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Full text of "The works of John Owen"

S^hcolorjical Seminary, 


So. < Yisi . 

\". SliiJf. Section V 7* 

Tin- .lolin >I. hnhs nonatioii. 

















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





Preface to tbe Reader 3 

The use of prayer, and the work of the Holy Spirit therein 31 

Zech. xii. 10. opened and vindicated • 35 

Gal. iv. 6. opened and vindicated 48 


The nature of prayer. Rom. viii. 26. opened and vindicated 55 


The work of the Holy Spirit as to the matter of prayer 62 

The due manner of prayer, wherein it doth consist 75 


The nature of prayer in general, with respect unto forms of prayer and vocal 
prayer. Eph. vi. 18. opened and vindicated 87 


The duty of external prayer, by virtue of a spiritual gift, explained and vindi- 
cated 92 


Duties inferred from the preceding discourse 10' 



Of mental prayer as pretended uuto by some in the church of Rome 125 

Prescribed forms of prayer examined 138 

The Preface 155 



The Holy Ghost the Comforter of the church by way of office. How he is the 
church's Advocate. John xiv. 16- 1 John ii. 1,2. Johnxvi.8 — 11. opened' 1,59 


General adjuncts or properties of the office of a Comforter as exercised by tlie 
Holy Spirit 175 


Unto whom the Holy Spirit is promised and given as a Comforter; or the object 
of his acting in this office •■ 189 

Inhabitation of the Spirit, the first thing promised 19-i 

Particular actings of the Sjiirit as a Comforter. How he is an unction. • • 202 

The Spirit a seal ; and how 214 

The Spirit an earnest ; and liow 223 

The application of the foregoing discourse 230 


Spiritual gifts ; their names and signification 239 

Differences between 3i)irituHl gifts and saving grace 245 


Of gifts aud offices extraordinary : and first of offices 2G1 

Extraordinary spiritual gifts. 1 Cor. xii. 5 — 11 279 


The original, duration, use, and end, of extraordinary spiritual gifts 305 



The grant, institution, use, benefit, end, and continuance of the ministrj' 320 


Of spiritual gifts enabling the ministry to the exercise and discharge of their 
trust and office 335 


Of the gifts of the Spirit with respect unto doctrine, rule, and "worship ; how 
attained and improved 347 


The Epistle Dedicatory 365 


The divine original of the Scripture, the sole foundation of its authority. The 
original of the Old Testament ; Heb. i. 1. Several ways of immediate re- 
velation. The peculiar manner of the revelation of the word. Considera- 
tions thereon. Various expressions of that way ; ^2 Pet. i. 20, 21. The 
written word, as written, preserved by the providence of God. Capellus's 
opinion about various lections considered. The Scripture not 'Ma; iTriXva-iait. 
The true meaning of that expression. How the word came of old, and how 
it was received. Entirely from God to the least tittle. Of the Scriptures 
of the New Testament, and their peculiar prerogative 389 


The main question proposed to consideration. How wc may know assuredly 
the Scripture to be the word of God. The Scripture to be received by di- 
vine faith. The ground and foundation of that faith inquired after. The 
answer in the general thesis of this discourse. The authority' of God that 
foundation. The way whereby that authority is evidenced or made known. 
What is meant by the authority of tlie Scriptures. Authority is in respect 
of others. First general evidence given to the thesis laid down. The va- 


nous ways of God's revealing himself and his mind. 1. By his works- 
2. By the light of nature ; 3. By his word. Each of these eVince them- 
selves to be from him. His word especially ^^^^q 


Arguments of two sorts. Inartificial arguments, by way of testimony to the 
truth. To whom these arguments are valid; Isa. viii. 20. 2 Tim. iii. 16. of 

^toTTveve-ria. The to QbTov that accompanies the voice of God; Jer. iii. 26 29. 

The rejection of a plea of S^eomivs-ria;, wherein it consists ; Luke xvi. 31. 
Of n)iracles, their efficacy to beget faith, compared with the word ; 2 Pet. 
i. 16. 19, 20 



Innate arguments in the Scripture, of its divine original and autliority. These 
the formal reason of our believing. Its self-evidencing efficacy. All light 
manifests itself. The Scripture, light. What kind of liglit it is. Spiritual 
light evidential. The ground of men's not discerning this liglit. Consec- 
taries from the premises laid down. What the self-evidencing light of the 
Scripture peculiarly is. The proposition of the Scripture as an object of 
faith IS from and by this light. Power, self-evidencing. The Scripture the 
power of God. And powerful. How this power exerts itself. The whole 
question resolved 



Of the testimony of the Spirit. Traditions. Miracles 424 


Consequential considerations for the confirmation of the divine authority of the 
Scripture , -^ ^^g 



The occasion of this discourse. The danger of supposing corruptions in the 
originals of the Scripture. The great usefulness of the Biblia Polyolotta. 
1 lu' grounds of the ensuing animadversions. The assertions proposed to be 
vindicated, laid down. Their weight and importance. Sundry principles 
in the Prolegomena prejudicial to the truth contended for, laid down. Those 
principles formerly asserted by others. Reasons for the opposition made 
to them 



Of the purity of the originals. The AiroVja^)* of the Scripture lost. That of 
Moses, how, and how long preserved ; of the book found by Ililkiah. Of 
the Alriypa-f.a of the New Testament. Of the first copies of tlie originals ; 
the scribes of those copies not ^iCwnvaToi. What is ascribed to them. The 


great and incomparable care of the scribes of it. The whole word of God, 
in every tittle of it, preserved entire in the copies of the original extant. Heads 
of arguments to that purpose. What various lections are granted in the ori- 
ginal of the Old and New Testament. Sundry considerations concerning 
them, manifesting tliera to be of no importance. That the Jews have not 
corrupted the text ; the most probable instances considered 4j6 


Of various lections in the Greek copies of the New Testament 468 


General premises. Opinions prejudicial to the authority of the originals in the 
Prolegomena, enumerated. The just consequences of those premises. Others 
engaged in these opinions. Of Capellus. Of Origen, Zimenius, Arias Mon- 
tanus's editions of the Bible 47-4 


The original of the points proposed to consideration in particular. The im- 
portance of the points to the right understanding of the Scripture ; the tes- 
timony of Morinus, Junius, Johannes Isaac, Cevallerius, and others. The 
use madeby the Papists of the opinion of the novelty of the points. The im- 
portance of the points farther manifested. The extreme danger of making 
the Hebrew punctuation arbitrary. That danger evinced by instance. No 
relief against that danger, on the grounds of the opinion considered. The 
authors of the Hebrew punctuation according to the Prolegomena ; who and 
■what. Morinus's folly. The improbability of this pretence. The state of 
the Jews, the supposed inventors of the points after the destruction of the 
temple. Two attempts made by tliem to restore their religion. The former 
under Barchochab, with its issue. The second under R. Judah, with its 
issue. The rise and foundation of the Talmuds. The state of the Jews upon 
and after the writing of the Talmuds. Their rancour against Christ. Who 
the Tiberian Massorites were, that are the supposed authors of the Hebrew 
punctuation: their description. That figment rejected. The late testimony 
of Dr. Lightfoot to this purpose. The rise of the opinion of the novelty of 
the points. Of Elias Levita. The value of his testimony in this case. Of 
the validity of the testimony of the Jewish Rabbins. Some considerations 
about the antiquity of the points ; the first from the nature of the punctuation 
itself, in reference unto grammatical rules. From the Chaldee paraphrase, and 
integrity of the Scripture as now pointed 477 


Arguments for the novelty of the Hebrew points, proposed to consideration. 
The argument from the Samaritan letters considered and answered. Of the 
copy of the law preserved in the synagogues without points. The testimony 
of Elias Levita and Aben Ezra considered. Of the silence of the Mishna, 
Talmud, and Gemara, about the points. Of the Keri and Chetliib. Of the 
number of the points. Of the ancient translations, Greek, Chaldee, Syriac. 
OfHierome. The new argument of Morinus in this canse. The conclusion 
about the necessity of the points • • • 499 




Of the 2'n3i 'ip Their nature and original. The difference is in the conso- 
nants. Morinus's vain charge on Arias Montanus. The senses of both con- 
sistent. Of the great congregation. The spring and rise of these various 
readings. The judgment of tJie Prolegomena about them: their order twice 
over in the appendix. The rise assigned to them considered. Of Capellus.his 
opinion, and the danger of it 514 


Of gathering various lections by the help of translations. The proper use and 
benefit of translations. Their new pretended use. The slate of the origi- 
nals on this new pretence. Of the remedy tendered to the relief of that state. 
No copies of old differing in the least from those we now enjoy, from the tes- 
timony of our Saviour. No testimony, new or old, to that purpose. Re- 
quisites unto good translations. Of the translations in the Biblia Polyglotta. 
Of the Arabic. Of the Syriac. Of the Samaritan Pentateuch. Of the 
Chaldee paraphrase. Of the vulgar Latin. Of the Seventy. Of the trans- 
lation of the New Testament. Of the Persian. Of the Ethiopian. The 
value of these translations as to the work in hand. Of the supposition of 
gross corruption in the originals. Of various lections out of Grotius. Of 
the appendix in general f,20 


Ad lectorem admonitio. 541 


An sacra Scriptura sit, ac vere dicatur verbum Dei ? • 543 

De Scripturarum interpretatione 555 

De pcrfectione Scripturae 573 

De lumine interne 590 









It is altogether needless to premise any thing in this 
place, concerning the necessity, benefit, and use, of 
Prayer in general. All men will readily acknowledge, 
that as without it there can be no religion at all, so the 
life and exercise of all religion doth principally con- 
sist therein. Wherefore, that way and profession in 
religion, which gives the best directions for it, with 
the most effectual motives unto it, and most aboundeth 
in its observance, hath therein the advantage of all 
others. Hence also it follows, that as all errors which 
either pervert its nature, or countenance a neglect of a 
due attendance unto it, are pernicious in religion ; so 
diiferences in opinion, and disputes about any of its 
vital concerns, cannot but be dangerous, and of evil 
consequence. For on each hand, these pretend unto 
an immediate regulation of Christian practice in a 
matter of the highest importance unto the glory of 
God, and the salvation of the souls of men. Whereas 
therefore, there is nothing more requisite in our reli- 
gion, than that true apprehensions of its nature and 
use be preserved in the minds of men, the declaration 
and defence of them, when they are opposed or unduly 
traduced, is not only justifiable but necessary also. 

This is the design of the ensuing Discourse. There 
is in the Scripture a promise of the Holy Ghost lo be 
given unto the church as a Spirit of grace and suppli- 
cations. As such also, there are particular operations 
ascribed unto him. Mention is likewise frequently 
made of the aids and assistances which he affords unto 

B 2 


believers in and unto their prayers. Hence they are 
said to ' pray always, with all prayer and supplications 
in the Spirit.' Of the want of these aids and assist- 
ances to enable them to pray according to the mind 
of God, some do profess that they have experience, as 
also of their efficacy unto that end when they are re- 
ceived. Accordingly, these regulate themselves in this 
whole duty, in the expectation or improvement of them. 
And there are those who, being accommodated] with 
other aids of another nature, to the same purpose, 
wliicli they esteem sufficient for them, do look on the 
former profession and plea of an ability to pray by the 
aids and assistances of the Holy Spirit to be a mere 
empty pretence. 

And in the management of these different appre- 
hensions, those at variance seem to be almost barba- 
rians one to another, the one being not able to under- 
stand what the other do vehemently affirm. For they 
are determined in their minds, not merely by notions 
of truth and falsehood, but by the experience which 
they have of the things themselves ; a sense and un- 
derstanding whereof they can by no means communi- 
cate unto one another. For whereas spiritual experi- 
ence of truth, is above all other demonstrations unto 
them that do enjoy it ; so it cannot be made an argu- 
ment for the enlightening and conviction of others. 
Hence those who plead for prayer by virtue of supplies 
of gifts and grace from the Holy Spirit, do admire that 
the use or necessity of them herein should be contra- 
dicted. Nor can they understand what they intend, 
who seem to deny, that it is every man's duty in all his 
circumstances, to pray as well as he can, and to make 
use in his so doing of the assistance of the Spirit of 
God. And by prayer they mean that, which the most 
eminent and only proper signification of the word doth 
denote, namely, that which is vocal. Some, on the 


-otiier side, are so far from the understand ino- of these 
things, or a conviction of their reality, that with the 
Jiighest confidence they despise and reproach the pre- 
tence of them. To ' pray in the Spirit' is used as a 
notable expression of scorn ; the thing signified being 
esteemed fond and contemptible. 

Moreover, in such cases as this, men are apt to run 
into excesses in things and ways, which they judoe ex- 
pedient, either to countenance their own opinions, or 
to depress and decry those of them from whom they 
differ. And no instances can be given in this kind of 
greater extravagances, than in that under consideration . 
For hence it is, that some do ascribe the original of 
free prayer amongst us, by the assistance of the Spirit 
of God, unto an invention of the Jesuits ; which is no 
doubt, to make them the authors of the Bible. And 
others do avow that all forms of prayer used amontrst 
us in public worship, are mere traductions from the 
Roman breviaries and missal. But these thinps will 
be afterward spoken unto. They are here mentioned 
only to evince the use of a sedate inquiry into the truth 
or the mind of God in this matter, which is the design 
of the ensuing Discourse, 

That which should principally guide us in the ma- 
nagement of this inquiry, is, that it be done unto spi- 
ritual advantage and edification, without strife or con- 
tention. Now this cannot be without a diligent and 
constant attendance unto the two sole rules of judg- 
ment herein, namely. Scripture-revelation and the ex- 
perience of them that do believe. For, although the 
latter is to be regulated by the former ; yet where it is 
so, it is a safe rule unto them in whom it is. And in 
this case, as in water, face answereth unto face ; so do 
Scripture-revelation and spiritual experience unto one 
another. All other reasonings from customs, traditions, 
and feigned consequences, are here of no use. The 


inquiries before us are concerning the nature of the 
work of the Holy Spirit in the aids and assistances 
which he gives unto believers in and unto their prayers, 
according unto the mind of God, as also what are the 
effects and fruits of that work of his, or what are the 
spiritual abilities which are communicated unto them 
thereby. Antecedently hereunto, it should be inquired, 
Whether indeed there be any such thing or no, or whe- 
ther they are only vainly pretended unto by some that 
are deceived. But the determination hereof, depend- 
ing absolutely on the foregoing inquiries, it may be 
handled jointly with them, and needs no distinct con- 
sideration. He that would not deceive nor be deceived 
in his inquiry after these things, must diligently attend 
unto the two forementioned rules of Scripture testi- 
mony and experience. Other safe guides he hath 
none. Yet will it also be granted, that from the light 
of nature, whence this duty springs, wherein it is 
founded, from whence as unto its essence it cannot 
vary ; as also from generally received principles of re- 
ligion suited thereunto, with the uncorrupted practice 
of the church of God in former ages, much direction 
may be given unto the understanding of those testimo- 
nies, and examination of that experience. 

Wherefore, the foundation of the whole ensuing Dis- 
course is laid in the consideration and exposition of 
some of those texts of Scripture wherein these things 
are expressly revealed and proposed unto us ; for to 
insist on them all, were endless. This we principally 
labour in, as that whereby not only must the contro- 
versy be finally determined, but the persons that ma- 
nage it be eternally judged. What is added, concern- 
ing the experience of them that do believe the truth 
herein, claims no more of argument unto them that 
have it not, than it hath evidence of proceeding from, 
and being suited unto, those divine testimonies. But 


whereas the things that belong unto it, are of great 
moment unto them who do enjoy it, as containino- the 
principal acts, ways, and means of our intercourse and 
communion with God by Christ Jesus, they are here 
somewhat at large, on all occasions, insisted on for the 
edification of those whose concernment lietli only in 
the practice of the duty itself. Unless, therefore, it 
can be proved, that the testimonies of the Scripture 
produced and insisted on, do not contain that sense 
and understanding which the words do determinately 
express (for that only is pleaded), or that some have 
not an experience of the truth and power of that sense 
of them, enabling them to live unto God in this duty 
according to it, all other contests about this matter are 
vain and useless. 

But yet there is no such work of the Holy Spirit 
pleaded herein, as should be absolutely inconsistent 
with, or condemnatory of, all these outward aids of 
prayer, by set composed forms, which are almost every 
where made use of. For the device being: ancient, 
and in some degree or measure received generally in 
the Christian world (though a no less general apostacy 
in many things from the rule of truth at the same time, 
in the same persons and places, cannot be denied), I 
shall not judge of what advantage it may be, or hath 
been, unto the souls of men, nor what acceptance they 
have found therein, where it is not too much abused. 
The substance of what we plead from Scripture and 
experience is only this ; that whereas God hath gra- 
ciously promised his Holy Spirit, as a Spirit of grace 
and supplications, unto them that do believe, enabling 
them to pray according to his mind and will, in all the 
circumstances and capacities wherein they are, or which 
they may be called unto ; it is the duty of them wl^o 
are enlightened with the truth hereof, to expect those 
promised aids and assistances in and unto their prayers. 


and to pray according to the ability which they re" 
ceive thereby. To deny this to be their duty, or to 
deprive them of their liberty to discharge it on all oc- 
casions, riseth up in direct opposition unto the divine 
instruction of the sacred word. 

But, moreover, as was before intimated, there are 
some generally allowed principles, which though not 
always duly considered, yet cannot at any time be mo- 
destly denied, that give direction towards the right per- 
formance of our duty herein. And they are these 
that follow. 

1 . It is the duty of eveiy man to pray for himself. 
The light of nature, multiplied divine commands, with 
our necessary dependance on God and subjection unto 
him, give life and light unto this principle. To own a 
Divine Being, is to own that which is to be prayed 
unto, and that it is our duty so to do. 

2. It is the duty of some, by virtue of natural rela- 
tion, or of ofhce, to pray with and for others also. So 
is it the duty of parents and masters of families to 
pray with and for their children and households. This 
also derives from those great principles of natural 
light, that God is to be worshipped in all societies of 
his own erection ; and that those in the relations men- 
tioned, are obliged to seek the chiefest good of them 
that are committed unto their care ; and so is it fre- 
quently enjoined in the Scripture. In like manner it 
is the duty of ministers to pray with and for their 
flocks, by virtue of especial institution. These things 
cannot be, nor so far as I know of are, questioned by 
any : but practicallv the most of men live in an open 
neglect of their duty herein. Were this but diligently 
attended unto, from the first instance of natural and 
moral relations, unto the instituted offices of ministers 
and public teachers, we should have less contests about 
the nature and manner of praying than at present we 



have. It is holy practice that must reconcile differ- 
ences in religion, or they will never be reconciled in 
this world. 

3. Every one who prayeth, either by himself and 
for himself, or v/ith others and for them, is obliged as 
unto all the uses, properties, and circumstances of 
prayer, to pray as well as he is able. For by the light 
of nature every one is obliged in all instances to serve 
God with his best. The confirmation and exemplifi- 
cation hereof, was one end of the institution of sacri- 
fices under the Old Testament. For it was ordained 
in them, that the chief and best of every thing was to 
be offered unto God. Neither the nature of God, nor 
our own duty towards him, will admit that we should 
expect any acceptance with him, unless our design be 
to serve him with the best that we have, both for mat- 
ter and manner. So is the mind of God himself de- 
clared in the prophet. ' If you offer the blind for sacri- 
fice, is it not evil ? and if you offer the lame and the 
sick, is it not evil ? Ye brought that which was torn, 
and that which was lame and sick ; should I accept 
this at your hands, saith the Lord ? But cursed be the 
deceiver^ who hath in his flock a male, ^and voweth 
and sacrificeth unto the Lord a corrupt thing : for I 
am a great King, saith the Lord of Hosts, and my name 
is dreadful among the Heathen.' 

4. In our reasonable service, the best wherewith 
we can serve God, consists in the intense sincere act- 
ings of the faculties and affections of our minds, accord- 
ing unto their respective powers, through the use of 
the best assistances we can attain. And if we omit, 
or forego in any instance, the exercise of them accord- 
ing to the utmost of our present ability, we offer unto 
God the sick and the lame. If men can take it on 
themselves in the sight of God, that the invention and 
use of set forms of prayer, and other the like outward 


modes of divine worship, is the best tliat he liath en- 
dowed them withal, for his service, they are free from 
the force of this consideration. 

5. There is no man but, in the use of the aids 
which God hath prepared for that purpose, he is able 
to pray according- to the will of God, and as he is in 
duty obliged, whether he pray by himself and for him- 
self, or with others and for them also. There is not 
by these means perfection attainable in the perform- 
ance of any duty : neither can all attain the same mea- 
sure and degree as unto the usefulness of prayer and 
manner of praying ; but every one may attain unto 
that wherein he shall be accepted with God, and ac- 
cording unto the duty whereunto he is obliged, whe- 
ther personally or by virtue of any relation wherein he 
stands unto others. To suppose that God requireth 
duties of men which they cannot perform in an accept- 
able manner, by virtue, and in the use, of those aids 
which he hath prepared and promised unto that end, 
is to reflect dishonour on his goodness and wisdom in 
his commands. Wherefore, no man is obliged to pray 
in any circumstances, by virtue of any relation or oflice, 
but he is able so to do according unto what is required 
of him ; and what he is not able for, he is not called 

6. We are expressly commanded to pray, but are 
no where commanded to make prayers for ourselves, 
much less for others. This is superadded for a sup- 
posed conveniency unto the light of nature and Scrip- 

7. There is assistance promised unto believers, to 
enable them to pray according unto the will of God ; 
there is no assistance promised, to enable any to make 
prayers for others. The former part of this assertion 
is explained and proved in the ensuing discourse ; and 
the latter cannot be disproved. And if it should be 

preface; to the ueadeu. xi 

granted, that the work of composing- prayers for others 
is a good work, falling under the general aids of the 
Holy Spirit necessary unto every good work whatever ; 
yet are not those aids of the same kind and nature with 
his actual assistances in and unto prayer, as he is the 
Spirit of grace and supplications. For in the use of 
those assistances by grace and gifts, every man that 
useth them doth actually pray, nor are they otherwise 
to be used : but men do not pray in the making and 
composing forms of prayer, though they may do so in 
the reading of them afterward. 

8. Whatever forms of prayer were given out unto 
the use of the church by divine authority and inspira- 
tion, as the Lord's Prayer, and the psalms or prayers 
of David, they are to have their everlasting use therein, 
according unto what they were designed unto. And 
be their end and use what it will, they can give no 
more warranty for human compositions unto the same 
end, and the injunction of their use, than for other hu- 
man writings to be added unto the Scripture. 

These and the like principles which are evident in 
their own light and truth, will be of use to direct us in 
the argument in hand, so far as our present design is 
concerned therein. For it is the vindication of our 
own principles and practice that is principally de- 
signed, and not an opposition unto those of other men. 
Wherefore, as was before intimated, neither these prin- 
ciples, nor the divine testimonies, which we shall more 
largely insist upon, are engaged to condemn all use of 
set forms of prayers as sinful in themselves, or abso- 
lutely unlawful, or such as so vitiate the worship of 
God as to render it wholly unacceptable in them that 
choose so to worship him. For God will accept the 
persons of those who sincerely seek him, though 
through invincible ignorance they may mistake in sun- 
dry things as unto the way and manner of his worship. 


And how far, as unto particular instances of miscar- 
riage, this rule may extend, he only knows ; and of 
men, whatever they pretend, not one. And where any 
do worship God in Christ, with an evidence of holy 
fear and sincerity, and walk in a conversation answer- 
able unto the rule of the gospel, though they have ma- 
nifold corruptions in the way of their worship, I shall 
never judge severely either of their present acceptance 
with God, or of their future eternal condition. This 
is a safe rule with respect unto others ; our own is, to 
attend with all diligence unto what God hath revealed 
concerning his worship, and absolutely comply there- 
with, without which we can neither please him, nor 
come to the enjoyment of him. 

I do acknowledge also, that the general preva- 
lency of the use of set forms of prayer of human inven- 
tion in Christian assemblies, for many ages (more than 
any other argument that is urged for their necessity), 
requires a tenderness in judgment as unto the whole 
nature of them, and the acceptance of their persons in 
the duty of prayer by whom they are used. Yet no 
consideration of this usage, seeing it is not warranted 
by the Scriptures, nor is of apostolical example, nor is 
countenanced by the practice of the primitive churches, 
ought to hinder us from discerning and judging of the 
evils and inconveniences that have ensued thereon ; 
nor from discovering how far they are unwarrantable 
as unto their imposition. And these evils may be here 
a little considered. 

The beginnings of the introduction of the use of 
set forms of prayer of human composition, into the 
worship of the church, are altogether uncertain. But 
that the reception of them was progressive by new ad- 
ditions from time to time, is known to all. For neither 
Rome, nor the present Roman Missal, were built in 
a day. In that and the breviaries did the whole 


worship of the church issue, at least in these parts of 
the world. No man is so fond as to suppose that they 
were of one entire composition, the work of one age, 
of one man, or any assembly of men, at the same time • 
unless they be so brutishl)^ devout as to suppose that 
the Mass-book was brought from heaven unto the 
Pope by an angel, as the Alcoran was to Mahomet. 
It is evident, indeed, that common people, at least of 
the communion of the Papal church, do believe it to 
be as much of a divine original, as the Scripture ; 
and that on the same grounds of the proposal of it unto 
them, as the only means of divine worship, by their 
church. Hence is it unto them an idol. But it is well 
enough known how from small beginnings, by various 
accessions, it increased unto its present form and sta- 
tion. And this progress, in the reception of devised 
forms of prayer in the worship of the church, carried 
along with it sundry pernicious concomitants, which 
we may briefly consider. 

1 . In and by the additions made unto the first re- 
ceived forms, the superstitious and corrupt doctrines 
of the apostacy in several ages, were insinuated into 
the worship of the church. That such superstitious 
and corrupt doctrines were gradually introduced into 
the church, is acknowledged by all Protestants, and is 
sufficiently known ; the supposition of it is the sole 
foundation of the Reformation. A|»d by this artifice 
of new additions to received forms, they were from 
time to time admitted into, and stated in, the worship 
of the church, by which principally to this very day, 
they preserve their station in the minds of men. Were 
that foundation of them taken away, they would quickly 
fall to the ground. By this means did those abomi- 
nations of transubstantiation and the sacrifice of the 
mass, both leaven and poison the whole worship of 
the public assemblies, and imposed themselves on the 

XIV phi: FACE TO TllF, RP:Ar)ER. 

credulity ot" the people. The disputes of speculative men, 
superstitious and subtle, about these things, had never 
infected the minds of the common people of Chris- 
tians, nor ever been the means of that idolatry, which 
at length spread itself over the whole visible church of 
these parts of the world, had not this device of pre- 
scribed forms of prayer, wherein those abominations 
were not only expressed, but graphically represented 
and acted (so violently affecting the carnal minds of men 
superstitious and ignorant), imposed them on their 
practice ; which gradually hardened them with an ob- 
durate credulity. For, although they saw no ground 
or reason doctrinally to believe what was proposed 
imto them about transubstantiation and the sacrifice 
of the mass, and might easily have seen that they were 
contradictory unto all the conductive principles of 
men and Christians, namely, faith, reason, and sense ; 
yet they deceived themselves into an obstinate pretence 
of believing in the notion of truth, of what they had 
admitted in practice. Men, I say, of corrupt minds, 
might have disputed long enough about vagrant forms, 
accidents without subjects, transmutation of substances 
without accidents, sacrifices bloody and unbloody, be- 
fore they had vitiated the whole worship of the church 
with gross idolatry, had not this engine been made 
use of for its introduction ; and the minds of men by 
this means inveigled with the practice of it. But when 
the whole matter and means of it was gradually insi- 
nuated into, and at length comprised in, those forms of 
prayer, which they were obliged continually to use in 
divine service, their whole souls became leavened and 
tainted with a confidence in, and love unto, these abo- 

Hence it was, that the doctrines concerning the sa- 
craments, and the whole worship of God in the church, 
as they became gradually corrupted, were not at once 


objectively and doctrinally proposed to the minds and 
considerations of men, to be received or rejected ac- 
cording to the evidence they had of their truth or error 
(a method due to the constitution of our natures), but 
gradually insinuated into their practice by additional 
forms of prayer, which they esteemed themselves 
obliged to use and observe. This was the gilding of 
the poisonous pill, whose operation, when it was swal- 
lowed, was to bereave men of their sense, reason, and 
faith, and make them madly avow that to be true, 
which was contrary unto them all. 

Besides, as was before intimated, the things them- 
selves that were the groundwork of idolatry, namely, 
transubstantiation and the sacrifice of the mass, were 
so acted and represented in those forms of worship, as 
to take great impression on the minds of carnal men 
until they were mad on their idols. For when all re- 
ligion and devotion is let into the soul by fancy, and 
imagination excited by outward spectacles, they will 
make mad work in the world, as they have done, and 
yet continue to do. But hereof I shall speak in the 
next place. 

It had, therefore, been utterly impossible that an 
idolatrous worship should have been introduced into 
the church in general, had not the opinion of the ne- 
cessity of devised forms of prayer been first universally 
received. At least it had not been so introduced and 
so established, as to procure and cause the shedding 
of the blood of thousands of holy persons for not com- 
plying with it. By this means alone was brought in 
that fatal engine of the church's ruin, from whose mur- 
derous efficacy few escaped with their lives or souls. 
Had all chm-ches continued in the liberty wherein they 
were placed and left by our Lord Jesus Christ and his 
apostles, it is possible that many irregularities might 
have prevailed in some of them, and many mistakes 


been admitted in their practice ; yet this monster of 
the Mass, devouring the souls of the most, and drink- 
ing- the blood of many, had never been conceived nor 
brought forth, at least not nourished into that terrible 
form and power wherein it appeared and acted for 
many ages in the world. And upon the account 
thereof it is not without cause that the Jews say that 
the Christians received their Tephilloth, or Prayer- 
books, from Armillus, that is. Antichrist. 

It is true, that when the doctrine of religion is de- 
termined and established by civil laws, the laws of the 
nation where it is professed, as the rule of all outward 
advantages, liturgies composed in compliance there- 
withal, are not so subject to this mischief: but this 
ariseth from that external cause alone. Otherwise, 
w^herever those who have the ordering of these things 
do deviate from the truth once received, as it is com- 
mon for the most so to do, forms of prayers answer- 
able unto those deviations would quickly be insinuated. 
And the present various liturgies that are amongst the 
several sorts of Christians in the world, are of little 
other use than to establish their minds in their peculiar 
errors, which by this means they adhere unto as arti- 
cles of their faith. 

And hereby did God suffer contempt to be cast 
upon the supposed wisdom of men about his worship 
and the ways of it. They would not trust unto his in- 
stitutions and his care of them ; but did first put the 
ark into a cart, and then like Uzzah put forth a hand 
of force to hold it when it seemed to shake. For it is 
certain that, if not the first invention, yet the first pub- 
lic recommendation and prescription, of devised forms 
of prayer unto the practice of the churches, were de- 
signed to prevent the insinuation of false opinions and 
corrupt modes of worship into the public administra- 
tions. This was feared from persons infected with he- 


resy that might creep into their ministry. So the or- 
thodox and the Arians composed prayers, hymns, and 
doxologies, the one against the other, inserting in them 
passages confirming their own profession, and con- 
demning that of their adversaries. Now, however this 
invention might be approved whilst it kept within 
bounds, yet it proved the Trojan horse that brought in 
all evils into the city of God in its belly. For he who 
was then at work in the mystery of iniquity, laid hold 
on the engine and occasion to corrupt those prayers, 
which by the constitution of them who had obtained 
power in them, the churches were obliged and con- 
fined unto. And this took place effectually in the con- 
stitution of the worship of the second race of Chris- 
tians, or the nations that were converted unto the 
Christian faith after they had destroyed the western 
Roman empire. To speak briefly and plainly, it was 
by this means alone, namely, of the necessary use of 
devised forms of prayer in the assemblies of the church, 
and of them alone, that the mass, with its transubstan- 
tiation and sacrifice, and all the idolatrous worship 
wherewith they were accompanied, were introduced ; 
until the world, inflamed with those idols, drenched it- 
self in the blood of the saints and martyrs of Christ 
for their testimony against those abominations. And 
if it had been sooner discovered, that no church was 
intrusted with power from Christ to frame and impose 
such devised forms of worship, as are not warranted by 
the Scripture, innumerable evils might have been pre- 
vented. For that there were no liturgies composed, 
no imposed use of them, in the primitive churches for 
some ages, is demonstratively proved with the very 
same arguments whereby we prove that they had nei- 
ther the mass, nor the use of images in their worship. 
For besides the utter silence of them in the apostoli- 
cal writings, and those of die next ensuing ages, which 

VOL. IV, c 


is sufficient to discard their pretence unto any such an- 
tiquity, there are such descriptions given of the prac- 
tice of the churches in their worship, as are inconsis- 
tent with them and exclusive of them ; besides, they 
give such a new face of divine worship, so different 
from the portraiture of it delivered in the Scripture, 
as is hardly reconcilable thereunto, and so not quickly- 
embraced in the church. 

I do not say, that this fatal consequence of the in- 
troduction of humanly devised set forms of prayer iff 
the worship of the church, in the horrible abuse made 
of it, is sufficient to condemn them as absolutely un- 
lawful. For where the opinions leading unto such 
idolatrous practices are openly rejected and condemned, 
as was before intimated, there all the causes, means, 
and occasions of that idolatry may be taken out of 
them, and separate from them, as it is in the liturgies 
of the reformed churches, whether imposed or left free. 
But it is sufficient to lay in the balance against that 
veneration which their general observance in many 
ages may invite or procure. And it is so also to war- 
rant the disciples of Christ to stand fast in the liberty 
wherewith he hath made them free. 

Another evil, which either accompanied or closely 
followed on the introduction of devised forms of prayer 
into the church, was a supposed necessity of adorning 
the observance of them with sundry arbitrary ceremo- 
nies. And this also in the end, as is confessed among 
all Protestants, increased superstition in its worship, 
with various practices leading unto idolatry. It is 
evident that the use of free prayer in church adminis- 
trations, can admit of no ceremonies but such as are 
either of divine institution, or are natural circumstances 
of the actions wherein the duties of worship do mate- 
rially consist. Divine institution and natural light 
are the rules of all that order and decency which is 


needful unto it. But when these devised forms were 
introduced, with a supposition of their necessity and 
sole use in the church in all acts of immediate wor- 
ship, men quickly found that it was needful to set them 
off with adventitious ornaments. Hereon there was 
gradually found out, and prescribed unto constant ob- 
servation, so many outward postures and gestures, with 
attires, music, bowings, cringes, crossings, venera- 
tions, censings, altars, images, crucifixes, responds, al- 
ternatives, and such a rabble of other ceremonies, as 
rendered the whole worship of the church ludicrous, 
burdensome, and superstitious. And hereon it came 
to pass that he who is to officiate in divine service, is 
obliged to learn and practise so many turnings and 
windings of himself, eastward and westward, to the 
altar, to the wall, to the people; so many gestures and 
postures in kneeling, rising, standings, bowings, less 
and profound, secret and loud speakings, in a due ob- 
servance of the interposition of crossings, with re- 
movals from one place to another, with provision of 
attires, in their variety of colours, and respect to all 
the furniture of their altars, as are difficult to learn, 
and foolishly antic in their practice, above all the pre- 
parations of players for the stage. Injunctions for 
these and the like observances, are the subject of the 
rubric of the Missal, and the cautels of the Mass. 

That these things have not only no affinity with the 
purity, simplicity, and spirituality of evangelical wor- 
ship, but were invented utterly to exclude it out of the 
church and the minds of men, needs no proof unto any 
who ever read the Scripture with due consideration. 
Nor is the office of the ministry less corrupted and de- 
stroyed by it. For besides a sorry cunning in this 
practice, and the reading of some forms of words in 
an accommodation unto these rites, there was little more 
besides an easy good intention to do what he doth, and 

c 2 


not the quite contrary, requited to make any one man 
or woman (as it once at least fell out) to administer in 
all sacred worship. 

Having utterly lost the Spirit of grace and suppli- 
cations, neglecting at best all his aids and assistances, 
and being void of all experience in their minds of the 
power and efficacy of prayer by virtue of them, they 
found it necessary by these means to set off and re- 
commend their dead forms. For the lifeless carcass of 
their forms merely ,alone, were no more meet to be es- 
teemed prayer, than a tree or a log was to be esteemed 
a god, before it was shaped, fashioned, gilded, and 
adorned. By this means they taught the image of 
prayer, which they had made, to speak and act a part 
to the satisfaction of the spectators. For the bare 
reading of a form of words, especially as it was or- 
dered in an unknown tongue, could never have given 
the least contentment unto the multitude, had it not 
been set off with this variety of ceremonies composed 
to make an appearance of devotion and sacred venera- 
tion. Yet when they had done their utmost, they 
could never equal the ceremonies and rites of the old 
temple-worship, in beauty, glory, and order ; nor yet 
those of the Heathen in their sacred Eleusinian myste- 
ries, for number, solemnity, gravity, and appearance of 
devotion. Rejecting the true glory of gospel-worship, 
which the apostle expressly declares to consist in the 
administration of the Spirit, they substituted that in 
the room thereof, which debased the profession of 
Christian religion beneath that of the Jews and Pa- 
gans ; especially considering that the most of their ce- 
remonies were borrowed of them or stolen from them. 
But I shall never believe that their conversion of 
the holy prayers of the church, by an open contempt 
of the whole work of the Spirit of God in them, into a 
theatrical pompous observance of ludicrous rites and ce- 


remonies, can give so much as present satisfaction unto 
any who are not given up to strong delusions to be- 
lieve a lie. The exercise of ingrafted prevalent super- 
stition, v^ill appease a natural conscience ; outward 
forms and representations of things believed, will 
please the fancy, and exercise the imagination; variety 
and frequent changes of modes, gestures, and postures, 
with a sort of prayer always beginning and always end- 
ing, will entertain present thoughts and outward senses, 
so as that men finding themselves by these means 
greatly affected, may suppose that they pray very well 
when they do nothing less. For prayer, consisting in 
a holy exercise of faith, love, trust, and delight in 
God, acting themselves in the representation of our 
wills and desires unto him, through the aid and assist- 
ance of the Holy Ghost, may be absent, where all these 
are most effectually present. 

This also produced all the pretended ornaments of 
their temples, chapels, and oratories, by crucifixes, 
images, a multiplication of altars, with relics, tapers, 
vestments, and other utensils. 

None of these things, whereby Christian religion is 
corrupted and debased, would ever have come into the 
minds of men, had not a necessity of their invention 
been introduced by the establishment of set forms of 
prayer, as the only way and means of divine worship. 
And wherever they are retained, proportionably unto 
the principles of the doctrine which men profess, some 
such ceremonies must be retained also; I will not, there- 
fore, deny but that here lieth the foundation of all our 
present differences about the manner of divine worship. 
Suppose a necessity of confining the solemn worship of 
the church unto set forms of prayer, and 1 will grant 
that sundry rituals and ceremonies may be well judged 
necessary to accompany their observance. For with- 
out them they will quickly grow obsolete and unsatis- 


factory. And if, on the other hand, free prayer in the 
church be allowed, it is evident that nothing but the 
grace and gifts of the Holy Ghost, with a due regard 
unto the decency of natural circumstances is required 
in divine service, or can be admitted therein. 

Neither yet is this consequent, how inseparable 
soever it seems from the sole public use of set forms 
of prayer in sacred administrations, pleaded to prove 
them either in themselves or their use to be unlawful. 
The design of this consideration is only to shew, that 
they have been so far abased, that they are so subject 
to be abused, and do so alway stand in need to be 
abused, that they may attain the ends aimed at by 
them, as much weakens the plea of the necessity of 
their imposition. 

For this also is another evil that hath attended 
their invention. The guides of the church after a 
while, were not contented to make use of humanly de- 
vised forms of prayer, confining themselves unto their 
use alone in all public administrations ; but moreover 
they judged it meet to impose the same practice on all 
whom they esteemed to be under their power. And 
this at length they thought lawful, yea necessary to do 
on penalties, ecclesiastical and civil, and in the issue 
capital. When this injunction first found a prevalent 
entertainment is very uncertain. For the first two or 
three centuries there were no systems of composed 
forms of prayer used in any church whatever, as hath 
been proved. Afterward, when they began to be ge- 
nerally received, on such grounds, and for such reasons 
as I shall not here insist on (but may do so in a declara- 
tion of the nature and use of spiritual gifts, with their 
continuance in the church, and an inquiry into the 
causes of their decay), the authority of some great per- 
ons did recommend the use of their compositions unto 
other chtiiches, even such as had a mind to make use 


of them, as they saw good. But as unto this device of 
their imposition, confining churches not only unto the 
necessary use of them in general, but unto a certain 
composition and collection of them, we are beholden 
for all the advantage received thereby, unto the Popes 
of Rome alone, among the churches of the second 
edition. For, from their own good inclination, and 
by their own authority, without the advice of coun- 
cils, or pretence of traditions, the two Gorgon's heads, 
whereby in other cases they frighten poor mortals, and 
turn them into stones; by various degrees they ob- 
tained a right to impose them, and did it accordingly. 
For when the use and benefit of them had been for a 
while pleaded, and thence a progress made unto their 
necessity, it was judged needful that they should be im- 
posed on all churches and Christians by their eccle- 
siastical authority. But when afterward they had 
insinuated into them, and lodged in their bowels, the 
two great idols of transubstantiation and the unbloody 
sacrifice, not only mulcts personal and pecuniary, but 
capital punishments, were enacted and executed to en- 
force their observance. This broup-ht fire and faofO'Ot 

o DO 

into Christian religion, making havoc of the true church 
of Christ, and shedding blood of thousands. For the 
martyrdom of all that have suffered death in the world 
for their testimony against the idolatries of the mass, 
derives originally from this spring alone of the neces- 
sary imposition of complete liturgical forms of prayer. 
For this is the sole foundation of the Roman breviary 
and missal, which have been the Abaddons of the church 
of Christ in these parts of the world, and are ready 
once more to be so again. Take away this foundation, 
and they all fall to the ground. And it is worth con- 
sideration, of what kind that principle is, which was 
naturally improved unto such pernicious effects ; which 
quickly was found to be a meet and effectual engine hi 


the hand of Satan, to destroy and murder the servants 
of Christ. 

Had the churches of Christ been left unto their 
primitive liberty under the enjoined duties of reading and 
expounding- the Scripture, of singing psalms unto the 
praise of God, of the administration of the sacraments of 
baptism and the Lord's supper, and of diligent preach- 
ing the word, all of them with prayer according unto the 
abilities and spiritual gifts of them who did preside in 
them, as it is evident that they were for some ages, it is 
impossible for any man to imagine what evils would 
have ensued thereon, that might be of any considera- 
tion, in comparison of those enormous mischiefs which 
which followed on the contrary practice. And as unto 
all the inconveniences, which, as it is pretended, might 
ensue on this liberty, there is sufficient evangelical pro- 
vision for their prevention or cure, made in the gospel 
constitution and communion of all the true churches of 

But this was not the whole of the evil that attended 
this imposition. For by this means all spiritual minis- 
terial gifts were caused to cease in the church. For 
as they are talents given to trade withal, or manifesta- 
tions of the Spirit given to profit or edify the church, 
they will not reside in any subject, they will not abide, 
if they are by any received, if they are not improved 
by continual exercise. We see every day what effects 
the contempt or neglect of them doth produce. Where- 
fore, this exercise of them being restrained and ex- 
cluded by this imposition, they were utterly lost in the 
church; so as that it was looked on a rare thing for 
any one to be able to pray in the administration of di- 
vine worship ; yea, the pretence of such an ability was 
esteemed a crime, and the exercise of it a sin, scarce 
to be pardoned ; yet do I not find it in any of the an- 
cient c'duons reckoned among the faults for which a 


bishop or a presbyter were to be deposed. But that 
hereon arose in those who were called to officiate in 
public assemblies, as unto the gifts which they had re- 
ceived for the edification of the church in divine admi- 
nistrations, that neglect which hath given a fatal wound 
unto the light and holiness of it, is openly evident. 
For when the generality of men of that order, had pro- 
vision of prayers made for them, which they purchased 
at an easy rate, or had them provided for them at the 
charge of the people, they were contented to be at rest, 
freed from that labour and travail of mind, which are re- 
quired unto the constant exercise and improvement of 
spiritual gifts. This imposition was the grave wherein 
they were buried. For at length, as it is manifest in 
the event, our Lord Jesus Christ being provoked with 
their sloth and unbelief, did withhold the communication 
of such gifts from the generality of those who did offi- 
ciate in divine worship. And hereby they lost also 
one great evidence of the continuance of his media- 
tory life in heaven for the preservation of the church. 

It is known that this was and is the state of things 
in the Roman church, with reference unto their whole 
worship in their public assemblies. And, there- 
fore, although they have indulged divers enthusiasts, 
whose revelations and actings, pretended from the Holy 
Spirit, have tended to the confirmation of their super- 
stitions ; and some of them have ventured at notions 
about mental prayer which they understand not them- 
selves ; yet as unto free prayer by the assistance of the 
Holy Ghost, in the church assemblies or otherwise, they 
were the first, and continue to be the fiercest, opposers 
of it ; and it is their interest so to be. For shake this 
fovindation of the imposition of an entire system of hu- 
manly devised prayers for the only way and means of 
the worship of the church, and the whole fabric oftlie 
mass, with all the weight of their religion (if vanity and 


imagination may be said to have any weight), which is 
laid thereon, will tumble into the pit from whence it 
came. And therefore, I must here acquaint the reader, 
that the first occasion of writing this Discourse, was the 
perusal of Mr. Cressie's Preface to his Church History ; 
wherein, out of a design to advance the pretended men- 
tal prayer of some of his enthusiasts, he reflects with 
much contumely and reproach upon that free praying 
by the aids of the Spirit of God which we plead for. 
And he will find that all his pretences are examined in 
the latter part of this Discourse. 

But notwithstanding these things, those of the Ro- 
man church do at this day boast themselves of their de- 
votions in their prayers private and public ; and have 
prevailed thereby on many disposed unto a compli- 
ance with them, by their own guilt, ignorance, and su- 
perstition. The vanity of their pretence hath been well 
detected by evincing the idolatry whereby all or the 
most of their devotions are vitiated and rendered un- 
acceptable. But this also is of weight with me, that 
the provision of the system and order of their whole de- 
votion, and its exercise, is apparently composed and 
fitted unto the exclusion of the whole work of the Spi- 
rit of God in prayer. And yet do they continue under 
an incredible delusion as to oppose, revile, and condemn 
the prayers of others who are not of their communion, 
on this consideration, that those who make them, have 
not the Holy Spirit nor his aids, which are all confined 
unto their church. But if any society of men in the 
world, maintaining the outward profession of Christian 
religion, can do more to exclude the Holy Ghost and 
all his operations, in prayer and divine worship, than 
their church hath done, I shall acknowledge my- 
self greatly mistaken. It is nothing but ignorance of 
him and his whole work, with all the ends for which 
he is promised unto the church (that I say not a ha- 


tred and detestation of them), that causeth any to em- 
brace their ways of devotion. 

But to return. The things pleaded for may be re- 
duced unto the ensuing heads. 

1. No persons, no churches, are obliged by virtue 
of any divine constitution, precept, or approved exam- 
ple, to confine themselves in their public or private 
worship, unto set or humanly devised forms of prayer. 
If any such constitution, precept, or example can be 
produced, which hitherto hath not been done, it ought 
to be complied withal. And whilst others are left unto 
their liberty in their use, this is sufficient to enervate 
all pleas for their imposition. 

2. There is a promise in the Scripture, there are 
many promises, made and belonging unto the church 
unto the end of the world, of the communication of the 
Holy Spirit unto it, as unto peculiar aids and assist- 
ances in prayer. To deny this, is to overthrow the 
foundation of the holiness and comfort of all believers, 
and to bring present ruin to the souls of men in dis- 

3. jt is the duty of believers to look after, to pray for, 
those promised aids and assistances in prayer. With- 
out this, all those promises are despised, and looked on 
as a flourish of words, without truth, power, or efficacy 
in them. But, 

4. This they are commanded to do, and have blessed 
experience of success therein. The former is plain in 
the Scripture, and the latter must be left unto their own 
testimony living and dying. 

5. Beyond the divine institution of all the ordi- 
nances of worship in the church, with the determination 
of the matter and form which are essential unto them, 
contained in the Scripture, and a due attendance unto 
natural light in outward circumstances, there is nothing 
needful unto the due and orderly celebration of all 


public worship in its assembly. If any such thing be 
pretended, it is what Christ never appointed, nor the 
apostles ever practised, nor the first churches after them, 
nor hath it any promise of acceptance. 

6. For the preservation of the unity of faith, and 
the communion of churches among themselves therein, 
they may express an agreement, as in doctrine, by a 
joint confession of faith, so in a declaration of the ma- 
terial and substantial parts of worship, with the order 
and method thereof ; on which foundation they may in 
all things communicate with each other as churches, 
and in the practice of their members. 

7. Whereas the differences about prayer, under con- 
sideration, concern Christian practice in the vitals of 
religion, great respect is to be had unto the experience 
of them that do believe ; where it is not obstructed and 
clouded by prejudices, sloth, or adverse principles and 
opinions. Therefore, the substance of the greatest part 
of the ensuing discourse consists principally in the de- 
claration of those concernments of prayer which relate 
unto practice and experience. And hence it follows, 

8. That the best expedient to compose these dif- 
ferences amongst us, is for every one to stir up the 
gift and grace of God that is in him, and all of us to 
give up ourselves unto that diligence, frequency, fer- 
vency, and perseverance in prayer which God requireth 
of us, especially in such a season as that wherein we 
live. A time wherein they, whoever they be, who trouble 
others, may, for aught they know, be near unto trouble 
themselves. This will be the most effectual means to 
lead us all into the acknowledgment of the truth, and 
without which an agreement in notions is of little use 
or value. 

But, I confess, hopes are weak concerning the due 
application of this remedy unto any of our evils or dis- 
tempers. The opinions of those who deny all internal, 


real, efficacious operations of the Holy Spirit on the 
souls of men, and deride all their effects, have so far 
diffused and riveted themselves into the minds of many, 
that little is to be expected from a retreat unto those 
aids and reliefs. This evil in the profession of religion, 
was reserved for these latter ages. For although the 
work and grace of the Holy Spirit in divine worship 
was much neglected and lost in the world, yet no in- 
stances can be given in ages past, of such contempt 
cast upon all his internal grace and operations, as now 
abounds in the world. If the Pelagians who were most 
guilty, did fall into any such excesses, they have es- 
caped the records and monuments that remain of their 
deportment. Bold efforts they are of atheistical in- 
clinations, in men openly avowing their own ignorance 
and utter want of all experience in things spiritual and 
heavenly. Neither doth the person of Christ or his 
office, meet with better entertainment amongst many, 
and by some have been treated with scurrility and blas- 
phemy. In the mean time the contests about commu- 
nion with churches are great and fierce. But where 
these things are received and approved, those who live 
not on a traditionary faith, will not forsake Christ and 
the gospel, or renounce faith and experience, for the 
communion of any church in the world. 

But all flesh, almost, hath corrupted its ways. The 
power of religion, and the experience of it in the souls 
of men, being generally lost, the profession of it is of 
no great use, nor will long abide. Yea, multitudes all 
the world over, seem to be weary of the religion which 
themselves profess, so far as it is pleaded to be of di- 
vine revelation, be it true or false, unless it be where 
they have great secular advantages by their profession 
of it. There is no greater pretence of a flourishing 
state in religion, than that of some churches of the Ro- 
man communion, especially one at this day. But if the 


account whicli is given us from among themselves con- 
cerning it be true, it is not much to be gloried in. For 
set aside the multitude of atheists, antiscripturists, and 
avowed disbelievers of the supernatural mysteries of 
the gospel, and the herd that remains influenced into 
a hatred and persecution of the truth by a combination 
of men upholding themselves and their way by extra- 
vagant secular interests and advantages, is not very 
highly considerable. Yea, their present height seems 
to be on a precipice. What inroads in other places, 
bold opinions concerning the authority of Scripture and 
the demonstration of it, the person and oflice of Christ, 
the Holy Spirit, and all his operations, with the ad- 
vancement of a pretence of morality in opposition to 
evangelical grace in its nature and eflicacy, are made 
every day, is known unto all who consider these things. 
And although the effects of this poison discover them- 
selves daily, in the decays of piety, the increase of im- 
moralities of all sorts, and the aboundino- of flagitious 
sins, exposing nations unto the high displeasure of 
God ; yet the security of most in this state of things, 
proclaims itself in various fruits of it, and can never be 
suflficiently deplored. 

Whereas, therefore, one means of the preservation 
of the church, and its deliverance out of these evils, is a 
due attendance unto the discharge of this duty of prayer, 
the declaration of its nature, with a vindication of the 
springs and causes from whence it derives its eflicacy, 
which are attempted in the ensuing Discourse, may, I 
hope, through the blessing of God, be of some use unto 
such whose minds are sincere in their inquiries after 



P R A Y E R, 





TJie use ofprfnjer, and the work of the Holy Sjiirit therein. 

The works of the Spirit of God towards believers, are either 
general, and not confined with a respect unto any one duty- 
more than another ; or particular, with respect unto some 
especial duty. Of the first sort are, regeneration and sancti- 
Jication, which being common unto them all, are the general 
principles of all actings of grace or particular duties, in them. 
But there are, moreover, sundry especial works or operations 
of this Holy Spirit in and towards the disciples of Christ; 
which, although they may be reduced unto the general head 
of sanctijication, yet they fall under an especial consideration 
proper unto themselves ; of this sort is the aid or assistance 
which he gives unto ns, in our prayers and supplications. 

I suppose it will be granted, that prayer in the whole 
compass and extent of it, as comprising meditation, suppli- 
carion, praise, and thanksgiving, is one of the most signal 
duries of religion. The light of nature in its most pregnant 
notions, with its practical language in the consciences of 
mankind, concur in their suffrage with the Scripture in this 
matter. For they both of them jointiy witness that it is not 
only an important duty in religion, but also that without it, 
there neither is nor can be the exercise of any religion in 
the worid. Never any persons lived in the acknowledgment 


of aDeity, but under the conduct of the same apprehension, 
they thought the duty of vows, prayers, and praises incum- 
bent on them as they found occasion. Yea, although they 
found out external ceremonious ways of solemnizing their 
devotions, yet it was this duty of prayer alone, which was 
their natural, necessary, fundamental acknowledgment of 
that Divine Being which they did own. Neither are there 
any considerable stories extant recording the monuments of 
the ancient Heathen nations of the world, wherein (to the 
shame of degenerate Christianity it may be spoken) there 
are not more frequent accounts given of their sacred invo- 
cations and supplications unto their supposed gods, than 
are to be found in any of the historical monuments and 
stories concerning the actions of Christian nations in these 
latter ages. This, therefore, is the most natural and most 
eminent way and means of our converse with God, without 
which converse we have no present advantage above the 
beasts that perish ; but such as will turn unto our eternal 
disadvantage in that misery whereof they are incapable. 
This is the way whereby we exercise towards him all that 
srace which we do receive from him : and render him an 
acceptable acknowledgment of that homage and revenue of 
glory, which we are never able to exhibit in their due kind 
and measure. Of what use and advantage the due perform- 
ance of this duty is unto ourselves, no man is able fully to 
express ; every one can add somewhat of his own experience. 
But we need not insist on the commendation of prayer, for 
it will be said. By whom was it ever discommended ? 

And I wish I saw reason to acquiesce in that reply. For 
not only the practice of the most, but the declared opinions 
of many, do evidence, that neither the excellency of this duty, 
nor its necessity, do find that acceptance and esteem in the 
minds of men as is pretended. But this being not my present 
design, I shall not farther insist upon it. 

For my purpose is not to treat of the nature, necessity, 
properties, uses, effects, and advantages of this gracious 
duty, as it is the vital breath of our spiritual life, unto God. 
Its original in the law of nature, as the first and principal 
means of the acknowledgment of a divine power, whereof the 
neglect is a sufficient evidence of practical atheism (for he 
that prayeth not, says in his heart. There is no God); itsdi- 


rection in the Scripture as to the rule, manner, and proper 
object of it ; the necessity of its constant use and practice, 
both from especial commands and our state in this world, 
with the whole variety of inward and outward occasions that 
may befal us, or we may be exercised withal ; arguments, 
motives, and encouragements unto constancy, fervency, and 
perseverance in the performance of the duty of it; with 
known examples of its mighty efficacy and marvellous suc- 
cess ; the certain advantages which the souls of believers 
do receive thereby, in spiritual aids and supplies of strength, 
with peace and consolation, with sundry other of its con- 
cernments, although much treated of already by many, 
might yet be farther coovsidered and improved. But none 
of these are my present design. The interest of the Holy 
Spirit of God by his gracious operations in it, is that alone 
which I shall inquire into. 

And it cannot be denied, but that the work and actings 
of the Spirit of grace, in and towards believers, with respect 
unto the duty of prayer, are more frequently and expressly 
asserted in the Scripture, than his operations with respect 
unto any other particular grace or duty whatever. If this 
should be called into question, the ensuing discourse, I hope, 
will sufficiently vindicate and confirm its truth. But hereby 
believers are instructed as in the importance of the duty it- 
self, so in the use and necessity of the aid and assistance of 
the Spirit of God in and unto the right discharge or perform- 
ance of it. For where frequent plain revelations concur, in 
multiplied conmiands and directions, with continual expe- 
rience, as it is with them in this case, their instruction is firm, 
and in a way of being fixed on their minds. As this render- 
eth an inquiry hereinto both necessary and seasonable ; for 
what can be more so, than that wherein the spiritual life and 
comfort of believers are so highly concerned, and which ex- 
hibiteth unto us so gracious a condescension of divine love 
and goodness ; so, moreover, the opposition that is made in 
the world against the work of the Spirit of God herein, above 
all other his operations, requires that something be spoken 
in the vindication of it. 

But the enmity hereunto seems to be peculiar unto these 
latter ages, I mean among such as pretend unto any acquaint- 
ance with these things, from the Scripture. It will be hard 



to find an instance in former ages, of any unto whom the 
Spirit of God, as a Spirit of grace and supplications, was a 
reproach. But as now the contradiction herein is great and 
fierce, so is there not any difference concerning any prac- 
tical duty of religion, wherein parties at variance are more 
confident and satisfied, in and about their own apprehensions, 
than they are, who dissent about the work of the Spirit of 
God in our prayers and supplications. For those who op- 
pose what is ascribed by others unto him herein, are not 
content to deny and reject it, and to refuse a communion in 
the faith and practice of the work so ascribed unto him ; but 
moreover, such is the confidence they have in their own con- 
ceptions, that they revile and speak evil contemptuously 
and despitefully of what they do oppose. Hence ability to 
pray, as is pleaded, by the assistance of the Holy Ghost, is 
so far from being allowed to be a gift, or a grace, or a duty, 
or any way useful among men, that it is derided and scorned 
as a paltry faculty fit to be exploded from among Christians. 
And at length it is traduced as an invention and artifice of 
the Jesuits, to the surprisal and offence of many sober per- 
sons ; the unadvisedness of which insinuation, the ensuing 
discourse will manifest. 

Others, again, profess that of all the privileges whereof 
they are made partakers in this world, of all the aids, assist- 
ances, or gifts which they receive from or by the Spirit of 
God, that which he communicates and helps them withal in 
their prayers and supplications, is the most excellent and 
inestimable. And herein they have, living and dying, in all 
troubles, distresses, temptations, and persecutions, such as- 
surance and satisfaction in their minds, as that they are not 
in the least moved with all the scorn and contempt that are 
cast upon their profession and practice, in the exercise of 
the gift which they have received ; but rather judge, that 
they contract the guilt of great sin to themselves^, by whom 
this work of the Spirit is reproached. Hence, I know not any 
difference about religious things, that is managed with greater 
animosities in the minds of men, and worse consequents, 
than this which is about the work of the Spirit of God in 
prayer, which indeed is the hinge on which all other differ- 
ences about divine worship do turn and depend. It may, 
therefore, be well worth our while, yea it is our duty, sedately 


and diligently to inquire into what the Scripture teacheth us 
in this matter, wherein we must acquiesce, and whereby all 
experiences on the one side or the other must be tried and 
regulated. Two things, therefore, I do propose unto myself in 
the ensuing discourse, concerning both which I shall plainly 
and briefly endeavour the satisfaction of indifferent and un- 
prejudiced readers. And these are, first. To evince that there 
is promised, and actually granted^ an especial work of the Spirit 
of God in the prayers or praises of believers under the New Testa- 
ment: secondly. To declare the nature of that tvork, tvherein it 
doth consist, or the manner of the operation of the Holy Spirit 
therein. And if in these things no impression can be made 
on the minds of men possessed with those mighty prejudices 
which reject their very proposal, and all consideration of 
them with contempt ; yet it may be of use unto them, who 
being not biassed with the undue love or hatred of parties of 
men, nor elated with high valuations of their own concep- 
tions above those of others, whom they think they have 
reason if not to hate, yet to scorn, do sincerely desire to 
live unto God, and to prefer the performance of their duty 
unto all other considerations, endeavouring to subdue their 
inclinations and affections thereunto. Nor do I desire more 
of any reader, but that he will grant that he is herein con- 
versant about things which will have an influence into hi» 
everlasting account. 


Zech. xii. 10. opened and vindicated. 

The especial promise of the administration of the Spint of 
God unto the end under consideration, is that which I shall 
lay as the foundation of the ensuing discourse ; Zech. xii. 10. 
' I will pour upon the house of David, and the inhabitants of 
Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplications.' The Spi- 
rit here promised is the Spirit of God ; ' the Holy Spirit,' 
with respect unto the especial end for which he is promised. 
And the manner of his administration in the accomplishment 
of the promise is expressed by 'DDD'^'i ' 1 will pour out.' The 

D 2 


same word is used to the same purpose, Ezek. xxxix. 29. 
Joel ii. 28. as are also other words of the same importance, 
which we render by 'pouring out;' as Prov. i. 23. Isa.xxxii. 
15. xliv. 3. lii. 10. 

Two things have been elsewhere declared concerning this 
e>q3ression, applied unto the communication of the Holy 
Ghost. (1.) That a plentiful dispensation of him unto the 
end for which he is promised, with respect unto a singular 
and eminent degree in his operations, is intended therein. 
The apostle expresseth this word, or the accomplishment of 
what is promised in it, by it,e^x^ev irXovaiwi;, Tit. iii. 6. 'he 
hath richly,' or abundantly, ' poured out his Spirit.' Not, 
therefore, a mere grant and communication of the Spirit, but 
a plentiful effusion of him is intended ; which must have 
some eminent efi'ects, as pledges and tokens thereof. For 
it is absurd to speak of a ' plentiful abundant effusion' with 
degrees above what was before granted, and yet there be no 
certain ways or means whereby it may be evidenced and de- 
monstrated. The Spirit, therefore, is so promised in this 
place, as to produce some notable and peculiar effects of his 
communication. (2.) That this promise is peculiar unto the 
days of the gospel ; I mean every promise is so, where men- 
tion is made of pouring out the Spirit on men ; which may 
be evinced by the consideration of every place where this 
expression is used. But in this place it is most unquestion- 
able, the immediate effect of it being a looking unto Christ 
as he was pierced. And it maybe yet farther observed, that 
there is a tacit comparison in it, with some other time or 
season, or some other act of God, wherein or whereby he 
gave his Spirit before ; but not in that way, manner, or 
measure, that he now promiseth to bestow him. Of the 
whole of these observations, Dydimus gives us a brief ac- 
count, De Spir. Sanct. 1. 1. ' Significat autem effusionis ver- 
bum, largam, et divitem muneris abundantiam ; itaque cum 
unus quis alicubi, aut duo Spiritum Sanctum accipiunt, non 
dicitur, effundam de Spiritu meo, sed tunc quando in uni- 
versas gentes munus Spiritus Sancti redundaverit.' 

2. Those unto whom he is thus promised, are the house 
of-David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem ; that is, the whole 
church, expressed in a distribution into the ruling family 
and the body of the people under their rule. And the family 


of David, which was then in supreme power among the peo- 
ple, in the person of Zerubbabel, is expressly mentioned, for 
three reasons: (1.) Because the faithfulness of God in his 
promises, was concerned in the preservation of that family, 
whereof the Messiah was to spring, Christ himself being 
thereby in the rule of the church typed out in an especial 
manner. (2.) Because all the promises in a peculiar manner, 
were first to be fulfilled in the person of Christ, so typed by 
David and his house. On him the Spirit, under the New 
Testament, was first to be poured out in all fulness, and from 
him to be communicated unto others. (3.) It may be to de- 
note the especial gifts and graces that should be communi- 
cated unto them, who were to be employed in the rule and 
conduct of the church, under him, the king and head there- 
of. And the inhabitants of Jerusalem, is a phrase expressive 
of the whole church ; because that was the seat of all their 
public ordinances of worship. See Psal. cxxii. 1 — 9. Where- 
fore, the whole spiritual church of God, all believers, are the 
object of this promise, as represented in the family of David 
and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 

3. The especial qualifications of the promised Spirit are 
two : For, (1.) he is to be ]n n)'^ a 'Spirit of grace.' \n which 
the Greek constantly render X"P'^' ^^^^ ^^ ^^^"^ *^^ Latin 
gratia, ' grace,' is derived of pn, as is also the following 
word, which signifies to 'have mercy,' or 'compassion,' to be 
* gracious ;' as all the words whereby God's gracious deal- 
ino-s with sinners in the Hebrew do include the signification 
of pity, compassion, free goodness, and bounty. And it is 
variously used in the Scripture. Sometimes for the grace 
and favour of God, as it is the fountain of all gracious and 
merciful effects towards us; Rom. i. 7. iv. 16. v. 2. 14. 20. 
vi. 1. xi. 5. 1 Cor. i. 3. and in other places innumerable; 
and sometimes for the principal effect hereof, or the gracious 
favour of God whereby he accepts us in Christ; Eph. ii. 5. 
2Thess. i. 12. which is the grace the apostle prays for in the 
behalf of the church, Horn. xvi. 20. 1 Cor. xvi. 23. And 
sometimes it is applied unto the favour of men, and accepta- 
tion with them, called the ' finding grace' or ' favour' in the 
sight of any; Gen. xxxix. 4. 21. xli. 24. 1 Sam. ii. 26. Rom. 
XV. 11. Esther ii. 15. 17. v. 2. Luke ii. 52. Acts iv. 33. And 
sometimes for the free effectual efficacy of grace in tliose in 


whom it is ; Acts xiv. 26. 1 Cor. xv. 10. 2 Cor. xi. 9. And 
sometimes for our justification and salvation, by the free 
grace or favour of God in Christ; John i. 17. 1 Pet. i. 13. 
For the gospel itself, as the instrument of the declaration 
and communication of the grace of God; 2 Cor. vi. 1. Eph. 
iii. 2. Col. i. 6. Tit. ii. 11. For the free donation of the 
grace and gifts of the Spirit; John i. 16. Eph. iv. 7. And 
many other significations it hath, which belong not unto our 

Three things may be intended in this adjunct ; of grace. 

[1.] A respect of the sovereign cause of his dispensation, 
which is no other but the mere grace of God. He may be 
called a ' Spirit of grace,' because his donation is an effect of 
grace, without the least respect unto any desert in those 
unto whom he is given. This reason of the appellation is 
declared. Tit. iii. 4 — 6. The sole cause and reason in op- 
position unto our own works or deservings of the pouring 
out of the Spirit upon us, is the love and kindness of God 
in Jesus Christ ; whence he may be justly called, a ' Spirit of 
grace.' [2.] Because he is the author of all grace in and unto 
them on whom he is poured out; so God is called the ' God 
of all grace,' because he is the fountain and author of it. 
And that the Holy Spirit is the immediate efficient cause of 
all grace in us, hath been elsewhere proved, both in general 
and in the principal instances of regeneration and sanctifi- 
cation, and it shall be yet farther confirmed in what doth 
ensue. [3.] \n is commonly used for that grace or favour 
which one hath with another : * Let me find grace in thy 
sight,' as in the instances before quoted. And so the Spirit 
also may be called a ' Spirit of grace,' because those on whom 
he is poured out, have grace and favour with God; they are 
gracious with him as being 'accepted in the beloved;' Eph. 
ii. 18, Whereas, therefore, all these concur wherever this 
Spirit is communicated, I know no reason why we may not 
judge them all here included ; though that in the second 
place be especially intended. The Spirit is promised to 
work grace and holiness, in all on whom he is bestowed. 

(2.) He is, as thus poured out, a Spirit D'313nn, of suppli- 
cations, that is, of prayer for grace and mercy. The word is 
formed from \^r\ as the other, to be gracious or merciful ; and 
expressing our act towards God, it is prayer for grace, — sup- 


plication. And it is never used but to express vocal prayer, 
either in the assemblies of the people of God, or by private 
persons. ' Hearken to the voice of my supplications,' is ren- 
dered by the apostle Paul, tKtTrjpm ; Heb. v. 7. in which place 
alone in the Scripture that word is used. Originally it signi- 
fies a bough or olive-branch wrapped about with wool or bays, 
or something of the like nature, which those carried in their 
hands and lifted up, who were suppliants unto others for 
the obtaining of peace, or the averting of their displeasure. 
Hence came the phrase ofvelamenta praferre, to hold out such 
covered branches. So Livy de Bel. Punic. ' Ramas olese, ac 
velamenta alia supplicantium portantes, orant ut reciperent 
sese :'— ' Holding forth olive-branches, and other covered to- 
kens used by suppliants, they prayed that they might be re- 
ceived' into grace and favour. Which custom Virgil de- 
clares in his J^neas addressing himself to Evander : 

Optime Grajugenum, cui me Fortuna precari 

Et vitla coraptos voluit prcetendere Ramos — Virg. Mn. viii. 127. 

And they called them ktTrjptac ^aWovg, ' branches of sup- 
plication,' or prayer. And they constantly called those 
prayers which they made solemnly unto their gods, supplicia 
2ind supplicationes; Liv.lib. 10. 'Eo anno multa prodigia erant, 
quarum avertendarum causa supplicationes in biduum sena- 
tus decrevit.' A form of which kind of prayer we have in 
Cato, de re rustica, cap. 13. ' Mars pater te precor qusesoque 
ut calamitates .' 

Some render Dmann by miserationes, or lamentationes, and 
interpret it of men's bemoaning themselves in their prayers 
for grace and mercy, which in the issue varies not from the 
sense insisted on. But whereas it is derived from pn which 
sio-nifies to be merciful or gracious, and expresses an act of 
ours towards God, it can properly signify nothing but sup- 
plications for mercy and grace. Nor is it otherwise used in 
the Scripture. See Job xl. 21. Prov. xviii. 23. Dan. ix. 3. 
Jer. xxxi. 60. 2 Chron. vi. 21. Jer. iii. 21. Psal. xxviu. 2. 6. 
xxxi. 23. cxvi. 1. cxxx. 2. cxl. 7. cxliii. 1. Dan. ix. 18. 25. 
Psal xlvi. 6. which are all the places, besides this, where the 
word is used ; in all which it denotes, deprecation of evil and 
supplication for grace, constantly in the plural number to 
denote the earnestness of men. 

DOIinn, therefore, are properly supplications for grace and 
mercy, for freedom and deliverance from evil, put by a synec- 


doche for all sorts of prayer whatever. We may, therefore, 
inquire in what sense the Holy Spirit of God is called a ' spi- 
rit of supplication,' or what is the reason of this attribution 
unto him. And he must be so either formally or efficiently, 
either because he is so in himself, or unto us. If in the former 
way, then he is a spirit who himself prayeth, and according 
to the import of those Hebraisms, aboundeth in that duty. 
As a ' man of wickedness ;' Isa. Iv. 7. or a * man of blood' is 
a man wholly given to wickedness and violence ; so on the 
other hand, a spirit of supplication should be a spirit abound- 
ing in prayer for mercy, and the diverting of evil, as the word 
imports. Now the Holy Ghost cannot be thus a spirit of 
supplication, neither for himself nor us. No imagination of 
any such thing can be admitted with respect unto himself, 
without the highest blasphemy. Nor can he in his own per- 
son make supplications for us. For besides that any such 
interposition in heaven, on our behalf, is in the Scripture 
wholly confined unto the priestly office of Christ and his in- 
tercession, all prayer, whether oral or interpretative only, is 
the act of a nature inferior unto that which is prayed unto. 
This the Spirit of God hath not, he hath no nature inferior 
unto that which is divine. We cannot, therefore, suppose him 
to be formally a spirit of supplication, unless we deny his 
Deity. He is, therefore, so efficiently with respect unto us, 
and as such he is promised unto us. Our inquiry, therefore, 
in general, is how or in what sense he is so. And there are 
but two ways conceivable whereby this may be affirmed 
of him. [1.] By working gracious ind'uiations and disposi- 
tions in us unto this duty. [2.] By giving a gracious ability 
for the discharge of it in a due manner. These, therefore, 
must belong unto, and do comprise his efficiency as a spirit 
of supplication. 

Both of them are included in that of the apostle, ' The 
Spirit itself maketh intercession for us ;' Rom. viii. 26, 
Those who can put any other sense on this promise, may do 
well to express it. Every one consistent with the analogy 
of faith shall be admitted, so that we do not judge the words 
to be void of sense, and to have nothing in them. To deny 
the Spirit of God to be a spirit of supplication in and unto 
believers, is to reject the testimony of God himself. 

By the ways mentioned we affirm that he is so, nor can 
any other w^ be assigned. 


[1.] He is so, by working gracious inclinations and dispo- 
sitions in us unto this duty. It is he who prepareth, dispos- 
eth, and inclineth the hearts of believers unto the exercise 
thereof with delight and spiritual complacency. And where 
this is not, no prayer is acceptable unto God. He delights 
not in those cries which an unwilling mind is pressed and 
forced unto by earthly desires, distress, or misery ; James 
iv. 5. Of ourselves, naturally, we are averse from any con- 
verse and intercourse with God, as being alienated from living 
unto him, by the ignorance and vanity of our minds. 

And there is a secret alienation still working in us from 
all duties of immediate communion with him. It is he alone 
whoworketh us unto that frame wherein we pray continually, 
as it is required of us ; our hearts being kept ready and pre- 
pared for this duty on all occasions and opportunities, being 
in the mean time acted and steered under the conduct and 
influence of those graces which are to be exercised therein. 
This some call the grace of prayer that is given us by the 
Holy Ghost, as I suppose improperly, though I will not con- 
tend about it. For prayer absolutely, and formally, is not 
a peculiar grace distinct from all other graces that are exer- 
cised in it : but it is the way and manner whereby we are to 
exercise all other graces of faith, love, delight, fear, reve- 
rence, self-abasement, and the like, unto certain especial 
ends. And I know no grace of prayer distinct or different 
from the exercise of these graces. It is, therefore, a holy 
commanded way of the exercise of other graces, but not a 
peculiar grace itself. Only where any person is singularly 
disposed and devoted unto this duty, we may, if we please, 
thouo-h improperly, say that he is eminent in the grace of 
prayer. And I do suppose that this part of his work will not 
be denied by any, no not that it is intended in the promise. 
If any are minded to stand at such a distance from other 
things which are ascribed unto him, or have such an abhor- 
rency of allowing him part or interest in our supplications, 
as that we may in any sense be said to pray in the H jly Ghost, 
that they will not admit of so much as the work of his grace, 
and that wrought in believers by virtue of this promise, they 
will manage an opposition unto his other actings, at too 
dear a rate to be gainers by it. 

[2.] He is so by giving an ability for prayer, or commu- 


nicating a gift unto the minds of men, enabling them profit- 
ably unto themselves and others, to exercise all his graces 
in that especial way of prayer. It will be granted afterward, 
that there may be a gift of prayer used where there is no 
grace in exercise, nor perhaps any to be exercised ; that is, 
as some improperly express it, the gift of prayer, where the 
grace of prayer is not. But in declaring how the Spirit is 
a spirit of supplication, we must take in the consideration 
of both. He both disposeth us to pray, that is, to the exer- 
cise of grace in that especial way, and enableth us thereunto. 
And where this ability is wholly and absolutely wanting, or 
where it is rejected or despised, although he may act and 
exercise those very graces which are to be exercised in prayer, 
and whose exercise in that way is commonly called the grace 
of prayer, yet this work of his belongs unto the general head 
of sanctification wherein he preserves, excites, and acts all 
our graces, and not unto this especial work of prayer, nor is 
he a spirit of supplication therein. He is, therefore, only a 
spirit of supplication properly, as he communicates a gift or 
ability unto persons to exercise all his graces in the way and 
duty of prayer. This is that which he is here promised for, 
and promised to be poured out for ; that is, to be given in an 
abundant and plentiful manner. Wherever he is bestowed 
in the accomplishment of this promise, he both disposeth 
the hearts of men to pray, and enableth them so to do. This 
ability indeed, he communicates in great variety, as to the 
degrees of it, and usefulness unto others in its exercise, but 
he doth it unto every one so far as is necessary unto his own 
spiritual concernments, or the discharge of his duty towards 
God and all others. But, whereas this assertion contains 
the substance of what we plead for, the farther confirmation 
of it must be the principal subject of the ensuing discourse. 

That this is the sense of the place, and the mind of the 
Holy Ghost in the words, needs no other demonstration, but 
that it is expressive of their proper signification, neither can 
any other sense tolerably be affixed on them. To deny the 
Holy Spirit to be denominated a spirit of supplication, be- 
cause he inclineth, disposeth, and enableth them to pray, unto 
whom he is promised and on whom he is bestowed as such, 
is to use a little too much liberty in sacred things. 

A learned man of late, out of hatred unto the spirit of 


prayer, or prayer as his gift, hath endeavoured to deprive the 
church of God of the whole benefit and comfort of this pro- 
mise ; Amyrald. praefat. in Psal. For he contends that it be- 
longs not unto the Christian church, but unto the Jews only. 
Had he said it belonged unto the Jews in the first place who 
should be converted unto Christ, he had not gone so wide 
from the truth, nor from the sense of other expositors, though 
he had said more than he could prove. But to suppose that 
any grace, any mercy, any privilege, by Jesus Christ, is pro- 
mised unto the Jews, wherein Gentile believers shall be no 
sharers, that they should not partake of the same kind, who- 
ever hath the prerogative as to degrees, is fond and impious. 
For if they also are children of Abraham, if the blessing of 
faithful Abraham do come upon them also, if it is through 
them that he is the heir of the world, his spiritual seed in- 
habiting it by right in all places, then unto them do all the 
promises belong that are made unto him and his seed. And 
whereas most of the * exceeding great and precious promises' 
of the Old Testament are made to Jacob and Israel, to Je- 
rusalem and Zion ; it is but saying that they are all confined 
unto the Jews, and so at once despoil the church of God of 
all right and title to them, which impious folly and sacri- 
lege hath been by some attempted. But whereas all the pro- 
mises belong unto the same covenant, with all the grace 
contained in them and exhibited by them, who ever is inte- 
rested by faith in that covenant, is so in all the promises of 
God that belong thereunto, and hath an equal right unto 
them, with those unto whom they were first given. To sup- 
pose, now that the Jews are rejected for their unbelief, that 
the promises of God made unto them whilst they stood by 
faith, are ceased and of no use, is to overthrow the covenant 
of Abraham, and indeed the whole truth of the New Testa- 
ment. But the apostle assures us, that ' all the promises of 
God are in Christ yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of 
God by us :' that is, in their accomplishment in us and to- 
wards us ; 2 Cor. i. 20. So also he positively affirms that all 
believers have received those promises which originally were 
made unto Israel; 2 Cor. vi. 16 — 18. vii. 1. And not only 
so, but he declareth also that the promises which were made 
of old unto particular persons on especial occasions, as to 
the grace, power, and love contained in them, and intended 


by them, do yet belong unto all individual believers, and 
are ajiplicable by them unto all their especial occasions ; 
Heb. xiii. 5, 6. And their right unto, or interest in, all the 
promises of God, is that which those who are concerned in 
the obedience of" faith, would not forego for all that this 
world can supply them withal. This, therefore, is only a par- 
ticular instance of the work and effect of the Spirit, as he is 
in general promised in the covenant. And as we have declared, 
the promises of him, as a spirit of grace and holiness in the 
covenant, belong unto the believers of the Gentiles also. If 
they do not, they have neither share nor interest in Christ, 
which is a better plea for the Jew, than this peculiar instance 
will afford. But this promise is only an especial declaration 
of what in one case this Spirit shall do, who is promised as 
a spirit of grace and holiness in the covenant. And there- 
fore, the author of the evasion, suspecting that the fraud and 
sacrilege of it would be detected, betakes himself to other 
subterfuges, which we shall afterward meet with, so far as 
we are concerned. 

It may be more soberly objected, that the ' spirit of grace 
and supplication' was given unto believers under the Old 
Testament ; and therefore, if there be no more in it, if 
some extraordinary gifts be not here intended, how comes 
it to be made an especial promise with respect unto the 
times of the New Testament? It may, therefore, be supposed, 
that not the ordinary grace or giftof prayer which believers, 
and especially the officers of the church, do receive, but 
some extraordinary gift bestowed on the apostles and first 
converts to the church, is here intended. So the prophecy 
concerning the effusion of the Spirit on all sorts of persons, 
Joel ii. is interpreted by Peter, and applied unto the sending 
of the Holy Ghost in miraculous gifts on the day of Pente- 
cost; Acts ii. 

A7isiver. 1. I have elsewhere already, in general, obviated 
this objection, by shewing the prodigious folly of that ima- 
gination, that the dispensation of the Spirit is confined unto 
the first times of the gospel, whereof this objection is a 
branch, as enmity unto the matter treated of is the occasion 
of the whole. 2. We nowhere find grace and prayer, the 
things here promised, to be reckoned among the extraordi- 
nary gifts of the Spirit under the New Testament. Prayer, 


indeed, in an unknown tongue was so; but prayer Itself was 
not so, no more than grace, which if it were, the whole pre- 
sent church is graceless. 3. The promise in Joel had express 
respect unto the extraordinary gifts o^ prophecy and visions, 
and therefore, had its principal accomplishment in the day 
of Pentecost. This promise is quite of another nature. 4. 
That which is necessary for, and the duty of, all believers, 
and that always, is not an exlraordinari/ gift bestowed on a 
few, for a season. Now, if there are any who think that 
grace and prayer are not necessary unto all believers, or that 
they may have abilities, and exercise them without any aid 
of the Holy Spirit, I will not at present contend with them; 
for this is not a place to plead with those by whom tlie prin- 
ciples of the Christian faith are denied. Divine commands 
are the rule of our duty, not man's imaginations. 5. If this 
be not an especial promise of the New Testament, because 
the matter of it, or grace promised, was in some degree and 
measure enjoyed under the Old, then is there no promise 
made with respect unto that season; for the saints under 
the Old Testament were really made partakers of all the 
same graces with those under the New. Wherefore, 6. two 
things are intended in the promise with respect unto the 
times of the gospel : (1.) Ait ampliation and enlargement of this 
grace or favour, as unto the subjects of it extensively. It was 
under the Old Testament confined unto a few, but now it 
shall be communicated unto many, and diffused all the 
world over. It shall be so poured out as to be shed abroad 
and imparted thereby unto many. That which before was 
but as the watering of a garden by an especial hand, is 
now as the clouds pouring themselves forth on the whole 
face of the earth. (2.) An increase of the degrees of spiritual 
abilities for the performance of it. Tit. iii. 5, 6. There is 
now a rich communication of the Spirit of grace and prayer 
granted unto believers, in comparison of what was enjoyed 
under the Old Testament. This the very nature of the dis- 
pensation of the gospel, wherein we receive from Jesus 
Christ grace for grace, doth evince and confirm. I suppose 
it needless to prove, that as unto all spiritual supplies of 
grace there is brought in an abundant administration of it 
by Jesus Christ ; the whole Scripture testifying unto it. 
There were indeed under the Old Testament, prayers 


and praises of God dictated by a spirit of" prophecy, and re- 
ceived by immediate divine revelation, containing mysteries 
for the instruction of the church in all ages. These prayers 
were not suggested unto them by the aid of the Spirit as a 
* spirit of supplication,' but dictated in and to them by the 
Spirit, as a spirit of prophecy. Nor did they themselves 
comprehend the mind of the Holy Spirit in them fully, but 
inquired diligently thereinto, as into other prophecies given 
out by the Spirit of Christ which was in them ; 1 Pet. i. 11, 
12. An instance whereof we may have in Psal. xxii. A 
prayer it is with thanksgiving from first to last. Now, al- 
though David unto whom it was given by inspiration, might 
find in his own condition things that had some low and mean 
resemblance of what was intended in the words suggested 
unto him by the Holy Spirit, as he was a type of Christ, yet 
the depth of the mysteries contained therein, the principal 
scope and design of the Holy Ghost, was in a great measure 
concealed from himself, and much more from others. Only 
it was given out unto the church by immediate inspiration, 
that believers might search and diligently inquire into what 
was signified and foretold therein, that so thereby they might 
be gradually led into the knowledge of the mysteries of God, 
according as he was pleased graciously to communicate of 
his saving light unto them. But withal it was revealed unto 
David and the other prophets, ' that in these things, they 
did not minister unto themselves but unto us,' as having 
mysteries in them, which they could not, which they were 
not, to comprehend. But as this gift is ceased under the 
New Testament, after the finishing of the canon of the Scrip- 
ture, nor is it by any pretended unto : so was it confined of 
old unto a very few inspired persons, and belongs not unto 
our present inquiry ; for we speak only of those things 
which are common unto all believers. And herein a prefer- 
ence must in all things be given unto those under the New 

If, therefore, it could be proved, which I know it cannot 
be, that the generality of the church under the Old Testa- 
ment made use of any forms of prayers, as mere forms of 
prayer, without any other end, use, or mystical instruction 
(all which concurred in their prophetical composures), for the 
sole end of prayer ; yet would it not, whatever any pretend 


or plead, thence follow, that believers under the New Tes- 
tament may do the same, much less that they may be obliged 
always so to do. For there is now; a more plentiful and rich 
effusion of the spirit of grace and supplication upon them, 
than was upon those of old. And as our duty is to be regu- 
lated by God's commands, so God's commands are suited 
unto the dispensation of his grace. For persons under the 
New Testament who are commanded to pray, not to make 
use constantly in their so doing, of the gifts, aids, and assist- 
ance of the Spirit, which are peculiarly dispensed and com- 
municated therein, on pretence of what was done under the 
Old, is to reject the grace of the gospel, and to make them- 
selves guilty of the highest ingratitude. Wherefore, although 
we may and ought to bear with them, who having not re- 
ceived any thing of this promised grace and assistance, nor 
do believe there is any such thing, do plead for the use of 
forms of prayer to be composed by some and read by others 
or themselves, and that only, in the discharge of this duty; 
yet such as have been made partakers of this grace, and 
who own it their duty constantly to use and improve the 
promised aids of the Spirit of God, will be careful not to ad- 
mit of any such principles or practice, as would plainly an- 
nihilate the promise. 

Thus much then we may suppose ourselves to have ob- 
tained in the consideration of this testimony, That God hath 
promised under the Ne7v Testament to give unto believers, in a 
plentiful manner or measure, the Spirit of grace and supplica- 
tion, or his oivn Holy Spirit enabling them to pray according to 
his mind and tvill. The way and manner of his work therein, 
shall be afterward declared. And it may suffice to oppose, 
in general, this one promise unto the open reproaches and 
bold contempts that are by many cast on the spirit of prayer, 
whose framers, unless they can blot this text out of the Scrip- 
ture, will fail at last in their design. We shall not, therefore, 
need to plead any other testimony to the same purpose in 
the way of promises. Only we may observe, that this being 
expressly assigned as a part of the gracious work of the 
Holy Spirit, as promised under the New Testament, there is 
no one promise to that purpose, wherein this grace is not m- 
cluded : therefore the known multiplication of them addeth 
strength unto our argument. 



Gal. iv. 6. opened and vindicated. 

The next general evidence given unto the truth under con- 
sideration, is the account of the accomplishment of this pro- 
mise under the New Testament, where also the nature of the 
operation of the Holy Spirit herein, is in general expressed. 
And this is. Gal. iv. 6. * Because ye are sons, God hath sent 
forth the Spiritof his Son, crying, Abba Father.' An account, 
as was said, is here given of the accomplishment of the promise 
before explained. And sundry things may be considered in 
the words. 

First, The subject on whom he is bestowed, and in whom 
he worketh, are believers, or those who by the Spirit of 
adoption are made the children of God. We receive the 
adoption of sons, and because we are sons, he sendeth his 
Spirit into our hearts. And this privilege of adoption we 
obtain by faith in Christ Jesus ; John i. 12. 'To as many as 
received him, he gave power to become the sons of God, 
even to them that believed on his name.' Secondly, There 
is an especial appellation or description of the Spirit as pro- 
mised and given unto this purpose, he is the ' Spirit of the 
Son.' That the original ground and reason hereof, is his 
eternal relation to the Son as proceeding from him, hath 
been elsewhere evinced. But there is something more par- 
ticular here intended. He is called the ' Spirit of the Son,' 
with respect unto his communication to believers. There is, 
therefore, included herein, that especial regard unto Jesus 
Christ the Son of God which is in the work mentioned, as it 
is an evangelical mercy and privilege. He is therefore 
called the 'Spirit of the Son,' not only because of his eternal 
procession from him ; but, 1. Because he was in the first place 
given unto him as the head of the church, for the unction, 
consecration, and sanctification, of his human nature. 
Here he laid the foundation, and gave an example of what 
he was to do in and towards all his members. 2. It is im- 
mediately from and by him, that he is communicated unto us, 
and that two ways : (1.) Authoritativelt/, by virtue of the co- 


venant between the Father and him, whereon, upon his ac- 
complishment of the work of the mediation in a state of hu- 
miliation according to it, he 'received the promise of tlie 
Spirit,' that is, power and authority to bestow him on whom 
he would, for all the ends of that mediation ; Acts ii. 33. 
V. 31. (2.) Formally, in that all the graces of the Spirit are 
derived unto us from him as the head of the church, as the 
spring of all spiritual life, in whom they were all treasured 
and laid up unto that purpose ; Col. ii. 19. Eph. iv. 16. Col. 
iii. 1—4. 

Secondly, The work of this Spirit, in general, as bestowed 
on believers, is partly included, partly expressed, in these 
words. In general (which is included) he enables them to 
behave themselves suitably unto that state and condition 
whereunto they are taken upon their faith in Christ Jesus. 
They are made children of God by adoption, and it is meet 
they be taught to carry themselves as becomes that new re- 
lation. 'Because ye are sons, he hath given you the Spirit 
of his Son,' without which they cannot walk before him as 
becometh sons. He teacheth them to bear and behave 
themselves no longer as foreigners and strangers, nor as 
servants only, but as 'children' and 'heirs of God ;' Rom. viii. 
15. He endoweth them with a frame and disposition of 
heart unto holy filial obedience : for as he takes away the 
distance, making them to be nigh who were aliens, and far 
from God ; so he removes that fear, dread, and bondao^e 
which they are kept in who are under the power of the law ; 
2 Tim. i. 7, 'For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, 
but of power and love, and of a sound mind,' Not the spirit 
of fear, or a 'spirit of bondage unto fear,' as Rom. viii. 15. 
that is, in and by the efficacy of the law filling our minds 
with dread, and such considerations of God as will keep us 
at a distance from him. But he is in the sons, on whom he 
is bestowed, a spirit of power ; strengthening and enabling 
them unto all duties of obedience. This irvivfia ^wufiswg, is 
that whereby we are enabled to obedience, v/hich the apostle 
gives thanks for; 1 Tim. i. 12. ■)(^apivtx(i) no Iv^vvaf^uoaavTi /ne 
■)(pi(TTw, to ' Christ that enableth me,' that is, by his spirit of 
power. For without the spirit of adoption we have not the 
least strength or power to behave ourselves as sons in the 
family of God* And he is also, as thus bestowed, a spirit 



of love, who worketh in us that love unto God, and that de- 
light in him, which becometh children towards their heavenly 
Father. This is the first genuine consequent of this relation. 
There may be many duties performed unto God where there 
is no true love to him ; at least no love unto him as a Father 
in Christ, which alone is genuine and accepted. And, lastly, 
he is also a spirit (T(j)(f)povi(Tfj.ov, of a modest, grave, and sober 
mind. Even children are apt to wax wanton and curious and 
proud in their father's house ; but the Spirit enables them to 
behave themselves with that sobriety, modesty, and humility, 
which becometh the family of God. And in these three 
things, spiritual power, love, and sobriety of mind, consists 
the w^hole deportment of the children of God in his family. 
This is the state and condition of those who by the effectual 
working of the spirit of adoption, are delivered from the 
* spirit of bondage unto fear,' which the apostle discourseth 
of, Rom. viii. 15. 

Those who are under the power of that spirit, or that effi- 
cacious working of the spirit by the law, cannot by virtue of 
any aids, or assistance, make their addresses unto him by 
prayer in a due manner. For, although the means whereby 
they are brought into this state, be the Spirit of God acting 
upon their souls and consciences by the laAV ; yet formally, 
as they are in the state of nature, the spirit whereby they are 
acted is the unclean 'spirit of the world,' or the influence of 
him who 'rules in the children of disobedience.' The law 
that they obey, is the law of the members mentioned by the 
apostle, Rom. vii. The works which they perform, are the 
'unfruitful works of darkness,' and the fruits of these unfruitful 
works 'are sin' and 'death.' Being under this bondage they 
have no power to approach unto God, and their bondage 
tending unto fear, they can have no delight in an access unto 
him. Whatever other provisions or preparations such per- 
sons may have for this duty, they can never perform it unto 
the glory of God, or so as to find acceptance with him. 
With those who are delivered from this state, all things are 
otherwise. The Spirit whereby they are acted is the Spirit 
of God, the spirit of adoption, of power, love, and a sound 
mind. The law which they are under obedience unto, is the 
holy law of God, as written in the fleshly tables of their 
hearty. The effects of it are faith and love, with all other 


graces of the Spirit, whereof they receive the fruits in peace 
with joy unspeakable and full of glory. 

Thirdly, An instance is given of his effectual working 
these things in the adopted sons of God in the duty of prayer ; 
'crying, Abba Father.' 1. The object of the especial duty 
intended, is * God even the Father ;' Eph. ii. 1 8. Abba 6 TroTrjp. 
Abba is the Syriac or Chaldee name for Father, then in com- 
mon use among the Jews ; and irarrip was the same name 
amongst the Greeks or Gentiles. So that the common inte- 
rest of Jews and Gentiles in this privilege may be intended. 
Or rather a holy boldness and intimate confidence of love is 
designed in the reduplication of the name. The Jews have 
a saying in the Babylonian Talmud in the treatise of blessings 
n>3iD KQx nb^ '2i^D «nK h^ omx |nip]'N ninD*ii'ni D'-inyn 'ser- 
vants and handmaids (that is, bond-servants) do not call on 
such a one Abba or Ymma.' Freedom of state, with a right 
unto adoption, whereof they are incapable, is required unto 
this liberty and confidence. God gives unto his adopted sons 
nnni 11)"^ a free spirit, Psal. li. 14. a spirit of gracious filial 
ingenuity. This is that spirit which cries Abba ; that is the 
word, whereby those who were adopted, did first salute their 
fathers, to testify their affection and obedience. For Abba 
signifies not only father, but 'my father;' for ax 'my father' 
in the Hebrew, is rendered by the Chaldee paraphrast only 
NDK Abba ; see Gen. xix. 34. and elsewhere constantly. To 
this purpose speaks Chrysostom, (dovXo/jisvoQ SaT^at yvijat- 
6Tr}Ta, KoX TyTOJv 'EjSpatwi' eKpacraTO yXwamj' ov yap tiTTE ii6i>ov 
6 TTaTrjp, aXX o/3/3a 6 iTUTrip, oTrep twv iraiSojv paXicrra sari twv 
jv-naiojv TTjooc TraTspa prifia' ' Being willing to shew the inge- 
nuity (that is, in this duty) he useth also the language of the 
Hebrews ; and says not only Father, but Abba Father, which 
is a word proper unto them who are highly ingenuous.' 

And this he effecteth two ways : (1.) By the excitation of 
o-races and gracious affections in their souls in this duty ; 
especially those of faith, love, and delight. (2.) By enabling 
them to exercise those graces and express those affections in 
vocal prayer. For Kpdt,ov denotes not only crying, but an 
earnestness of mind expressed in vocal prayer. It is praying 
Iv ^ojv^ jutyaXy, as it is said of our Saviour, Matt, xxvii. oO. 
For the whole of our duty in our supplications is expressed 
herein. Now we are not concerned, or do not at present in- 

E 2 


quire, what course they take, what means they employ, or 
what helps they use, in prayer, who are not as yet partakers 
of this privilege of adoption : it is only those who are so, 
whom the Spirit of God assists in this duty. And the only 
question is, What such persons are to do, in compliance with 
his assistance, or what it is that they obtain thereby ? 

And we may compare the different expressions used by 
the apostle in this matter, whereby the general nature of the 
work of the Spirit herein, will farther appear. In this place 
he saith, God hath sent forth into our hearts to irvtvfxa tov 
vlovKpd^ov, 'the Spirit of his Son, crying, Abba Father;' Rom. 
viii. 15. He saith we have received to ttfeujuo vloOecjiag Iv 
w KpaZ,ofx^v, the ' spirit of adoption,' the Spirit of the Son given 
us because we are sons, ' Avhereby,' or in whom ' we cry Abba 
Father.' His acting in us, and our acting by him, is expressed 
by the same word. And the inquiry here is, how in the 
same duty he is said to cry in us, and we are said to cry in 
him. And there can be no reason hereof, but only because 
the same work is both his and ours in divers respects. As 
it is an act of grace and spiritual power, it is his, or it is 
wrought in us by him alone. As it is a duty performed by 
us, by virtue of his assistance, it is ours ; by him we cry 
Abba Father. And to deny his actings in our duties is to 
overthrow the gospel. And it is prayer formally considered, 
and as comprising the gift of it, with its outward exercise, 
which is intended. The mere excitation of the graces of 
faith, love, trust, delight, desire, self-abasement, and the 
like animating principles of prayer, cannot be expressed by 
crying, though it be included in it. Their actual exercise in 
prayer formally considered, is that which is ascribed unto 
the Spirit of God. And they seem to deal somewhat se- 
verely with the church of God and all believers, who will not 
allow that the work here expressly assigned unto the Spirit 
of adoption, or of the Son, is sufficient for its end, or the 
discharge of this duty, either in private or in the assemblies 
of the church. There is no more required unto prayer either 
way, but our crying, Abba Father, that j?, the making our 
requests known unto him as our Father in Christ, with sup- 
plications and thanksgivings, according as our state and oc- 
casions do require. And is not the aid of the Spirit of God 
sufficient to enable us hereunto ? It was so of old, and that 


unto all believers, according as they were called unto this 
duty, with respect unto their persons, families, or the church 
of God. If it be not so now, it is because either God will 
not now communicate his Spirit unto his children or sons 
according to the promise of the gospel, or because indeed 
this grace and gift of his is by men despised, neglected, and 
lost. And the former cannot be asserted on any safe grounds 
whatever : the latter is our interest to consider. 

This two-fold testimony concerning the promise of the 
communication of the Holy Spirit, or a Spirit of supplication, 
unto believers under the New Testament, and the accomplish- 
ment of it, doth sufficiently evince our general assertion, 
that there is ^ peculiar ivo)'k or special gracious operation of the 
Holy Ghost in the prayers of believers enabling them thereunto. 
For wo intend no more hereby, but that as they do receive 
him by virtue of that promise, which the world cannot do, 
in order unto his gracious efficiency in the duty of suppli- 
cation ; so he doth actually incline, dispose, and enable them 
to cry Abba Father, or to call upon God in prayer as their 
Father by Jesus Christ. To deny this, therefore, is to rise up 
in contradiction unto the expresstestimony of God himself; 
and by our unbelief to make him a liar. And had we nothing 
farther to plead in this cause, this were abundantly sufficient 
to reprove the petulant folly of them by whom tliis work of 
the Holy Ghost, and the duty of believers thereon to ' pray 
in the Spirit,' if we may use the despised and blasphemed 
expressions of the Scripture, is scorned and derided. 

For as to the ability of prayer which is thus received, 
some there are, who know no more of it as exercised in a 
way of duty, but the outside, shell, and appearance of it ; 
and that not from their own experience, but from what they 
observed in others. Of these there are not a few who confi- 
dently affirm, that it is wholly a work of fancy, invention, 
memory, and wit, accompanied with some boldness and elo- 
cution, unjustly fathered on the Spirit of God, who is no way 
concerned therein. And, it may be, they do persuade many, 
no better skilled in these things than themselves, that so it 
is indeed. Howbeit, those who have any experience of the 
real aids and assistances of the Spirit of God in this work 
and duty, any faith in the express testimonies given by God 
himself hereunto, cannot but despise such fabulous imagi- 


nations. You may as soon persuade them that the sun doth 
not give light, nor the fire heat, that they see not with their 
eyes, nor hear with their ears, as that the Spirit of God doth 
not enable them to pray, or assist them in their supplica- 
tions. And there might some probability be given unto 
these pretences, and unto the total exclusion of the Holy 
Ghost from any concernment herein, if those concerning 
whom and their duties they thus judge, were generally per- 
sons known to excel others in those natural endowments 
and acquired abilities whereunto this faculty of prayer is 
ascribed. But will this be allowed by them who make use 
of this pretence, namely, that those who are thus able to 
pray as they pretend by virtue of a spiritual gift, are persons 
excelling in fancy, memory, wit, invention, and elocution ? 
It is known that they will admit of no such things but in all 
other instances they must be represented as dull, stupid, ig- 
norant, unlearned, and brutish. Only in prayer they have 
the advantage of those natural endowments. These things 
are hardly consistent with common ingenuity. For is it not 
strange that those who are so contemptible with respect 
unto natural and acquired endowments in all other things, 
whether of science or of prudence, should yet in this one 
duty or work of prayer so improve them, as to outgo the 
imitation of them by whom they are despised ? For as they 
do not, as they will not pray as they do, so their own hearts 
tell them, they cannot, which is the true reason why they so 
despitefully oppose this praying in the Spirit, whatever pride 
or passion pretends to the contrary. But things of this na- 
ture will again occur unto us, and therefore shall not be 
here farther insisted on. Having, therefore, proved that God 
hath promised a plentiful dispensation of his Spirit unto be- 
lievers under the New Testament, to enable them to pray 
according unto his mind ; and that, in general, this promise 
is accomplished in and towards all the children of God ; it 
remaineth, in the second place, as to what we have proposed, 
that we declare what Is the work of the Holy Ghost in them 
unto this end and purpose, or how he is unto us a Spirit of 
prayer or supplication. 



Tlie nature of prayer. Fom. viii. 26. opened and vindicated. 

Prayer, at present, I take to be a gift, ability, or spiritual fa- 
culty of exercising faith, love, reverence, fear, delight, and other 
graces in a way of vocal requests^ supplications, and praises unto 
God. In every thing making our request known unto God; Phil. 
iv. 6. 

This gift and ability, I affirm to be bestowed, and this 
work by virtue thereof to be wrought in us by the Holy Ghost, 
in the accomplishment of the promise insisted on, so crying 
* Abba Father' in them that do believe. And this is that which 
we are to give an account of, wherein we shall assert nothing 
but what the Scripture plainly goeth before us in, and what 
the experience of believers duly exercised in duties of obe- 
dience, doth confirm. And in the issue of our endeavour, 
we shall leave it unto the judgment of God and his church, 
whether they are ecstatical, enthusiastical, unaccountable 
raptures that we plead for, or a real gracious effect and work 
of the Holy Spirit of God. 

The first thing we ascribe unto the Spirit herein is, that 
he supplieth and furnisheth the mind, with a due compre- 
hension of the matter of prayer, or what ought, both in ge- 
neral, and as unto all our particular occasions, to be prayed 
for. Without this, I suppose it will be granted, that no man 
can pray as he ought. For how can any man pray, that knows 
not what to pray for? Where there is not a comprehension 
hereof, the very nature and being of prayer is destroyed. 
And herein the testimony of the apostle is express; Rom. 
viii. 26. ' Likewise also the Spirit helpeth our infirmities, for 
we know not what we should pray for as we ought, but the 
Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groans that can- 
not be uttered.' 

It is that expression only which at present I urge, * We 
know not what we should pray for as we ought.' This is 
generally supposed to be otherwise ; namely, that men know 
well enough what they ought to pray for, only they are 
wicked and careless, and will not pray for what they know 


they ought so to do. I shall make no excuse or apology for 
the wickedness and carelessness of men, which without doubt 
are abominable. But yet I must abide by the truth asserted 
* by the apostle, which I shall farther evidence immediately, 
namely, that without the especial aid and assistance of the 
Holy Spirit 'no man knoweth what to pray for as he ought.' 

But yet there is another relief in this matter, and so no 
need of any work of the Holy Ghost therein. And we shall 
be accounted impudent, if we ascribe any thing unto him, 
whereof there is the least colourable pretence, that it may be 
otherwise effected or provided for : so great an unwilling- 
ness is there to allow him either place, work, or office in the 
Christian religion, or the practice of it. Wherefore, it is pre- 
tended that although men do not of themselves know what 
to pray for, yet this defect may be supplied in a prescript 
form of words, prepared on purpose to teach, and confine men 
unto what they are to pray for. 

We may, therefore, dismiss the Holy Spirit and his as- 
sistance as unto this concernment of prayer ; for the due 
matter of it may be so set down and fixed on ink and paper, 
that the meanest capacity cannot miss of his duty there- 
in. This, therefore, is that which is to be tried in our en- 
suing discourse; namely, tlat whereas it is plainly aftirmed 
that ' we know not of ourselves what we should pray for as 
we ought' (which I judge to be universally true, as unto all 
persons, as well those who prescribe prayers, as those unto 
whom they are prescribed), and that the Holy Spirit helps 
and relieveth us herein, whether we may or ought to relin- 
quish and neglect his assistance, and so to rely only on such 
supplies as are invented or used unto that end, for which he 
is promised; that is plainly, whether the word of God be to 
be trusted unto in this matter or not. 

It is true, that ' whatever we ought to pray for,' is de- 
clared in the Scripture ; yea, and summarily comprised in the 
Lord's prayer. But it is one thing to have what we ought to 
pray for in the book; another thing to have it in our minds 
and hearts, without which it will never be unto us, the due 
matter of prayer. It i.s out of the ' abundance of the heart' 
that the mouth must speak in this matter; Matt. xii. 34. 
There is, therefore, in us a threefold defect with respect unto 
the matter of prayer ; which is sujjplicd by the Holy Spirit, 


and can be so no other way, nor by any other means ; and 
therein is he unto us a Spirit of supplication, according to 
the promise. 

For, 1. We knoiv not our oion wants; 2. We knoiv not the 
supplies ofthetn that are expressed in the promises of God; and, 
3. We kno7v not the end whereunto what tve pray for is to be di- 
rected, which I add unto the former. Without the knowledge 
and understanding of all these, no man can ' pray as he 
ought ;' and we can no way know them, but by the aid and 
assistance of the Spirit of grace. And if these things be 
manifest, it will be evident how in this first instance we are 
enabled to pray by the Holy Ghost. 

First, Our wants, as they are to be the matter of prayer, 
may be referred unto three heads ; and none of them of our- 
selves do we know aright, so as to make them the due sub- 
ject of our supplications, and of some of them we know no- 
thing at all. 

