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Full text of "A body of divinity: wherein the doctrines of the Christian religion are explained and defended, being the substance of several lectures on the Assembly's larger catechism"


33- 3 




logical Seminat^y, . 




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Explication of the Seventh Commandment. Page 9 

THE government of the affections 10 

All uncleanness forbidden ibid 

Polygamy was ever unlawfid 11 

The aggravatiofis vf icncicannc^s 13 

The occasions of it 14 

Of Theatres — a note 15 

Quest. CXL, CXLI. An Explication of the Eighth 

Commandment 16 

Of frugality and diligence 1 7 

Of justice in our dealings 19 

Of charity to the poor 20 

To whom to he extended ibid 

And in what proportion 21 

Quest. CXLII. The Sins forbidden in the Eighth 

Commandment . 22 

Of theft and breach of trust 23 

Of borrowing and not paying ibid 

Whether Israel xvas guilty of it 24f 

Of plunder in war and oppression 25 

Of unjust law-suits 26 

Of sinful usury 27 

Restitution a duty. Objections answered ibid 

Quest. CXLIII, CXLIV, CXLV. An Explication of 

the Ninth Commandment 28 

The duties required 29 

Sins forbidden 31 

Of bearing false witness 32 


Of lyings The clefinition of a lie 33 

Its various kinds ibid 

The midxvives report^ in Exod. i. 19. no lie 34 

Of Rahab's lie. Josh. ii. 4, 5. / ibid 

0/" Jacob's deceit, in Gen. xxvii. 19. :i5 

Elijah's treatment of the Syrian host 36 

Paul's ansxver relating to the high priest Z7 

David's lie to Ahimelech, m 1 Sam. xxi. 2. 38 

His feigned madness at Gath, ver. 13 — -15. ibid 

Of hypocrisy 39 

Paul and Daniel vindicated 40 

Of reproach. It differs from reproof 42 

Things unjustly made the 7natter of it 43 

Aggravatio7is thereof ■ 4-4i 

Elisha reproached at Bethel 43 

Of backbiting. Instances of it 4§ 

Quest. CXLVl, CXLVH, CXLVIII. An Explica- 

' tion of the Tenth Commandnient 50 

Contentment required in every state 50 

Motives to it under various troubles 51 

The corruption of Nature forbidden 56 

Of covetousness and its aggravations 58 

Excuses for it answered 59 

Remedies against discontent ■ 61 

Quest. CXLIX. Of man's inability to keep the Com- 
mandments of God 62 

How viaji sins daily . 63 

Of sinful thoughts 64 

The kinds, causes and cure of them ibid 

Of sinful xvords and actions 66 

Quest. CL. All sins not equally heinous 67 

Quest. CLI. The aggravations of sin^ and whence 

they arise 67 

From the parties offending or offended 68 

Trom the nature and quality of the offence 70 

From the circumstances of it 72 

Quest. GUI, CLIII. Of the Desert of Sin, and of 

the means of escaping God's wrath 74 


Wrath of God not passion ^ 75 

How faith and repentance are the means of salvation 76 

Note on procrastination 78 

Quest. CLIV. Of the Ordinances, or outward means 

of grace 79 

Ordinances described ibid 

By what ordinances Christ communicates his benefits 81 

Singing God^s praises of divine institution 82 

A gospel ordinance 83 

To be public and united 84i 

Of musical instruments, a note 85 

It is necessary to sing rvith understanding ibid 

David's Psalms still proper to be sung 89 

Imprecations therein hoxv used 9I 

Of hymns of human composure 95 

Scripture Psalms and hymns preferable QQ 

Quest. CLV. How the Word is made effectual to 

salvatioii 99 

It enlighte7is and convinces of si?i lOf 

It hutnbles and drives out of self 102 

It draws to Christ 103 

Other instances of its effcacy 104 

Quest. CLVI, CLVII. The Word of God to be read 

by all 106 

The Word is to be read publicly 107 

In families also, and in private 108 

How the Papists oppose this 109 

Their objections answered 1 10 

Translation of scripture vindicated 112 

Hoxv the scripture should be read 1 1 3 

Expositions to be consulted 117 

And various translations ibid 

Of marginal references 118 

Of supplemental additions 1 1 9 

Texts to be compared with their contexts 121 

One part of scripture illustrates another 122 

Parallel scriptures to be compared 124 

Rhetorical figures used in scripture 1 30 

References there to different governments 135 

To the civil affairs of Jews and others 136 

To civil and religious oncers 139 

Vol. IV. b 


<9^ Publicans, Pharisees, Sadducees, Samaritans 140 

Getieral rules for explaintJig scripture 144 

Quest. CLVIII, CLIX, CLX. Of preaching and 

hearing the Word 146 

The qualifications of ministers 147 

Hoxv the xvorcl is to be preached 151 

Diligently^ plainly, faithfully 1 52 

Wisely. Wherein this consists 154 

Zealously and sincerely 155 

Duties to be performed 157 

Before hearing 158 

In hearings and after \t 159 


Of the Sacraments 160 

Sacrament. Its meaning 161 

Its nature and matter ibid 

How a sign or seal 163 

To xvhom to be administered 166 

B^nefts conveyed therein 167 

Hoxv effectual to salvation ibid 

By whom to be administered, in note 168 

Various sacrameyits of old 171 

Noxv but txvo 172 

Quest. CLX V. Of Baptism. 174 

Baptism a gospel ordinance ibid 

Instituted by Christ 177 

Note, Ba.5T7;i^&) a geiieric term 1 75 

In -whose name to be performed 178 

What signified in it 1 79 

An expectation of privileges 181 

An acknoxvledgment of obligations ibid 

The right of children to it — in a note 182 

Que ST. CLXVI. Of the subjects and mode of Baptism 


To xvhom Baptism is not to be administered ibid 

Infants of believers, their right to baptism 186 
By covenant — a note 187 — 193 

May be dedicated in faith 187 

Are included in the covenant 194 

Are termed holy 196 


H^ere circufticised ^ 198 

And ought to be baptized 199 
Objections answered^ taken 

From infants' xuaJit of grace ^ 200 

Frotn the want of precept or example 201 

From Chrisfs oxvn Baptism 206 

Infant baptism no novelty 20r 

Practised by the ancient church « ibid 

Baptism an ordinance of dedication 186 

An objection answered ibid 

How believers may dedicate their infants in faith 187 

An objection answered 194 

Of the mode of Baptism 21.6 

Baptism, the meaning of the xvord ibid 

To be performed by pouring or sprinkling 218 

Objections ansxvered 219 

Persons going doxvn into the xvater 220 

John's baptizing at ^non 222 

Our being buried with Christ 225 

Of the sign of the cross 228 

Of sureties in Baptism ibid 

Quest. CLXVII. How Baptism should be improved 


Quest. CLXVIII, CLXIX, CLXX. Of the Lord's 

supper 234 

The Lord''s supper is a gospel ordinance 236 

Jt was instituted by Christ ibid 

By whom to be administered fi57 

Of the elements^ hoxv consecrated ibid 

The actions to be performed 238 

The gesture to be used 239 

Of some Popish irregularities 240 

Things signified in the Lord^s supper 242 

What faith should then fix on 244 

^(edifications of communicants 245, 263 

Quest. CLXXI. Of preparation fpr the Lord's sup- 
per 246 

Of self examination ibid 

Things to be enquired into. Our stat^ 247 

How this viay be knoxvn ibid 

Our sense of sin 248 

Our wants 249 


Our knoxvkdge of divine things iiol 

The truth a}id degree of our graces 253 

Our love to the brethren ' 255 

How this may be discerned 256 

Quest. CLXXII, CLXXIII. Who fit to be Commu- 

nicants 258 

Doubting Christians^ their case 259 

Encouragement for them - ibid 

Promises made to them 260 

Advice offered them 262 

The wicked to be kept from the Lord'^s table 263 

Objections answered 264 

Quest. CLXXIV, CLXXV. Of the duties required 

in and after receiving the Lord's supper 268 

What meditations proper at this ordinance 269 

Graces to be then exercised 270 

We are to rejoice in Chris fs love 273 

Properties of his love ibid 

To renetv our covenant^ and how 275 

To express a love to all saint^j 27Q 

What behaviour unsuitable ibid 

Voxus^ hoxv to be made there 278 

How to be fulfilled ibid 

A frequent attendance^ hpw encouraged 280 

Quest. CLXXVI, CLXXVII. Wherein Baptism and 
the Lord's supper agree, and wherein they differ 


Quest. CLXXVm. Of Prayer 285 

Of the kinds and parts of prayer 287 

Confession of sin the duty of all 288 

An objection ansxvered ibid 

Hoxv to be performed 290 

What sins to be confessed ibid 

The sin of our nature ' ibid 

And all actual transgressions 291 

Thankfulness for mercies^ a duty 293 

In every age and condition of life ibid 

For relative and personal mercies 294 

Quest. CLXXIX, CLXXX, CLXXXL To whom, 

and in whose name we must pray 298 


TVe are to pray to God only $f 299 

What it is to pray in Christ'^s name 300 

Why we are to pray in his name 301 


the Spirit's help in prayer ; for whom and for what we 

are to pray 302 

The Spirits assistance in prayer 303 

, What this supposes ibid 

It respects the matter of prayer ibid 

The imvard frame of heart 304 

And the success of the duty 306 

Of raised affections in prayer 308 

Persons to be prayed for ^ are 

The whole church militant 309 

The ministers of Christ 311 

Our enemies^ and all men Iroing 312 

Purgatory a fiction 315 

The dead are not to he prayed for 314, 

The opinion of the ancients about it 315 

Nor they who have sinned the sin unto death 318 

What that sin is ibid, 

JVhether Jiow conwimitted 319 

Doubts about it resolved 320 

JVhat things we are to pray for 322 

Quest. CLXXXV. How we are to pray 323 

With a suitable frame ibid 

In the exercise of grace 324 

What necessary thereunto 334 

Of faith i)i prayer 329 

Promises of help in prayer 330 

Promises of God^s hearing prayer 331 

Objections against praying answered 332 

Love to God to be exercised in prayer 333 

Discouragements from prarnng removed 336 

Quest. CLXXXVI, CLXXXVII. Of the Rule for 

our direction in prayer 338 

How the word of God directs herein 339 

What expressions equivalent to promises 342 

Promises of outxvard blessings 344 

Of spiritual and temporal 345 

Promises to the vfficted 346 

To the depressed in pray a' 34,7 


Respecting ordinances 349 

Of grace and peace 350 

How these are of use in prayer ' 351 

Reproofs are of use in prayer 0,5^^ 

So are prayers recorded in Scripture 354 

Inferences from these directions 355 

The Lord'^s prayer a special direction 356 

Quest. CLXXXVIII, CLXXXIX. The Preface of 

the Lord's Prayer explained 359 

God^ how a Father to men 360 

First known.) then addressed as such 362 

Horv to be prayed to as being in heaven 365 

Child-like dispositions required iti us 364 

Quest. CXC. The first Petition explained 368 

God''s name^ what meant by it ^ 369 

Hoxv he sanctifies it himself ^ ibid 

How sanctified in redemption 3^0 

How under the legal dispensation 371 

How under the gospel S7^ 

What intended by., Hallowed be thy Nafne 375 

What to be prayed for.) that we may do it 376 

What to be deprecated to that end 379 

When God\^ na?ne is hallowed 381 

Hotu., when things are disposed to his glory 382 

Quest. CXCI. The second Petition explained 384 

Of God^s providential kingdom 3 85 

Of his kingdom of grace 386 

SatarCs kingdom., how to be destroyed 387 

Horv we are to pray for its destructioji 388 

Christ^' kingdom., how to be advanced 389 

Hoxv zve are to pray for its advancement 390 

A}id that his kiJigdom of glory may come 394 

Quest. CXCII, The third Petition explained 396 

Of prayer to an unchangeable God — in note 397—402 

Our averseness to the will of God 402 

Of praying that his will may be done 403 

Quest. CXCIII. The fourth Petition explained 407 

What supposed in praying for daily bread 407 


What intended in praying for bread ff 409 

Why rve call it ours 410 

What we are to understand by this day 411 

This petition respects ourselves and others 412 

Quest. CXCIV. The fifth Petition explained 414 

The case of man xvheri charged with guilt 415 

Pardon^ none but God can give it 417' 

All are to pray for it 418 

Hoxv God is to he considered when xve pray thus 420 

Of our forgiving others 425 

What 7neant thereby 424 

Argicme7its to induce thereunto 426 

Of doing it without satisfaction ibid 

An objection answered 428 

When a sign of God^s forgiving us 429 

Quest. CXCV. The sixth Petition explained 431 

What this Petition supposes 432 

Now God tempts, and why 433 

God not the cause of sin — in note 433—435 

Deliver us from evil, how imderstood 438 

Temptations arise from prosperity 439 

From, adversity 44,1 

From the flesh 442 

From Satan 443 

When from him, and when from omseh'es 445 

Remarks upon Satan^s temptations 446 

They increase tin 448 

Are suited to every age 449 

And to the te?npers of men 451 

He endeavours to prevent conviction 452 

To hinder preaching the gospel ' 453 

To prevent closing with Christ ' 454 

He injects blasphemous thoughts 457 

He tonpts to despair 458 

How we are to pi-ay against temptation 461 

Quest. CXCVI. What the conclusion of the Lord's 

Prayer teacheth 465 

The Doxology explained 466 

The picas contained in it 467 

The meaning of the xvord Amen 468 

' Whether all should say aloud, Amen 4-71 






Quest. CXXXVIL Which is the seventh Commandment? 

Answ. The seventh Commandment is, [Thou shah not com- 
mit adultery.'] 

Quest. CXXXVIII. What are the duties required in the se- 
venth Commandment? 

Answ. The duties required in the seventh Commandment, are, 
chastity in body, mind, affections, words, and behaviour; 
and the preservation of it in ourselves and others; watch- 
fulness over the eyes, and all the senses; temperance, keep= 
ing of chaste company, modesty in apparel, marriage by 
those that have not the gift of continency; conjugal love^ 
and cohabitation, diligent labour in our callings, shunning all 
occasions of uncleanness, resisting temptations thereunto. 

Quest. CXXXIX. What ore the sins forbidden in the seventh 
Commandment P 

Answ. The sins forbidden in the seventh Commandment, be» 
sides the neglect of the duties required, are, adultery, for- 
nication, rape, incest, sodomy, and all unnatual lusts, all 
unclean imaginations, thoughts, purposes, and affections, all 
corrupt or filthy communications, or listening thereunto ; 
wanton looks, impudent, or light behaviour; immodest ap- 
parel; prohibiting of lawful, and dispensing with unlawful 
marriages, allov.-incr, tolerating, keeping of'^t'^w?, ar.d rc^nr"^- 
Vol. IV. ' B 



ing to them; intangling vows of single life; undue delay of 
marriage, having more wives or husbands than one, at the 
same time; unjust divorce, or desertion; idleness, gluttony, 
drunkenness, unchaste company, lascivious songs, books, 
pictures, dancings, stage plays, and all other provocations 
to, or acts of uncleanness, either in ourselves or others. 

THIS Commandment respects, more especially, the govern- 
ment of the affections, and the keeping our minds and 
bodies in such an holy frame, that nothing impure, immodest, 
or contrary to the strictest chastity, may defile, or be a re- 
proach to us, or insinuate itself into our conversation with one 
another. And, in order thereunto, we are to set a strict watch 
over our thoughts and actions, and avoid every thing that may 
be an occasion of this sin, and use those proper methods that 
may prevent all temptations to it. Therefore we ought to 
associate ourselves with none but those whose conversation is 
chaste, and such as becomes Christians, to abhor all words 
and actions that are not so much as to be named among per- 
sons professing godliness. As for those who cannot, without 
inconveniency, govern their affections, but are sometimes 
tempted to any thing that is inconsistent with that purity of 
heart and life, which all ought religiously to maintain, it is 
their duty to enter into a married state; which is an ordi- 
nance that God has appointed, to prevent the breach of this 
Commandment. And this leads us to consider the sins for- 
bidden therein, together with the occasions thereof. 

I. Concerning the sins forbidden in this Commandment. 

1. Some are not only contrary to nature, but inconsistent 
with the least pretences to religion ; which were abhorred by 
the very Heathen themselves, and, by the law of God, punish- 
ed with death ; which punishment, when it has not been in- 
flicted, God has, by his immediate hand, testified his vengeance 
against sinners, by raining down fire and brimstone from 
heaven, as he did upon the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomor- 
rha. Lev. xviii. 22, — 25. chap. xx. 13, 15, 16. Rom. i. 24, 
26, 27, 28. Gen. xix. 24. These sins are called in this an- 
swer, incest, sodomy, and unnatui-al lusts. To which we may 
add, offering violence to others, and thereby forcing them to 
do M-^hat they could not even think of, but with abhorrence; 
this is called rape; and, by the law of God, the guilty person 
was punished with death, Deut. xxii. 25. 

2. There are other sins, whereby this Commandment is vio- 
lated ; which, though more common, are, nevertheless, such as 
are attended with a very great degree of guilt and impurity. 
These are either, such as are committed by those who are un- 


married, viz, fornication, or by those who fire married, as 
adultery ; the latter of which, by the law of God, was piuiish- 
ed with death. Lev. xx. 10. as contained in it several aggra- 
vating circumstances ; inasmuch as hereby the marriage con- 
tract is violated; that mutual affection, which is the end of that 
relation broken; and thereby the greatest injury is done to the 
innocent as well as ruin brought on the guilty. However, 
both these sins agree in this, that they proceed from a corrupt 
heart; as our Saviour says, Mat. xv. 19. and argue the per- 
son that is guilty of them, alienated from the life of God, 
And to this we may add, 

3. That, another sin forbidden in this Commandment is, 
polygamy, or a having more husbands, or wives, than one, at 
the same time ; together with that which often accompanies it, 
viz. concubinage. It is beyond dispute, that many good men 
have been guilty of this sin, as appears by what is recorded, 
in scripture, concerning Abraham, Jacob, David, ^c. and w^e 
do not find that they are expressly reproved for it, which has 
given occasion to some modern waiters, to think that it was 
not unlawful in those ages, but was afterwards rendered so by 
being prohibited under the gospel-dispensation*. This, in- 
deed, cuts the knot of a very considerable difficulty ; but it 
contains another that is equally great; inasmuch as hereby it 
does not appear to be contrary to the law of nature ; and there- 
fore I would rather chuse to take another method to solve it^ 
viz. that many bad actions of good men are recorded in scrip- 
ture, but not appi"Oved of, nor proposed for our imitation. Of 
this kind I must conclude the polygamy and concubinage of 
several holy men, mentioned in scripture, to have been. And 
that it may appear that this practice was not justifiable, let it 
be observed, 

(1.) That, some sin or other is often expressly mentioned, 
as the occasion hereof. Thus Abraham's taking Hagar, was 
occasioned by Sarah's unbelief; because the promise of her 
having a son was not immediately fulfilled. Gen. xvi. 1, 2,> 
And Jacob's taking Rachel to wife after Leah, and his own 
discontent aiHsing from it, v»'^as occasioned by Laban's unjust 
dealing with him, and his going in unto Bilhah, was occasion- 
ed by Rachel's unreasonable desire of children; and his tak- 
ing Zilpah, by Leah's ambitious desire of having pre-eminence 
over Rachel, by the number of her children, chap, xsix, and 


(2.) This was generally attended with the breach of thai 
peace, which is so desirable a blessing in families, and many 
disorders that ensued hereupon. Accordingly, we rer^d of an 

• Vid. Grot, dejur. be!!, if facii, Lib- ii. cap. y. 5 9. 


irreconcil^le quarrel that there was between Sarah and Hagar; 
and Ishmael's hatred of Isaac, which the apostle calls perse- 
cution^ Gal. iv. 39. And to this we may add, the contentions 
that were in Jacob's family, and the envy expressed by the 
children of one of his wives, against those of another; and the 
opposition which one wife often expressed to another as that 
of Peninnah, one of the wives of Elkanah, to Hannah, the 
other. Therefore we must conclude, that Isaac's example is 
rather to be followed in this matter, who had but one wife, 
and he loved her better than many of the patriarch's did theirs; 
whose love was divided among several. 

Object. 1. If polygamy was a sin against the light of nature, 
it is strange, that it should be committed by good men; and, 
that they should live and die without repenting of it, nor be, 
in the least, reproved for it ; as we do not find that they were, 
in scripture. 

Anszv. It was indeed, a sin, which they might have known 
to be so, had they duly considered it, in all its circumstances 
and consequences; but this they did not; and therefore it was 
not so great a sin in them, as it would be in us, who have 
clearer dicoveries of the heinous nature of it. Therefore, if 
we suppose they repented of all sin agreeably to the light they 
had, they might be saved; and this, though unrepented of, 
was no bar to their salvation, supposing they knew it not to 
be a sin; and God's not having explicitly reproved them for 
it, argues only his forbearance, but not his approbation of it. 

Object. 2. It is farther objected, that God says, by Nathan, 
to David, / gave thee thy master^s xvives into thy bosom^ 2 
Sam, xii. 8. therefore, that which God gives, it is not unlaw- 
ful for man to receive. 

Anszv. The meaning of that scripture in general, is, that 
God made him king; and then, according to the custom of 
the eastern kings, he took possession of what belonged to his 
predecessor, and consequently of his wives. Therefore God 
might be said to give David Saul's wives providentially, in 
giving him the kingdom; so thajt they were his property, that 
he might take them for his own, according to custom, if he 
Avas inclined so to do. And this the kings of Judah generally 
did ; though it does not follow from hence that God approved 
of it; in like manner as tyrants may be said to be raised up 
by God's providence and permission; nevertheless, he does 
not approve of their tyranny. 

All that we shall add, under this head, to what has been 
suggested, concerning the disorders that polygamy has occa- 
sioned in families, is, that it is contrary to the first institution 
of marriage. God created but one woman as an help-meet 
for Adam; though, if ever there were any pretence for the 


necessity of one man's having more wives, it qifust have been 
in that instance, in which it seemed necessary for the increase 
of the world; but he rather chose that mankind should be 
propagated by slower advances, than to give the least dispen- 
sation, or indulgence to polygamy, as being contraiy to the 
law of nature, Gen. ii. 22, — ^24. And the prophet, in MaL 
ii. 15. takes notice of God's making but one; though he had 
the residue of the Spirit; and therefore could have given Adam 
more wives than one. And the reason assigned for this was, 
that he might seek a godlij seed^ i. e. that the children that 
should be born of many wives, might not be the result of the 
ungodly practice of their father, as it would be, were this con- 
trary to the law of nature ; which we suppose it to be. This 
I rather understand by a godly seed.^ and not that the charac- 
ter of godly refers to the children ; for these could not be said 
to be godly, or ungodly, as the consequence of their parents 
having one or more wives. 

There is one scripture more that I cannot wholly pass over, 
which, to me, seems a plain prohibition of polygamy, in Levit. 
xviii. 18. Thou shah not take a ivife to her sister^ to vex her^ 
to wicover her Jiakedness, besides the other in her life-time^ 
This respects either incest or polygamy ; one of which must be 
meant by taking a xvife to her sister. Now it cannot be a 
prohibition of incest; because it is said. Thou shalt not do it 
in her life-time; which plainly intimates, that it might be done 
after her death. Whereas it is certainly contrary to the law 
of God and nature, for a person to take his wife's sister after 
her decease, as well as in her life-time. Therefore the mean- 
ing is. Thou shait not take another Avife to her whom thou 
hast married ; by which means they will become sisters. And 
here is another reason assigned hereof, vrz. the envy, jealousy, 
and vexation that would attend such a practice, as the taking, 
another wife would be a means of vexing, or making her un- 
easy. And therefore the sense is, as is observed in the mar- 
ginal reading; Thou shalt not take one ivife to another; or, 
Thou shalt not have more wives than one. This is a plain 
prohibition of this sin ; but whether some holy men, in follow- 
ing ages, understood the meaning of this law, may be ques- 
tioned; and therefore they were not sensible of the guilt they 
hereby contracted. Thus we have considered some of the 
sins forbidden in this Commandment. Every particular in- 
stance of the breach hereof, would exceed our intended bre- 
vity, on the subject we are treating of. Therefore, 

We shall proceed to consider the ag;];ravation3, more espe- 
cially, of the sins of fornication and adultery; which may also 
with just reason, be applied to sll other ur.natural lusts ; which 


have been before considered as a breach of this Command- 
ment. And, 

[1.] They are opposite to sanctification, even as darkness is 
to light, hell to heaven; thus the apostle opposes fornication 
and uncleanness, to it, 1 Thes. iv. 3, 7". 

[2.] These sins are inconsistent with that relation, we pre- 
tend to stand in, to Christ, as members of his body ; inasmuch 
as we join ourselves in a confederacy with his profligate ene- 
mies, 1 Cor. vi. 15, 16. And to this we may add, that they 
are a dishonour to, and a defilement of our own bodies, which 
ought to be the temples of the Holy Ghost, and therefore should 
be consecrated to him. 

[3.] They bring guilt and ruin on two persons at once, as 
well as a blot and stain on each of their families, and a wound 
to religion by those who make any profession of it, as it g-ives 
occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme^ Prov. vi. 33. 
2 Sam. xii. 14. 

[4.] They bring with them many other sins ; as they tend 
to vitiate the affections, deprave the mind, defile the conscience, 
and provoke God to give persons up to spiritual judgments, 
which will end in their running into all excess of riot. 

And to this we may add, that many sad consequences 
will ensue on the commission of these sins ; as they tend to 
blast and ruin their substance in the world. Job xxxi. 9, 11, 
12. debase and stupify the soul, and deprive it of wisdom, 
Hos. iv. 11. Prov. vi. 32. chap. vii. 22. wound the conscience, 
and expose the person who is guilty hereof, to the utmost ha- 
zard of perishing for ever, chap. vi. 33. chap. vii. 13, 19, 26, 
27. And if God is pleased to give him repentance, it will be 
attended with great bitterness, Eccl. vii. 26. 

II. We are now to consider the occasion of these sins to be 
avoided by those who would not break this Commandment ; 
and these are, 

1. Intemperance, or excess in eating or drinking; the for- 
mer of which is a making provision for the flesh, to fulfil the 
lusts thereof ; the latter confounds and buries the little reason 
a person was master of, and makes him an easy prey to temp- 
tation. This was Lot's case, who kept his integrity in Sodom ; 
yet being made drunk by his daughters in Zoar, he committed 
the abominable sin of incest with them, Gen. xix. 31. 

2. Idleness, consisting either in the neglect of business, or 
indulging too much sleep, which occasions many temptations. 
Thus David first gave way to sloth, and then was tempted to 
xmcleanness; and it is observed, that at the ti)?ie when kings go 
forth to battle^ 2 Sam. xi. 1, 2. and he ought to have been 

with his army in the field, he tarried at Jerusalem, and slept in 
the middle of the day ; for in the evening tide he arose from 


cffhis bed ; And the heinous shi he was guilty^, which was 
the greatest blemish in his life, ensued hereupon. 

3. Pride in apparel, or other ornaments, beyond the bounds 
of modesty, or for other ends than what God, when he clothed 
man at first, intended ; when our attire is inconsistent with our 
circumstances in the world, or the character of persons pro- 
fessing godliness : This God reproves the Jews for, when 
grown very degenerate, and near to ruin, Isa. iii. 16, ^c. seq. 
And Jezebel, when Jehu came in quest of her, painted her 

face^ and tired her head; but this did not prevent his executing 
God's righteous judgments upon her. All these things 
are mentioned as the sins for which Sodom was infa- 
mous ; and gave occasion to those other abominations, which 
provoked God to destroy them, Ezek. xvi. 49. And to this 
we may add, 

4. Keeping evil company : Thus it is said of the lewd wo- 
man, she hath cast down many wounded^ Prov. vii. 26. This 
will hasten our own ruin ; especially if v/e associate ourselves 
with such persons out of choice : for it is a sign that our 
hearts are exceedingly depraved and alienated from God : Ne- 
vertheless, if Providence cast our lot amongst bad company, 
we may escape that guilt and defilement, which would other- 
wise ensue, if we bear our testimony against their sin, and are 
grieved for it, as Lot was for the filthy conversation of the So- 
domites, among whom he dwelt, 2 Pet. ii. 7, 8. Moreover, the 
frequenting those places where there are mixed dancing, mas- 
querades, stage-plays, £ifc. which tend to corrupt the principles 
and practices, and seldom fail of defiling the consciences, and 
manners of those who attend on them : These are nurseries of 
vice, and give occasion to this sin, and many others, Prov. vi. 
27, compared with 32. 

As for the remedies against it, these are, an exercising a 
constant watchfulness against all temptations thereunto, chap- 
viii. 9. avoiding all conversation with men or books which tend 
to corrupt the mind, and fill it with levity, under a pretence of 
improving it : But more especially a retaining a constant sense 
of God's all-seeing eye, his infinite purity and vindictive justice, 
which will induce us to say as Joseph did, in the like case, 
How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God^ Gen. 
xxxix. 9. C^J 

(a) The Theatre is said to have commenced at Athens, but to have been so much 
disapproved of, both in Greece and at Rome, that it was allowed no peimanen- 
cy till the days ofPompey, JMinutius Felix derided the Christians for abstain- 
ing from this amusement. It is not probable therefore that the first Christians 
required any reproof in any of the Epistles for tliis vice. But every abuse of it 
may find its correction \n scripture. Morais and piety may be thi-own ii»to Dla- 


Quest. U^L. Which is the eighth Commandment I' 

Answ. The eighth Commandment is, [Thou shah not steaL] 

Quest. CXLI. JVhat are the duties required in the eighth 
Commandment ? 

Answ. The duties required in the eighth Commandment are, 
truth, faithfulness, and justice in contracts, and commerce 
between man and man ; rendering to every one his due ; 
restitution of goods unlawfully detained from the right 
owners thereof; giving, and lending freely, according to our 

logue without reasonable objection. But to turn tliese things into play, and the 
uiiiusement of the reprobate, cannot be justified. — There is no fairness in argu- 
ing from what they might be, to prove the lawfulness of plays in the state in 
which they are, always have been, and will probably always be. That they are, 
and lend to evil is proved by the avidity with which they are frequented by even 
the worst members of society. They are calculated to excite the aftections and 
passions in the highest manner, and so to render private happiness, domestic en- 
joyments, and religious observances insipid or disgusting. The reiteration of 
scenes of impurity, illicit amours, extravagant passions, jealousy, and revenge, 
will make a silent and secret impression upon the mind, and if they do not pro- 
mote the same wickedness, they will at least render the mind less abhorrent of 
such crimes. True religion requires the exclusion of such imaginations, the im- 
mediate banishment of such thoughts, that we shouKl mortify and deny our- 
selves ; " Blessed are the pure tnlieart for they shall see God." Tiie crueltyand 
bloodshed frequently tlireatened, or resorted to in defence offal.se honour; the 
pomp, pride, and ambition not unfrequently exhibited upon the stage, must ne- 
cessarily prompt to like feats in vindication of character, or at least lead to self- 
importance and fastidiousness; but the gospel teaches humility, self-denial, 
lowliness of mindT; *' Blessed uj-e the poor in spirit^' When such representations 
please, they prove the mind corrupt, and become an index of the morals of those, 
who are entertained with such spectacles. The christian duties of meekness, si- 
lence, forbearance, humility, bearing the cross, faith, and repentance, are either 
incapable of being transferred to the stage, or if seen there are exposed to con- 
tempt, and ridicule. The addresses to Deity, and prayers there offered, are sure- 
ly Heaven-provoking blasphemies. The Theatre interrupts religious, domestic, 
and public duties ; it dissipates and fascinates the mind ; weakens conscience, 
grieves the Holy Spirit, wastes property, and time ; and unqualifies both for 
tiiis, and the world to come. 

■ Every one who attends is chargeable with the evil which obtains before him, 
for he goes voluntarily, he submits himself as to the matter of his amusement to 
other.s, and thus with the blessings of Providence, bribes the enemies of God to 
blaspheme him. 

Some men of character for morals have countenanced, and some have written 
for tiie stage, perhaps they calculated upon what it might be, and aimed to cor- 
rect the evil by drawing to it the more respectable of society. But the great ma- 
jority of men are enemies to God, these will only be pleased witli evil, ;ind their 
pleasure will al\v;iys be sought, because interest will compel to this. This is 
therefore doing evil that good may come ; if indeed it can under any circnm ■ 
stances be good, to turn even correct performances, if such there were, into pub- 
lick amusement. 

After all there can be no hope of a total removal of this evil, yet we are on 
t!iis account no more excused from bearing testimony against it, than from op- 
posing other onnies which cannot be wholly prevcntfd. 


abilities, and the necessities of others ; mod«(fation of onr 
judgments, wills, and affections, concerning worldly goods ; 
a provident care and study to get, keep, use, and dispose 
those things which are necessary and convenient for the sns- 
tentation of our nature, and suitable to our condition ; a 
lawful calling, and diligence in it ; frugality, avoiding un- 
necessary law-suits, and suretyship, or other like engage- 
ments ; and an endeavour, by all just and lawful means, to 
procure, presei-ve, and further the wealth and outward estate 
pf others, as well as our own, 

THIS Commandment supposes, that God has given to eve- 
ry one a certain portion of the good things of this world, 
that he mav lay claim to as his own ; which no other has a 
right to. .The general scope and design thereof, is to put us 
Tipon using endeavours to promote our own and our neigh- 
bour's wealth and outward estate. As to what concerns our- 
selves, it respects the government of our affections, and setting 
due bounds to our desires of worldly things, that they may not 
exceed what the good providence of God has allotted for us, in 
order to our comfortable passage through this world. Thus 
Agar prays, Give me neither poverty nor riches ; feed me xvitk 
food convenient for me^ Prov. xxx. 8. 

As to what respects our endeavours to gain the world j it 
requires a due care and diligence, to get, and keep a competen- 
cy thereof ; that we may not, through our own default, expose 
ourselves to those straits and necessities which are the conse- 
quence of sloth and negligence, chap, xxiii. 21. chap. xxiv. 30, 
31. God may, indeed, give estates to some without any pains, 
or care to get them, Deut. vi. 10, 11. yet, even in this case, 
sloth is a sin which brings with it many hurtful lusts, that ren- 
der riches a snare, and hindrance to their spiritual welfare : 
Therefore they, who are in prosperous circumstances in the 
world, ought not to lay aside all care and industry to improve, 
what they have to the glory of God. But, on the other hand,- 
they who are in a low condition, ought to use a provident care 
and diligence, in order to their having a comfortable subsis- 
tence therein. Accordingly this Commandment obliges us to 
use all lawful endeavours to promote our own and our neigh- 
bour's wealth, and outward estate. 

I. To promote our own wealth and estate. This we are 
to do, 

. 1. By frugality in our expences, avoiding profuseness ,* and 
that, either in giving away our substance to unfit objscts, to 
wir, those who are in better circumstances than ourselves, who 
ought to be givers rather than receivers, Prov. xxii. 16. or 
else in making large Contributions to support a bad cause, and 

Vol. IV. C 


in consiftning our substance on our lusts. Likewise ivlicn Wf 
are unwarily profuse in those expcnces, which would be other 
\vise lawful, did they not exceed our circumstances or income 
in the world, which contains a disregard of the future estate oi 
our families, and taking a method to reduce ourselves and 
them to poverty, 1 Tim. v. 8. Or, if our circumstances will 
admit of large expenses ; yet, to abound therein, merely out 
of ostentation, and at the same time, to withhold our liberality 
from the poor is inconsistent with frugality. 

2. We ought also to be diligent, and industrious in our 
calling ; and, in order thereunto, 

(1.) We are wisely to make choice of such a calling, in 
%vhich we may glorify God, and expect his blessing, in order 
to the promoting our wealth and outward estate ; thereforf. 
that business is to be chosen which we are most capable of ma- 
naging, and has in itself the fewest temptations attending it ; 
especially such wherein the conscience is not burdened by un- 
lawful oaths, or prostituting solemn ordinances, not designed 
fey Christ as a qualification for them. Moreover, we are not t(i 
choose those callings wherein the gain is obtained by oppres- 
sion or extortion, and which cannot be managed without clan- 
ger of sinning ; which will bring the blast of providence on all 
our undertakings. Therefore we are earnestly to desire God's 
direction in this weighty concern, as well as depend on him 
for success therein, Eccl. ix. 11. Deut. viii. 18. 

(2.) When we have made choice of a lawful calling, we are 
to manage it in such a way, that we may expect the bles- 
sing of God, in order to the promoting our wealth and outward 
estate. Accordingly, 

[1.] Let us pursue and manage it with right and warranta- 
ble ends, to wit, the glory of God ; and, in subordination 
thereunto, our providing for ourselves and families, that we 
may be in a capacity of doing good to others, and serving the 
interest of Christ in our day and generation. 

[2.] Let us take heed that our secular employments do not 
rob God of that time, which ought to be devoted to his worship ; 
and that our hearts be not alienated from him, so that while 
we are labouring for the world, we should live without God 

[3.] Let us take heed that we do not launch out too far, or 
run too great hazards in trade, resolving that we will be sud- 
denly rich or poor, which may tend to the ruin of our own fa- 
milies, as well as others, 1 Tim. vi. 9. 

[4.] Let us bear disappointments in our callings, with pa- 
tience and submission to the will of God, without murmuring 
or repining at his wise and sovereign dispensations of provi- 
dence herein. 


II. This Commandment obliges us to promwe the wealth 
tnd outward estate of our neighbour. This we are to do, by 
exercising strict justice in our contracts and dealings with all 
men ; and by relieving the wants and necessities of those Avho 
stand in need of our charity. 

1. As to what respects the exercise of justice in our dealmgs, 
(1.) We must take heed, that we do not exact upon, or take 

iinreasonable profit of those whom we deal with, arising from 
the ignorance of some, and the necessities of others, Jer. iii. 15. 
Neither, must we use any methods to supplant and ruin others, 
against the laws of trade, by selling goods at a cheaper rate 
than any one can afford them, thereby doing damage to our- 
selves with a design to ruin them, who are less able to bear 
such a loss. 

(2.) Those goods, which we know to be faulty, are not, by 
false arts, or deceitful words, to be sold, as though they were 
not so, Amos viii. 6. And, on the other hand, the buyer is not 
to take advantage of the ignorance of the seller, as it sometimes 
happens ; neither is he to pretend that it is worth less than he 
really thinks it to be, Prov. xx. 14. 

(3.) Nothing is to be diminished in weight or measure, 
from what was bought, worse goods to be delivered than what 
were purchased, Amos vii. 5. nor the balances to be falsified 
by deceit^ Deut. xxv. 13, 14, 15. 

2. We are to promote the good of our poor distressed neigh- 
bour, in works of charity ; and that not only by invv^ard sym- 
pathy, or bowels of compassion towards him ; but according to 
our ability, by relieving him. To induce us hereunto, let us 
consider, that outward good things are talents given us, with 
this view, that hereby we may be in a capacity of helping 
others, as well as be needing help ourselves. And when we. 
do this, we may be said to improve what we have received 
from God, as those who are accountable to him for it, and tes- 
tify our gratitude to him for outward blessings. It may also be 
considered, that Christ takes such acts of kindness, when pro 
ceeding from an unfeigned love to him, as done to himself. 
Matt. xxv. 40. Prov, xix. 17. And, to this we may add, that 
(liere are many special motives, taken from the objects of our 
charity, namely, the pressing necessities of some, the excelling 
holiness of others ; and, in some instances^ we may consider^ 
that, by an act of charity, whereby we relieve one, we do good 
to many ; or the tendency that this may have to promote the 
interest of Christ in general, when we relieve those that suffer 
for the sake of the gospel. This leads us to consider, 

(1.) Of whom works of charity are required. If this be du- 
ly weighed, we shall find, that scarce any are exempted from 
this duty, except it be those of whom it may be said, there arc 


none poorer than themselves, or who "have no more than what 
is absolutely necessary to support their families, or such as are 
labouring hard, to spare out of their necessary expenses, what 
will but just serve to pay their debts ; or they who are reduced 
to such straits as to depend upon others, so that they can call 
nothing they have their own. 

Nevertheless, this duty is incumbent ; 

[l.] On the rich, out of their abundance. 

[2.] On those who are in middle circumstances in the world, 
who have a sufficiency to lay out in superfluous expenses : 

[3.] Even the poor ought to give a small testimony of their 
gratitude to God, by sparing a little, if they can, out of what 
they get in the world, for those who are poorer than them- 
selves ; whicli, if it be but a few mites, it may be an acceptable 
sacrifice to God, Luke xxi. 2,4. and, if persons have nothing 
before hand in the world, they ought to work for this end, as 
well as to maintain themselves and families, Eph. iv. 28. 

(2.) We are now to consider, who are to be reckoned objects 
of our charity. To which it may be answered ; Not the rich, 
who stand in no need of it, from whom we may expect a suffi- 
cient requital, Luke xiv. 12, 13, 14. nor those who are strong 
and healthy, but yet make a trade of begging, because it is an 
idle and sometimes a profitable way of living, 2 Thess. iii. 
10 — 12. But such are to be relieved, who are not able to work ; 
especially if they were not reduced to poverty by their own 
sloth and negligence, but by the providence of God not suc- 
ceeding their endeavours ; and if, while they were able, they 
were ready to all works of charity themselves, 1 Tim. v. 10. and 
to these we may add, such who are related to us, either in the 
bonds of nature, or in a spiritual sense, Gal. vi. 10. This leads 
us to enquire, 

(3.) What part, or proportion of our substance, we are to 
apply to charitable uses ? In answer to this, let it be consider- 
ed, that the circumstances of persons in the world being so va- 
rious, as well as their necessary occasions for extraordinary 
expenses, it is impossible to give a general rule, to be observ- 
ed by all. However, it must be premised, 

[1.] That our present contributions, ought not to preclude 
all thoughts, about laying up for ourselves or families, for time 
to come. 

[2.] Whatever proportion we give of our gain in the world, 
some abatements may reasonably be made for losses in trade ; 
especially if what we give was not determined, or laid aside, 
for that use before the loss happened. As to what may far- 
ther be observed concerning this matter, it ought to be left to 
the impartial determination of every one, who is to act, as be 


ing sensible that he is accountable to God herej)^. The apostle 
lays down one general rule ; Every man^ according as he pur- 
posetli in his heart, so let him give ; not grudgingly^ or of ne- 
cessity ; for God loveth a cheerful giver, 2 Cor. ix. 7. But 
though we pretend not to determine the exact proportion 
which ought to be given, viz. whether it be a tenth part of 
their profits, or more, or less ; yet it is highly reasonable, that 
every one should contribute as much in works of charity, as" 
he lays out in mere superfluities ; or, at least, spare a part oiit 
of his superfluous expenses, for charitable uses. And there 
are some occasions which may call for large contributions. 
Thus the churches in Macedonia are commended, not onl)^ for 
their giving according to, but beyond their poxver, chap. viii. 
1, 2, 3. Three things may be here considered, 

1^?, The extreme necessities of those whom we are bound 
to take care of; and, sometimes, the distressed circumstances 
of the church of God, in general, require larger contributions 
than ordinary ; which was the occasion of the Command men- 
tioned by our Saviour, of selling all, and giving to the poor, 
which was put in practice in the infancy of the church, or the 
first planting of the gospel, at Jerusalem. 

2dly, Extraordinary instances of the kindness of God, in 
prospering us, either in worldly or spiritual concerns, beyond 
our expectation, call for extraordinary expressions of gratitude 
to God, in laying by for the poor, 1 Cor. xvi. 2. 

Zdly, When we have committed great sins, or are under 
very humbling providences, whether, personal or national, as 
being exposed to, or fearing the judgments of God, which 
seem to be approaching ; this calls for deep humiliation, and, 
together therewith, proportionable acts of charity. 

(4.) We are now to consider, with what frame of spirit 
works of charity are to be performed ? To which, it may be 
answered, that they are to be performed prudently, as our own 
circumstances will permit, and the necessity of the object re- 
quires ; also seasonably, not putting this duty off till another 
time, when the necessities of those, whom we are bound to re- 
lieve, call for present assistance, Prov. ii. 28. It is also to he 
done secretly, as not desiring to be seen of men, or commend- 
ed by them for it. Matt. vi. 3, 4, and cheerfully, 2 Cor. ix. 7. 
also with tenderness and compassion to those whose necessi- 
ties call for relief, as considering how soon God can reduce us 
to the same extremity which they are exposed to, who are the 
objects of our charity. It ought to be done likewise with 
thankfulness to God, that has made us givers, rather than re- 
ceivers. Acts X. 35. and, as a testimony of our love to Christ, 
especially when we contribute to the necessities of his mcTn- 
bers, Matt. x. 42. 


Quest. ^CXLII. lyhat are the sins forbidden in the eighth Corn- 
tnandfneyit P 

Answ. The iiins forbidden in the eighth Commandmtnt, be- 
sides the neglect of the duties required, are, theft, robbery, 
man-stealing, and receiving any thing that is stolen, fraudu- 
lent dealing, false weights and measures, removing land- 
marks, injustice and unfaithfulness in contracts between man 
and man, or in matters of trust ; oppression, extortion, usu- 
ry, bribery, vexatious law- suits, unjust inclosures, and de- 
populations ; ingrossing commodities to enhance the price, 
unlawful callings, and all other unjust, or sinful ways of 
taking, or withholding from our neighbour what belongs to 
him, or of enriching ourselves. Govetousness, inordinate 
prizing and affecting worldly goods ; distrustful and distract- 
mg cares and studies in getting, keeping, and using them, 
envying at the prosperity of others. As likewise idleness, 

> prodigality, wasteful gaming, and all other ways whereby 
we do unduly prejudice our own outward estate ; and de- 
frauding ourselves of the due use and comfort of that estate 
which God hath given us. 

THIS Commandment forbids, in general all kind of theft ; 
and may include in it that which is very seldom called 
by this name, to wit, the robbing of ourselves and families j 
which we may be said to do, by neglecting our worldly call- 
ing, or by the imprudent management thereof. Also, by lending 
larger sums of money than our circumstances will well bear, 
to those who are never like to pay it again ; or, which is in ef- 
lect the same, by being surety for such. Moreover we rob 
ourselves and families, by being profuse and excessive in our 
expenses ; and by consuming what we have, while pursuing 
our pleasures more than business ; or by gaming, whereby we 
run the risque of losing part of our substance, and thereby re- 
ducing ourselves, or others, to poverty. On the other hand, 
we rob ourselves and families, when, out of a design to lay up 
a great deal for the time to come, we deprive ourselves and 
them, of the common necessaries of life, which is, in effect, to 
starve for the present, to prevent our starving for the future. 
But, passing this by, we shall consider this Commandment 
more especially, as it respects our defrauding others ; and this 
is done, 

I. By taking away any part of their wealth, or worldly sub- 
stance. This is generally known by the name of theft, and 
that, with the greatest severity, in proportion to its aggrava- 
tions ; and they who are guilty of it, are, without repentance, 
excluded from the kingdom of God, 1 Cor. vi. 9, 10. How- 


"ver, let it be considered, that every kind of tMeft does not de- 
serve an equal degree of punishment from n:ten ; for sometimes 
hereby the owner of what was stolen, receives but little dam- 
age ; though in this case, some punishment, short of death, 
ought to be inflicted, to reform the wicked person, and deter 
him from going on in the breach of this Commandment, from 
less to greater sins. 

By the law of God, a simple theft was punished with resti- 
tution of double, and sometimes, four times as much as the 
damage amounted to, which was sustained thereby, Exod. xxii. 
1,4, 7. Yet, in other cases, the theft was punished with death, 
when it had in it some circumstances that aggravated it in an 
uncommon degree ; as if an house, which ought to be reckon- 
ed a man's castle, be broke open, and that, in the night-time, 
when he is in no condition of defending himself, or his world- 
ly substance. In this case the law is not unjust, that punishes 
the thief with death ; and this is supposed in that law which 
says, that he that kills such an one wiio breaks up his neigh- 
bour's house by night, shall have no blood shed for him^ ver. 
2. But, in other instances, confinement, and hard labour, may 
be as effectual a way to put a stop to this sin ; and is rather to 
be chosen than punishment with death. Thus concerning this 
Commandment, as broken by theft. 

II. It is farther broken, by unfaithfulness, or breach of trust; 
whether the trust he devolved on us by nature, as that of pa- 
rents towards their children; or by contract, as that of servants, 
who are entrusted with the goods and secrets of their masters ; 
or, that which is founded in the desire and request of those 
who constitute persons executors to their wills, or guardians 
to orphans, under age, provided they accept of this trust ; I 
say, if these violate their trust, by embezzling or squandering 
away the substance of others, defrauding them, to enrich them- 
selves. This is not only theft, but pertidiousness, and highly 
provoking to God ; and deserves a more severe punishment 
from men, than is usually inflicted. 

III. This Commandment may be said to be broken, by bor- 
rowing, and not paying just debts ; as the Psalmist says, T/ie 
rvkkecl borroxueth and payeth not aguin^ Psal. xxxvii. 21. Ne- 
vertheless, there are some cases in which a man is not guilty 
hereof, though he borrows and does not pay, viz. If, when he 
borrowed, there was a probability of his being able to repay it; 
or otherwise, if he discovered his circumstances fully to him, 
of whom he borrowed, to whom it would hereby appear, whe- 
ther there was any likelihood of paying him or not ; or if he 
gave full conviction, when he borrowed, that he was able to 
pay, but the providence of God, without his own default, has 
rendered him unablr : in this case mercy is to be ^hewn hirr. 


and he is not to be reckoned a breaker of this Commandment. 
However, a person is guilty of the breach hereof, in borrowing, 
and not paying debts. ' 

1. If the borrower pretends his circumstances to be better 
than they are, and so makes the lender believe, that, in a limit- 
ed time, he shall be able to repay him ; when, in his own con- 
science, h^ apprehends that there is no probabihty hereof. 

2. When a person was m such circumstances at the time of 
his borrowing, that by industry in his calling, he might be able 
to pay the creditor; but, by neglect of business, or embezzling 
his substance, he renders himself unable to pay, such an one is 
chargeable with the breach of this Commandment. ■ 

3. If pity be shewn, by compounding for a part, instead of 
the whole debt, in case of present insolvency ; though the 
debtor, in form of law, be discharged, with the creditor's con- 
sent ; yet the law of God and nature, obliges him to pay the 
whole debt, if providence makes him able hereafter ; or else 
he can hardly be excused from the breach of this Command- 

This leads us to enquire, what judgment we may pass on 
the Israelites borroxviiig of the Egyptians jcxvels of silver^ and 
jewels of gold; which we read of m Exod. xii. 2,5. whether 
they were herein guilty of the breach of this Commandmento 

Answ, The word * which we render borrowed^ might as 
well be rendered asked^ or demanded. And so we must sup- 
pose, that the Egyptians were so desirous that the Israelites 
should be gone, apprehending, that if they continued, they 
were all dead men, that they might have of them whatever 
they demanded, as necessary for this expedition ; and, if they 
came back again, a* they supposed they should, they would be 
obliged to return them. If this be the sense of the Hebrew 
word, there is no difficulty in the text, nor any appearance of 
the breach of this Commandment. 

But since the sense of the word is indeterminate, signifying 
to demand^ as well as to borrow^ as was before observed, God's 
order imports the former ; though they might understand it in 
the latter, as denoting a borrowing with a design to restore. 
Therefore, let it be considered, 

(1.) That they did this by God's command, who has aright 
to take away the goods that one possesses, if he pleases, and 
give them to another ; for he takes away nothing but his own. 

* The tkbre-M rvord vNtV, v-fdch is here used, does not ovly signify commoda- 
vit, or Usui dedil, or accepit, btit petiit, or postulavit ; in the last of which se7ises 
it is to he imderslood, in Deut. x. 12. What doth the Lord lequiie or demand ot" 
thee, &c. Jlnd in Judges v. 25. where the same luordis used, it is sa.d, that^isara. 
asked water of J.-icl ; not as one that 7uas borron'ivg it of her, biit as a gratidty for 
former kindTtfss -iviurh he had shevn to her. 


Now, that they had his warrant for borro^v|^g or demand- 
ing these things of the Egyptians, appears from the second 

(2.) The reason why God ordered them to do this, if we 
look beyond his absolute sovere'ignty, was, because the Israeli 
ites deserved them as wages, for their hard service ; and this 
might be reckoned a reward of the good offices diat Joseph 
had done to that kingdom ; which had been long since forgot- 

(3.) As to what concerns the Israelites, it is probable, they 
expected nothing else but to return again, and restore to the 
OAvners what they had borrowed of them, after they had sacri- 
ficed to God in the wilderness ; at least, they were wholly pas- 
aive, and disposed to follow the divine conduct, by the hand 
of Moses. And when they v/ere in the wilderness, they could 
not restore what they had borrowed, since the owners thereof, 
as is more than probable, were drowned in the Red Sea, whose 
revenge and covetousn. ss, as well as Pharaoh's orders, prompt- 
ed them to follow them. Or if some of the owners might have 
been heard of, as yet surviving, their right to what was bor- 
rowed of them, was forfeited, by reason of the hostile pursuit 
of Pharaoh and his hosts, which put them into a state of war. ' 

This may lead us farther to enquire, what judgment we may 
pass on the many ravages and plunders that are generally made 
by armies engaged in war ; whether they may be reckoned a 
breach of this Commandment i And, 

[1.] It is beyond dispute, that, if the war be unjust, as all 
the blood that is shed, is murder, or a breach of the sixth 
Commandment ; so all the damage that is done by burning of 
houses, or taking away the goods of those against whom it is 
carried on, is a breach of this Commandment. But, 

[2.] If we suppose the war to be just, and the damage done 
only to those who are immediately concerned in it, and that it 
is an expedient to procure peace ; it is unquestionably lawful, 
and no breach of this Commandment. Thus when the Israel- 
ites were commanded to destroy the inhabitants of the land of 
Canaan, as criminals, they were admitted to seize on the spoil 
of other nations, who were remote from them, Deut. xx. 14, 
15. when conquered by them. 

[3.] As for those plunders and robberies which are commit- 
ted on private persons, who are not concerned in the war any 
otherwise than as subjects of the goverament, against which ic 
is undertaken ; and especially, if their loss has no direct ten- 
dency to procure peace ; this can hardly be justified from be- 
ing a breach of this Commandment. 

IV. This Commandment is also broken by oppression ; 
whereby the rich mav be said to rob, and even swallov/ un tht; 

Voi, IV,, ■ D * ■ 


poor, Psal. xiv. 4, Psal. x. 9. Micah iii. 2, 3. Now there arc 
various ways by which persons may be said to oppress others. 

1. By engrossing those goods which are necessary for food 
or clothing, thereby to enhance the price thereof, whereby the 
poor are brought into great extremities. 

2. When persons enrich themselves out of the unmerciful 
labour exacted of their servants, whom they will hardly suffer 
to live, to eat the just reward of their service. Such a master 
was Laban to Jacob, Gen. xxxi. 41, 42. 

3. When landlords turn their tenants out of their houses or 
farms, when they find that they get a comfortable subsistence 
by their industry, taking occasion from thence, to raise their 
rent, in proportion to the success God gives them therein. 

4. When the rich make the poor suffer by long delays, to 
pay their debts, that they m^' gain advantage by the impro^ 
ment of that money which they ought to have paid them. 

V. A person may be said to break this Commandment, by 
engaging in unjust and vexatious law-suits. However, it is 
to be owned, that going to law is not, at all times, unjust; for 
it is sometimes a relief against oppression ; and it is agreeable 
to the law of nature for every one to defend his just rights : 
itnd for this reason God appointed judges, (to determine such- 
like causes) to whom the people w^ere to have recourse, that 
iliey might shezv them the sentence of judgment^ Deut. xvii. 8, 
9. Nevertheless, we must sometimes conclude law-suits tc 
be oppressive; as, 

U When the rich make use of the law, to prevent, or pro- 
long the payment of their debts, or to take away the rights oi' 
the poor, who, as they suppose, will rather suffer injuries thaja 
attempt to defend themselves. 

2. When bribes are either given or taken, with a design tv 
pervert justice, 1 Sam. viii. 2. And to this we may add, that 
the person who pleads an unrighteous cause, concealing th<r 
known truth, perverting the sense of the law, or alleging, 
tliat for law or fact, which he knows not to be so; and the 
judge who passes sentence against his conscience, respecting 
the person of the rich, and brow-beating the poor ; these are all 
confederates in oppression ; and such methods of proceeding, 
are beyond dispute, a breach of this Commandment. 

Obj. Our Saviour forbids going to law, though it were tc 
recover our just rights ; when he says, If any man zuill sue thet 
at the law^ and take away thy coat^ let him have thy cloke also^. 
JVIatt. V. 40. 

Answ. To this it may be replied ; that some things may bo 
omitted for prudential reasons, which would not otherwise b-; 
unlawful to be done. Our Saviour does not forbid using out 
endeavours,. in a legal way, to recover our right in all cases. 


but more especially at that time, when his fftlowers could 
hardly expect to meet with justice. And, it may be, they 
were oppressed by fines, or distress, laid on them, for their 
embracing Christianity ; in this case he advises them, patiently 
to bear injuries, when they could hardly expect relief from 
dieir unjust judges. 

VI. This Commandment is broken by extortion, or oppres- 
sive usury. Thus it is said of the righteous man. He piitteth 
not out his money to usury ^ Psal. xv. 5. The word * signi- 
fies biting usury; which is, beyond dispute, unlawful. We 
have elsewhere considered in what cases the Israelites might 
take usury, and when notf. And, upon the whole, it is cer- 
TLainly unlawful, to exact more than the legal rate or worth of 
the loan of money; or to exact any usury of the poor; espe- 
cially for that which was borrowed to supply them with the 
necessaries of life. r 

Having considered in what instances this Commandment is 
broken, we proceed to shew, what a person ought to do, who 
has been guilty of the breach thereof, in any of the foremen* 
tioned instances, in order to his making restitution for the in- 
juries he has done to his neighbour. This ought always to 
attend the exercise of sincere repentance in those who have 
been guilty of this sin, of which we have an instance in Zac- 
cheus, Luke xix. 8. and the neglect hereof will be like a worm 
at the root of ill gotten estates, and will be little better than u 
continual theft. 

Obj. 1. To this it is objected, that this may be a prejudice 
to our reputation, by making our crime public, which before 
was only known to ourselves. 

Ansxu. To this it may be replied; 

1. That, what we do in this matter, is not really a reproach, 
but an honour ; and it is hardly to be supposed, that he, to 
whom we perform so just and unexpected a duty, will be so 
barbarous as to divulge or improve this against us, to our dis- 

2. There are private ways of retaliation, whereby the injur- 
ed party may receive what is sent to him, in a way of restitu- 
tion, and not know from whom it comes; or, good turns may 
be done to him, in a way of compensation for the damages he 
has received, and he not know, that they are done with this 
design; and, by this means, we disburden our consciences, 
perform a necessary dut}^ and, at the same time, prevent the 
supposed ill-consequences that might attend it. 

Obj. 2. It is farther objected, that sometimes the making 
irstitution is impracticable; as when the person injvircd is 

• F^-om ny^3^ momordit. + Se< 3 vol. p. 433. 


dead, an^we know of none that has a right to receive it. And 
sometimes we may have been guilty of so many instances of 
fraud and oppression, and, that to such a great nuni,ber of per- 
sons, that it is next to impossible, to make restitution. 

Ansxu, To this it may be replied ; that when it is impossible- 
for us to make restitution to those whom we have injured; or, 
•when we know of none that survive them, who have a right 
to receive it, the best expedient, I apprehend, we can make 
use of, is, to give it to the poor; for, since it is not, in justice, 
our own, we do, as it were, hereby give it to the Lord, wh© 
is the original proprietor of all things. 

Quest. CXLIII. What is the ninth Cmnmandment f 

Answ. The ninth Commandment is, [Thou shalt not bear falsa 
witness against thy neighbour.'] 

Quest. CXLIV. What are the duties required in the ?iinth 

Com77iandment f 

Answ. The duties required in the ninth Commandment arc, 
the preserving and promoting of truth between man and 
man, and the good name of our neighbour as well as our 
own. Appearing, and standing for, and from the heart, 
sincerely, freely, clearly, and fully, speaking the truth, and 
only the truth, in matters of judgment and justice, and in 
all other things whatsoever; a charitable esteem of our 
neighbours ; loving, desiring, and rejoicing in their good 
name, sorrowing for, and covering of their infirmities ; freely 
acknowledging their gifts and graces; defending their inno- 
cency ; a ready receiving of a good report, and unwilling- 
ness to admitt an evil report concerning them, discouraging 
tale-bearers, flatterers, and slanderers; love and care of our 
own good name, and defending it when need requireth, 
keeping of lawful promises, studying and practising of what- 
soever things are true, honest, lovely, and of good report. 

. r 

Quest. CXLV. What are the sins forbidden in the ninth 
Commandment ? 

Answ. The sins forbidden in the ninth Commandment, arc, 
all prejudicing the truth, and the good name of our neigh- 
bours as well as our own, especially in public judicature, 
giving false evidence, suJjorning false witnesses, wittingly 
appearing and pleading for an evil cause, out-facing and 
Qver-bearing the truth, passing unjust sentence, calling evi? 


good, and good evil, rewarding the wicked ac^rding to the 
work of the righteous ; and. the righteous according to the 
work of the wicked; forgery, concealing the truth, undue si- 
lence in a just cause, and holding our peace when iniquity 
calleth for either a reproof from ourselves, or complaint to 
others ; speaking the truth unseasonably, or maliciously to a 
wrong end, or perverting it to a wrong meaning, or in doubt- 
ful and equivocal expressions, to the prejudice of truth or 
justice, speaking untruth, lying, slandering, back- biting, de- 
tracting, tale-bearing, whispering, scoffing, reviling, rash, 
harsh, and partial, censuring, misconstruing intentions, 
words, and actions, flattering, vain-glorious boasting, think- 
ing or speaking too highly or too meanly of ourselves or 
others, denying the gifts and graces of God, aggravating 
smaller faults, hiding, excusing, or extenuating of sins when 
cailed to a free confession, unnecessary discovering of in- 
firmities, raising false rumours, receiving and countenancing 
evil reports, and stopping our ears against just defence, evil 
suspicion, envying or grieving at the deserved credit of any, 
endeavouring or desiring to impair it, rejoicing in their 
disgrace and infamy, scornful contempt, fond admiration, 
breach of lawful promises, neglecting such things as are of 
good report, and practising or not avoiding ourselves or not 
hindering, what we can in others, such things as procure an 
ill name. 

IN this' Commandment we are to consider, 
I. What are the duties required ? These are, 

1. Our endeav^ouring to promote truth in all w^e say or do; 
and that, as to v/hat either concerns ourselves, or others. As 
to what concerns ourselves, we are to fence against every 
thing that savours of deceit or hypocrisy ; and, in our whole 
Conversation, endeavour to be what v/e pretend to be; or to 
ypeak nothing but what we know, or believe to be true, upon 
good evidence, the contrary whereunto is lying. As to what 
concerns others, we must not neglect to reprove sin in them, 
how much soever our worldly interest may lie at stake. Thus 
Azariah reproved IJzziah, 2 Chron. xxvi. 18. and Elijah, 
Ahab ; though this could not hut be an hazardous attempt in 
each of them. Moreover, we must endeavour to undeceive 
Others, who are mistaken ; especially if the error, they are 
liable to, be of such a nature, that it endangers the loss of their 
salvation. We are also to vindicate those who are reproached 
by others, to the utmost of our power, according as the cause 
will admit of it. 

2. This Commandment obliges us, to endeavour to promote 
(pur own, and oyt; neighbour's good name. 


(1.) Onr o\yn good name; which consists, not in our having 
the applause of the world, but in our deserving the just es- 
teem thereof, and in our being loved and valued, for our use- 
fulness to mankind in general. And this esteem is not to be 
gained by commending ourselves, or doing any thing, but 
what we engage in with a good conscience, and the fear of 
God. And in order hereto, we must, take heed that we do 
not contract an intimacy with those, whose conversation is a 
reproach to the gospel, Prov. xxviii. 7. Also we must ren- 
der good for evil, and not give occasion to those, who watch 
for our halting, to insult us as to any thing, besides unavoid- 
able infirmities, 1 Pet. ii. 12. Phil. iv. 8. 

This degree of honour in the world, we ought first to en- 
deavour to gain, especially so far as it is necessary to our 
honouring God, and being useful to others. And then we 
must be cai'eful to maintain our good name ; forasmuch as the 
loss thereof, especially, in those who have made a public pro- 
fession of religion, will reflect dishonour on the ways of God, 
from whence his enemies will take occasion to blaspheme, 2 
Sam. xii. 14. But if all our endeavours to maintain our 
character and reputation are to no purpose ; being, neverthe- 
less, followed with reproach as well as hatred and malice, 
from an unjust and censorious world; let us look to it, that if 
we suffer reproach^ it be ivrongfully ,- not as evil doers, but for 
keeping' a good conscience in the sight of God ; which may be 
a means to make those that reproach us, ashamed, 1 Pet. iii, 
16. Moreover, let us count the reproach of Christ, that is, 
for his sake, a glory, chap. iv. 14. Acts v. 41. Again, let us 
always value their good opinion most, who are Christ's best 
friends ; and expect little else but ill treatment from his ene- 
mies ; and then we shall be less disappointed, when we are ex- 
posed to it. And let us not decline any thing that is our duty, 
in which the honour of God, and the welfare of his people, is 
concerned, for fear of reproach ; but in this case, leave our 
good name in Christ's hand; whose providence is concerned, 
for, and takes care of, the honour, as well as the wealth and 
outward estate of his people. 

(2.) We are to endeavour to maintain the good name of 
others ; and in order thereto, we must render to them those 
anarks of respect and honour, which their character, and ad- 
vancement in gifts, or grace, calls for; yet without being 
guilty of servile flattery or dissimulation. And if they are in 
danger of doing any thing that may forfeit their good name, 
we are carefully to reprove them, while we have a due regard 
to any good thing that is. in them, towards the Lord their God; 
and, in maintaining their good name, we are to conceal their 
''"italts, when we may do it without betraying the interest of 


Christ; and especially when the honour of G^, and thtii- 
good, is, by this means» better promoted, than by divulging 
them, 1 Pet. iv. 8. Prov. xvii. 9. 

However, this is not without some exceptions ; and there- 
fore it may be observed, that we are not to conceal the crimes 
committed by others. 

[1.] If private admonition for scandalous sins committed, 
prove ineffectual, and the discovering them to others may 
make the offender ashamed, and promote his reformation ; then 
we are not to conceal his crimes, though the divulging them 
may lessen the esteem which others have of him, since it is 
better for hiin to be ashamed before men, than perish in his 
hypocrisy, Matt, xviii. 16, 17. 

[2.J If the crime committed be such, that shame, and the 
loss of his* good name, be a just punishment due to it, we are 
not to conceal it, thereby to stop the course of justice. 

[3.] When the honour and good name of an innocent per- 
son cannot be maintained, unless by divulging the crimes of 
the guilty, he that, in this case, has forfeited his good name, 
ought to lose it, rather tljan he that has not. 

We shall close this head by considering what reason we 
have to endeavour to maintain the good name of others. To 
take away ouf neighbour's good name, is to take away one of 
the most valuable privileges he is possessed of, the loss where- 
of may be inexpressibly detrimental to him. And sometimes 
it may affect his secular interest ; so that hereby we may be 
said to take away his wealth and outward estate, and prevent 
his usefulness in that station of life in which providence has 
fixed him. Accordingly we are to express a due concern for 
the honour and reputation of others as well as ourselvts. 
Thus concerning the duties required in this Commandmenl. 

II. We proceed to consider the sins forbidden therein; wliicu 
are contained in that general expression bearing false witness . 
This may either respect ourselves or others. A person may he 
said to bear false witness against himself ; and that either in 
thinking too highly or meanly of himself; in the former res 
pect we value ourselves, or our supposed attainments, either iu 
gifts or graces, too much, in which we are, for the most part, 
mistaken, and pass a wrong judgment on them, and are ready 
to say, with the church at Laodicea, / am rich and increased 
zvith goods, and have need of nothing ; and knoiv not th-At wc 
are xu> etched^ and miserable^ and poor, and blind,, and naked. 
Rev. iii. 17. These, on the one hand, mistake the common 
gifts of the Spirit, for grace, and conclude themselves to be 
something, when they are nothing : And, on the other hand, 
many conclude, that they have no grace, and rank themselves 
among hypocrites and Uabelievers, when their hearts are right 

3J3 Tilt NINTH COl.r^ANDMENti 

With Go3, and they have had large experience of the p6wer/ua 
influences of his Spirit, but are not sensible thereof. Thus 
Christ says to the church in Smyrna, I knoxu thy 'pov£rtij ; but 
thou art rich, chap. ii. 9. In these respects persons may be. 
said to bear false witness against themselves. 

But that which is principally forbidden hi this Command- 
fnent, is, a person's bearing false witness against his neigh- 
bour ; and that when he either endeavours to deceive, or d6 
him prejudice, as to his reputation jn the world ; the one is 
called lying, the other back-biting or slandering. As to the 
former of these, when we speak that which is contrary to what 
we know to be truth, with a design to deceive, this is what we 
call telling a lye ; and when we act that which is contrary t6 
truth, it may be deemed a practical lye ; both of which are 
very great sins. 

1. A person is guilty of lying, when he speaks that which is 
contrary to truth, with a design to deceive : This the old pro- 
phet at Bethel did, to the prophet of the Lord ; upon which 
occasion it is said, that he it/ed tinto him, 1 Kings xiii. 18. 
I'hat this may be farther considered, let it be observed, that it 
is not barely a speaking what is contrary to truth; for that' a 
person may do, and be guiltless ; as, 

[1.] When there is some circumstance that discovers him to 
speak ironicalh/ ; and therefore he does not appear to have a 
design to deceive those, to whom he addresses his discourse. 
Thus when the prophet Micaiah said to Ahab, Go and prosper^ 
for the Lord shall deliver it, viz. Ranioth-Gilead, into the hands 
cf the kings, chap. xxii. 15. it is plain that he spake the lan- 
guage of the false prophets, and that Al\*b understood him in 
this sense, or suspected that he spake ironically ; and therefore 
says, How many times shall I adjure thee, that thou tell jne 
nothing- but that rvhich is true? ver. 16. Upon which, the 
prophet tells him, without an irQ7iy, though in a metaphorical 
v/ay, which Ahab easily understood ; I saw all Israel scattered 
upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd : And the 
Lord said. These have no master, let them return every man to 
his house in peace, ver. 17. which was an intimation, that, it 
he Avent up to Ramoth-Gilead, he should fall in battle : Upon 
which occasion Ahab says to Jehoshaphat-, Did I not tell thee, 
that he xoould prophesy no good concerning me, but evil, ver. 
18. by which it appears, that the prophet did not deceive him, 
notwithstanding the mode of speaking, which he at first made 
use of, without considering it as an irony, seemed to intimate 
as much. 

[2.] A person may speak that which is contrary to truth, be- 
ing imposed on himself, without any design to deceive another. 
This cannot, indeed, according to the description before given, 


fee properly called a lie : However, he may sj|i by asserting 
too positively, that which he thinks to be true fronr) probable 
circumstances, or uncertain information ; especially it what he 
reports, carries in it that which is matter of scandal, or censurcc 
This was the case of Job's friends, who did not tell a lie a- 
gainst their own consciences : Nevertheless, they were too 
peremptory in charging him with hypocrisy, without sufficient 
ground ; therefore God imputes /£?% to them, in that they had 
not spoken of him the thing zvhich was right^ Job xlii. 8. 

Here it may be enquired, whether a person, who designs not 
to deceive, nor speaks contrary to the dictates of his own con- 
science ; yet if he promises to do a thing, and does it not, is 
guilty of lying ? To which it may be replied, 

\sty That if a person promises to do a thing, which, at the 
same time he really designs, and afterwards uses all the endea- 
vours he could, to fulfil his promise, and something unforeseen 
happens, in the course of providence, which prevents the exe- 
cution thereof, he cannot, properly speaking, be said to be guil- 
ty of a lie ; though we oughk not to promise any thing but 
upon this supposition, that Ciod enables us to perform it. 

2dly^ If a person intends to do a thing, and, accordingly, 
promises to do it, but afterwards sees some justifiable reason to 
alter his mind, he is not guilty of a lie; since all creatures are 
supposed to be mutable. Thus the angels told Lot, that they 
would abide in the street all 7iight ; but afterwards, upon his 
intreaty, they xverit into the house with him. Gen. xix. 2, 
3. And our Saviour, when he walked with his disciples to 
Emmaus, made as though he would have gone farther : But 
they constraitied hint, saying, abide xvith us ; and he went in to 
tarry with them, Luke xxiv. 28, 29. But, notwithstanding this 
if a person promises to do any thing that isof advantage to ano- 
ther, as the paying a just debt, &fc. it is not a sufficient excuse, 
to clear him from the guilt of sin, if he pretends that he has 
altered his mind, supposing that it is in his power to fulfil 
it : For this is, indeed, a breach of the eighth Commandment, 
and in some respects, it will appear to him, to be a violation 
of this. 

That we may niore particularly speak concerning the sin of 
lying which multitudes are chargeable with, let it be observed, 
that there are three sorts of lies, 

1^^, When a person speaks that which is contrary to truth, 
and the dictates of his own conscience, with a design to cover 
a fault or excuse himself or others : This we generally call 
an officious lie *. 

'^dly. When a person speaks that which is contrary to th'^. 

• yMsndsriu'yi oficioiium. 

Vol, IV. E 


known truth, in a jesting way ; and embellishes his disc6ms<5^ 
with his own fictions, designing hereby to impose on others : 
This they are guilty of, who invent false news, ov tell stories 
for truth, which they know to be false. This is to lie in a jest- 
ing, ludicrous manner *. 

2dly^ There is a pernicious lie, viz. when a person raises 
and spreads a false report with a design to do injury to ano- 
ther ; which is a complicated crime, and the worst sort of 
lying f. 

Here there are two or three enquiries which it may not be 
improper to take notice of ; 

(1.) Whether the midwives were guilty of an officious lie, 
when they told Pharaoh, in Exod. i. 19. that the Hebrew xvo- 
men zverc delivered of their children ere they came in unto them; 
concerning whom it is said, in the following verse, that God 
dealt well with the midwives for this report, which carries in it 
the appearance of a lie. 

Ansxv. To this it may be replied, 

[l.] That they seem not to have been guilty of a lie > for it 
is not improbable, that God in mercy to the Hebrew women, 
and their children, might give them uncommon strength ; so 
that they might be delivered without the midwives assistance ■ 

[2.] If this was not the case of all the Hebrew women, but 
only of some, or many of them, the midwives report contains 
only a concealing part of the truth, while they related in other 
respects, that which was matter of fact. Now a person is not 
guilty of telling a lie, who does not discover all that he knows. 
There is a vast difference between concealing a part of the 
truth, and telling that which is directly false. No one is 
obliged to tell all he knows, to one, who, he is sure, will make, 
a bad use of it. This seems to be the case of the midwives : 
and therefore their action was justifiable, and commended by 
God, they being not guilty, properly speaking, of an officious 

(2.) Another enquiry is, what judgment we must pass con- 
cerning the actions of Rahab, the harlot, who invented an offi- 
cious lye, to save the spies from those who pursued them, in 
Josh. ii. 4, 5. it is said, she took the two men and hid them . 
and, at the same time, pretended, so those who were sent to 
enquire of her concerning them, that ahe wist not whence the?/ 
were ; but that they went out of the cilif about the time of the 
shutting of the gate ; though whither they xvent she hiew not. 
The main difficulty we have to account for, is what the aposth 
says, in which he seems to commend this action, in Heb. xi- 

♦ This is called mendaciumjocoiUtn j Tliis Is called ^lendacritr. pe-^ni'.iosur. 


21. Bij faith Rahab perished not ivith them thfit believed noty 
zvhen she had received the spies with peace. 

Answ. To which it may be replied, that the apostle says, 
indeed, that she received the spies -with peace^ that is, she pro- 
tected, and did not betray them into the hand of their enemies : 
But this act of faith does not relate directly to the lie that she 
invented to conceal them ; for, doubtless, she would have been 
snore clear from the guilt of sin, had she refused to give the 
messengers any answer relating to them, and so had given them 
leave to search for them, and left the event hereof to provi- 
dence. This, indeed, was a very difficalt duty ; for it might 
have endangered her life ; and her choosing to secure them 
and herself, tjy inventing this lie, brought with it a degree of 
guilt, and was [fin instance of the weakness of her faith in this 

But, on the other hand, that faith which the apostle com-- 
mends in her, respects sonie other circumstances attending this 
action; and, accordingly, it is not said, that by faith she ntiade 
the report to ihe messengers concerning the spies ; but she re- 
ceived them xvith peace : And there are several things in which 
her faith was very remarkable, as, 

[l.] That she was confident ihvit the Lord xvonld g-ive then:, 
the land^ which they were contending for, Josh. ii. 9» 

[2.] In that she makes a just inference relating to this mat- 
ter, from the wonders that God had wrought for tliem in the 
red sea, ver. 10. And, 

[3.] In that noble confession which she makes, that tlie 
Lord their God, is God in heaven above^ aud in the earth be- 
neath^ ver. 11. 

[4.] Her faith appears, in that she put herself under their 
protection, and desired to take her lot with them ', which was 
done at the hazard of her own life ', which she might have 
saved, and probably, have received a reward, had she betray- 
ed them. This, I conceive to be a better vindication of Rahab's 
c^buduct, than that which is alleged, by some who suppose,, 
that by entering into confederacy with the spies, she put her- 
self into a state of war v/ith her own country-men, and so was 
not obliged to speak truth to the men of Jericho ; since this 
would have many ill consequences attending it, and give too 
much countenance to persons deceiving others, under pretence 
of being in a state of war with them^ And, as to what the Pa- 
pists say in her vindication, that a good design will justify a 
bad action ; that it is not tru,e in fact ; and therefore not to be 
applied to her case. 

(3.) It might be farther enquired, what judgment ought we 
|o pass on the method that Jacob took to obtain the blessing, 
^vhen he told his father, 1 am j^sau, thy ^rst-hnm • T have' 


ilone accoi^ing as thou badest me, Gen. xxvii. 19. whether he 
was guilty of a lie herein ? 

Answ. There is not the least doubt but that he was. SomCj 
indeed, endeavour to excuse him, by alleging, that he had, 
before this, bought the birth-right of Esau ; and, upon this acr 
count he calls himself Isaac's first-born. But this will not clear 
him from the guilt of a lye ; since it was an equivocation, and 
spoken with a design to deceive. Others own it to have been 
a lye ; but extenuate it, from the consideration of God's hav- 
ing designed the blessing for him before he was born, chap. 
XXV. 31. But these do not at all mend the matter: For, 
though God may permit, or over-rule the sinful actions of men 
to bring about his own purpose ; yet this does nr^t, in the least, 
extenuate their sin. >" 

That which may therefore be observed, with' reference to this 
action of his, and the consequence thereof, is, that good men 
are sometimes liable to sinful infirmities, as Jacob was ; who, 
■was followed with many sore rebukes of providence, which 
made the remaining part of his life very uneasy. 

1st, In his living in exile twenty years, with Laban, an hard 
master, and an unjust and unnatural father-in-law. 

2c//i/, In the great distress that befel him in his return ; oc- 
casioned first by Laban's pursuit of him, and then by the 
tidings that he received of his brother Esau's coming out to 
Tzeet him ; (-being prompted hereto by revenge which he had 
long harboured in his breast) with four hundred men, from whom 
he expected nothing less than the destruction of himself, and 
his whole family. 

odhj. He did not obtain deliverance from the hand of God 
-without great wrestling, chap, xxxii. 24 — 25. and this attended 
with weeping, as well as rnaking supplication, Hos. xii. 4. and, 
though he prevailed, and so obtained the blessing, and there- 
with forgiveness of his sin ; yet God so ordered it, that he 
should carry the mark thereof upon him, as long as he lived, 
by touching the hollow of his thigh, which occasioned an in- 
curable lameness. 

(4.) Another enquiry is, whether the prophet Elijah did not 
tell a lie to the Syrian host, who were before Dothan, in quest 
of him, when he said, in 2 Kings vi. 19. This is not the waij, 
neither is this the city : Follow yne, and I will bring you to the • 
man you seek. But he led them to Samaria P 

Ansiv. If what he says to them be duly considered, it wii» 
appear not to be a lie ; for he told them nothing but wha< 
proved true, according to the import of his words ; for, 
' 1st, He does not say, I am not the man ye seek, which would • . 
have been a lie ; neither does he sav. the man is not here : ^ 


bat he tells them, / xoill lead you to the place Shere ye shall 
find him, oi- have him discovered and presented before you. 

^dly^ When he says, This is not the way ; neither is this thr: 
city ; he does not say, this is not the way to Dothan ; neither 
is this the city so called ; for then they would have been able 
to have convicted him of a lie ; for they knew that they were 
at Dothan before they were struck with blindness : But the 
plain meaning of his words is, that this is not your way to find 
him ; since the men of this city will not deliver him to you : 
but / will lead you to the place where you shall see him ; and so 
he led them to Sa}?iaria, upon which their eyes were opened, 
and they saw him : So that this- was not a lie. And the rea- 
son of his management was, that the king of Israel, and the 
Syrian host, might be convinced, that they were poor creatures 
in God's hand, and that he could easily turn their counsels in- 
to foolishness, and cause their attempts to miscarry with shamcj 
as well as disappointment. 

(5.) It may be farther enquired, whether the apostle Paul 
was guilty of a lie ; when, being charged, in Acts xxiii. 4, 5. 
with revilirig God's high priest^ he says, I xvist ?iot that he was 
the high priest P How was it possible that he should entertain 
any doubt concerning his being the high priest ; which none, 
who were present, could, in the least, question ? 

A?isw. We may suppose, that the apostle, when he says, / 
vjist not that he was the high priest^ intends nothing else, but 
I do not own him to be the high priest, as you call him ; for 
he is not an high priest of God's appointing or approving ; 
which, had he been, he would have acted more becoming that 
character ; and then I should have had no occasion to have told 
him, God shall smite thee^ thou xvhited wall ; for that would have 
been a reviling hiin; since I know that scripture very well, that 
says, Thou slialt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people; there- 
fore he intimates, that, though he was an high priest of man^s 
making, he was not one of God's approving ; and accordingly 
he was to be treated with contempt, instead of that regard 
which was formerly paid to the high priests, when .they were 
better men, and acted more agreeable to their character. Nb 
one, that deserves to be called God's high priest, would have 
-ordered a prisoner, who came to be tried for his life, instead 
of making his defence, to be smitten on the mouth. 

But, suppose we render the words agreeably to our transla- 
tion, I did not understand that he was the high priest, he may 
be vindicated from the charge of telling a lie, if we considerv 

Ist^ That this was a confused assembly, and not a regular 
court of judicature, in which the judge, or chief magistrate, ii 
known to all, by the place in which he sits, or the part he acts 
ia trying cause?;: 


^dli/^rhe high priest, in courts of judicature, was not known 
by any robe or distinct habit that he wore, as judges now are; 
ior he never wore any other but his common garments, which 
were the same that other people wore, except when he minis- 
tered in offering gifts and sacrifices in the temple. Therefore 
the apostle could not know him by any distinct garment that 
he wore. 

Sdli/y Through the corruption of the times, the high priest 
was changed almost every year, according to the will of the 
chief governor, who advanced his own friends to that dignity, 
and oftentimes sold it for money ; • it is therefore probable, 
that Ananias had not been long high-priest; and Paul was 
now a stranger at Jerusalem, and so might not know that he 
v/as high priest. Thus, if we take the words in this sense, irj 
which they are commonly understood, the apostle may be suf" 
jiciently vindicated from the charge of telling a lie. 

(6.) It may be farther enquired, what judgment we maj- 
pass concerning David's pretence, when he came to Abime- 
lech, in 1 Sam. xxi. 2. that the king- commanded kim a business^ 
which no one xvas to know any thing of; and that he had ap- 
■pointed his servants to such and such a place ; and also of his 
feigning himself mad ^ before the king of Gath, ver. 13, which 
dissimulation can be reckoned no other than a practical lie. 

Answ. In both these instances he must be allowed to have; 
sinned, and therefore not proposed as a pattern to us ; and all 
that can be inferred from it is, that there is a great deal of the 
corruption of nature remaining in the best of God's people. 
What he told Abimelech was certainly a lye ; and all that he 
expected to gain by it, was only a supply of his present neces- 
sities ; the consequence whereof was, the poor man's losing his 
life, together with all the priests', except Abiathar, by Saul's 
inhumanity. And David seems to be truly sensible of this sin, 
as appears from Psal. xxxiv. which, as is intimated in the title 
thereof, was penned on this occasion ; in which he arms others 
against it, in ver. 13. Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips 
from speaking guile : And in ver. 1 8. he seems to relate hi« 
own experience, when he says, The Lord is nigh unto thetn 
that are of a broken hearty and saveth such as be of a contrite 

As to his behaviour before the king of Gath, which was a 
visible lie, discovered in his actions ; it can, by no means, be 
cjfcused from being a breach of this Commandment. It is, in- 
€ieed, alleged by some, to extenuate his fault ; that he was 
;^fraid that his having killed Goliah, would have induced 
Achish to take away his life ; as appears from what is said in 
ver. II, 12. Nevertheless, it may be considered as an ag^rava* 
(ion of his ein- 


[1,] That his fear seems to have been altogeth# groundless ; 
for, why should he suppose that the king of Gath would break 
through all the laws of arms and honour, since Goiiah had 
been killed in a fair duel, the challenge having first been given 
by himself ? why then should David fear that he would kill 
him for that, more than any other hostilities committed in war ? 
Besides, it is plain from what Achish says, in ver. 15. Have I 
need of mad-men^ that ije have brought this felloxv to play the 
tnad-man in viy presence f should this felloxv come into 7nine 
house P that the king of Gath was so far from designing to 
revenge Goliah's death on him, that he intended to employ 
him in his service, and take him into his house ; but this mean 
action of his made him despised by all ; for it seems probable, 
by Achish's saying. Have ye brought this felloxv to play the 
mad-man ? that he perceived it to be a feigned, and not a real 
distraction. And this was overruled by the providence of God, 
to let the Philistines know, that the greatest hero is but a low- 
'^ipirited man, if his God be not with him. 

[2.] If we suppose that there had been just ground for his 
fear, the method taken to secure himself, contained a distrust of 
providence ; which would, doubtless, have delivered him with- 
out his dissembling, or thus demeaning himsell^, or using such 
:m indirect method in order thereunto. Thus concerning the 
violation of this Commandment, by speaking that which is 
contrary to truth. 

2. This Commandment is farther broken, by acting that 
which is contrary to truth ; wliich is what we call hypocrisy : 
And this may be considered, 

(1.) As that which is a reigning sin, inconsistent with a 
state of grace ; in which respect an hypocrite is opposed to a 
true believer. Such make a fair shew of religion ; but it is 
with a design to be seen of men, IMatt. vi. 5. 'I'hey are some- 
times, indeed, represented ixs seeking God, and enqiiirijig early ^ 
or with a kind of earnestness after him, when under his afflict- 
ing hand ; but this is deemed no other than a f uttering him- 
xvith their ?nouth^ and a lying nnto him xvith their tongues ; 
inasmuch as their heart is 7iot right xvith him^ Psal. Ixxviii. 
34, — sr. And elsewhere, they are said to love the praise of 
men more than the praise of God., John xii. 43. 

(2.) It may be farther considered, as that which believers are 
sometimes chargeable with, which is an argument that they are 
sanctified but in part ; but this rather respects some particular 
actions, and not the tenor of their conversation : Thus the apo- 
stle Paul charges Peter with dissimulation. Gal. ii. 11, — 13, 
^hough he v/as far from deserving the character of an hypo- 
crite, as to his general conversation. And our Saviour cau- 
tions his disciples against hypocrisy, aa that which they -^vcif 


jn danger "cf being overtaken with, Luke xii. I. though he 
does not charge them with it as a reigning sin, as he did the 
Scribes and Pharisees, whom he compares to pairite^d sepulchres ^ 
Matt, xxiii. 27, 28. nor were they such as the apostle speaks 
©f, whom he calls double-minded men, who are unstable in all 
their Tvai/Sy James i. 8. 

As to that hypocrisy which we may call a reigning sin, this 
may be known, 

[l.j By a person's accommodating himself to all those whom 
he converses with, how much soever this may tend to the dis- 
honour of Christ and the gospel : And this may give us occa* 
ciion to enquire. 

First, Whether the apostle Paul was in any respects, charge- 
able with this sin, when he says, in 1 Cor. ix, 20 — 22. Unto 
the Jexvs, I became as. a Jew, that I might gain the Jews ; to 
them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might 
gain them that are under the law ; to them that are rvithout 
law, as without lazu, (being not without laxv to God, but under 
ike law to Christ J that I ?fiight gaifi thetn that are ivithoiit 
taw. To the xveak, became I as weak, that I might gain the 
weak ; I am made all things to all men, that I ynight by all 
means save some. For the understanding of this scripture, 
and vindicating the apostle from the charge of hypocrisy, let 
it be considered, 

1st, That this compliance he here speaks of, was not -with 
-4 design to gain the applause of the Avorld, but to serve the 
interest of Christ ; neither did he connive at, or give counter 
nance to, that false worship, or those sinful practices of any, 
that were contrary to the faith, or purity of the gospel. There- 
fore when he says. Unto the Jezus, I became as a Jew ; he doeo 
not intend that he gave them the least ground to conclude, 
tjiat it was an indifferent matter, whether they adhered to, or 
laid aside the observation of the ceremonial law : For, he 
expressly tells some of the church at Gaiatia, who were sup- 
posed to Judaize, that this was contrary to the liberty rvhere- 
"vit/i Christ had made them free, a being again entangled with 
the yoke of bondage ; and that if they were circumcised, Christ 
should prof t them nothing ; and, that they were fallen from 
grace ; that is, turned aside from the faith of the gospel. Gal. 
V. l,->-^i. Therefore, in this sense he did not become as a Jew, 
to the Jews. Neither did he so far comply with the Gentiles, 
as to give them ground to conclude, that the superstition and 
idolatry, which they were guilty of, was an harmless thing, and 
might still be practised by them. Therefore, 

2t////, The meaning of his compliance with the Jews or 
Gentiles, is nothing else but this ; that whatever he found 
praise-worthy in them, he commended ; and if, in any instan*^ 

THE n'INTH commandment. 4l 

ces, they were addicted to their former rites, or llodes of wor- 
ship, he endeavoured to draw them off from them, not by a 
severe, and rigid behaviour as censuring, refusing to converse 
with, or reproaching them, for their weakness; but using kind 
and gentle methods, designing rather to inform than discou- 
rage them ; while at the same time, he was far from approv- 
ing of, or giving countenance to any thing that was sinful in 
them, or unbecoming the gospel. 

Secondlij^ From what has been before said concerning an 
hypocrite's being one who performs religious duties with a de- 
sign to be seen of men, as our Saviour says of the Pharisees, 
that they love to stand praijing in the synagogues^ or hi the 
corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men, Mattli. 
vi. 6. We may enquire, what may be said in vindication of 
the prophet Daniel, from the charge of hypocrisy ? concerning 
whom it is said, in Dan. vi. 10. that Avhen Darius had signed 
a decree prohibiting any one from asking a petition of am/ god 
or man, save of the king, he should be cast into the den of 
Ho7is : He went into his house ; and his windows being open, 
in his chamber, toxuards Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees 
three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God^ 
as he did aforetime. In answer to this we may observe, 

1st, That this was not done to gain the esteem or applause 
of men, which they are charged with, who are guilty of hy- 
pocrisy ; but he did it in contempt of that vile decree of the 
Persian monarch. 

2dly, He did it at the peril of his life j and hereby discover- 
ed, that he had rather be cast into the den of lions, than give 
occasion to any to think that he complied with the king in his 
idolatrous decree. 

Sdly, Though it is said, that he prayed, and gave thanks be- 
fore his God, as he did aforetime ; yet this is not to be under- 
stood as though he set open his windows aforetime ; so that 
his praying publicly at this time, was to shew that he was nei- 
ther ashamed, nor afraid to own his God, whatever it cost 
him ; therefore he was so far from being guilty of hypocrisy, 
that this is one of the most noble instances of zeal for the 
worship of the true God, that we find recorded in scripture. 

[2.] Hypocrisy is a reigning sin when we boast of the high 
attainnlents in gifts or grace, or set too great a value on our- 
selves, because of the performance of some religious duties, 
while we neglect others, wherein the principal part of true god- 
liness consists. Thus the Pharisee paid tithe of mint, annisc^ 
andvummin, while he omitted the weightier matters of the law,' 
judgment, rnercy and faith, chap, xxiii. 23, 24. 

[3.] It farther consists, in exclaiming against, and censuring 
others, for lesser faults, while we allov; of greater in ourselves'; 

Vol. IV, F 


like those* %vhom our Saviour speaks of, who beheld the moie 
that is in their hrothtr'^s eye, but consider not the beam that is 
in their OT.vn, Matt. vii. 3, 5. or, according to that proverbial 
way of speaking, strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. These 
are vciy fond of exposing the ignorance of others; though 
they have no experimental, saving knowledge of divine truth 
in themselves ; or they are very forward, to blame the cold- 
ness and lukewarmness which they see in some, while at the 
same time, that zeal which they express in their whole conduct, 
is rather to advance themselves, than the glory of God. 

[4.] When persons make a gain of godliness, 1 Tim. vi. 5. 
or of their pretensions to it. Thus Balaam prophesied for a 
reward; and accordingly it is said, that he loved the wages of 
unrighteousness, 2 Pet. i. 15. 

5. When persons make a profession of religion, because it 
is uppermost, and are read}' to despise and cast it off, when it 
js reproached, or they are like to suffer for it. Thus the Pha- 
risees, how mucli soever they seemed to embrace Christ, when 
attending on John's ministry; yet afterwards, when they saw 
that this was contrary to their secular interest, they were 
emended in him, and prejudiced against him; and therefore 
they say, Have any of the rulers, or of the Pharisees, believed 
on him, John vii. 48. 

This sin of hypocrisy, which is a practical lie, has a ten- 
dency to corrupt and vitiate all our pretensions to religion. It 
is like the dead fiie, mentioned by Solomon, that causeth the 
ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour ^ 
Eccl. X. 1. and it will, in the end, bring on those who are 
guilty of it, many sore judgments ; some of which are spiritual. 
Thus it is said of the Heathen, that because, xvhen they knew 
God, they glorified him not as God, and did not like to retain 
him in their knoxvledge ; he gave them up to a reprobate mind, 
to do those things that are not convenie?it, &c. Rom. i. 21, 22, 
28. And as for the false hope, and vain confidence, which 
the hypocrite entertains, this shall leave him in despair and 
confusion. Job viii. 13, — 15. and be attended with unspeak- 
able horror of conscience, chap, xxvii. 18. Isa. xxxiii. 1-4. 
Upon which occount such are said to heap up wrath, and bring 
on themselves a greater degree of condemnation than others. 
Job xxxvi. 13. Matt, xxiii. 14. Thus we have considered 
this Commandment as broken by speaking or acting tha; 
which is contrary, or prejudicial, to truth; which leads us, 

II. To consider it as forbidding our doing that which is in- 
juriou* to our neighbour's good name, either by words or ac 
tions ; and this is done two ways, either before his face, or 
behind his back. 

1. Dying injuiy to another, by speaking against him, befort- 


his face. It is true, we give him hereby the I'lWrty of vindi- 
cating himself. Nevertheless, if the thing be false, which is 
alleged against him, proceeding from malice and envy, it is a 
crime of a very heinous nature ; and this is done, 

(1.) By those, who, in courts of judicature, commence; and 
earry on malicious prosecutions, in which the plaintiff, the 
witness, the advocate that manages the cause, the jury that 
bring in a false verdict, and the judge that passes sentence 
contrary to law, or evidence, as well as the dictates of his own 
conscience, with a design to crush and ruin him, who is ma- 
liciously prosecuted; these are all notoriously guilty of the 
breach of this Commandment. 

(2.) They may be said to do that which is injurious to our 
neighbour's good name, who reproach them in common con- 
\'ersation; which is a sin too much committed in this licen- 
tious age, as though men were not accountable to God for 
what they speak, as well as other parts of the conduct of life. 
There are several things which persons make the subject ot 
their reproach, viz. 

[l.] The defect and blemishes of nature; such as lameness, 
blindness, deafness, impediment .of speech, meanness of capa- 
city, or actions, which proceed from a degree of distraction. 
Thus many suppose that the apostle Paul was reproached for 
some natural deformity in his body, or impediment in his 
speech, which is inferred from what he says, when he repre- 
sents some as speaking to this purpose ; His letters^ say they^ 
are xveighty and poxverful ; but his hodihj presence is xoeak^ and 
his speech conternptible^ 2 Cor. x. 10, And elsewhere, he 
commends the Galatians for not despising him on this account ^ 
Jfy temptation rvhich xvas in my Jiesh^ ye dapised not^ nor re- 
jected i but ye received me as an angel of God., even as Christ 
^csns. Gal. iv. 14. 

Here we may take occasion to speak something of the chil- 
drens sin, who reproached Elisha for his baldness, and the 
punishment that ensued upon it ; namely, his cursing them in 
the name of the Lord; and two and forty of them being torn 
in pieces by two she-bears out of the xvood^ in 2 Kings ii. 23, 
24. It may be enquired, by some, whether this was not too 
great an instance of passion in that holy man, and too severe 
a punishment inflicted; inasmuch as they who reproached him, 
are called little children. To this it may be answered, 

Ist^ That the children were not so little, as not to be able 
to know their right hand from their left, or to discern between 
good and evil; for such are not usually trusted out of their 
parents sight; nor would they have gathered themselves to- 
gether in a body, or went some distance from the city, on 
purpose to insult the prophet, as it js plain they did, under* 


Stand that lie was to come there at that time. This argues 
that they were boys of sufficient age, to commit the most pre- 
sumptuous sin ; and therefore not too young to suffer such a 
punishment as ensued thereupon. 

2(r%, Their sin was great, in that they mocked a grave old 
man, who ought to have been honoured for his age, and a 
prophet, whom they should have esteemed for his character; 
and in despising him, they despised God, that called and sent 

3d!y^ Bethel, where they lived, was the chief seat of idola- 
try, in which these children had been trained up ; and it was a 
prevailing inclination to it, together widi an hatred of the true 
religion, that occasioned their reproaching and casting con- 
tempt on the prophet. 

4thltf^ The manner of expression argues a great deal of pro- 
faneness, Go up thou bald head; that is, either go up to Bethel, 
speaking in an insulting way, as though they should say. You 
' may go there, but you will not be regarded by them ; for they 
value no such men as you are; or rather, it is as though they 
should say, you pretend that your predecessor Elijah is gone 
up to heaven, do you go up after him, that you may trouble 
us no longer with your prophecies; so that those children, 
though young in years, were hardened in sin ; and this was 
not so much an occasional mocking of the prophet for his 
baldness, as a public contrivance, and tumultuous opposhlon 
to his ministry ; which is a very great crime, and accordingly, 
was attended with a just resentment in the prophet, and that 
punishment which was inflicted as the consequence thereof. 

The aggravations of this sin of reproaching persons for their 
natural infirmities, are very great. For, it is a finding fault 
with the workmanship of the God of nature, the thinking 
meanly of a person for that which is not chargeable on him as 
a crime, and which he can, by no means redress. It is a cen- 
suring those who are, in some respects, objects of compassion; 
especially if the reproach be levelled against the defects of the 
xnind, or any degree of distraction: and it argues a great deal 
of pride and unthrtnkfulness to God, for those natural endow- 
ments which we have received from him, though we do not 
improve them to his glory. 

[2.] Some reproach persons for their sinful infirmities, and 
that in such a way, as that they are styled fools, who make a 
mock of sin ^ Prov. xiv. 9. This is done, 

Isi, When we reflect on persons for sins committed before 
their conversion, which they have repented of, and God has 
forgiven; and accordingly they should not be now charged 
against them, as a matter of reproach. Thus the PJiarisee 
reproached the poor penitent woman, who stood weeping '*••' 


our Saviour's feet, and said within himself; Jf Wis man were 
a prophet^ he xvoidd have known zvhat manner of zvoman this 
is that toucheth him, for she is a sinner, Luke vii. 37, — 39. 
which respected not her present, but her former condition. 

2dli/, When they reproach them with levity of spirit, for the 
sins they are guilty of at present; as when the shameful ac->" 
tions of a drunken man are made the subject of laughter; 
which ought not to be thought of without regret or pity. 

Object. To this it may be objected, that sin renders a per- 
son vile, and is really a reproach to him ; and therefore it mav 
be charged upon him as such; especially since it is said, con- 
cerning the righteous man; in his eyes a vile person is con- 
temned, Psal. XV. 4. 

Ansxv. We are far from asserting, that it is a sin to reprove 
sin, and shew the person who commits it his vileness, and the 
reason he has to reproach and charge himself with it, and loath 
himself for it ; therefore, 

1st, The contempt that is to be cast on a vile person, does 
not consist in making him the subject of laughter, as though 
it was a light matter for him thus to dishonour God as he 
does; for this should occasion grief in all true believers, as the 
Psalmist says, / beheld the transgressors and xuas grieved; be- 
cause they kept not thy word, Psal. cxix. 158. But, 

2dly, When the Psalmist advises to contemn such an onr, 
the meaning is, that we should not make him our intimate, or 
bosom-friend ; or if he be in advanced circumstances, in the 
vv-orld, we are not to flatter him in his sin ; whereby, especially 
when it is public, he forfeits that respect which would other- 
wise be due to him. In this sense we are to understand 
Mordecai's contempt of Haman, Esther iii. 2. 

Here we may take occasion to distinguish, between reprov- 
ing sin, and reproaching persons for it; the former of these is 
to be done with sorrow of heart, and compassion expressed to 
the sinner; as our Saviour reproved Jerusalem, and, at the 
same time, wept over it, Luke xix. 41, 42. But, on the othe^- 
hand, reproach is attended with hatred of, and a secret plea- 
sure taken in his sin and ruin. Again, reproof for sin ougiit 
to be with a design to reclaim the offender; whereas reproach 
tends only to expose, exasperate, and harden him in his sin. 
Moreover, reproof for sin ought to be given with the greatest 
seriousness and conviction of the evil and danger ensuing 
hereupon ; whereas they who reproach persons, charge sin on 
them, as being induced hereunto by their own passions, with- 
out any concern for the dishonour which they bring to God 
and religion hereby, or desire of their repentance and refor- 

[3.] Sometimes that which i<5 the highest ornament, and 


greatest excellency of a Christian, is turned to his reproach; 
more particularly, 

I*;, Some have been reproached for extraordinary gifts, 
which God has been pleased to confer on them. Thus the 
spirit of prophecy was sometimes reckoned, by profane per- 
sons, the effect of distraction, 2 Kings ix. 11. And Joseph 
lyas reproached by his brethren, in a taunting way, with the 
character of a dreamer; because of the prophetic intimation 
which he had from God, in a dream, concerning the future 
estate of his family. Gen. xxxvii. 13. And when the apostles 
were favoured with the extraordinary gift of tongues, and 
preached to men of different nations, in their own language; 
Some were aniazed^ and others mocked them, and said. These 
men are full of new wine^ Acts ii. 13. 

2dli/y Raised affections, and extraordinary instances of zeal 
for the glory of God, have been derided as though they were 
matter of reproach. Thus Michael reproached David, when 
he danced before the ark, 2 Sam. vi. 20. being induced here- 
unto by an holy zeal, and transport of joy on this occasion ; 
though he was so far from reckoning it a reproach, that he 
counted that which she called vile, glorious. 

Zdhj, Spiritual experiences of the grace of God, have, some- 
times, been turned by those who are strangers to them to their 
reproach and termed no other than madness. Thus when the 
apostle Paul related the gracious dealings of God with him in 
his first conversion, Festus charged him with being beside 
himself Acts xxvi. 24. 

4?/*///, A person's being made use of by God, to overthrow 
the kingdom of Satan, has been charged against him, as though 
it v/ere rebellion. Thus the Jews tell Pilate, when he sought 
to release Jesus, If thou let this man go, thou art not Cesar'' s 
friend, John xix. 12. and that reformation which the apostles 
were instrumental in making in the world, by preaching the 
gospel, is styled, turning the world upside down, Acts xvii. 6. 

Sthly, Humility of mind in owning our weakness, as not be- 
ing able to comprehend some divine mysteries contained in 
the gospel, is reckoned matter of reproach by many, who call 
it implicit faith, and admitting of the greatest absurdities in 
matters of religion. 

^thly. Giving glory to the Spirit, as the author of all grace 
and peace, and desiring to draAV nigh to God in prayer, or en- 
gage in other holy duties, by his assistance, is reproached by 
feome, as though it were enthusiasm, and they who desire or 
are favoured with this privilege, w^ere pretenders to extraor- 
dinary revelation. 

7thlif, A being conscientious in abstaining from those sins 
whlrh abound in a licentious a^^e, or reproving and bearing 


our testimony against those who are guilty ofithem, is re- 
proached with the character of hypocrisy, preciseness, and 
being righteous overmuch. 

^thly^ Separating from communion with a false church, and 
renouncing those doctrines which tend to pervert the gospel 
of Christ, is called, by some, heresy. Thus the Papists brand 
the Protestants with the reproachful name of heretics; to 
whom we may answer, that this is rather our glory, and con- 
fess, that after the way which they call heresy^ so xvorship wc 
the God of our fathers^ Acts xxiv. 14. 

This bin is attended with many aggravations; for God 
reckons it as a contempt cast on himself, Luke x. 16. and it 
is a plain intimation, that they who are guilty of it, pretend not 
to be what they reproach and deride in otliers, who, if they 
be in the right way to heaven, these discover that they desire 
not to come hither. And, in their whole conduct, they act as 
though they were endeavouring to banish all religion out of the 
world, by methods of scorn and ridicule ; which, if it should 
take effect, this earth would be but a small degree better than 

However, when we are thus reproached for the sake of God 
and religion, let us not render railing for railing; but look on 
those who revile us, as objects of pity, 1 Cor. iv. 12, 13. 1 
Pet. ii. 23, v/ho do more hurt to themselves than they can do 
to us, thereby. Moreover, let us reflect on our own sins, 
which provoke God to suffer this ; and beg of him that he 
would turn this reproach to his own glory, and our good* 
Thus David did, when he was unjustly and barbai-ously cursed 
and railed at by Shimei, 2 Sam. xvi. 10 — 12. We ought also 
to esteem religion the more, because of the opposition and 
contempt that it meets with from the enemies of God; which 
may, indeed, afford us some evidence of tl»e truth and excel- 
lency thereof; as our Saviour says concerning his disciples, If 
ye were of the xvorld^ the world would love his own ; but be- 
cause you are not of the worlds but I have chosen you out of 
the worlds therefore the world hateth you^ John xv. 19. 

Again, when we are reviled for the sake of Christ and reli- 
gion, let us take encouragement from hence, that herein we 
have the same treatment that he, and all his saints, have met 
with, Heb. xii. 2, 3. chap. xi. 36. And let us also consider, 
that there are many promises annexed hereunto. Matt. v. 11, 
12. 1 Pet. iv. 14. It is also an advantage to our character, 
as Christians; for hereby it appears, that we are not on their 
side, who are Christ's avowed enemies; and therefore we 
should reckon their reproach our glory, Heb. xi. 26, or, as the 
apostle says. Take pleasure in reproaches for Christ'' s €0^16^2 


Cor. xii. 10. or, as it is said elsewhere, Rejoice^ that we arc 
counted xvorthy to suffer shame for his name^ Acts v. 41. 
Thus concerning our doing injury to our ntighboiir, by speak- 
ing against him before his face. We shall now consider, 

2. The injury that is done to others by speaking against 
them behind their backs. This they are guilty of, who raise 
or invent false reports of their neighbours, or spread those 
which ought to be kept secret, with a design to take away 
their good name; these are called tale-bearers, back-biters, 
slanderers, who offer injuries to others, that are not in a capa- 
city of defending themselves, Lev. xix. 16. These malicious 
reports are oftentimes, indeed, prefaced, with a pretence of 
great respect to the person whom they speak against. They 
seem very much surprised at, and sorry for what they are go- 
ing to relate ; and sometimes signiiy their hope, that it may 
not be true ; and desire, that what they report may be conceal- 
ed, while they make it their business themselves to divulge it. 
But this method will not secure their own reputation, while 
tliey are endeavouring to ruin that of another. This is done 
various ways; 

(1.) By pretending that a person is guilty of a fault which 
he is innocent of. Thus our Saviour, and John the Baptist 
were charged with immoral practices, which there was not the 
least shadow or pretence for. Matt. xi. 18, 19. 

(2.) By divulging a real fault which has been acknowleged 
and repented of, and therefore ought to be concealed, chap, 
xvii. 15. or when there is no pretence for making it public; 
feut what arises from malice and hatred of the person. 

(3.) By aggravating, or presenting faults worse than they 
are. Thus Absalom's sin in murdering Amnon, was very 
great ; but he that brought tidings thereof to David, repre- 
sented it worse than it was, when he said, that Absalom had 
slain all the king's sons^ 2 Sam. xiii. 30. 

(4.) By reporting the bad actions of men, and, at the same 
time, over-looking and extenuating their good ones, and so 
not doing them the justice of setting one in the balance against 
the other. 

(5.) Dv putting the worst and most injurious construction 
on actions tiiat are really excellent. Thus, because our Sa- 
viour admitted Publicans and sinners into his presence, and 
did them good by his doctrine, the Jews reproached him as 
though he were a friend of publicans and sinners^ Matt. xi. 
19. taking the wordfriend'in the worst sense, as signifying an 
approver of them. 

(6.) By reporting things, to the prejudice of others, which 
are grounded on such slender evidence, that they themselves 


hardly believe them, or, at least, would not, H&d they not a 
design to make use thereof, to defame them. Thus Sanballat, 
in his letter to Nehemiah, tells him, that ' he and the Jews 
' thought to rebel ; and built the wall of Jerusalem, that he 
' might be their king,' Neh. vi. 6. which, it can hardly be 
supposed, that the enemy himself gave any credit to. Thus 
concerning the instances in which persons back-bite, or raise 
false reports on others. 

And, to this we may add, that as they are guilty who raise 
them ; so are they who listen to, and endeavour to propagate 
them. It is not, indeed, the bare hearing of a report, which, 
we cannot but think to be attended with malice and slander, 
that will render us guilty ; for that we may not be able to 
avoid; but it is our encouraging him that raises or spreads it, 
which renders us guilty; and, particularly, we sin when we 
hear malicious reports. 

[1.] If we conceal them from the party concerned therein, 
and so deny him the justice of answering what is said against 
him, in his own vindication. 

[2.] When we do not reprove those who make a practice of 
slandering and back-biting others, in order to our bringing 
them to shame and repentance; and, most of all, when we 
contract an intimacy with those who are guilty of this sin, and 
are too easy in giving credit to what they say, though not sup- 
ported by sufficient evidence ; but, on the other hand, canying 
in it the appearance of envy and resentment. Thus concern- 
ing the sins forbidden in this Commandment. We shall close 
this head by proposing some remedies against it. As, 

Isty If the thing, reported to another's prejudice, be true, 
we ought to consider, that we are not without many faults 
ourselves ; which we would be unwilling, if others knew 
them, should be divulged. And if it be doubtful, we, by re- 
porting it, may give occasion to some, to believe it to be 
true, without sufficient evidence, whereby our neighbour will 
receive real prejudice from that, which, to us, is only matter 
of surmize and conjecture. But if, on the other hand, what 
is reported be apparently false, the sin is still the greater; and 
the highest injustice is hereby offered to the innocent, v/hile 
we, at the same time, are guilty of a known and presumptu- 
ous sin, by inventing and propagating it. 

2dly^ Such a way of exposing men answers no good end; 
nor is it a means of reclaiming them. 

odlij^ Hereby we lay ourselves open to the censure of others, 
and by endeavouring to take away our neighbour's good name, 
endanger the loss of our own. 

