by such an 
eminent act of the providence of God. 

The words are the Lord's dismission given to a most emi- 
nent servant, from a most eminent employment, wherein these 
four things are observable : 

First, The dismission itself in the first words : * Go thou 
thy ways.' 

Secondly, The term allotted for his continuance under 
that dismission : ' Until the end be.' 

Thirdly, His state and condition under that dismission : 
' For thou shalt rest.' 

Fourthly, The utmost issue of all this dispensation, both 
as to his foregoing labour, his dismission, and rest following : 
* Stand in thy lot at the end of the days.' 

First, In the first, I shall consider two things. 

1 . The person dismissed ; * Thou.' 

2. The dismission itself; 'Go thou thy ways.' 

1. The person dismissed is Daniel, the writer of this pro- 
phecy, who received all the great visions of God mentioned 
therein, and I desire to observe concerning him as to our 
purpose in hand, two things. 

(1.) His qualifications; (2.) His employment. 

(1.) For the first, I shall only name some of them that 
were most eminent in him, and they are three. 

[1.] Wisdom; [2.] Love to his people ; [3.] Uprightness 
and righteousness in the discharge of that high place, where- 
unto he was advanced. 


[1.] For the first, the Holy Ghost bcareth ample testi- 
mony thereunto, Dan i. 17. 20. * As for these four children, 
God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and 
wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and 
dreams. And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, 
that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times 
better than all the magicians and astrologers, that were in 
all his realm.' In all matters of wisdom and understanding 
none in the whole Babylonian empire, full of wise men and 
artists, were to be compared unto Daniel and his compa- 
nions ; and Ezekiel, chap, xxviii. 3. rebuking the pride and 
arrogancy of Tyrus with a bitter scorn, he says, 'Behold, 
thou art wiser than Daniel,' or thou thinkest thyself so, in- 
timating that none in wisdom was to be compared unto him. 

[2.] Love to his people. On this account was his most 
diligent inquiry into the time of their deliverance, and his 
earnest contending with God upon the discovery of the 
season when it was to be accomplished, chap. ix. 1 — 4. 
Hence he is reckoned amongst them who in their generation 
stood in the gap, in the behalf of others, Noah, Daniel, and 
Job. Hence God calls the people of the Jews, 'his people/ 
chap. ix. 24. ' Seventy weeks are determined on thy people ;' 
the people of thy affections and desires, the people of whom 
thou art, and who are so dear unto thee. 

[3.] For his righteousness in discharging of his trust and 
office, you have the joint testimony of God and man : his 
high place and preferment you have, chap. vi. 2. He was the 
first of the three presidents who were set over the hundred 
and twenty other princes of the provinces ; and the Holy 
Ghost tells you, that in the discharge of this high trust and 
great employment he was faithful to the utmost, ver. 4. 
* Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion 
against Daniel concerning the kingdom, but they could find 
none occasion nor fault : forasmuch as he was faithful, nei- 
ther was there any error or fault found in him.' Which also 
his enemies confessed, ver. 3. * Then said these men. We 
shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we 
find it against him concerning the law of his God.' 

These qualifications, I say, amongst others, were most 
eminent in this person, who here received his dismission from 
his employment. 


(2.) There is his employment itself, from which he is 
dismissed, and herein I shall observe these two things: 

[1.] The nature of the employment itself. 

[2.] Some considerable circumstances of it. 

[1.] For the first, it consisted in receiving from God, and 
holding out to others, clear and express visions concerning 
God's wonderful providential alterations in kingdoms, and 
nations, which were to be accomplished, from the days 
wherein he lived, to the end of the world. All the prophets 
together had not so many clear discoveries, as this one Daniel 
concerning these thino;s. 

[2.] For the latter, this is observable, that all his visions 
still close with some eminent exaltation of the kingdom of 
Christ ; that is the centre where all the lines of his visions 
do meet, as is to be seen in the close almost of every chapter, 
and this was the great intendment of the Spirit in all those 
glorious revelations unto Daniel, to manifest the subservi- 
ency of all civil revolutions unto the interest of the kingdom 
of the Lord Christ. 

This then is the person concerning whom these words 
were used, and this was his employment. 

2. There is his dismission itself; ' Go thou thy ways.' 
Now this may be considered two ways. 

(1.) Singly, relating to his employment only. 

(2.) In reference to his life also. 

