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Full text of "The works of John Owen"


PRij<c?;T<jy. X. J. 
D'^ v i s i o n , 

Xo. Shelf, Se^Hl^. 


Boo/,\ |\|o, .J56w. ^...._.^..|| 

Tlio John M. Krcb»< Donatiuii. 

/C/, i^i »-^ -^ 













And sold by J. Parker, Oxford ; Deighton and Sons, Cambridge ; D. Brown, 
Waugh and Innes, and H. S. Baynes and Co. Edinburgh ; Chalmers and 
Collins, and M. Ogle, Glasgow ; M. Keene, and R. M. Tims, Dublin. 







Upon all the glory shall be a defence. — Isa. iy. 5. 5 



Let the righteous smite me ; it shall be a kindness : and let him reprove me ; 
it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head : for yet ray prayer 
also shall be in their calamities. — Psal. cxli. 5. • • « 23 



If SO be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. — 1 Pet. ii. 3. 46 



For Israel hath not been forsaken, nor Judah of his God, of the Lord of hosts ; 
though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel. — Jer. 
li. 5. 105 



For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. — Ephes. 
ii. 18. 122 



For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. — Ephes. 
ii. 18. 142 




And to walk humbly with thy God Micah vi. 8. 161 



And to walk humbly with thy God. — Micah vi. 8. 172 



And to walk humbly with thy God. — Micah vi. 8. 184 



And to walk humbly with thy God.— Micah vi. 8. 197 



And to walk humbly with thy God. — Micah vi. 8. 208 



Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons 
ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness ? — 2 Pet. iii. 11 220 



Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons 
ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness ? — 2 Pet. iii. 11 234 



Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons 
ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness? — 2 Pet. iii. 11.- • • . 254 



Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons 
ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness .' — 2 Pet. iii. 11.. . . . 2(j7 




The stout-hearted are spoiled, they have slept their sleep; and none of the 
men of might have found their hands.— Psal. Ixxvi. 5 281 



But the miry places thereof and the raarishes thereof shall not be healed j they 
shall be given to salt.— Ezek. xlvii. 11. .306 



But the rairy places thereof, and the marishes thereof shall not be healed ; they 
shall be given to salt — Ezek. xlvii. 11. '. . . . . 320 



O Lord, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart 
from thy fear? Return, for.thy servants' sake, the tribes of thine inheritance. 

IsA. Ixiii. 17. 




This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.— 2 1'im. 

iii. 1 




Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences 
come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh !— Matt. 

xviii. 7 



Christ's pastoral care. 

Feed thy people with thy rod, the flock of thine heritage, which dwell solitarily 

in the wood, in the midst of Carmel : let them feed in Bashan and GiJead 

as in the days of old — Micah vii. 14 ' o^n 





Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof. Mark ye 
well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation 
following. For this God is our God for ever and ever ; he will be our guide 
even unto death — Psal. xlviii. 12 — 14 386 



for I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ : for it is the power of God unto 
salvation, to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 
—Rom. i. 16. 402 



For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ : for it is the power of God unto 
salvation, to every one that believeth ; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 
-r-Rom. i. 16. 417 


COD THE saints' rock. 

From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed : 
lead me to the rock that is higher than I. — Psal. Ixi. 2. 428 


GOD THE saints' nOCK. 

From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed : 
lead me to the rock that is higher than I. — Psal. Ixi. 2. 442 



For ye are the temple of the living God ; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, 
and walk in them ; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, 
and touch not the unclean thing ; and I will receive you, and will be a Father 
unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. 
—2 Cor. vi. 16—18. 452 



And above alUhese things put on charily, which is the bond of perfectness. — 




THE christian's work of dying daily. 

I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. 
— 1 Cor. XV, 31 483 


THE christian's work OF DYING DAILY. 

I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. 
—1 Cor. XV. 31 490 



T protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, 1 die daily. 
— 1 Cor. XV. 31. 497 






















Parlilmenr™°" '''' Pleached, at a private Fast, tothe Commons assembled 





I NEED not give any otlier account of my publishing 
this ensuing- short discourse, than that which was also 
the ground and reason of its preaching, namely, your 
command. Those who are not satisfied therewith, I 
shall not endeavour to tender farther grounds of satis- 
faction unto, as not having any persuasion of prevailing 
if I should attempt it. Prejudice so far oftentimes 
prevails even on good soils, that satisfaction will not 
speedily thrive and grow in them. That which exempts 
me from solicitousness about the frame and temper of 
men's minds and spirits, in the entertainment of dis- 
courses of this nature, is the annexing of that injunction 
unto our commission in delivering the word of God : 
it must be done, ' whether men will hear, or whether 
they will forbear.' Without therefore any plea, or 
apology, for whatever may seem most to need it in this 
sermon, I devolve the whole account of the rise and 
issue it had, or may have, on the providence of God in 
my call, and your command. Only I shall crave leave 
to add, that in my waiting for a little leisure to re- 
collect what I delivered out of my own short notes and 
others (that I might not preach one sermon, and print 
another), there were some considerations that fell in 
exciting me to the obedience I had purposed. The 
desire I had to make more public, at this time and 
season, the testimony given in simplicity of spirit to 


the interest of Christ in these nations, and therein to 
the true, real interest of these nations themselves, 
which was my naked design openly managed and pur- 
sued with all plainness of speech (as the small portion 
of time allotted to this exercise would allow), was the 
chief of them. Solicitations of some particular friends 
gave also warmth unto that consideration. I must 
farther confess, that I was a little moved by some mis- 
takes, that were delivered into the hands of report, to 
be managed to the discountenance of the honest and 
plain truth contended for, especially when I found them 
without due consideration exposed in print unto public 
view. That is the manner of these days wherein we 
live. I know full well, that there is not any thing from 
the beginning to the ending of this short discourse, 
that doth really interfere with any form of civil govern- 
ment in the world, administered according to righteous- 
ness and equity ; as there is not in the gospel of Christ, 
or in any of the concernments of it. And I am assured 
also that the truth proposed in it, inwraps the whole 
ground of any just expectation of the continuance of 
the presence of God amongst us, and his acceptation of 
our endeavours about the allotment and just disposal 
of our civil affairs. Let others lay what weight they 
will or please, upon the lesser differences that are 
amongst us on any account whatever ; if this shield be 
safe, this principle maintained and established that is 
here laid down, and the just rights of the nation laid in 
a way of administration suited unto its preservation and 
furtherance, I shall not easily be cast down from my 
hopes, that amongst us poor, unprofitable, unthankful 
creatures as we are, we may yet see the fruit of righte- 
ousness to be peace, and the effect of righteousness, 
quietness and assurance for evermore. For those then 
who shall cast their eye on this paper, I would beg of 
them to lay aside all those prejudices against persons 

B 2 


or things, which their various contexture in our public 
affairs may possibly have raised in them. I know how 
vain, for the most part, expectations of prevailing in 
such a desire, by naked requests are. But sick men 
must be groaning, though they look for no relief thereby . 
Wherefore committing it into that hand, wherein lie 
also your hearts and mine, I shall commend it for your 
use unto the sovereign grace of him, who is able to 
work all your present works for you, and which is 
more, to give you an inheritance among them that are 
sanctified. So prays. 

Your servant in the work of 

Our Lord Jesus Christ, and his gospel^ 

John Owen. 



Upon all the glory shall he a defence. — Is A. iv. 5. 

AHE design of this chapter is to give in relief against out- 
ward perplexing extremities from gospel promises, and the 
presence of Christ with his people in those extremities. The 
next intendment of the words in the type, seems to relate 
to the deliverance of the people of the Jews from the Baby- 
lonish captivity, and the presence of God amongst them 
upon their return ; God frequently taking occasion from 
thence, to mind them of the covenant of grace, with the full 
ratification and publication of it by Christ, as is evident 
from Jer. xxxi. and xxxii. and sundry other places. 

As to our purpose, we have considerable in the chapter: 
The persons to whom these promises are given; the condi- 
tion wherein they were; and the promises themselves that 
are made to them for their supportment and consolation. 

First, The persons intended are the remnant, the escaping, 
the ' evasion of Israel,' as the word signifies, ver. 2. they that 
are left, that remain, ver. 3. who escape the great desolation 
that was to come on the body of the people, the furnace 
they were to pass through. Only in the close of that verse, 
they have a farther description added of them, from the pur- 
pose of God concerning their grace and glory ; they are 
written among the living, or rather written unto life; 'every 
one that is written,' that is, designed unto life in Jerusalem. 

As to the persons in themselves considered, the appli- 
cation is easy unto this assembly : Are you not the remnant, 
the escaping of England? Is not this a brand plucked out 
of the fire ? Are you not they that are left, they that remain 
from great trials and desolations? The Lord grant that the 
application may hold out, and abide to the end of the 

Secondly, The condition that this remnant, or escaping 
had been in, is laid down in some figurative expressions 
concerning the smallness of this remnant, or the paucity of 
them that should escape, and the greatness of the extremities 
they should be exercised withal. I cannot insist on parti- 


culars ; it may suffice that great distresses and calamities 
are intimated therein ; and such have the days of our former 
trials and troubles been to some of us. 

Thirdly, The promises here made to this people, thus 
escaped from great distresses, are of two sorts : Original, 
or fundamental; and then consequential thereon. 

1. There is the great spring, or fountain promise, from 
which all others, as lesser streams do flow ; and that is the 
promise of Christ himself unto them, and amongst them; 
ver. 2. He is that branch of Jehovah, and that fruit of the 
earth, which is there promised. He is the bottom and foun- 
dation, the spring and fountain of all the good that is or 
shall be communicated unto us; all other promises are but 
rivulets from that unsearchable ocean of grace and love, 
that is in the promise of Christ; of which afterward. 

2. The promises that are derived and flow from hence, 
maybe referred unto three heads: (1.) Of beauty and glory, 
ver. 2. (2.) Of holiness and purity, ver. 3, 4. (3.) Of pre- 
servation and safety, ver. 5, 6. 

My text lies among the last sort, and not intending long 
to detain you, I shall pass over the other, and immediately 
close with that of our present concernment. 

Now this promise of ver, 5. is of a comprehensive nature, 
and relates to spiritual and temporal safety or preservation. 
Godliness, though it be not much believed, yet indeed hath 
the promises of this life, and that which is to come. 

I shall a little open the words of the verse, and thereby 
give light to those which I have chosen peculiaily to insist 
upon. It is, as I have said, safety and preservation, both 
spiritual and temporal, that is here engaged for; and con- 
cerning it we have considerable. 

[1.] The manner of its production ; I will create it, saith 
God. There is a creating power, needful to be exerted, for 
the preservation of Zion's remnant. Their preservation 
must be of God's creation. It is not only not to be educed 
out of any other principle, or to be wrought by any other* 
means; but it must, as it were by the almighty power of 
God, be brought out of nothing; God must create it. At 
least, as there were two sorts of God's creatures at the be- 
ginning, that dark body of matter, whose rise was merely 
from nothing ; and those things which from that dark con- 


fused heap he made to be other things than what they were 
therein ; it is of the last sort of creatures, if not of the first. 
If the preservation of this remnant be not out of nothing, 
without any means at all; yet it is for the most part from 
that darkness and confusion of thino-s, which contributes 
very little or nothing towards it; I will create it, saith God ; 
and whilst he continues possessed of his creating power, it 
shall be well with his Israel. 

[2.] For the nature of it, it is here set out under the terms 
of that eminent pledge of the presence of God with the peo- 
ple in the wilderness, for their guidance and protection in 
the midst of all their diflSculties and hazards, by a pillar of 
cloud, and a flaming fire ; this guided them through the sea, 
and continued with them after the setting up of the taber- 
nacle in the wilderness forty years. The use and efficacy 
of that pillar, the intendment of God in it, the advantage of 
the people by it, I cannot stay to unfold : it may suffice in 
general, that it was a great and signal pledge of God's pre- 
sence with them for their guidance and preservation ; that 
they might act according to his will, and enjoy safety in so 
doing. Only whereas this promise here respects gospel 
times, the nature of the mercy promised is enlarged, and 
thereby somewhat changed. In the wilderness there was 
but one tabernacle, and so consequently one cloud by day, 
and one pillar of fire by night, was a sufficient pledge of the 
presence of God with the whole people : there are now many 
dwelling-places, many assemblies of mount Zion ; and in 
the enlargement of mercy and grace under the gospel, the 
same pledge of God's presence and favour is promised to 
every one of them, as was before to the whole. The word 
we have translated * a dwelling place,' denotes not a common 
habitation, but a place prepared for God; and is the same 
with the assemblies and congregations in the expression fol- 
lowing. The sum of all is, God, by his creating power, in 
despite of all opposition, will bring forth preservation for 
his people, guiding them in paths wherein they shall find 
peace and safety. 

Only ye may observe the order and dependance of these 
promises ; the promise of holiness, ver. 4. lies in order, be- 
fore that of safety, ver. 5. Unless our filth and our blood be 
purged away, by a spirit of judgment, and a spirit of burn- 


ing, it is in vain for us to look for the pillar and the cloud. 
If we are not interested in holiness, we shall not be inte- 
rested in safety; I mean, as it lies in the promise, and is a 
mercy washed in the blood of Jesus; for as for the peace of 
the world, I regard it not. Let not men of polluted hearts, 
and defiled hands, once imagine that God cares for them in 
an especial manner. If our filth and our blood, our sin and 
our corruption abide upon us, and we are delivered, it will 
be for a greater ruin ; the way unto the cloud and pillar, is 
by the spirit of judgment and burning. 

The words of my text are a recapitulation of the whole 
verse ; and are a gospel promise given out in law terms ; or 
a New Testament mercy, under Old Testament expressions. 

I shall then briefly shew you these two things : 1st. What 
is here expressed, as to the type and figure; 2dly. What is 
here intended, as to the substance of the mercy promised. 

1st. For the figure ; by the glory and defence, a double 
consort, or two pairs of things seem, to be intended : The 
ark, and the mercy-seat ; the tabernacle, and the pillar of 

(1st.) For the first; the ark is oftentimes called the glory 
of God; Psal. Ixxviii. 61. ' He gave his strength into cap- 
tivity, and his glory into the hand of his enemies.' Where 
he speaks of the surprisal of the ark by the Philistines, 
which when it was accomplished, Phineas's wife called her 
son Ichabod, and said, the ' glory is departed ;' 1 Sam. iv. 21. 
The word which we have rendered * a defence,' properly sig- 
nifies 'a covering;' as was the mercy-seat the covering of the 
ark. So that 'upon the glory shall be a defence,' is as 
much as unto you, the * mercy-seat shall be on the ark,' or 
you shall have the mercy represented and intimated thereby. 

(2dly.) The tabernacle and cloud, or pillar of fire, are also 
called to mind; so the words are expressive of that figure 
of God's gracious presence with his people, which we have 
recounted, Exod. xl. 34. * Then a cloud covered the tent 
of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the 
tabernacle.' So it continued, the glory of God was in the 
tabernacle, and the cloud upon it, or over it; as the word 
here is; and so * upon all the glory there was a defence.' 

2dly. I need not stay to prove that all those things were 
typical of Christ. He was the end of the law, represented 


by the ark, which did contain it; Rom. x. 3, 4. He was 
the mercy-seat, as he is called, and said to be, Rom. iii.25. 
1 John ii. 2. covering the law from the eye of justice, as to 
those that are interested in him. He was the tabernacle 
and temple wherein dwelt the glory of God, and which was 
recompensed with all pledges of his gracious presence. 

Apply then this promise to gospel times, and the sub- 
stance of it is comprehended in these two propositions: 

I. The presence of Christ with any people, is the glory 
of any people. 

This is the glory here spoken of, as is evident to any one 
that will but read over the second verse, and consider its 
influence unto these words. ' The branch of the Lord shall 
be to them beautiful and glorious, and upon all the glory 
shall be a defence.' 

II. The presence of God in special providence over 
a people, attends the presence of Christ in grace with a 

If Christ the glory be with them, a defence shall be upon 
them; what lies else in allusion to the mercy-seat, not 
drawn forth in these propositions, may be afterward in- 
sisted on. 

I. For the first: What I pray else should be so? This 
is their glory, or they have none : Is it in their number, that 
they are great, many, and populous ? God thinks not so, 
nor did he when he gave an account of the thoughts of his 
people of old. ' The Lord did not set his love upon you, 
nor choose you, because you were more in number than anv 
people, for you w^ere the fewest of all people;' Deut. vii. 7. 
God made no reckoning of numbers ; he chose that people 
that was fewest of all : he esteemed well of them, when they 
were but * a few men in number, yea, very few, and strano-ers ;' 
Psal. cv. 12. You know what it cost David in beino- se- 
duced by Satan into the contrary opinion. He thought the 
glory of his people had been in their number, and caused 
them to be reckoned ; but God taught him his error, by 
taking off with a dreadful judgment no small portion of the 
number he sought after. There is nothing more common 
in the Scripture, than for the Lord to speak contempt of the 
multitude of any people, as a thing of nought; and he takes 
pleasure to confound them by weak and despised means. 


Is it in their wisdom and counsel, their understanding for 
the ordering of their affairs? Is that their glory? Why, see 
how God derides the prince of Tyrus, who was lifted up 
with an apprehension hereof; and counted himself as God, 
upon that account; Ezek. xxvii. 3 — 6, &.c. The issue of 
all is, ' Thou shalt be a man, and no God, in the hand of 
him that slays thee ;' God will let him see in his ruin and 
destruction, what a vain thing that was, which he thought 
his glory. Might I dwell upon it I could evince unto you 
these two things : 

L That whereas the end of all human wisdom in na- 
tions, or the rulers of them, is to preserve human society 
in peace and quietness, within the several bounds and allot- 
ments that are given unto them by the providence of God, it 
so comes to pass for the most part through the righteous 
judgment and wise disposal of God, that it hath a contrary 
end, and bringeth forth contrary effects throughout the 
world. Do not the inhabitants of the earth generally owe 
all their disturbance, sorrow, and blood to the wise contriv- 
ance of a few men, not knowing how to take the law of their 
proceedings from the mouth of God, but laying their deep 
counsels, and politic contrivances, in a subserviency to their 
lusts and ambition? And what glory is there in that which 
almost constantly brings forth contrary effects to its own 
proper end and intendment? 

2. That God delights to mix a spirit of giddiness, error, 
and folly in the counsels of the wise men of the world ; mak- 
ing them reel and stagger in their way like a drunken man, 
that they shall not know what to do, but commonly in their 
greatest concernments, fix upon things as devoid of true 
reason, and sound wisdom, as any children or fools could 
close withal. ' He taketh the wise in their own craftiness, 
and the counsel of the froward is carried headlong;' Job v. 
13, 14. so at large, Isa. xix. 11 — 14. and now where is their 
glory? I could give instances of both these, and that plen- 
tifully in the days and seasons that have passed over our 
own heads. The like also may be said of the strength, the 
power, the armies of any people ; if their number and wisdom 
be vain, be no glory, their strength, which is but the result 
or exurgency of their number and wisdom, miist needs be so 
also. But you have all this summed up together, Jer, ix. 


23, 24. ' Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in 
his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, 
let not the rich man glory in his riches; but let him that 
glorieth, glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth 
me, that I am the Lord.' It is neither wisdom, nor might, 
nor riches, that is our glory; but our interest in Jehovah 

This I say is in the presence of Christ only. 

Now Christ may be said to be present with a people two 

(1.) Inrespectof the dispensation of his gospel amongst 
them, the profession of it, and subjection to the ordinances 
thereof. The gospel of Christ is a blessed gospel, a glo- 
rious gospel, in itself, and unto them that embrace it. But 
jj^et this profession separated from the root from which it 
ought to spring, is not the glory of any people ; Christ is not 
their glory, who are his shame. Empty profession is the 
shame of Christ in the world; and shall not be others' glory. 
The apostle tells us that this may consist with a litter of un- 
clean lusts, making them in whom it is abominable to 
God and man; 2 Tim. iii. 4, &c. If the bare profession of 
the truth would render a nation glorious, oh, how glorious 
were this nation! So would have been the people of old, 
who cried, ' The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.' 
But when men profess the truth of Christ, but in their 
hearts and ways maintain and manifest an enmity to the 
power of that truth, and to all of Christ that is in reality in 
the world, this is no glory. 

(2.) Christ is present with a people in and by his Spirit, 
dwelling in their hearts by his Spirit and faith, uniting them 
to himself. I do not distino-uish this from the former as in- 
consistent with it: for though the former may be without 
this, yet where this is, there will be the former also. Pro- 
fession may be without union, but union will bring forth 
profession. There may be a form of godliness without 
power: but where the power is, there will be the appearance 
also. Now when Christ is thus present with a people, that 
is, they are united to him by his Spirit, they are members of 
his mystical body, that is their glory. Be they few or 
many in a nation that are so, they are the glory of that na- 
tion, and nothing else: and where there is the most of them. 


there is the most glory : and where they are diminished, 
there the glory is eclipsed. Christ mystical, the head, and 
his body is all the glory that is in the world. If any nation 
be glorious and honourable above others, it is because of 
this presence of Christ in that nation. Christ is the glory 
of his saints, Isa. iv. 2. in him they glory, Isa. xlv. 25. 
and the saints are Christ's glory ; 2 Cor. viii. 23. They 
are the glory of Christ, and he glories in them, as God of 
Job, to Satan: ' Seest thou my servant Job?' chap. i. 8. He 
doth as it were glory in him against the wickedness of the 
world; and Christ in them, and they in him, are all the 
glory of this world. So Zech. ii. 8. Christ was in the pur- 
suit of the collection of his people from their dispersion : 
what seeks he after; what looks he for? he goes after the 
glory ; even to find out them who are God's glory in the 

Now this is the glory of any people upon a threefold 

[1.] This alone makes them honourable and precious be- 
fore God. So says God of them, Isa. xliii. 1. ' I have re- 
deemed thee, I have called thee by thy name, thou art mine;' 
those are they of whom I spake : w'hat then ? ver. 4. ' Thou 
art precious in ray sight, thou art honourable, I have loved 
thee;' how doth God manifest his valuation of them? ver. 
3. Why he will give all the world, the greatest, mightiest, 
wealthiest nations for them, ver. 5. all is as nothing in com- 
parison of them, who are his portion, and the lot of his in- 
heritance. The Lord keep this alive upon*your hearts, that 
that may be in your eyes the glory of this nation, on the ac- 
count whereof it is precious to God, and honourable in his 

[2.] Because this presence of Christ makes men comely 
and excellent in themselves, with what eye soever' the world 
may look upon them. The whole world out of Christ lies in 
evil, under the curse of God, and defilement of sin : in all 
the glittering shows of their wealth and riches, in the state 
and magnificence of their governments, the beautyjof their 
laws and order (as they relate to their persons) they are in 
the eye of God a filthy and an abominable thing, a thing 
that his soul loatheth. Curse and sin will make any thing 
to be so : but now Christ is to them and in them beautiful 


and glorious; Isa. iv. 2. Christ is so in himself, and he is 
so unto them, and makes them to be so. There is through 
him beauty, and excellency, and comeliness, every thing that 
may make them lovely and acceptable. That the world 
looks not on them as such, is not their fault, but the world's 
misery : it looked on their master Christ himself, the bright- 
ness of his Father's glory, who is altogether lovely, the 
chiefest of ten thousand, with no other eye; Isa. liii. 2. 
They are so in themselves, and are so to Christ ; being ex- 
posed indeed to many temptations, oftentimes they are made 
black and sully by them: but yet they are comely still; 
Cant. i. 5. The ways whereby they are made black, for the 
most part we have expressed, ver. 6. when the sun shines 
on them, and they are made keepers of the vineyard, it 
comes upon them. Prosperity and public employment often- 
times so sully them, that they are made black to the re- 
proach of the world : but yet to Christ who forgives, and 
washes them, they are comely. Yea, this is all the excel- 
lency that is in the world. Sin with honour, with wealth, 
with power, with wisdom, is a deformed and contemptible 
thing : it is grace only that is beautiful and glorious : it is 
the gracious only that are excellent in the earth; PsaL 
xvi. 3. 

[3.] This alone makes any truly useful unto others ; and 
that either for preservation or prosperity. 

1st. Here lies the preservation of any nation from ruin. 
Isa. Ixv. 8, 9. * Thus saith the Lord, As the new wine is 
found in the cluster, and one saith. Destroy it not, for a 
blessing is in it: so will I do for my servants' sakes, that I 
may not destroy them all.' This is the blessing in the clus- 
ter, the hidden and secret blessing, for the sake whereof, 
the whole is not destroyed. The remnant left by the Lord 
of hosts, Isa. i. 9. that keeps the whole from being as So- 
dom or Gomorrah. If Elisha, a servant of the Lord, told the 
king of Israel in his distress, that if he had not regarded the 
presence of Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, he would not 
so much as have spoken to him; how much more will the 
Lord himself let a people know in their distress, that were it 
not for the regard he hath to his secret ones, he would not 
take the least notice, as to relief, of them or their concern- 
ments ? Sodom could not be destroyed until Lot was deli- 


vered. The whole world owes its preservation and being to 
them, whom they make it their business to root out of it: 
they are as the foolisli woman, that pulls down her own 
house with both her hands. It is not your counsels, you 
know how they have been divided, entangled, insnared; it is 
not your armies, as such ; what have they been to oppose 
against the mighty floods that have risen up in this nation? 
and they also have been as a reed driven to and fro with the 
wind (mankind is no better ; John the Baptist says it of 
himself); but it is this presence of Christ in and with his, that 
hath been the preservation of England, in the midst of all 
the changes and revolutions that we have been exercised 
withal; Micah v. 5. 

2dly. Not only preservation, but prosperity is from hence 
also : Micah v. 7. ' And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the 
midst of many people, as a dew from the Lord, as the show- 
ers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, that waits not 
for the sons of men.' It is the remnant of Jacob of whom 
he speaks, that is, this people of Christ, with whom he is so 
present as hath been manifested ; and where are they ? They 
are in the midst of many people, in their inside, in their 
bowels ; they are woven by their relations and employments 
into the bowels of the nations; and on that account there 
is neither this nor any nation about us, but shall spin out 
their mercies or their misery from their own bowels ; their 
providential fates lie in them ; as is their deportment to- 
wards this remnant, such will their issue be. But what 
shall this remnant do ? Why it shall be * as dew from the 
Lord,' and as * showers on the grass.' It shall be that alone 
which makes them fruitful, flourishing, and prosperous; it 
may be it will be so, provided there be good assistance, 
counsel, and strength, to carry on their affairs : yea, blessed 
be God for counsels and for armies ; he hath made them 
useful to us : but the truth is, the blessing of this dew de- 
pends not on them, it tarrieth not for man, it waiteth not for 
the sons of men : it will be a blessing, let men do what they 
will it depends not on their uncertain and unstable coun- 
sel, on their weak and feeble strength. This remnant is as 
the ark in the house of Obed-edom, as Joseph in the house 
of Potiphar, all is blessed and prospered for their sakes. It 
is not the glorious battlements, the painted windows, the 


crouching antics that support a building, but the stones that 
lie unseen in or upon the earth. It is often those who are 
despised and trampled on, that bear up the weight of a 
whole nation. All the fresh springs of our blessings are in 

It were easy to manifest that in all our late revolutions 
we have turned on this hinge. According as the presence of 
Christ with his people, in the power of his Spirit, hath re- 
ceived entertainment in these nations, so hath our state and 
condition been. For many years before the beginning of 
these troubles the land had been full of oppression, I mean, 
in respect to the people of God. Poverty, imprisonment, 
dangers, banishment, reproaches were their portion. God 
was long patient ; at length the height of their adversaries 
came to this, that they set not themselves so much against 
their persons or ways, as against the Spirit of Christ in and 
with them : that was made their reproach, that the by-word 
wherewith they were despised in the mouths of their adver- 
saries, and the profane multitude: when things were come 
to this, that the very presence of Christ with his people was 
made the direct object of the hatred of men, the Lord could 
bear it no longer ; but sware by himself, that time should 
be given them no more : in this very house he raised up sa- 
viours and deliverers on mount Zion to judge the mount of 
Edom ; and how did he carry on this work ? ' Not by might, 
nor by power, but by the Spirit of the Lord of hosts,' as 
Zech. iv. 6. even by that very Spirit which had been reviled 
and despised. Give me leave to say, the work of judging 
this nation was carried on by the presence of the Spirit of 
Christ with his in faith and prayer : it was not by prudence 
of counsels, or strength of armies above that of our enemies, 
that we prevailed, but by faith and prayer ; and if any one 
be otherwise minded, I leave him for his resolution to the 
judgment of the great day, when all transactions shall be 
called over again. The adversaries themselves I am sure 
acknowledged it, when they openly professed, that there 
was nothing left for them to overcome, or to overcome them, 
but the prayers of the fanatic crew. 

After some years' contending, when the Lord had begun 
to give us deliverance by breaking the power of the enemy, 
at least in this nation, besides those bitter divisions that fell 


out amon^ the people of God tliemselves, and the back- 
sliding of some, to the cause and principles they had op- 
posed, this evil was also found rising again amongst us; 
slighting, blaspheming, contemning under several pretences, 
of the Spirit and presence of Christ in and with his saints : 
you know what ensued ; what shakings, what revolutions, 
with new wars, bloodshed, and desolation; over the three 
nations. And give me leave to remember you as one that 
had opportunity to make observations of the passages of 
providence in those days, in all the three nations, in the 
times of our greatest hazards ; give me leave, I say, to re- 
member you, that the public declarations of those employed 
in the affairs of this nation, in the face of the enemies, their 
addresses unto God among themselves, their prayers night 
and day, their private discourses one with another, were, 
that the preservation of the interest of Christ in and with his 
people was the great thing that lay in their eyes ; and tifiat 
if it were not so, they desired that God would stop them in 
their way, yea, rather cause their carcases to fall in the high 
places of the field, than to prosper them in that which 
should be contrary thereunto : and we know what ensued. 
How we have used our mercies is another matter : this was 
the principle that prevailed with God and man. 

Use 1. If you desire the glory of these nations, labour to 
promote the interest of Christ in these nations. I am not 
speaking unto you about disputable things, differences 
among the people of God themselves, nor am I interposing 
my advice in your civil affairs, but I speak in general about 
those with whom Christ is present, by his Spirit, his chosen 
ones, against whom there is an old enmity in Satan and the 
world. The glory of these nations is, that there is a people 
in them, that have Christ in the midst of them ; let it be 
your business to take care for that glory. But how shall 
we do it? 

(1 .) Labour personally, every one of you, to get Christ in 
your own hearts. I am very far from thinking that a man 
may not be lawfully called to magistracy, if he be not a be- 
liever ; or that being called, he should be impeded in the 
execution of his trust and place, because he is not so ; I 
shall not suspend my obedience whilst I inquire after my 
lawful governor's conversion ; but yet this I say, considering 


that I cannot much value any good, but what come;? in by 
the way of promise, I confess I can have no great expecta- 
tion from them whom God loves not, delights not in; if any 
be otherwise minded, I shall not contend with him; but for 
this I will contend with all the world, that it is your duty to 
labour to assure Christ in your own hearts, even that you 
may be the better fitted for the work of God in the world. 
It is the promise of God to Zion, that her ' officers shall be 
peace, and her exactors righteousness,' Isa. Ix. 17. and then 
shall she call her * walls salvation, and her gates praise ;' 
ver. 18. It will be little advantage to any, to have the work 
of God raised in the world, and not to have the foundation- 
stone laid in their hearts. If there should be in any of you 
an enmity unto Christ and the power of godliness, a hatred 
and contempt of the people of God, an evil heart of unbe- 
lief, an evil course of life, worldliness, oppression, vanity of 
mind, &c. would it advantage you to be intrusted with 
power in these nations ? Would it not hasten your destruc- 
tion, and increase your account ? It is a noble promise that 
we have, Isa. xxxii. 17. ' And the work of righteousness 
shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness 
and assurance for ever.' It is a gospel righteousness that 
is spoken of; and that not of the cause as such only, but of 
the persons ; the persons being righteous, and that with the 
righteousness of Christ, the effects mentioned shall follow 
their righteous undertakings ; we have peace now, outward 
peace ; but alas, we have not quietness, and if any thing may 
be done that may give us quietness, yet perhaps we may not 
have assurance; we m.ay be quickly shaken again; but when 
the righteousness of the persons and cause meet, all the rest 
will follow. 

(2.) Set yourselves to oppose that overflowing flood of 
profaneness, and opposition to the power of godliness, that 
is spreading itself over this nation. Know you not that the 
nation begins to be overwhelmed by the pourings out of a 
profane, wicked, carnal spirit, full of rage and contempt of 
all the work of reformation that has been attempted amongst 
us? Do you not know that if the former profane principle 
should prove predominant in this nation, that it will quickly 
return to its former station and condition, and that with the 
price of your dearest blood ? A d yet is there not already 

VOL. XVI. c 


such a visible prevalency of it, that in many places, the very 
profession of religion is become a scorn ; and in others, those 
old forms and ways taken up with greediness, which are a 
badge of apostacy from all former engagements and actings? 
And are not these sad evidences of the Lord's departing from 
us ? If I should lay before you a comparison between the 
degrees of the appearances of the glory of God in this na- 
tion, the steps whereby it came forth, and those whereby it 
seems almost to be departing, it would be a matter of admi- 
ration and lamentation ; I pray God we lose not our ground 
faster than we won it. Were our hearts kept up to our good 
old principles on which we first engaged, it would not be so 
with us ; but innumerable evils have laid hold upon us ; and 
the temptations of these days have made us a woful prey ; 
gray hairs are here and there, and it will be no wonder if our 
ruin should come with more speed, than did our deliver- 
ance. O then set yourselves in the gap ; by all ways and 
means oppose the growth of an evil, profane, common, ma- 
lignant spirit amongst us. But I haste. 

(3.) Value, encourage, and close with them, in and with 
whom is this presence of Christ. They are the glory of the 
nation ; its peace, safety, and prosperity will be found wrap- 
ped up in them. I know there lie divers considerable ob- 
jections against the practice of this duty ; I shall name some 
few of them, and leave the exhortation unto your considera- 

[1.] Who are those persons in whom is this presence of 
Christ? Are they such as profess indeed religion, but neg- 
lect all rules of righteousness ; that would be accounted 
godly, but care not to be honest? The marks of whose mis- 
carriages are written on their foreheads ; are not these so far 
from being the glory that they are the shame of any nation? 
I pray give me leave to endeavour the rolling away of this 
great stone of offence, in these few ensuing considerations. 
Ist. Then, I shall willingly lay this down for a principle, 
that he is not religious, who is not also righteous ; as also 
I shall not much value his righteousness, who is not reli- 
gious. He that is righteous doth righteousness ; he doth so, 
in the bent of his spirit and course of his ways and walkings. 
If a man be froward, heady, high-minded, sensual, unjust, 
oppressive, worldly, self-seeking, a hater of good men, false. 


treacherous, let him pretend to what he will, that man's re- 
ligion is in vain ; he may have a form of godliness, but he 
hath not the power of it. This principle we shall agree 

2dly. There have been in the days wherein we live, many 
false professors, hypocrites, that have thought gain to be 
godliness, by reason of whose wicked lives, ways, and walk- 
ing, the name of God hath been evil spoken of; and woe to 
them by whom these offences are come ; but yet also woe to 
the world because of offences ; if these offences turn off men 
from an esteem of the remnant of Christ in whom is his pre- 
sence, woe to them also. I acknowledge these days have 
abounded with offences ; but woe to them who are turned 
aside by them from owning the portion and inheritance of 

3dly. It cannot be denied, but that many of them who 
do belong unto Christ, have wofully miscarried in these days. 
' O tell it not in Gath, publish it not in Askelon ;' oh that 
our souls could mourn in secret on that account, that we 
could go backward, and cover the nakedness and folly of 
one another ; but alas, this hath been far from being our 
frame of spirit ; we have every one spread the failings of his 
brother, before the face of men and devils ; but yet notwith- 
standing these miscarriages, those that are the people of 
Christ, are his people still ; and he loves them still, whether 
we will or no ; and commonly those who are least able to 
bear with the miscarriages of others, have most of their 

4thly. That differences of judgments in civil affairs, or 
church matters, ought not presently to be made arguments 
of men not being righteous. Some men think that none 
are righteous that are not of their principles, than which prin- 
ciple there is nothing more unrighteous. Let men that differ 
from them walk never so holily, profess never so strictly ; 
yet, if they are not of their mind, they are not righteous. If 
inen are offended on such accounts, it is because they will 
be so. 

5thly. This hath ever been the way of the men of the 
world ; that when any have been unblamable and zealous 
upon the account of religion, they will attempt their reputa- 
tion, though without any ground or colour, upon the account 



of righteousness. So suffered the Christians of old ; and so 
the Puritans of former days, unjustly and falsely, as God 
will judge and declare. The world then in this matter is not 
to be believed ; the common reports of it are from the devil, 
the accuser of the brethren, who accuses them in the same 
manner before God night and day. These are but pretences, 
whereby men ignorant of the mystery of the gospel, and the 
power of grace harden themselves to their ruin. 

6thly. This remnant of Christ with whom his presence is, 
who are the glory of a nation, is to be found only amongst 
the professors of a nation. For, 

[1.] Although, of those who are professors, there may be 
many bad, yet of those that are not professors, there is not 
one good. Where there is faith there will be a profession. 
If I should not know well where to find them, I am sure I 
know where I cannot find them; I cannot find them in the 
ways of the world, and conformity to it ; in darkness, igno- 
rance, neglect of duty, and utter unacquaintedness with 
gospel truths, the gifts and graces of the Spirit ; there I can- 
not find them; I shall not say of them, ' Behold the Lord's 
anointed,' let their outward worldly appearance be what it 
will. Now by the help of these considerations, those who 
have in themselves principles of life and light in Christ, will 
or may be, setting aside their temptations, enabled to dis- 
cover this generation of the Lord's delight; and for others, 
I cannot take down the enmity that God hath set up. So 
then, notwithstanding this objection, I shall certainly esteem 
this remnant of Christ to lie among those, who havinjr re- 
ceived gospel light, and gospel gifts evidently, do make also 
profession of gospel grace, union and communion with 
Christ, separation from the world, and the ways of it, in a 
conversation acceptable unto God in Christ; and to this 
portion shall I say as Ruth to IVaomi, let what will be glo- 
rious, or uppermost in the world, * Whither thou goest, I will 
go ; where thou lodgest, I will lodge ; thy people shall be my 
people, and thy God my God. The Lord do so to me and 
more also, if ought part thee and me: ' with them let my por- 
tion be, and the portion of ray family, whatever their lot and 
condition in this world should be ; and the Lord say. Amen. 
[2.] But it will be said secondly, We are still at a loss ; 
for what woful divisions are there amongst this generation 


of professors ? Some are for one way, and some for another; 
some say one sort are the people of God, some another; 
some say the Prelatists are so, some the Presbyterians, some 
the Independents, some the Anabaptists, some the Fifth Mo- 
narchy-men, gome others ; and on whom should the valuation 
pleaded for be cast? 

To this I answer, 

1st. Some do say so, and plead thus, it cannot be denied ; 
but the truth is, the greater is their weakness and folly. It 
is impossible men acquainted with the Spirit of Christ and 
the gospel, should say so, unless they were under the power 
of one temptation or other. But it is no party, but the party 
of Christ in the world, and against the world, the seed of the 
woman, against the seed of the serpent that I am pleading 
for; that men as to their interest in Christ should be judged 
from such denominations, as though they make a great noise 
in the world, yet indeed signify very little things in them- 
selves, is most unrighteous, and unequal ; nor will men find 
peace in such rash and precipitate judgments. 

2dly. There may be many divisions amongst the people 
of God, and yet none of them be divided from Christ the 
head. The branches of a tree may be entangled by strong 
winds, and stricken against one another, and yet none of 
them be broken off from the tree itself; and when the storm 
is over every one possesses its own place in quietness, beauty, 
and fruitfulness. Whilst the strong winds of temptations 
are upon the followers of Christ, they may be tossed and 
entangled ; but not being broken off from the root, when he 
shall say to the winds, ' Peace, be still,' they will flourish 
again in peace and beauty. 

3dly. Let not Satan cheat you of your duty, by this tri- 
vial objection. If he can keep you from duty, whilst he can 
make divisions; he hath you sure enough. They of whom 
I speak, be they under what reproach or obloquies soever, 
they are all true men, all the children of one father, though 
they are unhappily fallen out by the way. 

Use 2. Of encouragement to those that have the presence 
of Christ with them in the manner declared ; they shall be 
safe; in vain it is for all the world to attempt their security; 
either they shall not prevail, or they shall mischief themselves 
by their own prevalency ; Micah v. 8. As they shall be a 


dew where they are appointed for a blessing, so as a lion 
where they are oppressed. Destruction will come forth on 
their account, and that terribly like the destruction of a lion, 
speedily in passing through it shall be done. And whence 
is it that this feeble generation shall be as a lion? It is from 
the presence of Christ among them, who is the lion of the 
tribe of Judah, and to honour them, he assigns that to them, 
which is his own proper work ; let men take heed how they 
provoke this lion; for the present. Gen. xlix. 9. he is 'gone 
up from the prey, he stoopeth down, he coucheth as a lion, 
and as an old lion, who shall rouse him up V He hath taken 
his prey in these nations, in the destruction of many of his 
enemies ; he seemeth now to take his rest, to couch down, 
his indignation being overpast, but who shall rouse him up? 
Why what if he be provoked ? what if he be stirred up ? why 
he will not lie down, ' until he eat of the prey, and drink the 
blood of the slain;' Num. xxiii. 24. There is no delivery 
from him ; no, but what if there be a strong combination of 
many against him, will he not cease and give over? Isa. 
xxxi. 4. Be they who they will, the shepherds of the people, 
be they never so many, a multitude of them, let them lift 
up their voice and rage never so much, all is one, he will 
perform his work and accomplish it ; until you have him in 
the condition mentioned, Isa. Ixiii. 1 — 6. Blessed are the 
people that are under his care and conduct, yea, blessed are 
the people whose God is the Lord. 



Let the righteous smite me; it shall he a kindness: and let him reprove me; 
It shall be an excellent oil, xohich shall not break my head: for yet my 
prayer also shall be in their calamities.— Ps?i]m cxii. 5. 

It is generally agreed by expositors, that this psalm, as that 
toregoing, with two of those that follow, were composed by 
David, in the time of his banishment, or flight from the 
court of Saul. The state wherein he describeth himself to 
have been, the matter of his pleas and prayers contained in 
them, with sundry express circumstances regarding that 
season and his condition therein, do manifest that to have 
been the time of their composure. 

That the psalmist was now in some distress, whereof he 
was deeply sensible, is evident from that vehemency of his 
spirit, which he expresseth in the reiteration of his request 
or supplication, ver. 1 . And by his desire, ' that his prayer 
might come before the Lord as incense ; and the lifting up of 
his hands as the evening sacrifice ;' ver. 2. The Jewish ex- 
positors guess not improbably, that in that allusion he had 
regard unto his present exclusion from the holy services of 
the tabernacle, which in other places he deeply complains of. 

l^or the matter of his prayer in this beginning of the 
psalm (for I shall not look beyond the text) it respecteth 
himself, and his deportment under his present condition, 
which he desireth may be harmless and holy, becoming him- 
self and useful unto others. And whereas he was two ways 
liable to miscarry ; first, by too high an exasperation of spi- 
rit against his oppressors and persecutors ; and, secondly 
by a fraudulent and pusillanimous compliance with them in 
their wicked courses (which are the two extremes that men 
are apt sinfully to run into in such conditions), he prays ear- 
nestly to be delivered from them both. The first he hath 

Crr,,i™n,r""°" "'' '"■'"''-■^ '" ""= Supplement ,o .l,c Morning Excrd.c, ,t 


respect unto ; ver. 3. ' Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth ; 
keep the door of my lips :' namely, that he might not, under 
those great provocations \vliich were given him, break forth 
into an unseemly intemperance of speech against his unjust 
oppressors, which sometimes fierce and unreasonable cruel- 
ties will wrest from very sedate and moderate spirits. But 
it was the desire of this holy psalmist, as in like cases it 
should be ours, that his heart might be always preserved in 
such a frame, under the conduct of the Spirit of God, as not 
to be surprised into an expression of distempered passion, 
in any of his words or sayings. The other he regards in his 
earnest supplication, to be delivered from it; ver. 4. ' Incline 
not my heart unto any evil thing, to practise wicked works 
with men that work iniquity; and let me not eat of their 
dainties.' There are two parts of his request unto the pur- 
pose intended. First, That by the power of God's grace in- 
fluencing his mind and soul, his heart might not be inclined 
unto any communion or society with his wicked adversaries 
in their wickedness. Secondly, That he might be preserved 
from a liking of, or a longing after, those things, which are 
the baits and allurements, whereby men are apt to be drawn 
into societies and conspiracies with the workers of iniquity; 
* And let me not eat of their dainties.' See Prov. i. 10 — 14. 
For he here describeth the condition of men, prospering for 
a season in a course of wickedness ; they first jointly give 
up themselves unto the practice of iniquity, and then toge- 
ther solace themselves in those satisfactions of their lusts, 
which their power and interest in the world do furnish them 
withal. These are the * dainties,' of which an impotent long- 
ing and desire do betray the minds of unstable persons unto 
a compliance with ways of sin and folly : for I look on these 
' dainties' to comprise whatever ' the lust of the eyes, the lust 
of the flesh,' or ' the pride of life' can afford. All these David 
prays to be delivered from any inclination unto ; especially 
when they are made the allurements of a course of sin. In 
the enjoyment of these dainties it is the common practice of 
wicked men to sooth up, approve of, and mutually encourage 
one another in the way and course wherein they are engaged. 
And this completes that goodly felicity which in this world 
so many aspire unto, and whereof alone they are capable. 
The whole of it is but a society in perishing sensual enjoy- 


ments, without control, and with mutual applauses from 
one another. 

This the psalmist had a special regard unto ; who casting 
his eye towards another communion and society which he 
longed after, ver. 5. that in the first place presents itself 
unto him, which is most opposite unto those mutual ap- 
plauses and rejoicings in one another, which is the salt and 
cement of all evil societies; namely, rebukes and reproofs 
for the least miscarriages that shall be observed. Now 
whereas the dainties which some enjoy in a course or pros- 
perous wickedness, are that alone which seems to have any 
thing in it amongst them that is desirable ; and on the other 
side rebukes and reproofs are those alone which seem to have 
any sharpness, or matter of uneasiness and dislike, in the 
society of the godly, David balanceth that which seemeth to 
be sharpest in the one society, against that which seems to 
be sweetest in the other, and without respect unto other ad- 
vantages, prefers the one above the other. Hence some read 
the beginning of the words, ' Let the righteous rather smite 
me,' with respect unto this comparison and balance. 

' Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness : and 
let him reprove me ; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall 
not break my head : for yet my prayer shall be in their ca- 
lamity.' The view of our translation will evidence the words 
to be elliptical in the original, by the various supplements 
which we make to fill up the sense of them, and render them 
coherent. And this hath put some difficulty on the inter- 
pretation of the text, and caused some variety of apprehen- 
sions in sober and learned expositors. 

It is not unto my present purpose to engage into a dis- 
cussion of all the diftlculties of the text, seeing I design to 
found no other doctrine thereon, than what all will acknow- 
ledge to be contained in the words and their coherence. I 
shall only therefore briefly open them, with respect unto our 
present purpose, and its concernment in them. 

IDH p'*72f >3nbn>: pnis, ' the righteous,' is anyone opposed 
to the v/orkers of iniquity, ver. 4. any righteous person 
whatever, any one who is of the society and communion of 
the righteous ones : for all the world falls under this distri- 
bution, as it will one day appear. ' Let him smite me :' the 
word D^n is seldom used in the Scripture, but to signify, * a 


severe stroke/ which shakes the subject smitten, and causeth 
it to tremble. See Prov. xxiii. 25. 1 Sam. xiv. 6. Psal. Ixxiv. 6. 
And it is used for ' the stroke of the hammer on the anvil,' 
in fashioning of the iron; Isa. xli. 7. Wherefore the word 
ion following may be taken adverbially as a lenitive of that 
severity which this word importeth. 'Let him smite me,' 
but * leniter, benigne, misericorditer/ ' gently, kindly, friend- 
ly, mercifully.' And so some translations read the words : 
* Let the righteous smite me friendly, or kindly.' But there 
is no need to wrest the word to such an unusual sense ; for 
the psalmist intends to shew, that so he may be delivered 
from the society of ungodly men, and enjoy the communion 
of the righteous, he would not deprecate the greatest seve- 
rities, which, according to rule, might be exercised in re- 
buking, or reproving of him. And this he doth with so full 
a satisfaction of mind, with such a high valuation of the 
advantage he should have thereby, that he says not he would 
bear it patiently and quietly, but non, it will be unto me ' a 
benignity, a mercy, a kindness/ as the word imports. And 
as it seems that some reproofs at least, some regular deal- 
ings of righteous persons with us, may come as a stroke that 
makes us shake and tremble ; so it is a good advance in spi- 
ritual wisdom, to find out kindness and mercy in those that 
are so grievous unto our natural spirits, unto flesh and blood. 

onovi, * And let him reprove me.' This manifests what 
he intends by smiting in the foregoing words. It is reproofs 
that he intends ; and these he calls smiting in opposition 
unto the flattering compliance of wicked men with one an- 
other in the enjoyment of their dainties, and with respect 
unto that smart unto the mind and affections, wherewith 
some of them are sometimes accompanied. But this word 
directly expressing that subject matter whereof I intend to 
treat, must be again spoken unto. 

'li'N-| >30n li'N"i ]r^'^ : These words have a double inter- 
pretation ; for they may be either deprecatory of an evil im- 
plied, or declaratory of the psalmist's sense of the good he 
desired. Kimchi on the place observes, that his father Jo- 
seph divided the words of the text, and began here a new 
sense, wherein the psalmist returns unto the close of the 
fourth verse : * Let me not eat of their dainties/ and ' let not 
their precious oil,' that is, their flatteries and soothings in 


sin, 'break ray head;' but let the reproofs of the righteous 
preserve me. And this sense is followed by the vulgar 
Latin: 'Oleum autem peccatorum non impingat caput 
meum.' But the other construction and sense of the words 
is more natural: l^'N"! P'li', * Oleum capitis,' the 'oil of the 
head,' we render an ' excellent oil ;' and countenance may be 
given unto that interpretation from Exod. xxx. 23. where 
ty^^l CD'DIi'2, ' Spices of the head,' is weii rendered, ' princi- 
pal spices.' But I rather think that '^^-b"^ \ry^, ' Oil poured 
on the head,' which was the manner of all solemn unctions, 
is intended. This being a great privilege, and the token of 
communication of great mercy, the psalmist compares the 
rebukes of the righteous thereunto ; and therefore he adds, 
*W^'~\ >3'"^K, ' it shall not break my head.' Considering re- 
proofs in their own nature, he calls them * smitings;' some of 
them being very sharp, as it is needful they should be, 
where we are obliged to rebuke airoTOfxwg, 'in a piercing 
and cutting manner;' 2 Cor. xiii. 10. Tit. i. 13. But with 
respect unto their use, benefit, and advantage, they are like 
unto that anointing oil, which being poured on the head, 
was both gentle and pleasant, and a pledge of the com- 
munication of spiritual privileges, whence no inconveniences 
would ensue. 

The last clause of the words belonging not unto our pre- 
sent design, I shall not insist on their explication. 

Some few things must be farther premised unto our prin- 
cipal intention concerning the nature of those reproofs, 
which are proposed as a matter of such advantage in the 
text. And, 

1. The word nD> here used, signifieth, 'to argue, to dispute, 
to contend in judgment,' as well as * to reprove, rebuke, or re- 
prehend.' Its first signification is ' to argue,' or ' to plead a 
cause with arguments.' Hence it is used as a common term 
between God and man, denoting the reasons real, or pretend- 
ed only, on the one side, and the other. So God himself 
speaks unto his people nnDl3l X3 1D^, Isa. i. 18. ' Go to now 
and let us plead,' reason, or argue 'together.' And Job calls 
his pleas or argument in prayer unto God mnDin, chap, 
xxiii. 4. ' I would fill my mouth with arguments.' Wherefore, 
that only hath the true nature of a reproof, which is accom- 
panied with reasons and arguments for the evincing of what it 
tends unto. Rash, groundless, wrathful, precipitate censures 


and rebukes are evil in themselves, and in our present case, 
of no consideration. Nor indeed ought any one to engage 
in the management of reproofs, who is not furnished with 
rule and argument to evince their necessity, and render 
them eft'ectual. Sometimes things may be so circumstanced, 
as that a reproof shall so carry its own reason and effica- 
cious conviction along with it, that there will be no need of 
arguing, or pleas to make it useful. So the look of our 
blessed Saviour on Peter, under the circumstances of his 
case, was a sufficient reproof, though he spake not one 
word in its confirmation. But ordinarily cogent reasons 
are the best conveyances of reproofs to the minds of men, 
be they of what sort they will. 

2. Reproofs do always respect a fault, an evil, a miscar- 
riage, or a sin in them that are reproved. There may be 
mutual admonitions, and exhortations among Christians, 
with respect unto sundry things in the course of their faith 
and obedience, without a regard unto any evil or miscar- 
riao-e. The general nature of a reproof is an admonition, or 
exhortation, but it hath its special nature from its regard 
unto a fault in course, or particular fact. And hence the 
word signifies also ' to chastise,' wherein is a correction for, 
and the means of a recovery from, a miscarriage. 2 Sam. vii. 
14. * I will reprove him by the rod of men:' that is, chastise 
him. This therefore is that reproof which we intend, a 
warning, admonition, or exhortation given unto any, where- 
by they are rebuked for, and with respect unto, some moral 
evil or sin in their course, way, practice, or any particular 
miscarriage, such as may render them obnoxious unto di- 
vine displeasure, or chastisement : for it is essential unto a 
reo-ular reproof, that in him who gives it, it may be accom- 
panied with, or do proceed froiu, an apprehension, that the 
person reproved is by the matter of the reproof rendered 
obnoxious unto the displeasure of God. 

3. It may also be considered, that reproving is not left 
arbitrarily unto the wills of men. Whatever seems to be so, 
it loseth its nature, if it be not a duty in him who reproves, 
and will come short of its efficacy. No wise man will re- 
prove, but when it is his duty so to do, unless he design the 
just reproach of a busy body for his reward. The command 
is general with respect unto brother and neighbour, Lev. 
xix. 17. ' Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart; 


thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer 
sin upon him.' But as to the paiticular discharge of this 
work as a duty, there must be either an especial oflBce, or an 
especial relation, or a concurrence of circumstances for its 
warranty. God. hath in his wisdom and care given rules and 
bounds unto our engagement unto duties ; without a re- 
gulation whereby we shall wander in them with endless dis- 
satisfactions unto ourselves, and unnecessary provocations 
unto others. But the duty of reproving with the love, wis- 
dom, tenderness, and compassion required in the discharge 
of it; its motives, ends, and circumstances; its proper 
rules and limitations fall not under my present consider- 
ation : but these things in general were necessary to be 
premised unto what do so. 

That which the text instructs us in may be comprised in 
this general observation. 

Observation. Reproofs, though accompanied with some 
sharpness, if rightly received and duly improved, are a 
mercy and advantage, incomparably above all the satisfac- 
tions, which a joint consent with others in sin and pleasures 
can afford. 

The latter part of the proposition I have mentioned only 
to express the balance that is proposed by the psalmist be- 
tween the best and most desirable advantages of wicked 
society on the one hand, and the sharpest or most displeas- 
ing severities that accompany the communion of the righte- 
ous, or godly. But I shall not at all handle the comparison, 
as designing only some directions how men should behave 
themselves under reproofs, that they may be a kindness, 
and an excellent oil unto them ; or how they may by them 
obtain spiritual benefit and advantage unto their own souls. 
And this, however at present the matter may be managed, is 
of itself of great importance. For as in the state of weak- 
ness and imperfection, of mistakes and miscarriages, where- 
in we are, there is no outward help or aid of more use and 
advantage unto us, than seasonable reproofs ; so in the right 
receiving and improving of them, as high a trial of the spi- 
rits of men, as to their interest in wisdom and folly, doth 
consist, as in any thing that doth befall them, or wherewith 
they may be exercised. For as scorners of reproofs, those 
that hear them unwillingly, that bear them haughtily and 


impatiently, with designs of revenge, or disdainful retor- 
tions, having the characters of pride and folly indelibly 
fixed on them by the Holy Ghost; so their due admission 
and improvement is in the same infallible truth represented as 
an evident pledge of wisdom, and an effectual means of its in- 
crease. This is so much, and so frequently insisted on, in that 
great treasure of all wisdom, spiritual, natural and political, 
namely, the Book of Proverbs, that it is altogether needless 
to call over any particular testimonies unto that purpose. 

Three things we are to inquire into, in compliance with 
our present design. 

I. How reproofs may be duly received. 

II. The reasons why they ought so to be. 

III. How they may be duly improved. 

I. That we may receive reproofs in a due manner, three 
things are to be considered: 1. The general qualification of 
the reprover; 2. The nature of the reproof; 3. The matter 
of it. 

1. The psalmist here desires that his reprover may be a 
righteous man : ' Let the righteous smite me,' let him re- 
prove me. To give and take reproofs is a dictate of the law 
of nature, whereby every man is obliged to seek the good of 
others, and to promote it according to their ability and op- 
portunity. The former is directed by that love, vi^hich is 
due unto others; the latter, by that which is due unto our- 
selves : which two are the great rules, and give measure to 
the duties of all societies, whether civil or spiritual. Where- 
fore it doth not evacuate a reproof, or discharge him who is 
reproved, from the duty of attending unto it, that he by 
whom it is managed, is not righteous, yea is openly wicked : 
for the duty itself being an effect of the law of nature, it is 
the same, for the substance of it, by whomsoever it is per- 
formed. Yea ofttimes such moral, or rather immoral qualifi- 
cations as render not only the reprover less considerable, but 
also the reproof itself, until thoroughly weighed and exa- 
mined, obnoxious unto prejudicate conceptions, do occasion 
a greater and more signal exercise of grace and wisdom in 
him that is reproved, than would have been stirred up, had 
all things concurred unto the exact regularity of the reproof. 
However it is desirable on many accounts, that he who re- 
proves us be himself a righteous person, and be of us es- 


teemed so to be. For as such a one alone will or can have 
a due sense of the evil reproved, with a right principle and 
end in the discharge of his own duty ; so the minds of them 
that are reproved are by their sense of his integrity excluded 
from those insinuations of evasions, which prejudices and 
suggestions of just causes of reflections on their reprover 
will offer unto them ; especially without the exercise of sin- 
gular wisdom and humility will all the advantages of a just 
reproof be lost, where the allowed practice of greater sins 
and evils than that reproved is daily chargeable on the re- 
prover. Hence is that reflection of our Saviour on the use- 
less, hypocritical diligence of men, in ' pulling the mote out 
of their brother's eyes,' whilst they have beams in their 
own; Matt. vii. 3 — 5. The rule in this case is, if the re- 
prover be a righteous person, consider the reprover first, and 
then the reproof; if he be otherwise, consider the reproof, 
and the reprover not at all. 

2. The nature of a reproof is also to be considered. And 
this is threefold : for every reproof is either (1.) Authorita- 
tive, or (2.) Fraternal, or (3.) merely friendly and occasional. 

(1.) Authoritative reproofs are either [1.] Ministerial, or 
[2,] Parental, or [3.] Despotical. 

[1.] There is an especial authority accompanying minis- 
terial reproofs, which we ought especially to consider and 
improve. Now I understand not hereby those doctrinal re- 
proofs, when in the dispensation of that word of grace and 
truth, which is ' profitable for correction and reproof,' 
2 Tim, iii. 16. they speak, and exhort, and 'rebuke' the sins 
of men 'with all authority ;' Tit. ii. 15. but the occasional 
application of the word unto individual persons upon their 
unanswerableness in any thing unto the truth, wherein they 
have been instructed. For every right reproof is but the 
orderly application of a rule of truth unto any person under 
his miscarriage, for his healing and recovery. Where there- 
fore a minister of the gospel in the preaching of the word 
doth declare and teach the rule of holy obedience with mi- 
nisterial authority, if any of the flock committed to his 
charge shall appear in any thing to walk contrary thereunto, 
or to have transgressed it in any offensive instance, as it is 
his duty, the discharge whereof will be required of him at 
the great day, particularly to apply the truth unto them in 


the way of private, personal reproof; so he is still therein 
accompanied with his ministerial authority, which makes his 
reproof to be of a peculiar nature, and as such to be ac- 
counted for. For as he is thus commanded, as a minister, 
to * exhort, rebuke, admonish,' and * reprove' every one of 
his charge, as occasion shall require; so, in doing of it, he 
doth discharge and exercise his ministerial oflSce and power. 
And he that is wise will forego no considerations that may 
give efficacy unto a just and due reproof; especially not 
such a one, as if it be neglected, will not only be an aggra- 
vation of the evil, for which he is reproved, but will also ac- 
cumulate his guilt with a contempt of the authority of Jesus 
Christ. Wherefore the rule here is : The more clear and 
evident the representation of the authority of Christ is in 
the reproof, the more diligent ought we to be in our attend- 
ance unto it, and compliance with it. He is the great re- 
prover of his church ; Rev. iii. 19. All the use, power, au- 
thority, and efficacy of ecclesiastical reproofs, flow ori- 
ginally, and are derived from him. In ministerial reproofs 
there is the most express and immediate application of his 
authority made unto the minds of men; which if it be care- 
lessly slighted, or proudly despised, or evacuated by per- 
verse cavillings, as is the manner of some in such cases, it 
is an open evidence of a heart that never yet sincerely took 
upon this law and yoke. 

These things are spoken of the personal reproofs that are 
given by ministers, principally unto those of their respective 
flocks, as occasion doth require; wherein I shall pray, that 
our Lord Jesus Christ, the great Shepherd of the sheep, 
would yet make us all more faithful and diligent, as the sea- 
son wherein we live doth abundantly require it. But more- 
over church censures in admonition and excommunication 
have the nature and ends of ministerial reproofs. But the 
handling of their nature and use, with the duties of those 
persons who justly fall under them, and the benefit which 
they may reap thereby, is too long and large a subject to be 
here diverted unto. 

[2.] Authoritative reproof is parental. Reproof is indeed 
one of the greatest and most principal duties of parents to- 
wards children, and without which all others for the most 
part do but pamper them unto slaughter and ruin. Neglect 


hereof is that which hath filled us with so many Hophnies, 
Phinehases, and Absaloins; whose outrageous wickednesses 
are directly charged on the sinful lenity, and neglect in this 
matter, even of godly parents. And indeed whereas some 
parents are openly vicious and debauched even in the sight ' 
of their children, in a sensual neglect and contempt of the 
light of nature, whereby they lose all their authority in re- 
proving, as well as all care about it ; and whereas the most 
have so little regard unto sin as sin, whilst things are tole- 
rably well in outward concerns, that they neglect the re- 
proof of it as such ; and many, through a foolish, contempti- 
ble prevalency of fond affection, will take no notice of the 
sinful follies, extravagancies, and miscarriages of their chil- 
dren, until all things grow desperate with them ; but sooth 
up and applaud them in such effects of pride, vanity, and 
wantonness, as ought to be most severely reproved in them; 
the woful and dreadful degeneracy of the age wherein we 
live, owes itself much unto the horrible neglect of parents in 
this duty. That parental reproof is a duty taught by the law 
of nature, confirmed in the Scripture, enjoined under severe 
threatenings and penalties, exemplified in instances of bless- 
ings and vengeance, on its performance or neglect; rendered 
indispensably necessary by that depravation of our natures, 
which works in children from the womb, and grows up in 
strength and efficacy together with them, I should not need 
to prove, if it lay directly before me, it being a matter of 
universal acknowledgment. I shall only say, that whereas 
there is on many accounts an immediate impress of divine 
authority on parental reproofs, that which children ought to 
consider and know for themselves is, that a continuance in 
the neglect, or contempt of them, is a token that seldom 
fails of approaching temporal and eternal destruction ; Prov. 
XXX. 17. 

[3.] Authoritative reproof is despotical ; namely, that of 
governors, rulers, and masters of families. This also par- 
takes of the nature of those foregoing, and being a duty 
founded in the law of nature, as well as enforced by positive 
divine commands, casts a peculiar obligation to obedience 
on them that are so reproved. And where servants regard 
not sober and Christian reproofs, as the ordinance of God 
for their good, they lose the advantages of their condition, 



and may be looked upon as un sanctified sufferers in a state 
of bondage, which hath an especial character of the first 
curse upon it. 

(2.) Reproof is fraternal, or such as is mutual between 
the members of the same church, by virtue of that especial 
relation wherein they stand, and the obligation thence 
arising; unto mutual watchfulness over each other, with ad- 
monitions, exhortations, and reproofs. As this is peculiarly 
appointed by our Saviour, Matt, xviii. 15. in confirmation 
of the ordinance in the church of the Jews to that purpose, 
Levit. xix. 17. and confirmed by many precepts and direc- 
tions in the New Testament, Rom. xv. 18. 1 Thess. v. 14. 
Heb. iii. 12, 13. xii. 15, 16. so the neglect of it is that, 
which hath lost us not only the benefit, but also the very 
nature of church societies. Wherefore our improvement of 
rebukes in this kind, depends much on a due consideration 
of that duty and love, from whence they do proceed : for 
this we are by the royal law of charity obliged unto the be- 
lief of, where there is not open evidence unto the contrary. 
And whereas it may be those things, for which we may be 
thus reproved, are not of the greatest importance in them- 
selves, who that is wise will by the neglect of the reproof 
itself, contract the open guilt of contemning the wisdom, 
love, and care of Christ in the institution of this ordinance? 
(3.) Lastly, Reproofs are friendly or occasional, such as 
may be administered and managed by any persons, as reasons 
and opportunities require, from the common principle of 
universal love unto mankind, especially towards them that 
are of the household of faith. These also having in them the 
entire nature of reproofs, will fall under all the ensuing di- 
rections, which have a general respect thereunto. 

If then we would duly make use of, and improve unto our 
advantage, the reproofs that may be given us, we are seriously 
to consider the nature of them, with respect unto those by 
whom they are managed : for all the things we have men- 
tioned are suited to influence our minds unto a regard of 
them, and compliance with them. 

3. The matter of a reproof is duly to be weighed by him, 
who designs any benefit thereby. And the first considera- 
tion of it is. Whether it be true, or false. I shall not carry 
them unto a more minute distribution, of the substance and 

TO BEAU rp:proofs. 35 

circumstances of the matter intended, of the whole or part 
of it ; but do suppose that from some principal considera- 
tion of it, every reproof, as to its matter, may be denomi- 
nated and esteemed true, or false. And here our own 
consciences, with due application unto the rule, are the 
proper judge and umpire. Conscience, if any way en- 
lightened from the word, will give an impartial sentence 
concerning the guilt or innocence of the person, with re- 
spect unto the matter of a reproof. And there can be no 
more infallible evidence of a miscarriage in such a condi- 
tion, than when pride, or passion, or prejudice, or any cor- 
rupt affection, can either outbrave, or stifle that compliance 
with a just reproof, which conscience will assuredly tender; 
Rom. ii. 14. 

( 1 .) If a reproof, as to the matter of it, be false, or unjust, 
and so judged in an unbiassed conscience, it may be consi- 
dered in matter of right, and of fact. In the first case the 
matter may be true, and yet the reproof formally false and 
evil : in the latter the matter may be false, and yet the re- 
proof an acceptable duty. 

[1.] A reproof is false in matter of right, or formally, 
when we are reproved for that as evil, which is indeed our 
duty to perform. So David was fiercely reproved by his 
brother Eliab for coming unto the battle against the Philis- 
tines, ascribing it to his pride, and the naughtiness of his 
heart. Whereunto he only replied, 'What have I done? 
Is there not a cause?' 1 Sam. xvii. 28, 29. And Peter re- 
buked our Lord Jesus Christ himself for declarinp; the doc- 
trine of the cross; Mark viii. 33. And so we may be 
reproved for the principal duties that God requireth of us. 
And if men were as free in reproving, as they are in re- 
proaching, we should not escape from daily rebukes, for 
whatever we do in the worship of God. Now though such 
reproofs generally may be looked on as temptations, and so 
to be immediately rejected, as they were in the cases in- 
stanced in ; yet may they sometimes, where they proceed 
from love, and are managed with moderation, be considered 
as necessary cautions to look heedfully unto the grounds and 
reasons we proceed upon in the duties opposed, at which 
others do take offence. 

[2.] If the reproof be false in matter of fact, wherein that 


is charged on us, and reproved in us, whereof we are no ways 
guilty, three things are to be considered that it may not be 
unuseful unto us. 

1st. The circumstances of the reprover. As (1.) Whether 
he do proceed on some probable mistake : or (2.) Credulity 
and easiness in taking up reports : or (3.) On evil, ground- 
less surmises of his own : or (4.) From a real godly jealousy, 
which hath been imposed on, as easily it will be, by some 
appearances of truth. Without a due consideration of these 
thino-s, we shall never know how to carry it aright towards 
them, by whom we are reproved for that whereof we are not 

2dly. Consider aright the difference between a reproof 
and a reproach : for they may be both false alike, and that 
whereof we are reproved have no more truth in it, than that 
wherewith we are reproached. Yea, we may be honestly 
reproved for that which is false, and wickedly reproached 
with that which is true. So Augustin calls the language of 
the maid unto her mother about drinking wine, ' durum con- 
vitium,' though the matter of it were true enough. But a 
reproach is the acting of a mind designing of, and rejoicing 
in evil. Unto a reproof it is essential that it spring from 
love. ' Whom I love I rebuke,' is the absolute rule of these 
things. Let a man rebuke another, though for that which 
indeed is false, if it be in love, it is a reproof; but let him 
rebuke another, though for that which is true, if it be from 
a mind delighting in evil, it is a reproach ; and if it be false, 
it is moreover a calumny. 

3dly. Where a man in such cases is fully justified by 
the testimony of his own conscience, bearing witness unto 
his integrity and innocency ; yet may he greatly miscarry 
under the occasion, if he attend not diligently unto his own 
spirit, which most men judge to be set at the utmost liberty 
under such injurious provocations, as they esteem them. 
Wherefore to keep our minds unto sedate. Christian mode- 
ration in such cases, and that we may not lose the advantage 
of what is befallen us, we ought immediately to apply them 
unto such other duties. as the present occasion doth re- 
quire. As, 

(1st.) To search our own hearts and ways, whether we 
have not indeed upon us the guilt of some greater evils than 


that which is falsely charged on us, or for which we are re- 
proved on mistake. And if it appear so upon examination, 
we shall quickly see what little reason we have to tumultuate, 
and rise up with indignation against the charge we suffer 
under. And may we not thence see much of the wisdom and 
goodness of God, who suffereth us to be exercised with what 
we can bear off with the impenetrable shield of a good con- 
science, whilst he graciously hides and covers those greater 
evils of our hearts, with respect whereunto we cannot but 
condemn ourselves? 

(2dly.) To consider that it is not of ourselves, that we 
are not guilty of the evil suspected and charged. No man 
of sobriety can on any mistake reprove us for any thing, be 
it never so false, but that it is merely of sovereign grace that 
we have not indeed contracted the guilt of it. And humble 
thankfulness unto God on this occasion, for his real pre- 
serving grace, will abate the edge, and take off the fierceness 
of our indignation, against men for their supposed injurious 
dealings with us. 

(3dly,) Such reproofs, if there be not open malice and 
continued wickedness manifest in them, are to be looked on 
as gracious providential warnings, to take heed lest at any 
time we should be truly overtaken with that which at pre- 
sent we are falsely charged withal. We little know the 
dangers that continually attend us, the temptations where- 
with we may be surprised at unawares, nor how near on 
their account we may be unto any sin or evil, which we 
judge ourselves most remote from, and least obnoxious unto. 
Neither on the other hand can we readily understand the 
ways and means whereby the holy, wise God issueth forth 
those hidden provisions of preventing grace, which are con- 
tinually administered for our preservation. And no wise 
man, who understands any thing of the deceitfulness of his 
own heart, with the numberless numbers of invisible occa- 
sions of sin, wherewith he is encompassed continually, but 
will readily embrace such reproofs, as providential warnings 
unto watchfulness in those things whereof before he was not 

(4thly.) When the mind by these considerations is ren- 
dered sedate, and weighed unto Christian moderation, then 
ought a man in such cases patiently and peaceably to un- 



dertake the defence of his innocencv, and his own vindication , 
And herein also there is need of much wisdom and circum- 
spection ; it being a matter of no small difficulty for a man 
duly to manage self and innocency, both which are apt to 
influence us unto some more than ordinary vehemency of 

But the directions which might, and indeed ought to be 
given under all these particular heads, would by no means 
be confined unto the limits fixed to this discourse. 

(2.) If the matter of the reproof be true in fact, then it is 
duly to be considered, whether the offence, for which any 
one is reproved, be private or public, attended with scandal. 
[I.] If it be private, then it is to be weighed, whether it 
was known unto, and observed, in and by the person himself 
reproved or no, before he was reproved. If it were not so 
known, as we may justly be reproved for many things, which 
through ignorance, or inadvertency, or compliance with the 
customs of the world, we may have taken no notice of; and 
if the reproof bring along light and conviction with it, the 
first especial improvement of such a peculiar reproof is 
thankfulness to God for it, as a means of deliverance from 
any way, or work, or path, that was unacceptable in his 
sight. And hence a great prospect may be taken, of the 
following deportment of the mind under other reproofs. For 
a readiness to take in light and conviction with respect unto 
any evil, that we are ignorant of, is an evidence of a readi- 
ness to submit to the authority of God in any other rebukes 
that have their convictions going before them : so the heart 
that is prone to fortify itself by any pleas or pretences against 
convictions of sin, in what it doth not yet own so to be, will 
be as prone unto obstinacy under reproofs, in what it cannot 
but acknowledge to be evil. If it were known before to the 
person reproved, but not supposed by him to be observed by 
others, under the covert of which imagination, sin often 
countenanceth itself, that soul will never make a due im- 
provement of a reproof, who is not first sensible of the care 
and kindness of God, in driving him from that retreat and 
hold, where the interest of sin had placed its chiefest reserve. 
[2.] Sins, so far public as to give matter of offence or 
scandal, are the ordinary subject of all orderly reproofs, and 
therefore need not in particular lo be spoken unto. 


Having shewed the nature of reproofs in general, with 
such considerations of the matter of them, as have afforded 
occasion unto sundry particular directions relating unto the 
duty under discussion; it remains, that we explain and con- 
firm the other two generals comprised in the observation 
deduced from the text ; namely. Why we ought to receive 
reproofs, Oiderly, or regularly given unto us, esteeming of 
them as a singular privilege. And how we may duly improve 
them unto their proper end, the glory of God, and the spi- 
ritual advantage of our own souls. 

II. As to the first of these we may observe, 
1. That mutual reproofs for the curing of evil, and pre- 
venting of danger in one another, are prime dictates of the 
law of nature, and that obligation, which our participation 
in the same being, offspring, original, and end, to seek the 
good of each other, doth lay upon us. This God designed 
in our creation, and this the rational constitution of our na- 
tures directs us unto. To seek and endeavour for each other 
all that good, whereof we are capable in time, or unto eter- 
nity, was indelibly implanted upon our natures, and indis- 
pensably necessary unto that society among ourselves, with 
the great end of our joint living unto God, for which we 
were made. All the mutual evils of mankind, whether of 
persons, or of nations, designed or perpetrated against one 
another, are effects of our fatal prevarication from the law 
of our creation. Hence Cain, the first open violent trans- 
gressor of the rules and bounds of human society, thought 
to justify or excuse himself by a renunciation of that prin- 
ciple, which God in nature had made the foundation of a 
political or sociable life, with respect unto temporal and 
eternal ends : ' Am I,' saith he, ' my brother's keeper V Gen. 
iv. Yea, God had made every man the keeper of his brother 
so far, as that they should in all things in their opportuni- 
ties, and unto their power, seek their good, and deliverance 
from evil. In those things which are good unto us, those 
which are spiritual and eternal have the pre-eminence. These 
nothing can prejudice but sin and moral evils, whose preven- 
tion therefore in one another, so far as we are able, is a duty 
of the law of nature, and the prime effect of that love, which 
we owe unto the whole offspring of that 'one blood,' whereof 
God hath made all nations. And one of the most effectual 


means for that end are the reproofs whereof we treat. And 
the obligation is the same on those that give them, and those 
to whom they are given, with respect unto their several in- 
terests in this duty. Wherefore to neglect, to despise, not 
thankfully to receive such reproofs, as are justly and regu- 
larly given unto us at any time, is to contemn the law of our 
creation, and to trample on the prime effect of fraternal love. 
Yea, to despise reproofs, and to discountenance the discharge 
of that duty, is to open a door unto that mutual hatred and 
dislike, which in the sight of God is murder: see Lev. xix. 
17. with 1 John iii. 15. Let us therefore look to ourselves, 
for there is no greater sign of a degeneracy from the law, 
and all the ends of our creation, than an unwillingness to 
receive reproofs, justly deserved, and regularly adminis- 
tered ; or not to esteem of them, as a blessed effect of the 
wisdom and goodness of God towards us. 

2. Whereas the light of nature is variously obscured, and 
its directive power debilitated in us, God hath renewed on 
us an obligation unto this duty by particular institutions, 
both under the Old Testament and the New. The truth is, 
the efficacy of the law of creation, as unto moral duties, 
being exceedingly impaired by the entrance of sin ; and the 
exercise of original, native love towards mankind being im- 
peded and obstructed by that confusion and disorder, where- 
into the whole state of mankind was cast by sin, every one 
thereby being made the enemy of another, as the apostle 
declares. Tit. iii. 3. not being cured by that coalescency into 
evil societies which respects only political and temporal ends, 
the discharge of this duty was utterly lost, at least beyond 
that which was merely parental. Wherefore God in the in- 
stitution of his church, both under the Old Testament and 
the New, did mould men into such peculiar societies and 
relations, as wherein way might be made meet again for the 
exercise thereof. He hath so disposed of us, that every one 
may know every one whom he is obliged to reprove, and 
every one may know every one whom he is obliged to hear. 
And as he hath hereby cured that confusion we were cast 
into, which was obstructive of the exercise of this duty; so 
by the renovation of positive commands, attended with in- 
structions, directions, promises, and threatenings, enforcing 
the gii'ingand receiving of reproofs with respect unto moral 


and spiritual ends, he hath relieved us against that obscurity 
of natural light, which we before laboured under. Should 
I go to express the commands, directions, exhortations, 
promises, and threatenings, which are given in the Scripture 
to this purpose, it would be a work as endless, as I suppose 
it needless, to all that are conversant in the holy writings. 
It may suffice unto our present purpose, that there being an 
express institution of God for the giving and taking of re- 
proofs, and that an effect of infinite goodness, benignity, 
and love towards us ; not thankfully to receive reproofs, 
when it is our lot to deserve them, and to have them, is to 
despise the authority of God over us, and his gracious care 
for us. When therefore it befalleth any to be justly and or- 
derly reproved, let him call to mind the authority and love 
of God therein ; which will quickly give him that sense of 
their worth and excellency, as will make him thankful for 
them ; which is the first step unto their due improvement. 

3. A due consideration of the use, benefit, and advan- 
tage of them, will give them a ready admission into our 
minds and affections. Who knows how many souls, that are 
now at rest with God, have been prevented by reproofs, as 
the outward means, from going down into the pit ? Unto 
how many have they been an occasion of conversion and 
sincere turning unto God ? How many have been recovered 
by them from a state of backsliding, and awakened from a 
secure sleep in sin ? How many great and bloody sins hath 
the perpetration of been obviated by them ? How many 
snares of temptations have they been the means to break 
and cancel ? What revivings have they been to grace, what 
disappointments unto the snares of Satan, who can declare? 
The advantages which the souls of men do, or might receive 
every day by them, is more to be valued than all earthly 
treasures whatever. And shall any of us, when it comes to 
be our concern, through a predominancy of pride, passion, 
and prejudice; or through cursed sloth and security, the 
usual means of the defeatment of these advantages; manifest 
ourselves to have no interest in, or valuation of, these things, 
by an unreadiness or unwillingness to receive reproofs, when 
tendered unto us in the way, and according to the mind of 


III. But now suppose we are willing to receive them, it 
will be inquired in the last place, what considerations may 
further us in their due improvement, and what directions 
may be given thereunto. 

An answer to this enquiry shall shut up this discourse. 
And I shall say hereunto, 

1. If there be not open evidence unto the contrary, it is 
our duty to judge that every reproof is given us in a way of 
duty. This will take off offence with respect unto the re- 
prover, which unjustly taken is an assured entrance into a 
way of losing all benefit and advantage by the reproof. The 
reason why any man doth regularly reprove another, is be- 
cause God requireth him so to do, and by his command hath 
made it his duty towards him that is reproved. And do we 
judge it reasonable, that one should neglect his duty towards 
God and us, and in some degree or other make himself guilty 
of our sins, for no other cause, but lest we should be dis- 
pleased, that we are not suffered to sin securely, and it may 
be to perish eternally? And if we are convinced that it is 
the duty of another to reprove us, we cannot but be con- 
vinced that it is our duty to hearken and attend thereunto. 
And this will fix the mind unto a due consideration of the 
present duty that lies before us, and what is our just con- 
cernment in the reproof. Besides, if it be done in a way of 
duty, it is done in love : for all orderly rebukes are effects of 
love. And if we are convinced of any one, that he doth re- 
prove in a way of duty, we must be satisfied that what he 
doth proceedeth from love, without by-ends or dissimula- 
tion. For what doth not so, be it what it will, belongs not 
to rebuking in a way of duty. And this will remove all ob- 
structing prejudices in all who have the least gracious in- 
genuity. Ahab despised the warning of Micaiah, because 
he thought they mutually hated one another ; he knew how 
it was with himself, and falsely so judged of the prophet, by 
his necessary sharpness towards him. But where there are 
such surmises, all advantages of reproofs will be assuredly 
lost. Where therefore our minds are satisfied that any re- 
proof is an effect of love, and given in a way of duty, ' dimi- 
dium facti,' we are half way in the discharge of the duty di- 
rected unto. 


2. Take heed of cherishing habitually such disorders, 
vices, and distempers of mind, as are contrary unto this 
duty, and will frustrate the design of it. Such are, 

(1.) Hastiness of spirit. Some men's minds do with 
such fury apply themselves unto their first apprehension of 
things, that they cast the whole soul into disorder, and 
render it incapable of farther rational considerations. There 
may be, it is possible, some failures and mistakes in useful 
and necessary reproofs, in matter, manner, circumstance,^ 
some way, or other. This immediately is seized on by men 
of hasty spirits (a vice and folly sufficiently condemned in 
Scripture) turned unto a provocation, made a matter of 
strife and dispute, until the whole advantage of the reproof 
is utterly lost and vanisheth. A quiet, gentle, considerative, 
sedate frame of spirit is required unto this duty. 

(2.) Pride, and haughtiness of mind, self-conceit, elation 
of spirit, which will be inseparably accompanied with the 
contempt of others, and a scorn that any should think them- 
selves either so much wiser, or so much better than our- 
selves, as to reprove us in any kind, are a fenced wall against 
any benefit, or advantage by reproofs ; yea, things that will 
turn judgment into hemlock, and the most sovereign antidote 
into poison. No wild beast in a toil doth more rave, and 
tear, and rend, than a proud man when he is reproved. And 
therefore he who manifests himself so to be, hath secured 
himself from being any more troubled by serious reproofs 
from any wise man whatever. See Prov. ix. 7. 8, 

(3.) Prejudices, which are so variously occasioned, as it 
were endless to recount. If now we make it not our con- 
stant business to purge our minds from these depraved 
aftections, they will never fail effectually to exert themselves 
on all occasions to the utter defeatment of all use in, or 
benefit by, the most necessary and regular reproofs. 

3. Reckon assuredly, that a fault, a miscarriage, which 
any one is duly reproved for, if the reproof be not received 
and improved as it ought, is not only aggravated, but accumu- 
lated with a new crime, and marked with a dangerous token 
of an incurable evil: see Prov. xxix. 1. Let men do what 
they can, bear themselves high in their expressions, grow 
angry, passionate, excuse, or palliate ; unless they are seared 
and profligately obstinate, tlieiT ov^n consciences will take 


part with a just and regular reproof. If hereupon they come 
not up to amendment, their guilt is increased by the occa- 
sional excitation of the light of conscience to give it an 
especial charge. And there is an additional sin in the con- 
tempt of the reproof itself. But that which principally 
should make men careful, and even tremble in this case is, 
that they are put on a trial, whether ever they will forsake 
the evil of their ways and doings, or no. For he who is or- 
derly reproved for any fault, and neglects, or despiseth the 
rebuke, can have no assurance that he shall ever be deli- 
vered from the evil rebuked; but hath just cause to fear, 
that he is entering into a course of hardness and impeni- 

4. It is useful unto the same end, immediately to com- 
pare the reproof with the word of truth. This is the mea- 
sure, standard, and directory of all duties, whereunto in all 
dubious cases we should immediately retreat for advice and 
counsel. And whereas there are two things considerable in 
a reproof; first, the matter of it, that it be true, and a just 
cause, or reason of a rebuke ; and, secondly, the right which 
the reprover hath unto this duty, with the rule which he 
walked by therein ; if both these for the substance of them 
prove to be justified by the Scripture, then have we in such 
a case no more to do with the reprover, nor any of his cir- 
cumstances, but immediately and directly with God himself: 
for where he gives express warranty and direction for a duty 
in his word, his own authority is as directly exerted thereby, 
as if he spoke unto us from heaven. Hereby will the mind 
be prevented from many wanderings, and vain reliefs, which 
foolish imagination will suggest, and be bound up unto its 
present duty. Let our unwillingness to be reproved be what 
it will, as also our prejudices against our reprover ; if we are 
not at least free to bring the consideration and examination 
of the one and the other unto the word of truth, it is because 
our deeds are evil, and therefore we love darkness more than 
light. No milder, nor more gentle censure can be passed on 
any, who is not free to bring any reproof, that may be given 
him, unto an impartial trial by the word, whether it be ac- 
cording to the mind of God, or no. If this be done, and con- 
viction of its truth and necessity do then appear; then let 
the soul know it hath to do with God himself, and wisely 


consider what answer he w^ill return, what account he will 
give unto him. Wherefore, 

5. The best way to keep our souls in a readiness rightly 
to receive, and duly to improve such reproofs, as may re- 
gularly be given us by any, is to keep and preserve our 
souls and spirits in a constant awe and reverence of the 
reproofs of God, which are recorded in his word. The neg- 
lect, or contempt of these reproofs, is that which the gene- 
rality of mankind do split themselves upon, and perish eter- 
nally. This is so fully and graphically expressed, Prov. i. 
that nothing; can be added thereunto. And the g-reat means 
whereby much hardness comes upon others, through the de- 
ceitfulness of sin, is want of keeping up a due sense or re- 
verence of divine reproofs and threatenings on their souls. 
When this is done, when our hearts are kept up unto an 
awful regard of them, exercised with a continual meditation 
on them, made tender, careful, watchful by them, any just 
reproof from any, that falls in compliance with them, will be 
conscientiously observed, and carefully improved. 

6. We shall fail in this duty unless we are always accom- 
panied with a deep sense of our frailty, weakness, readiness 
to halt, or miscarry, and thereon a necessity of all the ordi- 
nances and visitations of God, which are designed to pre- 
serve our souls. Unless we have due apprehensions of our 
own state and condition here, we shall never kindly receive 
warnings beforehand to avoid approaching dangers; nor 
duly improve rebukes for being overtaken with them. It is 
the humble soul that feareth always, and that from a sense of 
its own weakness, yea, the treacheries and deceitfulness of its 
heart, with the power of those temptations, whereunto it is 
continually exposed, that is ever like to make work of the 
duty here directed unto. 






If so he ye have lasted that the Lord is r/racious. — 1 Pot. ii. 3. 

When false worship had prevailed in the church of old, unto 
its ruin, God shewed and represented it unto his prophet, 
under the name and appearance of* a chamber of imagery ;' 
Ezek. viii. 11, 12. For therein were pourtrayed all the abo- 
minations wherewith the worship of God was defiled, and 
religion corrupted. Things relating unto divine truth and 
worship, have had again the same event in the world, espe- 
cially in the church of Rome. And my present design is to 
take a view of the chambers oftheir imagery, and to shew what 
was the occasion, and what were the means of their erection; 
and in them we shall see all the abomination wherewith the 
divine worship of the gospel hath been corrupted, and 
Christian religion ruined. Unto this end it will be neces- 
sary to lay down some such principles of sacred truths, as 
will demonstrate and evince the grounds and causes of that 
transformation of the substance and power of religion into 
a lifeless image, which shall be proved to have fallen out 
amongst them. And because I intend their benefit princi- 
pally who resolve all their persuasion in religion into the 
word of God, I shall deduce these principles from that pas- 
sage of it in 1 Pet. ii. 1 — 3, 

• Tliis sermon was preached at the Morning Exercise at Cripplegate, 1682. In 
answer to this question, How is tlie practical love of truth the best preservative 
against Popery ? 


Ver. 1. contains an exhortation unto, or an injunction of, 
universal holiness, by the laying aside, or casting- out what- 
ever is contrary thereunto ; ' Wherefore lay aside all malice, 
and all guile, and hypocrisy, and envy, and all evil speaking;' 
the rule whereof extends unto all otiier vicious habits of mind 

And in ver. 2. there is a profession of the means whereby 
this end may be attained, namely, how any one may be so 
strengthened in grace, as to cast out all such sinful inclinations 
and practices as are contrary unto the holiness required of 
us, which is the divine word ; compared therefore unto food, 
which is the means of preserving natural life, and of in- 
creasing its strength ; ' As new born babes desire the sin- 
cere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.' 

Hereon the apostle proceeds in ver. 3. to declare the con- 
dition whereon our profiting, growing, and thriving by the 
word doth depend ; and this is an experience of its power, 
as it is the instrument of God, w hereby he conveys his grace 
unto us ; 'If so be that ye have tasted that the Lord is gra- 
cious.' See 1 Thess. i. o. Therein lies the first and chief 
principle of our ensuing demonstration, and it is this : 

Principle I. All the benefit and advantage which any men 
do or may receive by the word, or the truths of the gospel, 
depend on an experience of its power and efficacy, in com- 
municating; the grace of God unto their souls. 

This principle is evident in itself, and not to be ques- 
tioned by any, but such as never had the least real sense of 
religion on their own minds. Besides, it is evidently con- 
tained in the testimony of the apostle before laid down. 

Hereunto three other principles of equal evidence with 
itself are supposed and virtually contained in it. 

Principle II. There is a power and efficacy in the word, 
and the preaching of it; Rom. i. 16. * I am not ashamed of 
the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto sal- 

It hath a divine power ; the power of God accompanying 
it, and put forth in it, unto its proper ends ; ' For the word 
of God is quick and powerful;' Heb. iv. 12. 

Principle III. The power that is in the word of God, con- 
sists in its efficacy to communicate the grace of God unto 
the souls of men. 


In and by it they ' taste that the Lord is gracious ;' that 
is, its efficacy unto its proper ends. These are salvation, 
with all things requisite thereunto ; such as the illumination 
of our minds, and the renovation of our natures, the justifi- 
cation of our persons, the life of God in holy worship and 
obedience, all leading unto our eternal enjoyment of him. 
These are the ends vvhereunto the gospel is designed in the 
wisdom of God, whereunto its efficacy is confined. 

Principle IV. There is an experience to be obtained of 
the power and efficacy of the word. 

In that place of the apostle it is expressed by •' tasting.' 
But there is something antecedent unto their tasting, spe- 
cially so called, and something consequent unto it, both in- 
separable from it, and therefore belonging unto the expe- 
rience whereof we speak. Wherefore, 

1. The first thing required hereunto is light; that is, a 
spiritual supernatural light, enabling us to discern the wis- 
dom, will, and mind of God in the word, in a spiritual man- 
ner, without which we can have no experience of its power. 
Hence ' the gospel is hid unto them that perish,' though it 
be outwardly declared unto them; 2 Cor. iii. 4. This is the 
only means which lets into the mind and conscience a sense 
of this efficacy. This, in the increases of it, the apostle 
prays for on the behalf of believers, that they may have this 
experience, Eph. i. 16 — 19. iii. 16 — 19. and declares the na- 
ture of it, 2 Cor. iv. 6. 

2. The taste intended follows hereon ; wherein consists 
the life and substance of the experience pleaded for. And this 
taste is a spiritual sense of the goodness, power, and efficacy 
of the word, and the things contained in it, in the convey- 
ance of the grace of God unto our souls, in the instances 
mentioned, and others of a like nature; for in a taste, there 
is a sweetness unto the palate, and a satisfaction unto the 
appetite. By the one, in this taste our minds are refreshed; 
and by the other our souls are nourished ; of both believers 
have an experience. And this is let into the mind by spi- 
ritual light, without which nothing of it is attainable. * God, 
who commanded liffht to shine out of darkness, shine into 
your hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of his glory 
in the face of Jesus Ciirist;' 2 Cor. iv. 6. 

3. To complete the experience intended, there follows 


hereon a conformity in the whole soul and conversation unto 
the truth of the word, or the mind of God in it, wrought in 
us by its power and efficacy. So the apostle expresses it, 
Ephes. iv. 21 — 24. ' If so be that ye have heard him, and 
have been taught by him as the truth is in Jesus : that ye 
put off concerning the former conversation, the old man, 
which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts ; and be re- 
newed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the 
new man, which after God is created in righteousness and 
true holiness.' 

Hereupon follows our last principle, which is the imme- 
diate foundation of the ensuing discourse, or that which is 
to be confirmed ; and it is this : 

Principle V. The loss of an experience of the power of 
religion hath been the cause of the loss of the truth of 
religion ; or it hath been the cause of rejecting its substance, 
and setting up a shadow or image in the room of it. 

This transformation of all things in religion, began and 
proceeded on these grounds. Those who had the conduct 
of it, were always possessed of the general notions of truth, 
which they could not forego without a total renunciation of 
the gospel itself. But having lost all experience of this 
power in themselves, they wrested them unto things quite of 
another nature, destructive to the truth, as well as devoid of 
its power; hereon it came to pass that there was a dead 
image made and set up of religion in all the parts of it, called 
by the name of that which was true and living, but utterly 
lost. All experience, I say, of the power and efficacy of the 
mystery of the gospel, and the truth of it, in communicating 
the grace of God unto the souls of men being lost, retaining 
the general notion of it, they contrived and framed an out- 
ward image or representation of them, suited unto their igno- 
rance and superstition. Thus was the truth of religion once 
almost totally lost in the world, as we shall see ; neither will 
it ever be lost any other way, or by any other means. When 
churches or nations are possessed of the truth and the pro- 
fession of it, it is not laws, nor fines, nor imprisonments, 
nor gibbets, nor fires, that shall ever dispossess them, or de- 
prive them of it. Whilst an experience of the power of reli- 
gion continued in the primitive times, all the bloody rao-e 
and cruelty of the world, all the craft of Satan, and the sub- 



tlety of seducers, who abounded, did utterly fail in attempt- 
ing to deprive Christians of the truth, and the profession of 
it. But when this began to decay, and be lost amongst 
them, they were quickly deceived, and drawn ofl" from the 
simplicity of the gospel. Upon the reformation of religion 
in these parts of the world, when the truth was received in 
the love and power of it, and multitudes had experience of 
the spiritual benefit and advantage which they received 
thereby, in liberty, holiness, and peace ; all the prisons, tor- 
tures, swords, and fires, that were applied unto its extirpa- 
tion, did nothing but diffuse the profession of it, and root it 
more firmly in the minds of men. It cannot be lost but by 
another way, and other means. The Jesuits and their asso- 
ciates, have been for a hundred years, contriving methods 
and arts for the dispossessing nations and churches of the 
truth which they have received, and the introducing the 
Romish superstition. They have written books about it, 
and practised according to their principles in every kingdom 
and state of Europe, who own the Protestant religion. But 
the folly of most of their pretended arts and devices unto 
this end, hath been ridiculous and unsuccessful ; and what 
they have added hereunto of force, hath been divinely de- 
feated. There is but one way, one effectual engine to 
deprive any people of the profession of the truth which they 
have once received ; and that is, by leading them into such 
profaneness and ignorance, as whereby they may lose all ex- 
perience of its power and eflficacy in communicating the 
grace of God unto their souls, and therein of all sense of the 
advantage which they might have had by it. When this is 
done, men will as easy lay aside the profession of religion, 
as burdensome clothes in summer. 

There is much talk of a plot and conspiracy to destroy 
the Protestant religion, and introduce popery again amongst 
us ; they may do well to take care thereof, who are concerned 
in public affairs : but as unto the event, there is but one con- 
spiracy that is greatly to be feared in this matter, and that is 
between Satan and the lusts of men ; if they can prevail to 
deprive the generality of men of an experience in their own 
minds of the yiower and efficacy of the truth, with the spiri- 
tual advantage which they may have thereby, they will give 
them up to be an easy prey unto the other designers. And 


there are two engines that are applied unto this purpose ; 
the one is ignorance, the other is profaneness, or sensuality 
of Hfe. Whenever either of these prevails, the experience 
intended must necessarily be lost and excluded : and the 
means of their prevailing, are want of due instruction by 
those who are the leaders of the people, and the encourage- 
ment of sensuality, by impunity and great examples. This 
is the only formidable conspiracy against the profession of 
the truth in this nation, without whose aid, all power and 
force will be frustrate in the issue. And as there is a great 
appearance in divine permission of such a state of things at 
present amongst us, so if they be managed by counsel also, 
and that those ways of ignorance and sensuality, are coun- 
tenanced and promoted for this very end, that the power of 
truth being lost, the profession of it may be given up on 
easy terms, there is nothing but sovereign grace that can 
prevent the design. For the principle which we have laid 
down, is uncontrollable in reason and experience ; namely, 
that the loss of an experience of the power of religion, will 
issue one way or other, in the loss of the truth of religion, 
and the profession of it. Whence is it that so many corrupt 
opinions have made such an inroad on the Protestant reli- 
gion, and the profession of it ? Is it not from hence, that 
many have lost an experience of the power and efficacy of 
the truth, and so have parted with it ? Whence is it that 
profaneness and sensuality of life, with all manner of corrupt 
lusts of the flesh, have grown up, unto the shame of profes- 
sion? Is it not from the cause, as the apostle expressly de- 
clares it comes by ? 2 Tim. iv. 2 — 5. One way or other the 
loss of experience of the power of truth, will end in the loss 
of the profession of it. 

But I proceed unto the instance which I do design in 
the church of Rome. For the religion of it at this day is 
nothing but a dead image of the gospel, erected in the loss 
of an experience of its spiritual power, overthrowing its use, 
with all its ends, being suited to the taste of men, carnal, 
ignorant, and superstitious. This I shall make evident by 
all sorts of instances in things relating to the person and 
offices of Christ ; the state, order, and worship of the church ; 
with the graces and duties of obedience required in the gos- 
pel. And in all, my principal design is to demonstrate what 

E 2 


is the only way and means of securing our own souls, an^' 
church or nation, from being ensnared with, or prevailed 
against by popery. 

1. It is a general notion of truth, that the Lord Christ 
in his person and grace, is to be proposed and represented 
unto men as the principal object of their faith and love. 

He himself in his divine person, is absolutely invisible 
unto us, and as unto his human nature absent from us. 
For the heavens must receive hiui until the time of the 
restitution of all things. There must therefore an image or 
representation of him be made unto our minds, or he cannot 
be the proper object of our faith, trust, love, and delight. 
This is done in the gospel, and the preaching of it; for 
therein he is * evidently set forth before our eyes, as crucified 
amongst us ;' Gal. iii. 1. So also are all the other concerns 
of his person and offices therein, clearly proposed unto us; 
yea, this is the principal end of the gospel, namely, to make 
a due representation of the person, offices, grace, and glory 
of Christ, unto the souls of men, that they may believe in 
him, and * believing, have eternal life ;' John xx. 31. Upon 
this representation made of Christ and his glory in the 
gospel, and the preaching of it, believers have an experience 
of the power and efficacy of the divine truth contained 
therein, in the way before mentioned, as the apostle de- 
clares, 2 Cor. iii. 18. ' For we all, with open face beholding 
as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the 
same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the 
Lord.' Having a spiritual light to discern and behold the 
glory of Christ, as represented in the glass of the gospel, 
they have experience of its transforming power and efficacy, 
changing them into the likeness of the image represented 
unto them, that is, of Christ himself; which is the saving 
effect of gospel power. But this spiritual liyht was lost 
among men, through the efficacy of their darkness and un- 
belief; they were not able to discover the glory of Christ, 
as revealed and proposed in the gospel, so as to make him 
the present object of their faith and love. And this light 
being lost, they could have no experience of the power of 
divine truth concerning him, changing them into his image. 
They could make no affecting discovery of him in the Scrip- 
ture. All things therein were dark and confused, or at least 


seemed an inaccessible mystery, which they could not re- 
duce to practice. Hence those who had got the public 
conduct of religion, drove the people from reading the 
Scripture, as that which was of no use, but rather dangerous 
unto them. What shall these men then betake themselves 
unto? Shall they reject the notion in general, that there 
ought to be such a representation made of Christ unto the 
minds of men, as to inflame their devotion, to excite their 
faith, and stir up their affection to him ? This cannot be 
done without an open renunciation of him, and of the gospel 
as a fable. Wherefore they will find out another way for it, 
another means, unto the same end. And this is, by making- 
images of him of wood and stone, or gold and silver, or 
painting on them. Hereby they supposed he would be 
made present unto his worshippers. That he would be so 
represented unto them, as that they should be immediately 
stirred up unto the embraces of faith and love. And herein 
they found sensible effects unto their great satisfaction : for 
their minds being dark, carnal, and prone to superstition, 
as are the minds of all men by nature, they could see nothing 
in the spiritual representation of him in the gospel, that had 
any power on them, or did in any measure affect them. 
In these images, by the means of sight and imagination, 
they found that which did really work upon their affec- 
tions, and as they thought, did excite them unto the love of 

And this was the true original of all the imagery in the 
church of Rome, as something of the same nature in general 
was of all the image worship in the world. So the Israelites 
in the wilderness when they made the golden calf, did it to 
have a representation of a deity near unto them, in such a 
visible manner, as that their souls might be affected with it ; 
so they expressed themselves, Exod. xxxii. 1. Wherefore 
in this state, under a loss of spiritual light and experience, 
men of superstitious minds, found themselves entangled. 
They knew it necessary that there should be such a repre- 
sentation made of Christ, as might render him a present 
object of faith and love, wherewith they might be imme- 
diately affected. How this was done in the gospel, they 
could not understand, nor obtain any experience of the 
power and efficacy of it unto this end. Yet the principlo 


itself must be retained, as that without which there could be 
no religion ; wherefore to extricate themselves out of this 
difficulty, they brake through all God's commands to the 
contrary, and betook themselves to the making images of 
Christ, and their adoration. And from small beginnings, 
according as darkness and superstition increased in the 
minds of men, there was a progress in this practice, until 
these images took the whole work of representing Christ and 
his glory, out of the hands, as it were, of the gospel, and ap- 
propriated it unto themselves. For I do not speak of them 
now so much as they are images of Christ, or objects of 
adoration ; as of their being dead images of the gospel ; that 
is, somewhat set up in the room of the gospel, and for the 
ends of it, as means of teaching and instruction. They shall 
do the work which the gospel was designed of God to do : 
for as unto this end of the representation of Christ, as the 
present object of the faith and love of man, with an efficacy 
to work upon their affections, there is in the church of Rome 
a thousand times more ascribed unto them, than unto the 
gospel itself. The whole matter is stated by the apostle, 
Rom. X. 6 — 8. 'The righteousness which is of faith, speak- 
eth on this wise. Say not in thine heart. Who shall ascend 
unto heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) or 
who shall descend into the deep ? (that is, to bring Christ up 
again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh 
thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart : that is, the word of 
faith, which we preach.' The inquiry is. How we may be 
made partakers of Christ, and righteousness by him ; or how 
we may have an interest in him, or have him present with us. 
This, saith the apostle, is done by the word of the gospel 
which is preached, which is nigh unto us in our mouths, and 
in our hearts ; no, say these men, we cannot understand how 
it should be so 5 we do not find that it is so, that Christ is 
made nigh unto us, present with us by this word. Where- 
fore we will ascend into heaven to bring down Christ from 
above ; for we will make images of him in his alorious state 
in heaven, and thereby he will be present with us, or nigh 
unto us. And we will descend into the deep, to bring up 
Christ again from the dead ; and we will do it, by making 
first crucifixes, and then images of his glorious resurrection, 
bringing him again unto us from the dead. This shall be 


in the place and room of that word of the gospel which you 
pretend to be alone useful and effectual unto these ends. 

This therefore is evident, that the introduction of this 
abomination in principle and practice, destructive unto the 
souls of men, took its rise from the loss of an experience of 
the representation of Christ in the gospel, and the trans- 
forming power in the minds of men, which it is accompanied 
with, in them that believe. * Make us gods,' say the Is- 
raelites, ' to go before us ; for as for this man Moses' (who 
represented God unto us) ' we know not what is become of 
him.' What would you have men do? would you have them 
live without all sense of the presence of Christ with them, or 
being nigh unto them ? Shall they have no representation of 
him ? No, no, make us gods that may go before us ; let us 
have images unto this end ; for how else may it be done, we 
cannot understand. And this is the reason of their obstinacy 
in this practice against all means of conviction : yea, they 
live hereon in a perpetual contradiction unto themselves : 
their temples are full of graven images like the house of 
Micah, houses of God ; and yet in them are the Scriptures 
(though in a tongue unknown to the people) wherein that 
practice is utterly condemned, that a man would think them 
distracted to hear what their book says, and to see what they 
do in the same place. But nothing will reach unto their 
conviction until the veil of blindness and ignorance be taken 
from their minds j until they have spiritual light enabling 
them to discern the glory of Christ as represented in the 
gospel, and to let in an experience of the transforming power 
and efficacy of that revelation in their own souls, they will 
never part with that means for the same end, which they are 
sensible of, to be useful unto it ; and which is suited unto 
their inclination. Whatever be the issue, though it cost 
them their souls, they will not part with what they find, as 
they suppose, so useful unto their great end of making Christ 
nigh unto them ; for that, wherein they can see nothing of 
it, and of whose power they can have no experience. 