Vol. IV. G 


our fault, any otherwise than as it is the effect of that sin, 
which is the procuring cause of all affliction. 

Sth/y, The heavier our afflictions are at presetk, the more 
sweet and comfortable the heavenly rest will be, to those who 
have a well-grounded hope that they shall be brought to it, 
Job iii. 17. 2 Thess. i. 7. 2 Cor. iv. 17. 

[2.] If our condition be low and poor in the world, wc arc 
not without some inducements to be content. For, 

l5/. Poverty is not, in itself, a curse, or inconsistent with 
the love of God, since Christ himself submitted to it, 2 Cor. 
viii. 9. Matt. viii. 20. and his best saints have been exposed 
to it, and glorified God, more than others, under it, 2 Cor. 
vi. 10. 

2<r%, How poor soever we are, we have more than v/e 
brought into the world with us, or than the richest person can 
carry out of it. Job i. 21. 

odii/, They who have least of the world, have more than 
they deserve, or than God was under any obligation to give 

[3.] Suppose we are afflicted in our good name, and do not 
meet with that lov^e and esteem from the world, which might be 
expected ; but, on the other hand, are censured, reproached, 
and hated by those with M'hom we converse. This should 
not make us, beyond measure, uneasy. For, 

1st, We have' reason to conclude, that the esteem of tlie 
world is precarious and uncertain; and they who most deserve 
it, have oftentimes the least of it. Thus our Saviour was one 
day followed with the caresses of the multitude, shouting forth 
their hosannah's to him .; and the next day the common cry 
was, crucify him, crucify him. And when the apostle Paul 
and Barnabas, had healed the cripple at Lystra, they could, 
at first, hardly restrain the people from offering sacrifice to 
them ; but afterwards they joined with the malicious Jews in 
stoning them. Acts xiv. 18, 19. And Paul tells the Gala- 
tians, that ' if it had been possible, they would have plucked 
' out their eyes, and have given them to him;' but a little after 
this, he complains that he was ' become their enemy, because 
* he told them the truth,' Gal. iv. 15, 16. 

2dli/, The esteem of men is no farther to be desired, than 
as it inay render us useful to them ; and if God is pleased to 
deny this to us, we are not to prescribe to him, what measure 
of respect he shall allot to us from the world, or usefulness 
in it. 

Sdltf, Let us consider, that we know more evil abounding 
in our own hearts than others can charge us with. Therefore, 
how much soever they are guilty of injustice to us; yet this 
affords us a motive to contentment. Besides we have not 


hardly believe them, or, at least, would not, hrfd they not a 
design to make use thereof, to defame them. Thus Sanballat, 
in his letter to Nehemiah, tells him, that ' he and the Jews 
' thought to rebel; and built the wall of Jerusalem, that he 
' might be their king,' Neh. vi. 6. which, it can hardly be 
supposed, that the enemy himself gave any credit to. Thus 
concerning the instances in which pers6ns back-bite, or raise 
false reports on others. 

And, to this we may add, that as they are guilty who raise 
them ; so are they who listen to, and endeavour to propagate 
them. It is not, indeed, the bare hearing of a report, which, 
we cannot but think to be attended with malice and slander, 
that will render us guilty; for that we may not be able to 
avoid; but it is our encouraging him that raises or spreads it, 
which renders us guilty; and, particularly, we sin when we 
hear malicious reports. 

[1.] If we conceal them from the party concerned therein, 
and so deny him the justice of answering what is said against 
him, in his own vindication. 

[2.] When we do not reprove those who make a practice of 
slandering and back-biting others, in order to our bringing 
them to shame and repentance; and, most of all, when we 
contract an intimacy with those who are guilty of this sin, and 
are too easy in giving credit to what they say, though not sup- 
ported by sufficient evidence ; but, on the other hand, carrying 
in it the appearance of envy and resentment. Thus concern- 
ing the sins forbidden in this Commandment. We shall close 
this head by proposing some remedies against it. As, 

Ist^ If the thing, reported to another's prejudice, be true, 
we ought to consider, that we are not without many faults 
ourselves ; which we would be vmwilling, if others knev/ 
them, should be divulged. And if it be doubtful, v/e, by re- 
porting it, may give occasion to some, to believe it to be 
true, without sufficient evidence, whereby our neighbour will 
receive real prejudice from that, which, to us, is only matter 
of surmize and conjecture. But if, on the other hand, what: 
is reported be apparently false, the sin is still the greater; and 
the highest injustice is hereby offered to the innocent, while 
we, at the same time, are guilty of a known and presumptu- 
ous sin, by inventing and propagating it. 

2«7z/, Such a way of exposing men answers no good end i 
nor is it a means of reclaiming them. 

C^d/if, Hereby we lay ourselves open to the censure of othero, 
and by endeavouring to take away our neighbour's good name^ 
endanger the loss of our ov/n. 

Vol. IV, G 


our fault, any otherwise than as it is the effect of that sin, 
which is the procuring cause of all affliction. 

Sthlij, The heavier our afflictions are at present, the more 
sw^eet and comfortable the heavenly rest will be, to those who 
have a well-grounded hope that they shall be broug4it to it, 
Job iii. ir. 2 Thess. i. 7. 2 Cor. iv. 17. 

[2.] If our condition be low and poor in the world, we are 
not without some inducements to be content. For, 

Isty Poverty is not, in itself, a curse, or inconsistent with 
the love of God, since Christ himself submitted to it, 2 Cor. 
viii. 9. Matt. viii. 20. and his best saints have been exposed 
to it, and glorified God, more than others, under it, 2 Cor. 
vi. 10. 

2dh/, How poor soever we are, we have more than we 
brought into the world with us, or than the richest person can 
carry out of it. Job i. 21. 

3d/i/, They who have least of the world, have more than 
they deserve, or than God was under any obligation to give 

[3.] Suppose we are afflicted in our good name, and do not 
meet with that love and esteem from the world, which might be, 
expected ; but, on the other hand, are censured, reproached, 
and hated by those with whom we converse. This should 
not make us, beyond measure, uneasy. For, 

1st, We have' reason to conclude, that the esteem of the 
world is precarious and uncertain; and they who most deserve 
it, have oftentimes the least of it. Thus our Saviour was one 
clay followed with the caresses of the multitude, shouting forth 
their hosannah's to him ; and the next day the common cry 
was, crucify him, crucify him. And when the apostle Paul 
and Barnabas, had healed the cripple at Lystra, they could, 
at first, hardly restrain the people from offering sacrifice to 
them ; but afterwards they join^ d with the malicious Jews in 
stoning them. Acts xiv. 18, 19. And Paul tells the Gala- 
tians, that ' if it had been possible, they would have plucked 
* out their eyes, and have given them to him ;' but a little after 
this, he complains that he was ' become their enemy, because 
'■ he told them the truth,' Gal. iv. 15, 16. 

2dh/y The esteem of men is no farther to be desired, than 
as it may render us useful to them ; and if God is pleased to 
clenv this to us, we are not to prescribe to him, what measure 
of respect he shall allot to us from the world, or usefulness 
in it. 

Sdhj, Let us consider, that we know more evil abounding 
in our own hearts than others can charge us with. Therefore, 
how much soever they are guilty of injustice to us; yet this 
affords us a motive to contentment. Besides we have not 


t)i ought that honour to God that we ought; tMlrefore, how- 
just is h for him to deny us that esteem irom men which we 
desire ? 

[4.] Suppose we are afflicted in our relations ; there are 
some motives to contentment. Thus if servants have masters 
who make their lives uncomfortable, by their unreasonable 
demands, or unjust severity, such ought to consider, that their 
faithfulness and industry will be approved of, by God, how, 
much soever it may be disregarded, by men; and a conscien- 
tious discharge of the duties incumbent on them, in the rela- 
tion in which they stand, will give them ground to expect a 
blessing from God, to whom they are herein said to do ser- 
vice, which shall not go unrewarded, Eph. vi. 7, 8. 

On the other hand, if masters are afflicted, by reason of the 
stubborn and unfaithful behaviour, or sloth and negligence, of 
their servants; let them enquire, whether this be not the con- 
sequence of their not being so much concerned for their spiri- 
tual welfare as they ought, or keeping up strict religion in 
their families ? or, whether they have not been more concern- 
ed that their servants should obey them, than their great mas- 
ter, which is in heaven ? 

Again, if parents have undutiful children, which are a grief 
of heart to them; let them consider, as a motive to content- 
ment, whether they have not formerly neglected their duty to 
their parents, slighted their counsels, or disregarded their re- 
poofs ? so whether they have not reason to charge themselves 
v/ith the iniquity of their youth ? and enquire, whether God 
be not, herein, writing bitter things against them for it? or, 
whether they have not neglected to bring up their children in 
the nurture and admonition of the Lord ? These considei-a- 
tions will fence against all repining thoughts at the providence 
of God, that has brought these troubles upon them. And, as 
a farther inducement to make them easy, let such consider, 
that if this does not altogether lie at their door, but, they have 
been faithful to their children, in praying for, and intructing 
them, God may hear their prayers, and set home their in- 
structions on their hearts, when they themselves are removed 
out of the world. 

On the other hand, if children have wicked parents, whose 
conversation fills them with great uneasiness; let such consi- 
der, that this has been the case of many of God's faithful ser- 
vants; such as Hezekiah, Josiah, and others; and they may 
be assured, that they shall have no occasion to use that pro- 
verb, ' The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's 
'- teeth are set on edge,' Ezek. xviii. 2. 

[5.] If we are afflicted, by reason of the treachery and un- 
faithfulness of pretended friends, M'hich wound us in the mqst 


(2.) We ought to exercise a charitable frame of spirit to- 
wards those who are in more prosperous circumstances in the. 
world ; not envying, grieving, or repining at the p^ovidence of 
God, because their condition therein is better than ours. We 
are therefore to consider, that the most flourishing and 
prosperous condition in the world, is not always the best, 
Psal. xxxvii. 16. nor is it without many temptations that of- 
ten attend it, 1 Tim. vi. 9. and if it be not improved to the 
glory of God, this will bring a greater weight of guilt on their 
consciences : Whereas, on the other hand, if we enjoy commu- 
nion with him, and the blessings of the upper springs, this 
is much more desirable than the most prosperous condition 
in the world, without it, Psal. xvi. 5, 6. This leads us to 

II. The sins forbidden in this Commandment. And these 
include in them, that corrupt fountain from whence the ir- 
regularity of our desires proceeds ; or the streams that flow 
from it, which discover themselves in the lusts of concupiscence 
in various instances, as well as in our being discontented with 
our own estate. 

1. As to the former of these, to wit, the corruption of na- 
ture; this must be considered as contrarj'' to the law of God, 
and consequently forbidden in this Commandment. The Pela- 
gians and Papists, indeed, pretend that the law of God only 
respects the corruption of our actions which is to be checked 
and restrained thereby ; and not the internal habits or prin- 
ciple from whence they proceed ; accordingly they take an 
estimate hereof from human laws, which only respect the overt 
acts of sin, and not those internal inclinations and disposi- 
tions which persons have to commit it : But when we speak 
of the divine laws, we must not take our plan from thence : 
for though man can only judge of outward actions, God 
judgeth the heart ; and therefore that sin which reigns there, 
cannot but be, in the highest degree, offensive to him ; and 
though the corruption of our nature cannot be altogether pre- 
vented or extirpated, by any prescription in the divine law ; 
yet, this is the means which God takes, to reprove and hum- 
ble us for it, Rom. vii. 9. 

Object. It is objected that the apostle James, in chap. i. 
15. distinguishes between lust and sin ; when lust hath con- 
ceived it bringeth forth sin ; therefore the corruption of nature 
is not properly sin ; and, consequently not forbidden by the 

Ansro. To this it may be replied ; that lust may be distin- 
guished from sin, as the habit or corrupt principle is from the 
act which it produces ; and therefore, the apostle's meaning in 
this prripture i?, that liisf, or irrep-ular desires, are first conceiv- 


brought that honour to God that we ought ; i tlflrefore, how 
just is k for him to deny us that esteem from men which we 
desire ? 

[4.] Suppose we are afflicted in our relations; there are 
some motives to contentment. Thus if servants have masters 
who make their lives uncomfortable, by their unreasonable 
demands, or unjust severity, such ought to consider, that their 
faithfulness and industry will be approved of, by God, how 
much soever it may be disregarded, by men; and a conscien/- 
tious discharge of the duties incumbent on them, in the rela- 
tion in which they stand, will give them ground to expect a 
blessing from God, to whom they are herein said to do ser- 
vice, which shall not go unrewarded, Eph. vi. 7, 8. 

On the other hand, if masters are afflicted, by reason of the 
stubborn and unfaithful behaviour, or sloth and negligence, of 
their servants ; let them enquire, v/hether this be not the con- 
sequence of their not being so much concerned for their spiri- 
tual welfare as they ought, or keeping up strict religion in 
their families? or, whether they have not been more concern- 
ed that their servants should obey them, than their great mas- 
ter, which is in heaven? 

Again, if parents have undutiful children, which are a grief 
of heart to them ; let them consider, as a motive to content- 
ment, whether they have not formerly neglected their duty to 
their parents, slighted their counsels, or disregarded their re- 
poofs ? so whether they have not reason to charge themselves 
with the iniquity of their youth? and enquire, whether God 
be not, herein, writing bitter things against them for it? or, 
whether they have not neglected to bring up their children in 
the nurture and admonition of the Lord ? These considera- 
tions will fence against all repining thoughts at the providence 
of God, that has brought these troubles upon them. And, as 
a farther inducement to make them easy, let such consider, 
that if this does not altogether lie at their door, but, they have 
been faithful to their children, in praying for, and intructing 
them, God may hear their prayers, and set home their in- 
structions on their hearts, when they themselves are removed 
out of the world. 

On the other hand, if children have wicked parents, whose 
conversation fills them with great uneasiness; let such consi- 
der, that this has been the case of many of God's faithful ser- 
vants ; such as Hezekiah, Josiah, and others; and they may 
be assured, that they shall have no occasion to use that pro- 
verb, ' The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's 
' teeth are set on edge,' Ezek. xviii. 2. 

[5.] If we are afflicted, by reason of the treachery and un- 
faithfulness of pretended friends, which v/ound us in the most 


(2.) We ought to exercise a charitable frame of spirit to- 
wards those who are in more prosperous circumstances in the 
world ; not envying, grieving, or repining at the providence of 
God, because their condition therein is better than ours. We 
are therefore to consider, that the most flourishing and 
prosperous condition in the world, is not always the best, 
Psal. xxxvii. 16. nor is it without many temptations that of- 
ten attend it, 1 Tim. vi. 9. and if it be not improved to the 
glory of God, this will bring a greater weight of guilt on their 
consciences : Whereas, on the other hand, if we enjoy commu- 
nion with him, and the blessings of the upper springs, this 
is much more desirable than the most prosperous condition 
in the world, without it, Psal. xvi. 5, 6. This leads us to 

II. The sins forbidden in this Commandment. And these 
include in them, that corrupt fountain from whence the ir- 
regularity of our desires proceeds ,* or the streams that flow 
from it, which discover themselves in the lusts of concupiscence 
in various instances, as well as in our being discontented with 
our own estate. 

1. As to the former of these, to wit, the corruption of na- 
ture ; this must be considered as contrary to the law of God, 
and consequently forbidden in this Commandment. The Pela- 
gians and Papists, indeed, pretend that the law of God only 
respects the corruption of our actions which is to be checked 
and restrained thereby ; and not the internal habits or prin- 
ciple from whence they proceed ; accordingly they take an 
estimate hereof from human laws, which only respect the overt 
acts of sin, and not those internal inclinations and disposi- 
tions which persons have to commit it : But when we speak 
of the divine laws, we must not take our plan from thence ; 
for though man can only judge of outward actions, God 
judgeth the heart ; and therefore that sin which reigns there, 
cannot but be, in the highest degree, offensive to him ; and 
though the corruption of our nature cannot be altogether pre- 
vented or extirpated, by any prescription in the divine law ; 
yet, this is the means which God takes, to reprove and hum- 
ble us for it, Rom. vii. 9. 

Object. It is objected that the apostle James, in chap. i. 
15. distinguishes betwee^i lust and sin ; zvhen lust hath con- 
ceived it bringeth forth sin ; therefore the corruption of nature 
is hot properly sin ; and, consequently not forbidden by the 

Anszo. To this it may be replied ; that lust may be distin- 
guished from sin, as the habit or corrupt principle is from the 
act which it produces ; and therefore, the apostle's meaning in 
this scripture is, that Uift. or irregular desirps. ar'^ first conceiv- 


ed in the heart j and then actual sins proceed fropfli them in the 
life ; and both of" them are abhorred by God, and contrary to 
his law : And they seem to be forbid,dcn, in particular, in this 
tenth Commandment. 

Here we may observe the various methods that corrupt na- 
ture takes, in order to its producing and bringing forth sinful 
actions. First, the temptation is offered, either by Satan, or 
the world, with a specious pretence of some advantage which 
may arise from our compliance with it; and, at the same time 
%ye consider not whether it be lawful or unlawful ; and regard 
not the threatnings that should deter us from it. And, we some- 
times take occasion, from the pernicious examples of the falls 
and miscarriages of others, to venture on the commission of 
the same sins ; pretending that they are, many of them, more 
acquainted with scripture, than we are ; and there seems 
to be no ill consequence attending their commission of those 
sins : therefore, why may we not give way to them ? And 
also, that many, who have had more fortitude and resolu- 
tion than we can pretend to, have been overcome by the 
same temptations ; therefore it is in vain for us to strive 
against them. 

Again, corrupt nature sometimes fills the soul with a secret 
dislike of the strictness and purity of the law of God ; and, at 
other times, it suggests that there are some dispensations al- 
lowed, in compliance with the frailty of nature ; and therefore. 
v/e may venture on the commission of some sins ; At length 
Ave take up a resolution that v/t will try. the experiment, what- 
ever be the consequence thereof. Thus lust brings forth sin ; 
which, after it has been, for some time indulged, is committed 
with greediness, and persisted in with resoliition ; and, in the 
end, brings forth death. And this leads us to consider, 

2. The irregularity of those actions, which proceed from 
the corruption of our nature, which ai-e sometimes, called the 
lusts of concupiscence ; whereby, v/ithout the Iv^ast shew of 
justice, we endeavour to possess ourselves of those things 
which belong to our neighbour. Thus Ahab was restless in 
his own spirit, till he had got Naboth's vineyard into his 
hand ; and, in order thereto, joined in a conspiracy, to takf; 
away his life, 1 Kings xxi. 4. And David coveted his neigh- 
bour's wife ; which was one of the greatest blemishes in his 
life, and brought with it a long train of miseries, that attended 
him in the following part of his reign, 2 Sam. xii. 9 — 12. And 
Achan coveted those goods which belonged not to him, the 
■wedge of gold y and the Babylonish garment ^ Josh. vii. 21. 
which sin proved his ruin. 

This sin of covetousness arises from a being discontented 
with our present condition, so that whatever measure, cf the 

Vol. IV. K 


fclessingT*©f providence we enjoy, we are notwithstanding;, 
filled with disquietude of mind, because we are destitute of 
what we are lusting after. This must be consid,ered as a sin 
thnt is attended with very great aggravations. For, 

(1.) It unfits us for the performance of holy duties; pre- 
vents the exercise of those graces, which are necessary in or- 
der thereunto ; and, on the other hand, exposes us to mani- 
fold temptations, whereby we are rendered an easy prey to 
our spiritual enemies. 

(2.) It is altogether unlike the temper of the blessed Jesus, 
who expressed an entire resignation to the divine will, under 
the greatest sufferings, John xviii. 11. Luke xxi. 42. And, in- 
deed, it is a very great reproach to religion, in general, and a 
discouragement to those who are setting their faces towards it, 
who will be ready to conclude, from our example, that the 
consolations of God are small, or that there is not enough in 
the promises of the covenant of grace, to quiet our spirits un- 
der their present uneasiness. 

(3.) It is to act as though we expected, or desired our por- 
tion in this v/orld, or looked no farther than these present 
things; which is contrary to the practice of the best of God's 
saints, 2 Cor. iv. 18. 

(4.) It tends to cast the utmost contempt on the many mer- 
cies we have received or enjoy, at present, which are, as it. 
were, forgotten in unthankfulness ; and it is a setting aside 
those blessings which the gospel gives us to expect. 

(5.) It argues an unwillingness to be at God's disposal, and 
a leaning to our own understandings, as though we knew bet- 
ter than him, what was most conducive to our present and fu- 
ture happiness ; and therefore, it is a tempting God, and 
grieving his Holy Spirit, which has a tendency to provoke him 
to turn to be our enemy^ 'AV\dJight against us^ Isa. Ixiii. 10. 

(6.) It deprives us of the present sweetness of other mer 
cies ; renders every providence, in our apprehension, afflictive ; 
and those burdens which would otherwise be light, almost in- 

(7.) If God is pleased to give us what we were discontent 
cd and uneasy for the want of, he often sends some great af- 
ffliction with it : Thus Rachel, in a discontented frame, says, 
Give me children^ or else I die^ Gen. xxx. r. she had, indeed, 
in some respects, her desire of children ; but died in travail 
with one of them, chap. xxxv. 19. 

(8.) It is a sin, v.hich they, who are guilty of, will find it 
very difficult to be brought to a thorough conviction of the 
guilt which they contract hereby, or a true repentance for it : 
Thus Jonah, when under a discontented and uneasy frame oi 
spirit, justified himself, and, as it were, defied God to do hi^ 


worst against him ; so that when this matter waycharged up- 
on his conscience ; Dost tliou zvell to be angry P he replied, in 
a very insolent manner, I do zvell to be angrij^ even unto deaths 
Jonah iv. 9. The justifying ourselves under such a frame of 
spirit, cannot but be highly provoking to Cod ; and whatever 
•we may be prone to allege in our own behalf, will rather 
aggravate, than extenuate the crime. 

There are several things which a discontented person is 
apt to allege in his own vindication, wjiich have a tendency 
only to enhance his guilt. As, 

[1.] When he pretends that his natural temper leads him 
to be uneasy, so that he cannot, by any means, subdue his 
passions, or submit to the disposing providence of God. 

To which it may be replied ; that the corruption of our 
nature, and its pronencss to sin, is no ju5t excuse for, but ra- 
ther an aggravation of it; whereby it appears to be more 
deeply rooted in our hearts ; and, indeed, our natural incli- 
nations to any sin are increased, by indulging it. Therefore, 
in this case, we ought rather to be importunate with God, for 
that grace which may have a tendency to restrain the inor- 
dinacy of our affections, and render us willing to acquiesce in 
the divine dispensations, than to paliate and excuse our sin j 
which only aggravates the guil| thereof. 

[2.] Some, in excuse for their discontented and uneasy frame 
of spirit, allege; that the injuries which have been offered to 
chem, ought to be resented, that they are such as they are 
not able to bear ; and not to show themselves uneasy under 
them, would be to encourage persons to insult and trample ou 

But to this it may be replied; that while we complain of in- 
"uries done us by men, and are prone to meditate revenge 
against them, we do not consider the great dishonour that we 
bring to God, and how much v/e deserve to be made the monu- 
ments of his fury, so that we should not obtain forgiveness 
from him, who are so prone to resent lesser injuries done to \X% 
by our fellow-creatures. Matt, xviii. 23. ^ scq. 

[3.] Others excuse their discontent, by alleging the great- 
ness of their afflictions ; that their burden is alm.ost insupport-. 
able, so that they are pressed out of measure, above strength, 
■ind are ready to say with Job, Even to day is my complaint 
'ntter ; my stroke is heavier than my groaning-^ Job xxiii. 2. 

But to this it may be replied; that our afflictions are not so 
jjreat as our sins, which are the procuring cause thereof; nor 
are they greater than some that befai others, who are better 
than ourselves ; and, indeed, by indyilging a discontented frame 
of spirit, we render them heavier than thev wo;^!^' otherwise 

^O TliE TENTH COla^sI ANi3iI£Isi i'.. 

[4.] SoiIKe pretend, that they are discontented and uneasy 
because the affliction they are under, was altogether unexpect- 
ed ; and therefore they were unprovided for, and so less able 
to bear it. To this it may be replied; 

1st, That a Christian ought daily to expect afEictions in this 
miserable and sinful world, at least, so far as not to be unpro- 
vided for, or think it scrange that he should be exercised with 
them, 1 Pet. iv. 12. 

2dlif, We have received many unlooked for mercies; and 
therefore, why should we be uneasy because we meet with 
unexpected afflictions, and not rather set the one against the 

4thly, Some of God's best children have oftentimes beeu 
surprized with afflictive providences, and yet have been ena- 
bled to exercise contentment under them. Thus the messen- 
gers who brought Job heavy and unexpected tidings of one 
affliction immediately following another, Job i. 13, Q seq. did 
not overthow his faith, or make him discontented under the 
hand of God ; for, notwithstanding all this, he worshipped and 
blessed the name of the Lord^ ver. 20, 21. 

[5.] Others allege, that the change which is made in theii 
circumstances in the world, from a prosperous to an afflicted 
condition of life, is so great, and lies with such weight upon 
their spirits, that it is impossible for them to be easy under it. 
But to this it may be answered, 

1st, That when God gave us the good things we are de- 
prived of, he reserved to himself the liberty of taking them 
away when he pleased, as designing hereby, to shew his abso- 
lute sovereignty over us; and therefore, before this affliction 
befel us, it was our duty, according to the apostle's advice, to 
■rejoice as though we rejoiced not, and to use the rvorld as not 
abusing- it, 1 Cor. vii. 30. and not to think it strange, that wc 
should be deprived of it, inasmuch as the fashion thereof 
passeth away. 

%dly. The greater variety of conditions in which we have 
been, or are, in the world, afford more abundant experience 
of those dealings of God with us, which are designed as an 
ordinance for our faith ; and therefore, instead of being dis- 
contented under them, we ought rather to be put hereupon, on 
the exercise of those graces that are suitable to the change of 
our condition, as the apostle says, I know both hozvto be abas- 
ed^ and I kncxv how to abound, Phil. iv. 12. 

[6.] Sonic allege, that they have the greatest reason to be 
discontented, because of the influence which their afflictions 
have on their spiritual concerns, as they tend to interrupt their 
communion with God; and they are often ready to fear, thac 
these are indication- of his wreath., and, as it wcre^ the begir- 


MiHg of sonows; which leads them to the verjffcrink of des- 

To this it miy be replied; that it ir. certain nothing more 
sharpens the edge of alRictions, or has a greater tendency to 
make us uneasy under them, than such dioughts as these ; and 
not to be sensible hereof, would be an instance of the greatest 
stupidity ; yet let us consider, 

1st, That if our fears are ill-grounded, as they sometimes 
are, the uneasiness that arises from them is unwarrantable. 

2<////, If we have too much ground for them, we are to make 
-ise of the remedy that God has provided; accordingly we are 
to have recourse by faith, to the blood of Jesus, for forgive- 
ness; and this ought to be accompanied with the exercise of 
true repentance, and godly sorrow for sin, without giving way 
to those despairing apprehensions, that sometimes arise from 
a sense of the greatness of the guilt thereof, as though it set 
us out of the reach of mercy; which will add an insupporta- 
ble weight to our burden; and, 

3dly, If under the afflicting hand of God, v^e are rendered 
unfit for holy duties, and have no communion with him there- 
in ; this may be owing, not to the affliction, but that discon- 
tented, uneasy frame of spirit which we too much indulge un- 
der it. Therefore v/e arc not to allege this as an excuse for 
that murmuring, repining frame of spirit v/hich we are too apt 
to discover while exercised therewith. 

The last thing to be considered is, the remedies against this 
sin of being discontented v/ith our present condition; and these 

Isf, A due sense of that undoubted right Avhich God has to 
dispose of us, and our condition in this world, as he pleases ; 
inasmuch as we are his own, Matt. xx. 15. 

2i%, Uneasiness under the hand of God, or repining at his 
dealings, when he thinks fit to deprive us of the blessings wc 
f-nce enjoyed, is not the way to recover the possession of them ; 
but the best expedient for us to regain them, or some other 
blessings that are more than an equivalent for them, is our ex- 
i^rcising an entire resignation to the v/ill of God, and conclud- 
ing that all his dispensations arc holy, just, and good. 

Sd/y, Let us consider, that God oJftentimes designs to make 
>i5 better by the sharpest tl-ials, v.hich are an ordinance to 
bring us nearer to himself. Thus David says, Before I xvo.; 
'-xjjltcied^ I -went astray; but noiv have I kept thy xvord^ Psa". 
cxix. 67. 

A'thly, We ought to consider that God's design in these dis- 
pensations is, to try our faith, and that it may be found aftet- 
■■ivardu itnto i)ra}<te. honov.f. and ghy^^-, as it will be, %'^lth res • 


pect to every true believer, at the appearing;- of Jesus Chrisi^ 
1 Pet. i. 7. And to this we may add, 

■Sfhly, That there are many promises of the presence of God, 
Vv'hich have not only a tendency to afford relief against unea- 
siness or dejection of spirit; but to give us the greatest en- 
couragement under the sorest afflictions; particularly, that 
comprehensive promise, / zvUl never leave thee^ nor forsake 
thee^ Heb. xiii. 5. 

Quest. CXLIX. Is any man able perfectly to keep the Com- 
7nandnients of God? 

Answ. No man is able', either in himself, or by any grace re- 
ceived in this life, perfectly to keep the Commandments of 
God, but doth daily break them in thought, word, and deed. 

HAVING considered man's duty and obligation to keep 
the Commandments of God; we are now led to speak of 
Kim as unable to keep them ; and, on the other hand, charge- 
able with the duily breach thereof, which is an argument of 
the imperfection of this present state. We have, under a 
foregoing ansv/er*, endeavoured to prove that the work of 
sanctification is impei-fect in this life; so that ail the boasts of 
the Pelagians, and others, who defend the possibility of attain- 
ing perfection therein, are vain and unwarrantable. We have 
also considered the reasons why God orders that it should be 
so. And therefore we shall, without enlarging so much on 
this subject, as otherwise we might have done, principally take 
notice of what is to be observed in this answer, under two 
general heads. 

I. In what respects, and with v/hat limitations, man is said 
to be unable to keep the Commandments of God ; and, accord- 
ingly it is said, that no man is able, perfectly, to keep them. 
By which we are to understand, as it is observed in the Shor- 
ter Catechism f, no mere man, whereby our Saviour is ex- 
cepted, who yielded perfect obedience in our nature. This 
is farther explained, with another limitation, namely, that ho 
man is able to do this since the fall ; to denote that man, in 
his state of innocency, was able, perfectly to keep the Com 
mandments of God. Fot he was made upright, and had the 
image of God instamped on his soul; which consisted in 
knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, Eccl. vii. 29. Gen. i, 
27. having the lav/ of God written in his heart, and power to 
fulfil it \. And, indeed, to suppose the contrary, would be i. 

* S^e Quest. LXXVIII. Vol III. ITO. ■ See QusH. LXXXJI 

^ See Vol. If. 44. 


lefiection upon the divine government, and wodid ai-gue man 
to have been created under a natural necessity oi sinning, and 
perishing; which is contrary to the goodness, hoHness, and 
justice of God. It is farther observed, that no man is able, 
in this life, thus to keep God's Commandments, which con- 
tains an intimation that the glorified saints, in heaven, will b* 
enabled to yield perfect obedience; notwithstanding the many 
imperfections they are now liable to. Moreover, as man is 
not able, of himself, or without the aids of divine grace, to 
obey God ; so he is not to expect such assistance from him as 
shall enable him to obey him perfectly. There is no doubt 
but the grace of God could free us from all the remainders of 
sin in this world, as well as in oiu- passing from it to heaven ; 
but we have no ground to conclude that it will. For, 

1. The whole creation is liable to the curse, (a) (which was 
consequent upon man's first apostasy from God,) under which 
jt groaneth^ unto this day, Rom. viii. 22, 23. and shall not be 
delivered from it, till the scene of time, and things shall be 
changed, and the saints shall be fully possessed of v. hat they 
are now waiting for, to wit, the adoption^ or the redemption of 
their bodies, 

2. God is pleased to deny his people that perfection of holi- 
ness here, which they shall attain to hereafter, that he may 
give them daily occiisiou to exercise the duties of self-denial, 
mortification of sin, faith, and repentance, v/hich redound ttj 
his ow^n glory, and their spiritual advantage. This leads us, 

II. To consider that we daily break the Commandments of 
God, in thought, word, and deed. 

1. In thought; to w^it, when the mind is conversant about 
sinful objects, in such away, as that it contracts defilement. It 
is a sign that the wickedness of man is very great, when, 
every imagination cf the thoughts cf his heart is only evil^ and 
that continually^ Gen. vi. 5. Now the sinfulness of the 
thoughts of men, consists in four things ; 

(1.) When they chuse, delight in, and are daily conversant 
about things that are vain, empty of v/hat is good, and have 
no tendency to the glory of God, or the spiritual advantage 
cither of ourselves or others. The least vain thought whiclx 
contains an excursion from our duty to God, brings some de- 
gree of guilt with it ; but when the mind is wholly taken up 
with vanity, so that it is turned aside from, or takes no de- 
light in those things that are of the highest importance, thi.s 
will have a tendency to vitiate the mind, and alienate it from 
the life of God. 

(2.) The thoughts of men may be said to be sinful, v/heu 

(a) KlirK these mean, the animal part of mar;.. 


they are nof fixed, or intensely set^ on God and divine things, 
when engaged in holy duties ; and that either, when worldly 
cares or business, how lawful soever they may, be at other 
tioics, have a tendency to divert our thoughts from them, be- 
ing altogether inconsistent therewith. Or Avhen our minds 
are conversant about spiritual things unseasonably, so as to be 
diverted from our present design ; as, when we are joining 
with others in prayer, instead of bearing a part with them, 
in having the same exercise of faith, and other graces, which 
supposes that our thoughts are ercplcyed about the same ob- 
ject widi theirs, v»'e are meditating en some other divine sub- 
ject, foreign to the present occasion. 

(3.) Our-thoughts may be said to be sinful, when they are. 
conversant about spiritual things, without suitable affections, 
and, consequently, meditating on them as common thmgs, in 
which we are not much concerned; as v;hen we are desti" 
tute of those holy desires after, or delight in God, when dravr- 
ing nigh to him in holy duties, which his law requires. And 
this will more evidently appear, when, by comparing the frame 
of our spirit therein, with what we observe it to be in other 
instances, we lind, that our affections are easily raised, when 
engaged in matters of less importance, but stupid, and uncon- 
cerned about our eternal welfare, in holy duties; v/hich is ac- 
companied with hardness of heart and impenitency, and some- 
times with uneasiness and weariness, as though they were a 
burden to us. 

On the other hand, our affections may be raised in these 
duties, and yet we be chargeable with a sinfulness of thought 
therein ; as, 

[1.] When the affections are raised by things of less im- 
portance, vi^hile other things that are more affecting, are not 
regarded. As, supposing a person is meditating on Christ's 
sufferings, and he is very much affected with, and enraged at 
the treachery of Judas, that betrayed him, or the barbarity of 
the Jews, that crucified him ; but not in the least with the sin 
of the world, that w^as the occasion of it, or the greatness of 
his love, that moved him to submit to it. 

[2.] When our affections are raised in holy duties, and thin 
is all that we depend upon, for justification and acceptance in 
the sight of God, vainly supposing that our tears will wash 
away our sins, being destitute of faith in the blood of Christ. 

[3.] When we are concerned about the misery consequent 
®n our sins^ but are not in the least inclined to hate them, nor 
grieved at the dishonour brought to the name of God thereby. 

This leads us to consider the causes hei-eof, and remedies 
against it. If we do not find that our aflVrtions are raised in 
these religicu.s exercises, as they have been in times past, we 


ouglit to enquire into the reason thereof; whethlr this be not 
attended with some great backslidings from God, which might 
first occasion it. Sometimes it proceeds from a neglect of 
holy duties, either public or private ; at other times, from pre- 
sumptuous sins, committed, or continued in, with impenitency. 
And we often find, that our being too much embarrassed with, 
or immoderately engaged in our pursuit of the profits or plea- 
sures of this world, stupifies and damps our affections, as to 
religious matters, so that they are seldom or never raised 

As to the remedies against this stupid and unaffected frame 
of spirit; we must not only repent of, but abstain from those 
sins, that have been the occasion thereof; meditate on those 
subjects, that are most suitable to our case, which have a ten- 
dency to enflame our love to Christ, and desire after him, and 
our zeal for his glory; and often confess and bewail our stu- 
pidity and unbecoming behaviour in holy duties ; earnestly 
imploring the powerful influence of the Spirit of God, to bring 
us into, and keep us in a right frame of spirit for them. 

(4.) We have reason to charge ourselves with sin, when 
guilty of blasphemous thoughts ; as, 

Ist^ When we have, by degrees, brought on ourselves a dis- 
regard of God, either by living in the neglect of holy duties, 
or allowing ourselves in the practice of known sins. 

2dli/, When, before we were followed with these thoughts, 
we have found that we gave way to some doubts about the 
divine perfections ; or, thi-ough the ignorance, pride and vanity 
of our minds, have contracted an habitual disregard to, or 
neglect of that holy reverence with which we ought to medi- 
tate on them. 

od/if, When we can hear those execrable baths or curses, by 
which some profanely blaspheme the name of God, without ex- 
pressing our resentment with the utmost abhorrence and de- 

4^/j/y, When we find, that being followed with blasphemous 
thoughts, our hearts ai-e too prone to give in to them, as though 
they were the sentiments of our mind ; whereby we do, as it 
were, consent to them, instead of rejecting them with the ut- 
most aversion. 

But, on the other hand, blasphemous thoughts are not always 
to be charged on us as a sin. Sometimes they are chargeable 
on Satan, who herein acts according to his character, as God's 
open enemy ; and endeavours to instil into us the same ideas 
that he himself has. These thoughts may be charged on him ; 
when they are hastily injected into our minds, not being the 
result of choice or deliberation ; but are a kind of violence of- 
fered to our imagination, and, we cannot but discover the great- 

Vol. IV. T 

66 , ALL alN& Nur ECiUALLY HEINOUj. 

est detestation of them, as well as of that enemy of souls, from 
whom they take their rise ; and when, at the same time, we 
are enabled to exercise the contrary graces, arid betake our- 
selves to God with faith and prayer, that he would rebuke the 
Devil, and preserve our consciences undefiled, under this sore 
temptation, which w^e cannot but reckon one of the greatest af- 
flictions that befal us in the world. Thus concerning the sin- 
fulness of our thoughts. 

2. We are farther said, daily to break the Commandments 
of God in word. Thus the apostle James speaks of the tongue 
as an imritly evil full of deadly poison^ James iii. 8. Evil-speak- 
ing, as was before observed concerning the sinfulness of our 
thoughts, is attended with a greater or less degree of guilt, as 
the vanity of the mind, and the wickedness of the heart, more 
or less discovers itself therein. Our Saviour speaks of the ac- 
countableness of man in the day of judgment, for every idle 
xvord., Matt. xii. 36. to denote, that there is no sin so small, 
but what is displeasing to an holy God, a violation of his law, 
and brings with it a degree of guilt, in proportion to the na- 
ture thereof. These indeed, are the lowest instances of the 
sinfulness of words. There are others that are of so heinous a 
nature, that they can hardly be reckoned consistent with true 
godliness, viz, defaming, and malicious words ; which are 
sometimes compared to a sxvord^ or arroivs^ Psal. Ivii. 4. or to 
^serpenfs tongue^ that leaves a sting and poison behind it, Psal. 
cxl. 3. Again, the sinfulness of our words extends itself yet 
farther, as they are directed against the blessed God ; when 
persons set their mouth against the heavens^ and their tongue 
xvalketh through the earthy Psal. Ixxiii. 9. when they give them- 
selves the liberty to talk profanely about sacred things, and 
openly blaspheme the name and perfections of God. This de- 
gree of impiety, indeed, all are not chargeable with. Never- 
theless, we may say, should God mark the iniquity of our 
words, as well as of our thoughts, who could stand ? 

3. We are said to break the Commandments of God, by 
deeds, i. e. by committing those sins which are contrived in 
the heart, and uttered with our tongues. These have been 
considered under their respective heads, as a violation of each 
of the ten Commandments, or doing those things that are for- 
bidden therein ; and therefore we pass them over in this place, 
gnd proceed to speak concerning the aggravations of sin. 

Quest* CL. Are all transgressions of the law of God equally 
heinous in themselves^ and in the sight of God ? 

Answ. All transgressions of the law of God are not equally 


heinous. But some sins in themselves, and ^y reason of 
several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God 
than others. 

THOUGH all sins be objectively infinite, and equally op- 
posite to the holiness of God ; yet there are some cir- 
cumstances attending them, which are of that pernicious ten- 
dency, that they render one sin more heinous than another; so 
that it is not to be thought of, without the greatest horror and 
resentment; as well as expose the sinner to a sorer condemna- 
tion, if it be not forgiven. These are such as strike at the 
very essentials of religion, and tend, as much as in us lies, to 
sap the foundation thereof; as when men deny the being and 
perfections of God, and practically disown their obligation, to 
yield obedience to him. And some sins against the second ta- 
ble, which more immediately respect our neighbour, are more 
heinous than others, in proportion to the degree of injuiy done 
him thereby. Thus the taking away the life of another, is 
more injurious, and consequently more aggravated than barely 
the hating of him ; which is, nevertheless, a very great crime. 
Moreover, the same sin, whether against the Commandments 
of the first or second table, may be said to be more or less 
heinous, in proportion to the degree of obstinacy, deliberation, 
malice, or enmity against God, with which it is committed ; 
but these things will more evidently appear under the follow- 
ing answer ; which we proceed to consider, 

Quest. CLI. What are those ag-gravations zvhich make some 
sins more heinous than others ? 

Answ. Sins receive their aggravations, 

I. From the persons offending, if they be of riper age, great- 
er experience, or grace, eminent for profession, gifts, place, 
office ; guides to others, and whose example is likely to be 
followed by others. 

SINS are greater than otherv/ise they would be when com- 
mitted by those whose age and experience ought to have 
taught them better. Thus Elihu says. A multitude of yearn 
should teach wisdom^ Job xxxii. 7. Many things would be a 
i-eproach to such persons, which are more agreeable to the cha- 
racter of childi-en, than those who are advanced in age. Again^, 
if they have had large experience of the grace of God, and 
been eminent for their profession, or gifts conferred on them 
These circumstances will render the ?ame An more aggrava- 



ted ; for where much is given, an improvement is expected iii 
proportion thereunto ; and where great pretensions are made 
to religion, the acting disagreeable thereunto, Enhances the 
guilt, and renders the sin more heinous. Again, if the person 
offending be in an eminent station, or office in the world, or the 
church ; so that he is either a guide to others, or the eyes of 
many are upon him, who will be apt to follow and receive pre- 
judice by his example. When such an one commits a public 
and open sin, it is more aggravated than if it had been com- 
mitted by another. Thus God bids the prophet Ezekiel see 
what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark^ every 
ma7i in the chambers of his imagery^ Ezek. viii. 12. And the 
prophet Jeremiah speaks of those who ought to have been 
guides to the people, viz* the priests and the prophets, Jer. 
xxiii. 11. 14. who transgressed against the Lord; and charges 
this on them as an extraordinary instance of wickedness; which 
their character in the world, and the church rendered more 
heinous, though it was exceeding heinous in itself. 

•41. Sins receive their aggravations, from the parties offended; 
if immediately against God, his attributes, and worship, a- 
gainst Christ, and his grace ; the holy Spirit, his witness, 
and workings, against superiors, men of eminency, and such 
as we stand especially related and engaged unto ; against 
any of the saints, particularly weak brethren, the souls of 
them, or any other, and the common good of all or many. 

There is no sin but what may be said to be committed a- 
gainst God ; yet, 

1. Some are more immediately against him, as they carry in 
them a contempt of his attributes and worship ; whereby his 
name and ordinances are profaned, and the glory that is in- 
stamped thereon, little set by, Mai. i. 3, 4. Other sins reflect 
dishonour on our Lord Jesus Christ ; and that either on his 
person, when we conclude him to be, or, at least, act as if he 
were no other than a mere creature ; or, on his offices ; when 
we refuse to receive instruction from him as a prophet, or de- 
pend on his righteousness as a priest, in order to our justifica- 
tion and acceptance, in the sight of God ; or to submit to him 
as a King, who is able to subdue us to himself, and defend us 
from the assaults of our spiritual enemies ; or when we despise 
his grace, and neglect that salvation which he has purchased, 
and oflers in the gospel, Heb. ii. 3. 

Agnin, our sins ire aggravated when they are committed a- 
gsinst the person of the Holy Ghost ; when we deny him to be 
a divine Person, or the author of the work of regeneration, as 
supposing that grace takes its rise from ourselves, rather than 


him ', or when we do not desire to be led by the ^irit, or seek 
jus divine influence in order thereunto. But, on the other 
hand, resist his holy motions and impressions, and act contra- 
ry to those convictions which he is pleased to grant us ; by 
which means we are said to grieve, and quench the spirit^ Eph. 
iv. 7. 1 Thess. v. 19. Also, when we reject and set ourselves 
against the witness of the Spirit, and that, either by concluding^ 
that assurance of our interest in the love of God, may be attain- 
ed without it, and reckon all pretences to it no better than en- 
thusiasm ; or, when on the other hand, we suppose that the 
Spirit witnesses with our spirits, that we are the children of 
God, without regard had to the work of sanctification, that 
always accompanies, and is an evidence thereof; whereby we 
take that comfort to ourselves which does not proceed from 
the Spirit of holiness. 

2. Sins are aggravated as committed more immediately or 
directly against men, and particularly those, to whom we stand 
related in the bonds of nature, or, who have laid us under the 
strongest obligations, by acts of friendship to us. This is ap- 
plicable to inferiors, who ought to pay a deference to their soji 
periors ; those sins that are committed by such, contain the 
highest instance of ingratitude, and are contrary to the laws or 
dictates of nature, and therefore aggravated in proportion there- 

Moreover, if they are committed against the saints ', this is 
reckoned, by God, an instance of contempt cast on himself, 
(whose image they are said to bear;) much more, if we op- 
pose them as saints, Luke xvi. 16. Matt. xii. 6. And though 
we do not proceed to this degree of wickedness, our crime is 
said to be greatly aggravated, when we lay a stumbling-block 
before those who are weak in the faith, which may tend to dis- 
courage them in the ways of God ; and, by this means, we do 
what in us lies, to destroy those for xvhom Christ died^ Rom. 
xiv. 15. 1 Cor. viii. 11. This is an injury done, not so much 
to their bodies, as their souls; which are wounded, and brought 
into great perplexity thereby. 

However, we must distinguish between an offence given, 
and unjustly taken ; or, it is one thing for persons to be offend- 
ed at that which is our indispensible duty, in which case we 
are not to regard the sentiments of those who attempt to dis- 
courage us from, or censure us for the performance of it; and 
our giving offence in things that are in themselves indifferent, 
and might, without any prejudice, be avoided; in which case 
a compliance with the party offended, seems to be our duty ; 
especially if the offence takes its rise from conscience, rather, 
than humour and corruption ; and our not complying with him 
herein, would tend very much to discourage and weaken his 


hands in the ^ays of God; and therefore may be reckoned an 
aggravation of this sin. 

Moreover, it is a farther aggravation of sin commuted, when 
it appears to be contrary to the common good of all men. 
This guilt may be said to be contracted by them who endea- 
vour to hinder the success of preaching of the gospel, 1 Thess. 
ii. 15. or otherwise, when the sin of one man brings down the 
judgments of God on a whole church or body of people ; of 
this kind was Achan's sin, Josh. vii. 20, 21, 25. 

III. Sins are aggravated from the nature and quality of the of- 
fence ; if it be against the express letter of the law, break 
many commandments, contain in it many sins ; if not only 
conceived in the heart, but breaks forth in words and actions, 
scandalize others, and admit of no reparation ; if against 
means, mercies, judgments, light of nature, conviction of 
conscience ; public or private admonition, censures of the 

• church, civil punishments, and our prayers, purposes, pro- 
mises ; vows, covenants, and engagements to God or men ; 
if done deliberately, wilfully, presumptuously, impudently, 
boastingly, maliciously, frequently, obstinately, with delight, 
continuance, or relapsing after repentance. 

1. Sin is aggravated when it is committed against the express 
letter of the law, so that there remains no manner of doiibt, 
whether it be a sin or duty. To venture on the commission 
of what jUainly appears to be unlawful, is to sin with great 
boldness and presumption, whereby the crime is very much 
aggravated, Rom. i. 32. 

2. When it contains a breach of several of the Command- 
ments ; and therefore it may be reckoned a complicated crime. 
Of this kind was the sin of David, in the matter of Uriah ; in 
which he was guilty of murder, adultery, dissimulation, injus- 
tice, £s?c. Also Ahab's sin against Naboth ; which included in 
it not only covetousness, but perjury, murder, oppression, and 

3. Sins are more aggravated, when they break forth in words, 
or outward actions, than if they were only conceived in the 
heart. It is true, sin in the heart has some peculiar aggrava- 
tions, as it takes deeper root, becomes habitual, and is enter- 
tained with a secret delight and pleasure, and as it is the source 
and fountain, from whence actual sins proceed. Nevertheless, 
when that, which was before conceived in the heart, is discov- 
ered by words or actions, this adds a farther aggravation to it, 
as it brings a more public dishonour to God, and often-times 
a greater injury to men. 

4. Sins are farther aggravated, when they are of such a na- 


ture, that it is impossible for us to repair thl^injuries done 
thereby, or make restitution for them. Thus nothing can 
compensate for our taking away the life of another, or for our 
casting a reproach on the holy ways of God ; and thereby en- 
deavouring to bring his gospel into contempt ; or, when we 
entice others to sin, by which means we turn them aside from 
God, and endeavour to ruin their souls ; which is an injury 
that we cannot, by any means, repair ; and therefore the crime 
is exceedingly aggravated. 

5. If the sin committed be contrary to the very light of 
nature, such as would be offensive, even to the Heathen, 1 
Cor. V. 1. 

6. Sins receive their aggravations, when committed against 
means, mercies, and judgments ; as when we break through all 
the fences which are set to prevent them ; and the grace of 
God, revealed in the gospel, is not only ineffectual, to preserve 
from sin, though designed for that end. Tit. ii. 11, 12. but 
turned into lasciviousness, Jude, vcr. 4. When mercies are 
misimproved, undervalued, and, as it were, trampled on, 
Rom. ii. 4. Isa. i. 3, Deut. xxii. 6. and judgments, whether 
threatened or inflicted are not regarded, nor were claimed 

7. Sins are farther aggravated, when they are committed 
against the checks and convictions of conscience ; which is a 
judge and a reprover within our own breasts. This is an 
offering violence to ourselves, and making many bold advan- 
ces towards judicial blindness, hardness of heart, and a total 

8. When the sins committed are against public or private 
admonitions, censures of the church or civil punishments, 
which are God's ordinance to bring men to repentance ; and if 
they prove ineffectual, to answer that end, they will be left 
more stupid than they were before. 

9. Sins are farther aggravated, when they are contrary to 
our own prayers, vows, covenants, and promises made either 
to God or men. When we confess sin, or pretend to humble 
ourselves before God in prayer, and yet, at other times, indulge 
the same sins, and are proud, self-conceited, and exalt our- 
selves against him ; or when we pray for strength againsl cor- 
ruption, or grace to perform holy duties, when, in reality, we 
have no love to, nor desire after them ; or when we praise him 
for mercies received, while we are habitually unthankful, and 
forgetful of his benefits. Moreover, when we are very forward 
to make vo\vs, covenants, or engagements, to be the Lord's ; 
whereby \re often lay a snare for ourselves, from some cir- 
cumstances that attend this action ; and more especially from 
our disregarding it afterwards. 


10. Sins are aggravated from the manner of our committing 
them, viz. If they are done deliberately, with fore-thought or 
contrivance : As when persons are said to devise hiischief up- 
on their beds ; and then as to their conversation, to set them- 
selves against that which is good, Psal. xxxiv. 5. Again, if it 
be done wilfully, that is, with the full bent of the will, making 
it the matter of our choice, and resolving to commit it, whatever 
it cost us. When we do it presumptuously, either when we 
take encouragement hereunto from the grace of God, Rom. 
vi. 1. or when his hand is lifted up against us, or when we 
see his judgments falling very heavy upon others, and are not 
disposed to take warning thereby ; but grow more hardened 
and stupid than before. 

Again, when sin is committed maliciously impudently, and 
obstinately ; this argues a rooted hatred against God. Or, 
when it is committed with delight arising either from the 
thoughts we entertain thereof, before we commit it ; or the 
pleasure we take in what we have done, afterwards. Again, 
when we boast of what we have done, which is to glory in our 
shame, Psal. x. 3. and lii. 1. when we do, as it were, value 
ourselves for having got rid of the prejudices of education, and 
all former convictions of sin, that so we may go on therein 
with less disturbance. And when persons boast of their over- 
reaching others in their way of dealing in the world, Prov. 
XX. 14. which they very often do in their secret thoughts, 
when they are ashamed to let the world know how remote they 
are from the practice of that justice, that ought to be between 
man and man. Again sins are aggravated when they are fre- 
quently committed, or when we relapse into the same sin, af. 
ter having pretended to repent of it, 2 Pet. ii. 20, — 22. Matt, 
xii. 43, — 45. 

IV. Sins are aggravated from circumstances of time, and 
place ; if on the Lord's-day, or other times of divine wor- 
ship, or immediately before, or after these, or other helps, 
to prevent or remedy such miscarriages, if in public, or in 
the presence of others who are thereby likely to be pro- 
voked or defiled. 

When sins are committed by us on the Lord's-day, it is a 
profaning that time which he has sanctified for his service, and 
so renders us guilty of a double crime ; or, when they are 
committed at any other time, which we occasionally set apart 
for divine worship ; or, in those seasons, when God calls for 
fasting and mourning for our own sins, or those that are 
publicly committed in the world, Isa. xxii. 12, — 14. or, at 
other times, when we have lately received signal deliverances, 


either personal or national, Psal. cvi. 7. or, wlfln they are 
committed immediately before or after we have engaged in 
holy duties ; the former renders us very unfit for them ; the 
latter will effectually take away all those impressions, which 
have been made on our spirits therein. 

Again, sins receive aggravation from the place in which 
they are committed : As for instance, if they are committed 
in those places, in which the name of God is more immediate- 
ly called on, which if visible, will afford great matter of scan- 
dal to some, and an ill example to others ; and if seci-etly 
committed, will tend to defile our souls, and argue us guilty 
of great hypocrisy. Moreover, when we commit those sins, 
which are generally abhorred in the place where providence 
has cast our lot : This is to render ourselves a stain and dis- 
honour to those with whom We converse. Thus the prophet 
speaks of some, who, in the land of uprightness^ will deal un- 
Justli/ylsa.. xxvi. 10. and especially when they are committed 
iji the presence of others, who are likely to be provoked or 
defiled thereby; by which means we contract the guilt of other 
men's sins, as well as our own ; and are doubly guilty, in that 
we are, in many respects, the cause of their transgressing. 

There are several instances in which we may be said to 
contract the guilt of other men's sins, which I shall only men- 
tion briefly, viz. when superioi's lay their commands on infe- 
riors, or oblige them to do that which is in itself sinful ; or, 
when we advise those who stand upon a level with us, to com- 
mit sin, or give our consent to the commission of it, Acts vii. 
58. chap. vii. 1. Again, when inferiors flatter superiors, or 
commend them for their sin : Thus when Herod had courted 
the applause of the people, by the oration which he made to 
them ; they, on the other hand, flattered him, when they gave 
a shonty sayings It is the voice of a god^ and not of a man^ chap. 
xii. 22. Again, when v.'e have recourse to those places, v/here 
sin is usually committed, and desire to associate ourselves with 
them, whose conversation is a reproach to religion, Prov. xiii. 
20. or, when v/e are sharers, or partakers, with others, in their 
unlawful gains ; first encouraging, abetting, and helping them 
therein ; and then dividing the spoil with them,|chap. i. 23, — 
25. Again, when we connive at sin committed ; or, if it be in 
our power, do not restrain or hinder the commission of it ; or, 
when we conceal it, when the farther progress thereof might 
be prevented by our divulging it. Again, when we provoke 
persons to sin. And hereby draw forth their corruptions ; and 
when we extenuate sin, whether committed by ourselves or 
others ; which is a degree of vindicating, or pleading for ito 
And lastly, when we do not mourn for. or nrav against thos-? 

Vol. IV, K - - 

74 U)f THE DESIiRT Ot SIN, &Ct. 

bins which jfre publicly committed in the world, that are lii::^ 
to bring down national judgments *. 


Answ. Every sin, even the least, being against the sovereign- 
ty, goodness, and holiness of God, and, against his righteous 
law, deserveth his wrath and curse, both in this life, and 
that which is to come, and cannot be expiated, but by the 
blood of Christ. 

Quest. CLIII. What doth God req-uire of us, that we maij 
escape his wrath and curse due to us by reason of the trans- 
gression of the law. 

Anew. That we may escape the wrath and curse of God dud 
to us by reason of the transgression of the law, he requireth of 
us repentance toward God, arid faith toward our Lord Jesus 
Christ, and the diligent use of the outward means whereby 
Christ communicates to us the benefits of his mediation. 

[N the former of these answers, we have an account of the 
demerit of sin ; in the latter, we have the character and 
disposition of those who have ground to conclude that they 
shall be delivered from the wrath and curse of God due to it. 
We have already considered one sin as greater than another, 
by reason of sev^eral circumstances that tend to enhance the 
guilt of those who commit tbem : Nevertheless, there is no 
sin so small but it has this aggravation in it, that it is a viola- 
tion of the law of God, and is opposite to his holiness ; and 
therefore it cannot but render the sinner guilty in his sight j 
and guilt is that whereby a person is liable to suffer punish- 
juent in proportion to the offence committed : Therefore it 
follows, that there is no ground for that distinction which the 
Papists make between mortal and venial sins ; whereof the 
i'ormer, they suppose, deserves the wrath and curse of God 
both in this and another world ; but as for the latter, namely, 
venial sins, they conclude that they may be atoned for by hu- 
man satisfactions, or penances ; and that they are, in their own, 
nature, so small, that they do not deserve eternal punishment. 

• These several heads, concerning' the aggravations of sin, are contained in 
three or four lines, wliich are lielpful to our memories. Most of the lieads of 
this answer, are contained in that verse, Quis ? Quid? Ubi ? Qidbtts auxiliis ? 
t'ur P Qvomoflo .? (^niuicio ? And those that relate to our contracting tlie guilt 
of other men's sins, in the following lines ; Jussu. Consilio. Consensu. Palpo. Ji"- 
^•.ursu. Participans. J^'utans, A''on obstans. JVon manifcstcnu. Ince"sam. J^Jinuens. 
^Yon in£rens. Sglicitansve. 


This is an opinion highly derogatory to the glory 'of God, and 
opens a door to licentiousness, in a variety of instances ; the 
contrary to which, is contained in the answer we are now ex- 

For the understanding whereof, let it be considered ; that it 
is one thing for a sin to deserve the wrath and curse of God, 
and another thing for the sinner to be liable and exposed to it. 
The former of these arises from the heinous nature of sin, 
and is inseparable from it ; the latter is inconsistent with 
a justified state. Nothing can take away the guilt of sin,, 
but the atonement made by Christ ; and that forgiveness or 
freedom from condemnation, v/^hich God is pleased to bestow 
us the consequence thereof, Rom. viii. 1, 33. It is this that 
discharges a believer from a liableness to the wrath and curse 
of God. Though one sin be greater than another, by reason 
«.>f various circumstances that attend, or are contained in it, as 
was observed under the last answer : yet the least sin must be 
concluded to be objectively infinite, as it is committed against 
a God of infinite perfection, since all offences are great in 
proportion to the dignity of the person against whom they 
are committed. Thus the same sin that is committed against 
an inferior, or an equal, which deserves a less degree of pu- 
nishment, if it be committed against a king, may be so cir- 
cumstanced, as that it will be deemed a capital offence, and > 
render the criminal guilty of high treason ; though, at the 
same time, no real injury is done to, but only attempted 
against him. In like manner we must conclude, that though 
it be out of our own power to injure or detract from the 
essential glory of the great God ; yet every offence committed 
against him is great, in proportion to his infinite excellency ; 
;iad is therefore said to deserve his wrath and curse. Wrath 
or anger, when applied to God, is not to be considered as a 
passion in him, as it is in men ; but denotes his will to punish 
sin committed, which takes its first rise from the holiness of 
his nature, which is infinitely opposite to it. And the de- 
gree of punishment that he designs to inflict, is contained in 
his law ; which, as it denounces threatnings against those who 
violate it, the sinner is hereby said to be exposed to the curse 
or condemning sentence thereof, agreeably to the rules of 
justice, and the nature of the offence. This is what we are 
to understand, in this answer, by sin's deserving the wrath and 
curse of God. 

And this is farther considered, as v/hat extends itself to 
this life, and that which is to come. Punishments inflicted ia 
this life, are but the beginning of miseries ; but they arc, 
sometimes inexpressibly great, as the Psalmist says, W/io 
k)Wr^.'cf.^' tht' power of thine anv-er ? tven according to thy fenx -^ 

f6 OI THE L'KSERT 01 bIN, hc- 

SO is thy xvrciih^ Psal. xc. 11. Sometimes there is but a very 
short interval between sin and the punishment; as in the case 
' c5f Nadab and Abihu, Korah, and his company, ^Achan, and 
many others; whereas, at other times, it is long deferred; 
nevertheless, it will fall with great weight, at last, on the offen- 
der. Thus God sometimes punishes the sin of youth in old 
ajje ; and when a greater degree of guilt has been contracted, 
writes bitter things against them, Job xiii. 26. But the great- 
est degree of punishment is reserved for sinners in another 
world ; which is styled the xvrath to come^ 1 Thess. i. 10. But 
these things having been insisted on in some foregoing an- 
swers *, we shall add no more on that head ; but proceed to 
what is farther observed, viz. that this punishment cannot be 
expiated any otherwise than by the blood of Christ. This is 
fitly inserted after the account we have had of man's liable- 
ness to the wrath of God, by reason of sin : for when we have 
an afflicting sense of the guilt we have exposed ourselves to, 
nothing else will afford us relief. 

The next thing to be considered is, how it may be removed, 
or by what means the justice of God may be satisfied, and an 
atonement made for sin. This is said to be done no other way 
but by the blood of Christ, as has been considered elsewhere, 
under a foregoing answer ; in which we endeavoured to prove 
the necessity of Christ's making satisfaction, and the price that 
he paid in order thereto f. We have also considered the fruits 
and effects thereof, as it has a tendency to remove the guilt of 
sin, and procure for us a right to eternal life : \ Therefore, we 
shall pass over the consideration thereof in this place ; only 
we may observe, that, since this can be brought about by no 
other means but Christ's satisfaction ; it is not inconsistent 
with what is contained in the following words, if rightly un- 
derstood by us, to assert that God i-equires of us, repentance, 
faith, and a diligent attendance on the outward means of grace ; 
thougn we must not conclude them to be the procuring cause 
of our justification, or a means to expiate sin. They are cer- 
tainly very much unacquainted with the way of salvation by 
Christ, as well as the great defects of their repentance and 
faith, who suppose, that God is hereby induced to pardon our 
sins, or deliver us from the wrath we have deserved thereby ; 
nevertheless, we are not to think, that impenitent unbelieving 
sinners have a right to determine that they are in a justified 
state, or have groimd to claim an interest in the benefits of 
Christ's redempiion. I'herefore, these graces are necessary to 

* S-c Vol. It. Qncrf. \XVI1I, hXIX, and A'^/.IU. Quest. LXXXIX. 
f Sec Vol. II. Qiiesi. XLIV. Porrg 27:\—%<00. . 

4: S':(i Quest, liix, Ixxi. Vol.lU.p 66— 9C). and -.vhal t.'He saH under those an- 
,-«''ci'«, it er/jlnin ?/;•_' dcrfri'-e nfjuntif'.'nihu. 


evince our interest in what he has done and suffered for iis, 
and they are inseparably connected with salvation; though 
they do not give us a rii^ht and title to etei-nal life, as Christ's 
righteousness doth. ^V'e have, in two foregoing answers, 
given a particular account of repentance and faith. Concern- 
ing repentance, we have observed, that it is a special saving- 
grace, wrought in us by the Holy Spirit, and have shewn in 
what way he works it; and also the difference between legal and 
evangelical repentance, as the former is often found in those 
who are destitute of the latter. We have considered the vari- 
ous acts of repentance unto life*; what the objects and acts 
of saving faith are; and how it differs from that which is not 
so ; and the use of this grace, in the whole conduct of our 
lives, and how it gives life and vigour to all other graces, and 
enables us' to perform duties in a right manner f. Therefore 
we shall not insist on this subject at present, but only speak 
of repentance and faith as means appointed by God, in order 
to our attaining compleat salvation. 

The means conducive hereunto, are either internal or ex- 
ternal; the former of these are inseparably connected with sal- 
vation; so that none^ who repent and believe^ shall perish^ John 
iii. 16. These graces, together with all others, that accompany 
or flow from them, are the fruits and effects of Christ's media- 
tion ; and therefore they are sometimes called saving graces. 
As they are wrought in the hearts of believers, and have a 
reference to salvation ; they may be truly styled internal means 
of salvation ; and, as such, they are distinguished from those 
outward and ordinary means of grace, by which God is pleas- 
ed to work them. And these are die ordinances which wc 
are diligently to attend on, in hopes of attaining those graces 
under them, till God is pleased to give success to our endea- 
vours, and work grace under these means ; the efficacy where- 
of, is wholly owing to his power, and is to be reselved into 
his sovereign will. 

This may be fitly illustrated by what is said concerning the 
poor, impotent^ hlind^ halt^ and xvithered persons, waiting- at 
the pool, of Bethesda, for the angels troubling the xvater ; after 
which, he ^zxjirst stepped in^ xvas made whole, John v. 2 — 4-. 
Nevertheless, we do not find that every one who waited there 
embraced the first opportunity, and received a cure ; for some 
were obliged to wait many years ; and if they were made 
whole at last, they had no reason to think their labour lost. 
This may be applied to those who have the means of grace. 
Many sit under them who receive no saving advantage there- 
by, till God is pleased, in his accepted time, to work those 

' Sci' Qufii Ixxvl Vfjl. III. p. 106. f Sr-e QiieH. Ixxii. Ixxiii. Vol. III. p. $B. 

78 fcF THE UESLRl Gi SIN, &C. 

graces which render these ordinanees effectual to salvation. 
This blessed success attending them, is from God; he could, 
indeed, save his people without them, as he conVerted Paul, 
when going to Damascus, with a design to persecute ther 
church there; being not only unacquainted with, but preju- 
diced against the means of grace. But this is not God's or- 
dinary method. He has put an honour on his own institutions, 
so as to render it necessary for us to pray, wait and hope for sav- 
ing blessings, in attending on them. Thus when he promises 
to put his Spirit v/ithin his people, and cause them to zvulk in 
his statutes^ he adds ; ytt for this will I be enquired of by the 
house of Israel^ to do it far them^ Ezek. xxxvi. 27, 37. accord- 
ingly we are commanded to seek the Lord while he viaij he 
founds and to call upon him xvhile he is near, Isa. Iv. 6. Here- 
by we testify our approbation of that method which he has 
ordained for the application of redemption; and by our perse- 
verance therein, as determining not to leave off waiting till we 
have obtained the blessing expected, we proclaim the valuable- 
ness thereof, and subscribe to the sovereignty of God, in dis- 
pensing those blessings to his people, which they stand in need 
of, as well as pray and hope for them in his own time and 
wa}'. Thus we are to wait on the means of grace. 

And it Is farther observed, that this is to be done with dili- 
gence ; not in a careless and indifferent manner, as though we 
neither expected nor desired much advantage from them. Thi'^ 
implies in it an embracing every opportunity, and observing; 
those special seasons, in which God is pleased, in his gospel, 
to hold forth the golden sceptre of grace ; as also our having 
earnest desires and raised expectations of obtaining that grace^. 
from him which he encourages us to wait and hope for (a). 

(a) To affect to honour the mercy of Go(i, by supposing this is sufficient 
for all oui* sina, liowev^r persevered in, is to disparage his truth which has pro- 
posed terms of mercy, connected our salvation with them, and pronounced them 
exclusive. It is to imagine that Deity shall change his purposes ; it is an affront 
to his wisdom to suppose that after lie has placed us in a state of probation and 
wade us accountable, no retribution should be made. It indicates insincerity, 
and not a real regard for the divine glory, to set up such a substitute for the 
«"ospel sclieme of salvation. 

To excuse sin by alleging our Impotency to good, is disingenuous ; because 
Me party can be conscious of no obstacle, unless his own inclinations to evil can 
h'- so denominated. This excuse casts the blame on God. To persist in sin 
nnder such pretences, is io do evil t/tut good may come, which, the Apostle of the 
•■"^entiles declares renders condemnation just; it is to sin that grace may aboumi. 

To defer the acceptation of offered mercy, and put off the work of repentance, 
-.^ unwise, as it is heaping sorrows against the day of bitterness.; it is imprudent, 
liepause it is to remain at enmity wilh Him upon whom wo depend, and to b.: 
Liable at every moment of this uncertain life to be involved in everlasting des- 
nair. It is evidence of a very sordid mind to prefer the base gratifications of thft 
.enses, to the refrwd pie;'.3u:'es of virtue, aiid the beauty, pciice, and comfurtR '..■'► 


Which leads us to speak particularly concernliM|[ those 
Ward means, as contained in the following answer. 

Quest. CLIV. What are the outivard means tvherehy Christ 
comiminicates to its the benefits of his vrediation? 

Answ. The outward and ordinary means whereby Christ 
communicates to his church the benefits of his mediation, 
are, all his ordinances ; especially the word, sacraments, and 
prayer; all which are made efTectual to the elect for salva- 

IN explaining this answer, we shall consider, 
I. What we are to understand by the ordinances, which 
are here stjded outward and ordinary means of grace. The 
first idea contained in them is, that they are religious duties, 
prescribed by God, as an instituted method, in which he will 
be worshipped by his creatures; but that which more especi- 
ally denominates tlsem to be ordinances, is, the promise which 
lie has annexed to them of his special presence, and the en- 
couragement that he has given to his people in attending on 
them, to hope for those blessings that accompany salvation. 
As God works grace by, and under them, they are called 
means of grace; and because he seldom works grace without 
first inclining persons to attend on him therein, and wait for 

If the procrastination proceed from a dread of the labour of acquiring' the 
knowledge of the truth, this will be increased by every hour's delay, as thc'niinfl 
become-3 thereby the less susceptible of religious impressions. The time in 
Mliich the work should be accunTplished also becomes the siiorter ; like a traveller, 
who has mistaken his course, the impenitent has every step to tread back again, 
and his time is proportionally curtailed. The truUis of natural science flatttr 
our pride and ambition, but those of religion hum.ble and crucify them ; the 
latter, being opjwsed to the carnal mind, disgust; if suclf disgust produce a de- 
lay of conversion, the truths which have once excited such aversion will be move 
likely afterwards to do it, because the mind by once having rejected thenl hivi 
become more sensual, and opposed to moral good. 

The cares and business of life not merely pre-occupy the mind, and exclude 
the thoughts of religion, but augment our addictedness to earthly objects, and 
ronder progressively the mind more insensible to lessons of piety. In old agft 
avarice or sensuality are often at the hig-hest pitch; the man has become more 
impatient and irritable, tenacious even of his errours, and averse to changes, r.o 
change can be looked for but the great one, when tlie messenger arrives, who 
brings a scythe in his hand. 

To defer conversion till death, that its terrors may dissolve the charms of the 
world, besides the hazard of surprise, is unreasonable, as it suppo.ses mercv 
when we have persisted in rebellion as long as we can ; it is to expect that God's 
Spirit shall always strive with man; it is highly presumptuous; and it exposes 
also to self-deception, as religion in that late liour must be the effect of nscessi'.v, 
and destitute of the fruits and proofs of holiness. 


his salvation ; therefore they are called the ordinary means oi 
grace ; and because they have not in themselves a tendency to 
work grace, without the inward and powerful influences of the 
Holy Spirit, accompanying them, they are distinguished from 
it, and accordingly styled the outward means of grace. 

That which may be observed concerning the ordinances as 
thus described, is, 

1, That they may be engaged in, pursuant to a divine ap- 
pointment; therefore no creature hath a warrant to enjoin any 
modes of worship, pretending that this will be acceptable, or 
well-pleasing to God; since he alone, who is the object of 
worship, has a right to prescribe the way in which he will be 
worshipped. To do this would be an instance of profanenesa 
and bold presumption; and the worship performed pursuant 
thereunto would be m vain; as our Saviour says concerning 
that which has no higher a sanction than the cornmandments 
of men ^ Matt. xv. 9. and whatever pretence of religion there 
may be therein, God looks upon such worshippers as well as 
those whose prescriptions they follow herein, with the utmost 
contempt, and will punish them for, rather than encourage 
them in it. Thus the prophet reproves Israel, as being guilty 
of defection from God, who engaged in that worship which 
he had not ordained, when he says, The statutes of Omr'i are 
kept^ and all the loorks of the house of Ahab^ and ye ivalk m 
their counsels^ that I should make thee a desolation^ and the in- 
habitants thereof an hissing. Therefore shall ye bear the re- 
proach of my people^ Mic. vi. 16. And Jeroboam is often 
branded with this character, that he made Israel to sin^ for in- 
stituting ordinances of divine worship, and setting- up calves 
in Dan and Bethel^ making an house of high places^ and priests 
of the loxvest of tlie people^ and appointing sacred times, in 
which they shcndd perform this worship ; all which were of 
his own devising, and became a snare to the people, Exod. 
XX. 24. It is cei^ain, that such appointments cannot be reck- 
oned means of grace, or pledges of God's presence ; and it 
would redound to his dishonour, should he be obliged to com- 
municate the benefits of Christ's redemption hereby, to any 
who, (under a pretence of worshipping him in a way of their 
own devising,) ofter the highest affront to him. 

2. If God is pleased to reveal his will concerning the way 
in which we are to worship him, and hope for his presence, it 
is our indispensable duty to comply with it, and implore his 
acceptance of us herein ; and be importunate with him, that he 
would pat a glory on his own institutions, and grant us his 
special presence and grace, that we may be enabled to perform 
whatever duty he enjoins, in such a manner, that the mo^t 


valuable ends may be answered, and our spiriti||l edification 
and salvation promoted thereby. 

3. Though we consider the ordinances as instituted means 
of grace ; yet, a bare attendance on them will not, of itself, 
confer grace, as is very evident from the declining state of re- 
iigion, in those who engage in the external part of it, and at- 
tend upon all the ordinances of God's appointment, and yet 
remain destitute of saving grace j who are stupid under the 
awakening calls of the gospel, and regard not the invitations 
given therein, to adhere stedfastly to Jesus Christ, M'hom in 
words they profess to own, though in works they deny him. 
This is a convincing evidence, that it is God alone, who ap- 
pointed those ordinances, that can make them effectual to sal- 
vation. Thus concerning the nature of an ordinance, and in 
what respect it may be c:Uled an outward and ordinary means 
of grace. We are now, 

ir. To consider what are those ordinances by which Christ 
communicates to us the benefits of his mediation* Thtse may 
be considered, 

1. As engaged in by particular persons, as subservient to 
their spiritual welfare, in order to the beginning or carrying 
on the work of grace in their souls; such as meditation about 
divine subjects, self-examination, and all other duties, which 
arc performed by them in their private retirement, in hope of 
having communion with God therein. Or, 

2. There are other ordinances which God has given to wor- 
shipping assemblies, which are founded in that general pro- 
mise. In all places xvhere I record my namey I will cofne imt9 
■fhce, and I xvill bless thee^ Exod. XX. ^4* Those mentioned in 
this answer, are the words, sacraments and prayer ; of which 
the sacraments are particular^ given to the churches; the 
word and prayer, to all who are favoured with the gospel-dis- 
pensation. And to these we may add, singing the praises of 
God ; which, though it be not particularly mentioned in this 
answer, is, nevertheless, a duty wherein we may expect to 
meet with his presence and blessing; and accordingly is an 
ordinance which God makes effectual to promote our salvatiouo 
Therefore, before we enter on the subject-matter of the fol- 
lowing answers, we shall speak soniething concerning this" 
duty, as an ordinance which he has instituted; together with, 
the way and manner in which it is to be performed. And, 

(1.) We may enquire v/hat ground we have to reckon it 
among the ordinances of God. This must not be taken for 
granted, but proved ; because there are many who deny it to 
be so. That it was an ordinance enjoined to, and practised 
by the church, under the Old Testament-dispensation, appears 
from the many songs and psalms given, bv divine inspiration,- 

Vot, IV. L 

1^2 dl THE ©RDlVANCfisJ 

to be used by* the church, in their solemn acts of worship / 
some of which were not only sung by particular persons ; but 
the whole church is represented as joining thereia with united 
voices. Thus when Pharaoh's host was drowned in the red 
sea, it is said, Moses and the children of Israel 6g?2^' the song 
that was given by divine inspiration for that purpose, contain- 
ed in Exod. xv. And when he was inspired ^vith that song, 
in Deut. xxxii. he was commanded, in chaj). xxxi. to wrkie it 
for them^ and teach it to them^ and put it in their mouths; that 
they might sing it in their public worship ; which he did ac- 
cordingly, ver. 22. And from the days ol' David, when pub- 
lic worship was more settled than it had been before ; and 
many things relating to the order, beauty and harmony thereof, 
brought into the church by divint- direction, then there was an 
order of men called Singers^ who were to preside over, .<nd 
set forward the work. And there was also a book of psalms, 
given by divine inspiration, for the use of the church therein^ 
that they might not be at a loss as to the subject-matter of 
praise in this ordinance; as may be inferred from the style 
thereof, the words being often put in the plural number; which 
argues, that they were to be sung, not by one person in the 
church, but by the whole congregation, in their solemn and 
public acts of worship; and accordingly We often find the 
whole multitude of them exhorted to smg the praises of God. 
Thus it is said in Psal. xxx. 4. Sing unto the Lord:, ye 
^^aints of his ^ and give thanks at the remembrance of his holi- 
uess. And elsewhere. Sing aloud wito God our strength. 
Make a joy fid noise unto the God of Jacob. Take a psalm ^ Sec. 
For this xvas a statute for Israel^ and a law of the God of facoh^ 
Psal. Ixxxi. 1, 2, 3, 4. And sometimes the church are repre- 
sented as exciting one another to this duty. Thus it is said, 
O come let us sing unto the Lord; let us make a joyful noise t» 
the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with 
thanksgivings and make a joyful noise unto him. with psalms^ 
Psal. xcv. 1, 2. 

And it may be observed, that how much soever the use of 
musical instruments, which were in this worship may be con- 
cluded to be particularly adapted to that dispensation, as they 
were typical of that spiritual joy, which the gospel church 
should obtain by Christ; yet the on inance of singing remains. 
a duty, as founded on the moral lav ; and accordingly we find, 
that the practice hereof was recommended, not only to the Jews, 
Jbut to all nations. Thus it is said. Make a joyfxd noise unto 
the Lord all the earthy Psal. xcviii. 4. And he speaks to this 
purpose, when he presses this duty upon all lands^ whom he 
exhorts to serve him with gladness ; and to come before the Lord 
^tth singingy Paul. c. 1,2* And besides, it seems to be pre- 


feiTed before some other parts of worship, which were merely 
ceremonial. Thus the Psahiiist says, / rvi/l praise the name 
of God with a song. This also shall please the Lord better than. 
*vt ox or bullock^ Psal. Ixix. 30, 31, that is, God is more glo- 
rified hereby than he is by the external rites of ceremonial 
worship; especially when abstracted from those acts of faith, 
which add an excellency and glory to them. 

And this leads us to consider it as an ordinance practised 
by the New Testament- church. Some had songs given in to 
them by inspiration ; as the virgin Mary, Zacharias, and Si- 
meon, Luke i. 46, 47, 8? seq. chap. ii. 28, £s? seq. and some- 
limes the members of particular churches had a psalm given 
in by extraordinary revelation, 1 Cor. xiv. 26. and we cau 
hai^cUy suppose this to have been without a design that it 
should be sung in the church for their edification ; especially 
considering it as an extraordinary dispensation of the Spirit : 
And, as the singing of a psalm in the church, is an act of 
public worship, it is reasonable to suppose, that the whole as- 
sembly joined together therein ; and therefore this ordinance 
was not only practised by them, but had also a divine sanc- 
tion, in that the Spirit was the author of the psalm that was 
sung : And we sometimes read of the church's singing an 
hymn, which was no other than a psalm or spiritual song, at 
the Lord's-supper : Thus our Saviour, in the close of that 
ordinance, sung an hymn with his disciples, that small church \ 
ivith whoni he then communicated, Mark xiv. 26. And at 
another time, when he was co?7ie jiigh to the descent of the 
mount of olives^ it is said, that the multitude of the disciples be- 
gan to rejoice.) and to praise God with a loud voice^ Luke xxlx, 
o/. where, by the multitude of the disciples., we must under- 
tstand all that followed him, who had, at that time, a convic- 
tion in their consciences, that he was the Messiah, from the 
miracles which they had seen him Avork ; and we have an ac- 
count of the short hymn which they sang ; Blessed be the king 
that Cometh in the na^ne of the Lord; peace inheaveny and glo- 
ry in the highest., Luke xix. 38. This was not, indeed, sung 
in a church-assembly ; however, it was with a loud voice., and 
herein they gave glory to God : And though some of the Pha- 
risees were offended at it, ver. 39. yet our Saviour, in the fol- 
lowing words, vindicates their practice herein ; which argues, 
that it was a branch of religious worship, performed by them 
at that time; and a duty approved of by him. All that I would 
infer from hence, is, that our Saviour gave countenance to the 
singing the praises of God, with united voices. Therefore it 
follows, that we ought, on all occasions, to do the same thing ; 
and consequently, singing is an ordinance, whereby the church 
ought to glorify God, and shew forth his praise,. Thus w^ 


have considered singing to be an ordinanc«, ©r a branch of in-^ 
stituted worship. 

(2.) There are several things in which this ordinance agrees 
with some others; particularly with prayer in all the parts 
thereof; and with reading and preaching of the word. That 
it has something in common with prayer, appears from the 
subject-matter of several of the psalms of David ; some of 
which are called prayers, and accordingly they contain in thetn 
several petitions, for blessings that the church stood in need of, 
together with various instances of confession of sin, as Avell as 
thanksgiving for mercies received. As to the agreement of 
this ordinance, with preaching or reading the word ; that, I 
think, ma}' be inferred in general, iVom one of the ends there- 
of, mentioned by the apostle, namely, in that we are herein to 
teach and admonish one another^ Col. iii. 16. This is what the 
Psalmist styles talking of all his -wondrous rvorks^ Psal. cv. 1^ 
^. And elsewhere, the church are said to speak to themselves, 
or to one another in this duty, Eph. v, 19. This may be ob- 
served in the subject-matter of some of the psalms, in which 
the Psalmist is represented as speaking to the church, and they 
as making their reply to him : Thus he advises them to lift 
lip their hands in the sanctuary^ and bless the Lord., Psal. 
cxxxiv. 2. and ansv/er him. The Lord that made heaven and 
earth bless thee out of Zio?2, ver. 3. The name may b£ ob- 
. served in many other psalms, in v^'hich there is a frequent 
change of the person speaking ; and the subject-matter of the 
whole book contains many admonitions or cautions necessary- 
to be observed by others, which they who sing, direct and ap- 
ply to each other. Again, this ordinance agrees with preach- 
ing and reading the word, in that we are, in singing the praises 
of God, to take notice of, or celebrate the dispensations of his 
providence, either in a way of judgment or mercy j of this we 
have many instances in the book of Psalms, as is very evident 
in all those that are properly historical, 

(3.) We must, notwithstanding, suppose singing to be a 
distinct oidinanco froni preaching, prayer^ or reading the 
word ; for it is mentioned in scripture, as such ; and that 
wherein it principally differs, is, that it is designed to raise the 
affections r and it is certain, that the modulation, or tone of 
the voice, has oftentimes a tendency so to do. And because 
the performing religious worship, with raised affections, is a 
great duty and privilege ; therefore God has appointed this as 
an ordinance, in some degree conducive to answer that end. 

ObJ. I. If the tone of the voice be to be leckoned an ordi- 
nance, to raise the affections ; then vocal or instrumental mu- 
iic may be ileemed sufncicic to answer this end, without 


-jtiaklug use of those words in singing, which God»has ordain- 
ed, whereby it may be denominated u religious duty. 

Ansxv. To tins it may be replied ; that to have the affections 
raised, is no branch of religion, unless they are excited by those 
ideas of divine things, in which it principally consists : There- 
fore, that which is a means of raising the affections, may not 
have a tendency to excite religious affections ; and, conse- 
quently, it is not barely singing, but celebrating the praises of 
God therein, with raised affections, that is the duty and ordi- 
nance which we ought to engage in : These twio, therefore, 
must be connected together ', and if God is pleased, not only 
to instruct us aa to the matter about which our faith is to be 
conversant, but to give us an ordinance conducive to the ex- 
citing our affections therein, it must be reckoned an addi- 
tional advantage, and an help to our praising him in a becom- 
ing manner. 

Ohj. 2. Those arguments that have been taken from the 
practice of the Old I'estament-church, to prove singing an or- 
dinance, may, with equal justice, be alleged to prove the use 
of instrumental music therein ; since we very often read of 
their praising- God with the sound of the trumpet^ psaltery ^ 
harp^ org-an^ and other musical instruments, Psal. cl. 3, 4,' 5. 
which is the principal argument brought for the use of them 
by those who defend this pructice, and conclude it an help for 
devotion, Ca) 

CaJ I come now to say somewhat of the antiquity of Musical Instruments, 
But that these wei-e not used in the Christian Church in the prnriitive tunes, isi 
attested by all the ancient writers with one consent. Hence tliey figuratively 
explam all the places of the Old Testament, which speak of Musical Instru- 
ments ; as I might easily shew by a thousand testimonies, out of C/ewe;U of 
.iliixandria, Basil, Ambroxe, Jerom, Augustine, Chri'sostom, and many others, I 
can hardly forbear laughing-, when I meet with some of their alleg-orical inter- 
pretations. Thus an Instrument with ten strmgs, according to them, signifies 
tlie Ten Commandments, as the unknown author of the Commentary upon tlie 
Psalms, among Jerow's works, often explains it. In Ps. xxxii. 2. xliii. 4, &c. But 
the pleasantest fancy is the explication of those words: Praise him with strinjeJ 
Instruments and Organs. Ps. cl- 4. " Tliat tlie guts being- twisted by reason of 
" abstinence from food, and so all carnal desires being subdued, men are found 
'' fit for the kingdom of God, to sing his praises." But Chrt/sosCofyi talks more 
h.andsomly; '* Asthe Jexvs praised God with all kind of Instruments; so we ai«e 
*' commanded to praise him with all the members of our bodies, our eyes, &d" 
III Ps. cl. And Clement oi Alexandria talks much to the same purpose. Psedag. 
lib. ii. c. 4- 

Besides, the ancients thought it unlawful to use those Instruments in God's 
worship. Thiis the unknown author of a Treatise, among /?«//// JUartyr^s works r 
" Q If songs were invented by unbelievers with a design of deceiving, and were 
♦' appointed for those under the Law, becauseof the cliildishness of their minds; 
^' why do they, who have receive^ the perfect instructions of grace, which are 
" most contrary to the foresaid customs, nevertheless sing in the CImiches, just 
*' as they did, who were children under the Law } Ausiv. Plain Singing i.s not 
" childishj but only the Singing with lifeless Organ.s, with Dancing :n'id c;vm- 


Answ. To this it may be replied ; that though we often, 
read of music being used in singing the praises of God under 

" bals, &c. Whence the use of such Instruments, and other things fit fov 
*' children, is laid aside, and Plain Singing only retained." llesp. ad Orthodox, 
Q. 107. 

Chrtjsostom seems to have been of the same mind, and to have thouglit, the 
use of such Instruments was rather allowed the Jews in consideration of their 
■weakness, than prescribed and commanded. In Ps cl. But that he was mista- 
ken, and tiiut Musical Instruments were not only allowed the Jews, as he thought, 
and Isidorus of Pelusmm, (whose testimony I shall mention presently) but were 
prescribed by God, may appear from the Texts of Scripture I have before re- 
fered to. 

Clement, as I have mentioned already, thought tliese things fitter for beasts, 
than for men. And though Basil highly commends, and stilly defends the way 
of Singing by turns ; yet he thought musical Instruments unprofitable and hurt- 
lul. He calls them, the inventions o/Juoal vfthe race q/'Cain. And a little after, 
he tiuis expresses himself : " Laban was a lover oF the harp, and of music, with 
'"' which he woitld have sent away Jacob : Jfthou hadat told me, said he, I -would 
<■' have sent thee anvay tdth mirth, and musical instruments, and an Harp. But the 
" Patriarch avoided that music, as being a thing that would hinder his regard- 
*' ing the works of the Lord, and his considering the works of his hands." Com- 
ment, in Is. c. V. p. 956, 957- And a little before, he says thus : " In such Vain, 
*' arts, as the playing upon the Harp, or Pipe, or dancing, as soon as the action 
•' ceases, the work itself vanishes. So that really, according to the Apostle's ex- 
" presslon. The end of these things is dectruction." page 955. 

Isidore o? Pelttsiiim, who lived since Basil, held, music was allowed the JeTos 
by Gml, in a way of condescension to their childishness : " If God says he, bore 
" with bloody sacrifices, because of men's childishness at that time ; why should 
'^'you wonder, he bore with the music of an harp and a psaltery ?" Epist. lib. 
2.ep. 176. 

Nay, there are some ecclesiastical officers in the Church of England, who, for 
their very profession and employment, would have been kept from the commu- 
nion of the Church, except they desisted from it. So we are informed by the; 
\Sposlolical Constitutions : *' If any come to the mystery of godliness, being a 
*• player upon a pipe, a lute, or an harp ; let him leave it off, or be rejected.'^ 
lAb. viii. c. 32. 

From what has been said, it appears, no musical instruments were used in 
the pure times of the Church. It became Antichristian, before they were re- 
ceived. ' Bellarmine himself does not deny, they were late brought into the 
Church. " The second ceremony, says h^, are the Musical Instruments, which 
** began to be used in the service of the Church, in the time of Pope Vitalian, 
" about the year 660, as Platinn relates out of the Pontifical; or, as Aimonivi 
^ rather thinks, lib. iv. De gestis Franfonmi, c. 1 14. after the year 820, in the 
*' time of Lewis the Pious." De Missa, /i6. ii. c. 15. Item, De bon. (V>er. lih. i. c. 17. 
Dr. JV. would hardly have denied, the Church of iiowie was become Antichris- 
tian, when they were first brought in ; even lliough we should allow Beflarmine\- 
frst date of them to be the true one. But a Reformed Divine may well be a- 
shamod of that antiquity, that does not exceed the rise of Antichrist. But I 
am fully satisfied both Bellarmine' s dates are false, and that instrumental music, 
in the worship of God, is much later than either of these accounts allow. For 
as to Platina, he seems to suspect the truth of what he wrote : " Vitalian, sat/s-. 
" Ae, being careful abf)at the worship of God, made an ecclesiastical rule, and 
^* ordered the singing, with the addition (as some think) of organs." In Vital. 
Again, Bellarmine's Aimonius is not the true Aimonius. For (as Dr. Cave says) 
,hmonins of Fkury, wlio w;-ote, De gestis Fraticorum, flourished about the year 
1000; and his H. story, whirli begins at the destruction ni' Troy, is brought down 
as far as the coronation of King Pipi7i, or to the year 752. For ^\')lat comes aftc 


the Old Testament ; yet if what has been said crocerning its 
being a type of that spiritual joy which attends our praising 

that, and makes up the fifth book, and thdatter part of the fourth, is the con- 
tinuation or another hand. Uistl Liter.-j!;. 597. 

P'artlier, that these instruments were not used in God's worship, in Thomas 
Aquinas's time, that is, about the year 1250, he himself is witness. " In the old 
" Law, says he, God was praised both with musical instruments and human voi- 
** ces, and accortling to tliat l^sulm xxxiii. Praise the Lord vHth harp, sh:g unta 
" him idth the psaltery, and an instrnment often strings. But the Chiu-ch does not 
** use musical instruments to praise God, lest she should seem to judaize. 
" Therefore, by parity of reason, .she should not use singing'." Secunda secunds^ 
Questio 91, art. 4. £i? conclus. 4. The like objection is made by our author. But 
'J'homas answers : " As to this objection, we must say, as the philosopher. Lib. 
*' viii. Polit. that Pipes are not lo be used for teaching, nor any artificial iiistru- 
** ments, as the harp, or the like : but whatever will make the hearers good men. 
•« For these musical instruments rather dehght the mind, than form' it to anv 
*' good disposition. But under the Old Testament such instruments were useo, 
•«* partly because the people were harder and more carnal ; upon which account 
" they were to be stirred up by these instruments, as likewise by earthly pro- 
"m.ises; and partly because tliese bodily instruments were typical of'some- 
« thing." Upon which place Cardinal Cajetan gives ns this Comment : " 'Tis 
." to be observed, the Church did not use organs in Thomua's time. Whence, 
« even to tliis day, the Church of Fome does not use them in the Pope's pre- 
<* sence. And truly it will appear, that musfcal instruments are not to be suffer ■• 
« ed in tlie ecclesiastical ofiices we meet together to perform, for the sake of 
f receiMng internal instruction from God ; and so much the rather are thev to 
" be excluded, because God's internal discipline exceeds all human disciplines, 
" which rejected these kind of instruments." Cit. Hottm. Lex. voce Musica. 

If any one objects the practice of some foreign churches, I answer with M;-. 
Hickman : " They are laid aside by most of the reformed churches ; nor would 
" they be retained among the Lutherans, unless they had forsaken their own 
" Luther ,- who, by the confession of Eckard, reckoned organs among the ensign<i 
" ofliaal. That they still continue in some of the Dutch chni'ches, is against, 
" the minds of the Pastors. For in the National Synod at Middicbitrg, in thtf 
" year 1581, and in the Synod of JloUandtind Zealand, in the year 1594, it was 
" resolved. That tfiey tvoidd endeavour to obtain of the magistrate the laying aside. 
" of organs, a7id the singing with them in the churches, even ojit of the time of -war. 
■" ship, either before or pf">r sermons : so far are tliose Synods from bearing with 
*' them in the worship itself." Apot. p. 139. 

The Church of E^igland herself had formerly no very good opinion of these 
musical instruments ; as may appear by her Homilies : " Lastly, God's ven- 
" geance hath been, and is daily provoked, because much wicked people pass 
" nothing to resort unto the church ; either for that they are so sore blinded, 
" that they understand nothing of God or godliness, and care not with devilish 
*' malice to offend their neighbours ; or else for that they see the church altoge- 
*' ther scoured of such gay gazing sights, as their gross phantasie was greatly 
*' delighted with ; because they see the false religion abandoned, and the true 
" restored, which seemeth an unsavory thing to their usavory laste, as may 
"appear by \*is that a woman said to her neighbour : Alas! gossip, what shall 
" we now do at church, since all the Saints are taken away ; since all the good- 
" ly sights we were wont to have are gone ; since we cannot hear the like piping-, 
" singing, Chaunting, and playing upon the organs that we could before i" But, 
"dearly beloved, we ought greatly to rejoice and give God thanks, that ou^ 
" churches are delivered out of all those tilings, which displeased God so sore, 
" and filthily defiled his holy house, and his place of pn»yer." Horn, of tlie place 
and time of prr;yei, part. 2. p. 131. 

A gre: t number also of the Clsrgj' in the first convocation of Queen EUzabftk 

66 «ijF Tiir, 6RDl^-AxeEs, 

God for tlie privilege of that redemption ■which Christ ha^ 
purchased be true ; then this objection will appear to have no 
Weight, since this type is abolished, together with'the ceremo- 
nial lav/. And it may be farther observed, that though we 
read of the use of music, in the temgle-service, yet it does not 
suffecientlv appear, that it was ever used, in the Jev/ish syna- 
gogues ; wherein the mode of worship more resembled that 
which is, at present, performed by us in our public assem- 
blies. But that which may sufficiently determine this matter, 
is, that, we have no precept or precedent for it in the New 
Testament, either from the practice of Christ, or his apostles. 
And inasmuch "as this is alleged, by some, to overthrow the 
ordinance of singing, who pretend, that it ought to be no more 
used by us than the harp, organ, or other musical instruments: 
It might as well be objected, that, because incense, which was 

in 15G3, earnestly laboured to have organs, aiul that pompous theatrical way or 
singing laid aside, and missed the carrying it but by one vote, as I observe else- 
where. And in this Ardibishop Farhsr concurred with them, or at least did not 
Appose them. 

I will add one or two testimonies of Papists against this cathedral way ci 
worship. Thtfivst shAl he T'olydarus Virgi/ins. 

Having taken notice ol' .'iustine''s dislike of that way of singing in his time, he 
thus proceeds : " But in our time, it seems much less useful to the common- 
" wealth, now our singers make such a noise in our churches, that nothing can 
" be heard, beside the sound of the voice ; and they who come there (that is al! 
*•■ that are in the city) are satisfied with the concert of music, which their ears 
'• itch for, and never mind the sense of tlie words. So that we are come to thaL pass, 
" that in the opinion of the common people, tlie whole affair of religious worship 
" is lodged in these singers; although, generally speaking, there is no sort of 
" men more loose or wicked : and yet a good part of the people run to churcli, 
" as to a theaire, to hear them bawl : they hire and encourage them ; and look 
" upon them alone as ornaments to the house of God. Wherefore, without 
" doubt, it would be for the intei-est of religion, either to cast these jackdaw? 
" out of the churches ; or else to toach them when they sing, they sliould do it, 
"rather in the manner of reading, than bawling; as .4z«mte says Athanusius 
♦' ordered, iic." De Invent. Rer. lib. vi. c. 2. p. 379- 

Next hear the judgment of Era^nms: " Let a man be more covetous than 
« Cj-assiis, more foul-mouthed than ZoUns, he shall be reckoned a pious rnan, if 
" he sings those prayers Vv ell, though he understands nothing of them. But 
'* what, I beseech you, must they think of Christ, who can believe he is delight- 
" ed witl\ such a noise of men's voices ? Not content with thi.s, we have brought 
" into our churches a certain operose and theatrical music ; such a confused dis- 
" orderly chattering of some words, as I hardly think was ever heard in any of 
*' tlie Grecian or Roman theatres. The church rings with the noise of trumpets. 
" pipes and dulcimers ; and human voices strive to bear their part with them. — 
" Men run to church as to a theatre, to have their ears tickled. And for thi-i 
" end organ-makers are hired with great salaries, and a company of boys, who 
" waste a'U their time in learning these whining tones. Pr.iy now compute how 
*' many poor people in great extremity might be maintained by the salaries of 
." those singers." In 1 Cor. xlv. 19. 

Lastly, Lindanus says: " Who will compare the Music of this present age, 
" with that which was formerly used ? Wliatever is sung now, signifies little fpr 
" informing the people ; wUic!^ "trs eertaijli tlje ancients always designed/' 
Panopl ». iv c. 78. PltncE's Ykkdicaxtos. 


used under the ceremonial law, together with prayer in the 
temple, Luke i. 9, 10. is not now offv;red by us ; therefore 
prayer ought to be laid aside; which is, as aii own, a duty 
founded on the moral law. 

(4.) In singing those psalms or songs, which are givtTi by 
divine inspiration, we are not to consider the subject-matter 
thereof, as always expressive of the frame of our own spl- 
lits, or denoting the dispensations of providence, which we, 
or the church of God are, at present exercised with. This 
is necessary in order to our singing with understanding ; and 
it may be inferred from what is observed under the second of 
those heads, before laid down, relating to the agreement which 
there is between singing and reading any of David's psalms. 

It must be allowed by all, that we ought to have the same 
acts of faith in one, as we have in the other. This is evi- 
dent from all composures in prose or verse, whether divine 
or Inmian. If the subject-matter be historical, whatever the 
form be in M'hich it is laid down, the principal things to be 
considered are, those matters, of fact which are therein related. 
If an history be written in prose, and the same should be turn- 
ed into verse ; its being laid clown in the form of a poem, 
though it adds something of beauty to the mode of expression, 
yet the ideas, that are conveyed thereby, or the historical re- 
presentation of things, are the same as though they had not 
been v/ritten in verse. It ma}- be, the reading the same histo- 
ry in verse, may add something of pleasure and delight to 
those ideas which we have of it, in like manner as singing, 
according to the third head before mentioned, is a distinct, 
ordinance from reading (though the matter be the same, as 
k respects the exciting the affections :) yet this does not give 
lis diffei-ent ideas of it ; much less are we to take occasion 
from thence, to apply those things to ourselves that are spoken 
of others ; unless parallel circumstances require it. If this, 
rule be not observed, I do not see how we can sing many of 
the psalms of David. Sometimes the subject-matter thereof 
is not agreeable to every age of life, or the universal expe- 
rience of particular persons. It %vould be very preposterous 
for a child, in singing those words, / /lavc been ijQungy and 
now am old ; yet luroe I not seen the rTgliteous forsaken^ noj 
his seed begging breads Psal. xxxvii. 25. or what is elsewhere 
" said; Noxv also^ xvhen I am old and gray-headed^ God^ for- 
sake me not^ Psal. Ixxi. IS. to appl)' them, in particular to 
himself. And when some other psalms are sung in a pub- 
lic assembly, in which God's people are represented as deject- 
ed, disconsolate, and, as it were, sinking in the depths of de- 
spair; as when the Psalmist says. My soul refused to be cc??:^ 
forted. J remembered God^ and ivas troubled; I complained^ 
and my spirit "vas cz'cra'hchned^ PsaU l:^xvii. ?. 3. and ekr". 

Vol. IV. U 


where, / am counted xv'iih them that go down into the pit. 
Thy wrath Ueth hard upon mc. While I suffer thy terrors^ I 
am distracted^ Psal. Ixxxviii. 4. 7, 15. This canitot be applied 
to every particular person in a worshipping assembly ; as de- 
noting that frame ol" spirit in which he is, at present, any more 
than those expressions which we meet with elsewhere, which 
speak of a believer, as having full assurance of God's love to 
Jiim, and his right and title to eternal life ; as when it is said, 
Thou shalt guide 7ne with thy cou}isel, and afterward receive 
me to glory^ Psal. Ixxiii, 24. can be applied to those who arc 
7.n a dejected, despairing, or unbelieving frame of spirit. 

And those psalms which contain an historical account of 
some particular dispensations of providence towards the church 
of old, cannot be applied to it in every age, or to the circum- 
stances of every believer ; as when it is said. By the rivers of 
Babylon there xve sat down ; yea^ rue wept xvhen xve remember- 
ed Zion^Vs^A. cxxxvii. 1. This is not to be considered as 
Vv'hat is expressive of our own case, when we are, in the pre- 
sent day, singing that psalm. Or, when, on the other hand, the 
church is represented as praising God for particular deliver- 
ances, as in Psal. cvii. or expressing its triumphs in the vic- 
tories obtained over its enemies, as in Psal. cxlix. these are 
not to be applied, by particular persons, to themselves; espe- 
cially at all times. And when the Psalmist makes use of 
those phrases which are adapted to the ceremonial law, as 
when he speaks of binding the sacrifice with cords ^ even unto 
the horns of the altar^ Psal. cxviii. 27. or elsewhere, of their 
offering bullocks upon it, Psal. li. 19. this cannot be taken in 
a literal sense, when applied to the gospel-state. And when 
we are exhorted to praise God with the psaltery, Sec. Psal. cl. 
we are to express those acts of faith which arc agreeable to 
the present gospel-dispensation, which we are under; and the 
>jeneral rule, which is applicable to all psalms of the like na- 
ture, is, that vi^ith the same frame of spirit with which we read 
them, w^e ought to sing them. Sometimes we are to consider 
the subject-matter of them, as containing an account of those 
providences which we are liable to, rather than those which we 
are, at present, under; or what we desire, or fear, rather than 
experience; and improve them so as to excite those graces 
which ought to be exercised in like circumstances, when ii: 
shall please God to bring us under them. With this frame oi 
spirit the psalms of David are to be sung, as well as read; 
othet*wise we shall be obliged to exclude several of them as 
not fit to be used in gospel- worship, which I would assert 
nothing that should give the least countenauce to, (a) any more 

(«) The first hymns of Gospel churches, were neither rythm, nor metre ; and 

they; was no vci'.sion ot David's psahiis, that could be sung before Calvin's time 


ilian I would affirm that such-like psalms are not to be read 
in public assemblies. 

0/fJ. 1. To what has been said concerning our using David'.-> 
psalms in singing the piaises of God, it is objected, that some 
of them contain such" imprecation, or desires, that God would 
destroy his enemies, Psal. Iv. 15. and lix. 13 — 15. and Ixix. 
22 — 25, 27, 2S. as are inconsistent with the spirit of the gos- 
pel, or that love which we are, therein, obliged to express to- 
wards our enemies, agreeably to the command and practice of 
the holy Jestis, Matt. v. 44, 46. Luke xxiii. 34. 

Before I proceed to a direct answer to this objection, it 
may be observed, that this is generally alleged, by the Deists, 
with a design to cast a reproach on divine revelation ; and ■ 
from hence they take occasion, outrageously to inveigh against 
David, as though he was of a malicious and implacable spirit; 
upon which account they will hardly allow him to have been 
a good man, since these, and such-like impi-ecations of the 
wrath of God on the church's enemies, are reckoned by them 
no other than the effects of his passion and hatred of them ; 
and therefore it is a preposterous thing to s.uppose, that his 
psalms were given by divine inspiration. 

And there are others, to wit, some among the Socinians, 
who give a different turn to such-like expressions ; and pre- 
tend, that under the Old Testament dispensation, it was not 
unlawful for persons to hate their enemies, or curse, or im- 
precate the wrath of God upon them, whereas, our Saviour 
thought fit, under the New Testt:ment-dispensation, to com- 
mand what was directly contrary thereunto. That it was for- 
merly lawful, they argue' from what is said in Matt. v. 43. 
Te have heard that it hath been said, Thou shall love thy neig-h- 
bour^ and hate thine enemy. And the new Commandment 
which he substituted in the room thereof, is contained in the 
following words, in Vv^hich he obliges them, to love their cne- 
raies^ &c. But this is a gross mistake of the sensei of that 
scripture, which speaks of hating' their enemies; since our 
Saviour does not, in mentioning it, design to refer to any thing- 
said in the Old Testament, but only to expose the corrupt 
gloss of the Scribes and Pharisees, given on some passages 
contained therein. Therefore, we must conck.t,e, that it was 
equally unlawful to hate our enemies before, as it is now, un- 
der the gospel-dispensation. These things I could not but 
premise, before we come to a direct answer to this objection ; 
and, ifv\diat is contained therein v/ere true, it would certainly 
t)e unlawful to sing David's psalms; yet, at the same time-, it 
would be a very difficult matter, to substitute any hymns and 
songs in their room, which would be altogether unexception- 
able ; and then the ordinance of sijjninjj would he effectually 


.Ansxu. But to this it may be replied; that the words being 
spoken by David, under divine inspiration, some of those 
scriptures referred to, may, agreeably to the rules^'of grammar, 
be understood as a prediction of those judgments which God 
^vould execute on his implacable enemies; especially Avhen the 
Avord, that is supposed in the objection, to contain the form of 
an imprecation, is put in tht^ future tcnse^ as it often is. And 
if it be put in the imperative mood^ as in other places, in 
■^vhich it is said. Let death seize on them ; let them g-o doxvn 
quick into hell ; let them be blotted out of the book of the living ; 
this mode of speaking, especially when applied to God, con- 
tains an intimation of what he would do, or the wrath which 
he would pour forth, as a punishment of sin, committed, per- 
sisted in, and not repented of. And^ indeed, in one of these 
psalms, viz> Psal. Ixix. in which the righteous judgments of 
God are denouncc*d against sinners, the Psalmist plainly speaks 
in the person of our Saviour, to whom the 9th and 2l6t verses 
are expressly applied in the New Testament, John ii. 17. 
Matt, xxvii. 34. Therefore, when he says, ver. 22. Let their 
table become a snare, the meaning is, that God would deny 
some of his furious and implacable enemies, that grace, which 
alone could prevent their waxing worse and worse under out- 
■vvard prosperity. And when he says, ver. 23. Let their eifo^ 
he darkened ; the meaning is, they shall be given up to judicial 
blindness, as the Jews were; the providence of God permit- 
ling, though not effecting it. And when it is said, ver. 23. 
Pour out thine indignation xipon them, it is an intimation that 
this should come to pass. And, in ver. 25. Let their habita- 
tion be desolate ; the meaning is, that the land, in which they 
dwelt, should be destitute of its former inhabitants, and so 
contains a prediction of the desolate state of the Jewish nation, 
jifter they were destroyed, and driven out of their country by 
the Romans. And when he farther says. Add iiiiquity to their 
iniquity; this may be accounted for consistently with the di- 
vine perfections, and the sense thereof is not liable to any just 
exception; as has been observed elsewhere. This I only 
mention, to shew that it is not necessary to suppose that these 
imprecations are always to be understood as what will warrant, 
or give countenance to private persons to wish, or pray for the 
destruction of their enemies. 

J>loreover, if the evil denounced be of a temporal nature; 
as when the Psalmist is represented as desiring that his ene- 
mies may be comumtd an the stubble before the zuind, or as the 
tvood that fre burnetii, Psal. Ixxxiii. 13, 14. tiiese arc not the 
desires of one vvho meditates private revenge, or wishes to 
see the ruin of those Avhom he hates. But they contain the 
language of the church of God in general, as acquiescing in 


his righteous judgments, which should be pouwd forth on 
those that hate him, and persecute his people; and, if either 
the church must be ruined, or those that set themselves against 
it, removed out of the v/ay, they cannot but desire the latter, 
rather than the former. If such expressions be thus under- 
-t-tood, there would be no sufficient reason for that exception 
lliat is taken against the book of the psalms; nor will any one 
have just occasion to lay aside a part of thexn, as what cannot 
be sung by a Christian congregation. 

Object. 2. It is farther objected, that if singing could be 
proved to be an ordinance, to be used by particular persons ; 
it will not follow from thence, that the whole congregation 
ought to join with their voices together. It is sufficient if one 
person sings, and others make melody in their hearts; where- 
as, united voices in signing, will occasion confusion in tiie 
worship of God; and, when a mixed multitude join in this 
ordinance, it can hardly be supposed that they, ail of them, 
sing with the spirit, and with the understanding also. There- 
ibre, if one should sing, it is sufficient for them who are quali- 
fied to join in this ordinance, to say. Amen; or, to have their 
liearts engaged therein ; as they have who join in public pray- 
er, in which, one is the mouth of the whole assembly. 

Ansxv. To this it may be replied; 

[1.] That to insinuate that singing with tmited voices, is 
confusion, is to cast a great reproach on that worship which 
we often read of in scripture, which was performed in this 
manner. Thus Moses and the children of Israel sang the 
})raises of God upon the occasion of their deliverance from the 
Egyptians, in Exod. xvi. 1. which was certainly an iict of 
public worship, not performed by IMoses alone, but by the 
whole congregation. 

And, in the New Testament, there is a ^'ery remarkable 
axample of singing with tmited voices, our Saviour himself 
being present, Mark xiv. 26. thus it is said, that he and his 
disciples sang cm hymn. The word is in the plural number *; 
therefore they all joined with their voices in singing; and 
<.ome observe, that it is not without design that it is said, Ht\ 
that is, Christ, blessed the bread^ and He gave thanks^ Mat. 
xxvi. 26, 27. they only joining with him in their hearts, as 
the congregation joins with the minister, who is their mouth 
m public prayer. But when he speaks of the ordinance of sing- 
ing, they all join with their voices therein; and therefore, the 
word, as was but now observed, is in the plural number, ver. 30. 