(1.) In the first sense, the Lord dischargeth Daniel from 
his farther attendance on him in this way of receiving visions 
and revelations, concerning things that were shortly to come 
to pass, although haply his portion might yet be continued 
in the land of the living : as if the Lord should say, Thou art 
an inquiring man, thou art still seeking for farther acquaint- 
ance with my mind in these things, but content thyself, thou 
shalt receive no more visions ; I will now employ Haggai, 
Zechariah, and others ; thou shalt receive no more : but I 
cannot close with this sense, for, 

[1.] This is not the manner of God to lay aside those 
whom he hath found faithful in his service ; men indeed do 
so, but God changeth not : whom he hath begun to honour 
with any employment, he continueth them in it, whilst they 
are faithful to him. 

[2.] Daniel was now above a hundred years old, as may 


be easily demonstrated by comparing the time of his cap- 
tivity, which was in the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim, 
chap. i. 1. with the time of his writing this prophecy, which 
is expressly said to be in the reign of Cyrus, the king of 
Persia; chap. x. 1. and therefore probably his end was very 
nigh ; and after this you hear of him no more ; who had he 
lived many days, it had been his sin not to have gone up to 
Jerusalem, the decree of Cyrus giving liberty for a return 
being passed. 

(2.) It is not then God's laying him aside from his office 
simply, but also his intimation that he must shortly lay 
down his mortality, and so come into the condition wherein 
he was ' to rest' until the end. This then is his dismission, 
he died in his work, life and employment go together. 'Go 
thou thy ways.' 

Observation I. There is an appointed season wherein 
the saints of the most eminent abilities, in the most useful 
employments, must receive their dismission : be their work 
of never so great importance, be their abilities never so 
choice and eminent, they must in their season receive their 

Before I handle this proposition, or proceed to open 
the following words, I shall crave leave to bring the work 
of God, and the word of God, a little close together, and 
lay the parallel between the persons dismissed, the one in 
our text, the other in a present providence, which is very 
near, only that the one lived not out half the days of the 

1. Three personal qualifications we observed in Daniel, 
all which were very eminent in the person of our desires. 

(1.) Wisdom. There is a manifold wisdom which God 
imparteth to the sons of men ; there is spiritual wisdom, that 
by the way of eminency is said to be ' from above,' James 
iii. 17. which is nothing but the gracious acquaintance of 
the soul, with the hidden wisdom of God in Christ ; 1 Cor. 
ii. 7* And there is a civil wisdom, or a sound ability of mind 
for the management of the affairs of men in subordination to 
the providence and righteousness of God. Though both 
these were in Daniel, yet it is in respect of the latter that 
his wisdom is so peculiarly extolled. And though I am very 
far from assuming to myself the skill of judging of the 


abilities of men, and would be far from holding forth things 
of mere common report, yet, upon assured grounds, I suppose 
this gift of God, ability of mind, and dexterous industry for 
the management of human affairs, may be ascribed to our 
departed friend. 

There are sundry things that distinguish this wisdom 
from that policy which God abhors, which is ' carnal, sensual, 
and devilish ;' James iii. 15. though it be the great darling 
of the men of the world; I shall name one or two of them. 

[1,] A gracious discerning of the mind of God, accord- 
ing to his appearance in the affairs wherein men are em- 
ployed ; Micah vi.9. 'The Lord's voice crieth unto the city, 
the man of wisdom shall see thy name, hear the rod, and 
who hath appointed it.' It is the wisdom of a man, to see 
the name of God, to be acquainted with his will, his mind, 
his aim in things, when his providential voice crieth to the 
city. All the works of God have their voice, have their in- 
struction : those of signal providences speak aloud, they cry 
to the city ; Here is the wisdom of a man, he is a man of 
substance, a substantial man, that can see his name in such 
dispensations. This carnal policy inquires not into, but is 
wholly swallowed up in the concatenation of things among 
themselves, applying secondary causes unto events, without 
once looking to the name of God, like swine following acorns 
under the tree, not at all looking up to the tree from whence 
they fall. 

[2.] Such acquaintance with the seasons of providence^ 
as to know the duty of the people of God in them; 1 Chron . 
xii. 32. the children of Issachar,men that had understanding 
of the times, to know what Israel ought to do : this it is in- 
deed to be a man of understanding, to know in any season 
the duty of Israel, that they may walk up to acceptation with 
God in the performance thereof. A thing which is neither 
prescribed in the rules, nor followed in the practice of men, 
wise only with that cursed policy which God abhors : to 
have a mind suited unto all seasons and tempers, so as to 
compass their own selfish ends, is the utmost of their aim. 