But the principal design of this discourse, is to warn 
others of these abominations, and to direct unto their avoid- 
ance : for if they should be outwardly pressed unto the prac' 
tice of this idolatry, whatever is of carnal affection, of blind 
devotion, or superstition in them, will quickly be won over 

5G the chamber of imagery. 

unto a conspiracy against their convictions. Nothing will 
then secure them but an experience of the efficacy of that 
representation which is made of Christ in the gospel. It is 
therefore the wisdom and duty of all those who desire a sta- 
bility in the profession of the truth, continually to endeavour 
after this experience, and an increase in it. He who lives in 
the exercise of faith and love in the Lord Jesus Christ, as 
revealed in the gospel, as evidently crucified, and evidently 
exalted therein, and finds the fruit of his so doing in his own 
soul, will be preserved in the time of trial. Without this, 
men will at last begin to think that it is better to have a false 
Christ than none at all ; they will suppose that something is 
to be found in images, when they can find nothing in the 

2. It is a prevalent notion of truth, that the worship of 
God ought to be beautiful and glorious. 

The very light of nature seems to direct unto conceptions 
hereof. What is not so, may be justly rejected, as unbe- 
coming the divine majesty ; and therefore the more holy and 
heavenly any religion pretends to be, the more glorious is 
the worship prescribed in it, or ought so to be : yea, the true 
worship of God is the height and excellency of all glory in 
this world ; it is inferior unto nothing, but that which is in 
heaven, which it is the beginning of, the way unto, and the 
best preparation for. Accordingly even that worship is de- 
clared to be glorious, and that in an eminent manner, above 
all the outward worship of the Old Testament in the taber- 
nacle and temple, whose glory was great ; and as unto exter- 
nal pomp, inimitable. To this purpose the apostle disputes 
at large, 2 Cor. iii. 6 — 10. This therefore is agreed, that 
there ought to be beauty and glory in divine worship, and 
that they are most eminently in that which is directed and 
required in the gospel. But withal the apostle declares in 
the same place, that this glory is spiritual, and not carnal; 
so did our Lord Jesus Christ foretel that it should be ; and 
that unto that end all distinction of places, with all outward 
advantages and ornaments belonging unto them, should be 
taken away; John iv. 20 — 24. 

It belongs therefore unto our present design to give a 
brief account of its glory, and wherein it excels all other 
ways of divine worship that ever were in the world ; even that 


under the Old Testament, which was of divine institution, 
wherein all things were ordered for beauty and glory. And 
it may be given in the instances that ensue. 

(1.) The express object of it is God, not as absolutely 
considered, but as existing in three persons, of Father, Son, 
and Holy Spirit. This is the principal glory of Christian 
religion and its worship. Under the Old Testament the con- 
ceptions of the church about the existence of the divine na- 
ture in distinct persons, were very dark and obscure; for the 
full revelation of it was not to be made, but in the distinct 
actings of each person in the works of redemption and sal- 
vation of the church; that is, in the incarnation of the Son, 
and mission of the Spirit, after he was glorified ; John vii. 39. 
And in all the ways of natural worship, there was never the 
least shadow of any respect hereunto. But this is the 
foundation of all the glory of evangelical worship. The ob- 
ject of it in the faith of the worshipper, is the holy Trinity, 
and it consists in an ascription of divine glory unto each 
person in the same individual nature by the same act of the 
mind ; where this is not, there is no glory in religious 

(2.) Its glory consists in that constant respect which it 
hath unto each divine person, as unto their peculiar work 
and actings for the salvation of the church ; so it is de- 
scribed, Eph. ii. 18. 'Through him,' that is, the Son as me- 
diator, ' we have our access by one Spirit unto the Father.' 
This is the immediate glory of evangelical worship, compre- 
hensive of all the graces and privileges of the gospel. And 
to suppose that the glory of it doth consist in any thing but 
the light, graces, and privileges, which it doth itself exhibit, 
is a vain imagination: it will not borrow glory from the in- 
vention of men. We shall therefore a little consider it as it 
is here represented by the apostle. 

[1.] The ultimate object of it, under this consideration, 
is God as the Father : ' We have an access therein unto the 
Father.' And this consideration in our worship of God as a 
Father, relating unto the whole dispensatian of his love and 
grace, by Jesus Christ, as he is his God and our God, his 
Father and our Father, is peculiar unto gospel-worship, and 
contains a signal part of its glory. We do not only worship 
God as a Father, so the very heathens had a notion that he 


was the Father of all things ; but we worship him, who is 
the Father, and as he is so, both in relation to the eternal 
generation of the Son, and the communication of grace by 
him unto us, as our Father ; ' So no man hath seen God at 
any time ; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of 
the Father, he hath declared him ;' John i. 18. This access 
in our worship unto the person of the Father, as in heaven, 
the holy place above, as on a throne of grace, is the glory of 
the gospel. See Matt. vi. 9. Heb. iv. 16. x. 19—21. 

[2.] The Son is here considered as a mediator ; through 
him we have this access unto the Father. This is the glory 
that was hidden from former ages, but brought to light, and 
displayed by the gospel. So speaks our blessed Saviour 
himself unto his disciples ; ' Whatsoever ye shall ask the 
Father in my name, he will give it you : hitherto ye have 
asked nothing in my name ; ask, and ye shall receive ;' John 
xvi. 23, 24. To ask God expressly in the name of the Son, 
as mediator, belongs unto the glory of the gospel-worship. 

The especial instances of this glory are more than can be 
numerated. The chief of them may be reduced to these 
three heads : 

1st. It is he who makes both the persons of the wor- 
shippers, and their duties accepted of God. See Heb. ii. 17, 
18. iv. 16. X. 19. 

2dly. He is the administrator of all the worship of the 
church in the holy place above, as its great high-priest over 
the house of God ; Heb. viii. 2. Rev. viii. 3. 

3dly. His presence with and among gospel-worshippers 
in their worship, gives it glory. This he declares and pro- 
mises. Matt, xviii, 19, 20. ' If two of you shall agree on 
earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be 
done for them of my Father which is in heaven ; for where 
two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I 
in the midst of them.' All success of the prayers of the 
church dependeth on, and ariseth from, the presence of 
Christ amongst them: he is so present for their assistance, 
and for their consolation. This presence of a living Christ, 
and not a dead crucifix, gives glory to divine worship. He 
who sees not the glory of this worship, from its relation unto 
Christ, is a stranger unto the gospel, with all the light, 
graces, and privileges of it. 


[3.] It is in one spirit that we have access unto God in 
his worship ; and in his administration doth the apostle 
place the glory of it, in opposition unto all the glory of the 
Old Testament, as doth our Lord Jesus Christ also in the 
place before referred unto ; for, 

1st. The whole ability for the observance and perform- 
ance of it, according to the mind of God, is from him alone. 
His communication of grace and gifts unto the church, is 
that alone which makes it to give glory to God in his divine 
service. If this should cease, all acceptable worship would 
cease in the world. To think to observe the worship of the 
gospel, without the aid and assistance of the Spirit of the 
gospel, is a lewd imagination. But where he is, there is 
liberty and glory ; 2 Cor. iii. 17, 18. 

2dly. By him the sanctified minds of believers are made 
temples of God, and so the principal seal of evangelical 
worship ; 1 Cor. iii. 16. vi. 19. This temple being of God's 
own framing, and of his own adorning by his Spirit, is a much 
more glorious fabric than any that the hands of men can 

3dly. By him is the church led into internal communion 
and converse with God in Christ, in light, love, and delight, 
with holy boldness ; the glory whereof is expressed by the 
apostle, Heb. x. 19. 21, 22. 

In these things, I say, doth the true glory of evangelical 
worship consist ; and if it doth not, it hath no glory in com- 
parison of that which did excel in the old legal worship. 
For the wit of man was never yet able to set it off with half 
the outward beauty and glory that was in the worship of the 
temple. But herein it is that it not only leaves no glory 
thereunto in comparison, but doth unspeakably excel what- 
ever the wit and wealth of men can extend unto. 

But there is a spiritual light required that we may dis- 
cern the glory of this worship, and have thereby an expe- 
rience of its power and efficacy in reference unto the ends of 
its appointment. This the church of believers hath. They 
see it, as it is a blessed means of giving glory unto God, and 
of receiving gracious communications from him, which are 
the ends of all the divine institutions of worship ; and they 
have therein such an experience of its efficacy, as gives rest, 
and peace, and satisfaction, unto their souls. For they find. 


that as their worship directs them unto a blessed view by 
faith, of God in his ineffable existence, with the alorious 
actings of each person in the dispensation of grace, which 
fills their hearts with joy unspeakable ; so also that all 
graces are exercised, increased, and strengthened in the ob- 
servance of it, with love and delight. 

But all light into, all perceptions of this glory, all expe- 
rience of its power, was amongst the most lost in the world. 
I intend in all these instances, the time of the papal apo- 
stacy. Those who had the conduct of religion could discern 
no glory in these things, nor obtain any experience of their 
power: be the worship what it will, they can see no glory 
in it, nor did it give any satisfaction to their minds ; for 
having no light to discern its glory, they could have no ex- 
perience of its power and efficacy. What then shall they 
do ? The notion must be retained, that divine worship is to 
be beautiful and glorious. But in the spiritual worship of 
the gospel, they could see nothing thereof; wherefore they 
thought necessary to make a glory for it, or to dismiss it out 
of the world, and set up such an image of it, as might ap- 
pear beautiful unto their fleshly minds, and give them satis- 
faction. To this end they set their inventions on work, to 
find out ceremonies, vestments, gestures, ornaments, music, 
altars, images, paintings, with prescriptions of great bodily 
veneration. This pageantry they call the beauty, the order, 
the glory, of divine worship. This is that which they see 
and feel, and which, as they judge, doth dispose their minds 
unto devotion; without it they know not how to pay any 
reverence unto God himself; and when it is wanting, what- 
ever be the life, the power, the spirituality of the worship in 
the worshippers, whatever be its efficacy unto all the proper 
ends of it, however it be ordered according unto the pre- 
scription of the word, it is unto them empty, indecent, they 
can neither see beauty nor glory in it. This light and expe- 
rience being lost, the introduction of beggarly elements and 
carnal ceremonies in the worsliip of the church, with at- 
tempts to render it decorous and beautiful, by superstitious 
rites and observances, wherewith it hath been defiled and 
corrupted, as it was and is in the church of Rome, was no- 
thing but the setting up a deformed image in the room of 
it : and this they are pleased withal. The beauty and glory 



which carving, and painting, and embroidered vestures, and 
musical incantations, and postures of veneration, do give 
unto divine service, they can see and feel, and in their own 
imagination are sensibly excited unto devotion by them. 
But hereby, instead of representing the true glory of the 
worship of the gospel, wherein it excels that under the Old 
Testament, they have rendered it altogether inglorious in 
comparison of it ; for all the ceremonies and ornaments 
which they have invented for that end, come unspeakably 
short for beauty, order, and glory, of what was appointed by 
God himself in the temple, scarce equalling what was among 
the pagans. 

It will be said, that the things whereunto we assign the 
glory of this worship are spiritual and invisible. Now this 
is not that which is inquired after; but that whose beauty 
we may behold, and be affected with. And this may con- 
sist in the things which we decry, at least in some of them: 
though I must say, if there be glory in any of them, the 
more they are multiplied, the better it must needs be; but 
this is that which we plead, men being not able by the light 
of faith, to discern the glory of things spiritual and invisible, 
do make images of them unto themselves, as gods that may 
go before them, and these they are affected withal : but the 
worship of the church is spiritual, and the glory of it is in- 
visible unto eyes of flesh. So both our Saviour and the 
apostles do testify in the celebration of it : * We come unto 
mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the hea- 
venly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 
to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which 
are written in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the 
spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator 
of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that 
speaketh better things than that of Abel;' Heb. xii. 22 — 24. 
The glory of this assembly, though certainly above that of 
organs, and pipes, and crucifixes, and vestments, yet doth 
not appear unto the sense or imaginations of men. 

That which I design here, is to obviate the meretricious 
allurements of the Roman worship, and the pretences of its 
efficacy to excite devotion and veneration by its beauty and 
decency. . The whole of it is but a deformed image of that 
glory which they cannot behold. To obtain and preserve in 



our hearts an experience of the power and eflScacy of that 
worship of God which is in spirit and truth, as unto all the 
real ends of divine worship, is that alone which will secure 
us. Whilst we do retain right notions of the proper object 
of gospel-worship, and of our immediate approach by it 
thereunto, of the way and manner of that approach through 
the mediation of Christ, and assistance of the Spirit; whilst 
we keep up faith and love unto their due exercise in it, 
wherein on our part the life of it doth consist, preserving an 
experience of the spiritual benefit and advantage which we 
receive thereby, we shall not easily be inveigled to relin- 
quish them all, and give up ourselves unto the embraces of 
this lifeless image. 

3. It is a universal unimpeachable persuasion among 
all Christians, that there is a near intimate communion with 
Christ, and participation of him in the supper of the Lord. 

He is no Christian who is otherwise minded. Hence 
from the beginning, this was always esteemed the principal 
mystery in the 'agenda' of the church, and that deservedly; 
for this persuasion is built on infallible divine testimonies. 
The communication of Christ herein, and our participation 
of him, are expressed in such a manner as to demonstrate 
them to be peculiar; such as are not to be obtained in any 
other way, or divine ordinance whatever ; not in praying, 
not in preaching, not in any other exercise of faith on the 
word or promises. There is in it an eating and drinking of 
the body and blood of Christ, with a spiritual incorporation 
thence ensuing, which are peculiar unto this ordinance. 
But, this especial and peculiar communion with Christ, and 
participation of him, is spiritual and mystical, by faith, not 
carnal or fleshly. To imagine any other participation of 
Christ in this life but by faith, is to overthrow the gospel. 
To signify the real communication of himself and benefits of 
his mediation unto them that believe, whereby they should 
become the food of their souls, nourishing them unto eternal 
life, in the very beginning of his ministry, he himself ex- 
presseth it by eating of his flesh, and drinking of his blood ; 
John vi. 53. ' Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, 
and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.' But hereon 
many were offended, as supposing that he had intended an 
oral, carnal eating of his flesh, and drinking of his blood. 


and so would have taught them to be cannibals. Wherefore 
to instruct his disciples aright in this mystery, he gives an 
eternal rule of the interpretation of such expressions, ver. 
63. * It is the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth no- 
thing ; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and 
they are life.' To look for any other communication of 
Christ or of his flesh and blood, but what is spiritual, is to 
contradict him in the interpretation which he gives of his 
own words. Wherefore this especial communion with Christ, 
and participation of him is by faith. If it were not, unbe- 
lievers ought all to partake of Christ as well as those that 
believe, which is a contradiction : for to believe in Christ, 
and to be made partakers of him, are one and the same. We 
must therefore find this peculiar participating of Christ in 
the special actings of faith, with respect unto the especial 
and peculiar exhibition of Christ unto us in this ordinance. 

And these actings of faith are divers and many, but may 
be referred unto four heads. 

(1.) It acts itself by obedience unto the authority of 
Christ in this institution. This is the foundation of all 
communion with Christ, or participation of him in any ordi- 
nance of divine worship whatever, that is peculiarly of his 
own sovereign appointment, and that in, and with such cir- 
cumstances as unto the time, or season, and manner of it, as 
requires especial actings of faith with respect thereunto; for 
the institution of this ordinance was in the close of his mi- 
nistry or prophetical office on the earth, and in the entrance 
of the exercise of his priestly office in offering himself a sa- 
crifice unto God for the sins of the church ; between them 
both, and to render them both effectual unto us, he inter- 
posed an act of his kingly office in the institution of this 
ordinance. And it was in the same night wherein he was 
betrayed, when his holy heart was in the highest exercise of 
zeal for the glory of God, and compassion for the souls of 
sinners ; faith hath herein an especial regard unto all these 
things. It doth not only act itself by a subjection of soul 
and conscience unto the authority of Christ in the institu- 
tion, but respects also the exerting of his authority in the 
close of his prophetical, and entrance of the exercise of his 
sacerdotal office, on the earth ; with all those other circum- 
stances of it, which recommend it unto the souls and con- 


sciences of believers. This is peculiar unto this ordinance^ 
and unto this way of the participation of Christ. And 
herein faith in its due exercise gives the soul an intimate 
converse with Christ. 

(2.) There is in this divine ordinance, a peculiar repre- 
sentation of the love and grace of Christ in his death and 
sufferings, with the way and manner of our reconciliation 
unto God thereby. The principal design of the gospel is to 
declare unto us the love and grace of Christ, and our recon- 
ciliation unto God by his blood. Howbeit herein there is 
such an eminent representation of them, as cannot be made 
by words alone. It is a spiritual image of Christ proposed 
unto us, intimately affecting our whole souls. These things, 
namely, the ineffable love and grace of Christ, the bitterness 
of his sufferings and death in our stead, the sacrifice that he 
offered by his blood unto God, with the effect of it in atone- 
ment and reconciliation, being herein contracted into one 
entire proposal unto our souls, faith is exercised thereon in 
a peculiar manner, and so as it is not in any divine ordi- 
nance or way of the proposal of the same things unto us. 
All these things are indeed distinctly, and in parts, set be- 
fore us in the Scripture for our instruction and edification. 
But as the light which was first made and diffused unto the 
whole creation, did suffice to enlighten it in a general way, 
yet was far more useful, glorious and conspicuous, when it 
was reduced and contracted into the body of the sun: so 
the truths concerning Christ, as they are diffused through 
the Scripture, are sufficient for the illumination and instruc- 
tion of the church ; but when by divine wisdom and institu- 
tion they are contracted into this ordinance, their taste and 
efficacy is more eminent and communicative unto the eyes 
of our understandings, that is, our faith, than as merely pro- 
posed by parts and parcels in the word. Hereby faith leads 
the soul unto a peculiar communion with Christ, which is 
thereon made partaker of him in an especial manner. 

(3.) Faith herein respects the peculiar way of the com- 
munication and exhibition of Christ unto us, by symbols, or 
sensible outward signs of bread and wine. It finds the di- 
vine wisdom and sovereignty of Christ in the choice of them, 
having no other foundation in reason or the light of nature; 
and the representation that is made herein of him, with the 


benefits of his death and oblation, is suited unto faith only, 
without any aid of sense or imagination : for although the 
symbols are visible, yet their relation unto the things signi- 
fied, is not discernible unto any sense or reason. Had he 
chosen for this end an image or a crucifix, or any such ac- 
tions as did by a kind of natural and sensible resemblance, 
shew forth his passion, and what he did and suffered, there 
had been no need of faith in this matter. And therefore as 
we shall see, such things are found out unto this end, by 
such as lost the use and exercise of faith herein. Besides, 
it is faith alone that apprehends the sacramental union that 
is between the outward signs and the things signified by vir- 
tue of divine institution : and hereby the one, that is, the 
body and blood of Christ, are really exhibited and commu- 
nicated unto the souls of believers, as the outward signs are 
unto their bodily senses, the signs becoming thereby sacra- 
mentally unto us, what the things signified are in them- 
selves, and are therefore called by their names. Herein 
there is a peculiar exercise of faith, and a peculiar participa- 
tion of Christ, such as are in no other ordinance whatever. 
Yea, the actings of faith with respect unto the sacramental 
union and relation between the signs and things signified, 
by virtue of divine institution and promise, is the principal 
use and exercise of it herein. 

(4.) There is a peculiar exercise of faith in the recep- 
tion of Christ, as his body and blood are rendered and exhi- 
bited unto us in the outward signs of them; for though they 
do not contain carnally the flesh and blood of Christ in them, 
nor are turned into them, yet they really exhibit Christ unto 
them that believe in the participation of them ; faith is the 
grace that makes the soul to receive Christ, and whereby it 
doth actually receive him. ' To as many as received him, 
even unto them that believe in his name;' John i. 12. And 
it receives him according as he is proposed and exhibited 
unto us in the declaration and promise of the gospel, where- 
in he is proposed ; it receives him by the gracious assent of 
the mind unto this truth, the choice of him, cleaving and 
trusting unto him with the will, heart, and affection, for all 
the ends of his person and offices, as the mediator between 
God and man ; and in the sacramental mysterious proposal 
of him, his body and blood; that is, in the efficacy of his 



death and sacrifice, in this ordinance of worship, faith acts 
the whole soul in the reception of him unto all the especial 
ends for which he is exhibited unto us, in this way and man- 
ner. WJiat these ends are which give force and efficacy 
unto the actings of faith herein, this is not a proper place to 

I have mentioned these things, because it is the great 
plea of the Papists at this day, in behalf of their transub- 
stantiation, that if we reject their oral or carnal manduca- 
tion of the flesh of Christ, and drinking of his blood, there 
cannot be assigned a way of participation of Christ in the 
receiving of him in this sacrament, distinct from that which 
is done in the preaching of the word. But hereby, as we 
shall see, they only declare their ignorance of this heavenly 
mystery. But of this blessed intimate communion with 
Christ, and participation of him in the divine institution of 
worship, believers have experience unto their satisfaction 
and ineffable joy. They find him to be the spiritual food of 
their souls, by which they are nourished unto eternal life by 
a spiritual incorporation with him. They discern the truth 
of this mystery, and have experience of its power. Howbeit 
men growing carnal, and being destitute of spiritual light, 
with the wisdom of faith, utterly lost all experience of any 
communion with Ciirist, and participation of him in this 
sacrament; on the principles of gospel truth they could find 
nothing in it; no power, no efficacy, nothing that should 
answer the great and glorious things spoken of it, nor was 
it possible they should. For, indeed, there is nothing in it, 
but unto faith ; as the light of the sun is nothing to them 
that have no eyes : a dog and a staff' arc of more use to a 
blind man than the sun, nor is the most melodious music 
any thing to them that are deaf; yet, notwithstanding this 
loss of spiritual experience, they retained the notion of truth, 
that there must be a peculiar participation of Christ in this 
sacrament, distinct from all other ways and means of the 
same grace. 

Here the wits of men were hard put to it to find out an 
image of this spiritual communion, whereof in their minds 
they could have no experience ; yet they fashioned one 
by degrees, and after they had greatened the mystery in 
words and expressions (whereof they knew nothing in its 


power) to answer unto what was to be set up in the room of 
it, until they brought forth the horrid monster of transub- 
stantiation, and the sacrifice of the mass ; for hereby they 
provided that all those things which are spiritual in this 
communion, should be turned into, and acted in, things 
carnal : bread shall be the body of Christ carnally, the mouth 
shall be faith, the teeth shall be the exercise, the belly shall 
be the heart, and the priest shall offer Christ unto God. A 
viler image never was invented; and there is nothing of faith 
required herein ; it is all but a fortifying of imagination 
against all sense and reason. Because there is a singular 
mystery in the sacramental union that is between the ex- 
ternal signs and the things signified, whence the one is 
called by the name of the other, as the bread is called the 
body of Christ, which faith discerns in the exhibition and 
receiving of it, they have invented for a representation 
hereof, such a prodigious imagination of the real conversion 
or transubstantiation of the substance of the bread and wine, 
into the substance of the body and blood of Christ, as over- 
throws ail faith, reason, and sense also. And in the room of 
that holy reverence of Christ himself in his institution of this 
ordinance in the mystical exhibition of himself unto the 
souls of believers, in the demonstration of his love, grace, 
and sufferings for them, they have set up a wretched image 
of an idolatrous adoration and worship of the host, as they 
call it, to the ruin of the souls of men. And whereas the 
Lord Jesus Christ, by once offering, perfected for ever them 
that are sanctified, appointing this ordmance for the remem- 
brance of it, having lost that spiritual light whereby they 
might discern the efficacy of that one offering so long since 
accomplished, in the application of it by this ordinance unto 
the actual perfecting of the church ; they have erected a new 
image of it, in a pretended daily repetition of the same sa- 
crifice, wherein they profess to offer Christ again for the 
sins of the living and the dead, unto the overthrow of the 
principal foundation of faith and religion. All these abomi- 
nations arose from the loss of an experience of that spiritual 
communion with Christ, and the participation of him by 
faith, which there is in this ordinance by divine institution. 
This cast the thoughts of men on invention of these images, 
to suit the general notion of truth unto the superstition of 

F 2 


their carnal minds. Nor is it ordinarily possible to retrieve 
them from these infatuations, unless God be pleased to com- 
municate unto them tliat spiritual light, whereby they may 
discern the glory of this heavenly mystery, and have an ex- 
perience of the exhibition of Christ unto the souls of be- 
lievers therein, without these ; from innumerable prejudices^, 
and inflamed affections towards their idols, they will not 
only abide in their darkness against all means of conviction, 
but endeavour the temporal and eternal destruction of all 
that are otherwise minded. 

This image, like that of Nebuchadnezzar, was once set up 
in this nation, with a law, that ' whoever would not bow 
down to it, and worship it, should be cast into the fiery fur- 
nace.' God grant it be so no more ! but if it should, there 
is no preservation against the influence of force and fires, 
but a real experience of an efficacious communication of 
Christ unto our souls in this holy ordinance, administered 
according to his appointment. This, therefore, is that we 
ought with all diligence to endeavour ; and this not only as 
the only way and means of our edification in this ordinance, 
by an exercise in grace, the strengthening of our faith, and 
present consolation, but as the effectual means of our pre- 
servation in the profession of the truth, and our deliverance 
from the snares of our adversaries. For whereas it is unde- 
nable, that this peculiar institution, distinct from all other, 
doth intend and design a distinct communication and exhi- 
bition of Christ ; if it be pressed on us, that these must be 
done by transubstantiation and oral manducation thereon, 
and can be no otherwise ; nothing but an experience of the 
power and efficacy of the mystical communion with Christ 
in this ordinance, before described, will jjreserve us from 
being insnared by their pretences. There is not, therefore, 
on all accounts of grace and truth, any one thing of more 
concernment unto believers, than the due exercise of spiri- 
tual light and faith, unto a satisfactory experience of a pecu- 
liar participation of Christ in this holy institution. 

The same is fallen out amongst them with reference unto 
the church, and all the principal concerns of it; having lost 
or renounced the things which belong unto its primitive 
constitution, they have erected a deformed image in their 
stead, as I shall manifest in some instances. 


4. It is an unquestionable principle of trutli, that the 
church of Christ is in itself a body, such a body as hath a 
head, whereon it depends, and without which it would imme- 
diately be dissolved. 

A body without a head is but a carcase, or part of a car- 
case, and this head must be always present with it. Ahead 
distant from the body, separated from it, not united unto it 
by such ways and means as are proper unto their nature, is 
of no use. See Eph. iv, 15, 16. Col. ii. 19. 

But there is a double notion of a head, as there is of a 
body also; for they both of them are either natural or politi- 
cal. There is a natural body, and there is a political body ; 
and in each sense it must have a head of the same kind. A 
natural body must have a head of vital influence, and a poli- 
tical body must have a head of rule and government. The 
church is called a body, compared to it, is a body in both 
senses, or in both parts of the comparison, and in both must 
have a head. As it is a spiritual living body, compared to 
the natural, it must have a head of vital influence, without 
which it cannot subsist; and as it is an orderly society for 
the common ends of its institution, compared unto a politi- 
cal body, it must have a head of rule and government, with- 
out which neither its being, nor its use can be preserved. 
But these are only distinct considerations of the church, 
which is every way one and the same. It is not two bodies, 
for then it must have two heads ; but it is one body under 
two distinct considerations, which divide not its essence, 
but declare its different respects unto its head. 

And in general, all who are called Christians, are thus 
far agreed ; nothing is of the church, nothing belongs unto 
it, which is not dependant on, which is not united to, the 
head. That which holds the head is the true church ; that 
which doth not so, is no church at all. Herein we agree with 
our adversaries, namely, that all the privileges of the church, 
all the right and title of men thereunto, depend wholly on 
their due relation to the head of it, according to the distinct 
considerations of it ; be that head who or what it will, that 
which is not united unto the head, which depends not on it, 
which is separated from it, belongs not to the church. This 
head of the church is Christ Jesus alone ; for the church is 
but one, although on various considerations it be likened 


UMto two sorts of bodies. The catholic church is con- 
sidered either as beUeving, or as professing; but the be- 
heving church is not one, and the professing another. It 
you suppose another cathoHc church, besides this one, 
whoso will may be the head of it, we are not concerned 
therein ; but unto this church Christ is the only head : he 
only answers all the properties and ends of such a head to 
the church. This the Scripture doth so positively and fre- 
quently affirm, without the least intimation, either directly, 
or by consequence of any other head, that it is wonderful 
how the imagination of it should befall the minds of any, 
who thought it not meet at the same time to cast away their 

But whereas a head is to be present with the body, or it 
cannot subsist, the inquiry is. How the Lord Christ is so 
present with his church? And the Scripture hath left no 
pretence for any hesitation herein ; for he is so by his Spirit 
and his word, by which he communicateth all the powers 
and virtues of a bead unto it continually. His promises of 
this way and manner of his presence unto the church are 
multiplied, and thereon doth the being, life, use, and con- 
tinuance of the church depend; where Christ is not present 
by his Spirit and word, there is no church; and those who 
pretend so to be, are the synagogues of Satan, and they are 
inseparable and conjunct in their operation, as he iethe head 
of influence unto the church, as also, as he is a head of rule ; 
for in the former sense the Spirit worketh by the word, and 
in the latter, the word is made effectual by the Spirit. But 
the sense and' apprehension hereof, was for a long time lost 
in the world, amongst them that called themselves the 
church. A head they did acknowledge the church must 
always have, without which it cannot subsist; and they con- 
fess that in some sense he was a head of influence unto it; 
they knew not how to have an image thereof; though by 
many other pernicious doctrines, they overthrew the efficacy 
and benefit of it. But how he should be the only head of 
rule unto the church they could not understand ; they saw 
not how he could act the wisdom and authority of such a 
•lead, and without which the church must be headless. They 
said, he was absent and invisible, they must have one that 
they could see, and have access unto; he is in heaven, and 


they know not how to make address to him, as occasion did 
require ; all things would go to disorder, notwithstanding 
such a headship. The church is visible, and it must, they 
thought, have a visible head. It was meet also, that this 
head should have some such grandeur and pomp in the 
world, as became the head of so great and glorious a society 
as the church is. How to apply these things unto Christ 
and his presence with the church, by his word and Spirit, 
they knew not. Shall they then forego the principle, that 
the church is to have such a head and supreme ruler? That 
must not be done, but be sacredly retained ; not only be- 
cause to deny it in general, is to renounce the gospel; but 
because they had found out a way to turn it unlo their own 
advantage ; they would therefore make an image of Christ, 
as this head of the church, to possess the place, and act all 
the powers of such a head ; for the church, they say, is visi- 
ble, and must have a visible head : as though the catholic 
church, as such, were any other way visible, but as the head 
of it is, that is, by faith. That there must be a head and 
centre of union, wherein all the members of the church may 
agree and be united, notwithstanding all their distinct ca- 
pacities and circumstances, and how this should be Christ 
himself, they know not; that without a supreme ruler pre- 
sent in the church, to compose all differences, and deter- 
mine all controversies, even those concerning himself, which 
they vainly pretend unto, they expressly affirm, that there 
never was a society so foolishly ordered as that of the 
church. And hereon they conclude the insufficiency of 
Christ to be this sole head of the church, another they must 
have for these ends. And this was their pope, such an image 
as is one of the worst of idols that ever were in the world. 
Unto him they give all the titles of Christ, which relate unto 
the church, and ascribe all the powers of Christ in and over 
it, as unto its rule, to him also. But here they fell into a 
mistake; for when they thought to give him the power of 
Christ, they gave him the power of the dragon to use against 
Christ, and those that are his. And when they thought to 
make an image of Christ, they made an image of the first 
beast, set up by the dragon, which had two horns like a 
lamb, but spake as a dragon, whose character and employ is 
at large described. Rev. xiii. 11 — 17. 


This is the sum of what I shall otler on this head ; those 
who called themselves the church, had Idstall spiritual light 
enabling them to discern the beauty and glory of the rule of 
Christ over the church as its head ; and hereon their minds 
became destitute of all experience of the power and efficacy 
of his Spirit and word, continually to order the affairs there- 
of, in the ways, and through the use of means by himself 
appointed ; they knew not how to acquiesce in these things, 
nor how the church could be maintained by them : where- 
fore in this case, ' They helped every one his neighbour, and 
every one said to his brother, Be of good comfort ; so the 
carpenter encouraged the goldsmith, and he that smootheth 
with the hammer, him that smiteth the anvil.' They set 
themselves in their several capacities, to frame this idol, and 
set him up in the place and stead of Christ, so fixing him in 
the temple of God, that he might shew himself from thence 
to be as God. Neither will this idol be ever cast out of the 
church, until the generality of Christians become spiritually 
sensible of the authority of Christ, exerting itself in the 
rule of the church, by his Spirit and his word, unto all the 
ends of unity, order, peace, and edification ; until that be 
done, a pope, or something like him, will be thought neces- 
sary unto these ends. But never was there a more horrid 
deformed image made of so beautiful and glorious a head : 
all the craft of Satan, all the wits of men cannot invent any 
thing more unlike Christ, as the head of the church, than 
this pope is. A worse figure and representation of him can- 
not possibly be made. 

This is he of whom, nothing not great, nothing common, 
nothing not exceeding the ordinary state of mankind, on the 
one hand or the other, is thought or spoken. Some say, he 
is the head and husband of the church, the vicar of Christ 
over the whole world, God's vicegerent, a vice-god, Peter's 
successor, the head and centre of unity unto the whole ca- 
tholic church, endued with a plenitude of power, with other 
ascriptions of the same nature innumerable ; whereon it is 
necessary unto every soul under pain of damnation, to be 
subject unto him. Others aver that he is antichrist, the man 
of sin, the son of perdition, the beast that came out of tiie 
earth with two horns like a lamb, and a voice like the dragon, 
the false prophet, the idol shepherd, the evil servant that 


beateth his fellow-servants, the adulterer of a meretricious 
and false church ; and there is no mean betwixt these ; he is 
undoubtedly the one or the other. The Lord Jesus Christ, 
who hath determined this controversy already in his word, 
will ere long give it its ultimate issue in his own glorious 
person, and by the brightness of his coming. And this is 
an eminent idol in the chamber of imagery in the Roman 
church. But at present it is evident wherein lies the pre- 
servation of believers from being inveigled to bow down to 
this image, and to worship it. A due sense of the sole au- 
thority of Christ in and over his church, with an experience 
of the power of his word and Spirit unto all the ends of its 
rule and order, will keep them unto the truth herein, and 
nothing else will so do. And if once they decline from this 
in any instances, seem they never so small, so as to admit of 
any thing in the church, or its worship, which doth not de- 
rive immediately from his authority, they will be disposed 
to admit of another guide and head in all other things also. 

5. Again, it is a notion of truth, that the church of Christ 
is beautiful and glorious. 

There are many prophecies and predictions concerning 
it, that so it should be ; and there are sundry descriptions 
given of it as such. Its relation unto Christ, with his love 
unto it, and valuation of it, do require that it should be so 
glorious ; yea, his great design towards it, was to make it so 
to be; Eph. v. 25 — 27. This therefore all do agree in who 
profess Christian religion ; but what that glory is, and where- 
in it doth consist, whence it is, and is said to be glorious, is 
not agreed upon. The Scripture indeed plainly declares this 
glory to be spiritual and internal, that it consists in its union 
unto Christ, his presence with it, the communication of his 
quickening Spirit unto it, the clothing of it with his righte- 
ousness, in its sanctification and purification from the de- 
filement of sin, with its fruitfulness in obedience unto the 
praise of God. Add hereunto the celebration of divine wor- 
ship in it, with its rule and order, according to the com- 
mandment of Christ, and we have the substance of this glory. 
And this glory believers do discern, so as to be satisfied with 
its excellency. They know that all the glories of the world 
are no way to be compared to it ; for it consists in, and arises 
from, such things as they do value and prefer infinitely above 


all that this world can afford. They are a reflexion of the 
glory of God, or of Christ himself upon the church, yea, a 
communication of it thereunto. This they value in the 
whole, and in every member of it ; neither the nature, use, 
nor end of the church will admit that its glory should con- 
sist in things of any other nature. But the generality of 
mankind had lost that spiritual light, wherein alone this 
glory might be discerned. They could see no form or beauty 
in the spouse of Christ, as only adorned with his graces. To 
talk of a glorious state of men, whilst they are poor and 
destitute, it may be clothed with rags, and haled unto pri- 
sons or stakes, as hath been the lot of the church in most 
ages, was in their judgment a thing absurd and foolish. 
Wherefore seeing it is certain, that the church of Christ is 
very glorious and illustrious in the sight of God, holy an- 
gels, and good men, a way must be found out to make it so, 
and so to appear in the world. Wherefore they agreed on a 
lying image of this glory, namely, the dignity, promotion, 
wealth, dominion, power, and splendour of all them that had 
got the rule of the church. And although it be evident unto 
all, that these things belong unto the glories of this world, 
which the glory of the church is not only distinguished from, 
but opposed unto, yet it must be looked on as that wherein 
it is glorious ; and it is so, though it have not one saving 
grace in it, as they expressly affirm. When these things are 
attained, then are all the predictions of its glory accom- 
plished, and the description of it answered. This corrupt 
image of the true spiritual glory of the church, arising from 
an ignorance of it, and want of a real experience of the worth 
and excellency of things internal, spiritual, and heavenly, 
hath been attended with pernicious consequents in the world. 
Many have been infatuated by it, and enamoured of it, unto 
their own perdition. For as a teacher of lies, it is suited 
only to divert the minds of men from a comprehension and 
valuation of that real glory, wherein if they have not an in- 
terest they must perish for ever. 

Look into foreign parts, as Italy and France, where these 
men pretend their church is in its greatest glory ; what is it, 
but the wealth, and pomp, and power of men, for the most 
part openly ambitious, sensual, and worldly? Is this the glory 
of the church of Christ ? Do these things belong unto his 


kingdom ? But by the setting up of this image, by the ad- 
vancement of this notion, all the true glory of the church 
hath been lost and despised. Yet these things being suited 
unto the designs of the carnal minds of men, and satisfactory 
unto all their lusts ; having got this paint and gilding on 
them, that they render the church of Christ glorious, have 
been the means of filling this world with darkness, blood, 
and confusion. For this is that glory of the church, which 
is contended for with rage and violence. And not a few, do 
yet doat on these images, who are not sharers in the advan- 
tage it brings unto its principal worshippers, whose infatua- 
tion is to be bewailed. 

The means of our preservation from the adoration of 
these images also is obvious, from the principles we proceed 
upon. It will not be done, without light to discern the glory 
of things spiritual and invisible; wherein alone the church 
is glorious. And in the light of faith they appear to be what 
indeed they are in themselves, of the same nature with the 
glory that is above. The present glory of the church, I say, 
in- its initiation into the glory of heaven, and in general of 
the same nature with it. Here it is in its dawnings and en- 
trances, there in its fulness and perfection. To look for any 
thing that should be cognate, or of near alliance unto the 
glory of heaven, or any near resemblance of it, in the outward 
glories of this world, is a fond imagination. And when the 
mind is enabled to discern the true beauty and glory of spi- 
ritual things, with their alliance unto that which is above, it 
will be secured from seeking after the glory of the church in 
things of this world, or putting any value on them unto that 
end. That self-denial also which is indispensably prescribed 
in the gospel unto all the disciples of Christ, is requisite 
hereunto; for the power and practice of it, is utterly incon- 
sistent with an apprehension, that secular power, riches, 
and domination, do contribute any thing unto the church's 
glory. The mind being hereby crucified unto a value and 
estimation of these things, it can never apprehend them as 
any part of that raiment of the church wherein it is glorious. 
But where the minds of men, through their native darkness, 
are disenabled to discern the glory of spiritual things, and 
through their carnal unmortified affection, do cleave unto, 
and have the highest esteem of, worldly grandeur, it is no 


wonder, if they suppose the beauty and glory of the church 
to consist in them. 

6. I shall add one instance more with reference unto the 
state of the church, and that is in its rule and discipline. 

Here also hath been as fatal a miscarriage as ever fell 
out in Christian religion. For the truth herein being lost, 
as unto any sense and experience of its efficacy or power, a 
bloody image, destructive to the lives and souls of men, was 
set up in the stead thereof. And this also shall be briefly 
declared. There are certain principles of truth, with respect 
hereunto, that are acknowledged by all ; as, 

(1.) That the Lord Christ hath appointed a rule and dis- 
cipline in his church, for its good and preservation ; no so- 
ciety can subsist without the power and exercise of some 
rule in itself. For rule is nothing but the preservation of 
order, without which there is nothing but confusion. The 
church is the most perfect society in the earth, as being 
united and compacted by the best and highest bonds, which 
our nature is capable of; Eph. iv. 16. Col. ii. 19. It must 
therefore have a rule and discipline in itself, which from the 
wisdom and authority of him, by whom it was instituted, 
must be supposed to be the most perfect. 

(2.) That this discipline is powerful and effectual unto 
all its proper ends. It must be so esteemed from the wis- 
dom of him by whom it is appointed, and it is so accordingly. 
To suppose that the Lord Christ should ordain a rule and 
discipline in his church, that in itself and by its just admi- 
nistration, should not attain its ends, is to reflect the great- 
est dishonour upon him. Yea, if any church or society of 
professed Christians, be fallen into that state and condition, 
wherein the discipline appointed by Christ cannot be effec- 
tual unto its proper ends, Christ hath forsaken that church 
or society. Besides the Holy Ghost affirms, that the mi- 
nistry of the church, in the administration of it, is mighty 
through God, unto all its ends ; 2 Cor. x. 4, 5. 

(3.) The ends of this discipline are the order, peace, 
purity, and holiness of the church, with a representation of 
the love, care, and watchfulness of Christ over it, and a tes- 
timony unto his future judgment. An imagination of any 
other ends of it, hath been its ruin. 

And thus far all who profess themselves Christians are 



agreed, at least in words. None dare deny any of these 
principles, no not to secure their abuse of them, which is the 
interest of many. 

(4.) But unto them all we must also add, and that with 
the same uncontrollable evidence of truth, that the power 
and efficacy of this discipline which it hath from the insti- 
tution of Christ, is spiritual only, and hath all its effects on 
the souls and consciences of those who profess subjection 
unto him, with respect unto the ends before mentioned. So 
the apostle expressly describes it, 2 Cor. x. 4, 5. ' For the 
weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through 
God to the pulling down of strong holds: casting down ima- 
ginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against 
the knowledge of God, bringing into captivity every thought 
unto the obedience of Christ.' These are the ends, as of 
preaching of the gospel, so of the discipline of the church ; 
and these are the ways and means of its efficacy : it is spi- 
ritually mighty through God, unto all these ends, and others 
it hath none. But we shall immediately see the total reverse 
of this order, in an image substituted in the room of it. 

(5.) Of the power and efficacy of this spiritual dicipline 
unto its proper end, the primitive Christians, at least, had 
experience. For three hundred years, the church had no 
other way or means for the preservation of its order, peace, 
purity, and holiness, but the spiritual efficacy of this disci- 
pline, on the souls and consciences of professed Christians. 
Neither did it fail therein, nor were the churches any longer 
preserved in peace and purity, than whilst they had this dis- 
cipline alone for their preservation, without the least contri- 
bution of assistance from secular power, or any thing that 
should operate on the outward concerns of mankind. And 
there can be no other reason given, why it should not be of 
the same use and efficacy still unto all churches, but only 
the loss of all those internal graces, which are necessary to 
make any gospel institution effectual ; wherefore, all sense 
and experience hereof, of the spiritual power and efficacy of 
this discipline was utterly lost, amongst the most of them that 
are called Christians. Neither those who had assumed a 
pretence of the administration of it, nor those towards whom 
it was administered, could find any thing in it, that did 


affect the consciences of men, with respect unto its proper 
ends. They found it a thing altogether useless in the church, 
wherein none of any sort would be concerned. What shall 
they now do? What course shall they take? Shall they re- 
nounce all those principles of truth concerning it, which we 
have laid down, and exclude it both name and thing out of 
the church? This probably would have been the end of it, 
had they not found out a way to wrest the pretence of it 
unto their unspeakable advantage. Wherefore they con- 
trived and made a horrid image of the holy, spiritual rule 
and discipline of the gospel : an image it was, consisting in 
outward force and tyranny over the persons, liberties, and 
lives of men; exercised with weapons, mighty through the 
devil to cast men into prison, and to destroy them. Hereby 
that which was appointed for the peace and edification of 
the church, being lost, an engine was framed under its name 
and pretence unto its ruin and destruction; and so it conti- 
nues unto this day. It had never entered into the hearts of 
men, to set up a discipline in the church of Christ, by law, 
courts, fines, mulcts, imprisonments, and burnings, but that 
they had utterly lost in themselves, and suffered to be lost in 
others concerned, all experience of the power and efficacy of 
the discipline of Christ, towards the souls and consciences of 
men. But hereon they laid it aside, as a useless tool, that 
might do some service in the hands of the apostles, and the 
primitive churches, whilst there was spiritual life and sense 
left amongst Christians; but as unto them, and what they 
aimed at, it was of no use at all. The deformity of this 
image in the several parts of it, its universal dissimilitude 
unto that whose name it bears, and which it pretends to be, 
the several degrees whereby it was forged, framed, and 
erected, with the occasions and advantages taken for its 
exaltation, would take up much time to declare: for it was 
subtly interwoven with other abominations, in the whole 
mystery of iniquity, until it became the very life or animat- 
ing principle of antichristianism. For however men may 
set light by the rule and discipline of Clirist in his church, 
and its spiritual power or efficacy towards the souls and 
consciences of men, the rejection of it, and the setting up of 
a horrid image of worldly power, domination, and force in 

thf: chambkr of imagery. 79 

the room of it, and under its name, is that which began, 
carried on, and yet maintains the fatal apostacy in the 
church of Rome. 

I shall instance only in one particular. On the change 
of this rule of Christ, and together with it, the setting up of 
Mauzzim, or an image, or god of forces in the stead of it; 
they were compelled to change all the ends of that disci- 
pline, and to make an image of them also. For this new in- 
strument of outward force, was of no use with respect unto 
them; for they are, as was declared, the spiritual peace, 
purity, love, and edification of the church. Outward force 
is no way meet to attain any of these ends. Wherefore they 
must make an image of these also, or substitute some dead 
form in their room; and this was a universal subjection 
unto the pope, according unto all the rules, orders, and 
canons which they should invent. Uniformity herein and 
canonical obedience, is all the end which they will allow 
unto their church discipline ; and these things hang well to- 
gether, for nothing but outward force by law and penalties, 
is fit to attain this end. So was there an image composed 
and erected of the holy discipline of Christ, and its blessed 
ends, consisting of these two parts, outward force and 
feigned subjection. For hardly can an instance be given in 
the world, of any man who ever bowed down to this image, 
or submitted unto any ecclesiastical censure, out of a con- 
scientious respect unto it. Force and fear rule all. 

This is that discipline, in whose execution the blood of 
an innumerable company of holy martyrs hath been shed; 
that wherein all the vital spirits of the papacy do act them- 
selves, and whereby it doth subsist, and although it be the 
image of jealousy, or the image of the first beast, set up by 
the dragon, yet it cannot be denied, but that it is very wisely 
accommodated unto the present state of the generality of 
them that are called Christians amongst them. For being 
both blind and carnal, and having thereby lost all sense and 
experience of the spiritual power of the rule of Christ in 
their consciences, they are become a herd not fit to be go- 
verned or ruled any other way. Under the bondage of it 
therefore they must abide, till the veil of blindness be taken 
away, and they are turned unto God by his word and Spirit; for 


'where the Spirit of the Lord is, there,' and there alone, is, 

7. Unto the foregoing particular instances, with respect 
unto tlie church, I shall yet add one more general, which is 
indeed comprehensive of them all j or the root from whence 
they spring; a root bearing gall and wormwood. And this 
is concernino; the catholic church. 

What belongs unto this catholic church, what is com- 
prised in its communion, the apostle declares, Heb. xii.22 — 
25. It is ' the recapitulation of all things in heaven and 
earth in Christ Jesus.' Eph. i. 10. ' His body, his spouse, 
or bride, the Lamb's wife, the glorious temple, wherein God 
doth dwell by his Spirit;' a holy mystical society, pur- 
chased and purified by the blood of Christ, and united unto 
him by his Spirit, or the inhabitation of the same Spirit in 
him, and those whereof it doth consist. Hence they with 
him, as the body with its head, are mystically called Christ; 
1 Cor. xii. 12. And there are two parts of it, the one whereof 
is already perfected in heaven, as unto their spirits, and the 
other yet continued in the way of faith and obedience in this 
world. Both these constitute 'one family in heaven and 
earth,' Eph. iii. 15. in conjunction with the holy angels, one 
mystical body, one catholic church. And although there is 
a great difference in their present state and condition, be- 
tween these two branches of the same family, yet are they 
both equally purchased by Christ, and united unto him as 
their head, having both of them effectually the same prin- 
ciple of the life of God in them. Of a third part of this 
church, neither in heaven nor in earth, in a temporary state, 
participant somewhat of heaven, and somewhat of hell, 
called purgatory, the Scripture knoweth nothing at all, 
neither is it consistent with the analogy of faith, or the pro- 
mises of God unto them that do believe, as we shall see im- 
mediately. This church, even as unto that part of it whicli 
is in this world, as it is adorned with all the graces of the 
Holy Spirit, is the most beautiful and glorious effect, next 
unto the forming and production of its head in the incarna- 
tion of the Son of God, which divine wisdom, power, and 
grace will extend themselves unto, here below : but these 
things, the glory of this state is visible only unto the eye of 


faith; yea, it is perfectly seen and known only to Christ 
himself. We see it obscurely in the light of faith and reve- 
lation, and are sensible of it, according unto our participat- 
ing of the graces and privileges wherein it doth consist. 

But that spiritual light which is necessary to the discern- 
ing of this glory, was lost among those of whom we treat. 
They could see no reality nor beauty in these things, nor 
any thing that should be of advantage unto them. For upon 
their principle, of the utter uncertainty of men's spiritual 
estate and condition in this world, it is evident that they 
could have no satisfactory persuasion of any concernment in 
it. But they had possessed themselves of the notion of a 
catholic church, which with mysterious artifices they have 
turned unto their own incredible secular advantage. This is 
that whereof they boast, appropriating it unto themselves, 
and making it a pretence of destroying others, what lies in 
them both temporally and eternally. Unto this end they 
have formed the most deformed and detestable image of it 
that ever the world beheld; for the catholic church which 
they own, and which they boast that they are, instead of 
that of Christ, is a company or society of men, unto whom 
in order unto the constitution of that whole society, there is 
no one real Christian grace required, nor spiritual union 
unto Christ the head, but only an outside profession of these 
things, as they expressly contend. A society united unto 
the pope of Rome, as its head by a subjection unto him, 
and his rule according to the laws and canons whereby he 
will guide them. This is the formal reason and cause con- 
stituting that catholic church which they are, which is com- 
pacted in itself by horrid bonds and ligaments, for the ends 
of ambition, worldly domination and avarice. A catholic 
church openly wicked in the generality of its rulers, and 
them that are ruled ; and in its state cruel, oppressive, and 
dyed with the blood of saints, and martyrs innumerable. 
This I say is that image of the holy catholic church, the 
spouse of Christ, which they have set up. And it hath been 
as the image of Moloch, that hath devoured and consumed 
the children of the church, whose cries, when their cruel 
stepmother pitied them not, and when their pretended 
ghostly fathers cast them into the flames, came up unto the 
ears of the Lord of hosts : and their blood still cries for 



vengeance on this idolatrous generation. Yet is this pre- 
tence of the catholic church pressed in the minds of many, 
with so many sophistical artifices, through the sleight of men, 
and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive ; 
proposed with the allurements of so many secular advan- 
tages, and imposed ofttimes on Christians with so much 
force and cruelty, that nothing can secure us from the ad- 
mission of it, unto the utter overthrow of religion, but the 
means before insisted on. A spiritual light is necessary 
hereunto, to discern the internal spiritual beauty and glory 
of the true catholic church of Christ: where this is in its 
power, all the paintings and dresses of their deformed image 
will fall off from it, and its abominable filth will be made to 
appear. And this will be accompanied with an effectual ex- 
perience of the glory and excellency of that grace in the 
souls of those that believe, derived from Christ the sole head 
of this church, whereby they are changed ' from glory to 
glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord.' The power, life, and 
sweetness hereof, will give satisfaction unto their souls, to 
the contempt of the pretended order, or dependance on the 
pope as a head. By these means the true catholic church, 
which is the body of Christ, the fulness of him that filleth 
all in all, growing up unto him in all things who is the head, 
despiseth this image, and dagon will fall to the ground when 
this ark is brought in, yea, though it be in his own temple. 

8. In the farther opening of this chamber of imagery, 
we shall yet, if it be possible, see greater abominations. 
At least that which doth next ensue, is scarce inferior unto 
any of them that went before. It is a principle in Christian 
religion, an acknowledged verity, that it is the duty of the 
disciples of Christ, especially as united in churches, to 
propagate the faith of the gospel, and to make the doc- 
trine of it known unto all, as they have opportunity : yea, 
this is one principal end of the constitution of churches and 
officers in them ; Matt. v. 13 — 16. 1 Tim. iii. 15. 

This our Lord Jesus Christ gave in special charge unto 
his apostles at the beginning; Matt, xxviii. 19,20. Mark 
xvi. 15, 16. Hereby they were obliged unto the work of 
propagating the faith of the gospel, and the knowledge of 
him therein in all places, and were justified in their so 
doing. And this they did with that efficacy and success. 


that in a short time, like the light of the sun, * Their sound 
went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of 
the world ;' Rom. x. 18. And the gospel was said to be 
' preached unto every creature which is under heaven ;' 
Col. i. 23. The way therefore, whereby they propagated 
the faith, was by diligent laborious preaching of the doc- 
trine of the gospel unto all persons in all places, with 
patience and magnanimity in undergoing all sorts of suffer- 
ings on the account of it, and a declaration of its power in 
all those virtues and graces, which are useful and exemplary 
unto mankind. It is true, their office, and the discharge of 
it, is long since ceased ; howbeit it cannot be denied but 
that the work itself is incumbent in a way of duty on all 
churches, yea, on all believers, as they have providential 
calls unto it, and opportunities for it. For it is the prin- 
cipal way whereby they may glorify God, and benefit men 
in their chiefest good, which without doubt they are obliged 

This notion of truth is retained in the church of Rome : 
and the work itself is appropriated by them, unto them- 
selves alone. Unto them, and them only, as they suppose, 
it belongs to take care of the propagation of the faith of the 
gospel, with the conversion of infidels and heretics. What- 
ever is done unto this purpose by others, they condemn and 
abhor. What do they think of the primitive way of doing 
it, by personal preaching, sufferings, and holiness? Will the 
pope, his cardinals and bishops, undertake this work or way 
of the discharge of it? Christ hath appointed no other, the 
apostles and their successors knew no other, no other be- 
comes the gospel ; nor ever had success. No, they abhor 
and detest this way of it. What then is to be done ? Shall 
the truth be denied ? Shall the work wholly and avowedly 
be laid aside? Neither will this please them, because it is 
not suited unto their honour ; wherefore they have erected 
a dismal image of it unto the horrible reproach of Christian 
religion. They have indeed provided a double painting for 
the image which they have set up. The first is the constant 
consult of some persons at Rome, which they call ' Congre- 
gatio de propaganda fide,' a council for the propagation of 
the faith, under the effect of whose consultations Christen- 
dom hath long groaned. And the other is, the sending of 

G 2 


missionaries as they call theai, or a surcharge of friars from 
their over numerous fraternities upon their errands into re- 
mote nations. 

But the real image itself consists of these three parts : 
(1.) The sword ; (2.) The inquisitions ; (3.) Plots and con- 

By these, it is that they design to propagate the faith 
and promote Christian religion. And if hell itself can in- 
vent a more deformed image, and representation of the sa- 
cred truth and work, which it is a counterfeit of, I am much 

(1.) Thus have they in the first way carried Christian 
religion into the Indies, especially the western parts of the 
world, so called. First, the pope out of the plenitude of his 
power, gives unto the Spaniard all those countries, and the 
inhabitants of them, that they may be made Christians. 
But Christ dealt not so with his apostles, though he were 
Lord of all, when he sent them to teach and baptize all na- 
tions. He dispossessed none of them of their temporal 
rights or enjoyments, nor gave to his apostles a foot breadth 
of inheritance among them. But upon this grant, the Spanish 
Catholics propagated the faith, and brought in Christian 
religion amongst them. And they did it by killing and 
murdering many millions of innocent persons, as some of 
themselves say more than are alive in Europe in any one 
age. And this savage cruelty hath made the name of 
Christians detestable amongst all that remained of them, 
that had any exercise of reason ; some few slavish brutes 
being brought by force to submit unto this new kind of 
idolatry. And this we must think to be done, in obedience 
unto that command of Christ, * Go ye into all the world, 
and preach the gospel unto every creature. He that be- 
lieveth and is baptized shall be saved, and he that believeth 
not shall be damned.' This is the deformed image, which 
they have set up of obedience unto his holy commands, 
whereunto they apply that voice to Peter with respect unto 
the eating of all sorts of creatures, * Arise, Peter, kill and 
eat.' So have they dealt with those poor nations whom 
they have devoured. But blood, murder, and unjust war 
(as all war is for the propagation of religion), with persecu- 
tion, began in Cain, who derived it from the devil, that 


murderer from the beginning ; for he was of that wicked 
one, and slew his brother. Jesus Christ the Son of God 
was * manifest to destroy these works of the devil ;' Heb. ii. 
[1 John iii. 18.] And he doth it in this world by his word and 
doctrine, judging and condemning them. And he does it in 
his disciples by his Spirit, extirpating them out of their 
minds, hearts, and ways ; so as that there is not a more as- 
sured character of a derivation from the evil spirit, than force 
and blood in religion for the propagating of it. 

(2.) The next part of this image, the next way used by 
them for the propagating of the faith, and the conversion of 
them they call heretics, is the inquisition. So much hath 
been declared, and is known thereof, that it is needless here 
to give a portraiture of it. It may suffice, that it hath been 
long since opened like Cacus's den, and discovered to be 
the greatest arsenal of cruelty, the most dreadful shambles 
of blood and slaughter, that ever was in the world. This 
is that engine, which hath supplied the scarlet whore with 
the blood of saints, and the blood of the martyrs of Jesus, 
until she was drunk with it. And this is the second way, 
or means whereby they propagate the faith of the gospel, 
'and endeavour, as they say, the conversion of the souls 
of men. This is the second part of that image which 
they have set up instead of the holy appointment of Jesus 

(3.) The third way they insist on unto this purpose, the 
third part of this image, consists in plots and contrivances 
to murder princes, to embroil nations in blood, to stir up 
sedition unto their ruin, inveigling and alluring all sorts of 
vicious, indigent, ambitious persons, into an association with 
them, so to introduce the Catholic religion in the places 
which they design to subvert. This engine for the propa- 
gation of the faith, hath been plied with various successes 
in many nations of Europe, and is still at work unto the 
same purpose. And hereunto belong all the arts which they 
use for the infatuation of the minds of princes and great 
men, all the baits they lay for others of all sorts to work 
them over unto a compliance with their designs. 

Of these parts, I say, is that dreadful image made up 
and composed, which they set up, embrace, and adore, in 


the room of the holy way for the propagation of the gospel 
appointed by Jesus Christ. In his way they can see no 
beauty, they can expect no success ; they cannot believe 
that ever the world will be converted by it, or be brought in 
subjection unto the pope, and therefore betake themselves 
unto their own. Faith, prayer, holiness, preaching, suffer- 
ing, all in expectation of the promised presence and assist- 
ance of Christ, are no ways for efficacy, success, and ad- 
vantage, to be compared unto the sword, inquisition, and 
underhand designings. And this also is that which they 
call zeal for the glory of God, and the honour of Christ; 
another deformed image which they have brought into re- 
ligion. For whereas that grace consists principally in post- 
poning self, and all self-concerns, with an undervaluation of 
them, unto the glory of God, and the special duties whereby 
it may be promoted, this impious design to destroy man- 
kind by all ways of subtlety, and cruelty, unto their own ad- 
vantage, is set up in the room of it. But the consideration 
of the nature and spirit, of the use and end of the gospel, of 
the design of Christ in it, and by it, is sufficient to preserve 
the souls of men not utterly infatuated, in an abhorrency of 
this image of its propagation. It is that wherein the God 
of this world, by the help of their blindness and lusts, hath 
put a cheat on mankind, and prevailed with them, under a 
pretence of doing Christ honour, to make the vilest repre- 
sentation of him to the world, that can be conceived. If he 
hath appointed this way for the propagating of the gospel, 
he cannot well be distinguished from Mahomet ; but there 
is nothing more contrary unto him, nothing that his holy 
soul doth more abhor. And had not men lost all spiritual 
sense of the nature and ends of the gospel, they could never 
have given up themselves unto these abominations. For 
any to suppose that the faith of the gospel is to be propa- 
gated by such cruelty and blood, by art and subtlety, by 
plots, conspiracies, and contrivances, any way but by the 
foolishness of preaching, which unto that end, is the power 
and wisdom of God, is to declare his own ignorance of it, 
and unconcernment in it. And had not men conceived and 
embraced another religion, than what is tauoht therein, or 
abused a pretence thereof unto ends and advantages of their 


own, this imagination of the propagation of it, had never 
taken place in their minds, it is so diametrically opposite 
unto the whole nature, and all the ends of it. 

9. There is yet amongst them another image of a general 
principle, no less horrid than that before mentioned, and 
that with respect unto religious obedience. It is the great 
foundation of all religion, and in especial of Christian reli- 
gion, that God in all things is to be obeyed absolutely and 

Of all our obedience, there is no other reason, but that it 
is his will, and is known unto us so to be. This follows 
necessarily from the infinite perfections of the divine nature. 
As the first essential verity he is to be believed in what he 
reveals above, and against all contradiction from pretended 
reasons, or any imaginations whatever ; and as he is the only 
absolute independent being, essential goodness, and the so- 
vereign Lord of all things, he is without farther reason, mo- 
tive, or inducement, to be absolutely obeyed in all his com- 
mands. An instance whereof we have in Abraham offering 
his only son without dispute or hesitation, in compliance 
with a divine revelation and command. 

It will seem very difficult to frame an image hereof 
amongst men, with whom there is not the least shadow of 
these divine perfections, namely, essential verity, and abso- 
lute sovereignty, in conjunction with infinite wisdom and 
goodness, which alone renders such an obedience lawful, 
useful, or suitable unto the principles of our rational natures: 
but these of whom we speak, have not been wanting unto 
themselves herein, especially the principal craftmen of this 
image trade. The order of the Jesuits have made a bold 
attempt for the framing of it. Their vow of blind obedience 
(as they call it) unto their superiors, whereto they resign the 
whole conduct of their souls, in all the concernments of re- 
ligion, in all duties toward God and man, unto their guid- 
ance and disposal, is a cursed image of this absolute obedi- 
ence unto the commands of God, which he requireth of us. 
Hence the founder of their order, was not ashamed in his 
epistle * ad fratres Lusitanos,' to urge and press this blind 
obedience from the example of Abraham yielding obedience 
unto God, without debate or consideration; as if the supe- 
riors of the order were good, and not evil and sinful men. 


Whilst this honour was reserved unto God, whilst this was 
judged to be his prerogative alone, namely, that his com- 
mands are to be obeyed in all things, without reasonings 
and examinations as unto the matter, justice, and equity of 
them, merely because they are his, which absolutely and in- 
fallibly conclude them good, holy, and just, the righteous 
government of the world, and the security of men in all their 
rights, was safely provided for ; for he neither will nor can 
command any thing but what is holy, just, and good. But 
since the ascription of such a god-like authority unto man, 
as to secure blind obedience unto all their commands, innu- 
merable evils, in murders, seditions, and perjuries, have 
openly ensued thereon. But besides those particular evils 
in matter of fact, which have proceeded from this corrupt 
fountain, this persuasion at once takes away all grounds of 
peace and security from mankind ; for who knows what a 
crew or sort of men, called the Jesuits' superiors, known only 
by their restless ambition, and evil practices in the world, 
may command their vassals, who are sworn to execute what- 
ever they command, without any consideration whether it 
be right or wrong, good or evil ? 

Let princes and other great men flatter themselves whilst 
they please, that on one consideration or other, they shall 
be the objects only of their kindness, if these men, accord- 
ing to their profession, be obliged in conscience to execute 
whatever their superiors shall command them, no less than 
Abraham was to sacrifice his son on the command of God ; 
they hold their lives at the mercy, and on the good nature 
of these superiors, who are always safe out of the reach of 
revenge. It is marvellous that mankind doth not agree to 
demolish this cursed image, or the ascription of a god-like 
power unto men, to require blind obedience unto their com- 
mands, especially considering what effects it hath produced 
in the world. All men know by whose device it was first 
set up and erected ; by whom, what means, and unto what 
end it was confirmed and consecrated ; and at this day it is 
maintained by a society of men, of an uncertain extract and 
original, like that of the Janizaries in the Turkish empire, 
their rise being generally out of obscurity, among the 
meanest and lowest of the people. Such they are who by 
the rules of their education, are taught to renounce all re- 


spect unto their native countries, and alliances therein, but 
so as to make them only the way and matter for the advance- 
ment of the interest of this new society. And this sort of 
men being nourished from their very first entrance into the 
conduct of the society, unto hopes and expectations of 
wealth, honour, power, interest in the disposal of all public 
affairs of mankind and the regulation of the consciences of 
men, it is no wonder if with the utmost of their arts and in- 
dustry, they endeavour to set up and preserve this image 
which they have erected, from whence they expect all the 
advantage which they do design. But hereof I may treat 
more fully, when I come to speak of the image of jealousy 

10. From these generals, I -shall proceed unto more par- 
ticular instances ; and those for the most part in important 
principles of religion, wherein Christian faith and practice 
are most concerned. And I shall begin with that which is 
of signal advantage unto the framers of these images, as the 
other also are in their degree ; for by this craft they have 
their livelihood and wealth, and most pernicious to the souls 
of other men. It is a principle of truth, and that such as 
wherein the whole course of Christian obedience is con- 
cerned, that there is a spiritual defilement in sin. 

This the Scripture everywhere declares, representing the 
very nature of it by spiritual uncleanness. And this unclean- 
ness is its contrariety unto the holiness of the divine nature, 
as represented unto us in the law. This defilement is in all 
men equally by nature ; all are alike born in sin, and the 
pollution of it; 'Who can bring a clean thing out of an un- 
clean V And it is in all personally, in various degrees ; some 
are more polluted with actual sins than others, but all are so 
in their degree and measure. This pollution of sin must be 
purged and taken away before our entrance into heaven; for 
no unclean thing shall enter into the kingdom of God. Sin 
must be destroyed in its nature, practice, power, and defects, 
or we are not saved from it. This purification of sin is 
wrought in us initially and gradually in this life, and accom- 
plished in death, when the spirits of just men are made per- 
fect. In a compliance with this work of God's grace to- 
wards them, whereby they purify themselves, consists one 
principal part of the obedience of believers in this world, 


and of the exercise of their faith. The principal, internal, 
immediate, efficient cause of this purification of sins, is the 
blood of Christ; the ' blood of Jesus Christ the Son of God, 
cleanseth us from all our sins;' 1 John i. 7. ' The blood of 
Jesus purgeth our consciences from dead works;' Heb. ix. 
14. * He washeth us in his own blood ;' Rev. i. 5. And 
there is an external helping cause thereof, which is trials 
and afflictions, made effectual by the word, and accom- 
plished in death. 

But this way of purging sins by the blood of Christ is 
mysterious : there is no discerning of its glory but by spi- 
ritual light, no experience of its power, but by faith. Hence 
it is despised and neglected by the most that yet outwardly 
profess the doctrine of the gospel. Men generally think 
there are a thousand better ways for the purging of sin, than 
this by the blood of Christ, which they cannot understand ; 
see Micah vi. 6, 7. It is mysterious in the application of it 
unto the souls and consciences of believers by the Holy 
Ghost; it is so in the spring of its efficacy, which is the 
oblation of it, for a propitiation, and in its relation unto the 
new covenant, which first it establisheth, and then makes 
effectual unto this end. The work of it is gradual and im- 
perceptible unto any thing but the eyes of faith, and diligent 
spiritual experience. 

Again, it is so ordered by divine wisdom, as strictly to 
require, to begin, excite, and encourage, the utmost diligence 
of believers in a compliance with its efficacy unto the same 
end. What Christ did for us, he did without us, without 
our aid or concurrence. As God made us without ourselves, 
so Christ redeemed us; but what he doth in us, he doth also 
by us ; what he works in a way of grace, we work in a way 
of duty : and our duty herein consists as in the continual 
exercise of all gracious habits, renewing, changing, and 
transforming the soul into the likeness of Christ (for he 
who hopes to see him, purifieth himself as he is pure), so 
also in universal, permanent, uninterrupted mortification 
unto the end, whereof we shall speak afterward. This also 
renders the work both mysterious and difficult. The im- 
provement of afflictions unto the same end, is a principal 
part of the wisdom of faith ; without which they can be of 
no spiritual use unto the souls of men. 


This notion of the defilement of sin, and that of the ne- 
cessity of its purification, were retained in the church of 
Rome ; for they could not be lost, without not only a rejec- 
tion of the Scripture, but the stifling of natural conceptions 
about them, which are indelibly fixed in the consciences of 
men. But spiritual light into the glory of the thing itself, 
or the mystical purification of sin, with an experience of the 
power and efficacy of the blood of Christ, as applied unto 
the consciences of believers unto that end, by the Holy 
Ghost, were lost amongst them. In vain shall we seek for 
any thing of this nature, either in their doctrine or their 
practice. Wherefore having lost the substance of this truth, 
and all experience of its pov^er, to retain the use of its name, 
they have made sundry little images of it, creeping things, 
whereunto they ascribe the power of purging sin ; such as 
holy water, pilgrimages, disciplines, masses, and various 
commutations. But they quickly found by experience, that 
these things would neither purify the heart, nor pacify the 
consciences of sinners, any more than the blood of bulls and 
of goats could do it under the law; yea, any more than the 
lustrations and expiations of sin amongst the heathen could 
effect it. Wherefore they have at length formed a more 
stated and specious image of it, to serve all the turns of con- 
vinced sinners ; and this is a purgatory after this life ; that 
is, a subterraneous place, and various means where, and 
whereby, the souls of men are purged from all their sins, and 
made meet for heaven, when the Lord Christ thinks meet to 
send for them, or the pope judges it fit to send them to him. 
Hereunto, let them pretend what they please, the people 
under their conduct do trust a thousand times more for the 
purging of their sins, than unto the blood of Christ : but it 
is only a cursed image of the virtue of it, set up to draw off 
the minds of poor sinners from seeking an interest in a par- 
ticipation of the efficacy of that blood for that end, which is 
to be obtained by faith alone ; Rom. iii. 25. Only they 
have placed this image behind the curtain of mortality, that 
the cheat of it might not be discovered ; none, who find 
themselves deceived by it, can come back to complain or 
warn others to take care of themselves ; and it was in an 
especial manner suited unto their delusion, who lived in 
pleasures, or in the pursuit of unjust gain, without exercise 


of afflictions in this world. From these two sorts of per- 
sons, by this engine they raised a revenue unto themselves, 
beyond that of kings or princes ; for all the endowments of 
their religious houses and societies, were but commu- 
tations for the abatement of the fire of this purgatory. 
But whereas in itself it was a rotten post that could not 
stand or subsist, they were forced to prop it with many 
other imaginations ; for unto this end to secure work 
for this purgatory, they coined the distinction of sin into 
mortal and venial ; not as unto their end, with respect unto 
faith and repentance, nor as unto the degrees of sin with 
respect unto the aggravations, but as unto the nature of 
them ; some of them being such, namely, those that are 
venial, as were capable of a purging expiation after this life, 
though men die without any repentance of them. And when 
this was done, they have cast almost all the sins that can be 
named under this order; and hereon this image is become an 
engine to disappoint the whole doctrine of the gospel, and 
to precipitate secure sinners into eternal ruin. And to 
strengthen this deceiving security, they have added another 
invention of a certain storehouse of ecclesiastical merits, the 
keys whereof are committed to the pope, to make applica- 
tion of them as he sees good unto the ease and relief of them 
that are in this purgatory. For whereas many of their church 
and communion have, as they say, done more good works 
than were needful for their salvation (which they have re- 
ceived upon a due balance of commutative justice), the sur- 
plusage is committed to the pope, to commute with it for 
the punishment of their sins, who are sent into purgatory to 
suffer for them ; than which they could have found out no 
engine more powerful, to evacuate the efficacy of the blood 
of Christ, both as offered and as sprinkled, and therewith the 
doctrine of the gospel concerning faith and repentance. 
Moreover, to give it farther countenance (as one lie must be 
thatched with another, or it will quickly rain through), they 
have fancied a separation to be made between guilt and pu- 
nishment, so as that when the guilt is fully remitted and 
pardoned, yet there may punishment remain on the account 
of sin. For this is the -case of them in purgatory; their sins 
are pardoned, so as that the guilt of them shall not bind 
them over to eternal damnation, though ' the wages of sin 



is death,' yet they must be variously punished for the sins 
that are forgiven. But as this is contradictory in itself, it 
being utterly impossible there should be any punishment 
properly so called, but where there is guilt as the cause of 
it, so it is highly injurious both to the grace of God and 
blood of Christ, in procuring and giving out such a lame par- 
don of sins, as should leave room for punishment next to 
that which is eternal. These are some of the rotten props 
which they have fixed on the minds of persons credulous and 
superstitious, terrified with guilt and darkness, to support 
this tottering deformed image, set up in the room of the effi- 
cacy of the blood of Christ, to purge the souls and con- 
sciences of believers from sin. Bat that whereby it is prin- 
cipally established and kept up, is the darkness, ignorance, 
guilt, fear, terror of conscience, accompanied with a love of 
sin, that the most among them are subject and obnoxious 
unto, being disquieted, perplexed, and tormented with these 
things, and utterly ignorant of the true and only way of their 
removal and deliverance from them, they greedily embrace 
this sorry provision for their present ease and relief, being 
accommodated unto the utmost that human or diabolical 
craft can extend unto, to abate their fear, ease their tor- 
ments, and to give security unto their superstitious minds. 
And hereby it is become to be the life and soul of their reli- 
gion, diffusing itself into all the parts and concerns of it, 
more trusted unto than either God, or Christ, or the gospel. 
Spiritual light and experience, with the consequents of 
them in peace with God, will safeguard the minds of be- 
lievers from bowing down to this horrid image, though the 
acknowledgments of its divinity should be imposed on them 
with craft and force, otherwise it will not be done; for with- 
out this, there will a strong inclination and disposition, 
arising from a mixture of superstitious fear and love of sin, 
possess the minds of men to close with this pretended relief 
and satisfaction. The foundation of our preservation herein 
lies in spiritual light, or an ability of mind, from superna- 
tural illumination, to discern the beauty, glory, and efficacy 
of the purging of our sins by the blood of Christ; when the 
glory of the wisdom and grace of God, of the love and grace 
of Christ, of the power of the Holy Ghost herein, is made 
manifest unto us, we shall despise all the paintings of this 


invention, Dagon will fall before the ark; and all these 
things do gloriously shine forth and manifest themselves 
unto believers in this mysterious way of purging all our sins 
by the blood of Christ. Hereon will ensue an experience of 
the efficacy of this heavenly truth in our own souls. There 
is no man whose heart and ways are cleansed by the blood 
of Christ, through the effectual application of it by the Holy 
Spirit, in the ordinance of the gospel, but he hath or may 
have a refreshing experience of it in his own soul, and by 
the power which is communicated therewith, he is stirred 
up unto all that exercise of faith, and all those duties of 
obedience, whereby the work of purifying and cleansing the 
whole person may be carried on toward perfection : see 
2 Cor. vii. 1. 1 Thess. v. 23. 1 John iii. 3. And he who is 
constantly engaged in that work with success, will see the 
folly and vanity of any other pretended way for the purging 
of sins here or hereafter. The consequent of these things is 
peace with God, for they are assured pledges of our justifi- 
cation and acceptance with him, and being justified by faith, 
we have peace with God, and where this is attained by the 
gospel, the whole fabric of purgatory falls to the ground, for 
it is built on these foundations, that no assurance of the 
love of God, or of a justified state, can be obtained in this 
life : for if it may be so, there can be no use of purgatory. 
This then will assuredly keep the souls of believers in a con- 
tempt of that which is nothing but a false relief for sinners, 
under disquietment of mind for want of peace with God. 

1 1 . Some other instances of the same abomination I shall 
yet mention, but with more brevity, and sundry others must 
at present be passed over without a discovery. It is the 
known method of gospel faith and obedience, the way of 
God's dealing with believers in the covenant of grace, that 
after their initiation and implantation into Christ, they 
should labour to thrive and grow in grace, by its continual 
exercise, until they come to be strengthened and confirmed 
therein. And this in the ordinary way of God's dealing with 
the church, they shall never fail of, unless it be through their 
own neglect : for there are many divine promises to this pur- 
pose, and it lies in the nature of the things themselves : for 
the seeds of grace are of that kind of habits, which will be 
increased and strengthened by exercise. Wherefore this con- 


firmation in grace, is that whereof believers have a blessed 

This truth in general of an implantation into Christ, and 
the ensuing confirmation in grace, is universally assented 
unto, none can deny it, without denying the whole doctrine 
of the gospel. But the sense and experience of it was lost 
amongst them of whom we treat; yet would they not forego 
the profession of the principle itself, which would have pro- 
claimed them apostates from the grace of Christ: wherefore 
they formed an image of it, or images of both its distinct 
parts, which they could manage unto their own ends, and 
such as the carnal minds of men could readily comply with, 
and rest in. As in the other sacrament they turned the 
outward signs into the things signified ; so in this of baptism, 
they make it to stand in the stead of the thing itself, which 
is to make it, if not an idol, yet an image of it. The out- 
ward participation of that ordinance with them is regenera- 
tion, and implantation into Christ, without any regard unto 
the internal grace that is signified thereby ; so that which in 
itself is a sacred figure, is made an image to delude the 
souls of men. 

And that which they would impose in the room of spiri- 
tual confirmation in grace, is yet more strange. The image 
which they set up hereof is episcopal imposition of hands. 
When one that hath been baptized can answer some few 
questions out of a catechism, though he be very ignorant, 
and openly vicious in his conversation, by this laying on of 
hands he is confirmed in grace. 

It may be some will say, there is no great matter one 
way or other in things of this sort ; they may be suffered to 
pass at what rate they will in this world. I confess I am 
not so minded. If there be any thing in them but mere for- 
mality and custom, if they are trusted unto as the things 
whose names they bear, they are pernicious unto the souls 
of men : for if all that are outwardly baptized, should thereon 
judge themselves implanted into Christ, without regard unto 
the internal washing of regeneration, and renewing of the 
Holy Ghost; and all who have had this imposition of hands, 
should without more ado, suppose themselves confirmed in 
grace, they are in the ready way to eternal ruin. 

12. It is granted among all Christians, that all our helps. 


our relief, our deliverance from sin, Satan, and the world, 
are from Christ alone. 

This is included in all his relations unto the church, in 
all his offices, and the discharge of them ; and is the express 
doctrine of the gospel. It is no less generally acknow- 
ledged, at least the Scripture is no less clear and positive in 
it, that we receive and derive all our supplies of relief from 
Christ by faith, other ways of the participation of any thing 
from him, the Scripture knoweth not. Wherefore it is our 
duty on all occasions to apply ourselves unto him by faith, 
for all supplies, reliefs, and deliverances: but these men 
can find no life nor power herein, at least if they grant that 
somewhat might be done this way, yet they know not how 
to do it, being ignorant of the life of faith, and the due ex- 
ercise of it. They must have a way more ready and easy, 
exposed to the capacities and abilities of all sorts of persons 
good and bad, yea, that will serve the turn of the worst of 
men unto these ends. An image therefore must be set up 
for common use, instead of this spiritual application unto 
Christ for relief, and this is the making of the sign of the 
cross. Let a man but make the sign of the cross on his fore- 
head, his breast, or the like, which he may as easily do as 
take up or cast away a straw, and there is no more required 
to engage Christ unto his assistance at any time. And the 
virtues which they ascribe hereunto are innumerable, but 
this also is an idol, a teacher of lies, invented and set up for 
no other end, but to satisfy the carnal minds of men, with a 
presumptuous supposition, in the neglect of the spiritually 
laborious exercise of faith ; an experience of the work of 
faith in the derivation of all supplies of spiritual life, grace, 
and strength, with deliverance and supplies from Jesus 
Christ, will secure behevers from giving heed unto this 
trifling deceit. 

13. One thing more amongst many others of the same 
sort may be mentioned. It is a notion of truth which de- 
rives from the light of nature. That those who approach unto 
God in divine worship, should be careful that they be pure 
and clean, without any offensive defilements. 

This the heathens themselves give testimony unto, and 
God confirmed it in the institutions of the law. But what 
are these defilements and pollutions which make us unmeet 


to approach unto the presence of God, how and by what 
means we may be purified and cleansed from them, the 
gospel alone declares. And it doth, in opposition unto all 
other ways and means of it, plainly reveal, that it is by the 
sprinkling of the blood of Christ upon our consciences, so 
to purge them from ' dead works, that we may serve the 
living God :' see Heb. ix. 14. x. 19 — 21. But this is a thing 
mysterious, nothing but spiritual light and saving faith can 
direct us herein. Men destitute. of them could never attain 
an experience of purification in this way. Wherefore they 
retained the notion of truth itself, but made an image of it 
for their use, with a neglect of the thing itself. And this 
was the most ludicrous that could be imagined ; namely, the 
sprinkling of themselves and others with that they call holy 
water, when they go into the places of sacred worship ; which 
yet also they borrowed from the Pagans ; so stupid and sot- 
tish are the minds of men, so dark and ignorant of heavenly 
things, that they have suffered their souls to be deceived 
and ruined by such vain superstitious trifles. 

This discourse hath already proceeded unto a greater 
length than was at first intended; and would be so much 
more, should we look into all parts of this chamber of ima- 
gery, and expose to view all the abominations in it. I shall 
therefore put a close unto it, in one or two instances, wherein 
the church of Rome doth boast itself as retaining the truth 
and power of the gospel in a peculiar manner, whereas in 
very deed they have destroyed them, and set up corrupt 
images of their own, in their stead. 

14. The first of these is the doctrine and grace of morti- 

That this is not only an important evangelical duty, but 
also of indispensable necessity unto salvation, all who have 
any thing of Christian religion in themselves must acknow- 
ledge, it is also clearly determined in the Scripture, both 
what is the nature of it, with its causes, and in what acts and 
duties it doth consist. For it is frequently declared to be 
the crucifying of the body of sin with all the lusts thereof. 
For mortification must be the bringing of something to death ; 
and this is sin, and the dying of sin consists in the casting 
out of all vicious habits and inclinations, arising from the 
original depravation of nature; it is the weakening and gra- 



duate extirpation, or destruction of them, in their roots, 
principles, and operations : whereby the soul is set at liberty 
to act universally from tlie contrary principle of spiritual 
life and grace. The means on the part of Christ, whereby 
this is wrought and effected in believers, is the communica- 
tion of his Spirit unto them, to make an effectual application 
of the virtue of his death, unto the death of sin ; for it is by 
his Spirit that we mortify the deeds of the flesh, and the flesh 
itself, and that as we are implanted by him into the likeness 
of the death of Christ. By virtue thereof, we are crucified, 
and made dead unto sin ; in the declaration of which things 
the Scripture doth abound. The means of it on the part of 
believers, is the exercise of faith in Christ, as crucified; 
whereby they derive virtue from him., for the crucifying of 
the body of death: and this exercise of faith is always ac- 
companied with diligence and perseverance in all holy duties 
of prayer, with fasting, godly sorrow, daily renewed repent- 
ance, with a continual watch against all the advantages of 
sin. Herein consists principally that spiritual warfare and 
conflict that believers are called unto, this is all the killing- 
work which the gospel requires. That of killing other men 
for religion, is of a latter date, and another original. And 
there is nothing in the way of their obedience, wherein they 
liave more experience of the necessity, power, and efficacy, 
of the graces of the gospel. 

This principle of truth concerning the necessity of mor- 
tification is retained in the church of Rome ; yea, she pre- 
tends highly unto it, above any other Christian society. The 
mortification of their devotionists, is one of the principal 
arguments which they plead to draw unwary souls over unto 
their superstition. Yet in the height of their pretences unto 
it, they have lost all experience of its nature, with the power 
and efficacy of the grace of Christ therein, and have, there- 
fore, framed an image of it unto themselves. For, 

(1.) They place the eminency and height of it in a mo- 
nastical life, and pretended retirement from the world. But 
this may be, hath been, in all or the most, without the least 
real work of mortification in their souls : for there is nothino- 
required in the strictest rules of these monastic votaries, 
but may be complied withal, without the least effectual 
operation of the Holy Spirit in their minds, in the applica- 

tup: chamber of imagery. 99 

tion of the virtue of the death of Christ unto them ; besides, 
the whole course of life which they commend under this 
name, is neither appointed in, nor approved by, the gospel. 
And some of those who have been most renowned for their 
severities therein, were men of blood, promoting the cruel 
slaughter of multitudes of Christians upon the account of 
their profession of the gospel, in whom there could be no 
one evangelical grace ; for no murderer hath eternal life 
abiding in him. 

(2.) The ways and means which they prescribe and use 
for the attaining of it, are such as are no way directed by 
the divine wisdom of Christ in the Scripture ; such as mul- 
tiplied confessions to priests, irregular ridiculous fastings, 
penances, self-macerations of the body, unlawful vows, self- 
devised rules of discipline and habits, with the like trinkets 
innumerable. Hence, Avhatever their design be, they may 
say of it in the issue, what Aaron said of his idol, ' I cast 
the gold into the fire, and there came out this calf:' they 
have brought forth only an image of mortification, diverting 
the minds of men from seeking after that which is really and 
spiritually so. And under this pretence, they have formed 
a state and condition of life, that hath filled the world with 
all manner of sins and wickedness ; and many of those who 
have attained unto some of the hiohest deo-rees of this mor- 
tification, on their principles, and by the means designed 
unto that end, have been made ready thereby for all sorts of 

Wherefore, the mortification which they retain, and 
whereof they boast, is nothing but a wretched image of 
that which is truly so, substituted in its room, and embraced 
by such, as had never attained any experience of the nature 
or power of gospel-grace in the real mortification of sin. 

15. The same is to be said concerning good works; the 
second evangelical duty whereof tliey boast. 

The necessity of these good works unto salvation, ac- 
cording unto men's opportunities and abilities, is acknow- 
ledged by all. And the glory of our profession in this world, 
consisteth in our abounding in them ; but their principle, 
their nature, their motives, their use, their ends are declared 
and limited in the Scripture, whereby they are distinguished 
from what may seem materially the same, in those which 

H 2 


may be wrought by unbelievers. In brief, they are the acts 
and duties of true believers only; and they are in them 
effects of divine grace, or the operation of the Holy Ghost ; 
for they ' are created in Christ Jesus unto good works, 
which God hath ordained, that they should walk in them.' 
But the principal mystery of their glory, which the Scrip- 
ture insists upon, is, that although they are necessary, as a 
means unto the salvation of believers, yet are they utterly 
excluded from any influence unto the justification of sinners ; 
so there was never any work evangelically good, performed 
by any, who were not before freely justified. 

Unto these good works, those with whom we have to do, 
lay a vehement claim, as though they were the only patrons 
of them, and pleaders for them : but they have also excluded 
them out of Christian religion, and set up a deformed image 
of them, in defiance of God, of Christ, and the gospel: for 
the works they plead for, are such, as so far proceed from 
their own free will, as to render them meritorious in the 
sight of God. They have confined them partly unto acts of 
superstitious devotion, partly unto those of charit}^ and 
principally unto those that are not so ; such are the building 
of monasteries, nunneries, and such pretended religious 
houses, for the maintenance of swarms of monks and friars, 
iilling the world with superstition and debauchery. They 
make them meritorious, satisfactory, yea, some of them, 
which they call of supererrogation, above all that God re- 
quireth of us, and the causes of our justification before God. 
They ascribe unto them a condignity of the heavenly reward, 
making it of works, and so not of grace, with many other 
defiling imaginations ; but whatever is done from these 
principles, and for these ends, is utterly foreign unto those 
good works which the gospel enjoineth, as a part of our 
new or evangelical obedience. But having, as in other cases, 
lost all sense and experience of the power and efiicacy of the 
grace of Christ, in working believers unto this duty of obe- 
dience, unto the glory of God, and benefit of mankind, they 
have set up the image of them, in defiance of Christ, his 
grace, and his gospel. 

These are some of the abominations which are pourtrayed 
on the walls of the chamber of imagery in the church of 
Rome ; and more will be added in the consideration of the 


image of jealousy itself, which, God willing, shall ensue in 
another way. These are the shadows which they bet ke 
themselves unto, in the loss of spiritual light to discern the 
truth and glory of the mystery of the gospel, and the want 
of an experience of their power and efficacy unto all the ends 
of the life of God, in their own minds and souls. And al- 
though they are all of them expressly condemned in the let- 
ter of the Scripture, which is sufficient to secure the minds 
of true believers from the admission of them, yet their esta- 
blishment against all pleas, pretences, and forc^, for a com- 
pliance with them, depends on their experience of the power 
of every gospel truth unto its proper end, in communicating 
unto us the grace of God, and transforming our minds into 
the imase and likeness of Jesus Christ. 





This sermon was preached at a Fast, Dec. 22, 1681. 

P R E F A C E. 

To THE Reader, 

Upon tlie desire of some, interested in the publication 
of this sermon, I have perused it, and do communicate 
these my thoughts concerning it. 

There appears unto me in it those two things, which 
do above all others commend any sermon, or any other 
book ; namely, most weighty and seasonable argument, 
with very judicious and methodical management. 

If I am able to judge, the management speaks, 
' arma virumque,' the man and his furniture. And it 
is like its great author, well known to this age, and like 
to be so unto future ones, by his v»7ritings in more than 
one language. There is a favour due unto all posthu- 
mous pieces, of which sort this is ; but there is little 
need that this piece seems to have of it. 

As for its argument, it is very salvation; and that 
not merely personal, or domestical, but national. This, 
if any thing, will be acknowledged momentous ; and 
now, if ever, it must be acknowledged seasonable. 
Now, in this our day, 'known only to the Lord.' Nay 
now, that it is neither day nor night, as the prophet 
speaks. Now that city and country are crying, ' watch- 
man, what of the night? watchman, what of the night?' 
Now, that the three frightful signs of approaching night 
are so upon us ; I mean, shadows growing long, la- 
bourers going apace home, and wild beasts going 
boldly abroad. ' Quis talia fando temperet a lachry- 

In a word, here is that which will sufficiently re- 
commend it'^elf to al! periou:? readers. It is the com- 



plaint of many, that our booksellers' shops are become 
heaps of dry sand, in which many a rich stone is lost. 
But it is known to all, that diamonds will be found out 
by their own lustre. And I make no great question 
but so this sermon will be. That it may be so, and may 
go much abroad, and do good wherever it comes, is the 

prayer of 

Thy servant in Christ Jesus, 

D. Burgess. 

From vny house in Bridges Street, in 
Covent Garden, Aug. 7, 1690. 



For Israel hath nut been forsaken, nor Juduh of his Cud, of the Lord of 
hosts, though their land was filed with sin against the Holy One of 
Israel. — Jer. li. 5. 

This chapter, and the foregoing, are an eminent prophecy 
and prediction of the destruction of Babylon, and of the land 
of the Chaldeans, of the xnetropolitical city of the empire, 
and of the nation itself. There is a double occasion for the 
inserting of these words. The first is to declare the grounds 
and reasons, why God would bring that destruction upon 
Babylon, and upon the land of the Chaldeans. The words 
of ver. 4. are, ' The slain shall fall in the land of the Chal- 
deans, and they that are thrust through in her streets.' Why 
so ? For, saith he, ' Israel hath not been forsaken.' The 
reason why God will destroy the empire of Babylon is, be- 
cause he will remember Israel, and what they have done 
against him. This lies in store for another Babylon in God's 
appointed time. The second reason is, that it may be for 
the comfort, for the supportment of Israel and Judah, under 
that distress which was then befalling them, upon the en- 
trance of this Babylon in the land of the Chaldeans. Not- 
withstanding all, saith he, yet ' Israel is not forsaken, nor 
Judah of his God.' 

We are called this day to join our cries with the nation 
in the behalf of the land of our nativity. And though it 
hath been, as most of you know, my constant course on such 
solemn days as these are, to treat in particular about our 
own sins, our own decays, our own means of recovery; yet, 
upon this occasion I shall, as God shall help me, from these 
words, represent unto you the state of the nation wherein 
we live, and the only way and means for our deliverance from 
universal destruction. To declare our interest herein, some 
things must be observed concerning this Babylon, whose 
destruction is so solemnly prophesied of in this and the 
foregoing chapter; and I must observe three things con- 
cerning it. 

1. That Babylon was the original of apostacy from the 
natural worship of God unto idolatry in the whole world. 


There was great iniquity before the flood, but no mention 
of any idolatry. There was a natural worship of God through- 
out the world, that was not corrupted with idolatry. There 
is no mention of it until the building of Babel. Tnere it 
began : the tower which they built, they turned into a temple 
of Belus, whom they had made a god, and laid his image in 
the top of it. There was the original. You shall see im- 
mediately how we are concerned. There was the original 
of apostacy from natural worship unto idolatry. 

2. Their idolatry. The idolatry that there began, con- 
sisted in image worship, in the worshipping of graven images, 
which was their idolatr}^ that they set up with respect unto 
men departed, whom they worshipped by tiiem. Four times 
in this prophecy doth God say, he will ' take vengeance on 
their graven images.' And from Isa. xl. to the end of xlvi. 
you have a description of the idolatry of Babylon, that it 
all consisted in making carved idols, and graven images. 
The rest of the world, especially of the eastern nations, fell 
into the worshipping of the sun, which they called Baal, 
and Moloch, and Kemosh, all names of the sun ; and the 
worship of the moon, which they called Ashtaroth, and the 
queen of heaven; but the idolatry of Babylon was by graven 
images and idols. 

3. They were, so far as appears upon record, the first 
state in the world, that ever persecuted for religion, that op- 
pressed the true worshippers of God, as such, as being 'mad 
upon their idols,' as the prophet saith they were, they were 
inflamed upon them. They were the first that oppressed 
the church, because of its worshipping of God, and de- 
stroyed that worship among them. Hence the church prays 
in this chapter, ' The vengeance of the Lord, and of his 
temple be upon Babylon:' not only the vengeance of the 
Lord, for destroying of his people ; but the vengeance of his 
temple, for destroying of his worship, be upon Babylon, 
shall Zion say. ' Others have afllicted me,' saith he in the 
same chapter, ' but this Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon 
hath broken my bones.' They were the great oppressors 
of the church. 

Upon these three accounts, which is that I would ob- 
serve, the name of Babylon, and all that is spoken of it in 
the Old Testament, is transferred to the apostate church of 


Rome in tlie New, and all applied unto it in the Book of the 
Revelation, and that upon this great analogy, which I shall 
now briefly shew. 

Wliy doth God call the apostate state of the church 
under the New Testament, 'Babylon, Babylon, the Mystery?' 
For these three reasons : 

(1.) As old Babylon was the rise and spring of apostacy 
from natural worship in the world unto idolatry, so this new 
Babylon was the rise and spring of apostacy from evange- 
lical worship in the world unto idolatry. Mark the analogy. 
Hence she is called, * the mother of harlots :' that is, she 
that had brought forth all the idolatrous churches and wor- 
ship that were in the world. Did Babylon begin to aposta- 
tize into idolatry from natural worship ? so Rome began to 
apostatize into idolatry from spiritual evangelical worship. 
Therefore the Holy Ghost calls her Babylon. 

(2.) The peculiar idolatry of Babylon consisted in image 
worship, the worshipping of men departed under images 
made to their likeness. And the peculiar idolatry of Rome 
consists in image worship, the worshipping saints departed, 
which is a great part of their idolatry. And therein they are 
Babylon also. 

(3.) As Babylon was the spring of all persecution against, 
and oppression of, the church of God, under the Old Testa- 
ment ; so Rome hath been the spring of all persecution, and 
oppression of the church of God since the apostacy, under 
the New Testament. 

On these accounts hath the Holy Ghost in infinite wis- 
dom transferred over the name, and state, and other things 
spoken of Babylon from the old unto the new. 

I have mentioned this, that you may see the interest of 
England in this text of Scripture. So far as the truth of re- 
ligion is owned in this nation, so far as there is a testimony 
given against idolatry, we are to God as Israel and Judah, 
though the land be filled with sin. At the time of this pro- 
phecy Israel and Judah were in danger of present destruc- 
tion and desolation from the old Babylon; and if we do not 
mock God in all we do, we are under apprehensions that 
England and the church of God in England, is under danger 
of the same desolation and destruction from new Babylon, 


upon the same account and principle. If we do not mock 
God, that is that we profess at this day. Wherefore the pa- 
rallel runs thus far equal. Such as was Babylon of old, such 
is that at present : such as was the danger of Israel and 
Judah from them at that day, such is the danger of England 
from the new at this present. This is spoken in general. 
For the opening of the words observe these three things: 
First, That there is in them a reduplication of the names 
or titles of God. He is in this verse called by the name of ' the 
Lord of hosts,' and by the name of 'the Holy One of Israel.' 
Where there are such reduplications of the name of God, or 
any of his titles, the Holy Ghost would have us take notice, 
that it is a matter of great importance wheroof he speaks. 

Secondly, There is a distribution and application of 
these names of God unto distinct occasions suitable unto 


1. There is in it mentioned an intimation of a surprisal 
with some protection or deliverance. Who shall it be done 
by ? ' The Lord of hosts,' saith he, ' the Lord his God.' And 
he doth not in vain add immediately, 'The Lord of hosts,' 
that title of God. He who hath the host above, and the 
host below in his sovereign disposal. God's host above are 
all the holy angels, and all the heavenly bodies in their in- 
fluences. The stars in their courses fought against Sisera; 
and he hath lately hung forth among us a flag or ensign of 
his host above, intimating that he is arising in his indigna- 
tion, as ' the Lord of hosts,' and hath hung forth an ensign 
before his coming, full of dread and terror. Aud he is ' the 
Lord of hosts' here below, of all men, and of all creatures, 
disposing of them as seems good unto him. The prophet 
adds this name of God, because of the unspeakable great- 
ness of the thing he mentions, namely, that Israel should 
not be forsaken, nor Judah, while the land was so filled with 
sin, and the whole interest of Babylon so coming upon them. 

2. The other title of God is, ' The Holy One of Israel.' 
This is applied peculiarly unto their sin: ' The land is filled 
with sin against the Holy One of Israel.' It is the greatest, 
it is the highest aggravation of sin, that it is against the 
holiness of God, ' who is a God of purer eyes than to behold 
iniquity.' So hath the wisdom of the Holy Ghost applied 


these two distinct titles of God unto the two distinct consi- 
derations of the people ; first, of their protection, that he is 
'the Lord of hosts;' secondly, as of their sin, that he is 'the 
Holy One of Israel.' 

Thirdly, The third thing is this : that in this woful state 
there is yet an intimation made of a covenant interest of 
Judah in God, and that God did yet own them as his in cove- 
nant. ' Israel hath not been forsaken, nor Judah of Iiis God.' 
Brethren, no man, I think, hath less of faith than I ; no man 
doth more despond. But if I could see these two things in 
concurrence, ' his God,' and ' the Lord of hosts,' that is, 
sovereign grace, according to his covenant; and sovereign 
povv'er, according to his providence; there is ground for any 
man's faith to build upon : ' his God, the Lord of hosts.' 
Nothing but sovereign grace and sovereign power can pre- 
serve a people, when their land is full of sin against the 
Holy One of Israel, and destruction seems to encompass 
them from the interest of Babylon. 

I shall speak yet a little more particularly. You may 
consider in the words, 

1. That which is mentioned in the last place; the state 
of the people at this time: 'Their land was filled with sin 
against the Holy One of Israel.' 

2. An intimation of approaching deserved destruction on 
that account: ' Though the land :' it is in that condition that 
it ought to look for nothing but destruction. 

3. A stranoe and wonderful surprisal, notwithstandins: 
this, in sovereign grace and power : ' Israel hath not been 
forsaken, nor Judah of his God, the Lord of hosts.' 

What shall I speak to is this. 

Observation. When a land is filled with sin against the 
Lord, let men's hopes and expectations be what they will, 
they are in danger of utter destruction, and cannot be saved, 
but by the actings of sovereign grace and power. 

I shall, for the handling hereof, at least I design to do 
these three things : 

I. Shew when a land is filled with sin against the Holy 
One of Israel. 

II. Gather up what evidences we have, that England is 
not yet utterly forsaken of God. 

III. Manifest what is indispensably required of us, that 


we may not be given up unto that utter desolation and de- 
struction, that lieth at the door, 

I do believe that I am not in my thoughts far from your 
case, far from the case of the nation. I do not search for 
things to speak to, I shall speak only those, that are com- 
pliant with the common reason and understanding of all 
sober persons. 

I. There are three ways whereby a land may be said to 
be filled with sin. 

1. When the sins of a land or nation are come to the 
full, to the utmost measure that God hath allotted to them 
in his patience. There is such an allotment of patience to 
every nation under heaven, and when it comes to its ap- 
pointed issue, no means under heaven can defer or delay 
their destruction one day. Thus saith God before the flood, 
'The land is filled with sin, the whole earth with violence; a 
flood shall take them away :' the cry of Sodom and Go- 
morrah came up to God ; they had filled up their measure ; 
God sent fire and brimstone to destroy them. ' You shall 
not yet go into Canaan.' Why ? ' The iniquity of the Amo- 
rites is not yet full.' There is a time appointed, wherein 
the iniquity of the Amorites shall come up to its full mea- 
sure, beyond which their destruction shall not be delayed. 
This was not now the case of Israel and Judah. It proved 
afterward to be their case, as the apostle describes it, 1 Thess. 
ii. 15, 16. * Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own 
prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, 
and are contrary unto all men : forbidding us to preach to the 
Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins aKvay: 
for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.' How 
come? They have filled their measure, reached to their 
bounds : * wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.' I 
hope, I pray that this is not, that this may not be the state of 
England ; that our land is not so filled with sin, as that 
God's decree of absolute and universal desolation should be 
gone forth against us. 

2. A land may be said to be filled with sin, when it is 
come to that degree and measure, as that God will not pass 
it by without some severe desolating judgment. He will 
not utterly forsake it, he will not utterly destroy it; but let 
all mankind do what they will, he will not pass it by without 


some severe desolating judgment. Such was their case 
even at this time. You may see in 2 Chron. xxxvi. 16, 
* But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his 
w^ords, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the 
Lord arose against his people, till there was no remedy.' 
It was impossible that the judgment of "God should be turned 
away from them. In this state God saith, 'Pray not for 
this people ; my heart shall not be towards them :' until he 
had brought his judgment upon them. 'Though Moses 
and Samuel stood before me, I will not hear them.' Ay, 
but what if reformation come in? Nay, nay, saith he, it is 
determined against them: reformation shall not save them. 
See 2 Kings xxiii. 25, 26. where there is an account given 
of the greatest reformation that ever was wrought in Judah, 
by Josiah. So it is said, ' Like unto him there was no 
king before him, that turned to the Lord with all his heart, 
and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to 
all the lav/ of Moses ; neither after him arose there any like 
him :' having reformed the whole nation. Then sure all 
will be well. See the next Words : ' Notwithstanding the 
Lord turned not from the fierceness of his great wrath, 
wherewith his anger was kindled against Judah; and the 
Lord said, I will remove Judah also out of my sight.' 
There is a time and season when God, although he will 
not utterly destroy and forsake a nation for ever, yet he 
will not pass them by, until he hath brought a severe de- 
structive scourge upon them. Whether this be the stale 
of England at this day, or no, God only knows, and of man- 
kind not one. Whether we are come to that state, wherein 
there is no remedy, wherein nothing w^e do shall prevent 
desolating judgments, I say, God only knows, and of men 
not one. 

3. A land is filled with sin, when it is come to such a 
degree and measure, as that there is no rule of the word, 
nor any prognostic from providence, nor any conjecture 
from the state of things, that can give any determination 
what will be the issue. Judgment is deserved, and there is 
nothing remains but to look upon the balance, as it is held 
in the hand of sovereignty ; which way it will turn, God 
only knows. The decree is not yet gone forth. In this 
your state God doth not say, ' Pray not for this people :' 


God doth not say, 'Though you reform, I will not turn 
from the fierceness of my wrath :' but God saith, ' Who 
knows if God will return and leave a blessing ? Who knows 
if God will be entreated and have mercy ?' lie leaA^s it upon 
the absolute pleasure of sovereignty to give us encourage- 
ment to wait upon him. Because I take this, yea, and I 
take it in the best of my hopes, to be that wherein we are 
concerned, pray take these two things along with you, be- 
fore I go to shew it in particular. The first is, that in this 
state, if God gives time and space, there is encouragement 
enough left to make our applications to him for the removal 
of impending judgments. Methinks sometimes I see by 
faith the Lord high lift up upon his throne, and his train 
filling the temple with his glory, and holding the balance 
of this nation in his hand, and can turn it to mercy or 
judgment as seems good unto him. While it is so, while 
though ' the woman be put into the epha, yet the talent of 
lead is not laid upon her,' there is time for intercession, yet 
time for the interposition of God. And secondly, I say, 
and do you take it as you see good, but I will tell you my 
persuasion, that if there be not a compliance with the calls 
of God unto this nation, upon this suspension and arrest of 
judgment that we are under, we shall as certainly perish, as 
if we were in either of the two former conditions. If the 
Chaldeans were all wounded men, if there was no hope, no 
strength, no relief in the papal cause, they shall rise up and 
smite as in the day wherein ' Shalman spoiled Beth-arbel. 
and the mother was dashed in pieces upon her children ;' 
Hos. X. 14. Unless there be a compliance with the calls of 
God in the days wherein we live. 

Let us then a little, as God will give strength, inquire 
when a nation is so filled with sin against the Holy One of 
Israel, as certainly to put the balance into the hands of so- 
vereignty, and to take off all rules and prognostics (which 
with great grief I have heard sometimes insisted upon), and 
reduce us merely to the hand of sovereignty. When is it 
that a land is so filled with sin? 

(1.) A land is so filled with sin, when all sorts of pro- 
voking sins do aboimd in it; when there is no exception to 
be put into the indictment; when there is no provoking sin 
that ran be thoiiofht on, that is not in the nation. For if 


there be but one provoking sin absolutely excluded, there is 
room for mercy to dwell. Who now shall plead for England? 
Who shall put in an exception for England into this indict- 
ment ? Oh poor England, among all thy lovers, thou hast 
not one to plead for thee this day ! From the height of pro- 
faneness and atheism through the filthiness of sensuality 
and uncleanness, down to the lowest oppression and cheat- 
ing, the land is filled with all sorts of sin. If there be any 
that can put in an exception, as to any provoking sin that 
is not among us, let them stand forth and plead the cause 
of this nation. I profess my mouth is stopped. 'The land 
is filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel.' It is to no 
purpose to enumerate our sins ; the roll is too long to be 
read at this lime ; and I am sorry it hath been cut, and 
thrown into the fire ; when it hath been spoken of, con- 
temned and despised, as Jeremiah's was by Jehoiakim. But 
so it is. 