[2.] As to that part of the objection, whicli respects the con- 
gregation's joining in the heait, with one that sings with the 
voice, in like manner as we do in prayer; let it be considered, 
that though be that joins with the hcnrt, v;ith another that 


prays, may be said to perform the duty of prayer, though he 
does not express his desires with his own voice ;^ yet joining 
with the heart, while one only sings, cannot properly speaking, 
be called singing; much less singing with the voice, or singing 
with a loud voice, as it is often expressed in scripture. The 
apostle, indeed, speaks of sin^in^ and making melodij in our 
hearts,, to the Lord, Eph. v. 19. which, in some measure, seems 
to favour the objection. And it is inferred from hence, that, 
if one sings with the voice, others may make melody in the 
heart. But I take the meaning of that scripture to be this; the 
apostle is pi-essing the church to sing, that is, to make melody 
to the Lord ; and, that this ordinance may be performed in a 
right manner, the heart ought to go along with the voice ; 
hereby intimating, that there ought not only to be a melodious 
sound, by which the praises of God are sung, but, together 
with this, suitable acts of faith ought to be put forth, whereby 
we worship him with our hearts, as well as our voices. ' This 
does not therefore prove, that the melody here spoken of, only 
respects the frame of spirit, as excluding the use of the voice 
in singing. 

[3.] As to what is objected against the inexpediency of join- 
ing in singing, with a mixed multitude, in which, some must 
be supposed to want two necessary qualifications for singing, 
namely, the Spirit and understanding; this is to join in the 
external ordinance, where there is no harmony, as to the in- 
ternal frame of spirit, or the exercise of faith, which alone 
makes it pleasing to God. 

To this it may be replied ; that, if a mixed multitude may 
join together in prayer, and particularly the Psalms of David, 
may be read in the public congregation; though, perhaps, 
there are many present who do not understand the meaning of 
every particular phrase used therein : yet it does not follow, 
that because wc do not fully understand the Psalms of David, 
therefore they ought not to be sung by us. We have before 
observed, that there is no essential difference, especially as to 
what concerns the frame of our spirit, between singing and 
reading («). Therefore it follows, that whatever psalm may be 
read, may be sung. He that is not qualified for the latter is 
not qualified for the former. The apostle, indeed, speaks of 
his praying and singing rvith the Spirit^ as well as rvith the 
under standing ; but the meaning of that is, that we ought to 
desire the eiBcacious influences of the Spirit, and press after 
the knowledge of the meaning of the words we use, either in 
prayer or singing; yet the defect of our understanding, or 
having a less degree thereof than others, or, than we ought to 
have, does not exempt us from a right to engage in this ordi- 

(a) There is a difference between praising God, and ipstruotinif men. 


nance. Therefore, we are not to refuse to join jl'ith those in 
singing the praises of God, whona we would not exclude from 
our society, if we were reading any of the Psalms of David in 

(5.) We are now to consider the matter to be sung. There 
are very few who allow singing to be an ordinance, that will 
deny it to be our duty to sing the Psalms of David, and other 
spiritual songs, which we frequently meet with in scripture. 
Some, indeed, have contested the expediency of a Christian 
assembly's naaking use of several Old Testament-phrases, that 
are contained therein. And others have alleged, that the 
phrase ought to be altered in many instances, (especially iu 
those which have a peculiar reference to the Psalmist's per- 
sonal circumstances,) and others substituted in their room, 
which are matter of universal experience. But, if what has 
been said under the last head, be true, this argument will ap- 
pear to have less weight in it ; inasmuch as all the arguments 
that are brought in defence of making these alterations in the 
Psalms, as they are to be sung by us, will equally hold good, 
as applicable to the ordinance of reading them, and, it may be, 
will as much evince the necessity of altering the phrase of 
scripture, in several other parts thereof, as v/^ell as in these, if 
what has been said under the second head be allowed of. For 
it will follow from thence, that if some psalms are not to be 
sung by a Christian assembly, in the words in which they 
were at first delivered, and consequently ai'e not to be read by 
them ; because the phrase thereof is not agreeable to the state 
of the Christian church ; and therefore it is to be altered, when ap- 
plied to our present use ; the same may be said concerning other 
parts of scripture ; and then the word of God, as it was at first 
given to us, is no more to be read, than to be sung by us («). 
As to what is objected concerning the inexpediency of our 
making use of those words, and applying them to our case, in 
our devotions, that David used in his, with a peculiar view to 
liis own condition. What has been said under the fourth 
head, relating to the frame of spirit with which the psalms are 
to be sung, will very much weaken the force of it ; and this is 
what, in a great measure, determines my sentiments as to the 
ordinance of conjoint singing, as well as the matter of it; for, 
I am well persuaded, that if the words were to be considered 
as our own, (as they ought to be, when joining with another, 
who is our mouth, to Gjod in prayer,) there are very few 
psalms, or hymns of human composure, that can be sung by 
a mixed assembly. But as a divine veneration ought to be 
paid to the psalms, and they are to be read with those acts of 
ijiiith which are the main ingredients in our devotions; we are 

(a') TKp first chri^^tians composed and s?t to musi* tbeh* hymns. 


to sing them with the same view, only with this difference; ag 
making use of the tone of the voice, as a farther lielp to tlic 
raising our affections therein, as lias been before observed. 

The next thing to be considered is, what version of the 
Psahns is to have the preference in our esteem, as it is sub- 
servient to the design of this ordinance. It is not my busi- 
ness, under this iiead, to criticise on the various versions of 
the Psahns ; nor can it be supposed, that I have a regard to 
those poetical beauties in which one version exceeds another ; 
for then I should be inclined to think some of them, which I 
do not make use of in the ordinance of singing, much prefer- 
able to others, for the exactness of their style and composure. 
But when I am singing the praises of God, in, or as near as 1 
can to, the words of David, or any other inspired writer; that 
which I principally regard is, the agreeableness of the version 
to the original; and then they may be sung v.ith the same 
frame of spirit with which they are to be read; and I am not 
obliged in singing, to consider the w^ords as expressive of my 
own frame of spirit, any more than I am in reading them. 
But if the composure cannot properly be called a version, but 
an imitation of David's Psalms, then I make use of it in the 
ordinance of singing, with the same view as I would an hymn ; 
of which, more hert^after (a). 

The versions which, I think, come nearest to the original, 
are the New-England and the Scots ; the latter of which, I 
think, much preferable to the former; inasmuch as the sen- 
tences are not so transposed in this, as in the other, and the 
lines are much more smooth and pleasant to be read. I should 
be very glad to see a version more perfect, that comes as near 
the sense of the original, and excels it in the beauty or ele- 
gancy of style. And it ^vould be a ver}^ great advantage if 
some marginal notes were added, as a comment upon it; 
which would be a help to our right understanding thereof. 

I shall now give my thoughts concerning the singing of 
hymns. These, according to the common acceptation of the 
word, are distinguished from psalms, and they generally de- 
note a human composure, fitted for singing; the matter 
whereof, contains some divine subjects, in vv'^ords agreeable to, 
or deduced from scripture. The arguments that aie generally 
brought in defence thereof, arc, that though scripture be a rule 

(a) Grotliis thouglit the first Gospel hymns were extemponry, Bafsiuipje. 
from TerUillian saysj; "neillier the prayers they made to God, nor Uie hymns 
" whlcii tliey sung to his hoiKJiir were reducetl to rule; every one drew Vhciii 
*»from tlu; lldly Scriptures, or iVoia his own treasure, according to his genius.'" 
A council of 7(J bishops, A. D. 272. cliargcd among other things against Pauhis. 
hishop of Antiocli, tliat he abolis'.ied the Psalms, whlcli W(U'e sung in gloi'iain 
Chrisli. — When the Ai-iam sang tlie doxology Glury be to ihd Fathev, the ortiio- 
dox added, and to the Hon and Spirit. Vide Dr. Latt-a, and Mr. 'I'ud, on I'salmodj 


of faith, from whence all the knowledge of divi|fie things is 
primarily deduced; and therefore it has the preierence, as to 
the excellency and authority thereof, to any other composure ; 
yet it is not only lawful, but necessary to express our faith in 
the doctrines contained therein, in other words, as we do in 
prayer or preaching. Therefore, if it be a duty to praise God 
with the voice, it is not unlawful to praise him in words agree- 
able to scripture, as well as in the express words thereof; ac- 
cordingly it is argued, that both may be proved to be a duty, 
viz. praising God in the words of David, and by other songs 
contained in scripture, and praising him in words agreeable 
thereunto, though of human composure. This is the best 
method of reasoning that I have met with in defence of the 
lawfulness of singing hymns, not as opposed to, or excluding 
David's Psalms, but as used occasionally, as providence di- 
rectsu.us ; that so our acknowledgments of benefits received, 
may be insisted on with greater enlargement than they are in 
the book of Psalms ; wherein, though it may be, there is some- 
thing adapted to every case, yet the particular occasion of our 
praise is not so largely contained in the same section or para- 
graph ; and therefore an hymn may be composed on that oc- 
casion, in order to our praising God thereby. But, when on 
the other hand, persons seem to prefer hymns to David's 
Psalms, and substitute them in the room thereof, I cannot but 
disapprove of their practice. 

A late writer * speaks on this subject with a great deal of 
moderation ; when, though he proves that scripture psalms 
should be preferred before all others, and more ordinarily 
sung; yet he thinks that hymns of human composure, ought 
not wholly to be excluded, provided they be exactly agreeable 
to, and as much as may be, the words of holy scripture. There 
are other writers whom I pay equal deference to, Avho have 
concisely, though with a considerable degree of judgment, 
proved singing to be a gospel-ordinance f, who argue against 
singing of hynvis : and, indeed, what they say in opposition to 
those who defend the practice thereof from Eph. v. 19. and 
Col. iii. 16. wherein hyinns are supposed to be distinct from 
psalms and spiritual song-s ; and, consequently, that we are to 
understand thereby human composures, agreeable to scripture, 
as by psalms and spiritual songs, we are to understand those 
which are contained in the very words of scripture, seems very 
just. And herein they speak agreeably to the mind of several 

* See Mr. Richard Altein^s essay on singing, chap. iv. w/io seems, in my opinion^ 
in the whole of his short performance, to ar^ue with a considerable degree of candor 
and judgment. 

f See Sidenham^s gospel ordinance concerriing singing, he- and Hitchen's scrip- 
ture proof for singing, &c. 

Vol. IV. N 


judicious and learned men, who assert that these three words 
signify nothing else but those psalms or songs that are con- 
tained in scripture *. The question in debate with me, is not 
whether the psalms, hymns, or spiritual songs, that are con- 
tained in scripture, are designed to be a directory for gospel- 
worship ; for that, I think, all ought to allow ; but, whether it 
be lawful to sing a human composure that is agreeable to 
scripture, either as to the words or sense thereof; especially 
when the subject-matter of our praise is not laid down so 
largely in one particular section of scripture, as we desire to 
express it. In this case, if we were to connect several parts 
of scripture together, so that the design of enlarging on a par- 
ticular subject might be answered thereby; it would render it 
less necessary to compose an hymn in other words. But, in- 
asmuch as the occasions of praise are very large and extensive, 
and therefore it may be thought expedient, to adore the divine 
perfections, in our own words in singing, in like manner as we 
do in prayer, considering thfe one to be a moral duty as well 
ias the other; I will not pretend to maintain the unlawfulness 
of singing hymns of human composure, though some of much 
superior learning and judgment have done it. 

I would, however, always pay the greatest deference to 
those divine composures, which are given as the principal rule 
for our procedure herein. Nevertheless, I cannot but express 
my dislike of several hymns that I have often heard sting; in 
some of which the heads of the sermon have been comprised ; 
and others, which are printed, are so very mean and injudi- 
cious, and, it may be, in some respects, not very agreeable to 
the analogy of faith, that I cannot, in the least, approve of 
them. But if we have ground to conclude the composure, as 
to the matter thereof, and mode of expression, unexception- 
able, and adapted to raise the affections, as well as excite suit- 
able acts of faith in extolling the praises of God, it gives me 
ho ittore disgust, though it be not in scripture-words, than 
praying or preaching do when the matter is agreeable there- 
unto. Yet, inasmuch as when v/e confess sin, acknowledge 
mercies received, or desire those blessings that are suited to 
our case, we always suppose, that the words, which he, who 
is the mouth of the congregation, uses, ought to be such, in 

• It cannot be denied that the Psalms of David are called ivdifferoitbj by these 
tkree names, psalms, hymns, and songs tb?^ "^niD, n"7nn, 4*'^/«'?> m^*' a'^»»> 
and sometimes the same psalm is called a song or ])salm, as in the title of Psalm. 
Ixv. or a song of a psalm [as the LXX. render it, ai'v ■^uKf/i-] .Indtn Psalm cv 
2. v)hen it is said, Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him; <S -noi lV •n''57 
the former ivord signifies to ai7ig a spiritual song ; the latter to sing a psalm ; or, as 
the Septuagint render the same word, in 1 Chron. xvi. 9. an hymn ['A<r*7e uvltf k*i 
vfjivwAlt.] See Sidenham's gospel-ordinance, &c. chap, ii, a?jrf Amc-ivorth on the title 
•if Psalm liii. ivhom he therein refi-vs 1o. 


which all can join with him (and in this, the rejj^iing one of 
David's prayers, and putting up a prayer in the congregation, 
differ as to a very considerable circumstance in each of them) 
the same ought to be observed in hymns. But, if an hymn be 
so composed, as that all that sing it are represented, as signi- 
fying their having experienced those things which belong not 
to them, or as blessing God for what they never received ; 
this, I conceive, would be an unwarrantable method of sing- 
ing hymns of human composure, as ntiuch as if the expressions 
%vere used in public prayer. There are, Indeed, many hymns 
which have in them a great vein ot piety and devotion, but 
are not adapted to the experience of the whole assembly that 
sings them ; therefore, though they may join in signing some 
h)anns, I do not think they can well join in singing all; not- 
withstanding the subject-matter of them may be agreeable to 
the analogy of faith ; and this principally depends upon what 
we have before laid down, concerning the difference between 
making use of a divine and human composure, in the former 
of which, the words are not always to be considered as our 
own, or expressive of the frame of our own spirits ; whereas 
this is universally true, with respect to the latter. 

Thus concerning the oi-dinance of singing ; which we cannot 
but think included among those whereby Christ communicates 
to his church, the benefits of his mediation. And this leads 
us to consider the other ordinances, which are particularly in- 
sisted on in the remaining part of this work. And that which 
next comes under our consideration, is the word read and 

Quest. CLV. How is the rvord made effectual to salvation? 

Answ. The Spirit of God maketh the reading, but especially 
the preaching of the word, an effectual means of enlighten- 
ing, convincing, and humbling sinners^ of driving them out 
of themselves, and drawing them unto Christ, of conform- 
ing them to his image, and subduing them to his will, of 
strengthening them against temptations and corruptions, of 
building them up in grace, and establishing their heart in 
holiness and comfort through faith unto salvation. 

HAVING had an account, in the foregoing answer, of the 
ordinances by which Christ communicates the benefits of 
redemption to his church, and what they are ; as also, that 
singing the praises of God is one of those ordinances. We 
are now to consider another ordinance that is made effectual 
to salvation, viz. the word read, or preached. We have, un- 


der some foregoing answers, had occasion to speak of the 
word of God as contained in the scriptures of the Old and 
New Testament, and considered it as the only rule of faith 
and obedience, and as having all the properties that are neces- 
sary thereunto, so that we may depend upon it as a perfect 
and infallible revelation of all things necessary to be believed 
and done, in order to our enjoying God here, and attaining 
eternal life hereafter *. And now we are to consider the word 
as made the subject of our study and enquiry; without which 
it would be of no use to us. Accordingly we may observe in 
this answer, 

I. Something supposed; namely, that the word of God is to 
be read by us, and explained by those who are qualified and 
called hereunto, by whom it is to be preached. We are not, 
indeed, to conclude, that the explications of fallible men, how 
much soever they are fitted to preach the gospel, are of equal 
authority with the sacred oracles, as transmitted to us by those 
who received them, by infallible inspiration from the Spirit of 
God; and therefore, the text is much more to be depended on 
than the comment upon it; the truth whereof is to be tried 
thereby, Isa. viii. 20. 1 Thess. v. 21. Acts xvii. 11. Never- 
theless, this is to be reckoned a great blessing, which God is 
pleased to bestow upon his church, in order to our under- 
standing and making a right use of the written word. Ac- 
cordingly, preaching, as well as the reading of the word, is an 
ordinance which the Spirit of God makes subservient to the 
salvation of them that believe ; and in order thereunto, it is 
farther supposed, that the word is to be read by us, and we 
are to attend to the preaching thereof; to neglect either of 
which, is to despise our own souls, and deprive ourselves of 
the advantage of God's instituted means of grace. Therefore, 
we are not to content ourselves, barely, with the reading of 
the word of God, in our closets or families ; but we must em- 
brace uil opportuniftes, in which we may hear it preached in 
a public manner, one being no less an ordinance of God than, 
the other. 

Ohj. It is objected, by some, that they know as much as 
ministers can teach them; at least, they know enough, if they 
could but practise it. 

Anszu. This objection, sometimes, savours of pride and self- 
conceit, in those who suppose themselves to understand more, 
of the doctrines of the gospel, than they really do ; and it can 
hardly be said, concerning the greatest number of professors, 
that they either know as much as they ought, or that it is not 
possible for them to make advances in knowledge, by a dili 

• S'-e Vol. /. 48. 69. Quest, iii. and n- 


gent attendance on an able and faithful ministiy.*^ However, 
that we may give the utmost scope to the objection, we will 
allow, that some Christians know more than many ministers, 
who are less skilful than others in the word of truth. Never- 
theless, it must be observed that there are other ends of hear- 
ing the word, besides barely the gaining of knowledge, viz. 
the bringing the doctrines of the gospel to our remembrance, 
John xvi. 26. and their being impressed on our affections ; and 
for this reason the wisest and best of men have not thought it 
bclov/ them, to attend upon the ministry of those who knew 
less than themselves. Our Saviour was an hearer of the word 
before he entered on his public ministry, Luke ii. 46. and 
though it might, I think, truly be said of him, that though he 
was but twelve years old, he knew more than the doctors, in 
the midst of whom he sat, in the temple, yet he heard mid ask- 
ed them questions. And David, though he pofesses himself 
to have viore understanding' than all his teachers^ Psal. cxix. 
99. yet he was glad to embrace all opportunities, to go up 
into the house of the Lord ,- this being God's appointed means 
lor a believer's making advances in grace. 

II. Tl>ere are several things particularly mentioned in this 
answer, in which the Spirit of God makes the word, read or 
preached, effectual to salvation. 

1. Hereby the mind is enlightened and furnished with the 
knowledge of divine truths, which is a very great privilege, 
for as faith is inseparably connected with salvation; the know- 
ledge of the doctrines of the gospel is necessary to faith ; and 
this is said to come by hearings Rom. x. 17. Acts viii. 30, 31. 
However, we must not content ourselves with a bare assent 
to what is revealed in the w^ord of God; but must duly weigh 
the tendency thereof, to our sanctification and consolation, and 
admire the beauty, excellency, and glory that there is in the 
great doctrines of the gospel, as the divine perfections shine 
forth therein, to the utmost. We must also duly consider the 
importance of those doctrines that are contained therein, and 
how they are to be improved by us, to our spiritual advan- 
tage ; and when we find our hearts filled with love to Jesus 
Christ, in proportion to those greater measures of light, that 
he is pleased to impart to us, so that we grow in grace as well 
as in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, 
2 Pet. iii. 18. then the word may be said to be made effectual 
to our salvation, as our minds are very much enlightened and 
improved in the knowledge of those things that lead there- 

2. The word is made effectual to bring us under conviction, 
by which means we see ourselves sinful and miserable crea- 
tures; particularly we are hereby led to see those depths of 



wickedness that are in our hearts, by nature, which otherwise 
could not be sufficiently discerned by us, much less improved 
to our spiritual advantage, Jer. xvii. 9. Rom. vij. 9. Would 
we take a view of the manifold sins committed in our lives, 
with all their respective aggravations, so as to lay to heart the 
guilt that we have contracted hereby, or, if we would be ef- 
fected with the consideration of the misery that will ensue 
hereupon ; as that, hereby, we not only deserve the wrath and 
curse of God, but without an interest in forgiving grace, are 
bound to conclude ourselves liable to it: These things we are 
led into by the word of God. And if we would know whe- 
ther these convictions of sin are such as have a more imme- 
diate reference to salvation ; let us enquire, whether they are 
attended with that grief and sorrow of heart for the intrinsic 
evil that there is in sin, as well as the sad consequences there- 
of? Psal. xxxviii. 18. compared with ver. 4. or, whether, 
when we have taken this view thereof, we are farther led to 
enquire after the remedy, and seek forgiveness through the 
blood of Christ, and strength against those corruptions that 
we have ground to charge ourselves with, which have so much 
prevailed over us? Acss xvi. 30. Psal. xix. 13. xxv. 11. Jer. 
viii. 22. 

3. The word is made effectual to salvation, when what is 
contained therein tends to humble and lay us Ipw at the foot 
of God; when we acknowledge, that all his judgments are 
right, or whatever punishments have been inflicted, pursuant 
to the threatenings which he has denounced, have been less 
than our iniquities deserve, Ezra ix. 13. And when we re- 
ceive reproofs for sins committed, with a particular applica- 
tion thereof to ourselves, and are sensible of the guilt we have 
contracted thereby. 

But that we may make a right use of the word, to answer 
this great end, let us consider, what humbling considerations 
are contained therein, that may have a tendency to answer this 

(1.) The word of God represents to us that infinite distance 
that there is between him and us ; so that the best of creatures 
are, in his sight, as yiothing^ Isa. xl. 17. less than nothing-^ and 
vanity. Herein we behold God as infinitely perfect, and men 
as very imperfect, and unlike to him ; and in particular, we 
behold him as a God of infinite holiness, spotless purity, and 
ourselves as impure, polluted creatures ; which is a very hum- 
bling consideration, Prov. xxx. 2. Isa. Ixiv. 6. 

(2.) The word of God discovers to us the deceitfulness and 
desperate wickedness that there is in our hearts, whereby we 
are naturally inclined to rebel against him ; and should, had it 
TJot been for his preventing and rencv/ing grace, have run with 


the vilest of men, in all excess of riot. It also I4^ds us into 
the knowledge of the various kinds of sin, which we have 
ground to charge ourselves with, in the course of our lives ; 
the frequent omission of those duties which are required of us; 
our great neglect of relative duties, in the station in which 
God has fixed us; and the injury we have done to others 
hereby, whom we have caused to stumble, or fall by our ex- 
ample, or, at least, by our unconcernedness about their spiritual 
welfare. It also discovers to us the various aggravations of 
sins committed, as they are against light, love, mercies, and 
manifold engagements, which we are laid under; and the 
great contempt which we have cast on the blessed Jesus, in 
disregarding, or not improving, the benefits of his mediation. 
An these things duly considered, have a tendency to humble 
lis, and we are led into the discovery hereof by the word of 

4. The word of God is made effectual to salvation, as it has 
a tendency to drive sinners out of themselves, and to draw 
them to Jesus Christ. On the one hand, it shews them the 
utter impossibility of their saving themselves, by doing any 
thing that may bring them into a justified state, and so render 
them accepted in the sight of God ; and, on the other hand, it 
draws or leads them to Christ, whom they ai-e enabled to be- 
hold by faith, as discovered in the gospel, to be a merciful and 
all-sufficient Saviour. The former of these is not only antece- 
dent, but necessary to the latter : For, so long as we fancy that 
we have a sufficiency in ourselves, to recommend us to God, 
and procure for us a right and title to eternal life, we shall ne- 
ver think of committing our souls into Christ's hand, in order 
to our obtaining salvation from him in his own way. Thus 
the prophet brings in a self-conceited people as saying, fjTe are 
lords, ive will come no more to thee, Jer. ii. 31. No one will 
seek help or safety from Christ, who is not sensible of his own 
weakness, and being in the utmost danger without him. The 
first thing then that the Spirit of God does in the souls of men, 
when he makes the word effectual to salvation, is, his leading 
them into a humble sense of their utter inability to do what is 
spiritually good, or acceptable to God, or to make atonement 
for the sins that they have committed against him ; that so they 
might be brought into a justified state. It is, indeed, an hard 
matter to convince the sinner of this ; for he is very prone to 
be full of himself, sometimes to glory with the Pharisee, Luke 
xviii. 11. in some religious duties he performs; at other times 
in his abstaining from those gi-oss enormities that others are 
chargeable with : Or, if he Avill own himself to have exceeded 
many in sin ; yet he is ready to think, that, by some expedient 
or other, he shall be abk to make atonement for it. This sets 


him at a great distance from Christ ; as it i» said, They that 
be whole need not a physician^ but they that are sicky Matt, ix- 
12. So these do not see their need of a Saviour^ till they are 
convinced that they have nothing in themselves that can afford 
any relief to them, so as to deliver them from the guilt of sin, 
and the misery that will ensue thereupon. On this account our 
Saviour observes, that publicans and harlots go into the king- 
dom of Gody chap. xxi. 31. i. e. are more easily made sensible 
of their need of Christ, being convinced of sin, when the chief 
priests and elders^ who thought they had a righteousness of 
their own to justify them, and therefore refused to comply with 
the method of the gospel, in having recourse to Christ alone 
for this privilege. 

Now the word of God is made use of by the Spirit, to drive 
the sinner out of these strong holds, and to shew him that he 
cannot, by any means recover himself out of that state of sin 
and misery, into which he is plunged. It is a very hard thing 
for a person to be convinced of the truth of what our Saviour 
says, viz. That which is highly esteemed amongst men, is an 
abominatio7i in the sight ofGod^ Luke xvi. 15. when it is put 
in the room of Christ and his righteousness. This is one of 
the great ends to which the word is made subservient when 
rendered effectual to salvation. 

Moreover, the word of God draws the soul to Christ, so that 
it is persuaded and induced, from gospel-motives, to come to 
him ; and, at the same time, enabled so to do by the almighty 
power of God, without which he cannot come to him, John 
vi. 44. the former draws objectively, the latter subjectively and 

As to what the gospel does in order hereunto^ let it be con- 
sidered, that it sets before us the excellency and glory of Christ, 
as our great Mediator ; represents him as a divine person, and, 
consequently, the object of faith, and as such, able to save^ to 
the uttermost^ them that come unto God by him^ Heb. vi. 25. 
It considers him as having purchased salvation for his people ; 
so that they may obtain forgiveness through his blood. It also 
discovers him as not only able, but willing to save all that 
come to him by faith; so that he will in no wise cast them out, 
John vi. o7. It also represents him as having a right to us ; 
\wt are his by purchase ; and therefore it is our indispensible 
duty to give up ourselves unto him. It also makes known to 
us the greatness of his love, as the highest inducement hereun- 
to J the freeness, riches and extensiveuess of his grace, as rea- 
dy to embrace the chief of sinners, and pass by all the injuries 
that they have done against him, and as giving them the ut- 
most assurance, that, having loved them in the world, he will 
love them tc the end. Tlius Clirist is set forth in the gospel; 


and when it is made effectual to salvation, the souJUis induced, 
or, as it were, constrained hereby, to love him, and yield the 
obedience of faith unto him in all things. 

5. The word is made of use by the Spirit, as a means to 
conform the soul to the image of God, and subdue it to his 
will. The image of God in man, is defaced by sin ; so that 
l>e is not only rendered unlike, but averse to him, stripped of 
all his beauty, and become abominable and filthy in his sight j 
and, as long as he remains so, is unmeet for communion with, 
or obtaining salvation from him. Now, when the Spirit oif 
God communicates special grace to sinners, he instamps this 
image afresh upon the soul, which he renews in knowledge, 
righteousness, and holiness, sanctifies all the powers and facul- 
ties thereof, and subdues the will, so that it yields a cheerful 
obedience to the will of God, and delights in his law after the 
inward man ; and its language is, Speak^ Lor d^ for thy servant 
hearetlu This change the Spirit of God works in the heart, 
by his interned efficacious influence ; as has been formerly ob- 
served, when we considered the work of conversion and sanc- 
tification, as brought about by him ^'. And this effect is also 
ascribed to the word as a moral instrument thereof; so that it 
is not attained without it, it being, indeed, the principal end of 
the preaching the gospel ; as the apostle says. The xveapons of 
our xvarfare are not carnal^ but mighty through God^ to the pull- 
hig doxvn of strong holds^ casting doxvn imaginations^ aiid every 
high thing that exnlteth itsef against the knowledge of God^ 2 
Cor. X. 4, 5. and bringing into captivity, every thought to the 
obedience of Christ. 

6. The word is farther said to be made effectual to salvation, 
as hereby we are strengthened against temptation, and corrup- 
tion. By the former, those objects are presented to us that 
have a tendency to alienate our affections from God ; by the 
latter, these temptations are complied with, and the affections 
entangled in the snare that is laid for them, Satan, or the world, 
present the bait, and corrupt nature is easily allured and taken 
by it. The tempter uses many wiles and stratagems to ensnare 
lis, and our own hearts are deceitful above all things, and with- 
out much difficulty, turned aside thereby ; and so led captive 
by Satan at his will. But when the Spirit of God makes the 
word effectual to salvation, he takes occasion hereby to detect 
the fallacy ; lays open the design of our spiritual enemies, and 
the pernicious tendency thereof; and internally fortifies the 
soul against them, whereby it is kept from the paths of the de- 
stroyer^ Psal. xvii. 4. and this he does by presenting other and 
better objects to engage our affections, and leading us into the 
knowledge of those glorious truths, that may prevent a sinful 

♦ 5fee Q«?.j?. lxvli,lxvui. Vol III. p. IQ 

Vol. IV. O 

106 . THE WOEt) Of GOD 

compliance with the solicitations of the devil. And, accord- 
ing to the nature of the temptation that may occur, we are di- 
rected to the precepts or promises contained in \he word of 
God ; which, being duly improved by us, have a tendency to 
keep the heart steady, and fixed in the ways of God. 

7. The word of God is made effectual by the Spirit, as he 
thereby builds the soul up in grace, and establishes it in holi- 
ness and comfort, through faith unto salvation* The work of 
grace is not immediately brought to perfection, but is, in a 
progressive way, making advances towards it; and thei-efore 
we are first made holy by the renovation of our hearts and lives, 
and made partakers of those spiritual consolations that accom- 
pany or flow from the work of sanctification ; and then we are 
built up in holiness and comfort, whereby we go from strength 
to strength, and are more and more established in the ways of 
God ; and this is done by the preaching of the word, whereby 
we are said to g-rozu i?i grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord 
and Saviour Jeaiis Christ, 2 Pet. iii. 18. so that every step we 
take in our way to heaven, from the time that our faces are first 
turned towards it, we are enabled hereby to go on safely and 
comfortably, till the work of grace is perfected in glory. 

Quest. CLVI. Is the xvord of God to he read by all? . 

Answ. Although all are not to be permitted to read the word 
publicly to the congregation, yet all sorts of people are bound 
to read it apart by themselves, and with their families, to 
which end the holy scriptures are to be translated out of the 
original, into vulgar languages. 

Quest. CLVII. Hoxv is the word of God to be read? 

Answ. The holy scriptures are to be read, with an high and 
reverend esteem of them ; with a firm persuasion that they 
are the very word of God, and that he only can enable us to 
understand them, with desire to know, believe, and obey the 
will of God revealed in them, with diligence and attention 
to the matter and scope of them ; with meditation, applica- 
tion, self-denial, and prayer. 

7jnHE word^s being made effectual to salvation, which was 
_1_ the subject last insisted on, not only supposes that we 
read it as translated into vulgar languages, but that we under- 
stand what we read, in order to our applying it to our parti- 
cular case, and improving it for our spiritual advantage. These 


'liings are next to be considered as contained iiflthe answers 
we are now to explain. Accordingly, 

I. We have an account, in the forme r of them, of the obli- 
gation that all persons are under to read, or at least, attend to 
the reading of the word of God ; more particularly, 

1. It is to be read publicly in the congregation, by those who 
are appointed for that purpose. This is evident, inasmuch as 
the church, and all the public worship that is performed there- 
in, is founded on the doctrines contained in scripture ; and 
every one who would be made wise to salvation, ought to be 
well acquainted with it ; and the reading it publicly, as a part 
of that worship that is performed in the church, is not only a 
testimony of the high esteem that we have for it ; but it will 
be of great use to those, who, through a sinful neglect to read 
it in families, and their not being disposed to do this in their 
private retirement ; or, through the stupidity of their hearts, 
and the many incumbrances of v/orldly business, will not allow 
themselves time for this necessary duty, by reason whereof 
they remain strangers to those great and important truths con- 
tained therein. 

That this is a duty appears from the charge that the apostle 
gives, that the epistle which he wrote to the church at Thtssa- 
lonica, should be read unto all the hohj brethren^ 1 Thess. v. 
27. And he gives the like charge to the church at Colosse, 
Col. iv. 16. And to this we may add, that the scripture is not 
only to be read, but explained ; which is the principal design 
of the preaching thereof. This is no new practice % for the Old 
Testament was not only read, but explained in the synagogues 
every Sabbath-day ; which is called, by a metonymy, a read- 
ing Moses, Acts xv. 21. ozz. explaining the law that v/as gi,yen 
by him. Thus Ezra stood upon a pulp'tt ofxvood^ opened the 
book in the sight of all the people ; and he, v/ith some other of 
his brethren that assisted him herein, read in the book in the 
laxo of God distinctli}, and gave the seiise^ and caused them to 
understand the reading, that is, the meaning thereof. Neb. viii. 
'i, — 8. In like manner our Saviour went into the synagogue on 
the Sabbath-day, and stood up and read, that part of the holv 
scriptures, taken from the prophecy of Isaiah ; which, when he 
had done, he applied it to himself, and shewed them how it 
•was fulfilled in their cars, Luke iv. 16, — 24. So that it is 
supposed that the word is to be publicly read. 

The only thing in this answer, that needs explaining is, what 
is meant b)^ those words, all are not to be permitted to read 
the word publicly to the congregation. We are not to suppose 
that there is an order of men that Christ has appointed to be 
readers in the church, distinct from ministers ; therefore the 
mepning of this expression may be, that all are not to r-ad the 

108 ^ THE WORD or GOD 

word of God together, in a public assembly, with a loud voice ; 
for that would tend rather to confusion than edification. Nor 
ought any to be appointed to do it, but such as are grave, pi- 
ous, and able to read it distinctly, fur the edification of others. 
And who is so fit for this work, as the minister whose office is 
not only to read, but explain it in the ordinary course of his 
ministry ? 

2. The word of God is to be read In our families ; which 
is absolutely necessary for the propagating religion therein. 
This, indeed, is shamefully neglected ; which is one great rea- 
son of the ignorance and decay of piety in the rising genera- 
tion ; and the neglect hereof is contrary to God's command, 
Dei^t. vi. 6, 7. as well as the example of those who are highly 
commended for this practice ; as Abraham was for commaiid- 
ing his children^ and his household after hi)n^ that they should 
keep the xvay of the Lord^ Gen. xviii. 19. Psal. Ixxviii. 3, 4. 

3. The word of God ought to be read by every one, in pri- 
vate ; and that not only occasionally, but frequently as one of 
the great businesses of life. Thus God says to Joshua, Josh. 
j. 8. This book of the laxv shall not depart out of thy mouth ; 
but thou shah meditate therein day and nighty Psal. i. 2. And 
our Saviour commands the Jews to search the scriptures^ John 
V. 39. and, in some of his discourses with them, though he 
v/as sensible that they were a degenerate people ; yet he takes 
it for granted, that they had not altogether laid aside this duty. 
Matt. xii. 5. chap. xxi. 42. Luke vi. 3. This practice, especi- 
ally where the word of God has not only been read, but the 
meaning thereof sought after, and attended to with great dili- 
gence, is commended as a peculiar excellency in Christians, 
w^ are, in this respect, styled more noble than others, who 
are defective in this duty. Acts xvii. 11. 

Now it appears, that it is the duty of every one to read the 
word of God, inasmuch as it is given us with this design. If 
God is pleased, as it were, to send us an epistle from heaven, 
it is a very great instance of contempt cast on it, as well as on 
the divine condescension expressed therein, for us to neglect 
to read it. Does he impart his mind to us herein, and is it 
not our indispensable duty, to pay the utmost regard thereto ? 
Rev. i. 11. compared with chap. ii. 29. Moreover, our own 
advantage should be a farther inducement to us, to read the 
word of God ; since his design in giving it, was, that we might 
believe, and that believing, we may attain life, through the 
name of Christ, John xx. 31. Rom. x. 17, chap. xv. 4. It is 
sometimes compared to a sxvord^ for our defence, against our 
•spiritual enemies, Eph, vi. 17. and is therefore designed for 
use ; otherwise it is no advantage for us. It is elsewhere 
rpmpared to a lamp to our feet y Psal. cxix. 105. which is not 


designed for an ornament, but to guide us in tho^lright way; 
therefore we must attend to its direction. It is also compared 
to food^ whereby we are said to be nourished up in the xvords 
of faith and good doctrine^ and as new-born babes we are ex- 
horted, to desire the sincere milk of the xvord^ that xve may 
grow thereby^ 1 Pet. ii. 2. but this end cannot be attained, 
unless it be read and applied by us to our own necessities. 

This leads us to take notice of the opposition that the Papists 
make hereunto, inasmuch as they deny the common people the 
liberty of reading the scriptures in their own language, without 
leave given them from the bishop, or some other spiritual 
guides, who are authorized to allow or deny this privilege, as 
they think fit; but without this, the reading of it is strictly 
prohibited. And, as an instance of their opposition to it, they 
have sometimes burnt whole impressions of the Bible, in the 
open market-place; as well as expressed their contempt hereof, 
fcy burning particular copies of scripture, or dragging them 
through the streets, throwing them in the kennels, and stamp- 
ing them under feet, or tearing them in pieces, as though it 
was the vilest book in the world; and some have been burned 
for reading it. And, that it may be brought into the utmost 
contempt, they have cast the most injurious reproaches upon 
it, by calling it a bending rule, a nose of wax, a dum.b judge. 
And some have blasphemed it, by saying, that it has no more 
authority than Esop's fables; and have compared the psalms 
of David to profane ballads. And, they pretend, by all this, 
to consult the good of the people, that they may not be misled 

That which they generally allege in vindication of this prac- 
tice, is, that they do not so much oppose the reading the s(^te- 
ture, as the reading those translations of it, which have Seen 
made by Protestants ; and that it is our Bible, not that which 
they allow to be the word of God, that they treat with such 
injurious contempt. 

But to this it may be replied ; that the objections they bring 
against scripture, are not taken so much fi-om such passages 
thereof, which they pretend to be falsely translated ; but thei- 
design is, plainly, to keep the people in ignorance, that thev 
may aot, as the consequence of their reading it, imbibe those 
doctrines, that will, as they pretend, turn them aside from the 
faith of the church ; and therefore, they usually maintain, that 
the common people ought to be kept in ignorance, as an ex- 
pedient to excite devotion; and that, by this means, they wi!i 
be the more humble, and pay a greater deference to those un- 
written traditions that are propagated by them, and pretended 
to be of equal authority with scripture, which the common 
people must take up with instead of it. And, indeed, the 


consequence hereof, is agreeable to their desire ; for they ap- 
pear to be grossly ignorant, and think themselves bound to 
believe v/hatever their leaders pretend to be trub, without ex- 
ercising a judgment of discretion, or endeavouring to know 
the mind of Crod relating thereunto. 

That which they generally allege in opposing the common 
people's reading the Bible, is, that it contains some things in 
it that are hard to be understood ; as the apostle Peter expresses 
it, in 2 Pet. iii. 16. xvhich they that are unlearned and unstable 
rvrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their oxvn des- 

But to this it may be replied ; that it must be allowed that 
some things contained in scripture, are hard to be understood ; 
inasmuch as the gospel contains some mysteries which finite 
wisdom cannot comprehend; and the great doctrines of the 
gospel, are sometimes unintelligible by us, by reason of the 
ignorance and alienation of our minds from the life of God, 
as well as from the imperfections of this present state, in which 
we know but in part. Notwithstanding, they, who with dili- 
gence and humility, desire, and earnestly seek after the know- 
ledge of those truths that are more immediately subservient to 
their salvation, shall find that their labour is not lostj but in 
following on to know the Lord, shall know as much of him as 
is necessary to their glorifying and enjo}'ing him, as the pro- 
phet says. Then shall ye know if ye follow on to know the 
Lord, Hos. vi. 3. It is to be owned, that there are some 
depths in scripture, that cannot be fathomed by a finite under- 
standing ; which should tend to raise our admiration, and put 
us upon adoring the unsearchable wisdom of God, as well as 
an, humble confession that we are but of yesterday, and know, 
comparatively, nothing. Job viii. 9. Yet there are many doc- 
trines that we may attain to a clear knowledge of, and improve, 
to the glory of God, in the conduct of our lives. Thus the 
prophet speaks of an high xvay, that is called the way of holi- 
7iess; concerning which it is said, that xuayfariyig men, who 
walk therein, though fools, that is, such as have the meanest 
capacity, as to other things, shall 7iot err therein, Isa. xxxv. 8. 
that is, they who humbly desire the teaching of the Spirit, 
whereby they may be made acquainted with the mind aud will 
of God, shall not be led out of the way by any thing that he 
has revealed to his people in his word. It is very injurious 
to the sacred oracles to infer, that because some things are 
hard to be understood, therefore all that read them, must ne- 
cessarily wrest them to their own destruction. And besides, 
the apostle does not say, that all do so, but only those Avho are 
unlearned and unstable ; unlearned, that is, altogether unac- 
quainted v/ith the doctrines of the gospel, as not making them 


the matter of their study and enquiry ; and unst^le^ that is, 
such as give way to scepticism, or they whose iaith is not 
built on the right foundation, but are inclined to turn aside 
from the truth, with every wind of doctrine. This God's peo- 
ple may hope to be kept from, while they study the holy scrip- 
tures, and earnestly desire to be made wise thereby unto sal- 

As to what the Papists farther allege against the common 
people's being permitted to read the scriptures, because, as 
they pretend, this will make them proud, and induce them to 
enquire into those things that do not belong to them, whereby 
they will soon think themselves wiser than their teachers ; and 
that it has been the occasion of all the heresies that are in the 

To this It may be answered, that whatever ill consequences 
attend a person's reading of scripture, these are not to be as- 
cribed to the use, but the abuse of it. Will any one say, that 
we ought to abstain from eating and drinking, because some 
are guilty of excess therein, by gluttony and drunkenness? 
No more ought we to abstain from reading the scriptures, be- 
cause some make a wrong use of them. But, inasmuch as it 
is supposed that hereby some, through pride, will think them- 
selves wiser than their teachers; this, we will allow, they 
may do, Avithout passing a wrong judgment on themselves; 
and it is injurious treatment of mankind, to keep the world in 
ignorance, that they may not detect the fallacies, or expose 
the errors of those who pretend to be their guides in matters 
©f faith. 

As to what Is farther alleged, that the reading of scripture 
has been the occasion of many heresies in the world, I am 
rather inclined to think, that this ought to be charged on the 
neglect thereof, or, at least, on their not studying them with 
diligence, and an humble dependence on God for his blessing 
to attend it. 

It may be observed, that whatever reasons are assigned for 
their denying the people the liberty of reading the scriptures, 
these seem to carry in them a pretence of great kindness to 
them, that they may not, hereby, be led out of the way, and 
do themselves hurt by this means; as it is a dangerous thing 
to put a knife, or a sword, into a child's, or madman's hand ; 
by which they suppose the common people to be ignorant, and 
'^would keep them so. But, whatever reasons they assign, the 
true reason why they so much oppose the reading of scripture 
is tills, because it detects and exposes the absurdity of many 
doctrines that are imbibed by them, which will not bear to be 
tried by it. If they can but persuade their votaries, that 
whatever is handed down by tradition, as a rule of faith, is to 


be received, witTioiit the least hesitation, though contrary to 
the mind of God in scripture, they are not like to meet with 
any opposition from them, let them advance doctrines never 
so absurd, or contrary to reason. 

If it be enquired, whether they universally prohibit the read- 
ing of scripture ? It must be allowed, that the Vulgar Latin 
version thereof may be read by any one that understands it, 
without falling under their censure. But this they are sensi- 
ble of, that the greatest part of the common people cannot un- 
derstand it; and if they do, it is so corrupt a translation, that 
it seems plainly calculated to give countenance to the errors 
that they advance*. So that it appears from their whole 
management herein, that their design is to deprive mankind 
of the greatest blessings which God has granted to them ; and 
to discourage persons fi'om the performance of a duty, which 
is so absolutely necessary to promote the interest of God and 
religion in the world. Therefore we must conclude, that it is 
an invaluable privilege that we are not only permitted, but 
commanded to read the scriptures, as translated into that lan- 
guage that is generally understood by us. 

And this leads us to consider the inference that is deduced 
from hence, contained in the latter part of the answer which 
we are explaining, viz. that the scriptures are to be translated 
out of the original into vulgar languages. This is evident, in- 
asmuch as reading signifies nothing, where the words are not 
understood; and every private Christian is not obliged to ad- 
dict himself to the study of the languages in which the scrip- 
tures were written ; and it is, indeed, a work of so much pains 
and difficulty, that few have opportunity, or inclination, to 
apply themselves, to any considerable purpose, to the study 
thereof. Therefore, the words of scripture must be rendered 
intelligible to all, and consequently, translated into a language 
they understand. 

This may be argued from the care of providence, that the 
scriptures should be delivered, at first, to the Jews, in their 
own language ; as the greatest part of the Old Testament was 

* Many instances of this might be produced, viz. Gen. ili. 15. instead of, it shall 
bruise thy head, they render it she ; by which they understand the Virgin Jilary, 
shall bruise thy head, that is, the serpent's. Jlnd, Gen. xlviii. 16. instead of , my 
name shall be named on them, ivhich are the -words of Jacob, concerning Joseph's 
S071S; it is rendered, my name shallhe invoked, or called upon by them; ivMchfi- 
•vours the doctrine of invocatioji of scant s. And, in Psal. xcis. 5. instead of ,ex:K\i the 
Lord thy God, and worship at his holy hill, they read, worship his footstool; 
which gives coimtenance to their error of paying divine adoration to places or things- 
Jlnd, in Heh. xi. 21. instead of, Jacob worshipped leaning on the top of his staff, 
they render it, he worshipped the top of his staff. And, in Heb. xiii. 16. instead 
of, with such sacrifices God is well pleased, they render it, with such sacrifice:' 
God is merited ; -.fhirh fhe'i make -use nf to ei^tabU^h (f/c iverH of good "m^'Is. 


wnUcn in Hebrew, and those few sections or chaprers in Ezra 
and Daniel, that were written in the Chaldee language, were 
not inserted till they understood that language *. And, when 
the world generally understood the Greek tongue, so that 
there was no necessity for the common people to learn it in 
schools, and the Hebrew was not understood by those nations, 
for whom the gospel was designed; it pleased God to deliver 
the New Testament in the Greek language. So that it is beyond 
dispute that he intended, that the scriptures should not only be 
read, but understood by the common people. And when the 
gospel was sent to various nations of different languages, the 
Spirit of God, by an extraordinary and miraculous dispensa- 
tion, furnished the apostles to speak to every one in their owa 
language, by bestowing on them the gift of tongues ; which 
would have been needless, if it were not necessary for persons 
to read or hear the holy scriptures with understanding. 

II. We are now to consider, how the word of God is to be 
read, that we may understand, and improve what is contained 
therein to our spiritual advantage ; and in order thereunto, 
there arc several directions given in the latter of the answers 
we are explaining. 

1. We must read the scriptures with an high and reverent 
esteem of them, arising from a firm persuasion, that they are 
the word of God. That they are so, has been proved by seve- 
ral arguments!; therefore we will suppose them that read 
them, to be persuaded of the truth thereof; and this will beget 
an high and reverent esteem of them. The perfections of 
God, and particularly his wisdom, sovereignt}'', and goodness, 
shine forth with equal glory in his word, as they do in any of 
his works; and therefore it has a preference to all human com- 
posures ; in that whatever is revealed therein, is to be admir^ 
ed and depended on for its unerring wisdom and infallible 
verity ; so that it is impossil)le for thenn, v/ho understand and 
improve it, to be turned aside thereby, from the way of truth. 
We are also to consider the use that God makes of it, to pro- 
pagate his kingdom and interest in the world. It is by this 
means that he convinces men of sin, and discovers to them the 
way of obtaining forgiveness of it, and victory over it, and 
thoroughly furnishes them unto every go d work, 2 Tim. iii, 
1 6. For this reason the wisest and best of men have express- 

. * There is indeed, one verse in Jeremiah, chap. \. 11. that is vrU'sn in Chaldee; 
-.rhich, it is probable, they did not, at that time, well vmlerstnnd ; but the prophet, by 
this, intimates to them, that they should be carried into a country ii<hcre that lan- 
guage shotdd be used; and therefore the Holy Ghost furnishes them vjith a message. 
that they -iuere to deliver to the Chaldeans, from the Lord, in their own Invgun^e 
The gods, that h;ive not made the heavens and liie earth, e'ccn tl.-ey 'shall p'erLsh 
from tlie earth, and from these heavens, 
t See Vol. I Quest, iv.p. 69, ?; scq. 

Vol. IV. P 

114 ^ THE WORD OF G0» 

ed the highest esteem and value for it. The Psalmist men- 
tions the love he had to it, as a person that was in a rapture ; 
how love I thy law I it is my meditatio7i all the day^ Psal/ 
cxix. 97". And elsewhere he speaks of it as more to be desiv' 
ed than gold^ ijea^ than much jine gold ; sweeter also than honey 
and the honey comb^ Psal. xix. 16. which argues the high ve- 
neration he had for it. This we all ought to have ; otherwise 
we may sometimes be tempted to read it with prejudice, and 
thereby, through the corruption of our nature, be prone to 
cavil at it, as we sometimes do at those writings that are 
merely human, which savour of the weakness and imperfection 
of their authors, and consequently, it will be impossible for us 
to receive any saving advantage thereby. 

2. We must, i» reading the word of God, be sensible that 
he alone can enable us to understand it. To read the scrip- 
tures and not understand them, will be of no advantage to us ; 
therefore it is supposed, that we are endeavouring to have our 
minds rightly infoniied and furnished with the knowledge of 
divine truths : But by reason of the corruption, ignorance, and 
depravity of our natures, this cannot be attained without a pe- 
culiar blessing from God attending our endeavours ; there- 
fore we ought to glorif}^ him, by dependence on him, for this 
privilege, (as being sensible that all spiritual wisdom is from 
him,) if we would see a beauty and glory in those things that are 
revealed therein, and be thoroughly established in the doctrines 
of the gospel, so as not to be in danger of being turned aside 
from them ; or, especially, if we would improve them to our 
being made wise unto salvation, we must consider this as the 
gift of God. It is he alone who can enable us to understand 
his word aright ; this is evident, inasmuch as it is necessary 
that there be an internal illumination, as well as an external 
revelation, which is the subject-matter of our studies and en- 
quiries. Thus our Saviour not only repeated the words of 
those scriptures that concerned himself, to the two disciples 
going to Emmaus ; but he opened their understandings^ that 
they might understand thetn^ Luke xxiv. 45. Without this, a 
person may have the brightest parts, and most penetrating 
judgment in other respects, and yet be unacquainted with the 
mind of God in his word, and inclined to embrace those doc- 
trines that are contrary to it; and especially if God is not 
pleased to succeed our endeavours, we shall remain destitute 
of the experimental knowledge of divine truths, which is abso- 
lutely necessary to salvation. 

3. We must read the word of God with a desire to know, 
believe, and obey his will, contained therein. If we do not de- 
sire to know, or understand the meaning of scripture, it will 
remain no better than a sealed book to us ; and, instead of re- 


Qeiving thereby, we shall be ready to entertain pijrfjudlces a» 
gainst it, till wc lay it aside, with the utmost dislike j and, as 
the consequence thereof, we shall be utterly estranged from the 
life of God, through the ignorance and vanity of our minds. 
We must also read the word of God with a (^esire to have our 
faith established thereby, that our feet may be set upon a rock, 
and we mav be delivered from all manner of doubts and he- 
sitations, with respect to those important truths which are re- 
vealed therein ; and we ought to desire, not only to believe, 
but yield a constant and cheerful obedience to every thing that 
God requires of us therein. 

4. Our reading the word of God ought to be accompanied 
Vv-ith meditation, and the exercise of self-denial. Our thoughts 
should be wholly taken up with the subject-matter thereof, and 
that with the greatest intenseness, as those who are studiously, 
and with the greatest earnestness, pressing after the knowledge 
of those doctrines that are of the highest importance, that 
our profiting herein may appear to ourselves and others, I 
1 Tim. iv. 15. 

As to the exercise of self-denial, all those perverse reason- 
ings which our carnal minds are prone to suggest against the 
subject-matter of divine revelation, are to be laid aside. If we 
are resolved to believe nothing but what we can comprehend, 
we ought to consider that the gospel contains unsearchable 
mysteries, that surpass finite wisdom ; therefore we m-ast be 
content to acknowledge, that we know but in part. There is « 
deference to be paid to the wisdom of God, that eminently 
appears in every thing which he has discovered to us in his 
word ; so that we must adore the divine perfections that are 
displayed therein, whilst we retain an humble sense of the im- 
perfection of our own knowledge. Our reason is not to be 
considered as useless; but we must desire that it may be 
sanctified, and inclined to receive whatever God .is pleased to 
impart. We are also to exercise the grace of self-denial, with 
respect to the obstinacy of our wills ; whereby they are natu- 
rally disinclined to acquiesce in, approve of, and yield obedi- 
ence to the law of God, so that we may be entirely satisfied, 
that every thing that he commands in his word, is holy, just, 
and good. 

5. The word of God is to be read with fervent prayer ; as 
the apostle says. If anij man lack rvisdorn^ let him ask of God^ 
that giveth to all men libcralhj^ and uphra'ideth not, and it shall 
be given him, James i. 5. The advantage we expect hereby, is 
as was before observed, his gift ; and therefore we are hum- 
bly to supplicate him for it. There are many things in his 
word that are hard to be understood ; therefore we ought to 
say, whenever we take the scriptures into ©ur hands, as th» 

116' lUE WOKU Oi' GOD 

Psalmist does, Open thou mhie eyes that Imaij behold wondrous 
things out of thy laxv^ Psal. cxix. 18. We may, in this case, 
humbly acknowlege the weakness of our capacities and the 
blindness of our minds, which renders it necessary for us to 
desire to be instructed by him, in the way of truth. We 
may also plead, that his design in giving us this word, was, 
that it may be a lamp to our feet, and a light to our paths ; 
therefore we dread the thoughts of walking in darkness, when 
there is such a clear discovery of those things which are so 
glorious and necessary to be known. We may also plead, 
that our Lord Jesus is revealed to his people as the prophet of 
his church ; and that whatever office he is invested with, he 
delights to execute it, as his glory is concerned therein ; 
therefore we trust, and hope that he will lead us, by his 
Spirit into his truth. We may also plead the impossibility 
of our attaining the knowlege of divine things, without his as- 
sistance ; and how much it would redound to his glory, as well 
as our own comfort and advantage, if he will be pleased to 
lead us into the saving knowlege of the truth, as it is in 
him : This we cannot but importunately desire, as being sen- 
sible of the sad consequences of our being destitute of it ; 
inasmuch as we should remain in darkness, though favour- 
ed with the light of the gospel. 

6. The word of God is to be read with diligence and at- 
tention to the matter and scope thereof. We have hitherto 
been directed in this answer, to apply ourselves to the read- 
ing of scripture, with that frame of spirit which becometJT 
Christians, who desire to know the mind and will of God 
therein, viz. that we ought to have our minds disengaged 
from those prejudices which would hinder our receiving any 
advantage from it, and to exercise those graces that the na- 
ture and importance of the duty requires ; that we ought to 
depend upon God, and address ourselves to him by faith and 
prayer for the knowlege of those divine truths contained there- 
in. But, in this last head, we are led to speak of some other 
methods conducive to our understanding the scriptures ; which 
are the effects of diligence and attendance to the sense of the 
words thereof, and the scope and design of them. 

This being an useful head, I shall take occasion to enlarge 
on it more than I have done on the former, and to add some 
other things, which may serve as a farther means to direct us, 
how we may read tiie scriptures with understanding. I might 
here observe, that they who arc well acquainted with the lan- 
guages in which they were written, and are able to make just 
remarks on the woi'ds, phrases, and particles used therein, 
some of which cannot be expressed in another language with- 
out losing much of their native beauty and significancy, these 

lO BE Bli READ BY ALL. 117 

have certainly the advantage of all others : But sinfj^ tliis can- 
not be done by the greatest part of mankind, who are strangers 
to the Greek and Hebrew languages ; they must have recourse 
to some other helps for the attaining this valuable end. And 
iu order thereunto, 

(1.) It will be of great use for them to consult those exposi- 
tions, which we have of the whole, or some particular parts of 
scripture ; of which some are more large, others concise; some 
critical, others practical. I shall forbear making any remarks 
tending to depreciate the performance of some, or extol the 
judgment of others ; only this must be observed, that many 
have passed over some difficulties of scripture, which omission 
has given a degree of disgust to the more inquisitive part of 
Christians : But this may be attributed in some instances, to a 
commendable modesty, which we find not only in those that 
have written in our own, but in other languages ; whereby 
they tacitly confess, either that they could not solve the diffi- 
culty J or, that it was better to leave it undetermined, than to 
attempt a solution, which, at best, would amount to little 
more than a probable conjecture. It may also be observed, 
that others, who have commented on scripture, seem to be 
prepossessed with a particular scheme of doctrine, which, if 
duly considered, is not very defensible ; and they are obliged, 
sometimes, to strain the sense thereof, that it may appear to 
speak agreeably to their own sentiments ; however, their ex- 
positions, in other respects, may be used with great advantage. 

To this we may add, that the word preached, being designed 
to lead us into the knowledge of scripture-doctrines, we ought 
to attend upon, and improve it, as a means conducive thereto, 
and to bless God for the great helps and advantages we have 
to attain it; but more of this wui be considered under some 
following answers relating to the preaching and hearing the 
word : * therefore we proceed to consider, 

(2.) That we ought to make the best use we can of those 
translations of scripture, that we have in our own language ; 
which, if we compare together, we shall find, not onlv that the 
style in which one is written, differs from that of another, 
agreeably to the respective times in which they were written ; 
but they differ very much in the sense they give of many pla- 
ces of scripture ; which may easily be accounted for from the 
various acceptations of the same Hebrev/ or Greek word, as 
may be observed in all other languages ; and there are other 
difficulties relating to the propriety of translating some parti- 
cular phrases, or the various senses in which several particles 
mad'' use of, ^re to be understood. Howevei-. by comparing, 

' .S"^ Qijefit. clJy. cl,X- 


these translations together, they who .are unacquainted with the 
original, will be sometimes led into a sense more agreeable to 
the context and the analogy of faith, by one of them, than by 
another. But we will suppose the English reader to confine 
himself to the translation that is generally used by us ; which, 
as it cannot be supposed to be of equal authority with the ori- 
ginal, nor yet so perfect, as that it is impossible to be corrected, 
as to every word or phrase contained therein ; yet I would be 
far from taking occasion from hence to depreciate it, or say 
any thing that may stagger the faith of any, as though we ^ 
were in danger of being led aside thereby, from the way of 
truth, as some have pretended, who plead for the necessity of 
a new translation of the Bible ; whereas it is much to be fear- 
ed, that if any such thing should be attempted, it would devi- 
ate more from the sense of the Holy Ghost, than that which 
we now have, and have reason to bless God for, which, I 
cannot but think, comes as near the original as most that are 
extant. We shall therefore consider how this may be used to 
the best advantage, for our understanding the mind of God 
therein. And here we shall observe, 

[1.] That there is another translation of words referred to 
in the margin of our Bibles ; which will sometimes give very 
great light to the sense of the text, and appear more emphati- 
cal, and rather to be acquiesced in. I shall give a short spe- 
cimen of some texts of scripture, that may be illustrated this 
way ; in which the marginal reading differs from the words it 
refers to : Thus it is said, in Job iv. 1 8. He put no trust hi 
his servants^ and his angels he charged with folly : In the mar- 
gin, it is observed, that the words may be read, He put no 
trust in his servants^ nor in his angels i?i whom he put light ; 
which denotes the excellency of their nature, and the wisdoni 
with which they are endowed : Nevertheless, God put no trust 
in them, not having thought fit to make use of them in creat- 
ing the world, nor committing the government thereof to them. 

Again, in Isaiah liii. 3. it is said, We hid^ as it xvere^ our 
faces from him^ speaking of our Saviour ; but in the margin, 
it is, He hid^ as it were^ his face from lis ; which implies, that, 
as he bore our grief, so he was charged with our guilt ; and 
accordingly is represented, as having his face covered, as an 
emblem hereof ; or else it denotes jhis concealing or veiling 
his glory, as he, who was really in the form of God, appeared 
in the form of a servant. 

Again, in Jer. xlii. 20. the prophet reproving the people, 
says, Tc dissembled in your hearts^ when ye sent me unto the 
Lord your God^ sayings Pray for us ; but, in the margin, it is, 
Ton have used deceit against your souls; which contains a far- 
ther illustration of tlv sense of the words ; as it not only de- 


notes their hypocrisy, but the consequence thereof to wit, their 
destruction ; 'svhich agrees very well with the threatning de- 
nounced in verse 22. that they should die by the sxvord^ the fa^ 
mine^ and by the pestilence. And the same prophet in chap. x. 
14. speaking of idolaters, says, Every 7?ian is brutish in his 
knoxvlege ; but in the margin it is. Every man is more brutish 
than to knoxu ; in which their stupidity is rarther assigned to 
their ignorance than their knowlege. 

Again, in Zechariah xii. 5. it is said in the text, The gover- 
nors of jiidah shall say in their hearts^ The inhabitants of Je- 
rusalem shall be my strength in the Lord of hosts their God; but 
in the margin it is, The governors of fudah shall say ^ There is 
strength to me^ and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem^ in the Lord 
of hosts ; and this reading seems more agreeable to what fol- 
lows ; which contains several promises of deliverance and 
salvation, which God would work for the inhabitants of Je- 
rusalem ; So that we are not to suppose them saying, ferusa- 
lem shall be our strength ; but, the Lord of hosts ^ who is a safe- 
guard to it, as well as to the governors of Judah. 

Again, in Acts xvii. 23. it is said in the text. As I passed by ^ 
and beheld your devotions ; but, in the margin it is, The gods 
xvhoni you tuorshtp^ or, the things ye pay divine honour to; 
which is very agreeable to the context, and the design of 
the apostle therein. Again, in chap. xxii. 29. it is said in 
the text, that they departed from him^ which should have ex- 
amined him^ meaning Paul, in the margin it is, tortured him ; 
which is agreeable to the Roman custom of scourging, and 
thereby tormenting one that was under examination for sup- 
posed crimes. 

Again, in Gal. i. 14. the apostle says, / profited in the 
Jews religion^ above many my equals ; in the margin it is, 3Iy 
equals in years ; which seems much more agreeable to the 
apostle's design. 

Again, in Hub. ii. 7. it is said in the text. Thou modest 
him, viz. our Saviour, a little lower than the angels ; in the 
margin it is, A little while inferior to them ; as referring to 
his state of humiliation ; which continued comparativelv, but 
a little while. 

[2.] In order to our making a right use of our English 
translation, that we may understand the mind of God con- 
tained therein, let it be farther observed, that by reason of the 
conciseness of the Hebrew and Greek texts, there are several 
words left out, which must be supplied, to complete the sense 
thereof; which are inserted in an Italic character. And it 
will not be difficult for us to determine whether the inser- 
tion be just or no ; when we consider that the translators 
often take their direction herein from some words, either 

120 THE WORD or GOD 

expressed or understood in the context; as in Heb. vui. 7. it 
is said, If the first covenant had been fauHlesSy &c. where the 
word covenant is inserted; as it is also in verse 1'3. because it 
is expressly mentioned, in verses 8, 9, 10. 

Again, in chap. x. 6. it is said, in sacrifices for sin thou. 
hadst no pleasure. The word sacrifices is supplied from the 
foregoing verse ; and, for the same reason, offerings might as 
well have been supplied, as in ver. 8. And, in ver. 25. we 
are commanded to exhort one another ; where one another is 
supplied from the foregoing verse. 

Again, in 1 Pet. iv. 16. it is said. If any man suffer as a 
Christian^ let him not be ashamed; where the words, any jnan 
suffer^ are inserted as agi-eeable to what is mentioned, ver. 1.5. 

And, in Eph. ii. 1. Tou hath he quickened xvho xvere dead in 
trespasses and sins ; the words, hath he quickened^ are supplied 
from ver. 5. and our translators might as well have added, 
you hath he quickened together xvith hiniy viz. Christ. These 
things I only mention as a specimen of the insertions, to com- 
plete the sense in our translation; and we shall find, that the 
words supplied in other scriptures, are for the most part, suffi- 
ciently just; but if they be not so, they are subject to correc- 
tion, without the least imputation of altering the words of 
scripture, while we are endeavouring to give the true sense 
thereof; and Ave may be allowed, without perverting of the 
sacred writings, sometimes, to supplv other words instead of 
them, which may seem more agi-eeable to the mind of the 
Holy Ghost therein. Thus, in Eph. vi. 12. it is said. We 
wrestle against spiritual xvickedjiess iji high places. The word 
'places^ is supplied by our translators ; and, in the margin, it is 
observed, that it might as well be rendered heavenly places. 
Now because there is no spiritual wickedness in heavenly 
places, therefore they choose, without regard to the proper 
sense of the Greek word, to render it high places. Whereas, 
in chap. iii. 10. where there is no appearance of such an ob- 
jection, they render the same word, heavenly places; though, 
1 think, the words in both those scriptures, might better be 
rendered in xvhat concerns heavenly things. 

Again, in 2 Cor. vi. 1. it is said, We^ as xvorkers together 
xvith hirn^ beseech yon., &c. where, xvith hiiyr., is supplied to 
complete the sense; but, I think, it might better have been 
left out, and then the sense would have been, ministers, are 
'ivorkers together xvith one another.^ and not together xvith God; 
J hey are honoured to be employed by God, as moral instru- 
ments, which he makes use of; but they have no other casu- 
ality in bringing about the work of grace. The principal rea- 
son why tlie words xvith him., are supplied, is because it seems 
.igreenble to the apostle's mode of speaking, in 1 Cor. iii., 9. 


.1*0 Be BEAD BY Alfe. ii^l 

We are rVarkers tog-ether xv'ith God; but, I think, Those words 
might better be rendered, labourers together of God * ; or wc 
are jointly engaged in his work ; therefore there is no reason 
from hence to supply the words ■with hun. in the text but now 
referred to. 

(3.) If we would understand the sense of a particular text 
of scripture, we must consider its connexion with the context* 
Accordingly we must observe, 

1*^ The scope, design, or argument insisted on, in the para* 
graph, in which it is contained. Thus in Rom. viii. the apos- 
tle's design in general, is to prove that there is no condemna- 
tion to them xvhich are in Christ Jcsus^ and to shew who thev 
are, that may conclude themselves to be interested in this pri- 
vilege ,• together with the many blessings that are connected 
with, or flow from it, which the subject matter of that chaptef 
principally relates to. 

And, in Heb. i. the apostle's principal design is, to prote 
the excellency and glory of Christ, as Mediator, above th«; 
angels, as he intimates ver. 4. which argument is principally 
insisted on,- and illustrated, in the following part of the chap- 

And, in chap. xi. his design is, to give an account of the 
great things the Old Testament chuixh were enabled to do, 
and suffer, by faith, of which, there is an induction of particu- 
lars in several parts of it. 

And, in Rom. v. the apostle insists on the doctrine of ori- 
ginal sin, and shews how sin and death first entered into the 
world, and by what means we may expect to be delivered 
from it ; and so takes occasion to compare i\ dam and Christ 
together, as two distinct heads and representatives of those 
who were included in the respective covenants which mankind 
were under; by the former of which, sin reigned unto death-, 
and, by the latter, grace and righteousness, unto eternal life. 

Again, in chap. vii. especially from ver. 5. the general ar- 
gument insisted on, is, the conflict and opposition there is be- 
tween sin and grace, and the manner in which corrupt nature 
discovers itself in the souls of the regenerate, together with 
the disturbance and uneasiness that it constantly gives them« 
And, in Psal. Ixxxviii. we have an account of the distress that 
a soul is in, when under divine desertion, and brought to the 
very brink of despair. And, in Psal. Ixxii. under the type of 
the glory of Solomon^s kingdom, and the advantages his sub- 
jects should receive thereby, the glory and excellency o£ 
Christ's kingdom is illustrated, together with the gospel-state 
and blessings thereof. And, in Psal. li. David represents a 
true penitent as addressing himself to God f©r forgiycBes?; 

VoT,, I^'^. Q 


though particularly applied to his own case, after he had sin- 
ned in the matter of Uriah. Again, the general argument in 
Isa. liii. is to set forth the sufferings of Christ, whereby he 
made satisfaction for sin, together with the glory redounding 
to himself, and the advantages that believers derive from it. 

2dli/^ We must consider the method made use of in man- 
aging the argument; whether by a close way of reasoning and 
consequences deduced from premises, or, by an explication of 
what was designed^ to inform the judgment, and laid down be- 
fore in a general proposition. Or, whether the principal de- 
sign of the paragraph be, to regulate the conduct of our lives, 
awaken our consciences out of a stupid frame, or excite in us 
becoming affections, agreeable to the subject-matter thereof. 
And, we are to observe how eveiy part of it is adapted to 
answer these ends. 

3<//i/, We are to consider v.'ho is the person speaking, ov 
spoken to ; whether they are the v/ords of God, the church, or 
the inspired writer ; and, whether they are directed to particu- 
lar persons, or to all men in general ? Here we may often ob- 
serve, that in the same paragraph there is an apostrophe, or 
turning the discoui'se from one person to another. Nothing is 
more common than this in the poetical writings of scripture. 
Thus, in the Psalms of David, sometimes God is represented 
as speaking to man, and then man as speaking to, or concern- 
ing God, as we may observe, in Psal. cxxxvii. 1 — 4. there is 
a relation of the churches troubles in Babylon ; and, in verses 
5 and 6. the Psalmist addresses his discourse to the church ; 
If I forget theey Jerusalsvt, let mtj right hand forget ha' 
cunning. And, in Vsr. 7. he speaks to God, praying that he 
would remember the children of Edom, in the day of Jerusa- 
lem ; tcho said. Raze it, raze it, eveti to the foundation thereof. 
And, in ver. 8, 9» be tiu-ns his discourse to Babylon, as a- 
nation destined to destruction. 

Again, in Psal. ii. he speaks concerning the rage of the 
Heathen, against Christ and his church, and that disappoint- 
jnent and ruin that they should meet with for it. And, in 
ver. 6. he represents God the Father as speaking concerning 
Christ; yet have J set vitj King upon my holy hill of Zion. 
And, in ver. 7, 8. Christ is brought in as speaking or making 
mention of the dtcree of God relating to his character and 
office, as Mediator, and the success of his kingdom, as extend- 
ed to the uttermost parts of the earth, pursuant to his interces- 
sion, which was founded on his satisfaction. And, in ver. 19 
—12, the Psalmist turns his discourse to those persecuting 
powers, or the kings of the earth, whom he had spoken of in 
the former part of the Psalm, and instructs them what methods 
tiiey should take to escape God's righteoas vengeance. Such - 

TO BE REAP BY ALL. i;ii>, 

like change of persons speaking, or spoken to, mafp be observ- 
ed in many of the Psaims, Psal. xvi. 1, 8?c and cxxxiv. 

And throughout the whole book of Canticles, there is ati 
inter-changeable discourse between Christ and his church, 
which is sometimes called his spouse^ at other times his sister ; 
sometinves he speaks to the church, and at otiier times of it. 
And, in other places, the church is represented as speaking to 
lum, or to the daughters- of Jeriisakm^ namely, those profes- 
sors of religion, that had little more than a form of godliness, (a) 

Again, we often find, that there is a change with respect to 
the persons speaking, spoken to, or of, in the writings of the 
prophets, as well as in the poetical writings ; as may be observ- 
ed in Isa. Ixiii. throughout the whole chapter. And, in Micah 
vii. 18, 19, 20. there is a change of persons in almost every 
sentence ; Who is a God like unto thes that pardoneth iniquity^ 
&c. He retaineth not h\s anger for etier ; he xv'ill subdue our 
iniquities ; and thou xvilt cast allour sins into the depths of the sea. 
Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abra- 
ham^ which thou hast sxvorn unto our fathers from the days of old. 

4<thly, We r.re farther to consider the occasion of what is 
laid down in any chapter, paragraph, or book of scripture, 
which ^^ c desire to understand. Thus the particular occasioii 
of the hook of Lamentations, was the approaching ruin of Ju- 
dah, and the miseries that tliey should be exposed to when 
Jerusalem was besieged by the Chaldeans. ; as appears by the 
subject-matter thereof; though, it may be, that which w^as the 
more immediate occasion of its being delivered at that time, 
was, that the prophet might lament the death of good Josiah, 
ii Chron. xxxv. 2..'. which, probably, he had a peculiar eye to, 
when he says, T.^he crown is fallen from our head. Lam. v. 16. 
as well as the destruction of the whole nation, which would, 
ensue soon after it, in v/hich their civil and religious liberties 
would be invaded by their enemies, who would oppress and 
lead them captive. 

And the principal occasion of tlie r.postle\s v/ritlng the epis*- 
lie to the Cialatiaus, was, that he might establish some among 
them, in the faith of the gospel, who were so much disposed 
to turn aside from him that called them, and embrace another 
scheme of religion that was subversive of it j as he observes, 
in chap. i. 6. where, by this other gospel^ which he dissuades 
them from turning aside unto, w^e are to understr.nd those 
doctrines that they had imbibed from those false teachers who 
endeavour either to re-establish the observation of the cere- 
monial law, or to put them upon seeking righteousness and 
life, from their observing the precepts of the moral law, which 
tended to overthrow the doctrine of justification by Christ's 

CaJ Victe T. WlHiums on the Song of Solpraon. 

124 T'UZ WORD Oi- GOL> 


righteousness ; which is a subject often Insisted on by ttie 
apoptle, both in thir> and his other epistles. 

This method ol" enquiring into the occasion of-what is men- 
tioned in paiticular paragrajihs of scripture, will often give 
light to some things contained therein. Thus we read, in 
Blatt, xxi. 2o — 27. that the chief priests and ciders ask our 
Saviour this question. By ivhat authoritij dost thou these thhigs ^ 
which, had it proceedecl from an humble mind, desirous to be 
convinced by his reply to it; or, had he not often, in their 
liearing, asserted the authority by which he did those things^ 
he would, doubtleiss, have told them, that he received a com- 
mission to do them the Father j and, that every miracle which 
he wrought, was, as it were, a confirming seal annexed to it. 
But our Saviour, knowing the design of the question, and the 
character of the pu'sons that asked it, he does not think lit to 
make any reply to it, rather chusing to put them to silence, by 
proposing another question to them, which he knew they would 
jiot be forward to answer, relating to the baptism of John, viz, 
whether it v/as fro7n heaven, or of men. And this was cer- 
tainly the best method he could have taken ; for he dealt with 
them as cavillers, who were to be put to silence, and madq 
;i3hanied at the same time. 

(4.) In order to our underGtanding the sense of scripture, 
we must, so far as it is possible, compare the phrases, or modes 
of expression, as well as the subject insisted on, with what oc- 
curs in other parallel places. Thus, in several of the historical 
parts of scripture, we have the same history, or, at least, many 
things tending to illustrate it; as the history of the reign of 
the kings of Judah and Israel, is the principal subject of th« 
book of Kings and Chronicles ; one of which often refers to, 
as well as explains the other, and, by comparing them together, 
we shall lind, that one gives light to the other. Thus it is 
said, in 2 Kings xii. 2. that j'ehoash did that rvhich zvas right 
in the sight of the Lord all his daijSy xvherein Jehoiada the 
'^)rh'st instructed him; by which it is intimated, tRat, after the 
death of Jehoiada, he did that which was evil in the sight of 
the Lord ; but this is not particularly mentioned in this chap* 
ter, which principally insists on that part of his reign which 
ivas commendable. But if we compare it with 2 Chron. xxiv. we 
have an account of his reign after the death of Jehoiada, how 
he set vp xdoiacry^ ver. 17, 18. being instigated hereunto by 
•his princes that flattered, or, as it is expressed, made obeisance 
Kinto him, and disregarded the prophets sent to testify against 
these practices; and how he stoned Zachariah in the court of 
ihe hojts'e of the Lord^ for his falthfid reproof and prophetic 
intimation of the consequence of the idolatry, in which h^ 
\2he\ved X\\z greatest ingra^itade. and forojetfuh^ess af the good 


things that had been done for him by his father/fvrho set him 
on liis throne. We have an account of the time when the Sy- 
rians came up against him, and how they overcame him v/ith 
a small company of men ; and, that the Lord delivered a va-y 
great host into their hand, because they had forsakeii the Lord 
God of their fathers, vcr. 23, 24. 

Again, in the book of Kings, we have hut a short history 
of the reign of Azariah, otherwise called Uzziah, and of his 
being smitten by the Lord, so that he xvas a leper imtil the day 
of his death, and dxvelt in a several house, 2 Kings xv. 1- — 5> 
but in 2 Chron. xxvi. there is a larger account of him, as suc- 
cessful in war, and of the honour and riches that he gained 
thereby ; and also we have a particular account of the reasoa 
of the Lord's smiting him with leprosy, namely, for his invad- 
ing a branch of the priest's office. 

Again, in the history of the reign of Manasseh, in 2 Kings 
xxi. we have only an account of the vile and abominable part 
thereof; whereas, in 2 Chi-on. xxxiii. we have not only an ac- 
count of his wickedness, but of his repentance, together with 
the affliction that occasioned it, ver. 12 — 19. 

Moreover, when we read the prophetic v/ritings, we must, 
for our better understanding them, compare them with the 
particular history of the reign of those kings, in whose time 
they prophesied, and the state of the church at that time, their 
alliances or wars with neighbouring princes, and the sins that 
they were guilty of, which gave occasion to their being some- 
times insulted, and overcome by them, till their ruin was com- 
pleted in being carried captive into Babylon. Thus when we 
read Isa. vii. which gives an account of Rezin, king of Syria, 
and Pekah, the son of Remaliah, against Ahaz, and contains 
a prediction of their miscarriage in this attempt; and also, that 
the king of Asyria should be hired to assist Ahaz, but should^ 
instead thereof, deal deceitfully with him, so that he should 
deprive Judah of their oi-naments, and impoverish, instead of 
being helpful to them. This we have a farther explication pf 
in the history of Ahaz's reign, in 2 Kings xvi. and 2 Chron. 
xxviii. faj 

Again, we ought to compare the account of Sennacherib's 
invading Judah, and the blasphemous insult of Rabshakeh sent 
for that purpose, together with his defeat, and the remarkable 
hand of God that brought this about, as an encouragement of 
Hezekiah's piety, in the xxxvith and xxxviith chapters of 
Isaiah, with the historal account of the same thing, in 2 Kings 
xviii. and xix. and 2 Chron. xxxii. 

Again, we must compare the Psalms of David with his Hfe, 
or the state of the church, which is particularly referred to in 

=■ ^' - ' • . . .,. =:fc 

CnJ Vide Table of the Order ^f tbc Prophecws. V©1. 1, p. 5-5. 

-X26 .THE %V014» OE GQD 

Bbme of thciii ; -vvhiGh may be very much illustrated from other 
scriptures, that have relation to the same dispensations of pro- 
vidence, or contain an historical account thereof. As for those 
psalms that v/ere penned on particular occasions, mentioned in 
the respective titles prefixed to them, these will be better un- 
derstood if we compare the subject-matter thereof with the 
jiistory they refer to. Moreover, we shall often find, that 
when the same thing is mentioned in different places of scrip- 
ture, there is something added in one, which farther illustrates 
^vhat is contained in the other. Thus, in the account we have 
-of the life of Joseph, in Gen. xxxix. 20. it is said, that he was 
jfut into the prison^ the place ivhere the king's prisoners were 
Sound; and, in chap. xli. 14. that he was kept in the dungeon^ 
■^vhich is the worst part of the prison. But the Psalmist speak- 
ing of the same matter, in Psal. cv. 18. adds, that \i\^feet -were 
Siurt with fetters^ and he was laid in iron ; which contains a 
farther illustration of the history of his troubles. 

Again, when we read in Numb. xi. 31, 32. of God!* % feeding 
Israel^ upon their murmuring in the desert, for want of ftesh, 
-with quails in great abundance ; this is mentioned elsewhere, 
in Psal. ixxviii. 27. in which we have an account, that these 
ijuails were a sort oi feathered fowl ^ which could not have been 
so well understood by the sense of the Hebrew word, which 
•we render quails*. We have also an account, in Exod. xvii. 
B. of God's supplying them with water out of the rock in 
Horeb ; and if we compare this with Psal. cv. 41. we shall find 
that this water issued from thence in so large a stream, that it 
was like a river. And the apostle Paul gives farther light to. 
it, when he says, speaking in a figurative way, that the rock, 
followed them^ 1 Cor. x. 4. that is, the water that ran from it 
like a river, did not flow in a right line ; but, by a continued 
miracle, changed its course, as they altered their stations, ia. 
their various removes from place to place in the wilderness.. 
And he also adds, that God designedt his to be a type of Christ* 

I might also observe, that there were many things in the life 
«f David, after his expulsion from Saul's court, that would 
argue him an usurper; inasmuch as he did not barely fly to 
secure his life, which he might lawfully do, as a private per- 
son ; but he raised a small army ; and accordingly it is said, 
in 2 Sam. xxii. 2. that every one that was * in distress, or \\\ 
'- debt, or discontented, gathered themselves unto him ; and he; 
*■ became a captain over him .; and there >vere with him about 

* The -word is )^\ff luhick being neither a root to any other word, nor derived 
from any other root, iy -wliish tlic sense of Hebrew words is generally known, nor 
found any where in scripture, excepting in those tivo or three places which refer to 
'/his particular dispensation of providence; it is an hard 7natttr to determine the 
fiense of it, without comparinir these lw9 fcriptw'es together. — It ocenrs ,i\'umb, xh 
r>T, 32. ^T9c/. y-vi. 13. P»a. CV. 4'>. 

1?6 BE RE AS BY AU- |27 

' tour hundred men.' And Jonathan, who was Ifeir apparent 
to the crown, is forced to capitulate with, and take an oath of 
him, that he would grant him his life, as concluding, that he 
would be king after his father's death, 1 Sam. xx. 14, 15. 
compared with the 42. and Saul's jealousy hereof, which was 
attended with rage, amounting to a kind of destraction, was 
not altogether without ground; as he intimates to him, when 
he tells him, * Behold, I know well that thou shalt surely be 
* king,' chap. xxiv. 20. and accordingly, in the following verses, 
he makes him ' swear to him, that he would not cut off his 
' seed after him, or destroy his name out of his father's house.* 
Now this could hardly be justified, if we did not consider- 
what we read in another part of scripture, that, before that 
time, God had taken away the kingdom from Saul, and anoint- 
e<l David to be king in his stead, in 1 Sam. xvi. 13. though 
he had not the actual possession of it till after Saul's death. 

I might farther observe, that when we read the account con- 
tained in the books of Moses, of the ceremonial law, and the 
various rites and ordinances of divine service contained there- 
in, or meet with any expressions in the Old Testament that 
refer to it ; these ought to be compared with several thin^vs 
that are recorded in the writings of the apostle Paul, and, par- 
ticularly, a veiT considerable part of his epistle to the He- 
brews *, in which we have an account of the significatioti 
thereof, as ordained to be types of the gospel-dispensation* 
And, indeed, there are many scriptures of the Old Testament, 
which will be better understood by comparing them with others 
that refer to them in the New. Thus it is said, in Isa. xvi. 
23. Unto me every knee shall bow ; which appeai-s to be vexy 
agreeable to what is said concerning our Saviour, in Phil, iii 
10. and it is not only spoken of the divine honour that should 
be paid to him ; but it relates, in a peculiar manner, to that 
glory which all shall ascribe to him, when they stand before 
his tribunal, as appears by comparing it with Rom. xiv. 10, II. 

Again, when we read, in Isa. vi. 10. of God's sending the 
prophet to make the heart of the people fnt^ and their ear:? 
heavy, and shut their eyes, lest they see with their e>./es, and 
hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and 
convert, and be healed. It is not to be supposed that God is 
represented hereby as the author of their sin; which \v\\\ plainly 
appear, if with compare it with Matt. xiii. 15. in which thj"?> 
text is cited, and farther explained, as it is said, This people's 
heart is zuaxedfat, and their eyes have they closed, lest ihcu 
should see with their eyes, 8cc. And it is also referred to, and 
explained in the same sense as charging their sin, and the con- 

*- ■S'f'r th-i epfr^th tt the ffsbrewtr, chap: v, t'a tU x. inctk^tiiRj anel-2 Cf>f. x. f-^5. 


sequence thereof upon themselves, in Acts xxviii. 26, 27. By 
this method of comparing the Old and New Testament to- 
gether, we shall be led to see the beautiful harlinony of the 
scriptures, and how the predictions thereof have been accom- 
plished ; which will tend very much to establish our faith in 
the truth of the Christian religion, that is founded on them. 
But this having been insisted on elsewhere *, we pass it over 
at present, and proceed to consider, 

That there are several places, in the New Testament, which 
being compared together, will give light to one another. Thus, 
in the four Evangelists, which contain the history of the life 
and death of Christ, we may observe, that some things are left 
out, or but briefly hinted at in one of them, which are more 
largely insisted on in another. Thus we read, in Matt. xii. 
14, 15. that ' the Pharisees went out and held a counsel against 

* our Saviour, how they might destroy him ;' upon which oc- 
casion ' he withdrew himself from thence. And great multi- 
*tudes followed him, and he healed thera all.' But Mark, 
chap. iii. 17, Sff seq. speaking concerning the same thing, in- 
timates that the Herodians were joined with the Pharisees in 
this conspiracy ; and that he ' withdrew himself to the sea,' viz. 
of Tiberias; where he ordered that ' a small ship should wait 

* on him, lest the multitude should throng him.' And we have, 
also an account of several places from whence they came, 
namely, Galilee, Jerusalem, Idumea, and from beyond Jordan, 
and they about Tyre and Sidon, so that a great part of them 
were Gentiles ; and this gives light to what follows in Matt* 
xii. 18, 21. in which it is intimated, that this was an accom- 
plishment, of vvhat was foretold hij the prophet Isaias^ that he 
should shew judi^ment to the Gentiles ; and that, in his name 
.should the Gentiles trust ; therefore he wrought miracles for 
their conviction that he v/as the Messias. 

Again, it is said, in Matt. xili. 12. ' Whosoever hath, to 
*liim shall be given, and he shall have more abundance. But 
' whosoever hath not from him shall be taken away, even that 
' he hath.' Some will be ready to enquire, how can that which 
he hath be said to be taken away, v/hen he is supposed to have 
nothing ? or, how can a person be said to lose that which he 
Tiever had? But if compare this %vith a parallel scripture, in 
Xuke viii. 18. there it is said, Whosoe'oer hath not^from hivi 
shall he taken^ even tluH xvhich he scemeth to have ; or, as it is 
in the margin, that xvhich he thinketh he hath. Now, though 
a man cannot lose grace, that had it not; yet an hypocrite, 
who seems to haVc it, may lose that vrhich ho supposeth him- 
•df t:» have* 

XO BE READ BY Ail. l29 

This method of comparing the four Evangelist^^ogcther, rs 
attempted by several divines ; and, among them, a late v/riter, 
Avho is deservedly esteemed by all the reformed churches *, 
thinks, that the inscription, on the cross of Christ, can hardly 
be determined, without what is said of it, by all the four 
Evangelists. Mark says these words were written. The kmg' 
of the yexvs^ Mark xv. 26. and Luke says, This is the king of 
the Jezvs^ Luke xxiii. 38. and Matthew adds another word. 
This is fesnsy the king- of the fezvs^ IMatt. xxvii. 37. and Joha 
expresses it thus, Jesus of Kazarcth^ the kin^- of the Jexvs^ 
John xix. 19. So that, by comparing them all together, and 
supplying those words from one, which are left out by others 
of them, we must conclude, that the inscription was, This is 
jesus of Nazarclh^ the king- of the Jeivs. 

Again, as the Acts of the Apostles contains a brief history 
of the first planting die gospel-church, and of the travels and 
ministry of the apostle Paul, in particular; this ought to be 
compared with some things, occasionally mentioned in his 
epistles, which will give farther light to them. Thus the 
apostle says, in 1 Cor. xv. 8. Last cf ail, he xvas seen cf me 
also, as one born out of due time ; and speaks of himself in ver. 
9. as the least of the apostles, not^meet to be ealled an apostle ; 
because he persecuted the church of God. This ought to bd 
compared with Acts ix. 1 — 6. which gives an account of him 
as a persecutor befoi-e his conversion, and shews how our Sa- 
viour was seen of him ; which is not to be tnken in the same 
sense as he was seen by the rest of the apostles, before his as- 
cension into heaven ; but of his being seen of him, after his 
ascension, when, on this occasion, he appeared to him. And-, 
if this be compared with 1 Cor. ix. 1. he considers this sight 
of Jesus as a necessary qualification for the apostleship: there- 
fore, when he speaks of himself as born out of due time, \it\ 
means, called to, and qualified for the apostleship, out of due;- 
time ; that is, not at the same time in which the other apostle's 
were, but by this extraordinary dispensation of providence. 

Again, when the apostle, in 1 Thes. ii. 2. speaks of his 
having been shamefulhj entreated at Fhilippi, This will be- 
better understood if we compare it with Acts xvi. 16, 2i, 22» 
^ seq. And when he tells the Thessalonians, in the follow- 
ing words, thct xve rvere bold in our God, to speak unto you the 
gospel of God xvith much contention; this should be compared 
■with Acts xvii. 1, 8? set/. Many instances of the like nature 
might be given, by which, the usefulness of comparing one 
scripture with another, w^ould farther appear. But, I desigu 
this only as a specimen, to assist us in the application of thi;i 

• See Lightf'uji's Harmmiv oftUf ]?aur Evnvr'^ilist''- ..J.nditU fd^'JiTvini r>f;Jp^ ^^>•:•> 
*r(rstament, Vol. J. p. 268. " ' ' - . • ■ ■ »^ 

V©L. IV. .R 


direction; which a diligent enquirer into the sense of scrip- 
ture, will be able, in reading it, to make farther improvements 
uppn. ^ 

(5.) In order to our understanding the scriptures, we must 
take notice of the several figurative modes of speaking that arc 
used therein. As, 

Ist^ The part is often put for the whole *. Thus the soul, 
which is one constituent part of man, is sometimes put for the 
whole man ; as in Gen. xlvi. 26. we read of the souls that 
came with Jacob into Egypt; and, in Rom. xii. 1. the body 
is put for the whole man; I beseech yoii^ breihren^ by the mer- 
cies of God^ that you present your bodies^ that is, yourselves, a 
livbig- sacrifcc to God. So the blood of Christ, which is often 
spoken of, i)<j scriptm-e, as that by which we are redeemed, 
justified, and saved, is to be taken for the whole of his obedi- 
ence and sufferings, both iti life and death, to which our salva- 
tion is to be ascribed, as well as to the effusion of his blood. 

2i//?/, The thing containing, is put for that which is contained 
therein! ; so the cup in the Lord's supper, is put for the wine, 
1 Cor. xi. 25. And the thing signified is put for the sign 
thereof. Thus when it is said, This is ??iy body^ ver. 24. the 
meaning is, this bread is a sign of my body, to wit, of the suf- 
ferings endured therein. 

3^7i/, Places are, by way of anticipation, called by those 
names, which in reality, were not given them, or, which the}' 
were net commonly known by, till some time after. Thus it 
is said, that, as soon as Israel had passed over Jordan, they 
encamped in Gilgal^ Josh. iv. 19. that is, in the place which 
was afterwards so called ; for it is said, that it was called 
Gilgal because there they were circumcised ; and so the reproach 
of Egypt ^ occasioned by the neglect of that ordinance, -was rolled 
axvay^ chap. v. 9. Again, it is said, The kings that came %ip 
against Sodom, when Lot was taken prisoner, had smitten all 
the country of the Amalekites^ Gen. xiv. 7. whereas, the coun- 
try that was afterwards known by that name, could not be so 
called at that time ; since Amalek, from whom it took its 
name,, was not born till some ages after, he being of the pos- 
terity of Esau, chap. xxxvi» 11. 

4thly, The time past, or present, is often, especially in the 
prophetic writings, put for the time to come ; which denotes 
the certain performance of the prediction, as much as though 
it were actually accomplished. Thus it is said, He, that is, 
our Saviour, is despised and rejected of men; he hath born our 
griefs^ he was -wounded for our transgressions, Isa. liii. 4, 5. 
And elsewhere, The people that xmlked in darkness have sccu 

* TJ/s is called i^fmccdoc!ic: } IViis is calhil a Metovymrj; 

TO BE READ BY AT. J,. 1.3 1 

a great lighty chap. ix. 2. and unto us a child is ivrn, chap. v. 
9. tPc. " 

' St/ily, One of the senses is sometimes put for 'another. Thus 
it It said, J turned to see the voice that spake to ?«£■, Rev. i. 12. 
where seeing- is put for hearing, or, understanding the mean- 
ing of the voice that spake. 

Qthlif^ Positive assertions are sometimes taken in a compa- 
ritive sense. Thus God says to Samuel, the people in asking 
a king, have not rejected thce^ but ?««■, 1 Sam. viii. 7. that is, 
they have cast more contempt on me than they have on thee, 
q. d. they have offered a greater affront to my government, 
who condescended to be their king ; though, they have been 
uneasy under thine administration, as appointed to be their 
judge. And, in Psal. li. 4. David says, Ag-ainst thee^ thee 
only^ have I sinned. Whereas he had sinned against Uriah 
and Bathsheba, as having murdered the one, and tempted the 
other to commit adultery with him ; he had sinned against the 
army, whom he occasioned to fall in battle, pursuant to the 
orders he gave Joab, with a design to destroy Uriah; yet says 
he, against thee^ thee only^ have I sinned; that is, the greatest 
aggravation of my sin is, that it contains rebellion against thee. 
And elsewhere, God says, / desired mercy^ and not sacrifice^ 
Hos. vi. 6. that is, more tlian sacrifice. 

7thlij^ There are several hyperbolical ways of speaking in 
scripture, whereby more is expressed than what is generally 
understood. Thus the vessel in the temple, in which things 
were washed, which was ten cubits from one brim to the other, 
is called a molten &ea^ 1 Kings vii. 23. because it contained a 
great quantity of water ; though, indeed, it was very small, if 
compared with the dimensions of the sea : And in 1 Kings x. 
27, it is said, that Solomon made silver to be in yerusalem^ a.9 
stones ; and cedars as the sycamore-trees^ rvhich are in the vale 
for abundance. Silver was not, strictly speaking, as plentiful 
as stones ; but it implies, that there were vast treasures there- 
of, heaped up by the king, and many of his subjects, and no 
lack of it in any one. And, in Judges xx. 16. it is said, there 
were some of the Benjamites left-handed^ every one of whom 
could sling stones at an hair-breadth^ and not miss ; which on*-- 
ly signifies that they had an uncommon expertness in this mat- 
ter ; and when we read of some of the cities in the land of Ca- 
naan, that were great, and walled up to heaven, Dent. i. 28. it 
only denotes that their Avails were very high : And, in Kings 
i. 43. it is said upon the occasion of Solomon's being anoint- 
ed king, that ^Ae /)eo/j/e rejoiced xv'ith great joy ; so that the 
earth rent xvith the sound of them ; the meaning of which is 
only this, that the shouts of the people were so great, that if 

1,3;^' ^ T>ME WORD OF GaD 

the concussion of the air, that was made thereb}', could luvC; 
r.pnt the earth, thisAvould have done it. 

8M/?/, We sometimes {ind ironical expressions, Jind sarcasms 
used in scripture, with a design to expose the wickedness and 
lolly of men. T. hus, when our Tu'st parents sinned by adhe- 
ring to the suggestions of Satan, who told them, that they 
should be as g'ods^ knoxuing- good and evil, Gcu, iii. 5. God says 
in an ironical way, Behold the viaii is become as one of us^ to 
inoxu good and evil ^ 'iD'c. ver. 22. And the prophet Elijah ex- 
poses Baal's worshippers ; and Micaiah, Ahab's false prophets^ 
fcy using a sarcastic way of speaking, 1 Kings xviii. 27. and 
chap. xxii. 15. And Job uses the same figurative way of speak- 
ing, when he i-eproves the bitter invectives, and fiilse reason- 
ings of his friends ; i\'o doubt but ye are the people, and wisdont 
.yhall die ivith you, Job xii. 2. And Solomon uses the same way 
of address, when he says, Rejmce, young man, in thy youthy 
and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and -walk 
in the rvays o^ ihij heart, and in the sight of thine eyes : But 
knoiv thou^ that for all tJiese things God xvill bring thee into 
judgment, Eccl. xi. 9. And, the man that trusts in his owm 
righteousness for Justification, is also exposed in the same way, 
*• Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves 
*'^ about v.ith sparks ; walk in the light of your fire, and in the 
*■ sparks that ye have kindled : This shall ye have of mine 

* hand, ye shall lie down in sorrow,' Isa. 1. 11. And when our 
Saviour says to his disciples, having found them asleep, in 

Matt. xxvi. 45, 46. ' Sleep on now, and take your rest; be>^ 

* hold the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed in- 

* to the hands of sinners,' it is plain from the following words, 
that he uses this figurative way of speaking; for he immedi- 
lately adds, without an irony. Rise, let us be going. 

This, some think to be the method of speaking which our 
■Saviour makes use of, when he i-eproves his disciples for that 
ibnd conceit that they had, that his kingdom was of this world ; 
<\nd contending sometimes among themselves, who should be 
greatest therein : Upon which occasion he bids them make 
^irovision for war; and take care to secure those two tilings 
that are necessary thereunto, monc)' and arms : Thus he says» 
in Luke xxii. 36. ' lie that hath a purse, let him take it ; and 

* he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one ;■' 
ihey <lid not, indeed, immediafcly perceive that he spake in 
^an ironical way ; and therefore replied, in vcr. 08. Lord, be- 
hold here arc txvo sxvords : Upon Vt-hich he says, still carrjdng 
.dn the irony. It is enough- So that, whether they understootl 
liis meanin^;- or no, it seems to be tins ; if you are disposed to 
■^Tontend who shall be greatest, as though my kingdom were of 

v^>tJCmpoi-nl nature, an^ t» b- erected i:ad maiutained by force 


of arms, do you think you have siifFicient trerwure to hire 
forces to join" with you, or buy arms for that purpose ? or, do 
you imagme that you have courage enough to attack the Ro- 
man empire, aud gain it by force ? You say, you have two 
swords, can you suppose that these are enough ? what a ludi- 
crious and indifterent figure would you make, if you expected 
to come off conquerors by this means ? No, they that take the 
SM'^ord shall perish with the sword ; for my kingdom is not of 
this world : So that all the advantages and honours that yoa 
are to expect therein, are of a spiritual nature. This seen>s 
rather to be the meaning of this scripture, than that which the 
Papists generally acquiesce in, namely, that by the two swords^ 
are meant the civil and ecclesiastical; both which, as they pre- 
tend, are put into the Pope's hands. 

9thly^ The scripture often makes use of a figurative way of 
speaking, generally called an hendyadis^ v;hereby one complex 
idea, is expressed by two words, ■which is very common in the 
Hebrew language. Thus in Jer. xxix. 11. when God promi- 
ses his people, that he would give them an expected end^ in- 
tcoding hereby their deliverance from the Babylonish captivi- 
ty ; the words, if literally translated, ought to he rendered, as 
it is observed in the margin, an end and expectation ; whereas, 
our translators were apprized that there is such a figurative 
way of speaking contained in them, and therefore they render 
them, an expected end : And this figure is sometimes used ill 
the New Testament ; as Avhen our Saviour tells his disciples, 
in Luke xxi. 15. I rvill give you a mouth and wisdom ; that is, 
I will give you ability to express yourselves with so much wis- 
dom, that all your adversaries shall not be able to gain-say \u 
And some think, that there is the same way of speaking used 
in John iii. 5. * Except a man be born of water, and of thks 

* Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God ;' that is-, 
except a man be born of the Holy Spirit, or regenerated, 
■which is signified by being born of water, he cannot, &c. 

lOM/y, Nothing is more common than for the Holy Ghost, 
in scripture to make use of metaphors, Avhich are a very ele- 
gant way of representing things, by comparing them with, and 
illustrating them by others, and borrowing such modes of 
speaking from them, as may add a very considerable beauty 
to them. Thus repentance and godly sorrow, together with the 
blessed privileges which shall hereafter attend them, are com- 
pared to sowing and reaping, in Psal. cxxvi. 5, 6. * They that 

* sow in tears, shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and 

* weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again 
' with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.' And the 
prophet sets forth the labour and pains which Israel had ta- 
ken in sin ; and exhorts them, by a metaphor taken from bus- 


bandn', to he as Industrious in pursuing what would turn to 
a better account, in Hos. x. 12, 13. where he speaks of their 
ha.ving ploxved xuicied/iess, and reaped iniquity ;^And advises 
ihem to soxv to themselves in righteousness^ and reap in mercy ; 
which, as he farther adds, they should do by seeking the Lord ; 
and it is time^ says he, to seek him, till he come and rain righr- 
teousness upon yon ; vf hich is necessary to a plenteous harvest 
of blessings, which you may hope for in so doing. And, in 
chap. vii. 4. he reproves their adulteries by a metaphor, ta- 
ten from an oven heated by the baker ; and their hypocrisy by 
;inother, taken from a cake not turned^ ver. 8. and their being 
weakened, and almost ruined hereby, he compares to Xhtgrai^ 
hairs of those v/ho are bowed down under the infirmities of 
age, ver. 9. and for their cowardice and seeking help from 
-other nations, and not from God, he calls them a silly dove 
•tvithout an hearty ver. 11. 

And we may observe, that there is oftentimes a chain ojf 
metaphors in the same paragraph. Of this kind is that elegant 
tlescription of old age, sickness, and death, which Solomon 
gives, in exhorting persons to remember their Creator in the 
days of their youth^ Eccl. xii. 1 — 6. xuhile the sun^ or the light^ 
or the moon^ or the stars be not darkened; by which, it is pro- 
bable, he intends the impairing tlie intellect, the loss of those 
sprightly parts which once they had, or, of the memory and 
fudgment ; upon which account men are sometimes said to 
out-live themselves. And he speaks of the keepers of the house 
troubling ; that is, the hands and arms, designed for the de- 
fence of the body, being seized with paralytic disorders ; the 
Atrong men bowing themselves ; that is, those parts which are 
designed to support the body being weakened, and needing a 
staff to bear up themselves ; the grinders ceasing because they 
itrefeWy signifies the loss of teeth ; and they that look out of 
the windows being darkened^ a decay of sight ; their rising up 
&t the voice of the bird^ implies their loss of one of the main 
Drops of nature, to wit, sleep ; so that thfey may rise early in 
the morning, when the birds begin to sing, because their beds 
-v^'ill not afford them rest : And the daughters of music being' 
brought loxv^ denotes a decay of the voice and hearing, and 
being not affected with those sounds which were once most de- 
lightful to them. The ahiond-tree flourishing^ plainly signi- 
fies the hoary head ; the grashopper being a burden^ is either 
:i proverbird speech, importing a want of courage, strength, 
and resolution to bear the smallest pressures ; or, as others 
imder^tand it, their stooping, when bowed down with old age. 
'Jlie silver card loosed^ or, the golden bowl broken at the foun- 
taiUy or the xoheel broken at the cistern^ signifies a decay of 
ibc animal spirits, a hxation of thci nerves, the irregular 


circulation of the blood, or the universal stopp||ge thereof j 
and then the frame of nature is broken, and man returna to tht 
dust *. 

In the New Testament there are several metaphors used ; 
some of which are taken from the Isthmian and Olympic 
games, practised by the Greeks and Romans. Thus the 
apostle Paul compares the Christian life to a race in which wa- 
ny run ; but they do not all receive the prize, 1 Cor. ix. 24- 
And, in ver. 25. he alludes to another exercise, to wit, wrest- 
ling; and recommends temperance as what was practised by 
them, as a means for their obtaining the crown. And, ver» 
26. he uses a metaphor, taken from another of the games, to 
wit, fighting, in hope of victory ; by which he illustrates his 
zeal in the discharge of his ministry. And in Hcb. xii. 1. he 
speaks of the Christian race, and the necessity of hnjing' aside 
every weight, to wit, allowed sins, which v/culd retard our 
course, or hinder us in the way to heaven. And in Phil. iii. 
13, 14. he speaks of himself both as a minister and a Chris- 
tian, as ' forgetting those things which are behind, and reach- 
" ing forth unto those things which are before,' and, ' prcss- 
' ing towards the mark, for the prize of the high calling of 
" God in Christ Jesus:' where he plainly alludes to the pur- 
pose, industry, and earaestncss of those who run in a race. 
And, in Eph. vi. 11, — 16. he speaks of the diHicul'Lies, temp-, 
tations, and opposition that believers are exposed to, ia the 
Christian life ; and advises them, to put on the xvhole armour 
of God ; and so carries on the metaphor or allegory, by al- 
luding to the various pieces of armour, which soldiers make 
use of when engaged in battle, to illustrate the methods we 
ought to take, that we may come cfi conquerors at last. 

(6.) It will be very useful, in order to our understanding- 
scripture, for us to know some things, relating to the diffe- 
rent forms of civil government, and the various changes made 
therein, among the Jev/s, and other nations, uith whom the)- 
were conversant. At first v/e fmd, that distinct families had 
the administration of civil affairs committed unto them, and 
the heads thereof were, as it were, the chief magistrates, 
who had the exercise of civil power, in some instances ; es= 
pecially if it did not interfere with that of the countrv where- 
in they lived. Some think, indeed, that it extended to the 
punishing capital crimes with death ; and that Judab, who 
was the head of a branch of Jacob's family, when he pas- 
ses this sentence concerning Taraar, in Gen. xxxviii. 24. 
Bring her forth, and let her be burnt, does it as a civil ma- 
gistrate : But, if it be not deemed a rash and unjustinabk 

• See more of this in an ingeniotn diifconr.": 6n flii-') s?ihjcct bu Smith in Sofomou'T 
i'OKts^iinr': of old age. 


expression iu him, when he says, Let her be brought Jo rlhy and 
burnt^ we niust suppose the meaning to be, let her first be con- 
fined till she is delivered of her child, and then Jried by the 
civil magistrate, the consequence whereof will be, her being 
burnt, when found guilty of the adultery that was charged 
upon her. So that it does not appear that the heads of fa- 
milies, when sojourning in other countries, had a power dis- 
tinct from that of the government under which they lived, 
to punish offenders with death ; though, I think, it is be- 
yond dispute, that they had a government in their own fa- 
milies, that extended, in many respects, to civil affairs, as 
\vell as obliged them to observe those religious duties which 
God required of them. 

It may be farther observed, that this government extended 
so far, as that the Patriarchs, or heads of families, had, 
sometimes, a power of making war, or entering into con- 
federacies with neighbouring princes, for their o^vn safety, 
or recovering their rights when invaded. Thus when Lot 
and the Sodomites, were taken prisoners by the four kings 
that came up against them, we read, in Gen. xiv. 13, 14. 
that Abraham called in the assistance of some of his neigh- 
bours, with whom he was in confederacy, and armed his truin- 
cd servants^ three hundred and eighteen^ horn in his house^ and 
rescued him, and the men of Sodom from the hands of those 
that had taken them prisoners. 

We have little more light as to this matter, so long as 
the government continued domestic, and the church in the 
condition of sojourners : But, when they were increased to 
a great nation, their ctvil, as well as religious government, 
was settled, by divine direction, under the hand of Moses, 
in the wilderness. The first form thereof, was a theocracy, 
in whicli God gave them laws in an immediate way; conde- 
scended to satisfy them, as to some things, which they en- 
quired of him about; gave them particular intimations how 
they should manage their affairs of war and peace ; and ap- 
peared for them in giving them victory over their enemies, 
in a very extraordinary, and sometimes, miraculous way. 
But, besides this great honour that God put on them, he 
established a form of government among them, in which they 
were divided into thousatids, hundreds^ ffties^ and tens^ Exod. 
xviii. 31. Deut. i. 15. each of which divisions had their res- 
pective captain or governor ; who are, sometimes, styled the 
nobles of the children of Israel^ Exod. xxiv. 11. And these 
govei-nors were generally heads of considerable families among 
them ; which were also divided in the same way, into thou- 
sands, fifties, and tens, in proportion to the largeness thereof; 
fhus GideoH, speakiDg of his family, in Jud^jv^ vi. 2p. calls 

to BE READ BY ALL. i'S7 

it, as the Hebrew word signifies, his thousand. "'And, in the 
same manner, their armies were divided, when engaged in 
war ; thus when Jesse sent David with a present^ into the 
army, to his brethren, he bade him deliver it to the captain 
over their thousand^ 1 Sam. xvii. 18. and chap, xviii. l3. And 
we read, that Saul made David his captain over a thousand ^ 
which is the same with what we, in our modern way of 
speaking, call a commanding officer over a regiment of sol- 
diers. Again, when David's soldiers v/ent out to war against 
Absalom, it is said, Theij came out bij hundreds and by thou- 
sands^ 2 Sam. xviii. 4. each distinct company, or regiment, 
having their commanding officer. 

Thus the government was settled as to civil and military 
afFairs, in such a way, that the head of the respective division, 
had a power of judging in lesser matters. But since there 
Avere some affairs of the greatest importance to be transacted 
in the form of their government, by divine direction, God ap- 
pointed seventy men of the children of Israel, to assist Moses 
in those matters, in which they had more immediately to do 
with himj and accordingly he (fave thein the Spirit^ Numb. xi. 
26, 17. that is, the extraordinary inspiration of the Spirit; 
whereby he communicated his mind and will to them. This 
was the first rise of the Sanhedrim ; and these had a power of 
judging in civil matters, throughout all the ages of the church 
till the Jews were made tributary to the Romans ; and after 
that, this body of nien were as vile and contemptible asr they 
had before been honourable in the eyes of just and good men, 
as appears by their tumultuous and unprecedented behaviour 
in the trial of our Saviour, and the malicious prosecutions, set 
on foot by them, against the apostles, without any pretence or 
form of law. 

After the death of Joshua, and the elders that survived him, 
there was an alteration in the form of government, occasioned 
by the oppression which they were liable to from their ene- 
mies, who insulted, vexed, and sometimes plundered them of 
their substance. Then God raised up judges, who first pro- 
cured peace for them, by success in war; and afterwards go- 
verned them ; though without the character or ensigns of royal 
dignity. And, this government not being successive, they 
were, on the death of their respective judges, brought into 
great confusion, every one doing that which was right in his 
own eyes, till another judge was raised up, as some future 
emergency required it. Thus the posture of their affairs con- 
tinued, as the apostle observes, about the space of four hundred 
and fifty years ^ Acts xiii. 20. and then it was altered, when, 
through their unsettled temper, they desired a king, in con- 
formity to the custom of the nations roimd about them> 

Vol., \\\ S 

15.8 TliJC U'*RD or GOD 

'which thing was displeasing to God : nevertheless, he graft- 
ed them their request, 1 Sam. viii. 5, — 7. and so the govern- 
ment became regal. And then followed a successiorr of kings, 
set over the whole nation, till the division between Judah 
and Israel ; when they became two distinct kingdoms, and 
so continued, till their respective captivity. These things be- 
ing duly considered, will give great light to several things 
contained inr scripture ; especially as to what relates to the 
civil affairs of the church of God. 