1 . This first consists in our outward straits, pressures, and 
diflSculties, which we desire to be delivered from, with all 
other temporal things wherein we are concerned. In those 
things it should seem wondrously clear, that of ourselves 
we know what to pray for. But the truth is, whatever our 
sense may be of them, and our natural desires about them, 
yet how and when, under what conditions and limitations, 
with what frame of heart and spirit, what submission unto 
the pleasure of God they are to be made the matter of our 
prayers, we know not. Therefore, doth God call the prayers 
of most about them, howling, and not a crying unto him 
* with the heart;' Hos. vii. 14. There is indeed a voice of 
nature crying in its distress unto the God of nature. But 
that is not the duty of evangelical prayer which we inquire 
after. And men oft-times most miss it, where they think 
themselves most ready and prepared. To know our temporal 
wants so as to make them the matter of prayer according to 
the mind of God, requires more wisdom than of ourselves 
we are furnished withal. ' For who knoweth what is good 
for man in this life, all the days of his vain life, which he 
spendeth as a shadow?' Eccles. vi. 12. And oft-times be- 
lievers are never more at a loss, than how to pray aright 
about temporal things. No man is in pain or distress, or 
under any wants, whose continuance would be destructive to 


his being, but he may, yea he ought to make deliverance from 
them the matter of his prayer. So in that case he knows in 
some measure, or in general, ' what he ought to pray for,' 
without any peculiar spiritual illumination. But yet the cir- 
cumstances of those things, and wherein their respect unto 
the glory of God, and the supreme end or chiefest good of the 
persons concerned, doth stand (with regard whereunto they 
can alone be made the matter of prayer acceptable unto 
God in Christ), is that which of themselves they cannot un- 
derstand, but have need of an interest in that promise made 
to the church, ' that they shall be all taught of God.' And 
this is so much more in such things as belong only unto the 
conveniences of this life, whereof no man of himself knows 
what is good for him, or useful unto him. 

2. We have internal wants that are discerned in the lisrht 
of a natural conscience : such is the guilt of sin, whereof that 
accuseth; sins against natural light and plain outward letter 
of the law. The^e things we know somewhat of without 
any especial aid of the Holy Spirit; Rom. ii. 14, 15. and de- 
sires of deliverance are inseparable from them. But we may 
observe here two things: (1.) That the knowledge which we 
have hereof of ourselves, is so da}k and confused, as that we 
are no ways able thereby to manage our wants in prayer 
aright unto God. A natural conscience awakened and ex- 
cited by afflictions or other providential visitations, will 
discover itself in unfeigned and severe reflections of guilt 
upon the soul. But until the ' Spirit doth convince of 
sin,' all things are in such disorder and confusion in the 
mind, that no man knows how to make his address unto God 
about it in a due manner. And there is more required to 
treat aright with God about the guilt of sin, than a mere 
sense of it. So far as men can proceed under that sole con- 
duct and guidance, the Heathens went in dealing with their 
supposed gods, without a due respect unto the propitiation 
made by the blood of Christ. Yea, prayer about the guilt of 
sin, discerned in the light of a natural conscience, is but an 

Besides, (2.) we all know how small a portion of the 
concernment of believers doth lie in those things which fall 
under the light and determination of a natural conscience. 


3. The things about which believers do and ought to 
treat, principally, and deal with God in their supplications, 
are the imvard spiritual frames and dispositions of their souls, 
with the actings of grace and sin in them. Hereon David 
was not satisfied with the confession of his original and all 
known actual sins ; Psal. li. 5. nor yet with an acknowledo-- 
ment that ' none knoweth his own wanderings,' whence he 
desireth cleansing from ' unknown sins ;' Psal. xix. 12. but, 
moreover, he begs of God to undertake the inward search of 
his heart, to find out what was amiss, or right, in him ; Psal. 
cxxxix. 23, 24. as knowing, that God principally required 
* truth in the inward part;' Psal. li. 6. Such is the carrying 
on of the work of sanctification in the whole spirit and soul ; 
1 Thess. V. 23, 

The invv'ard sanctification of all our faculties, is what we 
want and pray for. Supplies of grace from God unto this 
purpose, with a sense of the power, guilt, violence, and de- 
ceit of sin in its inward actings in the mind and affections, 
with other things innumerable thereunto belonging, make up 
the principal matter of prayer as formally supplication. 

Add hereunto, that unto the matter of prayer taken 
largely for the whole duty so called, everything wherein we 
have intercourse with God in faith and love, doth belono-. 
The acknowledgment of the whole mystery of his wisdom, 
grace, and love, in Christ Jesus, with all the fruits, effects, 
and benefits, which thence we do receive, all the workings 
and actings of our souls towards him, with their faculties 
and affections ; in brief, every thing and every conception 
of our minds, wherein our spiritual access unto the throne of 
grace doth consist, or which doth belong thereunto, with all 
occasions and emergencies of spiritual life, are in like man- 
ner comprised herein. And that we can have such an ac- 
quaintance with these things as to manage them acceptably 
in our supplications, without the grace of spiritual illumina- 
tion from the Holy Ghost, few are so ignorant or profane as 
to assert. Some, I confess, seem to be strangers unto these 
things, which yet renders them not of the less w^eight or 

But hence it comes to pass that the prayers of believers 
about them, eippecially their confessions of what sense they 
have of the power and guilt of the inward actings of sin, have 


been by some exceedingly traduced and reproached. For 
whereas they cannot out of their ignorance understand such 
things; out of their pride, heightened by sensuality of life, 
they despise and contemn them. 

Secondly, The matter of prai/er may be considered with 
respect unto the promises of God. Those are the measure 
of prayer, and contain the matter of it. What God hath 
jDfomised, all that he hath promised and nothing else, are 
we to pray for. For 'secret things belong unto the Lord our 
God alone,' but the declaration of his will and grace belongs 
unto us, and is our rule. Wherefore, there is nothing that 
we really do, or may stand in need of, but God hath pro- 
mised the supply of it, in such a way and under such limi- 
tations, as may make it good and useful unto us. And there 
is nothing that God hath promised but we stand in need of 
it, or are some way or other concerned in it as members of 
the mystical body of Christ. Wherefore, ' we know not what 
we ought to pray for as we should,' unless we know or un- 
derstand the goodness, grace, kindness, and mercy, that is 
prepared and proposed in the promises of God. For how 
should we, seeing we are to pray for all that God hath pro- 
mised, and for nothing but what God hath promised, and as 
he hath promised it ? The inquiry, therefore, that remains, is 
whether we of ourselves, without the especial assistance of 
the Holy Spirit, do understand these things or no? The 
apostle tells us that the ' things of God,' spiritual things, 
'knoweth no man but the Spirit of God,' and that we must 
receive the Spirit that is of God, ' to know the things that are 
freely given unto us of God ;' 1 Cor. ii. 11, 12. which are the 
o-race mercy, love, and kindness, of the promises ; 2 Cor. 
vii. 1. To say that of ourselves, we can perceive, under- 
stand, and comprehend these things without the especial 
assistance of the Holy Ghost, is to overthrow the whole gos- 
pel and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, as hath been 
elsewhere demonstrated. 

But it may be it will be said, there is more stir than needs 
made in this matter. * God help poor sinners, if all this be 
required unto their prayers ; certainly men may pray at a 
chea])er rate and with much less trouble, or very few will 
continue long in that duty.' For some can see no necessity 
of thus understanding the grace antl mercy that is in the 


promises unto prayer ; and suppose that men know well 
enough what to pray for without it. 

But those who so speak, neither know what it is to pray, 
nor it seems are willing to learn. For we are to pray in 
faith ; Rom. x, 14. And faith respects God's promises ; Heb. 
iv. 1. Rom. iv. If, therefore, we understand not what God 
hath promised, we cannot pray at all. It is marvellous what 
thoughts such persons have of God and themselves, who 
without a due comprehension of their own wants, and with- 
out an understanding of God's promises, wherein all their 
supplies are laid up, do say their prayers, as they call it, con- 
tinually. And indeed in the poverty, or rather misery, of 
devised aids of prayer, this is not the least pernicious effect 
or consequent, that they keep men off from searching the 
promises of God, whereby they might know what to pray for. 
Let the matter of prayer be so prescribed unto men, as that 
they shall never need, either to search their own hearts or 
God's promises about it, and this whole work is dispatched 
out of the way. But then is the soul prepared aright for this 
duty, and then only, when it understands its own condition, 
the supplies of grace provided in the promise, the suitable- 
ness of those supplies unto its wants, and the means of its 
conveyance unto us by Jesus Christ. That all this we have 
by the Spirit, and not otherwise, shall be immediately de- 

Thirdly, Unto the matter of prayer I join the end we aim 
at, in the things we pray for, and which we direct them unto. 
And herein also are we in ourselves at a loss : and men may 
lose all the benefit of their prayers by proposing undue ends 
unto themselves in the things they pray for. Our Saviour 
saith, 'Ask, and you shall receive ;' but the apostle James 
affirms of some, chap. iv. 3. 'Ye ask and receive not, be- 
cause ye ask amiss, to consume it on your pleasures.' To 
pray for any thing, and not expressly unto the end where- 
unto of God it is designed, is to ask amiss and to no purpose. 
And yet whatever confidence we may have of our own wis- 
dom and integrity, if we are left unto ourselves, without the 
especial guidance of the Spirit of God, our aims will never 
be suited unto the will of God. The ways and means 
whereby we may fail, and do so in this kind, when not under 
the actual conduct of the Spirit of God, that is, when our 


own natural and distempered affections do immix themselves 
in our supplications, are innumerable. And there is no- 
thing so excellent in itself, so useful unto us, so acceptable 
unto God in the matter of prayer, but it may be vitiated, 
corrupted, and prayer itself rendered vain, by an application 
of it unto false or mistaken ends. And what is the work 
of the Spirit to guide us herein, we shall see in its proper 


The work of the Holy Spirit as to the matter of prayer. 

These things are considerable as to the matter of prai/er ; 
and with respect unto them, of ourselves we hnoxo not lohat 
we should pray for, nor lime, nor ichen. And the first work 
of the Spirit of God, as a spirit of supplication in believers, 
is to give them an understanding of all their wants, and of 
the supplies of grace and mercy in the promises, causing a 
sense of them to dwell and abide on their minds ; as that, 
according unto their measure, they are continually furnished 
with the matter of prayer, without which men never pray, and 
by which, in some sense, they pray alivai/s. For, 

First, He alone doth, and he alone is able to give us 
such an understanding of our oiv}i wants, as that we may be 
able to make our thoughts about them known unto God in 
prayer and supplication. And what is said concerning our 
wants, is so likewise with respect unto the whole matter of 
prayer, whereby we give glory to God, either in requests or 
prayers. And this I shall manifest in some instances, where- 
unto others may be reduced. 

1. The principal matter of our prayer concerneth ^(7//// 
and unbelief. So the apostles prayed in a particular manner, 
' Lord increase our faith ;' and so the poor man prayed in his 
distress, 'Lord help thou my unbelief.' I cannot think that 
they ever pray aright, who never pray for the pardon of un- 
belief, for the removal of it, and for the increase of faith. H' 
unbelief be the greatest of sins, and if faith be the greatest 
of the gifts of God, we are not Christians, if those things 
are not one principal part of the matter of our prayers . t^nto 


this end we must be convinced of the nature and guilt of 
unbelief, as also of the nature and use of faith ; nor without 
that conviction do we either know our own chiefest wants, 
or what to pray for as we ought. And that this is the es- 
pecial work of the Holy Ghost, our Saviour expressly de- 
clares, John xvi. 9. 'He convinceth the world of sin, because 
they believe not on him.' I do, and must deny, that any one 
is or can be convinced of the nature and guilt of that unbe- 
lief, either in the whole or in the remainder of it, which the 
gospel condemneth, and which is the great condemning sin 
under the gospel, without an especial work of the Holy Ghost 
on his mind and soul. For unbelief, as it respecteth Jesus 
Christ, not believing in him, or not believing in him as we 
ought, is a sin against the gospel, and it is by the gospel 
alone that we may be convinced of it, and that as it is the 
ministration of the Spirit. Wherefore, neither the light of a 
natural conscience, nor the law, will convince any one of the 
guilt of unbelief with respect unto Jesus Christ, nor instruct 
them in the nature of faith in him. No innate notions of 
our minds, no doctrines of the law will reach hereunto. And 
to think to teach men to pray, or to help them out in pray- 
ing, without a sense of unbelief, or the remainders of it in 
its guilt and power, the nature of faith with its necessity, 
use, and efficacy, is to say unto the naked and the hungry. 
Be ye warmed and filled ; and not give them those things that 
are needful to the body. This, therefore, belongs unto the 
work of the Spirit, as a spirit of supplication. And let men 
tear and tire themselves night and day, with a multitude of 
prayers, if a work of the Spirit of God, in teaching the na- 
ture and guilt of unbelief, the nature, efficacy, and use of 
faith in Christ Jesus, go not with it, all will be lost and pe- 
rish. And yet it is marvellous to consider how little mention 
of these things occurreth in most of those compositions, 
which have been published to be used as forms of prayer. 
They are generally omitted in such endeavours, as if they 
were things wherein Christians were very little concerned. 
The gospel positively and frequently determines the present 
acceptation of men with God, or their disobedience, with 
their future salvation and condemnation according unto 
their faith or unbelief. For their obedience or disobedience 
are infallible consequents thereon. Now if things that are 


of the greatest importance unto us, and whereon all other 
things, wherein our spiritual estate is concerned, do depend, 
be not a part of the subject matter of our daily prayer, I 
know not what deserveth so to be. 

2. The matter of our prayer respects the depravation of oar 
natures and our wants on that account. The darkness and 
ignorance that is in our understandings, our unacquainted- 
ness with heavenly things, and alienation from the life of 
God thereby, the secret workings of the lusts of the mind 
under the shades and covert of this darkness ; the stubborn- 
ness, obstinacy, and perverseness of our Avills by nature, 
with their reluctancies unto, and dislike of things spiritual, 
with innumerable latent guiles thence arising, all keeping the 
soul from a due conformity unto the holiness of God, are 
things which believers have an especial regard unto in their 
confessions and supplications. They know this to be their 
duty, and find by experience, that the greatest concernment 
between God and their souls, as to sin and holiness, do lie in 
these things. And they are never more jealous over them- 
selves, than when they find their hearts least affected with 
them. And to give over treating with God about them, for 
mercy in their pardon, for grace in their removal, and the 
daily renovation of the image of God in them thereby, is to 
renounce all religion, and all designs of living unto God. 

Wherefore, without a knowledge, a sense, a due compre- 
hension of these things, no man can pray as he ought, be- 
cause he is unacquainted with the matter of prayer, and 
knows not what to pray for. But this knowledge we cannot 
attain of ourselves. Nature is so corrupted, as not to un- 
derstand its own depravation. Hence some absolutely deny 
this corruption of it, so taking away all necessity of labour- 
ing after its cure, and the renovation of the image of God in 
us. And hereby they overthrow the prayers of all believers, 
which the ancient church continually pressed the Pelagians 
withal. Without a sense of these things I must profess, I 
understand not how any man can pray. And this know- 
ledge, as was said, we have not of ourselves. Nature is 
blind, and cannot see them ; it is proud, and will not own 
them ; stupid, and is senseless of them. It is the work of 
the Spirit of God alone, to give us a due conviction of, a 
spiritual insight into, and sense of, the concernment of these 


things. This I have elsewhere so fully proved, as not here 
again to insist on it. 

It is not easy to conjecture, how^ men pray, or what they 
pray about, who know not the plague of their own hearts. 
Yea, this ignorance, want of light into, or conviction of the 
depravation of their nature, and the remainders thereof, even 
in those that are renewed, with the fruits, consequents, and 
effects thereof, is the principal cause of men's barrenness in 
this duty, so that they can seldom go beyond what is pre- 
scribed unto them. And they can thence also satisfy them- 
selves with a set or frame of well-composed words, wherein 
they might easily discern that their own condition and con- 
cernment are not at all expressed, if they were acquainted 
with them. I do not fix measures unto other men, nor give 
bounds unto their understandings; only I shall take leave to 
profess for my own part, that 1 cannot conceive or appre- 
hend how any man doth or can know what to pray for as he 
ought, in the whole compass and course of that duty, who 
hath no spiritual illumination enabling him to discern in 
some measure the corruption of his nature, and the internal 
evils of his heart. If men judge the faculties of their souls 
to be undepraved, their minds free from vanity, their hearts 
from guile and deceit, their wills from perverseness and car- 
nality, I wonder not on what grounds they despise the prayers 
of others, but should do so to find real humiliation and fer- 
vency in their own. 

Hereunto I may add the irregularity and disorder of our 
affections. These I confess are discernible in the light of 
nature, and the rectifying of them, or an attempt for it, was 
the principal end of the old philosophy. But the chief re- 
spect that on this principle it had unto them, is, as they dis- 
quiet the mind, or break forth into outward expressions, 
whereby men are defiled, or dishonoured, or distressed. So 
far natural light will go, and thereby in the working of their 
consciences, as far as I know, men may be put to pray about 
them. But the chief depravation of the affections lies in 
their aversation unto things spiritual and heavenly. 

They are indeed sometimes ready of themselves to like 
things spiritual under false notions of them, and divine wor- 
ship under superstitious ornaments and meretricious dresses, 
in which respect they are the spring and life of all that devo- 


66 ^yoRK of the holy spirit in prayeii. 

tion which is in the church of Rome. But take heavenly and 
spiritual things in themselves with respect unto their proper 
ends, and there is in all our affections, as corrupted, a dislike 
of them, and aversation unto them, which variously act them- 
selves, and influence our souls unto vanities and disorders in 
all holy duties. And no man knows what it is to pray, who is 
not exercised in supplications for mortifying, changing, and 
renewing of these affections as spiritually irregular. And 
yet is it the Spirit of God alone which discovereth these 
things unto us, and gives us a sense of our concernment in 
them. I say, the spiritual irregularity of our affections, and 
their aversation from spiritual things, is discernible in no 
light, but that of supernatural illumination. For if, without 
that, spiritual things themselves cannot be discerned, as the 
apostle assures us they cannot, 1 Cor. ii. it is impossible 
that the disorder of our affections with respect unto them 
should be so. If we know not an object in the true nature 
of it, we cannot know the actings of our minds towards it. 
Wherefore, although there be in our affections an innate 
universal aversation from spiritual things, seeing by nature 
we are wholly alienated from the life of God, yet can it not 
be discerned by us in any light but that which discovers 
these spiritual things themselves unto us. Nor can any man 
be made sensible of the evil and guilt of that disorder, who 
hath not a love also implanted in his heart unto those things, 
which it finds obstructed thereby. Wherefore the mortifi- 
cation of these affections and their renovation with respect 
unto things spiritual and heavenly, being no small part of 
the matter of the prayers of believers, as being an especial 
part of their duty, they have no othei-wise an acquaintance 
with them, or sense of them, but as they receive them by 
light and conviction from the Spirit of God. And those 
who are destitute hereof must needs be strangers unto the 
life and power of the duty of prayer itself. 

As it is with respect unto sin, so it is with respect unto 
God and Christ, and the covenant, grace, holiness, and pri- 
vileges. We have no spiritual conceptions about them, no 
right understanding of them, no insight into them, but what 
is given us by the Spirit of God. And without an acquaint- 
ance with these things, what are our prayers, or what do 
they signify? Men without them may say on to the w^orld's 


end, without giving any thing of glory unto God, or obtain- 
ing of any advantage unto their own souls. 

And this I place as the first part of the work of the Spirit 
of supplications in believers, enabling them to pray, accord- 
ing to the mind of God, which of themselves they know not 
lioiv to do, as is afterward in the place of the apostle insisted 
on. When this is done, when a right apprehension of sin 
and grace, and of our concernment in them, is fixed on our 
minds, then have we in some measure the matter of prayer 
always in readiness ; which words and expressions will 
easily follow, though the aid of the Holy Spirit be neces- 
sary thereunto also, as we shall afterward declare. 

And hence it is, that the duty performed with respect 
unto this part of the aid and assistance of the Spirit of God, 
is of late by some (as was said) vilified and reproached. 
Formerly their exceptions lay all of them against some ex- 
pressions or weakness of some persons in conceived prayer, 
which they liked not. But now scorn is poured out upon 
the matter of prayer itself, especially the humble and deep 
confessions of sin, which, on the discoveries before men- 
tioned, are made in the supplications of ministers and 
others. The thinps themselves are traduced as absurd, 
foolish, and irrational, as all spiritual things are unto some 
sorts of men. Neither do I see how this disagreement is 
capable of any reconciliation. For they who have no light 
to discern those respects of sin and grace, which we have 
mentioned, cannot but think it uncouth to have them con- 
tinually made the matter of men's prayers. And those, on 
the other hand, who have received a light into them, and 
acquaintance with them by the Spirit of God, are troubled 
at nothing more, than that they cannot sufiiciently* abase 
themselves under a sense of them, nor in any words fully 
express that impression on their minds which is put on them 
by the Holy Ghost ; nor clothe their desires after grace 
and mercy, with words sufficiently significant and emphati- 
cal. And therefore this difference is irreconcilable by any 

a Oranino oportet nos orationis tempore in curiam intrare coclestem, iilam utique 
curiam in qua rex regura stellato sedet solio, circunidante innunicrabiii et incflabili 
beatorum Spirituum exercitu. Quanta ergo cum reverentia, quanto timore, quanta 
iliuc iiumilitate accedere debet, e palude sua procedens ranuncula vilis? quarn 
tremebundus, quara denique humilis et solicitiis, et toto intentus animo majestali tali 
glorias ! Bernard. Serm. de quatuor orandi modis. 

r 2 


but the Spirit of God himself. Whilst it doth abide, those 
who have respect only unto what is discernible in the light 
of nature or of a natural conscience in their prayers, will 
keep themselves unto general expressions and outward 
things, in words prepared unto that purpose by themselves 
or others, do we what we can to the contrary. For men 
will not be led beyond their own light, neither is it meet 
they should. And those who do receive the supplies of the 
Spirit in this matter, will in their prayers be principally con- 
versant about the spiritual internal concernments of their 
souls in sin and grace, let others despise them and reproach 
them whilst they please. And it is in vain much to contend 
about these things, which are regulated not by arguments 
but by principles. Men will invincibly adhere unto the ca- 
pacity of their light. Nothing can put an end to this dif- 
ference, but a more plentiful effusion of the Spirit from 
above, which according unto the promise we wait for. 

Secondly, We knoiv not ivhat to pj-ayfor as we ought, but 
the Holy Ghost acquaints us with the grace and merci/ which 
are prepared in the promises of God for our relief. That the 
knowledge hereof is necessary to enable us to direct our 
prayers unto God in a due manner, I declared before ; and 
I suppose it will not be denied. For what do we pray for ? 
What do we take a prospect and design of in our suppli- 
cations ? What is it we desire to be made partakers of? 
Praying only by saying or repeating so many words of 
prayer, whose sense and meaning those who make use of 
them perhaps understand not, as in the Papacy ; or so as 
to rest in the saying or repetition of them without an es- 
pecial design of obtaining some thing or things which we 
make known in our supplications, is unworthy the disciples 
of Christ, indeed of rational creatures. Deal thus with thy 
governor, ' will he be pleased with thee or accept thy per- 
son?' as Mai. i. 8. neither ruler, nor friend, nor neighbour, 
would accept it at our hands, if we should constantly make 
solemn addresses \into them, without any especial design : 
we must pray with our understanding ; that is, understand 
what we pray for. And these things are no other but what 
God hath promised, which if we are not regulated by in our 
supplications, we ask amiss. It is therefore, indispensably 
necessary unto prayer, that we should know what God hath 


promised, or that we should have an understandino- of the 
grace and mercy of the promises. God knoweth our wants, 
what is good for us, what is useful to us, what is necessary 
to bring us unto the enjoyment of himself, infinitely better 
than we do ourselves; yea, we know nothing of tJiese things 
but what he is pleased to teach us. These are the things which 
he hath prepared for us, as the apostle speaks ; 1 Cor. ii. 9. 
And what he hath so prepared, he declareth in the promises 
of the covenant. For they are the declaration of the grace 
and good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself. And 
hence believers may learn what is good for them, and wha< 
is wanting unto them in the promises, more clearly and cer- 
tainly than by any other means whatever. From them, 
therefore, do we learn what to pray for as we ought. And 
this is another reason, why men are so barren in their sup- 
plications, they know not what to pray for, but are forced 
to betake themselves unto a confused repetition of the same 
requests ; namely, their ignorance of the promises of God, 
and the grace exhibited in them. Our inquiry therefore is, 
by what way or means we come to an acquaintance with 
these promises, which all believers have in some measure 
some more full and distinct than others, but all in a useful 
sufficiency. And this we say is by the Spirit of God, with- 
out whose aid and assistance we can neither understand 
them, nor what is contained in them. 

I do confess, that some by frequent reading of the Scrip- 
ture, by the only help of a faithful memory, may be able to 
express in their prayers the promises of God, without any 
spiritual acquaintance with the grace of them, whereby they 
administer unto others, and not unto themselves. But this 
remembrance of words or expressions belongs not unto the 
especial work of the Holy Ghost in supplying the hearts and 
minds of believers with the matter of prayer. But this is 
that which he doth herein ; he openeth their eyes, he giveth 
an understanding, he enlighteneth their minds, so that they 
shall perceive the things that are of God prepared for them, 
and that are contained in the promises of the gospel ; and 
represents them therein in their beauty, glory, suitableness, 
and desirableness unto their souls. He maketh them to see 
Christ in them, and all the fruits of his mediation in them, 
all the effect of the grace and love of God in them, the ex- 


cellency of mercy and pardon, of grace and holiness, of a 
new heart, with principles, dispositions, inclinations, and 
actings, all as they are proposed in the truth and faithfulness 
of God. Now when the mind and heart is continually filled 
with an understanding and due apprehensions of these things, 
it is always furnished with the matter of prayer and praise 
unto God, which persons make use of according as they have 
actual assistance and utterance given unto them. And 
whereas this Holy Spirit together with the knowledge of 
them, doth also implant a love unto them upon the mind& of 
believers, they are not only hereby directed what to pray for, 
but are excited and stirred up to seek after the enjoyment 
of them, with ardent affections and earnest endeavours, which 
is to pray. And although among those on whose hearts 
these things are not implanted, soine may (as was before ob- 
served) make an appearance of it, by expressing in prayer 
the words of the promises of God retained in their memories; 
yet for the most part they are not able themselves to pray in 
any tolerable useful manner, and do either wonder at, or de- 
spise, those that are so enabled. 

But it may be said, that where there is any defect herein, 
it may be easily supplied. For if men are not acquainted 
with the promises of God themselves in the manner before de- 
scribed, and so know not. what they ought to pray for, others 
who have the understanding o( them, maiy compose prayers for 
their use according to their apprehensions of the mind of 
God in them, which they may read, and so have the matter 
of prayer always in a readiness. 

I answer, 1 . I do not know that any one hath a command, 
or promise of assistance, to make or compose prayers to be 
said or read by others as their prayers ; and therefore I ex- 
pect no great matter from what any one shall do in that kind. 
The Spirit of grace and supplication is promised, as I have 
proved, to enable us to pray, not to enable us to make or com- 
pose prayers for others. 

2. It savours of some unacquaintance with the promises 
of God, and the duty of prayer, to imagine that the matter of 
them so as to suit the various conditions of believers, can 
be pent up in any one form of man's devising. Much of what 
we are to pray about, may be in general and doctrinally com- 
prised in a form of words, as they are in the Lord's Prayer, 


which gives directions in, and a boundary unto, our requests : 
but that the things themselves should be prepared and suited 
unto the condition and wants of them that are to pray, is a 
fond imagination. 

3. There is a vast difference between an objective proposal 
of good things to be prayed for, unto the consideration of 
them that are to pray, which men may do ; and the implant- 
ing an acquaintance with them and love unto them upon the 
mind and heart, which is the work of the Holy Ghost. 

4. When things are so prepared and cast into a form of 
prayer, those by whom such forms are used do no more un- 
derstand them, than if they had never been cast into any 
such form, unless the Spirit of God give them an under- 
standing of them, which the form itself is no sanctified means 
unto. And where that is done, there is no need of it. 

5. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to give unto believ- 
ers such a comprehension of promised grace and mercy, as that 
they may constantly apply their minds unto that or those 
things in an especial manner which are suited unto their present 
daily wants and occasions, with the frame and dispositions 
of their souls and spirit. This is that which gives spiritual 
beauty and order unto the duty of prayer ; namely, the suit- 
ing of wants and supplies, of a thankful disposition and 
praises, of love and admiration unto the excellencies of God 
in Christ, all by the wisdom of the Holy Ghost. But when 
a person is made to pray by his directory for things though 
good in themselves, yet not suited unto his present state, 
frame, inclination, wants, and desires, there is spiritual con- 
fusion and disorder and nothing else. 

Again, What we have spoken concerning ihe promises, must 
also be applied unto all the precepts or commands of God. 
These in like manner are the matter of our prayers, both as 
to confession and supplication. And without a right under- 
standing of them, we can perform no part of this duty as we 
ought. This is evident in their apprehension who repeating 
the words of the Decalogue, do subjoin their acknowledg 
ments of a want of mercy, with respect unto the transgres- 
sion of them, I suppose, and their desires to have their hearts 
inclined to keep the law. But the law with all the commands 
of God are spiritual and in vard, with whose true sense and 
importance in their extent and latitude, we cannot have a 


useful acquaintance, but by the enlightening, instructing 
efficacy of the grace of the Spirit. And where this is, the 
mind is greatly supplied with the true matter of prayer. For 
when the soul hath learnt the spirituality and holiness of the 
law, its extent unto the inward frame and disposition of our 
hearts, as well as unto outward actions, and its requiring 
absolute holiness, rectitude, and conformity unto God at all 
times, and in all things; then doth it see and learn its own 
discrepancy from it, and coming short of it, even then when 
as to outward acts and duties, it is unblamable. And hence 
do proceed those confessions of sin in the best and most 
holy believers, which they who understand not these things 
do deride and scorn. By this means, therefore, doth the 
Holy Spirit help us to pray, by supplying us with the due 
and proper matter of supplications, even by acquainting us 
and affecting our hearts with the spirituality of the com- 
mand, and our coming short thereof in our dispositions, and 
frequent inordinate actings of our minds and affections. He 
who is instructed herein, will on all occasions be prepared 
with a fulness of matter for confession and humiliation ; as 
also, with a sense of that grace and mercy which we stand 
in need of with respect unto the obedience required of us. 

Thirdly, He alone guides and directs believers to pray, 
or ask for any thing in order unto right and proper ends. For 
there is nothing so excellent in itself, so useful unto us, so 
acceptable unto God, as the matter of prayer; but it may be 
vitiated, corrupted, and prayer itself be rendered vain, by an 
application of it unto false or mistaken ends. And that in 
this case we are relieved by the Holy Ghost, it is plain in the 
text under consideration. For helping our infirmities, and 
teaching us ' what to pray for as we ought,' he maketh in- 
tercession ' for us according unto God,' that is, his mind or 
his will; ver. 27. This is well explained by Origen on the 
place, * Velut si magister suscipiens ad rudimenta discipu- 
lum, et ignorantem penitus literas, ut eura docere possit et 
instituere, necesse habet inclinare se ad discipuli rudimenta, 
et ipse prius dicere nomen literse, ut respondendo discipulus 
discat, et sit quodammodo magister incipienti discipulo si- 
milis, ea loquens et ea meditans, quae incipiens loqui debeat 
ac meditari ; ita et Sanctus Spiritus, ubi oppugnationibus 
carnis perturbari nostrum Spiritum viderit, et nescientem 


quid orare debeat secundum quod opoitet, ipse velut ma- 
gister orationem praemittit, quam noster spiritus (si tamen 
discipulus esse Sancti Spiritus desiderat) prosequatur, ipse 
gemitus ofFert quibus noster spiritus discat ingemiscere, ut 
repropitiet sibi Deum.' To the same purpose speaks Damas- 
ceu, lib. 4. chap. iii. and Austin in sundry places collected 
by Beda in his comment on this. He doth it in us, and by us, 
or enableth us so to do. For the Spirit himself without us, 
hath no office to be performed immediately towards God, nor 
any nature inferior unto the divine, wherein he might inter- 
cede. The whole of any such work with respect unto us, is 
incumbent on Christ, he alone in his own person performeth 
what is to be done with God for us. What the Spirit doth, 
he doth in and by us. He therefore directs and enableth us 
to make supplications 'according to the mind of God.' And 
herein God is said to 'know the mind of the Spirit,' that is, 
his end and design in the matter of his requests. This God 
knows, that is, approves of and accepts. So it is the Spirit 
of God who directs us, as to the design and end of our prayers, 
that they may find acceptance with God. 

But yet there may be, and I believe there is, more in that 
expression ; ' God knoweth the mind of the Spirit.' For he 
"worketh such high, holy, spiritual desires and designs in the 
minds of believers in their supplications, as God alone know- 
eth and understandeth in their full extent and latitude. That 
of ourselves we are apt to fail and mistake hath been declared 
from James iv. 3. 

1 shall not here insist on particulars, but only mention 
two general ends of prayer which the Holy Spirit keeps the 
minds of believers unto in all their requests, where he hath 
furnished them with the matter of them according to the 
mind of God. For he doth not only make mtercession in them, 
according unto the mind of God, with respect unto the mat- 
ter of their requests, but also with respect unto the end which 
they aim at, that it may be accepted with him. He guides 
them, therefore, to design, 

1. That all the success of their petitions and prayers, may 
have an immediate tendency unto the glory of God. It is he 
alone who enables them to subordinate all their desires unto 
God's glory. Without his especial aid and assistance we 
should aim at self only and ultimately in all we do. Our 


own profit, ease, satisfaction, mercies, peace, and deliverance 
would be the end whereunto we should direct all our sup- 
plications, whereby they would be all vitiated and become 

2. He keeps them unto this also, that the issue of their 
supplications may be the improvemeiit of holiness in them, and 
thereby their conformity unto God, with their nearer access 
unto him. Where these ends are not, the matter of prayer 
may be good and according to the word of God, and yet our 
prayers an abomination. We may pray for mercy and grace 
and the best promised fruits of the love of God, and yet for 
want of these ends find no acceptance in our supplications. 
To keep us unto them is his work, because it consists in 
casting out all self-ends and aims, bringing all natural de- 
sires unto a subordination unto God, which he worketh in us, 
if he worketh in us any thing at all. And this is the first part 
of the work of the Spirit towards believers as a spirit of grace 
and supplication ; he furnisheth and filleth their minds with 
the matter of prayer, teaching them thereby what to pray for 
as they ought. And where this is not wrought in some 
measure and degree, there is no praying according to the 
mind of God. 



The due manner of prayer, wherein it doth consist. 

The Holy Spirit having given the mind a due apprehension 
of the things we onght to pray for, or furnished it with the mat- 
ter of prayer, he moreover works a due sense and valuation of 
them, with desires after them, upon the will and affections, 
wherein the due manner of it, doth consist. These things are 
separable. The mind may have light to discern the things 
that are to be prayed for, and yet the will and aifections be 
dead unto them, or unconcerned in them. And there may 
be a gift of prayer founded hereon, in whose exercise the soul 
doth not spiritually act towards God. For light is the mat- 
ter of all common gifts. And by virtue of a perishing illu- 
mination a man may attain a gift in prayer, which may be of 
use unto the edification of others. ' For the manifestation of 
the Spirit is given unto every man to profit withal.' In the 
mean time it is with him that so prayeth, not much otherwise 
than it was with him of old, who * prayed in an unknown 
tongue ; his spirit prayeth, but his heart is unfruitful.' He 
prayeth by virtue of the light and gift that he hath received, 
but his own soul is not benefitted nor improved thereby. 
Only sometimes God makes use of men's own gifts to con- 
vey grace into their own souls. But prayer properly so 
called, is the obediential acting of the whole soul towards 


Wherefore, where the Holy Spirit completes his work m us 
as a spirit of grace and supplication, he worketh on the will 
and affections to act obedientially towards God in and about 
the matter of their prayers. Thus when he is poured out as 
a spirit of supplication, he fills them, unto whom he is com- 
municated, with mourning and godly sorrow to be exercised 
in their prayers as the matter doth require; Zech. xn. 10. 
He doth not only enable them to pray, but worketh affec- 
tions in them suitable unto what they pray about. And in 
this work of the Spirit, lies the fountain of that inexpressible 
fervency and delight, of those enlarged labourings of mind 
and desires which are in the prayers of behevers, especially 


when they are under the power of more than ordinary influ- 
ences from him. For these things proceed from the work of 
the Spirit on their wills and affections, stirring them up and 
carrying them forth unto God, in and by the matter of their 
prayers, in such a manner, as no vehement working of natural 
affections can reach unto. And therefore is the Spirit said 
to 'make intercession for us, with oroanin^s which cannot be 
uttered;' Rom. viii. 26, 27. virepevTvyxavei. As he had be- 
fore expressed his work in general by (TwavTiXafiftdveTai, 
which intendeth a help by working, carrying us on in our 
undertaking in this duty beyond our own strength (for he 
helpeth us on, under our infirmities or weaknesses), so his 
especial acting is here declared by vTreptvTvjxavw, that is, 
an additional interposition, like that of an advocate for his 
client, pleading that in his case which he of himself is 
not able to do. Once this word is used in the service of a 
contrary design. Speaking of the prayer of Elijah, the apo- 
stle says, wg IvTvy^dvH rw Quo Kara tov 'IcrpajjA, * How he 
maketh intercession unto God against Israel;' Rom. xi. 2. 
as "WV^, which is constantly used in the Old Testament for 
to declare good tidings ; tidings of peace, is once applied in 
a contrary signification unto tidings of evil and destruction ; 
1 Sam. iv. 17. The man that brought the news of the de- 
struction of the army of the Israelites and the taking of the 
ark by the Philistines is called "itfDDn. But the proper use 
of this word is to intercede for grace and favour. And this 
he doth (rrevajfiolg dXaXiiroig. We ourselves are said arevd- 
Z,uv, ' to groan,' v. 23. that is, humbly, mournfully, and earnest- 
ly to desire. And here the Sj^irit is said, to intercede for us 
with groans, which can be nothing but his working in us, and 
acting by us that frame of heart, and those fervent labouring 
desires which are so expressed ; and these with such depth 
of intention and labouring of mind as cannot be uttered. 
And this he doth by the work now mentioned. 

Having truly affected the whole soul, enlightened the 
mind in the perception of the truth, beauty, and excellency, 
of spiritual things, engaged the will in the choice of them, 
and prevalent love unto them, excited the affections to de- 
light in them, and unto desires after them, there is in the 
actual discharge of this duty of prayer, wrought in the soul 
by the power and efficacy of his grace, such an inward la- 


bouring of heart and spirit, such a holy supernatural de- 
sire and endeavour after a union with the things prayed 
for in the enjoyment of them, as no words can utter or ex- 
pressly declare, that is, fully and completely ; which is the 
sense of the place. 

To avoid the force of this testimony some (one at least) 
would have this intercession of the Spirit, to be the inter- 
cession of the Spirit in Christ for us now at the right hand 
of God ; so that no work of the Spirit itself in believers is in- 
tended. Such irrational evasions will men sometimes make 
use of, to escape the convincing power of light and truth. 
For this is such a description of the intercession of Christ 
at the right hand of God, as will scarcely be reconciled unto 
the analogy of faith. That it is not a humble, oral suppli- 
cation, but a blessed representation of his oblation, whereby 
the efficacy of it is continued and applied unto all the par- 
ticular occasions of the church or believers, I have else- 
where declared, and it is the common faith of Christians. 
But here it should be reported as the labouring of the Spirit 
in him with unutterable groans, the highest expression of 
an humble, burdened, solicitous endeavour. Nothing is 
more unsuited unto the present glorious condition of the 
mediator. It is true, that in the days of his flesh he * prayed 
with strong cries and tears,' in an humble deprecation of 
evil ; Heb. v. 7. But an humble prostration and praying 
with unutterable groans is altogether inconsistent with his 
present state of glory, his fulness of power, and right to 
dispense all the grace and mercy of the kingdom of God. 
Besides, this exposition is as adverse to the context as any 
thing could be invented. Ver. 15. It is said that we receive 
the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry Abba Father, which 
spirit God ' sends forth into our hearts ;' Gal. iv. 6. And 
the blessed work of this Spirit in us, is farther described ; 
ver. 16, 17. And thereon, ver. 23. having received the first- 
fruits of this Spirit, we are said to groan within ourselves ; 
to which it is added, that of ourselves not knowing what we 
ought to pray for, avro to 7ru£i)/ua, ' that very Spirit' so given 
unto us, so received by us, so working in us, makes inter- 
cession for us with groans that cannot be uttered. Where- 
fore, without offering violence unto the context, here is no 
place for the introduction of the intercession of Christ in 


heaven, especially under such an expression as is contrary 
to the nature of it. It is mentioned afterward by the apo- 
stle in its proper place as a consequent and fruit of his death 
and resurrection; ver. 34. And there he is said simply 
lvTvy)(avHv. But the Spirit here is said virepevTvyxavtiv, 
which implies an additional supply unto what is in our- 

Yet to give countenance unto this uncouth exposition 
a force is put upon the beginning of both the verses 26, 27. 
For whereas iKx^ivsia doth constantly in the Scripture denote 
any kind of infirmity or weakness, spiritual or corporal, it 
is said here to be taken in the latter sense for diseases with 
troubles and dangers ; which latter, it no where signifies. 
For so the meaning should be, that in such conditions we 
know not what to pray for, whether wealth, or health, or 
peace, or the like, but Christ intercedes for us. And this 
must be the sense of ovvavTiXafifidveTai ralg aorS'tvetate jjjuwv, 
which yet in the text doth plainly denote a help and as- 
sistance given unto our weaknesses, that is, unto us who are 
weak, in the discharge of the duty of prayer, as both the 
words themselves and the ensuing reasons of them do evince. 
Wherefore, neither the grammatical sense of the words, nor 
the context, nor the analogy of faith, will admit of this new 
and uncouth exposition. 

In like manner if it be inquired, why it is said, 'that he 
who searcheth the heart knoweth the mind of the Spirit,' 
which plainly refers to some great and secret work of the 
Spirit in the heart of man, if the intercession of Christ be 
intended ; nothing is offered but this paraphrase, * And then 
God that, by being a searcher of hearts, knoweth our wants 
exactly, understands also the desire and intention of the 
Spirit of Christ.' But these things are airpocrdiovvcTa ; and 
have no dependance the one on the other. Nor was there 
any need of the mentioning the 'searching of our hearts,' to 
introduce the approbation of the intercession of Christ. But 
to return : 

That is wrought in the hearts of believers in their duty, 
which is pervious to none but him that searcheth the heart. 
This frame in all our supplications we ought to aim at, 
especially in time of distress, troubles, and temptations, 
such as was the season here especially intended, when 


commonly we are most sensible of our own infirmities. And 
wherein we come short hereof in some measure, it is from 
our unbelief, or carelessness and negligence, which God ab- 
hors. I do acknowledge that there may be, that there will 
be, more earnestness and intention of mind and of our na- 
tural spirit therein, in this duty, at one time than another, 
according as outward occasions or other motives do excite 
them or stir them up. So our Saviour in his agony prayed 
more earnestly than usual, not with a higher exercise of 
grace, which always acted itself in him in perfection, but 
with a greater vehemency in the working of his natural 
faculties. So it may be with us at especial seasons ; but 
yet we are always to endeavour after the same aids of the 
Spirit, the same actings of grace in every particular duty 
of this kind. 

Thirdly, The Holy Spirit gives the soul of a believer a 
delight in God, as the object of prayer. I shall not insist on 
his exciting, moving, and acting all other graces that are 
required in the exercise of this duty, as faith, love, reverence, 
fear, trust, submission, waiting, hope, and the like. I have 
proved elsewhere, that the exercise of them all in all duties 
and of all other graces in like manner, is from him, and shall 
not therefore here again confirm the same truth. But this 
delight in God as the object of prayer, hath a peculiar con- 
sideration in this matter. For without it ordinarily the duty 
is not accepted with God, and is a barren burdensome task 
unto them by whom it is performed. Now this delight in 
God as the object of prayer, is for the substance of it in- 
cluded in that description of prayer given us by the apostle, 
namely, that it is crying, ' Abba, Father.' Herein a filial, 
holy delight in God is included ; such as children have in 
their parents in their most affectionate addresses unto them, 
as hath been declared. And we are to inquire wherein this 
delight in God as the object of prayer doth consist, or what 
is required thereunto. And there is in it, 

8. A sight or prospect of God as on a throne of grace. A 
prospect, I say, not by carnal imagination, but spiritual illu- 
mination. ' By faith we see him who is invisible;' Heb. xi. 
27. For it is the 'evidence of things not seen,' making its 
proper object evident and present unto them that do believe. 


Such a sight of God on a throne of grace is necessary unto 
this delight. Under this consideration he is the proper ob- 
ject of all our addresses unto him in our supplications; Heb. 
iv. 16. • Let us come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we 
may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.' 
The duty of prayer is described by the subject matter of it, 
namely, ' mercy' and 'grace,' and by the only object of it, 
' God on a throne of grace.' 

And this 'throne of grace' is farther represented unto us, 
by the place where it is erected or set up ; and that is in the 
holiest, or most holy place. For, in our coming unto God 
as on that throne, we have ' boldness to enter into the holiest 
by the blood of Jesus;' Heb. x. 19. And hereby the apostle 
shews, that in the expression he had respect, or alludes unto, 
the mercy-seat upon the ark, covered with the cherubims, 
which had a representation of a throne. And because of 
God's especial manifestation of himself thereon, it was called 
his throne. And it was a representation of Jesus Christ, as 
I have shewed elsewhere. 

God, therefore, on a throne of grace, is God, as in a readi- 
ness through Jesus Christ to dispense grace and mercy to 
suppliant sinners. When God comes to execute judgment, 
his throne is otherwise represented. See Dan. vii. 9, 10. 
And when sinners take a view in their minds of God as he 
is in himself, and as he will be unto all out of Christ, it in- 
generates nothing but dread and terror in them, with foolish 
contrivances to avoid him, or his displeasure; Isa. xxxiii. 14. 
Mic. vi. 7, 8. Rev. vi. 16. All these places and others tes- 
tify, that when sinners do engage into serious thoughts and 
conceptions of the nature of God, and what entertainment 
they shall meet with from him, all their apprehensions issue 
in dread and terror. This is not a frame wherein they can 
cry ' Abba, Father.' If they are delivered from this fear and 
bondage, it is by that which is worse, namely, carnal bold- 
ness and presumption, whose rise lieth in the highest con- 
tempt of God and his holiness. When men give up them- 
selves to the customary performance of this duty, or rather 
saying of their prayers, I know not out of what conviction 
that so they must do, without a due consideration of God, 
and the regard that he hath unto them, they do but provoke 


him to his face in taking his name in vain ; nor, however 
they satisfy themselves in what they do, have they any de- 
light in God in their approaches unto him. 

Wherefore, there is required hereunto, a prospect of God 
by faith as on a ' throne of grace,' as exalted in Christ, to 
shew mercy unto sinners. So is he represented, Isa. xxx. 18. 
' Therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious ; and 
therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy.' With- 
out this we cannot draw nigh to him, or call upon him with 
delight as becometh children, crying, * Abba, Father.' And 
by whom is this discovery made unto us ? Is this a fruit of 
our own fancy and imagination? So it may be with some to 
their ruin. But it is the work of the Spirit, who alone in 
and through Christ revealeth God unto us, and enableth us 
to discern him in a due manner. Hence our apostle prays 
for the Ephesians, ' that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
the Father of glory, would give unto them the Spirit of wis- 
dom and revelation in the knowledge of him, that the eyes 
of their understanding being enlightened, they might know 
what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the 
glory of his inheritance in the saints ;' chap. i. 17, 18. All 
the acquaintance which we have with God in away of grace, 
is from the revelation made in us by his Spirit ; see Col. ii. 
1, 2. By him doth God say unto us, that 'fury is not in 
him,' and that if we lay hold on his arm, that we may have 
peace, we shall have peace ; Isa. xxvii. 4, 5. 

2. Unto this delight is required a sense of God's relation 
unto us as a Father. By that name and under that conside- 
ration hath the Lord Christ taught us to address ourselves 
unto him in all our supplications. And, although we may 
use other titles and appellations in our speaking to him, 
even such as he hath given himself in the Scripture, or 
those which are analogous thereunto ; yet this considera- 
tion principally influenceth our souls and minds, that God 
is not ashamed to be called our Father, that the Lord Al- 
mighty hath said, that he will be a Father unto us, and 
that we shall be his sons and daughters; 2Cor.vi. 18 Where- 
fore, as a Father is he the ultimate object of all evangelical 
worship, of all our prayers. So is it expressed in that holy 
and divine description of it given by the apostle, Eph. ii. 18. 
'Throuoh Christ we have access by one Spirit unto the 



Father.' No tongue can express, no mind can reach the 
heavenly placidness and soul-satisfying delight which are 
intimated in these words. To come to God as a Father, 
through Christ, by the help and assistance of the Holy Spirit, 
revealing him as a Father unto us, and enabling us to go to 
him as a Father, how full of sweetness and satisfaction is it ! 
Without a due apprehension of God in this relation, no man 
can pray as he ought. And hereof we have no sense, here- 
with we have no acquaintance, but by the Holy Ghost. For 
we do not consider God in a general manner, as he may be 
said to be a Father unto the whole creation ; but in an es- 
pecial, distinguishing relation, as he makes us his children 
by adoption. And as it is the Spirit ' that bears witness 
with our Spirit, that we are thus the children of God,' Rom. 
viii. 16. giving us the highest and utmost assurance of our 
estate of sonship in this world; so being the Spirit of adop- 
tion, it is by him alone that we have any acquaintance with 
our interest in that privilege. 

Some may apprehend that these things belong but little, 
and that very remotely, unto the duty of prayer, and the as- 
sistance we receive by the Spirit therein. But the truth is, 
those who are so minded, on consideration, know neither 
what it is to pray, nor what doth belong thereunto. There 
is nothing more essential unto this duty, than that in the 
performance of it, we address ourselves unto God under the 
notion of a Father, that is, the Father of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, and in him our Father also. Without this we cannot 
have that holy delight in this duty which is required in us, 
and the want whereof ordinarily ruins our design in it. And 
this we can have no spiritual satisfactory sense of, but what 
we receive by and from the Spirit of God. 

3. There belongeth thereunto that boldness which we 
have in our access into the holy place, or unto the throne 
of grace. 'Having therefore boldness to enter into the ho- 
liest by the blood of Jesus, let us draw near with a true 
heart, in full assurance of faith;' Heb. x. 19. 22. Where 
there is on men a ' spirit of fear unto bondage,' they can never 
have any delight in their approaches unto God. And this is 
removed by the spirit of grace and supplication; Rom. viii. 
15. 'For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again 
unto fear ; but ye have received the spirit of adoption, 


whereby we cry, Abba, Father.' These things are opposed ; 
and the one is only removed and taken away by the other. 
And where the 'spirit of bondage unto fear' abides, there we 
cannot cry, ' Abba, Father,' or pray iii a due manner. But 
' where the Spirit of God is, there is liberty ;' 2 Cor. iii. 17, 
And this, as we render the word, consists in two things : 
( 1 .) in orandi lihertate ; (2.) in exauditionisjidiicia . ( 1 .) Th ere 
is in it an enlarged liberty and freedom of speech in prayer 
unto God. So the word signifies. Ilappy\<j[a is as much as 
Travprjaia, a freedom to speak all that is to be spoken, a con- 
fidence that countenanceth men in the freedom of speech, 
according to the exigency of their state, condition, and cause. 
So the word is commonly used, Eph. vi. 19. Where there 
is servile fear and dread, the heart is straitened, bound up, 
knows not what it may, what it may not utter, and is pained 
about the issue of all it thinks or speaks ; or it cannot pray 
at all beyond what is prescribed unto it, to say, as it were, 
whether it will or no ; but where this spirit of liberty and 
boldness is, the heart is enlarged with a true genuine open- 
ness and readiness to express all its concerns unto God as a 
child unto its father. I do not say that those who have this 
aid of the Spirit have always this liberty in exercise, or 
equally so. The exercise of it may be variously impeded by 
temptations, spiritual indispositions, desertions, and by our 
own negligence in stirring up the grace of God. But be- 
lievers have it always in the root and principle, even all that 
have received the spirit of adoption, and are ordinarily as- 
sisted in the use of it. Hereby are they enabled to comply 
with the blessed advice of the apostle ; Phil. iv. 6. ' Be care- 
ful in nothing ; but in every thing by prayer and supplication, 
with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto 
God.' The whole of our concern in this world, is to be 
committed unto God in prayer, as that we should not retain 
any dividing cares in our own minds about them. And 
herein the apostle would have us to use a holy freedom and 
boldness in speaking unto God on all occasions, as one who 
concerns himself in them; hide nothing from God, which 
we do what lieth in us, when we present it not unto him in 
our prayers; but use a full, plain-hearted, open liberty with 
him; 'In every thing let your requests be made known unto 
God.' He is ready to hear all that vou have to offer nnto 

G 2 


him, or plead before him. And in so doing, the ' peace of 
God which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts 
and minds through Jesus Christ,' v, 7. which is ordinarily 
the condition of those who are found in diligent obedience 
unto this command. 

(2.) There is also in it a confidence of acceptance, or being 
heard in prayer ; that is, that God is well pleased with their 
duties, accepting both them and their persons in Jesus Christ. 
Without this we can have no delight in prayer, or in God 
as the object of it, which vitiates the whole duty. When 
Adam thought there was no acceptance with God for him, 
he had no confidence of access unto him ; but as the first 
effect of folly that ensued on the entrance of sin, went to 
hide himself. And all those who have no ground of spiritual 
confidence for acceptance with Christ, do in their prayer but 
endeavour to hide themselves from God by the duty which 
they perform. They cast a mist about them, to obscure 
themselves from the sight of their own convictions, wherein 
alone they suppose that God sees them also. But in such a 
frame there is neither delight, nor enlargement, nor liberty, 
nor indeed prayer itself. 

Now this confidence or boldness which is given unto be- 
lievers in their prayers by the Holy Ghost, respects not the 
answer of every particular request, especially in their own 
understanding of it ; but it consists in a holy persuasion that 
God is well pleased with their duties, accepts their persons, 
and delights in their approaches unto his throne. Such 
persons are not terrified with apprehensions that God will 
say unto them, 'What have you to do to take my name 
into your mouths,' or to what purpose 'are the multitude of 
your supplications r when you make many prayers, I will 
not hear.' ' Will he,' saith Job, ' plead with me with his great 
power? no, but he will put strength in me ;' chap, xxiii. 6. 
Yea, they are assured, that the more they are with God, the 
more constantly they abide with him, the better is their ac- 
ceptance. For as they are commanded to pray always and 
not to faint, so they have a sufficient warranty from the 
encouragement and call of Christ to be frequent in their 
spiritual addresses to him ; so,he speaks to his church ; Cant, 
ii. 14. ' Oh my dove, let me see thy countenance, let me hear 
thy voice ; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is 


comely.' And herein also is comprised a due apprehension 
of the goodness and power of God, whereby he is in all con- 
ditions ready to receive them, and able to relieve them. The 
voice of sinners by nature, let presumption and superstition 
pretend what they please to the contrary, is, that God is 
austere, and not capable of condescension or compassion. 
And the proper acting of unbelief lies in limiting the Most 
Holy ; saying. Can God do this or that thing, which the 
supplies of our necessities do call for; are they possible with 
God ? So long as either of these worketh in us with any 
kind of prevalency, it is impossible we should have any de- 
light in calling upon God. But we are freed from them by 
the Holy Ghost, in the representation he makes of the en- 
gaged goodness and power of God in the promises of the 
covenant, which gives us boldness in his presence. 

Fourthly, It is the work of the Holy Spirit in prayer to 
keep the souls of believers intent upon Jesus Christ, as the 
only way and means of acceptance with God. This is the 
fundamental direction for prayer now under the gospel. We 
are now to ask in his name, which was not done expressly 
under the Old Testament. Through him, we act faith on 
God in all our supplications. By him, we have an access 
unto the Father. We enter into the holiest through the new 
and living way that he hath consecrated for us. The va- 
rious respect which faith hath unto Jesus Christ as mediator 
in all our prayers, is a matter worthy a particular inquiry, 
but is not of our present consideration, wherein we declare 
the work of the Spirit alone. And this is a part of it, that 
he keeps our souls intent upon Christ according unto what 
is required of us ; as he is the way of our approach unto 
God, the means of our admittance, and the cause of our ac- 
ceptance with him. And where faith is not actually exer- 
cised unto this purpose, all prayer is vain and unprofitable. 
And whether our duty herein be answered with a few words, 
wherein his name is expressed with little spiritual regard unto 
him, is worth our inquiry. 

To enable us hereunto is the work of the Holy Ghost. 
He it is that glorifies Jesus Christ in the hearts of believers; 
John xvi. 14. And this he doth when he enableth them to 
act faith on him in a due manner. So speaks the apostle 
expressly; Eph. ii. 18. 'For through him we have access 


by one Spirit unto the Father.' It is through Jesus alone 
that we have our access unto God, and that by faith in him. 
So we have our access unto him for our persons in justifica- 
tion; Rom. V. 2. 'By whom we have access by faith unto 
this grace wherein we stand.' And by him we have our ac- 
tual access unto him in our supplications, when we draw 
nigh to the throne of grace. But this is by the Spirit. It 
is he who enables us hereunto, by keeping our minds spiri- 
tually intent on him in all our addresses unto God. This is 
a genuine effect of the Spirit, as he is the * Spirit of the Son,' 
under which consideration in an especial manner he is be- 
stowed on us to enable us to pray ; Gal. iv. 6. And hereof 
believers have a refreshing experience in themselves. Nor 
doth any thing leave a better savour or relish on their souls, 
than when they have had their hearts and minds kept close 
in the exercise of faith on Christ the mediator in their prayers. 

I might yet insist on more instances in the declaration 
of the work of the Holy Ghost in believers, as he is a spirit 
of grace and supplication. But my design is not to declare 
what may be spoken, but to speak what ought not to be 
omitted. Many other things, therefore, might be added, but 
these will suffice to give an express understanding of this 
work unto them who have any spiritual experience of it ; and 
those who have not, will not be satisfied with volumes to the 
same purpose. 

Yet something may be here added to free our passage 
from any just exceptions. For it may be, some will think, 
that these things are not pertinent unto our present purpose, 
which is to discover the nature of the duty of prayer, and 
the assistance which we receive by the Spirit of God therein. 
Now this is only in the words that we use unto God in our 
prayers, and not in that spiritual delight and confidence which 
have been spoken unto, which with other graces, if they may 
be so esteemed, are of another consideration. Ans. 1. It 
may be, that some think so; and also it may be, and is very 
likely, that some, who will be talking about these things, are 
utterly ignorant what it is to pray in the Spirit, and the 
whole nature of this duty. Not knowing therefore the thing, 
they hate the very name of it ; as indeed it cannot but be 
uncouth unto all who are no way interested in the grace and 
privilege intended by it. The objections of such persons 


are but as the strokes of blind men, whatever strength and 
violence be in them, they always miss the mark. Such are 
the fierce arguings of the most against this duty ; they are 
full of fury and violence, but never touch the matter intended. 
2. My design is so to discover the nature of praying in the 
Spirit in general, as that therewith I may declare what is a 
furtherance thereunto, and what is a hinderance thereof. For 
if there be any such ways of praying which men use or oblige 
themselves unto, which do not comply with, or are not suited 
to promote, or are unconcerned in, or do not express those 
workings of the Holy Ghost, which are so directly assigned 
unto him in the prayers of believers, they are all nothing 
but means of quenching the Spirit, of disappointing the work 
of his grace, and rendering the prayers themselves so used, 
and as such, unacceptable with God, And apparent it is, at 
least, that most of the ways and modes of prayer used in the 
papacy, are inconsistent with, and exclusive of, the whole 
work of the spirit of supplication. 


The nature of prayer in general, with respect unto forms of prayer and 
vocal prayer. Eph. vi. 18. opened and vindicated. 

The duty I am endeavouring to express, is that enjoined in 
Eph. vi. 18. * Praying always, with all prayer and supplica- 
tion in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all persever- 
ance and supplication for all saints.' Some have made bold 
to advance a fond imagination (as what will not enmity unto 
the holy ways of God put men upon ?) that 'praying in the 
Spirit,' intends only praying by virtue of an extraordinary and 
miraculous gift. But the use of it is here enjoined unto all 
believers, none excepted, men and women, who yet, I sup- 
pose, had not all and every one of them that extraordinary 
miraculous gift which they fancy to be intended in that ex- 
pression. And the performance of this duty is enjoined them 
in the manner prescribed ep Travri Ko<pt.7, 'always,' say we, 'in 
every season,' that is, such just and due seasons of prayer, as 
duty and our occasions call for: but the apostle expressly 
confines the exercise of extraordinary gifts unto some cer- 


tain seasons, when under some circumstances they may be 
needful or useful unto edification ; 1 Cor. xiv. There is, 
therefore, ' a praying in the spirit,' which is the constant duty 
of all believers ; and it is a great reproach unto the profession 
of Christianity, where that name itself is a matter of contempt. 
If there be any thing in it that is foolish, conceited, fanatical, 
the holy apostle must answer for it; yea, he by whom he 
was inspired. But if this be the expression of God himself 
of that duty which he requireth of us, I would not willingly 
be among the number of them by whom it is derided, let 
their pretences be what they please. Besides, in the text, 
all believers are said thus ' to pray in the Spirit at all sea- 
sons,' ^la TTaffjjc irpoaevxTiK ^at dtrjaewg ' and Iv Tramj TTQoatv- 
X^ KOI Setjcte', 'with all prayer and supplication ;' that is, with 
all manner of prayer, according as our own occasions and ne- 
cessities do require. A man certainly by virtue of this rule 
can scarce judge himself obliged to confine his performance 
of this duty unto a prescript form of words. For a variety 
in our prayers commensurate unto the various occasions of 
ourselves, and of the church of God, being here enjoined us, 
how we can comply therewith in the constant use of any one 
form, I know not ; those who do, are left unto their liberty. 
And this we are obliged unto, hq avro tovto aypv7rvovvTi.g, 
' diligently watching unto this very end,' that our prayers 
may be suited unto our occasions. He who can divide this 
text, or cut it out into a garment to clothe set forms of 
prayer with, will discover an admirable dexterity in the using 
and disposal of a text of Scripture. 

But yet, neither do I conclude from hence that all such 
forms are unlawful ; only that another way of praying is here 
enioined us, is, 1 suppose, unquestionable unto all impartial 
searchers after truth. And doubtless they are not to be 
blamed who endeavour a compliance therewith. And if per- 
sons are able, in the daily constant reading of any book what- 
ever, merely of a human composition, to rise up in answer 
to this duty of 'praying always, with all manner of prayer and 
supplication in the Spirit,' or the exercise of the aid and as- 
sistance received from him, and his holy acting of them as a 
spirit of grace and supplication, endeavouring, labouring, and 
watching thereunto ; I shall say no more but that they have 
attained what I cannot understand. 


The sole inquiry remaining is, how they are enabled to 
pray, in whose minds the Holy Ghost doth thus work as a 
spirit of grace and supplication. And I do say, in answer 
thereunto, that those who are thus affected by him, do never 
want a gracious ability of making their addresses unto God 
in vocal prayer', so far as is needful unto them in their cir- 
cumstances, callings, states, and conditions. And this is 
that which is called the gift of prayer. I speak of ordinary 
cases ; for there may be such interpositions of temptations 
and desertions, as that the soul being overwhelmed with them, 
may for the present be able only to mourn as a dove, or to 
chatter as a crane, that is, not to express the sense of their 
minds clearly and distinctly, but only as it were to mourn and 
groan before the Lord in brokenness of spirit and expres- 
sions. But this also is sufficient for their acceptance in that 
condition. And hereof there are few believers but at one 
time or other they have more or less experience. And as for 
those whose devotion dischargeth itself in a formal course 
of the same words, as it must needs be in the papacy, wherein 
for the most part they understand not the signification of 
the w^ords which they make use of, they are strangers unto 
the true nature of prayer, at least, unto the work of the Spi- 
rit therein. And such supplications as are not variously in- 
fluenced by the variety of the spiritual conditions of them 
that make them, according to the variety of our spiritual 
exercise, are like one constant tone or noise which hath no 
harmony nor music in it. 

I say, therefore, 1. That the things insisted on, are in 
some degree and measure necessary unto all acceptable prayer. 
The Scripture assigns them thereunto, and believers find 
them so by their own experience. For we discourse not 
about prayer as it is the working of nature in its straits and 
difficulties towards the God of nature, expressing thereby its 
dependance on him with an acknowledgment of his power, in 
which sense all flesh in one way or other, under one notion or 
other, come to God ; nor yet upon those cries which legal con- 
victions will wrest from them that fall under their power : but 
we treat only of prayer as it is required of believers under the 
gospel, as they have an ' access through Christ in one Spirit 
unto the Father.' And, 2. That those in whom this work is 
wrought by the Holy Spirit in any degree, do not in ordinary 


cases want an ability to express themselves in this duty, so far 
as is needful for them. It is acknowledged that an ability 
herein will be greatly increased and improved by exercise ; 
and that not only because the exercise of all moral faculties 
is the genuine way of their strengthening and improvement, 
but principally, because it is instituted, appointed, and com- 
manded of God unto that end. God hath designed the ex- 
ercise of grace for the means of its growth ; and giveth his 
blessing in answer to his institution. But the nature of the 
thing itself requires a performance of the duty suitably unto 
the condition of him that is called unto it. And if men 
grow not up unto farther degrees in that ability by exercise 
in the duty itself, by stirring up the gifts and grace of God 
in them, it is their sin and folly. And hence it follows, 3. 
That although set forms of 'prayer may be laufid unto some, 
as is pretended, yet are they necessary unto none ; that is, 
unto no true believers, as unto acceptable evangelical prayer. 
But whoever is made partaker of the work of the Spirit of 
God herein, which he doth infallibly effect in every one who 
through him is enabled to cry, * Abba, Father,' as every child 
of God is, he will be able to pray according to the mind and 
will of God, if he neglect not the aid and assistance offered 
unto him for that purpose. Wherefore, to plead for the ne- 
cessity of forms of prayer unto believers, beyond what may 
be doctrinal or instructive in them, is a fruit of inclination 
unto parties, or of ignorance, or of the want of a due attend- 
ance unto their own experience. 

Of what use forms of prayer may be unto those that are 
not regenerate, and have not therefore received the spirit of 
adoption, belongs not directly unto our disquisition. Yet 
I must say, that I understand not clearly the advantage of 
them unto them, unless a contrivance to relieve them in that 
condition, without a due endeavour after a deliverance from 
it, maybe so esteemed. For these persons are of two sorts: 
(1.) Such as are openly under the power of sin, their minds 
being not effectually influenced by any convictions. These 
seldom pray, unless it be under dangers, fears, troubles, 
pains, or other distresses. When they are smitten, they will 
* cry, even to the Lord they will cry,' and not else : and 
their design is to treat about their especial occasions, and 
the present sense which they have thereof. And how can 


any man conceive that they should be supplied with forms 
of prayer, expressing their sense, conceptions, and atfections, 
in their particular cases ? And how ridiculously they may 
mistake themselves in reading these prayers, which are no 
way suited unto their condition, is easily supposed. A form 
to such persons may prove little better than a charm, and 
their minds be diverted by it from such a performance of 
duty as the light of nature would direct to. Jonah's mari- 
ners in the storm ' cried every one unto his God,' and called 
on him also to do so too ; chap, i. 5, 6. The substance of 
their prayer was, that God would ' think upon them that 
they might not perish.' And men in such conditions, if not 
diverted by this pretended relief, which indeed is none, will 
not want words to express their minds so far as there is any 
thing of prayer in what they do ; and beyond that, whatever 
words they are supplied withal, they are of no use nor ad- 
vantage unto them. And it is possible when they are left to 
work naturally towards God, however unskilled and rude 
their expressions may be, a deep sense may be left upon their 
minds, with a reverence of God, and remembrance of their 
own error, which may be of use to them. But the bounding 
and directing of the workings of natural religion by a form 
of words, perhaps little suited unto their occasions, and not 
at all to their affections, tends only to stifle the operation of 
an awakened conscience, and to give them up unto their 
former security. 

(2.) Others there are, such as by education and the power 
of convictions from the word by one means or other, are so 
far brought under a sense of the authority of God, and their 
own duty, as consciejitiously , according unto their light, to at- 
tend unto prayer, as unto other duties also. Now the case 
of these men will be more fully determined afterward, where 
the whole of the use of forms of prayer will be spoken unto. 
For the present I shall only say, that I cannot believe, until 
farther conviction, that any one whose duty it is to pray, is 
not able to express his requests and petitions in words so 
far as he is affected with the matter of them in his mind ; 
and what he doth by any advantage beyond that, belongeth 
not to prayer. Men may, by sloth and other vicious distem- 
pers of mind, especially of a negligence in getting their 
hearts and consciences duly affected with the matter and 


object of prayer, keep themselves under a real or supposed 
disability in this matter. But whereas prayer in this sort of 
persons is an effect of common illumination and grace, which 
are also from the Spirit of God, if persons do really and sin- 
cerely endeavour a due sense of what they pray for and about, 
he will not be wanting to help them to express themselves 
so far as is necessary for them, either privately or in their 
families. But those who will never enter the water but with 
flags or bladders under them, will scarce ever learn to swim. 
And it cannot be denied, but that the constant and unvaried 
use of set forms of prayer may become a great occasion of 
quenching the Spirit, and hindering all progress or growth 
in gifts or graces. When every one hath done what he can, 
it is his best, and will be accepted of him, it being according 
unto what he hath, before that which is none of his. 


The duty of external prayer, by virtue of a spiritual gift, 
explained and vindicated. 

What we have hitherto discoursed concerning the work of 
the spirit of grace and supplication enabling believers to 
pray, or to cry, ' Abba Father,' belongeth principally unto the 
internal spiritual nature of the duty, and the exercise of grace 
therein, wherein we have occasionally only diverted unto 
the consideration of the interest of words ; and the use of se^ 
forms, either freely or imposed. And, indeed, what hath been 
evinced from Scripture testimony herein, doth upon the 
matter render all farther dispute about these things need- 
less. For if the things mentioned be required unto all ac- 
ceptable prayer, and if they are truly effected in the minds 
of all believers by the Holy Ghost, it is evident how little 
use there remains of such pretended aids. 

But moreover, prayer falleth under another considera- 
tion, namely, as to its external performance, and as the duty 
is discharged by any one in lesser or greater societies, 
wherein upon his words and expressions do depend their 
conjunction with him, their communion in the duty, and 
consequently their edification in the whole. This is the 


will of God, that in assemblies of his appointment, as 
churches and families, and occasional meetings of two or 
three or more in the name of Christ, one should pray in the 
name of himself and the rest that join with him. Thus are 
ministers enabled to pray in church-assemblies, as other 
Christians in occasional meetings of the disciples of Christ 
in his name ; parents in their families ; and in secret, every 
believer for himself. 

There is a spiritual ahiliti/ given unto men hy the Holy 
Ghost, whereby they are enabled to express the matter of prayer 
as taught and revealed in the manner before described, in icoids 
fitted and suited to lead on their oivn minds and the minds of 
others unto a holy communion in the duty, to the honour of 
God, and their own edification. I do not confine the use of 
this ability unto assemblies ; every one may, and usually is 
to make use of it according to the measure which he hath 
received for himself also. For if a man have not an ability 
to pray for himself in private and alone, he can have none 
to pray in public and societies. Wherefore take prayer as 
vocal, without which adjunct it is not complete, and this 
ability belongs to the nature and essence of it. And this 
also is from the Spirit of God. 

This is that which meets with such contradiction and 
opposition from many, and which hath other things set up 
in competition with it, yea, to the exclusion of it, even from 
families and closets also. What they are, we shall after- 
ward examine. And judged it is by some, not only to be 
separable from the work of the Spirit of prayer, but no way 
to belong thereunto. A fruit they say it is of wit, fancy, 
memory, elocution, volubility, and readiness of speech, 
namely, in them in whom on other accounts they will ac- 
knowledge none of these things to be, at least in no consi- 
derable degree. Some while since, indeed, they defended 
themselves against any esteem of this ability, by crying out, 
that all those who thus prayed by the Spirit, as they call it, 
did but babble and talk nonsense. But those who have any 
sobriety and modesty are convinced, that the generality of 
those who do pray according to the ability received, do use 
words of truth and soberness in the exercise thereof. And 
it is but a sorry relief that any can find in cavilling at some 
expressions, which perhaps good and wholesome in them- 


selves, yet suit not their palates ; or if they are such as 
may seem to miss of due order and decency, yet is not their 
failure to be compared with the extravagances (consider- 
ing the nature of the duty) of some in supposed quaint and 
elegant expressions used in this duty. But herein they be- 
take themselves unto this countenance, that this ability is 
the effect of the natural endowments before mentioned only, 
which they think to be set off by a boldness and confidence, 
but a little beneath an intolerable impudence. Thus it 
seems is it with all who desire to pray as God enables them, 
that is, according to his mind and will, if any thing in the 
light of nature, the common voice of mankind, examples of 
Scripture, express testimonies and commands, are able to 
declare what is so. I shall, therefore, make way unto the 
declaration and confirmation of the truth asserted, by the 
ensuing observations. 

1 . Every man is to pray or call upon God according as he 
is able, with respect unto his own condition, relations, occa- 
sions, and duties. Certainly there is not a man in the world 
who hath not forfeited all his reason and understanding unto 
Atheism, or utterly buried all their operations under the 
fury of brutish affections, but he is convinced that it is his 
duty to pray to the deity he owns, in words of his own, as 
well as he is able. For this, and none other, is the genuine 
and natural notion of prayer. This is implanted in the 
heart of mankind, which they need not be taught, nor di- 
rected unto. The artificial help of constant forms is an ar- 
bitrary invention. And I would hope that there are but 
few in the world, especially of those who are called Chris- 
tians, but that at one time or other they do so pray. And 
those who for the most part do betake themselves to other 
reliefs (as unto the reading of prayers composed unto some 
good end and purpose, though not absolutely to their occa- 
sions, as to the present state of their minds, and the things 
they would pray for, which is absolutely impossible), cannot, 
as I conceive, but sometimes be conscious to themselves, 
not only of the weakness of what they do, but of their neg- 
lect of the duty which they profess to perform. And as for 
such who, by the prevalency of ignorance, the power of pre- 
judice, and infatuation of superstition, are diverted from the 
dictates of nature and light of Scripture directions to say a 


' pater-noster,' it maybe an ' ave' or a * credo' for their prayer, 
intending it for this or that end, the benefit it may be of 
this or that person, or the obtaining of what is no way men- 
tioned or included in what they utter ; there is nothing of 
prayer in it, but a mere taking the name of God in vain, with 
the horrible profanation of a holy ordinance. 

Persons tied up unto such rules and forms never pray in 
their lives, but in their occasional ejaculations, which break 
from them almost by surprisal. And there hath not been 
any one more effectual means of bringing unholiness with 
an ungodly course of conversation into the Christian world, 
than this one of teaching men to satisfy themselves in this 
duty by their saying, reading, or repetition of the words of 
other men, which it may be they understand not, and cer- 
tainly are not in a due manner affected withal. For it is 
this duty, whereby our whole course is principally influ- 
enced. And let men say what they will, our conversation 
in walking before God, which principally regards the frame 
and disposition of our hearts, is influenced and regulated 
by our attendance unto, and performance of, this duty. He 
whose prayers are hypocritical is an hypocrite in his whole 
course ; and he who is but negligent in them, is equally neg- 
ligent in all other duties. Now whereas our whole obedi- 
ence unto God ought to be our reasonable service, Rom. 
xii. 1. how can it be expected that it should be so, when 
the foundation of it is laid in such an irrational supposi- 
tion, that men should not pray themselves what they are 
able, but read the forms of others instead thereof, which 
they do not understand ? 

2. All the examples we have in the Scripture of the pray- 
ers of the holy men of old, either under the Old Testament 
or the New, were all of them the effects of their own ahUity in 
expressing the gracious conceptions of their minds, wrought 
in them by the Holy Ghost in the way and manner before 
described. I call it their own ability, in opposition to all 
outward aids and assistances from others, or an anteceda- 
neous prescription of a form of words unto themselves. Not 
one instance can be given to the contrary. Sometimes, it is 
said, they 'spread forth their hands,' sometimes that they ' lifted 
up their voices,' sometimes that they ' fell upon their knees 
and cried,' sometimes that they 'poured out their hearts' when 


overwhelmed ; all according unto present occasions and cir- 
cumstances. The solemn benediction of the priests insti- 
tuted of God, like the present forms in the administration of 
the sacraments, were of another consideration, as shall be 
shewed. And as for those who by immediate inspiration gave 
out and wrote discourses in the form of prayers, which were 
in part mystical, and in part prophetical, we have before given 
an account concerning them. Some plead, indeed, that the 
church of the Jews under the second temple had sundry forms 
of prayers in use among them, even at the time when our 
Saviour was conversant in the temple and their synagogues. 
But they pretend and plead what they cannot prove ; and I 
challenge any learned man to give but a tolerable evidence 
unto the assertion. For what is found to that purpose among 
the Talmudists, is mixed with such ridiculous fables (as the 
first, suiting the number of their prayers to the number of 
the bones in the back of a man), as fully defeats its own 

3. The commands which are given us to pray thus ac- 
cording unto our own abilities, are no more nor less than all 
the comtnands we have in the Scripture to pray at all. Not 
one of them hath any regard or respect unto outward forms, 
aids, or helps of prayer. And the manner of prayer itself is 
so described, limited, and determined, as that no other kind 
of prayer can be intended. For whereas we are commanded 
to ' pray in the Spirit,' to pray earnestly and fervently, with 
' the mind and understanding,' ' continually with all manner of 
prayer and supplication,' to 'make our requests known unto 
God,' so as not to take care ourselves about our present con- 
cerns, to 'pour out our hearts unto God,' to cry, 'Abba, Father,' 
by the Spirit, and the like ; I do not understand how those 
things are suited unto any kind of prayer, but only that 
which is from the ability which men have received for the 
entire discharge of that duty. For there are evidently inti- 
mated in these precepts and directions, such various occa- 
sional workings of our minds and spirits, such actings of 
gracious affections, as will not comply with a constant use 
of a prescribed form of words. 

4. When we speak of men's oicii ability in this matter, we 
do include therein the conscientious, diligent use of all means 
which God hath appointed for the communication of this 


ability unto them, or to help them in the due use, exercise 
and improvement of it. Such means there are, and such are 
they to attend unto. 

As, (1.) The diligent searching of our onm hearts in their 
frames, dispositions, inclinations, and actings, that we may 
be in some measure acquainted with their s°tate and condi- 
tion towards God. Indeed the heart of man is absolutely 
unsearchable unto any but God himself, that is, as unto a 
complete and perfect knowledge of it. Hence David prays, 
that God would search and try him, and lead and conduct 
him by his grace according unto what he found in him, and 
not leave him wholly to act or be acted according unto his 
own apprehensions of himself, Psal, cxxxix. 23, 24. But 
yet where we do in sincerity inquire into them, by the help 
of that spiritual light which we have received, we may dis- 
cern so much of them as to guide us aright in this and all 
other duties. If this be neglected, if men live in the dark 
unto themselves, or satisfy themselves only with an acquaint- 
ance with those things which an accusing conscience will 
not suffer them to be utterly ignorant of, they will never 
know either how to pray, or what to pray for in a due man- 
ner. And the want of a due discharge of this duty, which 
we ought continually to be exercised in, especially on the 
account of that unspeakable variety of spiritual chano-es 
which we are subject unto, is a cause of that barrenness in 
prayer which is found among the most, as we have observed. 
He that would abound in all manner of supplication which 
is enjoined us, who would have his prayers to be proper, 
useful, fervent, must be diligent in the search and conside- 
ration of his own heart, with all its dispositions and inclina- 
tions, and the secret guilt which it doth variously contract. 
(2.) Constant diligent reading of the Scriptures is another 
duty that this ability greatly depends upon. From the pre- 
cepts of God therein may we learn our own wants, and from 
his promises the relief which he hath provided for them. And 
these things (as hath been shewed) supply us with the matter 
of prayer. Moreover we thence learn what words and ex- 
pressions are meet and proper to be used in our accesses unto 
God. No words nor expressions in themselves or their sig- 
nification are meet or acceptable herein, but from their ana- 
logy unto those in the Scripture which are of God's own 



teaching and directions. And where men are much con- 
versant in the word, they will be ready for and furnished 
with meet expressions of their desires to God always. This 
is one means whereby they may become so to be. And 
other helps of the like nature might be insisted on. 

5. There is a use herein of the natural abilities of inven- 
tion, memory, and elocution. Why should not men use in 
the service and worship of God what God hath given them, 
that they may be able to serve and worship him ? Yea, it 
setteth off the use and excellency of this spiritual gift, that 
in the exercise of it, we use and act our natural endowments 
and abilities, as spiritualized by grace, which in the way, set 
up in competition with it, cannot be done. The more the 
soul is engaged in its faculties and powers, the more intent 
it is in and unto the duty. 

Nor do I deny but that this gift may be varied in de- 
grees and divers circumstances according unto these abili- 
ties, though it have a being of its own, distinct from them. 
Even in extraordinary gifts, as in the receiving and giving 
out of immediate revelations from God, there was a variety 
in outward modes and circumstances which followed the 
diversity and variety of the natural abilities and qualifica- 
tions of them who were employed in that work. Much more 
may this difference both be, and appear, in the exercise of 
ordinary gifts, which do not so absolutely influence and re- 
gulate the faculties of the mind, as the other. 

And this difference we find by experience among them 
who are endowed with this spiritual ability. All men who 
have the gift of prayer do not pray alike, as to the matter 
of their prayers or the manner of their praying ; but some 
do greatly excel others, some in one thing, some in another. 
And this doth in part proceed from that difference that is 
between them in the natural abilities of invention, judgment, 
memory, elocution, especially as they are improved by ex- 
ercise in this duty. But yet neither is this absolutely so, 
nor doth the difference in this matter, which we observe in 
constant experience, depend solely hereon. For if it did, 
then those, who having received this spiritual ability, do 
excel others in those natural endowments, would also con- 
stantly excel them in the exercise of the gift itself; which 
is not so, as is known to all who have observed any thing in 


this matter. But the exercise of these abilities in prayer 
depends on the especial assistance of the Spirit of God. 
And for the most part the gift, as the scion ingrafted or in- 
oculated, turns the nature of those abilities into itself, and 
modifieth them according unto its own efficacy and virtue, 
and is not itself changed by them. Evidently that which 
makes any such difference in the discharge of this duty, as 
wherein the edification of others is concerned, is the frequent 
conscientious ;exercise of the gift received, without which, 
into whatever stock of natural abilities it may be planted, it 
will neither thrive nor flourish. 

6. Spiritual gifts are of two sorts : (1.) Such as are dis- 
tinct from all other abilities, having their whole foundation, 
nature, and power in themselves. Such were the extraordi- 
nary gifts of miracles, healing, tongues, and the like. These 
were entire in themselves, not built upon or adjoined unto 
any other gifts or graces whatever. (2.) Such as were ad- 
juncts of, or annexed unto, any other gifts or graces, with- 
out which they could have neither place nor use. As the 
gift of utterance depends on wisdom and knowledge. For 
utterance without knowledge, or that which is any thing but 
the way of expressing sound knowledge unto the benefit of 
others, is folly and babbling. And of this latter sort is the 
gift of prayer, as under our present consideration with re- 
spect unto the interest of words in that duty. And this we 
affirm to be a peculiar gift of the Holy Ghost, and shall now 
farther prove it so to be. For, 

(1.) It is an inseparable adjunct of that work of the 
Spirit which we have described, and is therefore from him 
who is the author of it. For he who is the author of any 
thing as to its being, is the author of all its inseparable ad- 
juncts. That the work of enabling us to pray, is the work 
of the Spirit hath been proved ; and it is an immeasurable 
boldness for any to deny it, and yet pretend themselves to 
be Christians, And he is not the author of any one part of 
this work, but of the whole, all that whereby we cry ' Abba 
Father.' Hereunto the expressions of the desires of our 
souls, in words suited unto the acting of our own graces 
and the edification of others, doth inseparably belong. 
When we are commanded to pray, if our necessity, condi- 
tion, edification, with the advantage and benefit of others, 



do require the use of words in prayer, then are we so to 
pray. For instance, when a minister is commanded to pray 
in the church or congregation, so as to go before the flock 
in the discharge of that duty, he is to use words in prayer. 
Yet are we not in such cases required to pray any otherwise 
than as the Spirit is promised to enable us to pray, and so 
as that we may still be said to pray in the Holy Ghost. So 
therefore to pray, falls under the command and promise, 
and is a gift of the Holy Spirit. 

And the nature of the thing itself, that is the duty of 
prayer, doth manifest it. For all that the Spirit of God 
works in our hearts with respect unto this duty, is in order 
unto the expression of it ; for what he doth is to enable us 
to pray. And if he gives not that expression, all that he 
doth besides may be lost as to its principal end and use. 
And indeed all that he doth in us, where this is wanting, or 
that in fixed meditation, which in some particular cases is 
equivalent thereunto, riseth not beyond that frame which 
David expresseth by his keeping silence, whereby he de- 
clares an estate of trouble, wherein yet he was not freely 
brought over to deal with God about it, as he did afterward 
by prayer, and found relief therein. 

That which with any pretence of reason can be objected 
hereunto, namely, that not any part only, but the whole 
duty of prayer as we are commanded to pray, is an efl^ect 
in us of the Holy Spirit as a spirit of grace and supplica- 
tion, or that the grace of prayer and the gift of prayer as 
some distinguish, are inseparable, consists in two unsound 
consequents, which as is supposed will thence ensue. As, 
(l.)that every one who hath the grace of prayer, as it is 
called, or in whom the Holy Spirit worketh the gracious 
disposition before described, hath also the gift of prayer, 
seeing these things are inseparable. And, (2.) that every 
one who hath the gift of prayer, or who hath an ability to 
pray with utterance unto the edification of others, hath also 
the grace of prayer, or the actings of saving grace in prayer, 
which is the thing intended. But these things it will be 
said are manifestly otherwise, and contrary to all exp- 

Alls. (1.) For the first of these inferences, I grant it fol- 
lows from the premises, and therefore affirm that it is most 


true under the ensuing limitations. (1.) We do not speak of 
what is called the grace of prayer in its habit or principle, but 
in its actual exercise. In the first respect, it is in all that 
are sanctified, even in those infants that are so from the 
womb. It doth not hence follow that they must also have 
the gift of prayer, which respects only grace in its exercise. 
And thus our meaning is, that all those in whom the Spirit 
of God doth graciously act faith, love, delight, desire, in a 
way of prayer unto God, have an ability from him to express 
themselves in vocal prayer. 

(2.) It is required hereunto that such persons be found 
in a %cay of duty ; and so meet to receive the influential as- 
sistance of the Holy Spirit. Whoever will use, or have the 
benefit of any spiritual gift, must himself in a way of duty, 
stir up by constant and frequent exercise the ability wherein 
it doth consist. ' Stir up the gift of God that is in thee ;' 
2 Tim. i. 6. And where this duty is neglected, which neg- 
lect must be accounted for, it is no wonder if any persons 
who yet may have, as they speak, the grace of prayer, 
should not yet have the gift or a faculty to express their 
minds and desires in prayer by words of their own. Some 
think there is no such ability in any, and therefore never 
look after it in themselves, but despise whatever they hear 
spoken unto that purpose. What assistance such persons 
may have in their prayers from the spirit of grace, I know 
not; but it is not likely they should have much of his aid 
or help in that wherein they despise him. And some are 
so accustomed unto, and so deceived by, pretended helps in 
prayer, as making use of, or reading prayers by others com- 
posed for them, that they never, attempt to pray for them- 
selves, but always think they cannot do that which indeed 
they will not. As if a child being bred up among none but 
such impotent persons as go on crutches, as he groweth up, 
should refuse to try his own strength, and resolve himself 
to make use of crutches also. Good instruction or some 
sudden surprisal with fear, removing his prejudice, he will 
cast away this needless help, and make use of his strength. 
Some gracious persons brought up where forms of prayer 
are in general use, may have a spiritual ability of their own 
to pray, but neither know it, nor ever try it, through a com- 
pliance with the principles of their education ; y<ea, so as to 


think it impossible for them to pray any otherwise. But when 
instruction frees them from this prejudice, or some sudden 
surprisal with fear or affliction casts them into an entrance 
of the exercise of their own ability in this kind, their former 
aids and helps quickly grow into disuse with them. 

(3.) The ability which we ascribe unto all who have the gra- 
cious assistance of the Spirit in prayei", is not absolute, but 
suited unto their occasions, conditions, duties, callings, and 
the like. We do not say, that every one who hath received the 
Spirit of grace and supplication must necessarily have a gift, 
enabling him to pray as becomes a minister in the congre- 
gation, or any person on the like solemn occasion ; no, nor 
yet it may be to pray in a family, or in the company of many, 
if he be not in his condition of life called thereunto. But 
every one hath this ability according to his necessity, con- 
dition of life, and calling. He that is only a private person 
hath so, and he who is the ruler of the family hath so, and 
he that is a minister of the congregation hath so also. And 
as God enlargeth men's occasions and calls, so he will enlarge 
their abilities, provided they do what is their duty to that 
end and purpose ; for the slothful, the negligent, the fearful, 
those that are under the power of prejudices, will have no 
share in this mercy. This therefore is the sum of what we 
affirm in this particular. Every adult person who hath re- 
ceived, and is able to exercise, grace in prayer, any saving 
grace, without which prayer itself is an abomination, if he 
neglect not the improvement of the spiritual aids communi- 
cated unto him, doth so far partake of this gift of the Holy 
Spirit as to enable him to pray according as his own occa- 
sions and duty do require. He who wants mercy for the 
pardon of sin, or supplies of grace for the sanctification of 
his person, and the like ; if he be sensible of his wants, and 
have gracious desires after their supply wrought in his heart, 
will be enabled to ask them of God in an acceptable manner, 
if he be not wofully and sinfully wanting unto himself and 
his own duty. 

(2.) As to the second inference, namely, that if this abi- 
lilif be inseparable from the gracious assistance of the spirit of 
prayer, then whosoever hath this gift and ability, he hath in the 
exercise of it that gracious assistance, or he hath received the 
spirit of grace, and hath saving graces, acted in him : I an- 


swer, (1.) It doth not follow on what we have asserted. For 
although wherever is the grace of prayer, there is the gift 
also in its measure ; yet it follows not, that where the gift 
is, there must be the grace also. For the gift is for the grace's 
sake, and not on the contrary. Grace cannot be acted with, 
out the gift, but the gift may without grace. (2.) We shall 
assent that this gift doth grow in another soil, and hath not 
its root in itself. It foUoweth on, and ariseth from, one dis- 
tinct part of the work of the Holy Spirit, as a spirit of sup- 
plication, from which it is inseparable. And this is his work 
on the mind, in acquainting it with the things that are to be 
prayed for; which he doth both in the inward convictions of 
men's own souls, and in the declaration made thereof in the 
Scripture. Now this may in some be only a common work 
of illumination which the gift of vocal prayer may flow from 
and accompany, when the spirit of grace and supplication 
works no farther in them. Wherefore it is acknowledo-ed 
that men in whom the spirit of grace did never reside nor 
savingly operate, may have the gift of utterance in prayer 
unto their own and others' edification. For they have the 
gift of illumination, which is its foundation, and from which 
it is inseparable. Where this spiritual illumination is not 
granted in some measure, no abilities, no industry can attain 
the gift of utterance in prayer unto edification. For spiritual 
light is the matter of all spiritual gifts, which in all their 
variety are but the various exercise of it. And to suppose 
a man to have a gift of prayer without it, is to suppose him 
to have a gift to pray for he knows not what; which real or 
pretended enthusiasms we abhor. Wherefore, wherever is 
this gift of illumination and conviction, there is such a foun- 
dation of the gift of prayer, as that it is not ordinarily absent 
in some measure, where due use and exercise are observed. 

Add unto what hath been spoken, that the duty of prayer 
ordinarily is not complete, unless it be expressed in words. 
It is called * pleading with God,' * filling our mouths with ar- 
guments,' ' crying unto him,' and ' causing him to hear our 
voice ;' which things are so expressed, not that they are any 
way needful unto God, but unto us. And whereas it may 
be said that all this may be done in prayer by internal medi- 
tation, where no use is made of the voice, or of words, as it 
is said of Hannah that ' she prayed in her heart, but her voice 


was not heard ;' 1 Sam. i. 13. I grant, in some cases it may 
be so, where the circumstances of the duty do not require it 
should be otherwise ; or where the vehemency of affections 
which cause men to cry out and roar, will permit it so to be. 
But withal I say, that in this prayer by meditation, the things 
and matter of prayer are to be formed in the mind into that 
sense and those sentences which may be expressed ; and the 
mind can conceive no more in this way of prayer than it can 
express. So of Hannah it is said, when she prayed in her heart, 
and as she said herself ' out of the abundance of her medita- 
tion,' ver. 16. that ' her lips moved though her voice was not 
heard ;' she not only framed the sense of her supplications 
into petitions, but tacitly expressed them to herself. And the 
obligation of any person unto prescribed forms, is as destruc- 
tive of prayer by inward meditation, as it is of prayer con- 
ceived and expressed ; for it takes away the liberty, and pre- 
vents the ability of framing petitions or any other parts of 
prayer in the mind, according to the sense which the party 
praying hath of them. Wherefore if this expression of prayer 
in words do necessarily belong unto the duty itself, it is an 
effect of the Holy Spirit, or he is not the spirit of supplica- 
tion unto us. 

Secondly, Utterance is a peculiar gift of the Holy Ghost; 
so it is mentioned, 1 Cor. i. 5. 2 Cor. viii. 7. Eph. vi. 19. 
Col. iv. 3. And hereof there are two parts, or there are 
two duties to be discharged by virtue of it. 1. An ability 
to speak unto men in the name of God in the preaching of 
the word. 2. An ability to speak unto God for ourselves, or 
in the name and on the behalf of others. And there is the 
same reason of utterance in both these duties. And in each 
of them it is equally a peculiar gift of the Spirit of God : see 
1 Cor. i. 5. 2 Cor. viii. 7. Eph. vi. 19. Col. iv. 3. The word 
used in these places, is \6yog ' speech,' which is well ren- 
dered, ' utterance,' that is irappriaia Iv t(J^ dTTO(pdiyyta^ai, ' fa- 
cultas et libertas dicendi-' an ability and liberty to speak out 
the things we'.have conceived. Aoyog iv dvo'i^u tov aTOfxarog Iv 
Trappr^aia, Eph. vi. 19. ' Utterance in the opening of the 
mouth with boldness,' or rather freedom of speech. This in 
sacred things, in praying and preaching, is the gift of the 
Holy Spirit; and as such, are we enjoined to pray for it, 
that it may be given unto us or others, as the edification of 


the church doth require. And although this gift may by 
some be despised, yet the whole edification of the church 
depends upon it; yea, the foundation of the church was laid 
in it, as it was an extraordinary gift. Acts ii. 4. and its su- 
perstructure is carried on by it. For it is the sole means 
of public or solemn intercourse between God and the 
church. It is so if there be such a thing as the Holy 
Ghost, if there be such things as spiritual gifts. The matter 
of them is spiritual light, and the manner of their exercise is 

This gift or ability, as all others of the like nature, may be 
considered either as to the habit, or as to the external exer- 
cise of it. And those who have received it in the habit, have 
yet experience of great variety in the exercise, which in na- 
tural and moral habits, where the same preparations precede, 
doth not usually appear. For as the spirit of grace is free, and 
acts arbitrarily, with respect unto the persons unto whom he 
communicates the gift itself; ' for he divideth to every man 
as he will ;' so he acteth also as he pleases in the exercise 
of those gifts and graces which he doth bestow. Hence be- 
lievers do sometimes find a greater evidence of his gracious 
working in them in prayer, or of his assistance to pray, as 
also enlargement in utterance, than at other times ; for in 
both he breatheth and acteth as he pleaseth. These things 
are not their own, nor absolutely in their own power, nor 
will either the habitual grace they have received enable 
them to pray graciously, nor tlieir gift of utterance unto edi- 
fication, without his actual excitation of that grace and his 
assistance in the exercise of that gift. Both the conceiving 
and utterance of our desires in an acceptable manner are 
from him, and so are all spiritual enlargements in this duty. 
Vocal prayer whether private or public, whereof we speak, 
is the uttering of our^desires and requests unto God ; called, 
' The making of our requests known unto him;' Phil. iv. 6. 
This utterance is a gift of the Holy Ghost, so also is prayer 
as to the manner of the performance of it by words in sup- 
plication. And if any one say he cannot so pray suitable 
unto his own occasions, he doth only say, that he is a stran- 
ger to this gift of the Holy Ghost, and if any one will not, by 
him it is despised. And if these things are denied by any, 
because they understand them not, we cannot help it. 


Thirdly, It is the Holy Spirit that enables men to discharge 
and peiform every duty that is required of them in a due manner, 
so that without his enabling of us ive can do nothing as we should. 
As this hath been sufficiently confirmed in other discourses 
on this subject, so we will not always contend with them by 
whom such fundamental principles of Christianity are de- 
nied, or called into question. And he doth so, with respect 
unto all sorts of duties, whether such as are required of us 
by virtue of especial office and calling, or on the more gene- 
ral account of a holy conversation according to the will of 
God : and vocal prayer is a duty under both these consi- 

For, 1. It is the duty of the ministers of the gospel by vir- 
tue of especial office ; supplications, prayers, intercessions, and 
giving of thanks are to be made in the assemblies of the 
church; 1 Tim. ii. 1. Herein it is the office and duty of 
ministers to go before the congregation, and to be as the 
mouth of the church unto God. The nature of the office and 
the due discharge of it, with what is necessary unto the re- 
ligious worship of public assemblies, manifest it so to be. 
The apostles, as their example, gave themselves continually 
unto prayer and the ministry of the word ; Acts vi. 4. It 
is therefore the gift of the Holy Ghost whereby these are 
enabled so to do. For of themselves they are notable to do 
any thing. This is one of those good gifts which is from 
above, and cometh down from the Father of lights ; James i. 
17. And these gifts do they receive for the ' perfecting of 
the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of 
the body of Christ ;' Eph. iv. 12. Utterance, therefore, in 
praying and preaching, is in them the gift of the Holy Ghost 
with respect unto their office. And that such a gift, as those 
who are utterly destitute of it, cannot discharge their office 
unto the edification of the church. 

Let men pretend what they please, if a spiritual ability 
in praying and preaching belong not necessarily unto the 
office of the ministry, no man can tell what doth so, or 
what the office signifies in the church. For no other ordi- 
nance can be administered without the word and prayer, nor 
any part of rule itself in a due manner. And to deny these 
to be gifts of the Holy Ghost, is to deny the continuance of 
his dispensation unto and in the church, which at once over- 


throws the whole truth of the gospel, and the sole founda- 
tion that the ministry of it is built upon. 

2. The like may be spoken with respect unto duties to be 
performed by virtue of our general vocation. Such are the 
duties of parents and masters of families. I know not how 
far any are gone in ways of profaneness, but hope none are 
carried unto such a length, as to deny it to be the duty of 
such persons to pray with their families as well as for them. 
The families that call not on the name of the Lord are under 
his curse. And if this be their duty, the performance of it 
must be by the aid of the Spirit of God, by virtue of the ge- 
neral rule we proceed upon. 

Fourthly, The beneft, profit, advantage, and edification of par- 
ticular persons, of families, but especially of the church in its assem- 
blies in and by the use and exercise of this gift, are such and so great, 
as that it is impious not to ascribe it to the operation of the Holy 
Spirit. Men are notof themselves, without his especial aid, 
authors or causers of the principal spiritual benefit and advan- 
tage which the church receiveth in the world. If they are so, 
or may be so, what need is there of him or his work for the pre- 
servation and edification of the church? But that it hath this 
blessed effect and fruit, we plead the experience of all who de 
sire to walk before God in sincerity, and leave the determina- 
tion of the question unto the judgment of God himself: nor 
will we at present refuse in our plea, a consideration of the dif- 
ferent conditions as to a holy conversation, between them who 
constantly in their life and at their death give this testimony, 
and theirs by whom it is opposed and denied. We are none 
of us to be ashamed of the gospel of Christ, nor of any effect 
of his grace. It must therefore be said, that the experience 
which believers of all sorts have of the spiritual benefit and 
advantage of this ability^, both in themselves and others, is 
not to be moved or shaken by the cavils or reproaches of 
such who dare profess themselves to be strangers thereunto. 

Fifthly, The event of things may be pleaded in evidence of 
the same truth. For were not the ability of praying a gift of 
him who divideth to eveiy one according unto his oirn nill, there 
would not be that difference as to the participation of it 
among those who all pretend unto the faith of the same truth, 
as there is openly and visibly in the world. And if it 
were a matter purely of men's natural abilities, it were impos- 


sible that so many, whose concern it is in the highest degree 
to be interested in it, should be such strangers to it, so unac- 
quainted with it, and so unable for it. They say, indeed, it 
is but the mere improvement of natural abilities with confi- 
dence and exercise. Let it be supposed for once, that some 
of them at least have confidence competent unto such a 
work, and let them try what success mere exercise will fur- 
nish them withal. In the mean time, I deny that without 
that illumination of the mind, which is a peculiar gift of the 
Holy Ghost, the ability of prayer treated of is attainable by 
any. And it will be a hard thing to persuade persons of any 
ordinary consideration, that the difference which they do or 
may discover between men as to this gift and ability, pro- 
ceeds merely from the difference of their natural and acquired 
abilities, wherein, as it is strenuously pretended, the advan- 
tage is commonly on that side which is most defective 

Some perhaps may say, that they know there is nothing 
in this faculty but the exercise of natural endowments with 
boldness and elocution, and that because they themselves 
were expert in it, and found nothing else therein, on which 
ground they have left it for that which is better. But for 
evident reasons we will not be bound to stand unto the tes- 
timony of those men, although they shall not here be 
pleaded. In the mean time, we know that from him which 
hath not, is taken away that which he had. And it is no 
wonder if persons endowed sometimes with a gift of prayer 
proportionable unto their light and illumination, improving 
neither the one nor the other, as they ought, have lost both 
their light and gift also. And thus suitably unto my design 
and purpose, I have given a delineation of the work of the 
Holy Ghost, as a spirit of grace and supplication, promised 
unto and bestowed on all believers, enabling them to cry, 
' Abba Father.' 



Duties inferred from the preceding discourse. 

The issue of all inquiries is, how we may improve them unto 
obedience in the life of God. For if we know them, happy 
are we if we do them, and not otherwise. And our practice 
herein may be reduced unto these two heads; 1. A due and 
constant returning of glory unto God on the account of his 
grace in ihait free gift of his, whose nature we have inquired 
into. 2. A constant attendance unto the duty which we are 
graciously enabled unto thereby. And, 

1. We ought continnually to bless God, and give plory to 
him, for this gre?Lt privilege of t/ie spirit of grace and supplica- 
tion granted unto the church". This is the principal means on 
their part of all holy intercourse with God, and of o-ivino- 
glory unto him. How doth the world, which is destitute of 
this fruit of divine bounty, grope in the dark, and wander after 
vain imaginations, whilst it knows not how to manaoe its con- 
victions, nor how at all to deal with God about its concerns? 
That world which cannot receive the spirit of grace and 
truth, can never have ought to do with God in a due manner. 
There are by whom this gift of God is despised, is reviled, 
is blasphemed ; and under the shades of many pretences do 
they hide themselves from the light in their so doing. But 
they know not what they do, nor by what spirit they are 
acted. Our duty it is to pray that God would pour forth his 
Spirit even on them also, who will quickly cause them to look 
on him whom they have pierced and mourn. 

And it appears two ways how great a mercy it is to enjoy 
and improve this privilege : (1.) In that both the psalmist and 
the prophet pray directly in a spirit of prophecy and without 
limitation, that God would * pour out his fury on the families 
that call not on his name ;' Psal. Ixxix. 6. Jer. x. 25. And, (2.) 
in that the whole work of faith in obedience is denominated 
from this duty of prayer. For so it is said, that ' whosoever 

^ Ti'c olx. av IxwXayEi'n Xsti QavfjidfUt rhv roZ 6iov <f>iXav8j)a,"ariav, i-v lU ''■fJ-a-'; iTriJtixvyTaj 
fli* yap aXii65f XttXoiijtcfv TWKaipoJ T?f 7rpos-iy;>^iif. Chrjsost. Honi. 67. de Free. 1. 


shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved ;' Rom. x. 13. 
For invocation or prayer in the power of the spirit of grace 
and supplications, is an infallible evidence and fruit of sav- 
ing faith and obedience ; and therefore is the promise of sal- 
vation so eminently annexed unto it ; or it is placed by 
a synecdoche, for the whole worship of God and obedience 
of faith. And it were endless to declare the benefits that 
the church of God, and every one that belongeth thereunto, 
hath thereby. No heart can conceive that treasury of mer- 
cies which lie in this one privilege, in having liberty and 
ability to approach unto God at all times according unto his 
mind and v/ill. This is the relief, the refuge, the weapons, 
and assured refreshment of the church in all conditions. 

(2.) It is a matter of praise and glory to God, in an espe- 
cial manner, that he hath granted an ampliation of this pri- 
vilege under the gospel. The spirit is now poured forth 
from above, and enlarged in his dispensation both intensively 
and extensively. Those on whom he is bestowed, do receive 
him in a larger measure than they did formerly under the Old 
Testament. Thence is that liberty and boldness in their ac- 
cess unto the throne of grace, and their crying ' Abba Father,' 
which the apostle reckons among the great privileges of the 
dispensation of the Spirit of Christ, which of old they were 
not partakers of. If the difference between the Old Testa- 
ment state and the New, lay only in the outward letter and 
the rule thereof, it would not be so easily discerned on which 
side the advantage lay ; especially, methinks it should not 
be so by them, who seem really to prefer the pomp of legal 
worship before the plainness and simplicity of the gospel. 
But he who understands what it is, not to receive the ' spirit 
of bondage to fear,' but to receive the ' spirit of adoption, 
whereby we cry Abba Father,' and what it is to serve God in 
'the newness of the Spirit, and not in the oldness of the let- 
ter,' understands their difference well enough. And I cannot 
but admire that some will make use of arguments, or a pre- 
tence of them, for such helps and forms of prayer as seem not 
compliant with the work of the spirit of supplication before 
described, from the Old Testament, and the practice of the 
church of the Jews before the time of our Saviour, though 
indeed they can prove nothing from thence. For do they 
not acknowledge that there is a more plentiful effusion of the 


Spirit on the church under the New Testament than of the 
Old ? To deny it, is to take away the principal difference be- 
tween the law and the gospel. And is not the performance 
of duties to be regulated according to the supplies of o-race ? 
If we should suppose that the people being then carnal, and 
obliged to the observation of carnal ordinances, did in this 
particular stand in need of forms of prayer, which indeed 
they did not, of those which were merely so, and only so ; 
nor had, that we know of, any use of them ; doth it follow, 
that therefore believers tinder the New Testament, who have 
unquestionably a larger portion of the spirit of grace and 
supplication poured on them, should either stand in need of 
them, or be obliged unto them ? And it is in vain to pretend 
a different dispensation of the Spirit unto them and us, where 
different fruits and effects are not acknowledged. He that 
hath been under the power of the law, and hath been set free 
by the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus, knows the 
difference, and will be thankful for the grace that is in it. 