(2.) A land is so filled with sin against the Holy One of 
Israel, when all sorts of persons in a land are guilty of pro- 
voking sins. Pray mistake me not ; I do not say, all 
persons of all sorts : God forbid. If it had been so, we had 
long since been like unto Sodom and Gomorrah. ' If the 
Lord of hosts had not left us a small remnant, we should 
have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Go- 
morrah;' Isa. i. 9. But whereas there are many sorts of 
persons, rulers, and them that are ruled ; high and low, rich 
and poor; in court, in city, in country; I say, all sorts of 
persons have been guilty of these provoking sins : * We, and 
our princes,' as Daniel speaks, and our rulers, and the 
people, the inhabitants of the land of all sorts. Who shall 
plead here for England? Who shall bring forth a sort of 
persons ? nay, it is not so in the throne ; nay, it is not so at 
court ; nay, it is not so among the clergy ; nay, it is not so 
in the city; nay, it is not so in the country; it is not so 
with the rich ; it is not so with the poor. Let any one, 
that can, bring in a plea for this poor nation, that we may 
not conclude the land is filled with sin against the Holy One 
of Israel. 

But you will say. Here lies an exception : there are 
many persons, many churches free from these flagitious 
and provoking sins : there is a sort of persons, churches, 

VOL. XVI. 1 


and professors, who walk in the fear of God, and are free 
from all these sins ; and therefore it doth not extend to all 

Brethren, you know my mind full well in this matter. 
1 have been for these three last years upon all occasions in- 
culcating it upon you. I acknowledge the churches in this 
nation are not guilty of those sins, whereby God is provoked 
against the nation to bring on national judgments : but I 
do say, that churches and professors in this nation are guilty 
of those sins, for which Christ will bring correcting judg- 
ments upon churches and professors ; so that we are all in 
the same way and bottom, though not all upon the same 
account: 'The land is filled with sin.' How are your 
thoughts concerned in these things, brethren ? I confess to 
you I speak ray heart, my conscience, as in the presence of 
God, and as thnt whirh yon orp r.oncerned to consider. 

I have given you two evidences that this land is so filled 
with sin against the Holy One of Israel.- I will give you 
two more. 

(3.) When the sins of a land have upon them the greatest 
aggravations that national sins are capable of. What are 
they ? They are plain ; they are against warnings, and against 
mercies ; all sorts of sins in all sorts of persons ; against all 
sorts of warnings, and against all sorts of mercies. God 
hath not left this land without warnings in heaven above, 
and in earth beneath. Was there no warning given us in 
the wasting, desolating plague ? No warning in the con- 
suming, raging fire? No warning in the bloody war that 
ensued thereon ? No warning in all the prodigious appear- 
ances in heaven above, that we have had ? None in that 
which at present hangs over us, as an ensign of God's su- 
pernal host? I acknowledge there hath been, I fear a weak- 
ness in one kind of warning by the public dispensation of 
the word. But God Ivath not left himself without witness : 
he hath multiplied warnings, and they have not been com- 
plied withai. Have they, brethren ? 'Were they at all 
afraid,' saith Jeremiah, when the roll was read ? Or, ' did 
they rent their clothes?' Jer. xxxvi. 24. No, not at all. 
Have these warnings of God been complied withal ? Hath 
the voice of God in them been heard? Hath the nation 
been afraid? Have they rent their clothes and returned to 


the Lord ? They have not. We yet continue, God help us, 
in a state of sin against warnings. And as for mercies, the 
mercies of peace and plenty have been the food of lust, of 
covetousness and sensuality, and have pampered us in wan- 
tonness, to the rending and tearing one another. 

(4.) When in the secret workings of God's providence 
there is an inclination in a sinful people unto a compliance 
with them, from whom their destruction is like to proceed ; 
it is a sign that God is withdrawn from them, and that the 
land is so filled with sin. When Israel was to be destroyed 
by the Assyrian, when Israel saw his sickness, he sent to 
the king of Assyria, applied himself to the king of Assyria, 
by whom he was to be destroyed ; Hos. v. 13. When Judah 
saw his sickness, all his inclinations and applications were 
unto the Babylonians and Chaldeans, by whom he was to be 
destroyed. The prophet Ezekiel hath a whole chapter to 
tell you of the fondness of that people upon the Babylonians 
before their destruction ; Ezek. xxiii. ' They were all like 
princes and mighty men, and thou wast in love with them, 
and committed adultery with them;' that is, partook and 
complied with their idolatry. When it is so, it is evident 
that God is greatly withdrawn from such a people, and that 
they are nigh unto their desolation. 

What shall we plead for England in this matter? Is it 
not known what wretched and vile compliances we have had 
with a neighbour nation, the French, following their man- 
ners, imitating their customs, promoting their interest, ad- 
vancing their reputation, when every man almost among us 
talked of nothing but that we should be destroyed by the 
French? An eminent token of the hand of God upon us, 
and that the land is so filled with sin against the Holy One 
of Israel. Nay, go farther, whence is it (for we bear our- 
selves herein not only upon the truth of the thing itself, but 
also upon the proclamation inviting us upon this day), 
whence is it, that we fear the judgments of God? Whence 
do we fear desolation, confusion, destruction upon this na- 
tion, to our religion, to our liberties, to our lives ? Is it not 
from the papal interest ? There is it stated by our rulers, 
and in the thoughts of all sober persons. And had we been 
wise, we might have seen it many years ago. But what 
have we been doing for some ages ? Deserting our princi- 



pies, forsaking the foundation we stood upon against the 
papacy, foregoing those avowed principles of the first re- 
formers, pleading for conipliance, pleading for a possibility 
of reconciliation, avowing them to be a true church. And 
in one word, if the power of the Protestant religion had not 
been preserved in the body of the people, it had by some 
been long ago given up to the papal interest, and this at a 
time working eftectually among us when we were in dread, 
all that were wise and considerative, that there would from 
thence arise the desolation and destruction of this church. 

I have given you these evidences, that this land of ours 
is so filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel. And if 
they can answer it, and disprove it, no man shall more re- 
joice in it than myself. 

I should in the next place shew the danger that land is 
in, when things lie in this equal balance. For I pray ob- 
serve, I have not given these things to prove the land ha.th 
filled up its measure of iniquity, and must certainly be de- 
stroyed ; I have not given them to prove absolutely that 
there is a decreed judgment that cannot be diverted, that 
there is no remedy, that notwithstanding reformation, God 
will say, ' I will not turn away the fierceness of mine anger:' 
but I have given them only to prove, that we are in that state 
and condition, wherein there is no certain rule of the word, 
no indication of providence, no rational rnnsideration of the 
state of things, tliat can give us any security of protection, 
or deliverance ; but that we are absolutely resolved upon 
sovereign grace and mercy, and without relief from thence, 
I shall only say, as to the proof of the proposition, what the 
prophet saith, Isa. xxxiv. 16. ' Seek ye out of the book of 
the Lord and read, not one of these things shall fail.' 

To omit all the considerations, and all the proof I in- 
tended, that soverereign grace and mercy must be our 
relief, if ever we be relieved ; I proceed unto the second 
thing, which is, 

II. To give in evidences, that England is not yet utterly 
forsaken of the Lord its God, the Lord of hosts, though the 
land be thus filled with sin. 

So that there is ground of encouragement yet remaining 
to apply ourselves to God. And in truth I will tell you the 
best I can think of. 


1. The large and wonderful discovery of the horrible 
plot, of the horrible popish plot, laid for the ruin, destruc- 
tion, and desolation of this nation, is an evidence that Eng- 
land is not yet, I say, utterly forsaken of the Lord its God. 
It was not discovered by our rulers, from whom it was hid. 
. It was not discovered by the severe indagation and watch- 
fulness of ministers of state from foreign intelligence, the 
usual way of discovering such plots. It was not discovered 
by persons of authority and interest, to warrant the disco- 
very. It was not so in a time when the nation was awake, 
and looked about them, and were jealous of such things ; 
but in the deepest security. It hath admitted, it hath met 
with all the endeavours of hell and men for the covering of 
it; yet through the conduct of the holy providence of God, 
it hath broke forth to that discovery, as that it is publicly 
proclaimed to all the nation. I say with the wife of Ma- 
«oah : ' If God would have destroyed us, he would not have 
shewed us this thing.' If he had utterly forsaken us, he 
would have left us to have been swallowed up, when we 
should not have had leisure to have cried, alas ! To me, I 
say, it is an evidence that England is not yet utterly 

2, That God hath stirred up some, at least, of the no- 
bles, and our rulers, to follow on this discovery, to bring it 
forth to light, and to pursue them to condign punishment, 
who were the contrivers, authors, abettors, and carriers on of 
that bloody design. I will not speak one word or syllable 
to their dishonour or disrespect, who deserve both honour 
and respect from us: but this I will say, that if I know 
them, or any thing of them, this is not from themselves; 
this is from the clothing of the Spirit of God, and anoint- 
ing to this very work, and is not from themselves, nor their 
own principles, nor their own inclinations, but the hand of 
God in them and upon them. Add hereunto the strange 
and wonderful quiet disposure of the magistracy of this city 
into the hand of persons, prudent, diligent, and watchful, 
whom we have reason to pray for, and bless God for. And 
it is strengthened by the stirring up of a spirit in the com- 
mon people, unto an unheard-of heat and earnestness in 
bearing witness and testimony against popery and all their 
abominations, in such a manner as hath not fallen out in 


any nation under heaven, and this acted above and beyond 
their spirits and principles. These things to me are some 
evidences, that England is not yet utterly forsaken of the 
Lord its God, though the land be full of sin. 

3. I could instance in the embroilments of foreign na- 
tions abroad. At this time they are all quiet ; but who is 
there that doth not know that they all stand as it were on 
the tiptoe, looking who shall first begin to cut throats, and 
kill men ? Even all the nations in Europe are in this posture 
at this day. Though they are quiet this cold weather, yet 
who shall begin first, who shall make the attack, and who 
shall defend, is the talk of all Europe, whereby some of them 
may have been hindered from a public contributing to the 
ruin of this poor nation. 

4. It is an evidence that England is not yet forsaken, in 
that a secret, efficacious influence of divine providence hath 
preserved the body politic of the nation in its being and 
union, when all the ligaments of law and mutual trust have 
been broken. There hath been such a dissolution of mutual 
trust, and all ordinary ligaments of the politic union of a 
nation, that if God had not powerfully grasped the whole 
in his hand, we had long since been in confusion, and every 
man's sword had been in the side of his brother and his 
neighbour. But to this day we are preserved in peace by a 
secret, influential power of divine wisdom and providence, 
whose footsteps I would adore more and more ; which is so 
much the more excellent, in that it is not visible, and by 
outward force, but merely upon the minds of men. This is 
to me another evidence that England is not yet forsaken of 
its God, the Lord of hosts. 

5. My last is this : that after God hath by so many 
ways, and so many means, declared unto us his displeasure 
against our sin, having declared the sentence in his word, 
yet he hath visibly granted an arrest of judgment. The 
sentence shall not be put in execution, saith God, while I 
give this people a time, and space, and season of repentance 
and reformation. Alas ! if God had utterly forsaken us, he 
would have taken us off in the midst of our security ; evil 
would have risen, and we should have known the morning of 
it; destruction would presently have overtaken us. But 
now God hath given us various calls, various warnings, and 


leaves us a space as yet, to see what we will do, and what 
will become of us. I will give them a trial, saith God, the 
decree shall not yet go forth, judgment shall not yet come 
forth to execution, I will give them a space for repentance. 
And this consideration hath a double corroboration of this 
blessed space and season God hath given us for to apply 
ourselves so far to his call, as to remove his judgments that 
are impending over us. 

(1.) The first is, that he hath reserved a remnant among 
us, that do make use of this space and season to apply them- 
selves unto the throne of grace, and to cry mightily for 
mercy. God hath not taken his Holy Spirit from us. God 
hath not said by any open work, or secret intimation of pro- 
vidence, ' Pray no more for this people ; my heart shall not 
be toward them.' He hath not said so ; and therefore, there 
are yet among us precious souls, who do lift up prayers to 
God night and day, not only for themselves and families, 
not only for the church of God, but for this poor land of 
our nativity, that, if it were the will of God, we may not see 
it soaked in blood ; that God would not come forth to de- 
stroy it with a curse ; that God would pity, and spare, and 
have mercy upon it; that he would not make it an ' acel- 
dama,' 'a field of blood.' There are many cries to God to this 
purpose. So that there are some, by whom this space and 
season God hath given us, is made use of. 

(2.) It hath strength from this, that there is an invitation 
and encouragement given to the whole nation, to join toge- 
ther in their cries to God this day for the same end and pur- 
pose. I confess to you, give me leave to speak it, I am 
afraid the body of the nation, considering their conduct in 
this sort of duty, will make no great work of it, towards the 
averting of judgments in such a day as this is. And I am 
afraid also, that the approaching carnival, or time of feasting, 
will quickly blot out all impressions that ought to be in the 
minds of men from such a day as this is. This is all I can 
say, God is publicly acknowledged, and what influence 
that may have in a farther suspension of judgment, till the 
nation be better prepared to seek unto him, I know not. 

Methinks these are evidences (to me they are) that Eng- 
land is not yet utterly forsaken of the Lord its God : the 
miraculous discovery of the plot for our destruction : the 



pursuit of it by some of our rulers, and the body of the na- 
tion : the embroilment of foreign nations in their own con- 
cerns : the preservation of the political interest and body, 
when all the ligaments of law, and love, and trust were dis- 
solved : the space and season that God gives us, that we are 
not immediately hurried into blood and confusion, attended 
with a spirit of prayer in some of God's own people : and with 
a public acknowledgment of God in this day in the nation. 
III. I should now proceed to my last thing, to shew you, 
that in this state, wherein a land is so filled with sin, as ab- 
solutely to put the determination of all things into the hand 
of sovereignty, and where yet there remains some evidences 
that God hath not utterly forsaken us, what is required of 
us, what is expected from us, that may be a means to turn 
away the wrath and displeasure of God from this poor land 
and nation. 

I should have spoken to the following things : 
1. That whatsoever be the language of God's calls, un- 
less there be a general compliance with them, this land can- 
not be saved. 

2. I should have shewn you, that all the diligence, and 
the courage, and the watchfulness of the rulers, shall not be 
able to preserve us from that destruction which we have de- 
served; unless something else be done ere long, their hearts 
will faint, and their hands fail, and their thoughts be divided. 
For that alone will not do. 

3. Prayer will not do in this case, though that be ne- 
cessary and required, it will not do it. God doth not cry to 
us merely that we should cry to him. * Why criest thou,' 
said God to Joshua, 'there is an accursed thing.' Why dost 
thou lie upon thy face, and cry, and pray, when judgment is 
coming upon you ? There is an accursed thing got among 
you. It is so with us. 

To speak very plain in a plain case ; the state of this 
nation is such, let our expectation and our hopes be what 
they will, and prognostics be multiplied, God can multiply 
upon another hand : the case of this nation is such, that 
without repentance evidenced, and universal reformation 
sincerely endeavoured, England cannot be saved, will not 
be saved ; God will forsake it, destruction from the Lord 
will overtake us. 


5. I should have told you also what I judge indispensably 
necessary that any such reformation may be obtained in this 
nation. As, 

(1.) That there be, through the providence of God, pro- 
vided another manner of administration of the word through- 
out the nation, than at present there is, which is the only 
means of conviction, and conversion unto God. Signs, and 
wonders, and judgments terrify; it is the word that must 
reform and turn to God. And if the state of things continue 
so, that some who are able and wise for the work are forbid, 
and others, that engross all to themselves, are either unable, 
or negligent in it ; I have no great hopes of seeing reforma- 
tion in this land. 

(2.) Unless the generality of magistrates be better prin- 
cipled for, and better instructed in, their office, than as yet 
they seem to be, a reformation will not be carried through 
this nation. And, 

(3.) Which is the principal ; that those who have been 
examples in sinning, and in drawing others to sin, become 
examples in repenting, and reforming, and turning to God. 

(4.) Lastly, that the whole nation be stirred up, and do 
not faint in the pursuit of it. 

I have scarce been able to speak the heads of these things 
unto you. I wish I had strength to speak all that is in my 
thoughts and heart upon this matter, unto this whole nation ; 
for hereon, and not on any think else, depends the deliver- 
ance and safety of it. 




For through him we both have access by one Spirit tmto the Father. — 
Ephes. ii. 18. 

In the foregoing verses the apostle makes mention of a 
double reconciliation, wrought by the blood of the cross ; 
the one of the Jews and Gentiles unto God ; the other of the 
same persons one to another. There were two things in the 
law. First, Worship instituted under it. Secondly, The 
curse annexed unto it. The first of these being appropriated 
to the Jews, with an exclusion of the Gentiles, was the cause 
of unspeakable enmity and hatred between them. The latter, 
or the curse falling upon both, was a cause of enmity be- 
tween God and both of them. The Lord Jesus Christ, in his 
death removing both these, wrought and effected the two- 
fold reco' ciliation mentioned. First, ' He brake down the 
middle /all of partition between us,' ver. 14. and so ' made 
both one ;' that is, * between us,' the Jews and Gentiles. 
He hath taken away all cause of difference that should 
hinder us to be one in him. And how hath he done this? 
By taking away the * law of coiiimandments contained in 
ordinances,' ver. 15. that is, by abolishing that way of wor- 
ship which was the Jews' privilege and burden, from which 
the Gentiles were excluded ; so breaking down that wall of 
partition. Secondly, By the cross at his death he slew the 
enmity, or took away the curse of the law ; so reconciling 
both Jews and Gentiles unto God, as ver. 16. By bearing 
the curse of the law he reconciled both unto God ; by taking 
away and abolishing the worship of the law he took away 
all grounds of difference amongst them. 

Upon this reconciliation ensueth a twofold advantage or 
privilege: an access into the favour of God, who before was 
at enmity with them ; and a new and more glorious way of 


approaching unto God in his worship, than that about 
which they were before at difference among themselves. 

The first of these is mentioned, Rom. v. 2. And that, 
which is there called, an * access into this grace wherein we 
stand,' may in the text be called, an * access unto the Fa- 
ther:' that is, the favour and acceptance with God which we 
do enjoy. Thus our access unto God is our sense of accept- 
ance with him upon the reconciliation made for us by Jesus 
Christ. But this seems not to me to be the special intend- 
ment of the text; for that access unto God here mentioned, 
seems to be the effect of the reconciliation of the Jews and 
Gentiles among themselves : by the abolishing of the cere- 
monial worship, a new and more glorious way of worship 
being now provided for them both in common, is there ex- 
pressed. Before the reconciliation made, one party alone 
had the privilege of the carnal worship then instituted ; but 
now both parties have in common such a way of worship, 
wherein they have immediate access unto God ; in which 
the apostle asserts the beauty and glory of the gospel wor- 
ship of Jews and Gentiles above that, which enjoyed by the 
Jews, was a matter of separation and division between them. 
And this appears to be the intendment of the words from 
ver. 17. That which is here asserted, is not an immediate 
effect of the reconciliation made by the blood of Christ on 
the cross, but of his preaching peace unto, and calling both 
Jews and Gentiles, gathering them unto himself, and so to 
the worship of God : being called by the word of peace, 
both the one and the other, as to our worship, we have this 

And the following words, to the end of the chapter, do 
make it yet more plain and evident. Sundry things doth 
the apostle, upon the account of this their access unto God, 
speak of the Gentiles. 

First, Negatively, that they are no more ' strangers and 
foreigners,' ver. 19. that is, that they are not so in respect 
of the worship of God, as in that state and condition wherein 
they were before their calling, through a participation of the 
reconciliation made by the blood of Christ. The apostle 
had declared, ver. 11, 12. they were the uncircumcision, 
aliens, foreigners ; that is, men who had no share in, nor 
admittance unto, the solemn worship of God, which was em- 

124 THE \ A T U U V. AND B E A U I' V 

paled in the commonwealth of Israel ; but now, says he, ye 
are so no more ; that is, you have a portion and interest in 
that worship, wherewith God is well pleased. 

Secondly, Positively, the apostle affirms two things of 
them. First, That they are * fellow citizens with the saints, 
and of the household of God ;' ver. 19. Secondly, That they 
were built up to be 'an holy temple,' or * an habitation to 
God;' ver. 20 — 22. Both which relate to the solemn wor- 
ship of God under the gospel. The first asserts them to be 
now members of the church ; the latter, that by and among 
them God was worshipped with that divine service, which 
came in the room of that which was appointed in the temple, 
now by Christ removed and taken away. 

This being the design of the Holy Ghost in this place, I 
shall present it in this one proposition unto you : 

That it is an eminent effect and fruit of our reconcili- 
ation unto God, and among ourselves by the blood of 
Christ; that believers enjoy the privileges of the excellent, 
glorious, spiritual worship of God in Christ, revealed and 
required in the gospel. 

I shall in the prosecution of this subject, 

I. Briefly prove. That we obtain this privilege as a fruit, 
and upon the account of the reconciliation made by the 
blood of Christ. 

II. Shew, That the worship of the gospel is indeed so 
beautiful, glorious,''and excellent, that the enjoyment of it is 
an eminent privilege : which 1 shall principally manifest 
from the text, and in so doing open the several parts of it. 

I. That believers enjoy this privilege as a fruit and 
effect of the death and blood of Jesus Christ, I shall confirm 
only with one or two places of Scripture; Heb. ix. 8. com- 
pared with chap. x. 19 — 22. Whilst the first tabernacle was 
standing, before Christ by his death had removed it, and the 
worship that accompanied it, which was the partition wall 
mentioned that he brake down, there was no immediate ad- 
mission unto God; the way into the holiest, not made with 
hands, which we now make use of in the gospel worship, 
was not yet laid open; but the worshippers were kept at a 
great distance, making their application unto God by out- 
ward, carnal ordinances. The tabernacle being removed, 
now a way is made, and an entrance is given to the worship- 


pers, into the holiest in their worship. How is that ob- 
tained? by what means? chap. x. 19 — 21. it is 'by the 
blood of Jesus Christ/ by the rending of his flesh. This 
privilege of entering into the holiest, which is a true express- 
ing of all gospel worship, could no otherwise be obtained 
for, nor granted unto believers, but by the blood of Christ. 
* We enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus/ by which 
he prepared, perfected, or ' consecrated for us a new and 
living way' into it. Peter also gives us the same account 
of the rise of this privilege, 1 Epist. ii. 4, 5. That which is 
ascribed unto believers is, that they offer up ' spiritual sacri- 
fices, acceptable unto God by Jesus Christ.' That is the 
worship whereof we speak. To fit them for, and enable 
them hereunto, they are 'made a spiritual house, a holy 
priesthood ;' they are both the temple wherein God dwells 
by his Spirit, and they are the priests that offer acceptable 
sacrifices unto him. By what means then do they attain 
this honour? by their ' coming unto Christ/ and that as he 
was ' disallowed of men and chosen of God.' Herein the 
apostle includes the whole mystery of his death and blood- 
shedding, wherein he was most openly rejected of men, and 
most eminently owned of God in his accomplishment of the 
work of reconciliation. 

I shall not farther confirm the first part of the proposi- 
tion, but proceed to evidence, 

II. That the worship of God under the gospel is so ex- 
cellent, beautiful, and glorious, that it may well be esteemed 
a privilege purchased by the blood of Christ, which no man 
can truly and really be made partaker of, but by virtue of an 
interest in the reconciliation by him wrought. For ' by him 
we have an access in one Spirit unto God/ 

This, as I said, I shall evince two ways. 

First, Absolutely. 

Secondly, Comparatively, in reference unto any other 
way of worship whatever. 

And the first I shall do from the text. 

It is a principle deeply fixed in the minds of men, yea, 
ingrafted into them by nature, that the worship of God ought 
to be orderly, comely, beautiful, and glorious. Hence men 
in all ages, v?ho have thought it incumbent on them to ima- 
gine, find out, and frame the worship of God, or any thing 


thereunto belonging, have made it constantly their design 
to fix on things, either in themselves, or in the manner of 
their performance, to their judgment, beautiful, orderly, 
comely, and glorious, f And indeed that worship may be well 
suspected not to be according to the mind of God, which 
comes short in these properties of order and beauty, comeli- 
ness and glory. I shall add unto this, only this reasonable 
assertion, which no man can well deny, viz. That what is so 
in his worship and service, God himself is the most proper 
judge. If then we evince not that spiritual gospel worship, 
in its own naked simplicity, without any other external, ad- 
ventitious helper or countenance, is most orderly, comely, 
beautiful and glorious, the Holy Ghost in the Scripture 
being judge, we shall be content to seek for these things 
where else, as it is pretended, they may be found. To this 

1. The first thing in general observable from these words 
is, that in the spiritual worship of the gospel, the whole 
blessed Trinity, and each Person therein distinctly, do in 
that economy and dispensation, wherein they act severally 
and peculiarly in the work of our redemption, aflTord distinct 
communion with themselves unto the souls of the worship- 
pers. So are they all here distinctly mentioned : ' Through 
him,' that is, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, * we have access 
by one Spirit,' that good and Holy Spirit, the Holy Ghost, 
unto God, that is, the Father; for so is that name to be 
taken vTToaraTLKwg, ' personally,' when it is mentioned in dis- 
tinction from the Son and Spirit. There is no act, part, or 
duty of gospel worship, wherein the worshippers have not 
this distinct communion with each Person in the blessed 
Trinity. The particulars shall be afterward spoken unto. 

This is the general order of gospel worship, the great 
rubric of our service. Here in general lieth its decency, 
that it respects the mediation of the Son, through whom we 
have access, and the supplies and assistance of the Spirit, 
and a regard unto God, as a Father. He that fails in any 
one of these, he breaks all order in gospel worship. If either 
we come not unto it by Jesus Christ, or perform it not in 
the strength of the Holy Ghost, or in it go not unto God as 
a Father, we transgress all the rules of this worship. This 
is the great canon, which if it be neglected, there is no de- 


cency in whatever else is done in this way. And this in 
general is the glory of it. Worship is certainly an act of the 
soul; Matt, xxii, 37. The body hath its share by concomi- 
tancy and subserviency to the direction of the mind. The 
acts of the mind and soul receive their advancements and 
glory from the object about which they are conversant. Now^ 
that in this gospel worship, is God himself in his Son and 
Holy Ghost, and none else. Acting faith on Christ for ad- 
mission, and on the Holy Ghost for his assistance, so going 
on in his strength; and on God, even the Father, for accept- 
ance, is the work of the soul in this worship. That it hath 
any thing more glorious to be conversant about, I am as yet 
to learn. But these things will be handled apart afterward. 
This in general is the order and glory of that worship of 
which we speak. 

2. The same is evident from the general nature of it, 
that it is an access unto God. 'Through him we have an 
access to God.' There are two things herein that set forth 
the excellency, order, and glory of it: (1.) It brings an ac- 
cess ; (2.) The manner of that access, intimated in the word 
here used, it is Trpotrayuyyi}. 

(1.) It is an access, an approach, a drawing nigh unto 
God : so the apostle calls it, a ' drawing near ;' Heb. x. 22. 
' Let us draw nigh with a true heart,' that is, unto God, in 
the holiest; ver. 19. In the first giving out of the law, and 
instituting the legal worship, the people were commanded 
to keep at a distance, and they were not, on pain of death, 
so much as to touch the mount where the presence of God 
was ; Exod. xix. 12. And accordingly they stood afar off, 
whilst Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God 
was ; chap. xx. 21. So not only when the high-priest went 
into the most holy place once a year with blood (of which 
afterward), but when the priests in their courses went into 
the holy place to burn incense daily, the people were kept 
without, as Luke i. 10. But this gospel worship is our access 
or drawing nigh to God; no interposition of veils, or any 
Other carnal ordinance whatever. All is made open, and a 
new and living way of access given unto us; Heb. x. 20. 
And what in general can be added to set forth the glory of 
this worship, to a soul that knows what it is to draw nigh 
to God, I know not. The heathens of old derided the 


Egyptians, who through many stately edifices, and with 
most pompous ceremonies, brought their worshippers to the 
image of an ape. I say no more ; but let them look to it, 
how they will acquit themselves, who frame much of their 
worship in a ceremonious access to an altar, or an image. 
The plea of referring unto God at the last, hath been com- 
mon to all idolaters of what sort soever, from the foundation 
of the world. 

(2.) It is a irpoaajioyri that we have in this worship, a 
manud action unto God, in order, and with much glory. It 
is such an access as men have to the presence of a king, 
when they are handed in by some favourite or great per- 
son. This, in this worship, is done by Christ. He takes 
the worshippers by the hand, and leads them into the pre- 
sence of God ; there presenting them (as we shall see), say- 
ing, ' Behold, I and the children which GtJd hath given me;' 
Heb. ii. 13. This is the access of believers ; thus do they 
enter into the presence of God. Some, it may be, will be 
ready to say, that a man may be ashamed to speak such 
great things as these of poor worms, who have neither order 
in their way, nor eloquence in their words, nor comeliness 
in their worship. Let such men know that they must yet 
hear greater things of them; and it is meet indeed they 
should be in all things conformable unto Christ ; and there- 
fore have neither form, nor comeliness, nor beauty in them- 
selves, their way, or their worship to the eyes of the world, 
as Isa. liii. 2. And ' the world knows not' them and their 
ways, because *it knew not him' nor his ways; 1 John iii. 1. 
But if God maybe allowed to judge in his own matters, the 
spiritual worship of the saints is glorious, since in it they 
have such an access, such a manuduction unto God. 

3. From the immediate object of this worship, and that 
is God. We have an access to God. It is, as I said, the 
Father who is here peculiarly intended ; God as God : He 
who is the beginning and end of all, whose nature is attended 
with infinite perfection : He, from whom a sovereignty over 
all doth proceed, is the formal object of all divine and reli- 
gious worship. Hence divine worship respects, as its object, 
each Person of the blessed Trinity equally, not as this or 
that Person, but as this or that Person is God; that is the 
formal reason of all divine worship. But yet as the second 


Person is considered as vested with his office of mediation, 
and the Holy Ghost as the comforter and sanctifier of his 
saints ; so God the Father is in a peculiar manner the ob- 
ject of our faith, and love, and worship. So Peter tells us, 
1 Epist. i. 21. That ' through Christ we believe in God, that 
raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory.' Christ 
being considered as mediator, God that raised him from the 
dead, that is the Father, is regarded as the ultimate object 
of our worship ; though worshipping him who is the Father 
as God, the other Persons are in the same nature worship- 
ped. This whole matter is declared. Gal. iv. 6. (which I 
cannot now particularly open) with this explanation, that in 
our access unto God, Christ being considered as the me- 
diator, and the Holy Ghost as our comforter, advocate, and 
assister, the saints have a peculiar respect unto the Person 
of the Father. 

There are two things that hence arise, evidencing the 
order, decency, and glory of gospel worship : (1.) That we 
have in it a direct and immediate access unto God ; (2.) That 
we have access unto God, as the Father of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, and ours in him. 

(1.) This is no small part of the glory of this worship, that 
our access is unto God himself. When outward worship was 
in its height and glory, the access of the worshippers imme- 
diately was but unto some visible sign and pledge of God's 
presence. Such was the temple itself; such was the ark, 
and the mercy-seat. So Paul describing the tabernacle and 
temple worshippers, Heb. x. 1. calls them irpoartpxofxivovg, 
'the comers unto sacrifices.' There was, as it were, a stop 
put upon their access in the visible representations of God's 
majesty and presence to which they did approach. But now, 
in this spiritual worship of the gospel, the saints have direct 
and immediate access unto God, * the way into the holiest' 
not made with hands being laid open unto them all. And 
where they are enjoined the use of any outward signs, as in 
the sacraments, it is not, as it were to stop them there from 
entering into heaven, but to help them forward in their en- 
trance, as all know who are acquainted with their true nature 
and use. I do not say, that any of the worship of old was 
limited in the sensible pledge and tokens of God's presence; 
but only that the spirit of the worshippers was kept in sub- 



jection, so as to approach unto God only as he exhibited 
himself to their faith in those signs, and not immediately as 
we do under the gospel. 

(2.) We have in this spiritual worship of the gospel ac- 
cess unto God, as a father. I shewed in the opening of the 
words, that God is distinctly proposed here as the Father of 
our Lord Jesus Christ, and in him our God and Father. 
Hence are we said to come ' to the throne of grace,' Heb. iv. 
16. that is, unto God, as he is gloriously exalted in the 
dispensation of grace, in kindness, love, mercy, in a word, 
as a father. God on the throne of grace, and God as a fa- 
ther is all one consideration ; for as a father, he is all love, 
grace, and mercy to his children in Christ. When God came 
of old to institute his worship in giving of the law, he did it 
with the dreadful and terrible representation of his majesty, 
that the people chose not to come near, but went and * stood 
afar off, and said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we 
will hear: but let not God speak with us lest we die;' Exod. 
XX. 18, 19. And by this dreadful representation of the ma- 
jesty of God, as the object of that worship, were they kept 
in fear and bondage all their days. But now are the saints 
encouraged to make their approach unto God as a father, 
the glory whereof the apostle excellently expresseth, Rom. 
viii. 14, 15. That fear and bondage, wherein men were kept 
under the law, is now removed, and in the place thereof a 
spirit of children, with reverent boldness going to their fa- 
ther, is given unto us. This, I say, adds to the glory, beauty, 
and excellency of gospel worship. There is not the meanest 
believer, but with his most broken prayers and supplications, 
hath an immediate access unto God, and that as a father ; 
nor the most despised church of saints on the earth, but 
it comes with its worship into the glorious presence of God 
himself. And this I shall add by the way ; that men's at- 
tempting to worship God, who are not interested in this 
privilege of access unto him, is the ground of all the super- 
stitious idolatry that is in the world. I shall instance in two 
things, which are the springs of all others. 

[1.] Having not experience of the excellency of this pri- 
vilege, nor being satisfied with the use of it, men have turned 
aside to the worship of saints and angels in heaven. This 
is the very substance of all the reasons that the Papists plead 


in the justification of that superstition. To have access to 
God ! It is too great a boldness to come to him immediately; 
and so it becomes us humbly to make use of the favourites of 
the court of heaven, of saints and angels, to desire them to 
entreat with God for us. Now not to speak of their unac- 
quaintedness with the mediation of Christ herein, which is 
plain infidelity; what is this but directly saying, we under- 
stand nothing of gospel worship (wherein believers by Christ 
have a direct 'access with boldness' to God himself), and 
therefore it is that we had rather fix on this 'voluntary hu- 
mility,' as the apostle calls it. Col. ii. 18. than venture on 
this access unto God ? This, I say, is the reasoning of men 
unacquainted with this part of the glory of gospel worship. 

[2.] Hence are they forced to invent outward, visible 
pledges and signs of God's presence, as they imagine, to which 
they may have access ; seeing they are unacquainted with 
that which is directly unto God himself. Hence images and 
pictures, altars and the east must be regarded in worship, 
with which they can have an immediate conversation, have 
an access in their^houghts to them, and, as they think, by 
them unto God. And on the same account must the sacra- 
ments be changed, and that which was appointed to assist 
us in our entrance unto God, be made a god, that men may 
have an easy access unto him. Carnal men, that know no- 
thing of the other, whose souls are not at all moulded or 
affected by any pure act of faith, are here stirred by their 
senses, and act by them in their worship. And this is the 
ground wherein all their pompous rites, invented by men in 
the worship of God, do grow ; even a design and engine to 
afford carnally minded men somewhat to be conversant about 
in their worship, who have no principle to enable them to 
use this privilege of approaching unto God himself. It is 
true, they will say, it is God alone whom they worship, and 
whom they intend to draw nigh unto : but I must needs say, 
that if they knew what it were to do so immediately by 
Christ, they would be satisfied therewith, and not seek such 
outward helps in their way, as they do, 

4. It appears from the principal procuring cause and 
means of this our access to God, which is Jesus Christ; 
through him we have this access; this is a new spring of 
beauty and glory, which we must consider in the particulars 

K 2 


of it. That access which the people of God had to the out- 
ward pledge of his presence, was by their high priest, and 
that not in his own person, but barely in his representation 
of them, and that but 'once a year;' but in the worship of 
the gospel, the saints have an access through Christ unto 
God himself in their own persons, and that continually. 
Now we have this access through Christ upon many ac- 

(1.) Because he hath purchased and procured this favour 
for us, that we should so approach unto God, and find ac- 
ceptance with him. * We are accepted in the Beloved ;' Eph. 
i. 6. I must not stay to shew, how by paying a ransom for 
us, and ' bearing our iniquities,' he hath answered the law, 
removed the curse, reconciled us to God, pacified his anger, 
satisfied justice, procured for us eternal redemption ; all 
which belongs to his procuring for us this favour of accept- 
ance with God. The apostle gives us the sum of it, Heb. ii. 
17. He hath as a high priest 'made reconciliation for the 
sins of the people,' on the account vi^hereof they have an 
' access by faith unto this grace ;' Rom. v. 1,2. In this sense 
have we our access unto God through Christ. He hath pur- 
chased it for us. It is no small portion of the price of his 
blood. Nothing else could procure it; not all the wealth of 
the world, not all the worth of angels in heaven ; none could 
do it but himself. Go into the most pompous, stately place 
of outward worship upon the earth, consider all the wealth 
and glory of its structure and ornaments ; it is an easy thing 
for a wise man to guess what it all cost, and what is the 
charge of it ; however, none so foolish but can tell you it is 
all the price of money ; it was * bought with silver and gold, 
and corruptible things ;' it is the thick clay ; and he that 
hath most money, may render that kind of worship most 
beauteous and glorious. But now the gospel worship of 
believers is the price of the ' blood of the Son of God.' Ac- 
cess to God for sinners could no other way be obtained. Let 
men, as the prophet speaks, * lavish gold out of their bags,' 
Isa. xlvi. 6. upon their idols ; their self-invented worship 
shall come as short in true glory and beauty of the meanest 
prayers of poor saints, as the purchase of corruptible things 
doth of the fruit of the blood and death of the Son of God ; 
1 Pet.i. 18, 19. 


(2.) We have this access from Christ, inasmuch as he 
hath opened, prepared, and dedicated a way for us to enter 
into the presence of God. Favour being procured, a way of 
entrance is also to be provided ; otherwise poor souls might 
say, There is water indeed in the well, but ' the well is deep, 
and we have not wherewith to draw.' There is an acceptance 
purchased for us in the presence of God ; but by what way 
shall we come unto him ? I say, he hath provided for us also 
a way whereby we may enter, Heb. x. 19, 20. ' By a new and 
living way.' The way into the holiest of old was through 
the veil that hung always before, which the apostle calls the 
' second veil,' chap. ix. 3. The form and use thereof you 
have, Exod. xxvi. 31, 32, &c. Through this veil the high- 
priest entered into the holy place. Instead hereof, for an 
entrance into the presence of God in the holy place not 
made with hands, Christ hath provided and dedicated a 
'new and living way' for us. This way is himself, as he 
telleth Thomas, John xiv. 6. ' I am the way :' it is by him 
alone that any can obtain an access unto God. But as to 
our constant approach in worship, there is a peculiar respect 
had unto his suffering for us in the flesh. We enter by his 
blood, and ' through his flesh.' How is that? As men being 
to go to some great potentate or general in an army, have, 
it may be, some word or token which they shew, declare, or 
make use of, if by any they are hindered in their address : 
so is it with believers ; the law would stop them in their ac- 
cess to God, so would sin and Satan ; but their being 
* sprinkled with the blood of Christ,' is the token that lays 
all open unto them, and removes all obstacles out of the 
way : and when they come into the presence of God, it is 
the suffering of Christ in the flesh that they insist on as to 
their acceptation with him. They go to God through him, 
in his name, ' making mention of his righteousness,' death, 
and blood-shedding, pleading for acceptance on his account. 
This is their ' new and living way' of going unto God, this 
path they tread, this entrance they use ; and no man can 
obtain an access unto God, but by an interest herein. I 
wonder not at all, that men who know not this way, who 
have no share, nor ever took one step in it, do fix on any 
kind of worship whatever, rather than once make trial what 
it is to place the glory of their worship in an access unto 


God ; seeing they have no interest in this way, without which 
all attempts after it would be altogether fruitless and vain. 
Now this adds to the order, and increaseth the glory and 
beauty of the spiritual worship of the gospel. Go to the 
mass-book and the rubric of it ; you will see how many in- 
structions and directions they give priests, about the way of 
going into their sanctum, and to their altars ; how they must 
bow and bend themselves, sometimes one way, sometimes an- 
other, sometimes kneel, sometimes stand, sometimes go back- 
ward, sometimes forward ; this is their way to the breaden- 
god : this they call order, and beauty, and glory, and with 
such-like things are poor simple sots deluded, and carnal 
wretches, enemies to Christ and his Spirit, blinded to their 
eternal ruin. Surely methinks this way of gospel access to 
God, is far more comely and glorious : it is in and by Christ, 
a way dedicated by himself on purpose ; it is sprinkled with 
his blood ; it is opened by his suffering in the flesh ; and 
abides ' new and living' for ever. Were not blindness come 
on men to the utmost, were it not evident that they can see 
nothing afar off", that they are wholly carnal and unspiritual, 
' savouring not the things of God,' it were impossible that 
they should reject these pearls of the gospel for the husks 
of swine, such things as they shall never be able to vie with 
the old heathen in. This only may be said in their excuse. 
That they cast away and reject what they had no share in, 
for that which is most properly their own. 

(3.) We have this access through Christ, in that he is 
entered before us into the presence of God to make way for 
our access unto him, and our acceptance with him. So the 
apostle, Heb. iv. 14. ' We have a great high priest that is 
passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God.' He is gone 
already into the presence of God to that purpose. The same 
apostle tells us, chap. vi. 19,20. Let us look to * that within 
the veil, whither Jesus the forerunner is for us entered :' 
TTooSpojuoc vTTtp iifiCov Ha)]\div. The words are better ren- 
dered, 'The forerunner for us is entered.' He is a forerunner 
for us ; one that is gone into the presence of God to declare 
that all his saints are coming to him, coming into his pre- 
sence with their solemn worship and oblations : he is entered 
into heaven himself, to carry as it were tidings, and make 
way for the entrance of his saints. This is no small encou- 


ragement to follow him: he is gone before for us, and is in 
continual expectation of the coming of them whose forerunner 
he is ; as it is the manner of those who take that office. 
And this also adds to the glory of gospel worship, with them 
to whom Christ is precious and honourable: with them by 
whom he is despised, it is no wonder if his ways be so also. 
This belongs also to the rubric, and adds to the order of gospel 
worship. It is an access to God, even the Father, in the 
holy place not made with hands, on the account of the 
atonement made, and favour and acceptance purchased by 
Jesus Christ, being sprinkled with his blood, and following 
him, as one that is gone before to provide admittance for us. 
Here is order and beauty too, if we have either faith or eyes 
to apprehend or perceive what is so. 

(4.) We have this access through Christ, as he is ' the 
high priest over the house of God.' This the apostle at 
large declares, and much insists upon, in the Epistle to the 
Hebrews. One or two places shall suffice to instance in. 
Chap. iv. 14 to the 16. the inference which the apostle 
makes from this consideration, that Christ is our ' high 
priest entered into heaven,' is, that we should ' draw nigh 
unto the throne of grace:' and because, he is such a holy 
priest as he there describes, that we should draw nigh with 
boldness, or spiritual confidence of. our acceptance with 
God. And this the apostle manageth at large throughout 
that Epistle; that notwithstanding all the outward glory and 
splendour of the legal worship, yet that which is appointed 
in the gospel is far to be preferred before it, inasmuch as the 
High Priest of this is unspeakably above the high priest by 
whom that was principally administered. And again, chap. 
X. 21, 22. the encouragement to draw nigh to God is taken 
from this, that we have a ' high priest over the house of 
God.' And it is also considerable, what the Holy Ghost 
requireth in them, who should come nigh to worship God 
under the guidance and conduct of this blessed and merciful 
High Priest : is it, that they have such vestments and orna- 
ments in their admission ? No ; but faith, and sanctification, 
and holiness, are the three great qualifications of these worship- 
pers. ' Let us draw nigh,' saith he, ' in full assurance of faith,* 
&c. ' and our bodies washed with pure water ;' that is, purified 
with the blood of Christ, typified in the water of baptism ; 


or else, it may be, effectually cleansed in soul and body by 
the Holy Ghost, who is frequently compared to water in the 
work of purifying and sanctifying the souls of believers. 

Upon this general head I might make a long stand, to 
evidence the beauty, order, and glory of the spiritual wor- 
ship of God, in that it is our access to God through Christ, 
' as the great high priest over the house of God.' This in- 
deed is so great, that the apostle makes it the sum of his 
whole dispute about the excellency of the gospel, and our 
coming to God thereby ; Heb. viii. 12. This is, saith he, 
upon the matter, the sum of all. Those with whom we 
have to do, they had a high priest, in whom, and the ad- 
ministration by him performed, consisted the glory of all 
their worship. ' We also,' saith he, ' have a high priest 
no less than they had ;' but herein there is no comparison 
between them and us, that we have such a high priest, 
whom he describes : first, from his own dignity, honour, and 
glory ; he is ' set on the right hand of the Majesty of hea- 
ven :' secondly, from his office or ministry ; namely, that he 
ministers not in a tabernacle, such as was that of JMoses and 
Solomon's temple, but in heaven itself, the place of the glo- 
rious presence and immediate manifestation of God's glory, 
which he calls, ' the tabernacle which the Lord pitched ;' 
that is, which he appointed for the place of worship to his 
saints under the ministry of Christ, their high priest. And 
though other places are necessary here on earth for their 
assemblies, as they are men clothed with flesh and infirmi- 
ties, yet there is none pitched, appointed, or consecrated, for 
the holy and solemn acceptance of their service, but heaven 
itself, where the High Priest is always ready to administer 
it before God. And as to the assemblies here below, all 
places are now alike. And what can be more glorious than 
this ; namely, that the whole spiritual worship of the gos- 
pel, performed here on earth by the saints, is administered 
in heaven by such a holy priest, who is at the right hand 
of the throne of the majesty of God, and yet under his con- 
duct we have by faith an entrance into the presence of God? 

Go to now, you by whom the spiritual worship of the 
gospel is despised, that unless it be adorned, as you say, or 
rather defiled with the rites and ceremonies of your own in- 
vention, think there is no order, comeliness, or beauty in it. 


Set yourselves to find out whatever pleaseth your imagina- 
tions ; borrow this of the Jews, that of the Pagans, all of 
the Papists that you think conducing to that end and pur- 
pose ; lavish gold out of the bag for the beautifying of it : 
will it compare with this glory of the worship of the gospel, 
that is all carried on under the conduct and administration 
of this glorious High Priest? It may be they will say. That 
they have that too, and that ornaments do not hinder but 
that they have also their worship attended with that glory 
relating to the holy priest. But do they think so indeed, and 
do they no more value it than it seems they do ? Why are 
they not contented with it, but they must find out many in- 
ventions of their own to help to set it off? Surely it is im- 
possible that men, thoroughly convinced of its spiritual 
excellency, should fall into that fond conceit of making 
additions of their own unto it. Nor do they seem rightly to 
weigh, that the holy God doth all along oppose this spiritual 
excellency of gospel worship to the outward splendour of 
rites and ordinances, instituted by himself for a time; so 
that what men seek to make up in these things doth but ab- 
solutely derogate from the other; and all will one day know, 
whether it be for want of excellency in the spiritual admi- 
nistration of the gospel worship, under and by the glorious 
High Priest, or for want of minds enlightened to discern it, 
and hearts quickened to experience it, that some do lay all 
the weight of the beauty of gospel worship on matters that 
they either find out themselves, or borrow from others, who 
were confessedly blind as to all spiritual communion with 
God in Christ. But ' if any man list to contend, we have no 
such custom, neither the church of God :' only I hope it will 
not be accounted a crime, that any please themselves, and 
are contented with that glory and beauty in their worship- 
ping of God, which is given unto it from hence, that they 
have in it an access to God by Jesus Christ, as the great 
high priest of their profession and service. However, I am 
sure this is, and may well be, an unspeakable encourage- 
ment and comfort in the duty of drawing nigh unto God, to 
all the saints, whether in their persons, families, or assem- 
blies, that Jesus Christ is the great high priest that admits 
them to the presence of God, who is the [minister of that 
heavenly tabernacle where God is worshipped by them. If 


we are but able, as the apostle speaks, to ' look to the things 
that are not seen,' 2 Cor. iv. 18. that is, with eyes of faith, 
we shall find that glory that will give us rest and satisfac- 
tion : and for others, we may pray as Elisha for his servant, 
that ^the Lord would open their eyes,' and they would 
quickly see the naked poor places of the saints' assemblies, 
not only attended with ' horses and chariots of fire,' but 
also Christ * walking in the midst of them/ in the glory 
wherewith he is described, Rev. i. 13 — 15. which surely 
their painted or carved images will be found to come short of. 
And if the Lord Jesus Christ be pleased, in his unspeakable 
love, to call his churches and ministers ' his glory,' as he 
doth, 2 Cor. viii. 23. surely these may be contented to make 
him their only glory. To which purpose we may observe, 

[L] Our Saviour Christ warns us of some, who ' thought 
to be heard' for their heathenish * vain repetition and much 
babblings ;' Matt. vi. 7. I will not make application of it unto 
any : but this I say, that men will not be a little mistaken, 
if they think to be heard for any carnal, self-invented futher- 
ance of their devotion. But here lies the joy and confidence 
of the poor saints ; they have a merciful high priest over the 
house of God, by whom they are encouraged to draw nigh 
with boldness to the throne of grace; he takes them by the 
hand, and leads them into the presence of God, where, 
through his means, they obtain a favourable acceptance. 

[2.] Nor need they be solicitous about their outward estate 
and condition. This was the misery of the Jews of old, that 
when they were driven from Jerusalem, and carried into cap- 
tivity, they were deprived of all the solemn worship of God; 
they had no high priest, no sacrifice, no altar, tabernacle, or 
solemn assemblies, which were all tied to that place. Hence 
we find how bitterly David complains, when, by the perse- 
cution of Saul, he was for a season driven from the place of 
God's holy and solemn worship : he saw not the glorious 
ornaments of the high priest, nor the beautiful structure of 
the tabernacle, nor the order of the Levites and priests in 
worship. It is now otherwise with the people of God ; be 
they never so poor, and destitute of all outward accommoda- 
tions ; are their assemblies in the ' mountains, in the caves 
and dens of the earth,' Christ, according to his promise, is 
* in the midst of them' as their high priest, and they have in 


their worship all the order, glory, and beauty (I mean ob- 
serving gospel rules) that in any place under heaven they 
can enjoy, and be made partakers of: all depends on the 
presence of Christ, and their access to God by him; and he 
is excluded from no place, but thinks any place adorned 
sufficiently for him, which his saints are met in, or driven 
unto. * Let the hands that hang down be lifted up, and fee- 
ble knees be strengthened:' whatever their outward, dis- 
tressed condition may be, here is order, beauty, and glory in 
theworshipof God, above all that the world can pretend unto. 

[3.] Here lies encouragement to them upon a spiritual 
account, as to the state of things between God and their 
own souls : they have discoveries made unto them of the 
glory, majesty, and holiness of God; they know that he is 
* a consuming fire ;' they have visions of his excellencies, 
which the world is not acquainted with ; they are also sen- 
sible of their own poverty, wretchedness, sin, weakness, how 
unfit, how unable to approach unto him, or to have to do 
with him in his holy worship : they are ashamed of their 
own prayers and supplications, and could oftentimes, when 
they are gone through, wish them undone again, considering 
how unanswerable they are to the greatness and holiness of 
God. In this condition there is a plentiful relief tendered to 
faith from the consideration of this High Priest. That this 
may be more evident, and that the beauty and glory of 
gospel worship may be by them fa,rther discovered, I shall 
particularly insist on some parts of it. 

(1st.) Our High Priest bears and takes away all the sin- 
fulness and failings that are in, or do accompany the holy 
worship of his saints. The world is apt to despise the wor- 
ship of the saints as mean and contemptible, unmeet for the 
majesty of God : this puts them on the inventing of what 
they suppose more glorious and beautiful, though God ab- 
hors it : but the saints themselves know that of their defects, 
wants, and failings in their worship, that the world know not 
of, and how unfit it is and unsuited to the holy majesty of 
God with whom they have to do : they know how the bitter 
root of unbelief in their hearts springs up and defiles them 
and their duties ; how effectually vanity works in their 
minds, and a secret loathness in their wills, in their best 
duties, and most solemn acts of worship ; besides innumera- 


ble other sinful distempers, that oftentimes get ground and 
place in their hearts. These they know are the things that 
in and of themselves are enough to defile, pollute, and render 
abominable all their worship ; yea, and if God should ^mark 
what is amiss/ the guilt of their holy worship is enough to 
make both it, and them that perform it, to be for ever rejected. 
But now here is their relief; here beauty, glory, and order 
is recovered to their worship ; Christ, as their high priest, 
takes away all the evil, filth, and iniquity of their holy 
things, that they may be presented pure, and holy, and glo- 
rious before God. So did Aaron typically of old; Exod. 
xxviii. 38. Thus doth Christ, our high priest, really answer 
for all that is amiss, all failings, all miscarriages in his saints, 
them he takes on his own score ; and what is from his Spirit, 
that enters into the presence of the holy God. So Eph. v. 
25 — 27. he presents it to himself, and by him it is presented 
unto God. By this means doth the Lord Christ preserve 
the glory and beauty of gospel worship, notwithstanding all 
the defects, and failings, and defilements that from the weak- 
ness and sins of his saints, do seem to cleave unto it. 

(2dly.) This is not enough: besides the weakness, sinful- 
ness, and imperfections that attend the duties, for which 
they may be justly rejected, there is not any thing of worth 
in them for which they may be accepted; nothing that should 
yield a sweet savour unto God; wherefore Christ, as the 
high priest by whom all believers have their access unto 
God, takes their duties and prayers, and adds incense unto 
them, that they may have a sweet savour in heaven; Rev. 
viii. 3. The altar is the place of the priests offering their 
sacrifices of prayers ; and our altar is in heaven: other men 
may appoint theirs elsewhere. The Lord Christ, the high 
priest in the temple of God in heaven, and in the holy place 
not made with hands, is ' the Angel that stands at the altar 
before the Lord;' the golden altar of incense before the 
throne ; not the altar for sacrifice, which he hath finished al- 
ready ; but only the altar of incense or intercession, remains. 
On this golden altar are the prayers of all saints offered : 
but how came they to be acceptable unto the Lord? Why, 
this High Priest hath much incense, a bottomless store and 
treasure of righteousness that he adds unto them, which is 
the only sweet perfume in the presence of the Lord. This 


makes all their worship glorious indeed. Christ, the high 
priest, takes away the iniquity and failings of them, he adds 
his own righteousness unto it, and so in his own person offers 
it on the golden altar, that is, his own self, before the throne 
of God continually. 

Now as this tends exceedingly to the consolation of be- 
lievers, so it stains the glory of all the outward pompous 
worship that some are so delighted in. For believers, what 
can more tend to their comfort and encouragement, than 
that the Lord Christ takes their poor weak prayers, which 
themselves are oftentimes ashamed of, and humbled for, and 
are ready to cry out against themselves by reason of them, 
and what by taking away the evil of them, what by adding 
the incense of his own righteousness, makes them accepta- 
ble at the throne of grace ? They little know what beauty 
and glory those very duties which they perform, and are 
troubled at, are clothed withal : and for the beauty and 
glory of gospel worship, in comparison of all the self-in- 
vented rites of men, how will one thought of faith about this 
administration of Christ in heaven with the prayers of the 
saints, cast contempt and shame upon them? What is all 
their gaudy preparation, in comparison of the High Priest of 
the saints offering up their prayers on the golden altar be- 
fore the throne of God ? This is order, comeliness, and 

Thirdly, Christ, as the high priest of the saints, presents 
both their persons and their duties in the presence of and 
before the Lord. This is that which was signified of old in 
the high priest's precious stones set in gold on his breast and 
shoulders, with the names of the children of Israel in them; 
Exod. xxviii. 21. Christ, our high priest, is entered into the 
holy place for us, and there presents all his saints, and their 
worship before the Lord, being • not ashamed to call them 
brethren,' and saying of them, ' Behold I and the children 
which the Lord hath given me.' 

And this is the fourth thing in the words, manifesting 
the excellency and glory of gospel worship, taken from the 
principal procuring cause. It is an access to God, through 



5. This also adds greatly to the glory and excellency of 
evangelical worship, that we have it in an access unto God, 
* in one Spirit,' or ' by one Spirit.' 

I shall shew in brief, (1.) How we have it * by the Spirit ; 
(2.) How 'in one,' or 'by one Spirit.' 

(1.) That by the Spirit the Holy Ghost is here intended, 
is not questioned by any. He is that ' one Spirit' who works 
in these things, and ' divideth to every one as he pleaseth ;' 
1 Cor. xi. 13. I shall not here handle the whole work of the 
Holy Ghost in and upon the souls of the saints, in and for 
the performance of all the duties of worship wherein they 
draw nigh unto God, by Christ, and obtain communion with 
him, as absolutely considered ; but only so far as his work 
renders the worship we speak of beautiful and comely, which 
is the matter we have in hand. And that I shall do in some 
few considerations. 

[1.] The Lord Jesus Christ hath promised to send his 
Spirit to believers, to enable them both for matter and man- 
ner in the performance of every duty required in the word ; 
Isa. lix. 21. He will give his word and Spirit: the promise 
of the one and the other is of equal extent and latitude. 
Whatever God proposeth in his word to be believed, or re- 
quireth to be done, that he gives his Spirit to enable to be- 
lieve and do accordingly : there is neither promise nor pre- 
cept, but the Spirit is given to enable believers to answer 
the mind of God in them : nor is the Spirit given to enable 
unto any duty, but what is in the word required. The Spirit 
and the word in their several places have an equal latitude ; 
the one as a moral rule, the other as a real principle of effi- 
ciency : hence they who require duties which the word en- 
joins not, have need of other assistances than what the Spirit 
of grace will afford them: and those who pretend to be led 
by the Spirit beyond the bounds of the word, had need pro- 
vide themselves of another gospel. Now with promises 
hereof doth the gospel abound. He shall ' lead us into all 
truth ;' he shall * teach us all things ;' he shall ' abide with 
us for ever :' having given his disciples precepts for their 
whole duty to God and himself, he promiseth them his Spirit 


to abide with them, to enable them for the accompUshment 
of them. 

[2.] There are three things that are needful for the right 
performance of gospel worship. 1st. Light and know- 
ledge, that we may be acquainted with the mind and will of 
God in it ; what it is that he accepteth and approveth, and is 
appointed by him ; that we may know how to ' choose the 
good, and refuse the evil,' like the sheep of Christ ' hearing 
his voice and following him, not hearkening to the voice of 
a stranger.' 2dly. Grace in the heart, so that there may 
be in this access unto God, a true, real, spiritual, saving 
communion, obtained with him in those acts of faith, love, 
delight, and obedience which he requireth, without which 
it is any thing * impossible to please God.' 3dly. Ability for 
the performance of the duties that God rpquireth in his wor- 
ship, in such a manner as he may be glorified, and those who 
are called to his worship edified in their most holy faith. 
Where these three concur, there the worship of God is per- 
formed in a due manner, according to his own mind and will, 
and so, consequently, is excellent, beautiful, and glorious, 
God himself being judge. Now all these do believers receive 
by and from the Spirit of Christ, and, consequently, have by 
him their access to the Father, that is, are enabled unto, and 
carried on in, the worship which God requireth at their 

1st. It is he who enables them to discover the mind of 
God, and his will concerning his worship, that they may 
embrace what he hath appointed, and refuse the thing, 
whereof he will say at the last day, 'Who hath required this 
at your hands?' He is promised to 'lead them into all truth,' 
as the Spirit of truth, John xvi. 13. and is the blessed unc- 
tion that teacheth them all things, 1 John ii. 29. all things for 
the glory of God, and their own consolation. It is he that 
speaks the word, which sounds in the ears, * This is the way, 
walk in it.' And when Paul prays for the guidance of the 
saints, he doth it by praying, that God would give them the 
' Spirit of wisdom and revelation' in Christ; Eph. i. 17. Now 
this he doth two ways. 

(1st.) By causing them diligently to attend unto the 
word, the voice of Christ, for their direction, and to that 
only. This is the great work of the Spirit. So John xvi. 13. 


it is said, ' He shall not speak of himself, but what he shall 
hear, that he shall speak ;' that is, he shall reveal and declare 
nothing; but what is the mind of Christ manifested in the 
word ; and that he shall call men to attend unto. * To the 
law and to the testimonies,' to the word, that is his constant 
voice : if men turn to any other teaching, they go out of the 
compass of his commission ; that direction which the Father 
began from heaven, ' This is my beloved Son, hear him.' He 
is the only master and teacher that the Spirit carries all be- 
lievers unto ; he still cries, hear him, attend unto him speak- 
ing in the word. It is true in point of practice according to 
the rule, for the remedying of scandals and disorders, we 
are commanded to * hear the church,' or obey the wholesome 
directions of it, and to walk according to the gospel : but 
as to the worship of God, both as to the matter and rules 
in the appointment of it, we are called continually by the 
Spirit, to hear Christ always ; and that Spirit is not of Christ 
which sends us to any else. 

(2dly.) By revealing the mind of Christ unto us in the 
word : this is his work which he undertakes and performs. 
I confess, that notwithstanding the assistance that he is 
ready to give unto them, there are many mistakes, even 
amongst the saints themselves, in their apprehensions in and 
about the worship of God: they are many times careless in 
attending to his directions ; negligent in praying for his as- 
sistance ; slight and overly in the use of the means by him 
appointed for the discovery of truths ; regardless of dispos- 
sessing their minds of prejudices and temptations, hindering 
them in the discovery of the mind of God : it is, therefore, 
no wonder they are left to be corrected under their own mis- 
takes and miscarriages. But this hinders not, but that the 
Spirit may be said to give the knowledge of the worship of 
God in the word unto believers ; and that because it is not, 
nor can be profitably and savingly attained any other way. 
As ' no man can say, that Jesus is the Lord, but by the 
Spirit ;' so no man can know the way of God's house and 
worship, but by the Spirit : and we see by experience that 
those that despise his assistance, rather trust to themselves 
and other men for the worship of God, than to the word. 
This he does ordinarily in the use of means, at least so far, 
that though in some particulars there may be amongst them 


mistakes, yet not usually such, but that their performances 
are accepted of God in Christ. And in those things wherein 
they are at any time ' otherwise minded' than according to 
truth, if they continue waiting, ' that also shall be revealed' 
unto them from the word by the Spirit. The worship of God 
is not of man's finding out, but of his designation, who is 
'the wisdom of God.' It is not taught by human wisdom, 
nor is it attainable by human industry, but by the wisdom 
and revelation of the Spirit of God : it is every way divine 
and heavenly in its rise, in its discovery, and so becoming 
the greatness and holiness of God. For what doth please 
God, God himself is the sole judge. If any tiling else set up 
itself in competition with it, for beauty and glory, it will be 
found to be engaged in a very unequal contest at the last 

2dly. Believers have this access by the Spirit, inasmuch 
as he enables them to approach unto God in a spiritual 
manner, 'with grace in their hearts,' as he is the Spirit of 
of grace and supplication. This is one special end for which 
the Spirit is promised unto believers, namely, that he may 
be in them ' a Spirit of grace and supplication,' enabling 
them to draw nigh unto God in a gracious and acceptable 
manner; Zech. xii. 10, 11. And this is one part of the work 
that he doth perform, when he is bestowed on them accord- 
ing to the promise; Rom. viii. 26, 27. Let men do their 
best and utmost, they know not so much as what they ought 
to pray for, but the Spirit of Christ alone enables them to 
the whole work. If all the men in the world should lay their 
heads together, to compose one prayer, for the use of any 
one saint, but for one day, they were not able to do it, so as 
that it should answer his wants and conditions ; nor can 
any man do it for himself, without the help and assistance 
of the Spirit, whose proper work this is. 

It were a long work to shew what the Holy Ghost, as a 
Spirit of grace in the hearts of believers doth, to this end, 
that they may have in their access unto God, a saving spi- 
ritual communion with him in Christ, wherein indeed con- 
sists the chiefest head of all the glory and beauty that is in 
the worship of God. Should I handle it, I must insist upon 
all these particulars : 

(1st.) That the Holy Spirit discovers their wants unto 



them, their state and condition, with all the spiritual concern- 
ments of their souls, with which, without his effectual work- 
ing, no man can come to a saving acquaintance spiritually. 
Men may think it an easy thing to know what they want ; but 
he that knows the difficulty of obedience, the deceitfulness of 
the heart, the wiles of Satan, the crafts and sleights of in- 
dwelling sin, will not think so, but will grant that it is alone 
to be discovered by the Spirit of grace. 

(2dly.) It is he alone which really affecteth the heart 
and soul with their wants, when they are discovered unto 
us. We are of ourselves dull and stupid in spiritual things : 
and when matters of the most inexpressible concernment 
are proposed, we can pass them by without being affected 
in any proportion to their weight and importance. The 
Holy Ghost deeply affects the heart with its spiritual con- 
cernments, works sorrow, fear, desire, answerable to the 
wants that are discerned, making ' intercession with sighs 
and groans that cannot be uttered.' 

(3dly.) It is he alone that can reveal the saving relief and 
supplies that God hath provided in the promises of the gos- 
pel for all the wants of the saints, so enabling them to make 
their supplications according to the mind of God. It is not 
the consideration of the letter of the promises, that will dis- 
cover savingly unto us, the glorious relief that is provided 
in thera for our wants ; but it is revealed unto the saints 
effectually by the Spirit, as provided by the love of the 
Father, and purchased by the blood of the Son, and stored 
up for us in the covenant of grace, that we may make our 
requests for our portions according to the will of God. 

(4thly.) It is the Holy Ghost that works in believers 
faith, love, delight, fervency, watchfulness, perseverance, all 
those graces that give the soul communion with God in his 
worship, and in Christ renders their prayers effectual : he 
doth this radically, by begetting, creating, ingenerating 
them in the hearts of believers, in the first infusion of the 
new, spiritual, vital principle with which they are endued 
when they are born of him; as also by acting, exciting and 
stirring them up in every duty of the worship of God that 
they are called unto, so enabling them to act according to 
the mind of God. 

By these hath the soul spiritual communion with God 


in the duties of his worship : and these, with sundry other 
things, should be handled, if we aimed to set out the work 
of the Spirit in the worship of the gospel, as he is a Spirit of 
grace and supplication. But the mentioning of them in ge- 
neral is sufficient for the end proposed, namely, to discover 
the beauty and the glory of the worship that is thus carried 
on. Herein lies that, which all the beauty of the world 
fades before, and becomes as a thing of nought, which brings 
all the outward pomp of ceremonious worship into con- 
tempt: I mean the glory and excellency that lies in the spi- 
ritual communion of the soul with God, by the grace of the 
Holy Ghost, in that heavenly intercourse which is between 
God and his saints in their worship by this means. The 
Holy Ghost is essentially God himself, blessed for ever ia 
his own person, he comes upon the hearts of the elect, and 
communicates of his own grace unto them ; these graces he 
enables them to act, exert, and put forth in their worship of 
God. These God delights in, as coming from himself, as of 
his own workmanship in us; he seeth a return of himself to 
himself, of his grace to his glory ; and by these do the saints 
approach into his presence, speak to him, treat with him, 
and hear from him : it is the language of faith and love 
alone, and the like graces of his Spirit that God hears in his 
worship; other voices, cries, and noises he regards not; 
yea, at least, if not some of them in themselves, yet all of 
them when these are wanting, are an abomination unto him. 
However, this is the beauty and the glory of the worship of 
the gospel, the beauty and glory that God sees in it. Where 
this work of the Spirit of God is in his worship, there faith, 
love, delight, and fervency are in a saving and spiritual man- 
ner exercised : he is an atheist, who will deny that they are 
acceptable to God ; that this worship is glorious, beauti- 
ful, and comely: and he is no better, who thinks that any 
outward solemnity can render worship so, when these are 
wanting. So that they are the things on which the whole 
doth turn. 

3dly. As always from the foundation of the world, so in 
the New Testament, the solemn worship of God is to be 
performed in the assemblies of his saints and people. Now 
where the same worship is to be performed by many, the 
very law of nature and reason requireth that some one, or 



more, according as there is necessity, should go before the 
rest of the assembly in the worship which they have to per- 
form, and be as the hand, or mouth, or eyes to the whole 
body, or assembly. And so also hath our Lord ordained, 
namely, that in all the public and solemn worship of gospel 
assemblies, there should be some appointed to go before 
them, in the performance of the duties of the worship that 
he requireth of them, be they what they will. Now as the 
things themselves, wherein these persons are to minister 
before the Lord in their assemblies, are all of them prescribed 
by God himself; so as to the manner of their performance. 
Tliere are these two marks or guides to direct the whole: 
first, it must be so performed as to tend to the glory of God : 
and, secondly, to the edification of the assembly itself. It 
would be too long for me to shew you what is required to 
this one thing, that the worship of God be carried on in the 
assembly to the edification of the saints, which is, that all 
the ordinances of God may have their proper work in them, 
and effects towards them, for the increase of their faith 
and graces, and carrying them on in their course of obedi- 
ence and communion with God. The consideration of this 
w^ork made the apostle say, Trpbg ravra rig iKavog. In a word, 
so far as possible it may be done, their state and condition 
is to be spread before the Lord in prayer, according as they 
experience it in their own souls; their desires to be drawn 
forth and expressed, their pleas for mercy and grace to be 
managed with the like ends of prayer ; their condition to be 
suited in instruction, consolation, and exhortation, and the 
like, in preaching the word ; so of all other ordinances, they 
are to be managed and administered so as may best tend to 
the edification of the assembly. Now this is supposed by 
the third benefit that the saints receive by the Spirit, as to 
their approach unto God: he gives gifts and abilities, spiri- 
tual gifts unto them whom he calleth unto this work of o-o- 
ing before the assemblies in the worship of God, that they 
may perform all things to the glory of God, and the edifica- 
tion of the body. I shall not so much as once mention the 
supplies that are invented and found out by men for this 
end and purpose. There is not a soul that hath the least 
communion with God, but knows their emptiness and utter 
insufliciency for that which they pretend unto. 


Now that the Holy Ghost furnisheth men with gifts for 
this end and purpose, we have abundant testimonies in the 
Scripture; and blessed be God, we have evidence of it abun- 
dantly in and from those who are endued with them, 1 Cor. 
xii. 4. 7, 8. 11. The design of the apostle in that chapter is 
to treat of the worship of God, as it is to be carried on and 
performed in the gospel assemblies of saints, of which he 
gives an instance in the church of Corinth. For the right 
performance hereof, he lays down in the first verse, that 
spiritual gifts are bestowed : being to treat of the public 
worship of God, he begins with spiritual gifts, whereby men 
are enabled thereunto. The author of all those gifts he in- 
forms us in the fourth verse, is the Holy Ghost; he is sent 
by Christ to this very end and purpose, to bestow them on 
his churches. The end of the collation, he informs us, is 
the profit and edification of the whole body, ver. 7. Every 
one that receives them, doth it to this purpose, that he may 
use them to the good and benefit of the whole. To this 
end are they bestowed in great variety, as ver. 8. that by 
them the use of the body may be supplied, and church edi- 
fication may be carried on : and having thus shewed their 
nature, end, and distribution, he again asserts their author 
to be the Holy Ghost, ver. 11. And we have direction, upon 
this foundation, given for the exprrisp and use of those gifts, 
in sundry places; as 1 Pet. iv. 10, 11. 

This then also, as to the more solemn and public worship 
of God, is performed by that Spirit in whom we have an 
access unto the Father : he gives spiritual gifts unto men, 
enabling them to perform it in a holy evangelical manner, 
so as God may be glorified, and the assemblies of the saints 
edified, in the administration of all ordinances, according to 
what they are appointed unto. He enables men to pray so, 
as that the souls of the saints may be drawn forth thereby 
unto communion with God, according unto all their wants 
and desires : he enables them to preach or speak as the 
* oracles of God,' so as that the saints may receive instruction 
suitable to their condition, as to all the ends of the good 
word of God, whose dispensation is committed unto them : 
he enables men to administer the seals of the covenant so, 
that the faith of the saints may be excited and stirred up to 
act and exert itself in a way suitable to the nature of each 


ordinance ; and all those gifts are bestowed on men on pur- 
pose for the good and edification of others ; they are never 
exercised in a due manner, but they have a farther reach and 
eflBcacy in and upon the souls of the saints, than he that is 
intrusted with them was able to take a prospect of: he little 
knows how many of his words and expressions are, in the 
infinite wisdom of the Holy Ghost, suited in an unspeakable 
variety to the conditions of his saints ; here one, there an- 
other, is wrought upon, affected, humbled, melted, lifted up, 
rejoiced by them, the Holy Ghost making them effectual to 
the ends for which he hath given out the gifts from whence 
they do proceed. I might mention sundry other advantages 
which we have, that belong to our access unto God by one 
Spirit ; but because it were endless to enumerate all parti- 
culars, and they may be reduced to some one of these, gene- 
ral heads, I shall mention no more of them. This then is the 
first evidence, that we have in the w'ords, given unto the 
glory, beauty, and excellency of gospel worship ; in it we 
have an access unto the Father, in the Spirit, which relates 
unto the things before mentioned, or rather touched on. 
Here is order; the Spirit reveals the mind of God, as to the 
worship that is acceptable unto him : he furnishes the souls 
of the saints with all those graces whereby, and wherein, 
they have communion with God in his worship : he gives 
gifts unto some, enabling them to go before the assemblies 
in the worship of God, according to his mind, and unto their 
edification. Blessed order, that the gates of hell shall not 
prevail against ! Order, proceeding from the God of order, 
his own project and appointment. Here is beauty, decency, 
loveliness; it is all the work of the glorious and Holy Spirit, 
which is like himself, holy, glorious, and beautiful ; and to 
set up any thing of any man's finding out in competition 
with it, is that which the Lord's soul abhors. 

(2.) As the saints in the gospel have ' access unto God 
in the Spirit,' so they have all their access * in one Spirit :' 
and this is the spring of all the uniformity which God re- 
quires. So the apostle tells us, that as to the gifts them- 
selves, there are diversities of them, and difference in them ; 
1 Cor. xii. 4 — 6. But where then is uniformity? If one 
man have better and greater gifts than another ; one man be 
more eminent in one kind, another in another; one excelling 


in prayer, another in prophesying and preaching, what con- 
fusion must this needs breed ? Where is then any uniformity 
in all this? The apostle answereth, ver. 11. Here lies the 
uniformity of gospel worship ; that though the gifts bestowed 
on men for the public performance of it be various, and there 
is great diversity among them, yet it is one Spirit, that 
bestows them all anions; them, and that in the order before 
mentioned: one and the same Spirit discovers the will and 
worship of God to them all ; one and the same Spirit works 
the same graces for their kind in the hearts of them all ; one 
and the same Spirit bestows the gifts that are necessary for 
the carrying on of gospel worship in the public assemblies, 
to them who are called to that work. And what if he be 
pleased to give out his gifts in some variously, as to parti- 
culars, ' dividing to every one severally, as he will?' yet this 
hindereth not, but that as to the saints mentioned, they all 
approach unto God by one Spirit, and so have uniformity in 
their worship throughout the world. This is a catholic uni- 
formity ; when whatever is invented by men under that name, 
reaches but to the next hedge, and, as might be easily proved 
and evinced, is the greatest principle of deformity and dis- 
order in the world. This then is the uniformity of gospel 
worship ; all the saints everywhere have their access in it 
unto God in one Spirit, who worketh alike in the general in 
them all, though he gives out diversities of gifts, serving to 
the edification of the whole. 

And these are the evidences that are directly and ' in 
terminis' given to the proposition of the beauty, excellency, 
order, and uniformity, of gospel worship in the text ; as we 
consider it absolutely in itself. Before I come to consider 
its glory comparatively, in reference to the outward solemri 
worship of the temple of old, I shall add but one considera- 
tion more, which is necessary for the preventing of some 
objections, as well as for the farther clearing of the truth 
insisted on; and that is taken from the place where spiritual 
worship is performed. Much of the beauty and glory of the 
old worship, according to carnal ordinances, consisted in 
the excellency of the place wherein it was performed : first, 
the tabernacle of Moses, then the temple of Solomon, of 
whose glory and beauty we shall speak afterward. Answer- 
able hereunto, do some imagine, there must be a beauty in 


the place where men assemble for gospel worship ; which 
they labour to paint and adorn accordingly. But they 
* err, not knowing the Scriptures.' There is nothing spoken 
of the place and seat of gospel worship, but it is referred to 
one of these three heads, all which render it glorious. 

1. It is performed in heaven; though they who perform 
it are on earth, yet they do it by faith in heaven. The apo- 
stle saith, that believers in their worship do ' enter into the 
holiest,' which he exhorts them to draw nigh unto ; Heb. x. 
19.21. What is the 'holiest' whereunto they enter with 
their worship ? It is that whereunto Jesus Christ is entered 
as their forerunner; Heb. vi. 20. It is into heaven itself; 
chap. ix. 24. You will say, How can these things be, that 
men should enter into heaven while they are here below ? I 
say. Are men ' masters in Israel,' and ask this question ? 
They who have an access unto the immediate presence of 
God, and to the throne of grace, enter into heaven itself. 
And this adds to the glory we treat of. What poor low 
thoughts have men of God and his ways, who think there 
lies an acceptable glory and beauty in a little paint and 
varnish ? Heaven itself, the place of God's glorious resi- 
dence, where he is attended with all his holy angels, is the 
state of this worship. Hence is that glorious description 
given of it. Rev. iv. throughout; where it is expressly said 
to be 'in heaven,' though it is only the worship of the 
church that is described. It were easy from hence to mani- 
fest the glory we have spoken of, in the several parts of it. 
But I do but point out the heads of things. 

2. The second thing mentioned, in reference to the place 
of this worship, is the persons of the saints: these are said 
to be the ' temple of the Lord ;' 1 Cor. vi. 19. Your * body 
is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, which ye 
have of God ;' chap. iii. 16. 'Know ye not,' ver. 17. 'the 
temple of God is holy?' God hath now no material temple, 
but he hath chosen this spiritual one, the hearts and souls of 
his saints ; and beautiful temples tliey are, being washed 
with the blood of Christ, beautified with the graces of the 
Spirit, adorned for communion with him : hence ' the king's 
daughter is' said to be 'all glorious within;' Psal. xlv. 
Whatever men may think, God, that knoweth his own graces 
in the hearts of his, and in whose eyes nothing is beautiful 


or of price but grace, knows and judges, that this place of 
his worship, this temple that he hath chosen, is full of beauty 
and glory. Let who will be judge, that pretends to be a 
Christian, whether is more beautiful in the sight of God, *a 
living stone' adorned with all the graces of the Spirit, a 
heart full of the grace of Christ ; or a dead stone cut out of 
the quarries, though graven into the similitude of a man. 

3. The assemblies of the saints are spoken of as God's 
temple, and the seat and place of public, solemn, gospel 
worship; Eph. ii. 21, 22. Here are many living stones 
framed into * an holy house in the Lord, an habitation for 
God by his Spirit.' God dwells here: as he dwelt in the 
temple of old, by some outward carnal pledges of his pre- 
sence ; so in the assemblies of his saints, which are his ha- 
bitation, he dwells unspeakably in a more glorious manner 
by his Spirit. Here, according to his promise, is his habi- 
tation. Now the saints' assemblies, according to the order 
of the gospel, are ' a building fitly framed together :' as the 
tabernacle and temple were of old in their outward structure, 
whereby they were raised; so they in their spiritual union in 
and under Christ their head. And they are a temple, a holy 
temple, holy with the holiness of truth, as the apostle speaks ; 
chap. iv. 24. Not a typical, relative, but a real holiness, and 
such as the Lord's soul delighteth in. I know some can see 
no beauty in the assemblies of the saints, unless there be an 
outward beauty and splendour in the fabric and building 
wherein they convene ; but that is not at all the thing in ques- 
tion, what some men can see, or cannot see. Christ himself 
had unto some ' no form nor comeliness that he should be de- 
sired ;' no more have his saints, his ways, his worship. That 
is not it which we inquire after; but what is beautiful, 
comely, and of price in the eyes and judgment of God. 
Neither is that the matter in question, whether these or 
those are saints of God, or no? But only, whether an as- 
sembly of saints, as such, which are the temple of God, and 
being called together according to the order of the gospel, 
be not a glorious seat of worship? God saith it is so ; and 
if men say otherwise, those that are not inchanted with what 
I shall not name, will easily know what to give credit to. 

Secondly, Proceed we now in the next place to set forth 
the glory and beauty of this worship of the gospel compara- 


tively, with reference to the solemn outward worship, which 
by God's own appointment was used under the Old Testa- 
ment; which, as we shall sliew, was far more excellent on 
many accounts than any thing of the like kind ; that is, as 
to outward splendour and beauty, that was ever found out by 
men : and I shall do this the more willingly, because the 
Holy Ghost doth so much, and so frequently, and that not 
without many great and weighty causes, insist upon it in the 
New Testament, having intimated it beforehand in many 
places of the Old. To the right understanding of what is 
gospel, and delivered in Scripture on this account, some 
things are previously to be considered. 

1. As the whole worship of the old church, so the whole 
manner of it, with all its rites, ceremonies, and ornaments, 
both in the tabernacle and temple, were of God's own ap- 
pointment. There was not the least part of the fabric wherein 
his worship was celebrated, nor any ornament of it, not one 
rite or ceremony that did attend it, but it was all of it wholly 
of God's own designation and command. Tiiis is known 
and confessed ; Moses made all things ' according to the pat- 
tern shewed him in the mount ;' and at the finishing of the 
whole work, it is in one chapter ten times repeated, that he 
did as the Lord commanded him; Exod. xl. Now surely 
this gave it a beauty, order, and glory incomparably above 
whatever the wisest of the sons of men are able to invent. 
' Let the potsherd contend with the potsherds of the earth ; 
but woe unto him that contends with his Maker.' The wor- 
ship of the pope, and his invention, may possibly outdo the 
beauty and order of the worship of the Turk and his inven- 
tion ; but I hope they will not compare with God, nor make 
themselves equal with him. But why should I say I hope 
it, when the contrary is evident? For doth he not undertake 
to assign new rules of his own in the worship of God ? And 
doth he not therein make himself equal with God, whose pre- 
rogative it is, to be the only lawgiver to his people's con- 
sciences, and the only prescriber of his own worship ? But 
this I may yet hope, that men will not nakedly aver, that 
what is of their appointment, is equal unto, and comparable 
with, what God appoints ; take their institutions and God's 
together, and the former surely will have great disadvantage 
in respect of the authors. This, in general, I suppose will 


be granted, though men be very apt practically to ' make 
void the commands of God by their traditions' and institu- 
tions, laying more weight upon some one of them, than on 
all the commands of Jesus Christ. 

But it may be, though God appointed that worship of 
old, and all the concernments of it, he intended not to make 
that beautiful and glorious, but plain and homely \ so that it 
doth not follow that it is beautiful and excellent, because it 
was by him appointed. Answer, Though we may well and 
safely abide by this general proposition, that what God hath 
appointed in his own worship, is therefore beautiful and glo- 
rious, excellent, orderly, and comely, because he hath ap- 
pointed it ; yet I add, 

2. That it was God's intendment to make, appoint, and 
dispose of all things so, that the solemnity of his worship 
might be very beautiful and glorious ; he appoints the high 
priest's garments to be made expressly for glory and beauty, 
Exod. xxviii. 3. such as might be specious and goodly to 
look upon ; and speaking of the church state, when he had 
formed and fashioned it by his institution, he saith, ' Her re- 
nown went forth among the heathen for beauty, for it was 
perfect through the comeliness he had put upon her ;' Ezek. 
xvi. 14. There was in her ways of worship a renowned 
beauty, a perfect comeliness ; whence, saith the prophet, * a 
glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of our 
sanctuary;' Jer. xvii. 12. But I shall not need to multiply 
testimonies to this purpose. Who knows not what things 
are spoken of the tabernacle, the temple, and all the wor- 
ship belonging to them, everywhere in the Scripture ? As 
God appointed, so it came to pass ; it was the most beautiful 
solemnity that ever the sun shone upon. Mosaical worship, 
I say, as celebrated in Solomon's temple, outdid all the glory 
and splendour that ever the world in any place, in any age 
from the foundation of it, ever enjoyed; should all the princes 
of Europe lay their treasures together, they were not able to 
build a fabric of that charge, magnificence, and glory, as was 
Solomon's temple. It were endless to go over particulars; 
the garments of the high priest were such as rendered him so 
awful and glorious, that Alexander the Great, that famous 
conqueror of the east, fell down before him with a prostrate 
reverence. The order of the house, and all the worship in it. 


who can fix his mind upon it, without admiration? How 
glorious was it when the house of Solomon stood in its 
greatest order and beauty, all overlaid with gold, thousands of 
priests and Levites ministering in their orders with all the most 
solemn musical instruments that David found out, and the 
great congregation assembled of hundreds of thousands, all 
singing praises to God? Let any man, in his thoughts, a 
little compare the greatest, most solemn, pompous, and 
costly worship that any of the sons of men have in these latter 
days invented and brought into the Christian church, with 
this of the Judaical, and he shall quickly find that it holds 
no proportion with it, that it is all a toy, a thing of nought in 
comparison of it. Take the cathedral of Peter in Rome 5 
bring in the pope and all his cardinals in all their vestments, 
habiliments, and ornaments; fill their choir with the best 
singers they can get ; set out and adorn their images and 
pictures to the utmost that their treasures and superstition 
will reach to, then compare it to Solomon's temple, and the 
worship thereof; and, without the help of the consideration 
that the one was from heaven, the other is of men, the very 
nature of the things themselves will manifest how vain the 
present pretences are to glory and beauty. How much more 
may this be spoken of such underling pretenders as some 

These things being premised, we say now, that notwith- 
standing this whole worship, and all the concernments of it, 
was appointed by God himself; notwithstanding it was de- 
signed by him to be beautiful and glorious, and that indeed 
it was the very top of what external beauty and splendour 
■could reach unto; yet that it was no way comparable to the 
beauty and glory of this spiritual worship of the New Testa- 
ment; yea, had no glory in comparison of it. This then I shall 
briefly demonstrate : (1.) In general; and then (2.) By an in- 
duction of some particular instances. 

For the former I need go no farther than that place where 
the apostle doth expressly handle this comparion, viz. 2 Cor. 
iii. 7 — 10. He doth here on set purpose compare the minis- 
tration of the law in the letter with all its outward legal wor- 
ship, rites, and ceremonies, with the administration of tiie 
gospel in the Spirit, and the worship of God attending there- 
on. And first, he acknowledgeth that the old ministration was 


very glorious, which he either gives an instance of, or proves 
it by that of Moses's face shining when he came down from 
the mount, when he had received the law, and the pattern of 
all that worship which he was to appoint unto that church. 
It seems, that God left that shining on the face of Moses, 
which was such, that the people could not bear the bright- 
ness of it, to testify how glorious that was about which he 
had received revelation ; so that indeed, saith the apostle, 
that ministration was glorious, very glorious, yea, glory in 
the abstract, ver. 9. nothing was there ever in the world to be 
compared with it; we will then compare it now with the minis- 
tration of the Spirit, and the worship of God under the 
gospel. It may be he will say, it is not all out so glorious 
indeed ; nay, but he goes farther and tells us, that this doth 
so excel in glory, comeliness, and excellency, that in respect 
unto it, the other had no glory at all. What then may be 
said of any thing invented by men in the worship of God for 
glory and beauty? I dare not say what the apostle saith of 
that which God himself appointed, that it hath any glory 
and beauty in itself ; but yet suppose it hath so ; let men es- 
teem it as glorious and beautiful as they can possibly fancy 
it to be, yet, unless the same veil be on their minds in reading 
the gospel, which is ' on the Jews in reading Moses,' they 
cannot but see and acknowledge, that it hath no glory in 
comparison of that spiritual worship which we have de- 

Some particular instances will make the general compa- 
rison more evident. I shall only name these three, which 
being the principal spring of all the beauty, glory, and order 
of the worship of old, are peculiarly considered by the apo- 
stle to this very purpose, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, 
where he sets out the excellency of the evangelical adminis- 
trations of the covenant and worship of God, above and be- 
yond the legal. 

1. The first of these was the temple, the seat of all the 
solemn outward worship of the old church ; the beauty and 
glory of it were in part spoken to before; nor shall I insist 
on any particular description of it ; it may suffice, that it was 
the principal state of the beauty and order of the Judaical 
worship, and which rendered all exceeding glorious, so far. 

158 Tin<: xatlue: and beauty 

that the people idolized it, and put their trust in it, that upon 
the account of it they should be assuredly preserv^ed, not- 
withstandinsi; their presumptuous sins : and indeed, it had 
such blessings and promises annexed unto it, that if there 
were at this day any place or house in the world that had the 
like, I should desire to be among the first that should enter 
into a pilgrimage of going to it, though it were as far beyond 
Jerusalem, as it is thither. But yet, notwithstanding all this, 
Solomon himself, in his prayer at the dedication of that 
house, 1 Kings viii. 27. seems to intimate, that there was 
some check upon his spirit, considering the unanswerable- 
ness of the house to the great majesty of God : it was a 
house on the earth, a house that he did build with his hands, 
intimating that he looked farther to a more glorious house 
than that. And what is it, if it be compared with the tem- 
ple of gospel worship? Whatever is called the temple now 
of the people of God, is as much beyond that of old, as spi- 
ritual things are beyond carnal, as heavenly beyond earthly, 
as eternal beyond temporal. First, In some sense the body of 
Christ is our temple, as himself called it, speaking of ' the 
temple of his body,' as being prefigured by it, as having the 
'fulness of the Godhead dwelling' in him, typified by the 
presence of God in the old temple, and being the centre 
wherein all his people meet with their worship of God, 
as those of old did in the temple. And surely there is no 
comparison for beauty and excellency between the house 
that Solomon built, and the Son of God, * who is the bright- 
ness of his glory, and the express image of his person.* 
Again, The persons, and the assemblies of the saints, as I 
shewed before, are a temple to God under the gospel. They 
are his body, Eph. i. 23. and his house, Heb. iii. 6. Nor is 
the old temple, made of wood and stones, gold and silver, to 
be compared with this living house, washed with the blood 
of Christ, adorned with the real graces of the Spirit, and gar- 
nished with all the choice jewels of God's eternal love. They 
are God's delight, ' the first-fruits of the creature' to him, 
the spouse of Christ, through his graces altogether lovely. 
The Lord Jesus sees more beauty and glory in the weakest 
assemblies of his saints coming together in his name, and 
acted and guided in his worship and ways by his Spirit, than 


ever was in all the worship of Solomon's temple when it 
was in its glory. Thirdly, Heaven itself, the holy place not 
made with hands, is also the saints' temple under the gospel. 
Believers have in their worship an open way into the holiest, 
made for them by Christ, who entered into it as the fore- 
runner, Heb. vi. 20. opening it to them, also giving admis- 
sion into it; chap. x. 19 — 21. And how exceedingly doth 
this exalt the excellency of the spiritual worship of the gos- 
pel ? What was the glory of Solomon's temple, to the glory 
of the meanest star in heaven ? How much less was it then 
in'comparison of the glorious presence of God in the highest 
heavens, whither believers enter with all their worship, even 
where Christ sits at the right hand of God ? 

2. The second spring of the beauty of the old worship, 
which was indeed the hinge upon which the whole turned, 
was the priesthood of Aaron, with all the administrations 
committed to his charge. The pomp, state, and ceremonies, 
that the Papists have invented in their outward worship, or 
that heap which they have in several parcels borrowed of 
the heathen and Jews, is a toy in comparison of the mag- 
nificence of the Aaronical administrations. The high priest 
under the gospel, is Christ alone. Now I shall spare the 
pains of comparing these together, partly because it will be 
by all confessed, that Christ is incomparably more excellent 
and glorious ; and partly, because the apostle on set purpose 
handles this comparison in sundry instances in the Epistle to 
the Hebrews, where any one may run and read it, it being 
the main subject matter of that most excellent epistle. 

3. The order, glory, number, significancy, of their sacri- 
fices, was another part of their glory. And indeed, he that 
shall seriously consider that one solemn anniversary sacri- 
fice of expiation and atonement, which is instituted, Lev. 
xvi. will quickly see, that there was very much glory and 
solemnity in the outward ceremony of it. But now, saith 
the apostle, * we have a better sacrifice ;' Heb. ix. 23. We 
have him who is the high priest, and altar, and sacrifice, all 
himself; of worth, value, glory, beauty, upon the account of 
his own person, the efficacy of his oblation, the real effect 
of it, more than a whole creation, if it might have been all 
offered up at one sacrifice. This is the standing sacrifice of 


the saints, offered ' once for all,' as effectual now any day, as 
if offered every day ; and other sacrifices, properly so called, 
they have none. I might mention other particulars ; but I 
suppose, through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, we 
have in some measure manifested the excellency, beauty, 
order and uniformity, of the spiritual worship of the gospel, 
and that both absolutely in itself, and in comparison with 
any other way of worship whatever. From all which it will 
be easily made to appear, that this may well be reckoned 
among the unspeakable privileges that are purchased for us 
by the death of Christ, which was the thing first proposed 
to consideration. 



And to walk humbly with thy God. — Micah vi. 8. 

The beginning of this chapter contains a most pathetical 
expostulation of God, by the prophet with his people, about 
their sins and unworthy walking before him. Having with 
an apostrophe to the mountains and hills, ver. 1, 2. stirred 
up their attention, and raised them to the consideration of 
his plea with them, in ver. 3 — 5. he emphatically presses 
them with the mercies he had of old bestowed upon them, 
with the patience and love toward them, which he shewed 
and exercised in his dealings with them. 

The conviction being effectual to awaken them, and fill 
them with a sense of their horrible ingratitude and rebellions, 
ver. 6, 7. they begin to make inquiry, according as is the 
custom of persons under the power of conviction, what 
course they shall take to avoid the wrath of God, which 
they could not but acknowledge was due to them. And 
here, as God speaks, Hos. vii. 1. when he would heal them, 
their iniquity and wickedness is discovered more and more ; 
they discover the wretched principles whereon they were 
acted in all that they had to do with God. 

Indeed convictions, on what account soever, made effec- 
tual upon the soul, draw out its inward principles, which are 
not otherwise to be discovered. Many there are, who have 
in notion received the doctrine of free justification by the 
blood of Christ, whom, while they are secure in their ways, 
without trouble or distress, it is impossible to persuade, that 
they do not live and act upon that principle, and walk before 
God in the strength of it. Let any great conviction from the 
word, or by any imminent or pressing danger, befall these 
men, then their hearts are laid open; then all their hopes 
are in their repentance, amendment of life, performance of 
duties in a better manner; and the iniquity of their self- 
righteousness is discovered. 



Thus was it with these Jews ; their sins being charged 
home upon them by the prophet, so that they are not able to 
stand under their weight and burden; he now discovers the 
bottom of all their principles in dealing with God, and that 
is this, that having provoked him, something they must do, 
whereby to appease him, and atone his anger. 

In their contrivance to this purpose, they fix on two ge- 
neral heads. First, They propose things which God himself 
had appointed ; ver. 5. 6. Secondly, Tilings of their own 
finding out, which they supposed might have a farther and 
better efficacy to the end aimed at, than any thing appointed 
of God himself; ver. 6. 

First, They look to sacrifices and burnt-offerings for 
help; they consider, whether by them, and on their ac- 
count, they may not come before the Lord, and bow them- 
selves before the high God ; that is, perform such a worship, 
for which they may be acquitted from the guilt of their 

Sacrifices were a part of the worship of God, appointed 
by himself, and acceptable to him, when offered in faith ac- 
cording to his mind ; yet we find God frequently rejecting 
them in the Old Testament, whilst yet their institution was 
in force, and themselves good in their kind. Now this re- 
jection of them was not absolute, but with respect to some- 
what that vitiated the service in them. Among these, two 
were most eminent: 

1. When they were rested in, as the matter and cause of 
their justification and acceptation with God, beyond their 
typical virtue- 

2. When they were relied on to countenance men in the 
neglect of moral duties, or to continue in any way of sin. 

Both these evils attended this appeal of the Jews unto 
their sacrifices : they did it first to please God, or appease 
God, that on their account they might be freed from the 
guilt of sin, and be accepted : and then to countenance them- 
selves in their- immoralities and wickedness, as is evident 
from the prophet's reply, ver. 7. calling them from their vain 
confidence in sacrifices, to justice, judgment, mercy, and 
humble walking with God. But, 

Secondly, They find this will not do; conscience will 
not be satisfied, nor peace be obtained by any performance 


of these ordinary duties, though they should engage in them 
in an extraordinary manner ; no, though they could bring 
thousands of rams, and ten thousand rivers of oil. Though 
men attempt never so vigorously, in never so extraordinary 
a manner, to quiet their souls, terrified with the guilt of sin, 
by any duties whatever, it will not do, the work will not be 
accomplished, therefore they will make farther attempts : if 
nothing that God hath appointed will reach the end they aim 
at, because they were never appointed by him for that end, 
they will invent or use some way of their own, that may ap- 
pear to be of more efficacy than the other : ' Shall I give my 
first-born for my transgression?' 

The rise and occasion of such sacrifices as here are men- 
tioned, the sacrificing of men, of men's sacrificing their own 
children ; the use of such sacrifices, throughout the world, 
among all nations ; the craft and cruelty of Satan in im- 
posing them on poor, sinful, guilty creatures, with the ad- 
vantages which he had so to do, I have elsewhere declared. 
For the present I shall only observe two things in the state 
and condition of convinced persons, when pressed with their 
sins, and a sense of the guilt of them, who are ignorant of 
the righteousness of God in Christ. 

1. They have a better opinion of their own ways and 
endeavours, for the pleasing of God, and quieting their 
consciences, than of any thing of God's institution, or the 
way by him appointed for that end. This is the height 
that they rise to, when they have fixed on what is most 
glorious in their own eyes. Tell a Papist, who is convinced 
of sin, of the blood of Christ, it is folly to him. Penances, 
satisfaction, purgatory, intercession of the church in the 
mass, have much more desirableness in them ; these Eliabs 
must wear the crown. The case is the same with innu- 
merable poor souls at present, who hope to find more relief 
in their own duties and amendment of life, than in the 
blood of Christ, as to the appeasing of God, and obtaining 
of peace. 

2. There is nothing so horrid, desperate, irksome, or 
wicked, that convinced persons will not engage to do under 
their pressure on the account of the guilt of sin ; they will 
burn their children in the fire, whilst the cries of their con- 
science outcry the lamentation of their miserable infants: 

M 2 


which, as it argues the desperate blindness that is in man 
by nature, choosing such abominations, rather than that way 
which is the wisdom of God ; so also, the terrors that possess 
poor souls convinced of sin, that are unacquainted with the 
only remedy, 

This being the state and condition of these poor creatures, 
the prophet discovers to thera their mistake and desperate 
folly in the verse of my text. 

Two thino-s are contained in this verse : the one is im- 
plied ; the other expressed in words. 

First, Here is something implied, and that is a reproof 
of the error and mistake of the Jews : they thought sacri- 
fices were appointed for the appeasing of God by their per- 
formance of them; and that this was their business in their 
worship, by their duty in performance of them, to make sa- 
tisfaction for the guilt of sin. This the prophet calls them 
from, telling them, that is not their business, their duty, 
God hath provided another way to make reconciliation and 
atonement ; it is a thing above their power; their business 
is to walk with God in holiness ; for the matter of atone- 
ment that lies on another hand : ' He hath shewed thee, 
O man, what he requireth of thee :' he expects not sa- 
tisfaction at thy hands, but obedience on the account of 
peace made. 

Secondly, What is expressed is this, that God prefers 
moral worship, in the way of obedience, to all sacrifices 
whatever, according to the determination afterward approved 
by our Saviour; Mark xii. 33. ' What doth the Lord require 
of thee?' 

Now this moral obedience he refers to three heads : 
'Doing justly; loving mercy; and walking humbly with 

How the two first are comprehensive of our whole duty 
in respect of men, containing in them the sum and substance 
of the second table, I shall not stay to declare. 

It is the third head that I have fixed on, which peculiarly 
regards the first table, and the moral duties thereof. 

Concerning this I shall do these three things : 

I. I shall shew what it is to walk with God. 

II. What it is to walk humbly with God. 

III. Prove this proposition : Humble walking with God, 


as our God in covenant, is the great duty, and most valuable 
concernment of believers. 

I. As to our walking with God, some things are required 
to it; and some things are required in it. 

1. Some things are required to it. As, 

(1.) Peace and agreement. Amos iii. 3. 'Can two walk 
together except they be agreed V And he tells us, that walk- 
ing with God, when there is no peace with him, is like 
walking in a forest, where, and when the lion roareth, ver. 8. 
when a man can have no thoughts but what are full of ex- 
pectation of his immediately being torn asunder and de- 
voured. So God threateneth to deal with them that pretend 
to walk with him, and yet are not at peace with him ; Psal. 
1.22. ' Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear 
you in pieces, and there be none to deliver.' Who are 
these? Those to whom he speaks, ver. 16. 'But to the 
wicked, says God:' the exceptive, 'but,' distinguishes them 
from those of whom he spoke before, ver. 5. v/ho had made 
a covenant with him by sacrifice, and so obtained peace in 
the blood of Christ. When Cain and Abel went into the 
field together, and were not agreed, the issue was, that the 
one slew the other. When Joram met Jehu in the field, he 
cried, 'Is it peace?' And finding by his answer, that they 
were not agreed, he instantly flew, and cried out for his life. 
•Agree,' saith our Saviour, ' with thine adversary whilst thou 
art in the way,' lest the issue be sad to thee. 

You know at what enmity God and man do stand, whilst 
he is in the state of nature. They are 'alienated from God 
by wicked works; are enemies,' and their 'carnal mind is 
enmity to him,' Rom. viii. 7. and 'his wrath abideth on 
them;' John iii. 36. they are ' children of his wrath;' Eph. 
ii. 3. Were I to pursue this head in particulars, I could 
manifest from the rise and first breath, from the considera- 
tion of the parties at variance, the various ways of managing 
of it, and its issue, that this is the saddest enmity that can 
possibly be apprehended. You know also, what our peace 
and agreement with God is, and whence it doth arise. 
Christ ' is our peace;' Eph. ii. 14. He 'hath made an end 
of the difference about sin;' Dan. ix. 24. He 'hath made 
peace' for us with God, and by our interest in him, we, 'who 


were afar off, are made nigh,' and obtain peace; Rom. v. 1. 
Eph. ii. 14, 15. 

This then, I say, in the first place, is required to our 
walking with God, that we are at peace with him, and agree- 
ment in the blood of Christ; that we are by faith actually 
interested in the atonement ; that our persons are accepted, 
as the foundation of the acceptation of our duties. Without 
this, every attempt for walking with God in obedience, or 
the performance of any duties, is, 

[1.] Fruitless : all that men do is lost. 'The sacrifice of 
the wicked is an abomination;' their holy things are dung, 
which God will remove. In all their duties they labour in 
the fire ; not any of their works shall turn to their eternal 
account : God looks on all their duties as the gifts of ene- 
mies, that are selfish, deceitful, and of all things to be ab- 
horred. Such men may have their reward in this life ; but 
as to what they aim at, their pains are lost, their hearing is 
lost, their alms are lost; all is fruitless. 

[2.] Presumptuous: they put themselves upon the com- 
pany of God, who hates them, and is hated by them; Psal. 
1. 16. * But to the wicked, says God.' This is God's lan- 
guage to them in their duties. Thou bold presumptuous 
rebel, what hast thou to do to take my name in thy mouth? 
Why dost thou howl thus before me, and offer swine's blood 
in my presence? How earnest thou hither not having a wed- 
ding garment? I hate thy most solemn oblations. Indeed it 
will be found at the issue, that intolerable presumption lies at 
the bottom of all unregenerate men's attempts to walk with 
God. They count it a slight thing to do so : they deal with 
him as one that took very little notice how he is dealt withal. 

This, I say, is the first thing required to our walking 
with God, that we be at peace and agreement with him, in 
the blood of Christ. And as the psalmist says, * Consider 
this, ye that know not God,' who have not made a covenant 
with him, in and by the sacrifice of his Son. You meet him 
in the field, you put yourselves upon his company, you pre- 
tend to walk with him in these duties, and those other, 
which custom, education, conviction, or self-righteousness 
puts you upon ; in every one of them you provoke him to 
his face to destroy you. You seem to flatter him, that you 


are agreed, when he declares that you are at enmity. Let a 
man deal thus with his ruler; conspire against his crown 
and dignity; attempt his death; despise his authority; re- 
proach his reputation ; and then when he is proclaimed rebel 
and traitor, and condemned to die, let him come into his 
presence, as in former days, and deal with him as a good 
subject, offer him gifts and presents ; shall he think to es- 
cape? Will he not be seized on, and delivered over to pu- 
nishment ? 

Every man, in his natural estate, is a rebel against God : 
thou hast rejected his authority, conspired his ruin, the ruin 
of his kingdom, art proclaimed by him a traitor and rebel, 
art sentenced to eternal death : is it for thee noAv to meet 
him, to go and flatter him with thy mouth, and fawn upon 
him in thy other duties? Will he not remember thy rebel- 
lions, despise thy offerings, command thee out of his pre- 
sence into bonds and prison, abhor thy gifts ? What canst 
thou else exj3ect at his hands ? This is the best and utmost 
of their condition in their obedience, who are not interested 
in Christ: and the more earnest and zealous you are, the 
more ready in the performance of duties, the more do you 
put yourselves on him, and his company, who hates you 
upon the justest grounds in the world, and is ready to de- 
stroy you. 

(2.) The second previous thing, is, oneness of design. 
For persons occasionally to fall into the company of one 
another, and so to pass on together for a little season, doth 
not suffice for them to be said to walk together. Oneness 
of aim and design is required to it. 

The aim of God, in general, is his own glory : he makes 
all things for himself, Prov. xvi. 4. Rev. iv. 11. in particular, 
as to the business of our walking with him, it is ' the praise 
of his glorious grace;' Eph. i. 6. 

Now, in this aim of God to exalt his glorious grace, two 
things are considerable : First, That all which is to be 
looked for at the hand of God, is upon the account of mere 
grace and mercy; Tit. iii. 4, 5. God aims at the exalting of 
his glory in this, that he may be known, believed, magnified, 
as a God pardoning iniquity and sin. And, secondly. That 
the enjoyment of himself, in this way of mercy and grace, 
is that great reward of him, that walks with him. So God 


tells Abraham, when he calls him to walk before him, ' I am 
thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward;' Gen. xv. 1. 
The enjoyment of God in covenant, and the good things 
therein freely promised and bestowed by him, is the exceed- 
ing great reward of them that walk with God. This also, 
then, is required of him that will walk with God, that he hath 
the same design in his so doing, as God hath ; that he aims 
in all his obedience at the glory of God's grace, and the en- 
joyment of him as his exceeding great reward. 

Now, according to what was before said of the design of 
God, this may be referred mito three heads. 

[1.] In general: that the design of the person be the 
glory of God. ' Whatever we do,' saith the apostle, that is, 
in our worship of God, and walking with him, ' let all be 
done to his glory.' Men, who in their obedience have base, 
low, unworthy ends, walk as contrary to God in their obe- 
dience, as in their sins. Some serve him for custom; some 
for an increase of corn, wine, or oil, or the satisfying of 
some low earthly end ; some aim at self and reputation ; all 
is lost : it is not walking with God, but warring against him. 
[2.] To exalt the glory of God's grace. This is one part 
of the ministry of the gospel, that in obedience we should 
seek to exalt the glory of grace. The first natural tendency 
of obedience, was to exalt the glory of God's justice. The 
new covenant hath put another end upon our obedience, it 
is to exalt free grace ; grace given in Christ, enabling us to 
obey; grace accepting our obedience being unworthy; grace 
constituting this way of walking with God; and grace 
crowning its performance. 