And, for our farther understanding thereof, it will be ne- 
cessary that we take a view of the government of other na- 
tions, with whom they were often conversant. We read al- 
most of as many kings in scripture, as there were cities in 
several of those countries .which lay round about them ; thus^ 
in Gen. xxxvi. we read of many dukes and kings, (whose 
power was much the same) who descended from Esau. These 
had very small dominions, each of them being, as it is pro- 
bable, the chief governor of one city, or, at most, of a little 
tract of land round about it j and, indeed, besides the As- 
syrian, and other monarchies, that were of a very large ex- 
tent, and had none who stood in competition with them, un- 
der that character, while they subsisted ; all other kingdoms 
were very small ; therefore four kings were obliged to en- 
ter into a confederacy, to make war with Sodom, and the 
four neighbouring cities,, which a very inconsiderable army 
might, v/ithout much difficulty, have subdued, Gen. xiv. 1, 
&fc. One of them, indeed, is called king of nations ; not as 
though he had large dominions, but because he was the chiel 
governor of a mixed people, from divers nations, who were- 
settled together in one distinct colony ; and the king of Shi- 
nar, there spoken of, is not the king of Babylon, who was 
too potent a prince to have stood in need of others to join 
•with him in this expedition ; but it was a petty king, who 
reigned in some city near Babylon, and was tributary to the. 
Assyrian empire. These four kings, with all their forces, 
•wei-e so few in number, that Abraham was not afraid to at- 
tack them ; which he did with success. 

Again, we read, that in Joshua's time, the kings in the 
land of Canaan, whom he subdued, had, each of them, very 
small dominions, consisting of but one capital city, with a few 
villages round about it. Thus vsre read of thirty one kings that 
reigned in that country, which was not so big as a fourth part 
of the kingdom of England,. Josh. xii. And afterwards most. 
of these kingdoms were swallowed up by the Assyrian em- 
pire. TIius the king of Assyria, as Rabshakeh boasts, had en- 
tirely conquered the kings of Hamaih, Arphad, Gozan, and 
"Ilafra'A, v/ith several others, 2 Kings xix. 12, IS. these had 


very small dominions, and therefore were easily subdued by 
forces so much superior to any that tjhey could raise. Egypt, 
indeed, was more formidable ; and therefore we often read in 
scripture of Israel's having recourse to them for help, and are 
blamed for trusting in them more than God : And, in Arabia, 
there were some kings who had large dominions, as appears by 
the vast armies that they raised : Thus Zerah the Ethiopian 
came forth against Asa^ with a thousand thousand niai^ 2 
Chron. xvi. 19. Nevertheless, the church of God was able to 
stand its ground ; for, whether the neighbouring kings were 
many of them, confederate against them, or the armies they 
raised, exceeding numerous, like the sand on the sea shore ; 
they had safety and protection, as well as success in war, 
from the care and blessing of providence ; of which we have 
an account in the history of scripture relating thereunto. 

(7.) It will be of some advantage, in order to our undei'- 
standing the sense of scripture, for us to enquire into the 
meaning of those civil and religious offices and characters, by 
which several persons are described, both in the Old and New 
Testament. Concerning the Priests and Levites, we have had 
occasion frequently to insist on their call and office : Among 
the former of these, one is styled high-priest ; who was not 
only the chief aiinister in holy things under the Jewish dis- 
pensation ; but presided over the other priests in all those 
things that respected the temple-service. There was also ano- 
ther priest, who had pre-eminence over his brethren, that was 
next to the high-priest in office, who seems to be referred to, 
in 2 Kings xxv. 18. where we read oi Seriah, the chief priest, 
and Zephaniah the second priest. This office is not often men- 
tioned in scripture, but is frequently spoken of by Jewish wri- 
ters : They call him, who was employed therein, as the author 
of the Chaldee paraphrase does on that text, the Sagan : And, 
some think, that this office was first instituted in Numb. iii. 
32. in which Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest was to be 
chief over the chief of the Levites^ and to have the oversight of 
them^ that kept the charge of the sanctuary : And elsewhere, 
we read of Zadok and Abiathar, being, by way of eminency, 
priests at the same time, 2 Sam. xv. o5. by which. It is pro- 
bable, we are to understand, as many expositors do, that one 
was the high priest, the other the Sagan ; who was to perform, 
the office that belonged to the high priest in all the branches 
thereof, if he should happen to be incapacitated for it. 

Besides these, there were others who were styled chief- 
priests, as being the heads of their respective classes, and pre* 
sided over them when they came to Jerusalem, to minister ia 
their courses. There was also the president of the Sanhedrim, 
who is generally reckoned ®nc tf Uic chief priest's, Mftreever, 


when any one was by the arbitrary will of the governors, iu 
the degenerate and declining state of the Jewish church, depo- 
sed from the high-priesthood, barely to make way" for ano-< 
ther favourite to enjoy that honour, he was, though divested 
of his oihce, nevertheless called chief priest. This will give 
light to several scriptures in the New Testament, in which wc 
often read of many chief priests at the same time. See Luke 
iii. 2. Mark xiv. 53. 

Again, as to the Levitcs, these were not only appointed to 
be the high priest's ministers in offering gifts and sacrifices in 
the temple ; but many of them were engaged in other offices } 
jpomc in instructing the people, in the respective cities where they 
dwelt, who were to resort to them for that purpose, or in sy- 
nagogues, erected for this branch of public worship. Others 
^vere employed as judges in determining civil or ecclesiastical 

Again, we often read, in scripture, of Scribes : These were 
of two sorts ; some were employed only in civil matters ; and 
we sometimes read of one person, in particular, who was ap- 
pointed to be the king's scribe. Thus in David's reign, we 
read of Shemaiah the scribe, and in Hezekiah's of Shebna, 
1 Chron. xxiv. 6. 2 Kings xviii, 18. This seems to have been 
a civil officer, not much unlike a secretary of state among us ; 
and we seldom find mention n^ade of more than one scribe at 
a time, except in Solomon's reign in which there were two, 
1 Kings iv. 4. 

But besides thi.'^, we often read of scribes who were engaged 
in other works ; thus it is generally supposed, that many of 
them were employed in transcribing the whole, or some parta 
of scripture, for the use of those who employed them there- 
in, and gratified them for it j which was necessary for the 
propagating religioti in those ages, in which printing Avas 
not known, 

There were others who explained the law to the people. 
Thus Ez,ra is styled, a ready scribe in the lavo of Jlloses, Ez- 
ra, vii. 6. This was an honourable and useful employment, 
faithfully managed by him and many others, in the best ages 
of the church. But, in our Saviour's time, there were scribes 
who pretended to expound the law, and instruct the people ; 
but the doctrines they propagated, wore very contrary to die 
mind of the Holy Ghost ia Moses''s writings ; and their way- 
of preaching was very empty ami unprofitable : Upon which 
occasion it is said^ that our I^ord taught as 07ie hamng autho- 
rity., and ?iot as the sc^'ibea^ IMatt. vii. 29. 

Moreover, we sometimes read in the New-Testament, of 
X.awyers, against whom our Saviour denounces woes, for op- 
(?osinjg him and his goswcl. Ti.is ;r> supposes! by some, to be 


ouly a difFcrent name given to the sci-ibes ; inasnroch as they 
practised the law in public com-ts of judicature, and pleaded 
causes in the Sanhedrin, or taught in their schools or religious 
assemblies ; both which the scribes did. And the evangelist 
Matthew, speaking concerning a lavv'yer, who asked our Sa- 
viour a question, Which, is the great CQr.nnandjnent^ chap. xxii. 
35, 36. Mark mentioning the same thing, calls him one of the 
■scribes^ Mark xii. 28. So that the same thing, for substance, 
seems to be intended by both of them ; or if there was any 
difference between them, as others suppose there was, from 
what is said in Luke xi. 44, 45. that when our Savi ur had 
been reproving the scribes and Pharisees, 0/ie of the tawijerst 
said unto him^ thus saying- thou refi}-oachest us alss, where they 
speak as though they were distinct from them : yet it is evi- 
dent from hence^ that however they might be distinguished 
from them, in other respects, they agreed with them as en- 
gaged in expounding the law, and herein are said to lade me?! 
with heavy burdens and grievous to be horn ; which they them- 
selves would not touch xvith one of their fingers. 

As for diose civil officers which we read of in tlie Old Tes« 
tament before the capuvit}', especially in David and Solomon's 
reign, they were either such as were set over the tribute, the 
principal of which was at the head of the treasury, 1 Kings iv. 
6. and others were employed under them, to see that the 
taxes were duly levied and paid : These are called receivers^ 
Isa. xxxiii. 18. Others were employed in keeping and adjust- 
ing the public records, of which, one was the chief; who, by 
way of eminence, is called the recorder : And others were ap- 
pointed to manage the king's domestic affairs, of which, the 
chief was set over the household.^ 2 Kings xviii. 18. Another is 
said to be set over the host., 1 Kings iv. 4. who either had the 
chief command of the army, or else was appointed to muster 
and determine who should go to war, or be excused from it* 
And there is another officer we read of once in scripture, viz. 
he that counted the towers^ Isa. xxxiii. 18. whose business 
seems to have been to survey and keep the fortifications in re- 
pair; but these not being so frequently mentioned in scrip- 
ture as others, we pass them over, and proceed more espe- 
cially to consider some characters of persons we meet with in 
the New Testament. 

There was one sort of officers who were concerned in ex- 
acting the public revenues, after the Jews were made tributa- 
ry to the Roman empire : These are called publicans ; the 
chief of which were generally persons of great honour and 
substance, who sometimes farmed a branch of the revenue, 
^nd they WQte, for the most part, Rpmans of noble extract, of 

.342 ^THfi WORU Oi GUiJ 

"tvhom we have an account in Cicero *, and other heathen svji* 
ters ; but there is no mention of them in scripture. jThis ho* 
nourable post was never conferred on the Jews ; nevertheless, 
we read of Zaccheus, who is said to have been one of the chief 
among the publicans^ though a Jew, Luke xix. 2. the meaning 
of which is, that he was the chief officer in a particular port, 
•j;vho had other publicans under him ; whose business was, 
constantly to attend at the ports, and take an account of the. 
taxes that were to be paid there, by those of whom they were 
.exacted. Of this latter sort was Matthew, who is called the 
publican, i. e, one of the lowest officers concerned in the re- 
venue, Matt. X. 3. compared with chap. ix. 9. These were 
usually very profligate in their morals, and inclined to oppress 
those of whom they received taxes, probably to gain advan* 
tage to themselves ; and were universally hated by the Jews, 
There vras another sort of men often mentioned in the New 
Testament, that made the greatest pretensions to religion, but 
were most remote from it, and justly branded with the charac' 
ter of hypocrites, to wit, the Pharisees, who made themselves 
popular by their external shew of piety. There is not, indeed, 
the least hint of there being such a sect amongst the Jews be- 
fore the captivity ; though, it is true, the prophet Isaiah, laa. 
IxA'. 5. speaks of a sort o; people that much resembled them, 
which said, Stand bij thyself come not near to me^for lam ho-^. 
}ier than thou; from whence, it seems, that there were some 
of like principles in his day ; unless we svippose that this 
scripture had its accomplishment when the sect of the Pha- 
risees appeared in the world in a following age j which was 
wot long after the reign of Alexander the great f, between 
two and three hundred years before our Saviour's time. They 
are generally described in scripture, as pretending to be more 
expert than all others in the knowledge of the law ; but, in 
rcalitv, making it void, by establishing those oral traditions, 
which were contrary to the true intent and meaning thereof, 
»nd, as setting up their own righteousness, and depending on 
the performance of some lesser duties of the law, as that from 
whence they expected a right to eternal life. These were the 

* Vid. Cic.in Orat.firo Plane. Jloremequitum Jlomanorrtmornamentwn civitafisy 
Jhmamentum Teipubiic£ pHhUcanonim ordine coutiiteri. And in his oration, ad 
Qnintum Fratrem, he has mmtij thiv7^ cnncerning the dignitij of the publicansy and 
thtir advantage to the ctminornoeu'th : aecordinqbi he saijs. Si publicanis adverse-^ 
Tunr ordinem do nobis npiime m,Titum, & per noe cum republicu cmjiinctum, & a 
noli!:, & a republLcn diitjuvgimne. And, in lu.»familiur epixtles. Lib. xix. Epist. x. 
if culls them, Ordinan .tibi semper eominnndatmimnm ; & ad Attieiim, Lib. viK 
J'.pist. vii. /i<" sarja, Cdssari amicis«irnmfui,^.:epnbUcanos. 

j Sef Juhiph. Jntiqidt. lAb. xiii. Cnp. ix. AndiiM: have an account of their pridfi 
nadiri-Mlencuin the tain; author, chap, .'iviii. and of the great disturbance (l!tit ihri', 
Tvidt tk ei'-i! jfov^i-ti.'iicnls-. ifrfiiefrnajiXTialV" did ?nt pt'ca^c them. 


greatest eMemies, in their conduct, as well as their doctrines, 
10 Christ, and his gospel. 

There was another sect that joined with the Pharisees, in 
persecuting and opposing our Saviour; though otherwise they 
did not, in the least, accord with one another ; and these were 
the Sadducees, who appeared in the world about the same 
time with tlie Pharisees : These were men generally reputed 
as profligate in their morals, and for that reason, as much 
hated by the common people, as the Pharisees were caressed 
by them. They adhered to the Philosophy of Epicurus ; and 
took occasion, from thence to deny the resurrection, angels, 
and spirits, as they are said to do in scripture. Acts xxiii. 8. 
It is true they did not desire to be thought irreligious, though 
they were really so ; yet our Saviour describes them, as well 
as the Pharisees, as hypocrites^ and inveterate enemies of the 

There was another sort of people sometimes mentioned 
in the New Testament, viz. the Samaritans, who separated 
from the Jews, out of a private pique, and built a distinct 
temple on mount Gerizzim * ; and for this they ^Were ex- 
communicated by the Jews, and universally hated, so that 
there was no intercourse between them, John iv. 9, especial- 
ly in those things in which one might be said to be obliged 
to the other : These did very much corrupt the worship of 
God, so that Christ charges them with xuorshippvig they 
blew not xvhat^xcv. 12. and it is observed concerning them, 
after the ten tfibes were carried captive into Assyria, and 
they who were left in the land feared not the Lord^ that he 
.'icnt lions amongst them^ 2 kings xvii. 25. upon which occasion 
a priest was dismissed by the king of Assyria, under pre* 
tence of i7istructing- them in the manner of the God of the land; 
and he erected a strange medly of religion, consisting pardy 
of those corruptions therein, which had been practised by the 
Israelites for some ages past, and partly of the Heathen 
idolatry, which they brought from Assyria; upon which ac- 
count it is said. They feared the Lord^ and served their oiv)t 
j^ods after the manner of the natio?is whom they carried awaif 
frovi thence^ 2 Kings xvii. 33. 

There is another sort of men, mentioned in the New Testa- 
meiit, who are called Herodians : These seem to have been a 
political rather than a religious sect. Some of the Fathers, in-^ 
deed, think that they were so called because they compliment- 
ed Herod with the character of the Messiali j, who, as thcv 
^aipposed, would be a very flourishing prince, who was tp 

"■ See.Joseph.Jntiqvit. Lib. x\. Cni). y'n\. 

144 ^He worb op god 

reign over them, according to the ancient prediction of the pa« 
triarch Jacob, after the sceptre xvas departed from Judah : But 
this seems to be a very improbable conjecture ; for Herod the 
Great was dead, before we read any thing of the Herodians iu 
scripture : And the Jews had an opinion, about this time, that 
the Messiah should never die, John xii. 34. Therefore, the 
most probable opinion is, that these Herodians were, in their 
first rise, the favourites and courtiers of Herod, and disposed 
to give into any alterations that he was inclined to make in 
the religious or civil affairs of the Jews *. By what is said 
concerning them in scripture, it is supposed, that they were, 
for thy most part, Sadducecs ; for if we compare Matt. xvi. 6* 
with Mark viii. 15. our Saviour warns his disciples upon the 
same occasion, to wit, their having ybr^o? to take bread^ to he- 
ware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees ; as 
the former evangelist expresses it, and of the leaven of Herod^ 
viz. the Herodians, as it is in the latter : Now, though these 
Herodians, or court-parasites, might take their first rise in the 
reign of Herod the Great ; yet there was a party of men suc- 
ceeded them, who held the same principles, and were dispos- 
ed to compliment their governors with their civil and religious 
rights ', but they more especially distinguished themselves, by 
their propagating principles of loyalty among the people : 
And, whereas the Jews, under a pretence that they, were a 
free nation, v/ere very unwilling to give tribute to Cesar,) 
{though they would not venture their lives as Judas of Gali- 
lee, and some others had done, by refusing it :) these Hero- 
dians laid it down as an article of their faith, that they ought 
to pay tribute to Cesar ; and therefore, when they came with 
this question to our Saviour, Is it lawfid to give tribute to Ce- 
sar^ or not? Matt. xxii. 17. he soon discovered their hypo- 
crisy, and knew the design of that question as he might easi- 
ly do from their being Herodians. Thus concerning the vari- 
ous characters of persons mentioned in scripture, as subservi* 
ent to our understanding thereof. 

(8.) After all these helps for the understanding the sense of 
scripture, there is one more which is universally to be observ- 
ed ; namely, that no sense is to be given of any text, but 
what is agreeable to the analogy of faith, has a tendency to 
advance the divine perfections, stain the pride of all flesh, in 
the sight of God, and, promote practical godliness in all its 

Isty Scripture must be explained agreeably to the analogy 

* That Iferod loas disposed to make alterations in the Jcvs religion, by adtUmr 
if J it a mixtnye of several rites and ceremonies, taken from the Heathen, is a^rnn-d 
by some. See Cwwus de Rep. Hab. Lib. i Cap. xvi. ~.vho quotes Joscplutt ur 
scming, that he altered the ar.cicnt (ar:s of their connirj- 

fX> feE READ BY ALLo 115 

M fiiith. It is supposed that there is soraethhig wff depend on, 
which we can prove to be the faith of scripture, or demonstra- 
]>ly founded upon it : This we are bound to adhere to ; other- 
ivise we must be charged with scepticism, and concluded not 
to know where to set our feet in matters of religion. Now, 
so far as our faith herein is founded on scripture, every sense 
we give of it must be agreeable thereunto ; otherwise we do 
as it were suppose that the word of God in one place destroys 
what, in another, it establishes, which would be a great reflec- 
tion on that which is the standard and rule of our faith. I do 
not hereby intend, that our sentiments are to be a rule of faith 
to others, any farther than as they are evidently contained in, 
or deduced from scripture : Yet that which we beiievi: , as 
thinking it to be the sense of scripture, is so far a rule to usi, 
that, whatever sense we give of any other scripture, must be 
agreeable to it; or else, we must be content to acknowledge, 
that we are mistaken in some of those things which we called 
articles of faith, as founded thereon. 

2d/i/^ No sense given of scripture, must be contrary to tha 
divine perl^ctions : Thus, when human passions are ascribed 
to God, such as grief, fear, desire, wrath, fury, indignation, 'is'ct. 
these are not to be explained, as' when the same passions are> 
ascribed to men, in which sense they argue weakness and im- 
perfection. And when any phrase of scripture seems to re- 
present him defective in power ; as in J er. xiv. 9. ' Why 

* shouldst thou be as a irian astonied, as a mighty man that; 
cannot save ?' we are to understand it as a charge that would 
be unjustly brought against God, if he did not appear in the 
behalf of his people, by those who are disposed to reproach 
and find fault with the dispensations of his providence : But^ 
since we have taken occasion, in explaining many scriptures 
and doctrines founded upon them, to apply this rule ; I shall 
content myself, at present, with the bare mentioning of it. 

3dli/^ We are to explain scripture in such a way, as that it 
Wtay have a tendency to promote practical godliness in all its 
branches ; which is the main end and design thereof. Many 
instances might be given, in which this rule is to be applied ; 
as when we are said, in Rom. vii. 14. ?iot to be under the 
laxv^ but under grace f we are not to understand this as though 
we were discharged from an obligation to yield obedience to 
whatever God commands ; but either, as denoting our being 
delivered from the condemning sentence of the law ; or, from 
the ceremonial lav/, to which the gospel-dispensation, which isi 
a display of the grace of God, is always opposed. And when 
it is said in Eccl. vii. 16. * Be not righteous overmuch, nei- 

* ther make thyself overwise : Why shouldst thou destroy thy- 

* self?' We are not to understand thereby, that there js any 

Vol, IV. 'V 


danger of Ijeing too holy, or strict in the performance of reli- 
gious duties ; but as forbidding an hypocritical appearing to be- 
more righteous than we are, or entertaining a proud send vain- 
glorious conceit of our own righteousness, because we per- 
form some duties of religion. 

Again, there are other scriptures which are sometimes per- 
verted, as though they intimated, that prayer, or other reli- 
gious duties, were not incumbent on v/icked men ; as wheu 
it is said, in Prov. xxi. 27. The sacrifice of the xvicked is an 
abomitiation to the Lord: And, chap, xxviii. 9. that his prayer 
is so, or that he has nothing ta do with those duties ; be- 
cause it is said to such, in Psal. I. 16. JVhat hast thou to do 
to declare my statutes^ or^ that thou shouldst take my covenant 
in thy mouth. But these scriptures do not imply, that they are 
not obliged to perform religious duties ; but, that it is contra- 
ry to the holiness of God, and a great provocation to hinx 
when they regard not the frame of spirit with wdiich they 
perform them, who draw nigh to him with their lips, when 
their heart is far from him, or lay claim to the blessings oJr 
the covenant of grace, while continuing in open hostility against 
him. To apply this rule fully, would be to go through the whole 
scripture, aud to shew how all the great doctrines of religion 
v/hich are founded upon it, are conformed thereunto i But 
this we have endeavoured ta do in all those instances in 
which we have had occasion to give the sense thereof; and 
therefore shall' content ourselves with this brief specimen, and 
leave it to every one to improve upon it in his daily medita- 
tions, in enquiring into the sense of scripture, in order to 
his being farther established in that religion \vhich is found- 
ed thereon. 

Quest. CLVIII. By whom is the word of God to be preached? 

Ansv^. The word of God is to be preached only hy such as 
are sufficiently gifted, and also duly approved and called to^ 
that office. 

Quest. CLIX. Hoxv is the word of God to be preached bij 
those that are called thereto ? 

Answ. They tliat are called to labour in the ministry of the 
word, are to preach sound doctrine, diligently ; in season, 
and out of season ; plainly, not in the enticing words of 
man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit, and 
powei-, faithfull)', making known the whole council of God ; 

. wisely,, applying themselves to the. necessities and capaci • 


ties of the hearers; zealously, with fervent Hfve to God, 
and the souls of his people ; sincerely, aiming at his glory,, 
and their conversion, edification, and salvation. 

Quest. CLX. IVhat :s required of those that hear the ivord 
preached P 

Aivsw. It is required of those that hear the word preached, 
that they attend upon \x with diiigence^ preparation, and 
prayer, examine what they hear, by the scripture, receive the 
truth with faith, love, meekness, and readiness of mind, as 
the word of God ; meditate, and confer of it ; hide it in 
their heart, and bring forth the fruit of it iu their lives. 

HAVING considered, what method wc are to take, in our 
pri\ate station, or capacity, to understand the word of 
God i we have great reason to be thankful, that he has ordaia- 
ed that it should be publicly preached, or explained, as a far- 
ther means conducive to this end. And accordingly we are led, 
3a these answers, to shew, who they are that (iod has called tc' 
this work ; and how such ought to perform it ; and Avith whai; 
frame of spirit we ought to attend on it. 

I. The persons by whom the word of God is to be preach-^ 
ed ; and these are only such, whom lie has qualified with gifts 
sufficient for it ; and they ought also to be duly approved of, 
\vhen called hereunto, by those among whom ilie providence of 
God directs them to exercise their ministry. 

1, Concerning the qualifications which are necessary, in 
those that are employed in preaching the gospel. Here it Is to 
be observed in general, that they must be suificienily gifted fqr 
it ; which is so evident, that it would be unreasonable for any 
one to deny it, since no one is to attempt any thing that he is 
not able to perform ; especially if it be a work of the highest 
importance, and the unskilful managing thereof may have a 
tendency to do prejudice to, rather than advance the interest 
of Christ. It would be a reflection on the wisdom of a master, 
to employ his servant in a work that he has no capacity for, or 
entrust him with an affair that is like to miscarry in his hands. 
In like manner, v/e are not to suppose that God calls any to 
preach the gospel, but those whom he has, in some measure, 
furnished for it ; though, it is true, the best may say, as the 
apostle does, We are not sufficient of ourselves, to think any 
thing" as of ourselves ; but our suffeieneij is of God: Yet he 
adds, that they who are employed by him in this work, are 
made able ministers of the Nexv-Testamcnt, 2 Cor. iii. 5, 6. It 
is, indeed, a difhcult matter to determine who are sufficiently 
gifted for it ', the work being so great, and owr natural an4 


acquired endowments very small, if compared with it. BuL 
that we may briefly consider this matter, it may be observed, 

(1.) That some qualifications are moral, without wliich, they 
who preach the gospel, would be a reproach to it. These re 
spect, more especially, the conversation of those who are enga- 
ged in this work, which ought to be blameless and exemplary ; 
not only inoffensive, but such as they, whom they are called to 
instruct, may safely copy after. Thus the apostle makes a so- 
lemn appeal, when he says, Tc are xvitnesses^ and God also ^ how 
Jiolily^ and justly^ and wiblamcabhj we behaved ourselves among; 
Ijou that believe^ 1 'I'hess. ii, 10. And he advises the Corinthi- 
€ins to he folloxvers of him^ 1 Cor. iv. 16. and commends the 
thurch elsewhere, for conforming themselves to his example, 
so far as it was agreeable to that of bur Saviour, 1 Thess. i. 6. 
in which respect alone the best of men are to be followed, 1 
Cor. xi. 1. Now this supposes that they have that which we 
call the moral qualifications, necessary to the work of the minis- 
try, without which, a person will do more hurt, by his example, 
than he can do good by his doctrine ; inasmuch as he will lay a 
stumbling-block in the way of Christians, who would be ready 
to say, as the apostle does to some of those wyho were teachers 
among the Jews ; Thou xvh'ich teachest another^ te<xchest thou 
not thyself? Rom. ii. 21. or, dost thou live in the practice of 
those crimes, which thou condemntst in others, and exhortest 
them to avoid ? This qualification therefore, must be supposed 
to be necessary ', and, indeed, an experimental knowledge of di- 
vine truths, will greatly furnish them to communicate the sante 
to others, and spirit them, with zeal, in using their utmost en- 
deavours, that they may be made partakers of the same expe- 
riences which they themselves, have been favoured with. Ne- 
vertheless, we are not to suppose that this alone will warrant 
a person's engaging in the Avork of the ministry ; for then every 
one who has experienced the grace of Cod, might attempt it, 
how tenable soever he be to manage it to the glory of God, and 
the edification of the church. I'herefore, 

(2.) There are other qualifications more directly subservient 
l\ereunto. These the apostle speaks of, when he describes a 
gospel-minister as one who is apt to tcach^ 1 Tim. iii. 2. and 
able rightly to divide the word of truths 2 Tim. ii. 15. and, by 
sound doctrine.^ to exhort and convince gainsai/crs^ Tit. i. 9» 
They who take upon them to explain scripture, and apply it 
to the consciences of men, ought, certainly, with great dili- 
gence and hard study, to use their utmost endeavours to under- 
stand it. And to this we may add, that they ought to be able 
to reason, or infer just consequences from it; whereby they 
Unay appear to be well versed in those great doctrines, on 
Viliioh oyr faith and religion is founded. Tliis, indeed, mir/c 


Ibe confessed to be a work of difficulty ; and, the|(' who think 
themselves best furnished in this respect, will have reason to 
conclude, as the apostle says, that they Jinonr but in party and 
prophesy in part^ 1 Cor. xiii. 9. 

To this we may add, that there are various parts of learning, 
that may be reckoned, in some respects, ornamental, wluch 
would tend to secure him that preaches the gospel from con- 
tempt ; and others, that are more immediately subservient to 
our understanding scripture, namely, a being wdi acquauited 
•with those languages, in which the Old and New Tebiament 
were written, and able to make critical reiDarks on the style 
and mode of expression used in each of them, and a being con- 
versant in the writings of those, whether in our own or other 
languages, who have clearly and judiciously explained the doc- 
trines of the gospel, or ltd us into the knowledge of those 
things that have a tendency to illustrate them. And, inas- 
much as preaching contains in it an address to the judgments 
tind consciences of men, I cannot but reckon it a qualification 
necessary in order hereunto, that all those parts of learning 
that have a tendency to enlarge the reasoning faculties, or help 
us to see the connexion or dependence of one thing upon ano- 
ther, should be attended to, that we may hereby be htted to 
convey our ideas with judgment and method. These qualifi- 
cations are to be acquired. We pass by those that are natural, 
to wit, a sufficient degree of parts, and such an elocution as is 
pecessary for those who are to speak to the edification of an 
audience, without which all other endeavours to furnish them- 
selves for this work, will be to very little purpose. 

2. They, by whom the word of God is to be preached, aix; 
to be duly approved and called to that office. A .person mav 
think himself qualified for it without sufficient ground .; there- 
fore this matter ought to be submitted to the judgment of o- 
thers, by whose approbation he is to engage in thiswork. The 
first thing that is to be enquired into, is ; v/hether he is called 
to.it by God, not only by his providence, which opens a door 
for his preaching the gospel, but by the success which he is 
pleased to grant to his endeavours, in order to his being dul\ 
qualified for it ? Notwithstanding, since persons may bp mis 
taken, and think they have a divine call hereunto, when they 
have not ; it is necessary that they should be approved by those 
who are sufficient judges of this matter, that they may not be 
exposed to temptation, so as to engage in a work which they 
are not deemed sufficient for. Not that it is in the power of 
ministers, or churches, especially according to the present situa- 
tion of things, to hinder an unqualified person who has too 
high thoughts of his own abilities, from preaching to a num- 
ber ©f people that is disposed to hf^ar him ; yet no one i^ houna 



or ought, in prudence, or faithfulness to God or man, to pwn 
any to be a minister, whose gifts do not render him fit to be 
approved ; nor, on tiie other hand, can any judgment be pass- 
ed on this matter, without suflicient acquaintance or conversa- 
tion with him, that thereby it iiiay be known whether he be a 
workman that needeth not to be ashamed, and able rightly to 
divide the word of truth. 

Here, I think, there is some difference between the appro- 
bation that ought to be passed on those who first engage in thee 
work of preaching, and the call to the pastoral office ; the lat- 
ter supposes the former ; and therefore a person ought first to 
be approved of, as lit to preach the gospel, in the opinion of 
those who are allowed to be competent judges hereof, which is 
necessary to his entrance on that work with reputation and ac- 
ceptance ; without which, he is to stand and fall to his own 
master, and acquiesce in the approbation of those who are will- 
ing to sit under his ministry ; while others are not bound (as 
being destitute of sufficient evidence) to conclude him furnish- 
ed for, or called to it. 

As to the call to the pastoral office ; though no one has a 
right to impose pastors on churches ; yet it is the indispensi- 
ble duty of every church not barely to enquire ; whether the 
person, whom they have a desire to call to that office, be such 
;in one as is approved by the greater number of them ; but, 
whether the step they are taking herein, is such as has a ten- 
dency to secure their reputation as a church of Christ, with 
out exposing them to the just blame and censure of others, 
who are in the same faith, and order with themselves ? that 
they may do nothing that is in the least offensive, or that has 
a tcTidency to weaken the interest of Christ in his churches. 
It is true, no one can put a stop to their proceeding, if they 
are resolved to set over them one that is not only scandalous 
in his conversation, but inclined to preach what is subversive 
of the fundamental articles of our faith ; yet they cannot here- 
bv act as a church that has obtained mercy from God to be 
faithful, or engage in this important work with judgment. It 
is therefore expedient, that churches should set over them mir 
■pisters approved hy others as sound in the faith, as well as 
jicckoned, by iiiemselves, able to preach to their edification ; 
and, in order hereunto, it is expedient that some minijiters, and 
members of other churches, shoidd be present at their investi- 
ture in that ofitice, to which they have called them, not barely 
us being witnesses of their faith and order, in common with 
the whole asseinbly, but as testifying hereby their apjirobation 
®f their proceedings, and giving ground to the world to con- 
<;lude, that that person, whom they have called, is owned by 
others, as well as themselves. 


And, in order thereunto, it is necessary that mi|<sters, who 
are to join in begging the blessing of God on their proceedings^ 
and giving a word of exhortation to them, should be satisfied 
concerning the fitness of him whom the church has called to 
that office ; which is supposed by their being present, and bear- 
ing their respective parts therein. This, I think, is intended 
by that expression of the aposde, in which he advises Timothy, 
to lay hands suddenUj on no man i nor to be partaker of other 
men's sins ; but to keep himself pure^ 1 Tim. v. 22. that is, 
without guilt, as being active in aj)proving those that he ought 
not to approve of. I do not, by this, take the power out of 
the hands of the church, of setting a pastor over themselves ; 
but only hereby argue the expediency of their consulting the 
honour of the gospel herein, and acting so, as that they may 
have the approbation of other churches in that solemnity. 

II. We are now to consider how the v/ord of God is to be 
preached by those who are qualified, approved, and called there- 
unto ; and that, both as to doctrines to be insisted on, and the 
manner in which they are to be delivered. 

1. What thev are to preach, ought to be sound doctrine, and 
that not barely what is deemed to be so by him that preaches 
it ; since there is scarce an}'^ one but thinks himself sound )a 
the faith, how remote soever his sentiments may be from the 
true intent and meaning of the word of God. But hereby we 
imderstand those doctrines which are so called by the apostle. 
Tit. i. 9. such as are agreeable to that for?n of sonnd words 
which is transmitted to us by divine inspiration, 2 Tim. i. 13. 
the doctrine xuhicli is according' to godliness^ 1 Tim. vi. 3. as 
having a tendency to recommend and promote it. This is sty- 
led elsewhere. The faith once delivered to the saints ; which is 
Jiot only to be preached, but earnestlif contended for ^ Jwde, ver.' 
-3. These are such doctrines as have a tendei:*-/ to advance the 
glory of God, and do good to the souls oi men, that are rt:lis]i" 
ed and savoured by sincere Christians, who know the truth, as 
it is in Jesus ; and are nourished iip^ as the apostle says, in the: 
words of faith and of good doctrine^ 1 Tim. iv. 6. This, as 
it has a peculiar reference to the gospel, and the way of salva- 
tion contained therein, is called preaclvjig Christy Col. i. 18» 
or a determining to knoxv nothing ; tiiat is, to appear to know, 
or to discover nothing, sa-oe Jesus Christ and him crucified^ X 
Cor. ii. 2. or deliver nothing but what tends to set forth the 
person and offices of Christ, either directly, or in its remote: 
tendency thereunto. O'.u" Saviour advi^5es the church, to take 
heed -what they hear, Ivlark iv. 24. as signifying, that we arc 
to receive no doctrines but what are agreeable to the gospels. 
And this is a sufficient intimation that such only are to be. 
preached, the contrary to which method of preaching, the apo^- 

lo2 OF I'llEAtlliNG AND READING lliE ^\'•ORB» 

tie calls perverting- the gospel of Christ ; and adds, that though 
ri<€y or an angel from heaven^ preach any other gospel than that 
tvhich zve have preached^ let him be accursed^ Gal. i. 7^~^. These 
are the only docti-ines that God will own, because they tend to 
set forth his perfections, as they were at first communicated by 
him for that end. 

2. We are now to consider the inanner in which these doc- 
trines are to be preached. This is laid down in several heads, 

(1.) Diligently and constantly, m season and out of season, 
considering this work as the main business of life, that which 
a minister is to give himself xvholhj to^ 1 Tim. iv. 15. and all 
his studies are to be subservient to this end. He is to rejoice 
in all opportunities, in which he may lead those whom he is 
called to minister to, in the way to heaven, and be willing to 
lay out his strength, and those abilities which God has given 
him, to his glory. Thus the apostle says, I xvoidd very gladly 
spends and be spent for you^ 2 Cor. xii. 14* This argues, that 
the word is not barely to be preached occasionally, as though 
it were to be hid trom the world, or only imparted, when the 
leisure or inclination of those who are called thereto, will ad- 
mit of it. The character which the apostle gives of gospel- 
ministers, is, that they zvatchfor the souls of those to whom 
they minister ; that is, they wait for the best and fittest seasons 
to inculcate divine truths to them. This is particularly ex- 
pressed by preaching the ruord^ and being instant in season^ and 
out of season^ reproving., rebuking^ and exhorting xvith all long" 
suffering and doctrine^ 2 Tim. iv. 2. which implies, that it 
ought to be preached, not only on that day, which God has 
sanctified for public worship, ot which preaching is a part; but 
on all occasions, when they are apprehensive that the people 
are desirous to receive and hear it. 

(2.) It is to i-JC preached plainly. Thus the apostle sayg< 
We use great plainness of speech, 2 Cor. iii. 12. Tliis method 
of preaching is inconsistent with the using unintelligible ex- 
pressions ; which neither they nor their hearers well under- 
stand. The style ought to be familiar, and adapted to the 
meanest capacities ; which may be done without exposing it 
T.0 conr(.:mpt. And it is particularly observed, that it ought 
not to i)e, in the enticing ivords of viands wisdom, but in demon- 
stration of the Spirit and of potver ; as die aposde says con- 
t:erning his metliod of preaching, 1 Cor. ii. 14. I'he great de- 
f'ign hereof, is, not to please the ear with well turned periods, 
or rhetorical expressions, or an affectation of shewing skill in 
iiuman learning, in those instances iu which it is not directly 
udapted to ediiication, or rendered subservient to the explain- 
ing of scripture. A demonstrative v/a}- of preaching, is not, 
iijideed, opoosrd to this plainness that is liyre intencit&l but iris 


•the demonstration of the Spirit ; which, though irdifFers from 
that Avhich the apostles were favoured with (who were led into 
the doctrines they preached, by immediate inspiration ;) yet 
We are to endeavour^to prove, by strength of argument, that 
What we deliver is agreeable to the mind and will of God there- 
in ; and yet to do this v/ith that plainness of address, as those 
who desire to awaken the consciences of men, and give them, 
the fullest conviction, proving from the scripture, that what we 
say is true. This account the apostle gives of his ministry, 2 
Cor. iv. 2. as what was most adapted to answer the valuable 
ends thereof. 

(3.) The word of God is to be preached faithfully ; whiclV 
supposes that they who are called to this work, have the souls. 
of those whom they preach to, committed to their care ; so that^ 
if they perish for want of due instruction, they are, for this ne- 
glect, found guilty before God. Thus God says to the prophety. 
Son of man y I have made thee a zvatchman to the house of Is^ 
raely Ezek. iii. 17, he. and therefore he was to g-ive thevn 
^varning-^ which, if he did, he delivered his own soul ; but if 
not, God intimates to him that their blood should be required 
at his hand. This supposes that they are accountable to God 
for the doctrines they deliver ; for which reason the apostleu 
speaks of them, as stexvards of the mysteries of God^ of whomi 
it was required that they should be found faithful^ 1 Cor. iv« 
1, 2. and, as a particular instance thereof, he makes a solemn^ 
appeal to the elders of the church of Ephesus, that he had kept!' 
back 72othing' that rvas prof table unto them, nor shunned to cle^ 
dare all the counsel ofGod^ Acts xx. 27. This faithfulness im 
the exercise of the ministry, is opposed to their having respect 
of persons from some obligation which they are laid under to* 
them, or the prospect of some advantage that they expect froms 
them, which makes them sparing in reproving those v/ho aref 
blame-worthy, for fear of giving offence, or losing their friend-* 
ship. It is also opposed to preaching those doctrines which 
are suited to the humours and corruptions of men, and neglect-- 
ing to insist on the most necessary and important truths ; be- 
cause they apprehend that they will be entertained with dis- 
gust. This is to act as tliough their main design were to 
please men rather than God. And it is very remote from thcs 
conduct of the prophet Isaiah ; who, when he vv^as informed 
that the people desired that ^ao. prophets would prophesy smcothi 
things to them, and cause the holy one of Israel to ceas^fronn 
before them, Isa. xxx. 10, 11. he takes occasion to represent 
God as the holy one of Israel, in the following words, and to- 
denounce the judgments which he w^ould bring upon them, 
how unwilling soever they were to receive XJnh doc,trin& i'rorik 

VoT. IV, U 

134 ~ #r PREACHIN6 ASn RRADIN©' THE ^OtW. 

And, to this we may add, that they are to be reclconed n^ 
other than unfaithful in their method of preaching, who, under 
a pretence of pressing the observance of moral duties^ set aside^ 
the great doctrines of faith in Christ, and justification by hi^ 
righteousness, which is the only foundation of our acceptance 
in his sight. Concerning which we may say, without being 
supposed to have light thoughts of moral virtue ; that the one 
ought, in no wise to exclude the other. Neither can they be 
reckoned faithful, who shun to declare those important truths, 
on which the glory of God, and the comfort of his people de- 
pend ; and therefore, if morality be rightly preached, it ought 
to be inculcated from evangelical motives, and connected with 
other truths that have a tendency more directly to set forth the 
Mediator's glory j which ought not to be laid aside as contro- 
verted doctrines, which all cannot acquiesce in, as supposing 
that the tempers, or rather the ignorance and corruption of men, 
ivill not bear them. 

(4.) The vv'ord of God is to be preached wisely. This wis- 
dom consists, 

[1.] In the choice of those subjects, that have the greatest, 
tendency to promote the interest of Christ, and the good of 
mankind in general. There are many doctrines which must 
be allowed to be true, that are not of equal importance with 
others ; nor so much adapted to promote the work of salvation, 
and the glory of God therein. There are some doctrines which 
the apostle calls the present tnith^ 2 Pet. i. 12. in which he in- 
structs those to whom he writes. Accordingly, those truths 
are to be frequently inculcated, which are most opposite to the 
dictates of corrupt nature and carnal reason ; because of their 
holiness, spirituality, beauty, and glory. Again, those doctrines 
are to be explained and supported by the most solid and judi- 
cious methods of reasoning, which are very much perverted . 
and undermined by the subtle enemies of our salvation. And 
whatever truth is necessaiy to be known, as subservient to god- 
liness, which multitudes are ignorant of, this is to be frequent- 
ly insisted on, that they may not be destroyed for lack of know- 
ledge ; and those duties, which we are most prone to neglect, 
in which the life and power of religion discovers itself, these 
are to be inculcated as a means to promote practical godliness. 

[2.] The wisdom of those that preach the gospel farther ap- 
pears, in suiting their discourses to the capacities of their hear- 
ers ; of whom, it must be supposed, 

l5f. That some are ignorant and weak in the faith who can- 
mot easily take in those truths that are, with much more ease, 
apprehended and received by others ; for their sake the word 
of God is to be preached with the greatest plainness and fami- 
liarity of style Thus the apostle speaks of some who needed 


ti> hcfedxvitli milk^ being unskilful in the xvord of r^hteousness^ 
and, as it were, babes in knowledge, Heb. v. 12, — 14. where- 
as others, that he compares to strojij^ mcn^ were fed with meat^ 
that was agreeable to them. By which he doth not intend, as 
I apprehend, a difference of doctrines, as though some were 
to have nothing preached to them but moral duties ; while 
others were to have the doctrines of justification, and faith in 
Christ, &c.,^preached to them ; but rather a different way of 
managing them, respecting the closeness and connexion of 
those methods of reasoning by which they are established 
which some are better able to improve and receive advantage 
by, than others. 

2i%, Some must be supposed to be wavering, and in dan- 
ger of being perverted from the faith of the gospel ; for their 
sakes the most strong and cogent arguments are to be made 
use of, and well managed, in order to their establishment there- 
in, and those objections that are generally brought against it, 

odhj, Others are lukewarm and indifferent In matters of re- 
ligion ; these need to have awakening truths, insisted on with 
great seriousness and affection, suited to the occasion thercof. 

4thh/, Others are assaulted with temptations, and subject to 
many doubts and fears, about the state of their souls, and the 
truth of grace ; or, it rmy be, their consciences are burdened 
with some scruples, about the lawfulness or expediency of 
things, and some hesitation of mind, whether what they en- 
gage in is a sin or duty. Now, that the Word may be adapt- 
ed to their condition, the wiles of Satan are to be discovered, 
cases of conscience resolved, evidences of the truth of grace^ 
or the marks of sincerity and hypocrisy are to be plainly laid 
down, and the fulness, freeness, and riches of divine grace, 
through a Mediator, to be set forth as the only expedient to 
fence them against their doubts and fears, and keep them front, 
giving way to despair. 

Sthly, The word of God is to be preached zealously, with 
fervent love to God, and the souls of his people. Thus it is 
said, in Acts xviii. 25. concerning Apollos, that being fervent 
in the Spirit^ he spake and taught diligejitly in the things of 
the Lord. This zeal doth not consist in a passionate, furious 
address, arising from personal pique and prejudice ; or, in ex- 
posing men for their weakness j or expressing an undue resent- 
ment of some injuries received from them ; but it is such a 
zeal, that is consistent with fervent love to God, and the souls 
of men. The love which is to be expressed to God, discovers 
itself, in the concern they have for the advancing his truth, 
name, and glory, and the promoting his interest in the woild, 
whigh is infinitely preferable to all «ther interests ; and theiv 


love to the souls of men induceth them to pi-each to them, a?? 
considerhig that thty have not only the same nature in com* 
mon with themselves, in which they must either be happy or 
miserable, for ever : But they are liable to the same infirmitiesj 
<lifficulties, dangers, and spiritual enemies, which should incline 
those that preach the gospel, to express the greatest sympathy 
with them in their troubles, while they are using their utmost 
endeavours to help them in their way to heaven. They are to 
be considered as being, by nature, in a lost, undone condition ; 
and the success of the gospel, as being the only means to pre- 
vent their perishing for ever. And, w^ith respect to those, in 
%vhom the word of God is made effectual for their conversion, 
jiiiuisters are to endeavour to build them up in their holy faith, 
as those Avho, they hope, will be their- croxvn of rejoicing' in 
the presence of our Lord y'esus Clu-isty at his comings 1 Thess. 
5i. 19. 

&thlyy The word is to be preached sincerely, aiming at the 
glory of God, and the conversion, edification, and salvatioii of 
Jiis people. Accordingly, 

Ist^ Ministers must hrmly believe the doctrines they deliv- 
er, and not preach them because they are the generally-receiv- 
ed opuiion of the churches j for that is hardly consistent \<i'vA\ 
smccrity ; at least, it argues a great deal of weakness, or want 
of judgment, as though they were \vavering about those im- 
portant truths, which they think in compliance with custom, 
they are obliged to coi^nmnicate. 

2dkjy They must have no by and unwarrantable ends in 
preaching, namely, the gaining the esteem of men, or promot- 
ing their own secular interest. Though what the apostle says 
be true, that the labourer is 7vorthy of his hire^ and, theij that 
preach the gospely must live of the gospel^ 1 Cor. ix. 14. Yet 
this ought not to be the principal end inducing them hereunto ; 
for that IS like what is threatened against the remains of the 
house of Eli, who were exposed to such a servile and merce- 
nary temper, as to crouch for a piece of silver ; and to say ^ put 
incy I pray thee^ into one of the priesC s oJficrSy that I may eat 
a piece of bread, 1 Sam. ii. 36. The glory of God is to be the 
principal end of the ministry; and, accordingly, they are to en- 
deavour to approve themselves to him in the whole of their 
conduct therein. Thus the apostle speaks of iiimself, as nof^ 
.'decking to please m,':i : rohich, if I do, says he, I should not bn 
the servant of Christy Gal. i. 10. This method of preaching- 
will be a means to beget, in the minds of men, the highest es- 
teem of him. And, more especially, the glory of God is to be 
^,et forth as it shines in the face of Jesus Christ, or discovers 
^Iself in the wo^-k of sahation, breught about by him, Thi'V 


j'3 the only expedient to render the preaching olithe gospel con- 
ducive to answer the most vahiable ends. 

And, inasmuch as next to the glory of God, the conversion, 
edification, and salvation of men, is to be aimed at ; such a 
method of preaching is to be used, as is best adapted hereunto. 

(l*?,) In order to the promoting the conversion of sinner?, 
they are to be led into a sense of their guilt and misery, while 
in an unconverted state ; together with the necessity of their 
believing on Christ, to the salvation of the soul ; as also the 
methods prescribed in the gospel for their recovery, and es- 
caping the wrath they are liable to. They are to be made ac- 
quainted with the gospel-call, in which sinners are invited to 
come to Christ, and his willingness to receive all that repent 
and believe in him. And, since this is the peculiar work of 
the Spirit, they are to pray and hope for his grace, to give suc- 
cess to his ordinances, in which they wait for his salvation* 
And if God is pleased to set home these truths on the consci- 
ences of men, and enable them to comply with this call, then 
the word is preached in a right manner, and their labour is not 
in vain in the Lord. 

(2dli/^) As for those who are converted, their farther esta- 
blishment, ahd edification in Christ is designed, together witli 
the increase of the v/ork of grace that is begun in them. Ac- 
cordingly they are to be told of the imperfection of their pre- 
sent state, and what is still lacking to fill up the measure of" 
their faith and obedience ; and they are to be warned of the. 
assaults that they, are like to meet v.'ith from their spiritual eiie- 
lilies, of the wiles and devices of Satan, to interrupt the actings 
r)f grace, overthrow their confidence, or disturb their peace.. 
They are also to be directed how they may imir.ove the re- 
demption purchased by Christ, for the mortifying of sin, ob- 
taining the victory over temptation, and increasing their faitii 
in him. And, in addressing themselves to them, they are to 
rxplain difficult scriptures, that they may grow in knowledge, 
and discover to them the evidences of the strength and weak- 
ness of grace, tending to promote the one, and prevent the o- 
ther. Also, the promises of the gospel are to be applied to them 
for their encouragement, and they excited to go on in the ways 
of God, depending on, and deriving strength from Christ, for 
the carrying on the work that is begun in them. This leads 
us to consider what is contained in the last of the answers vrt 
are explaining, viz. 

III. What is the hearer's duty, who desires to receive spi- 
ritual advantage by the word preached ,• and this respects his 
Ijehaviour before, in, and after his hearing the word. 

1. Before we hear the word, we are to endeavour to prepare 



ourselves for the solemn work which we are to engage in, du- 
ly considering how we need instruction, or, at least, to have 
truths brought to our remembrance, and impressed on our 
hearts ; as also, that this Is an ordinance which God has insti- 
tuted for that purpose j and, as it is instamped with his authori- 
ty, so we may depend on it, that his eye will be upon us, to 
observe our frame of spirit under the word. And we ought 
to have an awful sense of his perfections, to excite in us an ho- 
^y reverence, and the exercise of other graces, necessary to our 
engaging in this duty , in a right manner ; and inasmuch as these 
are God's gift, we are to be very importunate with him in 
prayer for them. And, among other things, we are to desire 
that he would assist his ministers in preaching the word ; so 
that what shall be delivered by them, may be agreeable to his 
mind and will ; and, that this may be done in such a way, that 
it may i-ecommend itself to the consciences of those that hear 
it ; that their understandings may be enlightened, and they en^- 
abled to receive it with faith and love ; and that all those cor* 
ruptions, or temptations, that binder the success thereof, inay 
be prevented. These, and such-like things are to be desired 
of God in prayer ; not only for ourselves in particular, but for 
«11 those who shall be engaged with us in this ordinance. 

We might here consider the arguments or pleas that we may 
make use of, with relation hereunto, viz. such as are taken 
from those promises which God has made of his presence with 
his people, when engaged in public worship, Exod. xx. 24, 
Matt, xviii. 20. We may also plead the insufficiency of man'^ 
instructions, without the Spirit's teaching, or leading us into 
all truth ; and that Christ has promised that his Spirit shall be 
given to his people for this end, John xvi. 13, 14. We may 
also plead our own inability to hear the word of God in a right 
jnanner, and the violent efforts that are made by our corrupt 
nature, to hinder our receiving advantage by it, and what en- 
deavours Satan often uses in conjunction with it, by which 
means, as our Saviour expresses it in the parable, Matt. xiii. 
.1 9. he catches away that seed which was sown in the heart ; 
whereby it will become unfruitful. And to this we may add, 
die afflictive sense we have of the ill consequences which will 
attend our hearing the word, and not profiting by it, whereby 
the soul is left worse than it was before ; as the apostle says, 
that he was, in the course of his ministr}', to some, the savour 
oj death unto deaths 2 Cor. ii. 16. We may also plead the glo- 
ry that will redound to God, by the displays of his grace, in 
making the word effectual to salvation, and the great honour 
he hereby puts on his own institution, inasmuch as, herein, he 
sets his seal thereunto. We may also plead that this is God's 
• uml v;iiy in which he dispenses his grace, and accordingly he 


has encouraged us, to hope and wait for it th|jrein ; and, that 
multitudes of his saints, both in earth and heaven, have expe- 
rienced his presence with them under the word ; whereby they 
were first enabled to believe in Christ, and afterwards esta- 
blished more and more in that grace, which they were made 
partakers of at first from him. Therefore we hope and trust 
that we may be admitted to participate of the same privilege. 

2. There are several duties required of us in hearing the 
word ; particularly we are to try the doctrines that are deli- 
vered, whether they are agreeable unto, and founded on scrip- 
ture, that we may not be imposed upon by the errors of men, 
instead of the truths of God. Moreover, we are to endea- 
vour to exercise those graces that are suitable to the work we 
are engaged in ; and, as the apostle says, 7nix the xvord -with 

faith^ 2 Cor. ii. 16. and express the highest love and esteem 
for the glorious truths which are contained therein, discovering 
the greatest readiness to yield obedience to every thing God 
commands, and thankfulness for whatever he has promised to 
us. Moreover we are to hear the word with a particular appli- 
cation of it to our own condition, whether it be in a way of 
admonition, reproof, exhortation or encoui-agement, and to see 
how much we are concerned to improve it, to our spiritual 

3. We are now to consider those duties which are to be'' 
performed by us, after we have heard the word preached* 
Some of these require privacy or retirement from the world j 
by which means we may meditate on, digest, and apply what 
we haye heard ; and, together with this, examine ourselves, 
and thereby take a view of our behaviour, whilst we have- 
been engaged in public worship, in order to our being hum- 
bled for sins committed^ or thankful for grace received. But 
this having been particularly considered under another answer, 
relating to our sanctifying the Sabbath in the evening there- 
of *, I shall pass it over at present. 

There is another duty incumbent on us, after we have heard 
the word, which may conduce to the spiritual advantage of 
others, as it is to be the subject of our conversation ^ upon 
which account we are to take occasion to observe the excellen- 
cy, beauty, and glory of divine truths, that are communicated 
in scripture : We are to hear the word, not merely as critics, 
making our remarks on the elegancy of style, the fluency of^ 
expression, or other gifts, which we are ready to applaud in 
the preacher, on the one hand, nor exposing and censuring the 
defects wh,ich we have observed in his method of address, on 
the other. We are rather to take notice of the suitableness- of 

560 lii ikiL saCkamlms-. 

the truths delivered to the condition of mankind in gfenci-al^ 
or our own in particular, and observe how consonant the word 
preached has been to the holy scriptui'es, the standard of truth, 
and the agreement thereof, with the experiences of God's peo* 
pie. We are also to take occasion from hence, to enquire into 
the meaning of scripture, especially some particular texts that 
have been insisted on, or, in some measure, explained, in the 
preaching of the word, in order to our farther mformation and 
hiiprovement in the knowledge of divine things. 

The last thing that is observed in this answer, is, that after 
having heard the word of God, we are to endeavour to bring 
fordi the fruit of it in our lives : This consists in a conversa- 
tion becoming the gospel ; and being induced hereby to deiii/ 
•iinccodlzness and xvorldlif hists^ and to li<ve soberly^ righteously^ 
and godly in this present xvorld^ Tit. ii. 13. And we ought to 
express a becoming zeal for divine truths, defending them wlien 
opposed, and endeavouring to establish others thei-ein ; that so 
"we may recommend religion to them, as that which is the most 
solid foundation for peace, and leads to universal holiness, that 
hereby we may adorn the doctrine of God, our Saviour, in all 

Quest. CLXI. Hoxu doth the sacraments become effectual 
vieans of salvation P 

Ansv7. The sacraments become effectual means of salvation ; 
not by any power in themselves, or any virtue derived 
from the piety and intention of him by whom they are ad- 
minislcred ; but only by the working of the Holy Ghost, 
and tlie blessing of Christ, by Avhom they are instituted. 

Quest. CLXII. What is a sacrament ? 

Answ. a sacrament is an holy ordinance, instituted by Clirir>t 
in his church, to signify, seal, and exhibit, unto those that 
are within the covenant of grace, the benefits of his media-" 
tion ; to strengthen and increase their faith, and all other 
graces ; to oblige them to obedience ; to testify and cherish 
their love and communion one with another, and to distin- 
guish them from those that are without. 

(^UEST. C.LXIII. What arc the parts of a sacrament f 

Answ. The parts of a sacrament are two ; the one an out- 
ward and sensible sign, used according to Christ's own ap- 
l^oiniment ; the cthtjr, an inward fi»d spiritaal grace^ thert,- 
by siglii-tic.d; 

OF THE sacrament's. 161 

QiTKsT. CLXIV. Hoto many sacraments haft. Christ insti- 
tuted in his churchy under the New Testa?nent P 

Answ. Under the New Testament Christ hath instituted in 
his church only two sacraments ; Baptism, and the Lord's 

T has pleased God, in setting forth the r^lory of his wisdom 
and sovereignty to impart his mind and will to man, va- 
rious ways, besides the discovery which he makes of himself 
in the dispensations of his providence. These are, more espe- 
k'-ially, reducible to two general heads, viz. his making it known 
by words, which is the more plain and common way by which 
we are led into the knowledge of divine truths ; or else, by 
visible signs, which are sometimes called types, figures, or sa- 
craments. The former of these we have already insisted on ; 
the latter we now proceed to consijcler. And, in order here- 
unto, we are first to explain the nature, and shew what are the 
parts of a sacrament, as we have an account thereof in the two 
last of these answers ; and then consider, how the sacraments 
become effectual means of salvation, as contained in the first 
of them. 

I. Concerning the nature and parts of a sacrament: In or* 
der to our understanding whereof, we shall consider, 

1. The meaning of the -sv^ord. It is certain, that the word 
sacrament is not to be found in scripture, though the thing in- 
tended thereby, is expressed in other words ; and, for this rea- 
son, some have scrupled the use of it, and choose rather to 
make use of other phj-ases more agreeable to the scripture 
mode of speaking : But, though we are not to hold any doc- 
trine that is not founded on scripture ; yet those which are 
contained therein, may be explained in our own words, provi- 
ded they are consonant thereunto. The Greek church knew 
nothing of the v/ord sacrament^ it being of a Latin original ; 
but, instead thereof, used the word mystery ; thereby signify- 
ing, that there is in the sacraments, besides the outward and 
visible signs, some secret or hidden mystery signified thereby. 
The Latin church used the v/ord sacrament^ not only as sig- 
nifving something that is sacred ; but as denoting, that there- 
by they were bound as with an oath, to be the Lord's ; as the 
Psalmist says, I have srvorn, and I xvill perform it, thai I will 
keep tliy rii^hteons judgments, Psal. cxix. 105. and God, by the 
prophet, savs. Unto 7ne every knee shall how, and every tongue 
shall szvear, Isa. xlv. 23. 

The word Sacrament v/as used, indeed, by the Romans, to 
signiiy that oath which the soldiers took, to be true and faith- 
ful to their general, and to fight courageouslv under his ba;:- 

VoL. IV. X 

16'2 6r THli SACKAMENTS. 

Dcr; but the primitive Chrisfians signified hereby, thut, when 
the}^ were ciilleci to suffer lor Christ, which was, as it were, a 
lighting under his banner, they did in this ordinance^ as it 
were, take an oath to him, expressing their obligaLion not to 
desert his cause. Now, since this is agreeable to the end and 
design of a sacrament, whatever be the first original of the use 
of the word, I think We have no reason to scruple the using 
of it, though it be not found in scripture : Nevertheless, Chris- 
tians ought not to contend, or be angry with one another about 
this matter, it being of no great importance, if we adhere sted- 
fastly to the explication given thereof in scripture. CaJ 

2. We shall now consider the nature of a sacrament, as 
described in one of the answers we are explaining. And 

(I.) It is observed, concerning it, that it is an holy ordi- 
nance, instituted by Christ. What we are to understand by 
an ordinance, and its being founded on a divine institution, 
which is our only warrant to engage therein, has been before 
considered ; and, indeed, every duty that is to be performed 
by God's express command, which he has designed to be a 
pledge of his presence, and a means of grace, is a branch of 
religious worship, and may be truly styled an holy ordinance. 
Now, that the sacraments are founded on Christ's institution, 
is very evident from scripture. Thus he commanded his apos- 
tles, to baptize all nations^ Matt, xxviii. 19. and, as to the sa- 
crament of the Lord's supper, he commanded them to do what 
is contained therein, in remembrance of him^ Matt. xxvi. 26, 
27. compared with 1 Cor. xi. 24, 25. 

(2.) The persons, for whom the sacraments were instituted, 
are the church, who stand in an external covenant-relation to 
God, and, us the apostle says, are called to be saints^ Rom. i. T. 
It is to them, more especially, that Christ, when he ascended 
up on high, gave ministers, as a token of his regard to them, 
that hereby they may be edified, who arc styled his bodij^ Eph. 
iv. 16. And, though these ministers are authorized to preach 
the gospel to all nations, which is necessary for the gathering 
churches out of the world ; yet they are never ordered to ad- 
minister the sacranicnts to all nations, nor, indeed, to any, es • 
peciallv the sacram^^nt of the Lord's supper, till they profess 
liubjection to Christ, and thereby join together in the fellow- 
ship of the gospel. As the sacraments under the Old Testa- 
ment dispensation, were to be administered to none but the 
church of the J ews, the only people in the world that profess- 
ed the true religion ; so, under the gospel dispensation, none 

CaJ Sacrament is the word used by the Viilgat. for m_ stcry, and tliis 
iiich mo.re jM-obable meaning^ of the tyrn ys used by tjie early christians. 

Ol' rriF, SACRAMENTS. t63 

ha\ e a right to sa^cramcnts but those who cim therein profes- 
ocdly devoted to him. 

3. We are now to consider the matter of the sacraments^ 
which is set forth in general terms ; and it is also called in one 
of the answers we are explaining, the parts of a sacrament ; 
these are an outward and visible sign, and an inward and spi- 
ritual grace, signified thereby ; or, as it is otherwise expressed, 
it signifies, seals, and exhibits to those who are within the co- 
venant of grace, the benefits of Christ's mediation. These 
words are often used, but not so well explained as might be 

(1.) It is called a sign, in which, by a visible action, some 
spiritual benefits are signified : This is undoubtedly true; and 
it is a reproach cast on God's holy institutions, in some who 
deny sacraments to be divine ordinances, Avhen they style them, 
all carnal ordinances, beggarly elements, or a re-establishing 
the ceremonial law, without distinguishing between significant 
signs, that were formerly ordinances to the Jewish church, but 
are now abolished ; and those that Christ hath given to the 
gospel church. In this idea of the sacraments, we must consi- 
der, that they agree, in some things, with the preaching of the 
word; namely, that hereby Christ and his benefits, are set 
forth as objects of our faith ; and the same ends are desired 
and attained by both, viz. our being affected with, and making 
a right improvement of the blessings purchased by him, toge- 
ther MMth our enjoying communion with him ; and they are, 
both of them, sacred ordinances, instituted by Christ, and 
therefore to be attended on in an holy manner : But, on the 
other hand, they differ, with respect to the way or means by 
which Christ and his benefits are set forth ; inasmuch, as in the 
preaching of the word, there is a narration of what he hath 
done and suffered ; and, upon this account the apostle says. 
Faith Cometh by hearings and hearing by the zvord of God^ 
Rom. X. 17. whereas, in the sacraments, there is a represen- 
tation thereof by signs ; in v^^hich case we may apply the xyords 
of the prophet, 3Iine eye afflicteth mine hearty Lam. iii. 51. as 
there is the external symbol of Christ's dying love, which is 
nn inducement to us to love him again. They also differ, 
in that the sacraments are not only designed to instruct ; 
but, by our act and deed, we signify our engagement to b;- 
the Lord's. 

(2.) The sacraments are also said to seal the blessings that 
they signify ; and accordingly they are called, not only.sign^v. 
but seals. It is a difficult matter to explain, and clearly to 
state the difference betv/een these two words, or to shev,- whai 
is contained in a seal, that is not in a sign : Some think thai 
it J5 a distinction without a difference. 7 he prjncip?il ground 


which most divines procced*\\pon, when they distinguisii be- 
tween them is, what we read in Rom. iv. 11. in M'hich the 
apostle, speaking concerning Abraham, says, he rece'med the 
sign of circumcision^ a seal of the righteousness of faith *. But 
the same thing might have been affirmed concernnig it, or any 
other significant ordinance, if the words sign and seal wei-e sup- 
posed to be of the like import ; for it is not said he received 
the ordinance of circumcision, which is not only a sign, but a 
seal J but he received that which was a sign, or a seal of the 
blessing about which his faith was conversant. However, that 
we may explain this matter, without laying aside those words 
that are commonly used and distinguished in treating on this 
subject, it may be observed, that a sign is generally understood 
as importing any thing that hath a tendency to signify or con- 
firm something that is transacted, or designed to be published, 
and made visible : Accordingly some signs have a natural 
tendency to signify the things intended by them ; as the regu- 
lar beating of the pulse is a sign of health, smoke the sign of 
fire. And other things not only signify, but represent that 
which they give us an idea of, by some similitude that there 
is therein, as the picture doth its original. Other things only 
signify as they are ordained or designed for that use, by cus- 
tom or appointment ; thus, in civil matters, a staff is a sign of 
power to exercise an office ; the seal of a bond, or convey- 
ance, is the sign of a right that is therein conveyed, or made 
over to another to possess : It is In this respect that the sacra- 
ments are signs of the covenant of grace : They do not natu 
rally represent Christ and his benefits ; but they signify them 
by divine appointment. 

But, on the other hand, a seal, according to the most com- 
mon acceptation of the word, imports a confirming sign f : 
Yet we must take heed that we do not, in compliance with 
custom, contain more in our ideas of this word, than is agree 
able to the analogy of faith : Therefore, let it be considered, 
that the principal method God hath taken for the confirming 
our faith in the benefits of Christ's redemption, is, his own 
truth and faithfulness, whereby the heirs of salvation have 
strong- consolation^ Heb. xv. 17", 18. or else the internal testi- 
mony of the Spirit of God in our hearts. The former is an ob- 
jective means of confirmation, and the latter a subjective ; and 
this the apostle calls our being established in Christ, and sealed, 
having the earnest of the Spirit ifi our hearts, 2 Cor. i. 21, 23. 

This is not the sense in which we are to understand the word 

• Ka; iTn/jL'iiov i'kuSi ■vifilcfAr\(, (Tippnyli!:L rxt Juatcfuvit; Tuc Trla-liais. 

J fl'/ten. these tico are distivpitHhed by divines, the one is generally called, signura 
significnns ; the other signum conlirmans ; or^ thcfovmer is said, significaro ; i^' 
hitter, obsignare. 


as applied to the sacraments ; since if we call tfaem confirming 
seals, we intend nothing else herebj', but that God has, to the 
promises that are given to us in his word, added these ordi- 
nances ; not only to bring to mind this great doctrine, that 
Christ has redeemed his people by his biood ; but to assure 
them, that they who believe in him, shall be made partakers of 
this blessing ; so that these ordinances are a pledge thereof to 
them, in which respect God has set his seal, whereby, in an 
objective way, he gives believers to understand, that Christ, 
atid his benefits, are theirs; and they are obliged, at the same 
time, by faith, as well as in an external and visible manner, to 
signify their compliance with his covenant, which we may call 
their setting to their seal that God is true ; as we may allude 
to that expression of our Saviour, He that hath received his 
testimony^ hath set to his seal that God is triie^ John iii. 33, 
The sacraments are God's seals, as they are ordinances given 
by him for the confirmation of our faith, that he would be our 
covenant-God ; and they are our seals, or we set our seal 
thereunto, when we visibly profess, which ought to be done 
also by faith, that we give up ourselves to him, to be his peo- 
ple, and desire to be made partakers of the benefits which 
Christ hath purchased, in his own wa3% Thus concerning the 
sacraments, as being signs and seals of the covenant of grace. 

There is another expression, used in this answer, that needs 
a little explication ; namely, when the sacraments are said, not 
only to signify and seal, but to exhibit the benefits of Christ's 
mediation. To exhibit^ sometimes signifies to shew, or present 
lo our view ; which word, if it be so understood in this place, 
imports the same as when it is said, that the sacraments arc 
eigns or seals thereof, or significant ordinances for the direct- 
ing and exciting our faith, as conversant about what we are to 
understand therebv. Again, to exhibit^ sometimes signifies to 
give, communicate, or convey ; and because it is not only dis- 
tinguished from signifying and sealing in the definition which 
we have of a sacrament in the Shorter Catechism ; bat is de- 
scribed as that by v/hich Christ and his benefits are applied 
unto believers ; therefore, I am inclined to think, that it is in 
this latter sense that the word is to be taken in the answer 
which we are explaining; and if so, we must distinguish be- 
tween Christ's benefits being conveyed, made over, exhibited, 
or applied, by the gift of divine grace, through the effectual 
working of the Spirit ; and this being done by an ordinance, a-; 
an external means of grace ; accordingly I am bound to con- 
clude, that as the Spirit of God gives these blessings to be- 
lievers, who engage in a right manner therein ; so this grace 
is represented, and God's people have ground to expect, as h\ 


as an ordinance can be the means thereof, that they shall be 
made partakers of these benefits. 

We may also observe, that, though the sacran^ents are ap- 
pointed to signify to all that partake of them, that Christ has 
purchased salvation for his people ; or, that the work of re- 
demption is brought to perfection : Yet it is they alone that 
engage herein by faith, who can look upon them as signs or 
seals to confirm their fttith, that they have aright to the bene- 
fits of Christ's redemption, as not only signified, but exhibited 
or applied to them : In this sense the sacraments are signs to 
them that believe, in such a way as they are to no others. 

4. We are now to consider the persons to whom the sacra- 
ments are given ; and these are described as those who are 
within the covenant of grace. To be within the covenant of 
grace, implies in it, either a being externally in covenant Avith 
God, or a being internally and spiritually so, as interested in 
'the saving blessings thereof. 

(1.) They who ar6 externally in covenant, are such as are 
visibly so; who are called by his name, professedly devote 
themselves to him, and lay claim to him as their God r 
These, if they are no odierwise in covenant, are said to be in 
Christ, as the branch which beareth no fruit, is said to be in 
the vine, John xv, 2. like those whom the prophet speaks of, 
when he says. Hear ye this, house ofyacob^ which arc called 
hij the name of Israel^ -which sxvear by the name of the Lord, 
and make jnention of the God of Israel, hut not in truth nor in 
right eousjiess, Isa. xlviii. 1. they have, indeed, the ordinances 
which must be reckoned a very great privilege ; they have the 
external overtures of divine grace, the convictions and strivings 
of the Spirit ; and accordingly they are, in God's way, in which 
he is sometimes pleased to work special grace, which, when he 
does, they may conclude themselves to have more than the 
external blessings of the covenant, which is what we are next 
to consider : Therefoi-e, 

(2.) Others are internally or spiritually in covenant, children 

of God by faith : These are such as are true and real members 

of Jesus Christ, by a federal or conjugal union with him : They 

have the same mind as was in him, and receive vital influences 

trom him, being made partakers of the Spirit. They have, not 

-nly professedly, but by faith, embraced him in all his offices, 

urrendered up themselves unto him, to be entirely his ; their 

inderstandings to be guided and directed, their wills and affec- 

lons to be governed by him, and are desirous to be disposed 

uf by him, in the whole conduct of their lives. And, as to the 

privileges which they partake of, they have not merely a sup- 

■:?os(8d> biit a real interest in all the benefits which Christ hath 


purchased, have a right to his special care and Ic^e, which will 
render them safe and happy, both here and hereafter. 

Now, with respect to both these ; they are, each of them, 
supposed to attend on the saci'aments : The former, indeed, 
have not a right to the saving blessings signified thereby, and 
therefore, if they know themselves to be strangers to the cove- 
nant of promise, the)^ profess, by engaging in this ordinance, 
to lay claim to that which the}'- have no right to : However, if 
this be not discernible in their conversation, which is blameless 
in the eye of the world, men, v/ho are not judges of their hearts, 
have no warrant to exclude tliem from the sacraments. But^ 
on the other hand, they who are savingly, or internally in cove- 
nant, have not only a right to those ordinances in common with 
others; but Christ and his benefits, as was before observed, 
are exhibited and applied to them, as they have ground to con- 
clude, by faith, that they have an interest in all the blessings 
which he has purchased. 

5. We are now to consider, what those benefits are that Christ 
communicates to his people in the sacraments, which are sig- 
nified thereby : These are either, 

(1.) Such as are common to the whole church, which are re- 
lative and external, rather than internal, as hereby they are dis- 
tinguished from those that are without. These are advan- 
tages, though not of a saving nature : Thus the apostle says, 
What advantage hath thejexv^ or^ tvhat profit is therein circwn- 
cision^ Rom. iii. 1, 2. To which he replies, much every way^ or 
in many respects, q. d. it is an honour which God has put on 
the church, as taking them into a visible relation to himself, 
and giving them the means of grace, in which they are more 
favoured than the rest of the world : Or, 

(2.) There are those benefits of Christ's mediation, which 
are more especially applicable to believers ; and, in this respect, 
God makes every ordinance, and the sacraments in particular, 
subsei-vicnt to the increase of their faith, and all other graces. 
As faith is wrought under the word, it is farther established 
and increased by the Lord's supper, as will be considered im- 
der a following answer ; and as they have herein an occasion to 
exercise their mutual lore to one another, so they have commu- 
nion with Christ, which has a tendency to carry on the work 
of grace begun in the soul, and farther to enhance their love to 
Christ, v»'ho is eminently set forth and signified herein; and^ 
from the view they have of their interest in him, arises a 
stronger motive and inducement to hate all sin, that tends to 
dishonour him, in the whole course of their lives. We arK 
nov/ to consider, 

II. How the sacraments become effVcuial means of salvation .; 


or from whence their efficacy is derived, to answer that great 

1. Negatively. They do not become effectual means-of sal- 
vation by any power in themselves to answer this end ; for we 
are not to suppose, that they are more than ordinances, by 
which God works those graces which we receive under them; 
which it is his prerogative alone to confer. Again, it is far- 
ther observed, that this privilege is not derived fron the piety 
or intention of them by whom the sacraments are adminis- 
tered ; who, though they are styled stexvards of the mysteries cj 
God^ 1 Cor. iv. 1. as persons to whom the administration thereof 
is committed ; yet they have not the least power to confer that 
grace which is Christ's gift and work : Thus the apostle says, 
Who then is Paul^ or rvho is Apolhs^ but ministers by whom ye 
believed^ even as the Lord gave unto every man^ chap. iii. 5. (a) 

(a) It were lo be wished, the inspired books had been more generally 
honoured, as the only sufficient rule of judgment, by those who have wrote. ii> 
favor of EPISCOPACY, upon the plan of a inviifE iiifiiiT; and the rather, as they 
.speak of it, not merely as an institution of the gospel, but an essentially neces 
saryone : insomuch, that gospel ordinances will be mvalid, unless administered 
by those, who have been episcopally vested with holy orders. 

' In a matter of such momentous concern, they would not have acted an un- 
worthy part, if they had confined then- pleas to the sacred writings ; producing 
such passages from them as speak to the point, not implicitly and darkly ; but 
in peremptory and express terms, so as to leave no reasonable room for hesita- 
tion or doubt. It would be dishonourary to the kible, and a gross reflection on 
the penman of it, to call that an " appointment of Christ," and an " essentially 
necessary" one, whicli is not contained in this sacred volume, and witii such 
clearness and precision, that sober and impartial inquirers may readdy perceive 
it to be tlierc, without foreign help to assist their sight. And yet, such help is 
made necessary by episcopal writers. They scarce ever fail of turning us to the 
FATHERS in vindication of their cause; hereby virtually reflecting disgrace on 
the scriptures, as though they were insufficient, simply of themselves, to bring 
lliis controversy to an issue. 

Ill order to reconcile the appeal that is so often made to the fathers with 
that honour which is due to the scriptures, tiie episcopalian plea is, that they 
consider these fathers, not as judges, but -witnesses only in their cause. _ IJut 
what are tiiey brought to witness ? Is it, that episcopacy is an institution of 
Jesus Christ.''" If this is witnessed to in the sacred books, of which we, having 
these in our hands, are as good judges as they, it is sufficient. There is no 
need of any foreign testimony. If it is not, no other testimony can supply this 
defect. Are these fathers cited as witnesses to what was tlie practjce in their 
<lay > This is now generally the pretence; They may, say the episcopalians, 
be properly appealed to, in order to know the truth of fact in the ages in which 
they lived. And if, from their unanimous testmiony, even from the first days 
of Christianity, it appears, that governixo and ordaining authority was exer- 
cised by Bishops ovly, in distinction from Pi-esbytcrs, and as an order in the 
-church'above them, it woidd argue great arrogance, if not obstinate pervcrse- 
ness, to dispute tiie divine original of episcopacy. But we must be excused, 
hoivever perverse we may be accounted, if we cannot bring ourselves to tlunk, 
that the practice of the church, since the apostles' days, however universal, will 
justify our receiving that as an institution of Christ, and an essentially iinpor- 
cant one, which he himself hath not clearly and evidently made so, either in hi.4 
own person, or by those inspired writers, whom he commissioned and instructed 
Tn dcclaie his will: nor cun ve bcli«v? i!i? grea'. Author of clu-istianity would 


I'his is contrary to what the Papists maintaii|| who suppose 
that the efficacy of the sacraments arises, partly from an inter- 
have put the professors of it to the difficult, I may say, as to most of them, tlie 
impossible task of collecting' any thing essential to their salvation from the vo- 
luminous recoi'ds of antiquity- We are rather persuaded, he has ordered every 
article that is necessary, either in point of faith or practice, to be so fairly and 
leg'ibly wrote by the sacred penman, as that there should be no need of having 
recourse to the ancient Fathers as witnesses, any more than judges, to ascex'- 
tain his mind. To suppose the contrary, wouhl, in reality of construction, sub- 
stitute TRADITION the rule of essential truth, in the room of the sciiiptueks, 
wbicli were " given by inspiration ot God ;" or, at least make the former so 
much a part of this rule, as that the latter, without it, would not be sufficiently 
complete. Such dishonour ought not to be cast on the one only standard of the 
real mind of Ciirist. 

The Bishop, in whose defence an appeal is made to antiquity, is not related, 
by his office, to a single congregation of christians only, with one or more Pres- 
byters belonging to it ; but his charge is a DiocEss, consisting of a number of 
•congregations, greater or less, with their respective Presbyters. The inquiry 
therefore is, whether it be an universally attested fact, that episcopacy, in 
tliis sense, took place in, and through, the two first ages .'' A Bishop, at the head of 
a number of congregations, greater or less, is an officer in the church of Christ 
quite different from the pastor of a single congregation ; though he should be 
called Bishop, as being the Head-Phesbyter, or vested with the character of 
PRIMUS inter pares. It should be particularly noted, which of these kinds of 
episcopacy has the voice of the specified antiquity in its favour. It is willingly 
left with every man of common understanding, after he has gone over the follow- 
ing testimonies, to say, whether he thinks, that Bishops, after the diocesait- 
acoDE, were known in the fii'st ages of the church ? 

The Bishop, for whom the fathers are called in as witnesses, is an officer in 
the church of an order superior to that of Presbyters, and as distinct from it 
as the order of Presbyters is from that of Deacons ; the pretence being this, 
that Presbyters were thought to have, in primitive times, no more right to med- 
dle with the peculiar work of Bishops, than Dcacojis have to concern themselves 
with the peculiar work of Presbyters. The question tlierefore is, Whether it 
will appear from the following evidence, to be at all a fact, much less an uni- 
versally known, and certainly attested one, that there were Bishops, in this 
sense, in any church, in any part ol tlie christian world, within the two first 
centuries ? 

The Bishop, in whose favour the ancient Fathers are »id universally to speak, 
is one to whom the exclusive right of governj«ent has been committed by 
the appointment of Jesus Christ, or his apostles as commissioned by him. Says 
the famous Bishop Hoadiy, treating of the government of the church, as be- 
longing to Bishops only, in the above appropriated sense, " And here — I think I 
" may say, that we have as universal and as unanimous a testimony of all 
" writers, and historians from the apostles' days, as could reasonably be ex- 
" pected or desired : every one, who speaks of the govemment of the church, in 
" any place, witnessing, that episcopacy was the settled form ; and every one, 
" who hatli occasion to speak of the original of it, tracing it up to the apostles' 
" days, and fixing it upon their decree.— AVere there only testimonies to be pro- 
" duced, that this was the government of the church in all ages, it would be but 
•' reasonable to conclude it of apostolical institution; — but when we find the 
•' same persons witnessing, not only that it was episcopal, but that it was of 
*' apostolical institution, and delivered down from the beginning as such, this 
" adds weight to the matter, and makes it more undoubted. So that here are 
" two points to which they bear witness, tliat tliis was the government of tht^ 
" church in their days, and that it was of apostollc.il Institution. And in thcsr; 
" there is such a constancy and unanimity, that even St. Jerom himself traces up 
" episcopacy to the very apostles, and makes it of their institution." — He .idd:\ 
"All churches and christians, as far as we know, seem t« have been agj-eed,. in 

Vol. IV, y ' 


nal virtue which there is in them, to confer grace, (Avhich they 
illustrate by a far-fetched similitude, taken from the virtue 

" this point, amidst all their other differences, as universally as can well be im- 
*• agined " One would suppose, from the peremptory manner in v\ hich this cita- 
tion is expressed, that the pact it affirms was so evidently clear, as to leave 
no room for the least doubt. Those, who may think it worth while to look 
over the testimonies brought to view, in the following pages, will perhaps, by cri- 
tically observing their real and just import, be surprized, that any man oi'leam- 
ing, who professes a regard to truth, should speak of it, and with such a degree 
of assurance, as the universal rEciAiiATioN of ail ages from the apostles, that 
episcopacy, in the impleaded sense, was the " form of government in the church 
in their day," and that it was by " apostolical institution ;" especially, if they 
should not be able to find, as it is certain they will not, so much as a single wit- 
ness, for two liundred years, whose evidence is clear, direct, express, and full, in 
affirming, either tliat tliis was the form of government in the church, or that it 
was ever instituted by Christ, or his apostles : so far is it from the truth, that 
this is a fact um-animously and constantlt testified to, even from the begin- 
ning, and through all ages. 

The Bishop, for the support of whose claims antiquity is repaired to, is one 
with whom the sole power of ordination is lodged; insomuch, that he only 
can convey holy orders conformably to the appointment of Jesus Christ ; and 
should Presbyters presume to do this, they woidd take that upon them which 
they liaveno more a right to, tlian Deacons have to baptise, or administer the 
Lord's supper. This part of the unanimous report of all ages concerning 
the exclusive right of Bishops deserves most of all the special notice of 
the reader ; and he is particularly desired, as he goes along, to point out to 
himself, for his own satisfaction ; or to others, for their information, any one 
among all the testimonies he wUl have placed before his view, that plainly and 
directly affirms the bight of ordination to be peculiar to Bishops as a distinct 
order from Presbyters, and superior to them ; or that this right was ever 
thus exercised by them. If he should not be able to do this, as unquestionably 
he will not, how strange must that affirmation appear, which says in the most 
positive terms, not only that this is fact, but a fact constantly and unani- 
T-iousLY witnessed to by the fathers, in all ages from the days of the apostles. 

The Bishop, in whose defence antiquity is pleaded, is vested with the power 
of CONFIRMATION, according to the mode of the church of England ; and it is 
appi'opriated to him as his right in distinction IVoni all others. But I need not 
assure the reader, he will in vain look to find it a fact, within the two first ages, 
that Bishops were either vested with, or ever exercised this power. For he 
must come down below these ages, before a word is said, by any one of the 
fathers, relative to ^ liis superstitious practice. Tertullian is the first that men- 
tions it; and he mentions likevyise some other corruptions, which had got 
mingled with Christianity in tliat day. 

In short, the question in debate, so far as It relates to fact, is, Hot whether 
there were officers in the christian church, known by the name of Bishops in the 
apostolic age, and down along through the two first centuries ? We join with 
the episcopaliiuis in affirming this to be a truth universally testified to in those 
times : but the proper question is, what is fact with reference to the order ot 
these Bishops, aiul the powp.hs peculiar to theiji office, and as exercised by 
them in it ? The name of Bishop is one thing, :ind the power claimed foj", or 
exercised by him, is another. The dispute is, aot about the name, but the 
POWER appropriated to it. This therefore slioul4 be heedfully attended to by 
all, in their examination of the evidences that will be produced' ; and they riiay, 
in this v/ay, clearly and satisfactorily determine, each one for himself, whether it 
b? at all an attested fact, much less a constant and unaniimously attested 
ONE, from the apostles days, and dov/n along througis the two first ages, as 
well as after ones, that Bishops were vested with, and did actually exercise, the 
above specified powers, which are at this day claimed for them, as the appropri- 
ate work of their office by divine appointment > ' 

cHAtrirci's VIEW of EriscorAcr. 


which there is in food, to nourish the body, \#uch is nothing 
!.o the purpose, since no external act of religion can have a ten- 
dency to nourish the soul, without the internal efficacious grace 
of the Spirit accompanying it;) and partly from the design oi 
intention of the priest that administers them, as they are con 
secrated and designed, by him, for that end. 

There is also an absurd notion which is maintained by some 
Protestants, as well as the Papists, viz. that the sacrament of 
baptism, administered to infants, washes away the guilt of ori- 
ginal sin, and gives them a right and title to heaven, so that by 
virtue thereof they are saved, if they happen to die before they 
commit actual sin : But this account of the manner in which 
the sacraments become effectual to salvation, is absurd to the 
last degi-ee ; for it puts a sanctifying and saving virtue into 
that which is no more than an outward and ordinary means of 
grace. And as to what respects the efficacy of the sacraments, 
arising from the intention of him that administers them ; that 
is, to lay the whole stress of our salvation on the secret design 
of men, in whose power it is supposed to be, to render or pre- 
vent these ordinances from being means of grace ; which is in 
the highest degree derogatory to the glory of God, 

2. Positively. The sacraments become effectual means of 
salvation only by the working of the Holy Ghost, and the 
blessing of Christ, by whom they were instituted. As, rvith- 
oiit Christ we can do nothings John xv. 5. so without his bless- 
ing we can receive nothing. Ordhiances are only the channel 
through which grace is conveyed ; but Christ is the author and 
finisher of faith ; and this he does by his Spirit, when he brings 
the heart into a good frame, and excites suitable acts of faith 
and love in those who are engaged in those ordinances, and 
maintains the lively impressions thereof, which have a ten- 
dency to promote the work of grace in the whole conduct of 
their lives. 

III. We proceed to consider, what sacmments Christ har. 
instituted under the New Testament-dispensation. It hath 
pleased God, in every age of the world, to instruct his people 
by sacramental signs, as an addition to those other ways, in 
which he communicates his mind and will to them. Even our 
first parents, in their state of innocency, had the tree of life ^ 
which was a sacrament or ordinance for their faith, that if they 
retained their integrity, and performed the conditions of the 
covenant which they were under, they might hereby be led into 
a farther conviction that they should certainly attain the bless- 
ings promised therein : And, some think, that the tree of know- 
ledge, of good and evil, was another sacramental sign, whereby 
they were given to understand, that if they sinned, they shouUl 
die. And paradise, io which they were placed, vras a sacra- 


ment, or a kind of tj^pe of the heavenly state; inasmuch a=> 
there is an allusion to it in that promise, to him that overcometh^ 
7viII Ig-ive to eat of the tree of life ^ that is in the midst of the pa- 
radise ofGod^ Rev. ii. 7. and heaven is, in another place called 
paradise^ Luke xxiii. 43. Others think the Sabbath was a sa- 
cramental sign to our first parents, of that eternal sabbatism 
which they should celebrate in a better world, in case they 
yielded perfect obedience as being the condition of the covenant 
they were under. However, I desire not to be too peremptory 
as to this matter ; it is enough to my pi'esent purpose, to con- 
sider the tree of life as a sacrament ; whereby it appears, that 
God instituted such signs from the beginning of the world : 
But this having been insisted on elsewhere *, we pass it over, 
and proceed to consider, 

That, after the fall of man, there were sacramental signs, in- 
stituted as ordinances for the faith of the church in the pro- 
mised Messiah ; especially sacrifices, which signified their ex- 
pectation that he would make atonement for sin, by the shed- 
ding of his blood. Under the ceremonial law there was a large 
body of sacramental ordinances, or institutions, otherwise call- 
ed, types of Christ, and the way of salvation by him ; some of 
which were occasional ; as manna, the water of the rock, and 
the brazen serpent in the wilderness, Csfc. others were standing 
ordinances in the church, as long as the ceremonial law conti- 
nued ; as circumcision, the passover, and many things contained 
in the temple-service. These were the sacraments under the 
Old Testament : But, having taken occasion to speak some- 
thing concerning them elsewhere f, I shall confine myself to 
those sacraments which Christ has instituted under the New 
Testament; which are only two, baptism, and the Lord's 

The Papists, indeed, have added five more to them, though 
without a divine warrant; to give countenance to which, they 
pervert the sense of some scriptures, occasionally brought foi 
that purpose. One of the sacraments which they have added, 
is, what they call holy orders ; whereby they authorize per- 
sons to perform the office of priests, or deacons : This they do 
by the imposition of hands, and at the same time pretend to 
confer the Holy Ghost : The former, they suppose to be the 
sign, the latter the thing signified ; but this was not designed 
to be a sacrament given to the church; for the sacraments are 
ordinances that belong to all believers, and not only ministers. 
And, as for the imposition of hands, whether it be considered 
as an ancient form of praying for a blessing on persons, or as 
used in setting others apart to an office ; it seems principally to 

* Sea ml. II. page 86. i See vol. III. page 424—126. and vol II. fioge 205. 


have respect to these extraordinary gifts, which^ey expected 
to qualify them for the discharge thereof ; which gifts being 
now ceased, the imposition of hands cannot be reckoned a sa- 
cramental sign; and the blessing conferred, to wit, the Holy 
Ghost^ from whom they received those extraordinary gifts, is 
no longer to be signified thereby. 

Another sacrament which the Papists add, is that of con- 
firmation ; by which they pretend, that children, who, in bap- 
tism, were made members of Christ, are strengthened and con- 
firmed in the faith; and receive the Holy Ghost, in order to 
their performing their baptismal vow : But, whatever engage- 
ment they are laid under, by this ordinance, it is God alone 
that can confirm or strengthen, and enable them to walk an- 
swerable thereunto ; which is a grace not in the power of man 
lo bestow, nor can it be by any ordinance. 

Another sacrament they speak of, is pennance ; in which, 
after auricular confession made to the priest, and some exter- 
nal marks of sorrow expressed by the penitent, he is to perform 
some difficult service enjoined, which • they call pennance ; 
whereby he makes satisfaction for his sins, upon which, he 
is absolved from them. But this is an abominable practice, 
by which persons are rather hardened in sin, than delivered 
from it. It is derogatory' to Christ's satisfaction, and has not 
the least appearance of a sacrament, or ordinance of God's 

Another sacrament that they have added, Is extreme 7inciicn ; 
taken from James v. 14, 15. v»diere. the apostle speaks of 
sick persons being aJiointed xvith oil in the name of the Lord ; 
and it is said, the prayer of faith shall save the sick^ and the 
Lord shall raise him tip ; and, if he has committed sins^ they 
shall be forgiven him. But to this it may be replied, that 
though this practice of anointing the sick with oil, was ob- 
served in the first age of the church, while the miraculous 
gift of healing was continued; yet it is now ceased; there- 
fore no such significant sign is to be used. And, as for for- 
giveness of sins, mentioned by the apostle that seems not to 
have been conferred by the use of that sign ; but it was 
humbly expected and hoped for, as an answer of prayer : If: 
is therefore a very preposterous thing to reckon this among 
the sacraments, under the gospel dispensation. 

Another Sacrament that the Papists add, is that of matri- 
mony ; for which, they have very little shadow of reason : 
but, because, they suppose, the apostle calls it a great myste- 
ry, Eph. v. 32. which word, the Greek church used to sig- 
nify a sacrament : But he does not intend hereby, that mar- 
riage is a mystery ; but the union between Christ and his 
church, which is illustrated by the conjugal union, is so 

i'74 OF DAPTliiil. 

called * ', and, indeed, it is not an ordinance given to tlie 
church, but to mankind in general, heathens as well as Chris- 
tians. Therefoi-e nothing can be more absurd than to sup- 
pose, that it is one of the sacraments Christ hath instituted 
in the gospel-church ; and, according to their opinion, the 
priests are excluded from this sacrament, inasmuch as they are 
forbidden to marry, as the laity are excluded from the sacra- 
ment of holy orders ; so that when they pretend to add to those 
institutions, which Christ hath given to the church, or invent 
sacraments, which he hath not ordained, they betray not only 
their own folly, but bold presumption ; therefore we must 
conclude, that there are only two sacraments that Christ hath 
given to his church, to wit, baptism, and the Lord's supper; 
which are particularly considered in some following answers. 

Quest. CLXV. What is baptism P 

Answ. Baptism is a sacrament of the New Testament, where- 
in Christ hath ordained the washing with water, in the name 
of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, to be 
a sign and seal of ingrafting into himself, of remission of 
ii'ms by his blood, and regeneration by his Spirit ; of adop- 
tion and resurrection unto everlasting life ; and whereby 
the parties baptized are solemnly admitted into the visible 
church, and enter into an open and professed engagement^ 
to be wholly and only the Lord's. 

THE method in which we shall endeavour to explain this 
answer shall be, 

I. To prove that baptism is a sacrament of the New Testa- 
ment, instituted by Christ, in which there is to be, some way 
or other, the application of water. 

II. That this is to be performed in the name of the Father, 
of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. And, 

III. What is signified therein, and what engagements are 
laid upon the person baptized. 

I. To prove that baptism is a sacrament of the New Testa- 
ment, instituted by Christ, in which there is to be, some 
way or other, the application of water. Here let it be con- 

1 . That there must be the application of water ; and that 
either by dipping the person that is to be baptized into the 
water, or by pouring or sprinkling water upon him ; otherwise 
it doth not answer the proper and literal sense of the word 

* See Vot III. p. 12. 


baptize, (a) It is true, we sometimes find the ward used in a 
metaphorical sense ; as when our Saviour speaks of the bap- 
tism that he xvas to be baptized xv'ith^ Matt. xx. 22. Luke xii. 
50. whereby he intends the sufferings he was to endure in 
shedding his blood upon the cross : And it is elsewhere taken, 
hy a metonj'my, for the conferring the extraordinary gifts of 
the Holy Ghost, which they were given to expect after Christ's 
ascension into heaven, and the apostles were first made parta- 
kers of at the day of Pentecost, which immediately followed 
it ; wherein there appeared unto them cloven tongues, like as 
of fire, that sat upon each of them, as a sign that they should 
be filled with the Holy Ghost, and speak with other tongues, 
and be enflamed with a holy zeal for Christ's glory and inte- 
rest ; which was accordingly fulfilled, and seems to be the 
sense of the word baptism, as taken in this figurative sense ; 
but we understand the word in the most proper sense there- 
of; and therefore suppose that it must be performed with 

As to what respects the mode of baptism, or the applica- 
tion of water, whether the water is to be applied to the person 
baptized, or he put into it, that, I purposely wave the consi- 
deration of, till we are led to speak concerning the subjects of 
baptism, that we may insist on the several matters in contro- 
versy, betAveen those that maintain, and others that deny infant 
baptism, together, which we shall have occasion to do under 
the next answer : "Whereas, I am ready to persuade myself, 

(^aj) Bavri^ai, has been said to signify immergo and exclusively when applied 
to sacred baptism. And this is necessary to establish immersion as the only 
mode. The question is not, therefore, whether B*^t/c>, sometimes signifies to 
immei'se, but whethei' it never signijies any thing else. This can be proved, it is 
presumed, by no Lexicographer, and no version of the New Testament. In the 
New Testament it is taken in different senses, for example we read of a Baptism 
v/ith the Hohj Ghost and ivithfre. It is therefore a generic term and not specific, 
r.s immerse cannot be substituted for it in all places. If a specific Greek term sig- 
.ifyingto plunge had occasionally been used for it, in the New Testament, yet 
.aptism being m our Saviour's conmiission to his disciples, should not have been 
confined to one mode, but this is never the case. The numerous admissions of 
our divines, that Bsi^-li^a, primarily signifies to immerse, and which are disin- 
genuously collected to impose on the ignorant ; do not weaken our cause, as 
they did neither influence the practice nor sentiments of those who used them. 

If Ba^T/fai, signifies to immerse totallif, OT partially ; to dip, to cleanse, or puri- 
fy, &c. it leaves the mode to our convenience or choice ; and reason al.so accords, 
hat the mode is unimportant with respect to moi-al defilement.— Porphery has 

B^7rT/^«T«f /^s;yii Kcjx;,i(?." The oracle said " B«tt<{» him as a bottle" (of leather, 
■' whicli could bwim) but it is not lawful to plunge him -wholly under imter" Sti-s. 
bo says, " ZATrTi^i/j^lvm tip to the ivais't." Aristotle says « ^ATrtuxctt mSi^u ty^xW-^," 
it stains and renders Jlorid the hand. Aristophanes says, " Vxtnlo/xim ^fayjiui;,'^ 
stained ivith taimy colours. Homer says, E.&ttsto i^'etiy.ATi Mfjivee," And the foun- 
tain was tinged vith blood. « Rev. x:x. 1". Iv.y.cr:" B«.'?a,M;v5y «(«y,T«." Isaiah xxi 4. 
" Fcarftdnese RATrri^u mf" 

1?& Oi BAriiiM. 

that what I shall advance uilder this, together with that which 
respects the improvement of baptism, will not be much con- 
tested by those who are in a different way of thinking, 
with respect to the subjects of baptism, and the mode of ad- 
ministering it. 

2. We are now to consider, that baptism is a sacrament of 
the New Testament ; and therefore it differs from those bap- 
tisms, or washings, that were frequently practised under the 
Old Testament dispensation ; concerning which, the apostle 
says, that it stood in meat.9 mid drinks, and divers xvashingSy 
Heb. ix. 10. or baptisms *. Thus we read of many instances 
in which persons were washed under the ceremonial law : 
This was an ordinance used in the consecration of persons to 
holy offices ; as it is said, that Aaron and his sons were to be 
brought to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and 
ivashed xuith zvater, Exod. xxix. 4. and Lev. viii. 6. when 
they were consecrated to be priests. Again, when they mi- 
nistered in holy things, or came near unto the altar, it is said, 
they zuashed, as the Lord commanded Moses, Exod. xl. 32. for 
this reason the laver was set between the tent of the congre- 
gation and the altar, and water put therein to wash in ; and 
they washed their hands and their feet therein, ver. 30, 31. 
And this ceremony was used by them, when they were sub- 
ject to divers uncleannesses ; thus, in the method of cleansing 
the leper, he was to wash himself, and, after that might come 
into the camp, Lev. xvi. 8, 9. The same thing was to be done 
by those who were liable to uncleannesses of another nature, 
Deut. xxii. 10, 11. 

These ceremonial washings, when applied to persons, seem 
to be ordained to signify their consecration, or dedication, to 
God, in some of the instances before mentioned ; and in others, 
diey signified the means which God had ordained to cleanse 
the soul from moral impurity ; which was denoted by the ce- 
remonial uncleannesses which they desired to be purified from. 
These ordinances, indeed, expired together with the rest of 
the ceremonial law : Nevertheless, it is very evident, from the 
institution of gospel-baptism, that the sign is retained ; though 
there are some circumstances in the thing signified thereby, in 
which it differs from those baptisms which were formerly used 
by the Jewish church. They were hereby devoted to God, to 
observe that peculiar mode of worship which he prescribed 
by the hand of his servant Moses ; we are devoted to God. 
as those who hereby signify our obligation to walk according 
to the rules prescribed by Christ in the gospel. They also used 
this ordinance, to signify the cleansing virtue of the blood of 

HBY baptisim;^ Iff 

Jesus, who was to eome, and the Sj)irit that #as to be poured 
forth, as consequent thereupon ; we use it to signify or express 
our faith in what Christ has accomplished, and in the grace 
which the Spirit works pursuant thereunto ; therefore we call 
it an ordinance of the New Testament. 

3. Baptism was instituted by Christ. This is evident from 
the commission he gave to his apostles, not only to preach the 
gospel to all nations, but to baptize them in the 7ia7ne of the 
Father^ of the Son, and of the Hohj Ghost^ Matt, xxviii. 19. (a) 
and this he appointed to be a standing ordinance in the church, 
throughout all the ages thereof; on which account he promi- 
ses, in the following words, that he will be xv'ith his ministers, 
in fulfilling the commission that he gave them to execute, tinio 
ike end of the world : Therefore, we must conclude, that it is 
a standing ordinance in the church, and not designed to be ob- 
served only during the first age thereof, till Christianity uni- 
^•ersally obtained. This v/e assert in opposition to the Socini- 
ans, who suppose, that baptism was, indeed, instituted by 
Christ ; but the design hereof, was only to be an external 
badge, or sign, of the heathens embracing the Christian retl- 

f'rtj The promulgation of tliis command irwrks a new and important era 'iu 
Tiie history of the church and of the worhL These words may be considered fs'j 
tlie public and formal abrogation of the ."Mosaic econorj^y ; and the authoritative 
linnunciation of tlie new order of thing's under the gospel. 

The first connnunications of divine truth, through Adam and Xoah, were made 
indiscriminately to thehumair tamily ; but, in both instances, the precious de- 
posit was generally adulterated, and nearly lost. The wisdom of God, tliercfcnv",-' 
saw it to be necessary to select and separate from the idolatrous world, a ]xir- 
ticular lamily which mig'ht serve as a repository of the divine oracles and insti- 
tutions ; until tiiat ♦ Seed nf the tvainan^ should come, of whom it was predicted; 
that he should ' bruise the serpenfs head:' and that ' seed of .Ibraham' in -wfiotji 
all tlie families of the earth should be blessed. 

But when Jesus Chiiist, our great high-priest of good things to cmne, had, 
through tlie eternal Spirit, offered himself -Mthout spot to God, to bear the sins gf 
inany ; and had by this one offering of his own body, perfected them that are sancti- 
fied, the service of the first tabernacle was set aside, and as to any utility, or di- 
vine authority, ceased forever ; as an emblem of which, the veil of the temple 
was rent in twain from the top to the bottom, at the very moment of expiation ; 
when Christ our high-priest, by shed'ng liis vital blood and pouring out his 
soul unto death, offered Ids one great sacrifice fur sins. 

So great, however, was the |>o\ver of early and national prejudice, that the 
apostles did not, for some time, understand theextentof their commission. They 
had, before, been sent on ashort?nission, on which occasion it was Ordered, tiiirt 
vhey should not go into the ivay of the Gentiles, nor even enter into any city of the; 
Samaritans ; and they seem to have thought, that by going into all the -world, anil 
preaching to every creature, no more was intended, than that they should go to 
Vac seed of Abraham now widely dispersed among the nations. But this veil \va^ 
i,oon removed, by a particular revelation made to Peter in a vision ; and by the 
. ailing of Paul to the apostleship, who, from the beginning-, received commii- 
Fion to goto the Ger.tiles, and was, in a peculiar manner, designated anddu-ectr- 
td, to preach among the Genti'fs the unsearchalle riches of Christ. 

Dii. Al"! a>der's MlSsiOKjr.y S^i'r.M'CK,. 

VoT.TV. / 

irS - or BAVTIbil. 

gion, as they were formerly initiated into the Jewish church 
by that ceremonial washing that was then in use : But the con- 
trary to this will appear from what we shall have occasion to 
speak to, under a following head, when we consider what bap- 
tism was a sign and seal of ; which is equally applicable to- 
the church in our day, as it was to those who lived in the first 
planting thereof. 

II. It is farther observed, that baptism is to be performed 
in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghosts 
This contains in it a professed acknowledgment, in this solemn 
act of dedication of the divine Trinity ; and accordingly it is 
an act of religious worship, ia which God's right to the per- 
sons baptized, is publicly owned, and an intimation given, that 
all saving blessings, which are desired or expected in this ordi- 
nance, are given by the Father, through a Mediator, purchased 
by the Son, and applied by the Holy Spirit* This includes in 
it' much more than a being baptized by the authority of these 
divine persons; which is all that some of the Antitrinitarians 
will allow to be meant by, in their name : For though no ordi- 
nance can be rightly performed but by a divine warrant, yet 
til is warrant is equally extended to the administering, or en- 
gaging in any other ordinance; and therefore, a being baptiz- 
ed in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, signifies 
more than this ; namely, a person's being dedicated to them ; 
in v^'hich dedication, a solemn profession is made, that they 
have a right to all religious worship, which we are obliged to 
perform as well as that all our hope of salvation is from them •. 
Therefore, some think, that this idea, which is principally in- 
tended in the form of baptism, would be better expressed, if 
the words of institution * v/ere rendered into the name of the 
Father, Sec. as it is rendered elsewhere, Gal. iii. 27. where the 
apostle is speaking of a person's being baptized i?ito Christ f, 
and explains it as denoting a putting o?i Christ ; or a profess- 
ing, as it is said, ver. 29. that 7ve are Christ''s. Thus they who 
are baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, 
are denoted hereby, to be professedly their servants and sub- 
jects; under an indispensible obligation to put their trust in, 
and hope for, all saving blessings from them, according to the 
tenor of the gospeh 

It is enquired, by some, whether it be absolutely necessar}', 
in the administration of this ordinance, explicitly to make men- 
tion of the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost ? and 
some assert, that it is not ; because we read of persons being 
baptized in. the 7iame of Jesus'.^ in Acts xix. 5. without any 
mention of the name of the Father, or Holy Ghost ; and in 

• '£« T« hcux. j E(.- X;/r5v . 


chap. viii. 16. the same thing is mentioned, as it is said, They 
tver€ baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. But to this it 
may be replied, that it does not appear, that this was the ex- 
press form of words used in baptizing those tliat are here men- 
tioned ; but it only argues, that the ordinance was administer- 
ed, and that Christ's name and glory was proclalmt d therein : 
So that, though the other divine persons are not pai-ticularly 
mentioned, it does not follow from thence, that- -they did not 
adhere to the express words of institution, which were given" 
to the apostles ; it might as well be argued, that John did not 
baptize in the name of any of the Divine persons ; since when 
we read of his baptism, it is said, / baptize you with water ; 
but it does not thence follow, that he did not baptize them in 
the name of God ; inasmuch as he plainly confesses that God 
sent him to bapiize xvith rvater, John i. 33. 

But, that this matter may be set in a just light, we must 
distinguish between a person's omitting to mention the Son or 
Holy Ghost, in the form of baptism, as denying them to be 
divine persons, (in which case the ordinance is invalid ;) and 
his doing this for no other reason, but because he thinks that 
we are not to be tied up to a particular form of words, but may 
sometimes baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy 
Ghost ; and, at other times, in the name of Jesus :- In this case, 
I will not say that the ordinance is invalid ; but yet, his man- 
ner of administering it, will be highly offensive to many serious 
Christians, and can hardly be reckoned an instance of faithfulness 
to Christ ; who has, by an express command, intimated what 
words are to be used therein. 

III. We are now to consider, what is signified in baptism, 
and what engagements are laid on the person baptized. There 
are some, especially among the Socinians, who maintain, that 
it is only an external, or visible badge of Christianity in gene- 
ral, signifying a person's right to be called a Christian, or a 
professor of that religion, which was instituted by our Saviour; 
and their design herein seems to be, that they might evade the 
force of the argument which we bring to prove the divinity of 
the Son and Spirit, from their being the object of that religious 
worship, which according to our explication thereof, is con* 
tained in it. Did they intend, by being a Christian, the same 
thing as we do, namely, a subjection to Christ, as a divine per- 
son, or a professed obligation which v»'e are laid under, to wor- 
ship God the Father, through the Son, by the Spirit, we should 
have no contention with them about this matter : But since 
we are not agreed as to the meaning of being a Christian, es- 
pecially, since they intend no more hereby than our being 
obliged to adhere to a certain scherne of religious worship pre- 
scribed by Christ, of v/hat kind soever it be, in like manner ^s 

1§0- - OT ^PlISiM.- 

a person is called a Mahometan, because he cmbiiacc^ iVIah»'- 
met's Alcoran as a rule of faith, we cannot think this general 
account of baptism, as an external badge of Christianity, to 
l)e a sufficient explication of what is intended by it as a sigti, 
or significant ordinance. 

There ai'e several tilings mentioned in this answer, of which, 
it is said, to be a sign and seal, viz. of our engrafting into 
Christ, and obtaining remission of sins by his blood, of our re- 
generation by his S])irit, our adoption, and resurrection unto 
eternal life, which include in them all the benefits of Christ's 
mediation ; which have been particularly explained under 
some foregoing answers : But there is one that contains in it 
all the rest; and accordingly it is generally expressed, by di- 
vines, as that which is a sign and seal of the covenant of grace, 
and all the duties, obligations, and privileges that are either 
enjoined or bestowed therein. What this covenant is, toge- 
ther with the blessings thereof, and how the grace of God is 
manifested therein, has been likewise considered under some 
foregoing answers *. Therefore all that I shall now add con- 
cerning it, is^ that it contains all the promises in which our sal- 
vation is included, of which there is one that comprehends all 
the rest, whereby it is often expressed, namely, that God will be 
a God unto his people. Gen. xiv. 1. their shield^ and exeeeding" 
great mvard^ chap. xvii. And elsewhere that he W^ put his 
laws into their ?nind.s', and ivrite them in their hearts, and xvill 
be to them a God ; and they shall be to him a people^ Heb. viii. 
10. There are very great privileges contained in this relation, 
namely, our being under the special, care and protection of 
Christ, having a right to what he has purchased, and that in- 
heritance which he has laid up in heaven for his children, their 
eojoying communion with him here, and being made happy 
with him hereafter. 

Now tiic main thing to be considered, is, hoAv baptism is n 
sign and seal thereof ? To this it may be answered, thi<t we 
are not to suppose that this, or any other ordinance, confers 
the grace of the covenant, as the Papists pretend | ; for it 13, 
at most, but a significant sign or seal thereof; whereas, the 
grace of the covenant is the thing signified thereby. There 
are, as has been before observed two ways., by which persons 
may be said to be in covenant with God, namely, professedly, 
or visibly, which is the immediate intent and design of this 
ordinance ; and there is a being in covenant, as laying hold on 
the grace of the covenant, when we give up ourselves to 
Qhrist, by faith; and, as the consequence thereof, lay claim to 

• Ses vol. n. Quest XXXI, XXXII. Page 167, & 185. 

■f There i:; a common aphorism among them, that ike mcramenis, and bapiist^i j'ri 
^ardculw, coi^'er .grace, ex operc operate. 

OF BAPTISjr. 181 

tlie blessings of his redemption. Now baptism Is a sign and 
seal of the covenant of grace in both these senses, though in 
different respects. The ordinance itself is a professed dedi- 
cation to God, or an acknowledgment that the person baptized 
is obliged to be the Lord's; and signifies his right to the ex- 
ternal blessings of the covenant of grace, which are contained 
in the gospel-dispensation. There is also more than this con- 
tained in a person's being given to God in baptism, whether it 
be by himself as in those v/ho are baptized when adult; or by 
his parents, as in the case of infants, in that the person who- 
dedicates, expresses his faith in Christ, the Mediator of the 
covenant, and hopes for the sanng blessings which he has 
purchased for his peopje. It is one thing, for this ordinance 
to confer these blessings, and another, for it to be an instituted 
means-K in which we express our faith and hope, that these 
blessings shall be bestowed, the person being devoted to God 
with that view. 