Again, It is extensively enlarged, in that it is now com- 
municated unto multitudes ; whereas of old it was confined 
unto a few. Then the dews of it only watered the land of 
Canaan, and the posterity of Abraham according to the flesh ; 
now the showers of it are poured down on all nations, even 
all * that in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ 
our Lord, both theirs and ours.' In every assembly of mount 
Zion, through the world, called according to the mind of 
Christ, prayers and supplications are offered unto God, 
through the effectual working of the spirit of grace and 
supplication, unless he be despised. And this is done in 
the accomplishment of that great promise, Mai. i. II. 'For 
from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same, 
my name shall be great among the Gentiles ; and in every 
place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure of- 
fering : for my name shall be great among the heathen, 
saith the Lord of hosts.' Prayer and praises in the assem- 
blies of the saints, is the pure offering and that sacrifice 
which God promiseth shall be offered unto him. And this 
oblation is not to be kindled without the eternal fire of the 
spirit of grace. No sacrifice was to be ofiered of old, but 
with fire taken from the altar. Be it what it would, if it were 
offered with strange fire, it was an abomination ; hence they 


were all called D*i:>N the 'firings' of the Lord. And this was 
in a resemblance of the Holy Ghost. Whence Christ is said 
to offer himself to God, through the eternal Spirit. And so 
must we do our prayers. In the fruits and effects of his 
works lies all the glory and beauty of our assemblies and 
worship. Take them away and they are contemptible, dead 
and carnal. And he carrieth this work into the families of 
them that do believe. Every family apart is enabled to pray 
and serve God in the spirit ; and such as are not, do live in 
darkness all their days. He is the same to believers all the 
world over, in their closets or their prisons. They have all, 
wherever they are, an ' access by one Spirit unto the Father ;' 
Eph, ii. 18. And for this enlargement of grace, God justly 
expects a revenue of glory from us. 

3. It is assuredly our duty to make use of the gift of 
the Spirit as that which is purchased for us by Christ,^ 
and is of inestimable advantage unto our souls. There are 
two ways whereby men may be guilty of the neglect of this 
heavenly favour : (1.) They are so when the gift itself is not 
valued nor sought after, nor endeavoured to be attained. 
And this is done under various pretences : some imagine 
that it is no gift of the Spirit, and so despise it ; others think 
that either by them it is not attainable, or that if it be at- 
tained, it will not answer their labour in it, and diligence 
about it, which it doth require ; and therefore take up with 
another way and means, which they know to be more easy, 
and hope to be as useful. By many the whole duty is de- 
spised, and consequently all assistance in the performance 
of it is so also. Noneof those do I speak unto at present. But, 
(2.) we are guilty of this neglect when we do not constantly 
and diligently on all occasions make use of it for the end 
for which it is given us ; yea, abound in the exercise of it. 
Have you an ability to pray always freely given you by the 
Holy Ghost, why do you not pray always, in private, in fa- 
milies, according to all occasions and opportunities admi- 
nistered ? Of what concernment unto the glory of God, and 
in our life unto him, prayer is, will be owned by all. It is 
that only single duty wherein every grace is acted, every sin 

* "ncoTi^ tS crcu/nart <{>£c liXio?, oCtw ^j-^X? TpoirEup^^^ .Ei ovv TU<f>Xa) yvfxia to fxh o^av tov 
>iXiov, Trot'trn yriiA.ia. j^jis-Tiava to fxri -Trpoa-iu^eir^ai crvw^Si; xai Sia rJif TTjosreup^nj to to3 
j^fi^Tou <fM{ eif Tnv 4'^JC'"' •'!'■'''>''"'> Chrys. Horn. 67. de Prec. 1. 


opposed, every good thing obtained, and the whole of our 
obedience in every instance of it is concerned. What diffi- 
culties lie in the way of its due performance, what discou- 
ragements rise up against it, how unable we are of ourselves 
in a due manner to discharge it, what aversation there is in 
corrupted nature unto it, what distractions and weariness 
are apt to befal us under it, are generally known also unto 
them who are any way exercised in these things. Yet 
doth the blessedness of our present and future condition 
much depend thereon. To relieve us against all these things, 
to 'help our infirmities,' to give us freedom, liberty, and con- 
fidence, in our approaches to the throne of grace, to enable 
us as children to cry, ' Abba Father,' with delight and compla- 
cency, is this gift of the spirit of grace and supplication 
given unto us by Jesus Christ. Who can express how great 
a folly and sin it is, not to be found in the constant exercise 
of it? Can we more by any means ' grieve this Holy Spirit' 
and indamage our own souls ? Hath God given unto us the 
spirit of grace and supplication, and shall we be remiss, 
careless, and negligent in prayer? Is not this the worst way 
whereby we may ' quench the Spirit,' which we are so cau- 
tioned against? Can we go from day to day in the neglect 
of opportunities, occasions, and just seasons of prayer? How 
shall we answer the contempt of this gracious aid offered us 
by Jesus Christ? Do others go from day to day in a neglect 
of this duty, in their closets and families ? blame them not, 
or at least they are not worthy of so much blame as we. 
They know not how to pray, they have no ability for it. But 
for those to walk in a neglect hereof, who have received this 
gift of the Holy Ghost enabling them thereunto, making it 
easy unto them, and pleasant unto the inner man, how great 
an ao-gravation is it of their sin ! Shall others at the tinkling 
of a bell rise and run unto prayers to be said or sung, where- 
in they can have no spiritual interest, only to pacify their 
consciences, and comply with the prejudices of their educa- 
tion? and shall we be found in the neglect of that spiritual 
aid which is graciously afforded unto us ? How will the blind 
devotion and superstition of multitudes, with their diligence 
and pains therein, rise up in judgment against such negli- 
gent persons ? We may see in the papacy, how upon the 
ringing of a bell, or the lifting up of any ensign of supersti- 



tion, they will some of ihem rise at midnight ; others in their 
houses^ yea, in the streets, fall on their knees unto their de- 
votions : having lost the conduct of the Spirit of God, and 
his gracious guidance unto the performance of duty in its 
proper seasons, they have invented ways of their own to keep 
up a frequency in this duty after their manner, which they 
are true and punctual unto. And shall they who have re- 
ceived that Spirit which the world cannot receive, be trea- 
cherous and disobedient unto his motions, or what he con- 
stantly inclines and enables them unto ? Besides all other 
disadvantages which will accrue hereby unto our souls, who 
can express the horrible ingratitude of such a sin ? I press it 
the more, and that unto all sorts of prayer, in private, in fa- 
milies, in assemblies for that end, because the temptations 
and dangers of the days wherein we live do particularly and 
eminently call for it. If we would talk less, and pray more 
about them, things would be better than they are in the 
world ; at least we should be better enabled to bear them 
and undergo our portion in them with the more satisfaction. 
To be negligent herein, at such a season, is a sad token of 
such a security as foreruns destruction. 

4. Have any received this gift of the Holy Ghost, let 
them know that it is their duty to cherish it, to stir it up and 
improve it ; it is freely bestowed, but it is carefully to be pre- 
served. It is a gospel talent given to be traded withal, and 
thereby to be increased. There are various degrees and 
measures of this gift, in those that do receive it. But what- 
ever measure any one hath, from the greatest to the least, 
he is obliged to cherish, preserve, and improve. We do not 
assert such a gift of prayer, as should render our diligence 
therein unnecessary ; or the exercise of our natural abilities 
useless. Yea, the end of this gift is to enable us to the di- 
ligent exercise of the faculties of our souls in prayer in a due 
manner. And therefore, as it is our duty to use it, so it is to 
improve it. And it is one reason against the restraint of 
forms, because there is in them too little exercise of the fa- 
culties of our minds in the worship of God. Therefore, this 
being our duty, it may be inquired by what way or means 
we may stir up this grace and gift of God, so at least, as that 
if through any weakness or infirmity of mind, we thrive not 
much in the outward part of it ; yet that we decay not, nor 


lose what we have received. The gifts of the Holy Ghost 
are the fire that kindleth all our sacrifices to God. Now 
although that fire of old on the altar first came down from 
heaven, or 'forth from the Lord,' Levit. ix. 24. yet after it 
was once there placed, it was always to be kept alive with 
care and diligence ; for otherwise it would have been extin- 
guished as any other fire ; Levit. vi. 12, 13. Hence the apo- 
stle warns Timothy, ava^Mirvptlv to x"9t<^f^a, 2 Tim. i. 6. to 
excite and ' quicken the fire of his gift ;' blowing off the 
ashes and adding fuel unto it. Now there are many thin<^s 
that are useful and helpful unto this end : as, 

(1.) A constant consideratioji and observation of ourselves, 
our own hearts, with our spiritual state and condition. 
Thence are the matters of our requests or petitions in prayer 
to be taken; Psal. xvi. 7. And as our state in general, by 
reason of the depths and deceitfulness of our hearts, with 
our darkness in spiritual things, is such as will find us mat- 
ter of continual search and examination all the days of our 
lives, as is expressed in those prayers, Psal. xix. 12. Psal. 
cxxxix. 23, 24. so we are subject unto various changes and 
alterations in our spiritual frames and actings every day ; 
as also unto temptations of all sorts. About these thino-s, 
according as our occasions and necessities do require, are 
we to deal with God in our supplications; Phil. iv. 6. How 
shall we be in a readiness hereunto, prepared with the proper 
matter of prayer, if we neglect a constant and diligent ob- 
servation of ourselves herein, or the state of our own souls ? 
This being the food of the gift, where it is neglected, the 
gift itself will decay. If men consider only a form of things 
in a course, they will quickly come to a form of words. 

To assist us in this search and examination of ourselves, 
to give light into our state and wants, to make us sensible 
thereof, is part of the work of the Spirit, as a spirit of grace 
and supplication ; and if we neglect our duty towards him 
herein, how can we expect that he should continue his aid 
unto us, as to the outward part of the duty ? Wherefore let 
a man speak in prayer with the tongues of men and angels, 
to the highest satisfaction, and it may be, good edification 
of others ; yet if he be negligent, if he be not wise and 
watchful in this duty of considering the state, actings, and 
temptations, of his own soul, he hath but a perishing, decay- 

1 2 


ing outside and shell of this gift of the Spirit. And those 
by whom this self-search and Judgment is attended unto, 
shall ordinarily thrive in the power and life of this duty. 
By this means may we know the beginnings and entrances 
of temptation ; the deceitful actings of indwelling sin ; the 
risings of particular corruptions, with the occasions yielding 
them advantages and power ; the supplies of grace which we 
daily receive, and ways of deliverance. And as he who 
prayeth without a due consideration of these things prayeth 
at random, 'fighting uncertainly as one beating the air;' so 
he whose heart is filled with a sense of them, will have al- 
ways in a readiness the due matter of prayer, and will be able 
to fill his mouth with pleas and arguments whereby the gift 
itself will be cherished and strengthened. 

(2.) Conslant searching of the Scrip! ure unto the same pur- 
pose is another subservient duty unto this of prayer itself. 
That is the glass, wherein we may take the best view of our- 
selves, because it at once represents both what we are, and 
what we ought to be ; what we are in ourselves, and what 
we are by the grace of God ; what are our frames, actions, 
and ways, and what is their defect in the sight of God. 
And a higher instruction what to pray for, or how to pray, 
cannot be given us ; Psal. xix. 7 — 9. Some imagine that 
to ' search the Scriptures,' thence to take forms of speech, or 
expressions accommodated unto all the parts of prayer, and 
to set them in order, or retain them in memory, is a great 
help to prayer. Whatever it be, it is not that which I in- 
tend at present. It is most true, if a man be 'mighty in the 
Scriptures,' singularly conversant and exercised in them, 
abounding in their senses and expressions, and have the help 
of a faithful memory withal, it may exceedingly farther and 
assist him in the exercise of this gift unto the edification of 
others. But this collection of phrases, speeches, and ex- 
pressions, where perhaps the mind is barren in the sense of 
the Scripture, I know not of what use it is. That which I 
press for, is a diligent search into the Scriptures, as to the 
thino-s revealed in them. For therein are our wants in all 
their circumstances and consequents discovered and repre- 
sented unto us, and so are the supplies of grace and mercy 
which God hath provided for us; the former with authority 
to make us sensible of them, and the latter with that evidence 


of grace and faithfulness, as to encourage us to make our re- 
quests for them. The word is the instrument whereby the 
Holy Spirit reveals unto us our wants, when we know not 
what to ask, and so enables us to make intercessions ac- 
cording to the mind of God ; Rom. viii. Yea, who is it, who 
almost at any time reading the Scripture with a due reve- 
rence of God, and subjection of conscience unto him, that 
hath not some particular matter of prayer or praise effectually 
suggested unto him ? And Christians would find no small 
advantage on many accounts, not here to be insisted upon, if 
they would frequently, if not constantly, turn what they read 
into prayer or praise unto God, whereby the instructions unto 
faith and obedience would be more confirmed in their minds, 
and their hearts be more engaged into their practice. An 
example hereof we have, Psal. cxix. wherein all considerations 
of God's will arid our duty are turned into petitions. 

(3.) A due meditatioti on God's glorious excellencies, tends 
greatly to the cherishing of this gracious gift of the Holy 
Spirit. There is no example that we have of prayer in the 
Scripture, but the entrance into it consists in expressions of 
the name, and most commonly of some other glorious titles 
of God ; whereunto the remembrance of some mighty acts 
of his power is usually added. And the nature of the thing 
requires it should be so. For, besides that God hath revealed 
his name unto us, for this very purpose that we might call 
upon him by the name which he owns and takes to himself, 
it is necessary we should by some external description de- 
termine our minds unto him, to whom we make our ad- 
dresses, seeing we cannot conceive any image or idea of him 
therein. Now the end hereof is twofold : [I.] To ingenerate 
in us that reverence and godly fear, which is required of all 
that draw nigh to this infinitely Holy God ; Lev. x. 3. Heb. 
xii. 29. The most signal encouragement unto boldness in 
prayer, and an access to God thereby, is in Heb. x. 19 — 22. 
with chap iv. 16. Into the holy place we may go with bold- 
ness, and unto the throne of grace. And it is a throne of 
grace that God in Christ is represented unto us upon. Bu( 
yet it is a throne still, whereon majesty and glory do reside. 
And God is always to be considered by us as on a throne. 
[2.] Faith and confidence are excited and acted unto a due 
frame thereby. For prayer is our betaking ourselves unto 


God as 'our shield, our rock, and our reward;' Prov. xviii. 10. 
Wherefore a due previous consideration of those holy pro- 
perties of his nature, which may encourage us so to do, and 
assure us in our so doing, is necessary. And this being so 
great a part of prayer, the great foundation of supplication 
and praise, frequent meditation on these holy excellencies 
of the divine nature must needs be an excellent preparation 
for the whole duty, by filling the heart with a sense of those 
things, which the mouth is to express, and making ready 
those graces for their exercise, which is required therein. 

(4.) Meditation on the mediation and intercession of' Christ, 
for our encouragement, is of the same importance and ten- 
dency. To this end spiritually is he proposed unto us, as 
abiding in the discharge of his priestly office; Heb. iv. 15, 16. 
x. 19 — 22. And this is not only an encouragement unto, 
and in our supplications, but a means to increase and 
strengthen the grace and gift of prayer itself. For the mind 
is thereby made ready to exercise itself about the effectual 
interposition of the Lord Christ at the throne of grace in our 
behalf, which hath a principal place and consideration in 
the prayers of all believers. And hereby principally may 
we try our faith of what race and kind it is, whether truly 
evangelical or no. Some relate or talk that the eaole tries 
the eyes of her young ones, by turning them to the sun, 
which if they cannot look steadily on, she rejects them as 
spurious. We may truly try our faith by immediate intui- 
tions of the Sun of Righteousness. Direct faith to act itself 
immediately and directly on the incarnation of Christ and his 
mediation, and if it be not of the right kind and race, it will 
turn its eye aside unto any thing else. God's essential pro- 
perties, his precepts and promises, it can bear a fixed consi- 
deration of; but it cannot fix itself on the person and me- 
diation of Christ with steadiness and satisfaction. There 
is, indeed, much profession of Christ in the world, but little 
faith in him. 

(5.) Frequency in exercise is the immediate way and means 
of the increase of this gift, and its improvement. All spi- 
ritual gifts are bestowed on men to be employed and ex- 
ercised : ' For the manifestation of the Spirit is given to 
every one to profit withal ;' 1 Cor. xii. 7. God both re- 
quireth that his talents be traded withal, that his gifts be 


employed and exercised, and will also call us to an account 
of the discharge of the trust committed unto us in them ; see 
1 Pet. iv. 10, 11. Wherefore the exercise of this and of 
the like gifLs tends unto their improvement on a double ac- 
count. For, [1.] whereas they reside in the mind after the 
manner and nature of an habit or a faculty, it is natural 
that they should be increased and strengthened by exer- 
cise, as all habits are by a multiplication of acts proceeding 
from them. So also by desuetude they will weaken, de- 
cay, and in the issue be utterly lost and perish. So is it 
with many as to the gift of prayer. They were known to 
have received it in some good measure of usefulness unto 
their own edification and that of others. But upon a neg- 
lect of the use and exercise of it in public and private, which 
seldom goes alone without some secret or open enormities, 
they have lost all their ability, and cannot open their 
mouths on any occasion in prayer, beyond what is prescribed 
unto them, or composed for them. But the just hand of 
God is also in this matter, depriving them of what they had, 
for their abominable neglect of his grace and bounty there- 
in. [2.] The increase will be added unto by virtue of God's 
blessing on his own appointment. For having bestowed 
these gifts for that end, where persons are faithful in the 
discharge of the trust committed unto them, he will graci- 
ously add unto them in what they have. This is the eter- 
nal law concerning the dispensation of evangelical gifts, 
' unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have 
abundance ; but from him that hath not, shall be taken 
away, even that which he hath ;' Matt. xxv. 29, It is not the 
mere having or not having of them that is intended, but the 
using or not using of what we have received ; as is plain in 
the context. Now I do not say that a man may or ought 
to exercise himself in prayer merely with this design, that 
he may preserve and improve his gift. It may indeed in 
some cases be lawful for a man to have respect hereunto, 
but not only. As where a master of a family hath any one 
in his family who is able to discharge that duty and can at- 
tend unto it ; yet he will find it his wisdom not to omit his own 
performance of it, unless he be contented his gift, as to the 
use of his family, should wither and decay. But all that I 
plead is, that he who conscientiously, with respect unto all 


the ends of prayer, doth abound in the exercise of this gift, 
he shall assuredly thrive and grow in it, or at least preserve 
it in answer unto the measure of the gift of Christ. For I 
do not propose these things, as though every man in the di- 
ligent use of them may constantly grow and thrive in that 
part of the gift which consists in utterance and expression. 
For there is a ' measure of the gift of Christ' assigned unto 
every one, whose bounds he shall not pass ; Eph. iv, 7. But 
in these paths and ways, the gift which they have received 
will be preserved, kept thrifty and flourishing ; and from 
the least beginnings of a participation of it, they will be 
carried on unto their own proper measure ; which is suffi- 
cient for them. 

(6.) Constant fei-vency and intention of mind and spirit in 
this duty, works directly towards the same end. Men may 
multiply prayers as to the outward work in them, and yet 
not have the least spiritual advantage by them. If they are 
dull, dead, and slothful in them, if under the power of cus- 
tomariness and formality, what issue can they expect ? Fer- 
vency and intention of mind quickeneth and enlargeth the 
faculties, and leaveth vigorous impressions upon them of 
the things treated about in our 'supplications. The whole 
soul is cast into the mould of the matter of our prayers, and 
is thereby prepared and made ready for continual fresh spi- 
ritual engagements about them. And this fervency we in- 
tend, consists not in the vehemency or loudness of words, 
but in the intention of the mind. For the earnestness or 
vehemency of the voice is allowable only in two cases : (1.) 
When the edification of the congregation doth require it, 
which being numerous, cannot hear what is spoken unless 
a man lift up his voice. (2.) When the vehemency of affec- 
tions will bear no restraint; Psal. xx. 2. Heb. v. 7. Now 
as all these are means whereby the gift of prayer may be 
cherished, preserved, and improved ; so are they all of them 
the ways whereby grace acts itself in prayer, and have, there- 
fore, an equal respect unto the whole work of the spirit of 
supplication in us. 

5. Our duty it is to use this gift of prayer unto the ends 

for which it is freely bestowed on ns. And it is given, (1.) 

with respect unto themselves who do receive it ; and, (2.) 

with respect unto the benefit and advantage of others. And 


with respect unto them that receive it, its end is, and it is a 
blessed means and help, to stir up, excite, quicken, and act, 
all those graces of the Spirit whereby they have communion 
with God in this duty. Such are faith, love, delight, joy, 
and the like. For, [1.] under the conduct of this gift, the 
mind and soul are led into the consideration of, and are 
fixed on, the proper objects of those graces, with the due 
occasions of their exercise. When men are bound unto a 
form, they can act grace only by the things that are ex- 
pressed therein, which, whatever any apprehend, is strait 
and narrow, compared with the extent of that divine inter- 
course with God, which is needful unto believers in this 
duty. But in the exercise of this gift there is no concern- 
ment of faith, or love, or delight, but it is presented unto 
them, and they are excited unto a due exercise about them. 
Unto this end, therefore, is it to be used ; namely, as a 
means to stir up and act those graces and holy affections, 
in whose working and exercise the life and efficacy of prayer 
doth consist. [2.] Although the exercise of the gift itself 
ought to be nothing but the way of those graces acting 
themselves towards God in this duty" (for words are sup- 
plied only to clothe and express gracious desires, and when 
they wholly exceed them, they are of no advantage) ; yet as 
by virtue of the gift the mind is able to comprehend and 
manage tlie things about which those graces and gracious 
desires are to be exercised ; so in the use of expressions 
they are quickened and engaged therein. For as when a 
man hath heard of a miserable object, he is moved with 
compassion towards it, but when he cometh to behold it, 
his ' own eye affecteth his heart,' as the prophet speaks ; 
Lam. iii. 17. whereby his compassion is actually moved and 
increased ; so, although a man hath a comprehension in his 
mind of the things of prayer, and is affected with them, yet 
his own words also will affect his heart, and by reflection 
stir up and inflame spiritual affections. So do many, even 
in private, find advantage in the use of their own gift, be- 
yond what they can attain in mere mental prayer, which 
must be spoken unto after\vard. 

Ao-ain, (2.) This gift respecteth others, andjs to be used 
unto that end. For as it is appointed of God to be exercised 
in societies, families, church-assemblies, and occasionally for 


the good of any ; so it is designed for their edification and 
profit. For there is in it an ability of expressing the wants, 
desires, and prayers, of othei's also. And as this discharge of 
the duty is in a peculiar manner incumbent on ministers of 
the gospel, as also on masters of families and others, as they 
are occasionally called thereunto ; so they are to attend unto 
a fourfold direction therein: [1.] Unto their own experience. 
If such persons are believers themselves they have experience 
in their own souls of all the general concernments of those 
in the same condition. As sin worketh in one, so it doth in 
another ; as grace is effectual in one, so it is in another ; as 
he that prayeth longeth for mercy and grace, so do they that 
join with him. Of the same kind with his hatred of sin, his 
love to Christ, his labouring after holiness, and conformity 
to the will of God, are also those in other believers. And 
hence it is that persons ' praying in the Spirit' according to 
their own experience, are oftentimes supposed by every one 
in the congregation rather to pray over their condition than 
their own. And so it will be whilst the same corruption in 
kind, and the same grace in kind, with the same kind of ope- 
rations, are in them all. But this extends not itself unto par- 
ticular sins and temptations, which are left unto every one 
to deal about between God and their own souls. 

[2.] Unto Scripture light. This is that which lively ex- 
presseth the spiritual state and condition of all sorts of per- 
sons, namely, both of those that are unregenerate, and of 
those which are converted unto God. Whatever that ex- 
presseth concerning either sort, may safely be pleaded with 
God in their behalf. And hence may abundant matter of 
prayer be taken for all occasions. Especially may it be so 
in a peculiar manner from that holy summary of the church's 
desires to God, given us in the Lord's Prayer. All we can duly 
apprehend, spiritually understand, and draw out of that mine 
and heavenly treasury of prayer, may be safely used in the 
name and behalf of the whole church of God. But without 
understanding of the things intended, the use of the words 
profiteth not. 

[3.] Unto an observation of their ways and walking, with 
whatever overt discovery they make of their condition and 
temptations. He who is constantly to be the mouth of 
others to God, is not to pray at random, as though all persons 


and conditions were alike unto him. None prayeth for 
others constantly by virtue of especial duty, but he is called 
also to watch over them and observe their ways. In so 
doing he may know that of their state, which may be a great 
direction unto his supplications with them and for them. 
Yea, without this no man can ever discharge this duty aright 
in the behalf of others, so as they may find their particular 
concernments therein. And if a minister be obliged to con- 
sider the ways, light, knowledge, and walking of his flock in 
his preaching unto them, that what he teacheth may be 
suited unto their edification ; he is no less bound unto the 
same consideration in his prayers also with them and for 
them, if he intends to pray unto their use and profit. The 
like may be said of others in their capacity. The wisdom 
and caution which are to be used herein, I may not here 
insist upon. 

[4.] Unto the account which they receive from themselves 
co7icerning their wants, their state, and condition. This, in some 
cases, persons are obliged to give unto those whose duty it 
is to help them by their prayers ; James v. 16. And if this 
duty were more attended unto, the minds of many might re- 
ceive inconceivable relief thereby. 

6. Let us take heed, (1.) That this gift be not solitarj/, or 
alone ; and, (2.) That it be not solitaiily acted at any time. 
When it is solitary, that is, where the gift of prayer is in the 
mind, but no grace to exercise in prayer in the heart, it is at 
best but a part of that form of godliness which men may 
have, and deny the power thereof, and is therefore consistent 
with all sorts of secret lusts and abominations. And it 
were easy to demonstrate, that whatever advantage others 
may have by this gift in them who are destitute of saving- 
grace, yet themselves ai'e many ways w^orsted by it. For 
hence are they lifted up with spiritual pride, which is the 
ordinary consequent of all unsanctified light; and hereby do 
they countenance themselves against the reflections of their 
consciences on the guilt of other sins, resting and pleasing 
themselves in their own performances. But to the best ob- 
servation that I have been able to make, of all spiritual gifts 
which may be communicated for a time unto unsanctified 
minds, this doth soonest decay and wither. Whether it be 
that God takes it away judicially from them, or that them- 


selves are not able to bear the exercise of it, because it is 
diametrically opposite unto the lusts wherein they indulge 
themselves ; for the most part it quickly and visibly decays, 
especially in such as with whom the continuance of it, by 
reason of open sins and apostacy, might be a matter of danger 
or scandal unto others. (2.) Let it not be acted solitarily. 
Persons in whom is a principle of spiritual life and grace, 
who are endowed with those graces of the Spirit which 
ought to be acted in all our supplications, may yet even in 
the use and exercise of this gift neglect to stir them up and 
act them. And there is no greater evidence of a weak, 
sickly, spiritual constitution, than often to be surprised into 
this miscarriage. Now this is so, when men in their prayers 
engage only their light, invention, memory, and elocution, 
without especial actings of faith and delight in God. And 
he who watcheth his soul and its actings, may easily dis- 
cern when he is sinfully negligent in this matter, or when 
outward circumstances and occasions have made him more 
to attend unto the gift, than unto grace in prayer ; for which 
he will be humbled. And these few things I thought meet 
to add concerning the due use and improvement of this gift 
of the Spirit of God. 



Of mental prayer as pretended unto by some in the church of Rome. 

Having described or given an account of the gift of prayer, 
and the use of it in the church of God, and the nature of the 
work of the Spirit therein ; it will be necessary to consider 
briefly what is by some set up in competition with it, as a 
more excellent way in this part of divine worship. And, in 
the first place, mental prayer, as described by some devout 
persons of the church of Rome, is preferred above it. They 
call it * pure spiritual prayer, or a quiet repose of contempla- 
tion ; that which excludes all images of the fancy, and in 
time all perceptible actuations of the understanding, and is 
exercised in single elevations of the will, without any force 
at all, yet with admirable efficacy;' and to dispose a soul for 
such prayer, there is previously required * an entire calmness 
and even death of the passions, a perfect purity in the spi- 
tual affections of the will, and an entire abstraction from all 
creatures.' Cressy, Church Hist. Pref. parag, 42, 43. 

1. The truth is, I am so fixed in a dislike of that mere 
outside formal course of reading or singing prayers, wliich 
is in use in the Roman church (which though in Mr. Cressy 's 
esteem, it have a show of a very civil conversation with God, 
yet is it indeed accompanied with the highest contempt of 
his infinite purity, and all divine excellencies), and do so 
much more abhor that magical incantation which many among 
them use in the repetition of words which they understand 
not, or of applying what they repeat to another end than 
what the words signify, as saying so many prayers for such 
an end or purpose, whereof it may be there is not one word 
of mention in the prayers themselves ; that 1 must approve 
of any search after a real internal intercourse of soul with God 
in this duty. But herein men must be careful of two things : 
(1.) That they assert not what they can fancy, but what in- 
deed in some measure they have an experience of. For men 
to conjecture what others do experience (for they can do no 
more), and thence to form rules or examples of duty, is dan- 
£)erous always, and may be pernicious unto those who shall 
follow such instructions. And herein this author fads. 


and gives nothing but his own fancies of others pretended 
experience. (2.) That what they pretend unto an experience 
of, be confirmable by Scripture rule or example. For if it 
be not so, we are directed unto the conduct of all extrava- 
gant imaginations in every one who will pretend unto spi- 
ritual experience. Attend unto these rules, and I will grant 
in prayer all the ways whereby the soul, or the faculties of it, 
can rationally act itself towards God in a holy and spiritual 
manner. But if you extend it unto such kind of actings as 
our nature is not capable of, at least in this world, it is the 
open fruit of a deceived fancy, and makes all that is tendered 
from the same hand to be justly suspected. And such is 
that instance of this prayer, that it is in the ivill and its affec- 
tions ivithout any actings of the mind or vnderstanding. For, al- 
though I grant that the adhesion of the will and affections 
unto God by love, delight, complacency, rest and satisfac- 
tion in prayer, belongs to the improvement of this duty ; yet 
to imagine that they are not guided, directed, acted by the 
understanding in the contemplation of God's goodness, 
beauty, grace, and other divine excellencies, is to render our 
worship and devotion brutish or irrational ; whereas it is 
and ought to be our reasonable service. 

And that this very description here given us of prayer is 
a mere effect of fancy and imagination, and not that which 
the author of it was led unto by the conduct of spiritual 
light and experience, is evident from hence, that it is bor- 
rowed from those contemplative philosophers, who after 
preaching of the gospel in the world, endeavoured to refine 
and advance Heathenism into a compliance with it ; at least 
is fancied in imitation of what they ascribe unto a perfect 
mind. One of them, and his expressions in one place may 
suffice for an instance. Plotinus Ennead. 6. lib. 9. cap. 10. For 
after many other ascriptions unto a soul that hath attained 
union with the chiefest good, he adds : ov jclq ti tKivelro irap 
avTiJ^, ov ^vfiog, ovk l.Tndvfxia liWov 7raf)fjv avTio, ava^t(5rtK6ri' 
dXy ov St Xoyog, ov 81 rig voi^crig' ov 8' oXwg avrog, el Set Koi 
TOVTO Xeyeiv' dW oxTTrtp upTracrBeXg ij IvOovaidaag i}(Tv\ri ev ept]- 
fXiif) KaTaaTuaet yeyevr}Tai arpefxeX, nj avTOv ovaiq ovSafiov iIttokXi- 
vwv, ovSe Tiepi avTov arpeipofievog, e<TTwg Travrrj koioTov ardaig 
yevofievog. ' A mind thus risen up is no way moved, no an- 
ger, no desire of any thing is in it (a perfect rest of the af- 


fections). Nay, neither reason nor understanding (are acted), 
nor, if I may say so, itself; but being ecstasied and filled 
with God, it comes into a quiet, still, immoveable repose and 
state, no way declining (by any sensible actings) from its own 
essence, nor exercising any reflect act upon itself, is wholly 
at rest, as having attained a perfect state,' or to this purpose; 
with much more to the same. And as it is easy to find the 
substance of our author's notion in these words, so the reader 
may see it more at large declared in that last chapter of his 
Enneads. And all his companions in design about that 
time speak to the same purpose. 

2. The spiritual intense fixation of the mind, by contempla- 
tion on God in Christ, until the soul be as it were swallowed 
up in admiration and delight, and being brought unto an 
utter loss through the infiniteness of those excellencies 
which it doth admire and adore, it returns again into its own 
abasements ; out of a sense of its infinite distance from what 
it would absolutely and eternally embrace, and with all the 
inexpressible rest and satisfaction which the will and affec- 
tions receive in their approaches unto the eternal fountain of 
goodness; are things to be aimed at in prayer, and which, 
through the riches of divine condescension, are frequently 
enjoyed. The soul is hereby raised and ravished, not into 
ecstasies or unaccountable raptures, not acted into motions 
above the power of its own understanding and will, but in all 
the faculties and affections of it through the effectual work- 
ings of the Spirit of grace, and the lively impressions of di- 
vine love, with intimations of the relations and kindness of 
God, is filled with rest, in 'joy unspeakable and full of glory.' 
And these spiritual acts of communion with God, whereof I 
may say with Bernard, Kara Hora, Brevis Mora, may be en- 
joyed in mental or vocal prayer indifferently. But as the 
description here given of mental spiritual prayer, hath no 
countenance given it from the Scriptures ; yea, those things 
are spoken of it which are expressly contrary thereunto, as 
perfect purity, and the like ; and as it cannot be confirmed 
by the rational experience of any, so it no way takes off from 
the necessity and usefulness of vocal prayer, whereunto it is 
opposed. For still the use of words is necessary in this duty, 
from the nature of the duty itself, the command of God, and the 
edification of the church. And it is fallen out unhappily as to 


the exaltation of the conceived excellency of this mental 
prayer, that our Lord Jesus Christ not only instructed his dis- 
ciples to pray by the use of words, but did so himself, and 
that constantly, so far as we know ; Matt. xxvi. 39. 42. Yea, 
when he was most intense and engaged in this duty, instead 
of this pretended still prayer of contemplation, he prayed 
HiTo. Kpavyrig ia^^ypag 'with a strong outcry,' Heb. v. 7. which, 
Psal. xxii. Lis called the 'voice of his roaring.' And all the 
reproaches which this author casts on fervent, earnest, vocal 
prayer, namely, that it is a tedious, loud, impetuous, and an 
uncivil conversation with God, a mere artificial slight and 
facility, may with equal truth be cast on the outward man- 
ner of the praying of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was oft- 
times long, sometimes loud and vehement. And unto the 
examples of their Lord and Master we may add that of the 
prophets and apostles, who mention nothing of this pre- 
tended elevation, but constantly made use of, and desired 
God to hear 'their voices,' their ' cry,' their 'words' in their 
supplication; the words of many of them, being accordingly 
recorded: wherefore, words proper, suggested by the Spirit 
of God, and taken either directly or analogically out of the 
Scripture, do help the mind and enlarge it with supplications. 
' Interdum voce nos ipsos ad devotionem et acrius incitamus,' 
August. Epist. 121 . ad probam. The use of such words, being 
first led unto by the desires of the mind, may and doth lead 
the mind on to express its farther desires also, and increaseth 
those which are so expressed. It is from God's institution and 
blessing that the mind and will of praying do lead unto the 
words of prayer, and the words of prayer do lead on the mind 
and will, enlarging them in desires and supplications. And 
without this aid, many would oftentimes be straitened in act- 
ing their thoughts and affections towards God, or distracted 
in them, or diverted from them. And we have experience that 
an obedient, sanctified persistency in the use of gracious 
words in prayer, hath prevailed against violent temptations 
and injections of Satan, which the mind in its silent contem- 
plations was not able to grapple with ; and holy affections 
are thus also excited hereby. The very words and expres- 
sions which the mind chooseth to declare its thoughts, con- 
ceptions, and desires, about heavenly things, do reflect upon 
the affections, increasing and exciting of them. Not only 


the things themselves fixed on, do affect the heart, but the 
words of wisdom and sobriety whereby they are expressed, 
do so also. There is a recoiling of efficacy, if I may so 
speak, in deep impressions on the affections, from the words 
that are made use of to express those affections by. But we 
treat of prayer principally, as it is to be performed in fami- 
lies, societies, assemblies, congregations, where this mental 
prayer would do well to promote the edification which is 
attainable in the silent meetings of the Quakers. 

And because this kind of prayer, as it is called, is not 
only recommended unto us, but preferred before all other 
ways and methods of prayer, and chosen as an instance to set 
off the devotion of the church of Rome, to invite others there- 
unto, I shall a little more particularly inquire into it. And 
I must needs say, that on the best view I can take, or exami- 
nation of it, it seems to be a matter altosether useless, un- 
certain, an effect of, and entertainment for, vain curiosity, 
whereby men ' intrude themselves into those things which 
they have not seen, being vainly puffed up by their own fleshly 
mind.' For to call over what was before intimated, in things 
that are practical in religion, no man can understand any 
thing whereof he can have no experience. Nothing is re- 
jected by virtue of this rule, whereof some men, through 
their own default, have no experience ; but every thing is 
so justly, whereof no man in the discharge of his duty can 
attain any experience. He that speaks of such things unto 
others, if any such there might be, belonging unto our con- 
dition in this world, must needs be a barbarian unto them, 
in what he speaks; and whereas also he speaks of that where- 
in his own reason and understanding have no interest, he 
must be so also unto himself. For no man can by the use 
of reason, however advanced by spii'itual light, understand 
such acting's of the souls of other men or his own, as where- 
in there is no exercise of reason or understanding ; such as 
these raptures are pretended to consist in. So whereas one 
of them says, ' fundus animse meae tangit fundum essentiaj 
Dei;' it had certainly been better for him to have kept his ap- 
prehensions or fancy to himself, than to express himself in 
words which in their own proper sense are blasphemous, and 
whose best defensative is, that they are unintelligible. And 
if it be not unlawful, it is doubtless inexpedient for any one 



in things ofreligion, to utter what it is impossible for anybody 
else to understand, with this only plea, that they do not in- 
deed understand it themselves ; it being what they enjoyed 
without any acts or actings of their own understanding. To 
allow such pretences is the ready way to introduce Babel 
into the church, and expose religion to scorn. Some pre- 
tending unto such raptures among ourselves I have known, 
wherein for a while they stirred up the admiration of weak 
and credulous persons ; but through a little observation of 
what they did, spake, and pretended unto, with an examina- 
tion of all by the unerring rule, they quickly came into con- 
tempt. All I intend at present is, that whatever be in this 
pretence, it is altogether useless unto edification, and there- 
fore ought the declaration of it, to be of no regard in the 
church of God. If the apostle would not allow the use of 
words, though miraculously suggested unto them that used 
them, without an innnediate interpretation of their signifi- 
cation, what would he have said of such words and things 
as are capable of no interpretation, so as that any man living 
should understand them? For those by whom at present 
they are so extolled and commended unto us, do themselves 
discourse at random, as blind men talk of colours, for they 
pretend not to have any experience of these things them- 
selves. And it is somewhat .an uncouth way of procedure 
to enhance the value of the communion of their church, and 
to invite others unto it, by declaring that there are some 
amongst them who enjoyed such spiritual ecstasies, as could 
neither by themselves, nor any others, be understood. For 
nothing can be so, wherein or whereabout there is no exer- 
cise of reason or understanding. Wherefore, the old ques- 
tion, cui bono, will discharge this pretence from being of any 
value or esteem in religion with considerate men. 

Again, As the whole of this kind of prayer is useless as 
to the benefit and edification of the church, or any member 
of it; so it is impossible there should ever be any certainty 
about the raptures wherein it is pretended to consist, but they 
must everlastingly be the subject of contention and dispute. 
For who shall assure me that the persons pretending unto 
these duties or enjoyments are not mere pretenders? Any 
man that lives, if he have a mind unto it, may say such 
things, or use such expressions concerning himself. If a 


man, indeed, shall pretend and declare that he doth, or enjoy- 
eth such things as are expressed in the word of God, as tlie 
duty or privilege of any, and thereon are acknowledged by 
all to be things in themselves true and real, and likewise at- 
tamable by believers, he is ordinarily, so far as I know, to 
be believed in his profession, unless he can be convicted of 
falsehood by any thing inconsistent with such duties or en- 
joyments. Nor do I know of any great evil in our credulity 
herein, should we happen to be deceived in or by the person 
so professing, seeing he speaks of no more than all acknow- 
ledge it their duty to endeavour after. But when any one shall 
pretend unto spiritual actings or enjoyments, which are nei- 
ther prescribed nor promised in the Scripture, nor are inves- 
tigabie in the light of reason, no man is upon this mere pro- 
fession obliged to give credit thereunto ; nor can any man 
tell what evil effect or consequences his so doing may pro- 
duce. For when men are once taken oft from that sure ground 
of Scripture, and their own understandings, putting them- 
selves afloat on the uncertain waters of fancies or conjec- 
tures, they know not how they may be tossed, nor whither 
they may be driven. If it shall be said, that the holiness 
and honesty of the persons by whom these especial privileges 
are enjoyed, are sufficient reason why we should believe 
them in what they profess ; I answer, they would so in a 
good measure, if they did not pretend unto things repugnant 
unto reason and unwarranted by the Scripture, which is suf- 
ficient to crush the reputation of any man's integrity. Nor 
can their holiness and honesty be proved to be such, as to 
render them absolutely impregnable against all temptations, 
which was the pre-eminence of Christ alone. Neither is there 
any more strength in this plea, but what may be reduced unto 
this assertion, that there neither are, nor ever were, any hy- 
pocrites in the world, undiscoverable unto the eyes of men. 
For if such there may be, some of these pretenders may be 
of their number, notwithstanding the appearance of their 
holiness and honesty. Besides, if the holiness of the best 
of them were examined by evangelical light and rule, per- 
haps it would be so far from being a sufficient countenance 
unto other things, as that it would not be able to defend its 
own reputation. Neither is it want of charity, which makes 
men doubtful and unbelieving in such cases ; but that godly 

K 2 


jealousy and Christian prudence which require them to take 
care that they be not deceived or deluded, do not only war- 
rant them to abide on that guard, but make it their neces- 
sary duty also. For it is no new thing that pretences of 
raptures, ecstasies, revelations, and unaccountable extraor- 
dinary enjoyments of God, should be made use of unto cor- 
rupt ends, yea abused to the worst imaginable. The expe- 
rience of the church both under the Old Testament and the 
New, witnesseth hereunto as the apostle Peter declares ; 
2 Pet. ii. 1. For among them of old, there were multitudes 
of false pretenders unto visions, dreams, revelations, and such 
spiritual ecstasies, some of whom wore a ' rough garment to 
deceive,' which went not alone but accompanied with all such 
appearing austerities, as might beget an opinion of sanctity 
and integrity in them. And when the body of the people 
were grown corrupt and superstitious, this sort of men had 
credit with them above the true prophets of God ; yet did 
they for the most part shew themselves to be hypocritical 
liars. And we are abundantly warned of such spirits under 
the New Testament, as we are foretold that such there would 
be, by whom many should be deluded. And all such pre- 
tenders unto extraordinary intercourse with God, we are 
commanded to try by the unerring rule of the word, and de- 
sire only liberty so to do. 

But suppose that those who assert these devotions and 
enjoyments of God in their own experience, are not false 
pretenders unto what they profess, nor design to deceive ; 
but are persuaded in their own minds of the reality of what 
they endeavour to declare, yet neither will this give us the 
least security of their truth. For it is known that there are 
so many ways, partly natural, partly diabolical, whereby the 
fancies and imaginations of persons may be so possessed 
with false images and apprehensions of things, and that with 
so vehement an efficacy as to give them a confidence of their 
truth and reality, that no assurance of them can be given by 
a persuasion of the sincerity of them by whom they are pre- 
tended. And there are so many ways whereby men are dis- 
posed unto such a frame and actings, or are disposed to be 
imposed on by such delusions, especially where they are 
prompted by superstition, and are encouraged doctrinally to 
an expectation of such imaginations, that it is_a far greater 


wonder that more have not fallen into the same extrava- 
gancies, than that any have so done. We find by experience 
that some have had their imaginations so fixed on things 
evil and noxious by satanical delusions, that they have con- 
fessed against themselves, things and crimes that have ren- 
dered them obnoxious unto capital punishments ; whereof 
they were never really and actually guilty. Wherefore, see- 
ing these acts or duties of devotion, are pretended to be such 
as wherein there is no sensible actuation of the mind or un- 
derstanding, and so cannot rationally be accounted for, nor 
rendered perceptible unto the understanding} of others, it is 
not unreasonable to suppose that they are only fond imagi- 
nations of deluded fancies, which superstitious, credulous 
persons have gradually raised themselves unto, or such as 
they have exposed themselves to be imposed on withal by 
Satan, through a groundless, unwarrantable desire after them, 
or expectation of them. 

But whatever there maybe in the height of this contem- 
plative prayer as it is called, it neither is prayer, nor can on 
any account be so esteemed. That we allow of mental prayer 
and all actings of the mind in holy meditation, was before 
declared. Nor do we deny the usefulness or necessity of 
those other things, of mortifying the affections and passions, 
of an entire resignation of the whole soul unto God with 
complacency in him, so far as our nature is capable of them 
in this world. But it is that incomparable excellency of it 
in the silence of the soul, and the pure adhesion of the will 
without any actings of the understanding that we inquire 
into. And I say, whatever else there may be herein, yet it 
hath not the nature of prayer, nor is to be so esteemed, though 
under that name and notion it be reconmaended unto us. 
Prayer is a natural duty, the notion and understanding 
whereof is common unto all mankind. And the concurrent 
voice of nature deceiveth not. Whatever, therefore, is not 
compliant therewith, at least what is contradictory unto it, 
or inconsistent with it, is not to be esteemed prayer. Now 
in the common sense of mankind, this duty is that acting of 
the mind and soul, wherein, from an acknowledgment of the 
sovereio-n being, self-sufiiciency, rule, and dominion of God, 
with his infinite goodness, wisdom, power, righteousness, 
and omniscience, and omnipresence, with a sense of their own 


universal clependance on him, his will and pleasure, as to their 
beings, lives, happiness, and all their concernments, they 
address their desires with faith and trust unto him, according 
as their state and condition doth require ; or ascribe praise 
and glory unto him for what he is in himself, and what he is 
to them. This is the general notion of prayer, which the 
reason of mankind centres in ; neither can any man conceive 
of it under any other notion whatever. The gospel directs 
the performance of this duty in an acceptable manner with 
respect unto the mediation of Christ, the aids of the Holy 
Ghost, and the revelation of the spiritual mercies we all do 
desire ; but it changeth nothing in the general nature of it. 
It doth not introduce a duty of another kind, and call it by 
the name of that which was known in the light of nature, 
but is quite another thing. But this general nature of prayer 
all men universally understand well enough, in whom the 
first innate principles of natural light are not extinguished 
or wofully depraved. This may be done among some by a 
long traditional course of an atheistical and brutish conver- 
sation. But as large and extensive as are the convictions of 
men concerning the being and existence of God, so are their 
apprehensions of the nature of this duty. For the first act- 
ings of nature towards a Divine Being, are in invocation. 
Jonah's mariners knew how, every one to call on his God, 
when they were in a storm. And where there is not trust or 
affiance in God acted, whereby men glorify him as God, and 
where desires or praises are not offered unto him, neither of 
which can be without express acts of the mind or under- 
standing, there is no prayer, whatever else there may be. 
Wherefore, this contemplative devotion, wherein, as it is pre- 
tended, the soul is ecstasied into an advance of the will and 
affections above all the actings of the mind or understanding:, 
nath no one property of prayer, as the nature of it is manifest 
in the light of nature and common agreement of mankind. 
Prayer without an actual acknowledgment of God in all his 
holy excellencies, and the actings of faith in fear, love, con- 
fidence, and gratitude, is a monster in nature, or a by-blow 
of imagination, which hath no existence in rerum natura. 
These persons, therefore, had best find out some other name 
wherewith to impose this kind of devotion upon our admi- 
ration ; for from the whole precincts of prayer or invocation 


on the name of God, it is utterly excluded : and what place 
it may have in any other part of the worship of God, we shall 
immediately inquire. 

But this examination of it by the light of nature will be 
looked on as most absurd and impertinent. For if we must 
try all matters of spiritual communion with God, and that in 
those things which wholly depend on divine supernatural 
revelation by this rule and standard, our measures of them 
will be false and perverse. And, I say, no doubt they would. 
Wherefore, we call only that concern of it unto a trial hereby, 
whose true notion is confessedly fixed in the liglit of nature. 
Without extending that line beyond its due bounds, we may 
by it, take a just measure of what is prayer, and what is not ; 
for therein it cannot deceive nor be deceived : and this is all 
which at present we engage about. And in the pursuit of 
the same inquiry we may bring it also unto the Scripture, 
from which we shall find it as foreign as from the light of 
nature. For as it is described, so far as any thing intelli- 
gible may be from thence collected, it exceeds or deviates 
from whatever is said in the Scripture concerning prayer, 
even in those places where the grace and privileges of it are 
most emphatically expressed ; and as it is exemplified in 
the prayers of the Lord Christ himself, and all the saints re- 
corded therein. Wherefore, the light of nature and the 
Scripture, do, by common consent, exclude it from being 
prayer in any kind. Prayer, in the Scripture representation 
of it, is the soul's access and approach unto God by Jesus 
Christ through the aids of his Holy Spirit, to make known 
its requests unto him with supplication and thanksgiving. 
And that whereon it is recommended unto us are its external 
adjuncts, and its internal grace and efficacy. Of the first 
sort, earnestness, fervency, importunity, constancy, and per- 
severance, are the principal. No man can attend unto these 
or any of them in a way of duty, but in the exercise of his 
mind and understanding. Without this, whatever looks like 
any of them, is brutish fury or obstinacy. 

And as unto the internal form of it, in that description 
which is given us of its nature in the Scripture, it consists 
in the especial exercise of faith, love, delight, fear, a! I the 
graces of the Spirit as occasion doth require. And in that 
exercise of these graces wherein the life and being of prayer 


doth consist^ a continual regard is to be had unto the me- 
diation of Christ, and the free promises of God, through 
which means he exhibits himself unto us as a God heaving 
prayer. These things are both plainly and frequently men- 
tioned in the Scripture, as they are all of them exemplified 
in the prayers of those holy persons which are recorded 
therein. But for this contemplative prayer, as it is described 
by our author and others, there is neither precept for it, nor 
direction about it, nor motive unto it, nor example of it, in 
the whole Scripture. And it cannot but seem marvellous, 
to some at least, that whereas this duty and all its concern- 
ments are more insisted on therein, than any other Chris- 
tian duty or privilege whatever, that the height and excel- 
lency of it, and that in comparison whereof all other kinds 
of prayer, all the actings of the mind and soul in them are 
decried, should not obtain the least intimation therein. 

For if we should take a view of all the particular places 
wherein the nature and excellency of this duty are described, 
with the grace and privilege wherewith it is accompanied, 
such as for instance, Eph. vi. 18. Phil. iv. 6. Heb. iv. 16. 
X. 19 — 22. there is nothing that is consistent with this con- 
templative prayer. Neither is there in the prayers of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, nor of his apostles, nor of any holy men 
from the beginning of the world, either for themselves or the 
whole church, any thing that gives the least countenance 
unto it. Nor can any man declare, what is, or can be, the 
work of the Holy Spirit therein, as he is a Spirit of grace 
and supplication ; nor is any gift of his mentioned in the 
Scripture, capable of the least exercise therein ; so that in 
no sense it can be that 'praying in the Holy Ghost' which is 
prescribed unto us. There is, therefore, no example pro- 
posed unto our imitation, no mark set before us, nor any 
direction given for the attaining of this pretended excellency 
and perfection. Whatever is fancied or spoken concerning 
it, it is utterly foreign to the Scripture, and must owe itself 
vmto the deluded imagination of some few persons. 

Besides, the Scripture doth not propose unto us any 
other kind of access unto God under the New Testament, 
nor any nearer approaches unto him, than what we have in 
and through the mediation of Christ and by faith in him : 
but in this pretence there seems to be such an immediate 


enjoyment of God in his essence aimed at, as is regardless 
of Christ, and leaves him quite behind. But God will not 
be all in all immediately unto the church, until the Lord 
Christ hath fully delivered up the mediatory kingdom unto 
him. And indeed the silence concerning Christ, in the 
whole of what is ascribed unto this contemplative prayer, 
or rather the exclusion of him from any concernment in it 
as mediator, is sufficient with all considerate persons, to 
evince that it hath not the least interest in the duty of 
prayer, name or thing. 

Neither doth this imagination belong any more unto any 
other part or exercise of faith in this world ; and yet here 
we universally walk by faith and not by sight. The whole 
of what belongs unto it, may be reduced unto the two heads 
of what we do towards God, and what we do enjoy of him 
therein. And as to the first, all the actings of our souls 
towards God belong unto our reasonable service ; Rom. 
xii. 1. more is not required of us in away of duty. But 
that is no part of our reasonable service, wherein our minds 
and understandings have no concernment. Nor is it any 
part of our enjoyment of God in this life. For no such 
thing is any where promised unto us, and it is by the pro- 
mises alone that we are made partakers of the divine nature 
or have any thing from God communicated unto us. There 
seems, therefore, to be nothing in the bravery of these af- 
fected expressions, but an endeavour to fancy somewhat 
above the measure of all possible attainments in this life, 
falling unspeakably beneath those of future glory. A kind 
of purgatory it is in devotion, somewhat out of this world 
and not in another ; above the earth, and beneath heaven, 
where we may leave it in clouds and darkness. 



Prescribed forms of prayer examined. 

There are also great pleas for the use of prescribed limited 
forms of prayer, in opposition to that spiritual ability in 
prayer, which we have described and proved to be a gift of 
the Holy Ghost. Where i\\ese forms are contended for by 
men, with respect unto their own use and practice only, as 
suitable to their experience, and judged by them a serving 
of God with the best that they have ; I shall not take the 
least notice of them, nor of any dissent about them. But 
whereas a persuasion not only of their lawfulness but of 
their necessity, is made use of unto other ends and purposes, 
wherein the peace and edification of believers is highly con- 
cerned, it is necessary we should make some inquiry there- 
into. I say, it is only with respect unto such a sense of their 
nature, and necessity of their use, as give occasion, or a sup- 
posed advantage, unto men, to oppose, deny, and speak evil, 
of that way of prayer, with its causes and ends, which we 
have described, that is, that any way consider these forms 
of prayer, and their use. For I know well enough, that I 
have nothing to do to judge or condemn the persons or du- 
ties of men in such acts of religious worship, as they choose 
for their best, and hope for acceptance in, unless they are 
expressly idolatrous. For unless it be in such cases, or the 
like, which are plain either in the light of nature, or Scrip- 
ture revelation, it is a silly apprehension, and tending to 
atheism, that God doth not require of all men, to regulate 
their actings towards him, according to that sovereign light, 
which he hath erected in their own minds. 

Whattheybrms intended are, how composed, how used, 
how in some cases imposed, are things so known to all, that 
we shall not need to speak to them. Prayer is God's institu- 
tion ; and the reading of ihe&e forms, is that which men have 
made, and set up in the likeness thereof, or in compliance 
with it. For it is said, that the Lord Christ having provided 
the matter of prayer, and commanded us to pray, it is left 

PRAYER examined; 139 

unto us or others, to compose prayer, as unto the manner of 
it, as we or they shall see cause. But besides, that there is 
no appearance of truth in the inference, the direct contrary 
rather ensuing on the proposition laid down ; it is built on 
this supposition, that besides the provision of matter of 
prayer, and the command of the duty, the Lord Christ hath 
not moreover promised, doth not communicate unto his 
church, such spiritual aids and assistances, as shall enable 
them, without any other outward pretended helps, to pray 
according unto the mind of God : which we must not admit, 
if we intend to be Christians. In like manner, he hath pro- 
vided the whole subject matter of preaching, and command- 
ed all his ministers to preach : but it doth not hence follow, 
that they may all or any of them make one sermon, to con- 
stantly read in all assemblies of Christians, without any va- 
riation ; unless we shall grant also, that he ceaseth to give 
gifts unto men, for the work of the ministry. Our inquiry, 
therefore, will be, what place or use they may have therein, 
or in our duty, as performed by virtue thereof ; which may 
be expressed in the ensuing observations : 

1. The Holy Ghost, as a spirit of grace and siippUcations, is 
no where, that I know of, promised unto any to help or as- 
sist them in composing prayers for others ; and therefore, we 
have no ground to prai/ for him or his assistance unto that 
end in particular ; nor foundation to build faith or expecta- 
tion of receiving him, upon. Wherefore, he is not in any 
especial or gracious manner concerned in that work or en- 
deavour. Whether this be a duty that falls under his care 
as communicating gifts in general for the edification of the 
church, shall be afterward examined. That whiclx we plead 
at present is, that he is no where peculiarly promised for 
that end, nor have we either command or direction to ask 
for his assistance therein. If any shall say that he is pro- 
mised to this purpose, where he is so, as a Spirit of grace 
and supplication ; I answer, besides what hath been already 
pleaded at large in the explication and vindication of the 
proper sense of that promise ; that he is promised directly, 
to them that are to pray, and not to them that make prayers 
for others, which themselves will not say is praying. But 
supposing it a duty in creneralso to compose prayers for our 
own or the use of others, it is lawful and warrantable to 



pray for the aid and guidance of the Holy Ghost therein ; 
not as unto his peculiar assistances in prayer, not as he is 
unto believers a Spirit of supplication, but as he is our 
sanctifier, the author and efficient cause of every gracious 
Vi^ork and duty in us. 

It may be, the prayers composed by some holy men un- 
der the Old Testament, by the immediate inspiration of the 
Holy Ghost for the use of the church, will be also pretended. 
But as the inspiration or assistance which they had in their 
work was a thing quite of another kind, than any thing that 
is ordinarily promised, or that any persons can now pretend 
unto ; so whether they were dictated unto them by the Holy 
Ghost to be used afterward by others as mere forms of prayer, 
may be yet farther inquired into. 

The great plea for some of these external aids of prayer, 
is by this one consideration utterly removed out of the way. 
It is said that some of these prayers were prepared by 'great 
and holy men ; martyrs it may be some of them, for the truth 
of the gospel and testimony of Jesus.' And indeed had any 
men in the world a promise of especial assistance by the 
Spirit of God in such a work, I should not contend but the 
persons intended were as likely to partake of that assistance, 
as any others in these latter ages. Extraordinary superna- 
tural inspiration they had not; and the holy apostles who 
were always under the influence and conduct of it, never 
made use of it unto any such purpose, as to prescribe forms 
of prayer, either for the whole church or single persons. 
Whereas, therefore, there is no such especial promise given 
unto any, this work of composing prayer, is foreign unto the 
duty of prayer, as unto any interest in the gracious assist- 
ance which is promised thereunto, however it may be a com- 
mon duty, and fall under the help and blessing of God in ge- 
neral. So some men, from their acquaintance with the matter 
of prayer above others, which they attain by spiritual light, 
knowledge, and experience, and their comprehension of the 
arguments which the Scripture directs imto, to be used and 
pleaded in our supplications, may set down and express a 
prayer, that is, the matter and outward form of it, that shall 
declare the substance of things to be prayed for, much more 
accommodate to the conditions, wants, and desires of Chris- 
tians, than others can who are not so clearly enlightened as 


they are, nor have had the experience which they have had 
for those prayers, as they are called, which men without 
such li^t and experience compose of phrases and expres- 
sions gathered up from others, taken out of the Scripture, or 
invented by themselves, and cast into a contexture and me- 
thod, such as they suppose suited unto prayer in general, be 
they never so well worded, so quaint and elegant in ex- 
pressions, are so empty and jejune, as that they can be 
of no manner of use unto any, unless to keep them from 
praying whilst they Hve. And such we have books good 
store filled withal, easy enough to be composed by such as 
never in their lives prayed according to the mind of God. 
From the former sort much may be learned, as they doc- 
trinally exhibit the matter and arguments of prayer. But 
the composition of them for others, to be used as their pray- 
ers, is that which no man hath any promise of peculiar spi- 
ritual assistance in, with respect unto prayer in particular. 

2, No man hath ^ny promise of the Spirit, of grace and sup- 
plication to enable him to compose a form or forms ofpraiier 
for himself The Spirit of God helps us to pray, not to 
make prayers in that sense. Suppose men, as before, in so 
doing, may have his assistance in general, as in other stu- 
dies and endeavours ; yet they have not that especial assist- 
ance which he gives as a spirit of grace and supplication, 
enabling us to cry 'Abba, Father.' For men do^not compose 
forms of prayer, however they may use them, by tlie imme- 
diate actings of faith, love, and delight in God, with those 
other graces, which he excites and acts in those supplica- 
tions which are according to the divine will. Nor is God 
the immediate object of the actings of the faculties of the 
souls of men in such a work. Their inventions, memories, 
judgments, are immediately exercised about their present 
composition, and there they rest. Wherefore, whereas the 
exercise of grace immediately on God in Christ, under the 
formal notion of prayer, is no part of men's work or design 
when they compose and set down forms for themselves or 
others, if any so do, they are not under a promise of especial 
assistance therein in the manner before declared. 

3. As there is no assistance promised unto the composi- 
tion of such forms, so it is no institution of the law or gospel. 
Prayer itself, is a duty of the Imc of nature, and being of such 


singular and indispensable use unto all persons, the com- 
mands for it are reiterated in the Scripture, beyond those 
concerning any other particular duty whatever. And if it 
hath respect unto Jesus Christ with sundry ordinances of the 
gospel, to be performed in his name, it falls under a new di- 
vine institution. Hereon are commands given us to ' pray,' to 
pray'continuallywithout ceasing, "to pray and faint not,' to 
' pray for ourselves,' to ' pray for one another,' in our closets, in 
our families, in the assemblies of the church. But as for this 
work, of making or composing forms of prayers for ourselves 
to be used as prayers, there is no command, no institution, 
no mention in the Scriptures of the Old Testament or the 
New. It is a work of human extract and original, nor can any 
thing be expected from it, but what proceeds from that foun- 
tain. A blessing possibly there may be upon it, but not such 
as issueth from the especial assistance of the Spirit of God 
in it, nor from any divine appointment or institution whatever. 
But the reader must observe, that I do not urge these things 
to prove forms of prayer unlawful to be used, but only at 
present declare their nature and original, with respect unto 
that work of the Holy Spirit, which we have described. 

4. This being the original of forms of prayer, the benefit 
and advantage which is in their use, which alone is pleadable 
in their behalf, comes next under consideration. And this 
may be done with respect unto two sorts of persons : (1.) 
Such as have the gift or ahiliti/ oi free 'prayer bestowed on 
them, or however have attained it. (2.) Such as are mean 
and low in this ability, and therefore incompetent to perform 
this duty without that aid and assistance of them. And unto 
both sorts they are pleaded to be of use and advantage. 

(1.) It is pleaded that there is so much good and so much 
advantage in the use of them, that it is expedient that those who 
can pray otherwise unto their own and others' edification, yet ought 
sometimes to use them. What this benefit is, hath not been 
distinctly declared, nor do I know, nor can divine whei'ein 
it should consist. Sacred things are not to be used merely 
to shew our liberty. And there seems to be herein a neglect 
of stirring up the gift, if not also of the grace of God, in 
those who have received them. 'The manifestation of the 
Spirit is given to every one to profit wdthal.' And to forego 
its exercise on any just occasion, seems not warrantable. 


We are bound at all times in the worship of God to serve 
him with the best that we have. And, if we have a male in 
the flock, and do sacrifice that, which in comparison thereof, 
is a corrupt thing, we are deceivers. Free prayer unto them 
who have an ability for it, is more suited to the nature of the 
duty in the light of nature itself, to Scripture commands 
and examples, than the use of any prescribed forms. To 
omit, therefore, the exercise of a spiritual ability therein, 
and voluntarily to divert unto the other relief; which yet, 
in that case, at least, is no relief; doth not readily present 
its advantage unto a sober consideration. And the reader 
may observe, that at present I examine not what men or 
churches may agree upon by conmion consent, as judging 
and avowing it best for their own edification, which is 
a matter of another consideration ; but only of the duty 
of believers as such in their respective stations and con- 

(2.) It is generally supposed that the use of such forms 
are of singular advantage unto them that are low and mean 
in their ability to pi-ay of themselves. I propose it thus, be- 
cause I cannot grant that any who sincerely believeth that 
there is a God, is sensible of his own wants, and his abso- 
lute dependance upon him, is utterly unable to make requests 
unto him for relief, without any help, but what is suggested 
unto him by the working of the natural faculties of his own 
soul. What men will wilfully neglect is one thing, and 
what they cannot do, if they seriously apply themselves unto 
their duty, is another. Neither do I believe that any man 
who is so far instructed in the knowledge of Christ by the 
gospel, as that he can make use of a composed prayer with 
understanding, but also that in some measure he is able to 
call upon God in the name of Christ, with respect unto what 
he feels in himself and is concerned in ; and farther, no man's 
prayers are to be extended. 1 speak, therefore, of those who 
have the least measure and lowest degree of this ability, 
seeing none are absolutely uninterested therein. Unto 
this sort of persons I know not of what use these forms 
are, unless it be to keep them low and mean all the days of 
their lives. For whereas both in the state of nature and the 
state of grace, in one whereof every man is supposed to be, 
there are certain heavenly sparks suited unto each condi- 


tion ; the main duty of all men, is to stir them up and in- 
crease them. Even in the remainders of lapsed nature, there 
are cozlestes igniculi, in notices of good and evil, accusations 
and apologies of conscience. These none will deny, but 
that they ought to be stirred up, and increased ; which can 
be no otherwise done but in their sedulous exercise. Nor is 
there any such effectual way of their exercise, as in the soul's 
application of itself unto God with respect unto them, which 
is done in prayer only. But as for those whom in this mat- 
ter we principally regard, that is, professed believers in Jesus 
Christ, there is none of them but have such principles of 
spiritual life, and therein of all obedience unto God and com- 
munion with him, as being improved and exercised under 
those continual supplies of the Spirit which they receive 
from Christ their head, will enable them to discharge every 
duty, that in every condition or relation is required of them 
in an acceptable manner. Among these is that of an ability 
for prayer ; and to deny them to have it, supposing them 
true believers, is expressly to contradict the apostle, affirm- 
ing, that * because we are sons, God sends forth the Spirit 
of his Son into our hearts, whereby we cry Abba, Father.' 
But this ability, as I have shewed, is no way to be improved 
but in and by a constant exercise. Now, whether the use of 
the forms inquired into, which certainly taketh men off from 
the exercise of what ability they have, do not tend directly 
to keep them still low and mean in their abilities, is not hard 
to determine. 

But suppose these spoken of, are not yet real believers, 
but only such as profess the gospel, not yet sincerely con- 
verted unto God, whose duty also it is to pray on all occa- 
sions: these have no such principle or ability to improve, 
and therefore this advantage is not by them to be neglected. 
I answer, that the matter of all spiritual gifts is spiritual 
light; according, therefore, to their measure in the light of 
the knowledge of the gospel, such is their measure in spi- 
ritual gifts also. If they have no spiritual light, no insight 
into the knowledge of the gospel, prayers framed and com- 
posed according unto it will be of little use unto them. If 
they have any such light, it ought to be improved by exer- 
cise in this duty, which is of such indispensable necessity 
unto their souls. 


5. But yet the advantage which all sorts of persons may 
have hereby, in having the matter of prayer prepared for them 
and suggested unto them, is also insisted on. This they 
may be much to seek in, who yet have sincere desires to pray, 
and whose affections will comply with what is proposed unto 
them. And this indeed would carry a great appearance of 
reason with it, but that there are other ways appointed of 
God unto this end ; and which are sufficient thereunto, under 
the guidance, conduct, and assistance, of the blessed Spirit, 
whose work must be admitted in all parts of this duty, un- 
less we intend to frame prayers that shall be an abomination 
to the Lord. Such are men's diligent and sedulous conside- 
ration of themselves, their spiritual state and condition, their 
wants and desires ; a diligent consideration of the Scripture^ 
or the doctrine of it in the ministry of the word, whereby 
they will be both instructed in the whole matter of prayer, 
and convinced of their own concernment therein, with all 
other helps of coming to the knowledge of God and them- 
selves ; all which they are to attend unto, who intend to pray 
in a due manner. To furnish men with prayers to be said 
by them, and so to satisfy their consciences whilst they live 
in the neglect of these things, is to deceive them, and not 
to help or instruct them. And if they do conscientiously 
attend unto these things, they will have no need of those 
other pretended helps. For men to live and converse with 
the world, not once inquiring into their own ways, or re- 
flecting on their own hearts (unless under some charge of 
conscience accompanied with fear or danger), never endea- 
vouring to examine, try, or compare their state and condition 
with the Scripture, nor scarce considering either their own 
wants or God's promises, to have a book lie ready for them 
wherein they may read a prayer, and so suppose they have 
discharged their duty in that matter, is a course which surely 
they ought not to be countenanced or encouraged in. Nor 
is the perpetual rotation of the same words and expressions, 
suited to instruct or carry on men in the knowledge of any 
thing, but rather to divert the mind from the due considera- 
tion of the things intended, and therefore commonly issues 
in formality. And where men have words or expressions 
prepared for them, and suggested unto them, that really sig- 
nify the things wherein they are concerned, yet if ihe light 



and knowledge of those principles of truth, whence they are 
derived, and whereinto they are resolved, be not in some 
measure fixed and abiding in their minds, they cannot be 
much benefited or edified by their repetition. 

6. Experience is pleaded in the same case ; and this with 
me, where persons are evidently conscientious, is of more 
moment than a hundred notional arguments that cannot be 
brought to that trial. Some, therefore, say that they have 
had spiritual advantage, the exercise of grace, and holy in- 
tercourse with God in the use of such forms, and have their 
affections warmed, and their hearts much bettered thereby. 
And this they take to be a clear evidence and token that 
they are not disapproved of God ; yea, that they are a great 
advantage, at least unto many, in prayer. Aiis. Whether 
they are approved or disapproved of God, whether they are 
lawful or unlawful, we do not consider ; but only whether 
they are for spiritual benefit and advantage, for the good of 
our own souls and the edification of others, as set up in com- 
petition with the exercise of the gift before described. And 
herein I am very unwilling to oppose the experience of any 
one who seems to be under the conduct of the least beam of 
gospel light. Only I shall desire to propose some few things 
to their consideration. As, 

1 . Whether they understand aright the difference that is 
between natural devotion occasionally excited, and the due 
actings of evangelical J'aith and love, with other graces of the 
Spirit, in a way directed unto by divine appointment? All men 
who acknowledge a Deity or Divine Power which they adore, 
when they address themselves seriously to perform any reli- 
gious worship thereunto in their own way, be it what it will, 
will have their affections moved and excited suitably unto 
the apprehensions they have of wliat they worship ; yea, 
though in particular it have no existence but in their own 
imaginations. For these things ensue on the general notion 
of a Divine Power, and not on the applicatiouof them to such 
idols, as indeed are nothing in the world. There will be in 
such persons, dread, and reverence, and fear ; as there was 
in some of the Heathen unto an unspeakable horror, when 
they entered into the temples, and merely imaginary pre- 
sence of their gods, the whole work being begun and finished 
in their fancies. And sometimes great joys, satisfactions. 


and delights do ensue on what they do. For as what they 
so do, is suited to the best light they have, and men are apt 
to have a complacency in their own inventions, as Micah had, 
Judg. xvii. 13. and upon inveterate prejudices which are the 
guides of most men in religion ; their consciences find relief 
in the discharge of their duty. These things, I say, are found 
in persons of the highest and most dreadful superstitions in 
the world, yea, heightened unto inexpressible agitations of 
mind, in horror on the one side, and raptures or ecstasies on 
the other. And they are all tempered and qualified accord- 
ing to the mode and way of worship wherein men are en- 
gaged ; but in themselves they are all of the same nature, 
that is, natural, or effects and impressions upon nature. So 
it is with the Mahometans, who excel in this devotion ; and 
so it is with idolatrous Christians who place the excellency 
and glory of their profession therein. Wherefore, such de- 
votion, such affections, will be excited by religious offices 
in all that are sincere ia their use, whether they be of divine 
appointment or no. But the actings of faith and love on God 
through Christ, according to the gospel, or the tenor of the 
new covenant, with the effects produced thereby in the heart 
and affections, are things quite of another kind and nature : 
and unless men do know how really to distinguish between 
these things, it is to no purpose to plead spiritual benefit 
and advantage in the use of such forms, seeing possibly it 
may be no other, but of the same kind with what all false 
worshippers in the world have, or may have, experience of. 

2. Let them diligently inquire whether the effects on their 
hearts, v/hich they plead, do not proceed from 2i precedent pre- 
paration, a good design, and upright ends occasionally ex- 
cited. Let it be supposed, that those who thus make use of, 
and plead for, forms of prayer, especially in public, do in a 
due manner prepare themselves for it by holy meditation, 
with an endeavour to bring their souls into a holy frame of 
fear, delight, and reverence of God; let it also be supposed 
that they have a good end and design in the worship they 
address themselves unto, namely, the glory of God, and their 
own spiritual advantage; the prayers themselves, though 
they should be in some things irregular, may give occasion 
to exercise those acts of grace which they were otherwise 
prepared for. And I say yet farther, 


3. That whilst these forms of prayer are clothed with the 
general notions of prayer, that is, are esteemed as such in the 
minds of them that use them ; are accompanied in their use 
with the motives and ends of prayer ; express no matter un- 
lawful to be insisted on in prayer ; directing the souls of men 
to none but lawful objects of divine worship and prayer, the 
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit ; and whilst men make use of 
them with the true design of prayer, looking after due as- 
sistance unto prayer; I do not judge there is any such evil 
in them as that God will not communicate his Spirit to any 
in the use of them, so as that they should have no holy com- 
munion with him, in and under them. Much less will I say, 
that God never therein regards their persons, or rejects their 
praying, as unlavv'ful. For the persons and duties of men 
may be accepted with God when they walk and act in sin- 
cerity, according to their light, though in many things, and 
those of no small importance, sundry irregularities are found 
both in what they do, and in the manner of doing it. Where 
persons walk before God in their integrity, and practise no- 
thing contrary to their light and conviction in his worship, 
God is merciful unto them, although they order not every 
thing according to the rule and measure of the w^ord. So 
was it with them who came to the passover in the days of 
Hezekiah ; they had not cleansed themselves, but did * eat 
the passover otherwise than it was written;' 2 Chron. xxx. 18. 
For whom the good king made the solemn prayer suited to 
their occasion, * The good Lord pardon every one that pre- 
pareth his heart to seek the Lord God of his fathers, though 
he be not cleansed according to the purification of the sanc- 
tuary ;' and the Lord hearkened unto Hezekiah, and healed 
the people; ver. 18 — 20. Here was a duty for the substance 
of it appointed of God : but in the manner of its performance 
there was a failure, they did it not according to what was 
written, which is the sole rule of all religious duties. This, 
God was displeased withal, yet graciously passed by the of- 
fence, and accepted them whose hearts were upright in what 
they did. In the mean time, I do yet judge, that the use of 
them is in itself obstructive of all the principal ends of 
prayer and sacred worship. Where they are alone used, they 
are opposite to the edification of tlie church, and where they 
are imposed to the absolute exclusion of other prayer, are 


destructive of its liberty, and render a good part of the pur- 
chase of Christ of none effect. 

Things being thus stated, it will be inquired, whether the 
use of such forms of prayer is lawful or no. To this inquiry 
something shall be returned briefly, in way of answer, and an 
end put unto this discourse. And I say, 

1 . To compose and write forms of prayer to be directive mid 
doctrinal helps unto others, as to the matter and method to 
be used in the right discharge of this duty, is lawful, and may 
in some cases be useful. It were better, it may be, if the 
same thing were done in another way suited to give direc- 
tion in the case, and not cast into the form of a prayer, which 
is apt to divert the mind from the due consideration of its 
proper end and use, unto that which is not so. But this way 
of instruction is not to be looked on as unlawful, merely for 
the form and method whereinto it is cast, whilst its true use 
only is attended unto. 

2. To read, consider, and meditate, upon such loritf en prayers, 
as to the matter and arguments of prayer expressed in them» 
composed by persons from their own experience and the light 
of Scripture directions, or to make use of expressions set 
down in them where the hearts of them that read them are 
really affected, because they find their state and condition, 
their wants and desires, declared in them, is not unlawful, 
but may be of good use unto some; though I must acknow- 
ledge I never heard any expressing any great benefit which 
they had received thereby. But it is possible that some may 
so do. For no such freedom of prayer is asserted, as should 
make it unlawful for men to make use of any pro]ier means 
the better to enable them to pray. Nor is any such ability 
of prayer granted, as to supersede the duty of using means 
for the increase and furtherance of it. 

3. To set up and prescribe the use of such forms univer- 
sally, in opposition and unto the exclusion of free prayer by 
the aid of the spirit of grace, is contrary not only to many 
divine precepts before insisted on, but to the light of nature 
itself, requiring every man to pray, and on some occasions 
necessitating them thereunto. But, whatever be the practice 
of some men, I know not that any such opinion is pleaded 
for, and so shall not farther oppose it. 


4. It is not inquired, whether/orms of prayer, especially as 
they may be designed unto and used for other ends, and not 
to be read instead of prayer, have in their composition any 
thing of intrimical evil in them ; for it is granted they have 
not: but the inquiry is, whether in their use as prayers they 
are not hind era nces unto the right discharge of the duty 
of prayer according to the mind of God, and so may be un- 
lawful in that respect. For I take it as granted, that they 
are no where appointed of God for such a use, no where 
commanded so to be used; whence an argument may be 
formed against their having any interest in divine acceptable 
worship, but it is not of our present consideration. For if 
on the accounts mentioned, they appear not contrary unto, 
or inconsistent with, or are not used in a way exclusive of 
that work of the Holy Spirit in prayer which we have de- 
scribed from the Scripture, nor are reducible unto any divine 
prohibition, whilst I may enjoy my own liberty, I shall not 
contend with any about them. Nor shall I now engage in- 
to the examination of the arguments that are pleaded in their 
behalf, which some have greatly multiplied, as I suppose, not 
much to the advantage of their cause. For in things of reli- 
gious practice, one testimony of Scripture rightly explained 
and applied, with the experience of believers thereon, is of 
more weight and value than a thousand dubious reasonings, 
which cannot be evidently resolved into those principles ; 
wherefore some few additional considerations shall put an 
issue unto this discourse. 

1 . Some observe that there are forms of prayer composed 
and prescribed to be used both in the Old Testament and the 
New. Such, they say, was the form of blessing prescribed 
unto the priests on solemn occasions ; Num. vi. 24 — 26. 
And the Psalms of David, as also the Lord's Prayer in the 
New Testament. (1.) If this be so, it proves that forms of 
prayer are not intrinsically evil, which is granted, yet may 
the use of them be unnecessary. (2.) The argument will not 
hold so far as it is usually extended, at least; God himself 
hath prescribed some forms of prayer to be used by some 
persons on some occasions, therefore, men may invent, yea, 
and prescribe those that shall be for common and constant 
use. lie who forbade all images, or all use of them in sacred 


things, appointed the making of the cherubims in the taber- 
nacle and temple. (3.) The argument from the practice in 
use under the Old Testament in this matter, if any could 
thence be taken, when the people were carnal, and tied up 
unto carnal ordinances, unto the duty and practice of be- 
lievers under the New Testament, and a more plentiful effu- 
sion of the Spirit, hath been before disproved. (4.) The 
words prescribed unto the priests were not a prayer properly, 
but an authoritative benediction, and an instituted sign of 
God's blessing the people; for so it is added in the explica- 
tion of that ordinance, ' they shall put my name upon the chil- 
dren of Israel, and I will bless them ;' ver. 27. (5.) David's 
psalms were given out by immediate inspiration, were most 
of them mystical and prophetical, appointed to be used in the 
church, as all other Scriptures, only some of them in a cer- 
tain manner, namely, of singing; and that manner also de- 
termined by divine appointment. (6.) That any form of 
prayer is appointed in the New Testament to be used as a 
form, is neither granted nor can be proved. (7.) Give us 
prayers composed by divine inspiration with a command for 
their use, with the time, manner, and form of their usage, 
which these instances prove to be lawful, if they prove any 
thing in this case, and there will be no contest about them. 
(8.) All and every one of the precedents or examples which 
we have in the whole Scripture, of the prayers of any of the 
people of God, men or women, being all accommodated to 
their present occasions, and uttered in the freedom of their 
own spirits, do all give testimony unto free prayer, if not 
against the use of forms in that duty. 

2. Moreover, it seems that when any one prayeth, his 
prayer is a form unto all that join with him, whether in fami- 
lies or church assemblies ; which some lay great weight upon, 
thousfh I am not able to discern the force of it in this case. 
For, (1.) the question is solely about him that prayeth, and 
his discharge of duty according to the mind of God, and not 
concerning them who join with him. (2.) The conjunction 
of others with him that prayeth according to his ability, is 
an express command of God. (3.) Those who so join are at 
liberty, when it is their duty, to pray themselves. (4.) That 
which is not a form in itself, is not a form to any ; for there 
is more req^uired to make it so, than merely that the words 


and expressions are not of their own present invention. It 
is to them, the benefit of a gift, bestowed for their edification 
in its present exercise, according to the mind of God. That 
only is a form of prayer unto any, which he himself useth as 
a form ; for its nature depends on its use. (5.) The argu- 
ment is incogent ; God hath commanded some to pray ac- 
cording to the ability they have received, and others to join 
with them therein 5 therefore it is lawful to invent forms of 
prayer for ourselves or others, to be used as prayers by them 
or us. 

3. That which those who pretend unto moderation in this 
matter plead, is, that prayer itself is a commanded duty ; but 
praying by or with a prescribed form, is only an outward 
manner and circumstance of it, which is indifferent, and may 
or may not be used as we see occasion. And might a general 
rule to this purpose be duly established, it would be of huge 
importance. But, (1.) it is an easy thing to invent and pre- 
scribe such outward forms and manner of outward worship, 
as shall leave nothing of the duty prescribed but the empty 
name. (2,) Praying before an image, or worshipping God 
or Christ by an image, is but an outward mode of worship, 
yet such as renders the whole idolatrous. (3.) Any outward 
mode of worship, the attendance whereunto, or the observ- 
ance whereof, is prejudicial unto the due performance of the 
duty whereunto it is annexed, is inexpedient; and what there 
is hereof in the present instance, must be judged from the 
preceding discourse. 










IHAT there are sundry great and eminent promises, 
referring to New Testament times, concerning the pour- 
ing out of the Spirit, none who is acquainted with the 
Scriptures, and believes them, can doubt. By tlie per- 
formance of them a church hath been begotten and 
maintained in the world, through all ages since the as- 
cension of Christ, sometimes with greater light and 
spiritual lustre, and sometimes with less. It hath been 
one of the glories of the Protestant Reformation, that it 
hath been accompanied with a very conspicuous and 
remarkable effusion of the Spirit : and indeed thereby 
there hath from heaven a seal been set, and a witness 
borne, unto that great work of God. In this invaluable 
blessing, we in this nation have had a rich and plentiful 
share ; insomuch, as it seems, Satan and his ministers 
have been tormented and exasperated thereby : and 
thence it is come to pass, that there have some risen up 
among us, who have manifested themselves to be not 
only despisers in heart, but virulent reproachers of the 
operations of the Spirit. God who knows how to bring- 
good out of evil, did for holy and blessed ends of his 
own, suffer those horrid blasphemies to be particularly 

On this occasion it was, that this great, and learned, 
and holy person, the Author of these Discourses, took 
up thoughts of writing concerning the blessed Spirit, 
and his whole economy, as I understood from himself 
sundry years ago, discoursing with him concerning some 
books then newly published, full of contumely and con- 
tempt of the Holy Spirit and his operations. For as it 
was with Paul at Athens, when he saw the city wliolly 
given to idolatry ; so was Doctor Owen's spirit stirred 



in him, when he read the scoffs and blasphemies cast 
upon the Holy Spirit, and his grace, and gifts, and aids, 
in some late writers. 

Had not Pelagius vented his corrupt opinions con- 
cerning the grace of God, it is like, the church had 
never had the learned and excellent writings of Augus- 
tine in defence thereof. It appears from Bradwardin, 
that the revival of Pelagianism in his days, stirred up 
his zealous and pious spirit to write that profound and 
elaborate book of his, ' De Causa Dei.' Arminius, 
and the Jesuits, endeavouring to plant the same weed 
again, produced the scholastic writings of Twiss and 
Ames (not to mention foreign divines), for which we 
in this generation have abundant cause of enlarged 
thankfulness unto the Father of lights. The occasion 
which the Holy Ghost laid hold on to carry forth Paul 
to write his Epistle to the Galatians (wherein the doc- 
trine of justification by faith is so fully cleared), was 
the bringing in among them of another gospel by cor- 
rupt teachers, after which many in those churches were 
soon drawn away. The obstinate adherence of many 
among the Jews to the Mosaical rites and observances, 
and the inclination of others to apostatize from the New 
Testament worship and ordinances, was in like manner 
the occasion of the Epistle to the Hebrews. The light 
which shines, and is held out in those Epistles, the 
church of Christ could ill have wanted. 

The like way and working of the wisdom of God, 
is to be seen and adored, in stirring up this learned and 
excellent person to communicate and leave unto the 
world that light, touching the Spirit and his operations, 
which he had received by that Spirit from the sacred 
oracles of truth, the Scriptures. 

To what advantage and increase of light it is per- 
formed, is not for so incompetent a pen to say as writes 
this. Nevertheless, I doubt not but the discerning- 
reader will observe such excellencies shining out in 


this, and other of this great author's writings, as do 
greatly commend tliem to the church of God, and will 
do so in after ages, however this corrupt and degenerate 
generation entertain them. They are not the crude, and 
hasty, and untimely abortions of a self-full, distem- 
pered spirit, much less the boilings over of inward cor- 
ruption and rottenness put into a fermentation ; but the 
mature, sedate, and seasonable issues of a rich maga- 
zine of learning, well digested with great exactness of 
judgment. There is in them a great light cast and re- 
flected on, as well as derived from, the Holy Scriptures, 
those inexhaustible mines of light in sacred thino-s. 
They are not filled with vain, impertinent janglino-, nor 
with a noise of multiplied futilous distinctions, nor with 
novel and uncouth terms foreign to the things of God, 
as the manner of some writers is ad nauseam iistjuc. 
But there is in them a happy and rare conjunction of 
firm solidity, enlightening clearness, and heart-search- 
ing spiritualness, evidencing themselves all along, and 
thereby approving and commending his writings to the 
judgment, conscience, spiritual taste, and experience, 
of all those who have any acquaintance with, and relish 
of, the gospel. 

On these, and such like accounts, the writings of 
this great and learned man, as also his ordinary sermons, 
if any of them shall be published (as possibly some of 
them may),willbe, while the world stands, an upbraiding 
and condemning of this generation, whose vitiated and 
ill-affected eyes could not bear so great a light set up 
and shining on a candlestick, and which did therefore 
endeavour to put it under a bushel. 

These two Discourses, with those formerly published, 
make up all that Dr. Owen perfected or designed on this 
subject of the Spirit, as the reader may perceive in the 
account which himself hath given in his prefaces to 
some of the former pieces, published by himself in his 
lifetime. Not but that there are some other lucubra- 

clviii THE PREFACE. 

tions of his on subjects nearly allied unto these, which 
possibly may be published hereafter ; viz. One enti- 
tled, ^ The Evidences of the Faith of God's Elect ;' and 
perhaps some others. What farther he might have had 
in his thoughts to do, is known to him whom he served 
so industriously and so faithfully in his spirit in the 
gospel while he was here on earth, and with whom he 
now enjoys the reward of all his labours, and all his suf- 
ferings. For certain it is concerning Dr. Owen, that as 
God gave him very transcendent abilities, so he did 
therewithal give him a boundless enlargedness of heart, 
and unsatiable desire to do service to Christ and his 
church : insomuch as he was thereby carried on, through 
great bodily weakness, languishing, and pains, besides 
manifold other trials and discouragements, to bring 
forth out of his treasury (like a scribe well instructed 
unto the kingdom of heaven) many useful and excellent 
fruits of his studies, much beyond the expectation and 
hopes of those who saw how often and how long he was 
near unto the grave. 

But while he was thus indefatigably and restlessly 
laying out for the service of Christ, in this and succeed- 
ing generations, those rich talents with which he was 
furnished, his Lord said unto him, 'Well done thou 
good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of 
thy Lord.' No man ever yet, but Jesus Christ, was 
able to finish all that was in his heart to do for God. 
On the removal of such accomplished and useful per- 
sons, I have sometimes relieved myself with this 
thought, that Christ lives in heaven still, and the 
blessed Spirit, from whom the head and heart of this 
chosen vessel were so richly replenished, liveth still. 

Nath. Mather. 

October 27, 1692. 




The Holy Ghost the Comforter of the church hy tvay of office. How he is the 
church's Advocate, John xiv. 16. 1 John ii. 1, 2. John xvi. 8 — 11. opened. 

1 HAT which remains to complete our discourses concerning 
the dispensation of the Holy Spirit, is the office and work that 
he hath undertaken for the consolation of the church. And, 
Three things are to be considered with respect unto this 
head of the grace of the gospel. I. That the Holy Spirit is 
the Comforter of the church by way of especial office. II. What 
is in that office, or wherein the discharge of it doth consist. 
III. What are the ej^ecfs of it towards believers. 

It must be granted, that there is some impropriety in 
that expression, by the 7vai/ of office. An office is not sim- 
ply, nor, it may be, properly spoken of a divine person, who 
is absolutely so and nothing else. But the like propriety is 
to be found in most of the expressions which we use con- 
cerning God, for who can speak of him aright, or as he 
ought. Only we have a safe rule whereby to express our 
conceptions ; even what he speaks of himself. And he hath 
taught us to learn the work of the Holy Ghost towards us 
in this matter, by ascribing unto him those things which 
belong unto an office among men. 

Four things are required unto the constitution of an of- 
fice. 1. An especial trust. 2. An especial mission or com- 
mission. 3. An especial name. 4. An especial work. All 
these are required unto an office properly so called ; and 
where they are complied withal by a voluntary susception 
in the person designed thereunto, an office is completely 
constituted. And we must inquire how these things in a di- 
vine manner do concur in the work of the Holy Spirit as he 
is the Comforter of the church. 

First, He is intrusted with this work, and of iiis own will 
hath taken it on himself. For when our Saviour was leaving 
of the world, and had a full prospect of all the evils, trou- 
bles, dejections, and disconsolations, which would befal his 


disciples, and knew full well that if they were left unto 
themselves, they would faint and perish under them, he gives 
them assurance that the work of their consolation and sup- 
portment was left intrusted and committed unto the Holy 
Spirit, and that he would both take care about it, and perfect 
it accordingly. 

The Lord Christ, when he left this world, was very far 
from laying aside his love unto and care of his disciples. 
He hath given us the highest assurance that he continueth 
for ever the same care, the same love and grace towards us, 
he had and exercised when he laid down his life for us. See 
Heb. iv. 14 — 16. vii. 27. But, inasmuch as there was a 
double work yet to be performed in our behalf, one towards 
God, and the other in ourselves, he hath taken a twofold 
way for the performance of it. That towards God he was 
to discharge immediately himself in his human nature : for 
-other mediator between God and man, there neither is, nor 
can be, any. This he doth by his intercession. Hence, 
there was a necessity that as to his human nature, the ' hea- 
vens should receive him unto the time of the restitution of 
all things ;' as Acts iii. 21. There w^as so, both with respect 
unto himself and us. 

First, Three things with respect unto himself, made the ex- 
altation of his human nature in heaven to be necessary. For, 

1. It was to be a pledge and token of God's acceptation 
of him, and approbation of what he had done in the world ; 
John xvi. 7, 8. For what could more declare or evidence the 
consent and delight of God in what he had done and suffered, 
than after he had been so ignominiously treated in the world, 
to receive him visibly, gloriously, and triumphantly into hea- 
ven. ' He was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, 
seen of angels,' and in the issue * received up into glory ;' 
1 Tim. iii. 16. Herein God set the great seal of heaven unto 
his work of mediation, and the preaching of the gospel which 
ensued thereon. And a testimony hereunto, was that which 
filled his enemies with rage and madness; Acts vii. 55 — 57. 
His resurrection confirmed his doctrine with undeniable ef- 
ficacy; but his assumption into heaven testified unto his 
person, with an astonishing glory. 

2. It was necessary, with respect unto the human nature 
itself, that after all its labours and suffering's it might be 


crowned with honour and glory. He was to suffer and enter 
into his glory ; Luke xxiv. 26. Some dispute whether Christ 
in his human nature merited any thing for himself or no ; but 
not to immix ourselves in the niceties of that inquiry, it is 
unquestionable that the highest glory was due to him upon 
his accomplishment of the work committed unto him in this 
world, which he therefore lays claim to accordingly ; John 
xvii. 4, 5. It was so, 

3. With respect unto the glorious administration of his 
kingdom: for as his kingdom is not of this world, so it is 
not only over this world, or the whole creation below ; the 
angels of glory, those principalities and powers above, are 
subject unto him, andbelong unto his dominion; Ej)h, i. 21. 
Phil. ii. 9, 10. Among them, attended with their ready ser- 
vice and obedience unto all his commands, doth he exercise 
the powers of his glorious kingdom. And they would but 
degrade him from his glory, without the least advantage unto 
themselves, who would have him forsake his high and glo- 
rious throne in heaven, to come and reign among them on 
the earth, unless they suppose themselves more meet attend- 
ants on his regal dignity than the angels themselves, who 
are mighty in strength and glory. 

Secondly, The presence of the human nature of Christ in 
heaven, was necessary with respect unto us. The remainder 
of his work with God on our behalf, was to be carried on by 
intercession ; Heb. vii. 26, 27. And whereas this interces- 
sion consisteth in the virtual representation of his oblation, 
or of himself as a lamb slain in sacrifice, it could not be done 
without his continual appearing in the presence of God ; 
Heb. ix. 24. 

The other part of the work of Christ respects the church 
or believers, as its immediate object. So, in particular, doth 
his comforting and supporting of them. This is that work 
which in a peculiar manner is committed and intrusted unto 
the Holy Spirit, after the departure of the human nature of 
Christ into heaven. 

But two things are to be observed concerning it; 1. 
That, whereas this whole work consisteth in the communi- 
cation of spiritual light, grace, and joy to the souls of be- 
lievers, it was no less the immediate work of the Holy Ghost 
whilst the Lord Christ was upon the ea'th, than it is now 



he is absent in heaven ; only during the time of his conver- 
sation here below in the days of his flesh, his holy disciples 
looked on him as the only spring and foundation of all their 
consolation, their only support, guide, and protector, as they 
had just cause to do. They had yet no insight into the mys- 
tery of the dispensation of the Spirit, nor was he yet so given 
or poured out, as to evidence himself and his operation unto 
their souls. Wherefore, they looked on themselves as ut- 
terly undone when their Lord and Master began to acquaint 
them with his leaving of them. No sooner did he tell them 
of it, but ' sorrow filled their hearts ;' John xvi. 6. Where- 
fore, he immediately lets them know, that this great work of 
relieving them from all their sorrows and fears, of dispelling 
their disconsolations, and supporting them under their trou- 
ble, was committed to the Holy Ghost, and would by him 
be performed in so eminent a manner, as that his departure 
from them would be unto their advantage; ver. 7. Where- 
fore, the Holy Spirit did not then first begin really and 
effectually to be the Comforter of believers upon the depar- 
ture of Christ from his disciples, but he is then first promised 
so to be upon a double account. (1.) Of the full declara- 
tion and manifestation of it. So things are often said in the 
Scripture then to be, when they do appear and are made 
manifest. An eminent instance hereof we have in this case; 
John vii. 38, 39. The disciples had hitherto looked for all 
immediately from Christ in the flesh, the dispensation of the 
Spirit being hid from them. But now this also was to be 
manifested unto them. Hence, the apostle affirms, that 
* though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet hence- 
forth we know him no more;' 2 Cor. i. 16. that is, so as to 
look for grace and consolation immediately from him in the 
flesh, as it is evident the apostles did, before they were in- 
structed in this unknown office of the Holy Ghost. (2.) Of 
the full exhibition and eminent communication of him unto 
this end. This, in every kind, was reserved for the exaltation 
of Christ, when he received the promise of the Spirit from 
the Father, and poured it out upon his disciples. 

2. The Lord Christ doth not hereby cease to be the Com- 
forter of his church. For what he doth by his Spirit, he 
doth by himself. He is with us unto the end of the world 
by his Spirit being with us, and he dwelleth in us by the Spi- 


lit dwelling in us ; and whatever else is done by the Spirit, 
is done by him. And it is so upon a threefold account: 
For, (1.) the Lord Christ, as Mediator, is God and man in 
one person, and the divine nature is to be considered in all 
his mediatory operations. For he who workeththem is God, 
and he worketh them all as God-man, whence they are The- 
andrkal. And this is proposed unto us in the greatest acts of 
his humiliation, which the divine nature in itself" is not for- 
mally capable of. So God redeemed his church with his 
own blood ; Acts xx. 28. ' Inasmuch, as he who was in the 
form of God, and thought it no robbery to be equal with 
God, humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, the 
death of the cross;' Phil. ii. 6 — 8. Now in this respect the 
Lord Christ and the Holy Spirit are one in nature, essence, 
will, and power. As he said of the Father, ' I and my Fa- 
ther are one ;' John x. 30. So it is with the Spirit, he and 
the Spirit are one. Hence all the works of the Holy Spirit 
are his also ; as his works were the works of the Father, and 
the works of the Father were his : all the operations of the 
Holy Trinity, as to things external, unto their divine subsist- 
ence, being undivided. So is the work of the Holy Spirit in 
the consolation of the church, his work also. 

(2.) Because the Holy Spirit in this condescension unto 
office, acts for Christ and in his name. So the Son acted 
for and in the name of the Father, where he every where 
ascribed what he did unto the Father in a peculiar manner. 
' The word,' saith he, ■" which you hear, is not mine, but the 
Father's which sent me ;' John xiv. 24. It is his originally 
and eminently, because as spoken by the Lord Christ, he 
was said by him to speak it. So are those acts of the Spirit, 
whereby he comforteth believers, the acts of Christ, because 
the Spirit speaketh and acteth for him, and in his name. 

(3.) All those things, those acts of light, grace, and 
mercy, whereby the souls of the disciples of Christ are com- 
forted by the Holy Ghost, are the things of Christ, that is, 
especial fruits of his mediation. So speaketh our Saviour 
himself of him and his work ; ' He shall glorify me ; for he 
shall receive of mine, and shew it unto you;' John xvi. 14. 
All that consolation, peace, and joy which he communicates 
unto believers ; yea, all that he doth in his whole work to- 
wards the elect, is but the eftectual communication of the 

M 2 


fruits of the mediation of Christ unto them. And this is the 
first thing that constitutes the office of the Comforter ; this 
work is committed and intrusted unto him in an especial 
manner, which, in the infinite condescension of his own will, 
he takes upon him. 

Secondly, It farther evinceth the nature of an office, in 
that he is said to be seiit unto the work. And mission always 
includeth commission. He who is sent is intrusted and em- 
powered as unto what he is sent about. See Psal. civ. 30. 
John xiv. 26. xv. 26. xvi. 7. The nature of this sending of 
the Spirit, and how it is spoken of him in general, hath been 
considered before in our declaration of his general adjuncts, 
or what is affirmed of him in the Scripture, and may not 
here again be insisted on. It is now mentioned only as an 
evidence to prove, that in this work of his towards us, he 
hath taken that on him which hath the nature of an office. 
For that is his office to perform which he is sent unto, and 
he will not fail in the discharge of it. And it is in itself a 
great principle of consolation unto all true believers, an ef- 
fectual means of their supportment and refreshment, to con- 
sider, that not only is the Holy Ghost their Comforter, but 
also that he is sent of the Father and the Son, so to be. Nor 
can there be a more uncontrollable evidence of the care of 
Jesus Christ over his church, and towards his disciples in all 
their sorrows and sufferings, than this is, that he sends the 
Holy Ghost to be their Comforter. 

Thirdly, He hath an especial name given him, expressing 
and declaring his office. When the Son of God was to be 
incarnate, and born in the world, he had an especial name 
given unto him ; ' He was called Jesus.' Now, although 
there was a signification in this name of the work he was to 
do; for he was called Jesus, ' because he was to save his peo- 
ple from their sins ;' Matt. i. 21. yet was it also that proper 
name whereby he was to be distinguished from other per- 
sons. So the Holy Spirit hath no other name but that of 
the Holy Spirit, which how it is characteristical of the third 
person in the Holy Trinity, hath been before declared. But 
as both the names of Jesus and of Christ, though neither of 
them is the name of an office, as one hath dreamed of late ; 
yet have respect unto the work which he had to do, and the 
office which he was to undergo, without which he could not 


have rightly been so called : so hath the Holy Ghost a name 
given unto him, which is not distinctive with respect unto 
his personality, but denominative with respect unto his work. 
And this is 6 TrapaicXrjroc. 

1. This name is used only by the apostle John, and that 
in his gospel, only from the mouth of Christ; chap. xiv. 16. 
26. XV. 26. xvi. 7. And once he useth it himself, applying it 
unto Christ, 1 John ii. 1. where we render it an advocate. 

The Syriac interpreter retains the name N{Di'?mD, Para- 
clita ; not as some imagine from the use of that word before 
among the Jews, which cannot be proved. Nor is it likely 
that our Saviour made use of a Greek word barbarouslv cor- 
rupted, DrrDDH, was the word he employed to this purpose. 
But looking on it a proper name of the Spirit with respect 
unto his office, he would not translate it. 

As this word is applied unto Christ, which it is in that 
o7ie place of 1 John ii. 1. it respects his intercession, and 
gives us light into the nature of it. That it is his interces- 
sion which the apostle intends, is evident from its relation 
unto his being our propiation. For the oblation of Christ on 
the earth, is the foundation of his intercession in heaven. 
And he doth therein undertake our patronage, as our advo- 
cate, to plead our cause, and in an especial manner to keep 
off evil from us. For, although the intercession of Christ in 
general, respects the procurement of all grace and mercy for 
us, every thing whereby we may be 'saved unto the utmost;' 
Heb. vii. 25, 26. yet his intercession for us as an advocate 
respects sin only, and the evil consequents of it. For so is 
he in this place said to be our advocate, and in this place 
alone is he said to be, only with respect unto sin : ' If any 
man sin, we have an advocate.' Wherefore, his being so, 
doth in particular respect that part of his intercession, 
wherein he undertakes our defence and protection when ac- 
cused of sin. For Satan is o Kar/j-yo/ooc, the accuser ; Rev. 
xii. 10. And when he accuseth believers for sin, Christ is 
their TrapaicXrjroc, their patron and advocate. For, according 
unto the duty of a patron or advocate in criminal causes, 
partly he sheweth wherein the accusation is false, and ag- 
gravated above the truth, or proceeds upon mistakes ; partly 
that the crimes charged have not that malice in them as is 
pretended ; and principally in pleading his propitiation for 


them, that so far as they are really guilty, they may be gra- 
ciously discharged. 

For this name is applied unto the Holy Spirit. Some 
translate it a Comforter; some an Advocate; and some retain 
the Greek word Paraclete. It may be best interpreted from 
the nature of the work assigned unto him under that name. 
Some would confine the whole work intended under this name 
unto his teaching, which he is principally promised for : for 
the matter and manner of his teaching, what he teacheth, and 
the way how he doth it, is, they say, the ground of all conso- 
lation unto the church. And there may be something in this 
interpretation of the word, taking teaching in a large sense, 
for all internal, divine, spiritual operations. So are we said to 
be taught of God when faith is wrought in us, and we are ena- 
bled to come unto Christ thereby. And all our consolations 
are from such internal, divine operations. But take teaching 
properly, and we shall see that it is but one distinct act of 
the work of the Holy Ghost as here promised among many. 

But, 2. the work of a comforter is principally ascribed 
unto him. For, (1.) that he is principally under this name 
intended as a comforter, is evident from the whole context 
and the occasion of the promise. It was with respect unto 
the troubles and sorrows of his disciples, with their relief 
therein, that he is promised under this name by our Saviour. 
' I will not,' saith he, 'leave you orphans;' chap. xiv. 18. 
Though I go away from you, yet I will not leave you in a 
desolate and disconsolate condition. How shall that be 
prevented in his absence, who was the life and spring of all 
their comforts ? Saith he, ' I will pray the Father, and he 
shall give you aWov TrapoKXrjrov ;' ver. 16. that is, ' Another 
to be your Comforter.' So he renews again his promise of 
sending him under this name, because ' sorrow had filled 
their hearts' upon the apprehension of his departure ; chap, 
xvi. 7, 8. Wherefore, he is principally considered as a Com- 
forter: and, as we shall see farther afterward, this is his 
principal work, most suited unto his nature, as he is the 
Spirit of peace, love, and joy. For he who is the eternal, 
essential love of the Divine Being, as existing in the distinct 
persons of the Trinity, is most meet to communicate a sense 
of divine love with delight and joy unto the souls of be- 
lievers. Hereby he sets up the kingdom of God in them. 


which is 'righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy 
Ghost ;' Rom. xiv. 17. And in nothing doth he so evidence 
his presence in the hearts and spirits of any, as by the dis- 
posal of them unto spiritual love and joy. For ' shedding 
abroad the love of God in our hearts,' as Rom. v. 5. He pro- 
duceth a principle and frame of divine love in our souls, and 
fills us with joy unspeakable and full of glory. The attribu- 
tion, therefore, of this name unto him, the Comforler, evi- 
denceth that he performs this work in the way of an office. 

Neither, (2.) is the signification of an advocate to be omit- 
ted, seeing what he doth as such tendeth also to the conso- 
lation of the church. And we must first observe, that the 
Holy Spirit is not our advocate with God. This belongs 
alone unto Jesus Christ, and is a part of his office. He is 
said indeed to ' make intercession with groans that cannot 
be uttered;' Rom. viii. 26. But this he doth not immedi- 
ately, nor in his own person. He no otherwise maketh interces- 
sion for us but by enabling us to make intercession according 
unto the mind of God. For to make intercession yorwa//y, 
is utterly inconsistent with the divine nature, and liis per- 
son, who hath no other nature but that which is divine. He 
is, therefore, incapable of being our advocate with God : the 
Lord Christ is so alone, and that on the account of his pre-^ 
cedent propitiation made for us. But he is an advocate for 
the church, in, with, and against the world. Such an advo- 
cate is one that undertaketh the protection and defence of 
another, as to any cause wherein he is engaged. The cause 
wherein the disciples of Christ are engaged in and against 
the world, is the truth of the gospel, the power and kingdom 
of their Lord and Master. This they testify unto ; this is op- 
posed by the world, and this, under various forms, appear- 
ances, and pretences, is that which they suffer reproaclies and 
persecutions for in every generation. In this cause the Holy 
Spirit is their advocate, justifying Jesus Christ and the gos- 
pel against the world. 