[3.] Aiming at the enjoyment of God, as our reward. 
And this cuts off the obedience of many from being a walk- 
ing with God. They perform duties indeed; but what sin- 
cerity is there in their aims for the glory of God? Is it al- 
most once taken into their thoughts? Is not the satisfaction 
of conscience, the escape of hell and wrath, the sole aim 
they have in their obedience? Is it of concernment to them 
that the glory of God be exalted? Do they care indeed what 
becomes of his name or ways, so they may be saved ? Es- 
pecially, how little is the glory of his grace aimed at? Men 
are destroyed- by a self-righteousness, and have nothing of 
a gospel obedience in them. Look on the praying and 


preaching of some men; is it not evident that they walk not 
with God therein, seek not his glory, have no zeal for it, no 
care for his name ; but rest in the discharge of the duty 

(3.) That a man may walk with another, it is required 
that he have a living principle in him to enable him there- 
unto. Dead men cannot walk ; or if they do, acted by any 
thing but their own vital principle, and essential form, they 
are a terror to their companions, not a comfort in their com- 
munion. For a dead carcase, or a trunk, to be moved up 
and down, is not walking. Hence this is everywhere laid 
down as the principle of our obedience, that we ' who were 
dead are quickened ;' that ' the law of the Spirit of life 
makes us free from the law of sin and death;' Rom. viii. 2. 
That we may walk with God, a principle of a new life is re- 
quired ; that we may have power for it, and be pressed to it 
from that which is within us. Had not a man rather walk 
alone, than to have a dead carcase taken out of a grave, and 
acted by an external force and power, to accompany him? 

This, I say, is a third consideration. The matter of our 
walking with God, consists, as shall be shewed, in our obe- 
dience, in our performance of duties required. In this, we 
are all, more or less, engaged ; yea, so far, that perhaps it 
is hard to discover who walks fastest, and with most appear- 
ance of strength and vigour. But alas ! How many dead 
souls have we walking amongst us? 

[1.] Are there none who are utter strangers to a new spi- 
ritual life; a life from above, hid with Christ in God, a life 
of God ; that mock almost at these things, at least that can 
give no account of any such life in them ; that think it 
strange it should be required of them, that they should give 
any account of this life, or being begotten again by the 
Spirit; yea, that make it a most ridiculous thing? What 
then is it they will yet plead for themselves? Why do they 
not walk Vv'ith God? Is not their conversation good and 
blameless? Who can charge them wath any thing? Do they 
not perform the duties required of them? But friend : Would 
it be acceptable to thee, to have a dead man taken out of 
his grave, and carried along with thee in thy way ? All thy 
services, thy company, is no other to God : he smells nothing 
but a noisome steam from thy presence with him : thy hear- 


ing, praying, duties, meditations, they are on this account 
all an abomination to him. Tell me not of thy conversation : 
if it be from a pure conscience, that is, a conscience purified 
in the blood of Christ, and faith unfeigned, which is the life, 
or a fruit of it, whereof we are speaking, it is glorious, and 
commendable ; if from other principles, the Lord abhors it. 

[2.] Are there none, who are acted in their obedience 
and duties, not from inward principles, and spiritualized 
faculties, but merely from outward considerations and ex- 
ternal impressions? The apostle tells us, how believers 
* grow' and * go on to perfection;' Eph. iii. 16. Col. i. 19. 
Christ is the head ; from him, by the Spirit, into every 
joint and sinew is derived an influence of life, that the body 
may thereby, and therewith, go on towards perfection. How 
is it with sundry others? They are set upon their feet by 
custom or conviction : one joint is supplied by repute, an- 
other by fear and shame, a third by self-righteousness, a 
fourth by the lash of conscience ; and so they are driven on 
by a mere external impress. And these are the principles 
of the obedience of many. By such things as these are they 
acted in their walking with God. Do yoii suppose you shall 
be accepted? Or that peace will be your latter end? I fear 
many that hear me this day, may be in this condition. Par- 
don me if I am jealous with a godly jealously : what means 
else that hatred of the power of godliness, that darkness in 
the mystery of the gospel, that cursed formality, that en- 
mity to the Spirit of God, that hatred of reformation, that is 
found amongst us? 

Use. If there be so many things required to walking with 
God, to fit men for it ; and many who do strive to walk with 
him, are yet lost from a defect of them in the midst of their 
obedience and performance of duties ; what will become of 
them ? Where shall they appear who never once attempted 
to walk with him; who are wrought upon by no considera- 
tions to make it their business so to do? I speak not only 
of those amongst us, young and old, whose pride, folly, 
idleness, debauchery, profaneness, hatred of the ways of 
God, testify to their faces, to all the world, to the shame and 
danger of the places wherein they live, that they are servants 
to sin, and walk contrary to God, who also will walk contrary 
to them, until they are no more. I speak not, I say, of such 


as these, who are judged of all : nor yet only of those who 
are kept to outward observances, merely on the account of 
the discipline of the place, and the hopes which they have 
laid up in it, for their outward good, with such other carnal 
aims : but of some also who ought to be leaders of others, 
and examples to that flock that is amongst us. What en- 
deavours to walk with God are found upon them, or seen in 
their ways? Vanity, pride in themselves, families, and 
relations ; yea, scoffing at religion and the ways of God, are 
the examples some give. I wish worldliness, selfishness, 
hardness, and straitness of bowels, with open vanity, do 
not eat up all humble walking with God, as to the power of 
it in others. 

The vanity of the highest profession, without this humble 
walking, which is another deceit, shall be^ afterward spoken 

For the present, let me speak to them of whom I have 
spoken somewhat already. If many shall cry, ' Lord, Lord,' 
and not be heard; if* many shall strive to enter, and shall 
not;' what will be their lot and portion? Poor creatures! 
You know not the condition of your souls ; you ' cry peace, 
and sudden destruction is at hand.' Take heed, lest the mul- 
titude of sermons and exhortations you have, make you not 
like the men that dwell by the falls of mills, deaf with their 
continual noise. God sends his messengers sometimes to 
make men deaf; Isa. vi. 5. 7. If that be your portion it will 
be sad with you. Give me leave to ask you two or three 
questions, and I have done. 

1. Do you not please yourselves, some of you, in your 
ways, and that with contempt of others? Do you not think 
they are fools, or envious, or hypocrites, or factious, that 
reprove you; and scorn them in your hearts? Do you not 
rather love, honour, imitate, such as never pressed you, nor 
will, to this business of a new life, to walk with God, and so 
suppose the times ruined, since this new fangled preaching 
came up amongst you; desiring to hear things finely 
spoken, and fopperies of men ignorant of God and them- 
selves ? Or, 

2. Do you not relieve yourselves with the help of profli- 
gate souls, that you will be better, you will repent when the 


season is better suited for it, and your present condition is 
changed? Or, 

3. Do not some of you labour to put far from you all 
thoughts of these things? ' Amici, dum vivimus, vivamus.' 
It will be well enough with us, though we add drunkenness 
to thirst? Do not, I say, one, or all of these rotten, cor- 
rupted principles lie at the bottom of your loose walking 
with God? Take heed, I beseech you, lest the Lord tear you 
in pieces. 


Having told you what things are previously required to 
our walking with God ; 

2. Our next inquiry is, as to the matter or thing itself: 
what it is to walk with God. 

The expression itself is very frequent in Scripture, both 
as to the examples of them that did so, and as to precepts 
for others so to do. 

It is said of Enoch, that he * walked with God ;' Gen. v. 
24. And ' Noah walked with God ;' Gen. vi. 9. • Ilezekiah 
walked before God ;' Isa. xxxviii. 3. Abraham is com- 
manded to walk with God, Gen. xvii. 1. yea, and the same 
thing is almost a hundred times in the Scriptures, with 
some little variation, so expressed. Sometimes we are said 
' to walk with God;' sometimes * to walk before him;' some- 
times, 'to follow after him, to follow hard after him;' some- 
times * to walk in his ways ;' all to the same purpose. 

The expression you know is metaphorical ; by an allu- 
sion taken from things natural, spiritual things are ex- 
pressed therein. 

Not to press the metaphor beyond its principal intention, 
nor to insist on all particulars, wherein any thing of allusion 
may be found, nor yet insist on the proof of that which is 
owned and acknowledged: Walking with God in general, 
consisteth in the performance of that obedience, for matter 
and manner, which God, in the covenant of grace, requires 
at our hands. 

I shall only manifest unto you some few of the chief con- 


cernments of this obedience, which give life and signifi- 
cancy to the metaphor, and so pass on. 

(1.) That our obedience be walking with God, it is re- 
quired that we be in covenant with him, and that the obe- 
dience be required in the tenour of that covenant. 

This, as to the matter of it, was spoken to before, under 
the head of what was required to this walking with God ; 
namely, that we have peace and agreement with him. Here 
it is formally considered, from that expression, * with God,' 
as the spring and rule of our obedience. Therefore this ex- 
pression is comprehensive of the whole duty of the covenant 
on our part, as Gen. xvii. 1. *I am God Almighty,' or * All- 
sufficient;' that is, unto thee I will be so. As this is com- 
prehensive of the whole of the covenant on the part of God, 
that he will be unto us an all-sufficient God: so the words 
that follow are comprehensive of the whole of our duty, 
'Walk before me ;' which are exegetically explained in the 
next words, ' and be thou perfect.' The covenant, the 
agreement that is between God and us, in Christ, wherein 
he promises to be our God, and we give up ourselves to be 
his people, is the bottom and spring of that obedience, 
which is walking with God ; i. e. at an agreement with him, 
in covenant with him; with whom, out of covenant, we have 
no commerce. 

(2.) It is an obedience according to the tenour of that 
covenant, wherein we are agreed with God. Walkino- with 
God according to the tenour of the covenant of works 
was, * Do this and live.' The state is now changed. The 
rule now is that of Gen. xvii. 1. ' Be thou perfect,' or up- 
right 'before me,' in all the obedience I require at thy 

Now there are sundry things required, to our walking 
with God in obedience, so that it may answer the tenour of 
the covenant wherein we are agreed. 

[L] That it proceed from faith in God, by Christ the 
Mediator. Faith in God, in general, is, and must be the 
principle of all obedience, in what covenant soever ; Heb. xi. 
6. But faith in God, through Christ the Mediator, is the 
principle of that obedience, which according to the tenour 
of the new covenant, is accepted. Hence it is called ' the 
obedience of faith;' Rom. i. 5. i.e. of faith in God by 


Christ, as the foregoing and following words evince. His 
blood is the blood of this covenant; Heb. ix. 15. x. 29. The 
covenant itself is confirmed and ratified thereby : and by the 
blood of that covenant, do we receive what we receive, 
from God; Zech. ix. 11. Hence, whenever God makes men- 
tion of the covenant to Abraham, and stiis him up to the 
obedience that is required in it, he still mentions ' the seed,' 
i. e. ' Christ,' saith the apostle. Gal. iii. 16. As it is said in 
general, that ' he that comes to God, must believe thathe is ;' 
so in particular, as to the new covenant, Christ says of him- 
self, ' I am the way :' there is no going to the Father bat by 
him; John xiv. 6. They who have believed in God, must be 
careful to maintain good works. Tit. iii. 8. i. e. they who 
have believed in God, through Christ. If in our obedience 
we walk with God, according to the tenour of the new cove- 
nant, that obedience ariseth from justifying faith ; that is, 
faith in God, through Christ. 

[2.] That it be perfect; that is, that the person be perfect 
or upright therein : ' Walk before me and be thou perfect;' 
Gen. xvii. 1. It was said of Noah, that he was ' perfect in 
his generation,' Gen. vi. 9. as it is also said of many others. 
David bids us * mark the perfect man,' Psal. xxxvii. 37. 
that is, the man that walketh with God, according to the 
tenour of the new covenant. And our Saviour calling for this 
obedience, commands us to ' be perfect as our heavenly 
Father is perfect ;' Matt. v. 28. 

Now there is a twofold perfection. 

1st. There is a TcXttaxrtc* a consummation in righteous- 
ness. So it is said of the law, that it ' made nothing per- 
fect,' Heb. vii. 19. or brought nothing to perfect righteous- 
ness. And the ' sacrifices made not the comers unto God, 
by them perfect;' Heb. x. 1. They could not TiknCoaai, 
consummate the work of righteousness, which was aimed at. 
In this sense, we are said to be perfect, * complete' in 
Christ, Col. ii. 10. and as it is said in another case, Ezek. 
xvi. 14. our beauty is * perfect' through his comeliness. 
This is the perfection of justification, whereof we speak not. 

2dly. There is a perfection within us. Now this also 
is twofold. A complete perfection of enjoyment; and a 
perfection of tendency towards enjoyment. 

(1st.) In respect of the first; Paul says he was not made 


perfect, Phil. iii. 12. and tells us where, and by whom it is 
obtained ; Heb. xii. 23. ' The spirits of just men made per- 
fect.' Just men are not thus made perfect, until their spirits 
be brought into the presence of God. This perfection is the 
aim of Christ's redemption, Eph. v. 25, '26, and of all their 
obedience; Eph. iv. 14. But this is not the perfection which 
the covenant requires, but which it tends and brings to, 
whilst by the promise of it, we are carried on in the work of 
* perfecting holiness in the fear of God ;' 2 Cor. vii. 1. See 
Job ix. 20. 

(2dly.) There is also a perfection of tendency to this 
end. So Noah is said to be perfect, and Job perfect, and 
God commands Abraham to be perfect, and David describes 
the happy condition of the perfect man. Concerning this, 

[1st.] There is no word in the Scripture whereby this 
perfection, and being perfect, is expressed, that in its use is 
restrained to such an absolute perfection, as should admit of 
no mixture of failing or defect. The word used concerning 
Noah, and in the terms of the covenant to Abraham, is 
D'DD of on from DDD which hath var'ious significations. 
When spoken in the abstract, as on is often used, it signi- 
fies, 'simplicity of manners,' without craft, which, in the 
New Testament, is ciKUKia. So Jacob is said to be w>i^ Dn 
Gen. XXV. 27. which w^e have rendered, ' a plain man,' that 
is, plain-hearted, without guile, as Christ speaks of Na- 
thaniel. Of this sense of the word, you have a notable ex- 
ample, 1 Kings xxii. 34. where the man that slew Ahab, is 
said to draw a bow, iDn^ ' in his simplicity,' which we have 
rendered, * at a venture,' that is, without any pernicious de- 
sign, in particular-. So Job ix. 21. Dn is opposed to ^zn, 
that is, to him that is ' unquiet, malicious,' and ' perverse.' 
Such a man in the New Testament, is said to be aveyKaXr^rog 
and afXMixoQ, that is, * one that cannot be justly blamed,' or 
reproved, ' for dealing perversely.' Many other instances 
might be given. The word Tii'*, which we have commonly 
rendered, ' upright,' is used also to this purpose : but it is 
so known, that this word irr its use in the Scripture, goes no 
farther than ' integrity,' nor reaches to an absolute perfec- 
tion, that I shall not need to insist on it. 

The words used in the New Testament are chiefly TtXuog 


and apnog, neither of wliich, in their use, is restrained to 
this perfection. Hence, James saith, he is riXiiog ' who 
bridles his tongue ;' Jam. iii. 2. The word is but once used 
positively of any man in an indefinite sense, and that is, 
1 Cor. ii. 6. where it evidently denotes, only men of some 
growth in the knowledge of the mystery of the gospel. But 
I shall not farther pursue the words. 

[2dly.] Two things are contained in this perfection of 
obedience that is required in our walking with God in the 
new covenant. The first whereof regards our obedience ; 
the second, the persons obeying. 

\st. The perfection that respects the obedience itself, or 
our objective perfection, is that of parts, or the whole of the 
will and counsel of God, as to our obedience. The law or 
will of God, concerning our obedience, is perfect; it hath an 
integrity in it ; and we must have respect to all the parts of 
it that are revealed to us. So David ; ' I have a respect 
unto all thy commandments ; Psal. cxix.6. See Jam. ii. 10. 

2dly. Subjective perfection, in respect of the person 
obeying, is his sincerity and freedom from guile, the up- 
rightness of his heart in his obedience. And this is that 
which is mainly intended in that expression of ' being per- 
fect;' being upright, without guile, hypocrisy, false, or 
selfish ends, in singleness and simplicity of heart, doing the 
whole will of God. 

This then, I say, is that perfection of obedience which 
makes it walking with God. Whatever comes short of this, 
if the heart be not upright, without guile, free from hypo- 
crisy and self-ends, if the obedience be not universal, it is 
not walking with God. This is a perfection in a tendency 
to that which is complete ; which Paul wished for the Co- 
rinthians, 2 Cor. xiii. 9. and which he exhorted the Hebrews 
to, chap. vi. 3. if we fail in this, or come short of this per- 
fection, by any guile of our hearts, by voluntary retaining 
any sweet morsel under our tongue, by keeping a knee for 
Baal, or a bow for Rimmon, we walk not with God. It is 
sad to think, how many lose all they do or have wrought by 
coming short in this perfection ; one vile lust or other, love 
of the world, pride, ambition, idleness, hardheartedness, 
may lose all, spoil all ; and men walk contrary to God, 
when they think they walk most with him. 


(3.) That our obedience may be walking with God, it is 
required that it be a constant, progressive motion towards a 
mark before us. Walking is a constant progress. He that 
is walking towards a place that he hath in his eye, may 
stumble sometimes, yea, perhaps, and fall also ; but yet, 
whilst his design and endeavour lies towards the place 
aimed at, whilst he lies not still when he falls, but gets up 
again and presses forward, he is still, from the chief aim of 
his acting, said to walk that way. But now, let this man 
sit down, or lie down in the way, you cannot say he is 
walking; much less can you say, that he is walking that 
way, if he walk quite contrary. So is it in that obedience 
which is walking with God : ' I press forwards,' saith the 
apostle, ' to the mark;' Phil. iii. 14. ' I follow after it;' 
Phil. iii. 12. And he bids us ' so run that we may obtain.' 
There is a constant pressing forwards required in our obe- 
dience. Saith David, ' I follow hard after God.' The en- 
joyment of God in Christ is the mark before us ; our walking 
is a constant pressing towards it. To fall into, yea, per- 
haps, fall under a temptation, hinders not but that a man 
may still be said to be walking, though he makes no great 
speed, and though he defiles himself by his fall. It is not 
every omission of a duty, it is not every commission of sin 
that utterly cuts off in the performance of the duty : but to 
sit down and give over, to engage in a way, a course of sin; 
this is that which is called walking contrary to God, not 
with him. 

(4.) Walking with God, is to walk always as under the 
eye of God. Hence it is called ' walking before him,' be- 
fore his face, in his sight. The performance of all duties of 
obedience, as under the eye of God, is required unto this 
walking with him. 

Now there are two ways whereby a man may do all 
things as under the eye of God. 

[1.] By a general apprehension of God's omniscience 
and presence, as * all things are open and naked before 
him;' Heb. iv. 12. on this consideration, that he knows all 
things, that his understanding is infinite, that nothing can 
be hid from him, that there is no flying out of his presence, 
Psal. xiii. 7. nor hiding from him, the darkness being light 
to him. Men may have a general persuasion, that they are 



under the eye of God ; and this is in the thoughts of all ; I 
do not say actually, but in respect of the principle of it, that 
lies in them, which, if it may freely act itself, will make 
them know it, and consider it; Psal. xciv. 9. Job xxiv. 23. 
Prov. XV. 3. 

[2.] There is a performance of obedience under the eye 
of God as one that is peculiarly concerned in that obedience. 
God says to David, Psal. xxxii. 8. ' I will guide thee with 
mine eye.' The consideration of mine eye being upon thee, 
shall instruct thee, or teach thee in the way which thou 
shalt go. Mine eye is on thee as concerned in thy ways 
and obedience. This is to walk before God, to consider him 
as looking on us, as one deeply concerned in all our ways, 
walking, and obedience. 

Now we consider the Lord as thus concerned, as one from 
whom we receive, 1st. Direction; 2dly. Protection; 3dly. 
Examination and trial. 

1st. Direction : so before; ' I will guide thee with mine 
eye.' Consideration of the eye of God on us, sends us to 
him for counsel and direction in the whole course of our 
obedience. If a child walk in any way with his father 
looking on him, if he be at a loss at any time which way he 
ought to go, will he not inquire of him who knows, who 
looks on him in all his ways? Are we at any loss in our 
way, know we not what to do, or how to steer our course? 
Look to him whose eye is upon us, and we shall have direc- 
tion ; Prov. xxii. 12. 

2dly. Protection in our walking in our obedience; Psal. 
xxxiv. 15. his eyes are so upon them, that his ears are open 
to them, to give them protection and deliverance : so fully, 
2 Chron. xvi. 9. This is one end why the eyes of God are 
upon his and their ways, that he may shew himself strong 
in their behalf. I have seen it ; he lays at the bottom of all 
their deliverance. 

3dly. For trial and examination ; Psal. xi. 4, 5. His eyes 
are upon us for to search and try if there be, as David 
speaks, any way of wickedness in us. This use he makes of 
the consideration of the omnipresence and omniscience of 
God; Psal. cxxxix. 7 — 19. Having set forth God's inti- 
mate knowledge of, and acquaintance with him, and all his 
ways, ver. 23, 24. he makes use of it, by appealing to him 


about his integrity in his obedience. So saith Job to God, 
* Hast thou eyes of flesh, or seest thou as man seeth?' 
chap. X. 4. that is, thou dost not. And what is this spoken 
in reference unto ? Even his trying the paths and obedience 
of the sons of men ; ver. 6. When our Saviour comes to 
try, examine, and search the obedience of his churches, he 
is said to have * eyes of fire,' Rev. i. 14. and in pursuit of it 
he still tells his churches, * I know thy works,' or, ' I have 
not found thee perfect, I have something against thee;' all 
arguing a trial and examination of their obedience. 

This, I say, is to walk before God, or under his eye; to 
consider him looking on us peculiarly, as one concerned in 
our ways, walking, and obedience ; that we may constantly 
take counsel of him, fly to him for protection, and consider 
that he weighs and tries all our ways and works, whether 
they are perfect according to the tenour of the covenant of 

Now there are two things that will certainly follow this 
consideration of our walking with God, being under his eye 
and control. 

(1st.) Reverential thoughts of him. This God who is a 
consuming fire, is nigh to us, his eyes are always on us: 
'Let us,' saith the apostle, 'have grace, whereby we may 
serve him acceptably;' Heb. xii. 28, 29. If men order their 
deportment and carriage at least, unto a reverential appear- 
ance before their rulers or governors, who see only their out- 
side ; shall we not have a regard of him, who always hath 
his eye upon us, searches our hearts, and tries our reins, the 
most secret reserve of our souls? But of this afterward. 

(2dly.) Self-abasement under a sense of our great vileness, 
and the imperfection of all our services. But both these be- 
long properly to the next consideration, of what it is to walk 
humbly with God. 

(5.) Our walking with God in our obedience argues 
complacency and delight therein ; and that we are bound 
unto God in his ways with the cords of love. He that goes 
unwillingly, by compulsion with another, when every step 
is wearisome and burdensome to him, and his whole heart 
desires to be discharged of his company, can very improperly 
be said to walk with him, and no farther, than as the mere 
motion of the body may be so expressed. The Lord walketh 

N 2 


with us, and he rejoiceth over us, and in us, Zeph. iii, 17. 
as also he expresseth his delight in the particular service 
that we yield unto him; Cant. ii. 14. So also saith the Son 
and wisdom of God, Piov. viii. 31. his joy and his delight 
is in the obedience of the sons of men. Hence are those 
longing expressions of God after the obedience of his peo- 
ple ; ' Oh, that there were such a heart in thee; that thou 
wouldest fear me ! Turn you, turn you, w'hen shall it once 
be!' What have you seen in me that you are gone away? 
And our Saviour, the husband of the church, carries this 
to the greatest height imaginable; Cant. iv. 9 — 16. He 
speaks as one transported by a delight not to be borne, 
which he receives from the love and obedience of his spouse ; 
comparing it with things of the highest natural delight, and 
preferring them far before them. 

Now surely if God hath this delight in us, in our walking 
before him ; is it not expected that our delight should be 
in him in our obedience? It suits not my present busi- 
ness to go over the testimonies of Scripture, wherein either 
we are required to delight in the Lord ; or have the example 
of the saints, who did so to the height proposed to us; or 
to insist on the nature of the delight I speak of. Job makes 
it a sure mark of a hypocrite, that he 'will not,' notwith- 
standing all his obedience, ' delight himself in the Almighty;' 
Job xxvii. 10. Only take notice that there is a twofold de- 
light in this matter : [1.] A delight in the obedience itself, 
and the duties of it; [2.] A delight in God, in that obe- 

[1.] There may be a delight in the duties of obedience, 
upon some foreign respect, when there is no delight in God 
in them. A man may delight to go along with another in 
the way, on the account of some pleasantness in the way, or 
other occasions which he hath to draw him that way, thousrh 
he hath no delight at all in the company of him with whom 
he walks. God tells us of a hypocritical people that sought 
him daily, and delighted to know his ways, and took delight 
in approaching to God ; Isa. Iviii. 2. And it is said of some, 
that Ezekiel's ministry was to them, as *a cheerful song of 
one that had a pleasant voice ;' wherefore they came and heard 
and attended on it, when their hearts went after their sins ; 
Ezek. xxxiii. 31, 32. There may be something in the ad- 


ministration of the ordinances of God, in the person ad- 
ministering, in the things administered, which may take 
the minds of hypocrites so that they may run after them, 
and attend to them with great delight and greediness. John 
'was a burning and a shining light,' saith our Saviour to the 
wicked Jews, and ' they were willing for a season to rejoice' 
or delight ' in his light;' John v. 35. How many have we seen 
running after sermons, pressing with the multitude, finding 
sweetness and contentment in the word, who yet have no- 
thing but novelty, or the ability of the preacher, or some 
outward consideration for the bottom of their delight. 

[2.] There is a delight in God in our obedience : * De- 
light thyself in the Lord,' saith the psalmist ; Psal. xxxvii. 4. 
And a delight in obedience and duties, because it is his will, 
and his ways ; when a person aims in every duty to meet 
with God, to have converse with him, to communicate his 
soul to him, and to receive refreshment from him; when on 
this account, our duties and all our ways of obedience are 
sweet and pleasant to us, then do we in them walk with 
God. Let not men think, who perform duties with a 
bondage-frame of spirit, to whom they are weariness and 
burdensome, but that they dare not omit them, who never 
examine their hearts whether they meet with God in their 
duties, or have any delight in so doing ; let them not think, 
I say, whatever they do, that at all they walk with God. 

I shall not insist on more particulars. 

Use 1. Of direction : know that it is a great thing to 
walk with God as we ought. We heard before how many 
things were required to render it acceptable ; now, some of 
the things that it consists in. Who almost hath prepared his 
heart to walk with God as he ought? Who considers whether 
his walking be such as it ought to be ? Believe me, friends, 
a formal performance of duties, in a course, or a round, from 
one day, one week to another, both in private and public, 
may possibly come exceeding short of this walking with 
God. Men content themselves with a very slight and formal 
course : so they pray morning aifd evening ; so they take 
part with some of the people of God, against open profane 
persons ; so they keep themselves from such sins as would 
wound a natural conscience, all is well with them. Be not 
deceived, walking with God must have, 

182 01<- A\ALK1N(} HUMBLY WITH GOD. 

(1.) All the strength and vigour of the soul laid out in it. 
' Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart.' The 
soul and heart of a man is to be in the work; his design and 
contrivance about it: his contendins; in it. Form, and a 
course will not do it. 

(2.) It is to have the perfection of the new covenant in 
universality, and sincerity attending it : it is not the doing 
of this or that thing, but the doing of all things by Christ 
commanded ; not a loving of friends only, but of enemies ; 
not a denial of the ways of ungodly men only, but a denial 
of self and the world ; not a doing hurt to none only, but a 
doing good to all; not a hatred to evil men's ways only, 
but a love to their persons ; not praying and hearing only, 
but giving alms, comramiicating, shewing mercy, exercising 
loving-kindness in the earLh ; not a mortification of pride 
and vanity only, especially, if as to others in any outward 
appearance, but of envy, wrath, discontent. In a word, ' It 
is perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord' that is re- 
quired. If men professing religion, who are almost devoured 
by world, or flesh, or envy, or faction, or idleness, or use- 
lessness in their generation, would but lay their hearts to 
the rules we have considered, they would find they had but 
little cause to hug themselves in their ways and walking. 

I might here go over all the particulars that have been 
insisted on, and try our obedience by them. But, 

Use 2. For others, I shall only ask over the heads of what 
have been delivered. Would you be thought to walk with 

(1.) What evidence have you, that you are in covenant 
with him ? That your covenant with hell and death is broken, 
and that you are taken into the bond of the covenant of 
grace? What account can you give to God, others, or your 
own souls of this your covenant state and condition ? How 
many are at a loss as to this foundation of all, walking with 

(2.) Is your obedience from faith ? What evidence have 
you thereof? Go over all the causes, effects, and adjuncts 
of a justifying faith, and try whether you have this principle 
of all acceptable obedience ? How hath it been wrought in 
you? What work of the Spirit have you had upon you ? 
What have been your conviction, humiliation, and conver- 


sion? When, how, by what means wrought? Are your 
hearts purified by it, and are you by it baptized into one 
spirit with the people of God ; or are you still enemies to 

(3.) Is your walking universal and perfect, according to 
the tenour of the covenant ? Have you no sweet morsel under 
your tongue ? No beloved lust that is indulged to, that you 
cannot as yet thoroughly part with ? No allowed reserve 
for sin ? 

(4.) Do you delight in God in that obedience you yield; 
or are his ways a burden unto you, that you are scarce able 
to bear them ? Weary of private prayer, of sabbaths, of all 
the worship of God ? I leave these things with your con- 



What it is to walk with God hath been declared. 

II. What is added thereunto of duty, in this qualification, 
comes nextly to be considered. 

Amongst the many eminent qualifications of the obe- 
dience of believers, we shall find in the issue this to stand 
in the forefront among the chiefest. The words in the ori- 
ginal are, D'^b yjlfm : ' to humble thyself in walking,' or ' to 
walk with God.' 

A man would think that it is such an honour and ad- 
vancement, that a poor sinful creature should be taken into 
the company of the great God to walk with him ; that he had 
need be exhorted to take upon him great thoughts of him- 
self ; that he may be prepared for it. Is it a light matter, 
says David, to be son-in-law to a king? Is it alight matter 
to walk with God ? How had the heart of a man need to be 
lifted up, which hath such apprehensions of its condition ? 
The matter is quite otherwise. He that would have his 
heart exalted up to God, must bring it dawn in itself. There 
is a pride in every man's heart by nature, lifting him up, 
and swelling him until he is too high and big for God to 
walk with. 

Now, whereas there are two things in our walking with 
God, considerable : first, the inward power of it; and, se- 
condly, the outward privilege of it, in an orderly admittance 
to the duties of it ; the former alone is that which edifieth 
us in this duty, the latter puffeth up. These Jews here, and 
their successors the Pharisees, having the privilege of per- 
forming the outward duty of walking with God, were, as 
Capernaum, lifted up unto heaven, and trusting in them- 
selves that they were righteous, they despised others : of all 
men, therefore, they were most abhorred of God. This is 
that which the Holy Ghost beats them from, resting in the 
privilege, to come up to the power. God tells us of the 
prince of Tyrus, that he set his * heart as the heart of God,' 
Ezek. xxviii. 6. he would be on even terms with him ; inde- 
pendent, the author of his own good, fearless. So in some 
measure is the heart of every man by nature ; whicli, indeed, 
is not to be like God, but the devil. 


To prevent this evil, I shall [inquire, what it is that is 
here required of us under these two heads : 

1. What it is in reference whereunto we are to humble 
ourselves in walking with God. 

2. How we are to do it. 

1. There are two things that we. are to humble ourselves 
unto in our walking with God : (1.) The law of his grace ; 
(2.) The law of his providence. 

(1.) In all our walking with God, we are to humble our- 
selves in bowing to the law and rule of his grace, which is 
the way that he hath revealed, wherein he will walk with 
sinners. The apostle tells us of the Jews in sundry places, 
that they had a mind to walk with God ; they had ' a zeal for 
God.' So he had himself in his pharisaism ; Phil. iii. 6. He 

* was zealous towards God,' Acts xxii. 3. and so were the 
Jews : Rom. x. 2. * I bear them record, they have a zeal of 
God.' And they followed after righteousness, ' the law of 
righteousness;' Rom. ix. 31. They took pains 'to establish 
their righteousness ;' chap. x. 3. What can be more required 
to walking with God, than a zeal for him ; for his laws and 
ways, and a diligent endeavour to attain a righteousness 
before him ? How few do we see attain thus much ? What 
repute have they in the world that do so ? But yet, saith 
the apostle, they did not attain to walk with God, nor the 
righteousness they sought after ; chap. ix. 31. But what is 
the reason of it? Why, in their attempt to walk with God 
they did not bow themselves to the law of his grace : so 
chap. X. 3. ' They went about to establish their own righ- 
teousness, and did not submit themselves to the righteous- 
ness of God.' What righteousness is that? Why, ' the righ- 
teousness of faith,' according to the law of grace ; Rom. i. 17. 

* They sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of 
the law;' chap. ix. 32. And the ground of all this is disco- 
vered, ver. 33. Behold, here are two effects of Christ towards 
several persons : some stumble at him, and so are not able 
to walk on with God. Who are they ? He tells you, ver. 32. 
Some are not ashamed : Who are they ? They that believe, 
and so submit to the law of God's grace. It is evident then, 
that men may labour to walk with God, and yet stumble and 
fall, for want of this humbling themselves to the law of his 


Let US see then, how that may be done, and what is re- 
quired thereunto. It is then required, 

[1.] That the bottom of all a man's obedience lie in this. 
That in himself he is a lost undone creature, an object of 
wrath, and that whatever he have of God in any kind, he 
must have it in a way of mere mercy and grace. To this ap- 
prehension of himself, must proud man that would fain have 
something of his own, humble himself. God abhors every 
one that he sees coming towards him on any other account. 
Our Saviour Christ lets men know what they are, and what 
they must be, if they will come to God by him. ' I came,' 
saith he, ' to save that which was lost;' Matt, xviii. 11. 'I 
came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance ;' 
Matt. ix. 13. Ver. 12. ' The whole have no need of a physi- 
cian, but they that are sick.' ' I came into the world,' says he, 
' that they that are blind may see, and that they which see 
might be made blind ;' John ix. 39. This is the sum ; if you 
intend to have any thing to do with God by me, know your- 
selves to be lost sinners, blind, sick, dead, so that whatever 
you have, you must have it in a way of mere grace. 

And how was this direction followed by Paul? Will you 
see the foundation of his obedience? You have it, 1 Tim. i. 
13 — 15. I was thus and thus, I am the chiefest of sinners; 
* but I obtained mercy.' It is mere mercy and grace, upon the 
account whereof I have any thing from God ; which prin- 
ciple he improves to the height, Phil. iii. 7 — 9. All loss, all 
dung, Christ is all in all. This the proud Pharisees could 
not submit unto. It is the subject of much of their disputes 
with our Saviour. To be lost, blind, nothing, they could not 
endure to hear. Were they not children of Abraham ? Did 
they not do so, and so ? To tell them that they are lost and 
nothing, is but to speak out of envy. And on this rock do 
thousands split themselves in the days wherein we live. 
When they are overpowered by any conviction, to an appre- 
hension of a necessity of walking with God, as more or less, 
at one time or other, by one means or other, most men are ; 
they then set themselves on the performance of the duties 
they have neglected, and of the obedience which they think 
acceptable, abiding in that course whilst their conviction 
abides ; but never humbling themselves to this part of the 
law of God's grace, to be vile, miserable, lost, cursed, hope- 


less in themselves, never making thorough work of it. They 
lay the foundation of their obedience in a quagmire, whose 
bottom should have been digged into, and stumble at the 
stumbling-stone, in their first attempt to walk with God. 

Now there are two evils attending the mere performance 
of this duty, which utterly disappoint all men's attempts for 
walking with God. 

1st. That men without it will go forth, somewhat, at 
least, in their own strength, to walk with God. Why, say 
the Pharisees, can we do nothing ? * Are we blind also V 
Acting in the power of self, will cleave to such a one, so as 
not to be separated; it will steal upon him in every duty he 
goes about. Now nothing is more universally opposite to 
the whole nature of gospel obedience, than this, that a man 
should perform the least of it in his own strength, without 
an actual influence of life and power from God in Christ: 
'Without me,' says Christ,* ye can do nothing;' John xv. 5. 
All that is done without strength from him, is nothing. God 
works in us 'to will and to do of his good pleasure;' Phil, 
ii. 13. Whatever a man doth, which God works not in him, 
which he receives not strength for from Christ, is all lost, all 
perishing. Now our fetching in of strength from Christ for 
every duty, is founded wholly in that subjection to the law 
of grace whereof we speak. 

2dly. His obedience will build him up in that state 
wherein he is, or edify him towards hell and destruction ; of 
which more afterward. 

[2.] The second thing that we are to humble ourselves 
unto in the law of grace, is, a firm persuasion, exerting itself 
effectually in all our obedience, that there is not a righteous- 
ness to be obtained before God by the performance of any 
duties or obedience of ours whatever. That this lies in the 
law of the grace of God, the apostle disputes at large, Rom. 
iv. 13 — 15. 'If,' saith he, 'righteousness be by the law,' 
that is, by our obedience to God, according to the law, then 
faith and the promise serve to no purpose ; there is an incon- 
sistency between the law of grace, that is, of faith and the 
promise, and the obtaining of a righteousness before God by 
our obedience. So Gal. ii. 21. * If righteousness were by 
the law, then Christ is dead in vain.' You would walk with 
God according to his mind, you would please him in Jesus 


Christ : What do you do ? You strive to perform the duties 
required at your hand, that on their account you may be ac- 
cepted as righteous with God. I tell you,saith the apostle, 
if this be the state of things, ' Christ is dead in vain : ' if this, 
be a righteousness before God to be obtained by any thing 
you can do, the gospel is to no purpose. 

And this also is the proud heart of man to humble him- 
self to, if he will walk with God. He must obey, he must 
perform duties, he must be holy, he must abstain from every 
sin, and that all under a quick, living, energetical persua- 
sion, that by these things, a righteousness before God is not 
to be obtained. This is to influence all your duties, to steer 
you in your whole course of obedience, and to accompany 
you in every act of it. How few are influenced with this 
persuasion in their walking with God ? Do not most men 
proceed on other practical principles ? Is not their great 
reserve for their appearance before God, hewed out of their 
own obedience ? God knows they walk not with him. 

[3.] In the midst of all our obedience, which is our own, 
we must believe and accept of a righteousness which is not 
our own, nor at all wrought or procured by us ; of which we 
have no assurance that there is any such thing, but by the 
faith we have in the promise of God ; and thereupon re- 
nouncing all that is in or of ourselves, we must merely and 
solely rest on that for righteousness and acceptance with 
God. This the apostle affirms his heart to be humbled unto, 
Phil. iii. 7 — 9. the place before mentioned : he reckons up 
all his own duties, is encompassed with them, sees them 
lying in great abundance on every hand, every one of them 
offering its assistance, perhaps painting its face, and crying 
that it is gain ; but, saith the apostle, You are all loss and 
dung; I look for another righteousness than any you can 
give me. 

Man sees and knows his o\\y\ duty, his own righteousness 
and walking with God ; he seeth what it costs and stands 
him in; he knows what pains he hath taken about it, what 
waiting, fasting, labouring, praying it hath cost him; how 
he hath cut himself short of his natural desires, and morti- 
fied his flesh in abstinence from sin. These are the things 
of a man, wrought in him, performed by him, and the spirit 
of a man knows them; and they will promise fair to the 


heart of a man, that hath been sincere in them, for any end 
and purpose that he shall use them. But now for the righ- 
teousness of Christ, that is without him, he seeth it not, ex- 
periences it not, the spirit that is within him knows nothing 
of it, he hath no acquaintance with it, but merely as it is re- 
vealed and proposed in the promises, wherein yet it is no- 
where said to him in particular, that it is his, and was pro- 
vided for him, but only that it is so to and for believers. 
Now for a man to cast away that which he hath seen, for 
that which he hath not seen; to refuse that which promises to 
give him a fair entertainment and supportment in the pre- 
sence of God, and which he is sure is his own, and cannot 
be taken from him, for that which he must venture on, upon 
the word of promise against ten thousand doubts, and fears, 
and temptations, that it belongs not to him; this requires 
humbling of the soul before God; and this the heart of a 
man is not easily brought unto : every man must make a 
venture for his future state and condition. The question 
only is, upon what he shall venture it ? Our own obedience 
is at hand, and promises fairly to give assistance and help : 
for a man therefore wholly to cast it aside upon the naked 
promise of God to receive him in Christ, is a thing that the 
heart of man must be humbled unto. There is nothing in a 
man that will not dispute against this captivity of itself: in- 
numerable proud reasonings and imaginations are set up 
against it ; and when the mind and discursive notional part 
of the soul is overpowered with the truth, yet the practical 
principle of the will and the affections will exceedingly tu- 
multuate against it. But this is the law of God's grace, 
which must be submitted unto, if we will walk with him. 
The most holy, wise, and zealous, who have yielded the 
most constant obedience unto God, whose good works, and 
godly conversation, have shone as lights in the world, must 
cast down all these crowns at the foot of Jesus, renounce all 
for him, and the righteousness that he hath wrought out for 
us. All must be sold for the pearl, all parted with for Christ. 
In the strictest course of exactest obedience in us, we are to 
look for a righteousness wholly without us. 

[4.] We must humble ourselves to place our obedience 
on a new foot of account, and yet to pursue it with no less 
diligence than if it stood upon the old. Eph. ii. 8 — 10. * By 


grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; 
it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should 
boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus 
unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we 
should walk in them.' If not of works, then what need of 
works any more ? The first end appointed to our obedience 
was, that we might be saved. This end, it seems, is taken 
away : our works and duties are excluded from any efficiency 
in compassing of that end : for if itbe of works, then 'grace 
is no more grace ;' Gal. ii. 21. Then let us lay all works and 
obedience aside, and sin that grace may abound. That 
many did, that many do make this use of the grace of God, 
is most evident ; so turning it into lasciviousness. But, saith 
the apostle, there is more to be said about works than so : 
their legal end is changed, and the old foundation they stood 
upon is taken away ; but there is a new constitution making 
them necessary ; a new obligation, requiring them no less 
exactly of us, than the former did, before it was disannulled : 
so ver. 10. *We are his workmanship, created in Christ 
Jesus unto good works.' God, saving us by grace, hath on 
that account, appointed that we should walk in obedience. 
There is this difference : before, I was to perform good works, 
because I was to be saved by them ; now, because I am saved 
without them. God saving us in Christ by grace, hath ap- 
pointed, that we shall perform that in a way of acknowledg- 
ment of our free salvation, which before we were to do to be 
saved. Though works left no room at all for grace, yet 
grace leaves room for works, though not the same they had 
before grace came. This then are we to humble ourselves 
to ; to be as diligent in good works, and all duties of obe- 
dience, because we are saved without them, as we could be 
to be saved by them. He that walks with God, must humble 
his soul to place all his obedience on this foot of account. 
He hath saved us freely, only let our conversation be as be- 
seemeth the gospel. How this principle is effectual in be- 
lievers, as to the crucifying of all sin, Paul declares, Rom. 
vi. 14. ' Sin shall not have dominion over you ; for ye are not 
under the law, but under grace.' The argument to carnal 
reason would lie quite contrary. If we are not under the 
law, that is, the condemning power of the law, then let sin 
have its dominion, power, sway. Did not the law forbid sin 


under pain of damnation ? ' Cursed is every one that conti- 
nueth not,' &c. Did not the law command obedience with 
the promise of salvation? 'The man that doth the things of it, 
shall live therein.' If then the law be taken away from hav- 
ing power over us, to these ends and purposes, as to forbid 
sin with terror of damnation, and command obedience for 
righteousness and salvation ; what need we perform the one, 
or avoid the other? Why, upon this account, saith the 
apostle, that we are under grace, which, with new ends, and 
on new motives and considerations, requires the one, and for- 
bids the other. 

Have we now, or do we constantly humble ourselves to 
this part of the law of God's grace ; that we build up and 
establish our obedience on grace, and not on the law; on 
motives of love, not fear ; from what God hath done for 
us in Christ, rather than from what we expect, because 
'eternal life is the gift of God, through Jesus Christ our 

[5.] We are to humble ourselves to this, that we address 
ourselves to the performance of the greatest duties, being 
fully persuaded that we have no strength for the least. This 
is that which lies so cross to flesh and blood, that our souls 
must be humbled to it, if ever we are brought to it, and yet 
without this there is no walking with God. There are great 
and mighty duties to be performed in our walking with God 
in a way of gospel obedience : there is cutting off right 
hands, plucking out right eyes, denying, yea, compara- 
tively hating father, mother, and all relations, dying for 
Christ, laying down our lives for the brethren, crucifying 
the flesh, cutting short all earthly desires, keeping the body 
in subjection, bearing the cross, self-denial, and the like ; 
which, when they come to be put in practice, will be found 
to be great and mighty duties. This is required in thelaw 
of grace, that we undertake, and go through with these all 
our days, with a full assurance and persuasion, that we have 
not strength of ourselves, or in ourselves, to perform the 
least of them. 'We are not sufiicient of ourselves,' saith 
the apostle, 2 Cor. iii. 5. We cannot think a good thought : 
' Without Christ we can do nothing ;' John xv. 5. This to a 
carnal heart, looks like making of brick without straw. A 
hard saying it is, ' who can bear it V May not men sit down 


and say, 'Why doth he yet complain?' Is he not austere, 
reaping where he hath not sown ? ' Are his ways equal V 
Yea, most equal, righteous, and gracious. For this is the de- 
sign of his thus dealing with us, that upon our addressing 
ourselves to any duty, we should look to him from whom are 
all our supplies, and thereby receive strength for what we 
have to do. How unable was Peter to walk upon the water? 
Yet, when Christ bids him come, he ventures in the midst of 
the sea, and with the command hath strength communicated 
to support him. God may call us to do or suffer what he 
pleases, so that his call have an efficacy with it to communi- 
cate strength for the performance of what he calls us to ; 
Phil. i. 29. 

This, I say, are we to humble ourselves unto ; not only 
in the general, to reckon that the duties that are required of 
us, are not proportioned to the strength residing in us, but 
to the supply laid up for us in Christ; but also to lie under 
such an actual conclusion in every particular duty that we 
address ourselves to. This, in civil and natural things, 
were the greatest madness in the world ; nor is it needful 
that you should add any farther discouragement to a man 
from attempting any thing, than to convince him that he 
hath no strength or ability to perform, or go through with it : 
once persuade him of that, and there is an end of all endea- 
vours ; for who will wear out himself about that which it is 
impossible he should attain? It is otherwise in spirituals; 
God may require any thing of us, that there is strength laid 
up in Christ for, enough to enable us to perform it: and we 
may by faith attempt any duty, though never so great, if 
there be grace to be obtained for it from Christ. Hence is that 
enumeration of the great things done by believers, through 
faith, utterly beyond their own strength and power, Heb. xi. 
33,134. 'Out of weakness were made strong.' When they 
entered upon the duty, they were weakness itself, but in the 
performance of it grew strong, by the supply that was admi- 
nistered. So we are said to come to Christ to ' find grace 
to help in time of need,' Heb. iv. 16. when we need it, as 
going about that which we have no might nor power for. 

This is the way to walk with God, to be ready and will- 
ing to undergo any duty, though never so much above or 
beyond our strength, so we can see that in Christ there is a 


supply. The truth is, he that shall consider what God re- 
quires of believers, would think them to have a stock of 
spiritual strength, like that of Samson's ; since they are to 
fight with principalities and powers, contend against the 
world, and self, and what not : and he that shall look upon 
them, will quickly see their weakness and inability. Here 
lies tiie mystery of it; the duties required of them are pro- 
portioned to the grace laid up for them in Christ, not to what 
they are at any time themselves intrusted withal. 

[6.] This also is another thing we are to humble ourselves 
unto ; to be contented to have the sharpest afflictions ac- 
companying and attending the strictest obedience. Men 
walking closely with God, may perhaps have some secret 
reserves for freedom from trouble in this life : hence they are 
apt to think strange of a fiery trial, 1 Pet. iv. 12. and there- 
fore when it comes upon them, they are troubled, perplexed, 
and know not what it means, especially if they see others 
prospering, and at rest in the land, who know not God. 
Their estates are ruined, names blasted, bodies afflicted with 
violent diseases, children taken away^, or turning profligate 
and rebellious, life in danger every hour, perhaps killed all 
the day long : hereupon they are ready to cry with Heze- 
kiah, Isa. xxxviii. 3. ' Lord remember;' or to contend about 
the business, as Job did, being troubled that he was disap- 
pointed in his expectation of dying in his nest. But this 
frame is utterly contrary to the law of the grace of God, 
which is, that the children that he receives are to be chas- 
tised : Heb. vii. 5. that they are to undergo whatever chas- 
tening he will call them to : for having made the captain of 
their salvation perfect through all manner of sufFerino-s, he 
will make his conformable to him. This, I say, is part of 
the law of the grace of God, that in the choicest obedience 
we willingly undergo the greatest afflictions. The manage- 
ment of this principle between God and Job, were worth 
while to consider; for although he disputed long, yet God 
left him not until he brought him to own it, and to submit 
unto it with all his heart. This will farther appear in our 
second head, about submitting to the law of the providence 
of God. The truth is, to help our poor weak hearts in this 
business, to prevent all sinful repinings, disputes, and the , 

VOL. XVI. o 


like, he hath laid in such provision of principles as may ren- 
der the receiving of it sweet and easy to us. As, 

1 St. That he doth not correct us for his pleasure, but that 
he may make us partakers of his holiness : so that we are 
not in heaviness unless it be needful for us ; which we may 
rest upon, when we neither see the cause, nor the particular 
of our visitation ; then on this account we may rest on his 
sovereion will and wisdom. 

2dly. That he will make all things work together for 
our good. This takes the poison out of every cup we are to 
drink, yea, all the bitterness of it. We have concernments 
that lie above all that here we can undergo or suffer; and if 
all work for our advantage and improvement, why should 
they not be welcome to us ? 

3dly. That conformity and likeness to Jesus Christ is 
hereby to be attained ; and sundry other principles there 
are given out, to prevail with our hearts to submit and hum- 
ble our souls to this part of the law of God's grace, which is 
a thing that the devil never thought Job would have done, 
and was therefore restless until it was put to the trial : but 
he was disappointed and conquered, and his condemnation 

And this is the first thing required of us, namely, that 
we humble ourselves to the law of the grace of God. 

Use 1. Let us now take some brief account of ourselves, 
whether we do so or no. We perform duties, and so seem to 
walk with God : but, 

(1.) Is the bottom of our obedience, a deep apprehension, 
and a full conviction of our own vileness and nothingness, 
of our being the chief of sinners, lost and undone, so that we 
always lie at the foot of sovereign grace and mercy ? Is it 
so ? Then when, how, by what means, was this apprehen- 
sion brought upon us ? I intend not a general notion that 
we are sinners ; but a particular apprehension of our lost 
undone condition, with suitable affections thereunto. Do 
we cry to the Lord out of the depths ? Or is the end of our 
obedience to keep ourselves out of such a condition? I am 
afraid many amongst us, could we, or themselves, by any 
means dive into the depths of their hearts, would be found 
to yield their obedience unto God, merely on the account of 


keeping them out of the condition which they must be 
brought unto, before they can yield any acceptable obe- 
dience to him. If we think at all to walk with God^ let us 
be clear in this, that such a sense and apprehension of our- 
selves lies at the bottom of it : * Of sinners I am chief.' 

(2.) Doth this always abide in our thoughts, and upon 
our spirits, that by all we have done, do, or can do, we can- 
not obtain righteousness to stand in the presence of God, so 
that in the secret reserves of our hearts, we place none of our 
righteousness on that account? Can we be content to suffer 
loss in all our obedience, as to an end of righteousness; and 
do we appear before God, simply on another head, as if there 
were no such thing as our own obedience in the world? 
Herein indeed lies the great mystery of gospel obedience, 
that we pursue it with all our strength and might, with all 
the vio-our of our souls, and labour to abound in it like the 
angels in theirs, perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord ; 
and yet in point of the acceptation of our persons, to have 
no more regard unto it, than if we had yielded no more obe- 
dience than the thief on the cross. 

(3.) Do we then humble ourselves to accept of the righ- 
teousness that God in Christ hath provided for us ? It is a 
common working of the heart of them whom God is drawing 
to himself; they dare not close with the promise, they dare 
not accept of Christ and his righteousness, it would be pre- 
sumption in them. And the answer is common, that indeed 
this is not fear and humility, but pride. Men know not how 
to humble themselves to a righteousness purely without 
them, on the testimony of God; the heart is not willing to 
it: we would willingly establish our own righteousness, and 
not submit to the righteousness of God. But how is it with 
our souls ? Are we clear in this great point, or no ? If we 
are not, we are at best shuffling with God; we walk not with 
him. He admits none into his company, but expressly on 
the terms of taking this righteousness that he hath provided : 
and his soul loathes them that would tender him any thing 
in the room thereof, as men engaged to set up their wisdom 
and righteousness against his. But I must conclude. 

Use 2. If all these things are required to our walking with 
God, where shall they appear, what shall be their lot and 

o 2 


portion, who take no thought about these things ? Some we 
see visibly to walk contrary to him, having no regard to him 
at all, nor considering their latter end. Others have some 
checks of conscience, that think to cure these distempers 
and eruptions of sin, with a loose cry of * God be merciful 
to them.' Some go a little farther, to take care of the per- 
formance of duties, but they seek not God in a due manner; 
and he will make a breach upon them. The Lord awaken 
them all before it be too late. 



What it is to humble ourselves to the law of God's grace, 
you have heard. 

(2.) I come now to shew, what it is to humble ourselves 
to the law of his providence. 

By the law of providence, I intend, God's sovereign dis- 
posal of all the concernments of men in this world, in the 
variety, order, and manner, which he pleaseth, according to 
the rule and infinite reason of his own goodness, wisdom, 
righteousness, and truth. 

[1.] To evince what it is to humble ourselves to this law, 
some general observations must be given. And, 

(1st.) There is, and ever was somewhat, very much, in 
God's providential administration of the things of this world, 
and the concernments of the sons of men therein, which the 
most improved reason of men cannot reach unto, and which 
is contrary to all that is in us, as merely men ; of judgment, 
affections, or what else soever we are acted by. 

'Thy judgments,' saith David unto God, ' are far above 
out of his sight,' Psal. x.53. that is, of the man he is speak- 
ing of; he is not able to see the ground and reason, the 
order and beauty of them. And Psal. xxxvi. 6. ' Thy righ- 
teousness is like a great mountain, and thy judgments are a 
great deep;' that is, as the sea which none can look into the 
bottom of, nor know what is done in the caverns thereof. So 
that there is a height in the judgments of God not to be 
measured, and a depth not to be fathomed. Men cannot 
look into his ways. So also Psal. Ixxvii. 19. 'Thy way is 
in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy foot- 
steps are not known.' Men must be content to stand at the 
shore, and admire at the works of God ; but as to the beauty 
and excellency of them, they cannot search them out. To 
this purpose discourseth Zophar, in Job xi. 7 — 13. It is of 
the excellency and perfection of God in his works of provi- 
dence that he is speaking ; in the consideration of whose un- 
searchableness, he closes with that of ver. 12. Vain man 
would know the secrets of the counsels of God, the reason 


of his ways ; but, in his attempts after it, he is as an ass, as 
a wild ass, as the colt of a wild ass ; than which, nothing 
could be spoken with more contempt, to abase the pride of a 
poor creature. 

The ways of God are, we know, all perfect : he is our 
rock, and his work is perfect: nothing can be added to them, 
nor taken from them ; yea, they are all comely and beautiful 
in their season : there is not any thing comes out from him, 
but it is from wonderful counsel ; and all his ways will at 
length be found to praise him : but, as Job speaks, ix. 11. 
we perceive it not, we take no notice of it. * For who hath 
known his mind, or been his counsellor?' Rom. xi. 33, 34. 

Hence, not only the heathen were entangled in the con- 
sideration of the works of providence ; some, upon it, turn- 
ing atheists, most ascribing all things to blind, uncertain 
chance and contingency ; and others, very few, labouring to 
set a lustre upon what they could not understand : but we 
have the people of God themselves disputing with him about 
the equality of his ways, bringing arguments against it, and 
contending against his wisdom in them. * Ye say, the way 
of the Lord is not equal;' Ezek. xviii. 25. And again are 
they at it, xxxiii. 20. ' Yet ye say, the way of the Lord is not 
equal.' Yea, not only the common people, but the choicest 
of God's servants, under the old testament, were exceedingly 
exercised with this, that they could not oftentimes see the 
beauty and excellency, nor understand the reason or order 
of God's dispensations ; which I might prove at large, in the 
instances of Job, David, Heman, Jeremiah, Habakkuk, and 
others. Yea, there was nothing that God was more put to in 
dealing with his people of old, than to justify the righteous- 
ness and perfections of his providential dispensations, against 
their unjust, unbelieving complaints and manners. 

This then being the condition of God's providential dis- 
pensations in general, that there is much in them, not only 
above us, and unsearchable to us, as to the reason and 
beauty of his ways, but also contrary to all that is in us of 
reason, judgment, or affections, there is surely need of hum- 
bling our souls to the law of this providence, if we intend to 
walk with him. Neither is there any other way to come to 
an agreement with him, or to quiet our hearts from repining. 

2dly. There are four things in God's providential dis- 


posing of the things and concernments of men in the world, 
that require this humbhng of ourselves to him, as being no 
way able to grapple with him: (1st.) Visible confusion; 
(2dly.) Unspeakable variety; (3dly.) Sudden alterations; 
(4thly.) Deep distresses. 

(1st.) Visible confusion, like that mentioned, Isa. viii. 22. 
He that takes a view of the general stale of things in the 
world, will see nothing but trouble, darkness, and anguish ; 
* yea, darkness cover the earth, and gross darkness the 
people.' The oppression of tyrants, wasting of nations, de- 
struction of men and beasts, fury and desolations, make up 
the things of the past and present ages. The greatest and 
choicest parts of the earth, in the meantime inhabited by 
them that know not God, that hate him, that fill and reple- 
nish the world with habitations of cruelty, sporting them- 
selves in mischief, like the leviathan in the sea. In respect 
hereof God is said to make darkness his secret place and his 
pavilion, Psal. xviii. 11. and to dwell in the thick darkness, 
2 Chron. vi. 1. and to wait for the issue of this dispensation; 
to humble themselves to the law of it, is the patience and 
wisdom of the saints. See Hab. ii. 1. 

(2dly.) Unspeakable variety. Not to insist on parti- 
culars ; the case of the saints throughout the world, is the 
only instance I shall mention, and that on a twofold ac- 

[ 1 St.] Compared among themselves, in what unspeakable 
variety are they dealt withal ? some under persecution always, 
some always at peace, some in dungeons and prisons, some 
at liberty in their own houses ; the saints of one nation under 
great oppression for many ages, of another in quietness ; in 
the same places some poor, in great distress, put hard to it for 
daily bread all their lives ; others abounding in all things ; 
some full of various afflictions, going softly and mourning all 
their days ; others spared and scarce touched with the rod 
at all : and yet commonly the advantage of holiness, and 
close walking with God, lying on the distressed side. How 
doth God deal also with families in respect of grace, while 
he takes one whole family into covenant, and leaves out an- 
other whole family, whose heads and springs are no less 
holy ? He comes into a house, and takes one, and leaves 
another; takes a despised outcast, and leaves a darling. Of 


them also, some are wise, endowed with great gifts and abi- 
lities ; others weak to contempt and reproach. Who can 
now with an eye of reason look upon them, and say, they are 
all the children of one father, and that he loves them all 
alike? Should you come into a great house, and see some 
children in scarlet, having all things needful, others hewing 
wood, and drawing water, you would conclude that they 
are not all children, but some children, some slaves; but 
when it shall be told you, that they are all one man's children, 
and that the hewers of wood that live on the bread and water 
of affliction, and go in tattered rags, are as dear to him as 
the other, and that he intends to leave them as good an in- 
heritance as any of the rest; if you intend not to question 
the wisdom and goodness of the father of the family, you 
must resolve to submit to his authority with a quiet subjec- 
tion of mind. So is it in the great family of God ; nothing 
will quiet our souls, but humbling ourselves to the law of his 

[2dly.] Comparing them with others was the hard case 
of old ; the pleading whereof, by Job, David, Jeremiah, and 
Habbakuk, is so known, that I shall not need farther to insist 
upon it. 

I shall not farther manifest this from the variety which is 
in the dispensations of God towards the men of the world, 
which the wisest of men can reduce to no rule of righteous- 
ness, as things pass among us, Solomon acquaints us with 
it, Eccles. ix. 11. Things are disposed of according to no 
rule that we may fix our expectations on ; which ruined the 
reason of that mirror of mankind, in a natural condition, 
Marcus Brutus, and made him cry out, w rAfj/uov ojoetij. 

(3dly.) Sudden alterations. As in the case of Job, God 
takes a man whom he hath blessed with choice of blessinofs, 
in the midst of a course of obedience and close ualkino; with 
himself, when he expected to die in his nest, and to see good 
all his days; ruins him in a moment ; blasts his name, that 
he who was esteemed a choice saint, shall not be able to de- 
liver himself from the common esteem of a hypocrite ; slays 
his children ; takes away his rest, health, and every thing 
that is desirable to him. This amazes the soul, it knows not 
what God is doing, nor why he pleads with it in so much 
bitterness. A man that either is, or may fall into such a 


condition, will find, that he will never be able to walk with 
God in it, without humbling himself to the law of his pro- 

(4thly.) Great, deep, and abiding distresses have the 
same sffects with sudden alterations ; of which more after- 

And these are in general some of the things in God's pro- 
vidential disposal of the things of men in this world, that are 
too hard and wonderful for flesh and blood, wherein his 
paths are in the deep, which are contrary to all rules of pro- 
cedure that he hath given us to judge by, who are to judge 
of things but once, he being to call all things to a second 

[2.] Having given these two observations, I return to 
what I first proposed, namely, the duty of humbling ourselves 
to the law of the providence of God, so far as it concerns us 
in particular. 

J do not intend merely that men in general should be 
content with the dealings of God in the world, but that we 
should humble our hearts to him in what falls to be our share 
therein, though it come under any one or more of the heads 
of difliculty before mentioned. Our lots are various in this 
world : how they maybe farther different before they go out 
of it we know not. Some are in one condition, some in an- 
other; that we envy not one another, nor any in the world, 
that we repine not at God, nor charge him foolishly, is that 
I aim at. A thing sufficiently necessary in these days, 
wherein good men are too little able to bear their own con- 
dition, if in any thing it differs from others. 

The next thing then is to consider, how, and wherein we 
are to humble ourselves to the law of the providence of God. 
There are things on this account which our souls are to be 
humbled unto. 

1. His sovereignty. May he not do what he will with 
his own ? This is so argued out in Job, that I shall need to go 
no farther for the confirmation of it. See chap, xxxiii. 8 — 11, 
The words are the sum of what was, or was apprehended to 
be the complaint of Job ; that in the midst of his innocency 
and course of obedience, God dealt hardly with him, and 
brought him into great distresses. What is the reply here- 
unto? ver. 12. ' Behold, in this thou art not just.' It is a 


most unequal thing, for any man to make any such com- 
plaints. Whether Job did so or not, may be disputed ; but 
for any one to do so is certainly most unjust. But on what 
ground is that asserted? See the words following : ' God is 
greater than man, why strivest thou with him ?' It is to no pur- 
pose to contend with him, that is mightier than thou. And it is 
likewise unjust to do it with him, who is infinitely and incom- 
parably so upon the account of his absolute dominion and so- 
vereignty. For,saithhe,'He giveth no account of his matters.' 
He disposetli of all things as he will, and as he pleaseth. 
This is pursued to the utmost, chap, xxxiv. 16, 19. Men 
will not be forward openly to revile or repine against their 
governors. And what shall be said of God, who is infinitely 
exalted above them? Hence you have the conclusion of the 
whole matter, ver. 31 — 33. 

This, I say, is the first thing that we are to humble our- 
selves unto. Let us lay our mouths in the dust, and our- 
selves on the ground, and say, It is the Lord, I will be silent 
because he hath done it; he is of one mind, and who can 
turn him? He doth whatever he pleaseth. Am not I in his 
hand, as clay in the hand of the potter? May he not make 
what kind of vessel he pleases ? When I was not, he brought 
me out of nothing by his word. What I am, or have, is merely 
of his pleasure. Oh, let my heart and thoughts be full of 
deep subjection to his supreme dominion and uncontrollable 
sovereignty over me. This quieted Aaron in his great dis- 
tress, and David in his, 2 Sam. xv. 25, 26. and Job in his. It is 
pleaded by the Lord, Jer. x. Rom. ix. 11. and innumerable 
other places. If we intend to walk with God, we must humble 
ourselves to this, and therein we shall find rest. 

2. His wisdom. He is wise- also, as he speaks in 
derision of men's pretending to be so. Indeed God is only 
wise ; now he hath undertaken to make ' all things work to- 
gether for good to them that love him ;' Rom. viii. 28. 
That we shall not be in heaviness unless it be needful ; 1 Pet. 
i. 6. In many dispensations of his providence we are at a 
loss ; we cannot measure them by that rule. We see not 
how this state or condition can be good for the church in 
general, or us in particular. We suppose it would be more 
for his glory, and our advantage, if things were otherwise 
disposed. Innumerable are the reasonings of the hearts of 


the sons of men, on this account; we know not the 
thoughts of our own souls herein, how vile they are. God 
will have us humble ourselves to his wisdom in all his dis- 
pensations ; and to captivate our understandings thereunto. 
So Isa. xl. 27, 28. This is that which our hearts are to rest 
in, when ready to repine. There is no end of his understand- 
ing; he sees all things, in all their causes, effects, circum- 
stances, in their utmost reach, tendency, and correspondency. 
We walk in a shade, and know nothing of what is before us ; 
the day will come when we shall see one thing set against 
another, and infinite wisdom shining out in them all ; that 
all things were done in number, weight, and measure; that 
nothing could have been otherwise than it is disposed of, 
without the abridgment of the glory of God, and the good of 
his church. Yea, I dare say, that there is no saint of God, 
that is distressed by any dispensation of providence, but 
that if he will seriously and impartially consider his own 
state and condition, the frame of his heart, his temptations, 
and ways, with so much of the aims and ends of the Lord as 
will assuredly be discovered to faith and prayer, but he will 
have some rays and beams of infinite wisdom shining in it, 
tempered with love, goodness, and faithfulness. But whether 
for the present we have this light or not, or are left unto 
darkness, this is the haven and rest of our tossed souls, the 
ark and bosom of our peace, to humble our souls to the infi- 
nite wisdom of God in all his procedure ; and on that ac- 
count quietly to commit all things to his management. 

(3.) His righteousness. Though God will have us ac- 
quiesce in his sovereignty, when we can see nothing else; 
yet he will have us know, that all his ways are equal and 
righteous. The holy God will do no iniquity. That he is 
righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works, is pleaded 
as much as any thing that he hath discovered of himself. 
* Shall not the judge of all the world do right?' Is God un- 
just who inflicteth vengeance? God forbid. The righteous- 
ness of God, all which springeth from, and is reduced to the 
universal rectitude of his nature, in respect of the works 
that he doth, is manifold. It is that which is called ' Jus- 
titia regiminis,' his righteousness in rule or government, in 
the dispensation of rewards and punishments, that I am 
speaking of. Now, because we are not able to discern it in 


many particulars of his proceedings, to help us in humbling 
our souls unto it, take these considerations. 

(1.) That God judgeth notasman judgeth. Man judgeth 
according to the seeing of the eye, and the hearing of the 
ear ; but God searcheth the heart. Little do we know what 
is in the heart of men ; what transactions there are, or have 
been between God and them, which, if they were drawn forth 
as they shall be one day, the righteousness of God in his 
procedure, would shine as the sun. Rest on this, we know 
much less of the matter, on the account whereof God 
judgeth, than we do of the rule whereby he judges. Most 
things are to him otherwise than to us. 

(2.) God is the great Judge of all the world, not of this, 
or that particular place ; and so disposeth of all, as may 
tend to the good of the whole, and his glory in the universa- 
lity of things. Our thoughts are bounded, much more our 
observation and knowledge, within a very narrow compass. 
That may seem deformed unto us, which when it lies under 
an eye that at once hath a prospect of the whole, is full of 
beauty and order. He that was able to see at once but some 
one small part of a goodly statue, might think it a deformed 
piece ; when he that sees it altogether is assured of its due 
proportion and comeliness. All things in all places, of the 
age past and to come, lie at once naked before God, and he 
disposes of them so, as that in their contexture and answer 
one to another, they shall be full of order, which is properly 

(3.) God judges here, not by any final determinate sen- 
tence, but in a way of a preparation to a judgment to come. 
This unties all knots, and solves all difficulties whatever. 
This makes righteous and beautiful the deepest distresses 
of the godly, and the highest advancements of wicked men. 
And there let our souls rest themselves in quietness ; 
Acts xvii. 

(4.) His goodness, kindness, love, tenderness. Our souls 
must submit themselves to believe all these to be in all 
God's dispensations. I shall but name that one place 
wherein the apostle disputes for it, Heb. xii. 1 — G. and add 
that wherewith Hosea closes his declaration of God's va- 
rious dispensations and dealings with his people ; chap, 
xiv. 9. 


This now it is to humble our souls to the law of God's 
providence, in all his dispensations, to fall down before his 
sovereignty, wisdom, righteousness, goodness, love, and 
mercy. And without this frame of heart, there is no walking 
with God ; unless we intend to come into his presence to 
quarrel with him, which will not be for our advantage. 

This was Paul's frame; Phil. iv. 11. I have learned it 
saith he, it is not in me by nature ; but I have now learned 
it by faith, I have humbled my soul to it; Iv oIq tlfxi, in the 
things, state, condition, good or bad, high or low, at liberty, 
or in prison, respected or despised, in health or sickness, 
living or dying, jy olg him, therein to bow myself to the law 
of the good providence of God, which is contentment. So 
was it also with David ; Psal. cxxxi. 1. He did not exercise 
himself, or trouble himself about the ways and works of 
God, that were too high and too hard for him. How then 
did he behave himself? ver. 2. Something in his heart would 
have been inquiring after those things, but he quieted him- 
self, and humbled his soul to the law of the providence of 
God; which hath that comfortable issue, mentioned, ver. 
iii. an exhortation not to dispute the ways of God, bat to 
hope and trust in him, on the account mentioned before. 
This is also the advice that James gives to believers of all 
sorts; chap. i. 9, 10. Let every one rejoice in the dispen- 
sations of God, willingly bowing their hearts to it. 

This is a popular argument of daily use. Should I insist 
on the reasons of it, its consequence, effects, and advantage ; 
its necessity, if we desire that God should have any glory, 
or our own souls any peace, the perfect conquest that will 
be obtained by it over the evil of every condition, and stretch 
it in application to the saddest particular cases imaginable, 
for all which the Scripture abounds in directions ; I should 
go too far out of my way. 

This then, I say, is the second thing we are to humble 
ourselves unto. 

2. My other inquiry remains, namely, how or by what 
means we are thus to humble ourselves to the law of grace 
and providence. 

I shall but name one or two of the principal graces, in 
the exercise whereof, this may be performed. 

(1.) Let faith have its work. There are among others 


two things that faith will do, and is suited to do, that lie in 
a tendency hereunto. 

[1.] It empties the soul of self. This is the proper work 
of faith, to discover the utter emptiness, insufficiency, no- 
thingness that is in man unto any spiritual end or purpose 
whatever. So Eph. ii. 8, 9. Faith itself is of God, not of 
ourselves ; and it teaches us to be all by grace, and not by 
any work of ours. If we will be any thing in ourselves, faith 
tells us then it is nothing to us ; for it only fills them that 
are empty, and makes them all by grace, who are nothing 
by self. While faith is at work, it will fill the soul with 
such thoughts as these : I am nothing, a poor worm at God's 
disposal, lost if not found by Christ; have done, can do, no- 
thing on the account whereof I should be accepied with 
God ; surely God is to be in all things submitted to ; and 
the way of his mere grace accepted. So Rom. iii. 27. This 
is the proper work of faith, to exclude and shut out boast- 
ing in ourselves ; that is, to render us to ourselves such as 
have nothing at all to glory or rejoice in, in ourselves, that 
God may be all in all. Now this working of faith will keep 
the heart in a readiness to subject itself unto God in all 
things, both in the law of his grace and providence. 

[2.] Faith will actually bring the soul to the foot of 
God, and give it up universally to his disposal. What did 
the faith of Abraham do when it obeyed the call of God ? 
Isa. xli. 2. It brought him to the foot of God. God called 
him to be at his disposal universally, by faith to come to it, 
following him, he knew not for what, nor whither. Leave 
thy father's house and kindred : he disputes it not. Cast 
out Ishmael, whom thou lovest : he is gone. Sacrifice thine 
only Isaac : he goes about it. He was brought by faith to 
the foot of God, and stood at his disposal for all tilings. 
This is the proper nature of faith, to bring a man to that 
condition. So was it with David ; 2 Sam. xv. 26, 27. This 
faith will do. Will God have me to suffer in my name, es- 
tate, family ? It is the Lord, saith faith. Will he have me 
to be poor, despised in the world, of little or no use at all to 
him or his people? Who, saith faith, shall say to him, what 
doest thou? In any state and condition faith will find out 
arguments, to keep the soul always at God's disposal. 

(2.) Constant abiding reverence of God will iielp the 


soul in this universal resignation, and humbling of itself. 
Now this reverence of God, is an awful spiritual regard of 
the majesty of God, as he is pleased to concern himself in 
us, and in our walking before him, on the account of his ho- 
liness, greatness, omniscience, omnipresence, and the like. 
So Heb. xii. 28, 29. Psal. Ixxxix. 7. Psal. iii. 9. 

Now this reverence of God ariseth from three things, as 
is evident from the description of it. 

[1.] The infinite excellency and majesty of God and his 
great name. This is the apostle's motive ; Heb. xii. 29. and 
iv. 13. So Deut. xxviii. 58. The excellency of God in itself, 
is not only such as makes wicked men and hypocrites to 
tremble, whenever the thoughts of it seizes on them, Isa. 
xxxiii. 14. but also it hath filled the saints themselves with 
dread and terror; Heb. iii. 16. Nor is there any bearing the 
rays of his excellency, but as they are shadowed in Christ, 
by whom we have boldness to approach unto him. 

[2.] The infinite, inconceivable distance wherein we stand 
from him. Thence is that direction of the wise man to a due 
regard of God at all times ; Eccles. v. 2. He is in heaven, 
whence he manifests his glorious excellency in a poor worm 
creeping on the mire and clay of the earth. So did Abra- 
ham ; Gen. xviii. 27. What an inconceivable distance is 
there between the glorious majesty of God, and a little dust 
which the wind blows away and it is gone? 

[3.] That this inconceivably glorious God is pleased of 
his own grace to condescend to concern himself in us poor 
worms, and our services which he stands in no need of; 
Isa. Ivii. 15. His eye is upon us, his heart is towards us. 
This makes David break into that admiration, 1 Chron. xvii. 
16. and should do so to us. 

Now what are the advantages of keeping alive a reve- 
rence of God in our hearts ; how many ways it effectually 
conduces to enable us to humble our souls to the law of his 
grace and providence; what an issue it will put to all the 
reasonings of our hearts to the contrary, I cannot stay to de- 
clare. And the improvement of these two graces, faith and 
reverence, is all that I shall at present recommend unto you, 
for the end and purpose under consideration. 

But I come, in the next place, to that part of this whole 
discourse which was at first principally intended. 



We have at large considered the nature of this duty. 

III. Let us now proceed to prove the proposition at first 
laid down, and shut up the whole, viz. 

Humble walking- with God is the great duty, and most 
valuable concernment of believers. 

'What doth the Lord thy God require of thee?' This is 
sufficiently asserted in the words of the text itself, which be- 
ing so emphatically proposed, stand not in need of any far- 
ther confirmation by testimony; but because this is a busi- 
ness the Scripture doth much abound in, I shall subjoin a 
single proof upon each part of the proposition : that it is 
both our great duty, and most valuable concernment. 

For the former take that parallel place of Deut. x. 12, 13. 
That which is summarily expressed in my text by walking 
humbly with God, is here more at large described, with the 
same preface, ' What doth the Lord thy God require of thee?' 
It gives us both the root and fruit; the root in fear and love ; 
the fruit in walking in God's ways, and keeping his com- 
mandments. The perfection of both is to fear and love the 
Lord with all the heart and all the soul, and to walk in all 
his ways. This is the great thing that God requires of pro- 

A place of the same importance, as to the excellency of 
this concernment of believers, which is the second conside- 
ration of it, you have in the answer of the scribe commended 
by our Saviour, Mark xii. 33. as if he should say in these 
days. This is better than all your preaching, all your hearing, 
all your private meetings, all your conferences, all your fast- 
ings : whole burnt-offerings and sacrifices were then the in- 
stituted worship of God, appointed by him, and acceptable 
to him, as are the things which I now repeated. But all 
these outward things may be counterfeited, hypocrites may 
perform the outward work of them, as they then offered sa- 
crifice ; but walking humbly with God cannot : nor are they, 
in the best of men, of any value, but as they are parts and 
fruits of humble walking. If in and under the performance 
of them, there be, as there may be, a proud unmortified heart, 
not subdued to the law of the spirit of life, not humbled in 


all things to walk with God, both they, and their perform- 
ance, are abhorred of God. So that though these things 
ought to be done, yet our great concernment lies as to the 
main in humble walking: ' Only let your conversation be as 
becometh the gospel.' 

This is the import of the expression at the beginning of 
the verse; 'What doth the Lord thy God require of thee?' 
Thou mayest cast about in thy thoughts to other things, 
wherein either thyself may be more delighted, or, as thou 
supposest, may be more acceptable to God. Be not mis- 
taken, this is the great thing that he requires of thee, to walk 
humbly with him. 

The grounds of it are : 

1. Everyman is most concerned in that which is his 
great end ; the bringing about of that, is of most importance 
to him ; the great exercise of his thoughts are, whether he 
shall succeed as to this or not. The chief end of believers 
is the glory of God. This, I say, is so, or ought to be so. 
For this purpose they were made, redeemed to this purpose, 
and purchased to be a peculiar people. Now the Scripture 
everywhere teach^^s that the great means of our glorifying 
God, is by our humble walking with him, according as it 
was before described, John xv. 8. 'Herein is my Father 
glorified, that ye bear much fruit.' You may have many 
thoughts that God is glorified by works of miracles, and the 
like, amazing and dazzling the eyes of the world. Be it so; 
but in the most eminent manner, it is by your bearing fruit. 
You know the general rule that our Saviour gives his fol- 
lowers; Matt. V, 16. It is from our good works that men 
give glory to God. Which advice is again renewed by the 
Holy Ghost; 1 Pet. ii. 12. 

Now there are sundry ways, whereby glory redounds to 
God by believers' humble walking with him: (1.) It gives 
him the glory of the doctrine of grace. (2.) It gives him 
the glory of the power of his grace. (3.) It gives him the 
glory of the law of his grace ; that he is a king obeyed. (4.) 
It gives him the glory of his justice. (5.) The glory of his 
kingdom; first, in its order and beauty; secondly, in mul- 
tiplying his subjects. 

(I.) It gives God the glory of the doctrine of grace, or of 
the doctrine of the gospel, which is therefore called the lo«- 



rious gospel of God, because it so brings glory to him. 
Walking according to this rule, we adorn the doctrine of the 
gospel in all things: so the apostle tells us. Tit. ii. 11, 12. 
This is that which this grace teacheth us; the substance is, 
to walk humbly with God. And when men professing it, 
walk answerable to it, it is rendered glorious. When the 
world shall see, that these are the fruits which that doctrine 
produceth, they must needs magnify it. The pride, folly, 
and wickedness of professors, hath been the greatest obsta- 
cle that ever the gospel received in this world : nor will it by 
any endeavours whatever be advanced, until there be more 
conformity unto it, in them who make the greatest profes- 
sion of it. Then is the word glorified, when it hath a free 
course and progress, 2 Thess. iii. 1. which it will not have 
without the humble walking of professors. What eminent 
gifts are poured out in the days wherein we live ? What light 
is bestowed ? What pains in preaching? How is the dispen- 
sation of the word multiplied? Yet how little ground is got 
by it ? How few converted ? The word hath a free course in 
preaching, but is not glorified in acceptable obedience. Is 
it not high time for professors and prea'chers to look at 
home, whether the obstacle lie not in ourselves ? Do we not 
fortify the world against the doctrine we profess, by the 
fruits of it they see in ourselves, and our own ways ? Do 
they not say of us. These are our new lights and professors, 
proud, selfish, worldly, unrighteous, negligent of the ordi- 
nances themselves.profess to magnify, useless in their places 
and generations, falling into the very same path which they 
condemn in others? Perhaps they may deal falsely and ma- 
liciously in these things. But is it not high time for us to 
examine ourselves, lest abounding in preaching and talking, 
we have forgot to walk humbly with God, and so not glori- 
fying the gospel, have hindered the free course of its work 
and efficacy ? 

(2.) Humble walking with God, gives him the glory of 
the power of his grace; his converting, sanctifying grace. 
When the world shall see a poor, proud, selfish, rebellious, 
froward, perhaps dissolute and debauched creature, made 
gentle, meek, humble, self-denying, sober, useful, they can- 
not but inquire after the secret and hidden virtue and power 
which principled such a change. This is given as the glory 


of the grace that was to be administered under the gospel, 
that it should change the nature of the vilest men; that it 
should take away cruelty from the wolf, and violence from 
the leopard, rage from the lion, and poison from the asp, 
making them gentle and useful as the kid and the calf, the 
cow and the ox; Isa. xi. 6 — 9. It is not in our nature to 
humble ourselves to walk with God; we have an opposition 
to it, and all parts of it; no angels or men can persuade us 
to it; our carnal mind is enmity to him, not subject to his 
law, nor can be. To have our souls humbled, brought to the 
foot of God, made always ready, willing, obedient, turned in 
their whole course, changed in all their ways and principles, 
this glorifies the grace of God which is dispensed in Christ, 
by which alone it is, that the work is wrought. When men 
make profession to have received converting and renewing 
grace from God, and so separate themselves from the men 
of the world on that account, yet live as they do, or worse, 
so that their ways and walking are contemptible to all, it is 
the greatest reproach imaginable to that work of grace which 
they make profession of. 

(3.) This gives God the glory of his law, whereby he 
requires this obedience at our hands. The obedience of 
them that are subject to it, sets forth the glory of the wis- 
dom, goodness, and power of the lawgiver, in that law. But 
this may be referred to the first head. 

(4.) It gives him the glory of his justice, even in this 
world. There are two sorts of people in the world; the 
children of God, and others ; temptations lie on both, in re- 
ference to each other. The children of God are often dis- 
turbed by the outward prosperity of the wicked : the men 
of the world, at the public claim which they make in the 
privilege of God's love and protection : why they rather than 
others, than we ? For the first, we know upon what principle 
they are to satisfy themselves. For the latter, this gives 
God the glory of his justice, when those whom he owns in 
this world, who expect a crown of reward from him, do 
walk humbly with him. So the apostle, 2 Thess. i. 4, 5. 
Your patience and faith in tribulation, saith he to the saints, 
is a manifest token of the righteous judgments of God, 
that ye may be counted worthy of his kingdom. Their 
patient and humble walking will be an evidence to convince 

p 2 


even the world of the righteous justice of God, in rewarding 
of them, and rejecting of itself. Though eternal life be the 
gift of God, and chiefly respects the praise of his glorious 
grace in Jesus Christ, yet God intending to bestow it on us 
in a way of reward, he will therein visibly glorify his justice 
also. Now this gives a foretaste of it unto men, when they 
shall see those whom he will reward, to walk humbly with 
him ; wherein it may appear that his ways are equal, and 
his j udgment righteous, or, as the apostle speaks, ' according 
to truth.' 

(5.) It gives him the glory of his kingdom, in being an 
effectual means for the increase of the number of his subjects, 
and so the propagation of it in the world. 

Now if on all these, and on sundry other considera- 
tions, God be glorified in a humble walking with him, 
beyond any thing else in this world ; this humble walking 
must certainly be the great and incomparable concernment 
of all them, whose chief end is the advancement of the glory 
of God. 

2. It is our great concernment, because God is greatly 
delighted in it, it is well pleasing to him : the humble 
walking of professors is the great delight of the soul of 
God ; all that he hath in this world to delight in. If this 
be our aim, if this be our great interest, that we may please 
God, that he may delight in us, and rejoice over us, this is 
the way whereby it is to be done ; Isa. Ivii. 15. As I dwell, 
saith God, in the high and holy place, delight to abide in 
the heavens, where 1 manifest my glory ; so I dwell with 
the humble and contrite spirit with delight and joy. Men 
in an opposition to this frame, be they what they will else in 
outward profession, are proud men. Nothing takes away 
pride in the sight of God, but this humble walking with 
him. Now ' the proud he knoweth afar off,' Psal. cxxxviii. 6. 
he takes notice of them with scorn and indignation, they 
are to him an abominable thing. It is three times solemnly 
asserted in the Scriptures, that God resisteth the proud, or 
scorneth the scorner, and giveth grace to the humble and 
lowly; Prov. iii. 34. Jam. iv. 6. 1 Pet. v. 5. God scorns, 
abominates, resists, and sets himself against such men ; 
but he gives grace or favour to the lowly, to the humble. 
This is admirably set out, Isa. Ixvi. 1 — 3. He deals there 


with a professing people, men that in all they did, said, 'Let 
the Lord be glorified ;' ver. 5. These men aiming at accept- 
ance with him, and to have him delight in them, pretended 
principally two things. 

(1.) The glory of the temple, that high and holy house 
that was built to his own name. Says God, as to this, do 
you think that I have any need of it, or any delight in it, as 
it is such a goodly and glorious fabric in your eyes ? The 
heaven is my throne, saith he, and the earth my footstool, 
my hands have made all these things ; what need have I of 
the house you have built, or what delight in it? 

(2.) They pleaded his worship and service, the duties 
they performed therein, their sacrifices and oblations, pray- 
ing, hearing : alas ! saith God, all these things I abhor. 
And so he compares them to the things which his soul did 
most hate, and which he had most severely forbid, ver. 3. 
But if God will take delight in none of these things ; if 
neither temple, nor ordinances, worship, nor duty of religion 
will prevail, what is it that he delights in ? Saith the Lord, 
' To this man will I look,' I will rejoice over him, and rest 
in my love. Let now the proud Pharisee come and boast 
his righteousness, his duties, his worship, and performances ; 
the eye of God is on the poor creature behind the door, that 
is crying, ' God be merciful to me a sinner ;' that is, giving 
himself up to sovereign mercy, and following after him upon 
that account. We have got a holiness that pufFeth up j that 
in some hath little other fruit, but, ' Stand from me, I am 
holier than thou,' God delights not in it. It is a hard thing 
to excel in humble walking ; it is easier obtained by other 
ways, but God delights not in them. 

3. It is our great concernment, because this makes us 
alone eminently conformable to Jesus Christ. When the 
church is raised up to an expectation of his coming, she is 
bid to look for him as one ' meek and lowly ;' Zech. ix. 9. 
And when he calls men to a conformity to his example, this 
he proposes to them ; ' Learn of me,' saith he. Matt. xi. 29. 
What shall we learn of him? What doth he propose to our 
imitation ? That we should work miracles, walk on the sea, 
open blind eyes, raise the dead, to speak as never man 
spake ? No, saith he, this is not your concernment ; but 
' learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you 


shall find rest for your souls.' ' Let this mind be in you/ 
saith the apostle, 'that was in Jesus Christ;' Phil. ii. 5. 
What mind was this ? He describes it in the next verse, in 
his humbling, emptying himself, making himself poor, no- 
thing, that he might do the will of God, coming to his foot, 
waiting for his command, doing his will cheerfully and readily. 
Let, saith he, this mind be in you, to be like Christ in this. 
I might go over all the contents of humble walking with 
God, and shew the excellency of Jesus Christ in them, and 
how our conformity to Christ doth principally consist therein. 
But I must hasten. 

4. I might farther evince it, by an induction of the pro- 
mises that are made unto humble walking with God. But 
this would be a long work to insist on the most considerable 
particulars ; so that I shall wholly omit it. 

5. It will appear so by comparing it with any thing else, 
wherein men may suppose their interest and concernment 
to lie. 

(1.) Some men (I speak of professors), live as though 
their great concernments were in heaping up to themselves 
the things of this world. Their hearts are devoured with 
cares about them, and their thoughts taken up with them. 
This I shall not so much as compare with humble walking 
with God, nor make it my business from the vanity, uncer- 
tainty, uselessness as to any eternal end, unsatisfactoriness, 
attendings of fear, care, and love, to manifest their great 
incompetency once to come into consideration in this inquiry, 
as to what is the great concernment of a professor. 

(2.) There are others whose designs lie after greatness, 
high places, esteem in the world, to be somebody in their 
days, outrunning the providence and call of God to that end, 
and who make this their business and interest, without far- 
ther consideration. But we may say the same of these, as 
of the former : their way is folly, though they that follow 
them should praise their sayings. 

(3.) There are those, whose aim is to be learned indeed, 
and so accounted. This they make their work ; on this 
they set up their rest ; this takes up their time and strength ; 
if this succeed, all is well, they have their heart's desire. 
The beauty of this also is fully sullied, and the vanity of it 
hath been discovered by many, and the shame of its naked- 


ness made to appear. Is this thy great concernment? Dost 
thou waste thy time and spirit about it? Is this the bosom 
of thy rest ? Hast thou here laid up thy glory ? And dost 
thou aim at this as thy end ? Poor creature, thou snufFest up 
the empty wind I All this while God may abhor thee; and 
thy learning will never swell to such a greatness, as that the 
door of hell will not be wide enough to receive thee. The 
vanity, vexation, dreadfulness, emptiness of this concern- 
ment, may be easily discovered. 

Nay, put all these together; suppose thou hast high 
places, learning, and an answerable repute and credit to 
them all, that thou hadst on these heads all that thy heart 
can desire, and more than ever man had before thee; would it 
all give rest to thy soul ? Canst thou not look through it 
all? Why then dost thou spend thy strength for a thing of 
nought? Why is the flower of thy spirit laid out about these 
things, that indeed are not, or as a thing of nought? But, 

(4.) Some men's great concernment seems to lie in a pro- 
fession of religion. So they may attain to that, and there- 
withal a name to live, it doth suffice. Whether this humble 
walking with God, in any of the causes or effects of it, be 
found on them, they are not solicitous. That men may not 
rest here, give me leave to offer two or three considerations. 

[1 .] All that they do, may be counterfeited, and so wherein 
is its excellency ? It may be done by him who hath not the 
least of God or Christ in him. Hypocrites may hear much, 
pray often, speak of God, and the things of God; perform all 
duties of religion, excel in gifts and parts, be forward in 
profession to a great repute, and yet be hypocrites still. 

[2.] All this hath been done by them who have perished. 
Many who are now in hell, have done all these things, and 
went down to the pit with the burden of their profession and 
duties at their back : I could reckon up instances. And let 
me but try this foundation, which safely I may, namely, that 
whatever excellencies have been found in hypocrites and pe- 
rishing souls, may all meet in one, and yet he be an hypo- 
crite still, and I shall merit easily the best of mere profes- 
sion. Take the zeal of Jehu, the hearing of Herod, the pray- . 
ing of the Pharisee, the fasting of the Jews, Isa. Iviii. the 
joy of the stony ground, and you may dress up a perishing 


soul, to a proportion of beauty in profession, beyond what 
the most of us attain unto. 

[3.] It is useless in the world. I shall freely say, take 
away this humble walking, and all profession is a thing of 
nought; it doth no good at all in the world. Is it for the 
advantage of mankind, that a man should have credit and 
repute in religion, and cannot give an instance scarce, that 
any man, high or low, rich or poor, hath been the better for 
him in the world? That they who should do good to all, do 
good to none at all? Is this being fruitful in the gospel ? 
Is this studying the good works that are profitable to all ? 
Is this doing good to mankind in the places wherein we are? 

[4.] This is the readiest way for a man to deceive himself 
to eternity. He that would go down to the pit in peace, let 
him keep up duties in his family and closet, let him hear as 
often as he can have an opportunity, let him speak often of 
good things, let him leave the company of profane and igno- 
rant men, until he have obtained a great repute for religion; 
let him preach, and labour to make others better than he is 
himself, and in the meantime neglect to humble his heart 
to walk with God in a manifest holiness and u&efidness, and 
he will not fail of his end. 

Let me not be mistaken ; God forbid I should counte- 
nance profane men in their contempt of the ways of God, 
and the reproaches of hypocrisy that they are ready to cast 
upon the best of the saints of God : I say, God forbid. Nor 
let me be interpreted in the least to plead for men who sa- 
tisfy themselves in a righteousness without these things, 
whom I look upon as men ignorant wholly of the mystery 
of God and the Father, and of Christ, and evidently uninte- 
rested in the covenant of grace. No, this is all I aim at; I 
would not have professors flatter themselves in a vain, empty 
profession, when the fruits they bear of envy, hatred, pride, 
folly, proclaim that their hearts are not humbled to walk 
with God. Will then these, or any of these things stand in 
competition with that which we propose for the great con- 
cernment of souls ? Doubtless, in comparison of it, they 
are all a thing of nought. 

Use 1. Is humble walking with God our great concern- 
ment? Let us make it our business and our work to bring 


our hearts unto it all our days. What do we running out of 
the way all the day long, spending our strength for that 
which is not bread ? My business is not, whether I be rich 
or poor, wise or unwise, learned or ignorant, whether I shall 
live or die, whether there shall be peace or war with the na- 
tions, whether my house shall flourish or wither, whether my 
gifts be many or few, great or small, whether I have good 
repute or bad repute in the world ; but only whether I walk 
humbly with God or not ? As it is with me in this respect, 
so is my present condition, so will be my future acceptation. 
I have tired myself about many things, this one is necessary : 
What doth the Lord my God require of me, but this ? What 
doth Christ call for, but this ? What doth the whole sancti- 
fying work of the Holy Ghost tend to, but that I may walk 
humbly with God ? 

Give me leave to name a motive or two unto it. 

(1.) In humble walking with God, we shall find peace in 
every condition. ' Learn of me, I am meek and lowly, and 
you shall find rest to your souls.' Let war come on the na- 
tion, I shall have peace. Let a consumption come on my 
estate, I shall have peace. Let nearest relations be taken 
away, I shall have peace. The soul that sets up its rest, and 
makes it its great concernment to walk humbly with God, is 
brought to his foot, bent to his will, is ready for his disposal ; 
and whatever God does in the world with himself, his, or 
others, he hath peace and quietness in it; his own will is 
gone, the will of God is his choice ; his great concernment 
lies not in any thing that can perish, that can be lost. 

(2.) We shall also find comfort. Mephibosheth cried. 
Let all go, seeing the king is come in peace, which was all 
that I desired. When a man shall see in the worst state and 
condition, that his great concernment is safe ; that though 
all is lost, God, who is all, is not lost ; that this can never 
be taken from him, it fills his heart with delight. Is he in 
prosperity ? he fears not the loss of that which he most va- 
lues. Is he in adversity ? yet he can walk with God. still, 
which is his all. He can therefore glory in tribulations, re- 
joice in afflictions, his treasure, his concernment is secure. 

(3.) This alone will make us useful in our generation, and 
fruitful in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus 


Christ. On this depends all the glory we bring to God, and 
all the good we do to men. 

Let us then make this our business ; aim at it ; and in 
the strength of Christ, we shall have peace in it. 

Use 2. To humble us all, that we have spent so much of 
our time and days in and about things wherein we are 
indeed so little concerned, let us a little bring our ways and 
affairs to the balance of the sanctuary. One hath risen early, 
gone to bed late, and worn out himself to increase know- 
ledge and learning. What is it when we have done ? An 
engine in the hand of Satan to puff us up with pride and 
folly ; a diversion from the knowledge of Christ, full of vexa- 
tion of spirit. How many other things have entangled us ? 
What weight have we laid upon them ? How have we put a 
value upon that profession, which hath been a shame rather 
than an honour to the gospel ? The Lord forgive us our 
folly, in spending ourselves in and about things wherein 
we are so little concerned ; and help us, that our mistake 
be not at last found out to be fatal. Could we seriously 
take a view of our ways and time, and see how much of it 
we have spent in and about things that indeed will, in the 
issue, do us no good ; it would certainly fill our souls with 
a great deal of shame and confusion. 

Use 3. As to them who seem not at all to be concerned in 
this business; who never made it their design in their lives 
to walk with God in the way that hath been spoken to : let 
me tell such 

(1.) It is more than probable, that they may be apt to 
take advantage at what hath been spoken against empty pro- 
fessors and profession, to triumph in their thoughts against 
them all, and say. Such indeed they are, and no better. If so, 
it is possible that this discourse, through the just judgment 
of God, may tend to their farther hardening in their sin, 
pride, and folly. What is the Lord's intendment towards you, 
i know not. It is my duty to warn you of it. Some that are 
professors may fail of the mark of our high calling ; but 
you that are none, can never attain it : but take heed that this 
be not the issue of this dispensation of the word towards 
you. I had rather never speak more in this place, than 
speak any one word with an intention to give you an ad- 


vantage against professors ; if you take it, it will be your 

(2.) Consider this, if the righteous be scarcely saved, 
where will you and such as you, bitter scoffers, neglecters of 
ordinances, haters of the power of godliness, and the purity 
of religion, appear? You whose pride and folly, or whose 
formality, lukevvarmness, and superstition, whose company 
and society, whose ways and daily walking, proclaim you to 
be wholly strangers to this concernment of believers ? I say, 
what will be your lot and portion? 

(3.) Consider how useless you are in this world. You 
bring no glory to God, but dishonour; and whereas by any 
outward acts, you may suppose you do good sometimes to 
men ; know that you do more hurt every day, than you do 
good all your lives. How many are by you ensnared inta 
hell ! How many hardened ! How many destroyed by liv- 
ing in formality or profaneness ! 



Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons 
ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness? — 2 Pet. iii. 11. 

That this second epistle was written unto the same persons 
to whom the former was directed, the apostle himself informs 
us, chap. iii. 1. Who they were to whom the first was di- 
rected, he declares fully, 1 Epist. i. 1, 2. ' Peter an apostle 
of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pon- 
tius, Galatia,' &-c. 

' Strangers' are taken two ways : First, In a large, general, 
and spiritual sense. So all believers are said to be strangers 
and pilgrims in this world, because they are not of the world, 
but they look for another country, another city, another 
house, whose framer and builder is God. Secondly, In a 
proper, natural sense ; for those who abide or dwell in a land 
that is not their own, wherein they have not right of inherit- 
ance with the natives and citizens of it. In this sense, the pa- 
triarchs were strangers in the land of Canaan, before it came 
to be the possession of their posterity : and the children of Is- 
rael were strangers four hundred years in the land of Egypt. 
Now though the persons to whom the apostle wrote, were 
strangers in the first sense, pilgrims whose conversation 
and country was in heaven, yet they were no more so than 
all other believers in the world; so that there was no just 
cause of saluting them peculiarly under that style and title, 
were there not some other special reason of that appellation. 
They were therefore also strangers in the latter sense, persons 
who had no inheritance in the place of their abode, that 
were not the free and privileged natives of the country where 
they dwelt and inhabited ; that is, they were Jews scattered 
abroad in those parts of the world. 


The people of Israel in those days were under various 
distributions and appellations. First, They were the natives 
of Jerusalem, and the parts adjacent ; and these were in the 
gospel peculiarly called Jews. You have it often men- 
tioned, that in our Saviour's discourse with them, the Jews 
answered so and so ; that is, the natives of Jerusalem, and 
places adjoining. Secondly, Those who inhabited the sea- 
coasts of the country, whom the others much despised, and 
called them, from the place of their habitation, as if they 
had been men of another nation, * Galileans.' Thirdly, Those 
who lived in several dispersions up and down the world 
among other nations. Of these there were two chief sorts : 
(1.) Those who lived in some parts of Europe, in Asia the 
less, also at Alexandria, and other Greek colonies. These 
are in the Scripture sometimes called Greeks, Acts xvii. 
and elsewhere, commonly termed Hellenists, because they 
used the Greek language, and the Greek Bible then in use. 
(2.) Those who lived in the greater Asia, in and about Ba- 
bylon ; as also in the countries here enumerated by the 
apostle : the Jews converted to the faith, that lived scatter- 
edly up and down in those parts of Asia. 

Peter being in a special manner designed by the Holy 
Ghost the apostle of the circumcision, and being now at Ba- 
bylon in the discharge of his apostolical office and duty, 
1 Epist. V. 13. and being now nigh unto death, which he also 
knew, 2 Epist. i. 14. and not perhaps having time to pass 
through, and personally visit these scattered believers; he 
wrote unto them these two epistles, partly about the main 
and important truths of the gospel, and partly about their 
own particular and immediate concernment, as to the temp- 
tations and afflictions wherewith they were exercised. 

It is evident, from sundry places in the New Testament, 
what extreme oppositions the believing Jews met withal all 
the world over from their own countrymen, with and among 
whom they lived. They in the meantime, no doubt, warned 
them of the wrath of Christ against them, for their cursed 
unbelief and persecutions ; particularly letting them know 
that Christ would come in vengeance ere long, according as 
he had threatened, to the ruin of his enemies. And because 
the persecuting Jews all the world over upbraided the be- 
lievers with the temple and the holy city Jerusalem, their 


worship and service instituted of God, which they had defiled ; 
they were given to know, that even all these things also 
should be destroyed, for their rejection of the Son of God. 
After some continuance of time, the threatening denounced 
being not yet accomplished, as is the manner of profane per- 
sons and hardened sinners, Eccles. viii. 11. they began to 
mock and scoff, as if they were all but the vain pretences, 
or loose, causeless fears of the Christians. That this was 
the state with them, or shortly would be, the apostle de- 
clares in this chapter, ver. 3, 4. Because things continued 
in the old state without alteration, and judgment was not 
speedily executed, they scoffed at all the threats about the 
coming of the Lord, that had been denounced against them. 

Hereupon the apostle undertakes these three things ; 

First, He convinces the scoffers of folly by an instance of 
the like presumption in persons not unlike them, and the 
dealings of God in a case of the same nature. 

Secondly, He instructs believers in the truth of what they 
had before been told concerning the coming of Christ, and 
the destruction of ungodly men. 

Thirdly, He informs them in the due use and improvement 
that ought practically to be made of the certainty of this 
threatening of the coming of Christ. 

For the first he minds them, as I said, of the old world, 
ver. 5, 6. Before the destruction of that world, God sent 
' Noah, a preacher of righteousness,' who both in word and 
deed effectually admonished men of the judgment of God, 
that was ready to come upon them ; but they scoffed at his 
preaching and practice, in building the ark, and persisted in 
their security. Now, saith he, ' this they are willingly igno- 
rant of;' it is through the obstinacy and stubbornness of 
their will, they do not consider it; for otherwise they had 
the Scripture, and knew the story. There is no ignorance 
like that, where men's obstinacy and hardness in sin keeps 
them from a due improvement of what they ought to have 
improved to its proper purpose. They are to this day wil- 
lingly ignorant of the flood who live securely in sin, under 
the denunciation of the judgments of God against sin. 

I shall only observe by the way, not to look into the diffi- 
culties of these verses, that I be not too long detained from 
my principal intendment, that the apostle makes a distribu- 


tion of the world into heaven and earth, and saith, they 
' were destroyed with water and perished.' We know that 
neither the fabric or substance of the one or other was de- 
stroyed, but only men that lived on the earth ; and the apo- 
stle tells us, ver. 7. of the ' heaven and earth that were then,' 
and 'were destroyed by water,' distinct from 'the heavens 
and the earth that were now,' and * were to be consumed by 
fire :' and yet as to the visible fabric of heaven and earth, they 
were the same both before the flood and in the apostle's 
time, and continue so to this day ; when yet it is certain, 
that the heavens and earth whereof he speaks, were to be 
destroyed and consumed by fire in that generation. We 
must then, for the clearing our foundation, a little consider 
what the apostle intends b}^ the heavens and the earth in 
these two places. 

1 . It is certain, that what the apostle intends by the world, 
with its heavens and earth, ver. 5, 6. which was destroyed ; 
the same or somewhat of that kind he intends by the heavens 
arid the earth that were to be consumed and destroyed by 
fire, ver. 7. otherwise there would be no coherence in the apo- 
stle's discourse, nor any kind of argument, but a mere fallacy 
of words. 

2. It is certain, that by the flood, the world, or the fabric 
of heaven and earth, was not destroyed, but only the inha- 
bitants of the world ; and therefore the destruction intimated 
to succeed by fire, is not of the substance of the heavens 
and the earth, which shall not be consumed until the last 
day, but of persons or men living in the world. 

3. Then we must consider, in what sense men living in 
the world are said to be the world, and the heavens and 
earth of it. I shall only insist on one instance to this pur- 
pose, among many that may be produced, Isa. li. 15, 16. 
The time when the work here mentioned of planting the hea- 
vens, and laying the foundation of the earth, was performed 
by God, was when he 'divided the sea,' ver. 15. and gave 
the law, ver. 16. and said to Zion, ' Thou art my people ;' 
that is, when he took the children of Israel out of Egypt, 
and formed them in the wilderness into a church and state ; 
then he planted the heavens, and laid the foundation of the 
earth; made the new world; that is, brought forth order, 
and government, and beauty, from the confusion wherein 


before they were. This is the planting of the heavens, and 
laying the foundation of the earth in the world. And hence 
it is, that when mention is made of the destruction of a state 
and government, it is in that language that seems to set 
forth the end of the world. So Isa. xxxiv. 4. which is yet 
but the destruction of the state of Edora, The like also is 
affirmed of the Roman empire, Rev. vi. 14. which the Jews 
constantly affirm to be intended by Edom in the prophets. 
And in our Saviour Christ's prediction of the destruction of 
Jerusalem, Matt. xxiv. he sets it out by expressions of the 
same importance. It is evident, then, that in the prophetical 
idiom and manner of speech, by heavens and earth, the civil 
and religious state and combination of men in the world, 
and the men of them are often understood. So were the 
heavens and earth that world which then was destroyed by 
the flood. 

4. On this foundation, I affirm, that the heavens and 
earth here intended in this prophecy of Peter, the coming 
of the Lord, the day of judgment, and perdition of ungodly 
men, mentioned in the destruction of that heaven and earth, 
do all of them relate, not to the last and final judgment of 
the world, but to that utter desolation and destruction that 
was to be made of the Judaical church and state ; for which 
I shall offer these two reasons, of many that might be in- 
sisted on from the text. 