There are other two things that are more especially signified 
in baptism, namely, privileges expected, and obligations ac- 

1. The privileges expected are such as accompany salvation, 
•which are the special gift of the Holy Ghost, viz. the taking- 
away the guilt and pollution of sin, and our being made par- 
takers of all the blessings that Christ hath purchased, and God 
the Father, in him, has promised to the heirs of salvation. 1 
do not say, that all who are baptized are made partakers of 
these privileges ; but they are given up to God, or give up 
themselves to him in this ordinance, in hope of obtaining them. 

2. Here is a public profession, or acknowledgment of our 
obligation to be the Lord's. This is, from the nature of the 
thing, implied in its being a dedication to God. When we 
make a surrender of ourselves to him, we do hereby declare, 
that we are willing to be his servants and subjects, and entirely 
at his disposal : This is contained in a fiducial act of self- 
dedication to God, and cannot be done by one in the behalf of 
another : And, it is to be feared, that manv, who give up 
themselves to God in this ordinance, when adult, though they 
make a profession of their faith, yet do not give up themselves 
by faith; but that is only known to the heart-searching God : 
Nevertheless, as we express our faith and hope, in this ordi- 
nance, concerning the privileges but nov/ mentioned ; so we, 
in this act of dedication, confess, that God has a right to us. 
and that it is our indispensible duty to be his, so that herebv 
we are, either by our own consent, as in self-dedication, pro- 
fessedly the Lord's ; or this is acknowledged by those wlio 
have a right to dedicate, and thereby to signify this obligation ; 
which, because it is highly just and reasonable, the persons de- 

3 62 Of^JJAPTlSK, 

voted are obliged to stand to, or else are brought under a great 
degree of guilt, in not being stedfast in God's covenant. 

There is one thing more mentioned in this answer, namely, 
that the person baptized, is solemnly admitted into tlie visible 
church, which I rather choose to pass over ; since it is hard to 
understand what some mean by the visible church, and a per- 
son's becoming a member thereof by baptism. We have else- 
v.here considered the difficulties that are contained in the 
dtscription of the visible church; together with the qualifica- 
tions for, and admission of persons into church-communion. * 
If, by being admitted into the visible church, we are to under- 
stand that a person has a right to all the ordinances of the 
church by baptism, without being admitted afterwards into it 
by mutual consent ; this is contrary to the faith and practice of 
lucst of the reformed churches. And if, on the other hand, 
th;jy . mean hereby, that here is a public declaration of our 
liope, that the person baptized shall be made partaker of those 
privileges vi^hich Christ has purchased for, and given to his 
church : This is no more than what has been already explained 
in our considering the baptismal expectations and obligations ; 
Lut, whether this can be properly called an admission into the 
church, I rather leave to be determined by those who better 
understand what they mean, when they say that this is done in 
baptism, than I do. (ci) 

* Si-e vol.11, page 15o— 216. 

(a) The Gcispel is g-lad tidings of great joy, not a system of new and terri- 
ty;iig- i-estrictions und exclusions; so far from retracting formerly conceded pri- 
vUcg-es, and coiifining the chuTch within narrower limits, it publishes peace and 
srdvation, and Invites the whole human family to participate in tliese blessings. 
il must either be rt-ierred to the impressions it has made, or to uninterrupted 
'i.sage that females have, by a general coi-^ent, been deemed to possess an uii- 
e^uestionable right to approach the holy communion, though neither precept for 
■t is found, nor an example of it recorded in tlie Scriptures. 'I'his baptism of 
.iiiants was stiil less necessary to be enjoined by, and less likely to have been no- 
ticed in the short history given us of apostolical transactions. 

He v/ho gave pai'ental affection, and is the Lord of his church under every 
flispensation, conierred on children at an early age of the world the privilege of 
.itu^ring with their parents in the seals of grace, and bearing the tokens of his 
itovenant. Jewish christians having them.selves experienced such benignity, and 
h-.cn given to tiie same God, whom they now served under brighter displays of 
Ais eternal and unchangeable love, could not have expected, that, an entrance 
Into the milder go.=pel-church v/ould have been denied to the seed Avhom God 
i,:.d fviven them, and whom tiiey had devoted to him not only in prayer, but in 
that ordinance which he had appointed for the purpose. An ordinance which 
hcing now obsolete was supplied by another, apparently as j>roper for their 
fhildren as themselves. Because infants are incapable of repenting and be- 
i.cviug, these duties were not required nor expected of them, eitlicr under the 
<»id, or new dispensation ; but thougli incapable of actual sin, and therefore free 
f.-om oidigations of obedience unto the law, yet their nature is not pure, arid 
ci(»ieq-ieiitly r^eeds the sanctifying influence of divine grace, which can correct 


Quest. CLXVI. Unto zvhom is bapthm to be administered f 

Answ. Baptism is not to be administered to any that are out 
of the visible church, and so strangers from the covenant of 
promise, till they profess their faith in Christ, and obedi- 
ence to him ,- but infants descending from parents, eithet 
both, or but one of them, professing faith in Christ, and obe- 
■ dience to him, are in that respect v/ithin the covenant, and ta 
be baptised. 

IN this answer, which principally respects the subjects of 
baptism, we have, 
I. An account of those who are excluded from this privi- 
lege, viz. such as are out of the visible church, and so stran- 
gers from the covenant of promise. The visible church i* 
here considered in the most large and less proper acceptatiou 
of the word, as denoting all who profess the true religion ; and 
in this respect is opposed to the Jews and heathen, and those 
who, though they live in a Christian nation, are grossly igno- 
rant of the gospel, and act as though they thought that it did 
not belong to them, not seeing themselves obliged to make any 
profession thereof: These may be ranked among infidels, as 
much as the heathen themselves ; and, according to this sense 

ihe latent oni-nity, and renew the soul. They are capable, tlierefore, of spi- 
ritual blessing-s, and may conscquen'cJy be members of the invisible church, and 
received into tlie. church triumphant. The obvious reasonablenejjs of the pri- 
vilege of being received with their parents into the society of the worshippers 
t)f God, a privilege publicly known to have been conferred by tlie great Head of 
the church, equally prevented the supposition of an Implied repeal, and the ne- 
cessity of a renewal of the right. 

If indeed there had been a'^diilerent religion introduced ; if christians werenftt 
engrafted into the old stock; if they worshipped some other than the Godof- 
israel ; if there was another moral law, another Ciirist than he wiiose day the 
fathers anticipate^!, and another faith ; this privilege of receiving iniants into tb<?' 
church might have beei\ interrupted ; and in that case unless expressly again 
enjoined, it ought not to have been regarded in practice- But it tiie christian 
religion is founded upon the prophets ; if the peculiarities of the Jewish worship. 
were but shadows of gospel thing.i ; if both were dii-ected to the same glory of 
God and salvation of men ; if they both enjoined the same holiness and presented 
the same object of faith ; if those who were saved under the Old Testament shall 
be associated with those who are saved under the New; the privileges formerly 
granted to children will remain the same ; and it is not wonderful th.it the first 
christian should obey the dictates of parental tenderness ; and that desiring the 
salvation of their clilklren as well as their own, should ciuise their hou.jeholds v> 
be baptized as well as themselves. To have affirmi d in the gospel history ex- 
pressly, that children were a part of the househ(;ld, could have answered nc 
purpose in the first days of Christianity, but would have been thought repeti- 
tions and unmeaning until modern times. In tiie fifth, in the third and even so 
early as in tlie second century, the baptism of infants was the established usa^e 
of die church, and it wa.s then thought, and not disputed, to have been the prac- 
tice of the aoostles theuiselves. 


of the word, are not members of the visible church ; and, con- 
sequently, while they remain so, are not to be admitted to 
baptism. This is agreeable to the sentiments and Dractice of 
most of the reformed churches ; and it cannot but be reckoned 
highly reasonable, by all who consider baptism as an ordi- 
nance in which a public profession is made of the person's be- 
ing devoterl to God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost ; and, 
jf he be considered as adult (and of such we are now speaking) 
there is a signification, and thereby a profession made, that h» 
gives up himself to God ; and, if the ordinance be righdy ap- 
plied, there must be an harmony between the inward design of 
the person dedicating, and the true intent and meaning of the 
external sign thereof; which, by divine appointment, is a vi- 
sible declaration of his adhering by faith, to the Father, 
Son, and Holy Ghost, and embracing that salvation which 
takes its rise from them. This therefore must be done by- 
faith ; or else the ordinance is engaged in after an hypocritical 
manner; which will tend to God's dishonour, and the preju- 
dice rather than the advantage of him, to whom it is adminis- 

II. We are now to consider the necessity of their making a 
profession of their faith in Christ, and obedience to him, who 
being adult, are admitted to baptism. It was supposed, under 
the last head, that if there be not an harmony between the in- 
ternal frame of spirit, in the person baptized, and the intent of 
the external sign thereof, the ordinance is not rightly applied to 
him, inasmuch as he pretends to dedicate himself to God ; but,, 
in reality does not do this by faith : And now it may be farther 
considered, that it is necessar}' that he should make it appear, 
that he is a believer, b}' a profession of his faith ; otherwise, 
Ije that administers the ordinance, together with the assembly, 
who are present at the same time, cannot conclude that they 
are performing a service that is acceptable to God ; therefore, 
for their sakes, as well as his own, the person to be baptized, 
ought to make a profession of his subjection to Christ, as what 
is signified in this ordinance. 

This is agreeable to the words of institution, in Matt, xxviii. 
19. Go ye therefore^ and teach all nations^ baptizmg thern^ &c. 
and in Mark xvi. 15. Go yc into all the xvorkl^ and preach the 
gospel to every creature ; he that believeth and is baptized^ .shall 
be savedy Z<.z. I am sensible that some, who have defended 
infant-baptism, or rather attempted to answer lui objection 
taketi from this, and such like scriptures against it, have en- 
deavoured to prove the Greek word * signifies, make persons 
disciples J VLvd. accordingly it is a metaphor taken from the 

• Si3.ix''ti-!jx'.r.- 


practice of a person's being put under the care>|)f one who is 
quaHiied to instruct him, whose disciple he is said to be, in or- 
der to his being taught by him ; and therefore they suppose, 
that we are made disciples by baptism, and afterwards to be 
taug'ht to observe all things xvhatso ever Christ hath commanded ; 
and this is taken notice of in the marginal reading of our 
Bibles ; which supposes that the word may be rendered, 
make disciples of all nations : But, I cannot think this sense of 
the word so defensible, or agreeable to the design of our Sa- 
viour, as that of our translation, viz. Go teach all Jiations ; 
which agrees with the words of the other evangelist. Go preach 
the gospel to every creature : And besides, while we have re- 
course to this sense to defend infant-baptism, we do not rightly 
consider that this cannot be well applied to adult-baptism, 
which the apostles were first to practise ; for it cannot be said 
concerning the heathen, that they arc first to be taken under 
Christ's care by baptism, and then instructed in the doctrines 
of the gospel, by his ministers *. fa J 

Moreover, a profession of faith in those who are baptized 
when adult, is agreeable to the practice of the Christian church 
in the first planting thereof: Thus it is said, in Acts ii. 41. 
They that gladly received the xvord were baptized : And this 
might also be observed in the account we have of the jailor 
and the Eunuch's being first converted, and then baptized, in 
Acts xvi. 31,— 33. chap. viii. Z7^ 38. But, if it be retorted 
upon us, as though we were giving up the cause of infant-bap- 
tism, it must be observed, that this does not, in the least, af- 
fect it; for when our Saviour gave forth his commission to the 
apostles, to teach or preach the gospel to all nations, and bap- 
tize them, it is to be supposed, that their ministry was to be 
exercised among the adult, and that these then were utter 
strangers to Christ and his gospel; therefore it would have 
been a preposterous thing to put them upon devoting thera- 

* Yid Whitbxj in Loc. 

(fl) This then is a repetition ; go, teach, baptize, teach. This commission 
was to disciple t])e world, baptizing and teaching are the speciiication, and are 
participles agreeing with the noniinution. 

It is no inference from tlie position of bnptizingbefore teaching are that adults 
might be first baptized. This was the institution of the ordinance of baptism 
as well as the apostolic commission ; yet it neither contains any direction 
either as to tlie mode or subjects ; because Christ spoke to Jews, who knew that 
adult proselytes were careiuUy examined, whilst infants were circumcised with 
their parents without such examination. They also knew tlie various modes of 
religious purifications among the Jews ; both John tiie Baptist, and they having 
uiulef that dispensation liaptized. Neither is fiith essential to the' validity 
of baptism, nor is the profession of it rerj^uircd of sv.ch as are incapable ci 
making it. 

Vol.. rV. A a 


selves to him, before they were persuaded to believe in him : 
neither could they devote their children till they had first de- 
dicated themselves to him, and this leads us to consider, 

III. The right of infants to baptism, provided they, who arc 
required to dedicate them to God therein, are believers ; and 
particularly, that such may be baptized who descend from pa- 
rents of whom only one is a believer. This will appear, 

1. If we consider baptism as an ordinance of dedication: 
Accordingly, let it be observed, 

(1.) That it is the indispensible duty of believers, to devote 
themselves and all they have, to God, which is founded in the 
law of nature, and is the result of God's right to us and ours. 
Whatever we have received from him, is to be surrendered or 
given up to him ; whereby we own him to be the proprietor of 
all things, and our dependence upon him for them, and that 
they are to he improved to his glory. This is, in a particular 
manner, to be applied to our infant-seed, whom it is our duty 
to devote to the Lord, as we receive them from him : How- 
ever, there is this difference between the dedication of persons, 
from that of things, to God, that we are to devote them to 
him, in hope of their obtaining the blessings which they are 
capable of, at present, or shall stand in need of from him, 
hereafter. This, I think, is allowed, by all Christians. Nothing 
is more common, than for some who cannot see that it is their 
duty to baptize their children, to dedicate or devote them to 
God, by faith and prayer; which they do in a very solemn 
nianner; and that with expectation of spiritual blessings, as an 
encouragement of their faith, so far as they apprehend them 
capable of receiving them. 

(2.) We shall now consider, that baptism, in the general 
idea thereof, is an ordinance of dedication or consecration of 
persons to God. If this be not allowed of, I cannot see how 
it can be performed by faith, in the name of the Father, Son, 
and Holy Ghost; or how this can be a visible putting on of 
Christ, as the apostle styles it, Gal. iii. 27. 

Object. This proposition would not be denied, if baptism 
were to be considered as an ordinance of self-dedication, 
but then it would effectually overthrow the doctrine of in- 
fant-baptism ; for since infants cannot devote themselves te 
God in this ordinance, therefore it is not to be applied to 

A?iS7v. To this it may be replied, that as there is no other 
medium, which, I apprehend, can be made use of to prove 
that the solemn acts of consecration or dedication to God in 
baptism, is to be made only by ourselves, but what is taken 
from a supposition of the matter in controversy, by those who 
assert that infants are not to be baptized : So if this method 


A reasoning be allowed of, we might as well sa)« on the other 
hand ; infants are to be baptized ; therefore baptism is not an 
<-)rdinance of self-dedication, since they cannot devote them- 
selves to God ; and that would militate against what, I think , 
is allowed of by all, that baptism, when applied to the adult, 
is an ordinance of self-dedication. That which I would there- 
fore more directly assert, in answer to this objection is, thai 
baptism is an ordinance of dedication, either of ourselves, or 
others ; provided the person who dedicates, has a right to that 
which he devotes to God, and can do it by faith. When I do, 
as it were, pass over my right to another, there is nothing re- 
quired in order hereunto, but that I can lawfully do it, consider- 
ing it as my property ; and this is no less to be doubted con- 
cerning the infant-seed of believers than I can question, whe- 
ther an adult person has a right to himself, when he gives up 
himself to God in this ordinance, faj 

(3.) It follows, from the last head, that parents, who have a 
right to their infant-seed, may devote them to God in baptism, 
provided they can do it by faith ; and therefore a profession 
of faith, is only necessary in those who are active, in this or- 
dinance, not in them that are merely passive. This we arc 
obliged to maintain against those who often intimate that chil- 
dren are not to be baptized, because they are not capable of 
believing : Or when it is replied hereunto, that they are capa- 
ble of having the seeds of faith, though not the acts thereof; 
this is generally reckoned insufficient to support our argument, 
by those who are on the other side of the question ; inasmuch 
as it cannot well be determined, what infants have the seeds of 
faith, and what not ; and, I think those arguments which arc 
generally brought to prove that the infants of believing pa- 
rents, as such, have the seeds of faith, on the account where- 
of they are to be baptized can hardly be defended ; because 
manv good men have wicked children. 

Therefore what we insist on in this argument, is, that be- 
lieving parents may give up their children to God in baptism » 

fa J To be brought into the visible churcl), is a high privilege, of which in- 
fants are as capable ncr, as under the former dispensation. Consent is not ne- 
cessary ; for infants recewe inheritances. This is 'uij force of municipal la-ms. But 
are not the laws of God of equal force ? — Baptism implies obligations, xvhich can 
be founded only on consent. Then it will follow that infants are not bound by hu- 
man laws, for they liave not assented to tiie social compact ; they are imder no 
obligation to obey parents, guardians, or masters, because tliey either did not 
choose them, or were incompetent to make sucli clioice ; they are not bound by 
the laws of God himself, which is this very case, because they have not consent- 
ed to his authority ; and if they never consent, they will be always free equally 
from all obligations, and all sin, Such are tlic consequences of tlie above oli 


in hope of their obtaining tlie blessings of the covenant, (^aj 
whether they are able to conclude that they have the seeds of 

faj The dictates of nature, uncnntrouled by revelation, are the ivill of Christ, 
and our rule of duty. I'he rMl of Christ, expressed in t!iese dictates, requires us to 
benefit our children us they arc capable. jBaptism, as the initiatory seal of God's 
covenant, is a benefit of which iniiuits are capable. — This evidence is not eclipsed, 
but brightened, by scripture authority, as we shall see in the sequel of this 

Let tlie reader carefully notice, that we do not suppose, by insisting on this 
arg-ument, the insvUnciency of direct scripture evidence : for this has been ffe- 
quently urged with advantage, to satisfy persons of the best dispositions and a- 
biliiies. That is, reader, " sonic of the most eminent Pccdobaptists that ever fill 
edtlie Professor's chair, or that ever yet adorned the Protestant pulpit." Bu'. 
since our opponents insist, that what has been so often urged, is not conclusive ; 
and modestly aflinn, it is only calculated to catch " tlie eye of a superficial oh 
" server ;" they are desired once more impartially to weigh this reasoning, and 
then, if they are able, to refute it. Let them know, lio\ve\er, that hackneyed 
phrases without meaning — principles tt,kea upon trust — and empty declama- 
tion — must not be palmed on us instead of solid arguments. 

Were it necessary, it would be easy to sliew, that the principles above urged 
are no novelty ; but are perfectly agreeable to experience, — aixl to the practical 
judgment of the most serious Pcedobaptists, both illiterate and learned. But 
waving this, we proceed next to anotlier corroborating proof of the main pro 

What we contend for is. That it is the loill of Christ we should baptize our in- 
fantchildren. liiproof of this we have shewn, first, that ihcdictates of right reasov 
require us to benejit them, and consequently to baptize them ; as baptism is always 
a benefit when administered to capable subjects. We come, secondly, to shew — 
That God has constantly approved of this principle, in all preceding- dispensa- 
tions. In other words — i'hat the principle of the last argument is so far from be- 
ing Tjeahcned by scripture evidence, that the Lord's approbation of it, in his con- 
duct towards the offspring of his professing people, in all the dispensations ol 
true religion, is abundantly illustrated and confirmed. 

Mr. B's misapplied but favimrile maxim — " Positive laws Imply their ne- 
g-ative," has no force in the baptismal contniversy, until lie demonstrates, in op- 
position to what is advanced, that the dictates of right reason must be smother 
ed, or else, tliat revelation countermands their influence. But to demonstrate the 
former, in matters about which, on the supposition, scripture is silent, is no easy 
task. And the difficulty will be increased in jiroportion as tlie sacred oracles 
corroborate reason's verdict. Let us now ap])eal to these oracles. 

We appeal to that period of the cluirch, and dispensation of grace, which ex- 
tended from Adam to Noah. Tlie inspired narrative of this long space of time is 
very short : on wliich we make the following remarks. We then assert. 

Whatever exhibition of grace was made tq antediluvianj!)are«<s, was constant. 
]y made to their offspring ; and consequently whatever sea^s of grace were grant- 
ed to the former, must equally appertain to the latter if not voluntary rejectors 
of them. Therefore, all such parents had a revealed warrant to regard their off- 
spring as entitled to the seals of the covenant, in like manner as themselves, ac- 
cording to their capacity. For, 

All allow that Gcii. iii. 15. contains the promulgation of gospel grace; nor are 
we authorised to question the interest of children therein with their parents, 
without an express contravention. For, it were nnnatuml for a parent to confine 
such a benefit X-o his own person to tlie exclusion of his children, who are not on- 
ly parts of his family but of himself. To which we may add, that the phrase //;// 
need, though jirinciiJally referring to the Messiah, respected Eve's natural seed 
as sharers in common with herself in the exhibition of inercv ; and we suppose 


grace or no ; they may devote them to God in h^e of regene- 
ration ; though they cannot know them to be regenerate, as 

not less so tli.in her husband. For this application of the phrase tfijj seal, com- 
pare Gen. xvii. 7- and Gal. ill. 16. Again, 

It is generally agreed, that not only the institution of sacrifices, but also the 
coats of skin, (Gen. lii. 21.) were emblematic of cc^vcnant blessings ; and not only 
so, in common with mere types, but seals of the covenant, as earnests and 
pledges of exhibited favour.' " Who wdl deny," says VVitsius, " that God's 
cloathing our fir.st parents was a stimboUcal act? Do not Christ's own words 
(Rev. iii. 18.) very clearly allude to this i"' Ksiov sacrifices, Xhty were slaiii at 
God's command after the promulgation of the covenant. For, if Abel offered by 
fuith, (lleb xi. 4.) it presupposes the divine »(s/<7;^?/!>ri uf them. And tins insa- 
"tutlon, most probably, took place vvhen God — taking occasion from the insutVi- 
ciency of the aprons of fig-leaves, which the fallen pair se\ved togedier, to cover 
the shame of then- nakedness — himself cloathed them with coats of skins. And 
most divines agree, that ic is very probable, these were the skins of those beasts 
which were slain tor sacrifices. However, God ga%^e testimony to these oblations 
of the ancient patriarchs, that they were acceptable to Inm ; but this cannot be 
suijposcd without admitting them to be lUviuely instituted. Besides, a distinc- 
tion of clean and rinclean animals was obser^'ed before the deluge; which was 
not from nature, but the mere divine pleasure ; and may we not add, with a par- 
tier, lar resjicct to sacrifices ? Now, 

If, according to Witsius and others, these skins of beasts, and sacrifices, were 
appointed seals of the righteousness of faith ; I would ask — Was the covenant di- 
rected for the use of then- seed in common with the parents, and not the seal in 
iike manner ? For, if the seals be affixed to the covenant for confirmation of its 
contents, as well as, in another view, for signification ; I would tain know, by 
what rule of construction we can mkr, that the covenant itself belongs to the 
parents and their seed iti commo7t, while the confirmation of it belongs exc/z/s/t'e/// 
to the former .■' Is it not contrary to custom and vnreaso-nable to conclude, that a 
charier of privdeges, or a testamentary instrument, (which by the way express 
the nature of the covenant) belongs to a man arid his heirs alike, but the cor.- 
firming seal respects the former only ; while on the supi'osition, the sovereign, 
or tlie testator, has given no ground for such partiality ? Besides, 

If the covenant itself be a benefit to the persons to whom it is directed, as it 
certainly is in every dispensation of it, it follows that the confirmation of it is so ; 
for parents, therefore, to deny their offspring ail the share in such common bene- 
fits they are capable of, without a divine warrant, is unnatural, and an act of n*- 
jnstice. AVe may therefore conclude — tiiat irom Adam to Noah, the covenant 
and its seals appertained to infants in conmion witii their parents. 

We appeal next to that period of the church which extended from Noab to 
Abraham : On v/hich we observe. 

Whatever benefits and privileges belonged to the former d ispensation, continue 
to flow on to the present, if not expressly rejjealed ; for the change of a dispen- 
sation of itself, is no adequate cau.se of their abrogation. '.»'hat would be as un- 
reasonable as to suppose that the bare change from night to day was, of itself, 
an adequate cause of a man's being disinherited. Or we may as well say, that 
the abstract notion of an epoch in chronology has a real influence on the sequence 
of events. Whatever covenant privileges, tlierefore, belonged to Noah and his fa- 
mily before the deluge, if not expressly repealed, must bch>ng ti^ them (fter the 
deluge. But, 

So fiir were these privileges fro?n being abridged at this period, that tlie}- 
were greatly enlarged and confirmed, by additional discoveries. For thus v.e 
read, Gen. vi. 18. But with thee will I establish my covenant ; and thou shall come 
into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy so/;*' ■im>es -with thee. Again, 
chap. vii. l.And the Lord said unto J^oah, Come thou, and all thy house into the 
ark ; for thee have I seen righteous bforeme in this generation. And again, ch;!i . 

lyO Of IHE SUajKClS Ax\D iMODii Gl BAP'HS.M. 

all ordinances are to be performed with this view, that they 
may be rendered effectual means of grace. And fi-om hence it 

viii. 20. . inJ JVoah huilikd an nUar niifo the lAtrd \ and took of every clean beaut, 
and of every dean fowl, and offered burnt-offerings on the altar. Once more, chap, 
jx. 8, 9, 12, 13. .ind God spake unto jVoa/t, and to Ids sons xoith him, saying, And 
I, behold, I establish my covenant trith you, and -loith your seed after you. And Gbd 
laid, This is the token of the covenant I do set my bo-cu in the cloud. Hence we fur- 
Uier learn, 

'I'hat the covenant or divine, charier, first given to Noah, included the prece- 
ding ; it was the same covenant with additional grants : for tlie Lord says, " I 
•will establish my covenant." Lest Noah should infer that the drowning of the 
world in wrath disannulled ti)e v.;ell known covenant, God dissipates his fears, 
j>y saying, " 1 will establish my covenant." 

On Noah's account, or as belonging to him,«?^ hishoztse or family was privileg'- 
cd. The privilege is, — " Come thon, and all thy house into the ark." The ground 
and reason of that privilege — "for thee have I seen righteous." It is trtie, the na- 
tural dictates of reason and affection, whereby a father pitieth his children, and 
whereby an infidel careihfor his o-wn, especially those of his o~,vnhouse, would have 
prompted tliis righteous person to bring all his family, (except any adults refused 
" com])liance) into the ark, Cthe like fgnre ivhereimto is baptism, as an inspired 
teacher assures us, 1 Pet. iii. 21.) yet the Lord was pleased to brighten his evi- 
dence aiid strengthen his obligations of duty by express revelation. 

After the flood the institution o? sacrifices continued as the seal of the first 
part of the covenant ; and the rainbow was instituted as tlie seal of the addition- 
al psivt, or, us Vareus calls it, " o/;/;e/u//a: of the covenant of grace." And here 
it is worthy of notice, that as the first exliibition of the covenant and its seals res- 
pected the ofispring of faderati, and the renewal or establishment of it to Noah 
retahied that privilege in full force : so also the appendi.r of the covenant com- 
prehended his seed. 

Respecting this appendix of the covenant of which the rainbow was the .seal, 
tliough we suppo.se, with Witsius, it was not formally and precisely the cove- 
nant of grace ; yet we observe, witli the same excellent author, " it does not 
" seem consistent with the divine perfections, to make such a covenant with eve- 
*' ry living creature, but on supposition of a covenant of grace, and having a j-es- 
"pect to it." And as this covenant, in its universality, implied the covenant of 
grace, we are not to deny, but the promises of it were also scaled to Noah and 
his seed by the rainbow. See Rev. iv. 3. x. 8. 

It is observaide, finally, that Noah his sons, and their seed were faderati, in 
Ihis ratification of the covenant; consequently whatever seals of the covenant 
belonged to Noah, belonged to his sons, and their seed, while non-dissentients. 

.Vppeal we next to a very important period of sacred history, viz. From Abra- 
ham to Moses. On this also we make the following remarks. 

'I'he Abrahamic covenant included \.\\e preceding dispensations, on tlie general 
jirinciple — that grants and privileges continue in force until repealed. Which 
i-epealing, if it be not either express, or arise from the nature of the case, in it- 
self plain, can have no binding nifluence, that is to say, no existence at all : ex- 
cept we maintain, that we ai-e 602*7;^/ to resign an important good without an as- 
signable cause ; which is in fact to maintain that we ought to deny that to be, 
which is. 

I suppose it will be granted, that the principal blessing exhibited in the foi'C- 
going dispensations was the righteou-^ness of faith ; tliegreat Importance of which 
to the Jmman race, in every age of t!ie world, no one will deny wiio considers 
things as they are. Tills covenant, therefore, was in force to Abraham prior to 
.what is called the Abrahamic dispensation ; and in this connexion we might 
mention Lot and his family. But, behold, 

A most explicit ratification of it, with SM/)era JJer/ favours. Gen. xii. 3. — In 
thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. Andl'-vill establish my covenant be- 


may be inferred, as is observed in this answer, Wat infants de- 
scendingfrom parents, either both, or but one of them, profess- 

tweeii me and thee, and thy seed after thee in their generations, fir aii everlasting 
covenant ; To be n God unto thee and to thy seed after thee. ver. 10. This is my 
covenant -tuhich ye shall keep between 7ne and yon, and thy seed after thee: every 
man-chUd among you shall be circumcised, ver. 12. He that is eight days old shall 
be lircitmcised among yon, every mau-childin your generations ; he that is born in 
the house, or bought with money ot'any stranger, xuhich is ?iot of thy seed. ver. 
24 — 27. ^■ind Abraham -was ninety years old and nine, when he was circumcised in 
the flesh of his foreskin. And Ishmacl his son ivaa thirteen years old, when he was 
circttmcii-ed in the flesh of his foreskin. Jn the seli-same day was Abraham clrcum- 
eised, and Ishmae'l his son. And all the men of his house, born in the house, and 
bouglit witii money of the stranger, 7vere circumcised with him. Hence we learn. 

The nature and extent of tiie Abrahumic covenant or promise. Whatever bles- 
sings are promised to ruined man, must be i7i virtue of the covenant of grace. All 
promised blessings, tlierefore, must imply an exhibition of gospel grace. And the 
glad tidings of salvation tiirougii Christ preached to the gentile world, is ex- 
pressly called — The blessing of Abraham (Gal. iii. 14.) Not th.it this liiik is the 
first in the chain of exhiblttd mercy to the fallen race in general, or with an uni- 
versal and unlimited aspect, if tlie reasoning in the last sections be just: but 
for its explicitness, and precious (because expressly diffusive) intendment, it 
may be j ustly termed a golden link. In this respect Abraham may well be styled — 
The Father of zcs all ,- not to the disavowal of Noah, with M'honi the cove- 
nant was before ratified, or Eve, who received Xheflrst intimation of it, and who 
in this respect eminently may be called The mother of all living. The cove- 
nant of grace, in its external maniiestation, containing an exhibition -of exceed- 
ing great and precious promises \.o every human being on the faceof tlie globe, to 
whom providence directs the joyful news, may be compared to a flowing stream : 
it proceeds ultimately from the immense ocean of sovereign gTace in Christ; 
Ws first visible source we trace to paradise, where it rises in a small spring, and 
glides on to Noah. During this part of its progress, there were but few compa- 
x'atively who participated of its cleansing and healhig virtues, thougli none were 
debarred from it. This continuing to glide along, without interruption, (not- 
withstanding God's awful visitation of a corrupt world by the deluge) we dis- 
cern through the person of Noah another source, whence is poured fortli a se- 
cond stream which empties itself into the former channel. The streams thus 
united become a river, which flows on to Abraliam — a river to whicii all are in- 
vited, buty^TO come, and these made willing by the omnipotent energy of divine 
influence which observes the laws of another — a /w'(/(fe« dispen.^ation, running pa- 
rallel as it were with the former ; which was also the case in the preceding pe- 
riod. Then, through tlie highly honoured person of Abraham we behold anotiier 
mighty spring copiously pouring forth the waters of salvation, and again uniting 
itself to the former river ; and from him to Christ, with a wide majestic flow, 
it proceeds along tlie consecrated channel of the Jewish nation ; gradually in- 
creasing by the accession of other streams, till it arrives at the Saviour's finish- 
ed work ; where, impatient of confinement, it breaks over its baiik.s on every 
side, and the healing waters flow to the most distant regions — That the blessing 
of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles. (Gal. iii. 14, 8. compared vv'itli Gen. xii. 
.5. xviii. 18. xxii. 18.) Paul expressly says, that " the Gospel (even the very same 
as the New Testament contains — salvation by Grace) " was preached to Abra- 
" ham :" And (Heb. iv. 2.) it was preached to his unbelieving descendants in 
the wilderness. 

.\s it is natural to expect, that whatever exhibition of privileges the parents 
enjoyed should be extended to their children, in common with themselves ; so 
we find that in fact they are expressly included in this dispensation as well as the 
preceding. The covenant is established between God and Abraluim's seed, in the 
v!.'rrj same sense as witls Abrahntn himsc'f ; the. essence of whteh h—to be a God 


ing faiih in Christ, are to be baptized; since one parent has as 

Therefore, the unbe- 

to him ami his seed And lest it should be objected that the term sfeJreferstohis 
adiill posteritii who should tread in his steps, to the exclusion otinfants, all doubt, 
is dissipated by the appointment of applying the seal of the covenant in early in- 

Sacrifices continuing in full force to seed the covenant, till the divine oblation 
should be made ; and the bow of the covenant continuing as a token and seal of 
it, until the Messiah's second comiiig ; at the commencement of this period is 
given an additional seal — circumcinon. Tiie very 7iaitire of the rite shews that all 
females Are excluded from being the subjects of it; as well as the discriminating 
specification — every man-child. Here observe in general, that children, in tiiisrite, 
have the same privileges as tiieir parents. Tiie males are treated as Abraham, 
and the females as Sarah : These therefore, had the covenant sealed in tlie same 
manner as their honoured mother. Again: though Sarah and her sex were not 
tlie subjects of this rite, they were constant xvitnesses to the institution ; and 
therefore there was an important sense in which circumcision was a seal to Sa- 
rali and her daughters ; a sense analagous to that in which sacrifices were. 

Every domestic head being, in truth, a prophet, priest, and king, in his own 
family ; a question must arise, Whether the covenant and its seals are restricted 
to the parent head of the family, and his children, or else extended to tlie other 
domestics? Nor would the question be unimportant; for liis instructions, his 
prayers, and commands,- answerable to his three-fold oiFice, must be directed ac- 
cordingly. To this question right reason replies : If the covenant and its seals 
are beneficial to all capable subjects, benevolence requires that they should be 
extended to the othei* non-disscntint^- members — except forbidden by indisputable 
authority. This is the voice of reason ; and we find that this is the voice of God. 
'J'he privilege is common to the seed, and to hitn that is born in the house, or 
bouq-ht v)ith money of any stranger, which is not of the seed. Gen. xvii. 12. 

It has been objected. " that the covenant with Abraham v/as a covenant o? pe- 
culiarity only, and that circumcision was no more than a token of that covenant ;'" 
but if so, as Mr. Henry observes, " howcanie it that all /^rose/j/^ep, of what nation 
" soever, even the strangers, were to be circumcised; thougli not being of anv 
" of the tribes, they had no part or lot in the land of Canaan ? The extending the 
" seal of circumcision to proselyted strangers, and to their seed, was a plain indi- 
" cation, that the New Testament administration of the covenant of grace would 
'■ reach, not to the covenanters only, but their seed." IJut it has been proved 
that circumcision sealed to Abraham and his seed the righteousness of faith ,- and 
ihercfore it does not affect the point in debate to contend that temporal promi- 
ses were sevAed-also. 

We next appeal to the long and interesting period from Moses to Christ, On 
which let the following observations be considei-ed. 

Wliatever appertained to the Abrahamic covcjiant was not disannulled by the 
ISIosaic dispensation. This St. Paul asserts in plain terms. Gal. iii. 17. 

It may not be amiss to take notice, before we proceed, of Job's family ; who, 
being as is generally supposed, cotemporary with Moses, and unconnected witli 
his history, deserves a previous regard. Of him it is said, that " he sanctified h'la 
" cliildren, and rose \i\> early in the nioniing, and offered burnt-offerings, accovd- 
" ing to the iinmber of them all — Thus did Job continually" or, ail the days. (Job 
i. 5.) On this 1 would only observe, let the sanctifying be what it iTiay, the sacri- 
fices must have been of divine institution ; aJid used by Job, being an eminently 
righteous man, as the seals of the covenant of grace ; with respect to his chi! 
dren separately. 

Superadded to the foregoing seals of the covenant, is the passover ; a divine 
rite of the nature of a sacrifice, instituted in memory of Israel's deliverance out 
<»f Egypt, representing and sealing spiritual blessings. " As to the quests, says 
' W;t.xi.iis. they W'-./', tivst. all native hrgrUtes, who were not exclmU'd by legal 


lief of one does not exclude the other from ajving it up to 
God by faith, in hope of its obtaining the savingblessings of the 
covenant of grace. 1 Cor. vii. 14. 

2. The right of the infant-seed of believers to baptism, may- 
be farther proved, from their being capable of the privileges 

" uncleanness. For all the congregatiov of Israel is commanded to solemnize the 
" passover. And, next, the Proselytes circumcised and become Jews ; whether 
" bondmen born in the house or bought with money, &c. Exod. xii. 48. When a 
" stranger will sojourn with tliec, and keep the passover to the Lord, let all his 
•' males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it, and lie shall be as 
" one that is born in the land." On this passage in Exodus, Dr. Jennings observes 
these two things ; " First, Tiiat when a man thus became a Proselyte, all his 
*' tnalss were to be circumcised as well as himself, wiiereby his children were ad- 
" mitted into the visible church of God, in his right, as their father. Secondly, 
" That upon this, he should be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of the 
" Jewish church and nation as well as lie subject to the whole law : He should 
" be as one born in the land." In short; not only men and women, but also young 
children partook of this ordinance, as soon as they -were capable of answering the 
revealed design of it, tor — no positive rule was given them on this head, like that 
of circumcision. It is manifest tiiat since the injunction respected not only indi- 
viduals of such a description, but also families as such, every member without 
exception huAsL legal right to the ordinance ; and nothing prevented infants from 
a participation, but what lay in the natural incapacity to answer the design of it. 

" Besides the ordinary and universal sacraments of circumcision and the /lasso- 
" ver, some extraordinary sj'mbols of divine grace were granted to the Israelites 
" in the wilderness, which in the New Testament are applied to Christ and his 
" benefits, and said to have the same signification with our sacraments. And 
" they are in order these — The passage in tlie cloud through the Red Sea — the 
" manna which was rained from Jieaven — The rvater issuing out of the rock — 
" and the brazen serpent erected by Moses for the cure of the Israelites." To 
this we may add, among other things, with tlie author now referred to — the clear 
and familiar display of the divine majesty — and the adumbration of divine myste- 
ries daily sealed by religious ceremonies. Our subject does not call for an investi- 
gation of these particulars, but 1 would remark in general, that the principle fop 
which we contend, is so far from being weakened, that it is abundantly corrobo- 
rated by the inspired testimony of every dispensation, and the Mosaic in particu- 
lar — That it is a common dictate of right reason, children should from their 
earliest infancy share in their parents' privileges, as far as they are capable, when 
no positive authority contravenes it. 

From the preceding induction of sacred evidence in favour of children being; 
sharers of the seals of grace in common with their parents, we conclude, that 
for the space of four thousand years, that is to say, /;-o?n the creation to Christ, it 
was a rule universally incumbent on parents to treat their children as entitled to 
religious privileges equally with themselves, according to their capacity. — And 
as a counterpart of what was observed of privileges, we may remark that, in virr 
tueof the same uniform principle, often when the parents were punished with 
excommunication or death, their infant children were included with them. As 
miglit be instanced in — the deluge — the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah — 
the case of Achan the Son of Zerah (Josh. vii. 24.) — the matter of Korah, Dathan, 
and Abiram — the case of the conquered nations (Deut. xx. 16, 17) — and many 
more instances, down to the destruction of Jerusalem. Far be it from us to sup- 
pose, that the parents' crimes and impenitence made their suflering children in 
capable of mercy — that mercy which proceeds on an invisible plan, and belongs 
to a purely spiritual dispensation. Yet, that children, during their dependence on 
their parents, should share equally with them in judgment and mercies externaj- 
ly, is the effect of an all-wise constitution coevaj with mankind. 

Dr Wiij.ia'I8 ox Baptisv. 

Vol, IV. B b 

194 to:- lllL S'JBJLCIS AND MODE 01' BAPilSSr. 

signified therein ; and vinder*hn indispensable obligation to per- 
form the duties which they, wlio dedicate them to God, make 
a public profession of, as agreeable to the design of tliis ordi- 
nance. None are to be excluded from any of those ordinances, 
which Christ has given to the church, but they who are either 
in a natural or a moral sense, to be deemed incapable subjects 
thereof. Some, indeed, are incapable of engaging in erdinances, 
by reason of a natural unraeetncss for them, as infants are not 
to be admitted to the Lord's supper, as being under a natural 
incapacit)' ; and, ignorant and profane persons are not to be ad- 
mitted to it, as being under a moral incapacity; and, for the 
same reason, a wicked man, when adult, is not a proper subject 
of baptism : But if there be neither of these bars to exclude 
persons, they are not to be denied the advantage of any ordi- 
nance. This, I think will be allowed by all ; and therefore, 
the only thing I need prove is, that infants are not incapable of 
the principal things signified in baptism. That they are not inca- 
,pable of being dedicated to God, has been proved under the last 
head ; and now we shall consider several privileges that are sig- 
nified therein, which they are equally capable of; as, 

(1.) Baptism is an external sign of that faith and hope 
which he has, that dedicates a person to God, that the per- 
son dedicated, shall obtain the saving blessings of the cove- 
nant of grace ; Now, that infants are capable of these bless- 
ings, none will deny, who suppose them capable of salvation. 
If we suppose infants not to have regenerating grace, which 
is neither to be affirmed or denied, it being a mutter, at pre- 
sent, unknown to us ; yet they are capable of having it, for 
the reason but now assigned ; and though they cannot at 
})rcsent, put forth any acts of grace', they will be capable 
thereof, as soon as they are able to discern between good 
and evil. 

They are not excluded by their infant-state, from be- 
ing under Christ's special care ; which is, doubtless, to be 
extended to elect infants as well as others ; and they are capa- 
ble of being discharged from the guilt of original sin, though 
not of laying claim to this privilege, which they may be enabled 
to do afterwards. Now, if infants are capable of these privi- 
leges, certainly the person who dedicates them to God, (v/ho 
has a right to do it, inasmuch as they are his property, and he 
is able to do it by faith) may devote them to him, with the ex- 
ercise of this grace, and a iiducial expectation that they shall 
obtain these privileges: And, indeed, wljen we engage in this 
ordinance, we ought to expect some saving blessings, as the 
consequence hereof, as much as when we engage in any other 
ordinance of divine appointment. 

Object. It is objected to this, that though a person may de- 


\ ote his child to God in hope of his obtaining sa^ng blessings : 
yet he cannot exercise any act of faith, that he shall obtain 
them : Therefore though he may perform this duty with a de- 
gree of hope, or, at least, with a desire hereof ; yet he 
cannot do it by faith : Therefore, if children are to be de- 
voted to God by faith, they are not the subjects of this or- 

Ansrv. To this it may be replied, that some things may be 
said to be done by faith, when we have not a certain ground 
to expect the saving fruits and effects thereof. Suppose an in- 
fant was expiring and the tender parent concerned about its 
salvation, whether he has a certain expectation that it shall be 
saved or no ; yet he may, and ought to be eai-nest with God 
by faith and prayer, that the child may be happy when taken 
out of the world; and, if he finds that he has the lively ex- 
ercise of faith, with respect to this matter, this will afford him 
some degree of hope, that God, who excited this grace in him, 
will own it by giving the blessings which he desires ; which 
is the only comfort that a parent can take in the loss of his in- 
fant-seed : And, may there not be this act of faith, when he 
dedicates him to God in baptism ? Did we assert that giving- 
up our children to God by faith, necessarily infers their ob- 
taining saving blessings, the objection would have some force 
in it ; or if there could be no faith exercised, without our be- 
ing certainly persuaded that rhis should have a saving effect ; 
then it might be argued, that because we are not certain that 
infants shall be saved, therefore we cannot give them up to 
God by faith : But if there may be faith, where there is not 
this certain persuasion, or any ground by which this matter 
may be determined, then, I think, it will follow, that infants 
may be devoted to God by faith, as well as with a desire of 
their obtaining saving blessings, and, consequently, this ob- 
jection does not take away the force of our argument. We are 
far from supposing that baptismal dedication necessarily in- 
fers these saving blessings, or is inseparably connected with 
them, so that the one cannot be without the other. Therefore, 
it is sufficient to our purpose, to suppose that they are capa- 
ble of those blessings v/hich faith desires, and, it may be, 
hopes for ; and, consequently, of those things which are prin- 
cipally signified in bapiism. 

(2.) Infants are under an indispensable obligation to perform 
the duties which are incumbent on those who are given up to 
God in baptism, and signified thereby. This respects some 
things future, (they being, at present, incapable of performing 
any duty) and, indeed, obligations to perform duties may res- 
pect the time to come, as well as the time present ; as when a 
person is bound to pay a just debt, this obligation is valid, 


though it is not expected thai it should be immediately paid. 
Thus infants are professedly bound, when given up to God, to 
be the Lord's : Whether ever they will give up themselves to 
hiin by faith, or no, is unknown to us, nevertheless, the obli- 
gation will take place as soon as they are capable of doing 
good or evil. Therefore it follows, that the parent may bind 
his child to be the Lord's, inasmuch as the obligation is just, 
as being founded in God's right to obedience, and when he 
has laid his child under it in this ordinance, he ought after- 
wards strictly to charge him to stand to it, as he would not 
contract double guilt ; not only in neglecting to perform an in- 
dispensable duty, but to pay that debt of obedience which has 
been so solemnly acknowledged in this ordinance. These ar- 
guments taken from the nature and design of the ordinance of 
baptism, give me the fullest conviction concerning our waVrant 
to apply it to infants : But there is one more which is not 
wholly to be passed over, viz. 

' 3. It appears, that the infant- seed of believers, are to be 
consecrated or devoted to God in baptism, because they arc 
included in the covenant wherein God has promised that he 
will be a God to his people, and to their seed ; who are, upon 
this account, styled holy Ezra. ix. 2. And it is said concern- 
ing Israel, that they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord^ and 
their off-spring zvith them^ Isa. Ixv. 23. the branch is said to 
be holy^ together with the root^ Rom. xi. 16. and the children 
of the promise are counted for the seed^ chap. ix. 8. that is in- 
cluded in that covenant in which God promised that he would 
be a God to children, together with their parents, as he says 
to Abraham; I xvill establish my covenant hetix)e en me and thee^ 
and to thij seed after thee^ to he a God unto thee^ and to thy seed 
after thec^ Gen. xvii. 7". And, in this sense, I think, we are to 
tmderstand the apostle's words, in 1 Cor. vii. 14. CaJ The 
unbelieving' husband is sanctified by the believing rvife^ and the 
zinbelieving wife by the believing husband ; else were your chil- 

fnj Tertullian observes on this passage, that if either parent were chris- 
tians, the children were enrolled in Jesus Christ by early baptism. And it tairh'' 
implies infant baptism in the days of Paul, for, having declared that the unbe- 
lieving partner was not to be divorced according to the law of Moses, which held 
the heathen to be unclean ; he pronounces the unbelievers set apart by such 
Tnarriage to God, as far as regarded that marriage ; and in proof of this he re- 
fers to a fact as known to the Corinthian.s, namely that the children of such mar- 
riages were received into the church, and treated as holy, that is devoted to 
*God. Now if the children of such marriages were not treated as heathens, bu^ 
owned by the church, and this could be in no other way than by receiving then* 
by baptism, there can be no doubt, that this was the case when both parents 

xvere believers. Ax:{,9:(pro; & aKU; never mean illesitimate and kgiiimalc ; and 

if they did, this would be no proof that the unbelieving party was consccraten 
■-0 Gcd, so as that the children should b,; clean and devoted to him. 


dren unclean^ but now arc they holy. By these, j.nd other ex- 
pressions of the like-nature, we are not to understand the spe- 
cial saving grace of regeneration and sanctification ; for that is 
not a privilege that descends from parents to children by birth, 
as our Saviour says. We are born not of bloody nor of the xv'ill 
of the fiesh^ nor of the will of man^ but of God., John i. 13. 
Therefore, when some, who are on the other side of the ques- 
tion, think that we intend hereby the saving blessings of the 
covenant, or that holiness which is an internal qualification or 
meetness for heaven, they do not rightly undei'stand our mean- 
ing. Some, indeed, may have given occasion to conclude that 
they intend this, who speak of the grace of regeneration as 
conferred in baptism ; and assert, that it intitles persons to 
salvation, if they happen to die before they are adult : Where- 
as, if afterward they appear to be in an unconverted state, by 
the wickedness of their conversation, they are said to fall from 
that grace This is what I do not well understand ; nor do I 
intend, when I speak of the infants of believers as an holy seed, 
that they are all internally regenerate or sanctified from the 
womb ; but they are included in the external dispensation of 
the covenant of grace ; which must be reckoned a greater ad- 
vantage than if they had descended from Indians, who are 
strangers to it. 

I am sensible, indeed, that they who deny infant-baptism, 
suppose that the holiness of the children spoken of by the a- 
postle in the scripture but now referred to, who descended 
from parents, of whom one only was a believer, implies no- 
thing else but their being legitimate : But that does not seem 
to be his meaning; inasmuch as marriage is an ordinance ot 
the law of nature, which all, without distinction, have a right 
to, heathens as much as Christians ; and the children of the 
one, are as legitimate as those of the other. Therefore, there is 
something else intended by their being holy, namely, the same 
thing that is meant in those other scriptures that v/e but now 
referred to, as taken for an external relative holiness, wherebv 
God must be supposed to have a greater regard to them than 
to others who are styled unclean ; and, if this does not infer. 
as was before observed, their being internally regenerate or 
sanctified : yet it is not a word without an idea affixed to it : 
Therefore we must understand thereby, an holiness in the low* 
est sense of the word ; as children are said to be an heritage 
of the Lord.,and the fruit of the xvomb his reward., Psal. cxxxvii. 
f. or, it denotes the obligation they are laid under, by the 
privilege of their descending fioni believing parents, to adhere 
to their fathers' God ; v/hich obligation is professed or acknov.- 
ledged, when thev are dedicated to him in baptism, as bar. 
been before observed; and this is the US'; which I woidd nnik/ 


of this aceou!it which we have of them in scripture, to prove 
their right to be devoted to God in this ordinance. 

yVnd, I think, v/e do not assert this without some warrant 
from ecriptvi! e ; for when God told Abraham, in the promise 
but now mentioned, that he would be a God unto him., and to 
his seedy which h the founrlation of their federal hohness ; this 
3s assigned as a reason why they should be devoted to God 
in circumcision, Gen. xvii. 10. ior we cannot but conclude 
«;ircumcision, as we do baptism, to ha\'e been an ordinance of 
dedication or separation to God : And, in Acts ii. 39. when 
the apostle had been pressing those Jews, amongst the mixed 
multitude, to whom he had preached, to repefit and he baptiz- 
ed ; and encouraged them to hope for the gift of the Holy 
Ghost i he assigns this as a reason, nainely, that the promise 
zuas to them and to their children, which refers to the promise 
of the covenant made with Abraham, and his seed ; and it im- 
mediately follows, and to them that are afar off^ that is, the Gen- 
tiles, who might claim this promise, when they believed, whom 
the apostle calls elsewhere, children of the promise^ as Isaac 
waSy Gal. iv. 28. These who are styled, before conversion, a 
people afar off, were after it reckoned the spiritual seed of 
Abraham, and so had a right to the blessings of the covenant, 
that God v/ould be a God to them ; and, by a parit^'^of reason, 
in the same sense in which the seed of Abraham were chil- 
dren of the promise, the seed of all other believers are to be 
reckoned so, till by their own act and deed, they renounce this 
external covenant relation : Now, from hence it may be in- 
ferred, that if they stand in this relation, to God, this is pub- 
liclv to be owned ; and accordingly they are to be given up to 
hiu) in b-aptism, as there is therein a professed declaration 

As to V, "hat was but now inferred from the infant-seed of be-^ 
iievers under the Old Testament having a right to circumci- 
sion, because they were included in the covenant which God 
made with their fathers, that therefore they have a right to 
baptism ; this is not to be wholly passed over; though, I am 
ficusible, they who deny infant-baptism, will not allow of the 
consequence. Some have argued, in opposition to it, that cir- 
cumcision was ordained to be a sign and seal of that covenant 
of peculiarity, which God made with the Jewish church, or of 
those blessings which they were made partakers of, as a 
aatiou excelling others, in name, honour, and glory : But this, 
I think, comes far short of what the apostle says on that 
Rubject, viz. that it was a seal of the righteousness of faiths 
Rom. iv. 11. And, indeed, when we call that dispensation u 
covenant of peculiarity, we intend nothing else thereby, but 
s'">iTie external privileges annexed to the aavin.g blessings of th:: 


covenant of grace ; and therefore, Abraham's foith was con- 
versant on both of them ; the righteousness of faith, which re- 
spected his own salvation, and that of his spiritual seed ; and 
those privileges of a lower nature, which they who were, in 
other respects, his seed, were made partakers of, by virtue of 
the covenant, in which God promised that he v/ould be a God 
to him, and to his seed. Moreover, it is generally denied, by 
those who are on the other side of the question, that baptism 
comes in the room of circumcision. This therefore remains to 
be proved, in order to our establishing the consequence, that 
since children were to be devoted unto God by circumcision 
vmder the law, they are to be devoted unto him by baptism, 
under the gospel-dispensation. 

Now, that this may appear, let it be considered, that God 
has substituted some ordinances, under the gospel-dispensation, 
in the room of others, which were formerly observed under the 
ceremonial law. Thus the Lord's supper is instituted in the 
room of the nassover ; otherwise the apostle would never have 
alluded to one when he speaks of the other, and says, Christ, 
our passover^ is sacrificed for us; therefore let ks keep the 
feast, &c. 1 Cor. v. 7", 8. And we have as much ground to 
conclude, that baptism comes in the room of circumcision, as 
we have that any gospel-ordinance comes in the room of ano- 
ther, that belonged to the ceremonial law, from Vv^hat the apos- 
tle says, in xvhain ije are circuvicised by the circiwicision made 
xvithout hands, buried with him in baptism. Col. ii. 11, 12. 
where he speaks of the thing signified by circumcision and 
baptism, as being the same, namely, our communion with 
Christ in his death; so that the thing signified by baptism, is 
styled, as it were, a spiritual circumcision : Therefore, since 
these two ordinances, signify the same thing for substance, and 
are set one against the other in this scripture, we may, I think, 
infer from thence, that baptism comes iu the room of circum- 

And, it is farther argued, that baptism being the only ini- 
tiating ordinance, at present, as circumcision was of old ; so 
ihat the first visible profession that v/as made, especially by 
any significant ordinance, that tliey were the Lord's, was made 
therein, which is what we understand by an initiating ordi- 
nance under the gospel, as circumcision was under the law, their 
it follows, that it comes in the room thereof; or else no other 
ordinance does : But if it be said, that no ordinance comes in 
the room of circum.cision, then the privileges of the church 
•under this present dispensati;on, would be, in a very disadvan- 
tageous circumstance, less than they v/ere under the former ; 
and if infants received any advantage hy being devoted to 
Go(\. bv c!rcumc!?^ion of old. but .are. not to he devoted to him 


by baptism now, their condition is much worse tlian that of 
those who were the children ol" such as lived under the legal 
dispensation ; whereas, on the other hand, God has not> under 
this present dispensation, abridged the church of its privileges, 
but rather increased them. 

Obj. 1. It is objected, that infants have no right to baptism, 
because they cannot believe and repent, since these graces are 
often mentioned in scripture, as a necessary qualification of 
those who have a right to this ordinance, as might be suffi- 
ciently proved from those scriptures in which persons are said 
first to believe and repent, and then to be baptized ; and, in 
order thereunto, the gospel was first to be preached^ according 
to our Saviour's direction, Mark xvi. 15, 16. And we read oi 
persons gladly receiving it, and then being baptized^ Acts. ii. 
41. therefore Philip v/ould not baptize the Eunuch till he pro- 
fessed his faith in Christ, chap. viii. 37, 38. Moreover, this is 
called an ordinance of repentance, as none have a right to it, 
.but those who repent : Thus it is said, John preached the bap- 
tis7n of repentayice for the reinission of sins ^ Mark i.4. and else- 
where, that he baptized xvith the baptism of repentance^ saying 
to the people^ that they should believe on him which should come 
after him^ that is, 07i Christ Jesus, Acts. xix. 4. 

Ansxv. We do not deny the necessity of faith and repent- 
ance to baptism, in them who are adult, as appears by those 
concessions which have been made under a foregoing head ; 
in which we considered, that none are to be baptized if adult, 
till they profess faith in Christ and obedience to him ; and this 
ought to be accompanied with repentance, otherwise it is not 
true and genuine ; therefore we freely owned also, that the 
gospel was to be preached by the apostles, to those who were 
immediately concerned in their ministry, before they were 
either to be baptized themselves, or their infant-seed. Ne- 
vertheless this does not overthrow the doctrine of infant-bap- 
fism, since that, as has been before proved, depends upon dif- 
ferent qualifications. Faith is, no doubt, necessary in the per- 
son that dedicates, or devotes to God : But, if what has been 
said concerning the obligation which every one that is able to 
dedicate his child to God by faith, is under, to do it, (as much 
iis he that is able to dedicate himself to him by faith, when 
adult, is bound to do it,) be true ; then we are to have regard 
only to the faith of him that dedicates, and to hojje for the 
saving privileges of faith and repentance, and all other graces, 
as divine blessings to be bestowed on the person devoted to 
God, as the great end which we have in view in this solemn 
action, {a J 

r» ) Ml these scriptures which require faith, that i'^, tlie credible prolcssion oi 


Obj. 2. There is another objection which is i^oncludetl, by 
^.ome, to be unansv/erable, viz. that there is tseither precept-, 
nor example in the New Testament, that gives the least coun- 
tenance to our baptizing infants ; therefore it cannot be reck- 
oned a scripture doctrine, and consequently is not from 
heaven, but of men. (bj 

it, to precede baptism, are certainly directed only to those ^vl^o are at j'cars ca- 
pable of it, and not to infants, 'f hese scriptures do not excUule infants wliose 
claim is throiis^h the cU'irch-membership of their parents, by which they are not, 
" unclean" 1 Cor. vii. 14. but holij, entitled to the promises made to the seed o'.' 
Abraham ; and also by virtue of the commission to disciple all nalionn, of which 
they are a part as mucli as their believing parents ; and by the practical e:;posi- 
tion of that commission i;! the universal baptism of infants in the christian 
churches for the first four hundred years. 

(^bj It may be objected, "If the preceding account be true, that baptism is 
not an institution merely positive, as much so as any enacted under the Mosaic 
dispensation ; then the present economy hath no institutions at all of that kind-, 
Tliis objection supposes, 

1. That precepts of a positive nature under the Mosaic dispensation, were ab. 
solutely so in all their circumstances ; so as not to leave any thing to be inferreil 
by the person or persons concerned, in the discharge of the duty enjoined. — Wvt 
if these things were so, if the Jewisli ritual was so express as to leave nothing; 
to be determined by inference, one might well wonder whence cf)uld spring sa 
many Targnr.is and Ttihmiils, so maiiy voluminous works intended to explain and 
iUustrate the various circumstances attending the performance of ihtF^e positive, 
duties among others. Are not these iinprescribed ci)xumsta7ices of ritual worshij), 
and other positive injunctions, what in a great degree swell the iriterprttutiouy 
of the Jiabbins? — The truth is, that there were many precepts under the Jewish 
economy positive in a considerable degree, relative to the subject as well as the 
mode of an institute, and respecting tlie former, it was sometimes particularly 
scrupulous, for reasons already assigned ; but it docs not follow that ^nt onb 
of these were so strictly positive, as not to take some things ?ov gra?iied re 
apecling the circumstances of the duty, such as national custom, the -^ommon 
dictates of sense and reason, traditionai-y knowledge, the general principles oi" 
the law of nature, &c. And it should not be forgotten, that the administrator 
of the Jewish rites had the subjects distinguished and characterized in a iv;ji/- 
f'le manner, which qualification was to be determined by the same sort of evi- 
dence as any fuels in common life ; but the administrator of the Christian rites 
has no such gix)unds to proceed on ; his commission is of a discretioiianj nutiue, 
arising from the nature and "design of the institutions themselves, us before 

2. The objection again suppo.'.es, that there is some excellency in an institution 
being merely and absolutely positive, more than in one of a mixed natui-e. But 
this supposition is vain and erroneous. For vdiat conceivable superior excel- 
lency can there be in any precept or duty on account of its posltiveness ? Wetvi^ 
there any force in the objection, it Would imply that the Christian dispensaVjoa 
is less excellent than the Mosaic ; as having fewer positive rites, and tlieir pro- 
portion of positiveness being also smaller. And it would also imply, that thft 
reasonable duties of prayer and praise, as founded on the law of nature, as wfU 
as more fully enjoined by revelation, were teis excellent than baptism and the 
Lord's supper ; and it would follow, that the services of the church triuraphant 
are in their own nature less excellent tiian those of the church militant; whicb. 
arc consequences from the force of the objection equiUly genuine and absurd . 
Our liord's answer rejecting the first and great commandment, shews at once: 
that wliat is the most important duty, is also the most natural, and therefore the 
lUost remote from what is merely },50jltive : and tbati;i the bvi iff Q<id> TIi'^ 

Vol. IV. C-: 


Answ. To this it may be replied, that consequences justly de-^ 
duced from scripture, are equally binding with the words or 

matter has been fully shewn before. In one word, the spirit of the objection i3 
truly pharisaic. 

Some may perhaps object, " that this has been always admitted as true, that 
baptism and the Lord's supper are positive institutions of the New Testament : 
and that many pjeclobaptists have availed themselves of this fort, in ascertaining 
the nature and enforcing the obligation of the latter, and particularly bishop 
Hoadly. And as his lordship's principle, in his Plain Account of the Sacrament 
of the Lord's Supper, has been deemed unanswerable, Mr. Foot, Dr. Stennett, 
and others, have taken but the same method in treating about baptism." To 
this I reply. 

That, as principles taken upon trust, dignified titles, and lawn sleeves, are 
light as a feather in the scale of argument ; so, on the other hand, I am satisfied, 
the bishop of Winchester's positions, taken in a sound sense, nay, the o?!!;/ con- 
sistent sense in which they can be taken, are evidently true and important. The 
sum is this ; that all positive duties, or duties made such by institution alone, 
depend entirely upon the will and declaration of the person who institutes or 
, ordains them, with respect to the real design and end of them, and consequently, 
to the due manner of performing them." This is strictly true, in the degree thai 
any duties are positite, but no further. And to denominate a precept or duty 
positive, though hut partialiff so, I have no objection, for the sake of distinguish- 
ing them from such as are merely moral, and evidently founded on the reason 
and nature of things. " Except we observe this caution," as bishop Butler ob- 
serves, " we shall be in danger of running into endless confusion." 

It may be said, " If we resign this maxim, that a positive precept or duty ex- 
• eludes all moral reasoning, analogy and inference, we open u door to number- 

■ less innovations, and deprive ourselves of a necessary barrier against the en- 
croachments of popery, &.c." In reply to this specious objection let it'be ob- 

1. That this maxim, whatever confidence our opponents place in it, is a very 
insiifficient bar?ier for the defence of tmth, if the objection implies, that it is cal- 
culated to defend truth against error, and not error against truth as well. For 
it is notorious, that there is hardly any extravagance, in the whole compass of 
the distinguishing peculiarities of religious practice, that is not barricadoed by 
this very maxim. If Protestants use it against Papists, Papists in their turn use 

■ it against Protestants.' If the Quakers are pursued and foiled when they 
occasionally quit this fort, they soon rally their controversial forces, and, 
entrenching themselves behind the strength of this maxim, become again 

■victorious. Whence passive obedience and non-resistance.' Vvhence an op- 
position to all forensic swearing, in common with profane ? Whence the 
Quakers' nonconformity to what other serious Christians consider as lawful ? 
Their peculiar mode of salutation and address.' Their method of conducting 
religious worship ? The little stress they lay on the observance of the christian 
Sabbath .'&c. Whence the popish absurd figment of trunsubstantiation, apos- 
tolical succession, extreme unction ? £cc. — On the contrary, 

2. Not to distinguish between the positiveness and morality of a precept, ordi- 
nance or duty, and not to ascertain their respective degrees ; and to deny that 
the tofe>* distinction admits of moral reasoning, inference and analogy, open a 
wide door to bigotry, and numberless glaring abuses of the sacred oracles. By 
rejecting the analogy of faith and the design of scripture herein, we give the 
most effectual encouragement to every senseless intrusion. And what is stili 
more remarkable is, that the more firmly any one adheres to the undistinguishing- 
positive scheme, in reference to any christian ordinance whatever, the more 
closely will he be allied to the interest of genuine bigotry. For it has a direct 
tendency to make the unpi-cscribed circumstances of a positive rite, essential to 
the rite itseU, and consequently to make that necessary and essential which tb' 


<ixamples contained therein. If this be not allow^ld. of, we shall 
hardly be able to prove many doctrines which we reckon not 

institutor has not made so. How far this is applicable to the antipaedobaptist's 
cause, will be further considered. — The doctrine that teaches the propriety o£ 
yielding our reason to positive institutions as such, or in the degree they are so, 
is just and proper, as founded on the sovereign, absolute and manifest authority 
of tlie Supreme Legislator ; and in this view it has been of singular service in 
refuting the cavils of deistical impiety. But to carry the principle any furttier, 
tends to betray the cause of Christianity into the h.-mdi of infidels, and to breed 
unhallowed party zeal and uncharitable animosities among its sincerest pro- 
fessors. •* For who are most likely to put weapons into the hands of iiifidels .• 
they, who seerti to discard reason in the investigation of truth, or they, whose 
researches are founded on her most vigorous exertions, and niost rational deci- 
sions ? — They, who make scripture bow to their preconceived notions, in direct 
opposition to the dictates of reason and common sense, or they, whose argu- 
nients are founded on a coalition of scripture and right reason ?" Once more, 

3. The objection, as it includes Mr. B.'s favourite maxim, and tends to oppose 
the distinction above stated, involves a gi-eat inconsistence with itself For on 
what principle, except what they affect to discard, do our opponents retain 
t:ome of the positive rites of the New Testament and reject others ? Why regard 
baptism and the eiuharist as of standing obligation ; while the pedilavinm an4 
feasts of charity (the former enjoined expressly by our Lord, and both practised 
by the disciples of the apostolic age, see John xiii. J.4, 15. 1 Tim. v. 10. Jude 
13.) are judged unworthy of continuance ? Why receive females to commu- 
nion, or adopt the/r.9( day of the v;eek for the christian sabbatli } How can they 
justify theii- conduct in these matters, these circumstances o? positive institu- 
tions, without undermining their own avowed hypothesis .'' With regard to the 
sabbath, indeed, the antipaedobaptlsts ai-e divided among themselves ; while 
some are content with the frst day of the week, others observe the seventh. On 
tliis point Dr. S. is very open and ingenious ; Mr. Addington appeals to an ob- 
j'^ting aatipxdobaptist, ♦' whether he does not think himself sufficiently autho- 
rized to keep the christian sabbath, though Christ has no where said in so many- 
words, Remember the first day of the week to keep it holy ?" To this the Dr. re- 
plies, " There is, I acknowledge, some weight in this objection : and all I can 
"• say to it is, that not having yet met with any passage in the New Testament 
•' tfiat appears to me to have repealed the fourth commandment, and to have re- 
*' quired the observation of the first day, I cannot think myself sufficiently au- 
<* thorized to renounce that, and to keep this." If the doctor is professedly an 
observer of the Jewish sabbath, he is consistent with himself, however different 
from so great a part of the christian world ; if not, he and his tenet are at vari- 
ance : analogy and infei'ential reasoning have got the better of the positive sys- 
tem, which nevertheless must not be resigned, for fear of worse consequences. 

Another objection much insisted on is, " If our Lord has left any thing to be 
inferred relative to the subject and mode of baptism, being a positive institute ; 
or if he has not delivered himself expressly and clearly in every thing, respecting 
the question wAo are to be baptized, and the manner how ; it implies a reflexion 
on his wisdom and goodness." But this objection is impertinent on different 
accounts. For, 

1. Its force is derived from the supposition that the Institutor was somehow 
obliged to make his will known to men by one method only. But is the Great 
Supreme under any such obligations to his absolutely dependent creatures ? 
%Vhat should we say of a philosopher, who, having to judge of any important 
phenomenon in physics, should quan-el with the author of nature, because he 
had not confined his method of information to one source only, to tlie exclusion 
of all others? That his evidence, for instance, was not confined to the informa- 
tion of sense, to the exclusion of reason and analogy ? Or what should we say of 
a person, who having to decide on the truth ind re^Uty of a mirncle, should'im- 


only to be true, but of great importance. It would be end-^ 
less to enter into a detail of particulars, to illustrate and con- 
firm this matter ; and I cannot but think it unnecessary,"- since 
they who deny infant-baptism, do not deny the validity of just 
scripture-consequences, fcj 

peach the ivisdom and goodness of his Maker, because he did not appeal to one 
sense only of his dependent and unworthy creatures, that o'i seeing, for instancf, 
to the excluiiion of that of hearing ? The answer is plain, and the application 

2. The objection is g-ulltjr of another impertinence, nearly allied to the for- 
mer : it unreasonably requires positive evidence for what is discoverable by othe;- 
means. It is demonstrable, and I think has been demonstrated, that the quah- 
ilcations of the subjects oi' baptism (the mode also will be examined in its place) 
is what cannot possibly be determined by any positive rule whatever as such, 
but must be resolved to the discretionary nature of the commission, or the sup- 
posed 7iiisdom a.nd pmdence of the admiRistrators, in common with other parts 
of the same commission, such as the choice of an aiidience, the choice of a con- 
cionatory subject, &c. I'reach the gospel to every creature, is a part of the com- 
Tnission, but the execution has no positive rule. Nor does this commission of 
preaching the gospel prohibit preaching the laiu, for a lawful use, or any branch 
of natural religion, notwithstanding Mr. B.'s excluding standard, that " positive 
laws imply their negatives." In like manner, the commission to baptize be 
fievers, and the taught, we contend and prove, does not mean to include all sorts, 
of believers and taught persons, but such of them as the administrators judge 
lit, according to the rules of christian prudence and discretion. And we fur- 
ther insist, as shall be more fully shewn hereafter, tliat the terms of the com- 
mission, believers and taught, stand opposed, not to noti-believers and untaught, 
but to unbelievers and persons perversely ignorant. What, therefore, falls uece^- 
carify to the province of inferential reasoning, is impertinently referred to a po- 
fcitlve standard. 

3. The objection implies an ungratefid reflexion on the Institutor's wisdoni 
aud goodness, contrai-y to what it pretends to avoid. And this it does, by coun- 
teracting and vilifying those natural dictates of reason, prudence and common 
sense, that our all-wise and beneficent Creator has given us — his goodness, in not 
suspending tlieir operations, but leaving them in full force, as to these circuni- 
Etances of positive duties — his ivisdom, in grafting what is positive of his lav/s on 
these common principles — and finally, the favourable circumstance of his di- 
minishing tl}e degree of positiveness In New Testament institutions, as well as 
their number. 

Let us now recapitulate what has been said in this chapter— From an inves- 
tigation of the nature of positive precepts and duties, as distinguished from. 
moral ones, together with their comparative obligations and importance, we have- 
seen, that, in any case of supposed competition, tlie latter claims an uudoubted 
preference. We have also seen, that nothing but absolute, decisive, discernible 
authority can turn the scale in favor of the former, or, indeed, place any law or 
duty in the rank of positive. Mcjreover, it has been shewn, that every duty re- 
sulting from, any discernible moral relation, must needs be classed among moral 
duties; that some tilings appertaining to the very essence of baptism, on our op- 
poncat^' own principles, are of moral consideration ; particularly tiie qualifica- 
tions of proper subjects ; consequently, that baptism is an ordiiiance oi a. mixed 
nature, partly positive and partly moral. Of all which an unavoidable conse- 
quence is, that our opponents' outcry against all nwnd and analogical reasons iu 
our enquiries respecting the subjects and mode of baptism, is impertinent and 
absurd, and to a denioni;tration contradictory to their own avowed principles. 

Db. WiLiiAMS ON Baptism. 

CcJ The commission to disciples baptizing all ?tationa is both a positive and 
express autUority Ibr ths baptigm of the infiUits of such as ai'c- thcinselves tCs», 
cipled. " '■ 


Therefore, all that I need say to this is, that<|f the method" 
we have taken to prove infant-baptism, appears to be just ; and 
if the premises be true, the conclusion deduced from them., 
«nust be allowed of; namely, that the infants of believing pai- 
rents are to be baptized, though this be not contained in so 
many express words in scripture : And, 1 cannot but think 
that the objection woxdd equally hold good against Christ's 
dying for infants, us well as others, or of their being capable 
of justification, regeneration, and the saving blessings of the 
covenant of grace; and it might as well be inferred from 
Kence, that they are not to be devoted to God in other in- 
stances, besides that of baptism ; or that we have not the lease 
ground to expect their salvation; for it would be as hard a 
matter to find this contained in express words of scripture, as 
that which is the matter in controversy, to wit, that they are to 
be baptized. 

Here I cannot but take notice of the method v/hich thr 
learned Dr. Lightfoot takes to account for the silence of scrip- 
ture, as to this matter *, which is, for substance, as follows, 
viz. that baptism was well enough known to the Jews, as 
practised by them under the ceremonial law ; by which he; 
means the ordinance in general, as including in it a consecra- 
tion to God, to worship him in that way which he then insti- 
tuted; and accordingly they are said to have been baptized into 
Moses. He also adds, _that the apostle speaking concerning 
this matter, as referring to what v/as done in the cloud, and in 
the sea., 1 Cor. x. 2. supposes that the whole congregation, of 
which the infants which they had in their arms, were a part, 
were solemnly devoted to God at that time ; which, I cannot 
but conclude to be more agreeable to the sense of the word 
baptize., than that which some critics give, who suppose that 
nothing is intended by it, but their being wet, or sprinkled 
with the water of the sea, as they passed through it ; for that 
was only an occasional baptism, which could not be weI4 
avoided. But, if I may be allowed a little to alter or im- 
prove on his method of reasoning, I rather think, that the 
apostle's meaning is, that the whole congregation was baptized 
into Moses., soon after they were delivered from the Egyptians, 
while they were encamped at the sea-shore ; at which time, 
God, for their security, spread a cloud for a covering to them ; 
and then, as the kind hand of Providence had led the way, 
and brought them under a renewed engagement, they hereupon 
expressed their gratitude and obligation to be God's people, 
by this universal dedication to him in baptism. But to re- 
ttirn t© the author but now mentioned j he adds, ^iiat whea 

» ^te }m vj'P'fo, T»r. U. pag. 1139. 113?, 113?- 

2.0O oi ti:e subjects akd mode or iiAPTisir. 

Jacob v/as delivered from Laban, and set about the work of 
reforming his household, he ordered them, not only to put 
iiivaij the strayige gods that were among them^ but to be ''ckan^ 
Gen. XXXV. 2. by which, as he observes, the Jews confess, that 
baptism, or a dedication to God by washing, is intended. He 
also observes, that the ordinance of baptism in general, before 
Christ instituted gospel-baptism, was so well known by the 
Jewish church, that they no sooner heard that John baptized, 
but they came to his baptism ; and they did not ask him, why 
dost thou make use of this rite of baptizing ? but, what is thy 
warrant, or, roho sent thee to baptize ? He further adds, that 
both John and Christ took up baptism as they found it in the 
Jewish church ; by which he means the ordinance in general, 
without regard to some circumstances, in which Christ's bap- 
tism differed from that which was practised under the ceremo- 
iiial lav\r ; and this v/as, as he observes, applied by the Jewish 
church to infants as well as grown persons ; therefore, our Sa- 
viour had no occasion, (when he instituted this ordinance with 
those circumstances, agreeable to the gospel-state, in which it 
differs from the baptism which was before practised,) to com- 
mand them to baptize all nations, that is, all who were the sub- 
jects of baptism, and infants in particular. 

Obj. 3. It is further objected, that our Saviour was not bap- 
tized in his infancy ; therefore his example is to be followed, 
and, consequently, no one is to be baptized till he be adult. 

Ansrv. To this it may be replied, that every circumstance 
or action in the life of Christ, is not designed to be an ex- 
ample to us ; and, indeed, there were some things signified in 
his baptism, that are not in ours, inasmuch as in its application 
to him, it did not signify his being cleansed from the guilt and 
power of sin. The only thing wherein that which was signi- 
fied in his baptism, agrees with ours, is in that he devoted 
himself unto God, not as expecting salvation through a Medi' 
^tor as we do, but as denoting his consent to engage in the 
work that he came into the world about ; which he now be- 
gan to perform in a public manner, which he fulfilled in the 
course of his ministry, while he went about doing good. New 
it was not convenient that this should be done in his infancy j 
for though the work of redemption began from that time ; yet 
bis proving himself to be the Messiah, especially his doing this 
in a public manner, did not take place till he was thirty years 
of age, and then he was baptized, that this might be an ordi- 
nance for the faith of his church, that he was engaged in the 
work of our redemption- Moreover, it must be considered, 
that John's baptism, which circumstantially differed from that 
which was practised in the Jewish church, as well as our Sa- 
vio!ir\ waf, not instituted till the year before Christ was bap- 


tized ; therefore he could not be baptized agre^bly to the al- 
teration that was made in baptism at this time, had he been 
baptized in his infancy. 

ObJ. 4. It is further objected, that infant baptism is a no- 
velty, and not practised by the church in the earliest age-s 
thereof from the apostles' tinie. 

Ansiv, To this it may be replied, that if this could be proved 
to be true, I should regard arguments deduced from scripture- 
consequences, much more than the sense of antiquity to deter- 
mine this matter. The principal use of the writings of ihc^ 
Fathers, in my opinion, is to lead us into the knowledge oi 
what relates to the historical account of the affairs of the churCh 
in their respective ages. The main thing supposed in this ob- 
jection is, that infant-baptism was not practised in the earU 
ages of the church ; the contrary to which will appear, if we 
consider some things mentioned by the Fathers concerning this 
matter : Thus Justin Martyr says, we have not received the 
carnal but circumcision by spiritual baptism ; and all persons 
are, in like manner, enjoined to receive it, as they were tr, 
receive circumcision of old, wherein he refers to that oi 
the apostle, in Coloss. ii. 11, 12. IVe are circumcised xcii^'~ 
the circumcision made witJwut haiids^ buried xvifh him in 
baptism; and, consequently, he supposes that baptism comes- 
in the room of circumcision, as has been observed else- 
where ; and he likewise speaks of their being brought to 
the water, and there regenerated; by which he means, bap.- 
tized, in the same manner as we are, in the name ut 
the Father, our Lord and Saviour, and the Holy Ghost *. 
And Cyprian, in a council, wherein there were sixty-six bi- 
shops convened, delivered it not only as his opinion, but sup- 
poses it to have been received by them all, that infants ought 
to be baptized before the eighth day, in answer to a question 
under debate, whether the time in which this ordinance was to 
be performed ought to be the same with that in which chil- 
dren were circumcised under the law f. And, Irenaeus f, 
speaks of Christ's sanctifying and saving persons of ever) 
age, infants not excepted ; and therefore they are to be rege 
nerated ; by which he means, baptized ; as the Fathers often 
put the thing signified for the sign : And Gregory Nazianzeri 
speaks to the same purpose §, that baptism may be performed 
as circumcision was, on the eighth day ; but that it ought net 
to be omitted any longer, than till the children are two, or 
three years old. And to this I might add, the testimony oi 
Augustin ; who asserts, that it had been practised by the 

• Vid. Just. Martyr, Qusst. & Rap. Qvcst. CII. £s? ejusd. J'sol II. 

f Vid. Cyp. in Epist. ad Fid. Lib. lii. Epi. viii. 

4 Vid. Ircu. Lib, ii. xxxix. § Vid. Fmsl Orat x' 


church, in foregoing ages, fi'bm our Saviour's time ; which, 
had it not been matter of fact, he would, doubtless, have been 
disproved by Pelagius, and his other antagonists *. 

It is further objected, by those who deny infant-baptism, 
that the practice of many in the ancient church, who deferrecl 
baptism till they were adult, argues, that they did not think it 
lawful for any to be baptized in infancy. Thus Constantino 
the great, as Eusebius observes, was not baptized till a little 
before his death : And, it is well known, that Gregory Nazi- 
anzen, and Chrysostom, Ambrose, Augustin, and others of 
the Fathers, were not baptized till they came to a state of man- 
hood ; and Tertuliian, who lived in the second cfentmy^ ex- 
horts persons to defer baptism, and adds, that it is the safest 
way to delay the baptism of infants, till they are capable 
of engaging for themselves, being arrived to years of dis- 
cretion f. (a) 

. * Vi(l Jlugristi7i. da peccal. merit. & remiss. Lib. i. Cap. xx\m. parvutos bapii- 
Ziiudos esse concedant qui contra autoritatem ziniversj: eccicsiie proculdiiblo per do- 
tij'num, SJ Apustolos traditam venire non possunt ; and in ISermon. x. de verb;;: 
^postal, speaking concerning infant-baptism, he says, .A'emo vobis sjisurret dvc- 
innas alieims. Hoc ecdesia semper kabnit. semper tenuit ; hoc a mujorum fide 
percepit : hoc usque injinem perseveranter ciistodit. 
\ Vid. TerivL Lib. de Baptism, Cap. xviii. 

'aj It is veiy rcmarknble, that in those ages and countries, ~u<lere the mode 
oi'dippiiig h:is been, or still is, the most prevalent, there infant-baptism has beea 
the most generally practised, and there the mode of baptizing has not been 
deemed essential. Instead, therefore, of finding «// these people Baptists, but 
vf^ryfe-w, ifanri, of that denomination, are to be found among them. Dr. Wall, 
who was himself an advocate for dipping, tells us, " that all christians in the 
'■' world, vuAffJiertT ownad the pope's uutUovity, do now, and ever did, dip their 
" infants, in the ordinnry use." They always baptized their infants ; and, ordi- 
narily, by di]:>ping, but not universally, for they, occasionally, sprinkled theiij. 
The mode of dipping was of ordinary use; but the practice of infant-baptism, 
ill those churches v/ho -tcere never under the injluence of poperij, appears to have 
been universa!, both in ancient and modern times. 

\Ye do not pretend to rest the proof of infants' right to baptism upon historr- 
cal evidence, relative to the ancient practice of tlie church in this respect. How- 
ever, if it should ap])ear, that the churches, soon after the apostles, did admit 
the infant cliikiret^ of believiisg parents to baptism— if no account can be pro- 
ciiiced, of anv church that rejected them — if no h)dividual can be named, why 
T»retended that the practice was unlawful, or an innovation — these facts will cer- 
xainly furnish a very v/eighty argument in favour of tlic aforesaid doctrine. 

l?aptism is an important transaction of a public natiu-e. Those christians, 
v»lio lived and wrote in the earliest times after t he apostles, must have known 
what tficir practice was, with reference to the infant children of believers. The 
tcstiusony of these ancient writers, as historians or witnesses, respecting this 
\Aih\ matter of fact, justly claims our most impartial and attentive considera- 
tion, it is not, however, my intention to write a complete history of infnnt-bap- 
lisin. A history of this kind' has been written a century ago, by Dr. Wall, a very 
coiTCCt rind judicious historian. This history is highly approved and recom- 
niendcd by the best judge.% ^ b<ing a vvork of great mef it, candour and im- 
partiality. On 


But to this it may be answered, that particulaSF instances, or 
tlie sentiments of some of the Fathers are not sufficient to 

Oi\ February 9th, 1705, the clcrgfv of England, assembled in general conven- 
tion, " ordered, that the thanks of' this house be given tu Mr. Wall, vicar of 
" Shorcham in Kent, for tlie Icarricd and excellent book lie hath lately written 
" concerning' intant-baptism ; and that a committee be appomted to acquaint 
" him With the same " Dr. Atterbury, a leading member in said convention, 
says, " tiiat the history of .nfant-bapt'ism uas a book, for which the author de- 
" served the thanks, not of the English clergy alone, but of all the christian 
." churches." Mr. Whiston also, a'very learned man, well acquainted with tbe 
writings of the Fathers of the four first centuries, and a professed Baptist, in bia 
address to the people of that denomination, declares to them, " that Dr. Wall's 
" history of vifunt-bupiisin, as to facts, appeared to him most accurately dona, 
" and might be depended ou by the Baptists themselves." JMem. of his life, part, 
2, page 461. 

The aforesaid hiBtory is still extant in two volumes. T!ie same author ha.* 
since published another volume, which is a defence of the two former volumes, 
against the reflections of Dr. Gale and others. In these publications, he has 
favoured us with the testimony and sayings of the ancient Fathers, with i-espect 
to infant-baptism, a few of which 1 shall produce, as authorities on the present 

Justin .Martyr, who wrote about forty ye.irs after the apostolic age, says, " We 
" have not received the carnal but spiritual circumcision, by baptism. And it 
" is enjoined on all persons to receive it in the same way." lie here evidently 
considers baptism as being in the place ot circumcision, and, consequently, likp 
that .incient rite, designed for infants as well as for adults. In one of his apolo- 
gies for the christians, he observes, " Several persons among us, of sixty or 
'*' seventy years old, who were made disciples to Christ from their childhood, 
"do continue uncorrupt." — Who ivere made disciples. — ^I'ake notice; for he: 
makes use of the very same word that was used in the commission given to the 
apostles. Biscipls all naiicms, baptizing tlie.m, &c. • Now, if infant children were 
made disciples, they were undoubtedly baptized. Justin wrote about 105 years 
after the ascension of Christ. Those persons whom he mentions were then 7f> 
years old ; and consequently born and made disciples, in the times of the 

Iren ECUS, who wrote about sixt3'-seven years after the apostles, and was then 
an aged man, says, concerning Christ, «« "he came to save all persons who by 
•♦ him are regenerated (or baptized) unto God, infants, little ones, youths and 
" elderlv persons." He speaks of ivfanis and little ones as being regenerated. 
It is evident from his own words that he had reference to their baptism ; for ha 
tells us, " When Christ gave his apostles tiie command of rc^aieratiiig unto 
« God, he said, go and teach all nations baptiziii!^ them." The ancient Fathers 
as customarily used the word regeneration for baptism, as the church of Eng- 
'land now use the woi-d christening. Justin Martyr, whose name and testimony 
we have already meniioned, speaking of some particular persons who had been 
baptized, says,'" they are regenerated in the same way of regeneration, in which 
" we have been regenerated, for they are -u-ashed ivith ivater in the name of the 
" Father, and of tlie Son, and of the Holy Ghost." In this short sentence, tiie 
word regeneration, or regenerated, is put for baptism no less th:in three times. 

It is a matter of no importance in the present dispute, whether the primitive 
Fathers used the aforesaid word properly or improperly. We certainly know 
in what sense they did use it, and this is all the information needed. I would 
however repeat a former observation, viz. that by a common figure, the tiling 
.signified is often substituted for the sign, and the sign for the thing signified. 
Thus, the Abrahamic covenant is sometimes put, by God himself, tor circum- 
cision ; and circuiiicisiop. the siirn and token thi'v^of. is sometime? put tijr tt.e 
Voh. IV. I) d 


prove that infant-baptism was not practised by tlic ancient 
church. As to what is alleged concerning Constantine's not 

covenant. Accordingly, baptism has been put for regeneration ; and regencra 
tion, for baptism. 

We have already shown, that the Jews were in the habit of baptizing the Gen- 
tile proselytes, even belbre the time of John and of Christ. They considered 
these ])ros"elyte3 as being, by baptism, born the children of Abraham ; and 
llierefare expressed their baptism, by regeneration. Accordingly, Christ and 
liis apostles, on some particular occasions, adopted a similar language. Our Sa- 
viour said to Nicodemus, except one be born again — except he be born of luater 
and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. By this new birth, Christ 
evidently had reference to water baptism, as truly as to the renewing of the Holy 
(ihost. The apostle Paul styles baptism, the ivuBhing ofregeneration. The ancienU 
commonly expressed baptism with water, by regeneration ; for they considered 
this external sacrament as a sign of internal, spiritual renovation and purification 
Irenxus expressly calls baptism regeneration, and says that infants were regene- 
rated, that, is baptized. His testimony is plain and full ; and cannot be doubted 
by any person acquainted with the phraseology and writings of the Fathers. He 
.jiientions not only old persons and youths, but also little ones, and even infants. 
This Irenxus was bishop of Lyons in France. According to Mr. Dodwell, he 
was born before the death of St. John— was brought up in Asia, where that 
apostle had lived and died. He was acquainted with Polycarp ; and in his 
yoimo-er years, had often heard him preach. Polycarp was John's disciple, had 
been chosen by him to be bishop of Smyi-na — and probably tliat angel of the 
church, so highly commended in the 2d chapter of Rev. Ircnxus, and those 
christians who lived in an age so ne.ir the apostles, and in a place where one of 
them had so lately resided, could not be ignorant — they must have known what 
the apostolic practice was, with respect to infant-baptism — a matter of the. most 
notorious and public nature. 

Dr. Lathrop observes, " that Tertullian, who flourished about one hundred 
years after the apostles, gives a plain testimony, that the church admitted in- 
fants to baptism in his time. It is true, he advises to delay their baptism ; not 
because it was uiilaiiful, for he allows of it in cases of necessity ; but because 
the sponsors were often brought into a snare ; and because he imagined that 
sins committed after baptism, were next to unpardonable. He accordingly ad- 
vises that unmarried persons be kept from tliis ordinance, until they either 
marry or are confirmed in continence. His advising to a delay, supposes that 
infant-baptism was practised, for otherwise there would have been no room for 
the advice. He does not speak of it as an innovation, which he would certainly 
have done, bad it begun to have been ]3ractised in his time. His words rather 
im])ly the contrary. His speaking oi' sponsors, who engaged for the education of 
the infants that were baptized, shows that there had been such a custom. And 
his askinp", " why that innocent age 7nade such haste to baptism," supposes that 
infants had usually been baptized, soon after their birth. So :hat he fully- 
enough witnesses to the fact, that it had been the practice of the church to bap- 
tize infants. And his advice to delay their baptism, till they were grown up and 
married, was one of those odd and singulai' notions for which this father was 
vei^y remarkable." 

This quotation agrees well with the account given of Tertullian, by Dr. Wall 
and other approved writers. Tertullian was evidently a man of abilities and 
icarning, and in some respects an useful writer. His integrity and veracity were 
never questioned. But as has hem hinted, he held to some strange and peculiar 
notions. He was not deemed perfectly orthodox by the .-uicient christians. Be- 
ing a person of warm imagination, he expressed himself, very strongly, on dif- 
lerent subjects, at different times ; and some have thought, in a manner that 
was not consistent. Some of the later Baptists have even pretended that he de- 


being baptized till a little before his death, and ttregory Na 
zianzen, Chrysostom, ^c. not till they were adult : This may 

nled infant-baptism. But these considerations do not disqualify him as a wif 
ness in the present case. Instead of mvalidating', tliey serve to confirm his tes- 

Dr. Gill says, that Tertullian is the first man who mentiom infant-baptism, and 
speaks aj^ainst it ; and infers that it had not come into use before his time. To 
this, Mr. Clark, in his answer, replies, " So he is the first man, 1 suppose, that 
" mentions the baptism of unmarried peoj)le, virgins, and widows, and speaks 
" against it, and as earnestly pleads for its delay till the danger of temptation is 
" past ; till marriage, or the abatement of Uist. But will it thence follow, that 
" the baptism of such unmarried persons did not obtain in the churc!) till Ter- 
" tuUian's time ? Or that it then first beg.an to be in use ? Our author might as 
*• reasonably have inferred the latter opmion, as the former. But the very 
•* words, In which he expi'esses his advice against baptizing infants, plainly ini- 
" ply that it was a common practice. After all, what is it that Tertullian has 
" said against infant-baptism ? He has given it as his judgment, that it would 
" be more profitable to defer their baptism, until they come to riper years, and 
" were able to understand something of its nature and desisgn ; but he does not 
" like the anti-pxdobaptists, condemn it as unlawful ; which he would have 
" done, if it had been a novel practice — an innovation, contrary to the rule of 
** scripture, or without the approbation or direction of the apostles. On the 
" contrary, he allows it in case of necessity, of sickness, and danger of death. 
" Dr. Gill, instead of saying, that Tertullian was the first man who mentioned 
<« infant-baptism, and spoke against it, ought to have said, that he was the only 
" man, in all antiquity, whose writings have come down to us, who has said any 
" thing at all against the practice of baptizing infants." The very advice, how- 
ever, which he gave, plainly shows, that infant-baptism was then commonly- 
practised. He does not intimate, that the practice was of human invention, or 
not authorized by the apostles. His private opinion, with respect to the expe- 
diency of delaying baptism in several cases, and the reasons which he offered, 
are nothing to us. We have only cited him as a voiicher to an ancient fact ; and 
the testimony which he has given affords clear and Incontestable proof of said 
fact, viz. that infants were baptized in his times. 

Origen, who flourished in the beginning of the third century, and was ^ov 
some time contemporary with Tertullian, in his otli homily on Levit. 12, ob- 
.serves, " David, speaking concerning the pollution of infants, says, I was con- 
*' ceived in i?iiquili/, and in sin did my mother bring me forth. Let it be considered 
" what is the reason, that whereas the baptism of the church is given for for- 
*' giveness, infants also, by the usage of the church, ai-e baptized ; when if there 
" were nothing in infants, which wanted forgiveness and mercy, the grace of 
" baptism would be needless to them. And again, infants are baptized for the 
" remission of sin. Of what sin.? Or when have they sinned.? Or haw can any 
•' reason of the laver hold good in their case ? But according to that sense be- 
*' fore mentioned, none is free from pollution, though his life be only the length 
" of one day upon the earth. It is for this reason that infants are baptized, be- 
•* cause by the sacrament of baptism, our pollution is taken away." In another 
treatise, he says, ** the church had a tradition, or conim.and from tlie apostles, to 
" give bajjtism to infar.ts ! for they, to whom tlie divine mysteries were com- 
" mitted, knew that there is, in all persons, the natural pollution of sin, which 
•' ought to be washed away by water and the spirit ; by reason of which pollu- 
" tion, the body itself is also called the body of sin, &c. &c. 

These testimonies of Origen are full and unequivocal. They put tlie matter 
in debate beyond all reasonable doubt, if any credit can be given to them ; and 
no reason appears, why they should not be credited. It is true, they are taken 
from Latin translations. Origen wrote in the Greek language. But the fidelity 
of the translators and authenticity of thsse passages, have been sufficiently \\ii- 


be accounted for, by supposing that their parents did not em- 
brace the Christian religion while they were infants: and, ii 

dicated by Dr. Wall, e\'en to the entire satisf.iction of all impartial enquirers. 
None will object, but those persons wlio are disposed to cavil. 

I perceive that you have admitted tlie atore.said facts ; but have made an im- 
tisual outcry against the tradition and order from the apostles, mentioned bj 
Origen. There is, I suspect, more ])o!icy and popularity m your remarks, tlian 
real weight. It will not do tor us to turn tho.se weapons against the ancient 
Fathers and holy apostles, wliich the protestants have used with so much suc- 
cess, in their disputes v. iih the Tapists. 

Let us hear what St. Paul s;iy3, with respect to traditions. 2 Tiiess. ii. 15. 
" Therefijre, brethren, stand fust, and hold ttie traditions which ye liave been 
•' taught, whether bi/-.vor(l, or our epistle." And in tlie 3d chap. 6th verse, he 
says, "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord ,Tes»ts Christ, 
*' that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketli disorc.'erly, and 
"not after the tradition wh\ch he received of us." So also in 1 Conn. 11th 
chap. 2d verse. " Now I jjraise you, brethren, that ye remember ine in all 
" tilings, ami keep the ordinances (tlie traditions, paradoseis) as I delivered 
them to you." The apostle was here speaking of christian ordinances, which 
'he calls traditions. The original word signifies traditions, and is so rendered by 
our translators in the other aforecited passages. 

Thus, sir, you see in what a solemn manner— rVi the name of Christ, the holy 
apostle charged the primitive christians, to hold and keep the traditions — not 
merely such as had been written by the pen of inspiration, but also those which 
v^ere delivered to them % vjord, or in an oral and vei-bal manner, and with par- 
ticular reference to tlie rules and ordinances of the gospel. The traditions and 
commandments of mere men, which pretend to divine authority, are to be re- 
jected. But those traditions are not to be treated with sneer and ridicule, 
which were delivered by the apostles to the primitive christians — recorded and 
authenticated by the ancient Fathers — and transmitted down to us, by the 
iaitliful historian. 

Origen lias expressly informed us, that infant-baptism was practised in his 
time. With re,spect to this matter of fact, Origen was certainly a competent 
witness ; and he had every oj^portunity and advantage for knowing what had 
been the practice of his predecessors and even of the apostles. INIany of the 
ancient Fathers were illiterate, and descended from heathen parents ; and being 
the first of their family who embraced Christianity, must have been baptized 
when adults. But Origen was one of the most learned men of the age. He was 
born and educated at Alexandria in Egypt, but travelled into Home, and 
Greece, and Capadocia, and Arabia. He resided for some time in several of the 
most eminent churches, and spent the greatest part of his life in Syria and Pa- 
lestine. His ancestors were christians. Eusebius tells us, that his forefiithers 
had been christians, for several generations. His father was martyred, in the 
persecution under Severus. 

It is very remarkable, that his pedigree should have been so accurately ascer- 
tained. The occasion was this : Porphyry, a great enemy to Christianity, had 
represented tlie christians as being an ignorant people, destitute of science ; but 
not being able to conceal the repute of Origen, for his uncommon skill in hu- 
man literature, pretended that he had been at first a heathen, and had learned 
their philosopliy. In order to confute tliis falsehood, Eusebius enquired into 
his ancestry, and set forth his ciiristian descent. 

Origen was born in the year of otir Jyird 18.5, that is, eighty five years after 
the apostles. He was seventeen years old when his father suffered martyi-dom. 
He had himself, undoubtedly, been baptized in his infancy ; and must have been 
informed concerning tlie practice of the apostles, respecting the baptizing of 
infants; for his grandhither, or at least his great-grandfather, lived in the apos- 
tolic times, and Uiey both were clu-istiuns. This is the man, who has expressly 


'lliat were true, they ought not to be baptized till they could 
give up themselves to God by t;iith : This ar late learned 

declared, that infants were baptized in liis day, and that the churcli w.is tlirect- 
ed by an order or tradition from the apostles, to baptize them. His circum- 
stances were such as afforded him all the necessary and suitable means tor ob- 
taining' information. We have no reason to suspect his credibility as a witness ; 
and nothing can be more unreasonalile, tiian to reject or treat his testimony 
with contempt. It is a circumstance worthy of our verij particular notice, that 
Origen and tiie otlier ancient Fathers do not speak of infant-baptism as being a 
practice that was denied or opposed by any one. They mention it as a practice 
generally known and approved, and for the purpose of illusti-ating and confirm- 
ing otlier points that were tlicn disputed. 

I shall now produce the testimony of the blessed martyr Cj'prian, M'ho was 
for some time contemporary with (irigen ; and next to him, the most noted 
christian writer of tliat age. Cyprian was constituted bishop or minister of 
Carthage, in the year 248, and Origen died in the year 252. The testimony of 
this ancient saint, to whicli I now iiave an immediate reference, '.vas occasioned 
by a question proposed to him, by one Fidus, a prcsbi/ter, or minister in the 
country, viz. Whether cm infant might be baptized before he was eight days old? 
The reason of his doubt, it seems, was an article in tiie law respecting circum- 
cision, which, under the Old Testament dispensation, required tliat infants 
should be circumcised on the eighth day from their birth. Pursuant to the 
aforesaid question, an ecclesiastical council of sixty -six bishops, having con- 
vened at Carthage, A. U. 25,3, Cyprian proposed a resolution of the following im- 
port, viz. "that an infant miglit be baptized on the second or third day, or at 
" any time after its birth ; and that circumcision, besides being a sacramental 
" rite, had something in it of a typical nature ; and particularly, in the circum- 
" stance of being administered on the eighth day, which ceased at tiie coming of 
•' Christ, who has given us baptism, the spiritual circumcision ; in which ordi- 
" nance, we are not thus restricted, with respect to the age or time of adminis- 
•' tration." To this resolution the council agreed unanimously ; as it appears 
from the testimony of Cyprian in his epistle to Fidus, from wiiich I shall extract 
a few paragraphs, in oixlcr to show the sentiments of those venerable and an- 
cient saints relative to infant-baptism. — The inscription is as follows : 

" Cyprian and the rest of the colleagues, who are present in council, in nuni- 
" ber sixty-six, to Fidus our brother, 
" Greeting!" 
" As to the case of infants, whereas you judge that they must not be baptized 
" -Oitldii two or three days after they are born ; and that the la-u of the ancient cir- 
" ciimcision is to be observed; so that you think 'none should be baptized and smicti- 
"fcd, until the eighth day after their birth ,- we were all in our assembly ot a quite 
" different opinion. For in this matter, wltii respect to that which you thought 
*' fitting to be done, there was noto«eof your mind. Butallof us rather judged, 
" that the gi-ace and mercy of God is not to ])e denied to any person born. For 
" whereas our Lord in his gospel, the Son of Man came not to destroy men's souls 
" (or lives) but to save them. — That the eighth day, appointed to be observed in 
" tiie Jewish circumcision, was a type going before in a shadow, or resemblance, 
" but on Christ's coming was fulfilled in the substance ; for because the eighth 
" day, th.at is tiie next after t!ie Sabbath, was to be tlie day on whicl\ the Lord 
** was to rise from tlie dead, and quicken us, and give us the spiritual circum- 
" cision. This eighth day, that is, tlie next to the Sabbath, or the Lord's day, 
" went before in the t3'pe, which type ceased when the substance came, and the 
** spiritual circumcision was given to us. So that we judge, no person is to be 
♦' liindered from olstaining the grace, (that is of baptism) by the law which ia 
*« now established ; and that the spiritual circumcision ought not to be re- 
'•strained by the circumcision which was according to the flesh; but that all 
*' are to be admitted to tiie ffvace of Chrigi ; sinec I'cter, speaking- in the Acts 

i;i4. Oi- THL SUBJECTS AInD I.lODii Ol iJAPXiSiu. 


writer attempts to prove *. Moreover, some who have been 
converted, have neglected baptism, out of a scruple they have 

* See TVall's Histonj of Tnfivit-Baptism, Part ll.page 52—86. 

*' of the apostles, says, fh^ Lsrdhath shown me that no person is to be. called common 
" or unclean. This, Ihtr; fore, dear brother, was our opinion in the assembly, 
" that it is not for us to hinder any person from baptism, and from the grace of 
*' God, who is merciful, and kind, and affectionate to all. Which rule, as it 
" holds for all, so we think it is more especially to be observed in reference to 
" infants, and those tliat are newly born, to whom our help and the divine mercy 
" is rather to be granted, because by their weeping and wailing at their first en- 
" trance into the world, they do intimate nothing so much as that they implore 
" compassion," &c. 

Saint Ambrose, who wrote about 274 years after the apostles, declai'js ex- 
presslj-, " that infant-baptism was practised in his time, and m. the time of the 
" apostles." 

Saint Ciirysostom observes, "that persons may be baptized either in their In- 
" fancy, in middle age, or in old age."— He tells us, infants were baptized, al- 
-f though they had no sin ; and that the sign of the cross was made upon their 
•'foreheads at baptism."— Saint llicrome says, " if infants be not baptized, the 
** sin of omitting their baptism is laid to the parent's charge." — Saint Austin, 
■who wrote at the same time, about 280 years after the apostles, speaks " of infant- 
*' baptism as one of those practices which was not instituted by ajiy council, but 
•• had ahuayi: been in use. The tuhole church of Christ, he informs us, had con- 
" stantly held tliat infants were baptized for the forgiveness of sin." — That he 
" had never read or heard ni any Christian, Catholic or sectary, who held other- 
*' wise." — " That no christian, of any sort, ever denied it to be useful or neces- 
" sary." If any one," saith he, " should ask for divine authority in this matter, 
" though that, which the whole church practises, and which has not been insti- 
'"' tuted by councils, but was ever in use, may be believed, very reasonably, to be 
" a thing delivered or ordered by the apostles, yet we may, besides, take a true 
" estimate, how much the sacrament of baptism does avail infants, by the cir- 
" cumcision whicli God's former people received." 

No one of these ancient Fathers ever wrote directly in favour of, or against, 
infant-baptism. In their various discourses and writings, they often mention it, 
occasionally and transiently, when discoursing on some other subject. — They 
mention it as a general practice of universal notoriety, about which there was 
ro controversy, in order to confute some prevailing heresy, or establish certain 
tioctrines, that were then disputed. Similar testimonies might easily be pro- 
duced from the writings of many other ancient witnesses,but this would unneces- 
sarily add to the prolixity of the present work. I will therefore conclude, by 
stating very briefly, the incontestible and conclusive evidence in proof of infant- 
baptism, arising out of the well-known Pelagian controversy respecting original 
sin, which happened about three hundred years after the apostles. 

Pelagius held, that infants were born free from any natural and sinful defile- 
ments. Tlie chief opposers of him and his adherents were Saint Hierome, and 
Saint Austin, wlio constantly urged, very closely, in all their writings upon the 
subject, the following argument, viz. " That infants are, by all christians, ac- 
" knowledged to stand in iieed of baptism, luhich must be in them for original sin, 
" since they have no other." " If they have no sin, why are they then baptized, 
" according to the rule of the church,/or the forgiveness of sins ? IVhj arc they 
" washed in the laver of regeneration, if they have no pollution ?" Pelagius, and 
also Celestius, one of his principal abettors, were extremely puzzled and embar- 
rassed with this argument. They knew not how to evade or surmount its force, 
but by involving themselves in greater absurdities and difficulties. Some per- 
sons aggravated the supposed error, by charging upon them tlie denial of in- 
fant-baptism, as u consequence that foUov.-ed from their tenet. Pelagius dis- 


had of their unfitness for it, as many, in oltc day, do the 
Lord's supper; and others, it may be, might have neglected to 
Ijaptize their infants, or to be baptized themselves, till they 
apprehended themselves near to death, as being misled by a 
false supposition, which was imbibed by several, that baptism 
washed away sin ; therefore, the nearer they were to their end, 
the more prepared they would be, by this ordinance, for a bet- 
ter world. However, whether it was neglected for this, or 
any other reason, it does not much affect the argument we are 

claimed the slanderous imputation with abhorrence, declaring that he was ac- 
cused falsely, la the confession of faith, Pelagius then exhibited, which Dr. 
Wall has recited, he owns, " that bciptism ought to be administered to infuntSf 
" luith the same sacramental -words which are xiscd in the case of adult persons" — 
He vindicates himself in tlie strongest terms, saying, " that men slander him as 
"if he denied the sacravient of baptism to infants, and did promise the kingdom of 
" heaven to any person -without the redemption of Christ ; aiid ajffirms that he never 
" heard of any, not even the most impious heretic, that would say such a thing ofi7i- 
fants." Now these difficulties would have been instantly removed, and the battery, 
which so greatly annoyed them, been demolished at once, by only denying that 
infiints were to be baptized. But they did not suggest or entertain any doubt at 
all respecting this doctrine. Pelagius readily avowed, in the most explicit man- 
ner, the incon tested right, and the established immemorial practice of infant- 
baptism. Celestius also confessed, " that infants were to be baptized " accord- 
" ing to the rule of the universal ckurch." 

One of these itien was born and educated in Britain, and the other In Ireland. 
They both lived a long time at Rome, the ceptre of the world and place to wliich 
- all people resorted. Celestius settled at Jerusalem, and Pelagiias travelled over 
all the principal churches of Europe, Asia and Africa. If there had been any 
number of churches, or a single church, in any part of the world, not only iii 
that but in the two preceding ages, who denied the baptism of infants, these 
learned, sagacious persons must have known or heard of it ; and certainly tliey 
would have mentioned it, in order to check the triumph of their opponents, ani 
to wrest from them that argvmnent, by which, above all others, they were most 
grievously pressed. It is evident there was no society of Baptists then in the 
world, nor had there been any of that denomination, within the memory of man. 
The conlession of Pelagius and Celestius amounts almost to demonstration. It 
proves, beyond all reasonable doubt, that infant-baptism had universally obtain- 
ed, and had always been practised among christians, even from the apostolic 

Dr. Wall, who enjoyed the best advantages for being acquainted with the 
history of infant-baptism, and who made this the principal subject of his studies 
and enquiries, briefly sums up the evidence on both sides, in the following 
words : " Lastly, for the first four hundred years, there appears only one man, 
" TertuUian, who advised the delay of infant-baptism in some cases, and one 
*' Gregory, who did /ler/ia/jc practise such delay in the case of his own children ; 
" but no society ot men so tlunkingor so practising; or any one man saying it 
" was unlawful to baptize infants. So in the next seven hundred years, there is 
•' not so much as one man to be found, who either spoke for or practised any 
" such delay, but all the contrary. And when about the year 1130, one sect 
" among the Waldenses or Albigenses declared against the baptizing of infant?, 
" as being iricapable of salvation, the main body of that people rejected their opi- 
" nion; and tliey of them who held that opinion, quickly dwindled away and 
" disappeared, there being no more persons heard of, holding that tenet, untii 
" llie rising of the German ar.ti-picdobaptists in the year 1522." 

Rrro's Afoiogt. 


maintaining, our design being principally to prove, that it wai 
practised in the early ages of the church ; and, in what in- 
stances soever it was omitted, it was not because they clenied 
that the infants of believing parents had a right to it. As to 
several things mentioned by the authors before cited, and 
others that treat on that subject, whereby they seem to main- 
tain the absolute necessity thereof, to wash aAvay the pollution 
of sin ; or, when they assert, that it is as necessary to salvation 
as regenerating grace, we have nothing to say as to this me- 
thod of reasoning ; However, whatever they speak in defence 
of it, is a sufficient evidence that it is not a practice of late in- 

As to what respects Tertullian's advice to defer baptism till 
persons were capable to engage for themselves ; this caution 
argues, that it was practised by some, which is the principal 
thing designed to be proved. And the reason assigned by 
^him for the neglect of baptism, being this, because the sureties, 
who undertook to instruct them in the doctrines of religion, 
often promised more than diey made conscience of perform- 
ing, and so brought themselves into a snare thereby ; there- 
fore, for their sakes, infant-baptism, which could not be ad- 
ministered without sureties, had better be delayed ; this only 
proves that he was against infant-baptism for some prudential 
reasons, as it was attended with this inconvenience, not that he 
thought it was in itself unlawful to be practised by them. 
From hence we mav conclude, that the objection taken from 
infant-baptism, being supposed to be a novelty, does not 
v/eakenthe cause we are maintaining*. Thus concerning the 
subjects of baptism. 