And this he doth three ways : [1.] By suggesting unto, and 
furnishing the witnesses of Christ with pleas and arguments 
to the conviction of gainsayers. So it is promised tiiat he 
should do. Matt. x. 18—20. ' And ye shall be brought before 
governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them 
and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, take no 


tliought how or what ye shall speak, for it shall be given yoa 
in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that 
speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.' 
They were to be given up, that is, delivered up as malefactors 
unto kings and rulers for their faith in Christ, and the testi- 
mony they gave unto him. In this condition the best of men 
are apt to be solicitous about their answers, and the plea they 
are to make in the defence of themselves and their cause. 
Our Saviour, therefore, gives them encouragement not only 
from the truth and goodness of their cause, but also from 
the ability they should have in pleading for it unto the con- 
viction or confusion of their adversaries. And this he tells 
them should come to pass not by any power or faculty in 
themselves, but by the aid and supply they should receive 
from this advocate, who in them would speak by them. This 
was that mouth and wisdom which he promised unto them, 
which all their adversaries should not be able to gainsay or 
resist; Luke xxi. 15. A present supply of courage, bold- 
ness, and liberty of speech, above and beyond their natural 
temper and abilities, immediately upon their receiving of 
the Holy Ghost. And their very enenues saw the effects of 
it unto their astonishment. Upon the plea they made before 
the council at Jerusalem, it is said, that ' when they saw the 
boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were 
ignorant and unlearned men, they marvelled ;' Acts iv. 13. 
They saw their outward condition, that they were poor and of 
the meanest of the people, yet carried it with courage and 
boldness before this great Sanhedrim, with whose authority 
and unusual appearance in grandeur, all persons of that sort 
were wont to be abashed and tremble at them. They found 
them ignorant and unlearned in that skill and learning which 
the world admired, yet plead their cause unto their confusion. 
They could not, therefore, but discern and acknowledge that 
there was a divine poiver present with them, which acted them 
above themselves, their state, their natural or acquired abili- 
ties. This was the work of this advocate in them who had 
undertaken the defence of their cause. So when Paul 
pleaded the same cause before Agrippa and Felix, one of 
them confessed his conviction, and the other trembled in his 

Neither hath he been wanting: unto tlie defence of the 


same cause, in the same manner, in succeedino- generations. 
All the sitory of the church is filled with instances of persons, 
mean in their outward condition, timorous by nature, and 
unaccustomed unto dangers, unlearned and low in their na- 
tural abilities, who in the face of rulers and potentates, in 
the sight of prisons, tortures, fires provided for their de- 
struction, have pleaded the cause of the gospel with coura2;e 
and success, unto the astonishment and confusion of their 
adversaries. Neither shall any disciple of Christ in the 
same case want the like assistance in some due measure and 
proportion, who expects it from him in a way of believing, 
and depends upon it. Examples we have hereof every day in 
persons acted above their own natural temper and abilities 
unto their own admiration. For being conscious unto them- 
selves of their own fears, despondencies, and disabilities, it is 
a surprisal unto them to find how all their fears have disap- 
peared, and their minds have been enlarged, when they have 
been called unto trial for their testimony unto the gospel. 
We are in such cases to make use of any reason, skill, wis- 
dom, or ability of speech which we have, or other honest 
and advantageous circumstances which present themselves 
unto us, as the apostle Paul did on all occasions. But our 
dependance is to be solely on the presence and supplies of 
our blessed advocate, who will not suffer us to be utterly de- 
fective in what is necessary unto the defence and justification 
of our cause. 

[2.] He is the advocate for Christ, the church, and tlie 
gospel, in and by his communication of spiritual gifts, both 
extraordinary and ordinary, unto them that do believe. For 
these are things, at least in their effects, visible unto the 
world. Where men are not utterly blinded by prejudice, 
love of sin, and of the world, they cannot but discern some- 
what of a divine power in these supernatural gifts. Where- 
fore, they openly testify unto the divine approbation of 
the gospel, and the faith that is in Christ Jesus. So the 
apostle confirms the truths that he had preached, by this 
argument, that therewith and thereby, or in tlie confirma- 
tion of it, the Spirit, as unto the communication of gifts, was 
received ; Gal. iii. 2. And herein is he the church's advo- 
cate, justifying their cause openly and visibly by this dispen- 
sation of his power towards them and in their behalf. Bu< 
because we have treated separately and at large of the na- 


ture and use of these spiritual gifts, I shall not here insist 
on the consideration of them. 

[3.] By internal efficacy in the dispensation of the word. 
Herein also is he the advocate of the church against the 
world, as he is declared, John xvi. 8 — 11. ' For when he is 
come he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, 
and of judgment. Of sin, because they believe not on me. 
Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me 
no more. Of judgment, because the prince of this world is 
judged.' That which is ascribed unto him with respect unto 
the world, is expressed by the word iXsy^ei : he shall reprove or 
convince : iXiy^o) in the Scripture is used variously. Some- 
times it is to manifest, or bring forth unto light. Eph. v. 13. ra 
Se iravra IXEj^ofieva viro rov ({)WTog ^avtpowrat* * For all things 
that are reproved, or discovered, are made manifest by the 
light.' And it hath the same sense, John iii. 20. Sometimes it 
is to rebuke and reprove ; 1 Tim. v. 20. tovq ajjiapTavovTag 
Ivom'tov TravT(jjv tXeyxe. ' Those that sin rebuke before all.' So 
also. Rev. iii. 19. Tit. i. 13. Sometimes it is so to convince 
as in that, to stop the mouth of an adversary, that he shall 
have nothing to answer or reply; John viii. 9. viro tJjc (twh- 
S/jflTfwc IXejxofxevoi, ' Being convicted by their own con- 
sciences, so as not having a word to reply, they deserted 
their cause. So Tit. i.9. tovq avTiXiyovrag iXiyxetv, 'To con- 
vince gainsayers,' is explained,' ver. 11. by lin(jTO}xi^Hv, 'to 
stop their mouth,' namely, by the convincing evidence of truth. 
^^Xiyxog, is an uncontrollable evidence, or an evident argu- 
ment ; Heb. xi. 1 . Wherefore, iXiy\Hv here, is by undeniable 
argument and evidence so to convince the world, or the adver- 
saries of Christ and the gospel, as that they shall have nothing 
to reply. This is the work and duty of an advocate, who 
will absolutely vindicate his client when his cause will bear it. 

And the effect hereof is twofold. For all persons upon 
such an overpowering conviction take one of these two 
ways: 1st. They yield unto the truth and embrace it, as find- 
in"- no ground to stand upon in its refusal. Or, 2ndly. They 
fly out into desperate rage and madness, as being obstinate 
in their hatred against the truth, and destitute of all reason 
to oppose it. An instance of the former way we have in those 
Jews unto whom Peter preached on the day of Pentecost. 
Reproving and convincing of them beyond all contradiction, 
• they were pricked in their hearts, and cried out. Men and 


brethren, what shall we do V and therewithal came over unto 
the faith ; Acts ii. 37. 41. Of the latter, we have many in- 
stances in the dealing of our Saviour with that people: for when 
he had atany time convinced them, and stopped their mouths 
as to the cause in hand, they called him Beelzebub, cried out 
that he had a devil, took up stones to throw at him, and con- 
spired his death with all demonstration of desperate rage and 
madness; John viii. 48. 58. x. 30, 31. 39. So it was in the 
case of Stephen, and the testimony he gave unto Christ; Acts 
vii. 56 — 58. And with Paul, Acts xxii. 22, 23. An instance 
of bestial rage not to be paralleled in any other case; but in 
this it has often fallen out in the world. And the same ef- 
fects this work of the Holy Ghost, as the advocate of the 
church, ever had, and still hath, upon the world. Many being 
convicted by him in the dispensation of the word, are really 
humbled and converted unto the faith. So God adds daily 
to the church such as shall be saved. But the generality of 
the world are enraged by the same work against Christ, the 
gospel, and those by whom it is dispensed. Whilst the 
word is preached in a formal manner, the world is well 
enough contented that it should have a quiet passage among 
them. But wherever the Holy Ghost puts forth a convincing 
efficacy in the dispensation of it, the world is enraged by 
it ; which is no less an evidence of the power of their con- 
viction, than the other is of a better success. 

The subject-matter, concerning which the Holy Ghost 
raanageth his plea by the word against the world, as the ad- 
vocate of the church, is referred unto the three heads of sin, 
righteousness, and judgment, ver. 8. the especial nature of 
them being declared, ver. 9 — 11. 

(1st.) What sin it is in particular that the Holy Spirit 
shall so plead with the world about, and convince them of, 
is declared, ver. 9. ' Of sin, because they believe not in me.' 
There are many sins whereof men may be convinced by the 
light of nature; Rom. ii. 14, 15. More that they are re- 
proved for by the letter of the law. And it is the work of 
the Spirit also in general, to make these convictions efiec- 
tual. But these belong not unto the cause vvliich he hath 
to plead for the church against the world ; nor is that such 
as any can be brought unto conviction about by the light 
of nature, or sentence of the law ; but it is the work of the 


Spirit alone by the gospel. And this, in the first place, is 
unbelief, particularly not believing in Jesus Christ, as the 
Son of God, the promised Messiah and Saviour of the world. 
This he testified concerning himself, this his works evinced 
him to be, and this both Moses and the prophets bare wit- 
ness unto : hereon he tells the Jews, that if they believed 
not that he was he, that is, the Son of God, the Messiah and 
Saviour of the world, ' they should die in their sins ; John 
viii. 5. 21 . 24. But in this unbelief, in this rejection of Christ, 
the Jews and the rest of the world justified themselves, and 
not only so, but despised and persecuted them who believed 
in him. This was the fundamental difference between be- 
lievers and the world, the head of that cause wherein they 
were rejected by it as foolish, and condemned as impious. 
And herein was the Holy Ghost their advocate : for he did 
by such undeniable evidences, arguments, and testimonies, 
convince the world of the truth and glory of Christ, and of 
the sin of unbelief, that they were every where either con- 
verted or enraged thereby. So some of them upon this con- 
viction, ' gladly received the word, and were baptized ;' Acts 
ii. 41. Others upon the preaching of the same truth by the 
apostles, ' were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay 
them ;' chap. v. 33. In this work he still continueth. And it 
is an act of the same kind whereby he yet in particular con- 
vinceth any of the sin of unbelief, which cannot be done but 
by the effectual, internal operation of his power. 

(2ndly.) He thus convinceth the world of righteousness; 
ver. 10. ' Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and 
ye see me no more.' Both the personal righteousness of 
Christ, and the righteousness of his oflace, are intended. 
For concerning both these the church hath a contest with 
the world, and they belong unto that cause wherein the 
Holy Spirit is their advocate. Christ was looked on by the 
world as an evil doer ; accused to be a glutton, a wine-bib- 
ber, a seditious person, a seducer, a blasphemer, a malefac- 
tor, in every kind; whence his disciples were both despised 
and destroyed for believing in such a one. And it is not to 
be declared how they were scorned and reproached, and 
what they suffered on this account. In the meantime they 
pleaded and gave testimony unto his righteousness, that he 
did no sin, nor was guile found in his mouth, that he ful- 


filled all righteousness, and was the Holy One of God. And 
herein was the Holy Ghost their advocate, convincing the 
world principally by this argument, that after all he did and 
suffered in this world, as the highest evidence imaginable 
of God's approbation of him and what he did, that he was 
gone to the Father, or assumed up into glory. The poor 
blind man, whose eyes were opened by him, pleaded this as 
a forcible argument against the Jews that he was no sinner, 
in that God heard him so as that he had opened his eyes ; 
whose evidence and conviction they could not bear, but it 
turned them into rage and madness ; John ix. 30 — 34. How 
much more glorious and effectual must this evidence needs 
be of hi^ righteousness and holiness, and God's approbation 
of him, that after all he did in this world, he went unto his 
Father, and was taken up into glory. For such is the mean- 
ing of those words, * Ye shall see me no more :' that is, there 
shall be an end put unto my state of humiliation, and of my 
converse with you in this world, because I am to enter into 
my glory. That the Lord Christ then went unto his Fa- 
ther, that he was so gloriously exalted, undeniable testimony 
was given by the Holy Ghost unto the conviction of the 
world. So this argument is pleaded by Peter ; Acts ii. 33. 
This is enough to stop the mouths of all the world in this 
cause, that he sent the Holy Ghost from the Father to com- 
municate spiritual gifts of all sorts unto his disciples. And 
there could be no higher evidence of his acceptance, power, 
and glory with him. And the same testimony he still con- 
tinueth in the communication of ordinary gifts in the minis- 
try of the gospel. Respect also may be had (which sense 
I would not exclude) unto the righteousness of his office. 
There ever was a great contest about the righteousness of 
the world. This the Gentiles looked after by the light 
of nature, and the Jews by the works of the law. In this 
state the Lord Christ is proposed as the ' Lord our righ- 
teousness,' as he who was to bring in, and had brought in, 
everlasting righteousness ; Dan. ix. 24. Being ' the end of 
the law for righteousness unto all that believe;' Rom. x. 4. 
This the Gentiles rejected as folly; Christ crucified was fool- 
ishness unto them ; and to the Jews it was a stumbling- 
lock, as that which everted the Svhole law : and generally, 
they all concluded, that he could not save himself, and 
therefore, it was not probable that othnrs should be saved 


by him. But herein also is the Holy Spirit the advocate of 
the church. For in the dispensation of the word, he so 
convinceth men of an impossibility for them to attain a 
righteousness of their own, as that they must either submit 
to the righteousness of God in Christ, or die in their sins. 

(3rdly.) He convinceth the ' world of judgment; because 
the prince ofthis world is judged.' Christ himself was judged 
and condemned by the world. In that judgment Satan the 
prince of this world had the principal hand ; for it was ef- 
fected in the hour, and under the power, of darkness. And 
no doubt but he hoped that he had carried his cause, when 
he had prevailed to have the Lord Christ publicly judged 
and condemned. And this judgment the world sought by 
all means to justify and make good. But the whole of it is 
called over again by the Holy Ghost pleading in the cause, 
and for the faith, of the church. And he doth it so effectu- 
ally, as that the judgment is turned on Satan himself. Judg- 
ment, with unavoidable conviction, passed on all that super- 
stition, idolatry, and wickedness, which he had filled the 
world withal. And whereas he had borne himself under va- 
rious masks, shades, and pretences, to be the god of this 
world, the supreme niler over all, and accordingly, was wor- 
shipped all the world over, he is now by the gospel laid 
open and manifested to be an accursed apostate, a mur- 
derer, and the great enemy of mankind. 

Wherefore, taking the name Paracletus in this sense for 
an advocate, it is proper unto the Holy Ghost in some part 
of his work in and towards the church. And whensoever 
we are called to bear witness unto Christ and the gospel, 
we abandon our strength and betray our cause, if we do not 
use all means appointed of God unto that end, to engage 
him in our assistance. 

But it is as a Comforter that he is chiefly promised unto 
us, and as such is he expressed unto the church by this 

Fourthly, That he hath a peculiar work committed unto 
him, suitable unto this mission, commission, and name, is 
that which will appear in the declaration of the particulars 
wherein it doth consist. For the present, we only assert, in 
general, that his work it is to support, cherish, relieve, and 
comfort the church in all trials and distresses. And this 
is all that we intend when we say that it is his office so to do. 



General adjuncts or properties of the office of a Comforter as 
exercised by the Holy Spirit. 

To evidence yet farther the nature of this office and work, 
we may consider and inquire into the general adjuncts of it 
as exercised by the Holy Spirit. And they are four. 

First, Infinite condescension. This is among those mys- 
teries of the divine dispensation which we may admire, but 
cannot comprehend. And it is the property of faith alone 
to act and live upon incomprehensible objects. What rea- 
son cannot comprehend, it will neglect as that which it hath 
no concernment in, nor can have benefit by. Faith is most 
satisfied and cherished with what is infinite and inconceiv- 
able, as resting absolutely in divine revelation. Such is 
this condescension of the Holy Ghost. He is by nature 
over all, God blessed for ever. And it is a condescension 
in the divine excellency to concern itself in a particular 
manner, in any creature whatever. God humbleth himself 
to behold the things that are done in heaven and in earth ; 
Psal. cxiii. 5, 6. How much more doth he do so in sub- 
mitting himself unto the discharge of an office in the behalf 
of poor worms here below. 

This, I confess, is most astonishing, and attended with the 
most incomprehensible rays of divine wisdom and goodness 
in the condescension of the Son. For he earned the term of 
it unto the lowest and most abject condition that a rational 
intellioent nature is capable of. So is it represented by the 
apostle; Phil. ii. 6—8. For he not only took our nature 
into personal union with himself, but became in it, in his out- 
ward condition, as a servant, yea, as a wonn and no man, a 
reproach of men, and despised of the people, and became sub- 
ject to death, the ignominious, shameful death of the cross. 
Hence this dispensation of God was filled up with infinite 
wisdom, goodness, and grace. How this exinnnition of the 
Son of God was compensated with the glory that did ensue, 
we shall rejoice in the contemplation of unto all eternity. 
And then shall the character of all divine excellencies be 


more gloriously conspicuous on this condescension of the 
Son of God, than ever they were on the works of the whole 
creation, when this goodly fabric of heaven and earth was 
brought by divine power and wisdom, through darkness and 
confusion, out of nothing. 

The condescension of the Holy Spirit unto his work and 
office is not indeed of the same kind, as to the terminus ad 
quern, or the object of it. He assumes not our nature, he ex- 
poseth not himself unto the injuries of an outward state and 
condition. But yet it is such as is more to be the object of 
our faith in adoration, than of our reason in disquisition. 
Consider the thing in itself; how one person in the Holy 
Trinity, subsisting in the unity of the same divine nature, 
should undertake to execute the love and grace of the other 
persons, and in their names: what do w^e understand of it.? 
This holy economy, in the distinct and subordinate actings 
of the divine persons in these external works, is known only 
unto, is understood only by, themselves. Our wisdom it is 
to acquiesce in express, divine revelation : nor have they 
scarcely more dangerously erred by whom these things are 
denied, than those have done, who by a proud and con- 
ceited subtilty of mind, pretend unto a conception of them, 
which they express in words and terms, as they say, precise 
and accurate ; indeed, foolish and curious, whether of other 
men's coining or their own finding out. Faith keeps the 
soul at a holy distance from these infinite depths of the di- 
vine wisdom, where it profits more by reverence and holy 
fear, than any can do by their utmost attempt to draw nigh 
unto that inaccessible light wherein these glories of the 
divine nature do dwell. 

But we may more steadily consider this condescension 
with respect unto its object; the Holy Spirit thereby be- 
comes a Comforter unto us poor, miserable worms of the earth. 
And what heart can conceive the glory of this grace ? what 
tongue can express it? Especially will its eminency appear, 
if we consider the ways and means whereby he doth so com- 
fort us, and the opposition from us which he meets withal 
therein, whereof we must treat afterward. 

Secondly, Unspeakable love accompanieth the susception 
and discharge of this office ; and that working by tenderness 
and compassion. The Holy Spirit is said to be the divine, 

AS A CO^ri-ORTER. 177 

eternal, mutual love of the Father and the Son. And al- 
though I know that much wariness is to be used in the de- 
claration of those mysteries, nor are expressions concerninj^ 
them to be ventured on not warranted by the letter of the 
Scripture, yet I j udge that this notion doth excellently express, 
if not the distinct manner of subsistence, yet the mutual, in- 
ternal operation of the persons of the blessed Trinity. For 
we have no term for, nor notion of, that ineffable compla- 
cence and eternal rest which is therein, beyond this of love. 
Hence it is said that ' God is love;' 1 John iv. 8. 16. It doth 
not seem to be an essential property of the nature of God 
only, that the apostle doth intend. For it is proposed unto 
us as a motive unto mutual love among ourselves: and this 
consists not simply in the liabit or affection of love, but in 
the actings of it in all its fruits and duties. For so is God 
love, as that the internal actings of tiie holy persons which 
are in and by the Spirit, are all the ineftable actings of love, 
wherein the nature of the Holy Spirit is expressed unto us. 
The apostle prays for the presence of the Spirit with the 
Corinthians, under the name of the God of love and peace ; 
2 Epist. xiii. 11. And the communication of the whole love 
of God unto us is committed unto the Spirit, for * the love of 
God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which 
is given unto us ;' Rom. v. 5. And hence the same apostle dis- 
tinctly mentioneth the love of the Spirit, conjoining it with 
all the effects of the mediation of Christ ; Rom. xv. 30. ' I 
beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and 
for the love of the Spirit :' I do so on the account of the 
respect you have unto Christ, and all that he hath done for 
you, which is a motive irresistible unto believers. I do it 
also for the love of the Spirit ; all that love which he acts, 
and communicates unto you. Wherefore, in all the actings 
of the Holy Ghost towards us, and especially in this of his 
susception of an office in the behalf of the church, which is 
the foundation of them all, his love is principally to be con- 
sidered, and that he chooseth this way of acting and working 
towards us to express his peculiar, personal character, as he is 
the eternal love of the Father and the Son. And among all 
his actings towards us, which are all acts of love, this is 
most conspicuous in those wherein he is a Comforter. 

Wherefore, because this is of great use unto us, as that 



which ought to have, and which will have, if duly apprehended, 
a great influence on our faith and obedience, and is, more- 
over, the spring of all the consolations we receive by and 
from him, we shall give a little evidence unto it ; namely, 
that the love of the Spirit is principally to be considered in 
this oftice, and the discharge of it. For whatever good we 
receive from any one, whatever benefit or present relief we 
have thereby, we can receive no comfort or consolation in it, 
unless we are persuaded that it proceeds from love ; and 
what doth so, be it never so small, hath refreshment and sa- 
tisfaction in it unto every ingenuous nature. It is love alone 
that is the salt of every kindness or benefit, and which takes 
out of it every thing that maybe noxious or hurtful. With- 
out an apprehension hereof, and satisfaction herein, multi- 
plied beneficial effects produce no internal satisfaction in 
them that do receive them, nor put any real engagement ou 
their minds; Prov. xxiii. 6 — 8. It is therefore of concern- 
ment unto us to secure this ground of all our consolation ; 
in the full assurance of faith, that there was infinite love in 
the susception of this office by the Holy Ghost. And it is 
evident that so it was, 

1. From the nature of the work itself. For the consola- 
tion or comforting of any who stand in need thereof, is an im- 
mediate effect of love, with its inseparable properties of pity 
and compassion. Especially it must be so where no advan- 
tage redounds unto the Comforter, but the whole of what is 
done respects entirely the good and relief of them that are 
comforted. For what other affection of mind can be the 
principle hereof, from whence it may proceed ? Persons 
may be relieved under oppression by justice, under want by 
bounty; but to comfort and refresh the minds of any, is a 
peculiar act of sincere love and compassion : so, therefore, 
must this work of the Holy Ghost be esteemed to be. I do 
not intend only that his love is eminent and discernible in it, 
but that it proceeds solely from love. And without a faith 
hereof, w° cannot have the benefit of this divine dispensa- 
tion, nor will any comforts that we receive be firm or stable. 
But when this is once graciously fixed in our minds, that 
there is not one drop of comfort or spiritual refreshment 
administered by the Holy Ghost, but that it proceeds from 
his infinite love ; then are they disposed into that frame 


which is needful to comply with him in his operations. And, 
in particular, all the acts wherein the discharge of this office 
doth consist, are all of them acts of the highest love, of that 
which is infinite, as we shall see in the consideration of them. 
2. The manner of the performance of this work is so ex- 
pressed, as to evince and expressly demonstrate that it is a 
work of love. So is it declared where he is promised unto 
the church for this work; Isa. Ixvi. 13. 'As one whom his 
mother comforteth, so will I comfort you, and ye shall be 
comforted in Jerusalem.' He whom his mother comforteth 
is supposed to be in some kind of distress : nor, indeed, is 
there any, of any kind, that may befal a child, whose mother 
is kind and tender, but she will be ready to administer unto 
him all the consolation that she is able. And how, or in 
what manner, will such a mother discharge this duty, it is 
better conceived than it can be expressed. We are not in 
things natural able to take in a conception of greater love, 
care, and tenderness, than is in a tender mother, who com- 
forts her children in distress. And hereby doth the prophet 
graphically represent unto our minds the manner whereby 
the Holy Ghost dischargeth this office towards us. Neither 
can a child contract greater guilt, or manifest a more depraved 
habit of mind, than to be regardless of the affections of a 
mother endeavouring its consolation. Such children may, 
indeed, sometimes, through the bitterness of their spirits, 
by their pains and distempers, be surprised into frowardness, 
and a present regardlessness of the mother's kindness and 
compassion, which they know full well how to bear withal. 
But if they continue to have no sense of it, if it make no im- 
pression upon them, they are of a profligate constitution. 
And so it may be sometimes with believers ; they may by 
surprisals into spiritual frowardness, by weakness, by unac- 
countable despondencies, be regardless of divine influences 
of consolation. But all these things the greatComforter will 
bear with and overcome. See Isa. Ivii. 15 — 20. ' For thus 
saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose 
name is Holy, I dwell in the high and holy place; with him 
also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spi- 
rit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. 
For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always 
wroth : for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls 

N 2 


which 1 have made. For tlie iniquity of his covetousness 
was 1 wroth, and smote him: I hid me, and was wroth, and 
he went on frowardly in the way of his heart. I have seen his 
ways, and will heal him ; I will lead him also, and restore 
comforts unto him, and to his mourners. I create the fruit 
of the lips ; Peace, peace, to him that is far off, and to him 
that is near, saith the Lord; and I will heal him.' Where 
persons are under sorrows and disconsolations upon the ac- 
count of pains and sickness, or the like, in a design of com- 
fort towards them, it will yet be needful sometimes to make 
use of means and remedies that may be painful and vexa- 
tious. And these may be apt to irritate and provoke poor, 
wayward patients. Yet is not a mother discouraged hereby, 
but proceeds on in her way, until the cure be effected, and 
consolation administered. So doth God by his Spirit deal 
with his church. His design is ' to revive the spirit of the 
humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones ;' ver. 15. 
And he gives this reason of it, namely, that if he should not 
act in infinite love and condescension towards them, but 
deal with them after their deservings, they would utterly be 
consumed ; the spirit would fail before him, and the souls 
which he had made; ver. 16. However, in the pursuit of this 
work, he must use some sharp remedies that were needful 
for the curing of their distempers, and their spiritual reco- 
very. Because of their iniquity, the iniquity of their covet- 
ousness, which was the principal disease they laboured 
under, he was wroth and smote them, and hid his face from 
them, because his so doing was necessary to their cure ; 
ver. 17. And how do they behave themselves under this 
dealing of God with them? They grow peevish and froward 
under his hand, choosing rather to continue in their disease, 
than to be thus healed by him ; ' they went on frowardly in 
the way of their hearts ;' ver. 17. How, therefore, doth this 
Holy Comforter now deal with them? Doth he give them up 
unto their frowardness ? Doth he leave and forsake them 
under their distemper? No, a tender mother will not so deal 
with her children. He manageth his work with that infinite 
love, tenderness, and compassion, as that he will overcome 
all their frowardness, and cease not until he hath effectually 
administered consolation unto them; ver. 18. ' I have seen,' 
saith he, all these ' his ways,' all his frowardness and mis- 


carriages, and yet, saith he, ' I will heal him;' I will not lor 
all this be diverted from my work and the pursuit of my de- 
sign ; before I have done, I will lead him into a right frame, 
'and restore comforts unto him.' And that there may be no 
failure herein, I will do it by a creating act of power; ver. 19. 
'I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace.' This is the 
method of the Holy Ghost in administering consolation unto 
the church, openly evidencing that love and compassion from 
whence it doth proceed. And without this method should 
no one soul be ever spiritually refreshed under its dejections. 
For we are apt to behave ourselves frowardly, more or less, 
under the work of the Holy Ghost towards us. Infinite love 
and compassion alone, working by patience and long-suffer- 
ing, can carry it on unto perfection. But if we are not only 
froward under particular occasions, temptations, and surpri- 
sals, clouding our present view of the Holy Spirit in his 
work, but are also habitually careless and negligent about 
it, and do never labour to come under satisfaction in it, but 
always indulge unto the peevishness and frowardness of un- 
belief, it argues a most depraved unthankful frame of heart, 
wherein the soul of God cannot be well pleased. 

3. It is an evidence that his work proceedeth from, and 
is wholly managed in, love, in that we are cautioned not to 
grieve him ; Eph. iv. 30. And a double evidence of the great- 
ness of his love herein is tendered unto us in that caution. 
(1.) In that those alone are subject to be grieved by us, who 
act in love towards us. If we comply not with the will and 
rule of others, they may be provoked, vexed, instigated unto 
wrath against us. But those alone who love us, are grieved 
at our miscarriages. A severe schoolmaster may be more 
provoked with the fault of his scholar, than the father is ; 
but the father is grieved with it, when the other is not. 
Whereas, therefore, the Holy Spirit is not subject or liable 
unto the affection of grief, as it is a passion in us, we are 
cautioned not to grieve him, namely, to teach us with what 
love and compassion, with what tenderness and holy delight, 
he performs his work in us and towards us. (2.) It is so in 
that he hath undertaken the work of comforting them who 
are so apt and prone to grieve him, as for the most part we 
are. The great work of the Lord Christ was to die lor us. 
But that which puts an eminence on his love, is, that he 


died for us whilst we^were yet his enemies, sinners, and un- 
godly ; Rom. V. 6—8. And as the work of the Holy Ghost 
is to comfort us, so a lustre is put upon it by this, that he 
comforts those who are very prone to grieve himself. For 
although, it may be, we will not through a peculiar affection, 
hurt, molest, or grieve them again by whom we are grieved; 
yet who is it that will set himself to comfort those that grieve 
him, and that when so they do. But even herein the Holy 
Ghost commendeth his love unto us, that even whilst we 
grieve him, by his consolations he recovers us from those 
ways wherewith he is grieved. 

This, therefore, is to be fixed as an important principle in 
this part of the mystery of God, that the principal founda- 
tion of the susception of this office of a Comforter by the 
Holy Spirit, is his own peculiar and ineffable love. For both 
the efficacy of our consolation and the life of our obedience 
do depend hereon. For when we know that every acting of 
the Spirit of God towards us, every gracious impression from 
him on our understandings, wills, or affections, are all of them 
in pursuit of that infinite, peculiar love whence it was that 
he took upon him the office of a Comforter, they cannot but 
all of them influence our hearts with spiritual refreshments. 
And when faith is defective in this matter, that it doth not 
exercise itself in the consideration of this love of the Holy 
Ghost, we shall never arrive unto solid, abiding, strong con- 
solation. And as for those by whom all these things are de- 
spised and derided, it is no strait unto me whether I should 
renounce the gospel or reject them from an interest in Chris- 
tianity, for the approbation of both is inconsistent. Moreover, 
it is evident how great a motive hence ariseth unto cheerful, 
watchful, universal obedience. For all the actings of sin or 
unbelief in us, are, in the first place, re-actions unto those of 
the Holy Ghost in us and upon us. By them is he resisted 
in his persuasions, quenched in his motions, and himself 
grieved. If there be any holy ingenuity in us, it will excite 
a vigilant diligence not to be overtaken with such wicked- 
nesses against unspeakable love. He will walk both safely 
and fruitfully whose soul is kept under a sense of the love 
of the Holy Spirit herein. 

Thirdly, Infinite power, is also needful unto, and accord- 
ingly evident in, the discharge of this office. This we have 


fixed, that the Holy Ghost is and ever was the Comforter of 
the church. Whatever, therefore, is spoken thereof, belongs 
peculiarly unto him. And it is expressed as proceeding from 
and accompanied with infinite power, as also the considera- 
tion of persons and things declare it necessary that so it 
should be. Thus we have the church's complaint in a deep 
disconsolation : ' My way is hid from the Lord, and my j udg- 
ment is passed over from my God;' Isa. xl. 27. It is not 
so much her affliction and miseries, as an apprehension that 
God regarded her not therein, which causeth her dejection. 
And when this is added unto any pressing trouble, whether 
internal cr external, it doth fully constitute a state of spiri- 
tual disconsolation. For when faith can take a prospect of 
the love, care, and concernment of God in us and our condi- 
tion, however grievous things may be at present unto us, yet 
can we not be comfortless. And what is it that in the con- 
solation which God intendeth his church, he would have them 
to consider in himself as an assured ground of relief and 
refreshment? This he declares himself in the following verses : 
ver. 28 — 31. * Hast thou not known, hast thou not heard, that 
the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth, 
fainteth not, nor is weary,' &c. The church seemetli not at 
all to doubt of his power,but of his love, care, and faithfulness 
towards her. But it is his infinite power that he chooseth 
first to satisfy her in, as that which all his actings towards 
her were founded in and resolved into, without a due consi- 
deration whereof all that otherwise could be expected would 
not yield her relief. And this being fixed on their minds, 
he next proposeth unto them his infinite understanding and 
wisdom ; ' there is no searching of his understanding.' Con- 
ceive aright of his infinite power, and then leave things unto 
his sovereign, unsearchable wisdom for the management of 
them as to ways, degrees, times, and seasons. An apprehen- 
sion of want of love and care in God towards them, was 
that which immediately caused their disconsolation; but the 
ground of it was in their unbelief of his infinite power and 
wisdom. Wherefore, in the work of the Holy Ghost'for the 
comforting of the church, his infinite power is peculiarly to 
be considered. So the apostle proposeth it unto the weakest 
believers for their supportment, and that which should as- 
sure them of the victory in their conflict, that ' greater is he 


that is in them, than he that is in the world ;' 1 John iv. 4. 
That Holy Spirit which is bestowed on them, and dvvelleth 
in them, is greater, more able and powerful, than Satan that 
attempts their ruin in and by the world, seing he is of power 
omnipotent. Thoughts of our disconsolation arise from the 
impressions that Satan makes upon our minds and con- 
sciences by sin, temptation, and persecution. For we find 
not in ourselves such an ability of resistance as from whence 
we may have an assurance of a conquest. This, saith the apo- 
stle, you are to expect from the pov/er of the Holy Spirit, 
which is infinitely above whatever Satan hath, to make oppo- 
sition unto you, or to bring any disconsolation on you. This 
will cast out all that fear which hath torment accompanying 
of it. And however this may be disregarded by them who 
are filled with an apprehension of their own self-sufficiency, 
as unto all the ends of their living and obedience unto God ; 
as likewise, that they have a never-failing spring of rational 
considerations about them, able to administer all necessary 
relief and comfort at all times: yet those who are really 
sensible of their own condition, and that of other believers, 
if they understand what it is to be comforted with the con- 
solation of God, and how remote they are from those delu- 
sions which men embrace under the name of their rational 
considerations, will grant that the faith of infinite power is 
requisite unto any solid, spiritual comfort. For, 

1. Who can declare the dejections, sorrows, fears, de- 
spondencies, and discouragements that believers are obnox- 
ious unto, in the great variety of their natures, causes, ef- 
fects, and occasions? What relief can be suited unto them, 
but what is an emanation from infinite power ? Yea, such 
is the spiritual frame and constitution of their souls, as that 
they will oft-times reject all means of comfort that are not 
communicated by an almighty efficacy. Hence God creates 
'the fruit of the lips. Peace, peace ;' Isa. Ivii. 20. produceth 
peace in the souls of men by a creating act of his power; 
and directs us, in the place before mentioned, to look for it 
only from the infinite excellency of his nature : none, there- 
fore, was meet for this work of being the church's Com- 
forter, but the Spirit of God alone. He only by his al- 
mighty power can remove all their fears, and support them 
under all their dejections, in all that variety wherewith they 


are attempted and exercised. Nothing but omnipotence 
itself is suited to obviate those innumerable disconsolations 
that we are obnoxious unto. And those whose souls are 
pressed in earnest with them, and are driven from all the re- 
liefs which not only carnal security and stout-heartedness 
in adversity do offer, but also from all those lawful diver- 
sions Avhich the world can administer, will understand that 
true consolation is an act of the exceeding greatness of the 
power of God, and without which it will not be wrought. 

2. The means and causes of their disconsolation, direct 
unto the same spring of their comfort. Whatever the power 
of hell, of sin, and the world, separately or in conjunction 
can effect, it is all levelled against the peace and comfort of 
believers. Of how great force and efficacy they are in their 
attempts to disturb and ruin tliem ; by what various ways 
and means they work unto that end, would require great 
enlargement of discourse to declare. And yet when we 
have used our utmost diligence in an inquiry after them, 
we shall come short of a full investigation of them ; yea, it 
may be, of what many individual persons find in their own ex- 
perience. Wherefore, with respect unto one cause and prin- 
ciple of disconsolation, God declares that it is he who com- 
forteth his people; Isa. li. 12—15. 'I, even I, am he that 
comforteth you : who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid 
of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall 
be made as grass ; and forgettest the Lord thy Maker, that 
hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations 
of the earth ; and hast feared continually every day, be- 
cause of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to de- 
stroy ? And where is the fury of the oppressor ? iThe cap- 
tive exile hasteneth that he may be loosed, and that he 
should not die in the pit, nor that his bread should fail. 
But I am the Lord thy God, that divided the sea, whose 
waves roared: the Lord of hosts is his name.' He sees it 
necessary to declare his infinite power, and to express in 
sundry instances the effects thereof. 

Wherefore, if we take a view of what is the state and con- 
dition of the church in itself, and in the world : how weak 
is the faith of most believers ! How great their fears ! How 
many their discouragements ! As also, with how great temp- 
tations, calamities, oppositions, persecutions, they are ex- 


ercised ! How vigorously and sharply these things are se 
on upon their spirits, according unto all advantages inward 
and outward, that their spiritual adversaries can lay hold 
upon ? It will be manifest how necessary it was that their 
consolation should be intrusted with him with whom infinite 
power doth always dwell. And if our own inward or out- 
ward peace seems to abate of the necessity of this conside- 
ration, it may not be amiss by the exercise of faith herein, 
to lay in provision for the future, seeing we know not what 
may befal us in the world. And should we live to see the 
church in storms, as who knows but we may, our principal 
supportment will be, that our Comforter is of almighty power, 
wonderful in counsel, and excellent in operation. 

Fourthly, This dispensation of the Spirit is unchange- 
able. Unto whomsoever he is given as a Comforter, he abides 
with them for ever. This our Saviour expressly declares in 
the first promise he made of sending him as a Comforter in 
a peculiar manner. John xiv. 16. 'I will pray the Father, 
and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide 
with you for ever.' The moment of this promise lieth in his 
unchangeable continuance with the church. There was in- 
deed a present occasion rendering necessary this declara- 
tion of the unchangeableness of his abode. For in all this 
discourse, our Saviour was preparing the hearts of his dis- 
ciples for his departure from them, which was now at hand. 
And whereas he lays the whole of the relief which in that 
case he would afford unto them, upon his sending of the 
Holy Ghost, he takes care not only to prevent an objection 
which might arise in their minds about this dispensation of 
the Spirit, but also in so doing to secure the faith and con- 
solation of the church in all ages. For as he himself, who 
had been their immediate, visible comforter during the whole 
time of his ministry among them, was now departing from 
them, and that so, as that the heavens were to receive him 
until the time of the restitution of all things, they might be 
apt to fear that this Comforter who was now promised unto 
theiu might continue also only for a season, whereby they 
should be reduced unto a new loss and sorrow. To assure 
their minds herein, our Lord Jesus Christ lets them know 
that this other Comforter should not only always continue 
with thein unto the ends of their lives, work, and ministry. 


but abide with the church absolutely unto the consumma- 
tion of all things. He is now given in an eternal and un- 
changeable covenant; Isa. lix. 21. and he can no more de- 
part from the church, than the everlasting, sure covenant of 
God can be abolished. 

But it may be objected, by such as really inquire into 
the promises of Christ, and after their accomplishment, for 
the establishment of their faith ; whence it i';, that if the 
Comforter abide always with the church, that so great a 
number of believers do in all ages spend, it may be, the 
greatest part of their lives in troubles and disconsolation, 
having no experience of the presence of the Holy Ghost 
with them as a Comforter. But this objection is not of force 
to weaken our faith as unto the accomplishment of this pro- 
mise. For, 

1. There is in the promise itself, a supposition of trou- 
bles and disconsolations thereon to befal the church in all 
ages. For with respect unto them it is that the Comforter 
is promised to be sent. And they do but dream who fancy 
such a state of the church in this world, as wherein it should 
be accompanied with such an assurance of all inward and 
outward satisfaction, as scarce to stand in need of this office 
or work of the Holy Ghost. Yea, the promise of his abid- 
ing with us for ever as a Comforter, is an infallible predic- 
tion that believers in all ages shall meet with troubles, sor- 
rows, and disconsolation. 

2. The accomplishment of Christ's promises dotli not 
depend as to its truth upon our experience, at least not on 
what men sensibly feel in themselves under their distresses, 
much less on what they express with some mixture of unbe- 
lief. So we observed before from that place of the prophet 
concerning the church; Isa. xli. 27. that her 'way was hid- 
den from the Lord, and her judgment passed over from her 
God.' As she complained also, * The Lord hath forsaken 
me, and ray Lord hath forgotten me;' chap. xlix. 14. But 
yet in both places God convinceth her of her mistake, and 
that indeed her complaint was but a fruit of unbelief. And 
so it is usual in great distresses, when persons are so swal- 
lowed up with sorrow, or overwhelmed with anguish, that 
they are not sensible of the work of the Holy Ghost in their 


3. He is a Comforter unto all believers at all times, and 
on all occasions wherein they really stand in need of spi- 
ritual consolation. But yet if we intend to have expe- 
rience of his work herein, to have the advantage of it, or 
benefit by it, there are sundry things required of ourselves 
in a way of duty. If we are negligent herein, it is no won- 
der if we are at a loss for those comforts which he is willing 
to administer. Unless we understand aright the nature of 
spiritual consolations, and value them both as sufficient and 
satisfactory, we are not like to enjoy them, at least not to 
be made sensible of them. Many under their troubles sup- 
pose there is no comfort but in their removal: and know not 
of any relief in their.sorrow, but in the taking away of their 
cause. At best they value any outw^ard relief before internal 
supports and refreshments. Such persons can never receive 
the consolation of the Holy Spirit unto any refreshing ex- 
perience. To look for all our comforts from him, to value 
those things wherein his consolations do consist, above all 
earthly enjoyments, to wait upon him in the use of all means 
for the receiving of his influences of love and grace, to be 
fervent in prayer for his presence with us, and the manifes- 
tation of his grace, are required in all those towards whom 
he dischargeth this office. And whilst we are found in these 
ways of holy obedience and dependence, we shall find him a 
Comforter, and that for ever. 

These things are observable in the office of the Holy 
Ghost, in general, as he is the Comforter of the church, and 
the manner of his discharge thereof. What is farther con- 
siderable unto the guidance of our faith, and the participa- 
tion of consolation with respect hereunto, will be evident in 
the declaration of the particulars that belong thereunto. 



Unto whom the Holy Spirit is promised and given as a Comforter ; or 
the object of his acting in this office. 

We have considered the promise of Christ to send the Holy 
Spirit to be the Comforter of the church, and unto that end 
to abide with them for ever. The nature also of that office 
and work in general, which hei'eon he undertakes and dis- 
chargeth, with the properties of them, have been declared. 
Our next inquiry is, unto whom this promise is made, and 
towards whom it is infallibly fulfilled. How, and unto what 
ends, in what order, as unto his effects and operations, the 
Holy Spirit is promised unto any persons and received by 
them, hath been already declared in our former Discourses, 
book 4. chap. 3. We shall, therefore, here only declare in 
particular, who he is promised unto and received by, as a 
Comforter. And this is to all, and only unto, believers ; 
those who are actually so. All his operations required unto 
the making of them so to be, are antecedent hereunto. For 
the promise of him unto this end, wherever it is recorded, is 
made directly unto them, and unto them it is confined. Im- 
mediately it was given unto the apostles ; but it was not 
given unto them as apostles, but as believers and disciples 
of Christ, with a particular respect unto the difficuUies and 
causes of disconsolation which they were under, or should 
meet withal, upon the account of their being so. See the 
promises unto this purpose expressly, John xiv. 16, 17. Q6. 
XV. 26. xvi. 7, 8. And it is declared withal that the world, 
which in that place is opposed unto them that do believe, 
cannot receive him; chap. xiv. 17. Other effectual opera- 
tions he hath upon the world, for their conviction, and the 
-conversion of many of them. But as a Spirit of consolation 
he is neither promised unto them, nor can they receive him, 
until other gracious acts of his have passed on their souls. 
Besides, we shall see that all his actings and effects as a 
Comforter, are confined unto them that believe, and do all 
suppose saving faith, as antecedent unto them. 

And this is the great fundamental privilege of true be- 
lievers, whereby, through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, 


they are exalted above all other persons in this world. And 
this will the more evidently appear, when we shall consider 
those especial Operations, acts, and effects whereby consola- 
tion is administered unto them. That the life of man is the 
subject of innumerable troubles is made evident and uncon- 
trollable by catholic experience. That 'man is born to 
trouble as the sparks fly upward,' has been the constant ac- 
knowledgment of all that have been wise in all ages. And 
those who have designed to drown the sense of them in se- 
curity and sensuality of life, have been ever looked on as 
greatly exorbitant from the principles of nature and dictates 
of reason, voluntarily degenerating into the condition of 
creatures brutish and irrational. Others who will not forego 
the privilege of their being, have always made it a principal 
inquiry, how or whence they might take and receive relief 
and comfort for their supportment against their unavoidable 
troubles, sorrows, and disconsolation. Yea, it is natural 
and necessary unto all men so to do. All men cannot but 
seek after rest and peace, not only out of choice, but instinct 
of nature, trouble and sorrow being diametrically contrary 
unto it in its being, and tending unto its dissolution. Where- 
fore, they all naturally seek for consolation. Hence the 
best and most useful part of the old philosophy consisted in 
the prescription of the ways and means of comforting and 
supporting the minds of men against things noxious and 
grievous to nature, with the sorrows which ensue thereon. 
And the topics they had found out unto this purpose, were 
not to be despised, where men are destitute of spiritual light 
and supernatural revelation. Neither did the wisdom or rea- 
son of man ever arise unto any thing more useful in this 
world, than to discover any rational considerations that 
might allay the sorrows, or relieve the minds, of them that 
are disconsolate. For things that are really grievous unto 
the generality of mankind, do outweigh all the real satisfac- 
tion which this life and world can afix)rd. And to place 
either satisfaction or relief in the pursuit of sensual lusts, is 
brutish. But yet what did all the spring and well-heads of 
rational and philosophical consolation rise unto ? what re- 
freshment did their streams afford ? The utmost they attain- 
ed unto, was but to confirm and make obstinate the minds 
of rtfen, in a fancy, an opinion, or persuasion, contrary unto 


what they felt and had experience of. For what they con- 
tended for, was but this, that the consideration of the com- 
mon lot of mankind, the unavoidableness of grieving acci- 
dents, the shortness of human life, the true exercise of j^son 
upon more noble objects, with others of the like Uaiire, 
should satisfy men that the things which they endured were 
not evil or grievous. But what doth all this amount unto 
in comparison of this privilege of believers, of this provision 
made for them in all their disconsolations, by him in whom 
they do believe. This is a relief that never entered into the 
heart of man to think of or conceive. Nor can it be under- 
stood by any but those by whom it is enjoyed. For the 
world, as our Saviour testifies, neither knovveth this Spirit 
nor can receive him. And, therefore, what is spoken of him 
and this work of his, is looked on as a fancy or the shadow 
of a dream. And, although, the Sun of righteousness be 
risen in this matter, and shine on all that dwell in the land 
of Goshen, yet those that abide still in Egypt make use only 
of their lanterns. But those who are really partakers of 
this privilege, do know in some measure, what they do en- 
joy, although they are not able to comprehend it in its ex- 
cellency, nor value it in a due manner : for how can the heart 
of man, or our poor, weak understandings, fully conceive this 
glorious mystery of sending the Holy Ghost to be our Com- 
forter; only they receive it by faith, and have experience of 
it in its effects. There is, in my judgment, an unspeakable 
privilege of those who are believers antecedent unto their 
believing as they are elect; namely, that Christ died in their 
stead alone. But this is like the wells which Isaac's servant 
digged, that the Philistines strove about, as those which be- 
longed unto them, which though fresh useful springs in 
themselves, caused them to be called Esek and Sitna. 
Mighty strivings there are to break down the inclosure of 
this privilege, and lay it common unto all the world, that is 
indeed waste and useless. For it is contended, that the 
Lord Christ died equally for all and every one of mankind, 
for believers and unbelievers, for those that are saved and 
those that are damned. And to this purpose many pretences 
are pleaded to shew how the most of them for whom Christ 
died, have no real benefit by his death, nor is any thing re- 


quired in them to evidence that they have an interest there- 
in. But this privilege we now treat of, is like the well Re- 
hoboth, Isaac kept it unto himself, and the Philistines strove 
not about it. None contend that the Spirit is a Comforter 
unto any but believers : therefore, is it by the world despised 
and reproached, because they have no interest in it, nor 
have the lest pretence to strive about it. Did believers, 
therefore, duly consider how they are advanced hereby 
through the love and care of Jesus Christ into an inexpres- 
sible dignity above the residue of mankind, they would more 
rejoice in it than in all that this world can supply them 
withal. But we must proceed. 

It appears from what hath been discoursed, that this is 
not the first saving work of the Holy Spirit on the souls of 
men. Regeneration and habitual sanctification do always 
precede it. He comforteth none but those whom he hath be- 
fore sanctified. Nor are any other but such capable of his 
consolations. There is nothing in them that can discern his 
acting, or value what he doth of this kind. And this is the 
true reason why the whole work of the Holy Spirit as a Com- 
forter, wherein consists the accomplishment of the most glo- 
rious promise that ever Christ made to his church, and the 
greatest evidence of his continued care thereof, is so neg- 
lected, yea, despised amongst the generality of professed 
Christians. A great evidence of the apostatized state of Chris- 
tianity. They can have no concern in any work of his but 
in its proper order. If men be not first sanctified by him, 
they can never be comforted by him. And they will them- 
selves prefer in their troubles any natural reliefs, before the 
best and highest of his consolations. For, however they may 
be proposed unto them, however they may be instructed in the 
nature, ways, and means, of them, yet they belong not unto 
them ; and why should they value that which is not theirs ? 
The world cannot receive him. He worketh on the world 
for conviction, John xvi. 8. and on the elect for conversion ; 
John iii. 8. But none can receive him as a Comforter, but 
believers. Therefore, is this whole work of the Holy Spirit 
little taken notice of by the most, and despised by many. 
Yet is it never the less glorious in itself, being fully de- 
clared in the Scripture, nor the less useful to the church, 


being testified unto by the experience of them that truly 

That which remaineth for the full declaration of this of- 
fice and work of the Holy Ghost, is the consideration of 
those acts of his which belong properly thereunto, and of 
those privileges whereof believers are made partakers thereby. 
And whereas many blessed mysteries of evangelical truth 
are contained herein, they would require much time and di- 
ligence in their explanation. But as to the most of them, 
according unto the measure of light and experience which I 
have attained, I have prevented myself the handling of them 
in this place. For I have spoken already unto most of them 
in two other discourses, the one concerning the perseverance 
of true believers, and the other of our communion with God, 
and of the Holy Spirit in particular. As, therefore, I shall 
be sparing in the repetition of what is already in them pro- 
posed unto public view, so it is not much that I shall add 
thereunto. Yet what is necessary unto our present design, 
must not be wholly omitted, especially seeing I find that 
farther light and evidence may be added unto our former 
endeavours in this kind. 




Inhabitation of the Spirit, the first thing promised. 

The first thing whicli the Comforter is promised for unto 
believers, is, that he should dwell in them, which is their 
great fundamental privilege, and whereon all other do de- 
pend. This, therefore, must in the first place be inquired 

The inhabitation of the Spirit in believers, is among 
those things which we ought, as to the nature or being of it, 
firmly to believe ; but as to the manner of it cannot fully 
conceive. Nor can this be the least impeachment of its 
truth unto any who assent unto the gospel, wherein we have 
sundry things proposed as objects of our faith, which our 
reason cannot comprehend. We shall, therefore, assert no 
more in this matter, but what the Scripture directly and ex- 
pressly goeth before us in. And where we have the express 
letter of the Scripture for our warrant, we are eternally safe, 
whilst we aSix no sense thereunto that is absolutely repug- 
nant unto reason, or contrary unto more plain testimonies 
in other places. Wherefore to make plain what we intend 
herein, the ensuing observations must be premised. 

First, This personal inhabitation of the Holy Spirit in 
believers, is distinct and different from his essential omni- 
presence, whereby he is in all things. Omnipresence is es- 
sential ; inhabitation is personal. Omnipresence is a ne- 
cessary property of his nature, and so not of him as a dis- 
tinct person in the trinity, but as God essentially, one and 
the same in being and substance with the Father and the 
Son. To be every where, to fill all things, to be present with 
them, or indistant from them» always equally existing in the 
power of an infinite being, is an inseparable property of the 
divine nature as such. But this inhabitation is personal, or 
what belongs unto him distinctly as the Holy Ghost. Be- 
sides it is voluntary, and that which might not have been, 
whence it is the subject of a free promise of God, and wholly 
depends on a free act of the will of the Holy Spirit himself. 

Secondly, It is not a presence by virtue of a metonymical 


denomination, or an expression of the cause for the effect, 
that is intended. The meaning of this promise, 'Tlie Spirit 
shall dwell in you,' is not, he shall work graciously in you ; 
for this he can without any especial presence. Beino- es- 
sentially every where, he can work where and how hepleaseth, 
without any especial presence. But it is the Spirit himself 
that is promised, and his presence in an especial manner, 
and an especial manner of that presence ; ' he shall be in you, 
and dwell in you,' as we shall see. The only inquiry in this 
matter is, whether the Holy Spirit himself be promised unto 
believers, or only his grace, which we shall immediately in- 
quire into. 

Thirdly, The dwelling of the person of the Holy Spirit 
in the persons of believers, of w hat nature soever it be, doth 
not effect a personal union between them. That whicli we 
call a personal union, is the union of divers natures in the 
same person, and there can be but one person by virtue of 
this union. Such is the hypostatical union in the person of 
the Son of God. It was our nature he assumed, and not the 
person of any. And it was impossible he should so assume 
any more but in one individual instance : for if he could 
have assumed another individual being of our nature, then 
it must differ personally from that which he did assume. 
For there is nothing that differs one man from another, but 
a distinct personal subsistence of each. And it implies the 
highest contradiction, that the Son of God could be hypos- 
tatically united unto more than one : for if they are more 
than one, they must be more persons than one : and many 
persons cannot be hypostatically united, for that is to be one 
person and no more. There may be a manifold union, mys- 
tical and moral, of divers, of many persons, but a personal 
union there cannot be of any thing but of distinct natures. 
And as the Son of God could not assume many persons, so 
supposing that human nature which he did unite to himself 
to have been a person, that is, to have had a distinct sub- 
sistence of its own antecedent unto its union, and there 
could have been no personal union between it and the Son 
of God. For the Son of God was a distinct person ; and if 
the human nature had been so too, there would have been 
two persons still, and so no personal union. Nor can it be 
said, that although the human nature of Christ was a person 

o 2 


in itself, yet it ceased so to be upon its union with the di- 
vine ; and so two persons were conjoined and compounded 
into one. For if ever human nature have in any instance a- 
personal subsistence of its own, it cannot be separated from 
it without the destruction and annihilation of the individual. 
For to suppose otherwise, is to make it to continue what it 
was, and not what it was; for it is what it is, distinct from 
all other individuals, by virtue of its personality. Where- 
fore, upon this inhabitation of the Spirit, wherein soever it 
doth consist, there is no personal union ensuing between him 
and believers, nor is it possible that any such thing should 
be. For he and they are distinct persons, and must eter- 
nally abide so whilst their natures are distinct. It is only 
the assumption of our nature into union with the Son of God, 
antecedent unto any individual, personal subsistence of its 
own, that can constitute such a union. 

Fourthly, The union and relation that ensues on this in- 
habitation of the Spirit, is not immediate between him and 
believers, but between them and Jesus Christ. For he is 
sent to dwell in them by Christ, in his name, as his Spirit, 
to supply his room in love and grace towards them, making 
use of his things in all his effects and operations unto his 
glory. Hence, I say, is the union of believers with Christ 
by the Spirit, and not with the Spirit himself. For this 
Holy Spirit dwelling in the human nature of Christ, mani- 
festing and acting himself in all fulness therein, as hath been 
declared, being sent by him to dwell in like manner, and act 
in a limited measure in all believers, there is a mystical union 
thence arising between them, whereof the Spirit is the bond 
and vital principle. 

On these considerations, I say, it is the person of the 
Holy Ghost that is promised unto believers, and not only the 
effects of his grace and power, and his person it is that al- 
ways dwelleth in them. And as this, on the one hand, is an 
argument of his infinite condescension in complying with 
this part of his office and work, to be sent by the Father and 
Son to dwell in believers, so it is an evident demonstration 
of his eternal deity, that the one and self-same person should 
at the same time inhabit so many thousands of distinct per- 
sons as are, or were at any time, of believers in the world ; 
which is fondness to imagine concerning any one that is not 


absolutely infinite. And, therefore, that which some oppose 
as unmeet for him, and beneath his glory, namely, this his 
inhabitation in the saints of God, is a most illustrious and 
incontroUable demonstration of his eternal glory. For none 
but he who is absolutely immense in his nature and omni- 
presence, can be so present with, and indistant from, all be- 
lievers in the world ; and none but he whose person by vir- 
tue of his nature is infinite, can personally, equally inhabit 
in them all. An infinite nature and person is required here- 
unto. And in the consideration of the incomprehensibility 
thereof are we to acquiesce as to the manner of his inhabita- 
tion, which we cannot conceive. 

1. There are very many promises in the Old Testament, 
that God would thus give the Holy Spirit in and by virtue 
of the New covenant; as Ezek. xxxvi. 27. Isa. lix. 21. Prov. 
i. 23. And in every place God calls this promised Spirit, and 
as promised,' his Spirit,"my Spirit ;' which precisely denotes 
the person of the Spirit himself. It is generally apprehended, 
I confess, that in these promises the Holy Spirit is intended 
only as unto his gracious effects and operations, but not as 
to any personal inhabitatioti. And I should not much contend 
upon these promises only, although in some of them iiis per- 
son as promised be expressly distinguished from all his gra- 
cious effects : but the exposition which is given of them in 
their accomplishment under the New Testament, will not 
allow us so to judge of them. For, 

2. We are directed to praj/ for the IJoli/ Spirit, and as- 
sured that God will give him unto them that ask of him in a 
due ?7iaiiner ; Luke xi. 13. If these words must be expounded 
metonymically and not properly, it must be because either, 
(1.) They agree not in the letter with other testimonies of 
Scripture. Or, (2.) Contain some sense absurd and unrea- 
sonable. Or, (3.) That which is contrary unto the expe- 
rience of them that believe. The first cannot be said, for 
other testimonies innumerable concur with it. Nor the se- 
cond, as we shall shew. And for the third, it is that whose 
contrary we prove. What is it that believers intend in that 
request? I suppose, I may say, that there is no one petition 
wherein they are more intense and earnest, nor which they 
more frequently insist upon. As David 'prayed, that God 
♦would not take his Holy Spirit from hnn ;' Psal. li. So do 


they, that God would bestow him on them. For this they do> 
and ought to do, even after they have received him. His 
continuance with them, his evidencing and manifestation of 
himself in and to them, are the design of their continual 
supplications for him. Is it merely external operations of 
the Spirit in grace that they desire hei'ein ? Do they not al- 
ways pray for his ineffable presence and inhabitation ? Will 
any thoughts of grace or mercy relieve or satisfy themx, if 
once they apprehend that the Holy Spirit is not in them, or 
doth not dwell with them? Although they are not able to 
form any conceptions in their minds of the manner of his 
presence and residence in them, yet is it that which they 
pray for, and without the apprehension whereof by faith, they 
can have neither peace nor consolation. The promise here- 
of being confined unto believers, those that are truly and 
really so, as we shewed before, it is their experience where- 
by its accomplishment is to be judged; and not the pre- 
sumption of such, by whom both the Spirit himself, and his 
whole work, is despised. 

3. And this inhabitation is that which principally our 
Lord Jesus Christ directeth his disciples to expect in the 
promise of him. ' He dwelleth with you, and shall be in 
you ;' John xiv. 17. He doth so who is the 'Comforter, the 
Spirit of truth ;' or, as it is emphatically expressed, chap. 
xvi. 13. ' He is the Spirit of truth.' He is promised unto, 
and he inhabits them that do believe. So it is expressly af- 
firmed towards all that are partakers of this promise. Rom. viii. 
9. ' Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the 
Spirit of God dwell in you.' Ver. 11. ' The Spirit of him that 
raised up Jesus from the dead dwelleth in you.' ' The Holy 
Spirit dwelleth in us;' 1 Tim. iii. 14. ' He that is in us, is 
greater than he that is in the world ;' 1 John iv. 4. And many 
other express testimonies there are unto the same purpose. 
And whereas the subject of these promises and propositions 
is the Holy Ghost himself, the person of the Holy Ghost, and 
that so expressed as not to leave any pretence for any thing 
else, and not his person to be intended : and whereas, nothing 
is ascribed unto him that is unreasonable, inconvenient unto 
him in the discharge of his office, or inconsistent with any 
of his divine perfe6tions, but rather what is every way suit- 
able unto his work, and evidently demonstrative of his di- 


vine nature and subsistence : it is both irrational and un- 
suitable unto the economy of divine grace to wrest these 
expressions unto a lower, meaner, figurative signification ; 
and I am persuaded, that it is contrary to the faith of the 
catholic church of true believers so to do. For, however 
some of them may not have exercised their minds about the 
manner of the abode of the Holy Spirit with the church, and 
some of them, when they hear of his personal indwelling, 
wherein they have not been duly instructed, do fear it may 
be that indeed that cannot be, which they cannot compre- 
hend, and that some evil consequences may ensue upon the 
admittance of it, although they cannot say what they are : 
yet it is with them all even an article of faith, that the ' Holy 
Ghost dwelleth in the church,' that is, them that truly be- 
lieve ; and herein have they an apprehension of such a per- 
sonal presence of his as they cannot conceive. This, 
therefore, being so expressly, so frequently affirmed in the 
Scripture, and the comfort of the church which depends 
thereon being singular and eminent, it is unto me an impor- 
tant article of evangelical truth. 

4. Although all the principal actings of the Holy Spirit 
in us, and towards us as a Comforter, do depend on this 
head, or flow from this spring of his inhabitation, yet in the 
confirmation of its truth, I shall here name one or two, by 
which itself is evidenced, and its benefits unto the church 

(1.) This is the spring of his gracious operations in us. 
So our Saviour himself declares it. ' The water that I shall 
give unto him, shall be in him a well of water springing up 
into everlasting life;' John iv. 14. The water here promised 
is the Holy Spirit, called the ' gift of God ;' ver. lU. This is 
evident from that parallel place, John vii. 38, 39, where this 
living water is plainly declared to be the Holy Ghost. And 
this water which is given unto any, is to be /// him, and there 
to abide, which is but a metaphorical expression of the in- 
habitation of the Spirit. For it is to be in him as a well, as a 
living fountain, which cannot be spoke of any gracious habit 
whatever. No quality in our minds can be a spring (f living 
water. Besides, all gracious habits are efiects of the opera- 
tion of the Holy Spirit, and therefore they are not the well 
itself, but belong unto the springing of it up in living waters. 


So is the Spirit in his indwelling distinguished from all his 
evangelical operations of grace, as the well is distinct from the 
streams that flow from it. And as it is natural and easy for 
a spring of living waters to bubble up, and put forth refresh- 
ing streams ; so it belongs unto the consolation of believers, 
to know how easy it is unto the Holy Spirit, how ready he is 
on the account of his gracious inhabitation, to carry on and 
perfect the work of grace, holiness, and sanctification in 
them. And what instruction they may take for their own 
deportment towards him, may be afterward spoken unto. 
So in many other places is his presence with us (which we 
have proved to be by the way of gracious inhabitation) pro- 
posed as the cause and spring of all his gracious operations, 
and so distinct from them. So the Holy Ghost that is given 
us * sheds abroad the love of God in our hearts;' Rom. v. 5. 
The Spirit of God that dwelleth in us, shall * quicken our 
mortal bodies;' Rom. viii. 12. * He beareth witness with 
our spirits that we are the sons of God;' Rom. viii. 16. 
Which places have been elsewhere explained and vindicated. 
(2.) This is the hidden spring and cause of that inexpressi- 
ble distance and difference that is between believers and the 
rest of the world. Our apostle tells us, that ' the life of be- 
lievers is hid with Christ in God;' Col. iii. 3. A blessed 
life they have whilst they are here, dead to the world, and 
as dead in the world. A life that will issue in eternal glory: 
but no such thing appears, no lustre of it is cast abroad into 
the eyes of men : true, saith the apostle, for it is ' hid with 
Christ in God.' It is so both in its causes, nature, opera- 
tions, and means, of preservation. But by this hidden life 
it is that they are differenced from the perishing world. And 
it will not be denied, as I suppose, that this difference is real 
and great ; for those who believe, do enjoy the especial love 
and favour of God ; whereas those who do not, are under the 
curse, and the ' wrath of God abideth on them.' They are 
alive unto God, but these are dead in trespasses and sins. 
And if men will not believe that there is so inexpressible a 
difterence between them in this world, they will be forced to 
confess it at the last day, when the decretory sentences of 
' Come ye blessed,' and * Go ye cursed,' shall be openly de- 
nounced. But, for the most part, there is no visible cause in 
the eyes of the world of this inexpressible and eternal differ- 


ence between these two sorts of persons. For, besides that 
for the most part the world doth judge amiss of all that be- 
lievers are and do, and do rather, through an inbred enmity, 
working by wicked and foolish surmises, suppose them to be 
the worst, rather than absolutely the best of men ; there is 
not for the most part such a visible, manifest difference in 
outward actions and duties, on which alone a judgment may 
be passed in man's day, as to be a just foundation of believ- 
ing so unspeakable difference between their persons as is 
spoken of. There is a difference in their works, which in- 
deed ought to be far greater than it is; and so a greater tes- 
timony given to the righteousness of God ; 1 John iii. 12. 
There is yet a greater difference in internal, habitual grace, 
whereby the minds of believers are transformed initially into 
the image of God; Tit. i. 15. But these things will not bear 
the weight of this inconceivable distance. Principally, there- 
fore, it depends hereon, namely, the inhabitation of the Spi- 
rit in them that believe. The great difference between the 
two houses that Solomon built was, that God dwelt in the 
one, and he himself in the other. Though any two houses 
as unto their outward fabric make the same appearance, yet 
if the king dwell in the one, and a robber in the other, the 
one may be a palace, and the other a den. It is this inhabita- 
tion of the Spirit whereon all the privileges of believers do 
immediately depend, and all the advantages which they have 
above the men of the world. And the difference which is 
made hereby, or ensueth hereon, is so inconceivably great, 
as a sufficient reason may thence be given of all the excel- 
lent things which are spoken of them who are partakers of it. 




Particular actings of the Holy Spirit as a Comforter, 
How he is an unction. 

The especial actings of the Holy Spirit towards believers 
as their Comforter, with the privileges and advantages which 
by them they are made partakers of, have been severally 
spoken unto by many ; and I have also in other discourses 
had occasion to treat concerning some of them. I shall, 
therefore, be the more brief in the present discourses of them, 
and, waving things commonly known and received, shall en- 
deavour to state right conceptions of them, and to add far- 
ther light unto what hath been already received. 

The first of this sort which we shall mention, because, as 
I think, the first in order of nature, is the unction, or anoint- 
ing which believers have by him. So are they said to be 
anointed ; 2 Cor. i. 21. and 1 John ii. 20. Ye have ro xpiafia, 
an ' unction,' an unguent,' from the Holy One ;' ver. 27. • The 
anointing which you have received abideth in you. And 
the same anointing teacheth you of all things.' What this 
Xptffjua is which we do receive, and wherein this anointing- 
doth consist, we must, in the first place, inquire. For a dis- 
tinct comprehension and knowledge of that which is so great 
a privilege, and of so much use unto us, is our duty and ad- 
vantage. It is so the more, because by the most these things 
are neglected. That is an empty sound unto them, which 
hath in itself the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of 
Christ. Some things there are which pretend unto this 
unction, or which some would have it to consist in, that we 
must remove out of our way to render the truth more evident. 

Some think that by this unction, the doctrine of the gos- 
pel, or the truth itself, is intended. This Episcopius pleads 
for, in his exposition of the place. That doctrine of the gos- 
pel which they had received, was that which would preserve 
them from the seducers, which in that place of the apostle, 
1 John. ii. 20, believers are warned to beware of. But nei- 
ther the context nor the text will admit of this interpreta- 
tion. For, 1. The thing itself in question was, the doctrine 
of the gospel. This the seducers pretended to be on their 


side, which the apostle denies. Now, although the doctrine 
itself was that whereby this difference was to be determined; 
yet is not the doctrine itself, but the advantage they had 
for the right understanding of it, that which is proposed for 
their relief and comfort .2. This unction is said to abide in 
them who have received it; whereas we are said to abide in 
the doctrine or the truth, and not that in us properly. 3. 
This unction is said to teach us all things ; but the doctrine 
of the truth is that which we are taught, and there must be 
a difference between that which teacheth, and tliat which is 
taught thereby. 4. Whereas, in all other places of the Scrip- 
ture, either the Holy Ghost himself, or some especial opera- 
tion of his, is hereby intended, there is no reason nor pretence 
of any to be taken from the words or context, why another 
signification should be here imposed on that expression. 5. 
For the reason which he adds, that there is no mention, in 
any other place of Scripture, of any peculiar internal act or 
work towards any persons, in their teaching or reception of 
the truth, it is so extremely remote from the truth, and is so 
directly opposite unto express testimonies almost innume- 
rable, that I wonder how any man could be so forgetful as to 
affirm it. Let the reader satisfy himself in what hath been 
discoursed on the head of spiritual illumination. 

Secondly, The testimony given by the Holy Ghost unto 
the truth of the gospel imparted unto them, is the exposition 
of this unction in the paraphrase of another. This testimony 
was by his miraculous operations, at his first effusion on the 
apostles. But neither can this be the mind of the Holy 
Ghost herein : for this unction which believers had, is the 
same with their being anointed of God ; 2 Cor. i. 21. And 
that was a privilege whereof they were all personally made 
partakers. So, also, is that which is here mentioned ; namely, 
that which was in them, which abode with them, and taught 
them. Neither is this a tolerable exposition of these words : 
you have an unction from the Holy One, abiding in you, 
teaching of you ; that is, you have heard of the miraculous 
operations of the Holy Ghost, in the confirmation of the 
o-ospel, giving testimony unto the truth. 

Thirdly, It is to no purpose to examine the pretences of 
some of the Romanists, that respect is had herein to the 
chrism or unguent that they use in baptism, confirmation. 


and in their fictitious sacraments of order and extreme unc- 
tion. For besides that all their unctions are inventions of 
their own, no institution of Christ, nor of any efficacy unto 
the ends for which this unction is granted unto believers, the 
more sober of their expositors take no notice of them on this 
occasion. Those who would know what respect they have 
thereunto, may find it in the commentaries of A. Lapide on 
this place. 

These apprehensions being removed, as no way suiting 
the mind of the Holy Ghost, nor expressing the privilege in- 
tended, nor the advantage which we have thereby, we shall 
follow the conduct of the Scripture in the investigation of 
the true nature of it. And to this end we may observe, 

1 . That all persons and things that were dedicated or con- 
secrated unto God under the Old Testament, were anointed 
with material oil : so were the kings of the people of God, so 
were priests and prophets : in like manner, the sanctuary, 
the altar, and all the holy utensils of divine worship, were 
anointed. And it is confessed, that among all the rest of 
mosaical institutions, those also concerning unction were 
typical and figurative of what was to come. 

2. That all these types had their first, proper, and full 
signification and accomplishment in the person of Jesus 
Christ. And because every person and thing that was made 
holy to God was so anointed, he who was to be the most 
holy, the only spring and cause of holiness in and unto others, 
had his name and denomination from thence. Both Messiah 
in the Old Testament, and Christ in the New, are as much as 
the Anointed One. For he was not only in his person typi- 
fied in the anointed kings, priests, and prophets, but also in 
his mediation by the tabernacle, sanctuary, altar, and temple. 
Hence his unction is expressed in those words, tinp JlTl^b 
D'Wlp, Dan. ix. 24. ' To anoint the holy of holies,' who was 
prefigured by all the holy anointed ones before. This be- 
came his name as he was the hope of the church under the 
Old Testament, the Messiah; and the immediate object of the 
faith of the saints under the New, the Christ. Here, there- 
fore, in the first place, we must inquire into the nature of this 
unction ; that of believers being an emanation from thence, 
and to be interpreted by analogy thereunto. For (as it is 
usually expressed by way of allusion) it is as the oil, which 


being poured on the head of Aaron, went down to the skirts 
of his garments. 

3. That the Lord Christ was anointed, and how, is de- 
clared, Isa. Ixi. 1. 'The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, 
because the Lord hath anointed me.' His unction consisted 
principally in the communication of the Spirit unto him. 
For he proves that the Spirit of the Lord was upon him, be- 
cause he was anointed. And this gives us a general rule, 
that the anointing with material oil under the Old Testa- 
ment, did prefigure and represent the effusion of the Spirit 
under the New, which now answers all the ends of those ty- 
pical institutions. Hence the 2;ospel in opposition unto 
them all in the letter, outwardly, visibly, and materially, is 
called the 'ministration of the Spirit;' 2 Cor. iii.6. 8. So is 
the unction of Christ expressed, Isa. xi. 2. *Tlie Spirit of 
the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and un- 
derstanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of 
knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.* 

4. Whereas the unction of Christ did consist in the full 
communication of the Spirit unto him, not by measure, in all 
his graces and gifts, needful unto his human nature or his 
work, though it be essentially one entire work, yet was it 
carried on by several degrees and distinctions of time. For, 
(1.) He was anointed by the Spirit in his incarnation in the 
womb ; Luke i. 35. the nature of which work we have at 
large before explained. (2.) He was so at his baptism, and 
entrance into his public ministry, when he was anointed to 
preach the gospel ; as Isa. Ixi. 1. ' And the Holy Ghost de- 
scended on him in the shape of a dove; Matt. iii. 17. The 
first part of his unction more peculiarly respected a fulness 
of the grace, the latter of the gifts, of the Spirit. (3.) He 
was peculiarly anointed unto his death and sacrifice, in that 
divine act of his, whereby he sanctified himself thereunto; 
John xvii. 19. which hath also been before declared. (4.) 
He was at his ascension, when he received of the Father the 
promise of the Spirit, pouring him forth on his disciples; 
Acts ii. 23. And in this latter instance he was anointed with 
the oil of gladness, which includes his glorious exaltation 
also. For this was absolutely peculiar unto him, whence he 
is said to be so anointed above his fellows. For although 
in some other parts of this anointing, he hath them wlio par- 


take of them, by and from him in their measure, yet in this 
of receiving the Spirit with a power of communicating him 
unto others, herein he is singular, nor was ever any other 
person sharer with him therein in the least degree. See the 
Exposition on Heb. i. 8, 9. Now, although there be an in- 
conceivable difference and distance between the unction of 
Christ and that of believers, yet is his the only rule of the 
interpretation of theirs, as to the kind thereof. And, 

5. Believers have their unction immediately from Christ. 
So is it in the text ; ' Ye have an unction from the Holy 
One.' So is he called. Acts iii. 14. Rev. iii. 7. ' These things 
saith he that is holy.' He himself was anointed as the most 
holy; Dan. ix. 24. And it is his Spirit which believers do 
receive ; Eph. iii. 16. Phil. i. 19. It is said, that he who 
anointeth us is God ; 2 Cor. i. 21. And I do take God there 
personally for the Father, as the same name is in the verse 
foregoing. ' For all the promises of God in him,' that is, in 
Christ, ' are yea, and in him amen.' Wherefore, the Father 
is the original, supreme cause of our anointing, but the Lord 
Christ, the Holy One, is the immediate efficient cause thereof. 
This himself expresseth when he affirms, that he will send 
the Spirit from the Father. The supreme donation is from 
the Father ; the immediate collation from the Son. 

6. It is therefore manifest, that the anointing of believers 
consisteth in the communication of the Holy Spirit unto 
them from and by Jesus Christ. It is not the Spirit that 
doth anoint us, but he is the unction wherewith we are 
anointed by the Holy One. This the analogy unto the unc- 
tion of Christ makes undeniable; for, as he was anointed, so 
are they in the same kind of unction, though in a degree in- 
ferior unto him. For they have nothing but a measure and 
portion from his fulness as he pleaseth ; Eph. iv. 7, Our 
unction, therefore, is the communication of the Holy Spirit, 
and nothing else. He is that unction which is given unto 
us, and abideth with us. But this communication of the 
Sp'nt is general, and respects all his operations. It doth not 
yet appear wherein the especial nature of it doth consist, and 
whence this communication of him is thus expressed, by an 
unction. And this can be no otherwise learned but from the 
effects ascribed unto him as he is an unction, and the rela- 
tion with the resemblance that is therein, unto the unction 


of Christ. It is, therefore, some particular grace and privi- 
lege which is intended in this unction ; 2 Cor. i. 21. It is 
mentioned only neutrally, without the ascription of any ef- 
fects unto it, so that therein we cannot learn its especial na- 
ture. But there are two effects elsewhere ascribed unto it. 
The first is teaching with a saving, permanent knowledge 
of the truth thereby produced in our minds. This is fully 
expressed, 1 John ii. 20. 27. * Ye have an unction from the 
Holy One, and ye know all things ;' that is, all those things 
of the fundamental, essential truths of the gospel, all you 
need to know that you may obey God truly, and be saved 
infallibly. This you have by this unction. For this anoint- 
ing which you have received abideth in you, and teacheth 
you all things. And we may observe, that it is spoken of in 
an especial manner with respect unto our permanency and 
establishment in the truth, against prevalent seducers and 
seductions; so it is joined with establishing in that other 
place ; 2 Cor. i. 21. 

Wherefore, in the first place, this anointing with the 
Holy Ghost, is the communication of him unto us with re- 
spect unto that gracious work of his in the spiritual, saving 
illumination of our minds, teaching us to know the truth, 
and to adhere firmly unto it in love and obedience. This is 
that which is peculiarly ascribed unto it ; and we have no 
way to know the nature of it, but by its effects. 

The anointing then of believers with the Spirit consists 
in the collation of him upon them, to this end ; that he may 
graciously instruct them in the truths of the gospel, by the 
saving illumination of their minds, causing their souls firmly 
to cleave unto them with joy and delight, and transtbrming 
them in the whole inward man into the image and likeness 
of it. Hence it is called the ' anointing of our eyes with eye- 
salve that we may see ;' Rev. iii. 18. So doth it answer that 
unction of the Lord Christ with the Spirit, which madt: him 
' quick of understanding in the fear of the Lord ;' Isa. xi. 3. 
Let these things, therefore, be fixed in the first place ; namely, 
that the to \plafia, the unction which believers receive from 
the Holy One, is the Spirit himself; and that his first, pecu- 
liar, especial effect as an unction, is his teaching of us the 
truths and mysteries of the gospel by saving illumination, 
in the manner before described. 


Hereunto also is referred what is said of believers being 
made kings and priests ; Rev. i. 5. For there is an allusion 
therein unto the anointing of those sorts of persons nnder 
the Old Testament. Whatever was typical therein was fully 
accomplished in the unction of Christ unto his office, 
wherein he was the sovereign King, Priest, and Prophet of 
the church. Wherefore, by a participation in his unction, 
they are said to be made kings and priests ; or a royal priest- 
hood, as it is, 1 Pet. ii. 9. and this participation of his unc- 
tion consists in the communication of the same Spirit unto 
them wherewith he was anointed. Whereas, therefore, these 
titles denote the dignity of believers in their especial rela- 
tion unto God, by this unction they are peculiarly dedicated 
and consecrated unto him. 

It is manifest, therefore, first, that this unction we re- 
ceive from the Holy One, is the Holy Spirit, which he hath 
promised unto all that believe in him ; and then that we 
have these two things by virtue thereof: 1. Spiritual instruc- 
tion, by saving illumination in the mind of God, and the 
mysteries of the gospel ; 2. An especial dedication unto God, 
in the way of a spiritual privilege. 

What remains, is to inquire, 1. What benefit or advan- 
tage we have by this unction : 2. How this belongs unto our 
consolation, seeing the Holy Spirit is thus bestowed on us, 
as he is promised to be the Comforter of the church. 

1. As unto the first head, it is hereon that our stability in 
believing doth depend. For it is pleaded unto this purpose in 
a peculiar manner by the apostle 5 1 John ii. 20. 27. It was 
the unction from the Holy One, which then kept believers 
from being carried from the faith by the craft of seducers. 
Hereby he makes men, according unto their measure, of 
quick understanding in the fear of the Lord. Nor will any 
thing else give assurance in this case. Temptations may 
come as a storm or tempest, which will quickly drive men 
from their greatest fleshly confidences. Hence oftentimes 
those who are forwardest to say. Though all men should for- 
sake the truth, yet would not they so do ; are the forwardest 
upon trials so to do. Neither will men's skill, cunning, or 
disputing abilities, secure them from being at one time or 
other inveigled with fair pretences, or entangled with the 
cunning sleights of them who lie in wait to deceive. Nor 


v/ill the best defences of flesh and blood stand firii ly nn.i 
unshaken against powerful allurements on the one himd, and 
fierce persecutions on the other, the present artillery of the 
patrons and promoters of apostacy. None of these things 
doth the apostle prescribe or recommend unto believers, as 
an effectual means of their preservation, when a trir.l of their 
stability in the truth shall befal them. But this unction 
he assures them will not fail, neither shall they fail be- 
cause of it. 

And to this end we may consider, (1.) The nature of the 
teaching which we have by this anointing; 'The anointing 
teacheth you.' It is not merely an external, doctrinal in- 
struction, but an internal, eflfectual operation of the Holy 
Ghost. Herein doth God give unto us the ' Spirit of wisdom 
and revelation in the knowledge of him, that the eyes of 
our understanding being enlightened, we may know what is 
the hope of his calling ;' Eph. i. 17, 18. He maketh use in- 
deed of the outward means of instruction by the word, and 
teacheth nothing but what is revealed therein. But he 
gives us an understanding that we may know him that is 
true, and openeth our eyes that we may clearly and spiritu- 
ally see the wondrous things that are in his law. And there 
are no teachinos like unto his. None so abiding, none so 
effectual. When spiritual things, through tjiis anointing, 
are discovered in a spiritual manner, then do they take up 
an immoveable possession in the minds of men. As God 
will destroy every oppressing yoke because of the anointing 
of Christ; Isa. x. 27. so will he break every snare of seduc- 
tion by the anointing of Christians. So it is promised that 
under the gospel, wisdom and knowledge shall be the stabi- 
lity of the times ; Isa. xxxiii. 6. Nothing will give stability 
in all seasons, but the wisdom and knowledge which are the 
effects of this teaching, when God gives us the Spirit of 
wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him. 

(2.) What it is that it teacheth ; and that is ' all things ;' 
'the same anointing teacheth you all things.' So was the 
promise that he should 'teach us all things,' and 'bring all 
thinos to our remembrance' that Christ hath said unto us ; 
John xiv. 26. and 'guide us into all truth ;' chap. xvi. 13. It 
is not all things absolutely that is intended, for they are re- 
strained unto those of one certain kind, wen the thinga 



which Christ had spoken, that is, such as belonged unto' 
the kino-dom of God. Neither are they all of them abso- 
hxtely intended, especially as to the degrees of the knovv- 
ledo-e of them. For in this life we know but in part, and 
see all things darkly as in a glass. But it is all things and 
all truth with respect unto the end of this promise and 
teaching. In the promise the whole life of faith, with joy 
and consolation thereon, is the end designed. All things 
necessary thereunto, this unction teacheth us. And in the 
other place of the apostle, it respects the great fundamental 
truths of the gospel which the seducers opposed, from whose 
seduction this unction doth secure believers. Wherefore, it 
teacheth all that are made partakers of it, all that truth, all 
those things, all that Christ hath spoken that are necessary 
unto these ends that they may live unto God in the conso- 
lation of faith, and be delivered from all attempts to draw 
them into error. 

The degrees of this knov/ledge which are exceeding va- 
rious, both with respect unto the clearness and evidence of 
conception, and the extent of the things knovv^n, depend on 
the various measures whereby the Spirit acteth accoi'ding 
unto his own will, and the different use of the external means 
of knowledge which we do enjoy. But what is necessary 
unto the ends mentioned, none shall come short of who en- 
joy this anointing. And where its teachings are complied 
withal in a way of duty, where we obstruct them not by pre- 
judices and sloth, where we give up ourselves unto their di- 
rective efficacy in a diligent, impartial attendance unto the 
word whereby alone we are to be taught, we shall not fail of 
that knowledge in the whole counsel of God, and all the 
parts of it, which he will accept and bless. And this gives 
stability unto believers, when trials and temptations about 
the truth do befal them ; and the want hereof in the un- 
cured darkness of their minds, and ignorance of the doctrine 
of the gospel, is that which betrays multitudes into a defec- 
tion from it in seasons of temptation and persecution. 

(3.) It so teacheth as to give withal an approbation of, 
and love unto, the things that are taught. These are the next 
principle and cause of practice, or the doing of the things 
that we know, which is the only cement of all the means 
of our security rendering them firm and stable. The mind 


may discern spiritual truths, but if the will and affections be 
not wrought over to love them and delight in them, we shall 
never conform ourselves unto them in the diligent exercise 
and practice of what they do require. And what we may do 
on the solitary efficacy of light and conviction without the 
adherence of love and delight, will neither be acceptable 
unto God, nor shall we be permanent and stable therein. 
All other means in the world without the love and practice 
of the truth, will be insufficient unto our preservation in the 
saving profession of it. And this is the characteristical 
note of the teachings by this unction. It gives and com- 
municates with it the love of that truth wherein we are in- 
structed, and delight in obedience unto what it doth require. 
Where these are not, however raised our minds may be, or 
our understandings enlarged in the apprehension of objec- 
tive truths, whatever sublime notions or subtile conceptions 
about them we may have, though we could master and ma- 
nage all the speculations and niceties of the schools in their 
most pretended accuracy of expression, yet as to the power 
and benefit of religion, we should be but as sounding brass 
and tinkling cymbals. But when this Holy Spirit doth in 
and by his teaching breathe into our hearts a holy, divine 
love unto, and complacency in, the things we are taiiorfit, 
when he enables us to taste how gracious the Lord is in 
them, rendering them sweeter unto us than the honey or the 
honeycomb, when he makes them our delight and joy, ex- 
citing and quickening the practical principles of our minds 
unto a compliance with them in holy obedience, then have 
we that unction from the Holy One which will both sanctify 
and secure our souls unto the end. 

And hereby may we know, whether we have ourpelves 
received of this anointing. Some would fain put it off unto 
what was peculiar unto the times of the apostles, and would 
suppose another kind of believers in those days, than any are 
now in the world, or need to be ; though what our Saviour 
prayed for them, even for the apostles themselves, as to the 
Spirit of grace and consolation, he prayed also fi^r all them 
who should believe on him through their word unto the end 
of the world. But take away the promise of the Spirit, and 
the privileges thereon depending, from Christians, and in 
truth they cease so to be. Some neglect it, as if it were an 

p 2 


empty expression, and either wholly insignificant, or at best 
intended somewhat wherein they need not much concern 
themselves; and whatever it be, they doubt not but to se- 
cure the pretended ends of it in their preservation from se- 
duction by their own skill and resolutions. On such pre- 
tences are all the mysteries of the gospel by many despised, 
and a religion is formed wherein the Spirit of Christ hath no 
concernment. But these things are otherwise stated in the 
minds of the true disciples of Christ. They know and own 
of how great importance it is to have a share in this unction ; 
how much their conformity unto Christ, their participation 
of him, and the evidence of their union with him ; how much 
their stability in profession, their joy in believing, their love 
and delight in obedience, with their dignity in the sight of 
God and all his holy angels, do depend thereon. Neither 
do we look upon it as a thing obscure or unintelligible, that 
which no man can know whether he hath or no. For if it 
were so, a thing so thin, aerial, and imperceptible, as that no 
spiritual sense or experience could be had of it, the apostle 
would not have referred all sorts and degrees of believers, 
fathers, young men, and little children, unto it for their relief 
and encouragement in the times of danger. Wherefore, it 
evidenceth itself in the way and manner of its acting, ope- 
ration, and teaching before declared. And as by those in- 
stances they satisfy themselves as unto what experience they 
have of it ; so it is their duty to pray continually for its in- 
crease, and farther manifestation of its power in them ; yea, 
it is their duty to labour, that their prayers for it may be 
both fervent and effectual. For the more express and eminent 
the teachings of this anointing in them are, the more fresh 
and plentiful is their unction, the more will their holiness and 
consolation abound. 

And whereas this is that by which, as it immediately 
proceeds from the Holy Spirit, they have their peculiar de- 
dication unto God, being made kings and priests unto him, 
they are highly concerned to secure their interest therein. 
For it may be they are so far from being exalted, promoted, 
and dignified in the world by their profession, as that they 
are made thereby the scorn of men, and the outcasts of the 
people. Those indeed whose kingdom and priesthood, their 
dignity and honour in Christianity, their approximation unto 


God and Christ in a peculiar manner, consist in secular titles, 
honour, power, and grandeur, aS it is in the papacy, may 
content themselves with their chrism, or greasy unction of 
their outward, ceremonious consecration, without much in- 
quiry after, or concern in, this spiritual anointing. But those 
who get little or nothing in this world, that is, of the world, 
by their profession, but labour, pain, travail of soul and body, 
with scorns, reproaches, and persecutions, had need look 
after that which gives them a dignity and honour in the 
sight of God, and which brings in satisfaction and peace 
unto their own souls : and this is done by that anoint- 
ing alone whereby they are made kings and priests unto 
God, having honour before him, and a free, sacred access 
unto him. 

2. I shall only add, that whereas we ascribe this anoint- 
ing in a peculiar manner unto the Holy Ghost, as the Com- 
forter of the church, we may easily discern wherein the 
consolation which we receive by it doth consist. For who 
can express that satisfaction, refreshment, and joy, which 
the mind is possessed with, in those spiritual, effectual 
teachings which give it a clear apprehension of saving truth 
in its own nature and beauty, and enlarge the heart with 
love unto it, and delight in it. It is true, that the greatest 
part of believers are oft-times either at such a loss as unto a 
clear apprehension of their own spiritual state, or so un- 
skilled in making a right judgment of the causes and means 
of divine consolations, or so confused in their own experi- 
ences, or so negligent in their inquiries into these things ; 
or are so disordered by temptations, as that they receive not 
a refreshing sense of those comforts and joys, whii !i are 
really inseparable from this anointing. But still it is in it- 
self that spring from whence their secret refreshments and 
supportments do arise. And there is none of them but upon 
o-uidance and instruction are able to conceive, how their 
chiefest joys and comforts, even those whereby they are sup- 
ported in and against all their troubles, are resolved into that 
spiritual understanding which they have into the mysteries 
of the will, love, and grace of God in Christ, with that in- 
effable complacency and satisfaction which they find in them, 
whereby their wills are engaged into an unconquerable con- 
stancy in their choice. And there is no small consolation 


in a due apprehension of that spiritual dignity which ensues 
hereon. For when they meet with the greatest troubles, and 
the most contemptuous scorns in this world, a due appre- 
hension of their acceptance with God, as being made kings 
and priests unto him, yield them a refreshment which the 
world knows nothing of, and which themselves are not able 
to express. 


The Spirit a seal; and hoic. 

Secondly, Another effect of the Holy Spirit as the Com- 
forter of the church is, that by him believers are sealed ; 
2 Cor. i. 21, 22. ' He who anointed us is God, who hath also 
sealed us.' And how this is done, the same apostle declares, 
Eph. i. 13. 'In whom also after ye believed, ye were sealed 
with that Holy Spirit of promise,' And chap. iv. 30. ' And 
grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed to 
the day of redemption.' In the first place, it is expressly 
said, that we are sealed with the Spirit, whereby the Spirit 
himself is expressed as this seal, and not any of his especial 
operations ; as he is also directly said himself to be the 
pledge of our inheritance. In the latter, the words are, Iv 
(^ kacppa-yia^nTt, 'in whom,' in and by the receiving of whom, 
* ye are sealed.' Wherefore, no especial act of the Spirit, but 
only an especial effect of his communication unto us, seems 
to be intended hereby. 

The common exposition of this sealing is taken from the 
nature and use of sealing among men. The sum whereof is 
this ; sealing may be considered as a natural or moral action, 
that is, either with respect unto the act of it as an act, or 
with respect unto its use and end. In the first way it is the 
communication of the character or image that is on the seal 
unto the thing that is sealed, or that the impression of the 
seal is set unto. In answer hereunto, the sealing of the 
Spirit should consist in the communication of his own spi- 
ritual nature and likeness unto the souls of believers ; so 
this sealing should materially be the same with our sanctifi- 


cation. The end and use of sealing among men is twofold : 

1. To give security unto the performance of deeds, grants, 
promises, testaments, and wills, or the like engaging signi- 
fication of our minds. And in answer hereunto, we may be 
said to be sealed when the promises of God are confirmed 
and established unto our souls, and we are secured of them 
by the Holy Ghost. But the truth is, this were to seal the 
promises of God, and not believers. But it is persons, and 
not promises, that are said to be sealed. 2. It is for the 
safe-keeping or preservation of that which a seal is set upon. 
So things precious and highly valuable, are sealed up, that 
they may be kept safe and inviolable. So, on the other hand, 
when Job expressed his apprehension that God would keep 
an everlasting remembrance of his sin, that it should not be 
lost or out of the way, he saith, 'his transgression was sealed 
up in a bag;' chap. xiv. 17. And so it is that power which 
the Holy Ghost puts forth in the preservation of believers, 
which is intended. And in this respect they are said to be 
•sealed unto the day of redemption.' 

These things have been spoken unto and enlarged on by 
many, so that there is no need again to insist upon them. 
And what is commonly delivered unto this purpose, is good 
and useful in the substance of it, and I have on several oc- 
casions long since myself made use of them. But upon re- 
newed thoughts and consideration I cannot fully acquiesce 
in them. For, 1. I am not satisfied that there is such an al- 
lusion herein unto the use of sealing among men, as is pre- 
tended. And if there be, it will fall out as we see it hath 
done, that there being so many considerations of seals and 
sealincr, it will be hard to determine on any one particular 
which is principally intended. And if you take in more, as 
the manner of the most is to take in all tiiey can think of, 
it will be unavoidable that acts and effects of various kinds, 
will be assigned unto the Holy Ghost under the term of 
sealino-, and so we shall never come to know what is that one 
determinate act and privilege which is intended therein. 

2. All things which are usually assigned as those wherein 
this sealing doth consist, are acts or ettects of the Holy 
Ghost upon us whereby he seals us ; whereas it is not said 
that the Holy Spirit seals us, but that we are sealed with him. 
He is God's seal unto us. 


All our spiritual privileges, as they are immediately com- 
municated unto us by Christ, so they consist wholly in a 
participation of that head, spring, and fulness of them which 
is in him. And as they proceed from our union with him, so 
their principal end is conformity unto him. And in him 
in whom all things are conspicuous, we may learn the nature 
of those things, which in lesser measure, and much darkness 
in ourselves, we are made partakers of. So do we learn our 
unction in his. So must we inquire into the nature of our 
being sealed by the Spirit in his sealing also. For as it is 
said, that *he who hath sealed us is God;' 2 Cor. i. 21,22. 
so of him it is said emphatically, 'For him hath God the 
Father sealed ;' John. vi. 27. And if we can learn aright how 
God the Father sealed Christ, we shall learn how we are 
sealed in a participation of the same privilege. 

I confess there are variety of apprehensions concerning 
the act of God whereby Christ was sealed, or what it is that 
is intended thereby. Maldonate, on the place, reckons up 
ten several expositions of the words among the fathers, and 
yet embraceth no one of them. It is not suited unto my de- 
sign to examine or refute the expositions of others, whereof 
a large and plain field doth here open itself unto us. 1 shall 
only give an account of v.hat I conceive to be the mind of 
the Holy Ghost in that expression. And we may observe. 

First, That this is not spoken of Christ with respect unto 
his divine nature. He is, indeed, said to be the character of 
the person of the Father in his divine person as the Son, be- 
cause there are in him, communicated unto him from the 
Father, all the essential properties of the divine nature ; as 
the thing sealed receiveth the character or image of the seal. 
But this communication is by eternal generation and not by 
sealino-. But it is an external, transient act of God the 
Father on the human nature, with respect unto the discharge 
of bis office. For it is given as the reason why he should 
be complied withal and believed in, in that work. * Labour 
for that bread which the Son of man shall give unto you; for 
him hath God the Father sealed.' It is the ground whereon 
he persuades them to faith and obedience unto himself. 

Secondly, It is not spoken of him with an especial respect 
unto his kingly oihce.as some conceive. For this sealing of 
Christ they would have to be his designation of God unto 


his kingdom, in opposition unto what is affirmed, ver, 15. 
That the people designed to come and make him a king by 
force. For that is only an occasional expression of the sense 
of the people, the principal subject treated on is of a nobler 
nature. But whereas the people did dock after him on the 
account of a temporal benefit received by him, in that they 
were fed, filled, and satisfied with the loaves which he had mi- 
raculously increased, ver. 26. he takes occasion from thence 
to propose unto them the spiritual mercies that he had to 
tender unto them. And this he doth in answer unto the 
bread that they had eat, under the name of 'meat/ and 'bread 
enduring to everlasting life,' which he would give unto them. 
Under this name and notion of meat he did comprise all the 
spiritual nourishment in his doctrine, person, mediation, and 
grace that he had prepared for them. But on what grounds 
should they look for these things from him ? how might it 
appear that he was authorized and enabled thereunto.' In 
answer unto that inquiry, he gives this account of himself, 
' For him hath God the Father sealed ;' namely, unto this end. 
Thirdly, Wherefore the sealing of God unto this end and 
purpose must have two properties, and two ends also an- 
nexed unto it: 1. There is in it a communication of autho- 
rity and ability. For the inquiry is, how he could give them 
that meat ' which endured unto everlasting life :' as after- 
wards they ask expressly, ' How can this man give us his flesh 
to eat?' ver. 52. To this it is answered, that God the Father 
had sealed him; that is, he it was who was enabled of God 
the Father to give and dispense the spiritual food of the 
souls of men. This, therefore, is evidently included in this 
sealing. 2. It must have evidence in it also; that is, some- 
what whereby it may be evinced that he was thus authorized 
and enabled by God the Father. For whatever authority or 
ability any one may have unto any end, none is obliged to 
make application unto him for it, or depend upon him therein, 
unless it be evidenced that be hath that authority and ability. 
This the Jews immediately inquired after. 'What sign,' say 
they, ' dost thou then,'that we may see and believe thee .' What 
dost thou work ?' ver. 30. How shall it be demonstrated 
unto us that thou art authorized and enabled to give us the 
spiritual food of our souls ? This also belonged unto his 
sealinii ; for therein thore was such an express representation 


of divine power communicated unto him, as evidently mani- 
fested that he w^as appointed of God unto this work. These 
two properties, therefore, must be found in this sealing of 
the Lord Christ with respect unto the end here mentioned; 
namely, that he might be the promuscoiidus, or principal dis- 
penser of the spiritual food of the souls of men. 

Fourthly, It being God's seal, it must also have two 
ends designed in it: 1. God's owning; of him to be his. 
Him hath God the Father sealed unto this end, that all may 
know and take notice of his owning and approbation of him. 
He would have him not looked on as one among the rest of 
them that dispensed spiritual things, but as him whom he 
had singled out and peculiarly marked for himself. And 
therefore this he publicly and gloriously testified at the en- 
trance, and again, a little before the finishing, of his ministry : 
for upon his baptism there 'came a voice from heaven, say- 
ing, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased;' 
Matt. iii. 17. which was nothing but a public declaration that 
this was he whom God had sealed, and so owned in a pecu- 
liar manner. And this testimony was afterward renewed 
again at his transfiguration in the mount ; Matt. xvii. 5. 
' Behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my be- 
loved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him :' this is 
he whom I have sealed. And this testimony is pleaded by 
the apostle Peter, as that whereinto their faith in him, as the 
sealed one of God, was resolved; 2 Pet. i. 17, 18. 2. To ma- 
nifest that God would take care of him, and preserve him in 
his work unto the end; Isa. xlii. 

Fifthly, Wherefore, this sealing of the Son is the commu- 
nication of the Holy Spirit in all fulness unto him, authorizing 
him unto, and acting his divine power in, all the acts and du- 
ties of his ofiice, so as to evidence the presence of God with 
him, and approbation of him, as the only person that was to 
distribute the spiritual food of their souls unto men. For 
the Holy Spirit, by his powerful operations in him and by 
him, did evince and manifest, that he was called and ap- 
pointed of God to this work, owned by him, and accepted 
with him; which w^as God's sealing of him. Hence the sin 
of them who despised this seal of God, was unpardonable. 
For God neither will nor can give greater testimony unto 
his approbation of any person, than by the great seal of his 


Spirit. And this was given unto Christ in all the fulness of 
it. He was 'declared to be the Son of God according to the 
Spirit of holiness ;' Rom. i. 4. and justified in the Spirit, or 
by his power evidencing that God was with him; 1 Tim. iii. 
16. Thus did God seal the head of the church with the 
Holy Spirit ; and thence undoubtedly may we best learn 
how the members are sealed with the same Spirit, seeing we 
have all our measures out of his fulness, and our conform- 
ity unto him is the design of all gracious communications 
unto us. 

Sixthly, Wherefore, God's sealing of believers with the 
Holy Spirit, is his gracious communication of the Holy Ghost 
unto them, so to act his divine power in them, as to enable 
them unto all the duties of their holy calling, evidencing 
them to be accepted with him both unto themselves and 
others, and asserting their preservation unto eternal salvation. 
The effects of this sealing are gracious operations of the Holy 
Spirit in and upon believers; but the sealing itself is the 
communication of the Spirit unto them. They are sealed 
with the Spirit. And farther to evidence the nature of it with 
the truth of our declaration of this privilege, we may observe, 
1. That when any persons are so effectually called as to 
become true believers, they are brought into many new re- 
lations, as to God himself, as his children, unto Jesus Christ, 
as his members, unto all saints and angels, in the families of 
God above and below; and are called to many new works, 
duties, and uses, which before they knew nothing of. They 
are brought into a new world, erected by the new creation, 
and which way soever they look or turn themselves, they say, 
'Old things are passed away, behold all things are become 
new.' So it is with every one that is made a new creature 
in Christ Jesus ; 2 Cor. v. 17. In this state and condition^ 
wherein a man hath new principles put within him, new re- 
lations contracted about him, new duties presented unto 
him, and a new deportment in all things required of him. 
how shall he be able to behave himself aright, and answer 
the condition and holy station wherein he is placed? This 
no man can do of himself, for who is sufficient for these 
things ? Wherefore, 

2. In this state God owns them and communicates unto 
them his Holy Spirit, to tit them for their relations, to enable 


them unto their duties, to act their new principles, and every 
way to discharge the work they are called unto, even as their 
head the Lord Christ was unto his. God doth not now give 
unto them the spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of a 
sound mind ; 2 Tim. i. 7. And hereby doth God seal them. 

(1.) Hereby he gives his testimony unto them that they 
are his, owned by him, accepted with him, his sons or chil- 
dren ; which is his seal. For if they were not so, he would 
never have given his Holy Spirit unto them. And herein 
consists the greatest testimony that God doth give, and the 
only seal that he doth set, unto any in this world. That this 
is God's testimony and seal, the apostle Peter proveth ; Acts 
XV. 8, 9. For on the debate of that question, whether God 
approved and accepted of the humble believers, although 
they observed not the rites of Moses, he confirmeth that he 
did, with this argument ; ' God,' saith he, ' which kuoweth 
their hearts, bare them witness.' How did he do it? how did 
he set his seal to them as his ? Saith he, ' by giving them the 
Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us.' Hereby God gives 
testimony unto them. And lest any should suppose that it 
was only the gifts and miraculous operations of the Holy 
Ghost which he had respect unto, so as that this sealing of 
God should consist therein alone, he adds, that his gracious 
operations also were no less an effect of this witness which 
God gave unto them ; ' and put no difference between us and 
them, purifying their hearts by faith.' This therefore is that 
whereby God giveth his testimony unto believers, namely, 
when he seals them with his Spirit, or by the communication 
of the Holy Spirit unto them. And this he doth in two re- 
spects. For, 

(2.) This is that whereby he giveth believers assurance 
of their relation unto him, of their interest in him, of his love 
and favour to them. It hath been generally conceived that 
this sealing with the Spirit, is that which gives assurance 
unto believers ; and so indeed it doth, although the way 
whereby it doth it, hath not been rightly apprehended. And 
therefore, none have been able to declare the especial nature 
of that act of the Spirit whereby he seals us, whence such 
assurance should ensue. But it is indeed not any act of the 
Spirit in us that is the ground of our assurance, but the com- 


munication of the Spirit unto us. This the apostle plainly 
testifieth ; 1 John iii. 24. ' Hereby we know that he abideth in 
us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.' That God abideth 
in us and we in him, is the subject-matter of our assurance: 
'this we know,' saith the apostle; which expresseth the high- 
est assurance we are capable of in this world. And how do 
w^e knoAv it? Even by the Spirit which he hath given unto 
us. But it may be, the sense of these words may be, that 
the Spirit which God gives us doth by some especial work of 
his, effect this assurance in us; and so it is not his being given 
unto uSjbut some especial work of his in us, thatis the ground 
of our assurance, and consequently our sealing. I do not 
deny such an especial work of the Spirit, as shall be after- 
ward declared ; but I judge that it is the communication of 
the Spirit himself unto us that is here intended. For so the 
apostle declares his sense to be ; chap. iv. 13. ' Hereby know 
we that we dwell in God, and he in us, because he hath given 
us of his Spirit.' This is the great evidence, the great ground 
of assurance which we have, that God hath taken us into a 
near and dear relation unto himself, because he hath given 
us of his Spirit; that great and heavenly gift which he will 
impart unto no others. And indeed on this one hinge de- 
pends the whole case of that assurance which believers are 
capable of. If the Spirit of God dwell in us, we are his; 
' but if any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of 
his ;' Rom. viii. 9. Hereon alone depends the determination 
of our especial relation unto God. By this, therefore, doth 
God seal believers; and therein gives them assurance of his 
love. And this is to be the sole rule of your self-examina- 
tion whether you are sealed of God or no. 

(3.) Hereby God evidenceth them unto the w orUl, which 
is another end of sealing. He marks them so hereby for his 
own, as that the world cannot but in general take notice of 
them. For where God sets this seal in the communication 
of his Spirit, it will so operate, and produce such effects, as 
shall fall under the observation of the world. As it did in 
the Lord Christ, so also will it do in believers, according unto 
their measure. And there are two ways whereby God's 
sealing doth evidence them unto the world. The one is by 
the effectual operation of the Spirit, communicated unto them 
both in gifts and graces. Though the world is blinded with 


prejudices, and under the power of a prevalent enmity against 
sjDiritual things, yet it cannot but discover what a change 
is made in the most of those whom God thus sealeth, and 
how by the gifts and graces of the Spirit which they hate, 
they are differenced from other men. And this is that which 
keeps up the difference and enmity that is in the world be- 
tween the seeds. For God's sealing of believers with his 
Spirit evidenceth his especial acceptance of them, which fills 
the hearts of them who are acted with the spirit of Cain, 
with hatred and revenge. Hence many think, that the re- 
spect which God had unto the sacrifice of Abel was testified 
by some visible sign, which Cain also might take notice of. 
And that there was an zfitrvpiafioq, the kindling of his sacri- 
fice by fire from heaven, which was the type and resem- 
blance of the Holy Ghost, as hath been shewed. All other 
causes of difference are capable of a composition, but this 
about the seal of God can never be composed. And that 
which followeth from hence is, that those who are thus 
sealed with the Spirit of God, cannot but separate themselves 
from the most of the world, whereby it is more evidenced 
unto whom they do belong. 

(4.) Hereby God seals believers unto the day of redemp- 
tion, or everlasting salvation. For the Spirit thus given unto 
them is, as we have shewed already, to abide with them for 
ever, as a 'well of water in them, springing up into everlast- 
ing life;' John vii. 

This, therefore, is that seal which God grants unto be- 
lievers, even his Holy Spirit for the ends mentioned; which, 
according unto their measure, and for this work and end, an- 
swers that great seal of heaven which God gave unto the 
Son, by the communication of the Spirit unto him in all its 
divine fulness, authorizing and enabling him unto his whole 
work, and evidencing him to be called of God thereunto. 



The Spirit an earnest ; and how. 