(1.) Because whatever is here mentioned, was to have 
its peculiar influence on the men of that generation. He 
speaks of that wherein both the profane scoffers, and those 
scoffed at, were concerned, and that as Jews ; some of them 
believing, others opposing the faith. Now there was no 
particular concernment of that generation, nor in that sin, 
nor in that scoffing, as to the day of judgment in general; 
but there was a peculiar relief for the one, and a peculiar 
dread for the other at hand in the destruction of the Jewish 
nation ; and besides an ample testimony both to the one and 
the other of the power and dominion of the Lord Jesus 
Christ, which was the thing in question between them. 

(2.) Peter tells them, that after the destruction and judg- 
ment that he speaks of, ver. 13. 'We, according to his pro- 
mise, look for new heavens and a new earth,' &c. they had 
this expectation. But what is that promise? Where may 


we find it? Why we have it in the very words and letter, 
Isa. Ixv. 17. Now when shall this be that God will create 
these ' new heavens and new earth, wherein dwelleth righte- 
ousness?' Saith Peter, it shall be after the coming of the 
Lord, after that judgment and destruction of ungodly men, 
who obey not the gospel, that I foretell. But now it is evi- 
dent from this place of Isaiah, with chap. Ixvi. 21, 22. that 
this is a prophecy of gospel times only; and that the plant- 
ing of these new heavens, is nothing but the creation of 
gospel ordinances to endure for ever. The same thing is so 
expressed, Heb. xii. 26 — 28. 

This being then the design of the place, I shall not insist 
longer on the context, but briefly open the words proposed, 
and fix upon the truth contained in them. 

First, There is the foundation of the apostle's inference 
and exhortation, rovrofv ovv Travrwv Xvonivtov : seeing that 
I have evinced that all these things, however precious they 
seem, or what value soever any put upon them, shall be dis- 
solved, that is, destroyed; and that in that dreadful and 
fearful manner before mentioned, in a way of judgment, 
wrath, and vengeance, by fire and sword; let others mock 
at the threats of Christ's coming, he will come, he will not 
tarry : and then the heavens and earth that God himself 
planted, the sun, moon, and stars of the Judaical polity and 
church, the whole old world of worship and worshippers 
that stand out in their obstinacy against the Lord Christ, 
shall be sensibly dissolved and destroyed ; this we know 
shall be the end of these things, and that shortly. 

There is no outward constitution nor frame of things in 
governments or nations, but it is subject to a dissolution, 
and may receive it, and that in a way of judgment. If any 
might plead exemption, that on many accounts of which the 
apostle was discoursing, in prophetical terms (for it was not 
yet time to speak it openly to all), might interpose for its 
share. But that also, though of God's creation, yet stand- 
ing in the way of, and in opposition to, the interest of Christ, 
that also shall be dissolved : and certainly there is no 
greater folly in the world, than for a mere human creation, 
a mere product of the sayings and the wisdom of men, to 
pretend for eternity, or any duration beyond the coincidence 



of its usefulness to the great ends that Christ hath to ac- 
complish in the world. But this is not my business. 

Secondly, There is the apostle's inference from, or ex- 
hortation on this supposition, expressed emphatically by 
way of interrogation : 'What manner?' 

Now herein two things are included. 

1. The evidence of the inference. It follows necessarily, 
unavoidably; everyone must needs make this conclusion: 
so that he leaves it to themselves to determine whose con- 
cernment it is. So the apostle Paul in another case, Heb. 
X. 29. leaves it to themselves to determine, as a case clear, 
plain, unquestionable. So here : and this is a most effectual 
way of insinuating an inference and conclusion, when the 
parties themselves who are pressed with it, are made judges 
of its necessary consequence. Judge ye whether holiness 
becomes not all them who are like to be concerned in such 
providential alterations. 

2. The extent and perfection of the duty in its univer- 
sality and compass, is in this manner of expression strongly 
insinuated: 'What manner of persons?' That is, such as 
indeed it is not easy to express, what attainments in this 
kind we ought on this account to press after. This apostle 
useth the same kind of expression to set forth the greatness 
and height of what he would deliver to the thoughts of men, 
1 Pet. iv. 17, 18. There is in this kind of expression some- 
what more insinuated to the mind, than we know how to 
clothe with any words whatever. 

Two things seem principally to be intended. 

(1.) Thateven the saints themselves in such cases ought 
to be other manner of men than usually they are, under or- 
dinary dispensations of providence. Mistake not; our old 
measures will not serve; another manner of progress than 
as yet we have made, is expected from us ; it is not ordinary 
holiness and godliness that is expected from us, under ex- 
traordinary calls from God and Christ. 

(2.) That our endeavours to be godly and holy, ought to 
be boundless and endless. No less is included in this apos- 
trophe, 'What manner of persons ought we to be?' Not 
resting in what we have attained, nor what may seem suf- 
ficient to keep our heads above water, but an endless and 


boundless pressing on. Alas ! it will hardly enter into our 
hearts to think what manner of men we ought to be. 

Thirdly, For the matter of this exhortation and inference 
from the former principle couched in this interrogation, it is, 
'All holy conversation and godliness.' The word 'all' is 
not in the original, but both the other words are in the 
plural number; 'In holy conversations and godlinesses.* 
Now these expressions being not proper in our language, 
the translators have supplied the emphasis and force of them 
by the addition of the word, 'all:' and there is no just cause 
of quarrel with them for so doing : only in the original the 
words are more weighty and emphatical than that supply 
doth readily reach unto. That vviiich is principally intended, 
is, that all the concernments whatever of holiness and god- 
liness, are couched in the words. So that two things are 
in them. 

1. The two general parts of that universal duty that we 
owe to God; and they are these. (1.) Holiness of con- 
versation; which is comprehensive of all holiness and righ- 
teousness, both in principle and practice; for no conversa- 
tion is holy, but what comes from a holy heart, and is car- 
ried on to that great and holy end, the glory of God. 
(2.) Godliness, or the worship of God according to the 
appointment and institution of Christ. This is the pro- 
per importance of futrijSeta, as distinct from holiness of con- 
versation; a due adherence to, and observance of, the in- 
stituted worship of God. 

2- The extent and compass of them both and their de- 
grees. It is not in this or that part of conversation ; to be 
holy in one thing, and loose in another; to be holy in one 
capacity, and vain in another ; to be godly as a private per- 
son, and ungodly or selfish as a magistrate; nor is it to ob- 
serve one part of worship, and despise another: but in 
all concernments of conversation, in all parts of worship 
doth this duty lie. ' In all holy conversation and godli- 

Fourthly, There is the relation that we ought to bear to 
the universality of holiness and godliness. We ought to be 
in them : Set vira^x^iv vfiag, ' You ought to be, to exist* in 
them. In these things is your life; they are not to be fol- 
lowed now and then> as your leisure will serve; but in all 

Q 2 


tliat you do, you ought to be still in these, as in the clothes 
that you wear, the garment that is on you; be what you 
will, or where you will, or employed as you are called, yet 
still you ought to be in holiness and godliness; and what 
persons you ought to be in them, or how, hath been de- 

Observation. Great providential alterations or destruc- 
tions made upon the account of Christ and his church, call 
for eminency of universal holiness and godliness in all be- 

I esteem it my duty to speak somewhat to this propo- 
sition, as containing the direction of our great duty in this 
day. That we have had many providential alterations 
amongst us, is known to all. What light I have about their 
relation to Christ and his church, I shall make bold to com- 
municate when I come to the application of the truth in 
hand, and thereby make way for the pressing of the duty of 
the text on ourselves in particular : for the present, I con- 
fess, I am ashamed and astonished at the deportment of 
many who are professors in these days; they see and talk of 
the alterations and dissolutions that God is pleased to make; 
but what is the improvement that is made hereof? Many 
take advantage to vent their lusts and passions, some one 
way, some another; one rejoicing at the ruin of another, as 
if that were his duty; others repining at the exaltation of 
another, as if that were their duty; some contriving one 
form of outward constitutions, others for another (I speak 
of private persons) ; but who almost looks to that which is the 
special call of God under such dispensations ? Let us then, 
I pray you, take a little view of our duty, and the grounds 
of it ; and who knows but that the Lord may by it enlarge 
and fix our hearts to the love and prosecution of it. 

The two great providential alterations and dissolutions 
that have been, and shall be made on the account of Christ 
and his church, to which all lesser are either consequent, or 
do lie in a tendency, are that first of the Judaical church 
and state, whereof I have spoken ; and secondly, that of 
the antichristian state and worship, whereunto all the 
shakings of these nations seem to tend in the wisdom of 
God, although we are not able to discern their influence 


1. Now for the first of these, we may consider it in its 
coming as foretold, and as accomplished. 

(1.) As it was foretold and threatened by Christ. How 
were believers cautioned to be ready for it with eminent 
holiness and watchfulness therein? So Luke xxi. 34. 36. 
' Take heed to yourselves ; watch therefore.' Why so ? 
' Christ is coming ;' ver. 27. When? Why, ' in this genera- 
tion;' ver. 32. What to do ? Why, ' to dissolve heaven and 
earth ;' ver. 25. to dissolve the Jewish church and state. 
Watch therefore; give all diligence. So also Matt. xxiv. 
42. ' Watch therefore.' Oh ! on this account what manner 
of persons ought we to be? 

(2.) As accomplished. See what use the apostle upon it 
directs believers unto, Heb. xii. 26 — 28. This is the use, 
this the call of providence in all these mighty alterations : 
' Let us have grace,' strive for it ; the nature of the works of 
God call aloud for an eminent frame of holiness, and close 
adherence unto God in his worship. I could shew how both 
the duties of my text are here expressed ; but I need not. 

2. So is it also in reference to that other great work of 
God in the world relating to Christ and his church, which is 
the ocean of providence whereinto all the rivulets of lesser 
alterations do run ; I mean the destruction of antichrist 
and his Babylonish kingdom. 

What a frame shall be in, the saints on the close of that 
work, the Holy Ghost declares at large. Rev. xix. All re- 
joicing and spiritual communion with God; and whilst the 
work is on the wheel, those whom God will own in it, he 
sets his mark on as holy, called, and chosen. 
The grounds hereof are, 

1. Because in every such providential alteration or dis- 
solution of things on the account of Christ and his church, 
there is a peculiar coming of Christ himself. He cometh 
into the world for the work he hath to do : he cometh 
among his own to fulfil his pleasure among them. Hence 
such works are called his coming; and the coming of his 
day. Thus James exhorts these very Jews, to whom Peter 
here writes, with reference to the same things. Jam. v. 7 — 9. 
*Be patient to the coming of the Lord.' But how could that 
generation extend their patience to the day of judgment ? 
Nay, saith he, that is not the work I design, but his coming 


to take vengeance on his stubborn adversaries, which he 
saith, yer. 8. ' dravveth nigh,' is even at hand : yea, Christ 
* the judge standeth before the door,' ver. 9. ready to enter; 
which also he did within a few years. So upon, or in the 
destruction of Jerusalem, the same work, Luke xxi. 27, the 
Son of man is said to * come in the clouds, and great glory ;' 
and they that escape in that desolation, are said to * stand 
before the Son of man ;' ver. 36. So, in the ruin and de- 
struction of the Roman empire on the account of their per- 
secution, it is said, ' That the day of the wrath of the Lamb 
was come;' Rev. vi. 16, 17. 

In all such dispensations then, there is a peculiar com- 
ing of Christ, a peculiar drawing nigh of him to deal with 
all sorts of persons in a spec-ial manner ; though he be often- 
times encompassed with many clouds, and with much dark- 
ness, yet he is present exerting his authority, power, wis- 
dom, righteousness, and grace in an eminent manner. It is 
with him as it is with God in other works. Job ix. 11. though 
all * see him not, perceive him not,' yet ' he goeth by,' and 
' passeth on.' The lusts, prejudices, corruptions, selfish- 
ness, injustice, oppressions of men; the darkness, unbelief, 
fears, carnal wisdom of the saints themselves; the depth, 
compass, height, unsearchableness of the path of the wis- 
dom of Christ himself, keeps us in the dark as to his pre- 
sence in this and that particular; but yet in such dispensa- 
tions he is come, and passeth on towards the accomplish- 
ment of his work, though we perceive it not. Now, 'what 
manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation 
and godliness,' to meet this great King of saints at his com- 
ing? What preparation ought there to be? What solem- 
nity of universal holiness for his entertainment? He is in 
such dispensations continually nigh us, whether we take no- 
tice of it or not. 

I say, then, if there be a special coming, and a special 
meeting of Christ in such dispensations, I suppose I may 
leave the inference unto all holy conversation and godliness 
with the apostle to the breasts and judgment of them that 
are concerned. Are we in this work to meet the Lord Jesus? 
What manner of persons ought we to be? 

It may be observed, that Christ puts very great weight on 
the present frame and course, which he finds men in at his 


coming. Matt. xxiv. 46. ' Blessed is that servant whom his 
Lord, when he coraeth, shall find so doing.' He annexes 
blessedness to the frame and course he finds men in at his 
coming; and waiteth for that hour; ver. 42. Be not asleep 
when the thief comes to break up the house ; take heed that 
that day take you not unprovided, that you be not over- 
taken in the^nidst of the cares of this world. And he com- 
plains, that when he comes, he shall not ' find faith on the 

But you will say. Is this enough then, that we look to be 
found in all godliness and holiness at his coming? May we 
indulge ourselves and our lusts at other seasons, so we be 
sure to be then provided? Is not the command of duty equal 
and universal as to all times and seasons? Or is it pointed 
only unto such dispensations? 

A71S. 1. The inference for preparedness for the coming 
of Christ, is to universal holiness at all seasons, and that 
upon the account of the uncertainty of it. This our Saviour 
presseth again and again. You know not at all when it 
will be, nor how ; no not in the least; you believe it not 
when it is come : 'I shall not find faith of it in the earth,' 
saith Christ. Men will not take notice of it, nor acknow- 
ledge it, nor own it, as my coming ; wherefore you have no 
way to be prepared for it, but by universal, perpetual watch- 

Ans. 2. The exhortation lies not unto holiness and god- 
liness in general ; but as to the degrees of it, what manner 
of men we ought to be in them. It is not a godly conver- 
sation at an ordinary rate that may find acceptance at an- 
other time, which will suflice to meet Christ at his coming, 
and that on sundry accounts after to be mentioned. 

I shall at present only treat on some grounds of it from 
his own person who cometh, and whom we are to meet ; 
and speak of the work he hath to do in his coming after- 

(1.) On the account of his personal excellencies and 
holiness. Consider how he is described when he comes 
to walk among his churches. Rev. i. 13 — 17. He is full of 
beauty and glory. When Isaiah saw him, chap. 6. he cries 
out, * I am undone, I am a man of unclean lips ;' because of 
the dread and terror of his holiness. And Peter also, ' De- 


part from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.' They were not 
able to bear the thoughts of his glorious holiness so nigh to 
them. When the holy God of old was to come down among 
the people at the giving of the law, all the people were 
to sanctify themselves, and to wash their clothes ; Exod. 
xix. 10, 11. And order w^as still taken, that no unclean thing 
might be in the camp, because of the presence of the holy 
God, though but in a type and resemblance. Whether we 
observe it or no, if there be any dissolving dispensations 
among us, that relate to Christ or his church, there is a 
holy one in the midst of us ; or there will be, when any such 
dispensations shall pass over us. And to think to have to 
do in the works and ways wherein he hath to do, with hearts 
unlike and unsuitable unto him, to act our lusts and follies 
immediately under the eye of his holiness, to set our defiled 
hands to his pure and holy hands, his soul will abhor it. 
This is a boldness which he will revenge, that we should 
bring our neglect and lusts into his holy presence. Christ 
is in every corner, in every turn of our affairs ; and it is in- 
cumbent on us to consider how it is fit for us to behave our- 
selves in his special presence. 

(2.) Upon the account of his authority. He who thus 
comes is the King of saints, and he comes as the King of 
saints : he comes to exert his regal power and authority, to 
give a testimony to it in the world. So Isa. Ixiii. 1 — 4. He 
shews his glory, his might, his kingdom, and authority in 
this work. So Rev. xix. 12, When he comes to destroy his 
antichristian enemies, he hath many crowns on his head ; he 
exerciseth his regal power and authority. What is the duty 
of saints when their King is so nigh them, when he is come 
into the midst of them, whilst he puts forth the greatness of 
his power round about them ? Will it become them to be 
neglective of him; to be each man in the pursuit of his own 
lusts, and ways, and works in the presence of their King ? 
Holiness and godliness hath a due regard to the authority of 
Christ. Wherever there is a due subjection of soul unto 
Christ, all holy conversation and godliness will ensue. To 
be neglective in or of any part of holy conversation, to be 
careless of any part of worship under the special eye of the 
Lord of our lives and our worship, is not to be borne with. 

(3.) On the account of the present care, kindness, and 


love that he is exerting in all such dispensations towards 
his. It is a time of care and love ; the way of his working 
out the designs of his heart, are indeed ofttimes dark and 
hid ; and his own do not see so clearly how things lie in a 
tendency to the event and fruits of love. But so it is; Christ 
comes not but with a design of love and pity towards his, 
with his heart full of compassion for them. Now, what 
this calls for at their hands, seeing their holiness and wor- 
ship is all that his soul is delighted in, is evident unto all. 

Put now these things together : every such dispensation 
is a coming of Christ : the coming of Christ, as it is trying 
in itself, so it is the coming of the holy King of saints in his 
love and pity towards them ; yea, be the dispensation what 
it will, never so sharp and severe unto them, yet it is in love 
and compassion to their souls : their work is to meet this 
their holy King in the works of his love and power : and 
* what manner of persons ought we to be?' 



2. The second ground is, because every such day, is a 
lesser day of judgment, a forerunner, pledge, and evidence 
of that great day of the Lord which is to come. God's great 
and signal judgments in the world, are to be looked on as 
pledges of the final judgment at the last day. So Jude tells 
us, that in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, ' God 
set forth an example of them that shall suffer the vengeance 
of eternal fire ;' ver. 7. And Peter calls the time of the de- 
struction of the Judaical church and state, expressly ' the 
day of judgment, and perdition of ungodly men;' 2 Epist. 
iii. 7. So to the full is the destruction of the Roman perse- 
cuting state expressed, Dan. vii. 9, 10. 14. The solemnity 
of the work and whole procedure bespeaks a great day, a 
day of judgment; it is so, and a representation of that which 
is to come. And the like also is set forth, chap. xii. 1 — 3. 
And the same description have we of the like day of Christ, 
Mai. iv. 1. 

Every such day, I say then, is a lesser day of judgment, 
wherein much judging work is accomplished. This Daniel 
tells us, chap. xii. 10. it is a trying, a purifying, a teaching, 
a hardening, a bleeding time : there are great works that are 
done upon the souls and consciences of men, by Christ, in 
such a day, as well as outwardly, and all in a way of judg- 
ment. To let pass then the outward, visible effects of his 
wrath and power, of his wisdom and righteousness; I shall 
consider some few of the more secret judiciary acts that the 
Lord Christ usually exerts in such a day. 

(1.) He pleads with all flesh that are concerned in the 
alterations and desolations he makes. God puts this as one 
act of his in judgment, that he pleads with men ; Ezek. 
xxxviii. 22. In his judgments he pleads witii and against 
men about their sins. And in that great representation of 
the day in judgment, Joel iii. 2. God is said to * plead 
with all nations.' Now, I say, in general, Christ in such a 
day pleads with all men concerned. His providences have a 
voice, and that a contending, pleading voice : unless men 


are utterly blinded and hardened, as indeed the most are, 
they cannot but hear him in his great and mighty works con- 
tending with them about their sin and unbelief; represent- 
ing to them his righteous judgment to come. Though men 
now cast off things, on this account and that, and being 
filled with their lusts, passions, fury, revenge, or ease, sen- 
suality, and worldliness, think these things concern them 
not; yet the day will come, wherein they shall know, that 
the Lord Christ in his mighty works was pleading even with 
them also, and that in a way of judgment about their sin 
and folly. 

(2.) In such a day Christ judges and determines the pro- 
fession of many a false hypocrite, who hath deceived the 
church and people of God. One great work of the last day 
shall be the discovery of hypocrites : it is thence principally 
called 'the day wherein the secrets of all hearts shall be re- 
vealed.' Many a fair pretender in the world, shall be found 
to have been an enemy of Christ and the gospel. So is the 
day of Christ's coming in the flesh represented, Mai. iii. 
1, 2. All were high in their professions of desiring his 
coming, and of delighting in him : but when he came, what 
was the issue? How few endured the trial ! The false, hy- 
pocritical, selfish hearts, who had treasured up the hopes of 
great things to themselves, being discovered by the trials 
and temptations wherewith his coming was attended, them- 
selves were utterly cast off from their profession, into open 
enmity to God and his Son. So dealeth the Lord Christ in 
and under the dispensations whereof we speak, to this day. 
What by the fury of their own lusts, what by the temptations 
which lie in their way, what by the advantages they meet 
withal for the exercise of their vile affections, their hypo- 
crisy is discovered, and themselves cast out of their profes- 
sion. Notable effects of this acting of Christ as a judge 
have we seen in the dispensation that is passing over us : 
some he hath judged by the sentence and judgment of his 
churches. How many false wretches have been cast out of 
churches, £hat have withered under their judgment, and re- 
turned no more ? Some who have not walked in the order of 
his churches by him appointed, he hath judged by the world 
itself, suffered their sin and folly so to break forth, that the 
world itself hath cast them out from the number of profes- 


sors, and owned them as its own. Some have been judged 
as to their profession of him by strong temptations ; that is, 
their lusts, ambition, selfishness, which have carried them 
into ways and compliances, wherein they have been com- 
pelled to desert, and almost renounce all their former pro- 
fession. Some have been tried and judged by the errors and 
abominations of the times, and turned aside from the sim- 
plicity of the gospel. Now though there have been, and are, 
these and many other ways and means of casting men out 
of, and from the profession that they have made, some good, 
some bad, some in themselves of a mere passive nature and 
indifferent; yet they all proceed from Christ, in a judiciary 
way, they are acts of his, in his day of judgment; and oh, 
that England might not yet be farther filled with instances 
and examples of this kind ! 

(3.) He doth exercise his judgment in blinding and 
hardening of wicked men ; yet they shall not see nor per- 
ceive what he is doing, but shall have advantages to do 
wickedly, and prejudices to blind them therein. So ex- 
pressly, Dan. xii. 10. 'They shall do wickedly, and they 
shall not understand.' There are two parts of his judgment 
in such a day about and against them : first, his giving of 
them up to their own lusts to do wickedly; 'They shall do 
wickedly.' Wicked they are, and they shall act accordingly ; 
they shall do it in such a day to the purpose ; Rev. xvi. 
10, 11. Christ will providentially suff?r occasions, advan- 
tages, provocations, to lie before them, so that they shall do 
wickedly to the purpose, they shall have daily fresh occasions 
to curse, repine, blaspheme, oppose Christ and his interest, 
or to seek themselves, and the satisfaction of their lusts, 
which at other times they shall not be able to do. Be they 
in what condition they will, high or low, exalted or depressed, 
in power or out of it, they shall in such a season do wick- 
edly, according as their advantages and provocations are. 
And for men to be given up to their own hearts' lusts, is the 
next door to the judgment of the great day, when men shall 
be given up to sin, self, and Satan, unto eternity. Secondly, 
he blinds them : ' None of the wicked shall understand.' 
Strange! Who seems so wise and so crafty as they? Who 
do understand the times, and their advantages in them, more 
than they ? Who more prudent for the management of affairs 


than they ? But, the truth is, none of them, no, not one of 
them, shall, or do, or can understand ; that is, they under- 
stand not the work of Christ, the business and design that 
he hath in hand ; nor what is the true and proper interest of 
them who are concerned in these dispensations. There are 
many ways whereby Christ exerts this blinding and infatu- 
ating efficacy of his providence towards wicked men in such 
a day of judgment, that they shall not understand, or know, 
that he is at all concerned in the works that are in the 

Sometimes the very things that he doth, are such, and so 
contrary to the prejudicate opinions of men, that they can 
never understand that they are things which he will own. 
How many have been kept from understanding any thing of 
Christ in the world, in the days wherein we live, from their 
inveterate prejudices on the account of old superstitions, 
and forms of government which have been removed ; they 
will rather die, than believe that Christ hath any hand in 
these things. 'They shall not understand.' 

Sometimes the persons by whom he doth them, keep them 
from understanding. Shall these men save us? These whom 
they look upon as the ofFscouring of the earth ? Sure if 
Christ had any work to do in the world, he would make use 
of other manner of instruments for the accomplishing of 
them : they are no less offended with the persons that do 
them, than the things that are done. Christ worketh all 
this that they should not understand. 

Sometimes the manner of doing what he hath to do, the 
darkness wherewith it is attended, the strange process that 
he makes, sometimes weak, sometimes foolish, sometimes 
disorderly to the reasoning of flesh and blood, though all 
beautiful in itself, and in relation to him. 

And sometimes Christ sends a spirit of giddiness into 
the midst of them, that they shall err and wander in all their 
ways, and not see nor discern the things that are before 
them. ' None of the wicked shall understand.' 

By these, and many such ways as these, doth Christ in 
these days of his coming exercise judgment on ungodly 
men : not to mention the outward destruction, desolation, 
and perdition, which usually in such seasons he brings 
upon them. 


(4.) He exerciseth judgment at such a time, even among 
the saints themselves ; Psal. Ixxxii. 1. he is judging in the 
great congregation. So Psal, 1. 4 — 8. AH this solemnity 
of proceeding is for the judgment of his own people. And 
his judging of them is in a plea about their obedience and 
failing therein. The sum of this his dealing with them is 
expressed. Rev. iii. 9. 

We may then consider, [1.] What it is that Christ plead- 
eth with his own people about his coming; [2.] What are 
the ways and means whereby he doth so. 

[1.] There are sundry things on the account whereof 
Christ at his coming pleads with his saints, one or more of 

1st. On the account of some secret lusts that have de- 
filed them, and which they have either indulged themselves 
in, or not so vigorously opposed as their loyalty unto Christ 
required. Times of peace and outward prosperity are usually 
times wherein, through manifold temptations, even the saints 
themselves are apt to sully their consciences, and to have 
breaches made upon their integrity: sometimes in things 
they do know, and sometimes in things they do not know, 
nor take notice of. Instances may be given in abundance 
of such things. In this condition Christ deals with them 
as Isa. iv. 4. there is blood and filth upon them ; the spirit 
of judgment and burning must be set at Wi.rk, which, as it 
principally aims at the internal efficacy of the Spirit in the 
cleansing of sin, so it respects a time of providential altera- 
tions and trials, wherein that work is effectually exerted. 
Christ in these dispensations speaks secretly to the con- 
sciences of his saints, and minds them of this and that folly 
and miscarriage, and deals with them about it. He asks 
them if things be not so and so with them? If they have not 
thus and thus defiled themselves? Whether these hearts are 
fit to converse with him? And leaves not until their dross and 
tin be consumed. 

2dly. On the account of some way or ways wherein they 
may have been unadvisedly, or through temptation, or want 
of seeking counsel aright from him, engaged. They may be 
got in their employments, in their callings, in the work that 
lies before them in this world, into ways and paths wherein 
Christ is not pleased they should make any progress : what 


through leaning to their own understandings, what through 
an inclination of saying a confederacy to them to whom the 
people say a confederacy, what through the common mistakes 
in the days wherein they live, even the saints may be engaged 
in ways that are not according to the mind and will of Christ. 
Now in such a day of Christ's coming, though he spares the 
souls of his saints, and forgives them, yet he ' takes ven- 
geance of their inventions ;' Psal. xcix. 8. He will cast down 
all their idols, and destroy and consume every false way 
wherein they were : one is, it may be, in a way of supersti- 
tion and false worship ; another in a way of pride and ambi- 
tion; another in a way of giving countenance to the men of 
the, world, and things wherein God delights not. Christ will 
take vengeance of all these their inventions in the day of his 
coming; he sits as * a refiner's fire, and as fuller's soap.' 

3dly. On the account of inordinate cleaving unto the 
shaken, passing things of the world. This is a peculiar con- 
troversy that Christ hath with his, upon the account of ad- 
herence to the passing world ; and it is a thing wherein, when 
he comes, too many will be found faulty. I might also insist 
on their unbelief, and other particulars ; but, 

[2.] The ways and means whereby Christ judgeth and 
pleadeth with his own, en these accounts, are also various. 

1st. He doth it by the afflictions, trials, and troubles, 
that he exerciseth them with at his coming. The use of the 
furnace is to take away dross; and the issue of afflictions 
and trials to take away sin : this is their fruit. So Dan. 
xii. 1. The time of Christ's coming shall be a day of trou- 
ble, such as never was. And what shall be the issue? ver. 
,10. ' Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried.' 
Their trials and troubles, their great tribulations, shall be 
purifying and cleansing; though the design of Christ in the 
issue, at the appointed season, be the peace and deliverance 
of his saints, yet, in the carrying on of his work, great trials 
and tribulations may befall them all ; and many may fall in the 
way, and perish as to the outward man. Hence, Dan. xii. 13. 
there is an appointed time of rest; and it will be a blessed 
thing for them that shall be preserved unto it ; but whilst 
those days and seasons are coming to their period, there is 
often ' a time of great trouble ;' ver. 1. And ' the power of 
the holy people may be scattered ;' ver. 7. and many afflic- 


tions and trials may befall them. Now by these doth Christ 
plead with his for the consumption of their lusts, and the 
destruction of their inventions, for the purging and purifying 
of them. All our trials, pressures, troubles, disappointments, 
in such a day, are the actings of Christ to this end and pur- 
pose. The influences that affliction hath unto these ends, 
are commonly spoken unto. 

2dly. He doth it by pouring out of his Spirit in a singu- 
lar manner, for this end and purpose, so to plead with, judge, 
and cleanse his saints. It is in the administration of his 
Spirit that at his coming * he sits as a refiner and purifier of 
silver,' Mai. iii. 1 — 3. and we see what work he accomplishes 
thereby. The Holy Ghost, who is the great pleader for the 
saints, and in them, doth at such a time eff"ectually plead 
with them, by convictions, persuasions, arguings, applica- 
tion of the word, motions, strivings, and the like. Hence 
those who are unrefined at such a season, are said in a pecu- 
liar manner * to vex,' to grieve ' the Holy Spirit' of God ; Isa. 
Ixiii. 10. His design upon them, is a design of love ; and to 
be rejected, resisted, opposed, in his actings and motions, 
this grieves and vexes him. Men know not what they do in 
neglecting the actings of the Holy Ghost, which are pecu- 
liarly suited to providential dispensations. When God is 
great in the world in the works of his providence, in altera- 
tions, dissolutions, shakings, changings, removals, and sends 
his Spirit to move and work in the hearts of men, answerable 
to his mind and will in these dispensations ; so that there is 
a harmony in the voice of God without and within, both 
speaking aloud and clearly ; then to neglect the workings of 
the Spirit, brings men into that condition complained of, 
Ezek. xxiv. 13. * Because I have purged thee, and thou wast 
not purged, thou shalt not be purged any more,' 

It may be observed, that at such seasons when Christ 
hath any great and signal work to bring forth in the world, 
he doth by his Spirit deal with the hearts and consciences 
of the most wicked and vile men ; which, when the secrets 
of all hearts shall be discovered at the last day, will exceed- 
ingly exalt the glory of his wisdom, patience, goodness, ho- 
liness, and righteousness. So did he with them before the 
flood, as is evident from Gen. vi. 3. When an utter destruc- 
tion was to come, he saith, his * Spirit shall strive with them 


no more ;' that is, about their sin and rebellion. That this 
Spirit was the Spirit of Christ, and that the work of dealing 
with these ungodly men, was the work of Christ, and that it 
was a fruit of long-suffering, Peter declares, 1 Epist. iii. 18 — 
20. And if he deals thus with a perishing world, by a work 
that perisheth also ; how much more doth he it in an effec- 
tual work upon the hearts of his own ? It is the Spirit that 
speaks to the churches in all their trials, Rev. ii. 

By this means, I say then, Christ pleads with his saints, 
secretly and powerfully judging their lusts, corruptions, fail- 
ings, consuming and burning them up : he first by frequent 
motions and instructions gives them no rest in any unequal 
path ; then discovers to them the beauty of holiness, the ex- 
cellency of the love of Christ, the vanity and folly of every 
thing that hath interrupted their communion with him, and 
so fills them with godly sorrow, renunciation of sin, and 
cleaving unto God ; which is the very promise that we have, 
Ezek. vi. 10. 

3dly. As he doth it by the inward, private, effectual 
operation of his Spirit; so he doth it by the effusion of his 
light and gifts in the dispensation of the word. Christ sel- 
dom brings any great alteration upon the world, but toge- 
ther with it, or to prepare for it, he causeth much effectual 
light to break forth in the dispensation of his word. Before 
the first destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, how 
he dealt with them he declares, 2 Chron, xxxvi. 15. ' And 
the Lord God of their fathers sent to them by his messen- 
gers, rising up betimes and sending, because he had com- 
passion on his people and on his dwelling place.' And before 
the final dissolution of the heavens and earth of that church 
and state, he preached to them himself in the flesh.' A glo- 
rious light! Before the ruin of the antichristian world, he 
sends the angel with the everlasting gospel, and his two wit- 
nesses to hold forth the light of the gospel : and we must 
witness to this his way and wisdom in our generation. Now, 
though there are many rebels against light, and many whose 
lusts are enraged by the breaking forth of truth in its beauty 
and lustre ; and many, that being dazzled with it, do run out 
of its paths into ways of error and folly, and none of the 
wicked do understand ; yet among the saints, the more light, 
the more holiness ; for their light is transforming. This then 

VOL, XVI, R ' 


is another means whereby, in such a day, Christ consumes 
the hists, and judges the inordinate walking of his own, even 
by the light which in an eminent manner he sends forth in 
the dispensation of the word. 

Now if the time and season whereof we speak, be such a 
day of judgment, wherein Christ thus pleads with all men, 
and with his own in an especial manner; I think the infe- 
rence unto eminency in universal holiness, maybe left upon 
the thoughts and minds of all that are concerned : especially 
from these considerations doth the inference lie strong unto 
the ensuing particulars, in the ways of holiness and godli- 
ness : First, Of self-searching, and self-judging in reference 
to our state and condition. Dreadful are the actings of 
Christ in such a day on the souls and consciences, ofttimes 
on the names and lives of corrupt, unsound professors : in 
part I declared them before. If any now should be found in 
such a condition, his day of judgment is come, his sealing 
to destruction. This the apostle calls to in such a dispen- 
sation ; 1 Cor. xi. 31, 32. Self-judging, as to our state and 
condition, ways and practices, is a gi'eat principle of holy 
conversation and godliness. When Christ comes to judge, 
we ought surely to judge ourselves; and abounding in that 
work is a great means of preservation from the temptations 
of the days whereunto we are exposed. Secondly, Of wean- 
edness from the world and the things thereof. Christ's 
coming puts vanity on all these passing things. This is 
surely contained in the text; ' Seeing that these things shall 
be dissolved, what manner of persons,' &c. At best they are 
vain and passing uncertain things ; in such a dispensation as 
is spoken of, they are all obnoxious to dissolution, and many 
of them certainly to be removed and taken away. And why 
should the heart of any one be set upon them? Why should 
we not fix our souls on things more profitable, more durable ? 
It is no small matter to meet the Lord Christ at his coming; 
Mai. iii. 1 — 3. They were all full of desires of the coming 
of Christ ; they sought after him : ' The Lord whom ye seek.' 
They delighted in the thoughts of him : ' Whom ye delight 
in.' Well, he came according to their desires ; he whom 
they sought was found. And what was the issue? Why 
very few of them would abide the day of his coming, or 
stand when he appeared. He had a work to do they could 


not away with. They desired his coming ; they desired the 
day of the Lord ; but as the prophet says, Amos v. 18. * Woe 
unto them, to what end have they desired it? it was dark- 
ness to them, not hght.' That was the coming of Christ in 
person to his temple ; it is not otherwise in any of his other 
comings in providential dispensations. Many men long for 
it, delight in it ; it is our duty so to do : but what is the 
issue ? One is hardened in sin and lust ; another is lifted up 
as though himself were something, when he is nothing ; a 
third stumbles at the coming itself, and falls ; ' Woe unto 
them, the day of the Lord is darkness unto them, and not 

I proceed now to the use. But to make way for the due 
improvement of the apostle's exhortation unto us, some pre- 
vious considerations must be laid down. 

First, It is known to all the world, that we have had 
great providential alterations and dissolutions in these na- 
tions. He must be a stranger, not in England only, but in 
Europe, almost in the whole world, that knows it not. Our 
heavens and our earth, our sea and our dry land have been 
not only shaken, but removed also. The heavens of ancient 
and glorious fabric, both civil and ecclesiastical, have been 
taken down by fire and sword, and the fervent heat of God's 
displeasure. It is needless for me to declare, what destruc- 
tions, what dissolutions, what unparalleled alterations we 
have had in these nations : persons, things, forms of govern- 
ment of old established, and newly-framed constitutions, we 
have seen all obnoxious to change or ruin. 

Secondly, It is no less certain, that we may say concern- 
ing all these things, * Come and see what God hath wrought.' 
And as to these desolations of nations, ruin of families, 
alterations of governments, we may say of them all as the 
Psalmist, Psal. xlvi. 8. ' Come, behold the works of the 
Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth.' It is his 
work, he hath done it himself : ' there is no evil in the city, 
and the Lord hath not done it ;' Amos iii, 6. Have there been 
any exaltations of men, recoveries from depression, relief of 
the oppressed, establishments of new frames and order of 
things? It hath been all from him; Dan. ii. 21. iv. 32. 
Indeed the days wherein we live, are full of practical 
atheism; some out of mere stoutness of heart and innate 

E 2 


unbelief will take no notice of God in all these things ; Psal. 
X. 4. ' The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, 
will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.' As 
things have been, so they suppose they are, and will be ; but 
as to the consideration of him who disposeth of all as seems 
good unto him, they are strangers unto it. Some have had 
their lusts enraged, and themselves so provoked and disap- 
pointed, that flying upon the instruments which God hath 
used, they have been filled with prejudice, and utterly 
blinded as to any discovery of the ways or work of God in 
these revolutions. Some have been utterly cast down in 
their thoughts, because they have not been able to discover 
the righteousness, beauty, and order, of the ways of God, 
his footsteps having been in the deep, while his paths have 
not been known. And some having found an open door for 
the satisfaction of their lusts, pride, covetousness, ambi- 
tion, love of the world, reputation, vain-glory, and unclean- 
ness ; have been so greedily engaged in the pursuit of them, 
that they have taken little or no notice of the hand of God 
in these things. And others are at a stand like the Philistine 
priests and diviners; 1 Sam. vi. 9. They know not whether 
all this hath been from the hand of God, or whether some 
chance hath befallen us. I shall not need to mention those 
in Isa. xlvii. 13. astrologers, star-gazers, and monthly prog- 
nosticators, who have endeavoured also to divert the 
thoughts of unbelieving, foolish men, from a due considera- 
tion of the author of all our revolutions. To all which I shall 
answer in general in the words of Hannah, 1 Sam. ii. 3 — 9. 
God hath done all these things ; and men that will not take 
notice of him, and his proceedings, shall at length be forced 
so to do ; Isa. xxvi. 11. 

These things being premised ; one principal inquiry, which 
must be the bottom and foundation of the ensuing directions, 
is, whether it may appear that these providential alterations 
and dissolutions have related to Christ and his interest in the 
world in an especial manner. 

That we may yet a little farther clear our way, you may 
farther observe, what I intend, by relating unto Christ and 
his church in an especial manner. 

1. Whereas the Lord Christ is by the appointment of the 
Father ' made heir of all things,' Heb. i. 2. and ♦ hath all 


judgment committed unto him,' over all flesh, in all the 
world ; which include his right to send his gospel into what 
nation and place he pleaseth : so all the alterations that are 
in the world, all things relate to him, and do lie in a remote 
tendency to the advancement of his glory. He will work 
out his own glorious ends from all the breakings of all the 
nations in the world ; even where the interest of his gospel 
seems outwardly to be very little or nothing at all. But it 
is not in this sense that we make our inquiry ; for so there 
would be nothing peculiar in the works that have been 
among us. 

2. Things may relate unto Christ and his church, upon 
the account of special promise. Christ hath a special and 
peculiar concernment in providential dissolutions, when they 
so relate to him ; and that appears in these things : 

(1.) When the judgments that are exercised in such a 
dispensation, flow from provocations given unto the Lord 
Christ, upon the account of his church. So Isa. xxxiv. 8. 
All the dissolutions mentioned of the heavens and the earth, 
ver. 4. were on Zion's account ; and the controversy that 
Christ had with Idumea about her. So chap. Ixiii. 4. the 
day of vengeance, is the year of the redeemed. Whence in 
such a day, the saints themselves are stirred up to take 
notice, that the desolations wrought in the earth, are on 
their account, Jer. li. 35. and so it is fully expressed in the 
ruin of antichristian Babylon in the Revelations : where then 
there is a peculiar relation of any dissolving providence unto 
Christ and his church, the judgments exerted in and under 
it, regard the vengeance of the church, and proceed from the 
provocations of Christ on that account. 

(2.) Some promises made unto Christ concerning his 
inheritance ; some promises of Christ unto his church are in 
such a day brought forth unto accomplishment. The pro- 
mises of Christ to the church are of two sorts : First, Ge- 
neral, essential to the new covenant : and these belong 
equally to all saints, of all ages, in all places, not to one 
more than another. Every saint hath an equal right and 
interest in the essential promises of the covenant with any 
other saint whatever ; there is no difference, but one God, 
Lord, and Father of all, is good unto them all alike. And, 
secondly. There are promises which are pecuHarly suited to 


the several states and conditions into which the visible 
kingdom of Christ is in his wisdom to be brought in several 
ages. Such are the promises of the calling of the Jews, of 
the destruction of antichrist, of the increase of light in the 
latter days, of the peace, rest, and prosperity of the church 
in some times or ages, after trials and tribulation. Now they 
are the promises of this latter sort, that relate unto provi- 
dential dispensations. 

Having premised these things, I shall now briefly offer 
some grounds of hope, that such have been the alterations 
and dissolutions wherein we have been exercised in this ge- 
neration : 

First, Because very many of the saints of God have ob- 
tained real, evident, soul refreshing communion with Christ 
in and about these things, on this foundation, that the 
things on the wheel amongst us have had a peculiar relation 
unto him. There is nothing of more certainty to the souls 
of any, than what they have real, spiritual experience of. 
When the things about which they are conversant lie only 
in notion, and are rationally discoursed or debated, much 
deceit may lie under all. But when things between God 
and the soul come to be realized by practical experience, 
they give a never failing certainty of themselves. Now by 
holding communion about these things with Christ, I un- 
derstand the exercise of faith, love, hope, expectation, 
delight on and in Christ on the one hand, and the receiving 
relief, supportment, consolation, joy, patience, perseverance 
on the other : from both which, holiness, faithfulness, and 
thankfulness have proceeded, and been increased. Now this 
communion with Christ, in and about the works of his pro- 
vidence amongst us, very many of the saints have obtained ; 
and, which is the height and complement of it, died in the 
clear visions of Christ in such communion. Now there are 
two things that offer sufficient security against any deceit or 
mistake in this thing : 

1. The goodness, care, and faithfulness of God towards 
his own, which will not suffer us to fear that he would lead 
all his people into such a temptation, wherein, in their 
chiefest communion, as they apprehended, with himself, 
they should feed on the wind and delusion. If the founda- 
lion of all this intercourse with God was false, and not 


according to his mind, then so was the whole superstructure. 
Now that God for many years should lead his people into a 
way of prayer, faith, hope, thankfulness, and yet all false 
and an abominable thing, because all leaning on a false 
ground and supposition, none that consider his goodness 
and tender pity towards his own, with the delight of his 
soul in their worship and ways, can once imagine. It is 
true, men may be zealously engaged in ways and acts of 
worship, and that all their lives, wherein they think they do 
God good service ; and yet both they and their service be 
abominated by him for ever. But men cannot do so in faith, 
love, obedience, thankfulness, which alone we speak of. At 
least, he will not suffer his saints to do so, of whom alone we 
speak. We have then the tender mercies and faithfulness of 
God to assure us in this case. 

2. The self-evidencing efl&cacy of faith in spiritual ex- 
periences strengthens their persuasion. Many doubtless 
may persuade themselves that they have communion with 
God, and yet feed upon ashes ; and a deceived heart turns 
them aside. The principle of such a delusion, I shall not 
now lay open. But when it is indeed obtained by faith, it 
is always accompanied with a soul quieting, refreshing evi- 
dence ; for faith in its operation will evince itself to the soul 
where it is. I do not say, it always doth so. It may be so 
clouded with darkness of mind ; so overpowered by tempta- 
tions, that in its most spiritual and genuine acting, it may be 
hid from the soul wherein it is, which we find to be the 
condition of many a gracious soul; but in itself, it clears up 
its own actings. Things that have a self-evidencing power, 
may be hindered from exerting it ; but when they do exert 
it, it is evident. Put a candle under a bushel, it cannot be 
seen; but take away the hinderance, and it manifests itself. 
It is so in faith, and its actings. They may be so clouded 
to the soul itself in which they act, that it may not be able 
to attain any comforting evidence of it. But take away the 
bushel, fear, prejudices, temptations, corrupt reasonings, 
and it will assure the soul of itself and its working. Neither 
is its working more evident than its fruit, or the product of 
its operations in the soul ; it brings forth love, rest, peace, 
all with a spiritual sense upon the heart and spirit. Now 
these have been in this thing so evident in the souls of the 


saints, that they have bespoken that faith which cannot de- 
ceive nor be deceived. 

The bottom then of the communion which the saints had 
with Christ in this work, and have, must either be faith or 
fancy : if faith, then the communion was and is real, and the 
work true that it is built upon. That it was not, that it is 
not, the fancy or imagination of a deludedheart, may appear 
from these considerations : 

(I.) From its extent. We know it possessed the minds 
of the universality of believers in this nation, who were not, 
nor are at this day, combined in our political interest, but 
are wofully divided among themselves ; yet have all had, 
more or less, this persuasion of the work relating unto Christ. 
Now that this should be any corrupt imagination, seems to 
me impossible. I speak not of outward actions and pro- 
ceedings; for so, I know whole nations may politically 
combine in evil ; though I will not believe, that ever the 
generality of the saints of Christ shall do so. But 1 speak 
of the frame of their hearts and spirits as to communion 
with Christ in faith and love, whereunto no outward reason- 
ings or interests could influence them in the least: 'Digitus 
Dei est hoc' 

(2.) It appears from the permanency, and flourishing of 
this principle in straits and difficulties. A corrupt ima- 
gination, be it never so strong and vigorous in its season, 
and whilst its food is administered to it, in the temptation 
it lives upon ; yet in trials, great and pressing, it sinks and 
withers ; or if the difficulty continue, for the most part, un- 
less where it falls on some natures of an unconquerable 
pertinacy, utterly vanisheth. But now, this principle of the 
saints' communion with Christ about the work of our gene- 
ration, was never more active, vigorous, and flourishing, did 
never more evidence itself to be of a divine extract, than in 
the greatest straits and difficulties, in the mouth and en- 
trance of the greatest deaths. Then did it commonly rise 
up to its greatest heights and assurance. Our temptations, 
whether Christ be in this work or no, have, for the most 
part, befallen us since we had deliverance from pressing, 
bloody troubles. And I think I may say, that there are 
very many saints in these nations, who can truly say, that 
the best and the most comfortable days that ever they saw 


in their lives, were those wherein they were exercised with 
the greatest fears, dangers and troubles, and that upon 
the account of the strengthening of this principle of com- 
munion with Christ. And in very many hath it been 
tried out to the death, when corrupt fancies were of little 

(3.) It appears from the fruits of this persuasion. 
Every corrupt imagination and fancy is of the flesh; and 
the works of the flesh are manifest. Whatever it may do in 
conjunction with convictions and for a season, yet in itself, 
and in a course it will bring forth no fruit, but what tends to 
the satisfaction of the flesh. But now the principle under 
consideration, did bring forth fruits unto God, in godliness 
and righteousness. 

But you will say, do we not see what fruit it hath 
brought forth ? Is not the land full of the steam of the lusts 
of men engaged in the work of this age ? Can hell itself 
afford a worse savour than is sent forth by many of them? 

Ans. 1. Very many who have been engaged, never pre- 
tended to ought of this principle, but followed professedly 
on carnal, at best rational and human accounts solely. Now 
these being men of the world, and being fallen into days of 
notable temptations, no wonder if their lusts work and tu- 
multuate, and that to purpose. The principle is not to suffer 
for their miscarriages who renounce it. 

Ans. 2. There was a mixed multitude which in this bu- 
siness went up with the people of God, who pretended to 
this principle indeed, and talked, and spake of the interest 
of Christ; but knowing nothing of the power of it, when 
these men were brought into the wilderness, and there met 
with provocations on the one hand, and temptations on the 
other, they fell a lusting, and indeed they have pursued and 
acted their lusts to purpose also, which have been indeed the 
more abominable ; in that some of them have still the im- 
pudence to pretend this principle of faith as to the interest 
of Christ, which teacheth no such things, nor producethany 
such fruits as they abound withal, 

Ans. 3. Many who have really the power of this principle 
in them, have yet been overpowered by temptations, and 
have brought forth fruits directly opposite unto that obe- 
dience, and holiness, and self-denial, which the principle 


spoken of tends unto. This, for the most part, hath fallen 
out since deliverance came in; and so the vigour of faith, 
raised by daily exercise, was much decayed. None therefore 
of these things can be charged on the principle itself, whose 
natural, genuine effects we have experienced to be such as 
no corrupt fancy, or imagination could produce. 

Many other reasons of this nature might be insisted on ; 
but this is my first ground. 

Secondly, Because in this, much work hath been really 
done for Christ. Whatever have been the designs of any, 
or all of the sons of men, Christ hath done so much for him- 
self, as I can from thence with confidence conclude, that the 
whole hath related unto him. Indeed in the work he doth, 
his interest ofttimes lies very much in the dark, yea, is ut- 
terly hid from the instruments he employs. Little did the 
Medes and Persians think, in the destruction of Babylon, 
that they were executing the vengeance of Zion, and the 
blood of Jerusalem, a poor city ruined sixty or seventy years 
before. And when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem, little 
did they think whose work they had in hand. And whatever 
instruments thought or intended, Christ hath done notable 
work for himself. The destruction of false worship as es- 
tablished by a law, the casting down of combinations for 
persecution, are no small works. I say, much work hath 
been done for Christ. There was a generation of men that 
were risen to a strange height in the contempt of the Spirit, 
and ways of Christ, combined in a resolution to oppose and 
persecute all the appearance of him either by light or holi- 
ness in his saints, setting up an outside, formal worship, in 
opposition unto the spiritual worship of the gospel. And 
upon the account of the light and truth which he began to 
command forth in those days, an unspeakable aggravation 
attended their guilt; in the pursuit of whose design, some 
were imprisoned, some banished into the ends of the earth, 
some beggared, many ruined, and given up to death itself. 
Now what work hath Christ made in these days on the men 
of that generation? What vengeance hath he taken on 
them ? This is certain, not to insist on particulars, that 
whatever new sort or combination of men may rise up in 
their spirit and design, and whatever success they may ob- 
tain, yet the generality of the men of that provocation, at 


least, the heads and rulers of it, are already sealed up under 
the indignation of the Lord Jesus, and the vengeance he 
takes for Zion. I shall not insist on more particulars ; the 
wasting and destruction of the most eminent persecutors of 
the saints, the ruin and destruction of civil and ecclesiastical 
fabrics and combinations of men, designing the opposing and 
persecuting of the Spirit of Christ, the removal of all that 
false worship under the pretence whereof they persecuted all 
the spiritual appearances of Christ, hath been all work done 
for him. 

Thirdly, The breaking forth of much glorious gospel 
light under this dispensation, evinces its relation unto Christ. 
Look upon the like outward work at any other time in the 
world. What is the issue of war, blood, confusion? Is it 
not darkness, ignorance, blindness, barrenness ? Hath it not 
been so in other places of the world ? But now in the coming 
forth of Christ, though he hath a sword in one hand, yet he 
hath the sun in the other; though he cause darkness in the 
destruction and desolation that attend his vengeance, yet 
he gives light and faith to his saints ; Mai. iv. 1, 2. Christ 
never comes for vengeance only ; his chief design is love. 
Love brings forth light; and that which reveals him more 
to his saints, and which endears his saints more to him. 
But I have manifested before, that he brings light with him; 
and he hath done so in this dispensation. Light as to the 
mysteries of the gospel ; light as to the riches of his grace ; 
light as to the way of his worship, of his ordinances and in- 
stitutions, hath broken out amongst us. As Dan. xii. 4. 
It is such a day he speaks of. 

I know how obnoxious this observation is to a sad ob- 
jection. Call you these days of light, and knowledge? Say 
you that truth hath shined forth, or been diffused ? Is it 
increased, or more scattered abroad ? Is not the contrary 

Ans. It cannot be denied, but that many grievous and 
enormous abominations have been broached in these times 
under the name and pretence of light and truth. But is 
that singular to these days? Hath it not been so upon 
every appearance of Christ? As the light hath been, so 
hath been the pretence of it in error and darkness. No 
sooner was Christ come in the flesh, but instantly there 


were many false Christs : Lo, here is Christ and there is 
Christ, was common language in those days ; as, This is the 
only way, and that is the only way, is now ; and yet the true 
Christ was in the world. And whatever light at any time 
comes forth, some mock; false light about the same thing 
immediately breaks forth. So was it in the first spreading 
of the gospel ; so in the late reformation, and so in our days ; 
and this is no evidence against the coming of Christ, but 
rather for it. For, 

1. Satan pours out this flood of abominations, on pur- 
pose to bring an ill report upon the truth and light that is 
sent out by Christ. The great prejudice against truth in 
the world is, that it is new. ' He seems to be a setter forth 
of strange' or new ' gods,' say they, of Paul ; because he 
preached Jesus, and the resurrection. To increase this pre- 
judice, the devil with it or after it sends forth his darkness ; 
which, first, enables the world to load the truth itself with 
reproaches, whilst it comes accompanied with such follies, 
as though it also were of the number. Secondly, It disables 
weak friends to find out and close with the truth amidst so 
many false pretenders. Where much false money is abroad 
in the world, every man cannot discern, and receive only that 
which is good. Much less will men always keep safe, when 
they are so unstable and uncertain, as they are for the most 
part about choosing of truth. 

2. God permits it so to be. 

(1.) For the trial of careless professors. There must be 
heresies, that the approved may be tried. Most men are 
apt to content themselves with a lazy profession. They 
will hold to the truth whilst nothing appears but truth. Let 
error come with the same pretences and advantage, they are 
for that also. Now God delights to judge such persons even 
in this world; to manifest that they are not of the truth, 
that they never received it in the love thereof. And he sifts 
and tries the elect by it, and that for many advantages, not 
now to be insisted on. As, first, that they may experiment 
the efficacy of truth : Secondly, His power in their preserva- 
tion : Thirdly, That they may hold truth upon firm and 
abiding grounds. 

(2.) God permits it to set a greater lustre and esteem 
upon truth. Truth, when it is sought after, when it is con- 


tended for, when it is experimented in its power and efficacy, 
is rendered glorious and beautiful ; and all these with innu- 
merable other advantages it hath by the competition that is 
set up against it by error. When men keep to the truth by 
the power of God, and the sense of its sweetness and use- 
fulness to their own souls, and shall see some by their errors 
turned aside to one abomination, some to another, some 
made to wither by them and under them, they discern the 
excellency of the truth they embrace. So that notwith- 
standing this exception, the observation stands good. 

Fourthly, It appears from the general nature of the dis- 
pensation itself, which clearly answers the predictions that 
are of the great works to be accomplished in the latter days, 
upon the account of Christ and his church. This is a gene- 
ral head, whose particulars I shall not enter into. They 
cannot be managed without a consideration of all, at least, 
of the most principal prophecies of the last times, and of the 
kingdom of Christ as to its enlargement, beauty, and glory 
in them ; too large a task for me to enter upon at present. 

And these are some of the grounds on which I am per- 
suaded, that the alterations and providential dissolutions of 
theseMays, have related unto, and do lie in a subserviency 
to the interest of Christ and his church ; whatever be the 
issue of the individual persons who have been engaged 

Come we now to the uses. 



Use 1. Of trial or examination. 

Hath Christ for many years now been in an especial 
manner come amongst us? Do these alterations relate to 
him and his interest ; and so require universal holiness and 
godliness? Let us then in the first place see, whether in 
their several stations the men of this generation have walked 
answerable to such a dispensation. Christ indeed hath 
done his work ; but have we done ours ? He hath destroyed 
many of his enemies, judged false professors, hardened and 
blinded the wicked world, sent out his Spirit to plead \vith 
his people, and taken vengeance on their inventions, he hath 
given out plentiful measures of truth and light : but now 
the whole inquiry is. Whether all or any of us have answered 
the mind of Christ in these dispensations, and prepared our- 
selves to meet him as becometh his greatness and holiness ? 

For the generaUty of the people of the nation, Christ 
hath been pleading with them about their unbelief, worldli- 
ness, atheism, and contempt of the gospel. And what hath 
been the issue ? Alas ! he that was filthy is filthy still; he 
that was profane is so still ; swearers, drunkards, and other 
vicious persons are so still. Where is that man in a thou- 
sand in the nation, that takes notice of any peculiar plea of 
Christ with him about his sin, in any of these dispensations? 
One cries out of one party of men, another curses another 
party, a third is angry with God himself; but as to the call 
of Christ in his mighty appearances, who almost takes any 
notice of it? The abominable pride, folly, vanity, luxury 
that are found in this city, testify to their faces, that the 
voice of wisdom is not heard in the cry of fools. And 
whereas Christ's peculiar controversy with this nation hath 
been about the contempt of the gospel ; is there any ground 
got upon the generality of men ? Is any reformation wrought 
on this account among them ? Nay, may we not say freely, 
that there is a greater spirit of hatred, enmity, and opposi- 
tion to Christ, and the gospel risen up in the nation than 
ever before? Light hath provoked and enraged them, so 


that they hate the gospel more than ever. How mad are the 
generality of the people on and after their idols, their old 
superstitious ways of worship which Christ hath witnessed 
against ? What an enmity against the very doctrine of the 
gospel ? What a combination in all places is there against 
the reforming dispensation of it? And is this any good 
omen of a comfortable issue of this dispensation ? Is not 
Christ ready to say of such a people, ' Why should you be 
smitten any more, you will revolt more and more?' and to 
swear in his wrath, that ' they shall not enter into his rest?' 
Nay, may he not justly take his gospel from us, and give it 
to a people that will bring forth fruit ? O England, that in 
this thy day, thou hadst known the things of thy peace ! I 
fear they will be hidden from thee. The temptations of the 
day, the divisions of thy teachers, with other their miscar- 
riages, and thine own lusts, have deceived thee, and without 
mercy, insuperable mercy, will ruin thee. Shall this shame 
be thy glory that Christ hath not conquered thee, that thou 
hast hardened thyself against him ? 

But passing them, let us inquire, whether the mind of 
Christ hath in these dispensations been answered in a due 
manner by the saints themselves ? Have they made it their 
business to meet him in all holy conversation and godliness? 
Indeed to me, the contrary appears upon these considera- 
tions : (1.) Their great differences among themselves about 
lesser things ; (2.) Their little difference from the world in 
great things; (3.) The general miscarriage of them all, in 
things prejudicial to the progress of the gospel; (4.) The 
particular deviation of some into ways of scandal and of- 
fence ; (5) The backsliding of most if not of all of them. 

(1.) Consider their great differences among themselves 
about lesser things. I cannot insist on the weight that is 
laid by our Saviour on the union of his disciples ; with the 
condescension and love which he requires of them to that 
purpose ; the motives and exhortations given by the Holy 
Ghost unto them on that account; the provision of princi- 
ples and means made in the gospel for it ; the necessity of it 
to the promotion of the interest of Christ in the world ; the 
benefit and advantage of it to the saints themselves ; the tes- 
timony given by it to the power of Christ, and truth of his 
word ; the blasphemies and woful soul-ruining offences that 


ensue on the contrary frame ; the weakening of faith, hin- 
drance of prayer, quenching of zeal, strengthening of the 
men of the world, that attend the neglect of it : I must not, 
I say, insist on these things ; but see John xvii. 21 — 23. and 
Phil. ii. 1 — 3. of a hundred places that might be men- 
tioned ; how little the mind of Christ, and his expectation at 
his coming hath been answered by his saints in this particu- 
lar, is evident nnto all. 

[1.] Who is there almost who having got any private 
opinion, true or false, wherein he differs from all or any of 
his brethren, who is not ready to proclaim it, without due 
regard to scandal and division, and even to quarrel with and 
divide from all that will not think as he thinks, and speak as 
he speaks ? Now the pride, self-fulness, vanity of mind, 
unlikeness to Christ, folly, want of faith and love that is in 
such a frame can never be expressed, nor sufficiently la- 
mented. Christ abhors such a frame of spirit, as he doth 
the pollution of the world. . 

[2.] Neither is this all ; but men will lay more weight on 
their mint and cummin, on the lesser things, wherein they 
differ from their brethren, spend more time about them, 
write more books of them, labour more in their prosecution, 
than they will do in and about the weighty things of law and 
gospel ; all which will appear at length to have been but the 
laying of hay and stubble on the foundation, that must be 

[3.] And farther; men fall to judging and censuring each 
other, as to their interest in Christ, or their eternal condi- 
tion. By what rule? the everlasting gospel? the covenant 
of grace? no ; but of the disciples : ' Master, they follow not 
with us.' They that believe not our opinion, we are apt to 
think believe not in Jesus Christ; and because we delight 
not in them, that Christ does not delight in them. This digs 
up the roots of love, weakens prayer, increases evil surmises, 
which are of the works of the flesh, genders strife, and con- 
tempt; things that the soul of Christ abhors. 

[4.] The abomination of this wickedness ends not here ; 
persecution, banishment, the blood of one another hath on 
this account lain in the hearts and minds of some of the 
saints themselves : not only have expressions to that pur- 
pose broken out from particular men ; but it is to be feared, 


that designs for it have been managed by parties and com- 
binations. And are they not ready to dress up one another 
with such names and titles as may fit them for ruin? Secta- 
ries, heretics, schismatics on the one side ; priests, anti- 
christian dogs on the other : and all this while Christ is in 
the midst of us! And doth this answer the expectation of 
Christ? Is this a preparation to meet him in all holy con- 
versation and godliness ? Can we render ourselves more un- 
like him, more unmeet for communion with him? Are not 
saints ready to join with the world against saints? To take 
the vilest men into their bosom, that will close with them 
in defaming, deriding, or it may be, destroying their bre- 
thren? Doth Christ look for this usage in the house of his 

(2.) Consider their little difference from the world in great 
things. The great separation that Christ requires and com- 
mands of his saints, is, from the world : he died to redeem 
them from it, and out of it ; to deliver them from the present 
evil world, the ways, works, fellowship, and ends of it; so 
providing, that in all holy conversation his people should 
dwell alone, and not be reckoned among the nations. 

Now there are five things wherein Christ calls for his 
own to be differenced from the world, and the men thereof: 
[1.] In spirit; [2.] In principle ; [3.] In conversation ; [4.] 
In ends ; [5.] In worship. 

[1.] In spirit. He tells us everywhere, that it is one 
spirit that is in his, another that is in the world ; 1 John iv. 4. 
' Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.' 
There is a ' he' in you, and a * he' in the world, and they are 
different and opposite. There is dwelling in you the Spirit 
of truth, which the world cannot receive, nor doth it know 
him; John xiv. 17. And when his disciples began to act in 
the power of a carnal spirit, he tells them, they ' knew not 
what spirit they were of.' 

[2.] In principle. The principle that Christ requires in 
his saints, is faith working by love, and guided by that wis- 
dom which is from above ; 1 Tim. i. 5. Here are the saints* 
principles, I mean, should be so of all their operations. A 
pure heart and love, which is the end of all faith, is their 
great principle ; this cleanses the conscience, and so sets 
them on work; by this they take in strength for operation 



from Christ, without whom they can do nothing; John xv. 5. 
By this they receive light and guidance from Christ, and 
that wisdom which is from above, enabling them to order 
their affairs with discretion; Jam. iii- 17, 18. Now the prin- 
ciple that is in the world, is self, self acted and guided by 
carnal wisdom, which is sensual and devilish ; on the ac- 
count whereof, they despise the principle and actings of the 
saints; Psal. xiv. 6. 

[3.] In conversation. He ' hath redeemed us from a vain 
conversation;' 1 Pet. i. 18. There is a peculiar emphasis 
put upon a conversation that becomes the gospel. There is 
a twofold conversation ; one that becometh the world, and 
the men of the world ; another that becometh the gospel, and 
the profession thereof: that these be kept unmixed is the 
great exhortation of the apostle, Rom. xii. 2. And if you 
would know wherein a worldly conversation consists, the 
apostle telleth us, 1 John ii. 16. A conversation wherein 
any of these things bear sway, is a conversation of this world . 
That all holiness, all manner of holiness, universal holiness 
and godliness is hi the gospel conversation to which the 
saints are called, shall be afterward spoken unto. 

[4.] In ends. There is a double end of men's working 
and acting in this world : 1st. General, which regulates the 
course of their lives and conversations ; 2dly. Particular, 
which regulates their particular actings and works : and in 
both these are the saints and the world differenced. 

1st. The general end of the saints is the glory of God ; 
this lies in their eye, in their design ; how God may be glo- 
rified by them, his name exalted, his interest promoted; this 
way the bent of their minds and s-pirits tend. The general 
end of the men of thew^orld is self; all is resolved into self; 
whatever they do or act in public or private, whatever their 
pretence be, yet self is their end; self-admiration, self-osten- 
tation, self-satisfaction, all centres in self. Sometimes indeed 
they may perform things that seem to be of a public tend- 
ency, for the good of mankind, the good of nations, yea, it 
may be the good of the church ; so that it is hard for them- 
selves to discover, or for others to charge them, it may be, 
that they act for self. But there are these two things tliat 
will evince men to make self their general end and aim, even 
then when they act for public ends. 


(1st.) This is a rule that will not fail men: whatever in 
public actings is not done with a single eye for the glory of 
God, is done for self. These two divide all the general ends 
of men ; and where one is not enthroned, the other is. Now 
though some men may so far proceed in public actings, that 
it may not be evident wherein their self-interest lies, though 
that also be but seldom, yet if they do not eye the glory of 
God with a single eye in these their actings, it is all for self, 
and so it will be found at the last day. Now how few will be 
left not turning into self on this rule, now pretences run so 
high of public aims, might be easily evinced. It were no 
hard matter to discover, how in things of a public tendency, 
men make some fleshly imagination or other the god they 
worship ; so that be enthroned, they are little solicitous 
about the glory of God himself. 

(2dly.) The difference of these ends even in public act- 
ings may be seen from the ways, means, and frame of spirit 
in which they are carried on. Let men pretend what they 
will to public ends, yet if they press after them with a proud, 
carnal, wrathful, envious, spirit, by the ways, wisdom, and 
in the spirit of the world, without faith and submission to 
God, it is self and not God that is their aim. And this also 
might be improved to strip men of glorying in their public 
designs, were that my present business. Jehu's spirit spoiled 
his work. 

2dly. There is a particular end that regulates the public 
actings of men. This in the saints is their doing the work 
of their generation ; that, as Noah, they may walk with God 
in their generation. This is their integrity as to the special- 
course of their lives, and their particular employment, how 
they may fulfil the work of their generation. The special 
end of the men of the world, is the satisfaction of one parti- 
cular lust or other. Will this increase my wealth, my power, 
my carnal interest in this world, my reputation for wisdom 
and ability, or give me advantage to grow in this or that 
corrupt end, in particular ? This is the secret inquiry of their 
deceived hearts; this influences and regulates all their par- 
ticular actings. ■ '"=* 

[5.] As to their separation in worship, I shall only'point 
to that one place, and leave it, 2 Cor. vi. 14 — IS.aM^chaj^-.' 
vii. 1. which belongs to that discourse. >; ..i; -uls 

s 2 


Now I wish I had a more difficult task in hand : I wish 
it were harder for me to manage any principle of conviction, 
that we have not been prepared to meet Christ in his coming, 
from this consideration of our little difference from the 
world in these great things of principle, spirit, walking, ends, 
and worship. For 

What a fleshly, wrathful, carnal, worldly spirit hath dis- 
covered itself in many professors, nay, in the most? How 
little of the humble, lowly, meek, loving spirit of Christ? 
Many think it their glory to be unlike Christ in the spirit of 
their minds, high, heady, self-full, proud, revengeful : what 
little difference between them, and the men of the world? 
How like to one another? What oneness is found in 
them? Is this to learn Christ? To put on Christ? Is this 
the image of Christ, that manifests itself in most pro- 
fessors ? Nor 

Are they at a distance from the world, as to the princi- 
ple of their walking and working. Do they walk by faith, 
and work by faith ? Are they guided by the wisdom that is 
from above ? Make they God their refuge ? Or are any men 
more dipped into a principle of carnal wisdom, than most 
professors are? To seek counsel of God, to take the law of 
their proceedings at his mouth, to look up to him for 
guidance and direction, to derive strength from the Lord 
Christ by believing for the work of their employments ; in 
how few are these things found? Their own wisdom, their 
own counsel, their own contrivance, their own abilities, shall 
do their work. Carnal policy, and fleshly wisdom are their 
net and drag. 

Moreover, what is our conversation ? How like the world 
in our persons, in our families, in our spirits, callings, in 
whatever the world may properly call its own ? Professors 
have justled the men of the world out of the possession of 
the ways of the world. How few are found walking in a 
world-condemning conversation? a gospel-glorifying con-- 
versation ? a fruitful, holy conversation? We are known 
from the world by word more than by deed ; which is not 
the way that James directs us unto. 

I might go through with the rest of the considerations 
mentioned, and manifest that there is another evil found 
amongst us ; for as we have great differences among our- 


selves about little things, so we have little difference from the 
world in those which are great and weighty. 

(3.) Consider the general miscarriage almost of all pro- 
fessors in things prejudicial to the advancement of the gos- 
pel ; the pretence, whereof we have served ourselves all along, 
hath been of the furtherance, propagation, and advancement 
of the gospel. Our Lord Christ hath sent out light, and 
given opportunities suitable unto such a design. Never 
greater advantages, nor greater opportunities from the foun- 
dation of the world. If ever they be required at the hands 
of this generation, they will be found to have been so : 
whence then hath it been, that the work hath not gone on 
and prospered? Why doth it yet stick? Hath it not been 
from the woful miscarriage of those, who were looked on as 
the means and instruments of carrying it on? Have there 
been a few saints in a place ? It is odds, that they have been 
at variance among themselves, and made sport for the vain 
multitude by their divisions : or they have walked frowardly, 
provokingly, uselessly, worldly, that their pretence for the 
gospel hath been despised, because of their persons. Have 
they, as men concerned in the honour of Christ and the 
gospel, as men enjoying the blessed principle of his Spirit, 
laboured to be useful, fruitful, to do good to all, to be meek, 
lowly, self-denying, charitable, abounding in good works, 
patient towards opposers, not reviling again, not returning 
evil for evil, bearing, suffering, committing all to Christ? 
Alas, how few are there who have so walked ! Could some 
see believers making it their business to be like Christ in 
the world, to deny themselves as he did, to do good to all as 
he did, to be patient under persecution and reproaches as he 
was, to be tender, pitiful, merciful like him, to abide in faith 
and prayer as he did ; what might we not expect, as to the 
advancement of the gospel amongst us ? We complain of 
cold preaching among ministers, of dead and dull attendance 
in hearers, of contempt of the word in the most, whereby the 
power of the gospel is kept within narrow bounds ; but the 
truth is, the prejudices that have been raised by the miscar- 
riages of professors, have had a greater influence unto that 
evil event, than any of the rest. And hath this been to meet 
Christ in his coming? 

(4.) Of the like nature are the scandalous offences of 


many. I shall not insist on the scandalous apostacies of 
many professors, who, some by one great sin, some by ano- 
ther, are fallen off from the profession of the gospel. I wish 
that too many other instances might not be found among 
them that remain. Are there not some proud unto scandal, 
or sensual unto scandal, or covetous unto scandal, or negli- 
gent of their families and relations unto scandal, or con- 
formable to the ways, customs, and fashions of the world 
unto scandal ? I wish no such things might be found 
among us. 

(5.) Add hereunto, the general backsliding, or going 
back from God, that is amongst professors ; we scarce seem 
to be the same generation of men that we were fifteen or 
sixteen years ago : some have utterly lost tiieir principle. 
Zeal for God, reformation, purity of ordinances, interest of 
Christ in his saints, are things to be despised, things that 
have no concernment in our condition and affairs ; as though 
we had no more need of Christ, or his interest amongst us : 
and in the best, is not a fresh spirit of our present engage- 
ment almost lost? 

But why should I insist farther on these things ? Are not 
the things that have been spoken, sufficient for a rebuke, or 
a conviction at least, that the professing people of Christ 
have not walked as though they had a just respect to his 
coming, or his peculiar presence amongst them? May we 
not justly fear, that our multiplied provocations may at 
length prevail with him to withdraw, to put a stop to his 
work that is upon the wheel ; not only to leave us to mani- 
fold entanglements in the carrying of it on, but also utterly 
to forsake it, to cast down the tower, and pluck up the hedge 
that he hath made about his vineyard, and leave it to be laid 
waste? He must have a heart like the flint in the rock of 
stone, that doth not tremble at it. But complaints will not 
be our relief. That which is incumbent on us, if yet there 
may be hope, is our answering the exhortation in my text. 
If then any sense do fall upon our spirits, that Christ is come 
amongst us in a peculiar manner, in the providential altera- 
tions and dissolutions that have been among us ; and that 
we have not hitherto demeaned ourselves as becometh them 
who are called to meet him, and to walk with him in such 
ways and paths as his amongst us have been ; then I say, let 


US apply ourselves in our next use to the exhortation that 
lies before us, to all manner of * holy conversation.' 

Use 2. Of exhortation. That I say then which we are 
now to attend unto, is the exhortation that is included in 
this expression : * What manner of persons ought we to be V 
To further the efficacy of this exhortation, give me leave to 
premise some few things. 

First, There are general reasons of holiness and godliness, 
and there are special motives unto them. I am not now 
dealing upon the general reasons of holiness on the account 
of the covenant of grace, and so shall not press it on those 
considerations, upon believers as such. But I speak of it in 
reference unto the peculiar motive mentioned in the text ; 
namely. The providential dissolution of temporal concern- 
ments, and so speak to believers as men interested therein, 
as persons whom Christ hath a special regard unto in these 
his dispensations. It is one thing to say. What manner of 
persons ought ye to be, whom God h-^th loved with an ever- 
lasting love, whom Christ hath washed in his own blood, 
who have received the Spirit of Christ? and another to say. 
Ye that are loved with an everlasting love, are washed in the 
blood of Christ, and made partakers of the Holy Ghost. 
Seeing that Christ is come amongst us, to the dissolution of 
the great things of the nations, what manner of persons 
ought you to be ? That is it in a peculiar pressing unto ho- 
liness on the account of the motive that is intended. 

Secondly, There is a holiness and godliness that is re- 
quired universally at all times, in all places and seasons, and 
in all persons whatever by the gospel ; and there is a pecu- 
liar improvement of that holiness and godliness at some 
seasons, and in some persons, that is not required at some 
times, and of some persons. Christ hath work for all the 
grace of his people in this world ; and according as oppor- 
tunities for that work are presented unto them, they ought 
to stir up their grace for it. In the times of Christ's coming, 
he hath great work to do for and by the holiness and godli- 
ness of his people : a great testimony is to be given to him- 
self thereby ; his work is much to be promoted by it ; the 
world to be convinced, condemned, his judgments against 
them justified in the sight of all ; and much more hath Christ 
to do with the holiness of his people at such a season. Now 


it is this peculiar improvement of covenant gospel holiness 
that is required ; not only that holiness that is indispensably- 
incumbent on us by the virtue of the covenant, but that 
heightening and improvement of it which the season wherein 
we live, and the work that Christ hath to do, do require of us. 

These things being premised, let us now proceed to the 
management of our exhortation; and observe, 

(1.) That the apostle calls us to a consideration how 
this work may be effected : ' What manner of persons ought 
ye to be?' Consider with yourselves the equity of the mat- 
ter, the greatness of the motive, and the ways whereby it 
may be answered. The business is not now to be left at an 
ordinary rate, nor unto private meditations ; it is to be made 
a matter of solemn consideration and design; it is to be 
managed with advice and counsel: consider, I say, ' what 
manner of persons.' It is not about holiness in general that 
I speak, but about that holiness which becomes us in such 
a season. This thei;i is the first part of this exhortation, 
that as to the improvement of holiness answerable to the 
season of this coming of Christ, we would carry it on by 
design, by counsel, by deliberate consideration; not only 
labouring to be holy ourselves, but to promote the work of 
holiness, the eminency, the activity, the usefulness of it in 
one another, in all believers, so far as our prayers, exhorta- 
tions and examples can reach. This the apostle pleads for 
on the same account, Heb. iii. 13. and chap. x. 23, 24. to the 
same purpose. And we have the practice of it, Mai. iii. 16. 
It was such a time and season as that we treat of, Christ was 
coming to his temple, ver. 1 — 3. The earth was full of 
wickedness and contempt of him. What do the saints do ? 
Do tliey content themselves with their ordinary measures? 
Do they keep all close to themselves ? No, they confer, ad- 
vise, consult, and that frequently, how, wherein, whereby 
the expectation of their coming Lord may be answered. The 
reasons, arguments, way of carrying on such a counsel and 
design, the apostle declares, Rom. xiii. 11 — 14. The time 
requires it, the duty is urgent, temptations are many, fail- 
ings have been great, the Lord is nigh at hand. Let then 
believers enter together into this plot, this design, draw as 
many as they can into it, promote it by all ways and means 
possible. Let them get together ; make this their aim. their 


design, engage in it as the duty of their day, of their time 
and season. This would be a plot that the men of the world 
would have more just cause to fear, than ever they had of 
any, and yet dare not question, disturb, or interrupt. A 
design that would blow up their contrivance, disappoint 
their counsel, ruin their interest, shake heaven and earth. 
Let every one contribute the best of his counsel, the best of 
his grace, the best of his interest in heaven, the utmost of 
his self-denial to the carrying of it on. JVIethinks we have 
dwelt long enough upon others' failings, fruitless, selfish de- 
signs ; the world is full of the noise, the steam, the filth of 
them. Oh, that the stream of our endeavours might now be 
another way ! Oh, that God would stir up souie that might 
stand up and cry. Who is for God ? Who is on our side, 
for holiness now ? If ministers at their meetings; if Chris- 
tians at theirs would make this their business ; if all would 
agree to sacrifice their lusts, their self-love, their by-opi- 
nions to this work, what glory would redound to Christ? 
What salvation would be wrought in the earth? Why do 
any of us lie complaining ? Let us up and be doing, there is 
no doubt, no question to be made ; this is that which Christ 
lengthens his controversy with us about, that he will bring 
us to, or ruin us, and destroy us as to this world. Ministers 
meet: What do they? Pray awhile, and spend their time in 
and about differences, controversies, how they may do this 
or that which I shall not name. Christians meet, and pray, 
and go away as they came. Lusts are not sacrificed ; faults 
are not confessed to one another; exhortations mutual are 
not used; no ground is got for holiness or godliness, but 
things remain as they did, or rather grow worse and worse 
every day ; at best profession rises, and the power of religion 
falls and decreases. 

I heartily wish professors would be persuaded to come 
together, to advise,- to consult for God, for the glory of 
Christ and the gospel, and for their own interest in this 
thing : to consider what are the pressing temptations of the 
days wherein we live; what are the corruptions and luots 
that are apt to be provoked and excited by these tempta- 
tions, or by the state of things amongst us; what duties 
seem to be neglected ; and what are the common, visible 
failings and scandal of professors, wherein themselves through 


party, or neglect, or selfishness have been wanting; and to 
advise and pray for the remedying of all these evils. I wish 
they would seriously stir up and exhort one another, to con- 
tend mightily for the crucifying of all their secret lusts and 
bosom sins; for heart purity, and likeness to Christ in all 
things : that they would incite others, and draw all they 
can into their society and combination in all parts of the 
nation. In particular, let not us of this place stand still, 
expecting when others will begin the work ; the meaner, 
poorer, worse we are, the more incumbent is it on us to rise 
and be doing ; the water is moved, teaching is in it, and we 
strive not who shall enter first, but rather stand striving, 
contesting with others, to put them before us. 

This is the first direction : let us make the matter of ho- 
liness and godliness, suited to the coming of Christ, a busi- 
ness of design, counsel, and common engagement. Where- 
unto every one may contribute of the store which from God 
he hath received. Blessed will be those servants, whom 
their Master, when he cometh, shall find so doing. 



I SHALL now add some cautions as to the pursuitof the first 

[] .J Take heed of a degeneration into self-righteousness. 
Intendments of holiness have more than once been ruined 
by Satan through this deceit: they have set out upon con- 
viction, and ended in pharisaism. Now this hath been done 
many ways. 

(1st.) Some really convinced of the vanity of an empty 
profession, and of boasting of saintship iipon the account 
of faith and light without holiness and godliness, which was 
the way of many when James and John wrote their epi- 
stles, fall to dispute and contend, as well they may, for the 
absolute necessity of holiness and strict obedience, of fruit- 
fulness and good works. But Satan here gets advantage upon 
men's natural spirits, their heats, and contentions, and insi- 
nuates an inherent righteousness, upon the account whereof 
we should under one pretence or other expect acceptation 
with God, as to the justification of our persons. So he pre- 
vailed upon the Galatians. The way is narrow and strait 
that lies between the indispensable necessity of holiness, and 
its influence into our righteousness. Because no faith will 
justify us before God, but that also which will justify itself 
by fruitfulness before men, a great mistake arises, as though 
what it doth for its own justification were to be reckoned 
unto ours. Many in our days have gone off from the mys- 
tery of the gospel on this account. 

2dly. It prevails from a secret self-pleasing, that is apt 
to grow on the minds of men, from a singularity in the per- 
formance of duties. This is that which the heart-searcher 
aims to prevent in his command, that * when we have done 
all, we should say, we are unprofitable servants ;' that is, in 
the secrets of our hearts to sit down in a sense of our own 
worthlessness. And here lies another great practical diffi- 
culty, namely, to have the rejoicing of a good conscience in 
our integrity and constancy in duties, without a reflection 
upon something of self, that the soul may please itself, and 


rest in. Nehemiah fixes on tlie medium, chap. xiii. 22. He 
had in the sight of God the testimony of his conscience, con- 
cerning the service he had done for the house of God ; but 
as to the rest, he winds up all in mercy, pardon, and grace. 
* God, I thank thee I am not as other men,' is apt to creep 
into the heart in a strict course of duties. And this self- 
pleasing is the very root of self-righteousness, which as it 
may defile the saints themselves, so it will destroy those 
who only in the strength of their convictions go forth after 
a holiness and rigliteousness ; for it quickly produceth the 
deadly poisonous effect of spiritual pride, which is the great- 
est assimilation to the nature of the devil that the nature of 
man is capable of. 

3dly. Our own holiness hath an advantage upon spiritual 
sense against the righteousness of Christ. The righteous- 
ness of Christ, is utterly a strange thing to the best of un- 
believers; and this puts them by all means upon the setting 
up of tiieir own; Rom. x. 3. And believers themselves know 
it only by faith, Rom. i. 17. which is ' of things not seen.' 
But what we are ourselves, what we do, what we aim at, and 
in what manner, this we have a near sense of. And holiness 
is apt to insinuate itself into the conscience with a beauty 
that is none of its own, to proffer itself to the soul's embraces 
instead of Jesus Christ. Its native beauty consists in its 
answering the will of God, conforming the soul to the like- 
ness of Christ, and being uspfiil in thp world, in a covenant 
of mere mercy. From its presence, and the sense we have 
of it, the heart is apt to put a varnish and false beauty upon 
it, as to the relief of conscience upon the account of justifi- 
cation. As it was of old with the children of Israel, when 
Moses was in the mount, and not seen, nor had they any vi- 
sible pledge of the presence of God, instantly they turned 
their gold into a calf that would be always present with 
them. Being in the dark as to the righteousness of Christ, 
which is as it were, absent from them, men set up their own 
holiness in the stead of it ; which, though of itself it be of 
God, yet turned into self-righteousness, is but a calf, an idol, 
that cannot save them. 

This is my first caution. But that we may make the 
better improvement of it, as unto present practice, I shall 
add some evidences of the prevalency, or at least contending 


of self-righteousness for an interest in the soul, under a pre- 
tence of duty and holiness. As, 

(1st.) When under a design of holiness, there is an in- 
crease of a bondage frame of spirit. When the mind begins 
to be enslaved to the duties which it doth itself perform. 
When that amplitude, freedom, and largeness of mind, which 
is in a gracious frame of heart, decays ; and a servile, bondage- 
frame grows in the room of it, so that the soul tloth what it 
doth under this notion, that it dare not do otherwise. ' Where 
the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty ;' 2 Cor. iii. 17. 
Those that come to Christ, he makes free; .]ohn viii. 36. 
There is freedom and spiritual largeness of heart unto obe- 
dience and duty. A will unto duty enlarged, dilated, and 
sweetened by love, delight, joy, complacency in the matter 
of obedience, is the freedom we speak of. This frame, I 
confess, is not always alike prevalent in gracious souls : 
they may have things ready to die; sin within, temptations 
without, desertion from God, all of them together, each of 
them may disturb this harmony, and bring them for a time, 
it may be a long time, under an indisposition unto such a 
frame: but this is for the most part predominant. When 
such a frame decays, or is not, all endeavours, pains, at- 
tempts, severities in duties, do all relate to the law, to 
bondage; and consequently lead to self-righteousness, fear, 
subjection of conscience to duties, not God in Christ in the 
duty, fluctuating of peace according to performances; the 
soul in its strictest course had need fear a snare. 

(2.) Increasing in form, and withering in power. Forms 
are of three sorts : [1st.] Those of institution; [2dly.] Moral; 
[3dly.] Arbitrary in conversation. 

[1st.] There are forms and ways of worship, whereof 
some are, and all pretend to be, of Christ's institution. Let 
us at present take it for granted, that they are all what they 
are apprehended to be, namely, from Christ. For a man to 
grow high, earnest, zealous, in and about them, to be strict 
and severe in contending for them, and yet find no spiritual 
refreshment in them, or communion with God, nor to grow 
in faith and love by them, is to dwell on the confines of 
self-righteousness, if not hypocrisy. This was the very sin 
of the Jews, about their institutions so much condemned in 
the Scripture. None use instituted ways or forms of wor- 


ship profitably, but such as find communion with God in 
them, or are seriously humbled because they do not. 

[2dly.] The outward form of moral duties, that depend 
not merely on institution, is the same. Such are praying, 
preaching, hearing, abounding in them without a suitable 
increase in grace, power, liberty, love, meekness, lowliness 
of mind, argues, though under the highest light to the con- 
trary, a real mixture of self. 

[3dly.] There are also outward forms in conversation, 
that are used to the same purpose. We have had some who 
have changed their outward form in a few years, as often as 
Laban changed Jacob's wages. What shape they will next 
turn themselves into, I know not. This is not going from 
strength to strength, and increasing in life and power, but 
from one shape toanotlier ; and in their word and prophecy 
is directly proportioned, and answerable in its outward ap- 
pearance to the administration of the Old Testament, and 
not at all to the spiritual dispensation of the New. So it 
may be feared that in the principle of their obedience, they 
lie under a legal bondage and self-righteousness, which hath 
utterly spoiled that which perhaps in its first design set out 
for mortification and holiness. 

(3dly.) Where self-righteousness is getting ground, these 
two, bondage and form, at length bring forth burdensome- 
ness and wearisomeness. This God charges on such justi- 
ciaries, Isa. xliii. 22. 'Thou hast been weary of me.' The 
ways and worship of God grow very grievous and burden- 
some to such a soul. He is a stranger to that of the apostle, 
* His commandments are not grievous :' and that of our 
Saviour himself, * My yoke is easy, and my burden light.' 
The easiness of the yoke of Christ ariseth from the assist- 
ance that is given to him that bears it by the Holy Ghost ; 
as also the connaturalness that is wrought in the heart to 
all the duties of it. Both these accompany a gospel frame. 
But when a soul is deserted of these, the yoke grows heavy, 
and galleth him, but yet he must go on; this is from self- 
righteousness. Let this then be our first caution. 

[2.] Take heed of monastic uselessuess. I am persuaded 
monkery came into the world not only with a glorious pre- 
tence, but also with a sincere intention. Men weary of the 
ways, weary of the lusts, and sin of the world, designing 


personal holiness left their stations, and withdrew them- 
selves into retirement. David was almost gone with this 
design; Psal.lv. 6. 'O that I had wings,' and Jer. ix. 2. 

• O that I had a lodging in the wilderness.' Whose heart 
hath not been exercised with reasonings of this kind? Oh 
that we could be freed from the incumbrances and provoca- 
tions of this world; what manner of persons might we be in 
all holy conversation and godliness ? But consider, 

1st. What success this design prosecuted hath had in 
others. How quickly did it degenerate into wretched su- 
perstition, and was thereon blasted and rejected of God? 

2dly. God can suffer temptation to pursue us into a wil- 
derness, that shall more obstruct us in the progress of holi- 
ness, than all the difficulties we meet withal in this world. 
It is not of what kind our temptations are, but what assist- 
ance we are to expect under them, that we are to look after. 

3dly. Not our communion, but God's work is to be con- 
sidered. God hath work to do in this world, and to desert 
it because of its difficulties and entanglements, is to cast 
off his authority. Universal holiness is required of us, that 
we may do the will of God in our generation ; Gen. vi. 9. 
It is not enough that we be just, that we be righteous, and 
walk with God in holiness; but we must also serve our ge- 
nei-ation, as David did, before he fell asleep. God hath a 
work to do, and not to help him, is to oppose him. 

[3.] Take heed of laying a design for holiness in a sub- 
serviency unto any carnal interest; of crying with Jehu, 

* Come see my zeal for the Lord of hosts,' thereby to do our 
own work, and compass our own ends. The great scandal 
that hath befallen the days wherein we live, and which hath 
hardened the spirits of many against all the ways of God, is, 
that religion, godhness, zeal, holiness, have been made a 
cloak for carnal and secular ends. What of this hath been 
really given, and what hath been taken on false imaginations, 
the last day will discover. In the mean time this is certain, 
that there is a corruption in the heart of man, rising up to 
such a visible prostitution of the whole profession of reli- 
gion, which of all things must be carefully avoided. 

And this is the grand exhortation that I shall insist on : 
let it be our design to promote generation holiness in our- 
selves and others, with the cautions insisted on. 


(2.) That which in the next place is^ considerable, is the 
proposing of the ingredients that lie in the motive to holi- 
ness here expressed by the apostle : * Seeing that these 
things shall be dissolved.' As, 

[L] It will be a furtherance of holiness to take off our 
hearts from an esteem and valuation of all things, that are 
so obnoxious to dissolution. An estimation or valuation of 
earthly things is on all accounts the greatest hinderance to 
the promotion of holiness. Earthly-mindedness, pride of 
spirit, elation above our brethren, self-estimation, carnal 
confidence, contempt of the wisdom and grace of others, 
aptness to wrath and anger ; some, or all of these, always 
accompany such a frame. 

The apostle also makes this an effectual means of the 
improvement of holiness, that the minrl be taken off from 
the delightful contemplation of visible things ; "2 Cor. iv. 18. 
Things will work towards 'a weight of glory:' in which 
words the apostle alludes to the Hebrew word, 1133 * glory/ 
which comes from a root, signifying to ' weigh,' or ' to be 
heavy;' that being the only weighty thing, and all others 
light and of no moment. This way, I say, things will work, 
whilst our minds are taken off from thing-s that are seen. 
The mind's valuation of them is as great an obstruction to 
the growth of holiness, as any thing whatever that can beset 
us in our pilgrimage. Now what can give a greater allay 
to the warmth of our thoughts and minds, than their con- 
tinual obnoxiousness to dissolution and change? This the 
apostle makes his argument everywhere. They are tem- 
poral things, saith he, things that abide not, things obnoxi- 
ous to change and ruin: 'The world passeth away, and the 
figure of it. Wilt thou set thine heart upon that which is 
not?' And there lies the force of the inference under consi- 
deration : ' Seeing that these things shall be dissolved,' and 
it may be in a way of judgment, in a dreadful, fearful man- 
ner ; how is it incumbent on us to fix our hearts on more 
durable things, to choose the better part, the better portion? 
What advantage can it be to enlarge our hearts to the love 
of the things that are upon the wing? To cleave to parting 
things with our aHections ? To grow in our desires after 
that which withdraws itself from us continually? Let us then 
consider, how many duties have been omitted, how many 


temptations have been offered, and objected to us; how 
many spiritual frames of heart prevented or expelled ; how 
much looseness and vanity of mind introduced; how much 
self-confidence promoted, by an over-valuation of these 
things : and we shall then see what influence a watching 
against it may have to the furtherance of a design of holiness. 

[2.] It will be so, to take off our care about them. This 
also is a worm that lies at the root of obedience, and is of 
itself able to wither it, if not removed. Our Lord Jesus 
Christ, giving us instruction how we should be prepared for 
the coming of such a day, as that whereof we are speaking, 
charges us, among other things, to take heed that we * be 
not overcharged with the cares of this life ;' Luke xxi. 34. 
Indeed there is nothing so opposite to that peculiar holiness 
and godliness that is required of us in and under great pro- 
vidential dissolutions, as this of care about perishing things. 
The special holiness that we press after, is a due mixture of 
faith, love, self-denial, fruitfulness, all working in a peculiar 
and eminent manner. Now to every one of these is this care 
a canker and a gangrene, fitted to eat out and devour the 
life and spirit of them. The very nature of faith consists in 
a universal casting of our care on God ; 1 Pet. v. 7. ' Cast 
all your care on him.' All our care about temporal, spiri- 
tual, eternal things, let us cast all this on God, our whole 
burden; this is believing, this is faith: and what is more 
opposite unto it, than this care and solicitousness of the soul 
about the obtaining or retaining of these things ? Resigna- 
tion, acquiescency, rest, all which are acts or effects of 
faith, are devoured by it. Trust in God, afl[iance, delight in 
his will, ruins them all. How can a soul glorify God in be- 
lieving in a difficult season, that is overlaid with this dis- 
temper? Nothing is more diametrically opposite thereunto. 

Love enlarges the heart to Christ, and every thing of 
Christ; valuation, delight, satisfaction accompany it: it 
makes the heart free, noble, ready for service, compassion* 
ate, zealous; nothing is more called for in such a day: and 
the decay of faith in the trials and temptations of such a sea- 
son, is called, the * waxing cold of love ;' as the fruit decays, 
when the root is consumed. To think of glorifying God in 
the days wherein we live, without hearts warmed, enlarged, 
made tender, compassionate by gospel love, is to think to 



fly without wings, or to walk without feet. What day al- 
most, what business, wherein our love is not put to the trial 
in all the properties of it; whether it can bear and forbear; 
whether it can pity and relieve ; whether it can hope all 
things, and believe all things ; whether it can exercise itself 
towards friends and towards enemies; whether it can give 
allowance for men's weakness and temptations; whether it 
can value Christ above all, and rejoice in him in the loss of 
all ; and many the like things is it continually tried withal. 
Now nothing so contracts and withers the heart, as to all 
these things, as the cares of this world do. Whatever is 
selfish, fearful, unbelieving, is inwrapped in them. They 
sometimes pine, wither, and render useless the whole man, 
always drink up the spirit, and deprive it of any communion 
with God in any thing it hath to do. 

The same may be said concerning self-denial and fruit- 
fulness; which in an eminent manner Christ now calls upon 
us for. Love, care, and fear about the things that shall be 
dissolved, unframes the soul for them. 

On these considerations, and the like which mi^ht be 
added, may this direction be improved, and no small ob- 
stacle unto a course of universal holiness and godliness, be 
taken away. Is the power, are the riches, the pleasures of 
the world valuable ? Alas ! they are all passing away. It is 
but 'yet a little while, and their place shall know them no 
more.' Yet could we take off our hearts from an undue va- 
luation of these things, and care about them, half our work 
was done. 

(3.) That which remains for the closing of our discourse 
on this subject, is to give some few motives unto the duty 
proposed: and I shall only mention three generals: [1.] Re- 
lating unto ourselves ; [2.] Unto others ; [3.] Unto Christ 

[1.] As to ourselves ; this alone will maintain peace and 
quiet in our souls in and under those dissolutions of things 
that we are to be exercised with. We know what desola- 
tions, what ruin of families, what destruction of all outward 
enjoyments in many, they have already in these nations been 
attended with : and we know not how soon, nor by what 
ways or means, the bitterest part of the cup, as to outward 
pressures and calamities, may become our portion. We 


have seen somewhat of the beginning of the work of Christ; 
where he will cease, what he hath yet farther to do, we know 
not. Our concernnient then certainly was never greater 
than it is at this day, to keep up peace and rest within. If 
there should be a confederacy of outward and inward trou- 
ble, who can stand before it? A wounded body, a wounded, 
it may be, ruined estate, and a wounded^pirit altogether, 
who can bear? This is that alone which Ui^. world cannot 
take from us; which is not obnoxious to sword, fire, plots, 
conspiracies, nothing without us : even the peace that is 
left us, left to our own keeping, through the Holy Ghost by 
Jesus Christ. It is not committed to parliaments, to armies, 
to rulers to keep for us ; it is committed to our own souls to 
keep, through the Holy Ghost, and no man can take it from 
us. Again, as it is valuable on this account, that it cannot 
be taken from us ; so on this also, that it will countervail 
and support us under the loss of all that can. Peace in God, 
rest in sole retirement, quietness, and security of mind on 
spiritual gospel accounts, sense of God's love in Christ, will 
support and keep life and vigour in the soul in the loss of 
outward peace, with whatever is desirable and valuable unto 
us on any account that relates to this world. 

Now there is no maintaining of this peace and rest in 
such a season, without the performance of this duty. So 
dealt Habbakuk, chap. iii. 16. ' I trembled in myself that I 
might rest in the day of trouble.' That which God required 
of him in that season, that he brought up his soul unto, that 
he might have rest; and his endeavour had the glorious 
issue mentioned, ver. 17, 18. Though spiritual peace may 
radically and virtually live under many sins and provoca- 
tions ; yet it will not flourish under them, or bring forth any 
refreshing fruit. To have the fruit and effect of peace 
under a continuance in any known sin, is impossible. Now 
the omission of any known duty, is a known sin ; and that 
a peculiar pressing after eminency in universal holiness and 
godliness in such a season is a known duty, I have before 
evinced : no maintaining of inward peace, rest in God with- 
out it: and we shall be sure to be tried, whether it be in us 
of a truth, or not. I discourse not what the carnal security 
of seared, blinded, hardened sinners will do ; but I am sure, 
the weak, tottering, uncertain peace of many believers, will 

T 2 


not support them in such trials, as it is not only possible 
that we may, but probable that we shall meet withal. Would 
you now desire that your Master should find you impre- 
pared ; that he should make his entrance whilst all things 
were in disorder ? If the heavens should thunder over you, 
and the earth tremble under you, and the sword stand 
ready to devour; oh ! what sad thoughts must you have, if 
at the same time you should be forced to say, oh my soul, 
is not God mine enemy also ? May not wrath, and hell, and 
judgment be at the end of this dispensation? What is the 
reason, that a very rumour, a noise oftentimes is ready to 
fill many of our souls with such disturbances? Is it not be- 
cause this peace doth not flourish in the inward man? And 
what shall we do in the day of trial itself? Let us then en- 
deavour as Peter exhorts, 2 Epist. iii. 14. ' to be found of 
Christ in peace.' And what may we do that we may be 
found of him in peace ? Why, saith he, * be without spot and 
blameless.' Let him come when he will, in what way he 
pleases, we shall be found in a way of peace, if we be found 
spotless and blameless in a way of holiness : ' And blessed 
is that servant, whom his Master, when he cometh shall find 
so doing.' This will give light in a dungeon, as it did to 
Paul and Silas ; ease in the fire, in the furnace, as to Sha- 
drach, Meshach, and Abednego ; contentment in the loss of 
all, as it did to Job ; satisfaction on the foresight of future 
trouble, as it did to David, ' Although my house be not so 
with God, yet he hath made with me an everlasting cove- 
nant.' Whatever sword be in the hand of Christ ; whatever 
fire or tempest be before him, and round about him; what 
vengeance soever he is to take on any, or all of the sons of 
men, this peace kept up by the holiness he requires in such 
a season, will make a way to his bosom-love, and there re- 
pose the soul in rest and quietness. 

[2.] As to others, what Paul saith to Timothy, in another 
case about preaching of the gospel, may in some sense be 
spoken in this : 'Take heed,' saith he, 'to the doctrine; 
for thereby thou shalt save thyself, and them that hear thee.' 
Who knows but that hereby we may save ourselves, and the 
nation wherein we live. The Lord Christ hath certainly a 
controversy with these nations, he hath begun to deal with 
them in his indignation ; and we know that there are provo- 


cations enough amongst us, to stir him up unto our ruin. 
Who knows, I say, but that by meeting him in a way of ge- 
neration-holiness, we may divert deserved ruin, at least hin- 
der that it be not brought upon us for the provocations of 
his sons and daughters ? 

Now there are several ways, whereby this may have an 
influence into the safety and deliverance of the nations them- 

1st. By setting all things right between Christ and the 
saints, that he may have no need farther to shake the earth, 
and dissolve the heavens of the nations, to awaken his own 
from their security, to loosen them from perishing things, or 
to accomplish any other glorious end towards them. Christ 
sometimes sifts nations, that his wheat may be separated 
from the chaff; he sets nations on fire, that they may be a 
furnace for the trial of his own ; and when their dross is 
cleansed, he will quench his fire. When there was but one 
saint in a ship, yet it was for his sake that a storm came on 
all the rest. It is not always for the sins of the wicked, that 
they may be destroyed, that he comes in a way of judgment; 
but for the sins of his people, that they may be cleansed. 
So 'judgment,' as Peter speaks, * begins at the house of God.' 
It is not unlikely, that our troubles were brought on these 
nations, for the sins of the nations in their persecution of 
Christ, his truths, and saints against great light. Nor is it 
less unlikely, that troubles are continued on these nations, 
for the sins of the saints themselves, such as those before in- 
sisted on. Now what is it that in such trials Christ calls 
for, and which he will not cease calling for, until he prevails? 
Is it not the work which we are in the pursuit of, weanedness 
from the world, self-denial, zeal for truth, humbleness, fruit- 
fulness, faithfulness, universal holiness? If here then lies 
the root of Christ's controversy with these nations, as most 
probably it doth ; if this be the cause of our troubles, as to 
me questionless it is, an engagement into the pursuit of this 
work, is the only remedy and cure of the evils that we either 
feel or fear in these nations. Other remedies have been 
tried, and all in vain. O that we had hearts through the 
Holy Ghost to make trial of this, which the great physician 
Jesus Christ hath prescribed unto us ! Heaven and earth 
call for it at our hands: the nations groan under our sin ; if 


we regard not ourselves, yet let us make it our business to 
deliver England out of the hand of the Lord ; Josh. xxii. 31. 
2clly. In that it may be an effectual means for the re- 
formation of the nation. Reformation is the great thing 
that we have been talking of many years ; and this hath been 
our condition in our attempts after it; the more that light 
for it hath broken forth amongst us, the more unreformed hath 
the body of the people been,yea, the more opposite for the most 
part vmto reformation; and may not this, among other things, 
be one occasion, yea, the principal cause of it ; the light of 
truth hath been accompanied with so many scandals in some, 
with so little power and evidence in the most, that prejudices 
have been strengthened in the minds of men against all that 
hath been pretended or professed. I am persuaded, that a de- 
sign for generation-holiness, carried on according to the light 
that we have received, would have a greater influence on the 
the minds of the men of the world to look after reformation, 
than any of our entreaties or exhortations have yet obtained. 
We are contemptible to the nation in our pressing after re- 
formation, whilst we are divided amongst ourselves, con- 
formable to the world ; whilst we proclaim our unmortificd 
lusts, pride, covetousness, ambition, revenge, self-seeking. 
Would all the people of God stir up themselves to shew forth 
the power of that faith and life they have received, and so 
take away advantage from obdurate opposers of the gospel, 
and give an eminent example to others, who now abhor them 
on the account of many prejudices that they have taken ; the 
nation would be more awakened unto their duty than now 
they are. Were we agreed and imited on this principle, 
that we would jointly and severally make this our design ; 
what work might be wrought in families, counsels, counties, 
cities ? Now reformation is acknowledged to be the means, 
the only means of the preservation of a nation, and this the 
only means of that. 

3dly. This is the most effectual way of standing in the 
gap, to turn away the indignation of the Lord against the 
nation. Whatever is required thereunto, is contained in this 
design of holiness ; there is reformation, there is wrestling by 
prayer, sundry promises improving our interest in Christ, all 
included in this duty. Now this is the most common way of 
saving nations. When wrath is ready to break forth, some 


Moses or Samuel, stands up, and pleads for a deliverance, 
and prevails. Says God, Destroy not the cluster ; there is a 
blessing in it. When the greatest and most dreadful judg- 
ment, that God ever executed on sinners in this world, was 
coming forth, had there been ten persons following after ho- 
liness, its accomplishment had been prevented. Here then 
we have a project to save three nations by ; and without this, 
in vain shall they use any other remedies, they shall not be 

[3.] Consider this thing, how it relates unto Christ and 
his glory. All the revenue of glory or honour that we bring 
unto Christ in this world, is by our obedience or holiness. 
He did not die for us, that we might be great, or wise, or 
learned, or powerful in the world ; but that he might purify 
us to be a peculiar people unto himself, zealous of good works. 
This was his design and aim, that he might have a holy people, 
a faithful people in the world. He tells us, that herein his 
Father is glorified, that we bear much fruit ; not that we be 
successful, that we rule and prevail, that we are in credit and 
reputation, but that we bring forth much fruit; and in the 
glory of the Father, is the Son glorified also. It is this 
alone that adorns the doctrine of his gospel, and lifts up his 
name in the' world; but especially is Christ glorified, by the 
holiness of his saints in such a season; because 

1st. Thereby we bear witness to the world, that indeed 
we believe him to be come forth amongst us, and that the 
works that are on the wheel relate to his kingdom and in- 
terest. Let us talk of it whilst we please, unless we live and 
walk as those who have communion with Christ in the works 
he doth, the world will yet think that whatever we profess, 
yet indeed we believe as they do, that it is a common thing 
that hath befallen us. But when indeed they shall see, that 
there is a real reverence of his person upon our spirits, and 
that we bestir ourselves in his ways, like servants in the 
presence of their master ; this carries a conviction along with 
it. To hear men talk of the coming of Christ, and the day 
of Christ, and the great and terrible things that Christ hath 
done in these days ; and yet in the mean time to walk as the 
men of the world, in a spirit of pride, selfishness, and wrath, 
in sensuality or pleasure, in neglect of prayer and humilia- 
tion : yea, of all gospel duties, swearers and drunkards do 


not so dishonour Christ as such men do. But let men but 
see professors making it their business to be holy, humble, 
self-denying, useful in the world, condescending in love, re- 
signing all to God, they cannot but say. Well, this is a great 
day to the saints ; they verily believe that Christ is among 
them. This is a professing that brings conviction; words 
are but as speaking with tongues, that work not out the glory 
of Christ. 