We are now to consider the mode thereof, or what we are 
to understand by the word baptism. It is said, in the forego- 
ing answer, to be the washing with water, in the name of the 
Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. There has 
been a great dispute in the world, concerning the meaning ot 
the word /iu.^li^ai, by which this ordinance is expressed ; froni 
whence arises the different mode of the administration thereof. 
Some think, that it only signifies the putting a person, or thing, 
into the water, whereby it is covered, or, as it were, buried in 
it ; which is otherwise expressed by the word dipping. Others 
(whose opinion I cannot but acquiesce in) conclude that it may 
as Avell be performed by the application of water, though it be 
in a different manner, either by pouring or sprinkling ; and ac- 
cordingly, that it signifies the using the means of cleansing by 

• Tfiey that loonld see more on this subject may consuU G. J Voss. dc bofitismt 
dispnt Xiv. Forbes, ivstnict. hist, theol. Lib. x. cap, v. and Wall's histoiy nf infant 
baptism, vol 1. 

Of the subjects and mode ot baptisst. 217 

the application of water, whatever be the form orf^iode thereoff 
This argument depends very much upon the sense in which 
the word is applied to the action intended thereby, either ia 
cripture or other writers. And, inasmuch as the sense 
hereof, as used in scripture, and other writings, is well ex- 
plained by the learned and judicious Dr. Owen, agreeably to 
the sense we have given of the word ; I have no occasion to 
make any other critical remarks upon it, by referring to those 
writings in which the word is found *<. 

* See Dr. Owen's complete Collection of Sermons, page 580, 581. of dipping;, 
in which he observes, that /iua-loo, when used in these scriptures, Luke xvi. 24. 
and John xiii. 2f>. is translated to ilifi ; and in Rev. xix. 13. where we read of a 
vesture dip(jed in. blood ; it is better rendered stained, by sprinkiinE^ blood ujion 
it ? and all ihesc scriptures denote only a touclimg- one part of tlie Ijody, and not 
plunging'. In otlier authors, it signifies, ti7igfj, immergo. lm<o, abluo ; but in no 
author it ever signifies to dip, but only in order to wasliing, or as the means of 
washing. As for the Hebrew word "p^C' it *s rendered, by the LXX. m Gen. 
xxxvii. 31. by /xoi.uvia, to stain by s/iriiiklinff, or otlierwise mostly by f?.wla>: la 2 
Kings V. 14. they render it by ^ATrli^ai, and no where else : In ver. 10. Elisiia com- 
mands Na:im.in'to wash ,- and accordingly, ver. li. pursuant to this order, it is 
s:i\d, he dipped himse!/ seven times,- the word is 'j^C'T i v/hich the LXX. rencier 
t^xTirlis-sila; and in Exod. xii. 22. where the woj-d ^^12 is used, which we render 
flip, speaking concerning the dipping the bunch of hyssop in the blood, the 
LXX. render it by the word &i7rlc«: And, in 1 Sam. xiv. 27, it is said, that Jona- 
than dipped the end of his !-od in an honey -comb; the word here is also "ja^M 
and the LXX. render it iSa-^v, in which place it cannot be understood of his 
dipping it by plunging : And in Lev. iv. 6. 17. and chap. ix. 9. the priest is said 
to dip liis finger in the blood, whicli only intends his touching the blood, so as 
to spi-inkle it ; and tlierefore does not signify plunging-. 

This leai'ned author likewise observes, that ySa;r7/<'&) signifies to wash ; as in- 
stances out of all authors may be given; and he parvicularly mentions Suidas, 
>Iesychius, Julius Pollux, and Phavorinus and Eustachius. And he fui ther 
zdds, that it is first used in the scripture, in IVIark i. 8. John i. 33. and to the 
same purpose. Acts i. 5. in which place it signifies to pour ; for the expression is 
equivocal ; / baptize you ivith r.'ater, but he shall baptize xjou rAth the holii Cihost ; 
which is an accomplishment of tliat promise, that the Holy Ghost should be poured 
on them. As for other place:5, 2)i Mark vii. 2. 4. yi'w]*, which sig-nifics to -zvash, 
and is so translated, is explained in the words iniinediateiy following-, as signi- 
fying to baptise. And, in Luke xi. S8. it is said, tliat the Ph irisee niarvelled that, 
oar Saviour had not ivarhed before dinner : 'I'hc word in the Greek is \Ca.'?r'ltT^j),^ 
to whom he replies in the following verse, Ye Pharisees make dean the ontsiu!', 
V. c. so that the word, ^Ttli^ai signifies tliere to cleanse, or to use the means of 

He also observes, that though the original and natural signification of the 
.vc.rd imports, to dip, to phmge, to dye ; yet it also signifies to xvash or cleanse .■ 
Neverlhekss, he thinks that it h so far from signif, ing nothing else but to d/p 
or plunge, that wiien it is to be understood in that sense, the words ought to be 
'ifAi'x.7rlu, or tfjiCa-rli^ii, rather than jSetTrlo), or ^ttTrlt^u j and also that it no where 
sigififies to dip, but as denoting a mode of, and in order to washing ; and that it 
signifies to -wash, in all good authors. He also refers to Scapula and Stephanus, 
as translating the word /3*t]/^» by la-vo, ov ubluo ; and Suidas, as rendering it by 
madefacio, luvo, abhfi, pvrgo, mundo: And he speaks of some authors, that he 
had searched in every place when-in they ment-.on bai)tism, and that he found 
i.ot one word to the purPQue ; s«nd therei'ore concludCj that he Wita obliged to 

VoT- IV. E e 


But, since the greatest number of christians are not so well 
versed in the Greek language, as to be able to judge whether 
those methods of reasoning that are taken from the use ef the 
word which we render baptize^ are sufficiently conclusive ; 
And, when it is asserted, that many who are undoubtedly very 
good masters of the Greek tongue, have determined that it 
signifies all manner of washing with water, as well as dipping 
into it, this will be reckoned, b}^ them, a very fruitless and 
unprofitable subject,* however, M'-e me obliged to mention it, 
because great stress is usually laid on the sense of this word, 

say, and was ready to make it good, that no honest man, who understands the 
Greek tongue, can deny the word to signify to lunsh, as well as to dip. faj 

{a) Dr. Wall, In the appendix of his reply to Dr. Gale, mentions a remarkable instance, in. 
Vfhich the mode of wetting or of applying water was certainly that of pouring, and not that 
of dippiii;;. It is as follows :— St. Origen when commenting on the Baptism ot John, enquires 
, thus of the Phari'ii.es ; " How could you think that Elias, when he should come, would baptixc,. 
" who diJ not in Ahab's time baptize the wood upon the altar, which was to be washed before 
" it was burnt by the Lord's appearing!; in fire ? But he ordered the priest to do that ; not once 
" only, but he says, do ic the second time ; and they did it the s^e.ond time. And do it thft 
•' third titi.e; and they did it the third time. Therefore, how could it be like'iv that this man, 
'• who did not then baptixe, but assigned that work to others, would \\\m%t\i baptize, when he 
" jihouhl, accordinK to the prophecy of Malachi. again appear here on earth?" 

We find in the first book ot Kings, xviii. 33, that the order given by Elijah was to fill four 
barrels with water, and pour it on the wood and on the burnt offering. This pturing nfnuater, 
Origen, thai accurate scholar, who lived in the .second century, and v/as well acquainted with 
the (Jreek classics, and Greek Testament, calls baptizing. In the very same sentence, he makes 
4se of the Greek word Baptixa four times; twice with express reference to the Baptism of 
John ; and twice with express reference to that Baptism which took place in the days of the 
Prophet Elijah; which baptism, vfe are expressly told, was not performed by dipping the 
wood ami sacrifice into water, but hy pouring water upon them. 

It is also evident, even from the frc(|uent use of the word baptize, by heathen authors, that it 
does not always simifv a total immersion. Mr. Walker tells us, " that I'orphyrie mentions 
" a river in India, into which if an offender enters, or attemjits to pass through it, he is imrae- 
" diately *c<»'f «at up to his head:" (ia/i/i.trfai mechri Kephalrs) Here a person is said to be 
baptized, although his head did not go under, but remained above the water. This certainly 
was not a total immersion. 

" He also instances a case from Mr. Sydenham, as delivered by the oracle (viz. askos baptixt. 
duK.ii dt toi ou ihemis esti.") In which instance, if dunai signifies to plunge wholly under 
watev. as if certainly does, then baptize must signify something less than a total immiTsion.— 
" Baptize him as a bottle, but it is no! la-wful to plunge him "wholly under the ii'nter." Tht 
baptism here described, resembles that of a blown bladder or bottle of leather, « hich when pur 
into the water, will not sink to the bottom, but swim upon the ton. 

The same critical ;nithor mentions an inst.ince from Schrevelil's and Robrrtson's Lexicons, 
19th chapter, in which case, the primitive word bapto signifies a wetting with water, that was 
certainly less, and very diflferent from a total diiiping or immersion. The sentence i? this . 
(•• Baptei men asknn, udor de ngron dunei pote.) He indeed baptixeth a bladder or bottle, but i': 
•' nevfr goeth undvr the liquid -water.'' 

To th^se instances, we might add a well known case, taken from a poem attributed to Homer, 
called the liattle of the frogs and the mice, in which the lakeTs said to be baptized by the b!ocd 
cfafrog. {Eiapteto de aimati limne porphureo.) This lake was not dipped into the blood ol. 
a fiog; it was only bespattered and tinped therewith. 

We could easily multirly authorities if it were necessary. It appears undeniably evident 
from the Greek clissicks. and from Icai-ned writers and commentators, both ancient and mo- 
dern, that the word baptizo has other significations besides that of a total dipping or immei - 

The most celebrated and respectable Lexicographers and criticks have often translated 
baptiio into the soltowing Latin words, viz. baptizo, vtergo, immergo, tingo, intittgo, iavt, abluo, 
m :d'ifacio, purf,n, mundo. No one, 1 presiiire, will pretend that all the?e words are mentiorec 
as being perfectly synonimous-of the same meaning exactly. And certainly if the word baptize 
signify any thing less or different frbm a total immersion, then persons itiay be kaptixcd in 
some other mode 

Besides, if it had been the intention of Christ and of his Apostles, t.? specify the mode, or U' 
have restricted all christians to one and the same mode of bapriting, thijy might, for this par. 
pose, have selected from the Greek language words of the most uncauivocal and definite sigBif - 
cation. If it had been their intention to specify the mode of sprinkling, they micht have usetf 
the word Fontizo; if the mode of pouring, they might have used the word Ekcheo; if th;a 
inoile of bathing or ■wnshirtg, which is pel forired'by the application of *vater with friction o. 
roWnng, they might have u' td the word f.c.'fl ; and if it had been their intention to specify tdt 
mods «f dipping, they mi^ht have used the *'«r(l Bvpt^ f D'int, &c. 


Co establish that mode of baptism which is alj^ayg used by 
those who are on the other side of the question. 

I shall take leave to add, to what that learned author, but 
now quoted, refers to, has observed on this subject; that it 
does not appear to me that the w^ord /SuirH^^ always signifies to 
vv^ash, by dipping into water, but by the application of water 
some other way ; because it is sometimes applied to those 
things which were too large and cumbersome, and therefore 
could not well be cleansed that way. Thus it is said, in Mark 
vii. 4. that the Pharisees not only held the zvashing-^ or, as it is 
in the Greek, the baptism of cups and pots, and brazen vessels^ 
whicli might, indeed, be washed by immersion, but of tables^ 
or, as it may be rendered, of beds, or those seats on which the 
Jews, according to the custom of the eastern nations, lay at 
their ease, when they eat their meals. These, I conceive were 
washed some other way, different from that of dipping or 
plunging in water j And if it was possible that they might be 
washed that way, yet the word may be applied to innunierabie 
things, that cannot be baptized by immersion : Therefore, the 
general sense that we have given of it, that it signifies to wash, 
whether by dipping into the water, or by the application of 
water to the thing washed, may justify our practice, with re- 
spect to the mode of baptism, commonly used by us. 

Object. 1. It is objected hereunto, that the mode used by us, 
is not properly baptism, but rantism ; or, that to sprinkle, oj: 
pour, is not to baptize. 

Ansxv, To this it may be replied, that this method of beg- 
ging the question in controversy, is never reckoned a fair way 
of arguing. If baptism be a using the means of cleansing, 
by the application of water, which is the thing we contend for, 
then the word baptize may as well be applied to it as to any 
other mode of washing. That which may be further replied 
to this objection is, that if the thing signified by the action of 
baptizing, namely, the blood of Jesus, together with those 
gifts and graces of the Spirit, which are applied to those to 
whom God makes this a saving ordinance, be sometimes set 
forth by sprinkling or pouring clean water upon a person, then 
it cannot be well concluded, that sprinkling, or pouring, is not 
baptizing, though it differ very much from that which they 
who contend with us about this matter generally call baptizing. 
That sprinkling or pouring, is sometimes used in scripture, to 
signify the conferring of those spiritual gifts and graces which 
are signified in baptism, is very evident; inasmuch as it is 
said in John i. 17. The blood of Jesus Christ his Son, cleanseth 
zis from all sin ; and this is called the blood of sprinkBi^, \n 
Heb. xii. 24. 1 Pet. i. 2. Therefore, in a spiritual sense, 
sprinkling is called cleansing from sin : and the graces of the 


Spirit conferred in regeneration, are represented m Ezclc. 
xxxvi. 25 — 27. by sprinkling clean water ; which mode of 
speaking would never be used, were not sprinkling a means ot 
cleansing. And, some think, that the apostle when he speaks 
ot our drawing near to God^ having our bodies washed with 
ptre zuater, Heb. x. 22, intends the ordinance of baptism ; yet 
it alludes to the ceremonial cleansings that were under the law, 
which were often done by sprinkling : Therefore we cannot 
hut assert, that sprinkling water in baptism, is as much cleans- 
ing as any other mode used therein. 

Moreover, sometimes the thing signified in baptism, is re- 
presented by a metaphor taken from pouring ; which, if our 
mode of baptizing be just, will not seem disagreeable to itj 
and, it may be, the explication is tak^n from it, as the con- 
ferring the Holy Ghost, which they who were baptized were 
given to expect', is often called pouring out the Spirit^ Acts 
ii. 17, 18- chap. viii. 38. 

' Obj. There is another objection which is concluded by many, 
to be unanswerable, viz. that when we read of baptism in the 
New Testament, the person baptized is said to go doxvn into 
the water. Thus the Eunich did, chap. viii. 38. and immedi- 
ately after this, he is said to come up out of the water ; which 
can be applied, as is supposed, to no other mode of baptism 
but that of immersion. 

Anaw. To this it may be replied, that the whole strength of 
this objection depends upon the sense that is given of the 
Greek particles, which v/e often render into^ and out of'*. But 
this will have no weight with any but those who are unac- 
quainted with the Greek language, since it is so well known 
to all that understand it, that the former of these particles of- 
ten signifies w, as well as into ; and the lattery>o??i, as well as 
cut of; as innumerable instances might easily be given, was it 
needful, from scripture, and other Greek authors, in which the 
■words are applied to those things, that according to the natu- 
ral signification thereof, cannot be understood as denoting into^ 
or out of. There is one scripture v/hich no one can suppose 
is to be taken in any other sense but what is agreeable to our 
present purpose, viz. Mat. xvii. 27. wherein our Saviour bids 
Peter Go to the sea\^ and cast an hook^ and take up the fish that 
first Cometh thence^ &c. where, by go to the sea^ we can under- 
stand nothing else, but go to the sea-shore ; and yet the word 
is the same with that which is, in some other places, rendered 
into. There are other scriptures in which persons are said to 
go to the mountain, or some other places, wherein it would be 
Very improper to say, that they went into the place ; though 

* 'E{; and 'if. f 'E« tw SitMTa-Ay. 


%h& word be the same with th^it which in otheulinstances we 
render into. And the word * which is sometimes rendered 
out of, is frequently rendered fro??!, and can be understood in 
no other sense : As when it is said, in Luke xi. 31. The 
queen of the south came from the utmost parts of the earthy to 
hear the xvisdc7n of Solomon ; which cannot be understood of 
her coming out of but from thence. But, this matter being 
so well known to all that read the New Testament in the ori- 
ginal, it is needless for me to give any other instances, f 

As to what concerns the Eunuch's going into the water ^ I 
cannot think anv thing else is intended by it, but that he de~ 
scended or lighted down from his chariot, to the water, that is, 
by a metonymy, to the watt:r-side, in order to his being bap- 
tized by Philip. It is no uncommon mode of speaking, to 
say, that a person goes down to the rivcr-si do, to take water, 
or to the well, to draw it ; therefore, this is no strain on the 
sense of the v/ord ; and I am the rather inclined to give into 
this opinion, because some modern travellers, taking notice of 
the place where this was done, intimate, that it was only a spring 
of water; and therefore without sufficient depth to plunge the 
bodv in : And some ancient writers, who lived between three 
and four hundred years after our Saviour's time, as Jerom and 
Eusebius, intimate the same thing. If it be said, that these 
may be mistaken as to the place, inasmuch as the particular 
spot of ground in v/hlch this water was, is not mentioned in 
scripture : I v/ill not lay much stress upon it; however, I can- 
not but observe, that it is represented, by a dimininutive ex- 
pression, as it is said, they came to a certain zoater, that is, 
probably, a brock, which was by the way-side ; not a river, or 
a great collection of water. And it is further observed, that 
Philip, as well as the Eunuch, xve7it down vUo the zuater ; 
though none suppose that he was plunged in the water ; there- 
fore it does not certainly appear, from the sense of the word, 
that the Eunuch was, unless the matter in conti'oversy be taken 
for granted, that baptism can be performed in uo other way, 
but by plunging. 

Moreover, to go down to the rvafer^ does not always signify- 
in other scriptures, going down to the bottom of the water ; as 
when the Psalmist, in PsaL cvii. 23. speaks of them that go down 
to the sea in ships, he does not mean them that go down to the 
bottom of if.; therefore, going down to the water does not always 

■j- //* ar.y one has a mind to see hotu these particles iit and va, are used in the 
J^Tev Testamsnt, lie may consult Sckmid. Ciucord. in voc. eic and at., ivuere there ar^ 
a great number of places me-ntioneJ, in ivhich these words are used; and, it w" 
hardly be thouslit, by any inpartitd reader, that the greatest part oftliem can be 
nndered l>y, into or out of; but rather X.o, cr fraio. 


signify being plunged iu it. As for what is said concerning 
Philip and the eunuch's coming- up out of the water, it may very 
fairly be understood of their returning trom the water-side, and 
the eunuclrs going up again into his chariot. Moreover, I can- 
not but think, that in this, and all other places, where persons' 
are said to come up out of the watery it denotes an action per- 
formed with design, and the perfect exercise of the under- 
standing in him that does it ; which seems not agreeable to one 
v/ho is at the bottom of the water, and cannot well come up 
from thence, unless by the help of him that baptized him. The 
sense of the words, combig out of the water ^ is agreeable to 
what is said concerning our Saviour at his baptism, in Matt* 
iii. 16. Jesus went up straightxvaij out of the water ; which 
seems to be a mistake in our translation ; where the Avords 
«,<ii i5 u<ry7ot, have been rendered, y}-o?/j thexvater; which is of the 
same import with the sense of the Greek particle «, when a 
person is said to come up out of the water. 

Obj, o. It seems very evident, that John the Baptist used 
no other mode but that of immersion ; because he chose those 
places to exercise this part of his ministry in, that were well 
supplied with water, sufficient for this purpose. Accordingly, 
we first read of his removing from the wilderness of Judea^ in 
Vv'hich he preached the doctrine of repentance ; and told the 
people, that the kingdom of heaven, that is, the gospel-state, 
v/hich was to begin with the appearing of the Messiah, wajf 
at hand; and then we read of his removing to the banks of the 
river Jordan, for the conveniency of baptizing those who came 
to him tor that purpose : And, after that, we read of another 
station in which he resided, viz. Enon^near to Salim; and this 
reason is assigned ; because there was much water there, John 
lis. 23. Nov/, if he had baptized by sprinkling, or pouring a 
little water on the face, he had no need to remove out of the 
'ivilderness of J'udea : For, v/hatever scarcity of water there 
might be there, it was no difficult matter for him to be sup- 
plied with enough to serve his occasion, had this been his 
mode of baptizing. 

Answ. To this it may be replied, that though John removed 
to Jordan and ^Enon, that he might be well supplied Avith 
v/ater, as he daily wanted large quantities thereof; yet it doth 
not necei/sarily follow from hence, that this was done for the 
sake of immersion therein: And it doth not sufficiently appear 
to me, that yEnon afforded water deep enough for a person to 
be baptized in it after this manner ; for it seeins to be but a 
small tract of land, in which it is hardly probable, that there 
were many lakes, or rivers of water contained ; which is as 
much a^ can be said concerning a well watered countryv 


Therefore, I think, the words * ought to have heen rendered 
many waters '; by which we are to understand, asTDr. Lightfoot 
observes, that it was a place of springs f, or bmall brooks of 
water. This place John chose, that he might be supplied with 
water for his use ; but it doth not, I think, necessarily, follow 
froni hence, that he baptized by immersion i Besides, if there 
had been a great collection of waters there, there would have 
been some indications thereof at this day; which, I believe, it 
would be hard to prove that there are. 

As to the other part of the objection, that it was a very easy 
matter for him to have been supplied with water in the wikl'.:'r- 
uess of Judea, to baptize by sprinkling or pouring, by his having 
it brought to him in vessels for that purpose : It may be re- 
plied, that if he had only poured water on the head or face, 
there is no need to suppose that he was so sparing of it, as 
not to use above a spoonful, especially when it was so easy a 
matter for him, by his removing to another station, to be better 
supplied. If there was but a little water poured on every one 
that came to be baptized by him, it would require a very great 
quantity of water to baptize the vast multitudes that came to 
him ; inasmuch as it is said, that y erusalem^ and all yiidca^ mid 
all the region round about Jordan^ -were baptized of htm : It is 
one thing for a little v/ater to be brought in a bason to baptize 
a person or two, and another thing for this to be done in the 
case under our present consideration. Moreover, it is certain, 
that in hot countries, and particularly in Judea; and more espe- 
cially in the wilderness thereof, there was a very great scarcity 
of water; accci-dingly we read, sometimes, that water was so 
valuable a thing, that it was reckoned a very considerable part 
of a man's estate : Thus Isaac was envied by the Philistines, 
for all the Aveils his father's servants had digged; and then v/c 
read of their stopping them up, and his digging other wells ; 
and also of the strife between the herdsmen of Gerar, and his 
herdsmen, for the possession thereof, Gen. xxvi. 14, — 20. And 
we read, in Gen. xxi. 14<,~-16. that v/hen Abraham sentliagar 
aM'ay from him with Ishmael, he gave her bread, and a botije 
of water ; and when the zvater luas spent in the bottle, she cast 
:he child wider one of the shrubs, despairing of his life ; which 
jhe need nnx. have dune, if water was so easy to come bv as it 
is supposed in this objection. It is certain, that a person may 
'.ravel many miles without finding water to quench his thirst, in 
these desert places. This farther appears from Samson's being 
readij to die for thirsty after the great victory he had obtained 
over the Philistines, on which occasion God wrought a miracle 
to supply him, Judges sv. 18, 19, which can hardly be account- 

• 'T/*,?* <riK\*. t ■ Sti Ligf-ffool's Twrkg, Vol. I. Pa^e 500. 


ed for, if there had been so grfat plentj- of water in that coun- 
try, as there is in ours ; this then, I apprehend to be the reason 
ol John's removal to Jordan and j¥A\on ; therefore it doth not 
necessarily prove that his design was to baptize in that way that 
is pleaded for by those on the other side of the question. 

Moreover, as it doth not sufficiently appear to ine, from any 
thing contained in the objection, that John used immersion in 
baptism, so it seems most agreeable, to some circumstances that 
attended it, to conclude that he did not; inasmuch as there was 
Tio conveniency for the change of their garments, nor servants 
appointed to help them therein ; which seems necessary to an» 
swer this occasion. And some have supposed, that it might 
endanger the health of those who were infirm among them, and 
John's much more, M'ho was obliged to stand many days toge- 
ther in the water, or, at least, the greatest part thereof, while 
he was administering this ordinance. And they who were 
baptized must immediately retire when the ordinance was over, 
or it would endanger their health; unless we have recourse to 
H "dispensation of providence, that is next to miraculous : 
'i'liough I am sensible, some say, that none ever suffered here- 
by in our day; which, if the observation be true, is a kind 
providence that they ought to be thankful for. 

But if, after ail that has been saJd on this matter, it will not 
be allowed that baptism signifies any thing else but dipping in 
ivater : Then Z might farther allege, that this might be done, by 
dipping the face, which is the principal part of the body, with- 
out plunging the whole body ; and this might answer the de- 
sign of the ordinance as w^ell as the other; since it is not the 
i.iuantity used in a sacramental sign that is so much to be re- 
g,arded, as the action performed, together with the matter of it; 
if the smallest piece of bread, and a spoonful of wine are used 
in the Lord'.- supper, this is generally reckoned as well adapted 
to answer the design of the ordinance, as if a great quantity of 
each were received by every one that partakes of it. Now, ar> 
to what concerns our present argument, the washing a part of 
the body is deemed sufficient to signify the thing intended, as 
much as though the whole body had been washed. Thus when 
our Saviour washed his disciples' feet, and told Peter, j^ he 
yvashed him not^ he had 7w part ifi him^ John xiii. 5. wherein 
(by the way) we may observe, that he calls washing his feet, 
washing him, by a synecdoche, for a part of the whole; upon 
which occasion Peter replies, 7iot mij feet onlij^ but also 7ny hands 
(ir:d my head; and Jesus answered. He that is washed nee deth 
not^ save to u-ash his feet, but is clean every xvhit^ ver. 10. by 
uhich, I think, he intends, that this signifies that cleansing, 
which is tb.e spiritual meaning thereof, as much as though the 
whole body had been v>^ashed with water; for though one (h 


sign hereof might be to teach them humility ^and brotherly 
kindness; yet it also signifies their being washed or cleased by 
his blood and Spirit. 

Obj. 4. There is another objection on which very much 
stress is generally laid, which I should not do justice to the 
cause I om maintaining, if I should wholly pass it over, taken 
from what the aposde says, in Rom. vl. 3,4, 5. so 7nanif cf us 
as were baptised into Christ Yesus, xvere baptized into his death : 
1 herefore xve xoere buried ivith him l>y baptism (a) into death i 

CaJ In Col. ii. 12. and context, is a succession of fig;ures, designed, in dlt'-" 
fcient ways, to illustrate and eniorce Die snnie Jact. Verse 11. " In whom also 
ye are ciiv.umciscd with the firciimcisiorij ma<le -ibithout hands, in putting' oli' 
the body of the sins of the flcsli by llie circumcision of Ghnst." Tliat is, ii* 
)->utting'offthe old man, you are circumcised without hands; the work is effected 
~by the Holy Spirit. — You are born ag-ain, which is spiritual ciixumcisi'oni 
"Circumcision is that of the heiirt^ Tins renewing of tlie Holy Spirit consists 
in putting ofl' the body of sin, in renouncing sin, and reforming the iiie. Or, 
\vc are " buried with him in baptism." As the burial of Jesus Christ gavt; 
evidence, that he had really died, tlie just for the unjust ; that he hud yielded 
himself a sacrifice for sin; so we in our spiritual circumcision or baptism, tb^i 
figure now used, show ourselves to be really dead to sin, crucilied in the \\i%* i 
of olir minds. As Christ, when buried, was clcad and separated from the worlil j 
so in regeneration we become separate from sin. We are new creatures, havinj- 
put off the old man. We are buried from the wicked indulgences and pursuits ok 
the world: 

The death, burial, and resnrrection of Christ, are, not only causes, but type-^ 
and symbols to represent the death of our sins, oiu- putting oil" the old mar;, and 
becoming new creatures. 

No reference is made in the text to the water of baptism, any more than t'> 
the knife of circumcision in the preceding verse. The writei- is speaking ot" 
that baptism, and of that alone, in wliich we " are risen with Christ, through 
the faith, which is the operation of God." This certainly can be nothing less 
than spiritual baptism, or regeneration; for liie most %'!olent advocate foi- 
dipping, or plungin^g, or burying, will not pfetend, that this, necessarih', i-* 
connected with " faitif ;" he will allow it may be fmssible for a man to be plunge<l 
and buried in imter, and yet not have V tlte faith, which is the operation of Cud.'" 
If he allow this, and allow this lie must and will, tl>cn our text is no support oi 
his cause. It cannot be water baptism which is mentioned. 

Were not this tiie fact, nothing could be inferred respecting the iriode of 
baptism. It would then only signify that, as Christ v.as buried and separated, 
from the world ; so we in baptism are buried and separated from a world of sin. 
The zeal for the literal construction of this figure may, perhaps, be extinguish- 
ed by indulging it in other instances. St.Vaul s;tys, " I am crucified witii 
Christ." Would any person suppose from this, that he had been led to Calvary, 
nailed to the cross, and pierced by the soldier's spear i" Cliristians are said to 
be " circumcised in Christ." Does any one infer from tins that all christians e» 
perience the bloody rite of tl>e Jews P Or, because Christians " are p.artakei .•5 
of Christ's sufferings," are all christians, therefore, betrayed by Judas, sp.t. 
tipon, buffeted, and crowned with thorns ? Or, because St. Paul says the Phi- 
lijjpians wei-e his " croivn" were they, thereflirc, formed into a crown of honor, 
and worn as a badge of future glory ? Or, because the sacrament represents 
tlie sufferings and death of Christ, are all worthy communicants crucified ? 
Were our baptist brethren consistent with tlremselves, such would be their 
explanation of these passages of scripture. 

It immediately follows our text; " whPi'cin also you were risen v/ith him 
through the faith of tlie operation of God, v/ho \\\'% lai'-cd him fiom the dfcad*' 

Vol. IV, ' F f 


that, like as Christ 7va.f raised up from the dead bij the glory of 
the Father^ even so xue also shoidd zvalk in newness of life. For 

Wherein, or in Vt'hich baptism " we are risen," actually " risen with Christ by 
the ikith" which God gives to tlie new creature. You, who have this spiritual 
baptism, rise like Ciirist above the selfish motives, and sensual pursuits of a 
iiillen world. You seek the kingdom of God; you aspire after divine good. 

Tersons, born again, like Jesus Christ, separate their hearts from the world, 
snd rise to a divine life. Thr.t this is the only true construction of the text, 
may be inferred from a corresponding passage. Rom. vi. 4. " Therefore we are 
buried witli him by baptism into deutli, that like as Christ was raised from the 
dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." 
By .spiritual baptism we partake the privileges of Christ's death. By dying to 
j;in ourselves, ys we do in the new birth, we resemble Jesus Ciu-ist in his death, 
who d'led "to make an end of sin." As (;hrist was raised from the grave ; so 
we, not in water baptism, but in regeneration or spiritual baptism, are" raised'* 
to walk in newness of life. Old things arc done away; c.V things are becomft 
new. If we have experienced this spiritual baptism, we sl>;dl have the Spirit of 
Christ, We shall be separate from the world of sin, as Christ was in the grave, 
and we shall l.ke him rise to a holy, a new life. We obey a new master, seek a 
new way of salvation, act fiom new motives, to accomplish new designs; we 
(Ciioose new companions, expei-ience new sorrows, and new joys. As it buried, 
•we are separate from our former lives. 

St. John says, " He [Christ] shall baptize you witli the Holy Ghost and with 
A'-e." TJie Sclucians and Ilermians understood this literally, and maintained 
that material fire was necessary in the administration of baptism. Valentinus, 
like our baptists, rebaptized those, who had received baptism out of the sect, 
5iid drew them through the fire. Herculian, cited by Clemens Alesandrinus, says 
that some applied a red hot iron to the ears of the baptized. St. Paul says, we 
iire buried with Christ in baptism. This also Jias been understood literally ; 
but sttch persons forget that to be consistent, on their plan, they should continue-. 
'/ buried" three d-ay.v and three nights, the time Christ lay in the earth. Should 
jtny object that Ibis would drown them, the baptist, in his way of trcatinf,- 
r'ii,'ures, would have an easy answer, and readily prove tliat drowning was the 
vevy design xA' baptism. Rom. vi. 4. " M'e are bu.'ied with him by baptism 
into his death." ^Ve are not merely buried, for this is only a part, any more 
than sprinkling ; but we are buried to death, " buried into his death." Thus he 
bas scripture for dnjwning all whom he baptizes, and precisely as much scrip- 
ture for drowning, as iov burying. Th? very same passage, might he say, 
whicli comniands burying, commands drowning-, com.mands " death." 

In the present mode of plunging, the resemblance is almost entirely k)st, 
Wliat is tlic diflererice between laying a dead body in a rock, covering it with 
a great stone; scaung it in a solemn manner; all things continuing in this state, 
three days and *hree nights, what is the resemblance between this, and suddenly 
phinging a living body into water, and instantly lifting it out of the water.' 
"What, possible likeness is there between a Uvivg person m the ivater, and a dead 
hodij in a rock } The similitude is little better than that of the blind many who 
supposed the liglit of the sun was like the noise of a cannon. We have ac- 
cordingly endeavoured to sliow in the introduction, that the elegant scholar- 
the christian oratf)r of Tai'sus, had no thought of any such resemblance; his 
object was to show, thit in regcncr.ation or spiritual baptism, which ib followed 
" with newness of life," or, a new life, " through faith wiiich is the operation oi' 
God," we are dead and buried to sin, and rai.seil or made alive to God, as Christ 
w.as. 'I'he evident design of the text la to illustrate the preceding vc rse, which 
speaks of spiritual circumcision made without hand.-;. This baptism is that by 
which we are raised laith Christ ; b)it in water baptism we are not always raised 
with Christ. If men are plunged they may generally be ra;.'-ed from the wafer; 
but this has no necessary connexion with *• rising- with Christ." This baptism 


ifive have been planted together in the I'lkenea^ ^ his deaths xve 
shall be also in the likeness of his reswrcction^ From whcncci 
it is argued, that there ought to be a similitude between the 
sign and the thing signified; and, consequently, that baptism 
should be performed in such a way, that, by being covered 
with water, there might be a resemblance of Christ's burial ; 
snd by being lifted up out of the water, a resemb|ance of his 
resurrection : Therefore this ordinance doth not only signify 
the usii-!g the means of cleansing with water, but the mode, 
xiamely, being plunged, or, as it >vere, buried in water. 

Ansvs. To this it may be replied, that it is not agreeable to 
the nature of a sacramental sign, in any other instance ; that 
there should be an analogy between the thing done, and what 
is signi{if;d thereby, any otherv/jse than by divine appointment., 
Accordingly we observed, in the foregoing answer, that a sa 
crament has not a natural tendency to signify Christ, and his 
benefits ; as the eating bread and drinking wine doth not sig- 
nify the body and blood of Christ, any otherwise than as this 
bigaification is annexed by our SaViour, to the action perform- 
ed ; the same, I think, rnay be applied to baptism ; especially 
our consecration, and dedication to. God therein ; and if any 
other external sign had been instituted, to signify the blessings 
of the covenant of grace, we should have been as much obliged 
to make use of it as we were of water. Therefore, I conceive^ 
the apostle, in this scripture, mentioned in the objection, doth 
not refer to our being buried in water, or taken out of it, as a 
natural sign of Christ's burial and resurrection; but our having 
communion ■with him in his burial and resurrection. This, 1 
think, would hardly be denied by many, on the other side oi 
the question, did not the objection, but nov/ mentioned, and the 
cause they maintain, render it expedient for them to under 
stand ^the words in another sense. This is all that I shall 
say with respect to this matter in controversy, as to the sub- 
jects and mode of baptism ; in which, as I should have been 
unfaithful, had I said less to it ; so I have not the least incli- 
nation to treat these that differ from me in an unfriendly way, 
as having a just sense of their harmony with us, especially a 
great part of them, in those doctrines that have a more imme- 
diate reference to our salvation. 

We shall now proceed to consider, that as there are some 

is also efFected " through faith which is the operation of God ;" but a man m-.-.v 
be raised out of an ocean of water, every day ot liis life, and remain destitute ov" 
faith ; therefore, tiie text has no reference to water baptism. 


>vho appear to be grossly ignorant of the thing signified in bap- 
tism, Avho seem to engage in it, as though it were not a divine 
institution, concluding it to be little more than an external rite 
or form to be used in giving the child a name, being induced 
hereto rather by custom, than a sense of the obligation they are 
T.nder, to give up their children to God by faith therein ; so 
there are others v.'ho attribute too much to it, when they assert, 
that infants are hereby regenerated ; and that if they die before 
they commit actual sin, they are undoubtedly saved, inasmuch 
;iS they are hereby made members of Christ, children of God, 
and heirs of the kingdom of heaven: This seems to be an 
:!scribing that to the ordinance, which is rather expected or 
desired, than conferred thereby. 

As for the child's being signed with the sign of the crossj, 
signifying hereby that he should not be ashamed to confes?; 
the faith of Christ crucified, but manfully to fight under his: 
banner against sin, the world, and the devil ; how much soever 
this may be a branch of that baptismal obligation, which he is 
professedly under ; yet I cannot see wh^t warrant persons have 
to make use of this external sign and symbol, which can be 
reckoned no other than an ordinance for their faith, though 
destitute of a divine institution. 

There is also another thing practised by some in baptism, 
that is greatly abused, namely, the requiring that some should 
be appointed as sureties for the child, by wdiom it is personated ; 
■and they engage, in a solemn manner, in its behalf, that it shall 
fulfil the obligation that it is laid under, which is not only more 
than what is in their power to perioral ; but it is to be teared, 
that the greatest part of these sureties hardly think themselves 
obliged to shew any concern about them afterward. And that 
M'hich is further exceptionable in this matter, is that the parents, 
^vho are more immediately obliged to give up their children 
to God, seem to be, as it were, excluded from having any hand 
in this matter. 

I have nothing to except against the first rise of this prac- 
tice; which was in tl:e second century, when the church was 
under persecution ; and the design thereof ^v^3 laudable and 
good, namely, that if the parents should die before the child 
came of age ; whereby it would be in danger of being seized 
on bv the Heathen, and trailed up in their superstitious 
and idolatrous mode of worship, the sureties promised, that, 
in this case, they would deal with it as though it were their 
own child, and bring it up in the Christian religion ; which 
Icind and pious concern for its welfare, might have been better 
expressed at some other time than in baptism, lest this sliould 
be thought an appendix to that ordinance: However, through 
the goodncsG pf God, the children of believing parents arc nor 


reduced to those hazardous circumstances ; andljhcrerore the 
obligj^tion to do this, is less needful; but to vow, and not pet- 
form, is not only useless to the child, but renders that only a 
matter of form, which they promise to do in this sacred or- 

The only thing that I shall add under this answer, is, that 
if we have been baptized, either in our infancy, or when adult, 
we are obliged, iti faithfulness, as we value our own souls, to 
improve it to the glory of God, and our spiritual welfare in the 
whole conduct of our lives, And this leads us to what is con- 
tained in the following answer. 

Quest. CLXVII. IIoxu is baptism to be improved by us ? 

Answ. The needful, but much neglected duty of improving 
our baptism, is to be performed by us all our life long ; es- 
pecially in the time of temptation, and when we are present 
ut the administration of it to others, by serious and thankful 
j^onsideration of the nature of it, and of the ends for v/hich 
Christ instituted it, the privileges and benefits conferred and 
sealed thereby, and our solemn vow made therein, by being 
humbled for our sinful defilement, our falling short of, and 
walking contrary to the grace of baptism and our engage*- 
ments, by grov/ing up to assurance of pardon of sin, and of 
all other blessings sealed to us in that sacrament, by di-awing 
strength from the death and resurrection of Christ, into 
whom we are baptized, for the mortifying of sin, and quick- 
ening of grace, and by endeavouring to live by faith, to have 
our conversation in holiness and righteousness, as those that 
have therein given up their names to Clu'ist, and to walk 
in brotherly love, as being baptized by the same Spirit, into 
one body. 

IN this answer we may observe, 
I. That our baptism, together with the engagements which 
we are therein laid under to be the Lord's, is to be improved 
by us ; though this duty be too mucli mgiccted. That it ough.*: 
to be improved is evident, inasmuch as it is an ordinance, c.r 
means of grace, for our attaining spiritual blessings ; therefore 
we are not only guilty of a sinlui neglect, but we lose the ad- 
vantage that might be expected thereby, if we do not improve 
it so as to answer the valuable end thereof; and when we con- 
sider it as a professed dedication to God, as has been before 
observed, or a bond and obligation laid on us, to be entirely, 
and for ever, his, it cannot but be reckoned the highest affront 
offered to rhe divine Majesty, and a being unstedfast in his co« 



venant, for us practically to disown the engagement, or, in ef- 
fect, to deny his right to us. Now, it is farther observed, that 
this duty is much neglected, and the reason hereof is, "- 

1. Because many have very low thoughts of this ordinance, 
and understand not the spiritual intent or meaning thereof, nor 
what it is to improve it. These reckon it no more than an ejv- 
ternal rite, established by custom, and commonly observed in 
a Christian nation, without duly weighing the end and design 
for which it was instituted, or what is signified thereby. 

2. Others suppose, that there is nothing in it but a public 
declaration, that the person baptised is made a Christian, or 
has that character put upon him ; but they know not what it 
is to be a Christian indeed, being utter strangers to the life 
and power of religion, and the spiritual blessings hoped for, 
or, through the grace of God, consequent upon our baptismal 

3. Others have, indeed, right apprehensions of the sign and 
the thing signified thereby, yet through the prevalency of cor- 
ruption, and the pride and deceitfulness of their hearts, they 
do not tiduriaiiy give up themselves to God, nor desire the spi- 
ritual and saving blessings of the covenant of grace. These 
therefore do not improve their baptism ; and, it is to be feared, 
that this is the condition and character of the greatest number 
of professors : Which leads us to consider, 

II. How baptism is to be improved by us, and that in sever- 
al cases, 

1. When we are present, at the administration of it to oth 
ers. We are not, indeed, at that time, so immediately con 
cerned in the ordinance, as the person who is publicly devoted 
to God therein. Nevertheless, we are not to behave ourselves 
as unconcerned spectators ; and therefore, 

(1.) We are to join herein with suitable acts of faith and 
I>rayer, as the nature of the ordinance calls for them, and to 
adore the persons of the Godhead whose name and glory is 
raentioned therein. And we are to apply ourselves to God, 
for the grace of the covenant, that is signified thereby, that he 
would be oiir God, as well as the God of the person who is 
particularly given up to him in baptism. We are also to be- 
wail the universal depravity of human nature, and that guilt 
which we bring with us into the world, which is signified in 
infant-baptism ; and this, together with the habits of sm, whicfi 
•'ot'-e have contracted, is confessed by those who are bapti:5ed 
;vhen adult, which we cannot but see a great defal of, in our 
daily experience. We ought also to entertain becoming 
thoughts of the virtue of the blood of Christ, and of the pow- 
er of the Holy. Ghost, which alone can take away the guilt of 
ai'n, and render this ordinance effectual to salvation ; which we 


are not only to desire with respect to the person baptized, but 
that we ourselves may be made partakers of that ^ace, which 
we equally stand in need of. 

(2.) We ought to confess before God, with sorrow and 
shame, how defective we have been, as to the improvement of 
our baptismal engagements ; so that, though we have been de- 
voted to him, our hearts and affections have been very prone 
to depart from him ; and we ought to adore and acknowledge 
tlie goodness and faithfulness of God, in that, though we have 
been unstedfast in his covenant, through the treachery and de- 
ceitfulness of our hearts ; yet he has been ever mindful there- 
of, and made good the promises contained therein, to all his 
servants who have put their trust in him. 

2. Our baptism is to be improved by us in the time of tempta- 
tion, in order to our resisting it, and preventing our being en- 
tangled and overcome thereby. 

(1.) If the temptation takes its rise from the world, or we 
are thereby induced to lay aside, or be remiss in our duty to 
God, from the prosperous circumstances in which we are there- 
in, we should consider, that in having been devoted to God in 
our infancy, or given up ourselves professedly to him, when a- 
dult, it has been intimated and acknowledged, that he is our 
portion, better to us than all we can enjoy in the world ; and 
therefore we ought to acquiesce in him as such, and sa}- , Who7n 
have I in heaven but thee ; and there is ?2one^ or nothing, upcii 
the earth that I desire besides thee, Psal. Ixxiii. 25. 

Moreover, if we are tempted to be uneasy, and repine at the 
providence of God, by reason of the many evils that befal us 
in the world, we ought to consider, that when we were givei^. 
up to God, this implied in it an obligation to be content to be 
at his disposal, and to be satisfied with whatever he allots for 
us, as not questioning the care and justice of his providence, 
in which we were under an indispensable obligation to acqui- 
esce. Therefore when God tries us, by bringing us under va- 
rious afflictions, our baptismal engagement obliges us to say. 
It is the Lord, let him do with us what seemeth good in his 

(2.) If we are exposed to the temptations of Satan, or those 
inward suggestions, whereby sinful objects are presented to 
our thoughts, and a false gloss put upon them, to induce us to 
a compliance therewith, we are to improve our baptismal en- 
gagement, by considering that it contains a soltma acknow- 
ledgment of God's right to us, exclusive of all others : there- 
fore, we cannot but dread the thoughts of submitting to be vas- 
sals to Satan, which is, in effect, to disown that allegiance which 
%ve owe to God, and to say, that other lords shall have dcmi- 
»ion over us. This will have a tendency to induce us to ad- 


here stedfastly to <iod, as the result of our having been devo-' 
ted to him in this ordinance. 

And if we are afraid of being ensnared by those wiks and 
methods of deceit, which Satan often makes use of, that are 
not alwa)'s discerned by us, we are to consider ourselves as 
having been devoted to Christ ; and, pursuant thereunto, if we 
have, in any instance, improved this solemn transaction, we 
have given up ourselves to him, in hope of being under his pro- 
tection, and interested in his intercession, so that though we 
are sifted as wheat ^ owr faith may not fail ^ Luke xxii. 31, 32, 
Moreover, when we are assaulted, and, as it were, wounded 
•with Satan's fiery darts, whereby great discouragements arc 
thrown in our way, the guilt of sin magnified, as though it 
irere unpardonable, and the stain and pollution thereof such, 
as can never be washed away : And when we are ready to 
conclude from hence, that our state is hopeless, and the com 
forts we once enjoyed, irrecoverably lost ', this is, indeed, an 
afRictive case. Nevertheless, our baptism is to be improved 
by us, as considering that remission of sins was the blessing 
desired and hoped for, inasmuch as it was signilaed thereby ; 
so that we are to be sensible that the blood of Christ cleanseth 
from all sin ; and that, as we were given up to him, in hope of 
obtaining this privilege, and ha\'e been enabled since then, to 
give up ourselves to him by faith, and therein to improve our 
baptismal engagement; we therefore trust, that he will appear 
for us, rebuke the adversary, establish our ccimforts, and enable 
us to walk as those, who desire to recommend his grace to o- 
ihers, that tUey may be encouraged to adhere to him, by the 
tomfortable sense which we have of his love shed abroad in 
our hearts, by the Holy Ghost. 

3. Our baptismal engagement is to be improved by us, be- 
fore and after we are brought into a converted state. 

(1.) Um-egenerate persons are to improve it, as it should 
afford them matter of deep humiliation, that though they have 
been devoted to God, and thereby were called by his name, 
and made partakers of the external blessings of his covenant ; 
yet they have been alienated from the life of God, and strangers 
to the internal saving blessings tliereof. There Was a profess- 
ion made, in baptism, that they stood in need of Christ's me- 
diation^ to deliver them from tlie guilt of sin, and of being 
cleansed from tlie pollution thereof, which is of a spreading 
nature ; bat they have, notwithstanding, given way to it ; and, 
how pure soever they have been in iheir own erjcs^ a-re not Tjct 
i.vashed from their flthiness^ Prov. xxx.- 12. Now such may 
take occasion from hence to plead earnestly with God for con- 
verting grace ; v/hicli is the only means whereby they may 
Xnow that he has accepted of thoir R<i»lemn dedication to him i 


or that they are not only born of water, but of t^fc Spirit ; and 
are made partakers of the thing signified in'baptism, without 
which, the external sign will not afford any saving advantage- 
We may also plead with God, that as we are pfofessedly his, 
he would assert his own right to us, overcome us to himself, 
and niake us ruUling' in the day of his poiver^ Psal. ex. 3. 

(2.) Our baptismal engagement is constantly to be improv- 
ed by us, if we are brought into a state of grace, in order to 
the growth and increase thereof; especially if we are sensible 
of great declension therein, or that it io not, in all respects with 
us, as it once wasj if we are sensible of deadness and stupidi- 
ty, in holy duties, and stand in need of being quickened, ex- 
cited, and brought into a lively frame of spirit, or to be restor 
ed after great back-slidings ; if we v/ould have sin mortified, 
and the secret workings thereof in our heart subdued, we 
ought to consider, that having been baptized into Jesus Christy 
we were baptized into his death ; and that we are obliged here- 
by to walk in neumess of life; therefore sin should not reigyi i?i 
cur mortal bodies^ Rom. vi. 3, 4, 12. Arid as we hope and trust, 
that we are made partakers of the saving blessings signified in 
this ordinance, Ave desire to improve the relation we stand in 
to Christ, as his people, as a matter of encouragement, that 
when we are oppressed, he will undertake for us. 

If we are destitute of assurance of his love, and our interest 
>n him, we are to improve the consideration of our being his, 
not only by professed dedication, but by a fiducial adherence 
to him ; this will encourage us to hope. that he will enable u? 
to walk holily and comfortably before him, and lilt up the light 
of his counteaance upon us, as our reconciled God and Father. 

And, in the whole course of our conversation it will be of 
use, for the promoting the life of faith, which consist's in an 
entire dependance on him, as those v/ho are sensible that we 
can do nothing without him, to consider, that when we were 
first devoted to him, it was acknowledged, and from the time, 
wherein we have been enabled to give up ourselves to him by 
faith, we have been always sensible that we stand in need of 
daily supplies of grace from him, as all ouf springs are in him. 
Moreover, our baptismal engagement is to be improved, as it 
is an inducement to us to have our conversation in lioliness 
and righteousness ; whereby practical religion will be promoted 
in all its branches, when v/e consider that we are not our own, 
and therefore dare not think of living as v/e list, or serving di- 
vers lusts and pleasures, but that we are obliged to make his 
revealed will (whose we are, and whom we desire to serve,) 
the rule of all our actions. 

And lastly, we ought to walk in brotherly love, as being bap- 
tized hij the Spirit info one bodii^ 1 Cci'i xii. 13. Th^v Ayhu wif^ 

Vol. JV. ' . ^^ g 


partakers of the saving blessings signified by baptism, have 
ground to conclude themselves members of Christ's mystical 
body, or the invisible church, of which he is the head.-- This 
is a spiritual baptism, being the effect of divine power, and the 
special work of the Holy Ghost ; and certainly this will be an 
inducement to all who are partakers thereof, to walk together 
in brotherly love, as those who are favoured with the same pri- 
vileges, and hope to enjoy that complete blessedness, in which 
they, who are before devoted to Christ, shall be for ever with 
him. Thus concerning the ordinance of baptism. 

And now v/e are led to speak concerning the sacrament of 
the Lord's supper, which is considered either absolutely in it- 
self, or as compared with baptism. And accordingly it is en- 
quired ; wherein they agree, or differ. In considering the na- 
ture of the Lord's supper, it is farther enquired ; how they, 
who are to partake of it, ought to prepare themselves for it be- 
fore they engage therein ? And there are also two cases of coii- 
science answered ; the one respecting those who are not satis- 
fied concerning their meetness for it ; the other respecting those 
who ought to be kept from it. We have also an account of 
the duties of communicants, while they are engaged in this or- 
dinance ; or those that are incumbent on them, after they have 
attended on it. These things are particularly insisted on in 
several following answers, which we are now led to consider. 

Quest. CLXVIIL What is the Lord's Supper ? 

Answ. The Lord's supper is a sacrament of the New Testa- 
ment, wherein by giving and receiving bread and wine, ac- 
cording to the appointment of Jesus Christ, his death is shew- 
ed forth ; and they that worthily communicate, feed upon 
his body and blood, to their spiritual nourishment and 
growth in grace, have their union and communion with him 
confirmed, testify and renew their thankfulness, and engage- 
ment to God, and their mutual love and fellowship each 
with other, as members of the same mystical body. 

Quest. CLXIX. Haw hath Christ appointed bread and winv 
to be given and received in the sacrament of the Lord^s sup- 
per ? 

Answ. Christ hath appointed the ministers of his word, in the 
administration of this sacrament of the Lord's supper, to set 
apart the bread and wine from common use, by the word of 
institution, thanksgiving, and prayer, to take and break the 
bread, and to give both the bread, and the wine to the com- 

OF THE lord's SUPPER. 2*35 

ivmnicants, who are, by the same appointmenlf to take, and 
cat the bread, and to drink the wine, in thankful remem- 
brance, that the body of Christ was broken and given, and 
his blood shed for them. 

Quest. CLXX. Ifoxu do they that xvorthily communicate in 
the Lord^s supper^ feed upon the body and blood of Christ 
therein ? 

Answ. As the body and blood of Christ are not corporally or 
carnally present in, with, or under the bread and wine in the 
Lord's supper, and yet are spiritually present to the faith of 
the receiver, no less truly and really than the elements them- 
selves are to their outward senses ; so they that worthily 
communicate in the sacrament of the Lord's supper, do 
therein feed upon the body and blood of Christ, not after a 
corporal, or carnal, but in a spiritual manner, yet truly and 
really, while by faith they receive and apply unto themselves 
Christ crucified, and all the benefits of his death. 

THERE are several things contained in these answers, viz. 
I. The general description of this ordinance, as it is call- 
ed a sacrament of the New Testament ; in which we shall be 
led to speak concerning the person by whom it was instituted 
in common with other ordinances ; and that is our Lord Jesus 

IL We shall consider the persons by whom it is to be ad- 
ministered, namely, the mijiistej-s, or pastors of particular 
churches ; inasmuch as it is an ordinance given only to those 
who are iu church-communion. 

in. We have an account of the matter thereof, or the out= 
ward elements, to wit, bread and wine. 

IV. We shall consider the ministers act, antecedent to the 
church's partaking of this ordinance, in setting apart the ele- 
ments from a common to a sapred use ; which is to be done 
by the word and prayer, joined >vith thanksgiving. 

V. We have an account of the actions, both of the minister 
and people ; the one breaks the bread, and pours out the wine^ 
in order to their being distributed fimong those who are to re- 
ceive them ; the other, to wit, the communicants, partake of 
them, and join with him jn eating the bread, and drinking the 

VI. We are to consider what is signified hereby, namely, 
the body and blood of Christ ; which are not supposed to be 
corporally and carnally, but spiritually present to the faith of 
the receivers, upon which account they maX' be said to feed 

236 01? TiiE lord's supper. 

upon the body and blood of Christ, and apply the bcucnts oi 
his death to themselves. 

VH. We have an account of the persons who hope to enjoy 
these privileges, and partake of the Lord's supper in a right 
manner ; these are said worthily to communicate ; as also the 
ends which they ought to have in view, namely, their spiritual 
nourishment, and growth in grace, their enjoying communion 
with Christ ; and that love that they are obliged to express to 
each other, as members of the same mystical body. 

I. It is an ordinance of the New Testament, instituted by 
our Saviour. That it is an ordinance, is evident, in that it is 
founded on a divine command ; as appears from the words of 
institution, in Matt. xxvi. 26, 27. Take eat^ this is my body ; 
and he took the cup^ and gave it to them^ saying-^ Drink ye all 
of it, &c. And this is also intimated by the apostle, when, 
speaking particularly concerning it, as also the manner in 
which it is to be performed, he says, I have received of the 
Lord, that which also I delivered unto youy 1 Cor. xi. 23. 
Moreover, there is a blessing annexed to our partaking of it 
in a right manner ; which may pbinly be inferred from the a- 
postle's distinguishing those v/ho receive it xvorthily^ irom o- 
thers that receive it u7ixvorthily^ or :a an unbecoming manner; 
of whom the former are said to come together for the better^ 
the latter/or the worse, ver. 17. and to partake of the Lord's 
supper for the better, is to partake of it for our spiritual ad- 
vantage, which supposes, that there are some blessings annex- 
td to it, which render it not only a duty, but an ordinance, or 
means of grace. And, that it is a gospel-ordinance of the 
New Testament, appears from the time of its being instituted 
by our Saviour, as well as the end and design thereof. It is 
particularly intimated, that Christ instituted this ordinance im- 
mediately before his last sufferings, as a memorial of his dying- 
love. I'hus the apostle says. The same night in which he was 
betrayed, he took bread, ver. 23. And that it was designed to 
continue as a standing ordinance in the church throughout all 
ages, appears from what he farther adds. As often as ye eat 
this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death, till 
he come, ver. 26. 

The contrary to this is maintained by some modern enthu- 
siasts, who deny it to be an ordinance, as they also do baptism ; 
concluding that no cei-emony, or significant sign, is consistent 
with the gospel-dispensation. And as for what the apostle 
says concernmironr shewing forth t/^e Lord\ death till he come, 
they suppose, that hereby is meant, till he comes by the ef- 
fusion of the Spirit ; and thcvefoic, if it was an ordinance at 
first, it ceased to be so when the Snirit vv^as poured forth on 

OF THE lord's SUPPER. 237 

ihe church, in the beginning of the gospel-dlsp^sation. To 
this it may be replied, 

1. That ceremonial nistitutions are not inconsistent with the 
gospel-dispensation, inasmuch as they may not be designed to 
signify some benefits to be procured by Christ, as they did^ 
which were instituted under the ceremonial law ; but they may 
be considered as reniemorative signs of the work of redemp- 
tion, which has been brought to perfection by him. 

2. When the apostle, in the icripture but now mentioned, 
says, that we shexu the Lord's death till he come^ it cannot be 
meant concerning his coming in the plentiful effusion of the 
Spirit ; inasmuch as this privilege was conferred on the church 
in the apostle's days, at the same time, when he speaks of their 
shewing forth his death. Therefore, doubtless, he intends 
thereby Christ's second coming, when this, and all other ordi- 
nances, which are now observed in the church, as adapted to 
the present imperfect state thereof, shall cease ; we must there- 
fore conclude from hence, that it was designed to be continued 
in the church in all ages, as it is at this day. 

II. We are to consider the persons by whom this ordinance 
is to be administered; and these are only such as are lawfully 
called, and set apart to the pastoral office, whose work is to 
feed the church, not only by the preaching of the word, but 
by the administration of the sacraments, which are ordinances 
for their faith, in which they are said to receive, and spiritual- 
ly feed upon Christ and his benefits ; upon which account God 
promises to give his people pastors according' to his own hearty 
•who should feed thetn with knowledge and understandings Jer. 
iii. 15. Now that none but these are appointed to administer 
this oi-dinance, is evident in that they, who partake of it, are 
said to have communion with him, and with one another there- 
in, for their mutual edification and spiritual advantage ; there- 
fore it doth not belong to mankind in general, but the church 
in particular. And, to prevent confusion therein, Christ has 
appointed one, or more proper officers in his churches, to 
whom the management of this work is committed ; who are 
called hereunto, by the providence of God, and the consent and 
desire of the church, to whom they are to minister. 

III. We are now to consider the matter, or the outward ele- 
ments to be used in the Lord's supper ; and these are bread 
and wine. Thus it is said, Jesus took bready Matt. xxvi. 26. 
and he also took the cupi which, by a metonymy, is put for ihe 
wine : For, our Saviour referring to this action, speaks of his 
drinking the fruit of the vine^ ver. 29. As for the bread that 
is to be used in this ordinance, there was a very warm debate 
between the Latin and Greek church concerning it ; the for- 
mer, as the Papists do at this day, concluding it absolutely nc- 



cessarv, that it should be unleavened bread, inasmuch as that 
kind of bread was used by cur Lord, when he first instituted 
it, which was at the time of the passover, when no leaven was 
to be found in their houses. And they make it also a signifi- 
cant sign of the sincerity and truth with which the Lord's sup- 
per ought to be eaten ; for which, they refer to what the apos- 
tle says, in J Cor. v. 8. Let its keep the feast, not zvith old kav- 
en, neither with the leaven of malice and ivickedness ; but with 
the unit-averted bread of sincerity and truth. But this seems 
only to be an allusion to the use of unleavened bread in the 
passover ; which, it may be, might have a typical reference to 
that sincerity and truth with which all the ordinances of God 
are to be engaged in ; but it does not sufficiently appear that 
he intends hereby that the bread used in the Lord's supper 
should be of this kind, or, that it was designed to signify the 
frame of spirit with which this ordinance is to be celebrated. 

On the other hand, the Greek church thought that the bread 
ought to be leavened, according to our common practice at this 
day, it being the same that was used at other times. And this 
seems most eligible, as it puts a just difference between the 
bread used in the passover, which was a part of the ceremoni- 
al law, and a gospel-institution, that is distinct from it. But, 
I think, there is no need to debate either side of the question 
with too much warm.th, it being a matter of no great import- 
ance. As for the wine that is to be used in this ordinance, it 
is a necessary part thereof; and therefore the Papists are guilty 
of sacrilege in v/ithholding the cup from the common people *. 

IV. We are now to consider what the minister is to do, anr 
tecedent to the church's partaking of the Lord's supper : He 
is to set apart the outward elements of bread and wine from 
a common, to this particular holy use. Upon which account 
It may be said to be sanctified by the word of God and prayer^ 
1 Tim. iv. 5. The words of institution contain an intimation 
that these elements are to be used in this ordinance, by Christ's 
appointment ; without which, no significant sign could be used 
in any religious matters. And, as for prayer, this is agreeable 
to Christ's practice ; for, he took bread and blessed it, or pray- 
ed for a blessing on it ; and as the apostle expresses it ; this 
was accompanied with thanksgiving, as he says ; When he had 
gi^^en thanks he brake it, Matt. xxvi. 26. 1 Cor. xi. 24. which 
is'^agreeablc to the nature and design of the ordinance, as here- 
in we pray for the best of blessings, and express our thankful- 
ness to him for the benefits of Christ's ledemption. 

Here I cannot but observe how the Papists pervert this or- 

* This loag done by the council at Constance, Ji. 7), 1415. before -which time there 
Owrfre, indeed, several disputes about the matter or form of the ciip, in -which the iiiins 
;;■•■• er).i-.Ui!Sdd,- tiu it vus lunvr taken a-waiifrom the common people till then. 


dinance in the manner of consecrating the bre^., which the 
priest does only by repeating these words in Latin ; This is my 
body ; -and from thence they take occasion to advance the ab- 
surd doctrine of transubstantiation; and suppose, that, by these 
words pronounced, the bread is changed into the body and 
blood of Christ ; which they assert, contrary to all sense and 
reason, as well as the end and design of the ordinance ; and 
from hence it will follow, that man has a power to make the 
body and blood of Christ ; and another consequence thereof, 
■will be, that the human nature of Christ is omnipresent, which 
is inconsistent with a finite nature, and those properties that 
belong to it as such ; from whence it is to be concluded, that 
it is no where else but in heaven ; and it involves in it the great- 
est contradiction to suppose that it is bread, and having all the 
qualities thereof; and yet our senses must be so far imposed 
on, as that we must believe that it is not so, but Christ's body. 
It also supposes, that Christ has as many bodies as there are 
wafers in the world ; which is a monstrous absurdity. It like- 
wise confounds the sign with the thing signified, and is very 
opposite to the sense of those words of scripture, This is nnj 
body ; which implies no more, than that the bread, which is 
the same in itself, after the words of consecration, as it was be- 
fore, is an external symbol of Christ's body, that is, of the suf- 
ferings which he endured therein for his people. 

V. We are nov/ to consider the actions both of the minister 
and the church, when engaged in this ordinance, viz. breaking, 
distributing, eating the bread, pouring forth, and drinking the 
wine, for the ends appointed by Christ, in instituting this or- 
dinance. Whether our Saviour gave the bread and wine to 
every one of the disciples in particular, is not sulHciently de- 
termined by the words of institution : For, though Matthew 
and Mark say, He gave the bread and the cup to the disciples^ 
Matt. xxvi. 26, 27. and Mark xiv. 22, 23. Yet Luke speak- 
ing either concerning the cup used in the passover, or that in 
the Lord's supper, represents our Saviour as saying to his dis- 
ciples, Take this and divide it among^ yourselves, Luke xxii. 17. 
which seems to intimate that he distributed it to one or more 
of them, to be conveyed to the rest, that they might divide it 
among themselves ; which is agreeable to the practice of se- 
veral of the reformed churches in our day, and seems most 
expedient in case the number of the communicants is very 
great, and the elements cannot be so conveniently given by the 
pastor into the hand of every one. 

Here I may observe how the Papists pervert this part of the; 
Lord's supper; inasmuch as they will not permit the common 
people to touch the bread with their hands, lest they should 
def le it ; but the priest, puts it into their mouths ; for which 

240 OF THE lord's SUPPKR. 

purpose it 13 made up into small, round wafers ; and the peo- 
ple are ordered to take great care that they do not use their 
teeth in chewing it; for that would be, as it were, a crftcifying 
Christ afresh, as oiFering a kind of violence to what they call 
his body. But these things are so very absurd and unscriptu- 
ral, that they confute themselves. And their consecrating a 
wafer to be reserved in a case prepared for that purpose, and 
set upon the altar in the church, to be worshipped by all that 
come near it, savours of gross superstition and idolatry. 

We may farther observe, that they deny the people the cup 
in this ordinance, but not the priests ; for what reason, it is 
hard to determine. And, they mix the wine with water; 
which, though it dees not seem to be agreeable to Christ's in- 
stitution, yet it was often practised by the ancient church, from 
whence they took it ; and their making this a sacramental siga 
of Christ's divine and human nature, united together in one 
person, is much more unwarrantable ; nor can I approve ot 
what others suppose, viz. that it signifies the blood and water 
that came out of his side when he was pierced on the cross. 
And, I can hardly think some Protestants altogether free from 
the charge of superstition, when they so tenaciously adhere to 
the tise of red wine, as bearing some small resemblance to the 
colour of Christ's blood; for which reason others chuse to bear 
their testimony against this ungrounded opinion, by the using 
of white wMne, without supposing that any thing is signified by 
it more than by red ; and others chuse to use one sort at one 
time, and another at another, to signify that this is an indiffer- 
ent matter ; and these, I think, are most in the right. 

Moreover, the practice of the Papists, and some others, in 
receiving the Lord's supper fasting, to the end that the conse- 
crated bread may not be mixed with undigested food, is not 
only unwarrantable, but superstitious, as well as contrary to 
what we read concerning our Saviour and his apostles parta- 
king of the Lord's supper in the first institution thereof, im- 
mediately after having eaten the passover, and to what the a- 
postle suggests, when he reproves the church at Corinth, for 
eating and drinking to excess immediately before they partook 
of the Lord's supper ; upon which occasion he advises iheni 
to eat and drink (though with moderation) in their own houses^ 
I Cor. xi. 21, 22. 

Again, the adminlstring the Lord's supper privately, as the 
Papists and others do, to sick people, seems to be contrary to 
the design of its being a church-ordinance ; and when, to give 
countenance to this practice, it is styled, as by the former oi 
these, a viaticum, or means to convey the soul, if it should 
soon after depart out of the body, to heaven, they are much 
more rerr.cte from our Saviour's design in instituting this or • 


di nance; neither do they rightly understand ti^ sense of the 
scripture, from whence they infer the necessity thereof, except 
ye eat the fiesh of the Son of man ^ and drink his bloody ye have 
no life in you^ John vi. 53. when they apply it to this purpose. 
There is another thing that must not be wholly passed over, 
viz. the various gestures used in receiving the Lord's supper. 
The Papists not only receive it kneeling ; but, they allege, that 
they ought to do so, as being obliged to adore the body and 
blood of Christ, which, as they absurdly suppose, is really pre- 
sent, inasmuch as the bi-ead is transubstantiated, or turned in- 
to it. And the Lutherans, with equal absurdity assert, that 
the body of Christ, is really, though invisibly, present in the 
bread ; which is what they call consubstantiation. Some other 
Protestants, indeed, plead for the receiving it kneeling, as sup- 
posing Christ to be spiritually, though not corporally, present 
therein ; and therefore they do not worship the bread and wine, 
but our Saviour ; which, they suppose, they ought to do with 
this becoming reverence. 

What I would take leave to say, in answer to this, is, that 
we humbly hope and trust, that Christ, according to his pro- 
mise, is present with his people in all his ordinances ; yet, it is 
not supposed that we are obliged to engage in every one of 
them kneeling. But that which determines the faith and prac- 
tice of all other reformed churches, who do not use this gesture 
in the Lord's supper, is, because it is contrary to the example 
of our Saviour and his apostles, when it was first celebrated ; 
which ought to be a rule to the churches in all succeeding a- 

If it be said, that this is a gesture most agreeable to prayer, 
or, at least, that sitting is not so. To this it may be replied, 
that it is not an ordinance principally or only designed for pray- 
er ; for, whatever prayers we put up to God therein, are short, 
ejaculatory, and mixed with other meditations, which may be 
performed with an awful reverence of the divine majesty, such 
as we ought to have in other acts of religious worship, though 
we do not use that gesture of kneeling. And besides, we think 
ourselves obliged to receive the Lord's supper sitting, that be- 
ing a table gesture in use among us, in like manner as that 
which our Saviour and his apostles used, was among the east- 
ern nations. 

As for the reformed Galilean churches, they receive it for 
the most part, standing ; which, being a medium between both 
extremes, they suppose to be most eligible. But this not be- 
ing a table-gesture, nor, in that respect, conformed to that 
which was used by our Saviour and his apostles, I cannot think 
it warrantable. Nevertheless, when the gesture of standing or 
sitting is made a significant sign as some do the former, of our 

Vor,. IV. H h 

242 Of TH£ LORD S SUlTEhc 

being servants, ready to obey the will of Christ our great Lord 
and Master ; or, as others explain it, as signifying our being 
travellers to the heavenly country | and the latter, viz. sitting, 
of our familiarity, or communion with Christ. These are ra- 
ther the result of human invention, than founded on a divine 
.institution, since we have not the least account in sci-ipture, ot 
. these things being signified thereby. This leads us to consi- 

VI. The thing signified in this ordinance, and in what re- 
spect Christ is said to be present therein, together with the 
henefits expected from him, as we are said to feed upon him 
by faith for our spiritual nourishment and grov.rth in grace. 
I cannot but think that the genei-al design hereof, is not much 
unlike to that which was ordained under the ceremonial law, 
in which, after the sacrifice was offered, part of it was reserved 
to be eaten in the holy place. Lev. vi. 16. which was a signifi- 
cant feast upon a sacrifice. In like manner, the Lord's sup- 
per, which comes in the room of the passover, is ordained to 
be a feast on Christ's sacrifice ; so the apostle styles it, when 
lie says, Christ, our passover, is sacrificed for us : Therefore let 
its keep the feast. Sec. 1 Cor. v. 7, 8. The fiducial application 
of Christ, and the benefits of his death, is the principal thing 
to be considered in this gospel-festival. However, there are 
some cautions necessary to be observed with respect to the 
things signified therein, as what may be useful to us that our 
faith may be exeixised in a right manner. Therefore let it be 

1. That though the Lord's supper was instituted in com-* 
memoration of Christ's love, expressed in his death, which 
was the last and most bitter part of his sufferings for our re- 
demption. Yet he did not design hereby to exclude his other 
sufferings in life ; nor, indeed, his whole course of obedience 
from his incarnation to his death ; since it is very evident that 
the death of Christ is often considered in scripture, by a synec- 
doche, as denoting the whole course of obedience, both active 
and passive, which is the matter of our justification ; and there- 
fore is to be the object on which our faith is to be conversant 
in the Lord's supper, as well as his sufferings in, or immedi- 
ately before his death. 

2. When Christ's sufferings upon the cross are said to be 
signified by the bread and wine ; we are not to conclude that 
these sufferings are to be so distinctly or separately consider- 
ed, as that the bread broken, is designed to signify the pains 
that he endured upon the cross, when his body was as it were 
broken, its tendons, nerves, and fibres snapped asunder, and 
his joints dislocated, by being stretched thereon ; and the wine 
poured forth, to signify the shedding his blood when his hands 

or THE lord's supper. 24i 

and feet were pierced with the nails, and his sfcjfJe with the 
spear, as some suppose ; since all these things are to be made 
the subjects of our affectionate meditation in every part of this 
ordinance, while we are taken up with the contemplation of his 
last sufferings. And this seems to give countenance to the 
practice of many of the reformed churches, in consecrating and 
distributing the bread and wine together ; though it is true, 
many think, on the other hand, that the elements are to be se- 
parately consecrated, as well as distributed, it being most a- 
greeabie to what is said concerning Christ's blessing the bread, 
and giving it to his disciples, and afterwards takmg the cup, 
and giving it to them. Matt. xxvi. 26, 27. However, if this be 
allowed of, it is not necessary for us to infer from hence, that 
each of these elements are designed to signify some distinct 
parts of Christ's sufferings on the cross, but only that the ordi- 
nance is to be still continued, the whole including in it two ex- 
ternal and visible signs to be used, each of which signify the 
means whereby he procured our redemption ; and, indeed, 
when the wine is poured forth, and set apart for another part 
of this ordinance, we are not so much to enter on a new sub- 
ject in our meditation, though the sign be different from that 
of the bread, as to proceed in thinking on, and improving the 
love of Christ, in his humbling- himself j and becoming- obedient 
unto deaths even the death of the cross^ Phil. ii. 8. and all this 
is signified by this sign, as well as the other, neither of which 
are adapted to this end, otherwise than by divine appointment. 
3« We must take heed that we do not make more significant 
sigps in the bi-ead and wine than Christ has done ; as some, 
suppose, that almost eveiy ingredient or action used in making 
them, is to be applied to signify some things that he has done 
or suffered for our redemption. It is a very great liberty that 
some take in expatiating on this subject, and applying it to this 
ordinance. We have a specimen hereof contained in an hymn, 
composed to be sung as a thanksgiving after the i-eceiving the 
Lord's supper *; in which the corn, as first living and grow- 
ing, and afterwards cut down, and by threshing, separated 
from the husk, and then ground in the mill, and bakecl in the 
oven, are all made significant signs of the sufferings and tor- 
ments which our Saviour endured. And the corn being united 
in one loaf, is made a sign of the union between Christ and 
his church. In like manner the grapes being gathered, press- 
ed, and made into wine, is supposed to signify our spiritual 
joy, arising from Christ's shedding his blood. And, as many 
grapes make one vine, so believers should be united by faith 
iind love. What lengths is it possible for the wit and fancy of 

* TAij hvrnn is insert fd cfi<:r Sternliold aiidlfopkin^s version of the Fsnlmt. 


men to run, when they have a fruitful invention, and are dis- 
posed to make significant signs, and apply them to this ordi- 
nance without a divine warrant ! 

4. When we meditate on Christ's sufferings, our faith is not 
to rest in, or principally be fixed on the grievousness of them, 
as Dr. Goodwin observes * ; so that we should only endeavour 
hei-eby to have our hearts moved to a relenting, and com- 
passion exprecised towards him, and indignation against the 
Jews that crucified him, together with an admiring of his no- 
ble and heroical love herein ; so that if persons can get their 
hearts thus affected, they judge and account this to be grace ; 
whereas, it is no more than what the like tragical story of some 
great and noble personage (full of heroical virtues and ingenu- 
ity ; yet inhumanly and ungratefully used) doth ordinarily work 
in ingenuous spirits, who read or hear of it ; which, when it 
reacheth no higher, it is so far from being faith, that it is but 
a carnal and fleshly devotion ; and Christ himself, at his suffer- 
■ ing, found fault with, as not being spiritual, when he says, 
Daughters of Jerusalem xveep not for 7?ze, but for yourselves 
and for your children^ Luke xxiii. 28. that is, not so much for 
this, when you see me thus unworthily handled by those for 
whom I die, as for yourselves. 

Moreover, he farther adds, that it was not the malice of the 
Jews, the falseness of Judas, the feai'fulness of Pilate, the in- 
iquity of the times he fell into, that wrought our Saviour's 
death ; God the Father had an higher design herein : And this 
our faith is coni;tantly to be conversant about, considering it 
as the result of an eternal agreement between the Father and 
the Son, and of that covenant which he came into the world 
to fulfil ', and his being made sin for us, to take away our sins 
by the atonement which he made hereby. And, besides this, 
we may add, that the highest and most affecting consideration 
in Christ's sufferings, ought to contain in it the idea of his be- 
ing a divine person, which is the only thing that argued them 
sufficient to answer the great ends designed thereby, as it ren- 
dered them of infinite value ; and it was upon this account that 
his condescension expressed herein, might truly be said to be 
infinite. These things, I say, we are principally to rest in, 
when we meditate on Christ's sufferings in this ordinance ; 
though the other, which are exceedingly moving and affecting 
in their kind, are not to be passed over ; since the Holy Ghost 
has, for this end, given a particular account thereof in the gos- 
pels, not barely as an historical relation of what was done 
to him, but as a convincing evidence of the greatness of his 
love to us. 

* See JJr. Goodxcin's Christ set forth, § 2. Chap, ii, 

OF THE lord's SUPPER. 245 

Thus concerning Christ's death, shewed forth oivsignified in 
this ordinance. We are farther, under this head,^to consider 
how he is present, and they who engage in it aright feed on his ' 
body and blood by faith. We are not to suppose that Christ 
is present in a corporal way, so that we should be said to par- 
take of his body in a literal sense ; but he being a divine person, 
and consequently omnipresent ; and having promised his pre- 
sence with his church in all ages, and places, when met toge- 
ther in his name; in this respect he is present with them, in 
like manner as he is in other ordinances, to supply their wants, 
hear their prayers, and strengthen them against corruption and 
temptation, and remove their guilt by the application of his 
blood, which is presented as an object for their contemplation 
in a more peculiar manner in this ordinance. 

As for our feeding on, or being nourished by the body and 
blood of Christ, these are metaphorical expressions, taken from, 
and adapted to the nature and quality of the bread and wine 
by which it is signified ; but that which we are to understand 
hereby, is, our graces being farther strengthened and estabhsh- 
ed, and we enabled to exercise them with greater vigour and 
delight ; and this derived from Christ, and particularly founded 
on his death. And, when we are said to feed upon him, in 
order hereunto, it denotes the application of what he has done 
and suffered, to ourselves ; and, in order hereunto, we are to 
bring our sins, with all the guilt that attends them, as it were, 
to the foot of the cross of Christ, confess and humble our souls 
for them before him, and by faith plead the virtue of his death, 
in order to our obtaining forgiveness, and, at the same time, 
renew our dedication to him, while hoping and praying for the 
blessings and privileges of the covenant of grace, which were 
purchased by him. 

Moreover, there is another thing signified in this ordinance, 
as a farther end for which it was instituted, namely, in that we 
are to have communion with one another, and thereby express 
our mutual love, as members of Christ's mystical body, who 
have the same end in view, and make use of the same means, 
viz. Christ crucified, as we attend on the same ordinance in 
which this is set forth, and having the same common necessi- 
ties, infirmities and corruptions, and the same encouragements 
for our faith. Therefore w^e ought to sympathize with one 
another, and, by faith and prayer, be helpful to them, with 
whom we join in this ordinance, while we are representing 
our own case in common with theirs, before the Lord. This 
leads us to consider, 

VII. What ought to be the qualifications of those who have 
a right to, and are obliged to partake of the Lord's supper : 
These are expressed in general terms by the apostle, by dis- 


cernin^ the Lord^s hodij^ 1 tor. xl. 29. Now this a person 
cannot do, who is ignorant of the design of his death ; there- 
fore there must be some degree of knowledge in those who are 
qualified for this ordinance. There must also be an afflictive 
sense of the v/eight and burden of the guilt of those sins which 
are daily committed by us, and an apprehension arising from 
thence, of our need of the merits of Christ, to take them away, 
and that his death is designed to answer this end. And, that 
this may be done for our real advantage, as we are said to feed 
on Christ by faith ; it is supposed, that this grace is wrought in 
us, or, that we are effectually called out of a state of unrege- 
neracy, to partake of gracious communion with Christ; where- 
by we may be said to be fitted to have fellowship with him in 
this ordinance, and so partake of it in a right manner, for our 
spiritual nourishment and growth in grace. 

Quest. CLXXI. Hoto are they that receive the sacrament of 
the Lord'*s supper^ to prepare themselves before they C07ne 
unto it ? 

Answ. They that receive the sacrament of the Lord's supper, 
are, before they come, to prepare themselves thereunto, by 
examining themselves, of their being in Christ, of their sins, 
and wants, of the truth and measure of their knowledge, 
faith, repentance, love to God and the brethren, charity to 
Jill men, forgiving those that have done them wrong, of 
iheir desires after Christ, and of their new obedience ; and 
by renewing the exercise of these graces, by serious medita- 
tion, and fervent prayer. 

THE Lord's supper being a sacred and solemn ordinance, 
it ought not to be engaged in without due preparation 
before-hand, in those who partake of it. The duties men- 
tioned in this answer, which are preparatory for it, are self- 
examination, the renewing the exercise of those graces which 
are necessary to our partaking of it aright, serious meditation 
on the work we are going about, and fervent prayer for the 
presence and blessing of God therein. 

I. Concerning the duty of self-examination ; in order here- 
unto, we must retire from the hurries and incumbrances of the 
world, that our minds may be disengaged from them, and not 
filled with distracting thoughts, which will be an hindrance to 
us in our enquiries into the state of our souls. We must also 
resolve to deal impartially with ourselves, and consider what 
really makes against us, as matter of sorrow, shame, and hu- 
miliation, as well as those things that are encouraging, and 


occasions of thanksgiving to God. We must also endeavour 
to be acquainted with the word of God, to whiclr our actions 
and behaviour are to be applied; whereby we are to determine 
the goodness ©r badness of our state in general, or the frame 
of spirit in which we are, in particular. 

Now there are several things, concerning which we are to 
examine ourselves before we come to the Lord's supper. 

1. Whether we are in Christ or no? since persons must be 
first in him before they can have spiritual communion with 
him. There are some things, which, if we find in ourselves, 
would give us ground to determine that we are not in Christ y 

That man is not in Christ who is an utter stranger to his 
person, natures, offices, and the design of his coming into the 
world; together with the spiritual benefits purchased by his 
death. Neither is he in Christ, who never saw his need o£ 
him, or that there is no hope of salvation without him. Again, 
he is not in Christ, who obstinately refuses to submit to his 
government, lives in a wilful contempt of his laws, resolutely 
persists in the commission of known sins, or in the total ne- 
glect of known duties. Again, he is not in Christ, who is 
ashamed of his doctrine, his gospel, his cross, which a true 
believer counts his glory ; as the apostle says, God forbid that 
J should g-lory^ save in the C7-oss of Jesus Christy Gal. vi. 14„ 
He must also be reckoned out of Christ, who is stupid and 
presumptuous ; and, though, probably, he may hope to be saved 
by him, yet desires not to have communion with him, but ex- 
pects to be made partaker of his benefits without faith ; or if 
he pretends to have faith, it is only an assent to some truths, 
without being accompanied with repentance, and other graces 
which are inseparably connected with that faith which is 

But, on the other hand, we may know that we are in Christ, 
■f we can truly sa)% 

(1.) That we have received a new nature from him, from 
whence proceed renewed actions, which discover themselves in 
the whole course of our lives; If any man be in Christy he is a 
new creature : Old tlwigs are passed azvay^ behold^ all things 
are become nerv^ 2 Cor. v. 17. 

(2.) We must enquire, whether we endeavour constantly to 
adhere to his revealed will, not barely as the result of some 
sudden conviction; but as making it the main business of hfe, 
to approve ourselves to him in well doing, as our Saviour says^ 
Jf ye continue in my xvord^ then ye are my disciples indeed^ 
John viii. 31. 

(3.) Converse with Christ in ordinance, is another evidence 
of our being in him : For, ?.% a man is r>aid to be known bv the 


company he keeps, or delights to be in ; so a true Christian is 
known, as the apostle sajs, by his having fello-ws hip with the 
Father^ and zvith his son Jesus Christy 1 John i. 3. -. 

(4.) We must enquire, whether we have a great concern for 
the glory and interest in our own souls, and an earnest desire 
that his name may be known and magnified in the world ; and 
this accompanied with our using the utmost endeavours in 
our various stations and capacities in order thereunto ? 

2. The next thing that we are to examine ourselves about, 
before we come to the Lord's supper, is, what sense we have 
of sin ? whether we are truly humbled for, and desirous to be 
delivered from it ? It is not sufficient for us to take a general 
view of ourselves as sinners, in common with the rest of man- 
kind, without being duly affected with it ; but we must consider 
the various aggravations of sin, with a particular application 
thereof to ourselves; and how much v/e have exceeded many 
others therein, either before or since we were called by the 
grace of God, by which means we may take occasion to say, 
as the apostle does concerning himself, that we are the chief of 
sinners^ 1 Tim. i. 15. and a sense of the guilt hereof, when 
duly considered, will give us occasion to lie very low at the 
foot of God. We are also to take notice of our natural pro- 
pensity and inclination to sin, and the various ways by which 
this has discovered itself in our actions ; and accordingly we 
are to enquire, 

(1.) Whether we have sinned knowingly, wilfully, presump- 
tuously, and obstinately? or, whether we have been surprised 
into it, or ensnared by some sudden unforeseen temptation, 
and committed it without the full bent of our wills? whether 
we have striven against it, or given way to it, and suffered our- 
selves to be prevailed upon without making resistance? 

(2.) We must enquire, whether we have continued in sin, 
or unfeignedly repented of it ? whether sin sits light or heavy 
on our consciences? or, if our consciences are burdened with 
it, whether we seek relief against it in that way which Christ 
has prescribed in the gospel ? 

(3.) We must enquire, whether there are not some sins that 
more frequently and easily beset us ? what they are, and whe- 
ther we are daily watchful against them, and use our utmost 
endeavours to avoid them ? 

(4.) We must also enquire, whether we have not frequently 
i-elapsed into the same sin which we have resolved against at 
various times, and, in particular, at the Lord's table, and here- 
by broke our engagements ; and if so, whether we did not rely 
too much on our own strength, when we made those resolu- 
tions against sin ? 

(5.) We are to enquire, whether sin gets ground upon us, 


.vlicrcby grace Is weakened ? or, whether, though .we commit 
it, we find its strength abated, and we enabled, iirsotne mea- 
sure, to mortify it, though we do not wholly abstain iVom it.'' as 
the aposde says, That which I do^ I alloxv not ; but what Jhate^ 
that do /, Rom. vii. 15. 

(6.) We are also to enquire, whether our sins have not car- 
ried in them a great neglect of Christ, his blood, his grace, his 
benefits, as not thinking of them, admiring or prizing them 
above all things, nor laying hold on them by faith, and so not 
making a right use of his dying love, which is signified in the 
Lord's supper. 

3. We are to examine ourselves, before we come to the 
Lord's table, what particular wants we have to be supplied. 
Our Saviour is to be considered in this ordinance, not only as 
signified by the external elements; but as present with his 
people when met together in his name, with earnest expecta- 
tion of enjoying communion with him : And, as he is appointed 
to apply, as well as purchase redemption for us, we must con- 
sder him as having his hands full of spiritual blessings, to im- 
part to his necessitous people, who come to him for them : 
Therefore they ought before they go, to enquire, not only, as 
has been before observed, what are their sins which are to be 
confessed and bewailed before him, but what it is more espe- 
cially, that they stand in need of from him ? The question that 
Christ will ask them, when they come there, is, what is thy 
petition, and what is thy request i what are those wants which 
thou desirest a supply of? Accordingly, we are before-hand 
to enquire, whether, though we have some little hope that we 
have experienced the grace of God in truth, yet we do not want 
a full assurance of our interest in Christ, that xve 7nay knoxv 
that we have eternal ///>, 1 John v. 13. together with the joy 
of faith accompanying the actings thereof? and, whether we 
do not want enlargement of heart, and raised affections in holy 
duties? which the Psalmist seems to intend, when he says, 
Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name, Psal» 
cxlii. 7. 

Again, whether we do not want many experiences, which 
Ave have formerly had, of the grace of God, and his special 
presence in holy duties ; or have not occasion to say with Job, 
that it xvere as in months past, as in the days when God pre- 
served me : When his cayidh shinsd upon my head^ and^ by his 
light I walked through darkness. Job xxix. 2, 3. Moreover, 
we are to enquire, whether we do not want a greater degree of 
establishment in the great doctrines of the gospel ; or to be 
kept steady in a time of temptation ? and, whether we do not 
'vant a greater degree of zeal for the honour of God, in a dav 

Vol. IV. I \ 


in whicli many proffssors are lukewarm? as our Saviour oh. 
serves concerning the church of Laodicea, That tlieij were 
ncitiwr cold nor hot^ Rev. iii. 15. or, whether we do aot want 
together with this zeal, a compassion to the souls of others, 
who make shipwreck of faith, not having a good conscience, 
which may induce us, as the apostle says, In meekness to in- 
struct those that oppose themselves^ if God p^radi>enture will 
give them resentence to the acknowledging of the truth ? 2 Tim. 
ii, 25. and, whether v/e are duly affected with the degeneracy 
of the age wherein we live, and are not too negligent in bear* 
ing our testimony against the errors advanced therein? or, 
whether we understand the meaning of those various dispen- 
sations of providence, which we are under, and what is our 
present duty in compliance therewith ? These things are of a 
more genei-al nature, and to be made the subject of our enquiry, 
whenever we draw nigh to Christ in any ordinance in which 
^e hope for a supply of our wants. 

But there are other things which we ought to have a more 
particular regard to in our enquiries, when we are to engage 
In the ordinance of the Lord's supper. 

(1.) In order to our partaking of it aright, we are to enquire, 
whether \vc do not want a clear and distinct apprehension of 
the covenant of grace, and the seals thereof, and how we are 
to act faith in a way of self-dedication, and how we ought to 
renew our covenant engagements with God, which we are 
Inore especially called to do therein? 

(2.) Whether we do not w^ant a broken heart, suitably af- 
fected with the dying love of Jesus Christ, which is signified 
therein, that we may look on him xvho was pierced^ and mourns 
Zech. xii. 10. 

(3.) Whether we do not want to be led into the true way 
of improving Christ crucified, to answer all those accusations 
that are brought in against us, either by Satan or our own con- 
sciences, and how this is an expedient for the taking away the 
guilt and power of sin ? 

(4.) Whether we do not want to be made more like to 
Christ, and conformed to his death, that, while we behold him 
represented as dying for us, we nia_y reckon ourselves as dead to 
sin, and to the world; and that our old jnan is crucified with 
/iim, that the body of sin might be destroyed^ that henceforth w& 
should not serve sin ? Rom. vi. 6. 10, 

(5.) Whether we do not want an abiding impression of the 
love of Christ, and a greater stedfastness in our resolution, to 
sidhere to him ; that so, whatever grace w^e may be enabled to 
act, by strength derived from him, may be maintained and ex- 
ercised, not only at that time, but when we are more imme- 
diately engageti in that ordinance .' 


i'hcse things we are to examine ourselves con(j#i*ning, that 

e may spread our wants before the Lord at his table. And 
.■) induce us hereunto, we may consider, that our corrupt na- 
ture is very prone to think ourselves better than we really are ; 
so that, how indigent and distressed soever we maybe, we are 
ready to conclude, with the church of the Laodiceans, that zvd 
are rich and increased with ^ocds^ and have need of nothing-^ 
Hev. iii, ir. 

Moreover, if we are not truly sensible of our necessities, 
we shall not value Christ's fulness, or the rich provisions he 
has made for his people, and is pleased to dispense in this or- 
dinance; as it is said, The lohole need not a ph7jsician^but they 
that are sick^ Matt. ix. 12. and we muse consider, that a great 
part of our vvork therein, consists in ejacuiatory prayer, which 
We shall not be able to put up in a right manner, if we are not 
Reiisible of our wants ; and one reason why we are so often at 
a loss in prayer, or go out of the presence of God empty, is, 
because our hearts are not enlarged therein, which they cannot 
be, unless we are affected with a sense of our necessities. 

Now, to encourage us to examine ourselves concerning them, 
before we partake of the Lord's sapper, let us consider that 
Christ invites us to draw nigh to him therein ; that he may 
take occasion to communicate the blessings of his redemption, 
which are signified thereby; that he may supply our wants, sa- 
tisfy our desires, surmount our difSeukits, and apply to us the 
great and precious promises of the covenant of grace, which 
are to be sought for at his hands, by faith and prayer, which 
supposes the performance of this duty of self-examination, with 
respect to the blessings that we stand in need of from him. 

4. We are, before we partake of the Lord's supper, tp ex- 
amine ourselves concerning the truth ancl mc-asure of our know- 
ledge in divine things; inasmuch as without the knowledge 
hereof, the heart cannot be good, nor any spiritual duty en- 
gaged in, in a right manner. As for a perfect comprehensive 
knowdedge of divine truths, that is not to be expected, by rea- 
son of the weakness of our capacities, and the imperfection of 
this present state ; wherein, as the apostle says, Tve see but 
through a glass darkly^ or, as it is said elsewhere, We are but 
of ijesterdaij^ and knoxv^ comparatively, nothings Jobviii. 9. 

However, there is a degree of knowledge, whicli is not only 
attainable, hut necessary to our right engaging in this ordi- 
nance ; and this docs not consist barely in our knowing that 
there is a God, or that he is to be worshipped, or that there 
was such a person as our Saviour, who lived in the world, was 
crucified, rose again from the dead, ascended into heaven, and' 
shall come again to judge the quick and the dead : For a per-^ 
son may have a general notion of all tliese things, and yet 1^9 


unacquainted with the end and design of Christ's death, and 
the blessings and privileges of the covenant of grace, which 
he procured thereby, or with the claim that a person^ay lay 
by faith, to them f without which, there is not a sufficient 
knowledge, such as the apostle calls a discerning the Lord^s 
body^ 1 Cor. xi. 29. which we ought to do in this ordinance. 

Now, that knowledge of divine truths, which ought not 
only to be pressed after, but, we are to examine ourselves, 
whether we have, in some measure attained to, respects, 

(1.) The person of Christ, as God-man, Mediator, and the 
offices which he executes as such; and more particularly, the 
manner and end of his executing his priestly office, in which 
he offered himself as a sacrifice for sin, which we are more 
especially to commemorate in this ordinance. 

(2.) We must have an affecting sense or knowledge of the 
guilt of sin ; and, as a relief against it, must be acquainted 
v/ith the doctrine of the free grace of God, displayed in the 
gospel, and founded in the blood of Jesus, whereby sin is 
pardoned. We are also to be fully convinced of the almighty 
power of the Holy Ghost, whereby alone it can be subdued, 
and of the method he takes therein to make the redemption 
purchased by Christ, effectual to answer that end. 

(«.) We are to endeavour, in some measure, to know God 
as our Father, and covenant-God in Christ,^ who bestows on 
his people the rich and splendid entertainment of his house, 
and satisfies them with the abundance of his goodness, pur- 
suant to what Christ has purchased. And we must also know 
what it is to deal with him as those who see themselves oblig- 
ed herein to devote themselves to him as their God ; and what 
large expectations they may have from him, whom he has 
avouched to be his peculiar people ; and how this is a founda- 
tion of that humble boldness with which they are encouraged 
to come unto the throne of grace^ that they may obtain mercy ^ 
mid find grace to help in time of need^ Heb, iv. 16. 

Moreover, we are not only to enquire, whether we are ap- 
prehensive of the excellency, glory, and suitableness of those 
great things, that are revealed in the gospel, to answer out- 
particular exigencies, and render us happy in the enjoyment of 
God ; but whether the knowledge hereof makes a due impres- 
sion on our hearts, is of a transforming nature, and has a ten- 
dency to regulate the conduct of our lives, and put us on the 
application of these great things to ourselves ? 

As to the degree of our knowledge we must enquire, whe ■ 
ther it be only a single apprehension that the doctrines of tht- 
gospel are true, or, at most, contains in it some general ideas 
of their being excellent and worthy of the highest esteem ; but 
whether we can prove them to be true, and render a reason cf 


our faith, without which, it may, indeed, be righ^y placed as 
to its object ? But it cannot be said to be deeply rooted ; and 
therefore it is exposed to greater danger of being foiled, 
weakened, or overthrown by temptation. We must also en- 
quire, whether we grow in knowledge in proportion to those 
opportunities or means of grace that we are favoured with, 
which the apostle calls g-rorumg in grace^ and in the knoxvledge 
of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christy 2 Pet. iii. 18. 

5. We are to examine ourselves concerning the truth and 
degree of our faith, and other graces that are inseparably con- 
nected with it. As for faith, we are to enquire, whether it 
be a living, or what the apostle calls a deadfaithy James ii. 
17, 18. as being alone, and destitute of those good works 
which ought to proceed from it? Whether it only contains in 
it an assent to the truth of divine revelation ; or, whether it 
puts us upon a closure with Christ, embracing him in all his 
offices, and trusting in him for all those benefits which he has 
purchased by his blood ? We must also enquire, what fruits or 
effects it produces, and what other graces accompany or flow 
from it ? Whether it inclines us to set the highest value on 
Christ, as being in our esteem, altogether lovely ; and gives 
us low thoughts of ourselves, as having nothing but what v/e 
depend on him for, or derive from him ? Whether it be at- 
tended with some degree of holiness in heart and life, as the 
apostle speaks of the hearths being purified by faith^ Acts xv. 
9. Again, whether it be such a faith as overcomes the worL\ 
1 John v. 14. and prevents our being easily turned aside front 
God, by the snares that we may meet with in it ? Whether we 
are inclined hereby, to confess ourselves to be strangers and 
pilgrims on the earthy Heb. xi. 13. and desire a better countrrj., 
vcr. 16. 

There are many other fruits and effects of faith, which the 
apostle mentions in Heb. xi. by which we may examine our- 
selves concerning the truth and sincerity of this grace ; and 
there are several graces mentioned in this answer, which are 
connected with faith, concerning which, we must enquire, whe- 
ther they are found in us, particularly repentance, which must 
of necessity be exercised in this ordinance as well as faith ; 
inasmuch as by the one, we behold Christ's glory, and, by the 
other, we take a view of sins deformity ? And it is such a re- 
pentance, as inclines us not only to hate sin, but forsake and 
turn from it, as seeing the detestable and odious nature of it, 
in what Christ endured to make satisfaction for it. 

But since faith and repentance have been particularly consi- 
dered under a foregoing answer, together with the nature, pro- 
perties, and effects thereof * ; we shall pass them over, and 

*^Sss Orient. Ixxii. Vcl, UI. paje^V. (J scj. and Quest. Ixsvlj Ixxxv, Ixxxvil, 


consider the graces of love to God, desire after Christ, acii 
our using endeavours to approve ourselves his servants and 
subjects, by constant acts of obedience to him : These' things 
are to be the subject-matter of our enquirj'^, before ^jve engage 
in this ordinance. It is very suitable to the occasion, to en- 
' quire, whether we love Christ or no; inasmuch as we are to 
behold and be affected with the most amazing instance of love, 
which he has expressed to us ; Let us therefore enquire, whe- 
ther our love to him be superlative, far exceeding that which 
"vve bear to all creatures, how valuable soever they may be to 
lis, how nearly soever ■w^e may be related to them, or what* 
ever engagements we may be laid under to esteem and value 

We may also try the sincerity of our love to God, by enquir* 
ing, whether it puts us on performing the most difficult duties 
for his sake, with the greatest cheerfulness ? And, whether 
we are hereby encouraged to bear the most afflictive evils with 
patience ; because it is his pleasure that v/e should be exer- 
cised therewith, 1 Sam. iii. 18. Let us also enquire, whether 
we love him with all our heart, or, whether our love is divid- 
ed betwixt him and the creature, whereby our affections are often 
drawn aside from him ? And, whether it puts us upon im 
proving our time, strength, and all our other talents to his 
glory ^ Whether we have no interest separate from his, which 

Christy Phil. i. 21. and, whether we are earnestly desirous to 
bring others to him, not only by recommending his glory to 
them in words ; but by expressing the esteem and value we 
have for him, in the whole course of our conversation ? Whe- 
ther we are hereby inclined to hate every thing that he hates j 
as the Psalmist says, Te that love the Lord hate evil^ Psal. 
xcviii. 10. and whether we make those things the object of our 
choice that he delights in ? 

JMoreover, we are to enquire, whether we have had any 
communion v/ith him in ordinances, and particularly in this 
ordinance at other times ? And when he is pleased to with- 
hold this privilege from us in any degree, that hereby we ma^ 
see that all our comforts flow from him ; or, when he has a 
design to humble us for those sins that provoke him to depar*: 
from us, whether v/e are earnestly desirous of his return, and 
cannot be satisfied with any thing short of him ? 

As for our desires after Christ, which we are farther to ex- 
amine ourselves about, vre must enquire, whether, that, which 
moves or inclines us to desire him, be the view we have of the 
glory of his person, and the delight that arises from our con- 
^empU>f'"U'; ;!:■? divine e-' c'ff-ni.-ies : or whether we desire him^ 


oiily for the sake of his benefits, or, that he might deliver us 
from the wrath to come ? Whether we desire Chrfit only vvjicn 
his service is attended with the esteem of men, o:, as a means 
to gain some worldly advantage from them ? Or, whether we 
desire to adhere to him, when we are talKtd to suffer reproach, 
or even the loss of ail things lor his sakt; ; which wiil be a 
convincing evidence oi the sincerity ot our desires after, and, 
conscquentiv, of our love to him ? 

And, we are farther to enquire, whether our love to Christ, 
and desire after him, discovers itself by renewed acts of obe- 
dience to him ; particularly, whether our obedience be univer- 
sal or partial, constant or wavering, performed widi delight 
and pleasure or with some reluctarxy ? And, whether it fiuts 
us upon universal holiness, as being induced hereunto by 
gospel-motives ? Thus concerning our examining ourselv^,s 
about our faith, repentance, love to Christ, desire after him, 
and our endeavour to yield obedience to hiia in aii things. 

The next thing we axe to examine ourselves concerning, is, 
•whether we have sueh a love to tne brethren, and charity to 
all men, whereby v/e are disposed to exercise forgiveness to 
those that have done us any injuries ? The Lord's-supper be- 
ing an ordinance of mutual fellowship, we are obliged to be- 
have Qursejlves towards one another as members of the same 
body, subjects of the same Lord, engaged in the same reli- 
gious exercise ; and consequently, are obliged to love one 
another, whereby it will appear, that we are Christ's disciples, 
John xiii. 35. This love consists in our desiring and endeavour- 
ing to promote the spiritual interest of each other, to the end 
that Christ herein may be glorified ; and it includes in it that 
charity that casts a veil over their failures and defects, and our 
forgiving those injuries which thev have, at anytime, done to 
us. This frame of spirit is certainly becoming the nature of 
the ordinance, in which we hope to be made partakers of the 
fruits and effects of Christ's love, and to obtain forgiveness 
from him, of all the injuries we have done against him ; there- 
fore it is very necessary for us to enquire, 
. [l.] Concerning our love to the brethren, whethei' it be such 
as is a distinguishing character of those who are Christ's 
friends and followers ; or which, as the apostle expresses it, 
will afford an evidence to us, that we are passed from death io 
life, 1 John iii. 14. And, in order to our discovering this, let 
us examine ourselves, whether we love the brethren, because 
■we behold the image of God in them ? Which is, in eftect, to 
love and glorify God in tliem^ Gal. i. 24. Again, whether our 
love to men leads us to desire and endeavour to be reckoned a 
common good to all, according to the utmost of our ability ? 
As it is said of Mordecai, that he tvas accepted of the rnulii- 


tilde of his brethren^ seeking the wealth of his people, and 
speaking peace to all his seed, Esther x. 8. 

Again, we are to enquire, whether our love be morp espe- 
cially to the souls of men, as well as their outward concerns ? 
This consists in our using all suitable endeavours to bring them 
vmder conviction of sin, by faithful and well-timed reproofs ; 
the contrary to which, or our refusing to rebuke our neighbour 
or brother, and thereby suffering sin upon hitn, is reckoned no 
other than an hating of him, Lev. xix. 17. We are also to 
express our love to the souls of men, by endeavouring to per- 
suade them to believe in Christ, if they are in an unconverted 
state, or to walk as becomes his gospel, if they have been 
made partakers of the grace thereof: Thus the apostle ex- 
presses his love to those to whom he writes, when he says, 
J travail in birth again till Christ be formed in you, Gal. iv. 19. 
and elsewhere, he signifies to another of the churches, how 
affectionatelij desirous be was of them ; which made him •wil- 
ling, not only to impart the gospel of God, but his own soul ; 
because they xvere dear unto him, 1 Thes. ii. 8. 

Again, we must enquire, whether our love puts us upon 
choosing such to be our associates that truly fear the Lord ; 
whom we count, as the Psalmist expresses it. The excellent, 
in who?n is all our delight P Psal. xvi. 3. and, on the other 
hand, whether we avoid the society of, or intimacy with, those 
that are Christ's open enemies; the contrary to which,. good 
Jehoshaphat was reproved for by the prophet, when he says, 
Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the 
Lord ? 2 Chron. xix. 2. Again, let us enquire, whether our 
love to men is then expressed when it is most needed? As it 
is said, A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for 
adversity, Prov. xvii. 17. Again, whether we are inclined to 
all those acts of charity which covereth a multitude of faults ? 
As the apostle describes it, that it suffereth long, and is kind; 
envieth tiot; vaunteth not itself; is not puffed up ; doth not behave 
itself unseemly ; seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, 
ihinketh no evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the 
truth : Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things^ 
and endureth all things, 1 Cor. xiii. 4,' — S- 

[2.] We are to enquire, whether our love to men be express- 
ed in forgiving injuries ; which is a frame of spirit absolutely 
necessary for our engaging in any ordinance ; as our Saviour 
says. If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest 
that thy brother hath ought against thee. Matt. v. 23, 24.. that 
J5, if there be a misunderstanding between you, whoever be the 
aggressor, or gave the firr^t occasion for it, leave there thy gift 
before the altar, and go thy way, first be reconciled to thy bro- 
ther ; that if,, do whatever is in thy pov/er in order thereunto. 


and then come and offir thy gift. And this is mo|^ necessary 
•when we engage in this ordinance, in which we hope to obtain 
forgiveness ol the many offences which we have committed a- 
gainst God ; and accordingly the apostle says, Let us keep the 
Jeast^ not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and 
wickedness, but xuith the unleavened bread of sinceritij and 
truth, 1 Cor. v. 8. It is no difiicuit matter for us to know whe- 
ther we are disposed to forgive those who have injured us; 
therefore the principal thing we are to examine ourselves about, 
is, whether we do this with a right frame of spirit, as consi- 
dering how prone we are to do those things ourselves, which 
may render it necessary for us to be forgiven, both by God 
and man ? and whether, as the consequence hereof, though we 
were before this, inclined to over-look those graces which are 
discernable in them ; yet now we can love them as brethren, 
and glorify God for what they have experienced, and be ear- 
ressly solicitous for their sah'ation as well as our own ? Thus 
concerning the first duty mentioned in this answer, viz. our 
examining ourselves before we engage in this ordinance. We 
now proceed to consider some other duties mentioned there- 
in, viz. 

II. The renewing the exercise of those graces, which are 
necessary to our right engaging in it, whereby the sincerity 
and truth thereof may be discerned : Therefore, since faith, 
repentance, and several other graces, ought to be exercised in 
this ordinance, it is necessary for us to give a specimen there«- 
of, before we engage in it. As the artificer first tries the instru- 
ment he is to make use of in some curious work before he uses 
it, so the truth and sincerity of our faith is to be tried before 
it be exercised in this ordinance. 

There is another duty preparatory to the Lord's Supper, 
mentioned in this answer, viz. serious meditation, that so we 
may not engage in it without considering the greatness of the 
Majesty with whom we have to do, together with our own 
vileness and unworthiness to approach his presence : We must 
also consider his power, wisdom, and goodness, to encourage 
us to hope for those supplies of grace from him, which we 
stand in need of; and we are to have an awful sense of his 
omnipresence and omniscience, as he is an heart-searching God, 
to excite in us an holy reverence, and prevent the wandering 
of our thoughts and affections from him, or any unbecoming 
behaviour in his presence ; and, more particularly we are to 
consider, before-hand, the end and design of Christ's institut- 
ing this ordinance, viz. that his dying love to sinners might 
be signified and shewed forth, as an encouragement to our faith, 
and an inducement to thanksgiving and praise, as the uature ef 
the thing calls for it. 

Vol. IV. K I; 

25S -^VliO ill TO JftE COMJlUNlCANlrS. 

After all this it is farther observed, that we are to endea- 
vour to prepare for this ordinance by fervent prayer, as being 
sensible, that when we have done our best, we shall be too 
much unprepared for it, unless we h?ive the special assistance 
of God, when engaging in it ; to which I may apply Hezeki- 
ah*s words, The good Lord pardon every one that prepareth his 
heart to seek God^ the Lord God of his father ; though he be 
7iot cleansed according to the cleansing of the sa?ictuari/., 2 
Ghron. xxx. 18, 19. And we are to be earnest with him, that 
he would give us a believing view of Christ crucified, and es- 
pecially of our interest in him ; that we may be able to say as 
the apostle does. He loved me^ and gave himself for me^ Gal. ii* 
20. and that he would apply to us those blessings which he has 
purchased by his death, which we desire to wait upon him for, 
when engaging in this ordinance, that our drawing nigh to 
him therein may redound to his glory and our spiritual ad- 

Quest. CLXXII. May one who doiibteth of his being in 
Christy and of his due preparation^ come to the Lord's 
Supper ? 

Answ. One who doubteth of his being in Christ, or of his due 
preparation to the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, maj 
have true interest in Christ, though he be not assured there- 
of; and in God's account, hath it, if he be duly affected 
with the apprehension of the want of it, and unfeignedly de- 
sires to be found in Christ, and to depart from iniquity, in 
which case (because promises are made, and this sacrament 
is appointed for the relief even of weak and doubting Chris- 
tians,) he is to bewail his unbelief; and labour to have his 
doubts resolved, and so doing, he may, and ought to come 
to the Lord's Supper, that he may be farther strengthened. 

Quest. CLXXIIL 3Iay any who profess thefaith, and desire 
to come to the Lord''s Supper^ be kept from it ? 

Answ. Such as are found to be ignorant, or scandalous, not 
withstanding their professsion of the faith, and desire t» 
come to the Lord^s Supper, may, and ought to be kept from 
that sacrament by the power which Christ hath left in hi? 
church, until they receive instruction, and manifest their re- 

IN these answers we have an account of those who are the 
subjects of this ordinance and ought to partake of it, or oV 


i2iose who must be kept from it : the former respeefts, more es- 
pecially doubting Christians, who desire to receive satisfaction^ 
whether they ought to engage in it or no ; the latter respects 
those who are ready to presume that they are qualified for it, 
and ought to partake of it ; though, indeed, they are to be ex- 
cluded from it. 