Again, the Holy Spirit as thus communicated unto us, is 
said to be an earnest. 'Apjoa/Swv, the word in the orio:inal 
is no where used in the New Testament but in this matter 
alone; 2 Cor. ii. 22. v. 5. Eph. i. 14. The Latin translator 
renders this word by p%n//s, a pledge. But he is corrected 
therein by Hierom on Eph. i. ' Pignus,' saith he ' Latinus 
interpres pro arrhabone posuit. Non id ipsum autem arrha- 
bo quod pignus sonat, Arrhabo enim futurse eraptioni quasi 
quoddam testimonium, et obligamentum datur. Pignus 
vero, hoc est ivixopov pro mutua pecunia apponitur, ut quum 
ilia reddita fuerit, reddenti debitum pignus a creditore red- 
datur.' And this reason is generally admitted by expositors. 
For a pledge is that which is committed to, and left in the 
hand of another, to secure him that money which is borrowed 
thereon shall be repaid, and then the pledge is to be received 
back again. Hence it is necessary that a pledge be more in 
value than the money received, because it is taken in secu- 
rity for repayment. But an earnest is apart only of what is 
to be given or paid, or some lesser thing that is given to se- 
cure somewhat that is more or greater in the same or an- 
other kind. And this difference must be admitted if we are 
obliged to the precise signification and common use of pledges 
and earnests among men, which we must inquire into. The 
word is supposed to be derived from the Hebrew mj^ ; and 
the Latins make use of it also, Arrhabon, and Arrha. It is 
sometimes used in other authors ; as Plutarch in Galba. 
E00aicEt '!rQou\r]^ioq appa(5Co(n fd^yaXoig tov OjStvtov* he pre- 
possessed Obinius with great sums of money as an earnest of 
what he would do afterward. Hesychius explains it by irpo- 
Sojua, a gift beforehand. As to what I apprehend to be the 
mind of the Holy Ghost in this expression, I shall declare it 
in the ensuing observations. 

First, It is not any act or work of the Holy Spirit on us 
or in us, that is called his being an earnest. It is he himself 
who is this earnest. This is expressed in every place where 

224 THi; WORK OF Tin: holy spirit 

there is mention made of it. 2 Cor. i. 22. cove tov appu(5u>- 
va Tov TTvBvfxaTog' ' the earnest of the Spirit;' that earnest 
which is the Spirit, or the Spirit as an earnest; as Austin 
reads the words, * arrhabona Spiritum.' Chap. v. 5. 'Who 
hath also given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.' The giving 
of this earnest is constantly assigned to be the act of God the 
Father, who, according to the promise of Christ, would send 
the Comforter unto the church. And in the other place, 
Eph. i. 14. it is expressly said, that the Holy Spirit is the 
earnest of our inheritance. Every where the article is of the 
masculine gender, oglanv appa^wv and irvivfia, the Spirit, is 
of the neuter. Some would have it to refer unto Christ; ver. 
12. But as it is not unusual in Scripture that the subjunc- 
tive article and relative should agree in gender with the fol- 
lowing substantive, as 6g here doth with a^opa/Bajv; so the 
Scripture, speaking of the Holy Ghost, though 7rv£u//a be of 
the neuter gender, yet having respect unto the thing, that is, 
the person of the Spirit, it subjoins the pronoun of the mas- 
culine gender unto it, as John xiv. 26. Wherefore, the Spirit 
himself is the earnest, as given unto us from the Father by 
the Son. And this act of God is expressed by giving or put- 
ting him into our hearts ; 2 Cor. i. 22. How he doth this, 
hath been before declared, both in general, and with respect 
in particular to his inhabitation. The meaning, therefore, 
of the words is, that God gives unto us his Holy Spirit to 
dwell in us and to abide with us as an earnest of our future 

Secondly, It is indifferent whether we use the name of 
an earnest, or a pledge, in this matter. And although I 
choose to retain that of an earnest, from the most usual ac- 
ceptation of the word, yet I do it not upon the reason alleged 
for it, which is taken from the especial nature and use of an 
earnest in the dealings of men. For it is the end only of 
an earnest whereon the Holy Ghost is so called, which is 
the same with that of a pledge ; and we are not to force the 
similitude or allusion any farther. For precisely among men 
an earnest is the confirmation of a bargain and contract 
made on equal terms between buyers and sellers, or ex- 
chano-ers. But there is no such contract between God and 
us. It is true there is a supposition of an antecedent cove- 
nant, but not as a bargain or contract between God and us. 


The covenant of God as it respects the dispensation of the 
Spirit, is a mere free gratuitous promise ; and the stipulation 
of obedience on our part is consequential thereunto. Again, 
he that giveth an earnest in a contract or bargain, doth not 
principally aim at his own obligation to pay such or such 
a sum of money, or somewhat equivalent thereunto, though 
he do that also ; but his principal design is to secure unto 
himself that which he hath bargained for, that it may be 
delivered up unto him at the time appointed. But there is 
nothing of this nature in the earnest of the Spirit, wherein 
God intends our assurance only and not his own. And 
sundry other things there are wherein the comparison will 
not hold, nor is to be urged, because they are not intended. 

The general end of an earnest or a pledge, is all that is 
alluded unto : and this is to give security of somewhat that 
is future or to come. And this may be done in a way of free 
bounty, as well as upon the strictest contract. As if a man 
have a poor friend or relation, he may of his own accord 
give unto him a simi of money, and bid him take it as a 
pledge or earnest of what he will yet do for him. So doth 
God in a way of sovereign grace and bounty give his Holy 
Spirit unto believers ; and withal lets them know, that it is 
with a design to give them yet much more in his appointed 
season. And here is he said to be an earnest. Other things 
that are observed from the nature and use of an earnest in 
civil contracts and bargains between men, belong not here- 
unto ; though many things are occasionally spoken and dis- 
coursed from them of good use unto edification. 

Thirdly, In two of the places wherein mention is made 
of this matter, the Spirit is said to be an earnest, but where- 
in, or unto what end, is not expressed ; 2 Cor. i. 22. v. 5. 
The third place affirms him to be an ' earnest of our inherit- 
ance ;' Eph. i. 14. What that is, and how he is so, may be 
briefly declared. And, 

1 . We have already manifested that all our participation 
of the Holy Spirit in any kind, is upon the account of Jesus 
Christ, and we do receive him immediately as the Spirit of 
Christ. ' For to as many as receive Christ, the Father gives 
power to become the sons of God ;' John i. 12. ' And be- 
cause we are sons, he sends forth the Spirit of his Son into 
our hearts ;' Gal. iv. 6. And as we receive the Spirit from 



him, and as his Spirit, so he is given unto us to make us 
conformable unto him, and to give us a participation of his 
gifts, graces, and privileges. 

2. Christ himself, in his own person, is the heir of all 
things. So he was appointed of God ; Heb. i.2. and there- 
fore, the whole inheritance is absolutely his. What this in- 
heritance is, what is the glory and power that is contained 
therein, I have at large declared in the exposition of that 

3. Man by his sin had universally forfeited his whole 
right unto all the ends of his creation, both on the earth be- 
low and in heaven above. Death and hell were become all 
that the whole race of mankind had either right or title unto. 
But yet all the glorious things that God had provided were 
not to be cast away, an heir was to be provided for them. 
Abraham when he was old and rich had no child, complained 
that his steward, 'a servant was to be his heir;' Gen, xv. 3, 4. 
but God lets him know that he would provide another heir 
for him of his own seed. When man had lost his right unto 
the whole inheritance of heaven and earth, God did not so 
take the forfeiture, as to seize it all into the hands of justice 
and destroy it : but he invested the whole inheritance in his 
Son, making him the heir of all. This he was meet for, as 
being God's eternal Son by nature, and hereof the donation 
was free, gratuitous, and absolute. And this grant was con- 
firmed unto him by his unction with the fulness of the. Spi- 
rit. But, 

4. This inheritance as to our interest therein lay under a 
forfeiture ; and as unto us it must be redeemed and pur- 
chased, or we can never be made partakers of it. Where- 
fore the Lord Christ, who had a right in his own person unto 
the whole inheritance by the free grant and donation of the 
Father, yet was to redeem it from under the forfeiture, and 
purchase the possession of it for us : thence is it called the 
purchased possession. How this purchase was made, what 
made it necessary, by what means it was effected, are de- 
clared in the doctrine of our redemption by Christ, the price 
which he paid, and the purchase that he made thereby. 
And hereon the whole inheritance is vested in the Lord 
Christ, not only as unto his own person, and his right unto 
the whole, but he became the great trustee for the whole 


church, and had their interest in this inheritance committed 
unto him also. No man, therefore, can have a right unto 
this inheritance, or to any part of it, not unto the least share 
of God's creation here below, as a part of the rescued or 
purchased inheritance, but by virtue of an interest in Christ, 
and union with him. Wherefore, 

Fourthly, The way whereby we come to have an interest 
in Christ, and thereby a right unto the inheritance, is by the 
participation of the Spirit of Christ, as the apostle fully de- 
clares, Rom. viii. 14 — 17. For it is by the Spirit of adop- 
tion, the Spirit of the Son, that we are made children. Now 
saith the apostle, ' If we are children, then heirs, heirs of 
God, and joint heirs with Christ.' Children are heirs unto 
their Father. And those who are children of God are heirs 
of that inheritance which God hath provided for his chil- 
dren. 'Heirs of God.' And all the good things of grace and 
glory which believers are made partakers of in this world, or 
that which is to come, are called their inheritance, because 
they are the effects of free, gratuitous adoption. They are 
not things that themselves have purchased, bargained for, 
earned, or merited, but an inheritance depending on and fol- 
lowing solely upon their free, gratuitous adoption. But how 
can they become heirs of God, seeing God hath absolutely 
appointed the Son alone to be heir of all things ; Heb. i. 2. 
He was the heir unto whom the whole inheritance belonged. 
Why, saith the apostle, by the participation of the Spirit of 
Christ, we are made joint heirs with Christ. The whole in- 
heritance as unto his own personal right was entirely his 
by the free donation of the Father, all power in heaven and 
earth beino- o-iven unto him. But if he will take others into 
a joint right with him, he must purchase it for them, which 
he did accordingly. 

Fifthly, Hence it is manifest, how the Holy Spirit be- 
comes the earnest of our inheritance. For by him, that is, 
by the communication of him unto us, we are made joint 
heirs with Christ, which gives us our right and title, where 
by our names are, as it were, inserted into the assured con- 
veyance of the great and full inheritance of grace and glory. 
In the giving of his Spirit unto us, God making of us co- 
heirs with Christ, we have the greatest and most assured 
earnest and pledge of our future inheritance. And he is to 

Q 2 


be thus an earnest until, or unto the redemption of the pur- 
chased possession. For after that a man hath a good and 
firm title unto an inheritance settled in him, it may be a 
long time before he can be admitted into an actual posses- 
sion of it, and many difficulties he may have in the mean 
time to conflict withal. And it is so in this case. The ear- 
nest of the Spirit given unto us, whereby we become co- 
heirs with Christ, whose Spirit we are made partakers of, 
secures the title of the inheritance in and unto our whole 
persons. But before we can come unto the full possession 
of it, not only have we many spiritual trials and temptations 
to conflict withal in our souls, but our bodies also are liable 
unto death and corruption. Wherefore, whatever first fruits 
we may enjoy, yet can we not enter into the actual possession 
of the whole inheritance, until not only our souls are delivered 
from all sins and temptations, but our bodies also are rescued 
out of the dust of the grave. This is the full redemption of 
the purchased possession, whence it is signally called the 're- 
demption of the body;' Rom. viii. 23. 

Thus as the Lord Christ himself was made heir of all 
things by that communication of the Spirit unto him, where- 
by he was anointed unto his office ; so the participation of 
the same Spirit from him and by him, makes us co-heirs 
with him, and so he is an earnest given us of God of the fu- 
ture inheritance. It belongs not unto my present purpose 
to declare the nature of that inheritance, whereof the Holy 
Spirit is the earnest. In brief, it is the highest participa- 
tion with Christ in that glory and honour that our natures 
are capable of. 

And in like manner we are said to receive a7rap-)(r}v row 
TTvsvjuaroc ; Rom. viii. 23. That is, the Spirit himself as the 
first fruits of our spiritual and eternal redemption. God had 
appointed that the first fruits, which are called n*iyi and 
CDntDn should be a nonn, an offering unto himself. Here- 
unto aTTnpx^'/ answereth, and is taken generally for that which 
is first in any kind; Rom. xvi. 5. 1 Cor. xv. 20. James i. 18. 
Rev. xiv. 4. And the first fruits of the Spirit must be either 
what he first worketh in us, or all his fruits in us with re- 
spect unto the full harvest that is to come ; or the Spirit 
himself, as the beginning and pledge of future glory. And 
the latter of these is intended in this place. For the apostle 


discourseth about the liberty of the whole creation from that 
state of bondage whereunto all things were subjected by 
sin. With respect hereunto, he saith, that believers them- 
selves having not as yet obtained a full deliverance, as he 
had expressed it, chap. vii. 24. do groan after its perfect 
accomplishment. But yet, saith he, we have the beginning 
of it, the first fruits of it, in the communication of the Spirit 
unto us : ' For where the Spirit of God is, there is liberty ;' 
2 Cor. iii. 17. For, although, we are not capable of the full 
and perfect estate of the liberty provided for the children of 
God, whilst we are in this world, conflicting with the re- 
mainders of sin, pressed and exercised with temptations, our 
bodies also being subject unto death and corruption, yet 
where the Spirit of God is, where we have that first fruit of 
the fulness of our redemption, there is liberty in the real be- 
ginning of it, and assured consolation, because it shall be 
consummated in the appointed season. 

These are some of the spiritual benefits and privileges 
which believers enjoy by a participation of the Holy Ghost, 
as the promised Comforter of the church: these things he 
is unto them, and as unto all other things belonging unto 
their consolation, he works them in them, which we must in 
the next place inquire into. Only something we may take 
notice of from what we have already insisted on. As, 1. That 
all evangelical privileges whereof believers are made par- 
takers in this world, do centre in the person of the Holy 
Spirit. He is the great promise that Christ hath made unto 
his disciples, the great legacy which he hath bequeathed 
unto them. The grant made unto him by the Father, when 
he had done all his will, and fulfilled all righteousness, and 
exalted the glory of his holiness, wisdom, and grace, was 
this of the Holy Spirit to be communicated by him unto the 
church. This he received of the Father as the complement 
of his reward, wherein he saw of the ' travail of his soul and 
was satisfied.' This Spirit he now gives unto believers, and 
no tongue can express the benefits which they receive there- 
by. Therein are they anointed and sealed, therein do they 
receive the earnest and first fruits of immortality and glory. 
In a word, therein are they taken into a participation with 
Christ himself in all his honour and glory. Hereby is their 
condition rendered honourable, safe, comfortable, and the 


whole inheritance is unchangeably secured unto them. In 
this one privilege, therefore, of receiving the Spirit, are ail 
others inwrapped. For, 2. no one way, or thing, or simili- 
tude, can express or represent the greatness of this privilege. 
It is anointing, it is sealing, it is an earnest and first fruit, 
every thing whereby the love of God, and the blessed se- 
curity of our condition may be expressed or intimated unto 
us. For what greater pledge can we have of the love and 
favour of God? What greater dignities can we be made par- 
takers of? What greater assurance of a future, blessed con- 
dition, than that God hath given us of his Holy Spirit ? And, 
3. hence also is it manifest how abundantly willing he is, 
that the heirs of promise should receive strong consolation 
in all their distresses, when they fly for refuge unto the hope 
that is set before them. 





With respect unto the dispensation of the Spirit towards 
believers, and his holy operations in them and upon thera, 
there are sundry particular duties, whereof he is the imme- 
diate object, prescribed unto them. And they are those 
whereby on our part we comply with him in his work of 
grace, whereby it is carried on, and rendered useful unto us. 
Now, whereas this Holy Spirit is a divijie person, and he acts 
in all things towards us as a free agent, according unto his 
own will, the things enjoined us with respect unto liim, are 
those whereby we may carry ourselves aright towards such a 
one, namely, as he is a hob/, divine, intel/igent person, work- 
ing freely in and towards us for our good. And they are of 
two sorts ; the first whereof are expressed in prohibitions of 
(hose things which are unsuited unto him, and his dealings 



with us ; the latter in commands for our attendance unto 
such duties as are peculiarly suited unto a compliance with 
him in his operations; in both which our obedience is to be 
exercised with a peculiar regard unto him. I shall begin 
with the first sort, and go over them in the instances given 
us in the Scripture. 

I. We have a negative precept to this purpose, Eph. iv. 
30. fxrj XvTTHTe TO TTvevfxa to ayiov, ' Grieve not the Holy Spi- 
rit.' Consider who he is, what he hath done for you, how 
great your concern is in his continuance with you ; a,nd 
withal, that he is a free, infinitely wise, and holy agent in all 
that he doth, who came freely unto you, and can withdraw 
from you, — and grieve him not. It is the person of the Holy 
Spirit that is intended in the words, as appears, 1. From the 
manner of the expression, to -Kvivfia to ayiov, that' Holy Spi- 
rit,' 2. By the work assigned unto him; for by him we are 
* sealed unto the day of redemption ;' him we are not to 
grieve. The expression seems to be borrowed from Isa. Ixiii. 
10. where mention is made of the sin and evil here prohi- 
bited, itt'ip nn-DK nifyi no nom, ' but they rebelled, and 
v€xed his Holy Spirit.' 2Vp is to ' trouble' and to ' grieve/ 
and it is used when it is done unto a great degree. The LXX 
render it here by ira^o^vvu), which is so to grieve, as also to 
irritate and provoke to anger and indignation, because it 
hath respect unto the rebellions of the people in the wilder- 
ness, which our apostle expresseth by TrapairiKpaivu) and wa- 
pa-jriKpacTfiog, words of the same signification. To vex, there- 
fore, is the heightening of grieving by a provocation unto 
anger and indignation ; which sense is suited to the place 
and matter treated of, though the word signify no more but 
to ' grieve,' and so it is rendered by Xvwio) ; Gen. xlv. 5. 
1 Kings xix. 2. 

Now grief is here ascribed unto the Holy Spirit as it is 
elsewhere unto God absolutely. Gen. vi. 6. ' It repented the 
Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him 
at his heart.' Such affections and perturbations of mind are 
not ascribed unto God or the Spirit but metaphorically. 
That intended in such ascriptions is to give us an apprehen- 
sion of things as we are able to receive it. And the measure 
we take of them is their nature and effects in ourselves. 
What may justly grieve a good man, and what he will do 


when he is unjustly or undeservedly grieved, represent unto 
us what we are to understand of our own condition with re- 
spect unto the Holy Ghost when he is said to be grieved by 
us. And grief in the sense here intended, is a trouble of 
mind arising from an apprehension of unkindness not de- 
served, of disappointments not expected, on the account of a 
near concernment in those by whom we are grieved. We 
may, therefore, see hence, what it is we are warned of, when 
we are enjoined not to grieve the Holy Spirit. As, 

1. There must be unkindness in what we do. Sin hath 
various respects towards God, of guilt, and filth, and the like. 
These several considerations of it, have several effects. But 
that which is denoted when it is said to ' grieve him,' is un- 
kindness, or that defect of an answerable love unto the fruits 
and testimonies of his love which we have received, that it is 
accompanied withal. He is the Spirit of love, he is love. 
All his actings towards us and in us, are fruits of love, and 
they all of them leave an impression of love upon our souls. 
All the joys and consolation we are made partakers of in 
this world, arise from a sense of the love of God, communi- 
cated in an endearing way of love unto our souls. This re- 
quires a return of love and delight in all duties of obedience 
on our part. When instead hereof, by our negligence and 
carelessness, or otherwise, we fall into those things or ways 
which he most abhors, he greatly respects the unkindness 
and ingratitude which is therein, and is therefore said to be 
grieved by us. 

2. Disappointment in expectation. It is known that 
no disappointment properly can befal the Spirit of God. 
It is utterly inconsistent with his prescience and omni- 
cience. But we are disappointed, when things fall not out 
according as we justly expected they would, in answer unto 
the means used by us for their accomplishment. And when 
the means that God useth towards us, do not, by reason of 
our sin, produce the effect they are suited unto, God pro- 
poseth himself as under a disappointment. So he speaks of 
his vineyard, * I looked that it should bring forth grapes, 
and it brought forth wild grapes ;' Isa. v. 2. Now disappoint- 
ment causeth grief. As when a father hath used all means 
for the education of a child in any honest way or course, and 
expended much of his estate therein, if he through dissolute- 


ness or idleness fail his expectation, and disappoint him, it 
fills him with grief. They are great things which are done 
for us by the Spirit of God. These all of them have their 
tendency unto an increase in holiness, light, and love. 
Where they are not answered, where there is not a suitable 
effect, there is that disappointment that causeth grief. Es- 
pecially is this so with respect unto some signal mercies. 
A return in holy obedience is justly expected on their ac- 
count. And where this is not, it is a thing causing grief. 
This are we here minded of, * Grieve not the Spirit whereby 
ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.' So great a kind- 
ness should have produced other effects, than those there 
mentioned by the apostle. 

3. The concernment of the Holy Spirit in us, concur to 
his being said to be grieved by us. For we are grieved by 
them in whom we are particularly concerned. The miscar- 
riages of others we can pass over without any such trouble. 
And there are three things that give us an especial concern- 
ment in others. (1.) Relation, as that of a father, and hus- 
band, a brother. This makes us to be concerned in, and 
consequently to be grieved for the miscarriages of them that 
are related unto us. So is it with the Holy Spirit: he hath 
undertaken the office of a Comforter towards us, and stands 
in that relation to us. Hence he is so concerned in us, as 
that he is said to be grieved with our sins, when he is not so 
at the sins of them unto whom he stands not in especial re- 
lation. (2.) Love gives concernment, and makes way for 
grief upon occasion of it. Those whom we love we are 
grieved for, and by : others may provoke indignation, but 
they cause not grief, I mean on their own account; for 
otherwise we ought to grieve for the sins of all. And what 
is the especial love of the Holy Ghost towards us, hath been 

From what hath been spoken, it is evident what we are 
warned of, what is enjoined unto us, when we are cautioned 
not to grieve the Holy Spirit, and how we may do so. For 
we do it, 

(1.) When we are not influenced by his love and kind- 
ness, to answer his mind and will, in all holy obedience, ac- 
companied with joy, love, and delight. This he deserves at 
our hands, this he expects from us ; and where it is neg- 


lected, because of his concernment in us, we are said to 
grieve him. For he looks not only for our obedience, but 
also that it be filled up with joy, love, and delight. When 
we attend unto duties with an unwilling mind ; when we ap- 
ply ourselves unto any acts of obedience in a bondage or ser- 
vile frame, we grieve him, who hath deserved other things 
of us. 

(2.) When we lose and forget the sense and impressions 
of signal mercies received by him. So the apostle, to give 
efficacy unto his prohibition, adds the signal benefit which 
we receive by him, in that he seals us to the day of redemp- 
tion ; which, what it is, and wherein it doth consist, hath 
been declared. And hence it is evident, that he speaks of 
the Holy Spirit as dwelling in believers : for as such he seals 
them. Whereas, therefore, in and by sin, we forget the great 
grace, kindness, and condescension, of the Holy Spirit in his 
dwelling in us, and by various ways communicating of the 
love and grace of God unto us ; we may be well said to grieve 
him. And certainly this consideration, together with that 
of the vile ingratitude, and horrible folly, there is in neglect- 
ing and defiling his dwelling-place, with the danger of his 
withdrawing from us on the continuance of our provocation, 
ought to be as effectual a motive unto universal holiness, 
and constant watchfulness therein, as any can be proposed 
unto us. 

(3.) Some sins there are, which in an especial manner 
above others, do grieve the Holy Spirit. These our apostle 
expressly discourseth of, 1 Cor. iii. 15 — 20. And by the 
connexion of the words in this place, he seems to make 
corrupt communication, which always hath a tendency unto 
corruption of conversation, to be a sin of this nature ; 
ver. 29, 30. 

Secondly, That which we have rendered to 'vex him/ Isa. 
Ixiii. 10. is but the heightening and aggravation of his being 
grieved by our continuance, and it may be obstinacy, in those 
ways whereby he is grieved. For this is the progress in 
these things. If those whom we are concerned in, as chil- 
dren, or other relations, do fall into miscarriages and sins, 
we are first grieved by it. This grief in ourselves is attended 
with pity and compassion towards them, with an eamest 
endeavour for their recovery. But if, notwithstanding all our 


endeavours, and the application of means for their reduce- 
ment, they continue to go on frowardly in their ways, then 
are we vexed at them ; which inchides an addition of anger 
and indignation unto our former sorrow or grief. Yet in this 
posture of things we cease not to attempt their cure for a 
season, which if it succeed not, but they continue in their 
obstinacy, then we resolve to treat with them no more, but 
to leave them to themselves. And not only so, but upon our 
satisfaction of their resolution for a continuance in ways of 
sin and debauchery, we deal with them as their enemies, and 
labour to bring them unto punishment. And for our better 
understanding of the nature of our sin and provocation, this 
whole scheme of things is ascribed unto the Holy Ghost with 
respect unto them. How he is said to be grieved, and on 
what occasion, hath been declared. Upon a continuance in 
those ways wherewith he is grieved, he is said to be vexed ; 
that we may understand there is also anger and displeasure 
towards us ; yet he forsakes us not, yet he takes not from 
us the means of grace, and our recovery. But if we discover 
an obstinacy in our ways, and an untreatable perverseness, 
then he will cast us off, and deal with us no more for our 
recovery : and woe unto us, when he shall depart from us ! 
So when the old world would not be brought to repentance 
by the dispensation of the Spirit of Christ in the preaching 
of Noah, 1 Pet.iii. 19, 20. God said thereon, that his Spirit 
should give over, and not always 'contend with man;' Gen. 
vi. 3. Now the cessation of the operatiojis of the Spirit to- 
wards men obstinate in ways of sin, after he hath been long 
grieved and vexed, compriseth three things : 1. A subduc- 
tion from them of the means of grace, either totally, by the 
removal of their light and candlestick, all ways of the reve- 
lation of the mind and will of God unto them ; Rev. ii. 5, or 
as unto the efficacy of the word towards them, where the 
outward dispensation of it is continued, *so that hearing 
they shall hear, but not understand ;' Isa. vi. 9. John xii. 40. 
For by the word it is that he strives with the souls and minds 
of men. 2. A forbearance of all chastisement, out of a gra- 
cious design to heal and recover them ; Isa. i. 6. 3. A giving 
of them up unto themselves, or leaving them unto their own 
ways ; which although it seems only a consequent of the two 
former, and to be included in them, yet is there indeed in it 


a positive act of the anger and displeasure of God, which 
directly influenceth the event of things, for they shall be so 
given up unto their own hearts' lusts, as to be bound in them 
as in 'chains of darkness' unto following- vengeance, Rom. i. 
26. 28. But this is not all ; he becomes at length a professed 
enemy unto such obstinate sinners; Isa. Ixiii. 10. * They re- 
belled and vexed his Holy Spirit, therefore he was turned to 
be their enemy, and he fought against them.' This is the 
length of his proceeding against obstinate sinners in this 
world. And herein also, three things are included : 1. He 
comes upon them as an enemy to spoil them. This is the 
first thing that an enemy doth, when he comes to fight 
against any ; he spoils them of what they have. Have such 
persons had any light, or conviction, any gift, or spiritual 
abilities, the Holy Spirit being now become their professed 
enemy, he spoils them of it all : ' From him that hath not 
shall be taken away, even that which he seemeth to have.' 
Seeing he neither had nor used his gifts or talent unto any 
saving end, being now at an open enmity with him who lent 
it him, it shall be taken away. 2. He will come upon them 
with spiritual judgments, smiting them with blindness of 
mind, and obstinacy of will, filling them with folly, giddiness, 
and madness, in their ways of sin, which sometimes shall 
produce most doleful effects in themselves and others. 3. He 
will cast them out of his territories ; if they have been mem- 
bers of churches, he will order that they shall be cut off, 
and cast out of them. 4. He frequently gives them in this 
world a foretaste of that everlasting vengeance which is 
prepared for them. Such are those horrors of conscience, 
and other terrible effects of an utter desperation, which he 
justly, righteously, and holily sends upon the minds and 
souls of some of them. And these things will he do, as to 
demonstrate the greatness and holiness of his nature ; so 
also that all may know what it is to despise his goodness, 
kindness, and love. 

And the consideration of these things belongs unto us. 
It is our wisdom and duty to consider as well the ways and 
degrees of the Spirit's departure from provoking sinners, as 
those of his approach unto us, with love and grace. 

These latter have been much considered by many as to 
all his great works towards us, and that unto the great ad- 


vantage and edification of those concerned in them. For 
thence have they learned both their own state and condition, 
as also what particular duties they were on all occasions to 
apply themselves unto, as in part we have manifested before, 
in our discourses about regeneration and sanctification. 

And it is of no less concernment unto us to consider 
aright the ways and degrees of his departure, which are ex- 
pressed to give us that godly fear and reverence wherewith 
we ought to consider and observe him. David on his sin 
feared nothing more than that God would take his Holy 
Spirit from him ; Psal. li. 11. And the fear hereof, should 
influence us into the utmost care and diligence against sin. 
For although he should not utterly forsake us, which as to 
those who are true believers is contrary to the tenor, pro- 
mise, and grace, of the new covenant, yet he may so with- 
draw his presence from us, as that we may spend the re- 
mainder of our days in trouble, and our years in darkness 
and sorrow. ' Let him,' therefore, ' thatthinketh he standeth,' 
on this account also *take heed lest he fall.' And as for them 
with whom he is, as it were, but in the entrance of his work 
producing such effects in their minds, as being followed and 
attended unto, might have a saving event, he may upon their 
provocations, utterly forsake them in the way and by the 
degrees before mentioned. It is therefore the duty of all to 
serve him with fear and trembling on this account. And, 

Secondly, It is so, to take heed of the very entrances of 
the course described. Have there been such evils in any of 
us, as wherein it is evident that the Spirit is grieved ? as we 
love our souls we are to take care that we do not vex him by 
a continuance in them. And if we do not diligently and 
speedily recover ourselves from the first, the second will en- 
sue. Hath he been grieved by our negligence in or of duties, 
by our indulgence unto any lust, by compliance with, or con- 
formity to, the world ; let not our continuance in so doing, 
make it his vexation. Remember that whilst he is but 
grieved, he continues to supply us with all due means for 
our healing and recovery. He will do so also when he is yet 
vexed. But he will do it with such a mixture of anger and 
displeasure, as shall make us know, that what we have done, 
is an evil thing and a bitter. But have any proceeded far- 
ther, and continued long thus to vex him, and have refused 


his instructions, when accompanied, it may be, with sore af- 
flictions, or inward distresses that have been evident tokens 
of his displeasure? let such souls rouse up themselves to lay 
hold on him, for he is ready to depart, it may be for ever. 

Thirdli/, We may do well to consider much the miserable 
condition of those who are thus utterly forsaken by him. 
When we see a man who hath lived in a plentiful and flou- 
rishing condition, brought to extreme penury and want, 
seeking his bread in rags from door to door, the spectacle is 
sad, although we know, he brought this misery on himself by 
profuseness or debauchery of life. But how sad is it to think 
of a man, whom, it may be, we knew to have had a great light 
and conviction, to have made an amiable profession, to have 
been adorned with sundry useful spiritual gifts, and had in 
estimation on this account, now to be despoiled of all his or- 
naments, to have lost light, and life, and gifts, and profes- 
sion, and to lie as a poor withered branch on the dunghill of 
the world ! And the sadness hereof will be increased, when 
we shall consider, not only that the Spirit of God is departed 
from him, but also is become his enemy, and fights against 
him, whereby he is devoted unto irrecoverable ruin. 




Spiritual gifts ; their names and signification. 

The second part of the dispensation of the Spirit in order 
unto the perfecting of the new creation, or the edification of 
the church, consists in his coynmunication of spiritual gifts 
unto the members of it, according as their places and sta- 
tions therein do require. By his work of saving grace (which. 
in other discoui'ses we have given a large account of) he 
makes all the elect living stones ; and, by his communication 
of spiritual gifts, he fashions and builds those stones into a 
temple for the living God to dwell in. He spiritually unites 
them into one mystical body under the Lord Christ, as a head 
of influence by faith and love ; and he unites them into an or- 
ganical body under the Lord Christ as a head of rule, by gifts 
and spiritual abilities. Their nature is made one and the 
same by grace ; their use is various by gifts. Every one is 
a part of the body of Christ, of the essence of it, by the same 
quickening, animating spirit of grace; but one is an eye, an- 
other a hand, another afoot, in the body, by virtue of peculiar 
gifts. 'For unto every one of us is gjyen grace according 
to the measure of the gift of Christ;' Eph. iv. 7. 

These gifts are not saving sanctifying graces ; those were 
not so in themselves which made the most glorious and as- 
tonishing appearance in the world, and which were most 
eminently useful in the foundation of the church, and propa- 
gation of the gospel. Such as were those that were extra- 
ordinary and miraculous. There is something of the divine 
nature in the least grace, that is not in the most glorious gift 
which is only so. It will therefore be part of our work, to 
shew wherein the essential difference between these gifts and 
sanctifying graces doth consist; as, also, what is their na- 
ture and use must be inquired into. For although they are 
not grace, yet they are that without which the church cannot 


subsist in the world, nor can believers be useful unto one 
another, and the rest of mankind, unto the glory of Christ, 
as they ought to be. They are the powers of the world to 
come; those effectual operations of the power of Christ, 
whereby his kingdom was erected and is preserved. 

And hereby is the church state under the 'New Testament 
differenced from that under the Old. There is, indeed, a 
great difference between their orduiauces and ours ; theirs 
being suited unto the dark apprehensions which they had of 
spiritual things ; ours accommodated unto the clearer light 
of'the gospel, more plainly and expressly representing heavenly 
things unto us; Heb. x. 1, But our ordinances with their 
spirit would be carnal also. The principal difference lies in 
the administration of the Spirit, for the due performance of 
gospel worship, by virtue of these gifts bestowed on men for 
that very end. Hence the whole of evangelical worship is 
called the ministration of the Spirit, and thence said to be 
glorious: 2 Cor. iii. 8. And where they are neglected, I see 
not the advantage of the outward worship and ordinances of 
the gospel, above those of the law. For although their in- 
stitutions are accommodated unto that administration of 
grace and truth which came by Jesus Christ; yet they must 
lose their whole glory, force, and efficacy, if they be not dis- 
pensed, and the duties of them performed, by virtue of these 
spiritual gifts. And therefore, no sort of men by whom they 
are neglected, do or can content themselves with the pure 
and unmixed gospel institutions in these things, but do rest 
principally in the outward part of divine service in things of 
their own finding out. For as gospel gifts are useless without 
attending unto gospel institutions ; so gospel institutions are 
found to be fruitless and unsatisfactory, without the attain- 
ing and exercising of gospel gifts. 

Be it so, therefore, that these gifts we intend are not in 
themselves saving graces ; yet are they not to be despised. 
For they are, as we shall shew, the poioers of the world to 
come, by means whereof the kingdom of Christ is preserved, 
carried on, and propagated in the world. And although 
they are not grace, yet are they the great means whereby all 
grace is ingenerated and exercised. And although the spi- 
ritual life of the church doth not consist in them, yet the 
order and edification of the church depends wholly on them. 


And therefore are they so frequently mentioned in the Scrip- 
ture as the great privilege of the New Testament ; directions 
being multiplied in the writings of the apostles, about their 
nature and proper use. And we are commanded earnestly 
to desire and labour after them, especially those which are 
most useful and subservient unto edification; 1 Cor. xii. 31. 
And as the neglect of internal saving grace, wherein the power 
of godliness doth consist, hath been the bane of Christian 
profession as to obedience, issuing in that form of it which 
is consistent with all manner of lusts ; so the nealect of these 
gifts hath been the ruin of the same profession as to worship 
and order, which hath thereon issued in fond superstition. 

The great and signal promise of the communication of 
these gifts, is recorded, Psal. Ixviii. 18. ' Thou hast ascended 
on high, thou hast led captivity captive, thou hast received 
gifts for men.' For these words are applied by the apostle 
unto that communication of spiritual gifts from Christ, where- 
by the church was founded and edified ; Eph. iv. 8. And 
whereas it is foretold in the Psalm, that Christ should remt^e 
gifts, that is, to give them unto men, as that expression is ex- 
pounded by the apostle; so he did this by receiving of the 
Spirit, the proper cause and immediate author of them all, 
as Peter declares, Acts ii. 23. ' Therefore being by the right 
hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the 
promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this which ye 
now see and hear;' speaking of the miraculous gifts conferred 
on the apostles at the day of Pentecost, For these gifts are 
from Christ, not as God absolutely, but as mediator, in which 
capacity he received all from the Father in a way of free do- 
nation. Thus, therefore, he received the Spirit as the author 
of all spiritual gifts. And whereas all the powers of the 
world to come consisted in them, and the whole work of the 
building and propagation of the church depended on them, 
the apostles after all the instructions they had received from 
Christ, whilst he conversed with them in the days of his flesh, 
and also after his resurrection, were commanded not to go 
about the great work which they had received commission 
for, until they had received power hy the coming of the Holy 
Ghost upon them in the communication of those gifts; Acts 
i. 4. 8. And as they neither might nor could do any thing 
in their peculiar work, as to the laying of the foundation of 



the Christian church, until they had actually received those 
extraordinary gifts which gave them power so to do ; so if 
those who undertake in any place, degree, or office, to carry 
on the edification of the church, do not receive those more 
ordinary gifts which are continued unto that end, they have 
neither right to undertake that work, nor poiuer to perform it 
in a due manner. 

The things which we are to inquire into concerning these 
gifts, are, I. Their name; II. Their nature in general, and 
therein how they agree with and differ from saving graces ; 
III. Their distinction : IV. The particular natU7'e oi thexxi; and, 
V. Their use in the church of God. 

I. The general name of those spiritual endowments which 
we intend is SofiaTa; so the apostle renders m3no, Eph. iv. 
8. from Psal. Ixviii. 18. dona, gifts. That is, they are free 
and undeserved effects of divine bounty. In the minds of 
men on whom they are bestowed, they are spiritual powers 
and endowments with respect unto a certain end. But as 
to their original and principal cause, they Q.Yefree,undese7-ved 
gifts. Thence the Holy Spirit, as the author of them, and 
with respect unto them, is called Swpca tov Oiov, the * gift of 
God ;' John iv. 10. And the effect itself is also termed Stopta 
TOV ayiov -nvEVfiaTOQ, the ' gift of the Holy Ghost;' Acts x. 46. 
The ' gift of God;' Acts viii. 20. The * gift of the grace of 
God;' Eph. iii. 7. The 'gift of Christ;' Eph. iv. 7. The 
'heavenly gift;' Heb. vi. 4. All expressing the freedom of 
their communication on the part of the Father, Son, and 
Spirit. And in like manner on the same account are they 
called xa/oiffjU"'""' that is, 'gracious largesses;' gifts proceeding 
from mere bounty. And therefore saving graces are also ex- 
pressed by the same name in general, because they also are 
freely and undeservedly communicated unto us; Rom. xi. 28. 
But these gifts are frequently and almost constantly so ex- 
pressed ; Rom. xii. 6. 1 Cor. i. 7. vii. 7. xii. 4. 9. 28. 30. 1 Pet 
iv. 14. 2 Tim. i. 6. And it is absolute freedom in the bestower 
of them that is principally intended in this name. Hence he 
hath left his name as a curse unto all posterity, who thought 
this free gift of God might be purchased with money; Acts 
viii. 20. A pageantry of which crime the apostate ages of 
the church erected, in applying the name of that sin to the 
purchase of hcnefices and dignities, whilst the gift of God was 


equally despised on all hands. And indeed this was that 
whereby in all ages countenance was given unto apostacy 
and defection from the power and truth of the gospel. The 
names of spiritual things were still retained, but applied to 
outward forms and ceremonies, which thereby were substi- 
tuted insensibly into their room, to the ruin of the gospel 
in the minds of men. But as these gifts were not any of 
them to be bought, no more are they absolutely to be at- 
tained by the natural abilities and industry of any, whereby 
an image of them is attempted to be set up by some, but 
deformed and useless. They will do those things in the 
church by their own abilities, which can never be acceptably 
discharged but by virtue of those free gifts which they de- 
spise ; whereof we must speak more afterward. Now the 
full signification of these words in our sense is peculiar unto 
the New Testament. For although in other authors they 
are used for a gift or free grant, yet they never denote the 
endoivments or abilities of the minds of men who do receive 
them, which is their principal sense in the Scripture. 

With respect unto their especial nature, they are called 
irvivfiaTiKa : sometimes absolutely ; 1 Cor, xii. 1. Trspi de twv 
TTvevfiaTiKwv,' but concerning spirituals;' that is, spiritual gifts. 
And so again, chap. xiv. 1. ^rjXourera TTvevixaTiKci, ' desire spi- 
rituals ;' that is, gifts; for so it is explained; chap. xii. 31. 
^rjXowTE TO. -xapianaTa ra KpdrTova, 'covet earnestly the best 
gifts.' Whenever therefore, they are called TrvevfjiaTiKa, there 
XapiafxaTa, denoting their general nature, is to be supplied : and 
where they are called x'^9'-<^f^fiTo- only. TrvEu/iaTtica is to be un- 
derstood, as expressing their especial difference from all others. 
They are neither 7iatural, nor moral, but spiritual endow- 
ments. For both their author, nature, and object, are re- 
spected herein. Their author is the Holy Spirit ; their na- 
ture is spiritual ; and the object about which they are exer- 
cised, are spiritual things. 

Again, with respect unto the manner of their communi- 
cation they are called fxtpiafxoi rov Trvevfiarog ayiov ; Heb. 
ii.4. 'Distributions, or partitions of the Holy Ghost ;' not 
whereof the Holy Ghost is the subject, as though he were 
parted or divided, as the Socinians dream on this place ; but 
whereof he is the author, the distributions which he makes. 
And they are thus called divisions, partitions, or distribu- 

R 2 


tions, because they are of divers sorts and kinds, according 
as the edification of the church did require. And they were 
not, at any time, all of them given out unto any one person, 
at least so, as that others should not be made partakers of 
the same sort. From the same inexhaustible treasure of 
bounty, grace, and power, these gifts are variously distri- 
buted unto men. And this variety, as the apostle proves, 
gives both ornament and advantage to the church. ' If the 
whole body were an eye, where were the hearing, &c. 1 Cor. 
xii. 16 — 25. It is this juifjiafiog, this various distribution of 
gifts, that makes the chui'ch an organical body; and in this 
composure, with the peculiar uses of the members of the 
body, consists the harmony, beauty, and safety of the whole. 
Were there no more but one gift, or gifts of one sort, the 
whole body would be but one member : as where there is 
none, there is no animated body but a dead carcass. 

And this various distribution, as it is an act of the Holy 
Spirit, produceth dudpiaiv : diaipiaBig ^apKTfiuTiov elal, ' There 
are diversities of gifts;' 1 Cor. xii. 4. 1\\& gifts thus dis- 
tributed in the church are divers as to their sorts and kinds, 
one of one kind, another of another : an account hereof is 
given by the apostle particularly, ver. 8 — 10. in a distinct 
enumeration of the sorts or kinds of them. The edification 
of the church is the general end of them all ; but divers, 
distinct, different gifts are required thereunto. 

These gifts being bestowed, they are variously expressed 
with regard unto the nature and manner of those operations 
which we are enabled unto by virtue of them. So are they 
termed ^laKov'iag, ' ministrations ;' 1 Cor. xii. 5. That is, 
powers and abilities whereby some are enabled to administer 
spiritual things unto the benefit, advantage, and edification 
of others : and ivepyiifxciTa, ver. 6. ' effectual workings' or 
operations, efficaciously producing the effects which they 
are applied unto. And lastly, they are comprised by the 
apostle in that expression, (pavipuxrig tov TrvevfiaTog, ' The 
manifestation of the Spirit ;' ver. 7. In and by them doth 
the Holy Spirit evidence and manifest his power. For the 
effects produced by them, and themselves in their own na- 
ture, especially some of them, do evince, that the Holy Spirit 
is in them, that they are given and wrought by him, and are 
the ways whereby he acts his own power and grace. 


These things are spoken in the Scripture as to the names 
of these spiritual gifts : and it is evident, that if we part 
with our interest and concern in them, we must part with no 
small portion of the New Testament. For the mention of 
them, directions about them, their use, and abuse, do so 
frequently occur, that if we are not concerned in them, we 
are not so in the gospel. 


Differences hetween spiritual gifts and saving grace. 

Their nature in general, which in the next place we inquire 
into, will be much discovered in the consideration of those 
things wherein these gifts do agree with saving graces, and 
wherein they differ from them. 

First, There are three things wherein spiritual gifts ^md 
saving graces do agree. 

1. They are both sorts of them the purchase of Christ for 
his church, the especial fruit of his mediation. We speak 
not of such gifts or endowments of men's minds as consist 
merely in the improvement of their natural faculties. Such 
are ivisdom, learning, skill in arts and sciences, which those may 
abound and excel in who are utter strangers to the church 
of Christ ; and frequently they do so, to their own exalta- 
tion and contempt of others. Nor do I intend abilities for 
actions moral, civil, or political ; 2iS fortitude, skill in (govern- 
ment or rule, and the hke. For although these are gifts of 
the power of the Spirit of God, yet they do belono- unto 
those operations which he exerciseth in upholding or ruling 
of the world, or the old creation as such, whereof I have 
treated before. But I intend those alone which are con- 
versant about the gospel, the things and duties of it, the 
administration of its ordinances, the propagation of its doc- 
trine and profession of its ways. And herein also I put a 
difference between them, and all those gifts of the Spirit 
about sacred things, which any of the people of God en- 
joyed under the Old Testament. For we speak only of those 
which are powers of the world to come. Those others were 


suited to the economy of the old covenant, and confined with 
the light which God was pleased then to communicate unto 
his church. Unto the gospel state they were not suited, nor 
would be useful in it. Hence the prophets, who had the 
most eminent gifts, did yet all of them come short of John 
the Baptist ; because they had not by virtue of their gifts 
that acquaintance with the person of Christ, and insight 
into his work of mediation, that he had ; and yet also, he 
came short of him that is least in the kingdom of heaven, be- 
cause his gifts were not purely evangelicol. Wherefore these 
gifts whereof we treat, are such as belong unto the kingdom 
of God erected in an especial manner by Jesus Christ after 
his ascension into heaven : for he was exalted that he might 
Jill all things, ra iravra, that is, the whole church with these 
effects of his power and grace. The power, therefore, of 
communicating these gifts, was granted unto the Lord Christ 
as mediator by the Father, for the foundation and edification 
of his church, as it is expressed. Acts ii. 33. And by them 
was his kingdom both set up and propagated, and is pre- 
served in the world. These were the weapons of warfare 
which he furnished his disciples withal, when he gave them 
commission to go forth and siihdne the world unto the obedi- 
ence of the gospel ; Acts i. 4. 8. And mighty were they 
through God unto that purpose ; 2 Cor. x. 3 — 6. In the use 
and exercise of them did the gospel run, and zvas glori/ied, 
to the ruin of th-e kingdom of Satan and darkness in the 
world. And that he was ever able to erect it again under 
another form than that of Gentilism, as he hath done in the 
antichristian apostacy of the church visible, it was from a 
neglect and contempt of these gifts, with their due use and 
improvement. When men began to neglect the attaining of 
these spiritual gifts, and the exercise of them, in praying, 
in preaching, in interpretation of the Scripture, in all the 
administrations and whole worship of the church, betaking 
themselves wholly to their own abilities and inventions, ac- 
commodated unto their ease and secular interest, it was an 
easy thing for Satan to erect again his kingdom, though not 
in the old manner, because of the light of the Scripture 
which had made impression on the minds of men, which he 
could not obliterate. Wherefore he never attempted openly 
any more to set up Heathenism or Paganism, with the gods of 


the old world and their worship ; but he insensibly raised 
another kingdom, which pretended some likeness unto and 
compliance with the letter of the word, though it came at last 
to be in all things expressly contrary thereunto. This was 
his kingdom of apostacy and darkness under the papal anti- 
christianism, and woful degeneracy of other Christians in 
the world. For when men who pretend themselves intrusted 
with the preservation of the kingdom of Christ, did wilfully 
cast away those weapons of their warfare whereby the world 
was subdued unto him, and ought to have been kept in sub- 
jection by them, what else could ensue ? 

By these gifts, I say, doth the Lord Christ demonstrate 
his power, and exercise his rule. External force and carnal 
weapons were far from his thoughts, as unbecoming his ab- 
solute sovereignty over the souls of men, his infinite power 
and holiness. Neither did any ever betake themselves unto 
them in the affairs of Christ's kingdom, but either whea 
they had utterly lost and abandoned these spiritual weapons, 
or did not believe that they are sufficient to maintain the in- 
terest of the gospel, though originally they were so to intro- 
duce and fix it in the world ; that is, that although the gifts of 
the Holy Ghost were sufiicient and effectual to bring in the 
truth and doctrine of the gospel against all opposition, yet 
are they not so to maintain it ; which they may do well once 
more to consider. Herein, therefore, they agree with saving 
graces: for that they are peculiarly from Jesus Christ the 
mediator, is confessed by all ; unless it be by such as by 
whom all real internal grace is denied. But the sanctifying 
operations of the Holy Spirit, with their respect unto the 
Lord Christ as Mediator, have been sufficiently before con- 

2. There is an agreement between saving graces and spi- 
ritual gifts, with respect unto their immediate efficient cause. 
They are both sorts of them wrought by the power of the Holi/ 
Ghost. As to what concerneth the former or saving grace, 
I have already treated of that argument at large ; nor will 
any deny that the Holy Ghost is the author of these graces, but 
those that deny that there are any such. That these gifts 
are so wrought by him is expressly declared wherever there 
is mention of them in general or particular. Wherefore, 
when they acknowledge that there were such gifts, all con- 

248 A DISCOURSE or spiritual gifts. 

fess him to be their author ; by whom he is denied so to be, 
it is only because they deny the continuance of any such gifts 
in the church of God, But this is that which we shall dis- 

3. Herein also they agree, that both sorts of them are de- 
signed unto the good, benefit, ornament, and glonj of the church. 
The church is the proper seat and subject of them, to it are 
they granted, and in it do they reside. For Christ is given 
to be the * head over all things unto the church, which is his 
body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all ;' Eph. i. 22, 
23. But this church falls under a double consideration. 
First, as it is believing; Secondly, as it is professing. In the 
first respect absolutely it is invisible, and as such is the pe- 
culiar subject of saving grace. This is that church which 
Christ ' loved and gave himself for it, thathe might sanctify and 
cleanse it, and present it unto himself a glorious church, not 
having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be 
holy and without blemish ;' Eph, v. 26, 27. This is the work 
of saving grace, and by a participation thereof do men be- 
come members of this church, and not otherwise. And herel^y 
is the professing church quickened and enabled unto profes- 
sion in an acceptable manner. For the elect receive grace 
unto this end in this world, that they may glorify Christ and 
the gospel in the exercise of it; Col. i, 6. John xv. 8, But 
gifts are bestowed on the professing church, to render it vi- 
sible in such a way as whereby God is glorified, Grace gives 
an invisible life to the church ; gifts give it a visible profession. 
For hence doth the church become organical and disposed 
into that order which is beautiful and comely. Where any 
church is organized merely by outward rules, perhaps of their 
own devising, and makes profession only in an attendance 
unto outward order, not following the leading of the Spirit 
in the communication of his gifts, both as to order and dis- 
charge of the duties of profession, it is but the image of a 
church wanting an animating principle and form. That pro- 
fession which renders a church visible according to the mind 
of Christ, is the orderly exercise of the spiritual gifts bestowed 
on it, in a conversation evidencing the invisible principle of 
saving grace. Now these gifts are conferred on the church 
in order unto the edif cation of itself in love ; Eph, iv. 16. as 
also the propagation of its profession in the world, as shall 


be declared afterward. Wherefore, both of these sorts have 
in general the same end, or are given by Christ unto the same 
purpose, namely, the good and benefit of the church, as they 
are respectfully suited to promote them. 

It may also be added, that they agree herein, that they 
have both the same respect unto the bounty of Christ. Hence 
every grace is a gift, that which is given and freely bestowed 
on them that have it; Matt. xiii. 11. Phil. i. 29. And al- 
though on the other side every gift be not a grace, yet pro- 
ceeding from gracious favour and bounty, they are so called ; 
Rom. xii. 6. Eph. iv. 7. How, in their due exercise they 
are mutually helpful and assistant unto each other, shall be 
declared afterward. 

Secondly, We may consider wherein the difference lies 
or doth consist, which is between these spiritual gifts and 
sanctifying graces. And this may be seen in sundry in- 
stances. As, 

1. Saving graces are icapTroc, the ' fruit or fruits of the 
Spirit;' Gal. v. 22. Eph. v. 9. Phil. i. 11. Now fruits pro- 
ceed from an abiding root and stock of whose nature they 
do partake. There must be a * good tree' to bring forth 
' good fruit ;' Matt. xii. 33. No external watering or appli- 
cations unto the earth, will cause it to bring forth useful 
fruits, unless there are roots from which they spring and are 
educed. The Holy Spirit is as the root unto these fruits ; 
the root which bears them, and which they do not bear, as 
Rom. xi. 18. Therefore, in order of nature is he given unto 
men before the production of any of these fruits. Thereby 
are they ingrafted into the olive, are made such branches in 
Christ the true vine, as derive vital juice, nourishment, and 
fructifying virtue from him even by the Spirit. So is he ' a 
well of water spinging up unto everlasting life;' John iv. 14. 
He is a spring in believers, and all saving graces are but 
waters arising from that living overflowing spring. From him 
a root or spring, as an internal virtue, power, or principle, do 
all these/n/zVs come. To this end doth he chcell in them and 
abide with them according to the promise of our Lord Jesus 
Christ; John xiv. 17. Rom. viii. 11. 1 Cor. iii. 16. whereby 
the Lord Christ effecteth his purpose in ordaining his disci- 
ples to ' bring forth fruit that should remain;' John xv. 16. 
In the place of his holy residence he worketh these effects 


freely according to his own will. And there is nothing that 
hath the true nature of saving grace, but what is so a, fruit of 
the Spirit. We have not first these graces, and then by virtue 
of them receive the Spirit^ (for whence should we have them 
of ourselves ?) but the Spirit bestowed on us, worketh them 
in us ; and gives them a spiritual divine nature in conformity 
unto his own. 

With gij'ts singly considered, it is otherwise. They are 
indeed works and effects, but not properly fruits of the Spirit, 
nor are any where so called. They are effects of his opera- 
tion upon men, not fruits of his working in them. And, 
therefore, many receive these gifts, who never receive the 
Spirit as to the principal ends for which he is promised. 
They receive him not to sanctify and make them temples unto 
God ; though metonymically with respect unto his outward 
effects they may be said to be made partakers of him. This 
renders them o^^l different nature and kind from saving graces. 
For, whereas there is an agreement and coincidence between 
them in the respects beforementioned, and whereas the seat 
and subject of them, that is, of gifts absolutely, and princi- 
pally of graces also, is the mind, the difference of their nature 
proceeds from the different manner of their communication 
from the Holy Spirit. 

2. Saving grace proceeds from, or is the effect and fruit 
of, electing love. This I have proved before in our inquiry 
into the nature of holiness. See it directly asserted, Eph. 
i. 3, 4. 2Thess. ii. 13. Acts ii. 41. xiii. 48. Whom God 
graciously chooseth and designeth unto eternal life, them he 
prepares for it by the communication of the means which are 
necessary unto that end ; Rom. viii. 28 — 30. Hereof sanc- 
tification, or the communication of saving grace,'is compre- 
hensive ; for we are ' chosen unto salvation through the 
sanctification of the Spirit;' 2 Thes. ii. 13. For this is that 
whereby we are made * meet for the inheritance of the saints 
in light;' Col. i. 12. The end of God in election is the son- 
ship and salvation of the elect, unto the ' praise of the glory 
of his grace;' Eph. i. 5, 6. And this cannot be, unless his 
image be renewed in them in holiness or saving graces. 
These, therefore, he works in them, in pursuit of his eternal 
purpose therein. But gifts on the other hand which are no 
more but so, and where they are solitary or alone, are only 


the effects of a temporary election. Thus God chooseth some 
men into some ojfice in the church, or unto some work in the 
world. As this includeth a preferring them before or above 
others, or the using them when others are not used, we call it 
election; and in itself it is their fitting for, and separation 
unto, their office or work. And this temporary/ election is the 
cause and rule of the dispensation of glhs. So he chose Saul 
to be king over his people, and give him thereon another 
spirit, or gifts fitting him for rule and government. So our 
Lord Jesus Christ chose and called at the first ttvelve to be 
his apostles, and gave unto them all alike miraculous gifts. 
His temporary choice of them was the ground of his commu- 
nication of gifts unto them. By virtue hereof no saving 
graces were communicated unto them, for one of them never 
arrived unto a participation of them. * Have not I,' saith our 
Saviour unto them, ' chosen you, twelve, and one of you is a 
devil?' John vi. 70, He had chosen them unto their oflSce, 
and endowed them with extraordinary gifts for the discharge 
thereof, but one of them being not chosen unto salvation before 
the foundation of the world, being not ordained unto eternal 
life, but on the other side being the son of perdition, or one 
certainly appointed unto destruction, or before of old or- 
dained unto that condemnation, he continued void of all 
sanctifying graces, so as unto any acceptation with God, he 
was in no better condition than the devil himself, whose 
work he was to do. Yet was he, by virtue of this choice 
unto the office of apostleship for a season, endowed with the 
same spiritual gifts that the other was: and this distinction 
our Saviour himself doth plainly lay down. For, whereas 
he says, John vi. 70. ' I have chosen you twelve,' that is, 
with a temporary choice unto oflSce; John xiii. 18. he saith, 
' I speak not of you all, I know whom I have chosen,' so ex- 
cepting Judas from that number, as is aftei-ward expressly 
declared. For the election which here he intends, is that 
which is accompanied with an ' infallible ordination unto 
abiding fruit-bearing;' chap. xv. 16. that is, eternal election 
wherein Judas had no interest. 

And thus it is in general and in other instances. When 
God chooseth any one to eternal life, he will in pursuit of 
that purpose of his, communicate saving grace unto them. 
And although all believers have gifts also sufficient to enable 


them unto the discharge of their duty in their station or con- 
dition in the church, yet they do not depend on the decree of 
election. And where God calleth any, or chooseth any iinto 
an office, charge, or work in the church, he always furnisheth 
them with gifts suited unto the end of them. He doth not so 
indeed unto all that will take any office unto themselves ; but 
he doth so unto all whom he calls thereunto. Yea his call 
is no otherwise known but by the gifts which he communi- 
cates for the discharge of the work or office, whereunto any 
are called. In common use I confess all things run contrary 
hereunto. Most men greatly insist on the necessity of an 
outward call unto the office of the ministry, and so far no 
doubt they do well ; for ' God is the God of order ;' that is, of 
his own. But, whereas they limit this outward call of theirs 
unto certain persons, ways, modes, and ceremonies of their 
own, without which they will not allow that any man is 
rightly called unto the ministry, they do but contend to op- 
press the consciences of others by their power and with their 
inventions. But their most pernicious mistake is yet remain- 
ing : so that persons have or do receive an outward call in 
their mode and way, which what it hath of a call in it I know 
not, they are not solicitous whether they are called of God 
or no. For they continually admit of them unto their out- 
waid call, on whom God hath bestowed no spiritual gifts to 
fit them for their office ; whence it is as evident as if written 
with the beams of the sun, that he never called them there- 
unto. They are as watchful as they are able, that God him- 
self shall impose none on them besides their way and order, 
or their call. For, let a man be furnished with ministerial 
gifts never so excellent, yet if he will not come up to their 
call, they will do what lies in them for ever to shut him out 
of the ministry : but they will impose upon God without his 
call every day. For if they ordain any one in their way unto an 
office, though he have no more of spiritual gifts than Balaam's 
ass, yet if you will believe them, Christ must accept of him 
for a minister of his whether he will or no. But let men 
dispose of things as they please, and as it seemeth good unto 
them, Christ hath no other order in this matter, but as ' every 
one hath received the gift, so let them minister as good 
stewards of the grace of God ;' 1 Pet. iv. 10. and Rom. xii. 
6 — 8. It is true, that no man ought to take upon him the 


office of the ministry, but he that is, and until he be, so- 
lemnly called and set apart thereunto by the church : but it 
is no less true, that no church hath either rule or right so to 
call or set apart any one to the ministry, whom Christ hath 
not previously called by the communication of spiritual gifts 
necessary to the discharge of his office ; and these things 
must be largely insisted on afterward. 

3. Saving grace is an effect of the covenant, and be- 
stowed in the accomplishment, and by virtue of the pro- 
mises' thereof. This hath been declared elsewhere at large, 
where we treated of regeneration and sanctification. All that 
are taken into this covenant are sanctified and made holy. 
There is no grace designed unto any in the eternal purpose of 
God, none purchased or procured by the mediation of Christ, 
but it is comprised in, and exhibited hy the promises of the co- 
venant. Wherefore, they only who are taken into that cove- 
nant are made partakers of saving grace, and they are all so. 
Things are not absolutely so with respect unto spiritual 
gifts, although they also in some sense belong unto the co- 
venant. For the promises of the covenant are of two sorts. 
(1.) Such as belong unto the internal form and essence of it. 
(2.) Such as belong unto its outward administration; that is, 
the ways and means whereby its internal grace is made ef- 
fectual. Saving grace proceedeth from the former; gifts re- 
late unto the latter. For all the promises of the plentiful 
effusion of the Spirit under the New Testament, which are fre- 
quently applied unto him as he works and effects evangelical 
gifts extraordinary and ordinary in men, do belong unto the 
new covenant; not as unto its internal essence and form, but 
as unto its outward administration. And if you overthrow 
this distinction, that the covenant is considered either with 
respect unto its internal grace, or its external administration, 
every thing in religion will be cast into confusion. Take 
away internal grace as some do, and the whole is rendered a 
mere outside appearance : take away the outward administra- 
tion, and all spiritual gifts and order thereon depending must 
cease. But as it is possible that some may belong unto the 
covenant with respect unto internal grace, who are no way 
taken into the external administration of it, as elect infants 
who die before they are baptized; so it is frequent that some 
may belong to the covenant, with respect to its outward ad' 


viiuistration by virtue of" spiritual gifts, who are not made 
partakers of its inward effectual grace. 

4. Saving grace hath an immediate respect \xntoi\ve priestly 
office of Jesus Christ, with the discharge thereof, in his oblation 
and intercession. There is, I acknowledge, no gracious 
communication unto men that respects any one ofSce of 
Christ exclusively unto the other. For his whole mediation 
hath an influence into all that we receive from God in a way 
of favour or grace. And it is his person as vested with all 
his offices, that is the immediate fountain of all grace unto 
us. But yet something may, yea, sundry things do pecu- 
liarly respect some one of his offices, and are the immediate 
effects of the virtue and efficacy thereof. So is our reconcilia- 
tion and peace with God the peculiar effect of his oblation, 
which as a priest he offered unto God. And so in like man- 
ner is our sanctijication also, wherein we are ' washed and 
cleansed from our sins in his blood ;' Eph. v. 25, 26. Tit. 
ii. 14. And, although grace be wrought in us by the ad- 
ministration of the kingly power of Christ, yet it is in the pur- 
suit of what he had done for us as spriest, and the making of it 
effectual unto us. For by his kingly power he makes effectual 
the fruits of his oblation and intercession: but gifts proceed 
solely from the regal office and power of Christ. They have 
a remote respect unto, and foundation in the death of Christ, 
in that they are all given and distributed unto, and for the 
good of that church which he purchased with his own blood; 
but immediately they are effects only of his kingly power. 
Hence authority to give and dispose them is commonly 
placed as a consequent of his exaltation at the right hand 
of God, or with respect thereunto; Matt, xxviii. 18. Acts ii. 
33. This the apostle declares at large; Eph. iv. 7 — 11. 
Christ being exalted at the right hand of God, all power in 
heaven and earth being given unto him, and he being given 
to be head over all things unto the church, and having for 
that end received the promise of the Spirit from the Father, 
he gives out these gifts as it seemeth good unto him. And 
the continuation of their communication, is not the least 
evidence of the continuance of the exercise of his kingdom: 
for besides the faithful testimony of the word to that purpose, 
there is a threefold evidence thereof, giving us experience of it. 
(1.) His communication of saving grace in the regeneration. 


conversion, and sanctification of the elect. For these things 
he worketh immediately by his kingly power. And whilst 
there are any in the world savingly called and sanctified, he 
leaves not himself without witness as to his kingly power 
over all flesh, whereon he gives ' eternal life unto as many as 
the Father hath given him;' John xvii. 2. But this evidence 
is wholly invisible unto the world, neither is it capable of 
receiving; it when tendered, because it cannot ' receive the 
Spirit, nor seeth him, nor knoweth him ;' John xiv. 17. Nor 
are the things thereof, exposed to the judgment of sense or 
reason ; 1 Cor. ii. 9, 10. (2.) Another evidence hereof, is 
given in the judgmetits that he executes in the world, and the 
outward protection which he affords unto his church. On 
both these there are evident impressions of the continued 
actual exercise of his divine power and authority : for, in the 
judgments that he executes on persons and nations that 
either reject the gospel or persecute it, especially in some 
signal and uncontrollable instance, as also in the guidance, 
deliverance, and protection of his church, he manifests that 
' though he was dead yet he is alive, and hath the keys of 
hell and death.' But yet because he is on the one hand 
pleased to exercise great patience towards many of his open 
stubborn adversaries, yea, the greatest of them, suffering 
them to walk and prosper in their own ways, and to leave his 
church unto various trials and distresses, his power is much 
hid from the world at present in these dispensations, (3.) 
The third evidence of the continuance of the administration 
of his mediatory kingdom, consists in his dispensations of 
these spiritual gifts, which are properly the powers of the neio 
world. For such is the nature of them and their use, such 
the sovereignty that appears in their distribution, such their 
distinction and difference from all natural endowments, that 
even the world cannot but take notice of them, though it 
violently hate and persecute them ; and the church is abun- 
dantly satisfied with the sense of the power of Christ in 
them. Moreover, the principal end of these gifts is, to ena- 
ble the officers of the church unto the due administration of 
all the laws and ordinances of Christ unto its edification. 
But all these laws and ordinances, these offices and officers, 
he gives unto the church as the Lord over his own house 
as the sole sovereign lawgiver and ruler thereof. 


5. They differ as unto the event even in this world they 
may come unto, and oft-times actually do so accordingly. 
For all gifts, the best of them, and that in the highest degree 
wherein they may be attained in this life, may be utterly 
lost or taken away. The law of their communication is, that 
who improveth not that talent or measure of them which he 
hath received, it shall be taken from him. For, whereas, 
they are given for no other end, but to trade withal accord- 
ing to the several capacities and opportunities that men have 
in the church, or their families, or their own private exercise, 
if that be utterly neglected, to what end should they be left 
unto rust and uselessness in the minds of any ? Accordingly 
we find it to come to pass. Some neglect them, some reject 
them, and from both sorts they are judicially taken away. 
Such we have amongst us. Some there are who had received 
considerable spiritual abilities for evangelical administra- 
tions : but after a while they have fallen into an outward 
state of things, wherein, as they suppose, they shall have no 
advantage by them ; yea, that their exercise would turn to 
their disadvantage, and thereon do wholly neglect them : by 
this means they have insensibly decayed, until they become 
as devoid of spiritual abilities, as if they never had experi- 
ence of any assistance in that kind. They can no more either 
pray, or speak, or evidence, the power of the Spirit of God 
in any thing unto the edification of the church. ' Their arm 
is dried up, and their right eye is utterly darkened ;' Zech. 
xi. 17. And this sometimes they come to be sensible of, 
yea, ashamed of, and yet cannot retrieve themselves. But 
for the most part they fall into such a state, as wherein the 
profession and use of them becomes as they suppose incon- 
sistent with their present interest, and so they openly re- 
nounce all concernment in them : neither for the most part 
do they stay here, but after they have rejected them in them- 
selves, and espoused lazy, profitable outward helps in their 
room, they blaspheme the author of them in others, and de- 
clare them all to be delusions, fancies, and imaginations. 
And, if any one hath the confidence to own the assistance 
of the Holy Spirit in the discharge of the duties of the gos- 
pel unto the edification of the church, he becomes unto them 
a scorn and reproach. These are branches cut off from the 
vine, whom men gather ; or those whose miserable condition 


is described by the apostle; Heb. vi. 4 — 6. But one way 
or other, these gifts may be utterly lost or taken away from 
them, who have once received them, and that whether they 
be ordinarii or extraordinary . There is no kind of them, no 
degree of them, that can give us any security, that they shall 
be always continued with us, or at all beyond our diligent 
attendance unto their use and exercise. With mvins srace 
it is not so. It is, indeed, subject unto various decays in us ; 
and its thriving or flourishing in our souls, depends upon, 
and answers unto our diligent endeavour in the use of all 
means of holiness, ordinarily; 2 Pet. i. 5 — 10. For besides 
that, no man can have the least evidence of any thing of this 
grace in him, if he be totally negligent in its exercise, and 
improvement; so no man ought to expect that it will thrive 
or abound in him, unless he constantly and diligently attend 
unto it, and give up himself in all things to its conduct. But 
yet, as to the continuance of it in the souls of the elect, as 
to the life and being of its principle, and principal effect in 
habitual conformity unto God and his will, it is secured in 
the covenant of grace. 

6. On whomsoever saving grace is bestowed, it is so firstly 
and principally for himself and his own good. It is a fruit 
of the especial love and kindness of God unto his own soul; 
Jer. xxxi. 3. This both the nature and all the ends of it do 
declare. For it is given unto us to renew the image of God 
in us, to make us like unto him, to restore our nature, enable 
us unto obedience, and to make us meet for the inheritance 
of the saints in light. But yet we must take heed that we 
think not that grace is bestowed on any merely for themselves. 
For, indeed, it is that wherein God designeth a good unto all, 
*Vir bonus commune Bonum.' — 'A good man is a good to 
all :' Mic. v. 7. And, therefore, God in the communication 
of saving grace unto any, hath a three-fold respect unto 
others, which it is the duty of them that receive it diligently 
to consider and attend unto. (1.) He intends to give an 
example by it of what is his will, and what he approveth of: 
and, therefore, he requires of them in whom it is, such fruits 
in holy obedience, as may express the example of a holy life 
in the world, according to the will of God and unto his glory. 
Hereby doth he farther the salvation of the elect; 1 Pet. iii. 
1, 2. 1 Cor. vii. 16. convince the unbelieving world at 

VOL. IV. s 


present, 1 Pet. ii. 12. 15. iii. 16. and condemn it here- 
after ; Heb. xi. 7. and himself is glorified; Matt. v. 16. 
Let therefore no man think, that because grace is firstly and 
principally given him for himself and his own spiritual ad- 
vantage, that therefore he must not account for it also w^ith 
respect unto those other designs of God. Yea, he who in 
the exercise of what he esteems grace, hath respect only unto 
himself, gives an evidence that he never had any that was 
genuine and of the right kind. (2.) Fruitful ness unto the 
benefiting of others is hence also expected. Holy obedience, 
the eflfect of saving grace, is frequently expressed in the 
Scripture by fruits and fruitfulness. See Col. i. 10. And 
these fruits, or the things which others are to feed upon and 
to be sustained by, are to be born by the plants of the Lord, 
the trees of righteousness. The fruits of love, charity, bounty, 
mercy, wisdom, are those whereby grace is rendered useful in 
the world, and is taken notice of as that which is lovely and 
desirable, Eph. ii. 10. (3.) God requires, that by the ex- 
ercise of grace the doctrine of the gospel be adorned and 
propagated. This doctrine is from God ; our profession is 
our avowing of it so to be : what it is the world knows not, 
but takes its measures of it from what it observes in them 
by whom it is professed. And it is the unprofitable flagitious 
lives of Christians that have almost thrust the gospel out of 
the world with contempt. But the care that it be adorned, 
that it be glorified, is committed of God unto every one on 
whom he bestows the least of saving grace. And this is to 
be done only by the guidance of a holy conversation in con- 
formity thereunto. And many other such blessed ends there 
are, wl^erein God hath respect unto the good and advantage 
of other men in the collation of saving grace upon any. And 
if gracious persons are not more useful than others in all 
things that may have a real benefit in them unto mankind, 
it is their sin and shame. But yet, after all, grace is prin- 
cipally and in the first place given unto men for themselves, 
their own good and spiritual advantage, out of love to their 
souls, and in order unto their eternal blessedness ; all other 
eff'ects are but secondary ends of it. But as unto these spi- 
ritual gifts it is quite otherwise. They are not in the first 
place bestowed on any for their own sakes, or their own good 
but for the good and benefit of others. So the apostle ex- 


pressly declares, 1 Cor. xii. 7. 'The manifestation of the 
Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.' These gifts 
whereby the Spirit evidenceth and manifesteth his power, 
are bestowed on men for this very end, that they may profit 
and benefit others in their edification. And yet also where 
they are duly improved, they tend much to the spiritual ad- 
vantage of them on whom they are bestowed, as we shall see 
afterward. Wherefore as grace is primarily given unto us 
for ourselves, and secondarily for the good of others ; so 
gifts are bestowed in the first place for the edification of 
others, and secondly for our own spiritual advantage also. 

7, The principal difference between them is in their na- 
ture and kind, discovering itself in their different subjects, 
operations, and effects. For those already insisted on, are 
principally from external causes and considerations. And, 
(1.) As to the different subjects of them, spiritual gifts are 
placed and seated in the mind or understanding only, whe- 
ther they are ordinary or extraordinary they have no other 
hold nor residence in the soul. And they are in the mind 
as it is notional and theoretical, rather than as it is practical. 
They are intellectual abilities and no more. I speak of them 
which have any residence in us ; for some gifts, as miracles 
and tongues, consisted only in a transient operation of an ex- 
traordinary power. Of all others illumination is the founda- 
tion, and spiritual light their matter. So the apostle declares 
in his order of expression, Heb. vi. 4. The will, and the 
affections, and the conscience, are unconcerned in them. 
Wherefore they change not the heart with power, although 
they may reform the life by the eflScacy of light. And al- 
though God doth not ordinarily bestow them on flagitious 
persons, nor continue them with such as after the reception 
of them become flagitious ; yet they may be in those who 
were unrenewed, and have nothing in them to preserve men 
absolutely from the worst of sins. But saving grace pos- 
sesseth the whole soul; men are thereby 'sanctified throughout 
in the whole spirit, soul, and body,' 1 Thess. v. 17. as hath 
been at large declared. Not the mind only is savingly en- 
lightened, but there is a principle of spiritual life infused into 
the whole soul, enabling it in all its powers and faculties to 
act obedientially unto God, whose nature hath been fully 
explained elsewhere. Hence, (2.) They differ in their opera- 

s 2 


tiom. For grace changeth and transformeth the whole soul 
into its own nature, Isa. xi. 6 — 8. Rom. vi. 17. xii. 2. 
2 Cor. iii, 18. It is a new, a divine nature unto the soul, 
and is in it a habit disposing, inclhiing and enabling of it 
unto obedience. It acts itself in faith, love, and holiness, in 
all things. But gifts of themselves have not this power nor 
these operations. They may and do, in those who are pos- 
sessed of them in and under their exercise, make great im- 
pression on their own affections, but they change not the 
heart, they renew not the mind, they transform not the soul 
into the image of God. Hence where grace is predominant, 
every notion of light and truth which is communicated unto 
the mind, is immediately turned into practice, by having the 
whole soul cast into the mould of it ; vi'here only gifts bear 
sway, the use of it in duties unto edification is best where- 
unto it is designed. (3.) As to effects or consequents, the 
great difference is, that on the part of Christ; Christ doth 
thereby dwell and reside in our hearts ; when concerning 
many of those who have been made partakers of these other 
spiritual endowments, he will say, 'Depart from me, I never 
knew you,' which he will not say of any one whose soul he 
hath inhabited. 

These are some of the principal agreements and differences 
between saving graces and spiritual gifts ; both sorts of them 
being wrought in believers by that 'one and self-same Spirit 
which divideth to every one as he will.' And for a close of 
this discourse I shall only add, that where these graces and 
gifts in any eminency or good degree are bestowed on the 
same persons, they are exceedingly helpful unto each other. 
A soul sanctified by saving grace, is the only proper soil for 
gifts to flourish in. Grace influenceth ^ifts unto a due ex- 
ercise, prevents their abuse, stirs them up unto proper occa- 
sions, keeps them from being a matter of pride or contention, 
and subordinates them in all things unto the glory of God. 
When the actings of grace and gifts are inseparable, as when 
in prayer the Spirit is a Spirit of grace and supplication, the 
grace and gift of it working together, when utterance in 
other duties is always accompanied with faith and love, then 
is God glorified, and our OAvn salvation promoted. Then 
have edifying gifts a beauty and lustre upon them, and ge- 
nerally are most successful, when they are clothed and 


adorned with humility, meekness, a reverence of God, and 
compassion for the souls of men. Yea, when there is no 
evidence, no manifestation of their being accompanied with 
these and the like graces, they are but as a parable or wise 
saying in the mouth of a fool. Gifts on the other side ex- 
cite and stir up grace unto its proper exercise, and opera- 
tions. How often is faith, love, and delight in God excited 
and drawn forth unto especial exercise in believers by the 
use of their own gifts. And thus much may suffice as to 
the nature of these gifts in general ; we next consider them 
under their most general distributions. 


Of gifts and offices extraordinary : and first of offices. 

The spiritual gifts whereof we treat, respect either poivers 
and duties in the church, or duties only. Gifts that respect 
jwzvers and duties are of two sorts, or there have been, or are 
at any time, two sorts of such powers and duties : the first , 
whereof was extraordinary, the latter ordinary, and conse- 
quently the gifts subservient unto them must be of two sorts 
also, which must farther be cleared. 

Whexe\ ex power is given by Christ imto his churches, and 
duties are required in the execution of that potver, unto the 
ends of his spiritual kingdom, to be performed by virtue 
thereof, there is an office in the church. For an ecclesiasti- 
cal office is an especial power given by Christ unto any per- 
son or persons for the performance of especial duties belong- 
ing unto the edification of the church in an especial manner. 
And these offices have been of two sorts. First, extraordi- 
nary. Secondly, ordinary. Some seem to deny that there 
was ever any such thing as extraordinary poiver or extraordi- 
nary offices in the church. For they do provide successors 
unto all who are pleaded to have been of that kind; and 
those such as look how far short they come of them in other 
things, do exceed them in power and rule. I shall not con- 
tend about words, and shall therefore, only inquire what it 
was that constituted them to be officers of Christ in his 
church whom thence we call extraordinary ; and then, if 


others can duly lay claim unto them, they may be allowed 
to pass for their successors. 

There are four things which constitute an extraordinary 
officer in the church of God, and consequently are required 
in, and do constitute, an extraordinary office. 1, An ex- 
traordinary call unto an office, such as none other have or 
can have by virtue of any law, order, or constitution what- 
ever. 2. An extraordinary power communicated unto per- 
sons so called, enabling them to act what they are so called 
unto, wherein the essence of any office doth consist. 3. Ex- 
traordinary ^j/?s for the exercise and discharge of that power. 
4. Extraordinary employment as to its extent and measure, 
requiring extraordinary labour, travail, zeal, and self-denial. 
AH these do and must concur in that office, and unto those 
offices which we call extraordinary. 

Thus was it with the apostles, prophets and evangelists 
at the first, which were all extraordinary teaching officers in 
the church, and all that ever were so ; 1 Cor. xii. 28. Eph. 
iv. 11. Besides these, there were at the first planting of 
the church, persons endued with extraordinary gifts, as of 
miracles, healing, and tongues, which did not of themselves 
constitute them officers, but do belong to the second head 
of gifts which concern duties only. Howbeit these gifts 
were always most eminently bestowed on them who were 
called unto the extraordinary offices mentioned ; 1 Cor. 
xiv. 18. ' I thank my God I speak with tongues more than 
you all.' They had the same gift some of them, but the 
apostle had it in a more eminent degree. See Matt. x. 8. 
And we may treat briefly in our passage of these several 
sorts of extraordinary officers. 

First, For the apostles, they had a double call, missioi, 
and commission, or a twofold apostleship. Their first call 
was unto a subserviency unto the personal ministry of Jesus 
Christ. For he was a 'minister of the circumcision for the 
truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers ;' 
E-om. XV. 8. In the discharge of this his personal ministry 
it was necessary that he should have peculiar servants and 
officers under him to prepare his way and work, and to at- 
tend him therein. So he ' ordained twelve that they should 
be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach ;' 
Mark iii. 14. This was the substance of their first call and 


work, namely, to attend the presence of Christ, and to go 
forth to preach as he gave them order. Hence because he 
was in his own person, as to his prophetical office, the mi- 
nister only of the circumcisio?i, being therein according to all 
the promises sent only to the ' lost sheep of the house of 
Israel,' he confined those who were to be thus assistant unto 
him in that his especial work and ministry, and whilst they 
were so, unto the same persons and people, expressly prohi- 
biting them to extend their line or measure any farther. * Go 
not,' saith he, ' into the way of the Gentiles, and into any 
city of the Samaritans enter you not ; but go rather unto 
the lost sheep of the house of Israel ;' Matt. x. 5. This ra- 
ther was absolutely exclusive of the others during his per- 
sonal ministry, and afterward included only the pre-eminence 
of the Israelites, that they were to have the gospel offered 
unto them in the first place. 'It was necessary the word of 
God should be first spoken unto them ;' Acts xiii. 46. 

And this, it may be, occasioned that difference which 
was afterward among them, whether their ministry extended 
unto the Gentiles or no ; as we may see. Acts x. and xi. But 
whereas our Saviour in that commission, by virtue whereof 
they were to act after his resurrection, had extended their 
office and power expressly to ' all nations ;' Matt, xxviii. 19. 
or to ' every creature in all the world ;' chap. xvi. 15. A 
man would wonder whence that uncertainty should arise. 
I am persuaded that God suffered it so to be, that the call- 
ing of the Gentiles might be more signalized, or made more 
eminent thereby. For whereas this was the great * mystery 
which in other ages was not made known but hid in God, 
namely, that the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the 
same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ,' that is, 
of the promise made unto Abraham by the gospel ; Eph. 
iii. 5 — 10. it being now to be laid open and displayed, he 
would by their hesitation about it have it searched into, ex- 
amined, tried, and proved, that the faith of the church might 
never be shaken about it in after ages. And in like manner 
when God at any time suffereth differences and doubts about 
the truth, or his worship, to arise in the church, he doth it 
for holy ends, although for the present we may not be able 
to discover them. But this ministry of the apostles with 
its powers and duties, this apostleship which extended only 


unto the church of the Jews, ceased at the death of Christ, 
or at the end of his own personal ministry in this world. 
Nor can any, I suppose, pretend unto a succession to them 
therein. Who or what peculiar instruments he will use and 
employ for the final recovery of that miserable lost people, 
whether he will do it by an ordinary or an extraordinary 
ministry, by gifts miraculous, or by the naked efficacy of 
the gospel, is known only in his own holy wisdom and coun- 
sel ; the conjectures of men about these things are vain and 
fruitless. For although the promises under the Old Testa- 
ment for the calling of the Gentiles were far more clear and 
numerous than those which remain concerning the recalling 
of the Jews, yet because the manner, way, and all other cir- 
cumstances were obscured, the whole is called a mystery hid 
in God from all the former ages of the church; much more, 
therefore, may the way and manner of the recalling of the 
Jews be esteemed a hidden mystery ; as indeed it is not- 
withstanding the dreams and conjectures of too many. 

But these same apostles, the same individual persons, 
Judas only excepted, had another call unto that office of 
apostleship which had respect unto the whole work and in- 
terest of Christ in the world. They were now to be made 
princes in all lajids, rulers, leaders in spiritual things, of all 
the inhabitants of the earth ; Psal. xlv. 16. And to make 
this call the more conspicuous and evident, as also because 
it includes in it the institution and nature of the office itself 
whereunto they were called, our blessed Saviour proceedeth 
in it by sundry degrees. For, 1. he gave unto them ^pro- 
mise ofpotcer for their office, or office-power ; Matt. xvi. 19. 
So he promised unto them, in the person of Peter, the keys of 
the kingdom of heaven, or a power of spiritual binding and 
loosing of sinners, of remitting or retaining sin by the doc- 
trine of the gospel; Matt, xviii. 18. John xx. 23. 2. He 
actually collated a right unto that power upon them, ex- 
pressed by an outward pledge; John xx. 21 — 23. 'Jesus 
saith to them again. Peace be unto you : as my Father hath 
sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he 
breathed on them, and saith unto them. Receive ye the Holy 
Ghost. Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto 
them ; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.' 
And this communication of the Holy Ghost was such as gave 


them a peculiar right and title unto their office, but not a 
right and power unto its exercise. 3. He sealed, as it were, 
their commission, which they had for the discharge of their of- 
fice, containing the whole warranty they had to enter upon 
the world, and subdue it unto the obedience of the gospel; 
Matt.xxviii. 18—20. 'Go teach, baptize, command.' But yet, 
4. all these things did not absolutely give them a present 
power for the exercise of that office whereunto they were 
called, or at least a limitation was put for a season upon it. 
For, under all this provision and furniture they are com- 
manded to stay at Jerusalem, and not address themselves unto 
the discharge of their office, until that were fulfilled which 
gave it its completeness and perfection ; Acts i. 4. 6. Where- 
fore it is said, that after his ascension into heaven, he gave 
' some to be apostles ;' Eph, iv. 8.11. He gave not any co7n- 
pkteli/ to be apostles until then. He had before appointed the 
cf/'ice, designed the persons, gave them their commission with 
the visible ;:»/ec?g-e of the power they should afterward receive. 
But there yet remained the communication o^ extraordinary 
gifts unto them to enable them unto the discharge of their 
office. And this was that, which after the ascension of Christ 
they received on the day of Pentecost, as it is related. Acts 
ii. And this was so essentially necessary unto their office, 
that the Lord Christ is said therein to give some to be apo- 
stles. For without these gifts they were not so, nor could 
discharge that office unto his honour and glory. And these 
things all concurred to the constitution of this office, with 
the call of any persons to the discharge of it. The office it- 
self was instituted by Christ, the designation and call of the 
persons unto this office was an immediate act of Christ. So 
also was their commission and power, and the extraordinary gifts 
which he endowed them withal. And, whereas the Lord Christ 
is said to give this office and these officers after his ascen- 
sion, namely, in the communication of the gifts of the Holy 
Ghost unto those officers for the discharge of that office, it is 
evident that all office-power depends on the communication 
of gifts whether extraordinary or ordinary. But where any 
of these is wanting, there is no apostle, nor any successor of 
one apostle. Therefore, when Paul was afterward added 
unto the twelve in the same power and office, he was careful 
to declare how he received both call, coinmission, and power 


immediately from Jesus Christ. ' Paul an apostle, not of 
men, neither by men, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Fa- 
ther who raised him from the dead;' Gal i. 1. Whereas, 
those who pretend to be their successors, if they will speak 
the truth must say, that they are what they are, neither of 
Jesus Christ, nor God the Father, but of men and by men. 
However they neither dare nor will pretend so to be of God 
and Christ, as not to be called by the ministry of man, which 
evacuates the pretence of succession in this office. 

Furthermore, unto the q^ce described there belongs the 
measure and extent of its power objectively, and the power it- 
self intensively or subjectively. For the first, the object of 
apostolical power was twofold: (1.) The world to be con- 
verted. (2.) The churches gathered of those that were con- 
verted, whether Jews or Gentiles. For the first; their com- 
mission extended to all the world ; and every apostle had 
right, power, and authority to preach the gospel to * every 
creature under heaven,' as he had opportunity so to do ; 
Matt, xxviii. 18—20. Mark xvi. 15. Rom. x. 15—18. Now 
whereas it was impossible that any one person should pass 
through the whole world in the pursuit of this ri^ht and 
power ; and, whereas, for that cause our Lord had ordained 
twelve to that purpose, that the work might the more effec- 
tually be carried on by their endeavours, it is highly probable 
that they did by agreement distribute the nations into cer- 
tain lots and portions which they singly took upon them to 
instruct. So there was an agreement between Paul on the 
one hand with Barnabas, and Peter, James, and John on the 
other, that they should go to the Gentiles, and the other take 
more especial care of the Jews ; Gal. ii. 7 — 9. And the 
same apostle afterward designed to avoid the line or allotment 
of others to preach the gospel where the people were not al- 
lotted unto the especial charge of any other; 2 Cor. x. 16. 
But yet this was not so appointed as if their power was 
limited thereby, or that any of them came short in his apo- 
stolical power in any other place in the world, as well as that 
wherein for conveniency he particularly exercised his minis- 
try. For the power of every one still equally extended unto 
all nations, although they could not always exercise it in all 
places alike. Nor did that express agreement that was be- 
tween Peter and Paul about the Gentiles and the circum- 


cision, either discharge them of their duty, that the one 
should have more regard unto the circumcision, or the other 
unto the Gentiles ; nor did it limit their power, or bound 
ther apostolical authority; but only directed the exercise of 
it as unto the principal intention and design. Wherefore, as 
to the right and authority of preaching the gospel and con- 
verting persons unto the faith, the whole world fell equally 
under the care, and was in the commission of every apostle, 
although they applied themselves unto the discharge of this 
work in particular, according to their own wisdom and choice, 
under the guidance and disposal of the providence of God. 
And, as I will not deny but that it is the duty of every 
Christian, and much more of every minister of the gospel, 
to promote the knowledge of Christ unto all mankind, as 
they have opportunities and advantages so to do ; yet I must 
say, if there be any who pretend to be successors of the apo- 
stles as to the extent of their office-power unto all nations ; 
notwithstanding whatever they may pretend of such an 
agreement to take up with a portion accommodated unto 
their ease and interest, whilst so many nations of the earth 
lie unattempted as to the preaching of the gospel, they will 
one day be found transgressors of their own profession, and 
will be dealt withal accordingly. 

(2.) Out of the world by the preaching of the gospel per- 
sons were called, converted, and thereon gathered into holy 
societies or churches for the celebration of gospel-worship, 
and their own mutual edification. All these churches where- 
ever they were called and planted in the whole world, were 
equally under the authority of every apostle. Where any 
church was called and planted by any particular apostle, 
there was a peculiar relation between him and them, and so 
a peculiar mutual care and love : nor could it otherwise be. 
So the apostle Paul pleads an especial interest in the Corin- 
thians and others, unto whom he had been a spiritual father 
in their conversion, and the instrument of forming Christ in 
them. Such churches, therefore, as were of their own pe- 
culiar calling and planting, it is probable they did every one 
take care of in a peculiar manner. But yet no limitation of 
the apostolical power ensued hereon. Every apostle had 
still the care of all the churches on him, and apostolical au- 
thority in every church in the world equally, which he might 
exercise as occasion did require. Thus Paul affirmeth, that 


the ' cave of all the churches was upon him daily ;' 2 Cor. 
xi. 28. And it was the crime of Diotrephes, for which he is 
branded, that he opposed the apostolical power of John in 
that church where probably he was the teacher; 3 John 9, 
10. But what power now over all churches, or authority in all 
churches, some may fancy or claim to themselves, I know not ; 
but it were to be wished that men would reckon that care 
and labour are as extensive in this case as power and au- 

Again, the power of this extraordinary office maybe con- 
sidered intensively or formally what it was. And this in one 
word was all thepoiver that the Lord Christ hath given or thought 
meet to make use of for the edijication of the church. I shall give a 
brief description of it in some few general instances. (1.) I* 
was a power of administering all the ordinances of Christ in 
the way and manner of his appointment. Every apostle in 
all places had power to preach the word, to administer the 
sacraments, to ordain elders, and to do whatever else be- 
longed unto the worship of the gospel. But yet they had 
not power to do any of these things any otherwise but as 
the Lord Christ had appointed them to be done. They 
could not baptize any but believers and their seed ; Acts 
viii. 36 — 38. xvi. 15. They could not administer the Lord's 
supper to any but the church, and in the church ; 1 Cor. 
X. 17. 20 — 24. They could not oi^dain elders, but by the 
suffrage and election of the people ; Acts xiv. 23. Those 
indeed, who pretend to be their successors, plead for such a 
right in themselves unto some, if not all, gospel administra- 
tions, as that they may take liberty to dispose of them at their 
pleasure, by their sole authority, without any regard unto 
the rule of all holy duties in particular. (2.) It was a power 
of executing all the laws of Christ, with the penalties an- 
nexed unto their disobedience. 'We have,' saith the apostle, 
* in a readiness wherewith to revenge all disobedience ;' 2 Cor. 
x. 6. And this principally consisted in the power of excom- 
munication, or the judiciary excision of any person or persons 
from the society of the faithful, and visible body of Christ in 
the world. Now, although this power were absolutely in each 
apostle towards all offenders in every church ; whence Paul 
affirms that he had himself' delivered Hymeneus and Alex- 
ander unto Satan ;' 1 Tim. i. 20. Yet did they not exercise 
this power without the concurrence and consent of the 


church from whence an offender was to be cut off; because 
that was the mind of Christ, and that which the nature of 
the ordinance did require; 1 Cor. v. 3 — 5. (3.) Their whole 
power was spiritual and not carnal. It respected the souls, 
minds, and consciences of men alone as its object, and not 
their bodies, or goods, or liberties in this world. Those ex- 
traordinary instances of Ananias and Sapphira in their sudden 
death, of Elynias in his blindness, were only miraculous ope- 
rations of God in testifying against their sin, and procevded 
not from way apostolical power in the discharge of their office. 
But as unto that kind of power which now hath devoured 
all other appearances of church authority, and in the sense 
of the most is only significant, namely, to Jine, punish, impri- 
son, banish, kill, and destroy men and women. Christians, be- 
lievers, persons of an unblamable useful conversation, with 
the worst of carnal weapons and savage cruelty of mind, as 
they were never intrusted with it, nor any thing of the like 
kind, so they have sufficiently manifested how their holy 
souls did abhor the thoughts of such antichristian power 
and practices ; though in others the mystery of iniquity be- 
gan to work in their days. 

The ministry of the Seventy also, which the Lord Christ 
sent forth afterward, to ' go two and two before his face into 
every city and yjlace whither he himself would come,' was 
in like manner temporary ; that is, it was subservient and 
commensurate unto his own perso/ial ministry in the flesh ; 
Luke X. 1 — 3. These are commonly called evangelists, from 
the general nature of their work, but were not those extra- 
ordinary officers, which were afterward in the Christian 
church under that title and appellation. But there was some 
analogy and proportion between the one and the other. For 
as these first seventy seem to have had an inferior work, and 
subordinate unto that of the tioelve in their ministry unto 
the church of the Jews, during the time of the Lord Christ's 
converse among them ; so those evangelists that after- 
ward were appointed, were subordinate unto them in their 
evangelical apostleship. And these also as they were imme- 
diately called unto their employment by the Lord Jesus, so 
their work being extraordinary, they were endued with extra- 
ordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost, as ver. 9. 17. 19. 

In the gospel church-state there were evangelists also as 


they are mentioned, Eph. iv. 11. Acts xxi. 2. 2 Tim. iv. 5. 
Gospellers, preachers of the gospel, distinct from the ordi- 
nary teachers of the churches. Things, I confess, are but ob- 
scurely delivered concerning this sort of men in Scripture; 
their office being not designed unto a continuance. Pro- 
bably the institution of it was traduced from the temporary 
ministry of the seventy beforementioned. That they were 
the same persons continued in their first office, as the apo- 
stlei* vrite, is uncertain and improbable ; though it be not 
that some of them might be called thereunto ; as Philip, 
and Timothy, and Titus, were evangelists that were not of 
that first number. Their especial call is not mentioned, nor 
their number any where intimated. That their call was ex- 
traordinary is hence apparent, in that no rules are any where 
given or prescribed about their choice or ordination, no qua- 
lification of their persons expressed, nor any direction given 
the church as to its future proceeding about them, no 
more than about new or other apostles. They seem to have 
been called by the apostles, by the direction of a spirit of pro- 
phecy or immediate revelation from Christ. So it is said of 
Timothy, who is expressly called an evangelist, 2 Tim. iv. 5. 
that he received that gift * by prophecy ;' 1 Tim. iv. 14. 
that is, the gift of the office : as when Christ ascended, he 
* gave gifts unto men, some to be evangelists ;' Eph. iv. 8. 1 1. 
For this way did the Holy Ghost design men unto extraor- 
dinary offices and employments; Acts xiii. 1 — 3. And 
when they were so designed by prophecy, or immediate re- 
velation from Christ by the Holy Ghost, then the church 
in compliance therewith both prayed for them, and laid 
their hands on them : so when the Holy Ghost had revealed 
his choosing of Paul and Barnabas unto an especial work, 
the prophets and teachers of the church of Antioch where 
they then were, 'fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on 
them,' so sending them away; Acts xiii. 14. And when 
Timothy was called to be an evangelist by especial revela- 
tion ox prophecy, the apostle laid his hands on him, whereby 
he received the Holy Ghost in his extraordinary gifts : 'The 
gift of God which was in him by the putting on of his hands ;* 
2 Tim. i. 6. And as it was usual with him to join others with 
himself in those epistles which he wrote by immediate divine 
inspiration, so in this act of laying his hands on an evangelist 


as a sign of the communication of extraordinary gifts, he 
joined the ordinary presbytery of the church with him, that 
were present in the place where he was so called. It is evi- 
dent therefore, that both their call and their gifts were ex- 
traordinary, and therefore, so also was their office. For al- 
though men who have only an ordinary call to office may 
have extraordinary gifts, and many had so in primitive times : 
and although some might have extraordinary gifts, who were 
never called unto office at all, as some of those who spake with 
tongues, and wrought miracles ; yet where there is a concur- 
rence of an extraordinary call and extraordinary gifts, there 
the office is extraordinary. 

Tht power that these officers in the church were intrusted 
with, was extraordinary : for this is a certain consequent of 
an extraordinary call, and extraordinary gifts. And this 
power respected cdl churches in the world equally ; yea, and 
all persons, as the apostles also did. But whereas their mi- 
nistry was subordinate unto that of the apostles, they were 
by them guided as to the particular places wherein they 
were to exercise their power, and discharge their office for 
a season. This is evident from Paul's disposal of Titus as 
to his work and time ; Tit. i. 5. iii. 12. But yet their 
power did at no time depend on their relation unto any par- 
ticular place or church, nor were they ever ordained to any 
one place or see more than another. But the extent of their 
employment was every way as large as that of the apostles, 
both as to the world and as to the churches ; only in their 
present particular disposal of themselves, they were, as it is 
probable, for the most part under the guidance of the apo- 
stles ; although sometimes they had particular revelations 
and directions from the Holy Ghost, or by the ministry of 
angels, for their especial employment, as Philip had ; 
Acts viii. 26. 

And as for their work, it may be reduced unto three 
heads : 1. To preach the gospel in all places unto all persons, 
as they had occasion. So Philip went down to Samaria 
and preached Christ ; Acts viii. 5. And when the apostle 
Paul chargeth Timothy to do the work of an evangelist ; 
2 Tim. iv. 5. he prescribes unto him 'preaching the word in 
seasoi^ and out of season ;' ver. 2. And whereas this was 
incumbent in like manner on the ordinary teachers of every 


church ; the teaching of these eva?igelists differed from theirs 
in two things^ (1.) In the extent of their work, which as we 
shewed before, was equal unto that of the apostles ; whereas 
ordinary bishops, pastors, or teachers, were to feed, teach, 
and take care of the especial flocks only which they were 
set over; Acts xx. 17, 18. 1 Pet. v. 2. (2.) They were 
obliged to labour in their work in a more than ordinary man- 
ner ; as it should seem from 2 Tim. iv. 5. 2. The second 
part of their work was to confirm the doctrine of the gospel 
by miraculous operations as occasion did require. So Philip 
the evangelist wrought many miracles of sundry sorts at 
Samaria, in the confirmation of the doctrine which he 
taught; Acts viii. 6, 7. 13. And in like manner there is no 
question, but that tlie rest of the evangelists had the power 
or gift of miraculous operations, to be exercised as occasion 
did require, and as they were guided by the Holy Ghost. 
(3.) They were employed in the settling and completing of 
those churches, whose foundations were laid by the apostles. 
For whereas they had the great work upon them, of * preach- 
ing the gospel unto all nations,' they coidd not continue 
long or reside in any one place or church. And yet when 
persons were newly converted to the faith, and disposed 
only into an imperfect order, without any especial peculiar 
officers, guides, or rvders, of their own ; it was not safe leav- 
ing of them unto themselves, lest they should be too much 
at a loss as to gospel order and worship. Wherefore, in such 
places where any churches were planted, but not completed, 
nor would the design of the apostles suffer them to continue 
any longer there ; they left these evangelists among them for 
a season, who had power by virtue of their office to dispose 
of things in the churches, until they came unto complete- 
ness and perfection. When this end was attained, and the 
churches were settled under ordinary elders of their own, 
the evangelists removed into other places, according as they 
were directed or disposed. These things are evident from 
the instructions given by Paul unto Timothy and Titus, 
which have all of them respect unto this order. 

Some there are who plead for the continuance of tins office: 
some in express terms and under the same name : others for 
successors unto them, at least in that part of their work which 
consisteth in power over many churches. Some say that 


bishops succeed to the apostles, and presbyters unto those 
evangelists : but this is scarce defensible in any tolerable 
manner by them whose interest it is to defend it. For 
Timothy, whom they would have to be a bishop, is expressly 
called an evangelist. That which is pleaded with most pro- 
bability for their continuance, is the necessity of the tvork 
wherein they were employed in the rule and settlement of 
the churches : but the truth is, if their whole work as before 
described be consulted, as none can perform some parts of 
it, so it may be very few would over-earnestly press after a 
participation of their office. For to preach the word con- 
tinually, and that with a peculiar labour and travail, and to 
move up and down according as the necessity of the edifica- 
tion of the churches doth require, doing nothing in them but 
according to the rule and appointment of Christ, are things 
that not many will earnestly covet to be engaged in. But 
there is an apprehension that there was something more than 
ordinary power belonging unto this ofiice, that those who 
enjoyed it were not obliged always to labour in any particu- 
lar church, but had the rule of many churches committed 
unto them. Now, whereas, this power is apt to draw other 
desirable things unto it, or carry them along with it ; this is 
that which some pretend a succession unto: though they are 
neither called like them, nor gifted like them, nor labour like 
them, nor have the same object of their employment, much 
less the same power of extraordinary operations with them ; yet 
as to the rule over sundry churches, they must needs be their 
successors. I shall, therefore, briefly do these two things : 
1. Shew that there are no such officers as these evangelists con- 
tinued by the will of Christ in the ordinary state and course 
of the church. 2. That there is no need of their continuance 
from any work applied unto them. 

And, (1.) the things that are essential unto the office 
of an evangelist, are unattainable at present unto the church. 
For, where no command, no rule, no authority, no directions 
are given, for the calling of any officer, there that office must 
cease, as doth that of the apostles, who could not be called 
but by Jesus Christ. What is required unto the call of an 
evangelist, was before declared. And, unless it can be mani- 
fested either by institution or example, how any one may be 
otherwise called unto that office, no such office can be con- 


274 A DiscorusE of spiritual gifts. 

tinned. For a call by prophecy or immediate revelation none 
now will pretend unto. And other call the evangelists of old 
had none. 

Nor is there in the Scripture the least mention of the 
call or appointment of any one to be an ecclesiaatical officer in 
an ordinanf stated church, but with relation unto that church 
whereof he was, or was to be, an officer. But an evan- 
gelist as such, was not especially related unto anyone church 
more than another, though as the apostles themselves, they 
might for a time attend unto the work in one place or church, 
rather or more than another. Wherefore, without a call from 
the Holy Ghost, either immediate byjorop/^en/ and revelation, 
or by the direction of persons infallibly inspired, as the apo- 
stles were, none can be called to be evangelists, nor yet to 
succeed them under any other name in that office. Where- 
fore, the primitive church after the apostles' time, never once 
took upon them to constitute or ordain an evangelist, as 
knowing it a thing beyond their rule, and out of their power. 
Men may invade an office when they please, but unless they 
be called unto it, they must account for their usurpation. 
And as for those who have erected an office in the church, or 
an ep/scopflcj/, principally if not solely out of what is ascribed 
unto these evangelists, namely, to Timothy and Titus, they 
may be farther attended unto in their claim, when they lay 
the least pretence unto the whole of what is ascribed unto 
them. But this doing the work of an evangelist, is that which 
few men care for, or delight in; only their power and autho- 
rity in a new kind of managery, many would willingly pos- 
sess themselves of. 

(2.) The evangelists we read of had extraordinary gifts of 
the Holy Spirit, without which they could not warrantably 
undertake their office. This we have manifested before. 
Now these extraordinary gifts, differing not only in degrees but 
in kind from all those of the ordinary ministry of the church, 
are not at present by any pretended unto : and if any should 
make such a pretence, it would be an easy matter to con- 
vince them of their folly. But without these gifts, men must 
content themselves with such offices in the church as are 
stated with respect unto every particular congregation. Acts 
xiv. 23. XX. 28. Tit. i. 5. 1 Pet. v. 1, 2. Phil. i. 1. 

Some indeed seem not satisfied, whether to derive their 


claim from Timothy and Titus as evangelists, or from the 6/- 
shops that were ordained by them, or described unto them. But 
whereas those bishops were no other but elders of particular 
churches, as is evident beyond a modest denial, from Acts 
XX. 28. Phil. i. 1. 1 Tim. iii. 1, 2. 8. Tit. i. 4, 5. So cer- 
tainly they cannot be of both sorts, the one being apparently 
superior unto the other. If they are such bishops as Titus and 
Timothy ordained, it is well enough known both what is 
their office, their work, and their duty : if such as they pre- 
tend Timothy and Titus to be, they must manifest it in the 
like call, gifts, and employment, as they had. 

For, (3.) there are not any now, who do pretend unto 
their principal emploi/menthy virtue of office, nor can so do. 
For it is certain, that the principal work of the evangelists 
was to go up and down from one place and nation unto ano- 
ther, to preach the gospel unto Jews and Gentiles as yet un- 
converted, and iheir commission unto this purpose was as 
large and extensive as that of the apostles. But who shall 
now empower any one hereunto? What church, what per- 
sons, have received authority to ordain any one to be such an 
evangelist? Or what rules or directions are given as to their 
qualifications, power, or duty; or how they should be so or- 
dained ? It is true, those who are ordained ministers of the 
gospel, and others also that are the disciples of Christ, may 
and ought to preach the gospel to unconverted persons and 
nations as they have opportunity, and are particularly guided 
by the providence of God: but that any church or person 
has power or authority to ordain a person unto this office 
and work, cannot be proved. 

2. Lastly, The continuance of the employment as unto the 
settling of Jiew planted churches^ is no way necessary. For 
every church being planted and settled, is intrusted with 
power for its own preservation and continuance in due order 
according to the mind of Christ, and is enabled to do all 
those things in itself, which at first were done under the 
guidance of the evangelists; nor can any one instance be 
given wherein they are defective. And where any church 
was called and gathered in the name of Christ, which had 
some things yet wanting unto its perfection and complete 
order, which the evangelists were to finish and settle ; they 
did it not but in and by the power of the church itself; only 

T 2 

27G A discouusp: of spiritual gifts. 

presiding and directing in the things to be done. And if any 
churches through their own default have lost that order and 
power which they were once established in, as they shall 
never want power in themselves to recover their pristine 
estate and condition, who will attend unto their duty accord- 
ing unto rule to that purpose : so this would rather prove a 
necessity of raising up new evangelists, of a new extraordinary 
ministry, on the defection of churches, than the continuance 
of them in the church rightly stated and settled. 