2dly. Thereby we bear witness unto what sort of kingdom 
it is, that Christ hath in the world, and what a kind of king 
he is. I cannot but fear that our talkins; of the kingdom of 
Christ, and managing our notions of it, at least in the world's 
apprehensions, to carnal advantages, hath been a notable 
hinderance of the coming of it forth in beauty and glory 
amongst us. Every party talks of the kingdom of Christ, 
some more, some less, all pretend unto it; but it is evident, 
that many would set him on his throne with the petition of 
Zebedee's children in their mouths, that they may sit on his 
right hand, and his left. Hence the world doth really per- 
suade itself, and is hardened every day in that persuasion, 
that whatever is pretended of Christ, it is self-interest that 
carries all before it ; and that men do entertain that notion 
for the promotion of self-ends. But now this design of 
abounding in real holiness sets up the pure, unmixed interest 
of Christ, and casts a conviction upon the world to that pur- 
pose. When the world may read in our lives, that the king- 
dom we look for, though it be in this world, yet it is not in- 
deed of this world, but is righteousness, and peace, and joy 
in the Holy Ghost; this brings that honour to Christ, wherein 
he is delighted ; and the ignorance of foolish men is put to 

3dly. This brings honour unto Christ, and glorifies him 
in all the vengeance that he executes on his enemies, and all 
the care that he takes of his own. The world itself is hereby 
made to see, that there is a real difference indeed in them, 
between whom Christ puts a difference, and is convinced of 
the righteousness of his judgments. Every one may answer 
them, when they inquire the reason of the dispensations 
amongst us. Yea, they may answer themselves, the Lord hath 
done great things for these, even these that serve him. 



The stout-hearted are spoiled, they have slept their sleep ; aiid none of the 
men of might have found their hands. — Psal. Ixxvi. 5. 

The common circumstances of this psalm, concerning the 
penman, title, and the like, I shall not at all inquire after. 
The time of its being given to the church is alone to us con- 
siderable ; and yet all the knowledge thereof also is but con- 
jectural. What particular time it was wherein it was given, 
we know not; but that it was given for the use of all times, 
that we know. Probable it is, from ver. 3. that it was esta- 
blished as a monument of praise in the'days of Hezekiah, when 
by the immediate hand of God, Jerusalem was delivered from 
the army of Sennacherib. For a return of which mercy, 
though good Hezekiah came short of the obligation laid on 
him, rendering not again according to the benefit done unto 
him ; yet the Lord himself takes care for his own glory, set- 
ting forth this psalm as a monument of the praise due to 
his name unto all generations. 

The deliverance of Jerusalem then from so great ruin, as 
that impending over it from the threatening army of Sen- 
nacherib under their walls, being the occasion of penning 
this psalm, it cannot but yield us a meet foundation of 
making mention of the name of the Lord in a suitable work 
this day. 

In general, the whole is eucharistical, and hath two parts: 
First, Narratory, concerning the work of God for his people. 
Secondly, Laudatory, or the praise of his people for those 

The first part, hath three particulars : 
L An exordium, by way of exultation and rejoicing, 
ver. 1, 2. 

* Upon the defeat of the Levellers at Burford, May 18, 1642. This sermon was 
preached before the Parliament, June 7, following, as appears by Whitlock's Me- 
moirs, fol. 321 col. 2. 


2. A special narration of the work of God, for which the 
praise of the whole is intended, ver. 3. 5, 6. 

3. An apostrophe to the Lord concerning the one, and 
the other, ver. 4. 

The latter containeth, 

1. A doctrinal observation for the use of the church from 
the whole, ver. 7. 

2. The reasons and confirmation of the doctrine so laid 
down, taken from the power and righteousness of God in the 
actions recounted, ver. 8, 9. 

3. A threefold use of the doctrine so confirmed. Of in- 
struction, ver. 10. Of exhortation, ver. 11. Of establish- 
ment and consolation, ver. 12. 

The particulars preceding my text I shall a little touch 
upon, that the mind of the Holy Ghost therein may be the 
more clear unto you, and the doctrine from thence appear 
with the greater evidence. 

1. In the exordium, ver. 1, 2. you have two things : (1.) 
The names of the place wherein the work mentioned was 
wrought, and the praise returned held forth ; and these are 
Judah, Israel, Salem, Zion. (2.) The relation of God unto 
this place, whicli lies at the bottom of the work he did for 
them, and the praise they returned unto him. He was known, 
his name was great amongst them ; there was his tabernacle 
and his dwelling-place, which maybe referred to two heads; 
the knowledge of his will, ver. 1. and the establishment of 
his worship, ver. 2. 

(1.) For the description of the place, by its several names 
and titles, 1 shall not insist upon it ; they are all but various 
expressions of the same thing. It is the church of God that 
is adorned with all these titles, and names of singular en- 
dearment. Judah, that single tribe of which the Messiah 
was to come ; Israel, a prevailing people, the posterity of 
him that prevailed with God ; Salem, the place he chose 
above all the places of the earth to settle his name therein ; 
and Zion, the choice ornament of that Salem, a model wherein 
the beauty and excellency of all the other are contracted ; 
whose gates were then so dear unto the Lord. Or perhaps, 
you have the distribution of the whole into its several parts; 
Judah, the governing tribe ; Israel, the body of the people ; 
Salem, the chief place of their residence and glory ; and 


Zion, the presence of God in his worship amongst them all. 
Now the mention of these titles of the church, so dear to the 
Lord, doth front the following narration, to afford us this 

Observation. The care of Salem, of Zion, lies at the bottom 
of all God's powerful actings and workings among the sons 
of men. Every mighty work of God throughout the world, 
may be prefaced with these two verses. The whole course 
of affairs in the world, is steered by providence in reference 
to the good of Salem ; Zion hath been the rise and downfall 
of all the powers of the world ; it is her deliverance or trial 
that is intended in their raising, and her recompense and 
vengeance in their ruin. God works not among the nations 
for their own sakes. When they are sifted with a sieve, 
they are but the chaff, Israel is the corn, for whose sake it is 
done, whereof not the least grain shall fall to the ground ; 
Amos ix. 9. * She is precious in God's sight and honour- 
able; beloved her; therefore he giveth men for her and 
people for her life ;' Isa. xliii. 4. The men of the world are 
very apt to pride themselves in their thoughts, as though 
great were their share and interest in the glorious things 
that God is accomplishing ; like a fly that sat on the chariot 
wheel, and cried. What a dust have I raised round about? 
The truth is, their names are written in the dust, and they 
are of no account in the eyes of the Lord in all he is accom- 
plishing, but only to exalt his name in their miscarriage and 
destruction. Was it not in the thoughts of some lately 
amongst us, that their right hand had accomplished the 
work of the Lord, and that the end of it must be the satis- 
faction of their lusts ? And hath not the Lord declared, that 
they have neither part nor lot in this niatter? It was Salem, 
not self; Zion, not Babylon, or confusion, that lay at the 
bottom of the whole. 

(2.) There is a relation of God unto this place. His 
will was known there, ver. 1. and his worship was esta- 
blished, ver. 2. And these also have their particular mention. 

Observation. In the deliverance of his people, God hath 
a special regard to the honour of his ordinances. Why so 
great things for Salem? Why there his word is preached, 
whereby his will is known, and his name made great ; there 


his tabernacle is fixed, and his dweUing-place established ; 
there he gives his presence in his worship and ordinances, 
wherein he is delighted. ' Because of thy temple at Jeru- 
salem, shall kings bring presents to thee;' Psal. Ixviii. 29. 
Here is the temple, Christ; and then the worship of Christ; 
for their sake it shall be done. When vengeance is recom- 
pensed upon an opposing people, it is the vengeance of the 
temple ; Jer. 1. 28. And it is a voice from thence that ren- 
dereth recompense to his enemies ; Isa. Ixvi. 6. The great 
work whi.ch the Lord at this day is accomplishing in the 
world, looks fully on this one thing. Wherefore is it that 
God shaketh the powers of this world, and causeth the towers 
to totter which they uphold? Is it not that the way of 
his worship may be vindicated from all their abominations, 
and vengeance taken upon them for their opposition there- 
unto ? And there is no greater sign of God's care for a peo- 
ple, than when he shews a regard to his ordinances among 
that people. The defence he gives, is of the glory of the 
assemblies of mount Zion ; Isa. iv. 5. When the ark de- 
parts, you may call the children Ichabod. The taking away 
of his candlestick, the removal of his glory from the temple, 
is an assured prologue to the utter ruin of a people. 

And hath not the Lord had a special eye this way in the 
late deliverance ? It is his promise, that he will purge the 
rebels from amongst his people. And he hath done it. Were 
there not children of Edom amongst them, who cried, Down 
with them, down with them even to the ground? Hath not 
God magnified his despised word above all his name ? Was 
it not as an offscouring to many particular persons among 
them in the late murmuring for pre-eminence, against those 
whom the Lord hath chosen ? Who I suppose have no other 
ioy in their employment, than Moses had in his ; who once 
desired the Lord to slay him, that he might be freed from 
his burden ; only the will of the Lord, and the good of a 
poor thankless people swayed their hearts unto it. And were 
there here any more discriminating rods cast in before the 
Lord, to have that bud and spring which he owned, as 
Numb, xvii, than this one ; Scripture, or no Scripture ; so- 
lemn worship, or none at all? I speak only as to some par- 
ticulars, and that I can upon my own experience. The Lord 


give their hearts a free discovery of his thoughts in this bu- 
siness. Doubtless he hath had respect to his tabernacle 
and dwelling-place. For my part, they are to me as the 
Theban-shield ; and notwithstanding all my pressures, I 
would labour to say as Mephibosheth, ' Let all go, since I 
see the king in peace.' 

I might farther observe from both these things together, 
that among the people of God alone is the residence of his 
glorious presence. This song is held out from Zion : ' In 
his temple doth every one speak of his glory;' Psal. xxix.9. 
* Bless ye God in the congregation, the Lord from the foun- 
tain of Israel ;' Psal. Ixviii. 26. ' Praise waiteth for thee, O 
God, in Zion;' Psal. Ixv. 1. * As a lame leg, and as a thorn 
in the hand,' ungraceful, painful ; ' so is a parable in the 
mouth of fools;' Prov. xxvi. 7. 9. It is the saints who are 
bid to be joyful in the Lord, and * the high praise of God 
must be in their mouths ;' Psal. cxlix. 5, 6. They are high 
things, that beseem only those whom God doth magnify. If 
the Lord give us matter of praise, pray know from whom it 
will be acceptable, whose praises they are he delighteth to 
inhabit. If you have some defiled lust, the sunshine of 
mercies will exhale nothing but the offensive steam of carnal 
affections. The sacrifices of wicked hearts are an abomi- 
nation to the Lord. If your fleshly affections work this day 
without the beatings of a pure heart, and the language of a 
pure lip, the Lord will reject your oblations. Would you 
have your praise as sweet to the Lord, as a mercy is to you; 
be assured that in Christ you are the Israel of God, and your 
prayers shall prevail, your praise shall be accepted. 

2. The second particular, as I observed, is a special nar- 
ration of the works of God, for which the whole is intended, 
ver. 3 — 6. And therein you have these two things: (1.) The 
place where these acts were wrought, and are remembered, 
'there,' ver. 3. (2.) The acts themselves related, which refer, 
[1.] To God the worker, ver. 3. ' He brake ;' [2.] To the 
persons on whom they were wrought, ver. 5, 6. 

(1.) The place where these things were acted, and the 
monuments of them erected, that is, ' there;' there in Salem 
and Zion, Judah and Israel : there, not so much in those 
places, as with reference unto them. 

Observation. All the mighty actings of God regard his 


church, and there are the monuments and trophies of his 
victories against his enemies erected. To the first part of 
this, I spake before. A word for the latter. God decketh 
and maketh Zion glorious with the spoils of his adversaries. 
There the glory of Pharaoh and all his host, drowned in the 
Red sea, is dedicated ; Exod. xv. There are the shields of 
all the mighty men in the host of Sennacherib, slain by an 
angel, hung up ; Isa. xxxvii. 35, 36. There is the honour, 
the robes, the crown, and the reason of Nebuchadnezzar laid 
up for the glory of Zion, Dan. iv. 33, 34. himself being 
changed into a beast. There is all the pomp and glory of 
Herod deposited. Acts xii. 23, when; as a reward of his 
pride and persecution, he was devoured of worms. There is 
the glory of all persecutors, with the blood of Julian in a 
special manner, who threw it into the air, and cried, * Vicisti 
Galilsee.' There Haman is visibly exalted upon the gallows 
by himself erected for the ruin of a prince of the people ; 
Esth. vii. 10. There the peace and the joy of the church, their 
choice frame under the bloody massacres of the inhabitants 
of Zion, is set to show, for the glory of it. There are all the 
rochets of popish prelates, the crowns, and glory, and 
thrones of the kings of the earth, all set apart, as monuments 
and trophies of God's victories in Zion. There is a place 
reserved for the man of sin, and all the kings of the earth 
who have committed fornication with the mother of harlots, 
whose destruction sleepeth not. God will at length cer- 
tainly glorify Salem with the arrow of the bow, the shield, 
the sword, and all spoils of its oppressors. 

(2.) There is what he did describe, both immediately in 
the actions themselves, ver. 3. and with reference to the per- 
sons towards whom he so acted, ver. 5. Now because the 
former is fully contained in the latter, 1 shall not handle it 
apart, but descend immediately to the consideration of the 
words of my text, being a declaration of what the Lord hath 
done for his people in the day of their distress, with parti- 
cular reference to the cause of that distress. 

And here we shall look a little, 

1. To the reading of the words : and 

2. To their explication. 

1. To the reading. The 'stout-hearted ;' or, the 'strong in 
heart,' the'mighty in heart:' so in the original. Men of stout, 


stubborn, unpersuadable hearts and courage, whose epithet 
is, ' That they are far from righteousness;' Isa. xlvi. 12. The 
Septuagint have rendered it, aavviroi ry Kapdiq, ' the foolish 
in heart.' Stubborn-hearted men are foolish-hearted men : 
not to yield unto, is worse than not to understand, what is 
good. They ' are spoiled, I'^'pinti^N have yielded themselves to 
the spoil :' so properly, and so rendered by most interpreters; 
which sense I shall follow. * They have slept their sleep,' 
"ID3 ' dormitarunt,' ' they have slumbered their sleep.' What 
it is * to slumber a sleep' we shall see afterward. The re- 
sidue of the words are literally rendered, save only in the 
placing of the negation ; for whereas we set it on the per- 
sons, ' none of the men ;' in the original it is upon the act, 

* have not found,' affirming concerning the persons, * all the 
men of might have not,' that is, ' none of the men of might 
have ;' a very frequent Hebraism, imitated by John ; 1 Epist. 
iii. 15. irag av^pojiroKTovog ovk £X£t Swi^v, * Every man-slayer 
hath not life,' i. e. 'none hath.' And so you have the words: 
' The stout of heart have yielded themselves to the spoils, 
they have slumbered their sleep ; and none of the men of 
might have found their hands.' 

2. The words thus read contain three general heads. 
(1.) A twofold description of the enemies of Salem. 
[1.] In respect of their internal affections : they were 
' stout of heart,' men of high spirit, and haughty courage, 

* cedere nescientes,' not knowing how to yield to any thing 
but the dictates of their own proud spirits. 

[2.] In respect of their power for outward acting, * Men 
of might,' strong of hand, as well as stout of heart. Courage 
without strength will but betray its possessor, and strength 
without courage is but ' inutile pondus,' a burdensome no- 
thing ; but when both meet, a stout heart and strong hands, 
who shall stand before them ? Thus you have the enemies 
set out like Goliah with his spear and helmet, defying the 
host of the living God. 

(2.) You have a twofold issue of God's providence, in 
dealing with them suitably to this their double qualification. 

[1.] He opposeth himself to the stoutness of their hearts, 
and they * yield themselves to the spoil.' Where observe, 
first, the act itself: they ' yield themselves.' Nothing in 
the world so contrary to a stout heart, as to yield itself. To 


yield, is a thing of the greatest distance and contrariety to 
the principle of a stout heart, in the world. It is far more 
reconcileable to death, than yielding. But this God will ef- 
fect. Secondly, The extent of this yielding: it was ' to the 
spoil.' This exceedingly heightens the mighty working of the 
Lord against them. Should they be brought to yield to reason, 
persuasion, and union, it were well ; but that they should be 
so prevailed on as fo yield to the spoil, that is, to the mercy of 
those against whom they rose and opposed themselves, this 
is * digitus Dei.' 

[2.] He opposeth himself to their actual might : they 
' found not their hands.' Hands are the instruments of act- 
ing the heart's resolution. The strength and power of a 
man is in his hands ; if they be gone, all his hope is gone. 
If a man's sword be taken from him, he will do what he can 
with his hands ; but if his hands be gone, he may go to sleep 
for any disturbance he will work. For men not to find their 
hands, is not to have that power for the execution of their 
designs which formerly they had. In former days they had 
hands, power for doing great things ; but now, when they 
should use them against Salem, they could not find them. 
And why so ? God had taken them away ; God took away 
their power, their strength departed from them. Samson 
found not his strength, when his locks were cut; though he 
thought to do as at other times, yet he was deceived and 
taken. When God takes away men's power, they go forth, 
and think to do as in former days ; but when they come to 
exercise it, all is gone ; their hands are laid out of the way, 
in allusion to one that seeketh. 

(.3.) There is the total issue of this whole dispensation, 
placed in the midst of both, as arising from both : ' they 
have slumbered their sleep.' When their hearts yielded, and 
their hands were lost, courage and power both taken away, 
what else should they do? Some take this for an expression 
of death, as it is sometimes used ; Psal. xiii. 3. ' Lighten 
mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death.' I rather conceive 
it to hold out that condition, which God threateneth to 
bring upon the enemies of his people, when he sends them 
* a spirit of slumber;' Rom. xi. 8. Now in such a condition 
two things are eminent : 

[ 1 .] Us weakness. A condition of slumber and sleep is a 


weak condition. A sleeping man is able to do nothing. Jael 
can destroy a drowsy Sisera. 

[2. J Its vanity. Men in tlieir sleep are apt to have foolish, 
vain fancies. This then is that which the Lord holds out 
concerning the enemies of his church, his people, his ways, 
when their hearts are gone, and their hands gone. They shall 
be brought to a condition of weakness in respect of others, 
they shall not be able to beat them: and of vanity in them- 
selves, they shall feed themselves with vain thoughts, like 
the dream of a hungry man, Isa. xxix. 8. ' He dreameth, 
and behold he eateth ; he waketh, and behold he is empty.' 
They please themselves for a little season with strong appre- 
hensions of the accomplishment of their heart's lusts, and 
cobweb fancies; but the issue is shame and disappoint- 

The words being opened, will yield us these three obser- 
vations : 

I. Men of stout hearts- and strong hands, of courage and 
power, are often engaged against the Lord. 

n. God suits the workings of providence for deliverance 
to the qualifications and actings of his opposers ; their stout 
heart shall yield, their strong hands be lost. 

IIL Though men have courage, might, and success; yet 
when they engage themselves against the Lord, weakness 
and vanity shall be the issue thereof. 

In the brief handling whereof I hope you shall find the 
word of God, and the works of God, exceedingly suited. 

I. Men of courage, power, and success, of eminent qua- 
lifications, are oftentimes engaged against the Lord, and the 
ways of the Lord. 

I shall multiply neither testimonies nor instances of this 
truth ; for that were but to set up a candle in the sun : the 
experience of all ages has made it good. One or two places 
may suffice : Psal. Ixviii. 30. ' Rebuke the company of spear 
men, the multitude of the bulls, with the calves of the peo- 
ple.' There are not only ' calves of the people,' easily de- 
luded, sottish men, but also multitudes of ' bulls,' heady, 
high-minded, bearing down all before them, throwing up all 
bounds and fences, laying all common to their lusts, not 
easily to be resisted ; these also are amongst the adversaries 
of the ways of the Lord. The first open opposers of the 

VOL. XVI. u 

290 IIIMAX POWIlR defeatp.d, 

ways of God, were ' giants,' 'mighty men,' and 'men of re- 
nown ;' Gen. vi. 4. At once ' two hundred and fifty princes 
of the assembly, famous in the congregation, and men of 
renown,' joined themselves in rebellion against the Lord; 
Numb. xvi. 2. And that, 

1. Because these very qualifications of a stout heart, 
strong hands, and former success are apt of themselves, if 
destitute of directing light and humbling grace, to puff up 
the spirits of men, and to engage them in ways of their 
own, contrary to the mind of the Lord. When men take ad- 
vice of their stout hearts, strong hands, and former success, 
they are very evil counsellors. When Jeremiah advised the 
Jews from the Lord for their good, the proud men answered, 
they would not obey; Jer. xliii. 2. When Pharaoh is made 
stout for his ruin, he cries, * Who is the Lord, that I should 
hear him V Exod. v. 2. And for success, God makes the 
Assyrian the rod of his anger, sends him against the people 
of his wrath, with charge ' to take the spoil, and to take the 
prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets ;' 
Isa. X. 6. He goeth accordingly and prospereth ; but when 
he hath so done, see what a conclusion he makes. He goes 
against Jerusalem, and cries, ' Let not your God deceive you. 
Have the gods of the nations delivered them ;' and do you 
think so to be? Isa. xxxvii. 10. 12. From the success he 
had from God, he concluded the success he should have 
against him. Like those of late amongst ourselves, who 
having been partners with others in former successes, whilst 
they went upon the command of God, doubtless received in 
their stout hearts establishment, and strengthening to other 
undertakings, as if the God of the parliament could not help. 
Amaziah, king of Judah, wages war with Edom, and they 
are destroyed before him; 2 Kings xiv. 7. The war was of 
the Lord. Upon this he is lifted up, and causelessly pro- 
voketh Jehoash, king of Israel, ver. 8. against the mind and 
will of God. Jehoash sends him word, that if the thistle 
pride itself against the cedar, the wild beast will tread it 
down, ver. 9. But he had former success, and on he will go 
to his ruin. The stout-hearted nien (for a delivery from 
whose fury and folly, we desire this day to lift up the name 
of the Lord) having received help and assistance against 
Efloin, will needs lift up the thistle against the cedar, act 


out of tlieir own sphere, turn subjection into dominion, to 
their shame and sorrow. But it were better, their hearts 
should be filled with sorrow than the nation, and especially 
the people of God in the nation, with blood and confusion, 
ending in bondage and tyranny. And this is the first account 
ofit, why men of such qualifications, are engaged against 
the Lord. The qualifications themselves do set up for it, 
if destitute of divine light and humbling grace. Such men 
will run upon God, and the thick bosses of his buckler. 

2. God will have it so, that the greater may be his glory 
in the powerful protection and defence of his own, with the 
destruction, disappointment, and ruin, of their enemies. If 
his enemies were all sottish, weak, foolish, childish, initil he 
makes them so, where would be the praise of his great name? 
When would there be ' Nodus Deo vindice dignus,' work 
worthy of the appearance of the Most High ? But when 
there is a great mountain before Zerubbabel, Zech. iv. 7. a 
high, haughty, oppressing empire, to level that to a plain is 
glorious. When God will get himself a name, he raises up, 
not a poor, etFeminate Sardanapalus, a poor sensual, hypo- 
critical wretch, as some have been, the Lord will not make 
an open contest by such a one (such as some of our sore op- 
pressors have been), but he will raise up a Pharaoh, a crooked 
Leviathan, a stout-hearted, cunning-headed, strong-handed 
oppressor ; and he tells him, such a one as he, ' for this very 
cause have I raised thee up, to shew in thee my power, and 
that my name may be declared in all the earth ;' Exod. ix. 16. 
Thou art a fit subject, saith he, for me to exalt my glory in 
thy ruin. The beast is to make war with the Lamb ; and he 
shall not do it alone, God will give him in assistance. And 
who shall these be ? Women, and children, and weak ones ? 
No; he will put it into the heart of the kings of the earth 
* to give their power and strength to the beast/ Rev. xvii. 17. 
to break them in pieces. This will be glory indeed. All the 
opposers which formerly have risen, or at least most of them, 
have had the power to that height, as they have been ex- 
ceedingly above all outwardly appearing means of being 
resisted. The breaking of the old monarchies, and of papal 
power, is a work meet for the Lord. And in this shall mainly 
consist the promised glory of the church of Christ in after 

" u 2 


days, whose morning star I doubt not, is now upon us; the 
Lord will more immediately and visibly break the high, stout, 
haughty ones of the earth, for the sake of his people, than in 
former times. Look upon all the glorious things that are 
spoken concerning Zion in the latter days, and you shall 
find them all interwoven with this still, * the shaking of hea- 
ven, the casting down of thrones and dominions, and mighty 
ones.' I mention this, because indeed I look upon this late 
mercy, as the after-drops of a former refreshing shower, as 
an appendix of good-will, for the confirming the former work 
which God had wrought. ' Though,' saith he, ' ye have lain 
among the pots,' have been in a poor, defiled condition, a con- 
dition of bondage ; 'yet ye shall be as the wings of a dove co- 
vered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold,' ye shall 
be made exceeding glorious. But how, or when shall this be ? 
Why, ' when the Almighty scattereth kings for her sake, 
then shall she be as white as snow in Salmon ;' Psal. Ixviii. 
13, 14. When God by his almighty power takes away so 
great opposers, then glory and beauty shall arise upon you. 
And this in some degree lies also at the bottom of the late 
dispensation of providence. Men's hearts were full of fear of 
a storm ; yea, a storm was necessary, that some evidence 
might be given of the Lord's continuing his presence amongst 
you ; that if hereafter we be forsaken, it may appear that it 
was for our own unbelief, unthankfulness, and folly, and not 
for doing the work of the Lord. Now, how was this ex- 
pected ? Why, this poor people, or that, unacquainted with 
the things of their peace, will rise and make.opposition: no, 
saith the Lord, you shall not have so easy a trial; you shall 
have men of stout hearts, and strong hands, with many for- 
mer successes on their shoulders ; that when deliverance is 
given in, my name may be glorious indeed. 

Use 1. Be not moved at the most formidable enemies 
that may arise against you in the ways of God. ' It was 
told the house of David, saying, Syria is confederate with 
Ephraim. And his heart was moved, and the heart of his 
people, as the trees of the wood are moved with the wind ;' 
Isa. vii. 2. When strong combinations arise, how apt are 
we to shake and tremble before them ; especially when they 
have some strangeness, as well as strength ? That Syria 


should come against Judah is no wonder. But wliat, I pray, 
makes Ephraim too, their brother and fellow in former af- 
flictions? Besides, Syria and Ephraim were always at a 
mortal difference among themselves. But they who agree 
in nothing else, usually consent in opposition to the ways of 
God. Then you shall have Edom, Amnion, Amalek, and 
Ashur altogether of one mind; Psal. Ixxxiii. 6 — 8. And 
the kings of the west, that perpetually devour one another, 
yet have one mind in exalting the beast, and opposing the 
Lamb; Rev. xvii. 14. As in our late troubles, there was a 
concurrence not only in the main of Syria and Ephraim, the 
two grand extremes, but also of innumerable particular fan- 
cies and designs ; that if a man should have met them, like 
him in the fable, the lion, the ass, and the fox, he could not 
but wonder, ' Quo iter una facerent,' whither they were tra- 
velling together. But I say, when such combinations are 
made, how apt are we to shake and tremble ? They are stout 
men, valiant men, and perhaps Ahithophel is with them. 
Why, if they were not such, I pray, how should the Lord 
have any praise in the close of the dispensation ? We would 
be delivered, but we care not that God should be glorified. 
If God's glory were dear to us, we should not care how high 
opposition did arise. Precious faith, where art thou fled ? 
Had we but some few grains of it, we might see the rising 
of the greatest mountains to be but a means to make the 
name of God glorious, by removing them into the midst of 
the sea. Hath it not been thus in the days of old ? The Lord 
humble us for our unbelief. 

Use 2. Let men to whom the Lord hath given stout 
hearts, strong hands, and great success, watch carefully over 
their own spirits, lest they be led aside into any way ao-ainst 
the mind of God. Great endowments are ofttimes great 
temptations. ' The pride of thy heart hath deceived thee, 
thou that dvvellest in the rock, whose habitation is on high, 
that saith in his heart. Who shall bring me down to the 
ground?' Obad. ver. 3. Was it not the ruin of Amaziah, of 
whom notwithstanding it was said, ' he did that which was 
right in the sight of the Lord ?' 2 Chron. xxv. 2. He who 
is heightened against the king of terrors, if he hath not hu- 
mility, one of the chief of graces, will quickly choose him- 
self paths of his own. Alas ! poor creatures, if hearts and 

294 ^ HUMAN rowER defeated. 

hands be, and God be not, what will it avail? But of this 
afterward. I now proceed to the second observation. 

II. God suits the workings and actings of providence 
for deliverance to the qualifications of the opposers. 

Are they stout hearts ? They shall be made to yield them- 
selves. Are they men of might? They shall lose their power; 
they shall not find their hands. To this I shall speak very 
little. This is the cutting ofFof Adonibezek'stoes and thumbs. 
God countermines them in their acting^, and blows them up in 
their own mine. ' In the thing wherein they deal proudly, he 
is above them;' Exod. xviii. 11. They shall not soar so high 
on the wings of their pride, but that still they shall find God 
uppermost. When they take counsel, and think to carry it 
by their advices^ God saith, * I am wise also, and will bring 
evil ;' Isa. xxxi. 2. When they think to carry it by a high 
hand, his strength shall appear against them. When Herod 
owns the blasphemy of being called a god, he shall rot and 
be eaten of worms; Acts xii. 23. Pharaoh cries, 'Come 
on, let us deal wisely against Israel;' Exod. i. 10. He of 
all men shall play the fool, for his own ruin, and the ruin of 
his people ; Exod. xiv. 27,28. If Sennacherib boasts of his 
mighty host, be sure he shall not find his hands. How evi- 
dently hath the Lord thus carried on his providence in the 
late dispensation? Were not many of the headless, heady 
undertakers, ' robusti anirao,' mighty of heart? And were 
they not forced to yield themselves ? Yea, to ' yield them- 
selves to the spoil?' Were they not deep in their plotting ? 
Doubtless they, or their seducers, had digged deep to lay 
their design ; though of the generality of them, it cannot be 
said, as was of Ccesar and his companions, 'accessere sobrii 
ad perdendum rempublicam.' They were brought to act 
things in very folly and confusion. They were great men of 
might ; whence is it, they made no more opposition ? The 
Lord laid their hands out of the way. Many reasons might 
be given of this, but I must pass to the last point. 

III. Though men have courage, might, and former suc- 
sessesto accompany them, yet, when they engage themselves 
against the Lord, or any way of his, vanity, weakness, and 
disappointment will be the issue thereof. 

' Can your heart endure, or can your hands be strong in 
the days that I shall deal with you?' saith the Lord ; Ezck. 


xxii. 14. 'Let the potsherds strive with the potsherds of 
the earth J woe unto him that contendeth with his Maker;' 
Isa. xlv. 9. * He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength : 
who hath hardened himself against him, and prospered ?' 
Job ix. 4. ' The Lord bringeth the counsel of the heathen 
to nought, but the counsel of the Lord standeth for ever ; he 
maketh the devices of the people of none effect;' Psal. xxxiii. 
10,11. Whoever riseth up without him, or against him> 
shall foil and come to nothing. This is a plain point, that 
we suppose ourselves exceedingly well versed in. JBut he 
who searcheth our spirits, and is acquainted with our inward 
parts, knows how great is our unbelief in this very thing:. 
And therefore, in tender condescension, he hath carefully 
provided for our support herein. A man would think one 
word once spoken were enough to convince and persuade 
the whole world of this truth ; but the Lord knows, there 
must be line upon line, here a little and there a little, to give 
his own people any establishment herein. And therefore it 
is, that in so many places in his word he hath asserted and 
affirmed this one thing;, viz. Let men be never so stronir. 
powerful, and successful, if once they engage against him, 
they are utterly destroyed, unless he pluck them out of the 
snare. * Associate yourselves,' &.c. Isa. viii. 9. 

But you will say, Engage against the Lord ! That is 
true; whoever engageth against him, shall surely fall. But 
who is so mad as to do so ? Very Rabshakeh himself affirms 
that he came not up to Jerusalem without the Lord, but that 
the Lord sent him to go up against the land to destroy it ; 
Isa. xxxvi. 10. It is true he said so: and by this observa- 
tion you have an answer to the Scripture. For though he said 
so, he lied before the Lord, and belied the Lord ; his under- 
taking was against the Lord, and against his mind, as the 
sequel fully manifested. Many suppose they engage for 
God, when they engage against him. To engage against 
the Lord, is to engage against his mind and will. To under- 
take without the will of God, is enough to be the ruin of the 
best and stoutest, as we see in the case of Josiah. But to 
engage against him, who can do it, and stand when he is 
provoked? This then is that which neither stout hearts nor 
strong hands shall ever be able to go through withal. For 
instance; to engage against that authority which God will 


own and defend, is successlessly to engage against the Lord. 
Now because these are the days wherein the Lord will shake 
heaven and earth, beat the nations with a rod of iron, break- 
ing much of the power of the world ; it may be asked by 
some. How it shall be known, that any authority is such as 
the Lord will not destroy and overturn, but own it as a way 
of his own? I answer; to omit the rule of reason, law, and 
common estabhshed principles amongst men, all which give 
a great light unto the rule of walking- in this case; I shall 
give you six scriptural significations *a posteriori ' of such 
an authority, as the Lord will make as a brazen wall, or a 
rock in the sea, against which the waves dash with noise and 
fury, but are themselves broken to pieces. 

1. If it be such as the Lord hath honoured with success 
and protection in great, hazardous and difiicult undertakings 
for himself. Thus was it with Moses. Never had a leader 
of a people more murmurings, revilings, and rebellions 
against him. The story is obvious unto all. He was en- 
vied, hated, reproached of all sorts, from the princes of the 
congregation to the mixed multitude. But Moses had tra- 
velled throuo-h the sea and the desert with the Lord, and was 
encompassed with success and protection; and therefore, all 
attempts against him shall be birthless and fruitless. This 
is one ; but it will never do alone, unless conjoined v.ith 
those that follow. 

2. If the persons enjoying thatautliority abide to act for 
God, and not for themselves, after such success and protec- 
tion. Saul beo;an to act for God, and he vexed all his ene- 
mies which way soever he turned himself. But afterward 
turning to himself, God left him to himself. Cyrus, how ho- 
noured, how anointed was he for his o-reat undertakinir 
against Babylon! But afterward pursuing his own ambi- 
tion, he was requited with blood, for the blood he sought. 
The Lord is with them that are with him; and whilst they 
are so. The establishment of the house of Saul is far 
from the Lord : for ' those that honour him, he will honour; 
and they that despise him shall be lightly esteemed ;' 1 Sam. 
ii. 30. There is no more certain sign in the world of per- 
sons devoted to ruin, or at least to their being divested of 
their authority, than that having followed God for a season 
in their enjoyment of success and protection, they turn aside 


to pursue their own ends, like Jehu. I could give you an 
example of this, as yet not much above half a year old. 
But when men undertake with the Lord, and for him, and 
having known his assistance therein, shall continue to lay 
out themselves in his ways; the Lord will then build them 
a house like David, which shall not be prevailed against. 

Here I must give one caution by the w'ay ; that I am very 
far from countenancing any to move against the just and 
righteous authority, who discern not these things : the Lord 
forbid. Let men look to the rule of their obedience, which I 
have nothing to do withal at this time. I only describe such, 
as unto whom, if any dare -to make opposition in an or- 
dinary dispensation of providence, it will prove fruitless 
and vain. 

3. The third thing [s, that they subject their power to the 
power of the Lord Christ, who is Lord of lords, and King of 
kings. The psalmist tells the rulers of the earth, that the 
reason of their spoiling is, that they do not 'kiss the Son,' 
Psal. ii. 12. or yield unfeigned obedience to the mighty 
King, whom God hath set on his holy hill. God hath pro- 
mised that he will give in the service of kings and nations 
to Christ in his kingdom, and therein shall be their security. 
When God puts it into the hearts of rulers, to rule according 
to the interest of Christ and his gospel, and to seek the ad- 
vancement of his sceptre, they shall surely be as „x fenced 
wall. I cannot stay to shew, what this interest of Christ is. 
In a word, it is the ordering, framing, carrying on of affairs, 
as is most conducible to the unravelling and destruction of 
the mystery of iniquity. 

4. If they are supported by the prayer of a chosen peo- 
ple who seek their welfare, not for their own interest and ad- 
vantage, but for the advantage of the gospel, and the ways 
of Christ by them asserted. If God's own people pray for 
them in authority, that under them they may enjoy some 
share of their own, and obtain some ends suited to any car- 
nal interest of theirs, God will reject those prayers. But 
when they seek their welfare, because it is discovered to 
them, that in their peace the gospel shall have peace and pros- 
perity; surely the Lord will not cast out their prayers, nor 
shame the face of his poor supplicants. 

5. If in sincerity, and with courage and zeal, they fulfil 


the work of their magistracy, in the administration of righ- 
teous judgment ; especially in those great and unusual acts 
of justice, in breaking the jaws of the wicked and terrible, 
and delivering the spoil out of the teeth of the mighty ; Job 
xxix. 17. Innumerable are the demonstrations of God's 
owning such persons. 

6. If they have not the qualifications of that power, which 
in these latter days God hath promised to destroy. Now 
these are two ; I will but name them unto you. First, Drink- 
ing the cup of fornication that is in the hand of the harlot, 
i. e. practising any false worship and forms invented besides 
the word. Secondly, Giving their power to the beast, or en- 
gaging, in any ways of persecution against any of the ways 
of God, or his saints in those ways. That the Lord is about 
to shake, break, and destroy all such powers as these, I did 
not long since,, by his assistance, here demonstrate. 

And so have I completed my instances that they who 
engage against such an authority as is attended with these 
qualifications, engage against the Lord. I could also give 
other instances in other ways and institutions of God; but 
I chose these as most accommodated to the season. 

If now I should tell you, that notwithstanding all cla- 
mours to the contrary, these things for the main are found 
in your assemblies, thousands in the world would, yet I hope 
your own consciences would not, return the lie for so say- 
ing. But yet, though the Lord seems to bear witness to some 
integrity in his late dispensations, I shall only pray, that 
what is wanting may be supplied ; that you may never want 
the like protection, in the like distress. 

Come we now briefly to the reasons why those who op- 
pose such authority shall not succeed. And it were an easy 
labour to multiply reasons hereof. The sovereignty, the 
power, all the attributes of God would furnish us with argu- 
ments : I shall omit them all ; only touch upon two, that are 
couched in the text. 

They shall have no better issue, because, (1.) The Lord 
will take away their stout hearts, whereby they are sup- 
ported ; (2.) He will take away their strong hands, whereby 
they are confirmed : and when hearts and hands are gone, 
they also are gone. 

(1.) He will take away their stout hearts, that they shall 


no more be able to carry them out to any success in their 
great undertakings. He will break that wheel at the very 
fountain, that it shall no more be the spring of their pro- 

Now this the Lord usually doth, one or more of these 
four ways: [1.] He fills them with fury and madness; so 
taking away their order. [2.] He fills them with folly and 
giddiness ; so taking away their counsel. [3.] He fills them 
with terror and amazement ; so depriving them of their cou- 
rage. Or, [4.] with contrition and humility; so changing 
their spirits. 

[1.] He fills them with fury and madness, taking away 
their order, which is the tie and cement of all societies in 
all undertakings. ' Though all the people of the earth,' saitli 
the Lord, 'be gatheredtogether against Jerusalem,' they shall 
not prosper. And why so? * I will smite every horse with 
astonishment, and his rider with madness;' Zech. xii. 4. 
Madmen have often great strength, and with it great fury: 
but know not how to use it, except to their own ruin. When 
they think to do the greatest mischief, they cut and gash 
themselves. Thus the Lord threateneth those, who in out- 
ward profession are his own people, when they walk contrary 
to him. • The Lord shall smite thee with madness of heart, 
and thou shalt not prosper in thy ways ;' Deut. xxviii. 28, 
29. Because smitten with madness, therefore they shall not 
prosper. This is that untameable fury, whereby men are car- 
ried out to sinful, destructive enterprises, as the horse rushes 
into the battle. A judgment which some men vocally, as 
well as actually, at this day proclaim to be upon their spirits. 
They cry their blood boils, and their hearts rage for revenge ; 
reviling those in authority whereby to foment ; Acts xix. 
Hence they stir up men for the engaging in such designs, as 
if accomplished, in the judgment of all men not mad like 
themselves, would certainly prove ruinous to themselves and 
others. And in this frame they delight, of it they boast, not 
once considering that it is a badge and character of men, 
whom God will disappoint and destroy in their proceedings; 
it being" nothing but the working of that evil spirit, which 
came upon Saul, stirring him up to rage and fury, when once 
the meek, calming Spirit of the Lord, departed from him. 

[2.] He will fill them with folly and giddiness ; so taking 


away their counsel. Foolish and giddy undertakers do but 
conceive chaff, and bring forth stubble. ' The princes of 
Zoan are become fools, the princes of Noph are deceived ; 
they have also seduced Egypt. The Lord hath mingled a 
perverse spirit in the midst thereof: and. they have caused 
Egypt to err in every work thereof, as a drunken man stag- 
gereth in his vomit;' Isa. xix. 13, 14. This he calls taking 
away the spirit of Egypt, and destroying the counsel thereof, 
ver. 3. There is no means of ruin, destruction, and disap- 
pointment, that God doth more frequently threaten than 
this : he will take wisdom from the wise, and then pour con- 
tempt upon the spirit of princes: when to their madness he 
adds blindness ; to their fury, folly ; to their rage, giddiness ; 
what can be the issue but such as is expressed : * They shall 
stairger like a drunken man in his vomit?' Stand before 
him, and he'll pour his filth upon you; let him alone, and 
he and it will quickly tumble to the ground. What, I pray, 
can be expected from mad, blind, furious, foolish, raging, 
giddy men? Should a man use these expressions of any, it 
would be said he railed ; yet God hath spoken it that all 
undertakers against him shall be so and no otherwise. Now 
hence ariseth upon the spirits of such men a twofold effect : 
First, They shall not be able to advise rationally against 
others. Nor, secondly, shall they be able to receive suitable 
advice from others : they shall be able neither to make out 
counsel to support them in the way wherein they are, nor to 
take in counsel for their reducing to better paths. If this were 
not evident in thejate dispensation of the Lord towards poor 
creatures, setting up themselves against the Lord, then never 
did any providence speak plain in any latter age. 

[3.] He will fill them with fear and amazement ; so taking 
away their courage. This God caused to fall upon a whole 
host at one time ; that without seeing an enemy, they ran 
and fled, and lost all they had, and the spoil ; 2 Kings vii. 
6, 7. And he threatens that in such a condition, he will 
make men like women, they shall be afraid and fear; Isa. 
xix. 16. Yea, this is the way of God's usual dealing; first, 
he overcomes the spirit of his enemies, and then their armies 
or force; and the Lord is magnified therein, as is fully set 
out, Exod. XV. 14 — 16. The hearts and spirits of men are 
all in the hand of God ; he can pluck them in, or let them 


out, as seems good unto him ; make him that was mighty- 
one day, the next day to be of no power ; what is left of fury, 
folly shall devour ; and what is left of folly, fear shall con- 
sume ; and the purpose of the Lord shall be established. 

[4.] If he have any favour for them, and so will not pro- 
ceed in these ways of revenge against them, which would 
end in their speedy ruin ; he will give them contrition and 
humility, so changing them. What a clear testimony of this 
did he give in the business of Jacob and Esau: Esau resolves 
and threatens his death upon the first opportunity. Gen. 
xxvii. 41. an opportunity is put into his hands by Jacob's 
return into Canaan, chap, xxxii. means of revenge he is 
ready furnished withal, and comes out accordingly with a 
band of cut- throats for the purpose, in the same chapter. 
What should any man now rationally expect, but that poor 
Jacob must certainly be ruined, and the mother slain with 
the children? In an instant the Lord toucheth the heart of 
Esau, and all his menaces of revenge issued in tears and ex- 
pressions of love and joy ; chap, xxxiii. 4. It is to be rejoiced 
in that the stout hearts of some men are changed upon their 
disappointment, and the issue of the mercy is no loss to you, 
to the nation, and themselves therein : though truly to them 
it had been an argument of greater love, had the Lord gra- 
ciously bent their spirits unto it before. But by his infinite 
wisdom he hath accomplished his holy \\i\\. 

Now in one, more, or all of these ways, will the Lord 
proceed with the mighty of heart, that set up themselves 
against him, until he take away their hearts, and make them 
useless ; that either willingly, or unwillingly, ' they shall 
yield themselves' even * to the spoil.' 

(2.) He will not only take away their hearts, but also 
their hands ; he will not only dispirit them, but he will also 
disarm them ; he will take not only wisdom from their hearts, 
but the wheels from their chariots. He is the God of the 
power of men, as well as of the spirits of men. Will he con- 
tinue power and strength unto men to use it against him that 
gives it? 

Use 1. To discover the ground of God's late dispensation, 
in taking away the hearts from the stout, and hands from the 
mighty, bringing them into a condition of weakness and va- 
nity. Their undertakings were against the Lord, and their 


hearts could not endure, neither could their hands he 

I shall give some instances in their undertaking against 
the Lord. 

(1.) In their declared enmity to the ministry of the gos- 
pel : not to the persons of ministers, because engaged in 
some faction in the state; wherein perhaps many may be 
opposed, and that from the Lord : nor yet because of their 
persuasion for the administration of ordinances, after this or 
that form ; which often ariseth to very great animosities : 
the Lord pardon them unto his people : but because in ge- 
neral they do administer ordinances. Now certainly there is 
so much of God in that administration, that if they be op- 
posed, not for other causes, or upon other pretences, but ' eo 
nomine,' as administrators of ordinances, that opposition is 
made to God himself. It was part of the end of Christ's 
ascension, that he might bestow those gifts upon them, 
which they do enjoy; Eph. iv. 8. And shall the fury of 
men, make the work of God, the purchase of Christ, of none 
effect? Doubtless in this respect, God will make as many 
as are sincere, ' a fenced brazen wall ;' Jer. xv. 20. INIen may 
batter their hands, and beat out their brains against them ; 
but they shall not prevail. It is true, as many of them are 
pleased in these days to engage themselves in several par- 
ties; so, if they do close and act with them that are perni- 
cious to the commonwealth, all inconvenience that lighteth 
upon them, is from themselves; their profession gives them 
no sanctuary from opposition : but when they are envied, 
* eo nomine/ as administrators of ordinances, not in such or 
such a way, but as ordiiiances ; shall not the Lord plead for 
this thing? Now that this was aimed at by some, I suppose 
none can doubt. The Lord open the eyes of them who in 
this deliverance have received deliverance, but will not see 
it. I fear some men had almost rather perish, than be deli- 
vered not in their own way. Envy in some men will outba- 
lance safety. Alas ! we are proud beggars, when we will 
refuse the mercy of God, if we may not appoint the hand 
whereby it shall be bestowed. 

(2.) Against the spiritual ordinances of God themselves. 
These are the carved work, which they aimed to break down 
with their axes and hammers. Christ hath said, ' T will build 


my church.' Their voice was, Down with it, down with it 
even to the ground. Poor creatures ! they dashed themselves 
against the rock. Is this a time, think you, to engage against 
all ordinances, when the Lord Jesus is joining battle with 
all the world for their abuse of them? and is vindicating 
them in order to more purity, beauty, lustre, power, efficacy, 
and peace, than ever yet he adorned them withal ? You were 
not wise, poor souls, to discern the seasons. What ! no time 
to pluck down, but when Christ himself is building? Ah ! 
turn your weapons against Babylon ; it will prove far the 
more thriving warfare. Let Zion ^lone, if but for your own 
sakes. Jerusalem will prove a burdensome stone to all that 
take her up. You have received more loss in a week of days 
from Christ in this nation, than you would have done in a 
week of years from antichrist in another. God will make 
them that shall go for Ireland, sensible of this truth. See 
Psal. xlviii. 12—14. 

(3.) Principally and immediately against magistracy ; if 
not in the abstract, yet openly as established in the hands of 
those, whom the Lord hath owned in the darkest day that 
ever this nation saw. It is the hope of my soul, that the Lord 
hath borne witness, that they have the sixfold qualification 
before mentioned. And why would they have at once de- 
stroyed the parliament, and their own commander? Look 
upon the end of their common workmen : was it not that 
every one might have enjoyed their lust for a season? Of the 
more crafty : was it not to get themselves power, to attempt 
their folly, and execute their fury? Look upon the end of 
the work : was it not to have wrapt us in confusion for a 
few months, and then to have given us up to the revengeful 
will of enraged enemies? So that truly there is but one 
thing wonderful to me in all this business, that God should 
take away the hearts and hands of these men in this enter- 
prise, and that is, that he should do it in mercy for such an 
unthankful, unworthy, unbelieving people as we are. In this 
is he for ever to be admired and blessed. At thy rebuke, 
O God of Jacob, both the chariot and the horses have failed. 
Use 2. If this be the cause why ' they have slumbered 
their sleep ;' be instructed, ye that are rulers of this nation 
in the ways of peace, protection, and safety : be in the ways 
of God, and do the things of God, and no weapon that is 


formed against you shall ever prosper. Many protections 
and deliverances you have had in your actings for him. 
Hath he not deserved at your hands to be trusted and feared 
all your days, with all your power? As my heart hath always 
been towards the governors in Israel, who willingly offered 
themselves among the people ; so truly my heart never more 
trembled over them, than now. Oh! where shall we find 
hearts fit to receive so many mercies, as have been given 
into our bosoms? Oh! where shall we have hearts large 
enough to receive all these mercies? The oil ceased when 
the vessel would hold no more. All my hope and confidence 
is, that God will work for his name's sake. I could exhort 
you to sundry particulars, and lay down several paths of 
God, walking wherein you shall be sure to find peace and 
safety; as especially that you would regard that which God 
hath honoured, whereunto the opposition which he had re- 
solved to make void, was made. 

Use 3. You that are men of courage, and might, and 
success, stout of heart, and strong of hand, be watchful over 
yourselves, lest you should in any thing be engaged against 
the Lord. The ways of the Lord are your locks, step but out 
of them, they will be cut, and you will become like other 
men, and be made a prey and a mocking to the uncircum- 
cised that are round about. These eminencies you have from 
God, are eminent temptations to undertakings against God, 
if not seasoned with grace and watchfulness. Ah ! how many 
baits have Satan and the world suited to these qualifications. 
Samson shook himself, and went out, saying, ' I will do as 
at other times ; but he knew not that the Lord was departed 
from him.' You may think when you are walking in paths 
of your own, that you will do as at other times ; but if your 
strength be departed away, what will be the end? 

Use 4. Our last use should be of instruction in respect of 
God, that you may see, both what h^ can do, and trust him; 
and consider what he hath done, and bless him. For the 
first; weapons of all sorts, men of all sorts, judgments of all 
sorts, are at his command and disposal : see it in this psalm. 
And for what he hath done; if there be any virtue in the 
presence of Christ in his ordinnnces ; if any worth in the 
gospel ; if any sweetness in carrying on the work of Christ's 
revenge against Babylon; if any happiness in the establish- 


raent of the peace and liberty of a poor nation, purchased 
with so much blood, and so long a contest; if any content 
in the disappointment of the predations and threats of God's 
enemies, and his people's ; if any refreshment to our bowels, 
that our necks are yet kept from the yoke of lawless lust, 
fury, and tyranny ; if any sweetness in a hope that a poor, 
distressed handful in Ireland may yetbe relieved ; if any joy- 
that God hath given yet another testimony of his presence 
amongst us ; if it be any way valuable, that the instruments 
of our deliverance be not made the scorned object of men's 
revengeful violence ; if any happiness, that the authority 
under which we enjoy all these mercies, is not swallowed up : 
is it not all in the womb of this deliverance ? And who is he 
that hath given it into our bosom? 




But the miry places thereof and the marshes thereof shall not he healed; 
they shall be given to salt. — EzEK. xlvii. 11. 

This prophecy contains a vision of the glorious, holy, gos- 
pel state of the church under the representation of a most 
glorious temple, incomparably excelling that built of old by 
Solomon; an exposition whereof we have, 2 Cor. iii. 6 — 
8. &c. 

The beginning of this chapter sets out the way and 
means of the calling and gathering of gospel churches, 
whose woi'ship is to be so glorious ; and this is under a 
vision of ' waters issuing out of the sanctuary,' to heal and 
quicken all places to which they came. 

By the waters here mentioned is the preaching of the 
gospel intended. And we may observe of them, first, Their 
rise : which was from the sanctuary. Secondly, Their pro- 
gress : they increased until they became a river that none 
could pass over. Thirdly, Their effects or efficacy : they 
healed all waters where they came, and quickened, or caused 
to live, the fishes that were in them. 

I must not long insist on these particulars. 

First, The house or temple from whence these waters 
issue, may be taken two ways. 

1. Mystically, to denote only the presence of God. God 
dwelt in his temple, thence come these waters, from his pre- 
sence. He sends out the word of the gospel for the conver- 
sion and healing of the nations ; Psal. ex. 2. Or, 

2. Figuratively, and that either for the place where the 
temple of old stood, that is, Jerusalem, as the preaching of 
the gospel was to go forth from Jerusalem, and the sound of 
it from thence to proceed unto all the world, as Isa. xli. 27. 


lii. 7. Acts i. 4. 8. or, for the church of Christ and his apo- 
stles, the first glorious, spiritual temple unto God, whence 
these waters issued. 

Secondly, Their progress,^which is described by degrees, 
it being at first small, few men preaching it, and to a few ; 
but afterward increasing, until it filled the whole earth. 

Thirdly, The eifects mentioned or ascribed unto these 
waters are two, quickening, and healing ; which I shall not 
in general speak farther unto, because I shall do it in the 
opening of my text. 

In the words of the text you have the state and con- 
dition of those places, whither the waters of the sanctuary do 
come, and the effects before described unto them, are not 
produced. For so the words are to be read : * That shall 
not be healed.' 

We have here a description of some lands or places 
whereunto the holy waters do come. First, They are 
' miry and marshy places.' Secondly, The event of the wa- 
ters coming to them ; they ' are not healed.' Thirdly, The 
consequent of that event ; they ' are given unto salt.' 

I shall in a few words lay open the allegory, or parable 
unto you. 

First, By the waters of the sanctuary, I told you, is 
meant the preaching of the gospel, that quickening and heal- 
ing word which the Lord sends out to gather his church unto 
himself all the world over; to call his saints to that glo- 
rious, gospel, spiritual worship, which is here described in 
this vision of a temple. 

Secondly, The * miry and marshy places,' where these 
waters come, are such, where persons cleave inseparably 
and incurably to their lusts and sins, so that they are not 
healed by the word. The healing word of the gospel conies, 
but they receive it not; the water flows over them, they 
drink it not in, are not quickened, nor healed by it. 

Thirdly, To be ' given unto salt,' is to be left unto bar- 
renness; Deut. xxix. 23. Judg. ix. 45. Jer. xvii. 6. 

The figurative sense of the passage thus explained, will 
afford us the following observations. 

Observation I. God is pleased oftentimes to send the 
waters of the sanctuary to ' miiy and marshy places,' that 
* shall never be healed' by them, nor made fruitful. Or, 

X 2 


God in his infinite wisdom is pleased to send the preaching 
of the word unto some places, wherein it shall not put forth 
its quickening and sanctifying power and virtue, upon the 
souls of them that hear it. 

II. All places in the world are barren, unsound and un- 
healthy, before the coming of the waters of the sanctuary 
upon them. Or, the souls of all men are spiritually dead 
and full of woful distempers, until they are quickened and 
healed by the dispensation of the gospel. The word must 
come and heal them. 

III. The waters of the sanctuary are healing waters. 
Or, the word of the gospel is in its own nature a quicken- 
ing, healing, sanctifying, saving word, to them who re- 
ceive it. 

IV. Where the waters of the sanctuary come, and the 
land is not healed, that land is given up of the Lord to salt 
or barrenness for ever. Or, where the word of the gospel is, 
by the infinitely wise disposal of God, preached unto a 
place, or persons, and they receive it not, so as to have their 
sinful distempers healed by it, they are usually after a sea- 
son, given up by the righteous judgment of God unto bar- 
renness, and everlaslin''- ruin. 

It is this last proposition, as that which is the direct de- 
sign and scope of the place, that I intend to insist princi- 
pally upon. But yet I shall speak somewhat to the former. 

I. God is pleased oftentimes in his infinite wisdom to 
send the preaching of the word unto some places, wherein it 
shall not put forth its quickening and sanctifying power and 
virtue, upon the souls of them that hear it. 

The whole Scripture, and whole story of the providence 
of God, in sending Ihe gospel abroad in the world, bears 
witness to this truth. It was his way from the foundation 
of the world, and continueth to this very day. Hence was 
that complaint of the prophet, Isa. liii. 1. ' Who hath be- 
lieved our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord re- 
vealed V The gospel is preached to them that believe not 
the report thereof. And, chap. xlix. 4. * Then I said, I have 
laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought.' But 
we need no greater instance, nor any other than that of our 
Saviour; who spent the greatest part of his ministry in 
preaching to them who were never healed, never converted. 


nor sanctified by his word. That account he gives of his 
work, Matt. xi. 21 — 24. 'Woe unto thee, Chorazin ! woe 
unto thee, Bethsaida!' 8cc. 

Now though there be no searching into the depths of 
the counsels of God; yet there appear many reasons, 
wherein his wisdom in this dispensation doth shine forth. 

1. He doth it principally, because in those places where 
the word is rejected by the generality of the people; yet 
there may be some secret poor souls belonging to the elec- 
tion of grace, whom God will have gathered, and called 
home to himself. So for their sakes, though in the world 
they are taken no notice of, the word shall be preached 
unto multitudes ; Amos ix. 9. ' I will sift the house of Israel 
among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall 
not the least grain fall upon the earth.' The grains of 
Israel must be preserved through all the nations of the 
earth, that not one grain may be lost. Thus Paul preaches 
the gospel at Philippi ; Acts xvi. 12, 13. And what enter- 
tainment meets it withal ? He and his companions are taken, 
and beaten, and cast into prison, sore hurt, and wounded ; 
ver. 22, 23. Why then was it that the gospel must be 
preached there ? Why, there was a stranger come to that 
town, a poor woman, one Lydia, that dwelt at Thyatira, and 
she was to be converted, and brought home to God; ver. 14. 
So at Athens, chap. xvii. 34. And the apostle affirms, that 
he * endured all things for the elect's sake ;' 2 Tim. ii. 10. 
Here and there a poor despised person is designed to be 

2. God doth it for a testimony against them that receive 
it not, and to leave them inexcusable at the last day; Mark 
vi. 11. 'Whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, 
when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet 
for a testimony against them.' The word is to be preached, 
and witness, as it were, is to be taken upon it, that it was 
preached, that men may be left without excuse at the last 
day. As our Saviour pleads concerning his own preaching 
to the Pharisees, John xv. 22. ' Had I not come and spoken 
unto them, they had not had sin ; but now they have no 
cloak for their sin.' God will cause men to be without 
excuse, by that tender of mercy which is made unto them 


in the gospel. It bhall be for a testimony against them at 
the h\Ht day. 

Use. Let not men boast themselves in the outward en- 
joyment of the word, nor rest themselves in it. It were well 
indeed if all were believers to whom the word is preached ; 
if all lands were healed, where the waters of the sanctuary 
come. But the Holy Ghost tells us, they are not so, Heb. 
iv. 2. ' The word preached did not profit them.' ' Capernaum 
was exalted unto heaven,' in the use of means, but * brought 
down to hell,' for the neglect of them. Let men look to 
themselves ; God hath various ends in sending the gospel. 
The Lord knows what will be the end of England's enjoy- 
ing the gospel so long as it hath done. Sad symptoms 
appear of a tremendous issue. But I shall speak of this 

II. The souls of all men are spiritually dead, and full of 
woful distempers, until they are quickened and healed by the 
dispensation of the gospel. 

The waters of the sanctuary must come to quicken them, 
and heal them. They are distempered therefore, and wofully 
disordered, before the coming of these waters. So the 
apostle informs us. Tit. iii. 3 — 5. 'For we ourselves also 
were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving di- 
vers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, 
and hating one another. But after that the kindness and 
love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works 
of righteousness which we have done, but according to his 
mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and re- 
newing of the Holy Ghost.' Before the gospel grace comes 
to heal and cleanse them, this is the state and condition of 
men, as it is more largely described by the apostle, Rom. i. 18. 
to the end. 

I shall not stay to mention all the particular distempers 
that rage in some, and that rule and reign in all, before the 
coming of the gospel ; as darkness, blindness, ignorance, 
worldly-miudedness, sensuality, hatred of God, envy and 
malice, which are fixed in the souls of men by presumption, 
and self-righteousness. There is nothing in them of spi- 
ritual life or holiness, of purity or zeal, nothing that is ac- 
ceptable or pleasing unto God. But to set forth this to the 
utmost were to describe the whole natural condition of men, 


which is not my present work, and therefore I shall not far- 
ther insist on it. 

III. The word of the gospel is in its own nature, a 
quickening, healing, sanctifying, saving word to them who 
receive it. 

They bring Christ along with them, the great physician 
of souls, who alone is able to cure a sin-sick soul. They 
bring mercy with them to pardon sinners ; that * the inha- 
bitants of the land may no more say, they are sick, having 
their sins forgiven them ;' Isa. xxxiii, 24. They bring grace 
with them to cure all the distempers of lusts ; Isa. xi. 5—7. 
Tit. ii. 11,12. 

These things I have only touched upon, and proceed 
now to the fourth observation, on which I chiefly proposed 
to insist. 

IV. Where the waters of the sanctuary come, and the 
land is not healed, that land is given up of the Lord, to 
salt and barrenness for ever. Or, where the word of the 
gospel is preached unto a place or persons, and they receive 
it not, so as to have their sinful distempers healed by it, they 
are given up by the righteous judgment of God unto barren- 
ness and everlasting ruin. 

To clear this proposition, I shall shew, 1. What I mean 
by the coming of the waters of the sanctuary, or the preach- 
ing of the gospel to a place, or persons ; 2. What by healing 
their sinful distempers ; 3. What by being given up to bar- 
renness and ruin. 

1. By the coming of the healing waters of the sanctuary, 
I intend not the occasional preaching of a sermon, although 
this be sufficient to justify God in the rejection of any 
person or people. In the first preaching of the gospel, the 
refusal of one sermon lost many their souls unto all eternity. 
When the Lord Jesus sent out his disciples to preach the 
tidings of everlasting peace, he commanded them to pass 
through the towns, cities, and villages, and to offer them 
peace and mercy in the word of truth ; which if they re- 
ceived not, they were to shake off the dust of their feet 
ao-ainst them; Matt. x. 12—15. Luke x. 8. But, O, the 
unspeakable patience of Christ to many in the world, 
where the word is continued ofttimes for a very long season, 
and the salvation tendered therein despised ! But this is that 


which I intend, as the rule of the dispensation mentioned : 
namely, when God by his providence, doth cause the word 
to be preached for some continuance, and to the revelation 
of his whole counsel ; as Paul affirmed himself to have 
done at Ephesus, Acts xx. 27. where he had abode above 
a year. 

Nor do I mean any waters, but the waters of the sanc- 
tuary ; not any preaching, but the preaching of the gospel 
of Jesus Christ, which Paul affirms to be his work, Eph. 
iii. 8. All waters are not the waters of the sanctuary; all 
preaching is not the preaching of the sanctuary. There is 
preaching in the world, wherein God and the souls of men 
are no more concerned, than in an oration of an ancient 
heathen. Many undertake to be preachers, who never 
' stood in the counsel o-f God,' as he complains, Jer. xxiii. 22. 
who never received of the Spirit of Christ, nor knew his 
mind, blind leaders of the blind. The children of Zion are 
promised under the gospel, that they shall be all taught of 
God. And we have men undertaking to be teachers of 
them, who never learned any thing of Christ. A wicked 
generation of soul-murderers, for which cursed work they 
every day invent new engines, whom the Lord's soul abhors. 
See their condition and portion, Ezek. xxxiv. 3, 4, Sec. I 
mean therefore a dispensation of the word according to the 
mind of Christ, the due unfolding of the mystery of the gospel. 
This is the coming I intend. 

2. What is meant by their sinful distempers not being 
healed? Look what the waters of the sanctuary come to do ; 
if that be not effected, they are not healed. 

Now there are two effects here ascribed unto the waters 
of the sanctuary. (1.) They quicken, and give new life, 
ver. 9. A natural life they had before, but these give them 
another life. (2.) Healing, as the waters of Jericho by 
Elisha, 2 Kings ii. 21. Where these effects are not produced, 
that is the condition described, that is the state of these 
'miry and marshy places, they are not healed.' 

(1.) Men are not quickened ; they receive not a new spi- 
ritual life ; they are not so brought to the knowledge of God, 
It is not enough that men have their affections wrought upon, 
or their lives in some measure reformed, unless they are 
quickened ; unless they receive a new spiritual life by the 


word, they are as the unhealed places over whom the curse 
here mentioned hangs. 

(2.) The healing of these quickened souls, consists in 
the curing and mortifying of their sinful distempers. This 
follows the other. Where there is life, there will be heal- 
ing. Let not men pretend that they live spiritually, if their 
lusts be not healed. If men are proud, worldly, sensual, 
they are dead also; there is no effect of the waters of the 
sanctuary upon them. If men are not made holy, humble, 
believing, zealous, if they receive not the Spirit of prayer 
and faith, they are not healed. 

This is the ccidition of the ' marshy and miry places' 
here mentioned. God, in his infinite wisdom and goodness, 
causeth the gospel to be dispensed among a people, to be 
preached, where they do, or may, and ought to attend unto 
it. But they are not converted by the word, not sanctified 
by it, but continue in their old state and condition ; he that 
was filthy is filthy still; he that was unrighteous is so still; 
he that was in the mire of the world and sin, is so still. 

3. What is the lot and portion of such persons? Why, 
'they shall be given to salt;' that is, as I have shewed, to 
barrenness, fruitlessness, unprofitableness, and eternal ruin. 
This is the meaning of the proposition; and it is a dread- 
ful word, which yet is true, and will prove so at the last day. 
Woe to the 'miiy and marshy places' of the world: woe to 
the persons and places to whom the waters of the sanctuary 
have come, and they are not healed. 

I shall not need to insist much on the proof of the pro- 
position, the Scripture so abounds with testimonies of it. 
But I shall do these three things : 1. Name some places 
that plainly speak the same truth ; 2. Shew the degrees in 
which God proceeds usually in this great work, in giving up 
unprofitable hearers to ruin; and, 3. Give the grounds of it. 
1. For other Scriptures which assert the same truth; 
take Prov. i. 25 — 31. ' But ye have set at nought all my 
counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh 
at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh: when 
your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh 
as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon 
you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; 
they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me : for 


that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of 
the Lord : they would none of my counsel, they despised 
all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of 
their own way, and be filled with their own devices.' Prov. 
xxix. 1. * He that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, 
shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.' 
Luke xiii. 6. * He spake also this parable ; A certain man 
had a fig-tree planted in his vineyard, and he came and 
sought fruit thereon, and found none,' &c. So Heb. .y. 28 
—30. 2 Cor. ii. 15, 16. 

2. For the degrees of rejection, see Ezek. x. 18. xi. 23. 
Heb. vi. 8. 'But that which beareth thorns and briers 
is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing, whose end is to be 
burned.' They are first rejected, then cursed, and lastly 
burned. But, 

3. That which I shall principally insist upon, is to shew 
the ways whereby God doth usually proceed in giving up 
such persons to barrenness, and so to everlasting ruin. 

(1.) He casts them out of his care; he will be at no more 
charge nor cost with them, nor about them. So Heb. vi. 8. 
the land is a^oKijuog, ' rejected ;' the owner will take no 
more care or pains about such an unprofitable piece of land: 
he will til] it no more, dress it no more; but leave it to its 
own barrenness. God is the great husbandman; John xv. 1. 
When a miry place is not healed, he will cast it out of his 
husbandry. So Ezek. xxiv. 13. They have had their time 
and season, and ' are not purged;' therefore ' they shall be 
purged no more.' Jer. vi. 29, 30. * The bellows are burnt, 
the lead is consumed of the fire ; the founder melteth in vain : 
for the wicked are not plucked away. Reprobate silver shal 
men call them, because the Lord hath rejected them.' This 
the Lord Christ declares to be his way of proceeding with 
them. Zech. xi. 8, 9. *My soul loathed them, and their soul 
also abhorred me. Then said I, I will not feed you; that 
that dieth, let it die ; and that that is to be cut off, let it be 
cut off"; and let the rest eat every one the flesh of another.' 
A sad parting the Lord knows. They give up Christ; he 
gives up them; and their meeting will be infinitely more 
sad to them. Now this the Lord doth several ways. 

[1.] He will sometimes utterly remove the gospel from 
them; turn the stream of the waters of the sanctuary, that 


they shall come to them no more. So he threatened the 
church at Ephesus of old ; Rev. ii. 5. * Remember from 
whence thou art fallen,' &c. ' or else I will come unto thee 
quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place.' 
They shall have the light of the word no more, it shall be 
removed and taken from them. Ah, how many places lie 
under this wofiil judgment of God at this day, this sen- 
tence of being given up to salt for ever! Places there are in 
the world, that have enjoyed the word at God's appointed 
season, or at lea-st, the tender of it, and opportunity to enjoy 
it; but continuing unprofitable under it; what is now their 
state and condition? God hath left them to that sore judg- 
ment, that they themselves should be made instrumental to 
cast out the word from amongst them; like the foolish woman 
pulling down the house with their own hands; and so have 
got darkness for a vision, and they that would not rejoice in 
the truth, and in the light, do now through the tremendous 
judgment of God, triumph in darkness and in a thing of 

It is true, the gospel may be sometimes taken for a sea- 
son from a people for their trial and exercise, and not pe- 
nally : it may be driven from them and not absolutely sinned 
away. Now as the Lord hath many glorious ends in such 
a dispensation ; so it may easily be known whether people 
have lost the gospel only for a season in a way of trial ; or 
penally as a beginning of their being given up to salt and 
barrenness. As, 

1st. They that are deprived for a season of gospel en- 
joyments for their trial and exercise, are sensible of the dis- 
pleasure of God in that dispensation, and greatly humble 
themselves under his hand on that account. They say as 
the church in Micah vii. 9. * I will bear the indignation of 
the Lord, because I have sinned against him, until he plead 
my cause, and execute judgment for me.' They look on 
this as the greatest calamity and trial that can befall them ; 
whereas they that lose it penally, are either very little con- 
cerned about it, or do greatly rejoice at it : the word tor- 
mented them, and they are glad they are freed from it; Rev. 
xi. 10. 'And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice 
over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to an- 
other; because theSe two prophets tormented them that 


dwelt on the earth.' Some never rejoice more, than when 
they are got quit of the gospel; and others are like Gallio. 
Now when such as these have the word taken from them, 
and are no way sensible of the displeasure of the Lord in it, 
nor do humble themselves before him on that account; it is 
a certain evidence that God is giving them up into a state 
of salt, that is, barrenness and eternal ruin. 

2dly. They that are deprived of it, for a season in a way 
of trial, have no rest, but are earnest with the Lord for the 
return of it; 1 Sam. vii. 2. The ark was gone; and though 
they had peace and plenty, and all things else in abundance ; 
yet all will not satisfy them, the ark is absent, that pledge 
of God's presence, and they lamented after him. So is it 
with these; let them have peace, or liberty, or prosperity, 
all is one ; if they have not the ark, if they have not the 
gospel and ordinances of God, they can take no rest, but 
are still lamenting after the Lord, still longing after the en- 
joyment of his word. David doth excellently express this 
frame of heart, Psal. Ixiii. 1,2. *0 God, thou art my God; 
early will I seek thee : my soul tliirsteth for thee, my flesh 
longelh for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water 
is : to see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee 
in the sanctuary.' He was driven from the ordinances of 
God, the waters of the sanctuary came not to him. But 
now they from whom the word is taken penally, are no v/ay 
troubled about it, nor do long after it; they rejoice in what 
they have in the room of it; are exceedingly well pleased 
without it. Let them have an increase of corn, and wine, 
and oil; let them have their lusts and their sports, their 
formalities and follies, they care not whether ever they hear 
of the word of the gospel any more. Such men are certainly 
entering into a condition of salt, of barrenness, and ruin. 

3dLy. They who are deprived of the word for a season, 
for their trial, have a high estimation and value of their 
mercy and privilegawho enjoy it. They do not think the 
proud happy, nor envy at prosperous wickedness, nor bow 
in their hearts before the Hamans of the earth. But those 
they think blessed, who enjoy the word, and the presence 
of God therein. This our Saviour teaches them to esteem, 
Luke xi. 28. * But he said, yea rather, blessed are they that 
hear the word of God, and keep it.' David doth excellently 


set out this frame of heart, Psal. Ixxxiv. 4. 'Blessed are 
they that dwell in thy house; they will be still praising 
thee. Selah.' I am, saitii ho, a poor outcast, deprived of thy 
word and ordinances: O the blessed condition of those who 
enjoy them ! Let them be what they will as to their outward 
state, they are in a blessed condition, if they may dwell in 
thy house, enjoy the privileges of the spiritual house of 
God, and his worship in the gospel. This is the frame of 
such persons; those only they esteem blessed, who are re- 
freshed with the waters of the sanctuary: but none are more 
despised by those, from whom the gospel is judicially re- 
moved. It is the great, the mighty, the rich, the sensual, 
that they esteem blessed ; for those others they esteem as 
the dirt or the mire. 

Now hence it is, that God may at the same time remove 
his gospel from a place, judicially from some, and by a way 
of trial from others, whereby these contrary effects are pro- 
duced : some are humbled under the hand of the Lord ; 
mourn after his presence ; and account them blessed who 
enjoy his ordinances: others triumph and rejoice in their 
condition, look upon it as good and blessed, at least are 
little concerned in the dispensation that God is dealing with 
them in. And as the Lord doth good to the former by this 
exercise, preparing them also for farther mercies, in a greater 
estimation of his word, and profiting under it Vv'hen enjoyed : 
so to the other, this is the entrance of their ruin ; they are 
cast out of the care of God ; and you never see such a peo- 
ple afterward obtain mercy. 

[2.] God doth this sometimes, though he causeth the 
word to be continued unto them, by restraining the efficacy 
of it, that it shall not profit them. Men may have lived out 
their season, that Gcd hath given them to be healed in ; and 
yet God have work to do in that place where they live, so 
that the word must be preached ; some poor souls amono-st 
them are to be quickened or healed, called or edified ; so that 
he will not turn away the course of these holy waters, but 
continue the dispensation of the gospel. But as for those, 
who have withstood their season of healing, and are castout 
of the care of God, God will so order things, that the word 
shall have no power upon them. Now though the righteous 
judgment of God have a hand in this matter; yet by his 


permission, their own lusts are the immediate cause of it. 

1st. They shall have some prejudices against them, by 
whom the gospel is dispensed in the power and purity of it, 
which shall keep them from attending unto, or profiting by 
their message. So in the days of Ahab, there were four 
hundred preachers that he had a mind to hear; but they 
were all false prophets, teachers of lies, idolatrous and su- 
perstitious : only there were two prophets of the Lord, Elijah 
the Tishbite, and Micaiahthe son of Imlah ; and both these 
he looked upon as his enemies, as persons not well affected 
unto him ; so that he would believe nothing of what they 
preached. So of Elijah, 1 Kings xxi. 20. and of Micaiah, 
chap. xxii. 8, So shall it befall many whom God will leave 
to salt, because the season of their healing hath been with- 
stood ; though the word be preached, they shall have pre- 
judices against the dispensers of it, so that they shall not 
profit by them. And little do they think that these pre- 
judices and hard thoughts are chains and fetters to keep 
them in unto the judgment of the great day. And of this 
nature also are other prejudices, that men have. 

2dly. He will suffer them to be unconquerably hardened 
in the love of some sin or lust, which shall keep off the 
power of the word from their hearts. So the ground here 
that is not healed, is said to be miry and marshy; such as 
hath a mixture of fillh incorporated with it, sufficient to 
repel all the virtue of the healing waters of the sanctuary. 
Thus we see men every day so furiously set upon their lusts, 
sports, and sensuality, that they hate and are filled with 
madness and rage against all that would persuade them to 
sobriety : much more doth the word of the gospel torment 
them, so that they rise with fury against it; and this keeps 
them from profiting by it. ' They are given to salt.' 

3dly. God withdraws the efficacy of his Spirit in the dis- 
pensation of the word, that it shall not have that strength 
and power on them as upon others. God sends his word 
towards his own in a way of covenant, and then it is always 
accompanied with his Spirit; Isa. lix. 21. And where God 
dealeth with men in covenant mercy, these go together. But 
now when he casts men out of his care, though the word 
may be preached to their ear, because of some others whom 


he yet cares for ; yet he hath said concerning them, that his 
' Spirit shall strive with them no more :' and thence it is that 
the word makes no impression on them : its healing virtue 
is as to them withheld. 

And this is the first thing the Lord doth to such poor 
creatures as he leaves to salt, to barrenness, and ruin, for de- 
spising the season and means of their healing. He casts 
them out of his care, as to the dispensation of the word. 



We sliall now proceed to the uses. 

Use 1. Wonder not if you see a diversity of success in 
preacliing of the word: some receive it with joy; the most 
despise it as a thing of nought. Whence is this difference? 
Muhitudes are rejected of God, cast out of his care, barren- 
land, he will till them no more. A cursed state! Marvel 
not that many refuse to hear the word, that they love lies; 
they are given up of God to their heart's lusts. Marvel not 
that the word which they hear affects them no more; the 
power of the Spirit is v.ithheld from them; multitudes are 
thus cast out of the care of God, and tokens of the plague 
are upon them : they like their condition, rejoice and triumph 
in it, think none so happy as themselves, and des])ise them 
that love the waters of the sanctuary: all which are tokens 
of this sore plague. Can they expel the gospel from any 
place? Can they quench the light that is in it? Can they 
triumph over the ways of God? They suppose they have 
gotten a great victory. This is not an ordinary judgment: 
they are, poor creatures, assuredly cast out of the care of 
God ; ' they are given to salt;' and it is a miracle of mercy, 
if ever any of them be healed. 

O, it is a woful thing to look on a place or persons that 
give evidences of their withstanding the season of their 
healing, as so many in this nation do ! How was our Saviour 
affected with it in reference to Jerusalem; Luke xix. 41, 42. 
* And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept 
over it, saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in 
this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace ! but 
now they are hid from thine eyes.' Oh ! if we had but any 
measure of that pity and compassion which dwelt in his holy 
soul, how could we pass through towns and cities, and see 
and hear, and not mourn! 

Use 2. Take that advice of the prophet, Jer, xiii. 16. 
' Give glory to the Lord your God, before he cause darkness, 
and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and, 
while ye look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, 
and make it gross darkness.' 


(2.) The second thing that God doth, in giving up an 
unhealed land unto barrenness, is his judicial hardening of 
them, or leaving them to hardness and impenitency, that so 
they may fill up the measure of their sins ; Heb. vi. 8. ' That 
which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto 
cursing.' When the care of God is once taken from them, 
they are nigh unto cursing ; the next thing that God will 
do to them, is to curse them, as our Saviour did the barren 
fig- tree. 

This woful judgment is at large set forth, Isa. vi. 9, 10. 
' And he said. Go and tell this people. Hear ye indeed, but 
understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make 
the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and 
shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with 
their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and 
be healed.' Isaiah w^as a gospel preacher; yet this, saith 
God, shall be the effect of thy preaching towards them that 
have withstood their season, and have not been healed by 
the word. And John tells us, that this very thing was ac- 
complished, when the gospel was preached by our Saviour 
himself, chap. xii. 40, 41 . And surely their condition is most 
woful, whom the preaching of the gospel hardeneth, whom 
the only remedy destroys. 

Now there are four things in this spiritual judgment, that 
God sends upon unhealed souls, that have outlived their 
season of healing, more or less. 

[1.] Blindness of mind and understanding. Their natural 
blindness and ignorance shall be increased and confirmed ; 
and that by two ways. 

1st. Godwin send them 'a spirit of slumber,* R,om. xi. 8. 
that is, a great inadvertency and negligence as to the things 
of the gospel, that are spoken of, or preached unto them. 
As men that slumber take little notice of what is spoken to 
them, or about them ; they hear a noise, and sometimes 
discern a little what is spoken, but not to any use or pur- 
pose : so is it with these persons, on whom God doth judi- 
cially send this spirit of slumber ; they hear the sound of the 
word, and sometimes it may be take notice of some one 
thing or other that is spoken ; but to receive and under- 
stand the design of it, to ponder it and improve it, that they 
cannot do ; they are under a spiritual slumber. We may see 



multitudes in this condition every day, the word hath no life 
nor vigour towards them ; they perceive not the mind of God 
in it ; they understand it not ; God hath given them ' a spirit 
of slumber/ and they die under it. 

2dly. God sends them a spirit of giddiness, causing them 
to err in their ways ; Isa. xix. 14. We have a notable in- 
stance of this judgment of God, 2 Thess. ii. 10 — 12. The 
waters of the sanctuary came unto them, and they were not 
healed ; the gospel was preached unto them, but they with- 
stood their season ; they received not the love of the truth ; 
they did not believe and obey, that they might be saved ; 
because they had pleasure in unrighteousness. How then 
doth God deal with them? ver. 11. He will send them a 
spirit of giddiness or delusion, that ' they shall believe a lie,' 
false doctrine, false worship, superstition, and idolatry. 
This they shall believe, and have pleasure in; which will 
have the fearful end mentioned, ver. 12. And this judg- 
ment, as it is already come upon many, so it lies at the door, 
I fear, of the most. We see men every day, that have for 
some years, it may be, enjoyed the preaching of the gospel, 
but not being healed, quickened, and sanctified by it, are 
now with all greediness given up to follow after fables on 
the one hand, or superstition on the other; there is a spirit 
of giddiness from the Lord upon them. And by these means 
is the darkness of the minds of men increased, when God is 
giving of them up to barrenness. 

[2.] Obstinacy in the will, or hardness of heart, pro- 
perly so called, is in this judgment of God also. God will 
give up unhealed persons to hardness of heart. So is it in 
that place of Isa. vi. 10. and it is the same with that which 
the apostle calls, ' A reprobate mind ;' Rom. i. 28. that is, a 
mind and heart that is good for nothing with regard to spi- 
ritual things, profligate, and altogether insensible of them. 
And when this befalls any, they will openly despise the 
word, and cast it off, using one foolish pretence or other for 
their so doing, as Jer. xliv. 16. with xliii. 2. Such persons, 
whenever the word is preached unto them, and it lies cross 
to their carnal imaginations, or sensual affections, lusts, or 
sports, rise up in their hearts with contempt, and rage 
against it. Sometimes they will colour their wickedness in 
their hearts by some pretence or other: this is the way, 


the humour, the singularity of the preacher. Or sometimes 
their rage will carry them out directly against the word, 
without any colour or pretence, but because it displeaseth 
them. Or if they fall not thus into pride and rage, which 
usually is occasioned by their temptations, they grow ut- 
terly senseless and stupid, and unconcerned in the things 
of God, Let the word thunder from heaven against their 
sins, they regard it not. Let the still small voice of the 
gospel persuade them unto reconciliation, they attend not 
unto it. Let the judgments of God be abroad in the world, 
if they escape themselves, they are not concerned about 
them. Do they reach their own persons ; they have wrath, 
and anger, and vexation ; but they cannot repent, or turn to 
the Lord. This is apparently the condition of most in the 

[3.] Sensuality of affections is in this judgment also; 
Rom. i. 26. ' He gave them up to vile affections;' that is, 
to place their affections on vile, sensual things. Unhealed 
persons shall do so. Our streets, ale-houses, and many 
other places, are full of such whose affections are fixed with 
madness on vile things; and they please themselves in 
them, little thinking that this is part of the judgment 
whereunto they are given up of God, for their unprofitable- 
ness under the word ; for their not being healed by the waters 
of the sanctuary. 

[4,] Searedness of conscience; 1 Tim. iv, 2. 'Having 
their conscience seared with a hot iron.' Eph. iv. 19. ' Being 
past feeling.* Whatever sin they commit, or condition they 
fall into, conscience shall no more discharge its duty in 
them, and towards them. 

And this is the second thing that God will do towards 
such unhealed persons. 

(3,) The third thing considerable is the event of this 
dealing of God with them; or what is meant by this land's 
becoming salt. 

Two things, as I have shewed before, are hereby intended : 
[1.] Barrenness in this world ; [2.] Eternal ruin in the world 
to come. 

[1,] Barrenness : they shall never bear any fruit to God. 
This was the curse that our Saviour gave to the fig-tree : 
* Never fruit grow on thee.' Man was made to bear fruit 

y 2 


unto God ; this is all he came into the world for. Now 
when God shall say to any. Go your ways, you shall never 
do any thing more for me, whilst you live in this world ; 
you shall never bear any fruit to me: what sorer judgment 
can any man possibly fall under? I might shew you the 
misery of this condition in many particulars. * Israel is an 
empty vine;' Hos. x. 1. 

[•2.] Eternal ruin, and that irreparable. Prov. xxix. 1. 
' He that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall 
suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.' John xv. 6. 
'If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and 
is withered ; and men gather them, and cast them into the 
fire, and they are burned.' 2 Thess. ii. 12. 'That they all 
might be damned, who believed not the truth, but had 
pleasure in unrighteousness.' Heb. vi. 8. ' But that which 
beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto 
cursing, whose end is to be burned.' This is the certain 
event of that land, that is left unto salt, because not healed ; 
and of those persons, who having passed over their season 
of quickening and sanctifying by the word, are given up to 
barrenness and ruin. It will do neither me nor you good to 
flatter you, and to put you into any better hope, than your 
condition will admit of. See Ezek. xxxiii. 8. 'When I say 
unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die ; if 
thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that 
wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I 
require at thine hand.' This will be the end of the one and 
the other, when that course is taken. Did I not see the 
tokens of this judgment of God abroad in the world, I would 
not thus insist upon it as I do. 

Use 1. Of exhortation. Make use of your season, that 
you fall not under this sore and inexpressible judgment. 
God gives men a season, a space to repent in; Rev. ii. 21. 
This space and season, as I have shewed you before, is not 
ofttimes all the while that the gospel is preached unto you. 
The word may be preached, and yet its efficacy wholly re- 
strained from you, and that because your time and season 
is gone. And so it comes to pass daily ; and you know not 
how soon it may be your lot and portion, and you perceive 
it not. Therefore is the apostle so earnest in exhorting men 
to make use of their day, before their season be gone, Heb. 


iii. 12, 13. 'Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you 
an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. 
But exhort one another daily, while it is called to-day, lest 
any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.' 
As if he should say. Take heed to yourselves, stir up your- 
selves, for if your day be once passed over, you are then 
gone for ever; it w^ill then be too late for you to look out 
after mercy. And so again, 2 Cor. vi. 2. Now is the day; 
now is the time. If you stand in need of any commodity, 
that can be had but at one fair, that day, that season you 
will not neglect. You stand in need, I am sure, of grace, 
mercy, pardon, Christ, life, salvation ; there is only this 
day, this season for you to obtain it in : O, that you would 
be persuaded to look out after it, before it be hidden from 
you! See Heb. x. 31. * It is a fearful thing to fall into the 
hands of the living God.' So the same apostle again, Heb. 
xii. 15. ' Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of 
God,' Use all diligence in this matter. 

To excite you a little to this, consider, 

(1.) That if you are not healed during your season, you 
can never be healed. If the gospel cure you not, you must 
die in your sins. Men are greatly mistaken, when they 
flatter themselves, that it can never be too late for them in 
this world, there is time enough whilst they are alive. Alas ! 
you have but your season ; and that may be over with you 
many days before you leave the world, yea many ye?.rs. We 
have everywhere ground evidently * left to salt/ though yet 
not burned up. Use your day. 

(2.) You know not how your day is going away, nor 
when it will be over. The traveller on the road, that hath 
a journey to go, knows how to order his affairs. It is, 
saith he, so many hours to night, and 1 have time enough 
before me; so doth the labouring man also: but, alas! it 
is not so with you ; you know not how soon your day may 
be over. I speak not of your lives, which the Lord knows 
are uncertain ; but the day of the gospel may be over, whilst 
the day of your lives continue. Nor can you be certain of 
the day of the preaching of the word ; but your day, and your 
season in it, may come to an end, this day or this night, for 
ought that you or I know. So that your concernment is 
unspeakably great in the proposal that is made unto you. 


Remember the virgins that were shut out, and their cry at 

You will say then,What shall we do to know when it is our 
season, that we may applyour hearts unto this exhortation? 

I ans'.ver: The Lord alone, who is the searcher of all 
hearts, knows how it is with you; and whether you huvQ 
not any of you in particular outstood your opportunity. I 
can only tell you what is a gospel season, which you are to 
take care, that you may have a share and interest in. 

[1.] It is required that the gospel be preached in th« 
power and purity of it. This in general makes' the accept- 
able day, the time of salvation.' And if there be nothing 
else concurring, this is enough to let a people, or person 
know, that the day of the Lord is come upon them, that the 
waters of the sanctuary are come unto them. Now con- 
sider v/ith yourselves, whether the gospel be preached unto 
you or not. Or whether you may not, or might not have it 
so jireached unto you, or enjoy the dispensation of it, did 
you but discharge your duty. If it be so, this is one evi- 
dence that it is yet your day. 

[2] It is a special season, when providential calls do 
join in with, and farther gospel calls ; when God causes tho 
gospel to be dispensed unto a people, and at the same time 
puts forth some acts of his providence, that are suited to 
awaken men to the consideration of their state and condi- 
tion, then is the season of that people. I shall not go over 
the several providential calls that have been upon us, to in* 
quire after the ways of God. Are all the alterations thathava 
beta amongst us, discovering the great uncertainty of all 
things that are here below, no call? Was there no call in the 
great unseasonableness of the year ? No call in the danger of 
the loss of the gospel, which seems to stand ready for its 
flight from you ? the great uncertainty how long you may 
enjoy these waters of the sanctuary ? It is certain, that if 
you have not neglected already your season, your day of 
grace, you are now under the time that you are to be tried in, 

[3.] Then is the season, when God moves at some sea-^ 
sons more effectually upon your hearts and spirits in the 
dispensation of the word, than at other times. This you 
^lone can give an account of; you only know how it is with 
ycxu ; you can tell, whether you have not been moved by the 


wrord more than formerly.or convinced by it; whether you have 
not had purposes of amendment and reformation wrought in 
you by it; whether you have not been caused to love it more 
than you have done formerly ; whether it hath not begotten 
at times resolutions in you to try for life and immortality. 
If it have not, it is much to be feared lest the Lord is leav- 
ing of you to salt, to an estate of perishing and everlasting 
ruin. But if you have had such effects wrought in you, 
know of a certain, that the kingdom of God hath come unto 
you ; and if you withstand your opportunity, you are gone 
and undone for ever, unless you make thorough work before 
this dispensation be overpast. 

[4.] When you see others about you earnest after the 
word ; this is Cod's call and ordinance unto you to look to 
your own condition. 

If now by any of these means you come to know that the 
day of the Lord, and the season of your healing is upon you ; 
oh, that you would be prevailed with to be wise for your 
own, souls, and to close with the word of the gospel, before 
the things of your peace be hidden from your eyes ! 

I thought, in the next place, to have given you the signs 
ofa departing gospel day, and evidences of men's having out- 
lived their season, and being given up to salt and barren- 
ness; but for some reasons forbear. 

Use. 2. To discover the miserable condition of poor 
creatures, that having not in their season been healed by 
the waters of the sanctuary, are given up of the Lord to salt 
and barrenness. No heart can conceive, nor tongue ex- 
press the misery of such poor creatures. Let me only men- 
tion some particulars. 

(1.) They know not that they are so miserable. They per- 
ceive not, they understand not the sore judgment that they 
are under. Do but their heads ache, or are they sick of an 
ague, they feel it presently, and seek out for remedies; but 
in this case the curse of God is upon them, and they do not 
at all perceive it, and so seek not out for relief; Hos. vii. 9. 
' Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it 
not; yea, gray hairs are here and there upon him, yet he 
knoweth not.' They are nigh to ruin, to destruction, and 
perceive it not, they take no notice of the misery that is at 
hand ready to devour them ; or if at any time they begin so 


to do, they shift oft" the thoughts of it, which is a great part 
of their misery, 

(2.) They are pleased with the condition in which they 
are; 'they cry peace and safety, when sudden destruction 
is at hand ;' 1 Thess. v. 3. They please themselves in their 
condition, when the vengeance of the Lord is ready to seize 
upon them. Is the gospel removed from them, and the 
streams of the sanctuary turned away ? They are so far from 
being troubled at it, that they rejoice in it, as hath been 
declared : they think they may now follow their lusts freely, 
and do whatever seems good unto themselves : they despise 
others and bless themselves, as if all were well with them. 
Or is the word yet continued, but they left to senselessness 
and salt under it ? They are pleased with their estate, won- 
der at those who are troubled under the word, and exceed- 
ingly despise them. All is well with themselves ; and some 
of them are ready to deride all others that are under the 
work of the Lord. On this account it is, that they do not, 
will not, look out for relief, or healing, 

(3.) No man can help, or relieve them. Men may pity 
them, but they cannot help them. All the world cannot pull 
a poor creature out from under the curse of the great God. 

(4.) Their eternal ruin is certain, as before proved. 

(5.) This ruin is very sore on gospel despisers. 



O Lord, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our 
hearts from thy fear! Return for thy servants' sake, the tribes of thine 
inheritance. — luA. Ixiii. 17. 

These are words that carry a great deal of dread in them; 
tremendous words, methinks, as any in the book of God. 
And according as our concernment shall be found in them, 
they require very sad thoughts of heart. It is come now to 
the last, this is the last cast; if we miss in pursuing this 
great inquiry, we are undone for ever : ' O Lord, why hast 
thou caused us to err from thy ways? Why hast thou har- 
dened our hearts from thy fear ;' God is in this matter 
whereof we have been complaining. 

It is the true chujrch of God that speaks these words. 
This is plain in the acting of faith as to the great interest 
and privilege of adoption, in the verse foregoing, where they 
say, * Doubtless thou art our Father:' however things are 
with us, * doubtless thou art our Father.' When all other 
evidences fail, faith will secretly maintain the soul with a 
persuasion of its relation unto God; as you see by the church 
in this place. They were ' all as an unclean thing,' and their 
' holiness all faded away as a leaf;' Isa. Ixiv. 6. And yet 
faith maintains a sense of a relation to God ; and therefore 
they cry, ' Doubtless thou art our Father, though Abraham 
be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not : O Lord, 
thou art our Father, our Redeemer; thy name is from ever- 
lasting.' And I am persuaded some of you have found it 
so, that faith hath maintained an interest in a relation to 
God, when all particular evidences have failed. So it is in 

•This sermon was preached ona solemn da^ of fasting and pra^^er, March 21, 
1675. For which occasion the Doctor had prepared another discourse, but by a 
special reason which then occurred, had his thoughts directed to this subject. 

330 god's withdrawing his presence, 

our head, Jesus Christ, when he cried, ' My God, my God, 
why hast thou forsaken me?' When all particular evidences 
fail, he can still say, ' My God, my God.' So is it here with 
this miserable and distressed church and people of God; all 
is lost and gone, and yet faith cries, 'Doubtless thou art our 
Father.' And if in the matters of this day, God would help 
us to maintain, and not let go our interest in him as our 
Father by faith, we should have a bottom and foundation to 
stand upon. If it be so with us as hath been confessed to 
God, and 1 fear it is worse, we shall be at a loss for our par- 
ticular evidences, at one time or otlier ; but yet it will be a 
great advantage when faith can maintain its station, and we 
be enabled to say, * Though Abraham be ignorant of us, and 
Israel will not own us,' sucli vile creatures ; * and though our 
righteousnesses are as filthy rqgs/ and our holiness ' fadelh 
away as a leaf,' and our adversaries have trodden upon us, 
* yet doubtless thou art our Father.' The Lord help us to 
say thus when we depart, and we shall yet have a foundation 
of hope. 

I would observe here the condition of the church at that 
time. It was a state of affliction and oppression; of op- 
pression on the one hand, and of deep conviction of sin on 
the otlier. It is well when they go together. 

First, It was a time of distress and oppression ; as is de- 
clared, ver. 18. ' Our adversaries have trodden down thy 
sanctuary.' The adversary had grievously oppressed them: 
but that which the church was most concerned in, was, that 
they had trodden down the sanctuary, disturbed the holy as- 
semblies, and broken up the worship of God. And it is vvell» 
brethren, if under all oppression and distresses that may 
befall us, we do really find our principal concern is for the 
treading down God's sanctuary. Whatever else lay upon 
them, this was that they complained of; * Our adversaries 
have trodden down thy sanctuary.' 

Secondly, It was also a time of deep conviction of sin 
with them. As the prayer is continued unto the end of the 
next chapter, you may see what a deep conviction of sin was 
fallen upon them, in ver. 6, 7. ' Behold we are all as an un* 
clean thing, all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags, we all 
do fade as a leaf, and our iniquities like the wind have taken 
us away. And there is none that calleth upon thy name. 


that stirreth up himself to take hold on thee : thou hast hid 
thy face from us, and melted us down because of our ini- 

Well then, suppose it be a state of great oppression, and 
a state of great conviction of sin : what is the course that we 
should take? We may turn ourselves this way and that way; 
but the church, you see, is come to this, to issue all in an 
inquiry after, and a sense of God's displeasure, manifesting 
itself by spiritual judgments. And this, in truth, brethren, 
if I understand any thing of the state and condition of my 
own soul, and yours, and of the generality of the churches 
of God in the world, is that which we are in particular called 
to, and where we are to issue all this business: namely, to 
inquire into God's displeasure, and the reason of it, mani- 
festing itself in spiritual judgments. ' O Lord, why hast 
thou caused us to err from thy ways? And why hast thou 
hardened our hearts from thy fear?' 

It is but a little I shall speak to you. at this time : God, 
I hope, will give us other seasons to pursue the same de- 
sign ; my present distemper, and other occasions, will not 
sutler me now to enlarge ; however, I will lay a foundation 
(if God help me) by opening the words unto you. 

I. What is it to err from the ways of God ? 

II. What is it to have our hearts hardened from the fear 
of God ? 

III. What ways are there, whereby God may cause us to 
err from his ways, and harden our hearts from his fear? 

IV. What may be the reasons why the Lord should deal 
thus severely with a poor people, after they have walked 
with him, it may be, many years, that at length they should 
be brought to this complaint: ' Lord, why hast thou caused 
us to eir from thy ways, and hardened our hearts from thy 
fear?' And then, 

V. What is to be done for relief in this condition ? What 
course is to be taken ? 

These are the things that should be first spoken to from 
the text ; and then we should come to the last clause : ' Re- 
turn for thy servants' sake,' &c. I shall proceed as far as I 
am able. 

I. What is it to err from the ways of God ? 

The ways of God are either God's ways towards us, or 

332 god's withdrawing his presence, 

our ways towards him, that are of his appointment. God's 
ways towards us are the ways of his providence. Our ways 
towards God are the ways of obedience and holiness. We 
may err in both. 

I think in that place of the Hebrews, * They have always 
erred in heart, and have not known my ways,' God princi- 
pally intends his ways towards them ; they did not know the 
ways of his providential workings, how mightily he had 
wrought for them. But the ways that God hath appointed 
for us to walk in towards him, are these here intended. 
Now we may err from thence two ways: 1. In the inward 
principle ; 2. In the outward order. 

1. We may err in the inward principle. When the prin- 
ciple of spiritual life in our hearts decays, when we ' fade as 
a leaf,' and wither, then is this our case. 

2. We err as to outward order, when we fail in the per- 
formance of duty in our walking, and in the course of our obe- 
dience and holiness that God hath called us unto. These for 
the most part go together. But from the text, and the whole 
context, I judge the first here to be principally intended ; a 
failing in the principle, in our hearts, and in a lively power 
of walking in the ways of God, and of living unto him. So 
that to err from the ways of God, is to have our hearts weak- 
ened, spiritually disenabled, often turned aside from the 
vigorous, effectual, powerful walking with God, which we 
are called unto. 

II. What is it to have our hearts hardened from the fear 
of God? 

There is a twofold hardening from God's fear: 1. There 
is a total hardening; and, 2. A partial hardening. 

1. There is a total hardening, like that mentioned, Isa. 
vi. 10. ' Make the heart of this people fat, and make their 
ears heavy, and shut their eyes ; lest they see with their eyes, 
and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and 
convert, and be healed.* This was a total hardening that 
came upon the Jews when they rejected Christ. That is not 
the hardening here intended : those that are given up to a 
total hardness will not thus humble themselves before God, 
nor plead with God. Blessed be God that he hath not given 
us up to a total hardening, that we should utterly and wicked- ' 
ly depart from his ways. 


2. There is a partial hardening, mentioned by the apo- 
stle, Heb. iii. 13. Take heed, * lest any of you be hardened 
through the deceitfulness of sin;' lest there come a hard- 
ness upon you that may be to your disadvantage. And it is 
this partial hardening that is here intended : and wherein it 
consists, I shall speak a little afterward. It is this partial 
hardening that is intended in the text : ' Thou hast hardened 
our hearts from thy fear.' 

III. How is God said to cause us to err from his ways, 
and to harden our hearts from his fear? 

God is said to do it these several ways : 

1. God is said to do that (and it is not an uncommon 
form of speech in Scripture) whose contrary he doth not do, 
when it might be expected, as it were, from him. If there 
be a prophet that doth prophesy so and so, ' I the Lord have 
deceived that prophet,' Ezek. xiv. 9. that is, I have not kept 
him from being deceived, but suffered him to follow the ima- 
ginations of his own heart, whereby he should be deceived. 
God may be said to cause us to err from his ways, and to 
harden our hearts from his fear merely negatively, in that he 
hath not kept us up to his ways, nor kept our hearts humble 
and soft in them. 

Again, God hardens men judicially, in a way of punish- 
ment. This is a total hardening, of which we spoke before. 
And there are these acts of it, which I think are as evident 
in the times wherein we live, as the judgments of God have 
been in the plague, or burning of the city, inundations, or 
any thing else. Spiritual judgments of God in hardening 
the hearts of men judicially and penally to their destruction, 
are as visible to every considering person, as any of God's 
outward judgments whatsoever. This will appear if we 
consider the following things wherein it consists. 

(1.) The first thing God doth, when he hardens men's 
hearts penally, is to give them up to their own lusts. It is 
directly expressed, Rom. i. 24. 'Wherefore God gave them 
up to their hearts' lusts.' When God leaves men, and gives 
them up to pursue their own lusts with delight and greediness, 
then he is hardening them. And this is a visible judgment 
of God at this day : he takes off' shame, fear, all restraint 
and disadvantages, and gives men up to their hearts' lusts. 

(2.) The second thing is, that God in penal hardenino-, 

334 G(W)'i> withdiiawi>;g his presen'ce, 

gives men up to Satan to blind them, darken them, harden 
them; for he is 'the God of this world that blinds the eyes 
of men.' And the great work of blinding and hardening 
men is committed unto him: and the principal way whereby 
he works at this day, is by being a lying spirit in the mouth 
of the false prophets, crying, Peace, peace, when God hath 
not spoken a word of peace. As it was in the business of 
Ahab, when Satan went and catched at a commission to 
seduce Ahab to go up to Ramoth Gilead ; he did it by being 
a lying spirit in the mouths of the false j^rophets. God is 
visibly at work in the world with this judgment, giving men 
up unto Satan, acting in the mouths of the false prophets, 
who crv. Peace, peace, to all sorts of sinners, when God 
speaks not one word of peace. 

(3.) The third way whereby God doth judicially give up 
men to hardness of heart, is, by supplying thern in his pro- 
vidence with opportunities to draw out their lusts. They 
shall have oppoitunity for them. It is commonly given for 
one of the darkest dispensations of divine providence to- 
wards men, when it orders things so that they shall have 
Opportunities to accomplish their lusts, and go on in their 
ways administered untQ.them. 

(4.) Lastly, In pursuit of all these God gives them over 
to a 'reprobate mind,' Rom. i. that is. a mind that can 
neither judge nor approve of any tiling that is good. Pro- 
pose to men the most convincing things wherein their own 
interest and concern lies, shew them that eternal ruin lies 
at tlie door, it is all one, they having a mind that can judge 
of nothing that is good. And the world is full of evidences 
of this work of God. 

3. God may be said to cause men to err from his ways, 
and to harden their hearts from his fear, by withholding, 
upon their provocation, some such supply of his Spirit, and 
actings of his grace, as they have formerly enjoyed to keep 
up their hearts to the ways, and in the fear of God. And 
that is the hardening here intended. The Lord had with- 
held upon just provocations, those supplies of his grape and 
Spirit which formerly were enjoyed, and which had given 
them a vigorous spirit in the ways of God, and a tender 
heart in the fear of God, which now they have lost, or else 
they could never have been sensible of it. 


From what has been said we may make the following 

Observation 1. Even true believers themselves may for a 
season so err from the ways of God, as to have their hearts 
partially hardened from his fear, and may fall under this 
state and condition, to err from the ways of God, by a decay 
of the principle of grace ; and so to have their hearts hard- 
ened from his fear, that they know not where they are, what 
they are doing, how it is with them, which way to look for 
relief to supply themselves, or how to recover strength, or 
heal themselves; but are forced to cry, 'O Lord, why hast 
thou caused us to err from thy ways, and hardened our 
hearts from thy fear?' 

Observation 2. God himself hath a righteous hand in this 
frame of spirit, that sometimes befalls believers. 

Observation 3. This frame is the most deplorable con- 
dition that can befall the church of God at any time ; which 
is manifest upon these two accounts; that it both takes 
away all solid evidences of God's special love; and inevit- 
ably exposes us to outward distresses and ruin, if it be not 
remedied. And therefore it is a most deplorable condition 
to be brought into such a state. 

Let us now a litile inquire, as we before proposed, what 
it is to have our hearts hardened thus partially from the fear 
of God. 

The fear of God may be considered in several respects : 
as it regards sin, and so is a fear of caution and humility; 
or as it regards judgments, and so is a fear of reverence, 
wisdom, and diligence to improve them; or lastly, as it re- 
gards duty, and so becomes a fear of obedience and watch- 
fulness. Now the want of a due sense of sin, of judgments, 
or of a due attendance unto duties, is this partial hardenino-. 