I. As to the case of one who doubteth of his being in Christ, 
and duly prepared for the Lord's Supper : Here are several 
things that may afford matter of encouragement to him ; and 
accordingly it is observed, 

1. That though this be a matter of doubt to him, as being 
destitute of assurance of his being in Christ ; yet he may be 
mistaken in the judgment which he passes concerning himself: 
since assurance, as has been before observed, is not of the es- 
sence of saving faith *. For a person may rely on, or give up 
himself to Christ, by a direct act of faith, who cannot at the 
same time, take the comfort that would otherwise arise from 
thence, that Christ has loved him, and given himself for him. 
Many have reason to complain of the weakness of their faith, 
and the great resistance and disturbance which they meet with 
from the corruption of nature : And others, who have assu- 
rance, at present, of their interest in Christ, may afterwards, 
through divine desertion, lose the comfortable sense thereof ; 
so that we must not conclude, that every doubting believer is 
ilestitute of faith. Such are to be tenderly dealt with, and not 
discouraged from attending on that ordinance, which others, 
who converse wjth them, cannot but think they have a right 
to, and are habitually prepared for ; though they then\selves 
very much question, whether they are actually meet for it, as 
being apprehensive that they cannot exercise those graces, that 
are necessary to their partaking of this ordinance in a right 
manner. However, it is observed, 

(1.) That there are some things, which, if duly considered 
by such an one, would afford him, ground of hope ; though it 
may be, he cannot sufficiently improve them to his own com- 
fort. As, 

[l,] If he be truly affected with his want of assurance, and, 
as the result thereof, is filled with uneasiness in his own mind, 
laments his condition, and can take no comfort in any outward 
enjoyments, while destitute of it ; and, if he be importunate 
with God in prayer, that he would lift up the light of his coun- 
tenance upon him, and grant him the exercise, as well as the joy 
of faith. Moreover, if he frequently examines himself with 
impartiality, and an earnest desire to be satisfied, as to his 
state ," and if, notwithstanding this, he still walks in darkness, 

» See Qic^sf. Ixxii. Vgl. HI- pa^e 268, 


and his doubts and fears prevail against him, he has some 
ground to conclude, that he is better than he apprehends him- 
self to be, if he be truly hunabled for those sins that ^may be 
reckoned the procuring cause thereof, and determines to be 
still waiting, tiil God shall be pleased to discover to him 
his interest in forgiving grace, and thereby resolve his doubts, 
and expel his fears, v/hich reader him so very uneasy. 

[2.] A person has some ground of hope, if he can say, that 
he unfeignedly desires Christ and grace above all thmgs, and 
can find satisfaction in nothing short of him ; in this respect it 
may be said, that Christ is precious to him, as he is to them 
that believe. And to this vie may add, that if he desires to for- 
sake all sin, as being offensive, and contrar}^ to him ; so that 
■when he commits it, he can readily say with the apostle. That 
rvhich Ida J alloxv not of; for what I would, that do I not ; but 
rvhat I hate that do I ; and from hence he concludes himself 
wretched; and earnestly desires to be delivered from the bod^ 
of this death, Rom. vii. 15, 24. 

(2.) There are some promises which a weak Christian may 
lay hold on for his encouragement ; as, 

1st, If the guilt of sin lies as an heavy burden upon him, 
and is the occasion of his doubts about his being in Christ ;. 
there are promises of forgiveness, Mich. vii. 18, 19. Isa. 
iv. r, 8. 

2dly, If he complains of the poM'er of sin, and its prevalent 
cy over him, there is a promise that is suited to his case, in 
Rom. vi. 14. * Sin shall not have dominion over you ; for ye 

* are not under the law, but under grace.' 

2dlij, If Satan's temptations are very grievous to him, and 
such as he can hardly resist, there are promises suited to this 
case, in 1 Cor. x. 13. that ' God will not suffer his people to be 
^ tempted above that they are able, but will, with the tempta- 

* tion, make a way to escape ;' and in Rom. xvi. 20. ' The 
*" God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.* 

A-thlij, If he wants enlargement, and raised affections in 
prayer, or other religious duties ; which is very discouraging 
to him, that promise may afford him some relief, in Zech. xii. 
10. ' I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inha- 

* bitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplicationo* 
And, in Psal. x. 17. ' Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the 
*• humble : Thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine 
^ ear to hear.' 

Sthly If our doubts arise from frequent backslidings, and 
relapses into sin, we may apply that promise in Psal. xxiii. 3. 
JHe restoreth my sou'^ &c. And, Hos. xiv. 4. ' I will heal their 
' backsliding, I will love thcni fr.-ely ; for mine anger is turned 
'^ away from them :' And irx isa. lvn=. 17, 18. in which it i? 


supposed, that God was wroth, and hid himself fr<Jfm his peo- 
ple for their iniquity ; and they are described -ds going- on fro- 
wardly in the way of their heart ; yet God says, ' 1 have seen 

* his ways, and will heal him : I will lead him also, and restore 

* comforts to him, and to his mourners :' And, in Hos. xi. 7 
— 9. where God's people are described as bent to backslide 
from him; yet he determines not to destroy them, but says, in 
a very moving way, ' How shall I give thee up Ejjhraim ? 

* How shall I deliver thee Israel, ^c. Mine heart is turned 
*• within me, my repentings are kindled together ? I will not 

* execute the fierceness of mine anger ; I will not return lo de- 

* stroy Ephraim ; for I am God and not man, the holy One ia 
^ the midst of thee.' 

ethlyy If we want communion with God, or his presence 
with us m his ordinances ; which makes us conclude that we 
are not in Christ : Let us consider what is said in Isa. xlv. 19. 

* 1 said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain :' And, 
in chap. liv. 7, 8. ' For a small moment have I iorsakcn thee, 

* but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I 

* hid my face from thee, for a moment; but with everlasting 
^ kindness will 1 have mercy on thee.' 

Tth/y, If we are under frequent convictions, but they soon 
wear off, which occasions us to fear that we never experienced 
a thorough work of conversion, let us consider, Isa. Ixvi. 9. 

* Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth, saith 

* the Lord i"' And, in Zech. iv. 10. * Who hath despised the 

* day of small things r' And, in Isa. Ixv. 8. ' As they nev/ 

* wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not, for 

* a blessing is in it; So will I do for my servants sake, that I 
' may not destroy them all.' 

Sthlif^ If we are in a withering and declining condition, and 
want reviving ; or, if we complain of barrenness under the 
means of grace, so that we may attend upon them, as we ap- 
prehend, to very little purpose ; there are some pi'omises that 
are suited to this case, as Hos. xiv. 7, 8. Isa. xlviii. 17. 

9thlyy If our doubts arise from the hardness of our hi-arts, 
so that we cannot mourn for sin as we ought to do, or would 
do, let us consider what God has promised in Ezek. vii. 16. 
Deut. xxx. 6. Acts v. 31. 

lOthly, If we are under the visible tokens of God's displea- 
sure, so that we are ready to conclude, that he distributes ter- 
rors to us in his anger ; and, as the consequence thereof, we 
walk in darkness, and are far from peace : There are many 
promises that are suited to this case, as Jer. iii. 5. Psal. ciii. 8, 
—10. Isa. xii. 1. Joel ii. 13. Isa. 1. 10. Psal. Ixxix. 15. and 
:^lii. 11. 

2, We have a farther account how such,- who are at pre- 


sent, discouraged from coming to the Lord's table, ought to 
manage themselves in this case. And here it is observed, 
that they ought to bev/ail their unbelief, to labour to have their 
doubts resolved ; and, instead of being discouraged, they 
should come to the Lord's supper, to be further strengthened. 
Tiiis advice is not given to stupid sinners, or such as are un- 
concerned about their state, or never had the least ground to 
conclude that they have had communion with God in any or- 
dinance ; and, especially if their distress of conscience arises 
rather from a slavish fear of the wrath of God, than a filial 
fear of him ; or, if they are more concerned about the dread- 
ful consequences of sin, than the intrinsic evil that is in it, I 
say, this advice is not given to such, but those, as before der 
scribed, who lament after the Lord, earnestly seek him, though 
they cannot, at present, find him ,• and have fervent desires of 
his presence, though no sensible enjoyment thereof, and ap- 
pear to have some small degrees of grace, though it be very 
weak : In this case a few words of advice ought to be given 
to them ; p:^rticuiarly, 

(1.) That they should take heed of giving way to any hard 
thoughts of God ; but, on the other hand, lay the whole blame 
hereof on themselves. Thus God says by the prophet, " Hast 
*' thou not procured this unto thyself, in that thou hast for- 
" saken the Lord thy God, when he led thee by the way ?" 
Jer. ii. ir. 

(2.) They should give glory to, depend on, and seek relief 
from the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, who glorifies himself by 
sealing believers unto the day of redemption; and, together 
with this, bestows those comforts on them which they stand in 
need of. 

(3.) They must endeavour, to their utmost, to act grace, and 
so go forward in the ways of God, though they do not go on 
comfortably, and not say, " why should I wait on the Lord 
any longer ? Are they sometimes afraid they shall not arrive 
safely to the end of their race, they should nevertheless re-' 
solve not to give out, or to run no longer in it; and because 
their way is attended with darkness, or hedged up with thorns, 
rhey should not determine, for that reason, to go backward, as 
though they had never set their faces heaven-ward. 

(4.) They ought to lie at God's foot, acknowledging their 
nn worthiness of that peace which they desire, but are desti- 
tute of, and plead for his special presence, that would give an 
happy turn to the frame of their spirits, as that which they 
prefer to all the enjoyments of life ; as the Psalmist says, 
* There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? 
'■ Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us',' 
pBaJ. iv. 6. 


(5.) It would be adviseable for such to contract an intimacy, 
and frequently converse with experienced Chrjrtians, who 
know the depths of Satan, and the deceitfulness of the heart of 
man, and the methods of divine grace in restoring comforts to 
those who are, at present, destitute of them, agreeably to what 
they themselves have experienced in the like case, 2 Cor. i. 4. 

(6.) They ought, as a farther means for the strengthening of 
their faith, and establishing their comforts, to wait on God in 
the ordinance of the Lord's supper, hoping for Christ's pre- 
sence therein ; in which many have found that they have been 
enlivened, quickened, and comforted, while others, through the 
neglect hereof, have had their doubts and fears increased. 
And this leads us to consider, 

II. What is contained in the latter of the answers we are ex- 
plaining, which is applicable to those who desire to come to the 
Lord's supper, but are to be kept from it. Here it is taken for 
granted, that all are not to be admitted to this ordinance, 
though it may be, they make a general profession of the chris- 
tian faith, and are not willing that any should question their 
right to it. These are described in this answer, 

1. As being ignorant of the great doctrines of the gospel, 
and, consequently, unacquainted with Christ, whom they ne- 
ver truly applied themselves to, nor received by faith ; and 
therefore they cannot improve this ordinance aright, or have 
communion with Christ therein. 

2. They are to be excluded from the Lord's supper, who 
are scandalous or immoral in their practice, whatever preten- 
sions they iTiake to the character of christians : These are 
described by the apostle, as persons who profess that thcq 
^now God ; but in ■works they deny him^ being abominable and 
disobedient and unto every good work reprobate^ Tit. i. 16, 
Such ought not to have communion with those whom the 
apostle describes as called to be saints^ Rom. i. 7. nor can they 
partake of this ordinance aright, since they are not apprized of 
the end and design thereof, nor are the}' able, as the apostlf^ 
expresses it, to discern the Lord^s bodij^ 1 Cor. ix. 27. for, if 
they are strangers to themselves, how can they apply the be- 
nefits of Christ's redemption to their own case ? and, if they 
neglect the preparatory duty of self-examination, so that they 
do not knov/ their own wants, how can they go to Christ in 
this ordinance for a supply thereof ? or, if they do not desire 
the spiritual blessings of the covenant of grace, what right can 
they have to make use of the seals thereof? and if they arc 
openly and visibly of another family, under tlie dominion of 
the powers of darkness, what right have they to the privileges 
which Christ has purchased for those who are members of iiis 
family, and spiritually united to him ? 

254 WHO HT TO IE commdkicants. 

Object. 1. To what has betti said concerning those that *re 
to be excluded from this ordinance, it is objected, that it ap- 
pears, that both good and bad have a right to it, from what 
our Saviour says in the parable of the wheat and the tares, in 
Mat. xiii. 29. both which are said to groxv together until the 
harvest^ when the reapers will be sent to gather first the tares^ 
and bind them in bundles to burn ihetn, and the xvheat into the 
barn : So that hypocrites, and sincere christians, are to conti- 
nue together in the same church, and, consequently to par- 
take of the same ordinances. 

Ansiv. To this it may be replied ; this is not the sense of 
the parable ; for our Saviour explains it otherwise, when he 
says in ver. 38. The Ji eld is the world : the good seed are the 
<:hildren of the kingdom^ but the tares are the children of the 
xvicked one. And from hence we may infer, that good and 
bad men are, through the forbearance of God, suffered to live 
together iu the world ; but it gives no countenance to this sup- 
position, that the wicked ought to be joined with the godly as 
members of the same church : Not but that hypocrites may, 
and often do intrude themselves into the churches of Christ ; 
yet since this is not known to them, they are not to blame for 
it, the heart of man being known to God alone ; and the 
judgment that we are to pass concerning those who are ad- 
mitted into church-fellowship, or to the Lord's supper in par- 
ticular, is to be founded on that credible profession which they 
make ; in which, though it be possible for them to deceive 
others, yet the guilt and ill consequence thereof, will only af- 
fect themselves. 

Object. 2. It is further objected, that Judas was at the 
Lord's supper when it was first instituted by our Saviour, 
though he knew him to be an hypocrite and a traitor, and that 
he would speedily execute what he had designed against his 
life ; and if so, then all ought to be admitted to this ordi- 
nance. And the reason that is generally assigned why he 
was there at that time, is, because it is said, in Luke xxii. 14. 
When the hour was conie^ he sat doxvn^ and his txvelve apostles 
with him; and afterwards we read, in ver. 19. that he took 
bread and brake it^ &c. and also the cup after supper, &c. ver. 
20. and then it is sair], in ver. 21. Behold the hand of him that 
betraijcth me is xvith me on the table. This is supposed, by 
some, to have been spoken by Christ when they were eating 
the Lord's supper ; fx'om whence it may be concluded that 
Judas was there. 

Ansxv. But to this it may be replied ; that it seems much 
more probable that he was not there when the Lord's supper 
was administered though he joined with Christ and the other 
apostlcs in eatin;^ the pwssover; f©r Vi^c must cc>n«i(ler, 


i;^!.) That the passover and the Lord's supper >»5re celebrated, 
one immediately after tht other, at the same tJble, or sitting ; 
therefore the hand of Judas might be with Christ on the table, 
in the former, though not in tht; latter : So that, though these 
words, the hand of him that betrayeth me^ is xvith me on the 
tablcy are inserted after the account of both these ordinances 
being concluded ; yet we have ground to suppose, they were 
spoken while they were eating the passover, when Judas was 

(2.) It appears yet more probable that he was not present at 
the Lord's supper, from the account which John gives of this 
matter, in chap. xiii. 21. wherein our Saviour tells them, that 
one of them should betray him : and, in ver. 26. he discovers 
that he meant Judas, by giving him the sop ; and in ver. 30. 
it is said, that having- received the aop^ he xvent immediately out. 
Now it is certain there was no sop in the Lord's supper, as 
there was in the passover, inasmuch as there was no flesh 
therein : Therelbre Judas went out when they were eating the 
passover, before they began to partake of the Lord's supper ; 
being, as we may reasonably suppose, in a rage that his hypo- 
crisy should be detected, and he marked out as a traitor, who 
was, before this, reckoned as good a man as any of them : 
Therefore we have not sufficient ground from hence to con- 
clude, that wicked men ought to be admitted to partake of the 
Lord's supper. 

Object, 3. For christians to exclude any from the Lord's 
supper, would argue a great deal of pride, or vain-glorious 
boasting, and it is, as it were, to say to them who are ex- 
cluded, " Stand off, for wo. are holier than you." 

Answ. 1. A believer may with thankfulness, acknowledge 
tlie distinguishing grace of God vouchsafed to him, and not to 
others ; and, at the same time, bless him, that he has given 
him a right to the privilege of his house, which all are not ad- 
mitted to partake of, without doing this in a boasting way ; he 
may say with the apostle in 1 Cor. xv. 10. By the grace of 
God lam what I am ; and yet at the same time, deal faithfully 
with those who are destitute of this grace ; he may bless God 
for the right which he hopes he has to this ordinance, and yet 
it is not his duty to admit them to it who have no right. 

2. It is one thing not to admit persons who are unqualified 
to this ordinance, and another thing to despise them upon this 
account. Our business is not to reproach them, but to treat 
them with meekness; if perad venture God may give them re- 
pentance to the acknowledgment of the trutli, that hereby they 
may appear to have a right to it. 

Object. 4. If wicked men are to be excluded from one ordi- 
nance which Christ has instituted in his church, tlev mav, f^t»^ 

Vol. W, \r> ' ' 

26& .WHO riT TO Be communicants. 

]the same reason be excluded mTm all ; and so they may as well 
he. debarred the privilege of hearing the word, and joining 
with the church in public prayer. 

Ansxv. There is not the same reason for excluding wicked 
men from hearing the word, or joining in prayer with the 
church, as there is for refusing to admit them to partake of 
the Lord's supper. For prayer, and preaching the word, arc 
God's appointed means for the working the grace of faith, in- 
structing the ignorant, awakening the stupid and secure sin- 
ner, and putting him on complying with that method of salva- 
tion which God has prescribed in the gospel, and embracing 
Christ as offered therein : Whereas, on the other hand, the 
Lord's supper is an ordinance which supposes the soul to have.; 
before this, received Christ by faith j and therefore he is there- 
in to feed upon him, and to Lake comfort from what he has 
done and suffered for him, as conducive to the farther mortifi- 
eation of indwelling sin ; which supposes that he has had, be- 
fore this, some experience of the grace of God in truth. Thus 
concerning the exclusion of ignorant or immoral persons, as 
being not qualified for the Lord's supper. 
■ And here we may farther observe, that they who bring; 
these and such-like objections, with a design to open the door 
of the church so wide, that all may be received into it, and 
partake of those ordinances by which it is more particularly 
distinguished from the world, are very ready, in defence of 
their own cause, to charge othei-s with being too severe in 
their censures, and refusing to admit any into church-commu- 
nion, unless they can tell the very time in which they, were 
converted, and the means by which this work was begun, and 
carried on ; and this they are obliged to do in so public a man- 
ner, as that many are denied the privilege of partaking of this 
ordinance, for a mere circumstance ; which is an extreme as 
much to be avoided as the receiving unqualified persons to the 
Lord's supper. 

But it may be replied to this, that since this charge is rathcT 
the result of surmize than founded on sufficient evidence, ii 
deserves to have less notice taken of it : However, this I 
Wou^d say in answer to it, that I never knew it to be the prac- 
tice of any church of Christ, to exclude persons from its com- 
munion, because they knew not the time or means of their con- 
version ; which may be sometimes occasioned by their having 
been favored with the blessing of a religious education and re- 
straining grace from their childhood, so that they have nor 
ruTi those lengths in sin which others have done ; and there- 
fore the change which is wrought in conversion, especially as 
to what concerns the time and manner thereof, is less discerni- 
ble. Sometimes the work has been begun with a less degree ofc 


"the terrors of conscience, under a sense of the ^ilt of sin, and 
the condemning sentence of the law, than othefl have experi- 
enced : These have been drawn with the cords of love, and 
the grace of God has descended upon them insensibly, like the 
d.ew upon the grass ; and thbrefore all that can be perceived 
by them, or that is to be required of them as a necessary qua- 
lification for their being admitted to the ordinances and privi- 
leges which belong to believers, is their discovering those fruits 
of faith which are discernable in the convei'sation of such as 
have experienced the gi'ace of God in truth. 

As to the other part of the charge, in which some churches 
are pretended to insist on such terms of communion as are 
merely circumstantial, so as to refuse to receive any that can- 
not comply v/ith them : This is to be answered by those who 
appear to be liable to it. All that I shall therefore add under 
this head, is, that since a visible profession of faith in Christ 
is to be made, as necessary to constitute a visible church, and 
the conversation of those who make it, ought to be apparently 
agreeable thereunto : And inasmuch as none are obliged to 
make any thing known to the church, that contains the least ap- 
pearance of dishonour or reflection on their character in the 
world ; but are only required to testify and give a proof of 
their steady adherence to Christ, and their desire to embrace 
him in all his offices, as well as worship him in all his ordinan- 
ces ; this cannot justly be reckoned an unnecessary circum- 
stance or making that a term of communion which Christ has 
not made, and thereby excluding those wiio have a right to- 
the Lord's supper. ^ 

And now we have considered the terms of communion, and 
the qualifications for it, as well as the spiritual privileges that 
are to be expected by those who have a right to it. I cannot 
but observe, how this is abused, and practically disowned, by 
those who engage in this ordinance merely as a qualification 
for a civil employment. A person may certainly be a good 
member of a commonwealth, and very fit to be entrusted with 
the administration of the civil alfairs thereof, who has little or 
nothing to say concerning his experiences of the grace of God. 
To assert, that a right to a civil employment is founded on the 
same qualifications that give a person a right to partake of the 
Lord's supper, would be to advance, not pnly that which is 
indefensible, but what would be almost universally denied, un- 
less it could be proved, that all might partake of it, the con- 
trary to which, we have endeavoured to maintain. 

Moreover, when Christ instituted this ordinance, his people 
were in no expectation of bearing any part in the civil govern- 
ment ; therefore this was most remote from the first intent and 
design thereof: And we often find that this ii a temptation to. 


men to profane this ordinance^nd lays a burden on the con- 
sciences of those who know themselves unprepared for it, who 
had little or nothing in view but the securing their secular in- 
terest ; by which means it is to be feared, that many of them 
eat and drink unworthily, and, instead of receiving advantage 
by it, bring their consciences under such entanglements, that 
they o^muot easily extricate themselves from. Thus concern- 
ing those who are to be admitted to be partakers of the Lord's 
Sapper, though doubting of their meetness for it, and others 
being excluded, who have no right to it. 

The last thing observed in this answer, is, that they who 
are not, at present, deemed fit for this ordinance, may after- 
wards be admitted to it when they have received instruction, 
and manifested a thorough reformation ; or when, by their di- 
ligent attendance on other ordinances, or means of grace, ac- 
companied with the divine blessing, that, which at present 
disqualifies them, being removed, they may humbly and thank- 
fully wait on God therein, and hope for his presence and bless- 
ing ; and then the church will have reason, as well as them- 
selves, to bless God for that grace which they have experienc- 
ed, whereby they may come to it for the ^better, and not for 
the worse. 

Quest. CLXXIV. What is rerjuired of them that receive the 
sacrament of the Lord^s Supper, in the time of the adminis- 
tration of it ? 

Answ. It is required of them that receive the sacrament of 
the Lord's Supper, that during the time of the administra- 
tion of it, with all holy reverence and attention they wait 
lipon God in that ordinance, diligently observe the sacra- 
mental elements and actions, heedfully discern the Lord's 
body, and aifectionately meditate on his death jind suffer- 
ings, and thereby stir up themselves to a vigorous exercise 
of their graces, in judging themselves and sorrowing for 
sin, in hungering and thirsting after Christ, feeding on him 
'by faith, receiving of his fulness, trusting in his merits, re- 
joicing in his love, giving thanks for his grace, in renew- 
ing of their covenant with God, and love to all the saints. 

Quest. CLXXV. IFhat is the duty of Christians after they 
have received the sacrament of the Lord^s Supper P 

Answ. The duty of Christians after they have received the 
sacrament of the Lord's Supper, is, seriously to consider 
how thty hsive behaved themselves therein, and with wjja; 


success ; if they find quickening and comfort,^o bless God 
(ov it, beg the continuance of it, watch against relapses, ful- 
fil their vows, and encourage themselves to a frequent at- 
tendance on that ordinance ; but if they find no present be- 
nefit, more exactly to review their preparation to, and car- 
riage at the sacrament; in both which, if they can approve 
themselves to God and their own consciences, they are to 
wait for the fruit of it in due time ; but if they see they 
have failed in either, they are to be humbled, and to attend 
upon it afterward Arith more care and diligence. 

THESE two answers respect our behaviour in, and after 
our engaging in this ordinance. 
I. We are to consider with what frame of spirit we are to 
engage therein ; how our meditations are to be employed, and 
what graces are to, be exercised. 

1. Here is something observed, which is common to it with 
all other ordinances, viz. that we are to wait on God with an 
holy reverence arising from a becoming sense of his divine 
perfections, and the infinite distance we stand in from him ; 
and we are to impress on our souls an awful sense of his om- 
niscience and omnipresence ; whereby he knows with what 
frame of spirit we draw nigh to him, better than this is known 
to ourselves ; and highly resents every thing that is contrary to 
liis holiness, or unbecoming the character of those who are 
worshipping at his footstool. 

2. There are other things peculiar to this ordinance, that 
are necessary in order to our engaging in it in a right man- 
ner; as, 

(1.) We are diligently to observe the sacramental elements 
and actions, which contain the external part of the duty re- 
quired of us. The bread and wine, together with the actions 
to be performed in our receiving them by Christ's appoint- 
ment, are, as has been before observed, significant and instruc- 
tive signs of his death, and the benefits which he has procured 
for us thereby, that are to be attended to, and brought to our 
remembrance in this ordinance. 

Moreover, we are to consider, that though the blessings of 
the covenant of grace are signified thereby, as they are insti- 
tuted, not natural signs thereof; yet the gospel, in which we 
have an account of what Christ did, and suffered for us, is a 
large and sufficient explication hereof for the direction of our 
faith, when conversant about them. 

(2.) We are affectionately to meditate on the sufferings and 
death of Christ, which are signified thereby. Meditation is 
a great part of the work we are to be engaged in, and the 
death of Christ is the principal subject thereof; accordingly 


we are to consider his condescending love in giving his life a 
ransom for us ; and, in order to our being aflected therewidi, 
and to excite our admiration and tiiankfulness for it, we^must 
contemplate the divine excellency and glory of his Person ; 
%vhich adds an infinite value to every part of his obedience and 
sufferings. We must also consider the kind of death he died; 
Hvhich is called his being rvounded^ bruised^ Isa. liii. 5. cut off 
Dan. ix. 26. and is represented as that which had the external 
mark of the curse of God annexed to it; upon which account 
lie is said to h.ive been made a curse for us, Gal. iii. 13. 

We are also to consider the character of the persons for 
whom he laid down his life; who are described as being 
zvithout strength^ or ability to do what is good, and ungodly^ 
and so open enemies to him, Rom. v. 6, 8, 10. and therefore 
there was nothing in us that could induce him to do this for 
us. We are also to consider, that he died in our room and 
stead, as bearing our griefs^ and carrying our sorroxus^ Isa. liii. 
4. and being delivered for our offences^ Rom. iv. 25. And 
we are also to consider the great ends designed thereby, as 
God is hereby glorified, his holiness andjustice in demanding 
and receiving a full satisfaction for sin, illustrated in the high- 
est degree ; so that he declares himself well-pleased in what 
Christ has done and suffered, Matt. iii. 17. and xoell-pleased 
likewise, as the prophet expresses it, for his righteousness'^ 
sake^ Isa. xlii. 21. We are also to consider the great advan- 
tage that we hope to receive thereby, as being justified by hii 
bloody we shall be saved from wrath through him, Rom. v. 9. 
This is therefore the highest inducement to us, to give up our- 
selves entirely to him. 

3. We are, in this ordinance, to stir up ourselves to a vi- 
gorous exercise of those graces that the nature of the ordinance. 
Requires : And accordingly we are, 

(1.) To judge ourselves; as the apostle says, Jf we wotdd 
judge ourselves, we should not be judged, 1 Cor. xi. 31. anoi 
this we ought to do, by accusing, condemning, and passing- 
sentence against ourselves, for those sins which we have com- 
mitted against Christ, whereby we were plunged into the ut- 
most depths of misery, in Avhich we should for ever have con- 
tinued, had he not redeemed us by his blood. We are also 
to acknowledge our desert of God's wrath and curse ; so that 
if he should mark iniquity, we could not stand, Psai. cxxx. 3. 
and this sense of sin ought to be particular, including in it 
those transgressions which are known to none but God and 
ourselves ; as we ought to make a particular application of the 
blood of Christ for the forgiveness thereof. This is certainly 
very suitable to the nature of the ordinance we are engaged 
b, wherein Christ is set forth as a sacrifice for sin, and we 


ave led, at the same time, to be duly affected with our mala'Iy, 
und the great remedy God has provided ; whiq|(l -svill have a. 
tendency to enhance our praise and thankfulness to him, who 
loved us, and gave himself for us. 

(2.) We are to exercise a godly sorrow for sin, which is the 
ground of all that distress and misery which we are liable to : 
This ought to take its rise from the corruption of nature, from 
whence all actual sins proceed ; and we are to bewail our sins 
pf omission, as well as commission ; our neglect to perform 
duties that are incumbent on us, as well as those sins that have 
been committed by us v/ith the greatest presumption, delibe- 
ration, wilfulness, and obstinacy, which contain in them the 
highest ingratitude and contempt of the blood of Christ, and 
the method of salvation by him. And this sorrow for sin 
ought to produce those good effects of praying and striving 
against it, endeavouring to return to God, from whom we 
have backslidden. The apostle calls it, sorrozving- after a 
godlij sort ; and speaks of it as attended with carefulness^ that 
we may avoid it lor the future ; clearing' cf ourselves^ so that 
we may either be encouraged to hope that v/e have not com- 
mitted the sins which we are ready to charge ourselves with, 
or, that the guilt thereof is taken away by the atonement that 
Christ has made for us. It ought also to produce an holy in- 
dignation^ and a kind of revenge against sin, as that which 
has been so prejudicial to us ; as likewise a fear of offending; 
a zeal for the glory of God, whom we have dishonoured ; and 
a vehement desire of those blessings which we Kave hereby 
forfeited. This sorrow for sin ought to proceed from an in- 
ward loathing and abhorrence of it ; and the degree thereof" 
ought to bear some proportion to its respective aggravations, 
and the dishonour we have brought to God thereby; which 
would be an effectual means to incline us to abhor ourselves^ 
and repent in dust and ashes. 

This is very agreeable to the nature of the ordinance we 
are engaged in, since nothing tends more to enhance the vile 
and heinous nature of sin, than the consideration of its having 
crucified the Lord of glory ; which is to be the immediate sub- 
ject of our meditation therein. We read that Christ, in his 
last sufferings, was exceeding sorro7vfuly even unto deaths 
Matt. xxvi. 38. vvhich could not proceed from the afflictive 
view that he had of the pains and indignities he was to suffer 
in his crucifixion ; for that would argue him to have a less 
degree of holy courage and resolution than some of the martvrs 
have expressed v/hen they have endured extreme torments, and 
.most ignominious reproaches for his sake : Therefore his sor- 
row proceeded from the afflictive sense that he had of the guilt 
fif our .sins which he bore- If therefore he not onlv suffered. 

272- aUTIES Rtqi-iKEB IN AKD AFT211 

but his soul was exceeding dffrrowful for our sins ; this ough; 
to excite in us the exercise of that grace in this ordinance, in 
which it is brought to our remembrance. 

(3.) We are to hunger and thirst after Christ j which im- 
plies in it an ardent desire of having communion with him : 
Thus the church says. With my soul have I desired thee in the 
night ; yca^ with mij spirit xuill I seek thee early ^ Isa. xxvi. 9. 
and the Psahiaist compares this to the hunted hart^ that is ready 
to die for thirst, which pants after the water-brooks^ Psal. xlii. 
1. This arises from a deep sense of our need of Christ, nnd 
farther supplies of grace from him, and is attended with a 
firm resolution that nothing short of him shall satisfy us, as 
not being adapted to supply our wants. Such a frame of spirit 
is agi-eeable to the ordinance we are engaged in, since Christ 
is therein represented as having purchased, and being ready to 
apply to his people, those blessings which are of a satisfying 
and comforting nature. 

(4.) We are to feed on Christ by faith, and thereby receive 
of his fulness, as he is frequently represented in scripture, un- 
der the metaphor oi food: Thus he styles himself, The bread 
of life^ John vi. oS. and the blessings he bestows, are called, 
' The meat which perisheth not, but endureth to everlasting 

* life,' ver. 27. and the gospel-dispensation is set forth by a 

* feast of fat things, a feast ©f wines on the lees, of fat things 
'■ full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined,' Isa. xxv. 
6. Thus our Saviour also represents it in the parable. Matt, 
xxii. 4. in which he commands his servants to invite those that 
were bidden to the marriage-feast, by telling them what things 
he had prepared for their entertainment, as an encouragement 
to their faith. Thus we are to consider that fulness of grace 
that is in Christ, (when drawing nigh to him in this ordinance,) 
of merit, for our justification, of strength to enable us to 
mortify sin, and resist temptations, of wisdom to direct us in 
all emergencies and difficulties, of peace and comfort, to re- 
vive and encourage us under all our doubts and fears, and te» 
give us suitable relief when we are ready to faint under the 
burdens we complain of. All these blessings arc to be appre- 
hended and applied by faith, otherwise we cannot conclude that 
they belong to us ; and nothing can be more adapted to this 
ordinanoe, wherein Christ is represented as having all those 
blessings to bestow, which he has purchased by his blood, and 
these are signified or shewed forth therein. 

(5.) We arc, in this ordinance, to trust in the merits of 
Christ, or to exercise an entire confidence in him, who, by his 
death, has purchased for us all spiritual and saving blessings. 
This ought to be attended with an humble sense of ouv 
own unworthlness, as being less than the least of all Gstfs nicr- 


cieSy Gen. xxxii. 10. and as deserving nothing/: but his fierce 
wrath for our iniquities. And, since he has paid a full and 
satisfactory price of redemption for us, and thereby procured 
the blessings that we had forfeited, which have a tendency to 
make us completely happy, we ought to lay the whole streas 
of our salvation on him, as being sensible that /le is able to 
save to the uttermost^ all that come unto God by him, Heb. 
xii. 25. 

(6.) We are to rejoice in Christ's love, which is infinitely- 
greater than what can be in the heart of one creature towards ' 
another : This love of Christ has several properties ; 

1st, It doth not consist merely in his desiring our good, or 
wishing that we were happy, but in making us so ; nor does it 
only consist in his sympathizing with us in our miseries, but 
delivering us from them, and discovering himself as our re- 
fuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 

2dly, As Christ's love to his people did not take its motive 
at first from any beauty or excellency which he found in them 
who were deformed, polluted, and worthy to be abhorred by 
him, but afterwards adorned and made comely through his 
comeliness put upon them, Ezek. xvi. 14. so when they forfeit 
his love by their frequent backsiidings, and deserve to be cast 
off by him, it is nevertheless unchangeably fixed upon them, 
inasmuch as having loved his own which were in the zvorld, h'i 
loved them unto the end, Johnxiii. 1. 

Zdly, Christ's love is infinitely condescending, which arises 
not only from that infinite distance which there is between him 
and his people, but from his remembring them in their low 
estate, having compassion on them whom no eye pitied^ and 
saving them when they were in the utmost depths of despair 
and misery, saying to them when they zvere in their blood, live.^ 
Ezek. xvi. 6. 

4thly, It is not like the love of strangers, which contents it- 
self with some general endeavours to do good to them whom 
they design not to contract an intimacy with, but it is attended 
with the highest acts of friendship and communion, imparting 
his secrets to them, as he promises to love, and manifest him-' 
self to them, John xiv. 21. and tells his disciples, * Henceforth 

* I call you not servants ; for the servant knoweth not what his 
'■ lord doeth : But I have called you friends; for all things that 

* I have heard of my Father, I have made known unto you," 
chap. XV. 15. 

5thly, It is such a love as forgives all former injuries,, and 
upbraids not his people for what they have done against hinrs, 
either before or since they believed in him. Thus God is said 
to ' pardon the iniquity, and pass by the transgression of the 
'■ remnant of his heritage,' and * lo cast all their sins intg tK§ 

Vol. IV. M m 


* depths of the sea/ Micah vii. 18, 19. and * to blot out their 

* transgressions for his own sake, and not to renaember their 

* sins, Isa. xliii. 25. 

ethlyy It is such a love as affords us all seasonable and ne- 
cessary help in times of our greatest straights and difficulties, 
Psal. xlvi. 1. and makes provision for our future necessities; 
as he tells his disciplt-s, /^o to prepare a place for ijou, John 
siv. 2. that they might be assured of being happy in another 
world J and accordingly he expresses himself in his mediato- 
rial prayer, ' Father, I will that these whom thou hast givea 

* me, may be with me where I am, that they may behold my 

* glory,' John xvii. 24. 

7thli/i It is such a love, as puts him upon reckoning all in- 
juries done against his people, as though they were done against 
himself, and the kindnesses expressed to them, as though they 
■were expressed to him, as it is said, Ne that toucheth yov, 
toueheth the apple of his eye^ Zech. ii. 8. and, he that despisetb 
"tjou^ despiseth me, Luke x. 16. And, when he takes notice of 
those expressions of kindness, which his people had shewn 
to one another, he says, Inasmuch us ye have done it unto one 
cf the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Mat. 
sxv. 40. 

^thly. It is such a love as inclines him to interpose himself 
between his people and all danger, whereby he prevents their 
being oyercome by their enenxes; and indeed, he not only 
hazarded, but as a good shepherd gave his life for his sheep^ 
Johnx. 11. 

This is that love which Is to be the subject of our medita- 
tion in this ordinance j accordingly we are first to endeavour, 
to make out our interest in him, by faith, which will be 
evinced by those acts of love to him that flow from it, and 
then we may rejoice in it as a constant spring of peace and 

(7.) The next grace to be exercised in this ordinance, is 
thankfulness, adoring and praising him that he has been pleas- 
ed to extend compassion to us in bestowmg those blessings, 
which are the result of his discriminating grace, the instances 
whereof are various, viz. as he delivers us from the ruin that 
sin would have inevitably brought upon us, prevents us with 
the blessings of goodness, and restrains the breaking forth of 
pur corruptions, which would otherwise have inclined us to 
commit the vilest abominations ; and, more especially, as he 
renews our nature, changes our hearts, creates us unto good 
works, and then quickens and excites that grace in us which 
his own hand wrought, and comforts us when our spirits are 
overwhelmed with sorrow, whereby he enables us to go on in his 
way rejoicing, and so carries on the work which he has begun 


in U3, till it be completed in glory. There is nmhing that we 
have, either in hand or hope, but what will afford matter for 
the exercise of this grace ; and more particularly, our hearts 
ought to be excited hereunto from the consideration of the be- 
nefits that are signified in this ordinance ; especially if we are 
enabled to receive them by faith. 

(8.) We are, at the Lord's supper, to renew our covenant 
with God. That this may be rightly understood, we must 
consider what it is for a believer to enter into covenant with 
God, which he is supposed to have done before this ; and that , 
consists not in our promising that we will do these things that 
are out of our power, or, that we will exercise those graces, 
which none but God, who works in his people, both to will 
and to do, can enable us to put forth ; but it consists in our 
making a surrender of ourselves to Christ, and depending on 
him for the supply of all our spiritual wants, humbly hoping 
and trusting that he will enable us to adhere stedfastly to him, 
working in us all that grace which he requires of us ; v/hich 
blessing if he is pleased to grant us, we shall be enabled to 
perform all the duties that are incumbent on us, how difficult 
soever they may be. This is an unexceptionable way of en- 
tering into covenant with God, as it contains an acknowledge- 
ment of our own inability to do that which is good without 
him, and desire to give the gloiy of all to him ; on whom we 
stedfastly rely, that we may obtain mercy from him to be 

Moreover, to renew our covenant, is to declare, that through 
his grace, we are inclined stedfastly to adhere to our solemn 
dedication to him, not, in the least, repenting of what we did 
therein ; and, that we have as much reason to depend on hh 
assistance now, as we had at first, since grace is carried on, 
a-s well as begun by him alone ; and accordingly, while we 
express our earnest desire to be stedfast in his covenant, we 
depend on his promise that he will never fail us, nor forsake 
us : And we take this occasion, more especially, to renew our 
dedication to him, as it is very agreeable to the nature of this 
ordinance, in which we have the external symbols of his love 
to us, which lays us under the highest obligation thereunto. 

(9.) We are, in this ordinance, to shew our readiness to 
exercise a Christian love to all saints ; which consists, more 
especially, in our earnest desire that all grace and peace may 
abound in them, as in our own souls ; that hereby we may 
have occasion to glorify God together, and shew our mutual 
concern for the spiritual welfare of each other. We are to 
bless God for the grace they are enabled to exercise, though, 
it may be, we cannot exercise it in the same degree ourselves : 
\ndy as for others, we are to sympathize with them in their 


weaknesses, grieve for theirmlls and miscarriages ; and be 
very ready to make abatements ior those frailties and infirmi- 
ties that we behold in them, which we ourselves are some- 
times liable to, especially if they are not inconsistent with 
grace, in which case we should cast a mantle of love over 
them, not knowing but we may be exposed to, and fall by 
the same temptations. 

Xiiis love is to be expressed, more especially in this ordi- 
nance ; inasmuch as we are to consider all saints as members 
of Christ's mystical body, children of the same God and Fa- 
ther, partakers of the same grace with us, fellow travellers to 
the same heavenly country, where we hope to meet with them 
at last, though now they are liable to the same difficulties with 
ourselves, and exposed to those assaults and temptations that 
we often meet with from our spiritual enemies. This expres- 
sion of our love, though it be more immediately and directly 
extended to the same society, that joins in communion with 
\is ; yet it is not to be confined within such narrow limits, but 
includes in it the highest esteem for all who are sanctified in 
Christ Jesus, called to be saints, though their place of abode 
be remote from, and they are not known to us in the flesh. 

II. We are now to consider the duty of Christians after they 
have received the sacrament of the Lord's supper; and that 
consists in enquiring, how they have behaved themselves there- 
in ? and, whether they have any ground to conclude, that they 
have been favoured with the special presence of God in this 
ordinance, whereby it has been made a means of grace to 
them i 

As to the former of these enquiries relating to the frame of 
our spirits, while engaging in this solemn duty, we shall some- 
times find, that it has been such as affords matter for deep hu» 
miliation and self-abasement, in the sight of God, when we re- 
flect upon it ; particularly, 

1. When our minds and affections have been conversant 
about those things, which are altogether unsuitable to the work 
we have been engaged in, and, instead of conversing with 
Christ in this ordinance, we have had our thoughts and medi- 
tations most taken up with worldly matters ; or, if they have, 
indeed, been conversant about religious affairs, yet we may, in 
some measure, see reason to blame ourselves, if these »have 
been altogether foreign to the great end and design of the or- 
dinance we have been engaged in. There are many portions 
of scripture, or heads of divinity founded upon it, which we 
may employ our thoughts about at other times, with great ad- 
vantage ; yet they may not be altogether suitable, or adapted 
to our receiving spiriti^il advantage by, or making a right 


improvement of Christ crucified, as the nature of this ordi- 
nance requires. ^ 

2. They behave themselves unbecomingly, in this ordinance, 
who meditate on the thing signified therein, to wit, the dying 
love of Jesus Christ, as though they were unconcerned spec- 
tators, having only an historical faith, and content themselves 
with the bare knowledge of what relates to the life and death 
of Christ, without considering the end and design thereof, viz. 
that he might make atonement for sin, or their particular 
concern herein, so as to improve it, as an expedient for 
the taking away the guilt and power thereof in their own 

3. We may reflect on our behaviour in this ordinance, 
when we have given way to deadness and stupidity, without 
using those endeavours that are necessary for the exciting our 
affections ; when a subject so affecting as Christ's pouring out 
his soul unto death, being wounded for our transgressions, de- 
spised and rejected of men, bleeding and dying on the cross, 
and, in the midst of his sufferings, crying out. My God^ my 
Gody why hast thou forsaken me^ has not had an efficacy to 
raise our affections, any more than if it were a common 
subject ? 

4. We have reason to blame our behaviour in this ordi- 
nance, when we have attended on it with a resolution to con- 
tinue in any known sin, without being earnest with God to 
mortify it, or desiring strength and grace from Christ, in or- 
der thereunto, aud improving his death for that end. Thus we 
have reason, sometimes, to reflect on our behaviour at the 
Lord's supper, with grief, and sorrow of heart, as what has 
been disagreeable to the nature of the ordinance we have been 
engaged in. 

But, on the other hand, we may, sometimes, in taking a 
view of our behaviour therein, find matter of encouragement, 
when, abating for human frailties, and the imperfection of 
grace, that inseparably attends this present state, we can say, 
to the glory of God, that we have, in some measure, be- 
haved ourselves as we ought to do. Thus when we have found, 
that our hearts have been duly affected with the love of Christ, 
and we have had the exercise of those graces that are suita- 
ble thereunto ; and if we can say, that we have had some com- 
munion with him, and have not been altogether destitute of his 
quickening and comforting presence, and the witness of his 
Spirit with ours, that we are the children of God ; then we 
may conclude, that we have engaged in this ordinance in a 
right manner. And if we have found that it has been thus 
with us, we are to bless God for it, as considering that h^ 
alon? caa excite grace in us, who wrought it at first. And 


we are farther to consider, tmlt such-like acts of grace will 
be a good evidence of the truth and sincerity thereof ; where- 
by our comforts may be more established, and we enabled to 
walk more closely and thankfully with God, by the communi- 
cation of those graces that he is pleased to bestow upon us in 
this ordinance. 

Moreover, if we have had experience of the presence of 
God therein, and have been brought into a good frame, we 
aught to beg the continuance thereof. The best frame of spi- 
rit will be no longer abiding, than it pleases God to keep up 
the lively exercise of faith and other graces ; and this, being 
so valuable a blessing, is to be sought for by fervent prayer and 
supplicatioii, that our good frames may not be like the morn- 
ing cloud, or early dew, that soon passes away : This will dis- 
cover, that we set a value upon them, and glorify God as the 
author of them ; and it is the best expedient for our walking 
with God at other times, as well as when engaged in holy or- 

Again, it is farther observed, that they, who have beeu 
quickened and comforted, when partaking of the Lord's sup- 
per, ought to watch against relapses into those sins, that for- 
merly they have been overtaken with, but now see reason to 
abhor. This we ought to do, because, though we are some- 
times brought into a good frame, yet still we have deceit- 
ful hearts, that, before we are aware, may betray us into the 
commission of those sins which have occasioned great dis" 
tress to us in times past ; and, to this we may add, the en- 
deavours of Satan to ensnare us by his wiles ; so, that when 
we think ourselves the safest, we may be exposed to the great- 
est dangers. When we have been least apprehensive of our 
return to our former sins, and, it may be, have been too secure 
in our opinion, while confiding too much to our own strength, 
we have lost those good frames, and our troubles have been re- 
newed thereby : Therefore, it is our duty to watch against the 
secret workings of corrupt nature, and the first motions of sin 
in our hearts, while we earnestly implore help from God, that 
we may be kept from our own iniquities ; namely, those sins 
that we have formerly committed, or that more easily beset us 
than any other. 

The next duty incumbent on us, after we have received the 
Lord's supper, is, to fulfil our vows : This will be better un~ 
stood, if compared with what was before observed concerning 
sacramental vows or covenants : which ought not to contain in 
them a making promises, especially in our own strength, that 
we will be found in the exercise of those graces which are the 
special gift and effects of God's almighty power. Therefore, I 
iiiw.iys, when occasionally mentioning making religious vows, 


consider them principally as containing an expr^s declaration, 
that wc are under an indispensable obligation tor perform those 
duties, and put forth those acts ol grace which are incumbent 
on us, as those who desire to approve ourselves Christ's faith- 
ful servants, whom he has taken inio a covenant-relation with 
himself. We also declare, that without help from God we can 
do nothing : This help we iniplorc from him, at the same time 
when we devote, or give up ourselvts to him ; so that we do 
this, hoping and trusting that he will besiow upon us that grace 
which is out of our own power ; which, if he will be pleased to . 
do, we determine that he shall have all the glory that arises 
from it. This is most agreeable to the sense of the Latin 
word * ; from whence the word vow is derived ; and, I think, 
it is much rather to be acquiesced in, than that general descrip- 
tion which some give of it, when they exhort those who are 
engaged in this ordinance, hrst to conicss those sins which they 
have committed since they were last at the Lord's table, so iar 
as they occur to their memories ; and, as a means of their ob- 
taining forgiveness, to make a solemn vow, or promise, that 
they will abstain from them for the future, and walk more 
agreeably to the engagements which they are laid under : I'his 
they do without an humble sense of the treachery of their own 
hearts, or their need of strength from God, to perform any 
thing that is good ; and afterwards, they are as little inclined 
to fulfil their own promises, as they were before forward to 
make them, with too much reliance on their own strength ; 
and, by this means, they bring themselves int© the greatest 
perplexities, and go on, as it were, in a round of making so- 
lemn vows and resolutions, and then breaking them, and after- 
wards renewing them again : Whereas, when we intend no- 
thing by our vowing, but a confessing that what others promise 
in their own strength, we see ourselves obliged to do ; and, at 
the same time, depend on Christ for strength to enable us to 
perform it, and give up ourselves to him, as his covenant-people, 
in hope thereof ; this is the safest way of vowing, inasmuch as it 
redounds most to the honour of God, and contains every thing 
in it that may put us upon using our utmost endeavours to per- 
form the duties that are incumbent on us, and, at the same time, 
we express our unfeigned desire to glorify him as the God and 
Author of that grace, which is necessary thereunto. And, in 
this sense I would understand what we are exhorted to in the 
answers we are explaining, when it is said, in one of them, that 
while we are receiving the Lord's supper, we ought to rtnev/ 
©ur covenant with God ; and after we have received it, we arr 
to fulfil our vows, as it is expressed in the other ; as the fci 
raer includes in it such a dedication to God as has been hn: 

"' Vovco. 


■how considered ; the latter, to wit, the fulfilling our vo\v's, 
implies in it a doing every thing that is in our power, in or- 
der thereunto ; and, at the same time, a waiting on God to 
give success to our endeavours, and to work in us that 
which is well-pleasing in his sight, without which we can do 

After we have waited on the Lord in this ordinance, we are 
to encourage ourselves to a frequent attendance thereon ; es- 
pecially if we have ground to conclude, that we have had any 
sensible communications of his grace voacnsafed to us therein. 
As this is an honour which God puts on his own institutions^ 
it is certainly an encouragement to us, to persevere in waiting 
on him therein. Thus the Psalmist says, Because he hath hi- 
clined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as 
I live, Psal. cxvi. 2. This will effectually remove all those 
doubts and scruples that discourage us from engaging in this 
ordinance, lest we should not behave ourselves in a right man- 
ner therein, fearing that we are not sufficiently prepared for it, 
and therefore shall be disowned by Christ, when we engage in 
it: I say, this we are fenced against, by having experienced 
his quickening and comforting presence therein. 

But, suppose we have not met with this desirable blessing, 
which the best believers do not experience in a like degreej at 
all times ; then we ought, after we have received the Lord's 
Supper, to endeavour to find out the particular cause of God's 
'.vithdrawing his special presence from us, and what is that 
root of bitterness v/hich springs up and troubles us. It maybe, 
he withholds this privilege from us in a way of sovereignty, 
that we may hereby learn that our comforts are not at our own 
disposal ; or, that they are not the necessary result of our at- 
tendance on ordinances, but arise from the divine blessing ac- 
companying them. This, God, it may be, withholds from us 
for the trial of our graces ; and that we may see how needful 
it is for us to wait for those spiritual comforts, which, at pre- 
sent, he withholds from us ; as the prophet says. Therefore 
ivill the Lord tvait, that he may be gracious unto you^ and there- 
fore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you ; for 
the Lord is a God of judgment i blessed are they that wait for 
him, Isa. xxx. 18. 

But since we may, for the most part, apprehend some parti- 
cular reason why God denies us his quickening, and comfort- 
ing presence, arising from sins of omission or commission, an- 
tecedent to, or whilst we have been engaged in this ordinance : 
We must enquire, 

(1.) Whether there has not been some defect, as to prepara- 
tory duties I and particularly, whether we have duly examined 
ourselves before we came to the Lord's table, concerning our 


knowledge of Christ, and the benefits of his tedemption ; or, 
especially, of our being enabled to improve them by faith ? and, 
•whether we have examined ourselves concerning the sense we 
have of the guilt of sin, and the need we stand in of Christ's 
righteousness, to take it away, and accordingly resolved to 
wait on him in ^is ordinance, with earnest desires of obtain» 
ing this privilege. 

(2.) We must enquire, whether our behaviour when we have 
been engaged in this ordinance, has not been, in some measure, 
imbecoming the spirituality and importance thereof? whether 
we have not spared, or indulged, some secret corruption, thaC 
has broke forth therein ? or, whether we have not given way 
to some temptation, that has then beset us ? whether we have 
not depended on our own righteousness, for the taking away 
the guilt of sin, and procuring for us acceptance in the sight 
of God ? or, whether we have not engaged in this ordinance, 
in our own strength, and by this self-confidence, provoked him 
to withdraw from us ; which, if we have, it will afford matter 
of deep humiliation in his sight, and call for repentance and 
reformation, if we would be fenced against this inconvenience, 
which, at present we labour under ; and then we may hope 
that we shall be enabled to wait on him in this ordinance, in 
such a way, that we may have those comfortable experiences 
of grace from him, which will be an evidence that we have 
waited on him for the better, and not for the worse. 

Quest. CLXXVI. IFherem do the sacraments of Baptism and 
the Lord^s Supper agree ? 

Answ. The sacraments of baptism and the Lord's Supper^ 
agree, in that the author of both is God, the spiritual part 
of both is Christ and his benefits ; both are seals of the same 
covenant, are to be dispensed by ministers of the gospel, 
and by none other, and to be continued in the church of 
Christ, until his second coming. 

Quest. CLXXVII. Wherehi do the sacraments of Baptism 
and the Lord^s Supper differ ? 

Answ. The sacraments of baptism and the Lord's supper 
differ, in that baptism is to be administered but once witli 
water, to be a sign and seal of our regeneration, and ingraft- 
ing into Christ, and that even to infants, whereas the Lord's 
supper is to be administered often, in the elements of bread 
and wine, to represent and exhibit Christ as spiritual nou- 
rishment to the soul, and to confirm our continuance and 
Vol. IV. N n 


growth in him, and thaS%nly to such as are of years and 
ability to examine themselves. 

THESE two answers contain little more than a recapitula- 
tion of some things, that have been occasionally mention- 
ed, in explaining the nature of these ordinances ; and there- 
fore We shall very briefly insist on them. 

I. Concerning those things wherein the sacraments of bap- 
tism and the Lord's supper agree ; accordingly, 

1. It is observed, that God is the Author of both. This 
may be inferred from what has been said concerning their be- 
ing holy ordinances, or means of grace ; in which we are to 
expect his presence and blessing to make them effectual to 
salvation : This we cannot do without engaging in them by his 
own warrant, v/hich he has been pleased to give us, as appears 
from his word, and the experience of many believers, who have 
found sensible advantage thereby ; so that the effects of his 
power and grace, that have been produced in their hearts, 
when engaged therein, afford a convincing evidence that God 
is the Author thereof. This, as to what concerns baptism, 
respects more especially, the baptism of those that are adult ; 
for when infants are baptized, though God can, and sometimes 
does, as is more than probable, own this ordinance, by regene- 
rating them at that time ; yet this cannot be known by us, un- 
less it be inferred, from those extraordinary communications 
of grace which they may experience, who are enabled, by faith 
to give up their children to God therein. 

2. Baptism and the Lord's supper farther agree, in that 
Christ, and his benefits are signified by both of them : for they 
are, each of them, ordinances for our faith, as they are signs 
and seals of the covenant of grace, in which Christ, and the 
benefits of his redemption, are set forth : Thus the apostle 
says, with respect to baptism, So many of us as were baptized 
into Jesus Christy -were baptized into his death^ buried xvith him 
iy baptism into deaths Rom. vi. 3, 4. accordingly we have 
communion with Christ as crucified, dying and buried, and, 
after this, rising again from the dead, whereby he brought the 
work of redemption to perfection : These things are signified ; 
and thus our faith is to make use of this sign in baptism ; and 
the apostle says the same thing with respect to the Lord's 
Supper : As often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye 
do shew the Lord^s death till he co)ne, 1 Cor. xi. 26. 

3. Baptism and the Lord's supper, are farther observed to 
agree, in that they are to be dispensed by none but the minis- 
ters of the gospel. Under the Old Testament-dispensation, 
where all the parts of the temple-service were significant signs 
of Ghrisi, and the benefits of the covenant of grace ; these were 


to be administered by none but those who were qualified, call- 
ed, and lawfully set apart to that work, as the aptfstle says, Nc 
man taketh this honour unto himself^ but he that is called of 
Gody as zvas Aaron^ H:b. v. 4. And we may conclude, that the 
moral reason of the thing extends itself to the administration 
of the seals of the covenant, under the gospel-dispensation. It 
is certain, that some must be appointed, or set apart to this 
work, otherwise it would belong to every body, and conse- 
quently there would be no determinate administrators of these 
ordinances, who might be said to have a special call thereunto, 
from God and man. It may also be inferred from those scrip- 
tures that speak of pastors after God^s oxim hearty who are to 
feed his people rvith knowledge and understandings as being his 
special ^j/?, Jer. iii. 15. and from what the apostle says, con- 
cerning gospel-ministers, whether extraordinary or ordinary, 
as being Christ's g'ft^ when he ascended up on high, Eph. iv. 

4. It is farther observed, that these two ordinances agree, in 
that they are both to be continued in the church, until Christ's 
second coming. Though v/e look and hope for more of the 
presence of God therein, and a greater effusion of his Spirit, 
to make them more effectual, and render the church more 
bright and glorious, as being favoured with greater degrees of 
the communications of divine grace ; yet we have no ground 
to expect new ordinances, or a new dispensation to succeed 
this we are under, till Christ's second and most glorious com- 
ing; therefore this is called, 1 he last time, 1 John ii. 18. Up- 
on which account the apostle says, th^V the ends of the xuorld 
are cofne upon us, 1 Cor. x. 11. by which we are to under- 
stand, that the present dispensation of the gospel that we 
are under, is the last we are to expect till Christ's second 

And this also appeal's, from the promiise which Christ has 
given of his presence with his ministers and churches, when 
faithfully engaging in these ordinances, as he says, Lo, J am 
rvith you always, even unto the end of the world. Matt, xxviii. 
20. And, as his death, as was before observed, is to be shexved 
forth till he come, 1 Cor. xi. 26. this proves that the Lord's 
supper is also to be continued in the church till then. This I 
would the rather observe, inasmuch as it is contrary to what 
some maintain, who, while they hope for a greater effusion of 
the Spirit, and a more glorious state of the church in the latter 
day, are ready to extend their thoughts too far, they conclude 
that it will be a new dispensation, as the ordinances which the 
church is favoured with, at present, shall cease, particularly 
baptism and the Lord's Supper; which we can by no mean* 
approve «f. 


II. We are now to considBii wherein the sacraments of bap- 
tism and the Lord's supper differ. 

1. It is observed that they differ, in that baptism is to be ad- 
ministered but once ; whereas, the Lord's supper is to "be ad-, 
ministered often. This appears from two different circumstan- 
ces contained in them. As for baptism, it signifies our first in- 
grafting into, or putting on Christ ; and when denominated 
from the thing signified thereby, it is called, the ruashingof 
reg-enerationy and the renewing- of the Holy Ghost^ Titus iii. 5. 
which is hoped for in this ordinance ; accordingly it is consi- 
dered as our first solemn dedication to Christ ; and, as this is 
signified thereby, it is called an initiating ordinance, in which 
we are bound to be the Lord's ; which bond holds good as 
long as we live, and therefore needs not to be signified, seal- 
ed, or confirmed by our being baptized a second time : But„ 
on the other hand, the Lord's supper signifies our feeding or 
living upon Christ, and receiving daily supplies of grace from 
him, as our necessities require : Therefore this ordinance 

" differs from baptism as it is often to be engaged in. 

2. They differ, in that the former as has been before proved, 
is not only to be applied to the adult, if they have not been 
baptized before, but to the infants of believing parents, which 
the Lord's supper is not. In baptism, the person dedicated may 
be considered as being passive, and so devoted to God by the 
faith of another, who has a i-ight to do this : But none are 
to partake of the Lord's supper but those who have such a 
degree of knowledge, that they are able to discern the Lord's 
body, and capable of performing that duty which the apostle 
recommends as necessary thereunto, when he says. Let a man 
examine himself and so let him eat of that breads and drink of 
that cupy 1 Cor. xi. 28. ^ 

I am sensible that some of the ancient church, and particu- 
larly Cyprian, in the third century, have pleaded for, and prac- 
ised the administration of the Lord's supper to infants, being 
led into this mistake, by supposing what does not sufficiently 
appear, viz. that infants among the Jews ate the passover, be- 
cause whole families are said to eat it. But this does not ap- 
pear to include infants ; for whom another sort of food was 
designed : neither could they reap any advantage by it, not 
being capable of discerning the thing signified, or feeding on 
Christ, the true Paschal Lamb ; which could be done no other- 
wise than by faith. 

Others were led into this mistake from the wrong sense they 
gave of that scripture, in which Christ says. Except ye eat the 
flesh of the Son of man^ and drink his bloody ye have no life in 
youy John vi. 53. thinking that our Saviour meant hereby, the 
bread and wine in the Lord's supper. Therefore t^is ord:« 


aance was absolute!)^ necessary to salvation ; upon which ac- 
count they thought that it ought to be extended^to infants, as a 
means of their obtaining it. But it is certain this cannot be 
the meaning of that scripture, since the Lord's supper was not 
instituted, or known in the church, when our Saviour spakp 
these words : Therefore, he intends nothing else thereby but 
the fiducial application of Christ's death, as an expedient fqr 
our obtainino: eternal life. 

Quest. CLXXVIII. Which is Prayer P 

4.NSW. Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God, in 
the name of Christ, by the help of his Spirit, with confession 
of our sins, and thankful acknowledgment of his mercies. 

HAVING considered the things that are to be believed 
and done ; what remains is, to enquire concerning those 
things that are to be prayed for, and how this great duty of 
prayer is to be performed. This is necessary to be insisted on, 
inasmuch as we are obliged to yield obedience to the revealed 
ivill of God ; nevertheless, by reason of our depravity and 
weakness, we can do nothing that is good without his assist- 
ance, which is not to be expected, unless it be humbly desired 
of him ; and this is what we generally call prayer; which be- 
ing performed by creatures who are not only indigent, but un- 
worthy, this is to be acknowledged, and accordingly we are, 
in prayer, to confess sin as the principal ground and reason ot 
this unworthiness. And, inasmuch as God has been pleased 
to encourage us to hope, that we shall not seek his face in v^in, 
who, in many instances is pleased to grant returns of prayer ; 
this obliges us to draw nigh to him with thanksgiving. These 
things are particularly contained in the answer we are explain- 
ing ; and the method in which we shall endeavour to spea^ to 
it, is to consider, 

I. What, prayer supposes ; and that is, 

1. That we are dependent and indigent creatures, have many 
wants to be supplied, sins to be forgiven, miseries, under which 
we need pity and relief, and weaknesses, under which we want 
to be strengthened and assisted in the performance of the duties 
that are incumbent on us. From hence it may be inferred, that 
though our Lord Jesus Christ is often represented as praying 
to God, this is an action performed by him in his human na- 
ture ; in which alone he could be said to be indigent, who, in 
his divine nature, is all-sufficient. 

2. It supposes that God, who is the object of prayer, is re- 
garded, by us, not only as able, but v.'ilUng to h^lp us j ai^d 

285 or PRAYKS,. 

that he has encouraged us to dra^v nigh to him ibr reUef : And 
therefore it is a duty that more especially belongs to those who 
are favoured with tlie hope of the gospel. ^ 

II. We shall now shew how prayer is to be considered, as 
to the various kinds hereof ; and accordingly wc are represent- 
ed as drawing nigh to God, vrith an humble sense of our secret 
3ins and wants, which none but God and our own consciences 
are privy to. This kind of prayer our Saviour intends, when 
he says, Thou, when thouprayest^ enter into thy do set, and when 
thou hast shut thtf dooj\ pray to thy Father which is in secret^ 
and thy Father which seeth in secret, shall rcxvard thee openly^ 
Mat. vi. 6. and we have an instance hereof in himself; inas- 
much, as it is said, that when he had sent the multitudes away, 
he went up into a mountain apart to praij, q\vx^. xiv. 23. also, 
Peter xvcnt up upon the honse-top to pray, Acts x. 9. in which^ 
being retired from the world, he had a greater liberty to pour 
forth his soul unto God. 

- Moreover, we are to join with others in perfornning this 
duty, in which v/e confess those sins, and implore a supply of 
those wants that arc common to all who are engaged therein : 
This our Saviour encourages us to do, when he says. If two of 
you shall agree on earth, as touching any thing that they shall 
ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 
For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there 
am I in the midst of them. Mat. xviii. 19, 20. This is a branch 
of social worship, and is to be performed by ^.v^ry family apart, 
%vhereof we have an example in Cornelius, concerning whom it 
is said, that he was a devout man, and feared God zvith all his 
house, and prayed to him ahuays ; and that he did this, at cer- 
tain times, in his house. Acts x. 2. compared with ver. 30. 
Moreover, this duty is to be performed publicly in the church, 
or any v/orshipping assembly met together for that purpose : 
Of this we have an instance in the apostle Paul, who, when he 
had called for the elders of the church at Ephesus, designing 
to take his leave of them, after an affectionate discourse, and 
suitable advice given to them, he kneeled doxun and prayed with 
them all, chap. xx. 36. 

Again, prayer may be considered as that for which a stated 
time is set apart by us, either alone, or with others i or, that 
which is occasional, short, and ejaculatory, consisting in a se- 
cret lifting up of our hearts to God, and may be done when we 
are engaged in other business of a different nature, without be- 
ing a let or hindrance to it : Thus it is said that Nehemiah 
prayed, when he has going to deliver the cup into the king'^s 
hand, between the king's askinghim a question, and his return- 
ing him an answer to it ; which seems to be the meaning of 
what is said in Neh. ii. 4, 5. Then the king said ■unto me; for 

OF PRAYER. 2iif 

what dost thou make request ? so I prayed to the God of heaven^ 
and I said unto the king', &c. These ejaculatory prayers are 
either such as we put up to God while engaged in worldly bu- 
siness for direction, assistance, or success therein ; or when 
attending on the word read or preached, or any other holy 
duties, in which we lift up our hearts to him for his presence 

III. The next thing to be considered, is, the various parts 
of prayer; and these are three, viz. Confession of sin ; petition 
for a supply of our wants; and thanksgiving, for mercies re- 
ceived. Confession of sin supposes that we are guilty, and de- 
serve punishment from God ; petition supposes, that we are 
miserable and helpless ; and thanksgiving implies, a disposi- 
tion to own God, the author of all the good we enjoy or hope 
for, and includes in it a due sense of those mideserved favours 
we have received from him. 

From this general account of the duty of prayer, and the 
parts thereof, we may infer, 

1. That the two former of them, namely, confession of sin, 
and petition for relief, under the vaiious miseries and dis- 
tresses which we are liable to, is only applicable to those who 
are in a sinful and imperfect state, as believers are in this 
world. As for glorified saints in heaven, they have no sins to 
be confessed, nor any miseries under which they need help, and 
pity. As for that part of prayer which consists of thanksgiving 
for mercies already received, that, indeed, is agreeable to a 
perfect state, aiid is represented as the constant work of glo- 
rified saints: Thus the Psalmist says. The heavens, that is, the 
inhabitants thereof, shall praise thy rvonders^O Lord, thy faith- 
fulness also in the congregatio7i of the saints, Psal. Ixxxix. 5. 

2. Sinners, who have lost their day of grace, against whom 
the door of hope and mercy is shut, >vho are enduring the 
punishment of sin in hell, these are not properly the subjects 
of prayer ; concerning whom it may be said, not only that 
they cannot pray, being destitute of those graces that are ne- 
cessary thereunto ; but having no interest in a Mediator, or in 
the promises of the covenant of grace, which are a warrant 
and encouragement for the performance of this duty. 

3. In this world, wherein we enjoy the means of grace, none 
are the subjects of prayer but man. The Psalmist, indeed, 
speaks of God's giving- to the beast his food, and to the young' 
ravens xvhich cry, Psal. cxlvii. 9. and elsewhere it is said, He 
■provideth for the raven his food, xvhen his young ones cry unt9 
God, Job. xxxviii. 41. The meaning of which is, not that 
brute creatures formally address themselves to God for a sup- 
ply of their wants, having no idea of a divine being; but, that, 
when they coaiplain for want of food, the providence gf God 

28« 6t prayer. 

supplies them, tliough they krifiw not the hand from whence it 

4. Though it be the duty of all men in the world to pray ; 
yet none can do this by faith, and, consequently, in an accept- 
able manner, but believers, concerning whom the apostle says, 
Tehave received the spirit of adoption^ whereby they cry, Abba^ 
JFather^ Rom. viii. 15. 

As for the first part of prayer, viz. petition, or supplication. 
This will be particularly considered under several following 
answers, and especially those that contain an explication of 
the Lord's prayer ; which is a directory for what we are to 
ask of God : Therefore we shall, at present, only consider 
the other two parts of prayer, viz. confession of sin, and thanks- 
giving for mercies. 

(1.) Concerning confession of sin ; and accordingly, 

[1.] We shall prove, that it is an indispensable duty incuni- 
\)ent on all men ; and that, not only on those who are in a 
state of unregeneracy, and consequently under the dominion 
of sin, but on believers themselves, who are in a justified state. 
This will appear, if we consider, that not to confess sin, is, in 
effect, to justify ourselves in the commission of it ', and, as it 
were, to deny that which is so well known to the heart-search- 
ing God, as well as to our own consciences. It also contains 
in it a charging God with injustice, when he inflicts on us 
the punishment that is due to it; which is contrary to what 
Ezra says ; Thou., our God., hast punished ua less than our ini- 
quities deserve., Ezra ix. 13. 

Moreover, none was ever truly humbled in the sight of 
God, or obtained mercy and forgiveness of sin, but he was 
first brought to confess it with suitable affection, and broken- 
ness of heart ; which are ingredients in true repentance : Thus 
it is said. He looketh upon }nen., and if any say., I have sinned, 
and perverted that which was right., and it profited me not; he 
■will deliver his soul from going into the pit., and his life shall 
see the light.. Job xxxiii. 27, 28. It is also said elsewhere, 
He that cover eth his sins shall not prosper : But whoso confesseth 
and forsaketh them shall have mercy., Prov. xxviii. 13. This 
duty is so evident, that, one would think, no one, who duly 
considers what he is, or how contrary his actions are to the re- 
vealed will of God, should have the front to deny it : How- 
ever, it is well known, that many seem designedly to wave all 
confession of sin in prayer ; and, others argue against it, mort 
especially, as to what concerns the case of believers : Ac- 

Object, It is objected, that believers ought not to confess 
Mn ; since that is inconsistent with a justified state: It is, in 
effect, to plead guilty, though God has taken away the guilt of 


fcin, by forgiving it for the sake of the atonement which Christ 
has made : It is a ![a}ing open the wound that Uod hath heal- 
ed and closed up, or bringing to remembrance that which he 
hath said, he xvill remember no more, Heb. x. 67. and it is con- 
trary to the grace of God, who hath said, none shall lay any 
thing" to the charge of his elect, since it is God that jiistijieth, 
Rom. viii. 33. for a believer to lay any thing to his own 
charge, which he does when he confesses sin. 

Answ. To this it may be replied ; 

1st, That we must distinguish between a believer's desert of, 
punishment or condemnation, and his being actually punished 
by God, as a sin-revenging judge, according as his iniquities 
deserve. That a believer shall not eventually fall under con- 
demnation, is true, because his sins are forgiven ; and with re- 
spect to such, the apostle says, There is now no cojidemnation to 
them which are in Christ Jesus, ver. 1. Nevertheless, though 
he be in a justified state, and, as the consequence hereof, shall 
be undoubtedly saved ; yet, according to the tenor of his own 
actions, he being a sinner, contracts guilt in the sight of God ; 
and, a desert of punishment is inseparably connected with 
every sin, though a person may be in a justified state who 
commits it. It Is one thing to be liable to condemnation, and an- 
other thing to deserve to be condemned : The former of these is, 
indeed, inconsistent with a justified state ; but the latter is not ° 
And it is in this sense that we are to understand the Psalmist's 
words. If thou. Lord, shouldst r.iark iniquities, Lord, xvko shall 
siand, Psal. cxxx. 3. And, accordingly, the best believer on 
earth, though he have a full assurance of his being forgiven by 
God ; yet, inasmuch as he is a sinner, he is obliged to con- 
less that he deserves to be cast off by him, or, if God should 
deal with him according to what he finds in him, without look- 
ing upon him as he is in Christ, his head and surety, he would, 
be undone and lost for ever. 

"Hdhj, Believers are daily sinning, and therefore contracting 
fresh guilt ; as it is said. There is not a just man upon earth that 
doeth good and sinneth not, Eccl. vii. 20. and, indeed their sin 
is sometimes so great, that they grieve the Holy Spirit, wound 
their own consciences, and ,act very disagreeably to their eha- 
racter as believers. This therefore ought to be confessed with 
shame and self-abhorrence ; as the prophet says, That thou, 
i.uiyest remember and be confounded, and iiever open thy mouth 
any mere, because of thy shame ; when I am pacifed towards 
thee for all that thou hast done, saitk the Lord God, Ezek. xvi. 
63. Moreover, it Is certain that believers, when they have 
had a discovery that their sin was pardoned, ha%'e, at the same 
time, confessed it v/ith great humilit}-. Thus, immediateiy 
irfter Nathan had reproved David for his sin, and told hiip* 

Vol. IV. O o 

29t) or PRAYERo 

upon his repentance, that the Lord had put it awaif, 2 Saiw. 
xii. 13. yet he makes a penitent confession of it before God, 
and says, J^ains? thee, thee only have I sinned, and dome this 
evil in thy sights Psal. li. 4. 

[2.] We shall now consider with what frame of spirit sin is 
to be confessed; and this ought to be done, 

Ist^ With a due sense of the infinite evil thereof, as it re- 
flects dishonour on the divine perfections ; and particularly as 
it is opposite to the holiness and purity of God, and a con- 
tempt cast on his law, which expressly forbids it, and a disre- 
garding the threatenings denounced thereby against those who 
violate it, and rendere us liable to his wrath, as a sin-revenging 
Judge, pursuant to the intrinsic demerit thereof: And there- 
fore it is justly styled an evil thing and bitter ; the only thing 
that can be called a moral evil ; and it is certainly bitter in the 
consequences thereof. 

2dly, We are to confess sin with humility, shame, confusion 
' of face, and self-abhorrence ; and that more especially, by rea- 
son of the vile ingratitude there is in it, as committed by 
those who^ are under the greatest engagements to the contrary 

^dly^ Sin is to be confessed with the hope of obtaining for- 
giveness through the blood of Christ, as laying hold on the 
promises of mercy, which are made to those who confess and 
forsake it, Prov. xxviii. IG* and, with an earnest desire, to be 
delivered from the prevailing power thereof, by strength de^ 
rived from Christ, 

[3.] We shall now consider what sins we are to confess be- 
fore God ; and these are, either the sin of our nature, or those 
actual transgressions that proceed from it. 

1st, The sin of our nature. As fallen creatures, we are des- 
titute of the image of God ; and, having contracted corrupt 
habits, by repeated acts of rebellion against him, all the powers 
and faculties of our soitls are vitiated thereby, and we not only 
indisposed and disinclined to what is good, but naturally bent 
to backslide from God, and to commit the greatest abomina- 
tions, if destitute of his preventing, restraining, or renewing 
grace : Thus the apostle says, / know that in me, (that is, in 
myjicsh) dwelleth no good thing, Rom. vii. 18. And this is 
to be considered as what has universally defiled and depraved 
our nature ;• and therefore we ought to cry out with the leper, 
Unclean, unclean. Lev. xiii. 45. or, as the prophet says, From 
the sole of the foot even unto the head, there is no soundness in z/.v, 
i>ut zvouTids, and bruises, and putrifying sores, Isa. i. 6. We are- 
to consider it as that which insinuates itself into our best du- 
ties } and it is like the fly in the precious ointment .; and it is 
of such a nature, that when v/e have been enabled to gain some 

or PLAYER. 291 

^Rdvantage against it, it will afterwards recover strengtli. Not- 
'vvithstanding all our endeavours to the contrary/ It is like au 
incurable disease in the body, which, though we endeavour t© 
keep it under for a while, yet it will prevail again, till the 
frame of nature is demolished, and thereby all diseases cured 
at once : Nevertheless, when we confess and are humbled for 
this propensity, that is in our nature to sin, we are to pray and 
hope, that the prevailing power thereof may be so iar weatcen- 
ed, that, by the principle of grace, implanted in regeneration, 
and excited by the Spirit, in promoting the work of sanctifica- 
tion, though it dwells in us it may not entirely have dominion 
over us, or we be thereby denominated the servants of sin. 

2(//j/, We are to confess tlie many actual sins that we daily 
commit, with all their respective aggravations ; sins of omis- 
sion and commission, both of which are coi?.tained in the apos- 
tle's confession ; The good that I zuould^ J do not; but the evil 
ivhich I xvould noty that I do^ Rom. vii. 19. Our sinful ne- 
glects of duty are numberless; we are to confess our not 
having redeemed our time, but spent it in those trifles and vain 
amusements that profit not ; particularly if we have misim- 
proved the very flower and best part of our time and strength, 
and not remembered our Creator in the days of oux youths, 
'.rhis Job reckons the principal ground and reason of the evils 
that befal him in his advanced age, when he s}»ys. Thou tvrkest 
bitter things against me ; anjinakest me to possess the iniquities 
of my youth^ Job xiii. 26. And we are humbly to confess our 
not having improved, and» thereby, lost many opportunities 
for extraordinary service, either to do, or to get good : Thus 
the prophet says, 2'ea^ the stork in the heaven knoweth her ap- 
pointed times^ and the turtl£, and the crane, and the swallow ob- 
serve the time of their coming, but my peopk know not the judg- 
ment of the Lord, Jer. viii. 7, We are also to cov)fess our ne- 
glecting to comply with the calls and invitations of the gospel ; 
upon which account we are said, to receive the grace of God in 
vain, 2 Cor. vi. 1. or not to know the tiiiic cf our visitation^ 
Luke xix. 44. but when God has called, we have refused; 
when he has stretched out his hand, no man regarded, but have 
set at nought all his counsel, and xvould none of his reproof 
Prov. i. 24, 25. We are also to confess our neglect of public 
and secret duties, or worshipping of God in a careless indif- 
ferent manner ; as the prophet represents the people, saying. 
Behold, what a weariness is it, arid ye have snuffed at it, saitk 
the Lord of Hosts ; and ye have brought that zvhich was torn, 
and the lame and the sick; should I accept this at yoitr hands ? 
Mai. i. 13. We are also to confess our neglect of relative du- 
ties, in not instructing those under Qur care, nor reproving 
them for sin committed, nor sympathizing with the afilicted, 
nor warning thosR who are jf 9in5 out of God's way ; by which 

^U^ Of PKAYI^o 

means a multitude of sins mig^t have beeivprevented, whereiiy 
many have been ruined through oui* sinful neglect. 

As for sins of commission, which are also to be confessed ;; 
these are either such as were committed before or after our 
conversion to God ; the former of which contain a disowning 
his authority, or right to obedience ; the latter, an ungrattful 
disregard to, or forgetfuhiess of the greatest benefits received 
from him. We are also to confess those sins which are con- 
trary to the moral law, or the very light of nature ; which we 
are often guilty of : And, that we may be furnished with mat- 
ter, and give scope to our thoughts and affections therein, it 
xnay be of use for us to consider the sins forbidden under each 
of the Ten Commandments, which have been before particu- 
larly insisted on. We ought also to confess the various ag- 
gravations of sin ; and, to assist us therein, those things that 
are contained in a foregoing answer *, may be of some use 
to us, especially if we make a particular application thereof to 
our own case, and observe how far we have reason to fall un- 
der a sensci of guilt, or charge ourselves with crimes of the 
like nature. 

Moreover, we are to confess the sins we have committed 
against the engagements or grace of the gospel ; the low 
thoughts we have sometimes had of the person of Christ, his 
love to us, or the benefits we have been made partakers of from 
him, wiaile v/e have been ready to say, as the daughtei'S of 
Jerusalem are represented speaking. What is thy beloved more 
than another beloued^ Cant. v. 9. and how much we have 
hardened our hearts against him, refusing to submit to his 
yoke, or bear his cross ; how often we have been ashamed of 
his cause and interest, especially when called to suffer re- 
proach for it. Have we not sometimes questioned the truth of 
his promises, refused to submit to his righteousness, and de- 
pend upon it alone for justification, while we have had too high 
thoughts of ourselves, glorying and valuing ourselves upon the 
performance of some moral duties, which we have put in the 
room of Christ ? 

We ought to confess how much we have opposed him in 
:ill his offices ; not depending on him as a prophet to lead us 
in the way of truth and peace, but have leaned to our own un- 
derstanding, and therefore have been left to pervert, disbe- 
lieve, or, at least, entertain some doubts about the great doc- 
trines of the gospel ; or, if our minds have been rightly in- 
formed therein, yet we have not made a practical improvement 
thereof, for our spiritual advantage. Have we not opposed 
him as a p'.-iest, and neglected to set a due value on that atone- 
5Qent he has made for sin, not improving his intercession for 

* See Quest. CLI. 

OF PLAYER. 29.3 

tis, who IS entea-ed into the holy place, made \vithout hands, 
to encourage us to come boldly to the throne of grace ? Have 
we not also i-efused to submit to him as king of saints, or seek 
protection from him against tlie assaults of our spiritual ene- 
mies ? These things are to be confessed by us in prayer ; and 
that with such a sense of our own guilt, that we ought to ac- 
knowledge ourselves to be, (as the apostle says concerning 
himself,) the chief of sinners^ 1 Tim. i. 15. 

I am sensible that many will be ready to conclude, that much 
of what has been said concerning sins to be confessed, is ap- . 
plicable to none but those tliat are in a state of unregeneracy ; 
and, among them, few can say, that they are the chief of sin- 
ners, unless they have been notoriously vile and scandalous m 
the eye of the world ; and that the apostle Paul, when he ap- 
plies this to himself, has a peculiar reference to what he was 
before his conversion. 

But to this it may be replied \ that it is impossible we should 
know so much of the sins of others, together with their re- 
spective aggravations, as we may of those that have been com- 
mitted by ourselves^ And if we have not been left to commit 
those gross and scandalous sins, which we have beheld in thein 
with abhorrence, this is not ovving to ourselves, but the grace 
of God, by which we are what we are ; which, if we had been 
destitute of, we should have been as bad as the worst of men ; 
and if our hearts have been renewed and changed thereb}^, eo 
that we are kept from committing those sins that are inconsis- 
tent with a state of grace ; yet there are very heinous aggrava- 
tions attending those we have reason to charge ourselves with : 
whereby we have acted contrary to the experience we have had 
of the efficacious influence of the Holy Spirit, and have been 
guilty of very great ingratitude against him, that has laid us un- 
der the highest obligations. Thus concerning confession of sin. 
when drawing nigh to God in the duty of prayer. 

(2.) We are now to consider another part of prayer, namely, 
that we are therein thankfully to acknowledge the mercies ot 
God : Thus the Psalmist says. Enter into his gates with thanks- 
g-iving, and i}ito his courts with praise ; he thankful unto him^ 
and bless his name^ Psal. c. 4. And elsewhere, / will offer tc 
thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving ; and xvill call upon the name of 
the Lord^ Psal. cxvi. 17. that is, I will join prayer and praise 
together. Nothing is more obvious, than that favours receiv- 
ed ought to be acknowledged ; otherwise we are guilty of that 
ingratitude which is one of the vilest crimes. Not to acknow- 
ledge what we receive from God, is, in eifect, to deny our ob- 
ligation to him ; which will provoke him to withhold from us 
those other mercies which we stand in need of. 

This duty ought to be performed at all times, and on all oc- 
casions : Thus the apostle says, Iji every thing by prayer and. 

supplication xvkh thanksgiving^ let your request htmcde knorvii. 
unto God^ Phil. iv. 6. This is evident, in that there is no conditioR 
of life but what has some mixture of mercy in it ; and that this 
may be more particularly considered, we may observe, that the 
mercies we receive from God, are either outward or spiritual, 
common or special ; the former of these he gives to all with- 
out distinction ; as it is said, The Lord is good to all^ and his 
tender mercies are over all his works^ Psal. cxlv. 9. And else- 
where, he is kind unto the unthankful, and to the evil^ Luke vi. 
35. and ynaketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and 
ssndeth rain on tfu: just and on the unjust. Matt. v. 45. The 
latter sort of mercies he bestows on the heirs of salvation, in u 
covenant-way, as the purchase of the blood of Christ, and a 
pledge of farthei- blessings whi-ch he has reserved in store for 
them : There are mercies which we have in hand, or in pos- 
session, arid others which we have in hope or in reversion : Thus 
the apostle speaks of the hope v/hich is laid up for the saints iJi 
heaven. Col. i. 3, 5. which he thanks God for in his prayer for 
the church. 

Again, the mercies of God may be considered either as per- 
sonal or relative ; the former we are more immediately the 
subjects of; the latter affect us so far as we stand related to 
others, for whose welfare we are greatly concerned, and whose 
happiness makes a very considerable addition to our own. 

[1.] We are to express our thankfulness to God for personal 
mercies ; and accordingly we are to bless him for the advan- 
tages of nature, which are the effects of divine goodness : Thus 
the Psalmist says, I xvill praise thee ; for I am feai fully and 
Tvonderfidkj made, Psal. crsxxix. 14. Though the human na- 
ture falls very short of what it was at first, when the image o^ 
Govd was perfectly enstamped on all the powers and faculties 
of the soul ; and it is not what it shall be when brought to a 
state of perfection in heaven : Yet there are many natural enr 
dowments which we have received from God, as a means for 
our gloriivlno- him, and answering the end of our being, in the 
whole conduct of our lives : And, 

Ist^ As to what concerns the blessings of providence, which 
vre have received in every age of life. In our childhood and 
youth we have great reason to be thankful, if we have had the 
iavaluable blessing of a religious education, and have been 
kept or delivered from the pernicious influence of bad ex- 
aaipleG, from whence that age of life oftentimes receives such 
a tincture as tends to vitiate the soul, and open the way for 
all manner of sin, which will afterwards insinuate itself into, 
and prevail, like an infectious distemper, over all the powers 
and facultiLs thereof. What reason have we to bless God if 
we have been favoured with restraining or preventing grace, 
v,'h '.rsby we h'tve be-n kept from youthful lusts, which ^p 

destructive to multitudes, and lay a foundation for their fatuic 
ruin ; and especially if it has pleased God to W-ing us under 
early convictions of sin ; so that we have experienced in thar 
age of life, the hopeful beginnings of a work of grace, which 
js an effect of more than common providence ! We ought to 
take notice, with great thankfulness, of the methods of divine 
grace, if we have bec» early led into the knowledge of the first 
principles of the oracles of God, especially if they have made 
such an impression on our hearts, that we can say, with 
good Obadiah, I t/it/ servant, fear the L&rd fro/ii mij youth, 
1 Kings xviii. 12. 

Again, we are to express our thankfulness for the mercies 
which we have received in our advanced age, v/hen arrived to 
a state of manhood ; and accordingly are to bless him for di- 
recting and ordering our settlement in the world, in those 
things more especially that relate to our secular callings and 
employments therein, and the advantages of suitable socie*ty in 
those families in which our lot has been cast, as well as the 
many instances of divine goodness in our own. We ought 
also to bless him for succeeding our industry and endeavours 
used, to promote our comfort and happiness in the world, to^ 
gether with that degree of usefulness which it has pleased God 
to favour us with, therein. We ought also to bless him for 
carrying us through many difficulties that lay in our way, some 
of which we have been almost ready to think insurmountable ; 
as also for bringing us under the means of grace, in which the 
providence of God is more remarkable, in those who have not 
been favoured with a religious education in their childhood; 
and more especially if these means have been made elFectuai 
lo answer the highest and most valuable ends. 

There are other mercies which some have reason to bless 
God for, who are arrived to old age, which is the last stage of 
life, wherein the frame of nature is declining and hastening 
apace to a dissolution. These, I say, have reason to be thank- 
ful, if they have not, as it were, outlived themselves, wholly 
lost their memory and judgment, by which means they would 
have been brought back again, as it were, to the state of child- 
hood, as some have been; or, if old age be not pressed down 
beyond measure, with pain and bodily diseases, or a multitude 
of cares and troubles about outward circumstances iu the v/orld, 
which would tend to embitter the small remains of life, which 
lias not much strength of nature to bear up under great troubles, 
nor can those methods be made use of, whereby others, with- 
out much difficulty, are able to extricate themselves out c^f 
them : But they, of all others, have most reason to bless God, 
who can look back on a long aeries of usefulness, in propor- 
tion to the number ^f rears they have lived : 5otha<: that »ro* 


tnise isfullilledtothem, The^shall still bring forth fruit in old 
age; they shall be fat and flourishing^ Psal. xcii. 14. This is 
more than a common mercy, and therefore requires a greater 
degree of thankfulness, when it may be said of them. The 
hoary head is a crozvn of glory^ being found in the xvay of 
righteousness^ Prov. xvi. 31- and grace keeps equal pace with 
a>-,v; ; and they have nothing to do l^ut to wait for a release, 
from a careful, vain, uneasy life to heaven. Thus concerning 
the occasions we have for thankfulness in every age of life. 

2dly^ We are now to consider the reason that we have to be 
thankful in the various circumstances or conditions of life; 

Ist^ When we have a great measure of outward prosperity, 
which is more than many enjoy; which calls for a proportion- 
able degree of thankfulness, especially if it be sanctified and 
sweetened with a sense of God's special love, so that it is a 
pledge and earnest of better things reserved for us hereafter. 
When we have the good things of this life for our conveniency, 
that our passage through the Vv^orld may be more easy and com- 
fortable to us ; and yet we have ground to hope that this is not 
our portion, or that we are not like those M'hom the Psalmigt 
speaks of, and calls the men of the uoorld^ xvho have their por* 
tio7i in this life^ Psal. xvii. 14. or, like the rich man in the 
parable, to whom it was said, Son^ remember that thou in thy 
life-time receivedst thy good things^ Luke xvi* 25. W6 have 
reason to bless God when outward prosperity is a means of 
our glorifying him, and being more serviceable to promote his 
interest, and not a snare or occasion of sin, when it is not like 
the prosperity of fools ^ which has a tendency to destroy theniy 
Prov. i. 32. or when what is said concerning that murmuring 
generation of men, whom the Psalmist speaks of, that lusted 
exceedingly i7i the wilderness^ and tempted God in the desert: 
so that though he gave them, their request^ he sent leanness into 
their soul^ is not applicable to us, Psal. cvi. 14, 15. Again, 
when we enjoy the outward blessings of yirovidcnce, and, at 
the same time, live above them ; so that our hearts are not too 
much set upon them ; but we are willing to part with them, 
when God is about to deprive us of them, or take us from 
them ; and when outward enjoyments are helps, and not hin- 
drances to us in our way to heaven. These are inducements 
lo the gi-eatest thankfulness, and ought to be acknowledged to 
rue glory of God. 

2i//;/, We have reason to be thankful, though it pleases God 
to follow us with many afflictions and adverse providehces in 
the world : These are not, indeed, to be reckoned blessings in 
themselves ; nevertheless, they are not inconsistent with a thank- 
ful frame of spirit; especialh'j 


Isfj When we take occasion from hence to be affected with 
the vanity, emptiness, and uncertainty of all outif ard comforts, 
which perish in the uaing. 

ad/y, When afflictive providences have a tendency to humble 
and make us submissive to the divine Avill, so that we are 
hereby led to have a deep sense of sin, the procuring cause 
thereof. Thus Jtphraim speaks of his being ciiastised by God, 
and, at the same time, ashamed and confounded^ as bearing the 
reproach of former sins committed by iiim, Jer. xxxi. 18, 19. 
or, when those sins, whicii before prevailed, are hereby pre- 
vented, and we enabled to mortify them : Thus the Psalmist 
says, Bejore Ixvas afficted^ I went astray ; but noxv I have kept 
thy wordy Psal. cxix. 67. And when God is pleased to cause 
his grace to abound as outward troubles abound. 2 Cor. iv. 16. 
and when the want of outward mercies makes us see the worth 
of them, and puts us upon improving every instance of the 
divine goodness, as a great inducement to thankfulness. 

3 J/j/, We have reason to be thankful under afflictions, when 
we have a comfortable hope that they are evidences of ovu- being 
God's children, interested in his special love, Heb. xii. 7. so 
that we have ground to conclude, that he is hereby training us 
up, and making us more meet for the heavenly inheritance, so 
that we can say with the apostle, Our light ctfflictmiy which is 
but for a mo?nent^ worketh for us a for more exceeding and 
eternal weight of glory ^ 2 Cor. iv. 17. 

[2.] We are to express our thankfulness for those mercies 
which we call relative, or for the blessings that others enjoy, 
in whose welfare we are more immediately concerned. As it 
is the duty of every one to desire the good of all men ; so we 
ought to bless God for the mercies bestowed on others as well 
as ourselves. The relation we stand in to others, is either more 
general or extensive, and, in this respect, it may include in it 
all mankind ; and accordingly we are to be thankful for the 
mercies which our fellow-creatures receive from the hand of 
God, inasmuch as hereby the divine perfections ai-e magnified: 
And, as for those who receive the blessings that accompany 
salvation, the ends of Christ's death, and the dispensation of 
the gospel, are hereby attained; and whatever mercies God 
bestows on others, we bless him for them, as taking encourage- 
ment to hope that he v/ill bestow the same blessings upon us, 
when we stand in need of them. 

As tor those who are related to us in the bonds of nature, or 
as members of the family to which we belong, for whose wel- 
fare v/e are more immediately concerned, we may, in some 
measure, reckon the mercies they enjoy, our own, and 
therefore should be induced to bless God, and be thankful for 
them, as well as for those v/hich we receive in our Tjersons.— 

Voj , TV. P n 


There is also another relatioinSvhich is more large and exten- 
sive, namely, that which we stand in to all tlie members oi' 
Christ's mystical body, whom the apostle calls the household of 
faith^ Gal. vi. 10. and, as such, supposes them to be entitled to 
our more special regard: Accordingly we are to express our 
thankfulness to God, in prayer, for all the mercies they receive, 
especially those that are of a spiritual nature; inasmuch as 
herein Christ is glorified, and his interest advanced, Avhich 
ought to be dearer to us than any thing that relates to our own 
private or personal interest, as the Psalmist speaks of his pre- 
ferring Jerusalem's welfare above his chief joy ^ Psal. cxxxvii. 6. 
And that v/hich farther inclines us to do this, is, because we 
hope that we shall be made partakers of the same blessings, 
v\'hereby others will have occasion to bless God on our behalf. 
Thus concerning the inducements we have to thankfulness for 
blessings received, either by ourselves or others. 

I shall conclude this head by considering, that thankfulness, 
.which ought to be a great ingredient in prayer, is always to be 
accompanied with the exercise of other graces, whereby we 
are disposed to adore and magnify the divine perfections that 
are displayed in the distribution of those favours which wc 
bless him for; together v/ith an humble sense of our own uri- 
worthiness of the least of those mercies which we enjoy, and an 
earnest desire that we may be enabled, not only to do this in 
v/ords, but to express our thankfulness to him by such a frame 
of spirit as is agreeable thereto. 

There are two things more, contained in the answer we 
have been explaining, v/ithout the due consideration whereof, 
the duty of prayer would be very imperfectly handled, name- 
ly, its being an offering up of our desires to God in the name 
of Christ, and by the help of the Spirit : But since these are 
particularly insisted on in some following answers, I have pur 
posely waved the consideration of them at present. 

Quest. CLXXIX. Are zve to pray unto God only ? 

Anstv. God only being able to €earch the hearts, hear the 
requests, pardon the sins, and only to be believed in, and 
worshipped with religious worship, prayer, which is a special 
part thereof, is to be made by all to him alone, and to none 

Quest. CLXXX. What is it to pray in the iiavic of Christ ? 

Answ. To pray in the name of Christ is in obedience to his 
command, and in confidence on his promises to ask mercy 


for his sake, not by bare mentioning of his n^me, but by 
drawing our encouragement to pray, and ^ur boldness, 
strength, and hope of acceptance in prayer, from Christ and 
his mediation. 

Quest. CLXXXI. Why are we to pray in the name of Chris tP 

Answ. The sinfulness of man, and his distance from God by 
reason thereof, being so great as that we can have no access 
into his presence without a Mediator ; and there being none 
in heaven or earth appointed to, or fit for that glorious 
work, but Christ alone; we are to pray in no other name 
but his only. 

IN these answers we have a farther explication of what i? 
briefly laid down in the last ; and that, more especially, as 
to what respects the object of prayer; and the method pre- 
scribed in the gospel, relating to our drawing nigh to God, 
through a mediator, which is called praying in the name of 
Christ ; together with the reason hereof. 

I. It is observed, that prayer is to be made to God alone, 
and to none other. This appears, 

1. Because it is an act of religious worship, which is due to 
none but God ; as our Saviour says, Thou shalt xvorship the 
Lord thy God^ and him only shalt thou serve. Matt. iv. 10. — < 
This can be denied by none who are, in any measure, acquaint- 
ed either with natural or revealed religion ; in which we are 
obliged to extol, adore, and admire those divine perfections 
which are displayed in the works of nature and grace, and to 
seek that help from him, and those supplies of grace that we 
stand in need of to make us completel}'- blessed, which sup- 
poses him to be infinitely perfect and all-sufficient. Now to 
ascribe this divine glory to a creature, either directly, or by 
consequence, is, in effect, to say that he is equal with God, 
and thereby to rob him of that glory that is due to him alone, 
to seek that ixova the creature, that none but God can give, or 
to ascribe any of the perfections of the divine nature to it, i"^ 
the highest affront that can be offered to the divine Majesty. 
Now as prayer without adoration and invocation, is destitute 
of those ingredients which render it an act of religious wor- 
ship ; so to address ourselves, in such a way, to any one but 
God, is an instance of such profaneness and idolatry, as is not 
to be mentioned without the greatest detestation. 

2. Prayer is to be made only to God, inasmuch as he onlv 
is able to search the heart, which is a glory peculiar to himself, 
in which he is distinguished from all creatures, 1 Kings viii. 39a 
Acts i. 24. It is the heart that is principally to be i-egarded in 


prayer : If this be not right w'^th God, there is no glory that 
•we can ascribe to him, that will be reckoned any better than 
faitering- him -with our mouth, and lying- to him xvith our 
tongues, Psal. Ixxviii. 36, 37. as the Psalmist says : Therefore, 
the inward frame of our spirit, and the principle, or spring 
from whence all religious duties proceed, being only known 
to God, prayer is only to be directed to him. 

3. He alone can hear our requests, pardon our sins, and 
fulfil our desires. Prayer, when addressed to God, is not like 
that in which we desire those favours from men, which are of 
a lower nature, whereby some particular wants are supplied, 
in those respects in which one creature may be of advantage 
to another ; but when we pray to God, we seek those blessings 
which are the effects of infinite power and goodness, such as 
may make us completely happy, both in this and a better 
world. Moreover, we are to implore forgiveness of sin from 
him in prayer J which is a blessing none can bestow but God, 
Mark ii. 7. for as his lav/ is the rule by which the goodness or 
badness of actions are determined ; and the threatening which 
he has annexed to it, is that which renders us liable to that 
puuishmtnt sin deserves; so it is he alone that can remit the 
debt of punishment, which we are liable to, and give us a right 
and title to forfeited blessings ; w hich being the principal thing 
that we are to seek for in prayer, this argues that none but God 
is the object theieof. 

4. God alone is to be believed in : Accordingly prayer, if 
it be acceptable to him, must be performed by faith. ' Thus 
the apostle says, Horv shall theij call on him, in whom theij have 
not believed? Rom. x. 14. There must be a firm persuasion 
that he can grant us the blessings we ask for; herein faith ad- 
dresses itself to him as God all-sufficient; and is persuaded that 
he will fulfil all his promises, as a God of infinite faithfulness; 
and accordingly we are to give up ourselves entirely to him as 
our proprietor and bountiful benefactor, the only fountain of 
blessedness, and object of religious worship : This is to be done 
by faith in prayer, and consequently it is to be directed to God 

II. We are now to consider what it is to pray in the name of 
Christ : This doth not consist barely in a mentioning his name; 
which many do when they ask for favours for his sake, without 
a due regard to the method God has ordained ; in which we 
are to draw nigh to him by Christ our great Mediator, who 
is to be glorified as the person by whom we are to have access 
to God the Father as the fountain of all the blessings, which 
are communicated to us in this method of divine grace. To 
come to God in Christ's name, includes in it the whole work 
of faith, as to what it has to plead with, or hope for, from him, 


through a Mediator, in that way which he has nrescribed t«. 
us in the gospel. And this more especially insists in our 
making a right use of what Christ has done and suffered for 
us, as the foundation of our hope, that God will be pleased to 
grant us what he has purchased thereby ; which contains the 
sum of all that we can desire, when drawing nigh to him in 
prayer. Here let it be considered, 

1. That the thoughts of having to do with an absolute God, 
cannot but fill us with the utmost distress and confusion, when 
we consider ourselves as guilty sinners, and God, out of Christ, 
as a sin-revenging Judge, a consuming fire, Heb. xii. 29. in 
which case we may well say, as our first parent did, imme- 
diately after his fail, / heard thy voice and I was afraid^ Gen. 
iii. 10. 

2. God is obliged, in honour, as a God of infinite holiness, 
to separate and banish sinners from his comfortable presence, 
they being liable to the curse and condemning sentence of the 
law ; by reason whereof his terror makes them afraid, and his 
dread falls upon them ; nevertheless, 

3. They have, in the gospel, not only an invitation to come, 
but a discovery of that great Mediator, whom God has or- 
dained to conduct his people into his presence, having procured 
liberty of access to him, or, as the apostle expresses it, bold- 
Jiess to enter into the holiest by his blood, by a nexv and living- 
zvay^ xvhich he has consecrated for us through the vail, that is 
to say, his fiesh, Heb. x. 19, 20. and he has, for this end, 
erected a throne of grace, and encouraged us to come to it, 
and given many great and precious prornises, whereby we may 
hope for acceptance in his sight; these being all established in 
Christ, and the blessings contained therein procured by his 
blood, and having liberty, in coming, to plead v/hat he has 
done and suffered, as what was designed to be the foundation 
of our hope of obtaining mercy, we are said to come and maky 
our supplications to God in the name of Christ. 

III. We are now to consider the reason why we are to pray 
in the name of Christ; and that we have in one of the answers 
we are explaining. In which it is observed; that man, by sin, 
is set at such a distance from God, that he cannot, by any 
means, come into his presence. God cannot look upon hini 
with any delight or complacency ; inasmuch as his guilt ren- 
ders him the object of his abhorrence ; and he cannot do any 
thing which has a tendency to reconcile God to him, and there- 
fore he is speechless, and can ask for no blessing at his hand. 
And it is farther observed, that there is none in heaven or 
earth, that is, no mere creature, that is fit for that glorious. 
work ; none has a sufficiency of merit to present to God, 
v^hereby he may be said to make atonement for sin ; or, as Job 

302 ov THE spirit's help in prayer. 

expresses it, there is 7io days-man that might lay his hand in 
both parties, Job ix. :io. that is, able to deal with God in pay- 
ing a ransom; which he may, in honour accept of; ok. witli 
man, by encouraging him to hope that he shall obtain the 
blessings which he stands in need of; and bringing him into 
such a frame, that he may draw nigh to God in a right manner. 
This is only owing to our Lord Jesus Christ; and he does it 
as our great Mediator, who alone is fit to manage this im- 
portant work ; therefore we are to pray to God, only in his 
name, who is, by divine appointment, an advocate with the Fa- 
ther, pleading our cause before his throne, and thereby giving 
us ground of encouragement, that our persons shall be ac- 
cepted, and our prayers answered upon his account, who is 
the only Mediator of redemption and intercession, in whom 
God is well pleased, and gives a believer ground to conclude 
that he shall not seek his face in vain. 

Quest. CLXXXII. How doth the Spirit help us to pray ?, 

Answ. We not knowing what to pray for as we ought, the 
Spirit hclpeth our infirmities, by enabling us to understand 
both for whom, and what, and how prayer is to be made, 
and bv working and quickening in our hearts (although not 
in all persons, not at all times in the same measure) those 
apprehensions, affections, and graces, which are requisite 
for the right performance of that duty. 

Quest. CLXXXIII. For xvhom are we to pray? 

Answ. We are to pray for the whole church of Christ, upon 
earth, for magistrates and ministers, for ourselves, our bre- 
thren, yea, our enemies, and for all sorts of men living, or 
that shall live hereafter, but not for the dead, nor for those 
that are known to have sinned the sin unto death. 

Quest. CLXXXIV. For xvhat things are xve to pray P 

Answ. We are to pray for all things tending to the glory of 
God, the welfare of the church, our own, or other's good, but 
not for any thing that is unlawful. 

AS there is no duty that we can perform in a right manner, 
without help obtained from God— And the same may be 
said, in particular, concerning that of prayer : Accordingly we 
are led, 

I. To speak of the help that the Spirit of God is pleased to 


afford believers, in order to their engaging aright in this duty.. 
Here we may observe, ^ 

1. That it is supposed that we know not what to pray for as 
we ought, or how to bring our souls into a prepared frame for 
this duty, without the Spirit's assistance. 

(1.) We are oftentimes at a loss with respect to the matter 
of prayer; and this may be said to proceed from our being 
unacquainted with ourselves, and not duly sensible of our 
wants, weaknesses, or secret faults : Sometimes we cannot de- 
termine whether we are in a state of grace or no ; or, if v/e are, . 
whether it is increasing or declining ; or, if we have ground to 
complain by reason of the hidings of God's face, and our want 
of communion with him, we are oftentimes hard put to it to find 
out what is that secret sin which is the occasion of it; nor are we 
sufliciently apprized of the wiles of Satan, or the danger we 
arc in of being ensnared or overcome thereby. Moreover, we 
are oftentimes not able to know how to direct our prayers to 
God aright, as we know not what is most conducive to his 
glory, or what it is that he requires of us, either in obedience 
to his commanding will, or in submission to his providential 
will. Hence it arises, that many good men, in scripture, have 
asked for some things which have been in themselves unlaw- 
ful, through the weakness of their faith, and the prevalency of 
their corruption : Thus some have desired, that God would 
call them out of this world by death, being impatient under 
the many troubles they met with therein ; accordinglv we read 
concerning Elijah, that * he requested for himself that he might 
' die, and said. It is enough ; now, O Lord, take away my 
' life ; for I am not better than my fathers,' 1 Kings xix. 4. 
and job says, ' O that I might have my request ! and that God 
' would grant me the thing that I long for ! Even that it would 
' please God to destroy me ; that he would let loose his hand, 
" and cut me off,' Job vi. 8, 9. And Jonah says, ' O Lord, I 

* beseech thee, take my life from me ; for it is better for me to 
' die than to liv^,' Jonah iv. 3. And Moses, though he had 
the character of the meekest man upon earth, and doubtless 
excelled all others in his day, in those graces which he had 
received from God, as well as in the great honours conferred 
on him ; yet he puts up a most unbecoming prayer, both as to 
the matter and manner thereof; as it is observed, that he said 
unto the Lord, ' Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant? 
'- and wherefore have I not found favour in thy sight, that thou 

* layest the burden of all this people upon me ? Have I con- 

* ceivcd all this people ? have I begotten them, that thou should- 
' est say unto me. Cany them in thy bosom (as a nursinp- 
*■ father beareth the sucking child) unto the land which thoti 

* vswarest unto their fathers i Whence should I have flesh to 


' give unto all this people rror they weep unto me, saying, 
' Give us flesh, that we may eat. I am not able to bear all this 
■■ people alone, because it is too heavy for me. And il thou deal 
' thus with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, it I have 
- found favour in thy sight ; and let me not see my wretched- 
■ ness,' Numb. xi. 11 — 15. And, in another instance, he asks 
i'ov a thing which he knew before hand, that God would not 
^jrant him, when he says, ' I pray thee, let me go over and see 
'- the good land that is beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain, 
' and Lebanon :' Upon which God says, * Let it suffice thee, 

* speak no more unto me of this matter,' Deut. iii. 25, 26. — 
Many instances of the like nature are mentioned in scripture ; 
and, indeed, nothing is more obvious from daily experience, 
that what the apostle James observes, tliat persons ' ask and 

* receive not, because they ask amiss,' James iv. 3. or what the 
apostle Paul says, ' We know not what we should pray for as 
■vve ought, Rom. viii. 26. 

(2.) We are, at other times, straitened in our affections., 
and so know not how to ask any thing with a suitable frame of 
spirit : It is certain we cannot excite our affections, or espe- 
cially put forth those graces which are to be exercised in 
pra5^er, when we please. Our hearts are sometimes dead, 
cold, and inclined to wander from God in this duty; and, at 
other times, we pray with a kind of indiffei-ency, as though it 
v/as of no great importance whether our prayer were answered 
.»• no. How seldom do we express that importunity in this 

laty which Jacob did, ' I will not let thee go, except thou 
' lilcss me i" Gen. xxxii. 26. And as for those graces that are 

o be exercised in prayer, we often want that reverence, and 
those high and awful thoughts of the divine Majesty, which 
■wc ought to have, who draw nigh to a God of infinite perfec- 
tion ; nor, on the other hand, do we express those low and 
humble thoughts of ourselves, as our own meanness, the im- 
aerfection of our best pei-formances, and the infinite distance 

■/hich we stand at from God, ought to suggest; and to this 
we may add, that we are often destitute of that love to Christ, 
and trust in him, which are necessary to the right performance 
.1 this datv, as also of that hope of being heard, which is a 
7 cry great encouragement to it. 
2. We are now to enquire wherein the Spirit is said to help 

)ur infii'-mities ; and this may be considered as adapted to that 
:wo-foid necessity v/hich we are often under, respecting the 
matter or frame of spirit with which this duty is to be per- 

(1.) The Spirit helps our infirmities, with respect to thf- 
matter of prayer. This is not in the least derogatory to his 
dvivinc glory, if he is pleased tg coodesceud thus to conver'-^ 


v/ith man, and it is not contrary to the nature o£ things j for 
the Spirit, being a divine Person, searches the heart, and can 
impress those ideas on the souls of his people, whereby they 
may be led into the knowledge of those things that they ought 
to ask in prayer, with as much facility as any one can convey 
his ideas to another by words. If it was impossible for God 
to do this, his providence could not be conversant about in- 
telligent creatures, any otherwise than in an objective way, in 
which it would not differ from that which may be attributed to 
finite spirits. And it v/ould have been impossible for Ciod to 
have imparted his mind and will by extraordinary revelation, 
(without which, it could not have been known) if he may not, 
though it be in an ordinary wav, communicate those ideas to 
the souls of his people, whereby they may be furnished with 
matter for prayer. 

I am not pleading for extraordinary revelation ; for that is to 
♦"xpect a blessing that God does not now give to his people : 
But I only argue from the greater to the less ,• whereby it 
may appear, that it is not impossible, or absurd, from the na- 
ture of the thing, or contrary to the divine perfections, for God 
to impress the thoughts of men in an ordinary way ; since he 
formerly did this in an extraordinary, as will be allowed bj' 
all, who are not disposed to deny and set aside revealed reli- 
gion. Moreover, there was such a thing in the apostle's days^ 
as being led by the Spirit, which was distinguished from his 
miraculous and extraordinary influences, as a Spirit of inspira- 
tion ; otherwise, it is certain, he would not have assigned thir^ 
as a character of the children of God, which he does, Rom. 
viii. 14. And when our Saviour promises his people the Spirit 
to g-uii/e them into all truths John xvi. 13. I cannot think that 
this only respected the apostles, or their being led into the 
truths that they were to impart to the church by divine inspi- 
ration ; but it seems to be a privilege that belongs to all be- 
lievers : Therefore, w^e conclude, that it is no absurdity to 
suppose that he may assist his people, as to what concerns the 
matter of their prayers, or suggest to them those becoming 
thoughts which they have in prayer, when drawing nigh t© 
God in a right manner. 