Besides these evangelists, there were prophets also who had 
a temporary, extraordinary ministry in the church. Their grant 
from Christ or institution in the church is mentioned 1 Cor. 
xii. 28. Eph. iv. 11. and the exercise of their ministry is de- 
clared Acts xiii. 1. But the names of prophets, and prophecy, 
are used variously in the New Testament. For, 1. some- 
times an extraordinary ojjice and extraordinary gifts are signi- 
fied by them ; and, 2. Sometimes extraordinary gifts only ; 
sometimes an ordinary office with ordinary gifts ; and some- 
times ordinary gifts only. And unto one of these heads may 
the use of the word be every where reduced : in the places 
mentioned, extraordinary officers endued with extraordinary 
gifts are intended. For they are said to be set in the church ; 
and are placed in the second rank of officers next to the apo- 
stles ; 'first apostles, secondarily prophets;' 1 Cor. xii. 28. 
between them and evangelists; Eph. iv. 11. And tw^o things 
are ascribed unto them : (1.) That they received immediate re- 
velations and directions from the Holy Ghost, in things that 
belonged unto the present duty of the church. Unto them 
it was that the Holy Ghost revealed his mind, and gave com- 
mands concerning the separation of Barnabas and Saul unto 
their w^ork ; Acts xiii. 2. (2.) They foretold things to come 
by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, wherein the duty or 
edification of the church was concerned. So Agabus the 
prophet foretold the famine in the days of Claudius Caesar, 
whereon provision was made for the poor saints at Jerusa- 
lem, that they might not suffer by it ; Acts xi. 28, 29. And 
the same person afterward, prophesied of the bonds and 
sufferings of Paul at Jerusalem ; Acts xxi. 10, 11. And the 
same thing, it being of the highest concernment unto the 
church, was (as it should seem) revealed unto the prophets 
that were in most churches; for so himself gives an account 


hereof. 'And now behold I go bound in the Spirit unto Je- 
rusalem, not knowing the things that shall befal me there, 
save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city that bonds 
and afflictions abide me;' Acts xx. 21, 22. That is, in all 
the cities he passed through, where there were churches 
planted and prophets in them. These things the churches 
then stood in need of, for their confirmation, direction, and 
comfort; and were therefore, I suppose, most of them sup- 
plied with such officers for a season ; that is, whilst they 
were needful. And unto this office, though expressly af- 
firmed to be set in the church, and placed between the apostles 
and the evangelists, none that I know of do pretend a suc- 
cession. All grant that they were extraordinary, because 
their gift and work was so ; but so were those of evangelists 
also. But there is no mention of the power and rule of those 
prophets, or else undoubtedly we should have had on one 
pretence or other successors provided for them. 

2. Sometimes an extraordinary gift without office is in- 
tended in this expression. So it is said that ' Philip the 
evangelist had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy;' 
Acts xxi. 9. It is not said that they were prophetesses, as 
there were some under the Old Testament ; only that * they 
did prophesy ;' that is, they had revelations from the Holy 
Ghost occasionally for the use of the church. For to pro- 
phesy is nothing but to declare hidden and secret things by 
virtue of immediate revelation, be they of what nature they 
will ; and so is the word commonly used ; Matt. xxvi. 68. 
Luke xxii. 64. So an extraordi/iary gift without o^ce is ex- 
pressed. Acts xix. 6. ' And when Paul had laid his hands 
upon them, the Holy Ghost came, and they spake with 
tongues and prophesied.' Their prophesying, which was 
their declaration of spiritual things by immediate revela- 
tion, was of the same nature with their speaking zvith tongues ; 
both extraordinary gifts and operations of the Holy Ghost. 
And of this sort were those miracles, healinm, and tong-ues, 
which God for a time set in the church, which did not con- 
stitute distinct officers in the cLurch, but they were only 
sundry persons in each church which were endued with 
these extraordinary gifts for its edification. And, therefore, 
are they placed after teachers, comprising both, which were 
the principal sort of the ordinary continuing officers of the 


church ; 1 Cor. xii. 28. And of this sort do I reckon those 
propliets to be who are treated of, 1 Cor. xiv. 29 — 33. For 
that they were neither stated officers in the churches, nor 
yet the brethren of the church promiscuously ; but such as 
had received an especial extraordinary gift, is evident from 
the context; see ver. 30. 37. 

3. Again, an ordinary office with ordinary gifts is intended 
by this expression ; Rom. xii. 6. ' Having then gifts differing 
according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, 
let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith.' Pro- 
phecy here can intend nothing but teaching, or preaching, in 
the exposition and application of the word; for an external 
rule is given unto it, in that it must be done according to the 
proportio)! of faith, or the sound doctrine of faith revealed in 
the Scripture. And this ever was and will ever continue to 
be the work and duty of the ordinary teachers of the church, 
whereunto they are enabled by the gifts of Christ which 
they receive by the Holy Ghost ; Eph. iv. 7. as we shall see 
more afterward. And hence also those who are not called 
unto office, who have yet received a gift enabling them to 
declare the mind of God in the Scripture unto the edifica- 
tion of others, may be said to prophesy. 

And these things I thought meet to interpose, with a 
brief description of those officers which the Lord Jesus Christ 
granted unto his church /br a season, at its first planting and 
establishment, with what belonged unto their office, and 
the necessity of their work. For the collation of them on 
the church, and their whole furniture with spiritual gifts, 
was the immediate work of the Holy Ghost, which we are 
in the declaration of; and withal it was my design to mani- 
fest how vain is the pretence of some unto a kind of succession 
unto these officers, who have neither an extraordinary call, 
nor extraordinary gifts, nor extraordinary employment, but 
only are pleased to assume an extraordinary po7cer unto 
themselves, over the churches and disciples of Christ ; and 
that such as neither evangelists, nor prophets, nor apostles, 
did ever claim or make use of. But this /natter of power is 
fuel in itself unto the proud, ambitious minds of Diotrephists, 
and as now circumstanced with other advantages, is useful 
to the corrupt lusts of men ; and, therefore, it is no wonder 
if it be pretended unto, and greedily reached after, by such 


as really have neither call to the ministry, nor gifts for it, 
nor do employ themselves in it. And, therefore, as in these 
extraordinary officers and their gifts, did consist the original 
glory and honour of the churches in an especial manner, and 
by them was their edification carried on and perfected ; so 
by an empty pretence unto the'iY poioer, without their order and 
spirit, the churches have been stained and deformed, and 
brought to destruction. But we must return unto the con- 
sideration of extraordinary spiritual gifts, which is the espe- 
cial work before us. 


Extraordinary spiritual ffifts. 1 Cor. xii. 6 — 11. 

Extraordinary spiritual gifts were of two sorts. First, 
Such as absolutely exceed the whole power and faculties of 
our minds and souls. These, therefore, did not consist in an 
abiding principle or faculty always resident in them that re- 
ceived them, so as that they could exercise them by virtue 
of any inherent power and ability. They were so granted 
unto some persons in the execution of their office, as that so 
often as was needful, they could produce their effects by vir- 
tue of an immediate extraordinary influence of Divine Power, 
transiently affecting their minds. Such was the gift of mi- 
racles, healing, and the like. There were no extraordinary 
officers, but they had these gifts. But yet they could work 
or operate, by virtue of them, only as the Holy Ghost gave 
them especial direction for the putting forth of his power in 
them. So it is said that 'Paul and Barnabas preaching at 
Iconium, the Lord gave testimony unto the word of his grace, 
and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands •' 
Acts xiv. 3. The workings of signs and miracles, is the im- 
mediate operation of the Spirit of God ; nor can any power 
or faculty efficiently productive of such effects, abide in the 
souls or minds of men : these miraculous operations were the 
witness of the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, which he 
gave to the truth of the gospel. See Heb. ii. 4. with our 
exposition thereon. Wherefore there was no more in these 
gifts which absolutely exceed the tcho/e faculties of our natures. 


but the designing of certain persons by the Holy Ghost, in 
and with whose ministry he would himself effect miraculous 

Secondly, They were such as consisted in extraordituay 
endoivments and improvements of the faculties of the souls 
or minds of men ; such as wisdom, knoivledge, utterance, and 
the like. Now where these were bestowed on any in an ex- 
traordinary manner, as they were on the apostles and evange- 
lists, they differed only in degree from them that are ordi- 
nary, and still continued ; but are of the same kind with them ; 
whereof we shall treat afterward. Now whereas all these 
gifts of both sorts, are expressly and distinctly enumerated 
and set down by our apostle in one place, I shall consider 
them as they are there proposed by him. 

1 Cor. xii. 7 — 11. 'But the manifestation of the Spirit is 
given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by 
the Spirit the word of wisdom ; to another the word of know- 
ledge by the same Spirit ; to another faith by the same Spi- 
rit,- to another, the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to 
another, the working of miracles ; to another, prophecy ; to 
another, discerning of spirits ; to another, divers kinds of 
tongues ; to another, the interpretation of tongues : but all 
these worketh that one and selfsame Spirit; dividing to 
every one severally as he will.' The general concernments 
of this passage in the apostle were declared, and the context 
opened, at the beginning of our discourse on this subject. 
I shall only now consider the especial spiritual gifts that are 
here enumerated by the apostle, which are nine in number, 
laid down promiscuously without respect unto any order or 
dependance of one upon another; although it is probable 
that those Jirst placed, were the principal, or of principal use 
in the church. 

The first is Xoyog aoijiiag, the ' word of wisdom.' Aoyog here 
is of the same signification with 121 in the Hebrew ; which 
often signifies a thing or matter. Wherefore the vord of 
wisdom, is nothing but ^visdom itself. And our inquiry is. 
What was that wisdom which was a peculiar and an especial 
gift (in those days) of the Holy Ghost. Our Lord Jesus 
Christ promised unto his disciples that he would give them 
a 'mouth and wisdom which all their adversaries should not 
be able to gainsay nor resist;' Luke xxi. 15. This will be 


our rule in the declaration of the nature of this gift. That 
which he hath respect unto, is the defence of the gospel, and 
its truth, against powerful persecuting adversaries. For al- 
though they had the truth on their side, yet being men ig- 
norant and unlearned, they might justly fear that when they 
were brought before kings and rulers, and priests, they should 
be baffled in their profession, and not be able to defend the 
truth. Wherefore this promise of a mouth and wisdom re- 
spects spiritual ability and utterance in the defence of the 
truth of the gospel, when they were called into question 
about it. Spiritual ability of mind is the wisdom, and utter- 
ance or freedom of speech is the mouth here promised. An 
eminent instance of the accomplishment hereof we have in 
Peter and John ; Acts iv. For upon their making a defence 
of the resurrection of Christ, and the truth of the gospel 
therein, such as their adversaries were not able to gainsay 
nor resist, it is said, that when the imlers and elders saw their 
Trappi]aiav, that is their utterance in defence of their cause 
with boldness, and so the wisdom wherewith it was accom- 
panied, considering that they were unlearned and ignorant, 
they were astonished, and only considered, ' that they had 
been with Jesus ;' ver. 13. And he it was, who, in the ac- 
complishment of his promise, had given them that spiritual 
wisdom and utterance which they were not able to resist. 
So it is said expressly of Stephen, that his adversaries were 
not able to 'resist the wisdom and spirit' whereby he spake ; 
Acts vi. 10. Wherefore this gift of wisdom in the first place 
was a spiritual skill and ability to defend the truths of the 
gospel, when questioned, opposed, or blasphemed. And this 
gift was eminent in those primitive times, when a company 
of unlearned men were able upon all occasions to maintain 
and defend the truth which they believed and professed be- 
fore and against doctors, scribes, lawyers, rulers of syna- 
gogues, yea princes and kings, continually so confounding 
their adversaries, as that being obstinate in their unbelief, 
they were forced to cover their shame by betaking themselves 
unto rage and bestial fury ; Acts vi. 10 — 14. chap. vii. 54. 
chap. xxii. 22, 23. As hath been the manner of all their 
successors ever since. 

Now although this be an especial kind of wisdom, an emi- 
nent gift of the Holy Ghost, wherein the glory of Christ and 


honour of the gospel is greatly concerned ; namely, an abi- 
lity to manage and defend the truth in times of trial and 
danger, to the confusion of its adversaries ; yet I suppose 
the wisdom here intended, is not absolutely confined there- 
unto, though it be principally intended. Peter speaking of 
Paul's Epistles, affirms that they were written ' according 
to the wisdom given unto him;' 2 Pet. iii. 15. That is, 
that especial gift of spiritual wisdom, for the management of 
gospel truths unto the edification of the church of Christ, 
which he had received. And he that would understand 
what this tvisdum is, must be thoroughly conversant in the 
writings of that apostle. For indeed the %visdom that he 
useth in the management of the doctrine of the gospel, in 
the due consideration of all persons, occasions, circum- 
stances, temptations of men and churches, of their state, 
condition, strength or weakness, growth or decays, obedi- 
ence or failings, their capacities and progresses, with the 
holy accommodation of himself in what he teacheth or deli- 
vereth, in meekness, in vehemency, in tenderness, in sharp- 
ness, in severe arguings and jxithetical expostulations, with 
all other ways and means suited unto his holy ends, in the 
propagation of the gospel, and edification of the church, are 
inexpressibly glorious and excellent. All this did he do ac- 
cording to the singular gift of wisdom that was bestowed on 
him. Wherefore I take the ^oord of wisdom here mentioned, 
to be a peculiar spiritual skill and ability, wisely to manage 
the gospel in its administration unto the advantage and fur- 
therance of the truth, especially in the defence of it when 
called unto the trial with its adversaries. This was an emi- 
nent gift of the Holy Ghost; which considering the persons 
employed by him in the ministry for the most part, being- 
known to be unlearned and ignorant, filled the world with 
amazement, and was an effectual means for the subduing of 
multitudes unto the obedience of faith. And so eminent 
was the apostle Paul in this gift, and so successful in the 
management of it, that his adversaries had nothing to say, 
but that he was subtle and took men by craft and guile ; 
2 Cor. xii. 16. The sweetness, condescension, self-denial, 
holy compliance, with all whicli he made use of, mixed with 
truth, gravity, and authority, they would have had to be all 
craft and guile. And this gift when it is in any measure 


continued unto any minister of the gospel, is of singular use 
unto the church of God. Yea, I doubt not but the apostle 
fixed it here in the first place, as that which was eminent 
above all the rest. And as where it is too much umnting, we 
see what woful mistakes and miscarriages, men, otherwise 
good and holy, will run themselves into, unto the great dis- 
advantage of the gospel ; so the real enjoyment and exercise 
of it in any competent measure, is the life and grace of the 
ministry. As God filled Bezaliel and Aholiah with icisdom 
for the building of the tabernacle of old, so unless he give 
this spiritual loischm unto the ministers of the gospel, no ta- 
bernacle of his will be erected where it is fallen down, nor 
kept up where it stands. I intend not secular icisdom, or 
civil wisdom, much less carnal loisdom ; but a. spiritual abiliti/ 
to discharge all our duties aright in the ministry committed 
unto us. And as was said, where this is wanting, we shall 
quickly see woful and shameful work made in churches 

I cannot pass by the consideration of this gift, without 
offering something that may guide us either in the obtain- 
ing, or the due exercise of it. And hereunto the things en- 
suing may be subservient. As, 1. A sense of our own insuf- 
ficiency as of ourselves, as unto any end for which this wisdom 
is requisite. As it is declared that we have no sufficiency in 
ourselves for any thing that is good, all our sufficiency being 
of God : so in particular, it is denied that we have any for 
the work of the ministry, in that interrogation containing a 
negative proposition, ' and who is sufficient for these things V 
2 Cor. ii. 16. A sense hereof is the first step towards this wis- 
dom, as our apostle expressly declares. ' Let no man deceive 
himself, if any among you seemeth to be wise in this world, 
let him become a fool that he maybe wise ;' 1 Cor. iii. 18. 
Until we discover and are sensible of our own folly, we are 
fit neither to receive nor to use this spiritual wisdom. And 
the want hereof proves the ruin of many that pretend unto 
the ministry : and it were to be wished that it were only 
their own. They come to the work of it full oi pride, self- 
conceit, and foolish elation of mind, in an apprehension of 
their own abilities, which yet for the most part are mean 
and contemptible. This keeps them sufficiently estranged 


from a sense of that spiritual tvisdom we treat of. Hence 
there is nothing of a gospel ministry nor its work found 
among them, but an empty name. And as for those who 
have reduced all ecclesiastical administrations to canons, 
laws, acts, courts, and legal processes in them, they seem to do 
it with a design to cast off all use of spiritual gifts ; yea, to 
exclude both them, and their author, name and thing, out 
of the church of God. Is this the wisdom given by the 
Holy Ghost for the due management of gospel administra- 
tions ; namely, tliat men should get a little skill in some of 
the worst of human laws, and uncomely artifices of intriguing 
secular courts, which they pride themselves in, and terrify 
poor creatures with mulcts and penalties, that are any way 
obnoxious unto them ? What use these things may be of in 
the world I know not, unto the church of God they do not 

2. Being sensible of our own '\ns,\i^ciency, earnest prayers 
for a supply of this tvisdom are required in us. * If any of 
you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who givethto all men 
liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him ;' 
James i. 5. There is both a precept and a promise to enforce 
this duty. That we all want wisdom in ourselves, is un- 
questionable ; I mean, as to our concerns in the gospel, 
either to bear testimony unto it in difficulties, or to manage 
the truths of it unto edification : the way for our supply 
lies plain and open before us ; neither is there any other that 
we can take one step in towards it. ' Let us ask it of God, who 
giveth liberally,' and we shall receive it. This was that 
which rendered Solomon so great and glorious; when he 
had his choice given him of all desirable things, he made 
his request for tvisdom to the discharge of the office and 
duties of it that God had called him unto. Though it were 
a whole kingdom that he was to rule, yet was his work car- 
nal and of this world, compared with the spiritual adminis- 
trations of the gospel. And hereunto a worldly ministry is 
no less averse, than unto a sense of their own insufficiency. 
The fruits do sufficiently manifest how much this duty is 
contemned by them : but the neglect of it, I say, the neglect 
of praying for wisdom to be enabled unto the discharge of 
the work of the ministry, and the due management of the 


truths of the gospel according as occasion do require, in 
them who pretend thereunto, is a fruit of unbelief, yea, of 
atheism and contempt of God. 

3. Due meditation on our great pattern, the Lord Jesus 
Christ, and the apostles ; being followers of them as they 
were of him, is also required hereunto. As in all other 
things, so in especial, in his ministry for the revelation of 
the truth, and giving testimony thereunto, the Lord Jesus 
was the great pattern and example ; God in him represent- 
ing unto us that perfection in tvisdom which we ought to aim 
at. I shall not here in particular look into this heavenly 
treasury, but only say, that he who would be really and 
truly wise in spiritual things, who would either rightly re- 
ceive, or duly improve this gift of the Holy Ghost, he ought 
continually to bear in his heart, his mind and affections, this 
great exemplar and idea of it, even the Lord Jesus Christ in 
his ministry ; namely, what he did, what he spake, how on 
all occasions his condescension, meekness, and authority 
did manifest themselves ; until he be changed into the same 
image and likeness by the Spirit of the Lord. The same 
is to be done in their place and sphere towards the apostles 
as the principal followers of Christ, and who do most lively 
represent his graces and wisdom unto us. Their writings, 
and what is written of them, are to be searched and studied 
unto this very end, that considering how they behaved them- 
selves in all instances, on all occasions in their testimony, 
and all administrations of the truth, we may endeavour after 
a conformity unto them in the participation of the same 
Spirit with them. It would be no small stay and guidance 
unto us, if on all occasions we would diligently search and 
consider what the apostles did in such circumstances, or what 
they would have done in answer to what is recorded of their 
Spirit and actings. For although this xcisdom be a gift of 
the Holy Spirit, yet as we now consider it, as it is continued 
in the church, it may be in part obtained and greatly im- 
proved, in the due use of the means which are subservient 
thereunto ; provided that in all we depend solely on God 
for the giving of it, who hath also prescribed these means 
imto us for the same end. 

4. Let them who design a participation of this gift, take 
heed it be not stifled with such vicious habits of mind as are ex- 


pressly contrary unto it, and destructive of it: such are self- 
fulness, or confidence, hastiness of spirit, promptness to 
speak, and slowness to hear, which are the great means 
which make many abound in their own sense and folly; to 
be wise in their own conceits, and contemptible in the judg- 
ment of all that are truly so. Ability of speech in time and 
season, is an especial gift of God, and that eminently with 
respect unto the spiritual things of the gospel. But a. pxyfiu- 
ency of speech venting itself on all occasions, and on no oc- 
casions, making men open their mouths wide, when indeed 
they should shut them, and open their ears; and to pour out 
all that they know, and what they do not know, making 
them angry if they are not heard, and impatient if they are 
contradicted, is an unconquerable fortification against all 
true spiritual wisdom. 

5. Let those who would be sharers herein, follow after 
those gifts and graces which do accompany it, promote it, 
and are inseparable from it. Such are humility, meehiess, pa- 
tience, constancy, with boldness and confidence in profession, 
without which we shall be fools in every trial. Wisdom in- 
deed is none of all these, but it is that which cannot be 
without them, nor will it thrive in any mind that is not cul- 
tivated by them. And he who thinks it is not worth his 
pains and travail, nor that it will quit cost to seek after this 
spiritual wisdom, by a constant watchfulness against the 
opposite vices mentioned, and attendance vmto those con- 
comitant duties and graces, must be content to go without 
it. This is the first instance given by our apostle of the 
spiritual gifts of the primitive times ; to one is given by the 
Spirit theioord of wisdom. 

' To another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit.' Ao- 
70c 7vwo-£ti»e. I shewed before, that Xoyoc may denote the thing 
itself; the ' word of knowledge,' that is knowledge. But if any 
shall suppose, that because this Avio?/;/e(/ge was to be express- 
ed unto the church for its edification, it is therefore called a 
word of knoicledge, as a word of exhortation, or a v.ord of 
consolation ; that is, exhortation and consolation adminis- 
tered by words, I shall not contend to the contrary. It is 
knowledge that is the gift peculiarly intended in this second 
place. And we must inquire, both hnw it is an especial gift, 
and of what sort it is. And it should seem that it cannot 


have the nature of an especial gift, seeing it is that which was 
common to all. For, so saith the apostle, speaking unto the 
whole church of the Corinthians ; ' We know that we all 
have knowledge ;' 1 Cor. viii. 1. And not only so, but also 
adds, that this knowledge is a thing which either in its own 
nature tends unto an ill issue, or is very apt to be abused 
thereunto : for, saith he, • knowledge pufleth up/ for which 
cause he frequently reflects upon it in other places. But yet 
we shall find that it is a peculim- gift, and in itself singularly 
useful : however it may be abused as the best things may be, 
yea, are most liable thereunto. The Joioivledge mentioned in 
that place by the apostle, which he ascribes in common unto 
all the church, was only that which concerned ' things sa- 
crificed unto idols;' and if we should extend it farther, unto 
an understanding of the myslery of the go.spe/ which was in 
the community of believers, yet is there place remaining for 
an eminencif, therein by virtue of an especial spiritual gift. 
And as to what he adds about ' knowledge puffing up,' he 
expounds in the next words; if any man ' thinketh that he 
knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to 
know;' ver. 2. It is not men's knowledge, but the vain and 
proud conceit of ignorant men, supposing themselves know- 
ing and wine, that so pufFeth up and hindereth edification. 

Wherefore, 1. By this ^oord of knowledge, not that degree 
of it which is required in all Christians, in all the members 
of the church, is intended. Such a measure of knowledge 
there is necessary both unto faith and confession. Men can 
believe nothing of that whereof they know nothing, nor can 
they confess with their mouths what they apprehend not in 
their minds. But it is somewhat singular, eminent, and not 
common to all. Neither, 2. doth that eminency or singularity 
consist in this, that it is saving and sanctifying knowledge 
which is intended. That there is such a peculiar knowledge 
whereby ' God shines into the hearts of believers,' with a 
spiritual saving insight into spiritual things, transforming 
the mind into the likeness of them, I have at large elsewhere 
declared. For it is reckoned among gifts; whereas that 
other is a saving grace, whose difference hath been declared 
before. It is expressed by the apostle, 1 Cor. xiii. 2. by 'un- 
derstanding all mysteries and all knowledge;' that is, having 
an understanding in, and the knowledge of all mysteries. 


This knowledge he calleth a {rift, which shall vanish away, 
ver. 8. and so not belonging absolutely unto that grace, 
which being a part of the image of God in us, shall go over 
into eternity. And ' knowledge' in ver. 2. is taken for the 
thing known ; if ' I understand all knowledge,' which is the 
same with all mysteries. Wherefore the knowledge here in- 
tended, is such a peculiar and especial insight into the mys- 
teries of the gospel, as whereby those in whom it was, were 
enabled to teach and instruct others. Thus the apostle Paul, 
who had received all these oifts in the highest decree and 
measure, affirms, that by his writing, those to whom he wrote 
might perceive his 'skill and understanding in the mvstery 
of Christ.' 

And this was in an especial manner necessary unto those 
first dispensers of the gospel; for how else should the church 
have been instructed in the knowledge of it. This they 
prayed for them, namely, that they might be filled with the 
knoivledge of the will of God, in all ' wisdom and understand- 
ing;' Col. i. 9. Eph. i. 18—20. iii. 18, 19. Col. ii. 2. The 
means whereby they might come hereunto, was by their in- 
struction, who therefore were to be skilled in a peculiar man- 
ner in the knowledge of these mysteries, which they were to 
impart unto others, and to do it accordingly: and so it was 
with them; Acts xx. 27. Eph. iii. 8, 9. Col. iv. 2. Now, al- 
though this gift as to that excellent degree wherein it was 
in the apostles, and those who received the knowledge of 
Christ and the gospel by immediate revelation, be withheld, 
yet it is still communicated in such a measure unto the 
ministers of the church, as is necessary unto its edification. 
And for any one to undertake an office in the church, who 
hath not received this gift in some good measure of the 
knowledge of the mystery of God, and the gospel, is to im- 
pose himself on that service in the house of God, which he 
is neither called unto nor fitted for. And, whereas, we have 
lived to see all endeavours after an especial acquaintance 
with the mysteries of the gospel, despised or derided by 
some, it is an evidence of that fatal and fearful apostacy, 
whereinto the generality of Christians are fallen. 

Faith is added in the third place ; ' To another faith by 
the same Spirit.' That the saving grace of faith, which is com- 
mon unto all true believers, is not here intended, is manifest 


from the context. There is a faith in Scripture which is 
commonly called the ' faith of miracles/ mentioned by our 
apostle in this epistle, as a principal, extraordinary, spi- 
ritual gift, chap. xiii. 2. 'Though I had all faith, so that I 
could remove mountains ;' that is, the highest degree of a 
faith of miracles, or such as would effect miraculous opera- 
tions of the highest nature. This I should readily admit to 
be here intended, but that there is mention made of ivorking 
miracks in the next verse, as a gift distinct from this faith. 
Yet, whereas this working of miracles is every where ascribed 
to faith, and could not be any where but where the peculiar 
faith from which those operations did proceed was first im- 
parted, it is not unlikely but that by faith the principle of 
all miraculous operations may be intended, and by the other 
expressions the operations themselves. But if the distinc- 
tion of these gifts be to be preserved, as I rather judge that 
it ought to be, considering the placing of faith immediately 
upon wisdom and knowledge, I should judge that a peculiar 
confidence, boldness, and assurance, of mind in the profes- 
sion of the gospel, and the administration of its ordinances, 
is here intended. Faith, therefore, is that Trappr\ma iv Trtoret, 
iha,t freedom, confidence, and ' boldness in the faith,' or profes- 
sion of the faith, which is in Christ Jesus, mentioned by the 
apostle; 1 Tim. iii. 13. That is, our viroaTaaiq, or confidence 
in profession, whose ' beginning we are to hold fast and firm 
unto the end ;' Heb. iii. 14. And we do see how excellent a 
gift this is on all occasions. When troubles and trials do 
befal the church upon the account of its profession, many, 
even true believers, are very ready to faint and despond, and 
some to draw back at least for a season ; as others do utterly, 
to the perdition of their souls. In this state the eminent 
usefulness of this gift of boldness in the faith, of an assured 
confidence in profession, of an especial faith to go through 
troubles and trials, is known unto all. Oft-times the emi- 
nence of it in one single person, hath been the means to pre- 
serve a whole church from coldness, backsliding, or sinful 
compliances with the world. And where God stirreth up 
any one unto some great or singular work in his church, he 
constantly endows them with this gift of faith. So was it 
with Luther, whose undaunted courage and resolution in pro- 
fession, or boldness in the faith, was one of the principal 

VOL. IV. u 


means of succeeding his great undertaking. And there is 
no more certain sign of churches being forsaken of Christ in 
a time of trial, than if this gift be withheld from them, and 
pusillanimity, fearfulness, with carnal wisdom, do spring up 
in the room of it. The work and effects of this faith are ex- 
pressed, 1 Cor. xvi. 13. 'Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, 
quit you like men, be strong.' So also Eph. vi. 10. 2 Pet. 
ii. 1. And the especial way whereby it may be attained or 
improved, is by a diligent, careful discharge at all times of 
all the duties of the places we hold in the church; 1 Pet. iii. 13. 
The gifts of' henliiig, are nextly mentioned. ^apiaij.ara 
lafjicLTiov. ' To another the gifts of healings by the same 
Spirit.' So they are again expressed, ver. 28. in the plural 
number, because of their free communication unto mauy per- 
sons. These healings respected those that were sick, in their 
sudden and miraculous recovery from long or deadly distem- 
pers, by the imposition of hands in the name of the Lord 
Jesus. And as many of the mighty works of Christ himself, 
for the reasons that shall be mentioned, consisted in these 
healings, so it was one of the first things which he gave in 
commission to his apostles, and furnished them with power 
for, whilst they attended on him in his personal ministry ; 
Matt. X. 1. So also did he to the Seventy, making it the prin- 
cipal sign of the approach of the kingdom of God ; Luke x. 9. 
Andthesamepower and virtue he promised to believers, name- 
ly, that they should ' lay hands on the sick and recover them' 
after his ascension. Of the accomplishment of this promise, 
and the exercise of this power, the story of the Acts of the 
Apostles giveth us many instances; Acts v. 15.iii.7.ix.33,34. 
And two things are observed singular in the exercise of this 
gift. As, first, that many were cured by the shadow of Peter 
as he passed by ; Acts v. 15. And again, many were so by hand- 
kerchiefs and aprons carried from the body of Paul ; chap- 
xix. 12. And the reason of these extraordinary operations 
in extraordinary cases seems to have been the encouragement 
of that great faith which was then stirred up in them that 
beheld those miraculous operations, which was of singular 
advantage unto the propagation of the gospel ; as the ma- 
gical superstition of the Roman church sundry ways endea- 
vouring; to imitate these inimitable actinsj-s of sovereicfn di- 
vine power, hath been a dishonour to Christian religion. 


But whereas these healings were miraculous operations, it 
may be inquired why the gift of them is constantly distin- 
guished from miracles, and is placed as a distinct effect of the 
Holy Ghost by itself; for that so it is, is evident both in the 
commission of Christ granting this power unto his disciples, 
and in the annumeration of these gifts in this and other 
places. I answer, this seems to be done on a threefold ac- 
count. 1. Because miracles absolutely were a sign unto them 
that believed not, as the apostle speaketh of tongues, they * were 
a sign not unto them that believe, but unto them that believed 
not ;' 1 Cor. xir. 22. That is, which served for their con- 
viction. But this work of healing was a sign unto believers 
themselves, and that on a double account. For, (1 .) The pour- 
ing out of this gift of the Holy Ghost, was a peculiar sign 
and token of the coming of the kingdom of God. So saith 
our Saviour to his disciples, ' Heal the sick, and say unto 
them. The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you;' Luke x. 
9. This gift of healing being a token and pledge thereof. 
This sign did our Saviour give of it himself, when John sent 
his disciples unto him to inquire for their own satisfaction, 
not his, whether he were the Messiah or no ; Matt. xi. 4, 5. 
* Go,' saith he, ' and shew John these things which ye do 
hear and see ; the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, 
the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised 
np, and the poor have the gospel preached unto them :' 
which was the evidence of his own being the Messiah, and 
bringing in the kingdom of God. The Jews have an ancient 
tradition, that in the days of the Messias all things should 
be healed but the serpent. And there is a truth in what they 
say; although for their parts they understand it not. For 
all are healed by Christ but the serpent and his seed ; the 
wicked, unbelieving world. And hereof, namely, of the heal- 
ing and recovery of all things by Christ, was this gift or 
sign unto the church. Wherefore he began his ministry 
after his first miracle, with * healing all manner of sickness, 
and all manner of diseases among the people ;' Matt. iv. 23 
— 25. (2.) It was a sign that Christ had bortie and taken away 
sin, which was the cause, root, and spring of diseases and 
sicknesses, without which no one could have been miracu- 
lously cured. Hence that place of Isaiah, ch. liii. 4. ' Surely 
he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows :' which is 

u 2 


afterward interpreted, ' by being wounded for our transgres- 
sions, and being bruised for our iniquities,' ver. 5. as also 
by Peter, by his ' bearing our sins in his own body on the 
tree,' 1 Pet. ii. 24. is applied by Matthew unto the ' curing 
of diseases and sicknesses ;' Matt. viii. 16, 17. Now this 
was for no other reason, but because this healing of diseases 
was a sign and effect of his hearing our sins, the causes of 
them, without a supposition whereof healing would have been 
aj'alse witness unto men. It was, therefore, on these accounts 
a sign unto believers also. 

2. Because it had a peculiar gooJwess, relief, and benignity 
towards mankind in it, which other miraculous operations 
had not ; at least, not unto the same degree. Indeed this 
was one great difference between the miraculous operations 
that were wrought under the Old Testament, and those under 
the New ; that the former generally consisted in dreadful 
and tremendous works, bringing astonishment and oft-times 
ruin to mankind ; but those other were generally useful and 
beneficial unto all. But this of healing had a peculiar evi- 
dence of love, kindness, compassion, benignity, and was suited 
greatly to affect the minds of men with regard and gratitude. 
For loner afflictive distempers or violent pains, such as were the 
diseases cured by this gift, do prepare the minds of men, 
and those concerned in them, greatly to value their deliver- 
ance. This, therefore, in an especial manner declared and 
evidenced the goodness, love, and compassion of him that 
was the Author of this gospel, and gave this sign of healing 
spiritual diseases by healing of bodily distempers. And, 
doubtless, many who were made partakers of the benefit 
hereof, were greatly affected with it ; and that not only by 
' walking, and leaping, and praising God,' as the cripple did 
who was cured by Peter and John ; Acts iii. 8. but also unto 
faith and boldness in profession, as it was with the blind 
man healed by our Saviour himself; John viii. 31 — 33. 38, 
&c. But yet no outward effects of themselves can work 
upon the hearts of men, so as that all who are made par- 
takers of them should be brought unto faith, thankfulness, 
and obedience. Hence did not only our Saviour himself ob- 
serve that of ten at once cleansed by him from their leprosy, 
but one returned to give glory to God; Luke xvii. 7. but 
he whom he cured of a disease that he had suffered under 


eight-and-thirty years, notwithstanding a following admoni- 
tion given him by our blessed Saviour, turned informer 
against him, and endeavoured to betray him unto the Jews; 
John V. 5. 8. 13 — 15. It is effectual grace alone which can 
change the heart, without which it will continue obstinate 
and unbelieving, under not only the sight and consideration 
of the most miraculous outward operations, but also the par- 
ticipation in ourselves of the benefit and fruits of them. Men 
may have their bodies cured by miracles, when their souls are 
not cured by grace. 

3. It is thus placed distinctly by itself, and not cast un- 
der the common head of miracles, because ordinarily there 
were some outivard means and tokens of it that were to be made 
use of in the exercise of this gift. Such were, (1 .) Imposition 
of hands. Our Saviour himself in healing of the sick did 
generally ' lay his hands on them ;' Matt. vi. 5. Luke iv. 40. 
And he gave the same order unto his disciples, that they 
should * lay their hands on those that were sick, and heal 
them ;' which was practised by them accordingly. (2.) 
Anoiiiting with oil: 'They anointed with oil many that were 
sick, and healed them;' Mark vi. 13. And the elders of the 
church, with whom this gift was continued, were to come to 
him that was sick, and praying over him, ' anoint him with 
oil in the name of the Lord,' and he should be saved ; James 
V. 14, 15. Some do contend for the continuance of this ce- 
remony, or the anointing of them that are sick by the elders of 
the church, but without ground or warrant : for, althouo-h 
it be their duty to •pray in a particular manner for those that 
are sick, of their flocks, and it be the duty of them who are sick 
to call for them unto that purpose ; yet the application of 
the outward ceremony being instituted, not as a means of 
an uncertain cure, as all are which work naturally unto that 
end, but as a pledge and token of a certain healing and reco- 
very, where there is not an infallible faith thereof, when the 
healing may not ensue ; it is to turn an ordinance into a lie. 
For if a recovery follow ten times on this anointing, if it once 
fall out otherwise, the institution is rendered a lie, a false 
testimony ; and the other recoveries manifested to have had 
no dependance on the observation of it. For these reasons, 
I judge, that this gift oi healing, though belonging unto mi- 
raculous operations in general, is every where reckoned as a 


distinct gift by itself. And from that place of James, I am apt 
to think that this gift was communicated in an especial man- 
ner unto the elders of churches, even that were ordinary and 
fixed ; it being of so great use and such singular comfort unto 
them that were poor and persecuted, which was the condi- 
tion of many churches, and their members, in those days. 
Miracles ensue, in the fifth place, ivt^-yyjiJ.aTa ^vvufiitov' 
' Effectual working of mighty powers, or powerful works.' 
For the signification of this word here rendered miracles, the 
reader may consult our exposition on Heb. ii. 4. I shall 
not thence transcribe what is already declared, nor is any 
thing necessary to be added thereunto. Concerning this 
gift of miracles we have also spoken before in general ; so 
that we shall not much farther here insist upon it ; neither 
is it necessary that we should here treat of the nature, end, and 
use of miracles in general, which in part also hath been done 
before. Wherefore I shall only observe some few things as 
to the gift itself, and the use of it in the church, which alone 
are our present concernment. And, 1. as we before ob- 
served, this gift did not consist in any inheroit power or fa- 
culty of the mind ; so as that those who had received it 
should have an ability of their own to work or effect such 
miracles, when, and as they saw good. As this is disclaimed 
by the apostles; Acts iii. 12. so a supposition of it would 
overthrow the very nature of miracles ; for a miracle is an 
immediate effect of divine power exceeding all created abi- 
lities ; and what is not so, though it maybe strange or won- 
derful, is no miracle. Only Jesus Christ had in his own 
person a power of working miracles when, and where, and 
how he pleased, because God was with him, or ' the fulness 
of the Godhead dwelt in him bodily.' 2. Unto the working 
of every miracle in particular, there was a peculiar act of 
faith required in them that wrought it. This is that faith 
which is called the faith of miracles, * have all faith, so that 
I could remove mountains ;' 1 Cor. xiii. 2. Now this faith 
v/as not a strong fxing of the imagination that such a thing 
should be done, as some have blasphemously dreamed ; nor 
was it a faith resting merely on the promises of the word, 
making particular application of them unto times, seasons, 
and occasions, wherein it no way differs from the ordinary 
urace of faith : but this was the tiue nature of it, that as it 


was in general resolved into the promises of the word, and 
power of Christ declared therein, that such and such things 
should be wrought in general; so it had always di peculiar, 
immediate revelation for its warranty and security in the work- 
ing of any miracle. And without such an immediate revela- 
tion of divine impulse and impression, all attempts of mira- 
culous operations are vain, and means only for Satan to in- 
sinuate his delusions by. 

No man, therefore, could work any miracle, nor attempt 
in faith so to do, without an immediate revelation that divine 
power should be therein exerted, and put forth in its opera- 
tion : yet do I not suppose that it was necessary that this 
inspiration and revelation should in order of time precede the 
acting of this faith, though it did the operation of the mira- 
cle itself. Yea, the inspiration itself consisted in the eleva- 
tion of faith to apprehend divine power in such a case for 
such an end ; which the Holy Ghost granted not to any, but 
when he designed so to work. Thus Paul at once acted 
faith, apprehended divine power, and at the same time 
struck Elymas the sorcerer Wind by a miraculous operation ; 
Acts xiii.9— 12. ' Being filled with the Holy Ghost;' ver.9. 
That is, having received an impression and warranty from 
him, he put forth that act of faith, at whose presence the 
Holy Spirit would effect that miraculous operation which 
he believed. Wherefore this was the nature of this gift ; 
some persons were by the Holy Ghost endowed with that 
especial /«?iA which was prepared to receive impressions and 
intimations of his putting forth his power in this or that mi- 
raculous operation. Those who had this faith, could not 
work miracles ichen, and where, and how they pleased ; only 
they could infallibly signify what the Holy Ghost would do, 
and so were the outward instruments of the execution of 
his power. 

3. Although the apostles had all gifts of the Spirit in an 
eminent degree and manner above all others, as Paul saith, 
' I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all;' 
yet it appears that there were some other persons distinct 
from them, who had this gift of working miracles in a pe- 
culiar manner. For it is not only here reckoned as a pecu- 
liar, distinct gift of the Holy Ghost, but also the persons 
who had received it, are reckoned as distinct from the apo- 


sties and other officers of the church ; 1 Cor. xii. 28, 29. 
Not that I think this gift did constitute them officers in the 
church, enabling them to exercise power in gospel adminis- 
trations therein ; only they were brethren of the c/<//;tA, made 
eminent by a participation of this gift, for the end where- 
unto it was ordained. By these persons' ministry did the 
Holy Spirit, on such occasions as seemed meet to his infi- 
nite wisdom, effect miraculous operations, besides what was 
done in the same kind by the apostles and evangelists, all 
the world over. 

4. The use of this gift in the church at that time and sea- 
son was manifold. For the principles which believers pro- 
ceeded on, and the doctrines they professed, were neio and 
strange to the world, and such as had mighty prejudices 
raised against them in the minds of men. The persons by 
whom they were maintained and asserted were generally as 
to their outward condition poor and contemptible in the 
world. The churches themselves, as to their members, few 
in number ; encompassed with multitudes of scoff'ers, and 
persecuting idolaters ; themselves also, newly converted, 
and many of them but weak in the faith. In this state of 
things, this gift of mi racks was exceeding useful and neces- 
sary unto the propagation of the gospel, the vindication of 
the truth, and the establishment of them that did believe. 
For, (1.) By miracles occasionally wrought, the people 
round about who yet believed not, were called in, as it were, 
unto a due consideration of what was done, and what was 
designed thereby. Thus when the noise was first spread 
abroad of the * apostles speaking with tongues, the multi- 
tude came together' and were confounded ; Acts ii. 6. So 
the multitude gathered together at Lystra upon the curing 
of the Clippie by Paul and Barnabas, thinking them to have 
been gods; Acts xiv. 11. When therefore any were so 
amazed with seeing the miracles that were wrought, hearing 
that they were so in the confirmation of the doctrine of the 
gospel, they could not but inquire with diligence into it, 
and cast out those prejudices which before they had enter- 
tained against it. (2.) They gave authority unto the mini- 
sters of the church. For whereas on outward accounts they 
were despised by the great, wise, and learned men of the 
world, it was made evident by these divine operations, that 


their ministry was of God, and what they taught approved 
by him. And where these two things were effected, namely, 
that a sufficient, yea, an eminently cogent ground and rea- 
son was given, why men should impartially inquire into the 
doctrine of the gospel, and an evidence given that the 
teachers of it were approved of God, unless men were sig- 
nally captivated under the power of Satan; 2 Cor. iv. 4. or 
given up of God judicially unto blindness and hardness of 
heart, it could not be, but that the prejudices which they 
had of themselves, or might receive from others against the 
gospel, must of necessity be prevailed against and con- 
quered. And as many of the Jews were so hardened and 
blinded at that time ; Rom. xi. 7 — 10. 1 Thes. ii. 14 — 16. 
so it is marvellous to consider with what artifices Satan be- 
stirred himself among the gentiles by false and lying signs 
and wonders, with many other ways to take off from the 
testimony given unto the gospel by these miraculous ope- 

. And this was that which miracles were designed unto to- 
wards unbelievers ; namely, to take aw^ay prejudices from the 
doctrine of the gospel, and the persons by whom it was 
taught, so disposing the minds of men unto an attendance 
unto it, and the reception of it. For they were never means 
instituted of God for the ingenerating of faith in any, but only 
to provoke and prevail with men, to attend unprejudicately 
unto that whereby it was to be wrought. ' For faith cometh 
by hearing, and hearing by the word of God;' Rom. x. 17. 
And therefore, whatever miracles were wrought, if the word 
preached was not received, if that did not accompany them 
in its powerful operation, they were but despised. Thus 
whereas some upon hearing of the 'apostles speak with 
tongues' mocked and said, ' These men are full of new wine ;' 
Acts ii. 13. yet upon preaching of the word which ensued, 
they were converted unto God. And the apostle Paul tells 
us, that if there were nothing but miraculous speaking with 
tongues in the church, an unbeliever coming in would say 
they ' were all mad ;' 1 Cor, xiv. 23. who by the word of 
prophesy would be convinced, judged, and converted unto 
God, ver. 24, 25. (3.) They were of singular use to 'con- 
firm and establish in the faith' those who were weak and 
newly converted. For whereas they were assaulted on every 


hand by Satan, the world, and it may be their dearest rela- 
tions, and that with contempt, scorn, and cruel mocking ; 
it was a singular confirmation and establishment to behold 
the miraculous operations which were wrought in the appro- 
bation of the doctrine which they did profess. Hereby was 
a sense of it more and more let into, and impressed on, their 
minds, until by an habitual experience of its goodness, 
power, and efficacy, they were established in the truth. 

Prophecy is added in the sixth place. aXXw Se irpo^rjTcta. 
* To another prophecy;' that is, is given by the same Spirit. 
Of this gift of prophecy we have sufficiently treated before. 
Only I take it here in its largest sense ; both as it signifies 
a faculty of prediction, or foretelling things future upon di- 
vine revelation, or an ability to declare the mind of God 
from the word by the especial and immediate revelation of 
the Holy Ghost. The first of these was more rare, the latter 
more ordinary and common. And it may be there were few 
churches, wherein besides their elders and teachers by virtue 
of their office, there were not some of these prophets ; so of 
those who had this gift of prophecy, enabling in an eminent 
manner to declare the mind of God from the Scriptures, 
imto the edification of the church. It is expressed that 
there were some of them in the church at Antioch ; Acts xiii. 
1, 2. and many of them in the church at Corinth ; 1 Cor. xiv. 
For this gift was of singular use in the church ; and, there- 
fore, as to the end of the edification thereof, is preferred by 
our apostle, above all other gifts of the Spirit whatever ; 
1 Cor. xii. 31. chap. xiv. 1, 39. For it had a double use, 
1 . The conviction and conversion of such as came in occasionally 
into their church assemblies. Those unto whom the propa- 
gation of the gospel was principally committed, went up 
and down the world, laying hold on all occasions to preach 
it unto Jews and Gentiles, as yet unconverted. And where 
churches were gathered and settled, the principal work of 
their teachers was to edify them that did believe. But 
whereas some would come in among them into their church 
assemblies, perhaps out of curiosity, perhaps out of worse 
designs, the apostle declares that of all the ordinances of the 
church, this of prophecy was suited unto the conviction and 
conversion of all unbelievers, and is oft-times blessed there- 
unto, whereby this and that man is born in Sion. 2, This ex- 


position and application of the word by many, and that by 
virtue of an extraordinary assistance of the Spirit of God, 
was of singular use in the church itself. For if all Scripture 
given by inspiration from God, so expounded and applied, 
be ' profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for 
instruction in righteousness,' the more the church enjoyeth 
thereof, the more will its faith, love, obedience, and conso- 
lation be increased. Lastly, the manner of the exercise of this 
gift in the church unto edification, is prescribed and limited 
by our apostle ; 1 Cor. xiv. 29—33. And first, he would not 
have the church burdened with the most profitable gift or its 
exercise, and therefore determines, that at one time not 
above two or three be suffered to speak ; that is, one after an- 
other, that the church be neither wearied nor burdened, 
ver. 29. Secondly, Because it was possible that some of 
them who had this gift might mix somewhat of their own spirits 
in their word and ministry, and therein mistake and err from 
the truth ; he requires that the other who had the like gift, 
and so were understanding in the mind of God, should Jwc^ge 
of what was spoken by them, so as the church might not be 
led into any error by them ; let the other judge. Thirdly, 
That order be observed in their exercise ; and especially 
that way be given unto any immediate revelation, and no con- 
fusion be brought into the church by many speaking at the 
same time. And this direction manifests that the gift was 
extraordinary, and is now ceased ; though there be a con- 
tinuance of ordinary gifts of the same kind, and to the same 
end in the church, as we shall see afterward, ver. 30. 
Fourthly, By the observation of this order, the apostle shews, 
that all the prophets might exercise their gift unto the in- 
struction and consolation of the church in a proper season; 
such as their frequent assemblies would afford them, ver. 31. 
And whereas it may be objected, that these things coming 
in an extraordinary immediate manner from the Holy Ghost, 
it was not in the power of them who received them to con- 
fine them unto the order prescribed, which would seem to 
limit the Holy Spirit in his operations, whereas they were 
all to speak as the Spirit gave them ability and utterance, 
let what would ensue, the apostle assures them by a general 
principle that no such thing would follow on a due use and 
exercise of this gift. • For God,' saith he, ' is not the author 


of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints,' 
ver. 33. As if he should have said ; if such a course should 
be taken, that any one should speak and prophesy as he 
pretended himself to be moved by the Spirit, and to have 
none to judge of what he said, all con fusion, tumult, and dis- 
order, would ensue thereon. But God is the author of no 
such thing, gives no such gifts, appoints no such exercise of 
them, as would tend thereunto. But how shall this be pre- 
vented, seeing these things are extraordinary, and not in our 
own power ; yea, saith he, ' The spirit of the prophets is 
subject to the prophets,' ver. 32. By the 'spirit of the pro- 
phets' that their spiritual gift and ability for its exercise is 
intended, none do question. And whereas the apostle had 
taught two things concerning the exercise of this gift : (1.) 
That it ought to be orderly to avoid confusion. (2.) That 
what proceedeth from it ought to he judged by others; he 
manifests that both these may be observed, ' because the 
spirit of the prophets is subject to the prophets ;' that is, 
both their spiritual gift is so in their own power, as that they 
might dispose themselves unto its exercise with choice and 
judgment, so as to preserve order and peace, not being acted 
as with an enthusiastical affiation, and carried out of their own 
power; this gift in its exercise was subject unto their own 
judgment, choice, and understanding; so what they ex- 
pressed by virtue of their spiritual gift, was subject to be 
judged of by the other prophets that were in the church. 
Thus was the peace and order of the church to be preserved, 
and the edification of it to be promoted. 

Disceriung of spirits is the next gift of the Spirit here 
enumerated, aXki^ St diaKpicnig Trvtu/xarwy. ' To another the 
discernings of spirits;' the ability and faculty of judging of 
spirits. The dijudication of spirits. This gift I have upon 
another occasion formerly given an account of, and there- 
fore shall here but briefly touch upon it. All gospel admi- 
nistrations were in tliose days avowedly executed by virtue 
of spiritual gij'ts. No man then durst set his hand unto this 
work, but such as either really had, or highly pretended 
unto, a participation of the Holy Ghost. For the adminis- 
tration of the gospel is the dispensation of the spirit. This, 
therefore, was pleaded by all in the preaching of the word, 
whether in private assemblies, or publicly to the world. But 


it came also then to pass, as it did in all ages of the church, 
that where God gave unto any the extraordinary gifts of his 
Spirit, for the reformation or edification of the church, there 
Satan suborned some to make a pretence thereunto, unto its 
trouble and destruction : so was it under the Old Testament, 
and so was it foretold that it should be under the New. So 
the apostle Peter having declared the nature and excellency, 
use and certainty of that prophecy which was of old ; 2 Pet. 
i. 19 — 21. adds thereunto, ' But there were false prophets 
also among the people;' chap. ii. 1. That is, when God 
granted that signal privilege unto the church, of the imme- 
diate revelation of his will unto them, by the inspiration of 
the Holy Ghost, which constituted men true prophets of the 
Lord ; Satan stirred up others to pretend unto the same spi- 
rit of prophecy for his own malicious ends, whereby 'there 
were false prophets also among the people.' But it may be 
it will be otherwise now under the gospel church state. No, 
saith he ; ' There shall be false teachers among you ;' that 
is, persons pretending to the same spiritual gift that the 
apostles and evangelists had, yet bringing in thereby damna- 
ble heresies. Now all their damnable opinions they fathered 
upon immediate I'evelatiom of the Spirit. This gave occa- 
sion to the holy apostle John to give that caution, with his 
reason of it, which is expressed ; 1 John iv. 1 — 3. which 
words we have opened before. And this false pretence unto 
extraordinary spiritual gifts, the church was tried and pestered 
withal, so long as there was any occasion to give it counte- 
nance ; namely, whilst such gifts were really continued unto 
any therein. What way then had God ordained for the pre- 
servation and safety of the church, that it should not be im- 
posed upon by any of these delusions ? I answer. There was 
a standing rule in the church, whereby whatsoever was or 
could be offered doctrinally unto it, might certainly and in- 
fallibly be tried, judged, and determined on. And this was 
the rule of the ivritten word ; according to that everlasting 
ordinance, ' To the law and to the testimony, if they speak 
not according to this word, it is because there is no light in 
them;' Isa. viii. 20. This in all ages was sufficient for the 
preservation of the church from all errors and heresies, or 
damnable doctrines, which it never fell into, nor shall do so, 
but in the sinful neglect and contempt hereof. Moreover, 


the apostle farther directs the application of this rule unto 
present occasions, by advising us to fix on some fundamental 
principles which are likely to be opposed, and if they are not 
owned and avowed, to avoid such teachers, whatever spiri- 
tual gift they pretend unto ; 1 John iv. 2, 3. 2 John 9 — 11. 
But yet, because many in those days were weak in the faith, 
and might be surprised with such pretences, God had gra- 
ciously provided and bestowed the gift here mentioned on 
some, it may be, in every church, namely, of discerning of 
spirits. They could by virtue of the extraordinary gift, and 
aid therein, of the Holy Ghost, make a true judgment of the 
spirits that men pretended to act, and to be acted by, whe- 
ther they were of God or no. And this was of singular use 
and benefit unto the church in those days. For as spiritual 
gifts abounded, so did a pretence unto them, which was al- 
ways accompanied with pernicious designs. Herein, there- 
fore, did God grant relief for them who were either less skil- 
ful, or less wary, or less able on any account to make a right 
judgment between those who were really endowed with ex- 
traordinary gifts of the Spirit, and those who falsely pre- 
tended thereunto. For these persons received this gift, and 
were placed in the church for this very end, that they might 
guide and help them in making a right judgment in this 
matter. And whereas the communication of these gifts is 
ceased, and consequently all pretences unto them, unless by 
some persons phrenetical and enthusiastical, whose madness is 
manifest to all, there is no need of the continuance of this 
gift of discerning of spirits, that standing infallible rule of the 
word, and ordinary assistance of the Spirit, being every way 
suflicient for our preservation in the truth ; unless we give 
up ourselves to the conduct of corrupt lusts, pride, self-con- 
ceit, carnal interest, passions, and temptations, which ruin 
the souls of men. 

The two spiritual gifts here remaining, are speaking with 
tongues, and their interpretation. The first communication of 
this ' gift of tongues' unto the apostles, is particularly de- 
scribed ; Acts ii. 1 — 4, &c. And although they were at that 
time endued with all other gifts of the Holy Ghost, called 
' power from above;' Acts i. 8. yet was this ' gift of tongues' 
signalized by the visible pledge of it, the joint participation 
of the same gift by all, and the notoriety of the matter there- 


on, as in that place of the Acts is at large described. And 
God seems to have laid the foundation of preaching the gos- 
pel in this gift, for two I'easons: 1. To signify that the grace 
and mercy of the covenant was now no longer to be confined 
unto one 7iation, language, or people, but to be extended unto all 
nations, tongues, and languages of people under heaven. 2. 
To testify by what means he would subdue the souls and con- 
sciences of men unto the obedience of Christ and the gos- 
pel, and by what means he would maintain his kingdom in the 
world. Now this was not by force and might, by external 
power or armies, but by the preaching of the word, whereof 
the tongue is the only instrument. And the outward sign of 
this gift in tongues of fire evidenced the light and efficacy 
wherewith the Holy Ghost designed to accompany the dis- 
pensation of the gospel. Wherefore, although this gift be- 
gan with the apostles, yet was it afterward very much dif- 
fused nnio the generality of them that did believe. See Acts 
X. 46. xix. 6. 1 Cor. xiv. And some few things we may ob- 
serve concerning this gift: as, (1.) The especial matter that 
was expressed by this gift, seems to have been the praises 
of God for his wonderful works of grace by Christ. Al- 
though, I doubt not, but that the apostles were enabled by 
virtue of this gift to declare the gospel unto any people unto 
whom they came in their own language, yet ordinarily they 
did not preach nor instruct the people by virtue of this gift, 
but only spake forth the praises of God to the admiration and 
astonishment of them who were yet strangers to the faith. 
So when they first received the gift, they were heard 'speak- 
ing the wonderful works of God;' Acts ii. 11. And the 
Gentiles who first believed 'spake with tongues, and magni- 
fied God;' Acts X. 46. (2.) These tongues were so given for 
'a sign unto them that believed not;' 1 Cor. xiv. 22. that 
sometimes those that spake with tongues, understood not 
the sense and meaning of the words delivered by them- 
selves, nor were they understood by the church itself where- 
in they were uttered; 1 Cor. xiv. 6 — 10, &c. But this I sup- 
pose was only sometimes; and that, it may be mostly, when 
this gift was unnecessarily used. For, I doubt not, but the 
apostles understood full well the things delivered by them- 
selves in divers tongues. And all who had this gift, though 
they might not apprehend the meaning of what themselves 


spake and uttered, yet were so absolutely in the exercise of 
it under the conduct of the Holy Spirit, that they neither did 
nor could speak any thing by virtue thereof, but what was 
according- unto the naind of God, and tended unto his praise; 
1 Cor, xiv. 2. 14. 17. (3.) Although this gift were excellent 
in itself, and singularly effectual in the propagation of the 
gospel unto unbelievers, yet in the assemblies of the church it 
was of little or no use, but only with respect unto the things 
themselves that were uttered. For, as to the principal end 
of it, to be a sign unto unbelievers, it was finished and ac- 
complished towards them, so as they had no farther need nor 
use of it. But now, wherefore, as many unbelievers came oc- 
casionally into the assemblies of the church, especially at 
some freer seasons, for whose conviction the Holy Ghost 
would for a season continue this g-ift amons: believers : that 
the church might not be disadvantaged thereby, he added 
the other gift here mentioned, namely, ' The interpretation of 
tongues.' He endowed either those persons themselves who 
spake with tongues, or some others in the same assembly, 
with an ability to interpret and declare to the church the 
things that were spoken and uttered in that miraculous man- 
ner ; which is the last gift here mentioned. But the nature, 
use, and abuse, of these gifts is so largely and distinctly 
spoken unto by the apostle, 1 Cor. xiv. that as I need not 
insist on them, so I cannot fully do it without an entire 
exposition of that whole chapter, which the nature of my 
design will not permit. 



The original, duration, use, and end, of extraordinary spiritual gifts. 

This summary account doth the apostle give of these ex- 
traordinary gifts of the Holy G/iost which then flourished in 
the church, and were the life of its extraordinary ministry. 
It may be mention may occur of some such gifts under other 
names, but they are such as may be reduced unto some one 
of those here expressed. Wherefore this may be admitted 
as a perfect catalogue of them, and comprehensive of that 
poiver from above, which the Lord Christ promised unto his 
apostles and disciples upon his ascension into heaven ; Acts 
i. 8. For he ' ascended up far above all heavens, that he 
might fill all things;' Eph. iv. 10. that is, the church with 
officers and gifts, unto the ' perfection of the saints, by the 
work of the ministry, and the edification of his body ;' ver. 
12. For being ' by the right hand of God exalted, and 
having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, 
he shed forth, or abundantly poured out these things where- 
of we speak;' Acts ii. 33. And as they were the great evi- 
dence of his acceptation with God, and exaltation, seeing in 
them the Spirit ' convinced the world of sin, righteousness, 
and judgment;' so they were the great means whereby he 
carried on his work amongst men, as shall afterward be de- 

There was no certain limited time for the cessation of 
these gifts. Those peculiar unto the apostles, were commen- 
surate unto their lives. None after their decease had either 
apostolical office, power, or gifts. The like may be said of 
evangelists. Nor have we any undoubted testimony, that 
any of those gifts which were truly miraculous, and every 
way above the faculties of men, were communicated unto any 
after the expiration of the generation of them who conversed 
with ' Christ in the flesh,' or those who received the Holy 
Ghost by their ministry. It is not unlikely, but that God 
might on some occasions for a longer season, put forth his 
power in some miraculous operations, and so he yet may do, 
and perhaps doth sometimes. But the superstition and folly 
of some ensuing ages inventing and divulging innumerable 



miracles false and foolish, proved a most disadvantageous 
prejudice unto the gospel, and a means to open a way unto 
Satan to impose endless delusions upon Christians. For as 
true and real miracles, with becoming circumstances, were 
the great means that won and reconciled a regard and ho- 
nour unto Christian religion in the world ; so the pretence 
of such as either were absolutely false, or such as whose oc- 
casions, ends, matter, or manner, were unbecoming the great- 
ness and holiness of him who is the true author of all mira- 
culous operations, is the greatest dishonour unto religion 
that any one can invent. But although all these gifts and 
operations ceased in some respect, some of them absolutely, 
and some of them as to the immediate manner of communi- 
cation and degree of excellency ; yet so far as the edification 
of the church was concerned in them, something that is 
analogous unto them, was and is continued. He who gave 
some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, 
gave also some ' pastors and teachers.' And as he furnished 
the former with extraordinari/ gifts ; so as far as any thing of 
the like kind is needful for the continual edification of the 
church, he bestows it on the latter also, as shall be declared. 
And these gifts of the Spirit added unto his grace in real 
holiness, were the glory, honour, and beauty, of the church 
of old. Men have but deceived themselves and others, when 
they have feigned a glory and beauty of the church in other 
things. And whatever any think or say, where these gifts 
of the Holy Ghost, which are the ornaments of the church, 
her ' clothing of wrought gold,' and her ' raiment of needle- 
work,' being neglected and lost, and they think to adorn her 
with the meritricions paint of pompous ceremonies, with outward 
grandeur, wealth, and power, she is utterly fallen from her 
chastity, purity, and integrity. But it is evident that this is 
the state of many churches in the world, which are therefore 
worWly and carnal, not spiritual or evangelical. Power, and 
force, and wealth, the gifts in this case of another spirit, un- 
der various pretences and names, are their life and glory, in- 
deed their death and shame. I deny not but that it is law- 
ful for ministers of the gospel to enjoy earthh/ possessions, 
which they do attain by any commendable way among other 
men. Neither are they required, unless in extraordinary 
cases, to part with the right and use of their temporal goods. 


because they are so', ministers of Christ ; though those who 
are so indeed, will not deny but that they ought to use them 
in a peculiar manner unto the glory of Christ, and honour of 
the gospel, beyond other men. Neither shall I ever question, 
that, wherein the Scripture is so express, namely, that those 
who ' labour in the word and doctrine,' should have a con- 
venient, yea, an honourable subsistence provided for them 
according to the best ability of the church, for their work's 
sake. It is in like manner also granted, that the Lord Christ 
hath committed all that poicer which, with respect unto the 
edification of the church, he will exercise in this world unto 
the church itself; as it cannot, without a virtual renunciation 
of the gospel and faith in Christ Jesus as the Head and King 
of the church, be supposed that this power is any other but 
spiritual, over the souls and consciences of men. And, there- 
fore, cannot this power he exercised, or be any ways made ef- 
fectual, but by virtue of the spiritual gifts we treat of. But 
for men to turn this spiritual poicer, to be exercised only by 
virtue of spiritual gifts, into an external coercive power over 
the persons, bodies, liberties, and lives, of men, to be exer- 
cised by law-courts, in ways, forms, manners, utterly foreign 
to the gospel, and all evangelical administrations, without 
the least pretence unto, or appearance of the exercise of the 
gifts of the Holy Ghost therein ; yea, and by persons by 
whom they are hated and derided, acting with pride, scorn, 
and contempt of the disciples of Christ, and over them, being 
utterly ignorant of the true nature and use of all gospel ad- 
ministrations, this is to disorder the church, and instead of 
a house of spiritual worship, in some instances, to turn it into 
a den of thieves. Where, hereunto, there are moreover an- 
nexed earthly revenues, containing all food and fuel of cor- 
rupt lusts, with all things satisfactory unto the minds of 
worldly, sensual men, as a meet reward of these carnal ad- 
ministrations, as it is at this day in the church of Rome, there 
all use of the gifts of the Holy Ghost is excluded, and the 
church is brought into extreme desolation. And, although 
these things are as contrary to the gospel as darkness to 
light, yet the world for many reasons, not now to be insisted 
on, being willing to be deceived in this matter, it is generally 
apprehended that there is nothing so pernicious unto the 
church, so justly to be watched against and rooted out, as a 

x 2 


dislike of their horrible apostacies in the corrupt deprava- 
tion of all evangelical administrations. This was not the 
state, this was not the condition of the primitive churches ; 
their life consisted in the grace of the Spirit, and their ghi-y 
in his s.ifts. Xone of their leaders once dreamed of that 
new kind of beauty, glory, and power, consisting in num- 
berless superstitious ceremonies, instead of religious wor- 
ship ; worldly grandeur, instead of humility and self-denial; 
and open tyranny over the consciences and persons of men, 
in the room of spiritual authority, effectual in the power of 
Christ, and by virtue of the gifts of the Holy Ghost. 

There are many sore ditisions at this day in the world 
among and between the professors of Christian religion, 
both about the doctrine and worship of the gospel, as also 
the discipline thereof. That these divisions are evil in them- 
selves, and the cause of great evils, hinderances of the gos- 
pel, and all the effects thereof in the world, is acknowledged 
by all; and it is a thing doubtless to be greatly lamented, 
that the generality of them who are called Christians, are 
departed from the great rule of 'keeping the unity of the 
Spirit in the bond of peace.' He who doth not pray always, 
who is not ready with his utmost endeavour to remedy this 
evil, to remove this great obstruction of the benefit of the 
gospel, is scarce worthy the name of a Christian. The com- 
mon way insisted on unto this end is, that those who have 
most force and power, should set up standards and riieasures 
of ao"reement, compelling others by all ways of severity and 
violence to a compliance therewith ; judging them the 
highest offenders who shall refuse so to do ; because the 
determining and settling of this matter is committed unto 
them. This is the way of antichrist, and those who follow 
him therein. Others, with more moderation and wisdom, 
but with as little success, do or have endeavoured the recon- 
ciliation of the parties at variance, some, more or all of them, 
by certain middle ways of mutual condescension which they 
have found out. Some things they blame, and some things 
they commend in all; some things they would have them do, 
and some things omit ; all for the sake of peace and love. 
And this design carries with it so fair and pleadable a pre- 
tence, that those who are once engaged in it, are apt to 
think that they alone are the true lovers of Christianity in 


general, the only sober and indifferent persons, fit to um- 
pire all the differences in the world, in a few propositions 
which they have framed. And so wedded are some wise 
and holy men unto these apprehensions of reconciling 
Christians by their conceived methods, that no experience of 
endless disappointments, and of increasing new differences 
and digladiations, of forming new parties, of reviving old 
animosities, all which roll in upon them continually, will 
discourage them in their design. What, then, will some say, 
would you have these divisions and differences that are among 
us continued and perpetuated, when you acknowledge them 
so evil and pernicious? I say, God forbid: yea, we pray 
for, and always will endeavour their removal and taking 
away. But yet this I say, on the other hand, whether men 
will hear, or they will forbear, there is but one way of effect- 
ing this so blessed and desirable a work, which until it be 
engaged in, let men talk what they please of reconciliation, 
the worst of men will be reviling and persecuting those who 
are better than themselves unto the end of the world. And 
this way is, that all churches should endeavour to reduce 
themselves unto the primitive pattern. Let us all but con- 
sider whatw^as the life and spirit of those churches, wherein 
their honour, glory, and order, did consist, making it our 
joint design to walk in the principle of that grace of the 
Spirit wherein they walked, in the exercise and use of those 
gifts of the Spirit which were the spring of, and gave virtue 
unto, all their administrations, renouncing whatever is fo- 
reign unto, and inconsistent with, these things, and that 
grace and unity will quickly enter into professors, which 
Christ hath purchased for them. But these things are 
here only occasionally mentioned ; and are not farther to be 

These spiritual gifts the apostle calls, the ' powers of the 
world to come ;' Heb. vi. 4, 5. that is, those effectual power- 
ful principles and operations, which peculiarly belong unto 
the kingdom of Christ and administration of the gospel, 
whereby they w^ere to be set up, planted, advanced, and 
propagated in the world. The Lord Christ came and 
wrought out the mighty work of our salvation in his oivn 
person, and thereon laid the foundation of his church on him- 
self, by the confession of him as the Son of God. Cou- 


cerning himself and his work, he preached, and caused to 
be preached, a doctrine that was opposed by all the world, 
because of its truth, mystery, and holiness ; yet was it the 
design of God to break through all those oppositions, to 
cause this doctrine to be received and submitted unto, and 
Jesus Christ to be believed in, unto the ruin and destruction 
of the kingdom of Satan in the world. Now this was a 
work that could not be wrought without the putting forth 
and exercise of mighty power, concerning which nothing- 
remains to be inquired into, but of what sort it ought to be. 
Now the conquest that the Lord Christ aimed at was spiri- 
tual, over the souls and consciences of men ; the enemies 
he had to conflict withal were spiritual, even principalities 
and powers, and spiritual wickednesses in high places ; the 
God of this world, the prince of it, which ruled in the chil- 
dren of disobedience : the kingdom which he had to erect, 
was spiritual, and not of this world ; all the laws and rulers 
of it, with their administrations and ends, were spiritual and 
heavenly. The gospel that was to be propagated was a 
doctrine not concerning this world, nor the things of it, 
nor of anything natural or political, but as they were merely 
subordinate unto other ends, but heavenly and mysterious, 
directing men only in a tendency according to the mind of 
God unto the eternal enjoyment of him. Hereon it will 
easily appear what kind of power is necessary unto this work, 
and for the attaining of these ends. He that at the speak- 
ing of one word could have engaged ' more than twelve legions 
of angels' in his work, and unto his assistance, could have 
easily by outward force and arms have subdued the ^vhole 
world into an external observance of him and his commands, 
and thereon have ruled men at his pleasure. As tliis he 
could have done, and may do when he pleaseth, so if he had 
done it, it had tended nothing unto the ends which he de- 
signed. He might indeed have had a glorious empire in the 
world, comprehensive of all dominions that ever were or can 
be on the earth ; but yet it would have been of the same 
kind and nature with that which Nero had, the greatest 
monster of villany in nature. Neither had it been any great 
matter for the Son of God to have out-done the Romans or 
the Turks, or such like conspiracies of wicked oppressors. 
And all those who yet think meet to use external force over 


the persons, lives, and bodies of men, in order unto the re- 
ducing of them unto the obedience of Christ and the gospel, 
do put the greatest dishonour upon him imaginable, and 
change the whole nature of his design and kingdom. He 
will neither own nor accept of any subject, but whose obe- 
dience is a free act of his own will, and who is so made will- 
ing by himself in the day of his power. His design, and his 
only design, in this world unto the glory of God, is to erect a 
kingdom, throne, and rule in the souls and consciences of 
men, to have an obedience from them in faith, love, and 
spiritual delight, proceeding from their own choice, under- 
standings, wills, and affections ; an obedience that should 
be internal, spiritual, mystical, heavenly, with respect solely 
unto things unseen and eternal, wherein himself and his 
laws should be infinitely preferred before all earthly things 
and considerations. Now this is a matter that all earthly 
powers and empires could never desire, design, or put a 
hand unto, and that which renders the kingdom of Christ as 
of another nature, so more excellent and better than all 
earthly kingdoms, as liberty is better than bondage, the 
mind more excellent than the outward carcass, spiritual and 
eternal things than things carnal and temporary, as the 
wisdom and holiness of God are more excellent than the 
folly and lusts of men. 

Seeing, therefore, this was the design of Christ, this was 
the nature and work of the gospel which was to be propa- 
gated, wherein carnal power and outward force could be of 
no use, yea, whose exercise was inconsistent with, disho- 
nourable unto, and destructive of, the whole design ; and, 
wherein the work to be accomplished on the minds and souls 
of men is incomparably greater than the conquering of worlds 
with force and arms, it is inquired what power the Lord 
Christ did employ herein, what means and instruments he 
used for the accomplishment of his design, and the erecting 
of that kingdom or church-state, which being promised of 
old, was called the world to come, or, the neiu world, the new 
heaven and earth wherein dv)elleth righteousness : and, I say, it 
was these gifts of the Holy Ghost whereof we have treated, 
which were those powers of this icor/d to come. By them it 
was, or in their exercise, that the Lord Christ erected his 
empire over the souls and consciences of men, destroying 


both the work and kingdom of the devil. It is true, it is the 
word of the gospel itself, that is, the rod of his strength 
which is sent out of Sion to erect and dispense his rule : but 
that hidden power which made the word effectual in the dis- 
pensation of it, consisted in these gifts of the Holy Ghost. 
Men may despise them, or think light of them whilst they 
please, they are those powers which the Lord Christ, in his 
wisdom, thought meet alone to engage in the propagation of 
the gospel, and the setting up of his kingdom in the world. 

The recovery and return of the people from the captivity of 
Babylon, was a type of the spiritual redemption of the church 
by Jesus Christ : and how God effected that as a type hereof, 
he declares, Zech. iv. 6. * Not by army, nor by power, but my 
Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts;' so, much more, was this work 
to be effected. So after his resurrection the Lord Christ 
tells his apostles that they were to be his 'witnesses in Jeru- 
salem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the utter- 
most parts of the earth,' that is, all the world over ; Acts i. 8. 
But how shall they be able so to bear testimony unto them, 
as that their witness shall be received and become effectual? 
Saith he, ye shall receive power for this end ; I have given 
you authority to preach the word before, and now I will 
give you such an ability for it, as none shall be able to with- 
stand or resist ; and this is after the Holy Ghost is come 
upon you, that is in the communication of these gifts where- 
by you may be enabled unto your work. In them consisted 
that 'mouth and wisdom' which he promised he would give 
them, * which all their adversaries were not able to gainsay 
or resist;' Luke xxi. 15. Wherefore, that which I shall 
close this discourse withal, shall be a brief endeavour to de- 
clare how these gifts were the spiritual powers of the gospel 
unto all the ends we have before mentioned as designed by 
Jesus Christ; whence it will appear how little there was of 
the wisdom, skill, power, or authority of men in the whole 
work of propagating the gospel, and planting the church of 
Christ, as we shall afterward manifest, how, by the dispen- 
sation of the other more ordinary gifts of the Spirit, both 
the gospel and the church are continued and preserved in the 

First, The persons whom the Lord Christ chose, called, 
and designed unto this work, were by these gifts enabled 


thereunto. As no mortal men had of themselves any suffi- 
ciency for such a work, so the persons particularly called 
unto it by Jesus Christ, lay under all the disadvantages that 
any persons could possibly be liable unto in such an under- 
taking. For, 1. They were all of them unlearned and igno- 
rant, which the Jews took notice of. Acts iv. 13. and which 
the Gentiles despised them for. 2. They were poor and of 
no reputation in the world, which made them contemned by 
all sorts of persons. And, 3. They seem in many instances 
to have been pusillanimous and fearful, which they all ma- 
nifested when they so shamefully fled and left their master 
in his distresses, the chief of them also swearing that he 
knew him not. Now it is easily understood what great dis- 
advantages these were unto the undertaking of so great a 
work as they were called unto ; yea, how impossible it was 
for them under these qualifications to do any thing in the 
pursuit of it. Wherefore, by the communication of these 
gifts unto them, all these impediments arising from them- 
selves were removed, and they were furnished with endow- 
ments of quite another nature, whereby they were eminently 
fitted with that spiritual wisdom, knowledge, and under- 
standing which surpassed all the wisdom that was of the 
world or in it, by what ways or means soever it were attained. 
(1.) They both had and declared a wisdom which none of 
the princes of this world were acquainted withal; 1 Cor. ii. 
Those who, during the abode of Christ in the flesh with them 
could not understand a plain parable, and were ever and 
anon at no small loss about the sense and meanino- of their 
Master, having very low and carnal apprehensions about his 
person, work, and office, were now filled with a knowledo-e 
of all heavenly mysteries, and with wisdom to declare, ma- 
nage, and maintain them against all opposers. Kings 
princes, rulers of synagogues, were now all one to them ; they 
had a mouth and wisdom given them which none of their ad- 
versaries could resist. Wherever they came, in all nations 
to all sorts of people, of all languages, they were now en- 
abled in their own tongue and speech to declare and preach 
the gospel unto them, being always filled with a treasure of 
wisdom and spiritual mysteries, whence they could draw forth 
as every occasion did require. (2.) Whereas they were poor, 
the difficulties wherewith such a condition is attended were 


also by this means utterly taken away. For, although they 
had neither silver nor gold by their work or employment, 
but their outward wants and distresses were rather increased 
thereby ; yet their minds and souls were by this communi- 
cation of the Spirit so raised above the world, and filled 
with such a contempt of all the desirable things in it, and 
of all the pride of men upon their account, as that their want 
of possessions and outward enjoyments made them only the 
more ready and expedite for their work, whence also such of 
them as had possessions sold them, gave their price to the 
poor, that they might be no hinderance unto them in their 
design. And hence also it was, that those who even after 
the resurrection of Christ were inquiring after a temporal 
kingdom, wherein no doubt a good part of its glory, power, 
and advantages would fall to their share, as most do who 
yet continue to dream of such a kingdom in this world, im- 
mediately upon the communication of these gifts rejoiced 
that they were counted worthy of shame for the name of 
Christ, when they were imprisoned, whipped, and despite- 
fully used ; Acts iv. (3) They had boldness, courage, and 
constancy given unto them in the room of that pusillanimity 
and fear which before they had discovered. This the Jews 
took notice of, and were astonished at; Acts iv. 13. And 
they had reason so to be, if we consider the power and au- 
thority of that work wherein they were then assaulted, with 
the speech of Peter unto them, ver. 8 — 12. which he spake 
as filled with the Holy Ghost. See also Acts v. 28—32. 
And in the whole course of their ministry throughout the 
world, the like undaunted courage, resolution, and constancy 
did always and in all things accompany them. Wherefore, 
these gifts, in the first place, maybe esteemed the 'powers of 
the world to come,' inasmuch as by them those unto whom 
the work of preaching the gospel, propagating the mystery 
of it, the conversion of notions, the planting of churches, and 
in all the erection of the kingdom of Christ was committed, 
were enabled by them unto the utmost capacity of human 
nature to discharge, effect, and accomplish the work com- 
mitted unto them. By virtue and in the strength of these 
spiritual abilities, did they set upon the whole kingdom of 
Satan and darkness in the world, contending with the gates 
of hell, and all the powers of the earth, attempting the wis- 


dom of the Greeks, and the religion of the Jews, with success 
against both. They went not forth with force and arms, or 
carnal power ; they threatened no man, menaced no man 
with the carnal weapons of force or penalties ; they had no 
baits or allurements of wealth, power, or honour to inveigle 
the minds of corrupt and sensual men, but as was said in the 
warranty and power of these spiritual gifts, they both at- 
tempted and accomplished this work. And things continue 
still in the same condition according unto their proportion. 
Such as is the furniture of men with spiritual abilities and 
gifts of the Holy Ghost, such is their fitness for the work of 
the ministry, and no other. And if any shall undertake this 
work without this provision of abilities for it, they will nei- 
ther ever be owned by Christ, nor be of the least use in the 
employment they take upon them. A ministry devoid of 
spiritual gifts is a sufficient evidence of a church under a 
degenerating apostacy. But these things will be farther 
spoken unto afterward. 

Secondly, By these gifts were all their administrations, 
especially their preaching the gospel, rendered effectual unto 
their proper end. The preaching of the word, which is the 
sword of the Spirit, was the great instrument whereby they 
wrought out and accomplished their designed work in the 
conviction and conversion of the souls of men. It may, 
therefore, be inquired, what it was that gave efficacy and 
success unto the word as preached or dispensed by them. 
Now this, as it should seem, must be either that the subject 
matter of it was so suited unto the reasons and understand- 
ings of men, as that they could not but admit of it upon its 
proposal ; or that the manner whereby they declared it was 
with such persuasive artifices as were meet to prevail with 
the minds of men unto an assent, or to impose upon them 
against the best of their defences. But the apostle declares 
that it was utterly otherwise in both these regards. For the 
matter of the doctrine of the gospel unto the minds of carnal 
men, such as all men are until renewed by the gospel itself, 
is folly, and that which is every way meet to be despised ; 
1 Cor. i. And for the manner of its declaration, they did 
nottherein, neither would they, use the enticing words of hu- 
man wisdom, any arts of oratory, or dresses of rhetoric or 
eloquence, iest the eifects which were wrought by the word 


should have seemed in any measure to have proceeded from 
them ; 1 Cor. ii. 4, 5. Wherefore, not to mention that in- 
ternal efficacious power of grace which God secretly puts 
forth for the conversion of his elect, the consideration whereof 
belongs not unto our present design, and I say that it was 
by virtue of those gifts that the administration of the gospel 
was so efficacious and successful. For, 1. From them pro- 
ceedeth that authority over the minds of men wherewith the 
word was accompanied. When the Lord Christ was anointed 
by the Spirit to preach the gospel, it is said, ' He taught as 
one having authority, and not as the scribes ;' Matt. vii. 29. 
Whatever was his outward appearance in the flesh, the word 
as administered by him, was attended with such an authority 
over the minds and consciences of men, as they could not 
but be sensible of. And so was it with the primitive dis- 
pensers of the gospel ; by virtue of these spiritual gifts they 
preached the word 'in the demonstration of the Spirit and of 
power ;' 1 Cor. ii. 4. There was accompanying of their 
preaching an evidence or demonstration of a power and au- 
thority that was from God and his Spirit. Men could not 
but conclude that there was something in it which was over 
them or above them, and which they must yield or submit 
unto as that which was not for them to contend withal. It 
is true, the power of the gospel was hid unto them that were 
to perish, whose minds the God of this world had effectually 
blinded, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ should 
shine into them ; 2 Cor. iv. 3, 4. Whence it came to pass 
that the word was rejected by many ; yet wherever God was 
pleased to make it effectual, it was by a sense of a divine 
authority accompanying its administration by virtue of those 
spiritual gifts. And, therefore, our apostle shews, that when 
men prophesied or declared the mind of God from the word 
by the gift of prophesy, unbelievers did fall down, and wor- 
shipping God reported, that ' God was in them of a truth ;' 
1 Cor. xiv. 24, 25. They were sensible of a divine authority 
which they could not stand before or withstand. 2. From 
hence also proceeded that life and power for conviction, 
which the word was accompanied with in their dispensation 
of it. It became shortly to be the arrows of Christ, which 
were sharp in the hearts of men. As men found an authority 
in the dispensation of the word, so they felt and experienced 


an efficacy in the truths dispensed. By it were their minds 
enlightened, their consciences awakened, their minds con- 
vinced, their lives judged, the secrets of their hearts made 
manifest, as 1 Cor. xiv. 24, 25. until they cried out in mul- 
titudes, * Men and brethren, what shall we do ?' Hereby did 
the Lord Christ, in his kingdom and majesty, ride prosper- 
ously conquering, and to conquer, with the word of truth, 
meekness, and righteousness, subduing the souls of men 
unto his obedience, making them free, ready, willing, in the 
day of his power. These were the forces and weapons that 
he used in the establishing of his kingdom, ' which were 
mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds, 
casting down of imaginations, and every high thing that ex- 
alteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into 
captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ ;' 2 Cor. 
X. 4, 5. So doth the apostle describe the success of these 
administrations as an absolute conquest, wherein all oppo- 
sition is broken, all strong holds and fortifications are de- 
molished, and the whole reduced unto due obedience. For 
by this means were all things effected ; all the strono- holds 
of sin in the minds of men in their natural darkness, blind- 
ness, and obstinacy ; all the high fortifications of prejudices, 
and vain, proud, lofty imaginations raised in them by Satan, 
were all cast down by, and before, gospel administrations, 
managed by virtue and authority of these spiritual gifts 
which the Lord Christ ordained to be the powers of his 

Thirdly, Those of them which consisted in miraculous 
operations were suited to fill the world with an apprehension 
of a divine power accompanying the word, and them by 
whom it was administered. And sundry things unto the 
furtherance of the gospel depended hereon. As, 1. The 
world, which was stupid, asleep in sin and security, satisfied 
with their lusts and idolatries, regardless of any thing but 
present enjoyments, was awakened hereby to an attendance 
unto, and inquiry into, this new doctrine that was proposed 
unto them. They could not but take notice that there was 
something more than ordinary in that sermon which they 
were summoned unto by a miracle. And this was the first 
and principal use of these miraculous operations. They 
awakened the dull, stupid world, unto a consideration of the 


doctrine of the gospel, which otherwise they would have se- 
curely neglected and despised. 2. They weakened and took 
off those mighty prejudices which their minds were possessed 
with by tradition and secular enjoyments ; what these pre- 
judices were, I shall not here declare, I have done it else- 
where. It is enough to observe, that they were as great, as 
many, as effectual, as human nature in any case is capable 
of. But yet although they were sufficiently of proof against 
all other means of conviction, yet they could not but sink 
and weaken before the manifest evidence of present divine 
power ; such as these miraculous operations were accompa- 
nied withal. For although all the things which they cleaved 
unto, and intended to do so inseparably, were, as they 
thought, to be preferred above any thing that could be of- 
fered unto them, yet when the divine power appeared against 
them, they were not able to give them defence. Hence upon 
these operations one of these two effects ensued. (1.) Those 
that were shut up under their obstinacy and unbelief, were 
filled with tormenting convictions, and knew not what to do 
to relieve themselves. The evidence of miracles they could 
not withstand, and yet would not admit of what they ten- 
dered and confirmed ; whence they were filled with disquiet- 
ments and perplexities. So the rulers of the Jews mani- 
fested themselves to have been upon the curing of the im- 
potent person at the gate of the temple. ' What shall we do,' 
say they, * to these men, for that indeed a notable miracle 
hath been done by them?' Acts iv. 16. (2.) The minds of 
others were exceedingly prepared for the reception of the 
truth; the advantages unto that purpose being too many to 
be here insisted on. 3. They were a great means of taking 
off the scandal of the cross. That this was that which the 
world was principally offended at in the gospel, is sufficiently 
known. * Christ crucified was to the Jews a stumbling-block, 
and unto the Greeks foolishness.' Nothing could possibly 
be, or have been, a matter of so high offence unto the Jews, 
as to offer them a crucified Messiah, whom they expected 
as a glorious king to subdue all their enemies ; nor ever will 
they receive him, in the mind wherein they are, upon any 
other terms. And it seemed a part of the extremest folly 
unto the Grecians, to propose such great and immortal 
things in the name of one that was himself crucified as a 


malefactor. And a shame it was thought on all hands for 
any wise man to profess or own such a religion as came 
from the cross. But yet after all this blustering of weak- 
ness and folly, when they saw this doctrine of the cross 
owned by God, and witnessed unto by manifest effects of 
divine power, they could not but begin to think, that men 
need not be much ashamed of that which God so openly 
avowed. And all these things made way to let in the 
word into the minds and consciences of men, where by its 
own efficacy it gave them satisfying experience of its truth 
and power. 

From these few instances, whereunto many of an alike 
nature might be added, it is manifest how these spiritual 
gifts were the powers of the world to come, the means, 
weapons, arms that the Lord Christ made use of, for the 
subduing of the world, destruction of the kingdom of Satan 
and darkness, with the planting and establishment of his 
own church on the earth. And as they were alone suited 
unto his design, so his accomplishment of it by them is a 
glorious evidence of his divine power and wisdom, as might 
easily be demonstrated. 




The grant, institution, use, benefit, end, and continuance of 
the ministry. 

The consideration of those ordinary gifts of the Spirit which 
are annexed unto the ordinary powers and duties of the 
church, doth, in the next place, lie before us. And they are 
called ordinary, not as if they were absolutely common unto 
all, or were not much to be esteemed, or as if that were any 
way a diminishing term : but we call them so upon a double 
account: 1. In distinction from those gifts which, being abso- 
lutely extraordinary, did exceed the whole power and facul- 
ties of the souls of men, as healings, tongues, and miracles. 
For otherwise they are of the same nature with most of those 
gifts which were bestowed on the apostles and evangelists, 
differing only in degree. Every true gospel ministry hath 
now gifts of the same kind with the apostles in a degree and 
measure sufficient to their work, excepting those mentioned. 
2. Because of their continuance in the ordinary state of the 
church, which also they shall do unto the consummation 
of all things. Now, my design is to treat peculiarly of the 
gifts of the Holy Spirit. But because there is a gift of 
Christ, which is the foundation and subject of them, some- 
thing must be spoken briefly unto that in the first place. 
And this gift of Christ is that of the ministry of the church, 
the nature of which office I shall not consider at large, but 
only speak unto it as it is a gift of Christ. And this I shall 
do by some little illustration given unto that passage of the 
apostle, where this gift and the communication of it is de- 
clared ; Eph. iv. 7 — 16. ' But unto every one of us is given 
grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Where- 
fore he saith, Whenhe ascended up on high, he led captivity 
captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, 
what is it but that he also descended first into the lower 
parts of the earth ? He that descended is the same also that 


ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all 
things), and he gave some apostles, and some prophets, and 
some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers ; for the 
perfecting of the saints, for the work of the niinistry, for the 
edifying of the body of Christ ; till we all come in the unity 
of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God unto a 
perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness 
of Christ. That we henceforth be no more tossed to and 
fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the 
sleight of men and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in 
wait to deceive ; but speaking the truth in love may grow 
up into him in all things which is the head, even Christ. 
From whom the whole body fitly joined together and com- 
pacted by that which every joint supplieth, according unto 
the effectual working in the measure of every part, uiaketh 
increase of the body, unto the edifying of itself in love.' 

There is no other place of Scripture wherein at one view 
the grant, institution, use, benefit, end, and continuance of 
the ministry is so clearly and fully represented. And the 
end of this whole discourse is to declare that the gift and 
grant of the ministry and ministers, of the ofiice, and the 
persons to discharge it, is an eminent, most useful fruit and 
effect of the mediatory power of Christ, with his love and 
care towards his church. And thosa of whom the apostle 
speaks (' unto every one of us') are the officers or ministers 
whom he doth afterward enumerate, although the words may 
in some sense be extended unto all believers. But princi- 
pally the ministry and ministers of the church are intended. 
And it is said, unto them is grace given. It is evident that 
by grace here, not sanctifying, saving grace is intended, but 
a participation of a gracious favour with respect to an es- 
pecial end: so the word is frequently used in this case by 
our apostle; Rom. xv. 15. Gal. ii. 9. Eph. iii. 8. This gra- 
cious favour we are made partakers of; this trust is freely, 
in a way of grace committed unto us. And that according 
to the measure of the gift of Christ, unto every one accord- 
ing as the Lord Christ doth measure the gift of it freely out 
unto them. Thus in general was the ministry granted unto 
the church, the particular account whereof is given in the 
ensuing verses. And, 

First, it is declared to be a gift of Christ, Kai avrog t'SwKe, 



' And he himself gave,' ver. 11. It is the great fundamen- 
tal of all church order, power, and worship, that the gift and 
grant of Christ is the original of the ministry. If it had not 
been so given of Christ, it had not been lawful for any of 
the sons of men to institute such an office, or appoint such 
officers. If any had attempted so to do, as there would have 
been a nullity in what they did, so their attempt would have 
been expressly against the headship of Christ, or his su- 
preme authority over the church. Wherefore, that he would 
thus give ministers of the church was promised of old ; Jer. 
iii. 15. as well as signally foretold in the psalm from whence 
these words are taken. And as his doing of it is an act of 
his mediatory power, as it is declared in this place, and 
Matt, xxviii. 18. so it was a fruit of his care, love, and 
bounty ; 1 Cor. ii. 21, 22. And it will hence follow not 
only that offices in the church, which are not of Christ's 
giving by institution, and officers that are not of gift, grant, 
by provision and furnishment, have indeed no place therein, 
but also that they are set up in opposition unto his autho- 
rity, and in contempt of his care and bounty. For the doing 
so ariseth out of an apprehension, that both men have a 
power in the church which is not derived from Christ, and 
that to impose servants upon him in his house without his 
consent, as also that they have more care of the church than 
he had, who made not such provision for them. And if an 
examination might be admitted by this rule, as it will one 
day come on whether men will or no, some great names now 
in the church would scarce be able to preserve their station; 
popes, cardinals, metropolitans, diocesan prelates, archdea- 
cons, commissaries, officials, and I know not what other 
monstrous products of an incestuous conjunction between 
secular pride and ecclesiastical degeneracy, would think 
themselves severely treated to be tried by this rule : but so 
it must be at last, and that unavoidably. Yea, and that no 
man shall be so hardy, as once to dare attempt the setting 
up of officers in the church without the authority of Christ; 
the eminency of this gift and grant of his is declared in sun- 
dry particular instances, wherein neither the wisdom, nor 
skill, nor power of any, or all of the sons of men, can have 
the least interest, or in any thing alike unto them. 

And this appears, 1. From the grandeur of its introduc- 


tion, or the great and solemn preparation that was made for 
the giving out of this gift. It was given by Christ when 
' he ascended up on high, and led captivity captive,' ver. 8. 
The words are taken from Psal. Ixviii. 17, 18. 'The chariots 
of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels : the 
Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place. Thou 
hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive; thou 
hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that 
the Lord God might dwell among them.' In the first place, 
the glorious appearance of God on mount Sinai in givino- of 
the law, his descending and ascending unto that purpose, is 
intended. But they are applied here unto Christ, because 
all the glorious works of God in and towards the church of 
old, were either representatory, or gradually introductory of 
Christ and the gospel. Thus the glorious ascending of God 
from mount Sinai after the giving of the law, was a repre- 
sentation of his ascending far above all heavens ' to fill all 
things,' as ver. 10. And as God then ' led captivity captive' 
in the destruction of Pharaoh and the Egyptians, who had 
long held his people in captivity, and under cruel bondage ; 
so dealt the Lord Christ now in the destruction and capti- 
vity of Satan and all his powers ; Col. ii. 15. Only whereas 
it is said in the psalm, ' that he received gifts for men;' here 
it is said, that * he gave gifts to men,' wherein no small mys- 
tery is couched. For although Christ is God, and is so glo- 
riously represented in the psalm, yet an intimation is o-iven 
that he should act what is here mentioned in a condition 
wherein he was capable to receive from another, as he did 
in this matter ; Acts ii. 2, 3. And so the phrase in the ori- 
ginal doth more than insinuate mxn ni3nD nnp^, ' Thou 
hast received gifts in Adam, in the man or human nature.' 
And np^ signifies as well to give as to receive, especially 
when any thing is received to be given. Christ received 
this gift in the human nature to give it unto others. Now 
to what end is this glorious theatre, as it were, prepared, and 
all this preparation made, all men being called to the pre- 
paration of it ? It was to set out the greatness of the gift he 
would bestow, and the glory of the work which he would 
effect. And this was to furnish the church with ministers, 
and ministers with gifts for the discharge of their office and 
duty. And it will one day appear, that there is more glory, 

Y 2 


more excellency in giving one poor minister unto a congre- 
gation, by furnishing him with spiritual gifts for the dis- 
charge of his duty, than in the pompous instalment of a 
thousand popes, cardinals, or metropolitans. The worst of 
men in the observance of a few outward rites and ceremonies 
can do the latter ; Christ only can do the former, and that 
as he is ascended up on high to that purpose. 

2. It appears to be such an eminent gift from its original 
acquisition. There was a power acquired by Christ for this 
great donation, which the apostle declares, ver. 9. * Now 
that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first 
into the lower parts of the earth.' Having mentioned the 
ascension of Christ as the immediate cause or fountain of 
the communication of this gift, ver. 8. he found it necessary 
to trace it unto its first original. He doth not therefore 
make mention of the descending into the lower parts of the 
earth occasionally upon that of his ascending, as if he 
catched at an advantage of a word : nor doth he speak of 
the humiliation of Christ absolutely in itself, which he had 
no occasion for; but he introduceth it, to shew what respect 
this gift of the ministry and ministers, of the office, gifts, 
and persons, had thereunto. And Christ's descending into 
the lower parts of the earth may be taken two ways, accord- 
ing as that expression, the ' lower parts of the earth,' may 
be diversly understood. For he to. Kanorepa /ulp»j rrig yfjc, 
' The lower parts of the earth,' are either the whole earth, 
that is, those lower parts of the world, or some part of it. 
For the word lower includes a comparison either with the 
whole creation, or with some part of itself. In the first sense, 
ChrLst's state of humiliation is intended, wherein he came 
dovvu from heaven into these lower parts of God's creation, 
conversing on the earth. In the latter, his grave and burial 
are intended ; for the grave is the lowest part of the earth 
into which mankind doth descend. And both of these, or 
his humiliation as it ended in his death and burial, may be 
respected in the words. And that which the apostle designs 
to manifest, is, that the deep humiliation, and the death of 
Christ, is the fountain and original of the ministry of the 
church, by way of acquisition and procurement. It is a 
fruit whose root is in the grave of Christ. For in those 
things, in the humiliation and death of Christ lay the foun- 


dation of his mediatory authority, whereof the ministry is 
an effect; Phil. ii. 6 — 10. And it was appointed by him to 
be the ministry of that peace between God and man, which 
was made therein and thereby; Eph. ii. 14. 16, 17. For 
when he had made this peace by the blood of the cross, he 
preached it in the giving these gifts unto men for its solemn 
declaration. See 2 Cor. v. 18 — 21. Wherefore, because 
the authority from whence this gift proceeded, was granted 
unto Christ upon his descending into the lower parts of the 
earth, and the end of the gift is to declare and preach the 
peace which he made between God and man by his so doing, 
this gift relates thereunto also. Hereon doth the honour 
and excellency of the ministry depend, with respect here- 
unto is it to be esteemed and valued ; namely, its relation 
unto the spiritual humiliation of Christ, and not from the 
carnal or secular exaltation of those that take it upon them. 
3. It appears to be an eminent and signal gift from the 
immediate cause of its actual communication, or the present 
qualification of the Lord Christ for the bestowing of it; and 
this was his glorious exaltation upon his ascension. A right 
unto it was acquired by him in his death, but his actual in- 
vestiture with all glorious power, was to precede its commu- 
nication ; ver. 8. 10. He was first to ascend up on high, to 
triumph over all his and our adversaries, put now under him 
into absolute and eternal captivity, before he gave out this 
gift. And he is said here to ' ascend far above all heavens,' 
that is, these visible and aspectable heavens, which he 
passed through when he went into the glorious presence of 
God, or unto the right hand of the majesty on high. See 
Heb. iv. 14. with our exposition thereon. It is also added, 
why he was thus gloriously exalted ; and this was, that he 
might fill up all things, not ^vaiKM^ hut Ive^^ytTiKujg: not in the 
essence of his nature, but in the exercise of his power. He 
had laid the foundation of his church on himself in his death 
and resurrection ; but now the whole fabric of it was to be 
filled with its utensils, and beautified with its ornaments. 
This he ascended to accomplish, and did it principally in 
the collation of this gift of the ministry upon it. This was 
the first exercise of that glorious power, which the Lord 
Christ was vested withal upon his exaltation ; the first effect 
of his wisdom and love, in filling all things unto the glory 


of God, and the salvation of his elect. And these things 
are mentioned, that in the contemplation of their greatness 
and order we may learn and judge how excellent this dona- 
tion of Christ is. And it will also appear from hence, how 
contemptible a thing the most pompous ministry in the world 
is, which doth not proceed from this original. 

4. The same is manifest from the nature of the gift itself: 
for this gift consisteth in gifts. ' He gave gifts.' There is an 
active giving expressed; * he gave :' and the thing given, that 
is, ' gifts' Wherefore, the ministry is a gift of Christ, not 
only because freely and bountifully given by him to the 
church ; but also because spiritual gifts do essentially belong 
unto it, are indeed its life, and inseparable from its being. 
A ministry without gifts, is no ministry of Christ's giving ; 
nor is of any other use in the church but to deceive the souls 
of men. To set up such a ministry, is both to despise Christ, 
and utterly to frustrate the ends of the ministry ; those for 
which Christ gave it, and which are here expressed. For, 
(1.) Ministerial gifts and graces are the great evidence that 
the Lord Christ takes care of his church and provides for it, 
as called into the order and into the duties of a church. To 
set up a ministry which may be continued by outward forms 
and orders of men only, without any communication of gifts 
from Christ, is to despise his authority and care. Neither 
is it his mind that any church should continue in order any 
longer, or otherwise, than as he bestows these gifts for the 
ministry. (2.) That these gifts are the only means and in- 
struments whereby the work of the ministry may be per- 
formed, and the end of the ministry attained, shall be farther 
declared immediately. The ends of the ministry here men- 
tioned, called its work, are the perfecting of the saints, and 
the edifying of the body of Christ, until we all come unto a 
perfect man. Hereof nothing at all can be done without 
these spiritual gifts. And, therefore, a ministry devoid of 
them, is a mock-ministry, and no ordinance of Christ. 

5. The eminency of this gift appears in the variety and 
diversity of the offices and officers which Christ gave in giv- 
ing of the ministry. He knew there would, and had ap- 
pointed there should be a twofold estate of the church ; ver, 
10. (1.) Of r,its first election and foundation. (2.) Of its 
building and edification; and different both offices and gifts 


were necessary unto these different states. For, (1.) Two 
things were extraordinary in the first erection of his church. 
[1.] An extraordinary aggression was to be made upon the 
kingdom of Satan in the world, as upheld by all the poten- 
tates of the earth, the concurrent suffrage of mankind, with 
the interest of sin and prejudices in them. [2.] The casting 
of men into a new order, under a new rule and law, for the 
worship of God, that is, the planting and erecting of churches 
all the world over. With respect unto these ends extraor- 
dinary officers with extraordinary authority, power, and abi- 
lities were requisite. Unto this end, therefore, he gave some 
apostles, some prophets, and some evangelists, of the na- 
ture of whose offices and their gifts we have spoken before. 
I shall here only add, that it was necessary that these of- 
ficers should have their immediate call and authority from 
Christ, antecedent unto all order and power in the church. 
For the very being of the church depended on their power 
of office : but this without such an immediate power from 
Christ no man can pretend unto. And what was done ori- 
ginally by their persons, is now done by their word and doc- 
trine : for the church is built on the ' foundation of the 
apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief 
comer-stone ;' Eph. ii. 20. (2.) There was a state of the 
church in its edification, which was to be carried on accord- 
ing to the rules and laws given by Christ in the ordinary ad- 
ministration of all the ordinances and institutions of the gos- 
pel. To this end Christ gives ordinary officers, pastors, and 
teachers, who by his direction were ordained in every church ; 
Acts xiv. 23, 24. And these are all the teaching oflScers that 
he hath given unto his church. Or, if any shall think that 
in the enumeration of them in this place, as also, 1 Cor. xii. 
our apostle forgot popes and diocesan bishops, with some 
others, who certainly cannot but laugh to themselves, that 
they should be admitted in the world as church officers, 
he must speak for himself. 

1. But, whereas the other sort of officers was given by 
Christ, by his immediate call and communication of power 
unto them, it doth not appear how he gives these ordi- 
nary officers or ministers unto it. I answer, he did it ori- 
ginally, and continueth to do it by the ways and means en- 
suing. 1 . He doth it by the law and rule of the gospel, where- 


in he hath appointed this office of the ministry in his church, 
and so always to be continued. Were there not such a 
standino- ordinance and institution of his, it were not in the 
power of all the churches in the world to appoint any such 
among them, whatever appearance there may be of a neces- 
sity thereof. And if any should have attempted any such 
thing, no blessing from God would have accompanied their 
endeavour, so that they would but set up an idol of their own. 
Hereon we lay the continuance of the ministry in the church. 
If there be not an ordinance and institution of Christ unto 
this purpose ; or if such being granted, yet the force of it be 
now expired, we must and will readily confess, that the 
whole office is a mere usurpation. But if he have given pas- 
tors and teachers unto his church to continue until all his 
saints in all ages ' come unto a perfect man, unto the measure 
of the stature of the fulness of Christ;' Eph.iv. 11 — 13. and 
hath promised to be with them as such, unto the consum- 
mation of all things; Matt, xxviii. 18 — 20. If the apostles 
by his authority ordained elders in every church and city; 
Acts xiv. 23. Tit. i. 5. and who therein w^ere made overseers 
of the flocks by the Holy Ghost ; Acts xx. 28. having the 
charge of feeding and overseeing the flock that is among 
them always, until the chief shepherd shall appear ; 1 Pet. v. 
1 — 5. If believers, or the disciples of Christ, are obliged by 
him always to yield obedience unto them; Heb. xiii. 7. 17. 
with other such plain declarations of the will of the Lord 
Christ in the constitution and continuance of this office, this 
foundation standeth firm and unshaken as the ordinances of 
heaven that shall not be changed. And whereas there is 
not in the Scripture the least intimation of any such time, 
state, or condition, of the church, as wherein the disciples 
of Christ may or ought to live from under the orderly con- 
duct and guidance of the minister?!, it is vain to imagine that 
any defect in other men, any apostacy of the greatest part of 
anv, or all visible churches, should cast them into an inca- 
pacity of erecting a regular ministry among them, and over 
them. For, whereas the warranty and authority of the mi- 
nistry depends on this institution of Christ, which is accom- 
panied with a command for its observance; Matt, xxviii. 18. 
all his disciples being obliged to yield obedience thereunto, 
their doing so in the order and manner also by him approved. 


is sufficient to constitute a lawful ministry among them. To 
suppose, that because the church of Rome, and those adher- 
ing unto it, have by their apostacy utterly lost an evangelical 
ministry among them, that therefore others unto whom the 
word of God is come, and hath been effectual unto their con- 
version, have not sufficient warranty from the word to yield 
obedience unto all the commands of Christ (which, when we 
have talked of power and authority whilst we please, is all 
that is left unto us in this world), or that in so doing he will 
not accept them, and approve of what they have done, is an 
assertion fit for men to maintain, who have a trade to drive in 
religion unto their own especial advantage. 

2. The Lord Christ giveth and continueth this office by 
giving spiritual gifts and abilities unto men to enable them 
to discharge the duties, and perform the work of it. This is 
that which I principally design to confirm in its proper place, 
which will immediately ensue. All I shall say at present is, 
that spiritual gifts of themselves make no man actually a 
minister, yet no man can be made a minister according to 
the mind of Christ, who is not partaker of them. Wherefore, 
supposing the continuance of the law and institution men- 
tioned, if the Lord Christ doth at any time, or in any place, 
cease to give out spiritual gifts unto men, enabling them in 
some good measure unto the discharge of the ministry, then 
and in that place the ministry itself must cease and come to 
an end. To erect a ministry by virtue of outward order, rites, 
and ceremonies, without gifts for the edification of the church, 
is but to hew a block with axes, and smooth it with planes, 
and set it up for an image to be adored. To make a man a 
minister who can do nothing of the proper peculiar work of 
the ministry, nothing towards the only end of it in the church, 
is to set up a dead carcass, fastening it to a post, and expect- 
ing it should do you work and service. 