(1.) A partial hardening consists in the want of a due 
sense of sin. It is the fear of Gi>;\ alone that can give us a 
due sense of sin. Judgments will give dread, and convic- 
tions disquiet; but it is the fear of God alone that gives a 
due sense of sin. Therefore when we want this, our hearts 
are in some measure hardened from the fear of God, which 
discovers itself in the following particulars : [1.] A want of 
a due sense of secret sins ; [2.] A want of a due sense of 
sin in an uncircumspect walking ; [3.] A want of a due sense 


of surprisal into known sins ; [4.] A want of a due sense 
of the sins of others. Where these things are, there is hard- 
ening from the fear of God. 

[1.] This hardening consists in a want of a due sense of 
secret sins. And there is much in tliis. I shall but just 
name things unto you. The psalmist lays great weight on 
it; Psal. xix. 12. * Keep back thy servant from presumptu- 
ous sins; and cleanse thou me from secret faults.' In these 
two lie the life of a believer. And there is no more safety, 
if we are not cleansed from secret sins, than if we are not 
kept back from presumptuous sins. Every one will con- 
clude, if they are not kept back from presumptuous sins, 
they are undone for ever; but the danger is the same, if 
they are not cleansed, and have not a due sense of secret 

If it be asked. What are these secret sins? 1st. They are 
the vain imaginations of the mind ; 2dly. The corrupt act- 
ings of the affections of the heart ; and, 3dly. A frame of 
soul suited unto them. These are the tilings I intend by 
secret sins. 

1st. The vain imaginations of the mind. The Holy 
Ghost tells us that by nature *all the imaginations of the 
heart of man are evil, and that continually.' And God 
knows what remainders there are of this vanity of mind, 
and these vain imaginations in all our hearts. I place it at 
the head of what I intend, whereof, if we have not a due 
sense, we are under hardening from the fear of God. These 
vain imaginations of our mind, are such as no eye sees, none 
knows, not the angels in heaven, nor the devils, but are the 
special object of the eye, and sight, and knowledge of God. 

2dly. The corrupt actings and desires of our affections, 
wherein lust conceiveth. Lust tempts and seduces in vain 
imaginations, but conceiveth in the corrupt desires and act- 
ings of our affections. 

3dly. And both these, if indulged in any measure, will 
be continually pressing upon our nature; both the vain ima- 
ginations of the mind, and the corrupt actings of the affec- 
tions towards perishing, worldly, sensual things, either to 
lawful objects in an undue manner, or to unlawful objects, 
will both be pressing on the mind; and if, by solicitation, 
they take place upon it, then the mind is cast into a dead, 


lifeless, carnal, loose frame; which frame also I reckon 
among these secret sins. 

Now, brethren, more or less these things are true in us, 
according to the several degrees of grace we have received, 
through the woful negligence we have been betrayed into. 
Have we a due sense of these thing's? Or can we walk with 
boldness and confidence, peace and undisturbedness in our 
minds day and night, though these things be upon us? If 
so, we are in some measure hardened from the fear of God. 
The fear of God hath not its proper work upon us, which 
would keep us deeply sensible of these things, deeply aflOlict 
us for them, keep us in an abhorrence of them, and make 
us watchful against them night and day ; and not suffer 
vain thoughts to come and go without spiritual conflicts, 
nor inordinate affections to the world, without wounds given 
to it by the Spirit of God. If it is not so with us, our 
hearts are hardened from the fear of God. 

[2.] This partial hardening also contains in it a want of 
a due sense of an irregular course of walking. There is a 
course of walking that will please the world, satisfy the 
church, and which professors shall greatly approve of; and 
yet if a man come to examine his own heart by the rule, he 
shall find his course of walking judged: for though the 
world hath nothing to object against us, and though pro- 
fessors do well approve of us ; yet when we come to the 
rule, that will discover our iniquity. We are bound to walk 
by rule : ' God will have mercy on them that walk according 
to this rule.' We are bound to walk circumspectly in all 
things : ' Walk circumspectly, redeeming the time ; worthy 
of God; worthy of the Lord;' which extend to all duties of 
our walk in the whole course of our lives. If we satisfy 
ourselves that our walk is such as answers known duties 
that are required of us, that none in the world can lay blame 
upon us, and professors will approve of; but do not bring it 
to the rule, and judge it there, we err from the ways of 
God: and if we bring it to the rule, and judge it there, and 
have not a due sense, so as to be greatly humbled for it, our 
hearts are so far hardened from the fear of God; for if we 
were in the fear of God all the day long, as we ought to be, 
it would be so with us. Many men's boldness and con- 
fidence in the world, and many men's peace will be resolved 

VOL. XVI. z 


at length into a neglect of this duty, that they have not 
proved their walk by this rule, and that light God hath set 
up in their own souls. We may, I say, brethren, have 
something of this partial hardness upon our hearts in these 
instances, want of a deep sense as to secret sins, want of 
self-judging as to our irregular walking, wherein it comes 
short of the rule, the holy rule we are to attend unto. And 
who can say of his walk, that it is worthy of God and the 
Lord, which yet we are called unto? Alas, it is not worth 
the owning ourselves, and the profession we make; how 
much less is it worthy of God ? 

[3.] This hardening likewise carries it in a want of a due 
sense of sin upon surprisal into known sins. ' There is no 
man that liveth and sinneth not ;' but this respects known 
sins : I do not mean sins that are known unto others, but 
sins we know in particular, wherein we have offended against 
God. And known sins are great sins, sins against light, and 
for the most part against engagements and promises of watch- 
fulness ; and there is something, if we examine thoroughly, 
of wilfulness in them: and great sins should have great 
sorrow and great humiliation. Truly, brethren, I am afraid, 
and I would be jealous over myself and you, that we are apt 
to put off even known sins upon slighter terms than the rule 
of the covenant doth admit of. We are apt to resolve them 
in general into the covenant of grace and mercy, or to pass 
them over with one or two confessions, or the like, and do 
not bring every known sin unto its proper issue in the blood 
of Christ, as we ought. If we do not do this, we are hardened 
thus partially from the fear of God. The true fear of God 
would keep us up to this, that no one known sin should ever 
pass us, without a particular issuing of it in the blood of 
Christ, and obtaining peace in it. 

[4.] Want of a due sense of the sin of others is a great 
sign that we are partially hardened from God's fear; as it is 
a sign men are totally hardened, when they do not only 
commit sin themselves, but have pleasure in them that do it. 
We have before us the sins of professors, the sins of the 
world, the provoking sins of the nation, in the generation 
wherein we live, and the sins of all sorts of men ; and I think 
there is not in any one duty more spiritual wisdom required 
of believers, than how to deport themselves, with a suitable 


frame of heart, in reference to the sins of other men. Some 
are ready to be contented that they should sin, and some- 
times ready to make sport at their sins, and for the most 
part it is indifferent unto us at what rate men sin in the 
world, so it go well with us or the church of Christ. We 
understand but little of that: * Rivers of waters run down 
mine eyes, because men keep not thy law ;' Psal. cxix. 136. 
I confess, I think there is little of this in the world that we 
can truly say, as he did, by the Spirit of God, that our eyes 
run down with water, because other men, all sorts of men, 
keep not God's law. There is a * sighing and mourning for 
all the abominations that are done among a people.' What 
people? Truly people that were idolaters, and false wor- 
shippers, and very wicked, as that people was at that time : 
yet God required there should be* sighing and mourning for 
all the abominations;' and took special notice of the work- 
ing of grace that one way above all other things. And the 
Lord help us, I am afraid we have very small concern for the 
sins of other men. And it is resolved into these two prin- 
ciples : want of zeal for God's glory ; and want of compas- 
sion to the souls of men, which would make us deeply con- 
cerned for the sins of other men. Sin in the world is sfrown a 
common thing to us; we do not rend our garments, when we 
hear of all the blasphemies and atheism in the world all the 
blood, uncleanness, profaneness, oaths. Every sin is grown 
common to us ; nobody is affected ; * None taketh hold 
upon God,' saith the prophet. What will be the end of these 
things? Yet we speak of them as commonly as of our daily 
food. This is not to be under the power of the fear of the 
Lord. There is a partial hardness upon us from the fear of 
the Lord in that general, and almost universal unconcerned- 
ness that is upon us about the sins of other men. 

I thought to have spoken to the remaining heads of this 
partial hardness of our hearts from God's fear; the want of 
a due sense of God's judgments ; and the want of a due at- 
tendance unto, and walk with God in a way of duty: but I 
shall wave them, and proceed to the fourth thing proposed to 
be inquired into. 

IV. Why doth the holy God deal thus with a professing 
people? What reason can we find in ourselves, why it should 
be so, in making this complaint, that we neither charge God 

z 2 

340 god's withdram'ing his presence, 

foolishly, as the author and cause of sin; nor go about to 
extenuate our own sins, but aggravate and burden our con- 
sciences with a sense of them ? Why doth the holy God 
thus deal with us? 

The reasons are of two sorts: 1. What provokes God unto 
it, which are the procuring reasons ; 2. What God aims at 
in it, which are the final reasons, why it is thus with us. 

1. What provokes God to it? I answer, three things. 

(1.) Un thankfulness for mercy received. Thus in the 
chapter wherein is my text, it is said, ver. 8 — 10. 'Surely 
they are my people, children that will not lie : so he was their 
Saviour. In all their afflictions he was afflicted, and the 
angel of his presence saved them : in his love and in his pity 
he redeemed them, and he bare them, and carried them all the 
days of old. But they rebelled and vexed his Holy Spirit: 
therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought 
against them.' God doth in this matter turn to be our 
enemy; he fights against us. Why doth he so? Because 
he hath redeemed us in his love, because he hath borne us in 
his arms all the days of our lives, because he hath manifested 
that in all our afflictions he was afflicted, because he had 
been a Saviour, and heard us; and under all these mercies 
received, we have rebelled and vexed his Holy Spirit, have 
been unthankful and ungrateful : therefore he is become our 
enemy, and fights against us. I beg of you, brethren, that 
we may call over those innumerable mercies we have re- 
ceived from the Lord, spiritual mercies, temporal mercies, 
and consider whether these evils be not befallen us; whether 
our unthankfulness for mercy hath not caused God to be- 
come our enemy, and to fight against us. 

(2.) A second reason is, inordinate cleaving to the things 
of the world at a most undue season. It may be it would 
not provoke God so much thus to fight against us, and harden 
our hearts from his fear, if the season of it was not undue. 
Do not w^e see with our eyes, and hear with our ears, that God 
is unsettling all things here below, and that all these things 
shall be dissolved? When God gives so many intimations, 
that ' all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of per- 
sons ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness ?' 
Cleaving inordinately to the things of the world, at such a 
season, is that which provoketh God to deal thus; 'For the 


iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and smote him; I 
hid me and was wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way 
of his heart.' God smote them for the iniquity of their 
covetousness in such a woful undue season. Let us, bre- 
thren, be at work; I may be under great mistakes and misap- 
prehensions, but I must tell you what is upon my heart ; I 
cannot but think, that unless we are particularly at work 
every one of us, we shall be overtaken with these dismal and 
dreadful effects, and God will appear against us, and fight 
against us. 

(3.) The third reason i^, our unprofitableness, and un- 
suitableness to the means of grace we have enjoyed. O, the 
barren land of England, upon which the rain hath often 
fallen, and hath brought forth nothing but briers and thorns ! 
We have had our proportion in it, brethren, you of this con- 
gregation can even make your boast of what you have en- 
joyed of this and that man's ministry for many years ; but, 
O, the leanness and barrenness that is among us now all is 
done, our unsuitableness to the means we have enjoyed ! We 
may repent one day that we ever had any among us who ex- 
celled others in gifts and graces, if we profit no more. We 
have not profited suitably to the means we have enjoyed, but 
every vain and foolish imagination hath turned us aside from 
keeping as we ought to the good and holy ways of God. We 
do not flourish in fruitfulness, in savouriness, and profitable- 
ness answerable to what the dispensations of God have been 
towards us ; for the dew of God hath been upon us from 
time to time. 

Now besides these things named, which are public causes, 
why God hath brought us under this dispensation, let us all 
search our hearts, and say, ' Lord, why hast thou caused 
me thus far to err from thy ways, and hardened my heart 
from thy fear?' Why have I not former faith, love, aflfec- 
tions, zeal ? Why do not I mourn more? Where are my 
tears and humiliation ? Those heart-breaking sighs and 
groans after God which my heart was once filled withal ? 
O Lord, ' why is my heart thus hardened from thy fear?' 
Let us inquire into the particular reasons, that at last we 
may come to cry, * Return, O Lord, for thy servants' sake, 
the tribes of thy inheritance.' 

2. What does God aim at in such a dispensation ? We 

342 god's withdrawing his presence, 

have mentioned the procuring reasons and causes : now 
what are the final ends, why God will thus deal with us ? 

There are two ends the holy God seems to have in these 

(1.) The first is to awaken us unto the consideration of 
what an all-seeing God he is, with whom we have to do. 
When we please the world, and one another, and ourselves 
in our walkings and conversations, God will have us know, 
he is displeased. Though we please ourselves, and cry, 
Peace, and please the world, and one another ; yet God will 
so withdraw his Spirit and grace, that we shall be forced to 
say. Why is God thus displeased with us? He will have 
us glorify him, as one that is an all-seeing God ; as one that 
knows our inward frames, and tries us upon them. 

(2.) God doth it to awaken us. If there be any thing of 
true grace in our hearts, a sense of spiritual judgments will 
awaken us, when all outward judgments in the world will 
not do it : no, if thunder and lightning be round about us, 
if ruin and the sword before us, and the earth underneath 
be ready to swallow us up, they will not work so kindly 
upon a believer's heart, as a sense of spiritual judgments. 
I hope God hath a design of love to awaken us all by this 
dispensation, to return unto him. 

But to proceed to the last inquiry. 

V. What way shall we take now for retrieving our souls 
out of this state and condition ? 

One way is prescribed here. It is by prayer: ' Return, 
O Lord.' It is to beg of God to return. 

What arguments have we to plead with God to return? 
This being the case, the arguments here given are peculiar 
to the case; and we may plead them. They are two : 1. So- 
vereign mercy and compassion; and, 2. Faithfulness in 
covenant. They are both here pleaded. 

1. Sovereign mercy : ver. 15. ' Look down from heaven, 
and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy 
glory : where is thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding of 
thy bowels and of thy mercy towards me ? are they restrain- 
ed ?' Our great plea in this case is upon sovereign mercy 
and compassion. Plead the pity of God ; beg mercy of God ; 
come to God, as those that stand in need of mercy, and of 
the sounding of his bowels. 


2. The second argument is, God's faithfulness in the 
covenant: ver. 16. * Doubtless thou art our Father :' we are 

These are the two arguments we are night and day to 
plead with God, for our recovery from this state and condi- 
tion of erring from the ways of God, and of having our 
hearts hardened from his fear : sovereign mercy, and cove- 
nant faithfulness. And this is all I shall speak to at this 



This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 
2 Tim. iii. 1. 

You know my way and manner upon these occasions, is to 
speak as plainly and familiarly as I can, unto what is of our 
present concernment; and so I design to do at this time, if 
it shall please God to help under infirmities. 

The words contain a warning of imminent dangers. And 
there are four things in them. First, The manner of the 
warning : * This know also.' Secondly, The evil itself that 
they are warned of: ' perilous times.' Thirdly, The way of 
their introduction : they ' shall come.' Fourthly, The time 
and season of it: they ' shall come in the last days.' 

First, The manner of the warning: 'This know also.' 
Thou Timothy, unto the other instructions which I have 
given thee, how to behave thyself in the house of God, 
whereby thou mayest be set forth as a pattern unto all gos- 
pel ministers in future ages, I must also add this : ' This know 
also.' It belongs to thy office and duty to know and con- 
sider the impending judgments that are coming upon 

And so, as a justification of my present design, if God 
enable me unto it, I shall here premise. That it is the duty of 
the ministers of the gospel to foresee and take notice of the 
dangers which the churches are falling into. And the Lord 
help us, and all other ministers, to be awakened unto this 
part of our duty. You know how God sets it forth Ezek. 
xxxiii. in the parable of the watchman, to warn men of ap- 
proaching dangers. And truly God hath given us thi« law; 
if we warn the churches of their approacliing dangers, we 
discharge our duty ; if we do not, their blood will be re- 
quired at our hands. The Spirit of God foresaw negligence 
apt to grow upon us in this matter ; and therefore the Scrip- 

* This sermon was preached Nov. 3, 1676, being a day set apart for solemn fast- 
ing and prayer. 


ture only proposeth duty on the one hand ; and on the other 
requires the people's blood at the hands of the watchmen, if 
they perform not their duty So speaks the prophet Isaiah, 
chap, xxi. 8. 'He cried, A lion : My Lord, I stand continually 
upon the watch-tower.' A lion is an emblem of approaching 
judgment. 'The lion hath roared, who can but tremble?* 
saith the prophet Amos. It is the duty of ministers of the 
gospel to give warning of impending dangers. 

Again, the apostle in speaking unto Timothy, speaks 
unto us also, to us all : ' This know ye also.' It is the great 
concern of all professors and believers of all churches,, to 
have their hearts very much fixed upon present and ap- 
proaching dangers. We have inquired so long about signs, 
tokens, and evidences of deliverance, and I know not what, 
that we have almost lost the benefit of all our trials, afflic- 
tions, and persecutions. The duty of all believers, is to be 
intent upon present and imminent dangers. ' O Lord,' say 
the disciples. Matt, xxi v. * what shall be the sign of thy com- 
ing?' They were fixed upon his coming. Our Saviour an- 
swers, I will tell you. L There shall be an abounding of 
errors and false teachers : many shall say, ' Lo, here is 
Christ, and lo there is Christ.' 2. There shall be an apostacy 
from holiness : ' Iniquity shall abound, and the love of many 
shall wax cold.' 3. There shall be great distress of nations: 
' Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against king- 
dom.' 4. There shall be great persecutions : ' And they 
shall persecute you, and bring you before rulers, and you 
shall be hated of all men for my name's sake.' 5. There shall 
be great tokens of God's wrath from heaven : ' Signs in the 
heavens, the sun, moon, and stars.' The Lord Christ would 
acquaint believers how they should look for his coming : he 
tells them of all the dangers. Be intent upon these things; 
I know you are apt to overlook them, but these are the things 
that you are to be intent upon. 

Not to be sensible of a present perilous season, is that 
security which the Scripture so condemns; and I will leave 
it with you in short under these three things: 1. It is that 
frame of heart which of all others God doth most detest and 
abhor. Nothing is more hateful to God than a secure frame 
in perilous days. 2. I will not fear to say this, and go with 
it, as to my sense, to the day of judgment : A secure person, 


in perilous seasons, is assuredly under the power of some 
predominant lust, whether it appears, or not. 3. This se- 
cure, senseless frame is the certain presage of approaching 
ruin. This know, brethren, pray know this, I beg of you, for 
yours and my own soul, that you will be sensible of, and af- 
fected with, the perils of the season, whereinto we are cast. 
What they are, if God help me, and give me a little strength, 
I shall shew you by and by. 

Secondly, There is the evil and danger itself thus fore- 
warned of: and that is, Kaipol xoXettoi, hard times, perilous 
times, times of great difficulty, like those of public plagues, 
when death lies at every door; times that I am sure we 
shall not all escape, let it fall where it will. I will say no 
more of it now, because it is that which I shall principally 
speak to afterward. 

Thirdly, The manner of their introduction, IvaHjaovTai, 
' shall come.' We have no word in our language that will 
express the force of cvterrrjjut. The Latins express it by, 
' immineo, incido,' the coming down of a fowl unto his 
prey. Now our translators have given it the greatest force 
they could. They do not say, * Perilous times will come,' 
as though they prognosticated future events ; but, ' Perilous 
times shall come.' Here is a hand of God in this business : 
they shall so come, be so instant in their coming, that no- 
thing shall keep them out ; they shall instantly press them- 
selves in, and prevail. Our great wisdom then will be to 
eye the displeasure of God in perilous seasons, since there 
is a judicial hand of God in them : and we see in ourselves 
reason enough why they should come. But when shall 
they come ? 

Fourthly, They * shall come in the last days,' Iv cerxaratf 
tlfiipaig. The words ' latter,' or ' last days,' are taken three 
ways in Scripture : sometimes for the times of the gospel, 
in opposition to the Judaical church state, as in Heb. i. 1. 
• Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son.' And 
elsewhere it may be taken (though I remember not the 
place) for days towards the consummation of all things, and 
the end of the world. And it is taken often for the latter 
days of churches; 1 Tim. iv. 1. * The Spirit speaks ex- 
pressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the 
faith.' And so the apostle John, 1 Epist. ii. 18. ' Little chil- 


dren, it is the last time : and as ye have heard that anti- 
christ shall come, even now there are many antichrists, 
whereby we know that it is the last time.' And that is the 
season here intended. But yet you may take it in what 
sense you will : the last days, the days of the gospel ; the 
last days towards the consummation of all things, and the 
end of the world ; the last days following the days of the 
profession of churches, those called reformed churches, or 
our own churches in the ways wherein we walk ; and the 
last days with many of us, with respect to our lives. In 
whatever sense the words are taken, it is time for us to look 
what shall come in these last days. 

But the observation which at present I shall insist on 
from the text, is this : 

Observation. When churches have been continued for 
awhile in their profession, and begin to fall under decays 
therein, perilous seasons shall overtake them, which it will 
be hard for them to escape. * This know also, that perilous 
times shall come.' 

My design is only to dispose your minds a little to the 
work of the day : and all I shall do is to shew in several in- 
stances what are the things that make a season perilous ; and 
what is our duty with reference unto such perilous seasons, 
both as to particular perils, and perilous times in general. 
And it must not be said, as once it was of the prophet Eze- 
kiel : ' He prophesied of things a great way off.' We do not 
prophecy of things a great way off; no, we shall speak of 
things that are even upon us, what we see and know, and is 
as evident, as if written with the beams of the sun. 

1. The first thing that makes a season perilous, is, when 
the profession of true religion is outwardly maintained un- 
der a visible predominancy of horrible lusts and wicked- 
ness. And the reason why I name it in the first place is, 
because it is what the apostle gives his instance in, in this 
place : * Perilous times shall come.' Why ? ' For many 
shall be lovers of themselves, covetous, boasters, proud, 
blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 
without natural affection, truce-breakers, false accusers, 
incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, 
heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of 
God; having a form of godliness;' maintaining their pro- 


fession of the truth of religion under a predominancy, a 
visible, open predominancy of vile lusts, and the practice of 
horrible sins. This rendered the season perilous. Whether 
this be such a season or not, do you judge. And I must say 
by the way, we may and ought to witness against it, and 
mourn for the public sins of the days wherein we live. It is 
as glorious a thing to be a martyr for bearing testimony 
against the public sins of an age, as in bearing testimony 
unto any truth of the gospel whatsoever. 

Now where these things are, a season is perilous, 

1. Because of the infection : churches and professors 
are apt to be infected in it. The historian tells us of a 
plague at Athens, in the second and third year of the Pe- 
loponnesian war, whereof multitudes died; and of those that 
lived, few escaped, but they lost a limb, or part of a limb, 
some an eye, others an arm, and others a finger; the infec- 
tion was so great and terrible. And truly, brethren, where 
this plague comes, of the visible practice of unclean lusts 
under an outward profession, though men do not die, yet 
one loses an arm, another an eye, another a leg by it; the 
infection diffuses itself to the best of professors, more or 
less. This makes it a dangerous and perilous time. 

2. It is dangerous because of the effects ; for when pre- 
dominant lusts have broken all bounds of divine light and 
rule, how long do you think that human rules will keep 
them in order? They break through all in such a season as 
the apostle describes. And if they come to break through 
all human restraints, as they have broken through divine, 
they will fill all things with ruin and confusion. 

3. They are perilous in the consequence, which is, the 
judgments of God. When men do not receive the truth in 
the love of it, but have pleasure in unrigliteousness, God 
will send them strong delusions to believe a lie. So 
2 Thess. ii. 10, 11. is a description how the papacy came 
upon the world. Men professed the truth of religion, but 
did not love it; they loved unrighteousness and ungodli- 
ness, and God sent them popery. That is the interpretation 
of the place according to the best divines. Will you profess 
the truth, and at the same time love unrighteousness? The 
consequence is security under superstition and ungodli- 
ness. This is the end of such a perilous season: and the 


like may be said as to temporal judgments, which I need not 

Let us now consider what is our duty in such a perilous 

(l.y We ought greatly to mourn for the public abomi- 
nations of the world, and of the land of our nativity wherein 
we live. I would only observe that place in Ezek. ix. God 
sends out his judgments and destroys the city ; but before, 
he sets a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh for 
all the abominations that are done in the midst thereof. 
You will find this passage referred in your books to Rev. 
vii. 3. 'Hurt not the earth, nor the sea, nor the trees, till 
we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.' 
I would only observe this, that such only are the servants of 
God, let men profess what they will, * who mourn for the 
abominations that are done in the land.' The mourners in 
one place, are the servants of God in the other. And truly, 
brethren, we are certainly to blame in this matter. We have 
been almost well contented that men should be as wicked as 
they would themselves, and we sit still and see what would 
come of it. Christ hath been dishonoured, the Spirit of God 
blasphemed, and God provoked against the land of our na- 
tivity ; and yet we have not been affected with these things. 
I can truly say in sincerity, I bless God, I have sometimes 
laboured with ray own heart about it. But I am afraid we 
all of us come exceeding short of our duty in this matter. 
' Rivers of waters,' saith the psalmist, ' run down mine eyes, 
because men keep not thy law.' Horrible profanation of the 
name of God, horrible abominations, which our eyes have 
seen, and our ears heard, and yet our hearts been unaffected 
with them ! Do you think this is a frame of heart God re- 
quireth of us in such a season, to be regardless of all, and 
not to mourn for the public abominations of the land. The 
servants of God will mourn. I could speak, but am not free 
to speak, to those prejudices which keep us off from mourn- 
ing for public abominations ; but they may be easily sug- 
gested unto all your thoughts, and particularly what they 
are that have kept us off from attending more unto this duty 
of mourning for public abominations. And give me leave to 
say, that according to the Scripture rule, there is no one of 
us can have any evidence that we shall escape outward 


judgments that God will bring for these abominations, if we 
have not been mourners for them ; but that as smart a re- 
venge, as to outward dispensations, may fall upon us, as 
upon those that are most guilty of them ; no Scripture evi- 
dence have we to the contrary. How God may deal with 
us, I know not. 

This then is one part of the duty of this day, that we 
should humble our souls for all the abominations that are 
committed in the land of our nativity ; and in particular, 
that we have no more mourned under them. 

(2.) Our second duty, in reference to this perilous sea- 
son, is to take care that we be not infected with the evils 
and sins of it. A man would think it were quite contrary; 
but really to the best of my observation, this is, and hath 
been the frame of things, unless upon some extraordinary 
dispensation of God's Spirit : as some men's sins grow very 
high, other men's graces grow very low. Our Saviour hath 
told us. Matt. xxiv. 12. * Because iniquity shall abound, the 
love of many will wax cold.' A man would think the abound- 
ing of iniquity in the world should give great provocation to 
love one another. No, saith our Saviour, the contrary will 
be found true : as some men's sins grow high, other men's 
graces will grow low. 

And there are these reasons for it : 

[1.] In such a season we are apt to have light thoughts of 
great sins. The prophet looked upon it as a dreadful thing, 
that upon Jehoiakim's throwing the roll of Jeremiah's pro- 
phecy into the fire, till it was consumed, ' yet they were 
not afraid, nor rent their garments, neither the king nor any 
of his servants, that heard all these words ;' Jer. xxxvi. 24. 
They were grown senseless both of sin and judgment. And 
where men (be they in other respects never so wise) can grow 
senseless of sin, they will quickly grow senseless of j udgments 
too. And I am afraid the great reason why many of us have 
no impression upon our spirits of danger and perils, in the 
days wherein we live, is because we are not sensible of sin. 

[2.] Men are apt to countenance themselves in lesser 
evils, having their eyes fixed upon greater abominations of 
other men, that they behold every day : nay, there are those, 
who pay their tribute to the devil, walk in such and such 
abominations, and so countenance themselves in lesser evils. 


This is part of the public infection, that they ' do not run 
out into the same excess of riot that others do ;' though 
they live in the omission of duty, conformity to the world, 
and in many foolish, hurtful, and noisome lusts. They coun- 
tenance themselves with this, that others are guilty of greater 

[3.] Pray let such remember this, who have occasion for 
it (you may know it better than I, but yet I know it by rule 
as much as you do by practice), that general converse in the 
world, in such a season, is full of danger and peril. Most 
professors are grown of the colour andcomplexion of those 
with whom they converse. 

This is the first thing that makes a season perilous. I 
know not whether these things may be of concern and use 
unto you, they seem so to me; and I cannot but acquaint 
you with them. 

II. A second perilous season, and that we shall hardly 
come off in, is, when men are prone to forsake the truth, and 
seducers abound to gather them up that are so; and you 
will have always these things go together. Do you see se- 
ducers abound ? You may be sure there is a proneness in 
the minds of men to forsake the truth ; and when there is 
such a proneness, they will never want seducers, those that 
will lead off the minds of men from the truth ; for there is 
both the hand of God and Satan in this business. God ju- 
dicially leaves men, when he sees them grow weary of the 
truth, and prone to leave it ; and Satan strikes in with the 
occasion, and stirs up seducers. This makes a season pe- 
rilous. The apostle describes it, 1 Tim. iv. 1. 'Now the Spi- 
rit speaks expressly, that in the latter times,' these perilous 
days, * some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seduc- 
ing spirits, and doctrines of devils.' And so Peter warns 
them to whom he writes, 2 Epist. ii. 1, 2. that ' there shall 
come false teachers among them, who privily shall bring in 
damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, 
and bring upon themselves swift destruction : and many 
shall follow^ their pernicious ways.' There shall come times 
full of peril, which shall draw men off from the truth, into 

If it be asked, how we may know whether there be a 


proneness in the minds of men in any season to depart from 
the truth ? there are three ways whereby we may judge of it. 

1. The first is that mentioned 2 Tim. iv. 3. 'The time 
will come, when they will not endure sound doctrine, but 
after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, 
having itching ears.' When men grow weary of sound doc- 
trine, when it is too plain, too heavy, too dull, too common, 
too high, too mysterious, one thing or other that displeases 
them, and they would hear something new, something that 
may please ; it is a sign that there is in such an age many 
who are prone to forsake sound doctrine : and many such 
we know. 

2. When men have lost the power of truth in their con- 
versation, and are as prone and ready to part with the pro- 
fession of it in their minds. Do you see a man retaining 
the profession of the truth, under a worldly conversation? 
He wants but baits from temptation, or a seducer to take 
away his faith from him. An inclination to hearken after 
novelties, and loss of the power of truth in the conversation, 
is a sign of proneness unto this declension from the truth. 
Such a season, you see, is perilous. And why is it perilous? 
Because the souls of many afe destroyed in it. The apostle 
tells us directly, 2 Pet. ii. 1. 'of false prophets among the 
people, who privily bring in damnable heresies, even deny- 
ing the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves 
swift destruction.' Will it abide there ? No : * And many 
shall follow their pernicious ways, by reason of whom the 
way of truth shall be evil spoken of.' Brethren, while it is 
well with us through the grace of God, and our own houses 
are not in flames, pray do not let us think the times are not 
perilous, when so many turn unto popery and quakerism, 
into pernicious errors, and fall into swift destruction. Will 
you say the time of the public plague was not perilous, be- 
cause you are alive ? No. Was the fire not dreadful, be- 
your houses were not burnt ? No. You will notwithstand- 
ing say it was a dreadful plague, and a dreadful fire. And 
pray consider, is not this a perilous season, when multitudes 
have an inclination to depart from the truth, and God in just 
judgment hath permitted Satan to stir up seducers to draw 
them into pernicious ways, and their poor souls perish for 


Besides, there is a great aptness in such a season to work 
indifFerency in the minds of those who do not intend utterly 
to forsake the truth. Little did I think, I should ever have 
lived in this world to find the minds of professors grown al- 
together indifferent, as to the doctrine of God's eternal elec- 
tion, the sovereign efficacy of grace in the conversion of 
sinners, justification by the imputation of the righteousness 
of Christ ; but many are, as to all these things, grown to an 
indifferency, they know not whether they are so or not. I 
bless God, I know something of the former generation, when 
professors would not hear of these things without the high- 
est detestation ; and now high professors begin to be leaders 
in it, and it is too much among the best of us. We are not 
so much concerned for the truth as our forefathers : I wish 
I could say we were as holy. 

3. This proneness to depart from the truth, is a perilous 
season, because it is the greatest evidence of the withdraw- 
ing of the Spirit of God from his church ; for the Spirit of 
God is promised to this end, * to lead us into all truth ;' and 
when the efficacy of truth begins to decay, it is the greatest 
evidence of 'the departing and withdrawing of the Spirit of 
God. And I think that this is a dangerous thing; for if the 
Spirit of God departs, then our glory and our life depart. 

What now is our duty in reference to this perilous sea- 
son ? Forewarnings of perils are given us to instruct us in 
our duty. 

(1.) The first is, not to be content with what you judge 
a sincere profession of truth, but to labour to be found in the 
exercise of all those graces which peculiarly respect the truth. 
There are graces that peculiarly respect the truth, that we 
are to exercise ; and if these are not found in oin- hearts, all 
our profession will issue in nothing. 

And these are, 

[1.] Love: 'Because they loved not the truth.' They 
made profession of the gospel, but they received not the 
truth in the love of it. There was want of love of the truth : 
truth will do no man good, where there is not the love of it. 
Speaking the truth in love, is the substance of our Christian 
profession. Pray, brethren, let us labour to love the truth, 
and take off all prejudices from our minds that we may 
do so. 

VOL. XVI, 2 A 


[2.] It is the great and only rule to preserve us in peril- 
ous tiiaes, to labour to have the experience of the power of 
every truth in our hearts. ' If so be ye have learned the 
Lord Je3(is.' How? So as to * put off the old man Avliich is 
corrupt, according to the lusts of the flesh; and to put on 
the new man, which after God is renewed in righteousness 
and holiness ;' Eph. iv. 22 — 24. This is to learn the truth. 
The great grace that is to be exercised with reference to 
truth, in such a season as this, is to exemplify it in our 
hearts, in the power of it. Labour for the experience of the 
power of every truth in your ovv'n hearts and lives. 

[3.] Zeal for the truth. Truth is the most proper object 
for zeal. We ought to ' contend earnestly for the truth once 
delivered to the saints ;' to be willing, as God shall help us, 
to part with name, and reputation, and to undergo scorn and 
contempt, all that this world can cast upon us, in giving testi- 
mony unto the truth. Every thing that this world counts dear 
and valuable is to be forsaken, rather than the truth. This was 
the great end for which Christ came into the world. 

(2.) Cleave unto the means that God hath appointed and 
ordained for your preservation in the truth. I see some are 
ready to go to sleep, and think themselves not concerned in 
these things; the Lord awaken their hearts. Keep to the 
means of preservation in the truth ; the present ministry. 
Bless God for the remainder of a ministry valuing the truth, 
knowing the truth, sound in the faith; cleave unto them. 
There is little influence upon the minds of men from this or- 
dinance and institution of God in the great business of the 
ministry. But know there is something more in it, than that 
they seem to have better abilities to dispute, than you; more 
knowledge, more light, better understandings than you. If 
you know no more in the ministry than this, you will never 
have benefit by it. They are God's ordinance, the name of 
God is upon them, God will be sanctified in them. They 
are God's ordinance for the preservation of the truth. 

(3.) Let us carefully remember the faith of them who 
went before us in this nation, in the profession of the last 
age. I am apt to think there was not a more glorious pro- 
fession for a thousand years upon the face of the earth, than 
was among the professors of the last age in this nation. And 
pray what faith were they of? Were they half Arminian, 


and half Socinian ; half Papist, and half I know not what? 
Remember how zealous they were for the truth ; how little 
their holy souls would have borne with those public defec- 
tions from the doctrine of truth, which we see, and do not 
mourn over, but make nothing of in the days wherein we 
live. God was with them, and they lived to his glory, and 
died in peace, 'whose faith follow,' and example pursue, and 
remember the faith they lived and died in. Look round 
about and see, whether any of the new creeds have produced 
a new holiness to exceed theirs. 

III. A third thing that makes a perilous season is, profes- 
sors mixing themselves with the world, and learning their man- 
ners. And if the other perilous seasons are come upon us, this 
is come upon us also. This was the foundation and spring of 
the first perilous season that was in the world, that first brouo-ht 
in a deluge of sin, and then a deluge of misery. It was the 
beginning of the first public apostacy of the church, which 
issued in the severest mark of God's displeasure. Gen. vi. 2. 
'The sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were 
fair, and took them wives of all which they chose.' This is 
but one instance of the church of God, the sons of God, pro- 
fessors mixing themselves with the world ; this was not all, 
that they took to themselves wives, but this was an instance 
the Holy Ghost gives, that the church in those days did de- 
generate and mix itself with the world. What is the end of 
mixing themselves in this manner with the world? Psal. 
cvi. 35. ' They mingled themselves with the nations.' And 
what then ? ' And learned their manners.' If any thing un- 
der heaven will make a season perilous, this will do it; when 
we mingle ourselves with the world, and learn their manners. 

There are two things I shall speak to on this head : 

1 . Wherein professors do mingle themselves with the world ; 

2. The danger of it. 

1. Professors mingle themselves with the world, in that 
wherein it is the world, which is proper to the world. That 
which is more eminently and visibly of the devil, professors 
do not so soon mingle themselves withal; but in that where- 
in it is the world, in its own colours. As in corrupt com- 
munication, which is the spirit of the world, the extract and 
fruit of vanity of mind, that wherewith the world is corrupted, 
and doth corrupt. An evil, rotten kind of communication, 

2 A 2 


whereby the manners of the world are corrupted ; this comes 
from the spirit of the world : the devil hath his hand in all 
these things; but it is the world and the spirit of the world 
that is in corrupt communication. And how hath this spread 
itself among professors ! Light, vain, foolish communica- 
tion, to spend a man's whole life therein; not upon this or 
that occasion, but almost always, and upon all occasions 
everywhere. Vain habits and attire of the world is another 
instance. The habits and attire of the world, are the things 
wherein the world doth design to shew itself what it is. Men 
may read what the world is by evident characters in the 
habits and attire that it wears. They are blind that cannot 
read vanity, folly, uncleanness, luxury in the attire the world 
putteth upon itself. The declension of professors in imi- 
tating the ways of the world in their habits and garb, makes 
a season perilous : it is a mixture wherein we learn their 
manners, and the judgments of God will ensue upon it. In 
this likewise we are grown like the world, that upon all oc- 
casions we are as regardless of the sins of the world, and as 
little troubled with them, as others are. Lot lived in Sodom, 
but 'his righteous soul was vexed with their ungodly deeds 
and speeches.' Live we where we will, when are our souls 
vexed, that we do not pass through the things of the world, 
the greatest abominations, with the frame of spirit that the 
world itself doth ? Not to speak of voluptuousness of living, 
and other things that attend this woful mixture with the 
world, that professors have made in the days wherein we 
live, corrupt communication, gaiety of attire, senselessness 
of the sins and abominations of the world round about us, 
are almost as much upon professors, as upon the world. We 
have mixed ourselves with the people, and have learned their 
manners. But, 

2. Such a season is dangerous, because the sins of pro- 
fessors in it lie directly contrary to the whole design of the 
mediation of Christ in this world. Christ ' gave himself for us, 
that he might purge us from dead works, and purify us unto 
himself a peculiar people;' Tit. ii. 14. ' Ye are aroyal nation, 
a peculiar people.' Christ hath brought the hatred of the devil 
and all the world upon him and against him, for taking a peo- 
ple out of the world, and making them a peculiar people to 
himself; and their throwing themselves upon the world again. 


is the greatest contempt that can be put upon Jesus Christ. 
He gave his life, and shed his blood, to recover us from the 
world, and we throw ourselves in again. How easy were it to 
shew, that this is an inlet to all other sins and abominations, 
and that for which I verily think the indignation and displea- 
sure of God will soonest discover itself against professors and 
churches in this day. If we will not be differenced from the 
world in our ways, we shall not long be differenced from 
them in our privileges. If we are the same in our walkings, 
we shall be so in our worship, or have none at all. 

As to our duty in such a perilous season, let me leave 
three cautions with you, and the Lord fix them upon your 

(1.) The profession of religion, and the performance of 
duties, under a world-like conversation, are nothing but a 
sophistical means to lead men blindfold into hell. We must 
not speak little things in such a great cause. 

(2.) If you will be like the world, you must take the 
world's lot. It will go with you as it goes with the world. 
Inquire and see in the whole book of God, how it will go 
with the world, what God's thoughts are of the world, whe- 
ther it saith not, if it lies in wickedness, it shall come to 
judgment, and that the curse of God is upon it. If there- 
fore you will be like the world, you must have the world's 
.lot; God will not separate. 

(3.) Lastly, Consider we have by this means lost the most 
glorious cause of truth that ever was in the world. We do 
not know that there hath been a more glorious cause of truth 
since the apostles' days, than what God hath committed to 
his church and people in this nation, for the purity of the 
doctrine of the truth and ordinances; but we have lost all 
the beauty and glory of it by this mixture in the world. I 
verily think it is high time, that the congregations in this 
city, by their elders and messengers, should consult together 
how to put a stop to this evil, that hath lost all the glory of 
our profession. It is a perilous time when professors mix 
themselves so with the world. 

There are other perilous seasons that I thought to have 
insisted on ; but I will but name them. 

IV. When there is great attendance on outward duties, 
but inward, spiritual decays. Now herein, my brethren 


(most of this congregation are so in a peculiar manner), I 
hope, through the goodness of God, in sincerity, though in 
much weakness, ' Liberavi animam meam.' You know how^ 
long I have been treating of the causes and reasons of inward 
decays, and the means to be used for our recovery : I shall 
not therefore again insist upon them. 

V. Times of persecution are also times of peril. 

Now I need not tell you whether these seasons are upon 
us, or not; it is your duty to inquire into that. Whether 
there be not an outward retaining of the truth, under a 
visible prevalency of abominable lusts in the world ; whether 
there be not a proneness to forsake the truth, and seducers 
at work to draw men off; whether there be not a mingling 
ourselves with the world, and therein learning their man- 
ners ; whether there be not inward decays, under the out- 
ward performance of duties ; and whether many are not 
sufiering under persecution and trouble ; judge ye, and act 

One word of use, and I have done. 

Use 1. Let us all be exhorted to endeavour to get our 
hearts affected with the perils of the day Avherein we live. 
You have heard a poor, weak discourse concerning it, and 
perhaps it will be quickly forgotten. O, that God would 
be pleased to give in this grace, that w^e may find it our 
duty to endeavour to have our hearts affected with the 
perils of these seasons ! It is not time to be asleep upon 
the top of a mast in a rough sea, when there are so many 
devouring danoers round about us. And the better to 
effect this, 

(1.) Consider the present things, and bring them to rule, 
and see what God's word says of them. We hear this and 
that story of horrible, prodigious wickedness, and bring it 
in the next opportunity of talk, and there slightly pass it 
over. We hear of the judgments of God abroad in the 
world, and bring them to the same standard of our own 
imaginations, and there is an end. And so we do with the 
distresses of others ; we talk of them, and there is an end. 
But, brethren, %yhen you observe any of these things, how 
it is with the world, if you would have your hearts affected, 
bring it to the word, and see what God saith of it, speak 
with God about it, ask and inquire at the mouth of God, 


what God saith unto these prodigious wickednesses, and 
judgments, this coldness that is upon professors, and their 
mixtures with, and learning the manners of the world. You 
will never have your hearts affected with it, till you come 
and speak with God about it, and then you will find them 
represented in a glass that will make your hearts ache and 
tremble. And then, 

(2.) If you would be sensible of present perilous times, 
take heed of centring in self. While your greatest concern 
is self, or the world, all the angels in heaven cannot make 
you sensible of the peril of the days wherein you live. 
Whether you pursue riches, or honours, while you centre 
there, nothing can make you sensible of the perils of the day. 
Therefore do not centre in self. 

(3.) Pray that God would give us grace to be sensible of 
the perils of the day wherein we live. It may be we have 
had confidence, that though thousands fall at our right hand, 
and at our left, yet we shall be able to carry it through. 
Believe me, it is great grace. Point your private, closet 
prayers, and your family prayers this way; and the Lord help 
us to point our public prayers to this thing, that God would 
make our hearts sensible of the perils of the time whereinto 
w^e are f^illen in these last days. 

Use 2. The next thing is this, that there are two things 
in a perilous season : The sin of it, and the misery of it. 
Labour to be sensible of the former, or you will never be 
sensible of the latter. Though judgments lie at the door, 
though the heavens be dark over us, and the earth shake 
under us at this day, and no wise man can see where he can 
build himself an abiding habitation ; we can talk of these 
things, and hear of other nations soaking in blood, and have 
tokens of God's displeasure, warnings from heaven above, 
and the earth beneath, and no man sensible of them. Why ? 
Because they are not sensible of sin, nor ever will be, unless 
God make them so. 

I shall range the sins that we should be sensible of, 
under three heads : The sins of the poor, wretched, perishing 
world in the first place ; the sins of professors in general in 
the second place ; and our own particular sins and decays 
in the third place. And let us labour to have our hearts af- 
fected with these. It is to no purpose to tell you this and 


that judgment is approaching; for your leaders, and those 
that are upon the watch-tower, to cry, ' A lion, my Lord,' we 
see a lion. Unless God make our hearts sensible of sin, we 
shall not be sensible of judgments. 

Use 3. Remember there is a special frame of spirit re- 
quired in us all in such perilous seasons as these are. 
And what is that? It is a mourning frame of spirit. O, 
that frame, that jolly frame of spirit that is upon us ! The 
Lord forgive it, the Lord pardon it unto us, and keep us in 
a humble, broken, mournful frame of spirit : for it is a 
peculiar grace God looks for at such a time as this is. 
When he will ' pour out his Spirit,' there will be great 
mourning together and apart ; but now we may say there is 
no mourning. The Lord help us, we have hard hearts, and 
dry eyes under the consideration of all these perils that lie 
before us. 

Use 4. Keep up church watch with diligence, and by 
the rule. When I say rule, I mean the life of it. I have 
no greater jealousy upon my heart, than that God should 
withdraw himself from his own institutions, because of the 
sins of the people, and leave us only the carcase of outward 
rule and order. What doth God give them for ? for their 
own sakes ? No ; but that they may be clothing for faith 
and love, meekness of spirit, and bowels of compassion, 
■watchfulness, and diligence. Take away these, and farewell 
to all outward rule and order, whatever they are. Keep up 
a spirit that may live affected with it; get a spirit of church 
watch, which is not to lie at catch for faults, but diligently, 
out of pure love and compassion to the souls of men, to 
watch over them, to wait to do them good all we can. As 
it was with a poor man, who took a dead body and set it up, 
and it fell; and he set it up again, and it fell; upon which 
he cried out, ' Oportet esse aliquid intus,' ' there wants some- 
thing within' to enliven and quicken it: so is it with church 
order and rule ; set them up as often as you will, they will 
all fall, if there be not a love to one another, a delighting in 
the good of one another, 'exhorting one another while it is 
called to-day, lest any be hardened through thedeceitfulness 
of sin,' 

Use 5. Reckon upon it, that in such times as these are, 
all of us will not go free. You find no mention of a perilous 


season in Scripture, but it follows, some shall have their 
faith overthrown, others shall follow pernicious ways, and 
others shall turn aside. Brethren and sisters, how do you 
know but you or I may fall? Let us double our watch 
every one, for the season is come upon us, wherein some 
of us may fall, and fall so as to smart for it. I do not say 
we shall perish eternally ; God deliver us from going into 
the pit ; but some of us may so fall as to lose a limb, some 
member or other, and our works will be committed to the 
fire, that shall burn them all. God hath kindled a fire in 
Zion that will try all our works ; and we shall see in a short 
time what will become of us. 

Use 6. Lastly, take that great rule, which the apostle gives 
in such times as those wherewith we are concerned : ' Never- 
theless the foundation of God stands sure.' O, blessed be 
God for it ! ' God knows who are his.' 

What then is required on our part? Let him that 
nameth the name of God depart from evil. Your pro- 
fession, your privileges, your light will not secure you; 
you are gone unless every one that nameth the name of 
Christ departs from all iniquity. What multitudes perish 
under a profession every day ? O, that our hearts could bleed 
to see poor souls in danger of perishing under the greatest 
profession ! 

Will you hear the sum of all ? Perilous times and 
seasons are come upon us, many are wounded already, 
many have failed, the Lord help us, the crown is fallen 
from our head, the glory of our profession is gone, the time 
is short, the judge stands before the door. Take but this 
one word of counsel, my brethren ; * Watch therefore, that 
none of these things may come upon you, but that you 
may escape, and be accounted worthy to stand before the 
Son of God.' 



Woe unto the wo7-ld because of offences : for it must needs he that offences 
come : hut woe to that man by whom the offence cometh. — IMatt. xviii. 7. 

It is very evident that our Lord Jesus Christ lays very great 
weight upon this matter of offences. He represents them 
like a two-edged sword, that cuts both ways : ' Woe unto 
the world because of offences : woe to them by whom of- 
fences come:' he knits these two things together. It must 
needs be that there must be offences ; God hath appointed 
it, and it must be so. He doth not merely tell us, it will 
be; but, it * must be ;' God hath ordered that so it shall be.' 

I will speak a few things in reference to offences tiiat 
may be of use unto us; without looking into the depth of 
this great matter of offence and scandal; than which, I must 
needs say, I never yet saw any thing less inquired into, 
though there is no subject more written upon, and spoken 
to. We should consider for ourselves the time wherein we 
may be sure offences will abound. It is necessary from this 
wonderful caution of Christ here given, * Woe, woe, it must 
be,' that we should consider the times wherein it is likely 
offences will abound. And if all those times should prove 
to be upon us, certainly it is our duty to be wary. 

First, The first is a time of persecution. Offences will 
abound in a time of persecution to the ruin of many pro- 
fessors. So our Saviour tells us. Matt. xiii. ' One received 
the seed of the word, and it sprang up ; but when persecu- 
tion for the word arose, immediately he was offended.' Woe 
unto him, he is gone. 

Secondly, A time of the abounding of great sins is a time 
of giving and taking great offence. This the Holy Spirit 
speaks expressly, that ' in the latter days there shall be pe- 
rilous times.' All perils arise from" offences. And why? 

* This sermon was preached Sept. ;50, 1681. 


Men's lusts shall abound. When there is an abounding of 
lusts, there will be an abounding of offences, that make the 
times perilous. 

Thirdly, When there is a decay of churches, when they 
grow cold, and are under decays, it is a time of the abound- 
ing of offences : ' Iniquity shall abound, and the love of 
many shall wax cold.' That is a time when offences will 
abound; such as all the churches of Christ seem to be under 
at this day. All the virgins, wise and foolish, are asleep. 
It is what I have told you often, and I wish I could say I 
have told you without weeping, that we are under woful de- 
cays, falling from our first faith, love, and works. 

Now if all these times should be upon us: a time of per- 
secution, as it is now throughout the world ; saitli the apo- 
stle, ' Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial, for all 
that befalls you, brethren, in the world :' a time of the abound- 
ing of great sin in men ; I need not enlarge upon this : and 
a time of great decays in all churches : if it be thus with us, 
certainly it is very proper for us to look upon this warning 
of our Saviour: ' Take heed of offences.' 

Offences are of two sorts. 

I. Such as are taken only, and not given. 

II. Such as are given, and taken also. 

I. Such as are taken only, and not given. The great 
offence taken was at Jesus Christ himself. God appointed 
Christ to be the greatest offence in the world; Isa. viii. He 
had designed him to be a stumbling-block, and a rock of of- 
fence, an insuperable offence. The poverty of Christ in the 
world, and his cross were the rock of offence, whereat both 
Jews and Gentiles stumbled and fell, and ruined themselves 
unto eternity. Now the apostle disputes, 1 Cor. i. that this 
was an offence taken, and not given. How does he prove 
it? Why that wherein God puts forth his wisdom and his 
power is no offence given, but merely taken. But in Christ 
crucified God put forth his power. Let him be as poor in 
the world as he will, let him be crucified, there is the wis- 
dom and the power of God in it, and therefore there can be 
no just offence. 

This offence taken, and not given, is increased by the 
poverty of the church. You see your calling, brethren; 
' not many great, not many wise, not many noble.' In plain 


English, you are a company of poor, weak, persecuted peo- 
ple. But saith the apostle, this is no offence given; God 
chooses the things that are not, to bring to nought things 
that are. These things are an offence taken, and not given. 
II. There are offences given and taken. ■ 

1. Offences given: and they are men's public sins, and 
the miscarriages of professors that are under vows and obli- 
gations to honourable obedience. Men may give offence by 
errors, and miscarriages in churches, and by immoralities in 
their lives. This was in the sin of David; God would pass 
by every thing but offence given: ' Because thou hast made 
my name to be blasphemed,' therefore I will deal so and so. 
What a talk did it occasion throughout the world? There is 
your holy man, your godly man, your David, a praying man ; 
do you hear what a noise there is concerning him? ' TJboii 
hast made my name to be blasphemed,' saith God, and this 
is a great provocation. So God speaks of the people of Is- 
rael : these were my people, by reason of you my name is 
profaned among the Gentiles. These are the people of the 
Lord; see now they are come into captivity, what a vile peo- 
ple they are. Such things are an offence given, 

2. Offences taken : now offences are taken two ways. 
(1.) As they occasion grief; and, (2.) Sin. A given offence 

may be taken either of these ways. 

(1.) As they occasion grief. Rom. xiv. See that by thy 
miscarriage thou ' grieve not thy brother.' Men's offences 
who are professors, are a grief, trouble, and burden to those 
who are concerned in the same course of profession. But 
herein appears the wisdom of God, when he doth in his 
sovereignty sometimes suffer persons to give offence that 
may be sanctified unto the great advantage of the church. 1 
am persuaded the church of Corinth was in so much disor- 
der, that it had gone near to have been lost, if God had not 
suffered one among them to fall into a scandalous sin. But 
see what the end was. You find in the First Epistle the dis- 
order they were in, and what a scandalous sin fell out among 
them : and in the Second Epistle, the sorrow upon it ; when 
they knew it, they took offence, and were grieved at it: ' For 
behold that ye sorrowed after a godly sort; what carefulness 
it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, 
what indignation, yea, what fear, yea what veiiement desire. 


yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge ! In all things/ saith the 
apostle, ' ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this 
matter.' I look upon it to have been the greatest sanctified 
means that God appointed for the humiliation, recovery, and 
saving of that church, that he suffered in his sovereign wis- 
dom, such an offence to fall out among them. That is the 
first thing ; and let us lay it up in our minds, that we may 
not be moved and shaken ; for I speak with a prospect of 
what is to come, and not of what is come : ' Offences will 
come ;' and therefore let us remember, that God can sanctify 
the greatest offences to our humiliation and recovery, and to 
the saving of our church. Such is his infinite wisdom. 

(2.) Given offences occasion sin. There comes the woe, 
as to the world ; for there is no woe from offences to them 
who are truly humbled for them, grieved at them, and made 
thereby watchful over themselves and their own ways. But 
now, when offences are made an occasion of sin, as in the 
world, the world takes no offence at all by their own sins, 
nor by the sins of one another. Let them be what they will, 
let their teachers be as scandalous in their lives as possible, 
they are not grieved nor concerned : and the reason is in 
that saying of David, 1 Sam. xxiv. 13. ' As saith the pro- 
verb of the ancients,' (it was a saying from the flood, if not 
from the beginning of the world), ' Wickedness proceedeth 
from the wicked.' Look for nothing but wickedness from 
wicked men. So that it is no offence at all to see wicked 
men do wicked things. They do not take offence at one an- 
other; nor doth the church of God take offence; for, as 
saith the proverb, they can do no otherwise. To shew you 
how men are hardened in their prejudices against the truth, 
and confirmed in all their course by offences, would be too 
long a work for me to declare. But offences given are an 
occasion of sin, even among professors and believers them- 

The worst way whereby a given offence is thus taken, is, 
when men countenance themselves in private sins by others' 
public sins ; and go on in vices because they see such and 
such commit greater. Woe unto us if we so take offence. 
Again, a given offence is taken, when our minds are pro- 
voked, exasperated, and carried off from a spirit of love and 


tenderness towards those that offend, and all others, and 
when we are discouraged and despond, as though the ways 
of God would not carry us out. This is to take offence to 
our disadvantage. 

Thus I have shewed you the great weight and import 
that is to be laid upon this matter of offence, as being the 
greatest aggravation of sin. 

I have shewed you the times wherein /offences will 
abound : a time of persecution ; a time of the increase of 
abominable sins ; and a time of the decay of churches ; such 
as are upon us. 

I have likewise shewed you, there are offences taken 
only, and not given : Christ and his cross, the poverty of 
the church, its persecution and distress in all places, and the 
hopes and fears of all mankind at present, that it will be 
ruined. These are offences taken only, and not given, being 
all suited to the wisdom, goodness, and righteousness of 
God. There are offences also that are given by outward, 
knovt'n, public sins of persons, who are under evangelical 
obligations to more honourable obedience. And under this 
head we might bring in every thing we see or hear, but some 
more gross than others. And these offences occasion either 
grief and sorrow ; and then they prove a sanctified means in 
the hand of God for the church's good, making them more 
watchful and careful for the future : or they occasion sin, 
both by the world, and by professors ; and there comes the 

I shall give you a few rules from hence, and so con- 

Rule 1. The giving offence being a great aggravation of 
sin, let this rule lie continually in your hearts. That the more 
public persons are, the more careful they ought to be, that 
they give no offence either to Jew or Gentile, or to ' the 
church of Christ.' Why doth the apostle put Jew and Gen- 
tile before ' the church of Christ?' Because more evil will 
ensue upon it, and more disadvantage unto the souls of men. 
Let this be our rule in walking, especially those of us whose 
occasions do call us unto more converse in the world, let us 
always endeavour to give no offence to .Tew or Gentile, or to 
' the church of God.' 


2. If what I have laid down be your first and your main 
rule, I doubt, where this is neglected, there is want of sin- 
cerity ; but where it is your principal rule, there is nothing 
but hypocrisy. Men may walk by this rule, and have corrupt 
minds, and cherish wickedness in their hearts. If this be 
the principal rule that guides you, that you will carry it so 
complyingly, that you will give no offence, this is worse 
than neglecting the rule in the first case; that argues want 
of sincerity, this is a certain predominancy of hypocrisy. 
The principal rule commands conscience to God in all sin- 
cerity, and the second, to give no offence ; and if we make 
this our first rule, we are not upright with God. And there- 
fore, let none please themselves that they walk according to 
rule, if the internal power of God be not found in their 

3. Be not afraid of the great mviltiplication of offences 
at this day in the world. The truths of the gospel and holi- 
ness have broke through a thousand times more offences. 
They have broke through heresies, and blasphemies, and 
poverty, and persecution. God hath still preserved his peo- 
ple, who have broke through, and got the conquest over the 
greatest offences: over offences taken, in the cross of Christ, 
in the poverty of Christ, in persons that have preached the 
gospel, and in those who have professed it : over offences 
given, in innumerable swarms of blasphemous heretics wdio 
have professed the name of Christ from the beginning ; in 
false reports that have been cast upon Christians, being re- 
ported generally throughout the world, to be a vile genera- 
tion of wicked persons. The truth and grace of God hath 
conquered all these offences, and prevailed over them all, 
and will do so again, if we keep close unto truth, and the 
power of religion. 

4. Beg of God wisdom to manage yourselves under of- 
fences: and of all things take heed of that great evil which 
professors have been very apt to run into ; I mean, to receive 
and promote reports of offence among themselves, taking 
hold of the least colour or pretence to report such things as 
are matter of offence, and give advantage to the world. 
Take heed of this, it is the design of the devil to load pro- 
fessors with false reports. And if so, he is not a wise man, 


nor she a wise woman, that stand not upon their guard, 
when they see an engine the devil often makes use of, who, 
when he hath raised false reports, and wounded divers, is 
greatly pleased, and careth not if afterward they be disco- 
vered to be false, as knowing that he hath done his work ; 
for hereby he hath drawn out and imbittered the spirits of 
men one against another. And therefore stand upon your 
guard, and know it is the devil's engine, though you see not 
his hand in the managing of it. 



Feed thy people with thy rod, the flock of thine heritage, which dwell soli- 
tarily iti the wood, m the midst ofCarmel: let them feed in Bashan and 
Gilead, as in the days of old. — Micah vii. 14. 

It is not much I shall oiFer unto you from these words ; yet 
I cannot give you a right apprehension of the mind of God 
in them, and what I intend from them, without a little going 
over the chapter from the beginning. ' Woe is me, for I am 
as when they have gathered the smnmer fruits,' &c. ver. 1. 
When the prophet says, * Woe is me,' he speaks in the name 
of the earth, say some, as it was the seat of the church of 
God : I rather take it to be in the name of the church of God, 
of those who were truly so, in the midst of a profane, but 
outwardly professing people. And this lamentation is with 
a prospect and view of the sin which was in the people, and 
of the misery which was coming upon them. They have both 
of them ever been matter of lamentation unto all that truly 
fear God. They cannot consider the sins and the miseries of 
an outwardly professing people, but every one of them ought 
to cry. Woe is me ; sorrow is to me ; sadness of heart is to 
rae. In respect of sin David saith, Psal. cxix. 136. * Rivers 
of waters run down mine eyes, because men keep not thy 
law.' And in respect of misery and judgments, Jeremiah 
expresses his sense thus, chap. ix. 1. ' O that mine head 
were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might 
weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my peo- 
ple.' The prophet foreseeing both these, an overflowing of 
sin, and an overflowing of judgment, had reason to cry, 
* Woe is me,' it is a lamentation unto me. 

He gives an account of the state of the professing, visible 
church, which he looks upon to be like unto a field or a 
vineyard after the harvest is past, and the vintage over: 'I 
am as when they have gathered the summer fruits, as the 
grape-gleanings of the vintage :' there is no cluster to eat: 
my soul desireth the first ripe fruit. His prayer was, that 
* This sermon was preached October 16, 1673. 
VOL. XVI. 2 B 

370 Christ's pastoral cake. 

they might be a fruitful vineyard unto God; but, saith he, 
we are just as when the vintage is over, there are some grapes, 
some clusters left under the leaves, but the principal are 
taken off: and not only so, but when a field is reaped, or a 
vineyard gathered, the owner leaves it for a season, takes 
down the fence, and the beasts come in and prey upon it, 
until the time of culture and tillage is come again. God 
never leaves a professing church to be a wilderness, unless 
upon the utmost apostacy; but he many times leaves them 
to be as a field after harvest, or a vineyard after the vintage. 
God will leave Babylon to be as a wilderness, that shall 
never be tilled any more, shall have no rain, no fences, no 
tillage: but he will not leave his church so, unless the ut- 
most apostacy come. In like manner, when a man hath ga- 
thered in his corn out of the field, you would think he had 
thrown off all his care about it, the fence is broken down, 
and the beasts come in; it lies in common, men ride over it, 
and trample upon it, and he lets it alone : but when the time 
of culture is come again, the man makes up his fence, drives 
out the cattle, tills the ground again, and sows it with good 
seed, that it may bring forth good fruit. So God deals fre- 
quently with his church. He dealt so with them here. He 
takes down the hedge, he suffers the wild beasts to come in, 
lets persons spoil at their pleasure: but there will come a 
time of culture again, when he will have fruit brought forth 
unto his praise. 

In ver. 2. the prophet refers the evil he complained of, 
unto two heads : First, That those who were good were very 
few ; and. Secondly, That those who were evil were very bad. 
' The good man is perished out of the earth, and there is none 
upright among men ; they all lie in wait for blood ; they 
hunt every man his brother with a net.' This phrase, ' The 
good man is perished out of the earth,' is not that the good 
man perisheth, but that he is taken away, and the earth hath 
lost the benefit and advantage which it had by him. The 
same expression is used, Isa. Ivii. 1. 'The righteous pe- 
risheth, and no man layeth it to heart; and the merciful 
men are taken away.' And, Psal. xii. 1. 'The godly man 
ceaseth, the faithful fail from among the children of men. 

From hence therefore we may observe, that when the 
good are very few, and the bad are very bad, inevitable de- 


struction lies at the door of that place or nation. If either 
of these be otherwise, there is yet hope. If there had been 
but ten good men in Sodom, it had been spared. If the sin 
of the Amorites had not been come to the full, they had not 
been ruined. If the good therefore are not very few, or the 
bad very bad, there is yet hope; but where both concur in a 
professing nation, as in this, which was the visible church of 
God, unavoidable destruction is at the door, there is neither 
hope nor recovery : and therefore, they that endeavour to 
make men good, to increase the number of the good, they 
do not only endeavour to save their own souls, but they en- 
deavour to save the nation from ruin. And we will place our 
plea and our cause there, wherein we are engaged in this 
world, against the world, and those that do reproach us, that 
our design is to save the nation as far as we are able ; for it 
is to increase the number of the good, to convert men unto 
God, the consequence of which is to preserve the nation : and 
it will at last be found, that they who are useful herein, do 
more for the preservation of the nation, than armies or na- 
vies can do. But when the prophet says, 'The good man 
perisheth, and there is none upright among men,' it is an hy- 
perbolical expression, intimating, that there are but few that 
are either good or upright. 

From the description of the other part of men, you 
may observe two things : First, The instance of their sin ; 
Secondly, The manner of the prosecution of it. The 
instance of their sin was blood ; which word comprises 
all violence, oppression, cruelty, and persecution : and 
the way of prosecuting this evil is with much diligence 
and great endeavours: 'They lie in wait for blood; and 
they hunt every man his brother.' Or, as it is expressed, 
ver. 3. ' They do evil with both hands earnestly.' And 
where men do lay out all their wisdom, and all their industry 
and strength in the pursuit of sin, there also destruction lies 
at the door. When men are slothful, careless, negligent, 
sensual in all other things; but industrious only in doing 
evil, this is another thing the prophet lays down, as a certain 
sign of approaching destruction. 

Having spoken this of the body of the people, hedivfdes 
them into two parts ; the rulers, and the residue of the 
people : and the rulers he also distributes into three sorts ; 

2 B 2 

372 Christ's pastoral care. 

the prince, the judge, and the great man. Thus saith he, 
' The prince asketh, and the judge asketh for a reward, and 
the great man uttereth his mischievous desire ;' ver. 3. I 
shall not particularly open these words, but this is what the 
prophet would teach us : that when there is, as it were, a 
conspiracy in all sorts of rulers to commit the same iniquity, 
and to wrap up the whole business by agreement among 
themselves; so that there is none to intercede, none to stand 
in the gap, none to do otherwise ; that lies in a tendency to 
those judgments which he will afterward declare. And 
this was the state of affairs at that time : for this prophecy 
was given in the days of Ahaz ; and there was a great agree- 
ment and conspiracy among all in power then to oppress, 
and to carry on their own covetous and mischievous desires, 
as they could : they agreed together, and so wrapt it up. 

In ver. 4. he speaks as to the residue of the people : 
' The best of them,' saith he, * is as a brier; the most up- 
right is sharper than a thorn-hedge.' The prophet, after he 
had laid so great a charge upon them, seems to reflect upon 
some that made a great pretence of friendliness to the church 
of God, pretending they would be a hedge, a fence unto it; 
but, saith he, they prove ' briers and a thorn-hedge.' This 
hypocritical part of the nation, who speak so fair, and 
make such a mighty appearance of friendship, yet when a 
man presses upon them, tear and rend him, and give him 
nothing but trouble and vexation ; whatever pretences they 
make, there is nothing to be expected from them but what 
you would look for from briers and thorns. And I observe 
that the prophet, upon this occasion of dealing with this 
hypocritical part of the people, doth insert a threatening as 
though the judgment should fall more upon them, than 
those whose open wickedness he had before described. 
Therefore, * the day of thy watchmen, and thy visitation 
Cometh :' that is, the day which the watchmen had so often 
declared would come upon them, for their false and hypocri- 
tical dealing with God : ' now shall be their perplexity.' 
When false professors make a specious pretence to relieve 
the church, but really neither design nor effect any thing 
for them, but farther vexation and rending ; the day of the 
watchmen is then at hand. 

In the 5th and 6th verses, he sheweth that this universal 


corruption that was among the people had extended itself to 
all sorts of relations, that there was nothing of confidence 
left even among relations. * Trust ye not in a friend, put 
ye not confidence in a guide ; keep the doors of thy mouth 
from her that lieth in thy bosom. For the son dishonoureth 
the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the 
daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law ; a man's enemies 
are the men of his own house.' It is a sign of extreme con- 
fusion when disorder breaks in among relations, and all 
grounds of confidence between them are taken away- But 
this place is applied by our Saviour particularly unto the 
time of persecution for the gospel, Luke xii. 53. Matt. x. 
35, 36. There is no wilderness dotli so debauch the nature 
of man, and break off all confidence in the nearest and 
strongest relations, as an enmity to godliness and persecu- 
tion thereon. When once they are engaged in this, then, 
saith our Saviour, it shall be so and so. 

This being the state and condition of the people of the 
land, the prophet makes in the name of the church a three- 
fold application of himself; first to God, ver. 7. secondly, to 
her enemies, ver. 8. 10. and thirdly, to himself, ver. 9. 

First, Upon the prospect of this state and condition, he 
makes application to God : ' Therefore, I will look unto the 
Lord,' saith he, ' I will wait for the God of my salvation : 
my God will hear me ;' ver. 7. When all things are in con- 
fusion, and at a loss, the people of God are not discouraged 
from looking unto God ; yea, they are encouraged thereun- 
to; and it is made necessary for them so to do. And in 
such a season not to be looking peculiarly unto God, is an 
evidence of a heart insensible of the state and condition of 
'the church of God. 

Secondly, The prophet, in the name of the church, applies 
himself unto her enemies ; ' Rejoice not against me, O mine 
enemy ; when I fall I shall arise ; when I sit in darkness, the 
Lord shall be a light unto me. Then she that is mine enemy 
shall see it, and shame shall cover her, which said unto me, 
Where is the Lord thy God? Mine eyes shall behold her; 
now shall she be trodden down as the mire of the streets;' 
ver. 8. 10. 

We may observe here, 

1. Who this enemyis; ' She that is mine enemy.' Some 

374 Christ's pastoral care. 

say one thing, some another. Certainly it is some false 
church, it may be Babylon, or Samaria, or the false pro- 
fessors among themselves. But as Samaria was not yet car- 
ried cajDtive, I take it most probably to be the false worship- 
pers of Dan and Bethel, the false church that dwelt in the same 
land with them. There is no enemy to the true church of 
God like the false church. 

2. Wherein this her enemy did shew her enmity. He 
doth not speak of those enemies that outwardly wasted and 
destroyed them, but of that enemy which said unto her, 

* Where is now the Lord thy God?' That enemy which re- 
proached them with their profession of faith in God, their 
nearness unto God, and of God's accepting of them, which 
is the reproach of the false church continually. Others that 
are open heathens do not think so much of it ; but the 
false church's reproach usually is, * Where is the Lord your 
God?' Where are your prayers and waitings upon God? 
Where is your confidence in him? 

3. She intimates that there was some countenance in her 
present state and condition, through the providence of God, 
given to the enemy, thus to reproach her; 'Rejoice not 
against me, O mine enemy, when I fall.' There is a fall that 
gives countenance to this enemy so to reproach her. But 
to all these reproaches she opposes her confidence in God; 

* My God will save me.' And she comforts herself, that the 
time was coming, when God would certainly destroy this 
enemy of his church; this enemy, that is, any church of 
false worshippers, who reproach the church of God under 
their straits and difficulties with former trusting and confi- 
dence in God. 

Thirdly, He applies to himself, personating the church, 
ver. 9. *I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I 
have sinned against him,' &c. Here is a very becoming 
frame under the present state of affliction; a deep humilia- 
tion for sin, and a quiet submission to the corrections of 
God's hand ; but at the same time here is expressed the firm 
resolution of faith, to wait till God should plead her cause, 
and execute judgment on her enemies; there seems to be 
the utmost confidence in this case ; 'He will bring me forth 
to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness.' 

The issue of the whole of this prophecy, is the deliverance 

Christ's pastoral care. 375 

of the church, and that restoration which was accomplished 
in part in the deliverance of this people a long while after 
out of captivity. 'In the day that thy walls are to be built, 
in that day shall the decree be far removed. In that day 
also he shall come even to thee from Assyria,' &.c. All the 
people that have been scattered about shall be gathered to 
Zion, to worship God in his temple ; ver. 11,12. But when he 
had said this, he doth, as it were, correct himself. Ay, but 
stay, that is not yet to come, ver. 13. * Notwithstanding,* 
saith he, ' the land shall be desolate, because of them which 
dwell therein, for the fruit of their doings.' As if he had 
said. Notwithstanding all this, though God hath thoughts 
and a purpose of mercy for his own, hidden, secret 
people ; yet there is a time when he will by no means turn 
away the judgments that are due unto the provocations of 
the generality of professors. God will indeed do all these 
things for his church in the appointed time ; but ' notwith- 
standing the land shall be desolate,' there is no avoiding 
that. The description of things given before is such, that 
there is no issuing of it but in the desolation of the land; 
because of the wickedness of them that dwell therein, and 
for the fruit of their doings. 

I have made these short observations upon this part of 
the chapter to give you the state of things here represented. 
The land was full of sin, and of horrible provocations of God 
amongst all sorts of people, from the highest to the lowest. 
The people of God secretly complain hereof, and bear it as their 
burden, and tremble at the thoughts of judgments approach- 
ing. God had irrevocably, irrecoverably decreed desolation 
upon the whole land. Things were so stated, that whatever 
might be the mercy and goodness of God and his thoughts 
towards his people, notwithstanding, the land was to be de- 

In this state and condition, the prophet puts up this re- 
quest ; * Feed thy people with thy rod, the flock of thine he- 
ritage which dwell solitarily in the wood, in the midst of 
Carmel ; let them feed in Bashan and Gilead, as in the days 
of old.' 

The observation I shall make from the words is this : 

Observation. In the most calamitous season, in the great- 
est inundation of sin and judgment, under the unavoidable- 

376 Christ's pastoral care. 

ness of public judgments, there is yet ground for faith to 
plead with God for the preservation, safety, and deliverance 
of his people. 

All these things are here laid down : a calamitous season ; 
an inundation of sin and judgment; and an irrecoverable 
purpose of God to destroy the land : yet faith, I say, hath 
ground in this state and condition to plead with God for the 
preservation and protection of his own secret people. You 
will say. This is no great matter. It may be we have heard 
arguments that God will preserve them, and deliver themj 
and have heard the time computed, when God will deliver 
them, and could say amen to it. But it is to no purpose to 
go farther in teaching, than in endeavours to raise up our 
faith and believing. I confess I can go no farther than this, 
that I have ground for duty; and to leave all the rest to 
God's sovereignty. If God should inevitably decree to de- 
stroy this nation, yet we have ground for faith to plead with 
God for the preservation and deliverance of his own inhe- 

I shall go no farther than the text to prove it; for the 
opening the text, and the proof of the doctrine will be one 
and the same. 

In the words we have, 

I. What is prayed for, what the prophet pleads for; and 
that is, * Feed thy people with thy rod.' 

II. There are the arguments of faith the prophet pleads 
in this condition, when God had inevitably decreed desola- 
tion to the whole land; and these are four: 1. That they 
were God's people ; * Feed thy people.' 2. That they were 
the flock of his heritage ; ' Feed thy people, the flock of 
thine heritage.' 3. That they ' dwelt solitarily in the wood, 
in the midst of Carmel.' 4. That God had in former days 
* fed them in Bashan and Gilead.' 

I shall briefly handle these things, and both shew you 
what is prayed for, and what in these arguments faith hath 
to plead in such a condition. For though God may say con- 
cerning a nation. Plead no more for it ; yet he never saith 
so concerning his own people. 

I. We shall consider what the prophet here prays for; 
which is, that God would feed his people with his rod. 
' Feed thy people with thy rod.' God is here compared to a 

Christ's pastoral care. 377 

shepherd ; and it is a relation that he doth very frequently in 
Scripture take to himself; and you know what a large field 
I have to walk in, if I would insist upon the allusion. God 
is a shepherd, and Christ is a shepherd; therefore he saith, 
'Feed thy people with thy rod.' The word iD^'d^ here used 
sometimes is put for a sceptre, wherewith kings rule; some- 
times for a staff; and sometimes for a rod. It was the in- 
strument, whatever it was, that shepherds used in those days. 
It is mentioned, Psal. xxiii. which is a great description of 
God, as a shepherd ; ' Thy rod and thy staff;' the same word 
as here. God, as a shepherd, rules his people with a rod, 
which they used both for direction and correction. He will 
not strike his sheep with great and violent instruments to 
break their bones, to destroy them ; but he makes them know 
he hath a rod in his hand. But I take it, that this rod was 
principally for the direction of the flock ; and he prays that 
God would 'feed them with his rod.' Truly we have reason 
to consider what is in this word, because I think here is a 
rule of faith given us what we are to pray for the people of 
God, in such a day as we have described. The great thing 
we are to pray for now, is, that God would * feed them;' not 
that God would make them kings, and rulers, and great men, 
and give them the necks of their enemies to tread upon, and 
such kind of things ; but when things are thus, saith he, 
your prayer should be, that God would 'feed them.' There 
are three things in this feeding of God's people. 

1. That God would supply their spiritual and temporal 
wants, that they may be preserved from great distresses : 
this is in the word. Rev. xii. 6. 'The woman fled into the 
wilderness, and God fed her there.' While the woman was 
in the wilderness, she was preserved with such spiritual and 
temporal supplies, as kept her from destroying distresses. 
This we may pray for, this we have a rule for, when we fear 
inevitable desolation is approaching upon a nation : God 
allows us to pray, and gives us a ground of faith to pray, 
that for his own people he would provide spiritual and tem- 
poral supplies, so as they may be kept from great distress. 

2. There is in this feeding of them as a shepherd, that 
God, in that state which is coming upon them, would give 
them pledges, singular pledges of his own tenderness and 
love. It is so said of Christ under the hke comparison, 

378 Christ's pastoral CARfi. 

Isa. xl. 11. ' He shall feed his flock like a shepherd.' How 
is that? 'He shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry 
them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are 
with young.' We have this in the rule of faith for prayer 
at this day, that God would deal with all believers of all 
sorts according to their weakness, and according to their 
wants; that when the day of visitation, and the day of per- 
plexity comes upon the world, Christ in a way of feeding 
would suit himself to every one's condition. Some may be 
more able to be driven before, others must be carried in his 
arms, and in his bosom. We must pray therefore, that he 
will deal with every one of them according to their state 
and condition. 

3. By feeding is intended rule, protection, deliverance; 
present rule and protection, and deliverance in God's ap- 
pointed time. It is not for a shepherd merely to carry his 
flock into good pasture; but he is to take care to preserve 
them from all evil, whereunto they are exposed. David, 
that great shepherd, who was a type of Christ, gives this 
account of himself: ' I was a shepherd, and I kept my fa- 
ther's sheep; and there came out a lion and a bear, and took 
a lamb out of the flock : and I followed him, and smote him ; 
and when he rose up against me, I took him by the beard 
and slew him;' 1 Sam. xvii. 34, 35. This was part of David's 
care as a shepherd over his sheep. Feeding is ruling in the 
word here used : and chap. v. 4. it manifestly intends rule 
and protection: * He shall stand and feed' or rule 'in the 
strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord 
his God, and they shall abide.' It is such a feeding of 
Christ in the majesty and in the power of God, as his peo- 
ple shall be preserved by. We have therefore in our rule 
particularly this comprised, thus far we may go ; necessary 
supplies of spiritual and temporal, inward and outward 
mercies; grace and mercy towards all, according as their 
state and condition doth require; to the weak, diseased, 
those that are great with young, protection and powerful 
deliverance in God's good time. 

This is the first thing, What it is we have a rule to pray 
for, even in the most calamitous season, and when inevitable 
destruction is decreed against a place or nation. 

II. Let us now consider the arguments of faith to be 

Christ's pastoual care. 379 

pleaded in this case, which our text affords. And these, as 
I have said, are four. 

I would only first observe of these arguments in general, 
that there is no one of them taken from any thing of worth, 
of desert, from any thing of good, nay nor of grace, that is 
in the people themselves ; but they are all taken from God 
himself, and the relation which they have to God, and what 
God had formerly done for them. Whatever pleadings or 
arguings in such a day we may have in our own spirits with 
God for safety and protection, if they are secretly influenced 
with thoughts that we are good, and better than others, 
there is nothing of faith in our arguings. God knows, all 
the graces and fruits of all believers and professors in this 
nation considered in themselves, will not make up one ar- 
gument. But to proceed. 

1. The first argument the prophet here uses, is, that they 
were the people of God : * Feed thy people.' They were the 
people of God upon a threefold account, each of which con- 
tains an argument. 

(1.) They are the people of God upon the account of 
election. Christ commands the apostle to abide preaching 
the gospel at Corinth with this argument: *I am with thee, 
and no man shall set on thee to hurt theej for I have much 
people in this city ;' Acts xviii. 10. They were the people of 
God by election; God had eternally chosen them, and de- 
signed them to be converted by the gospel, by the preaching 
of his ministry. 

Will this afford any argument to plead with God? Yes: 
Luke xviii. 7, 8. ' Shall not God avenge his own elect which 
cry day and night unto him; though he tarry long? I tell 
you he will avenge them speedily.' The argument for ven- 
geance is from his people's being his elect: * Shall he not 
avenge his elect?' There is something in God's decree of 
election and choosing his people, that may be pleaded with 
him for the highest part of feeding, which is to avenge them 
of their enemies. ^xj 

(2.) They are the people of God by purchase and acqui- 
sition. This was the great plea under the Old Testament. 
*The people of the Lord whom thou hast redeemed with a 
high hand, and with a stretched out arm :' whom thou hast 
taken out of the world, and planted for thyself. He made 

380 Christ's pastoral care. 

it his argument to plead with God, because they were his 
people by purchase and acquisition; *by a high hand, and 
by an outstretched arm.' And the argument is grown more 
strong under the gospel, because they are purchased by the 
blood of his Son : Rom. viii. 32. ' If God spared not his own 
Son, but gave him up to death for us all ; how shall he not 
with him also freely give us all things?' The people we 
plead for are God's elect people, and he will avenge his 
elect speedily; they are God's purchased people, and that 
purchased with the blood of his Son; and will he not to- 
gether with him give them all things, all necessary things, 
all things that pertain to life and godliness? Here is ground 
for faith to plead with God in such a case. 

(3.) They are God's people by covenant. This is that 
which makes up their relation, which is prepared in election, 
acquisition, purchase, and redemption ; but the formal de- 
nomination arises from the covenant. Jer. xxxii. 38 — 40. ' I 
will make a covenant with them, and they shall be my people, 
and I will be their God :' that completes the relation. Hosea 
ii. 23. speaks also to the same purpose. 

What arguments arise from hence, that they are the co- 
venant people of God? The sum of all arguments that can 
be pleaded upon that head, and they are great and many, 
are all laid down, Luke i. 68, &,c. ' Blessed be the Lord 
God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, 
and hath raised up an horn of salvation for us,' &c. ' as he 
hath spoken by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have 
been since the world began ; that we should be saved from 
our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us ; to per- 
form the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember 
his holy covenant, the oath which he sware to our father 
Abraham, that he would grant unto us, that we, being de- 
livered out of the hands of our enemies, might serve him 
without fear, in holiness and righteousness all the days of 
our lives.' Here is all we have warrant to pray for; all that 
is ca^^^prised in God's feeding of us. What is the plea and 
argument for it? God will ' remember his holy covenant, the 
oath which he hath sworn,' whereby it is established ; and 
hence he will establish us, that we may ' serve him without 
fear, in holiness and righteousness, all the days of our life.' 
A great argument! that those we plead for are God's cove- 

Christ's pastoral care. 381 

nant people. ' Lord, feed thy people,' those that are thine 
by election, by acquisition and purchase, and those that are 
thine by covenant, a people that have made a covenant with 

2. The next argument is, because they are ' the flock of 
thine heritage.' There are two things in this argument that 
we may plead with God: (1.) That they are *a flock;' 
(2.) That they are ' the flock of God's heritage.' 

(1.) They are ' a flock;' that is, of sheep, wherein these 
three things are comprised, which are pleadable with God : 

[1.] That they are helpless ; [2.] Harmless; [3.] Useful. 
A flock of sheep is so. 

[1.] They are helpless. Sheep are poor, helpless crea- 
tures; the more of them there are, the more are they exposed 
unto all manner of rapine and destruction, when left unto 
themselves. They are poor, helpless creatures. And truly 
so are the people of God, unless Christ their shepherd be 
with them. They are and have been a poor, helpless people 
throughout the whole world. I confess, when Christ their 
shepherd goes before them, they will go through great difii- 
culties; but of themselves tliey are altogether helpless. 

[2.] They are harmless. So are sheep ; and it is required 
of all the saints of God, that they be so likewise ; Phil. ii. 15. 
' Be harmless in the midst of a crooked and perverse gene- 
ration.' Let us do the world no harm, neither public nor 
private; do them no wrong, nor injury; that we may have 
an argument from hence to plead with God. 

[3.] Sheep are useful ; and I will name three things 
(though I love not to pursue allegories) wherein the people 
of God are useful in the world. 1st. In the secret blessino- 
that goes along with them. 2dly. In the good example they 
give. 3dly. In their industry in the world. 

1st. There is a secret blessing goes along with them; 
as you see here, chap. v. 7. of this prophecy : 'The rem- 
nant of Jacob shall be in the midst,' or in the bowels ' of 
many people, as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon 
the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons 
of men.' This poor remnant of Jacob that lies in the bow- 
els of the people, communicates secret blessings to them ; 
this remnant is as the dew that makes them spring; all they 
have is from this remnant of Jacob in their bowels. But 

382 Christ's pastoral care. 

who sees it ? No, saith he, it is not such a dew ; ' it tarrieth 
not for man;' none see the secret way whereby the dew 
falls ; nor those secret ways whereby blessings are commu- 
nicated to the whole nation from this secret remnant of Ja- 
cob, that lies in the bowels of them. 

2dly. They are useful from the good example they give ; 
walking in the world as becomes creatures made to the glory 
of God. Tit. iii. 8.* This is a faithful saying, that they which 
have believed in God, might be careful to maintain good 
works : these things are good and profitable unto men.' Not 
only unto them who are relieved by them, but unto all man- 
kind it is profitable. When professors are diligent and 
fruitful in good works, all mankind is profited by their 

3dly. They are profitable and useful in the world by their 
industry in it. Tit. iii. 14. * Let ours also learn to maintain 
good works,' to profess honest trades, ' for necessary uses, that 
they be not unfruitful :' useful to the world by their ' indus- 
try in their honest trades;' the words may be well rendered 
so, and it is so in the margin of your Bibles. Many others 
help only to consume the fruits of the earth in luxury and 
wantonness; but God gives these an industry in their ho- 
nest callings. Here is argument in this, that this flock is 
helpless, harmless, fruitful, useful. But, 

(2.) The main of this argument lies upon the adjunct. 
Saith he, 'Feed the flock of thine heritage.' This flock is 
God's heritage. Deut. xxxii. 9. *The Lord's portion is his 
people, Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.' Why the lot of 
his inheritance ? When the people came to possess the land, 
it was divided to them all by lot. God hath his lot in the 
world. That which, if I may so say, is fallen to God's share, 
is this flock ; and Christ rejoices in it, Psal. xvi. 5, 6. ' The 
lines are fallen to me in pleasant places, and I have a good- 
ly heritage.' His lot was cast in Canaan, in a good and fruit- 
ful place. Christ takes a view of his church, and is satis- 
fied with it. I desire no more, saith he, 'The lines are fal- 
len to me in a pleasant place,' this my lot is a ' goodly he- 

And these things may be pleaded from this, that tliey 
are *the flock of God's heritage:' 

[1.] It being God's heritage, if he take not care of it, no- 

Christ's pastohal cahe. 383 

body else will. Every man takes care of his own heritage, 
that which belongs to him ; and if God take not care of his, 
there is none else to care for them. It is frequently so ex- 
pressed, that they are such as none care for. Why ? It is 
not their heritage. It is not the heritage of princes, and 
great men of the world; of the Turk, or the pope. As 
therefore it is God's heritage, if he will not take care of it, 
it is in vain to expect it from any other. 

[2.] It is the heritage of him whom the whole world 
looks upon to be their greatest enemy. The whole world is 
at enmity against God : and you see the state of things in 
the world; every one's design is to destroy the heritage of 
his enemy. As long as the world continues in this enmity 
against God, its whole design is to destroy his heritage. 
Look upon the nations abroad in all their agitations, their 
main design is to ruin this heritage, because it is God's, 
against whom they maintain enmity in their hearts, worship, 
and ways. If therefore God doth not take care of his own 
heritage, it will certainly be destroyed, because his. 

[3.] This argument may also be pleaded : if this flock 
be the lot of God's heritage, then take it away, and the 
whole world is hell. If God's lot be out, if this remnant be 
destroyed, let men make things as fine as they will, adorn 
their dungeons as much as they please, it is all but hell. 

These are the arguments that may be pleaded with God 
from this : ' Feed thy people,' and * the flock of thy heritage.' 
It is a poor, helpless, harmless flock, yet useful to the glory 
of God, and the good of men. It is God's heritage, if he 
minds it not, none will; and if it be taken out of the earth, 
it will presently become a hell. This is the second argument 
in the text for faith to plead with God. 

3. The third argument is taken from their state and con- 
dition : * That they dwell solitarily in the wood, in the midst 
of Carmel.' The first argument pleads God's glory, his love, 
and faithfulness: 'Thy people' in covenant. The second ar- 
gument pleads God's interest : ' The flock of thy heritage.' 
This third argument pleads God's pity and compassion ; 
* Which dwell solitarily in the wood, in the midst of Carmel.' 
Every word hath argument in it to plead with God in this 

(1.) They ' dwell solitarily ;' that is, disconsolately. It 

384 Christ's pastoual cake. 

is a poor disconsolate flock, that dwells separate from re- 
lief. This takes ill two things: Inward disconsolation from 
themselves, and their own fears and distresses ; and outward 
helplessness. They are where none comes at them to relieve 
them. It is a great plea, the solitariness of God's flock, 
with the compassion and mercy of God for their relief. It 
may be, through our peace and plenty, and such things as 
we enjoy, we are not so sensible of the efficacy of this argu- 
ment; but the Lord knows, and many of his understand, how 
strong a plea it is with God upon that account : we are a 
poor solitary people, comfortless within, and helpless with- 

(2.) As they 'dwell solitarily;' so * in the wood;' that 
is, in a dark and entangled condition. They are not only 
solitary, disconsolate, and helpless ; but they are in the dark, 
see not their way, and so in danger to wander; and if they 
are out of the certain path, the wild beasts of the forest are 
ready to devour them. There is nothing harder with the 
people of God at this day, than that they are in the wood, 
where it is difficult to find their way. The Lord make them 
careful, and to see the steps of their shepherd going before 
them, that they may not wander, and so be exposed to the 
wild beasts that are ready to devour them. 

(3.) Another plea is from the place where this wood is: 
it is ' in the midst of Carmel.' Though there was a particu- 
lar place so called, yet the word is a common name for a 
a fruitful field for feeding : the country or nation where they 
lived was such. Some think this hath relation to Babylon, 
which was very fruitful unto the inhabitants of it ; yet the 
poor remnant dwelt in the wood, in the midst of Carmel. 
The Jews did so. Nehemiah gives us a most pathetical de- 
scription of their state, chap. ix. 36, 37. * Behold, we are 
servants this day; and for the land that thou gavest unto our 
fathers to eat the fruit thereof, and the good thereof, behold, 
we are servants in it. And it yieldeth much increase unto 
the kings whom thou hast set over us, because of our sins; 
also they have dominion over our bodies, and over our cat- 
tle at their pleasure, and we are in great distress.' This 
people ' dwelt in the wood, in the midst of Carmel,' a land 
good and pleasant, yet they were in a distressed condition. 

(4.) There is yet another plea in it for mercy : that they 

Christ's pastoral care. 385 

are not only solitary for a little season, entered into the 
wood; but they dwell in this solitary condition, have been 
long in it, and may continue long so; it signifies an abiding 
or continuing in that state. This argument, as I told you, 
respects the pity, the bowels of God, his compassion and 
tenderness, when his poor people shall dwell and abide long 
solitary, in an entangled, perplexed condition, as in a wood, 
in the midst of a fruitful land, that God had given their fa- 
thers. It is so at this day with many of God's people ; and 
it is a great plea for mercy and compassion. 

4. There is one argument more in the words, which I shall 
but name, and I have done. ' Let them feed,' saith he, * in 
Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of old.' Bashan and 
Gilead were places of very fruitful pasture. Whence the chil- 
dren of Reuben and Gad desired Moses, that they might 
have their possession in Gilead, and in the kingdom of Ba- 
shan; ' because,' say they, * it is a place for cattle, and thy 
servants have much cattle.* It was a fruitful place where 
their flocks were well fed and nourished. 

Where lies the argument here ? It is fetched from for- 
mer experiences of what God had done. It is from God's 
faithfulness grounded upon former experience. We have 
seen what God can do, how he hath brought his people out 
of straits, and carried them through difficulties, and delivered 
them out of troubles, and fed them in Bashan, and in the 
land of Gilead: which is made an argument, that he would 
feed them so again. 

I might press this argument farther; but I shall offer 
nothing more at present; and I think what I have said is 
not unseasonable. We have seen the state of things laid 
before us, that we have a rule of faith what to pray for in 
such a day, that God would feed his people. We have 
shewed you what is contained therein, and have gone over 
briefly those arguments that may be pleaded with God in 
such a case, reserving the time and season unto his own so- 

VOL. XVI. 2 c 



Walk about Zioii, and go round about her : tell the towers thereof. Mark 
ye v:ell her bulwarks, consider her palaces ; that ye may tell it to the ge- 
neration following. For this God is our God for ever and ever ; he will 
be our guide even unto death. — Psal. xlviii. 12 — 14. 

Many expositors think this psalm to be an i-mviKiov, a tri- 
umphant song of thanksgiving- after some great deliverance 
at Jerusalem. Some apply it to the times of Asa, \vhen Zerah 
and the Ethiopians came with an army against Jerusalem of 
ten hundred thousand men. Others apply it to the times of 
Jehosaphat, when the Moabites, and Amonites, and mount 
Seir the Edomites, were gathered together against Judah. 
And others again to the days of Hezekiah, when Sennacherib 
and his army came against Jerusalem and were destroj'ed. 
They ground their interpretation upon ver. 4 — G. ' Lo, the 
kings were assembled, they passed by together. They saw 
it' (but they could come no farther), * and so they marvelled ; 
they were troubled, and hasted away. Fear took hold upon 
them there, and pain, as of a woman in travail :' which is a 
description of some great consternation that befell the ene- 
mies of God, and the enemies of Jerusalem, when they drew 
near'unto it. So the Jews do interpret these verses : ' Walk 
about Zion, and go round about her, tell the towers thereof, 
mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces :' that not- 
withstanding this great and dreadful attempt, whether by 
the Ethiopians, or by the Moabites, or Sennacherib, there is 
not one tower broken down of Zion or of Jerusalem, but all 
things are safe and well. For my own part, I should rather 
judge this psalm to be composed by David, and purely mys- 
tical and prophetical. It is easy to manifest that all the 
foregoing psalms are so. And the close of the former psalm 
is the calling of the Gentiles, where he saith, ' God reigneth 
over the heathen : God sitteth upon the throne of his holi- 

• Tliis sermon was preached April '22, X67r). 


ness;' ver. 8. And in ver. 9. you read in the margin of your 
bibles, better than in the text : * The voluntary of the people 
are gathered unto the people of the God of Abraham.' The 
people were become a willing people in the day of his power. 
However, all conclude that these words are a graphical de- 
scription of the defence that God will at all times give his 
church, which the psalmist doth set before our eyes. 

Look upon it, and observe what a diligent view he re- 
quires to be taken of what he here proposes. He looks upon 
Zion as a well-fortified garrison, not like to be carried in 
haste by the enemy. And he would have you well consider 
too, what the fortifications are; therefore he distributes his 
direction into so many particulars. 'Walk about Zion;' this 
is the way whereby you may come to see how Zion is forti- 
fied. It may be you have gone a little way in walking, and 
have seen much, but do not cease: 'Go round about her,' 
see if you can find one weak place, where she is likely to be 
attacked by the enemy : ' Tell the towers,' cast up the num- 
ber of them, and see that they are not few ; which is what a 
man of judgment and understanding would do, if he were to 
take a view of a fortified place, and consider whether it 
would hold out against a strong enemy : * Mark ye well her 
bulwarks ;' or, ' set your heart to her bulwarks,' consider 
them, do not take a general view of these fortifi.cations of 
Zion, but ponder and consider, whether they are likely to 
hold out or not, and whether you may put your trust in them : 
* Consider her palaces,' which were the great and eminent 
buildings in and about Zion, called in some place, 'palaces 
of ivory,' with which they were greatly adorned. So that 
here is this direction given to take a very strict, sedate, 
considerate view of the fortifications of Zion ; since it would 
certainly be attacked by great and powerful enemies. There 
are two things added. One is the particular end wherefore 
they should do so : ' That ye may tell it to the generation 
following,' since other ages of the church would have the 
use of it. The other is the ground why all this would be of 
benefit to them, and the generations following : ' For this 
God is our God in covenant, and that for ever and ever, and 
will be our guide unto death.* _ 

I shall make one observation from the words, and speak 
a little very briefly and plainly to it. 

2 c2 


Observation. A diligent search into, and consideration of, 
the means and causes of the preservation and protection of the 
church in the greatest dangers and difficulties, is a duty in- 
cumbent on us for our own support against sinful fears, and 
to enable us to that testimony which is required for future 
generations, to encourage them to trust in the Lord. 

Every age is to give over a good testimony of God's deal- 
ing with Zion to the age that comes after. And a diligent 
search and inquiry into the causes and means of the protec- 
tion and preservation of the church of God in the midst of 
imminent dangers and difficulties, is a duty incumbent upon 
us, that we may be fortified against sinful fears in ourselves, 
and encourage succeeding generations to trust in the Lord. 
As we have received the testimony of such who have gone 
before us, so we are to give our testimony to those who shall 
come after. 

All that I shall do at present is to answer these five 
questions : 

L What is to be understood by the preservation and pro- 
tection of the church, so as we may look neither for less nor 
more than what we are like to meet with ? 

IL What is meant by searching into, and considering of, 
these causes and means of the church's preservation ? ' Walk 
about Zion, tell her towers, set your heart to her bulwarks, 
consider her palaces,' &c. 

in. What are those causes and means of the church's 
preservation, those towers and bulwarks which will not fail, 
whenever Zerah or Sennacherib comes, or whatever attempts 
are made upon Zion? 

IV. What reason is there why we should thus search 
into, and consider these causes of the church's preservation 
and protection? 

V. What is the testimony which we have to give con- 
cerning this matter to the ensuing generation ? ' That ye may 
declare it to the generation to come.' 

I shall speak a little in answer to these five inquiries. 

I. What is that preservation and protection of Zion, the 
church of God, that we may expect, whose causes and means 
we should inquire into ? 

This may be reduced unto three heads. 

1. The eternal salvation of the church of God. This i^ 


the goal and the prize that all this great running is about in 
the world. Satan is in his own nature as active and restless, 
as he is malicious ; and yet, I suppose, if this end was taken 
away, if this was not in his eye, the eternal salvation of the 
church, of all that believe, he would give himself much more 
leisure than he doth. All things here, evils, trials, persecu- 
tions, and the like, are but skirmishes ; but where goes 
eternal bliss, there goes the victory. This therefore is part 
of that preservation and safety of Zion which we are to look 
after ; namely, as the apostle saith, ' That all Israel shall be 
saved.' You have a great security that our Lord Jesus Christ 
gives of it, John x. 27, &c. *My sheep hear my voice, and I 
know them, and they follow me. And I give unto them 
eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any 
pluck them out of my hand. I and my Father are one.' 

This is the first thing in the church's preservation, name- 
ly, that let the conflict be never so great, never so severe, 
all true believers shall be eternally saved. And if we do not 
lay the principal weight in our thoughts upon this, our con- 
cern in other things will be of no moment unto us. There is 
one false opinion doth more mischief to the honour of God 
in the world in this matter, than all the devils in hell are able 
to do ; and that is, of the total and tinal apostacy of true 
believers ; for if that be so, we have lost our very first prin- 
ciple of the preservation of Zion, namely, that ' all Israel 
shall be saved,' and that none shall take believers out of the 
hands of Christ. 

2. There is this in it also, that there shall be a church, a 
professing church preserved in the world throughout all ge- 
nerations, in despite of all the oppositions of Satan and the 
world ; that is, there shall be a called number yielding obe- 
dience internally unto Christ, and openly professing that 
obedience always preserved unto the end of the world. It is 
expressly included in that promise, Isa. ix. 7. ' Of the in- 
crease of his government and peace there shall be no end, 
upon the throne of David and upon his kingdom, to order it, 
and to establish it with judgment and with justice from 
henceforth and for ever : the zeal of the Lord of hosts will 
perform this.' However it may fall out in particular places 
and nations, yet Zion will be preserved, God will reserve for 


Jesus Christ a cliurch visibly professino-, and yielding obe- 
dience unto him according to the gospel. 

But you will say perhaps, Where was there such a church 
in the time of" the antichristian apostacy ? Did not the visible 
church wholly fail? 

I answer : Though 1 acknowledge all the churches in 
the world have greatly apostatized and fallen away ; yet, in 
the first place, all did not fall away in the same length or 
manner with those in these parts of the world, that were 
under the antichristian apostacy. There were churches in 
the east, which though very corrupt formerly, and now more 
so, yet might justly be esteemed a visible church. Besides, 
the church of God was then in Babylon, until the reforma- 
tion. There was in the Roman church a number of persons 
that sincerely feared God, and belonged unto the Zion of 
Christ, who were preserved. Hence is that call, Rev. xviii. 4. 
* Come out of her, my people.' Christ's people was in her 
until the time that God gave them a call to come out of her. 
And another part of them were in visible opposition all along 
to the growing apostacy of the papacy. About four or five 
hundred years after Christ, the great composition was made 
between Christianity and Paganism, when the outward court 
was o-iven to the Gentiles to be trodden down ; that is plainly, 
when these northern nations, that divided and destroyed the 
Roman empire, were brought in to be Christians, And upon 
that composition, nations came in to a profession of Chris- 
tianity with pagan worship and manners ; but yielded obe- 
dience unto Christian rulers, bishops, priests, and the like. 
Now from that very time, when all things sunk into anti- 
christianism, there was still a visible testimony given against 
it by the church of Christ; that is, by believers from one 
generation to another, an eminent, blessed testimony against 
all that cursed apostacy. 

It is good to keep our faith and expectation within 
bounds, that we do not look for more than is like to come to 
pass ; and yet still to have our faith confirmed in those things 
that may be sure not to fail. ' All Israel shall be saved,' and 
Christ will maintain his kingdom in the world against all 
opposition; that the cause wherein we are engaged, what- 
soever becomes of our persons, will be triumphant. Believers 


shall be saved, and a professing church shall be preserved, 
which is all the general cause wherein we are engaged. And 
God, it may be, bath placed us in this age to give over our 
testimony to the future generation. 

3. There belongs to the preservation of the church, the 
protection and deliverance of the true church of God under 
persecution: this likewise comes within the compass of these 
fortifications. We are very apt to look after our own con- 
cerns, and it may be to imagine we are more concerned in this 
third head, than in both the former. But those that think so, 
make a very wrong judgment ; for the measure of all our con- 
cerns in present deliverance, or in the conflicts of the church, 
is to be taken from those two generals, the eternal salvation 
of the church at last, and the preservation of the kingdom of 
Christ in the world. And if once we begin to measure them 
by our own advantages, peace, liberty, or friends, we shall 
take wrong measures of God's providence, and our own ex- 

There are three seasons, or three ways, whereby churches 
in particular times and places are in danger of coming short 
of this protection, or seeming so to do. (1.) When the power 
of Satan and the world are set upon them in a way of perse- 
cution. (2.) When the nations of the world, among whom 
they live, are so wicked, that God will not forbear a general 
devastation and destruction. (3.) When themselves aposta- 
tize and decay, and provoke God to remove his candlestick 
from among them. In such seasons it comes to a trial, whe- 
ther particular churches, or a church in any particular place, 
shall be preserved and protected in their present trial, or not. 
And I confess unto you that my thoughts are, that all three 
are upon us at present, which makes our case the more dif- 
ficult and hard to be determined. But this, I bless God, 
I cannot but think, that what we most fear, is least to be 
feared. It is plain, we most fear the first ; and I think I am 
certain, that the first is least to be feared. I shall speak 
briefly to each of them. 

(1.) xA.s to the first there are two rules whereby to make 
a judgment of the preservation of the church in time of per- 
secution. The one is that given by the prophet Hosea, chap, 
xi. 12. Ephraim * compasseth me about with lies, and the 
house of Israel with deceit : but Judah yet ruleth with God^ 


and is faitliful with the saints.' He prophesies the imme- 
diate destruction of Ephraim : the church of Israel shall 
wander to Assyria, but Judah shall yet abide. Why? ' Judah 
yet ruleth with God :' that is, for God ; the ruling power of 
Judah is for God. I take that to be the meaning of the 
words : for if you will observe concerning Judah, all that 
ever were good among them, was in the ruling power. In 
the very days of Josiah himself, Judah, that is, the body of 
the people, turned to God feignedly, and not with their whole 
heart; Jer. iii. 10. But yet the prophet foresaw a time would 
come, that Judah should not be so ; he shall rule therefore 
while he is faithful to God. Here then is your rule : while 
the ruling power of a church or nation is for God, is faithful 
to God, and his interest, walking with him, they are within 
these bulwarks. And truly, to speak what I believe in this 
matter (for in all things that are future, that we may not 
have clear and full evidence of, there is a reserve for sove- 
reignty), wherever there are churches walking with God, 
ruling for God, and faithful to him, they shall never be pre- 
vailed against by outward persecution in any place, unless 
it be in subserviency to the hidden design of sovereign wis- 
dom, to remove the gospel wholly from such a place. This 
then is the second rule, and we can never fathom, and so 
must be in the dark, whether the church in this or that par- 
ticular place shall be absolutely preserved; because, if God 
pleases, he can make the total scattering to be a means sub- 
servient to the spreading of the gospel. But so far as they 
walk with God, they are within this protection. 

(2.) The church's danger lies in the destruction that may 
come upon places where tiiey are, for national sins. There 
were in the days of Jehoiakim and Zedekiah, 'good figs at 
Jerusalem, very good figs, even as the first ripe tigs,' Jer. 
xxiv. 2. that is, there were many precious saints of God: 
and there were also 'evil figs, so evil that none could eat 
them :' and yet God puts all these figs into a basket, good 
and bad, and all must go into captivity. He could no longer 
forbear for the provoking sins of the nation, the whole must 
go into captivity together. Now if such a season may come 
upon any place, as hath upon many nations deservedly be- 
cause of national sins, the good may sufi'er with the bad, and 
churches may receive a scattering. 