Some have enquired, whether we may conclude that the 
Spirit of God furnishes his people with words in prayer, dis- 
tinct from his impressing ideas on their minds ? This I would 
be very cautious in determining, lest I should hereby not put 
a just difference between this assistance of the Spirit, that be- 
lievers hope for, and that which the prophets of old received 
by inspiration. I dare not say, that the Spirit's work consists 
in furnishing believers v\'ith proper expressions, with which 
their ideas are clothed, when they engage in this duty, but 

Vol. ^^ ^l q 

506 of THE spirit's help 11^ PKAYLR', 

rather with those suitable arguments and apprehensions ot 
divine things, which are more immediately subservient there- 
unto : Accordingly the apostle, speaking of the Spirit'svassist: 
ing believers, when they know not what to pray for as they 
ought, says, that he does this xvith groanings that cannot be 
littered: that is, he impresses on their souls those divine 
breathings after things spiritual and heavenly, which they 
sometimes, notwithstanding, want v/ords to express ; though, 
at the same time, the frame of their spirits may be under a 
divine influence, which God is said to know the meaning of, 
when he graciously hears and ansv/ers their prayers, how im- 
perfect soever they may be, as to the mode of expression. 

(2.) The Spirit helps our infirmities by giving us a suitable- 
frame of spirit, and exciting those graces which are to be ex- 
ercised in this duty of prayer. This the Psalmist calls, pre- 
paring their hearts ; which God does, and then causes his ear 
to hear, Psal. x. 17. which is a very desirable blessing; and. 
in order to our understanding it aright, let it be considered, 

[l.] That we cannot, without the Spirit's assistance, bring 
our hearts into a right frame for prayer ; and that is the rea- 
son why we engage in this duty, in such a manner as gives 
great uneasiness to us when we reflect upon it; so that when 
we pretend to draw nigh to God, we can hardly say that wc 
worship him as God, but become vain in our imaginations ,' 
and the corruption of our nature discovers itself more at this 
time than it does on other occasions ; and Satan uses his ut- 
most endeavours to distract and disturb our thoughts, and take 
off the edge of our affections ; whereby we seem not really to 
desire those things which, with our lips, we ask at the hand 
of God. As for an unregenerate man, he has not a principle 
of grace, and therefore cannot pray in faith, or with the exer- 
cise of those other graces which he is destitute of; and the be- 
liever is renewed but in part, and therefore, if the Spirit i? 
not pleased to excite the principle of grace which he has im- 
planted, he is very much indisposed for this duty, which cannot 
be performed aright without his assistance. 

[2.] We are, nevertheless, to use our utmost endeavours, in 
order thereunto, hoping for a blessing from God to succeed 
them. According]}', we are to meditate on the divine perfec- 
tions, and the evil of sin, which is contrary thereunto ; where- 
by we are rendered guilty, defiled, and unworthy to come into 
the presence of God ; yet we consider ourselves as invited to 
«:ome to him in the gospel, and encouraged by his promise 
and grace, to cast ourselves before his footstool, in hope of ob- 
taining mercy from him. 

We are also to examine ourselves, that we may knov/ what 
Ams are to be confessed bv us, and what are those necessities 


which will afford mattei- for petition or supplicatbn in prayer, 
together with the mercies we have received ; wnich are to be 
thankfully acknowledged therein. We are also to consider 
the many encouragements which we have, to draw nigh to God 
in this duty, taken from his being ready to pardon our iniqui- 
ties, heal our backsUdings, help our infirmities, and grant us 
undeserved favours. We must also impress on our souls a 
due sense of the spirituality of the duty we are to engage in, 
and that v/e have to do with the heart-searching God, who will 
be worshipped with revei:ence and holy fear ; and therefore 
we are to endeavour to excite all the powers and faculties of 
our souls, to engage in this duty in such a way that we may 
hereby glorify his name, and hope to receive a gracious answer 
from him. 

[3.] When we have used our utmost endeavours to bring 
ourselves into a praying frame, yet we must depend on the 
Holy Spirit to give success thereunto, that we may be enabled 
to exercise those graces that are more especially his gift and 
work : And, in order thereunto, 

Isty We must give glory to him as the author of regenera- 
tion, since no grace can be exercised in this duty but what 
proceeds from a right principle, or a nature renewed, and in- 
ternally sanctified, and disposed for the performance hereof i 
which is his work, as the Spirit of ^t ace and of supplication ^ 
Zech. xii. 10. 

2dly^ As we are to draw nigh to God in this duty, as a re 
conciled God and Father, if we hope to be accepted by him .: 
so we are to consider, that this is the peculiar Vtork of the Spi- 
rit, whereby we are enabled to cry^ Abha^ Father^ Rom. viii. 15. 
Gal. iv. 6. This will not only dispose us to perform this duty 
in a right manner, so as to enable us to pray in faith ; but it 
will afford us ground of hope that our prayers will be heard 
and answered by him. 

Qdly^ Inasmuch as we often are straitened in our spirits, 
which is a great hindrance to us in this duty, we must consi- 
der it as a peculiar blessing and gift of the Holy Ghost, to have 
our hearts enlarged ; which the Psalmist intends, when he says. 
Bring my soul out of prison^ that I may praise thy name^ Psal, 
cxlii. 7. and it is u peculiar branch of that liberty which he is 
pleased to bestow on his people, under the gospei-illspensation ; 
as the apostle says. Where the Spirit of the Lord is^ there is li 
^^erty^ 2 Cor. iii. 17. And by this means our alTections will be 
raised, and we enabled to pour out our souls before him. 

This may give us occasion to enquire concerning the difFe- 
rcnce that there is betvv^een raised aiicctions in prayer, which 
Tinregenerate persons sometimes have, from external motives ; 
and tho3s which the Spirit excites in U!> as a peculiar blessing. 

3(*8 0? THE oPIKIT's help IN PIlAY£n'- 

whereby he assists us in the aischarge of this duty. There are 
several things in which they differ ; as, 

1^^, The former of these oftentimes proceeds from a slavish 
fear and dread of tlie wrath of God ; the latter from a love to., 
and desire after him, which arises from the view we have of 
his glorv, as our covenant God, in and through a Mediator. 

2dly^ Raised aff-^ctions in unregenerate persons, are seldom 
found, but when thty are under some pressing affliction, in 
which case, as the prophet says, Theij xvill seek God earbj^ Hos.. 
V. 15. but when this is removed, the affections grow stupid, 
cold, and indifferent, as they were before his afflicting hand 
was laid upon them : Whereas, on the other hand, a believer 
will find his heart drawn forth after God and divine things, 
when he is not sensible of any extraordinary affliction that 
gives vent to his passions ; or he finds, that as afflictions tend 
to excite some graces in the exercise whereof his affections are 
moved, so when it pleases God to deliver him from, them, his 
affections are still raised while other graces are exercised 
agreeably, thereunto. 

36%, Raised affections, in unregenerate men, for the most 
part, carry them forth in the pursuit of those temporal bless- 
ings which they stand in need of : Thus when Esau sought 
the blessing carefully with tears, it was that outward prosperi- 
ty which was contained therein, that he had principally in 
view, as disdaining that his brother Jacob should be preferred 
before him ; or, as it is said, made his Lord^ and his brethren 
given him for servants^ Gen. xxvii. o7. but he had no regard 
to the spiritual or saving blessings contained therein : Where- 
as, a believer is most concerned for, and affected with those 
blessings that immediately accompany salvation, or contain in 
them the special love of God, or communion with him, which 
he prefers to all other things : Thus the Psalmist says. There 
he many that say^ Who will shew us any good? Lord^ lift thou 
up the light of thy countenance upon us, Psal. iv. G. And ta 
this we may add, 

4thlyy Whatever raised affections unregenerate persons may 
have, they want a broken heart, an humble sense of sin, and 
an earnest desire that it may be subdued and mortified ; they 
are destitute of self-denial, and other graces of the like nature, 
which, in some degree, arc found in a believer, when assisted 
by the Spirit, in performing the duty of prayer in a right 

From v^hat has been said concerning the Spirit's assistance 
in prayer, we may infer, 

Isty That there is a great difference between the gift and the 
grace of prayer : The former may be attained by the improve- 
racnt of oiir natural abilities, and is oftentimes of use to othfre 


who join with us therein ; whereas the latter is a peculiar 
felessing from the Spirit of God, and an eviden^ of the truth 
of grace. 

2^/y, They who deny that the Spirit has any hand in the 
work of grace, and consequently disown his assistance in 
prayer, cannot be said to give hini that glory that is due to 
him, and therefore must be supposed to be destitute of his 
assistance, and very deficient as to this duty. 

2dli/^ Let us not presume on the Spirit's assistance in prayer, 
while we continue in a course of grieving him, and quenching- 
his holy motions. 

t^thiij^ Let us desire raised affections, as a great blessings 
from God, and yet not be discouraged from engaging in pray- 
er, though we want them ; since this grace, as well as all 
others, is dispensed in a way of sovereignty : And if he is 
pleased, for wise ends, to withhold his assistance ; yet we 
must not say, why should I wait on the Lord any longer ? 

Sthly^ If we would pi-ay in the Spirit, or experience his help, 
to perform this duty in a right manner, let us endeavour to 
walk in the Spirit, and to maintain a spiritual, holy, self-deny - 
ing frame, at all times, if we would not be destitute of it, 
"when we engage in this duty. This leads us to consider, 

IL The persons for v/hom we are to prayj and ontheothei 
hand, who are not to be prayed for. 

1. As to the former of those : It is observed, 

(1.) That we are to pray for the whole church of Christ 
upon earth ; by which we are to understand, all those that pro- 
fess the faith of the gospel, especially such whose practice is 
agreeable to their profession ; and in particular, all those reli- 
gious societies who consent to walk in those ordinances where- 
by they testify their subjection to Christ, as king of saints. 
The particular members of which these, societies consist, are, 
for the most part, unknown to us ; so that we cannot pray for 
them by name, or as being acquainted with the condition and 
circumstances in which they are ; yet they are not to be whol- 
ly disregarded, or excluded from the benefit of our prayers : 
Thus the apostle speaks of the great conflict he had^ not only 
for them at Laodicea ; but ^ for as many as had not seen his face 
in the fleshy Col. ii. 1. This is a peculiar branch of the com- 
munion of saints, and it is accompanied with those earnest de- 
sires which we have, that God may be glorified in them, 
and by them, as well as ourselves ; particularly we are to 

[l.] That they may be united together in love to God and 
to one another, John xvii. 21. That this may be attended with 
all those other graces and comforts which are an evidenct; 
of their interest in Christ. 


[2.] That they may hav?Wie special presence of God witlx 
them in all his ordinances, which will be a visible testimony 
of his regard to them, and an honour put on his own institu- 
tions, as well as an accomplishment of what he promrsed to 
his aposdes just before he ascended into heaven, that he 
v/ould be with them always even unto the end of the zvorU, 
Mat. XXV iii. 20. 

[3.] That the}' may be supported under the burdens, diffi- 
culties and persecutions which they meet v/ith, either from the 
powers of darkness or wicked men, for Christ's sake, that so 
the promise may be made good to them, that the gates of hell 
shall not prevail against them^ chap. xvi. 1 8. 

[4.] I'hat there may be added to particular churches out of the 
worIcl,,many such as shall be saved, Ac^s ii. 47. which shall be 
an argument of the success of the gospel : And when we pray, 
that God would magnify his grace in bringing sinners home 
to himself, we arc to pray for the accomplishment of those pro- 
mises that respect the conversion of the Jews : Thus the apos- 
tle says, Brethren., my hearths desire and prayer to God for Is- 
rael is^ that they -/night be saved,, Rom. x. 1. and, that there 
may be a greater spread of the gospel throughout the most re- 
mote and dark parts of the earth, among whom Christ is, 
.it present, unknown : This the apostle calls The fulness of 
the Gentiles coming in,, chap. xi. 25. and it is agreeable to 
what is foretold by the prophet Isaiah, in chap. Ix. which 
seems not as yet to have had its full accomplishment. 

[5.] We are to pray that the life of faith and holiness may 
be daily promoted in all the faithful members of the church 
of Christ, that they may be enabled more and more to adorn 
the doctrine of God, O'lr Saviour, and be abundantly satis- 
fied, and delighted with the fruits and effects of his redeeming 

[6.] That God would accept of those sacrifices of prayer 
and praise that are daily offered to him by faith, in the blood 
of Christ, in every worshipping assembly, which will redound 
to the advantage of all the servants of Christ, whom they 
think themselves obliged to make mention of in their prayers, 
as well as to the glOry of God, which is owned and advanced 

[7.] That the children of believers, who are devoted to God, 
may be under his special care and protection, that they may 
follow the footsteps of the flock, and fill up the places of those 
who are called off the stage of this world ; that so there may 
be a constant supply of those who shall bear a testimony to 
Christ and his gospel in the rising generation. 

[8.] That the members of every particular church of Christ 
may acquit themselves so as that they may honour him in tl^e 


r3'cs of the world, and be supported and carried safely through 
this waste howling wilderness, till they arrive n that better 
country for which they are bound ; and that they may not 
be foiled or overcome while they are in their militant state, 
but may be joined with the church triumphant in heaven. 

(2.) We are to pray for magistrates. This is not only in- 
cluded in the general exhortation given us to praijfor all me?i : 
but they ^ire particularly mentioned by the apoctle, and it is 
intimated that it hg-ood and acceptable in the siifkt of God our 
Saviour^ 1 Tim. ii. 1- — 3. This also may be argued from hence, 
that magistracy is God's ordinance, Rom. xiii. 1, 2. and there 
is no ordinance which is cnstamped with the divine authority, 
though it may principally respect civil affairs ; but we are to 
pray that God would succeed and prosper it, that it may answer 
the valuable ends for which it was appointed. 

Now there are several things that we are to pray for in 
the behalf of magistrates, viz. that they may approve them- 
selves rulers after God's own heart, tofulfd all his rvill^ Acts 
xii. 26, as was said of David ; that their counsels and conduct 
may be ordered for his glory, and the good of his church ; 
that they may not be a terror to good works ; namely, to per- 
sons tliat perform them, h\xt to the evil; and so may not bear 
the sxvordin vain, Rom. xiii. 3, 4. Accordingly we are to pray, 
that they may be a public blessing to all their subjects, and 
herein that promise may be fuHilled ; King's shall be thy 
mtrsing-fathers, and their queens thy nursing-7nothers, Isa. 
xlix. 23. and, as an instance hereof, that under them xue may 
lead a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty, 1 
Tim. ii. 2. And, as to what concerns their subjects, that their 
authority may not be abused and trampled on by them, on the 
one hand, while they take occasion to ofFend with impunity ; 
nor be dreaded as grievous toothers v/hofeel the weight there- 
of, in instances of injustice and oppression. 

(3.) We are to pray for ministers. This is a necessary duty, 
inasmuch as their work is exceeding great and difficult ; so that 
the apostle might well say, Who is su^.cient for these things, 
2 Cor. ii. 16. And, indeed, besides the difficulties that attend 
the worlv itself, there are others that they meet with, arising 
IVom the unstable temper of professed friends, who sometimes, 
as the apostle says, become their enemies for telling ttiem the 
trxuh. Gal. iv. 16. or from the restless malice and violent op- 
position of open enemies j v/hich e\ identl}' takes its rise from 
that inveterate hatred that they bear to Christ and his gospel. 
Moreover, as they have difficulties in the discharge of the 
work they are called to, so they must give an account to 
God for their faithfulness therein ; and it is of the highest 
importance that they do this xvith. joy-, and not xvilh grief 


Heb. xiii. 17, 18. as the aposlle speaks ; and immediately he 
intreats the church's prayers, as that which was necessary ia 
order hereunto. Now there are several things which ought to 
be the suoject-matter of our prayers, with respect to minis* 

[1.] That God would send forth a supply or succession oi 
them, to answer the church's necessities ; inasmuch as the har- 
vest is plenteous^ as our Saviour observes, but the lahcv.rcrs are 
few. Matt. xi. 37, 38. 

[2.] That they may answer the character which the apostle 
gives of a faithful minister ; and accordingly study to shew 
themselves approved unto God, workmen that need not to be 
ashamed, rightly dividing the x^ord of truth, 2 Tim. ii. 15. 

[3.] That they m.ay be directed and enabled to impart those 
truths that are substantial, edifying, and suitable to the cir- 
cumstances and condition of their hearers. 

[4.] That they may be spirited with zeal, and love to souls, 
•in the whole course of their ministry ', that the glory of God, 
and the advancement of his truth may lie nearest their hearts, 
and a tender concern and compassion for the souls of men, 
may incline them to use their utmost endeavours, as the apos- 
tle speaks, to save them with fear ^ pulling them out of the fire - 
Jude, ver. 23. 

[5,] That their endeavours may be attended with success, 
which, in some measure, may give them a comfortable hope 
that they are called, accepted, and approved of by God, which, 
from the nature of the thing will tend to their own advan 
tage, who make this the subject of our earnest prayers on their 
behalf; and, indeed, the neglect of performing this duty, may, 
in some measure, be assigned as one reason why the word is 
often preached with very little success ; so that this ought to 
be performed, not barely as an act of favour, but as a duty 
that redounds to our own advantage. 

(4.) We are to pray, not only for ourselves and our bre 
thren, but for our enemies. That we are to pray for our- 
selves, none ever denied, how much so ever many live in the 
neglect of this duty ; and as for our obligation to pray for otir 
brethren, that is founded in the law of nature ; which obliges 
us to love them as ourselves, and, consequently, to desii-e thei; 
welfare, together with our own. 

However, it may be enquired, what we are to understand b}' 
our brethren, for whom we are to express this great concern 
in our supplications to God ? For the understanding of which., 
let it be considered, that, besides those who are called bre- 
thren, in the most known acceptation of the word, as Jacob's 
^ox\?, X.A\]o?,t^\\,lVe be tzvelve brethren, sons of one father. Gen. 
xlii= 32. it ii: sometimes taken, in scripture, for any near kins- 


man : Thus Abraham and Lot are called brethren, chap. xiii. 
3. though they were not sons of the same tather/ftor Lot was 
Abraham's brother's son, chap. xi. 31. this is a very common 
acceptation of the word in scripture. Again, it is sometimes 
taken in a more large sense, for those who are members of the 
same church : Thus the apostle calls those that belonged to 
the church at Colosse, the saints and faithful brethren in Christ, 
Col. i. 2. and sometimes they who are of the same nation, are 
called brethren : Thus it is said, When Moses was full forty 
years old^ it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children 
of Israel^ Acts vii. 23. And it is sometimes taken for those 
who make profession of the same religion with ourselves ; and 
also for those who are kind and friendly to us : Thus it is 
said, A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for ad- 
'sersitif, Prov. xvii. 17. and, indeed, the word is sometimes 
taken in the largest sense that can be, as comprizing in it all 
mankind, who have the same nature with ourselves, 1 Johu. 
iv. 21. These are objects of love, and therefore our prayers 
are, especially in proportion to the nearness of the relation 
they stand in to us, to be directed to God on their behalf. 
Some, indeed, are allied to us by stronger bonds than others ; 
Wut none, who are entitled to our love, pity, and compassion, 
are to be wholly excluded from our prayers. 

This will farther appear, if we consider that v/e are also t© 
pray for our enemies, as the law of nature obliges us to do 
good for evil ; and consequently, as our Saviour says, we are 
vo pray for them xvhich despitefully use us^ and persecute us^ 
Matt. V. 44, We are not, indeed, to pray for them, that they 
may obtain their wicked and unjust designs against us ; or that 
they may have power and opportunity to hurt us ; for that is 
contrary to the principle of self-preservation, which is im- 
pressed on our nature J but we are to pray for them. 

[1.] That however they carry it to us they may be made 
Christ's friends, their hearts changed, and they enabled to 
serve his interest; that they, together with ourselves, may be 
partakers of everlasting salvation ; therefore it is a vile thing,, 
and altogether inconsistent with the spirit of a christian, to de- 
sire the ruin, much more the damnation of any one, as many 
wickedly and profanely do. 

[2.] We are to pray that their corruptions may be subdued, 
their tempers softened, and their hearts changed ; so that they 
may be sensible of, and lay aside their unjust resentments 
against us. And, 

[3.] If they are under any distress or misery, we are not tc 
insult or take pleasure in beholding it, but to pity them, and 
to pray for their deliverance, as much as though they were EOt 
enemies to us. 

Vol. IV. R r 

J 14- '-ii'' THE Sk'iRiX 3 UELS IS i'ilAXLK. 

(5.) We are to pray not only for all sorts of men now liv- 
ing; according to what is contained in the last head, but for 
tliose that shall live hereafter. This includes in it an earnest 
desire that the interest of Christ may be propagated from ge- 
neration to generation ; and his kingdom and glory advanced 
in the world until his second coming : Thus the Psalmist says. 
Me tvill reg'ard the prayer of the destitute^ and not dcspiae their 
prayer : This shall be written for the i>-eneralion to c07ne ; and 
the people which shall be created^ shall praise the Lord^ Psal. cii. 
17, 18. and our Saviour says, Neither pray 1 for these alonc^ 
but for them also ivhich shall believe on me through their wordy 
John xvii. 20. 

2. We are now to consider those who are excluded from 
our prayers ; and these are either such as are dead, or those 
who have sinned the sin unto death. 

(1.) We are not to pray for the dead. This is asserted iu 
opposition to what was maintained and practised by some in 
the early ages of the church, and paved the way for those 
abuses and corruptions which are practised by the church of 
Rome, at this day, who first prayed for the dead, and after- 
wards proceeded farther in praying for them. The first step 
that was taken leading hereunto, seems to have been their be- 
ing guilty of great excesses in the large encomiums they made 
in their public anniversary orations, in commemoration of the 
martyrs and confessors, v/ho had suffered in the cause of 
christianit}-. This was done at first, with a good design, viz. 
to excite those who survived, to imitate them in their vii-tues, 
and to express their love to the cause for which they suffered ; 
but afterwards they v/ent beyond the bounds of decency in 
magnifying and extolling them ; and then they proceeded yet 
farther, in praying for them ; This is often excused, by some 
modern writers, from the respect they bear to them, who first 
practised it ; though it can hardly be vindicated from the; 
charge of will-worship, since no countenance is given to it io 

That which is generally alleged in their behalf, is, that they 
supposed the souls of believers did not immediately enter into 
heaven, but were sequestered, or disposed of in some place in- 
ferior to it, which they sometimes call paradise^ or Abraham^s 
bosom, where they are to continue till their souls are re-united 
to their bodies. Whether this place be above or below the 
Qarth, all are not agreed ; but their mistake arises from their 
misunderstanding those scriptures which describe heaven un- 
4er these metaphorical characters of paradise^ or Abraham^s 
bosom *. Here they suppose that they are, indeed, delivered 

• Seepage 31?. 


itom the afflictions and miseries of this present life ; but j'et 
not possessed of perfect blessedness in God's iminediate pre- 
sence. Therefore they conckule, that there was some room 
for pi-ayer, that the degree of happiness which they were pos- 
sessed of, might be continued, or rather, that it might in the 
end, be perfected, when they are raised from the dead, and ad- 
mitted to partake of the heavenly blessedness. 

Others thought, that at death, the sentence was not pe- 
remptorily past either on the righteous or the wicked, so that 
there was room left for them to pray for the increase of the 
happiness of the one, or of the mitigation of the torment of the 
other ; and therefore, in different respects, they prayed for all, 
both good and bad, especially for those who were within the 
pale or inclosure of the church ; and above all, for such as 
were useful to, and highly esteemed by it. 

The principal thing that is said in vindication of this prac- 
tice (for what has been but now mentioned, as the ground and 
reason thereof, will by no means justify it) is, that though the 
souls of believers are in heaven ; yet their happiness will not 
be, in all respects, complete, till the day of judgment: There- 
fore, in their prayers, they chiefly had regard to the consume 
mation of their blessedness at Christ's second coming, toge- 
ther with the continuance thereof, till then ; without supposing 
that they received any other advantage thereby. And, inas- 
much as this is not a matter of uncertainty, they farther ob- 
serve, that many things are to be prayed for, which shall cer- 
tainly come to pass, whether we pray for them or no ; e. g-. 
the gathering of the whole number of the elect, and the coming 
of Christ's kingdom of glory : Therefore they suppose, that the 
advantage principally redounds to those who put up prayers to 
God for them, as hereby they express their faith in the doc 
trine of the resurrection, and the future blessedness of the 
saints, and the communion that there is between the church 
militant and triumphant. 

This is the fairest colour that can be put upon that ancient 
practice of the church, and the many instances that we meet 
with, in the v/ritings of the Fathers, concerning their prayers 
for the dead *. 

• T/wt several of the Fathers practised avd pleaded for praying' for the dead, if 
evident from lohoi Cvprian says, Epist. xxxix. conceruinff the church's offeHiig sa- 
crifices, by -which he means prayers for the martyrs ; amonc^ ivhom, he particitlarl^ 
inentious Laiirentius anil IffnatiMS, on the yearly return of those days, on which the 
memorial of their martyrdom was celebrated. And Eusebiiis, in the life of Constan- 
tine. Lib. iv. Cap. Ixxi. w/ien speaking concerning- the funeral obseyuiet performed 
for that monarch, says, that a great number of people, with tears and lamentations 
poured forth p7\iyera to God for the emperor's soul. And Gregory A'azianteh 
prated for his brother Cicsarius after his death. Vid. Ejusd in Fun. Ceesar, OnXU 
X Also Arrtbro:e praijedfor the re[ijioii3 empernTi, falentifiian and Gratitn, end^ 

aiti »j? THE spirit's help IN PRAYER- 

Thus concerning the practice of the church, before we read 
of tht fictitious place which tiie Papists call purgatory ; where 
they fanc}', that separate souls endure some degrees of tor- 
ment, and are relieved by the prayers of their surviving friends; 
%vhich M'as not known to the church before the seventh centu- 
ry ; and is without any foundation from scripture, as has been 
before observed imder a foregoing answer *. Now since this 
"was formerly defended, and is now practised by the Papists, 
the contrary doctrine is asserted in this answer, viz. that we 
are not to pray for the dead ; and that this may farther ap- 
pear, let it be considered, 

That the state of every man is unalterably fixed, at death i 
so that nothing remains which can be called an addition to the 
happiness ol the one, or the misery of the other, but what is the 
resulv of the re-union of the soul and body at the resurrection; 
and therefore to pray that the saints may have greater degrees 
of glory conterred upon them, or sinners a release from that 
, state of miscrv in which they are, is altogether ungrounded; 
and then-fore such prayers must be concluded to be unlawful. 

Tiuit the state of man is fixed at death is sufficiently evident 
from scriptui'e : Thus our Saviour, in the parable of the rich 
ynan and Lazarua^ speaks of the one as immediately carried 
bif the angels into Abrahaiii's bosom., Luke xvi. 22, ^c. (by 
which, notwithstanding what some ancient writers have assert- 
ed to the contrary, we are to understand heaven ;) and the 
other as being in a place of torments.^ without any hope or pro- 
bability of the least mitigation thereof ; whereby hell, not pur- 
gatorv is intended : And the apostle says, It is appointed unto 
men once to die.^ and after this the judgment., Heb. ix. 27, by 
which he intends, that all men must leave the world ; and when 
they are parted from it, their state is determined by Christ ; 
though this is not done in so public and visible a manner, as 
it wih be in the general judgment: If therefore the state ot 
men be unalterably fixed at death ; it may be justly inferred 
from thence, that there is no room for any one to put up pray- 
ers to God on their behalf: Prayer must have some proof on 
which it relies, otherwise it cannot be addressed to God by 
faith; or, as the apostle expresses it., nothing wavering., ]Q.mts 
i. 6. Now, if we have no ground to conclude that our prayers 
shall be heard and answered ; or have any doubt in our spi- 

fo\- Theodoshis, and far his brother Satvrus. Fid. Ejuad. de obit. Valentifi. Theodos. 
& Satyr. And Av^nstin speaks of his praying for his mother Monica, after her 
decease, in Confess. J.ib. ix. Cap xiii. And Epiphainus defends this practice -zvith 
so much ymrmth, that he con hardly forbear charging- the denial hereof, as one of 
JieHus's heresies. Vid. Tptpltan. Leres. Ixxv. And some Popish -.vriterSf-when de' 
fending ihiir praying for the dead, have, -Mth more malice than reason, charged the 
Frotestants -with being Aerians, nf>on this account. 
* See Quest. l}ixwi.page 313. 


rlts whether the thing prayed for be agreeable to the will of 
God ; such a prayer cannot be put up in faithj Imd therefore 
is not lawful. 

Obj. 1. The Papists, in defence of the contrar)'' doctrine, 
are very much at a loss for scriptures to support it : However, 
there is one, taken from a passage in the apocryphal writings, 
in which Judas Maccabeus, and his company, are represented 
as praying and offering a sin-offering, and thereby making re- 
conciliation for the dead, i. e. some that had been slain in bat- 
tle, 2 Maccab. xii. 43, — 45. 

Aiisxv. The reply that some make to this, is, that the prayers 
for the dead here spoken of, are of a different nature from those 
which the Papists make use of in the behalf of those whom 
ihey pretend to be in purgatory, or, that they prayed for 
nothing but what some of the Fathers, as before-mentioned 
did, viz. that they might be raised from the dead, whereby 
they expressed their faith in the doctrine of the resurrection : 
But, I think there is a better reply may be given to it, namely, 
that the argument is not taken from any inspired writing ; and 
therefore no more credit is to be given to it than any other hu- 
man composure, in which some things are true, and others false : 
And as for this book in particular, the author himself plainlv in- 
timates that he did not receive it by divine inspiration ; for he 
says, If I have done xuell^and as it is jitUng the story ^ it is thai 
tvhich I desired ; but if slenderly and meanly^ it is that which 
I could attain unto^ chap. xv. 38. which is very honestly said; 
but not like an inspired writer, and therefore nothing that is 
said therein is a sufficient proof of any important article of 
faith or practice, such as that is, which we are now defend- 

Obj, 2. It is farther objected, that the apostle Paul puts up 
a short and affectionate prayer for Onesiphorus, in 2 Tim. i. 
18. The Lord grant unto him^ that he may find mercy of the 
Lord in that day ; whereas, it is concluded by some, that, at 
the time the apostle wrote this epistle, Onesiphorus was dead, 
since there are two petitions put up, one in this verse for him, 
and another in ver. 16. for his house ; and in chap. iv. 19. 
when he salutes some of his friends, according to his custom, 
lie makes mention of the household of Onesiphorus^ not of him. 
This turn Grotius himselt gives of this scripture *. And the 
Papists greedily embrace it, as it gives countenance to their 
practice of praj'^ing for the dead. 

Answ. It is but a weak foundation that this argument is 
built on ; for though Paul salutes his household, and not him- 
celf, in the close of this epistle, it does not foUov/ from hence, 

* Vid, Grot, in tC: 

31S OF tni. SPt&lT''s HELP IK #iflAY*iR. 

that he was dead ; for he might be absfettt from his family at 
this time, as he often was, when engaged in public service^ as 
being sent by the church, as their messenger, to eliqui^e con- 
cerning the progress and success of the gospel in other parts ; 
or to carry relief to those who were suffering in Christ's cause : 
It may be, the apostle might be informed that he was then in 
his way to Rome, where he was hirtiself a prisoner when h6 
wrote this epistle ; and if so, it would not have been proper to 
sciid salutations to him, whom he expected shortly to see, 
while, at the same time, he testified the great love he bore to 
him and all his family, as being a man of uncommon zeal for 
the intere-tof Christ and religion. 

(2.) They are not to be {grayed for who have sinned the 
sin unto death. This sin we read of, as what exchides per- 
sons from forgiveness, in scripture, Matt. xii. 32. in which 
such things are said concerning it, as should make us fear and 
tremble, not only lest we should be left to commit it, but give 
'Way to those sins which border upon it j atid there is enough 
expressed therein to encourage us to hope that we have not 
committed it ; v/hich is the principal thing to be insisted on, 
when we treat on this subject in our public discourses, of 
any are tempted to fear, lest they are guilty of it. Here let it 
be observed, that though it be called the sin vjtto deaths we afe 
not to suppose that it is one particular act of sin, but rather a 
course or complication of sins, wherein there are many ingre- 
dients of the most heinous nature. And, 

[l.] That it cannot be committed by any but those who 
have been favoured with gospel light ; for it always contains 
in it a rejection of the gospel, which supposes the revelation ot 
preaching thereof. 

[2.] It is not merely a rejecting the gospel, though Attended 
with sufficient objective evidence, in those who have not had 
an inward conviction of the truth thereof, or whose opposition 
to it proceeds principally from ignorance, as the apostle says 
concerning himself, that though he was a blasphemery a perse- 
cutor^ and injurious ; yet he obtained mercy ^ because he did it ig~ 
norantly^ in unbeliefs 1 Tim. i. 13. 

[3.] it is a rejecting the gospel which we once ptofessed to 
embrace, and therefore carries in it the nature of apostacy : 
Thus the Scribes and Pharisees, wheir they attended on John's 
ministry, professed their willingness to adhere to Christ, and 
afterwards, when he first appeared publicly in the world, they 
were convinced in their consciences, by the miracles which he 
wrought, that he was the Messiah ; though, after this they were 
•flfended in him, and ashamed to own him, because of the hum- 
bled state and condition in which he appeared in the world; 


Kir which reason, they, in particular, were charged with this 
sin in the scripture before-mentioned. | 

[4.3 It also contains in it a rsjectingof Christ ind the known 
truti), out of envy, and this attended with reviling, perse- 
cuting, and using their utmost endeavours to extirpate ami 
haaish it out of the world, and beget in the minds of men thft 
greatest detestation of it : Thus the Jews are said to deliver 
Christ out of envij^ Matt, xxvii, ly. and with the same spirit 
they persecuted the gospel. 

[j.] Such as a^-e guilty of this sin, have no conviction ia 
their consciences of any crime committed herein ; but stop 
their ears against all reproof, and set themselves, with the 
greatest hatred and malice, against those, who, with faithful- 
ness, admonish them to the contrary. 

[6.] They go out of the way of God's ordinances, and wil- 
fully exclude themselves from the means of grace, which they 
treat with the utmost contempt, and use all those endeavours 
that arc in their power, that others may be deprived of them. 

[7.] This condition they not only live but die in ; so that 
their apostacy is not only total, but final. 

However, I cannot but observe, that some are of opinion 
that this sin cannot be now committed, because we have not 
the dispensation of miracles, whereby the Christian religion 
was incontestibly proved, in our Saviour's and the apostles' 
time : And the main thing in which it consisted in the scrip- 
ture before-mentioned, in Matt. xii. was, in that the Pharisees 
v/ere charged with saving, that Christ cast out devils by Beel- 
zebuby the prince of the devils ; whereby. they intimate that those 
miracles, which they had before been convinced of the truth 
of, as being wrought by the finger of God, were wrought by 
the devil: which supposes that they were eye-witnesses to 
such-like miracles wrought, which we cannot be : Therefore it 
is concluded by some, that this sin cannot now be committed ; 
inasmuch as the dispensation of miracles is ceased. But this 
method of reasoning will not appear so strong and conclusive, 
if we consider, that though, it is true, the gospel is not nov/ 
confirmed to us by miracles ; yet we have no less ground to 
believe that the christian religion was confirmed by this means, 
than if we had been present at the working of these miracles. 
Nevertheless, though it sliould be alleged, that this ingredient 
cannot, in every circumstance, be contained in the sin against 
the Holy Ghost, in our day ; yet tliere are other things in- 
cluded in the description of it, before-mentioned, in which it 
principally consists, that bear a very great resemblance to that 
sin which we have been considering : As for instance, if per- 
sons have formerly believed Christ to be the Messiah, and 
been persuaded that this was incontestibly proved by the mi- 

320 OF THE spirit's HELP IN PRAYER. 

racles which he wrought, ^SSd accordingly, were inclined td 
adhere to him, and embrace the gospel, wherein his person and 
glory are set forth ; and yet have afterwards apostatized from 
this profession ; and if this had been attended with envy and 
inalice against Christ; and if they have treated the evidence 
which they once acknowledged, the Christian religion, to have 
been undeniably supported by, with contempt and blasphemy ; 
and have totally rejected that faith wliich they once professed, 
arising from carnal policy, and the love of this Morld; and 
when this is attended with judicial nardness of heart, blindness 
of mind, and strong delusions, together with a rooted hatred of 
all religion, and a malicious persecution of those that embrace 
it J This is what we cannot but conclude to bear a very great 
resemblance to that which, in scripture, is called the unpardon- 
able sin ; and it is a mast deplorable case, which should be so 
far improved by us, as that we should use the utmost caution, 
that we may not give way to those sins which bear the least re- 
semblance to it : Nevertheless, doubting christians are to take 
"heed that they do not apply this account that has been given 
of it to themselves, so as to lead them to despair; which is 
not the design of any description thereof, which we have in 
scripture. Now that these may be fortified against such-like 
objections, let it be considered, 

ist, That it is one thing peremptorily to determine that it is 
impossible for any one to commit this sin in our day, since the 
dispensation of miracles is ceased, (which is, in effect, to sup- 
pose that we can have no evidence for the truth of the Chris- 
tian religion, but what Is founded on occular demonstration : 
such as they who saw Christ's miracles ;) and another thing W 
determine concerning particular persons, that they are guilty of 
this sin. It is certain that this matter might be determined 
with special application to particular persons in our Saviour's 
and the apostles' time, when there was among other extraor- 
dinary gifts, that of discerning of spirits ; and consequently It 
might be known, whether they who apostatized from the faith 
oi the gospel, had before this, received a full conviction of the 
truth thereof; and it might then bij known, by extraordinary 
revelation, that God would never give them repentance, and 
therefore their apostacy would be final ; and, it is more than 
probable, that this was supposed by the apostle, when he 
speaks of some that had committed this sin, who are not to he 
prayed for : But these things cannot be known by us ; there- 
fore I would not advise any one to forbear to pray for the worst 
of sinners, who seem most to resemble diose that are charged 
with this sin, this matter not being certainly known by us. 

2c//i/, That whicli is principally to be considered for the en- 
couragement of those who are afraid that they have committed 


this sin, is, that persons certainly know that they have not 
committed it, though they are in an unregenerate sfate ; as, 

l,sY, When they /iavc?iot had opportunity, or thost means that 
are necessary to attain the knowledge of the truth, and so re- 
main ignorant thereof; or if they have had sufficient means to 
know it, they have not committed this sin, if they desire and 
resolve to wait on God in his ordinances^ in order to their re- 
ceiving good thereby. 

2<//y, They rvho are under conviction of sin^ disapprove of, 
and have some degree of sorrow and shame for it, may certainly 
conclude that they have not committed the sin against the 
Holy Ghost. 

z'dly, If persons have reason to think that their hearts are 
hardened through the dcceitfulness of sin, and that they are 
greatly backslidden from God ; yet they ought not to con- 
clude that they have committed this sin, if they are afraid lest 
they should he given up to a perpetual backsliding, or dread 
nothing more than a total and a final apostacy ; upon which 
account they are induced to pray against it, and to desire a 
broken heart, and that faith, which, at present, they do not ex- 
perierice. In this case, though their state be dangerous, yet 
they ought not to determine against themselves, that they have 
committed the sin unto death. 

The use which we ought to make of this awful doctrine, 
and the hope that there is that we have not committed this sin 

1. That we should take heed that we do not give way to wil- 
ful impenitency, and a contempt of the vieans of grace, lest we 

should provoke God to give us up to judicial hardness of 
heart, so as to make sad advances towards the commission 
thereof : Let us take heed that we do not sin against the light 
and conviction of our own consciences, and wilfully neglect 
and oppose the vieans of grace, which, whether it be the sin 
unto death or no, is certainly a crime of the most heinous and 
dangerous tendency. 

2. Let doubting christians take heed that they do not give 
way to Satati's suggestions, tempting them to conclude that 
they have committed this sin ; which they are sometimes afraid 
that they have, though they might determine that they have 
not, did they duly weigh what has been but now observed con- 
cerning this matter. 

3. Let us bless God, that yet there is a door of hop.e,y and re- 
solve by his grace, that we will always wait on him in the ordi- 
nances which he has appointed, till he shall be pleased to give 
us ground to conclude better things concerning ourselves, even 
things that accompany salvation. This leads us to consider, . 

III. What we are to pray for; particularlv, 
Vol. IV. S s ' 


1. For those things whick coneern the glory of God. And 
that we may know what they are, we are to enquire ; whether, 
if God should give us what we ask for, it would haye a ten- 
dency to set forth any of his divine perfections, and thereby 
render him amiable and adorable in the eyes of his creatures, 
so that in answering our prayers, he would act becoming him- 
self? We are also to take an estimate of this matter, from the 
intimation he has given us hereof in his word, in which we may 
observe, not only whether he has given us leave, but commands 
and encourages us to ask for it ; more especially, whether he 
has promised to give it to us ; and, whether our receiving the 
blessing we ask for, has a tendency to fit us for his service, 
that hereby praise that waits for him, may be ascribed to him. 

2. We are to pray for those things which concern our own 
good, or the good of others. These are particularly insisted on 
in the Lord's prayer, which is explained in the following an- 
swers ; therefore it is sufficient for us, at present, to consider 
the good we are to pray for in general, namely, temporal bles- 
sings, which are the effects of divine bounty, concerning which, 
our Saviour says. Tour heavenly Father knoweth that ye have 
need of these things^ Mat. vi. 32. We are also to pray for 
spiritual blessings, such as forgiveness of sin, strength against 
it, and the sanctifying influences of the Spirit, to produce in 
us holiness of heart and life ; as also, for deliverance from, and 
victory over our spiritual enemies. We are also to pray for 
the consolations of the holy Ghost, arising from assurance of 
the love of God, whereby we may have peace and joy in be- 
lieving ; and for all those blessings which may make us happy 
in a better world. 

3. We are to pray for those things which are lawful to be 
asked of God; and accordingly, 

(1.) The things we pray for, must be such as it is possible 
for us to receive, and particularly such as God has determined 
to bestow, or given us ground to expect, in this present world : 
Therefore we are not to pray for those blessings to be applied 
here, which he has reserved for the heavenly state ; such as a 
perfect freedom from sin, tribulation or temptation, or our en- 
joying the immediate views of the glory of God : These things 
are to be desired in that lime and order, in which God has de- 
termined to bestow them ; therefore we are to wait for them 
till we come to heaven, and, at present, we are to desire only 
to be made partakers of those privileges which he gives to his 
children in their way thither. 

(2.) We are not to pray that God would inflict evils on 
others, to satisfy our private revenge for injuries done us ; 
since this is, in itself, unlawful, and unbecoming a Christian 
.frame of spirit, and contrary to that ditty which was before 


considered, of our praying for our very enemies, and seeking 
their good. 

(3.) We are not to ask for outward blessings without setting 
bounds to our desires thereof; nor are we to ask for them un- 
seasonably, or for wrong ends. We are not to pray for them 
as though they were our chief good and happiness, or of equal 
importance with things that are more immediately conducive 
to our spiritual advantage ; and therefore, whatever measure 
of importunity we express in praying for them, it is not to be 
inconsistent with an entire submission to the divine will, as 
being satisfied that God knows what is best for us ; or, whether 
that which we desire, will, in the end, prove good or hurtful 
to us i much less ought we to ask for outward blessings, that 
we may abuse, and, as the apostle James speaks. Consume them 
upon our lusts^ James iv. 3. 

Quest. CLXXXV. How are we to pray P 

Answ. We are to pray with an awful apprehension of the 
Majesty of God, and deep sense of our own unworthiness, 
necessities, and sins, with penitent, thankful, and enlarged 
hearts, with understanding, faith, sincerity, fervency, love, 
and perseverance, waiting upon him, with humble submission 
to his will. 

THIS answer respects the manner of performing this duty^ 
and the frame of spirit with which we are to draw nigh 
to God. Accordingly, 

1. We are to pray with an awful apprehension of the Ma- 
jesty of God ; otherwise our behaviour would be highly re- 
sented by him, and reckoned no other ^an a thinking him 
altogether such an one as ourselves. Some of the divine per- 
fections have a more immediate tendency to excite an holy 
reverence; accordingly we are to consider him as omnipresent, 
and omniscient, to whom our secret thoughts, and the prin- 
ciple from whence our actions proceed, are better known than 
they can be to themselves. We are to conceive of him as a God 
of infinite holiness ; and therefore he cannot but be highly 
displeased with that worship that is opposite thereunto, as pro- 
ceeding from a conscience defiled with sin, or performed in an 
unholy manner. Thus the prophet says. Thou art of purer 
eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniqtiity, Hab. i. 
13. that is, thou canst not behold it without the utmost detesta- 
tion; and therefore, if we regard ]t in our heart, he will not 
hear our prayers, Psal. Ixvi. 18. We are also to have a due 
sense of the spirituality of his nature, that we may worship 


him in a spiritual manner ; therefore we are not to entertain 
any carnal conceptions, or' frame any ideas of him, like those 
we have of finite or corporeal beings; nor are we to .think it 
sufficient, that our external mien and deportment have been 
grave, and carried in it a shew of reverence, when our hearts 
have not, at the same time, been engaged in this duty, or dis- 
posed to give him the glory that is due to his name. We are 
also to draw nigh to him with a due sense of those perfections 
that tend to encourage us to perform this duty, with hope of 
fuiding acceptance in his sight. Therefore we are to conceive 
of him, as a God of infinite goodness, mercy, and faithfvilness, 
with whom is plenteous redemption, in and through a Media- 
tor, which is suitable to our condition, as indigent, miserable, 
and guilty sinners; and a God of infinite power, who is able 
to do exceeding abundantly above all rve are able to ask or think^ 
Eph. iii. 20. 

2. We are to pray to God with an humble sense of our own 
unworthiness. This is the necessary result of those high, con- 
ceptions we have of his divine excellency and greatness; 
whereby we are led to consider ourselves as infinitely below 
him ; and, indeed, the best of creatures are induced hereby to 
worship him with the greatest humility : Thus the Seraphim 
are represented in that vision, which the prophet Isaiah had of 
them, as ministering to, and attending upon our Lord Jesus, 
when sitting on a throne on his temple; as covering- their faces 
and their feet -with their xvings^ denotin.g their unworthiness 
to behold his glory, or to be employed by him in his service, 
Isa. vi. 1 — 4. But when we take a view of his infinite holi- 
ness, and our own impurity, this should be an inducement to 
us to draw nigh to him, with the greatest humility : As de- 
pendent creatures, we have nothing but what w€ derive from 
him ; as frail dying creatures, we wither away, and are brought 
to nothing, Job xiii. 25. Job compares this to a leaf that is 
easily broken, and driven to and fro, or to the dry stubble, 
that can make no resistance against the wind that pursues it ; 
and the Psalmist, speaking of man in general, says, Lord,xvfiat 
is man, that thoii takest knoxvledge of him ; or the son of man^ 
that thou makest account of him ? Psal. civ. 3. And elsewhere 
it is said. What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him, and 
that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him 7 Job vii. 17. These 
are humbling considerations ; but we shall be led into a farther 
sense of our own unworthiness, when we consider ourselves as 
sinful creatures, worthy to be abhoiTed by Ciqd ; therefore he 
might justly reject us, and refuse to answer our prayers. But 
since this humble frame of spirit is so necessary for the right 
performance of this duty, let us farther observe, as an induce- 
ment hereunto. 


(I.) That the greatest glory we can bring to God can make 
no addition to his infinite perfections : Thus it is'/said, Can a 
7nan he profitablt unto God^ as he that is wise may be projitable 
unto himself? L it any pleasure^ that is, any advantage, to the 
Almig'htif^ that thou art righteous? or is it gain to him^ that thou 
makest thy ways perfect ? Job xxiii. 2, 3. And elsewhere, If 
thou be righteous^ rvhat givest thou him, or what receiveth he of 
thy hand? ch. xxxv. 7. denoting that it is impossible for us, 
by any thing we can do or suffer for his sake, to make him 
more glorious than he would have been in himself, had we 
never had a being: Therefore, if there is nothing by which we 
Clin lav any obligations on God, we have reason to address our- 
selves to him with a sense of our own unworthiness. 

(2.) We are so far from meriting any good thing from the 
hand of God, that by our repeated transgressions, notwith- 
standing the daily mercies we receive from him, we give far- 
ther proofs of our great unAVorthiness ; and, indeed, if we are 
enabled to do any thing in obedience to his will, this is not 
from ourselves ; yea, it is contrary to the dictates of corrupt 
nature, and must be ascriljed to him as the author of it. 

(3.) If we could do the greatest service to God by espous- 
ing his cause, and promoting his interest in the wot Id ; it is 
no more than what we are bound to do ; and, at the same time 
we must consider, that it is God that workelh in us, both to 
xvill and to do of his good pleasure, Phil. ii. 13. 

(4.) The best believers recorded in scripture, have enter- 
tained a constant, humble sense of their own unworthiness : 
Thus Abraham, when he stood before the Lord, making sup- 
plications in the behalf of Sodora, expresses himself thus. Be- 
hold^ now I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, ivho am 
but dust and ashes. And Jacob says, / am not worthy of the 
least of all thy mercies^ and of all the truthwhich thou hast shewed 
unto thij servant. Gen. xxxii. 10. And they who have been 
most zealous for, and made eminently useful in promoting 
Christ's interest in the world, have had an humble sense of 
their own unworthiness ; as the apostle says concerning him- 
self, I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called 
an apostle, 1 Cor. xv. 9. And he immediately adds, By the 
grace of God I am rvhat I am, ver. 10. And elsewhere he 
styles himself, less than the least of all saiiits, Eph. iii. 8. 

We have another instance of humility in praver, in the 
Psalmist's words, / am a rvorm, and no man, Psal. xxii. 6. 
which, so far as they have any reference to his own case, may 
^ive us occasion to infer, that the most advanced circumstances, 
jn which any are in the world, are not inconsistent with hu- 
mility, when drawing nigh to God in prayer; but if we consi- 
der him speaking in the person of Christ, as several expre^.- 


sions of this Psalm argue ntTri to do, and cannot well be taken 
in any other sense*; then we have herein the most remark- 
able instance of the humble address that was used by Christ 
in his human nature, when drawing nigh to God in prayer; 
which is certainly a great motive to induce us to engage in this 
duty with the utmost humility. 

3. We are to draw nigh to God in prayer, with a sense of 
our necessities, and the sins that we have committed against 
him. Accordingly, we are to consider ourselves as indigent 
creatures, who are stripped and deprived of that glory, and 
those bright ornaments which were put on man at first in his 
state of innocency ; destitute of the divine image, and all those 
things that are necessary to our happiness, unless he is pleased 
to supply these wants, forgive our iniquities, and grant us 
communion with himself; which things we are to draw nigh 
to him in prayer for. We are also, in this duty, to have a 
sense of sin, viz* the guilt that we contract thereby, and the 
punishment we have exposed ourselves to, that we may see 
our need of drawing nigh to God in Christ's righteousness ; 
and also of the stain and pollution thereof, which may induce 
us to fall down before the footstool of the throne of grace, with 
the greatest degree of self-abhorrence. We are also to con- 
sider how we are enslaved to sin, how much we have been, 
and how prone we are at all times, to serve divers Ittsts and 
pleasures, Tit. iii. 3. and to walk according- to the course of this 
7vorld, according to the prince of the power of the air^ the spirit 
that now tvorketh in the children of disobedience, Eph. ii. 2. 
Moreover, we are to consider sin as deeply rooted in our 

* JMaiiy suppose that all those Psalms, in -which some particular expressions are 
referred to in the JVew Testament, as having their accomplishinejit in Christ, are 
to be understood as containing a dotible reference, nameli/, to Damd, as denoting his 
particular case, and to Christ, of whom he -was an eminent type. lint as for Psalm 
xxii. thee are several expressions in it, not only applied to Christ in the j\'ew Tes- 
tament ; but%hey cannot well be understood of any other but him. In the first verse 
he uses the same words that were uttered by Christ on the cross, Matt, xxvii. 46. 
My God, my God, why hast tlioii forsaken me ? and in ver. 8. he trusted in the 
Lord that he would deliver him ; let him deliver him : This was an expression 
used by those who mocked and derided him, Matt, xxvii. 41, 45. Jind what is said 
in verses 14, 17. All my bones are out of joint ; I may tell them, they look and 
stare upon me ; does not seem to be applicable to David, from any thing said con- 
cerning him elsewhere ; but they are a lively representation of t/ie torment a person 
endures, when hanging on a cross, as our Saviour did; which has a tendency to dis- 
joint t/ie bones, and cause them to stick out. And when it is said, ver. 16, 18. 
they pierced my hands and my feet; and they part my garments among them, and 
cast lots upon •my vesture ; the former was fiilf lied in Christ's being nailed to tJie 
cross, andtdi side pierced with a spear ; and the latter is expressly referred to as 
fulfilled in the parting of Christ^s garments, and existing lots upon his vesture, 
J^iatt. xxvii. 35. as an accomplishment of what was foretold, by the i-oyal prophet in 
this Psalm. 'J'hese expressions cannot, in tlie least, be applied to David, but are to 
be understood of our Saviour ; therefore, we may conclude that those words in ver. 
6. I am a worm, &c. are particularly applied to bim. 


hearts, debasing our affections, and captivating our wills. If 
we are in an unconverted state, we are to look/ upon it as 
gi-owing and encreasing in us, rendering us more and more 
indisposed for what is good, by which means we are set at a 
farther distance from God and holiness : On the other hand, 
if we have ground to hope we are made partakers of convert- 
ing grace, then we have acted contrary to the highest obliga- 
tions, and been guilty of the greatest ingratitude. These 
things we are to endeavour to be affected with, when drawing 
nigh to God in prayer, in order to our performing this duty 

4. There are several graces that are to be exercised in 

(1.) Repentance : This is necessary, because we are sinners; 
and as such, are to come into the presence of God with con- 
fession, joined with supplication which must be made with a 
penitent frame of spirit ; the contrary to which, is a tacit ap- 
probation of sin, and a kind of resolution to adhere to it, which 
is very unbecoming those who are pleading for forgiveness : 
Accordingly, when God promised that he would pour out upon 
the house of David ^ and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem^ the 
spirit of grace and of supplications, he adds, that they shall 
look upon him, •whom they have pierced, and mourn for him, or 
for it, as one mourneth for his only son; and shall be in bitter' 
ness, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born: And that 
this shall be done by every family apart, and their zvives apart, 
Zech. xii. 10. 8? seq. So when the priests, the ministers of 
the Lord, are commanded to pray, that he would spare his 
people; they, are, at the same time, to weep between the porch 
and the altar, to rent their hearts^ and turn unto the Lord their 
Cod, Joel ii. 13. 17. And when Israel is advised to take with 
them words, and instructed how they should pray, they are 
exhorted to turn unto the Lord ; to repent of their seeking help 
from Assyria and Egypt, and of that abominable idolatry 
which they had been guilty of, Hos. xiv. 1,2, 3, 8. 

Now there are several subjects very proper for our medita- 
tion ; which may, through the divine blessing accompanying 
it, excite this grace, when we are engaged in the duty of 
prayer ; particularly the multitude of transgressions which are 
charged on the consciences of men by the law, that every mouth 
may be stopped, and all the world become guilty before God^ 
Rom. iii. 19. and especially the ingratitude which we have 
reason to accuse ourselves of, and our contempt of Christ, and 
the way of salvation by him, which is discovered in the gos- 
pel ; and our having done many things in the course of our 
lives, which fill us with shame and sorrow, whenevei' we come 


into the presence of God, ta pour out our hearts before him 
in this duty. 

(2.) The next grace to be exercised in prayer is, tlvankful- 
ness, in which respect prayer and praise ought to be joined 
together : Thus the Psalmist says, Praise waiteth for thee^ 
God^ in Zion^ and unto thee shall the vow be performed^ O thou 
that hearest prayer, Psal. Ixv. 1, 2. That this is a part of 
prayer has been observed under a foregoing answer ; in which 
we considered the many blessings that we have reason to be 
thankful for. I shall only add, at present, that it is matter of 
thankfulness, that we have liberty of access to God, in hope of 
obtaining mercy from him, as sitting on a throne of grace, who 
might have been forever banished from his presence, or have 
been brought before his judgment-seat as criminals, doomed to 
everlasting destruction. 

Moreover, we are to bless him, not only that we have leave 
to come before him, but have often experienced that he has 
heard, and answered our prayers, and therein has fulfilled that 
promise, I said not to the seed of facob^ seek ije me in vain., 
Isa. xlv. 19. And that we may be brought into a thankful 
frame, we ought to consider, 

[l.] The worth of everj' mercy; especially those that are 
spiritual, or accompany salvation; and this we i«ay judge of 
by the price that was paid for it, which is no less than the 
blood of Jesus ; which the apostle not only styles precious^ but 
speaks of it as infinitely preferable to every thing that is cor- 
ruptible, 1 Pet. i. 18, 19. And we may, in some measure, 
take an estimate thereof by the worth and excellency of the 
soul, and as it is conducive to promote its eternal welfare. 

[2.] We are also to consider every saving blessing, as the 
fruit and result of everlasting love, and as the consequence of 
God's eternal design, in having chosen those, who are the ob- 
jects thereof, to salvation in Christ, Jer. xxxi. 3. Eph. i. 3, 4. 
We must also consider these mercies as discriminating, where- 
by God distinguishes his people from the world, and herein 
glorifies the riches of his grace, in those who deserve to have 
been, for ever, the monuments of his wrath : W^e might here 
consider, as an inducement to this grace of thankfulness, the 
aggravations of the sin of ingratitude. 

1*?, It is a virtual disowning our obligation to, or depend- 
ence on God, from whom we receive all mercies, and a be- 
having ourselves in such a manner as though we were not 
beholden to him for them, or could be happy without him ; as 
though we were self-sufficient, and did not look upon him a« 
the fountain of blessedness. 

2J/;/j It is a refusing to give him the glory of his wisdom, 


power, goodness, and faithfulness, which are eminently dis- 
played in the blessings that he bestows. of 

5dly^ It is disagreeable to the large expectations we have of 
those blessings he has i-eserved for his people, or promised to 
them, or that hope which he has laid up for them in heaven. 
Therefore we cannot but conclude that ingratitude argues a 
person destitute of that holiness which eminently discovers it- 
self in the exercise of the contrary grace : Accordingly the 
apostle joins these two characters together, when speaking 
of the vilest of men, whom he styles, unthankful^ unholy^ 2 
Tim. iii. 2. 

(3.) Another grace, to be exercised in prayer, is faith. 
This implies an habitual disposition of soul, proceeding froni 
a principle of regenerating grace, whereby we are led to com- 
mit ourselves, and all our concerns, into Christ's hand, de- 
pending on his merits and mediation for the supply of all our 
wants, considering him as having purchased, and as being 
authorized to apply, all the benefits of the covenant of 
grace, which are the subject-matter of our supplications to 
him. More particularly, faith exerts and discovers itself in 

[l.] By encouraging the soul, and giving it an holy bold- 
ness to draw nigh to God, notwithstanding our great unwor- 
thiness. If we are afraid to come into the presence of an holy 
God, and, destruction from him is a terror to us, if the threat- 
nings he has denounced against sinners, such as we knov^ 
ourselves to be, discourage us from drawing nigh to him, so 
that we are ready to say with Job, ' Therefore am I troubled 

* at his presence ; when I consider, I am afraid of him,' 
Job xxiii. 15. If his almighty power, that can easily sink us 
into perdition, overwhelms our spirits, and fills us with the 
utmost distress and confusion, so that we cannot draw nigh 
to him in prayer, considering him as an absolute God ; we 
are encouraged by faith, to look upon him as our covenant 
God, and Father in Christ ; and then all his divine perfections 
will afford relief to us. His sin-revenging justice is regard- 
ed by faith, as that which is fully satisfied by Christ's obedi- 
ence and suflferings ; and therefore will not demand that satis- 
faction at our hands, which it has already received from our 
surety, who was ' made sin for us' though he ' knew no sin, 
' that we might be made the righteousness of God in him,' 2 
Cor. V. 21. His infinite power is no longer looked upon, as 
engaged to destroy us, but rather to succour us under all our 
weakness; and therefore, as Job says, ' He will not plead 

* against us with his great power ; no, but he will put strength 

* in us,' Job xxiii. 6. We consider it as ready to support us 
under the heaviest pressures, and so enable us to perlorm the 

Vol. IV. T t 


most difllcult duties, and t^ overcome all our spiritual ene- 
mies, who would be otherwise too strong for us : So that this 
attribute is so far from discouraging us from drawing nigh 
to God in prayer, that, by faith^ we behold it as delighting 
to exert and glorify itself, in doing those great things for 
lis which we have in view, when we engage in this duty. 

[2.] Faith discovers itself in prayer, by enabling us to plead, 
and apply to ourselves, the great and precious promises which 
God has given to his people in the gospel. As prayer cannot 
subsist without a promise, so we are enabled, by faith, to ap- 
prehend and plead the promises, and to say, *■ Remember the 

* word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me 

* to hope,' Psal. cxix. 49. And hereby we look upon God as 
ready to bestow the blessings which he has promised, and 
his faithfulness as engaged to make them good. According- 
ly the Psalmist says, *■ Hear my prayer, O Lord, give ear 

* to my supplications ; in thy faithfulness answer me, and in 

* thy righteousness,' Psal. cxliii. 1. There is nothing that we 
want, or ought to pray for, but there are soine promises, con- 
tained in the word of God, which faith improves and takes 
encouragement from in this duty : And since what we pray 
for, respects either temporal, or spiritual, and eternal blessings, 
these are looked upon by faith as promised ; as the apostle 
says^ g'odliness has the promise of the life that now is, ayid of 
that which is to come, 1 Tim. iv. 18. This might be very large- 
ly insisted on, and many instances given hereof, which are 
contained in scripture ; but I shall more especially consider 
those promises which respect God's enabling us to pray, and 
his hearing and answering our prayers, which faith lays hold 
on, and improves, in order to our performing this duty in a 
right manner. 

1st, There are promises of the Spirit's assistance to enable 
us to pray. This the apostle calls his viaking intercession for 
usy according to the will of God, in Rom. viii. 27. And our 
Saviour says, in Luke xii. 13. If ye then, being evil, know 
hoxv to give good gifts to your children, horv much more shall 
your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him f 
'Hdly, There are other promises that respect God's hearing 
and answering prayer. Thus it is said, in Psal. Ixxxvi. 7. In 
the day of my trouble I will call upon thee ; for thou wilt a?i- 
sxver 7ne : And elsewhere in Psal. cii. 17. God xvill regard the 
prayer of the destitute and not despise their prayer. This is 
considered as being of a very large extent : Thus our Saviour 
says, in John xvi. 23. Whatsoever ye ask the Father in my 
name, he xvill give it you : And in chap. xv. 7. If' ye abide in 
me. Olid my xuords abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, a?id 
it shall be done unto you : Which universal expressions of 


God's giving believers what they xvill, are to be i|:iderstood of 
his granting their hxwful and regular desires ; and, indeed, 
faith wiii never ask any thing but what tends to the glory of 
God, and that with an' entire submission to his will ; though 
it is far otherwise with respect to those prayers that are not 
put up in faith. 

Moreover God has promised to hear and answer all kinds 
of prayer, provided they proceed from this grace ; particular- 
ly, united prayers in the assemblies of his saints, as he says 
to Solomon, after the dedication of the temple, in 2 Chren. 
vii. 15. 3fme eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the 
prayer that is made in this place ; and those prayers that are 
put up to God in families, where a small number are joined 
together ; though it be but two or three, Christ has promised 
to be in the midst of them, xviii. 20. not only to assist them in 
this duty, but to give them what they ask for. There are 
also promises made to secret prayer : Thus when our Saviour 
encourages his people to pray to their Father, which is in se- 
cret, he tells them, My Father rvhich seeth in secret, shall re- 
ward thee openly, chap. vi. 6. 

Here it will be enquired, whether it be necessary in order 
to our praying by faith, that we be assured, at all times, that 
our prayer shall be heard. 

To this it may be answered, 

1st, That it is not our duty to believe that every prayer 
shall be heard ; for God heareth not sinners, that is, those who 
are under the reigning power of sin, and consequently are des- 
titute of the grace of faith ; nor will he hear those prayers 
that proceed from feigned lips : Thus it is said, If I regard 
iniquity in my heart, the Lord xvill not hear me, Psal. Ixvi. 18. 

'Hdly, It is not the duty of those who. have the truth of 
grace, to believe that their prayer shall be heard, when, by 
reason of their infirmity, or the weakness of their faith, they 
ask for that which is unlawful, and not redounding to the glo- 
ry of God and their real good. 

Q,dly, If what we pray for may be for the glory of God, and 
redound to our advantage ; yet it is not our duty to determine, 
with too great peremptoriness, that he will certainly grant 
what we ask for, immediately, or in that particular way which 
we desire ; since he may answer prayer, and yet do it in his 
own time and way. 

Mhly, It is not our duty to believe assuredly, that God 
will give us all those temporal blessings that we ask for ; 
especially if they be not absolutely necessary for us, since he 
may answer such-like prayers in value, though not in kind, and 
so give spiritual blessings, instead of those temporal ones, 
which we pray for j in which case none will say, that he is 


unfaithful to his promise, though we have not those blessings 
in kind that we desire : Therefore it is our duty, and the great 
concern of faith in prayer, to be assured, that as God knows 
what is best for us, so he will make good his promises, in such 
a way, that we shall have no reason to conclude ourselves to 
have been disappointed, or that we have asked in faith, but 
have not obtained. 

I am sensible that there is a difficulty in the mode of ex- 
pression used by the apostle James, in chap. i. 6, 7. But let 
him ask infaith^ nothing rvavering ; for let not that man think 
that he shall receive any thing of the Lord: By which, the a- 
postle does not intend, that he who doubts whether his prayer 
shall be answered, cannot be said, in any sense, to pray in 
faith ; for, as assurance of our salvation is not of the essence 
of faith, so that faith cannot subsist without it ; in like man- 
ner assurance, or a firm persuasion that the very thing we ask 
shall be given, is not such an essential ingredient in prayer, as 
that we should determine, that for want of it, we shall re- 
ceive nothing that is good from the Lord. Therefore, I con- 
ceive, that the apostle, by rvavering in this text, rather res- 
pects our being in doubt about the object of faith; or else 
oU( not being stedfast in the grace of faith, but praying with 
hypocrisy, as he illustrates it by the similitude taken from a 
wave driven with the wind; which sometimes moves one way, 
at oiher times the contrary ; and he farther explains it, when 
he says, in ver. 8. a double-minded man^ is unstable in all his 
rvays ; so that the person, whom he describes as wavering is 
the eame with a double-minded man^ or an hypocrite : Such 
an one cannot ask in faith ; therefore the apostle does not 
hereby intend that no one can exercise this grace in prayer, 
but he that has a full assurance that his prayer shall be answer- 
ed, in that particular way and manner as he expects. 

Obj. 1. It is objected by some, that they have no faith ; 
therefore since this grace must be exercised in prayer, they 
are very often discouraged from performing the duty of 

Answ. That though the want of a prepared frame of spirit, 
for any duty affords matter of humiliation, yet it is no 
excuse for the neglect thereof; and as for prayer in particular, 
we are to wait on God therein, for a prepared frame of spirit, 
that by this means, we may draw nigh to him in a right man- 
ner, as well as for a gracious answer from him. 

[2.] If we cannot bring glory to God by a fiducial plead- 
ing of the promises, or applying them to ourselves ; we 
must endeavour to glorify him by confessing our guilt and 
unworthiness, and acknowledging that all our help is in him. 

[e.] It is possible for us to have some acts of faith in prayer, 


when we are not sensible thereof, and at the same time, be- 
wail our want of this grace. f 

[4.J If none were to pray but those who have faith, then it 
would follow that none must pray for the first grace, which 
supposes a person to be in an unregenerate state ; neverthe- 
less, such are obliged to perform this duty, as well as they can, 
and therein to hope for that grace which may enable them to 
do it as they ought, faj 

Obj. 2. It is objected by others, that though they dare not 
lay aside the duty of prayer, yet, inasmuch as they do not 
experience those graces, which are necessary for the right per- 
formance thereof, nor any returns of prayer, they have no 
satisfaction in their own spirits. 

Ansrv. To this it may be replied ; 

Ist^ That there may be faith in prayer, and yet no imme- 
diate answer thereof. God herein acts in a way of sovereign- 
ty, whereby he will have his people know that if he grants 
their requests, it shall be in his own time and way. There- 
fore it is their duty to wait for him till he is pleased to 
manifest himself as a God hearing prayer, and thereby re- 
moving the discouragements that, at present, they labour under. 

2^/^/, There are other ways by which the truth of grace is 
to be judged of, besides our having sensible answers ol 
prayer. Sometimes, indeed, God may give many intima- 
tions of his acceptance of us, though, at present we know- 
it not. 

(3.) The next grace to be exercised in prayer, is, love to 
God : This implies in it an earnest desire of his presence, de- 
light in him, or taking pleasure in contemplating his perfec- 
tions as the most glorious and amiable object. Desire sup- 
poses him, in some measure, withdrawn from us ; or that we 
are not possessed of that complete blessedness, which is to 
be enjoyed in him ; and delight supposes him present, and, in 
some degree, manifesting himself unto us. Now love to God, 
in both these respects, is to be exercised in prayer. Is he in 
any measure withdrawn from us ? we are, with the greatest 
earnestness to long for his return to us, whose loving-kind- 
ness is better than life. Is he graciously pleased, in any de- 
gree, to manifest himself to us as the fountain of all we enjoy 
or hope for ? this will have a tendency to excite our delight 
in him, and induce us to conclude that our happiness consists 
in the enjoyment of him. These graces are to be exercised 
at all times, but more especially in prayer, \vhich is an offer- 
ing up of our desires to God ; in which we first press after 
the enjoyment of himself, and then of his benefits. And, as 

faj ^Vhat under one aspect is grace, under another is duty. 


we are to bless and praise him for the discoveries we have 
of his glory, in and through our Lord Jesus Christ, in order 
to the securing our spiritual good and advantage ; 4;his is to 
express that delight in him, which is the highest instance of 

(4.) Another grace to be exercised in prayer, is submission 
to the will of God ; whereby we leave ourselves and our pe- 
titions in his hand, as being sensible that he knows what is best 
for us. This does not include in it a being indifferent whe- 
ther our prayers are heard or no ; for that is to contradict 
what we express with our lips, by the frame of our spirits. 
Whatever may be concluded to be lawful for us to ask, as re- 
dounding to our advantage, and is expressly promised by God, 
that we ought to request at his hand, in prayer; and if we 
pray for it, we cannot but desire that our prayer may be heard 
and answered ; and this is not opposed to that submission to 
the divine will, which we are speaking of, provided we leave 
it to God to do what he thinks best for us, being content that 
the way and manner of his answering us, as well as the time 
of his bestowing those blessings which we want, together with 
the degree thereof; especially if they are such as are of a tem- 
poral nature, ought to be resolved into his sovereign will. 
Thus concerning the graces that we are to exercise in prayer. 

There are other things mentioned in this answer, which are 
necessary to our exercising those graces, viz. our minds being 
enlightened, our hearts enlarged, and our having sincerity in 
the inward part. 

[l.] There must be some degree of understanding, since ig- 
norance is so far from being, as the Papists pretend, the mo- 
ther of devotion, that it is inconsistent with the exercise of 
those graces, with which we ought to draw nigh to God in 
prayer. The affections, indeed, may be moved, where there 
is but a very little knowledge of the doctrines of the gospel ; 
but they will, at the same time, be misled ; and this can no 
more be called religious devotion than the woi'ds or actions of 
one that is in a phrenzy, can be called rational ; therefore, as 
prayer is unacceptable without the exercise of grace, so grace 
cannot be exercised without the knowledge of the truth, as de- 
rived from the sacred treasury of scripture. 

Here we might consider, that we must know something 
of God who is the object of prayer, as well as of all other 
acts of religious worship. We must also know something of 
Christ the Mediator, through whom we have access to, as well 
as acceptance witii him ; and something of the work and glory 
of the Holy Ghost, on whom we are to depend for his assis- 
tance ill presenting our supplications to God. We must know 
our necessities, otherwise we cannot tell what to ask for ; and 


also the promises of the gospel, otherwise we cannot be en- 
couraged to hope for an answei-. ;( 

[2.] In order to our exercising grace in prayer, we must 
have some degree of enlargedness of heart ; that is, when 
every thing that tends to contract our affections, abate the fer- 
fency of our spirits, or hinder that importunity which we 
ought to express for the best of blessings, is removed. Now 
our hearts may be said to be enlarged in prayer. 

l6?. When we draw nigh to God in this duty with delight 
and earnest longing after his presence, and an interest in his 
love, which we reckon preferable to ail other blessings. 

2dli/y When we are affected with a becoming sense of his 
glorious perfections, and our own nothingness, in order to our 
adoring him, and coming before him with the greatest hu- 

2cily^ When we have suitable promises given in, and are 
enabled to plead them with a degree of hope, arising from the 
goodness and faithfulness of God, that he will fulfil them ; and 
that more especiallv as we draw nigh to him as to a covenant- 

Athly^ When our thoughts and affections are engaged with- 
out wandering, weariness, or lukewarmness, and filled with 
importunity, agreeable to the importance of the duty, and our 
absolute need of the blessings we pray for. 

[3.] In order to our exercising those graces, which are ne- 
cessary for our drawing nigh to God aright in prayer, we must 
have sincerity of heart : This includes in it much more than 
what is generally so called, as opposed to dissimulation, in 
those who perform some good actions merely to be seen of 
men, or who take up religion to answer some base and vile 
end, which they have in view ; in which respect a sincere per- 
son is one that is no dissembler : But that sincerity, which we 
are speaking of, consists in a person's acting from a principle 
of grace implanted in regeneration ; or when a person can ap- 
peal to God, as Job does. Thou knoxvest that lam not xvicked^ 
Job X. 7. that is, that there is no reigning sin, whereby my. 
heart is alienated from, or set against thee. A sincere person 
is such an one as our Saviour describes, when he speaks of 
Nathaniel, and gives him this character. Behold an Israelite 
indeed^ in whom is no guile^ John i. 48. In this case a per- 
son's heart and actions go together ; and he may truly say, as 
David does, attend unto my cry^ give ear unto viy prayer^ that 
goeth not out of feigned lips^ Psal. xvii. 1. Thus concerning 
the graces that are to be exercised in prayer, and what is ne- 
cessary in order thereunto. 

What is farther observed concerning this duty, is, that we 
are to persevere in prayer ; resolving not to desist from wait- 


ing on God therein, whalever seeming discouiageinents may, 
at present, lie in our way. Prayer is not a duty to be per- 
formed only at some certain times, as the prophet speaks of 
those who, in their affiiction will seek God early ^ Hos.\. 15. or, 
as the mariners in Jonah, who cried^ every man unto his god^ 
in a storm ; though it is probable, they seldom prayed at other 
times, Jon. i. 5. But we are to pray always with all prayer 
and supplication^ and to watch thereunto with all perseverance^ 
Eph. vi. 18. that is, we ought always to endeavour to be in a 
praying frame, and, on all occasions, to lift up our hearts to 
God for direction, assistance, and success in every thing we 
do, agreeable to his will, and for a supply of those wants which 
daily recur upon us. 

\st^ By reason of the deadness and stupidity of our spirits, 
which we cannot bring into a suitable frame for the discharge 
of this duty ; and therefore we are ready to conclude, that 
while we draw nigh to God with our lips, our hearts are far 
from him. This is, indeed, a very afflictive case ; but we 
ought not from hence, to take occasion to lay aside the duty 
but rather depend on the assistance of the Spirit, to enable us 
to perform it in a right manner. 

2fi^/?/, Another discouraging circumstance is, God's denying 
us sensible returns of prayer, which he may do for various rea- 
sons. Sometimes he sees those defects that we are guilty of 
in prayer, which he is obliged to testify his displeasure against ; 
and this he sometimes does by hiding himself, or, as it were, 
withdrawing from us, and, in all appearance, shutting out our 
prayers, that we may take occasion to search out the secret sin 
that lies at the root thereof ; which we must confess and be 
humbled for. Thus when Joshua, after a small defeat, which 
Israel had received by the men of Ai, fell upon his face, and 
spread the matter before the Lord in prayer, God condescends 
to tell him the reason of it ; ' Get thee up, wherefore liest 
' thou thus upon thy face ? Israel hath sinned, and they have 
* also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them ,- for 
' they have even taken of the accursed thing ; therefore could 
' they not stand before their enemies,' Josh. vii. 10 — 12. And 
when the sin was discovered, and Achan, who troubled them 
punished, what he asked for was granted. Again, God may 
deny an immediate answer to prayer, out of his mere sovereign- 
ty, that hereby we may know, that it is not for us to prescribe 
to him the time or way in which he shall dispense those bene- 
fits, which are not owing to our merit, but his free grace. 

3(//z/, Sometimes we pray, but do not use other means, which 
God has appointed for the obtaining the blessing ! Thus, when 
Israel was disheartened, being pursued by Pharaoh and his 
host, and did not care to move out of their places, Moses ad- 


dresses himself to God in prayer, and the Lord said unto him^ 
Wherefore criestthoii unto me? speak unto thech'ddrdi of Israel^ 
that they go forxvard; and then he ordered him to lift up his 
rod^ and stretch it over the sea^ and divide it, that they might 
go through the midst thereof on dry ground^ Exod. xiv. 15, 16. 
" We are not only to pray, but to use other means that God has 
appointed ; without which, we cannot expect that prayer should 
be answered. Thus Hezekiah, when sick, prayed to God, 
who assured him, that he had heard his prayers, and would 
heal him ; nevertheless, he was to use the means which God 
had ordered, by taking a lump of Jigs and laying it on the boil ; 
which he did accordingly, and was restored to health, Isa. 
xxxviii. 21. Do we pray for a comfortable subsistence in the 
world ? we must, if we expect that God should answer us, use 
industry in our callings, as well as own him by prayer and 
supplications. Do we pray for any of the graces of the Spirit 
in order to the beginning or carrying on the work of sanctifi- 
cation ? we must, at the same time, attend on the means of 
grace, which God has ordained for that purpose : Or, do we 
pray for assurance of the love of God, and that spiritual com- 
fort which is the result thereof ? we must be diligent in the 
performance of the work of self-examination ; or else Ave are 
not to expect that God will answer our prayers. 

Aithly^ Sometimes God delays to answer our prayers, be- 
cause we have not given him the glory of former mercies ; or 
else he designs hereby to try our patience, whether we are not 
only inclined to wait upon him, but to wait for him ; as the 
prophet says, I xvill stand upon my xvatch^ and set me upon the 
tower^ and will watch to see xvhat he will say unto 7ne, and xvhat 
I shall ansxver xvhen I am reproved^ Hab. ii. 1. So the Psalmist 
says, As the eye of servants look unto the hands of their mas- 
ters^ and the eyes of a maiden unto the hands of her mistress ; 
so our eyes xvait upon the Lord our God, until that he have 
7nercy upon us, Psal. cxxiii. 2. And elsewhere the Psalmist, 
though he was in great depths, and stood in need of an imme- 
diate answer, when he cried unto the Lord ; yet he determines 
to xvait for him, and hope i?i his word; that is, while he is ex- 
pecting a mercy, he does not despair of having it in the end, 
because he depends on God's word of promise ; but yet he 
resolves to xvait as those that watch for the morJiitig, Psal. 
cxxx. 1, 5, 6, which contains a mixture of two graces, namely, 
patiently waiting, and yet earnestly desiring the blessing ex- 
pected. This is our indispensable duty, whereby we glorify 
God, as being sensible that it is not for us to prescribe to him, 
when he should fulfil our desires : Whereas we should say, 
with Jacob, / xvill not let thee go, except thou bless me. Gen. 
xxxii. 26. I will persevere in prayer till thou art pleased to 

Vol. IV. U u ^ 


give me all the blessings r%tand in need of, and bring me into 
that state in which I shall be satisfied with thy goodness, and 
my imperfect prayers turned into endless praises. 

Quest. CLXXXVI. What rule hath God ^ivenfor our direc- 
tion in the ditty of prayer ? 

Answ. The whole word of God is of use to direct us in the 
duty of praying ; but the special rule of direction, is that 
form of prayer, which our Saviour Christ taught his disci- 
ples, commonly called the Lord's prayer. 

Quest. CLXXXVII. How is the Lord'' s prayer to be used? 

Answ. The Lord's prayer is not only for direction, as a pat- 
tern, according to which we are to make other prayers, but 
may also be used as a prayer, so that it be done with un- 
derstanding, faith, reverence, and other graces necessary to 
the right performance of the duty. 

AS to what is said in the former of these answers, concern- 
ing the word of God, being a rule for our direction in 
prayer, it may be observed, 

I. That we need some direction in order to our performing 
this duty ; for man is naturally a stranger both to God and 
himself. He knows but little of the glorious perfections of 
the divine nature, and is not duly sensible of the guilt which 
he contracts, or of the mercies which he receives ; and with- 
out the knowledge hereof, we shall be at a loss as to the mat- 
ter of the duty which we are to engage in. It is certain, many 
have a general notion of religion, or of some moral duties, 
which they are sensible of their being obliged to perform : 
Nevertheless, they cannot address themselves to God in such 
a manner as he requires ; so that it may truly be said of them, 
that they cannot order their speech by reason of darkness^ Job 
xxxvii. 19. We find that the disciples themselves, who were 
intimately conversant with Christ, and, as it must be supposed, 
often joined with him in prayer, were, notwithstanding, at a 
loss, as to this duty ; and therefore they say, Lord teach us to 
pray ^ as John also taught his disciples^ Luke xi. 1. 

II. It is farther observed, that the word of God is to be 
made use of for our direction in prayer. This is evident, in- 
asmuch as we are to ask for nothing but what is agreeable to 
his revealed will, which is contained therein ; and no one, who 
is well acquainted with it, will have reason to say, that he 
wants sufficient matter for prayer. This is a very useful head, 


and therefore we shall consider several things which occur to 
us in scripture ; which ought to be improved, in dlrder to our 
direction and assistance in the performance of this duty. 

1. The historical parts of scripture, which contain an ac- 
count of the providences of God in the world, and the church, 
may be of use for our direction in prayer, as we are to pray, 
not only for ourselves, but for others : Therefore his former 
dealings with his people, will furnish us with matter accom- 
modated to our present observation of the necessities of the 
church of God in our day : Accordingly we find, 

(1.) That the sins which a professing people have commit- 
ted, have been followed with many terrible instances of the di- 
vine wrath and vengeance : Thus we have an account, of the 
universal apostacy of the world from God, which occasioned 
their being destroyed by a flood ; and the unnatural lusts of 
the inhabitants of Sodom, for which they were consumed by 
fire from heaven ; and of the idohitry and other abominations 
committed by the Israelites, for which it is said, that God was 
-vroth^ and greatly abhorred them ; upon which thc-y were ex- 
posed to many temporal and spiritual judgments, so that, as 
the Psalmist says, he forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh^ the tent 
ivhich he placed among men ; and delivered his strength into cap- 
tivity^ and his glory into the enemies hand^ Psal. Ixxviii. 59 — 
61. From hence we may take occasion to enquire, whether we 
have not been guilty of sins equally great, and, it may be, of 
the same kind, which are to be confessed, and the judgments 
which have ensued to be deprecated by us ? And when wc 
read in the New Testament, of some flourishing churches, 
planted by the apostles, in the beginning of the gospel dispen- 
sation, that have nothing left but a sad remembrance of the 
privileges which they once enjoyed ; in whom, what Christ 
says, concerning his removing his candlestick out of its placc^ 
was soon fulfilled. Rev. iii. 15. This is of use for our direc- 
tion in prayer, that he would keep his church and people from 
running into the same sins, and exposing themselves to the 
same judgments. 

(2.) We have an account, in scripture, of the church's in- 
crease and preservation, notwithstanding the darkest dispensa- 
tions of providence, and the most violent persecutions which it 
has met with from its enemies. When it was in hard bon- 
dage, and severely dealt with, in Egypt, it is observed, that 
the more the Egyptians afficted them^ the more they mul- 
tiplied and grexu^ Exod. i. 12. and when they have, in all ap- 
pearance, been nearest to ruin, God has opened a door for 
their deliverance, and oftentimes done great things in their 
behalf, which they looked not for. We have also an historical 


account, in scripture, of Gi^jl's owning and encouraging his 
people, so long as they have kept close to him ; and ot his vi- 
siting their iniquities with a rod, when backsliding from him ; 
and, indeed, whatever we read concerning the providences of 
God towards particular believers in the Old or New Testa- 
ment, the same may be observed therein, which is of very great 
lise for our direction in prayer ; and accordingly their experi- 
ences are recorded for ovir instruction, and their necessities, that 
we may know what to pray for, as far as there is an agree- 
ment between the account we have of them, and what we find 
in ourselves. 

2. The word of God, as it is a rule of faith, contains those 
great doctrines, without the knowledge whereof, we cannot 
pray aright. Thus we have an account, in scripture, not only 
of tiie Being and perfections of God, which may be known by 
the light of nature, but of those glorious truths which cannot 
be known but by divine revelation : And, 

(1.) Of the personal glory of the Father, Son, and Holy 
Ghost; of the Father's giving all spiritual blessings to his 
people, in and through a Mediator; and the Son is considered 
as invested in this office and character, and, as God incarnate 
procuring for us, by his obedience and death, forgiveness of 
sins, and a right to eternal life. We have also an account of 
the Holy Ghost, as being a divine person, and therefore equal 
with the Father and Son ; yet as subservient to them in his 
method of acting, as the application of redemption attains the 
end of the purchase thereof, in like manner as the purchase of 
it was a means to bring about that purpose and grace which 
rvas given us in Christ before the world began, 2 Tim. i. 9. 
These doctrines are necessary to direct us in those things 
which respect the distinct glory which we are to give to the 
Fatiier, Son, and Holy Ghost, and the method in which we 
are to hope for the blessings which we ask for in prayer. 
Thus tlie apostle, speaking of this duty, supposes that we are 
acquainted with this doctrine, when he says, Through him, 
that is, Christ, ive have a?i access by one Spirit unto the Father, 
Eph. ii. 18. 

(2.) In the word of God, we have not only an account of 
the works of nature and providence, or God's being the Creator 
and Governor of the world, which we have some knowledge of, 
in a method of reasoning from the divine perfections ; but we 
have an account therein of those works which have an imme- 
diate reference to our salvation, and that special providence in 
which God expresses a greater regard to the heirs of salvation 
than to all the world besides : When we draw nigh to God in 
prayer, we are not barely to consider him as the God to whom 
we owe our bein^-, as men, but our well-being as christians, 


delivered from that ruin which we brought on ourselves, by 
our apostacy from him ; and also, xuhat is the exc^ding' great- 
ness of his poxver to iis-ward^ -who believe^ according to the 
xvorking of his mighty poxver^ xvhich he xvrought in Christy 
tvhen he raised him from the dead^ chap. i. 18, 19. as th^, apos- 
tle expresses it in that affectionate prayer put up for the church 
at Ephesus. And when we survey the works of providence, 
we are not barely to think of God as the Governor of the world 
in general, but to consider what have been those special acts 
of providence, by which he has governed man before and since 
the fall, and to consider the first covenant as made with him 
in innocency ; and the covenant of grace, as being a dispensa- 
tion of grace, established in and with Christ, as the Head of 
the elect, in order to their being delivered from that state of 
sin and misery into which they had brought themselves. These 
doctrines will be of use for our direction in prayer, as hereby 
we are led to acknowledge our fallen state, what we were by 
nature, and what we should have been, had we been left in 
that state ; and hereby we are also led to adore the riches of 
God's grace, as he brings the greatest good to his saints out 
of the greatest evil. 

(3.) The word of God gives us a distinct account of the of- 
fices in which Christ is invested, as they are suited to the ne- 
cessities of his people, which is a means for our direction con- 
cerning what we are to ask for, with a particular relation to 
each of them, and the hope we have that he will grant our re- 
quest. As he is appointed by the Father, to be our High 
Priest, to make atonement for sin ; our Advocate, to plead 
our cause ; our Prophet, to lead us in the way of salv^ation ; 
and our King, to subdue us to himself, and defend us from the 
assaults of our spiritual enemies. So we are, in our pi-ayere, 
to improve these discoveries which we have thereof, as a 
means to direct us in those things which are the subject-mat- 
ter both of prayer and praise. 

4. The word of God is of use for our direction in prayer, as 
we have an account therein of those duties which are to be 
performed by us as men, or christians, in every condition of 
life, and in ail those relations which we stand in to one another. 
As for that which is matter of duty in general, or that obedi- 
ence which we owe to God, this cannot be performed but by 
his assistance ; which is humbly to be asked in prayer : And 
accordingly we are to say as one does. Lord, work in me that 
which thou requirest, and then require what thou pleasest. 
Here we might shev^ how all the duties which God has com- 
manded, may be of use to direct us in prayer : that hereby we 
may be led to apply ourselves to him, that he would enable us 
to perform them ; and all the sins forbidden in scripture, may 


be of use to instruct us whlfe to deprecate, when we pray that 
God would keep us from our own iniquities, and what we are 
to confess before him, and implore the forgiveness of; and all 
those commands which respect instituted worship, vizr our at- 
tendance on the ordinances, or the exercise of various graces 
therein, in the whole course of our conversation : These are 
of use for our direction in prayer, as hereby we know what to 
ask for, with relation thereunto ; and particularly as to what 
concerns the advantage we hope to receive, under the means 
of grace, whenever we draw nigh to God in the way which he 
has appointed. 

5. As the word of God contains many promises and predic- 
tions, together with their accomplishment, for the encourage- 
ment of our faith and hope in prayer, it is of use to direct us in 
the performance of this duty. As for the predictions that are 
fulfilled, so far as they respect the blessings which God design- 
ed to bestow on his church, they are equivalent to promises, and 
we are to take occasion from thence, to adore and magnify his 
faithfulness; and hope that whatever remains to be done for 
us, or his people in general, shall, in like manner, have its ac- 
complishment, which will afford matter of encouragement to 
us in addressing ourselves to him for it. 

The promises which are contained in scripture, are also a mo- 
tive and inducement to prayer. These are a declaration of 
God's will to give the blessings, which he sees necessary for us, 
and therefore are of great use in order to our performing this 
duty aright. Thus God gives an intimation of the great things 
that he will do for, or bestow upon his people, when he says, in 
Jer xxxi. 33. 1 will put my law in their inward parts^ and write 
it in their hearts^ and xvill be their God, and they shall be my 
people: and there are many expressions of the like nature, 
which contain the form of a promise. But besides these, 
there are others which are equivalent to, and may be applied by 
us in like manner as though they were laid down in the same 
form, as the promises generally are ; as, 

(1.) When God is said, in his word, to be able to do his peo- 
ple good, or bestow some particular blessings upon them, this 
gives them ground to conclude, that he will do it, or that his 
power shall be engaged in their behalf: Thus God is said, in 
Jude, ver. 24. to be able to keep them from falling, and to pre- 
sent them faultless before the presence of his glory with exceed- 
ing joy. And elsewhere it is said, 2 Cor. ix. 8. that God is 
able to make all grace abound towards his people, that they al- 
ways having ull-sufficiency in all things, may abound to every 
good work : This is the same as though it had been said, that he 
would dothis for them. 

(2.) When God is said to glorify any of his perfections in giv- 


ing those blessings that his people want, this is also equivalent to 
a promise : Thus, in Exod. xxxiv. 4, 6. when the I-ord passed 
by before Moses^ and proclaimed the Lord God^ merc^ul and gra- 
cious^ long-sufferings and abimdant in goodness and truth^ &c. it 
is the same as though he had said that he would shew mercy 
to them, since the design thereof is to encourage them to hope 
for it. 

(3.) Whatever blessings are said to be purchased by Christ 
as our Redeemer, or prayed for by him as our Advocate, these 
may be included in the number of promised blessings ; for they 
will certainly be applied by him, who will not lose what he has 
purchased by his blood, and is never denied what he asks for. 

(4.) The universal experience of believers, relating to the 
blessings that accompany salvation, contains the nature, though 
not the form, of a promise ; and therefore, when this is record- 
ed in scripture, for the encouragement of others, in all succeed- 
ing ages, it is as much to be applied by us when we are in like cir- 
cumstances as though it were more directly promised to us : 
Thus when God's faithful servants are said, 1 Pet. i. 5. to be 
kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation ; or, 
when the Psalmist says, in Psal. xxxvii. 25. 1 have been young-, 
and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor 
his seed begging bread; these, and such-like expressions, are 
to be applied by us as promises. 

(5.) That which is proposed to us, or which we are to have 
in view, as the end of our attending on ordinances, is equiva- 
lent to a promise ; and accordingly, when we are commanded 
or encouraged to hope and pray ifor any spiritual blessings, 
when waiting upon God therein, in such a way as he requires, 
it is the same thing as though he had said, that he would give 
us those blessings. If a believer is thirsty, and encouraged to 
come to the waters ; or if he wants grace or peace, and is told 
that these are to be attained in ordinances, the bare intimation 
that we are to seek these blessings in such a way is equiva- 
lent to a promise. 

(6.) God's seeing our distress or knowing our wants, is some- 
times to be understood in scripture, as containing the nature of 
a promise, relating to the supply thereof: Thus our Saviour 
tells his disciples, in Matt. vi. 32. Tour heavenly Father know- 
eth that ye have need of all these things; which is the same as 
though he had told them, that God had promised or designed 
to bestow those outward blessings upon them : And when he 
designed, or promised to deliver his people out of the bon- 
dage, in which they were in Egypt, he says, / have surely 
seen the affliction of my people : I know their sorrows, &c. 
Exod. iii. 7. Thus concerning the manner in which the pro- 
mises are laid down in scripture. 


We shall now consider k^v they are to be made use of Jii 
order to our direction and encouragement in prayer. And 
here it may be observed, that the promises either respect out- 
ward, or spiritual blessings, both of which we are to prfty for : 
Thus the apostle says, in 1 Tim. iv. 8. Godliness has the pro- 
mise of the life that notv is^ and of that which is to come ; the 
former respects the temporal dispensations of providence ; the 
latter, grace and glory, or the things that accompany salvation. 

[l.] We shall consider the promises that respect temporal or 
outward blessings which we are obliged to pray for, as we 
stand in need of them. These are of various kinds ; 

Ist^ There are promises of health and strength, whereby our 
passage through this world may be made easy and comforta- 
ble, and we better enabled to glorify God therein : Thus it is 
said, in Prov. iii. 7, 8. Feaj- the Lord, and depart from evil. 
It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones. And 
in Psal. ciii. 5. Who satisfleth thy mouth with good things ; so 
that thy youth is renexved like the eagles. 

2dly, There are promises of food and raiment, or the neces- 
sary provisions and conveniences of life, in Psal. xxxvii. 3. 
Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the 
la?id, and verily thou shalt be fed. And in Deut. x. 18. He 
doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and tuidow, and 
loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment. 

5dly, There are promises of comfort and peace in our dwell- 
ings, in Job v. 24. * Thou shalt know that thy tabernacle shall 
' be in peace ; and thou shalt visit thy habitation, and shalt not 
sin. And, in Psal. xci. 10. ' There shall no evil befal thee, nei- 
' ther shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.' And in 
Psal. cxxi. 8. ' The Lord shalt preserve thy going out, and 
' thy coming in, from this time forth and forevermore.' 

4<thly, There are promises of quiet and composed rest by 
night, on our beds, in Job xi. 18, 19. Thou shalt take thy rest 
in safety : Also thou shalt lie down, and none shall make thee 
afraid. And in Prov. iii. 24. When thou liest down, thou 
shalt not be afraid; yea, thou shalt lie doxvn, and thy sleep shall 
be sweet. 

Sthly, There are promises of success, and a blessing to at- 
tend us in our worldly callings, in Psal. cxxviii. 2. Thou shalt 
eat the labour of thine hands : Happy shalt thou be, and it shall 
be well xvith thee. And in Deut. xxviii. 4, 5, 12. ' Blessed 
' shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, 
' the fruit of thy cattle, and the increase of thy kine, and the 
' flocks of thy sheep. Blessed shall be thy basket and thy 

* store. The Lord shall open unto thee his good treasure, the 
*• heaven to give the rain unto thy land, in his season, and to 

* bless all the work of thine hand : And thou shalt lend unto 


* many nations, and shall not Ijorrow.' And in Psal. i. 3. ' He 

* shall be like a tree, planted Ijy the rivers of wateiv, that bring- 
' eth forth his fruit in his season ; his leaf also shall not wither, 
' and whatsoever he doth shall prosper.' 

Qthlyy There are promises of an intail of blessings on our fa- 
milies, in Psal. cxxviii. 3. ' Thy wife shall be as a fruitful 

* vine, by the sides of thine house ; thy children like olive- 
' plants round about thy table.' And, in Psal. ciii. 17. * The 
*■ mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting, upon 
' them that fear him ; and his righteousness unto children's 
' children.' And, in Psal. cii. 28. * The children of thy 

* servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established be- 
*■ fore thee.' And, in Psal. xlv. 16. ' Instead of thy fathers 

* shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all 
' the earth.' 

I might have mentioned many more promises of outward 
blessings, which God will bestow on his people, though with 
this limitation, so far as it may be for his glory, and their real 
good, viz. such as respect riches, as in Psal. cxii. 3. ' Wealth 

* and riches shall be in his house ; and his righteousness en- 
' dureth for ever ;' or honours, as in 1 Sam. ii. 30. and these 
accompanied with long lifej as, in Prov. iii. 17. 'Length 

* of days are in her right hand ; and in her left hand riches 
' and honour.' And, in Psal. xxxiv. 12, 13. ' What man is 

* he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see 

* good ? Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speak- 
' ing guile ;' or, if God does not think fit to give them this, he 
will take them out of the world in mercy, and gather them into 
a better, to prevent their seeing the evil he designs to bring on 
the inhabitants thereof, Isa. Ivii. 1. ' The righteous is taken 
away from the evil to come.' He has also promised some 
blessings that respect their good name, in Zeph. iii. 20. * I 
' will make you a name and a praise among all people of 
' the earth.' And in Prov. x. 7. ' The memory of the just is 
blessed.' But that which I shall principally add concerning 
these and such-like outward blessings, is, that God has not 
only promised, that he will give them to his people, but that 
he will sanctify them to them for their spiritual advantage, and 
enable them to improve them aright to his glory, which will 
render them more sweet and desirable to them. Thus Go4 
has promised, 

Ist^ That he will free his people, who enjoy outward good 
things, from the sorrow which is oftentimes mixed tlierewith, 
and tends greatly to imbitter them, in Prov. x. 22. * The 

* blessing of the Lord maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow 

* with it.' He has also promised to give them inward peace, 
together with outward prosperity, in Psal. xxxvii. 11. * The 

Vol. IV. X x 


' meek shall inherit the eartk^and shall delight themselves in 

* the abundance of peace.' 

2dly., He has promised to give them spiritual and heavenly 
blessings, together with the good things of this life, in Job xxii. 
24—26. ' Thou shalt lay up gold as dust, and the gold of Ophir 
' as the stones of the brooks. Yea, the Almighty shall be thy 
' defence, and thou shalt have plenty of silver : For then shalt 

* thou have thy delight in the Almighty, and shalt lift up thy 
' face unto God.' And in Psal. xxiii. 5, 6. ' Thou preparest 
' a table before me in the presence of mine enemies ; thou 

* anointest mine head with oil, my cup runneth over. Surely 
' goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life ; 
' and I will, or, I shall, dwell in the house of the Lord for 
' ever.' 

odly^ God has promised together with outward blessings, to 
give a thankful heart, whereby his people may be enabled to 
give him the glory thereof, in Deut. viii. 10. ' When thou 

* hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the Lord thy 
' * God, for the good land which he hath given thee.' And, in 

Joel ii. 26. ' Ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise 

* the name of the Lord your God, that hath dealt wondrously 
' with you ; and my people shall never be ashamed.' 

4<thly^ He has not only promised that he will confer out- 
ward good things on his people, but that he will make them 
blessings to others, and thereby enable them to lay out what 
he gives them for their good, to support his cause and gospel 
in the world ; and to relieve those that are in distress, in Gen. 
xii. 2. ' I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou 

* shalt be a blessing.' And, in Deut. xxvi. 11. ' Thou shalt 

* rejoice in every good thing which the Lord thy God hath 
"■ given unto thee and unto thine house, thou and the Levite, 
' and the stranger that is among you.' These promises more 
especially respect those who are in a prosperous condition in 
the world. 

But there are others which are made to believers, in an af- 
flicted state ; and, indeed, there is scarce any affliction which 
they are liable to, but what has some special promises annexed 
to it. Accordingly, 

(1.) There are promises made to them when lying on a sick 
bed, in Psal. xli. 5. ' The Lord will strengthen him upon the 
' bed of languishing; thou wilt make all his bed in his sick- 
' aiess.' And, in Deut. vii. 15. ' The Lord will take from thee 
' all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt 
' (which thou knowest) upon thee ; but will lay them upon all 
' that hate thee.' And, in Exod. xxiii. 25. ' I will take sick- 
' ness away from the midst of thee.' 

(2.) There are other promises made to believers, when poor 


and low in this world, in Psal. cxxxii. 15. ' I will abundantly 

* bless her provision; I will satisfy her poor uitli!ft)read.' 

(3.) There are other promises that respect God's giving a 
full compensation for all the losses which his people have sus- 
tained for Christ's sake, in Matt. xix. 29. ' Every one that 

* hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or 
' mother, or wife, or children, or lands for my name's sake, 
' shall receive an hundred-fold, and shall inherit life everlast- 
•• ing.' And, in chap. x. 39. ' He that findeth his life shall 

* lose it; and he that loseth his life for my name's sake shall 
" find it.' 

(4.) There are other promises made to believers under op- 
pression, in Psal. xii. 5. ' For the oppression of the poor, for 

* the sighing of the needy, now will I arise (saith the Lord) 

* I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him.' And 
in Hos. xiv. 3. ' In thee the fatherless findeth mercy.' And, in 
Psal. Ixviii. 5. ' A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the 
' widows, is God in his holy habitation.' 

(5.) There are other promises made to believers, when re- 
viled and persecuted for righteousness' sake, Matt. v. 11, 12, 
'- Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, 

* and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my 

* sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad ; for great is your 

* reward in heaven.' And, in 1 Pet. iv. 19. ' Wherefore 
' let them that suffer according to the will of God, commit the 
' keeping of their souls to him in weil-doing, as unto a faithful 

* Creator.' 

(6.) There are promises made to God's people, when they 
are in distress, and, at present, see no way of escape : Thus 
when Jeremiah was shut up in the court of the prison, he had 
this promise given him, in Jer. xxxiii. 3. ' Call unto me, and I 
' will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, 
' which thou knowest not.' 

(7.) God has made promises suited to the condition of his 
people, when their lot is cast in perilous times : Thus it is said, 
in Isa. xliii. 2. * lF/ie?i thou passest through the xvaters^ I rvi/I 
he xvith thee; and through the rivers^ they shall not overjloxv 
thee: When thou xvalkest through thejire^ thou shah not be burnt; 
neither shall thejftame kindle upon thee. 

Now there are several mercies which God has promised to 
his people, under the various afflictions which we are exposed 
to, as, 

(l5f,) Sometimes he promises to prevent the afflictions which 
we are most afraid of, in Psal. cxxi. 7. ' The Lord shall pre- 
serve thee from all evils ; he shall preserve thy soul.' And, in 
Job V. 19. ' He shall deliver thee in six troubles; yea, in seven 
' there shall no evil touch thee.' 


(2(/,) He has promised td*f)reserve his people from, or de- 
fend them in, a time of trouble, in Gen. xv. 1. ' Fear not Abram : 
' I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.' And, in 
Ezek. xi. 16. ' Thus saith the Lord; although I have cast them 

* far off among the heathen ; and although I have scattered 
' them among the countries, yet will I be to them a little sanc- 

* tuary in the countries where they shall come.' 

(3(/,) He has promised to moderate their afflictions, in Isa. 
xxvii. 8. ' In measure when it shooteth forth, thou wilt debate 
' with it; he stayeth his rough wind in the day of his east 
' wind.' And, in Jer. xlvi. 28. ' Fear thou not, O Jacob, my 

* servant, saith the Lord, for I am with thee, for I will make a 
•■ full end of all the nations whither I have driven thee, but I 
' will not make a full end of thee, but correct thee in measure ; 

* yet I will not leave thee wholly unpunished.' 

(4^/2,) He has also promised, that if need be, he will shorten 
the affliction, in Psal. cxxv. 3. ' The rod of the wicked shall 
' not rest upon the lot of the righteous ; lest the righteous put 

* forth their hands unto iniquity.' And, in Mark xiii. 19, 20. 
*■ In those days shall be affliction such as was not from the be- 

* ginning of the creation : And except that the Lord had short- 

* ened those days, no flesh could be saved ; but for the elect's 

* sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days. 

(5fA,) God has also promised his people that he will enable 
them to bear those afflictions which he lays upon them, in Psal. 
xxxvii. 24. ' Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; 

* for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.' And, in 2 Cor. 
xii. 9. ' He said unto me. My grace is sufficient for thee ; for 

* my strength is made perfect in weakness.' 

(6th.') He has promised to shew his people the particular sin 
that is the cause of the affliction, that they may be humbled 
for it, in Job xxxvi. 8, 9. * If they be bound in fetters, and 

* be holden in cords of affliction ; then he sheweth them their 
woik and their transgressions that they have exceeded.' 

(7th.) He has promised to bring good to them out of their 
afflictions, in Isa. xxvii. 9. * By this therefore shall the ini- 
quity of Jacob be purged, and this is all the fruit to take away 

* his sin.' And in Psal. xcvii. 11. ' light is sown for the 

* righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart. And in 
Zech. xiii. 9. ' I will bring the third part through the fire, and 

* will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold 

* is tried : They shall call on my name, and I will hear them : 

* I will say, that it is my people ; and they shall say. Thou art 

* my God.' Thus concerning the promises that more especially 
respect outward blessings which God bestows on his people. 

[2.] There are other promises contained in scripture, that 


relate more especially to spiritual blessings, which are of great 
use to lis, when we are asking them of God in prujf/er. 

Isty There are promises that relate more especially to the 
ordinances or means of grace : These are various, 

1. Some respect the duty of prayer, and also the event and 
success that shall attend it, in God's giving gracious returns, 
or answers thereof, in Psal. xci. 15. ' He shall call upon me, 

* and I will answer him.' And in Jer. xxix. 12, 13. * Then 

* shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and 

* I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, 

* when ye shall search for me with all your heart.' And, in 
Psal. 1. 15. ' Call upon me, in the day of trouble, I will de- 
*■ liver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.' 

2 Another ordinance to which promises are also annexed, 
is meditation about spiritual things, in Prov. xiv. 22. ' Mercy 
*• and truth shall be to them that devise good.' And, in Josh, 
i. 8. * This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, 
' but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou 
' mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein ; 

* for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou 

* shalt have good success.' There are also promises made to 
those who read the word of God, to wit, that he will make 
known his words to them, so that they may understand them, 
Prov. i. 23. ' Turn you at my reproof: Behold, I will pour 

* out my Spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto 

3. There are promises made to those who attend on the 
public worship of God, in Psal. xxxvi. 8, 9. ' They shall be 
' abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house ; and thou 
' shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures.' And, 
in Psal. cxxviii. 5. ' The Lord shall bless thee out of Zion; 
*■ and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the davs of thy 
' life.' 

4. There are promises made to religious fasting on special 
occasions, as in Mat. vi. 17. * When thou fastest, anoint thine 
*■ head, and wash thy face; that thou appear not unto men to 
' fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret, and thy Father 

* which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.' 

5. There are promises made to alms-giving, in Prov. xi. 25. 

* The liberal soul shall be made fat ; and he that watereth shall 
' be watered also himself.' And, in Eccl. xi. 1* ' Cast thy bread 
*■ upon the waters ; for thou shalt find it after many days.'' — 
And in 2 Cor. ix. 6, 7, 8. ' He whkh soweth bountifully shall 
' also reap bountifully : God loveth a cheerful giver, and is 

* able to make all grace abound, £5J^c.' 

6. There are promises made to believers, when they appear 
in the behalf of truth, at those times when it is opposed and 


perverted, that by this md^feis it may not be run down, nor 
they confounded, or put to silence by its enemies, Luke xxi. 
15. ' I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your ad- 

* versaries shall not be able to gainsay, nor resist.* 

7. There are promises made to the religious and strict ob- 
servation and sanctification of the Lord's day, Isa. Ivi. 2. 
' Blessed is the man that doth this ; that keepeth the Sabbath 
' from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.* 

2dly^ There are promises, contained in scripture, which 
respect God's giving his people special grace, together with 
that joy, peace and comtort that flows from it, which will be of 
great use to them, in order to their engaging aright in the duty 
of prayer. 

1. There are promises of the grace of faith, and others that 
are made to it; as it is said, in John vi. 27. ' All that the Fa- 

* ther giveth to me shall come to me ; and him that cometh to 

* me I will in no wise cast out.' And, in Eph. ii. 8. ' By grace 
,* are ye saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves; it 

' is the gift of God.' 

2. There are promises of the grace of repentance, in Rom. 
xi. 26. ' There shall come out of Zion the deliverer, and shall 

* turn away ungodliness from Jacob.' And, in Ezek. xx. 43. 

* Ye shall remember your ways, and all your doings, wherein 

* ye have been defiled, and ye shall lothe yourselves in your 

* own sight, for all your evils that ye have committed.' 

3. There are promises of love to God : Thus in Gal. v. 2. 
» The fruit of the Spirit is love.' And, 2 Tim. i. 7. ' God 

* hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and love, 

* and of a sound mind.' And, in Rom. v. 5. * Hope maketh 
' not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our 

* hearts, by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.' And, in 
2 Thes. iii. 5. * The Lord direct your hearts into the love of 

* God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.' 

4. Another grace promised is an holy filial fear of God, in 
Jer. XXX. 39, 40. ' I will give them one heart, and one way, 

* that they may fear them for ever, for the good of them, and 

* of their children after them. And I will make an everlasting 
' covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them to 
' do them good ; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that 

* they shall not depart from me.' And, in Hos. iii. 5. ' They 

* shali fear the Lord and his goodness.' 

5. Obedience to God's commands, which is an indispensable 
duty, is also considered as a promised blessing, in Deut. xxx. 
8. * Thou shalt return and obey the voice of the Lord, and do 

* all bis commandments which I command thee this day.' 

Moreover, as there a^e promises of the graces of the Spirit, 
so the comforts that flow from thence are also promised : Thus 


it is said in Isa. li. 12. /, even /, am he that comforteth you. 
And, in chap. xl. 1. Comfort ye, comfort ye my fiaople: Speak 
ye comfortably to Jerusalem, &c. more particularly, 

(I.) There are promises of peace of conscience, which is a 
great branch of those spiritual comforts which God gives his 
people ground to expect: Thus it is said in Isa. Ivii. 18, 19. 
' I will restore comforts unto him, and to his mourners. I 

* create the fruit of the lips ; peace, peace to him thac is afar 

* off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord.' And, in chap, 
xxvi. 4. ' Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is 

* stayed on thee ; because he trusteth in thee.' 

(2.) God has promised a good hope of eternal life, in 2 Thes. 
ii. 16. * Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even 

* our Father, who hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting 

* consolation, and good hope through grace, com fort your hearts.' 
And, in Rom. xv. 4. ' Whatsoever things were written afore- 

* time were written for our learning ; that we through patience 

* and comfort of the scriptures, might have hope.' 

(3.) God has promised spiritual joy to his people, in Psal. 
Ixiv. 10. * The righteous shall be glad in the Lord, and shall 

* trust in him ; and all the upright in heart shall glory.' And, 
in Psal. xcvii. 11, 12. ' Light is sown for the righteous, and 

* gladness for the upright in heart. Rejoice in the Lord ye 

* righteous ; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holi- 
^ ness.' 

Here we shall consider a believer, when drawing nigh to 
God in prayer, as depressed and bowed in his own spirit, and 
hardly able to speak a word to him in his own behalf, as the 
Psalmist says, in Psal. Ixxvii. 3, 4. I complained and my spirit 
rvas over-whelmed, I am so troubled that I cannot speak ; and 
how he may receive great advantage from those promises 
which he will find in the word of God ; as, 

(l5f,) When he complains of the wickedness, hardness and 
perverseness of his heart; in this case God has promised, in 
Ezek. xi. 1