3. He doth it by giving power unto his church in all ages 
to call and separate unto the work of the ministry such as 
he hath fitted and gifted for it. The things before mention- 
ed are essentially constituent of the ministry; this belongs 
inito the outward order of their entrance into the ministry 
who are by him called thereunto. And concerning this, we 
may observe the things following. (1.) That this power in the 
church is not despotical or lordly, but consists in a faculty. 


right, and ability, to act in this matter obedientially unto the 
commands of Christ. Hence, all the acting of the church in 
this matter, is nothing but an instituted means of conveying 
authority and office from Christ unto persons called there- 
unto. The church doth not give them any authority of its 
own, or resident in itself, but only in a way of obedience 
unto Christ do transmit power from him unto them who are 
called. Hence do they become the ministers of Christ, and 
not of the bishops, or churches, or men, holding their office 
and authority from Christ himself, by the law and rule of the 
gospel ; so that whosoever despiseth them, despiseth him 
also in them. Some would have ministers of the gospel to 
receive all their authority from the people that choose them> 
and some from the bishops who ordain them, and whence they 
have theirs I know not. But this is to make them ministers 
of men, and servants of men, and to constitute other masters 
between them and Christ. And whereas all church power 
is originally and absolutely vested in Christ, and in him 
solely; so that none can be partaker of the least interest in 
it, or share of it, without a communication of it from him 
unto them, neither popes, nor prelates, nor people, are able 
to produce any such grant or concession of power unto them 
from him, as that they should have an authority residing in 
them, and in their power, to dispose unto others as they see 
cause, so as they should hold it from them, as a part or efflux 
of the power vested in them. It is obedience unto the law of 
Christ, and following the guidance of his previous communi- 
cation of gifts as a means to communicate his power unto 
them who are called to the ministry, that is the whole of what 
is committed unto any in this kind. (2.) The church hath no 
power to call any unto the office of the ministry, where the Lord 
Christ hath not gone before it in the designation of him by an 
endowment with spiritual gifts. For, if the whole authority of 
the ministry be from Christ, and he never gives it but where he 
bestows these gifts with it for its discharge, as in Eph. iv. 7, 
8, &c. then to call any to the ministry whom he hath not so 
previously gifted, is to set him aside, and to act in our own 
names and authority. And by reason of these things the Holy 
Ghost is said to make men overseers of the flocks who are 
thus called thereunto, because both the communication of 
power in the constitution of the law, and of spiritual gifts by 


internal effectual operation, arefrom him alone; Acts xx. 28, 
(3.) The outward way and order whereby a church may call 
any person unto the office of the ministry among them and 
over them, is by their joint solemn submission unto him in the 
Lord, as unto all the powers and duties of this office, testified 
by their choice and election of him. It is concerning this 
outward order that all the world is filled with disputes about 
the call of men unto the ministry, which yet in truth is of 
the least concernment therein. For whatever manner or or- 
der be observed herein, if the things before mentioned be not 
premised thereunto, it is of no validity or authority. On the 
other hand, grant that the authority of the ministry depend- 
eth on the law, ordinance, and institution of Christ, that he 
calls men unto this office by the collation of spiritual gifts 
unto them, and that the actings of the church herein is but 
an instituted moral means of communicating office-power 
from Christ himself unto any ; and let but such other things 
be observed as the light and law of nature requireth in cases 
of an alike kind, and the outward mode of the churches act- 
ing herein need not much be contended about. It may be 
proved to be a beam of truth from the light of nature, that 
no man should be imposed on a church for their minister 
against their wills, or without their express consent ; consi- 
dering that his whole work is to be conversant about their 
understandings, judgments, wills, and affections ; and that 
this should be done by their choice and election, as the 
Scripture doth manifestly declare ; Numb. viii. 9, 10. Acts 
i. 23. 26. vi. 35. xiv. 23. so that it was for some ag-es ob- 
served sacredly in the primitive churches, cannot modestly 
be denied. But how far any people or church may commit 
over this power of declaring their consent and acquiescency 
unto others to act for them, and as it were in their stead, so 
as that the call to office should yet be valid, provided the 
former rules be observed, I will not much dispute with any, 
though I approve only of what maketh the nearest ap- 
proaches to the primitive pattern that the circumstances of 
things are capable of. (4.) The Lord Christ continueth his 
bestowing of this gift, by the solemn ordinance of setting 
apart those who are called in the manner declared, by 
'fasting and prayer, and imposition of hands;' Acts xiv. 23. 
xiii. 2. 1 Tim. iv. 14. By these means, I say, doth the Lord 


Christ continue to declare, that he accounts men faithful, 
and puts them into the ministry, as the apostle speaks ; 
1 Tim. i. 12. 

There are yet remaining sundry things in the passage 
of the apostle, which we now insist on, that declare the emi- 
nency of this giftof Christ, which may yet be farther briefly 
considered. As, 

6. The end why it is bestowed ; and this is expressed, (1.) 
Positively, as to the good and advantage of the church there- 
by ; ver. 12. (2.) Negatively, as to its prohibition and hin- 
derance of evil; ver. 14. In the end of it as positively express- 
ed, three things may be considered. [1.] That it is irpbg tov 
KaTapTKTfwv Twv ajiwv, that is, for the gathering of the saints 
into complete church order. The subject matter of this part 
of their duty is the saints, that is, by calling and profession • 
such as are all the disciples of Christ. And thatwhich is ef- 
fected towards them is Karaprto-ftoc. their coagmentation, joint- 
ing or compacting into order. So the word signifies, Gal. vi. 1 . 
And this effect is here declared; ver. 16. It is true, the saints 
mentioned may come together into some initial church order, 
by their consent and agreement to walk together in all the 
ways of Christ, and in obedience unto all his institutions, 
and so become a church essentially before they have any 
ordinary pastor or teacher, either by the conduct of extraor- 
dinary officers, as at first, or through obedience unto their 
word ; whence elders were ordained among those who were 
in church-state, that is, thus far before ; Acts xiv. 23. but 
they cannot come to that perfection and completeness which 
is designed unto them. That which renders a church com- 
pletely organical, the proper seat and subject of all gospel 
worship and ordinances, is this gift of Christ in the ministry. 

But it may be asked, Whether a church before it come 
unto this K-araprto-jUoCj or completeness, before it hath any mi- 
nister in office, or have by any means lost the ministry among 
them, may not delegate and appoint some one or more from 
among themselves for to administer all the ordinances of the 
gospel among them, and unto them, and by that means 
make up their own perfection ? 

[2.] The church being so completed, these officers are 
given unto it ' for the work of the ministry :' this expression 
is comprehensive, and the particulars included in it are not 


in this place to be inquired into. It may suffice unto our 
present purpose to consider that it is a work, not a prefer- 
ment ; and a work they shall find it, who design to give up a 
comfortable account of what is committed unto them. It 
is usually observed, that all the words whereby the work of 
the ministry is expressed in the Scripture, do denote a pecu- 
liar industrious kind of labour: though some have found out 
ways of honour and ease to be signified by them. And, [3.] 
both these are directed unto one general issue. It is all dg 
oiKo^oixrjv Tov aw/dUTog tov Xptarow, ' Unto the edification of 
the body of Christ.' Not to insist on the metaphors that are 
in this expression, the excellency of the ministry is declared 
in that, the object of its duty and work is no other but the 
body of Christ himself; and its end, the edification of this 
body, or its increase in faith and obedience, in all the graces 
and gifts of the Spirit, until it comes unto conformity unto 
him, and the enjoyment of him. And a ministry which hath 
not this object and end, is not of the giving or grant of 

(2.) The end of the ministry is expressed negatively, or 
with respect unto the evils which it is ordained for our de- 
liverance from, ver. 14. [1.] The evil which we are hereby 
delivered from, is the danger of being perniciously and de- 
structively deceived by false doctrines, errors, and heresies, 
which then began, and have ever since in all ages continued 
to infest the churches of God. These the apostle describes, 
1st. From the design of their authors, which is 'to deceive.' 
2dly. Their diligence in that design, ' They lay in wait to ac- 
complish it.' 3dly. The means they use to compass their end, 
which are, ' sleights and cunning craftiness,' managed some- 
times with impetuous violence, and thence called a 'wind of 
doctrine ;' and, [2.] The means hereof is our deliverance out 
of a child-like state, accompanied with, 1st. Weakness; 
2dly. Instability ; and, 3dly. Wilfulness. And sad is the con- 
dition of those churches which either have such ministers as 
will themselves toss them up and down by false and perni- 
cious doctrines, or are not able by sound instructions to de- 
liver them from such a condition of weakness and instability, 
as wherein they are not able to preserve themselves from 
being in these things imposed onby the 'cunning sleights of 
men that lie in wait to deceive.' And as this ministry is 


always to continue in the church, ver. 13. so it is the great 
means of influencing the whole body, and every member of 
it into a due discharge of their duty, unto their edification 
in love ; ver. 15, 16. 

Designing to treat of the spiritual gifts bestowed on the 
ministry of the church, I have thus far diverted into the con- 
sideration of the ministry itself, as it is a gift of Christ, and 
shall shut it up with a few corollaries. As, 1 . Where there is 
any office erected in the church, that is not in particular of 
the gift and institution of Christ, there is a nullity in the 
whole office, and in all administrations by virtue of it. 2, 
Where the office is appointed, but gifts are not communi- 
cated unto the person called unto it, there is a nullity as to 
his person, and a disorder in the church. 3. It is the duty 
of the church to look on the ministry as an eminent grant of 
Christ, with valuation, thankfulness, and improvement. 4. 
Those who are called unto this office indue order, labour to 
approve themselves as a gift of Christ; which it is a shame- 
less impudence for some to own who go under that name. 
5. This they may do in labouring to be furnished, [1.] with 
gracious qualifications. [2.] Useful endowments. [3.] Dili- 
gence and laborious travail in this work. [4.] By an exem- 
plary conversation; in, [1.] Love. [2.] Meekness. [3.] Self- 
denial. [4.] Readiness for the cross, 8cc. 



Of spiritual gifts enabling the ministi'y to the exercise and discharge 
of their trust and office. 

Unto the ministry so given unto the church, as hath 
been declared, the Holy Ghost gives spiritual gifts ena- 
bling them unto the exercise and discharge of the power, 
trust, and office committed unto them. Now, although I 
am not thoroughly satisfied what men will grant or allow 
in these days, such uncouth and bold principles are con- 
tinually advanced among us, yet I suppose it will not, in 
words at least, be denied by many, but that ministers have, 
or ought to have, gifts for the due discharge of their office. 
To some, indeed, the very name and word is a derision, be- 
cause it is a name and notion peculiar to the Scripture. No- 
thing is more contemptible unto them than the very mention 
of the gifts of the Holy Ghost; at present I deal not with 
such directly, though what we shall prove will be sufficient 
for their rebuke, though not for their conviction. Where- 
fore, our inquiry is, whether the Spirit of God doth effec- 
tually collate on the ministers of the gospel, spiritual gifts, 
enabling them to perform and effect evangelical administra- 
tions, according to the power committed unto them, and 
duly required of them, unto the glory of Christ and edifica- 
tion of the church. It is moreover inquired whether the en- 
dowment of men with these spiritual gifts in a degree and 
measure suited unto public edification, be not that which 
doth materially constitute them ministers of the gospel, as 
being antecedently necessary unto their call unto their office. 
These things, I say, are to be inquired into, because in op- 
position unto the first it is affirmed, that these supposed 
gifts are nothing but mere natural abilities attained by dili- 
gence, and improved by exercise, without any especial re- 
spect unto the working of the Holy Ghost, at least otherwise 
than what is necessary unto the attaining of skill and ability 
in any human art or science, which is the ordinary blessing 
of God on man's honest endeavours. And to the other it is 
opposed, that a lawful ordinary outward call is sufficient to 
constitute any man a lawful minister, whether he have re- 
ceived any such gifts as those inquired after or no. Where- 


fore, the substance of what we have to declare and confirm 
is, that there is an especial dispensation and work of the 
Holy Ghost in providing able ministers of the New Testament 
for the edification of the church, wherein the continuance of 
the ministry, and being of the church, as to its outward or- 
der, doth depend ; and that herein he doth exert his power, 
and exercise his authority in the communication of spiritual 
gifts unto men, without a participation whereof no man hath 
dejure, any lot or portion in this ministration. Herein con- 
sists no small part of that work of the Spirit which belongs 
unto his promised dispensation in all ages, which to deny is 
to renounce all faith in the promise of Christ, all regard unto 
his continued love and care towards the church in the world, 
or at least the principal pleadable testimony given thereunto, 
and under pretence of exalting and preserving the church, 
totally to overthrow it. Now the evidence which we shall 
give unto this truth, is contained in the ensuing assertions 
with their confirmation. 

First, The Lord Jesus Christ hath faithfully promised to 
be present with his church unto the 'end of the world.' It is 
his temple and his tabernacle, wherein he will dwell and walk 
continually. And this presence of Christ is that which 
makes the church to be what it is, a congregation essentially 
distinct from all other societies and assemblies of men. Let 
men be formed into what order you please, according unto 
any outward rules and measures that are either given in the 
Scripture, or found out by themselves, let them derive power 
and authority by what claim soever they shall think fit, yet 
if Christ be not present with them, they are no church, nor 
can all the powers under heaven make them so to be. iVnd 
where any church loseth the especial presence of Christ, it 
ceaseth so to be. It is, I suppose, confessed with and among 
whom Christ is thus present, or it may be easily proved. 
See his promises to this purpose. Matt, xviii. 20, Rev. xxi. 3. 
And those churches do exceedingly mistake their interest 
who are solicitous about other things, but make little inquiry 
after the evidences of the presence of Christ among them. 
Some walk as if they supposed they had him sure enough, as 
it were immured in their walls, whilst they keep up the name 
of a church, and an outward order that pleaseth and advan- 
tageth themselves. But outward order, be it what it will, is so 
£ar from being the only evidence of the presence of Christ in 


a church, that where it is alone, or when it is principally re- 
quired, it is none at all. And, therefove, whereas preaching 
of the word, and the right administration of the sacraments 
are assigned as the notes of a true church, if the outward 
acts and order of them only be regarded, there is nothing 
of evidence unto this purpose in them. 

Secondly, This promised presence of Christ is by his Spi- 
rit. This I have sufficiently proved formerly, so that here I 
shall be brief in its rehearsal, though it be the next founda- 
tion of what we have farther to offer in this case. We speak 
not of the essential presence of Christ with respect unto the 
immensity of his divine nature, whereby he is equally pre- 
sent in, or equally indistant from, all places, manifesting his 
glory when, where, and how, he pleaseth. Nor doth it re- 
spect his human nature ; for when he promised this his pre- 
sence, he told his disciples that therein he must leave and 
depart from them, John xvi. 5 — 8. whereon they were filled 
with sorrow and trouble, until they knew how he would make 
good the promise of his presence with them ; and who or 
what it was that should unto their advantage supply his bo- 
dily absence. And this he did in his visible ascension, when 
'he was taken up, and a cloud received him out of their 
sight,' Acts i. 9. when also it was given in charge unto them 
not to expect his return until his * coming unto judgment;' 
ver. 11. And accordingly Peter tells us, that the ' heavens 
must receive him unto the resti4.ution of all things,' Acts iii. 
21. when he will ' appear again in the glory of his Father,' 
Matt. xvi. 27. even that glory which the * Father gave him 
upon his exaltation,' 2 Pet. i. 17. joined unto that glory 
which he had with him 'before the world was;' John xvii. 5. 
In and upon this his departure from them he taught his disci- 
ples how they should understand his promise of being pre- 
sent, and abiding ' with them unto the end of the world.' 
And this was by sending of his Holy Spirit in his name, 
place, and stead, to do all to them, and for them, which he 
had yet to do with them and for them. See John xiv. 16 — 
18. 26—28. XV. 26. xvi. 7—14. And other vicar in the 
church Christ hath none, nor doth stand in need of 
any ; nor can any mortal man supply that charge and office. 
Nor was any such ever thought of in the world, until men 
grew weary of the conduct and rule of the Holy Spirit, 

VOL. IV. z 


by various ways taking his work out of his hand, leaving 
him nothing to do in that which they called the church. 
But I suppose I need not handle this principle as a thing in 
dispute or controversy. If I greatly mistake not, this pre- 
sence of Christ in his church by his Spirit, is an article of 
faith unto the catholic church, and such a fundamental 
truth as whoever denies it, overthrows the Vv'hole gospel. 
And I have so confirmed it in our former discourses concern- 
ing the dispensation and operations of the Holy Ghost, as 
that I fear not, nor expect any direct opposition thereunto. 
But yet I acknowledge that some begin to talk as if they 
owned no other presence of Christ but by the word and sa- 
craments. Whatever else remains to be done lies wholly in 
ourselves. It is acknowledged that the Lord Christ is pre- 
sent in and by his word and ordinances ; but if he be no other- 
wise present, or be present only by their external adminis- 
tration, there will no more church-state among men ensue 
thereon, than there is among the Jews, who enjoy the letter 
of the Old Testament and the institutions of Moses. But 
when men rise up in express contradiction unto the promises 
of Christ, and the faith of the Catholic church in all ages, 
we shall not contend with them. But, 

Thirdly, This presence of the Spirit is secured unto the 
church by an everlasting unchangeable covenant ; Isa. lix. 
21. 'As for me, this is my 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, 
nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of 
thy seed's seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever.' 
This is God's covenant with the gospel church, to be erected 
then when * the Redeemer should come out of Zion, and unto 
them that turn from transgression in Jacob ;' ver. 20. This 
is a part of the covenant that God hath made in Christ the 
Redeemer. And as the continuance of the word unto the 
church in all ages is by this promise secured, without which 
it would cease and come to nothing, seeing it is built on the 
foundation of the apostles and prophets, Eph. ii. 20. so is 
the presence of the Spirit in like manner secured unto it, 
and that on the same terms with the word, so as that if he 
be not present with it, all covenant relation between God 
and it doth cease; where this promise doth not take place. 


there is no church, no ordinance, no acceptable worship, be- 
cause no covenant-relation. In brief then, where there is 
no participation of the promise of Christ to send the Spirit 
to abide with us always, no interest in that covenant, where- 
in God engageth that his Spirit shall not depart from us for 
ever ; and so no presence of Christ to make the word and 
ordinances of worship living, useful, effectual in their ad- 
ministration unto their proper ends, there is no church-state, 
whatever outward order there may be. And hereon, 

Fourthly, The gospel is called the ministration of the 
Spirit, and the ministers of it the ministers of the Spirit; 
2 Cor. iii. 6. 'Who hath also made us able ministers 
of the New Testament, not of the letter, but of the Spirit ;' 
not the ministration of death, but that of the Spirit, which 
is glorious; ver. 7, 8. There never was, nor ever shall 
be, any, but these two ministrations in the church ; that of 
the letter and of death ; and that of the Spirit and of life. 
If there be a ministration in any church, it must belong to 
one of these, and all ministers must be so, either of the let- 
ter or of the Spirit. If there be a ministry pretended unto, 
that is neither of the letter nor of the Spirit, it is antichris- 
tian. The ministry which was carnal, of the letter and death, 
was a true ministry, and in its place glorious, because it was 
appointed of God, and was efficacious as unto its proper end. 
That of the gospel is of the Spirit, and much more glorious. 
But if there be a ministration that hath the outward form of 
either, but indeed is neither of them, it is no ministration at 
all. And where it is so, there is really no ministration but 
that of the Bible ; that is, God by his providence continuing 
the Bible among them, maketh use of it as he seeth good for 
the conviction and conversion of sinners, wherein there is a 
secret manifestation of the Spirit also. We may, therefore, 
inquire in what sense the ministration of the gospel is called 
the ministry of the Spirit. Now this cannot be, because the 
laws, institutions, and ordinances of its worship were re- 
vealed by the Spirit, for so were all the ordinances and in- 
stitutions of the Old Testament, as hath been proved before, 
and yet the ministration of them was the ministration of the 
letter and of death, in a worldly sanctuary by carnal ordi- 
nances. Wherefore it must be so called in one of these re- 
spects. Either, 1. Because it is the peculiar aid and assist- 

z 2 


ance of the Spirit, whereby any are enabled to administer' 
the o-ospeU and its institutions of worship, according to the 
mind of God, unto the edification of the church. In this 
sense, men are said to be made able ministers of the New 
Testament, that is, ministers able to administer the gospel 
in due order. Thus in that expression * ministers of the Spi- 
rit,' the Spirit denotes the efficient cause of the ministry, 
and he that quickeneth it ; ver. 6, 7. Or 2. It may be said 
to be the ministration of the Spirit, because in and by the 
ministry of the gospel, the Spirit is in all ages administered 
and communicated unto the disciples of Christ, unto all the 
ends for which he is promised. So Gal iii. 2. the Spirit is 
received by the ' preaching of faith.' Take it either way, 
and the whole of what we plead for is confirmed. That he 
alone enableth men imto the discharge of the work of the 
ministry, by the spiritual gifts which he communicateth unto 
them, is the first sense, and expressly that which we con- 
tend for ; and if in and by the ministration of the gospel in 
all ages, the Spirit is communicated and administered unto 
men, then doth he abide with the church for ever \ and for 
w^hat ends we must farther inquire. 

Fifthly, The great end for which the Spirit is thus pro- 
mised, administered, and communicated under the gospel, is, 
the continuance and preservation of the church in the world. 
God hath promised unto the Lord Christ that his kingdom 
in this world should endure unto all generations with the 
course of the sun and moon,Psal. Ixxii. 5. and that of the in- 
crease of the government there should be no end ; Isa. ix. 7. 
And the Lord Christ himself hath declared his preservation 
of his church, so as that ' the gates of hell should not prevail 
against it;' Matt, xvi. It may therefore be inquired whereon 
the infallible accomplishment of these promises, and others 
innumerable unto the same end, doth depend ; or what is 
that means whereby they shall be certainly executed. Now 
this must be either some work of God or man. If it be of 
men, and it consist of their wills and obedience, then that 
which is said amounts hereunto ; namely, that where men 
have once received the gospel, and professed subjection 
thereunto, they will infallibly abide therein in a succession 
from one generation unto another. But besides, that it 
must be granted that ^,vhat so de])ends on the wills of men. 


can have no more certainty than the undetermined wills of 
men can give security of, which indeed is none at all ; so 
there are confessed instances without number, of such per- 
sons and places, as have lost the gospel, and the profession 
thereof. And what hath fallen out in one place may do so 
in another, and consequently in all places where the reasons 
and causes of things are the same. On this supposition, 
therefore, there is no security that the promises mentioned 
shall be infallibly accomplished. Wherefore the event must 
depend on some work of God and Clirist. Now this is no 
other but the dispensation and communication of the Spirit. 
Hereon alone doth the continuance of the church and of the 
kingdom of Christ in the world depend. And whereas the 
church falls under a double consideration, namely, of its in- 
ternal and external form, of its internal spiritual union with 
Christ, and its outward profession of obedience unto him ; 
the calling, gathering, preservation, and edification of it in 
both respects belong unto the Holy Spirit. The first he 
<ioth, as hath been proved at large, by his communicatino- 
■effectual saving grace unto the elect ; the latter, by the 
communication of gifts unto the guides, rulers, ofhcers, and 
ministers of it, with all its members, according unto its place 
and capacity. Suppose then his communication of internal 
saving grace to cease, and the church must absolutely cease, 
as to its internal form. For we are united unto the Lord 
Christ as our mystical head by the Spirit, the one and self- 
same Spirit dwelling in him and them that do believe. 
Union unto Christ without saving grace, or saving grace 
without the Holy Spirit, are strangers unto the gospel and 
Christian religion. So is it to have a church that is holy 
and Catholic, which is not united unto Christ as a mystical 
head. Wherefore the very being of the church, as unto its 
internal form, depends on the Spirit in his dispensation of 
grace, which, if you suppose an intercision of the church, 
must cease. It hath the same dependance on him, as to its 
outward form and profession, upon his communication of 
gifts. For ' no man can call Jesus Lord,' or profess sub- 
jection and obedience unto hira in a due manner, ' but by 
the Holy Ghost;' 1 Cor. xii. 3. Suppose this work of his to 
cease, and there can be no professing church. Let men 
mould and cast themselves into what order and form they 


please, and let them pretend that their right and title unto 
their church, power, and station, is derived unto them from 
their progenitors, or predecessors, if they are not furnished 
with the gifts of the Spirit, to enable their guides unto gos- 
pel administrations, they are no orderly gospel church. 

Sixthly, The communication of such gifts unto the ordi- 
nary ministry of the church in all ages, is plainly asserted in 
sundry places of the Scripture ; somewhereof may be briefly 
considered. The whole nature of this work is declared in 
the parable of the talents; Matt. xxv. from ver. 13 to 31. 
The state of the church from the ascension of Christ unto 
his coming again unto judgment, that is, in its whole course 
on the earth, is represented in this parable. In this season 
he hath servants whom he intrusteth in the afiairs of his 
kingdom, in the care of his church, and the propagation of 
the gospel. That they may in their several generations, 
places, and circumstances, be enabled hereunto, he giving 
them in various distributions talents to trade withal, the 
least whereof was sufficient to encourage them who received 
them unto their use and exercise. The trade they had to 
drive, was that of the administration of the gospel, its doc- 
trine, worship, and ordinances to others. Talents are abi- 
lities to trade, which may also comprise opportunities and 
other advantages ; but abilities are chiefly intended. These 
were the gifts whereof we speak. Nor did it ever enter into 
the minds of any to apprehend otherwise of them. And 
they are abilities which Christ, as the king and head of his 
church, giveth unto men in an especial manner, as they are 
employed under him in the service of his house and work 
of the gospel. The servants mentioned are such as are 
called, appointed, and employed in the service of the house 
of Christ, that is, all ministers of the gospel from first to 
last. And their talents are the gifts which he endows them 
withal by his own immediate power and authority for their 
work. And hence these three things follow : 1. That where- 
ever there is a ministry that the Lord Christ setteth up, ap- 
pointeth or ownetli, he furnislieth all those whom he em- 
ploys therein with gifts and abilities suitable to their work, 
which he doth by the Holy Spirit. He will never fail to 
own his institutions with gracious supplies to render them 


effectual. 2. That where any have not received talents to 
trade withal, it is the highest presumption in them, and casts 
the greatest dishonour on the Lord Christ, as though he re- 
quires work where he gave no strength, or trade where he 
gave no stock, for any one to undertake the work of the mi- 
nistry. Where the Lord Christ gives no gifts he hath no 
work to do. He will require of none any especial duty 
where he doth not give an especial ability. And for any to 
think themselves meet for this work and service, in the 
strength of their own natural parts and endowments, how- 
ever acquired, is to despise both his authority and his work. 
3. For those who have received of these talents, either not 
to trade at all, or to pretend the managing of their trade on 
another stock, that is, either not sedulously and duly to ex- 
ercise their ministerial gifts, or to discharge their ministry 
by other helps and means, is to set up their own wisdom in 
opposition unto his and his authority. In brief, that which 
the whole parable teacheth, is, that wherever there is a mi- 
nistry in the church that Christ owneth or regardeth as used 
and employed by him, there persons are furnished with spi- 
ritual gifts from Christ by the Spirit, enabling them unto 
the discharge of that ministry ; and where there are no such 
spiritual gifts dispensed by him, there is no ministry that he 
either accepteth or approveth, 

Rom. xii. 1. 4 — 8. * As we have many members in one 
body, and all members have not the same office ; so we, being 
many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one 
of another. Having, therefore, gifts differing according to 
the grace that is given unto us, whether prophecy,' &c. It 
is indifferent as to our present purpose, whether the apostle 
treat here of offices or of duties only. The things ensuing 
which are plain and obvious in the text, are sufficient unto 
the confirmation of what we plead for. 1. It is the ordinary 
state of the church, its continuance being planted, its pre- 
servation and edification that the apostle discourseth about; 
wherefore what he speaks, is necessary unto the church in 
all ages and conditions. To suppose a church devoid of 
the gifts here mentioned, is to overthrow the whole nature 
and end of a gospel church. 2. That the principle of all ad- 
ministrations in the church-state described, is gifts received 
from Jesus Christ by his Spirit. For declaring the way 


whereby the church may be edified, he layeth the founda- 
tion of it in this, that to every one of us is grace given ac- 
cording to the measure of the gift of Christ. For the apo- 
stle exhorts those unto whom he speaks, to attend unto those 
duties vs^hereby the church may be edified, and that by vir- 
tue of the gilts which they had received. All the whole 
duty of any one in the church lies in this, that he act ac- 
cording to the ^apicTna that he is made partaker of. And 
what these ^aphfiaTa are, as also by whom they are be- 
stowed, hath been already fully declared. 3. That these 
gifts give not only ability for duty, but rule and measure 
unto all works of service that are to be performed in the 
church. Every one is to act therein according to his 
gift, and no otherwise. To say that this state of the 
church is now ceased, and that another state is intro- 
duced, wherein all gospel administrations may be managed 
Avithout spiritual gifts, or not by virtue of them, is to say 
that which, de facto, is true in most places ; but whether the 
true nature of the church is not overthrown thereby, is left 
unto consideration. 1 Pet. iv. 10, 11. is a parallel testimony 
hereunto, and many others to the same purpose might be 
pleaded, together with that which is the foundation of this 
whole discourse; Eph. iv. 5 — 11, &c. Only let it be re- 
membered, that in this whole discourse by gifts I do under- 
stand those -^upLaiaaTa TTvevfiaTiKa, those spiritual largesses 
which are neither absolutely natural endowments, nor attain- 
able by our own industry and diligence. 

Seventhly, These gifts, as they are bestowed unto that 
end, so they are indispensably necessary unto gospel admi- 
nistrations. For as we have proved, they are spiritual, and 
not legal or carnal ; and spiritual administrations cannot be 
exercised in a due manner without spiritual gifts : yea, one 
reason why they are spiritual, and so called, is because they 
cannot be performed without the aid and assistance of the 
Holy Spirit in and by these gifts of his. Had the Lord 
Christ appointed administrations of another nature, such as 
were every way suited unto the reason of men, and to be ex- 
ercised by the powers thereof, there had been no need of 
these spiritual gifts. For the spirit of a man knoweth the 
things of a man, and will both guide and act him therein. 
And whereas these administrations are in their nature, use. 


signification, and efficacy spiritual, it is by spiritual gifts 
alone that they may be managed. Hence these things do 
live and die together. Where the one is not, there neither 
will the other be. Thus when many, perhaps the most who 
were outwardly called unto office in the church, began to be 
carnal in their hearts and lives, and to neglect the use of 
these gifts, neither applying themselves unto the aLlaining 
of them, nor endeavouring to excite or increase what they 
had received, by diligence or constant exercise, refusing to 
trade with the talent committed unto them, they quickly be- 
gan to wax weary of spiritual administrations also. Hereon 
in compliance with many corrupt affections, they betook 
themselves unto an outward, carnal, ceremonious worship 
and administration of ordinances, which they might dis- 
charge and perform without the least aid or assistance of 
the Holy Ghost, or supply of spiritual gifts. So in the neg- 
lect of these gifts, and the loss of them which ensued there- 
on, lay the beginning of the apostacy of the Christian church 
as to its outward profession, which was quickly completed 
by the neglect of the grace of the Spirit, whereby it lost 
both truth and holiness. Nor could it be otherwise. For as 
we have proved, the outward form and being of the church 
as to its visible ])rofession, depends on the reception and use 
of them : on their decay, therefore, the church must decay 
as to its profession, and in their loss is its ruin. And we 
have an instance in the church of Rome, what various, ex- 
travagant, and endless inventions the minds of men will put 
them upon to keep up a show of worship, when by the loss 
of spiritual gifts spiiitual administrations are lost also. This 
is that which their innumerable forms, modes, sets of rites, 
and ceremonies, seasons of worship are invented to supply, 
but to no purpose at all ; but only the aggravation of their 
sin and folly. 

In the last place we plead the event even in the days 
wherein we live. For the Holy Ghost doth continue to dis- 
pense spiritual gifts for gospel administrations in great va- 
riety, unto those ministers of the gospel who are called unto 
their ofiice according unto his mind and will. The opposi- 
tion that is made hereunto by profane scoffers, is not to be 
valued. The experience of those who are humble and wise, 
who fearing God do inquire into those things, is appealed 


unto. Have they not an experiment of this administration ? 
Do they not find the presence of the Spirit himself by his 
various gifts in them by vv^hom spiritual things are adminis- 
tered unto them ? Have they not a proof of Christ speaking 
in them by the assistance of his Spirit, making the word 
mighty unto all its proper ends ? And as the thing itself, so 
variety of his dispensations manifest themselves also unto 
the experience of believers. Who see not how different are 
the gifts of men, the Holy Ghost dividing unto every one as 
he will ? And the experience which they have themselves who 
have received these gifts, of the especial assistance which 
they receive in the exercise of them, may also be pleaded. 
Indeed the profaneness of a contrary apprehension, is into- 
lerable among such as profess themselves to be Christians. 
For any to boast themselves, they are sufficient of them- 
selves for the stewardly dispensation of the mysteries of the 
gospel, by their own endowments natural or acquired, and 
the exercise of them, without a participation of any peculiar 
spiritual gift from the Holy Ghost, is a presumption which 
contains in it a renunciation of all or any interest in the 
promises of Christ made unto the church, or the continuance 
of his presence therein. Let men be never so well persuaded 
of their own abilities, let them pride themselves in their 
performances, in reflection of applauses from persons unac- 
quainted with the mystery of these things ; let them frame 
to themselves such a work of the ministry as whose dis- 
charge stands in little or no need of these gifts, yet it will 
at length appear, that where the gifts of the Holy Ghost are 
excluded from their administration, the Lord Christ is so, 
and the Spirit himself is so, and all true edification of the 
church is so, and so are all the real concerns of the gospel : 
and so have we, as I hope, confirmed the second part of the 
work of the Holy Ghost with respect unto spiritual gifts ; 
namely, his continuance to distribute and communicate unto 
the church to the end of the world, according unto the 
powers and duties, which he hath erected in it, or re- 
quired of it. 

A ''discourse of spiritual gifts. 347 


Of the gifts of the Spirit, with respect unto doctrine, rule, and worship ; 
how attained, and improved. 

There remain yet two things to be spoken unto, with re- 
spect unto the gifts which the Holy Ghost bestows on the 
ministers of the gospel, to qualify them unto their office, 
and to enable them unto their work. And these are, 

I. What they are. 

II. How they are to be attained and improved. 

In our inquiry after the first ; or what are the gifts whereby 
men are fitted and enabled for the ministry, we wholly set 
aside the consideration of all those gracious qualifications of 
faith, love, zeal, compassion, careful tender watchfulness, 
and the like, whereon the holy use of their ministry doth 
depend. For our inquiry is only after those gifts whereon 
depends the very being of the ministry. There may be a true 
ministry in some cases where there is no sanctifying grace ; 
but where there are no spiritual gifts, there is no ministry at 
all. They are in general abilities for the due management 
of the spiritual administrations of the gospel in its doctrine, 
worship, and discipline, unto the edification of the church. 
It is not easy, nay, it may be unto us, it is not possible to 
enumerate in particular all the various gifts which the Holy 
Ghost endows the ministers of the gospel withal. But 
whereas all the concerns of the church may be referred unto 
these three heads, of doctrine, worship, and rule, we may in- 
quire w hat are the principal spiritual gifts of the Holy Ghost 
with respect unto them distinctly. 

The first great duty of the ministry with reference unto 
the church is, the dispensation of the doctrine of the gospel 
unto it, for its edification. As this is the duty of the church 
continually to attend unto, Acts ii. 42. so it is the principal 
work of the ministry, the foundation of all other duties, 
which the apostles themselves gave themselves unto in an 
especial manner ; Acts vi. 4. Hence is it given in charge 
unto all ministers of the gospel ; Acts xx. 28. 1 Pet. v. 2. 
1 Tim. i. 3. V. 17. iv. 13, 14. 16. 2 Tim. iv. 1-3. For 


this is the principal means appointed by Christ for the 
edification of his church ; that whereby spiritual life is be- 
gotten and preserved. Where this work is neglected or care- 
lessly attended unto, there the whole work of the ministry is 
despised. And with respect unto this ministerial duty, there 
are three spiritual gifts that the Holy Ghost endoweth men 
withal, which must be considered. 

1. The first is wisdom or knowledge, or understanding in 
the mysteries of the gospel, the revelation of the mystery of 
God in Christ, with his mind and will towards us therein. 
These things may be distinguished, and they seem to be so 
in the Scripture sometimes. I put them together, as all of 
them denote that acquaintance with, and comprehension of, 
the doctrine of the gospel which is indispensably necessary 
unto them who are called to preach it unto the church. 
This some imagine an easy matter to be attained ; at least 
that there is no more, nor the use of any other means re- 
quired thereunto, than what is necessary to the acquisition 
of skill in any other art or science. And it were well if some, 
otherwise concerned in point of duty, w^ould but lay out so 
much of their strength and time in the obtaining of this 
knowledge, as they do about other things which will not 
turn much unto their account. But the cursory perusal of a 
few books is thought suflicient to make any man wise enough 
to be a minister. And not a ft.v undertake ordinarily to be 
teachers of others, who would scarcely be admitted as tole- 
rable disciples in a well ordered church. But there be- 
longeth more unto this wisdom, knowledge, and understand- 
ing, than most men are aware of. Vv ere the nature of it 
duly considered, and withal the necessity of it unto the mi- 
nistry of the gospel, probably some would not so rush on 
that work as they do, which they have no provision of ability 
for the performance of. It is in brief such a comprehen- 
sion of the scope and end of the Scripture, of the revelation 
of God therein, such an acquaintance with the systems of 
particular doctrinal truths, in their rise, tendency, and use, 
such a habit of mind in judging of spiritual things, and 
comparing them one with another, such a distinct insight 
into the springs and course of the mystery of the love, grace, 
and will of God in Christ, as enables them, in whom it is to 
declare the counsel of God, to make known the way of life. 


of faith and obedience unto others, and to instruct them in 
their whole duty to God and man thereon. This the apostle 
calls his knowledge in the mystery of Christ, which he mani- 
fested in his writings ; Eph. iii. 4. For as the gospel, the 
dispensation and declaration whereof is committed unto the 
ministers of the church, is the 'wisdom of God in a mystery ;' 
1 Cor. ii. 7. so their principal duty is to become so wise 
and understanding in that mystery, as that they may be able 
to declare it unto others, without which they have no mi- 
nistry committed unto them by Jesus Christ. See Eph. i. 9. 
iii. S. 6. 19. Col. iv. 3. The sole in(|uiry is, whence 
we may have this wisdom, seeing it is abundantly evident 
that we have it not of ourselves ? That in general it is from 
God, that it is to be asked of him, the Scripture every where 
declares. See Col. i. 9. ii. 2. 2 Tim. ii, 7. James i. 5. 
1 John V. 20. And in particular it is plainly affirmed to be 
the especial gift of the Holy Ghost. He gives the ' word of 
wisdom ;' 1 Cor. xii. 8. which place hath been opened be- 
fore. And it is the first ministerial gift that he bestovv's on 
any. Where this is not in some measure, to look for a mi- 
nistry is to look for the living among the dead. And they 
will deceive their own souls in the end, as they do those of 
others in the meantime, who on any other grounds do un- 
dertake to be preachers of the gospel. But I shall not here 
divert unto the full description of this spiritual gift, because 

1 have discoursed concerning it elsewhere. 

2. With respect unto the doctrine of the gospel, there is 
required unto the ministry of the church, skill to divide the 
word aright, which is also a peculiar gift of the Holy Ghost ; 

2 Tim. ii. 15. ' Study to approve thyself unto God, a work- 
man that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the 
word of truth.' Both the former clauses depend on the 
latter. If a minister would be accepted with God in his 
work, if he would be found at the last day a workman that 
needs not to be ashamed, that is, such a builder of the house 
of God, as whose work is meet, proper, and useful, he must 
take care to divide the word of truth, which is committed 
unto his dispensation, aright, or in a due manner. Ministers 
are stewards in the house of God, and dispensers of the 
mysteries thereof. And, therefore, it is required of them, 
that they give unto all the servants that are in the house. 


or do belong unto it, a meet portion according unto their 
wants, occasions, and services, suitable unto the will and 
wisdom of their Lord and Master; Luke xii. 42, 43. 'Who 
is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master shall 
make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of 
meat in due season V For this giving of provision, and a 
portion of meat unto the household of Christ, consists prin- 
cipally in the right dividing and distribution of the word of 
truth. It is the taking out from those great stores of it in 
the Scripture, and as it were cutting off a portion suitable 
unto the various conditions of those in the family. Herein 
consists the principal skill of a scribe furnished for the 
kingdom of heaven, with the wisdom before described. And 
without this, a common course of dispensing or preaching 
the word, without differencing of persons and truths, how- 
ever it may be gilded over with a flourish of words and ora- 
tory, is shameful work in the house of God. Now unto this 
skill, sundry things are required. (1.) A sound judgment 
in general concerning the state and condition of those unto 
whom any one is so dispensing the word. It is the duty of 
a shepherd to know the state of his flock ; and unless he do 
so, he will never feed them profitably. He must know whe- 
ther they are babes, or young men, or old ; whether they 
need milk or strong meat ; whether they are skilful or im- 
skilful in the word of righteousness ; whether they have their 
senses exercised to discern good and evil, or not ; or whe- 
ther their hearers are mixed with all these sorts. Whether 
in the judgment of charity they are converted unto God, or 
are yet in an unregenerate condition. What probably are 
their principal temptations, their hinderances, and further- 
ances ; what is their growth or decay in religion? He that 
is not able to make a competent judgment concerning these 
things, and the other circumstances of the flock, so as to be 
steered thereby in his work, will never evidence himself to 
be a workman that needeth not to be ashamed. (2.) An ac- 
quaintance with the ways and methods of the work of God's 
grace on the minds and hearts of men, that he may pursue 
and comply with its design in the ministry of the word. 
Nothing is by many more despised, than an understanding 
hereof; yet is nothing more necessary to the work of the 
ministry. The word of the gospel as preached is mhiailum 


gratia, and ought to be ordered so as it may comply with its 
design in its whole work on the souls of men. He, there- 
fore, who is unacquainted with the ordinary methods of the 
operation of grace, fights uncertainly in his preaching of the 
word like a man beating of the air. It is true, God can, 
and often doth, direct a word of truth, spoken as it were at 
random, unto a proper effect of grace, on some or other, as 
it was when the man drew a bow at a venture, and smote 
the king of Israel between the joints of the harness. But 
ordinarily a man is not like to hit a joint, who knows not 
how to take his aim. (3.) An acquaintance with the nature 
of temptation, with the especial hinderances of faith and 
obedience, which may befal those unto whom the word is 
dispensed, is in like manner required hereunto. Many things 
might be added on this head, seeing a principal part of mi- 
nisterial skill doth consist herein. (4.) A right understand- 
ing of the nature of spiritual diseases, distempers, and sick- 
nesses, with their proper cures and remedies, belongeth 
hereunto. For the want hereof the hearts of the wicked are 
oftentimes made glad in the preaching of the word, and those 
of the righteous filled with sorrow ; the hands of sinners are 
strengthened, and those who are looking towards God are 
discouraged or turned out of the way. And where men either 
know not these things, or do not, or cannot apply them- 
selves skilfully to distribute the word according to this va- 
riety of occasion, they cannot give the household its portion 
of meat iia season. And he that wants this spiritual gift, 
will never divide the word aright unto its proper ends ; 
2 Tim. iii. 16, 17. And it is lamentable to consider what 
shameful work is made for want hereof in the preaching of 
some men ; yea, how the whole gift is lost, as to its power, 
use, and benefit. 

3. The gift of utterance also belongeth unto this part of 
the ministerial duty in the dispensation of the doctrine of the 
gospel. This is particularly reckoned by the apostle among 
the gifts of the Spirit ; 1 Cor. i. 5. 2 Cor. viii. 5. And he de- 
sires the prayers of the church that the gift ' may abide with 
himself, and abound in him;' Eph. vi. 19. And he there de- 
clares, that the nature of it consists in the opening of the 
* mouth boldly to make known the mysteries of the gospel;' 
as also Col. iv. 3. Now this utterance doth not consist in 


a natural volubility of speech, which, taken alone by itself, 
is so far from being a gift of the Spirit, or a thing to be 
earnestly prayed for, as that it is usually a snare to them 
that have it, and a trouble to them that hear them. Nor 
doth it consist in a rhetorical ability to set off discourses 
with a flourish of words, be they never so plausible or en- 
ticing ; much less in a bold corrupting of the ordinance of 
preaching by a foolish affectation of words in supposed ele- 
gancies of speech, quaint expressions, and the like effects of 
wit, that is fancy and vanity. But four things do concur 
hereunto. (1.) Ilappr^aia, or dicendi libertas. The word we 
translate utterance is \ojoq, that is speech. But that not 
speech in general, but a certain kind of speech is intended, 
is evident from the places mentioned, and the application of 
them. And it is such a speech as is elsewhere called irappr}- 
ma, that is, a freedom and liberty in the declaration of the 
truth conceived. This a man hath when he is not, from any 
internal defect, or from any outward consideration, strait- 
ened in the declaration of those things which he ought to 
speak. This frame and ability the apostle expresseth in 
himself; 2 Cor. vi. 11. 'O ye Corinthians, our mouth is 
open unto you, our heart is enlarged.' A free enlarged spi- 
rit, attended with an ability of speech suited unto the matter 
in hand, with its occasions, belong to this gift. (2.) So also 
doth boldness and holy confidence. So we often render 
TrappijCTto, wherein this utterance doth much consist. When 
the Spirit of God in the midst of difficulties, oppositions, 
and discouragements, strengtheneth the minds of ministers, 
so as that they are not terrified with any amazement, but dis- 
charge their work freely, as considering whose word and 
message it is that they do deliver, belongs to this gift of ut- 
terance. (3.) So also doth gravity in expression, becoming 
the sacred majesty of Christ and his truths in the delivery of 
them. He that speaks, is to speak as the oracles of God ; 
1 Pet. iv. 11. That is, not only as to truth, preaching the 
word of God and nothing else, but doing it with that gravity 
and soundness of speech, which becomes tiiem who speak 
the oracles of God. For as we are to deliver sound doctrine 
and nothing else. Tit. i. 9. so we are to use sound speech that 
cannot be condemned ; Tit. ii. 7, 8. (4.) Hereunto also be- 
longs that authority which accompanieth the delivery of the 


word when preached in demonstration of these spiritual 
abilities. For all these things are necessary, that the hearers 
may receive the word, not as the word of man, but as it is 
indeed the word of God. 

These are the principal spiritual gifts wherewith the Holy 
Ghost endows the ministers of the church, with respect unto 
the effectual dispensation of the word, or the doctrine of the 
gospel, which is committed unto them. And where they are 
communicated in any such degree as is necessary unto the 
due discharge of that office, they will evidence themselves 
to the consciences of them that do believe. The dispensa- 
tion of the word by virtue of them, though under great va- 
riety from the various degrees wherein they are communi- 
cated, and the different natural abilities of them that do 
receive them, will be sufficiently distinguished and remote 
from that empty, wordy, sapless way of discoursing spi- 
ritual things, which is the mere effect of the wit, fancy, in- 
vention, and projection of men destitute of the saving know- 
ledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the mysteries of the 

The second head of duties belonging unto the minis- 
terial office, respects the worship of God. By the worship 
of God, here I understand only that especial part thereof, 
whereof himself is the immediate object. For, absolutely 
the preaching and hearing of the word is a part of sacred 
worship, as that wherein we act the obedience of faith unto 
the commands of God, and submit ourselves unto his insti- 
tution. And, indeed, as unto those that hear, it is God de- 
claring himself by his word, that is the immediate object of 
their worship. But the dispensation of the word which we 
have considered, is the acting of men upon the authority and 
command of God towards others. But as was said, by that 
we inquire into, I intend that alone whereof God himself was 
the immediate object. Such are all the remaining offices and 
duties of the church, those only excepted which belong to 
its rule. And this worship hath various acts, according to 
the variety of Christ's institutions and the church's occa- 
sions. Yet as to the manner of its performance, it is com- 
prised in prayer. For by prayer we understand all confes- 
sions, supplications, thanksgivings, and praises, that are 
made unto God in the church, whether absolutely, or in the 

VOL. IV. 2 A 


administration of other ordinances, as the sacraments. 
Wherefore, in this duty, as comprehensive of all the sacred 
offices of public worship, as the glory of God is greatly con- 
cerned, so it is the principal act of obedience in the church. 
This then, as to the performance of it, depends either on the 
natural abilities of men, or on the aids and operation of the 
Holy Ghost. By the natural abilities of men, I understand 
not only what they are able of themselves in every instance 
to perform ; but also whatever assistance they may make use 
of, either of their own finding out, or of others. And by the 
aids of the Holy Ghost I intend an especial spiritual gift 
bestowed on men to this purpose. Now, to suppose that the 
whole duty of the church herein should consist in the act- 
ings of men in their own strength and power, without any 
especial assistance of the Holy Spirit, is to exclude the con- 
sideration of him from those things, with respect whereunto 
he is principally promised by our Lord Jesus Christ. But 
what concerneth this gift of the Holy Ghost hath been at 
large handled by itself already, and must not here be again 
insisted on : taking for granted what is therein sufficiently 
confirmed, I shall only add, that those who have not re- 
ceived this gift, are utterly unfit to undertake the office of 
the ministry, wherein it is their duty to go before the church 
in the administration of all ordinances by virtue of these 
abilities. In things civil or secular, it would be esteemed 
an intolerable solecism to call and choose a man to the dis- 
charge of an office or duty, whose execution depended solely 
on such a peculiar faculty or skill, as he who is so called 
hath no interest in, or acquaintance with : and it will one 
day appear to be so also in things sacred and religious, yea, 
much more. 

Thirdly, The rule of the church belongeth unto the 
ministers of it. God hath established rule in the church ; 
Rom. xii. 8. 1 Cor. xii. 28. 1 Tim. v. 17. 1 Thess. v. 12. 
Heb. xiii. 17. I dispute not now of what sort this ministry 
is, nor whether the rule belong unto one sort alone. It is 
enough unto my present design, that it is committed by 
Christ unto the ministers of the church, which are its guides, 
rulers, and overseers. Nor shall I at present inquire into 
the particular powers, acts, and duties, of this rule. I have 
done it elsewhere. I am only now to consider it so far as 


its exercise requireth an especial ministerial gift to be com- 
municated by the Holy Ghost. And in order thereunto 
the things ensuing must be premised : 1. That this rule is 
spiritual, and hath nothing in common with the administra- 
tion of the powers of the world. It hath, I say, no agree- 
ment with secular power and its exercise, unless it be in 
some natural circumstances that inseparably attend rulers 
and ruled in any kind. It belongs unto the kingdom of 
Christ, and the administration of it, which are not of this 
world. And as this is well pleaded by some against those 
who would erect a kingdom for him in the world, and, as 
far as I can understand, of this world, framed in their own 
imaginations unto a fancied interest of their own; so it is 
as pleadable against them who pretend to exercise the rule 
and power of his present kingdom after the manner of the 
potestative administrations of the world. When our Savi- 
our foi'bade all rule unto his disciples after the manner of the 
Gentiles, who then possessed all sovereign power in the 
world, and told them, that it should not be so with them, 
that some should be great and exercise dominion over 
others, but that they should serve one another in love, the 
greatest condescension unto service being required of them 
who are otherwise most eminent ; he did not intend to take 
from them, or divest them of, that spiritual power and au- 
thority in the government of the church which he intended to 
commit unto them,. His design, therefore, was to declare, 
what that authority was not, and how it should not be ex- 
ercised. A lordly or despotical power it was not to be, nor 
was it to be exercised by penal laws, courts, and coercive 
jurisdiction, which was the way of the administration of all 
power among the Gentiles. And if that kind of power and 
rule in the church, which is for the most part exercised in the 
world, be not forbidden by our Saviour, no man living can 
tell what is so. For as to meekness, moderation, patience, 
equity, righteousness, they were more easy to be found in 
the legal administrations of power among the Gentiles, than 
in those used in many churches. But such a rule is signi- 
fied unto them, the authority whereof, from whence it pro- 
ceedeth, was spiritual; its object the minds and souls of men 
only, and the way of whose administration was to consist in 
a humble, holy, spiritual application of the word of God, 

2 A 2 


or rules of the gospel unto them. 2. The end of this rule is 
merely and solely the edification of the church. All the 
power that the apostles themselves had, either in or over the 
church, was but unto their edification ; 2 Cor. x, 8. And 
the edification of the church consists in the increase of faith 
and obedience in all the members thereof, in the subduing 
and mortifying of sin, in fruitfulness in good works, in the 
confirmation and consolation of them that stand, in the 
raising up them that are fallen, and the recovery of them 
that wander, in the growth and flourishing of mutual love 
and peace ; and whatever rule is exercised in the church 
unto any other end, is foreign to the gospel, and tends only 
to the destruction of the church itself. 3. In the way and 
manner of the administration of this rule and government, 
two things may be considered: (1.) What is internal in the 
qualifications of the minds of them by whom it is to be ex- 
ercised. Such are wisdom, diligence, love, meekness, pa- 
tience, and the like evangelical endowments. (2.) What is 
external, or what is the outward rule of it, and this is the 
word and law of Christ alone, as we have elsewhere declared. 
From these things it may appear what is the nature, in 
general, of that skill in the rule of the church, which we as- 
sert to be a peculiar gift of the Holy Ghost. If it were only 
an ability or skill in the canon or civil law, or rules of men ; 
if only an acquaintance with the nature and course of some 
courts proceeding litigiously by citations, processes, legal 
pleadings, issuing in pecuniary mulcts, outward coercions, 
or imprisonments ; I should willingly acknowledge that 
there is no peculiar gift of the Spirit of God required there- 
unto. But the nature of it being as we have declared, it is 
impossible it should be exercised aright without especial as- 
sistance of the Holy Ghost. Is any man of himself sufficient 
for these things ? Will any man undertake of himself to 
know the mind of Christ in all the occasions of the church, 
and to administer the power of Christ in them and about 
them? Wherefore the apostle in many places teacheth that 
wisdom, skill, and understanding to administer the authority 
of Christ in the church unto its edification with faithfulness 
and diligence, are an especial gift of the Holy Ghost; Rom. 
xii. 6. 8. 1 Cor. xii. 28. It is the Holy Ghost which makes 
the elders of the church its bishops or overseers, by calling 


them to their office ; Acts xx. 28. And what he calls any 
man unto, that he furnisheth him with abilities for the dis- 
charge of. And so have we given a brief account of these 
ordinary gifts which the Holy Ghost communicates unto 
the constant ministry of the church, and will do so unto 
the consummation of all things ; having moreover in our 
passage manifested the dependance of the ministry on this 
work of his ; so that we need no addition of pains to de- 
monstrate, that where he goeth not before in the communi- 
cation of them, no outward order, call or constitution is suf- 
ficient to make any one a minister of the gospel. 

There are gifts which respect duties only. Such are 
those which the Holy Ghost continues to communicate unto 
all the members of the church in a great variety of degrees, 
according to the places and conditions which they are in, 
unto their own and the church's edification. There is no 
need that we should insist upon them in particular, seeing 
they are of the same nature with them which are continued 
unto the ministers of the church, who are required to excel 
in them, so as to be able to go before the whole church in 
their exercise. The Spirit of the gospel was promised by 
Christ unto all his disciples, unto all believers, unto the 
whole church, and not unto the guides of it only. To them 
he is so in an especial manner, with respect unto their office, 
power, and duty, but not absolutely or only. As he is the 
Spirit of grace, he quickens, animates, and unites, the whole 
body of the church, and all the members of it, in and unto 
Christ Jesus ; 1 Cor. xii. 12, 13. And as he is the admi- 
nistrator of all supernatural gifts, he furnisheth the whole 
body and all its members with spiritual abilities unto its 
edification; Eph. iv. 15, 16. Col. ii. 19. And without them, 
in some measure or degree ordinarily, we are not able to dis- 
charge our duty unto the glory of God. For, 

1. These gifts are a great means and help to excite and 
exercise grace itself, without which it will be lifeless, and 
apt to decay. Men grow in grace by the due exercise of 
their own gifts in duties. Wherefore, every individual per- 
son on his own account doth stand in need of them with re- 
spect unto the exercise and improvement of grace ; Zech. 
xii. 10. 2. Most men have, it may be, such duties incum- 
bent on them with respect unto others, as they cannot dis- 


charge aright without the especial aid of the Spirit of God 
in this kind. So is it with all them who have families to 
take care of and provide for. For ordinarily they are bound 
to instruct their children and servants in the knowledge of 
the Lord, and to go before them in that worship which God 
requires of them, as Abraham did, the * father of the faithful.' 
And hereunto some spiritual abilities are requisite : for 
iione can teach others more than they know themselves, nor 
perform spiritual worship without some spiritual gifts, un- 
less they will betake themselves unto such shifts as we have 
before on good grounds rejected. 3. Every member of a 
church in order according to the mind of Christ, possesseth 
some place, use, and office, in the body, which it cannot fill 
up unto the benefit and ornament of the whole, without 
some spiritual gift. These places are various, some of 
greater use than others, and of more necessity unto the edi- 
fication of the church, but all are useful in their kind. This 
our apostle disputes at large, 1 Cor. xii. 12 — 20, &-c. All 
believers in due order do become one body by the partici- 
pation of the same Spirit, and union unto the same head. 
Those who do not so partake of the one Spirit, who are not 
united unto the head, do not properly belong to the body, 
whatever place they seem to hold therein. Of those that 
do so, some are as it were an eye, some as a hand, and some 
as a foot : all these useful in their several places, and need- 
ful unto one another. None of them is so highly exalted 
as to have the least occasion of being lifted up, as though 
he had no need of the rest ; for the Spirit distributeth unto 
every one severally as he will, not all unto any one, save 
only unto the head, our Lord Jesus, from whom we all re- 
ceive grace according to the measure of his gift. Nor is 
any so depressed or useless as to say, it is not of the body, 
nor that the body hath no need of it. But every one in his 
place and station concurs to the unity, strength, beauty, and 
growth, of the body, which things our apostle disputes at 
large in the place mentioned. 4. Hereby are supplies com- 
municated unto the whole from the head ; Eph. iv. 15, 16. 
Col. ii. 19. It is of the body, that is, of the church, under 
the conduct of its officers, that the apostle discourseth in 
those places. And the duty of the whole it is to speak the 
truth in love, every one in his several place and station. 


And herein God hath so ordered the union of the whole 
church in itself, unto and in dependance on its head, as that 
through and by not only the supply of every joint, which 
may express either the officers, or more eminent members 
of it ; but the effectual working of every part, in the exer- 
cise of the graces and gifts of the Spirit, doth impart to the 
whole, the body may edify itself, and be increased. Where- 
fore, 5. the Scripture is express, that the Holy Ghost doth 
communicate of those gifts unto private believers, and di- 
rects them in that duty wherein they are to be exercised ; 
1 Pet. iv. 10. Every one, that is, every believer, walking in 
the order and fellowship of the gospel, is to attend unto the 
discharge of his duty, according as he hath received spiritual 
ability. So was it in the church of Corinth ; 1 Cor. i. 5 — 7. 
and in that of the Romans ; chap. xv. 14. as they all of them 
knew that it was their duty to covet the best gifts, which 
they did with success; 1 Cor. xii. 31. And hereon depend 
the commands for the exercise of those duties, which in the 
ability of these gifts received they were to perform. So were 
they all to admonish one another, to exhort one another, to 
build up one another in their most holy faith. And it is the 
loss of those spiritual gifts which hath introduced amongst 

.many an utter neglect of these duties, so as they are scarce 

.heard of among the generality of them that are called Chris- 
tians. But blessed be God, we have large and full experi- 
ence of the continuance of this dispensation of the Spirit in 
the eminent abilities of a multitude of private Christians, 
however they may be despised by them who know them not. 
By some, I confess, they have been abused, some have pre- 
sumed on them beyond the line and measure which they 
have received ; some have been puffed up with them ; some 
have used them disorderly in churches, and to their hurt ; 

.some have boasted of what they have not received; all 
which miscarriages also befel the primitive churches. And 
I had rather have the order, rule, spirit, and practice, of 
those churches that were planted by the apostles, with all 
their troubles and disadvantages, than the carnal peace of 
others in their open degeneracy from all those things. 

II. It remains only that we inquire how men may come 

.unto, or attain a participation of these gifts, whether ministe- 
rial or more private. And unto this end we may observe, 1. 


That they are not communicated unto any by a sudden affla- 
tus, or extraordinary infusion, as were the gifts of miracles 
and tongues, which were bestowed on the apostles and many 
of the first converts. That dispensation of the Spirit is long 
since ceased, and where it is now pretended unto by any, it 
may justly be suspected as an enthusiastic delusion. For 
as the end of those gifts which in their own nature exceed 
the whole power of all our faculties, is ceased, so is their com- 
munication, and the manner of it also. Yet this I must 
say, that the infusion of spiritual light into the mind, which 
is the foundation of all gifts, as hath been proved, being 
wrought sometimes suddenly, or in a short season, the con- 
comitancy of gifts in some good measure is oftentimes 
sudden, with an appearance of something extraordinary, as 
might be manifested in instances of several sorts. 2. These 
gifts are not absolutely attainable by our own diligence and 
endeavours in the use of means, without respect unto the 
sovereign will and pleasure of the Holy Ghost. Suppose 
there are such means of the attainment and improvement of 
them, and that several persons do, with the same measures 
of natural abilities and diligence, use those means for that 
end, yet it will not follow that all must be equally partakers 
of them. They are not the immediate product of our own 
endeavours, no not as under an ordinary blessing upon them. 
For they are -xapiainaTa, arbitrary largesses or gifts, which 
the Holy Spirit worketh in all persons severally as he will. 
Hence we see the different events that are among them who 
are exercised in the same studies and endeavours ; some are 
endued with eminent gifts ; some scarce attain unto any 
that are useful, and some despise them, name and thing. 
There is, therefore, an immediate operation of the Spirit of 
God in the collation of these spiritual abilities, which is un- 
accountable by the measures of natural parts and industry. 
Yet 1 say, 3. That ordinarily they are both attained and in- 
creased by the due use of means suited thereunto, as grace 
is also, which none but Pelagians affirm to be absolutely in 
the power of our own wills. And the naming of these 
means, shall put an issue unto this discourse. 

Among them, in the first place, is required, a due prepa- 
ration of soul by humility, meekness, and teachableness. 
The Holy Spirit taketh no delight to impart of his especial 


gifts unto proud, self-conceited men, to men vainly puffed 
up in their own fleshly minds. The same must be said con- 
cerning other vicious and depraved habits of mind, by which 
moreover, they are oft-times expelled and cast out after they 
have been in some measure received. And in this case I 
need not mention those by whom all these gifts are de- 
spised: it would be a wonder indeed, if they should be 
made partakers of them, or at least, if they should abide with 

Secondly, Prayer is a principal means for their attain- 
ment. This the apostle directs unto, when he enjoins us 
earnestly to desire the best gifts. For this desire is to be 
acted by prayer, and no otherwise. 

Thirdly, Diligence in the things about which these gifts 
are conversant. Study and meditation on the word of God, 
by the due use of means for the attaining a right understand- 
ing of his mind and will therein, is that which I intend. For 
in this course, conscientiously attended unto, it is, that for 
the most part the Holy Spirit comes in, and joins his aid and 
assistance for furnishing of the mind with those spiritual en- 

.Fourthly, The growth, increase, and improvement of 
these gifts depend on their faithful use according as our 
duty doth require. It is trade alone that increaseth talents, 
and exercise in a way of duty that improveth gifts. With- 
out this, they will first wither and then perish. And by a 
neglect hereof are they lost every day, in some partially, in 
some totally, and in some to a contempt, hatred, and blas- 
phemy of what themselves had received. 

Lastly, Men's natural endowments, with elocution, me- 
mory, judgment, and the like, improved by reading, learning, 
and diligent study, do enlarge, set off, and adorn these gifts, 
where they are received. 






The reason of my inscribing the ensuing pleas for 
the authority, purity, and perfection of the Scripture, 
against the pretences of some to the contrary, in these 
days, unto you, is, because some of you value and study 
the Scripture as much as any I know, and it is the ear- 
nest desire of my heart, that all of you would so do. 
Now whereas two things offer themselves unto me, to 
discourse with you by the way of preface, namely, the 
commendation of the Scripture, and an exhortation to 
the study of it, on the one hand ; and a discovery of 
the reproach that is cast upon it, with the various ways 
and means that are used by some for the lessening and 
depressing of its authority and excellency on the other ; 
the former being to good purpose, by one or other al- 
most every day performed, I shall insist at present on 
the latter only ; which also is more suited to discover 
my aim and intention in the ensuing discourses. Now 
herein as I shall, it may be, seem to exceed that pro- 
portion which is due unto a preface to such short dis- 
courses as these following ; yet I know, 1 shall be more 
brief than the nature of so great a matter as that pro- 
posed to consideration doth require. And, therefore, 
aviv TT^ooifiiiov Koi iraOwv, I shall fall upon the subject that 
now lies before me. 

Many there have been, and are, who, through the 
craft of Satan, and the prejudice of their own hearts, 


lying under the power of corrupt and carnal interest, 
have engaged themselves to decr)'^ and disparage that 
excellency of the Scripture which is proper and pecu- 
liar unto it. The several sorts of them are too many 
particularly to be considered, I shall only pass through 
them in general, and fix upon such instances by the way 
as may give evidence to the things insisted on. 

Those who in this business are first to be called to 
an account, whose filth and abominations given out in 
gross, others have but parcelled among themselves, 
are they of the synagogue of Rome. These pretend 
themselves to be the only keepers and preservers of 
the word of God in the world ; the only ' ground and 
pillar of truth.' Let us then a little consider, in the 
first place, how it hath discharged this trust ; for it is 
but equal that men should be called to an account 
upon their own principles ; and those, who, supposing 
themselves to have a trust reposed in them, do mani- 
fest a treacherous mind, would not be one whit better 
if they had so indeed. 

What then have these men done in the discharge 
of their pretended trust? nay, what hath that syna- 
gogue left unattempted ? yea, what hath it left unfi- 
nished, that may be needful to convince it of perfidi- 
ousness ? that says the Scripture was committed to it 
alone ; and would, if it were able, deprive all others of 
the possession of it, or their lives. What Scripture then 
was this, or when was this deed of trust made unto 
them ? The oracles of God, they tell us, committed to 
the Jews under the Old Testament, and all the writino-s 
of the New ; and that this was done from the first 
foundation of the church by Peter, and so on to the 
finishing of the whole canon. What now have they 
not done in adding, detracting, corrupting, forging, 
aspersing those Scriptures to falsify their pretended 
trust ? They add more books to them, never indited 


by the Holy Ghost, as remote from being OeoTrvevffrt, 
wg ovpavoQ iar diro ya'iriQ : SO denying the self-evidencing 
power of that word, which is truly k^ ovpavov, by mix- 
ing it with things 1^ dvOpunrwy, of a human rise and 
spring ; manifesting themselves to have lost the spirit 
of discerning, promised with the word, to abide with 
the true church of God for ever; Isa. lix. 21. They 
have taken from its fulness and perfection, its suffi- 
ciency and excellency, by their Massora, their oral law, 
or verbiwi, a-ypa^ov, their unknown, endless, bottomless, 
boundless treasure of traditions ; that Travo-o^ov (i)dpfia<Dv 
for all their abominations. The Scripture itself, as 
they say, committed to them, they plead, to their eter- 
nal shame, to be in the original languages corrupted, 
vitiated, interpolated, so that it is no stable rule to 
guide us throughout in the knowledge of the will of 
God. The Jews, they say, did it whilst they were 
busy in burning of Christians. Therefore, in the room 
of the originals, they have enthroned a translation that 
was never committed to them, that came into the world 
they know neither how, nor when, nor by whom. So 
that one'' says of its author, ' Si quis percontetur Gallus 
fuerit an Sarmata, Judseus an Christianus, vir an mu- 
lier, nihil habituri sint ejus patroni quod expedite re- 
spondeant.' All this to place themselves in the throne 
of God, and to make the words of a translation au- 
thentic from their stamp upon them, and not from their 
relation unto, and agreement with, the words spoken 
by God himself And yet farther, as if all this were 
not enough to manifest what trustees they have been, 
they have cast off all subjection to the authority of God 
in his word, unless it be resolved into their own ; de- 
nying that any man in the world can know it to be the 
word of God, unless they tell him so ; it is but ink and 
paper, skin of parchment, a dead letter, a nose of wax, 

* Erasmus. 


a Lesbian rule, of no authority unto us at all. O faith- 
ful trustees ! holy mother church ! infallible chair ! can 
wickedness yet make any farther progress ? was it ever 
heard of from the foundation of the world, that men 
should take so much pains, as these men have done, 
to prove themselves faithless, and treacherous in a trust 
committed to them ? Is not this the sum and substance 
of volumes that have even filled the world ; the word 
of God was committed to us alone, and no others ; 
under our keeping it is corrupted, depraved, vitiated ; 
the copies delivered unto us we have rejected, and 
taken up one of our own choice ; nor let any complain 
of us, it was in our power to do worse. This sacred 
depositum had no KpiW^pia, whereby it might be known 
to be the word of God ; but it is upon our credit alone, 
that it passes in the world, or is believed ; we have 
added to it many books upon our own judgment, and 
yet think it not sufficient for the guidance of men, in 
the worship of God, and their obedience they owe unto 
him : yet do they blush ? are they ashamed as a thief 
when he is taken? nay, do they not boast themselves 
in their iniquity? and say, they are sold to work all 
these abominations ? The time is coming, yea, it is at 
hand, wherein it shall repent them for ever, that they 
have lifted up themselves against this sacred grant of 
the wisdom, care, love, and goodness of God. 

Sundry other branches there are of the abomina- 
tions of these men, besides those enumerated ; all 
which may be reduced to these three corrupt and 
bloody fountains : 

1. That the Scripture at best, as given out from 
God, and as it is to us continued, was, and is, but a 
partial revelation of the will of God : the other part of 
it, which how vast and extensive it is no man knows 
(for the Jews have given us their BevrepMatig in their 
Mishna and Gemara ; these kept them locked up in 


the breast, or cliair of their holy father), being re- 
served in their magazine of traditions. 

2. That the Scripture is not able to evince or ma- 
nifest itself to be the word of God, so as to enjoy and 
exercise any authority in his name, over the souls and 
consciences of men ; without an accession of testimony, 
from that combination of politic, worldly-minded men, 
that call themselves the church of Rome. 

3. That the original copies of the Old and New 
Testament are so corrupted (' ex ore tuo, serve nequam') 
that they are not a certain standard and measure of all 
doctrines, or the touch-stone of all translations. 

Now concerning these things you will find some- 
what offered unto your considerations in the ensuing 
discourses ; wherein, I hope, without any great alter- 
cation or disputes, to lay down such principles of truth, 
as that their idol imaginations will be found cast to the 
ground before the sacred ark of the word of God, and 
to lie naked without wisdom or power. 

It is concerning the last of these only, that at pre- 
sent I shall deliver my thoughts unto you ; and that 
because we begin to have a new concernment therein, 
wherewith I shall afterward acquaint you. Of all the 
inventions of Satan to draw off the minds of men from 
the word of God, this of decrying the authority of the 
originals seems to me the most pernicious. At the be- 
ginning of the reformation, before the council of Trent, 
the Papists did but faintly, and not without some 
blushing, defend their vulgar Latin translation. Some 
openly preferred the original before it, as Cajetan,'' 
Erasmus, Vives,'' and others. Yea, and after the coun- 
cil also, the same was done by Andradius,'^ Ferarius,^ 
Arias Montanus,* Masius,^ and others. For those 
who understood nothing but Latin amongst them, and 

^ Prfef. in 5. lib. Mos. ^ In August, de Civit. Dei. lib. 15. cap. 13. 

** Defens. Cone. Trid. lib. 4. * Prolcg. Biblica. f Praef. in Bib. in Lat. et passim. 

S Prajf. in Comment, in Josh. 

VOL. IV. 2 13 


scarcely that, whose ignorance was provided for in the 
council ; I suppose it will not be thought meet that in 
this case we should make any account of them. But 
the state of things is now altered in the world, and the 
iniquity, which first wrought in a mystery, being now 
discovered, casts off its vizard and grows bold ; * nihil 
est audacius istis deprensis.' At first the design was 
managed in private writings, Melchior Canus,** Gu- 
lielmus Lindanus,' Bellarminus,'' Gregorius de Valentia,* 
Leo Castrius,™ Huntlseus," Hanstelius,° with innumera- 
ble others, some on one account, some on another, have 
pleaded that the originals were corrupted ; some of 
them with more impudence than others. Leo Gas- 
trins, as Pineda observes, raves almost, wherever he 
falls on the mention of the Hebrew text. 'Sed is est 
author,'P saith he, ' dum in hujusmodi Ebraizationes in- 
cidit, vix sui compos ; et bono licet zelo, tamen vel ig- 
noratione rerum quarundam, vel vehementiori aliqua 
affectione, extra fines veritatis et modestiae rapitur : et 
si ex hujusmodi tantum unguibus Leonem ilium esti- 
maremus, non etiam ex aliis prseclaris conatibus, aut 
murem aut vulpem censeremus, aut canem aut quiddam 
aliud ignobilius.' Yea Morinus, who seems to be 
ashamed of nothing, yet shrinks a little at this man s 
impudence and folly. ' Apologetici libros,"'' saith he, 
' sex bene longos scripsit, quibus nihil quam Judseorum 
voluntarias et malignas depravationes demonstrare ni- 
titur ; zelo sane pio scripsit Castrius, sed libris He- 
braicis ad tantum opus quod moliebatur parum erat 
instructus.' In the steps of this Castrius, walks Hunt- 
ley, a subtle Jesuit, who, in tlie treatise above cited,"^ 
ascribes the corruption of the Hebrew Bible to the good 

h Loc. Com. lib. 1. cap. 13. ' De opt. Gen. Interpt. lib. 1. '' Lib. 'J. de verb. Dei. 

' Tom. 1. D. h. Q. 3. " De Translat. Sra;. cum Comment, in Isa. 

" Epito. Controv. Contr. 1. c. 8. " Dispiinctio Calum. Casaub. 

P Pined, lib. .5. de Reb. Solom. c. 4. s. 1. n Morin. Exercit. de Sincerit. Exerc.l. c. 3. 

•• Cap. 10. lib. ]. 


providence of God, for the honour of the vulgar Latin. 
But these, w^ith their companions, have had their mouths 
stopped by Reynolds, Whitaker, Junius, Lubbertus, Ri- 
vetus, Chamierus, Gerardus, Amesius, Glassius, Alste- 
dius, Amama, and others. So that a man v^^ould have 
thought this fire put to the house of God had been suf- 
ficiently quenched. But after all the endeavours hi- 
therto used, in the days w^herein we live, it breaks out 
in a greater flame ; they now^ print the original itself, 
and defame it ; gathering up translations of all sorts, 
and setting them up in competition with it. When 
Ximenius put forth the complutensian Bibles, Vatablus 
his, and Arias Montanus those of the king of Spain, 
this cockatrice was not hatched, whose fruit is now 
growing to a flying fiery serpent. It is now but saying 
the ancient Hebrew letters are changed from the Sa- 
maritan to the Chaldean ; the points or vowels, and ac- 
cents, are but lately invented, of no authority, without 
their guidance and direction nothing is certain in the 
knowledge of that tongue ; all that we know of it comes 
from the translation of the LXX, the Jews have cor- 
rupted the Old Testament ; there are innumerable va- 
rious lections both of the Old and New; there are other 
copies differing from those we now enjoy, that are ut- 
terly lost. So that upon the matter, there is nothing 
left unto men, but to choose, whether they will be Pa- 
pists or Atheists. 

Here that most stupendous fabric that was ever 
raised by ink and paper, termed well by a learned man' 
' magnificentissimum illud (quod post homines natos 
in lucem prodiit unquam) opus biblicum ;' I mean the 
Parisian Bibles, is prefaced by a discourse of its erec- 
tor, Michael de Jay, wherein he denies the Hebrew 
text, prefers the vulgar Latin before it, and resolves 
that we are not left to the word for our rule, but to the 

* Edm. Castcl. Prsef. ad Animad. Samar. in Bib, Poly. 

2 B 2 


spirit that rules in their church :' ' pro certo igitur atque 
indubitato apud nos esse debet, vulgatam editionem, 
quae communi catholicse ecclesise lingua circumfertur 
verum esse et genuinum sacrae Scripturse fontem ; banc 
consulendam ubique, inde fidei dogmata repetenda ; ex 
quo insuper consentaneum est, vera ac certissima fidei 
Christianas autographa in Spiritu ecclesiae residere, 
neque ab ejus hostium manibus repetenda. 

' Et certe quamcunque pietatis speciem prsetexunt, 
non religione quapiam, aut sincera in Scripturam sa- 
cram veneratione aguntur ; dum earn unicam, quasi in- 
eluctabileni salutis regulam, usurpant ; neque spiritus 
evangelici veritatem investigare decreverunt ; dum ad 
autographa curiosius recurrentes, ex quibus, praeter 
perplexa quaedam vestigia, vix aliquid superest, vel 
capitales fidei hostes, vel eos qui ecclesiae minus fave- 
rint, de contextuum interpretatione ac germano sacro- 
rum codicum sensu consulunt. Scilicet non alta est 
opportunior via a regio illius itinere secedendi, neque 
in privatarum opinionum placitis blandius possunt ac- 
quiescere, quas velut unicas doctrinae suae regulas sec- 
tari plerunque censuerunt. 

' Apage caecam animorum libidinem, non jam in in- 
stitutionem nostram subsistit litera, sed ecclesiae spi- 
ritus ; neque e sacris codicibus liauriendum quidquam, 
nisi quod ilia communicatum esse nobiscum voluerit.' 
So he, or Morinus in his name ; and if this be indeed 
the true state of things, I suppose lie will very hardly 
convince men of the least usefulness of this great work 
and undertaking. To usher those Bibles into the world, 
Morinus puts fortli his exercitations, entitled, 'Of the Sin- 
cerity of the Hebrew and Greek Text," indeed to prove 
them corrupt and useless. He is now the man amongst 
them that undertakes to defend this cause : in whose 
writings whether there be more of Pyrgopolynices, or 

' Mich, Ic Jny Piiefat. ad opus Bibl. 


Rabshakeh, is uncertain. But dogs that bark loud 
seldom bite deep ; nor do I think many ages have pro- 
duced a man of more confidence and less judgment ; a 
prudent reader cannot but nauseate at all his leaves, 
and the man is well laid open by a learned person of 
his own party." By the way, I cannot but observe, 
that in the height of his boasting, he falls upon his mo- 
ther church, and embraces her to death. Exercit. 1. 
cap. 1. pag. 11. that he might vaunt himself to be the 
first and only discoverer of corruptions in the original 
of the Old Testament, with the causes of them, he falls 
into a profound contemplation of the guidance of his 
church, which being ignorant of any such cause of re- 
jecting the originals, as he hath now informed her of, 
yet continued to reject them, and prefer the vulgar 
Latin before them, 'hie admirare lector,' saith he, ' Dei 
spiritum ecclesiae praesentissimum, illam per obscura, 
perplexa, et invia quseque, inoffenso pede agentem : 
quanquam incognita esset Rabbinorum supina negli- 
gentia, portentosa ignorantia, faedaque librorum Judai- 
corum corruptela, et Hgeretici contraria his magna ver- 
borum pompa audacter jactarent ; adduci tamen non 
potuit ecclesia, ut versio, qua sola per mille fere et 
centum annos usa fuerit, ad normam et amussim He- 
brsei textus iterum recuderetur.' But is it so indeed, 
that their church receives its guidance in a stupid bru- 
tish manner, so as to be fixed obstinately on conclu- 
sions, without the least acquaintance with the pre- 
mises ? it seems she loved not the originals, but she 
knew not why ; only she was obstinate in this, that she 
loved them not. 1. If this be the state with their 
church, that when it hath neither Scripture, nor tradi- 
tion, nor reason, nor new revelation, she is guided she 
knows not how, as Socrates was by his demon, or by 
secret and inexpressible species of pertinacy aad stub- 

" Simeon de Muys Defens. sine. Text. Heb. 


bornness falling upon her imagination ; I suppose it 
will be in vain to contend with her any longer. For 
my own part I must confess, that I shall as soon be- 
lieve a poor deluded fanatical Quaker, pretending to be 
guided by an infallible spirit, as their pope with his 
whole conclave of cardinals, upon the terms here laid 
down by Morinus. 

But, to let these men pass for a season, had this 
leprosy kept itself within that house which is tho- 
roughly infected, it had been of less importance ; it is 
but a farther preparation of it for the fire. But it is 
now broken forth among Protestants also, with what 
designs, to what end or purpose, I know not, 0fo(,- oTSc 
'God knows,' and the day will manifest. To declare at 
large how this is come about, ' longa esset historia,' 
too long for me to dwell upon, some heads of things I 
shall briefly touch at. It is known to all, that the re- 
formation of religion, and restoration of good learning, 
were begun, and carried on at the same time, and 
mostly by the same persons. There was indeed a tri- 
umvirate among the Papists of men excellently skilled 
in rabbinical learning before the Reformation. Ray- 
mundus Martinus, Porchetus de Sylvaticis, and Petrus 
Galatinus, are the men ; of the which, the last dedi- 
cated his book to Maximilian the Emperor, after that 
Zuinglius and Luther had begun to preach. Upon 
the matter these three are but one : great are the dis- 
putes, whether Galatinus stole his book from Raymun- 
dus or Porchetus ; from Porchetus, saith Morinus, and 
calls his work * plagium portentosum, cui vix simile 
unquam factum est:' Exerc. 1. cap. 2. from Raymun- 
dus, saith Scaliger, Epist. 2. 41. mistaking Raymun- 
dus Martinus for Raymundus Sebon, but giving the 
first tidings to the world of that book. From Ray- 
mundus also, saith Josephus de Voysin in his pro- 
legomena to the ' Pugio fidei,' and from him Hornebeck 


in his Proleg. ad Judae. I shall not interpose in this 
matter, the method of Galatinus and his style are pe- 
culiar to him, but the coincidence of his quotations too 
many to be ascribed to common accident. That Por- 
chetus took his ' Victoria adversus impios Judaeos' for 
the most part from Raymundus, himself confesseth in 
his preface. However, certain it is Galatinus had no 
small opinion of his own skill, and therefore, accord- 
ing to the usual way of men, who have attained, as 
they think, to some eminency in any one kind of learn- 
ing, laying more weight upon it than it is able to bear, 
he boldly affirms, that the original of the Scripture is 
corrupted, and not to be restored but by the Talmud ; 
in which one concession he more injures the cause he 
pleads for against the Jews, than he advantageth it 
by all his books beside. Of his K'>t-i >^J of Rabbena 
Haskadosh there is no more news as yet in the world, 
than what he is pleased to acquaint us withal. At the 
same time Erasmus, Reuchlin, Vives, Xantes, Pagni- 
nus, and others, moved effectually for the restoration 
of the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. But the work prin- 
cipally prospered in the hands of the first reformers, 
as they were all of them generally skilled in the He- 
brew, so some of them, as Capito, Bibliander, Fagius, 
Munster, to that height and usefulness, that they may 
well be reckoned as the fathers and patriarchs of that 
learning. At that time lived Elias Levita, the most 
learned of the Jews of that age, whose grammatical 
writings were of huge importance in the studying of 
that tongue. This man as he was acquainted with 
many of the first reformers, so he lived particularly 
with Paulus Fagius, as I have elsewhere declared. Now 
in one book, which in those days he published, called 
Massoreth, Hammasoreth, he broached a new opinion, 
not much heard of, at least not at all received among 
the Jews, nor for aught that yet appears, once men- 


tioned by Christians before, namely, that the points or 
vowels, and accents used in the Hebrew Bible, were in- 
vented by some critical Jew or Massorite, living at Tibe- 
rias about five or six hundred years after Christ: no doubt 
the man's aim was to reduce the world of Christians 
to a dependance on the ancient rabbins, for the whole 
sense of the Scripture, ' Hinc prima mali labes.' Here 
lies the first breach in this matter. The fraud being not 
discovered, and this opinion being broached and con- 
firmed by the great and almost only master of the lan- 
guage of that age, some even of the first reformers em- 
braced his fancy. Perhaps Zuinglius had spoken to 
it before : justly I know not. After a while the poison 
of this error beginning to operate, the Papists waiting 
on the mouths of the reformers, like the servants of 
Benhadad on Ahab, to catch at every word that might 
fall from them to their advantas^e, beo^an to make use 
of it. Hence Cochlagus, lib. de Auth. Scripturse, cap. 
5. applauds Luther, for saying the Jews had corrupted 
the Bible with points and distinctions, as well he 
might, for nothing could be spoken more to the advan- 
tage of his cause against him. Wherefore, other learned 
men began to give opposition to this error, so did 
Munster, Junius, and others, as will be shewn in the 
ensuing discourse. Thus this matter rested for a sea- 
son. The study of the Hebrew tongue and learning 
being carried on, it fell at length on him who un- 
doubtedly hath done more real service for the promo- 
tion of it, than any one man whatever, Jew or Chris- 
tian. I mean Buxtorfius the elder ; his Thesaurus 
Grammaticus, his Tiberias, or Commentarius Massore- 
thicus, his Lexicons andConcordances, and many other 
treatises, whereof some are not yet published, evince 
this to all the world. Even Morimus saith, that he is 
the only man among Christians, that ever thoroughly 
understood the Massora ; and Simeon de Muys ac- 


knowledgetli his profiting by him, and learning from 
him ; other Jews who undertake to be teachers, know 
nothing but what they learn of him. To omit the tes- 
timony of all sorts of learned men, giving him the pre- 
eminence in this learning, it may suffice that his 
works praise him. Now this man in his Tiberias, 
or Commentarius Massorethicus, printed with the 
great Rabbinical Bible of his own correct setting forth 
at Basil, An. 1620, considereth at large this whole 
matter of the points, and discovereth the vanity of 
Elias's pretension about the Tiberian Massorites. But 
we must not, it seems, rest here : within a few years 
after, to make way for another design, which then he 
had conceived, Ludovicus Capellus published a dis- 
course in the defence of the opinion of Elias (at least 
so far as concerned the rise of the punctuation), under 
the title of 'Arcanum punctationis revelatum.' The 
book was published by Erpenius without the name of 
the author. But the person was sufficiently known ; 
and Rivetus not long after took notice of him, and 
saitli he was his friend, but concealed his name. Isag. 
ad Scr. 1. cap. 8. This new attempt immediately 
pleaseth some. Among others, our learned professor 
Dr. Prideaux reads a public lecture on the vespers of 
our Comitia on that subject; wherein, though he pre- 
faceth his discourse with an observation of the advan- 
tage the Papists make of that opinion of the novelty of 
the points, and the danger of it, yet upon the matter he 
falls in wholly with Capellus, though he name him 
not. Among the large encomiums of himself, and his 
work, printed by Capellus in the close of his Critica 
Sacra, there are two letters from one Mr. Eyre here in 
England, in one whereof he tells him, that without 
doubt the doctor read on that subject by the help of 
his book, as indeed he useth his arguments, and quotes 
his treatise, under the name of Sud Hanisebhoth Ha- 


naegalah. But that, I say, which seems to me most 
admirable in the doctor's discourse is, that whereas he 
had prefaced it with the weight of the controversy he 
had in hand, by the advantage the Papists make of the 
opinion of the novelty of the points, citing their words 
to that purpose, himself in the body of his exercitations 
falls in with them, and speaks the very things which 
he seemed before to have blamed. And by this means 
this opinion, tending so greatly to the disparagement of 
the authority of the originals, is crept in amongst Pro- 
testants also. Of the stop put unto its progress by the 
full and learned answer of Buxtorfius the younger (who 
alone in this learning, in this age, seems to answer his 
father's worth) unto Capellus, in his discourse, ' de ori- 
gine et antiquitate Punctorum,' I shall speak more af- 
terward. However it is not amiss fallen out that the 
masters of this new persuasion are not at all agreed 
among themselves. Capellus would have it easy to 
understand the Hebrew text, and every word, though 
not absolutely by itself, yet as it lies in its contexture, 
though there were no points at all. Morinus would 
make the language altogether unintelligible on that ac- 
count ; the one saith, that the points are a late inven- 
tion of the Rabbins, and the other, that without them, 
the understanding of the Hebrew is iv tmv adwdriov, yet 
though they look divers ways, there is a firebrand be- 
tween them. But we have this brand brought yet 
nearer to the church's bread-corn, in the prolegomena 
to the Biblia Polyglotta, lately printed at London. The 
solemn espousal of this opinion of the Hebrew punctua- 
tion, in that great work, was one chief occasion of the 
second discourse, as you will find it at large declared 
in the entrance of it. I dare not mention the desperate 
consequences that attend this imagination, being af- 
frighted, among other things, by a little treatise lately 
sent me (upon the occasion of a discourse on this sub- 


ject) by my worthy and learned friend Dr. Ward, en- 
titled ' Fides divina,' wherein its author, whoever he be, 
from some principles of this nature, and unwary ex- 
pressions of some learned men amongst us, labours to 
eject, and cast out as useless, the whole Scripture or 
word of God. I should have immediately returned an 
answer to that pestilent discourse, but that upon con- 
sideration, I found all his objections obviated or an- 
swered in the ensuing treatises, which were then 
wholly finished. And this, as I said, was the first way 
whereby the poison of undervaluing the originals crept 
in among Protestants themselves. 

Now, together with the knowledge of the tongues, 
the use of that knowledge in critical observations, did 
also increase. The excellent use of this study and 
employment, with the fruits of it in the explanation of 
sundry difficulties, with many other advantages, can- 
not be easily expressed. But as the best things are 
apt to be most abused, so in particular it hath fallen 
out with this kind of learning and study. Protes- 
tants here also have chiefly managed the business. 
Beza, Camerarius, Scaliger, Casaubon, Drusius, Go- 
mams, Usher, Grotius, Hensius, Fuller, Dieu, Mede, 
Camero, Glasius, Capellus, Amama, with innumerable 
others, have excelled in this kind. But the mind of 
man being exceedingly vainglorious, curious, uncer- 
tain, after a door to reputation and renown, by this 
kind of learning, was opened in the world, it quickly 
spread itself over all bounds and limits of sobriety. 
The manifold inconveniences, if not mischiefs, that 
have ensued on the boldness and curiosity of some in 
criticising the Scripture, I shall not now insist upon ; 
and what it might yet grow unto, I have often heard 
the great Usher expressing his fear. Of the success 
of Grotius in this way we have a solid account weekly 
in the lectures of our learned professor, which, I hope, 


he will in due time benefit the public withal. But it 
is only one or two things that my present design calls 
me upon to remark. 

Among other ways that sundry men have fixed on 
to exercise their critical abilities, one hath been the 
collecting of various lections both in the Old Testa- 
ment and New. The first and most honest course fixed 
on to this purpose, was that of consulting various co- 
pies, and comparing them among themselves, wherein 
yet there were sundry miscarriages, as I shall shew in 
the second treatise. This was the work of Erasmus, 
Stephen, Beza, Arias Montanus, and some others, some 
that came after them finding this province possessed, 
and no other world of the like nature remainino" for 
them to conquer, fixed upon another way, substituting 
to the service of their design, as pernicious a principle, 
as ever I think was fixed on by any learned man since 
the foundation of the church of Christ, excepting only 
those of Rome. Now this principle is that, upon many 
grounds, which some of them are long in recounting : 
there are sundry corruptions crept into the originals, 
which by their critical faculty, with the use of sundry 
engines, those especially of the old translations, are to 
be discovered and removed. And this also receives 
countenance from these prolegomena to the Biblia 
Polyglotta, as will afterward be shewn and discussed. 
Now this principle being once fixed, and a liberty of 
criticising on the Scripture, yea, a necessity of it, thence 
evinced, it is inconceivable what springs of correc- 
tions and amendments rise up under their hands. Let 
me not be thought tedious if I recount some of them 
to you. 

1. It is known that there is a double consonancy 
in the Hebrew consonants among themselves ; of some 
in fio'ure that are unlike in sound, of some in sound 
that are unlike in figure, of the first sort are 3 and d, 3 


and J, ' and i, i and r, r and \, l and n, o and D, O and D, n 
and n, n and n, y and 2f ; of the latter are D and p, N and ;r, D 
and w, ) and n, y and ]. Now this is one principle of our 
new critics, that the scribes of the Bible were some- 
times mistaken by the likeness of the letters, in respect 
of figure, sometimes by their likeness in respect of 
sound ; and so remembering the words they wrote, 
oftentimes put one for another ; so that whether they 
used their eyes or their memories, they failed on one 
hand or another, though the Jews deny any copy 
amongst them to be written but exactly by pattern, or 
that it is lawful for a man to write one word in a copy, 
but by pattern, though he could remember the words 
of the whole Bible : now whereas the signification of 
every word is regulated by its radix, it often falls out, 
that in the formation and inflexion of words, by rea- 
son of letters that are defective, there remains but one 
letter of the radix in them, at least that is pronounced : 
how frequent this is in this tongue, those who have 
very little skill in it, may guess by only taking a view 
of Probenius's Bible, wherein the radical letters are 
printed in a distinct character, from all the prefixes 
and affixes in their variations. Now if a man hath a 
mind to criticise and mend the Bible, it is but takino- 
his word, or words, that he will fix upon, and try what 
they will make by the commutation of the letters that 
are alike in figure and sound. Let him try what 3 will 
do in the place of ^ or on the contrary ; which as they 
are radical, or as they are prefixed, will sufficiently 
alter the sense ; and so of all the rest mentioned. If 
by this means any new sense that is tolerable, and 
pleaseth the critic, doth emerge, it is but saying the 
scribe was mistaken in the likeness of the letters, or in 
the aflfinity of the sound, and then it is no matter, 
though all the copies in the world agree to the con- 
trary, without the least variation. It is evident that 


this course hath stood Capellus and Grotius in very 
good stead. And Simeon de Muys tells us a pretty 
story of himself to this purpose; de Heb. Edit. Antiq. 
et Verit. S. S. Yea, this is the most eminent spring of 
the criticisms on the Old Testament, that these times 
afford : a thousand instances might be given to this 

2. But in case this course fail, and no relief be af- 
forded this way, than the transposition of letters offers 
its assistance ; those who know any thing in this lan- 
guage, know what alteration in the sense of words 
may be made by such a way of procedure, frequently 
words of contrary senses, directly opposite, consist only 
of the same letters diversly placed. Every lexicon 
will supply men with instances, that need not to be 
here repeated. 

3. The points are taken into consideration ; and 
here bold men may even satisfy their curiosity. That 
word, or those three letters 121 are instanced by Je- 
rome to this purpose ; Horn. 9. 12. as it may be print- 
ed it will afford eio^ht several senses ; "I^T is verbiwi, 

O " T T ^ 

and lyj is pestis; as far distant from one another as life 
and death ; those letters in that order may be read with 
... .. and T T and _ ^ and .. . and , _, the Jews give in- 
stances how by this means, men may destroy the world. 

4. Suppose that this ground proves barren also, it 
is but going to an old translation, the LXX, or vul- 
gar Latin, and where any word likes us, to consider 
what Hebrew word answers unto it, and if it discovers 
an agreement in any one letter, in figure or sound, with 
the word in that text, then to say that so they read in 
that copy ; yea, rather than fail, be the word as far dif- 
ferent from what is read in the Bible as can be ima- 
gined, aver it to yield the more convenient sense, and 
a various lection is found out. 


And these are the chief heads and springs of the 
criticisms on the Old Testament, which, with so great 
a reputation of learning, men have boldly obtruded on 
us of late days. It is not imaginable what prejudice 
the sacred truth of the Scripture, preserved by the in- 
finite love and care of God, hath already suffered here- 
by, and what it may farther suffer for my part, I can- 
not but tremble to think. Lay but these two principles 
together, namely, that the points are a late invention of 
some Judaical Rabbins (on which account there is no 
reason in the world that we should be bound unto 
them), and that it is lawful to gather various lections by 
the help of translations, where there are no diversities 
in our present copies, which are owned in the prolego- 
mena to the Biblia Polyglotta, and for my part I must 
needs cry out Soc ttov gtm, as not seeing any means of 
being delivered from utter uncertainty in and about all 
sacred truth. Those who have more wisdom and learn- 
ing, and are able to look through all the digladiations 
that are likely to ensue on these principles, I hope will 
rather take pains to instruct me, and such as I am, 
than be angry or offended with us, that we are not so 
wise or learned as themselves. In the mean time I de- 
sire those who are shaken in mind by any of the spe- 
cious pretences of Capellus and others, to consider the 
specimen, given us, of reconciling the difficulties, that 
they lay as the ground of their conjectures in tlie mis- 
cellany notes, or exercitations of the learned Mr. Po- 
cock ; as useful and learned a work as is extant in that 
kind, in so few sheets of paper. The dangerous and 
causeless attempts of men, to rectify our present copies 
of the Bible, the reader may there also find discovered 
and confuted. 

But we have not as yet done, there is a new inven- 
tion of Capellus, greatly applauded amongst the men 
of tl\ese opinions. He tells us, lib. 6. c. 10. Crit. Sacr. 


' Planum est omnem quag hodie est in terrarum orbe 
linguae Hebraicae cognitionem servandam tandem esse 
et ascribendam Graecae rwv LXX. Sacrorum Bibliorum 
translationi,' This is greedily taken up by Morinus (as 
nothing could be spoken more to his purpose), who also 
tells us, that the learned prefacer to these Biblia Poly- 
glotta is of the same judgment ; Morin. Praefat. ad 
opusc. Haebr. Samarit. Hereupon he informs us, that 
in the translation of the Pentateuch he went for the 
meaning of sundry words unto Hierome, and the trans- 
lation of the LXX. But it is not unknown to these 
learned persons, that Hierome, whom one of them 
makes his rule, tells us over and over, that notwith- 
standing the translation of the LXX, he had his know- 
ledge of the Hebrew tongue, from the Hebrew itself, 
and the help of such Hebrews, as he hired to his as- 
sistance. And for Capellus, is not that the Helena for 
which he contends, and upon the matter the only foun- 
dation of his sacred work of criticising on the Scrip- 
ture, that there was a succession of learned men of the 
Jews at Tiberias until a hundred years after Hierome, 
who invented the points of the Hebrew Bible, and that 
not in an arbitrary manner, but according to the tradi- 
tion they had received from them who spoke that lan- 
guage in its purity? Shall these men be thought to have 
had the knowledge of the Hebrew tongue from the 
translation of the LXX, Certainly they would not 
then have hated it so, as he informs us they did. But 
this thing is plainly ridiculous. The language gives 
us the knowledge of itself. Considering the helps 
that by Providence have been in all ages, and at all 
times, afforded thereunto, ever since the time wherein 
Capellus says, some knew it so well, as to invent and 
affix the present punctuation, there hath been a succes- 
sion of living or dead masters to farther the knowledge 
of it. And this will not seem strange to them who 


have given us exact translations of the Persian and 
iEthiopic pieces of Scripture. In the oTra^ Xiyojiuva we 
are little assisted by the LXX. The chiefest seeming- 
help unto this tongue is from the Arabic. iVnd thus have 
I given you a brief account, how by the subtilty of Sa- 
tan, tliere are principles crept in, even amongst Protes- 
tants, undermining the authority of the Hebrew verity 
as it was called of old ; wherein Jerusalem hath justi- 
fied Samaria, and cleared the Papists in their reproach- 
ing of the word of God. Of the New Testament I shall 
speak particularly in the second discourse ensuing. 
Morinus, indeed tells us, de Heb. et Grsec. Tex. Sin- 
cerit Exercitat. 1. cap. 1. p. 5. it is a jocular thing that 
the heretics in their disputations do grant, that there 
are corruptions, and various lections in the Greek and 
Latin copies of the Scripture, but deny it as to the 
Hebrew; but why, I pray, is this so ridiculous? It is 
founded on no less stable bottom than this experience, 
that whereas we evidently find various lections in the 
Greek copies which we enjoy, and so grant that which 
ocular inspection evinces to be true ; yet, although 
men discover such virulent and bitter spirits against 
the Hebrew text, as this Morinus doth, calling all men 
fools or knaves that contend for its purity, yet they are 
none of them able to shew out of any copies yet extant 
in the world, or that they can make appear ever to 
have been extant, that ever there were any such various 
lections in the orio-inals of the Old Testament. And is 
there any reason that we should be esteemed ridicu- 
lous, because believing our own eyes, we will not also 
believe the testimony of some few men of no credit 
with us, asserting that for truth, which we have abun- 
dant cause to believe to be utterly false ; but of these 
men so far, 

I thought, at the entrance of my discourse, to have 
also insisted on some other ways, whereby Satan in 

VOL. IV. 2 c 


these days assaults the sacred truth of the word of God 

in its authority, purity, integrity, or perfection ; espe- 
cially in the poor, deluded, fanatical souls amongst us, 
commonly called Quakers ; for the instruction of the 
younger sort, against whose abominations I have sub- 
joined the theses in the close of the other treatises. 
But I am sensible how far already I have exceeded the 
bounds of a preface, unto so small treatises as these 
ensuing ; and, therefore, giving a brief account of my 
undertakings in this cause of God and his word, for the 
vindication of the authority and integrity of it, I shall 
put a close to this discourse. 

It may be, some of you have heard me professing my 
unwillingness to appear any more in the world this 
way. I have not in some things met with such pleas- 
ing entertainment, as to encourage me unto it : where 
I have been for peace, others have made themselves 
ready for war. Some of them, especially one ° of late, 
neither understandins; me, nor the thing's that he writes 
about, but his mind for opposition was to be satisfied. 
This is the manner of not a few in their writings; they 
measure other men by their own ignorance, and what 
they know not themselves, they think is hid to others 
also; hence when anything presents itself new to their 
minds, as though they were the first that knew, what 
they then first know, and which they have only an ob- 
scure glimpse of, they rest not until they have pub- 
lished it to their praise. Such are the discourses of 
that person, partly trivial, partly obviated and render- 
ed utterly useless to his purpose by that treatise, which 
he ventured weakly to oppose. I wish I could prevail 
with those, whose interest compels them to choose ra- 
ther to be ignorant than to be taught by me, to let my 
books alone. Another," after two or three years con- 
sideration, in answer to a book of near a hundred and 

» M. G. F. ° Mr. I. G. 


forty sheets of paper, returns a scoffing reply to so 
much of it, as was written in a quarter of an hour. I 
am, therefore, still minded to abstain from such en- 
gagements. And I think I may say if there were less 
writing by some, there would be more reading by 
others, at least to more purpose. Many books full of 
profound learning lie neglected, whilst men spend 
their time on trifles ; and many thino-s of o-reat worth 
are suppressed by their authors, whilst things of no 
value are poured out, one on the neck of another. 
One of yourselves, P I have often solicited for the pub- 
lishing of some divinity lectures, read at solemn times 
in the University, which, if I know aught, are, to say 
no more, worthy of public view. I yet hope a short 
time will answer my desire and expectation. Of my 
present undertaking there are three parts. The first is 
a subject that having preached on, I was by many 
urged to publish my thoughts upon it, judging it 
might be useful : I have answered their requests. What 
I have performed through the grace of Christ in the 
work undertaken, is left to the judgment of the godly 
learned reader. The second concerns the prolego- 
mena and appendix to the late Biblia Polyglotta : of 
this I said often, ' Ab alio quovis hoc fieri mallem, 
quam a me, sed a me tamen potius quam a nemine.' 
The reasons of my engaging in that work are declared 
at large in the entrance of it. The theses in the close 
were drawn in by their affinity in subject to the other 
discourses, and to complete the doctrine of the Scrip- 
ture concerning the Scripture, I endeavoured to com- 
prise in them the whole truth about the word of 
God, as to name and thing opposed by the poor fa- 
natical Quakers, as also to discover the principles 
they proceed upon in their confused opposition to that 
truth . 

P Dr. Henry Wilkinson, public reader of divinity i" the rniver>itv. 

2 c 2 

ccclxxxviii the epistle dedicatory. 

I have no more to add, but only begging I may 
have the continuance of your prayers, and assistance in 
your several stations, for the carrying on the w^ork of 
our Lord and Master in this place committed unto us, 
that I may give my account w^ith joy and not with 
grief, to him that stands at the door, I commend you to 
the powerful word of his grace ; and remain. 

Your fellow-labourer and brother, 

in our dear Lord Jesus, 

J. O. 

From my Study, 
September '2'2, 1658. 








The divine original of the ScriptU7-e, the sole foundation of its authority. 
The original of the Old Testament; Heb. i. 11. Several ways of imme- 
diate revelation. The peculiar manner of the revelation of the word. Con- 
siderations thereon. Various expressions of that way ; 2 Pet. i. 20, 21. 
The written word, as written, preserved by the providence of God. Ca- 
pellus's opinion about various lections considered. The Scripture not iSiag 
sTTiXvcTiojQ. The true meaning of that expression. How the word came 
of old, and how it was received. Entirely from God to the least tittle. Of 
the Scriptures of the New Testament and their peculiar prerogative. 

That the whole authority of the Scripture in itself, depends 
solely on its divine original, is confessed by all who acknow- 
ledge its authority. The evincing and declaration of that 
authority, being the thing at present aimed at; the discovery 
of its divine spring and rise, is, in the first place, necessarily 
to be premised thereunto. That foundation being once laid, 
we shall be able to educe our following reasons and argu- 
ments, wherein we aim more at weight than number, from 
their own proper principles. 

As to the original of the Scripture of the Old Testament, 
it is said, God spake, TraXai Iv To7g TrpocpriTaig, Heb. i. 1. of 
old, or formerly, in the prophets. From the days of Moses 
the lawgiver, and downwards, unto the consignation aaid 
bounding of the canon delivered to the Judaical church, in 
the days of Ezra and his companions n'pnjn nD3D >i:'3N, the 
' men of the great congregation,' so God spake. This being- 
done only among the Jews, they as his church, eirKTrsv^rjcrav 
TO. \6yia Tov ^eov, Rom. iii. 2. 9. 4. were ' intrusted with the 


oracles of God.' God spake, ev toIc Trpo(p{fTaig ; tv for Sia 
(Chrysostome, Theophilact), in for b^: Sm twv 7rpo(pr}ri'ijv, 'by 
the prophets,' as Luke i. 70. oid aTo^arog rdv ayiwv 7Tpo(priTC)v, 
' by the mouth of the holy prophets;' but there seems to be 
somewhat farther intended in this expression. 

In the exposition, or giving out the eternal counsel of 
the mind and will of God unto men, there is considerable, 
his speaking unto the prophets, and his speaking by them, 
unto us. In this expression, it seems to be that b>J ra or 
filia vocis, that voice from heaven that came to the prophets 
which is understood. So God spake in the prophets, and 
in reference thereunto, there is propriety in that expression, 
Iv TOLQ Trpo<p{iTaig, ' in the prophets,' Thus the Psalms are 
many of them said to be. To this, or that man. nn"? CDDDfi 
'A golden psalm to David;' that is, from the Lord ; and from 
thence their tongue was as the ' pen of a writer;' Psal. xlv. 1. 
So God spake in them, before he spake by them. 

The various ways of special revelation, by dreams, visions, 
audible voices, inspirations, with that peculiar one of the law- 
giver under the Old Testament, called CZ)>3D'^K CD'ID ' face to 
face ;' Exod. xxxiii. 1 1 . Deut. xxxiv. 10. and rtD'^X riD Numb, 
xi. 8. with that which is compared with it, and exalted above 
it (Heb. i. 1 — 3.), in the New, by the Son, Ik koXttou roD wa- 
rpoc, 'from the bosom of the Father;' John i. 17, 18. are 
not of my present consideration, all of them belonging to the 
manner of the thing inquired after, not the thing itself. 

By the assertion then laid down, of God ' speaking in the 
prophets of old,' from the beginning to the end of that long- 
tract of time, consisting of one thousand years, wherein he 
gave out the writings of the Old Testament; two things are 
ascertained unto us, which are the foundation of our present 

1. That the laws they made known, the doctrines they 
delivered, the instructions they gave, the stories they re- 
corded, the promises of Christ, the prophecies of gospel- 
times they gave out and revealed, were not their own, not 
conceived in their minds, not formed by their reasonings, 
not retained in their memories from what they heard, not by 
any means beforehand comprehended by them, 1 Pet. i. 10, 
11. but were all of them immediately from Ood; there 
being only a y)assive concurrence of their rational faculties 


in their reception, without any such active obedience, as by 
any law they might be obliged unto. Hence, 

2. God was so with them, and by the Holy Ghost so spake 
in them, as to their receiving of the word from him, and their 
delivering of it unto others, by speaking or writing, as that 
they were not themselves enabled by any habitual light, know- 
ledge, or conviction of truth, to declare his mind and will, 
but only acted, as they were immediately moved by him. 
Their tongue in what they said, or their hand in what they 
wrote, was IDID IDi^ no more at their own disposal, than the 
pen is, in the hand of an expert writer. 