(3.) The third danger is their own apostacy. There is not 
any thing in the world that we ought to be more afraid of 
than of a church's scattering in an apostatizing condition. 
Then we shall bear the burden of our guilt in our scattering, 
and be clean taken off from all means of retrieving it. But 
there is an interest of all particular churches walking with 
God in this preservation and protection that is here promised 
and described to be round about Zion ; and it is an act of 
mere sovereignly where God dealeth otherwise with them. 
That is the preservation and protection of the church in an- 
swer to the first inquiry. 

II. The second question is, What is it to search after, 
and consider the causes and means of this preservation? 
Where shall we look for it? 

To this I answer, 

1. Be sure to take off your search and consideration from 
those things which are not, and will not, prove to be the bul- 
warks of Zion. You know how they were blamed in such a 
case, Isa. xxii. in a time of great distress and invasion that 
was coming upon them. The prophet tells you what the 
people did, ver, 8, &c. ' He discovered the covering of 
Judah, and thou didst look in that day to the armour of the 
house of the forest. Ye have seen also the breaches of the 
city of David, that they are many ; and ye gathered toge- 
ther the waters of the lower pool. And ye have numbered 
the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses have ye broken down 
to fortify the wall. Ye made also a ditch between the two 
walls, for the water of the old pool ; but ye have not looked 
unto the maker thereof, neither had respect unto him that 
fashioned it long ago.' Looking unto carnal aids and helps 
in straits and difficulties hath been our folly. The first thino- 
in this call, to look to Zion, is to ' cease from man whose 
breath is in his nostrils : for whereof is he to be accounted ?' 

2. Where shall we look for these bulwarks? We must 
look for the protection of the church, where we look for the 
destruction of its adversaries. And where shall we look for 
that? The prophet tells us, Isa. xxxiv. 16. ' Seek ye out of 
the book of tiie Lord, and read : no one of these shall fail, 
none shall want her mate : for my mouth it hath commanded, 
and his spirit it hath gathered, them.' All the foregoing 
prophecy is coneerning the utter destruction of Idumea in 


the type, but of Babj'lon, Rome, antichrist in the antitype. 
And the verses from 11, to 16. express the gathering of all 
the fowls of prey, dismal fowls, to dwell in the place. But 
bow shall we know whether this will come to pass ? Says the 
prophet, ' Seek ye out of the book of the Lord, and read; 
no one of these shall fail:' that is, no one particular judg- 
ment that God hath threatened in his whole book against his 
adversaries, shall ever fail, no, not in one circumstance : nei- 
ther the cormorant, nor the screechowl shall want her mate. 
Seek it out of the book of the Lord ; you will find it recorded 
in these prophecies, and nothing shall fail there; for the 
mouth of the Lord hath spoken it, and the Spirit of the 
Lord shall accomplish it. We are to look therefore and 
search for these defences, causes, and means of the protec- 
tion of Zion, in the book of the Lord. This is ' the tower of 
David, where hangs a thousand shields, all shields of mighty 
men,' Cant. iv. 4. where is recorded all the defence of the 
church and people of God. It is your duty to search in the 
book of God, and read, to see what are the causes and means 
of the protection and preservation of the church; and when 
you have found them out, you are then to consider them. 
Want of consideration weakens our faith greatly. If you 
can find by reading in the book of God, that there are such 
and such defences and bulwarks of Zion; our duty is now to 
consider whether they will hold out against the greatest at- 
tacks and attempts of Satan and all our adversaries. I speak 
what is plain, but very fit for this day. When you have 
found out these defences, bring them to the shield of faith, 
and obedience to God, and consider whether they are like to 
hold out; consider each, and give judgment upon them. 
And if you judge they are so, then trust to them ; drive all 
you have, all your concerns within the compass of these for- 
tifications, and trust to them. And this may suffice in an- 
swer to the second question; Where are we to search for the 
preservation and protection of the church? 

III. What are the causes and means of the preservation 
of Zion, and protection of the church, that we are to search 
out, and to consider and trust unto? 

It is but a little I can comply with the text in, I cannot 
go round about Zion, I cannot tell her towers; but we will 
consider some of her bulwarks, that will be a sure pre- 


servation against all opposition. And I will name four or 
five unto you. 

1 . The designation and constitution of Jesus Christ to be 
king of the church, king of Zion, is the great bulwark of 
Zion. This is the fort-royal liiaL never fails. Psal. ii. 'Why 
do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing '? 
The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take 
counsel together against the Lord, and against his anointed, 
saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away 
their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall 
laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he 
speak unto them in his wrath, and vex tliem in his sore dis- 
pleasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.' 
Notwithstanding all this tumult, conspiracy, and rage, all 
these counsels and advices, yet, saith he, Zion must stand; 
foi; I have set my king, I have anointed Christ my eternal 
Son to be king upon my holy hill of Zion. But though 
Christ be made king, it doth not follow but he may give 
over reigning, and so there will be no security from hence. 
The truth is, he will do so, he will give over reigning as to 
his mediatory kingdom; but not before he hath done with 
all his enemies: Psal. ex. 1. ' Sit thou on my right hand, 
till I make thine enemies thy footstool.' And the apostle, 
1 Cor. XV. saith, ' he must reign until all his enemies be sub- 
dued.' And when he shall have put down all power and au- 
thority, then he shall give up the kingdom. The great se- 
curity of the church is from hence, that Christ is made king 
of Zion ; and if he be a king he must have subjects. The 
word is his law, he rules by his Spirit ; but rule and law t o 
gether will not make a kingdom, unless there be subjects to 
yield obedience. If Christ be a king, if he sit upon Zion, 
the church must be preserved; for he must have a kingdom. 
There is but one way in the world that looks probable to put 
an end to Christ's reign, and that is to cease being his ene- 
mies; for the express terms of his reign is, ' till all his ene- 
mies be made his footstool.' How easy were it for me to 
dwell upon this, that this king of the church hath power to 
preserve it to all ends and in all circumstances ; power to 
preserve it to eternal salvation, in visible profession, or in 
particular trials. And what king is there among men that 
will not preserve his subjects in time of trial, when it is in 


his power so to do ? The Lord Christ will preserve them. ' i 
give unto them eternal life, and no man shall take them out 
of my hands. He is able to save them to the utmost, even 
all that come unto God by him; and he is given to be 
head over all things to the church,' to dispose of all as 
seems good unto him, for the end, use, and interest of the 

This is the first bulwark and security we have for the 
preservation and protection of the church; and unless men 
can dethrone Jesus Christ, and cast him off from being king 
upon the holy hill of Zion, it is in vain to think of prevailing 
against Zion. 

2. The second bulwark of Zion is the promises of God, 
which are innumerable. I will name but two of them: one is 
the foundation of the Old Testament, and the other of the 
New. One held it out for four thousand years, and was 
never impeached; and the other for these sixteen hundred 
years, and shall never be shaken. 

The promise that was the foundation of the Old Testament, 
was the first promise of God : Gen. iii. 15. ' I will put en- 
mity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and 
her seed ; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise 
his heel.' There are these four things in that promise : (1.) 
That there shall always be a twofold seed in the world, the 
seed of the serpent, and the seed of the woman; they shall 
never fail while this world stands. (2.) That these two 
seeds shall always be at enmity ; there shall be an everlast- 
ing conflict, from the entrance of sin to the end of it. ' I will 
put enmity,' saith God, and such an enmity as shall be car- 
ried on by the highest and most severe warfare. The enmity 
is spiritual, but the warfare oftentimes is outward. The first 
manifestation of this enmity was in blood : Cain slew Abel. 
Why ? Because he was of the evil one. And so it hath been 
carried on by blood from that day to this. (3.) That either 
seed hath a leader; there is he and thou, it and thou ; that 
is, Christ and Satan : Christ is the leader of the seed of the 
woman, the captain and head of it in this great conflict; and 
Satan as he was the head of the apostacy from God, conti- 
nues the head of his seed, the generation of vipers, to try 
out the contest with Christ unto the end. (4.) The victory 
shall always be to the seed of the woman. It is said indeed, 


• Thou shalt bruise his heel.' Christ's heel, in his sufferings, 
both in his own person, and those of the church. But on 
the contrary it is said likewise, ' He shall bruise thy head ;' 
break thy power and strength; conquer thee. Then Zion is 
safe. This was the foundation of the Old Testament : and 
though things oftentimes were brought to great distress, 
sometimes by apostacy, and sometimes by persecution ; yet 
this promise carried it, and delivered over the church safe 
into the hand of Christ. 

Now when Christ takes the church, and goes to new form 
it, and fashion it more for the glory of God, there is the foun- 
dation promise made in the New Testament: ' Upon this 
rock I will build my chuich, and the gates of hell shall not 
prevail against it;' Matt. xvi. 18. If that obscure promise 
under the Old Testament did secure Zion as to all those 
things before mentioned, four thousand years ; shall not we 
trust to this promise of our Saviour for half the time? 
Though it is indeed the continuance of the same promise ; 
for the gates of hell is the seed of the serpent, and the rock 
is Christ. That is the second bulwark of Zion. We may 
be shaken in our faith and confidence, but we have the pro- 
mise of God, that hath supported it thus far in the world, 
and will certainly preserve it to the end. 

3. There is the watchful providence of God over the 
church. It is expressed, Deut. xi. 12. where the land of the 
church is said to be ' a land, which the Lord thy God careth 
for; the eyes of the Lord thy God are always upon it, from 
the beginning of the year unto the end of it.' That land 
which is the possession of the church, the seat of God's wor- 
ship, the church itself, is what the Lord careth for. And it 
is expressed again to the same purpose, Isa. xxvii.3. where 
this land is called God's vineyard; ' I the Lord do keep it, 
and will water it every moment, lest any hurt it ; I will keep 
it night and day.' There is the watchful providence of God 
over the church night and day preserving it, which provi- 
dence indeed we live upon, though it is secret and invisible 
to us. There is power in it, but ' God hides his power.' 
We see little, we are not able to discern any thing to purpose 
of the secret emanation of divine power and wisdom through 
the hearts and counsels of all mankind, to this end, that God 


may preserve his church, governing their affections, ruling 
their thoughts, turning and overturning their counsels, 
things that will never appear nor come to light, what was 
their occasion and ends, till the great day, when the thoughts 
of all hearts shall be discovered. The Lord will keep and 
preserve his church that none may hurt it. 

4. Another bulwark is God's special presence. God is 
in an especial manner present in his church. I have treated 
concerning the nature and special presence of God and 
Christ in the church, and proved it from many promises, 
and shewed the effect of it, which I shall not now insist upon, 
but only shew that this is a bulwark of the church. In Isa. 
viii. 9, 10. there is a gauntlet thrown out to all the adver- 
saries of the people of God, and a challenge to do their 
worst; * Associate yourselves, O ye people, and ye shall be 
broken in pieces ; and give ear, all ye of far countries ; gird 
yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces. Take counsel 
together, and it shall come to nought; speak the word, and 
it shall not stand.' What is the reason? ' For God is Avith 
us.' The presence of God is with his church. Every thing 
of force, of counsel, of association and agreement, all shall 
be broken and come to nought, they shall have no effect ; 
and he gives this only reason, ' because God is with us.' 
While God is with his church, it may be exercised with great 
trials, so that they may think they have lost the presence of 
God, as in Judg. vi. 12. 'The angel of the Lord appeared 
to Gideon, and said unto him. The Lord is with thee. Oh 
my Lord,' saith he, ' If the Lord be with us, why then is 
all this befallen us?' Whence is all this evil come upon 
us, that we should be under the power of the Midianites, 
oppressed and destroyed by them? He could not believe 
that if God was with them according to his promise, they 
could be so prevailed upon by their enemies. Great things 
of trouble may befall the church of God, while God is present 
with them, so as they may be ready to say sometimes, ' My 
way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over 
from my God, the Lord hath forsaken, my God hath forgot- 
ten me.' It cannot be, saith Gideon, that God is with us, if 
we be thus ruined. But he will appear and manifest himself 
for the protection of Zion. 


5. The last bulwark, unto which all others may be re- 
duced, is the covenant of God : ' For this God is our 
God.' That God who hath fortified Zion in all other gene- 
rations, and wrought these deliverances, he is our God in 

I shall not need to reckon any more than these five bul- 
warks of the church. Ponder and consider whether they 
are like to work out its preservation and protection. And if 
God gives us wisdom to single out these things, and con- 
sider them aright, we shall soon see what encouragement we 
have to pray for the preservation and protection of the church, 
however it may be attacked and attempted, even this day, 
which is our present business. 

IV. Why should we make this inquiry into these 
causes and means of the preservation and protection of the 

The reason is, to deliver ourselves from our own sinful 
fears, and that by a discovery of the great mistake which 
all the adversaries of the church run upon. The reason why 
the ground whereupon they attempt the church, is that and 
no other which you have, Ezek. xxxviii. 10, 11. ' Thus saith 
the Lord God, It shall come to pass, that at the same time 
shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an 
evil thought; and thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of 
unwalled villages, I will go to them that are at rest, that 
dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having 
neither bars nor gates.' Here is the very ground of the un- 
dertaking of the world against the church in any age, that 
they have no defence, are a poor people, that dwell in un- 
walled villages, and have neither bars nor gates. It is a mi- 
serable disappointment for men to go and undertake to de- 
stroy, or oppress any place, thinking they are unprovided, 
and when they come there, to find it quite otherwise. At 
this day there would not any move a tongue against the 
people of God, but, upon this very account, that they have no 
defence, no protection. And sometimes they proceed so 
far as that they begin to discover the bulwarks of Zion, if not 
in the causes, yet in the effects. The old world saw not God 
in the cause of what he did ; but when the waters began to 
roll upon them, the psalmist tells us, ' they saw it, and were 


afraid, and fearfulness took hold upon them.' Is this the 
people that dwell in unwalled villaoes, that have neither 
bars nor gates ? See their towers, behold their bulwarks; 
there is no attacking them. When once God makes them 
to see this, that the power of Christ is engaged for his people, 
they will then cry to the mountains and to the rocks to hide 
them from the day of his wrath ; they will be surprised with 

Now seeing the adversaries of the church of God are cer- 
tainly upon this mistake attempting the church, because as 
they imagine, it hath no guard, and they will certainly find 
at last that they have a guard which they saw not, and were not 
acquainted with; why should we be afraid in such a case? 
Nothing more encourages persons than when they know 
their enemies do clearly mistake their condition. This is 
enough to make the veriest coward in the world valiant. Let 
us be sure to be found within this garrison, and place of de- 
fence, and certain that we have to do in the concerns of Zion, 
and not of the world; and then shall we see the mountains 
all full of chariots and horses of fire round about us, Christ 
reigning, the promise of Christ engaged, and the watchful 
eye of God upon the church continually. Our fears arise 
from the want of considering these things, and taking a car- 
nal view and measure of things that are seen, 

V. The last inquiry is. What testimony are we to give 
over to the generation that is to come after us? 

This testimony consists of two things : 

1. The exercise of faith and patience in all our own trials 
that may befall us, that there may be a remembrance of it in 
the generations that are to come. The martyrs that suffered 
here so long ago, do still tell us in this generation by their 
faith and patience, that Zion had walls and bulwarks round 
about her, and that God was her God and guide. Had their 
not believed it, do you think they would have given up their 
bodies to the flames in this city and other parts of the nation ? 
In like manner that faith and patience which we shall exer- 
cise in any trial that may befall us in the behalf of Zion, is to 
tell the generations to come what God hath done, and how 
we have found it ourselves. 

2. It is our Hutv to give it over by instruction to those 


that we bring up. Our fathers have told us what God did in 
their days ; and we are to give in this testimony to God, to 
tell our childreji what God hath done in oijr days; so long 
have we lived and been professors ; so long have we walked 
in Zion, and we have found God faithful in his promise. Not 
one word or tittle hath failed, that the mouth of the Lord 
hath spoken. Thus are we to instruct the generation that 
is growing up, that hath not seen those things which we have 




Tor I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ : for it is the power of God 
unto salvation, to every one that believeth ; to the Jew first, and also to the 
Greek. — Rom. i. 16. 

The preceding verses of this chapter contain a declaration 
of the person who wrote this epistle: the apostolical authority 
wherewith it was wrote ; and a gracious salutation of them 
to whom it was wrote. This verse makes an entrance upon 
the main subject matter designed to be treated on in the 
whole epistle. So that it is the centre of this glorious part 
of the Scripture, wherein the first general part of it doth issue, 
and whereon the remaining part depends. 

The church at Rome was planted some while before ^ but 
it is altogether uncertain by whom. The wisdom of God 
foreseeing what abuses would be made of the foundation of 
that church, hath hid it quite from us ; there is nothing in 
Scripture, nothing in antiquity to intimate by whom the faith 
was there first preached. Probably it was by some believers 
of the circumcision, whence those disputes arose, and con- 
tentions about the observation of Judaical ceremonies, which 
the apostle handles and determines, chap. xiv. xv. of this 
epistle. Hearing of their faith, our apostle, upon whom, as 
he saith, ' was the care of all the churches,' and to whom 
' the ministry of the uncircumcision was in an especial man- 
ner committed,' Gal. ii. 7, 8. writes this epistle to them to in- 
struct them in the mystery of the gospel, and confirm them 
in the faith thereof, and in the worship of God required 

To give weight to what he wrote, and commend it to their 
consideration, he acquaints them with that love and care he 
had for them, answerable to his duty from whence it did pro- 
ceed; telling them, ver. 14, 15. that * he was debtor both 
to the Greeks, and to the barbarians ; both to the wise, 

• This sermon was preached May 19, 1670. 


and to the unwise ; so that as much as in him was, he was 
ready to preach the gospel to them that were at Rome also.' 
And hereby he prevented a prejudice and jealousy that might 
possess their minds, and answers an objection they might 
make to him about his writing. For they might say in them- 
selves. What makes him a stranger, at so great a distance, in- 
terpose in our concerns? Doth he not ' stretch himself be- 
yond his measure,' or ' boast himself in another man's line,' 
which he affirms in another place he did not? For he was 
charged with such things. His zeal carrying him out to act 
for the gospel in a peculiar manner, he was charged to ' ex- 
ceed his measure,' and ' boast in another man's line.' To 
obviate this, he tells them, no ; I do nothing but what be- 
comes a honest man, discharging a debt the Lord Jesus 
Christ hath laid upon me by virtue of my call to my office, 
and my susception of it. ' I am debtor to the Greek, and to 
the barbarian ;' to the wise, and to the unwise. I am called, 
saith he, to preach the gospel to all sorts of people under 
heaven; my commission is to ' go into all the world, and 
preach the gospel to every creature;' Mark xvi. 15. that is, 
as expounded. Matt, xxviii. 19. ' to all nations,' persons of 
all nations as I have opportunity. Our Lord Jesus Christ, 
out of his love and care unto them whom he had redeemed 
with his blood, that they might be saved, had given the apo- 
stles to be theirs; 'all things are yours; Paul is yours, 
Apollos is yours ;' and charged them to preach the gospel to 
them ; so that Acts xx. 26, 27. he saith, ' Now I am free 
from the blood of all men.' How doth he prove it? 'I have 
not shunned to declare to them the whole counsel of God.' 
He frees himself from any surmise that they might have, 
that he had a design of his own, and sought some advantage 
to himself in thus interposing in the concerns of the gospel, 
by telling them he doth but discharge a debt ; ' I am a 
debtor,' saith he. And it is truly and really the wisdom of 
those who in their several spheres have the dispensation of 
the gospel committed unto them, to let the people know, 
that they need not absolutely, whatsoever they do conse- 
quentially, count themselves beholden to them for preaching 
the word ; but that indeed our Lord Jesus Christ hath en^ 
gaged us in a debt, which if, in his name, we pay and dis- 
charge, we are sure of a reward; if not he will require it at 

2 D 2 


our hands. We owe the preaching of the gospel to them 
that are willing to hear it ; and if upon any account we with- 
hold it from them, we do defraud them. ' I am debtor,' saith 
the apostle. And every one that receiveth the gift and 
call from Christ is a debtor, and so should esteem himself. 
I have done nothing, saith he, but engaged in the discharge 
of the debt which I owe to the souls of men. 

But there might likewise arise another objection ; if he be 
so concerned in the publication of the gospel, that he writes 
an epistle to Rome, the greatest theatre then upon the earth, 
the head of the empire, and most eminent place in the world. 
Why did he not come himself and preach it? He returns an 
answer thereunto, ver. 15. That, saith he, is not at present in 
my power; I am not my own, I am disposed of by a call of 
Christ, and guidance of his Spirit; but* I am ready to come 
to Rome,' I have a readiness to preach the gospel whereso- 
ever God calls me. 

Now that he might not seem to have outbid himself in 
speaking of going thither to preach the gospel, without con- 
sidering what it might cost him, he gives them the reason 
and ground upon which he had so engaged himself to be 
ready to come to Rome, in the words of the text; * For I am 
not ashamed of the gospel of Christ : for it is the power of God 
unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, 
and also to the Greek.* 

In the words there are. 

First, A general assertion laid down as the ground of 
what he had before aflBrmed, and that is in these words : ' I 
am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.' 

Secondly, He gives a reason of that assertion, what made 
him say so ; ' I am not ashamed, because the gospel is the 
power of God ;' to which reason he gives a threefold limita- 
tion. First, As to the especial end of it; 'The power of 
God.' Whereunto? For this or that end in the world ? No; 
' It is the power of God for salvation.' Secondly, He limits 
it in respect of the object ; * The power of God unto salva- 
tion.' To all ? No, but ' to every one that believeth ;* to all 
believers, consider them either antecedently to their being 
made believers, or consequentially having received the word. 
To others it is foolishness ; but to us that believe it is 'the 
power, and the wisdom of God.' Thirdly. It hath limits a^ 


•o the manner of administration : ' To the Jew first, and also 
to the Greek.' The word * first' there respects the order of 
dispensation, and not a priority of efficacy, or excellency. 
The word was first to be preached to the Jews, as you know, 
in many places, and that for many ends, not now to be in- 
sisted on. This is the design of the words. 

I shall for the opening of them inquire into two things : 
1. What is intended by the gospel? 2. What is it to be 
ashamed of the gospel ? After which the great reason will 
ensue of the apostle's assertion : * Because it is the power of 
God unto salvation.' 

1. What is intended by the gospel? The gospel is 
taken two ways : (1.) Absolutely, as it is in itself; (2.) Re- 
latively, with reference unto our practice and observance 
of it. 

(1.) Absolutely, and in itself: and so also it is taken 
two ways : 

[].] Strictly, according to the signification of the word, 
'good tidings' for the good tidings of the accomplishment of 
the promise by the sending of Jesus Christ. The name is 
taken from Isa. lii. 7, * How beautiful upon the mountains 
are the feet of him that publisheth the good tidings of the 
gospel.' And in this sense the apostle gives us a de- 
scription of the gospel. Acts xiii. 32, 33. * We declare unto 
you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made 
unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their 
children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again :' sent Christ 
according to the promise, the tidings of which is strictly the 

[2.] The gospel is taken more largely for all things that 
were annexed to the accomplishment of the promise, the 
revelation of truths made there, with all the institutions and 
ordinances of worship that accompanied it: the whole doc- 
trine and worship of the gospel. The first is what God doth 
for us in giving Christ; the second is what God requireth 
of us in faith and obedience, and in the whole worship of 
the gospel. And this is the common sense wherein this word 
'gospel' is taken. 

(2.) The gospel may be considered relatively, with refer- 
ence unto believers : and then it intends our profession of 
the gospel; which profession consists in the performance 


of all gospel duties, when and as they are to be performed 
by virtue of the command of Christ, which I would desire 
you to consider and remember ; for I can assure you all 
your concerns in the gospel will be found to depend 
upon it. 

It is in reference unto the gospel in both these senses 
that the apostle here speaks ; as it contains the promise of 
Christ, the doctrine of the gospel, the worship of God, the 
institutions therein, and every man's performance of his own 
duty, according to the rules and commands of Christ in the 
gospel. This is that which the apostle says * he was not 
ashamed of.' 

2. What is it to be ashamed of the gospel ? Shame in 
general is a grief, perturbation, and trouble of mind, upon 
the account of things vile, foolish, or evil, rendering a man 
(as he thinks), liable to reproach and contempt, working a 
resolution in him to have no more to do with such things, 
if once delivered from them. As the prophet Jeremiah, chap, 
ii. 26. • A thief is ashamed when he is taken.' Two things 
befall such a person : fear which respects his punishment; 
and shame which respects the vileness and reproach of the 
thing that he is taken in. And shame doth particularly 
respect honour, esteem, and repute. Hence if you can by 
any means take off the disrepute of a thing in men's judg- 
ment, they are no more ashamed of it. The world hath 
prevailed to take off among themselves, and within their 
own compass, the disrepute of as odious sins as can be 
committed in the world, and men cease thereupon to be 
ashamed of them. We meet with men that will not at all 
be ashamed of swearing, cursing, blaspheming, nay of 
drunkenness, scarce of uncleanness; the wickedness of the 
world hath taken off the disrepute of them within their own 
compass : yet take the same men in lying or theft, and it 
will fill them with shame ; not but that the guilt and evil of 
other sins is as great, it may be greater than these ; but 
these are under a disrepute, and therefore they are thus 

Now this shame may be considered two ways : 

(1.) Objectively, as to the things that in themselves arc 
shameful, though men may be relieved against them, so as 
not to have any inward shame in their minds. So the 


apostle tells us, I Thess. ii. 2. That he was 'shamefully en- 
treated at Philippi :' he had all manner of shameful things 
done unto him. And Acts v. 41. all the apostles together 
'rejoiced that they Avere counted worthy to suffer shame.' 
They suffered shame, but they were not ashamed. Heb. vi. 6. 
It is said, those apostate backsliders * put the Son of God 
to open shame.' They did those things unto him, which 
in their own nature cast shame upon him; they deserted 
his worship and ways, as if he was not worthy to be fol- 
lowed. Now our apostle was very far from thinking that 
nothing of this shame would befall him at Rome ; that no 
shameful thing would befall him. He was led thither bound 
with a chain, and cast into prison. This is not the shame 

(2.) There is shame in the person. And this also may 
be considered two ways : 

[1.] As it merely respects the affections of the mind be- 
fore mentioned. When persons have a trouble and con- 
fusion of mind upon them for any thing wherein they are 
concerned, as that which is dishonourable, base, vile, or 

[2.] When there are the effects of shame ; when men act 
as though they were ashamed, and will have no more to do 
with those things wherein they have been engaged, but 
leave them as if ashamed. It is said of David's soldiers, 
who had done no shameful thing, but courageously acquitted 
themselves in the battle against Absalom, but because of 
David's carriage upon that business, * They went every one 
away as men ashamed, that fly in battle.' It may be there 
is that light and conviction upon most concerning the gospel, 
that it is impossible for them to be brought into perfect 
trouble and confusion of mind about it, as though it was a 
shameful thing ; but yet perhaps they will do like men that 
fly in battle, and are ashamed. And in this sense the word 
is principally used; for saith Christ, Mark viii. 38. 'Who- 
soever shall be ashamed of me, I will be ashamed of him.' 
How is that? What will the Lord do? He will not own him, 
which is called being ashamed of him. 

Now this is that which the apostle intends. For the 
doctrine, saith he, and worship of the gospel, and for my 
work in preaching and dispensing it, I have neither trouble 


of mind, nor will I desert it : ' I am not ashamed of the gospel 
of Christ.' 

But you will say. What great matter is this? I am per- 
suaded there is not one present, but will be ready to think, 
that they would be as forward as the apostle in this matter. 
Ashamed of the gospel of Christ ! God forbid. What i3 
there in it, that the apostle thus signally expresses it, that 
he would not be ashamed? I answer. Pray consider these 
three things : 

1st. The apostle here expresses it with especial reference 
to his preaching and professing the gospel at Rome. ' I 
will come to Rome also,' saith he, 'for I am not ashamed 
of the gospel of Christ/ Now there was at that time at 
Rome a collection of all the great, wise, and inquiring men 
of the world. And how did they look upon the gospel and 
the profession of it? Our apostle tells you, 1 Cor. i. 23, as 
a foolish, weak, contemptible thing. How did they look 
upon them that professed it? As the filth and off-scouring 
of all things ; 1 Cor iv. 13. Here is a collection of the rulers 
of the greatest empire of the world, of all the wise and 
learned men, and great philosophers, princes of the world, 
all looking upon this gospel, obedience to it, and the 
worship of God in it, to be as foolish a thing as ever 
men engaged in, fit for none but contemptible persons. 
But, saith the apostle, notwithstanding this, ' I am not 
ashamed of its' 

And we may observe here, that there was not yet at 
Rome any actual persecution of the gospel farther than 
shame and reproach. And the apostle declares by this 
word, that it is the duty of all men to gather up their sjMrits 
to confront present difficulties whatsoever they be. It is 
loaded now with shame: 'I am not ashamed.' It will 
come to blood: 'I will not fear my blood.' He expresseth 
the whole in this which was his present duty. And for a 
person of those parts, and that learning which he had, to 
come among all the wise men in the world, to be laughed at 
as a babbler, as one that came with a foolish thing in his 
mouth, and to say, ' I am not ashamed:' it was the presence 
of God with him, as well as a sense of duty that enabled him 

2dly. To an ingenuous, gracious soul, in all sufferings; 


hothihg is more grievous than shame. Hence it is reckoned 
as a great part of the humiliation of Christ, that 'he made 
himself of no reputation;' Phil. ii. 7, 8. He forewent all 
the esteem he might have in the world, as the Son of God« 
And Isa. 1. 6. 'He hid not himself from shame/ So Heb. 
xii. 2. ' He despised the shame.' To be dealt withal as a 
vile person, as the off-scouring of all things, as the 'filth 
and dung of the city,' as the word signifies, to be carried 
before the face of scorners, makes a deeper impression 
upon gracious and ingenuous spirits, than any thing else 
\vhich can be well thought of. Therefore it is a great 
thing that the apostle saith, ' I am not ashamed of the 

3dly. There is also a figure in the word called 'Litotes,' 
wherein by a negation of one, the contrary is affirmed, and 
that emphatically : ' I am not ashamed ;' that is, * I am con- 
fident,' it is a thing I glory in, that I make my boast of; I 
am ready to do and suffer any thing, according to the mind 
of God, for the gospel, willing to undergo whatsoever God 
calls me to, or to perform any thing he hath appointed for 
the gospel. 

The opening of these two things will give us ground for 
our observation from the words, which is this : 

Observation. Not to be ashamed of the gospel of Christ, 
but to own it, avow it, and profess it, as a thing holy and 
honourable in all the duties it requires, against all re- 
proaches and persecutions that are in the world, is the in- 
dispensable duty of every one who desires to be saved by 
the gospel. 

I shall not produce many testimonies of Scripture to con- 
firm this. But let us all be advised, in such a day as this 
not to make darkness our refuge, and an unacquaintedness 
with our duty, our relief; but let us search and see what 
Christ hath spoken concerning such a day, where there is 
the profession of the gospel. 

I will give you one place to which you may reduce all 
the rest: Luke ix. 26. 'Whosoever shall be ashamed of me, 
and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, 
when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, 
and of the holy angels.' The whole sum of the gospel is com- 
prised in this ; the person of Christ, and the words of Christ 


The person of Christ takes up the whole work of the pro- 
mise ; and the words take up all the commands and institu- 
tions of Christ. We have heard before what it is to be ashamed 
of them. And what shall be the end of such ? *The Son of 
man shall be ashamed of them, when he shall come in his 
own glory, and his Father's glory.' There can be no greater 
weight put upon words to strike awe and dread into the 
minds of men. The Son of man who loved us, redeemed us, 
gave his life for us, shall come again, though now he be ab- 
sent, and we think things are put off for a season ; and then 
he will inquire into our deportment about the gospel ; at 
which time he will appear in all his own glory, the glory 
given him upon the account of his doing his Father's will, 
and the glory of his Father and the holy angels. Certainly, 
we should be extremely troubled then to hear Christ say, ' I 
am ashamed of you.' You have the same repeated, Mark 
viii. 38. Our apostle gives the same great rule, Rom. x. 10. 
* With the heart man believeth unto righteousness :' there is 
righteousness, let us rest there, what need we do more? Ay, 
' but with the mouth confession is made to salvation :' which 
confession comprises all the duties the gospel requires, and 
salvation as indispensably depends upon that, as justification 
doth upon faith. We cannot be justified without faith, nor 
can we be saved without confession. 

You will say. How can this be ? 

To clear it to you I shall do three things : 

I. I shall shew you what there is in the gospel that we 
are in danger to be ashamed of, if we look not well to it. 

II. How we may be ashamed of it. 

III. I shall give you the reasons why we ought not to be 
ashamed of it. 

I, What is there in the gospel that we ought in an espe- 
cial manner not to be ashamed of? 

We ought not to be ashamed of whatever is in an espe- 
cial manner exposed in the world to shame and contempt. 
The truth is, we do, or have lived in days, wherein it hath 
been so far from being a shame to be counted a Christian, 
that it hath been a shame for a man to be counted no Chris- 
tian. It hath not been the especial duty of believers to pro- 
fess the gospel in general, but the common custom of all. 
The profession of the gospel which many trust to in this 


world, is nothing but that conformity to the world which 
Christ curses. In this sense, no man is ashamed of the 

But there are some things that accompany the gospel 
which are exposed at all times to contempt and reproach, 
even where Christ and the gospel are publicly professed ; 
and these we are to take heed not to be ashamed of. I will 
give you four instances : 1 . The special truths of the gospel ; 
2. The special worship of the gospel; 3. The professors of 
the gospel ; 4. The profession of the gospel according to 
godliness. These are things men are very apt to be ashamed 
of, as being all exposed to shame and contempt. 

1. There are some especial truths of the gospel that in 
all seasons are exposed to especial contempt and reproach. 
Peter, 2Epist. i. 12. calls it * the present truth,' which in the 
primitive times was twofold. The apostle had to do with 
Jews and Gentiles, and there were two especial truths ex- 
posed to contempt and reproach, that he principally insisted 
upon, and would never forego. With the Gentiles, this was 
exposed to contempt, reproach, and persecution, that there 
should be salvation by the cross, 1 Cor. i. 23. it is foolish- 
ness to all the Gentiles, saith he, that there should be sal- 
vation by the cross. What doth the apostle do, let go this 
doctrine, and preach some other? No : he tells you, chap, 
ii. 2. * he determined to know nothing among them, but 
Christ, and him crucified.' But when he had to do with 
Jews, where lay the difference ? In addition of Judaical ce- 
remonies unto the worship of God, and some place in justi- 
fication. Thus, Gal. V. 11. ' If I preach circumcision,' says 
he, *why am I persecuted?' That is, if I preach circumcision 
as they do, they would persecute me no more. Will he do 
it then? No: Gal. vi. 12. He will not give place; he will 
preach the cross of Christ, and nothing else; and preach 
against them, and encourage all to do so. 

How shall we know then what are the present truths of 
the gospel, that we may take care not to be ashamed oi. 
them ? 

I answer in two things : 

(1.) The first is, that we must shut our eyes very hard, 
or all the world will not suffer us to be unacquainted with 
them. A man must very much hide himself, if he will not 


know what tlie truths of the gospel are that meet with con* 
tempt and reproach in the world ; for he may hear of them 

(2.) For a general rule take this : consider the ways and 
methods God hath proceeded in for the manifestation and 
declaration of himself, and we shall find whereabouts in the 
general the truths lie, that we are not to be ashamed of, if 
we will continue our testimony to God. 

[1.] God made a revelation of himself principally in and 
as the person of the Father, the unity of the divine essence 
acting in the authority and power of the Father in the crea- 
tion of the world, in the giving of the law, and the promise of 
sending Christ. What was the opposition the world made 
unto that declaration of God ? for the world doth never make 
conjunct opposition to the being of God, but unto the de- 
claration that God makes of himself. While God made that 
declaration under the Old Testament, what was the opposi- 
tion that the world made ? It was plainly in idolatry and 
polytheism. They would have many gods, or make gods, till 
he was grown among them an unknown God. The testimony 
then which the people of God was to bear, and not be 
ashamed to give, was, the unity of the divine essence. 

[2.] In the fulness of time God sent his Son, and he was 
immediately declared and manifested in the love and work 
of the Son, the second person. Where lay the opposition of 
the world? It lay directly and immediately against the per- 
son of Christ, and against his cross ; it would not believe 
|hat he was the Messiah, but called him ' a glutton, a wine- 
bibber, a friend of publicans and sinners.' Wherein then 
consisted the testimony that believers were to give? Why, 
it was to the person of the Messiah, the Son of God incar- 
nate, and to the work he had to do. God so revealing and 
glorifying himself in the incarnation and mediation of tlie 
Son, the truths which concerned his person, were those 
which men ought not peculiarly to be ashamed of, and which 
the world peculiarly opposed. 

[3.] Where the gospel is preached, the whole word of glori- 
fying God is committed to the Holy Ghost : Christ promised 
to send him to glorify him, to do the work of God in the world, 
and carry on all the concerns of the covenant. The Father laid 
the foundation of his own glory ; the Son comes, and pro* 


fesses he came not to do his own will, but the will of him 
that sent him; and promises to send the Holy Ghost to do 
his will, to accomplish all the concerns of the covenant of 
grace. Wherein then lay the opposition of the world to 
God? It lay in opposition unto the person, doctrine, graces, 
gifts, and office of the Holy Ghost, as he supplies the room 
of Christ, to carry on his kingdom in the world. The great 
opposition that is made in the world against God at this 
day, is immediately against the work of the Holy Ghost, as 
carrying on the kingdom of Christ in the world. These are 
the objects of reproach and contempt. 

By the way observe, that the opposition which was made 
by the heathens in their idolatry against the Deity, against 
God ; and that made by the Jews against the person of 
Christ, and that which is now made against the work of the 
Holy Ghost is all the same; the nature of the opposition is 
not changed, but only the object. The opposition that was in 
Cain, and the profession in Abel, is the same still : the one 
embraces the revelation of God, the other opposes it; and 
that principle that acts against the Holy Ghost, would act 
against God, and set up idolatry in the world. 

And hence we may see, that whereas God has in the days 
wherein we live, given a great and illustrious testimony unto 
the gifts and graces of the Holy Ghost, it may be as great as 
in any age since the time he gave extraordinary gifts to 
the apostles, and Satan had lost the advantage of managing 
an opposition by open blasphemies and reproaches of the 
Spirit, and being somewhat impatient till it returned into his 
hands again, he raises up another spirit that should stand 
in competition with it, and do the same thing; a spirit, 
which like the unclean spirit that cast him into the fire and 
into the water, in whom he was, threw those possessed by it 
into all difficulties to manifest itself. But whatsoever glory 
it might have put upon it in some men, by enabling them to 
suffer and bear the rage of the world that was cast upon 
them, there are three things that will discover that it is not 
a spirit from God, 

1st. The place from whence it comes : it comes not from 
above, it is not looked for, prayed for, to be the Spirit of 
Christ from heaven which he hath promised; but is a mush" 
?oora that grows up in a night, the gourd of a night that 


springs up within themselves, and is called the light within 
them all. Now the Spirit that doth the work of God is pro- 
mised from above, is given by Christ, and is expected and 
received from thence. 

2dly. It is known also by its company. The Spirit which 
beareth witness with Christ is always accompanied with the 
word; Isa. lix. 21. * This is ray covenant with them, saith the 
Lord ; My Spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I 
have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth,' 
&c. Now the work of this spirit, is to cast the word of 
God out of the church, to render it useless. 

3dly. It is known by its work. The work of the Spirit 
of God is to glorify Christ; the work of this sp'rit is to glo- 
rify itself, to resolve all into itself, for measure, rule, princi- 
ple, and all abilities. 

T could not but mention this by the way, because I put 
the great opposition that is made in the world in these days 
against the Spirit of God, his graces and gifts, and the wor- 
ship which believers are enabled to perform by the Spirit, in 
this thing. And therefore let us try the spirits, and not be- 
lieve every spirit that is gone forth. 

This is the first thing we are not to be ashamed of, viz. 
The truths of God that are reproached in the world, es- 
pecially those concerning the Spirit, his graces and gifts, 
and the revelation of the mystery of the gospel, while a hea- 
thenish morality is advanced in their plaCe. God forbid we 
should be ashamed of the gospel in this respect; that every 
one of us should not bear his testimony, as God is pleased 
to call us. 

2. There is the worship of the gospel, which is always 
exposed to reproach and contempt in the world in the due 
performance of it. I pray God to keep this always in our 
minds, that we have no other way to be ashamed of the gos- 
pel, but by being ashamed of these things ; and we have no 
other way to be ashamed of them, than by neglecting the 
due performance of them, as the gospel commands. 

Men are ashamed of the worship of the gospel, (1.) Upon 
the account of the worshippers ; and, (2.) Upon the account 
of the worship itself. 

(1.) Upon the account of the worshippers, who are for the 
most part poor and contemptible in the world ; for * not many 


crreat,not many noble, not many wise and learned are called.' 
Whatsoever work God hath to do by his, they are looked 
upon as the oft-scouring of all things, such a company as 
those who are of gallant minds and spirits, do despise. I 
wonder what thoughts they would have had of Christ him- 
self when followed by a company of fishermen, women, and 
children, crying Hosannah ; and others, who said, 'This peo- 
ple who know not the law are cursed ;' John vii. 49. Now 
is not a man apt to be ashamed of such abjects as follow 
Christ ? Shall a man leave the society of great, and wise, 
and learned men, to join with them? Let those think of it 
who are upon any account lift up in the world above their 
brethren. Do not be ashamed of them ; they are such as you 
must accompany, if ever you intend to come to glory. We 
must keep company with them here, if we intend it here- 
after. And therefore be not ashamed of the worship of 
Christ because of the worshippers ; though they can do 
nothing but love Christ and worship him ; notwithstanding 
the suffrage that lies against them by great and learned men, 
such as were at Rome when Paul was not ashamed of the 
gospel of Christ. 

(2.) Upon the account of the worship itself. The world 
is, and ever was in love with a gaudy worship, which some of 
them have called, being well painted, the beauty of holiness. 
The Jews and Samaritans take them in all ; the one was for 
the temple, the other for the mountain. The gospel comes 
and calls them from them both, to worship God in spirit and 
in truth ; to a worship that hath no beauty but what is given 
by the Spirit of Christ; nor order, but what is given by the 
word. This is greatly despised in the world, and not only 
despised, but persecuted, I mean, sometimes it was so, I am 
sure formerly. Therefore the apostle gives that caution, 
Heb. X. 25. If you would not be ashamed, ' forsake not the 
assembling of yourselves together, as the manner of some is.' 
There is a synecdoche in the word assembling, and it is put 
for the whole worship of Christ, because worship was per- 
formed in their assemblies ; and he that forsakes the assem- 
blies, forsakes the worship of Christ, as some of them did 
when exposed to danger : and it is the manner of some still 
to do so. When a fair day comes, then they will go to the 
assemblies ; but in a storm they will absent themselves, as 


did the Samaritans. But what should move them to forsaka 
their assembling ? He tells you, ver. 33, 34. ' Ye were made 
a gazing-stock by reproaches and afflictions, and the spoiling 
of your goods. But you know in yourselves that ye have in 
heaven a better and an enduring substance.' This made 
some weary of assembling; but be not you ashamed of as- 
sembling, or of the worship of God. This is the second 
thing that is exposed to shame and reproach in the world ; 
and which in particular we are bound by our profession np^ 
to be ashamed of. 



3. We are not to be ashamed of the professors of the gospel. 
Our Lord Christ hath laid it down as an everlasting rule, 
that in them he is honoured, or dishonoured, in the world. 
And it is the great rule whereby false professors will be tried 
at the last day ; men who pretend a profession of the name 
of Christ, as you may see, Matt. xxv. 40. 45. * What you 
have done unto them, you have done unto me,'saith he, and 
* what you have omitted, that ought to have been done to 
them, you have omitted the doing of it unto me.' It is 
those alone in whom Christ may be honoured or despised 
in this world : for he is in himself, in his own person in 
that condition, that our goodness, our honour, extends not 
immediately unto him; and for the contempt and de- 
spising of men, he is not concerned in it. Hence this is 
reckoned as the great commendation of the faith of Moses, 
Heb. xi. 23 — 26. that he refused all the honours of the 
world, and all the reputation he might have had, to own and 
esteem the poor, reproached, despised, persecuted interest of 
Christ in the world, as he there calls it. He joined himself 
unto the professors of the faith, in opposition to all the world, 
and the greatness of it, which was his greatest commenda- 
tion. And see the pathetical prayer of the apostle Paul for 
Onesiphorus upon the discharge of this duty, 2 Tim. i. 
16 — 18. 'The Lord,' saith he, * give mercy to the house of 
Onesiphorus, for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed 
of my chain : but when he was in Rome, he sought me out 
very diligently, and found me. The Lord grant unto him,' 
that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day.' Onesi- 
phorus was a man of some credit and repute in the world; 
poor Paul was a prisoner bound with a chain, that he might 
have been ashamed to own him ; but instead of that, he 
sought him out, he was not ashamed of his chain. To be 
ashamed of the poor professors of the gospel, so in them- 
selves, or made so by the power of oppressors, is to be 
ashamed of the gospel of Christ, his truths, his worship, and 
his people. 

* Till? 'ernioii wat. f.renclied Mav 26, 1670, 
VOL. XVI. 2 E 


4. There is a special kind of profession, that in its own 
nature is exposed to reproach in the world. The apostle Paul 
tells us, 2 Tim. iii. 12. ' They that will live godly in Christ 
Jesus shall suffer persecution.' There is, John xv. 4, 5. a 
being in Christ by profession, and not living godly \ for there 
are branches in the vine by profession, that bring forth 
no fruit; men that have a profession wherewith they do not 
trouble the world, and for which the world will not trouble 
them; that can go to that length in compliance with the 
world, and the ways of it, as that they shall not have one 
drop of the spirit of the witnesses of Christ, who torments 
the men of the earth. But ' they that will live godly,' that 
is, engage in a profession, that shall upon all occasions, and 
in all instances manifest the power of it, they ' shall suffer 
persecution.' We see many every day keep up a profession, 
but such a profession as will not provoke the world. Now 
this is to be ashamed of the gospel, to be ashamed of the 
power and glory of it, to be ashamed of the author of it; no 
man can put Jesus Christ to greater shame, than by professing 
the gospel without shewing the power of it. 

III. I shall now give the reasons why we ought not in 
anything to be ashamed of the gospel of Christ. I speak 
unto persons that are under a conviction that such and such 
things belong unto the gospel. If we are not, what makes 
us here this day? I do not go to persuade any, that this or 
that worship, or this or that way, is according to the gospel; 
but I suppose a conviction thereof to be upon us; upon a 
supposition of which conviction and persuasion, I shall offer 
these reasons, why we ought not to be ashamed of the gos- 
pel. And, 

1. The first is this; because Christ, the captain of our 
salvation, and the great example of our obedience, was not 
ashamed of all that he had to undergo for us. 

There are two things that greatly aggravate things 
shameful, and press, if possible, shame upon a person. 

(1.) The dignity of the person that is exposed to things 
shameful. It is more for a person honourable, noble, and 
in repute for wisdom in the world, to be exposed to indig- 
nities, reproaches, and things shameful, as the apostle 
speaks; than for beggars, poor, vile persons, of no repute. 
Now consider the person of Christ, who he was, and what 


he was. He was the eternal Son of God, the ' first-born 
of the whole creation;' and, as in his divine nature, he was 
' the express,' the essential ' image of the Father,' so in his 
whole person, as incarnate, he was the glory of all the works 
of God. And the apostle, when he would set out the great 
condescension of Christ in submitting unto things shameful, 
doth at the same time describe the greatness and glory of 
his person ; Phil. ii. 6 — 8. * He made himself,' says he, * of 
no reputation; he took upon him the form of a servant, and 
he was obedient unto the death of the cross;' which three 
things, as I could shew you, are comprehensive of all that 
was shameful to Christ. But at the same time that he tells 
us what he did, how doth he describe him? When he did 
so, he was ' in the form of God, and accounted it no rob- 
bery to be equal with God:' he was the great God in his 
own person, and equal with the Father; yet then this ho- 
nourable one condescended to all things shameful and re- 
proachful in the world. 

(2.) Shame is aggravated from the causes and matter of 
it. There are various things that cause shame. Some are 
put to shame by reproaches, scandals, lies ; some by poverty; 
some by imprisonment; and some by death, made shameful 
by the ways, means, and preparations for it. By which of 
these was Christ now made an object of shame? By all of 
them, and inconceivably more than any heart is able to ap- 
prehend, or tongue to express. He was reproached as a 
wine-bibber, and a glutton; as a seditious person, and mover 
of sedition ; as a fanatic, and one besides himself. He was 
in that state of poverty, that during the whole course of his 
ministry he had not where to lay his head, nor any thing to 
live upon, but what good people administered unto him of 
their substance. In the midst of this course he was taken 
praying, when he told them, they might have taken him at 
any time. ' I was,' says he, ' in the temple openly, I sat 
daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold 
on me.' He was taken by soldiers with swords and staves, 
as a thief and malefactor; apprehended, carried away, and 
hanged upon a tree, the shamefulest death then in the world, 
in the midst of Jews and Gentiles, with both which sorts of 
men that kind of death was the most shameful: the Romans 
put none to that sort of death but slaves, thieves, and rob- 

2 e2 


bers, the worst malefactors; and among the Jews it was 
the only kind of death that was accursed; Deut. xxi. 23. 
* He that is hanged on the tree is accursed of God.' Which 
words our apostle repeats, and applies them to Christ, Gal. 
iii. 13. How did Christ behave himself now, as to all these 
shameful things that came upon him? Hear the prophet ex- 
pressing of it in his name, Isa. 1. 6,7. 'I gave my back to 
the smiter, and my cheek to them that plucked off the hair;' 
(the usual way of dealing with persons in such cases) ' I hid 
not my face from shame and spitting; for the Lord God will 
help me, therefore I shall not be confounded; I know I 
shall not be ashamed.' Did he recoil, or go back from his 
Avork? Did he repent of it? No : ' Thy law is written in my 
heart;' I am content •' to do thy will, O God.' And in the 
issue of the whole, Heb. xii. 2. * He despised the shame, 
and endured the cross,' which made way for his glory. 

Now here lies the foundation of our reason; If the Lord 
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, being engaged purely out of 
his own love in a work for us poor, vile, sinful worms of the 
earth, whom he might have left justly to perish under the 
wrath of God, which we had deserved, underwent all these 
shameful things, and never had a recoiling thought to draw 
back, and leave us to ourselves; have we not an obligation 
of love, gratitude, and obedience, not to be ashamed of 
those few drops of this great storm that may possibly fall 
upon us in this world for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ? 
Can we be disciples of Christ, and yet think in this matter 
to be above our Master? Can we be his servants, and think 
to be above our Lord? We are delicate and tender, and 
would fain have all men speak well of us. But we must 
come to another frame, if we intend to be the disciples of 
Christ. What would be the issue of our account at the last 
day, if he should inquire of us what we have done in refer- 
ence to the profession of the gospel? Whether we have ob- 
served all those duties, that we have had a conviction upon 
our spirits and consciences we ought to observe and perform 
in the assembling of ourselves, in the dispensation of the 
word, in the celebration of ordinances, in prayer, fasting, 
hearing the word, and all those things which the gospel re- 
quires of us? Should we make that answer. Truly, Lord, 
we thought all very good, but were afraid if we engaged in 


them, we should have been exposed to all the reproach, 
contempt, and trouble in the world ; it would have brought 
trouble upon our persons, and the spoiling of our goods; it 
would have brought us into great distress? What would then 
be the reply, according to the rule of the gospel, but, Stand 
upon your own bottom, that. was my day, these were things 
I required of you ; you were ashamed of me, I am now 
ashamed of you? Certainly this would be a woful issue of 
it. But, 

2. The second reason is this; That whatsoever state or 
condition we may be brought into, upon the account of the 
gospel, the Lord Jesus Christ will not be ashamed of us in 
that state and condition. I told you before, in the opening 
of the words, that shame principally respects dishonour and 
disreputation, that the things we are engaged in are vile, 
contemptible, exposed to reproach. Now if a man in any 
thing he is called in question about, have those who are 
great and honourable to abide by him, and own the cause 
wherein he is engaged, whatever other affections he may 
have, it will take off his shame. Now this great and honour- 
able person will not be ashamed of us in any condition : 
Heb. ii. 11. 'He is not ashamed to call them brethren.' But 
suppose they are poor, and have nothing left them in this 
world? It is all one. Suppose they are in prison? Christ 
will stand by them, and say, ' These are my brethren.' The 
word liranyxyv^Tai, ' ashamed,' is thei'e used peculiarly in re- 
spect to those shameful things that may befall us in this 
world. Notwithstanding all these sufferings, yet ' he is not 
ashamed to call them brethren.' Doth he go no farther? 
Yes ; Heb. xi. 16. ' Wherefore' (speaking directly to this 
cause in hand) ' God is not ashamed to be called their God.' 
What is the reason it is so expressed? The words are em- 
phatical. Look upon the two parties that are in the world; 
the one great, wise, glorious, powerful, and at liberty; the 
other poor, despised, contemned all the world over. God 
comes into the world and sees these two parties: Which now 
do you think he owns? Is it not a shame for the great and 
glorious God to own poor, despised, contemned, reproached, 
persecuted ones? No: God * is not ashamed to be called 
their God;' their God in particular, their God in covenant, 
one that owns them in opposition to all the world, with 


whom they have to conflict. Oh, that we would persuade 
our hearts in every duty that this is our state, that Jesus 
Christ stands by, and saith, ' I am not ashamed of you !' 
God stands by, and saith, ' I am not ashamed to be owned 
to be your God!' Is not this great encouragement? 

3. The third reason is, Because in the profession of the 
gospel we are called to nothing at all that is shameful in the 
judgment of any sober, wise, rational, judicious man. If the 
profession of the gospel called us unto any thing that is 
vile, dishonourable, unholy, of ill report among men, cer- 
tainly we had reason to be extremely cautious of our prac- 
tising of it. But is it any shame to own God to be our God, 
to own Jesus Christ to be our Lord and Master, to profess 
we must yield obedience unto the commands of Christ? Is 
there any shame in praying, in hearing of the word of God, 
in preaching of it according to his mind and will ? Is there 
any shame in fasting, in godly conference ? Let all the world 
be judge, whether there be any thing shameful in these 
things, which are good, useful, honourable to all mankind. 
The gospel calls to nothing that is shameful. Therefore the 
old heathens were so wise that they would not, against the 
light of nature, oppress the assemblies of Christians where 
there was nothing shameful ; and therefore they charged all 
shameful things upon them. The whole vogue of the world 
was, that they met together to further promiscuous lusts and 
seditions. They made that their pretence ; they durst not 
disturb them merely upon the account of their profession. 
And it is so still : men little know that we will not, dare not, 
cannot take the name of our God in vain, and prostitute any 
ordinance of God to give the least semblance to any sedi- 
tious practice. Whatsoever violence may come upon the 
disciples of Christ, they had rather die than prostitute an 
ordinance of Christ, to give the least countenance or sem- 
blance to any such thing. The gospel calls us to nothing 
that hath any reproach in it. If men will esteem the strict 
profession of the gospel, praying, hearing the word, absti- 
nence from sin, to be shameful things ; if they will count it 
strange that we run not out into the same excess of riot with 
themselves; shall we stand to the judgment of such sensual- 
ists, that live in a perpetual contradiction to themselves? 
who piofess that they honour Christ, and at the same time 


reproach every thing of Christ in the world ? We have no 
reason then to be ashamed of the gospel, which requires no 
shameful thing at our hands, nothing that is evil and hurtful 
to mankind ; nothing but what is good, holy, beautiful, com- 
mendable, and useful unto all societies of mankind. And 
we dare not prostitute the least part of an ordinance, to the 
encouraging any disorder in this world, and therein take the 
name of our God in vain. 

4. The fourth reason is that which the apostle gives us, 
Heb. xii. 1. ' We are compassed about with a cloud of wit- 
nesses,' to this very end and purpose. In the preceding 
chapter he had given a catalogue of many under the Old 
Testament, patriarchs and prophets (time would have failed 
him to reckon up all), who signally manifested they were 
not ashamed of the gospel, and the promises of it, whatever 
difficulties did befall them. And now, saith the apostle, you 
' have a cloud of witnesses,' the great examples of those holy 
souls that are now at rest with God, enjoying the triumphs 
of Christ over all his adversaries : they were, as you are, con- 
flicting in this world with reproaches, adversaries, persecu- 
tion ; and they had this issue by faith, they made a conquest 
over all. And James says, ' You have, my brethren, the pro- 
phets and apostles for your examples.' The Lord help us to 
take the example they have set us. Acts v. 41. when they 
went away triumphing, that they were counted worthy to 
suffer shame and reproach for the name of Christ. The Lord 
help us that we dishonour not the gospel by giving the world 
reason to say, that there is a race of professors risen up now, 
who have no manner of conformity to them who went before 
them in the profession of the gospel. 

5. The next reason I shall insist upon is taken out of the 
text, the particular reason the apostle here gives, why he 
was not ashamed of it. ' I am not ashamed,' saith he, ' of 
the gospel of Christ ; for it is the power of God to salvation 
to all that believe.' We talk of profession of the gospel. 
What is it, say some, but canting among yourselves, speak- 
ing things unintelligible ? Such kind of expressions are cast 
upon it in the world. But, saith the apostle, this gospel we 
profess is quite another thing than you dream or think of, 
and we profess it no other, nor ever will engage one day in 
the profession of the gospel any farther, than as it comes 


under this account, that ' it is the power of God unto salva- 
tion.' Manifest to me, that any way or parcel of the gospel 
which we do profess, or practise, hath not the power of God 
in it, and upon it, towards the furtherance of salvation, and 
I will throw off" that profession. 

But you will ask, perhaps. In what sense is the gospel 
the power of God ? 

I answer, In a threefold sense. 

(1.) Negatively: there is not any other power in it. The 
world saw that there was a great efficacy in the gospel, and 
thev knew not whence it was ; but they charged it upon two 
things : First, Upon the matter of it, that it was a cunningly 
devised fable. So the apostle Peter tells us, 2 Epist. i. 16. 
* We have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we 
made known unto you the power of Christ.' The world 
charged it so, and thought that gave it its efficacy. Secondly, 
There was another thing to which they thought its efficacy 
was owing, and that was the eloquence and power of its 
preachers. The preachers of it were surely eloquent, excel- 
lent men, that they could so prevail upon the people, and 
win them over to the gospel. No, saith the apostle, 1 Cor. 
ii. 4, 5. ' My speech and preaching was not with enticing 
words of man's wisdom, but in the demonstration of the 
Spirit, and of power ; that your faith should not stand in the 
wisdom of men, but in the power of God.' But let not men 
mistake; the efficacy of the gospel is owing to neither of 
these causes, but to the divine power that accompanies it. 

(2.) It was the power of God declaratively : it made 
known the power of God. So our apostle declares in the 
very next words to the text : ' For therein,' saith he, ' is the 
rio-hteousness of God revealed.' It hath made a revelation 
of the way whereby God will save men. It makes a revela- 
tion of that power which God puts forth for the salvation of 


(3.) It is the power of God instrumentally. It is the in- 
strument God puts forth to effect his great and mighty works 
in the world. Preaching is looked upon as a very foolish 
thing in the world. ' We preach Christ crucified, to the 
Greeks foolishness ;' 1 Cor. i. 23. But God hath chosen this 
foolish thing to confound the wise. And though the preach- 
ers of it are very weak men, mere earthen vessels, God hath 


chosen this weak thing to bring to nought things that are 
strong and mighty, the things of this world. Therefore, 
Acts XX. 32. it is called ' the word of God's grace, which is 
able to build us up, and give us an inheritance among them 
that are sanctified.' The plain preaching of it hath this power 
upon the souls of men, to convince them, convert them, draw 
them home to God, to expose them to all troubles in this 
world, to make them let go their reputation and livelihood, 
and expose themselves even to death itself: it is the power 
of God to these ends and purposes ; God hath made it his 
instrument for that end. If it were the power of God to give 
peace and prosperity unto a nation, or to heal the sick, there 
is no man need, or ought to be ashamed of it ; but to be 
the power of God for so excellent an end, as the eternal sal- 
vation of the souls of men, makes it much more glorious. 
The gospel we profess, all the parts of it, every thing wherein 
it is engaged, is that whereby God puts forth his power to 
save our poor souls, and the souls of them who believe: and 
the Lord God never lay it to the charge of any who would 
hinder the dispensation of the gospel unto this end and pur- 
pose. It were sad for men to keep corn from the poor, phy- 
sic from the sick, that lie a dying; but to keep the word of 
God from the souls of men, that they might be saved, Loi'd, 
lay it not to the charge of any. 

The author of the gospel was not ashamed of his work 
he engaged in on our behalf; is not ashamed of us in any of 
our sufferings, in any of the shameful things we may under- 
go. The gospel requires no shameful thing at our hands ; 
puts us upon no duty that can justly expose us to shame; 
the things are good, useful, honourable to men. We have a 
cloud of witnesses about us : and if any man require of us, 
what this gospel is, which we profess, and an account where- 
upon we profess it, we can make this answer; 'It is the 
power of God unto salvation ;' and for that end alone do we 
profess it. 

I might speak to some farther reasons, to shew why this 
duty is indispensably necessary; for, as I said, it is not only 
that we ouglit not to be ashamed, but the duty is indispen- 
sable. And I thought to have spoken to those two heads, 
which alone make a duty indispensable, that we may not 
upon any account be against it ; because it is necessary, as 


we say, * necessitate praecepti ;' and likewise, ' necessitate 
medii;' that is, both upon the command of Christ, and 
upon the account of the order of the things themselves. 

It is necessary upon the command of Christ, because he 
hath required it at our hands, and under that condition, that 
if ever we intend to be owned by him at the last day, we 
should own his gospel in the profession of it. All the 
world, and all our own things, and all the injunctions of the 
sons of men, cannot give a dispensation to our souls to 
exempt them from under the authority of the commands of 
Christ. Let us look unto ourselves, we are under the com- 
mands of Christ, and there is no one particular duty to be 
avoided, but what must be accommodated to this rule. And 
not only so. 

But it is necessary also from the order of things : Christ 
hath appointed it as a means for that great end of bringing 
our souls to salvation. As well may a man arrive to a city, 
and never come into the way that leads unto it, as we go to 
rest with Christ, and never come to the profession of the 
gospel, nor abide by it : this is the way that leads unto it. 

I have done with what I thought to deliver upon this 
doctrine, and among many uses that might be made, I shall 
only commend one unto you, without which it will be ut- 
terly impossible that any of us shall be able at the long run 
to keep up to the profession of the gospel, or any duty of it. 
And that is this : 

Use. Get an experience of the power of the gospel, and 
all the ordinances of it, in and upon your own hearts, or all 
your profession is an expiring thing: unless, I say, you find 
the power of God upon your own hearts in every ordinance, 
expect not any continuance in your profession. If the 
preaching of the word be not etFectual unto the renewing of 
your souls, the illuminating of your minds, the endearing of 
your hearts to God, if you do not find power in it, you will 
quickly reason with yourselves, upon what account should 
you adventure trouble and reproach for it. 

If you have an experience of this power upon your hearts, 
it will recover all your recoiling, wandering thoughts, when 
you find you cannot live without it. It is so as to every or- 
dinance whatever, unless we can have some experience of the 
benefitof it, andof thepowerand efficacy of the grace of God 


in it, we can never expect to abide in our profession of it. 
What will you bear witness unto, an empty, bare profession, 
that neither honoureth God, nor doth good to your own 

If you would then be established in this truth, of not 
being ashamed of the gospel, recall to your minds what be- 
nefit you have received by it. Have you received any ad- 
vantage by hearing the word ? Hath it at any time restored 
your souls when you have been wandering? Hath it com- 
forted you when you have been cast down? Hath it en- 
gaged your hearts unto God ? Recall to mind what benefit 
and advantage you have had by it ; and then ask, what it 
hath done, that now you should forsake it? And in every 
ordinance that you are made partakers of, inquire diligently 
what power of God upon your own hearts goes forth in the 
dispensation of that ordinance. This will confirm and 
strengthen you; and without this, all your profession is vain, 
and will signify nothing. 



From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: 
lead me to the rock that is higher than I. — Psal. Ixi. 2. 

There are two things in the words. First, The state where- 
in the psalmist was. Secondly, The course that he steered 
in that state. 

His estate is doubly expressed: 1. From the place where 
he was ; ' from the end of the earth.' And, 2. From the con- 
dition he was in ; his ' heart was overwhelmed.' 

And in the course he steered there are two things also. 
1. The manner of it : he ' cried unto the Lord. 2. The mat- 
ter of that cry : * Lead me to the rock that is higher than L' 

First, There is the state wherein he was. And, 

1. The first description of it (for both parts are meta- 
phorical) is from the place where he was : * The end of the 
earth.' Now this may be taken two ways : either naturally, 
and then it is an allusion to men that are far distant and re- 
mote from help, relief, and comfort; or, as I may say, eccle- 
siastically, with reference to the temple of God, which was 
'in medio terrse,' ' in the midst and heart of the land,' where 
God manifested and gave tokens of his gracious presence 
and favour: as if he had said ; I am at the end of the earth, 
far from any tokens, pledges, or manifestations of the love 
and favour of God ; as well as from outward help and as- 

2. The second description of his state is, that his heart 
was overwhelmed. Wherein we have two things. 

(1.) A confluence of calamities and distresses. (2.) The 
effect they had upon him; his heart was overwhelmed, and 
fainted under them. As long as the heart will hold up they 
may be borne: 'The spirit of a man will bear his infirmity ;' 
but when 'the spirit is wounded,' and the heart faints, a con- 
fluence of calamities greatly oppresses. 

What is meant by overwhelmed, himself declares in 
* This sermon was preached Nov. 11, 1670. 

GOD THE saints' ROCK. 429 

another place, Psal. cii. The title of the psalm is, 'A prayer 
of the afflicted when he is overwhelmed.' And he describes 
that condition in the psalm itself, ver. 3, 4, &,c. ' My days 
are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burnt as an 
hearth. My heart is smitten and withered like grass; so 
that I forget to eat my bread. By reason of the voice of my 
groaning my bones cleave to my skin. I am like a pelican 
of the wilderness: I am like an owl of the desert. I watch, 
and am as a sparrow alone upon the housetop. Mine ene- 
mies reproach me all the day ; and they that are mad against 
me are sworn against me. For I have eaten ashes like 
bread, and mingled my drink with weeping, because of 
thine indignation and thy wrath : for thou hast lifted me up, 
and cast me down.' To be overwhelmed is to be under a 
confluence of all manner of distressing calamities. Psal. 
cxlii. 3, 4. he describes again what it is to be overwhelmed: 
* When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, I looked on 
the right hand and beheld, but there was no man that would, 
know me, refuge failed me : no man cared for my soul.' So 
that to have a confluence of manifold distresses, with an eye 
to the indignation of God, as the spring of those distresses, 
until the spirit sink and faint under it, is to have the heart 
overwhelmed. This is his state and condition. 

Secondly, The course he takes in this state, as we have 
already observed, is also doubly expressed. 

1. In the manner of it : *I cried,' saith he, 'unto thee.' 
The word is frequently used in this case in Scripture ; and 
it is naturally expressive of the principal actings of faith in 
a distressed condition. 

There are four things that faith will do in a condition of 
distress in believers ; and they are all of them comprised in 
this expression: *I cried.' 

(1.) It will make the heart sensible of the affliction. 
God abhors the proud and the stubborn, that think by their 
own spirits to bear up under their pressures. Isa. xlvi. 12. 
' Hearken, ye stout-hearted, who are far from righteousness.' 
Persons that think to bear themselves up, when God dealeth 
with them, by their stout heart, are such, whom of all 
others God most despises and abhors : they are * far from 
righteousness.' Now crying doth include a sense of evils 
and pressures the soul is exercised withal, and that we do 

430 GOD THE saints' ROCK. 

not despise God when we are chastened, as well as that we 
do not utterly faint, but cry unto the Lord. 

(2.) The next act of faith is a holy complaint unto God 
in such a state and condition. So the psalmist tells us, 
Psal. cii. • A prayer of the afflicted when he is overwhelmed, 
and poureth out his complaint before the Lord.' He often 
mentions 'his complaint, coming with his complaint unto 
the Lord.' And God takes nothing more kindly, than when 
we come to him with our complaints, not repining at them, 
but spreading them before the Lord, as from whom alone we 
expect relief: for it declares we believe God concerns him- 
self in our state and condition. There is no man so foolish, 
whatsoever he suffers, as to go unto them with his com- 
plaints whom he supposes are not concerned in him, nor 
have any compassion for him. It is a professing unto God, 
that we believe he is concerned in our condition, when 
we cry unto him, and pour out before him our complaints. 

(3.) There is in it an endeavour to approach unto God. 
As you do when you cry after one whom you see at a dis- 
tance, and are afraid he will go farther from you. It is the 
great work of faith to cry out after God at a distance, when 
you are afraid lest at the next turn he should be quite out 
of sight. Crying to the Lord, supposes him to be with- 
drawing or departing. 

(4.) There is earnestness in it. It is expressive of the 
greatest earnestness of spirit we can use, when we cry out 
in any case. 

Thus he behaves himself during the condition described. 
He had a sense of his distress ; he makes his complaint unto 
the Lord ; he cries out after him for fear he should withdraw 
himself; and that with earnestness, that God might come in 
to his help. 

2. The matter of it is, That God would ' lead him to the 
rock,' that is, that God would give him an access unto him- 
self by Jesus Christ, in whom God is our rock and our refuge 
in all our distresses : that he would but open a way through 
all his dark and overwhelming entanglements, that he might 
come unto himself, there to issue the troubles and perplexi- 
ties that he was exercised withal. 

That which I would speak to you from the words thus 
opened, is this : 

GOD THE saints' ROCK. 431 

Observation. In the most overwhelming, calamitous dis- 
tresses that may befall a believing soul, faith still eyes a re- 
serve in God, and delights to break through all to come unto 
him ; though at the same time, it looks upon God as the 
author of those calamities. 

I have told you before in the opening ot the words, what 
I intend by these overwhelming distresses. They are of two 
sorts, inward and outward. 

First, Inward, in perplexities upon the soul and con- 
science about sin. When the soul is in darkness, and 
hath no apprehension of any ground upon which it may 
have acceptance with God ; when it is pressed with the 
guilt of sin, and abides in darkness upon that account, and 
hath no light. 

Secondly, Outward ; and these are of two sorts. 

1. Private, in afflictions, losses, sickness, pains, poverty, 
either as to ourselves, or those who are near unto us, and 
wherein we are concerned. These may sometimes have such 
an edge put upon them, as to prove overwhelming. 

2. Public, in reference unto the church of God ; when 
that is in great distress, when there is no prospect of relief, 
no beam of light; when the summer is past, and the harvest 
ended, expectations come to an issue, and no relief ensues : 
this is an overwhelming distress to them, whose hearts 
are in the ways of God, and have a concern in his glory. 
When Zion is in the dust, and the bones of the chil- 
dren of Zion lie scattered like wood upon the face of the 

These are the heads of overwhelming distresses. And I 
say, faith looks upon them as proceeding from God. Is 
the soul in distress upon the account of sin ? They are 
God's rebukes, God's arrows, it is God that hath caused 
this darkness. Is it troubled or pressed upon the account 
of afflictions or dangers ? * Affliction,' saith faith. Moth not 
spring out of the earth,' or troubles from the ground : these 
things are from God. Is it with respect unto the church 
of God, ' Who gave Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the rob- 
bers V Is it not the Lord, he against whom we have sinned ? 
It is therefore his wrath and indignation in all these things. 
Yet notwithstanding this, faith will look through all, and 
make a reserve in God himself. 

432 GOD THE saints' ROCK. 

I shall, 

I. Give some instances of this. 

II. Shew the grounds of it. 

III. Come to that which I chiefly intend, namely, to dis- 
cover what it is in God that in such an overwhelmino; condi- 
tion faith can see and fix upon, to give it support and relief. 

IV. Shew how this differs from that general reserve 
which the nature of man is apt to take in his thoughts of God 
in distress. 

I. I am to give some instances. And we have a very 
remarkable instance of this in Jonah, who tells us, chap, 
ii. 2. that he was in ' the belly of hell.' Hell in Scripture, 
when it is applied to the things of this world, doth intend 
the depth of temporal evils; as in Psal. xviii. 4. 'The sor- 
rows of hell compassed me,' saith David, speaking of the 
time of his affliction and persecution under Saul. And 
' the belly of hell' must needs be the darkness and confusion 
of all those calamitous distresses. Where did Jonah (view- 
ing himself in this condition), look for the cause from whence 
it did proceed? He tells us, ver. 3, ' for thou hast cast me 
into the deep.' He knew the occasion of it was his own 
sinful frowardness; the instrumental cause, the mariners 
upon his own persuasion ; but he refers it all to the principal 
cause, God himself: ' Thou hast cast me into the deep.' 
And how did this affect him? ver. 7. 'My soul fainted 
within me.' What relief then had he? ver. 5, 6. 'The 
waters compassed me about, even to the soul : the depth 
closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my 
head. I went down to the bottom of the mountains ; the 
earth with her bars was about me for ever.' No manner of 
relief, support, or succour to be expected. What did he do 
in this case? He tells presently, ' My prayer came in unto 
thee,' saith he, looking upon God as he who had cast him 
into this condition ; his eye was to him. David gives us 
several instances of it in himself. Once I acknowledge he 
was mistaken in his course. He tells us so, Psal. Iv. 
3 — 5. he had described the overwhelming condition wherein 
he was. And what course doth he take ? ver. 6. ' O that I 
had wings like a dove, for then would I fly away and be at 
rest; I would wander afar off, and be in the wilderness.' 
O that I was gone from the midst of all these perplexities, 

GOD THE saints' ROCK, 433 

that I was rid of those that are ready to overwhelm me 
But this was not a right course. I might give innumerable 
instances of the contrary: Psal. xxxi. 8 — 10, &c. is a de- 
scription of as sad a condition as any man can fall into, 
and which is accompanied with a great sense of God's dis- 
pleasure, and of his own sin ; ver. 10. ' My strength fuileth 
because of mine iniquity, and my bones are consumed.' 
What course doth he then take? ver. 14. ' But I trusted in 
thee, O Lord ; I said, Thou art my God.' When my strength 
failed because of mine iniquities, and ray bones were con- 
sumed ; when there was nothing but distress round about 
me, and that from God ; yet then ' I trusted in thee, and 
said. Thou art my God.' And this is what God himself in- 
vites us unto, Isa. xl. 27. There is a complaint made by 
Jacob ; ' My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is 
passed over from my God.' We have but two things 
wherein we are concerned in this world, as we are pro- 
fessors of the gospel ; and they are, our way, and our 
judgment. Our way, that is, the course of obedience and 
profession, which according to the truth we are engaged in ; 
as believing in Christ is called ' a way.' My way of faith, 
my way of worship, my way of obedience is hid from the 
Lord; God takes no notice of it; which is as much as to 
say, my all in the things of God is at a loss, God takes no 
notice of my way. Should that be our condition, really we 
should be of all men most miserable. But there is also 
our judgment, that is, tlie judgment that is to be passed upon 
our cause, and way, which David doth so often pray about, 
when he begs that God would 'judge him in his righteous- 
ness.' Now saith the church here, God takes no notice of 
it, but hath put off the cause to the world ; my judgment is 
passed over, determined for me no more, but he lets me 
suffer under the judgment of the world. And truly when 
our way and judgment is passed over, profession and obe- 
dience as it were hid from God, God takes no notice of 
them. And when he puts off the judgment and determina- 
tion of our cause, what have we more in the world ? What 
doth God now propose to them for their relief? What pro- 
mises, what encouragements will he remind them of? No- 
thing but himself, ver. 28. 'Hast thou not known? hast 
thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the 

VOL. XVI. 2 F 

434 GOD THE saints' KOCK. 

Creator ot tlie ends of the earth tainteth not, neither is 
weary? there is no searching of his understanding.' God 
calls them to consider him in his own nature and being, 
with those glorious acts suited thereunto. He calls our 
faith to look for rest in himself alone. It is impossible 
thy way and thy judgment should thus pass over from 
him, because he is ' the everlasting God, the Lord, the 

II. I come now to the grounds of it, whence it is that 
faith doth this. And that is upon a twofold account. 

1. Because it knows how to disting-uish between the na- 
ture of the covenant, and the external administration of it. 

2. Because it is natural to faith so to do; and that upon 
a double account, as we shall see presently. 

1. Faith doth this, because it is able to distinguish be- 
tween the covenant itself, which is firm, stable, invariable ; 
and the administration of the covenant, which is various and 
changeable; I mean the outward administration of it. And 
this God teaches us, Psal. Ixxxix. 30 — 34. ' If his children' 
[the children of Jesus Christ] ' forsake my law, and walk not 
in my judgments; if they break my statutes, and keep not 
my commandments; then will I visit their transgression with 
the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless my 
loving-kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer 
my faithfulness to fail. My covenant will I not break, nor 
alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.' The covenant 
of God shall stand firm and unalterable then, when the rod 
and the stripes of men are upon our backs. In the midst 
of all God's visiting for iniquity, whether by internal rebukes, 
or outward chastisements, yet faith sees the covenant stable, 
and so makes unto God upon that account. David, when 
he comes to die, gives it as the sum of all his observation, 
that the covenant was immutable, but the outward adminis- 
tration various; 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. ' Although my house be not 
so with God ; yet he hath made with me an everlasting cove- 
nant, ordered in all things and sure.' However God doth 
deal with my house, whatever misery is brought upon us, 
yet the covenant itself is everlasting, ordered in all things 
and sure. Whatever misery and distress may fall upon a 
believing soul, and I pray God help me to believe it, as well 
as to say it, whatever darkness or temptation he may be ex- 

GOD THE saints' ROCK. 435 

ercised withal upon the account of sin, whatever pressure in 
afflictions, persecutions, dangers, may befall him; they all 
belong unto God's covenant dispensation in dealing with 
him. For God being his God in covenant, he acts accord- 
ing to the covenant in all things. Hence saith Hezekiah, 
Isa. xxxviii. 16. ' O Lord, by these things men live, and in 
all these things is the life of my spirit.' What are these 
things ? Why, saith he, * I reckoned till morning, that as a 
lion so will he break all my bones ; from day even to night 
wilt thou make an end of me. What shall I say ? he hath 
both spoken unto me, and himself hath done it ; I shall go 
softly all my years in the bitterness of my soul.' One would 
think the next words would be. By these things men die. 
No: but ' by these things believers live, and in all these things 
is the life of my soul;' because they are all administered 
from the invariable covenant for the good of the souls of 
them who are exercised with them. Now as God is pleased 
to declare himself, so is the soul to think of God in these 
dispensations of the covenant. Doth God hide his face, and 
leave the soul to darkness ? In darkness it must be. Job 
xxxiv. 29. * When he giveth quietness, who then can make 
trouble ? And when he hideth his face, who then can behold 
him V Whether it be done against a nation, or against a man 
only; be it against one person, or the whole church of God; 
if he hides his face, and causeth darkness, none can behold 
him. When God chastens us, we cannot but look upon him 
as angry ; when he gives us up into the hands of men, hard 
masters, we cannot but look upon it as a token of his dis- 
pleasure. When God doth thus in his outward dispensation 
of the covenant, so that all things are dark, and shew no- 
thing but displeasure, and we are to look upon him as a God 
that hideth himself, and is displeased with us, and exercising 
anger towards us; in SMch a day, what shall the soul then 
do? Why under all these outward tokens of God's displea- 
sure, faith will, though but weak and faint, work through 
unto God himself, as invariable in his covenant, and there 
have a reserve in him beyond them all. Psal. xcvii. 2. ' Clouds 
and darkness are round about him ; but righteousness and 
judgment are the habitation of his throne.' I confess I have 
clouds and darkness round about me, but if I could but break 
through these clouds and darkness, that are the consequents 

2 f2 

436 GOD iHb: saints' hock. 

of God's hiding his face, and come to his throne, there is 
righteousness and judgment, that righteousness and judg- 
ment wherein he hath betrothed me unto hiniself in cove- 
nant; Hos. ii. 19. Could I get through this darkness of mind, 
this pressure upon my spirit, this sense of guilt, and come 
unto his throne ; there I should find him faithful and stable 
in his promises, and unalterable in his love. Now suppose a 
person to have all these things upon him at once ; that God 
hath left him to a great sense of sin (for our troubles about 
sin are not according to the greatness of our sin, but to the 
sense God will let in upon us ; and they are not to be 
reckoned the greatest sinners, w^ho are most troubled for their 
sin), and his troubles are very great ; and at the same time 
the Lord in his providential dispensation is pleased to exer- 
cise him in sharp afflictions ; and if at the same time his in- 
terest and concernment in the people of God is likewise in 
darkness and distress, that there is no relief in that neither; 
to such a one there are clouds and darkness round about God. 
What then will faith do in such a case? Why true faith will 
secretly work through all to the throne of God, where there 
is righteousness, and judgment, and acceptance with him. 
So it is said, Isa. viii. 17. ' I will wait upon the Lord, that 
hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for 
him.' The face of God is his love in Christ, and the shining 
of his countenance in the promises of the covenant; for the 
way whereby God comnmnicates his love unto our hearts, is 
by his promises. Now when the soul is sensible of no com- 
munication of love, nor promise of it, then God is said to 
hide his face. What will faith do in such a case? betake 
itself unto any thing else for relief? No, saith he, * I will 
wait upon God that hideth his face.' As a traveller, when 
the sky is filled with clouds and darkness, tempests and 
storms, that are ready to break upon him everywhere; yet 
remembers that these are but interpositions, and the sun is 
where it was, and if he can but shelter himself till the storm 
be over, the sun will shine out again, and its beams refresh 
him : so is it with the soul in this case, it remembers God is 
still where he was; though there are clouds within, and dis- 
tresses without, sorrow, and anguish, and fears round about 
us, and the enemy enters into the very soul ; yet the sun is 
where it was still, God will hide us where we may abide till 

GOD THE saints' ROCK. 437 

this indignation he overpast, and the light of his countenance 
will yet shine upon me again. Faith considers God in the 
midst of all his various administrations, and so finds a way 
for relief. 

2. Faith will naturally thus act, as it is the principle ot 
the new nature in us that came from God, and will tend unto 
him, whatever difficulties lie in the way. 

Evangelical faith will have a secret double tendency to 

(1.) Upon that necessary respect which it indispensably 
and uncontrollably hath to Jesus Christ; for it being the 
purchase of Christ, and wrought in us by his Spirit, and being 
the product and travail of the soul of Christ, it hath a natural 
tendency unto him: 1 Pet. i. 21. 'Who by him do believe 
in God;' by Christ as mediator, as our surety, undertaking 
for us. That let what will overwhelm the soul, where there 
is but the least faith, it will have relief in this, that Christ 
was substituted in its room against all real indignation and 
wrath from God. The father of the faithful was once reduced 
to great distress, when he had lifted up his knife to the 
throat of his only son ; but when destruction lies so near at 
the door, a voice called to him from heaven, and stopped 
him, and he looked behind him and saw a ram caught for a 
sacrifice to God. When many a poor soul hath the knife at 
the throat of all his consolations, ready to die away, he 
hears a voice behind him, that makes him look and see 
Christ provided for him, as a substituted sacrifice in his 

(2.) The new creature is the child of God, whereof faith 
is the principle. It is begotten of God, of his own will; and 
so against all interpositions and difficulties whatsoever is 
tending to him. 

III. 1 now proceed to shew, what it is, that in such an 
overwhelming condition as I have described, faith regards 
in God, to give it a support and relief, that it be not utterly 
swallowed up and overwhelmed. And, 

1. The first thins: faith considers in such a condition, is. 
the nature of God himself, and his excellencies. This is 
that which God in the first place proposes for our relief: 
Hos. xi. 9. ' I will not execute the fierceness of mine an- 
ger ; 1 will not return to destroy Ephraim.' What reason 

438 GOD THE saints' KOCK. 

doth he give to assure us that he will not? 'For,' saith he, 
' I am God, and not man; the holy One in the midst of thee.' 
He proposes his own nature to our faith to confirm us, that 
whatever our expectations be, he will not execute the fierce- 
ness of his wrath ; and he reproaches them who put their 
trust in any thing that is not God by nature. So Deut. xxxii. 
21. *They have provoked me with that which is not God.' 
And he curseth him ' thattrusteth in man, and maketh flesh 
his arm ;' Jer. xvii. 5. But he proposes himself for our trust, 
one of infinite goodness, grace, bounty, and patience. 

Now there are two ways whereby God proposes his na- 
ture, and the consideration of it, for the relief of faith in 
overwhelming distresses. 

(1.) By his name. The name of God, is God himself, 
Psal. ix. 10. ' They that know thy name will put their trust 
in thee ;' that is, they that know thee. Whatsoever the 
word itself signifies, yet it is the nature of God that is de- 
clared by his name. And you know how he doth invite and 
encourage us to trust in the name of God : 'The name of 
God is a strong tower; the righteous fly thereto and are safe ;' 
Prov. xviii. 10. Isa. 1. 10. ' Let him trust in the name of 
the Lord, and stay upon his God.' The name of the Lord is 
what he declares himself to be : * The Lord God, gracious 
and merciful, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and 
truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin;' Exod. 
xxxiv. 6, 7. Here he reveals and declares his name. God 
proposes his name, and the declaration of it, against the 
working of unbelief, which apprehends that he is severe, 
wrathful, that he watcheth for our halting, treasures up 
every failing and sin to be avenged of it, and that he will do 
it in fury. No, saith God, ' fury is not in me ;' Isa. xxvii. 4. 
The Lord is good and gracious, as appears by his name, es- 
pecially as revealed in Christ; so that faith will find secret 
encouragement in it in all distresses. 

By the way, hence you may observe, that God in former 
days, whilst revelation was undera progress, and he revealed 
himself by little and little, did still give out his name ac- 
cording as the state and condition of his church and people 
required, because he called them to trust in his name. How 
did he reveal himself unto Abraham ? He tells you, Exod. 
vi. 3. ' 1 revealed myself unto Abraham by the name of God 

GOD THE saints' HOCK. 439 

Almighty.' So Gen. xvii. 1. he says to him, ' I am the Al- 
mighty God.' And he gives an explication of that name. 
Gen. XV. 1. ' I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great re- 
ward.' Abraham was in a state and condition wherein he 
wanted protection in the world ; for he was a stranger, and 
wandered up and down among strange nations that were 
stronger than he, and such as he might fear destruction from 
every day. Fear not, saith God, for * I am God Almighty ; 
I am thy shield.' And in the faith of this did Abraham tra- 
vel among the nations. And at that time he had no child. 
What end then should he have of all his labour and travel ? 
Why, saith God, * I am thy reward.' And Gen. xiv. where 
there is a discourse about the nations of the world, who be- 
gan to fall into idolatry, Melchisedek is called * a priest of 
the most high God.' God revealed himself to be a * high 
God,' to cast contempt upon their dunghill gods. And when 
Abraham came to speak with the king of Sodom, he says, 'I 
have sworn by the high God.' So when God came to bring 
the people out of the land of Egypt, he revealed himself un- 
to them by his name Jehovah. I did not reveal myself so 
before, saith God, but now I reveal myself so, because I am 
come to give subsistence unto my promise. Thus God 
dealt with them when he came to maintain his church by 
gradual revelations. But now God reveals himself by his 
whole name, and we may take what suits our distress, espe- 
cially that which is comprehensive of all the rest, ' The God 
and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.' 

(2.) God doth this by comparing himself to such crea- 
tures as act out of natural kindness : ' Can a woman forget 
her sucking child ? Yet I will not forget.' 

Now there are three reasons why it is necessary that faith 
in an overwhelming condition should have regard to the na- 
ture of God, and the essential properties of his nature for its 
relief. [1.] Because of the circumstances of our distresses; 
[2.] Because of the nature of them; and, [3.] Because of 
the nature of faith. 

[1.] Because of the circumstances of our distress. 
There are three or four circumstances that may befall us in 
our distress, that faith itself can get no relief against them, 
but from the essential properties of the nature of God. 

1st. The first is, place. Believers may be brought into 

440 GOD THE saints' KOCK. 

distress in all places of the world : in a lion's den with 
Daniel ; in a dungeon with Jeremiah ; they may be banished 
to the ends ot" the earth, as John to Patmos ; or they may be 
driven into the wilderness, as the woman by the fury of the 
dragon. The whole church may be cast into places where no 
eye can see them, no hand relieve them ; where none knows 
whether they are among the living or the dead. Now what 
can give relief against this circumstance of distress which 
may befall the people of God? Nothing but what Jeremiah 
tells us, chap, xxiii. 23. ' Am I a God at hand only, and not 
afar off, to the ends of the earth ?' Psal. cxxxix. 7. * Whither 
shall I fly from thy presence ? to the utmost ends of the 
earth?' It is all in vain : the essential omnipresence of God 
can alone relieve the souls of believers against this great 
circumstance of various places, whither they may be driven 
to suffer distress, and be overwhelmed with them. If the 
world could cast us out, where God is not, and hath nothing 
to do, how would it triumph ? . It was a part of their bond- 
age and great difficulty of old, that the solemn worship of 
God was confined to one certain country and place; so 
that when the enemies of the church could cast them out 
from thence, they did as it were say unto them. Go, serve 
other gods. God hath taken off that bondage ; all the world 
cannot throw us out of a place where we cannot worship 
God. Wherever there is a holy people, there is a holy 
land, and we can be driven to no place but God is there : 
and if we should be compelled to leave our land, we have no 
ground to fear we shall leave our God behind us. God's es- 
sential omnipresence is a great relief against this circum- 
stance of distress, especially to souls that are cast out where 
no eye can pity them. Should they be cast into dungeons, 
as Jeremiah was, yet they can say, ' God is here.' 

2dly. It is so likewise with respect to time. The suffer- 
ings of the church of God are not tied up to one age or ge- 
neration. We can see some little comfort and relief that 
may befall us in our own days; but what shall become of 
our posterity, of future ages? Why God's immutability is 
the same throughout all generations ; his ' loving-kindness 
fails not,' as the psalmist saith ; which is the only relief 
against this distress. Alas, if a man should take aprospect 
of the interest of Christ at this day in the world, and con- 

GOT) THK saints' ROCK. 441 

sider the coming on of wickedness like a flood in all parts 
of the earth, he would be ready to think, What will God do 
for his great name? What will become of the gospel of 
Christ in another age ? But God is the same through all 
times and ages. 

3dly. There is relief to be found in God, and only in 
himself, in the loss of all, when nothing remains. Should a 
man lose his lands, if his house remains, he hath something 
to relieve him, he knows where to repose his head under his 
cares. But when all is gone, what can relieve him ? No- 
thing but God and his all-sufliciency. This was Habbak- 
kuk's comfort if all should fail him ; yet, saith he, ' I will 
rejoice in the Lord, and joy in the God of my salvation.' 

4thly. The last circumstance of distress, is death, with 
the way and manner whereby it may approach us : and how 
soon this will be, we know not. When all this state and 
frame of things shall vanish, and we prove to have an utter 
unconcernment in things below ; when the curtain shall be 
turned aside, and we shall look into another world ; the soul's 
relief lies in God's immutability, that we shall find him the 
same to us in death as he was in life, and much more. 

442 GOD THE saints' ROCK. 


In ray former discourse upon this text, I told you, that there 
were three reasons why faith betakes itself to the nature of 
God for relief in overwhelming distresses. The first was 
taken from the circumstances of those distresses ; the second 
from the nature of them ; and the third from the nature of 
faith itself. 

I mentioned four circumstances in such distresses that 
nothing can relieve the souls of men against, but the con- 
sideration of God's essential properties, which I shall not 
here repeat, but proceed to the second reason. 

[2.] There are some distresses that in their own nature 
refuse all relief that you can tender them, but only what is 
derived from the fountain itself, the nature of God. Zion's 
distress did so ; Isa. xlix. 14. ' Zion said. The Lord hath 
forsaken me.' And, chap. xl. 27. 'My way is hid from the 
Lord, and my judgment is passed over from my God.' She 
was in that distress that nothing but the nature of God 
could give her relief. God therefore proposeth that unto 
her: * Hast thou not known ? hast thou not heard, that the 
everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the 
earth fainteth not?' ver. 28. A man would think sometimes 
it was no diflScult thing to answer those objections which 
believing souls charge against themselves, even such as we 
are well and comfortably persuaded are believers. But it 
frequently falls out quite otherwise, and nothing will bring 
them to an issue, but the consideration of the infinite grace 
and goodness that is in God. 

Nay, there may be temporal distresses that in their own 
nature will admit of no other relief. As when the whole 
church of God is in extreme calamity in the world, which 
nothing can remove but infinite power, goodness, and wis- 
dom. You know how Moses was put to it when God told 
him he would deliver Israel out of Egypt. He looked upon 
it as impossible, and raised objections till it came to that, 
Exod. iii. 13. If it must be so, tell me thy name. And 
God revealed his name: 'I am that I am.' Till God con- 

* This seriniin was jircaclicd Nov. S.t, 1670. 

GOD THE saints" ROCK. 443 

firmed him with his name, that is, with his nature, Moses 
could see no way possible how the church should be deli- 
vered. And so it falls out with us, as with Moses. When 
God did not appear, Moses thought he could have delivered 
them himself, and goes and kills the Egyptian; but when 
God appeared, he could not believe that God himself could 
do it, till he gave him his name. 

But some may object ; When faith comes to approach 
unto God to find relief as God proposes himself ii^i his n^me, 
it will find other things in God besides his goodness, grace, 
and mercy : there is severity, justice, righteousness in God, 
which will give as much discouragement on the one hand, 
as the other properties will give encouragement on the 
other : to come to God and see him glorious in holiness, 
and infinite in severity and righteousness, here will be dis- 

I shall answer this briefly, and so pass on. 

1st. It is most true that God is so : he is no less infi- 
nitely holy, than infinitely patient and condescending ; no 
less infinitely righteous, than infinitely merciful and gra- ' 
cious : but these properties of God's nature shall not be im- 
mediately glorified upon their persons who go unto him, and 
make their addresses in faith, though he will be so to others. 
There is nothing but faith can take a proper view of God. 
Wicked men's thoughts of God are referred unto these two 
heads : First, They think wickedly, ' that God is altogether 
such an one as themselves;' Psal. 1. 21. While under the 
power of their corruptions and temptations, while in pursuit 
of their lusts, they have no thoughts of God, but such as 
these. The meaning of which is, that he is not much dis- 
pleased with them in what they do ; but hath the same care 
of them in the way of their sins, as of the holiest in the 
world. Secondly, Their other thoughts are commonly when 
it is too late, and God lets his terrors into their souls, what 
the prophet saith in Isaiah; 'Who of us shall dwell with 
eternal fire?' 

2dly. God hath given believers assurance that he will 
not deal with them according to the strictness of his holiness, 
and severity of his justice. So speaks Job, chap, xxiii. 3, 4. 
' Oh that I knew where I might find him; that I might come 

444 GOD THE saints' ROCK. 

to his seat ! I would order my cause before him, and fill my 
mouth with arguments.' But doth he know of whom he 
speaks ? and what this great and holy One will speak when 
he appears ? Yes, ver. 6. 'Will he plead against me with his 
great power ? No, but he will put strength in me.' God will 
not plead with me by his dread, and terror, and great seve- 
rity; but he will put strength in me. Therefore, Isa. xxvii. 5. 
he bids them ' lay hold on his arm.' Who dare lay hold on 
God's arm? ' Let them lay hold upon my arm that they may 
have peace, and they shall have peace.' Poor creatures are 
afraid to go to God because of his power ; but * fury is not 
in me,' saith God. 

3dly. It is impossible for faith ever to consider the nature 
of God, but it hath a secret respect unto Jesus Christ, as the 
days-man, or umpire between God and the soul, and as he 
by whom, as to all that concerns these properties of his na- 
ture, his severity and justice, are already manifested and 

[3.] There is one reason more why the soul will thus in 
overwhelming distresses betake itself unto the nature of 
God, as manifested by his name; and that is taken from 
the nature of faith itself. The formal reason of faith is the 
veracity of God's word. What we believe with divine faith, 
we believe upon this account, that God hath revealed and 
spoken it. And the ultimate object of faith is God's all- 
sufficiency. And whatsoever you act faith immediately 
upon, it will not rest, and be satisfied, till it comes, as it 
were, to be immersed in the all-sufficiency of God ; like the 
stream of a river that runs with great swiftness, and presses 
on till it comes to the ocean, where it is swallowed up. It 
is said, 1 Pet. i.21. that through Christ we * believe in God.' 
Christ is the immediate object of faith, but God in his all- 
sufficiency is the ultimate object of faith. 

Again, faith acts thus, because it is the great principle 
of that divine nature which God hath inlaid in our souls, 
created in us, and whereof he is the Father ; for ' of his own 
will he hath begotten us by the word of truth.' Faith there- 
fore, as it is the child of God, the new nature that God hath 
ingrafted in us, has a natural tendency towards God; so 
that it is working in and through all to God himself who is 

GOD THE saints' ROCK. 445 

its Father. This is the first thing that the soul considers 
in God, that faith makes its application unto for relief. 

2. In an overwhelmino- condition faith finds relief in 
sovereign grace ; that is, grace as it is absolutely free. 
What I mean by it, is that which is mentioned, Exod. 
xxxiii. 19. ' I will be gracious unto whom I will be gracious, 
and I will shew mercy upon whom I will shew mercy.' The 
things we stand in need of, are grace and mercy : the prin- 
ciple from whence they flow, and are bestowed, is the so- 
vereign will and pleasure of God. God refers the dispen- 
sation of all grace and mercy merely unto his own sovereign 
will and pleasure. Now when the soul can find nothing in 
the promise, nothing in any evidence of the love of God, or 
in the experience that it hath formerly had, it betakes itself 
unto the sovereignty of grace. And in sovereign grace there 
are two things : 

(1.) That God is able to give relief in the state and con- 
dition wherein we are ; whatever we stand in need of, mercy, 
life, salvation, God is able to give it; whatsoever he will do, 
he can do. And this in the Scripture is made a great en- 
couragement of rest upon God. Thus Dan. iii. 17. when 
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were in that great and 
overwhelming distress, what did they relieve themselves 
withal ? ' If it be so,' say they, ' our God whom we serve is 
able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he 
will deliver us out of thy hand, O king. But if not, be it 
known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, 
nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.' If 
God 'will not;' it is not, 'if God cannot;' for he can do 
what he will. If he had not been able, they would not have 
worshipped him. There is nothing for these sixteen hun- 
dred years that hath seemed harder to be effected, than the 
call of the Jews; but the apostle gives us this ground yet 
to fix our hopes upon, in the expectation of it: they may be 
grafted in, 'for God is able to graft them in again;' Rora. 
xi. 23. The very power of God, that he is able to do what- 
ever he pleases, is a foundation for faith to act upon, and 
relieve itself by. And therefore God pleads it emphatically, 
Isa. 1. 2, 3. where he tells them, that his hand is not short- 
ened that it cannot save; but he is still able to do it. ' Is 
my hand shortened at all,' saith he, ' that it cannot redeem' 


or have I no power to deliver? Behold, at my rebuke I 
dry up the sea: I make the rivers a wilderness : 1 clothe 
the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their 

Now there are four things that are included in this very 
apprehension of faith, that God is able to do this whatever 
our condition be. 

[1.] There is nothing contrary to his own nature in it. 
There are things that are contrary to the nature of God, and 
these things God cannot do. 'God cannot lie ;' Tit. i. 2. 
Heb. vi. 18. It is one part of God's infinite perfection, that 
he can do nothing contrary unto his own nature. So that 
whatever I believe is of God's sovereign grace which he is 
able to do, I believe there is nothing in it contrary unto the 
nature of God. Whatever apprehensions we have of pardon 
of sin, it includes an atonement; for without an atonement 
God is not able to pardon our sins ; God cannot do it without 
satisfaction unto his justice. So that every soul that hath an 
apprehension that there is sovereign grace in God, whereby 
he is able to relieve and help him, he includes in that ap- 
prehension, the belief of an atonement, without which God 
cannot do it. He cannot deny himself. It is the judgment 
of God, that * they that commit sin are worthy of death.' 

[2.] If God be able, there is nothing in it contrary to 
any decree of God. There are many things that may be 
contrary to God's decree, that in themselves were not con- 
trary unto his nature ; for the decree of God is a free act of 
his will, which might have been, or not have been. But 
when the decree of God is engaged, if any thing be con- 
trary unto it, God cannot do it, for he is not changeable. 

Now the decree of God may be taken two ways. 

1st. For his eternal purpose concerning this or that per- 
son or thing. But this I intend not, 

2dly. The decree of God signifies * sententia lata/ ' a 
determinate sentence,' that God hath pronounced against 
any person or thing, contrary to which God will not pro- 
ceed. So Zeph. ii. 2. we are invited to 'seek the Lord, be- 
fore the decree bring forth;' that is, before God hath passed 
an absolute and determinate sentence in that matter and 
case. When Daniel would assure Nebuchadnezzar of his 
doom, he tells him it was ' the decree of the Most High,' 

GOD THE saints' ROCK, 447 

chap. iv. 24. So in the case of Saul, ' God hath rejected 
thee,' saith Samuel, 1 Sam. xv. 26. But will he not call it 
back ? No : ' The strength of Israel will not lie,' ver. 29. The 
sentence is gone forth, and it shall stand. God rejected the 
house of Eli from the priesthood, 1 Sam. ii. but will he not 
return again? No : ' The iniquity of the house of Eli shall 
not be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever;' chap, 
iii. 14. So it was with them of whom God ' sware in his 
wrath, they should never enter into his rest.' Now while 
there is faith in God's sovereignty, if there be no decree in 
the case, there is hope. But if God had decreed, and put 
forth his oath, he would not have raised my faith to look 
after sovereign grace, which declares an ability in God, that 
he can do it. 

[3.] It includes this, That there is nothing in it contrary 
unto the glory of God ; for this is the measure of all that 
God doth in all his dealings with us ; he aims in all things at 
the manifestation of his glory. And we are not to desire 
any thing that is contrary to the glory of God. We are not 
to desire that God would not be holy and righteous because 
of us, that we might be saved in our sins, and while we are 
obstinate in them. This is to desire, that God would not 
be God, that we might live. But now to save an humble, 
broken, contrite sinner, a poor guilty creature, that lies at 
his feet for mercy, to deliver poor distressed believers from 
ruin and oppression, is not inconsistent with the glory of 
God, God can do this for the advancement of his glory. I 
have known it go well with some poor souls, when they 
could come to believe this, that to save and pardon them, 
was not contrary to God's nature, decree, and glory. 

[4.] There is this in it also. That if there be need of 
power, God can put it forth; that power which carried 
Abraham through all difl&culties; Gen. xviii. 14. * Is any 
thing too hard for the Lord?' What is your difficulty? It 
may be an overwhelming guilt of sin : ' Is any thing too 
hard for God?' What is your distress? A wicked, prevailing 
corruption. ' Is any thing too hard for God ?' In outward 
distresses that lie upon the church of God, there is this relief 
in sovereign grace: * Is any thing too hard for God?' Every 
thing is too hard for us, but nothing is too hard for God. 
This is the first thing in sovereign grace; that God is able. 


(2.) If it be so, then all that we have to do is resolved 
into the will of God. So that all I have to do in this world, 
is but to go to God, as the leper did unto Christ: ' Lord, if 
thou wilt thou canst make me clean.' If God will, he can 
pardon, sanctify, save me. And if God will, he can deliver 
his church and people. Here lies the whole question ; it is 
all resolved into his will. 

Now two things ensue after once a poor soul hath re- 
solved all his concerns into the will of God. 

[1.] There will be an end put unto all other entangling 
disputes and dark thoughts, which overwhelm the mind: 
for now, saith the soul, it is come to this, that my whole 
condition depends upon God's sovereign pleasure. David 
somewhere makes his complaint, that he was in the mire. 
A poor creature is bemired, and the more he plungeth, the 
faster he sticks. When a soul is in this condition, saith 
God, 'Be still, and know that I am God;' Psal. xlvi. 10. 
And now all is rolled upon the will of God. 

[2.] When once we can resolve our conditions absolutely 
without farther dispute into the will of God, innumerable 
arguments will arise to persuade the soul that God will be 
willing. I will name some of them. 

1st. One is taken from that goodness and graciousness 
of his nature, which we have been before considerins: and 
proposing unto you ; and doth now properly in this place 
occur unto us. Suppose any of us had a business with a 
man, whom we believe to be a good man, a man that hath 
something of the image of God upon him, and the matter is 
to us of great importance, it may be as much as our lives are 
worth, and he can easily do it without any prejudice or dis- 
advantage unto himself, with one word; can we cast a 
greater reflection upon this man than to think he will not 
be willing to do it? that merely to do us a mischief and 
spite, he will change his own nature, and act contrary to 
his own principles? Shall we then question the good will of 
God? Shall we question, when all is resolved into his will, 
that he will not give us out grace and mercy in time of need ? 
Our Saviour presses this argument, Luke xi. 11 — 13. and 
in other places, where he brings the issue as near as possible, 
telling us, it is not to be expected that a child, who finds 
nothing but his father's will to hinder, will mistriist his 

GOD THE saints' ROCK. 449 

giving him bread. * And if ye being evil,' saith he, ' know 
how to give good gifts unto your children; how much more 
shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that 
ask liim /' And when we can bring the concerns of God's 
church and people merely to his will, his own nature will 
supply us with arguments enough to confirm our expecta- 
tion that he will do it. 

2dly. There is another great argument, when all is 
brought to the sovereignty of the will of God, which is men- 
tioned, Rom. viii. 32. ' He that spared not his own Son, 
but delivered him up unto death for us all ; how shall he 
not with him also freely give us all things?' Shall I ques- 
tion whether God will do this thing or no, considering this 
great instance of his will? It was his will to send Jesus 
Christ to die for poor sinners. He did not send him to die 
in vain, and that his death should be lost. If God were not 
willing to give out grace and mercy to sinners, wherefore 
did he send Jesus Christ? Why did he give his own Son out 
of his bosom? Why did he not spare him, and cause our 
iniquities to meet upon ourselves? Can God give a greater 
sign of his readiness to spare sinners, than his dealing with 
Jesus Christ? That is the second thing which faith considers 
when it comes unto God for relief in an overwhelming con- 
dition ; sovereign grace, that God is able, all things are re- 
solved into his will. 

3dly. Faith in this matter takes into consideration that 
one particular property of the grace of God in Christ, which 
is mentioned, Ephes. iii. 8. 'The unsearchable riches of 
Christ.' Saith faith, there is more grace and more mercy 
too in God (for these are God's riches thatarehere intended) 
than possibly I can see and look into. Will the mercy that 
hath been declared unto my faith, the promises that have 
been discovered and revealed iinto me, give me satisfaction? 
No, they will not. I cannot be satisfied with what I have 
received ; with what discoveries have been made unto me of 
the grace of God. But, saith the soul, there lie behind un- 
searchable riches o