Now in both these did this gift of God shine in this de- 
ceased saint, 

1. He ever counted it his wisdom to look after the name 
of God, and the testification of his will, in every dispensa- 


tion of providence, wherein he was called to serve : for this 
were his wakings, watchings, inquiries ; when that was made 
out, he counted not his business half done, but even accom- 
plished, and that the issue was ready at the door; not what 
saith this man, or what saith that man, but what saith the 
Lord? that being evident; he consulted not with flesh and 
blood, and the wisdom of it, whereof perhaps, would he have 
leaned to it, he was as little destitute as any in his gene- 
ration, I mean the whole wisdom of a man. The name of 
God was as land in every storm, in the discovery whereof, 
he had as happy an eye at the greatest seeming distance 
when the clouds were blackest, and the waves highest, as any. 
2. Neither did he rest here: what Israel ought to do in 
every season, was also his inquiry ; some men have a ^ wis- 
dom to know things, but not seasons in any measure; surely 
a thing in season is no less beautiful, than a v/ord in season: 
'as apples of gold in pictures of silver:' there are two things 
that belong to civil affairs, but are alterable upon the incom- 
prehensible variety of circumstances. These alter and 
change the very nature of them, and make them good or 
bad, that is, useful or destructive. He that will have the 
garment that was made for him one year, serve and fit him 
the next, must be sure that he neither increase nor wane. 
Importune insisting on the most useful things, without re- 
spect to alterations of seasons, is a sad sign of a narrow 
heart. He of whom we speak, was wise to * discern the sea- 
sons,' and performed things, when both themselves, and the 
ways of carrying them on were excellently suited unto all 
coincidences of their season. And indeed, what is most 
wisely proposed in one season, may be most foolishly pur- 
sued in another. It had been wisdom in Joshua not to have 
made any compact, but to have slain all the Gibeonites ; but 
it was a folly sorely revenged in Saul, who attempted to do 
the same. He who thinks the most righteous and suitable 
proposals or principles, that ever were in the world (setting 
aside general rules of unchangeable righteousness and equity 
compassing all times, places, ways, and forms of government) 
must be performed as desirable, because once they were so, 
is certainly a stranger to the affairs of human kind. 

Some things are unchangeable and indispensable amongst 
men, suppof^ing them to live answerable to the general prin- 


ciples of their kind : as that a government must be ; without 
vvliich every one is the enemy of every one, and all tend to 
mutual destruction, which are appointed of God for mutual 
preservation ; that in government some do rule, and some be 
in subjection ; that ail rule be for the good of them that are 
ruled; and the like principles that flow necessarily from the 
very nature of political society. 

Some things again are alterable and dispensable, merely 
upon the account of preserving the former principles, or the 
like : if any of them are out of course, it is a ' vacuum' in na- 
ture politic, for which all particular elements instantly dis- 
lodge and transpose themselves to supply ; and such are all 
forms of governments amongst men, which if either they so 
degenerate of themselves that they become directly opposite, 
or are so shattered by providential revolutions as to become 
useless to their proper end, may and ought to be changed, 
and not upon other accounts : but now for other things in 
government, as the particular way, whereby persons shall be 
designed unto it, the continuance of the same persons in it, 
for a less or greater proportion of time, the exercise of more 
or less power by some sorts, or the whole body of them that 
are ruled, the uniting of men for some particular end by 
bonds and engagements, and the like occasional emergen- 
cies, the universal disposal of them is rolled on prudence to 
act according to present circumstances. 

(2.) Love to his people. This was the second qualifi- 
cation, wherein Daniel was so eminent. And our deceased 
friend, not to enter into comparison with them that went be- 
fore, had clearly such a proportion, as we may heartily de- 
sire that those who follow after, may drink but equal draughts 
of the same cup; that as his pains, labour, travail, jeopards 
of his life, and all that was dear to him, relinquishment of 
relations and contentments, had sweetness and life from this 
motive, even intenseness of affection to his people, the peo- 
ple of whom he was, and whose prosperity he did desire, 
needs no farther demonstration, than the great neglect of 
self and all self-concernments which dwelt upon him in all his 
tremendous undertakings: 'vicit amor patriae,' or certainly 
he who had upon his breast and all his undertakings self- 
contempt so eminently engraven, could not have persisted 
wrestling with so many difficulties to the end of his days : 


it was Jerusalem, and the prosperity thereof, which was pre- 
ferred to his chief joy. Neither, 

(3.) Did he com