Hence, as far as their own personal concernments, as 
saints and believers, did lie in them, they are said Iptvvav, to 
make a diligent inquiry into, and investigation of, the things 
which kSi]\ov TO tv avTo7<; irviv/ia ■)(pi(TTov, the ' Spirit of Christ, 
that spake in themselves did signify ;' 1 Pet. i. 10, 11. With- 
out this, though their visions were express, so that in them 
their eyes were said to be open; Numb. xxiv. 3, 4. yet they 
understood them not. Therefore, also, they studied the 
writings and prophecies of one another ; Dan. ix. 2. Thus 
they attained a saving, useful, habitual knowledge of the 
truths delivered by themselves and others, by the illumina- 
tion of the Holy Ghost, through the study of the word, even 
as we ; Psal. cxix. 104. But as to the receiving of the word 
from God, as God spake in them, they obtained nothing by 
study or meditation, by inquiry or reading ; Amos vii. 15. 
Whether we consider the matter or manner of what they re- 
ceived and delivered, or their receiving and delivering of it, 
they were but as an instrument of music, giving a sound 
according to the hand, intention, and skill of him that 
strikes it. 

This is variously expressed. Generally it is said n*r\ "i2*l 
The 'word was' to this or that prophet, which we have ren- 
dered, 'the word came' unto them. Ezek. i. 3. "im nin irn it 
'came expressly ;' 'essendo fuit;' it had a subsistence given 
unto it, or an effectual in-being, by the Spirit's entering into 
him ; ver. 14. Now this coming of the word unto them, 
had oftentimes such a greatness and expression of the ma- 
jesty of God upon it, as it filled them with dread and reve- 
rence of him ; Hab. iii. 16. and also greatly affected even 
their outward man; Dan. viii. 27. But this dread and ter- 


ror (which Satan strove to imitate in his filthy tripodes, and 
tyyacrT^il.iv^oi), was peculiar to the Old Testament, and be- 
longed to the psedagogy thereof; Heb. xii. 18 — 21. The 
Spirit, in the declaration of the New Testament, gave out his 
mind and will in a way of more liberty and glory ; 2 Cor. iii. 
The expressness and immediacy of revelation was th^ same; 
but the manner of it related more to that glorious liberty 
in fellowship and communion with the Father, whereunto 
believers had then an access provided them by Jesus Christ ; 
Heb. ix. 8. x. 19, 20. xii. 23, 24. So our Saviour tells his 
apostles, Matt. x. 20. ouk vfiug eo-tI ol \aXovvTtQ ; ' you are 
not the speakers' of what you deliver, as other men are, the 
figment and imagination of whose hearts are the fountain of 
all that they speak ; and he adds this reason, to yap irvivfxa 
Tov TTciTpog TO XuXovv kv vjXiv \ ' The Spirit of the Father is he 
that speaketh in you.' Thus the word that came unto them 
was a book which they took in and gave out without any al- 
teration of one tittle or syllable; Ezek. ii. 8 — 11. iii. 3. 
Rev. X. 9-11. 

Moreover, when the word was thus come to the prophets, 
and God had spoken in them, it was not in their power to 
conceal it, the hand of the Lord being strong upon them. 
They were not now only on a general account to utter the 
truth they were made acquainted withal, and to speak the 
tilings they had heard and seen, which was their common 
preaching-work, according to the analogy of what they had 
received ; Acts iv. 20. but also the very individual words 
that they had received, were to be declared. When the word 
was come to them, it was as a fire within them, that must be 
delivered, or it would consume them; Psal. xxxix. 3. Jer. 
XX. 9. Amos iii. 8. vii. 15, 16, So Jonah found his attempt 
to hide the word that he had received to be altogether vain. 

Now, because these things are of great importance, and 
the foundation of all that doth ensue ; namely, the discovery 
that the word is come forth unto us from God, without the 
least mixture or intervenience of any medium obnoxious to 
fallibility (as is the wisdom, truth, integrity, knowledge, and 
memory, of the best of all men), I shall farther consider it 
from one full and eminent declaration thereof, given unto us, 
2 Pet. i. 20, 2 1 . The words of the Holy Ghost are, ToSro irpw- 
Tov yivcocfKovTig, oTi TTOCTo Trpo(ptiTiia ypa(j}ti(;, iSiag iiriXvatbjg oo 


yiverai' ov yap ^tXijfian uv^^wttov r/vt^vTj ttotI Trpo^rjreta, uXX 
VTTo irvtvfxaroq uyiov (pzpojxivoi iXakricrav ol ayioi ^eoi) av^pcoirot. 
' Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any 
private interpretation ; for the prophecy came not in old 
time by the will of man, but holy men of God spake as they 
were moved by the Holy Ghost.' 

That which he speaks of is, TTjOo^rjTtta ypatprig; the 'pro- 
phecy of Scripture,' or written prophecy. 

There were then traditions among the Jews, to whom 
Peter wrote, exalting themselves into competition with the 
written word, which not long after got the title of an oral 
law, pretending to have its original from God. These the 
apostle tacitly condemns ; and also shews under what for- 
mality he considered that, which, ver. 19. he termed Xoyoc 
Trpofl>y]TiKog, the * word of prophecy ;' namely, as written. The 
written word, as such, is that whereof he speaks. Above 
fifty times is i) ypa^i], or al ypacpaX, in the New Testament, pu t 
absolutely for the word of God. And nDD is so used in the 
Old, for the word of prophecy ; 2 Chron. xxi. 12. It is the 
ri ypa(f)i), that is, ^eoirvtvaTog, 2 Tim. iii. 16. The writing, or 
word written, is by inspiration from God. Not only the 
doctrine in it, but the ypa<l>i) itself, or the doctrine as written, 
is so from him. 

Hence, the providence of God hath manifested itself no 
less concerned in the preservation of the writings, than the 
doctrine contained in them. The writing itself being the 
product of his own eternal counsel for the preservation of the 
doctrine, after a sufficient discovery of the insufficiency of 
all other means for that end and purpose. And hence, the 
malice of Satan hath raged no less against the book, tljan 
the truth contained in it. The dealings of Antiochus under 
the Old Testament, and of sundry persecuting emperors un- 
der the New, evince no less. And it was no less crime of 
old to be traditor libri, than to be abnegator Jidei. The re- 
proach o{ chart acea scripta, and membrancc fCoster. Enchirid. 
cap. 1.), reflects on its author. "It is true, we have not the 
AvToypa^a of Moses and the prophets, of the apostles and 
evangelists ; but the airoypaipa which we have, or copies, con- 
tain every iota that was in them. 

a Ha-braea volumiiia nee in una dictioive coiTii]>ta iiivenies. Sant. Pag. lino, iv « 
fxia Kt^aia ov fxh TrapeXfli, JVIatt. v. 18. 


It is no doubt but that in the copies we now enjoy of the 
Old Testament there are some diverse readinos, or various 
lections. The 3'nDi^ np the OHDID ^Ipn'^ The CD'jnDiD '^\^JDV^ 
(for the rnOD are of another nature) the A'arious lections of 
Ben Asher, or Rabbi Aaron the son of Rabbi Moses of the 
tribe of Asher, and Ben Nepthali, or R. Moses the son of 
David of the tribe of Nepthali ; of the east and western Jews, 
which we have collected at the end of the great Bible with 
the Masora, evince it. But yet we affirm that the whole 
word of God, in every letter and tittle, as given from him by 
inspiration, is preserved without corruption. Where there 
is any variety it is always in things of less, indeed of no, im- 
portance.^ God by his providence preserving the whole en- 
tire, suffered this lesser variety to fall out, in or among the 
copies we have, for the quickening and exercising of our di- 
ligence in our search into his word. 

It was an unhappy attempt (which must afterward be 
spoken unto), that a learned man^ hath of late put himself 
upon, namely, to prove variations in all the present ATro^^a^a 
of the Old Testament in the Hebrew tongue, from the copies 
used of old, merely upon uncertain conjectures, and the cre- 
dit of corrupt translations. Whether that plea of his be 
more unreasonable in itself, and devoid of any real ground 
of truth, or injurious to the love and care of God over his 
word and church, I know not, sure I am, it is both in a high 
degree. The translation, especially insisted on by him, is 
that of the LXX. That this translation, either from the mis- 
takes of its first authors (if it be theirs, whose name and 
number it bears), or the carelessness, or ignorance, or worse, 
of its transcribers, is corrupted and gone off from the origi- 
nal in a thousand places twice told, is acknowledged by all 
who know aught of these things. Strange that so corrupt a 
stream should be judged a fit means to cleanse the fountain. 
That such a Lesbian rule should be thought a fit measure to 

•> Reading, in the margin, and writing, in tlie line. 
•^ Correctio scribarura, or the amendment of some small apiculi in eighteen places. 
^ Ablatio scribarum,or a note of the redundancy of i in five places. Vid. Raymond, 
pugio fid. Petrus Galat. lib. 1. cap. 8. 

« Hjebrsei V. T. Codices per universum terrarum orbera, per Europam, Asiam et 
Africam.ubique sibi sunt similes, eoderaque raodo ab omnibus scribunturet leguntur; 
si forte exiguas quasdam apiculorumquorundam ditFerentias excipias, quje ipsje tamen 
nullam varictatcra efficiunt. Buxtorf. Vindic. Ver. Heb. "2, cap. 14. 
f Lud. Capcll. Crit. Sac. 


correct the original by ; and yet on the account hereof, with 
some others not one whit better, or scarce so good, we have 
one thousand eight hundred and twenty-six various lections 
exhibited unto us, with frequent insinuations of an infinite 
number more yet to be collected. It were desirable that 
men would be content to shew their learning-, readins:, and 
diligence, about things where there is less danger in ad- 

Nor is the relief he provides against the charge of bring- 
ing things to an uncertainty in the Scripture, which he found 
himself obnoxious unto, less pernicious than the opinion ho 
seeks to palliate thereby ; although it be since taken up and 
approved by others.^ ' The saving doctrine of the Scripture,''' 
he tells us, 'as to the matter and substance of it, in all things 
of moment it is preserved in the copies of the original, and 
translations that do remain.' 

It is indeed a great relief, against the inconvenience of 
corrupt translations, to consider that although some of them 
be bad enough, yet if all the errors and mistakes that are to 
be found in all the rest, should be added to the worst of all, 
yet every necessary, saving, fundamental truth, would be 
found sufficiently testified unto therein. But to depress the 
sacred truth of the originals, into such a condition, as wherein 
it should stand in need of this apology, and that without 
any colour or pretence from discrepancies in the copies 
themselves that are extant, or any tolerable evidence that 
there ever were any other, in the least differing from these 
extant in the world, will at length be found a work unbe- 
coming a Christian, Protestant divine. Besides the injury 
done hereby to the providence of God towards his church, 
and care of his word, it will not be found so easy a matter, 
upon a supposition of such corruption in the originals as is 
pleaded for, to evince unquestionably that the whole saving 
doctrine itself, at first given out from God, continues entire 
and incorrupt. The nature of this doctrine is such, that 

e Proleg. ad Bibl, Polyglot. 
•' Satis ergo est quod eadem salutaris doctrina quae fuit a Moses, prophetis, ajios- 
tolis et evangelistis in suis a.vroy^a.<poig primum Uteris consignata, eadem omnino pa- 
riter in textibus Grasco et Hebraeo, et in translationibus cum veteribus, turn recenti- 
bus, clare certd et sufficienter inveniatur. Pariter illse cranes una cum textibus 
Graeco et Hebraeo sunt et dici possunt authenticae, sacraj, divinae, diovrvtva-rot — re- 
spectu raateriae, &c. Sunt in Scripturis muita alia non usque adeo scitu necessaria, 
&c. Capel. Critic. Sac. lib. 6. cap. 5. $ 10, 11. 


there is no other principle or means of its discovery, no other 
rule or measure of judging and determining any thing about 
or concerning it, but only the writing from whence it is taken : 
it being wholly of divine revelation, and that revelation 
being expressed only in that writing. Upon any corruption 
then supposed therein, there is no means of rectifying it. It 
were an easy thing to correct a mistake, or corruption, in the 
transcription of any problem, or demonstration of Euclid, 
or any other ancient mathematician, from the consideration 
of the things themselves about which they treat, being al- 
ways the same, and in their own nature equally exposed to 
the knowledge and understanding of men, in all ages. In 
things of pure revelation, whose knowledge depends solely 
on their revelation, it is not so. Nor is it enough to satisfy 
us, that the doctrines mentioned are preserved entire ; every 
tittle and tWa in the word of God, must come under our care 
and consideration, as being as such from God ; but of these 
things we shall treat afterward at large ; return we now to 
the apostle. 

This TTpo^rjrat'a ypa<l>6c, this written prophecy, this Xoyog 
7rpo(f)eTiKog, saithhe, 'loiag kTriXvcmog ov yivtrai ; 'is not of any 
private interpretation.' Some think that iTriXvcreiog is put 
for i7rriXv(T£wg or i-mqXvGiag, which, according to Hesychius, 
denotes afflation, inspiration, conception within ; so Calvin. 
In this sense the importance of the words is the same with 
what I have already mentioned ; namely, that the prophets 
had not their private conceptions, or self-fancied enthu- 
siasms, of the things they spake. To this interpretation as- 
sents Grotius. And iirrjXvcrswQ, for liriXixrewg, is reckoned 
amongst the various lections that are gathered out of him, 
in the appendix to the Biblia Polyglotta. Thus IdUtg IttiXv- 
aewg ov yivtrai, is the other side of that usual expression, 
tirriX^tv Itt ifxe 6 Xoyog, or to ttvevjuo. Camero contends for 
the retaining of lirtXvcnwg ; and justly. We begin a little 
too late to see, whither men's bold conjectures, in correcting 
the original text of the Scriptures, are like to proceed. Here 
is no colour for a various lection ; one copy, it seems by Ste- 
phen, read ^laXvanog ; without ground, by an evident error ; 
and such mistakes are not to be allowed the name or place 
of various readings. But yet, says Camero, tTriXvfftc is such 
a ' resolution' and interpretation as is made by revelation. 


He adds, that in that sense IttiXvbiv is used by the LXX, 
in the business of Joseph's interpretation of Pharaoh's dream. 
Gen. xl. which was by revelation. But indeed the word 
is not used in that chapter. However, he falls in with this 
sense (as do Calvin and Grotius), that iS/'ac tiriXvaeojg, is not 
to be referred to our interpretation of the prophets, but to 
the way and manner of their receiving the counsel and will 
of God. 

And indeed, iSiag iTriXvcrewg ov yiveTai, taking eTriXvmg 
for an interpretation of the word of prophecy given out by 
writing, as our translation bears it, is an expression that can 
scarcely have any tolerable sense affixed unto it ; jlveTai, or 
oi» yivETai, relates here to Trpo<pr]Tiiaypa(prig; and denotes the 
first giving out of its word, not our after consideration of its 
sense and meaning. And without this sense, it stands in no 
coherence with, nor opposition to, the following sentence, 
which by its casual connexion to this, manifests that it ren- 
ders a reason of what is herein affirmed, in the first place ; 
and in the latter, turning with the adversative aXXa, an op- 
position unto it : ov yap Ba\{]fiaTi av^pwirov rivi\6ri ttote tt/oo^j)- 
THa, aXy vTTo TTvevfiaTog ctyiov (j)ep6fxevoL kXaXrjCFav ayioi ^eov 
av^pivTToi' 'for prophecy came not at any time by the will of 
man, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the 
Holy Ghost.' What reason is in the first part of this verse, 
why the Scripture is not of our private interpretation ? or 
what opposition in the latter to that assertion ? Nay on that 
supposal, there is no tolerable correspondency of discourse 
in the whole 7r(pio)(rj. But take the word to express the 
coming of the prophecy to the prophets themselves, and the 
sense is full and clear. 

This then is the intention of the apostle ; the prophecy 
which we have written, the Scripture, was not an issue of 
men's fancied enthusiasms ; not a product of their own 
minds and conceptions, not an interpretation of the will of 
God, by the understanding of man, that is, of the prophets 
themselves ; neither their rational apprehensions, inquiries, 
conceptions of fancy, or imaginations of their heart§, had 
any place in this business ; no self-afflation, no rational me- 
ditation, managed at liberty by the understanding and wills 
of men, had place herein. 

Of this, saith the apostle, tovto irpCoTov, yivioaKOvnc' 


knowing, judging, and determining this in the first place. 
This is a principle to be owned and acknowledged by every 
one that will believe any thing else. FivwaKw is not only to 
know, to perceive, to understand; but also to judge, own, 
and acknowledge. This then, in our religion, is to be owned, 
acknowledged, submitted unto, as a principle, without far- 
ther dispute. To discover the grounds of this submission 
and acknowledgment, is the business of the ensuing dis- 

That this is so indeed, as before asserted, and to give a 
reason why this is to be received as a principle, he adds, 
ver. 21. ou yufi 3'fX?jjLtart dv^ptjwov rjvl\3'r) Trori Trpo<pr)Tda. 
That word of prophecy which we have written, is not tS/ac 
i7rtXw(Tfo»c, ' of private conception,' 'for it came notatany time 
by the will of man.' rivix^n, which is the passive conjuga- 
tion of (pipio from IviyKM, denotes at least to be 'brought in ;' 
more than merely it ' came ;' it Avas brought into them by the 
will of God. The affirmative, as to the will of God, is included 
in the negative, as to the will of man. Or it came as the 
voice from heaven to our Saviour on the mount; ver. 18. 
where the same word is used. So Ezek. i. 3. "iDi rrn r^^n 'es- 
sedo fuit verbum ;' it was brought into him, as was shewed 
before. Thus God brought the word to them, and spake in 
them, in order of nature, before he spake by them. As 
?7V£\vrj, it was brought to them, it was mn> b^p ' the voice of 
the Lord,' Gen. iii. 8. or ^ip D2. as the Jews call it ; as spoken 
by them, or written, it was properly nirt' "ilT ' verbum Dei,' 
' the word of God;' which by his immediate voice he signified 
to the prophets. Thus some of them in visions, first eat a 
written book, and then prophesied, as was instanced before. 
And this is the first spring of the Scripture; the beginning 
of its emanation from the counsel and will of God. By the 
power of the Holy Ghost, it was brought into the organs or 
instruments, that he was pleased to use, for the revelation, 
and declaration of it unto others. 

That which remains for the completing of this dispen- 
sation of the word of God unto us, is added by the apostle ; 

VTTO TTVEVjUOTOC (tJlOV (pipO/UeVOl fXoAtJfTOy 0^(01 S'fOU av^pwTTOi. 

When the word was thus brought to them, it was not left to 
their understandings, wisdoms, minds, memories, to order, 
dispose, and give it out ; but they were borne, acted, carried 


out by the Holy Ghost, to speak, deliver, and write, all that, 
and nothing but that, to every tittle, that w^as so brought to 
them. They invented not words themselves, suited to the 
things they had learned ; but only expressed the words, that 
they received. Though their mind and understanding were 
used in the choice of words, whence arises all the difference, 
that is, in the manner of expression (for they did use >1DT 
Y^n ' words of will,' or choice), yet they were so guided, that 
their words were not their own, but immediately supplied 
unto them ; and so they gave out ^u;* ninD the * writing of 
uprightness,' and nox nm 'words of truth' itself. Eccles. 
xii. 10. Not only the doctrine they taught, was the word of 
truth, truth itself, John xvii. 17. but the words whereby 
they taught it, were words of truth from God himself. Thus 
allowing the contribution of passive instruments for the re- 
ception and representation of words, which answers the mind 
and tongue of the prophets, in the coming of the voice of 
God to them, every apex of the written word is equally di- 
vine, and as immediately from God, as the voice wherewith, 
or whereby, he spake to, or in, the prophets ; and is there- 
fore accompanied with the same authority, in itself and 
unto us. 

What hath been thus spoken of the Scripture of the Old 
Testament, must be also affirmed of the New ; with this ad- 
dition of advantage and pre-eminence, that apxnv sXajSti' 
\aXti(T^ai Sia tov Kvpiov, Heb. ii. 3. ' it received its beginning 
of being spoken by the Lord himself;' God spake in these 
last days, hv rt^ v'lt^, 'in the Son;' Heb, i. 1. 

Thus God, who himself began the writing of the word with 
his own finger, Exod. xxxi. 11. after he had spoken it, Exod. 
XX. appointing or approving the writing of the rest that 
followed ; Deut. xxxi. 12. Josh, xxiii. 6. 1 Kings ii. 3. 
2 Kings xiv. 6. xvii. 13. 1 Chron. xxi. 15. 2 Chron. xxv. 
4. Ezek. ii. 9, 10. Hab. ii. 2. Luke xvi. 29. John v. 
39. XX. 31. Acts xvii. 11. doth lastly command the close 
of the immediate revelation of his will, to be written 
in a book; Rev. i. 11. and so give" out the whole of his 
mind and counsel unto us in writing ; as a merciful and 
stedfast relief, against all that confusion, darkness, and un- 
certainty, which the vanity, folly, and looseness, of the 
minds of men, drawn out and heightened by the unspeak- 


able alterations, that fall out amongst them, would other- 
wise have certainly run into. 

Thus we have laid down the original of the Scriptures, 
from the Scripture itself; and this original is the basis and 
foundation of all its authority. Thus is it from God ; en- 
tirely from him ; as to the doctrine contained in it, and the 
words wherein that doctrine is delivered, it is wholly his ; 
what that speaks, he speaks himself. He speaks in it, and 
by it ; and so it is vested with all the moral authority of 
God over his creatures. 


The main question proposed to consideration. How we may know assuredly 
the Scripture to he the word of God. The Scripture to he received hy 
divine Jaith. The ground and foundation of that faith inquired after. 
The answer in the general thesis of this discourse. The authority of God 
that foundatioji. The way ivherehy that authority is evidenced or made 
hnoivn. What is meant hy the authority of the Scriptures. Authority 
is in respect of others, first general evidence given to the thesis laid 
down. The various ways of God's revealing himself and his mind. I. By 
his works ; 2. By the light of nature ; 3. By his word. Each of these 
evince themselves to he from him. His word especially. 

Having laid in the foregoing chapter, the foundation that 
we are to build and proceed upon, I come now to lay down 
the inquiry, whose resolution must thence be educed. That 
then which we are seeking after is, how we, and the rest of 
men in the world, who through the merciful dispensation of 
God, have the book or books, wherein the Scripture given 
out from him, as above declared, is contained, or said to be 
contained, who live so many ages from the last person who 
received any part of it immediately from God, or who have 
not received it immediately ourselves, may come to be as- 
certained, as to all ends and purposes wherein we may be 
concerned therein, that the whole and entire written word 
in that book, or those books, hath the original, and conse- 
quently the authority, that it pleads and avows; namely, that 
it is i^ ovpavov, and not i^ avOpioTrwv, from God, in the 
way and manner laid down, and not the invention of men, 
attending (T£<TO(piafiivoig fiv^oig, 2 Pet. i. 16. or to 'cunning- 
ly devised fables.' 


Now seeing- it is expected from us, and required of us, 
by God himself, and that on the penalty of his eternal dis- 
pleasiu'e, if we fail in our duty (2 Thess. i. 8 — 10.), that we 
receive the Scripture not as we do other books, in relation 
to their author, with a firm opinion, built on prevailing pro- 
bable arguments, prevalent against any actual conclusions 
to the contrary ; but with divine and supernatural faith, omit- 
ting all such inductions as serve only to ingenerate a per- 
suasion, not to be cast out of the mind by contrary reason- 
ings or objections; it is especially inquired, what is the 
foundation and formal reason of our doing so, if we so do. 
Whatever that be, it returns an answer to this important 
question, — ' Why, or on what account do you believe the 
Scriptures, or books of the Old and New Testament, to be 
the word of God.' Now the formal reason of things being 
but one, whatever consideration may be had of other induce- 
ments, or arguments, to beget in us a persuasion that the 
Scripture is the word of God, yet they have no influence 
into that divine faith wherewith we are bound to believe 
them. They may indeed be of some use to repel the ob- 
jections that are, or may, by any, be raised against the truth 
we believe; and so indirectly cherish and farther faith itself, 
but as to a concurrence unto the foundation, or formal 
reason of our believing, it is not capable of it. 

Having then laid down the divine original of the Scrip- 
tures, and opened the manner of the word's coming forth 
from God, an answer shall now on that sole foundation be 
returned to the inquiry laid down. And this I shall do in 
the ensuing position. 

The authority of God, the supreme Lord of all, the first 
and only absolute truth, whose word is truth, speaking in 
and by the penmen of the Scriptures, evinced singly in and 
by the Scripture itself, is the sole bottom and foundation, 
or formal reason, of our assenting to those Scriptures as his 
word, and of our submitting our hearts and consciences unto 
them, with that faith and obedience, which morally respects 
him, and is due to him alone. 

God, speaking in the penmen of the Scripture, Heb. i, I. 
his voice to them was accompanied with its own evidence, 
which gave assurance unto them ; and God speaking by 
them, or their writings unto us, his word is accompanied 

VOL. IV. 2 D 


with its own evidence, and gives assurance unto us. His 
authority and veracity did and do in the one and the other, 
sufficiently manifest themselves, that men may quietly re- 
pose their souls upon them, in believing and obedience. 
Thus are we built etti tm ^efuXioj rwv aTrooroXtov icot Trpo^rj- 
TU)v, Eph. ii. 20. ' on the foundation of the prophets and 
apostles,' in our believing. 

That then which, to the establishment of the souls of 
believers, I shall labour to prove and evince, is plainly this ; 
namely, that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, 
do abundantly and uncontrollably manifest themselves to 
be the word of the living God ; so that merely on the 
account of their own proposal of themselves vmto us, in the 
name and majesty of God, as such, without the contribution 
of help or assistance from tradition, church, or any thing 
else without themselves, we are obliged upon the penalty of 
eternal damnation (as are all to whom by any means they 
come, or are brought) to receive them, with that subjection 
of soul which is due to the word of God. The authority of 
God shining in them, they afford unto us all the divine evi- 
dence of themselves, which God is willing to grant unto us, 
or can be granted us, or is any way needful for us. So then 
the authority of the written word, in itself and unto us, is 
from itself, as the word of God, and the eviction of that au- 
thority unto us, is by itself. 

When the authority of the Scripture is inquired after, 
strictly its power to command, and require obedience in the 
name of God, is intended. To ask then, whence it hath its 
authority, is to ask, whence it hath its power to command 
in the name of God. Surely men will not say, that the 
Scripture hath its power to command in the name of God 
from any thing but itself. And it is indeed a contradiction 
for men to say. They give authority to the Scriptures. Why 
do they do so ? Why do they give this authority to that 
book rather than another ? They must say. Because it is the 
word of God. So the reason why they give authority unto 
it, is the formal reason of all its authority, which it hath an- 
tecedently to their charter and concession of power ; 6 Xoyog 
6 ao£, aXn^ud torn, John xvii. 17. * Thy word is truth.' 

Some say indeed, that the Scripture hath its authority 
in itself, and from itself, or its own divine original, but not 


quoad nos; not in respect of us ; that it may reach us, that we 
may know, and understand, and submit to its authority, it 
must be testified unto aliunde, from some other person, or 
thing appointed thereunto. 

Ans. 1. But may not this be said of God himself, as well as 
of his word ? If God reveal himself to us, it must be by means, 
and if those means may not be understood to reveal him, 
unless they are testified unto from somewhat else, God can- 
not reveal himself to us. * Si Deushominibus non placuerit, 
utique Deus non erit.' If God and his word, will keep them- 
selves, within themselves, to themselves, they may be God 
and his word still, and keep their authority ; but if they will 
deal with us, and put forth their commands to us, let them 
look that they get the church's testimonials, or on this prin- 
ciple, they may be safely rejected. But, 

2. Authority is a thing that no person or thing can have 
in him, or itself, that hath it not in respect of others. In 
its very nature it relates to others, that are subject unto it. 
All authority arises from relation ; and answers it through- 
out. The authority of God over his creatures, is from their 
relation to him as their Creator. A king's authority is in 
respect of his subjects. And he who hath no subjects 
hath no kingly authority in himself, but is only a stoical 
king. The authority of a minister relates to his flock ; and 
he who hath no flock hath no authority of a minister; if he 
have not a ministerial authority, in reference to a flock, a 
people, a church, he hath none, he can have none in him- 
self. So is it in this case ; if the Scripture hath no autho- 
rity from itself, in respect of us, it hath none in itself, nor 
can have. If it hath it in itself, in hath it in respect of us. 
Such a respect, that is, a right to command and oblige to 
obedience, is as inseparable from authority, or a moral power, 
as heat is from fire. It is true, a man may have, dejia-e, a 
lawful authority over them, whom, de facto, he cannot force 
or compel to obedience. But want of force doth not lessen 
authority. God looseth not his authority over men, though 
he put not forth towards them, virep^aXXov jxiyidog rfjc Suva- 
fiiiiig, or Ivtpydav tov Kparovg Trig Irrj^vog, ' the greatness of 
his power, or the efficacy of the might of his strength,' to 
cause them to obey. It is fond then to imagine, that a man, 
or any thing, should have an authority in himself, or itself, 

2 D 2 

404 now WE Kxovv' the scripture 

and yet not have that authority in respect of them who are 
to be subject thereunto. That is not a law properly at all, 
vhich is not a law to some. Besides, all the evil of diso- 
bedience relates to the authority of him that requires the 
obedience ; James ii. 10, 11. No action is disobedience, 
but from the subjection of him who performs it, unto him 
who requires obedience. And therefore if the Scripture hath 
not an authority in itself, towards us, there is no evil in our 
disobedience unto its commands ; or our not doing Vv'hat it 
commandeth, and our doing what it forbiddeth, is not dis- 
obedience, because it hath not an authority over us ; T speak 
of it as considered in itself, before the accession of the tes- 
timony pretended necessary to give it an authority over us. 
Ilitheito then have we carried this objection. To disobey 
the commands of the Scripture before the compjunication of 
a testimony unto it by men, is no sin ; credat Apella. 

The sense then of our position is evident and clear; and 
so our answer to the inquiry made. The Scripture hath all 
its authority from its author both in itself, and in respect 
of us ; that it hath the author and original pleaded for, it 
declares itself, without any other assistance by the ways 
and means, that shall afterward be insisted on : the truth 
whereof I shall now confirm by one general induction. 2. 
By testimonies. 3. By arguments, expressing the ways and 
means of its revelation of itself. 

There are three ways, whereby God in several degrees 
revealeth himself, his properties, his mind, and will, to the 
sons of men. 

1. He doth it by his works, both of creation and provi- 
dence. ' All thy works praise thee;' Psal. cxlv. 10, &c. ' The 
heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament telleth 
the works of his hands. Day unto day uttereth speech, 
and night unto night declareth knowledge. There is no 
speech or language whei'e their voice is not heard. Their 
line is gone out throughout the earth, and their word to the 
end of the world ;' Psal. xix. 1 — 4, &,c. So Job. xxxvii. 
xxxviii. xxxix. throughout. ' God who made heaven and 
earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein, suffered 
in times past all nations to walk in their own ways ; yet he 
left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and 
gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our 


hearts with food and gladness;' Acts xiv. 15 — 17. And, 
' God that made the world and all things therein, seeing he 
is the Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples 
made with hands, neither is worshipped with men's hands, 
as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth unto all 
life and breath, and all things, and hath made of one blood 
all mankind to dwell on the face of the earth, and assigned 
the seasons which were ordained before, and the bounds of 
their habitations,' tiriTelv tov Kvpiov li apays xpri\a<pi](j£Lav aiiTov 
Koi tvpoiev, * that they should seek the Lord, if haply they 
might feel after him and find him ;' Acts xvii. 24 — 27. 'For, 
that which may be known of God is manifest in them, for, 
God hath shewed it unto them ; for the invisible things of 
him, from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being 
understood by the things that are made, even his eternal 
power and Godhead;' Rom. i. 18 — 20. All which places, God 
assisting, shall be opened before long in another treatise." 
The sum of them amounts to what was before laid down, 
namely, that God reveals and declares himself unto us, by 
the works of his hands. 

2, God declares himself, his sovereign power and authority, 
his righteousness and holiness, by the innate (or ingrafted) 
light of nature, and principles of the consciences of men. 
That indispensable moral obedience, which he requireth of 
us, as his creatures, subject to his law, is in general thus 
made known imto us. For ' the Gentiles which have not the 
law, do by nature the things contained in the law ; they 
having not the law, are a law unto themselves, shewino- the 
work of the law written in their hearts, their consciences 
also bearing witness, and their thoughts in the mean time 
excusing or accusing one another;' Rom. ii. 14, 15. By 
the light that God hath indelibly implanted in the minds of 
men, accompanied with a moral instinct of good and evil, 
seconded by that self-judgment which he hath placed in us, 
in reference to his own over us, doth he reveal himself unto 
the sons of men. 

3. God reveals himself by his word, as is confessed. It 
remains then that we inquire, how we may know, and be as- 
certained that these things are not deceivable pretences, 
but that God doth indeed so reveal himself by them. 

» Dc Natura et Studio Theolociffi. 


First, The works of God, as to what is his will to teach 
and reveal of himself by them, have that expression of God 
upon them, that stamp and character of his eternal power 
and Godhead, that evidence with them that they are his, 
that wherever they are seen and considered, they midenia- 
bly evince that they are so, and that what they teach con- 
cerning him, they do it in his name and authority. There 
is no need of traditions, no need of miracles, no need of the 
authority of any churches to convince a rational creature, 
that the works of God are his, and his only ; and that he is 
eternal and infinite in power that made them. They carry 
about with them their own authority. By being what they 
are, they declare whose they are. To reveal God by his 
works, there is need of nothing, but that they be by them- 
selves represented, or objected to the consideration of ra- 
tional creatures. 

The voice of God in nature is in like manner effectual. 
It declares itself to be from God bv its own lio;ht and autho- 
rity. There is no need to convince a man by substantial 
witnesses, that what his conscience speaks, it speaks from 
God. Whether it bear testimony to the being, righteous- 
ness, power, omniscience, or holiness of God himself; or 
whether it call for that moral obedience which is eternally 
and indispensably due to him, and so shews forth the * work 
of the law in the heart,' it so speaks and declares itself, 
that without farther evidence or reasoning, without the ad- 
vantage of any considerations, but what are by itself sup- 
plied, it discovers its author, from whom it is, and in whose 
name it speaks. Those Koivai evvoiai, koX irpoXii^sig, those 
common notions and general presumptions of him and his 
authority, that are inlay ed in the natures of rational crea- 
tures by the hand of God, to this end, that they might make 
a revelation of him as to the purposes mentioned, are able 
to plead their own divine original, without the least contri- 
bution of strength or assistance from without. 

And thus is it with those things ; now the psalmist says 
unto God, 'Thou hast magnified' "iniDX "[DU; blTb:; 'over all 
thy name the word' thou hast spoken. The name of God is 
all that whereby he makes himself known. Over all this 
God magnifies his word. It lies all in a subserviency there- 
unto. The name of God is not here God himself; but 


every thing whereby God makes himself known. Now it 
were very strange that those low, dark, and obscure prin- 
ciples and means of the revelation of God and his will, which 
we have mentioned, should be able to evince themselves to 
be from him, without any external help, assistance, testimo- 
ny, or authority, and that which is by God himself magni- 
fied above them, which is far more noble and excellent in 
itself, and in respect of its end and order, hath far more 
divinely conspicuous and glorious impressions and charac- 
ters of his goodness, holiness, power, grace, truth, than all 
the creation, should lie dead, obscure, and have nothing in 
itself to reveal its author, until this or that superadded tes- 
timony be called in to its assistance. We esteem them to 
have done no service vmto the truth, who amongst innume- 
rable other bold denials, have insisted on this also ; that 
there is no natural knowledge of God arising from the innate 
principles of reason, and the works of God proposing them- 
selves to the consideration thereof; let now the way to the 
progress of supernatural revelation be obstructed, by deny- 
ing that it is able to evince itself to be from God, and we 
shall quickly see what banks are cut to let in a flood of 
atheism upon the face of the earth. 

Let us consider the issue of this general induction. As 
God in the creation of the world, and all things therein con- 
tained, hath so made and framed them, hath left such cha- 
racters of his eternal power and wisdom in them and upon 
them, filled with such evidences of their author, suited to 
the apprehensions of rational creatures that without any 
other testimony from himself, or any else, under the naked 
consideration and contemplation of what they are, they so 
far declare their Creator, that they are left wholly inexcus- 
able, who will not learn, and know him from thence 5 so in 
the giving out of his word to be the foundation of that 
world, which he hath set up in this world, as piNil "jID^n jDIKH 
* a wheel within a wheel,' his church; he hath by his Spirit 
implanted in it, and impressed on it, such characters of his 
goodness, power, wisdom, holiness, love to mankind, truth, 
faithfulness, with all the rest of his glorious excellencies 
and perfections, that at all times, and in all places, when 
V>p"in the expansion of it, is stretched over men by his pro- 
vidence, without any other witness or testimony given unto 


it, it declares itself to be his, and makes good its authority 
from him, so that the refusal of it upon its own evidence 
brings unavoidable condemnation on the souls of men. 
This comparison is insisted on by the psalmist ; Psal. xix. 
where as he ascribeth b^p and ip a ' voice,' and ' line' to the 
creatures, so "iin 8cc. Light, power, stability, and permanency, 
like that of the heavens and sun, in commutation of pro- 
perties to the word, and in an inexpressible exaltation of 
it above them ; the light of one day of this sun being un- 
speakably more than that of seven others, as to the mani- 
festation of the glory of God. 

This then is fixed as a principle of truth. Whatever 
God hath appointed to reveal himself by, as to any special 
or general end, that those whom he intends to discover him- 
self unto, may either be effectually instructed in his mind 
and will, according to the measure, degree, and means, of 
the revelation afforded, or be left inexcusable for not re- 
ceiving the testimony that he gives of himself, by any plea 
or pretence of want of clear, evident, manifest revelation ; 
that whatever it be hath such an impression of his autho- 
rity upon it, as undeniably to evince that it is from him. 
And this now concerning his word, comes farther to be con- 
firmed by testimonies and arguments. 



Arguments of two sorts. Inartijicial arguments, hy way of testimony, to 
the truth. To whom these arguments are valid ; Isa. viii. 20. 2 Tiai. iii. 
16. of Sreoiri'fvaria, The to Qhov that accompanies the voice of God ; Jer. 
iii. 26 — 29. The rejection of a plea of SreoTrvcvariac, wherein it consists ; 
Luke xvi.31. Of miracles, their efficacy to beget faith, compared with the 
tvord; 2 Pet. i. 16. 19, 20. 

Having declared the divine original and authority of the 
Scripture, and explained the position laid down os the foun- 
dation of our ensuing discourse, way is now made for us, to 
the consideration of those self-evidences of its divine rise, 
and consequently authority, that it is attended withal, upon 
the account whereof we receive it, as (believing it to be) 
the word of God. 

The arguments whereby any thing is confirmed are of 
two sorts ; inartificial, by the way of testimony ; and artifi- 
cial, by the way of deductions and inferences. Whatever 
is capable of contributing evidence unto truth, falls un- 
der one of these two heads. Both these kinds of proofs 
we make use of, in the business in hand. Some profess 
they own the authority of the Scriptures, and also urge 
others so to do; but they well dispute on what grounds 
and accounts they do so. With those we may deal in the 
first way, by testimony from the Scriptures themselves, 
which upon their own principles they cannot refuse. When 
they shall be pleased to inform us, that they have relin- 
quished those principles, and do no longer own the Scrip- 
ture to be the word of God, we will withdraw the witnesses 
upon their exceptions whom for the present we make use of. 
Testimonies that are innate and ingrafted in the word itself, 
used only as mediums of artificial arguments to be deduced 
from them, which are of the second sort, may be used to- 
wards them who at present own not the authoi'ity of the 
Scripture on any account whatever, or who are desirous to 
put on themselves the persons of sucli men, to try their skill 
and ability for the management of a controversy against the 
word of God. 

In both these cases the testimony of the Scripture is 
pleaded, and is to be received ; or cannot with any pretence 


of reason be refused ; in the former, upon the account of 
the acknowledged authority and veracity of the witness, 
though speaking in its own case ; in the latter, upon the ac- 
count of that self-evidence which the testimony insisted on 
is accompanied withal, made out by such reasonings and 
arguments as, for the kind of them, persons who own not its 
authority cannot but admit. In human things, if a man of 
known integrity and unspotted reputation bear witness in 
any cause, and give uncontrollable evidence to his testimo- 
ny, from the very nature and order of the things whereof he 
speaks, as it is expected that those who know and admit 
of his integrity and reputation do acquiesce in his assertion, 
so those to whom he is a stranger, who are not moved by his 
authority, will yet be overcome to assent to what is wit- 
nessed by him, from the nature of the things he asserts, es- 
pecially if there be a coincidence of all such circumstances, 
as are any way needful to give evidence to the matter in 

Thus it is, in the case under consideration. For those 
who profess themselves to believe the Scriptures to be the 
word of God, and so own the credit and fidelity of the wit- 
ness, it may reasonably be expected from them, yea in strict 
justice demanded of them, that they stand to the testimony, 
that they give to themselves, and their own divine original. 
By saying that the Scripture is the word of God, and then 
commanding us to prove it so to be, they render themselves 
obnoxious unto every testimony that we produce from it, 
that so it is ; and that it is to be received on its own testi- 
mony. This witness they cannot wave without disavowing 
their own professed principles ; without which principles 
they have not the least colour of imposing this task on us. 

As for them, with whom we have not the present advan- 
tage of their own acknowledo-ment, it is not reasonable to 
impose upon them with the bare testimony of that witness 
concerning whom the question is, whether he be worthy the 
acceptation pleaded for ; but yet arguments taken from the 
Scripture, from what it is and doth, its nature and operation, 
by which the causes and springs of all things are discovered, 
are not to be refused. 

But it is neither of these, that principally I intend to 
deal withal ; my present discourse is rather about the satis- 


faction of our own consciences, than the answering of others' 
objections. Only we must satisfy our consciences upon 
such principles as will stand against all men's objections. 
This then is chiefly inquired after ; namely, what it is that 
gives such an assurance of the Scriptures being the word of 
God, as that relying thereon we have a sure bottom and 
foundation for our receiving them as such ; and from whence 
it is, that those who receive them not in that manner, are 
left inexcusable in their damnable unbelief. This we say, is 
in and from the Scripture itself; so that there is no other 
need of any farther witness or testimony, nor is any, in the 
same kind, to be admitted. 

It is not at all in my purpose to insist largely at present 
on this subject, and therefore, I shall content myself with 
instancing in some few testimonies and arguments, be- 
ginning with one or two of the first sort ; Isa. viii. 20. * To 
the law and to the testimony, if they speak not according 
to this word, there is no light in them.' Whatever any one 
says, be it what or who it will, church or person, if it be in 
or about the things of God, concerning his will or worship, 
with our obedience to him, it is to be tried by the law and 
testimony. Hither we are sent ; this is asserted to be the 
rule and standard, the touchstone of all speakings whatever. 
Now that must speak alone for itself, which must try the 
speaking of all but itself, yea its own also. 

But what doth this law and testimony, that is, this writ- 
ten word plead, on the account whereof it should be thus 
attended unto? What doth it urge for its acceptation? Tra- 
dition, authority of the church, miracles, consent of men? or 
doth it speak avroKparopiKiog, and stand only upon its own 
sovereignty ? The apostle gives us his answer to this inquiry, 
2 Tim. iii. 16. Tra<ya ypa(j>r) ^eoTrvsvarog. Its j)ka for reception 
in comparison with, and opposition unto, all other ways of 
coming to the knowledge of God, his mind and will, founded 
whereon, it calls for attendance and submission with su- 
preme uncontrollable authority, is its ^iOTrvivaria, or ' divine 
inspiration.' It remains then only to be inquired, whether, 
when S-foTTVEvaria is ' pleaded,' there be any middle way, but 
either that it be received with divine faith, or rejected as 

Suppose a man were ^^owvevfrrog, ' divinely inspired,^ 


and should so profess himself in the name of the Lord, as 
did the prophets of old ; Amos vii. supposing, I say, he were 
so indeed ; it will not be denied, but that his message were 
to be received and submitted unto on that account. The 
denial of it would justify them who * rejected and slew 
those, that spake unto them in the name of the Lord.' And 
it is to say in plain terms, we may reject them whom God 
sends. Though miracles were given only with respect to 
persons not thitigs, yet most of the prophets who wrought no 
miracles insisted on this, that being ^eoTrvevcTToi, 'divinely in- 
spired,' their doctrine was to be received, as from God. In 
their so doing, it was sin, even unbelief, and rebellion 
against God, not to submit to what they spake in his name. 
And it always so fell out, to fix our faith on the right bot- 
tom, that scarce any prophet that spake in the name of God, 
had any approbation from the church, in whose days he 
spake ; Matt. v. 12. xxiii. 29. Luke xvii. 47,48. Acts vii. 52. 
Matt. xxi. 33 — 38. It is true, lyivovro \pev^o7rpo(priTai Iv t(^ 
Xacij, 2 Pet. ii. 1. there were false prophets, that spake in 
the name of the Lord, when he sent them not; Jer. xxiii. 22. 
Yet were those whom he did send, to be received on pain of 
damnation : on the same penalty were the others to be re- 
fused ; Jer. xxiii. 28, 29. The foundation of this duty lies 
in the to ^hov, that accompanied the word that was Ik S^to- 
TTvsvaTiag: of which afterward. And without a supposal 
hereof, it could not consist with the goodness and righteous- 
ness of God, to require of men, vmder the penalty of his eter- 
nal displeasure, to make such a discrimination, where he 
had not given them T£K^7';pia, infallible tokens to enable them 
so to do. 

But that he had, and hath done so, he declares, Jer. 
xxiii. ' How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets 
that prophesy lies ? that are prophets of the deceit of their 
own heart ; which think to cause my people to forget my 
name by their dreams, which they tell every man to his neigh- 
bour, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal. 
The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream, and he 
that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully ; what 
is the chaff to the wheat, saith the Lord ; is not my word 
like a fire, saith the Lord, and like a hammer that breaketh 
the mountains in pieces.' In the latter days of that church. 


when tlie people were most eminently perplexed with false 
prophets, both as to their number and subtilty, yet God lays 
their eternal and temporal safety, or ruin, on their discern- 
ing aright between his word and that wdiich was only pre- 
tended so to be. And that they might not complain of this 
imposition, be tenders them security of its easiness of per- 
formance. Speaking of his own word comparatively, as to 
every thing that is not so, he says, it is as wheat to chaff, 
which may infallibly, by being v.hat it is, be discerned from 
it; and then absolutely, that it hath such properties, as that 
it will discover itself, even light, and heat, and power. A 
person then who was truly S-EOTrvfuo-roe, was to be attended 
unto, because he was so. 

As then was said before, the Scriptures being ^eoirviv- 
cFToi, is not the case the same, as with a man that was so? 
is there any thing in the writing of it by God's command, 
that should impair its authority? nay, is it not freed from 
innumerable prejudices that attended it, in its first giving 
out by men ; arising from the personal infirmities, and sup- 
posed interests of them that delivered it? Jer. xliii. 3. John 
ix. 29. Acts xxiv. 5. 

This being pleaded by it, and insisted on, its testimony 
is received, or it is not. If it be received on this account, 
there is in it we say the proper basis and foundation of faith, 
whereon it hath its vnocrTaaig, or ' subsistence.' If it be re- 
jected, it must be not only with a refusal of its witness, but 
also with a high detestation of its pretence to be from God. 
What ground or plea for such a refusal and detestation any 
one hath, or can have, shall be afterward considered. If it 
be a sin to refuse it, it had been a duty to receive it : if a 
duty to receive it as the word of God, then was it sufficiently 
manifested so to be. Of the objection arising from them 
who pretend to this inspiration falsely, we have spoken be- 
fore ; and we are as yet dealing with them that own the 
book whereof wespake to be the word of God, and only call 
in question the grounds on which they do so, or on which 
others ought so to do. As to these it may suffice, that in the 
strength of all the authority and truth they profess to own 
and acknowledge in it, it declares the foundation of its ac- 
ceptance to be no other, but its own divine inspiration : 
hence it is \6yog Traai/c cnrodoxn^ a^ioQ. 


Again, in that dispute that was between Abraham and 
the rich man, Luke xvi. 31. about the best and most effec- 
tual means of bringing men to repentance. The rich man 
in hell, speaking his own conception, fixes upon miracles ; 
if one rise from the dead, and preach, the work will be 
done : Abraham is otherwise minded; that is, Christ was so, 
the author of that parable : he bids them attend to Moses 
and the prophets, the written word, as that which all faith 
and repentance was immediately to be grounded on. The 
inquiry being, how men might be best assured, that any 
message is from God, did not the word manifest itself to be 
from him, this direction had not been equal. 

The ground of the request for the rising of one from the 
dead, is laid in the common apprehension of men not know- 
ing the power of God in the Scriptures ; who think, that if an 
evident miracle were wrought, all pretences and pleas of un- 
belief would be excluded ; who doth not think so ? Our Sa- 
viour discovers that mistake, and lets men know, that those 
who will not own, or submit to, the authority of God in the 
word, would not be moved by the most signal miracles ima- 
ginable. If a holy man, whom we had known assuredly to 
have been dead for some years, should rise out of his grave, 
and come unto us with a message from God ; could any man 
doubt whether he were sent unto us of God or no ? 1 sup- 
pose not. The rising of men from the dead was the great- 
est miracle that attended the resurrection of our Saviour ; 
Matt, xxvii. 52, 53. yea greater than his own, if the Soci- 
nians may be believed : namely, in that he raised not him- 
self by his own power; yet the evidence of the mission of 
such a one, and the authority of God speaking in him, our 
Saviour being judge, is not of an efficacy to enforce belief 
beyond that which is in the written word, nor a surer foun- 
dation for faith to repose itself upon. 

Could we hear a voice from heaven, accompanied with 
such a divine power, as to evidence itself to be from God, 
should we not rest in it as such ? I suppose men think they 
would; can we think that any man should withdraw his as- 
sent, and say, yea but I must have some testimony that this 
is from God ; all such evasions are precluded in the suppo- 
sition, wherein a self-evidencing power is granted. What 
greater miracles did the apostles of Christ ever behold, or 


hear, than that voice that came utto rilg fieyaXoTrpeTrovg SosJje. 
'from the most excellent glory; This is my beloved Son :' 
yet Peter, who heard that voice, tells us, that comparatively 
we have greater security from, and by, the written word, 
than they had in and by that miraculous voice ; we have jSt- 
jSaioTEpovTovTTjOo^yjrtKovXo'yov; we heard, saith he, that voice 
indeed, but we have a more sure word of prophecy to attend 
unto. More sure, not in itself, but in its giving out its evi- 
dence unto us. And how doth it appear so to be? The rea- 
son he alleges for it, was before insisted on ; 2 Pet. i. 

Yea, suppose that God should speak to us from heaven, 
as he spake to Moses, or as he spake to Christ ; or from 
some certain place, as Numb. vii. 8, 9. How should we be 
able to know it to be the voice of God ? Cannot Satan cause 
a voice to be heard in the air, and so deceive us ? or, may 
not there be some way in this kind found out, whereby men 
might impose upon us with their delusions. Pope Celestine 
thought he heard a voice from heaven, when it was but the 
cheat of his successor. Must we not rest at last in that to 
^elov, which accompanies the true voice of God, evidencing 
itself, and ascertaining the soul beyond all possibility of 
mistake. Now did not this TtKfxripiov accompany the written 
word at its first giving forth? if it did not, as was said, how 
could any man be obliged to discern it from all delusions? 
if it did, how came it to loose it? did God appoint his word 
to be written, that so he might destroy its authority? If the 
question be, whether the doctrines proposed to be believed 
are truths of God, or * cunningly devised fables,' we are sent 
to the Scripture itself, and that alone, to give the determi- 



Innate arguments in the Scripture, of its divine original and authority. 
These the formal reason of our believing. Its self-evidencing efficacy. 
All liyht manifests itself. The Scripture, light. What kind of light it is. 
Spiritual light evidential. The ground of men's not discerning this light. 
Consectariesfrom the premises laiddoivn. What the self-evidencing light 
of the Scripture peculiarly is. The proposition of the Scripture as an ob- 
ject of faith is from and by this light. Power, self -evidencing. The 
Scripture the power of God. And powerful. How this potuer exerts it- 
self. The irhole question resolved. 

Having given some few instances of those many testimo- 
nies, which the Scripture in express terms bears to itself, and 
the spring, rise, and fountain of all that authority, which it 
claims among and over the sons of men, which all those who 
pretend on any account whatever to own and acknov/ledge 
its divinity, are bound to stand to, and are obliged by ; the 
second thing proposed, or the innate arguments that the 
word of God is furnished withal for its own manifestation, and 
whereby the authority of God is revealed for faith to repose 
itself upon, comes in the next place into consideration. 
Now these arguments contain the full and formal grounds 
of our answer to that inquiry before laid down ; namely, 
why and wherefore we do receive and believe the Scripture 
to be the word of God. It being the formal reason of our 
faith, that whereon it is built, and whereunto it is resolved, 
that is inquired after, we answer as we said before ; we do 
so receive, embrace, believe, and submit unto it, because of 
the authority of God who speaks it, or gave it forth as his 
mind and will, evidencing itself by the Spirit in and with 
that v/ord unto our minds and consciences; or because that 
the Scripture being brought unto us by the good providence 
of God, in ways of his appointment and preservation, it doth 
evidence itself infallibly unto our consciences to be the word 
of the living God. 

The self-evidencing efficacy of the Scripture, and the 
grounds of it, which consist in common mediums, that have 
an extent and latitude answerable to the reasons of men, whe- 
ther as yet they acknowledge it to be the word of God or no. 


is that then which in the remainder of this discourse I shall 
endeavour to clear and vindicate. This only I shall desire 
to premise, that whereas some grounds of this efficacy seem 
to be placed in the things themselves contained in the Scrip- 
ture, I shall not consider them abstractedly as such, but 
under the formality of their being the Scripture or written 
word of God; without which consideration and resolution, 
the things mentioned would be left naked and utterly di- 
vested of their authority and efficacy pleaded for ; and be 
of no other nature and importance, than the same things 
found in other books. It is the writing itself that now sup- 
plies the place and room of the persons, in and by whom 
God originally spake to men. As were the persons speak- 
ing of old, so are the writings now : it was the word spoken 
that was to be believed, yet as spoken by them from God ; 
and it is now the word written that is to be believed, yet as 
written by the command and appointment of God. 

There are then two things, that are accompanied with a 
self-evidencing excellency ; and every other thing doth so, 
so far as it is partaker of their nature, and no otherwise ; 
now these are, 1. Light. 2. Power for, or in, operation. 

1. Light manifests itself. Whatever is light doth so; 
that is, it doth whatever is necessary on its own part for its 
manifestation and discovery. Of the defects that are, or 
maybe, in them, to whom this discovery is made, we do not 
as yet speak: and whatever manifests itself is light ; irav yap 
TO (ftavepovfiEvov, (pCog l(rrr Eph. v. 13. Light requires neither 
proof nor testimony for its evidence. Let the sun arise in 
the firmament, and there is no need of witnesses to prove 
and confirm unto a seeing man that it is day. A small candle 
will so do. Let the least child bring a candle into a room that 
before was dark, and it would be a madness to go about to 
prove by substantial witnesses, men of gravity and authority, 
that light is brought in. Doth it not evince itself, with an as- 
surance above all that can be obtained by any testimony 
whatever? Whatever is light, either naturally or morally so, 
is revealed by its being so. That which evidenceth not it' 
self, is not light. 

That the Scripture is a light, we shall see immediately. 
That it is so, or can be called so, unless it hath this nature 
and property of light, to evidence itself, as well as to give 

VOL. |V. 2 E 


light unto others, cannot in any tolerable correspondency of 
speech be allowed. Whether light spiritual and intellectual 
regarding the mind, or natural with respect to bodily sight, 
be firstly and properly light, from whence the other is by 
allusion denominated, I need not now inquire. Both have 
the same properties in their several kinds, ^wg ciXii^lvov 
<j}aivu' 'jtrue light shineth.' 6 ^aog tpiog larV 1 John i.5. God 
himself is light ; and he inhabiteth (piog airpoaiTov, 1 Tim. 
vi. 16. not a shining glistering brightness, as some ^grossly 
imagine, but the glorious unsearchable majesty of his own 
being, which is inaccessible to our understandings. So 
Isa. Ivii. 15. ' inhabiteth eternity.' So "ns nD}/ saith the 
Psalmist, ' thou clothest thyself with light :' and Dan. ii. 22. 
KIIL' noy Nninn the ' light remaineth with him;' God, he is 
light essentially, and is therefore known by the beaming of 
his eternal properties, in all that outwardly is of him. And 
light abides with him, as the fountain of it ; he communi- 
cating light to all others. This being the fountain of all 
light, the more it participates of the nature of the fountain, 
the more it is light ; and the more properly, as the proper- 
ties and qualities of it are considered. It is then spiritual, 
moral, intellectual light, with all its mediums, that hath the 
pre-eminence, as to a participation of the nature and pro- 
perties of light. 

Now the Scripture, the word of God, is light; those that 
reject it are called "iis n")D 'lights rebels,' men resisting the 
authority which they cannot but be convinced of. Psal. 
xix. 9. xliii. 3. cxix. 105. 130. Prov. vi. 23. Isa. ix. 2. Hos. 
vi. 5. Matt. iv. 16. v. 14. John iii. 20, 21. It is a light so 
shining with the majesty of its author, as that it manifests 
itself to be his; 2 Pet. i. 19. 'A light shining in a dark 
place,' with an eminent advantage for its own discovery, as 
well as unto the benefit of others. 

Let a light be never so mean and contemptible ; yet if it 
shines, casts out beams and rays in a dark place, it will evi- 
dence itself. If other things be wanting in the faculty, the 
light, as to its innate glory and beauty, is not to suffer pre- 
judice. But the word is a glorious shining light, as hath 
been shewed ; an illuminating light ; compared to, and pre- 
ferred above, the light of the sun; Psal. xix. 5 — 7. Rom. x. 

* a Biddle Catech. 


18. Let not then a reproach be cast upon the most glorious 
light in the world, the most eminent reflection of uncreated 
light and excellencies, that will not be fastened on any thing, 
that on any account is so called; Matt. v. 19. 

Now as the Scripture is thus a light, we grant it to be 
the duty of the church, of any church, of every church, to 
hold it up, whereby it may become the more conspicuous. 
It is a ground, and pillar to set this light upon. 1 Tim. iii. 
15. arvXog koi idpaiiofjia Trig aXn^eiag, may refer to the mystery 
of godliness, in the next words following, in good coherence 
of speech, as well as to the church ; but granting the usual 
reading, no more is affirmed, but that the light and truth of 
the Scripture is held up, and held out, by the church. It is 
the duty of every church so to do : ahnost the whole of its 
duty. And this duty it performs ministerially, not authori- 
tatively. A church may bear up the light, it is not the light. 
It bears witness to it, but kindles not one divine beam to 
farther its discovery. All the preaching that is in any church, 
its administration of ordinances, all its walking in the truth, 
hold up this light. 

Nor doth it in the least impair this self-evidencing effi- 
cacy of the Scripture, that it is a moral and spiritual, not a 
natural light. The proposition is universal to all kinds of 
light; yea, more fully applicable to the former, than the lat- 
ter. Light, I confess, of itself, will not remove the defect of 
the visive faculty. It is not given for that end ; light is not 
eyes. It suffices that there is nothing wanting on its own 
part, for its discovery and revelation. To argue that the 
sun, cannot be known to be the sun, or the great means of 
communicating ftxteinal light unto the world, because blind 
men cannot see it, nor do know any more of it, than they 
are told, will scarce be admitted ; nor doth it in the least 
impeach the efficacy of the light pleaded for, that men stu- 
pidly blind, cannot comprehend it; John i. 5. 

I do not assert from hence, that wherever the Scripture 
is brought, by what means soever (which indeed is all one), 
all that read it, or to whom it is read, must instantly, of ne- 
cessity, assent unto its divine original. Many men (who 
are not stark blind), may have yet so abused their eyes, that 
when a light is brought into a dark place, they may not be 
able to discern it. Men may be so prepossessed with innu- 

2 E 2 


merable prejudices, principles received by strong traditions, 
corrupt affections, making them hate the light, that they 
may not behold the glory of the word, when it is brought to 
them. But it is nothing to our present discourse, whether 
any man living be able by, and of himself, to discera this 
light, whilst the defect may be justly cast on their own blind- 
ness. 2 Cor. iv. 2 — 4. * By the manifestation of the truth 
we commend ourselves to every one's conscience in the sight 
of God ; but if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are 
lost : in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds 
of them that believe not, lest thelight of the gospel of Christ, 
who is the image of God, should shine unto them.' There 
is in the dispensation of the word an evidence of truth, com- 
mending itself to the consciences of men; some receive not 
this evidence ; is it for want of light in the truth itself? No ! 
that is a glorious light that shines into the hearts of men. 
Is it for want of testimony to assert this light? No! but 
merely because the god of this world hath blinded the eyes 
of men, that they should not behold it. 

From what then hath been laid down, these two things 
may be inferred : 

1. That as the authority of God, the first and only abso- 
lute truth, in the Scripture, is that alone which divine faith 
rests upon, and is the formal object of it, so wherever the 
word comes, by what means soever, it hath in itself a suffi- 
ciency of light to evidence to all (and will do it eventually 
to all that are not blinded by the god of this world), that 
authority of God its author ; and the only reason why it is 
not received by many in the world to whom it is come, is 
the advantage that Satan hath to keep them in ignorance and 
blindness, by the lusts, corruptions, prejudices, and hardness, 
of their own hearts. 

The word then makes a sufficient proposition of itself, 
wherever it is. And he to whom it shall come, who refuses 
it because it comes not so or so testified, will give an account 
of his atheism and infidelity. He that hath the witness of 
God, need not stay for the witness of men, for the witness of 
God is greater. 

Wherever the word is received indeed, as it requireth it- 
self to be received, and is really assented unto as the word 
of God ; it is so received upon the evidence of that light 


which it hath in itself, manifestly declaring itself so to be. 
It is all one, by what means, by what hand, whether of a 
child or a church, by accident or traditions, by common 
consent of men or peculiar providence, the Scripture comes 
unto us ; come how it will, it hath its authority in itself, and 
towards us, by being the word of God ; and hath its power 
of manifesting itself so to be, from its own innate light. 

Now this light in the Scripture, for which we contend, is 
nothing but the beaming of the majesty, truth, holiness, and 
authority of God, given unto it, and left upon it, by its au- 
thor the Holy Ghost ; an impress it hath, of God's excellency 
upon it, distinguishing it by infallible reiCjUTjpta, from the pro- 
duct of any creature ; by this it dives into the consciences 
of men, into all the secret recesses of their hearts ; guides, 
teaches, directs, determines, and judges in them, upon them, 
in the name, majesty, and authority of God. If men who 
are blinded by the god of this world, w^ill yet deny this 
light, because they perceive it not, it shall not prejudice 
them who do. By this self-evidencing light, I say, doth the 
Scripture make such a proposition of itself, as the word of 
God, that whoever rejects it, doth it at the peril of his eternal 
ruin ; and thereby a bottom and foundation is tendered for 
that faith which it requireth, to repose itself upon. 

For the proof then of the divine authority of the Scrip- 
tures, unto him, or them, who as yet on no account whatever 
do acknowledge it, I shall only suppose, that by the provi- 
dence of God, the book itself be so brought unto him or 
them, as that he, or they, be engaged to the consideration 
of it ; or do attend to the reading of it. This is the work of 
God's providence in the government of the world ; upon a 
supposal hereof, I leave the word with them ; and if it evi- 
dence not itself unto their consciences, it isbecause they are 
blinded by the god of this world ; which will be no plea for 
the refusal of it, at the last day ; and they who receive it not 
on this ground, will never receive it on any, as they ought. 

The second sort of things that evidence themselves, are 
things of an effectual powerful operation in any kind. So 
doth fire by heat, the wind by its noise and force, salt by 
its taste and savour, the sun by its light and heat ; so do 
also moral principles that are effectually operative ; Rom. ii. 
14, 15. Men in whom they are, IvBeiKvuvTai to tpyov, do 


manifest the work of them ; or them by their work and effi- 
cacy. Whatever it be that hath an innate power in itself, 
that will effectually operate on a fit and proper subject, it is 
able to evidence itself, and its own nature and condition. 

To manifest the interest of the Scripture to be enrolled 
among things of this nature, yea, under God himself, who is 
known by his great power and the effects of it, to have the 
pre-eminence, I shall observe only one or two things con- 
cerning it, the various improvement whereof, would take up 
more time, and greater space, than I have allotted to this 

It is absolutely called the * power of God ;' and that unto 
its proper end, which way lies the tendency of its efficacy 
in operation, Rom. i. 16. It is Svvafiii' ^sov, 'vis virtus Dei ;' 
* the power of God.' 6 \6jog 6 tov aravpov, the ' word con- 
cerning the cross,' that is, the gospel, is dvvafxig ^eov. 
1 Cor. i. 18. the 'power of God;' and faith which is built 
on that word, without other helps or advantages, is said to 
stand in the ' power of God' 1 Cor. ii. 5. That is, effectu- 
ally working, in and by the word ; it worketh, Iv airoddKei 
TTvtvfxaTOQ Koi ^vvafxEMg, ' in the demonstration of the Spirit 
and of power ;' iv Sia Svoiv' its spiritual power gives a de- 
monstration of it. Thus it comes not as a naked word, 
1 Thess. i. 5. but in ' power, and in the Holy Ghost,' and Iv 
TrXrjjoo^opia iroXXy' giving all manner of assurance and full 
persuasion of itself, even by its power and efficacy. Hence 
it is termed I^^ntDO 'the rod of power,' or strength ; Psal. ex. 
2. denoting both authority and efficacy ; surely that which 
is thus the power and authority of God, is able to make it- 
self known so to be. 

It is not only said to be Svvafxig, * power,' the power of 
God in itself; but also dwa/ievog, ' able and powerful' in re- 
spect of us. ' Thou hast learned,' saith Paul to Timothy, ra 
hpa jpa/jiixaTa, ' the sacred letters,' (the -ivritten word) to. dvvd- 
fxeva (T£ (T(i}(jii<jai slg (rioTrjpiav, ' which are able to make thee 
wise unto salvation.' They are powerful and effectual to 
that purpose. It is \6yog ^wdfievog aCjaai rag Tpv)(ag. James 
i. 21. 'The word that hath power in it to save.' So Acts 
XX. 31. 'I commend you Xojm tm Suva/xlvw, to the able 
powerful word.' And that we may know what kind of power 
il hath, the apostle tells us that it is ZCov /cm Ivipyrjg, it is 


'living and effectual,' Heb. iv. 12. and ' sharper than any two 
edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul 
and spirit, and of the joints and marrow; and is a discerner 
of the thoughts and intents of the heart.' It is designed of 
God to declare ttjv evipysiav t»)c dvvafxawg, the effectual work- 
ing of his power. See John. vi. 68, 69. 2 Cor. vi, 41. 
XV. 58. Gal. ii. 8. By virtue of this power, it brought forth 
fruit in all the world ; Col. i. 6. Without sword, without 
(for the most part) miracles, without human wisdom, or ora- 
tory, without any inducements or motives, but what were 
merely and solely taken from itself, consisting in things, 
that ' eye had not seen, nor ear heard, nor could enter into the 
heart of man to conceive ;' hath it exerted this its power and 
efficacy, to the conquest of the world; causing men of all sorts, 
in all times and places, so to fall down before its divine au- 
thority, as immediately to renounce all that was dear to them 
in the world, and to undergo whatever was dreadful, terrible, 
and destructive to nature in all its dearest concernments. 

It hath been the work of many to insist on the particu- 
lars, wherein this power exerts itself; so that I shall not en- 
large upon them. In general, they have this advantage, that 
as they are all spiritual, so they are such, as have their seat, 
dwelling, and abode in the hearts and consciences of men, 
whereby they are not liable to any exception as though they 
were pretended. Men cannot harden themselves in the re- 
jection of the testimony they give, by sending for magi- 
cians to do the like ; or by any pretence that it is a common 
' thing, that is befallen them on whom the word puts forth 
its power. The seat and residence of these effects, is safe- 
guarded against all power and authority but that of God. 
Its diving into the hearts, consciences, and secret recesses 
of the minds of men ; its judging and sentencing of them in 
themselves ; its convictions, terrors, conquests, and killing of 
men ; its converting, building up, making wise, holy, obe- 
dient; its administering consolations in every condition, and 
the like effects of its power, are usually spoken unto. 

These are briefly the foundations of the answer returned 
to the inquiry formerly laid down, which might abundantly 
be enlarged. How know we that the Scripture is the word 
of God ; how may others come to be assured thereof? The 
Scripture, say we, bears testimony to itself, that it is the word 


of God ; that testimony is the witness of God himself, which 
whoso doth not accept and believe, he doth what in him 
lies to make God a liar. To give us an infallible assurance 
that in receiving this testimony, we are not imposed upon 
by cunningly devised fables, the al ypa(l)ai, the'i'epa ypafifiara, 
' the Scriptures' have that glory of light and power accom- 
panying of them as w^holly distinguisheth them by infallible 
sio-ns and evidences from all words and writings not divine ; 
conveying their truth and power into the souls and con- 
sciences of men with an infallible certainty. On this account 
are they received, by all that receive them as from God ; who 
have any real distinguishing foundation of their faith, which 
would not be, separated from these grounds, as effectual an 
expedient for the reception of the Alcoran. 


Of the testimony of the Spirit. Traditions. Miracles. 

Before I proceed to the consideration of those other tes- 
timonies, which are as arguments drawn from those innate 
excellencies and properties of the word which I have in- 
sisted on; some other things, whose right understanding is 
of great i mportance in the cause under debate, must be 
laid down and stated. Some of these refer to that testimony 
of the Spirit, that is usually and truly pleaded, as the great 
ascertaining principle, or that, on the account whereof we 
receive the Scriptures to be the word of God. That it may 
be seen in what sense that is usually delivered by our di- 
vines, and how far there is a coincidence between that as- 
sertion and what we have delivered, I shall lay down what 
that testimony is, wherein it consists, and what is the weight 
or stress that we lay upon it. 

That the Scripture be received as the word of God, there 
is required a twofold efficacy of the Spirit. The first re- 
spects the subject or the mind of man that assents unto the 
authority of the Scripture ; now concerning this act, or 
work of the Spirit, whereby we are enabled to believe the 
Scripture, on the account whereof we may say tliat we re- 
ceive the Scripture to be the word of God, or upon the tes- 


timony of the Spirit, I shall a little inquire, what it is, and 
wherein it doth consist. 

First, Then, It is not an outward or inward vocal testi- 
mony concerning the word, as the Papist would impose upon 
us to believe and assent. We do not affirm that the Spirit 
immediately, by himself> saith unto every individual believer 
this book is, or contains, the word of God ; we say not that 
the Spirit ever speaks to us of the word, but by the word. 
Such an enthusiasm as they fancy is rarely pretended ; and 
where it is so, it is for the most part quickly discovered to 
be a delusion. We plead not for the usefulness, much less 
the necessity, of any such testimony. Yea, the principles 
we have laid down, resolving all faith into the public testi- 
mony of the Scriptures themselves, do render all such pri- 
vate testimonies altogether needless. 

Secondly, This testimony of the Spirit consists not 
in a persuasion that a man takes up, he knows not well 
how, or why ; only this he knows, he will not depose it 
though it cost him his life. This would be like that, which 
by Morinus' is ascribed to the church of Rome, which 
though it knew no reason why it should prefer the vulo-ar 
Latin translation before the original, yet by the guidance of 
the Spirit would do so, that is, unreasonably. But if a man 
should say, that he is persuaded that the Scripture is the 
word of God, and that he will die a thousand times to give 
testimony tliereunto ; and not knowing any real ground of 
this persuasion, that should bear him out in such a testi- 
mony, shall ascribe it to the Spirit of God, our concern- 
ment lies not in that persuasion. This may befal men by 
the advantage of traditions, whereof men are usually zea- 
lous, and obstinate in their defence. Education in some 
constitutions will give pertinacy in most vain and false per- 
suasions. It is not then a resolution and persuasion induced 
into our minds we know not how, built we know not upon 
what foundations, that we intend in the assignation of our 
receiving the Scripture to be the word of God, to the effec- 
tual work and witness of the Holy Ghost. 

Two things then we intend by this work of the Spirit 
upon the mind of man : 1. His communication of spiritual 
light; by an act of his power, enabhng the mind to discern 

» INIorin. Exercit. de Heb. Tex. sincer. Excercit. 1. cap. 1. 


the saving truth, majesty, and authority of the word, TTvtvjua- 
TiKa TTvtvfiaTiKtoQ. Thcrc is a bHndness, a darkness, upon the 
minds of men, irvevfjia jurj Ixovtmv, that not only disenables 
them from discerning the things of God, in their certainty, 
evidence, necessity, and beauty (for -ipv^^ixog av^pwirog ou 
SiysTaiTaTov 0fov) but also causes them to judge amiss of them 
as things weak and foolish, dark, unintelligible, not answer- 
ing to any principle of wisdom whereby they are guided ; 
1 Cor. ii. Whilst this yXau^w/xa abides on the minds of men, 
it is impossible that they should on any right abiding foun- 
dation assent to the word of God. They may have a preju- 
dicate opinion, they have no faith concerning it. This dark- 
ness then must be removed by the communication of light by 
the Holy Ghost, which work of his illumination is commonly 
by others spoken unto ; and by me also in another place. 

2. The Holy Ghost, together with and by his work of 
illumination, taking off the perverse disposition of mind that 
is in us by nature, with our enmity to, and aversation from, 
the things of God, effectually also persuades the mind, to a 
receiving and admitting of the truth, wisdom, and authority 
of the word. Now, because this perverse disposition of 
mind, possessing the to -nyenoviKov of the soul, influences 
the will also into an aversation and dislike of that goodness 
which is in the truth proposed to it ; it is removed by a 
double act of the Holy Ghost. 

(1.) He gives us wisdom, understanding, a spiritual judg- 
ment, whereby we may be able to compare spiritual things 
with spiritual, in a spiritual manner, and to come thereby to 
a clear and full light of the heavenly excellency and majesty 
of the word ; and so enables us to know of the doctrine, 
whether it be of God. Under the benefit of this assistance 
all the parts of the Scripture, in their harmony and corre- 
spondency, all the truths of it in their power and necessity, 
come in together to give evidence one to another, and all of 
them to the whole ; I mean as the mind is enabled to make 
a spiritual judgment of them. 

(2.) He gives ala^riaiv TrvfVjuartKjjv, a spiritual sense, a taste 
of the things themselves upon the mind, heart, and con- 
science ; when we have ala^rtTijpia yeyvfxvacrfiiva ' senses exer- 
cised' to discern such things. These things deserve a 
more full handling, and to be particularly exemplified from 


Scripture if the nature of our present design would admit 

As in our natural estate in respect of these things of God, 
the mind is full of vanity, darkness, blindness, yea, is dark- 
ness itself, so that there is no correspondency between the 
faculty and the object ; and the will lies in an utter unac- 
quaintedness, yea, impossibility of any acquaintance with 
the life, power, savour, sweetness, relish, and goodness, that 
is in the things proposed to be known and discerned, under 
the dark shades of a blind mind ; so for a removal of both 
these, the Holy Ghost communicates light to the under- 
standing, whence it is able to see and judge of the truth, as 
it is in Jesus, and the will being thereby delivered from the 
dungeon wherein it was, and quickened anew, performs its 
office, in embracing what is proper and suited unto it in the 
object proposed. The Spirit, indeed, discovereth to every 
one Ka^iog jSouXera, according to the counsel of his will; 
but yet in that way, in the general, whereby the sun gives 
out his light and heat, the former making way for the latter: 
but these things must not now be insisted on. 

Now by these works of the Spirit, he doth, I say, per- 
suade the mind concerning the truth and authority of the 
Scripture, and therein leave an impression of an effectual 
testimony within us : and this testimony of his, as it is au- 
thoritative, and infallible in itself, so of inconceivably more 
efficacy, power, and certainty, unto them that do receive it, 
than any voice or internal word, boasted of by some, can 
be. But yet this is not the work of the Spirit at present in- 
quired after. 

2. There is a testimony of the Spirit, that respects the ob- 
ject, or the word itself; and this is a public testimony, which, 
as it satisfies our souls in particular, so it is, and may be, 
pleaded, in reference unto the satisfaction of all others, to 
whom the word of God shall come. The Holy Ghost speak- 
ing in and by the word, imparting to it virtue, power, effi- 
cacy, majesty, and authority, affords us the witness, that 
our faith is resolved unto. And thus, whereas there are but 
two heads, whereunto all grounds of assent do belong, 
namely, authority of testimony, and the self-evidence of 
truth, they do here both concur in one. In the same word 
we have both the authority of the testimony of the Spirit, 


and the self-evidence of the truth spoken by him ; yea, so 
that both these are materially one and the same, though 
distinguished in their formal conceptions. I have been 
much affected with those verses of Dante's, the Italian poet, 
which somebody hath thus, word for word, turned into Latin : 

larga pliivia 

Spiritus sancti qu2e est diffusa 

Super veteres, et super novas membranas. 

Est sjllogismus qui earn mihi conclusit 

Acute adeo ut pra3 ilia 

Omnis demonstratio mihi videatur obtusa. 

The Spirit's communication of his own light and authority 
to the Scripture, as evidences of its original, is the testi- 
mony pleaded for. 

When then we resolve our faith into the testimony of the 
Holy Ghost, it is not any private whisper, word, or voice, 
given to individual persons ; it is not the secret and effec- 
tual persuasion of the truth of the Scriptures, that falls 
upon the minds of some men, from various involved consi- 
derations of education, tradition, and the like, whereof they 
can give no particular account: it is not the effectual work 
of the Holy Ghost upon the minds and wills of men, enablino- 
them savingly to believe, that is intended ; the Papists, for 
the most part, pleading about these things, do but shew their 
ignorance and malice. But it is the public testimony of the 
Holy Ghost given unto all, of the word, by and in the word, 
and its own divine light, efficacy, and power. 

Thus far then have we proceeded. The Scripture, the 
written word, hath its infallible truth in itself; 6 Xoyog 6 ahg, 
d\i]^tia l(TTi. John xvii. 17. from whence it hath its verity, 
thence it hath its authority ; for its whole authority is founded 
in its truth. Its authority in itself, is its authority in respect 
of us ; nor hath it any whit more in itself, than, de jure, it 
hath towards and over all them to whom it comes ; that, de 
facto, some do not submit themselves unto it, is their sin and 
rebellion. This truth, and consequently this authority, is 
evidenced and made known to us, by the public testimony 
which is given unto it by the Holy Ghost speaking in it, 
with divine light and power, to the minds, souls, and con- 
sciences of men : being therein by itself proposed unto us, 
we being enlightened by the Holy Ghost (which, in the con- 
dition wherein we are, is necessary for the apprehension of 
any spiritual thing or truth in a spiritual manner), we receive 


it, and religiously subject our souls unto it, as the word and 
will of the ever living, sovereign God, and judge of all : and 
if this be not a bottom and foundation of faith, I here pub- 
licly profess, that for aught I know, I have no faith at all. 

Having laid this stable foundation, I shall, with all pos- 
sible brevity, consider some pretences and allegations for 
the confirmation of the authority of the Scripture, invented 
and made use of by some to divert us from that foundation, 
the closing wherewith, will in this matter alone bring peace 
unto our souls ; and so this chapter shall, as it were, lay in 
the balance, and compare together, the testimony of the 
Spirit before mentioned and explained, and the other pre- 
tences and pleas that shall now be examined. 

1. Some say, when on other accounts they are concerned 
so to say, that we * have received the Scripture from the 
church of Rome, who received it by tradition, and this gives 
a credibility unto it.' Of tradition in general, without this 
limitation which destroys it, of the church of Rome, I shall 
speak afterward. Credibility, either keeps within the 
bounds of probability, as that may be heightened to a ma- 
nifest uncontrollableness, whilst yet its principles exceed 
not that sphere ; in which sense it belongs not at all to our 
present discourse ; or it includes a firm, suitable foundation, 
for faith supernatural and divine. Have we in this sense 
received the Scripture from that church, as it is called ? is 
that church able to give such a credibility to any thing? or 
doth the Scripture stand in need of such a credibility to be 
given to it from that church ? are not the first most false, 
and is not the last blasphemous ? To receive a thing from a 
church, as a church, is to receive it upon the authority of 
that church : if we receive any thing from the authority of 
a church, we do it not because the thing itself is cnro^oxnc 
a^iog, ' worthy of acceptation,' but because of the authority 
alleged. If then we thus receive the Scriptures from the 
church of Rome, why (in particular) do we not receive the apo- 
cryphal books also, which she receives ? How did the church 
of Rome receive the Scriptures ? shall we say that she is 
authorized to give out what seems good to her, as the word 
of God ? not : but she hath received them by tradition ; so 
she pleads, that she hath received the apocryphal books 
also ; we then receive the Scriptures from Rome ; Rome by 


tradition ; we make ourselves judges of that tradition ; and 
yet Rome saith, this is one thing, that she hath by the same 
tradition, namely, that she alone is judge of what she hath 
by tradition. But the common fate of liars is befallen that 
harlot: she hath so long, so constantly, so desperately lied 
in many, the most, things that she professeth, pretending 
tradition for them, that indeed she deserves not to be be- 
lieved, when she telleth the truth. Besides, she pleads that 
she received the Scriptures from the beginning, when it is 
granted that the copies of the Hebrew of the Old, and Greek 
of the New Testament were only authentic : these she pleads 
now under her keeping to be wofully corrupted, and yet is 
angry that we believe not her tradition. 

Some add that we receive the Scripture to be the word 
of God upon the account of the miracles that were wrought 
at the giving of the law, and of the New Testament ; which 
miracles we have received by universal tradition. But first 
I desire to know whence it comes to pass, that seeing our 
Saviour Jesus Christ wrought many other miracles besides 
those that are written, John xx. 30. xxi. 25. and the apo- 
stles likewise, they cannot by all their traditiens help us to 
so much as an obscure report of any one, that is not writ- 
ten (I speak not of legends) ; which yet at their perform- 
ance were no less known than those that are ; nor were less 
useful for the end of miracles than they. Of tradition in 
general afterward. But is it not evident that the miracles 
whereof they speak, are preserved in the Scripture and no 
otherwise ? And if so, can these miracles operate upon the 
understanding or judgment of any man, unless they first 
grant the Scripture to be the word of God, I mean to the 
begetting of a divine faith of them, even that there were ever 
any such miracles. Suppose these miracles, alleged as the 
ground of our believing of the word, had not been written, 
but like the sibyl's leaves had been driven up and down, by 
the worst and fiercest wind that blows in this world, — the 
breath of man ; those who should keep them by tradition, 
that is, men, are by nature so vain, foolish, malicious; such 
liars, adders, detracters ; have spirits and minds so unsuited 
to spiritual things, so liable to alteration in themselves, and 
to contradiction one to another, are so given to impostures, 
and are so apt to be imposed upon ; have been so shuffled 


and driven up and down the world in every generation; have 
for the most part so utterly lost the remembrance of what 
themselves are, whence they come, or whither they are to 
go ; that I can give very little credit to what I have nothing 
but their authority to rely upon for, without any evidence 
from the nature of the thing itself. 

Abstracting then from the testimony given in the Scrip- 
tures to the miracles wrought by the prime revealers of the 
mind and will of God in the word ; and no tolerable assur- 
ance, as to the business in hand, where a foundation for faith 
is inquired after, can be given that ever any such miracles 
were wrought. If numbers of men may be allowed to speak, 
we may have a traditional testimony given to the blasphe- 
mous figments of the Alcoran, under the name of true mira- 
cles. But the constant tradition of more than a thousand 
years, carried on by innumerable multitudes of men, great, 
wise, and sober, from one generation to another, doth but 
set open the gates of hell for the Mahometans ; yet setting- 
aside the authority of God in his word, and what is resolved 
thereinto, I know not why they may not vie traditions with 
the rest of the world. The world indeed is full of traditions 
flowing from the word; that is, a knowledge of the doc- 
trines of the word in the minds of men ; but a tradition of 
the word, not resolved into the word, a tradition referred to 
a fountain of sense in seeing and hearing, preserved as an 
oral law, in a distinct channel and stream by itself, when it 
is evidenced, either by instance in some particular preserved 
therein, or in a probability of securing it through the gene- 
rations passed, by a comparison of some such effect in things 
of the like kind, I shall be ready to receive it. 

Give me then, as I said before, but the least obscure re- 
port of any one of those many miracles that were wrought 
by our Saviour and the apostles, which are not recorded in 
the Scriptures, and I shall put more valuation on the pre- 
tended traditions, than I can as yet persuade myself unto. 
Besides, many writers of the Scripture wrought no miracles, 
and by this rule their writings are left to shift for themselves. 
Miracles indeed were necessary to take off all prejudices 
from the persons, that brought any new doctrine from God ; 
but the doctrine still evidenced itself. The apostles con- 
verted many, where they wrought no miracles; Acts xvi. 17, 


18. and where they did so work, yet they for their doctrine, 
and not the doctrine on their account was received. And the 
Scripture now hath no less evidence and demonstration in it- 
self of its divinity, than it had when by them it was preached. 

But because this tradition is pretended with great con- 
fidence as a sure bottom and foundation for receiving of the 
Scriptures, I shall a little farther inquire into it. That 
which in this case is intended, by this n^iIDD or tradition, is 
a report of men, which those who are present have received 
from them that are gone before them.'' Now this may be 
either of all the men of the world, or only of some of them ; 
if of all, either their suffrages must be taken in some con- 
vention, or gathered up from the individuals as we are able, 
and have opportunity. If the first way of receiving them 
were possible, which is the utmost improvement that ima- 
gination can give the authority inquired after, yet every in- 
dividual of men being a liar, the whole convention must be 
of the same complexion, and so not be able to yield a sufli- 
cient basis to build a faith upon, cui non potest siibessej'ahum, 
that is infallible, and cannot possibly be deceived : much 
less is there any foundation for it, in such a report as is the 
emergency of the assertion of individuals. 

But now if this tradition be alleged as preserved only by 
some in the world, not the half of rational creatures, I de- 
sire to know, what reason I have to believe those who have 
that tradition, or plead that they have it, before and against 
them who profess they have no such report delivered to them 
from their forefathers; is the reason hereof because I live 
among these who have this tradition, and they are my neigh- 
bours whom I know ? by the same rule those who live among 
the other parts of men, are bound to receive what they de- 
liver them upon tradition ; and so men may be obliged to 
believe the Alcoran to be the w^ord of God. 

It is more probable, it will be answered, that their testi- 
mony is to be received because they are the church of God ; 
but it doth not yet appear, that I can any other way have 
any knowledge of them so to be, or of any authority that any 
number of men, more or less, can have in this case, under 
ihat name or notion, unless by the Scripture itself ; and if 

•» Est rei de manu in manuro, aut doctrinae ex animo in animum raediante docen- 
iis yoce, qua seu luanu doctrina alteri traditur. Buxtor. Comment. Mas. 


SO, it will quickly appear what place is to be allotted to their 
testimony, who cannot be admitted as witnesses, unless the 
Scripture itself be owned and received; because they have 
neither plea nor claim to be so admitted, but only from the 
Scripture: if they shall aver, that they take this honour to 
themselves, and that without relation to the Scripture they 
claim a right of authoritative witness-bearing in this case, I 
say again, upon the general grounds of natural reason, and 
equity, I have no more inducements to give credit to their 
assertions, than to an alike number of men holding out a 
tradition utterly to the contrary of what they assert. 

But yet suppose, that this also were granted, and that 
men might be allowed to speak in their own name and au- 
thority, giving testimony to themselves, which, upon the hy- 
pothesis under consideration, God himself is not allowed to 
do ; I shall desire to know whether, when the church declares 
the Scriptures to be the word of God unto us, it doth ap- 
prehend any thing in the Scripture as the ground of that 
judgment and declaration or no? If it says no ; but that it 
is proposed upon its sole authority; then surely, if we think 
good to acquiesce in this decision of this doubt and inquiry. 
It is full timp for us, to lay aside all our studies and inquiries' 
after the mind of God, and seek only what that man [says], or 
those men say, who are intrusted with this authority, as they 
say, and as they would have us believe them, though we know 
not at all how or by what means they came by it; seeing they 
dare not pretend any thing from the Scripture, least thereby 
they direct us to that in the first place. 

If it be said, that they do upon other accounts judge and 
believe the Scripture to be true, and to be the word of God ; I 
suppose it will not be thought unreasonable if we inquire af- 
ter those grounds and accounts, seeing they are of so great 
concernment unto us ; all truths in relations consisting in 
their consonancy and agreement to the nature of the thinos 
they deliver, I desire to know how they came to judge of the 
consonancy, between the nature of the things delivered in 
the Scripture, and the delivery of them therein? The things 
whereof we speak being heavenly, spiritual, mysterious, ?nd 
supernatural, there cannot be any knowledge obtained of 
them but by the word itself. How then can they make any 
judgment of the truth of that Scripture in the relation of 

VOL. IV. 2 F 

434 OF TRADITIOlvr. 

these things, which are no where to be known (I speak of 
many of them), in the least, but by that Scripture itself. 

If they shall say, that they found their judgment and de- 
claration upon some discovery, that the Scripture makes of 
itself unto them ; they affirm the same that we plead for : 
only they would very desirously appropriate to themselves 
the privilege of being able to discern that discovery so made 
in the Scripture. To make good this claim, they must either 
plead somewhat from themselves, or from the Scriptures : if 
from themselves, it can be nothing, but that they see, like 
the men of China, and all others are blind, or have but one 
eye at the best, being wiser than any others, and more able 
to discern than they. Now though I shall easily grant them 
to be very subtle and cunning, yet that they are so much 
wiser than all the world besides, that they are meet to impose 
upon their belief things that they neither do, nor can, discern, 
or know, I would not be thought to admit, until I can be- 
lieve myself and all others, not of their society or combina- 
tion, to be beasts of the field, and they as the serpent 
amongst us. 

If it be from the Scripture that they seek to make good 
this claim ; then as we cause them there to make a stand, 
which is all we aim at, so their plea must be from the pro- 
mise of soQie special assistance granted to them for that pur- 
pose ; if their assistance be that of the Spirit, it is either of 
the Spirit that is promised to believers, to work in them as 
before described and related, or it is some private testimony 
that they pretend is afforded to them : if the former be affirm- 
ed, we are in a condition, wherein the necessity of devolving 
all on the Scripture itself, to decide and judge who are be- 
lievers, lies in every one's view ; if the latter, who shall give 
me assurance, that when they pretend that witness and testi- 
mony, they do not lie and deceive ; we must here certainly 
go either to the Scripture, or to some cunning man to be re- 
solved;Isa. viii. 19, 20. 

I confess the argument which hath not long since been 
singled out, and dexterously managed, by an able and learned 
pen,'' namely, of proving the truth of the doctrine of the 
Scripture from the truth of the story, and the truth of the 
story from the certainty there is that the writers of the books 

« D. Ward, Ebsay, 6cc. 


of the Bible, were those persons whose names and inscrip- 
tions they bear, so pursuing the evidence, that what they 
wrote was true and known to them so to be, from all requi- 
sita that may possibly be sought after for the strengthening 
of such evidence, is of great force and efficacy. It is, I say, 
of great force and efficacy as to the end for which it is insisted 
on; that is, to satisfy men's rational inquiries; but as to a 
ground of faith, it hath the same insufficiency with all other 
arguments of the like kind; though I should grant that the 
apostles and penmen of the Scripture were persons of the 
greatest industry, honesty, integrity, faithfulness, holiness, 
that ever lived in the world, as they were ; and that they wrote 
nothing, but what themselves had as good assurance of, as 
what men by their senses of seeing and hearing are able to at- 
tain ; yet such a knowledge and assurance is not a sufficient 
foundation for the faith of the church of God ; if they received 
not every word by inspiration, and that evidencing itself unto 
us, otherwise than by the authority of their integrity, it can 
be no foundation for us to build our faith upon. 

Before the committing of the Scriptures to writing, God 
had given the world an experiment, what keepers men were 
of this revelation by tradition ; within some hundreds of 
years after the flood, all knowledge of him, through the craft 
of Satan, and the vanity of the minds of men, which is un- 
speakable, was so lost, that nothing, but as it were the cre- 
ation of a new world, or the erection of a new church-state 
by new revelations, could relieve it. After that great trial, 
what can be farther pretended, on the behalf of tradition I 
know not. 

The sum of all is ; the merciful good providence of God 
having by divers and various means, using therein, amongst 
other things, the ministry of men and churches, preserved 
the writings of the Old and New Testament in the world ; 
and by the same gracious disposal afforded them unto us, 
they'are received and submitted unto by us, upon the grounds 
and evidences of their divine original before^insisted on. 

Upon the whole matter, then, I would know, whether if 
the Scriptures should be brought to any man, when, or where, 
he could not possibly have it attested to be the word of God, 
by any public or private authority of man or church, tra- 
dition or otherwise, he were bound to believe it or no ? whe- 

2 F 2 

436 THE WORD or GOD 

ther he should obey God in believing, or sin in the reject- 
ino- of it ? Suppose he do but take it into consideration, do 
but give it the reading or hearing, seeing in every place it 
avers itself to be the word of God, he must of necessity either 
give credit unto it, or disbelieve it; to hang in suspense, 
vsrhich ariseth from the imperfect actings of the faculties of 
the soul, is in itself a v^^eakness, and in this case being reck- 
oned on the worst side, is interpretatively a rejection. If 
you say it were the duty of such a one to believe it, you 
acknowledge in the Scripture itself^ a sufficient evidence of 
its own original authority ; without which it can be no man's 
duty to believe it. If you say, it would not be his sin to re- 
ject and refuse it, to disbelieve all that it speaks in the name 
of God ; then this is that you say, God may truly and really 
speak unto a man (as he doth by the Scripture), and yet that 
man not be bound to believe him. We deal not thus with 
one another. 

To wind up then the plea insisted on, in the foregoing 
chapter, concerning the self-evidencing light and power of 
the Scripture, from which we have diverted, and to make 
way for some other considerations, that tend to the confir- 
mation of their divine original, I shall close this discourse 
with the two general considerations following. 

1. Then, laying aside these failing pleas, there seems to 
be a moral impossibility that the word of God, should not 
manifest its own original, and its authority from thence. 
' Quselibet herba deum.' There is no work of God, as was 
shewed, but reveals its author. A curious artificer imparts 
that of form, shape, proportion, and comeliness, to the fruit 
of his invention, and work of his hands, that every one that 
looks upoii it, must conclude, that it comes from skill and 
ability. A man in the delivery of his mind, in the writing of 
a book, will give it such an impression of reason, that though 
you cannot conclude that this or that man wrote it, yet you 
must, that it was the product of a man, or rational creature: 
yea some individual men of excellency in some skill, are in- 
stantly known, by them that are able to judge in that art or 
skill, by the effects of their skill. This is the piece, this is 
the hand, the work of such a one. How easy is it for those 
who are conversant about ancient authors, to discover an au- 
thor by the spirit and style of his writings. Now certainly 


this is strange beyond all belief, that almost every agent 
should give an impress to its work, whereby it may be ap- 
propriated unto him, and only the word, wherein it was the 
design of the great and holy God, to give us a portraiture 
as it were of his wisdom, holiness, and goodness, so far as 
we are capable of an acquaintance with him in this life, is 
not able to declare and evince its original. That God who is 
prima Veritas, the first and sovereign truth, infinitely sepai*ated 
and distinguished from all creatures, on all accounts what- 
ever, should write a book, or at least immediately indite it, 
commanding us to receive it as his, under the penalty of his 
eternal displeasure, and yet that book not make a sufficient 
discovery of itself to be his, to be from him, is past all be- 
lief. Let men that live on things received by tradition from 
their fathers, who perhaps never had sense of any real trans- 
action between God and their souls, who scarce ever perused 
the word seriously in their lives, nor brought their con- 
sciences to it, please themselves in their own imaginations ; 
the sure anchor of a soid, that would draw nigh to God, in 
and by his word, lies in the things laid down. 

I suppose it will not be denied, but that it was the mind 
and will of God, that those to whom his word should come, 
should own it and receive it as his ; if not, it were no sin in 
them to reject it, unto whom it doth so come ; if it were, 
then either he hath given those characters unto it, and left 
upon it that impression of his majesty, whereby it might be 
known to be his, or he hath not done so ; and that either 
because he would not, or because he could not ; to say the 
latter, is to make him more infirm than a man, or other 
woi'ms of the earth, than any naturally effectual cause. He 
that saith the former, must know, that it is incumbent on 
him to yield a satisfactory account, why God would not do so, 
or else he will be thought blasphemously to impute a want of 
that goodness and love of mankind unto him, which he hath 
in infinite grace manifested to be in himself. That no man 
is able to assign any such reason, I shall firmly believe, until I 
find -^ome attempting so to do ; which as yet none have ar- 
rived at that height of impudence and wickedness as to own. 

2. How horrible is it to the thoughts of any saint of God, 
that the Scripture should not have its authority from itself. 
Tertullian objects this to the Gentiles; Apol. cap. 5. 'Facit 


et hoc ad causam nostram, quod apud vos de humano arbi- 
tratu divinitas pensitatur; nisi homini Deus placiierit, Deus 
non erit; homo jam Deo propitius esse debebit.' Would it 
be otherwise in this case, if the Scripture must stand to the 
mercy of man for the reputation of its divinity ? nay of its 
verity ; for whence it hath its authority, thence it hath its 
verity also, as was observed before ; and many more words 
of this nature miffht be added. 


Consequential considerations for the covfirmation of the divine 
authority of the Scripture. 

I SAID, in the former chapter, that I would not employ my- 
self willingly, to enervate or weaken any of the reasons or 
arguments that are usually insisted on, to prove the divine 
authority of the Scripture. Though, I confess, 1 like not to 
multiply arguments, that conclude to a probability only, and 
are suited to beget a firm opinion at best, where the princi- 
ple intended to be evinced is de fide, and must be believed 
with faith divine and supernatural. Yet because some may 
happily be kept to some kind of adherence to the Scriptures ; 
by mean grounds, that will not in their own strength abide, 
until they get footing in those that are more firm ; I shall 
not make it my business to drive them from their present 
station ; having persuaded them by that which is better. 

Yea, because on supposition of the evidence formerly 
tended, there may be great use at several seasons, of some 
consequential considerations, and arguments to the purpose 
in hand, I shall insist on two of that kind, which to me, who 
have the advantage of receivinor the word on the foremen- 
tioned account, seem not only to persuade, and in a great 
measure to convince to undeniable probability, but also to 
prevail irresistibly, on the understanding of unprejudiced 
men, to close with the divine truth of it. 

The first of these is taken from the nature of the doc- 
trine itself, contained in the Scripture, the second from the 
management of the whole design therein ; the first is innate, 
the other of a more external and rational consideration. 

For the first of them, there are two things considerable 

aothority of the scripture. 439 

in the doctrine of the Scripture, that are powerful, and, if I 
may so say, uncontrollably prevalent as to this purpose. 

First, Its universal suitableness, upon its first clear disco- 
very and revelation, to all the entanglements and perplex- 
ities of the souls of men, in reference to their relation to, 
and dependance upon, God. If all mankind have certain 
entanglements upon their hearts and spirits, in reference 
unto God, which none of them that are not utterly brutish, 
do not wrestle withal, and which all of them are not able in 
the least to assoil themselves in and about, certainly that 
doctrine, which is suited universally to satisfy all their per- 
plexities, to calm and quiet their spirits in all their tumul- 
tuatings, and doth break in upon them with a glorious effi- 
cacy, to that purpose in its discovery and revelation, must 
needs be from that God, with whom we have to do, and none 
else. From whom else I pray should it be. He that can 
give out the word, ille mihi semper erit Dens. 

Now there are three general heads of things, that all and 
every one of mankind, not naturally brutish, are perplexed 
withal, in reference to their dependance on God and relation 
to him. 

1. How they may worship him as they ought. 

2. How they may be reconciled, and at peace with him, 
or have an atonement for that guilt which naturally they are 
sensible of. 

3. What is the nature of true blessedness, and how they 
may attain it, or how they may come to the enjoyment of 

That all mankind is perplexed and entangled with and 
about these considerations, that all men ever were so, with- 
out exception more or less, and continue so to be to this 
day ; that of themselves, they miserably grope up and down 
in the dark, and are never able to come to any satisfaction 
neither as to what is present, nor as to what is to come I 
could manifest from the state, office, and condition of con- 
science, the indelible irpoXrixpeiQ, and presumptions about 
them, that are in the hearts of all by nature. The whole 
history of all religion which hath been in the world, with 
the design of all ancient and present philosophy, with innu- 
merable other uncontrollable convictions (which also, God 


assisting, I shall in another treatise" declare) do manifest this 

That surely then which shall administer to all and every 
one of them, equally and universally, satisfaction as to all 
these things, to quiet and calm their spirits, to cut off all ne- 
cessity of any farther inquiries, give them that wherein they 
must acquiesce, and wherewith they will be satiated, unless 
they will cast off that relation and dependance on God, 
which they seek to confirm and settle : surely, I say, this 
must be from the all-seeing, all-satisfying truth, and being, 
and from none else. Ts^ow this is done by the doctrine of 
the Scripture, with such a glorious uncontrollable convic- 
tion, that every one to whom it is revealed, the eyes of whose 
understanding are not blinded by the god of this world, 
must needs cry out ''EuprjKa, I have found that which in 
vain I sought elsewhere, waxing foolish in my imaginations. 

It would be too long to insist on the severals ; take 
one instance in the business of atonement, reconciliation, 
and acceptance with God. What strange horrible fruits 
and effects have men's contrivances on this account pro- 
duced? What have they not invented? What have they not 
done ? What have they not suffered ? and yet continued in 
dread and bondage all their days. Now with what a glo- 
rious soul-appeasing light doth the doctrine of satisfaction 
and atonement, by the blood of Christ the Son of God, 
come in upon such men. This first astonisheth, then con- 
quereth, then ravisheth, and satiateth the soul. This is that 
they looked for, this they were sick for, and knew it not. 
This is the design of the apostle's discourse in the three first 
chapters of the Epistle to the Romans. Let any man read 
that discourse from chap. i. 18. and onward, and he will 
see with what glory and beauty, with what full and ample 
satisfaction this doctrine breaks out; chap. iii. 22 — 26. 

It is no otherwise as to the particulars of present worship, 
or future blessedness ; this meets with men in all their wan- 
derings, stops them in their disquisitions, convinces them of 
the darkness, folly, uncertainty, falseness of all their reason- 
ings about these things; and that with such an evidence and 
light, as at once subdues them, captivates their understand- 

* De Natiira Tlicologia'. 


ing, and quiets their souls : so was that old Roman world 
conquered by it; so shall the Mahometan be, in God's good 
and appointed time. 

Of what hath been spoken, this is the sum. All man- 
kind that acknowledge their dependance upon God, and re- 
lation to him, are naturally (and cannot be otherwise) griev- 
ously involved and perplexed in their hearts, thoughts, and 
reasonings about the worship of God, acceptation with him, 
having sinned, and the future enjoyment of him ; some with 
more clear and distinct apprehensions of these things ; some 
under more dark and general notions of them are thus ex- 
ercised ; to extricate themselves, and to come to some issue 
in, and about, these inquiries, hath been the great design of 
their lives, the aim they had in all things they did, as they 
thought, well and laudably in this world. Notwithstanding 
all which, they were never able to deliver themselves, no not 
one of them, or attain satisfaction to their souls, but waxed 
vain in their imaginations, and their foolish hearts were 
more and more darkened ; in this estate of things, the doc- 
trine of the Scripture coming in with full, unquestionable 
satisfaction to all these, suited to the inquirings of every in- 
dividual soul, with a largeness of wisdom and depth of good- 
ness not to be fathomed, it must needs be from that God 
with whom we have to do. And those who are not persuaded 
hereby, that will not cast anchor in this harbour, let them 
put to sea once more, if they dare ; turn themselves loose 
to other considerations, and try if all the forementioned per 
plexities do not inevitably return. 

Another consideration of the doctrine of the Scripture to 
this purpose regards some particulars of it. There are some 
doctrines of the Scripture, some revelations in it, so sub- 
limely glorious, of so profound and mysterious an excellency, 
that at the first proposal of them, nature startles, shrinks, 
and is taken with horror, meeting with that which is above 
it, too great and too excellent for it, which it could desir- 
ously avoid and decline ; but yet, gathering itself up to them, 
it yields, and finds that unless they are accepted and sub- 
mitted unto, though unsearchable, that not only all that 
hath been received must be rejected, but also the whole de- 
pendance of the creature on God be dissolved, or rendered 
only dreadful, terrible, and destructive to nature itself. 


Such are the doctrines of the Trinity, of the incarnation of 
the Son of God, of the resurrection of the dead, of the 
new birth, and the like. At the first revelation of these 
things, nature is amazed, cries. How can these things be ? 
Or gathers up itself to opposition ; this is babbling like the 
Athenians ; folly, as all the wise Greeks. But when the 
eyes of reason are a little confirmed, though it can never 
clearly behold the glory of this sun, yet it confesseth a 
glory to be in it, above all that it is able to apprehend. I 
could manifest in particular that the doctrines before men- 
tioned, and several others are of this importance ; namely, 
though great, above and beyond the reach of reason, yet 
upon search found to be such, as without submission to them, 
the whole comfortable relation between God and man must 
needs be dissolved. 

Let us take a view in our way of one of the instances. 
What is there in the whole book of God, that nature at first 
sif'ht doth more recoil at, than the doctrine of the Trinity? 
How many do yet stumble and fall at it? I confess the doc- 
trine itself is but sparingly, yet it is clearly and distinctly deli- 
vered unto us in the Scripture. The sum of it is, that God is 
one ; his nature or his being one ; that all the properties or 
infinite essential excellencies of God, as God, do belong to 
that one nature and being. This God is infinitely good, holy, 
just, powerful; he is eternal, omnipotent, omnipresent; and 
these things belong to none but him, that is, that one God. 
That this God is the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; which 
are not diverse names of the same person, nor distinct attri- 
butes or properties of the same nature or being, but one, an- 
other, and a third, all equally that one God, yet really dis- 
tinouished between themselves by such incommunicable 
properties as constitute the one to be that one, and the other 
to be that other, and the third to be that third. Thus the 
Trinity is not the union, nor unity of three, but it is a Trinity 
in unity, or the ternary number of persons in the same es- 
sence; nor doth the Trinity, in its formal conception, denote 
the essence, as if the essence were comprehended in the Tri- 
nity, which is in each person ; but it denotes only the dis- 
tinction of the persons comprised in that number. 

This, I say, is the sum of this doctrine, as it is delivered 
unto us in the Scripture. Here reason is entangled ; yet 


after a while finds evidently, that unless this be embraced, all 
other things wherein it hath to do with God, will not be of 
value to the soul ; this will quickly be made to appear. Of 
all that communion which is here between God and man, 
founded on the revelation of his mind and will unto him, 
which makes way for his enjoyment in gl^ry, there are 
these two parts : 1. God's gracious communication of his 
love, goodness, &.c. with the fruits of them unto man : 2. The 
obedience of man unto God in a way of gratitude for that 
love, according to the mind and will of God revealed to him. 
These two comprise the whole of the intercours